I'm devouring a wonderful book about the King - Graceland: Going Home with Elvis, by Karal Ann Marling. I haven't read anything Elvis since the notorious 1981 biography by Albert Goldman - the faithful detest that book, but I found it fascinating, and actually became an Elvis person 1 because of it. This new (1996) book is much more balanced, not so focused on the story's dark side, but she has a writing style I find rather annoying - many of her descriptive sentences lack verbs. Upon reflection though, I guess I do the same thing, only I break up my phrases with hyphens instead of the period, space & capitalized letter.
Discovered a great site this past week, what's categorized as a "web-log," which seems to mean a distillation of what the author's recently found on the web. This one is Robot Wisdom, and it's chock-full of interesting links - check it out; daily updates. From there I got wind of the new interview with Matt Groening in Mother Jones, essentially about the new "Futurama" show but the discussion ranges all over. Favorite quote: "I think people put up with a lot of lousy entertainment because they look around and say, look, everybody else made the same choice." At work a common occurence Fridays is as group troops out to catch the new film opening - yesterday's choice was "Analyze This," which nearly provoked my gag reflex when they asked me - pay money to see Billy Crystal? I despise that guy; no, he's not funny, and neither was Chevy Chase, but both seem to sell tickets for a while, for reasons which mystify me. Anyway, joining the rabble to see a movie when it's new is very rare behavior for me - just too unpleasant, sitting among the full-house crowd of popcorn-munching eaters, with no choices for moving to a better seat.
So today, what do I do? Rush out to see a movie which opened yesterday; this one's no mass-market success however, the theater was pleasantly deserted. The name Julia Sweeney is known to those people with mainstream television viewing habits; I understand she was on "Saturday Night Live" for a while, but my only exposure is the Joe Frank program called "In A Lonely Place"2 which is mostly just the early, "Uncabaret" form of the monologue, now expanded into her one-woman show of "God Said, Ha!" Now I know what she looks like (great eyes) and more details of her family's struggle with her brother's fatal lymphoma cancer. The story had similarities with my own experience - not only did I "get" (and enjoy) all her LA references, but the situation of her brother's paralleled my own friend David's losing battle with AIDS-related complications. Someday I should do a whole page about him, with many pictures, but here's one I took in his Santa Monica living room a year Before which he described as "scary."
More details - previews I caught (was a couple minutes late) included a movie about modern ballet called "Paul Taylor Dancemaker" (yawn) and what I assumed was a French film, "The School of Flesh."3 The cinema was the Lumiere, up in the City, the same place I saw "Happiness" on New Year's Day. Standing on the corner afterwards, digging the scene at California & Polk, my eye was drawn to a large pink neon crab on the multi-level mini-mall opposite, which was suddenly moving! As my eyes gathered more information it became apparent that the crab was affixed to the top of an exterior elevator - I crossed the street for an up-close inspection. Turned out I was at the chic Euro-Asian fusion restaurant called Crustacean, and I shoulda gone in but I wanted sushi so I drove cross town to 9th & Irving, south of Golden Gate Park, for a place called Ebisu I've heard rated highly. Unfortunately it was by now too late, prime dine time Saturday evening, and Ebisu was jammed. So instead, I repaired to the quiet, nearby Howard's Cafe for a reasonable American dinner of a salmon steak, which came with a tasty side of homemade mashed potatoes and gravy Elvis would've appreciated - will try for sushi tomorrow.
1 When it was new I read a review for that Tom Hanks
picture called "That Thing You Do" which described a
dichotomy between Elvis people and Beatle people,
that only the latter would appreciate this film.
Demographically I should sit squarely in the Beatle
camp, but both have their appeals to me. In fact I even bought a couple of
the King's records before he died, after I'd read the Goldman book I acquired
several more. Mostly his early stuff, however - I agree completely with John
Lennon's sentiment - in 1977, when informed of His death, John said that
"Elvis died when he went into the Army."
Because its lead is Isabelle Huppert,
an actress we know from one great night in 1979,
when David, Geoff & Diann, our friend Lise
and I were driving around DC looking for a
diversion, and we wound up at a cinema showing her
"Violette." I was
casting the only dissenting vote for this choice,
but we all loved it, and I even saw the film again
a couple years later, on a date which turned
disastrous because she hated the story,
which concerns a girl who poisoned her parents.