Thursday, July 28, 2005
While watching the second part I really noticed the score, by Thomas Newman. The music is just amazing, and gives it an other wordly feel. The scene where Hannah and Joe meet at the Mormon choir’s song was brilliant, and it really added to the the devolpment of their characters to hear the song.
Although it is obvious that this was written as a play, what with conventions such as Hannah (Merly Streep), Belize (Jeffery Wright), Louis (Ben Sheckleman), and Pryor (Justin Kirk) breaking the third wall in the last scene, this play really adapted well to film. It really helped to get a fuller picture of the splendor and vast immensity of heaven. I also liked how when Prior entered heaven virtually everything was colorless. This is something that would be impossible to do in a live production, for obvious reasons. Another scene that really lent itself to film was the over the top funeral of Prior and Belieze’s fabulous Queen friend.
The special effects were great. For example in the scene where Roy Cohen (Al Pacino) dies , the effect of the star on the monitor turning into a shooting star in the sky, really added to the movie. The scene with the angel entering hospital entering the hospital, and blowing the walls apart was more beliveable in a movie. Like wise, Ethel Rosenberg's ghostly effects worked much better in a movie. The only problem that I had with the effects was that the Angel and Pryor's "plasmaorgasm" was a too comical. I get the symbolism, but I couldn't help laughing. There has to be a better way to do that scene.
This does not mean that I don’t think Angels in America works as a live production. Instead, watching the DVD made me want to see it live even more, and certainly to watch it again.
Tuesday, July 26, 2005
Currently the south gallery has no exhibit. The three exhibits that are currently up will be on display until August 6, 2005.
There are two artists featured downstairs in the Ronnie Lukasiewicz Gallery, Sunny Taylor and Micheal Lachowski. Both of them are young contemporary artists. I did not find Micheal Lachowski’s photos and drawings highly impressive. They were nice but still missing something. The photos of his house, while technically fine, did not seem to have any artistic quality whatsoever. I did like the Marshmallow series of the young model. Lachowski seems to have an eye for portraits. They reminded me of something you might expect from New York gallery in the early 90’s .
I did like Sunny Taylor’s paintings and watercolors, particularly the portrait of David which was featured in the Athens Banner Herald Marquee. I found the paining of the baby in the jumper (Jolly Jumper) interesting and captivating and somewhat grotesque. Also her water colors had a certain sloppy style, that can be inviting. While looking at her website I noticed that she has a disabilty which requires her to paint with her mouth. I realize that this doesn't say anything about her ability as a painter, but it is interesting.
Upstairs was an exhibit sponsored by Nuci’s space, Head Spinning , featuring album covers and the art that inspired them . The only problem I have is that there wasn’t as much diversity as I would have liked. Most of the bands were of the indie/punk rock genre. The exhibit was filled with album art from bands like Pylon, Five Eight, R.E.M, the Talking Heads, Green Day, and Elf Power. There were only a few bands I had not heard of. But it was nice to see the art work that inspired album covers I have admired. Most of the art was by Terry Rowlett, the cover of Kevin Kinney’s “Sun Tangled Angel Revival”, and a nurse for the cover of Five Eight’s “The Good Nurse”. John Hawkins did a painting called The Young Professionals, that was reproduced on the cover of the Squalls CD’ No Time. These three paintings are all bright, clear oil paintings with vibrant colors and a distinctive edge. However the fourth cover (an Elf Power album) that I particularly liked was not a painting at all. Instead it was a muted college by Laura Carter (presimably of Elf Power). These four pieces of art are only a few of the many varied and excellent pieces currently hanging in the Lyndon House Arts Center.
Monday, July 25, 2005
There are two things that make a good Mexican restaurant for me , good vegetarian chiles rellenos , and agua horchata. This place had both. But it seemed like everything else was good too. Between everyone I was with we had just about everything on the menu and I didn't hear any complaints (and many of us had quite a bit of experience with the real thing). Although I can personally only vouch for the enchiladas, the agua horchaida, the chiles rellenos , the refried beans, and the guacamole, I'd give this place another try. I'm not going to go ahead and say it was earth shattering or anything, I'm not that hooked yet, but.. give me another chance and I might.
All the food was quality. The enchiladas were not too dry or soggy (like they are in many places), they were just the right consistency of corn and cheese. The beans were nice and soft, and not too hot. And the chile relleno was great. If I had any complaints about the food at all, is what that my chili still had all its seeds in it. I took a bite of one and started sweating and choking, which is not something I enjoy, but I'm not giving up the chiles just yet.
