Monday, August 27, 2007

No Approval Matrix ?

There doesn't appear to be an Approval Matrix in this week's issue of New York magazine. It's not on the magazine's website, and I won't have access to an actual magazine until tomorrow. Updates will continue next week. (Next Monday is Labor Day.)

Thanks for reading!

(Update: Last week's Fall Preview issue was a special double-issue; so, posting will resume next Monday 09/10!)

Thursday, August 23, 2007

4th Quadrant 8/27 '07

The Approval Matrix: Week of August 27, 2007

NBC Expands "Today"

On January 14, 1952, TODAY made history when Dave Garroway and the TODAY show made its network debut — the first two-hour morning program of its kind. In September, 2000, the program did it again and expanded to three hours. And now, in the midst of an unprecedented 11-year run as the number-one morning news program, TODAY will once again make its mark on television history, and expand to four hours. The new hour will launch in September, 2007. (TODAY)

Home Run Apple

Gothamist reports that the Home Run Apple will not be moved to the Mets’ new Citi Field baseball stadium when the team moves in 2009; however, fans can still sign a petition at to prevent the Apple’s retirement.

The Home Run Apple has been sitting behind the center field wall in Shea Stadium for 27 years.

"Rehab" Singer Winehouse in Rehab

Hollyscoop has a link to a Sun story that reveals that Amy Winehouse went on three-day drug bender before collapsing from an overdose. She took ecstasy, cocaine, and horse tranquillizer - washed down with vodka and whisky.

Winehouse was eventually rushed to the hospital at 1 A.M. on Wednesday August 8, 2007 for an emergency adrenaline shot, and to get her stomach pumped. She subsequently checked into a private wing at The Priory rehab facility in Roehampton, South West London.

Her song “Rehab,” which has been nominated for several MTV VMAs, is about her manager’s attempts to send her to a rehab facility.

Dinner with Brett Ratner

eBay auctioned off a dinner with “Rush Hour 3” director Brett Ratner with the proceeds benefiting the Simon Wiesenthal Center Museum in Los Angeles. Bidding has ended with a winning bid of $15,800.00. (eBay)

“Daddy Day Camp”

“Daddy Day Camp” is a 2007 comedy film directed by Fred Savage, and is a sequel to “Daddy Day Care.” All returning characters have been recast, with Cuba Gooding, Jr. assuming the lead in place of Eddie Murphy.

Plot Summary: After “Daddy Day Care,” Charlie (Gooding, Jr.) starts Daddy Day Camp with Phil Ryerson (Paul Rae) and the new Lance Warner (Lochlyn Munro) after Charlie's son chooses to go to camp. Subsequently, the camp director leaves Charlie and Phil to tend for the camp. Starting with 35 kids, by the second day there are only seven kids remaining, leaving Camp Driftwood facing foreclosure. Those kids band together when Charlie's Father, Col. Buck Hinton, starts to control the whole camp. Eventually the kids start to form a team instead of fighting each other. They battle the rival day camp in an Olympian, hoping to increase attendance, and thereby prevent foreclosure. (Wikipedia)


"Rush Hour 3"

Plot Outline for “Rush Hour 3” from IMDb: After an attempted assassination on Ambassador Han, Lee and Carter head to Paris to protect a French woman with knowledge of the Triads' secret leaders.

N.V. Cooper of E! Online says, “… Chan and Tucker have such a delightful rapport that they come close to perfecting the buddy-cop genre,” but Nigel Andres of the Financial Times says, “None but the mad will want to see Rush Hour 3.”


Wednesday, August 22, 2007

3rd Quadrant 8/27 '07

The Approval Matrix: Week of August 27, 2007

The 1st Annual New York State Yo-Yo Contest

From New York Yo-Yo: The 1st Annual New York State Yo-Yo Contest and International Yo-Yo Open took place on August 11, 2007, on Pier 17 at the South Street Seaport. It was the first time world-class yo-yo talent took the stage deep in the heart of the Big Apple! The contest and open was a showcase for entertainment, education, and eye-popping yo-yo ability.

"Sweet Child of Mine" by Hand

Dark Knight Advance Screening

 posts that the cast and crew of Dark Knight — the follow-up to 2005's Batman Begins — made a special convention appearance at the Wizard World Chicago 2007 to take questions from the fans and screen a special "sizzle reel" cut exclusively for the event. In attendance were the film's director Christopher Nolan, writers David Goyer and Jonathan Nolan, and cast Christian Bale (Bruce Wayne/Batman), Gary Oldman (Lt. James Gordon) and Aaron Eckhart (Harvey Dent/Two-Face).

… the reel showed off a number of shots of Heath Ledger as The Joker. The Clown Prince of Crime was seen sitting in a prison cell, staring out at the audience and planning his next move. There were also several shots of Batman and The Joker fighting in what appeared to be an interrogation room— in fact, the Dark Knight can be scene using "bad cop" interrogation techniques, throwing The Joker across a table. There was also a scene where The Joker was meeting with Rachel Dawes (Maggie Gyllenhaal).

(The Dark Knight Photos: Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Heath Ledger, Christopher Nolan. © Warner Bros.)

Phil "The Scooter" Rizzuto


The Times relates that Phil Rizzuto, the sure-handed Hall of Fame Yankees shortstop nicknamed the Scooter who extended his Yankee life as a popular, even beloved, broadcaster, punctuating his game calls with birthday wishes to fans and exclamations of ''Holy cow!'' died Monday night [August 13, 2007]. He was 89.

Rizzuto joined the Yankees in 1941 and played 13 seasons (he missed three while in the Navy during World War II) until 1956. His departure was abrupt. No longer willing to carry an aging, seldom-used infielder, the Yankees cut him on Old-Timers' Day. Soon after, he began calling Yankee games for WPIX-TV Channel 11 and remained in that job until 1996. Rizzuto played an integral role on the dynastic Yankees before and after World War II.

He was a masterly bunter and defensive specialist for teams that steamrolled to 10 American League pennants and won 8 World Series championships, including 5 in a row from 1949 to 1953.

