Category Archives: Film/TV

New finds

Happened upon a couple things worth mentioning this week:

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Glenn Martin, DDS: This new stop-motion animated comedy from Tornante Animation (Michael Eisner’s company) is a fun, clever addition to the Nick at Nite lineup. The titular character (a dentist voiced by Kevin Nealon) takes his family on an RV trip across America in an effort to bring everyone closer together. Silliness ensues, thanks to a witty script and an impressive cast that also includes Catherine O’Hara and Judy Greer. The show has its sight gags for younger viewers, but it’s definitely geared towards an older crowd. Case in point: Last night’s premier episode featured a visit to the Amish, and a horse with a long, blond mane joining in a “Sex in the City”-style knitting circle. Get it? All I ask is that they get rid of the distracting laugh-track.

This week, watch episodes every night at 8pm, or catch all four on Friday from 8-10pm. Comedy Central will re-air the previous night’s episodes at 6pm. Regular season shows air Mondays at 8pm on Nick at Nite.

In Seattle…

Bang Bang Café: No, it’s not a gentleman’s club – it’s a haven for anyone living in Elliott Bay Plaza on an otherwise desolate stretch of Western Avenue between Wall and Battery streets in Belltown. This café, which opened across the street just four days ago, now ups to the ante of shops on this block to three, in addition to a meager convenience store and “Beauty is Pain” hair salon.

Pretty, chipper sisters at Bang Bang serve coffee, affordable paninis (all in the $5-$6 range) and – get this – an assortment of breakfast burritos all day. Not just a breakfast burritos – five kinds! Be still my stomach… The setting is just as welcoming, light and airy, and to top it off, they have a backgammon set for customers to use. This might be my new favorite place. Poor Macrina – if you were only one block closer…

Hempfest: This is my Sunday morning drill: get up, go for a walk from Olympic Sculpture Park to Elliott Bay Park, rehydrate with coffee. But this past Sunday, my boyfriend and I noticed that there were a lot of people — a lot of people — doing the same thing we were doing. As we got closer to OSP, we also noticed it smelled…different. And there were security guards at the entrance. Eh? Welcome to Hempfest, the 18th annual gathering of 200,000 people celebrating weed in all its glory, right in our backyard. Two. Hundred. Thousand. Judging by the crowd, it looked like Michael Jackson had come back from the dead and was doing a free benefit concert. Don’t ask me how we didn’t notice the throngs all weekend — I just thought traffic was bad because of tourists. In-TUITIVE.

We wandered around for a while (we’re curious!) and were impressed by how many different kinds of people were there. Young, old, hippie, yuppie skinny, not so fat (surprising considering the accompanying munchies). No age limit since no alcohol was being served — it must be the first Seattle fest this summer without a beer garden — so people were there with their kids. There were war protesters, vegans fighting for animal rights, a member of the ACLU trumpeting marijuana’s economic benefits. Yes, organizers tout Hempfest as a “protestival,” but it’s about as heated as a company picnic.

There were booths on medical marijuana clubs — it’s legal in 13 states, including Washington. A band dressed as vampires played in 85 degree heat. People sold paraphernalia of every sort: bongs, pipes, vaporizers, gas masks with bongs attached. Some sold homemade glass out of shopping carts. There was organic clothing, artwork, virgin margaritas, burrito stands, books signed by Ken Kesey. One poor guy was trying to sell windows — easily the loneliest booth at the fest.

By the time we left, we had walked the length of the park, eaten a monster burrito, listened to a great ’20s band from Oregon called the Shangai Woolies, and people-watched to our hearts’ content. I’m kicking myself for not having my camera, but maybe it was best if I didn’t. Even a picture wouldn’t do Hempfest justice.

These magic moments

Week in review, from Monday, Aug. 3 – Monday, Aug. 10:

Thumbs-up go to:

1. The Yankees’ four-game sweep of the Red Sox and David Ortiz holding a press conference on his alleged steroid use. Do I smell the beginning of a Yankee renaissance? Maybe if I can forget that they lost their first 8 games against the Sox this season…

…and that A-Roid had his own steroid scandal already and just generally sucks as a human being…

…and that the Yanks built and opened a new $1.5 billion stadium during a recession with nearly half the ticket prices hovering between $100-$2,500. PER TICKET. The Associated Press breaks it down nicely in this article from a while back.

