Here is what I remember of the fun I had this week, admittedly written much later.
Monday afternoon I enjoyed watching Stella taking another climbing lesson at the gym. It was cut short, because she only climbed once and was not interested doing it again. So only 2 minute of the 45 minute class was utilized, but she was happy. After the gym I went to the JCC, where I watched another film with the film festival committee.
Tuesday evening we all ended up at the gym, before and around Anya’s belly dancing class. It ended so late, that instead of cooking dinner we went out for a simple Vietnamese dinner. It felt good for all of us, relaxing there.
For Valentine’s Day we got lucky and found that one of Stella’s grandma could be with her. This way we had a chance to dine out, which we did at Sobbit Goa. The company and the food was excellent. I remembered taking Lactaid with me, so really enjoyed Mano Lassi again. Also papadum, naan and two main dish. To round of the evening we also had frozen yogurt. We were thinking what else we could do in the time we had, but didn’t come up with much more. Still this was the high point of the week.
There was also a little party at my workplace for V-day. Before the Subway sandwiches, sodas and chocolate the company got for our lunch we played a little game. We all got a sheet, that had bingo written on it. However we had to fill out all the 5×5 squares, where each contained a statement, that was true for one or more of our colleagues. We had to find to whom it applied and got her/his signature in the box. I was very slow, but the first one was another SEO person. Her prize was a box of fancy chocolate, that she was kind enough to share, so I had a piece to. It was a good, day, but I ate too much.
The third V-day related event was that Criterion movies were available to watch throughout the weekend free on Hulu. I watched three with commercial, when I realized that we actually paying members of Hulu Plus, so I could have watched them any time without commercial. This was a great discovery as Criterion published a lot of the art and foreign movies I was interested in watching. Looking forward doing so from now on.
I also read a book. Sort of. Someone donated to the Jewish Library where I work a book titled “Exit Wounds” by Rutu Modan. So I took it home, before incorporating into the library’s collection. (This is an advantage i feel I can take as the librarian there.) It was an interesting story of a young man searching (and more often not) for his father who may have been a victim of a suicide bombing. I only count it as “sot of” reading, because it is a graphic novel. I believe this is only the second or third such work I ever read, after Spiegelman’s Maus. It was fun to get immersed into this media and I may try other books too in the future. But looking at panels of drawings is definitely a different experience then reading text only.
Here are the movies I watched this week:
- All In (La suerte en tus manos) (2012, Argentina) – not funny enough comedy, but fast-paced with a barely likeable hero.
DVD – IMDB summary: A professional poker player seeks out an old flame after his marriage fizzles. Trailer
- Black Moon (1975, France) Non-linear trip through the mind of an over-imaginative girl. But I only learned this towards the end. Till then I was watching a dystopian gender drama.
DVD – IMDB summary: There is a war in the world between the men and the women. A young girl tries to escape this reality and comes to a hidden place where a strange unicorn lives with a family: Sister, Brother, many children and an old woman that never leaves her bed but stays in contact with the world through her radio. Since the content of this picture is not as important as the pictures and allegories, the simple plot can not be described further. Trailer
- Border Radio (1987, USA) Watched it for the punk musicians, but got stuck with the story too. Low budget, reminiscent of Jim Jarmush. Weird that the black and white tone was et as if taking place in a cold climate, but really it was in the summer in Los Angeles and Mexico
DVD – IMDB summary: Three musicians take money that is owed to them from a job and flee to Mexico. Trailer
- Colossus: The Forbin Project (1970, USA) – Surprising ending in a world where war games end instead of with the planned win-win, with a win for the proto-Terminator.
