Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Tree-Hugger Tendencies

My best friend sent me a link to this website with some awesome recipes for homemade beauty products -body scrubs etc. Very good stuff. She's a pretty awesome best friend. The scrubs were lovely so I scrolled down a little farther and found a suggested recipe for a morning drink that was

1 cup of warm water
2 tbs of lemon juice
3 tbs of apple cider vinegar

Didn't seem so bad - said it was a gentle daily cleanse and metabolism lift. Pretty good deal for morning pick me up and I'm sure I've tasted stranger things. But let me tell ya - I tried it this morning and I feel good, but it was not a pleasurable experience. Frankly, it was hard not to gag on the stuff. I'll try it for a week and see if its worth it or if I acclimate to it. But honestly, I'm dreading tomorrow morning. Wheat grass was not nearly as difficult the first time around as this was.

I know there are people out there that are ridiculously healthy that take something like this everyday - but how do you suspend your pallet to get there? Thats the real secret I think.

http://www.robinmcgraw.com/recipes.html if you're wondering. I recommend the rose salt.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Two Turntables and a Microphone

I love Los Angeles! I don't make a secret of it. I adore this place. I frequently call myself blessed. I mean who wouldn't? I have grown up amongst poetry ridden coffeehouses, mall fashion shows, street performers, NASA scientists, children's book authors and copious community theater productions.

I love and sponge it all up - but the one thing that I have here that I love so much that I pity everyone that doesn't live here is the music scene. Not just the Rock and Roll - its just the loudest of the genres, so it gets the most attention. The classical scene is also gorgeous so precious to me that I'll save it for another blog...

No matter where you go here music is somehow involved. Even random Chinese restaurants have a stage and theater that seats like 25 that has a constant rotation of keyboards and mandolins. If there is a stage there is someone playing. I remember waiting for La Boheme to start at the Music Center once and on every side of the crowd there was an A Capella group going for it, not even needing a stage. One of my personal favorites was this one guy that set up on 3rd street in Santa Monica and he must have been a synth protege. He opened up the back of his down-by-the-riveresque van and just had a speaker, a sound board, and a MAC and the break dancers rejoiced. It was an awesome sight. It almost upstaged the psychic cats...

Since Sunset was only 15 min away from where I grew up when we were looking for something to do on an open Friday night we would pop over to the Roxy or Whiskey and see who what playing. Just like going to Denny's or the movies. Awesome live music was so available that I think that I took it for granted. It was totally reflected in my high school's social psyche too now that I really think about it. Everyone was in band or planning one. I even sang for one for a few months. We were called Jubal. I thought we were awesome. Like if Buffalo Springfield and Johnny Rotten ran at each other really fast - that was us. :D The school had a talent show every other month and no BBQ came to pass without some one's guitar cords and a drum set popping out of a garage. There was a pretty passionate Hip-Hop scene too but we rarely ended up there.

And all this preamble leads me to the point of this particular blog:

An Ode to the Glory of Live Music

I can think of little else that gives me a bigger rush or relaxes me more. The euphoria last for days and you can't possibly articulately explain to someone how awesome a show was because its not just about a performance I think, its an experience. Music is an art form because it supplies more than something to pass the time. It's something that it gets inside you - it changes things around, surfaces feelings or amplifies ones already there. Or it ignites some kind of new feeling that you don't have a name for yet. Live music is like a 2 hour soul massage or the best kind of internal pep rally, or insta-catharsis ever. Depending on what show you're at obviously.

I think that, honestly, I'm just really excited for one of my favorite new bands to play tomorrow night and I'm on the list. GLISS - they rock. The last time I saw them my cousin and I were buzzing for days and we found them totally by accident. They and Mellowdrone were opening for Monsters are Waiting but we just wanted to see Mellowdrone. But after GLISS finished we felt like we had already gotten our ticket's worth. They opened up for the Smashing Pumpkins the next week in North Carolina too. They're playing at Vertigo's and I'm var var excited. Dress code is "FIERCE" - I'm still trying to figure out what that means... do I need some red lipstick and some spiky stuff? Cause all I've got is some boots and some sass. I think I'll be just fine.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Checkin in (7/31/07)

So I finished Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows on the 22nd. I finished it again last Saturday, well the last 300 pages at least, and I cried again. Not openly wept and had to put down the book at key moments to calm down enough to see the text, but I did cry again and was moved and inspired anew. Its a beautiful story and a beautiful book. Thank you J.K. Rowling. Thank you for being a credit to the species, the gender and the craft.

