In other news: Here is what I cooked, watch, read and listened to this past week.
FOODS I MAKE WITH MY OWN TWO FEET
Shrimp and Andouille Gumbo: I judge my gumbo on how close I can get it to looking like what I imagine a Louisiana swamp looks like. This batch was nice and swampy. Good stuff.
Eyes of the Mothman: I read a lot of Wikipedia pages and the difference between F-level fame and A-level fame is often found in these encyclopedic accounts. An A-level artist has a succinct page filled with the more noteworthy milestones. An F-level famer tries to match the amount of internet space taken up by, say, an Academy Award winner by filling in deets about their junior high rock band and the revolving door of idiot friends who quit the band before they achieved their five minutes of MySpace fame by covering an 80s pop standard in a more emo way. It's all very embarrassing.
That said, one would think that a documentary about Mothman would be a real thrill. All the intrigue, none of the Richard Gere. Wrong. This one starts out in the 1700s with the curse of Cornstalk. Townspeople and "experts" are interviewed and each repeat what other townspeople have said. "Cornstalk was a leader." "Cornstalk led his people." "Cornstalk led." The camera work is wonky. In junior high, Mothman blah blah blah'd.
About a half hour into this snooze fest I set my alarm and said "If they don't mention Mothman in the next 7 minutes, we're ditching this thing."
And we did.
Man on Wire: I traded it out for this one, the story of a Frenchman who did a high-wire routine between the World Trade Center buildings soon after they were erected. This required plotting and mapping and he treated it almost like a bank heist. He had a crew of misfits willing to support his cause and then he does it and it is perfect and beautiful and he ends up spending 45 minutes walking the wire and laying on the wire while street gawkers gathered. This is a lovely documentary.
Factory Girl (Unrated): I went through an Edie Sedgwick phase about a month ago when I was up to my goiter in all things Patti Smith. I put this bio pic in the Netflix queue and assumed it would get buried beneath other things I get super into for like 4 minutes. Then someone slacked on Netflix queue maintenance and it landed on our step just in time for me to be at home nursing a raging UTI.
I don't know if this is my problem, or the problem of the movie or the problem of the movie paired with Paula McLain's fascinating book "The Paris Wife." My tolerance for 20-somethings acting like assholes has really waned. Regardless of if that 20-something is turning a Campbell Soup can into art, flailing around with a cigarette and martini glass, or composing Blonde on Blonde or writing "The Sun Also Rises," or chucking ashtrays at people's heads. My bullshit o'meter goes nuts in the face of free spirits. Regardless, this was interesting and tragic, even if Guy Pearce's Andy Warhol seemed closer to Guy Pearce's Austin Powers. Twice I had to remind myself that I wasn't watching a comedy.
Hanna: This movie was like "Adventures in Babysitting" meets "Home Alone" meets "Run Lola Run" meets my pasty 55 SPF requirements.
Blood, Bones & Butter: The Inadvertent Education of a Reluctant Chef by Gabrielle Hamilton:
Gabrielle Hamilton’s food memoir Blood, Bones & Butter is a bit of a sleeper. It starts with pleasant and wholesome childhood memories in a big old house on plenty of acreage, parked under mother’s chin listening to her talk, watching her prepare huge feasts.
Then Whammo! It’s girls gone wild. Age deception, booze, drugs, alternative schooling, jetting off to New York City to live with her sister and steal dinero from the bar where she works. Wandering down the East Coast to hone hippie sensibilities, still keeping a toe in the food industry. Off to Michigan to study writing among peers she doesn’t really connect with and cater events among co-workers with whom she does.
Full review here.
Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford: This is a nice book to give to a stranger as a gift.
Full review will be here.
Right now I'm reading The Broom of the System: A Novel (Penguin Ink) (The Penguin Ink Series) by David Foster Wallace. So far this is my favorite DFW. It's like reading David Foster Wallace, except it's accessible and it doesn't take two months and I always always know what is going on. And the characters have great names and I laugh at least once per page. Is it controversial to think he was at his most likable when he was just a wee college lad busting out some rhymes?
Lovers Holiday: I'm totally digging two songs by Theophilus London that Chuck put on a mix for me. It's hip hop with all those sexy gasps that LL used to do. This is early contender for my sounds of summer.