Monday, June 30, 2008

The Reign in Spain

Spain 1, Germany 0
Euro 2008 Finals
June 30, 2008

It had been 44 years since Spain last won a major championship, 1964's European Championship, but thanks to a burst of speed and a moment of brilliance from El Nino, Fernando Torres (Liverpool)...

...Spain are now reigning European champions. The best team won Euro 2008. Spain played the most attractive, attacking football the entire tournament - even when they were trying to kill the clock and hold their tenuous lead, they couldn't help but move forward and menace German goalkeeper Jens Lehmann (Arsenal), as their 11 shots on goal attest.


But perhaps the most unsung hero of the star-studded Spanish side - rich with strikers (Torres, David Villa, Daniel Guiza), attacking playmakers (David Silva, Iniesta, Xavi Hernandez) and forward-surging backs like Sergio Ramos - was holding midfielder Marcus Senna (Villareal). This Brazilian-born ball-winner is an indefatigable workhorse who just may be the new Claude Markele, the Chelsea and French national who's universally acknowledged as the world's best defensive midfielder (and perhaps the one transfer Real Madrid regrets it made). It was Senna whose steady marking and incredible work rate kept Russian playmaking star Andrei Arshavin (Zenit St. Petersburg) and German strikers Miroslav Klose and Lucas Poldoski (Bayern Munich) under wraps - and the guy who knocked heads with Michael Ballack (Chelsea) on a nasty header that resulted in stitches for the bloodied German captain. And he even had a chance to put the game away at 2-0 when, surging forward, he just missed a tap-in in front of Lehmann late in the game.

Sunday's victory lifted up a nation and clearly inspired other Spanish athletes. Over in London where the Wimbledon tennis tournament was entering its second week, Tennis Channel announcer Bill Macatee jokingly asked world No. 2 Rafael Nadal what all the fuss was over the weekend in Spain, to which avid soccer fan Nadal replied with a Chesire cat grin, "We won! After 44 years of not having won a trophy, but playing good football, and maybe not helped out by referees [no doubt a reference to South Korea's controversial win against Spain in the 2002 World Cup], we won. All Spain is proud." To which Macatee could only add, "Viva Espana!"

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Sunday, June 29, 2008

The All England Rack-it Club

Some Girls Are Bigger Than Others

Martinez Sanchez: Top Heavy Topspin

Caroline Wozniacki's Big Sweet Spot

After a week of watching the great tennis on display at this year's Wimbledon championships in London, I've noticed two most unusual sights at the All England Club: breasts.

I noticed them on the 25-year-old world No. 101-ranked Spaniard Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez and "Sweet Caroline" Wozniacki, the 17-year-old Danish Lolita-wunderkid and 2006 Wimbledon Juniors champ with the Polish name and polished game who's already attained a WTA world ranking of No. 30 (and this just two weeks away from her 18th birthday!). And, like Morrissey, I could not help but notice that "Some Girls Are Bigger Than Others." They simply stood out like, well, breasts. Needless to say, I am smitten with this year's models of grace and beauty at Wimbledon; I have discovered new obscure objects of desire, ones whose careers I must now follow dutifully.

Nordic Lolita Wozniacki

Barcelona Babe Martinez Sanchez

What's unusual about about this occurence is that with the obvious exception of Serena Williams, Poland's No. 65-ranked Marta Domachowska, India's No. 32-ranked Sania Mirza and the Czech Republic's No. 22-ranked Nicole Vaidisova, sizeable breasts are few-and-far-between on the bodies of today's long, tall and mostly flat-chested athletes whose games are build for aerodynamic speed, not comfort.

Warsaw Packed: Marta Domachowska

Nicole Vaidosova's Rack-and-Pinion Design

Sania Mirza is known for her big toss

Fact is, big breasts tend to be a hindrance to female athletes - other than world No. 6 Serena, none of the top-heavy C- and D-cup players have attained Top 10 A-list status. If you don't believe me, check out this MSNBC report, "Exercise unleashes a bounce bras can't handle," which suggests that the bigger a woman's breasts are, the more pain and discomfort she's likely to experience during physical activities.

Feel her pain: Woz struggles to keep her form under wraps

The study cites the fact that because breasts tend to bounce up and down a distance of up to eight inches during "physical activity" (and tennis is pretty damned physical!), and with some breasts weighing 20 pounds or more (a pair of D-cups weighs roughly 15 to 23 pounds), more bounce-to-the-ounce can prove painful and damaging to the limited natural support system.

More ounces mean more bounces

Case in point...In days of lore, I remember marveling at how French star Sandrine Testud (pictured right) kept her massive breasts from getting in her way enroute to her No. 9 world ranking in 2001. They seemed to get even bigger after she had a child in 2002. And I think they held her back from ever going further than the quarterfinals at Grand Slam events (1997 QF at U.S. Open and 1998 QF at the Australian Open) and achieving more than her three singles and four doubles titles on the WTA tour.

In-Sania Mania

And then there's the case of India's Sania Mirza who, on top of having to keep her bosoms under wraps to maximize her on-court play, has to deal with the moral concerns of Muslim groups in her native India. Mirza has been chastised by Muslim groups that claim her attire - wearing a sleeveless top and a mini-skirt during matches - degrades Islam. (She's even had to cancel doubles matches with her good friend Shahar Pe'er because Pe'er is an Israeli - and that incenses Islamic groups as well!)

Muslim groups approved Mirza's "Active Wear Hajib" ensemble for outdoor play

Woz and M.J.

But I digress...

In all seriousness, what truly attracts me to Caroline Wozniacki and Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez is their play. The long-legged, long-named 5-9 1/2, 150-pound Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez - sorry, I just gotta call her M. J. from now on as my fingers are getting tired from all that typing - delighted me with her serve-and-volley game in her loss to Venus Williams. What touch, what volleys at the net! The serve out wide, the rush to the net and the perfect cross-court put-away volley: pure, beautiful geometry at work! Sure, she got passed, but this was against the early-hitting Venus Williams who, on grass, is pretty unbeatable. No wonder Venus has four Wimbledon titles in six finals appearances there.

And the 5-10, 128-pound Caroline Wozniacki took a set off Jelena Jokovic before her inexperience kicked in, losing 2-6, 6-4, 6-4. Wozniacki used deep groundstrokes to take the first set, but seemed to lose steam after blowing two break chances at 3-4 in the second set. Still, she was right in the match in the third set, forcing an injured Jankovic (hyper-extended knee) into a host of errors before succumbing 6-4. Obviously her game, like her physique, is still developing.

In short, these two attractive, well-built players are ones to look out for - especially Wozniacki, a bust-out talent whose power is right on par with today's heavy hitting, baseline-hugging players.

Eurocentric Sexist Disclaimer: In light of former pro and current Tennis Channel commentator Justin Gimelstob's oafish, egregious and sexist comments on the Washington, D.C. morning radio show "The Junkies" about female tennis players in general - and Anna Kournikova in particular - I hope my comments about breasts don't come off in any way as sexist or chauvinist. I'm a fan of women and tennis and merely a courtside observer of breasts.

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Janko Tipsarevic, Balkan Baseliner

Will the beauty of his game save the tennis world?

