Thursday, November 29, 2007

4th\SW Quadrant 12\3 '07

The Approval Matrix: Week of December 3, 2007

Heather Mills

Vegan Heather Mills is reportedly the new spokesperson for Viva! (Vegetarians International Voice for Animals). Mills posed for photos in London to launch the group's environmental campaign to persuade the public that they can reduce global warming by reducing amount of meat, dairy and other animal products they eat. According to one ad in the campaign, livestock are the second biggest cause of greenhouse gases and the major cause of rainforest clearance.

Another ad plays on Heather's own disability with the headline "You haven't got a leg to stand on!" targeting people and organizations who call themselves environmentalists but still eat animal products.
(Mavrix Online)

Creepy CGI in "Beowulf"

Plot Summary: The warrior Beowulf must fight and defeat the monster Grendel who is terrorizing towns, and later, Grendel's mother, who begins killing out of revenge.


Subway Sellout

The story had all the makings of a Hollywood romantic comedy from the get-go [he created a website to locate "the girl of his dreams" after seeing her on the subway], so it's not surprising that Patrick Moberg is shopping around the rights to his real-life subway sweetheart story.

It is, however, just a little disheartening that everything really is a commodity. Despite what he declared on his site after finding "the girl of his dreams" (telling us voyeurs we'll have to write our own ending to their story as they figured things out in private), he is leaving the spotlight on himself and his lady Camille for as long as it'll shine. (Gothamist)

Park Slope
iPhone Snatch

A violent attempt to grab a woman’s iPhone ended when the cops fortuitously passed by and arrested the attacker at midnight, Sept. 21.

Perhaps inspired by jealousy for the $600 superphone, the mugger grabbed the woman from behind at the corner of Bridge and Front streets. He attempted to choke her, and also grabbed her face, injuring her lip.

She understandably wouldn’t let go of the must-have mobile device, and just then the cops happened to come by on patrol.

The officers restrained the 22-year-old man and put him into custody. (Brooklyn Paper)

9 to 5 on Broadway

According to an interview in The LA Daily News, the upcoming Dolly Parton musical 9 to 5 is headed for Broadway next fall.

Parton, who starred in the hit 1980 office comedy on which 9 to 5 is based, will pen the musical's score.While no casting decisions have been made, 9 to 5 would most likely feature a cast of around 25; ... a workshop will precede the Broadway run.

Parton, who played Doralee Rhodes in the film (and whose title song was nominated for an Oscar), does not intend to star in the show. (Broadway World)

"Cloverfield" Hype

lalex81 posted on Jo Blo, "When I mentioned that J.J.Abrams name attached doesn't say anything about the quality of the movie it's because he name is ONLY attached.
He's NOT directing
He's NOT writing
Just producing.
Even if you think MI3 is a masterpiece, it says nothing about how this movie might turn out.
You have to take this movie by what it is, a risky, handheld movie, of a "monster in NY", done by a debutant director. That's all we really know about the project."


Wednesday, November 28, 2007

3rd\SE Quadrant 12\3 '07

The Approval Matrix: Week of December 3, 2007

"Harold and Kumar 2"
Plot Outline: ["Harold and Kumar 2"] follows the cross-country adventures of the pot-smoking duo as they try to outrun authorities who suspect them of being terrorists when they try to sneak a bong on board their flight to Amsterdam. (IMDb)


SNL Live @ UCB

It wasn't live from New York as usual. About 150 audience members in a tiny Manhattan theater [UCB] were the only folks in the world to witness a totally new "Saturday Night Live" episode starring guest host Michael Cera and musical guest Yo La Tengo.

Anyone who tuned into NBC was subjected to a two-week-old rerun featuring Brian Williams and Feist, thanks to an ongoing Writers Guild of America labor strike. (Huffington Post)

About a week in the making and less than a day in rehearsal, the show was a mix of the writers’ favorite old sketches and never-before-seen but already written bits that had been rejected, for raunchiness, humor or time. The cast members did their own makeup and, with the Upright Citizens Brigade staff, found their own minimal props and costumes. Writers held the cue cards. (New York Times)
(Photo: Joe Fornabaio for The New York Times)

"30 Rock" @ UCB Theatre

Rachel Sklar related on the Huffington Post: Last night the theater [UCB] once again stood in for 30 Rock (the building) as it hosted "30 Rock" (the show) in "30 Rock — On Strike!", the first live, staged version of NBC's Emmy-winning television show, now suspended indefinitely due to the writer's strike.

"Thanks to our friends at the UCB for having us here tonight, and thanks to our friends at NBC for letting us be here tonight," said star and creator Tina Fey, who came out to huge applause from the the standing-room only audience, packed to overflowing (even more than for the SNL show), with people sitting cross-legged on the floor at the edge of the stage and crowding into corners.

The show, a benefit for the show's strike-stricken PAs, consisted of a staged reading of an as yet-unaired episode. Said Fey: "If you paid more than $20 on Craigslist you are a sucker, because it's going to be on TV for free in a few weeks."The show featured virtually the entire cast — yes, including Alec Baldwin — who each came out to huge applause as the "30 Rock" theme played, including Fey, Tracy Morgan, Jane Krakowski, Judah Friedlander, Jon Lutz, Lonny Ross, Scott Adsit, plus Jack McBrayer wearing his "Kenneth The Page" outfit, complete with Peacock pin, as the audience applauded wildly.

