It's amazing how, more often than not, the simple solution is the best solution (is the hardest solution to see).
Case in point: Our kitchen earlier this week. The little counter top space we have was spilling over with striped zucchini and yellow squash and tiny okra and golden potatoes, all piled into these crazy toppling, wobbly pyramids. Most of these vegetables were from our own garden and a few were gifts from our neighbors. All were in the way.
We were exhausted. We were hungry. We were clueless. Debating back and forth between dinner ideas (Indian lentils and rice or that easy lasagna recipe? Black bean enchiladas or pizza?), we were so close to the logical solution that it actually took us ten minutes to get there. I mean, how were we supposed to make dinner with all of these stupid vegetables in the way? Heeeey, wait a second . . .
So we chopped up several space hogs, plucked an orange pepper from the garden, minced some fresh garlic and thyme, sprinkled on the kosher salt (using my new favorite toy), and plopped it all into a skillet with some olive oil and . . . poof. The best meal we've eaten in months. And clean countertops.
I am having a passionate love affair. With a gay man. With a gay man's voice.
Last Monday, I finally had the honor of seeing Rufus Wainwright live. And even better, it was at one of my favorite venues (if not my absolute favorite), the Tabernacle. For anyone who has never been, the Tabernacle is this gorgeous old building in downtown Atlanta, the kind of place that should be inhabited by the shimmering ghost of an opera singer or vaudeville magician. Every inch of every wall is painted with roses and stars and vines and diamonds, extending all the way up the multiple staircases and the three balconies and across the ceiling, where the whole thing is topped with a magnificent crystal chandelier.
And the sound! The Tabernacle proves that you don't need to deafen your audience to give them a rich experience. In my favorite moment of the evening, Rufus went sans microphone and sang a haunting Irish folk song, "Macushla." I can't imagine there are many venues where this would even be possible. His voice carried beautifully in the building, crawling up underneath the skin of my arms and vibrating. I cried. And, yes, I confess to being overly emotional, but this experience marked the first time that I've shed tears to live music.
But how could I not? Have you heard this man? There are only two musicians who I've ever fallen in love with on my first listen. The first musician is a story for another day (because it's a good story). Rufus was the second. The song was "Oh What A World" from Want One, and my love was immediate and profound.
Rufus is a showman. The concert was over two hours long, not including the intermission nor the two amazing opening acts, A Fine Frenzy and Neko Case. Multiple costume changes were involved featuring lots of sparkly brooches and, my personal favorite, custom-made lederhosen. Only Rufus could make lederhosen sexy.
And the set was filled with surprises: Two Judy Garland numbers (Who knew I'd like Judy? But if it's Rufus singing, I'd probably even like that Suncom jingle), a duet (in a bathrobe) with his sister Lucy, and then, well, what was UNDERNEATH the bathrobe.
Happy sigh. Go see Rufus, if you can. And buy me a ticket so that I can come along too.
One last thing -- A Fine Frenzy.
Wow. Really, really good stuff. I had never heard of Alison Sudol before, but as soon as her set ended, Jarrod and I ran to the merch booth and picked up her first album, One Cell In the Sea (where she also signed it for us -- she was very friendly and smiley and we both fell in love with her a bit). It's been playing on my stereo all week. If you have a moment, visit her MySpace and listen to "You Picked Me." So beautiful.
(Not that I would ever cheat on Rufus or anything.)
I just got back from seeing Becoming Jane. Oh, happy sigh. As a lover of all things Austen, I am pleased. Quite pleased. I know the Jane community is divided over this film, but I thought it was romantic and wonderful and hope to watch it at least one hundred and two more times. It doesn't bother me in the least that the story Takes Liberties with what is actually known about Austen's relationship with Tom Lefroy. I just love a good love story.
And I confess that I'd been worried about the inevitable sad ending (no Austen-esque double wedding here), but somehow the writers even found a way to ease that particular pain. Bless them.
Besides all that, the film also contains both the star of one of my favorite guilty pleasures and--how appropriately--Mr. Tumnus. (Oh, okay. James McAvoy. Whatever.) The chemistry between them is very zing! and left me swooning.
And in case anyone out there is wondering, the kitty is doing great, and Stardust was incredible. (Captain Shakespeare = redeemed Robert De Niro, Ricky Gervais = best line, re: bag of frogs)
Several months ago, I scrawled this across an index card and hung it above my pink writing desk: "You can take for granted that people know more or less what a street, a shop, a beach, a sky, an oak tree look like. Tell them what makes this one different." -- Neil Gaiman
In honor of Stardust opening today, here are a few of my favorite things online related to its very talented, very creative, very kind creator:
Neil reads "Crazy Hair," a clever little poem, in this video.
Neil's daughter, Maddy, interviews him in this excellent audio snippet.
Neil's friendly, entertaining journal hangs out here.
And finally . . . ask Neil's oracle anything & receive the answer "guaranteed to be perfectly applicable to your situation" (and yes, for the record, mine was).
Neil is one of my favorite writers. If you've never had the pleasure of reading his work, I highly recommend it. He has one of the most original, unique voices in modern literature. You can't go wrong. His adult novels are as good as his children's novels are as good as his graphic novels are as good as his short stories are as good as his poetry are as good as his picture books. But Coraline is a nice place to start.