Friday, May 8, 2009

Poor Richard

Okay, I'm starting to feel kind of bad.

Undermain Theater here in Dallas has my phone number because I bought tickets to see Euridyce there. And they've been calling me. Hi, we've got a show that's closing this week, and we wanted to invite you to see it before it closes, we're really excited, people like you are the reason that theaters are able to do what we do . . . The little guy just seems so sweet, and so eager. He is like a marketing secret weapon. He just sounds so sincere.

And I'm starting to feel bad for referring to the place as Behind-a-pole Theater. Seeing as when I did go see Euridyce, I ended up behind a giant 3-foot around column that blocked about 20% of my view. And if coming up with a snippy little nickname is a fairly understandable reaction to my lousy seating arrangements, it also not what one would call charitable given the plucky, not-for-profit, let's-put-on-a-show thing those kids got going on. I'm a bitch.

And I've been making excuses to poor little Richard, puppy sweet though he seems, about bad timing and busy schedules. Yadayada. Big fat liar. I just don't want to sit behind a goddamn Ionic view-blocker again. I do get it. A certain amount of inconvenience is part of the funky/groovy/indie arts thing. I'm just not that cool. But, nice try though with the direct dial ticket sales campaign. As far as it goes, guilt is not a bad marketing scheme. Better luck next time. I do feel bad enough that I'll stop calling them the Cantseeathing Theater.

I even feel bad enough to offer him money to make him go away. But giving money to performers just encourages them. And I can't tell him outright that their venue is less than entirely desirable. I don't entirely want to burn the bridge. If they come up with a show that's so good that it's worth only seeing 80% of, I'll go again. I'll just deal with the guilt until then.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Drop it like a bad habit

Saturday, when I was at the movies, the friend who was with me asked afterwards "That wasn't you banging the chairs the whole time was it?" And it wasn't. But I did admit that it was one of my worst habits as a teenager. Whenever I was nervous (which given who I was in those days was about 75 to 80 percent of the time), I'd bounce my knees. It would get really bad during timed tests (tool of Satan), but just being in an unfamiliar place could do it. It took years to stop. Haven't done the jumping bean routine in almost 20 years.

Until I start doing it again this week. I've looked at my desk or a table bumping away, and wondered what could be making that happen? Oh. Me. Possibly because my body all the sudden remembered what it used to do - "Oh, hey! I remember that. Good times." Damn. The thing about nervous habits is, they make you more nervous, not less. I know this. And for chrissakes, what do I have to be nervous about? Chill the F out.

The knee bouncing is one childhood habit where I could have happily skipped the return. Of course, the nail biting, verbal repetition and the lip chewing were no holly jolly Christmas either. I really was a mess. I had weeded most of those down to just rubbing my right ear when I get nervous or uncomfortable. Which is why I never play poker with my sister. Talk about an obvious tell. And she picks up on it every time.

Yeah, well, if all my little neurotic tics think they're going to make a comeback, they can just ferr get it. I kicked their collective asses once, and I can do it again. I may be older now. But I fight much dirtier.

To quote Oscar Wilde: I can resist anything but temptation

He was pure as snow. Then he drifted.

Let me just say, categorically, inspite of anything I may have said, in jest, regarding the obvious attractions of Father Cutie - It wasn't me. My hands never left my wrists. And his hands were never in my bikini bottoms.

This defines the line between "things you say" and "things you do". The things you say are "ha ha". The things you do can end up a "Ha-whoa, no." You can read The Thorn Birds. You shouldn't live The Thorn Birds. That's just a whole world of mess.

And, girl, you goin' straight to hell. Don't mess with the collar.

And speaking of that collar, if the Catholic church isn't going to rethink it's position of on celibacy, it really should re-think the uniform. Cause, let's be real. It's kind of hot. You take even an ordinary looking guy, stick him in all black with a pop of white, and you have one attractive nuisance. It's like bringing out a t-bone and saying "You can look at it. You can smell it. But don't eat it." That's just mean.

Why don't they make all priests wear those monk robes? Baggy, brown burlap tied up with a rope? That's a hard look to pull off, let alone look sexy in. And on the really good looking ones you can pull the hood on 'em. Outta sight, outta mind. Lead me not into temptation.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

When voters say "yes", but their ayes say "no"

I’m only aware of this because I work in downtown Dallas. But as I live in the ‘burbs, I won’t actually get a vote on it. Yet still. This kind of crap just bugs the snot out of me.

There’s an issue coming up about a hotel that the city wants bond money to build a convention hotel. Some people say that if we’re ever going to get the big conventions, we have to have an adequate hotel. Others say that if we even had a shot at the big conventions, a big venture firm would have come in and done it themselves, without using any taxpayer money. Personally, I my partially informed opinion is that it's a lousy idea. But as I say, I’m not a resident of Dallas, and even if I went out and did the research and came up with a fully informed opinion, what I think wouldn’t matter a hill of beans. I’ll just have to rely on Dallas residents to make a fair and judicious decision.

