Sunday, June 29, 2008

Is That Too Continental?

Living in Manhattan in the summer of 1992, I was convinced that something dramatic, a near sea change, was in the air. Having the Democratic Convention in town made it seem I was in the virtual center of the world and that the grip of the Reagan-Bush dynasty. Locals were dissing that Madonna creature's Erotica album as "sex-lite" for square state queens, and there was a buzz about the so-called "new queer cinema" in which queers often celebrated their outlaw status.

I had mixed feelings about the movement but loved Tom Kalin's Swoon. His near-zero budget film combined archive footage, intentional anachronisms, nicely odd music, and droll performances that slightly echoed Guy Maddin but had its own unique vibe. The clip below from the opening is one of he sexiest sequences I've ever seen in a more or less mainstream film.

video
Though he's worked as a writer and producer for the past 16 years, Savage Grace is Kalin's first time back in the director's chair since his debut more than a decade and a half ago. I tried not to pay much attention to the luke warm to negative reviews. So I did my best to view it yesterday afternoon without too many expectations or already formed opinions. It shares with Swoon fags behaving badly, very badly and passes no judgment on it. It's as stylized as Swoon with sometimes arch dialog. "Shall we meet at the Stork Club for dinner? Say 10:30? Oh, is that too continental?" Julianne Moore's character Barbara Baekeland asks in the opening scene.
With bigger names stars, multi-continental settings, glorious shabby-chic Mediterranean interiors and gorgeously composed tableaus, the film looks amazing and held my interest as it weaved through its increasingly smarmy plot. Swoon didn't exactly make me walk away with sympathy for its sociopath leads, but it did make them incredibly appealing. Kalin may be the lone force in the genre of rich, killer fags, but Savage Grace didn't capture my heart or imagination the way Swoon did. maybe that's partially because Tony Baekeland lacked imagination or passion of Leopold and Loeb. Oh, his smarmy Spanish drug dealer boyfriend was not without his appeal, but the whole thing felt a bit icy even for someone of my Nordic disposition. I'm sure I'll eventually get the DVD and read up on the Baekelands but not with the passion that Swoon inspired.

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Saturday, June 28, 2008

Evelyn Waugh - Master of Action Packed Suspense

Although I have no opinion of the film itself at this point, the trailer for the new big screen treatment of Brideshead Revisited has me scratching my head. It starts off straight forward and predictable enough, but the music and editing in the last third of this trailer had me laughing at the screen as it made you think you were seeing the coming attractions for Die Hard 8. Maybe they wanted to avoid people dismissing it as a Merchant-Ivory clone or big screen Masterpiece Theater. Personally this was never my favorite Waugh opus, and I'd rather see something like Vile Bodies or a proper remake of The Loved One be remounted.

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Friday, June 27, 2008

Bears Gone Wild in San Jose

I'm not sure if they'll be marching in the parade for Sunday's Homosexual Festival, but the "Big Bad Boys" who've been described as having "big bellies, big hands and bad attitudes" are proving that the tales of "strong armed robberies" are not fiction. I've been criticized here in the past for trashing bears, but these boys (whom I suspect are straight) are giving a bad name to big boys that even their bear brethren don't deserve

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Dave's Photo Challenge: Women

Not my original but something I stole from somewhere in response to Tugboat Dave's weekly photo challenge. You can also make this an Interactive Friday assignment. If you're having trouble getting started here is an opening line that you can use to begin your story:

"Earlene and LaVoyce were a little disappointed when Buck from High Class Strippers arrived, but they gave him a beer anyway. Things started heating up when..."

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Thursday, June 26, 2008

Out, Damned Word, Out

Tonight I went to a screening of the 1978 documentary Word Is Out that was being presented as part of it 30th anniversary and impending DVD release. I definitely remember it from its original release, perhaps having the most vivid memories of lesbian comic and military veteran Pat Bond and David Gillon, a sweet bearded guy with braces who recalled a first romance that involved daily visits traversing across Massachusetts that were never consummated with sex. Oddly, I was the only one at my debriefing dinner that related to Gillon's story back then. The others had the opposite reaction, thinking it was wacky at the time but finding it sweet today. My feelings seem to have reversed three decades on. But he does still seem sweet, albeit naive today.

