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Posts tagged ‘Blizzard’

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Going to the library in the Snow

Going to the library in the Snow

I went out today to return something overdue to the NY Public Library and wham! Got hit in the face immediately with ANOTHER snow flurry, coming down fast and furiously out of nowhere. A simple trip suddenly gotten more complicated by this unexpected(by me) blast of whipping snow flakes.

It didn’t SEEM like it was snowy when I left my place and went downstairs, but by then, everything had changed, and it was a full smack of wet frost in the face!

The snow was swirling around suddenly furiously in a way that reminded me of when I experienced snow flakes IN JUNE when I was in Iceland a number of years back. Even in Summer, Iceland was what we might call wintry. Suddenly nostalgic for Reykjavik, I plunged onward my tracks leading me inevitably once again to the cross-town bus.

These flurries weren’t a full-on storm like I had experienced on Tuesday, which was really intense. These snow crystals were more charming, decorative even. Changing the harsh midtown landscape into something absorbing to contemplate as every twist of the wind amongst the skyscrapers blew flakes this way and that. Random. Willy nilly. Dancing white confetti.

And then there were the LIONS. Standing or rather perched majestically in front of the main library building. Unchanging always, but now snow covered and delightful to contemplate in their suddenly changed whiteness. Those two lionine scupltures are the symbol of New York City to many, and I’ve seen them there since childhood.

I couldn’t remember when the first time I’d seen them was. Probably on one of my mother’s early jaunts into Manhattan to educate and edify us in the ’50s. Was it to see the original run of Walt Disney’s “Sleeping Beauty”? Which must have been my first introduction to Times Square.

I remember my mother pointing out the Camel’s cigarette sign that blew O-shaped smoke, and wondered why she was suddenly admiring something that she always said was bad, which was smoking…

Or were we any nearer when she took us to see the Radio City Music Hall’s Christmas show with the Rockettes? The movie being another Disney one “Babes in Toyland” with Annette Funicello, the former Mouseketeer. I was just enchanted. Seeing it recently I was appauled, but that day it was all glorious, as was my introduction to the Radio City Music Hall, which overwhelmed and enchanted me.

Another unchanging symbol of New York. As are those steadfast Library Lions, now draped royally in white. May they always reign over their Broadway domain.

Out in the Blizzard~ Neon Doesn’t Change in the Snow

more snowsnow

Well, the snow is over. But it’s sooo cold….I don’t know which is worse…Snow can be fun. The single digit cold isn’t.

Yesterday traveling through mid-town Manhattan on a bus took ten times the time it usually takes to go from here to there….Of course, it WAS scenic…The Snow turning even the grittiest urban eyesore into something beautiful to look at…Piles of junked cars became artful sculpture in the white.

But I did notice one thing. Neon doesn’t change in the snow. As my bus went SLOOOOOWLY through the Times Square area, the bright Neon signs were as garish as they’ve ever been and just as visible, just as readable. A mad, blinding blizzard in New York doesn’t stop the advertising from being read quite clearly. Skyscrapers, too, looked the same, although the swirling snow was visibly engulfing them, making their tops disappear into the white. So they seemed surprisingly shorter,in the mad swirl, but the Neon signs, no. The Times Square area continued its’ blazing, blaring,non-stop Broadway ballyhoo-ing. 

When it’s snowing it isn’t THAT cold out.It was around 30 degrees, or a bit less. The snow changes everything in such a mechanical city as New York. It slows down into the slowest of motions and interferes with everything, except of course, the subways.

As we approached Second Avenue, I heard on the bus’ intercom that a Select Bus, one of the new, super-long buses they’ve been introducing with a huge, accordion bend (or two) in the middle had “jack-knifed on Second Avenue.” I asked the bus-driver if the other buses were running on Second Avenue and he said he didn’t know. And I wondered if I should get out where we were Third Avenue, which I thought also went downtown.(It doesn’t.) And he said “I can’t tell you what to do. It’s up to you. You can take the risk.” Which left me completely confused. Thanks a lot. 

But I could see the traffic running, racing even on Second Avenue, so I thought “Well, the traffic certainly hasn’t slowed down. So the buses must be running.” They weren’t. I waited and waited on Second Avenue with dozens and dozens of other people. Bundled up they all looked like Russian peasants. The tired, the poor, the huddled masses, yearning to breathe free. The wretched refuse of your teeming shores, trying to get downtown.

