sexy liberals rawk!

Pretty much every weekday morning for the last five years I’ve listened to The Stephanie Miller Show as I’m getting ready for and commuting into work. Her particular brand of political analysis (with fart jokes) is both highly entertaining and rather informative – just the way I need my political analysis. Especially since the entertaining parts of the show keep me from driving my car off a bridge when considering the political parts of the show.

Back in May they announced that Stephanie and her mooks would be bringing their Sexy Liberal Comedy Tour to their homebase of Los Angeles. My ears perked up and I thought, I must see this! So I checked with RockerChick to see if she’d like to join me, since one of the performers would be Hal Sparks and I knew she loved her some Hal (they had even met once and she said he was funnier than hell, super cute and very sweet). She jumped on the chance (and probably would’ve jumped on Hal, had the opportunity arisen), whereupon I quickly procured tickets for us about two days after they went on sale. Which, it turns out, was none too soon, as the show sold out in five days. And they had to add a second show. Since I was rapidly developing a harmless little crush on Ecclesiastical Mook John Fugelsang (he of The Unholy Experiment that I wrote about last month), I too was eager to see it. Especially if there was an appearance by show producer Chris Lavoie (I mean, look at that picture on that site – a hot smart sexy liberal in a NASA t-shirt – rowr!).

For the last five months I’ve been holding onto those tickets. Well, not literally, as that would have been vastly impractical and my eager sweaty palms would’ve rubbed all the ink off of them. But they’ve been sitting up on my home office area’s bulletin board.

Finally last night I was able to take them down and use them. For last night – after a delivery dinner of excellent vegan thai food – RockerChick and I made our way west and joined hundreds of other sexy liberals at the fabulous Wadsworth Theater (where I had seen Patrick Stewart perform A Christmas Carol over twenty years before) and enjoyed an evening of political humor and nary a fart joke to be heard. Though there were many jokes of a sexual nature, Ms. Stephanie Louise Miller. (Cue phony exasperated sigh.) Joining them were show cast Chris Lavoie (swoon), Voice Deity Jim Ward and associate producer Rebekah Taylor. And there was a special guest star: Rob Reiner.

And yes, I was able to take photos from my balcony seat, though I opted to not use a flash as I didn’t want to disturb my fellow sexy liberals.

As they signed off, they said they’d be back in town next year. If all continues to go well with HotScienceGuy, maybe I should take him…

Sexy Liberal Tour - John Fugelsang, Stephanie Miller and Hal Sparks
Sexy Liberal Tour - John Fugelsang, Stephanie Miller and Hal Sparks

Hal Sparks and Stephanie Miller demonstrate teabagging while Ecclesiastical Mook John Fugelsang prays for their souls.
Hal Sparks and Stephanie Miller demonstrate teabagging while Ecclesiastical Mook John Fugelsang prays for their souls.

“i’m gonna pop your cherry.”

When I first heard that Fright Night was being remade, I had definite reservations. I’ve always enjoyed the original, with Chris Sarandon as the handsome vampire next door and the inimitable Roddy McDowell as the horror show host Peter Vincent (named in honor of Peter Cushing and Vincent Price). Then I heard that David Tennant was cast as Peter Vincent. Wha-? And the character was being changed into a magician.

Nonononononono!

Don’t get me wrong. I love me some David Tennant. They say you never forget your first Doctor and, as I stumbled upon the series very late, David Tennant was mine. And, quite frankly, the main reason I was drawn into it (I’ve now seen all the Christopher Eccleston episodes and am avidly following the Matt Smith episodes). He’s a talented actor, seems to be quite down to earth and just a lot of fun in interviews. Not to mention that he IS a very nice piece of eye candy.

But Peter Vincent as a magician? And, as I would much later find out, one in the mold of Criss Angel (who just doesn’t appeal to me)? So very wrong. Having Peter Vincent as a horror show host was a stroke of genius, but they are a long gone breed and I just couldn’t imagine how they could rewrite the character to be appealing.