Janko Tipsarevic
Age: 23
Country: Serbia
Ranking: No. 40

There's a new Serb gunslinger in town and he's got game. While the world rightly raves about Novak Jokovic - and Ana Ivanovic and Jelena Jankovic on the women's side - Janko is the latest Serbian tennis star whose name ends in "vic" with a game ready to break into the Top 10. If the world hadn't heard of him before - or seen him take world No. 1 Roger Federer to five sets at this year's Australian Open - they had after he bounced world No. 6 Andy Roddick out of Wimbledon's second round this past Thursday. The colorful Tipsarevic had lost to Roddick here in 2006, but avenged his defeat to the two-time Wimbledon finalist in four impressive sets, outlasting Roddick 6-7 (7-5), 7-5, 6-4, 7-6 (7-4). Roddick served 27 aces but he was 0 for 8 on break points and squandered three set points in the final set. In the tennis world this is known as "choking."

Yes, but that's not to diminish the influence of Tipsarevic's play on that result. The Guardian's Robert Kitson was so impressed by the young Serb's game that he wrote a poetic piece about Tipsarovic following a 2006 loss at Wimbleton to Andy Roddick. "Imagine a fly fisherman on the deck of a deep-sea trawler and you will get an idea of how Tipsarevic operates. In a world full of power-hitters he directs balls to improbable corners of the court with more subtlety and skill than the pile-driving Roddick will manage in his entire career."

Tipsarevic followed up his defeat of Roddick with a win Saturday over another hard hitter, Russian Dmitry Tursenov (the world No. 33 who had paired to beat him in doubles at this year's French Open), 7-6 (7-1), 7-6 (7-3), 6-3, to advance to a fourth round showdown with Rainer Schuettler.

Tipsy's trademarks, besides the noseguard over the bridge of his nose (what's that all about, anyway?) and the plentiful tattoos that peek out from under his shirt (forearm and back of neck), are his unbelievable power and baseline game. His forehand is a force to be reckoned with - this guy hits winners that leave no doubt about their intention - and his two-handed backhand is not far behind. Admittedly, he'll need to improve his serve to break into the Top 10 (as Roddick - who scoffs at any serve under 100 mph - said afterwards, "He hit 90 mph serves down the middle of the service box and I netted them"), but his mental acumen is worth an added 20-mph of zip any day. He got inside Roddick's head and played a game of chess with his opponent, constantly keeping him guessing. This kid's smart.

Tipsarevic started 2008 by reaching the third round of the Australian Open, where he more than held his own against World No. 1 Roger Federer, losing the deciding fifth set by 10-8 in a match that lasted 4 1/2 hours - no wonder they call the guy "Marathon Man"! He made it to the quarter finals at Zagreb, the third round of Monte Carlo (beating Paul-Henri Mathieu and Nicolas Lapentti before falling to David Ferrer), and barely lost a third-set tiebreaker to big-serving Chilean Fernando Gonzalez in Rome. He's also beaten James Blake this year. At the French Open, he lost in the first round, in four sets, to Ecuador's Nicolas Lapentti (which helped drop his ranking from world No. 33 to No. 40), but made it to the quarterfinals in doubles with his fellow Serb partner Victor Troicki before losing to the Russian team of Igor Kunitsyn and Dmitry Tursunov.

Oh, and about those tattoos. According to Wikipedia, they reflect his love of classic literature (rather unusual for a pro athlete): his left arm features a quote from Fyodor Dostoyesky's The Idiot ("Beauty will save the world") written in Japanese characters (after deciding it didn't look as cool in Russian), while a tattoo on his right arm represents the first two letters of the names of his father, his mother, himself and his brother, also written in Japanese Katakana. The tattoo on his back is a quote from German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer. Word has it that he reads Goethe and Nietzsche - for fun.

Tipsy's Tats quote Dostoyesky (L) and Schopenhauer (R)

Tipsy is quite the entertaining character to watch. Besides the tats, he also has piercings (he has a labret and a barbell in the right brow) and at one time sported glasses, which is rarely seen on today's tour...

...and even sunglasses - which you never see in the pro game (I wonder why?).

Future's so bright he has to wear shades

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Saturday, June 28, 2008

Grass Stains: Upsets Continue at Wimbledon

More Top Seeds Find Their Ass Is Grass

What a week of upsets at the All England Club!

On Wednesday, Australian Open champion and No. 3-ranked Serb Novak Djokovic fell to a focused comeback veteran, No. 75-ranked Marat Safin. On Thursday, 2004 Wimbledon champion and World No. 3 Maria Sharapova was defeated by 154th-ranked upstart Russian Alla Kudryavtseva and two-time men's runnerup and world No. 6 Andy Roddick was ousted by "the other Serb guy," the 40th-ranked Janko Tipsarevic. But the biggest upset was still to come...


World No. 1 Ana Ivanovic was mowed down in the third round of Wimbledon on Friday by 133rd-ranked wild-card Zheng Jie of China in straight sets, 6-1 and 6-4 - the latest victim of a series of upsets on the greens at the All England Club.

A Zing and a Zheng!

This was a collossal upset of David and Goliath proportions. Not merely because of the disparity in rankings, but because the towering 6-foot 1-inch 152-pound Ivanovic was undone by a tiny Chinese woman standing no higher than 5-feet 4-inches tall and weighing 130 pounds. I've been watching tennis long enough to know Asian women don't fare too well on the Eurocentric-dominated pro tour and in Grand Slams (except in doubles), mainly because they're fairly small. I know that sounds like a racial stereotype, but in tennis size (and especially height) matters. (Yes, Michael Chang won his lone Grand Slam at the French Open in 1989, but show me another Asian player who's a threat at the Grand Slams today.)

Zheng Plays Serb & Volley

The upset was also one for the record books, as Zheng became the first Chinese player ever to beat a reigning World No. 1. Speaking of record-breaking, Zheng was also the first Chinese player of her generation to break through at a Grand Slam event when she reached the Round of 16 at the 2004 French Open. And the first to win a Grand Slam when she teamed with Yan Zi to win the 2006 Australian Open doubles title. Zheng also helped China save face at the 2006 Asia Games by winning a gold medal in singles after top-seeded Na Li and the doubles team of Li Ting and Tiantian Sun were upset.

Ivanovic's loss also points out the sorry state of the WTA tour in the wake of Justin Henin's retirement. No one wants - or has the chops - to be the Queen! I seriously think that if Henin had stuck it out for another year she could have bagged the French, and U.S. Open crowns and seriously challenged the Williams sisters for the Wimbledon title (which increasingly looks to be an all-Williams sisters final this year). (Of course, the petite Henin - all 5-feet 5 1/2-inches and 130 lbs of her - was the exception to the Size Matters Rule, but then she had that "backhand for the ages" and French Existential Grit.)

Zheng Jie and Yan Zi at the 2006 Australian Open

Still, Chinese women seem to be the coming New Wave in women's tennis, following the ascent of the Russians in recent years, no doubt inspired by the 2004 Summer Olympics (where Li Ting and Tiantian Sun won the gold medal in women's doubles) and the upcoming 2008 Olympics in Beijing. Four Chinese women are in the top 100 singles: three from the People's Republic of China - Yan Zi (No. 44), Na Li (No. 45) and Shuai Peng (No. 55) - and Taiwan's Yung-Jan Chan (No. 72). And they excel in doubles, which gives them a volleying ability sorely lacking from most of today's big, heavy-hitting baseliners. In fact, the 24-year-old Zheng is known more as a doubles player, having won Grand Slam doubles titles in 2006 at the Australian Open and Wimbledon with Yan Zi (she's won 11 doubles titles with Yan Zi) and being ranked as high as No. 3 in doubles that same year (those Grand Slam wins also helped her achieve her career-best overall ranking of No. 27 in 2006). Her descent to No. 133 is partly due to complications arising from an ankle injury; needless to say Zheng's ranking should rise shortly after Wimbledon.

