Archive for January 2010

Lust and Larceny- updated

January 30, 2010

That’s the theme of this year’s Noir City film festival.  Or Noir City 8.  I remember when this was a smaller festival at the Balboa theater in the outer Richmond.  SF’s insatiable appetite for things noir have helped the festival snowball and it has since moved to bigger digs at the Castro.   Crowds are big and their enthusiasm rivals that of the gay and lesbian film festival.  I make a point of seeing one or two films each year, but in 2010, with the encouragement of Noir-o-phile Kuma, I made it to 8 screenings.  If you are thinking of a trip to SF, don’t forget late Jan as a great time to visit a really fun festival.

Feb 1 Update:  Noir-o-phile K provided me with some information about the previous locations for the festival.  It turns out that the Balboa was a temporary home for Noir City, not the location of its humble beginnings.  Thanks, K!

Eddie Muller mentioned tonight that the reason they left the Castro Theatre for two years was due to some personal politics.  Apparently someone who’d worked with him on the Noir fest (program director?) was let go from the Castro, and out of friendship with her, he moved the film festival out of the Castro.  But things got patched up, and so they’re back.

now all we need is a fem fatale

now all we need is a fem fatale

Half of the fun, of course, is enjoying corny lines or ones which have not aged well (“Are you a dick?”).  Or to gasp at the amazingly overt sexism of the era.   They always show a few classics like “The Asphalt Jungle”, but the real treat is seeing the “not available on DVD” rarities.

In addition to the movies, there was a noir bookstore, vintage program vixens and opportunities to get your mug shot taken.  Some creative type had also made a really lovely tribute to noir which got a lot of play prior to the features:

bonus trailer:



January 29, 2010

I just finished Hilary Mantel’s Booker Prize-winning novel Wolf Hall. Mom and Dad gave it to Troy, but in true Tudor fashion, I saw my chance, and intervened. I don’t normally read fiction, let alone 500-page works of fiction, but I wrote a long paper in college about Tudor government, and her main character is Thomas Cromwell, so I was sympathetic to the subject matter. She is a Very Good Writer. I will have more to say after Master Barber has read it.

Below are arrayed portraits of some of Mantel’s dramatis personae, borrowed from Wikipedia. The depiction of Thomas Cromwell, by Hans Holbein the Younger, features prominently in her book.

Thomas Cromwell

Does he have the face of a murderer? Read the book and find out … (more Tudor peoples below the fold) …


Clock’s ticking …

January 26, 2010

… on a Saturday puzzle.  You’ve only got 6 minutes left, in the hour you’ve allotted. Just a small corner left … but still, it eludes you. “12-Down: Hard-to-please wedding participant.” B-R-I-D-E-?-?-?-L-? … What the bleep is that?

Then suddenly, the lightbulb in your boyfriend’s head goes off!

The answer.

Yes! Thank you Troy. Just in the nick of time.

Sports > Movies

January 22, 2010

All right, then. I’ve updated my All-American Sports Cities, this time as a page, linked here.

But I like movies, too. And I’ve promised to watch some more this year, thanks to MovieLens.

I’ll let you know how that goes.


Best movies of 2009

January 17, 2010

I know it’s a little late for a 2009 superlative list. Nonetheless, I thought i’d go thru my google calendar and netflix history and rank the 2009 movies that i’ve seen so far.  i think this is all of them (not including gay film festival or obviously pre-2009 movies).  I have to say that I enjoyed all but the bottom 3 or 4.  My grade for Three Monkeys may be inflated b/c it was such a pleasant surprise– a small turkish movie that came and went quickly at the Kabuki.  I saw it with one other person in the entire theater and just was enthralled by the color and cinematography.  I need to see the director’s other films now (they are in the q).

The order might be different tomorrow, but on quick first blush it is:
(*= saw at home)

Three Monkeys
Inglourius Basterds
A Serious Man
The White Ribbon
The Fantastic Mr. Fox
In the Loop
(500) Days of Summer
An Education
A Single Man

Unmade Beds

Sin Nombre*
Star Trek
The Watchmen

Broken Embraces
Away We Go*
Medicine for Melancoly
Up in the Air
Still Walking
I Love You Man*

The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus
Where The Wild Things Are
The Cove*
Public Enemies
Paper Heart

Don’t forget I still haven’t seen Nine, The Last Station or 2012

Restaurant Restrooms- 2009

January 10, 2010

Here are a few of the best new restrooms I came across this year.  I’m afraid it won’t be as comprehensive as 2008, but think of it as the best of the best:

Pizzetta 211, the Richmond, SF- a tiny little bathroom in the back of this tiny pizzeria has a tiny little TV above the loo with a video of the canals of Venice (sorry it doesn’t capture well):

that's entertainment

view from the sink mirror

Gitane, downtown SF- Winner of the most lovely restroom and the most difficult to find.  You might walk right by the hidden door, but the challenge is worth it.  Take a look:

more on the other side…


Stimulus Package followup

January 9, 2010

In case you were wondering, after 4 months of construction, the entire stretch of Diviz from Geary to Waller is now complete.  As of an hour ago, you can drive the entire stretch on smooth virgin blacktop.  It’s been a period of blocked and diverted traffic, slow buses, PGE pipe work, blocked driveways–  but now we have a lovely new Divisadero.   Not to mention new ADA curb cuts, bus bulbouts, and dirt medians to replace the old cement ones.  New young trees are now being planted in the median (no word yet if large “signature” trees will go in at the Oak/Fell block).  Next steps are supposed to include styling street lights to replace our current utilitarian ones and mark one more step in the Diviz corridor gentrification.

from the first day of work-- the McAllister/Fulton block

one of the last blocks done