Saturday, April 29, 2006

The Comedians of Comedy - Cultural Event #6

OK – this was really funny. They added an extra show at 7:00 p.m., and it was certainly odd to be drinking and watching standup while the sun was still coming through the windows. The crowd was pretty small – no more than 300 people. We got two of the last chairs and scooted them up to the third row. All of the comedians talked about how excited they were to be in Chicago because they had had the worst show of the tour during the previous night. They were in Champaign and apparently were heckled the whole time. It’s hard to say who or what was the funniest, but I got a sore face from laughing so much. I knew Patton Oswalt was a movie buff from reading his blog… one of my favorite bits of the night was when he was describing his dog’s turds, and how they’re so vile and evil and wrong that even David Cronenberg wouldn’t film them. I was surprised by how funny Brian Posehn was too. That guy was over-the-top raunchy. He must have been holding back during Mr. Show. Yeah, you guys should be jealous that you couldn’t see the Comedians of Comedy.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Harrison Ford Is Old

Firewall – Movie #20

This actually isn’t a bad thriller if you can ignore the absurd elements. This is one of those movies that wouldn’t have existed 10 years ago (perhaps even 5) because so much of the plot hinges on new technology. In spite of this new technology, is it really possible to be driving through the deserted mountains of Southern CA and pick up a wireless internet signal? Anyway, Paul Bettany was surprising as the baddie, and Robert Patrick pleased me by popping up unexpectedly. Thanks, Logan Budget Theater.

Monday, April 24, 2006


Sandy's movie #9

This movie is like... 21st century Shakespeare. I need to get my hands on the screenplay so I can study and decode the prose. If you can get past the not knowing what the hell anyone's talking about for the first 20 minutes, this a really rewarding movie. Original. Clever. Lukas Haas has a great role. And daaaang, Joseph Gordon-Levitt is growing into a strapping young man-- Maya was right! Digging his brown leather shoes.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Sandy was Right About This One Too

Inside Man - Movie #19

I don't have much to add, except this film really is thoroughly entertaining, and definitely several notches above the standard bank heist movie. I'm confused by how many people are giving it bad reviews (including several of my friends). I guess that must mean Spike Lee did something right.

Has Denzel Washington had any work done to his face at all? He clearly has good genes, but damn does that man look excellent.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

The Devil in the White City

Sandy's Book #7: The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson

Full disclosure: I didn't quite finish this book. With my book club meeting looming, I merely skimmed the last 50 or so pages. Then I ended up skipping the meeting in favor of happy hour drinks and a four-course dinner.

But back to the book, which intercuts between the planning and construction of the 1893 Chicago World's Fair, and the lurid activities of serial killer H.H. Holmes, who set up shop near the fairgrounds. I'll be frank. There was way too much detail about the architects, the planning, and the building of the fair for my taste. I found myself reading these chapters quickly just to move on to the serial killer ones (every other chapter deals with Holmes.) But if you're interested in Chicago, then you might find the whole darn book a page-turner, because there's gobs and gobs of the city's history and other trivia. Larson does an amazing job dramatizing everything considering it's non-fiction. So let me know if you want to read this, because I just happen to own a copy that I'll never read again...

Monday, April 10, 2006

The Gala

Sandy's cultural event #5

My parents invited us (read: we didn't have to buy our own tickets) to nibble on the upper crust with them by attending the public library's annual "Gala" fundraiser for summer reading. We got all gussied up (which for me meant a SKIRT and actual PANTYHOSE, but for Portland's philanthropic richies meant bejeweled evening gowns that showed off their spindly, malnourished backs) and headed downtown to the library's main branch for three floors of gourmet food and booze. Mysteriously, the hobos that normally flank the library's entrance were nowhere to be seen. My parents introduced us to the few odd acquaintances but by and large, this was not an event at which mingling among strangers takes place. And yes, the rich are strange. I wonder if any of those pointy people ever go to the library during its actual public hours? Doubtful. Hm, I sound pretty down on it all, but the food was good! Especially the stuff catered by India House.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Sandy was right

Movie #5 - V For Vendetta

Well, I'm late to the party again, as usual. I saw V last night, and was totally smitten. I even experienced some weird feeling of affinity with the human race. Made me tear up a little bit, I must admit.

