Sunday, October 28, 2007

Party on 15th!

Just got back from a random party in the apartments above the QFC on 15th. Amazing. Every apartment was open, decorated, and decked out with tasty snacks, including homemade cupcakes in one and goldfish crackers in another. And the costumes were incredible. I wore last year's book costume ("Gone with the Wind") and had a very nice time, though it was hard to maneuver through the narrow, packed hallway, and in the apartments themselves. I was really impressed that the people who live in the building all seem to know and like each other, and that when you move in you kind of agree, tacitly or explicitly, to be okay with massive all-building parties that draw all kinds of strangers. (I was invited by a man dressed as Kenny Loggins and his girlfriend, who was dressed as Persephone from Greek myth -- and was handing out pomegranate seeds to prove it.)

Oh, and despite what Kenneth Turan says, "Dan in Real Life" sucks. But Emily Blunt is still my movie girlfriend.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Yes, we have no banana (costume)

Sadly, I didn't get the chance to look like this gentleman last night at the annual Big Blue House Halloween party. My banana costume, which was supposed to come from Halloween Express at Kirkland's Totem Lake Mall, belonged to someone else by the time my loyal compatriot got there. Instead, I wore a rather sketchy-looking wig that was part of a transvestite vampire costume last year. Oh, and some small black wings that started to really irritate me halfway through the night. I took them off, leading quite a few people to wonder what I was supposed to be. One particularly inebriated young woman speculated that I might be My Little Pony, which was a very generous assessment. And another young woman, this one outfitted in a colorful monster suit she'd made herself (it was a friendly, "Monsters, Inc." sort of monster, rather than a scary one), told me I had the best costume she'd seen all night. Which was a bizarre instance of flattery. In any case, a good time was had by all, even though the residents of Blue House never did reveal what was in the green punch, which tasted suspiciously like licorice, and even though I accidentally caused a YouTube video to temporarily merge with the playlist, creating an unintentional iTunes/YouTube mashup. Best costume of the night? Maybe the young, beardless Lenin, probably the robot with a joystick for a phallus. Honorable mention: the giraffe. I guess, as they say, you had to be there.

Ran some errands this morning and early afternoon, albeit in a sleepy state -- went to bed far too late last night, despite my warnings to myself not to stay up so late. Ah, well. Looked at my future glasses today -- with magnetized snap-on sunglasses! -- and got a couple of things for the house. Also checked in on Angela's cat, Max, the cutest orange cat in the world. Will be seeing the new Steve Carell movie with Kate today, followed by dinner. It's such a nice, crisp fall day; even just doing errands on Broadway was lovely. And tomorrow morning, brunch at Coastal Kitchen with Kate and various others. And hopefully, tonight, tons of sleep.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

A quick post from within a dress shirt

Yes, I'm all dressed up with somewhere to go tonight. Seattle P-I blogger Darnell Sue, aka Girl About Town, is throwing a party at Veil with Nathaniel Hollywood of Natharbi, aka Seattle's Premier Couple. So that should be fun. Angela will be my loyal companion; she's just as much a fan of Mr. Hollywood's work in Active Singles Life as I am, and together we should make a good team.

A couple movie notes: Saw Tony Kaye's "Lake of Fire," which Michael deemed one of the best movies he's seen this year. Can't say I disagree. Everything from the gorgeous black-and-white cinematography to the tremendously moving arc following a Minneapolis woman from the beginning to the end of her abortion procedure -- the movie's about abortion, and specifically the controversy that continues to rage in American society -- was extremely well done. And Noam Chomsky and Alan Dershowitz will likely win a whole new legion of fans based on their appearances in the film. It's very refreshing to find two of the country's most renowned thinkers saying, essentially, that abortion is a complex issue, and that keeping that in mind is more important than which side of the debate you happen to favor. (Though as one critic noted about the movie, the anti-abortion activists did come across as nuttier, on the whole, than the pro-choice people. Nat Hentoff was the token exception to this rule; he explained that if you're going to be anti-abortion because killing is wrong, hey, why not oppose capital punishment and, you know, war while you're at it. Lovely.)

Also good: "The TV Set," Jake Kasdan's smooth, funny, extremely likable satire of network television's inner workings. David Duchovny has honestly never been more endearing -- not even on "The X-Files" -- and Justine Bateman is a wonderful surprise as his wife. (Not having seen her since "Family Ties," I found the lines on her face pretty moving; funny how the actors who populated the shows you loved in childhood mysteriously grow up during the two decades you've been apart.) It's just 88 minutes long -- the rare movie about which I can unequivocally say: I wish it had been longer.

