Saturday, March 17, 2007

things i'd like to learn

*wine tasting
*and how to make pretty mixed drinks
*every language spoken by man
*how to sew (i know a little bit)
*how to make those pretty graphics people make on the computer
*how to write a good story
*how to win a pulitzer
*how to move to another country without having to be an english teacher (not that there's anything wrong with teaching english)


Thursday, March 15, 2007

attempted cultural immersion


i'm on to a new endeavor: learning portuguese. specifically, i'm taking a class entitled "brazilian portuguese for spanish speakers." the idea behind it, seemingly, that knowing some of the rules of spanish make it easier to learn portuguese. i am finding that portuguese looks a bit like spanish, not a whole lot, in my opinion, but enough for me to be able to gather enough info on a particular bit of writing in order to infer a meaning. sounds not a thing like spanish. in my opinion. i tend to think spanish is a clean, easy language: if you know the general rules of pronunciation, diction, and spelling, while there might be a lot of them, are pretty much always applicable. in portuguese, i'm getting a lot of sometimes, maybe, and because.

that said, i LOVE my class. it's a great challenge, and i really wanna learn the language. my teacher encourages the class to visit brazilian websites, listen to brazilian music, watch brazilian movies. hmmm...i own city of god (cidade de deus, yes, i finally know how to actually pronounce that properly) so i've been watching it. which leads me to the most recent film i saw.

and a couple of weeks ago, i got the documentary bus 174 from netflix. took me a while to get into it, but i enjoyed it once i did. it's a no frills documentary about a man, sandro rosa do nascimento, who boarded a crowded bus one day in day in 2000 in rio de janeiro and took everyone on board hostage. in an attempt to get at the reasons why he did this, the doc. examined his background (his mother had been stabbed to death in front of him when he was a kid, homeless, living on the streets with a bunch of other kids, many of whom were massacred in front of the church where the slept). an examination of social ills that manage to be both peculiar to brazil and analogous to lots of other places. the criminal - human, understandably frustrated and paradoxically troubled to the point of committing completely incomprehensible acts. didn't offer remedies, though it did reflect on the rightness/wrongness of the principal players. the filmmakers interviewed the hostages, police involved in the standoff, sandro's aunt, some of his friends.

the one thing that made me go hmmmm: they also interviewed a random college professor who read a whole lot of literary theory into the incident. now, in life, i love literary theory, but it didn't seem appropriate here. the rest of the documentary seemed so unpretentious, and seemed to examine its central character as though he were a real human being, not an archetype. that did not sit well with me. i got the dvd becase i had seen favela rising, and after i rated it on netflix, i read some of the reviews and found some people who found it to be too adoring and a touch out of touch, given that the film is the work of outsider americans. and one of the reviewers recommended bus 174. and yet, i thought this professor man that the makers of bus 174 brought on board the project - it would have made more sense to me if they had loaned him to favela rising to talk his theory there. because favela rising was obviously framing its protagonist as a archetypal figure, and bus 174, without any camera tricks, without much other allegory, otherwise not spinning any (anti) fairy tales - it seemed so earnest and grassroots. and the strict intellectual seemed out of place.

and by the way, bus 174 is long. i've watched it all and sent it back, so i suppose now i need another film in brazilian portuguese to watch. gotta keep those skills sharp. i really love languages. i should've been a comp lit major in college, or something.

Labels: ,

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

throwback pics

because i really love brooklyn, bed stuy specifically, and photography, i'm posting these: brownstoner has had a couple of great historical photos of bed stuy up recently from waaaay back in the day.

window awnings on herkimer street

corner of lexington & ralph avenues

so then i started looking for more pictures, and i found this at

hancock park


Friday, March 09, 2007

harlem stage on screen: film festival

thought this event, taking place this weekend, sounded interesting...

11th Annual Harlem Stage On Screen (formerly Harlem Film Festival)
Curated by Michelle Materre & produced by Neyda Luz Martinez

FRIDAY – SUNDAY, MARCH 9 – 11, 2007

Don’t miss thirty-six provocative, engaging and innovative documentaries, features, shorts and stories that resonate with and convey the spirit and passion of communities of color.