My Nexflix excursion this week was a British indie that I loved called "Driving Lessons". Apparently Rupert Grint and Julie Walters found time between films 4 and 5 to make this adorable teen-coming-of-age-story/satire-on-British-new-age-Evangelism and it made me smile. Rupert has always been my favorite in the cinematic Harry Potter trio. He's the best actor, has the best timing, has red hair AND - to further endear the boy to me the first thing he did when he turned 18 and got access to his depiction-of-Ron-Weasley millions was to by an ice cream truck. Yes - he said if the acting thing doesn't pan out "at least he has the ice cream truck". Rupert - if you were only 10 years older....
I felt the need to watch 'Persuasion' for the squillionth time this week. Its the best depiction of a Jane Austen story in my humble opinion. The candle light is perfect and the imperfect non-Hollywooded hair and costumes also makes me happy. In turn, I have started reading the story again for the first time since high school and its still amazing.

Which leads me to my newest most anticipated movie (since Transformers has been released and breathed new life into the term "phenomenally mind blowing") and that is the new Anne Hathaway flick "Becoming Jane". It's out in two weeks - right on my birthday weekend - and I am SOO excited. Not only because its about my Jane (who is the literary emotional equivalent of my mother) but her romantic interest is being played by Jame McAvoy who I desperately love too! He was adorable as Mr. Thumnas but he was breathtaking in "Last King of Scotland". You don't know how it brings me joy that hes getting work, AND that hes in a Jane Austen film AND that hes dressed up like a gentleman AND that he falls in love with saucy, slightly difficult, brilliant women. It just warms my heart (and gives me hope). Totally cannot wait

The Patrick saw "Sunshine" last week and has been abuzz since. I have been wanting to see it for a while - there were some fascinating banners on the KROQ website that bade me to follow and I was impressed with the trailer. It felt strangely familiar and then I realized that it was Alex Garland's latest creations and then it ALL came back and made sense! Ahhh - yes - Trainspotting in all its wonder still hasn't left me. :D Patrick is a Garland disciple so that's how he ended up at the theater but I am still looking for a moment to be able to join the praises. Patrick's reader's digest recommendation was "you don't see it - you feel it - it gets into you - its tactile. I'm still reeling from it". Its definitely on the to-do list.

I'm still trying to get away to Pasadena to see "Golden Door" and "The Waitress" but we'll see. I totally cannot wait till the Laemmle is finished in Claremont and I can have an indie theater 10 min from my house. The best coffee house for 20 miles and an indie theater on the same block? Will wonders never cease?

I didn't make it to the Gliss show but I have gone back to their album "Love the Virgins"about once a week since I saw them at the Roxy with The Patrick and they are continuing to rock my world. Placebo's "Meds" still has a solid spot in the car CD rotation and Greg Laswell is strangely growing on me. I recommend the song "Sing Theresa Says" as an entry point for the man. He's playing the Indie 103 concert at the Grove in a few weeks. I have half a mind to go. I've felt a strange need for a good Timberland fix this week. "Way I are" is highly enjoyable because not only does it gives you a good 3 minutes of unmitigated moral superiority because you recognize the grammatical laws that the title offends, but its a pretty addictive beat and somehow makes traffic slightly more bearable. I've also found myself in my old Erasure cds this week. "Oh l'Amour" stills got it. Long live British melodrama!

