17 April 2007
20 March 2007
13 March 2007
09 March 2007
26 February 2007
Shortly after 8PM, Naomi Watts and Nicole Kidman enter together, and Nicole Kidman looks like a reverse matchstick. Someone asks her ridiculously about how the shape of her career has changed over time, and she mumbles something imperceptible through lips that have changed a great deal more.
8:14: Is Will Smith gayer than Andre Leon Talley?
8:15: Cameron Diaz, who’s listed as “an avid snowboarder and surfer” on the weird CNN-style bottom screen ticker, must be up for her role as Linda Evangelista in Single White Female 2.
8:17: Given her pallor and complete lack of mineral content, the irony of Cate Blanchett’s name is Hollywood in scale.
8:26: Someone needs to tell Mirren they stopped rolling on The Queen.
8:36: Ellen’s on stage, and Jack is bald. She looks a little like a really successful Elvis impersonating bowler, but she’s off to the best start in recent memory.
8:42: Al Gore is in the audience and looking relatively slim, which means he will definitely win the Oscar for Best Internet.
8:45: Pan’s Labyrinth wins best Art Direction. You have to start somewhere category-wise. Oscar’s still making chili.
8:48: There’s something about Maggie Gylenhaal that makes me think I could be attracted to some kinds of spaniels.
8:53: As Will Ferrell begins a song that ultimately includes Jack Black and John C. Reilly, I wonder why someone fancy doesn’t sing the National Anthem before this whole thing. I think Oscar deserves it as much or more than NASCAR.
8:54: Mark Wahlberg’s wife, Victoria’s Secret model, Stephen Dorff’s ex, and Tara Reid & Paris Hilton sluttin’ buddy Rhea Durham is the hottest thing in the whole room.
8:58: Pan’s Labyrinth again with makeup. They’re on pace for an Oscar sweep.9:54: William Monahan, writer of The Departed, wins and narrowly avoids a Forest Whitaker-style meltdown, with the help of valium, which, he confirms, “works.” Get the nerd-hook.
10:01: At first I was glad that we were seemingly free and clear from the ludicriously theatrical stage re-intrepretations of films, but I agree that Costume Design deserves twenty fucking minutes of it… Where is Ludacris, anway?
10:04: Milena Canonero, the winner of Costume Design (the new most important category) actually says she’s really happy to “win this doll.” Brilliant.
10:05: Tom Cruise is sorry to present and run, but he’s gay. Or thetansexual.
10:13: First true prediction: Children of Men will get cinematography. Pan’s Labyrinth was beautiful, but not really because of how it was “shot.” OK, Pan wins. Another for Guillermo. Someone somewhere is seriously thinking we need to get serious on border control right about now. How about some more music?
10:21: Robert Downey Jr. bows in a self-aware moment of self-consciousness after he delivers yet another “I was really fucked up in the nineties” joke, then feigns excitement when Pirates wins Visual Effects.
10:29: As we begin Best Foreign Picture, and we all collectively say “this is now the most confusing slash irrelevant category,” considering three of the regular best pictures are foreign in either director (Babel) or LANGUAGE (Queen, Letters, Babel), I start to daydream about to whom I’ll give my award for best American presenter.
10:35: OK, Clooney’s the front-runner. And he gives the supporting actress to Jennifer Hudson (Dame Jennifer Hudson?), who thankfully thanks God. Beyonce is totally crying on the outside.
10:41: Tuffy (the girlfriend) blurts “I love him I was just thinking about him,” as Gabriel Gael Garcia Bernal Diego Luna Melquiades Estrada demonstrates how he’s prettier than Bond-girl Eva Green and how The Blood of Yingzhoo District just won Best Documentary Short.
10:44: What’s up with all these comedians disguising stand-up bits as award presentations? I mean what is up with that?! Seinfeld will present Al Gore with the award… Al Gore For Oscar. I’m one for 3.
10:55: Thank God, more music. For some reason Celine Dion comes out of semi-retirement to perform the world premier of “I Knew I Loved You” to honor of Andrea Merconi (sic), who delivers a heart-rending speech in Italian that only his wife and Gwyneth Paltrow understand, and that Clint briefly summarizes. Oscar is chairman of the foreign relation sub-committee.
11:06: Huge Ackman, star of the hit Broadway show The Boy From Oz, is everywhere this year. So he decides to present…
11:12: Screenplay. We’re going with Sunshine, even though it’s no Squid and the Whale, which Oscar saw as no Crash. I like how they’re reading the scripts with the action. Sunshine. Matthew Broderick’s assistant? What is up with these fun facts? Wait, can anybody else hear those?
11:19: You know what would be great right about now? More music.
11:20: I honestly have no idea who Jennifer Lopez is anymore, but she doesn’t sing, so points.
11:26: “It’s Gonna Take Patience” to endure this Dreamgirls medley.
11:28: Jennifer Hudson brings some much needed heaving cleavage to the show. Oh, one almost escapes! Where the hell is Salma Hayek, anyway?
11:30: Interesting that Melissa Etheridge chooses to thank her wife, rather than Jesus. Lesbians are having the best night ever.
