Man Hanging Out - Prague, Czech Republic Well, I achieved my goal of posting every day in July. Like entering a junk store, you never know what you'll find. I classed things up with the "que" on the end of the word. Hope you were impressed and amused by the assortment of goodies we encountered on our adventure. Now, I plan to hang out for the rest of the summer. Still have to work, but at least I'm in air conditioning. Post at my leisure, see movies and keep those reviews in the queue. Keep checking back. You never know what word jumble I'll be selling.
Boyhood is a fantastic and creative film.
Director Richard Linklater had a vision and it worked – took twelve years, was
quite a gamble, but it worked. When he cast six year old Ellar Coltrane as
Mason, Linklater had no idea he cast movie magic. He also cast his own daughter
Lorelei as the older sister, Samantha. Patricia Arquette plays the mother, and
Ethan Hawke is the ex, was absent dad, now trying to make up for lost time dad.
They filmed life vignettes over twelve years.
This is a real movie with dialogue and no doubt some
improvisation, but it mirrors true life. Lots of moving, plenty of bad choices,
throw in alcoholic stepfathers, and we watch Mason try to blend into the world,
quietly establish his persona, puzzle over what people say and do, and unite
with his sister as they cope with life. The film is seamless as it moves
from year to year. Haircuts change, voice change, attitude, clothing styles,
music, and facial hair – we watch the film eager to see Ellar/Mason’s growth
spurt, eager to root for him, and hope that he makes friends, has a girlfriend,
rebounds from stepfather stress and abuse.
Often he’s the quiet one with huge watchful eyes. Samantha
grows into a lovely young lady. The mother goes to school, gets her degrees,
teaches at the university, and struggles to do her best for herself and the
kids. Ethan Hawke’s dad is the motor mouth – exudes cool, wants his kids to
love him, and seeks their reassurance. He, too, ultimately grows up, remarries
and has a baby boy, and has had a positive influence on Mason.
Boyhood is superb. We laugh and worry for
Mason. We attend his high school graduation party and want to give him a big
hug as we send him out into the “real” world. After watching him grow from six
to eighteen we have a vested interest. There’s a great line near the end of the
film as he explores Big Bend Park with new college friends. “I don’t think it’s
always seize the moment. I think the moments seize us.” That sums up Boyhood
– life moments.
Ever since Eat, Pray, Love - Elizabeth Gilbert has been on an upward trajectory. I liked that book (especially the eating in Italy section), and have read others. Her latest, The Signature of All Things, is now in paperback. I reviewed it many moons ago. She's interviewed in Entertainment Weekly (August 1st issue) and seems down to earth with a good sense of humor.
Here are few blurbs from that interview -
they ask her to name a book considered overrated - Having written a book that many people consider grossly overrated, I feel the only polite thing for me to do here is to gently dodge the question. (I am deeply sympathetic to authors who get pegged. We are a brotherhood of the apologetic and the abashed.)
any books you wished you'd written? Wolf Hall by Hillary Mantel. All you can do in the presence of such singular genius is to bow down in wonder.
time you tried to buy your own book? I recently tried to buy a copy of The Signature of All Things, in an Atlanta bookstore, only 10 minutes after I had finished a big event there. I asked the clerk and she'd never heard of it. Say what? Oh well, never mind.
things you've written that make you cringe and/or proud? I feel cringey whenever I read passionate old essays of mine. I am sincerely proud of all my books, though. If you've worked at something with all your heart, then you should feel free to love it with all your heart - no matter how it holds up or doesn't hold up over time.
July Junque - good writing advice - stay proud of your work, if you truly gave it your heart and soul.
We know who the killer is – a man wearing a clown mask
drives a Mercedes through crowds of people at a job convention. However, he
gets away and is now plotting against retired Detective Hodges. Stephen King is
a master of suspense. He hooks you and reels you in bit by bit in the book Mr.
Mercedes. It’s a race against time and an insight into a killer’s mind.
From the cover blurb: The killer “loved the feel of death
under the wheels of the Mercedes, and he wants to feel that rush again. Only
Bill Hodges, with a couple of eccentric and mismatched allies, can apprehend
the killer before he strikes again. And they have no time to lose, because the
next mission, if it succeeds, will kill or maim thousands.”
This is not a book with creatures who go bump in the night.
This is a book with an insane monster functioning in society. He’s a computer
geek with two jobs, and he gains access to homes, families, and kids easily.
Now, that’s scary.