The atmosphere was decent, but nothing particular to speak of. It was crowded, but not so crowded that all 15 of us couldn't find a seat quickly. There were a lot of families and other groups coming for lunch after church (or whatever). But it was Sunday, so that makes sense.
We got served kind of slow, but that may have been because they tried to bring out all our orders together. The only other complaint I have is that I couldn't read the menu, but that may because I'm mostly blind, and it was pretty small type.
All in all Taqueria La Parrilla is a excellent restaurant that I would definitely want to come back to.
Saturday, July 23, 2005
But I wouldn't go and say that this novel is the greatest book I've read- unlike the aforementioned Catcher in the Rye. Its pretty close though. At the time he wrote this book, he was only 22 and just beginning to write. But the book is a great read, even if it has some obvious flaws, particularly at the end. I don't know if its because this is Thomson's first book and he merely had trouble finishing it without moving too fast ( a problem that seems to be common among first time novelists) or he does this with all his books, but I'm going to bet that it's the former rather than the latter.
That said, this book has a lot of things going for it. Its obvious that Thomson really identified with his characters and truly understood them. I don't know if this is because the novel draws from his own life or not (at the time he was living in San Juan writing for a newspaper there), but it doesn't really matter as they really come to life on the page. Thomson's style is excellent. He writes as if every word were true.
This book does an excellent job of describing the random destruction that the reckless drunkenness of the newsmen (and their women) accomplish. This is book about the consequences of living completely free, obsessed and consumed by whatever your current desires are.
I don't think I could do this book justice just by talking about it, so just go out and read it.
Friday, July 22, 2005
Although I don't entirely agree with all the sentiments expressed in this play I find it very well written and still very relevant, not just to the "gay community", but to humans at large. I don't really care to discuss the details of the characters and plot now, as that would be more appropriate to a review of the play itself. If you are interested in that, there are excellent reviews at imdb and a detailed anylisis at Sparknotes. Instead I am going to focus on the adaptation.
The adaptation was excellent. Unlike many plays this one worked well as movie. The scenes were cut smoothly. Some of the split scenes seem to work better on film, such as the one wher e Joe and Louis leave their lovers. One of the best things about seeing the movie was the detail they were able to go to with the sets. For example, the vision Prior has where he is dancing with Louis, was much more spectacular and amazing than any stage production. Also the appearance of the Angel was incredibly well done. The effect of the wall being ripped apart was excellent. The hospital scenes were much more realistic than had they been on stage.
The acting was excellent. Al Pachino did an excellent job portraying a conflicted lawyer. The chemistry between the actors was excellent, particularly the tension between Louis (Ben Shekleman) and Joe ( Patrick Wilson). To me the best test of an actor is when the audiance is able to forget about the actors and focus on the characters. I feel that all the actors did an excellent job of this, with the possible exception of Meryl Streep. Justin Kirk's emotions were so real I thought he might actually be dying. Emma Thomson lost herself so completely in her characters I did not realize she played Prior’s nurse, the Angel, and the homeless woman. Mary Louise Parker also did an excellent job as ,Harper, the only sane character, a valium addicted Mormon housewife married to a closeted gay Republican. And Jeffery Wright rounded out the cast as both Belize,a flaboyantly gay nurse, and Mr.Luis, Harper’s travel agent halucination.
If you haven’t seen this yet, I highly recommend it, not only for the quality of the acting and production, but because of the excellent writing and sheer humanity of the play itself.
Wednesday, July 20, 2005
Sheldon (aka Smoochy the Rhino) is a character that makes the movie all by himself. He's a naive, innocent, health food evangelist who created the character of "Smoochy" in order to teach kids right from wrong. In one scene a seemingly corrupted Sheldon is drinking at bar "Bartender: I never saw anyone get buzzed off of orange juice. Sheldon: Let me tell you a secret - if you squirt a little liquid alfalfa in, it's blast off time." A little quirky, a little odd, but totally honest, scenes like these are what make this movie great.
The movie is filled with great characters like this one. One of my favorites is Buggy Ding Dong, (Vincent Schiavelli) a heroin addicted criminal and former children's T.V. star who can't seem to get his act together long enough to accomplish anything. Danny Devito ( who also directed the film) plays Sheldon's double crossing agent and Jon Stewart (the Daily Show) plays the high level Kidnet executive who helps conspire against him. One of my favorite characters (and unfortunately the only stand out female role) is Tommy Cotton (Pam Ferris) the leader of the local Irish Mafia, who helps Sheldon get stay safe and incorruptible.