DVD – IMDB summary: Forbin is the designer of an incredibly sophisticated computer that will run all of America’s nuclear defenses. Shortly after being turned on, it detects the existence of Guardian, the Soviet counterpart, previously unknown to US Planners. Both computers insist that they be linked, and after taking safeguards to preserve confidential material, each side agrees to allow it. As soon as the link is established the two become a new Super computer and threaten the world with the immediate launch of nuclear weapons if they are detached. Colossus begins to give its plans for the management of the world under its guidance. Forbin and the other scientists form a technological resistance to Colossus which must operate underground. Trailer
- How to Re-Establish a Vodka Empire (2011, USA) – I enjoyed the story, the storytelling, how 3 threads were interwoven, and the reenactments. Didn’t like the the vodka ended up being advertised with Communist design.IMDB summary: Feature documentary charting the journey of film director Dan Edelstyn as he tracks down his long lost Jewish Ukrainian heritage and then attempts to relaunch his great grandfather’s once glorious vodka empire. The film constitutes a whirlwind journey through European times and spaces – the story has it all, revolution and romance, exile and entrepreneurship, and at its heart lies a life changing discovery of a vodka distillery in Ukraine. Trailer
- The Naked City (1948, USA) – Great display of the material culture of post-war NYC, with a basic who-dunnit caper thrown into it.
DVD – IMDB summary: Amid a semi-documentary portrait of New York and its people, Jean Dexter, an attractive blonde model, is murdered in her apartment. Homicide detectives Dan Muldoon and Jimmy Halloran investigate. Suspicion falls on various shifty characters who all prove to have some connection with a string of apartment burglaries. Then a burglar is found dead who once had an elusive partner named Willie. The climax is a very rapid manhunt sequence. Filmed entirely on location in New York City. Trailer
- Orchestra of Exiles (2012, USA) – Good coverage of origins of orchestra, but I would have liked to learn more about its overall history, beyond on pre-history. Good history doc though.
DVD – IMDB summary: Some stories get lost in the turmoil of their times. It is often only in retrospect that we can discover the true shapers of history. One such man is the prodigious Polish violinist Bronislaw Huberman. Orchestra of Exiles explores this great man’s 4-year odyssey, which culminates in the founding of the orchestra that would become the Israel Philharmonic. His fascinating story touches many of the major themes of the 20th century and the unfolding drama of his life is riveting. During the darkest days of a Europe being torn apart by anti- Semitism and Nazi aggression, Huberman’s extraordinary efforts saved hundreds of Jewish families from the approaching holocaust and his achievements changed the landscape of cultural history. Before the Nazis came to power Huberman was focused only on building his own monumental career but witnessing Hitler’s agenda was a call to action that Huberman could not ignore. Huberman’s personal transformation and subsequent heroic struggle to get Jewish … Trailer
- Refuge: Stories of the Selfhelp home (2012, USA) – Good series of personal/oral histories, but not enough about the last 3-4 decades of the home. May not have wide appeal as it is about 1 place on the East Coast.
IMDB summary: A one-hour documentary revealing the origins and originality of a resourceful community that over generations has brought together more than 1,000 Central European Jewish refugees and Holocaust survivors under one roof. Interweaving archival footage with testimony by the Selfhelp Home’s residents and founders, REFUGE reaches back 70 years to tell the story of this last generation. Trailer
- Things to Come (1936, UK) – I am pretty sure I’ve seen this when I was a kid. Didn’t remember the philosophical last third, where the idea and value of progress itself is questioned.
DVD – IMDB summary: A story of 100 years: a decades-long second world war leaves plague and anarchy, then a rational state rebuilds civilization and tries space travel. Trailer
- Welcome to Kutsher’s: The Last Catskills Resort (2012, USA) – Too many talking heads, not enough documents in this documentary for my taste. But interesting preservation of soon something that might become soon history.
IMDB summary: Kutsher’s Country Club is the last surviving Jewish resort in the Catskills. One of the legendary Borscht Belt hotels during its heyday, Kutsher’s has been family-owned and operated for over 100 years. Exploring the full Dirty Dancing-era Catskills experience– and how it changed American pop culture in the comedy, sports and vacation industries– this documentary captures a last glimpse of a lost world as it disappears before our eyes. Trailer
Here is the not so fun part of the week. Stella got sick no Thursday. we kept her home on Friday and Anya even toko her to the doctor, who prescribed some antibiotics. We struggled with Stella whole afternoon so she woudl take the liquid. We eventually gave up, as we knew that we can go back and get her a shot. That’s exactly what we did next day and she recoveed fast after that.r