Saturday, May 26, 2007
Friday, May 25, 2007
This being the Internet age, you repair to your computer and look her up. The actress, named Michelle Collins, while evidently rather well-known in Britain, doesn't seem to have done any other film or TV work that you've seen.
But it turns out she either performed in the videos for, sang backup on, or both, two songs by Squeeze, one of your favorite bands. Including this one, from 1979:
How beautiful is that? I figure she has to be around 16 years old here (I'm assuming she's the one with "SQU" written on the back of her jacket).
The tables turned on a television commentator who skewers bungling public figures by sending them bobblehead dolls after a package was mistaken this morning for a bomb and forced the evacuation of a state building.
Thursday, May 24, 2007
Something the show played up to, however inadvertently. There's some black humor to be found in the title of the episode alone. This first episode to air after a long hiatus, during which the long ratings-challenged series was officially cancelled, was entitled "The Disaster Show."
And the episode itself was the kind of thing some of us were wishing they'd done more of all along with the "live comedy show" idea: What happens when the prop department-including the cue card holders-go on strike 10 minutes before a broadcast?
They kept the pace snappy (I'm sorry to feel that I have to add "for once"), remembering to bring the funny and leave behind most of the things that were weighing the show down. What things?
Well, I'm really sorry to feel that I have to add this, but Danny, Jordan and Matt didn't even appear. And the show was better than it had been for the last several episodes I remember.
There might have been a lesson in that.Plus for us serious "West Wing" fans, there was the added value of that series' star Allison Janney, playing herself as the host of the beleaguered show. The script reunited her with "Studio 60" cast member Timothy Busfield, who was Danny on "West Wing."
His character and Janney's C.J. Cregg were the Tracy-Hepburn of that show, and watching them work together is nothing but sheer pleasure.
For those eight or nine of you who were also following the series, in case you didn't know, it's back. Catch it while you can.
So let's post another announcement. This is the woman that he couldn't keep pleased.
(Or, talk about your Venus, for Goddesses' sake...)
It's the kind of small film I like a lot, one where how it is played, written and directed matters. As opposed to your big movies where heart, charm and wit are basically irrelevant; some have them some don't, but they're going to succeed anyway.
The story is about a man near death and his relationship with a woman in almost precisely the opposite position. Played or told wrong it could give audiences a sinking feeling, but it's a sweet and fragile film with a vision of maturity that I can only hope to.
There may have been actors who could have played this role as well as O'Toole, but I'm not sure I can think of any, and it's impossible to think of anyone better. It required a genuine character in his 70s; a man that you would believe not all that long ago was a master of women.
(Inasmuch as any man is ever a master of women, which is kind of what the film's about. I should explain: I'm using "master" in the sense of being skilled and learned about, not in control of.)
Do any names come to your mind besides Peter O'Toole? He floats buoyantly throughout, treating his friends, and his life, with a kind of loving disrespect. The woman he attempts to master here is played by a relative newcomer-then again, compared to O'Toole, who isn't?-named Jodie Whittaker.
In some ways it's the harder role, because I'll tell you a secret: I think this film is full of symbolism. This is just what I saw, because I stopped the "making of" doc a few seconds in when I realized I didn't really want to know what the filmmakers thought.
The direction, by the way, is by Roger Michell. It doesn't surprise me to see that one of his other movies was Notting Hill, also notable for its warmth and human interaction. The writer is Hanif Kureishi, whose other films I don't know, but think perhaps I should. This is the kind of movie I'd like to write.
Getting back to the symbolism, I think what's being examined here is not just a bittersweet, winter-spring quasi-romance, I think it's the beauty in all women that all men, at least all men worth aspiring to be, worship.
That's right, I think Ms. Whittaker was playing Everywoman, and having to do it opposite Peter O'Toole. So no pressure there, right? Fortunately, Ms. Whittaker is simply perfect.
