From Jeremy Eichler's strikingly clear and thoughtful look at Arvo Pärt, one of the world's most financially successful composers and the Estonian founder of that (for better or worse) meditative "tintinnabuli" music, it has become even more evident to me how important it is to play sounds like this for Hollywood film executives. As the world -- i.e. anti-elitists who think it's OK for a composer to write music that appeals to people who may not know anything about Schoenberg -- celebrates Pärt's 70th birthday with tributes and the release of Dorian Supin's DVD documentary "Arvo Pärt: 24 Preludes for a Fugue" -- serious film music gets less interesting and more generic as filmgoers show more interest in soundtracks. Eichler writes: "I have stumbled across his discs in the apartments of friends who own almost no other classical music, and certainly nothing else composed in the last 50 years." I might say the same. Of course, I don't exactly love everything Pärt has written -- I can leave some of the later choral stuff to card-carrying tintinnabulies -- but I do consider one of Eichler's featured CDs -- Gidon Kremer's ECM recording of "Fratres" (MP3)-- to be one of my favorite albums, and I do think that personal, palatable music with a soul deserves to be heard more in films that, you know, matter.
Posted on October 30, 2005 at 06:05 PM | Permalink
the desert and its conflation of nature and Albert Frey-inspired
boutique hotels wouldn't be restorative? Yes, I opted to visit the Palm Springs area when faced with the cool weather that awaited me in the north. But no, I did not find the area devoid of value. Like LA, the desert seems rife with mystery. For instance, who broke into my car as I relaxed in a stone jacuzzi the first night of my stay? Was it the son of a country club member or the homeless young woman I met standing in front of a "date shake" purveyor on Palm Canyon Drive? (I choose the former but don't wan't to discriminate.) Why is every desert hotel employee I meet a terrifyingly articulate drifter who wants to sell me real estate in a different part of Canada and/or Mexico? And what, despite the fact that Sinatra enjoyed the culinary progression, is the allure of Oysters Rockefeller before a hearty entree of Pork Tenderloin in a sweet brandy cream sauce? All interesting questions, but let's look at some instances of desert modernism instead.
Posted on October 29, 2005 at 10:56 AM | Permalink
Would you like some red snapper with your rosemary-infused shallot confit?
[Thanks, Delores Riccio]
Or how about some of Melisse's sweet garlic and shallot flan?
[Thanks, Joseph Citrin]
Posted on October 28, 2005 at 06:14 AM | Permalink
Bison Steak au Poivre with Red Wine Shallot Marmalade
by Joey Altman
2 tablespoons black peppercorns, cracked to a medium grind
2 tablespoons pink peppercorns, cracked to a medium grind
1 tablespoon kosher salt
4 (10-ounce) bison (buffalo) steaks, New York steak or strip loin cut
Red Wine-Shallot Marmalade:
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 cups shallot, peeled and sliced 1/8-inch thick
2 cups red wine
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
Salt and pepper
Combine the ground peppercorns and salt and liberally coat the bison steaks.
In a heavy-bottomed saucepan on medium-high heat melt the butter with the oil and sugar. Add the shallots and caramelize them for 10 minutes. Add the wine, turn down the heat to a simmer and reduce liquid to 1/4 of its original amount. Remove from heat. Add thyme and season.
On a hot grill, cook the steaks to the desired doneness.
To serve, top each of the steaks with a spoonful of the shallot marmalade. The marmalade can be hot, warm or room temperature.
Posted on October 25, 2005 at 08:06 AM | Permalink
what the shalloteer didn't know when he left all of us for his lame "human" vacation is that robots get hungry! see the following shallot recipe, and check back for more tomorrow. -- your friendly gS robot
by Dweezil Zapa and Lisa Loeb
Posted on October 24, 2005 at 08:02 AM | Permalink
shallots need vacations, too. in that spirit, please stay tuned this week for some posts i prepared for the gS robot to edit and distribute, and please return in one week's time when i am back from the fortress of solitude (read: some overpriced eco-resort in the pacific northwest).