Stephen King knows how to poke into the psyche and hit the
nerves. He writes with humor and everyday chatter, and he keeps the pages
turning. If you haven’t read a Stephen King book in a while, Mr. Mercedes
is a good one to pick up for summer reading. It’s fast paced and nerve
wracking. Root for Detective Hodges and figure out the twists and turns with
him. Your heart will thump, scared there will be an explosion. Accelerate
or swerve. Whew!
I think I've read some essays by Nadine Gordimer. I certainly knew the name, so when I read her obituary (passed at age 90), I felt remorse in not reading more. She was a Nobel Prize winner in 1991, and considered South Africa's literary conscience.
From Time Magazine 7/28/14 - her destiny was written in geography - in the racial and political agonies of apartheid. Her work was distinguished by her ability to sketch characters from every part of society and across the political spectrum with equal insight and empathy.
She was quoted, "Television and newspapers show people's lives at a certain point. But novels tell you what happened after the riot, what happened when everybody went home."
Sounds like a wise lady. I shall seek out her work.
July Junque - a wide world of literature awaits exploration
Summer guilty pleasure - Scandal binge watching on Netflix. OMG.
I saw Shonda Rhines and Kerry Washington interviewed on Sundance The Writers' Room - entertaining show hosted by Jim Rash. He discusses television shows with the writers, producers, and often key actors. The process is fascinating. After seeing the Scandal episode, I decided to check out the show. All three seasons are streaming on Netflix.
Well, Ray joined me by chance and we are hooked. Kerry (as Olivia) is phenomenal - she's smart, savvy, and looks fabulous. Tony Goldwyn as President Grant is flawed, but has Olivia Pope fever too. She is the fixer in Washington, DC. Her worker bee team is unique, and the show delves into past stories so we see how they all came to be. Kate Burton as the First Lady is conniving, power hungry, and is a formidable ally/foe to Olivia. Oh the twists and turns. Oh the power and money.
this is high class tv trash and I have no regrets in watching it. I urge you to get hooked too.
Photo op of happy authors at Dog Eared Books, in Weatherford TX Saturday 7/19 was the book signing event. Very fun and decent traffic. We all sold some books, shared publishing tidbits, and had plenty of laughs.
l to r - Ann Summerville (author of cozy mysteries), Joanne Faries (eclectic mix of memoir, flash, and poetry), Nancy Lynn (author of tales from her late Airedale), and Martha Faulkner (author of Napi - the Pug who survived Katrina).
July Junque - book signings are way more fun with a group. P.S. July Junque - poetry does not sell. Sigh
Nothing blows up in Begin Again and that’s a
good thing. This “little flick” stars Mark Ruffalo as a down and out music
producer. He has a drinking problem, gets kicked from his own company (by a
very professional looking Ludacris), and ends up in a bar listening to a girl
sing. The girl is Keira Knightly and she’s contemplating a return to her native
London after being dumped by her boyfriend – Adam Levine playing a singer who’s
hit the big time. So Mark feels the magic of Keira and convinces her to cut a
CD with him. Both are wary, but pull together friends and contacts to form a
group. Nobody is getting paid as they record on the streets of New York.
(And NYC is an awesome location – Central Park, between buildings, under
a bridge, etc)
The joy of music shines through. Everybody has pushed their
restart button and are trying to figure out their lives. Mark reconnects with
his daughter (Hailee Steinfeld) and slowly stops annoying his ex – Catherine
Keener (always good). Keira works at forgetting Adam Levine, but they do cross
paths. I won’t say how that ends or begins. All in all – the music and songs
are quite decent and entertaining, as are the performances. Ruffalo plays
shaggy haired well, with those puppy dog eyes and lopsided grin. I will say
that fortunately the movie does not give us a cliché hook up for him and Keira.
That would be quite oogie. Instead it’s a friendship and that’s more powerful.
Begin Again starts with angst, but ends with
smiles, singing, and joy. This is a nice date movie, or one to enjoy on your
own. Just sing.
I don't have a picture from Friday night, but I had the tastiest little cupcake from "Slap Yourself" Cupcake Truck. Scrumptious two bites and it was gone. I did not get any chocolate on my new white blouse. Totally worth $2 and a zillion calories.
Friday afternoon led to Friday evening at the Dallas Museum of Art. Here on a balcony overlooking the sculpture garden. Inside, enjoyed "The Mind's Eye" featuring masterwork drawings. Very nice charcoals, pastels, etc - Degas, Manet, Delacroix, David, Renoir - all the biggies.
