Monday, February 25, 2008

the great green debate

I've been having some interesting debates lately with friends and colleagues about issues concerning sustainable practices in agriculture, transportation, commerce, fuel, recycling, reusing, etc. I've noticed that there is a lot of side-taking going on, i.e. local vs. organic, biodiesel vs. ethanol vs. plug-in vs. bicycle vs. public transport, to name a few. Whereas it has always been my personal opinion that there is no magic bullet, and the only solution to curbing climate change is a multifaceted approach, I must admit that I believe this debate that is happening to be a good one. I'm frankly very happy that people are talking more and more about these issues, and that people are becoming more aware of the solutions and alternatives to the "industrial-age" ways of doing things and feeling impassioned one way or another about one green thing or another! All in all, people seem to be catching the wave. The debate is quite healthy and will lead to more people finding different paths that will all hopefully lead to a better, healthier planet on which to live!

Monday, February 18, 2008

the first dance|the last dance

I will never tire of going out dancing with the girls, because what usually happens is that we end up dancing with a bunch of guys, which was the case this past Sunday night.

My new favorite local band, Rupa and the April Fishes, had a show at Amnesia. Lilia and I had met Aaron, their drummer, a few weeks ago at Café Revolution, where he was informally performing in his Monday night jazz duo. We literally were sitting in on his session as the only available table was right behind his drum set.

The show at Amnesia began with a set from The California Honey Drops, a jazz/blues quartet that reminded me a lot of my years in Mississippi when I used to fly down Interstate 55 to New Orleans to escape the Delta for a weekend of music, dancing, booze and urban anonymity. We stood next to the piano, which was located inconveniently at the bottom of the stage and in the middle of the dance floor. I saw the drummer dancing away on the other side of the piano, so we smiled and waved at each other as the pianist energetically plucked out melodies in black and white.

When the set was over, Jenny C. and I traded off dancing with Johnny, the well-dressed pianist. Rupa and the April Fishes, if you haven't been lucky enough to hear their music yet, play an eclectic blend of klezmer, chanson française, norteña and gypsy, their unique sound resulting from brilliant songwriting and a fantastic combination of instruments, from stand up bass, to cello, to accordion and trumpet (not to mention the drums and Rupa's smooth vocals and guitar). Again my spot was right beside the drummer, but this time the only exchanges we managed was for me to pass him glasses of water every once in a while as the club was packed and HOT (thus we were all sweating profusely), for which he proclaimed me a "goddess."

The dance party didn't end after their encore. The DJ continued with an eclectic music set that included more klezmer, Prince, my fave The Talking Heads (whom the drummer had never heard of... sigh... another annoying sign of my age), and then, the unforgettable, ultimate last song of the night: Love and Happiness by the Reverend Al Green.

My memory is more impressionistic than clear, but I recall hearing the lyrics sung softly in my ear as I danced slowly with my partner, my nose to his neck, my arms draped over his shoulders, his around my waist. It felt like prom night, only without the teenage angst.

There's nothing quite like the memory of dancing cheek to cheek to a classic slow jam to make a girl smile for days on end.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

a good movie for v-day|a bad movie for v-day

I saw Ira Sachs' film Married Life last night, and he was present after the screening for a Q & A with the audience. I loved the film. It was a moving period piece set in the late 40's about adultery, sort of a psychological character study meets film noir. Great performances by Chris Cooper and Patricia Clarkson as husband and wife. Sachs told the audience that he didn't want it to be a typical suspense film noir type of film, hoping that the deep character studies would help the audience relate to the real human stories of love and how we love and how we stop loving or continue to love in different ways and, as the narrator of the film so profoundly stated, the things we do for love.

All I can say is that I've had a lump in my throat ever since I left the theater last night. I was very touched.

Thank you to Mr. Sachs for sharing this beautiful story with us all.

Fabulous costume design and art direction to boot.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

a farm grows in brooklyn

In his article in New York magazine, Manny Howard gives the word locavore a farm-fresh new meaning. A funny, well-written account of his [mis]adventures trying to grow his own food source.

Monday, February 11, 2008

list no. 4 - favorite sounds

1. uncorking a bottle of champagne
2. the flapping of many wings of a flock of birds as they take off in flight
3. the constant rumble of waves crashing at Ocean Beach
4. the attenuation of the last note played by the orchestra at Davies Symphony Hall, mixed with silence before the audience begins to clap
5. the crack of a home run that even a fan in the bleachers can hear (or in our case this weekend, with a wiffle ball and bat at Golden Gate Park!)

and one more

6. soft pitter-patter of Cloud's paws across the duvet as she crawls across the bed to curl up next to me at night

Friday, February 08, 2008

Bush pardons himself

This was also in the film, and makes the situation even more frightening.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

born to bear

I've always jokingly stated that my large hips were physical proof that I was born to bear, but this article gives that lighthearted joke a whole new meaning!

