Last week I finally had the opportunity to view the biopic Walk the Line, about the maudlin, damaged crooner Johnny Cash. I've been meaning to post about it ever since because I just cannot get it off my mind. I've been obsessing not only over the music and the romance but the costumes, Reese's hair and southern drawl, the automobiles, the set design, the boy who played Elvis and on and on. So many elements of this film have really stayed with me.
June Carter Cash was a woman ahead of her time. In an interview Reese Witherspoon spoke about the progressive June, “I think the really remarkable thing about her character is that she did all of these things that we sort of see as normal things, in the 1950s, when it wasn’t really acceptable for a woman to be married and divorced twice and have two different children by two different husbands and travel around in a car full of very famous musicians all by herself. She didn’t try to comply to social convention." I'll say.
Arianne Phillips was the costume designer for Walk The Line. Apparently she had a modest budget to work with and a short eight weeks to research and gather about 1,000 costumes. Many of the costumes were vintage borrowed from vendors across the country. But with Cash, she went with suits made from scratch.
Both Reese Witherspoon and Joaquin Phoenix were handpicked for their roles by Johnny and June before they passed away in 2003. Reese can really sing and nailed June's southern drawl (growing up in Tennessee likely helped). Juaquin was sensational as Cash. Both sang flawlessly. It's best to think of their singing not as an imitation but an homage to Johnny and June.
I am smitten with this film and cannot wait to see it again.
On Sunday my Mom and I started our Christmas shopping in Seattle. Most of my money was spent buying Christmas ornaments. Despite having such a small apartment I find myself purchasing ornaments that would only be appropriate on a full sized tree. So needless to say most of the ornaments I purchase this year will just get boxed up for another Christmas.
For lunch we wanted to eat at Le Pichet or Cafe Campagne but parking was impossible near Pike Place market. It's off season! Parking is supposed to be abundant this time of year at the market. But apparently since parking is free on Sunday, people were not moving from their parking spots. So instead we decided to try Tom Douglas' newish restaurant, Lola. I'm so glad we did. Lunch was sensational. Lola is located across from Dahlia Lounge and Dahlia Bakery. Apparently Tom Douglas likes all his restaurants to be in close proximity. Lola is also located next to the newly opened Hotel Andra (which I'm dying to spend a night at). Lola features the classic produce of the Northwest mingled with the cooking styles of Greece. "The stylish and modern dining space is decorated with warm earthy colors, hand-painted chandeliers, and floor-to-ceiling windows." The restaurant just felt so cozy on such a chilly day. I ordered lamb kebobs which had the most spectacular caramelized garlic and red wine glaze the meal was accompanied by a Greek salad, pita bread and tzatziki. It was all so delicious. One of the best meals I've had in a while. Tom Douglas does not disappoint.
After we left downtown we drove to University Village. A few more Christmas ornaments were purchased. I also tried cupcakes from A La Francaise (review to come soon). Then headed home to start decorating my apartment with my new purchases (pictures to come soon as well).
Such news. Apparently a book by Amy Sedaris, titled I Like You, is being published by Warner Books.
"I Like You is an entertaining guide to entertaining. The book will includes recipes, complete meal plans, decorating suggestions, music choices, conversational ice-breakers, and hospitality tips to create the perfect evening at home. The book has scrapbook feel, including color as well as black and white photos, illustrations, and craft patterns. Whether it's an intimate night for two or a ladies luncheon for twenty, Sedaris offers her own advice to make guests feel welcome and the host look good. I Like You is the essential handbook for full-scale entertaining the Sedaris way. The inspiration for I Like You comes from Sedaris own domestic expertise. A notorious baker and cook, her famous cheese balls can be bought at Gourmet Garage and her cupcakes at Joe Coffee in New York City. Sedaris covers all aspects of home entertaining."
I have such a crush on the Sedaris family. But Amy's love of bunnies, cupcakes (has anyone tried them?), and crafts, makes her especially endearing. Unfortunately the book is not scheduled to be published until the fall of 2006. Patience is such a drag. [Is that picture not darling?]
I am thankful for, a good cup of tea; loose leaf or in a tea bag, hot or cold, always sweetened, occasionally with lemon, sometimes with milk and once in a while in "long island" form. Currently I am smitten with three brands of tea, Mariage Frères, Revolution Tea, and Tea Forte.