Joba the Dread

Dan Graziano writes in The Star-Ledger, “The story of the month is Joba Chamberlain -- the 21-year-old [American Indian] with the turbo fastball who has burst into the Yankees' pennant-race bullpen and become the new toast of the Bronx. He comes complete with a catchy name, an eager attitude and a tear-jerking human-interest story about a father who overcame tough odds to raise him on his own. The people cheer for him. They chant for him. They cry out for him to save their season from the Proctor/Farnsworth quicksand in which it once seemed hopelessly caught.”

Tony Wilson

(1950 – 2007)

Bill Doskoch has a post on his blog from the Times that Tony Wilson, a music impresario credited with guiding a crop of bands from industrial England to the international stage, died Friday [August, 10 2007]. He was 57.

Wilson promoted a host of influential musicians from his native city of Manchester in northern England, including Joy Division, New Order and the Happy Mondays.

He died from complications of kidney cancer, the city's Christie Hospital said.

Wilson's influence on the city, and on British music, is documented in the 2002 movie ''24 Hour Party People,'' which charts the rise -- and eventual fall -- of Wilson's empire, which included Factory Records and the Hacienda nightclub.

Kevin Nealon on Weeds

Buddy TV writes that Showtime's Weeds is a dark comedy series that chronicles the life of Nancy Botwin in the fictional upper-middle class suburb of Agrestic, California. Nancy begins selling marijuana (also known in American slang as "weed") to supplement her income and maintain her lifestyle. Weeds contrasts well the illicit drug use and distribution in the nice suburb of Agrestic with the support, help, and purchases from seemingly innocent residents.

Doug Wilson is played by Kevin Nealon on Weeds. Doug is Nancy Botwin's accountant and advisor to her cannabis business, and naturally doubles as Nancy's best client. He is a man with a good heart and the best intentions, but his words are always cast in doubt because he is high in cannabis most of the time.

Kevin Nealon became famous for the characters he played on the hit show Saturday Night Live for almost a decade. His film credits include Anger Management, Daddy Day Care and Grandma's Boy.

"The Stage Names" by Okkervil River

Dan Raper of Popmatters opines that, “… Okkervil River’s latest album [“The Stage Names”] announces itself with a lyric of characteristic desolation. … they’ve given us an album full of treasured glimpses of fractured existence, part autobiography and part cinema.”

“…on the whole the album is remarkably listenable. In fact, The Stage Names may be a perfect entrée point for listeners curious about this quiet Austin phenomenon. It’s no surprise the songs themselves are almost universally high quality, and occasionally breathtaking.”

“It’s one of the year’s essential albums.”

Okkervil River is an indie band from Austin, Texas, that formed in 1998. (Wikipedia)

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

2nd Quadrant 8/27 '07

The Approval Matrix: Week of August 27, 2007

“The Lives of Others”

Plot summary for “The Lives of Others” from IMDb: Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck's movie debut focuses on the horrifying, sometimes unintentionally funny system of observation in the former East Germany. In the early 1980s, the successful dramatist Georg Dreyman and his longtime companion Christa-Maria Sieland, a popular actress, are big intellectual stars in the socialist state, although they secretly don't always think loyal to the party line. One day, the Minister of Culture becomes interested in Christa, so the secret service agent Wiesler is instructed to observe and sound out the couple, but their life fascinates him more and more...

Dana Stevens of Slate says, “The Lives of Others is the best surveillance movie since The Conversation.”

“The Lives of Others” won the 2007 Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.

“Inland Empire”

Plot summary from IMDb for “Inland Empire:” A blonde actress is preparing for her biggest role yet, but when she finds herself falling for her co-star, she realizes that her life is beginning to mimic the fictional film that they're shooting. Adding to her confusion is the revelation that the current film is a remake of a doomed Polish production, “47”, which was never finished due to an unspeakable tragedy.

The three hour “Inland Empire” is David Lynch’s first feature in five years since “Mulholland Drive”, and took three years to make.


Michael Smuin’s, “Shinju” is based on an 18th century Japanese play about a centuries-old legend of two star-crossed lovers. It is a tale of love and bloody death in old Japan.

The Star-Ledger reports that "Shinju's" chilling hara-kiri scene borrows the protracted movement style of butoh and incorporates such devices as the off-stage sound effects with wooden blocks and the "invisible" black-clad attendants of kabuki theater and noh drama. Yet even in this work, inspired by Smuin's travels around the world and his appetite for spectacle and surprise, the women in a deadly love triangle dance on pointes.

Michael Smuin collapsed and died of a heart attack on April 23, 2007 while teaching a company class. He won an Emmy in 1984 for Outstanding Achievement in Choreography “Great Performances: Dance in America,” and won a Tony Award in 1988 for Best Choreography “Anything Goes.”

The Smuin Ballet performed through last Saturday at the Joyce Theater.

Seventy-nine Short Essays on Design

From the publisher's website: Seventy-nine Short Essays on Design is a collection of writings by Michael Bierut. The 272-page hardcover book brings together twenty years of essays on subjects that range from New York’s faulty “Push for Walk Signal” buttons, to the disappearance of the AT&T logo, to the implications of Vladimir Nabokov’s Pale Fire for interaction designers.

Many of the pieces first appeared on Design Observer, the popular blog that Michael edits with Jessica Helfand and Bill Drenttel. Seventy-nine Essays also includes pieces that appeared elsewhere and pieces that have never been published in other collections, like “Waiting for Permission,” “How to Become Famous” and “Ten Footnotes on a Manifesto.”

If you seek a design book that navigates with aplomb between French semioticians, typographers, movie stars and Mad magazine cartoonists, Seventy-nine Short Essays on Design is the one for you.

The Voyage That Never Ends

The New York Review of Books writes that, “Notorious for a misspent life full of binges, blackouts, and unimaginable bad luck, Malcolm Lowry managed, against every odd, to complete and publish two novels, one of them, Under the Volcano, an indisputable masterpiece. At the time of his death in 1957, Lowry also left behind a great deal of uncollected and unpublished writing: stories, novellas, drafts of novels and revisions of drafts of novels (Lowry was a tireless revisiter and reviser—and interrupter—of his work), long, impassioned, haunting, beautiful letters overflowing with wordplay and lament, [and]fraught short poems ... “

“Here, in The Voyage That Never Ends, the poet, translator, and critic Michael Hofmann has drawn on all this scattered and inaccessible material to assemble the first book that reflects the full range of Lowry's extraordinary and singular achievement.”

