British artist Nick Walker painted this mural of his signature Love Vandal character in a parking lot at the southwest corner of 17th Street and 6th Avenue back in the fall of 2014, and it still looks great!
If you haven’t yet been to the Gene Autry Museum of the American West, you need to add that to your list of cool things to do when you are in the Los Angeles area, because the place is just amazing (bonus: the museum is located directly across a shared parking lot from the LA Zoo.). I had the chance to explore this history-rich landmark in December, when I was visiting family for Christmas, and I had all kinds of crazy fun.
During my visit, I took these photos of Manchester (2014); a horse sculpture made out of random car parts, created by American sculptor Doug Owen. In a career spanning four decades, Owen is an artist whose entire oeuvre consists of sculptures of horses. And whether he is using car, tractor, or motorcycle parts, Owen’s choice of medium imbues his sculptures with a touch of humor and of irony, as his horses are constructed out of the very material that ultimately replaced them.
I think his work is super cool. You can read more about Doug Owen at this website, Doug Owen Art Dot Com.
People don’t normally equate childhood with a kind of battlefield, where the very process of growing up is an act of unqualified heroism, but then again not everyone has seen the Asia Argento film Misunderstood, where the lone soldier/hero is a nine-year-old girl named Aria. Set in Rome in the mid-1980s, Misunderstood is an exceptionally well-crafted (though not always easy to watch) film which focuses on a pivotal year in the life of Aria (played by Giulia Salerno), who has the misfortune to be the child of self-centered parents who are just on the verge of divorcing when our story begins. Aria lives with her parents (played by Charlotte Gainsbourg and Gabriel Garko), a famous concert pianist, and a Screen-Idol actor respectively, and two half sisters; the oldest being the spoiled child of her father’s previous marriage, and the middle daughter belonging to her mother from a former relationship. What is evident from the beginning is that Aria, a beautiful, bright and talented little girl, is part of a family where she has virtually no one is on her side. Fortunately, she does have a tight and affectionate relationship with her best friend, Angelica (Alice Pea) and a beloved pet cat, Dac, which she dotes on throughout the film.
At school, Aria excels in composition, and is more of a wallflower than a victim of bullying. Aria and Angelica have a sweet and fiercely close friendship, and the two call each other by the same pet name, and get into quite a bit of harmless mischief together. As the story progresses, however, Aria’s relationship to her peers spirals downward and draws parallels to the plight of the character Dawn Wiener from Todd Solondz‘ merciless black comedy, Welcome to The Dollhouse (1995). Eventually, the cumulative affects of casual abandonment, neglect, and betrayal seemingly squash Aria’s indomitable spirit, and she takes unexpected actions in the face of her bleak circumstances.
Misunderstood is being billed as a comedy, but most of the comedic moments stem from feelings of absurd discomfort, in which her bickering and oftentimes cruel mother and father treat their shared child as if she were a bargaining chip or a mere inconvenience to be pushed off on the other as a form of revenge. We’ve seen this parental cruelty and indifference in films like What Maisie Knew (2013), and Fish Tank (2009), and it is never easy to watch, especially since Aria is such a charming and gentle child, who only wants what she deserves; her parent’s unconditional love and acceptance.
The acting in Misunderstood is excellent all around, featuring possibly one of the best performances I’ve seen from Gainsbourg (who is no stranger to playing unsympathetic characters) and a fantastic, finely nuanced performance from Giulia Salerno, (whose resume already includes half a dozen films). Gabriel Garko (best known for roles on Italian television) is also well-cast as Aria’s almost cartoonish and completely clueless, egomaniacal father. The film also features an exceptional soundtrack that mixes period appropriate, deep-cut pop songs with classical pieces and original compositions, all of which were obviously chosen with a great deal of insight and care.
A few write ups on the film reveal that Misunderstood is highly autobiographical, based on the director’s early life as the daughter of actress Daria Nicolodi and Gialo/horror film director Dario Argento – and it’s easy enough to find out that Argento’s given name at birth was Aria – but the filmmaker claims this is not the case. I don’t think it really matters if Asia Argento suffered through a childhood similar to Aria’s or not, all that matters is that she’s managed to tell a story that successfully touches the viewer emotionally, and feels very real, even when at its most surreal.
In Italian, English and French, with English subtitles, this film is unrated and has a runt ime of 103 minutes. Misunderstood is released to theaters and On-Demand September 25th, 2015. In Manhattan, you can see it at the IFC Center, located at 323 Sixth Avenue at West Third Street. Click Here for Showtimes
The Worley Gig Gives Misundertood Five out of Five Stars.