Rangers Bump Knicks to MSG2

It used to be that the Knick's games always aired on MSG, unless they had a late start time, because the Knicks were the highest-rated property on the network; therefore, the Ranger's games aired on MSG2. ( Wikipedia) Due to the Rangers being in first-place, and the Knicks being in last-place, it's the other way around.

Dirty Sexy Money

Plot Outline: A lawyer (Peter Krause) is forced to take care of one of New York City's wealthiest families. Alessandra Stanley of the New York Times wrote, "Dirty Sexy Money lives up to its name." (BTAM)

Jay-Z Charlie Rose

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

2nd\NE Quadrant 12\3 '07

The Approval Matrix: Week of December 3, 2007

Jean Nouvel's MoMA Tower

A new 75-story tower designed by the architect Jean Nouvel for a site next to the Museum of Modern Art in Midtown promises to be the most exhilarating addition to the skyline in a generation. Its faceted exterior, tapering to a series of crystalline peaks, suggests an atavistic preoccupation with celestial heights. It brings to mind John Ruskin’s praise for the irrationality of Gothic architecture: “It not only dared, but delighted in, the infringement of every servile principle.”

Commissioned by Hines, an international real estate developer, the tower will house a hotel, luxury apartments and three floors that will be used by MoMA to expand its exhibition space. The melding of cultural and commercial worlds offers further proof, if any were needed, that Mr. Nouvel is a master at balancing conflicting urban forces. (NY Times)

Born in Fumel, Lot-et-Garonne, he was educated at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris. He was a founding member of Mars 1976 and Syndicat de l'Architecture. In 2005, the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art hosted a major retrospective of his works.

Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie's daughter Shiloh Nouvel Jolie-Pitt was named after him, as Pitt is a fan of his work. (Wikipedia)

"Hearts of Darkness" DVD

"Hearts of Darkness" is an engrossing, unwavering look back at Francis Coppola's chaotic, catastrophe-plagued Vietnam production, Apocalypse Now. Filled with juicy gossip and a wonderful behind-the-scenes look at the stressful world of moviemaking, the documentary mixes on-location home movies shot in the Philippines by Eleanor Coppola, the director's wife, with revealing interviews with the cast and crew, shot 10 years later. ... the film chronicles Coppola's eventual decent into obsessive psychosis as everything that could go wrong does go wrong. Storms destroy sets, money evaporates, the Philippine government continually harasses the director, Coppola has romantic affairs, and he can't write the story's ending. Everything is captured on film. In the most disturbing scene, we watch Martin Sheen have a drunken nervous breakdown while his director goads him on (he eventually suffered a heart attack, but finished the film).

Other incredible footage is not visual, but aural as the film includes tapes Eleanor Coppola recorded without Francis's knowledge. In them, he truly sounds like a madman as he confesses his fears about making a bomb of a movie. But while Hearts of Darkness is an amazing, voyeuristic experience, its importance lies in the personal reflections offered by those involved. Sheen, Coppola, and Dennis Hopper speak frankly without embarrassment, offering us an essential piece of film history. (Dave McCoy\Amazon)

New York
142nd Safest City

While New York remains one of the country's safest big cities, Detroit has earned the ominous distinction of being the nation's most dangerous. New York City ranked 142nd out of 378 cities with a population of at least 75,000. (NY1)

Queen Guitarist
Appointed Chancellor

Queen guitarist Brian May has been appointed chancellor of Liverpool John Moores University in Britain, they announced Monday.

May, whose bands hits include "Bohemian Rhapsody", will start the job as honorary head of the university in February, when he takes over from Cherie Blair, wife of former British premier Tony Blair.

"Yes, I will be celebrating tonight. How? With a delicious vegetarian roast and a glass of choice dessert wine!" May said in a statement released through the university.

May was awarded his doctorate in astrophysics in August. He started the PhD in 1974 but ditched it when Queen's fortunes took off before returning to his studies last year.

His duties will include presiding over graduation ceremonies and representing the university on special occasions. (AFP)


Book Description: A vivid portrait of what it means to be a teenage girl in America today, from 58 of the country's finest, most credentialed writers on the subject

This generation's unprecedented comfort level with the written word [text and instant messages, blogs and social network pages] has led to a fearless new American literature. These collected essays, at last, offer a key to understanding the inscrutable teenage girl-one of the most mislabeled and underestimated members of society, argues editor and writer Amy Goldwasser, whose work has appeared in Seventeen, Vogue, The New York Times, and The New Yorker.