The best part of the evening was seeing many of those interviewed in the film come up on the stage. At least one couple was still going strong more than 35 years into their union. They will be featured in a "where are they now" follow up video that will be a part of the DVD. Unlike so many chronicles of gay life of that era, it is encouraging to know that so many are still around.

A couple of hours after attending the screen, my reaction is similar to what it was three decades ago in that the stories stick with me and have more impact than I realized as I heard them.

Okay, I've done my Gay Pride event for the year and can now miss the rest of them without guilt.

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Wednesday, June 25, 2008

A Light Most Odd

I wake with spooky gunk in my nose each morning as we continue to have lousy air quality, and I can only imagine what it's like further inland. My question, however, is why weather reports list the conditions as being "unhealthful" instead of "unhealthy"?

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Jerk Thief - No Questions

Beyond contempt. Junk Thief would never stoop so low.

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Divino and Pretty in Pink

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Widely Shallow

I never trust people who brag about being low maintenance, down to earth or unpretentious. I am the opposite of all of those things and damned proud of it. I think most people who boast that they have such qualities are masking something much more sinister and are the types that garner multiple restraining orders.

Thus I've long been fascinated by the A. Everett Austin, Jr. House of Hartford, chronicled in the book Magician of the Modern which outlines the life of its namesake who preferred to be called "Chick". When built in 1930, it caused an uproar for being the height of pretense (a grand compliment in my book) and for being only one room deep. Each room seemed to have been designed like a stage set. How else would you design a room?

Having started with a career in journalism, that sensibility has long since guided me as I have knowledge one room deep about a galaxy of topics. It, no doubt, reflects these times we live in and too many channels to choose from. Although I've had many in-laws in Connecticut, I've never made it to visit this house which is up there with the Green and Green houses in Pasadena as a site of nearly holy pilgrimage.

The JunkPlex, of course, is a mix of stage set and a gallery of cabinets of curiosities.

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Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Know Your Necessities

"Take care of the luxuries, and the necessities will take care of themselves," a certain, fey friend told me once. She also spoke of the "conspiracy of the weak over the strong." I'll lead it to you to ferret out her alleged source of those quotes and determine if you agree.

All I can say as that one of the obvious, positive balancing acts that comes with the passage of a certain number of years is the reversal of defined and attainable and valued necessities. Booze, boys, fast cars and other fleeting pleasures seem to be replaced by increasingly extravagances that were once defined as bland and assumed presences that now have greater nuance and price tags -- shelter, clothing, food, even water that comes in its many variations.

Shelter, in fact, can take on such a starring role as I've enjoyed Alain de Botton describe in his book The Architecture of Happiness, its title suggesting that design and form extend to far more abstract and defining aspects of life than just four walls and a roof.

He takes time to wax poetic on Casa Malaparte in Capri, a structure that in Godard's Contempt some might argue upstaged Bardot who is now a 70-something, wrinkled, hobbling racist while the villa has far outlived its Fascist creator, Curzio Malaparte. It stands today, looking ever youthful and pristine, apolitical and in harmony with the Meditteranean.

As Botton explains:

With its proud isolation, its juxtapositioning of ruggedness and refinement its unblinking, hardy defiance of the elements, and the aesthetic debt it owed to Ancient Rome on the one hand and Italian modernism on the other, the house did indeed pick up on key traits of Malaparte's character. Fortunately for visitors, however, it turned out not to be a slavishly faithful portait of its owner in all of his faces -- a difficult prospect for any house, certainly, but particularly so in Malaparte's case, for that would have necessitated the inclusion of pretentious furnishings, dead-end corridors, perhaps a shooting range (he was a Facisct until 1943) and a few broken windows (he liekd a drink and then a fight). Rather than reflecting the author's many foibles, Casa Malaparte, like all effective works of idealisation, assisted its gifted yet flawed proprietor in orienting himself towards the noblest sides of his personality."

Is it telling that I live in a long, skinny Edwardian with rich-hued rooms filled with remnants of travels and past lives in other parts of the world, anchored by two rooms with a wall of curving windows as their centerpieces -- one looking out on the bustling, sometimes tawdry corner of urban life, the other glimpsing onto a pristine garden filled with lilies, sterling silver roses and succulents.

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Monday, June 23, 2008

East Bay Kabuki Theater


Just when I think no place could be more annoying than San Francisco, this weekend's showdown in front of the Marine recruiting office in Berkeley reminds me that it could be worse. Does anyone take Code Pink seriously anymore or are they a covert effort of the Religious Right to alienate all progressives? Most people I know in Berkeley are decidedly tired of them and see that the Marine recruiters are not the ones setting the agenda in Iraq but just doing a job.

