Friday, February 24, 2006

Cover Stories

The New Yorker cover that wasn't. Nice background on how a melancholy-yet-uplifting New Yorker cover, a scene of post-Katrina Mardi Gras, got bumped for this week's more timely Brokeback Mountain/Cheney's Got a Gun pastiche. (Click on the link to see the other cover.)
Watch Your Back Mountain

I wonder what Sturtle would make of the cover they didn't run?

Can't Stop. Won't Stop.

Dear Michael Slezak,

I had never heard of you until I discovered the online-only articles you are writing for Entertainment Weekly recapping American Idol. Now I'm your biggest fan.

Let's take a look at your overview of the Top 24 contestants (written last week):
Lastly, Mandisa Hundley — who from here on out I will refer to as Mandisa! — was already a front-runner based on her revelatory Hollywood-week takes on ''Dim All the Lights'' and ''Band of Gold,'' but by confronting Simon tonight over the cruel remarks he made about her weight at her initial audition, the zaftig stunner claimed Idol status in households across the nation. Tell it!
Your breakdown of the Top 24 into categories ("The sure things", "the vulnerable favorites", "the intriguing longshots", "snowball's chance" and "hell to the no!") was spot-on. The four contestants eliminated this week all fell into the categories "longshots" (Becky, Patrick), "snowballs" (Bobby) and "httn" (Stephanie).

I agree with 95% of your comments about the performances on ladies' night and gentlemen's night.

Here are my thoughts: keeping the lesson of AI Season 3 in mind (America can't handle too many divas), I think we're due for a three-way Paris, Mandisa! and Lisa sing-off. In Season Three, the Forgettable One (Jennifer Hudson) finished 7th, the classy one (LaToya London) 4th, and the Monster (Fantasia) won. Expect a duel to the death between the young'uns Paris and Lisa -- Lisa is likelier to go first. When Kinnik is gone, Simon will begin to make cracks about Mandisa!'s age. Advantage: Paris, unless she becomes an annoying monster.

On the boys' side, expect a Will/Kevin/David fight. I predict David will go early unless he "repents" and is good next week. Will is cute in a Donny Osmond way, but American grandmas *love* cute dorks. Advantage: Kevin, especially if Simon keeps insulting him.

Effie, We All Got Pain

I will be forever in Matt's debt for blogging what he calls the Holy Grail of YouTube clips:

From the '82 Tony Awards, Jennifer Holliday and the cast of Dreamgirls performing "It's All Over" and "And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going".

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Pasolini is Me

Morrissey: Ringleader of the Tormentors

Fansite Wor(l)d of Morrissey has annotated lyrics for "You Have Killed Me", the first single off Morrissey's upcoming album Ringleader of the Tormentors. The lyrics reference Pasolini, Visconti, Anna Magnani, and Rome's Piazza Cavour. The video, which premieres tonight in the UK, is set at the 1970 Eurovision song contest. Hot!

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

The Gay Woodstock

Rufus at Carnegie Hall

Rufus Wainwright will be performing the entire 1961 Judy Garland at Carnegie Hall concert, with a full orchestra, at Carnegie Hall in June. Insane? Brilliant? Both?!?

How authentic will the performance be? I imagine he'll use the same orchestrations, the same charts, the same medleys and overture. The real question, though, is obvious.

Will he wear the same gowns?

I'm scared.

Back in 2004, Rufus said in an interview: "In fact, I do consider myself to be the male Judy Garland." He also admitted then to becoming obsessed with the Judy at Carnegie Hall album. Last February, he said in another interview that "he aspires to the condition of Judy Garland at Carnegie Hall." So I guess this is just progression. Or delusion. Or something.

(via the SFGate blog, which writes "Culture Blogger Neva Chonin says this is going to be the gay Woodstock", and I think that's completely true)

Lazy Afternoon

I guess I should write about fake writers more often? My post about the posters for the JT Leroy film has been blogged by GalleyCat, Gawker, GalleyCat again, Violet Blue, Academics Anon, and Defamer. Thanks for stopping by.

I'm on winter break this week (I love my job). Here's what's on my radar today:
  • I have a simple recipe for slow cooker roast beef that is amazing to eat. I was missing one ingredient (the can of French onion soup), so I improvised with a sliced red onion, some balsamic, and an extra bit of beer. I'm not sure if we can eat this tonight, but damn it's starting to smell great. Guess I should have made a recipe mosaic.