In this eye-opening collection, nearly sixty teenage girls from across the country speak out, writing about everything from post-Katrina New Orleans to Johnny Depp; from learning to rock climb to starting a rock band; from the loneliness of losing a best friend to the loathing or pride they feel about their bodies. Ranging in age from 13 to 19, and hailing from Park Avenue to rural Nevada, Georgia to Hawaii, the girls in RED-whose essays were selected from more than 800 contributions-represent a diverse spectrum of socioeconomic, political, racial, and religious backgrounds, creating a rich portrait of life as a teen girl in America today. (Amazon)

Monday, November 26, 2007

1st\NW Quadrant 12/3 '07

The Approval Matrix: Week of December 3, 2007

Jonathan Lethem Selects

From October 15–November 19 BAMcinématek, the repertory film program at BAM Rose Cinemas, presented Jonathan Lethem Selects. One of Brooklyn’s favorite local authors, Friends of BAM Chair Jonathan Lethem often writes about his deep love of popular culture, including music and movies. Lethem curated this series from some of his favorite, rarely-screened films. Fittingly for a writer who enjoys playing with the conventions of hard-boiled detective fiction and noir, a number of Lethem’s selections featured criminal protagonists or work within the framework of a crime thriller (High and Low, The Lineup, Murder By Contract, and Straight Time). The series also includes a lineup of witty comedies and riveting dramas: Ruggles of Red Gap, This Sporting Life, La Collectionneuse, and Love Streams. Jonathan Lethem Selects included Ingmar Bergman’s Shame (Skammen) also screening as a partof BAM’s tribute to Bergman. This series is part of BAM’s 25th Next Wave Festival. (BAM)

Italian Court Bans Gossip

An Italian circuit court ruled Friday that reporting gossip in Italy will be illegal unless it helps make a larger point about the figure in question.

The case is part of a wider effort to improve standards on Italian television. State broadcaster RAI said this year that it would stop airing reality programming when current contracts run out, and the company also announced plans to remove advertising from one of its three networks by the end of 2009 in order to allow it to broadcast more cultural programs without consideration for economic factors.

Upon announcing the ruling, the Rome court said it would "remove gossip that exists only for gossip's sake." (
Hollywood Reporter)

NY1 Anchor Loses Mind

Gary Anthony Ramsay, a longtime reporter and a weekend anchor for NY1 News, left the station this week, days after calling in to one of the channel’s live shows [“The Call,” an evening call-in show] under a false name [Dalton, from the Upper East Side] and commenting on a news story, a lapse in judgment that Mr. Ramsay described as “a flash moment of frustration.”

The topic was Bernard B. Kerik, the former New York police commissioner facing a 16-count federal indictment, and the indictment’s effect on the presidential campaign of former Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani.

“So which is the real Bernie Kerik?” Mr. Ramsay asked on the show. “Is it the one who pleads not guilty before or is it the one who pleads guilty after he cuts a deal that he’s comfortable with?” (New York Times)
(Photo courtesy of the Daily News)

Frida Kahlo(R) Skin Care Line

New York City-based Naturals Skin Care, Inc. today announced the launch of the Frida Kahlo(R) skin care line. The company has also opened their first retail space, "Frida Store", at 95 E. Page Avenue, Staten Island, New York, to showcase the new line of 100%
natural skin care products.

The Frida Kahlo skin care line and retail store are the brainchild of Venezuelan-born aromatherapist, holistic cosmetologist, and Naturals Skin Care CEO, Antonio Sciortino. Last year, Sciortino and partners Carlos Dorado, President of Casablanca Fashion Group, Alberto Perosch, and Antonino Sciortino met with the Kahlo family in Mexico to acquire the rights to the name and likeness of the renowned painter and activist for their skin care line. (PRNewswire)

Frida Kahlo (July 6, 1907 – July 13, 1954) was a Mexican painter, who has achieved great international popularity. She painted using vibrant colors in a style that was influenced by indigenous cultures of Mexico as well as European influences that include Realism, Symbolism, and Surrealism. Many of her works are self-portraits that symbolically express her own pain. Kahlo was married to and influenced by the Mexican/Spanish muralist Diego Rivera and shared his Communist views. (Wikipedia)

Thursday, November 22, 2007

4th\SW Quadrant 11/26 '07

The Approval Matrix: Week of November 26, 2007

"Keeping Up With the Kardashians"

Kimberly Noel Kardashian (born October 21, 1980 in Los Angeles, California) is one of the three daughters of the late lawyer Robert Kardashian who worked on the sensational OJ Simpson trial. Kardashian's initial media attention was centered on her close friendship with Paris Hilton, but her notoriety exploded and fame rose after it was revealed that she had made a sex tape with ex-boyfriend Ray-J. (Wikipedia)

The series, featuring Ryan Seacrest as executive producer, follows Kardashian's increasingly hectic life of boutique owner by day, burgeoning tabloid fixture by night, and also delves into the goings-on of the entire Kardashian brood.

The show also features her sisters/rivals Khloe, 23, and Kourtney, 28, who first exercised her reality show chops on E!'s Filthy Rich: Cattle Drive last year; half-sisters Kendall, 11, and Kylie, 9; momager Kris; and Olympic gold medalist stepdad—and sole non K-initialed family member—Bruce Jenner. (E! Online)

Felder's Anti-Pigeon Bill

City Council member Simcha Felder, D-Brooklyn, has put forward a proposal that would put a cap on pigeon crap.

On the steps of city hall Monday afternoon, Felder held a press conference describing his plans to control the growing population of pigeons and to reduce their “droppings splattered throughout New York City.”

Felder’s proposal put forth legislation that would outlaw pigeon feeding, enforced by $1,000 fines. It also recommended actions to support the city’s hawk and falcon populations through installation of $4,072 robotic hawks. It would also promote the practice of pigeon birth control, and establish a citywide “Pigeon Czar,” who would oversee all systematic pigeon-control measures.

