30 September 2013

Dark Doo Wop

Listening to: Haim, Days Are Gone. This is a tough one as Haim and Icona Pop both just dropped albums. We've been plugging Haim over at The End Starts Today and rightfully so, as the three Haim tracks I've had in my possession have been on infinite repeat. After just a few quick spins, I can confidently say that Haim's debut album is absolutely essential cruising pop. Basically it's summer in eleven tracks, and even though summer is basically over, Haim has officially arrived.

As for Icona Pop, their lead single, "All Night" isn't quite up at "I Love It" level yet, but it's comparable, which is a huge compliment. Where was this track in July? We could have used it at dance parties everywhere. The song's Paris is Burning vogueing video is kind of killer too.

Last thing, I'm a bit late to the MS MR party but I've been digging their 2012 album, Candy Bar Creep Show. MS MR has got plenty of Florence and the Machine in them and I quite like their semi-new single, "Fantasy." I didn't see the Game of Thrones Season Three trailer their other song were featured in but know all about it now. Who knew moody pop and Westeros went so well together?
If you like anthropomorphic food, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 is the film for you. Maybe I've collected anthropomorphic vegetable salt shakers in the past, maybe I've watched my fair share of Veggie Tales, either way, while I hate nature documentaries that anthropomorphize animals -- ahem, March of the Penguins -- I love it when human personalities are attributed to food!

When I saw the trailer for Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 earlier this summer, I was already one hundred percent in. After watching the film, I can wholeheartedly give it a superior grade. It's absolutely silly, filled with chuckle worthy puns, and for all illiterates out there, no advance book reading necessary. Fun note: The screenplay was co-written by John Francis Daley, aka Sam Weir from Freaks and Geeks.

A bit of research on the Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs wiki revealed that there are "foodimals" and then there are "food people." The latter are "sentient food that have developed a higher-level of sentience and sapience, and posses no animal-like traits and instead have human-like qualities and behavior." The former are animal/food portmanteaus like tacodile, hippotatoes, mosquitoast, buffaloaf, and watermelephants. Do you see how amazing this is? The star of the show for me was the leek, who just seems to be screaming in fear all the time. See? Anyways, Cloudy 2 is right up there with Despicable Me 2 for best animated movie of the summer. If you're into laughing and giggling and that type of thing. Otherwise watch Prisoners, which was pretty decent also.

I'm back from San Francisco, trying to catch up on all manner of things online. Basically I'm behind on everything but with the help of some late nights and my reunion with my double computer screens, I'll have everything from 2013 caught up and finished with by, say, 2014? Deal.

I scurried back to New York in time for a live taping of Slate's Cultural Gabfest. As a longtime fan, I was more than excited to see Stephen Metcalf, Dana Stevens, and Julia Turner in person. I was a little late as usual but settled in on the side of the stage and gazed out into the crowd. It's been awhile since I've looked upon a 99% white people occupied space and been like "Ah, these are my people." However, that's exactly what I said this time, as clearly anyone motivated enough to pay and sit through a Gabfest taping should be my friend immediately.

While I'm here, let me recommend the Grantland Pop Culture podcasts. Grantland split off their sports and pop culture pods and so much the better for it. The chemistry among the hosts are superb and I especially love Chris Ryan and Andy Greenwald's witticisms and references. High recommend.

Also, snuck in a ballet the other day, much to the astonishment of friends and family. My Foursquare blew up with comments. Really? Why does nobody believe I would go to a ballet? Did I not write a combined 3500+ words on Center Stage and White Nights? Was I not pushing a three hour ballet documentary on you just a few short years ago? It's more shocking that I haven't been to the New York City Ballet yet.

We watched Camille Saint-Saens' "Carnival of the Animals" because well, animals. It was pretty good and the costuming and narration -- words by John Lithgow -- were a nice change up from straight ballets. One complaint: Apparently it's de rigueur to bring babies and tiny children to the ballet. To the matinee showing at least. I don't get it. There are spaces where it's highly distracting to hear the constant shushing of a baby or to see the physical bouncing required to keep him/her quiet. The ballet is one of those places. This could be a controversial stance but I'm sticking to it.

Also, Verdi's "The Four Seasons" is not the same as Vivaldi's. Now you know. As in, now I know...

