Monday, January 30, 2012

'The Bachelor': We need to talk about Ben

Posted By on Mon, Jan 30, 2012 at 4:41 PM

Hes used to doing this with his bare hands.
  • ABC
  • He's used to doing this with his bare hands.
You might have noticed that for the past couple weeks, I've neglected to post a recap of 'The Bachelor.' It's not that I haven't been watching. I have. It's that I've emerged from each viewing so goddamn bored that when I start writing, only boring, unfunny things come out of my hands.

Here was a lede I was working on for a recap of last week's episode ...

What did everyone think of the sequel to "A River Runs Through It," entitled "A River is Still Running Through It: On the Lures of Love?!" Personally, I thought it was poorly acted. But the editing was impecable.

Seriously though, when I committed myself to this series in an intimate beachfront ceremony in the Caribbean, wearing a simple sleeveless, silk shift dress, the waves lapping at my ankles, I never, ever imagined that I'd eventually have to watch people fly fish. Isn't it crazy? To make people watch other people do something that has to be one of the most boring activities in the world, even for the people physically doing it? WAKE UP I'M TALKING TO YOU.

I just threw up my Subway reading that. Believe it or not, it tastes even worse on its way out. But what I've decided is that I'm not going to blame myself for struggling to make something interesting out of something that's been really uninteresting. Instead I'm going to blame Ben.

I blame Ben because he says things that aren't true. FOR INSTANCE, on his date with Rachel — nostril piercing, smokers voice — he said he thinks they have "good chemistry." That is absolutely false. They talked about squinting. They both squinted, and then they fucking talked about squinting. Also, why does Ben refuse to wear sunglasses? Granted, a Cro-Magnon-esque forehead protrusion must provide some shade, but this guy is just forever squinting.

THEN, Ben emerges from the date thinking it went well because Rachel "opened up," a thing she talked about having trouble doing. Ah, but, see. Talking about having trouble opening up does not equal actually opening up. Ben's mistaken.

Anyway, at the root of Ben's saying things that are untrue is the fact that he generally has nothing to say. At the root of that is the fact that he's extraordinarily boring. At the root of that: the fact that he's not Bentley. Now, there's a guy who had things to say and was willing to say them even if they were horrifying. I believe I called him an "unapologetic sociopath," and I meant that, but in such a good way (see, I say what's on my mind too; MATCH MADE IN HEAVEN). If Bentley was the Bachelor, I'd watch four-hour episodes. Four times a day.

ALRIGHT. It's not Ben's fault that he doesn't subsist on the tears of bowlegged dental students the way Bentley did (he subsists on animal carcasses). Also not his fault: the producers are setting up dumb dates.

I won't belabor what a boring idea fly fishing was since I already tried and failed, but, like, how 'bout the San Francisco bikini skiing date? HOW WACKY! S-s-skiing in San Francisco?! WHAT'LL THEY THINK OF NEXT? When people look stupid doing a thing that's so obviously stupid, making fun of them is stupid.

AHHHHH. And who the fuck is Clay Walker?? Besides a country singer who writes lyrics, like, "I didn't know you were gonna be in the bar when I walked in ... 'til I walked in." I guess that's all we really need to know about him.


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Théatre du Rêve inflates 'Red Balloon' for the stage

Posted By on Mon, Jan 30, 2012 at 2:54 PM

IT IS BALLOON! Thomas Shoup with the title character
  • Theatre du Reve
  • IT IS BALLOON! Thomas Shoup with the title character
“It’s like those French have a different word for everything!” Steve Martin once complained. For years, a similar attitude inhibited me from seeing the work of Atlanta’s Théãtre du Rêve. Actress Carolyn Cook founded the company in 1995, and since then the French-language has staged productions of work by the likes of Moliére, Samuel Beckett, and Jean de la Fontaine. I’ve let them slide because I don’t know French, and only embarrass myself if I even attempt to pronounce the language.

The company’s remount of last year’s The Red Balloon may be Théãtre du Rêve’s ideal gateway show, and in fact seems to be designed that way. Adapted and directed by Park Cofield, The Red Balloon features narration and dialogue that alternates between English and French in a casual, unforced way, like the conversation you’d hear in a bilingual household.