Chowed a sandwich in the café, then strolled over to Klyde Warren Park to people watch. Balmy temps for Texas - 80s. That's crazy talk. Back inside to enjoy a new author talk with Daniel Silva. His book The Heist features the intrepid Gabriel Allon - art restorer and master Israeli spy. Looking forward to a great read. Came out and the museum was going strong with their Late Night program. Folks were everywhere enjoying art, music, and other entertainment for families. Open until midnight. Yawn - we headed home, but were impressed.
July Junque - stay up late on a Friday night. Things are jumping.
July is the best month to poke around the corners of a book store - C'mon out and visit
MEET THE AUTHORS AND
July 19 10:00 – 2:00
Dog Eared Books
318 Santa Fe Drive, Weatherford,
Texas 76086- 817.598.1800
About the authors:
MARTHA FAULKNER enjoys combining three of her greatest
loves: children, writing, and humor. She has taught elementary for over
twenty-five years and currently teaches third grade in Aledo, Texas. Martha
uses her stories to teach writing skills to her “Frog” students as she shares
her love of writing.
Martha lives with her husband Jim on a
small ranch in the West Texas town of Weatherford. She has three grown
children, two daughters-in-law, and three granddaughters with whom she looks
forward to sharing her stories.
A member of Trinity Writers Workshop
since 2000, Martha is also a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers
and Illustrators. Although the author of many short stories and humorous poems,
this is Martha’s first children’s book.
JOANNE FARIES, originally from the Philadelphia area,
lives in Texas with her husband Ray. Published in Doorknobs & Bodypaint,
she also has poems in Silver Boomer anthologies. Joanne is the film
critic for the Little Paper of San Saba. Look for her humorous memoir My
Zoo World: If All Dogs Go to Heaven, Then I'm in Trouble, a story
collection Wordsplash Flash and three poetry books - Wordsplash
Poetry Puddle: Nature, Hazy Memory, and Tread Water on Amazon.
NANCY LYNNwas born in Fort Worth, Texas, grew up in the countryside west of the
city, and returned to live in Fort Worth. She attended TCU and has a degree in
education. Although she worked in banking for many years, she is also a
contract writer and continues her hobby of writing short stories. THE
AIREDALE'S TALES is told by Bentley the Airedale, who lived with Nancy Lynn for
12+ years. You will see that he was a charmer and a rascal and wanted to share
his adventures about life on earth (Fort Worth in particular) with everyone who
reads about them. Be prepared to laugh and maybe cry a little as you read THE
ANN SUMMERVILLE, author of A Graceful Death and Grandmother’s
Flower Garden, was born in England, and in search of a warmer climate, moved to
California before settling in Texas.Her
short stories and flash fiction have been published in the Lutheran Digest,
Long Story Short, The Shine Journal, Doorknobs & Bodypaint, Associated Content,
Trinity Writers’ Workshop newsletters and also their collection of Christmas
stories.Ann resides in Fort Worth with
her son, two boisterous dogs and a somewhat elusive cat and is currently
working on her 9th cozy mystery.
July Junque - can't go wrong with flowers Happy Birthday Dad!!!
In the morning, the patio does get a bit of shade and the Mexican Petunia blooms. This is a good corner to poke around in and discover something pretty.
My father has painted flowers and always enjoys them. So, here's to you Dad. July 15 - he's 83 - and darn perky. I'm a lucky daughter. In this picture - we froze in early Dec. 2013 in front of the Michener Art Museum.
In honor of Bastille Day, folks that show up at Eastern State Penitentiary (now an historical tourist site) can see 3,000 Tastykakes thrown from the tower by Marie Antoinette (played by London Grill co-owner Terry Berch McNally)
The thought of that cracked me up. My favorite Tastykake is peanut butter tandy cake, but the butterscotch krimpets would be more amusing.
July Junque - classic literature is a challenge
When I attended the One Day University back in May, the book lecture session suggested that one step out of the comfort zone and read a classic (if that isn't your norm). So I bought a doorstopper of a book - Middlemarch by George Eliot - and (gasp) I am enjoying it.
Now, I can't recommend it because it is daunting and it is actually easy to put down. Since end of May, I've also read my usual magazines, and a few other books (plus the graphic novel Snowpiercer).
However, in the proper frame of mind, this slice of life from the late 1800s is amusing. Many of the manners and mores in the town of Middlemarch are quite applicable today or not. The question of a proper marriage and what that entails. Women swooning at times, and men assuming women are not capable of scholarly thought. If you consider the times, the book is a social history lesson.
This is not a book to peruse or gloss over. I will read a chapter and wish at times for a dictionary. The language is rich and dense and mindboggling in structure. But there's scandal, heartbreak, love, and yearning.
p. 776 She had never felt anything like this triumphant power of indignation in the struggle of her married life, in which there had always been a quickly subduing pang, and she took it as a sign of new strength.