I ducked into the warm, friendly lobby of the WPIX building. I must’ve been there for over a quarter of an hour, then I finally decided to walk back from whence I came. To Third Avenue, where the buses also went downtown. Or so I thought. No. The traffic was all going uptown. And at that point I was seriously considering giving up and going home. But no. As I trudged into the driving white mess, I saw a colorful subway sign.My heart leapt! Civilization! So that’s what I did. I went down into the subway. I had never seen this entrance before, AND it had an escalator going down, so that’s what I did. And I eventually got where I was going.

Moral of the story, when it’s a blizzard in New York City, take the subways. They NEVER stop.

I should’ve taken the subway in the first place.

It’s Snowing in NYC

I love snow. I love to LOOK at snow. Going out it in is another thing entirely, but today I must. I could’ve cancelled everything as many in the city do on a day like this. But I’m going out in it. And tonight I’ve got “Machinal” on Broadway. I’m seeing it with one of my theater-going friends who also just confirmed, so I AM going. And the press agent just sent me an email, confirming my presence again. So I’m doubly committed.

I do have a new winter coat now, but the secret, I think, really, is layering. Which I am doing as we speak.

Subway or bus? I’m leaving super-early because the buses may be running slowly, of course. But the subway steps are treacherous in this weather. So I guess I’m opting for the bus.

Looking outside my window this morning was a total shock! Snow everywhere! Was this predicted? Too busy reading and writing my blog last night to notice the weather reports and catching up with Downton Abbey, natch.

More on that soon. HUGE event happened in Episode 2, but I’m STILL staying away from spoilers at the moment, but BOY is Mrs. Hughes having one challenging season!

Oscar on its’ way to being “Tattoo”-ed? Fincher’s GREAT re-do nails it!

I can’t begin to tell you what a wonderful experience it was to be soooo totally surprised, stupefied and blind-sided, and deee-lighted to be so, by David Fincher’s re-do of “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.” I’m kinda hog-wild about it. I think it’s an instant classic.

Shocked that material I knew so well ~ I saw all three Swedish movies and read all three blockbuster books and was totally entranced by all of them, and I  could not BELIEVE that a director whose work has been so notoriously uneven, really could re-invent, in a completely NEW, a startling way, a movie we’ve actually already seen. As recently as last year. Which is when I caught up with it.

I mean, really! Quelle shock! Quelle surprise! And how wonderful to suddenly see David Fincher turn into Alfred Hitchcock, in all of the best possible ways. I mean, Fincher has really done the IMPOSSIBLE. He re-thought and re-shot a re-make and made it all utterly, entirely entertaining.engrossing and WATCHABLE. All nearly three hours of it! Yes, it’s that long, dear readers, dear cineastes.

Fincher wants you to go through an epic, an ORDEAL, as his Viking goddess, Lisbeth Salander, becomes a true immortal Norse Mythological Heroine in his hands, and in Rooney Mara’s equally stunning performance ~ It’s a SAGA! An Icelandic SAGA! Or in this case Swedish.

Lisbeth Salander is  on par with Brunnhilde, these days. But, oh wait! That’s German! But yes, “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” has that on its’ mind, too. Nazis. And there’s a lot of them. And they populate Sweden and esp. this film (and the book, too. No Fincher didn’t ADD them. But he did ad a cat… )

And there’s a LOT of Swedish politics and rage against the supposedly perfect Swedish social machine. Where corruption exists on all levels, mostly high, but mid-range, too, as exemplified by the beaurocrat Bjurman(a really slimy pig of a politico played here Yorick Van Wageningen.) His rape of Salander jump-starts the film into hyper-space, if the film’s opening five minutes of INCREDIBLY dark and oily, inky black  titles  with pounding music by Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross, that turn into blood and then into fire, didn’t already blow you there.  I don’t ever remember Opening titles getting applause!

How DID he do this???

Welllll, there is a biiiiiig difference between a $15 million budget which is what all THREE Swedish films had, and the something upwards of $150 milllion that this “Tattoo” was inked with.

Quelle difference! But it’s not just the money. It’s how Fincher USED the money, wisely. It’s superbly shot in a de-saturated, almost black and white tone, by his great cinematographer, who makes Sweden look black and BLUE.  There are snowscapes upon snowscapes of incredible beauty. Some thing the original Swedish version directed by Niels Arden Oplev did NOT do.

Oplev’s Stockholm looked glamorous, beautiful, colorful, intriguing, inviting. It made you want to go there. It was a celebration of Stockholm. It was if we’d never seen it before. Oplev WANTED you to go there.

There is no color whatsoever in Fincher’s version. It’s all chilly, foreboding, FREEZING. Everything seems like it’s happening in a new Ice Age. And he’s more interested in frightening the living daylights out of you by the winter gloom. It’s as though the two “Tattoos” were filmed in two totally different cities. One you’d want to go to and one you wanted to run from.

