Tuesday, October 5, 2010
View from our room on the 46th floor.
AND (and this is the best part), Calvin Trillin was sitting next to me during the interview! I was sort of distracted by this fact the whole time, and I just couldn't quite let it go, so when the interview was over I turned to him and said, "excuse me, Mr. Trillin?" he looked a bit startled and said "yes?" I stuck out my hand, which he shook (what else could he do?) and said "my name is Manomi, I came out from Seattle for the festival, I just wanted to say, I've enjoyed your work for a long time." He gave the smallest hint of a smile and said "thank you," I said, "you're welcome" and then left him alone.
Jenine and I were then supposed to meet my friend Elizabeth who was making the trek out from Brooklyn to meet us for dinner. Unfortunately, Jenine was jet-lagged (having just returned from China and Vietnam a few days before leaving for New York) and not feeling well, and decided to get back to the hotel for some much needed sleep while I went off to meet Elizabeth. We had a nice dinner at Harrison (pricey, noisy, good, not spectacular with the exception of our side order of fries, which were spectacular; I've eaten fries at a lot of places, these must have been fried in duck fat or something equally decadant - they were sublime) and I ended up back in the room about 12:30 - Jenine didn't even twitch when I came in.
After Atul, we had just enough time to trot down a few blocks to the Chelsea Market and browse the goodies there. We bought some treats, including chocolate covered Corn Flakes (you have no idea...) from Jacque Torres and some savory crepes for a snack, and then headed back to the same theater for the "Fashion Forward" talk. I have to admit, this was the talk we had tickets to that I was least interested in, but that turned out to be the MOST interesting. Four designers, four runway models, and Judith Thurman moderating a very interesting discussion on fashion, the fashion industry, femininity, Michelle Obama vs. Carla Bruni, inspiration, fabric, draping, layering, wool, PETA, and the best part: the Rag and Bone collection (my favorite) featured mittens. No gloves, mittens. The models were all leggy, beautiful, and appeared to completely lobotomized. Jenine, an apparel designer by training, more of an industrial designer by trade, was hugely inspired by the event, and I found it incredibly interesting and entertaining, and it made me think that in my life, which is often totally void of personal artistic endeavors, fashion can be art and expression, and every day can be an opportunity to create a personal artistic statement, even if it's with other peoples' products.
Sunday morning was with Steve Carell. Again, lots of clips, and lots of chat about "The Office." He answered my burning question during the interview -- it turns out that the show was in fact very deliberately re-tooled after Season 2 (the change was obvious, and hugely disappointing); the result was more viewers and numerous awards - but the changes rendered the show practically unwatchable as far as I'm concerned. It lost all its charm and all its subtlety while becoming a major hit with the masses. I have to believe all those smart actors and writers are disappointed now too, and that the turn is a contributing factor in Steve leaving after this season, but introducing myself to Calvin Trillin was as much as I could do in terms of confronting celebrities, so I didn't ask Steve to elaborate on the change after Season 2 during the question and answer period.
And that was the end of the festival for us. We spent Sunday afternoon walking down the High Line Park, stopped for a cocktail ($15) at the bar on the roof of the Gansevoort Hotel, made our way back to Times Square, and on a tip from our doorman, ate dinner at John's Pizza ("best pizza in the City!")
Monday, August 23, 2010
Ashland is a very nice, tiny village, with nice shops, decent restaurants, and a lovely park on the edge of town. Peter and I also drove the two-and-a-half hours to Crater Lake to check out the azure blues, and they were as advertised.
The B&B where we stayed was very nice, we had a big room and big bathroom and the breakfasts were good. I was sort of expecting extraordinary, but I’m sticking with good. The ladies who ran the place were very nice, helpful, friendly, etc., and the other guests we dined with at breakfast were the same. Really nice weekend.
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
|our flat was in the building on the right|
There's a scene at the beginning of Get Him to the Greek which is supposed to take place in the main character's London flat - it's the penthouse of this building!! I recognized the view from the balcony in the movie, it's the same view as from our balcony but from higher, and from the street, I can look up and see the entire balcony where the scene was shot. Okay, I thought that was cool.
The U.K. has banned smoking in public places (thank god), however, Londoners have refused to give up their fags (hee hee!) and now they (all of them) smoke to and from wherever they're going and then they smoke some more outside when they get there. I am really tired of walking down the sidewalks through clouds of cigarette smoke.
One day when I was taking the tube somewhere, a guy got on with what looked like a little amplifier. I didn't think anything of it until I saw the microphone in his hand and then I got a little worried. Within a few minutes of him boarding the train, the unmistakable opening of Careless Whisper started playing and then he started singing. I've heard people sing in the subways of New York and then ask for tips; here's the deal with those people: they sing really well. This bozo introduced himself to his captive audience as "Klaus" and then sang a few more lines. Here's the deal with Klaus: I don't think English is his first language, he didn't actually know the words to Careless Whisper and appeared to be making them up as he went along, he couldn't sing for shit. I mean, I can sing better than he could - and if you know me at all, you know that's not saying much. A bunch of us exited the train just as Klaus was screeching out "So I'm never gonna prance again, the way I danced with mules..." or something like that. We all winced collectively as we desperately ran for the stairs.
I do like London a lot, but I'm ready to go home.
[Full disclosure: I typed most of that Tuesday morning from the London apartment but didn't have time to post it before rushing off to the airport. I also tried to post it from the Calgary Airport during our connection but the Canadians have an interesting concept for what "free wifi" means. I'm posting it now, Wednesday morning, from my desk in Bellevue but plan on adding a few more photos when I get home tonight. It's been fun, thanks for reading and emailing me while I was away; the blog now goes back into hibernation until the next trip. -M]
Monday, July 19, 2010
Saturday, July 17, 2010
We got back to London in time to have a 45 minute rest before heading off to Waterloo Station for The Railway Children, a play based on a children's book about a family in post WWI England. The mother and three children go off to a home in the country when the father is hauled off to be tried for treason (which the children don't know at the time, and which is a farily sophisticated plot-point for a children's story, I think). Their adventures center around the village's train station, the station-master, and the people who come and go from the trains. Except for in two scenes, when an actual life-sized train-prop appears on the platform (the stage is a real train platform with the audience sitting on either side and the tracks in the middle), the train is represented very convincingly with sound and light effects. The three children are played, also convincingly, by adult actors, and the story is quite charming, although in addition to the treason plot-point, there is also a slightly watered down pro-Marxist element, also unusual for a children's story, but then again, children need to learn about Marxism from somewhere. There was one very intense scene in the play where the children see a landslide on the track, and we can all hear a train approaching, and the children know they have to get the engineer to stop the train or there is going to be a horrible accident. The two girls have red petticoats on under their dresses which they remove, ripping one into two pieces, and all three of them wave the red flags wildly as the train approaches, with the older girl standing in the middle of the track so she is sure to be seen. I have to admit, I was pretty stressed. The actors did a good job of conveying the emergency of the situation but the real star of that scene was the sound design - it truly sounded like a train was approaching and three kids were trying to stop it - ONE STANDING DIRECTLY IN ITS PATH. Even though I was fairly certain the scene wouldn't end in carnage, I was still pretty anxious... the power of theater man, the power of theater.
Friday, July 16, 2010
|the old spa|
|the new spa|