Sunday, February 25, 2007

Tonight's Most Exclusive Oscar Party

Doesn't tout le monde wish they had an invite to this evening's Oscar party at the home of my dad!

I will arrive in pre-Oscar splendor in a long black car (now, get this, my dad actually owns the car of the moment, a black Prius). Ever tuned in to Tinseltown trends of political correctness, I will save on gas consumption, too, by doing my own chauffeuring to reduce payload in my classic 1997 Sebring. Just you wait: next year, ALL the stars'll be doing it.

The host will be wearing Brooks Brothers, Sears, and Redwing. As guest of honor, I will compliment his fashion sense by parading across his red (and black and grey) carpet, head to toe in famed Italian designer Giordano (only Hong Kong insiders understand the caché of that particular couture house).

"Goody bags" waiting for me include a stack of mail, each piece personally crafted for moi, a news clipping about artist Bill King, and a mystery gift from my dad's basement.

On the menu will be a glass of wine, rucola salad, and turkey bolognese sauce over corn pasta. Two squares from a chocolate bar for the finish. Cuisine of Hippie chic in what Bel Air is to Hollywood: the tony enclave of Rockridge, just steps from the international capital of Hippiedom, Berkeley.

Sorry, all you paparazzi, I am not divulging the exact location of this shindig, but you can envy me these highlights. First of all: live Oscar video feed on an actual color television. Sofa seating, just like the Red Victorian Theatre on Haight Street. The toilet is, like, right around the corner from the living room, so unlike some of these ditzy Hollywood actresses who are off checking their makeup, I will not miss one moment of the awards ceremony. I mean, if they call my name, I will NOT be in the john.

Who SHOULD win? Followed by who I predict WILL win...
Best Pic: The Departed (actually I predict Babel will do a "Crash.")
Actor: Forest Whitaker (Peter O'Toole will upset this performance)
Actress: Helen Mirren (She'll get it)
Supporting Actor: Mark Wahlberg (Eddie Murphy will get it)
Supporting Actress: Rinko Kikuchi (Jennifer Hudson will get it)
Director: Scorsese (If Flight 92's Paul Greengrass gets it, I'm going to have to restrain myself from committing a few terrorist acts, myself)

I saw only Pan's Labrynth, which I loved, but I missed all the other Foreign Language Films, so I abstain from voting on that category.

Adapted Screenplay: ditto, saw only Borat and The Departed.

Original Screenplay: M. Arndt's Little Miss Sunshine (but I'll go out on a limb and guess it'll actually go to Peter Morgan for The Queen)
Documentary: An Inconvenient Truth (An Inconvenient truth)

Okay, you've seen my predictions.

Have fun at your own little parties, and we'll compare notes tomorrow at the gym/watercooler/nail salon/frat house/unemployment line.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

On Little Cat's Feet

Warning to my friends in the interior: Fog HO!

It's 3pm on Saturday and our week of gorgeous weather is coming to a close. I can see a huge fog bank churning its way from the direction of the Hawaiian Islands towards us here at the western edge of America. Just to remind me I'm not back in Bali yet, and that it is winter in the northern hemi.

Anyway, at least I had my ride with the top down today, enjoying one of those amazing winter days when the coast is hotter than the inland valleys.

Tisk-tisk of the day: Letters to the editor of the Oklahoma City newspaper, slamming Al Gore for his "global warming hoax" because "we've had more snow this year than most," and because "God controls the weather."

Friday, February 02, 2007

Thanks, Mordecai

Mordecai D, my fellow brilliant-mind-but-a-flunkout-of-algebra! Thanks for the comment, and EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED FEBRUARY 24.

Look in the 76 yearbook, I am possibly next to Liz McDonough.

Mordecai, I did not know you and your bros, but how can anyone who went to our high school not have heard your name and your brothers. ...sometimes rattled off at honor roll assemblies and such. I named my daughter after your other brother, do you know that? At least, his was the first instance I'd heard of that name. Such cool, old testament names, but that one also in one of Shakespeare's plays.