"How do you like us now?"

I think Ivanovic is a charming and talented young woman, but her imposing physique masks an inner fragility and vulnerability - clearly, she's finding the weight of being No. 1 to be too much to handle. Ivanovic had ascended to the No. 1 world ranking after beating Dinara Safina in a battle of nerves in the French Open final earlier this month, but her nerves undid her at Wimbledon. On Wednesday, the 20-year-old Serb barely squeaked by crafty French veteran Nathalie Dechy, who was two match points away from a win before a net cord and a lucky bounce opened the door for Ivanovic's eventual "Great Escape" in three sets. (The classy Gallic beauty Dechy, whose biopic would have to star Juliette Binoche, also suffered a freak "equipment" violation when she hit a winner against Ivanovich but had to replay the point because her hat fell off her head onto the field of play!) But there was to be no escape against the diminuitive but hard-hitting Zheng, who returned well and sent a barrage of flat, low and deep shots at Ivanovich that had her pinned to the baseline.

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Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Frames of Reverance


Jonathan Lapper's Cinema Styles is my new fave film blog. Discovered it courtesy of my second fave film blog, TCM's MovieMorlocks, where the TCM folks interviewed Lapper about his latest video clip montage, FRAMES OF REFERENCE. Mr. Lapper has a number of video montages on YouTube, but I'm impressed by FRAMES for putting together famous clips from a whopping 158 films (listed below)! That's a very Workman-like effort - a Chuck Workman effort, to be precise! (More on that later.)

(Jonahan Lapper, 7 minutes, 2008)

Synopsis: Frames of Reference's movie montage makes use of the similar language of film shots from one film to another while employing the composition "Complex City" by Oliver Nelson. Its approach reminds me of a classier, "fine arts" approach to the what Ron Rocheleau attempted in his New York public access show CONCRETE T.V, which juxtaposed thematically linked soundbites and images of sex and violence from TV shows and sexploitation/exploitation movies.

Here's a complete listing of the films referenced in FRAMES OF REFERENCE:

1. Le Mépris (Contempt)
2. Walkabout
3. Black Narcissus
4. The Shining
5. The Trial
6. Weekend
7. Walkabout
8. The Pawnbroker
9. Bride of Frankenstein
10. Intolerance
11. Stroszek
12. The Edge of the World
13. La Belle et la bête (Beauty and the Beast -1946)
14. Peeping Tom
15. La Belle et la bête (Beauty and the Beast - 1946)
16. Alien
17. Altered States
18. The Black Stallion
19. 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea
20. The Wizard of Oz
21. The French Connection
22. The Exorcist
23. Jaws
24. Black Narcissus
25. Vertigo
26. Bridge on the River Kwai
27. Bad Day at Black Rock
28. The Devil and Daniel Webster
29. The Maltese Falcon
30. Lawrence of Arabia
31. The Spy Who Loved Me
32. The Wizard of Oz
33. Vertigo
34. Bridge on the River Kwai
35. Amadeus
36. Singin' in the Rain
37. The Band Wagon
38. 8 1/2
39. Bande à part (Band of Outsiders)
40. Body Heat
41. Local Hero
42. The Right Stuff
43. Touch of Evil
44. Body Heat
45. Bande à part (Band of Outsiders)
46. Dr. Strangelove
47. The Big Lebowski
48. 8 1/2
49. The Red Shoes
50. Don't Look Now
51. Hiroshima, Mon Amour
52. Citizen Kane
53. Gun Crazy
54. Out of the Past
55. Dracula (1931 American Version)
56. Metropolis
57. Black Narcissus
58. Dracula (1931 Spanish Version)
59. Mon Oncle
60. The Trial
61. Dead End
62. Walkabout
63. Medium Cool
64. The Pawnbroker
65. McCabe and Mrs. Miller
66. Black Narcissus
67. The Shining
68. Army of Shadows
69. The Lost World (1925)
70. Lawrence of Arabia
71. 2001: A Space Odyssey
72. The Day the Earth Caught Fire (5 consecutive clips)
73. The Invisible Man
74. Airplane
75. 8 1/2
76. Cutter's Way
77. Excalibur
78. Peter Pan (1924)
79. Royal Wedding
80. Peeping Tom
81. Down Argentine Way
82. Au Hasard Balthazar (2 consecutive clips)
83. The Ruling Class
84. Singin' in the Rain
85. The Ruling Class
86. Royal Wedding
87. Network
88. Bad Day at Black Rock
89. Medium Cool
90. Destination Moon
91. A Clockwork Orange
92. La Règle du jeu (Rules of the Game)
93. Out of the Past
94. Last Tango in Paris
95. Lost Horizon
96. Singin' in the Rain
97. Taxi Driver
98. Wizard of Oz
99. A Clockwork Orange
100. Double Indemnity
101. The Big Lebowski
102. Raiders of the Lost Ark
103. The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp
104. The Great Escape
105. The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp
106. The Great Escape
107. Topper
108. The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp
109. Touch of Evil
110. La Passion de Jeanne d'Arc (The Passion of Joan of Arc - 1928)
111. Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde (1931)
112. Dinner at Eight
113. Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde (1941)
114. Lost Horizon
115. North by Northwest
116. The Searchers
117. The Dead Zone
118. Some Like it Hot
119. Last Tango in Paris
120. The Trial
121. Bad Day at Black Rock
122. Raiders of the Lost Ark
123. Wild Strawberries
124. La Règle du jeu (Rules of the Game)
125. Out of the Past
126. A Christmas Story
127. Gun Crazy
128. Jaws
129. No Country for Old Men
130. Apocalypse Now
131. Forbidden Planet
132. Last Tango in Paris
133. Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978)
134. The Twelve Chairs
135. Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978)
136. The Bride of Frankenstein
137. A Clockwork Orange
138. The Battle of Algiers
139. Touch of Evil
140. Planet of the Apes
141. Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde (1941)
142. Arsenic and Old Lace
143. Dead End
144. North by Northwest
145. Topper
146. Witness for the Prosecution
147. Nashville
148. The Battle of Algiers
149. La Passion de Jeanne d'Arc (The Passion of Joan of Arc - 1928)
150. Excalibur
151. The Dead Zone
152. The Legend of Drunken Master
153. M.A.S.H
154. Au Hasard Balthazar
155. Witness
156. The Godfather, Part II
157. Gun Crazy
158. Contempt


Chuck Workman, the editing maestro responsible for most of those clip montages you see each year on the Academy Awards telecasts, is most famous for his 1986 montage Precious Images, which won an Oscar for "Best Short Film, Live Action." In that film, Workman presented the greatest scenes from 50 years of film in six breakneck minutes of skillful editing. Workman used almost 500 half-second splices to "push the audience into a kind of trance and take them on a journey into their individual memories of great films of half a century." Precious Images went on to become the most widely-viewed short appearing in schools, museums, film festivals and movie theaters worldwide (and this was before YouTube). Workman's films can be found at Calliope Films:

(Chuck Workman, 1986, 6 minutes)

Here's a chronological list of the films referenced in Precious Images:

