The result of a very long, wine-soaked, chocolate-studded conversation in Brooklyn a few months ago. This was the consensus.
So this is not exactly safe for work, but not exactly not safe for work.
In any case, in continuation of today’s love affair with Spike Jonze love-story short films, here’s a little gem a day or two too late for Halloween. Plus it takes place in one of my favorite shops in the whole world - Shakespeare & Co. in Paris. Loves.
Make no mistake: Mourir Auprès de Toi (To Die By Your Side) by Spike Jonze and Simon Cahn — based on the work of fashion designer Olympia Le-Tan — is a beautiful and sad short film. But it does contain a small amount of NSFW language and a copious amount of sex between a skeleton and a woman, both made out of felt and who have magically sprung off the covers of books at the Shakespeare and Company bookstore in Paris. Enjoy! (Nowness via /Film)
Love, love, love.
Can’t you just smell the perfume of roasted chestnuts, cigarettes, afternoon coffees, hot Crepe Nutella, and sweaty Euro guys?
Robert doisneau 1950 Paris
God bless you, Downton Abbey….
As you may or may not know, Downton Abbey is back for its second season on the BBC, as well as for those of us savvy enough to stream it online. This is refreshing for a couple of reasons, the most important of which is that there is an unusually high quotient of attractive British male actors in this show. Also, it takes place in a huge English manor, which means that watching this show, aside from appreciating how well-written and well-acted it is, is kind of like playing an elaborate, sexual fantasy version of Clue. In the Drawing Room, before Tea Time, with a Footman and some scones? Yes, please!
The Story: Set in the years before and during World War I, we follow the various intrigues (Yes! So much fucking intrigue!) upstairs and downstairs in the manor of a British Lordship and his family. The Lord has three lovely daughters (I, being #3 of 4 daughters, identify), two of which look like their mother: stubborn, pale skin, rosy cheeks, dark hair (just like ME!). However, due to antiquated sexist pish-posh bullshit, NONE of the daughters can inherit the manor or title (I also have no title or inheritance!)…so everything will go to the girls’ super hot distant cousin Matthew (see photo above). Meanwhile, there’s about a thousand subplots about each character in the family and in service.
The Creator: Brilliant actor and writer Julian Fellowes, who likes to write upstairs-downstairs stories set in English manors around 20th Century wars (ala Gosford Park).
Why It’s Rad: Aside from the obvious variety of characters and situations which can be crafted together for elaborate sexual fantasies, this show is remarkably well-written and directed, with phenomenal art direction and production value. There’s a lot of brooding. There’s a lot of sexual tension, mired with tight-lipped British-ness. There’s a lot of people who should be fucking each other like crazy (see photo above). Also, Maggie Smith is exceptionally Maggie Smith-like in this series, playing, in typical Maggie Smith style, a British stodgy mega-bitch…but this time with bigger hats.
Characters I Want to Make Out With (Partial List):
Matthew (Dan Stevens) - the unwilling heir to the fortune and the estate, who’d rather live a simple middle-class life as a lawyer; also, he has a thing for articulate but really stubborn girls with pale skin, rosy cheeks and dark hair (AKA: ME). Even though I’m obviously more crass than his main love interest on the show, I can see us snogging, and/or shagging, in ANY of the rooms of the manor (upstairs, downstairs, on the stairs, wherevs). He has pretty eyes and doesn’t like fancy shit…but that doesn’t mean he still wouldn’t take me to a hunting party, especially since I know how to ride a horse (even though he’s too stubborn to be impressed by that). He likes helping people…JUST BECAUSE! He looks good in uniform. Plus, this guy’s set to inherit a gazillion dollars, but he doesn’t care. Money doesn’t make him happy. You know what does, though? His extremely stubborn, pale skin/rosy cheek/dark hair cousin. You know who’s not his cousin? Me. (Snog Potential: very high, but with a stupid amount of bullshit and buildup until we get it on).
Tom (Allen Leech) - the passionate chauffeur who’s interested in social progress, women’s suffrage, and contributing positively to the world (he’s obviously an Aquarius); also, he has a thing for articulate but really stubborn girls with pale skin, rosy cheeks and dark hair (AKA: ME). He has pretty eyes, and as he’s probably a budding Socialist/Communist, doesn’t like fancy shit. He looks GREAT in a uniform, and green really is his color (or colour, as it were), and I’m guessing that he has a huge drive shaft and knows how to use it. Since he’s a chauffeur, our trysts can occur pretty much anywhere, but most likely at the nearest lake, in the garage, in the car, in alleyways in town; the possibilities are endless. (Snog Potential: very high, with a high chance of car sex)
Kemal Pamuk (Theo James) - Why, hello there, Mr. Turkish Delight! This shady diplomat is a total fucking lady’s man. He’s suave, foreign, and a total player who will find his way into your suite late at night (knowwhatI’msaying!), ready to rip your clothes off. He’s got the potential to be a charming douchebag, which isn’t really my style, and he’s a bit younger than me, but he’s really fucking hot, so I will gladly make an exception in this case. And since this guy has a crazy-ass libido (and a crazy ass), I’m pretty sure we could do it ANYwhere in the manor, even on the dining room table, during a formal dinner service in full view of all the Lords and Ladies, visiting dignitaries, and Maggie Smith. (Snog Potential: It’s in the fucking bag, but since he’s probably a manwhore, I’d just be extra careful)
Well this certainly frees up conversation time with my girlfriends!
Ladies, we now are finally free to discuss the following topics: Professional Cricket, the demise of piano players in department store lobbies, how to serve venison, Joseph Gorden Levitt, what Condoleza Rice is up to (and whether she’s playing piano in a department store lobby somewhere), millinery.
The “Is It a Date” flowchart. Made this one after a few friends of mine disagreed on the issue. A large, multi-person discussion followed, and I decided that a flowchart was the way to go.
In September, 2001, I moved abroad to Paris for my fall semester, with plans to move to Florence the following January. Since my flight home for Christmas vacation was the day after that of the Shoe Bomber, my parents refused to let me back out of California for my second semester in Italy, and instead tried to school me in the massive cultural and national tragedy that, while I tried to sympathize with, I never truly felt a part of. This weekend I’ll be posting my “Where were you when” story, but in the meantime, I’m catching up on all the media I missed living overseas.
It’s interesting to watch it all for the first time, 10 years later; for all the media I devour on an hourly basis, I’m still jarred when something as fleeting as a simple clip affects me.
I just saw this footage for the first time and was taken aback by Jon Stewart’s candid vulnerability, a side of him I’ve never seen in all my years as a “Daily Show” fan. But I’m glad I watched; this is possibly the most deep and articulate opening monologue I’ve ever seen him deliver.