Mariage Frères: A classic. Sold in their signature black tins. They are the oldest tea importers in France, in business since 1660. In Paris the Mariage Frères shop has been in the same spot since 1854 on the rue du Bourg-Tibourg in the Marais. They now have three tea rooms in Paris. I believe Henri Mariage described this tea best, "the fragrance of poetry and adventure pervades each cup of tea". I think of it as an unpretentious tea despite its long history. I suggest purchasing it in loose leaf form. Currently I'm smitten with their Rouge Bourbon, a French Vanilla red tea. One of their most popular flavors is Marco Polo, a black tea flavored with Chinese and Tibetan fruits and flowers. They offer 500 flavor varieties so there is no doubt you'll find one you'll like.
Revolution Tea: Yes, taste is important, but for me the packaging is what turns my head. Revolution Tea bags are sold individually in the daintiest little boxes. But not only do they look sensational, they taste divine. Along with steeping your own cup of tea you might consider trying their bottled iced tea, during the warmer months. Currently my favorite flavor would have to be, Sweet Ginger Peach, I'd love it just for the name, but it tastes smashing as well. I am coveting one of their Tea Gift Chests, which are filled with 30 single serving boxes of their 15 tea flavors.
Tea Forte: It's all about the brilliant presentation. And you will pay a pretty penny for said presentation. At $2.50 a bag (or "forte"), this tea deserves a drinkers full attention. It really is a real wonder, in pyramid form. This is most def. my "special occasion" tea. I suggest first trying the sampler box which includes 1infusers each of, Chamomile, Earl Grey, Citrus Mint, Oasis, Black Currant & Florte. The tea also comes in loose leaf form, but really, why bother? "Our unique Silken-Tea-Infusers are individually hand crafted, and provide the world's finest method to brew a cup of tea. The open weave of the fabric allows the water to flow freely around the teas, allowing the tea leaves to unfurl and the flavors to mingle in the large open form of the infuser. We use only exquisite whole-leaf teas and rough cut herbs and our unique design allows the subtle flavors of these fine teas to infuse into the water. It's like brewing a pot of tea in your cup!" Beyond belief.
Books: There are an abundance of knitting books available. But the book I turn to most often would have to be, Simple Knits with a Twist: Unique Projects for Creative Knitters. The creator, Erika Knight, incorporates innovative materials with conventional yarn. Her projects take knitting far beyond its traditional boundaries and are both easy and inventive The full page color photos are vivid and include close up how to shots. Twenty projects were included in the book, ranging from a rose chintz pillow (which I'm dying to make) to a barcode dog coat (which I'll refrain from making until I actually own a canine). Another book I'm quite smitten with is Knitting Pretty: Simple Instructions for 30 Fabulous Projects. This is a great book for the novice knitter. It offers step by step getting started instructions and photographs. Most of the projects in this book are your standard scarf, mittens, and baby booties. But the creator, Kris Percival, also included a few unusual surprises. When I was working as a Nanny one of my "charges" was obsessed with worms. I could not stomach holding one of those squirmy things so instead I knit a wiggly worm scarf for her, I found the pattern under the adorable knits for kids of all ages category. A third book that I refer to quite a bit is Stitch 'N Bitch: The Knitter's Handbook by Debbie Stoller. This book is promoted as "the essential guide for chicks with sticks - from the tools of the trade to the knitty-gritty techniques and patterns, all with easy to follow step by step illustrated techniques". There are 40 patterns included in this book and most are quite innovative, ranging from a queen of hearts bikini to pippi kneestockings. The book also explains how to start your own knitting group and offers a superb summary of the history of knitting. A final book worth perusing is Viva Poncho, which provides patterns for 20 ponchos and capelets. The book was put out by one of my favorite yarn shops, Article Pract, which is located in Oakland. These are but a few of the plethora of knitting books available.
Television: Vickie Howell is the host of "Knitty Gritty" which can be seen on the DIY network. "On each episode, a trio of knitsters, including one first-time knitter, works the featured projects in real time while a guest designer walks through the paces with viewers." Vickie has also written several books which can be purchased through her website. Oh and check out the cool tees for people who make stuff.
Wanted: Knitters for a Fair Isle. NPR's All Things Considered reported that "The National Trust of Scotland is seeking tenants for two properties on Fair Isle, the most remote inhabited island of Scotland. Anne Sinclair, a resident and historian of Fair Isle (pop: 65), says someone with knitting or construction skills would have no trouble making a living there. The knitting cooperative, for example, has more orders than it can fill."Can you imagine?
Knitting Groups: To locate a knitting group in your area check out Meetup.