Malcolm Lowry was born in Wallasey, in the English county of Cheshire, and by the time he graduated from college had developed the twin obsessions of alcohol and literature. His Wikipedia page goes on to say that when Lowry died, certainly alcohol, and possibly an overdose of sleeping pills, contributed to what the coroner recorded as 'death by misadventure'.

Dave Egger's Moleskine Notebook Video

Monday, August 20, 2007

1st Quadrant 8/27 '07

The Approval Matrix: Week of August 27, 2007

Boston Fashion Week

Gawker opines that no one important will go to Boston Fashion Week, because as one reader states, it’s being held at the same time as New York Fashion Week, and that none of Boston’s most important buyers, editors, or fashion advertisers will even be in town.

From its website, Boston Fashion Week, “serves as a platform for both established industry professionals and aspiring newcomers to showcase the great wealth of local talent.”

Croc's Store in Soho

The Real Deal relates that in August, the company that makes Crocs signed a lease for a space in Soho; the store is expected to open in the spring. The company has so far grown through Internet sales and third-party retailers. The Crocs store at 143 Spring Street will be the company's first bricks-and-mortar location in the United States.

Crocs will be directly across the street from Chanel, where no shoes are priced below $500 and several styles sell for upward of $1,000. In contrast, most of Crocs' models cost between $30 and $40.

Crocs setting up shop three blocks west of Broadway can be seen as a sign of the changing face of Soho retail. While discount shoe shops and mainstream retailers like Banana Republic have dominated Broadway, the side streets west of Broadway have long been characterized by pricey, exclusive brands. also reports that Crocs has taken over the space at 270 Columbus Ave on the Upper West Side.

“John from Cincinnati” Dunked

Whitney Matheson at Pop Candy said,” HBO has canceled “John from Cincinnati,” which is a good thing, because I was tired of figuring out what the heck was going on. Seriously, what was the finale all about? Anyone?”

The Post reports that creator/producer David Milch said he was extremely proud of "John from Cincinnati" and unapologetic about the show's complexity, which likely played a role in depressing viewership.

“John from Cincinnati” was a HBO series about a community of southern California surfers who are visited by a stranger from another world.

New York - Haunted House?

Lexington Avenue was reopened at 41st Street for the first time last week since the steam-pipe explosion, but reported that two construction workers found themselves 10 feet underground during the same week after the sidewalk they were working on collapsed beneath them.

The ground gave in at around 1:15 p.m. at 148 West 36th Street, between 7th Avenue and Broadway. A Fire Department spokesman, Seth Andrews, said the two men were immediately pulled to safety by fellow workers.

Me and Mr. Darcy

Alexandra Potter writes in her review of Me and Mr. Darcy on that Emily Albright, a 29 year old single woman has been on a series of bad dates. But when she leaves her apartment and book store management job in New York City behind for a one-week tour of the English countryside over the New Year’s holiday she finds love in the most unexpected ways.

When she encounters a dark and brooding fellow during a tour of Jane Austen’s home, she can’t believe her eyes. She has come face to face with the real Mr. Darcy. Suddenly her fantasy is reality, as she gets to know the brooding and handsome Mr. Darcy and the charming world in which he lives, which consists of moonlight horseback rides, poetry, and flowers.

At the heart of the book, Emily must decide whether her fantasy is one that she really does want to live, or if her idealized view of men by way of Mr. Darcy is indeed too good to be true.

USA TODAY has an excerpt from the first chapter.

Karl the First

The Times reports the following: Karl Rove, President Bush's political adviser, intends to resign at the end of this month to return to Texas. His decision to step down, effective Aug. 31, follows major setbacks for the Bush administration, such as the Democrat's takeover of Congress last year, and the struggle in Iraq, which have led to dramatically waning approval ratings.

“It always seemed there was a better time to leave out there in the future,” Mr. Rove said, “but now is the time. “

The resignation is a major turning point in the Bush administration. Mr. Rove has been one of Mr. Bush's closest advisers for more than a decade. He has worked side by side with him since Mr. Bush first announced he was running for the governor of Texas in 1993.

The full Times article has a timeline, slide show, and video.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

4th Quadrant 8/20 '07

Week of August 20, 2007

MTV's "Rappin' with the Stars"

Reality Blurred reports that MTV is following ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars” lead by developing a series called “Rapping with the Stars.” It’s exactly what it sounds like: “a reality competition show that will pair celebs with hip-hop pros.” Variety elaborates by reporting that the “teams [square] off in a range of rap-oriented musical challenges” and “[a] hip-hop world panel will judge.” The show does not have a debut date.

'Bratz: The Movie''

Bratz The Doll

The Times reports that since introducing the line of overtly sexy dolls in 2001, the dolls have sold over 150 million Bratz around the world, but negative public perception has prevented the Bratz from blossoming into a full-scale entertainment phenomenon.

Parents and child advocacy groups have long argued that the dolls, with their fishnet stockings, pouty lips and micro-mini skirts, encourage pre-adolescent sexuality. With ''Bratz: The Movie,'' MGA and Lionsgate want to change that image. The live-action film, co-produced by Paula Abdul, portrays the four characters as misunderstood teenage prodigies who decipher complicated algebra problems and apply lip gloss with the same gusto. They volunteer to do household chores and chirp lines like, ''My mom is my hero.''

''The goal is to broaden the appeal by demonstrating to parents and children alike that there is more to these characters than what they think,'' said Steve Beeks, president of Lionsgate. As for the content of the movie, producers tried to blend naughty and nice. The Bratz might bare their midriffs, cake their faces in makeup and worship stiletto boots, but they know wrong from right: they decide to teach the school a lesson in diversity by winning a talent show.

Amy Biancolli of the Houston Chronicle says of ''Bratz: The Movie,” “O.M.G! This movie is SO BAD!”

(IMDb Plot Outline: During their first year of high school, four best girlfriends face off against the domineering student body president who wants to split them up into different social cliques.)


The Band 1990s

The 1990s are an indie rock three-piece band from Glasgow, Scotland. Radar opines that, “Their debut full-length “Cookies” is possibly the album of the year and features some of the most hilarious lyrics ("I would not like to play chess with a man in a vest, unless he was wearing a Stetson"), and from the band’s Wikipedia page, the band plays music "like a blonde gets out of a car."

