Sunday, October 31, 2010

A LIST OF COSTUMES SEEN TONIGHT (THIS LIST IS NOT EXHAUSTIVE): Pirate, white guys as a cowboy and an Indian (...really?), kung-fu master (an actual Asian), man-vampire, lady-vampire (unrelated to previous), sexy bumblebee, sexy NYT crossword puzzle, something green on head, trashy black wig, bearded lady or possibly male nurse, Joker, heterosexual jellyfish couple, Captain America, flapper, Red King, a Democrat, possibly a spoiled child???, and my personal favorite, a satyr in a sport coat.

Friday, October 29, 2010

I ALWAYS REMEMBER MELCHISEDEC AS THE RAT WHO WAS A FRIEND TO SARA CREWE...: Oh, this is a lovely tribute to new priests. I didn't cry, because I don't generally, but I made some very pathetic noises at times. We need you! We love you, and at least in my case, even my reflexive anti-clericalism is a form of entitlement mentality, since whenever a priest is actually administering a sacrament I basically forget everything I ever disliked about bishops-in-general.

We need you, priests. Please don't let our uncertain flailing, as we try to find our own vocations, and our rightful criticism obscure that basic fact.

What a beautiful video. Please share it!
I THINK I POSTED THIS LAST YEAR, but come on, no one who loves I Walked with a Zombie as much as I do can possibly pass up this sock-hop REM tribute.
I grew up loving The Addams Family, without knowing quite why, until one day as an adult I realized: These people are an aristocratic, trad-Catholic homeschooling family trapped in a sterile Protestant suburb!


(and yeah, there's some Cat'lick triumphalism here as vs. both Protestants and Orthodox Christians. I think the piece is still worth reading even if you're in those camps--let Zmirak be Zmirak!--but you know your own annoyance-level best.)
ATTACK ADS OF THE FOUNDERS. Probably via Jesse Walker.
THE MUSIC STOPPED... AND SHE DIED! I'm listening to the first of two (so far) Halloween mixes at World of Wardcrap. My life is awesome right now.

Via Sean Collins.

EDITED to correct the name of the site, and also to note that the second mix is a lot less my thing than the first. The second mix has "Do They Know It's Halloween?" and "Scary Monsters and Super Creeps," both of which are fantastic, but it also does a lot more blending of movie clips with music (at least, I noticed it more), which does no justice to the music. I like "When the Man Comes Around" about three million times more than I like either the silly screams which interrupt it or the gross ironic-faux-Jamaican?-making-fun-of-unironic-faux-Jamaican thing it fades into.

So yeah: Listen to them both, but as an all-night mix I'd prefer the Daymage one.
And although biology is obviously among Beto's primary concerns, destiny is the operative word. I don't think the Palomarians have the ability to escape the way the Locas do. Not all of them need to escape, mind you--there's a lot of really warm and adorable and hilarious and awesome stuff going down in Palomar--but whatever walks alongside them in their lives is gonna walk alongside them till the very end.

I reconciled myself to my desire to secure for Gabe and Ana a respectability I myself was fleeing as fast as possible. I thought of all my old Beat friends from college who were now leading their kids off to Sunday School and dance class. I told myself that they--we!--were giving our kids a choice. If later they wanted to reject a middle-class status they could, but ninety-five percent of the world longed for the security and comfort we affected to scorn. And membership in the bourgeoisie was easy to lose but very hard to come by. I thought of all those classes for slum kids in which they were taught to give a firm handshake after a job interview and never lose eye contact during it. They learned to joke easily, combine casualness with respect, call a potential boss by his first name but show deference in surrendering to him the conversational lead, speak clearly and act sincerely--oh, these were all the skills we'd spent a lifetime acquiring unconsciously and now wanted to shed.
--The Farewell Symphony

I would kill for the thrill of first love; but also, for a short story written in exquisite-corpse back-and-forth form by Edmund White and Dorothy Allison. Someone with money, please make this happen.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

IT'S NICE TO TAKE A WALK IN THE RAIN: I finished Slings and Arrows. Not sure what to say to make you guys watch this terrific TV comedy set behind the scenes of a Canadian theater company, but I will say that along with all of the gallows humor (one of the main characters is a ghost and/or hallucination) there's a really compelling portrayal of leadership-through-chaos and its limits. Since this is the only kind of leadership I personally have ever exercised, I loved it!

It's available on Netflix Instant Viewing so if you're in the USA and have a decentish Internet connection you are in luck.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

OH RIGHT, I FORGOT ABOUT: "She’ll defend Catholic moralists one moment, but defend prostitutes and bad girls the next."

I knew I liked her for a reason. Now praise drunks!
SUSIE THEN REMOVED HER MASK/AND CAUSED A MIGHTY STIR: Just so everyone's clear, 1. Here are some of my favorite posts by Helen Rittelmeyer. These posts in no way exhaust her awesomeness; they merely give you what Lady Holliday in The Great Muppet Caper would call "a soupcon--Marie, I don't think we should chew gum!"

