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Weekend Movie: Bruce Lee in The Chinese Connection

31 Aug

Though Lee gained most of his repute through the movie, Enter The Dragon; The Chinese Connection is, at least in watchability, its equal.  A gripping, action packed, tale of courage, honour and Martial Arts; this movie delivers with the power of a roundhouse kick.  The movie also introduces a political back-story unfamiliar to much of the Western world, without pointing fingers or getting over-involved in the political element.

Bruce Lee was not only a charismatic teacher, actor and the first to bring kung fu to worldwide fame and repute.  Lee was a model of fitness and discipline, maintaining coordination, strength and self-discipline to the extent of keeping at a constant 2% bodyfat and the ability to do fifty one-armed pull-ups.

Rather than list his hundreds of virtues and feats of strength, readers are encouraged to read about Lee on their own if they care to do so.  In any case, without further adieu, Bruce Lee in The Chinese Connection.

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Weekend Movie: The Stranger starring Orson Welles and Edward G. Robinson

24 Aug

Headliners, if not legends, Orson Welles and Edward G. Robinson both appear in this 1946 picture.

How to Recreate and Restyle Your Wardrobe to Cultivate or Enhance Your Image

21 Aug

It has often been said that the way to a man’s heart is mainly by way of his stomach.  The way to a man’s image, however, is heavily linked to his appearance.  This article will be in the format of big steps and small descriptions in order to avoid dullness or redundancy.

Cultivating one’s image is like pruning a rosebush, it takes effort, vision and reality.  By trimming too much, the appearance becomes empty, bland and without personality, whereas making no effort to nurture is apparent when the image is unpolished, confused and without the deliberate, dignified appearance that exudes certainty and acute perception.  It is important to understand that no matter how many roses one may remove or how loudly they may call it a plum tree, the nature of it cannot be changed; merely embraced and ameliorated.

The first step is therefore to ask oneself what image is realistic for them.

Many men grew up watching James Bond movies and perhaps even reading Fleming’s original Bond novels.  Bond, especially in Connery’s portrayal, proved an archetypal pattern for polished masculinity.  While role models and mentors are a terrific thing to have, it is important to acknowledge that what one wears, does, says and has  expresses his personality, it does not form his personality.  Remember that Fleming had no one but himself after which to model 007, Clint Eastwood used his own image and talents to form his characters, Clark Gable never saw Clark Gable in Gone With The Wind until after its release.  It is important to find one’s own individuality and work to develop and form it as it should be formed.

Having covered the background for Step One, we will now begin our list:

Step One: Define the genre of “You”

Ask yourself if you are comfortable wearing dressier clothing than jeans.

If you are then ask yourself what your options are.  Colours, shades and styles vary greatly, but are limited to the garments available in your locale and in your size.

Why is ‘size’ in bold?  Because if it doesn’t fit, you should not even touch it, that is part of picking what works for you.  ‘Skinny Pants’ are ill-advised to everyone, but all the more if you are pear-shaped.

If you want to look like an upside-down beaker, right-side up funnel or ‘Tweedle-Dee’ from Alice in Wonderland and are bottom heavy, skinny jeans can help you achieve this look.

Step Two: Don’t Rule Anything Out

Not just in relation to clothing, retailers too.  Vintage shops carry up to 100 years of different styles, some of their clothing is barely touched and not all of it is obsolete.  Designers grossly over-state how progressive fashion is because they are trying to sell you their version of someone else’s ancient design [Simply stated: Designers do to fashion, what Dane Cook does to comedy], it is only a matter of time before togas are back in style.

Step Three: Action is eloquence

Three rules about ‘pulling it off’:

If you have to ask, then you cannot.  If you say you can’t, then you never will.  If you know you can, then do not say it, do it.

Vintage or antique is not the only option, department stores sometimes carry something perfect for you, you never know until you try.

Step Four: Do not live beyond your means, but do not count the pennies

It is important to note that just because you feel that a $3,000 Armani suit with $1,000 Ferragamo shoes and an extra $1,000 dollars of accessories would define you perfectly, that does not mean it is a buyer’s market.

People do not drive Fiat or Opel cars because they were their first choice, they drive them because a Bentley costs more than a small house or a giant cottage.

As with all things balance is necessary.  See a suit that is a little more than you had planned to spend?  Do you like it more than the one you initially had in mind, how does it look on you and is it really worth it?

Focus more on value than price; if the material is good, it is not made in a sweatshop, it is not costly enough to make your eyes bulge out of your head and you really like it, then by all means, enjoy your new garment.

If it is polyester, made in china, on the lower end of the price spectrum but your face is puckered in uncertainty when you consider the way it looks– Do you really need to hear more?

If you are mature and responsible and you have money saved up, it may be time to take that step.  Stop buying yourself $200+ trainers, stop wearing trainers altogether unless you are exercising and make some responsible purchases on your own behalf.  Being financially responsible does not mean saving every penny, it means investing rather than buying.  This is clearly one of the smaller investments you will experience in a lifetime, but it may just be the first step you will take toward bigger and better investments.

