2019 Live Highlights Playlist (pt. 1)

Hey! I cannot believe it’s already November! So I’m bringing back my Live Highlights series. Unfortunately, or maybe fortunately, depending on your perspective, I didn’t see Taylor Swift in a stadium this year, so there will be fewer videos of her, but I did see lots of great artists, and made a monster playlist that I mostly use as a soundtrack for doing dishes, but now once a week for awhile, I’ll be sharing the songs ten at a time here for you for the rest of the year!

So, let’s jump in:

Go There – Another Michael 

OK, probably not a great start that I couldn’t find a live performance video for the first song this year, but “Another Michael” pulls up a lot of Michael Jackson videos on YouTube, so…oops… But I do have this blurry shot of seeing them open for Pinegrove in Hamden, CT this Spring:

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You can probably tell this is a bad screengrab of an Insta story, follow me here for more stellar content like this.

Diplomat’s Son – Vampire Weekend

This was my show (though very far from my seat)!

Sophie – Bear’s Den

Also my show, surprised you can’t hear me sobbing in the background of this clip.

No Children – The Mountain Goats

But, Kath, didn’t you post this song last year? Yes, get ready there’s gonna be quite a bit of that.

Redesigning Women – The Highwomen

Also from my show, and technically this is The Highwomen – Maren Morris of course, but as they are my favorite musical thing to happen this year (a year with a new Taylor album, so a big deal) I couldn’t not put them on the actual playlist.)

Merry Go ‘Round – Kacey Musgraves

Alaska – Maggie Rogers

This Is My Tree – The Lemon Twigs

As you can gather from this video seeing The Lemon Twigs live is an Experience, and so I the videos are sometimes terrible quality, but I didn’t understand them at all until I saw them play live, and I really love them now…

Carousel Ride – Rubble Bucket

We Get By – Mavis Staples

The legend is an adorable and strong and everything all at once as ever.

The full playlist can be listened to here if you have Apple Music.

Like last year artists I saw selfishly kept singing songs I couldn’t add find on Apple Music, so here’s this week’s extra off-playlist highlight (another from Brandi Carlile’s truly spectacular night at MSG):

A Case of You – Brandi Carlile (Joni Mitchell cover)

Best Picture Baking Project: Gone With The Wind

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I’d been on such a hot streak without skipping a month on these, but then September came and went, because it is hard to schedule time to watch an almost 4 hour movie. (Especially when no one involved was super excited to watch it.)

Had I seen this one before? 

Remarkably, not. Miró and I tried once in high school but got bored and went to eat about 45 minutes in and never started again. I knew a ton about it though, because of my film podcasts and the really great exhibit on its production at the Ransom Center when I lived in Austin.

Top 3 Observations on this viewing? 

  1. Upfront, I feel I need to state for the record, this movie is really racist and props up a narrative of the Lost Cause of the Glorious Old South, which is dangerous, ahistorical nonsense. That being said, Hattie McDaniel’s Mammy is a great performance, and we all commented that we would love to watch a movie about her (preferably one where she leaves Scarlett behind and goes to live her own life somewhere.)
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Queen of the side-eye

2. I was really dreading this, I remembered it being dull and so long, but on this viewing (aided, I admit, by quite a bit of white wine) it didn’t really feel like it dragged. The structure is so episodic that it felt like watching a soap opera, which also helps contextualize the character of Scarlett for me. She’s a sociopath really, but a glamorous one, like the divas at the center of daytime soaps today, who are always doing things like stealing their sister’s men and then not caring when those men die.

3. This is an exceptionally well cast movie, filled with incredible performances (I get the fuss about Rhett Butler guys – I mean how do you not find Clark Gable charming?) with one, surprising to me, exception – Leslie Howard as Ashley Wilkes, not only does he sometimes slip into a British accent at moments of high emotion – he’s such a drip (to borrow a phrase from my friend Mary Kate) that its actually hard for me to understand his appeal at all. (I mean, I get why Melanie loves him, but she’s such a saint she sees the good in everybody. – Oh & one bonus observation – the movie is 4 hours long, indulge me – the most interesting relationship in this film is between Rhett and Melanie. I love that he respects her and sees that her kindness has its own power.)

