One paragraph reviews on art, movies, books, and pop culture by a know-nothing who knows it all

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Amp Power Is on Hiatus...

...until next week while the Alicatte & Penguin and their Little Rhino are on holiday, motorcycling along the Eastern Shore. (Image via


Tuesday, June 21, 2005

"Paper Life" Is Paper Thin

Synopsis: Tatum O'Neal's tell-all memoir. As I mentioned earlier, this book is really, really bad. Recommeded only to people who are interested in Tatum's el bizarro relationship with her dad or her soap opera marriage to McEnroe. (Image via

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Monday, June 20, 2005

"The History of Love"

Synopsis: isolated characters (Jewish Pole who escaped the Nazis and a 14-year-old girl) try to solve mystery about the reappearance of a book entitled "History of Love." This book has received a load of good press, but what got me really interested in it was that the author, Nicole Krauss, and her husband just bought a brownstone in Brooklyn for $6.75 million, and they're only 30 years old! (Wild with jealousy.) I really wanted to dislike the book, but it turned out pretty good. A big problem for me was that it is so jam-packed with supposingly telling details about characters' idiosyncrasies that I would forget important facts about the story. (Image via


Sunday, June 19, 2005

Crowning "Kings and Queen"

Synopsis: two interweaving storylines, one tragic about a woman's whose father is dying and the other comedic about a man who's been institutionalized against his will. This sprawling French film--clocking in at 2 hours and 40 minutes--felt satisfying in the way films like Yi Yi feel: robust, rich, and filling. There's one particular scene that is so emotionally devastating I almost moaned out loud, "Oh, God, no." Thankfully, I didn't and thankfully the film balances the wrenching scenes with almost Woody Allen style humorous ones. On top of that, the film is so very tres French that I was in ecstasy. (Image via


Saturday, June 18, 2005

The Master's "The Defense"

Vladimir writing "The Defense" 1929

Does a synopsis really matter with a Nabokov book? Overtly, the book is about a chess prodigy who goes nuts and begins to view the world, his life as a gigantic chessboard game. But for me, Nabby's books have always been about the craftsmanship of writing. He creates mood, feeling based on words; he's not interested in similes, or using short sentences or long ones, or other sophomoric techniques. If you're interested in delving into a lush world of words, check it out. It will remind you that this is how it's done. (Image via


Friday, June 10, 2005

Robert Lowell and Harriet

With the release of Robert Lowell's letters, this picture of Lowell and his daughter Harriet has been popping up everywhere. I love this photo. A hundred plays, poems, movies could be written about this picture.

This Henri Cartier-Bresson photo was taken in 1960. If you're interested in other HCB photos, like the ones below, click here.

(I just figured out how to put photos next to each other, so I'm showing off.)


Thursday, June 09, 2005

Oh, Nabokov, O'Neal; I Confess

For the past few days, I've been studiously reading Nabokov's "The Defense" (review TK). But in the evenings, I've been diving into Tatum O'Neal's tell-all "A Paper Life." It is utter trash. Brooke Shields is like Simone de Beauvoir compared to Tatum. Nevertheless....I keep reading it. I confess.


Sunday, June 05, 2005

Brooke's Bestseller and My Guilty Pleasure

To call Brooke Shield's "Down Came the Rain: My Journey Through Postpartum Depression" a book is a bit of a stretch. It's more like a big fat People magazine without the pix. Nevertheless, this "book" is one of the top 10 bestsellers this week (somewhere V. Nabokov is weeping). I have to admit I kinda liked it. It's really not too bad. Some parts are really harrowing, such as her IVF treatments and miscarriage, and I actually laughed out loud at some sections. (I got it out of the library, so I can't take any of the blame for its bestseller status. And just to atone myself for this guilty pleasure, I'm now reading Nabokov's early novel "The Defense.") (Image via

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Thursday, June 02, 2005

"The Dive from Clausen's Pier" Bellyflops

Synopsis: midwestern chick leaves her boyfriend after he becomes a quadriplegic. Skip it. It's chick lit, it's "reading group" manna. Based on the title, you think that you'll be reading about how one deals with such a moral dilemma. Nope. She makes the decision about 20 pages into the book, and then she's off to NYC to find herself and hang out w/a preposterous group of hip New Yorkers. Waste of time. (Image via Amazon)