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2003-05-04 | 10:52 p.m.

corduroy licorice didn't know jack shit, but he'd met jack's sister suzy shit.

***

i walked about 8 miles this weekend while running my mouth. some call it cross-training. i call it socializing while perambulating.

***

up until saturday at noon, i'd been less than impressed with what i knew of david sedaris. i read his book barrel fever and only laughed one-and-a-half times. i just couldn't figure out what all the adulation was about.

that all changed when i heard him telling a story on the npr show this american life. he was describing his experiences with misguided music lessons as a youth. he neglected his guitar--the instrument his dad assigned to him--in the hopes that he could pursue his true musical calling--to do covers of advertising jingles in the voice of billie holiday. my goodness gracious, did he nail the imitation. it was especially hilarious considering he was copying her trademark phrasing while singing "my baloney has a first name, it's o-s-c-a-r..."

i'm a convert. you can hear that program here.

***

two movie reviews:

my friend d-girl took me to see a mighty wind, the latest documentary from sir christopher guest, duke of yuk-yuks.

i'm a huge fan of his other "mockumentaries" this is spinal tap, waiting for guffman and best in show. in an interview, comedic-genius-in-his-own-right harry shearer said that guest discourages people from using the term "mockumentary" since that indicates that they are mocking their characters. shearer added, "he also discourages people from using the word 'postule,' but for entirely different reasons."

this time the subject not being mocked was folk music during its heyday in the 1960s. a group of old artists are reuniting for a tribute concert in current-day new york. it was fun to watch, but much more mild-mannered and sweet-hearted than the other guest films. the best part was knowing that most of it was improvised, but there were no real stand-out "but this one goes up to 11" or "i hate you and your assfaces" moments--although jennifer coolidge's line about model trains came daaaamn close.

my second film of the weekend was the incredible raising victor vargas. while watching, i couldn't help thinking that it masterfully achieved the stripped-down romantic truths that all the real girls failed to capture with its cloying hamhandedness.

shot on the lower east side of manhattan and starring talent from the neighborhood, this simple and simply beautiful film offers a glimpse into a teenage boy's struggles to find himself and love as he makes the most of his life in a broken home in a broken-down part of town.

the head of the household is the hilariously hard-headed altagarcia guzman with a mouth that gathers into disapproving wrinkles like its pursestrings have been pulled tight. she comes down hard on victor, as well as his younger brother and sister.

the laughs were real and frequent and evidently much of the dialogue was improvised. the leads victor rasuk and judy marte shone with imperfect innocence.

it was great to see a movie that loved its characters for their imperfections, pimples and all. literally. this may sound gross, but something that took me by surprise was seeing the fine spray of pimples on judy's skin in some of the close-ups. they weren't disguised by make-up or lighting tricks or soft-focus effects. something about seeing that physical flaw made her seem even more human.

director peter sollett did an amazing, inspiring job telling this tiny story. top ten list of 2003, i'd like you to meet victor vargas.

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take a peek at these - (c) 2000-2003 nictate:

health tip
2005-03-16

health tip
2005-03-16

moving house
2004-11-19

quibbling with quitherfeather
2004-11-17

catcher in the wry
2004-11-16