"Decadence, Christianity, And Oscar Wilde's Conversion to Catholicism." My own senior essay changed my life. If mine hadn't, hers might've.

"Toward a Bioethics of Love"

In defense of shame (my post against; but you should read hers first)

A review of three books I read (in part) because she owned them.

All my posts tagged w/her name

2. Apparently Todd Seavey lived twenty-and-some years without ever meeting an agent provocateur until Helen. His naivete, while potentially endearing when played by Joseph Cotten, should in no way impair your reading of her actual work, which is much more Marlene Dietrich than Anne Hathaway.
Since his humor never overturned his preconceptions it didn't take him or his listeners by surprise; no, it was a local affair, just a snarl in his mental traffic, not an accident.
--The Farewell Symphony

Thursday, October 14, 2010

"THE GREAT UNWEAVING": I have a long piece at Inside Catholic:
I'm sitting outside a downtown Starbucks with two George Washington University undergraduates, talking about sex, politics, and religion. Michele Walk and Conor Joseph Rogers fit my stereotype of contemporary American college students. They're sincere, confident, and hyperaware of the ways in which they're different from their parents.

Michele and Conor also represent a growing demographic: They consider themselves both pro-life and supporters of gay marriage.


Monday, October 11, 2010

2. Finally, after years of frustration, understanding what "Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo" means.

I feel I can recuse myself from adult responsibilities for the rest of the evening.
I said, "My novel is purely autobiographical. Everything in it is exactly as it happened, moment by moment--sometimes even written down moments after the event. The main character bears my name. I'm writing it in order to persuade the love of my life to come back to me; I'm afraid it's going to be a very long book. That's the avant-garde technique I've invented: it's called realism."
--Edmund White, The Farewell Symphony

Sunday, October 10, 2010

KITCHEN ADVENTURES: DON'T BE SCANTY WITH THAT SCAMPI! So peeled and deveined shrimp are on sale right now at my local Whole Foods. I realize that you may scoff at this shortcut, but both of these meals were so delicious that I find it hard to care. Ridiculously easy, too!

First batch: Set oven for 375. Put baking dish inside to heat. Finely chopped garlic and rolled it in butter. Chopped one or two plum tomatoes and finely sliced about... half?... a yellow onion.

Baking dish came out. Shrimp went in, with tails on. Dotted them with the garlic butter. Tomatoes, onion, a splash of white wine, a splash of extra-virgin olive oil, and a few good squeezes of a lemon half also went in. That all went back into the oven.

Cook cook cook. When I heard it sizzling, I stirred it and added shredded fresh basil. Also put some slices of baguette in the toaster oven, toasted them, and buttered them.

About the time the buttered baguette was done, the shrimp was also pink and everything else was cooked. I combined everything and devoured it like a starving monster. (I discreetly piled the tails on an old receipt.)

Second batch: Second verse same as the first, except that I set the oven for 400, I used sourdough rolls instead of baguette, and I added dried oregano, salt, and a very small amount of peeled and finely-chopped fresh ginger to the mix. The result was phenomenal. The ginger was intriguing but not at all distracting (I used about a quarter-inch-by-quarter-inch knob, peeled and minced, for a quarter-pound of shrimp) and the sourdough was just delicious with the sweet shrimp and rich olive oil. I also cooked the veg for a bit longer, so the tomatoes started to shrivel back from their skins a bit; this was a good choice.

Note: My oven tends to heat MUCH faster than recipes think it should, so if I were you, I'd consider switching the 375 to 400 or the 400 to 425 or even 450. You want to be able to shrivel the tomato chunks a little bit before the bread finishes toasting.

Friday, October 08, 2010

"GAY AND CATHOLIC: WHAT THE CHURCH GETS RIGHT AND WRONG ABOUT BEING GAY." In which I am a "guest voice" at the Washington Post's On Faith site. My basic spiel, in almost exactly 750 words, and with a specific pitch to DC readers!
GHOSTS OF HOPPERS: Sean Collins's second review post in "Love and Rocktober"--his month-long series about Jaime and Gilbert (and sometimes Mario) Hernandez and the incredible comics they created--is even better than his first one. Comics vs. time, memory vs. death, backstory vs. change. Check out his posts... and read the comics.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