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What did it beat? Did it deserve to win? 

Dark Victory – I’ve never heard of this, but I love a Bette Davis vehicle.

Goodbye, Mr. Chips – Ah, yes, the retrospective, teacher drama, I haven’t seen it in years, but I remember it being…fine?

Love Affair – I don’t think I know this, but I love the comically generic title.

Mr. Smith Goes to Washington – A true classic. Love Capra. Love Stewart. Love this.

Ninotchka – I don’t know enough about Greta Garbo.

Of Mice and Men – Is it bad to admit I prefer the Gary Sinese/John Malkovich version of this?

Stagecoach – I’ve never seen it. (I know…I know…)

The Wizard of Oz – Oh, I love The Wizard of Oz (of course!)

Wuthering Heights  – This is not my favorite Bronte novel, and this is not my favorite adaptation of this novel.

Wow, what a stacked year…politically I want to give it to Mr. Smith, sentimentally I have to go with Oz, but I understand why they gave the production award to Selznick for this. I guess I’ll let it stand (with the earlier caveat that it is racist AF.)

Bechdel Test Pass?

Yes! By a mile. In fact, I would say the majority of conversations in this movie are about a woman, she’s evil, but she isn’t a man.

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Did you know there’s a dessert called “Gone With The Wind?” Well, now you do, it’s basically an egg custard. The recipe linked here is absurdly simple, so I’ve written it out in a more logical way.

Gone With the Wind

Ingredients

  • 1 cup milk
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 envelope unflavored gelatin
  • 1/4 cup cold water
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • approx. 20 graham crackers
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons butter

Prep 

  1. Crush the graham crackers so that they are crumbs (Should yield approx. 3 cups of crumbs)
  2. Whip the heavy cream until it forms soft peaks, set aside
  3. Separate the eggs
  4. Whip egg whites until they hold soft peaks, set aside
  5. Melt the Butter

Crust

  1. Mix graham cracker crumbs with the brown sugar and melted butter in a medium sized bowl until evenly coated
  2. Line a 9in square pan with approx. half of the crumb mixture, set the other half aside
  3. Place in freezer while preparing the custard

Custard

  1. In a medium sauce pan, combine the milk, sugar, egg yolks, and salt
  2. Cook over medium heat until thick, stir often to avoid scorching the sugar or scrambling the egg.
  3. Dissolve the gelatin in the cold water
  4. Add it to the milk mixture and let cook down until a smooth, thick liquid forms
  5. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature
  6. Pour custard mix into mixing bowl and whip until starts to fluff
  7. Slowly mix in the whipped cream and egg whites
  8. Beat until fully combined
  9. Remove crust from freezer and pour custard over graham cracker layer
  10. Sprinkle top with remaining graham cracker layer
  11. Place in refrigerator to set for at least 4 hours

Five Star Book: Trick Mirror by Jia Tolentino

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I’ve been a subscriber to the New Yorker  (due to generous, continual Christmas gift of my parents) for many years now, with varying degrees of caught-up-ness, but in the past few years I’ve come to start every week’s issue by scanning the table of contents for Jia Tolentino’s name. When it’s there, I get a little thrill, I know I’m going to read something, smart, and if not fun, that deeply considered and revelatory (and sometimes fun too.) In that magazine she has made me care about everything from Houston’s hip hop scene to the Instagram-famous athletic wear company, Outdoor Voices (which has a store near my office, which I cannot pass without thinking of her relatable and sort-of devastating take on it). So, needless to say, I was so excited to get my hands on her newly published book!

And it really lived up to my, exceedingly high, expectations. Tolentino (though honestly, I refer to her often as “Jia” like we are friends, I won’t do that in this public post, because, sadly, we are not) has an almost uncanny way of looking at an issue that has been irking me, but in a way I can’t quite put my finger on, like for instance the current culture obsession with “self-care,” and explaining exactly why it’s problematic. But she’s not writing polemics against anything, and she never lets herself off the hook. As she says, and I related to hard, she too has an emotional relationship with her face wash.