The visuals in the film are beautiful - gray, red, and black are the main colors of the real world, while the television continues to broadcast a bright and varied palette. The direction is actually subdued in comparison to the rest of the comic book genre, and the performances are uniformly great. Including Portman's, I have to say, and I am no fan of our good Queen Amidala. Now, some of the dialogue does go a little over into "precious" territory, but I probably won't live to see a comic book movie where that doesn't happen (can you guys think of one?), and it didn't deter from my enjoyment at all. It's a strange feeling to be sort of profoundly affected by something while also really having a great time watching it.

Movie #18

Adam & Steve

Well, I let a gay man (Ryan) make the movie selection for tonight. Adam & Steve was actually a cute movie with some really funny moments. In the spectrum of gay movies, this is definitely above average (and keep in mind that Chris Kattan is in it). It was a little overlong and got sappy towards the end (a trademark of gay movies… unless it’s a French gay movie). But I thought the sequence where the lead character is depressed and lonely and eating salami in bed and accidentally stabs his dog, who is his one and only true companion, was hilarious.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Minnesota Swarm

Cultural Event #7

Whoo! Finally, an athletic cultural event! Minnesota inexplicably has a professional indoor Lacrosse team, and they just happened to be playing against an old teammate of Bud's brother last Friday. We were planning to go to this game anyway, so Bud could teach me about this sport which is apparently very popular in other regions of the U.S., and A.J.'s presence sealed the deal. Indoor Lacrosse is apparently sort of similar to indoor football - it's quicker and messier. We had a great time drinking beer and rooting against the home team, until A.J. got injured. It turned out that he tore his MCL, so that sort of took the fun out of the game. Thanks for the tickets anyway, dude, and I hope that leg heals fast.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Dave Chappelle's Block Party

Movie #16

This movie was good. Nothing spectacular - basically just a concert film. It succeeded in making me wish I had actually been at the concert. Anyone who is remotely interested in the black community and/or rap music should definitely see this movie. I do like a lot of rap music, but have a big problem with how much it tends to objectify women. There is absolutely none of that in this movie, which is completely refreshing. It was really only about the music and having a good time with other people.

Cultural Event #5 - Le Bad Art

I went to the final undergraduate exhibit for the School of the Art Institute with Kelly (she knew someone who was exhibiting in the show). We got there 20 minutes before it closed and the place was a madhouse. Sure, there was good stuff there, but there was way too much of it to actually absorb anything (280 graduates on 3 floors). And there was bad stuff…. Oh, there was bad stuff. The highlight was a performance artist who was wearing a brown bodysuit and a huge black wig which completely obscured his face and went down to his knees. He was gyrating, dancing around, and rubbing his torso within a square made entirely of toilet plungers. I was wondering what would happen if I took one of the plungers and beat him with it… would that make the performance art better, or worse? And would I have been arrested?

Here is a picture of art that I did not see… but I like it.

Inside Man

Sandy's movie #8

First, a little tangent: I don't think I'm spoiling anything by telling you the opening song /ending song for this movie is A.R. Rahman's "Chal Chaiyya Chaiyya" (from the Bollywood movie Dil Se). That's the awesome musical number lipsynched by Shah Rukh Khan on top of a moving train-- I'm sure I've made some of you watch it before. I could not contain my head from bobbing while this song resonated through the packed movie theater. I think I even wiggled my shoulders a little. What's puzzling to me is that Bollywood had absolutely nothing to do this film... in fact, the rest of the movie soundtrack was all Hill Street Bluesy. WTF? I predict that Bollywood music is the next genre to be sampled to death by R&B, which makes me sad.

Ok, now the flick. What a dream cast! Even if you've seen the trailer, you will be pleasantly surprised by who else pops up here. And like 25th Hour and Do the Right Thing before it, Spike keeps it real in Inside Man by bringing very relevant racial tensions to light. Smart, witty, suspenseful-- I dug it. Ha ha, for people who saw both, I bet it made that Harrison Ford bank caper (which I can't even remember the title of and which has already fled from theaters) look like the shittiest shit ever.