Tuesday, June 12, 2007

check it out. not just cuz i'm in it, but cuz everyone else in it is more brilliant than i am.

A collection of poems, stories and essays about the fallible woman, the sensitive girl-child and the fearless warrior, His Rib, offers an inside look at her story. The written works featured in this project includes women from both the literary field and the performance poetry circuit, creating a symbiotic kinship between the two art forms. After combing several continents, the women within these pages were found scribing folk tales in California, sonnets in New York, producing prose in London and breaking stereotypes with each stanza in Colorado, Texas and Canada. The result, a quilt weaved perfectly of compassion, self-respect, discipline, lust and hunger. Enjoy the crack and thunder of His Rib.

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Friday, May 18, 2007

poetry for fashionistas: trimmings by harryette mullen

i recently bought harryette mullen's recyclopedia, an anthology of 3 of her books of poetry: Trimmings, S*PeRM**K*T, and Muse & Drudge.

i've read muse & drudge, and it was a bit over my head. they say it is the book that is inspired by hip hop. she's clever in it, she manipulates language masterfully - but i'm not always sure what it means, if anything. i haven't yet read S*PeRM**K*T, so i won't comment on it.

but i am a complete believer in trimmings. it's all about women and their clothing and their relationships to their clothing and the world's relationship to women and their clothing. which is something i always love to read about. my collection of fashion magazines is actually shameful in its depth. i read fashion blogs. i shop too much. because i love and i hate women's clothing.

i'm also currently infatuated with prose poetry, trimmings is actually one long prose poem. here's one of the entries:

Lips, clasped together. Old leather fastened with a little snap. Strapped, broke. Quick snatch, in a clutch, chased the lady with the alligator purse. Green thief, off relief, got into her pocketbook by hook or by crook.

aside from the lovely rhyme, the double entendre is incredible. upon reading this, i was immediately reminded of the scene in maya angelou's i know why the caged bird sings, when young marguerite has her conversation with her glamourous mother about her ladyparts. she calls them, 'her pocketbook.' her mother immediately interrupts her, tells her not to use the southern, country euphemisms to go ahead and use the word vagina if that's what she means.

the green thief gets into the pocketbook. remember when you were a little girl, and you mother always reminded you to be a lady, keep your legs closed? you're also supposed to keep your purse closed. how interesting. what is it our mothers are telling us?

harryette mullen writes really rich poems that are really economical on words. i have a very short attention span, so, much as i love language, i don't love wordiness. give her a read - it won't take long to read, but it will give you something to think about long after.

at any rate, i highly recommend. and since we're talking about pocketbooks, i mean handbags, i might as well post one here:

Erva Woven Flower Metallic Pouchette Box

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Thursday, May 10, 2007

hate to say it: a netflix review full of regret

i think they are near genius creatively.

i was excited about seeing the film.


i missed it in theaters. i miss lotsa movies in theaters. haven't been to a theater in ages, so i rely on my netflix. most of the time, i just add movies to my queue as soon as they come out in theaters, cuz i'm very likely not to go see it.

so i finally got idlewild and watched it.

it bored me.

5 minutes into the film i wondered if i was going to like. then i thought about how i needed to make some flashcards for learning the preterite conjugations in portuguese. and i did that for a while. then i worked on a poem. then i realized it was over 30 minutes into the film, and i knew what was going on, i just didn't particularly care.


it was a bit all over the place. and much as i love outkast's music, it played too much like a video anthology that they tried to loop together with the odd bit of drama.

basic story: percy and rooster are friends. percy is the quiet and dutiful young man, rooster the flashy and ambitious (but still somewhat dutiful) one. due to a couple of shady deals and murders, rooster inherits the nightclub where he's been performing with percy as his pianist. but he also becomes indebted to the local gangsters. o, and a beautiful young woman shows up who totally bewitches percy.

yeah, not terribly hard to follow. and it could have worked except it was disjointed...every once in awhile there was a song break which didn't advance the plot. relate to the plot, they did. but it the film kinda dallied around, went off on tangents, threw in effects just for the sake of it. it would've benefitted from a less is more approach.

if the songbreaks had advanced the plot, the film would have been gold. i loved the effects and animations - the rooster on rooster's pocket flask, the musical notes that came alive on the paper, the cuckoo clocks. but they were extra, not integral, and it's all gotta be bigger than the sum of its parts.

cohesion. it lacked cohesion.

oh outkast. i will say, though, that it was a first of its kind foray for them. they have the talent, and they have the bravery. i hope the next one works out better for them.

and since i really like shoes, here is a pair that i adore.

Le silla Wedge sandal

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Friday, May 04, 2007

bits & bits & bits

folks, it's been a long time.

but i couldn't sleep, so i thought i'd check this thing out. looks about the same as when last i blogged it.

minha aula de português é dificil mas vai bem. estou aprendendo muito.

one day in class we discussed the word saudade, the notoriously untranslatable portuguese word for the feeling you have when you are separated from someone by a great distance of some sort, and you miss them, and you wish to be with them. longing is an approximation in english, i guess, but it looks that way only cuz describing it in english is not quite grasping the depth of meaning in portuguese. we concluded in my class that there is no real, exact equivalent in spanish. (the class designed for those with a background in spanish. in fact, i am one of the maybe 3 non-native or heritage spanish speakers in the class.)

people always say english sucks as a language because it is not very expressive. i disagree. i think english is incredibly rich. and i got to thinkin about english words that are untranslatable. and i did a google search (of course) and stumbled across this list as voted upon by the linguists a couple of years ago. notice anything about it?

1 plenipotentiary

2 gobbledegook

3 serendipity

4 poppycock

5 googly

6 Spam

7 whimsy

8 bumf

9 chuffed

10 kitsch

i noticed that it kinda sucks. cuz most of these are not words in common usage. and kitsch isn't even english. and i don't know what a bumf is. however, i thought whimsy and serendipty were absolutely brilliant additions.

well, my point, i suppose, is well suited for describing the world that english speaking people live in, and it has some brilliant and beautiful words. what other english words would be hard to translate? maybe i'll try and keep a running tally.

speaking of brilliant and beautiful, i saw a girl on the street yesterday wearing some skinny jeans and these:

the mork & mindy dunks. oh my, they are lovely, lovely sneakers.

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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. but...it 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.

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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 nyc-architecture.com:

hancock park