This is a truly great book about what it’s like to be alive today, in its all its exhausting, late capitalist, soul sucking glory, which is to say that it’s not a light read. But, I still zipped through it, because it’s such a pleasure to spend time with the way that Tolentino’s mind works. She’s clearly so smart and so curious about not just what is happening in the world, but what about the way the world works allowed those things to happen.

I’lll leave you with this quote, it is not particularly uplifting, but it is going to stick with me for a very long time, and I found the solace in it that I do in much of Tolentino’s writing, that things feel hard right now, because they are, and I am not alone in feeling that way:

“…I have felt so many times that the choice of this era is to be destroyed or to morally compromise ourselves in order to be functional – to be wrecked, or to be functional for reasons that contribute to the wreck.”

 

Theater Adventure: Oklahoma!

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My New York Godmother (left) took my Mom (center) and I out to see what Nicole Cliffe has been referring to on Twitter as #SexyOklahoma last night. (Note: Do you follow Nicole Cliffe? You should.) It has also been referred to as the ‘dark, gritty reboot’ of Oklahoma! to which, I (and many on Twitter) would like to say – Have you ever seen Oklahoma or do you just know the silly spelling song, because this play has always been dark. But it is true that the violence and emotional wreckage are traditionally tempered with gingham and gauze. What this production, directed by Daniel Fish, does is strip anything extraneous away so the audience is forced to deal with the dark center of the story. Which isn’t to say that it’s a grim experience the whole way through. This is still a Rodgers and Hammerstein show, and the music still soars right along. Standouts for me were Rebecca Naomi Jones (who I saw 10 years ago in American Idiot and is as glorious and badass as ever), Damon Daunno (who plays Curly like a honky tonk heartthrob) and Ali Stroker who brings so much fun and spirit to her role that she made me forget how problematic Ado Annie is on paper.

Overall, this was, as my mom texted this morning, “great fun!” though it did prompt at least one fellow audience member to say “Jesus Christ” loudly at least three times. So, fair warning.

The show is running at the Circle in the Square Theatre at 1633 Broadway

Best Picture Baking Project: Going My Way

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For those of you who don’t know me personally, my boyfriend is a graduate student studying American Catholic history, so we were uniquely primed for this month’s Best Picture, Going My Way. 

Had I seen this one before? 

Nope. I really only knew that Bing Crosby played a priest and that Barry Fitzgerald had been simultaneously nominated for both Best Supporting and Best Leading Actor for his performance. (My friends also informed me that there is a sequel with Ingrid Bergman as a boxing nun.)

Top 3 observations on this viewing? 

  1. This was a surprisingly emotional watch. To use a word that the characters in this love, a lot of this veers towards schmaltz, but Bing has just enough wit and charm to pull it back. But also some schmaltz just works...
  2. Though I’m glad his dual nomination led the Academy to clarify the rules, I do understand why people voted for Fitzgerald in both categories, he’s wonderful in this movie. I have a soft spot for stories of old men facing their diminishing world, and this one is treated with such warmth and sensitivity. (By soft spot I mean, these stories will always make me cry.
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He has great expressions too.

3. A lot happens in this movie, considering nothing really happens. The grand narrative is basically – the church has a mortgage and an old priest. But the movie needs to show us all the ways Bing’s Father Chuck is magic and cool: He plays baseball! He writes songs! One of them is this one:

He’s to quote a very 40s child, “a right guy!”

 

What did it beat? Did it deserve to win? 

Double Indemnity – Absolute classic, I love Barbara Stanwyck so much and this is always my first thought when I think of noir.

Gaslight – I’m not sure if I’ve seen all of this, but probably the most culturally influential nominee this year.

Since You Went Away – I’ve never heard of this, but it was Jennifer Jones, Claudette Colbert and a not-pint-sized Shirley Temple, so may be worth a watch.

