Category Archives: Just Fun
This is my first birthday without Tamara, so I’ve been a little bleh. We always did something to celebrate our day. Nothing big-dinner, exchanging gifts-just happy that we made it another year.
I think about what we would have been doing now. I would have convinced her to see Get Out; we’d talk about all of the Rose types that we’ve met (and whisper about people we think are in the sunken place). And, she’d be laughing at me because-just this week-I fully got a trick that she played on me last year.
Let me explain. I tend to carry a small notepad to jot down ideas. Tamara has given me some very nice ones as gifts – metallic ones, art deco ones, etc. Last year, she got me two Dora the Explorer notebooks as a joke. At least, I thought it was just two. When I fully opened the package a few days ago, I discovered that it was actually ten notebooks with just a few sheets in each one.
I definitely needed the laugh that day.
Like I said in Part 1, I listen to a lot of podcasts during the week. As you may have gleaned from the title, this batch is mostly about movies.
Why I Listen: Two black women talking about various aspects of the horror genre, what’s not to love? Movie reviews get 2 ratings – 1 for the overall movie; 1 for character diversity.
Fav Episodes: Any of Them
The Scream Squad is a bi-weekly horror podcast hosted by Jamie Righetti and Chico Leo which digs into the deeper issues at play in our favorite scary movies.
Why I Listen: Because I sometimes wonder how gentrification impacts the plot of a haunted house movie.
Len Webb and Vince Williams are on The Micheaux Mission – to watch and review every Black feature film ever released.Frequently include guests.
Why I Listen: Because I like black movies. (Be warned – one of these fellas does not acknowledge the glory of The Last Dragon.)
Fav Episodes: Definition of A Black Film | Love Jones | Eve’s Bayou
Cinemosity – Sharon, Kamille and Martin bring you a potent blend of celebrity gossip and rumor and reviews of b-movies, bad movies, and genre film. Your weekly dose of Starlets, Slashers and Cyborgs!
Why I Listen: To keep up with movie news and lively discussion of (mostly bad) movies.
Fav Episodes: The Fog (horrible remake)
More podcasts to come…
Update – Even though it’s not a podcast, one of my favorite weekly sources for horror/sci fi entertainment news is Collider Nightmares:
Once upon a time (about a decade or so ago), I used to listen to radio while in the office. Online streaming meant I could slip on my headphones and have NPR in the background all day. Over time, I got tired of listening to the same voices and, when I finally got an iPhone, found myself navigating to podcasts.
Over the next few weeks, I’ll be sharing some of my favorites. (In no particular order.)
Helga Davis is a probing conversation podcast which explores the provocative issues surrounding what it means to be an artist and a citizen in the 21st Century.
Why I Listen: The conversations are insightful and Helga’s voice is a relaxing combo of warmth, comfort and love.
Girl On Guy with Aisha Tyler is a show about art, culture, booze, comedy, family, physical injuries, psychological bruises, action movies, rock music, ninjas, zombies, failure, success, sacrifice, video games, and blowing shit up.
Why I Listen: Great conversations, get to know the “person” behind the star/persona
Hosted by award winning international journalist Esther Armah, The Spin is a weekly hour long podcast featuring women of color talking policy, social justice, race, sex, power.
Why I Listen: activists, artists, journalist and organizers talking about problems and solutions.
Fav Episodes: The Consent Convo series
Hosted by Jamie Broadnax, the founder of Black Girl Nerds, Get It Right analyzes pop culture through the lenses of justice, and particularly reproductive justice.
Why I Listen: Thought provoking discussions of pop culture. I hope they do a season 2.
Fav Episodes: Hip Hop’s History of Reproductive Justice
Misty Knight’s Uninformed Afro is a brand new podcast series that will explore the origin stories, character development, and story arcs of our favorite Black superheroines in comics.
Why I Listen: This is a brand new podcast, I’m looking forward to learning more about these characters.
Done with these? Move on to Pod Party 2.
We had the good fortune of being in Toronto during the Toronto Fringe Festival. Several shows piqued my interest. The horror fan in me was tempted to Ask Lovecraft for advice. The comedy lover wanted to find out what would happen when/if Margaret Flatwood ever showed up.
Instead, we opted for What Mama Said About Down There and Andy Warhol Presents: Valerie.
What Mama Said About Down There is a one woman show performed by Sia Amma about what mothers tell their daughters about that mysterious place guarded by strong, unyielding granny panties (if you are a good girl).
From a Jewish woman recounting her hygiene journey (t’is funny) to a young African girl eager to go through a community ritual to become a woman (t’is dramatic), Sia Amma plays a wide range of characters and transformed into them easily with only a chair, a scarf and her fabulous dress for props.
In addition to being a playwright and a singer, Sia Amma is the CEO of Global Women Intact, “a non-profit 501(c)3 organization, dedicated to eliminating female circumcision and genital mutilation customs in Africa through education.” She uses her performances (solo and with The Voice of Africa) to raise money for GWI.