But here’s the thing: this is one of those sneaky ballot issues where no means yes and yes means no. If you vote “no”, you are saying build the hotel. If you vote “yes”, you’re saying don’t build the hotel. Not exactly intuitive, no? Or yes. So unless they do a staggeringly good campaign to let people know which way the vote runs (and that ain't likely), I would hazard to guess that many people will vote against their own opinion, on accident. And if only 10% of voters don’t quite get it, that’s a huge margin for error. I don’t see any way that this vote isn’t a huge waste of time, and thus the snot bugging.

Not the first time this has happened. Or the only town where it happens. And I’m sure there’s some sort of politicianny, convoluted rationalization for the whole backasswards way that issue is proposed. But it’s wrong. They know it’s wrong. Leave it to a politician not to be able to ask a simple question. Especially when they don’t want the simple answer.

Hope and Trepidation

Well, the new Star Trek movie is finally coming out. I’ve gone back and forth on this one a dozen times. Just to set the parameters, I would define myself as a Star Trek fan, but not a Trekkie. I thought the Star Trek Experience in Las Vegas was a hoot and a half and a blast, but a full on convention would be too much for me. I get (and make) Star Trek jokes. I would not learn to speak Klingon. There’s some sort of line there and I haven't crossed it.

So, I’m looking forward to the new flick, and plan to see it in the first week, because I’ve heard there are some twists that I don’t want spoiled. But I’m not sure how much I’ll be disappointed if they seriously fool with the “canon”. I totally think there’s room for tweaking the formula. But sometimes you tweak the formula and end up with New Coke. Sometimes you tweak the formula and get Flamin' Hot Cheetos. And you never look at a Cheeto the same again. . .

Will Chris Pine completely over-write my memories of Bill Shatner as James T. Kirk (and yes, I know what the T. stands for)? No. Not possible. Could Karl Urban be the better Bones? Fairly unlikely. Can Simon Pegg baby those fussy engines? Okay, I may be able to give you that one. I’m willing to see. I think the world could use a new generation of kids who are captured by the idea of a future that still holds new frontiers. I think I’d like a new chance to see a vision of the future that is inclusive (I’ll give bonus points if there’s a romance between Sulu and Chekov; it’s time those two crazy kids got together), optimistic and, let’s just say it, bold.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Meet my friend Paloma

It’s been awhile since I’ve thrown a cocktail recipe in here. And in honor of Cinco de Mayo, I’m going to throw one at you. I know most people just do a pre-bottled margarita (though seriously, once you’ve tried homemade you never go back) or a Corona to celebrate CdeM. And while the Margie and Corona definitely have their place, sometimes you want something different.
This is a great drink whip out to impress your friends and wow your tastebuds. And if you try it and it doesn’t become part of your summer repertoire, I’ll eat a cucaracha. Actually, no I won’t. But trust me. You’ll love it.

Just a couple of notes: Most Paloma recipes call for blanco tequila and white grapefruit juice. Which is nice. But I like my Paloma a little funkier. I use a gold or reposada tequila and ruby red grapefruit. And definitely fresh-squeezed on the juice. Not negotiable. I’ve never found a good way to juice a grapefruit, so I just go in expecting a mess, knowing it’s worth it. Most stores carry agave nectar in Texas, but I don’t know about the rest of the world. It’s good stuff. Great in tea, and a lower glycemic index substitute for honey. If you can’t find it, you can substitute the same amount of simple syrup. I squeeze all the juice ahead of time to make mixing faster. Make lots. You’ll be pouring all night.

1 serving


- Ice
- 2 ounces tequila
- 3 ounces freshly squeezed grapefruit juice
- 1 ounce freshly squeezed lime juice
- 1/2 ounce agave nectar (more or less to taste)
- Sea salt, to rim the glass
- 1 lime wedge, for garnish
- Club soda

Pour the tequila, grapefruit juice, lime juice and agave nectar in a cocktail shaker over ice. Shake until frosty and strain into an ice-filled glass rimmed with sea salt. Garnish with the lime wedge and top with club soda.

I'm making a list, checking it twice . . .

I just read about the UK Black List. Dude. I totally want one of those. I want a list where I can say “Your behavior is totally unacceptable. You are ridiculous. You are banned.” Though probably, I wouldn’t be qualified to go after the really heavy hitters. You know the hate speech, incitement to violence kind of bad people. I’ll just say ditto to the Brits’ list of people on the naughty chair.

But I do think I can come up with a pretty decent list of people who are just beyond the pale, at least socially speaking. Call me a mean girl, but I think we should just come up with a list of people who affront the common sensibility, disgust the right thinking or just generally annoy on a variety of levels, then ignore them until they do something worthwhile. And really, just people who've proved over a long period of time that they just can't make good decisions about their public behavior. Just to get the ball rolling:

  • Mel Gibson: Go back to your wife, if she’ll have your worthless ass. Act, direct, possibly write a memoir. That’s all you’re allowed to do without seeking the permission of a reliable third-party. No drinky, no talky, no whorey around.
  • Bernie Madoff: Give back the money. And if you can’t give back all the money, give back what you have (even the stuff you hid and are trying to pretend is gone). And make a plan to payback the rest. You are a smart guy. Figure it out. And in fact, you and the dickheads at AIG are all on the same warning.
  • Anyone with an E! reality show, on The Hills, or who has ever hung out with Paris Hilton: Shut up. Get an education. Do something for someone else.
  • Anyone in the media who has made money and gotten their sick jollies in the past 10 years spewing politically motivated hate that has created an ideological deadlock that is ruining our country: You are beyond ridiculous. Say something productive. Or. Just. Shut. Up.

