This was an excellent weekend back in NYC—i got an enormous amount accomplished, which, for me, is often the primary bar as to whether I'm happy to be back home, because there have been many times that the psychic shock of changing locales becomes a great excuse for less and less work.
The week ahead is quite full—I have a performance tomorrow night at the HOWL Festival, and then the Flaming Box of Stuff kids get to town for their shows at UCB. They got a nice shout out at the Apiary last week, and I expect they'll pull strong crowds—I love the show they're bringing, and it'll make for a great nostalgic weekend of hearkening back to sketch comedy roots.
We spent yesterday at the Angelika, where we performed the classic "two movies for the price of one" shuffle. It was an all animal day: first March of the Penguins, followed immediately by Werner Herzog's Grizzly Man, a plan we devised over beers on Friday with Paul.
It bears noting that the entire time we were in Berkeley we tried to see March of the Penguins every day, until it became totally comical—we'd always get up too late, or have too much to do; when on tour performing my bandwidth gets extremely limited, so its easy to get into grooves where there is ONE THING I want to do, over and over, that can't happen. This was encouraged, I think, by the fact that I couldn't stop calling the film ATTACK of the Penguins, which I have to say I consider a better title, even if it would be terribly inaccurate, as there is very little attacking in the film.
Penguins was a disappointment. I'll admit that after months of waiting it would have had to be pretty spectacular to rise to the challenge, but for me it left a lot to be desired. They spent so much time anthropomorphizing the animals that it felt pointed right at us in the audience, and while that's a cute trick it tired quickly, and I left the film after it was over knowing scarcely little more about the animals than I did going in.
Grizzly Man is an interesting antidote, as it concerns an incredibly obsessed man whose monomaniacal desire to live with grizzly bears results in him dedicating his life to the animals—literally, ultimately, as he is eventually eaten by a bear. Werner reconstructs his life from copious amounts of footage he leaves behind, and as we peel back the layers we learn more and more about how this obsession carved out his life. It was mesmerizing in all the ways Penguins was not—funny, bizarre, touching and, ultimately, inexplicable—like all good art is.
And now, some pictures from China's amazing yearly ice festival in Harbin:
A corridor of ice!
A building made of ice!
A blog entry made of ice!