Posted on October 24, 2005 at 07:57 AM | Permalink
Posted on October 24, 2005 at 05:52 AM | Permalink
So Diddy either wants to be or thinks he is an MVNO, or haven't you heard? What's an MVNO? Why, it's a Mobile Virtual Network Operator: a cellphone marketing company that leases network capacity from a true cellphone company (Verizon Wireless, say) and sells its own character-driven brand of phone -- one that these days exploits the speed of 3G networks and lets you download music and movies. Confused yet? Read this trend piece on MVNO kingpin Peter Adderton -- and see Jonathan Bing for important thoughts on the tech's Hollywood marketing implications.
Posted on October 21, 2005 at 09:18 AM | Permalink
On the upside, I used as a resource some great guidance from filmmaker and designer Hillman Curtis, whose fourth book, Hillman Curtis on Creating Short Films for the Web, just hit shelves. See some of his inspiring work here (my favorite is the "Spinal Tap" Film on Film). And follow some advice from Stanley Kubrick Curtis holds dear: "Perhaps it sounds ridiculous but the best thing that young filmmakers should do is to get hold of a camera and film and make a movie of any kind at all."
Posted on October 21, 2005 at 07:11 AM | Permalink
In Noah Baumbach's "The Squid and the Whale," the younger sibling, Frank, played with deft expressionism by the rising star Owen Kline (the son of Kevin and Phoebe Cates), there are numerous sexually uncomfortable scenes underscored by a minimalist piece of music, presumably written by the film's composers, Luna's Britta Philips and Dean Wareham. To me, the music sounded like an inescapable homage to a few minimalist anthems, the stuff of Terry Riley and Steve Reich. I'm still unsure of the actual piece of music I'm speaking about, but details aren't terribly important here, for the issue at hand is not who wrote these pop-hypnotic musical cells but how well they help one feel uncomfortable when faced with a child's distress. I came to listen to this form of music -- in both its original and popified variety -- when I was in college, and for me it was always soothing -- not in the way that a boomer might find Hadyn soothing on the drive home -- but in the philosophical sense. After seeing Baumbach's film, which I respect but can't seem to write about for various reasons, I listened to Reich's Music for 18 Musicians, and realized just how jarring some of this music can be. I worry that I might now associate something with a form of music that never carried with it any clear associations before. This too shall pass, I imagine. But for now, Terry Riley makes me want to squirm.
Posted on October 18, 2005 at 09:32 AM | Permalink
Posted on October 17, 2005 at 09:47 AM | Permalink
"The man who was back in his element at the concert hall on the hill is also comfortable sleeping on skid row, where he chases away rats with a stick on which he has scrawled Beethoven's name."
"From Skid Row to Disney Hall" by Steve Lopez in today's LAT
Posted on October 17, 2005 at 07:20 AM | Permalink
I don't know what's funnier: That, along with fellow displaced (and plenty of freaky) new Angelenos, I attended free Yom Kippur services at the Laugh Factory yesterday* -- only to emerge on Sunset and be told by a cop while crossing the street to stay put before a stunt car comes screeching around the corner. Or how about Jonathan Kiefer's newest Film Flaneur column: a hilarious open letter to movie industry marketeers.
*A sincere thanks to the club, actually: As you probably read in my Larry David post, there aren't too many other places for a casually observant Jew to rock the High Holidays for free.
Posted on October 14, 2005 at 06:51 AM | Permalink
Remember Amy Fisher? I went to high school with her. Hard Copy took over my school, and the name Buttafuoco took on Hamlet-esque proportions to all of us enthralled with the opportunity to postpone our AP Bio homework for a chance to tell NY Post reporters how the demure Ms. F chatted with our Social Studies teacher just minutes before leaving to pop a cap in Mary Jo. The question, in an age where even Amy Fisher has moved on, needs to be asked, however: Why can't I escape Joey?
