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All content copyright 2009 by Holly Gleason. Web design by Lauren Carelli.

November 2006

November 2006: 
Che Guevera, Tom Waits ORPHANS, Right Association & Sinful Decadence

Faites Simple

  Ahhh, the French. They have such a way. Keep it simple. Qu’elle ideale—and yet, how difficile we make it! It is about a few things done well, a couple delicious bits, an hour or two genuinely shared by people connecting. As the rush-rush of the season descends, faites simple becomes a manifesto and a raison d’etre.


White Tea/Pomegranate Soda Hansens

   Not too fizzy, but very clean and clear tasting. The tea lends some pungent grounding, while the pomegranate infuses a fruity tang. Not to sweet to swallow without flinching; not too effervescent to make one’s tummy bloat. Thirst-quenching, tongue-tickling. Worth the search.

“Bobby”

   It’s amazing how much remains the same—even though the patina of innocence and optimism that informed the upheaval of the late ‘60s upset is long gone. Emilio Estevez wrangles an all-star cast who merge and embody the various realities that were co-mingling in that era… grounded in the hopefulness of a new generation coming of age with Senator Robert Kennedy’s ascendancy to Presidential nominee. Ashton Kutcher as a stoner drug dealer turning a couple straight arrow young campaign operatives on, while Laurence Fishburne as the worked-through-his-anger head chef in the Ambassador Hotel kitchen, a place where race, class and reality merge, Anthony Hopkins and Harry Belafonte as the retired men of dignity and standards grappling with the realities of age.

   This is a morality play—about war: Lindsey Lohan’s young girl faces a challenge germane to girls in a draft age, and fidelity: Sharon Stone’s hotel beautician’s unsentimental kindness faces a marriage-shaking revelation. It’s also a snapshot of a politics of unity, responsibility and a time where everything was changing and nothing would ever be the same.

Zelda Among The Flowers

   The princess arrives home to her faded Shabby Chic rose feather bed… with myriad chintz pillows. Stretching. Luxuriating. Lolling. Languishing. Lazing. There is nothing quite like a spaniel adrift in her girly, frilly element, resplendent on fine brushed cotton—dreaming of munks and bunnies to be hunted, run down and killed.

Steak Flatbread Bricktops, Nashville, TN

   Terribly thin, yet somehow the not dried out triangle of dough is covered with—of all things—whipped potatoes and good gorgonzola. Then bits of tenderloin, caramelized onions, capers. Put under the broiler for a few moments to cook through, mingle the flavors, brown and bubble. Strangely unexpected, yet utterly divine.

Making Our Own Heirlooms

  It’s a fast mad world—and in the rush’n'tussle, it is easy for that which should’ve been ours to slip through our fingers. Or perhaps in the keep-up, the heirlooms were never quite acquired. For whatever reason, it doesn’t matter… all we need is a poem in our hearts and a kindness in our soul: heirlooms are what we make them
.  
  For me, from a girl with strawberry silk hair and eyes the color of the sea who believes in “making our heirlooms” to nurture the void, it was a pair of linen pillowcases—intricately-stitched in a crewel of love and sherbet pink. Something to put upon the bed, a talisman of hope and love and friendship, an heirloom from the day they were given. Heirlooms aren’t just generational, they are a product of kinship from life lived as much as genes passed down.

“If you’re strong enough, there are no precedents.”
          F Scott Fitzgerald

   Faith in one’s dream is its own nine pound hammer. Belief swings in a way even momentum can’t stop—all you have to do is resolve to hold on no matter the circumstances, and know people will most likely be afraid of your passion, conviction, will to achieve.

   Fear is a strange thing: it will inspire others to undermine you and your own self to surrender to safety and the concern of folly: that is where strength comes in. And that includes your own monkey mind—if you’re strong enough to keep faith throughout all of it, what failure or falter has come before is not binding, only educational because precedents don’t hold, they merely set the bar to clear.