The Great Train Robbery (1903)
The Birth of a Nation (1915)
Intolerance: Love's Struggle Throughout the Ages (1916)
Teddy at the Throttle (1917)
The Immigrant (1917)
The Adventurer (1917/I)
Broken Blossoms or The Yellow Man and the Girl (1919)
Way Down East (1920)
The Mark of Zorro (1920)
The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (1921)
Tol'able David (1921)
Foolish Wives (1922)
Cops (1922)
Nanook of the North (1922)
The Thief of Bagdad (1924)
The Gold Rush (1925)
The Phantom of the Opera (1925)
Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ (1925)
Don Juan (1926)
The General (1927)
Seventh Heaven (1927)
Wings (1927)
Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans (1927)
The Jazz Singer (1927)
The Crowd (1928)
Büchse der Pandora, Die (1929)
The Broadway Melody (1929)
Applause (1929)
All Quiet on the Western Front (1930)
Whoopee! (1930)
Morocco (1930)
Little Caesar (1931)
Dracula (1931)
The Public Enemy (1931)
Frankenstein (1931)
Love Me Tonight (1932)
Red Dust (1932)
I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang (1932)
She Done Him Wrong (1933)
King Kong (1933)
Dinner at Eight (1933)
Footlight Parade (1933)
Queen Christina (1933)
It Happened One Night (1934)
Tarzan and His Mate (1934)
Twentieth Century (1934)
The Thin Man (1934)
Our Daily Bread (1934)
The Merry Widow (1934)
The Gay Divorcee (1934)
Bright Eyes (1934)
The Personal History, Adventures, Experience, and Observation of David Copperfield, the Younger (1935)
The Little Colonel (1935)
Gold Diggers of 1935 (1935)
Top Hat (1935)
A Night at the Opera (1935)
Captain Blood (1935)
Rose-Marie (1936)
Modern Times (1936)
The Petrified Forest (1936)
The Great Ziegfeld (1936)
Mr. Deeds Goes to Town (1936)
San Francisco (1936)
The Green Pastures (1936)
Swing Time (1936)
Camille (1936)
The Good Earth (1937)
Way Out West (1937)
A Star Is Born (1937)
Captains Courageous (1937)
A Day at the Races (1937)
The Life of Emile Zola (1937)
Nothing Sacred (1937)
The River (1938)
Bringing Up Baby (1938)
The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938)
Love Finds Andy Hardy (1938)
Boys Town (1938)
Stagecoach (1939)
Wuthering Heights (1939)
Goodbye, Mr. Chips (1939)
The Wizard of Oz (1939)
Ninotchka (1939)
Babes in Arms (1939)
Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939)
The Roaring Twenties (1939)
Gone with the Wind (1939)
Destry Rides Again (1939)
The Grapes of Wrath (1940)
Rebecca (1940)
Dance, Girl, Dance (1940)
The Mark of Zorro (1940)
Fantasia (1940)
The Letter (1940)
The Philadelphia Story (1940)
The Lady Eve (1941)
Citizen Kane (1941)
Sergeant York (1941)
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1941)
The Maltese Falcon (1941)
They Died with Their Boots On (1941)
Sullivan's Travels (1941)
Woman of the Year (1942)
The Spoilers (1942)
Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942)
For Me and My Gal (1942)
Now, Voyager (1942)
Road to Morocco (1942)
Casablanca (1942)
Cat People (1942)
Cabin in the Sky (1943)
Lassie Come Home (1943)
To Have and Have Not (1944)
Meet Me in St. Louis (1944)
National Velvet (1944)
The Southerner (1945)
Anchors Aweigh (1945)
Rhapsody in Blue (1945)
Mildred Pierce (1945)
The Lost Weekend (1945)
The Bells of St. Mary's (1945)
The Harvey Girls (1946)
The Postman Always Rings Twice (1946)
The Big Sleep (1946)
Song of the South (1946)
The Best Years of Our Lives (1946)
My Darling Clementine (1946)
The Yearling (1946)
It's a Wonderful Life (1946)
Life with Father (1947)
Gentleman's Agreement (1947)
Good News (1947)
The Lady from Shanghai (1947)
The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948)
Fort Apache (1948)
Letter from an Unknown Woman (1948)
Bud Abbott Lou Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948)
Easter Parade (1948)
Red River (1948)
The Boy with Green Hair (1948)
The Barkleys of Broadway (1949)
Samson and Delilah (1949)
Adam's Rib (1949)
On the Town (1949)
Annie Get Your Gun (1950)
Sunset Blvd. (1950)
The Toast of New Orleans (1950)
All About Eve (1950)
Born Yesterday (1950)
Royal Wedding (1951)
Bedtime for Bonzo (1951)
The Thing from Another World (1951)
Show Boat (1951)
A Place in the Sun (1951)
An American in Paris (1951)
The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951)
A Streetcar Named Desire (1951)
The African Queen (1951)
The Greatest Show on Earth (1952)
Singin' in the Rain (1952)
Scaramouche (1952)
Pat and Mike (1952)
High Noon (1952)
Son of Paleface (1952)
The Quiet Man (1952)
Monkey Business (1952)
Million Dollar Mermaid (1952)
Moulin Rouge (1952)
Lili (1953)
House of Wax (1953)
Shane (1953)
Stalag 17 (1953)
Julius Caesar (1953)
From Here to Eternity (1953)
The Band Wagon (1953)
The Big Heat (1953)
The Wild One (1953)
Salt of the Earth (1954)
Dial M for Murder (1954)
On the Waterfront (1954)
Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (1954)
Rear Window (1954)
Sabrina (1954)
A Star Is Born (1954)
East of Eden (1955)
Marty (1955)
The Seven Year Itch (1955)
Lady and the Tramp (1955)
Mister Roberts (1955)
To Catch a Thief (1955)
Rebel Without a Cause (1955)
Picnic (1955)
The Court Jester (1955)
The Searchers (1956)
Forbidden Planet (1956)
Godzilla, King of the Monsters! (1956)
The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956)
The King and I (1956)
The Ten Commandments (1956)
Giant (1956)
Around the World in Eighty Days (1956)
Funny Face (1957)
The Incredible Shrinking Man (1957)
The Three Faces of Eve (1957)
The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957)
Jailhouse Rock (1957)
Pal Joey (1957)
Touch of Evil (1958)
Vertigo (1958)
Gigi (1958)
The Goddess (1958)
The Defiant Ones (1958)
The Fly (1958)
Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1958)
The Big Country (1958)
Rio Bravo (1959)
Some Like It Hot (1959)
North by Northwest (1959)
Pillow Talk (1959)
Ben-Hur (1959)
Inherit the Wind (1960)
The Apartment (1960)
Psycho (1960)
Elmer Gantry (1960)
Spartacus (1960)
The Magnificent Seven (1960)
Cimarron (1960)
Cinderfella (1960)
The Misfits (1961)
The Hustler (1961)
Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961)
West Side Story (1961)
The Miracle Worker (1962)
Lolita (1962)
The Music Man (1962)
Ride the High Country (1962)
Birdman of Alcatraz (1962)
What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? (1962)
Lawrence of Arabia (1962)
To Kill a Mockingbird (1962)
David and Lisa (1962)
Hud (1963)
The Great Escape (1963)
Tom Jones (1963)
The Pink Panther (1963)
Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964)
Becket (1964)
The Masque of the Red Death (1964)
A Hard Day's Night (1964)
Mary Poppins (1964)
Goldfinger (1964)
My Fair Lady (1964)
Alexis Zorbas (1964)
The Sound of Music (1965)
Beach Blanket Bingo (1965)
Cat Ballou (1965)
Help! (1965)
Doctor Zhivago (1965)
The Endless Summer (1966)
Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966)
A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (1966)
A Man for All Seasons (1966)
Dont Look Back (1967)
The Dirty Dozen (1967)
In the Heat of the Night (1967)
Bonnie and Clyde (1967)
Guess Who's Coming to Dinner (1967)
The Graduate (1967)
Planet of the Apes (1968)
The Producers (1968)
2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
Rosemary's Baby (1968)
Funny Girl (1968)
Oliver! (1968)
Night of the Living Dead (1968)
Bullitt (1968)
The Lion in Winter (1968)
C'era una volta il West (1968)
Apollo XI Landing (1969) (TV)
Easy Rider (1969)
Midnight Cowboy (1969)
True Grit (1969)
The Wild Bunch (1969)
Putney Swope (1969)
Medium Cool (1969)
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969)
They Shoot Horses, Don't They? (1969)
MASH (1970)
Patton (1970)
Airport (1970)
Woodstock (1970)
Where's Poppa? (1970)
Joe (1970)
Five Easy Pieces (1970)
I Never Sang for My Father (1970)
Gimme Shelter (1970)
Love Story (1970)
Billy Jack (1971)
Klute (1971)
McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971)
Shaft (1971)
The Last Picture Show (1971)
The French Connection (1971)
Fiddler on the Roof (1971)
A Clockwork Orange (1971)
Harold and Maude (1971)
Dirty Harry (1971)
Fritz the Cat (1972)
Cabaret (1972)
What's Up, Doc? (1972)
The Godfather (1972)
FTA (1972)
Deliverance (1972)
Jeremiah Johnson (1972)
Lady Sings the Blues (1972)
The Poseidon Adventure (1972)
Paper Moon (1973)
Enter the Dragon (1973)
The Last American Hero (1973)
American Graffiti (1973)
The Way We Were (1973)
Sleeper (1973)
The Sting (1973)
The Exorcist (1973)
Blazing Saddles (1974)
The Golden Voyage of Sinbad (1974)
The Conversation (1974)
Claudine (1974)
Chinatown (1974)
Death Wish (1974)
The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974)
Lenny (1974)
Earthquake (1974)
The Godfather: Part II (1974)
Young Frankenstein (1974)
Shampoo (1975)
Nashville (1975)
Jaws (1975)
The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975)
Dog Day Afternoon (1975)
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975)
Taxi Driver (1976)
All the President's Men (1976)
The Bad News Bears (1976)
The Money (1976)
The Omen (1976)
Carrie (1976)
Rocky (1976)
Network (1976)
A Star Is Born (1976)
Annie Hall (1977)
Smokey and the Bandit (1977)
Star Wars (1977)
For the Love of Benji (1977)
Julia (1977)
Oh, God! (1977)
The Turning Point (1977)
Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977)
The Goodbye Girl (1977)
Saturday Night Fever (1977)
An Unmarried Woman (1978)
Grease (1978)
Jaws 2 (1978)
Heaven Can Wait (1978)
Animal House (1978)
Days of Heaven (1978)
The Deer Hunter (1978)
Norma Rae (1979)
Hair (1979)
Manhattan (1979)
The China Syndrome (1979)
Apocalypse Now (1979)
Alien (1979)
Breaking Away (1979)
10 (1979)
The Black Stallion (1979)
The Great Santini (1979)
Kramer vs. Kramer (1979)
Being There (1979)
All That Jazz (1979)
Coal Miner's Daughter (1980)
Fame (1980)
Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
The Shining (1980)
The Blues Brothers (1980)
The Stunt Man (1980)
Airplane! (1980)
Atlantic City (1980)
Gloria (1980)
Melvin and Howard (1980)
Ordinary People (1980)
The Elephant Man (1980)
Private Benjamin (1980)
Raging Bull (1980)
Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
The Great Muppet Caper (1981)
Arthur (1981)
The French Lieutenant's Woman (1981)
Mommie Dearest (1981)
My Dinner with Andre (1981)
Reds (1981)
On Golden Pond (1981)
Guerre du feu, La (1981)
Missing (1982)
Conan the Barbarian (1982)
Victor Victoria (1982)
Porky's (1982)
Eating Raoul (1982)
Annie (1982)
E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial (1982)
Poltergeist (1982)
Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan (1982)
Blade Runner (1982)
The World According to Garp (1982)
My Favorite Year (1982)
Koyaanisqatsi (1982)
First Blood (1982)
Gandhi (1982)
Tootsie (1982)
Sophie's Choice (1982)
Tender Mercies (1983)
The Meaning of Life (1983)
Flashdance (1983)
Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi (1983)
Octopussy (1983)
Superman III (1983)
Mr. Mom (1983)
Risky Business (1983)
The Big Chill (1983)
The Right Stuff (1983)
Terms of Endearment (1983)
The Natural (1984)
Paris, Texas (1984)
Ghost Busters (1984)
Amadeus (1984)
A Soldier's Story (1984)
The Terminator (1984)
Missing in Action (1984)
Beverly Hills Cop (1984)
The Cotton Club (1984)
A Passage to India (1984)
Lost in America (1985)
Rambo: First Blood Part II (1985)
Rocky IV (1985)