“There should be no one allowed to feed pigeons,” Felder said. He added that if people care about pigeons so much, “Let them crap all over the place in your living rooms.”

City pigeons deposit an average of approximately 25 pounds of droppings each year and result in nationwide damage of about $1.1 billion, according to a press release from Felder’s office. The composition of their droppings is high in salt and organic nitrogen compounds, which can lead to metal corrosion. (Columbia Spectator)

Golic's Steroid Use

Former Oilers, Eagles and Dolphins defensive lineman Mike Golic, now an ESPN commentator, provided more context today for his admission last week that he used steroids when he was an NFL player.

Speaking on the Mike and Mike in the Morning show, Golic said that he used steroids "I believe it was '87 ... sometime probably in March up until the beginning of May," and that the purpose of his steroid use was to help in recovery from a shoulder injury.

"As I've said time and time again with steroids now, a lot of the time it's the fringe players, it's the guys who are trying to get to the next level, and a lot of times it's for recovery," Golic said. (AOL Sports)

Cell Phones for Good Grades

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg brought only condemnation upon himself when he announced last Thursday [November 1, 2007] that he is thinking about giving free cell phones and minutes to some public-school students who perform well on tests. The proposal is part of a larger effort (financed with private money and means-tested) to pay students in low-income schools for testing well. (Slate)

Vera Wang on "Ugly Betty"

Marc Jacobs on "The Hills"

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

3rd\SE Quadrant 11/26 '07

The Approval Matrix: Week of November 26, 2007

Dushku in Whedon's

Produced by 20th Century Fox TV -- the studio also behind "Buffy," "Angel" and Whedon's late, lamented "Firefly" -- "Dollhouse" follows a top-secret world of people programmed with different personalities, abilities and memories depending on their mission.

After each assignment -- which can be physical, romantic or even illegal -- the characters have their memories wiped clean, and are sent back to a lab (dubbed the "Dollhouse"). Show centers on Dushku's character, Echo, as she slowly begins to develop some self-awareness, which impacts her missions. (Michael Schneider\Variety)

Joss Hill Whedon (born Joseph Hill Whedon on June 23, 1964 in New York) is an Academy Award-nominated American writer, director, executive producer, and creator/Head Writer of the well-known television series "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," "Angel," and "Firefly." He has also written several film scripts and several comic book series. After finishing at Winchester College in England, he went on to receive a film degree from Wesleyan
University in 1987. (Wikipedia)

Elephant in McCarren Pool

Victor Ozols relates on the blog New York City Diary that"... the McCarren Park swimming pool hasn't had water in it for decades, but over the past five years or so it has become a venue for movies, concerts, and, apparently, elephants."

Artist Javier Téllez brings the ancient parable of the ‘Blind Men and the Elephant’ to life. In keeping with various versions of the tale, from a Buddhist fable to the 19th Century poem by the writer John Godfrey Saxe, six visually impaired people will touch a different part of an elephant, just one part, and then describe the experience. Their responses illustrate how reality and understanding are shaped by perspective and the relativity of absolute truth.

Téllez’s action will take place on a closed set [McCarren Pool, Brooklyn] where it will be filmed and screened for the public at a later date. Games are Forbidden in the Labyrinth is the final project of Creative Time’s ‘Six Actions for New York City,’ co-curated by Mark Beasley and David Platzker. (NYC Gov Parks)
(Photo courtesy of Victor Ozols)

Google Masseuse

Bonnie Brown was fresh from a nasty divorce in 1999, living with her sister and uncertain of her future. On a lark, she answered an ad for an in-house masseuse at Google, then a Silicon Valley start-up with 40 employees. She was offered the part-time job, which started out at $450 a week but included a pile of Google stock options that she figured might never be worth a penny.

After five years of kneading engineers’ backs, Ms. Brown retired, cashing in most of her stock options, which were worth millions of dollars. To her delight, the shares she held onto have continued to balloon in value.

“I’m happy I saved enough stock for a rainy day, and lately it’s been pouring,” said Ms. Brown (NY Times)

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

2nd\NE Quadrant 11/26 '07

The Approval Matrix: Week of November 26, 2007

Norman Mailer
January 31, 1923 – November 10, 2007

From the New York Times: Norman Mailer, the combative, controversial and often outspoken novelist who loomed over American letters longer and larger than any other writer of his generation, died early yesterday [November 10, 2007] in Manhattan. He was 84.

The cause was acute renal failure, his family said.

Mr. Mailer burst on the scene in 1948 with ''The Naked and the Dead,'' a partly autobiographical novel about World War II, and for six decades he was rarely far from center stage. He published more than 30 books, including novels, biographies and works of nonfiction, and twice won the Pulitzer Prize: for ''The Armies of the Night'' (1968), which also won the National Book Award, and ''The Executioner's Song'' (1979).

He also wrote, directed and acted in several low-budget movies, helped found The Village Voice and for many years was a regular guest on television talk shows, where he could reliably be counted on to make oracular pronouncements and deliver provocative opinions, sometimes coherently and sometimes not.

Gustafer Yellowgold @
Bowery Poetry Club

Gustafer is a friendly creature who came to Earth from the Sun and has an interesting magnetism for making friends with some of Earth's odder creatures.