Watch the Trailer Below:
Food Fête‘s fall showcase officially kicks off the Eating Season: with lots of holiday cooking and entertaining to look forward to, as well as gift giving and a general period of guilt-free pampering and self-indulgence during the colder months. Let’s eat!
When I was a kid growing up in California, I recall an animated TV commercial from the California Grape Growers featuring just a bunch of grapes on screen and two people talking off-screen about how Grapes were so “Sweet and Juicy” that somebody should “package them and sell them for snacks,” adding that “Grapes” was also “a catchy name”! It was hilarious, but also made a lot of sense in that Grapes are a delicious natural snack that don’t need a lot of tarting up to make them appealing to consumers.
At Food Fête, Grapes from California offered a delicious and easy to make Grapes treat called Tuxedo Bites, which are just fresh red or green grapes dipped in melted milk, dark or white chocolate, or melted caramel, and dipped in nuts or crushed candy. So easy to make for your holiday party! Get more great grape recipes at This Link!
Continuing along in a nostalgic vein, another item I remember from childhood is Aardvark Paper Straws, which are making big comeback, and it’s about time. Aardvark, the original paper drinking straw, reentered the market in 2007, primarily in response to the growing anti-plastic movement. Now manufactured by PPG, these colorful straws are more durable and more sustainable than any paper straw on the market.
Aardvark Paper Straws are 100% biodegradable, so their use can help reduce the plastic in our landfills and waterways – good for the planet and everyone who lives on it! They are also fun for parties and can be inspiring in the creation of all kinds of fun crafts for kids! Find out more about Aardvark Paper Straws by visiting them online at This Link!
Hey, do you like Coffee? Who doesn’t! New coffee products are always so exciting, and Kohana ready-to-drink, cold brew ice coffee is a delicious new drink that will attract your attention with a gentle “Aloha”! Organic, low in acid, and lightly sweetened with all natural monk fruit extract, Kohana cold brew ice coffee is available now in 8-ounce, shelf-stable cans that have a 9 month refrigerated shelf life! Flavors include class Black, White (with Milk), Salted Caramel, and Vanilla. Find out more about Kohana Cold Brew ice coffee in a can at Kohana Coffee Dot Com.
NatureBox Snacks is an idea you should put on your Holiday Gift Giving list for anyone who loves receiving delicious and wholesome snacks delivered directly to their door! NatureBox is a snacker’s dream come true, in that they offer highly customizable subscriptions to receive boxes of packaged healthy, natural and – most importantly – insanely delicious snacks each month! You can design your NatureBox subscription to receive as few as five or as many as twenty bags of tasty snacks shipped right to your home. Likewise, you can also select whether you’d prefer to choose the snacks you will receive or be surprised. Personally, I like surprises, because it is like Christmas. Christmas! Give a nature Box gift subscription – or start one for yourself – right now by visiting Nature Box Dot Com!
Ginnybakes is a line of outrageously delicious and nutritious organic, gluten free and non-GMO Cookies, Bars and Baking Mixes that is family owned since 2010. At Food Fête we had the chance to sample a variety of their cookies and Ginnyminis — 6-count bags of Ginny’s best-selling cookie flavors that are perfect for snacking or to toss into a lunch box. We also love their slogan: “Indulge Mindfully!” Find or more about Ginnybakes’ line of tempting baked goods that are good for you at This Link.
One indulgent dessert that is going to be convenient, delicious and guilt-free are selections from Weight Watchers line of frozen bars. Dark Chocolate Raspberry Ice Cream Bars feature a rich, dark chocolate coating on the outside and cool, low fat raspberry ice cream on the inside. It’s all the sweetness you crave with just 90 calories and 0 grams trans fat per bar.
Also brand new are Weight Watchers Salted Caramel Ice Cream Candy Bars — perfectly cravable for lovers of the continually trending sweet and salty taste of low fat caramel ice cream topped with salted caramel covered and in a milk chocolaty coating. You would never believe these decadent bars are only 120 calories, 6 grams of fat and 0 grams trans fat each! Find out where you can buy these bars and other fine Weight Watchers products at This Link!
