Thursday, August 31, 2006

August 2006 books

The Devil Wears Prada
Lauren Weisberger

Great book! Quite different than the movie, so I was glad I saw the it first, then read the book, then saw the movie again. (Which I loved for the second time, it was even better!) So many people say it is based on Anna Wintour at Vogue, but I have no basis for comparison so I'll leave that one to those in know. The Andy Sachs in the book a lot bitchier and vindictive than in the movie. There were more characters who played pivotal roles and I enjoyed reading about them. Miranda was completely over the top. Merryl Streep's Miranda was just that touch softer and more believable. If the book Miranda does exist and it is based on Anna Wintour, I shudder for those who work with her. I'm looking forward to reading Weisberger's next book.

Bag Babies (A Play)
Allan Stratton

Set in the early 90's, this play is a restoration comedy about the nouveau riche and the homeless in Toronto. There are some really interesting devices used her, the rich speak in rhyming couplets, and the poor speak in prose. There is the breaking down of the 4th wall with the poster boy for the homeless, Uncle George, speaking directly to the audience. The poetry is clever and the farce is hilarious, but it is all masking the real problems of poverty and rich guilt. I would love to see it in production to really get a feel for it. I was a teenager in the early 90s (so somewhat self absorbed) but I still remember the economic and social climate. The subject matter is timeless in that all periods witness discrepancy between the rich and the poor but the play itself has somewhat outdated references. I believe that it could be tweaked a little and still draw audiences. I will ask Allan next time I see him if he has heard of any possible revivals for any of his plays. He is really into his novels these days, but there is a possibility.

The Nanny Diaries
Emma McLaughlin & Nicola Kraus

I've read a few reviews that have compared this book to The Devil Wears Prada, stating that this book is the superior of the two, based on it's writing. I didn't find that at all. I enjoyed the Nanny Diaries, but mainly for it's depiction of Park Avenue appartments and all other references New York than the daily functions of a Nanny. The kid was funny and Mrs. X was unbelievably insensitive, but it didn't really grab me. The writing was good and I didn't have to fight to get through it, which is why I'm going on to read the duo's next novel, about a recent college grad working at her first entry level job. I just love to read about New York...oh and visit there too!

The Phoenix Lottery - A Play
Allan Stratton

Having already read the novel version of The Phoenix Lottery, it was easy to read the play. It would be interesting to have read or seen the play without the background of the novel though. The lottery's prize is to be the person to torch a priceless Van Gough and the fame and noteriety that come with it. Not to give away too much of the plot, there are ghosts, spirits, a cardinal, a performance artist, a Baffin Island bush pilot, and a rich family. Personally I prefer the novel, simply because the story is more fleshed out. Like any play I read though, I would love to see it in production.

Papers (A Play)
Allan Stratton

Really interesting concept of two brilliant wordsmiths who fall in love but aren't able to communicate that love. They try and try but aren't able to articulate their feeling until it's almost too late. It's also a play within a play within a play which is very cleverly done. Another one I would love to see in production, but that's par for the course.

Lipstick Jungle
Candance Bushnell

Basically, Sex in the City, but the women are in their 40s and have way more money than the SATC girls. It's a good read. I liked her other books, Sex in the City, 4 Blondes, Trading Up and Lipstick Jungle is being made into a television series, so that should be good. I love books about NYC as I've mentioned many times :) so this was a good read.

As a footnote to the post on this book, I just read that they are casting Melissa George (a 30 year old who looks 25!?!) to play Nico O'Neilly, who is supposed to be in her early 40s. Even with Botox and money for anti aging procedures, Nico would NOT look 25. I also read that Candance Bushnell has pulled out (or been dismissed) as the writer and who ever is in charge of the casting is seriously on crack. They have cast another really young man as Mike Harness. I was really hopeful for this series, but if they keep on casting so young, I will be giving it a pass.

Joggers (A Play)
Allan Stratton

Definitely wasn't expecting this one. It's very creepy and plays on your emotional fears just enough to set you on edge, but keep you glued to the page, or if you were in the theatre, on the edge of your seat. Some very disturbing ideas in this one, and there are a lot of inferences to be made. I think it is really well written.

Friday, August 25, 2006

The Way We Were

Starring Barbara Streisand and Robert Redford, directed by Sidney Pollack.

