Residential Space A creative outlet during residency, turned ongoing virtual soap box

“Kinky” for Governor? And don’t forget that L.C. Rocks!  1

Posted on October 8th, 2006. About Entertainment, News and Politics.

I recently spent four days in Austin, TX, hanging out with my brother, Tim. We had an awesome time! My brief trip was packed with *several* golf experiences, a concert featuring an ‘80s cover band, some great meals, and a trip to an amazing art museum, among other things. We also revisited an American film classic, Robin Hood: Men in Tights (by the way, Dave Chappelle was in it – who would have thought?). Best of all, though, I just really enjoyed hanging out with Tim and observing his life and meeting his friends.

PA050074 Tim and I were on the golf course twice during my four days in Austin. I only made it through nine of the eighteen holes on day 2. Many Happy Gilmore quotes were tossed around.

PA060091This was an amazing installation at the Blanton Art Museum on the U. of Texas campus, entitled “How to Build Cathedrals.” Black shroud drapes the exhibition, which consists of a pool of 600,000 pennies lying beneath 2,000 illuminated long bones dangling from the ceiling above. It’s quite eery.

PA050077L.C. Rocks is an awesome ‘80s cover band that plays each Thursday night at Cedar Street. I came in hopes of hearing tunes by Journey, Guns N Roses, and Billy Idol, and I was not disappointed. I think the chick in the lower left corner is the wife of one of the performers.

PA050076There is a candidate for Texas governor named Kinky Friedman on the November ballot. He identifies himself as a Jewish cowboy, and is featured usually wearing black, a cowboy hat, and smoking a cigar. His official campaign slogan is “Why the hell not?” Thus, his campaign bumper stickers read: “Kinky for Governor: Why the hell not?” I particularly appreciated this one: “My Governor is a Jewish Cowboy.”  Unfortunately for his supporters, despite bringing in Jesse “The Mind” (Tim tells me this is his new nickname) Ventura for support, Kinky only holds 14% of the state’s vote in the most recent polls, which means – Austin likes him, but he doesn’t have a snowball’s chance in hell in the rest of the red state. Like Dallas is going to elect someone named “Kinky.”

Overall, an entertaining and educational trip!

Thank You For Smoking  0

Posted on May 31st, 2006. About Entertainment.

We saw Thank You For Smoking over the weekend, and I am highly recommending it. I was physically laughing aloud, sides hurting and all, throughout the entire film, and when it concluded, I was ready to cheer – for the lobbyist! Go figure, right?! This is a movie that is right up Jamus’ alley – its sardonic, biting humor is most excellent.

Jon Stewart Hosts The Oscars  1

Posted on March 6th, 2006. About Entertainment.

Evan and I enjoyed watching Jon Stewart host the 78th Annual Academy Awards this year. His jokes were witty, classy, and at times – downright hilarious in that dripping-with-irony characteristic to The Daily Show. That being said, it was *very* obvious that his proximal audience did not find him as amusing as we (and from the reviews I have read this morning, most of America) did. It boils down to the fact that many Hollywood figures, whether consciously or subconsciously, believe themselves to be members of an elite class, and it was painful evident that they are unable to laugh at themselves. They failed to realize they were being delivered first-class entertainment and often appeared unenthused when Stewart would deliver a well-crafted joke about wealth/class or Hollywood stereotypes or Scientology. They also failed to understand that Jon Stewart has been more effective in bringing a huge audience to the side of their causes than most of them combined. If they are dissatisfied with President Bush and the war in Iraq, then they should be kissing Jon Stewart’s feet. In any case, I think MSNBC’s article (thank you for this one Evan) describes the evening very well – click here to read it.

Now for bragging rights – I correctly chose 17 of the 24 winners this year in the various categories. Some of them I had not seen (short action live film, etc) but correctly guessed merely based on the titles, which got me to thinking – if people vote for politicians without researching the candidates, are they possibly voting on Academy Awards without actually seeing the films? The one major category I missed was Best Supporting Actor – I knew George Clooney had won the Golden Globe for Syriana, but I was impressed enough with Matt Dillon’s performance in Crash to go out on a limb and place my vote behind him. While I thought Munich was a better film than Brokeback Mountain (although Brokeback was excellent), initially I thought the “Best Picture” award would go to Brokeback because of the publicity it had received. That is, until I saw Crash last week, and I knew it had to win this coveted category. It was, by far, the best movie of the year, and there have been a lot of good ones. The storyline, intricacies of plot, editing, acting – all flawless. It was the perfect movie.

Living Proud – I Still Love ’80s Music  0

Posted on February 15th, 2006. About Entertainment.