  • It's laundry night at chez Bear, so we gotta go to our favorite laundromat-in-the-mission. According to that Yelp listing, the Fiesta has free wifi. This surprises me; Fiesta is very clean, and it has a parking lot, and I love the place, but the clientele doesn't exactly strike me as the free wifi sort. Hipsters looking to work out their crackberries don't stop here, as far as I can tell; it's mostly working class Chicano families. Maybe the wifi is just a neighbor's open port?

  • Wednesday has become the most important night for television. Let's see: two-hour American Idol, the Project Runway reunion, the return of sissybear Jay McCarroll on Project Jay, Kath & Kim on Sundance channel, and normally a new Law & Order (damn you, Olympics!). Thank god we've got three DVRs.

  • Still thinking about Sturtle's Brokeback sequel that I blogged yesterday. Sturtle turned the most reserved character in modern cinema into always-ready-with-a-bon-mot Harold from The Boys In The Band, which doesn't make much sense (but is hilarious on its own). If Ennis is anyone from Mart Crowley's play, he's Alan. The problem with Alan, though, is that he's not as verbal as Harold or Michael or Emory.

  • Here's what I'd love to see: Vincent D'Onofrio (from Law & Order: Criminal Intent), George Duran (from Food TV's Ham on the Street) and Ethan Suplee (Randy, from My Name Is Earl) in a big ol' fashioned pie-eating contest. Maybe with lots of chocolate sauce, and clingy white t-shirts, and oops! I spilled some filling onto you, and let me take that dirty thing off of you and.... Sigh.

    (PS to George Duran: Don't even think about Ernie, because I saw you first. Kthxbi, Bill)

  • Q. Who knew that Green Lantern was a bottom?

    A. Everyone.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Who Is She? Who Was She? Who Does She Hope To Be?

Sturtle (who I love) posts Brokeback II: The Reunion.

Who would have thought that poor stoic (no: laconic) Ennis would end up talking exactly like Harold from The Boys in the Band?

Deceitful Above All Things

The Castro Theater has two posters up for "The Heart Is Deceitful Above All Things", based on the book by "JT Leroy", who of course it turns out was never who "he" said he was. Not surprisingly, the film posters deal with the hoax head on.

Heart Poster
The full film poster. Sorry for the reflection.

Quote Unquote
Love the quotation marks. At first I thought they were added by a sharpie-wielding theater employee, but I'm pretty sure they're intentional.

Based On A True Story

The Second Poster
This second poster is full of lengthy excerpts from NY Times, Vanity Fair and New York articles on the JT Leroy phenomenon, as well as the eventual exposure of the hoax. The last article in the poster was written only two weeks ago.

I have a few more close-up photos in this Flickr set. Enjoy.

(Although JT Leroy information is everywhere, the best coverage came from Gawker [Gawker posts on JT Leroy] and GalleyCat.)

Comcast Mocks Matlock Viewers

Comcast Mocks Matlock Viewers
Here's the Comcast information about the TV series MATLOCK, as noticed by me this morning: "Grandpa Simpson's favorite series: a courtroom drama about a cagey Atlanta defense attorney."

Architects of the DC Universe

Rucka Morrison
Greg Rucka and Grant Morrison (Don't you just want to pair them in a cop show? "One's angry, the other's a mad Scotsman. Together, they're detectives!")

When WonderCon was here last weekend, I attended the Friday afternoon panel "Architects of the DC Universe", which featured writers Greg Rucka, Grant Morrison, Mark Waid & Geoff Johns, along with editors Dan Didio and Stephen Wacker. You can visit my WonderCon Flickr photoset, but here are a few snapshots from the DCU panel.

The focus was primarily on mega-crossover Infinite Crisis, and the ambitious yearlong weekly series that is coming out of it, 52. Geoff Johns is writing Infinite Crisis, while all four are collaborating on 52. So much hype, some hints, probably some misdirection, and too many blissed out geeks. Newsarama had the best report of the panel, which is more detailed than my memories ever can be.