11:40: Let’s take a ten minute break for Will Smith, father of presenter Jaden Smith, to “present” Michael Mann’s random comment on Americanism, set to, you guessed it, more music.
11:42: Editing. I didn’t see United 93, but I’ve heard. Departed gets it. Great, but let’s not let Thelma Schoonmaker a wonderfully talented and incredibly old editor, who’s won for Raging Bull and The Aviator, win another one without Marty.
11:51: Ellen’s into her (at least) third costume change. She introduces Philip Seymour Hoffman, last year’s retroactively awarded Forrest Whitaker award winner for most uncomfortable award winner’s acceptance speech, who will present best actress. Let’s go with Helen Mirren. Right. Cue the cheesy ass homage to The Queen.
11:56: These dancers are amazing.
12:00: For the last 3, I’m going with Forest Whitaker, Marty, The Departed, and more music.
12:01: Why did someone tell Reese Witherspoon that chin implants were the new number one sign of “I’m back on the market?”
12:03: It would be nice to see Peter O’Toole win, but then who would win the Forest Whitaker award? Oh, It’s Forest Whitaker.
12:07: If Scorsese doesn’t get to stand up there with the three amigos… it’s about fucking time. He just looks relieved and graciously accepts like he’s done it before. Next.
12:12: Let’s wrap it up with Jack and Diane, the picture for their respective genders of both the cool and crazy of “older age.” They will present Best Picture. to The Departed. Well done.
Well, that was spectacularly humdrum.
Goodnight, Ellen. Goodnight, Oscar. Next year, more music.
23 December 2006
Roots & Crowns
A while back, a friend of mine told me about this band Califone he saw opening a show for Wilco. "They were the best band of the night".
Having a hard time grappling with that, I bought this record and...wow.
This mere fact speaks volumes.
'Sno Angel Like You
sortof Lou Reed meets Tom Waits...or something. Nice.
I read this internet-bit about Will Johnson meeting Will Sheff (Okkervil River) who had a Proust "Remembrance of Things Past" book tucked under his armpit at a Centro-matic show. I bought this record just because of that story. According to my I-Tunes playcount, I listened to this a lot.
I call this: alt.drive-by-truckers meets Neil Y.'s Crazy Horse, on steroids.
Wet & Rusting (EP)
30 November 2006
30 October 2006
African Americans much less happy with street
Portland State University professor Daniel Sullivan has just completed a study compiling the opinions of the changes on the street known for new residents, art galleries, restaurants and storefronts.
Among all people, there was a general sense the neighborhood is losing its diversity, especially longtime African American businesses and organizations.
Sullivan, an associate professor of sociology, evaluated responses from 88 businesses, churches and non-profit organizations on or near the thoroughfare between Northeast 11th and 30th Avenues.
He said he chose to study the street because, unlike most neighborhoods in Portland, it is racially and economically diverse.
Most disagreements over the changes on Alberta fell along racial lines.
"What really surprised me is it seems like I expected a lot more disagreement," Sullivan said. "It seems most people like what's going on, except African Americans."
He found that many white respondents embrace the idea of diversity, but feel nothing can be done about it. Some even lament the fact that few of their clientele are African American.
"Many of us here would love to keep the multicultural element," said one artist surveyed, "but it's controlled by economic forces."
A concern for 60 percent of respondents was affordability. Renters and art studio operators feel the most vulnerable to displacement, regardless of race.
Black respondents tended to believe that there are more problems on Alberta than do other races. For example, 64 percent of black respondents state that "police not caring" is a problem, compared to only 28 percent of other respondents. Seventy-nine percent of blacks surveyed see racial tensions in the neighborhood as a problem, compared to only 45 percent of those questioned from other races.
Although most respondents liked the Last Thursday art walks, African Americans were half as likely to view it positively.
Sullivan is careful to say his study was not an effort to promote particular change, but rather an attempt to reduce biases among businesses and organizations of different ethnicities, many of which he found do not communicate with each other. He stresses the importance of discussion among everyone with a stake in the neighborhood, and offers a few practical suggestions to preserve and enhance racial diversity along Alberta, including hiring a racially diverse staff from the neighborhood, offering products and prices that attract a range of residents and advertising in diverse venues.
Another less obvious suggestion concerns dogs in gentrifying neighborhoods - Sullivan found some respondents are uncomfortable or intimidated around dogs, whether tied to poles on sidewalks outside of businesses or on adjacent patios. A dog's presence, even if well behaved, is unwelcoming to those passing by who are forced to make contact.
This is Sullivan's second study, following a focus on gentrification among Alberta neighborhood residents. After a month spent talking to a random selection of about 185 neighbors, he found many participants liked some of the changes, but were uneasy about others. He was surprised to find only a quarter of those surveyed expressed significant concern about the dramatic rise in housing costs and decreasing racial diversity.
"I thought more people of color would say they don't like the changes because this is an area that has had a large concentration of minorities and cultural institutions," Sullivan said about his first study.
Sullivan notes that Alberta will likely evolve rapidly over the next five years, especially concerning racial diversity, and that business and organizations can play an important role in influencing these changes.