Yesterday, the attending physician on our neurology team took us out to lunch, quite a generous gesture on a day with a light work load. During lunch, one of my fellow interns (Shay) and I got to chatting about concerts we have attended, and the table realized quickly that old ’80s groups seemed to dominate both of our lists. Our attending informed our medical student that we have “terrible taste in music” and that we “shouldn’t admit this to anyone.” Shay immediately informed our colleagues that she is proud of her preference for bands of the 1980s and that I should be as well. I completely agreed.

So I have decided to archive here a list of concerts I have attended, and will continue to add groups as I see them.

  • 1995 – The Rolling Stones “Voodoo Lounge” Tour, my first concert! My brother, Tim, was with me for this one. Blind Melon as the opening act didn’t hurt either. My mother sacrificed her ticket (there were only two total) so that we both could attend – and waited for us in the parking lot. A true act of love.
  • 1997 – Jimmy Buffett – my second concert was just as awesome as the first was (yes, Evan, I know – you may substitute “awesome” for your own snide adjective). Jamus got a group together to see Buffett in Atlanta (Lakewood Amphitheatre) and it was a most excellent time! Jamus even presented me with an autographed picture of Jimmy when I arrived in Spartanburg, SC for the ride to Atlanta – my knee was still in a brace status-post ACL surgery, and when James informed Jimmy by mail of my condition, Jimmy graciously responded. 😀
  • 1997 – Jump, Little Children – a local group from Charleston, SC, whom I saw in Columbia, SC my first month of college. I always expected them to go big.
  • 1997 – Elton John – a musician I had admired since birth (my parents were big fans); seeing him in person was a real treat. He did not disappoint. Goodbye, Yellow Brick Road is still one of my top five favorite songs ever.
  • 1998 – Aerosmith – another concert with Tim. It was impressive, except they didn’t play Amazing, and my ears rang for three solid days after the event. I remember I had a calculus test the following morning at 8AM and could not hear anything the proctor said.
  • 1998 – Survivor – a free concert at Finlay Park in Columbia, SC. I just loved it! “The search is over…you were with me all the while…”
  • 1998 – The Indigo Girls – They were to give a free concert at Irmo High School as an award for drug-free pledges among the students, but then the principal and school board cancelled it because of a few parent phone calls about Amy and Emily’s lesbian status. Graciously, they gave a concert at a local venue, free for IHS students and cheap for anyone else. This was also my first concert with Evan. (Awww)
  • 1998 – Boy George and The Culture Club, Howard Jones, and The Human League – all in one concert! *This* was a memory. Still one of my best concert-going experiences.
  • 1999 – Low Fidelity All Stars, The Crystal Method, and Orbital – again, three great groups all wrapped in a single concert. This one was at The Tabernacle in Atlanta – which was to become one of my favorite venues.
  • 1999 – The Pet Shop Boys – Absolutely awesome!!! This is one of my top three concert-goings. Again, at The Tabernacle in Atlanta. Evan and I celebrated our two-year anniversary of dating with this weekend trip.
  • 2000 – Elton John – I took my mother to see Elton John for her birthday that year. It was such an interesting concert – it was a classical sort of concert – just Elton and the piano.
  • 2000 – Depeche Mode – It was a dream of Evan’s to see Depeche Mode live. I was not too familiar with the group until I met Evan, and soon enough I was dying to see them. It was fabulous show – they didn’t play People are People or Blasphemous Rumors, but I was satisfied to hear Enjoy the Silence, Your Own Personal Jesus, and their newest hit at the time, Dream On.
  • 2001 – Betty Buckley – The Tony Award-winning performer from Cats I had also seen as Norma in Sunset Boulevard during a theatre trip to NY in 1996. She breezed through Columbia while I was in college.
  • 2001 – Three Dog Night – the 1970s band performed with the Charlotte Symphony in what turned out to be a wonderful concert. “The ink is black, the page is white, together we learn to read and write…”

Since 2001, I have seen numerous theatre and symphonic performances, but no formal concerts that come to mind. I may be forgetting one. If I have I will amend the list.

Groups I would still absolutely love to see include (but are not limited to) Simon and Garfunkel, Journey, Van Halen, Pink Floyd/Roger Waters/whoever is left by the time I see them/him, ABBA, Duran Duran, and Tears for Fears. Maybe someday…

In memory of Chris Penn  0

Posted on January 26th, 2006. About Entertainment.

I was saddened to learn of the recent death of actor Chris Penn. He is probably best known for his role in Reservoir Dogs or perhaps as the brother of Sean Penn, but I will always admire him for his role in Footloose. I saw this movie at a very young age and have been a fan of it ever since. Penn’s character, Willard, is adorable – sweet, rural, simple, yet wanting more out of life.

It’s very odd that he was found dead at the age of 40; the autopsy was negative, making the situation even more suspicious. Toxicology reports are still pending.

I think part of what makes his death so sad for me is the sense that I’m getting older. The thought that a young member of the Footloose cast has passed away, potentially from natural causes, is bizarre, because in my mind I still see Penn as the teenager striding alongside Ren McCormick, aiding him in his fight against the town council to legalize dancing in Bomont. How sad to know that he grew up, grew older, and is no longer with us.

