kitchen_kink: (kate brick)
1. Has anyone else here read Perdido Street Station by China Miéville?

2. If so, are you finding it as BLINDINGLY FUCKING OMG NIGHTMARE-INDUCING CREEPY as I am??
kitchen_kink: (kate brick)
[Spoilers below for Doctor Who Season 5.]

Just finished watching Season 5 of the new Who, and while I'm enjoying the new folks a great deal, I've been pissed at the writing more than once. Is it just me, or has there been a kind of sea change in the rules of causality? I mean, I know, the science is always super-spotty, but the way Tennant carried it off (wibbly wobbly, timey-wimey) was always funny and, to me at least, believable - or at least I was able to suspend my disbelief. Now it seems like more often than not, the thing that saves the day is the equivalent of people clapping their hands and saying "I believe in fairies!"

Is it just me? I mean, I'm a person who's really into the power of love and memory and belief, but it's not what I expect - or what I've seen - from this show so far, and it's annoying me. Beating Dalek technology with memories of an old girlfriend? Making a time-traveling ship explode with the power of schmoop? Making a Rory-bot real by being really insistent about your love for him? Resurrecting the Doctor from a reboot of the entire universe using Amy's memories?

It seems sappy at best, horribly lazy at worst. Your thoughts?
kitchen_kink: (Default)
Riiiiiiight then!

The reason nobody has been commenting on my because nobody could see them. Wa-hoooo!

So I just clicked the fancy "Date Out of Order" button on my 2011 books post, and things should be fixed now.

Can y'all see this on your friends pages now? Lemme know.
kitchen_kink: (demon)
I just finished a long screed in response to an article that Alan of Polyamory in the News alerted me to, in which a family therapist coins the term "new monogamy" to refer to couples who have affairs openly.

It was a little hard to figure out what was pissing me off so much about it until I got partway through the writing, but...well, you'll see.

Hope you enjoy it. Comments, there or here, very welcome.
kitchen_kink: (Default)
The other night, [ profile] imlad and I returned from seeing the new musical at the American Repertory Theatre, Johnny Baseball, and drank like we were at a wake. While the subsequent hangover was punishing, it matched my sorrow at what I see as the passing of a great American theatre.

I have been waiting for the last production of the season to give my final verdict on Diane Paulus' inaugural year at the helm of the ART, and now that I have seen it I can give it: guilty.

This is not to say that the offerings of this Cambridge colossus were of poor quality, nor even that I wasn't entertained by them. But it has become abundantly clear to me that under Paulus' leadership, the ART simply isn't the ART anymore.

[ profile] imlad has been a subscriber to the ART for over ten years, and when we got together, he roped me in. That first season, '04 into '05, I was blown away by theatrical experiences no less than six times: Theatre de Jeune Lune's Amerika, Or, The Disappearance; Janos Szasz's magnificent direction of Desire Under the Elms; Edward Bond's harrowing Olly's Prison; the beautiful far side of the moon, with original music by Laurie Anderson; the one-woman sensation The Syringa Tree; and my first exposure to the great Pieter Dirk-Uys, Foreign Aids.

I don't think any subsequent year ever matched up to the glory of that one, but I continued to be provoked, uplifted, flattened and changed by the theatre the ART brought me each year. At least once a year, if not twice, I saw something amazing: Rinde Eckert's Orpheus X in '06, a stage adaptation of Wings of Desire in '07, Elections and Erections in '08, The Seagull in '09. In between these bright lights were other strong shows - always daring, sometimes moving, usually thought-provoking. From time to time there would be a dud: the catastrophically bad '08 production of Julius Caesar comes to mind, as does the same year's Donnie Darko; the incidence of such weaknesses increased as Robert Woodruff's tenure wound down, and Gideon Lester's season, '08/'09, was really quite uneven. But the point is that for the five years before this one that I had been attending nearly every ART performance, I always looked forward to something new, fresh, interesting - and often, even life-changing.