My night About Town beckons. Will be at Big Blue House tomorrow night for their Halloween party, spending time with Kate on Saturday, and going to Pugoween at Bitter Lake Community Center on Sunday. If you're interested in joining me for any or all of these exciting events, please drop me a line.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Shiny happy movies

Got a helpful cinematic one-two punch the last two nights. Saw "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington" on DVD and loved it; especially loved Jean Arthur. Interesting to see a collection of familiar faces from "It's a Wonderful Life" in very different roles (most surprising: the sad, drunk shopkeeper from "Life" as the powerful Senate majority leader), and nice to find a compelling plot beneath the occasional bursts of Capra speechifying. (One wonders if the filibuster scene has a bit of directorial self-mockery in it; what better way for Capra to deliver nonstop lefty preaching than to position his hero on the Senate floor and let him talk for 24 hours straight?) Other favorite bits: Harry Carey's irrepressible, slightly mysterious smile as the president of the Senate (Hitler hairdo notwithstanding), and Arthur's heartbreakingly sweet way of finally expressing her affection for Jimmy Stewart. Looks like the only other film that teams Capra, Stewart, and Arthur is "You Can't Take It With You," so I'll probably be picking that up sooner or later.

Equally sweet in its own way (and almost Capraesque in certain ways) was "Lars and the Real Girl." Saw it with the film meetup that convenes once a month officially and several Mondays per month less officially. Nice group of people, and slightly bizarre to spend a couple hours in a restaurant noisily discussing and debating movies. Almost felt a little dizzy afterwards. One fellow, Gabe, pointed out that when he's around his other friends and the subject of movies comes up, they quickly try to change the subject, because once he gets started, apparently, it's hard to stop him. As someone who once secured a friendship by talking about "Y tu mamá también" for something like three hours in a coffeeshop, I know the feeling.

Group conversations like last night's are interesting to me, because you can get together with other cinephiles every month, or even more often, and never really get to know them in ways beyond their movie preferences. It's kind of the ultimate test of the theory that you do (and talk about) certain things with certain friends and other things with other friends, and in the end you get what you need, intellectually and emotionally, from your combined pool of friends. I'm quite familiar with the conventional wisdom that you shouldn't expect any one friend, or even partner, to give you everything you need. But I'm also wary of the safety zone people can establish with each other when all they talk about is pop culture. There's nothing wrong, per se, with making or even continuing a friendship on that basis, but sometimes it can be so gratifying to get beyond that (or frustrating not to know how). In general, I'm interested in the idea that certain friendships are only "meant" to acquire a certain amount of depth, versus the idea of trying to slowly but surely get closer and closer to all your friends. Sometimes that process of getting closer feels effortless; other friendships enter that comfort zone, and a deeper level of disclosure doesn't seem necessary or even desirable.

But I was supposed to be talking about a grown man's love affair with a life-size doll.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

"Crazy Love" and "White Chalk"

Saw "Crazy Love" last night. Amazed by Burt and Linda's astounding ability to remain in the headlines.

I guess once you've blinded your one true love with lye, done time for it, married her, cheated on her, and appeared on every talk show known to humankind, the only thing left for her to do is start a little fire and let nature take its course.

"White Chalk," the new PJ Harvey album, is as good as Michael said it was. "Grow Grow Grow" is particularly lovely and cinematic; I don't know how not to make a Grimm fairy tale out of the lyrics. It's as perfect for fall as Spoon's "Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga" was for summer. Also liking the new Radiohead, and utterly in love with the final track, "Videotape," one of the most beautiful things they've ever recorded. (Hence the name of this blog.) A coworker and I, in a spare moment, compiled our Top 5 Loveliest Radiohead Songs. His #1 was "How to Disappear Completely"; he also included "Nude," from "In Rainbows," which I admit is very nice. My list:

Exit Music (For a Film)
Let Down
Life in a Glasshouse
Like Spinning Plates

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

This is not a test post

According to Kate, blogging etiquette demands that the first post on a new blog not be a test post. So here's an actual post, with a link and everything. (I'll even insert a photo if I figure out how.) What I really should be doing, though, is going back to bed and watching one of the movies I rented, because I have the early-fall cold that's going around: runny nose, sneezing, and general crappiness. My rental choices reflect a mind balanced between optimism (Frank Capra's Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, with Jimmy Stewart -- thanks, On 15th Video's directors section!), relative pessimism (The TV Set, starring David Duchovny's well-maintained, pre-Californication facial hair), and a sneaking suspicion that romantic love inspires more lunacy than anything else (Crazy Love). Of course, this last isn't really how I feel, but I'm really eager to see the movie. And, of course, eat more macaroni and cheese. And appreciate the new peace and quiet, and relative tidiness, that's come to my house.

Speaking of which, time to go. Test posts may be uncool, but test images surely aren't. So I'll unearth an old portrait of a dog facing the limitation of his situation. (If you want more where this came from -- thematically, if not geographically -- check out San Francisco's venerable Dogblog.)