a quick one while he’s away

As I attempt to hold off on putting the finishing touches on this all too interesting paper I’m writing on Freudian and Jungian takes on female representations in Fellini’s “8 1/2” (Not!), I was reminded of perhaps one of the best shows I’ve ever seen on Broadway–Stew and Heidi Rodewald’s “Passing Strange,” which played the Great White Way during the first half of 2008. Honestly, I didn’t know what to expect when I grabbed my seat at the Belasco Theatre during a snowy evening performance. I’d heard mixed reviews, mostly focusing on the fact that there was, indeed, a song entitled “We Just Had Sex,” and the oft-used comment of “you’ll either get it and love it or not get it and hate it.”

Well, a few hours later, I got it–and loved it. To put it simply, the show tells the story of the Youth’s cultural awakening from middle class Black Los Angeles to the hazy lazy languish of Amsterdam to the harsh riot-world of Berlin. And that’s really reducing the show to it’s basics. In reality, it deals with so much more–the existential search for the “real” in a world of illusions, the disconnect between your past (and the loving parent, or parents, involved in it) and the new persona you’re trying to fashion, callous self-isolation in the name of art versus true loving connection, and all those great things. And it’s funny. Like really funny. Not in a bad slapstick Broadway sort of way, but in a thinking-person, unpretentious, “hey that was a fantastic reference” sort of guffaws.

Take this example, from the (ironic and awesome) song “Merci beaucoup, M. Godard,” which happens right as the Youth takes off to Europe, land of intellectuals, ladies with libidos, and real! high! art!: “Naked girls at breakfast tables/Talking Hegel and Camus/While men dressed up in Galouises smoke quote Marx right back at you/All this might seem obscure that would depend on/Who you are/Fellini, Truffaut, Pasolini, and don’t forget Monsieur Godard/Can you dig it?” Okay, maybe this is only funny to me because I have fallen down the trap of “let’s romanticize Europe” (and I fell hard, may I add), but who with vaguely arty life ambitions hasn’t had idealized version of some super-chic, super-intellectual other life in a land far, far away?

Stew himself played the role of a interacting narrator who is part of the story and propels it forward. What a stage presence. And the music–it’s a fantastic mixture of rock, gospel, funk, pop, and everything in between. A song will start out in one place and then take you to two more places musically that you never saw coming before it’s through (which can be a bad thing, but in this place, it’s a good thing).

Honestly, there are a select few theatrical experiences that really stick in my mind clearly (I see a lot of shows after all), but here I am raving about a show that closed up shop two years ago, still clearly remembering that feeling of awe and pure elation that seeing something truly unique, groundbreaking, and different gives you. If your interest is piqued, pick up the film that Spike Lee made of the show (I haven’t actually had a chance to check it out, but this is a show that you should see visually, as the performances really were spectacular by the small cast) or check out the cast recording, which was taped live. Stew and Heidi Rodewald are also premiering a new conceptual concert called “Making It” this weekend at St. Ann’s Warehouse, and if you can snag tickets to the extremely short run (I think it’s something like six performances), I recommend seeing the man in action, because he is a force to be reckoned with.

don’t stop thinkin’ about tomorrow

In times of stress, we all have our vices we turn to. Mine include Snyder’s of Hanover Honey Mustard and Onion Pretzel bites (the “crack pretzels”), oversized flannel shirts I tend to wear on a daily basis, expensive cappuccinos from Think Coffee, watching The Graduate, and Fleetwood Mac. Yes, that’s right. Most people associate Fleetwood Mac with flowy skirts and that classic rock station the grocery store likes to play. And yes, some of their later stuff is a little bit of an epic fail. But 1977’s Rumours is a perfect piece of blues-inflected rock and roll wonder. Come on, any album where everyone in the band is writing about everyone else in the band’s failed relationships is bound to have some good stuff on it.

you see your gypsy....

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Roots (No relation to LeVar Burton, sadly).

I’ve been busy blogging for somewhere else. I know, I’m a traitor. But, this place that seems to be stealing all of my blogging time is the blog for my documentary thesis project. After three years of a print journalism education, I’ve turned into a filmmaker. Who knew? So I’m basically stealing time from one of my entities and transferring it to another. Which isn’t really stealing time, ‘cos it all benefits myself. Whew. Admission of guilt cleared.