Gustafer Yellowgold has become an international phenomenon. Live "Gustafer" shows, accompanied by live music, have been acclaimed by the New York Times, which said,"The show is a cross between 'Yellow Submarine' and Dr. Seuss, filtered through the lens of the Lower East Side." Time Out NY Kids magazine called it "Beatlesque? very beautiful."(Gustaferyellowgold)

I'm From The Sun - Gustafer Yellowgold

The William Finn Revue

Kenneth Jones related in his review of the revue on Playbill, "William Finn, the Tony Award-winning songwriter whose work doesn't sound like any other composer's, gets a fresh showcase in New York City Nov. 12 with the Off-Broadway opening of Make Me a Song."

"It's apt that this new revue is playing Manhattan after its previous regional run last year in Connecticut: The quirky, ruminative, agitated songs of composer-lyricist Finn fit right into the neurotic energy of the city."

"Songs from Finn's Falsettos, A New Brain, The Royal Family of Broadway, Elegies: A Song Cycle and more are heard in the four-actor, one-pianist revue, which was constructed and directed by Rob Ruggiero."

Bardem's Air Gun

Plot Outline: Violence and mayhem ensue after a hunter stumbles upon some dead bodies, a stash of heroin and more than $2 million in cash near the Rio Grande. (IMDB)

In a terrifying performance of hypnotic power, Bardem totes around an air gun for slaughtering cattle, which he uses with ingenuous lust; it’s a strange apparatus that looks like an oxygen tank, with a device on the head of the hose that glows key holes out of door locks and foreheads."

"Losing their customary cool, some critics are labeling No Country for Old Men, a modern western with pokey pacing and blood-curdling violence, a masterpiece. Until the five-minute finale that threatens to destroy the whole thing, I found myself dazed, dazzled and overwhelmed. The ending is so lame it made me feverish. Then I remembered the perfection that came before it, and concluded that this is, without question, the best movie ever made by the eccentric Coen brothers, Joel and Ethan. Better even than Fargo. It’s so good that I am powerless to hold a grudge. Yes, I guess I have to admit it’s a masterpiece."

Jeff Koons' Rabbit in Parade

Steve posted on Mediabistro's UnBiege section, "Despite being included in Richard Feigen's overvalued artists list yesterday [Tuesday November 12, 2007], there was a more cheery note coming out on Monday for Jeff Koons. According to Art Info, the famous artist will be making his balloon art debut in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade:

The 81st Annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, which takes to the skies November 22 in New York, will include Jeff Koons's celebrated 1986 stainless steel sculpture Rabbit transformed into a giant [53'] balloon."

Jeff Koons was born in York, Pennsylvania; as a teenager he revered Salvador Dalí, to the extent of visiting him at the St. Regis Hotel in New York City. Koons attended the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and the Maryland Institute College of Art, and studied painting. After college he worked as a Wall Street commodities broker, whilst establishing himself as an artist. He gained recognition in the 1980s, and subsequently set up a factory-like studio in a SoHo loft on the corner of Houston and Broadway in New York. This had over 30 staff, each assigned to a different aspect of producing his work—in a similar mode to both Andy Warhol's Factory and many Renaissance artists. (Wikipedia)

Hanif Kureishi's
"The Word and the Bomb"

Synopsis: This is a collection of Kureishi's most controversial and though-provoking writing on the gulf between fundamentalist Islam and Western values. Over the past 10 years, Hanif Kureishi has charted the gradual widening of the gulf between fundamentalist Islam and Western values. Starting with "The Black Album", Kureishi portrayed the ongoing argument between Islam and Western liberal values, between Islamic certainty and Western rational scepticism. By the time he was writing the short story, "My Son The Fanatic", the break was complete - there was no longer any attempt by the fundamentalists to find any common ground with Western culture. The outbreak of the Iraq war and its aftermath, plus the recent bombings in London, have stimulated Kureishi to write further about this great divide between the East and the West, and this volume collects Kureishi's writings from the past 10 years which have dealt with this subject, charting Islam's disengagement from dialogue with the West. The volume also contains a new piece, written especially for this book, which brings Kureishi's analysis of the situation right up to date. (Amazon)

Lisa Gay Hamilton
"Ohio State Murders"

Lisa Gay Hamilton (born March 25, 1964 in Los Angeles, California) is an American actress best known for her role as attorney Rebecca Washington on the ABC legal drama "The Practice." She graduated with a degree in theatre from New York University and earned her master's degree from The Juilliard School. (Wikipedia)

Theatre for a New Audience presents [Closed November 18, 2007] the Off-Broadway premiere of "Ohio State Murders" by Adrienne Kennedy (Funnyhouse of a Negro, Sleep Deprivation Chamber). The following description is from the show's press release: "Ohio State Murders portrays Suzanne Alexander, a fictional African American writer whose life both is, and is not, like her author's. When Suzanne enters Ohio State University in 1949, little does she know what the supposed safe haven of academia holds in store. Years later, Suzanne is invited to return to the University to talk about the violence in her writing. A dark mystery unravels." (NY Theatre)

Michael Criscuolo wrote in his review on NY Theatre, "The story itself—a dark, sad tale about racism on a 1950s Midwestern college campus—is chock full of gripping potential."
Pictured: LisaGay Hamilton in a scene from Ohio State Murders (photo © Gerry Goodstein)