(Chuck Workman, 1994, 9 minutes)

Workman later bested himself with 100 Years at the Movies, a Turner Classic Movies (TCM) production created for the 1994 Academy Awards telecast to commemorate the centennial anniversary of American filmmaking. The 9-minute film includes a montage of clips from at least 225 movies, which are listed in chronological order here.

Cinema Styles (Jonathan Lapper's Blog)
Calliope Films (Chuck Workman site)
"100 Years at the Movies" film listing
Concrete T.V.
Concrete T.V. clips (YouTube)
Concrete T.V. review (Accelerated Decrepitude blog)

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I Didn't Survive a Japanese Game Show

I Survived a Japanese Game Show
Tuesdays, 9-10 p.m., ABC-TV

ABC rounds up greedy, cultural-insensitive round-eyes for filthy lucre

As a fan of G4's Ninja Warrior and Ultimate Bazuke and Spike TV's MXC, I eagerly awaited last night's premiere of I Survived a Japanese Game show on ABC TV. The premise was great - a look at people competing in those crazy Japanese TV gameshows. Only hitch was the people. They were Americans. Ugly Americans.

Moreover, the "Ten Who Dared" were nothing more than a collection of warmed-over cliches: the overbearing Staten Island Diva (Cathy), the sassy sista (Belinda), the feisty redheaded firebrand (Mary), the superjock bro with bling and stereotyped-to-point-of-caricature hip-hop-laced snaps and raps like "Yo! That's what I'm talking about, Dawg!" (Donnell), the biscuit-fed borderline-berserk Alabama good-old-boy (with nipple rings!) who looks like a cross between Dukes of Hazzard star John Schneider and homeboy terrorist Timothy McVeigh (Justin), the meek emo Mom (Darcy), the hirsute/roly-poly Jim Belushi "average guy" schlub (Andrew), and the self-effacing middle-aged bald guy (Ben)... oh, and two rather nondescript chicks that supposedly represent America's take-no-shit "working class" mettle: Olga the waitress and Meaghan the bartender.

I hate these people. And I hated them after 5 minutes. In fact, I was hoping they'd take the Tokyo subway and suffer a sarin gas attack from a suddenly resurgent AUM Shinrikyo sect (Shoko Asahara, where are you when we need you?).

That is, with the possible exception of Belinda, who actually rose above caricature to seem like a real person with dignity. Maybe because she stood up to the big-schnozzed, asymmetrically-eyed Cathy when the charmless diva and her other teammates were trying to vote her off. You could tell she was ready to tell her all-white teammates, hey, you're picking on me because I'm the big-boned sista and not some Cher-clone skank, but she refrained. And later kicked ass. I liked her pluck. She even gave "big ups" to rickshaw drivers when her team was doing penance for losing the first contest.