[Via LA.com and Defamer.com]
Posted on October 11, 2005 at 07:30 AM | Permalink
The Juilliard Quartet has refreshed its roster as often as Ford has updated the Mustang. I hate to inject negativity into the world, but truth is what's called for when assessing a cultural event, and I don't think it's "hurting classical music" to be honest about what might be wrong with it. In this case, it is, in fact, branding. Why should quartets -- or rock bands, for that matter -- get to keep the same name once they've changed members (getting paychecks from the same school where you "teach" -- if that's what they're calling it these days -- doesn't hold much water for me)? After the jump, today's LA Times review about how the Juilliard Quartet's sleepy recent concert at Disney Hall probably wouldn't have impressed as many people as it did if the applauding audience members hadn't paid big bucks to hear "bold" classical celebrities.
Posted on October 11, 2005 at 06:54 AM | Permalink
What does the sentence: "I like country music" mean to you. Does it mean: "I like Johnny Cash and his ilk" only? Does it mean "I like Tim Mcgraw" only? Does it mean "I like all incarnations of country music from Johnny Cash to Tim McGraw"? Does it mean something political to you? If, say, you met someone at a party who asked you what kind of music you may not like... and if, say, you answered "Anything but country," would you take that to be a political statement? Please write me with your thoughts.
Posted on October 09, 2005 at 08:06 AM | Permalink
Some brief sunday musicspeak from the LA Times: http://www.calendarlive.com/music/cl-ca-recordings9.3oct09,0,6200620.htmlstory
Posted on October 08, 2005 at 10:43 PM | Permalink
Who knew that all this gefilte-fishing would teach me something about Jewish genealogy? The winning Tammy writes to say that since her grandmother's recipe reminds me of my grandmother's, it's likely we hail from the same side of Eastern Europe -- that there's a "gefilte fish line" delineating two schools of fish-making (sweet v. savory) and wouldn't you know, two schools of Yiddish, among other things.
Posted on October 05, 2005 at 04:44 AM | Permalink
It’s Rosh Hashanah, so bear with the Jewish theme. I’m not particularly religious -- not a fan of organized religion, or any regimented belief system, in general. Still, I embrace my roots and like to engage in my own way some of the annual traditions. For all the early bird Mel Brooks sightings at Canter’s, for instance, it shouldn’t kill me to get over to temple for an hour or two with my parents on the high holidays. Even if generally, I find that whole scene increasingly uncomfortable: peacocked right-wing suburbanites clawing over each other to get in front of the line; tight, folding chairs crammed in so the
business congregation can be as profitable welcoming as possible; thugs taking tickets; high school classmates ignoring each other 10 years after the fact. This year, though, was supposed to be different. As anyone who saw the season premiere of Curb Your Enthusiasm knows, we Jews have to -- gulp -- buy (scalp, counterfeit, do "favors" for) actual *tickets to temple on bigtime holidays like RH. Yes, you pay for temple membership, but you aren’t guaranteed seats. And like all things Jewish, there’s a hierarchy: you can buy unreserved seats, reserved seats, I'm a bigtime Jew Pew Seats, etc. And they’re not cheap - think U.S. Open semifinal prices. The Jews run Hollywood, right? Who cares if you don’t know Steven Spielberg and Harvey Weinstein, temple policies imply: Prove your financial mettle. Give it up, yo. It’s time to spread the wealth. But I digress: This year Dad did try to get us four seats together, but guess what, he couldn't! Hundreds of possible chairs, lots of community involvement, and what did we end up with? Two reserved Samsonites and two unreserved (which essentially means standing room). No, this year, despite all the genuinely earnest involvement from the parental units, we couldn't even sit together when all four of us showed up at the same time, lest we even figure out how to get past the bouncer at the door who won't even let you back into the sanctuary if you need to get to the bathroom. So you call it: Was Larry David so "wrong" by writing an episode about getting bounced for buying scalped temple tickets? I, for one, couldn't even find unusual humor in the show, despite my love for the guy. To me, it was the most genuine attempt at reality TV I've ever seen.