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

bush legalizes torture*** UPDATED

Whereas the practice called waterboarding has been outlawed under the U.N.'s Convention Against Torture.

SO... I just got home from watching the very disturbing documentary called Taxi to the Dark Side. I urge you ALL to run to see it, that is when it is officially released. The film is about the capture and torture of political prisoners from Afghanistan and Iraq in the United States military prisons since the beginning of Bush's War on Terror. If ANYTHING will make someone see the evil that this administration has created as foreign policy, this film will.

I've always known that the war in Iraq has always been about oil, but this film really makes you ask the question if that's really what it's about. Why would anyone WANT to inflict such inhumane treatment upon another human being, innocent or guilty? How can an administration that claims to be the leader of the free world and a stronghold for democracy condone, no, not condone, demand from its soldiers such degrading and dehumanizing means of torture as military interrogation strategy? And how can a government think that they can commit such horrifying atrocities upon another group of people? What are they really looking for? Is it really oil? And if not, then what is it? Why is the Bush administration doing this under the guise of protecting American citizens, when clearly, after such horrific treatment of other human beings, we have become the evildoers and can only expect future retaliation?

Sadly we need only to look at history to see the many examples of inhumane treatment to man, and not even past history but current history (like Darfur for example) to realize that power and greed cause evil. It is sickening to acknowledge that our tax dollars are going to Washington to support this debacle.

So the news that Bush has legalized yet another form of torture is proof that the forms of torture that were used in Abu Graib and Guantanamo are most likely still being used today. This story was seemingly buried in American media. I first read about it as headline news in the French newspaper Libération. As we know, most, if not all, of the torture techniques used in Abu Graib and Guantanamo were contrary to the Geneva conventions. Waterboarding being one of them.

My final note is that last week I sent a letter to Nancy Pelosi urging her to reclaim her dignity as my representative in Washington by introducing Articles of Impeachment against Bush and Cheney. I urge all of you to do the same.

Monday, February 04, 2008

good ole gloria pipes in

Another enlightening article on gender politics (the female gender in particular), this one by Gloria Steinem in the NYT.

And this fascinating debate between Steinem and Melissa Harris-Lacewell on the issues of race and gender in this election.

By far this is THE MOST interesting election we've had in decades.

how d'ya like them apples?

Sarah Silverman is f***ing Matt Damon.

And Sarko is f***ing Carla Bruni. Maybe she should do a music video about it too.

but not that woman

I'm really appalled by the animosity towards Hillary Clinton. It seems that people in this country are so hypocritical, saying that we are ready for a woman to be president, but not that woman. What other kind of woman do people expect to run for President of the United States? People who rise to political power are people who like power and know how to become more powerful. So in the face of a powerful woman, people in this country whose opinions I would otherwise respect become suddenly very sexist and prejudiced. I'm not the biggest Hillary fan, but I do respect what she has accomplished in her life and find her to be a fine role model for young women and young people in general. She has had to compete in a man's world and seems to be doing very well in Washington. This article echoes my current opinion about the negative attitudes toward a powerful woman campaigning for a position of power.

"It has become increasing clear in this presidential campaign that it is harder to run as a woman than as an African American male."

Saturday, February 02, 2008

chic in SF

I find the blog Copenhagen Cycle Chic incredibly inspirational for us Americans who tend to be not-so-cycle-friendly. However, we know that SF is a great city for cycling! I caught this girl biking in a vintage mini, tights and cowboy boots on Friday evening in San Francisco's Mission District, with her basket filled with groceries, riding home with her boyfriend, probably off to cook supper.

Friday, February 01, 2008

last year in the mist

My dad recommended that I see a Greek film called "Landscape in the Mist." He's usually right on when it comes to films, and since I'm a foreign film junkie with a high tolerance for slow-paced dramas, I put the film at the top of my queue.

I can only compare this film to "Last Year at Marienbad." Painfully slow and abstract. I fell asleep at countless occasions and basically kept waiting for something to happen. A couple things do happen, but seem to happen in a vacuum and don't move the story forward. And the motivations of each character are never truly conveyed.

There was one scene in which a gigantic marble hand is helicoptered out of the Mediterranean. I'm all for symbolism in films, but in this case, for me anyway, the big hand only seemed to symbolize the heavy-handed filmmaking of the director.

Both Marienbad and Landscape should be classified more as art than film and viewers deserve the disclaimer.

I'm not usually a fan of action films, but in this case, Theo Angelopoulos, the filmmaker, could have learned a thing or two by watching the Matthew Bourne series a few times, had they been available in the 80's.