Una Noche … a truly wonderful and heartbreaking film by Lucy Molloy (above) … a brother and sister are inseparable until the brother (Elio) falls in love with a friend (Raul) … when Raul (a self-serving, selfish, SOB, womanizer) gets himself in trouble, Elio follows suit (in attempt to help his friend/love) … and his sister (Lila) can’t stay behind … narrated by Lila, the streets of Havana are vibrant with both desperation and passion. The shooting of this film is magnificent. There’s no shading of the dictatorial system within Cuba, but this is more a story about people, and it’s an amazing story inspired by a true story. What we see is what we should already see; people are the same everywhere, no matter the political/military system.
Sheila O'Malley says it best: Havana jumps off the screen in a visceral way. You can smell it, feel it, like a living presence. Raul complains at one point, "The only things to do here are sweat and fuck." The entire atmosphere is jagged with rampant sexuality, street harassment, open prostitution, and cruel jokes. Every interaction takes on a sexualized tone, bordering on violence, which Lila finds tiresome. It takes a lot of energy to bat that nastiness away. You can sense the exhaustion.
SUPER HIGHLY RECOMMENDED …
Grind Joint, by Dana King … Listen to me (and Woody Haut of the LA Times) … Woody Haut, writing in the LA Review of Books, has named Grind Joint among his fifteen favorite reads of 2013. Not in the Top Ten, but that was populated by the likes of Daniel Woodrell, James, Sallis, Max Allan Collins, and Sarah Weinman.
Haut said of Grind Joint: With crisp dialogue and sparse exposition reminiscent of Elmore Leonard and George V. Higgins, it’s an investigation of a town on the edge of a precipice.
Woodrell, Sallis … two of the best ever … not too shabby company …
David Rawding’s, This is Power is up for an award at EXTRACT(s) … read it here … David S. Rawding has a BA in English from The University of New Hampshire and an MFA in Fiction from Southern New Hampshire University where he teaches creative writing as an online adjunct professor. David’s children’s book, Lucas the Traveling Crab won the New Hampshire Literary Awards’ Reader’s Choice Award for Outstanding Children’s Literature in 2011. David’s short fiction has been published in Barnstorm Literary Journal, Steel Toe Review, Black Lantern Publishing Magazine, and Forty Ounce Bachelors. A New Hampshire native, David is currently exploring The American West. In addition to his professor work, David works as a fly fishing and rafting guide in Alaska.
Reading now … The Orphan Master’s Son, by Adam Johnson … a Pulitzer Prize winner, this one deals with another communist regime, that of the whackjob “dear leader” Kim Jong Il … I’m halfway through this novel and it is an intriguing read. Stay tuned, amici ...
The Principessa Ann Marie found me a Rangers jersey with my co-favorite New York Ranger, Chris Kreider. Ryan Callahan is the other one … even a 4X was a tight fit, so the boss is putting me on the Afghanistan diet starting January 1 … oy vey
Some granddaughter pictures ...
Our Little Mermaid from Halloween (her mommy knitted the costume) …
Opening some gifts in Delaware …
With her Uncle Tony …
With her Aunt Nicole …
Momma Stella and her 84th birthday … (with another special guest appearance by the Principessa Ann Marie) …
We walk into her room bearing food and cassata (cannoli to yous nons) cake … we sing: Happy Birthday to you, etc., but her new Christmas/birthday gift (a 55” television, because she’s going a bit blind) is blaring loud enough to hear in Arkansas … and she’s out like a light. So, I wake her up and we sing it again, leading to …
MS: What the hell did you bring now?
Me: Food, Momma! Shrimp, Irish meatballs the size of marbles, and hard as rocks, antipasta, lasagna with that special Irish Kool Aid gravy, peppers and onions without the sausage that weren’t so good either, and breadsticks!
MS: (at Annie) Oh, Annie, I’ll never eat all that.
Me: Betting odds begin at 15:1.
MS: Go shit in your hat.
Annie: Ignore him Hope. Happy birthday.
MS: Thank you, honey. I love you. I want you to know that.
Me: And me?
MS: You go scratch your ass.
Me: (grabs the remote) What’s on?
MS: Here he goes. Put that thing down. There’s no games on tonight.
Me: (finds ESPN) You’re misinformed, Momma.
MS: Put channel fifteen on. They’re playing the Godfather marathon.
Me: Don Corleone, how many times you gonna watch that movie?
MS: It’s better than the stupid Bills.
Annie: Good for you, Hope.
Me: She has a point.
Annie: (Dishes out the grub). You want the shrimp first, Hope, or the lasagna?
Me: You can drink the lasagna after the shrimp. Trust me on this one, Ma.
Annie: (at me) Keep it up, you. I’ll dump it on your head.
MS: (laughing) Go’head, Annie, do it. I’d love to see that. Dump it all over his head.
Me: I sense hostility from you two.
MS: (remembers something) Charlie, who was that broad who used to live near you again?
Me: (at Annie) Now, please tell your sister she’s the one talks like that. I get it from her.
Annie: (laughing at my mother) I’m gonna have to, Hope.
MS: (at Annie) What’s he talkin’ about, this stupid ass?
Me: You gonna watch the Rangers tomorrow night?
MS: Yeah, sure. Up your ass with the Rangers. And the Bills. So, there. (Gives me an 84 year old raspberry).
I love my Mommy!
This when they were a great band (their first two albums), before they left the blues they stole from original artists with no shame, for which they should never be forgiven … Led Zeppelin …
I saw them many times, amici … and they NEVER sounded very good live … stick to the studio versions.