Jenny Lewis at Music Hall of Williamsburg

Posted in Music on June 11, 2009 by cduerr



Most artists can’t pull off wearing their band’s T-shirt while performing without seeming lame, desperate, or contrived.  But as I learned Tueday night at the Muic Hall of Williamsburg, Jenny Lewis isn’t most artists.  I had never been a huge fan, but have seen Rilo Kiley before and liked the album she did with the Watson Twins.  Seeing her live will make me pay much more attention to what she’s up to, and may have caused me to fall slightly in love with her.

Skipped out on opening bands Farmer Dave and Deer Tick in order to load up on $ 2 PBRs at Zablowski’s, and made it in the venue about fifteen minutes before Jenny’s set.  She came out solo and was looking ridiculously hot. Wearing the aforementioned Jenny Lewis Godpeed T-shirt, traditionally unflattering high-waisted jeans and a bandana around her neck, she looked like a country-fried urbanite.  I was into it.  She sang a solo version of the Rilo Kiley song “Silver Lining”  and was then joined by her band , which included Farmer Dave on a lap slide guitar and a second drummer pounding floor toms, for a mostly energetic set that drew evenly from Rabbit Fur Coat and  Acid Tongue, as well as a couple of new songs. Jenny’s voice was amazing and crystal clear.  I never really appreciated what a great singer she was until last night. She looked refreshed and happy to be where she was.  She was all smiles and charm and looked to be happy playing music with her friends.  As far as I’m concerned, Jenny can forgo Rilo Kiley and run with her country-tinged hipster rock.  It’s working for her, and for me.

Standouts were “Carpetbaggers,” “Jack Killed Mom,” and set-closer, “The Next Messiah.”


A Lovable Misanthrope

Posted in Films on June 9, 2009 by cduerr


I don’t know how I grew up Catholic in the Midwest and came to identify with a neurotic Jew from New York, but that seems to be the case whenever I watch Annie Hall

Annie Hall has been one of my favorite movies for a long time and after watching it again last night I realized why.  Woody Allen makes being miserable seem charming.  He is the smart underdog taking shots at snobby intellectuals.  While I didn’t get all the cultural references upon my first viewing and I’ve yet to watch a Fellini film (La Dolce Vita is coming from NetFlix), the rest of the film rings true.

Nothing irks Alvy Singer (Allen) more than intellectuals patting themselves on the back and expressing their verbose and inflated opinions.  While at a high-class party with writers from the New Yorker, Singer sneaks in to the bedroom to watch the Knicks because he is sick of going to parties and “faking insight.”  I love him for this.  I also can’t help but feel for a character who exudes every single worry I’ve ever had, and then some.  He overanalyzes sexual experiences, feels guilty enjoying things, and describes his relationships with women using the Groucho Marx joke; “I would never want to belong to any club that would have someone like me for a member.”  I’m not nearly the neurotic mess that poor Alvy is, but all his quirks and worries, no matter how irrational, make perfect sense to me.  I won’t go into a movie if it has already started either. 

Other than sympathizing with Alvy, there is a lot more I love about this movie. Diane Keaton is beautiful, Christopher Walken is hilarious in a cameo role, and the dialogue has countless classic moments.   I can’t pick a favorite, but as a New York transplant from Michigan, one that strikes a chord is,

“Don’t you see the rest of the country looks upon New York like we’re left-wing, communist, Jewish, homosexual pornographers? I think of us that way sometimes and I live here. “

I am not a Woody Allen fanatic by any means and have only seen a handful films from his prolific catalog (a lot of which I would never bother with), but Annie Hall will always be pure enjoyment for me.  Like him or not, he changed the face of what a leading man could be, and he deserves credit.