James Blunt's Unbeautiful "1973"

According to the singer’s Wikipedia entry, James Blunt is an English singer-songwriter whose debut album, Back to Bedlam, and single releases — especially the number one hit "You're Beautiful" — brought him to fame in 2005.

From songs entry - “1973” is the first single released from the James Blunt album “All The Lost Souls.” First performed by Blunt during his Fall 2006 North American tour, it was released for radio play on July 23, 2007 to selected radio stations around the world. It was made available for download exclusively from the Verizon Wireless network in the United States on that date as well. On August 7, 2007, the song was made widely available for digital download. CD and vinyl recordings will be released on September 3, 2007.

Morgan Freeman + Axe?

According to AdverBlog, Morgan Freeman is not promoting the new marketing campaign for Axe Vice. It is the actor pictured in the screen shot below. AdverBlog opines that the campaign is, “an idea which is half way between CSI and Kiss the Girls,” and isn’t running in major Western countries. The commercial has been removed from YouTube.


The plot outline from IMDb - A writer (Duchovny) tries to juggle his busy career, his relationship with his daughter and his ex-wife, as well as his appetite for beautiful women.

From the show's official website -Famed novelist & NYC transplant Hank Moody (David Duchovny) relocates to LA after his acclaimed book is optioned, but it later becomes a crappy romantic comedy, which sparks a horrible case of writer's block. He's struggling to get his career back on track with the help of his agent/best friend, raise his pre-teen daughter, all while pining for his ex-girlfriend, who is now engaged to another man. It may sound desperate, but he enjoys life and owns all his various vices — drink, drugs and women — with a refreshing sense of honesty and unapologetic candor. He's holding it together while falling apart, and he doesn't mind it one bit.

"Californication" Special Preview

Technical Difficulties

I'm having technical difficulties switching to the new domain name, I hope to have the 4th quadrant posted later this afternoon. I'm going to cancel the domain name switch to the weekend.

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

3rd Quadrant 8/20 '07

Week of August 20, 2007

Tudor City PL & 42nd Scene
The Bourne Ultimatum

(Spoiler Alert) Jason Bourne sent the following text message to Pamela Landy (Joan Allen), who was trying to help Bourne.

Tudor City PL & 42nd
Ten minutes
Come alone

The text message was interrupted by the corrupt CIA official Noah Vosen (David Strathairn), and the rest of the CIA who were violently trying to capture Bourne. Almost the entire CIA staff rushed to Tudor City to detain Bourne. Bourne called Vosen at Tudor City PL, and they had the following conversation:
Bourne: “You didn’t actually think I was coming to Tudor City did you?”

Vosen: “No I guess not. Look if it’s me you want to talk to perhaps we can arrange a meeting?”

Bourne: “Where are you now?”

Vosen: “I’m sitting in my office.”

Bourne: “I doubt that.”

Vosen: “Why would you doubt that?”

Bourne: “If you were in your office right now we would be having this conversation face-to-face.”

After Vosen, and the other CIA staff left for Tudor City, Bourne entered the building and confiscated the documents from Vosen’s safe, that lead to his freedom, and Vosen’s conviction.

Minesweeper The Movie

From the game’s Wikipedia page - Minesweeper is a single-player computer game. The object of the game is to clear an abstract minefield without detonating a mine. The most well-known version comes bundled with later versions of Microsoft Windows. The game's origins can be traced back to a paper-based gambling game in the 1950s, and as a computer game called Cube from 1973.

The game screen consists of a field of squares. Each square can be uncovered, by clicking on it. If a square that contains a mine is clicked, the game is over. If the square does not contain a mine, one of two things can happen: (1) A number appears indicating the number of adjacent squares containing mines, or (2) no number appears; in which case the game automatically clears those squares adjacent to the empty square (since they cannot contain mines).

Minesweeper The Movie

Queens-Native and Mets’ Fan

Matt Murphy

Gothamist relates that Matt Murphy, a 22 year-old Queens-native and Mets’ fan, was on a one-day layover to Australia when he bought a ticket from a scalper to the Giants’ game in San Francisco. While wearing a Mets' jersey and t-shirt, Matt caught or grabbed Barry Bond’s 756th career home run ball, which gave Bonds the Major League home run record surpassing Hank Aaron. Murphy came out of the pile bloodied, and high-fiving fans, after putting the ball into his shorts. He was escorted out of the bleachers by members of the San Francisco Police Department. Estimates for the ball are between $400,000-500,000.

LonelyGirl15 2006-2007

(Spoiler Alert)
AOL News reports that, “After more than a year and 260 episodes, 16-year old Bree, the main character on the Web drama "LonelyGirl15," was killed off Friday at the hands of the religious cult that had chased her for the life-giving qualities of her rare blood type.

In her last appearance on the popular and influential Web show, Bree, portrayed by Jessica Lee Rose, lies lifeless on a table while her blood is transfused into one of the cult's elders. The monotone of her flat-lining heart pierces the silence as her devastated friends watch from a distance.

But her death was not in vain! Setting the show up for its second season, Bree reveals in a post-mortem voice mail that the cult, "The Order," is pursuing other girls with the same blood properties.

The Season One finale played out in 12 videos posted over a 12-hour period exclusively on MySpaceTV and the "LonelyGirl15" Web site.”

Season One Recap

Beyoncé @ MSG

The Times opines of Beyoncé, “She’s the woman with everything: the voice, the moves, the songs, the ideas and the clothes.” The Times review of her concert goes on to say that, “The two-hour set was a brilliant pop extravaganza that kept the songs at its center…she was in constant motion, strutting in costumes (most of them silvery), from miniskirts to formal dresses, flesh-toned bodysuit to bikini to negligee. The set was full of minithemes: bee references (as in B for Beyoncé), homages to predecessors like James Brown and Donna Summer, reminders about Beyoncé’s celebrity and her fashion tie-ins. It revolved around her star presence. When she wasn’t thanking her fans, she was demanding louder sing-alongs. Along the way the concert was a showcase for her consistently expanding music, from the kinetic dance beats of songs like “Get Me Bodied” to dramatic ballads like “Flaws and All” ..."


The band's Wikipedia page relates that Robert Forster and Grant McLennan formed the indie rock band The Go-Betweens in Australia in 1977. Forster and McLennan eventually pursued solo careers in the ‘90s, but reformed The Go-Betweens in 2000. The band officially ended in 2006 with the death of McLennan.

