Friday, November 20, 2009

Meet Me in St. Louis

Remember reruns? Remember coming home after school and watching reruns of the classics-- Saved by the Bell, The Brady Bunch, Friends, The Wonder Years?

There is something nice and comforting about reruns, I'm coming to realize. It's nice to know what you're getting. No surprises. Just old friends saying lines you've heard before, never missing a beat. We know when Rachel is going to declare her love for Ross. We aren't in shock when Winnie kisses Kevin in that cold barn in the rain for the last time. Of course Jan will make the cheerleading squad, we've seen this one before.

The days of reruns have oddly passed, as I don't watch tv unless its streaming onto my computer, and reruns don't really exist online. Those of you who have Tivo will edit your tv watching to only the essentials, none of that random riff raff. And there isn't a web channel that plays one random episode of The Brady Bunch at a time, now is there? (Is there?! If so, I hope its the Hawaii one.)

However. The past week has brought armloads of reruns into my life-- they entered like huge bouquets of white peonies, bobbing their snowy heads, nodding hello. As I sat down to write a little bloggy post, I realized that I could just display some reruns of old posts. Like this one. Or this. Or this goody. Those are the things I've done.

I've been re-watching, re-reading, and re-living my favorites this week. It's that time of year. I've been going back to all the things that would go into the Sarah Box, if one existed outside of conversation. It's a strange little box filled with Jimmy Stewart films, food memoirs, strands of gold jewelry, and a perfect mix of early 19th century British landscape paintings and contemporary installation work.

I would climb into that box, if I could, and settle there between Eloise and William Turner, Tilda Swinton and Estella Havisham. I'd have dinner with Alfred Hitchcock, tea with Jo March, and swap clothes with Katherine Hepburn. We'd all camp out in that box until morning comes, not daring to peek out at that scary outside world. (Bear with me here.)

Last week my amazing sisters Laura and Emily sent a hug in the form of dvd's to my desk. Julia Child's PBS Special was in the mix (I watched that this morning before work while eating leftover apple crisp and sipping french press coffee- love that Julia.) as was a collection of old song-and-dance musicals from the 1940s. I opened the package to discover Judy Garland's familiar (and bizarrely heart-shaped) face smiling back at me beneath that terrible wig and loud dress and tugged the dvd case to my heart. Meet me in St. Louis is one of my (our) all time favorites. I was so glad to see it again.

It's a odd little film. And truth be told, I rented it a few weeks ago, before La and Em sent the package, with someone who was watching it for the first time. The oddities never occurred to me until I saw it through another's eyes--Those children are morbid! That dancing so saccharine! But I love it. Why? Because it IS a rerun. I'm not seeing it for the first time at 26, shocked by the bizarre costumes, the corny dialogue. It all makes sense because I fell in love with it when I was 10 years old.

Meet Me in St. Louis is the story of a city as told through a family. My friend Sarah Meyer mocks this film for its lack of conflict, but I say the conflict is real. Esther, Agnes, Rose, and Tootie have a palpable love for St. Louis and the thought of leaving absolutely breaks their hearts. The story is based around this love, and I get it. I love a city too. Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, the most heartbreaking of all Christmas songs (save for Joni Mitchell's River, perhaps) was written for a city and the heart that was leaving it behind. The love is real and so is the hurt.

And, like most 40s era musicals, this one has a very happy ending. So even while watching hearts break, this audience of one was okay. I knew they would stay in St. Louis-- can't fool me. I knew that Esther would end up with that total bore next door, John Truit, whom she happens to find so charming. I knew that Tootie wouldn't have to dig up her cemetery of dead dolls. That, dear friends, is the best thing about this classic film-- I've seen it before.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Neko Case

Well, it's been a big week here in Sarah-and-Katie-Land. The women of 50 Downing Street have lived through famine, fire, and flood. (Flooding is actually true-- a radiator pipe burst and soaked my bedroom in water. But at least the heat is working now!)

And who better to understand our desperate travesties than the Middle Cyclone herself-- Neko Case. Neko performed yesterday on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon and guess who won 2 tickets to stand and awkwardly and sway in the background during the taping? Her biggest fans and redheaded comrades, Sarah and Katie.