It was a great show.
And now, for something completely different…
Here’s the premise behind Andy Warhol Presents: Valerie – it’s 1968 and Andy Warhol is throwing a party in honor of his friend (protege? lover?) Valerie Solanas. When Andy offends her, the girly dress comes off, the combat boots go on and the party really gets started.
What was unique about this performance was that there was no stage–audience members are actually party guest and intermingle freely with each other and the cast. There was a snack table (Doritos for everyone!) and we played a variety of party games while waiting for the woman of the hour to arrive. At one point, Andy gave me a kiss (of the Hershey’s variety).
When an angry Valerie launched into her SCUM Manifesto, a few men got their feather’s ruffled…eh, whatever. History repeated itself–Valerie shot Andy. This time around, I was on hand to take a picture:
Fail Better Theatre will bring Andy Warhol Presents: Valerie to other festivals. I hope a performance in the US is on the horizon.
It turns out that I can still Ask Lovecraft a question or browse through those he’s already answered on Youtube. On this channel, the “celebrated and dead author HP Lovecraft offers his advice on such diverse topics as love, finance, cooking, and personal hygiene.” He’s been asked about everything from Miskatonic University to the Wu-Tang Clan.
Here’s HP’s advice for handling criticism:
We didn’t know it ahead of time but our Toronto visit coincided with Summerlicious – a two week special promotion where participating restaurants have discounted, prix-fixe lunch and dinner menus. (not including drinks, gratuity, etc)
In other words–cheap eats!
Okay, not really that cheap, but I digress. We tried three Summerlicious restaurants…
From our table, we had a close up view of Ganesha’s behind. This was not a good omen. The best parts of the meal were the very beginning (sun-dried tomato goat cheese stuffed whole wheat bread) and the end (strawberry kulfi in a chocolate cup).
Luma is located in the Tiff Bell Lightbox – where we saw the Queer Outlaw Exhibit. Dinner here was a very nice. I started with a fantastic soup–chilled cucumber and coconut soup (with Jonah crab, chili mint crème fraîche and toasted coconut).
My main dish was spiced roasted chicken supreme (with collard greens, birch-baked beans, cheddar biscuit and red-eye gravy). The chicken itself was great. Say no the the cheddar biscuit. NO. Everything else was okay… I didn’t take a photo but I’ll try to paint a picture for you. Imagine an empty plate. Now, put three or four tablespoons of Bush’s baked beans with chunks of maple flavored bacon on it. Toss a couple of pieces of wilted collard greens on top of it. The chicken goes on top of the greens and pour the pan drippins from the chicken on top.
For dessert: ontario stilton with niagara plum compote and spiced oat crumble. I have to give Luma props for including an after dinner treat that wasn’t sugar overload. How did I eat it? Take a forkful of the savory stilton (blue cheese) dip it in the tart plum compote and then roll it in the slightly sweetened crumble. I smile just thinking about it.
The Shore Club was awesome.
Short Rib Agnolotti (Stilton, Shiitake Mushrooms, Leeks, Red Wine Jus) – this was basically rib dumplings filled with tasty goodness. The grilled New York Striploin with sweet pepper chimichurri was tender and flavorful. I originally turned down dessert (sigh, no sorbet or cake for me) and would have been fine with that. Our waiter showed up with a bowl full of berries for me–even though it wasn’t part of the Summerlicious menu.
Martina started with the grilled calamari and had the pan seared atlantic salmon with citrus passion fruit emulsion. Everything was good and we paid a 2nd visit to the Shore Club.
Also had good experience at two non-Summerlicious restaurants:
Chez Cora – which is an Ihop like restaurant chain. Think crepes and fresh fruit instead of pancakes and sausage.
Yuzu No Hana – M was extremely pleased with the sushi here.
Had a relaxing week in Toronto and spent a lot of time looking at the skyline, water and sunsets.
Featuring Derek Jarman, Isaac Julien, Scott Treleaven, Ulrike Ottinger and Bruce LaBruce.
This year marks the 20th anniversary of the death of Derek Jarman, a British filmmaker, artist and activist who was outspoken in his fight against the (anti-gay, etc) policies of Margaret Thatcher. The exhibition features one of his super 8/experimental films, Imagining October— a dreamlike meditation on art and politics in the final years of the Cold War.
Imaging October is a mixture of images and film clips interspersed with politically tinged slogans. For example:
English bobbies in the street
protect the rights of them they beat.
Dungeness by Isaac Julien and Picture Yourself In A Burning Building by Scott Treleaven were inspired by Jarman’s technique (tributes to him, really) but, for me, lacked the “rebel” edge of the other exhibits. Both Julien and Treleaven have done work which would have better fit an outlaw narrative.