If you took French class in school, you probably saw Albert Lamorisse’s The Red Balloon, an award-winning film whose 34-minute running time no doubt rescued many a hungover teacher. Théãtre du Rêve’s stage version runs about twice as long but seems even less eventful as it follows young Pascal (Thomas Shoup) and his unlikely friendship with the title plaything.

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Man who threatened to jump from Midtown tower — until T.I. stepped in — tells story

Posted By on Mon, Jan 30, 2012 at 2:33 PM

On Oct. 13, 2010, Atlantans were temporarily distracted from their workdays by news that a man had climbed to the top of Colony Square in Midtown and threatened to jump 22 stories. Peachtree Street was closed, police mobilized, and workers in nearby office towers tweeted photos of a man on top of the building.

Then we heard — and confirmed with Atlanta Police — that T.I., the rapper and Atlanta native, dropped by the scene and managed to convince the man not to jump. Many folks questioned whether the surreal incident was an elaborate and desperate publicity stunt by T.I., who days later was scheduled to appear before a federal judge to discuss probation violations.

It wasn't. Weeks later the young man, Josh Starks, called public relations consultant Chris Schroder to ask about helping him with a speech he'd deliver at a Piedmont Park rally to raise awareness about suicide. Starks stayed in touch with the Schroder and is telling his story in an ongoing series called "Moments" on the Saporta Report, which Schroder publishes. The video — and the write-up of the progress Starks has made in his life — are worth your time.

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Why won't anyone invite Michael Vick to Fashion Week?

Posted By on Mon, Jan 30, 2012 at 2:04 PM

Page Six reports that former dog fighter Michael Vick's people have been "sniffing around" (cleverrrrr) for an invite to Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in NYC in February ...

Making a play for the front row at New York Fashion Week: Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick. A source tells us that a publicist for the NFL star “is asking around for Fashion Week invites.” It sounds like Vick is keen to develop links with the fashion world by following in the footsteps of Amar’e Stoudemire, who sat front row at Tommy Hilfiger Fall 2011 and later inked a deal to design a fashion line with Rachel Roy. But we’re told Vick, who isn’t known for his sartorial sense, hasn’t quite been besieged with invites to sit with Anna Wintour and company. One Fashion Week insider told us [they're] “curious who will have him.”

I quick Google image search indicates that Michael Vick is no Amar'e Stoudemire, that's for sure. Still, athletes and fashion do occasionally together like dog fur and a cheap, department store coats.

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WonderRoot hosts volunteer orientation tonight

Posted By on Mon, Jan 30, 2012 at 1:41 PM

Local arts non-profit WonderRoot is hosting a volunteer orientation tonight at the community center on 982 Memorial. The orientation, which begins at 6 pm, should give the full run down on how to get involved with the myriad projects that the non-profit is involved in.

A couple weeks ago, when Martin Luther King, Jr. day brought out volunteers in droves around the city, WonderRoot coordinated a big work effort on the vacant lot adjacent to the center, which they are currently transforming into an educational and sculptural garden. There are plenty more opportunities and programs to work with throughout the year, though, especially for those with backgrounds in the arts.

Check out a list of volunteer programs and opportunities after the jump.

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Oh, the many problems with Gold Dome's regional transit bill

Posted By on Mon, Jan 30, 2012 at 12:50 PM

State lawmakers last week gave Gov. Nathan Deal their proposal to change how metro Atlanta's bus and rail program are governed, with the caveat that the legislation still needed some fixes. Folks, including veteran business columnist Maria Saporta, are starting to notice the kinks. From her morning column, which must be read in its entirety to really appreciate the wonk-rage (and I say that with complete sincerity and respect):

The state draft legislation calls for the commission chairs for 13 counties as well as one mayor from each county would serve on the council. The mayor of Atlanta also would have a seat at the table. (For the record, most of the remaining members would be appointed by state officials).

That means that Fulton County (with a population of 1.01 million) and DeKalb County (with a population of 740,000) would have the same representation as Douglas County (with a population of 92,174). Now is that fair?