There. That kind of starts things. Though there are plenty more people who could go on the Coal List. And please don’t worry. Being on the list is not a death sentence. We will forgive you. Just admit you’re an assoholic. Make amends. Do better. Until then, you’re on the list.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Something Happening Here

I’m going to say this because, I’m starting to wonder if I’m the only one noticing, or maybe it’s not as weird as I think it is. But, seriously, have you noticed how many stories there have been about men killing their own families and then themselves? Or, to a somewhat lesser extent, just themselves or a going shooting spree that also involves family? Most of them are in some sort of financial trouble. Some are laid off. Some were living beyond their means. But I can think of at least a dozen cases since the start of the year, without even straining my brain too hard.

And I don’t mean this in a “men are dangerous” kind of way. I mean this in a “shouldn’t we be helping them?” kind of way. If there was a rash of teenagers or mothers wiping out their families and committing suicide, there would be headlines: “Teens in Trouble” or “Is the American Mother Overwhelmed?”. There would be Oprah shows and Dateline Special Reports. We’d be talking about counseling and resources, and there would be concern. Nobody seems to be making anything out of this. Or maybe I’m just seeing things.

Men are getting hit hard by the financial crisis. Sometimes I think they get a raw deal in this area. They don’t ask, and society doesn’t offer. No matter what our ideals are, men still carry a lot of the emotional financial burden in two-parent households. Nobody rushes to their defense. Nobody seems to take this kind of acting out as a cry of desperation. We run to offer help to women and kids, but men kind of get left in the wind. It just seems “not fair.”

Pass the Popcorn (and a Hankie)

This weekend I went to the USA Film Festival here in Dallas. I could have easily done the entire festival. There were a lot of movies I would have wanted to see. But I settled for my top 2: Sita Sings the Blues and An Imitation of Life.

Sita is really hard to explain beyond that it’s an animated movie. Nina Paley, the woman behind the movie, basically overlays the story of the breakup of her marriage with the Indian story of Sita from the Ramayana, and highlights different parts of the story with songs from a 1930s blues singer. There are a bunch of animation styles used, but for a lot of the movie, Sita looks like a cross between Betty Boop and the opening credits of I Dream of Jeannie.

The very cool thing about the movie is that Nina did most of the movie on her home computer and is taking this very independent approach to getting her movie out to people to see. And that I call her Nina is probably a sign of how indie this thing is. The woman who voices Sita in the movie is one of her friends, and showed up at the screening. She just hung out with people waiting in the line to go in, talked with everybody about Nina and “Sita”, and was very cool and not entirely uppity for a New Yorker (I kid because I love – New Yorkers know they’re uppity). If you want to see it yourself, you can watch it streaming on or order a DVD. They just ask for donations to help with the cost of licensing the music (which is an interesting story in and of itself, also on their website). Otherwise, if you see it playing at a local theater or fest, get out and see it. Definitely rejoices in doing it’s own thing.

The other movie, which I planned and schemed to make sure I got tickets to, was An Imitation of Life. The Douglas Sirk movie from the 1950s. It’s a big florid story, but the subplot that everybody knows is that the black housekeeper has a daughter who looks white. The daughter grows up to reject her mother’s values and life, and decides to pass becoming a trashy chorus girl. The mother just wants her daughter to be happy, and gives her up though it breaks her heart. I cry BUCKETS during this movie. And I was going to see it on a big screen.

But I knew this one might sell out. Partly because it’s seen as a very pioneering movie because of the billing and screen time given to a black character in a 50s movie. Partly because the man who wrote the big tell-all book about Imitation was there (and there is a lot of dish to tell – Lana Turner stars in the movie, and it was shot less than a year after her daughter stabbed Lana’s mobster boyfriend, Johnny Stampanato, to death; yeah, that kind of dish). Partly because it’s kind of a gay cult film. And partly because Miss Juanita Moore, the woman who played the housekeeper and was nominated for a supporting actress Oscar was there to sign autographs!!! Talk about being in the presence of history. (For the record, she’s tiny, a little frail (at 86), and still totally gorgeous and elegant.) I stood in line for tickets, and gave people who tried to make cutsies the nuclear stink eye. And once I had my ticket in my hot little hand, and my rear in seat, I was able to calm down and quit with the stink eye. It was a nice mix of crowd: single women (black and white), couples, film geeks, the rich arts crowd, and the gays (just guessing). This one’s also worth checking out if you get a chance. The drama is high, the costumes are fab and if you don’t tear up by the funeral, you’re made of stone.

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