Smart Girls Who Do Stupid Things


TTMMW: “What is it about high school, you read all the worst books by good writers”

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Keeping track of weeks for the Thelonious Monk weblog confuses me. So, let’s just start calling this feature “stuff that happened recently that is applicable to this category”, shall we? To be updated approximately weekly, as per before. This is technically week 7/8, for those trying to keep track.

1. Update:
As I know you were all chomping at the bit to hear my thoughts on the Norman Rockwell photography show at the Brooklyn Museum, it was great. Rockwell was always more of an illustrator, an amazing technician, but it was his compositional skills that really set him apart. Using photography, which he considered a crutch, was the best way to do his pieces, and getting a chance to see how that process was meticulously handled is an insight into an artist’s development in a way we don’t usually get a chance to see. Here are a few examples from the exhibit.

Additionally, Judy Chicago’s The Dinner Table, which I had only read about in the past, has a beautiful home there now. When we went, Lauren wondered why the plates became three-dimensional only towards the 19th and 20th centuries. I wasn’t sure, but a little further research showed that, “The 39 plates themselves start flat and begin to emerge in higher relief towards the very end of the chronology, meant to represent modern woman’s gradual independence and equality, though it is still not totally free of societal expectations”, says Janet Koplos in her article “The Dinner Party Revisited”, from Art in America‘s May 2003 issue.

2. I’m surprised Sarah Jessica Parker is not on this list of actresses you irrationally hate
She’s been replaced by January Jones. Unsurprisingly, Renee Zellweger make her presence known.

3. Judith Jamison leaves Alvin Ailey as artistic director
And gets a rave review from Alastair Macaulay, something that’s pretty hard to do, if we all remember the hubbub over the fat ballerina.

4. All things PIXAR
Stamps! And a well-edited video:

5. Segregation and Jazz
A fascinating behind-the-scenes look at what black performers, considered at the top of their industry, had to face before integration. [Houston History Magazine]

6. Great movie about family
Every time I watch The Squid and the Whale the more I feel like Noah Baumbach had some insight into my family, even though it shares few obvious similarities with the Berkman family. It just reeks of truth on a level that is not so much uncomfortable as so real you can’t look away.

7. Other Music News
Chuck Berry collapses during one of his shows. Get better Chuck! I need to see you to fulfill my lifelong dream.

Another weird Dylan thing turns out not to be true. [Stereogum]

Pitchfork’s albums shown, super beautifully. [Year in Reviews]

8. The best two things together
Tennis + Water [Gawker]

9.Detroit is falling apart
But at least we’re documenting it’s demise. [The Guardian]

10. The Daily Show is boss
And might be coming back to Hulu. Please please please, give me what I want:

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c
The Best F#@king News Team Won’t Stop Ever
Daily Show Full Episodes Political Humor & Satire Blog The Daily Show on Facebook

11. Future Almodóvar to get excited about
Sounds like a snazzier Nip/Tuck.
First Look: Antonio Banderas In Pedro Almodóvar’s ‘The Skin That I Inhabit’ [Indiewire]

12. And on a more positive note, let’s remember that even when bad things happen, good things do too:

Thelonious Monk Memorial Weblog Post Week 5

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1) Patti Smith Could Get No Cooler
I really like how she’s a huge fan of Law & Order: SVU.

The Unpredictable Patti Smith’s Favorite Cultural Moments of 2010 [NYMag]

2) Blake Edwards Dies
Really, really sad. Husband of Julie Andrews, he directed her in one of my favorite films, Victor/Victoria. He also directed and wrote the original Pink Panther movies with Peter Sellers, not the bad ones with Steve Martin (sorry Steve).

3) A viral video of all the black people ever on Friends hits the web
The list (though I think it might be incomplete, I won’t bore you with my endless knowledge of trivial Friends Facts, or what I consider Fun Facts).