Posted on October 04, 2005 at 08:52 AM | Permalink
I'm surprised at how many disgruntled gefilte fans are writing to request the winning recipe of the Great Gefilte Fish-off. I apologize: things in Shallot-land have been a little hectic to say the least. Thankfully, however, I have done the testing (of course dressed in the proper attire; see the above shoyt) and come up with this fine, finned victor. The winner - a lovely young lady called Tammy from NY -- writes:
"This recipe is my grandmother's. She passed away 8 months ago, and a large part of my eulogy was devoted to our misadventures in gefilte
fish-making. The recipe serves 25-30; don't get stuck eating it for
weeks like we did unless you have 25-30 gefilte-loving friends.
Preparing the fish:
9 lbs. carp (buy ground)
3 lb. either white fish, pike, or mullet (buy ground) -- my grandmom
suggests buying roe fish, b/c it's sweeter
*** Make sure the skin and bones from the white fish are included.
Fish men are not good listeners (a running theme in aforementioned
Put the fish in a pot with just enough water to cover it & bring to a boil.
Grind 4 onions and 2 carrots and add to the fish, along with:
2 T salt
2 T pepper (to taste, really)
6 eggs, beaten
1 1/2 c. water
9 T matzo meal
Mix until blended, then chop so it aerates. (My grandmom had a
special wide, shallow wooden bowl & hand-held chopper for this
At the bottom of the pot, put:
6 onions, chopped
6 carrots, sliced
1 T salt
1 T pepper (again, to taste)
15 c. water (enough to nearly, but not entirely, cover the fish)
1 sweet potato, peeled & quartered
skin & bones from the white fish (wrap up the loose bones in skin)
onions peels (wrapped up into a compact package)
Bring everything to a boil. Shape the fish into cakes and drop into
the pan one at a time. On top of the fish cakes put tied-up dill &
parsnip (basically, leftover soup greens -- any good Jewish housewife
would have just finished making matzo ball soup). Cover the pot &
cook for 2 hours. While it's cooking, shake the pot so nothing
sticks to the bottom and burns. After about an hour of cooking take
off the lid and baste the fish cakes. Rotate which cakes are on top
so all have a chance to brown.
When you're done, remove the fish cakes and arrange them in a flat
container. Discard the onion peels, soup greens, and skin & bones.
Then remove the sweet potato & carrots and slice to accompany your
fish. Finally, pour the liquid around the fish cakes (you may wish
to strain out some, if not all, of the onion). Put the container
into the refrigerator until cold. Voila.
FYI, making gefilte fish is, quite frankly, a pain in the ass. Even
my grandmother would agree. She & I both got lazy in our old age and
doctored the store-bought stuff, which turned out surprisingly well &
fooled everyone. (Basically, you prepare the pot as above, but dump
in the contents of a couple jars of Manischewitz' finest.)"
The verdict on Tammy's recipe: It gave me tsoris, making such a huge batch, but nothing tasted more like my Grandma's than this one. And now the mystery has been solved! Tammy is a golden gefilte goddesss.
**Lastly: Thanks Tammy -- and thanks to all those who entered (you know who you are). If you couldn't slather together some grimy fish meal this time, well, stay tuned for more Shallot food contests, featuring, among other things, borscht, corned beef, and oysters rockefeller!
Happy New Year!
Posted on October 04, 2005 at 05:16 AM | Permalink
You resent the organic resentment,
the reflexive smugness
the tote-bagged shoppers,
their yoga magazines and tofurkey,
shoot at the fruit.
Refractions from the gloss of a granny smith,
ricochet shots from egglant to bok choy,
An asteroid in your brain:
ping-ponging in the cortex,
until it tires and inspires
Posted on October 01, 2005 at 11:36 PM | Permalink