One stand out new product we were introduced to at Foot Fête is Little Miracles, a UK-based Tea and Super-Juice Blend that tastes fantastic! Organic and sweetened only with natural agave, these healthy beverages come in four unique tea/juice blend varieties but our favorite was the White Tea & Cherry (with ginseng and acai berry) which, seriously tasted like Christmas. And that does not mean it tasted like a pine tree but, rather, that its delicious and honestly refreshing flavors were experienced as pure joy in the mouth. Find out more about Little Miracles by heading over to Drink Little Miracles Dot Com.
And while we’re on the subject of Flavored Tea Drinks let’s give shout out to one of our favorite brands, Honest Tea, who introduced two new flavors at the show. Orange Mango flavored Herbal Tea is made with organic grape, orange, lemon and mango with notes of lemon balm. Pomegranate Blue flavored Herbal Tea contains the flavors of organic pomegranate, grape and blueberry, infused with organic hibiscus. Both varieties are just 100 calories per bottle! These new flavors will be in stores starting January 2015!
For Keurig users, Honest Tea also introduces both Green and Black Tea K-Cups so that you can brew fresh, unsweetened iced tea one cup at a time! Just brew hot tea over a cup of ice! Honest Tea K-Cup packs are available now. Get more information about Honest Tea at Honest Tea Dot Com.
If you watch the fantastic TV show Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, then you probably recall a recent rant that John went on where he described Cranberries as being like “Cherries that hate you.” Despite the great belly laugh inspired by that line, we do not agree! Dove brand — famous for their fine chocolate and chocolate-dipped ice cream bars — are now bringing their way with chocolate to the popular venue that is whole fruit dipped in dark chocolate – sweet, delicious Cranberries included!
Dove Whole Fruit Dipped In Dark Chocolate combines real whole berries dipped in smooth Dove dark chocolate in cranberry, cherry and blueberry varieties — which are the top selling fruits in the market. , Six-ounce standup bags of the Cranberry and Blueberry varieties were introduced in September, with a SRP range of $3.59 to $4.79. The six-ounce Cherry variety will debut in January, 2015 along with 2.83-ounce standup bags of Cranberry and Blueberry with a SRP range of $1.99 to $2.59, so get ready to stock up for the holidays! Find out more about the Dove brand at This Link!
Last time we saw 34 Degrees Crisps at a Food Fête they were showcasing their sweet Chocolate Crisps — which are simply divine! New for fall are two savory flavors, Poppy Seed and Tasted Onion, both of which will be available for limited time only. Versatile Poppy Seed goes sweet or savory; from creamy cheeses and fresh fruit to cured meats and veggies. Bold Toasted Onion plays well with big flavors. Think tapenade, smoked meat or aged cheese. The lightness and highly appealing crispness of these crackers is unequaled and simply must be tasted to be believed.
Look how gorgeous they are! Check out 34 Degrees products online at 34 Degrees Dot Com.
Hot snacks from the oven are a perennial favorite for all home entertaining, and Farm Rich brand frozen snacks were on hand to debut their newest offering, Pepperoni Bites! These hearty snacks have a yummy pizza taste and are made with real mozzarella cheese that maintains an authentic “pull” when hot and melty. Find out more about the Farm Rich brand of convenience foods and get money-saving coupons at Farm Rich Dot Com.
Cheese in every form is also a holiday favorite and Jarlsberg is global brand we’ve known and trusted all our lives, it seems. Get Jarlsberg product information and recipes at This Link.
Que Pasa Tortilla Chips are an organic, Non-GMO and Gluten free snack that are as versatile as they are delicious!
Find out how to make the above pictured Cilantro Pesto and Sundried Tomato Crostini (substituting Que Pasa Tortilla Chips for the tiny Crostini rounds) plus tons of other amazing dishes featuring with Que Pasa Chips and Salsas at at This Link!
Alouette spreadable soft cheeses are a must-have on hand product for the holiday season and all year round. They are so versatile!
New Flavors due in stores in February 2015 are Toasted Everything (perfect for your morning bagel!) and New York Cheddar.
Get a printable coupon for $1.00 Off any Alouette Cheese Product by visiting This Link.
Here’s another new product that we went completely insane for: Addie’s Fine Foods miniature pies and cheesecakes! Made from the decades old, original recipes of Addie Simon, Addie’s sweet potato desserts (both pies and cheesecakes) are made with two varieties of sweet potatoes. The orange sweet potatoes are high in beta-carotene, while purple sweet potatoes are high in antioxidants, and both have proven healthful effects. Sweet potatoes are a substantial source of dietary fiber, which helps lower blood sugar by slowing the rate at which food is converted into glucose and absorbed into the bloodstream. You will be amazed that something so good for you can taste so decadently delicious.
