February 11, 2003
Chicago Clarification

An addendum to yesterdays post: I liked Chicago but think it's idiotic that it's nominated for as many Oscars as it is.

I mean, they sing and dance (and all that jazz) very well. But there isn't too much acting, which I understand is fairly important in order to win those golden little men. I guess they may count 'dancing in your lingergie' to be acting these days, but I'm a proponent of giving this a category of its own. In fact, I think we should start a petition.

Posted by savidant at 09:41 AM
February 10, 2003
A Tale of Two Musicals

So it was a musical-rich weekend.

I saw Chicago on Saturday and was impressed. Now, I like a) jazz and b) musicals, but hate a) Richard Gere and b) Renιe Zellweger. So I like to think I went in with a neutral bias. But the movie is great, and not just for all the skimpy outfits:
– DON'T expect much plot. DO expect hot chix behind bars.
– The Murderess' Tango is amazing. And not just for the costumes.
– Richard Gere is still very very annoying. And he sings in a strange kind of pseudo-accent that make me want to hurt him more than usual.
– When you put Zellweger and Zeta-Jones beside each other there is NO comparison. Zeta-Jones is an amazing dancer and sings grandly (though I expect Studio Magic should receive some of the praise). Zellweger dances poorly and just doesn't have the chops.
– John C. Reilly has the best number in the movie. Really.

Sunday night I saw Evita at Theatre Calgary. I hadn't seen the play before, nor had I seen the Madonna version. Now, given the venue the production values weren't exactly off the scale but I was still entertained:
– The guy who played Chι was the Emcee in the performance of Cabaret last year. He's stolen the show both times. He got more applause than the woman who played Evita.
– Having heard the songs from the musical on tape, I was surprised at the placement of some of them. For instance, "Another Suitcase..." is not sung by Evita but by the woman she's replacing as Peron's mistress. And "Don't Cry for Me..." is a plea for the people to accept her as the first lady, and not after she finds out she's dying (as I thought).
– I think ALW deserves his rep (with some) as a hack. The play recycles the same tunes (especially "Don't Cry...") over and over again, just in a different tempo and with different words. Also, one of the songs sounded a lot like "Memory" from Cats, and another a lot like a song from Starlight Express (don't know the name). I compare this to Chicago, with each song different from the last, and grow displeased.
– Paraphrased drom the program, regarding the Madonna movie: "... a movie version, featuring Madonna and the flashy latin star Antonio Banderas..."

So Chicago is worth seeing, and Evita too if you live in Calgary.

Posted by savidant at 03:32 PM
February 04, 2003
Capital-Derived Coolness

Dateline: Edmonton (Part III)

After the massive rant about the Restaurant of Doom, I'll keep the summary of the remainder of the weekend short. Highlights only!

- They need a high-speed train to Edmonton. The things that make it a boring drive (flat, straight, little settlement) would make it ideal for an Albertan TGV.
- We saw a rather underwhelming Chinese New Year celebration at The Mall. I mean, it looked authentic and everything but we were all disappointed at the lack of fireworks and Dragon Dancers.
- We played glow-in-the-dark miniature golf, which isn't as exciting as it should be. Ben may be the Tiger Woods of mini-putt. We are waiting for his opinion on female membership at the Augusta Golf Course.
- White Cowbell Oklahoma played at a local bar and were pretty good (though their rock to guitar ratio was a bit low). Warning: They are not from Oklahoma.
- Edmonton is really stoked about being the provincial capital. There are billboards announcing it everywhere. It's like a kid who wins a blue ribbon at one of those silly Sports Days in elementary and then wears it to school for the next month.
- Tim lives in a pretty sweet part of town. He's got a nice, big place with what amounts to several malls worth of shopping and foodstuffs right outside his door. That, and a Safeway.
- I can't believe Warren ate the whole thing.

That's the last Edmonton entry. I promise.

Posted by savidant at 11:55 AM
February 03, 2003
Worst. Restaurant. Ever.

Dateline: Edmonton (Part II)

I'll post a roundup on the rest of the Edmonton trip soon, but last evening deserves its own post.

So Tim, Wendy, War, Grant, Ben, and I head out to our last Edmonton dinner. We have lots of time, and War invites along one of his friends and his wife. Tim lives in a pretty nifty area, with restaurants all over the place, and for some reason he hasn't tried near half of them. So we decide to try a place a block away called EastBound. Good decor. Asian themed food. Sake bar. Looks nice.

Big mistake.

Things begin reasonably well, as we are the only people in the restaurant and have the hostess' full attention. We had some wacky Sake drinks and all was going well. Then for some reason she took appetizer orders without taking the main course orders. Weird, but whatever. Also, in what would turn out to be a bit of devilish foreshadowing, they had a single Diana Krall song on loop. It just kept playing over and over and over, as if willfully ignorant of the march of time.

The appetizers came pretty quick... but this was the last we would see of our intrepid hostess for a long time. We talked for a while, and then began to fidget. Necks were craned, coughs were *ahemed* to no avail. Then, finally, over an hour after we arrived in the restaurant, she took our orders.

But our magical journey is not done yet. Now begins the period I refer only to as: "The Wait". It consists of alot of people dredging the barrel for conversation topics, participating in uncomfortable silences, sighing heavily and gradually getting very annoyed, all overlaid by elevator-class jazz. This is what violent breakdowns are all about.

After another half hour or more, the sushi arrives. Which would be great, except only four out of the eight of us ordered sushi. The rest of us are told our food will be "right out". Which is a lie. A very big lie. We wait another half hour, and nothing. Tim and Wendy complain, which is met with a lot of apologies, but no food. The hostess promises us free salad. I say "No thanks, but we would like our food."

Around 8:00, two-and-a-half hours after we entered the restaurant, two plates of cooked food come. One of the plates is purportedly mine, the Thai Udon (it later turns out that it was not mine, and was rather Wendy's). Ben's food isn't there, and he has to be at the airport in an hour. At this point, we just say 'screw it'. Wendy negotiates for all our main courses to be free, and we just get out of there. Before we leave though, we are given the remaining two meals bagged. In Japanese Village bags.

So that was the evening. Never go there. Never never never.

Posted by savidant at 08:25 AM
February 01, 2003
Sage Advice

Dateline: Edmonton (Part I)

Quote of the week:
(from a police officer, no less)
"If you're going to speed, make sure there isn't a police car following you."

Posted by savidant at 05:00 PM