Thursday, February 28, 2008

Across the Universe - Worth the Trip

Okay. Last night I watched a movie called "Across the Universe" and my mind was completely blown. Traditionally, I can't stand musicals of any sort (except Hair and Mary Poppins) and secondly, I'm a total Beatle snob and regard other people's renditions of their songs (with the exception of Joe Cocker) to border on sacrilege. The only reason I rented the thing is that I'm a big fan of Julie Taymor. In fact, she directed one of the most visually stunning movies I've ever seen – Frida.

Any red blooded Beatle freak will get every reference in the film right off, which made it all the more entertaining. With characters named Jude, Lucy, Max, Sadie, JoJo, Dr. Robert…you get the picture. Very clever. The plot was obviously driven by historical facts and real places, but it generated a sense of surreal familiarity much the same way "Yellow Submarine" did. Taymor and her writers basically created a completely Beatle-centric universe and every detail was tended to right down to the apples. What floored me were the cameos of Joe Cocker and Bono. Score – big time. Their musical renditions of Come Together and I Am the Walrus alone were worth the risk. However, it is Taymor's absolute genius vision and sublime directing talent that puts this movie over the top. She pulled out all the tricks from her arsenal of weirdness. Think Tim Burton, only brighter and with a few less gadgets. Taymor is all about color and surreal beauty. Utilizing an entire cast of unknowns was also brilliant because the actors become the characters. I've never seen any of them anywhere else so there wasn't that urge to compare and contrast.

The only downside to the film, believe it or not, is there's too much music. I never thought there could ever be an instance of a superfluous Beatles' song, but in a few cases Taymor takes it unnecessarily too far, especially with the high-pitched weak vocals of Evan Rachel Wood. A bit more dialogue would have explained things better, especially to an audience that maybe didn't try to telephone Pepper Land or play "Revolution 9" backwards for kicks. But who am I to judge? I'm just a no-name writer with an encyclopedic knowledge of all things Beatle. This movie has definitely helped me to reconnect with all the emotions and excitement of my past Beatle obsession. I feel like I'm home again.

Friday, February 22, 2008

The Absurdity of Life in Connecticut....

One of Connecticut's most erudite residents had this to say....

"Laws control the lesser man... Right conduct controls the greater one."

Literally for centuries, Connecticut has been home to some of the greatest intellectual and political minds in American history. Their collective genius, apparently, was not utilized to its fullest. Here are a few good old fashioned Connecticut Blue Laws still on the books. I shit you not.

In order for a pickle to officially be considered a pickle, it must bounce.
In Devon - It is unlawful to walk backwards after sunset.
In Guilford - Only white Christmas lights are allowed for display.
In Hartford - You aren't allowed to cross a street while walking on your hands.
In Hartford - It is illegal for a man to kiss his wife on Sunday.
In New Britian - It is illegal for fire trucks to exceed 25mph, even when going to a fire.
In Southington - Silly string is banned.
In Waterbury - It is illegal for any beautician to hum, whistle, or sing while working on a customer.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Some thoughts on Valentine's Day......

Is it me, or is there an obnoxious Valentine’s Day marketing push this year? When did Russell Stover start making commercials? And those burly blue collar guys revealing their wives’ bloodlust for cheap chocolates – give me a break. The commercials are equally as annoying. They have these totally dickish guys talking about how easy it is to order flowers, the full price and how many orders they’ve made. One guy made 24 orders. If you do the math at thirty bucks a pop times 24, that’s a whopping $720! But what is more unbelievable is that he looks like a total dork which leads me to believe a) he has a lot of sisters, or b) he rivals Ron Jeremy in the goods department. Perhaps most disturbing of all are the Vermont Teddy Bear ads. Who in their right mind pays $50 for a stupid teddy bear dressed in lingerie? Are women really that crazy? I don’t think so. 

Maybe I’m so cynical about Valentine’s Day because it is the day my parents were married. My parents – Helene and Paul – quite possibly the most dysfunctional pairing since Lucy and Desi – whose marriage, separation and merciful divorce spanned three decades. My father was big on the holiday. Every year he’d bring my sister and me boxes of chocolates, cards and flowers. It was our special time, an acknowledgment of his love for the three girls in his life. And my mother, well she’d get expensive jewelry (as is Sicilian style). Only she wasn’t interested in trinkets and baubles. What she really wanted were the two things that my father could never give – fidelity and a financial security. So one day when I was nine, he left, and I stopped getting Valentine gifts. To this day I still have the last card he ever gave me. It’s big and pink and full of glitter with cut-out pieces that form a tiara and paper jewelry – because I was still his little princess then. Are your eyes welling up? Go get a Kleenex, I’ll wait…..

