Saturday, January 29, 2011

Fitz and the Tantrums

All my life I've been obsessed with soul and Motown, and as I've previously said, I think I was born in the wrong era. Ever since Cee-Lo Green's hit "Fuck You," I've been yearning for a soul revival. A comeback that doesn't involve auto-tune and fifteen year-old scantily clad girls. Well I think I've found it. Fitz & the Tantrums may or may not be the start of the soul restoration, but I can cross my fingers and hope. And in the meantime, I will just keep their newest album, Pickin' Up the Pieces on repeat.

Watch/listen to the video for "MoneyGrabber," directed by filmmaker Michael Mohan.

My favorites:
Pickin' Up the Pieces

From Scratch: Hummus

I love hummus. I can eat half a container of hummus in a day. Unfortunately, a container of hummus can cost up to $7. Now there's two solutions to my expensive habit - stop eating hummus or make it myself. Since the former isn't really an option, I decided to make hummus myself from scratch. I made about 6 cups of hummus and it cost me about $5. I even made so much that I had to freeze some. I followed most of Mark Bittman's recipe, but changed some things.

6 cups of dry chickpeas
1 1/2 cups of tahini
3/4 cups extra virgin olive oil
6 cloves garlic, peeled
Juice from 3 lemons
3 tablespoons paprika
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
Chopped parsley leaves for garnish

Cover dry chickpeas with cold water in a large saucepan and let soak overnight (dry chickpeas are super hard, so the longer they soak, the better). After they've soaked, drain the beans and cover again with fresh cold water. Bring the pot to a boil and simmer for an hour. Once they've cooked, drain the chickpeas but be sure to reserve the chickpea water!

Combine chickpeas, tahini, olive oil, garlic, lemon juice together in a food processor. Add salt and pepper to taste. As the ingredients combine, add the chickpea water to get a smooth, creamier consistency. Add the paprika and cayenne as you like.

Serve with a sprinkling of paprika and parsley on top.

Hummus is pretty forgiving so you can try lots of different flavors, but you may want to start with smaller batches if you're really experimenting.

Friday, January 28, 2011

First Week Back Tunes

fitz & the tantrums

albert hammond

god help the girl



Thursday, January 27, 2011

Sundance Recap

Sundance for the first time for a cinefile/film student is a bit like comic con for a comic junkie. You are surrounded people who make, produce, and appreciate film, and who are willing and want to talk about it non-stop. You are constantly watching movies, and when you venture out of the dark cinema the air is pure and cool. Oh, and celebs are everywhere. Coming back to real life/Baltimore has been hard, and far less glamourous.
But here's my rundown of 2011 Sundance.

Top Films:

SUBMARINE (Richard Ayoade)
Must-see British indie about a young boy. Quirky, funny, and just simply awesome.

WIN WIN (Thomas McCarthy)
Paul Giamatti coaches high school wrestling and learns a lot of humanity at the same time. Both light and dark. Also, Bobby Cannavale is hysterical.

THE DETAILS (Jacob Aaron Estes)
Totally twisted. Tobey Maguire's an asshole and Laura Linney is crazy.

Check out the Olsen twins' sister, Lizzy - yes, there's another one, but she seems like way less drama. This film has been criticized heavily, but its shocking portrayal of someone's psyche is refreshing and (I don't care what everyone's said) the ending is completely haunting.


CEDAR RAPIDS (Miguel Arteta)
If you've seen BLACK SWAN then you've seen the trailer for this movie. Looks like a lot of fun with John C Reilly, Ed Helms, and Anne Heche, right? Have you seen The Hangover? Yes. Have you seen any John C Reilly comedy? Yes. Have you seen a Judd Apatow film? Yes. Well, then you've seen CEDAR RAPIDS.

PERFECT SENSE (David Mackenzie)
An interesting, apocalyptic subject but wasn't pulled off successfully. A lot of gratuitous sex scenes (yes, we know Eva Green and Ewan McGregor are hot) and not enough explanation (if humans are becoming senseless animals, I'd like to know why). Watch the trailer to be totally deceived because it is nothing at all like what it pretends to be.

