OTM Staff Picks Volume 41
Monday, January 14, 2013 - 03:07 PM
These are a few of our favorite things. And we're not talking raindrops on roses or whiskers on kittens.
My friend who’s a famous musician sent me this. He says these conversations really happen. (Not so sure they happen in that kind of setting, but who knows?)
My staff pick is the fact that Mallory Hagan, the new Miss America lives in PARK SLOPE, Brooklyn. I used to live in Park Slope and now live just down the slope in Gowanus. Park Slope is wealthy, liberal and artsy. I would say that a sizeable percentage of people in Park Slope are often ambivalent about being part of America, so the fact that Miss America — a symbol of perfect American womanhood — lives there is tremendous. Here’s she is tap-dancing in the competition.
People say that Brooklyn has lost its edge. Park Slope is called the epitome of that. It probably is. HOWEVER, this Miss America thing makes the place a lot weirder.
Having recently seen "The Girl," about Alfred Hitchcock's obsession with actress Tippi Hedren, I deprived myself of sleep Sunday to watch Hitchcock's "Marnie" — his 1964 Hedren-starring film immediately following "The Birds."
A few observations. 1) Hitch was the last gasp for the old style of filmmaking — i.e., wholly contrived premise plus un-naturalistic acting plus hyper-clumsy exposition. 2) Hard to tell whether his naive/prurient take on sex reflects his obsessions or 1964 America. 3) The perverted sailor in the climactic scene: Bruce Dern!
There are a few guitarists who play in what I guess could be called the John Fahey school that I come back to over and over again (when I’m not just listening to Fahey). Some are protégés, some are contemporaries. I love David Pajo, Bert Jansch, Nathan Salsburg and, when he cares to venture into this mode, Marc Ribot. Lately though, it’s William Tyler who I just can’t get enough of. Tyler’s played with Lambchop and has released just one solo album. It’s gorgeous. Rumor has it that solo album #2 is on the way in the next few months. Stay tuned.
Last year, my friend introduced me to a surprisingly entertaining party game called "Broken Picture Telephone." Everyone starts with a stack of paper, and writes a phrase on the top sheet. Each stack gets passed to the next person, whose task is to interpret the phrase into a drawing on the sheet below. The next person then interprets that drawing into a new phrase on a new sheet. And so it continues: text to image to text to image, until the stacks finish their journey around the room. At the end, everybody takes turns presenting the hilarious progressions. It may just be my second favorite party game after "Celebrity."
Here's an example how the game can translate "ninja fighting a pirate" into "3 people dancing for a taco," courtesy of the blog doobybrain.com:
When the show "Portlandia" first came out, it featured this sketch/song called “Dream of the ‘90s” about how the dream of the 1990s was still very much alive in the city of Portland (things like being unambitious, working a few hours a week at a coffee shop, getting piercings and tribal tattoos). In the second season (which I have just caught up on) they have a new song about the “dream of the 90s”—but this time it’s the dream of the 1890s that is still alive in Portland (everyone pickling their own vegetables, brewing their own beer, growing out mutton chops, etc.)
There aren’t many movies I watch more than three times, so my picks for this week are two that I have re-watched recently and still hold up under multiple views.
The first is "Encounters at the End of the World," a film from 2007. Werner Herzog goes to Antarctica and explores the main scientific research base there. There are the requisite penguins, but also really interesting glimpses of the kind of research that goes on in Antarctica that most of us will never get to see that includes volcanoes and tiny sea bacteria. The footage of divers under the Antarctic ice is so beautiful and eerie. This clip has recordings of seal calls which are totally crazy and not what you would ever expect a seal to sound like:
"Dirty Rotten Scoundrels" follows the elaborate machinations of two con men played by Michael Caine and Steve Martin. Caine charms rich ladies on the French Riviera by pretending he is a prince in exile, gets their money, then scares them off with his deranged brother "Ruprecht." Martin’s character resents his job impersonating Ruprecht, but his antics are easily my favorite part of the movie. This clip includes my most favorite line in a movie ever: "May I take your trident, sir?"
My staff pick this week is dumplings. So cheap, so tasty, so easy to prepare. Why are you reading this when you could be eating them? Quit wasting your damn time.