Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Beach Porn?

Is Beach Porn something?  I must have missed this.
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Maybe it is because I am gay, and I am super sensitive about having children wander up, I am pretty anti-public sex.  And, even if I wasn't anti-public sex, I must say, the beach?
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Sand.  Sand and dirty water.  Don't get me wrong, the beach is tres erotic (as the French Surrender Monkeys say).  But more in a cerebral way.  You know, the "aren't they attractive", "spread some lotion on me" kind of way.  But primarily in the "let's move this into the house and a shower" kind of way.
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It only takes sand in your trunks once to realize it is a bad idea.  Maybe enough people haven't grown up close to the beach as I did.

Cathedral of New York A Wander By..

A Dull Facade
This week-end Eddie and I were wandering up from Chinatown to Washington Square (the NYU Bookstore to be exact) - and we passed a church and decided to go in.
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Turns out it is the original New York Catholic Cathedral.  Here is the (fascinating) Wikipedia entry.
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Apparently the "Know Nothings" (a cross between a political movement and a kind of KKK) attacked the church in an anti-catholic / anti-immigrant rage.  The church had to be defended by gunfire.
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Crazy.  Actually the wikipeida entry is interesting.  Now I know Wikipedia isn't always correct, but the inside of the church mentions the incident as well, so I tend to believe it happened.
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Anyway, here are the pictures we took.
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Beautiful Interior
Here is the story from Wikipedia.....
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In 1836, the cathedral was the subject of an attempted sack after tensions between Irish Catholics and anti-Catholic Know-Nothing nativists led to a number of riots and other physical confrontations. The situation worsened when a brain-injured young woman, Maria Monk, wrote a book telling her "true" story – a Protestant girl who converted to Catholicism, and was then forced by nuns to have sex with priests, with the resulting children being baptized then killed horribly. Despite the book being debunked by a mildly anti-Catholic magazine editor, nativist anger at the story resulted in a decision to attack the cathedral.[9] Loopholes were cut in the church's outer walls, which had just recently been built, and the building was defended from the rioters with muskets.[2][9] Afterwards, the Ancient Order of Hibernians established its headquarters across the street from the church

Movie of the Day – July 29: Laura

Laura.
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Dana Andrews in a picture of Laura
I am so infatuated with this movie; I forget that not everyone has seen it.  Laura is perfection.  Noir perfection.
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Gene Tierney and Vincent Price at their most attractive
Laura is (like so many of my choices) a detective story, a mystery and a love story all rolled into one.  It stars the enigmatic Gene Tierney as the title character, Laura Hunt.  Seen in flashback, Laura is the woman murdered.  Gene Tierney has a breathless authenticity as a girl on the knife edge of something unique.  Here gift is exposing that the choice isn’t between opposites, but between two almost opposites.  Sanity vs. crazy-eyes, love vs. obsession, strength vs. lose of control – she teeters between these two items like Melissa McCarthy in stilettos, it works, but you don’t know how. 
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Judith Andersen, Vincent Price, Clifton Webb and Dana Andrews

You might wonder why you don’t hear more of the amazing Gene Tierney.  If you have the DVD, there might be a biography episode on her.  If not, well, it is a sad story.  She did amazing work (nominated twice for Best Actress) but had a breakdown after a failed marriage Oleg Cassini, the birth of a downs syndrome child and several failed love affairs.
Clifton Webb and a stunning Gene Tierney
But I get ahead of myself.  In the movie, Laura is seen in flashback, because the movie opens with a detective (Dana Andrews at his laconic best) investigating her murder.  What he finds is a love triangle with Waldo Lydecker (Clifton Webb in his first movie) and Shelby Carpenter (Vincent Price when he was at his romantic lead best – before the zombie blood phase).  Laura’s Aunt, Ann Treadwell, is played by Judith Andersen (later Dame Judith Andresen).  She is also in love with Shelby.
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Otto Preminger directed produced and helped with the adaptation for this movie.  It is wonderful.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Movie of the Day – July 28: A Place In The Sun

Doomed Love.  You have to be in the mood for doomed young love.  A time when every emotion is amplified, every breath is sensual and every feelings is the most intense of your life.  When you are ready to visit that, A Place In The Sun is the movie to see.
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Montgomery Clift is a handsome young man from the wrong side of the tracks.  He visits a distance relative and gets a low level job in his factory.  During this time, he falls for Shelly Winters.  A nice, plain jane of a co-worker.  They settled into what is, for Clift, a workable, pleasant dated relationship.  And for Shelly is the great love of her life.  The asymmetric interest is no problem.  Until.
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Until…  Clift’s boss , the rich uncle, happy with his work, brings him closer into his home.  There he meets a society girl, Elizabeth Taylor, and falls desperately in love.  Desperate is the right word.
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Clift has already broken the prime rule of work (don’t get involved with the girls) – and he now has a love sick (and pregnant) Shelly Winters on his hands.
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Things don’t get better.
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It is amazingly shot in black and white, and Elizabeth Taylor and Montgomery Clift never looked better.  This movie, unfortunately, seemed to consign Shelly Winters to a roles where she wasn’t the glamorous woman anymore. All three, Taylor, Clift and Winters, went on to bigger roles, more accolades and many many awards.  But this movie was the first that showed me what all the fuss was about.  I get how men fell for Elizabeth Taylor (and Montgomery Clift – who was both sexy and pretty in this role).  Women saw Monty as the bad boy with a heart – following it where it leads.  Which, if you see or saw the movie – provides the shock of what happens.  And no, it is 1951, so nothing gory and no rape.
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Watch and relive what your first crush – your soul saving love of your life – what it was like.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

The Decker Building

ON my wanders, I occasionally take pictures of amazing buildings to fine out if there is anything surprising aobu tthem that matches my interst in them.
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This the "Decker Building" off Union Square.
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Eddie and I saw it a bright, sunny Saturday, and I tried to find otu about it.  It isn't in my 1001 buildings of New York, but then I ran it down via Wikipedia - first through Union Square buildings, then it's own entry.
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Turns out - a big history.
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It is 33 feet wide and 138 feet deep.  It was built for the Decker Piano company.  Build in 1869, it is in the style of Venetian and Islamic buildings (then called Oriental - in the Ottoman Empire style).
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From 1968 - 1973, Andy Warhol's studios were on the 6th floor - which finally explains to me why the Andy Warhol statue was on Broadway and 16th for that year.
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Anyway, it is lovely.