Wilson This is a biopic of Woodrow Wilson, which I’m glad hasn’t stood the test of time.

Hmmm, I really enjoyed Going My Way, it was a charming film, but I like Double Indemnity quite a bit, but it’s so dark and cynical. I can see why Academy member (especially in the middle of a war) would choose the warmth of Father Chuck.

Bechdel Test Pass? 

No. There are five named women that I can remember, and it avoids some sexist tropes that it veers towards at a couple of points, but it’s still a remarkable male film. (All the kids in the neighborhood seem to be boys.)

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I Googled “Irish-American desserts” and found this Guinness take on a traditional porter cake, and despite the molasses (not my favorite ingredient to work with) it turned out very tasty

Chocolate-Stout Cake with Guinness Whipped Cream

Ingredients for cake

  • Butter for pan
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pan
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 cup Guinness stout
  • 1 cup molasses
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 cup vegetable oil

Ingredients for whipped cream

  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup Guinness

Directions for cake

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F
  2. Butter and flour a bundt pan
  3. Mix together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, cloves, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a large bowl
  4. Pour the beer and molasses into a medium pot and bring to a boil
  5. Remove from heat and whisk in baking soda (it will rise and foam)
  6. In another large bowl whisk together the eggs and two sugars until combined
  7. Add the oil
  8. Whisk in a little of the beer mixture to temper the eggs
  9. Whisk in remaining beer mixture
  10. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients
  11. Pour liquid ingredients into the well, whisking slowly until just combined
  12. Pout batter into prepared pan
  13. Bake for 30 minutes, or until the cake pulls away from the side of the pan, and a tester comes out clean
  14. Coll cake on wire rack for 30 min covered with dry hand towel
  15. Invert onto a cake platter

Directions for whipped cream

  1. Whip cream until slightly thick
  2. Add the sugar and Guinness and whip until peaks form
  3. Serve each slice of cake with scoops of whipped cream

Best Picture Baking Project: Gladiator

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Friends, Romans, Countrymen (that’s a thing right?)…I have watched Gladiator. I made, totally historically accurate cookies. All in all not a bad way to spend a Tuesday evening.

Had I seen this one before? 

Somehow no. I had seen clips lots of places, and seen many snippets throughout the years. In my memory it was nearly constantly on TNT for awhile. (A quick Google search tells me that it is now on AMC quite often.)

Top 3 observations on this viewing? 

  1. This was more thoughtful about its subject matter – violence (state sanctioned vs. not, for entertainment vs. patriotism, etc.) – than I expected it to be. But this may be based on the fact my main impression of this film came filtered through my brother (who was 13 at the time it was released) finding it awesome. That being said, some of the images still felt gratuitous. I didn’t need to see that many decapitations, or whatever you call it when I person is cut in half, Mr. Scott.
  2. It’s funny to think that this was Joaquin Phoenix‘s first Oscar nomination. Not to say he isn’t good here as the truly terrible villain, but it’s such a straightforward role in such a mainstream movie, that I don’t think it necessarily pointed to the career he was going to have.
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Also: Note to the makeup artists, we get he’s evil (what with the hugging his dad to death and all) you don’t need to lay it on quite so thick with the eye makeup

3. It was a strange, cringey experience to watch this ode against populism in the age of Trump. Someone could write a thesis (or three) about Hollywood’s obsession with Ancient Rome as a stand-in for America, and Phoenix’s man-child, division sowing, creepily sexually fixated on a woman in his immediate family, could be a whole chapter as an eery precursor to our current leader.

What did it beat? Did it deserve to win?

Chocolat – Oh, I loved this in high school, but it didn’t stand a chance.

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon – I’ve not seen this, but I love Ang Lee, and I trust in the reports of its technical marvels.

Erin Brokovich – This would have been my pick at the time, but I haven’t seen it in awhile.

Traffic – I know I’ve seen this, but it was a long time ago, and I mostly remember being scared of Benicio del Toro.

