Archive for the 'entertainment' Category

Alison Bechdel at Amherst College

I’ve worked very hard on this, so do come if you’re in the area–

An Evening with Alison Bechdel
April 2nd, 8:00 PM
Converse Hall Red Room
Amherst College

Alison Bechdel, author of the critically acclaimed Fun Home (called “one of the very best graphic novels ever” in Booklist) and of the syndicated comic strip Dykes to Watch Out For (DTWOF), has become a cultural institution for lesbians and discerning non-lesbians all over the planet. At the podium, Bechdel redefines race and gender roles while taking aim at some of the most controversial topics of the day.

In addition to her comic strip, Bechdel has also done exclusive work for a slew of publications including Ms., Slate, The Village Voice, The Advocate, Out, and many other newspapers, web sites, comic books, and ‘zines. Her work has been widely anthologized and translated.

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Please come and support this wonderful LGBTQ author/cartoonist and hear her wonderful thoughts!!ADMISSION TO THIS EVENT IS FREE (so bring your friends)!Please check out her website here: http://www.dykestowatchoutfor.com/

Dance Floor Moratorium

The title explains itself. Thanks to my lovely seniordom + thesis, I can only go to parties that I’m working at. Therefore, if I am spinning a party, (hell, if I am at a party) you may no longer request the following soul crushing hits. I can only hope that I can start a movement of song euthanasia:

Soulja Boy
Cotton Eyed Joe
Dancing Queen
Come on Ride the Train
Anything by Flo Rida or Miley Cyrus

Acceptable Substitutes are:
The Electric Slide
Jimmy by M.I.A.
Love in the Club (for now)
Anything but Flo Rida and Miley Cyrus

Oh, I’m just getting warmed up…Any “requests”?

That was waaaay too short–

That visit was way too short, but seriously productive. It’s strange to be back in New York, and Amherst will feel even weirder. I can’t help but have the strangest urge to move there.

At the baggage claim, I was standing next to little Dutch family of three looking for their bags on the trolley. They had a little girl, about the same age as my adorable little cousin who I met yesterday, and they were all speaking Dutch. This made me overwhelmingly homesick for the Netherlands. I think I need some recovery time, but I just don’t know when.

In the interim, I’ll just watch this video and wish I was there:

World Cup Bid

Shortly after my sports based post from a few days ago, the Amsterdam city council announced that they want to boost their chances for getting the 2018 World Cup, as well as the 2028 Olympics. They’re building a new stadium on reclaimed land near Almere. Good luck!

They don’t love you like I love you

Dutch Word of the Day
kaarten
: maps
De kaarten zijn veranderd.

The maps have changed.

This is a subway map from the 70s (I think?) that was at the MOMA. The lack of development at that point is kind of startling. Queens and Brooklyn are practically naked. Adding more lines was one of the best things they could’ve done. They still have some work ahead of them.

Some maps and blueprints, unfortunately, don’t change. I’m watching Newport Harbor on MTV cause I’m too lazy to get up and change the channel. Ignore the Times review; this is like the poor man’s same budget regurgitation of Laguna Beach, “The Real O.C.”, a tagline which this show has, too. This even has the same horrible theme song. It’s as if MTV is doing an unfunny parody of their own show.

I didn’t really watch Laguna Beach when it came out, but for some reason I can’t get enough of The Hills. Maybe it’s because they took some years to boil down the most essential characters and refined it. It’s not like the producers have Hoop Dreams- like intuition and depth, but their focus has certainly improved with time. I don’t think anyone’s going to stick around and watch Newport Beach long enough for that to happen.

Infrastructure

Dutch Word of the Day
zwak:
weak
Onze infrastructuur is zwak.

Our infrastructure is weak.

As much as I enjoyed accidentally stumbling upon the Broken Angel House while I was lost during the subway flooding, I’m really getting concerned about all of these instances of weak infrastructure that we’re having. When you think of the Minneapolis Bridge collapse, the Lexington pipe explosion and levies breaking because of Hurricane Katrina together as a group you realize that these are all failures of infrastructure that should have been prevented long before these things broke and lives were lost.