Now I know. And, thanks to these three scenes, I may have no choice but to watch this new incarnation.

Oh, David Tennant, you are a yummy treat indeed.




doing’ some self-pimpin’

Recently I mentioned the food blog of my good friend Polarbeast. I’ve been friends with Polarbeast (aka Dave) and his lovely wife Bianca since we were theater geek upstarts in our high school days. In other words, a pretty long time (I’ll leave it to you to guess the number of years — and be nice).

Polarbeast has got a mean yet coaxing way with words and certainly doesn’t need the likes of me to bring on the word pwnage. Despite that, he has asked, should I be in the mood, to contribute a guest restaurant review. I came close once before, taking notes and photos at the late, lamented Vegan Spot, but I never got around to actually writing the damned thing.

Finally I reviewed Café Flourish and I didn’t even have to take notes. Everything about my favorite sandwich — the BLTA — is imprinted indelibly on my taste-buds.

Go on and check out both my entry and, if you’re in L.A., the restaurant. Also, take a long, meandering stroll through Dining in L.A. Good words about good food are always fun to read.

little something…

This may be my favorite recipe quote ever:

Tarragon, as a herb, is slightly haughty but at least he swings both ways. He’s quite happy to be the consummate romantic, whispering sweet nothings into the ear of Madam Strawberry, but he’s just as pleased to rub his savory bits all over Mr. Asparagus, who honestly thought he was just coming over to watch a movie. Silly asparagus. It’s never just a movie.

From Strawberry, Asparagus and Pine Nut Salad with Tarragon Vinaigrette at Choosy Beggars.

oh my…oh my!

‘Round about my birthday day I received an interesting email with an interesting enclosure:

bonbonbar-gift-certificate-carol-elaine

My first thought was, Wow! That’s a hell of a lot of chocolate! My second, third and fourth thoughts were of gratitude to a rocking bunch of ladies. I love a good piece of chocolate and I’d heard from Tania and Michelle that this was most excellent chocolate. Even better, the chocolatier was headquartered in Los Angeles. Yay!

It was awhile before I could use the gift certificate, though. I was hesitant to order online because 1) the weather has been unpredictable and I didn’t want to receive a bunch of melted chocolate due to a heat wave (which we haven’t really had, though I never know from day to day if it’s going to be a cold day or hot day) and 2) my apartment building isn’t ideal for receiving packages.

I considered going to one of the farmers’ markets which Nina lists on her site, and CuteFilmNerd and I finally went to the one in Brentwood. I found Nina’s booth and chatted with her for a little bit while CuteFilmNerd went off to play with some Lhaso Apsos at a rescue booth. She is a sweet person, with a personality that was still bubbly after late nights and long hours preparing and shipping Father’s Day candy. We got there pretty late, so she was out of several of her varieties, including the malt candy bar, which I was especially interested in trying. I bought about $40 of candy, though, some of which I gave to CuteFilmNerd and my roommate, as a small token of appreciation for lugging my ass around town.

I kept most of it for myself, though, as it was part of a birthday present from such a wonderful group of women.

image001Taken after I’d eaten most of the candy

Yesterday I polished off the two peanut butter bars I’d kept:

bonbonpbbar

Most excellent indeed, with little surprise bursts of honey and strawberry jam. My first bite, which included the strawberry jam, actually made me laugh.

image007

The caramels are smooth, sweet and buttery with just a hint of smokiness and kosher salt. I still have some of those left, but I don’t know how much longer they’ll last. Considering I’m not a huge caramel fan (I find most of them far too sweet), these are perfect.

But for me the pièce de résistance were the Scotch candy bars:

image006

Oh. My. Ganache and caramel enrobed in dark chocolate using high quality ingredients would be enough to get me all Pavlovian, but the ganache was laced with Talisker 1992 Distillers Edition Single Malt Scotch. I’m not a scotch drinker, but it took the candy to an incredible level, giving it depth. Even more incredible – sea salt sprinkled on top, giving it a wonderful finish. I ate the second (and last) of them just a few moments ago, and am looking sadly at the empty wrapper, wishing there were more.