I just saw this movie for the first time. I first heard about it on Sex and the City, when Carrie finds out that Big is marrying Natasha. She likens herself to Katie (the Babs character) and the show does a repeat of the end scene in front of the Plaza Hotel.

The thing that bugs me though, is that SATC said the order of the scene wrong. In the movie, Katie says (when commenting on Robert "Hubble" Redford's new wife) "your girl is lovely Hubble, THEN smooths his hair. On SATC when they are describing the scene the girls say she smooths his hair first. Which is what they do when Carrie says that to Big at the end of the episode. He says "I don't get it". Which also is weird, because especially with Big being older, wouldn't he have potentially been out on a date or something in 1973 when the movie came out and would have seen it? If he was 42 when he and Carrie met in 1998, then that would make him 17 in 73, perfect date movie material. And if Carrie is 10 years younger than Big, that would make her 7 years old? Not the most appropriate movie for a child, so assume that she discovered it as a classic. Anyway the show portrayed the scene much differently, so I was really surprised when I actually saw the movie.

I thought I would cry, but I didn't. I really enjoyed the movie, both for the historical content and the doomed love relationship. Highly recoomend it to anyone who is a Babs or RR fan or just likes a good story and doesn't mind old movies that are not "technologically" perfect. And as always, anything that shows NYC as another character gets the thumbs up from me! :)

Thursday, August 24, 2006

First time for everything!

I just hosted my first family event at my own place! Well not in my condo, as it is a bit too small but in the coffee lounge which is one of the rooms available for booking in the building. Everything went well and my grandparents finally got to see my condo, 9 months later. They liked it, which is important. They always worry, mostly because they are Italian and super old fashioned and would like to see me married. Not sure I'm going to be able to make their day on that one. But everyone had a good time and nothing went awry so all and all a success!

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Laryngitis - Weird!

I cannot talk. I know, some people out there might say it is a good thing. :)

I tend to chat to myself a little, even if it is only a hmmm or an aha, or a few words. It is unconcious so when I can't talk, I am still trying to, which is putting even more strain on my vocal cords.

I need to get better though, in 2 weeks I'll be back in school, teaching singing no less.

Being completely quiet has made the thoughts in my brain spin out of control. Answering the phone is tough! I just ended up turning it off.

At least I don't feel unwell. My voice just doesn't work.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Unexpected Outing

Tonight I did something completely random. I went to a bar (I know that's not unexpected) where people were there to play....scrabble! It was fun! Michelle wanted to go and did the legwork finding out about where to play scrabble in TO. So we played against this unbelievably good team, and lost....big time! Our score was 74, theirs was 474! The organizer picked the theme of "vacation" and we all had to report back the words we had played that fit the theme. Our words were "lounge" and "boink". Then he went around to all the players to get a vote on the best word. We won with "lounge"! The prize was a deluxe scrabble board and since Michelle already had one, she let me take it home. All in all a pleasant way to spend an evening. It was great to catch up with Michelle and I won something. Finishing up with an ice cream from Greg's was delish.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

August long weekend

In lieu of any real holiday this summer I tagged along with John on a business trip to New Jersey. We left TO on Thursday morning and arrived in NJ at about 5pm. The hotel, in beautiful Mahwaw (lol) was about an hour train ride to the city (NYC). We headed in for dinner and walked around Times Square. It was unbelievably muggy and hot. The temp read 102F, which I think is around 40C. The next day John had his meeting and it was off to New Haven to visit Halima, one of my best buds from Goldsmiths. I've never been to New Haven before, even though I've been going to Conneticut for 30 years. Went out and partied on the Friday night, and walked around Yale on Saturday. I wanted to go to the beach, but there was no time, so I settled for an outlet mall. We made it to my cousin's place outside of Hartford and went to a BBQ at her friend's home. The next day we had lunch with some more relatives and left for the T dot around 4pm. We hardly stopped at all and made it back in a realtively quick 8.5 hours. The drive was a little tiring, but it was really nice to get away for a bit.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Good Fun!

Went out for drinks tonight at the Maddy with Doug (my associate teacher from teacher's college and new colleague). Was there from 7pm to 1am! Can't believe I am out this late on a "school" night at 30. But it was good fun.