Friday, March 9th, 7:30 PM, $10
2006 Sundance Film Festival Winner
"American Blackout" by Ian Inaba & Jean Phillipe Boucicaut


Saturday, March 10th, 12 PM, $10
Seven shorts -fact and fiction- related to education, personal and political histories.


Saturday, March 10th, 2 PM, $10
Seven documentaries about displacement, gentrification, migration and cultural memory question,“Where do we go from here?”


Saturday, March 10th, 4 PM & 6 PM, $10
NY Premiere: "Some Kind of Funny Porto Rican" by Claire A. Watkins
Presented in collaboration with New York Women in Film & Television


Saturday, March 10th, 8 PM, $10
Eight shorts by or about women exploring themes of motherhood, aging, relationships and determination.
Presented in collaboration with New York Women in Film & Television


Sunday, March 11th, 2 PM, $10

Seven shorts about family, dreams, tradition and the everyday heartaches and joys life brings.


Sunday, March 11th, 4:30 PM, $10
Three films on Lorraine Hansberry and what it means to be an artist and committed to the cause.

For full schedule click each program or call 212.650.7100.

Discounts available through the Harlem Stage Box Office!

Weekend Pass $56, Saturday Pass $32 & Sunday Pass $16

Harlem Stage & NYWIFT Members $8.50

Students 12 & Under $5 w/valid ID.

Harlem Stage at The Gatehouse

150 Convent Avenue at West 135th Street

New York, NY 10031

For passes and/or discounts call 212.650.7100 or visit Harlem Stage Box Office, Mon. – Fri., 1PM – 6 PM, located at Aaron Davis Hall, W. 135th St. & Convent Ave. at The City College of New York. Also, open two hours prior to events.

Harlem Stage on Screen is made possible, in part, with public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts, a State Agency, and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs.

For information on other Harlem Stage presentations, Click HERE or call 212.650.7100


Thursday, March 01, 2007

i am a bad mother

o, my poor little blog, i know how terribly i have neglected you. if you were a real kid, i would certainly have been declared unfit by now. i still love you though.

i am currently in save money mode, so that means i haven't bought any music or books lately. well, except for my alice smith cd, for lovers, dreamers & me, which is brilliant, and btw, she is a brooklynite.

but that's it, and in life i'm trying to step my cd buying game. i don't really care about mp3's so much, i buy them sometimes but i don't have an mp3 player, plus i like cover art and linernotes, plus i like having a shiny little slice of the artist i can hold in my hands. but anyway, as i said before, i am in save money mode and i have not been buying much music. but these are the albums that are on my radar to buy when i should suddenly become flush with cash:

amy winehouse - she has a great name, and i like her sound. i got my hands on a free copy of ghostface killah's more fish album (which came out quietly (i think) last year after fishscale) and their duet, "you know i'm no good" is on there. very soulful, i like.

regina spektor - is there anyone who doesn't like that one song of hers? "fidelity?" if there is such a person...evidently, they have been defeaned by the brainless pop machine (of course, not all pop is brainless, but the brainless variety is quite defeaning).

k-os - supposed to be the truth. i don't know much about him, but i'm willing to give him a listen. i hear he's west indian- canadian from toronto, and we all love our west indian-canadians (that one's for my very lovely mother).

amel larrieux - where was i when her 3rd album was released? obviously, i was asleep, but i will need to get up on that.

nas - yes, yes, i know i'm late, yes, yes, yes, yes...

the hidden beach "unwrapped" series - heard one of the volumes (there are 4) one night at fashion 40. very lovely. jazz type covers of popular hip hop songs.

that's all i can think of at the moment. as for books, i'm finishing up reading for whom the bell tolls...long, i guess it's trying to illustrate one of it's main conceits, the idea of a full and entire life lived in a few days, cuz it surely does use 200 some odd pages to cover three days...i do, however, really appreciate hemingway's phrasing - his characters are mostly spanish-speakers, and though he writes mostly in english, his english syntax and diction imitates spanish as though it were a literal, word-for-word translation. for instance, a character asks, "did you divert yourself last night?" (from the spanish verb divertirse) for "did you have fun last night?" i think it's really great, and a good way for a writer to really inhabit a character.

Labels: ,