Sunday, April 23, 2006

In the last few days, quite a lot, though nothing's actually happened. On Friday, went to the last Tribeca press screening (pre-fest) only to find it was cancelled. Of course, what was great (typical) was that no one was informed. No e.mails. Nothing. So: people who had gone to the 4:30 press screening came out to find that the 6:30 screening was cancelled, and those who arrived for the 6:30 screening were told that they shouldn't have bothered. So instead, walked up to the Strand, and looked around. The luxury of just browsing through a bookstore. And i found some real rarities! Two (not one, but two) of the novels written by Stanley Kauffmann! I've been looking for his novels for AEONS! After all, it seems rather bizarre to have known someone for so long, and to have all their volumes of film and theater criticism, and not to have a single one of the man's other writings. (The two books i got were "The Philanderer" and "If It Be Love".) On Saturday, picked up my official press creds for the Tribeca Film Festival, and found out that there was a press screening (on Tuesday) of Chris Marker's "The Case of the Grinning Cat"; Wednesday, there is a press screening of Guy Maddin's collaboration with Isabella Rossellini, "My Father is 100 Years Old". Two things that i am definitely looking forward to. Sunday is always "reality TV". Watched the end of "The Next Food Network Star". Interesting process. It became a contest between Reggie Southerland and Guy Fieri, with the audience voting. My feelings about this are very.... well, it's like everything else. Initially, "cooking shows" became a refuge (during the most embattled years of "the culture wars") for PBS stations; someone like Michael Chiarello (for example) had an idea for a "local" (Northern California/Napa Valley) cooking show. And the show was produced by the local PBS affiliate in San Francisco (and that's how Jack Walsh wound up being one of the show's producers during the initial run). Now: Chiarello has his "Easy Entertaining" show on the Food Network, and his Napa Style books, etc. (Of course, now that it's such a corporate entity, Jack Walsh is long gone.) But now, the Food Network isn't taking shows developed "independently", but they're developing shows, and people are being molded to fit into some abstracted idea of a Food Network "personality". On "The Surreal Life", Tawny Kitaen tries to take on Florence Henderson... but Florence Henderson is deceptive, in that she's one of the sharpest (and, at times, bitchiest) women in show business. Memorable moment: on one of David Letterman's first shows, he had her on, and he thought he'd have fun with the "bland" Mrs. Brady. But every time he tried to mock her, she threw it back at him... until it reached the point where he was utterly humiliated. I mean: he tried to do his superior-than-thou shit on her, and she had the audience laughing at him. Not with him, but at him! It was great, because she didn't just give it back to him, she wiped the floor with him! And Tawny Kitaen is no David Letterman! Poeple should know: you don't mess with Florence Henderson, because she's a real show business survivor. Two back to back episodes of "So NoTorious"; Larry and i really enjoy this show. Well, at last Tori Spelling has a sense of humor.

Been watching "Huff": tonight, Anjelica Huston makes her first appearance. I've enjoyed this season of "Huff"; the first season was (somehow) erratic... but this season, there's been... it's hard to explain. I can't even use the word "consistent" because what does that mean in terms of series television? Shows like "The Gilmore Girls" have just gotten wildly inconsistent: the characters now longer make sense. The "glue" of "The Gilmore Girls" was the strong bond between Lorelai (the mother played by Lauren Graham) and Rory (the daughter played by Alexis Bedell). But this season, it's as if they never had that bond, and without it, the show makes no sense. In a sense, "Huff" has the characters veer into "inconsistent" territory, but there's an almost baroque quality, which allows people like Sharon Stone and Anjelica Huston (who are almost too outsized for any "normal" characters) to find a context to do some very funny work.

There's been a lot in terms of politics. But what the hell does George W. Bush mean when he says "I'm the decider"? The "shakeup" of his cabinet sounds awfully suspicious to me: it sounds as if he's trying to hide people, because the trail (the CIA leak, the FEMA debacle re: Hurricane Katrina, etc.) always leads back to "the decider". Yet George W. Bush won't take the blame for anything.

Alida Valli died! Three movies that desperately need to be on (superior) quality DVD: Visconti's "Senso", Clement's "This Angry Age" and Bertolucci's "The Spider's Strategem". Alida Valli is proof that the American motion picture industry is not foolproof: David O. Selznick tried to make her a star, but he had no idea what her real range was. By the time she did "The Third Man", her "star" potential was shot in the US, and she went back to Europe with films like "Senso" and proved that Selznick didn't know what he was doing.

Exchanged e.mails with Brett; he's supposed to be in NYC at the end of the week, so maybe we can get to see each other.

The damned rain really depressed me: two days, just pouring! This weather is driving me crazy: parched for weeks on end, and then a two day deluge! But the rain seems to have done wonders for our fig trees: they're starting to bloom.

Looking forward to more movies this week....

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