Friday, July 30, 2004

Mum's the Word

Everything you ever wanted to know about the flow here.

Thursday, July 29, 2004

The Positions I Like

Last night I headed to DC9 to check out two bands with which I am not at all familiar - Essex Green and The Ladybug Transistor.  Due to the unfortunate late start of the entire show, I missed TLT completely and only saw the first two songs of EG's set.  Which turned out okay by me because EG was utterly morose throughout the entire setting up process, as well as during the first two songs that I stuck around for. 

Now, I'm not necessarily saying they're not an enjoyable band - from seeing them perform two songs (without their regular drummer to boot), it would be unfair of me to make that claim.  I just got the impression that they were not a happy crew last night and that it would not have been an all too pleasant experience to see them go through the motions of a performance.

Especially after seeing a surprisingly fantastic local band - The Positions!!!  They were actually happy and seemed to be enjoying each other's company and - hey! - the fact that they're in a band together!  They created a really great vibe and Nicole Stoops's voice was perfect for the classic pop sound provided by the rest of the cast.  The addition of Chris Guryan's trombone topped it all off nicely.  [Or was that my Tupper's Hop Pocket Ale that provided the happiness?]

Monday, July 26, 2004

Concrete Mysticism

While occasionally dipping into syrupy sweet sentimentality, My Architect: A Son's Journey is a fantastic documentary and fascinating exploration into the varied private and public lives of architect Louis I. Kahn.

Nathaniel Kahn clearly is not a professional documentarian - his interview style is amateurish and I was often forced to wonder if the musical advisors were actually present during the music selection process, or if they were just figments of the director's imagination.  Nevertheless, viewing this film was a powerful cinematic experience - and one that I hope to repeat.

The film's thoughtful visiting of several of Kahn's most inspired works - the Salk Institute in La Jolla and the National Capitol of Bangladesh among them - brought their beauty and intensity to life.  [I know that sounds lame, but let me tell you: Kahn's stunning creations evoke tears from people repeatedly throughout the film and left this little movie watcher crying as well...]

Kahn the younger also treats the viewer to an impressive line-up of interviewees: I.M. Pei, Robert A. M. Stern, Philip Johnson, and Frank Gehry.  By the looks of the stylishly bespectacled Johnson in his sweet and hilarious interview at the Glass House, My Architect may have captured one of Johnson's last interviews on film.  Truly important history here.

It was also fascinating to see the archival footage of Kahn in his prime - clearly a self-contained, passionate, intelligent man.  Yes, the tales of his extramarital activities shatter any idyllic image an architecture lover would wish to hold of this genius, but the "Family Matters" section was the least consequential segment of the film [for anyone outside of the immediate family, that is].  While it's understandable that N. Kahn needed to make the film personal, viewers everywhere should be thankful that he managed to surpass the private exploration of his father's life to provide an in depth portrait of a man and his craft.  Wow.

Perhaps unbeknownst to the filmmaker, he also provided ample evidence of the past and present sexism in the field of architecture.  Is it any coincidence that both of the women with whom Kahn had children, but to whom he was not married, were incredible architects in their own right whose names will be long forgotten?  [Remember: Ann Tyng and Harriet Patterson!]  Not to mention the builder or contractor interviewed in the film who described Kahn as being "like a wife" - always coming up with ideas that would have been good "a few days ago."  Argh.

There's really so much more to discuss - the mysterious circumstances of Kahn's death; Harriet's convictions that are sad in their strength and desperation; Ann's emotional revisiting of the Trenton bath house; the cool-ass musical boat.  Aw hell - just go see it for yourself.

Thursday, July 22, 2004

Infinite Cat Project

Wow.  Check out the Infinite Cat Project found through elf-reflection.  Certainly one of the coolest things I will ever see in my lifetime.

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Once I Related to Sex and the City

OK, so I'm not saying I'm a huge fan of Sex and the City - well, okay, I know all the complex nuances of the characters and their respective sub-plots - but there once was a time when I actually got what Carrie Bradshaw was saying.  I mean, really got it and was happy someone was putting it out there.

So, here it is: Carrie was complaining about how single people are expected to attend their friends' baby and bridal showers, weddings and baptisms, engagement parties and children's birthdays - all of which do not have an equivalent for the single person.  Sure, we get birthdays (and my friends are always good about remembering and celebrating those), but there's no comparison really, if you add up the various celebrations throughout a lifetime. 

Now, I'm not saying I don't want to celebrate friends' and relatives' happiness - I just wonder at the extreme societal forces pushing people together into couplehood and then continually creating ways in which to celebrate said couplehood through gift-giving, employee benefits, and general social acceptance.  Sigh.  It almost makes me wish DQ actually did make those cakes they advertise for root canals...

