gooollysandra

Thoughts on thoughts and images of beautiful things

Paris Can Wait

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Can Paris wait? I think most of us would agree it cannot. This consensus that I’m assuming is shared among those in the plot of the new movie starring Diane Lane, Paris Can Wait. Reminiscent of another travelogue starring Lane, the popular Under the Tuscan Sun, this genre really seems to suite her well. She is a classic beauty and there is a carefree, sexy ease about her that makes her the perfect travel companion, even if only through a screen. You hardly see any shots of Paris but at the very end because the movie traces the fragmented journey to Paris, but the places they stop along the way are points of interest in their own right. Lane’s trip to Paris is not with her husband, as one might imagine, but with her husband’s business partner who happens to be a Frenchman, played by Arnaud Viard. Need I say more about the fact that he’s a Frenchman and all the stereotypes that go along with that…he is charming, flirtatious, spontaneous, a womanizer, and let’s just admit, a little selfish. Despite all this, there is a genuine connection between him and Lane, which makes her feel appreciated and desired in a way that she hasn’t felt by her husband in a long time. Classic…

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The movie is full of scenes of delectable food and artistic shots of whatever Lane sees that she’d like to capture with her old school digital camera. She certainly does have an eye for composition of the unique things she comes across on her trip. There are sad moments as you learn more about Lane’s life, and there are funny moments as she saves the day when their car breaks down on the way to Paris. What I particularly liked was her relationship with her daughter (who we never actually see) because it reminds me of my relationship with my parents – we share the same name, we are both only children, and we are both very close to our parents.

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The movie definitely accomplishes evoking travel envy, as I left wanting to take a similar trip, even full of all the obstacles. I also love Lane’s summery linen outfit (seen in all three of these pictures), as well as her seductive evening dresses. Usually Paris can’t wait, but I suppose it can if it means going on a spontaneous adventure like this one.

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Ibexx – “Static”

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I recently randomly came across this video by Ibexx through a friend in my Facebook newsfeed and I have had it stuck in my head ever since I first watched it! As far as I can tell, this is the only solo song she currently has out, but I CANNOT wait for more from where this came from. She is featured on “Uneven Ground” by Winnetka on the EP entitled This Place (which I also just randomly discovered by looking this girl up and recommend you check out). Her voice is angelic and soothing, and I love the way this beat and melody work together. Not to mention the interesting artistic direction of the video…let’s hope there’s more coming our way!

Hurray for the Riff Raff

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I recently saw Hurray for the Riff Raff perform at Thalia Hall in the Pilsen neighborhood of Chicago and it was such a treat. I went because my friend had an extra ticket and I decided to go after watching 5 minutes of a YouTube video of one of their performances. I wasn’t too familiar with their music but I wanted to go with my friend and I really didn’t know what I was in for. It was one of those things that you don’t expect anything from and then it surprises you with an amazing experience that just makes you feel connected to yourself. Not to mention how hot the lead singer, Alynda Segarra, of Puerto Rican roots is…and I don’t mean just physically – I mean certainly, that’s a given; but she has a presence on stage that commands the attention and respect of the audience and connects with them through her voice, which is perfect for the bluesy, old school sound of the band. Their new album, The Navigator, has a political message that is all too crucial right now given our political climate. If you don’t know Hurray for the Riff Raff, you should absolutely give them a listen if you want something inspiring and soothing.

The venue, Thalia Hall, has a very cool hipster, vintage vibe complete with a a restaurant and separate bar. Originally built as an opera house, it now hosts concerts and events.

After the concert we went to La Vaca, which is just down a little ways from Thalia Hall, which has a very lively atmosphere and some seriously tasty margaritas!

“In Search of the Eclectic”

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I came across this article through Chicago Gallery News because I like to keep up with what’s going on in the art scene in Chicago, and while this piece is more about a private collection than a gallery open to the public, Sally Schwartz‘s collecting, or ahem, hoarding habit, reminds me a little bit of myself. Schwartz runs the Randolph St Market Festival, which is a monthly flea market that features hundreds of local Chicago vendors and artisans. So constantly being around all these treasures is right up her alley.

I’ve also gone antiquing with my parents over the years and have developed an interest in collecting unique, interesting items as I see them, rather than waiting to buy things when I need them. This has resulted in several boxes of random things that I’m storing in my parents’ attic, probably much to their dismay. But I blame them for instilling this love for antiquing in me!

