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My Friday, By Delia

After the Great Avatar-Betsey Johnson blowout on Thursday, I don't have it in me to do a full-dress review of the two (!) things we saw last night.  But since one of them was a science fiction film that made very little logical sense and was full of eye candy (although of a very different sort), it would be remiss of me to pass over the evening completely.

First we went to dinner with EK's long-lost cousin Maida, the granddaughter of EK's grandfather's brother, which makes her EK's second cousin, (although my Southern family would have gone down with all guns blazing that she is her first cousin once removed.  Everyone would agree on "Kissing Kin," though).  We ate at The Ukrainian Village Restaurant, which is in the back of the Ukrainian National Home in the East Village.  The food was. . . hearty.  Kasha with beef chips and gravy is what I had, and it was delicious.  But even with all three of us tasting, I still brought half of it home.  Of course, I'd been tasting, too:  Ellen's pieroges, Maida's cabbage stuffed with mushrooms--both of which we finished.  And a nice glass Georgian wine.

Then we went to the Ukrainian Museum (do you sense a theme here?) for a concert of ballads, folksongs, and instumental music from the East European Jewish and Ukrainian traditions (I'm quoting the program).  The performers were Michael Alpert (who is a native Yiddish speaker, bless him) and Julian Kytasty, the scion of a dynasty of bandura players.  A bandura (in case you wanted to know) looks like the graceful child of a lap harp and a lute and sounds a little like a dulcimer and a little like an autoharp, only a lot less tinny.  I can't write sensibly about music, so all I can say is that the music sounded a little medieval to me and a little Sephardic, and that these two men perform as if their two voices, four hands, and two instruments (Alpert is a violinist; both play the guitar) were driven by a single will.  At the end, they had a considerable amount of backup from the audience on three rousing pieces, one in Yiddish, the other two in Ukrainian, which brought tears to my eyes, as people singing wholeheartedly together always does.

There was a reception afterwards.  With a cake in the shape of a bandura.  Chocolate.  Excellent.

And then we went to the Rubin to see The Man Who Fell To Earth.

I don't think I can write sensibly about that, either.  It's not a sensible movie.  And at 10pm, after 2 glasses of wine, (a drink purchase is the price of admission to the movie), I wasn't feeling all that sensible myself.  However, I can state with some conviction that David Bowie was very beautiful, the 70's were no less aesthetically bankrupt than I thought when I was living through them, the alien slime-sex was a lot funnier than I suspect Roeg intended it to be, and the most interesting character in the whole thing (to me, anyway) was Candy Clark as CindyLou, the alien's  human love interest.  She was, in fact, the only human character in the movie motivated by something other than greed and self-interest (although she was always very clear on what she needed, and got it, too, until everything went pear-shaped).  She was, in fact, a recognizable and believable adult woman, with flaws and virtues and strengths and weaknesses, and Roege allowed her to make moral decisions for herself and live by the consequences.  He also gave equal time to male and female Full Monty nudity.  All of which makes me cut him a lot more slack in the coherent narrative, stupid polyester suit, and concupiscent co-ed departments.

I do not, however, forgive him the shuffling, suffering Patient Griselda wife and pathetic children on the White Planet of Doom. 

On the way home, we got into a conversation on the subway platform with a self-proclaimed ex-SF geek, who had seen the movie for the first time in 1976 and told us all about David Bowie's drug problem and the fact that it was really a remake of Stranger in a Strange Land, except Heinlein wouldn't sell Roeg the rights, so he stole the parts he liked best (the sex and the alien, at a guess) and how the movie was a lot more fun to see when you were 14 and stoned.  With which point of view I had and have no argument.

We got home at 1, vibrating gently, and were awakened this morning by the bed falling off one of its blocks.  And we're having company for dinner. 

Tomorrow, (after tea with lareinenoire ) we're being very, very, very quiet.

ETC (for correct) the spelling of Betsey.  Good thing we've already established I can't spell.

