Blowhard, Esq. writes:
Once again, your staff of crack culture connoisseurs were snubbed by those moronic idiots at National Magazine Awards. When I wrote a formal letter of protest to the judges’ panel I got back some boilerplate claptrap about UR “not being a real magazine” and was admonished to “please stop yelling outside our office window or we’ll call the police.” Pricks.
Therefore, I humbly submit in my opinion our best work from the past year. If you agree, please leave a comment telling us how wonderful we are. If you disagree, GFY. Happy Holidays!
- If you haven’t figured it out already, Fabrizio’s movie writing is one of the best things about this site. Here he shares his list of Manly Movies, along with an addendum. Here he recounts his favorite ’90s movies. My favorite movie reviews of his were of Errol Morris’s THE UNKNOWN KNOWN, the physics documentary PARTICLE FEVER, John Lee Hancock’s SAVING MR. BANKS, and his look at the GODZILLA reboot. I also love when he analyzes individual scenes, I always want to immediately watch the whole film. Here he is on Slim Pickens’s death scene in PAT GARRET & BILLY THE KID, a scene from the avant-garde silent MÉNILMONTANT, and one from Jean Vigo’s ZERO FOR CONDUCT.
- Paleo Retiree’s movie reviews are always essential but probably my single favorite movie piece of his this year was this fab (and for some controversial) review of BEAUTIFUL DARLING and BECOMING CHAZ, two docs on transsexuals. I also loved these pieces on Lars Von Trier’s NYMPHOMANIAC, William Friedkin’s SORCERER, and Errol Morris’s THE FOG OF WAR. We’re not very big Morris fans around here, are we?
- In this piece, Sax contrasted two sci-fi blockbusters, SNOWPIERCER and TRANSFORMERS: AGE OF EXTINCTION. Sax and I did our best Siskel-and-Ebert routine on Wes Anderson’s THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL and Robert Wise’s BORN TO KILL.
- My essays on Thom Andersen’s LOS ANGELES PLAYS ITSELF and this round-up of a number of rock ‘n roll documentaries, including MUSCLE SHOALS, 20 FEET FROM STARDOM, and THE WRECKING CREW.
- Not to be outdone, Eddie Pensier looked at YES, MINISTER, which led to some deeper reflections on politics, politicians, and society. EP also looked at THE MAGIC FLUTE, JINDABYNE, and ROMULUS, MY FATHER.
- Fenster wrote about two movies written by Hanif Kureishi thirty years apart, SAMMY AND ROSIE GET LAID and LE WEEK-END.
- Over here, Paleo Retiree celebrated the porches of Carpinteria. Why doesn’t architecture criticism focus more on the every day?
- My L.A. art deco obsession continued with this photo gallery of the Pantages Theatre. In this review of Bernard Rudofsky’s Architecture Without Architects I looked at the pleasures of vernacular architecture. I also wrote on a good introduction to classical architecture.
- Fabrizio wondered why George Lucas, a traditionalist in many ways, chose such an avant-garde design for his new Chicago museum.
Food & Travel
- On a recent trip to the states Eddie Pensier checked out a New York Italian trattoria and ate a lot of pizza. A champion tea connoisseur, Eddie also shared thoughts on flavored tea and NYC’s Russian Tea Room. Here Eddie went to an Aussie beer festival.
- Fenster on his sometimes too-cozy relationship with alcohol, which includes a night putting ’em away with EP.
- I visited an East L.A. burrito joint that makes their tortillas fresh. I also went to NYC and shared some observations on the city and chronicled my eating and drinking adventures. Here’s my photo essay of afternoon high tea at a posh West Hollywood hotel.
- Paleo Retiree compares and contrasts Bobby Flay’s Gato and Madison Square Eats.
- In Atlanta on a work trip, Fabrizio fired off some good snaps.
- Fenster likes to think globally but travel locally.
- Paleo Retiree, always amused at the antics young galz are up to, wondered why so many are photographed with their mouths open nowadays (warning: NSFW) and how the bra went from underwear to outerwear. Here he mused on the pleasures of old school barbers.
- Fenster has his eye on knickers.
- Opera lover Eddie Pensier reviewed the Sydney Symphony Orchestra’s production of Elektra and scored a great interview with its star, Christine Goerke. Eddie raved about a number of opera singers including Fritz Wunderlich, Anita Cerquetti, and Carlo Bergonzi. Some of Eddie’s favorite opera tunes include “Va, Pensiero,” “Habanera,” and a Rossini aria.
- My notes on the NY Phil’s inaugural biennial.
- Fabizio discovers the wisdom of Johnny Ramone.
- Sir Barken raves about Kraftwerk at the Walt Disney Concert Hall.
- Paleo Retiree conducted a 5-part mega interview with jazz musician and educator Ned Corman.
- I checked out a number of good museums this year including the Getty Center, the Bowers Museum, the Cloisters, and the Velveteria.
- Fenster reimagines the Barnes Foundation’s collection.
- Sir Barken looked at the art of contempt v. the art of delight.
Books & Drama
- Sax was lukewarm on Thomas Pynchon’s Inherent Vice.
- Paleo Retiree began sharing his book journal notes, here’s part 1 on classical liberalism and part 2 on anarchism and anthropology.
- I shared my enthusiasm for Raymond Chandler’s The Long Goodbye and the Altman adaptation.
- Paleo Retiree spent a night at the theatah checking out Young Jee Lee’s “Straight White Men.”
- Fabrizio, fascist reactionary, takes a few jabs at our diversity obsession. He also recalled the wild and wooly Action Park.
- Paleo Retiree noted that contempo headline writers are always telling us what we “need” and “should” do. He also shared a wonderful mini-memoir about working for Toby Young’s Modern Review.
- EP threw a hissy fit about in-flight entertainment.