Sodebergh won Best Director (for Traffic not Brokovich) and my instinct says, flip that, but Picture is a production award, and this is a film made on a grad scale. (Though some of the CGI generate Rome does read like a video game in 2019.) I’ll say it was a fine win, mostly because it gave us one of the best award show moments of all time:

Bechdel Test Pass?

Nope. There’s only one named woman (plus a Hazy Ghost Wife™). But, I do have to say, that woman is more fully formed than I expected.

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Also, you gotta love that 2000 take on Ancient Roman fashion

Back when I did my post for Ben-Hur I stumbled upon a genre of blog that was Latin teachers collecting Ancient Roman food ideas for their classes. So I dipped into that well again for this month’s treat. And the sesame seeds are going to fall all over you, but the cookies taste good!

Ancient Roman Honey Cookies with Sesame Seeds

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3 tablespoons of butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup honey (plus more for dipping)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup sesame seeds

Directions 

  1. In a large bowl combine flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda
  2. In your mixer bowl combine solid butter, honey, and eggs
  3. Beat wet mixture until well combined
  4. Gradually beat in the dry mixture
  5. Cover and chill in refrigerator for 1 hour
  6. Preheat oven to 375F
  7. Grease two baking sheets
  8. Form chilled dough into 1 inch balls, rolling between your palms to smooth
  9. Place dough onto prepared baking sheets
  10. Use your thumb to flatten each ball slightly
  11. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown
  12. Let cool briefly, once they are comfortable to the touch pick up each cookie, dip into the melted butter and then into the sesame seeds
  13. Let cool completely then enjoy with honey dipping sauce!

 

 

The Shakespeare Project: Henry VIII

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It’s been a while. I knew I would get stuck in the Henrys, but at least it was at the end of the list. I had seen this one years ago at Chicago Shakes, and remember being struck by how well developed the character of Katharine is, given that most of the plot revolves around Henry trying to divorce her. At the time, I attributed this to an excellent performance by Ora Jones, but it turns out its really there on the page.

The introduction to my Bantam Classics edition explains that this was Shakespeare’s last play, and it was a surprise return to the genre of history after a late career focus on dramatic romances. The editor (David Bevington) claims that this Henry’s story, despite its call for elaborate sets and stage effects (including a cannon that in the original run burnt down the Globe theater) is essentially a romance masquerading as a history play. I’m not sure I would go that far, but there is a refreshing lack of battles/rousing speeches glorifying war. (There is quite a bit of theological handwringing and long monologues about just how rich a priest should be allowed to be, so maybe its a trade-off.)

I would be surprised if this was anyone’s favorite play, or anyone’s favorite narrative of Henry VIII’s life for that matter. (Shakespeare’s patrons were his descendants, there was only so much Will could say.) But, it was a more engaging read than I was expecting, if only for the moments of remarkable clairvoyance sprinkled throughout. Who knew you could tell so much about the coming glory of a monarch just by looking in her mother’s face?

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Jones as Katharine in the 2013 production at Chicago Shakespeare Theater

Five Star Book: A Room With A View by E.M. Forster

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I always forget until I’m deep into a Forster novel just how much I like him. Revisiting A Room With a View was no exception. I’d read this in high school or college in a Merchant-Ivory inspired rush to consume all of Forster’s books (I think I made it through 3, but this definitely makes me want to read more again) and I remembered loving it. But as I made my way through on this read, I was struggling to recall exactly why. (And why so many of my friends reached out to gush about it when I posted I was reading it on Instagram.) And then, as with my previous Forster experiences, I turned the page to the last third of the novel and got hit with one scene so beautiful it catapulted the book from “cozy cup of tea” to “crying on the subway, overwhelmed by the power of language.” I don’t want to spoil what the speech (OK, speeches) in question were and therefore deprive you of the delightful surprise, but I do want to recommend giving this book a try, even if you think you don’t care about a bunch of middle class, English people traipsing through Italy. It’s about that, yes (and I’m not knocking that, it’s a fun, mental vacation), but it’s also about love and conflicting loyalties and growing up and the nature of beauty…and oh just go read it.