Monday, November 19, 2007

1st\NW Quadrant 11/26 '07

The Approval Matrix: Week of November 26, 2007

Curvy Women are Smarter

IT was already known that men find curvy women more attractive and that they live longer. Now research suggests that women with an hourglass figure are brighter and have cleverer children, too. The study found that women with large hips and small waists are more intelligent than those with either “apple-shaped” or linear bodies. The paper, to be published in the journal Evolution and Human Behaviour this week, suggests that such women give birth to more intelligent children - possibly a result of higher levels of omega3 fatty acids on the hips. The researchers believe that the results offer a new explanation for why many men find curvy women more alluring. (Times Online)

Brooks vs Herbert

Bill W. posted on Crock and Liars, "Steve Benen caught on to a subtle feud being played out between NYT’s Paul Krugman and David Brooks in their respective op-eds recently. Krugman’s column a few weeks back pointed to Ronald Reagan’s notable embrace of a Southern Strategy during a 1980 Philadelphia Miss. speech to capitalize on racism to secure the votes of those white voters who had become disenchanted by the Democratic Party following Lyndon Johnson’s endorsement of Civil Rights legislation in the 60’s. In an apparent response, on Fri Brooks offered up a version of what’s becoming an all too common lately, a myopic defense of Reagan’s infamous “states’ rights” speech, taking Krugman to task without ever actually mentioning him by name."

"Krugman fired back a snarky retort a day later, likewise not mentioning his fellow columnist by name. Benen writes, “As Krugman explained on his blog, Reagan’s defenders would have us believe that his “states’ rights” speech in Philadelphia, Mississippi, was just an “innocent mistake,” which Reagan managed to make over and over again.”

"Krugman went on to list a litany of other Reagan “mistakes” such as his oft told tale 'about the welfare queen driving her Cadillac, and kept repeating the story years after it had been debunked,' or that time when he declared in 1980 that the Voting Rights Act had been 'humiliating to the South.' …"

The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2007
(The Best American Series)

Book Description: A selection of the best writing, including fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and comics, published in American periodicals during 2006 aimed at readers 15 and up.

B. Fielder wrote in his review of the book, "I picked up this book, having thoroughly enjoyed the last 2 editions and was greatly disappointed by the story selection this year. In the past the selections have all had only one thing in common: they are some of the best pieces of "writing" in the past year. This year there seems to be a theme of nothing but depression. Story after story seems to be nothing but how bad life is and how there is nothing you can do to get around it. Reading this book is akin to watching French films all day then calling your mom and asking her "whats wrong?". The light at the end of the tunnel is a hilarious story from Sedaris about a rousing night of strip poker. Very funny stuff and is just about the only reason I give this book 2 stars."

Damien Hirst Installation
@ Lever House

The installation [30 dead sheep, one dead shark, two sides of beef, 300 sausages, and a pair of doves], on view through Feb. 16, was commissioned by the real estate developer Aby Rosen, who owns Lever House, the Seagram Building and the Gramercy Park Hotel, and by Alberto Mugrabi, a Manhattan dealer.

The two have jointly purchased the British artist Damien Hirst's installation, titled "School: The Archaeology of Lost Desires, Comprehending Infinity, and the Search for Knowledge," for $10 million for the Lever House Art Collection. (International Herald Tribune)
(Photo courtesy of EssG via Flickr)

Clinton Plants Questioners

Democratic presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton’s campaign admitted Friday that it planted a global warming question in Newton, Iowa, Tuesday [November 6, 2007] during a town hall meeting to discuss clean energy.

Clinton campaign spokesman Mo Elliethee admitted that the campaign had planted the question and said it would not happen again.

"On this occasion a member of our staff did discuss a possible question about Senator Clinton's energy plan at a forum,” Elliethee said.

“However, Senator Clinton did not know which questioners she was calling on during the event. This is not standard policy and will not be repeated again.”

In a state where the caucus is held sacred and the impromptu and candid style of the town hall meeting is held dear, Clinton’s planted question may come as a great offense to Iowans. (Fox News)

The college student who was told what question to ask said "voters have the right to know what happened" and she wasn't the only one who was planted.

In an exclusive on-camera interview with CNN, Muriel Gallo-Chasanoff, a 19-year-old sophomore at Grinnell College in Grinnell, Iowa, said giving anyone specific questions to ask is "dishonest," and the whole incident has given her a negative outlook on politics. (CNN)

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

4th\SW Quadrant 11/19 '07

The Approval Matrix: Week of November 19, 2007

Amy Winehouse
Drunk or High?

vs Clooney

George Clooney got into a fight with romance novel coverboy Fabio during dinner at Madeo in West Hollywood on November 2. Fabio and a group of women, including a professional photographer, were sitting at a table next to George and his girlfriend, Sarah Larson. According to numerous eyewitnesses, George suspected the woman was snapping photos of him and Sarah, so he asked her to stop. "I thought you were a nice guy," Fabio said to George as he approached the table. "Stop being a diva." Those were apparently fighting words, because George stood up and the fight turned physical! (In Touch Weekly)

Jane Seymour
Breast Implants

Master of Label posted on the blog Perfect Breast, "Actress Jane Seymour, known for her role in “Dancing With The Stars” ... shocked audiences with a scene-stealing topless scene in the 2005 comedy “Wedding Crashers.” But seeing the 56-year-old actress flashing her breasts and getting fondled by Owen Wilson on screen was not the only shocker, as Make Me Heal’s team who watched the film had always maintained that her breasts appeared far too perky to be real. Truth be told, the former Bond Girl is finally admitting to having gotten breast implants after years of denying it, and more precisely, she got them right after landing the topless part in the film."