And there is a LOT of darkness in Lisbeth Salander’s world, the world that Steig Larsson created for her. It’s a Nordic vision of hell, and it’s so rotten you can also smell the stench of decaying souls. Lisbeth’s last scene takes place, metaphorically, next to a dumpster, as once again, it’s snowing.

And the suspense! Not since Hitchcock, as I said. My hero. He was the greatest of great filmmakers IMHO. And that Fincher is able to sustain this for NEARLY three hours is absolutely astonishing.

There are SOME bright lights shining in this land of the midnight sun, and it’s all in the casting. The excellent ensemble boasts a rubicund Christopher Plummer as the rich guy who hires the down-on-his-luck Blomkvist. And Blomkvist is magnificently played by none-other than James Bond himself, Daniel Craig. He’s the hero and we all know it. And a helluva nice guy. A journalist who’s a crusader against corruption in all forms, Henrik Vanger (no, not WAGNER, but you get the drift) hires the hapless Blomkvist to track down the disappearance many years prior of a beloved neice, Harriet.

Add a perfectly cast Robin Wright, Stellan Skarsgard and Joely Richardson, who’s never been better and you’ve yourself got a superb group of players. Down to the smallest bit part, Fincher has assembled a great, an historic ensemble of actor’s actors. One of the best ever for his kind of thriller-diller shockeroo. But that’s what Hitchcock did, too. He always had THE BEST actors, and by doing so elevated the genre.

That’s ONE plot, the Harriet plot. Then there’s an Agatha Christie-esque mystery-within-the-mystery, which is the real core of the story. THEN there’s the great love story that develops between Blomkvist and Salander and SHE’S definitely the one on top here.

One of the great successes of Steig Larsson’s Millenium Trilogy is his reversal, his up-ending of the usual sexual expectations in a genre like this. And both Mara and Craig are totally up to and under it. They were hot together when their relationship starts to turn carnal. And it does! We suddenly see what is keeping all those Swedish nights so warm!  And like in Ingmar Bergman’s great cinematic ouevre, it was always about the women.

And Lisbeth Salander is one of the great fictional heroines of our time, and Noomi Rapace in the Swedish films did a beautiful, mystifying job. She was as glamorous and intriguing and complicated as the Sweden that was depicted in the previous films.

Rooney Mara has large, almost gigantic blue eyes, They seem to dwarf her completely. Noomi had dark, impenetrable, almost black eyes. What WAS going on behind them in all those intense close-ups of her throughout the first three films?

With Mara’s enormous orbs, we SEE what is going on inside her much, much more clearly, and yes, there is ultimately a vulnerability that Fincher finally reveals in the film’s last scene which was like a cinematic sucker punch.

And Rooney and Oscar? Well, I’ll write more about that tomorrow!

After the Hallowe’en Blizzard, it’s STILL Hallowe’en!

A beautiful bright, sunny, warm day follows the raging gale of yesterday’s pre-Hallowe’en Blizzard of ’11. Every where I went every one was saying “What WAS that?” And nobody had an answer.

But I do.

Global Warming.

All this freak weather, all over the world…Winter coming early, in October, to New York and then going away and fall is back. Like a crisp Maine apple.

I went to walk on the Hi-Line, that brand new, heavenly park that was created out of an abandoned railway line left over from sometime waaay in the last century, and it was closed. Today, because of ice! And tomorrow, it’s closed for Hallowe’en.Because they don’t want all the revelers up there, high on the Hi-line ruining the vegetation they’ve planted and tended so carefully.

And parents were out with little kids with little bags and barely any costumes, just a bag for candy, because who knows? It might snow again at any minute.

And meanwhile, both Oscar bloggers Jeffrey Wells and Oscar Goddess Sasha Stone at the Savannah Film Festival, where it’s actually WARM!

Jeff was taken some marvelous shots which you can see on his site www.hollywood-elsewhere.com Sasha hasn’t posted anything yet, last time I checked. But Savannah,  a film festival that was barely a blip on the Festival radar….has got both of them, and flown them both in, it seems. Jeff writes about it so well, I wish I was there, too! And I thought I was festivaled out! After Provincetown, Montreal, Toronto and then New York!

Jeffrey saw “The Artist” the film that they opened with. He’d seen it before and felt it really didn’t hold up. But there it is, as unlikely an Oscar contender as is imaginable, smack dab right in the middle of the Oscar race.

If Jeff continues to knock the Weinstein co.’s work like he does, he shouldn’t be surprised at being left off certain lists of certain TWC events in L.A.

