Thursday, January 04, 2007

culture round-up

i saw a few flicks this past holiday season. one of them was "volver". now, i haven't seen "talk to her" or "all about my mother", which are supposed to be almodovar's best. i have seen "bad education" which i thought was middling, and a little too campy for my taste. i thought penelope cruz's performance was well-acted, and i ADORE the art direction, but i find that there's a tonal disjunct between the subject matter, and the way that it's depicted, which ends up resulting in a confusing stylistic and thematic mish-mash, for me at any rate.

i also saw "idlewild". it was bad. really really bad. again, some clever ideas from the director, and some pretty scenes, but it shows the fallacy of attempting to stretch a music video concept over an hour and a half. the story was slim, the songs were boring, and the biggest travesty was that the dance numbers were poo. i hate pooey dance numbers, especially because people dancing in unison hold a very very special place in my heart. i love dancing movies. the most recent one that has grabbed my attention is "stomp the yard". that shiz looks good! i love the classic dance-movie underdog/dance "other" appropriation/love story.

we're currently part-way through "tristan and isolde". james franco is a little too fancy-dancy for my tastes, and there's a bit too much war-mongering and not enough smooching, but it makes for primo sicky brain candy.

my new favorite song is "carry on wayward son" by kansas. which is featured prominently on guitar hero, my favoritest video game of all time. i have a hole in my heart that can only be filled by 70s arena cock rock. lately, my latent private investigator leanings have led to a period of self-clue-compilation, which is pointing towards a very strong hillbilly streak in yours truly. i'm like one of those "off the grid" extreme libertarian hillbillies, setting up doomsday compounds in the wilds of wherever. ie. one of my favorite activities, inspired by my dear montreal friend, is planning for the apocalypse. planning for things is an activity in which i could while away endless hours in perfect contentment. for example, i LOVE packing for trips (i also LOVE re-organizing my sister's diaper bag, the state of which is a suitable surrogate for the socio-political-economic post-apocalyptic landscape). planning for the apocalypse and readying myself and my crew on our fictitious compound and assembling our crack team, is like packing for the ULTIMATE trip.

i finished michael pollen's "the omnivore's dilemma" while i was on vacation. what a book! i want to be a grass farmer. there's a section where he details the work and life of a joel salatin, who is a christian extreme libertarian anti-government dude who has a farm that is almost 100% sustainable and self-sufficient. he calls himself a "grass farmer" and believes in letting the animals express their inner animal-ness and that by tailoring the farm to the specifc innate leanings of the animal, the farm heals and runs itself. so he grows a healthy and intensely diverse crop of grass that the cows graze on for scheduled periods of time, then they get moved to a different pasture and he moves chickens over the just-grazed land so that the chickens can eat the pests and fertilize the grass with their droppings. it's all designed as the apotheosis of myriad symbiotic relationships developed since the agricultural revolution, all to promote optimal agricultural diversity.

now i'm reading a couple of books. i'm steadily working my way through raymond william's "culture and materialism" a collection of essays by one of my favorite theorists of all time, and the pop-pop of praxis-based cultural studies. i also just just started "molecular gastronomy" by herve this, who is a renowned chemist and the only person to hold a doctorate in molecular gastronomy, a burgeoning field in cooking. it's a series of short meditations, questions, chemical breakdowns and de-bunking of various commonly held ideas, notions, and food preparation practices. ahhhhh!!!! so exciting!!! i haven't read fiction in a long, long time. for some reason, i'm going through a phase where a lot of the fiction i pick up just seems really contrived and trivial, outside of my beloved graphic novels.

today i'm having breakfast with my dead-beat dad. we're going to go to cafe mocha on the danforth, a very nice breakfast meeting place, with a regrettably twee name. i'm going to futz around in the afternoon, and then meet my friend h. for some mall-trawling. for dinner tonight the plan is to make panko-crusted deep-fried chicken livers (sounds gross but only to those who don't recognize the power of a quality chicken liver) with caramelized onions and mushrooms, blanched green beans served with walnut brown butter and lemon zest, and leftover mash, turnip and apple casserole, and stuffing from the fridge to get rid of some of the oldies taking up room.


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