Music From Big Pink The Band

   Funky in a raw roots way. Ripe with musicianship and soul. This was a watershed in American music, where country, blues, rock, bluegrass and gospel melted into one very plugged-in vein of rock’n'roll. Traditional songs were embraced through a haunting murder’n'consequence of grief beyond loss “Long Back Veil” and classics were forged with the solidarity anthem in their original support an love commitment born “The Weight.”

   A truly collaborative entity, the Band had swampy voices, lived-in voices, sweet voices coming together to create something authentically of the day. And the re-mastered and re-mixed package—with a bonus CD of alternate takes, other songs and the ilk—offers a snapshot of a moment where the music was as vital and necessary as air. No wonder it sounds as satisfying now as it did when it changed the rules about amalgamating, infiltrating and offering up whole new contexts for genres we knew by heart.

Refrigerator Roulette

   Who knows just what there is? But if you get creative with what you go, what you might dream up could astound you! Shallots and Dijon, Worcestershire and balsamic vinegar, a few spices, then shake: voila! low cal dressing. Or roasted pork, walnuts, grapes, parmesan, carrots on baby salad greens. Or ground meat, some ketchup, cinnamon, chili powder, raisins, pine nuts over instant polenta. A miracle meal awaits—all you have to do is consolidate.

Cocktails Amy Sacco

   This is not a bartender’s guide book, but a look at the world of the night from one of New York City’s reining queens of the scene. Amy Sacco was in all the clubs that matter(ed), standing out, shining, throwing events that people talked about. There are recipes—for high end liquor and the quaffage of the beautiful people guzzling their 15 minutes, but it’s really about mixing up a sense of fabulous in the realm of “all that.” For scenesters, hipsophisticates and 24-hour-party-people of a most decadent bent.

Rose D’Orient Balm de Nuit Decleor


   Thick, and requiring the warmth of one’s fingertips for maximum penetration. Yet a few lovingly applied dollops, gently massaged into one’s countenance nourishes parched skin and feeds a dull complexion while one sleeps. All-natural ingredients from France, this isn’t a miracle, but rather savvy skincare—the kind that won’t upset even the most temperamental of faces. You sleep, it works. And it smells of flowers, exotic spices and Morocco.

William Wegman: Funney/Strange, Before The Camera: Remaking Reality & the Make Believe
Norton Museum

   A picture is worth a thousand words—and these two concurrent shows, through the first of the year at West Palm Beach’s always intriguing art museum, speak volumes about photography’s ability to render joy and also shift perception. Wegman’s dog pictures are absolutely a part of it, but there’s also a strong case made for the transmutability of facts, truth and what you think you see.

   For anyone vacationing in Palm Beach, Broward or St Lucie County who’s sure their brain is turning to Jell-O, this is a provocative solution to the void. Positioning oneself to have much to discuss at dinner, you can take the kids and know they’ll be as engaged just looking at the images as the grown-ups are with the way meaning shifts in the face of a well-pointed lens.

Ashley Judd on Brothels/AIDS Marie Claire December


   With two movies coming out—a thriller and a critical darling “Come Early Morning,” directed by “Chasing Amy’s Joey Lauren Adams, it would be easy for Ashley Judd to do the high-glamour, high-gloss movie star drill. But instead, the youngest of the Judd progeny opts to embrace not just the international AIDS crisis, but to address the high risk women turned over to brothels as children to try and feed families. It is a hellish reality that leaves deep soul scars as well as the life-ravaging HIV virus, and Judd takes her star turn to put the spotlight on the harshness of the lives that lead these women to the ruin of their health.

   A riveting read. An impassioned plea. A way for sisterhood to extend beyond rhetoric and into a realm of rescue and reality. Yes, there is all the beauty/fashion escape we want from our girly magazines, but this month, there’s something more. Exchange shallow for hallowed—and get reading.



