Sunday, May 29, 2011

Midnight in Paris

We saw Woody Allen's Midnight in Paris on Friday and I'm pleased to report it was really fun and a great movie. Sure, it doesn't have the gravitas of some of his more brilliant older work, but it doesn't have the suckitas of much of his recent work.

It's about this movie-writer and his fiance (Owen Wilson and Rachel McAdams) who go to Paris and, after midnight, alone, he is transported to his favorite period in time and space: Paris in the 1920s (neatly supporting my theory that our culture is obsessed with Quantum Physics). In his midnight adventures, he finds himself hobnobbing with the likes of the Fitzgeralds, Hemingway and Gertrude Stein. If you are not vaguely familiar with the expatriots of Paris 1920s you might be bored out of your mind, not to mentioned annoyed by pretentious a-holes like myself who are like, "Ha! Ha! Ha! Adrien Brody's performance as Salvador Dali was simply divine!" I happen to think half the fun of Woody Allen movies is sitting around with like-minded literary folk who "get" all the Strindberg references.

Shots of Paris are, naturally, absolutely gorgeous. I thought it was fun watching Rachel McAdams play a kind of rotten character for once instead of "America's Sweetheart". Carla Bruni (Sarkozy) is an art guide and unbelievably beautiful. I always like Owen Wilson, I think he's such a charming actor.

I'm only mildly miffed by the poster for the movie which features Starry Night as a backdrop to the Siene, which, as everyone knows, van Gogh painted it while in Arles.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

W00t PWN: KillZone 3

KillZone 3 reminds me a lot of Call of Duty, or possibly KillZone 2, anyway, I swear I've seen this snowy, industrial landscape before. Maybe it's that dopey scene from Inception, I dunno. Snowy, industrial landscapes are so XMen 3, amirite?

This is exactly the kind of game I don't like because M's guy just shoots the whole time and there are constantly guns going off, and then he'll get shot, and his guy will moan and stuff, and it's very noisy. It makes one regret one's excellent sound system.

I guess approximately half of these people are M's guy's co-workers, but I don't know HOW he can tell who's who, I honestly don't. It's really violent and gives me a headache. *frowny face*

When people die, they go like this: AAAAAARRRRRG! OOOOOGH! AAAARRRRGGGHhhh! Ah! Ah! OoooOOoOOOOOO! Ah, uh... uh.

It's funny, but also sad. Kind of like this.
image via

It is Completely Unbearable.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

My friends are really smart

Everyone knows my friends are like, really smart and stuff, and two of them are honest-to-god rocket scientists.

I. has been working on a J-2X rocket for NASA - he worked on the nozzle. Pretty cool, huh? I. says, "Our J-2X engine was part of the recently canceled Constellation return-to-the-moon program. So, for now, our engine is its own separate NASA R&D program until the higher-ups at NASA decide what's next."
image via

Well, I think it's great, aside from the whole fate-lying-in-the-balance-thing. It's a terrible shame that NASA's budget has been cut so drastically, which is rather small compared to, say, those three wars we're currently waging.

Anyway, that's a really nice nozzle, if it is what I think it is.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Kiki Smith

Last week I saw the artist Kiki Smith speak at the Block Museum. It was pretty exciting experience for me because I got to the museum early to meet a friend, and it turns out Kiki Smith was there early to see the show too (for the first time.) So, for a while it was just me and her walking around the MFA exhibit and then my friend got there, and we all went up and looked at Smith's exhibit (with our ears perked up to hear what the artist and print folks were saying). Then there was a "conversation" which was quite good - Smith is a bit unusual because she's not your typical academic artist and she doesn't pretend to have the answers to everything and she's not afraid to say she's never thought about certain things or that she doesn't understand things (like color).

I think she's a brilliant printmaker and from my days in the Prints and Drawings room at the AIC I remember how people used to just go out of their minds when her prints came out. I was not nuts about her photographs, which this show is ostensibly about, although there were a fair number of sculptures and a handful of prints.

I did like the more narrative of the photos - there was one series where she is dressed as a witch with apples - she called the woman a "dumb witch" who eats her own poisoned apples and ends up dead on the forest floor. But, the apple/woman image, despite the humor of the "dumb witch", really does recall a lot of apple/woman mythology, like Eve, Sleeping Beauty, etc.

My favorite piece from the show was an Etching, aquatint, and drypoint with watercolor additions called "Pool of Tears 2 (after Lewis Carroll)". This image doesn't really do it justice... I love etchings.

This piece wasn't in the show but I think it's absolutely incredible... it's called "Born".

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

How much would you bid?

I forgot to go on and on about the Royal Wedding, but I did watch it and I did love it, especially Kate's dress AND her sister's dress

and ALL THOSE HATS! Of course, this hat...

was the most outrageous, and, according to the internets, it will be available on ebay soon. What would you bid? I think it looks, as my dad might say, like, "Stupidity-ness", but, I think I might like it in navy...


I encourage y'all in the Chicago area to check out a new play, Festen, at Steep Theatre. Aside from my friend M is in it, it is really fantastic, and I predict it's going to be a sell-out. It's about a family dinner party and there's a little mystery about one of the characters. I hate to say too much about it because it's interesting to watch the drama unfold slowly. Although I will warn you to say there's a deep dark secret that everyone's ignoring (HINT: imagine the deepest, darkest family secret you can think of).

I thought the way the family choose to ignore this secret was very true - I think many families are very good about pretending certain events never happened, and audiences will surely relate to that. There are a couple of scenes where you almost want to leap out of your chair and run onstage and there was more than one mini-explosion in the audience the night we went. I'd imagine that will happen frequently because of the intensity of the story.

One of my favorite scene's took place in a bedroom, but three sets of actors treated the space as if it was their own room. That was really impressive. There were a few other technical details which I thought were really great - a bit of hyper-realistic slo-mo, incredibly subtle sound. Steep Theatre is a great little theatre (near the Berwyn red line), and, for this particular show, the audience sits on two sides around a quite small stage. I thought that gave the stage a sort of sports-field quality, like a mini-game of football, which really hightened the intensity for me - it was as if the characters were in a Colosseum and had to fight to the death in there.

I was happy to see another review that compared Festen to The Big Meal, which I also felt as well, but couldn't quite put my finger on, aside from how you cannot merely watch the show, it's impossible not to become emotionally invested in the story.

Monday, May 09, 2011


Over the weekend I saw my good friend A and her family - always a nice time (however short, or involving ticks!) OMG, I turned into a real city girl and got a little nuts over some ticks that hijacked a ride on my pants.

Look at that baby! Isn't she a darling?

I wished my mother a Happy Mother's Day, and a couple people wished me a happy Mother's Day for good measure. "Right back atcha," I said.