Movies: I've seen a few movies in theaters again. Yoshida Yoshishige's A Story Written with Water is ever-so-slightly overwrought in what I've come to believe is true Japanese New Wave fashion (I suspect it's a fine, painstaking craft, maybe like blackening meat perfectly in a dish). It's not bad, my shorthand description is that Oshima "does" Ozu here. Naruse's Floating Clouds gets a thumbs-up because it demands that you take it on its own terms, not your own. The pace seems almost deliberately anti-dramatic (which is not to say that it's static or "nothing happens" or "nothing changes"). The characters, while well-formed, are neither very sympathetic nor charismatic. The force of the melodrama (and this is definitely melodrama) creeps up quietly. First time in recent memory that I had an unobstructed view of the screen at Film Forum.
CDs: Not only films in theaters, I've also bought some music lately! Recent purchases are Yusef Lateef's Psychicemotus (Impulse, 1965), Ornette Coleman's Free Jazz: A Collective Improvisation, Art Ensemble of Chicago's Fanfare for the Warriors (Koch Jazz, 1973?), and Tim Buckley's Happy/Sad. I've been listening to a lot of Tim Buckley lately--"Once I Was" and "Morning Glory" from Goodbye and Hello have been Top 10 Hits in my mind's ear lately. The real find of late was Lateef's album, though. Reissued only last month, I knew nothing of Lateef's work and decided to take a chance on this CD (which was on sale for eight bucks) because the description sounded interesting. He plays several wind instruments and has a soulful rendition of Satie's "First Gymnopedie."
Do Hipsters Exist? Last weekend I helped a friend move to a new apartment in Greenpoint. I don't go to Brooklyn often and especially try to avoid Williamsburg and surrounding areas like the plague. The moving-in friend is the one person in my social circle who lives out there. At any rate, I had thought that maybe hipsters as such were fading out, not least because nobody ever admits to being one. But jesus christ were there some hipsters out there. I felt like I was the only one who wasn't either Polish or part of the early 20-something Interpol-Kanye-and-Fiery-Furnaces Fan Club. (No disrespect intended to these specific musical artists.) I get creeped out, uncomfortable really, when I'm around a lot of hipsters. (The same happens with frat and business school types.) There's this ridiculous, boring code of affectations that I feel I have no access to and want no part of. So while I was content to retire 'hipsters' as a whipping boy, I feel like I should keep it around a little while longer. The movement is alive and well in parts of Brooklyn. (Reason #412 why Queens is better.)
Food: New Yorkers have a chance, from 7-10pm on November 10th (@ 27 East 4th Street) to go to the 'Vendys,' a street vendor competition between four people chosen. It costs a pretty penny but it's for a good cause. I might go. One of the competitors is my man Thiru Kumar, who makes the delicious South Indian fast food I've raved about here before. Today when I was running errands in the Village I had a 'jaffna lunch,' four of his out-of-this-world jaffna dosas (which he says are unavailable at any other restaurant in NYC, and not officially on Thiru's menu) and a samosa. I cannot stress how much I love this guy's food. The American owner/chef (?) of a trendy dosa restaurant in Madrid actually came into the city to watch and swap secrets with this saintly street cook today.