The Sydney Morning Herald in its review of “Intermission” states that after the remastered reissues of the original Go-Betweens albums, which were released last year, comes an attractively packaged set of what could reasonably be called the pick of the solo years. In keeping with the Go-Betweens' tradition of equal time, both men have a disc with 13 tracks. In these selections, however, it is amusing and maybe comforting to realize that although the albums were recorded in London, Brisbane, Sydney, Athens, Georgia, Melbourne and Berlin, the songs remained distinctively Forster and McLennan, with all their strengths and weaknesses.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

2nd Quadrant 8/20 '07

Week of August 20, 2007

David Wolk's Reading Comics

Jeremy Estes of writes of Wolk’s Reading Comics, “Wolk analyzes comics components—pictures, words, negative space—and how a readers’ mind transforms that information into a story. Complex ideas, such as how comics suggest motion, how sound and sense are all present but never explicit, are discussed and dissected with the seriousness which they deserve.... Wolk’s arguments are bolstered by more than 100 illustrations…, allowing the reader to see the concepts of time and space as they’re actually represented on the comics’ page. By using specific examples, ideas that might at first seem daunting… begin to make sense.”


From the film’s website: The first film of its kind to chronicle the reasons behind Iraq’s descent into guerilla war, warlord rule, criminality and anarchy, NO END IN SIGHT is a jaw-dropping, insider’s tale of wholesale incompetence, recklessness and venality. Based on over 200 hours of footage, the film provides a candid retelling of the events following the fall of Baghdad in 2003 by high ranking officials… NO END IN SIGHT examines the manner in which the principal errors of U.S. policy – the use of insufficient troop levels, allowing the looting of Baghdad, the purging of professionals from the Iraqi government, and the disbanding of the Iraqi military – largely created the insurgency and chaos that engulf Iraq today.

“NO END IN SIGHT” won the Special Jury Prize for Documentary at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival.


Christine Baranski reports that Christine Baranski, who will play Tanya in the film version of “Mamma Mia!,” had previously said that she would likely star in the Theatre for a New Audience production of “Antony and Cleopatra,” but the company has yet to officially announce its 2007-08 season.

According to she stated in a Time Out New York interview that "I’m supposed to do “Antony and Cleopatra” with Theatre for a New Audience, but that’s not for a while."

However, the two–time Tony Award winner for her work in “The Real Thing” and “Rumors” will be part of "An Evening of Shakespeare: Antony and Cleopatra" at the 92nd Street on March 3, 2008.

“Private Fears in Public Places”

The plot outline for “Private Fears in Public Places” on IMDb is, “In Paris, six people all look for love, despite typically having their romantic aspirations dashed at every turn,” and from the IFC YouTube channel, “Set inside a magically snowbound Paris, six lonely souls converge and commingle in their search for lasting connections.”

The Chicago Tribune writes that “Private Fears in Public Places” is a comedy-drama that follows six characters in search of romance through a set of criss-crossing amours and relationships. The characters reappear in each other's segments, often exposing sides we don't initially see. The film is made with such high polish and artful simplicity that every shot, movement and speech seems perfect.

“Private Fears in Public Places” Trailer

Rialto Pictures Retrospective @

From, “Over the past ten years Rialto Pictures has enriched American film culture by both reviving a significant number of classic films not seen in theaters since their original runs and premiering extraordinary films never before distributed in America. Taking care to release fresh, and often restored, 35mm prints with new English subtitles, Rialto has given a new generation of filmgoers the opportunity to experience the works of masters—such as Robert Bresson, Luis Buñuel, Jules Dassin, Federico Fellini, and Carol Reed, to name a few—as they were meant to be seen, and invites those who saw these films years ago to revisit them.”

New York Cool lists some of the classics in the retrospective:

  • Jules Dassin’s stylish and taut heist film Rififi (1955),
  • Carol Reed’s memorable film noir thriller The Third Man (1949), and
  • Jean-Pierre Melville’s powerful depiction of French Resistance fighters in L’armée des ombres (Army of Shadows, 1969), which was released in the United States for the first time in 2006, to wide critical acclaim.

The Museum of Modern Art
Rialto Pictures: Reviving Classic Cinema
The Roy and Niuta Titus 1 and 2 Theaters
July 25–August 10, 2007

The Septembers of Shiraz

Publisher Comments: Isaac Amin, an Iranian Jew, is arrested and imprisoned shortly after the 1979 revolution in Iran, accused of being a Zionist Spy. Dalia Sofer's remarkably accomplished debut novel, The Septembers of Shiraz, follows his descent from a venerated, wealthy jeweler to a helpless prisoner, and chronicles the disquieting effect of his arrest on his family.

The Times says, "The Septembers of Shiraz is a remarkable debut: the richly evocative, powerfully affecting depiction of a prosperous Jewish family in Tehran shortly after the revolution."

Here is a succinct review on

Collected Poems
by Frederick MacNeice

Frederick Louis MacNeice (September 12, 1907 – September 3, 1963) wrote in his introduction to Autumn Journal, “Poetry in my opinion must be honest before anything else and I refuse to be 'objective' or clear-cut at the cost of honesty.”

Frederick MacNeice was a British and Irish poet and playwright whose pleasure in things became, in his social poetry, a pleasure in people. The Literary Review opines that his work enacted a struggle between darkness and light. Variety being the spice of life, he set himself to champion variety and oppose homogeneity; his poetic joie de vivre had its source in a breaking wave.

The Literary Review goes on to say that this new, centenary Collected Poems, replacing E R Dodds' 1979 edition, is both more expansive and easier to negotiate, and appendices bring together much scattered and previously uncollected material. Peter McDonald's splendid new edition should put Frederick MacNeice’s standing beyond question.

Neo Rauch at the Met

The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s website relates that the Leipzig artist Neo Rauch, is one of the most widely acclaimed painters of his generation. Shaped by the experience of growing up in East Germany, Rauch’s paintings teeter between Surrealism and popular imagery and defy easy interpretation. Viewers are drawn into scenes replete with historical figures in ambiguous landscapes. With a distinctive palette of bright acidic colors contrasting with deep shadows, the artist’s paintings conjure up an atmosphere of confused nostalgia and failed utopias.