Films that Will Succeed Commerically

Paul Rudd. Zooey Deschanel. Elizabeth Banks. Emily Mortimer. Rashida Jones. Hugh Dancy. Steve Coogan. Adam Scott. Do I need to say more? If I do, then how about this: Zooey and Rashida play lesbians.

MARGIN CALL (J.C. Chandor)
Does what WALL STREET 2 didn't. Kevin Spacey, Stanely Tucci, Jeremy Irons, Zachary Quinto, Paul Bettany, Demi Moore, Penn Badgley, Simon Baker.

Honorable Mention

TERRI (Azazel Jacobs)
It's not easy being fat. Odd, but beautiful film about a kid just trying to get by.

Jimmy Fallon//Neil Young

What if Neil Young covered Willow Smith's "Whip My Hair"?
It would be a little like this:

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Park City Hiatus

off to park city.
check out the following:

(Spoon's Jim Eno and Voxtrot's Ramesh Srivastava)

(My new food blog obsession)

(The L Mag's list of ''Hipsters Throughout History")

I'll Take Care of You by Gil Scott-Heron and Jamie XX
(great song)

Friday, January 14, 2011

Kids - Two Door Cinema Club


what's better than a useless app for your computer, phone, or tablet?
download Swackett for a weather report that tells you not only the temperature, but also what appropriate clothing you should wear.
of course, it is much too difficult in the times of modern technology to simply know that if it is 30 degrees outside, you need a heavy jacket and probably a hat. so no more thinking if you need an extra sweater or not - swackett will just tell you! it's also a free app, so why not? goodbye, hello swackett!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011


Meatless Monday

I have pledged to give up meat on Mondays.

Along with hundreds of other people across the world, I am going to follow Johns Hopkins' Bloomberg School of Public Health's new initiative to reduce meat consumption by 15% in order to improve personal and global health. Hopkins' Meatless Monday isn't the first time the country has created strategies to reduce consumption. During the WWI the US Food Administration stressed how much money and resources could be saved if citizens refrained from eating meat just one day a week. The campaign was so successful that it returned during WWII.

Though Meatless Mondays was implemented in 2003, with the recent surge in vegetarian, vegan, and glutton-free dieting/eating lifestyles, the movement has gotten even more popular. Many celebrities back the cause, including Paul McCartney, Gwyneth Paltrow, Mario Batali, Kate Moss, Olivia Wilde, Ed Begley Jr., Simon Cowell, and, of course, Al Gore.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Conrad Birdie//Barack Obama?



Even Monkey Love is Hard

Bag Raiders - 'Sunlight' from Modular People on Vimeo.

From the debut, self-titled album by Bag Raiders.

Directed by Fleur&Manu

Produced by Division.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Episodes and Shameless

Last night was a big night for Showtime. Not only was it the premiere of the fourth season of "Californication," but the channel also premiered two brand new shows: "Episodes" and "Shameless." I'm not quite sure how "Episodes" will fare. The show follows the writers of a famed British television series who move to LA on the premis a big shot producer wants to make an American version of their show. But, surprise surprise, it turns out Hollywood isn't all it's cracked upt to be. The couple finds out that their huge rental mansion (provided by the studio) was previously owned by The Bachelor contestants and that the big shot producer has never even seen their show. The epsiode begins at the end (of somewhere) with the couple breaking up because the husband has been caught "wanking" a presumably more attractive woman. Yawn. Oh, and Matthew LeBlanc also stars.

30 minutes after the start of this seemingly predictable show aired "Shameless." Here you can find cliches and horribly corny lines, but something new and edgy...for American television. The show is, ironically, a remake of a British tv show of the same name, which is still on air and in its seventh season. In this American version, William H Macy plays the alcoholic, good-for-nothing father of five children. His oldest daughter, Fiona (Emmy Rossum) has to step up and play mother, father, breadwinner, and babysitter. Macy makes most of his appearances in the pilot passed out on the floor, while the episode favors Fiona. She finds herself an unlikely beau who isn't scared off by her nutso family, while two of her brothers confide in one another about their sexual exploits. Though the children must work at incomprehensibly young ages and have little respect or love for their father (almost as much as it seems he does for them), the show toes the line between totally bleak and depressing, and upbeat and funny. If Fiona's relationship with Steve doesn't make me barf first then I'll definitely keep watching.