Dan Didio
Dan Didio

Mark Waid and Geoff Johns
Mark Waid and Geoff Johns

DC Editor Stephen Wacker
Stephen Wacker

Rucka Morrison Waid
Greg Rucka, Grant Morrison, Mark Waid

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Connected Again

Image hosting by PhotobucketI thought that my vintage iPod (no video!) was getting old. Turns out it wasn't my iPod; it was just the firewire cable. Thank god the replacement was only $19.

To give thanks, here are a couple of podcasts that I discovered last summer when I was on my own in Italy for a long stretch:

Slate's Daily Podcast: a short essay (usually around 8 minutes) read by Slate editor Andy Bowers. (Begun in July 2005; I must have discovered it very soon afterward.)

Radio Memories: a collection of old-time radio dramas. I quickly gravitated to the episodes introduced by OTR expert Jim Widner, who now hosts two OTR podcasts: Adventures in Radio (usually suspense, thriller and horror) and The Radio Detective Story Hour (crime and detective).

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Staking Pains For Your Pleasure

Um, the word isn't pain-staking. It's pains taking. As in "taking pains" to do something correctly.

I was just explaining to my students about English words that get reunderstood, such as "pease" being reintrepreted as the plural "peas", giving rise to the false singular "pea". The process is called back-formation; wikipedia has a nice overview of the topic.

My (least) favorite example is the misunderstanding of kudos as a plural, which implies that there might be an occasion where you would only have one kudo.

Back when I first worked in Silicon Valley, I did a stint in a call center, answering phone calls and helping users when their travel plans didn't flow through properly. The general manager of the department came in one time and gave us an unnecessary and borderline patronizing pep talk, just before he was laid-off for ineffectiveness. Anyway, in the speech he told us that he wanted to give "a kudo" to each and every one of us for all the work we had done to the team, yada yada yada. I had to stifle my laughter.

I know, I know. Even Alanis sang about that ever elusive kudo.

I just think it's funny. Kudos is a Greek word meaning fame or renown due to an achievement, and in English it usually means praise. It's singular in Greek and in English. You can have "much kudos" and "much praise"; you can have "a great deal of kudos" and "a great deal of praise". But you can't have "many praise" and strict logic dictates that you really can't have "many kudos" either, at least not if you're using standard English (which is obviously not your only choice, because there are many other dialects, all of which are rich and colorful and useful in a variety of contexts, and don't let me limit your usage).

The comparison I always give is with penis. The word penis ends with an 's', is clearly derived from Latin (it means tail, if you were curious), and yet is assuredly not plural. If you want one kudo, you should be willing to have one peni as well.

One day you're in....

I love Lyle's project of tallying the auction amounts for dresses made by Project Runway contestants. Glad to see my boy Nick in the top, although he's been getting kinda whiny/lazy lately. His plant dress was awful, and I thought he was in real danger of being OUT.

The actual My Scene dolls are currently being auctioned, and I suspect that may make some changes to Lyle's tally.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

A Million Little Four Things

Didn't get tagged, but I decided I'd opt-in.

Four Jobs I've Had:
  1. Burger King fry and chicken sandwich chef
  2. University library cataloguer
  3. Customer service representative (phone and e-mail help)
  4. Technical writer

Four Movies I Can Watch Over and Over:
  1. The Women
  2. Singin' in the Rain
  3. All That Jazz
  4. Down with Love

Four Places I’ve Lived:
  1. Edwardsville, Illinois
  2. Izmir, Turkey
  3. Melbourne, Florida
  4. Berkeley/Oakland/South San Francisco/San Francisco

Four TV Shows I Love to Watch:
  1. Project Runway
  2. Kath and Kim
  3. American Idol
  4. My Name is Earl

Four Places I’ve Been on Vacation:
  1. Hawaii (Kauai, Oahu, Maui, Lanai, Big Island)
  2. Key West
  3. New York City
  4. Rome

Four of My Favorite Dishes:
  1. Chicken Tikka Masala
  2. French Onion Soup
  3. Caesar Salad
  4. Stove Top Stuffing instead of potatoes

Four Websites I Visit Daily:
  1. Flickr
  2. Google Reader (where I read tons of blogs in RSS)

Four Places I Would Rather Be Right Now:
  1. Amoeba Records
  2. On the first day of a two-week vacation in Rome
  3. 5th row orchestra at a big ol' fashioned musical comedy on Broadway
  4. At Wonder-Con with a wad of cash in my pocket.