Feb 24 comment: Trying to maintain a small degree of anonymity, I've taken out the embedded email address. Would be happy to hear from you again, so if you don't find me there next to Liz, make another comment here and I'll throw you a brand new bone. Are you going to try to get to the 77 reunion? I will try...

Another Sad Day in the Family

Last week I lost my father-in-law, a great but very humble, conservative, thoughtful man. He was 90 years old, and he left us with his four children at his side. Hard to ask for more graceful an exit than that. He was considerate to the end, a family man but also possessed a great mind and was at one time the world expert on the medical consequences of exposure to benzine.

I rushed back to the States to join my husband and children, who were all here on the east coast.

The funeral was well done, quiet, and on a day of bitter cold but beautiful clear sunny skies. The colonel and former liberator of Dachau (he was a medical doctor and lieutenant during WW2) received proper military burial with taps, flag, everything but the ten gun salute.

It is not easy for any of us, but we're doing what we can to move along. Huge flakes of snow fell from a pure white sky this morning, as if to show that there are seasons for everything. It is possible to find beauty even when things look bad.

Strangely appropriate to all this mourning was Laurie Anderson's performance last night as part of a quadruple bill at the BAM (Brooklyn Academy of Music), where she presented four new songs, all world premieres, backed by a small orchestra from the Brooklyn Philharmonic, as well as a violist and keyboardist.

Laurie, you looked so sad, and your songs were like lamentations. In one, she sang of "this transitory life" and mentioned her favorite Buddhist metaphor of life being a burning house. She's used the image with humorous joy in times past, but now she sang it in a kind of apathetic acceptance. She sang another song that mentioned Lou -and that would be Lou Reed, her companion- (now, I don't mean to be comic, but if I heard her right, she sang, "Lou is in me like a bear," which is lewd in a way. But the line was followed by something like "I saw the sky tear open" which could be, again, sexual / orgasmic, but came off so sadly, an expression of an ending. I think she's trying to express something... the great storyteller seemed so tired and worn last night, singing through clenched jaws. It made this admirer very sad indeed. Another song seemed to have other disturbing, forlorn lyrics. That tense mouth, Laurie, it interfered with our understanding of your poetry! Did you sing to us about how "we rush to it, we push to it", the imagery of a river that goes to an overwhelming, vast sea. Jeez, Laurie, this was a kind of death set. It was ever so sad. Can you cheer me up?

The always-graceful Suzanne Vega also did a set, including Tom's Cafe, which is about Monk's on Broadway and 112th, not Tom's in Brooklyn. Loved that little news. Anyway, she gave us a remarkable song, also world premiere, written by Philip Glass (played nicely by the phil). Sexy lyrics included "I kiss you, I hold you /hump you (I gotta look this up... I do have a hearing issue), "I come to you," and, if I'm not mistaken, something like "I miss you" or leave you... drat, should have taken notes but it was sad and sexy at the same time. Of course, Suzanne has this lovely voice with about a single octave range. A tight and pretty single octave, so she sure knows how to use it to its best advantage.

The revelation of the evening was Nellie McKay, who gave us a lively, witty set with the orchestra and her own excellent piano playing. She can tickle em like a cathouse boogie woogie man or with the polish of your favorite cabaret artist. Really fun, racy, sassy, rough lyrics, and a wild voice that wraps itself around a nonconformist scale with aplomb. I'm going out and getting her new CD, and I will NOT buy the pirated version!!

Sorry, Joan Osborne, but your rendition of a classic Earth Wind and Fire love song just didn't rock my world. Kiddo, you're a fine singer, but I already heard the same version of that stuff in '72 or '73 and you didn't illuminate it any, now that a few decades have passed.

Okay, so I am back in the States and will move my stuff that was parked here at the inlaws, all the way to Californy. Road trip time again. Stay tuned. Hope it gets better. Not the same as a rainbow's promise, but the snow is awful pretty out there. We'll go through the south.

Rest in peace, Doc. Thank you for giving the world your wonderful son, who takes such good care of me. I love him and adore him and tell him so, every day.