No "Lost" Until 2009?

From's Vulture section,"...there's a chance that Lost may not return to the airwaves until the fall of 2008 — or even worse, February 2009! — should the WGA strike continue into the new year. If ABC opts to hold new episodes until 2009, the fourth season may run as a long, confusing block of 24 consecutive shows just like, er, 24,..."

"Duran Duran: Red Carpet Massacre"

It was weird to see the entire audience at a Broadway Theatre up and on their feet and dancing. No, it's not Mamma Mia! - it's Duran Duran: Red Carpet Massacre a very limited engagement by the British band probably best know as the first generation of MTV stars."

"Red Carpet Massacre
is divided into three "acts" the first being the new album (called Red Carpet Massacre) in it's entirety. It's always awkward to hear new material from a popular band in a concert format but the new album sounds excellent. After an intermission was the ElectroSet, which was my favorite part of the evening. The band, scaled down, pushed all the way downstage performed an eclectic set that included their own songs like "All She Wants Is" as well as a cover of "Warm Leatherette" by The Normal. And finally, immediately following this was Act Three, entitled "Essential Duran Duran" and that's exactly what it was, but curiously sans some of their biggest, early hits such as "Hungry Like The Wolf" and "Rio"."

"Overall it was a fun, unique evening complete with an actual red carpet and paparazzi out front and Donald Trump sitting in the first box, house-left."

Simon John Charles Le Bon (born October 27, 1958) is the lead singer and lyricist of Duran Duran. He was born in Bushey, Hertfordshire, England and was raised in and around London. (Wikipedia)

Prince "Cease and Desist", along with other prominent Prince fansites housequake and princefams, has been sent a "DMCA takedown notice" and at least two "Cease and Desist" letters from attorneys representing Prince. Their demands for removing content and mandating how we would refer to Prince, if obliged, would essentially mean the end of any discussion of Prince-related topics, hosting of images (even of people\'s symbol tattoos!) and more. We at will not stand for this, and have joined forces with the other affected sites to tell our side of the story and stand up to what are, in our opinion, bullying tactics designed to silence freedom of speech. (

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

3rd\SE Quadrant 11/19 '07

The Approval Matrix: Week of November 19, 2007

Genetic Code of Dandruff

Shoulder brushers of the world, rejoice: scientists have decoded the genome of Malassezia globosa, the fungus that causes dandruff and eczema.

The findings, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, were produced by geneticists from -- surprise, surprise -- Procter and Gamble.

They found that the fungus, which feeds on hair- and skin-protecting sebum, breaks down sebum with enzymes called lipases. A byproduct of the process is oleic acid, which penetrates the scalp and provokes the production of new skin cells. The old ones flake off, forming dandruff.

No fewer than eight types of lipases are involved, each of which could be a target for dandruff- and eczema-fighting medications. (Wired)

"MAD About Star Wars"

Book Description from Amazon: A long time ago (thirty years) in a galaxy far, far away (California) . . .

It is a period steeped in cinematic lore. Rebel filmmaker George Lucas, striking from a base in Northern California, won a tremendous box office victory against all odds with Star Wars, his sci-fi spectacular.

During the ensuing craze, MAD’s “Usual Gang of Idiots” managed to steal a few laughs at the movie’s expense, soon discovering that Star Wars was the ultimate pop culture punching bag.

Pursuing each Star Wars film’s release with more mockery, the MAD men spent the next three decades making a farce of the Force and spreading mirth across the galaxy.

Now, in this special edition volume, you’ll chuckle as the Star Wars saga’s greatest moments are mocked by such MAD greats as Dick DeBartolo, Mort Drucker, Don Martin, and Sergio Aragonés; smirk as the striking similarities between the space battles created by Industrial Light & Magic and by the “Usual Gang of Idiots” are revealed; hum along to the unforgettable Star Wars musical, as penned by MAD’s master lyricist, Frank Jacobs; gasp at the startling insights into R2-D2’s love life; and marvel at the real reason why Lucas’s lawyers never sued MAD.

And that’s just the beginning. . . .

So, pick up this book and see why, when Star Wars gets the MAD treatment . . . Sith happens! It is your destiny.

Amazon's Unbox

The Amazon Unbox video downloads store has thousands of DVD-quality TV shows, movies, and more for you to purchase or rent. You can search for Unbox videos anywhere on or you can go directly to our store at and browse by TV channel, movie studio, category, or genre.

You can also discover new and interesting videos by watching previews. You will find a player at the top of the Unbox store which shows previews of our most popular videos. If you'd like to watch a preview of a specific movie or TV show, you'll also find a preview player located at the top of the detail page for that video. (Amazon)

I noticed that many of the TV shows on Unbox are 99 cents, compared to Apple's $1.99. Unbox has previews unlike iTunes, but Unbox doesn't work on Macs.

