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bon chance (March Believer, bicycle racing, Wonderfalls & lost song!)
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A revelation, or yet another reason to keep this blog.
Some of you may remember my December plea for help finding a song I'd heard on WRVG, our wonderful local radio station that had been evilly sold but was still playing programmed in music. The station manager found the entry through google and emailed me the artist and album of The Long Lost Great Song last night. It's on Erin McKeown's Grand album, the second track, "Cinematic." There's a sample at Amazon, so you can hear part of it. I will be heading over to CD Central after work tomorrow to pick up the album. What better to rewrite the book to? I was skipping around the house happy about this last night.

Yesterday was a good day. We drove up to Louisville for the day, starting off with a trip to El Mundo (likely our favorite restaurant in Louisville -- we almost always go there and never argue about it), where we met Rob for lunch. El Mundo never disappoints, and despite a mix-up wherein Rob got his food after we were nearly finished with ours, this visit was no exception. Delicious guacamole with chunks of avocado (almost as good as Luz's but not quite, no heat), sharp salsa fresca. Yum. Rob got to witness my cold firsthand, as I'm still annoyingly sniffly and congested, though my energy's slowly oozing back shred by drop.

It was a lovely breezy morning so we decided to walk up the street to Carmichael's bookstore (negating a need to stop at Border's later). Carmichael's is an excellent neighborhood bookshop -- they had the March Believer, which was my main item of intent for the day. (More on why in a moment.) And a really good selection of books, well laid out -- the science fiction was particularly nice, with Graham Joyce, Jonathan Lethem, and other writers who usually get put in mainstream right there, not to mention a giant placard calling attention to all the Jonathan Carroll trade editions. Very nice. I also picked up Matthew Sharpe's THE SLEEPING FATHER off Ed Park's exceptionally glowing review in the Village Voice. I'm looking forward to it.

The reason I so wanted The Believer is because it features a piece by Karen Joy Fowler called "Jane and Me" -- about some things she's been thinking over as THE JANE AUSTEN BOOK CLUB is published, including why more men don't read Jane Austen, what the men that do are like, whether she would have read Jane Austen if she were male, how Jane Austen is misread and how she is or is not like magazines for teenage girls and fairy tales (and how comic books and fairy tales are different, bonus). It's a wonderful piece and I urge you to run out and pick up the issue to whet your appetite for the book itself. Here's a snippet:

Skip ahead a few years to where I'm eleven or so. If I make myself imagine what I imagine to be a classic scene -- two boys reading comic books together, belly down, comics opened on the floor; if I then turn those boys into girls; if I then turn one of those girls into me, the other becomes my best friend, Margaret; the floor becomes the twin beds in her bedroom; the comics become magazines. The magazines belong to Margaret's older sisters. We're not supposed to be reading them, but only because they're not ours, not because there's anything in them anyone thinks we shouldn't see.

These magazines are entitled Seventeen, and Teen magazine, and maybe 16, though the latter was a little celebrity-focused for us; we weren't so into that. I love the makeovers (who doesn't?) and the advice columns. I'm engrossed in how to get and keep boys interested, long before I'm engrossed in boys. I read with fascination how the right hairstyle can add needed width to a thin face, how the right clothes can mask a short waist, even though my face is not thin and my waist not short. All these years later I can still quote random lines from such articles verbatim.

It's a marvelous essay, funny and thoughtful. The couple of paragraphs I've chosen above are random ones, and not meant to reflect the entire piece's content (there's no Austen in them for one thing). They do, however, showcase Karen's remarkable command of the semicolon! (I envy.)

After the bookshopping, I went in to the little wine shop nearby, The Wine Rack, and asked the shopkeeper for recommendations on a nice dry chardonnay and a warm red, both in the 10 to 15 dollar range. The wines he recommended turned out to be quite lovely and bargains to boot. The chard is from Two Tone Farm in California and is a 2002. It was 10 bucks, it has a screw top, and it's lovely. (Oh stop, I feel about screwtops like I do about digital video -- it's a better technology. The shopkeeper was a little concerned that I'd be put off by the screwtop, but I assured him I understood it gives a better closure to the wine and is all the rage. The other bottle we got had a synthetic cork. The times they are changing; get ready.) The red was Talomas 2001, a syrah and cabernet sauvignon blend, about 15 bucks. It was delicious. I am a big believer in wine recommendations and love nothing more than a shop where the person behind the counter knows their stuff and will steer you to affordable wines without looking down their nose.

After this, Christopher and I bade Rob farewell and went to our true purpose -- the criterium bicycle races at a park on the West End. It was actually the first time either of us had ever watched live cycling. It was marvelous -- perfect weather, we sat at the start/finish. Three bikers broke away early on and stayed that way, so they'd come by and then a minute later here'd come the peloton, cursing and panting in their brightly colored jerseys. Three little girls playing barbies behind the tree where I sat reading The Believer would pause to shout "Go, daddy! Go! Go!" each time, without looking up from their games, and at one point they began arguing with each other about whose daddy was toughest. I believe the officials managed to recruit Christopher to join them as an official in the future, so it looks like there are more Saturday bicycle races in the future.

Then, a quick stop at Actor's Theatre for a Premiere Pass, which will allow us to see any two of the Humana Festival plays at any two showings. Coffee, take-out, home.

We watched THE MISSING when we got home, which of course is a loose reworking of THE SEARCHERS with a female lead. It's an interesting movie, especially for the first two thirds; the ending ceases to work due to some questionable choices in camera work and editing and false climaxes that seem false while they're happening. Cate Blanchett makes an interesting John Wayne. It's worth seeing. We preferred the wizard battle to the one in Lord of the Rings, and overall the supernatural element is handled well. Mostly, though, I love Cate Blanchett and really feel she's one of the best actresses working today. She's definitely the most convincing at accents, she has great taste in material and never stops going new places with the work, and she has a steely intense quality that I will compare to Katherine Hepburn's without blushing one whit. So there.

Let's see, let's see, what else? Wonderfalls. Watch it. I'm sure it'll be canceled before long, because it's good and it's in an awful timeslot. In case you don't know, the nutshell premise is that a young woman who works at the gift shop of Niagara Falls begins to hear objects shaped like animals speak to her, tell her to do things. There are a lot of parallels with the opener of Dead Like Me -- because at least one of the creators is the same and left Dead Like Me when they turned it into a lesson show. He's using Wonderfalls to do what he'd intended with the other show -- which is have a not entirely sympathetic, sarcastic young female main character who learns by screwing up instead of growing up. There are visual quotes from DLM in the first ep: a fountain in the background when fate butts into the life of the lead, the opening montage that sets up the myth behind the show's world. The best thing about the first episode was that it avoided that trap that many shows do when introducing a supernatural force into a character's life -- they either oversell the "I think I'm going crazy" or they have the character accept it too easily. Wonderfalls managed to gracefully walk the line and sell the character's reaction as real. It's really worth a look. Plus, talking animals!

Oh, and, here's a review of Michael Chabon's new comic The Escapist. We've ordered but haven't gotten it yet, though we liked the story he did in JSA All-Stars recently. Christopher has all these things to say about the old-school style Escapist is working in, but I'll leave those for him cause frankly I don't know nothing about it.

Sorry for the length of this post! You'll never get those minutes of your life back! Good evenings all around!

worm: "Cinematic," Erin McKeown

today's fave post: "For Biscuit Eaters Only" by Terry at ABL

namecheck: John "Clever Like Bianca" Kessel

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