It’s almost Easter and I am almost on my way home for break. I hope you get at least a little time off to eat Cadbury eggs and a big meal with the family. My favorite thing to eat around this time is lamb, a tradition I picked up when I was in Athens for Easter. Lamb roasts on spits for days there, just waiting until the big day when it was feasted upon with gusto. I recently had a sandwich at the Regal Beagle in Coolidge Corner that blew my mind- lamb with apple and aged cheddar. Go there today. Run, do not walk. It is absolutely fabulous and a great way to celebrate the holiday.
To go along with your lamb… how about some weird retellings of already weird fairy tales? I recently bought this for my friend Sara because it was just sitting in the Booksmith waiting for someone to take it home and love it. They are super strange and very compelling.So have some lamb and read about wolves. Very biblical, wouldn’t you say?
Every once and a while The Coolidge Corner Theatre puts on a film as part of their “Science on Screen” initiative. Basically, they show a film and have an expert come in and give a talk somehow related to it. This past week the movie was Arsenic and Old Lace starring Cary Grant. It is an absolutely brilliant screwball comedy and totally worth a watch. I couldn’t hardly resist the chance to see it in an actual theatre. It was well worth it. The showing was entirely sold out (I actually bought the very last ticket) and seeing people of all ages enjoying this movie in a packed theatre was a really lovely experience.
And some very dirty semi-frozen snow. But we are rather used to that by now. If you haven’t been to the Coolidge I recommend a trip. It is a restored art-deco theatre in Brookline that shows independent films and often spontaneously shows things like this… I don’t really feel like I need to sell it more than that. The woman who spoke, Deborah Blum, is the author of The Poisoner’s Handbook and is passionate about how interesting arsenic is. She was very dynamic and everything she said made me want to read her book.
Me being super excited for all of this, of course. Before the showing I ate at Lee’s Burgers. It was pretty decent, although nothing absolutely spectacular.
All in all a good date to take myself on. Check out the Science on Screen program. It is really cool 🙂
Alright. If you live in the Brighton/Brookline area you probably know and have raved about the Regal Beagle for many a moon now. But I JUST experienced its wonderful tastiness for the first time and I have to rave a little bit about it. Bear with me.
That right there is their brunch menu and my friend Anna and I agonized a bit over what to choose. After telling the waiter we wanted everything he joked that he might need to bring us a bigger table. Lack of space on table and in stomach is all that stopped me from sampling everything on this menu. Instead I went for the pancakes, which were sublime in a way this terrible (for some odd reason) picture cannot quite capture.My hand must have been shaking with desire or something. There are cinnamony apples and sweetly encrusted pecans sliding around in whipped cream and real maple syrup. The pancakes were fluffy and perfect in every way.
Anna went for the pancetta and sweet potato hash after a rave review from the waiter turned her in that direction. She seemed intensely happy with her decision.
I had to have my earl grey, of course. And obligatorily had to photograph its steaming loveliness.
It was the best brunch I’ve had in Boston and was really quite reasonably priced. We waited for only about ten minutes for a table and the decor is cosy and dramatic. I give it my highest recommendation. As for the rest of my Sunday, well I decided despite the snow that tipped us over into record-breaking territory that I would bring in a bit of spring. Stella seemed to agree that it was time.
So anyone who knows me on any kind of intellectual level probably knows my obsession with Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Joss Whedon, the show’s creator, is one of my favorite people on this planet and everything he touches is of interest to me. So when I accidentally ran across a Youtube channel called The Passion of the Nerd that makes video reviews of each episode, I was intrigued to say the least. The guy who runs the channel originally made a video about why people should watch the show and how to get your friends interested in it.
