Tonight I sat down with Jason Pirodsky, editor and film critic for Expats.cz, the dominant Prague publication for English-speaking visitors and newbie inhabitants, plus content manager Radka Peterova and content adminstrator/writer Jan Purkrabek. It’s great to meet sharp, friendly and highly educated people who know this town up, down, over and sideways and are a wellspring of anecdotes and advice, and are just plain nice besides.
We’ll probably all get together again this weekend or next week or whenever.
In the online realm Expats.cz has out-paced and out-gunned the Prague Post, which became the town’s first major English-language publication in 1992. Expats.cz began as a chat room and went on from there. It was founded by Martin Howlings, a Brit.
Pirodsky, a Miami U. grad who hails from Syracuse, has been helping me with screening invites and publicist contacts. We met at a friendly, inexpensive little place on Sokolovska 67, Prague 8. I drank home-brewed lemonade. The waitress was cute and proportionally appealing (sorry) with nice shiny black hair.
I had a longish chat with Jackson Browne at a party in either ’94 or ’95. Me, him and a couple of ladies, I mean. (It was a post-Oscar soiree at the Mondrian on the Sunset Strip, I think.) The point is that I liked how he thought in long sentences, and how he stayed with a thought (his or someone else’s) and how he tried to develop it and push it along, and how he really seemed to listen and engage and make an effort to stay away from the usual chit-crap.
For years I’d been a fan of Browne’s songs like everyone else, but after that night I knew first-hand that he was genuine and grounded as far as it went, and that he really disliked being glib or skirting or going “yeah, yeah, uh-huh” without really listening.
So that memory plus my having, oh, six or seven of his songs on my iPhone opened a little door to an interview with Browne (q & a plus two video clips) that TheWrap‘s Sharon Waxman posted yesterday evening. The press-shy Browne spoke with Waxman to help publicize a 6.9 benefit concert at downtown L.A.’s Orpheum Theater for Success Through the Arts Foundation. Browne will be sharing the bill with Wayne Shorter and Lizz Wright.
Waxman: “Are you involved in the presidential campaign?”
Browne: “No, I’m not. Actually I sort of turned a corner and decided that one of the problems in our political system is the money. However, I’m involved politically, and I’m very interested in the Occupy (Wall Street) movement.
“I’m very interested in what people do individually and in groups, and it wouldn’t and shouldn’t be a fucking surprise to anybody that I’m going to vote for Obama — but honestly Obama once again has joined the ranks of the lesser of two evils. The great parade of people that the progressives get to vote for who are the lesser of two evils and who don’t really represent what I believe in any overwhelming balance.
“Look, Obama told me in a personal conversation that he wasn’t up for any new (nuclear) plants. Obviously, he changed his mind at some point. But what a surprise that one of his main supporters is the energy company, Exelon — which has nuclear plants — and that he would suddenly change his policy.
“I don’t know what we would expect. He’s just as a beholden to the people who put him in office as any of the Republicans would be. But what’s a mystery to me is how he installed pretty much the exact same infrastructure in his administration that deals with finances as the administration that we thought we voted out. That’s really a shocker.”
We’ve all become so used to Phillip Seymour Hoffman‘s alabaster, doughy, gone-to-seed features and the sly, precise brilliance of his various performances that it’s jolting to consider that he was once but a fair lad. I don’t care what anyone says now — Martin Brest‘s Scent of a Woman (’93) is a damn near perfect film for what it is, slow pacing and all. I just can’t buy the Ferrari-driving sequence — that’s my only beef.
If it’s a Mr. Mudd production (Lianne Halfon, John Malkovich, Russell Smith), you know it’s okay and perhaps better than that. Directed and written by Stephen Chbosky, and based on Chbosky’s 1999 novel. Set in Pittsburgh and possibly a little precious but let’s give it a break for now. Logan Lerman, Emma Watson, Ezra “warlock-eyed demon from Hell” Miller, Paul Rudd, Melanie Lynskey, etc.
Mad Men‘s Lane Pryce (Jared Harris) is no more, and as I write these words I can hear the shriekings of 10,000 spoiler whiners. Pryce’s blotchy neck and bluish tongue have been written aboutall over the place. Harris even gave an interview to TV journos on Monday morning to talk it over. I read about it myself before catching the episode in question (“Commissions and Fees”, which I’m now watching for the third time) — do you think I cared?
Roger Sterling (chuckling after hanging up the phone): “25 year-old coat check girl from Long Island. Or Rhode Island. She’d never had room service before. Too easy.”
Don Draper: ‘Why do we do this?”
Sterling: “For the sex. But it’s always disappointing. For me, anyway.”
I also loved it when Draper’s 12 (13?) year-old daughter told her platonic boyfriend that she can’t walk across Central Park with him (i.e., east to west) because “we don’t go across the park — there are bums on the other side.” Which of course there were in the mid ’60s. On the Upper West Side, I mean. Particularly Columbus Ave. It never ceases to amaze that the area adjacent to the 72nd and Columbus IRT station was “Needle Park” (i.e., where you would go to cop smack) as recently as the early ’70s.
I have to post this scene every two or three years. It cleans out the blood. That actor interviewing Brooks owns this scene — it’s totally about him. Watch his eye flickerings and hand gestures as he listens to Brooks explain his professional background — astonishing performance. A lifetime of penal servitude in a New Mexico backwater comes gushing out with a few choice remarks. Brooks is a complete straight man here. His only funny bit is in the way he says he knows who Rodney Dangerfield is, etc.
When David Poland informs you of a profound and despicable failing in your character or professional conduct, there are only two things you can do in response: (a) submit to the ministrations of a 17th Century doctor and allow your veins to be opened and just let the evil pour out into apothecary jars, for your sins are so foul and pernicious that they have surely manifested in the blood, or (b) throw yourself onto the steps of a nearby temple and stab yourself to death. There’s no third way. Well, there is. Ignore Rabbi Dave’s tedious sermonizing and finger-wagging.