So anyway, such is the triteness of my childhood and the reason that I never put too much stock in the holiday. I often remind my husband to thank his lucky stars that he has indeed married the coolest chick he will ever meet in this lifetime or the next. Usually we just exchange cards. Occasionally he’ll get me flowers, though I think their prices are way too jacked up for Valentine’s and usually by the time he gets around to buying them they are half dead. He’s not the best flower picker but he has other more redeeming qualities. This year I let him know that all I really want from him is a love letter and to refrain from farting in the kitchen. When I told him I wanted a love letter he looked at me as if I’d just asked him for a kidney. The terror in his eyes was that of a dog who for no reason has just been kicked in the gut by a trusted master. Couldn’t this be better expressed in a clever card or perhaps more physically? No. It’s a love letter or nothing. I don’t care if it’s on a post-it note. Will I receive this much coveted article of ephemera? Probably not. I guess I’ll have to be content with a flatulence-free dinner and maybe a slow dance in the living room. But even that beats a Vermont fucking teddy bear!

Friday, February 08, 2008

Daddy's Home....

There, there son. We'll steal this election yet.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Hope, Fear and Just Plain Hysterical

Although this week has been crap for me in most areas of my boring ridiculous life, politically it couldn’t have been better, and well, since most of my free time is spent engrossed in the presidential game I guess you could compare it to discovering low-carb beer – not as tasty as you’d like, but still packs that same intoxicating wallop.

It all began on Monday. Word got out that Senator Obama would be speaking in Hartford at the last possible second for it to have been feasible for me to get there. It was a frantic drive from New Haven to Hartford at 3:00 in the afternoon, but I made it. Thankfully, my dear friend Jose was there to hold a place for me in line. Did I say line? I meant never ending mob snaking around triplicate over roughly three city blocks. There’s plenty of aerial photography to back this up. I think it was a completely unnecessary ploy to visually show the power of the Obama organizing machine. It was Beatle mania crazy, but we got in.

Up in the nosebleed section Jose and I discussed the finer points of Obama’s musical selections as we waited for a glimpse of the next president of the United States. Only Obama could pull off, “Shining Star” by Earth Wind and Fire. On anyone else, including Jesse Jackson, it would seem hokey and foolish. Same goes for Stevie Wonder’s “Signed, Sealed, Delivered” which also had folks tapping toes and bobbing heads.

Of course, we had to sit through tedious introductions by John Larson, Chris Murphy and Rosa DeLauro (though I really like her). Then the monotone of Carolyn Kennedy who I’m sure is a wonderful person but is a terrible public speaker. She introduced her favorite Senator, “Uncle Teddy” who took the podium and shouted in a very shaky voice all about why he’s for Obama. Ted Kennedy’s looking pretty old these days though he’s still passionate. But we didn’t come here to see these people. Frankly, the only Kennedy I've ever found to be remotely interesting was Bobby.

Finally, Barack takes the podium to stump hard for Connecticut. He was fantastic, even though I’d heard this stump speech many times before as I watch an unhealthy amount of CSPAN. This man is captivating. There is an aura, it’s not just talk. You feel something, something that you desperately want to believe. He’s either going to potentially be the greatest president we’ve ever had or is the number one con artist of all time. But the best part about the whole experience was the audience. All types of people, all races, religions, ages and status. The diversity of his following is encouraging. A fair mix of everyone – just like America.

Super-duper Tuesday was a feat in itself. Downpours, tornadoes, pundits – my head was spinning. The fact that Obama won Connecticut was not surprising to me, despite the Hartford Courant’s statement to the contrary. All these papers and pollsters need to take a step back and stop acting like gypsy fortune tellers and start focusing on the hard news.

I was a bit disappointed that Obama didn’t take the lead in delegates, though not really surprised. It’s still irritatingly close and we may even see a brokered convention, or so they keep saying. Of course, it all comes down to the super delegates who apparently get to choose the candidate they want regardless of how the people voted. Gotta love our “democracy.”

But all is not lost, as this delicious tid bit of information just came over the wires. Apparently, Joe “Fuck You Democrats” Lieberman has been stripped of his super delegate powers because of his endorsement for McCain. This decision falls under the Zell Miller Rule that became an issue in 2004 when loony Zell, then the democratic senator from Georgia, attacked John Kerry during his keynote speech at the Republican National Convention. Do you think Lieberman will now challenge Howard Dean to a duel?