Well, I still have about $60 left on the gift certificate – I may have to stock up on Scotch candy bars.

Thank you again, UCF ladies. And, again- wow.

constant cravings…

I’m a bit of a fan of Food Network. There have been days (though not many) when I’ve parked myself in front of the TV and kept it on Food Network damned near all day. Once my roommate, while sitting and watching one of the challenges, turned to me and asked, “How do you not eat seventeen times a day?”

“I just eat before watching.” It really does help.

As a consequence, however, I find myself wanting to cook more often. I’ll see a recipe that inspires me and decide that I need to do something similar RIGHT NOW! If I don’t, I’ll feel slightly uneasy until that itch is scratched.

As a result, at the beginning of January I made my first homemade soup: a hearty vegetable/mushroom soup.

While I know that stock is easy to make, I decided to use the boxed vegetable stock, as I was too impatient to wait for hours. I wanted to taste my inaugural soup within two hours. And I did. I’ve got to say – it was damned good. Lots of veggies, three kinds of mushrooms, lots of herbs and aromatics (including an entire head of garlic – half sauteed, half crushed into the soup as it simmered for an hour – and a big ol’ onion) and a lot of freshly ground black pepper. It was one of the best things I’ve ever made. And the recipe was wholly my own.

The next day I experimented with combining eggs with potatoes in a kind of frittata. It’s something HSTeacher has made for me in the past (quite well, I might add) and it just sounded good. So in with the garlic and onion and black pepper and cheese and such. Once again, most yummy.

An episode of Throwdown with Bobby Flay – in which muffaletta was the featured dish – made me crave an olive salad sandwich. Days later I finally purchased the desired ingredients (my own recipe again) and chopped and mixed to my heart’s delight. By itself the salad was heavenly. Perhaps not quite muffaletta grade, as I used mayo and mustard (which I understand is a huge no-no), but still excellent, with a nice balance of creamy (mayo) and salty (three kinds of olives) and tart (mustard and chopped dill pickle). I even added my personal cooking staples: onions and garlic, this time so lightly sauteed in extra virgin olive oil (not EVOO, so shut up, Rachel Ray) so as to be barely cooked. Yummy cubed.

Unfortunately, in a sandwich with toasted 12 grain bread, red leaf lettuce, tomato and provolone? Not so good. Quite bland, in fact. The tomato was a bit on the watery side and that overpowered the salad in a way I didn’t think was possible. And the lettuce added absolutely nothing. Next time? Just the salad, please.

I wonder what I’ll be raring to cook next…

it’s an idea…

As y’all know, I fully support the writers in the strike, but I do miss the humorous insight of my pretend boyfriend Jon. Too bad I don’t have a basement…

*************************

So I saw Sweeney Todd last night. As I suspected, I didn’t hate it or find it badly done. Tim Burton and company did a fine job. Was it perfect? No. As a Sondheim fanatic who’s worked on two productions of the show and for whom Sweeney Todd is my second favorite musical (Sunday in the Park with George is #1, also by Sondheim), the chances of me finding absolutely nothing wrong with it is pretty slight.

But it was very faithful to the source material, Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter – if less melodramatic in the roles than I’m used to – still did well, both acting-wise and singing-wise. Alan Rickman was, of course, fantastic (then again, in my eyes it would be difficult for him to do wrong). I didn’t care much about the young lovers Anthony and Johanna, but I rarely do anyway – that’s nothing to do with the actors. At least the actress playing Johanna actually looked like a teen – rarely a given.

All of the other characters were nicely acted (including Sasha Baron Cohen as Pirelli). Plus recasting Toby as a child (instead of the simple minded adult in the stage version) worked well and added a chilling dimension to certain scenes. The child actor playing Toby (Ed Sanders) was terrific.

