Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy new year, lambs

I wish all of you a joyous 2008. May your final hours of 2007 be merry.

Be well.

Raise our hats to the strange 'Phenomena'

I love titling posts with obscure Kate Bush quotes. Anyway, last night it got into Art Boy and me to watch the 1985 Jennifer Connelly movie "Phenomena," directed by Dario Argento. From the opening credits this film was a revelation. On the soundtrack: Iron Maiden. Costumes: Giorgio Armani. Costarring: Donald Pleasence. By the time the action started, I had turned to Art Boy and said "Why does everyone not know about this movie?"

One reason might be that it was originally titled "Creepers" in the U.S., and preceded Jennifer Connelly's big break in "Labyrinth" by about a year. It was shot in English but features a largely Italian cast, many of whom re-dubbed their own English dialogue, so all the conversations sound incredibly stilted. For example:

Lady: This is a strange area. It's called the Transylvania of Switzerland.
Jennifer: Why is that?
Lady: I don't know. It just is.

You're left thinking "..." But fortunately, Dario Argento is in charge and the dreamlike horror sequences soon take over. Jennifer plays an American movie star's daughter sent to a Swiss boarding school, where everyone has been unnerved by a young girl's recent murder in the woods nearby. Fortunately, Jennifer can communicate telepathically with bugs -- a fact that impresses local entomologist Donald Pleasence -- and is able to find clues no one else can, such as a glove crawling with maggots. Which is good, because the killer appears to be striking again...

At first I thought the story would end up being secondary to the fabulous dream sequences, in which Jennifer sleepwalks down long hallways in her billowy Armani dresses while Iron Maiden plays. But then toward the end it becomes a pretty good mystery. Jennifer is preternaturally calm whether insects are crawling on her arms or whether she's sticking her finger down her own throat to make herself vomit. I adored this movie. Art Boy would probably appreciate my adding, however, that you'll want to finish eating beforehand.

I'm pretty stoked to watch Suspiria for the Final Girl Film Club. A copy is laid in and at the ready. We may however take a break and get a little more festive tonight... maybe some Arrested Development reruns or something crazy like that.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

She's dead

That would be my PC Clarissa, who expired last night with a tremendous snap and smell of smoke. Some guy at Best Buy decided the power supply had exploded. My data should be salvageable, and hopefully in the next week I'll have a new computer that actually runs Blogger without complaining and I can update more regularly. Won't you all love that? So it is a blessing in disguise. Still, I mourn Clarissa, my first really-all-mine-and-not-just-borrowed computer. She was ramshackle but lovable.


Sunday, December 23, 2007

The annual smackdown

I came home the other night and Art Boy had put "It's a Wonderful Life" on. Yes, gentle readers, it was time once again for our recurring argument: Bedford Falls vs. Pottersville. It runs along these lines (and can be blamed in large part on Salon's marvelous article on this topic, which I read a couple of years ago and which completely horrified Art Boy):

Me: Pottersville rocks! Look at those great bars. Bedford Falls is full of nosy old biddies who are all up in your face all the time.

Art Boy: Pottersville is a city of the damned. Bedford Falls is great!

Me: I don't want to live in a city where I have to share a bartender with a doddering old guy who orders flaming rum punch. Look, wouldn't it be fun to go to one of those jitterbug places?

Art Boy: Bedford Falls is friendly. Pottersville is scary.

This year I got particularly worked up by the swimming-pool scene. "Bedford Falls," I ranted to Art Boy, "is the kind of city where the floor opens up underneath you and NOBODY SAYS ANYTHING. You just dance right toward the edge and everyone goes 'Oooh!' and nobody warns you." Art Boy ignored me and did his patented imitation of the school principal diving into the pool. I don't know, gentle readers. I might just not get this movie.

But I'm pretty sure Annie Korzen does. Merry Christmas, Annie! Merry Christmas, Mr. Potter! And Merry Christmas, gentle readers. Check out the gorgeous moon tonight, wherever you are, and don't miss Mars shining nearby. I hope you will all be safe, happy and well.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Separated at birth?

I don't know much about "Sweeney Todd." I'm sure it's lovely. But the posters just remind me of Count Olaf. I would be more excited about this movie, I think, if it weren't for "Sleepy Hollow" and "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" and the fact that Depp/Burton is just not a sure thing the way it was back in "Edward Scissorhands" days. Yeah, it's got Helena Bonham Carter, but so did Kenneth Branagh's "Frankenstein," you know? Sigh.
Oh, I'm probably just grouchy on account of Dan Fogelberg dying today. To find out if the encounter described in "Same Old Lang Syne" really happened*, go here.
*IT DID! Can you believe it! He had an awkward conversation with his high school girlfriend just like a regular person!! Except, as he reminds us in the song, he's famous. OMG.

Monday, December 10, 2007

One of those days

It's a very bright, clear day after several days of scattered clouds (and occasional, gasp, showers). A dry wind has picked up, playing havoc with my sinuses and filling the air with this electric energy. I feel very sort of nervous and lively; made lots of unwise lane changes on the drive to work, ran yellow lights, that sort of thing. Also, apparently this morning I was laughing in my sleep, multiple and prolonged times; I woke myself up doing it. I've never, ever done that. There's just something buzzing in the air today.

I thought maybe it was just me, but Veronique de Turenne at Here in Malibu waxes poetic about today's insanely bright light.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Visit to Ohio

Paid a visit back east last week. Got to see friends, have some excellent food and perform some Christmas shopping while actually wearing a coat. I spent two nights with Betsy & Mike in Dayton, snuggling with my favorite dog, and then one night with Jamie in Cincinnati, which included a night out at Plum Street Cafe with all the ink-stained wretches I used to work with. It was just lovely to be back.

Jamie and me the next morning

I also stopped by Mt. Lookout Square, noted with interest that the movie theater is now a nightclub and Sushi Ray is now some other sushi place with "wasabi" in the name (which is like having a coffeehouse with "java" in the name). But Zip's is still there, and The Dust Jacket, and Muz's, and that random cat store. I poked around my old garden, which was very poignant: it's just a mess. I had always imagined someone else would move in and enjoy the plants and take care of it. Heh. Beer bottles, dog mess, cigarette butts... actual trash, in my garden. I was kind of happy to leave.


Met Jeff for lunch at JeanRo. Oh God I missed that place. It was great to see him and walk around downtown a little bit -- stop by the Mercantile Library, admire the new Fountain Square (don't make the Genius cry!), use the bathroom at the Tower Place food court, note the closure of the Federal Reserve bar and the opening of a new lounge by Pigall's. And then get in the car and drive away. The next day at the airport I walked to the terminal from the rental-car lot, took off my coat and packed it in my luggage before checking in. Won't need it again until my next visit.