Jorge Luis Abreu – The One with the Birth Mother – The Waiter
John Eric Bentley – The One with the Blind Dates – Waiter #2
Mongo Brownlee – The One with Unagi – The Instructor
Sean Corvelle – The One with the Holiday Armadillo – The Salesman
Monique Edwards – The One with Christmas in Tulsa/The One with Phoebe’s Birthday Dinner – Claudia
Jonathan T. Floyd – The One with All the Candy – Gary
Jason Winston George – The One Where They’re Up All Night – Fireman
Ron Glass -The One Where Joey Loses His Insurance/The One Where Ross
Hugs Rachel – Russell
Joyce Guy – The One Where Rosita Dies – The Supervisor
Teck Holmes – The One with the Mugging – Jordan
Michelle Anne Johnson – The One with the Mugging – The Casting director
Cleo King – The One Where No One Proposes – Nurse Kitty
Phill Lewis – The One with the Lottery/The One with the Mugging/The One Where Rachel Goes Back to Work – Steve
Tembi Locke – The One Where Ross Hugs Rachel – Karin
Keith Pillow – The One with Rachel’s Dream – Customer #2
Ron Recasner – The One with Unagi – The Doctor
Dennis Singletary – The One with Joey’s Porsche – Guy #2
Tim Edward Rhoze – The One Where Joey Speaks French – Director
Michael D. Roberts – The One with Ross’ Library Book – The Head Librarian
Timothy Starks – The One with the Boob Job – The Handyman
Aisha Tyler – The One with the Soap Opera Party/The One with the Fertility Test/The One with the Donor/The One in Barbados: Part 2/The One in Barbados: Part 1/The One After Joey and Rachel Kiss/The One Where Ross Is Fine/The One Where Rachel’s Sister Babysits – Charlie Wheeler
Gabrielle Union – The One with the Cheap Wedding Dress – Kristen Lang
Janet Hubert-Whitten – The One Where Emma Cries – Ms. McKenna
Barry Wiggins – The One with the Holiday Armadillo – The Man

4) I went to see Mark Morris’ The Hard Nut at BAM Again
This ballet will probably always be my favorite. A modern adaptation of The Nutcracker, I first saw it at the age of four when our good family friend, Clarice Marshall, was the lead, Marie. I even dressed up as her for Halloween the following year. In the following video, which features clips of different performances of The Hard Nut, but a great deal of footage of Clarice in the original production, Morris explains how the holiday party scene at the beginning of the ballet is influenced largely by improvisation, which I feel largely explains why it is some of his best work.

His Company’s productions benefit hugely from the individual attention that all the dancers get; even those that are not leads have their moments, and he does amazing work with partnering. Something that has always set The Hard Nut apart from more traditional ballet is his use of both men and women in scenes that would historically feature only female dancers. While some might find it “gender bending”, Morris sees it differently: “The topic of the snowflakes and the flowers is an interesting one, because I guess because traditionally in most Nutcrackers, those are danced by women, because most women are more like flowers or snowflakes. And as far as I’m concerned, flowers have different genders, there’s a male and a female flower. Snowflakes I don’t believe have sexual characteristics of any kind, so what I wanted really, frankly, was a stage full of people, and my company is fifty percent men and fifty percent women, so if I want a big crowd of people, it can only be that big with everybody. And so that became a political, socio-political sort of thing, when in fact it’s just, bring on the snowflakes!”

5) Norman Rockwell, the Photographer?
I can’t wait to see this show at the Brooklyn Museum of all the behind-the-scenes pictures he used to paint his works. I love how he thought using photographs was cheating, but he did it anyway. When my dad was in art school, he never told anyone that Norman Rockwell was his favorite artist, for fear of being considered a sell-out. The point that “Rockwell must be rolling in his grave” at the thought of this show is definitely an apt one.

6) A few ways to experience Christmas
Not only has Wendall Jamieson written a very touching story about an important male role model, it really reminded me of my dad, right down to the details.
The Man Who Hated Christmas [NYT]

If you’re in the mood for something more upbeat, the Irish Repertory Theater in New York is putting on a reinvention of Dylan Thomas’ A Child’s Christmas In Wales. The poem/story with very long sentences is a great way to be introduced to Thomas’ work in a more humorous manner. It also definitely helped me bridge the generation gap with my parents, as I was shocked to read that sometimes, people have relatives who get so drunk as to throw away presents in the fire as they try to burn up all the wrapping paper.

7) Kathleen Hanna Tells Us A Long Story About Kurt Cobain
And now we know how the most famous Nirvana song came about and what “us guys can do to help you feminists.” I also had no idea that there are strippers out there who dance to The Red Hot Chili Peppers, which sounds like a show to see. There’s so much goodness in this video, as well as being a really interesting cover; though I’ll always love this one.

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