All of which I say as a preface to encouraging you to look at the Alternatives to Marriage Project.  A lot of what they spout makes sense to me.  And they make their point in fun ways - check out the Unmarried Song Lyrics page, featuring songs by Kristin Hersh and Joni Mitchell among others!  They also take up the important issue of Welfare and Marriage Promotion.

Damn it - the social forces are so strong, I once again feel the need to reiterate that I enjoy my friends' and relatives' happiness and hold no personal grudges against those who wish to celebrate such things as weddings and births.  I'm just raising the question about the social and religious structures that are in place that exert such a preference for certain lifestyles over others.

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Exploding Dog

So maybe I'm the last person to have heard of Exploding Dog, but I find it amusing.  Some of them are rather cheesey and obvious, but others live up to the potential of what this website could be.  Some of my favorites:

Monday, July 19, 2004

Searching for The Fallopian Tubes

During my mass purchasing of used cds this past weekend, I ran across a $1.99 disc for the all-female band The Fallopian Tubes titled Because Rock and Roll Isn't Pretty.  Having never heard of them (the band, that is, not the tubes), I thought I'd give it a shot.  I was thoroughly impressed and amused by their unique sound and wacky, hilarious lyrics.  In attempting to find more information on the band, I ran across remnants of their existence, but no current info:
They once had an official band website.  Yes they did.  You can go to their former web address here.  As you can see, now there are just ads for tubal reversals and "Fallopian Tubes Products."  My curiosity piqued, I clicked on the "Products" link and was treated to the e-bay auction for the classic treatise The Fallopian Tube: A Reappraisal by Carl J. Pauerstein, which is now apparently extremely out of print.  I wonder what the initial "appraisal" concluded...
The band's apparently still around, though, as a recent article mentions their performance at Girls Rock! Day in St. Petersburg in April 2004.  Anyway, my search for info on the band was extremely brief, so if anyone unearths more about them than their Floridian affiliation, I'd be interested in hearing it. 

Friday, July 16, 2004

Straight from the Jackass's Mouth

Just a quick note to say: Check out the latest State Department press release re: funding for UNFPA and its work in China.  Despite a State Department sponsored fact-finding mission report to the contrary, Powell and the Bush Administration continue to hide behind the supposed link between UNFPA and coerced abortions in China as their reason for not funding UNFPA.  Will wonders never cease...

Friday, July 09, 2004

Free Ride on the Chungking Express

One of the best things about Washington, D.C. in the summertime: the annual Made in Hong Kong Film Festival at the Freer and Sackler Galleries.

Tonight's viewing should be fantastic - featuring Running on Karma, a Johnnie To and Wai Ka-fai co-directed flick that stars one of Hong Kong film's best, Andy Lau. To and Wai are the same masterminds behind one of my favorite screenings from last year's festival, Fulltime Killer, which also starred Andy Lau and an equally impressive Takashi Sorimachi.

The rest of the festival's schedule looks appealing too, and includes the requisite Wong Kar Wai feature - this year it's the ever-so-popular Chungking Express. Though I've seen it more than a few times, I never get tired of the idea of expressing one's secret love through the stealthy cleaning of an apartment.

Wednesday, July 07, 2004

Appropriate Appropriations

And two items from the ever-expanding files of "Why Having Women in Elective Office Matters"...

1. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Olympia Snowe (R-ME)introduced and helped pass an amendment to the latest Department of Defense appropriations bill that would require the grossly negligent DoD to pay for abortions for military personnel, their spouses, and their dependents who have been raped or are victims of incest. It's one step in the right direction, but there is so much more to do on this issue...

2. Rep. Nita M. Lowey (D-NY)'s remarkable opening statement at the FY2005 Foreign Operations Subcommittee Markup on June 23rd. Just in case you don't read through the whole thing, here's her rad chastisement of the Bush administration's continued failure to give funding to UNFPA.
I would like to register my displeasure that, once again, our bill fails to include language that will restore funding for the life-saving activities of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). I expect that there will be an amendment on this issue at Full Committee markup, and I hope my colleagues will support it.

Friday, July 02, 2004

Rape Nation

"Rape is one of the greatest tools of war, and our government is essentially saying that rape of human beings is acceptable. We are a rape nation and this is all being done in our name." Check out the entire revealing AlterNet article here.

Thursday, July 01, 2004

Cure for the Common Curse

While the current AL East standings have me feeling less than thrilled, a June 30th NY Times article actually presents a happier side to the infamous Sox/Yanks rivalry.

It also provides yet another piece of evidence for why Tim Wakefield should go down in Red Sox history as being one of the classiest, most entertaining, most humble players ever to have the honor of wearing the Sox uniform.