Mentally Sharp Essential Oil Wyndmere

   A few drops on the wrist, behind the ears, on the temples… POOF! Instant alertness. With strong notes of eucalyptus and peppermint, Mentally Sharp Essential Oil opens the pores, the nasal passages and the mind to let fresh air pour in—waking the groggy up-all-nighter or entirely-too-exerter with a jolt of chilling freshness. Whiff it and see…


What I Now Know (Letters To My Younger Self) edited by Ellyn Spragins

   Women who have made a difference in all walks of life write letters to the girls they were, knowing the things they know having achieved what few do. Madeline Albright, Maya Angelou, Beverly Sills, Queen Noor, PETA founder Ingrid Newkirk, Picabo Street, Trish McEvoy, Mary Matalin, Lee Ann Womack and Olympia Dukakis represents stateswomen, singers, politicos, business women, journalists, athletes and more—offering the reality that can heighten achievement and experience as anyone is climbing to their dream. A wonderful gift, though, for girls on the verge… whatever age they may be.


Right Association

  A Buddhist notion about the company one keeps. If one knows the difference, right association only makes sense. To walk on or through the wild side is one thing, to surrender one’s judgment and submerge is wholly another. To elevate one’s goodness, to find the best possible action and options, one should find the best possible people… and that means gravitating to the essential components of humanity: kindness, honesty, goodness, compassion, mercy.

   Broken down to such basic elements, it’s elemental. Compulsory, really.

“After The Gold Rush” Emmylou Harris w. Kennedy Rose, Ryman Auditorium 17 Nov

   Seraphim covered with flesh, Emmylou Harris joined by her dear friends the singer/songwriters Pam Rose and Mary Ann Kennedy to turn Neil Young’s siren song of ecological awareness and reckoning into something sublime on Earth. Silvery, shimmering, soothing and beckoning, their take on mid-period Young is jaw-dropping in its splendor, resonating in its message and mesmerizing in the simplicity of rippling beauty delivered without bludgeoning.

   Every now and then, magic just happens. This is one of the moments.
If you have the chance to see Harris on the road, this is just such an opportunity as the dear friends are touring together for the near future.

Mouthguard

   You put it in, and once the horror of being reduced to a 14-year-old shackled to their orthodenture fades, your teeth are safe for another night. Grinding, gnashing, clenching in one’s sleep may happen, but your molars, bicuspids and incisors are safe. For teeth that’re meant to last a lifetime, this is a safeguard that is your little secret.

The Road To Escondido J.J. Cale & Eric Clapton


   Down-low, sweeping, sneaking, creeping into every nook and cranny with a slow hand and a loose pocket. And when it’s not like that, it’s a slow sensual roil that offers a sexiness that’s beneath the skin erotic. And why not? Two blues-steeped guitarists who understand its in how the notes percolate, the way the B-3 organ rises in steamy sheets that everything comes to the kind of boil that’ll melt you with want and desire.

Sinful Decadence Mountain Mill Coffee & Tea, Roanoke, VA


   Deep. Rich. Full. Notes of chocolate temper this java-esque cup of caffeine fulfillment in a way that’s as smooth as it is robust. For people who like coffee where the flavor keeps descending into a place where the taste is almost consuming, this is your brew. Sans the bitterness that sometimes comes with intense coffees, even the most sensitive drinker can chug up without threat of acid tongue or burning stomach. Mmmmmmmmmm…


“Shut Up and Sing”

   The First Amendment is meant to guarantee free speech to all, but as the Grammy-winning, heavy-metal-selling Dixie Chicks learned, it comes at a price. “Shut Up and Sing,” on the short list of 15 for the documentary Academy Award, catches up with the Texas hard country trio that’s as aggressive sounding as any rock band out there as lead singer Natalie Maines utters the quip—“I just want y’all to know we’re ashamed the President is from Texas”—heard round the world.