YOU CAN HOLD ME ALL MY LIFE/BUT PARADISE CAN TAKE ME TWICE: Wesley Hill's book Washed and Waiting: Reflections on Christian Faithfulness and Homosexuality is one of the very, excruciatingly few worthwhile books on Gay Christian Whatnot. (I'm honestly not sure if I can think of any others besides Beyond Gay, about which see here and here.) It's a very quick read but very poignant. Hill basically tells his own story, with a focus on what the coming-out process is like for chaste Christians, and offers interludes on the life and work of Henri Nouwen and Gerard Manley Hopkins. (This parenthesis is me not talking about the significance of the fact that they were both Catholic.) I am not sure what to add to get you to read the book, other than to say that its focus on overcoming shame through accepting Christ's love seems especially pointed in light of the young gay men's suicides which have been so much in the news. Definitely recommended.
THE TORTURE GARDEN: The other place I went in LA was the Museum of Latin American Art in Long Beach. We went to the main galleries, where the most memorable things for me were the Warhol-riffing Cuban soup cans sardonically lauding "America's Favorite Revolution," and a... lenticular?... picture in which the shining girders and industrial debris shimmered and shifted, if you tilted your head, to reveal a small overlooked human being at the far corner of the frame.

But the current exhibit is what I really want to tell you all about. It's billed as landscape paintings by David Siqueiros, who apparently is better known (though not to me) as a muralist. But these aren't landscapes in any traditional sense. They were mostly painted from photographs or from the inside of the man's own head, rather than from nature; many were painted while he was in prison. Some are surreal, science-fiction scenes of bulbous future cities. Some are (often unsatisfying) allegories of various aspects of Mexican history and revolutionary politics.

But some are just horror. Black, churning waves; twisting shapes which could be trees or monsters or both; thick, lurid reds; martyred men and menacing ravines. The whole world has turned against itself in his art. It's frightening and it's impossible to look away from.

If you're in the area you really should check this out.
HEY, YOU WITH THE STARS IN YOUR EYES: I'll be quick because I know how few of you care! But All That Skate was amazing. Nothing can compare to the immediacy of live skating or the camaraderie of the live skating audience. So here are a few snapshots from a sparkly, incandescent, cheesy, hilarious, sublime evening. I am so grateful to all of these skaters for their performances.

I had heard that Shen & Zhao had pulled out of the LA show. So when the announcer said (something like), "They are the reigning Olympic champions in pairs skating...", I literally gasped. Words are inadequate; I can only say that their first program was one of my favorites, and their second gave me chills. They actually embody the danger in love every time they skate.

Stephane Lambiel and Michelle Kwan were the other showstoppers. Lambiel is just a joy to watch as he does these incomprehensibly brilliant spins, plays to the audience, sings along with his music, and generally looks like he's having the time of his life. The fair is a veritable smorgasbord, orgasbord, orgasbord, to him! (Here's a great Lambiel show program if you want to know what he's like.) I had never really connected with Kwan's skating before, despite acknowledging her prowess, but seeing her do some of the best jumps and spins and spirals in the show made me realize what a trouper she really is. I mean this in absolutely the best way: She was almost as good in ATS:LA2010 as she was in her Olympics exhibition skate back in 2002. Expressive and powerful and clean, every inch the role model Yu-Na Kim loves her as.

Ashley Wagner, and the pairs team of Aliona Savchenko and Robin Szolkowy, were both terrific. I'd never seen them before, and now I know I need to look them up on YouTube. Wagner, especially, skated like she had something to prove, and I respect that a lot.

Johnny Weir, my actual favorite skater in the history of ever, more or less fumbled his second program. He hurt his hip in rehearsal, and it showed. He had noticeably more verve in the group numbers. And you know, Weir on an off night still provides moments of genuine bliss due to his ability to connect with the audience and act. So while this really was an off night for him, it only strengthened my resolve to make sure I can scrape up the cash to see his next show on the East Coast.

(If you want to know why I'm so convinced that I will love the next Weir show I see, here are some links: a vastly better performance of "Poker Face" than the one he showed at ATSLA Day 1; the performance which hooked me on figure skating; his astounding "Swan" program; "Feeling Good," in which he absolutely owns the music and the emotion and the ice; "I Love You, I Hate You," in a performance I entirely love; and a performance to "Bad Romance" which is so awesome that it overcomes both my hatred of his furry lizard costume and my helpless dislike of Lady Gaga. And I would be happy to supply many more links to programs where you can watch Weir push skating forward. You're welcome!)

Monday, October 04, 2010

STILL RECOVERING from an amazing trip filled with logistical snafus (goodbye, cell phone) and wonderful visits with family, but distinctly unfilled with sleep. Tomorrow, expect at least three posts: a very quick report from All That Skate LA 2010 (short version: !!!!!!!!!!!), a brief review of Wesley Hill's Gay Christian Whatnot book, and a clarifying post about marriage and iconography, which is also a post about Promises I Can Keep: Why Poor Women Put Motherhood Before Marriage and is not a post about gay marriage.

In the meantime, why not check out Sean Collins, who has designated this month "Love and Rocktober"? He's doing a series of posts on the amazing comics series, and if you've ever wondered what the hype is about, Sean might be a good guide since he was a tough sell at first.