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Monday, February 24, 2014

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres





















Though the show has movie-star charisma, it reeks of macho nonsense.


                       
"'True Detective' is five episodes through its eight episode run, and although the show has received excellent reviews, several critics have taken issue with Matthew McConaughey's character, Rust Cohle. (Is there a more manly name imaginable?) Cohle and his partner, superbly played by Woody Harrelson, are investigating a bizarre and gruesome murder, and also facing questioning from two other detectives, 17 years later, for reasons that remain unclear. The show thus largely consists of flashbacks, with occasional scenes of the two protagonists reflecting back on what occurred.
I think the show is the most compelling and striking thing I have seen on television since 'The Wire' and "The Sopranos" stopped airing new episodes. The direction is startlingly good—each episode has a few shots that take the viewer's breath away—and outside of David Fincher's best movies, I can't recall any show or movie so creepily atmospheric and so filled with foreboding. Cary Joji Fukunaga, the director, uses music to build tension with the skill of Christopher Nolan at his best. Last Sunday's episode, meanwhile, ended with a tracking shot that must be seen to be believed. (James Poniewozik has a good rundown here.) My favorite shot, from an earlier episode, is from inside the detectives's car as a group of men run towards them with unclear intentions. It turns out to be for a completely banal reason, but far from being a throw-away, the image sticks in the viewer's mind. But back to the criticisms. The most common one appears to be that McConaughey's character spouts mouthfuls of bad dialogue. Rust is clearly on the edge—he has lost a daughter, and his police career has been filled with hardship—and consequently he is borderline insane, prone to ruminating on existence and faith and, yes, the meaning of life." (TNR)






Shail Upadhya and Karen Bass.




" There was a piece in Saturday’s New York Post by Julia Marsh about two people I’ve been seeing around the town for the last decade or maybe two but never knew. I never met either individual. I would see them at parties, at events, openings, at the opera. We’d probably nodded hello to one another in acknowledgement but there was otherwise never a word between us, let alone a conversation, that would have led to some kind of acquaintanceship. It’s not unusual in this great city to frequently see people you never quite meet, not unlike a familiar face in your neighborhood, a neighbor, you’ve seen forever but never talked to. One of the two is someone I’ve written about HERE. She is the Baroness W. Langer von Langendorff, who has been a fixture in the tonier environs of Manhattan for many a day, long before I ever stepped on the terra firma with my byline. I’ve never seen her in the light of day although she lights up the night with her flaming tresses and her baubles – always tastefully displayed – and reminding one of a real life diva. The baroness’ fashion choices reflect another age and another era when women of fashion and (independent) means wore a lot of that stuff all the time ...The other character in this unfolding drama, according to the Post, is Shail Upadhya. Mr. Upadhya was also a man whose presence was immediately noticeable in any crowd. He dressed for all occasions in his own style. He loved colorful suits that often looked like he’d had them made up strictly for himself. I’d see him everywhere. He didn’t seem to be socializing so much as standing about and around. I’d wonder what the pleasure of the company was for him. I often concluded he liked dressing up for parties and milling about. To each his own; it is New York after all.From the Post article, I learned that he was a longtime companion of a real estate broker named Karen Bass. He had been her boyfriend for 30 years.  Ms. Bass died two years ago, and she left her friend a small fortune of several millions in real estate. According to the Post, she stated in her will: 'My dearest Shail…I have always loved you and I will watch over you always.' Evidently Mr. Upadhya took his friend’s death very badly. Friends said that his health went downhill after that and this past January, he died at age 79. I should add that Mr. Upadhya was a very youthful looking 79. He was a slender man, not big, small but wiry and moved around energetically. He had been a disarmament expert at the United Nations. He then began a career as a 'fashion designer.'" (NYPost)