This year there was a lot of buzz and excitement about Diane Paulus' takeover. And with good reason: her work in New York has been very exciting, and she's widely seen as a fresh, talented innovator. But I am here to tell you that with one exception, her first season at the ART has been an incredible disappointment when compared to what I've come to expect from this unique house of art.

As an overall note: first of all, what's with all the musicals? Paulus comes from a career in musicals and opera; I completely fail to see how that makes her an appropriate artistic director for the ART. Three of the six shows put on this year were musicals; one of the non-musicals was a dance/performance piece. Don't get me wrong: I love musicals as much as the next gay. (No, that's not a typo.) I adore musicals, and always have. But that's not what I go to the ART to see.

Second, nearly everything I saw was geared for a much more mainstream audience, even with Paulus' touted "experimental" bent. Two of the musicals enjoyed extended runs because of their mainstream appeal; one has become a cash cow for the ART. I'd be fine with that; the ART needs money to do what they do. But I'd be better with it if what they did was still what they used to do, instead of stuff that belongs more appropriately on Tremont Street.

And finally: where is the damn company, may I ask? The word "repertory" has a meaning, last time I checked, and a big part of that meaning involves a resident company who appears in, if not every show in a season, at least more than one. The one show I missed this season, sadly, was the one show that contained any of the core company: Karen MacDonald, Tommy Derrah, Remo Airaldi, Will LeBow, Jeremy Geidt. Everything else was shipped in.

Behind the cuts are my capsule reviews of the plays they put on this year. Gods willing next season will be better, but you won't see me subscribing, not even to see Amanda Palmer play the Emcee in Cabaret. (Yes, really.)

The Donkey Show. )

Sleep No More. )

Best of Both Worlds. )

Gatz. )

Paradise Lost. )

Johnny Baseball. )

Then again, what did I expect, exactly, from Diane Paulus, after her phenomenally successful revival of the musical Hair, but a bunch of musicals, a couple of ill-conceived concept plays, and to hear her talk about "the title character" of The Winter's Tale on NPR? Let's not even mention the little profiteering racket she's got going on with her husband around The Donkey Show, because hey, nobody else is. (Incidentally, that second-to-last link contains content about the current ART that's way snarkier than what I've written here - and more succinct. Really, check it out.)

So now I'm depressed. What theatre should I see this year?
kitchen_kink: (demon)
One of the goals of the Mexican-American studies program in Tucson was to promote Latino critical race pedagogy. Well, you know, for non-academics, that probably just sounds like gobbledygook, but the whole idea of promoting race pedagogy I think strikes most Americans as very un-American.

-Linda Chavez, Chair, Center for Equal Opportunity

For those who don't know, Arizona has failed at race relations yet again. Twice in one month is pretty astonishing for a state, I know. But besides the insane immigration law, Arizona has now passed a law essentially banning ethnic studies classes from public schools, claiming that they promote the overthrow of the US government and ill feeling toward white people. (There might be other reasons why the Mexican, African-American and Native American kids are pissed at the white kids, but that isn't addressed here.)

I was listening to Talk of the Nation on NPR yesterday and finding myself becoming more and more incensed. Neal Conan was moderating a discussion including the woman quoted above (who, incidentally, is also a Fox News political commentator and notable arch-conservative, but nobody bothered to mention that), who is the head of "the only [conservative] think tank devoted exclusively to the promotion of colorblind equal opportunity and racial harmony." This organization has a hotline called "Affirmative Action Watch," which has people call in discrimination complaints if someone gets hired because of affirmative action. So we start with this winner.

Then they add James Banks, who is professor of diversity studies and director of the Center for Multicultural Education at the University of Washington-Seattle. He's obviously knowledgeable and, dare I say it, sweet, but he's not as quick on his feet on the radio as his interlocutor. Still, he fights hard and gets pretty pissed at one point, citing recent (if controversial) research.

