Being a regular commuter from Camarillo to Downtown LA via train and Metro on weekdays requires light traveling; hence it was all over but the shouting that I would get a portable diary compact enough to carry about with me without adding even an incremental extra ounce to my already weighty messenger bag filled with a book, a Kindle Fire, a Traveler’s Notebook, a Makeup pouch, and a small stationery bag. Furthermore, I needed one such that it would be my ubiquitous mind’s reservoir in which I could preserve paroxysm of ideas, emotions, and feelings conveniently at a coffee shop and on the train.
Out of such prerequisites for my traveling companion came this pocket-sized Moleskine Limited Edition Snow White Notebook at a quite reasonably affordable price. It is sturdy, well-bound, and even hard-covered, let alone prettily designed. There are choices of “Ruled” and “Blank” at your personal preference. (My recommendation is that if you choose a blank version of it, you will write more on each page, which is all the more economical.)
All in all, as a novice user of Moleskine notebooks, I glory in the novelty of it all with the haunting echoes of Sherlock Holms and Mr. Watson: “Excellent!” I cried. “Elementary,” said he.”
Author’s Note: I am neither an undercover agent for Moleskine nor a mystery shopper paid to write this review of the notebook. And no, I am not a would-be power blogger in search of sponsors or followers to promote my Blog.
The smashing success of The Blair witch Project has spawned its eponymous genre of films with its proprietorial low-budget production consisting of indie directors, unknown (or low-profiled) actors/actresses, limited gadgetry, simple scripts, and straightforward plot to evoke an arch of Realism in Reality in touch with the everyday life of the ordinary. In European films, this neo-realism has already been constituted by the works of Lars von Trier in Dancer in the Dark, the Dardenne Brothers in Rosetta, and Vittorio de Sica in The Bicycle Thief. Maybe it’s because the New World is innately rebellious to anything coming from the Old World for the reason that it is simply too sophisticated to appreciate its artistic sensibilities developed through the flight of times. Whatever it might be, now is different. American Cinema Paradiso has never been so teeming with many an ingeniously creative realistic film made by ambitious directors who are not shy to translate their imagoes or imaginative world on screen in a way that makes it look real as impressively illustrated in Nigel Bach’s BadBen–TheMandelaEffect.
The genre of the film blurs on the boundary of comedy and horror. In fact, it delivers the sensuous kicks of laughing and shuddering, putting the viewer on the pleasure roller coaster ride. To begin with, the undeniably irascible bold-headed “Tom Riley,” played by Nigel Bach, who also produced and directed the film, with his thick southern New Jersey accent and the accordant “don’t mess-with-me” attitude is a great subject of comical caricature resembling none other than himself. Then there are the possessed satanic dolls that are more irritable than horrible because they get on Riley’s nerves. Even the profane language Riley employs to covey his frustration and to provoke fear in the evil dolls is not offensive but risible. Besides, the setting of the house, which is also the actor’s real house, renders the plot of the film a sense of verisimilitude, an illusion of watching a non-fiction documentary film based on a real event.
The real gem of this strangely attractive film is how the plot is unfolded with a wicked deception of the eyes and the ears of the audience even without special effects or ingenious editing. How a man like Tom Riley – the porky bald-headed fiftyish curmudgeon- can commend a screen presence would have been a challenge, had it not been for Bach’s natural way of delivering his lines without overtly dramatic emotions and his elliptical plot of a plausible story of an everyday man experiencing the supernatural in everyday life. In fact, from the moment Riley gets to his new proud and really beautiful house of dream bought at a sheriff’s sale, we take the plot of the film for granted with a foregone conclusion until it gets us to the surprising denouement thereof with the kind of sensation and sensibility that Riley experiences over and over again. In this manner of empathy, we are in Riley’s parallel universe whether we like it or not during the whole film, come what may.
It is both fun and worthwhile to watch this one-man act without boredom for what is worth. It is a motion tessera elliptically put together by bits of Child’s Play, Paranormal Activity, and Twilight Zone studded with crude American sense of humor and practicality of the storytelling that does not impart preposterously and pompously supernatural ambiance. Other acerbic reviews of the film notwithstanding, this film deserves of applaud for its ingenuity to employ a modern theatrical version of ventriloquism, fusing Riley’s amusingly jagged story telling voice with the director’s own impetuous gushing of the realistically uncanny atmosphere he tries to create without elaborately intricate scripts or other fantastic cinematic bells and whistles.
Mr. Fred Holstein (hereinafter “Fred”) visited his good friend Mr. Paul Collie (hereinafter “Paul”) on this beautiful Sunday afternoon. Paul had a pretty garden in his backyard, and being a good friend of his, Fred even helped him water the home-grown vegetables. After their joint labor, Paul and Fred had a good time with their favorite snacks at the garden. In fact, Fred’s new jokes were so funny that Paul fell out of a chair. Then they parted merrily before the sunset. Tolstoy would have enjoyed himself if he had joined them at the garden, for it was his kind of nice restful time.
Author’s Note: Since downloading the video from the app seems to take forever, I have included its Youtube version in my Blog.
You would know him if your sense of style strikes the chords with his idea of beauty that seems a curious conflation of the ethereal with the down-to-earth. Or you would know him as a photographer whose world of beauty betrayed linear conformity in the most brilliant way. If none of the above belongs to you, then you would probably recognize him by his signature silver hair tied in the 18th-century man’s ponytail style in urban tight attire that looked strange but charismatic, decadent but conservative. In the fashion and beauty firmament, Karl Lagerfeld (1933-2019), the creative director of the French fashion house Chanel, was one of the principalities whose dazzling collection of creativity formed a legion of cult.
The death of Lagerfeld seems a bit distinguished from those of other fashion designers to me based on my purely subjective taste and reason: First of all, Lagerfeld was a very intelligent man of culture, judging by his display of erudite knowledge on art and literature due to his voracious reading of books. I saw his interview with Charlie Rose several years ago and was delighted in listening to his conversing with the host because of his intelligence and quickness that was never a bore. Also, Lagerfeld’s world of style is not far-fetched and always mixed with individual attitude that looks so cool and stylish and emulative. Although a gorgeous but exorbitant Chanel tweed jacket is like Jason’s golden fleece to me, I can take a cue from Lagerfeld’s feasible but fashionable style to make it my own in everyday life. Besides, Lagerfeld’s controversial but honest opinion on thinness as an ideal beauty chimes with mine. Call me ever so superficial, politically incorrect, or even persnickety, but the emblem of the flesh as a forced common denominator of beauty and fashion is arbitrary and despotic.
Karl Lagerfeld was the only fashion designer I admired, and his death saddened me when I learned it yesterday from this week’s issue of The Spectator. During his reign of the Chanel House, Lagerfeld used to say, “T-shirts for ten dollars are even more fashion today than expensive fashion.” Must I say more? That is why I liked and like Lagerfeld and his canon of style that is timeless and classic.