Archive for January, 2007

Town crier

I haven’t always been a crier. In fact, most of my twenties were spent dry-eyed and distant. In my rock band, I was the aloof one – the guy you needed to “get to know.” In retrospect, I guess I was kind of a jerk. One afternoon, however, a significant aspect of my tough-guy facade […]

Boring things

One of the coolest things about the art world is how tiny it is. On a lovely Saturday afternoon I ran into the producer of the recent PBS documentary on Andy Warhol. I was excited to see this acquaintance because I had loved this project. It was thoughtful, sincere, honest, a little creepy, and interesting. […]

Collective joy: Record Club hits 100

I’ve spent a lot of time over the last seven or eight years thinking about the history of friendship. Writing a book about a friendship circle — a group that even named itself the “Friendly Club” — took me into an extensive (and still growing), multidisciplinary body of literature that explains why and how the […]

American dream, part two

So, the strawberries incident dominated the first 24 hours of my American experience when I arrived in the LA suburbs in 1978 for a three-week family vacation. Looking beyond that berry bonanza, I now realize that I learnt everything I ever needed to know about the US of A on that first trip. Lesson One: […]

Dispatch from Sundance (2007)

Movies! Celebrities! Glamour! This year’s Sundance Film Festival contains all that and much more. In this post, I’ll be reviewing this year’s festival, as well as a few movies that I saw. First off, I’m amazed at how much the festival stays the same. I recognize the same faces (even on my flight from NYC […]

Cold snap

Last week the weather in Southern California was unusually cold. Temperatures plummeted into the 30s at night, even into the 20s in some places. It snowed in Malibu. West-coast Whatsiters woke in the morning to frost on our giant strawberries. Southern Californians are notoriously soft when it comes to weather. We’re just not accustomed to […]


Writer’s block is a terrible thing. I’ll spare you the half-baked musings I couldn’t bring myself to finish this week. Instead, let us meditate upon Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton. For one thing, we are apparently supposed to call her Hillary now. And then there’s the vital question: Is she a snappy dresser?

Quest for fire

What’s the dumbest thing you’ve ever done for a girl (or guy, if that’s what lights your candle)? When have you done something so contrary to your normal routine — so against your very sense of self — that a miniature you hovered over your shoulder shrieking, “I can’t believe it! What are you thinking?” […]

She bought the furniture at Sears

In science fiction movies people from the future are always popping up in the present. In The Terminator one of these time travelers warns, protects, and impregnates our heroine. In a seminal episode of the TV series Roswell, “future Max” comes back to prevent his younger self and then-lover-future-wife from marrying. Apparently their relationship will […]

But not a single giant strawberry: More short reviews

One hundred words or fewer, words of one or two letters don’t count. This time with a strong West Coast flava, focused on local products: movies, TV, and kooky theology. Dexter (Showtime, avail. on demand) This fall, posters appeared on the subway advertising Dexter, “a man who takes life. Seriously.” Michael C. Hall plays the […]