What annoyed me so much was that nobody was actually willing to say, "Yes, these kids are angry; yes, America is still racist and these kids should know that; no, the most important goal should not be to assimilate kids into becoming the same as everyone else and fulfilling the white Anglo-American dream." Someone actually called in and said "How would you feel if there were a Caucasian Studies course?" I almost yelled at the radio, "There is - that's American History class!" Chavez used familiar language about putting race "on the back burner," promoting color-blindness, and not wanting to excite hostilities or make kids believe they are victims. Nobody on the show talked at all about how much this is an example of white people being terrified. James Banks, I believe, was very concerned about proving how innocuous the ethnic studies programs were - which is a good goal if you're in his position, I think, but it still makes me angry. It made me extra-angry when Conan seemed to favor Chavez's speech over his, stopping him from speaking to let her finish several times, saying once, "You already said that," and then dropping this gem when Banks got too uppity:

"But James Banks, one thing you were talking about, classes like the ones that Willis is describing that were in the Marine Corps that were inclusive of all groups, not just one group in particular. And as I think you know, Linda Chavez has studied education for much of her life and is her opinions are based on more than just opinion. So that's why we have her on the program." [Full transcript behind link.]

This, after it had been made explicit several times that the Arizona classes do not exclude students of any race, and after Banks got exasperated and said we shouldn't go by opinions "based on just whatever."

I wanted to call in and ask everyone: haven't a single one of you even read the most basic of texts on race and privilege? Have you all been asleep while you sit here and use one derailing tactic after another to keep this conversation dumbed down and not moving toward any change at all?

Sorry this isn't incredibly coherent. Any help on this? Comments? *flails*
kitchen_kink: (foreboding)
I caught a little bit of Fresh Air yesterday, just the last ten minutes of an interview with the filmmakers responsible for the new documentary The Cove.

It's a movie about a little village in Japan called Taiji, where fishermen round up thousands of dolphins into a cove each year, sell the finest specimens to the highest bidders, and slaughter the rest.

I had no idea this was going on. Most of the Japanese have no idea this is going on.

But it is going on. And I think that per a discussion I was having recently about activism, I have found the thing that I cannot let go. I have to do something about this.

Ric O'Barry, who trained the dolphins who played the original Flipper and thus touched off a multi-million-dollar industry, went through a transformation when one of those dolphins committed suicide and died in his arms. Dolphins, you see, aren't automatic breathers like humans; every breath they take is a conscious act. When they're stranded, when they're under stress, and sometimes, when they are in captivity, they will simply choose not to breathe.

I am more than ever convinced that these creatures should not be kept in captivity at all, and they certainly shouldn't be killed for meat - meat that contains many times the legal level of mercury, and that is being fed to schoolchildren.

The other reason they're being killed? These fishermen consider them "pests" - competitors for fish.

Please, help stop this. This film might finally bring this to an end. But help is still needed.

Start here.

[ profile] rednikki: do you know anything about this? Any way you can find out what relationship Monterey Bay Aquarium has with other organizations that keep captive dolphins?
kitchen_kink: (demon)
Given what one of my closest friends is going through, and what I believe about such things in general, it drives me crazy every time NPR airs the tagline of one of their current sponsors:

"This program is brought to you in part by 500 Days of Summer. A comedy about the only two types of people: men and women."

kitchen_kink: (eggplant)
I know I'm late to this party because I listen to podcasts instead of listening live, but today I learned from Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me that those nuts at PETA wanted to make tofu flavored with George Clooney's sweat.

Yes, really.

My favorite thing about the whole thing was Clooney's response: "As a mammal, I'm offended."

Yeah, me too, George.


Apr. 16th, 2009 02:09 pm
kitchen_kink: (demon)
EDIT: Apparently I wasn't only behind on jumping on the bandwagon; I'm late in realizing that the bandwagon has been overturned and set on fire.