According to the New Yorker’s review of the exhibit, Rauch stated that his subjects often derive from his dreams, and that the recurrent character types—sensitive young man, bearded older man, chunky young woman, and proletarian, military, or fire-brigade squad—all represent him.

Neo Rauch at the Met: para is on display until October 14, 2007.

Pilobolus Dance Theater

The Pilobolus Dance Theater is an internationally known American dance company that started in 1971 in a dance class taught by Alison Chase at Dartmouth College. The theater’s Wikipedia pages states that, “Their performances have long been characterized by a strong element of physical interaction between the bodies of the performers, and exaggerations or contortions of the human form (or other anthropomorphic forms), often verging on gymnastics.”

The Times review of Pilobolus mentions that, “Its performers look as much animal as human. Further yet: Much of its imagery is vegetable, flora rather than fauna. Sometimes we find we’re watching amoebas; changing organisms; explosions of seed heads.”

If you missed the August 11 performance at the Joyce Theater, Pilobolus will be back in the New York area on the following dates in 2008:
March 29, 30 Queens Theater in the Park
February 16 Stony Brook Staller Center

Pilobolus @ 79th (2007) Oscar Awards

Monday, August 13, 2007

1st Quadrant 8/20 '07

Week of August 20, 2007

Baby Einstein

Jean Lotus writes on that a study from the American Academy of Pediatrics shows that watching videos as a toddler may lead to Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). TV watching "rewires" an infant’s brain, says Dr. Dimitri a lead researcher. The damage shows up at age 7 when children have difficulty paying attention in school. In the study of more than 2,000 children, Christakis found that for every hour watched at age one and age three, the children had almost a ten percent higher chance of developing attention problems that could be diagnosed as ADHD by age 7. A toddler watching three hours of infant television daily had nearly a 30 percent higher chance of having attention problems in school.

Jean Lotus goes on to write that an explosion of kidvids has hit the market, which includes Baby Einstein. These videos are peddled as "educational tools" to "give your baby a head start." The truth is, they are a video-tether that keeps babies out from underfoot, and takes away crucial life experiences from the child.

In 1998 the Academy of American Pediatrics advised that no child under age two should watch television at all.

"Working-Class Millionaires"

According to the Times, “Working-Class Millionaires” are those nose-to-the-grindstone people who much to their surprise, are still working as hard as ever even as they find themselves among the fortunate few. They are amply cushioned against the anxieties and jolts that worry most people living paycheck to paycheck, but they still do not think of themselves as particularly fortunate, in part because they are surrounded by people with more wealth — often a lot more.

Gary Kremen, founder of said, “It’s just like Wall Street, where there are all these financial guys worth $7 million wondering what’s so special about them when there are all these guys worth in the hundreds of millions of dollars.”

The full Times article includes a video profile of a “Working-Class Millionaire.”

Ingmar Bergman Archive

Variety reports that the Ingmar Bergman archive is in jeopardy because executives say they need $600,000 to digitize Mr. Bergman’s notes that have become so thin that they are almost impossible to read. The Swedish government currently provides $250,000 annually, but it is not clear if it will continue to bestow the funds.

The archive’s Astrid Soderberg-Widing said: “I think we will be able to keep the archive and the webpage running, but to digitize the archives, we need at least another $600,000. It’s an international scandal that the Swedish state does not seem interested in providing the money we lack.”

Man Booker Prize Longlist

The judges for the 2007 Man Booker Prize for Fiction announced on August 7, 2007 their longlist of 13 books in the running for the prize this year. The books were chosen from 110 entries; 92 were submitted for the prize and 18 were called in by the judges.

The longlist is as follows:

  • Darkmans by Nicola Barker (Fourth Estate)
  • Self Help by Edward Docx (Picador)
  • The Gift Of Rain by Tan Twan Eng (Myrmidon)
  • The Gathering by Anne Enright (Jonathan Cape)
  • The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid (Hamish Hamilton)
  • The Welsh Girl by Peter Ho Davies (Sceptre)
  • Mister Pip by Lloyd Jones (John Murray)
  • Gifted by Nikita Lalwani (Viking)
  • On Chesil Beach by Ian McEwan (Jonathan Cape)
  • What Was Lost by Catherine O'Flynn (Tindal Street)
  • Consolation by Michael Redhill (William Heinemann)
  • Animal's People by Indra Sinha (Simon & Schuster)
  • Winnie & Wolf by A.N. Wilson (Hutchinson)
Chair of judges, Howard Davies, comments: "This year's longlist is very diverse, with four first time novelists as well as some more familiar names. All the books chosen are well-crafted and will appeal to a wide readership."

The Man Booker Prize for Fiction is a literary prize awarded each year for the best original full-length novel, written in the English language, by a citizen of either the Commonwealth of Nations or the Republic of Ireland. The winner of the Booker Prize will generally be assured of international renown and success, and £50,000.

B-Word Ban?

The New York City Council may symbolically ban the b-word. The Times reports that it is being considered by the Council’s Civil Rights Committee and is expected to be discussed next month. The measure was prompted in part by the frequent use of the word in hip-hop music. Ten rappers were cited in the legislation, along with an excerpt from an 1811 dictionary that defined the word as “A she dog, or doggess; the most offensive appellation that can be given to an English woman.”

The term is hateful and deeply sexist, said Councilwoman Darlene Mealy of Brooklyn, who has introduced a measure against the word, saying it creates “a paradigm of shame and indignity” for all women. Not everyone agrees with the Councilwoman. Darris James, 31, an architect from Brooklyn said, “Hell, if I can’t say bitch, I wouldn’t be able to call half my friends.”

Sopranos Soda

That press release announces, “Building on the success of the most popular show in the history of cable television, Imbibe has been licensed by HBO to launch a line of Italian sodas under THE SOPRANOS banner. The three initial flavors - Limoncello, Amaretto and Chianti - while being served at Italian dinners for hundreds of years, are making their first appearance ever as sodas. The drinks stay true to their Old World roots by avoiding all use of artificial ingredients, preservatives and high-fructose corn syrup.”

The soda's website has a video showing what happens when carbonation meets animation.