Comments

( 16 comments — Leave a comment )
(Deleted comment)
deliasherman
Feb. 13th, 2010 09:33 pm (UTC)
Um. After Avatar, we went to a little Chinese restaurant on Columbus Avenue to eat chicken noodle soup and dumplings and thrash it all out. And after we did that, we discovered that China Fun is right next door to a Betsey Johnson store, which was having a Big Valentine's Weekend Sale. And, um, there was this jacket (http://www.betseyjohnson.com/store/productdetails2.aspx?productid=8429&np=-1). And Ellen made me try it on, and it ambushed me and would not let me go.

Reader, we bought it. Bustle and all. Steamy punk, oh, yeah. It is to die. And Ellen tweeted about it, and now everybody knows what a clothes slut I am. And that's the story.

Edited at 2010-02-13 11:46 pm (UTC)
(Deleted comment)
nohwhere_man
Feb. 13th, 2010 08:56 pm (UTC)
"And we're having company for dinner." In a cream sauce with capers? That's always good.
deliasherman
Feb. 13th, 2010 09:34 pm (UTC)
Poached, actually. In fish stock with herbs, and wild rice and snap peas on the side. With blood orange (see the theme?) pannacotta for dessert.
nohwhere_man
Feb. 14th, 2010 01:09 am (UTC)
oooow, that sounds tasty, too. (must get blood oranges)
ellen_kushner
Feb. 13th, 2010 09:48 pm (UTC)
Comments on the way home from "Man who Fell to Earth":
EK: Please tell me I don't ever have to sit through all that ever again.

DS: The most horrifying thing? The way the seventies went on forever . . . polyester suits for decades.

EK: Dear Nicolas Roeg: you coulda cut the last 20 minutes. We got it already. Honest. Yeah, we know you can do lots of cool stuff. But really. We got it.

Sad thing is, I've wanted to see that movie for years! But it's good that I finally did, and I can put it to rest. I did enjoy bits of it. Esp. Bowie, and the general weirdness, and no idea what was going to happen next. But it's definitely an artefact, not a great and lasting work of art.
kristine_smith
Feb. 13th, 2010 10:19 pm (UTC)
and the fact that it was really a remake of Stranger in a Strange Land, except Heinlein wouldn't sell Roeg the rights, so he stole the parts he liked best (the sex and the alien, at a guess)

I saw the move when it first came out. It was based on the novel by Walter Tevis, and from what I recall followed it pretty closely. But it's been years.
deliasherman
Feb. 13th, 2010 11:51 pm (UTC)
Well, according to whatsit on the subway, Tevis wrote the novel so Roeg could make it into a movie. Knowing zipola about any of this, I smiled and nodded.

Great icon, btw. Love the goatee. I should be half so decorative at his age. Wait. I am his age, very nearly. And I do my level best. It will have to do.
kristine_smith
Feb. 14th, 2010 12:15 am (UTC)
I would have had fun with whatsit. Tevis wrote the novel in 1963.

I saw Bowie in concert in 2004, and he looked incredible.
(Deleted comment)
deliasherman
Feb. 14th, 2010 07:24 pm (UTC)
HeeHeeHee.

kristine_smith
Feb. 15th, 2010 02:34 am (UTC)
::laughing::

I think Keef is doing portrait duty for every 70s rocker. With the exception of Ozzy.
elswhere1
Feb. 14th, 2010 12:08 am (UTC)
Wait-- who is this Maida? I didn't even know our grandpa had a brother! I thought he just had a wicked stepmother who more or less kicked him out...
deliasherman
Feb. 14th, 2010 12:13 am (UTC)
You'll have to apply to your first cousin for details. I can't even remember all the ins and outs of my own family tree, and I've only heard the story of yours the once. Granted, it was last night, but, as you see, it was a full evening.
ellen_kushner
Feb. 14th, 2010 04:33 pm (UTC)
No, the wicked stepmother's was Grandpa's father's. He was the tavernkeeper (?) who could carry barrels on his shoulder. Grandpa's mother was a baker. She had at least 3 kids - Tante Chaya, Grandpa Boris, and, well, Max who was Maida's dad, but Grandma quarrelled with him & his wife (surprise!) . . . they lived in the Bronx quite close to our family, and her mom still lives there at 96! Your dad's in touch wtih them all.
( 16 comments — Leave a comment )

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