Charmless Cathy, the Staten Island Princess

(And I did like the "Japanese" hosts. American actor Tony Sano is the Survivor-esque behind-the-scenes guide on hand to help the young Americans learn about Japan, while charismatic Rome Kanda (a Japanese-born actor who resides in the U.S.) is the host of the actual game show who constantly shouts out "Meikije!" - Japanese for "This is crazy!")

Everyone else plays to the camera because these shows are a fraud. Unscripted my ass! When a Japanese guide points out a bridge the Americans have never heard of, and Donnell gushes, "Man that's wild, this is unbelievable!" I somehow think he's reading cue cards or else the editor is taking liberties to give the show's flow more punch. There's too much "too much"-ness here.

And the whole setup reeks of a post-Survivor dearth of ideas about what to do with the contestants, so they're put up in a domicile, a la MTV's Real Life, where a stereotypical Mama-san (the most egregious Asian stereotyping since Mickey Rooney as the buck-toothed and bespectacled Mr. Yunioshi in Breakfast At Tiffanys) bosses them around, and Tony Sano, acting as a cross between Survivor's Jeff Probst and The Apprentice's Donald Trump, rewards the winners with limo and helicopter rides while punishing the losers with such "degrading-to-Westerners" tasks as wheeling Asians around in a rickshaw. And each week a contestant gets eliminated. Sound familiar? Yes, we've seen this script before. The only difference is the surroundings: Tokyo, which provides the only class in this entire production.

Mama-san and Mr. Yunioshi

And what of the hardships of those "crazy" Japanese game shows. ABC's hype, carefully scripted and reenforced by the wide-eyed Yank contestants, makes it seem like eating Japanese mochi balls or drinking sake is a hardship. Folks, this show isn't called I Survived Hiroshima. If you wanna talk about hardship, let's chat about the Hiroshima Maidens. (The Staten Island Princess actually complained that sake tasted like gasoline. Honey, it can't be any more bitter than the blowjobs you had to give the producers to make the cut!)

And whereas on Ninja Warrior and Ultimate Bazuke, Japanese contestants play for honor and competitive spirit, this show is about greedy, mostly Twentysomethings, Americans out to win a grand price of $250,000. Ah, the Greek Olympic ideal corrupted once again by the realities of crass Western commercialism.

After watching an hour of the degrading comic relief of Mama-san and her spoiled, arrogant American guests, I was even more pissed because I realized that by watching this (and a preceding Japanese-styled game show, Wipeout - which was basically Ninja Warrior and MXC with more cash and fancier sets) I missed seeing Sam Fuller's 1959 rarity, The Crimson Kimono, over on the Turner Classic Movies channel. That movie's about racial attitudes between Asians and Americans and had, for 1959, a pretty shocking premise - interracial love between an American woman and a Japanese man. No wonder it's out of print, while easy diversions like Flower Drum Song and The Loves of Suzie Wong (in which poor Asian women come to their senses and fall for Western men) are readily available. I missed a Fuller film for this crap? Please kill me now; but first, poke my eyes out with red-hot spears.

This show would make George Carlin roll over in his grave and vomit. As he once observed about our cultural decline and fall, "This country is finished." The proof's in the programming.

If you want a good laugh, turn off the set and read ABC's official bios for the 10 American contestants:
Mary Greenawalt, a 23-year-old gym membership sales rep from Matthews, NC

With her bright red hair and devil-may-care attitude, Mary is the epitome of a fireball. Admittedly vain, this vixen has a healthy love of herself and a low opinion of others. She's incredibly silly and relies on her pixieish charm to get by, and even gets paid for being a "party motivator" -- a job tailor made for this wild child.

Andrew Kelly-Hayes, a 28-year-old radio sales consultant from Boston, MA

With his hilarious stories and off-the-wall energy, this flip flop-wearing funnyman could be a long-lost Belushi brother. Whether he's schmoozing old ladies at Bingo, harassing strangers while on "Smile Patrol" or joining his college cheerleading team to meet hot girls, Andrew has a reputation for being a nut.

Belinda Mason, a 38-year-old veterinarian from Charlotte, NC

This independent, career focused woman is a feisty veterinarian who puts making money and friends before any romantic relationships. Belinda's confidence is evident in her vivacious and spunky -- yet poised -- persona.

Cathy Nardone, a 21-year-old affiliate manager from Staten Island, NY

Happily born and raised in Staten Island, New York, Cathy is "Staten Island for life" with no plans or desires to ever leave. This brutally honest tough chick has a mouth like a sailor and will "swear to God" she's not to be messed with in the slightest.

Darcy Sletager, a 31-year-old photo editor from Sandpoint, ID

This small town, single mom is in desperate need of an escape from her lackluster life of the cubicles and from the dating scene of Sandpoint, Idaho. Always putting her kids first, Darcy feels it's time to take herself off the back burner and get back to the fiery blonde she used to be.

Donnell Pitman, a 32-year-old real estate appraiser from Chicago, IL

Although Donnell is usually loud and energetic, this "All American" dad is struggling to provide for his family and fulfill his shattered dreams of playing pro football. Donnell has competition coursing through his veins and would love the opportunity to prove to his family that he can be greater than what they've seen so far.

Justin Wood, a 24-year-old financial representative from Trussville, AL

Charming and good looking, Justin describes himself as a "divine, fine and genuine-grade-A piece of southern beast." A true southern gentleman, complete with the "twang," Justin is a fish-loving, hunting, girl-chasing guru at heart.

Meaghan Cooper, a 22-year-old bartender from San Antonio, TX

Despite being born and raised in San Antonio, Meaghan is the spitting image of a blonde California Valley girl. Hot, ditzy and free-spirited, she uses her sex appeal to her advantage in both her work and personal life. And, of course, she loves to be the center of attention.

Olga Medvedev, a 26-year-old waitress from Medford, MA

Olga's "don't-mess-with-me attitude" comes off quite abrasive, if you're not ready for it, but who can blame her, coming from a Russian family with eight brothers? Not easily forgotten, this opinionated waitress is hilarious and comical with her "tell it like it is" way of life.

Ben Hughes, a 44-year-old from Punxsutawney, PA who serves as Punxsutawney Phil's handler

He's lovable, he's comical, admittedly in the midst of a mid-life crisis, and he's the official handler of Punxsutawney Phil, the ground hog. Who wouldn't fall in love with this modest, cheerful and quirky character?

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Tennis Is A Game

Lest we forget, there was this photo op moment during the last changeover in the third set of Roger Federer's opening round match against his good friend Dominik Hrbaty on Wimbledon's Centre Court. Hrbaty walked past his designated seat on his side of the umpire's chair and instead went to sit next to Roger Federer - something you never see in professional tennis! I can't even envision Venus and Serena Williams doing it, and they're sisters! And if I saw James Blake and Leyton Hewitt pal around, I think I'd fall over.

Hrbaty and Federer chatted away, with Roger explaining later that Hrbaty said something along the lines of, "Can I sit next to you?" "Sure," Roger replied, "There's an extra seat." The 30-year-old Slovakian, who may be playing his last Wimbledon before retirement, added that it was an honor to be playing Roger and that he was glad they were friends. A charming moment and, like those American Express ads, you could probably put a price tag on what each player technically earned for this first-round match (needless to say, won in straight sets by Federer 6-3, 6-2, 6-2), but the end sum remains: priceless.

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George Carlin, R.I.P.