Forecast: Snow and Pear Pancakes

Usually when it snows I make my blizzard scones but those feel like a Baltimore tradition, so I'm going to do something different for tomorrow's impending storm. Though we really don't need anymore snow (one storm per vacation is enough) and it has royally ruined my travel plans, I know it will be gorgeous and being stuck inside with my labs will be delightful. And what better way to start off a blizzard than with a hearty breakfast?

I saw Jamie Oliver make this recipe on the Cooking Cha
nnel a few weeks ago, and instantly wanted to replicate it. I highly encourage watching both the episode (because Jamie Oliver's daughters are the cutest things in the world) and the station (because it trumps the Food Network like nobody's business - even though it is owned/created by FN).

I couldn't find the "self-rising flour" that the recipe calls for so I improvised/cheated. ((I'll post my ingredients below)) If you're not a big fruit-in-your-pancake lover, don't worry! Instead of tasting really like pear pancakes, the fruit instead gives the pancake a fluffy, moist consistency and a bit of sweetness. If you're lazy or can't find all the ingredients (like me), then this is also a great way to jazz up normal pancake batter.

Organic pancake and waffle flour/mixture (I like 365's whole wheat mix)
One pear (grated or sliced thinly, depends on how ripe the pear is)
Frozen blueberries (or fruit of choice) - optional

Simply follow the directions on the pancake mix's label. Once everything it calls for is mixed together, then add in your fruit. Using a ladle, pour the batter on to a hot buttered griddle (or frying pan). When bubbles start to form on the top flip the pancake, and cook on the other side till done all the way through. Serve with warm maple syrup and bacon. Tres simple et tres delicieux.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Mandatory: Black Swan

I'll spare you another review of Darren Aronofsky's Black Swan, but I do want to give it a few words. I saw all the big titles this winter (True Grit, The Fighter, 127 Hours), and while they each had their highlights, I wasn't completely struck by them. But Black Swan finally gave me something original, thrilling, and all together superb. And if Natalie Portman doesn't win Best Actress, then I will completely denounce the academy.*

* Oscar nominations will be released on January 25, 2011 at 5:30am Pacific Time

Osborn Design x 2

this solidifies that my missed purchase of the summer was indeed catastrophic! now, thanks to Urban Outfitters, every hipster in Williamsburg will have Osborn shoes and I won't. Humph! At least it's good for those little Guatemalan babies...

in other news, is this really a trend? platform shoes & socks? UO is just giving all Birkenstock and wool sock wearing nerds everywhere more validation.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

seriously, enrique?

Enrique Iglesias
Tonight (I'm F**king You)

One of the most absurd (yet catchy) songs I've heard recently. Just be wary that you don't start singing it aloud on the street...that could get you in trouble.

Friday, January 7, 2011

musique pour la nouvelle année

starting the new year in the company of:

Benny Benassi - Cinema, ft. Gary Go
Badly Drawn Boy - Too Many Miracles
Potomac Boys Club - Lights!
The Avett Brothers

and hoping there may be someone to give me some new, fresh jams.

Law and Order: UK

An avid "Law & Order" fan (usually SVU), I've been getting bored with the show lately. The pattern is too obvious - if the perp has been caught by 25-30 minutes into the show then you know it's not him. It also seems that USA replays the same ten episodes over and over again. And, let's face it, you just cannot watch repeats of "Law & Order," it pretty much defeats the show. But I was surprised to find "Law & Order: UK" on TV the other night while looking for something to watch besides "Family Guy" and "Sarah Palin's Alaska." Maybe it's the English accents and unfamiliar landscapes, but L&O UK has won me over. A bit more refreshing than the original, but same great old theme song.

New from Passion Pit


Monday, January 3, 2011

All Good Things (2010)

As the writers of shows like "Law & Order" know, it's difficult to fictionalize a story that is "ripped from the headlines." That's the problem with Andrew Jarecki's lastest film, All Good Things. The story is based on the true events surrounding New York City real estate mogul Seymour Durst's son. Robert Durst married Kathleen McCormack, and what was at first a happy marriage culminated in his wife's disappearance. It is speculated that Durst, with a psychologically unstable past, killed his wife, but the case remains unsolved today.

