Ellen (ennienyc) wrote,

Pop culture roundup

Blogging? What blogging? I've gotten behind. I'll summarize some books and movies, and do separate posts on other events.

The Strand Annex was closing 8/31 and according to a mailing (but not mentioned online) were having a "fill a bag with books for $9.95" sale. These might have been specially designated books like the ones in the outside carts, but that still sounded good. In addition, former co-worker J reported he got hardcovers for $3 each. I had this on my calendar all month, but talked myself out of going since it was way downtown (might as well be Philadelphia), and my shelves are full and I have multiple boxes of books piled on the floor. But such a bargain! No, not this time.

Moving things along, I finished:

"Celebutantes" by daughters of Hollywood insiders Amanda Goldberg (as in producer Leonard) and Ruthanna Khalighi Hopper (as in Dennis) - This didn't move the unread book pile along since it was from the library and not on my wish list (though it would have been if I'd read about it). A wicked send-up of evil Hollywood, in all its superficiality and loopiness. Fun fun fun.

"A Widow's Walk: A Memoir of 9/11" by Marian Fontana, the young widow of a 9/11 firefighter. After the tragedy, Marian had a strong support system of family, friends, and even institutions and it was still difficult. Research shows she's found love again, and I wish her the best.

"Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim" by David Sedaris - my first experience with this author. These true vignettes weren't fall-on-the-floor hilarious, but still witty and engaging.

"If Chins Could Kill: Confessions of a B Movie Actor" by Bruce Campbell. I'd never seen anything with this actor, so I'm not sure why I had this book. It was either from the batch obtained through Freecycle or the laundry room shelf. In any case, this copiously illustrated memoir traced the author's beginnings with hometown Michigan pals including Sam Raimi, to current-day evil Hollywood.

"Unusually Stupid Celebrities: A Compendium of All-Star Stupidity" by Kathryn and Ross Petras. Since I read a lot of celebrity gossip, most of these examples of celebrity stupidity were not new to me, but were enjoyably presented with maximum snark (e.g., quoting "theologian/socialite/'singer' Paris Hilton" on her spiritual views). My kind of book.

"'Scuse Me While I Kiss This Guy: And Other Misheard Lyrics" by Gavin Edwards. Did you think they sang "You and me and Leslie" in "Groovin'"? Join the club. This cute, illustrated compendium of wrong lyrics (mondegreens) went quickly. I hadn't heard of a lot of the songs.

"Queen of Babble in the Big City" by Meg Cabot (from the library). Turns out I own "Queen of Babble" which precedes this in a series, but who knows where it is. Lizzie is a wedding dress expert who interns for free in a New York shop while toiling as a law office receptionist to pay the bills and adjusting to her new live-in boyfriend. The ending indicates this story is not over, and indeed the next book is "Queen of Babble Gets Hitched."

MoMA had a Coen Brothers retrospective, and there were days my calendar had possible triple features. In the end, I only saw "The Hudsucker Proxy." The plot concerned corporate shenanigans in the '50s including the fictional invention of the hula hoop. It supposedly took place in NYC, but looked either fake or not like New York (it was shot in Chicago). Everything was highly stylized, including Jennifer Jason Leigh's annoyingly accented fast-talking career-dame reporter. Bruce Campbell had a small part, so now I've seen him.

Maybe I didn't miss much by not going to the other movies. I had previously seen "Raising Arizona" (didn't really like), "Barton Fink" (OK), and "Fargo" (better). It would have been nice to see "No Country For Old Men" and learn what the Oscar fuss was all about, but it did sound violent. I'll see "Burn After Reading" next week through one of my organizations.

I also managed to miss a MoMA Chris Smith ("The Pool") series.

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