Classics from the Queue: 13 Going on 30

Yes I know I’m playing fast and loose with the term classic, but I don’t know what else to call this category – ‘movies I’ve lied about seeing’ – not as catchy.

So here’s where I admit that this Sunday was the first time I’ve ever seen 13 Going on 30, and I’m glad that I did, but I also felt like my reasons for not jumping to see it were vindicated.

The movie is an adorable fairy-tale about growing up too fast, and not looking down on others, and Jennifer Garner and Mark Ruffalo are as “aw-shucks adorable” as I expected them to be. The younger actors, particularly Sean Marquette, were also wonderful. Though I had a bit of a hard time buying Judy Greer as a villain (she put in a good performance I just like her too much I guess.)

My only problem with the movie is probably unique to me, I have issues with farce, I get physically uncomfortable with misunderstandings, you know those parallel universe/switch-er-oo episodes of like every sci-fi show ever, I skip them, or fast-forward. I just want people to understand each other, and I cannot handle the awkwardness of some of Jenna’s misunderstandings. In other words, the basic comedy premise of this movie (and the equally classic Big) makes me want to run out of the room until the moment of revelation, (and I confess I did fast forward a few times while watching this…)

But I must admit, despite this personal quirk I did enjoy a lot of this movie, especially the soundtrack and the pre-recession ideal of fashion magazine closets filled with more purses than I could ever imagine owning. And the Thriller dance scene was pretty awesome:

Weekly Adventure: Chicago Dance Edition

This week I had the wonderful experience of taking in two widely different, but still awesome, Chicago dance performances.

The first – On Wednesday Madison and I waited in an insanely long line to enter the Auditorium Theater for a free show that was part of the Chicago Dancing Festival. (First in non-dance related anecdotes: we sat in a fancy box, it was awesome; two-people took flash photography, that was no awesome; third-I almost walked into the Mayor on my way to the el – it was, you guessed it, awesome.) Anyway the show was a revue or sorts, with companies from around the country performing shorter works, and ending with an extended work on women in war by the Martha Graham Dance Company, which was pretty epic.

S. Darmer/

My favorite discovery of the night though, was the Brian Brooks Moving Company, they are contemporary group of NYC and if you get a chance I really recommend going to see them perform.

photo © David Bazemore

Also the pas-de-deux from Sleeping Beauty by Tchaikovsky is as beautiful as always, just so you know.

Then last night I went to a very different venue (the Hamlin Park Theater, which is a room at the top of the Hamlin Park field house), to see the Renegade Dance Architects, perform. This is my 3rd time seeing the group, which was founded and is directed by Madison’s ballet teacher Ginger Jensen, and every time I fall a little more in love. Their work is high energy and thrilling and moving, and you should all go see them, their show runs through this weekend and next, more info here.


Thing I Love: W. H. Auden’s Poetry

I almost said “Thing I Love: W. H. Auden”, but that weirdly unpersonifies him ( Yes, yes I know that’s not a word, but what’s the opposite of personification?) I recently finished a really good biography called, simply, Auden, by Richard Davenport-Hines, and was reminded just how recently Auden wrote (because he was dead long before I was born I tend to think of him as a ‘long-ago’ writer, but he lived into the 1970s.)

Auden, although apparently pretty difficult to deal with as a person, had a wonderful ‘love your neighbor’ philosophy that came across really beautifully in his poems, a few of which I’ve had the wonderful pleasure of rediscovering recently. Including this one – which I’m sure you all know – but (1) it is hard to find legally hosted on-line versions of his poems and I don’t want to steal from his estate unwittingly (though I of course make no profit from this blog) and (2) I love any excuse to revisit this movie, even the sad part:

Classics from the Queue: The US vs. John Lennon

Ok so this movie isn’t exactly a classic, but whatever it has been on my Netflix queue long enough to fall into this category. This movie was an odd one for me. I loved all the archival footage and getting to hear John Lennon’s protest songs is always fun/always makes me want to go find a barricade to storm, but something about this production felt odd.

There were amazing interviews with Yoko Ono, Walter Cronkite, John Dean, Gore Vidal, Bobby Seale, G. Gordon Liddy, (and many many many more amazing talking heads) and inexplicably Geraldo Rivera, but because of the way it was shot – quick cuts to reality TV style confessional interviews – it played almost like a really good episode of Behind the Music (maybe because it was produced – or at least distributed – by VH1 Films.)

The movie got it’s point across, and it made me angry as an American and a human that likes fairness, so I guess it’s effective in that way, but I feel like it could have been more artfully done, especially because the whole point of the movie really is to emphasize Lennon’s artistic genius.

If you’re a huge Lennon fan and you haven’t seen this it’s worth it, if only for the segments that remind us how unpopular he was when he ‘got political.’ As someone born almost 10 years after his death, I only really ever knew the martyred-Lennon whom everyone (seemingly) worshiped, but this movie really highlights the anger and confusion people had towards him stepping out of his “moptop role.”

Also this song never fails to make me cry:

Thing I Love: The Princess Bride

As part of my two week long birthday celebration (I just happened to visit home right before my birthday, this is not standard for me – usually I just have a nice dinner and talk to my mom) a few friends and I went to see The Princess Bride at the Chicago History Museum (part of the Movies in the Parks.)

And I was reminded just how amazing this movie really is. I of course already knew this, but I discovered/remembered a bunch of new things about it last night. I think because you really do experience a movie differently when you watch it with a crowd. Especially a movie like this, we were all clapping for Indigo and laughing with (decidedly not at) the Giant, and the communal response drew my attention to stuff I hadn’t remembered or recognized before.

Like how “Unemployed in Greenland” would be a great band name, or just how epic the fight scene between Indigo and the six-fingered man is. Also that the six-fingered man is named Tyrone, and clearly in a relationship with Prince Humperdinck – how had I missed that before?

If it’s been awhile since you’ve seen it, get some friends together and watch it, it’s never disappointing. Even if it’s just to stare at a young Carey Elwes – who manages to make even creepy flesh-colored facial hair seem attractive.

Also Fred Savage is adorable and wearing a Bears jersey – so you know, that’s awesome.

Weekly Adventure: East Coast Edition

Hello everyone!

I have returned to the Midwest, have sort of unpacked, and am already mired in work, but it is my birthday week so I refuse to complain. Instead here is a quick recap of the stuff from my vacation you guys should all check out.

  1. Once

The movie is one of my favorite things in the entire world, and while the play differs in plot, the tone is so perfectly captured and the music is so beautiful. It didn’t disappoint at all plus – Steve Kazee is even more adorable when using a Dublin accent…

2. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

Everyone who knows me at all knows that I am the most easily scared person in the world. I don’t do thrillers unless they are fantastic (and even then I can’t read them at night), and guys this one is worth it. It has twists that literally made me shout out loud (which scared the new dog…)

3. But isn’t he cute? …

4. How To Be A Woman  by Caitlin Moran


An early birthday present from Julia, this book is everything I wanted it to be, hilarious, insightful, full of pop culture references and a call to revive the term “strident feminism”

5. Birch Beer

Why can’t we get this in the Midwest? I know I am possibly (probably) the only one that cares, but seriously…



(Also I got a new camera! So there will soon be more pictures I actually take rather than steal from other people’s blogs! Sorry about that.)


Hi Guys,

I know I haven’t been good about writing this week. I guess my brain was getting ready for next week…I’m going home (to the East Coast) for a whole week. It’s very exciting. There will be a long entry about the adventures I go on when I get back…till then have this picture of Ryan Lochte and Missy Franklin because it makes me smile