But since repairs provide more drama and sound bites than preemptive construction, I have a feeling that we’ll just let things rot away. Safeguards need to be put in place.

But you know what gets built instead? Stupid crap like this friggin “Cube of Temptation” from Showtime. I’m not kidding. One of the walls said “Cube of Temptation.” It was in Union Square Park for a day or two, and meant to promote the shows Weeds and Californication. As much as I like what I’ve seen of Weeds and, well, the X-Files, this structure irritated me. For one thing, it wasn’t a cube. A cube is equidistant on all sides. This was more of a rectangular prism. It’s also lasted for four minutes. I only got there to witness it being taken apart. What was in it? Were they giving out weed and porn to promote the respective shows? I’d like to think it was a mini “gedogen zone.” Maybe that’s why they closed up so soon. Too much Amsterdam for one small, rectangular New York space.

Back.


Dutch Phrase of the Day
het spijt me: I’m sorry!

Hey all. Sorry for the break, I’ve been very busy. I’ll be back on schedule soon. By the way, if I had more time and TiVO, I’d recap episodes of Flipping Out on Bravo. This show’s bad, but in a good way. Get the Times review here.

Victor & Rolf

Dutch Word of the Day
vers: fresh
Ik ben verslaafd aan vers.
I’m addicted to fresh.

I look forward to the fall for the most ridiculous and temporarily enjoyable reasons. Briefly comfortable temperatures, New England foliage, and crisp new clothing. I also like 10 pound copies of fashion magazines, like Vogue and Harpers Bazaar. They make make me so happy. Harpers, however, didn’t wait until fall to be amazing. Since the Simpsons the Movie is coming up soon, they did this lovely spread of different designers with Matt Groening’s characters. This Viktor & Rolf/Patty & Selma picture struck me as particularly delightful. Check ’em all out here.

Trompe L’oeil Ending

Dutch Word of the Day
compensatie: compensation
Compensatie is zoet.
Compensation is sweet.

After waiting at Starbucks for 20 minutes for a simple vanilla frap, I got a freebie for next time. Super zoet.

I wanted to see Alison Bechdel read at the Happy Ending’s series in order to solve one question: how to graphic novelists do readings? Do they use a projector? Do they narrate what goes on in each panel? Or, do they just play characters using different voices and focal points a la high school speech and debate? But there were too many people reading ahead of her and I couldn’t stay that late. Now I’ll never know.

So instead I left early wandered around the neighborhood, which was Chinatown right by the Manhattan Bridge. The site of the Reading Series was a little too cool for school. The picture above is the exterior, very unassuming and a bit rundown. But the inside (past another set of doors and down a little corridor) was this very dark and chicly lit bar. Keeping the facade that way was a smart tactical move for masking the gentrification. Kind of makes me wonder about what’s behind all of these homely doors downtown.

More like "Heineken BOO-ery!"


Dutch Word of the Day
druk: busy, crowded
De Heineken Brouwerij was veel druk.
The Heineken Brewery was very busy.

Sorry it took me so long to back to this. I don’t know why, cause I’ve been meaning to hate on this place all week.

So my brother Martin (aka Martlock, cause he’s a lawyer now) came to visit me this past weekend. It was Pentecost and everything was closed so it made it difficult to get around, but we managed. We went to to Pancake Bakery first, which was amazing as usual despite some sloooooow service. Then we decided to go to Heineken Brewery.

I thought the Anne Frank line was serious. Nope, the Brewery was even more special. But with the 11 euro entry you get three beers and a free gift (which you, thankfully, won’t get at the Anne Frank Huis). So we waited and eventually got in. It’s a very Disney looking place, all things considered. There were brightly colored displays and exhibits, and something that looked like a scene from the Haunted Castle, except involving the scientist who helped develop some kind of yeast. Basically, it’s for beer nerds.

