Monthly Archives: February 2008

Slow Down

Of course! I’ve been writing furiously and working hard. Things are percolating. My boyfriend visited this weekend and I came down with something. My head feels huge and my thoughts are running away from me in a haze of sinus drugs. The skin underneath my right eye has been throbbing. I have an allergy to IB Profin; the last time I took it, in high school, complaining about being a woman, the skin underneath my right eye swelled up as if I had been hit in the eye. I got out of more classes than I should’ve with that allergy. Any and all writing about Diablo Cody: Good For Ladies? and the Modest Mouse video for “Little Motel” will have to wait. I have a hot date with nyquil and sleep.

An awesomely French review of Gus Van Sant’s Paranoid Park from imdb:

If that is art-cinema I am against art

*** This comment may contain spoilers *** (feel free to click through, and read the review in a terrifically French accent!)

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You’re Untied Again

(photo credit: A portrait of the lovely Pioneer Valley in Massachusetts by the staggeringly accomplished Abby McDonald)

When I walked into my apartment today, I stopped at the mailboxes and got my mail. It was mostly stuff for Stu. Getting your law degree means that you’e on quite a few spam-lists.

A guy walked into the lobby and went to the door. I had just closed it. His eyes were bloodshot, and he asked me, “Is this a chuch?”

I replied, yes, it is.

“Can I see a priest?” he asks. Of course. I had to say, “It’s not that kind of church.” My funny hat from Montreal and general air of young heathen didn’t deter him. He stayed in the lobby. He was sweaty, it was snowing. He looked like he was about to confess everything.

I’m really going to miss my old apartment. Although I realized today that there is a moment of insight in Garden State, where Zach Braff’s character mourns his lack of a “home” in his twenties, how his childhood home isn’t it, how he feels adrift. I completely agree and can relate to that sentiment. But I think I know now the exact circumstances that make up a home for me, and it’s not location. I may live in a church once again.

[Edit] Here’s a Saturday Globe feature on Casey Dienel, who records as White Hinterland.  May she have a long and interesting career.  (I suspect she may!)

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Cow Cow Boogie

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My Valentine’s Day Date

As my boyfriend put it, since he can’t make it to town for the holiday, “I figured I’d send you something from another hot renaissance man you appreciate.” It’s Criterion’s Paul Robeson: Portraits of the Artist box set, and it’s beautiful. Paul Robeson did not suck at anything, ever. All American football player, played professionally, great baseball player, valedictorian of his college, graduated law school, beautiful singer, political activist, brilliant actor, great orator…the way that America treated him was absolutely shameful.

Although I may have to supplement that with Colin Farrell shooting up Bruges. Someone’s making a giant cake over at MIT as well. I hope they don’t leave it out in the rain.

To the writers (and me!) out there, listen to your good friend John Darnielle (credit Village Voice): I go through times when I don’t write much, but I think “writers block” is a self-fulfilling prophecy. I don’t believe in it. I think the times when you’re “blocked” are transitional times when your inspiration is sort of trying to re-direct you toward the place where you’ll eventually end up. Thinking of this state as a “block” is really counterproductive, pernicious even: you’re not “blocked,” you’re on a detour, and maybe the sights aren’t as pretty, but they’re still really valuable. That’s my take, anyway. I mean, if you couldn’t actually move your hands to make the pen go across the page, that’s a legitimate block. Otherwise, sit down and work!

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“Dying in the Al Gore Suite,” Nick Weidenfeld, The Fader Issue 31

He told her to take him to the Hotel Vanderbilt; the same hotel Al Gore holed himself up in November of 2000. Three years earlier, the Vice President had traveled to Nashville to make his concession speech, but when questions concerning the Florida ballot arose, Gore waited. And waited. He stayed in his room for two weeks while camera crews from around the world lined West End Avenue, hoping to get a shot of the VP passing his hotel window.

That’s what Berman was thinking about when he approached the front desk. “Give me the Al Gore Suite,” he demanded. He must’ve been a sight in the lobby of Nashville’s nicest hotel, overdosing on crack and pills. But he was wearing a Brooks Brothers suit, and they gave him the room. Riding the elevator up to the eleventh floor, Berman laughed at the bellboy, “I want to die where the presidency died!” So he stumbled down the hall, opened the doors to the Al Gore suite, and did just that.

There’s a happy ending here, though: Berman survived.  He kept going.

“Silver Jew,” a documentary about Berman and his band traveling to Israel, made me cry.

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I don’t know much about this

This citation is in downtown Providence, close to Lupo’s Heartbreak Hotel (or whatever it’s called), and it’s sitting outside of a building that’s a general store now. I asked the owner about it and he said it’s always been there, and he thought it was a good addition to the front. There’s a story there, and I wonder what it is.

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Girl Crush: Thao Nguyen

So Super Bowl Sunday, maybe it was sacriledge, but my friends and I snuck out to see Thao Nguyen play with the Get Down Stay Down at the Middle East. First off, we got there in time so that we saw the fourth quarter, Eli Manning pulling a win out of the jaws of defeat. It was better at a bar; the 30 or so people there were glued to the TV, the radio play by play yelling, WHOOO YAHHH NOOOOOO!!!!! The shared exuberance, the shared defeat, the shared tragedy. It was sport at its best, and I couldn’t fault the Giants for playing a better game.

Then we saw Thao play. Now I had reviewed her album for the Globe, and it was good. I don’t quite agree with how the review came out; I think I sound more negative than I meant it to be. The album has about 6 excellent songs and several songs that ache and cry out for more of a snap with the way that the rhythm section is recorded. And the cheesy keyboards on “Geography” kill the song for me. Because of that blandness, you can put it on and kind of ignore it, or it blends after awhile-which is not to say she’s not talented, because she clearly is, I just wish that the arrangements reflected what the songs needed a little more. So she’s full of potential on album.

But live, good lord, she’s awesome! Best show I saw in awhile and one of the few times I exited a show a little cow-eyed in love. (Even better, my friends also exited the show googly-eyed and girl crushing.) Here’s an example, and I converted this to MP3 via awesome, awesome website

She wears cowboy boots with dresses and sort of shuffles with her shoulders and knocks her knees together to to the rhythm of her songs. It’s enchanting. She’s also, frankly, really hot. My friend misheard one of her lyrics as “and all this charm and still afraid of boys,” which I like better than the true lyric. She teased her bassist about his muscle shirt and ski hat, claiming that she was singing “Big Kid Table” with “You are strong, strong, strong/stronger than me” to him and his brand-new muscles that were on show and exposed. Her guitarist is adorable. I stuck my foot in my mouth last night trying to compliment them.

Her voice is lovely and her band is snappy. People were hippie dancing during the show–moves left over from Phish shows, but it was fine. I can’t wait until she’s headlining shows. This podcast is rather charming, and there’s a very good low-budget video at about the 3 minutes left mark:

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