On Friday night me and a few choice few made our way to this 99 seater theater in Fullerton called The Maverick Theater for an adorable rendition of A Midsummer Night's Dream. I love community theater on principle and because I pretty much grew up in one - but this particular production, honestly, was absolutely wonderful. I laughed to the black out point. The charming man unabashedly snorting behind me didn't help matters much either. Pretty much what a Shakespeare comedy experience should be. I fully intend to go back for their next few productions. One is called "The Complete Works of Shakespeare - Abridged". Its being billed as "a three man one wig romp through the 36 plays of The Bard". And if its anything like or includes any of the players I saw in Pyramus and Thisbe I will be the first in line. Totally can't wait. And the crown of the holiday productions is "Santa Claus Conquers the Martians". Need I say more? I think not.

There are a plethora of amazing concerts in town too; Muse, Dave Matthews, Bright Eyes, The Cure, 311, and myriads more but the pocket book and I are still in negotiations. More than half of them are at the Verizon Amphitheater which is a farce of a venue that I usually object to on principle. That and its also in Irvine which is one of the fakest and therefore most disturbing cities in Orange County that I avoid as often as possible. But Muse would be amazing in any venue. I might just park outside hoping for a few wisps of awesomeness here and there *sigh*.

I'm also heading to Tennessee the day after tomorrow. I'm going to Nashville. No I'm not going to become a country star. Yes I am hoping to see Elvis. Yes I will sing "Walking in Memphis" when we pull in and I will take a picture under the Beale street sign. No I'm not running away - I'm my friend Lisa's birthday present. No I am not going to pop out of a cake. Yes that is a shame because it would be fun. Yes I will bring you a bobble head Elvis from Graceland if you ask nicely and yes, I am very excited to get out of Dodge for a few and watch 300 over and over and over again in Lisa's home theater with ample supplies of red velvet cake and the neighbor's southern bbq. Lisa lives in the same neighborhood as all the big name country music folk like Carrie Underwood and them. Maybe we'll see a few as we run off our red velvet. I'll keep you posted.

Loves and kisses

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

The Munchkin Factor

So a few weeks ago I wanted to go to the Getty Villa so I got 4 tickets and then decided who I wanted to take with me.

I decided that I would take one of my best friend's daughters and my other friend and her daughter and try the museum-with-the-kid thing. I hadn't ever really done it. It was my first time. Usually I was the kid at the museum trying to keep up with my mother.

But let me tell you - I have been to a good many museums in my modest years but taking those two kids into Ancient Rome and getting to do the kid's experience thing was one of the best times I have ever had any place anywhere.

The Getty just rocks the mic in the first place. Its gorgeous, its in Malibu (so the drive is breathtaking) and its quiet and quality. They had an entire corner of the museum designed (with the the ridiculously cushy Getty budget) totally for an interactive educational experience to help the kids understand and bond with all of the artifacts and the culture of Classical Greece and Rome. Complete with copies of urns and jars that they could draw on with dry erase markers and they had artifacts in cases right next to the copies that the kids were working on. They had this mini amphitheater kind of thing that the kids could play act in with foam props. They even had all these color coded treasure maps for the kids to guide them around the museum and gardens giving them pictures of things to look for and questions to ask and activities about the artifacts. We got to follow the very excited munchkins in and out of rooms about the Trojan War and urns about Odysseus and Statues of Hercules and counted crustaceans on formerly sunken odes to Zeus. Pretty soon when we passed the gift shop the girls were beseeching me to get them the book about "Odysseus and the giant sheep and the snake monster". If that wasn't a bright shining moment in my day

then we got to sit in the central garden


Now, I have to say - I'm not exactly a craft junkie. In fact there are a great many things that I would probably choose to do than crafts (like washing dishes or picking my nails) but it felt like it might be fun and I was right. We got to make our own special version of a Roman medallion - and you know what? It was super fun. A Malibu breeze, a lovely scent filled garden, the ear massage of moving water, happy chatter and a chance to play with clay, markers, and sparklies all at the same time and ALL at the same place? Few things compare.