   The ensuing chaos includes shifting stories, questionable contrition, boycotts, death threats, a mano-a-mano grudge with turbo-redneck rabblerouser Toby Keith and the unraveling of the hottest career to come out of Nashville this century. It is a survey course in the momentum of public opinion, the lack of clarity and confusion the eye of the storm and the consumer’s inability to sift through the hysteria, the impact of glibness at a politically-charged time and the need to create in a pressure beyond that which forms diamonds. Even the exoneration of the Chicks via current events currently in play does little to tip the scale, making this film a conversation starter more than unequivocal clarifier of how it all went so wrong.

   For anyone who ever wonders how scandals flashpoint, why people buy into ill-informed momentum and the high wire act of controversy control, this is a survey course of first order. Expect no easy answers, but know you’ll leave with a broader perspective on the way it all can go so wrong so fast.


Coach Berlow

   Sometimes inspiration comes both ways: what you do and what you get from doing it. Sometimes when you change lives, you shift your own. Sometimes when you recast your dream, it gets even better. This winter, at Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School, the freshmen basketball team is getting an exceptional gift: Coach Berlow.

   There are few who exhibit is passion for the game, his commitment to decency, his will to win. But even more than excellence and execution, he’s about imbuing in others’ the ability to understand that one can. To be empowered, especially at such a difficult age, isn’t a gift, it’s grace. And who knows what the coach is going to get out of it? Beyond, of course, the love of playing and the sheer joy of seeing people come into their own.


Alexander and The Very No Good Horrible Terrible Day Judith Viorst (Ray Crus illustrator)


   It starts with chewing gum at bed that is in the hair by morning, and it just does downhill from there. It is a children’s book about how awful one 24 hour period can be—and for anyone having “one of those days,” it is a gentle reminder that we all go through it. Leavening our darker places and days, proof that even when it’s all falling apart, we can find a reason to smile—this is a child’s book that translates as an adult reminder. Find a kid to use as a cover if necessary, but get yourself a copy for perspective: you’ll be glad you did.

“Songs from the Work Bench” Jim Ridley, Nashville Scene

   It has been 4 years since Guy Clark has released a full-length recording of his immaculately turned songs about pivot points, flickering recognitions and detail-laden portraits of moments, revelations and emotions held close. In that time, Texas’ ex-patriot songwriter/teller of tales has built guitars, raised his already intimidating standards, beat lymphoma and maintained the paid-in-full manliness that makes him the closest thing to Hemingway—a brutally economic writer heavy with exactness, full-bore inhabitor of life, absolutely averse to swelling, curving puffery—alive.

   This is not the definitive piece by any means, but as a core sample of why Guy Clark matters, it is a must read—as much for how the Workbench Songmaster sees the world, views his walk through it and casts his eye to the future as for any aspect of how he got here from there. For a man whose voice is oak, thick sinew and warm stoicism, it’s a look that is telling.

A bad wick


  The holy candle had been lit three, four times. For a particularly vexsome intention: the peace of mind of an incredibly difficult individual. And each time it was lit, it flickered, wavered and was out in a couple of hours… A very jolting revelation for a petition sent heavenward with only the best of hopes.
What did it mean? How could this be? What to be done?

   The question posed to a friend of Mexican descent, a truly spiritual family with aunts whose faith runs deep. They were amused by the query; laughing they shook their heads: “Stop with the strangeness,” they said. “Too much. It is only a bad wick.”

   Like the person itself, just a bad wick. It happens. Throw it out. Move on. Amen.



Numbers Necklaces Energymuse


   Working the same premise as numerology, each digit stands for characteristics of the human being—and the energy muses have teamed up with seer in the stars Bridgett Walther to create a series of 11 necklaces that use precious stones and key designs to harness the power of each numeral’s truest essence. Whatever you’re trying to realize, bring into your life or expand in your person, these necklaces will help heighten your intention. It is a powerful icon of manifestation, in addition to being truly lovely midrange jewelry—at a price point to be a special piece, but not so expensive or gaudy that one would be unable to wear it daily.