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I enjoyed how the article illustrates Schwartz and her husband bringing their collections together, even though they are so different – hers comprised of older vintage pieces and his of newer modern pieces. I can also identify with the fact that while their children are intrigued by their collections, they claim they’ll get rid of everything one day. I sometimes get frustrated by the sheer volume of things my parents collect and dream about the burden that would be lifted if I got rid of everything; but, on the other hand, there are so many stories tied to the pieces and sentimental value connected to them, that I may end up holding on them 🙂 Just as Schwartz is holding on to her collection in case the kids change their minds. How about these photos of their collection…dreamy!

“Big Little Lies”

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I’m only one of the millions who was obsessed with the all too short mini-series of Big Little Lies on HBO, but I have to say something about it because I haven’t been this hooked on a TV show in a long time. I watched it religiously every week with a friend and I looked forward to those nights like Christmas morning. The opening credits/intro alone should give you an idea of its dramatic yet somehow relaxing and calming aura – as if the characters are caught up in this ring of drama, yet they’re far too cool for it. It radiates that laid back California vibe (coming from someone who’s never been to California…), but the repeated, endless ocean views these women are lucky enough to have outside their kitchen windows only perpetuates this vibe. How then, do they manage to look so effortlessly and seamless put together? Well, not all the of the characters embody this chill, glam look, but those who do certainly pull it off with grace. And how about that soundtrack…and the cutest kids!

The show is dark. Starting off with the rather serious drama between the kids, then proceeding to the drama between the adults, which is even more serious, it is a thriller that keeps you guessing until the very last second of the seventh episode. Literally. The rumors of a potential second season, or the making of another mini-series based on a Liane Moriarty book are everywhere, but I guess the outcome remains to be seen. We can only hope and pray that it comes true!

The importance of the space around us

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This might not be true for everyone, but I have noticed that the space around me has a direct correlation to my mood, general attitude, perception, and approach to life. This has been true ever since I was little, and my earliest recollection of having an interest in the space around me is from when I was in grade school. A friend and I carpooled a couple times a week after school, spending one afternoon at my house and one afternoon at hers, and our favorite past time was rearranging each other’s rooms. I loved exploring the various possibilities of the use of our space not only for functionality by moving the bed here or the dresser there, but also for the feel and charm of different ways things could be decorated and arranged. I remember our parents getting mad that we were moving such heavy furniture at a young age, and perhaps someday in the future I’ll pay for those childhood play dates, but I reflect back on them with fondness.

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My bedroom in Massachusetts in the house that I renovated

It’s important for me to create a space for myself that I can truly feel inspired in. And what I mean by feel inspired in is just that feeling of home and of yourself – I think our space is an extension of ourselves and when it clearly and cohesively reflects who we are, it is most comfortable. This can be achieved in the smallest details that when put together result in an amalgamation of all the little moments and pieces and feelings that make up who we are. These can be things like small plants on the windowsill, your favorite blanket on your bed that you like to curl up in and read a book or watch Netflix, a light fixture that creates the perfect ambience, your most influential books stacked on your desk, pictures of your favorite memories in your bookcase, that childhood stuffed animal that you can’t bear to part with sitting on your nightstand, your most-worn necklaces draped on your dresser, etc. I mean the list could go on, and you can always rearrange and replace things as they no longer do anything for you.

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My desk area in the apartment I lived in during graduate school

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My current apartment

I have loved decorating and redecorating my childhood bedroom at home, the numerous dorm rooms I’ve lived in, and the various houses and apartments I’ve lived in since college. It’s a continual process for me that’s never complete, and it’s also something I look forward to working on in my spare time; whether it’s going to cute boutiques on the hunt for the perfect pillows to finish off a space, or going to tile and granite stores to pick out samples for larger projects, it’s my favorite past time that never ceases to inspire me.

“One Kiss”

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The Gene Siskel Film Center in Chicago was running a European Union Film Festival for the month of March and I took full advantage. I went to see eight movies and I was sad that I didn’t make it to more, but I beyond enjoyed the ones I did see. I loved many of them, but there was one that stuck out to me for its existential authenticity and realistic portrayal of what it is to grow up during your teenage years and navigate the nightmare that is high school. It was an Italian movie called One Kiss directed by Ivan Controneo.