I've told you before why we love Neko. Her strength is something we seek. Her lyrics shoot through us right to the heart of our struggles. 'She gets us,' says Katie, every morning, with a smile.

Come on Sorrow, take your own advice.

***NOTE: We left this taping so embarrassed and giggly that we swore to never show the video to the world. Luckily you can barely see us. (We are on the back riser, in the front row, on the left, behind the drummer in matching green shirts with black cardigans.)

It's REALLY AWKWARD to be filmed while watching music. What do you do with your hands!? Do you sing along? Lordy, that was a test of our strength if nothing else.

Also, they stood me next to the SHORTEST, TINIEST woman I've ever seen, making your girl Sarah look even more like a giantess than I normally do. I definitely did the aforementioned slump-and-lean not out of respect this time, but out of self preservation. So not only was I feeling awkward in my own skin, but was then forced to DANCE to a live filming of one of my favorite songs ever written.

Television tapings are not for the weak of heart.

Oh, AND, the matching outfits were my idea. Looking back, I don't necessarily see the point either.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Ines de la Fressange

When I'm 51 I want this haircut too.

Our favorite artist/interiors blog, The Selby, recently let us into Ines de la Fressange's home, furthering my SWINTON-like facination with France's own Marianne. Is there anyone more glamorous?! Dying for those pepto pink walls. Love.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Regina Spektor

I saw Regina Spektor at Radio City a few weeks back and have been trying to sit down and write about my experience and her work ever since. Where did all of my time go? Finding this video last night gave me a reason to revisit the topic.

Gorgeous, right? I like this video. I LOVE the song. And I am in awe of the girl who sings it.

(But the REAL reason to celebrate is that I finally got a youtube clip embedded into this here bloggy! Good girl, Sarah. You figured something out.)

Well, THIS is good news!

Looks like our little namesake resty is open for business! (Here, read this. Then this.) And it re-opened on my BIRTHDAY, no less. I am obviously taking this news as face value: New York clearly gave me a birthday gift, just when I needed it most.

What a lovely day this is turning out to be...

Friday, November 6, 2009

Broken English

I watched Broken English for the third time tonight. (First and second times were not tonight, they were months ago. I just couldn't figure out how to word that sentence.) I started it this morning, and finished it while making pasta for a very small dinner party, and I fell in love with it all over again. Have you all seen this film?

Katie first introduced it to me last winter, and the two of us firmly established it as part of our roommate canon. (Other films include Two Lovers, Before Sunrise, and After Sunset.) Parkey Posey stars alongside a cast of tired and worn New Yorkers that create a fairytale story just sad enough to be believable.

Yes, the story is depressing beyond all means, but the acting is superb and if you squint hard enough and focus your senses you will find the hidden satire in Posey's character Nora. It's a funny movie hidden in a mess of sleeping pills and anxiety attacks.

And even in this small jaded indie film we find a happy ending. Because we're here just like Nora--out swimming through this city-- looking for our own.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Happy SWINTON Day!

Guess who's birthday we almost forgot!? SWINTON'S!!!!! Let's all celebrate by putting on our most avant garde skinny sweater-dress-bustier and toast with something much more interesting than champagne, like absinthe. Or Turkish delight.

Then let us all gather together to protest something really important... like Roman Polanski's arrest! Or Donald Trump's horrifying golf course. Better yet, lets visit her group art exhibition at the adorably named LaMaMa Galleria in the Village this weekend. I'll be there, absinthe in tow.

Happy Birthday, Tilda. Here's to 49 more.

Monday, November 2, 2009

1000 Words

Well, this broke my heart. I have no time to post today, and I am too tired to think of anything clever to write here, but read it. Sharp writing, clear idea, heartbreaking prose.

I actually read this particular short story a few months ago, but the part below has been rolling around in my mind ever since, and I can't seem to shake it:

Tomorrow is Labor Day, and she wonders if he'll ever kiss her again. Labor Day will make twenty-seven days since she decided to stop kissing him because it doesn't mean anything and wait for him to kiss her, because then it might.

Its terribly depressing, I know, but its also beautiful. Beautiful to get something that raw SO very right.

(I'll be back soon for more thoughtful posts about the lovely life I've been living, I promise. There is much to say. So sorry for this long absense, but don't you worry, I am okay :)