Things were going great until we got sucked into this inexplicably long line. It was supposed to be a quick five room walk through showing the different elements that go into beer, but it was packed. We stood on it for what felt like a half hour. Turns out that there were two lines: One for the rest of the exhibit, and the other for a “ride.” Since we stayed on the line for long enough, someone (Martin) suggested that we might as well go on the ride.

OK. So this ride was supposed to mimic what it feels like to be a bottle of beer in the factory. We had to stand in a small movie theater looking room, hold some bars for safety and watch a screen, while the thing we were standing on rocked, simulating the movement of a bottle on the conveyor belts.

I was angry within seconds of getting on this “ride.” This was embarrassingly bad. This terrible music was playing in the background and none of the shots were even trying to be continuous. My brother and I just laughed the entire time. It ends with you, the “bottle”, getting put into a box and shipped somewhere. That box is then opened in a bar, and the tune “Celebrate Good Times” by Kool and the Gang plays. That’s when we really lost it.

At least we got beers at the end. But honestly, if they wanted to make us feel like bottles of beer, they should have filled us with alcohol first.

Speaking of Hilversum:

Remember the freaky nightmare place I went for my field trip? Well, apparently it’s very eco friendly! Read about it this week’s Architecture section of the New York Times.

I promised to my wife and children…

Dutch Word of the Day
oorlog: war
Ik heb Koud Oorlog Kinderen gezien!
I have seen Cold War Kids!

OK, maybe I should use a more poignant war related sentence since today was Liberation Day, but finally seeing them in concert was awesome. Today was a bit less somber than yesterday. There were a ton of tents and things near Museumplein and some stuff going on by the Westerkerk. Too bad I can’t read. Then I went to Vondelpark and tried to read, but the pollen is really starting to be a problem. Then I went to the concert, and the smoke started to be a problem. I’ve been spoiled by Bloomberg, alas.

This is the third day this week that the Dutch people have as a holiday. We haven’t really had any since coming here, they’re all just coming in now. Something tells me that warm weather is playing a role in this…

PS If you aren’t familiar with Cold War Kids, here’s one of their best songs. It’s the acoustic version of “We Used to Vacation.”

Pancakes and Broken Glass


Dutch Word of the Day
pannenkoeken: pancakes
Pannenkoek avond was een succes. Pancake night was a success.

It was a ton of fun. There was a ton of toppings for the pancakes (including cracktella, whipped cream and fruit) and bad pop music abound. Then we went to Dansen bij Jansen, a student dance club near the Jordaan. The DJ has a great sense of timing, but bad taste in music. It was a really manic set. And there was barely and ventilation and a ton of cigarette smoke because this isn’t New York. There was a lot of broken glass. I’ve never been out at bars or clubs in the states, but there was so much broken glass here I couldn’t believe it. Every couple of minutes, someone would drop a glass.

Other than that it was fun. It’s hard to find good places in Amsterdam cause it’s so small. When something gets good, it gets too popular. Or costs 10-15 euro to get in.

And Now, A Public Service Announcement


Dutch Word of the Day
nemen
: to take

The Nederlanders zijn onze musicals nemen! The Dutch are taking our musicals!

Dear Holland,
Stop stealing Broadway musicals. Don’t you have your own? And when you do steal, please steal something better than Cats. Honestly, what’s next? The Scarlet Pimpernel? At least you took the rights to The Wiz. That’s a step in the right direction.

Podcasts are the New TV

Dutch Word of the Day
televisie: television
Ik van houd televisie.
I like TV.

Too bad that I don’t have one here. Podcasts have filled that niche. It’s necessary to hear American accents that aren’t just people in the program. Here are my favorites:

  • This American Life
  • Laura Speaks Dutch
  • New York Times Book Review
  • Gay Pimpin’ with Jonny McGovern
  • BBC News Pod
  • VH1’s Best Week Ever

Since my computer connection here is awful, I can’t download entire shows from limewire. Podcasts take forever to download, but not as bad as shows.

(This cartoon? I just liked it.)


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