But I do have a bad memory, so who knows how much I’ll be able to forget.

2. Former President Bill Clinton helps spring American journalists Laura Ling and Euna Lee laura-lingfrom captivity in Korea, where they had been held for 4 1/2 months. Best news I’ve heard in a while. The story also shines an interesting spotlight on the journalists’ employer, “interactive news source” Current TV.

This brainchild of Al Gore and Joel Hyatt has been around in some form since 2005; it focuses on enterprise (i.e. investigative and/or feature) reporting by young journalists, but also incorporates movie reviews, a “Talk Soup”-style show and user-generated content. Never heard of it? Me neither. Today’s top stories included an “in-depth podcast analysis” on whether or not The Hurt Locker is the greatest war movie ever made. (Is it? I haven’t seen this, or every war movie, yet.) Current TV was, however, where I found out about the new White House Reality Check, a website launched today by the Obama administration to debunk myths circulating about the latest health care bill. Very useful — I tend to prefer information to misinformation. Though admittedly, the White House videos weren’t as colorful as all that weekend coverage of protesters at “town hall meetings” carrying signs of Obama sporting a Hitler ‘stach. Oh, those protesters and their Photoshop. Nothing like a good old-fashioned American debate! (to send you running to Canada…)

Thumbs-down goes to:

1. “Skinny Jeans Workouts” in NYC, as reported here by CNN medical reporter Val Willingham. People take these classes to strengthen their core and fit into their jeans. Know what that’s usually called? EXERCISE. Go for a run and do some crunches, and you have a skinny jean workout! Or take this bit of advice: if skin-tight denim pants don’t fit, DON’T WEAR THEM.

They are made for teenagers, people with 5% body fat and no muscle, and Audrey Hepburn. 2006_10_audrey

Giddy about “Glee”

Though we have to wait until Sept. 16 for the official premiere of Glee — a one-hour TV show about a glee club trying to make it to nationals — I’m already convinced this will be one of the best premieres this fall. Aside from its funnier-than-High School Musical production numbers, it also stars veteran comedian and Best in Show alum Jane Lynch as a fairly psychotic cheerleading coach, and comes from “Nip/Tuck” creator Ryan Murphy.

The teaser episode aired months ago (you can watch it here), but host channel Fox just issued this clip to Hulu to keep its fans sated until September.

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(I’m a sucker for a good musical number.)

Lazy Environmentalist: “We’re all a little lazy”

There are two sides to Sundance: beautiful people congratulating themselves on their “creative genuis” in the streets of Park City, Utah, while simulating drunkeness off beer with 3.2% alcohol. And the side that smells of Robert Redford (mmm) and Earth Day — the one focusing on environmentally conscious programming, The Green, on the Sundance Channel.

New TV show “The Lazy Environmentalist” embraces the spirit of the Recession Renaissance: host Josh Dorfman visits people around America who don’t feel they have the time or resources to go green right now. He explains otherwise. Though it risks coming off as preachy, and the blatant push for sponor Clorox gets tiring, the suggestions Dorfman offers are realistic, often innovative and easy to execute. Plus, his green makeover subjects often need to learn the basics — like the family that didn’t recycle, and threw out so much garbage daily, Dad had to jump into the can to squash it down. Nice.

The show is only a few episodes old right now — so far, he’s counseled a dog groomer and a fashion stylist for emerging hip-hop stars. Dorfman himself is endearing, like a goofier Jeff Goldblum.

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Each episode is a half hour, and it’s definitely worth checking out. The show airs Tuesdays at 9pm EST on the Sundance Channel. Sundance’s blogs are also informative and a good place to get some of the latest green tech news. For all this, I give it a thumbs-up. Green thumb? Ohhh so cliched. I’ll do it anyway. logo_greenthumbsup