While pro-troop followers consider the suspension of Code Pink's parking space outside the recruiting office a victory, ultimately both sides lost in a pathetic imitation of civic discourse. And the Nazi salute during the playing of the national anthem was not exactly a return to Berkeley's leftist heydays but just a pathetic example of bad kabuki theater. Just think how ugly such confrontations will be by late October.

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Jan Crouch Zen


Not to my pleasure, a You Tube video I did about Jan Crouch nearly two years ago has been my most viewed, topping over 9,000 hits. I won't even link it here, but I will share this very Zen view of Jan. Starting slowly, she eventually hits a near trance like frenzy a little past midway, followed by peaceful, healing waves Jan never intended. And, in case you can't make it out, her deep, slowed down voice is saying: "I haven't worn that for six months, and somebody's gonna love it!" A reference to her bra or pink wig?

This clip brings me great serenity to face the week.

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Sunday, June 22, 2008

Shh...the Silents Are Coming

Film discovery of the week was the career of Lois Weber whose 1915 The Hypocrites which is credited with being the first mainstream film to feature explicit female nudity, albeit in the Biblical visions of a troubled suburban vicar. Kino is often equal to Criterion of bringing obscure, and especially obscure American silents, to the weary DVD consumer. It's a perfect prelude to the upcoming Silent Film Festival the best of all celluloid gatherings of the year. Tickets bought, research underway. Oh, and Guy Maddin will be there.

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Saturday, June 21, 2008

Someone Is Flirting With Bunter

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Artist General Sez...

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Too

Cities cooler than it is in the Mission today: New Orleans, Miami, San Diego, Honolulu, Nashville. This is wrong and miserable. I want my money back. Tomorrow is supposed to be a tad more civilized.

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Daddy Don't Walk So Fast

It's a week of tributes and mentions for Junk Thief. Perhaps he's falling into the role of junk elder and can expect to be inducted into the Junk Hall of Fame soon. Or at least he should be awarded a star on Turk Street.

Tugboat Dave has posted a cool little video that he said was inspired in part by Junk Thief and his motto of "It doesn't have to make sense. It just has to take up space." Junk Thief doesn't recall having said that, but it's not bad. How many beers into the evening was that quote made, Dave?

In the meantime, just call Junk Thief Papito de Basura from here on out.

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Friday, June 20, 2008

Who Has Wings?

It's not very often I find something that brings me to tears, but hearing the radio broadcast of the PBS News Hour while wheeling down the 101 this afternoon did that. There was the tale of the Boyer family in Iowa and the plight of their 3,000 pigs in the recent floods. A tragic attempt to let them loose didn't work, and 300 of them were discovered later with initial euphoria that descended into further tragedy. It reminded me of the various reasons I don't eat pork, and this certainly reconfirmed it. I pass no judgment on Farmer Boyer who showed tremendous compassion for his livestock, and I feel great empathy for him as well. His ultimate decision was horrific but humane. It put might gripes about the current heat in San Francisco in proper perspective. There was a warning of the graphic nature of the story that was chilling just as audio. I don't know if I have the nerve to watch it when it airs in a half hour.

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Dave's Photo Challenge: Toxic

Tempting as it is sometimes, I've not been to one in about nine years. But I still eat these.

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Ascots 101

Mayor Newsom often drops by the Junk Plex for Sunday brunch and recently asked me to help raise awareness of appropriate use and tying of the ascot. He was so impressed that I now conduct a course every other Tuesday afternoon at the Mission Branch Library to help keep our youth looking dapper.

Thanks to Huntington Sharp III, who knows a thing or two about ascots, smoking jackets and gay cats, a recent "story" I wrote about ascot tomfoolery is featured in the current e-newsletter of Redroom. And if you have not checked out my Redroom page, head over here.

Thanks, Mr. Sharp.

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Thursday, June 19, 2008

Excused

Being a Libra and committed to justice and all it entails, Junk Thief had kept confidential until now that he was called to jury duty this week. Three hours of waiting in the holding pool Tuesday and an hour waiting on the floor today resulted in being called in by the judge to be told that the case had been settled out of court and service was fulfilled for a year.