11 September 2013

Right Cycle

Listening to: TLC, "What About Your Friends"
Today at 8:21pm: Shooting bricks at the Mission Playground

At Raven Bar this weekend, it was mostly Nineties hip hop (an endangered commodity) and they played the videos along with the songs. Half the time, in-between dancing, I was just watching the TVs thinking about how I'd never seen the video for a particular track. Like the "What About Your Friends" video. Watch that thing, it's Nineties perfection. Of course, having Miley "Twerk" Cyrus stare out from the Youtube ads next to T-Boz, Left Eye, and Chilli wearing strings of condoms on their baggy pants -- worn to promote sex education and safe sex -- is just, well. It's something. I don't have the vocabulary to describe it.
I hate Will Ferrell movies, barely tolerate Marky Mark, but The Other Guys has elevated itself to must-see status based on the strength of these TLC scenes, which my friends used to reference constantly for infinite amusement. It's the little things you know?

I'm currently running around San Francisco for a few weeks, for various things. A houseboat trip, our birthday, a camp wedding, a roast/toast birthday. September in the Bay lined up nicely. The weather was wonderful too, for a second, and I was all like "I should come back!" Then on day three I waited forty five minutes for a bus, got on the wrong one out of impatience, and my trip from Nob Hill to the Mission ended up taking an hour and a half. Aha, that's why I can't do SF anymore.

Well, that was my line of griping until I got my hands on a friend's spare bike. It's a Public Bike and those things are beautiful. The Public Bike bells look like oversized Skittles and it's impossible to not want one. I may get one and I don't even own a bicycle. Ding ding.

Astride a bicycle, I can zip the three miles down Polk Street to Valencia in like fifteen minutes. After a summer spent using the heck out of New York's Citibike, I've decided bicycles are the only real way to get around. Anywhere. I used to love walking around in cities but now I'm just like, "bike, bike, bike" all the time. I was initially fearful of San Francisco's vaunted hills but with the right gear switching, it's not a big deal.

For our birthday, George planned a ride across the Golden Gate Bridge and into Sausalito for brunch. It was an inspired idea and clearly proved that wisdom comes with age. She also suggested we hand out Doublemint gum as favors, because well, that's what twins do. On Saturday morning, our really hardcore bike gang gathered at Sports Basement Presidio and off we went -- two birthday balloons streaming behind us. Well, after the delay of fixing my rear tire. Somehow I managed to blow the inner tube thing not fifty feet from the entrance. Whoops.

The overall ride wasn't hard, really it was a cakewalk, but it felt great. Obviously I like my accomplishments in small doses.

So far, this San Francisco trip has been all about being active and doing things outside. I've barely touched my computer, it totally misses me I'm sure. Between all the biking, tonight's basketball session, and a cardio dance class the other day, I'm freaking beat. I mean, my life is usually pretty sedentary -- and that's the way I like it.

About that dance class. My friend Palak started teaching Doonya: The Bollywood Workout at Metronome Dance Collective and we popped over the other day to check it out. Let me just say that I have newfound respect for all that hopping around. I was winded after fifteen minutes, wanted to collapse after thirty, but somehow found the strength to make it through to the end. I'm pretty sure I've never taken any cardio classes before. By design.

And the last dance class I took was I don't even remember when. So any (in)ability to pick up routines, make sure my hands and feet are approximately where they're supposed to be, stay on rhythm while trying not to fall over, all of it proved impossible. Still, I tried my best and it was super fun. But so sweaty. So so sweaty. Newsflash: Cardio workouts make you sweaty. Shocker! Anyhow, if you want to get your Indian dance on, pop over to Potrero Hill.

Semi-related, here's our other friend in these bhangra competition videos. She is superb. I don't even have to point her out because you can't miss her. She's the one that's the best.
Last thing, there is now boba in the Mission courtesy of Boba Guys. Rejoice! The Boba Guys' logo features an anteater, which is truly inspired. Zot, zot, zot! Co-owners Andrew Chau and Bin Chen did posts at GOOD Magazine's website for awhile, starting with "Meet the Boba Guys and Watch Them Start a Business (2011)."

Thankfully they now have a permanent location on 19th and Valencia. Please visit them because otherwise the Mission will be bereft of boba. And we can't have that. Their menu also features a horchata drink plus boba. Why has this not been invented before? Absolutely delicious. I've already been to Boba Guys three times this past week, and would have gone a fourth time tonight if they hadn't closed already.

That's another thing I forgot about San Francisco: Everything closes so damn early. We left Raven Bar around two, when we were barely warmed up. How are people supposed to get some proper birthday dancing in around here?! On the ride home, George and I kept repeating, "It's over? It feels so early. It's really over?"