Feature: Jazz Age Lawn Party on Governors Island 2012

21 Aug

Thousands grabbed their waistcoats, donned their seersucker suits and held onto their hats as the annual Jazz Age Lawn Party hit Governors Island yesterday.

Tickets were available at the front or by prior acquisition online.  VIP tickets included a small three course meal and unlimited alcoholic, but only alcoholic, beverages.  Segregated, but equally long lines were also available for those who laid out the extra few dollars.

Many songs circa 1920 were performed by Michael Aranella and his Dreamland Orchestra, including The Sheik of Araby and Cole Porter’s classic, Let’s Do It, Let’s Fall In Love.

Vintage shops, hat shops and various other vendors came out to peddle their wares, creating an overall prodigious marketplace for the antique or retro-style connoisseur.

Though some guests appeared minutely cautious to perfect their roaring twenties retro threads, some toned it down a touch.  Some guests who stood out in appearance included a rather ponderous tranny-flapper and a group who brought along vintage dishes and cutlery, wooden chairs and a fold-out wooden picnic table.

In attendance were not only local residents, but visitors from Germany, London, Atlanta and various other locations.

Among the guests were Elle, , and Sara residents of London, Philadelphia and Atlanta respectively, who are currently in college in Ohio and felt that the event absolutely lived up to their expectations.  “We got a late start today, but we finally got here and it was definitely worth it.” Sara confided after the three tipped a young boy dressed as a “newsie,” who agreed to pose with them in a photo.

Though the event was confined to a rather small section of Governor’s Island, those who were not in attendance could not help staring if not laughing at the archaic characters in attendance.

Their laughter, however was cut short when they saw the tired,  poor, huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of the teeming shore, these, the homeless, tempest-tost, the several thousand lined up to the ferry door.

Weekend Movie: Ghost Train

10 Aug

Joan Jett at Coney Island

10 Aug

“And now, the most intellectual and talented of female rockstars: Joan Jett!”  Announced Borough President Marty Markowitz yesterday at the “Seaside Summer Concert,” where Jett was headlining.

Following this comment, they commenced mic checks, tuning instruments and setting up for her entrance.

Prior to this remark, it seemed as if every politician at all pertaining to New York would speak.  Borough Controller, Borough President, President of Coney Island, a man from the Bay Ridge Credit Union and the man who appears to be at every opening ceremony and graduation in New York state around election time, Senator Chuck Schumer.

Opening for Joan Jett were the Coney Island freak show cast.  The emcee/”Human Blockhead,” Ray Valenz destroyed the momentum by saying no less than three times, “and now, the moment you’ve all been waiting for.”  The woman performing an awkward, erotic dance with a snake, “Serpentina,” was apparently not who the audience was waiting for.

Also with the the sideshow were, “Baron Von Geiger,” the strongman who puts fishhooks through the holes in his face, but does not perform any “feat of strength”;  “Insectavora,” a heavily tattooed woman who climbs a ladder of dull swords– with her bare feet!  And with enthusiastic announcement from the “Human Blockhead,” whose talent is to stick a nail up his nose; the machine who keeps the act on life support, “Betty Bloomerz,” the sword swallower.

When the audience seemed restless at 8:27pm, Markowitz nervously explained that he was not keeping Jett and that as soon as she was ready, she would come out.  Yet he somehow did not seem to run out of people who could come up on stage.

When the show began, however and Joan Jett and the Blackhearts assembled on stage and finally began their set with their hit, “Bad Reputation,” they were amazing.  Jett looks, sounds and rocks as good as she did 30 years ago.

The Blackhearts went through their discography and even did some of the songs Jett wrote when she was with the Runaways.

Joan is no longer a rebellious child and with time she has given up on shocking people, one astounding feature of the concert, however, was the audience.  Their was an eclectic crowd to say the least, hipsters who swayed to high drive riffs like they were listening to Bjork, some girls dressed like Lady Gaga, observant Jews and even some Russians.

Very few people at the concert subscribed to the rock aesthetic or mentality.

Joan Jett and the Blackhearts rock, to say the least.  Their prodigious talent wakes up even the dullest of audiences.  There is some depth to the tunes, despite their punk sound and crass overtones on a superficial level.

After the show, a father and a daughter were sitting next to each other on the Manhattan bound Q local train, they were giggling at facebook statuses and clearly had a great time at the concert and would not have chosen anyone else in the world to go with.

Ultimately, rock and roll is not about rebellion, anger or self-destruction.  Rock and roll is about freedom, embracing individuality and one’s right to be understood.  Sometimes it is not about whether you give a damn ’bout your bad reputation, it is about someone else doing you the same courtesy. 

Weekend Movie: Dead End Kids

3 Aug

Noir classic starring Humphrey Bogart

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