Amazing what it takes to be paid $15 for a days work in this modern age. Having passed the Hall of Justice at 7th and Bryant hundreds of times before, Junk Thief had never before noticed the statue above. Can someone explain what that has to do with justice? To Junk Thief it looks more like a blocked intestine.

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Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Nerd or NOT - Junk Thief's New Specs

Please rank 0-10 on the nerdiness scale.

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From a World You Don't Know Anything About


Okay, I've held off on discussing the weddings at city hall this week for long enough. Here's a predictably wacko comment from the fat man in San Antonio, though a tad out there even for him. Would that world he's from be the planet where they wear electric blue suits? I'm curious about his reference to penicillin. Is he implying that it's sinful?

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Lost and Found; Sad and Glorious

Poor Flossie, if I see you I'll take you back home. Sniffle, sniffle.
This portrait in the window of Gypsy Honeymoon reminds me of my Whimsey who's been gone almost two years but by no means forgotten. Sniffle, sniffle.

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Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Hollywood Regency

I am giving serious consideration to a radical make over of the Junk Plex. Although I will not part with my famed Ming Dynasty tea pots, Biedermeier chests, Catalaniste Modernisme mosaics, Burkinabe Bobo ceremonial masks or Mixtecan insect dye textiles. I've heard my motif as being described as Heidi-Mediterranean.

The new motif being considered is Hollywood Regency. I've spent a fair amount of time in Hollywood, and one of my favorite TV characters growing up was Hollywood Harry. That's not the real Hollywood Harry on the right. He had a top hat, but it was much larger, and he had a beard and tuxedo. Harry appeared every Friday on the Lunch with Ho Ho Show and was from Hollywood Corners, Oklahoma, and he always had an update on his latest projects "out on the coast". His voice was just like Paul McCartney's on "Monkberry Moon Delight". I've not been able to find any video clips of him on the show either, but here's one from a few years later when Ho Ho advanced from lunch to a show place.

About seven years ago, I was hit up by a guy whose boyfriend had just for a two year stint in Paris and he assured me that he was not looking for a one nighter but a permanent two year temp. There was something about his face that was very familiar, and as our conversation expanded to my childhood years, I learned that we did have a link. He was a nephew of Ho Ho's and had grown up in Connecticut where Ho Ho hailed from. Much as I cherished the thought of yet another Connecticut beau, the thought of waking up to see a 35-year-old Ho Ho out of make up was more than I could deal with.

I'd feel the same way if I ran into Hollywood Harry's kin too.

This whole remodel job may take a while since I'll need to sort out my investments which I've not checked lately. About ten years ago my investment adviser was concerned that I had so much of my money tied up in real estate in Carmel and Sea Cliff and diversified my assets by investing in stock in Web Van, Oldsmobile, Tower Records and Petopia. I've not checked those stocks in a long time, so I'm hoping they've increased enough to where I can afford the new decor.
So what exactly is Hollywood Regency? Two of the central components are Chinoiserie objets de arte and cove lighting. These were central to my formative years. I learned early on that nothing cove lighting makes everyone look 20 years young and 30 pounds thinner.

Central to the movement was former silent star William Haines who went on to sell his soul to the Reagans and Annenburgs. However, he had one of my favorite quotes: "I can only tell you this -- I would rather have taste than either love or money."

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Socialites Adrift

Since I have until September to do so, I plan to wait a few weeks, perhaps when I have some vacation to see the Frida Kahlo show at SFMOMA. Seeing her ubiquitous images in the Mission down to even a pizza joint named in her "honor" have made me tire hr as much as I do.

Reviews from a number of friends of seeing her works in "the flesh" have reminded me of the importance of seeing such shows live. I am particularly intrigued by the comments I've heard about "The Suicide of Dorothy Hale" described as such:

Suicide of Dorothy Hale. Dorothy Hale had been the wife of Gardiner Hale, a well-to-do American portrait painter who had died in a crash during the 1930s. Without her husband to support her, Dorothy Hale ran into financial difficulties that she was unable to solve. On the morning of October 21, 1938, she committed suicide by throwing herself out the window of her suite in the Hampshire House building.

Clare Booth Luce, publisher of the magazine "Vanity Fair" and friend to both Dorothy Hale and Frida Kahlo, commissioned Kahlo to paint a portrait of Dorothy, for the sake of Dorothy's mother.