Another good scene involves Sheldon being set up as a
Monday, July 18, 2005
I have two major problems with this place. First they pay thier car hops $3.15/hour, which is bad enough by itself, but nobody tips. If you think you can live with that I suggest you try living on it. I've had a few friends work there, and many of them complained that they paid more in gas and taxes than they made working there. Secondly their food is very processed and very unhealthy. It's just weird. Plus they use Styrofoam cups and containers, which even
Sunday, July 17, 2005
I have to admit that this is unlike anything else I like, but having grown up with the movements that sprang out of this movement, such as Happening, this really spoke to me. Its one of those fun things you either get or you don't.
Many people have tried to compare Godspell to Jesus Christ Superstar. But there is no comparison. The two movies/rock operas are from very different ends of the spectrum. Both very real and very relevant, but very differnt. If I were to compare it to anything it would be the Cotton Patch Gospel. Although the latter is not a musical the two share certain other similarities.
Technically the movie was excellent. The acting,singing, and dancing were supburb, and as a result of this movie many previous unknowns went on to lead distinguished careers (even though they did not become superstars). Of course the songs are well written and the concept is excellent. Some of my favorite songs are Save the People and Alas For You. The directing and photography was also excellent, particularly for a seventies movie. I loved the colorful costumes, and the scenery. The business was above par. Instead of having the actors simply milling about the set, they were actually doing something realistic looking.
The two most contreversial problems with movie are the call to "drink wine" in Light of the World and the non-resurrection. As for the former, whatever your particular view on the theology and morality of drinking wine it is scripturally clear that both Jesus and his desciples drank wine on a fairly regurlar basis, so this is not an entirely unlikely call. As to the lack of a resurrection, I don't think this was really ment to be an theological descion, in fact it seemed like he did rise. It seemed like things happened to fast for it to be obvious.
All in all I highly recomend this movie, both for those interested in musicals and for Christians looking for a good movie for their next youth group meeting or retreat. Better yet buy the book and put on the play yourself. Its a timeless classic sure to attact new fans for years to come.
Friday, July 15, 2005
This magazine was well done. The photos and layout are high quality and professional. It is printed on sturdy high gloss paper that gives it a more professional look than some of the other small local magazines. It appears that the magazine was well researched as well. Some of the writing is a little sloppy, but I'm sure that will improve as the magazine grows and begins to attract better writers.
The nice thing about this magazine is that it is all local. The writers and staff are local, as well as the events and people they feature. In addition the fashion shoot and ads feature local business. While these are not necessarily businesses or events I would spend my time or money at, I know there are many people in this area who would and am impressed by the local nature of the magazine. Overall it seems to be a good magazine that will grow and improve. I recommend that if you are interested in such a magazine that you support local business and pick up a copy.
Thursday, July 14, 2005
The crowd is pretty diverse. There was a nice range of ages and social types. The event doesn't seem to attract any particular kind of crowd, except one that likes dancing. Many of the people there have little or no experience, but there was also a nice group of people taking the advanced lessons, who seemed to really know what they were doing. Some of them were quite impressive. What really surprised me was how many guys were there. I don't know if they were dragged by their girlfriends/wives or if there is just a large crowd of guys who like to dance, but either way it surprised me.
The club was a lot bigger than it looks from the outside. The bar is at the front. I don't know about the prices, but when they were club 386 they were pretty high, but I've been told they have changed since then. They have a dj that plays pretty much just salsa music, so if you don't like that kind of music you probably won't enjoy it.
A lot of people left their purses and drinks on the counters and tables during the lessons, which surprised me, but I didn't here about anyone's stuff getting stolen or anything so it seemed like a pretty safe crowd. Not particularly friendly, as most people stuck to themselves and their friends (pretty typical of the bar scene here). But I did get asked to dance by a few people I didn't know, and so did the friend I was with.
If you enjoy salsa or you just want to try something new and have a good time with your friends, come down to the Ritz on Wednesday nights and salsa, salsa, salsa.