May 12, 1937 - June 22, 2008

The world lost a comedic genius with the passing yesterday of George Carlin. Like Mort Sahl, Lenny Bruce and Bill Hicks, Carlin was a comedian with gravitas - he had the jokes, but there was socio-political truth embedded in the humor. A little song, a little dance, a little veritas in his pants. And like Bill Hicks, no one was better at holding the sideshow mirror up to the fallen American Empire, home of crazy fat people, shopping mall culture, dumb NASCAR-and-Reality-TV-watching automatons and hypocritical leaders. As he said in an appearance last year on MSNBC's Countdown With Keith Olbermann, we've settled for crumbs - all our little electronic gizmos (cell phones, HD TVs, Blackberrys) and conspicuous consumption toys (Hummers, anyone?) spoon-fed to us by our elected officials and corporate robber barons as a distraction while they lead us down a path of no return. In other words, Carlin told Olbermann, "Everyone's got a cell phone that makes pancakes, so no one wants to rock the boat."

Here're two of my fave Carlin bits showcasing his skewerings of American media. They're taken from his essential debut LP, 1967's Take-Offs & Put-Ons. The other essential Carlin records were 1972's FM & AM and Class Clown, which contained his "Seven Words You Can Never Say On Television" (aka "The 7 Dirty Words") skit.



Many obits have been written for George Carlin, but I think the best was the one that appeared in today's New York Times Op/Ed page by Jerry Seinfeld: "Dying Is Hard. Comedy Is Harder." I especially liked Seinfeld's observation that when Carlin tackled a subject, he usually nailed it in a way that left nothing for other comedians to improve upon. "He was like a train hobo with a chicken bone," wrote Seinfeld. "When he was done there was nothing left for anybody."

Monday, June 23, 2008

Harbor News

Open Mon–Fri 7 a.m.–9 p.m., Sat and Sun 9 a.m.–9 p.m.
1010 Aliceanna Street

I love this place. As the owner, Maryland native Christini Cieri, says on her website "Baltimore needed a good newsstand and now it has one." I'll second that, and send a shout out to CC as one of Baltimore's cultural arts heroes, joining the ranks of Scott Huffines - and now Benn Ray & Rachel Whang - who begat and sustained Atomic Books, Ian Nagoski who planted the seed of True Vine Records, Mike and Barry who continue to fight the good fight against the evil axis of Blockbuster/NetFlix/OnDemand at Video Americain and the collective souls who maintain the Normal's Books & Music collective. For this is yet another local treasure, one we should give thanks for every day because, like those aforementioned esteemed establishments, this is another "labor of love" endeavor, one that isn't going to make its owner rich. No, people like Christini Cieri and the folks I just mentioned typically made their money elsewhere and then put it all into doing something they love because they believe in making Baltimore a better place to live with better services to offer (plus it beats working for The Man!).

Zine Scene: 3000 titles await at Harbor News

Located in Yuppie-friendly Harbor East, Harbor News opened in May 2006 and immediately gained attention for its (exhaustively) comprehensive - over 3000 titles! - selection of magazines and newspapers from around the world (see reviews below). It's also the only place in town where you can buy Variety, at least according to Divine Trash director Steve Yeager, whom I ran into while he was buying the newest ish. And if Harbor News does not stock a title you're looking for, Ms. Cieri will do her best to track it down for you. For example, I mentioned one day that the only title I couldn't find there was the freebie alternative paper Arthur. Christina explained that this title was not carried by her distributor. But she remembered my request and, on her next trip to New York, she brought copies of Arthur back with her. Now that's customer service!

Please note that Harbor News operates as a "cashless society." That is, you'll need a debit or credit card to purchase items, as they don't keep cash on hand. This is a security measure to guard against robberies.

And there's food - and drink - for thought, too

And while I mentioned all the mags and zines harbor News carries, I should also point out that the store stocks exotic foreign drinks (like Japanese marble sodas) and candies (like "Honees," the Italian "Honey Filled Drops" that send my girlfriend into orgasmic frenzy every time she pops one into her mouth) as well as an impressive selection of domestic and foreign cards, journals and knick-knacks.

Amy effuses: "I just love Harbor News' Honey Filled Drops!"

Sadly, I noticed on a recent visit that Thong magazine is no longer carried in the Gentlemen's Periodicals section, though I'm sure its audience can find solace in the pages of Front, Raw, Curves, and Smooth.

Reviews & Awards

Baltimore Magazine
Best of Baltimore 2007
"Best unexpected place to find last-minute gifts"

We went to Harbor News, 1010 Aliceanna Street, 410-244-5140, for a magazine and came out with a birthday present: a leather-bound atlas from Graphic Image. We used to raid Whole Foods for our “of course we remembered your birthday” loot, but that was before we found Harbor News with its Original Crown Mill vintage journals in yellow, orange, and blue; Japanese and Italian treats such as sodas and sparkling waters; and crème-filled wafers and Pretz snacks. Plus, the bawdy and hilarious Naughty Betty, Sock Monkey, and Selfish Kitty greeting cards rival those at any stationery shop.

City Paper
Best of Baltimore 2007
"Best Place To Buy Magazines"

Perhaps it's provincial of us, but almost two years later, we're still giddy over the fact that Baltimore has its own quality big-city standalone newsstand at last. Harbor News' spot on an unassuming corner on the edge of Harbor East makes it a destination rather than a fall-by for us, but we make the pilgrimage regularly to pick up obscure music mags, art journals, a coupla pounds of several different international flavors of fashion mag, and newspapers from all over, as well as the usual trash-mag suspects and big-circ slicks. We sometimes feel bad that we spend more money on mags than, say, books, but Harbor News' selection makes it a no-brainer.

City Paper
Best of Baltimore 2006
"Best Newstand"

We need magazines and newspapers like we need air, but we never look forward to writing up this category. See, Baltimore hasn't had a good stand-alone newsstand in, well, we couldn't tell ya, and while we usually manage to fix up at the various megabookstore racks, we don't always get off. And aren't good newsstands one of the hallmarks of a happenin' city? Thanks to the recently opened Harbor News, however, Baltimore now has an independent stand that rivals the chains for comprehensiveness and exceeds them in depth and taste, and boy are we excited to tell you about it. In addition to the usual suspects (your Vanity Fair, your Atlantic, your Dwell, your Mass Appeal), Harbor News goes deep. Looking for a copy of Al-Ahram in Arabic to go with your NASCAR Weekly? Check. Six different flavors of international Vogue? Check. Japanese surfer mags, in Japanese? Check. Harbor News has literal walls of good periodical reading, and it's open early (7 a.m. on weekdays, 9 on weekends) and stays open until 9 p.m. The only thing the big chains have over Harbor is big comfy chairs, but then again, this ain't a library.

Style Magazine
September/October 2006
Savvy Shopper column
"Harbor News"

At the end of her very busy week, Savvy loves nothing more than playing hooky from her Friday evening plans with a full bottle of wine, a fully loaded TiVo and a basket full of magazines. While Savvy would love to say that she tucks in with The Economist, her tastes in reading run a little more US and a little less Utne. Until Harbor News moved to Inner Harbor East (1010 Aliceanna St., 410-244-5140), Savvy suffered with nary a proper newsstand in sight. But thanks to Harbor News owner and fellow mag junkie Christina Cieri, who stocks more than 3,000 titles from across the U.S. and around the world, Savvy can now indulge her passion for everything from Harper’s to Harpers & Queen.

