The first old movie I remember watching was The Bad Seed. It’s about an evil little girl and includes some fierce debating over nature vs. nuture. We were about 13 and my best friend Amanda and I were having a sleepover. We stayed up late for no good reason, flipping through the public access channels, when it appeared! It was already halfway through but it immediately caught our attention, which I think is a testament to how clearly intrigued we were. Eventually I saw the whole thing multiple times. It’s very quotable and if you watch it you can finally find out what excelsior is.

Since then (and also since growing up and realizing the variety of films that are available) I have loved old movies. With two video store clerk jobs  behind me, I can definitely say that even if I haven’t seen a particular movie, I can at least visualize its DVD (or VHS) case (Yes, the first stint was in 1999 when Netflix was just a twinkle in the internet’s eye.For the record, I never thought Netflix would work. It sounded really stupid).

To sounds smart in this post I found a website seemingly involved with AMC called Filmsite (http://www.filmsite.org/filmh.html) and it’s been really helpful in organizing my thoughts on the subject. This is how their History of Film is broken up:

Pre-1920s: Early Cinematic Origins, and The Infancy of Film
1920s: The Pre-Talkies and the Silent Era
1930s: The Talkies, the Growth of the Studios and ‘The Golden Age of Hollywood’
1940s: The War and Post-War Years, the Beginnings of Film Noir
1950s: The Cold War and Post-Classical Era, the Era of Epic Films and the Threat of Television
1960s: The End of the Hollywood Studio System, and the Era of Independent, Underground Cinema
1970s: The Last Golden Age of American Cinema (the American “New Wave”), and the Advent of the Block-buster Film
1980s: Teen-Oriented Angst Films, and the Dawn of the Sequel, with More Blockbusters
1990s: The Era of Mainstream Films and Alternative or Independent (“Indie”) Cinema; and the Rise of Computer-Generated Imagery; also the Decade of Remakes, Re-releases, and More Sequels
2000s: The New Millennium, an Age of Advanced Special Effects (3-D and Performance Capture), and the Era of Franchise Films
2010s: Insert Cliche Here: Women are Crazy, Women Like Babies, Women Hate Babies (But Then Realize That They Actually Love Babies) Women Like Sex Too and Other Tropes That Bored Intelligent People by the First Year of the Decade*

To me, “old movies” are usually from the 30s- 50s- after the silent era but before color. I like the clothes, the alien-sounding speech patterns and accents, the quickness, the fact that I don’t always know what’s going on but I know that something decent is seeping into my brain (unless the movie has any black characters, in which case it was a different time and how do you even know what you would have thought about race inequality if you had been born in 1920???) Also, there is a scene in Gone With the Wind where Belle, the local madam, and Melanie Wilkes share a moment in Belle’s carriage that really made me cry both times I watched it. (Also, I start to cry at least once in the morning if I listen to NPR because they always have some snippet about somebody doing something nice or meaningful and that’s enough for me when I first wake up and I am tired and full of self-pity.) I don’t know if the actors were better back then, or just more dramatic, but damn they can make me cry so much more easily than actors today. Except Natalie Portman, although I am usually crying from laughter. Laughter at her INABILITY TO ACT.

Continue Reading »


I know it’s not exactly a revelation these days that netflix has an often-mystifying classification system. But this one made me Lowell:

The Theatrical Release is both quirky and goofy, whereas the Director’s Cut is simply quirky. I really couldn’t decide which one to watch- until I realized how much goofiness is missing from my recent film experiences. It’s been forever since my Police Academy marathon.

But in seriousness, I picked the Theatrical Release because recently I saw Blade Runner Director’s Cut and there were substantial amounts of camera lingering. Seriously, the additional 20 minutes contained no dialogue or action. I think. I’ve only seen it twice. But it sure seemed that way!

I heard of Dark Star for the first time over at Anger Burger, which my friend Ana recommended to me as a cookbook-averse recipe-lover, and it is my new favorite food/everything blog. How could I have not heard of Dark Star? I moved it straight to the Top O’ the Queue.

I am hard at work on a deep, probing, existential, film-centric blog post. More 25-cent words than you’ll care to read. Coming soon.