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Best Picture Baking Project: Gigi

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(Photo Credit: MK Holman)

Firstly, I know I didn’t post about the Tony’s. I meant to, I took notes and everything, but I had a job interview the morning after the show and then, I kind of didn’t want to…and the biggest plus of a blog I do for fun is that…I don’t have to. Anyway…I got the job! (And I’ll be back to posting about awards shows soon I’m sure.)

Something I definitely wanted to do – eat cake, drink champagne, and watch Gigi! 

Had I seen this one before?

Only about 100 times as a child. My mom got me the VHS and I loved it, though I don’t think I understood it at all really.

Top 3 observations on this viewing? 

  1. It’s so much more complex and frankly less horrifying than I remembered it. When I was a kid, I mostly just loved the costumes and Leslie Caron’s hilarious, huffing physicality. But as I grew up songs like this:

and the general plot where a man watches a girl grow up and then falls for her, left a general sense of ickiness in my mouth about the whole thing. But, on this rewatch (having noticed that it was based on a novel by Colette) I can see it’s actually a really arch satire of the misogynist culture of infidelity and the “keeping” of mistresses in Parisian culture and there are so many more layers to the relationship than I could have seen as a kid. (Maurice Chevalier’s character is still super creepy and hard to watch – but I see that’s on purpose.)

2. Even as satire though, the flippant, maybe even giddy, response to Gaston’s first “lady love’s” suicide is really fucking hard to watch, especially since there is no reckoning with that particular sin after his last minute (almost literally) revelation that his lifestyle is empty and sad.

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Justice for Eva Gabor

3. This movie is still so much fun to watch, and I’m glad I don’t have to feel as queasy recommending it as I thought I did for years. Gather your girls, pour some champagne, enjoy!

What did it beat? Did it deserve to win? 

Auntie Mame – Haven’t seen it, but it feels pretty culturally similar

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof – Damn. This is a great movie…I mean, Paul and Liz!

Separate Tables – All I know about this is David Niven won Best Actor for it and I won a trivia point once for knowing that.

The Defiant Ones – Sidney Poitier was in this, I think?

I’m clearly not super qualified to make this call, but between the two I’ve seen…I’m still partial to Gigi, Best Picture is an Oscar for production and this is a grand one.

Bechdel Test Pass?

The Bechdel Test site says no, but I think it does. There are four named women, three of whom talk to each other. Gigi’s grandmother and aunts discuss her life (and teach her about jewels). Yes, these conversations often hinge on the idea of a man, but that’s kind of Colette’s point, I think. Patriarchy limits her options, but they are still hers. I give it a pass.

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Given my favorite song from this score, I had to make a champagne cake, which was easy and turned out so pretty!

Champagne Cake

Ingredients

  • 1 package two-layer white cake mix
  • Champagne or sparkling wine
  • 1 can 16oz pink Funfetti frosting
  • 4 large fresh strawberries

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F
  2. Grease two layer cake pans (I did one 9in round pan and one slightly smaller disposable pie plate, but you can adjust based on what you have)
  3. Prepare the cake according to instructions on mix, except replace the water called for with an equal amount of champagne (Mix slightly longer than you normally would)
  4. Pour batter into prepared pans, spreading evenly
  5. Bake according to package directions, approx. 30min
  6. Cool in pans for 10 minutes
  7. Remove from pans and let cool completely
  8. While the cakes cool, rinse and slice strawberries for decoration
  9. Place bottom tier cake on serving plate, frost the top
  10. Frost bottom side of top layer
  11. Place upper tier on top of the bottom cake
  12. Frost top of cake, and place strawberries in circular pattern on top of cake

Best Picture Baking Project: Gentleman’s Agreement

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It’s (somehow) almost the end of May, so it was time for the next Best Picture, Gentleman’s Agreement, which is very 40s, but pretty good. All I knew about it going in was it’s basic premise (journalist pretends to be Jewish to expose anti-Semitism) so I searched for “Jewish desserts” and saw that cheesecake came up on every list. (It is also set in New York City, so it wasn’t a terrible choice really.)