She was shocked when she saw the finished piece. The painting depicts Dorothy's fall, first showing her as a tiny figure against the backdrop of the Hampshire House, then as a larger shape tumbling through the clouds and, finally, as a bloody corpse on the ground. The frame of the picture was decorated with trickles of blood.

The publisher's first impulse was to have the painting destroyed, but she was persuaded by friends to keep it.

Socialites in distress have always been a fascination to me. For the two people on earth who have yet to see it, here is the performance of Tricia Walsh-Smith.

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Monday, June 16, 2008

The Other Fashion Event of the Year

David Beckham's in town to strut out his new skivvies. Oh, woo hoo. Junk Thief will be unveiling his new painter pants line with Ben Davis this week at Acme Surplus on Mission Street. Which Spice Girl is Junk Thief married to? Old Spice, of course.

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Is B.O. a Fragrance?

I've had a frequent conversation with an ex who works at a very PC human service agency that enforces a very strict, no tolerance fragrance free work place. Out of protest, he frequently wears (gasp) cologne, and the woman who most frequently protests reeks of B.O., garlic and farts which she insists are "a natural body function of a woman over 50" and completely free of toxic chemicals such as cologne produced by evil multi-national corporations.

In my youth, I had a certain fondness for colognes but now have a large basket of them gathering dust and having long lost their potency. I really don't object to them in the right venue, but I really don't encounter them that much these days and in this city. I've had a surprising number of job applicants who've shown up bathed in them, and usually it's used to cover up cigarette stench. Too much cologne on a woman is annoying, but on a non-smoking man it can be simultaneously inappropriate and unsettlingly arousing.
My former fondness for cologne has long since been usurped by a near fetish for soaps that exceed the cost of most colognes and are a part of my traveling kits since I've rarely found a tolerable hotel soap, regardless to how many stars in the hotel's ranking. The other scent I can't tolerate is lower end shaving creams that always make me feel like I should go join the Shriners after using them. Mind you, I think Shriners are pretty cool, but I don't want to smell like one.

The only thing more mysterious to me than Axe body wash (something so wacko even straight boys thought it stunk) is Tom's of Maine deodorant which I think is made from corn starch, water and baking soda and 100% useless.

The oddest scent craze to me is that of cucumber. I generally think of cucumbers being odorless or having an odor so faint that I don't really sense much of it. But after using cucumber scented cleaning products, I am always feeling that I'm the size of cucumber seed in a sea of cucumber odor.

However, the aforementioned fragrance intolerant are not a silent minority and are demanding their legal rights as reported in the Huffington Post. Ariana, however, I have heard has a cologne bar in her bedroom.

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Wildlife Update: Just Messin' Witcha

Although I recorded it for later, repeated viewing, I watched most of the 2008 Tony awards last night. Drug addicts in Pawhuska, Oklahoma, and rappers dominated the night. I remember a few years ago when, shortly after revealing her African American heritage, Carol Channing presented an award with a rapper and opened with "What up, baby love?" We have Carol to thank for paving the way so that a show like In the Heights can take the top prize for musical.

August: Osage County is being heralded as a new Long Day's Journey Into Night. I hope we see many more seething dramas about large, dysfunctional Okie families. My favorite county in Oklahoma is Ofuskee County. October: Ofuskee County is just waiting to happen. Isn't it great that after 30 years Broadway has just discovered rap? One of the winners thanked his minions with a rap. There was also a new Disney musical with a fin-adorned singing woman. I'm waiting for the staging of Song of the South.

Speaking of rappers, does anyone know Strong Armed Robbery? I've heard second hand from Friendatella that San Francisco has been engulfed by recent strong armed robberies. I came across this definition (of the act of crime not the rap act) on No Nonsense Self Defense:

Many people do not realize that 40% of all robberies are committed by strong arm tactics.

That doesn't sound too bad until you realize that this means you are being mugged by a wolfpack. A varying number of individuals surrounds you and then either threatens to, or proceeds, to savage you for you possessions. That means ten or so people proceed to pummel you, and often once you are on the ground, they continue to kick and stomp you.

Furthermore most states recognize both an extreme disparity of force and the shod human foot on a downed individual as legal justification for the victim to use lethal force in order to protect himself from immediate death or grievous bodily injury. Both of which can, and often do, occur during a strong arm robbery. It doesn't matter if they don't have weapons, ten people stomping you can kill or hospitalize you for months just as well as one person with a weapon.