July is a good month to stretch the mind while sitting on the patio. Just don't drop Middlemarch on your bare foot.
July junque - explore new material. For me - a graphic novel
I've been reading stellar reviews and plan to see the movie Snowpiercer. However, the blurbs aroused my curiosity, since the movie is based on a graphic novel. I've never been a big comic book person, but I've heard that the artwork and stories in the graphic novel genre are often quite clever and nuanced. Thus, I purchased Snowpiercer 1:The Escape and I was impressed. It is a page-turner and tells a gripping tale.
Here's the back cover blurb: Coursing through an eternal winter, on an icy track wrapped around the frozen planet Earth, there travels a train that never stops. This is Snowpiercer: one thousand and one carriages long.
Surviving humanity lives here in a similar hierarchy to earth. The elite travel in the front car luxury. The back cars are squalid and miserable. Will Proloff, our hero, be able to move forward and reach the engine? Is there a battle? What does he find for his future?
Quite a tale told in stunning detail. Something different for July.
In 1979, Edward Weston's daughter-in-law Maggie Weston approached Ansel Adams for a special project. She asked that he pick his best work. Out of 70 choices, this show Ansel Adams Masterworks presents 48 photographs from the original silver gelatin prints. What a treat!
Plenty of Yosemite - the famous El Capitan, Half Dome, and more.
The blacks and whites are so pure, so sharp and it's the shades of grays that offer shadows, highlights, and depth. Mountains poke through cloud haze, blades of grass glisten in the rain. The picture on the brochure - Tetons and Snake River - capture the essence of Ansel Adams. Love of nature, luck of timing, and a skilled eye to know he shot magic.
I enjoyed my quick jaunt to the Arlington Museum of Art www.arlingtonmuseum.org and was happy to immerse myself in the glory of Ansel Adams photography
July Junque - stick your head into a museum and find treats galore
July junque features a "rattling around in the country picture"
Throwback Thursday - around 1993. Not sure of the occasion. Pretty sure we were at Ray's grandparents. Woman in the pink/white skirt is his grandmother, Cleo Ivy. Back row starts with Ray's mom, then Ray, then his dad, and Aunt Pat. Front row has Kevin, nephew Josh, and Chris
Ray's grandfather somehow hid in the back.
Quite a crew. No doubt we ate well, and the kids fished in the pond.
For anyone stumbling upon this blog, I decided to rumble around the junk store that is July. However I classed up the name - adding a "que" gives it some pizzazz. Today we shall contemplate a few quotes on literature courtesy of Wittypedia, edited by Des Machale
The dawn is a term for the early morning used by poets and other people who don't have to get up - Oliver Herford
I have read only one book in my life, and that is White Fang. It's so frightfully good I've never bothered to read another - Nancy Mitford
There are two ways of disliking poetry. One way is to dislike it, and the other is to read Pope - Oscar Wilde.
Always be nicer to writers younger than you, because they are the ones who will be writing about you - Cyril Connolly
Your life would not make a good book. Don't even try - Fran Lebowitz
22 Jump Street is a copy of 21 Jump
Street and that’s okay. Why mess with silly fun? Our favorite screw-up
cops, Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum, are together again for college. Posed as
students, they are trying to uncover a drug ring. The same shtick works – Jonah
motormouths his way in and out of trouble. Channing becomes the football
star and thankfully gets to pump weights and show off his physique. But he’s
not just brawn….well, okay yes he is and it works. This duo is funny and they
drive their captain, Ice Cube, insane. Throw in Jonah meeting a nice girl who
happens to be somebody’s daughter and there are explosions at the college.
The investigation even goes to Mexico for spring break (yes,
more Channing in a tank top) and over the top chase scenes ensue, along with
shootouts, and a helicopter on fire. You pretty much get the point of the movie
and you will laugh and enjoy being in on the same jokes. The guys are breezy
and do seem like pals. The buddy cop bromance fulfills expectations. Stay for
the final credits – teasers for future Jump Street installments.
Very tongue in cheek. Buy the tub of popcorn, slurp a large soda, and
leap into 22 Jump Street mayhem.
Maleficent is creative and gorgeously filmed.
Angelina Jolie is an otherworldly creature in her own right. She’s just unique
and her cheekbones alone get acting credit. She is the adult title character.