Wednesday, July 13, 2005
It's helpful to have some idea of what your doing, but they are open and welcoming to anyone. Many of the guys (and some of the girls) are perfectly willing to teach beginners. Last night there were about 20-30 people there, so it was a fairly large crowd. The event is open to both UGA students and non-UGA students, but most of the people there are in their early to mid 20's. The event is free but they accept donations.
I was really impressed with the talent of some of the people there. I had never tried swing dancing before and quickly realized how much harder it is than it looks. It's not something you can pick up quickly unlike square dancing or contra dancing or the waltz.
There was a wide veriety of music, including tradtional swing music, but also things like Outkast and the B-52's, which was very interesting. One of the things I found the most difficult was that because of the wide veriety of varations on the steps, every time I had one down the song would end and I'd end up learning a differnt dance from a differnt guy (some of whom were good teachers and some who were not). There were actually quite a few beginners there. All in all its a good thing and if you like swing dancing or are up for something new I suggest you check it out.
Sunday, July 10, 2005
The decor is nice, dirty, and retro. Its a nice place to hangout with friends. Local, rock, folk, and obscure music comes from the speakers. T.V on bar plays retro cool shows like thunderbirds and Dr. Who. Clocked has become popular with local hipsters and is a hangout for many of them. It was a little crowded on a Sunday evening( when most people are at church or at home or relaxing from a busy weekend).
I ordered a Philly cheese "steak" sandwich and fries; both were very good (they also offer a version with steak for you carnivores and omnivores). The cheese fries were excellent, made with real cheese (two kinds) and fresh steak fries. They are famous for their cheese tots, but I am not a fan, so I didn't try them. The cheese "steak" was excellent, almost perfect. It had plenty of onions and peppers and just the right amount of mayonnaise and tomatoes. The bread was not fresh baked but was still very good. It was white, and while I normally prefer wheat, this was much better. Nothing was stale, and nothing was too salty. A Philadelphia, but it was excellent. Of course I gave up meat so long ago I don't ever expect that to happen again.
A word to the wise, the last time I was there I had a falafel burger, which I did not like, mainly because it was too much falafel, but if you like that kind of thing- go for it.
Clocked also serves a wide variety of specialty and ice cream drinks including soft punch, watermelon lemonade, and orange creamsicles, so check those out as well. They also serve wine and beer, as well as the usual cokes and sodas.
Saturday, July 9, 2005
Last night they had a number of performers. The two that were the most notable were Eben Mallory and the yet to be named Gabe Zorbanos project (of Gabriel Young) currently going by the name Someday.
Eden Mallory was the first act, and I was really impressed by what this guy had to offer. He is a very talented young singer/songwriter who plays both the guitar and the piano. One of the things that impressed me the most about this guy besides his style and technical proficiency was his songwriting. Both lyrically and musically he was excellent. I also thought he had a good voice, but he strained a bit more than was probably necessary, which made him go a bit flat, which gave me the indication he learned how to sing on his own. You can judge for yourself at his myspace site here. One of the other things I liked about his music was how he would alternate between singing and speaking. He is playing at tasty world later today and cups coffee cafe on the 23rd.
I've been following Gabe's music for a while now, and I have to say that it just keeps getting better. This time he's working with a full band Will Harrison on guitar and keyboard, Jess Billings , back up vocals, and last night they had a mouth harpist. They played some of the new material he's been writing including Slower (which I finally got to hear), Breathe, and Saving Grace. They are also working on recording an album which I will be sure to pick up when it comes out (tenatively late August). I don't have any further dates except tentatively the next vineyard live date (aug 19), and they don't have a website yet, but I will be sure to post an update when I get it.
Wednesday, July 6, 2005
I think the greatest thing about the movie (besides the plot) was the characterization. Giving Ray a family was an excellent move. It gave depth to his character he wouldn't have otherwise had. Both Rachel and Robbie were excellent characters as well. I liked how Robbie had to leave and go after the machines as a form of senseless revenge.
Everything about the movie was excellent. From the beginning narration with the bacteria, to the plot (adapted from the book by H.G. Wells), to the special effects and the visual detail.
I really enjoyed seeing all the people walking from town to town trying to get away from the aliens, even though they didn't know where they were going. It really added to the feeling of an exodus.
Some idiot on imdb is complaing that the plot isn't very good, because we don't get very many details, but I don't think that we really need to know how and why the aliens came. Like many important events in our life we often never know the whole story. One of the reasons why this movie works so well is because it is told from the point of view of one average guy (Ray Ferris) who somehow managed to live through the event.
