Friday, December 19, 2008

Warren Beatty in "Shampoo": an odd movie for an odd time

I woke up at like 2:30am this morning with the TV still on, about halfway through 1975's bittersweet look back at 1968, "Shampoo". For those who have never experienced the magic of Warren Beatty's helmut-haired, characteristically wooden portrayal of a himbo hairdresser whose extreme dandy costumery created the template for the International Male line of clothing, it's very, uh, different.

The movie revolves around the motorcycling hairdresser who spends his days and nights cheating on an absolutely stunning Goldie Hawn with every woman who walks into his salon. The character is a blank slate with no real back story, motivation, desire (other than lots and lots of hetero fucking) or focus. He vaguely entertains the idea of opening his own salon, but gets caught fucking his financier's girlfriend, so that goes down the drain. Oh, and Goldie finds out and leaves him. Then the financier's girlfriend elopes with the financier, and after a torturous, constipated bit of Beatty acting sad, the credits roll. I guess the message is that cheating is, like, bad.

The interesting thing is the frame in which all of the frivolity is set: the eve of the 1968 presidential election, which everyone in 1975 understood to be the moment when the uber villian of that time, Richard Nixon, began his reign. The characters float around a rich hippy version of L.A. with lots of drugged out parties in enormous Hollywood Hills mansions with strobe lights and Beatles music. Everything is free and groovy as the looming bogeyman of the 1970s periodically pops up on TV screens campaigning for president.

It is impossible to understand why anybody liked this movie without understanding the deep malaise of the mid seventies. It feels like the popular culture spent a good part of the 70s asking "what went wrong?" The answer according to "Shampoo" is too much extracurricular fucking/voting for Nixon.

Anyway, "Shampoo" is really a piece of shit in the sun, rewarded by the 1976 Academy Awards with three Oscars, including Best Screenplay!

It's kind of worth a watch, just as a cringeworthy examination of the embarrassment that is Warren Beatty.

And at least it's not Bulworth.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Overheard NYFA student conversation

I just passed by a couple of geniuses from the New York Film Academy having cigarettes and chit chatting.

Student 1 (in a British accent): So Tennessee is a state, right?
Student 2 (American accent): Yeah, yeah. Wait...


Apparently, David Paterson likes Caroline Kennedy to replace Sen. Hillary Clinton because she has raised some $70 million for the Dems recently and can amass enough money to keep the seat for a while.

Can someone please tell me how this is different than Blagojevich's criteria for candidates to replace Barack Obama?

My prediction: no conviction for Blagojevich. If we want to structure our politics around money, this is what we get.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Paterson proposes wine sales in grocery stores?!?

This little paragraph mentions something revolutionary (for New York State, at least) in the midst of the various tax increases Gov. Paterson is proposing:
Beer and wine drinkers may pay higher excise taxes, but consumers would be able to buy wine from groceries and drug stores. At present, beer is available in groceries and drug stores but wine can only be sold at specialist liquor stores.
WTF? I always thought that New York's silly wine-is-hard-alcohol law was some sort of unchangeable post-repeal deal that was worked out between the mob and the Catholic church. I guess hard times = more wine!

I approve.

Best shoe toss animated .gifs

Well, this being the absurd age we live in with this internet and everything, enterprising young people have already gotten their lolz creating these wonderful animated .gifs of our distinguished still-leader dodging a fucking shoe:

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Controversy time! An alternate view on gay marriage

Mark Simpson is a British gay contrarian who invented the term metrosexual. He is also very smart. His view is that the fight for gay marriage is largely an emotional and symbolic battle and that equal rights activists should let it go and focus on actual civil rights:
If Christians and traditionalists want to preserve the “sanctity” of marriage as something between a man and a woman, with all the mumbo jumbo that entails, let them. They only hasten the collapse of marriage. Instead of demanding gay marriage, in effect trying to modernise an increasingly moribund institution, maybe lesbian and gay people should push for civil partnerships to be opened to cross-sex couples, as they are in France - where they have proved very popular.

Let’s Be Civil: Gay Marriage Isn’t The End Of The Rainbow

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

More Americans believe in the Devil, Hell and Angels than in Darwin's Theory of Evolution

It is a testament to how badly our educational system has been damaged over the last four decades that only 47% of Americans believe in Darwin's Theory of Evolution. It is astonishing that this Theory, which science has relied on for a multitude of breakthroughs, is so widely misunderstood and mistrusted in this country.

Meanwhile nonsense like angels, hell, etc. are treated as common knowledge.


Isn't the real crime the hair?

Monday, December 8, 2008

The magical world of "Stairway to Stardom"

In the 80s in New York, there was a public access show called "Stairway to Stardom" which was like a low-rent "Gong Show", only all of the guests were awful and all were taken seriously. Some kind soul with too much time on his hands has posted a lot of these acts to YouTube and they are going down well on a cold Monday.

Check the entire archive:

Friday, December 5, 2008

Condoleeza Rice: EPIC FAIL

Have you noticed how Condoleeza Rice keeps talking and talking lately? As if anyone is listening? As if she isn't part of a failed, dying administration? As if she weren't an advocate of an utterly wrong-headed ideology and policy so morally bankrupt that it inflamed the world, damaged the United States and almost destroyed the world?

Israelis now have a verb, lecondel, meaning running around and having lots of meetings, accomplishing nothing.

It's like she thinks she can make up for the political and moral failings of the last eight years with some piano playing and tough talk.

Hello, Condi. GOODBYE.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

"Cocktalians" ruin drinking

Today's New York Times' Dining section is devoted to cocktails. As expected, it's an uptight, upper crusty examination of something that should be fun and messy: getting drunk. But no, the "Cocktalians" in this article don't drink to excess. Instead they spend hours making their own ice, vermouth and syrups, then bring them to establishments that cater to this particular brand of party pooper. Then they sit around and talk about cocktails.

I like a good cocktail or ten, but come on. Must everything be so fucking artisanal these days? I always thought ice was, you know, frozen water. If you want to filter the water, fine, but I mean how much can you really improve upon it? It's fucking ice!

STFU, cocktalians!

A Brotherhood Formed with Cocktails and Ice

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Bush doesn't worry about history

Many times over the last eight years we have heard still-president George W. Bush speak wistfully about history. He has often tried to excuse his actions by invoking some future people who will be able to see his decisions in a forgiving light.

But he has also repeatedly said something to the effect of, "well, it doesn't matter, because in the future we will all be dead." What an astonishing disregard for his own children and grandchildren this president displays! Here is a perfect summary of this recklessness spoken from the horse's mouth in his incredible ABC interview:
I don't spend a lot of time really worrying about short-term history. I guess I don't worry about long-term history, either, since I'm not going to be around to read it -- (laughter) -- but, look, in this job you just do what you can.
It is a testament to the strength of this country that America in such good shape, considering the stupefying ineptitude of leadership we have suffered under for the last eight years.

You know what? Fuck you, George W. Bush. If I were you, I would get down on my knees every day and pray to your God for forgiveness, because if your biblical hell exists, you are certainly at the front of the line.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Shout out on Marc Riley's show

Hey hey! The economy is dying, yet we are still stampeding discount stores, terrorists are terrorizing, Iran and Russia are still scary, but...

Marc Riley gave me a shout out on BBC 6Music!

The comment to "Bryan in New York" comes in the first 10 minutes of the Dec. 1 show.

I emailed him the following:

Subject: Mick Jagger

Totally the greatest front man of all time.

You're WRONG Marc. Still love the show.

- Bryan in New York