The Durst family name is changed to Marks in All Good Things, Kirsten Dunst plays the innocent hippy wife, and Ryan Gosling plays the ultimately disturbed husband. Though Gosling, Dunst, and Frank Langella (who plays the Seymour Durst character) all perform extremely well, the film is unsatisfying. Since the plot is mostly speculative, there is great buildup with no payoff. No one knows what actually happened, so the audience is left with numerous questions unanswered. Jarecki takes a stab at the case, portraying Robert Durst/David Marks as a cold-blooded killer who got off scot free. This may or may not be true, but the film's climax must be matched by its ending to appease the viewers, which, unfortunately, it does not.

* *

Sunday, January 2, 2011

From Scratch: Shrimp and Cilantro Shu Mai

Recently during a family trip to Ming's Supermarket I picked up a box of frozen shu mai. As I was about to place it into our shopping cart, my brother stopped me and handed me a small package of freshly made wonton wrappers. He told me to make the shu mai instead. I looked confused and he assured me it was really easy.

And so it was. I used a recipe I found on for Shrimp and Cilantro Shu Mai, which I'll repost below (with a few suggestions and pictures).

Makes about 18-19 shu mai.
Time: 30+ minutes.

1/4 cup soy sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons rice wine
1 1/2 sesame oil
1 1/2 teaspoon finely minced fresh ginger
1/2 pound uncooked shrimp, peeled and deveined
3/4 fresh cilantro leaves
1/4 cup roughly chopped scallions, white parts only
18-19 round dumpling/wonton skins
Juice of 1/2 a lime

((the original recipe makes twice as much dipping sauce, but I found this superfluous. if you think you'll need more then just double it))

For the Sauce
1. Mix the soy sauce, rice wine, sesame oil, and ginger in a bowl.

For the Dumpling
1. Put half the shrimp, half the cilantro, and all of the scallions in a food processor. Pulse for about 15 seconds.
2. Add two tablespoons of the Sauce to the food processor. Pulse until mixture resembles a paste. Put this into another bowl.
3. Chop the rest of the shrimp and cilantro, and add to the paste mixture - stir to combine.

4. On a flat, clean work surface (I used a round cutting board), layout your wonton skins. Moisten the edges of one of the skins (I just dipped my finger in a bowl of water and wetted the edges on both sides).
5. Add about a teaspoon of the shrimp-cilantro mixture to the center of the wonton
6. Pinch the edges of the wrapper up together around the filling - it's okay if some filling shows. When you've made a dumpling, place it on another plate and cover with a damp cloth while you continue to work. Repeat the last two steps until you're out of wrappers and filling.

To Steam the Shu Mai
((you must have a steamer to do this))
1. Place your steamer over an inch of boiling water, then reduce to simmer
2. Oil steamer with a little bit of sesame oil to prevent sticking (especially important if you're using a bamboo steamer)
3. Place as many of your shu mai on the steamer as possible in a single layer
4. Cook about 6-10 minutes until the shrimp is visibly pink and the wrapper is tender.

- Add lime juice to the serving sauce, stir to combine
- Present the shu mai hot on a platter, along with the dipping sauce
- Serve with a cucumber-carrot salad with soy-ginger salad dressing

Saturday, January 1, 2011


pictured left: Dispatch Zimbabwe, MSG, New York City, July 2007
pictured right: The Last Dispatch,
The Hatch Shell, Boston, July 2004

i attended both of the above mentioned concerts, and though after each show i was said to know this was the "last," i still had faith. and today (Jan 1st) Dispatch announced that they will not be playing just one show this summer but six. their summer concert tour will go to chicago, california, colorado, atlanta, new jersey, and boston. though my dispatch faith has decreased in the last four years, i am beyond excited and hope the tickets don't sell out as fast as they did for msg.

pre-sale tickets: January 21st, 2011
regular sale: January 28th, 2011



HAPPY 2011!

this is the year of the rabbit,
of graduating,
of big moves and unknown landscapes.

this is the year when i resolve to
worry less, choose more carefully, and
generally realize i have nothing to lose.