Overall I felt Steven Spielberg's War of the Worlds was excellent. Good enough to watch again and good enough to get me to read the book and try to figure out why I thought it was overrated.
Tuesday, July 5, 2005
Neil Gaiman is an incredible writer. His book is gripping from the first page to the last. I really hated to put it down. The book is full of plot twists and mystery. I really liked all the folklore and American history that Gaiman added to his book. One of my favorite things was how Gaiman included a quote from a poem at the begining of each chapter and a mythlogical story at the end. Gaimans descriptions are amazing. It is very easy to believe that everything in the novel actually happened.
Two of my favorite characters from the book are Laura, shadows wife, and "Wiskey Jack", an old wise Indian man. Laura is intruiging to me because although she is dead and decaying, she is an interesting enough character that she is not repulsive. I also liked Wiskey Jack, a character based on Wiskedjak a character from Algonquin folklore. There are many dynamic characters in this book, that make it very interesting.
I can see why this book is a bestseller and I look forward to reading more of Gaimans books. I'm also looking forward to his next book, Anansi Boys ,which is a sequel to American Gods.
Sunday, July 3, 2005
The next band has become what is probably my favorite local band. Nutria, who after scouring the web for them turned up nothing but thousands of references to a type of rodent. They have a track on the most recent AthFest comp so you can check that out as well. But they do actually have a website so check that out. The band is a four piece consisting of a drummer, bass, guitarist, and keyboardist. All four members sing, so they have some nice 3 and 4 part harmonies as well. They are a good tight modern rock band with a nice unique sound. This band formed recently after the breakup of their last band Possibilites. They have some nice well written songs and are totally worth checking out.
The last band , Hayride the headlining act, turned out to be kind of dissapointing. While I wouldn't go so far as to call them talentless hacks, they certainly weren't all that great. In any other town they might actually be considered quite good, but they just didn't have it together. They were the kind of band you have to be drunk to appreciate. There CD sounded much better, so maybe it was just last night's performance. Either way they didn't win any new fans last night.
Jolie and Pitt did a convincing job of portraying a married couple whose life has becomes quite stale. I've never realized what a fine actor Pitt is until quite recently, and this movie is no exception. The chemestry between Pitt and Jolie was amazing.
Vince Vaugh was also in this movie, and while I liked his character, (an divorced assasin living at home with his mother) it wasn't my favorite part.
Seth Cohen had a cameo role as the Smiths target-"Tank". I''m a little torn about this. He either did a bad job playing a creep or a good job playing an annoying brat. Either way it worked. (Yes, I know his real name isn't Seth Cohen, but that's who Adam Brody was in this movie).
Although some of the plot is quite predictable, it was still quite well written. I particularly liked the extended metaphor using comparing spy life to married life, with all its little secrets and heated battles. A few other things I noticed was Angelina Jolie catching notice of a department store display of a Leave it to Beaver family and Jane and John waiting in the elevator for there next fight (complete with elevator music). Plus Jane winning a stuffed bear after showing John up ( and later trashing said bear).
One thing bothered me quite a bit. Some of the camera work was terrible. In the begining the camera shakes a bit (I may have missed something here). Througout the film the picture was occasionally blurry or dark. This is not something I would expect from such a high budget film.
I highly recomend this film and can see why it is doing well. The film has something for everyone and is widely appealing, althought not really appropriate for teenagers (but probably ok for younger children).
Friday, July 1, 2005
The atmosphere was a little unique being both a grocery store and a restraunt, but I could get used to that. The large screen t.v. blasting greek/indian (I think it was a mix of both) music was nice touch. The one thing that did bother me (other than the small size) was the lack of booths. I always sit in a booth when I go out to eat, but I didn't let that bother me.
The food was good. Every thing was fresh. I particularly liked the grape leaves. Nothing was perticularly spectacular, but considering the fact that Athens doesn't have too many other Middle Eastern restraunts, it was still good. I wouldn't drive far to go to it (unlike some others in town- the grit for one) but would definitely go back. The food was a little pricey ($8 for dinner, plus drink and dessert) but still good. I also would recomend the pomagranate drink. Nice and sweet, but not too sweet. I would not get dessert. It was good, but small and expensive. Not worth it unless you really want to try it and really don't know how to cook ($3 for 1'' of pastacio baklava).
All in all the Saltan is a nice little restruant that seems to show some promise.