Packs of young toughs roaming or loitering in an area are a serious danger sign. One that should be strenuously avoided whenever possible. And do NOT walk into their midst. That is literally walking into the lions jaws.

What makes these kind of robbery's even more difficult is how often the interviews of these kinds of robberies will be explained away as "they were just messin' witcha." And since no weapons have been displayed it is difficult to prove intent in such cases. Until the robbery has actually occurred there is no overt crime such as displaying or menacing with a weapon.

That's a helpful definition, but I got a little confused on how you could be captured in the "lions jaw" when attacked by a wolfpack.

UPDATE: This live-journal blog by Julie Klausner gives some great insights, including a spooky picture of Mandy Patinkin in which he appears to have advanced from playing the young Che to the contemporary former Cuban leader in the new Andrew Lloyd Weber musical Fidel!

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Sunday, June 15, 2008

Beautiful, But Who'll Scrub the Toilets

Barbara Ehrenreich's new book This Land Is Their Land tackles the cost of beauty and the exclusion of working class people from the most desirable places in the U.S. This article from The Nation suggests the tone of the book and recalls my trip to Jackson last December (and a possible return in August). While Ehrenreich isn't nearly as patently annoying as Michael Moore, I do find that her work is a bit like his in that she puts a little bit of new wrapping on the same rant -- we live in an unjust and unequal society in which the gap between rich and poor keeps growing. A few solutions and examples of hope would be helpful. I find that I buy and start reading her books but stop about 2/3rds of the way through as they become increasingly repetitive and pointless. Perhaps I should just stick with The Nation excerpt for now.

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It's Miller Time

I bought McCabe & Mrs. Miller this weekend, prompted in part by all that discussion last week about ampersands. Tragically, the titles are all done in dower Helvetica, but that scripty, swerving ampersand in the posters is still there. Check it out in the link above to the trailer. Perhaps Altman was making a statement about a curvacious ampersand being dropped into the stark Helvetica forest frontier. Type is such an erotic thing sometimes.

It was a little hard to find. The store had it filled under "Action and Adventure", and there it was next to the Matrix. Uh, yeah.

Otherwise, I was not disappointed. It has a cool, appropriately depressing Leonard Cohen score and some hot beards and bowler hats. I sort of like the concept of a village of bearded men in the misty Pacific Northwest lonely for companionship. Though I'm essentially opposed to furs, I have to admit they are kind of hot on a still supple Warren Beatty weaving through the snow as a church burns. Oh, and seeing Julie Christie smoke opium is a barrel of monkeys too.

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Uncharted Lands of the Far West

Sometimes I have wonderful dreams that I have discovered an unknown room in my house, or unexplored treasures of a street in my own town.

That really is often the case even here in dreary old San Francisco. Living in the Mission, it's easy to think 24th Street is the center of the world and that heading over to Valencia is some grand adventure. And I have a bad habit of thinking that civilization ends west of Arguello But from time to time I discover a real jewel there. For years I've heard all the raves about Green Apple Books being such a treasure. My furtive stops there have always been disappointing, perhaps because I've breezed in with expectations of it being Portland's Powell's or Manhattan's Strand or -- even worse -- going with a big box store mentality of thinking that stepping in for five minutes will yield some great treasures. Sauntering over via the 33 (which yields some of the oddest transitions of any bus line in the city) I gave the store the untimed, leisurely exploration it deserves as afternoon gently shifted to evening. I even returned after a pleasant Vietnamese dinner, enjoying the slower pace of Clement as opposed to freeway-esque Geary. I was also struck that after a stroll of a good dozen-plus blocks there was not one encounter with a panhandler. The abundance of families at all-you-can-eat buffets were a nice prelude to a Father's Day that will be marked by memories and no current realities. The annex that features music and DVDs is not definitive, but it was a thrill to capture a copy of Les Enfants de Paradis at a fraction of any listed price and having a sweet conversation about the film's power with the gawky rail-thin clerk.

The neighborhood feels oddly not a part of San Francisco, almost echoing Seattle's Ballard. Well, yes, I know pho isn't exactly Scandinavian. Best of all (and I know my many whiny "cold" adverse friends will bristle) it was perfectly cool and foggy. Great weather for a nice long walk and lugging home books about French cinema -- and a landmark piece of French cinema.

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