Urbanite Magazine
August 2006
Have You Heard… column

Baltimore finally has a real newsstand! Harbor News, which opened on May 8, has already become a hotspot for the city, which until now lacked a comprehensive news center. Harbor News carries three thousand foreign and domestic newspapers and magazines, and owner Christina Cieri can special-order periodicals requested by customers. “I’m into getting what you want,” she says. Cieri, an Anne Arundel County native who worked in New York for several years as a producer for commercials and radio, opened the newsstand in Baltimore so that she could work at something she loves while providing the city with a service it needs. The store carries standards like The New York Times and Glamour, plus international publications like Chinese newspaper World Journal, French paper Le Figaro, the Japanese edition of home decor magazine Elle Deco, and Italian architecture magazine Interni. (Michael Anft, Urbanite #26, August 2006)

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Follow the Leader

Germany 3, Portugal 2.

Turkey 3, Croatia 1 on penalty kicks.

Russia 3, Netherlands 1 in added extra time.

Oh how the mighty have fallen!


In all these examples, the teams that finished top of their respective groups at the Euro 2008 soccer championship - Group A winners Portugal, Group B winners Croatia, Group C winners Netherlands - were soundly beaten (and one could easily say "upset" in the cases of Croatia and The Netherlands) by the second-place qualifiers from the other groups. The lesson is clear: play "Follow the Leader" and your team will do OK in the knock-out stages.

It's the first time since the European Championships switched to this format in 1996 that three Group Leaders were toppled in the knock-out round, and a fourth team could have been added to the list on Sunday, June 22, as Group D leaders Spain - a perfect and impressive 3 for 3 in their opening round of play - met just-barely-qualified Group C runnerups Italy in a match that went to penalty picks after a scoreless first 120 minutes.

Spain Avoids the Swoon-in-June

Oh Fab, I'm Glad: Cesc Fabregas' kick puts Spain through

For Spain, June 22 is a day that had lived in infamy - until now. Before this past Sunday, Spain had suffered three soul-sapping penalty shooutout losses in the quarter-finals of a major tournament. The June 22 jinx covered a 22-year period, including a 1986 World Cup loss to Belgium, a Euro 96 defeat against England, and a 2002 World Cup ouster at the hands (well, feet) of South Korea following a scoreless draw after 120 minutes.

And now at Euro 2008, it looked like this year's stylish and talent-overstocked Spanish squad would suffer the nightmare again against a cynical and defensive Italian team that - minus its A.C. Milan midfield stars Gennaro Gattuso (the defensive bulldog whose roughneck style reminds me of a cross between John Belushi in Animal House and The Tasmanian Devil of Warner Brothers cartoons) and Andrea Pirlo (creative midfield general and "Bend-it-like-Beckham-only-better" free-kick specialist who bears an uncanny resemblance to The Fonz) - played for penalty kicks right from the start until the final whistle blew. It was 0-0 and the Italians, who won the 2006 World Cup after a penalty shootout with France (in another cynical display of play - I still think they only won the Cup because Zidane was sent off for his infamous head-butt), had what they wanted and the Spanish had exactly what they didn't want. After all, the Spaniards are small and play with flair, while the Italians are big and methodical. And their height presented tactical and strategic problems for the Spaniards. Every time a long ball went to Luca Toni, he towered over Puyol or Sergio Ramos. Likewise, Fabio Grosso looked like a hawk swarming down on a worm whenever he draped himself over David Villa.

But the Italians lost it - and rightly so - on the penalty kicks they held out for from the opening whistle. The Azzuri missed two and Arsenal star Cesc Fabregas stepped up to hammer home the decider past the formidable Gianluigi Buffon. Spain 4-2. The soccer Gods let justice prevail. Even with an inept ref, Simon Cowell-lookalike Herbert Fandel, doing his best to let the Italians get away with their bullying beat-down on David Villa, Fernando Torres and David Silva any time they got close to the penalty box.

Simon Says "This guy makes ME look bad!"

Any ref not sufferering from vision impairment would have awarded at least one, possibly two, penalty kicks, as David Silva had a defender stomp on his foot inside the penalty box and David Villa was pulled to the ground by a jersey-tugging Grosso on another challenge. Yet the ref administered yellow cards to David Villa for diving and to Iniesta for a harmless challenge. As ESPN commentator Andy Gray remarked, "Hopefully FIFA won't let this ref work any more games."

Saturday, June 21, 2008

England's Staying Home

When Croatia beat England at Wembley 3-2 to crash The Three Lions out of qualification for Euro 2008, a nation mourned. It was the first time the English had missed out on a major tournament since the 1994 World Cup. So in an attempt to stop the bleeding with humor, DraftFCB produced this LOL viral video for Savannah Cider that spoofs The Lightning Seeds' 1996 viddy "Three Lions" "("It's coming home, it's coming home! Football's coming home"). Love it!


From YouTube:
Isn't the best bit about being an England fan savouring that feeling of disappointment and resentment when we inevitably fail? Enjoy it all over again, and without the pressure of having something to lose: England's staying home!

We're staying home,
We're staying home,
We're staying,
England's staying home...

Everyone knows we need a draw
We don't even need to score
Here we go
We're so sure
Then England goes and throws it away
Gone and blown it away
Should of known they won't play

And I remember...

Three Lions on a shirt
Hides broken hearts still bleeding
Forty years of hurt
No signs of heeling

It's two a piece and it's all cheers
And then all your worst fears
bring you down
you're in tears
And I remember needed to score
To get back in the draw
Croatia belting the ball
And Russian dancing

Three Lions on a shirt
Hides broken hearts still bleeding
Forty years of hurt
You've got to hate this feeling

We came for the game
But it's just not the same

We're staying home,
We're staying home,
We're staying,
England's staying home...

Friday, June 20, 2008

Bang a Gong, Get It On



I first saw a snippet of this insane video "Asian Drumming Sex"...

... in a scene from the Zellner Brothers indy comedy Goliath, which screened at the most recent Maryland Film Festival back in May 2008. When someone asked David Zellner after the screening about how he discovered this video oddity, he attributed it to "the wonder that is surfing The Internet."

Hmmm...I wonder if this clip is taken from the Kanamura Matsuri, aka Japanese Sex Festival, held every April in Kawasaki, Japan? The festival celebrates the vanquishing of a demon that lived in a woman's vagina and would bite off the penises of her lovers - that might explain those devil masks on the men.

Japanese Sex Fest cheerleaders

But regardless of where the video came from, as a former drummer I applaud these ladies for their remarkable ability to keep the beat while multi-tasking!

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Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Garage Sale at HonFest 2008

The Boys of Summer: Garage Sale

My Flickr uploader is on the fritz, so here are pix of my fave Baltimore band GARAGE SALE performing Saturday, June 14th, at Hampden HonFest. I may hate the played-out crass commerciality of "Hon"-ness, but I sure do love these boys who've been providing Charm City with hot rockin' surf/garage/mod bug-music since 1994. Sweaty Fashionista bass player Dave Cawley (who defied the day's heat and humidity to wear his long-sleeved Mod t-shirt and jeans) later claimed that the band went over so well that they ran out of their Pointless Summer CDs to sell afterwards. "No kidding - we sold all three of them!" he effused, while mopping his Beatle-banged brow.

So here are The Fab Four at their rockin'est - and sweatiest!

Up Close & Personal: Big Dave Cawley

"Ready, Skizz? John? Dave? Alright fellows, let's go!"

Up Close & Personal: Long John Irvine

"My plaid is superbad!"

Up Close & Personal: Dave McD

"You ain't so groovy" Dave tells the crowd.

Up Close & Personal: The Skizzer

"Hmm, nothin' like an Absinthe Ice Cooler on a hot summer day!"

Skizz deadpans during a rim shot


All Together Now!

Garage Sale: Now brought to you by Heineken!