The Left Supports Putin?

This article confused - and actually angered me a little this morning.
There is no justifying Putin right now.
If you hear the random liberal or crazy leftie try to justify Putin's actions in Ukraine, you have my permission to ignore them because they are idiots.  Don't argue with them - if the are spouting this there is no way they will listen to reason.
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What Putin is doing in Ukraine is killing innocent people in a foreign country to boost his internal polling numbers.  He is annexing land and he does it because Russia is powerful and he can.
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It is possible to suggest that there are cases in the past where the US has done something similar.  But arguing in that manner (we did it too) is an argument of the US was in the wrong at certain times, not an agreement that Putin is in the right this time.

Movie of the Day – July 27: The Paleface


Before we start, let me say I know the world sucks.  I know about the rockets and the planes and the deaths.  I am not being shallow here.  I think it is important to not just focus on the negative.  That is why I am finishing up with this stupid, goofy list.  We all need some distraction.
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And so here lies the movie of today – the Paleface.     I will note it was a tight race for me between this, Gentlemen Prefer Blonds and Young Frankenstein.  I am trying to stay off movies that are too well known which ultimately pushed me into the Paleface.
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This is a big Technicolor farce with Bob Hope and newly appointed sex goddess Jane Russell.  This was her first big movie since “The Outlaw” which was released and argued with for a while for its racey content.  I am going to quote the story overview from imdb.com, because it is spot-on.
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Someone is selling guns to the Indians and in order to find the culprit Calamity Jane and a secret agent go undercover posing as man and wife. When the agent is killed Jane recruits a new husband -- none other than innocent dupe "Painless" Peter Potter, a totally inept dentist and confirmed coward who's main goal is to leave the barbaric west far behind. When their wagon train is attacked by the Indians it's Jane's sharpshooting that saves the day, but she gives the credit to Potter making him an instant hero to the townspeople and instant target to both the Indians and the gunrunners. Written by A.L.Beneteau <albl@inforamp.net>
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The plot gives plenty of opportunity for Bob Hope to be goofy and Jane Russell to be annoyed.  Ultimately, and surprising no one, the two end up together.  Although it is more believable than Woody Allen and..er.. anybody.  They are stuck together on the wagon train and the longer you are with someone, the less their physical looks mean to you.  It is a nice little love story in a very funny movie that you might not have seen.
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See the DVD, it is beautiful.  I note this because I first saw this on the old Channel 5 in LA on a tiny screen and a washed out print.  The movie really does sing in all its color glory.
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Saturday, July 26, 2014

Movie of the Day – July 26: The Saint in Palm Springs

Before there was Val Kilmer stinking up the movies as The Saint, there was a TV show that I never saw, but many people liked.  But before that, there was George Sanders – The Saint.
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Before TV, there were the B movies.  The lower billed movies that were turned out mainly to fill out a double bill.  I lot of these were character driven detectives – much like the TV shows NCIS and their ilk are now.
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The Saint was one of the better of these.  Now the budgets were small, and the effects not great, but every now and then they hummed.  Shot on the stage and backlot, often very good directors worked with talented cinematographers and actors to create a very good B series. 
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I came to know George Sanders as a bad guy. The evil, but witty, Addison DeWitt in All About Eve, the self-centered (but straight) Dorian Grey and, most memorably for a young Scooter, as the voice of Shere Kahn in The Jungle Book.
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But seeing him in The Saint (and in particular The Saint In Palm Springs) shows the urbane actor as a young man, a flirt, and charming.  Something different from how I learned to recognize him.
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And The Saint In Palm Springs opens different that nearly every other detective series.  The Saint fails in the first reel.  The Saint was supposed to protect a man who has a priceless stamp.  But the client is killed right away.  He goes to protect the daughter and try to redeem himself.  Oh he doesn’t feel that bad about it, but he is in redemptive mode none-the-less.
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And it is an interesting look at the “idea” of Plan Springs back when it was the getaway for the rich and famous.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Movie of the Day – July 25: Gallipoli

Once upon a time, there was a young actor who got a big break in Mad Max, and parlayed that into an amazing role in a movie called Gallipoli.

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And Gallipoli was so amazing, so wonderful, so different that he was forgiven many many many bad choices in his career.  Almost forgiven for calling a Malibu Police-Woman “sugar tits”.  That is how good Gallipoli is!
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Gallipoli is the War movie that isn’t about a war.   It takes place primarily in Australia, where two young men meet each other in a footrace race and become friends.  Ultimately Mark Lee, as Archy, wants to enlist in the Army to help England in World War 1.  But he is too young and must travel across the out-back to lie about his age.

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His new pal Frank (Mel Gibson) goes with him and the story is really one of friendship.
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The story does, ultimately, transfer to Gallipoli for a short time at the end.  Where the men are dug in outside of Istanbul in a hopeless sideshow that is of little important.  The movie shows what a hash war makes of honor, friendship and intentions.

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Mel is, at that time, still acting not just playing Mel Gibson.  And Mark Lee is forever associated with that role.  If you watch it, Gallipoli will be with you always.