"Saturday’s Page 3 dealt with the late dear gentle UN official cum designer Shail Upadhya, my friend since I visited his native Nepal in 1961. The Post alleges he was bilked by 'evil . . . scheming . . . scary' Baroness von Langendorff. I know this beefy heifer who shows at every NYC event swathed in emeralds. Always emeralds. In the loo, she’d squat in emeralds.What she did or didn’t, I don’t know. I do know where the feds or fuzz can find her now. In a Palm Beach suite with her current sheik on a reinforced bed at the Colony Hotel. She swans by the pool in emeralds." (Cindy Adams)




"'Do you think women feel humiliated by the act of penetration?'  ~ This was all long ago in NYC. My friend Jill called to say her Boss wanted to interview me for his ‘book’. 'No way!' I said. I already knew about this book as Jill had been whining about it for months.  'Please!' Jill mewled and whined until I buckled. Unenthusiastically I dragged off to a glass tower overlooking the Hudson Riv...er, to a spare affair on a high floor in dark leather and chrome. In an armchair by the window reclined a lanky aging fop in business attire, with a foulard of canary silk to compliment his canary socks. I disliked him on sight. The Boss pointed to the empty seat across from him as he leaned languidly forward and fingered a small device on the glass table dividing us. 'I’m going to tape our interview,' he said, by way of introduction, and he thumbed a red button, pressing until it hummed. The interview began with banal questions, mere prelude. After a few minutes of inanities the Boss presented his frightful question, 'Do you think women feel humiliated by the act of penetration?' I pursed my mouth. I was instantly enraged. I felt certain this was ‘off topic’ on a sinister level. And it sunk in this ‘book’ was strictly a vanity project, the purpose of which was a means for him to meet whomever he liked. A distinct glitter sparkled in his night dark eyes, like perhaps he was excited to get at the information. 'Am I embarrassing you?' he said, inappropriately coy. I pictured smacking the contempt from his face, knocking him and his hubris to the Persian carpeted floor. To mask my fury I watched the little machine on the table, with its tiny tape rolling around, capturing nothing.'Embarrassed?' I spat up an involuntary chuckle. I sat straight, at the lip of my chair, and stared into his face and felt a sense of serenity come over me. 'Tell me,' I began, in a steady tone, a smirk already on my face. 'If a girl strapped on a dildo and fucked you up the ass would you feel humiliated?' We stared at each other for a microsecond and then the Boss stood up bellowing, 'Are you insane! Are you crazy!' He grabbed at the recording device and smashed it in the palm of his meaty hands. Bits flew." (Christina Oxenberg)




A view of three of the five volcanoes surrounding Lake Atitlan






"In last week’s installment of Guate-Hollah! we were at the black sand beaches of Monterrico. This week, on the way to Chichicastenanga, I bring you Panajachel, on the shores of Lake Atitlan.
I was skeptical of Panajachel at first as it has long been a hippie hangout – and man are hippies annoying! – but I was quickly won over. I mean, come on – look at that Lake! It’s actually a huge caldera formed millions of years ago and is now surrounded by three active volcanos. The lake has a bunch of villages on its shores but there are no roads connecting them so everyone has to take boats to get anywhere. The Mayan religion is also really active in this area and there are a lot of ruins to check out. and you know me – any chance to play Indiana Jonesette, I’m game! If you ignore the hippies and the smell of patchouli, Panajchel is amazing… there are three different indigenous markets and a ton of cobblestoned streets to wander down. But you have got to go eat (and stay at) the Hotel Posada de Don Rodrigo. Located on a cliff above the lake, the Hotel Don Rodrigo has lawns to relax on, a crazy swimming pool with flumes (!) and a restaurant that makes homemade sausage and the yummiest Chile Relleno I’ve ever had. The only issue with Panajachel (and it’s actually an issue with Guatemala in general) is the Pan American highway, which is crammed full of chicken buses (with names like Juanita, Sally and Esmerelda) and drivers who may or may not be a. drunk, b. blind. c. have inner ear balance issues, d. suffer from insanity or e. all of the above. I was popping Dramamine like Pez and found religion real quick on those drives." (PaulaFroelich)

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