The best part of QOC was being introduced to the work of Ulrike Ottinger. First we saw a short film, Superbia – The Pride (1986) – a political procession that is part parade, part military exercise and all corruption. One of my favorite (translated, of course) lines: “Only the banks can survive hari-kari.”
Inspired by Virginia Wolff’s Orlando, Freak Orlando traces the journey of the main character’s reincarnation and transformation through 5 points in history. There are lots o’ themes present:
- Outsider as side show attraction, for the amusement of others
- Outsiders relegated to a certain place in society or face destruction if they refuse to play the role.
- The attempt to annihilate outsiders through assimilation
- Outsiders living together in community–you’d think it would be a paradise but the effect of repression/suppression is there (with a tip of the hat to Todd Browning’s Freaks).
- What does it mean to be accepted/integrated into society if it’s the same establishment (who is still making the rules). Even in “freak positive” world the deck is still rigged…
- And lot’s more- sacred shopping! the bearded woman nailed to the cross! the self-flagellating army of leather clad Tom of Finland types! Outlaw beard stroking!
- This movie is just ripe for film analysis/social commentary essays.
We had no problem with the content, but we had spent so much time with the Ottinger rooms we were ready for dinner. 🙂
The groundhogs have spoken:
Punxsutawney Phil (Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania): Early Spring
General Beauregard Lee (Atlanta, Georgia): 6 More Weeks of Winter
Wiarton Willie – (Wiarton, Ontario, Canada): Early Spring
Sir Walter Wally – (Raleigh, North Carolina): 6 more Weeks of Winter
Jimmy – (Wisconsin): Early Spring
The Asian Art Museum in SF is free on the first Sunday of the month–so I had to go. Taking pictures here convinced me that I need to bite the bullet and buy a new camera–this old iPhone can only do so much. So, I only took a few pics. Here are some of the highlights.
The museum is huge. They recommend that you start on the third floor and work your way back down to the main level. As the escalator reaches the third floor, you are met by a statue of the Hindu deity Ganesha. This gives visitors the chance to acknowledge/pay tribute before beginning your tour of the exhibits. There is a slot where you can leave an offering/donation — and a sign asking that people not put candles or other offerings on the statue itself.
The challenge of going to a museum–or exploring any kind of history, really–is remembering that you are not getting the point of view of the people from that time period. The information you are getting has been filtered through the education and biases of many others before it finds it’s way to your little gray cells. It would be nice if tidbits that were displayed nonchalantly as facts had an * to let you know a particular point has other interpretations.
This piece depicts the Hindu deities Shiva and Parvati (sometimes called Shakti) combined as the androgynous deity Ardhanarishvara. There are several different stories of how Ardhanarishvara came to be (many can be found here) which allows for many interpretations. As far as religion is concerned, I think seeing the masculine and feminine displayed together in a divine image underscores the importance of both of them within humans.
This is the Buddhist deity Simhavaktra Dakini, an enlightened goddess of the Gelug order of Tibetan Buddhism who clears obstacles from the paths of those who seek enlightenment and provides inspiration and knowledge. (Unfortunately, I couldn’t find much information outside of the museum’s own website.)
The placard in the museum describes the deity this way:
Her hair blazes upward with the fire of wisdom.
Her lion head indicates fearlessness in confronting all obstacles to liberation.
Her cape is made of freshly flayed human skin, signifying her transcendence of the limitations of the human condition.
The bone ornaments on her chest indicate that she has passed beyond the cycles of birth and death.
The tiger skin around her waist symbolizes victory over all harmful passions and deeds.
However, in the text on the museum’s website, the cape around her shoulders is said to be the skin from a demon. (If you listen to the audio on that page, the narrator sticks to the description in the museum.) I should mention that the museum provides (for free) and audio/video player that contains additional information about several exhibits.
Yesterday’s every day items is today’s art. This case contains a collection of snuff bottles. Below are some pieces close up.
Centuries from now, will the beings who interpret our culture think of mobile phones (and their various incarnations) as art to be displayed in fancy cases protected by flesh burning lasers? We have all of this digital documentation but what if all of our currently languages pass away–or get translated through the biases of entities without human experience? Oh well, nothing we can do about it if that does happen.
A couple of days ago, we met up with our friend Skye and went to Tomales Bay State Park. On the way, we saw lots of dairy farms, sheep, discussed “winter” in California, saw lots of lush landscapes and talked about Hitchcock’s The Birds.
We ended up eating at a place called Nick’s Cove. The decor was mixed – on one hand, there was the seaside motif . However, inside the restaurant, there were mounted moose heads. The food was extremely good though. if you like, you can eat inside the restaurant or take your food to a shack in the back. The shack has it’s own stove and a pitcher of water ready for anyone who wanders back there.
Also, there were a couple of artifacts around that–if you didn’t know any better–gave the area the look of long abandoned town.
This is me being silly (pretending to be a character in a horror movie who found the wrong phone booth…):