Verizon Song IDentity 2.0

Building on the popular Song IDentity music recognition application already available to Verizon Wireless customers, Verizon Wireless and Rocket Mobile® announced today that the next generation of Song IDentity will soon be available to Verizon Wireless customers. The new application, Song IDentity 2.0, will enable customers with select Get It Now®-enabled handsets to use their mobile phones to identify songs playing from any music source and purchase and download the corresponding true-tone ring tone from the Verizon Wireless VZW Tones Deluxe application.

Song IDentity 2.0 will let customers identify more than two million songs from every genre, whether an obscure DJ recording or classic rock song. When customers place the phone near a music source and record a 10-second clip, Song IDentity 2.0 will name the artist, song and album title. After successful recognition, the application will directly launch the Verizon Wireless VZW Tones Deluxe application, giving customers the option to download the matching ring tone. (VZW)

2nd\NE Quadrant 11/19 '07

The Approval Matrix: Week of November 19, 2007

NPR's "Project Song"

Father Scott posted on Pax Arcana, "For Project Song, a video podcast, NPR provides the studio and inspiration for a songwriter to write and record a song in two days. In its first edition, Project Song featured the unfortunately-spelled Stephin Merritt of Magnetic Fields acclaim."

And Flatlander related on the blog False 45th, "Regarding lyrics, he [Stephin Merritt] likes to write at a bar with lots of noise. So, NPR built a bar in the studio for Merritt. Regarding music, Merritt once read an interview with ABBA where they claimed they never write their music down because they believe that if they can't remember the music then the fan won't be able to either. So, Merritt follows that philosophy.

"Diva" @ Film Forum

(1982) Just one lousy misstep, and reedy postman Frédéric Andréi is on the run all across Paris— including a hair-raising car-and-moped chase through the Métro— hotly pursued by a drug dealer/white slaver/cop honcho’s hit team (including blond, sun-glassed Dominique Pinon, wielding the world’s most vicious awl); ruthless Taiwanese music pirates; and the obviously outmanned flics themselves: all because he pirated a recording of the woman of his dreams, the NEVER-recorded opera super-star Wilhelmenia Wiggins Fernandez, as she wraps up a recital with an aria from obscure 19th composer Alfredo Catalani’s La Wally … and, well, maybe also, because of the incriminating tape a hooker on the run from the aforementioned hit squad slipped into his mail pouch…

Longtime assistant director Beineix’s debut was an international arthouse sensation, playing for over a year in some cinemas, nabbing four French Césars (including Best Film and Philippe Rousselot’s cinematography), and singlehandledly launching the cinéma du look, an explosion of visually stunning, punk-inspired, super-cool French movies in the early 80s. (Film Forum)

"Diva" Trailer

Stoppard's "Rock 'n' Roll"

Bob Burnett wrote in his review of the play on the Huffinton Post,"Like most Tom Stoppard plays, Rock 'n' Roll operates on multiple levels. The narrative tracks Czechoslovakian political history over a twenty-two year period: from the Russian occupation in 1968 to the withdrawal of Soviet troops and the election of Vaclav Havel."

"The play's primary concern is the relationship between art and politics. Stoppard ponders whether it's possible to have a free society without complete freedom of expression; however bizarre or banal that expression may be. The aesthetic that Stoppard focuses on is rock 'n' roll; a musical idiom that, since its origin in the fifties, many critics have dismissed as not being an art form. That's been described as a semi-toxic byproduct of market-driven popular culture."

"Stoppard believes rock 'n' roll is art. He brackets his story by referencing two rock icons: the late Sid Barrett, the disturbed genius who started Pink Floyd; and The Rolling Stones, who appeared in Prague in 1990."

"I have never left a new play more convinced that I just witnessed a masterpiece." Daily Telegraph [ARCADIA]

Obama on "SNL"

"A Life of Picasso Volume III:
The Triumphant Years 1917-1932"

Waldemar Januszczak wrote in his review of the book in The Sunday Times, "... volume one took Picasso’s life up to 1906 when he was barely 25, and had not yet invented cubism. Volume two kept up the inspired work, and took us through cubism to the first world war. The present volume picks up from there."

"The volume ends with the incipient arrival of Maar, the dark mistress of whom Richardson himself seems naturally fondest, and whom he also knew. Great things lie ahead, therefore. As for this volume, it is no match for the first in excitement or raw perspicacity, but the latest instalment of the finest artistic biography ever written keeps up most of the good work."
Hilary Spurling says in the Guardian Unlimited, "The third volume of John Richardson's landmark biography of Picasso shows how the artist's misogyny caused huge pain - and fuelled some of his finest work."

NATURE's "In the Valley of the Wolves."

In 1995, the first gray wolves were transported from Alberta, Canada to Yellowstone National Park, to repopulate the sprawling landscape with the species, absent for more than 70 years. The following year, a second wave of wolves was brought to the park from British Columbia, Canada; five of them were released together, and they were named the Druid Peak pack. Since the arrival of those first immigrants, wolves have thrived in Yellowstone -- and none more dramatically than the Druids.

The epic history of the Druids, one of more than a dozen packs now occupying the 2.2 million acres of Yellowstone, is documented in NATURE's "In the Valley of the Wolves." "In the Valley of the Wolves" was produced and shot in High Definition by Emmy-award winning filmmaker Bob Landis. (PBS)

NATURE | In the Valley of the Wolves | Web Exclusive | PBS