Tuesday, March 28, 2006

What's doin'?

First of all, I'm planning on going to see The Skin of Our Teeth by Thornton Wilder at New Stage Theatre soon. They have a rockin' cast for it, and it should be an interesting and entertaining evening. Here's the blurb on the show from their website:

Winner of the Pulitzer Prize, this is the satiric story of the extraordinary Antrobus family down through the ages from the time of the war. They have survived flood, fire, pestilence, the seven year locusts, the ice age, the pox, the double feature, a dozen wars and as many depressions. Ultimately bewitched, befuddled and becalmed, they are the stuff of which heroes and buffoons are made. Their survival is a wacky testament of faith in humanity.

You can learn more about the playwright by visiting The Thornton Wilder Society online. Interesting stuff.

Also, don't forget that the annual Crossroads Film Festival is being held in Jackson, Miss., this weekend, March 30 - April 2. The event will show 60 films over the course of four days at the Parkway Place Theatre on Lakeland Drive. Tickets for each showing are $5 for Crossroads members and $7 for the general public. All-access festival passes are also available. A friend of mine is presenting her original film at the festival, Men You May Not Have Met. The film showcases an alternative perception of masculinity. Issues of masculinity are addressed by ten men form Northeastern colleges who are shown to be in constant dialogue with images from movies, television commercials, and advertisements.

Lastly, I spent a few days last week in New York City on business. I was working for the most part, but while I was there, I did get the chance to pop into a few fun places that I thought I'd mention. Flute, a champagne bar in midtown, served delicious "bellini-tinis" as well as other fun drinks. The bar is located below street level, so it's easy to miss if you don't know it's there. In the evenings, the lights are very dim, and the mood is very romantic.

We also had a wonderful meal at Cafe Un Deux Trois, where we had delicious calamari and pate, followed by a HUGE roasted chicken entree and puffy profiteroles with chocolate sauce. I thought that, for New York, the prices were quite reasonable.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Feel like royalty

Today, I went to the Sweet Potato Queens' lunch at Bravo! in Jackson. For those of you who aren't from the South, the Sweet Potato Queens are a group of local women, led by author Jill Connor Browne. Browne has found fame (and probably no small amount of fortune) writing about the Sweet Potato Queens and gussying herself up for the annual Mal's St. Paddy's Day Parade. The parade, scheduled to take place in Jackson tomorrow morning, has become something of a Mecca for Sweet Potato Queens aficionados, and a host of related events has sprung up all around it.

Today at Bravo! at 11:30 a.m., I was treated to the amazing sight of quite a large group of women dressed in the loudest, most wonderfully tasteless costumes imaginable - long pink feather boas, huge hats, blinking jewelry, rhinestones, wacky sungalsses, wigs, tiaras and crowns. Everyone was nibbling something from the delicious lunch buffet (antipasto platter, sweet potato bisque, Ceasar salad, gourmet pizza, and delicious little pick-up desserts) and sipping a drink from the special Sweet Potato Queens bar. (The signature SPQ drink is known as the Re-Virginator. I can't tell yet if it worked.) Tomorrow, the Sweet Potato Queens and their entourage, along with women from all over the country, will march in the parade. What a hoot! And what FUN!

I also have tickets to the SPQ brunch on Sunday at the Hilton. I'm trying to decide if I'll wear my tiara again, or if I'll dig around for something new.

Also, I got the chance to see The Upside of Anger, starring Kevin Costner and Joan Allen, over the past week. I thought it was a great film. Terry (Allen) discovers that her husband has left her, presumably to run off to Sweden with his young secretary. In response, she goes on a boozy, angry binge and gets in touch with her inner bitch. Denny (Costner), Terry's neighbor and a washed-up baseball star, is only too happy to join in the alcohol-soaked pity party, and the two misery-loving drinking buddies find themselves drawn to one another. Costner and Allen were both amazing in this movie. I must admit, I had almost written Costner off after I saw several of his movies that did nothing for me. But in The Upside of Anger, he proves that he's still got it. Allen, who can sometimes come off on screen as a bit too repressed and buttoned up (a quality that made her perfect in Pleasantville), really lets loose here. I was also pleasantly surprised to find that the director didn't throw away the roles of Terry's dughters on actresses who weren't up to the challenge. Erika Christensen, Alicia Witt, Keri Russell, and Evan Rachel Wood all turn in strong performances. The movie seems to explore both love and anger, with some interesting conclusions drawn via the character of Popeye (don't ask me where they got the name), one of Terry's daughters. (Popeye is played by Evan Rachel Wood, who blew me away a few years back in Thirteen.)

Friday, March 03, 2006

The first breath of spring

The high was in the 70s two days last week! (God, I love living in the South!) It's on days like today that I adore working downtown. We strolled out in the sunshine to grab some lunch, which we ate al fresco in the spring breeze. We people-watched near the Governor's Mansion. We ambled back to the office down Capitol Street, which is one of the prettiest avenues downtown.

I have a confession to make. Every spring, I turn hedonist. When I was in college, that meant that on particularly balmy afternoons, I could be found laying on the grass instead of sitting in the classroom. I love the sight of daffodils peeking their brave, fluffy heads into the world. Forsythia, sending out little emissaries dressed in bright yellow coats. Such things make my fingers itch for the shovel. My mind goes on wild flights of fancy - a new patio, an herb garden, and a big flower bed out by the back fence. I've already bought a hammock to hang up this year. It's white and forest green, and it's big enough for two people. I'm dreaming of spending lazy afternoons in it with my husband. Once it's hung, I'll hunt up a little side table. For my iced tea, of course.

We hung a front porch swing last season, and I can't tell you how wonderful it's been. On nice evenings, we'll take our drinks out there as the sun sets, and we'll wave to all the people walking their dogs. We'll swing and talk about how our day went, what we plan to do next, our mutual friends and acquaintances.

So glad it's spring!