But first we meet her as a young but powerful fairy with
fabulous wings. She’s sweet and cares about her world, the Moor, and all of the
creatures in it. However, a human boy stumbles into the Moor. Curious about
each other they develop a friendship. But alas, he yearns for power and works
his way to being king of the human land. Maleficent is hurt at losing her
friend, and hates that he has proclaimed war on the moor and her. Plus
stripping her of her wings did not win points. Now an adult (Angelina) she
transforms into a very goth magical creature with evil in her heart, and runs with a
raven she befriends and turns into a man, a dragon, whatever suits her cause.
When she hears the king (Sharlto Copley) has a new baby
girl, Maleficent arrives at the christening in full fury. She unfurls a curse
upon the child that on her sixteenth birthday, she shall prick her finger on a
spinning wheel, and fall into a deep sleep until awakened by love’s true kiss.
Bitter Maleficent believes there is no such thing anymore. Yes, this is
the tale of Sleeping Beauty, only from the witch perspective.
Fearing for his daughter, the king sends her into the woods
with three pixie caretakers. These bumbling creatures do little to watch
Aurora. Meanwhile, Maleficent lurks and saves her at various turns. Aurora
meets Maleficent and is unafraid. They develop a friendship and the girl
cavorts in the moor with the magic animals. She’s beautiful (Elle Fanning glows
on screen with a winsome smile) and Maleficent is rather besotted with the
“beastie” child. She says that term fondly.
A key turning point is how Aurora manages to prick her
finger and fall asleep. Who shall be her one true love kiss? There’s been
a young prince suitor. The raven/man has watched over her. Will she ever
Maleficent is well done and interesting with smart dialogue.
It’s not for wee ones, despite being a kid movie. You won’t fall asleep as
Angelina’s green eyes captivate. She is a great villain heroine. Maleficent
As a child, school trips into Philly involved Independence Hall. Teeny building, old wooden floors. Every kid with a grimy finger touched the Liberty Bell. Now they've moved it to a pavilion - NO TOUCHING allowed.
I feel fortunate. And I think if we turned off the air conditioning in Congress today, stuffed our lawmakers into woolen coats, and let them drink a pint - perhaps some decisions could be made. Or a good brawl.
Sherry, Sherry baby………..everyone kicks into this song
with their best falsetto. But there is only one Frankie Valli and The Four
Seasons. Jersey Boys, based on the Tony award winning Broadway
musical, is now on screen. It’s a well directed film by Clint Eastwood, who was
smart enough to cast dudes who can sing – the real Broadway actors. Too often
musicals stretch with a Hollywood actor/singer and you can’t disappear into the
story. Kudos to Clint.
John Lloyd Young (Frankie Valli), Michael Lomenda (Nick
Massi), and Vincent Piazza (Tommy DeVito) are young punks trying to get out of
their small Jersey town. Frankie cuts hair by day and sings at night. Tommy’s
the charmer, working the gigs, grooming Frankie, spending the bucks, and has
the goods that fall off the truck. He rolls in and out of Rahway prison with a
smile on his face. But everyone looks out for Frankie. He even brings the local
capo (a great Christopher Walken) to tears with a version of Your Mother’s
But they need a real band name, and an original songwriter.
Enter a buddy, Joe Pesci (yes, the one who becomes an actor). Joey knows this
Bob Gaudio (Erich Bergen) who can play, sing, and write. The group meet and
while Tommy senses leadership competition, they agree to take on Bob. Kaboom –
with the right record producer, gigs on American Bandstand, tours galore and
songs like Sherry, Big Girls Don’t Cry, and Walk Like a Man The
Four Seasons should be raking in the dough.
Jersey Boys goes behind the scenes of the
group’s story. We see the wife’s alcohol problem, divorce, the daughter’s drug
issues. Daddy’s on the road and she’s missing out on fatherly guidance and
Tommy’s gambling problems cause huge money issues, strife,
and breakup of the group. We see the guys grow from kids on the street to men
dealing with fame and turmoil. The film shows the grinding hard work, and the
need to perform.
Frankie sings, he chases the music, and eventually goes it
alone. We finally see the group meet up at the Rock ‘N Roll Hall of Fame
Induction. Bad feelings are put on the back burner with handshakes and hugs.
And then they sing again, and that voice of an angel soars. It’s tough to beat
a real live Broadway production, but the Jersey Boys film does a
darn good job of keeping your toes tapping. You’ll go home and break out that
falsetto – Sherry, sherry baby………
Joanne Faries, originally from the Philadelphia area, lives in Texas with her husband Ray. She considers herself fortunate to be able to pursue a writing career after eons in the business world. Joanne enjoys reading and movies, and is the film critic for the Little Paper of San Saba.