It's not news that the centuries-old handicraft of knitting has become the craft du jour. Knitting has been the craft of choice by grandmothers for eons and currently has become hip among all age groups and even boys are getting in on the action. Knitting reached its first heyday back in the 1930s when all the girls wanted to knit, with beautiful, lacy patterns. Later knitting was shunned by most baby boomers. The majority of this generation viewed knitting as outdated and "too" domestic. As more women entered the labor force, activities, such as knitting, were left behind. Currently the craft is being embraced wholeheartedly. It has became the "it craft" among hipsters. Knitting eventually got snatched up by celebs who broke out their needles while lounging on set. And now one can purchase knitting kits at your local Target.
I like to knit, not only because of its recent fashionable status, but because I'm participating in a traditional craft that is part of our history. I first took up knitting five years ago while flying to Kauai. After getting settled into our seats my friend Alina pulled out her needles and proceeded to show me how to "knit one, purl two" while we flew over the Pacific (this was back when knitting needles were allowed in carry-on luggage). Of course after arriving back on the mainland I promptly forgot everything I'd been taught. I headed to the local yarn shop and got my hands on a few knitting books and stubbornly re taught my self how to "knit one, purl two".
I am so irate that my beloved cerebral comedy Arrested Development is receiving the "axe" from Fox. Despite Arrested Development's 2004 Emmy win for Best Comedy and Jason Bateman's 2005 Golden Globe win for Best Actor in a Comedy, the show just is not bringing in enough viewers. Arrested Development is unfortunately following in the footsteps of My So-Called Life and Freaks and Geeks. All unique, superbly written, shows that were not embraced by the masses. Arrested Development is a gem, witty, caustic, and intelligent. The demise of Arrested Development is occuring just as the show came back on the air after a month long hiatus to make room for Fox's baseball coverage. At the very least Fox executives are allowing us to give a proper adieu. They're airing five more episodes. My only hope is that one of the other networks will decide to snatch this show up. The final five episodes are set to air Mondays on Fox from 8:00-8:30pm starting December 5th.
I must insist everyone go sign the "Save Arrested Development" petition. Then I insist everyone go out and rent or buy the first season on DVD. Then PLEASE tune in to watch the final five episodes.
If you have not viewed this show here's a taste of what you've been missing: This line was delivered by Bluth matriarch Lucille (Jessica Walter), who, forced to lower her standards and eat in a family-style restaurant, was asked by a waitress if she wanted, ''Plate or platter?'' Lucille, befuddled and repulsed, replied, ''I do not understand the question, and I won't respond to it.''
In case you're interested here's a superb description of the Bluth family. "The Bluth family consists of nine members. Bateman stars as Michael Bluth, the widowed father who acted as the show's moral center and CEO of the Bluth Company in the first season, but has since lost both positions. His son, George-Michael Bluth (Michael Cera), works at the family's banana stand and harbors a secret crush on his cousin, Maeby (Alia Shawkat), a rebellious teenager who does whatever she can to oppose her separated (yet still living together) mother and father. Maeby's parents, Lindsay (Portia de Rossi) and Tobias Fünke (David Cross), are both incredibly self-absorbed. Lindsay focuses solely on her own image and Tobias believes he is going to become a renowned actor. Lindsay and Michael's brother GOB (George Oscar Bluth, pronounced like the biblical "Job"), portrayed by Will Arnet, possesses traits of both his sister and her husband. However, instead of an actor, he wants to become a renowned illusionist - not a magician, which to GOB is an enirely different profession, because only magicians perform "tricks." The fourth Bluth sibling, Buster (Tony Hale), is overly child-like. Even as an adult, he is completely dependent on his mother - a personality which hardly fits with his recent enlistment in the army at the request of family matriarch Lucille Bluth (Jessica Walter). Lucille, an alcoholic, judgmental, manipulative woman, is the series's most entertaining character. Rounding out the family are twin brother, George and Oscar, portrayed by Jeffrey Tambor in dual roles. George is the ex-CEO of his family's company, now an escaped convict residing in Michael's attic, and Oscar is having an affair with his brother's wife. As dysfunctional as this family sounds, their traits are what make them so interesting and entertaining to watch."
"Aside from the central family unit, Arrested Development also uses its guest stars extremely well. Many of them play integral parts in the show's plot rather than being mere flashes for publicity. The guests include Liza Minnelli, Henry Winkler, James Lipton, Amy Poehler, Richard Simmons, Bob Odenkirk and Carl Weathers."
"The show is filmed as if it were a documentary narrated by series producer Ron Howard; the style of the series ranges from Married with Children to The Royal Tenenbaums, with all of the production values and attention to details of the latter. Continuity between episodes is used heavily to augment stories and make subsequent episodes even funnier." How could one not love this show?