Sunday, April 27, 2014

In Memoriam

     Dexter died Saturday, April 26, 2014, of a blood clot.  He’d been diagnosed with congestive heart failure a year and a half ago.  He was very brave and a good patient in taking his medicine to keep his symptoms at bay for as long as possible.  To the very end, he was deeply affectionate, curious and a great listener.  He’d check out what was happening on the street, both from his window bridge perch and on his forays to our adjacent neighbors.  He fiercely guarded the house from various foes that he battled or drove off.  He was always kind to friends, and he could see through a fool pretty quickly.  He came to enjoy travel and car rides. We already miss him terribly.  

     We started our blog because Dexter was an inspiration.  The focus won’t be on him as much for future posts, but his spirit will continue to shine through.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Cheech Marin, Chicanitas, and UW

The Latino/Hispanic tradition celebrated in Laramie

Cheech Marin
    The University of Wyoming Art Museum displayed Chicanitas:  Small Paintings from the Cheech Marin Collection (size doesn’t matter) this past fall.  Marin, famously half of Cheech and Chong, has pursued his passion for art after touring Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum and viewing Rembrandt’s monumental The Night Watch, then seeing Vermeer’s work

Monday, April 21, 2014

Quan Hapa

It may be a case of taking casualness to the point of disenchantment

       Quan Hapa is a newer venture from the makers of Pho Lang Thang.  We were expecting a glorified, contemporary version of its predecessor and on some notes it does just that.  Pacific Rim influences are throughout with cuisine ranging from Vietnamese to Japanese.  

Quan Hapa Interior
      The space is long, narrow and small with garage doors opened along Vine Street during nice weather.  That gave it an appearance of a resort bar that one might find on a

Friday, April 18, 2014

Personality Chef Carla Hall

Toot. Toot! Honk. Honk! Ah-Ooh-Ga!

Dexter Enjoys Carla's Reading
      That was Carla's call out from her first book Cooking with Love: Comfort That Hugs You.  It's what she says when she wants to give herself a pat on the back.  At the recent book signing at Joseph-Beth Booksellers for her second book, Carla's Comfort Foods: Favorite Dishes from Around the World, her fans were ready to give her plenty of pats and

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Reconsidering The New Hollywood, Part II

The Stunt Man

      . . . if only László Kovács had shot The Stunt Man, which is bathed in that butterscotch lighting redolent of prestige (i.e. Emmy contender) TV movies of the late ‘70s and early ‘80s.  (1980’s Those Lips, Those Eyes had the same awful lighting).  

     The Stunt Man has a script by Richard Rush and Lawrence B. Marcus from Paul Brodeur’s novel that probably reads beautifully.  It’s a variation on

Monday, April 14, 2014

Reconsidering The New Hollywood, Part I


     The R rated movie introduced the adult, intelligent “New Hollywood” of the ‘60s and ‘70s that was subsumed by blockbusters and was reasserted by the independents of the ‘90s.  TCM recently showed Shampoo (1975) and The Stunt Man (shot in 1979, but allowed to escape in 1980 and Part II for this article), which represent that initial period, were

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Beck: Morning Phase

Beck brings it on with an album 
that leaves Pop/Rock/Alternative in its wake

     I was a fan of Beck from the first time I heard “Loser,” though to paraphrase Entertainment Weekly, part of the reason I liked it was because I knew Kathie Lee Gifford would never cover it.  Odelay (1996) and Midnite Vultures (1999) were a lot of fun since they took on Hip-hop and Disco, respectively, but Sea Change (2002) sounded sort of drab

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

The Eagle Food and Beer Hall

Everything one would expect as the string 
of restaurant pearls continue on OTR Vine Street

The Namesake Wall Graphic
      There has been a lot of buzz around The Eagle Food and Beer Hall since it opened in December 2013.  If a conversation comes up about food and restaurants, The Eagle is mentioned with more than just a passing comment.  I had been waiting to go and wanted to experience it with a larger

Sunday, April 6, 2014

New York in the ‘70s: Will Hermes, Martin Gottfried, & Sam Wasson

During an economic free fall, the city 
crumbled, but the performing arts electrified

     When Howard Cosell said, during the 1977 World Series, “The Bronx is burning,” it really was.  Fires in the Bronx and bombings in Manhattan were commonplace in the ‘70s, an era that Will Hermes resurrects with extraordinary detail and an encyclopedic knowledge of the music scenes in Love Goes to Buildings on Fire:  Five Years in New York that Changed Music Forever (2011).  Hermes is a senior critic for Rolling Stone, but he writes in the exciting, all-encompassing style of

Friday, April 4, 2014

A Shooting Scene from "Carol"

The new film directed by Todd Haynes 
and starring Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara, 
continues to film around Cincinnati this spring  

50s Cars Lined Up for Action
      We were driving around downtown with our friends from Michigan (Kris, Karn and Helen) and happened on to a shooting scene outside of the old Post (newspaper) building on Broadway.  The movie takes place in New York City in the

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Pharrell Williams: Girl

Charming Disco Redux

Pharrell Williams Performing "Happy" on the Oscars
     Pharrell Williams blew into the mainstream consciousness last month with his darling performance of “Happy” on the Oscars and his album Girl hitting number one the following week on the charts.  Though he was one of The Neptunes, a

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Watching the Detectives, Bang Bang, Shoot Shoot!

Continuing some examinations 
of contemporary detective series

Detail of Jacket Cover from The Cat, the Quilt and the Corpse
Illustration by Jennifer Taylor
     The Mystery/Thriller genre has been split into ‘Cozy’ and ‘Hard-boiled’ for over thirty years.  Cozies usually feature murders in a non-violent manner, focus on one or two related murders, and are set in towns or rural areas.  Their general forebears are the British Golden Age of the 1930s, specifically