God, I’m glad I don’t live there! I don’t drive. How could I?

Freak Blizzard on Hallowe’en Freaks the Freaks

Thousands of out-of-towners pour into New York City to participate in the weekend long festivities that lead up to Hallowe’en, this year falling on a Monday. They were expecting one,long party,leading up to the Greenwich Village Annual Hallowe’en Parade and instead got what amounted to a blizzard yesterday. Yikes!

Weary, would-be party-goers were still visible on the subways, soaking wet, in their costumes and with a dazed look on their faces that said not only “I don’t believe I’m actually IN New York” but also “I don’t believe I’m in this soaking wet costume,” and mostly “I don’t believe it’s snowing like this on Hallowe’en.”

Today is cloudless. A bright, bright blue only seen in movies. And the sun is shining, shining down on New York and of course there’s barely a trace of snow anywhere. At least looking down from the safety of my skyscraper window.

Due to the subways underneath Manhattan’s street, the sidewalks are always extra warm, and rarely hold on to the snow.

And yes, ancient Viking that I must be, I was out in it.

Gale force winds nearly knocking me down every time I turned a street corner. And since it was a mixture of snow AND rain, you had to have an umbrella, and fortunately, for a change I did.

I had to keep battling the wind and it kept turning, the wind kept turning and turning and swirling and swirling. My best, good, strong, big umbrella, and I were in a constant battle with the elements as they tried to turn it, and me, inside out and blow us both to smithereens.

The TV said like 50 mph winds were blowing and in Central Park tree limbs with leaves still on them caught more snow than they ever had to hold before and broke. Hundreds, maybe thousands of them.

But the electric lights never go out in Manhattan.

And fortunately, too, the heat was on.

The best place to go and get warm quickly, the subways. Which never stopped running, packed as they were with bedraggled, costumed freaks, looking for a party that they never would find, on a night like this…There was a very large Mrs. Potatohead, with doo-dads stuck all over her capacious, brown self. She had a little purse as if she had planned to go shopping, not trick or treating, and was now completely wet, everywhere. Not a festive look.

Today, it’s so calm and quiet here in Noisy Town, you’d never know anything happened. It’s like a for-real Sunday morning. In some small town somewhere.

It’s like you could hear a pin drop. THANK GOODNESS! All is quiet on the Eastern seaboard.

And the temperature is going up, up. I guess all the costumed tourists will have their Hallowe’en Parade in the Village after all.

Heat Wave in New York today! Ugh! Tomorrow, James McAvoy of “X-Men” Yay!

Ok, it’s going to go into the 90s again today in New York City! I have been reluctant to write about just how bad the heat gets here, because heat effects me greatly. The cold, not so much. Guess I’m a true Celt in that sense. With an ethnic background of Irish-English-Scottish-German, I’ve always been better in cooler climes and weather. And New York in the summer is a bummer

Me, I prefer the blizzard we had this winter. Worst winter in NYC in my memory and I hope this summer doesn’t match last summer which was a 90 degree heat wave through almost all of July and August!

I got drenched by stupidly misjudging the rain one day on my way to tape my Tony show. You can see it here www.youtube.com/StephenHoltShow

I was soaked, then had to sit in the air-conditioning for four hours or more at the lovely Bombay Palace Restaurant while we were filming. Then got sick from it and developed what was probably Walking Pneumonia.

I wonder if people realize how strenuous it is to keep doing a weekly TV show? Esp. when you’re sick.

Also for the first mega-heat wave last week, which lasted five days, I didn’t have any air-conditoner. I thought I was going to die. And got sicker. But fortunately, I went to the doctor, got the right antibiotics AND a brand-new air-conditioner and am fine now.

The doctor said “Rest and lots of liquids” so basically what that amounts to in New York is staying IN ALL DAY. Or at least til the Sun begins to set.

I’m getting ready to do Editfest this weekend, which is this really neat two-day festival of all Editors, mostly film, but TV, too, talking about Editing.

As someone who does a weekly show, I have a new mantra “You can never know enough editors!”

Fortunately, it doesn’t begin til after the heat wave is supposed to be over. But we’ll see. I basically don’t trust the weather men, anymore. They almost always seem to get it just a bit WRONG. So I hope this heat wave will be over by Friday. And Editfest.

I’m interviewing James McAvoy via Satellite tomorrow. I think he’s in London. For “X-men: First Class” which is very exciting, esp. since I liked and actually SAW the movie!

This franchise will put James in the multi-millionaire category. Where he belongs. And he’s so good in this film, too. Never your typical leading man, he’s so right for the good guy, Professor Xavier. Can’t wait for that moment!

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