It's not a showy performance at all, but a perceptive and candid one. And everything her character does-both her tenderness and her lack of concern-is consistent with the wounds women have inflicted, and the healing they have administered.
Wednesday, May 23, 2007
There is this: Attempted seductions are so cheap for would-be-ink-stained Don Juans or Cleopatras!They don't have to get a bankable actor or actress to commit to the project, and then a bankable director, and so on, and then raise millions of buckareenies from manic-depressive experts on what most people want.
Still and all, why bother? Here's my answer: Many people still need desperately to receive this message: "I feel and think much as you do, care about many of the things you care about, although most people don't care about them. You are not alone"
Kurt Vonnegut, from Timequake, as quoted in Like Shaking Hands With God by Vonnegut and Stringer.
This year's "Women of UW" calendar has been pulled from the shelves of the University Bookstore, apparently because of a protest by some students.
[Cover girl Jeatt] Walker, 20, said she had no doubts about signing up.
"It was classy enough that I was not embarrassed to show it to my family. It was the first big thing I've been in."
She said the calendar "displayed a really good fact that women can be smart and beautiful. The UW is full of really powerful women."
But other students weren't so taken.
"As I flipped through its pages, I became increasingly upset at its blatant objectification of UW students," some wrote in an open letter to UW President Mark Emmert.
"More importantly, I was horrified at the prominent display of the University of Washington's name and trademark logos spread across the pages of the calendar, providing the background for female students posing in provocative outfits against campus settings."
Here's what I think: Nobody, ever, in the history of mankind has ever honestly thought, said or written anything like that. That's not how somebody really feels, that's how somebody thinks they should feel.
That's somebody-or more likely, a committee of somebodies-who's read a few "women's" web sites and now thinks they're "empowered" and antisexist. So they're therefore deciding that only they can perceive sexism while their fellow women who posed aren't smart enough.
As Heinlein said, "A committee is a life form with six or more legs and no brain."
BTW, I've never bought a "Women of..." calendar and probably never will, so it's not about that.
Tuesday, May 22, 2007
performance on the Idol Gives Back charity show last month, one message boarder dubbed her "Mama Cass."
Apparently they thought she was a bit hippy.
...and this is Mama Cass on the cover of a Mamas and the Papas album.
Here's an interview with writer and artist Berke Breathed.
And if he'd ever been able to write out a strong woman character without killing them.
In fact, I would like all of Whedon's work a lot more (and I do like it) if that were true.
But that's me.
Monday, May 21, 2007
He doesn't say why; it's not my birthday for another three months and change (September First, for those of you who want to do your shopping now). If I had to bet I'd say it was because he somehow sensed that I only had a couple of JB tracks in my collection on soundtracks and compilations. And judged me a failure because of it. Quite right, too.
Baby baby baby, baby baby baby, baby baby baby, baby baby baby...
(UPDATE: James wrote, in his blog, the strongest post I've seen on the news we had earlier this week that sex-phobic babbling idiot Jerry Falwell is dead. I hadn't posted about that here because I really had little else to say, apart from his being a sex-phobic babbling idiot.
James has more.)
"Never trust anyone who says their favorite John Lennon song is 'Imagine.' They're drippy people."
Wow. That's about the most pompous, asinine statement I've ever heard.
I don't believe that bull----, ''If you love it, let it go.'' If you love it, stay there and make sure no one else f---s it up.
And my first response was: Yeah! Just another one of the many reasons why I have a crush on Amy Sherman-Palladino. But then I thought again. Isn't letting Gilmore Girls go and letting other people fuck it up exactly what she did?
It's just problematic to have to add this codicil to her statement:
Unless you can't come to terms with the network. If so, then walk away only after having painted your characters into piss-poor positions. So that even if the new showrunner had been a more distinct writer, he still wouldn't have been able to save the ship.
My admiration for her sharp writing remains undiminished, and I'm looking forward to the new series. But...