By the end:
The kids were pining for books.
We all got some sunshine and exercise.
I got to have a sword fight with a foam sword complete with helmet.
I got to peal glue off of my hands
I saw beautiful things and got to tell fun stories that I love
We got priority viewing in the museum (because of the kids - its like this unwritten rule)
I felt like a very good auntie AND I had the time of my life

It was magic - I'm telling you -going somewhere? Borrow a kid.

Because, as I concluded later, when you approach something totally familiar with a child you get to see it again for the first time. You get to help someone dissect it and get excited about the parts as well as the whole. You have licence to wonder about things again, wonder like a child might. And that, even compared to the Malibu sky, alabaster marble, and Keats' urn, was the most beautiful part of the day.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

A New Advent

So - It's July 20th. Well, nearly anyway, and one would think that it would take a ridiculously large life event like getting into the PhD program I really don't have a shot at or a proposal or finally meeting Emma Thompson that would finally drive me from the halls of the blogless - but here I am and you know whats on my mind? ... Harry Potter.

Yes - this emotionally constipated, angst filled, abused and tussled boy that has been a buddy of mine for the last 6 years and his posse are occupying a good part of my heart and brain tonight.

Yes it's just a book.

Yes it's a young adult book at that.

Yes it's formulaic

And has been talked about ad nauseum

and there are freaky and unbalanced people out there trying to write dissertations about the social strata in the Wizarding World

As a total aside: I will be honest, that royally creeps me out. People with so little identity that need to glom onto a story like this in such a fashion need a few adventures of their own to work with before they delve into such a story.

But you know what?

I love it.

I love it like I still unabashedly love Saturday morning cartoons and swinging my arms high and walking with out bending my knees like a 5 years old does in the hallways of my cubicle farm when no one is looking. I love it like I still love shooting pixie sticks with my brother. I love Harry and everyone he loves. I've watched him grow up. I've even cried for the bugger.

As a serious literary academic (or someone with a degree) I suppose I should point out the nearly bottomless value of character composition and placement and the flawless Classical, Neo-Classical and Medieval allusions and metaphor. Or the perfect execution of telling a new story about a universal theme. I could outline the brilliant social satire it is and how it poignantly addresses multiple, pretty much every, significant question and theme in individual and group think. But, honestly, that's not why I love it and that's not why the books are great. All the academic vernacular just outlines the reasons why the books are so good, but I love it because these characters, these places, these events and heart aches and cracked bones and lost battles and won battles and inside jokes and crazy families and a slew of desperatly important people that all seem to be on society's fringe and just general brilliant catastrophe that has happened to this cast resonates so profoundly with my own journey.

For example: I have had a professor that was very much, down the half-moon spectacles, Dumbledore. Childlike, powerful, humble, adventuresome, fierce and fatherly and always with life changing questions with an eye twinkle and a wink. No wrong could happen on his watch or in his classroom - we were safe, and not only safe but respected and given an education(like taught - the kind of teaching that goes straight to the heart. Like the kind that skips he brain/logic sentinel) when the rest of the school was pretty much a struggle on an easy day

I could go on - and if you ask me to I will - I have much to say on the subject, but that isn't what finally made me decided to start my blog.

It was how sad I am that in about 24 hours and some change it will be over. The story will be done. JK Rowling is finished and even though I finally get to see that Snape is a good man and he and Harry will FINALLY understand each other for a fleeting second before he gets killed and Harry gets Voldermort (that's my prediction at least) - but the thrill of the "next book" will be gone. Its the end of an era - of an institution. I wonder if this is how the original Star Wars fans felt about Return of the Jedi? I should ask my dad -

But that's not the point.

The point is - I've rarely felt so conflicted over an element of pop culture before. If they discontinued pixie sticks or Saturday morning cartoons I think I would feel much differently. Like I would be sad, I might even throw a party to say good bye if I was feeling saucy enough.

But I will miss Harry. I will miss all the thrill of a new installment very much. I am excited for Harry to finish his journey, but I am sad to see him go.

Harry Potter is more than a story - he has done what good books should do. He became my friend. All of them did. That's how good these books are to me and I am positive that in time they will be a marker and probably a bulwark of our generation. I was glad to be a part of it. But mostly, I will miss him.