My documentary short is tentatively titled “My Big Fat Greek Folk Dancing Competition.” It’s about a competitive Greek folk dancing competition that hits the West Coast every year with thousands of Greeks in attendance to compete in FOLK DANCING. That’s right. Folk Dancing. Much hilarity (and awesome performances) ensue. It’s also a way for me to reckon with my Greek past, something I both love dearly and try to avoid on many an occasion.

Proof I used to be a Greek folk dancer:

mealex

Check out the blog, which I update with the frequency that I used to give this thing: http://kalamatiano.wordpress.com

cruel (not)summer

Yes, this is how I feel on this very day, the first real day of quite possibly my favorite season in New York. No, I cannot be out and about in my plaid skirt and boots and tights and leather jacket, frolicking in the crisp breezes. Why? Because I have caught my first cold since the Debilitating Awful Weekend Trip To Russia Where Wow It Is Really Freezing Here Induced Cold Of October 2008.

So instead, it’s orange juice, soup, and Winona Ryder and Ethan Hawke. Reality Bites is always the best cure.

heeeeeeeeeeere’s johnny!

face

Yes indeed, this is the “DOH!” face I make after realizing I haven’t blogged in what seems like eons (but is, in fact, something like three months).

I’ve been back in New York for a good three weeks now, busy with starting up school, already neglecting my reading, holding down a legit internship, and trying to enjoy the last shreds of sunshine that the summer hath bequeathed me. I still haven’t moved all of my boxes out of my storage unit, that’s how busy I’ve been. Also, we’re having a bit of an Internet crisis in my room, which means that we’ve become a tag team of Wireless Pirates who are very adept at stealing your internetz (thank you, linksys, for always being there when I need you), but that also means that there are many times when we’re without the joys of the World Wide Web.

I should be back in full blogging swing by next week, which is EXCITING as I’ve got a great slew of posts planned. So stay tuned, and I shall not let you down when you’re in need of a fawning ode to Ernest Hemingway’s drinks of choice, diatribes on Chuck Bass’ sartorial choices, and random YouTube links to peruse instead of actually being productive.

a brief hiatus.

ahhh, the rustic outdoors.

ahhh, the rustic outdoors.

See that beautiful, picturesque photograph above, teeming with rustic wooden cabins, the air filled with the fresh pine scent that has inspired a million car air fresheners before it?

That is where I will be spending the next eight weeks of my summer. I will be doing something that amuses, and even surprises, many of my closest friend: directing the drama program at a small girls’ sleepaway camp in the Maine woods that, according to certain sources, is in the inspiration for the camp in The Parent Trap. Yes, I know. And I get paid to do this kind of stuff.

Unfortunately, what I gain in East Coast Preppiness Run Rampant Amidst The Serene Outdoors (Can We Please Play Croquet Mummy?), I lose in access to the interwebs and creature comforts. There is no electricity in the cabins. Ouch. The sacrifices we make.

Thus, I will not be updating this blog for quite some time. But I do promise tales of Summer Camp Glory to rival those of Wet Hot American Summer (well, I hope) when I return at the end of August.

If you’d like written correspondence from me, or to write me a letter or two, please email me at encrush@gmail.com.

HAPPY SUMMER!

a peanut butter sandwich made with jam

I am not really a sandwich person. I have never really been a sandwich person. The only two sandwiches I everĀ  find myself devouring are a Banh Mih Dac Biet from Sau Voi Corps on Lafayette St., and the incredibly overpriced but delicious Tomato and Mozzarella sandwiches from Think Coffee. And burritos. Lots of burritos. I don’t think burritos count as sandwiches.

But then someone directed me towards Scanwiches. Yes, one magical human being cuts sandwiches in half so that the inside contents are displayed, scans them, and then posts them to the Web, with a description of where the sandwich is from and what is inside, all in beautiful high resolution quality. A new sandwich. Every day.

Picture 1

My beloved banh mih in all its Scanwich glory. Those carrots make all the difference I swear. Yum.

And thus inspired by Scanwich and its goal of providing “scans of sandwiches for education and delight,” I will embark on a quest of Photoritto, in which I will take photographs of burritos. I’m currently based in lovely Sacramento, CA visiting the family for a month or so, which means one thing: Mexican food, and lots of it. Cheap, delicious, authentic Mexican food. So stay tuned for your chance to join me on my caloric quest to judge, and possibly discover, some of Sacramento’s best burritos.