The first verse of her song in English translates as:
That would not displease to me that you embrace me
NA NA NA
But is necessary to seize your chance before it passes
NA NA NA
If you seek a trick to break the ice
BANANA BANANA BANANA
Which is just genius.
She wears mini-skirts, hot-pink and fluorescent yellow.
Best of all, she looks like she's having fun, and dammit there's life in her eyes. She even got through an entire video for a sugary pop song about a banana without once resorting to that shot.
She shakes her hair.
I think I'm in love.
What a great video this would be for a Monday morning, if only I could tell one day from another.
With much love to the Zaius Nation for showing me her beauty.
That first picture, BTW, comes from Ms. Wiedlin's own journal, so it's not like I'm presenting her in a way other than which she would wish to be represented.
The second picture is my favorite of her solo albums (actually, the only one I own).
Personally, I wish she wouldn't go and do things like The Surreal Life which make it harder to defend her from accusations of being a has-been.
But I choose to believe her and the other Go-Go's accomplishments will outlast that.
Curvier=healthier, as far as I'm concerned. The fact that it also=sexier to my gaze is just a delightful bonus.
The story carries the perhaps-inevitable headline of
Japanese women bust out
It also contains the four sexiest paragraphs ever to appear, certainly in the Wall Street Journal, but probably in the Toronto Star as well.
Nami Sakamoto, an advertising-agency employee, embodies the new look. The 26-year-old is tall – by Japanese standards – at 5 feet 5 inches. She's also voluptuous, with a 35-inch bust and 35-inch hips.
"I had a hard time finding button-down shirts that would close," says Sakamoto, especially when she was in high school and there were fewer foreign retailers in Japan that actually sold bigger sizes.
"Sometimes the buttons would burst off." Now she buys clothes at Western retailers that carry larger sizes.
Other young women are buying special items to flaunt their new physique. "It's just more fun to show some skin," says Ayami Arii, a 19-year-old vocational school student, who recently sported a tiny denim mini skirt and an iridescent push-up bra that peeks out from below her low-cut blouse. Her bra, a big seller at boutiques in Tokyo's Shibuya 109 department store, is called a "Showy Bra." Similar to a string bikini top, the $60 bras, made to be peeking out of a low-cut blouse, started appearing last year and come in a variety of colours, from red patent leather to leopard print and orange sequins.
My stars! (fans face) It's getting hot in here...
Sunday, May 20, 2007
"What is it, Gertrude?"
"You see where Alberto Gonzales, Bush and his cabinet are going mad?"
"I saw, I saw. You reckon they'll ever be above 50% again in their lives?"
"Not hardly. That'll teach 'em to stop the ballot count and just install a President in the name of the party for which I've worked all of my adult life."
"You're bitter, Mabel."
When the leaves
Turn from green to brown
And autumn shades
Come tumbling down
To leave a carpet on the ground
Where we have laid
When winter leaves her branches
And icy breezes chill the air
The freezing snow lies everywhere
Will we still be there?
When spring rejoices
Down the lane
And everything is new again
Will everything be
Just the same
Will we be there?
Julia, Eurythmics. One of their best, most beautiful songs.
Photo credits: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 & 8
Harris is only partly responsible for this version of the video-the sections where you see him lipsynching come from the original. The rest were put together, in the main, by a YouTuber called LoveSoldier106.
I should probably be required to watch this video every time I go on one of my "totally tubular '80s child" rants. Because it's an affectionate, loving tribute to just what was considered..."Acceptable in the 80's..."
I only know what they mean to me, and to me, the best words, the reasons why this dance song takes me to a pretty dark place, have always been
I heard your promise
But I don't believe it
I don't really trust anyone outside my own head. I mean I know why; I was betrayed at a very early age by someone who everything, inside and out, tells you you are supposed to trust above all others.
And the pattern of my life, at least as it seems to me, is people speaking pretty words to me and then fucking me over and going away.
So I hear your promise.
But I don't believe it.