Had I seen this one before?

Nope. Like I said, all I knew was the (potentially very problematic) premise. But I think (with a few exceptions, which I’ll get to), it holds up!

Top 3 observations on this viewing? 

  1. The acting in this movie is great (again with a clear exception – see point 3). I mean, this wasn’t exactly a surprise, it’s Gregory Peck! And John Garfield (who is the subject of a great You Must Remember This episode that you should listen to here). But my favorite (by far) was Celeste Holm as Anne, Peck’s coworker at the magazine, that he should have fallen in love with. (I honestly don’t know how anyone wouldn’t). Thankfully the Academy recognized this too, and gave her an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress.

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2. Though it gets preachy (and obviously does not have a modern conception of the dangers of cultural appropriation), the general morality of this movie holds up exceptionally well. I mean, taking to task all the nice people in Connecticut who know how bad prejudice is, but won’t say anything when a man at the dinner table makes a horrible joke, is (unfortunately) pretty relevant still.

3. The ending of this movie is so frustrating. It basically undoes all the goodwill that it has stored up. (Spoiler alert for a film that is over 70 years old): The fact that he ends up with his nice-Connecticut-“I’m not prejudiced I just know it’s better to not be a Jew”-fiancée Kathy, after her last-act-change-of-heart is gross. Don’t get me wrong, I think people can change. And I’m super glad that she offers her Darien “cottage” to her fiancé’s actually Jewish friend and his family, but that’s not a reason to marry her. To be honest, I don’t buy their “love at first cocktail party” relationship at all. Partly this is due to the actress, Dorothy McGuire, is definitely the weak link in this cast, but she has ZERO chemistry with Peck (which is highlighted with his delightful energy with Holm).

What did it beat? Did it deserve to win? 

Crossfire – Never heard of it, but Gloria Grahame (an obsession of mine) was nominated for Best Supporting Actress for it so I’m going to assume it’s worthy.

Great Expectations – This is a great movie.

Miracle on 34th Street – Obviously a classic and I love that Edmund Gwenn won an Oscar for playing Santa Claus.

The Bishop’s Wife – Another classic. (Though for nostalgia reasons, I am partial to its 90s remake.)

I would say that Gentleman’s deserved the win if you turn it off before the last two minutes. As is – it’s a tie with David Lean’s Great Expectations.

Bechdel Test pass

I don’t think so. There are 5 named women, 3 of whom are layered and well acted and certainly have their own emotions and feelings. But the only women I can remember talking to each other discuss which families are being invited to a party. Which I guess is technically not about a man, except it is really, because what they are really discussing is whether or not Peck is an acceptable boyfriend.

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There are a million cheesecake recipes on the internet. I usually choose a “No-Bake” version when I make one for our Sunday family dinner, but for the project I went with a slightly more involved version (but not like – water bath, corn starch involved).

Easy-ish Cheesecake

Ingredients for Crust

  • 10 whole graham crackers, crushed (I used the cinnamon sugar kind for a slightly more fun flavor)
  • 1/4 cup confectioners sugar
  • 1/3 cup melted butter
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

Ingredients for Filling 

  • 2 cups cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions 

  1. Select a 9″ pie pan, with a deep bottom (I used my standard 9in Pirex) 
  2. Preheat oven to 350F
  3. Make the crust be stirring together all the crust ingredients, mixing until thoroughly combined
  4. Press the crumbs into the bottom and up the sides of the pie pan, making a thicker layer on the bottom than on the sides
  5. Make the filling by mixing together the cream cheese and sugar until smooth
  6. Mix in the eggs and vanilla, again mixing until smooth at a low to medium speed
  7. Pour filling into crust
  8. Bake for 20 min.
  9. Remove from oven and place foil around edges as a crust sheild
  10. Place back in oven and bake for 10 more minutes
  11. Remove cheesecake from oven and let cool
  12. Place in refrigerator until ready to serve