I loved the cinematography and set design, as I tend to do with Burton’s movies, and the way the musical was made purely cinematic pleased me to no end. And the ending? I know this musical like the back of my hand and I was still on the edge of my seat. Well done.

My issues with the movie are actually quite minor. One or two scene transitions could have been more creatively done (especially with an early scene where Sweeney is singing about the past, which then brings us to the past) and there was some graininess in some of the later scenes, which were especially dark. I also had some problems with the loss of some songs and lyrics. In most of the instances I understood why the songs and lyrics were cut (though I felt that, in one instance – the first scene with Anthony and Johanna – it hurt the scene a bit), but I missed them nevertheless, especially since it would have meant that I got to see Christopher Lee sing. Long-time readers know I’ve been a Chistopher Lee fan since I was five.

Still, I’m happy that Anthony Stewart Head still had a cameo, even if his original role as the Ballad Ghost was cut. Sondheim himself was very much involved with the production, which helped to keep it on track. And the thing that makes me really happy about the movie? Having Johnny Depp as the lead will insure that people who are not familiar with Stephen Sondheim or his music will see this and, perhaps, discover a whole new world of brilliant music and lyrics. Since this was a faithful and handsomely mounted adaptation, that can only be of the good.

The movie opens tonight in general release. Go, Sweeney, go!

oh yeah, bill baby…

Ya know, I’m just loving Bill Maher. Seriously, the more I see of him, the more I’m loving what he’s all about. The man’s got brains, balls and a wit sharp enough to skewer a roasted pig (which he might not do, as he’s a prominent member of PETA). He’s definitely making his way into my imaginary male seraglio (though Jon Stewart is still my imaginary boyfriend – sorry Bill). I may not always agree with him, but he makes a hell of a lot of sense, which wins mega points in my book.

What’s got me joining in on the Maher love? His Dickheads of the Year article.

Ooh, yeah, Bill, give Mama what she likes…

pretty, pretty physicist…

Like way too many people, I have gotten caught up in the whole LOLcat phenomenon. I tend not to create them, as my brain doesn’t wrap itself around bad grammar and excruciating mis-spellings very easily. But I find many of them cute, if not out and out hilarious.

But then…

I found LOLtheorists.

Made of complete and total fucking awesome.

I’ll be honest. I don’t know a lot of these theorists. Sometimes I’ll look at the picture and say “Huh?” Then I’ll look at the name in the tags and everything will click into place. And sometimes the names mean nothing and I have to look them up. I still love them wayyyy too much.

Then again, there are times when the theorist is just too pretty to be a theorist. Especially of the physics variety.

Who knew?

giles is dreamy…

…at least my iPod and iTunes think so.

While riding the bus into work this morning, I was listening to my lovely iPod, as I am wont to do while riding on the bus. And my lovely iPod decided that it really, really wanted me to listen to Music for Elevators, which I bought several years ago whilst in the throes of my deep Anthony Stewart Head crush.

(I still think he’s impossibly yummy, mind you. It’s just, now that I have my own nummy treat of a boyfriend, I’m a little bit more in control of my celebrity crushes.)

Oh, the iPod would toss in a few non-Tony Head songs, to throw me off the track, but I could tell what it was up to. Not that I minded – his voice is sublime and the music is good (even if I find the lyrics a bit on twee side).

But, once I sat at my desk and started up my iTunes, it immediately started up with It Doesn’t Matter by Allison Kraus and the Union Station, which I got from Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The Album. And that august TV show featured, of course, Anthony Stewart Head. Soon afterwards the iTunes also chimed in with Music for Elevators songs.

Of course, now that I’m writing about it, the iTunes has decided to explore some of the other artists I have loaded up, such as Simon and Garfunkel, Richard Thompson, Laura Cantrell, Sligo Rags and Emmylou Harris. But I just bet that, a few minutes after I post this entry, iTunes will be swooning over Tony Head again.

At least Apple products have good taste…