Sorry! Apparently the whole thing was a huge mistake and it's fixed. I'll still be shopping at Porter Square Books, though. :)

I'm late catching the bandwagon on this one, but the upshot is this: Amazon is removing the sales ranks from all books dealing with GLBT issues, claiming that they are "adult content," while leaving things like Playboy calendars and other heterosexually oriented adult material alone. This means that when you search for, say, a book on the history of the gay rights movement, the book you want won't appear on the first page of results, or maybe at all.

A good summary of the debacle is here.

I'm boycotting Amazon until further notice on this one, and I hope you'll consider doing the same. A petition against this madness is here.
kitchen_kink: (demon)
A college senior at UConn was sexually assaulted, fought off her attacker, then was circled and further assaulted by a pack of cheering dudes - whom she also fought her way out of.

On the one hand, her fighting back, then writing about it in the school newspaper, is awesome.

On the other hand, dude, you see a woman attacked and you laugh and attack her some more?

And then you start with your blame the victim bullshit, and confirm other girls' shame and feeling that they shouldn't come forward about their own experiences with rape and assault?

The title of this post was my favorite comment from the first linked article. If we can't change the attitudes that make these boys act they way they do, perhaps it's time to arm the female populace. Is rage all that will stop this?
kitchen_kink: (Default)
Hamilton is the great jinxer of all skaters. I don't think I've ever seen him say something like, "Now, $Skater is known for being really effortless on these jumps, just beautiful height blah blah blah...His first combination tonight is a quad-triple..." and then have the guy not fuck it up. It's impossible. I think the Russian coaches are paying off Scott Hamilton to say good things about the other skaters' abilities RIGHT BEFORE they jump.


(Style of this post somehow stolen from [ profile] wurmwyd. Sorry, dear, I've known you a long time, and I've liked figure skating for at least that long. There must be a relationship there.)
kitchen_kink: (demon)
I've been meaning to write this review for a long time, and by now I've all but lost the rage that was to drive it. I'm hoping it will nonetheless still be interesting at least.


It seems I can count on at least one thing when one of Frank Miller's comic books gets adapted into a film: I will be outraged and disturbed enough to write an angry and hopefully thought-provoking essay about it.

But while I could see the beauty of Sin City and had some difficulty pinning down what made me sick about it, 300 gave me no such problems.

Its flaws and infuriating qualities were quite obvious.

When I left the theatre after watching this fiasco, I was boiling over. I didn't even manage to get out of the building before literally screaming to my viewing partner, "Where do I start??!!" And so it seemed possible that right then was not the right time to write a review. Instead, I ranted, from the Somerville Theatre all the way to my house and beyond, about all the the things in this film that made me want to tear my skin off while watching it.

Now let me start by saying that I know that some of the things I'm going to criticize in this movie are merely portrayals of a certain kind of society, one whose belief systems an audience member such as myself may or may not agree with. I will dispense with this objection before it is made, by pointing out the unequivocal way in which this film glorifies and fetishizes the way of life that this version of Sparta represents. Before going any further, I put forth as an argument that this film does not merely portray a particular society, however fantastically; it endorses it.

Now there's already been a bit of talk from certain astute film reviewers about 300's references to the current U.S. administration and its relationship to the Middle East; I'm certainly not going to be the first to mention it. But besides my glib snarl after seeing it that "this movie was financed by Karl Rove," there are deeper questions of the rhetoric chosen here that warrant further examination. And beyond these issues, which are troubling enough, there are vast problems of sexism, homophobia, transphobia, xenophobia, racism, and outright eugenicism that need to be addressed. I've heard some people say that watching this movie was "like a video game," or that it was just "fun" and made them feel like going out and kicking ass. That's all well and good, and I'm far from being against fun, or even ass-kicking, particularly where action movies are concerned. But there are times when we need to take a closer look at what these images are telling us, and what messages we are absorbing into our psyches without further thought. Just as many of us get desensitized to the news and/or don't look at it terribly critically, other cultural markers such as film tell stories about what assumptions are present in our culture now. I believe we ignore them at our peril, both as individuals and as a society. But now I'm getting all soapboxy. On to the movie.