A few months ago I realized that my good friend Chelsea has a daring personal style that I envied. Her tastes have dramatically evolved over the course of our friendship- which is going on 4 years, I think. I know when we first met she was casual most of the time- jeans and hoodies, with punk undertones. (Chelsea, correct me if I’m wrong. I haven’t taken any notes on your clothing before!)

This is what Chelsea wore on March 5, 2011. It was amazing. Her dress immediately brought to mind the Dark Side of the Moon album. It was black velvet, very 70s. She wore her signature giant hoops, hoodie and black leather jacket. Also these bondage-style strappy chunky green heels that go with everything.

Even her fingernails and accessories are fun to look at:

Pink Floyd detail:

I think when Tavi Gevinson grows up and gets bored with her Target fashion lines and Vogue photo shoots she’s going to dress like Chelsea. I think she could find a lot of inspiration (ie: working class style to co-opt) at the Dolphin Tavern.

The other day my co-worker, who might be one of the last true preppies from the 80s (She won’t let her children wear black and is usually wearing tennis clothes. Also she doesn’t wear socks.) asked me if I could create a monogram for her bath towels. People still do that, apparently. And they’re completely sincere! Today monograms are mostly found at weddings but back in the day they were commonplace. The Tuppence Ha’penny Vintage blog found a 1935 source that stated “everything is initialed these days.”

A crocheted blanket from 1968:

“Historically, a monogram was used as a royal signature. Romans and Greeks used them on coins to identify their rulers. Then, in the Middle Ages, artisans began to use them to sign their work. Victorian-period high-class persons adapted the monogram for personal use as a symbol of their place in society. Now, monograms can be seen on just about anything.

In the Victorian era, rules for monograms were quite simple and few. Female monograms had the first initial on the left, middle initial on the right, and last initial embroidered larger in the middle.

Rules are now flexible, but for the purist, there are a few standards. First of all, monograms with three initials are generally in the Victorian format of first initial, large last initial, middle initial. Married monograms usually consist of the bride’s first initial on the left, the groom’s first initial on the right, and the joint last name initial larger in the center. A married woman would use her first name initial on the left, maiden initial on the right, then new last initial larger in the center. But the choice is truly yours.”

Continue Reading »

Last August I went to Rhode Island with some friends. Now I am posting about it. You’re probably asking, Why did this take seven months? Well, what usually happens in seven months? That’s right. That is the exact gestational period of an Orangutan. Congratulations to me!

Anyway, back to the post. I have personally discovered New England and how fucking quaint it is, all over the fucking place. Ugh. Quaint. FUCK! So far every post on this blog is tagged “road trip” and “New England.” Maybe I’ll go to Canada in 2011.

Nicole went to some chi-chi grad program at Brown so she got us free digs at their student housing, in former slave servants’ quarters in a historical building:

First, we took a walk around downtown Providence. You can walk from Brown’s campus into downtown in less than twenty minutes.

Sesame Street?

Continue Reading »

KINGSTON! Where the quaint house to regular house ratio is 5:1. I dub Kingston the Shangri-La of QAF until I find something quainter.

Kingston reminded me of Bristol (PA, on the Delaware River) in that it is both quaint and ghetto. Prime gentrification time. Let’s blow this shit up!

They are both situated on rivers, near large metropolitan areas and have great quantities of Victorian architecture. Also lots of shirtless men, tattoo parlors and loitering preteens. But Kingston is much larger and has an actual “nice” part of town: the Stockade.

Greg and I picked up a couple of brochures at the Kingston Historical Society. One for the Rondout (nice area near the creek) and one for the Stockade (nice area up on the hill). In the 1600s the entire town moved uphill from the creek to escape the Injuns and built a high defensive wall around the entire town (the Stockade). The wall doesn’t exist anymore but all the current streets conform to the former boundary. It’s pretty neat. The Stockade area, which used to be all of Kingston, was the capital of New York until 1797. The Rondout used to be its own village.

Kingston is about 90 minutes up the Hudson from NYC. Houses are cheap. This is my current favorite. There doesn’t seem to be much going on in Kingston in terms of business and industry. Back in the day it was an important transportation hub for coal between NYC and PA.

We toured the Rondout area first. The Rondout has a main drag with some restaurants and an antique store and, of course, the Historical Society. Which had some nice exhibits (and some free buttons). The rest of the Rondout is hilly and full of delightful Victorians.

I just love how much this person loves color.

Continue Reading »