Oral Hygiene Queen

My Photo
Location: Midwest, United States

I floss daily, brush after every meal, and trouble deaf heaven with my bootless cries.

RSS Feed

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Hollywood? Meh.

I usually get pretty excited about the Oscars. Even though it's always on Sunday night, the busiest school night of the week, I watch every year. Sometimes I watch with a stack of essays in my lap, grading during the commercials and technical categories while the TV is muted. This year, I'm just not that excited.

Part of it may be that I haven't seen many of the nominated films. My Old Man and I actually made it out to the theater to check out the creepy, dark, but well acted and beautifully twisted Black Swan. (I recommend it, especially if you've seen The Wrestler, also directed by Darren Aronofsky. I see them as companion pieces.) And we rented The Kids are Alright, which I found a compelling portrait of a family in transition and a basically good marriage in crisis. (I also appreciated that the fact that it was a lesbian marriage was simply part of the story, not the main point.) But as much as we wanted to see True Grit, The King's Speech, The Social Network, and 127 Hours, we just didn't make it to any of them, nor any of the other films that got the big Academy nod. We made a point of trying to get out to see more live theater and music performances this year, and I think all those tickets bought in advance to edifying cultural events ate up most of the evenings of babysitter-scored.

(We did take the kids out a few nights ago to see all the animated shorts nominated this year - Thanks, local art theater! Long may you thrive. - and I'm rooting for Madagascar, Travel Diary. O. and Roo are both hoping that the hilariously depressing Let's Pollute wins.)

More than the lack of having seen many of the movies that are going to be in the spotlight tonight, however, I think there's not room in my head and heart this week for thinking about movies, actors, and scripts. My mind has been straying toward Madison, Wisconsin in pretty much every free moment I've had for the past couple of weeks; keeping up with events there and trying to spread the word to my networks of friends and acquaintances about how to support the fight against Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker's anti-Union, anti-democratic budget bill has taken up all my extra thought and energy. I feel like the future of the American labor movement - and by extension, American democracy and the American middle class - is hanging in the balance. With all that's going on in Madison, I just can't get it up for Hollywood tonight.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

They tell me LA's beautiful when it rains...

But I don't believe them.

My title comes from a poignant and beautiful Neko Case song called "In California,"* which is in my head because I'm going to California in a couple days. Specifically, I'm going to Los Angeles, which is California. But it's also a world in itself.

I've been very excited about my trip to LA, mostly because I'm going to visit my dear friend Feral Mom, and I'm really looking forward to seeing her, Mr. Feral, and their adorable six-year-old twins. But, I have to admit, a smaller but still significant part of why I've been anticipating my LA visit is because after all the snow, ice, and ass-freezing cold we've endured here in the Midwest of late, I want some perfect weather.

Let's check the forecast, shall we? The weather in LA this weekend: around 60 degrees with a 70% chance of rain. The weather in Champaign-Urbana this weekend: around 50 degrees with a 20% chance of rain.

Not the marked contrast I was imagining.

I lived in LA for three years back in the early nineties, and your likely assumptions about the weather in that fabled city are correct. It's 70 degrees and sunny approximately 354 days out of the year. Why do two of the ten or so days that it's going to rain in LA this year have to fall on the two full days that I'm going to be there?

Now, in reality, LA is beautiful when it rains, because rain in LA provides a lovely contrast to the unrelenting sunshine that can, truth be told, get a little oppressive day after day after day. When I lived in LA, I always felt strangely elated when the skies turned gray and poured buckets.

But I don't live in LA now. I live in Central Illinois, where we've had this brutal winter, and I want my two days of balmy sunshine, damnit!

I will settle, however, for seeing my good friend, eating at some amazing restaurants, revisiting my favorite paintings at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and having a latte at the first cafe where I was a regular. And I will still take a walk on Venice Beach, even if it ends up being a walk in the rain.

* Actually written by Lisa Marr, formerly of Cub, who (coincidentally) my and Feral Mom's band played with at the Metro in Chicago. But it's a Neko Case song in the sense that she's the only one who has recorded it (as far as I've been able to ascertain).