Hey, Stewart, did you notice that The King's Speech is basically a sports movie? Except unlike, say, Invictus—which displaced the tensions of its political plot onto the rugby pitch for superior catharsis—Tom Hooper and screenwriter David Seidler fuse the two, turning politics into sport. Bertie (Colin Firth), future King George VI, is on the Royals, who've just lost George V (Michael Gambon) to career-ending dementia and are about to lose Edward VIII (Guy Pearce) to free agency. Bertie has until the fourth quarter/third period/twelfth round/final inning to overcome his handicap—an embarrassing speech impediment. To this end he has a coach (Geoffrey Rush, executive producing as well) with whom he shares training montages and ring-side/sideline strategy meetings. Their objective, beyond the "mechanical" stuff of fixing his voice-box, is to prepare microphone-shy Bertie for the first big speech of his reign. But isn't the larger goal to make the ascendant king more convincing in his performance of proper Britishness, especially after his younger brother signs with the more modern, less morally scrupulous U.S. franchise?
Snowstorms are a bitch. So is being a buzzed-about British band and having to cancel your CMJ appearance last fall and then your Mercury Lounge show earlier this week because of visa issues. The upside, I suppose, is that getting yourself to the venue is in itself a triumph — whether you're in the band or one of the hundreds that packed Glasslands last night to see them. It definitely doesn’t hurt either party, though, when the band in question sounds like the consolidation of every college-radio act you loved from the 90s and sings a song called “Coconut Bible.”
Our Distinguished and Frequently Sober Panel of Literary Insiders will, as they do every year, assess the literary quality (and performance) of each of the stories, and pronounce their judgments at the readings, in sessions equal parts Maoist self-criticism and American Idol (but friendlier than either). We value them for their wit and wisdom, and so should you. There are five returning judges, and one new addition to the panel, which is:
There's a new something at 22 Wyckoff Avenue—the Bushwick block bounded by Northeast Kingdom and the Wyckoff Starr—or, rather, two old warehouses converted and transformed so dramatically that they're unrecognizable. Manhattan-based firm Andre Kikosi Architect turned the space formerly occupied by Rong Cheng U.S.A. Trading Inc. into the dramatic steel-fronted fortress above, The Wyckoff Exchange.
The buses aren't running and the schools are closed for only the seventh time in almost 35 years. And it's officially the snowiest January on record! What can a Brooklynite do but make fun snow sculptures? (And what else could a snowed-in blogger do but show you pictures of them?)
At a Manhattan flea market: "Are we going to Elaine's Thursday?" "No, Thursday's our Wagner opera."
We're in Woody Allen country. 1993's Manhattan Murder Mystery stars him, again not testing his nonexistent range, and Diane Keaton, and Alan Alda, and the quips are as punchy and frequent as in his best. As if it's an homage to his own Manhattan (1979), it even opens with romantic shots of the New York skyline, though now in color, scored to Cole Porter instead of Gershwin, and looser in the style of immediate predecessor Husbands and Wives. The difference, and the movie's main joke, is the title's two other words. Subtract the primary plot about the married Allen and Keaton’s neighbor possibly being a wife-murderer, and Carol's investigations into the matter, and you'd still have a casual, slickly shot movie about interesting people chatting over wine and salads. The "murder mystery" only wryly gives it a reason for being, gag scaffolding that is, incidentally, tense and involving. It's the closest thing to a Chabrol movie that Allen's made.
Last night one of the many revelers enjoying the fresh snow took a moment to set Kenny Scharf's smiley Bowery mural up with a watchful snowman. Maybe that'll keep it from getting bombed—the security cameras sure aren't doing the trick. Crosstown, meanwhile, Scharf has a solo show opening at Paul Kasmin in Chelsea tonight. (ANIMAL)
We tweeted our disappointment with Kanye West's absence from the massive wall of portraits that forms the centerpiece of George Condo's solo show at the New Museum (although we're really not into the salon-style hanging, more on which sometime soon), but Kanye made up for his absence in paint by showing up in person for the exhibition's opening on Tuesday evening.
With Non-Stop, from 1996, Sabu tears open the bag of clever, self-aware tricks a certain video store clerk had just brought to the party: like Tarantino, and his imitators from the glamorous Doug Liman of Go to the macho Guy Ritchie of Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, Sabu orchestrates a convergence of backstories—the movie's an interlocking contraption, cutting back and forth across place and time to show how all these motley, stylish, self-parodic crew of movie types' parallel tracks all take blind turns into the same black-comic showdown.
The Louvin Brothers, who split up as a recording act shortly before the troubled Ira's 1965 death in a car crash, were a notable cult act for a couple generations of very influential Americana crate-diggers. In 1968, Gram Parsons prevailed upon the hippies in the Byrds to cover the Louvins' "Christian Life" on their seminal country album Sweetheart of the Rodeo:
For the record, Bethany, it's "Buddy you're a boy/Make a big noise/Playing in the street/Gonna be a big man some day/Got mud on your face/You big disgrace/Kicking your can all over the place." [Twitter]
“I was surprised to see the new trees,” [a local resident] said, recalling a bit of local legend about one teen who was paralyzed decades ago after crashing into a tree on the famed suicide hill. “I never thought they would put new ones in over there. They are in a bad spot.”
How bad? The plastic protective fencing around the juvenile trees have already been crushed by sledders. And because the trees are still young, the branches are at the perfect height to injure tots.
The real reason the trees are probably there? I'm betting on racism.
L Mag favorites The Beets premiered a new video over at Stereogum this morning, for the song "Watch TV" off their very good new album, Stay Home. It features the band performing in a mostly empty room, and that's pretty much it. Still, it manages to be endlessly charming—especially when singer Juan Wauters spends the first 30 seconds or so reading a comic book. If the interview our own Lauren Beck recently conducted with the band is any indication, the explanation for that particular move would likely be something along the lines of, "What? I was just reading a comic book, and some dude told me to stand in front of the camera. I didn't even know we were making a video. I don't even know what videos are, really."
Well, this is a relief. After having to cancel yesterday's show because of some issues with their visas, UK band Yuck is officially en route to the States, and should be here in time for tonight's show at Glasslands. We'll let you know if anything changes, but if all goes according to plan, we'll be back with a review of the show tomorrow morning.
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