It's raining men... )
kitchen_kink: (eggplant)
I hate olives.

Now, I know this may be a shocking annoucement for those in my audience with more delicate consitutions and sensibilities, but it is nonetheless a (recently) true statement, and one I have stood by for my entire life.

Not that I had any personal resentments toward olives. An olive didn't kill my brother; no olives owe me money. No, I just have never liked the damn things. And I tried. Oh, how I tried. You see, while I finally came to accept my hatred of olives, I never made fun of them as a stupid food to like, or taunted olive-eaters in their olive-eating orgies of pleasure. No, I wanted to like olives. Olives seemed like a good food, a serious food (though not a serious pastry). My whole family liked them, and I figured, given my mother and grandmother's perfect blemishless olive skin, that I was cursed with acne because I hated olives. (They really are supposed to be good for your skin. Not just olive skin, either. Shut up.)

So, every time there were olives around, I would try one. Didn't matter what kind: kalamata, canned black, green with pimientos, whatever. I'd take one, bite into it, and...purse my lips...and find a napkin...and spit that thing right out again. Yes, this was food I couldn't even force myself to swallow. But I kept on trying. Years, and no change.

Then, one night at Gargoyle's, I decided to try the olives that they serve along with some luscious Marcona almonds. They were small, and of various colors, and herby, and I popped one in my mouth and...hey...this is not so bad. Actually, this is kinda good! Lemme try another one, maybe that one was broken. No...this one's good, too!

And suddenly, for no reason at all, I liked olives.

And that's the story of me and olives.

And in celebration of this, I give you my non-recipe for the thing I randomly put together tonight, which also happened to be the first thing I've ever cooked with olives in it. Because you know, I hate olives.

I was gonna call this Greek Stew, but then I kept thinking, "Saute a coarsely chopped onion in olive oil...Add one diced Greek..."

So far, it's just called Greek Thing. )
Jesus. Next thing you know I'll be eating mushrooms...oh wait...[ profile] entrope!!
kitchen_kink: (snow)
Though the darkness and the grey days seem long even in their crushing brevity; though I've been known to complain about the winds that whip through the wide tunnel of Boylston Street, threatening to pluck me up with icy tongs and carry me into the Charles; though black ice, grey slush, chilled bones and heavy skies aren't exactly cheery subjects...

Gods dammit I want my SNOW.

If there's anything that feeds my depression, paranoia, irritation and misery more than short, dark days, it's short, dark, SIXTY-TWO DEGREE days. I mean seriously, what the hell?

I want to inhale that softly metallic, white smell of coming snowfall. I want the shock of frozen nosehairs, the clean clarity of ice as I step outside after the skies have cleared, a wan winter sun gleaming off of glittering drifts, my mind as pure as liquid nitrogen. I want that frozen knife to cleave the fog of my recumbent mind. I want the crunch, the squeak, the soft ssss of walking through fresh snow; I want the otherwise noiselessness of the streets as the weather mutes everything, silences animals, keeps people indoors, cars moored in their driveways, the only interrupting sound the joyous shouts of children, for whom snow creates a sovereign kingdom.

I have a down jacket, okay? Let's go.
kitchen_kink: (Default)
It looks like Sockmas has struck, and I couldn't be more pleased. Or mystified.

For the past few days, small packages, each in the same sparkly lavender, silver and pale blue metallic wrapping, have appeared on my doorstep with my mail. The current tally:

One very fuzzy and loveable purple sock
One very sparkly thin purple sock
One rainbow-striped toe sock
One very fuzzy red and black striped sock
Three haiku about said socks

Note the number "one" before each socklike item. I also wonder why the fuzzy purple sock has no haiku attached.