   As a luxury that creates necessity, this is a great place to start. Find your number—or the design/ description that hits you, and be on your way.



www.energymuse.com

Live From Hell Sam Kinison

   They say he was crazy, impossibly loud, unable to not crash through any kind of sacred cow or social taboo. Sam Kinison knew how to scream for the epicenter of our societal bondage, tear hypocrisy to shreds and hit that spot of utter shudder. A provocateur who would take on anything - from then action star Schwarzenegger’s potential for homoerotics to snorting drugs off then “Laverne & Shirley” star, soon-to-be-directorial force Penny Marshall’s breast, before getting into the politics of the day, this is profane and perception shaking.

   A Grammy-winning effort from the then-recently-deceased comic, Live From Hell showed a challenging genius getting back to social skewering from a walk on the screeching guitars’n'bad boy frenetic side. He had so much to say, so many accepted stigmas to blow up… He died too young, and this is a rafter-rocking exercise—captured as he was working out a new show back home in Houston—that suggests we’d only just seen the tip of the iceberg of the man who was Lenny Bruce’s most worthy successor.


Chianti Classico 2003 Melini

   Classico means the heart of the chianti, and this is the driest, most expansive and soulful bottle of the Italian red I’ve encountered in a long, long while. Hardly the stuff of raffia and meatballs, one can ponder the reasons we travel, seek the unknown and delve into politics, religion and the meaning of anything while delving to the bottom of this bottle. It has the robustness that one expects from Italian wines, yet isn’t overwhelming… Wonderful, just simply impossibly drinkable and infinitely interesting to the tastebuds.


“Stranger Than Fiction”


   What if a character in fiction wasn’t? What if an author channeled a real person… and then the person heard that narrator’s voice as they went through their real life migrations? What if the novel and the literal collided—even before the two worlds merging was evident to either?

   Such is the premise of Will Farrell’s breakout grown-up role—in a Woody Allen-esque desperation play as the soon-to-be-expired-protagonist-who-would-just-like-to-maintain-his life. Brilliantly turned, this is miles from the “Roxbury;” with Emma Thompson as the stymied author and Queen Latifah as the shrink/motivational coach sent in to spur Thompson through her writer’s block, this is a smart comedy that inspires intellectual laughter long after you leave the theater.

Half Fig Stuffed w. Bleu, Topped with Half a Walnut

   Delicious flesh that gives to the teeth, sweet and sticky—loaded with pungently acrid bleu cheese and topped with half a lightly toasted walnut. It is succulent, creamy, nutty, crunchy. All of the best taste sensations and textures delivered in one decadent morsel, lying in wait on a tray of canapés. A few small bites, a richly turned morsel that delivers a pinwheel of culinary wonders in a single bite.

Jose Guadalupe Posada & The Mexican Broadside Chicago Art Institute

   Political cartoons in Mexican newspapers and illustrations with a definite slant are part of the rich Mexican tradition of communication. One part humor to three parts truth, this is empowerment turned through pen and ink—and no one mastered the art more than Jose Guadalupe Posada. Now through the end of the year, the Chicago Art Institute has a show dedicated to another nation’s ability to offer up commentary through pictures that spoke volumes and the men who created them.

   As we become a smaller universe and a broader nation, this is a wonderful way to understand the soul, the values and the aesthetics of our neighbors to the South. For inside the cartoon truth is a lion’s heart committed to exhuming the truth at all costs.


Pink Grapefruit Airborne

Taking the whole plop! plop! fizz! fizz! act into the realm of pro-active, preventive over-the-counter medicine, that distinctly aspirionic flavor of Airborne gets a pleasant citric twist that works. The pink grapefruit version of this cold/flu zapper veers closer to Fresca than the standard bubbling chemical cocktail, but is every bit as effective. Now, there are no excuses.