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The protagonist, Blu, played by Valentina Romani, who is relatively new to the acting world, did a marvelous job of taking on a difficult role filled with teenage frustration, as she has to learn to maneuver around the limitations placed on us by others during those high school years that can be so challenging for people to overcome. What helps her overcome this is a friendship she forms with a new kid at school, who happens to be gay, and waltzes in like he owns the place in dramatic fashion. They then take on a shy, quiet guy under their wing and the three of them have adventures akin to those of Jules, Jim, and Catherine in Truffaut‘s Jules et Jim, and Matthew, Theo, and Isabelle in The Dreamers. These parallels are quite obvious, as the three of them dance several choreographed pieces recalling the famous dance in the cafe in Jules et Jim, and run through their high school hallways like Matthew, Theo, and Isabelle run through the Louvre in Paris, in The Dreamers, which is in itself a parody to Jules, Jim, and Catherine running through the Louvre in Jules et Jim.

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Their adventures remind you of everything you ever wanted to do in high school but were too embarrassed to do because you were afraid of what others might think of you. But Blu and her two partners in crime just don’t give a f**k and prove how much fun you can have if you liberate yourself enough carry out your wildest dreams. The soundtrack is stellar which only intensifies the freedom they exert, as well as the freedom you feel while watching them and living vicariously through them, even if only for a couple hours for the duration of the film.

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The three of them don’t live in such a free, happy state all the time though. These moments of bliss are definitely interspersed with the hardships they face, which are truly painful. And at the end of the movie there is a shocking finale that had much of the audience jump in their seats and gasp a sigh of terror. Despite this, it is a beautiful movie about what it is to grow up and it will surely become an Italian classic for a younger generation.

The sweetest voice

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I went to see a Mexican/American movie recently, Everybody Loves Somebody, and this song was playing at the end during the credits and I just couldn’t get over the sweetness of her voice. I wish I knew what she was saying, but nevertheless, I am loving this song 🙂

When you host a naked party, but you’re the only one who’s naked…

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This was the setting of the most bizarre and comical scene in Toni Erdmann, the German film that was nominated for Best Foreign Language Film at the Oscars this year. It did not win, but the dry humor that prevails throughout definitely makes it a good contender. It’s a very long film, which I wasn’t prepared for, rounding out at about 2 1/2 hours, and its slowness makes it feel even longer. I almost left at one point because it started to drag on, but thank god I didn’t because at about the two hour mark, this scene of humorous hysteria ensued.

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The main character, Ines, hosts a buffet lunch at her apartment for her consulting colleagues in an effort to encourage team-building. The naked component of the luncheon is not exactly planned, but as Ines has trouble adjusting her tight dress right as the first guest rings the doorbell, she impulsively decides to answer the door naked after she struggles to get out of her dress. First a friend arrives, who then leaves because she does not agree to strip down, followed by her boss, assistant, and other colleagues. As they’re awkwardly standing around naked, Ines’s dad, who is the primary source of comedy throughout the movie, shows up in a looming, furry costume. While those at the party are mostly disconcerted by his appearance, it somehow brings Ines and her father closer together after a tumultuous relationship.This whole scene is carried out in a completely serious manner with everyone maintaining straight faces as if colleagues standing around naked at a party is perfectly normal, which is what makes the entire audience LOL!

Lost and Beautiful

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I recently saw a new Italian film, Lost and Beautiful, by Director Pietro Marcello. An ode to Italian neo-realist film, it is a slow-moving film with sparse dialogue and stunning visuals of the Italian countryside. It is told from the perspective of a buffalo calf that we see grow up into an adult buffalo, which is thought to have the power of speech by one of the film’s characters. This power of speech is what saves the buffalo from slaughter early in its life, and what it allows it travel nomadically throughout the Italian countryside.

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A stately abandoned villa is also a central subject of the film, which, in the care of a dedicated groundskeeper, survives total oblivion.  It is not entirely clear where the plot line is headed throughout the film, but the tragic end, at least in my mind because I am so fond of animals, culminates in the beloved buffalo being sent to the slaughterhouse. Though a very sad and melancholic movie, it is worth the watch simply for it’s stretching of time, which affords the opportunity of contemplation while watching something that is visually enriching.