Lone, fuzzy, purple
The first sock I received, in
Knitted mystery.
kitchen_kink: (demon)
...why the fuck I can't go more than 150 entries back on my friends page??
kitchen_kink: (Default)
"Kelly-Jo was throwing up. She couldn’t keep her bowels in. Liquid was coming out of her any way it could." Kelly-Jo, Bell adds, asked a guard if she could "please go to a hospital." But the guard replied, according to Bell, "This is the other side of the dope game. Get used to it."

On the morning of July 23, 2003, a mother of two, struggling with a heroin addiction and in the throes of withdrawal, died in a state prison, despite the fact that she'd been convicted of no crime. The circumstances of her death are extremely sketchy, and the reasons she ended up at the maximum security prison even sketicher - she was awaiting arraignment on motor-vehicle charges, and a judge had ordered her sent to the Salem District Court, which she never reached. Instead, she was left screaming for help all night while the guards yelled at her to shut up. In the morning she was dead, having somehow sustained massive head wounds.

Somebody, please, tell me what the hell is going on with this fucking country.

Also, you politically active folk: what would be my best bet for getting involved with 1) prisoners' rights, 2) drug legalization, and/or 3) harm reduction programs?

I am so pissed I could spit.
kitchen_kink: (Default)
More anti-Franceism, more hatred toward Muslims, more clueless protestors! Yay! I can never get enough!

So the sidewalk across the street from my work seems to be a popular spot for idiot protestors. Today it was a Jewish group, once again protesting against France. When I emerged from the building, they were yelling, "End the hate! End the hate!" Good idea, I thought. Then a woman handed me this leaflet. Watch carefully for the hidden message, kids!

France: Arrest the Arab Thugs

On the Sabbath afternoon of March 22, three French Jewish children were beaten by racist thugs.

The incident took place during a massive anti-war anti-America protest. Among the "peace" marchers were French Arabs who marched carrying large sticks and wearing keffiyas. They spotted a Jewish boy on a sidewalk and beat him. The Muslims then raced down a street leading away from the line of march, shouting 'there are Jews over there.' When they reached the door of the JCC (the Centre Benard Lazare), they beat two more fourteen-year-old Jewish boys arriving for a Sabbath youth group meeting.

The marauding Muslims actually shouted anti-Semitic verses from the Koran as they beat the Jewish boys. They were attempting to batter down the door of the Jewish Centre when police arrived.

No arrests have been made despite the presence of numerous witnesses and the existence of television film shot by a French news crew that filmed the entire incident.

This attack is far from isolated. There were four times as many violent racist attacks in France in 2002 as in 2001, a wave of violent assaults on Jews not seen in Europe since before WWII.

We demand that the French government arrest the Arab thugs who beat up Jewish children.

Now, I won't even go into the little dig at anti-war protestors and the implication that this war is just. But I did go up to the little crowd and address the people who seemed to be in charge.

"Excuse me," I said. "I just got handed this leaflet. Can I ask you something?

Sure I could, they said.

"This is terrible, of course, and of course these people should be arrested. But does it strike you as ironic at all that while you're over here chanting 'End the hate, end the hate,' your literature refers to 'Arab Thugs' and 'Marauding Muslims,' and implies that all Muslims are bad??" (I wanted to say, "implies racism toward Muslims and obliquely implicates that religion and thus all of its members, rather than a small group of zealots, in the current wave of violence toward Jews?" But I don't think that fast on my feet.)

To their credit, I got some mumbles, an agreement from an older gentleman who said he had objected to the language in the leaflets, and no angry response.

Still. Calling for the arrest of these racist scum while at the same time pointing out as many times as possible that these racist scum are Arabs, down to describing their dress and hypocritically pointing out the hatespeech in the Koran? (Have they looked at their book lately?)

"Reactionary tactics don't make for very effective protests," I called over my shoulder as I crossed the street.

I know I'm probably going to get skewered and roasted on a spit for this, but it just made me hopping mad.


kitchen_kink: (Default)

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