Baby Carnations

   A puff of jagged edged petals on a green/gray stalk. Several profusions evoking the cloudlike skirts that swept around Degas’ ballerinas bowing out from the same stem, making mini carnations something of a feathery, pale pastel barre class of floral—rather than dancer on pointe—persuasion.

   For all their fragility, there is a denseness to a few stems in a tall thin vase. And their hardiness makes them perhaps the best deal out of the garden, because baby carnations can last a couple weeks for just a few dollars—spraying buds of color and grace against any moment you set them in. Indulge.


Orphans: Brawlers, Bawlers & Bastards Tom Waits

   The many moods of a crookneck geek who also happens to be a poet, an iconoclast, a beatnik and rogue musico, this 3 record set of new songs and lost moments is divided into the herking jerking deep pocket stuff, the tender weepers and the freakish moments of quirk and experimentation Drawing on raconteur poets - Bukowski, Kerouac for spoken bits, classic or traditional songs (“Young At Heart,” “Good Night Irene,”) and his own pen, Tom Waits’ demonstrates how multi-disc boxes aren’t mere vanity.

   With his raw and ravaged voice as a witness to life lived, loves torched and endured, faithlessness and restlessness surrendered to, he creates a distinctly drifter/outsider tableau—and one of a time almost lost to memory. This is carny creation, a warped lens and a vigor for all things excessive or too small… spoken word, shanty lullabies, slow waltzes, chugging Ramones reduxes, everything in between… the between the crack-ers, the lowdown losers, the falling-outters, drifters and their heartbreaks, needs and fingernail moon moments.

The Pros From Dover

   Robert Altman is passed on, but my dear friends who evoked the madcap surgeons from his “M*A*S*H,” celebrating two gifted surgeons in a mobile hospital during the Korean War, are every bit as improvising and life saving with what they do. Field photographers who can do controlled studio sessions in the matter of 30 minutes, their gift is seeing the possibilities in wherever they are, knowing how to capture the best in the least amount of time and then to reach inside their subjects to reveal the truest self, the one behind the veneer.

   Jay Why and Mr. Deutsch are freewheeling souls who do it for the love of the challenge and a firm appreciation of sports, music, moments and images. To look inside a USA Today is to understand the gift and their brilliance. “The Pros From Dover,” indeed.

Make Your Own Crostini

   The baguette seemed so French and romantic in a culinary way. Even a demi- is a lot of crispy, light, crunchy Franco-carb… and so, there it is on the counter, growing staler, dryer, harder by the moment. Ahh, the folly. Ohh, the waste. But wait, en moment!, what if you slice it in half-inch pieces, brush lightly with olive oil and put it in your oven on broil for a few minutes?

   Indeed, you recycle self-indulgence into an economical holiday cocktail season impressive “you shouldn’t have”! A cookie sheet, a little extra virgin and the will to remember how simple recasting your baguette can be. And if you use a steeped oil or rub the bread with a bit of roasted garlic, you can even deepen the taste sensation.

“…the true revolutionary is guided by great feelings of love.”
          Che Guevera

  It is not just about jettisoning that which you want to change… the Molotov cocktail hurled into the status quo to eradicate repression, emotional, economic or otherwise… the by-any-means-necessary insurrection… True revolution is about motivation, and the inspiration for the deepest change comes from the basement of the heart more than the fire of rage.

   Why does on crave change? What reason does one embark to change everything? The holiest campaigns come from the most innocent desire will be better for the sake of love over all. Love is selfless and seeking… it is about what you give, withstand and create for another… it is the courage to rise up and turn over what exists for people you care deeply enough for to find the hardship, challenges and perhaps even doubt worth the end result. It is selfless rather than self-directed—and it sows the seeds of great action, even if its just seizing a dream—like Henry Potter author J.K. Rowling—to give the ones you love a better life.