Crippling Rain

A tornado hit Brooklyn last week. It was the first since modern record-keeping began. The weather also caused major transportation delays in and around New York City.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

4th Quadrant 8/13 '07

Week of August 13, 2007

World Series of Video Games on CBS

Matthew Ringel, president and commissioner of the World Series of Video Games (WSVG) said, “World Series of Video Games, Presented by Intel believes that the excitement of video game competition belongs on broadcast network television, accessible to all.”

CBS and the WSVG have partnered to broadcast recaps of video game tournaments. According to the Times, CBS will be the first broadcast network in the United States to cover a video game tournament as a sporting event.

One can watch gamers battle it out in World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade, Guitar Hero II, and Fight Night Round 3.

The early airing schedule is:
  • July 29th - Louisville, Kentucky (Event: June 21st-24th)
  • August 19th - Dallas, Texas (Event: July 5th-8th)
  • November 17th - Los Angeles, California (Event: October 18th-21st)
  • December 15th - Jönköping, Sweden Saturday (Event: November 29th-December 2nd)

"The Two Coreys"

“The Two Coreys” is a reality show where Corey Haim, who wrestles with substance abuse, bankruptcy, and obesity, moves in with Corey Feldman, and his second wife Susie Sprague. Haim needs help from the Feldmans in getting his life back in order. Cory and Susie were married on “Surreal Life” by MC Hammer, and according to the Times review of the show, Susie possesses, “an impressive torso that in Episode 2 becomes the focal point of a Stuff magazine photo shoot.”

The two Coreys are former child stars who appeared in seven movies together during the 1980s including the cult classic “The Lost Boys,” which is celebrating its 20th anniversary.

Below: The Two Coreys have dinner with a representative from PETA.

"I Know Who Killed Me"

David Alves writes on IMDb, "An idyllic small town is rocked when Aubrey Fleming (Lindsay Lohan), a bright and promising young woman, is abducted and tortured by a sadistic serial killer. When she manages to escape, the traumatized girl who regains consciousness in the hospital insists that she is not who they think she is and that the real Aubrey Fleming is still in mortal danger."

Joe Leydon of Variety writes in his review of the film, “A disaster that exerts a perverse fascination,” and Kurt Loder of MTV writes, “What was Lindsay Lohan thinking?”


"El Cantante"

The film’s official website states that "El Cantante" celebrates the life and music of the legendary Puerto Rican salsa singer Hector Lavoe, a pioneer of the sound and sensibility that redefined Latin music in the 1960s and 1970s. Shepherded to the screen and produced by Lopez, "El Cantante" portrays an era when a new sense of national identity and pride took root in Puerto Rican communities across the U.S.

Armond White of the New York Press writes in his review of the film,” Lopez, Anthony and [Director] Ichaso seize the opportunity to make Hollywood’s first NuYorican epic.”


Joltin’ Joe DiMaggio Diaries

“Had to buy a new shirt because neck size down to 15½.” MSNBC reports that the entry is part of a 2,000-page, 29-volume collection of the New York Yankees icon’s [Joltin’ Joe DiMaggio] diaries, meticulously handwritten between 1982 and 1993, which are now being offered for sale. The bidding on the diaries is to begin at $1.5 million. The pages, in plastic protective sheets, are contained in thick, black loose-leaf binders that were kept stacked in the closet of DiMaggio’s lawyer. Apparently, the diaries only give hints about his life as a baseball hero and husband of Marilyn Monroe.


AhmadMob on IMDb writes, “A master chef, Kate (Catherine Zeta-Jones) lives her life like she runs the kitchen at upscale 22 Bleecker Restaurant in Manhattan--with a no-nonsense intensity that both captivates and intimidates everyone around her. With breathtaking precision, she powers through each hectic shift, coordinating hundreds of meals, preparing delicate sauces, seasoning and simmering each dish to absolute perfection.”

Subsequently, Kate’s sister tragically dies in a car accident, leaving Kate to raise her niece Zoe (Abigail Breslin). Josh Bell of Las Vegas Weekly further states that, “At first unable to deal with caring for a child, Kate has to learn to slow down and be more flexible, and to allow her personal life to merit as much importance as her professional one. She also has to contend with her new sous-chef, Nick (Aaron Eckhart), a free spirit who likes to play opera CDs while cooking and to whom Zoe takes an instant liking. Will Kate, too, fall for Nick?”

“No Reservations” is a remake of the 2001 German film “Mostly Martha.”


Wednesday, August 8, 2007

3rd Quadrant 8/13 '07

Week of August 13, 2007

Devo's "Work It"

The new Devo song was made for Dell's new laptop campaign. Stereogum writes about the song and the commercial, “Girls in wigs, computers, cowbells, this thing's got it all. But careful Devo, everybody knows what life after Dell looks like: pot arrests and tending bar in NYC."

The advertisement is below.

Bart’s Junk

In the “Simpsons Movie” Bart Simpson skateboards in the nude (full frontal). Initially his junk was “blocked” out of view by various objects in the scene, but eventually his junk was fully exposed! JB on says that Bart’s junk, “…looks like an upside-down middle finger in cartoonland.”

"Spider Pig"

The List of Animals in The Simpsons Wikipedia page relates that in the “Simpsons Movie,” Spider-Pig appears in an advertisement for Krusty Burger’s new Clogger Burger wearing a baker’s hat. Once filming is completed, Krusty orders for the pig to become a sandwich. Homer becomes upset, claiming that animals who wear human clothing can't be slaughtered, and adopts the pig. Later, while Marge ponders why there are pig tracks on the ceiling, Homer is seen walking the pig on the ceiling while singing the "Spider-Pig" song.

Weekly World News

Reuters reports that the Weekly World News will stop being printed effective with the August 27 issue after 28 years, but the online version will continue. The tabloid newspaper chronicled the exploits of alien babies, animal-human hybrids and dead celebrities. In addition to “Space Alien Backs Bush for President!” another recent headline stated, “Dentist uses UFO metal in patient's tooth."

A company statement said that the closing is, “Due to the challenges in the retail and wholesale magazine marketplace that have impacted the newsstand…”

Kids in the Hall

The Kids in the Hall was a five-member Canadian sketch comedy group that started in 1984. The “Kids in the Hall” television show ran from 1988 to 1994 on CBC, and HBO. The Times reports the group has been described as the heirs to Monty Python, albeit darker and franker, and that they helped to defined sketch comedy in the late 1980s and early 1990s. The group ended production in 1994, but got together in 1996 to make the film “Brain Candy,” and toured in 2000 and 2002.

