Tuesday, January 02, 2007

how i spent my winter vacation

Sooo deliciously lazily. I had a handful of vacation days to use up, so I had a one-day work week last week, which I think is ideal. Per holiday tradition since junior high, I made a to-do list so long it would imply I had a month off, and proceeded to do very little of it. But 2006 was all about not pushing myself too hard, and I hope that 2007 can be about pushing myself very gently, like an Atkins dieter slowly reintroducing carbs. I did do a bit of writing and work on a grant application and make three (but no more than three) New Year’s resolutions. Just enough good Puritan work to enable me to have some guilt-free fun.

In between lounging around my apartment and lounging around my dad’s house and lounging around AK’s house, I took in a fair amount of culture, which I will now review in People Magazine-style “bottom line” bullets:

The Queen: Pretty exciting and emotional for a movie about two reserved Brits exchanging polite phone calls, one gently urging the other to make a polite, reserved speech on TV. As a part-Brit, I felt like I got in touch with my polite, reserved roots.

All-Jew Revue at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre: AK and I celebrated our own merry little Christmas by enjoying a smorgasbord (I don’t think that’s a Yiddish word, but it sounds like one, doesn’t it?) of Jewish comedy that included four very funny ladies and one belligerent man who kept trying to make the show all about him. As a part-Jew, I felt like I got in touch with my feminist roots.

Edward Scissorhands at the Ahmanson Theatre: This was AK’s Christmas present to me. Just being at the Music Center on a chilly evening reminiscing about my theater-going college years would have been enough, but the Matthew Bourne “ballet” (modern dance piece with a few ballet moves and lots of angular, character-driven choreography?) was pretty awesome. Without close-ups of Winona and Johnny, I found myself focusing less on the love story and more on the story of the town and the strangely queer allegory: Scary “other” lives on the hill. Finds his way into mainstream. Is shunned at first, but then adored when townsfolk discover he can style hair. Is shunned again when he proves sexual and dates one of their own.

Children of Men: Beautifully detailed, post-apocalyptic story with a strong director, great actors and interesting ideas that becomes, unfortunately, a really long chase scene with guns.

Another Bullshit Night in Suck City by Nick Flynn: The premise of this memoir is inherently interesting—man who works in homeless shelter meets his long-lost father when he shows up as a “guest” one night—but the structure is even more so, as the father and son’s narratives slowly converge. It’s not the story of a do-gooder son and destitute father that it might be, but rather a portrait of two people just barely on either side of blurry line: the father who drinks himself into insanity and the son who does a lot of drugs but eventually gets sober; the father who talks a lot about writing a book no one ever actually sees and the son who writes one about his father.

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