These pretzels are making me thirsty.  1

Posted on January 4th, 2006. About Entertainment.

Evan and I are making our way through the third season of the Seinfeld DVDs – and we are finally entering familiar territory. I found Seinfeld in high school, around 1995-ish, and thus missed many of the earlier episodes, although I went through a phase where I was addicted to the syndicated shows. I am guessing most of the episodes from the first two seasons are not on tv as often (and for good reason – they are not that funny), but I am loving Season Three! I recently revisited the episode where Jerry has to rent a car after his car is stolen, and there are numerous hilarious exchanges during this 23 minute period:

1. After his car is stolen, Jerry calls his car phone and has a discussion with the car thief. The car thief calls him back to ask where the button for the defroster is located. Kramer, in the meantime, asks the thief if his brown gloves are still in Jerry’s glove compartment.

2. The most HILARIOUS part of the episode involves Jerry trying to rent a car. The dialogue goes:

Agent: I’m sorry, we have no mid-size available at the moment.
Jerry: I don’t understand, I made a reservation, do you have my reservation?
Agent: Yes, we do, unfortunately we ran out of cars.
Jerry: But the reservation keeps the car here. That’s why you have the
Agent: I know why we have reservations.
Jerry: I don’t think you do. If you did, I’d have a car. See, you know how to
take the reservation, you just don’t know how to *hold* the reservation and
that’s really the most important part of the reservation, the holding. Anybody
can just take them.

3. Elaine tells Jerry about her new boyfriend and claims, “You would really like him,” to which Jerry replies, “Why do people always say that? I hate everyone, why would I like him?” I was roaring on this one. Who hasn’t said, “You would really like him/her” before?

4. Kramer lands a one-liner in a Woody Allen flick being filmed near the building, and his line is, “These pretzels are making me thirsty.” It becomes the line people say throughout the episode when they don’t know what to say.

Anyway, the beauty of the episode is that it is the first Seinfeld that follows the algorithm for what makes Seinfeld a great show. Each of the characters possesses some independent problem that, individually, creates humor, but as the show progresses their situations become intertwined in such a way that the fate of each relies on the outcomes of the other three. A) Jerry’s car is stolen because the parking attendant left the keys in the ignition. George decides to take over the attendant’s job (typical George, unemployed and unemployable). B) Elaine’s boyfriend has a stroke and is brought to Jerry’s apartment, but the paramedics cannot reach him because of the traffic outside of the building, created by George’s inane desire to park cars for a living. C) This desire of his also delays filming of the Woody Allen movie in which Kramer is to partake. D) On top of everything, the congestion was created because George wrecked Jerry’s rental car. The way the plots come together at the end is a brilliant comical climax, setting the stage for many laughs to come over the ensuing years.

Munich – an awesome film  0

Posted on December 26th, 2005. About Entertainment.

Previously posted on December 26, 2005 at:!1p1a54g1PSNkhyBLLbfi4i8A!147.entry

 Schindler’s List is my all-time favorite film. It is, by far, the most moving and haunting movie I have seen, and Schindler’s transition from miserly profiteer during the harsh atrocities of the Holocaust to compassionate hero is such an astonishing evolution to witness over a three hour period. Twelve years later, Spielberg gives us Munich, which features the aftermath of violence between Israelis and Palestinians resulting from the massacre against the Israeli Olympic team by Palestinian terrorists during the 1972 Olympic Games. Eric Bana superbly captures his role of Avner, a former bodyguard to Prime Minister Golda Meir who is sent to assassinate eleven Palestinian sympathizers implicated in the 1972 Munich murders. Avner and his counterparts are gradually transitioned from “normal” Israeli citizens into unofficial government-hired assassins, killing in hopes that it will bring peace to their country. What they come to see is that no amount of murder will ever result in peace. Both sides of the conflict are explored very well, and the dialogue remarkably conveys the emotions and rationale behind each argument without seeming overtly staged. I would definitely place this one on the Oscar list for 2005. I am appalled that A History of Violence made the Golden Globe list but Munich did not. I see that Munich is up for best director (Spielberg) and best screenplay, but that’s it. Hopefully the Academy will show a bit more good taste for excellent films.

Smells like Schizophrenia  0

Posted on December 21st, 2005. About Entertainment.

Previously posted on December 21, 2005 at:!1p1a54g1PSNkhyBLLbfi4i8A!144.entry

Poor David Letterman!
It is being reported that a woman is seeking a restraining order against him because he is sending her secret signals through gestures and “code words” while doing his late-night talk show. I understand that schizophrenia is a mental illness and I feel great empathy for this woman as well, but for Letterman to have to pay attorneys to defend his “behavior” and his reputation is disturbing.
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