On July 18, 2007 the group reunited for the first three shows of the 25th Annual "Just for Laughs" Comedy Festival in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, which included 90 minutes of new material that was practiced during a number of unadvertised performances in Los Angeles.

“Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations” calls Anthony Bourdain, who has been a professional chef and writer for more than three decades, a gastronomic Indian Jones. In “Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations,” his journey takes him to people and places far beyond the realm of food. Bourdain travels the world seeking the authentic experiences and food that flavor the world's cultures. Following his wanderlust will take the audience to far-out and familiar places, from Iceland to Vietnam and Tuscany to the Pacific Northwest.

The Times has a 2005 review of the first season of the show.
“Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations” airs on Mondays at 10:00 P.M. ET on the Travel Channel.

Bill Walsh reports that Bill Walsh changed the look of the NFL with his offensive innovations. For example, he invented the short dropbacks, unusual receiving routes, constant repetition of plays in practice, laminated sheets of plays, and the use of a “script” to run the first 15 offensive plays of a game. He won three Super Bowls with the San Francisco 49ers, won six division titles, was named the NFL’s coach of the year in 1981 and 1984, was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1993, and created the Minority Coaching Fellowship program.

Bill Walsh was born on November 30, 1931 in Los Angeles, and died July 30, 2007 at his Woodside home. He was 75.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

2nd Quadrant 8/13 '07

Week of August 13, 2007

Tom Snyder

The Times reports that Tom Snyder was a pioneer of late-night television. He was best known for the show “Tomorrow.” His success at keeping viewers up past their bedtimes lead the way for the likes of David Letterman. Eventually, the show’s ratings declined, and Mr. Snyder was replaced by Letterman. He was the show’s host for eight years from the 1970s to the 1980s. His last interview was with John Lennon.
Tom Snyder was born May 12, 1936 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and died July 29, 2007 in San Francisco. He was 71.


The Guardian Unlimited reports that Pitmatic, which is the argot or slang used by north-east [England] miners for more than 150 years, has been compiled into its first dictionary - Pitmatic: The Talk of the North East Coalfield. The dictionary was compiled by Bill Griffiths, the country's foremost Geordie scholar through detailed research of archives and interviews. The dictionary includes pit recollections and analysis of the origins of the dialect's words.

Pitmatic’s Wikipedia entry states that the dialect was develop due to specialized terms used by miners. For example, the word “Cuddy” was an abbreviation for the local saint Cuthbert of Lindisfane, but the miners used the word to refer to a pit pony or “a short, thick, [and] strong horse.”

The Book Design Review

The Book Design Review is a [very intriguing] blog dedicated to the best, and sometimes the worst, of book design, book covers, and book jackets.

David Michalek’s “Slow Dancing"

Coolhunting has a post on David Michalek’s “Slow Dancing,” which was an outdoor installation on 40-foot screens that featured 43 dancers. The dancers performed a variety of genres that included ballet, break dancing, and Balinese dance among others. The dancers were asked to prepare three five-second phrases, were shot at 1000 frames per second and, “When played back in real time, the five-second movements equal about eight minutes, allowing the viewer to see every minute detail and move.” The show ran nightly from 9:00 PM - 1:00 AM, and ended on July 29, 2007.

Apple’s profile of Michalek mentions that he learned filmmaking at NYU, had an apprenticeship with fashion legend Herb Ritts, and his pictures have appeared in The New Yorker, Vanity Fair and Vogue.

The full Times review can be read here, and includes a multimedia slide show.

Below is a link to a Times video of the installation.

In Slow Motion

Michelangelo Antonioni

The Times reports that Michelangelo Antonioni films, “were cornerstones of international filmmaking in the 1960s, inspiring intense measures of admiration, denunciation and confusion…” The confusion may have stemmed from the fact that Mr. Antonioni was a rule breaker who,”… challenged moviegoers with an intense focus on intentionally vague characters and a disdain for conventions like plot, pacing and clarity. He raised questions and never answered them, had his characters act in self-destructive ways and failed to explain why, and sometimes kept the camera rolling after a take in the hope of catching the actors in an unscripted but revealing moment.”

According to Mr. Antonioni’s Wikipedia page, Ingmar Bergman once remarked that he admired some of Antonioni's films for their detached and sometimes dreamlike quality, and considered “Blowup” and “La notte” masterpieces.

Michelangelo Antonioni was born September 29, 1912 in Ferrara, Emilia Romagna, and died July 30, 2007 at his home in Rome. He was 94.

The full Times article includes a multimedia slide show.

Ernst Ingmar Bergman

According to the Times, Ingmar Bergman was considered one of the greatest directors in history, who centered his work on the great themes of, “the relationship between the sexes and the relationship between mankind and God,” which, “…brought a new seriousness to filmmaking in the 1950s.” Woody Allen referred to Mr. Bergman as, “probably the greatest film artist, all things considered, since the invention of the motion picture camera.”

Mr. Bergman’s Wikipedia page states that he directed 62 films, and over 170 plays. In addition, he won the best foreign film Academy Award for “The Virgin Spring.”

Ernst Ingmar Bergman was born on July 14, 1918, in the university town of Uppsala, Sweden, and died July 30, 2007 at his home on the island of Faro, off the Baltic coast of Sweden. He was 89.

The full Times article includes a multimedia slide show.

Osvaldo Golijov’s "Azul"

The Times reports that on last Tuesday night at the Mostly Mozart Festival, 25-year-old cellist Alisa Weilerstein played the solo part in the New York premier of composer-in-residence Osvaldo Golijov’s, “mesmerizing,” Azul for cello and orchestra. The Times review states that,” The piece, true to Mr. Golijov’s aesthetic, unabashedly combines elemental contemporary sonorities, soulful cello outpourings, ritualistic stretches of obsessively repeated riffs and melodic fragments, and South American folk music…”

Osvaldo Golijov recently completed the composition of the soundtrack for Francis Ford Coppola's upcoming film "Youth Without Youth," and Alisa Weilerstein is a 2004 graduate of Columbia, who strongly prefers to be called ‘precocious’ instead of a prodigy.