He has gone on from there to make a video review for each episode and is in the middle of the second season now. My only gripe is that I can’t binge watch all of the reviews for every episode ever made. He is a wonderfully intelligent human. His videos not only sum up the content of each episode, but also provide insightful analysis of what each episode contributes to the arc of the show and the development of individual characters. His most recent review as of my writing outlines a larger philosophy for the whole show, delving into Whedon’s love of Sartre’s La Nausea and the way the show follows some of the main tenets of existential philosophy. In simpler terms, Joss Whedon’s characters are constantly faced with outstandingly difficult choices in an indifferent universe. The reviewer goes on to quote Stanley Kubrick and- in a stunningly moving sequence- overlays that with a montage of significant moments throughout the series. I’ll include the quote as well as the video- both are well worth your time even if you are totally unaware of the wonderfulness of this series.
“The very meaninglessness of life forces man to create his own meaning. Children, of course, begin life with an untarnished sense of wonder, a capacity to experience total joy at something as simple as the greenness of a leaf; but as they grow older, the awareness of death and decay begins to impinge on their consciousness and subtly erode their joie de vivre, their idealism – and their assumption of immortality. As a child matures, he sees death and pain everywhere about him, and begins to lose faith in the ultimate goodness of man. But, if he’s reasonably strong – and lucky – he can emerge from this twilight of the soul into a rebirth of life’s elan. Both because of and in spite of his awareness of the meaninglessness of life, he can forge a fresh sense of purpose and affirmation. He may not recapture the same pure sense of wonder he was born with, but he can shape something far more enduring and sustaining. The most terrifying fact about the universe is not that it is hostile but that it is indifferent; but if we can come to terms with this indifference and accept the challenges of life within the boundaries of death – however mutable man may be able to make them – our existence as a species can have genuine meaning and fulfillment. However vast the darkness, we must supply our own light.”
I don’t know if you’ve been watching House of Cards, but I feel like it is probably safe to assume that you either have been or will be at some point in the near future. This means that, inevitably, you will reach HOC withdrawal once you binge through the new season. Even if you start at the beginning like I have and watch all the old episodes again- there are only three seasons. HOC withdrawal is unavoidable. But I am here with a solution.
Are you missing Claire Underwood’s impeccably structured dresses and also all the murder in the show? Then The Fall is for you. I could write up a whole post on why I love this show and why you should watch it in a cheerful room with all the lights on and some tea close at hand, but suffice it to say that Gillian Anderson is a wonderful actress and Jamie Dornan is really into bondage. It is gritty and terrifying and delves deeply into the motivations behind men who commit acts of violence against women. It should fill some parts of your HOC withdrawal for sure.
Do you miss the dark and convoluted desires that drive people to do unspeakable things? Check out Top of the Lake. It is set in New Zealand and is thus absolutely beautiful in a way that has nothing to do with elves running around the hills. Elisabeth Moss is the strong, smart, gorgeous, damaged woman in this particular dark gritty drama. Like Gillian Anderson in The Fall she is a detective attempting to deal with violence against a woman, although this time the woman is a girl- a 12 year old pregnant girl. The show is fantastic but you should definitely know that’s what you are getting into before hitting play on Netflix. And Faramir is in it! Couldn’t get out of New Zealand without at least one Lord of the Rings actor popping up.
Are you missing the political maneuverings that crush good people like insects on the windshield of greed and progress? The Honourable Woman is absolutely going to be for you. I feel like all I should have to say is “It has Maggie Gyllenhaal in it” in order to convince you to watch it. But if you need a bit more to get you there: The Honourable Woman is about an Anglo-Israeli diplomat who genuinely wants to help bring peace between Israel and Palestine but is blocked at every turn by the greed, corruption, mistrust, and general screwed-up nature of the region she is trying to make better. The show also deals heavily with the issues that all of these deal with: rape culture, violence against women, pyschopathy, and empathy.
I highly highly highly recommend all three of these. But have some tea and maybe some chocolate and a stuffed animal near you. Like House of Cards, these shows know how to stick the knife in with perfect precision. I hope that gets you through at least this Wednesday. Seen any of these? Leave me a comment about what you thought of them (no spoilers for HOC please! Or any of them actually).