Addie has also created luscious Lemon Ice Box Pie and classic Butternut Squash Cheesecakes to the line of healthy pleasures. All of Addie’s desserts are made with less sugar and have fewer calories without sacrificing taste. Trust me, I sampled each of these deserts at Food Fête and simply could not shut up about how astoundingly delicious they were. Find out more about Addie’s Fine Foods — our Number One find at this season’s Food Fête — at Addies Fine Foods Dot Com.
Olives From Spain were there to represent for a tiny fruit that not only tastes delicious on its own, but enhances the recipes of many different kinds of regional dishes. After sampling several luscious and flavorful Spanish Olive varieties (we still love Black Ripe Olives the best) we came back home with two cans of Olives and a gorgeous, full color mini Cook Book, which will give us a lots of ideas on creative ways to use them. Explore the world of Olives from Spain at Olives From Spain Dot US.
Recently, we watched an episode of excellent the PBS series, Food Forward, on how many Ranchers are returning to traditional, grass-fed styles of raising cattle — which made a significant and permanent, thought-changing impact regarding the most sustainable and humane way to raise cattle for food. This is why we love Niman Ranch, a company that offers a complete line of fresh Beef, Pork, Lamb and Cage-free Eggs as well as a variety of smoked and prepared items. All Niman Ranch livestock are raised on hormone and antibiotic free, 100% vegetarian diets and are 100% traceable from farm to plate. It follows then that their products are All-natural, Gluten Free, Nitrite and Nitrate free and MSG Free. Most importantly, their meat products all taste delicious!
At Food Fête, attendees sampled three new prepared Pulled Pork vairietes in different BBQ sauces — Regular Sweet Sauce (not to spicy), Smokey Chipotle, and Hoisin Soy BBQ Sauce.
The pieces of pork were large, the meat was tender, and the flavor was delicious. All you have to do is heat and serve for easy pulled pork sandwiches! Find out more about Niman Ranch meats, get recipes and shop online at Niman Ranch Dot Com.
And that’s it for this edition of Food Fête! Thanks as always to Jeff Davis for producing another great show! See you in the Winter!
Original Ramones Drummer and the last surviving member of the band’s original line up, Tommy Ramone (Real Name: Thomas Erdelyi) passed away on Friday, July 11th, 2014 after a battle with cancer. He was 62 years old. Tommy played drums on the first three Ramones albums and later became a successful producer. The Guardian‘s Music Blog has a lovely first person remembrance of Tommy and The Ramones at This Link. Rest In Peace.
Together Again: Joey, Tommy, Dee Dee and Johnny (Image Source)
Last night, I was roaming around in this building at 111 Front Street in DUMBO Brooklyn:
Maybe you know it: it’s where a bunch of cool art galleries are – kind of like a consolidated Chelsea Gallery District on the second floor of just one building. Still, they make the most of the space. I had been invited to two specific shows at 111 Front and after doing time at both of those, I just wandered around the floor, because it was a bit of a happening scene. And, as you know, I like to make the scene.
After a couple of glasses of free wine, I stumbled upon Unlovely: a group sculpture show for 2014 graduates of the Rhode Island School of Design MFA program, which was full of all kinds of fucked up art. At first I wasn’t even going to shoot it, because I was balancing a PBR in one hand and my iPad in the other, but I just couldn’t resist taking a few snaps. Some of the art looked like things you would see in nightmares, and I mean that in the most complimentary was possible. Now of course, I am kicking myself for not taking pictures of everything, because this was one crazy show. Still, I try to live my life without regrets.
This sculpture looks like a big wadded up ball of tin foil that’s been spray painted with a variety of what I’d describe as “wound-hued” colors. I felt very compelled by its bruised pinkness.
This thing, wow, it was like a terrarium/fountain combination from the X Files or something – like that episode where they made that kid drink the “Back Oil.” I wish I could un-see that one.
I call this one “Garbage Dump Skeleton in a College Dorm Room.” There is a lot going on here, that is for sure. Here is what the Artist, Matthew Mahoney, Used in the creation of this tableau:
Here’s another shot, where I tried to get in more of the garbage look:
OK, so that’s all I got on this exhibit but you can see Unlovely at 111 Front Street, Suite 220, Dumbo Brooklyn, Through June 25th, 2014.