Overlay that with Fulton and DeKalb having contributed a penny sales tax for MARTA for the past 40 years while a Douglas County has yet to make a significant investment in transit, and it’s even more unfair.

The draft legislation also would call for both the Transit Governance Council and the state-controlled GRTA to hire a transit director. That not only sounds unworkable, but also unfair. Why should the state have the power to name a transit director when it puts no money in transit.

Also, GRTA could veto anything passed by the Transit Governance Council with a two-thirds vote (basically all the governor’s appointees). Again, is that fair?

Survey says no!

Lawmakers have said that solving the regional transit conundrum, with some form of legislation, is necessary before voters visit the polls to decide this year's regional transportation tax — which voters will decide in July. We're curious — as are other folks — what role the 35-member Transit Governance Council would play if the measure fails.

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Occupy Atlanta's Tim Franzen says he's being targeted by police

Posted By on Mon, Jan 30, 2012 at 12:42 PM

Franzen, pictured here in November, tends to stand out in his signature red cap.
  • Dustin Chambers
  • Franzen, pictured here in November, tends to stand out in his signature red cap.
In our coverage of Occupy Atlanta, we've frequently referred to Tim Franzen as a "spokesman," occasionally an "organizer," mostly for lack of a better way to describe his role in what's intended to be a leaderless movement.

In a Saturday post on the American Friends Service Committee's blog, Franzen says he believes his characterization in the media as an Occupy ringleader has made him a law enforcement target for arrest — and repeatedly.

Franzen wrote, "I've decided that this behavior is worth calling out. It is unacceptable to target a few folks in an effort to shut down a movement. A targeted arrest should be seen as an attack on everyone associated with the Occupy movement. To let this slide is a disservice to others and our movement."

Franzen's most recent arrest took place on Friday, following an Occupy Atlanta protest at a local Chase bank branch. He's been arrested two previous times. Following his first arrest — which was part of a police round-up of more than 50 protestors — Franzen says fellow occupiers were questioned by the FBI about his activities and motives:

It was right after the first eviction that several young OA participants took me aside and told me that people from the FBI had visited their homes and questioned them about me. They claimed that FBI agents had asked if I would be open to acquiring weapons, if I had a militant side and such.

One of the questioned youth actually gave me the FBI agent's business card. I called it the next day and informed the agent that I knew everything there is to know about Tim Franzen, that I was in fact the worlds utmost authority on all things Tim Franzen. When he asked who I was I stated, "Tim Franzen."
I told the FBI agent that he should be ashamed of his actions, that he had no right to run around Atlanta scaring people for no other reason but to crush a movement to address gross economic injustice through nonviolent direct action.

The second time he was arrested, during a demonstration on GSU's campus, Franzen recalls hearing an officer instruct others to "get him." He says he was dragged off the sidewalk and into the street by an officer who subsequently arrested him for standing in the street.

Franzen's account of his most recent arrest is by far the strangest (edited down where elipses appear):

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The Televangelist: 'The Good Wife' Season 3, Ep. 14

Posted By on Mon, Jan 30, 2012 at 11:55 AM

Sun Tzu never fought the Jews. We dont play mind games. We bring knives. - Eli
  • "Sun Tzu never fought the Jews. We don't play mind games. We bring knives." - Eli

"Ham Sandwich" was a turning-point episode in Season Two, where Kalinda (dutifully pleading the fifth) was let off in case questioning her "investigative" methods. At the end of the episode, Blake (one of the worst characters the show has ever trotted out) tells Kalinda that he gets it - her former "Lela" life was erased thanks to Peter Florrick ... who she slept with as a favor. This bombshell is still having reverberations into the current season and the second ham sandwich episode ("Another Ham Sandwich," to be precise), where Alicia and Kalinda's relationship is only now beginning to thaw. And on the sexual misconduct front, Alicia is now being questioned about her affair with Will - something that prompts her to storm out of the court room, turning around to face Wendy Scott-Carr's protestations with a dramatic "Arrest me!"

Of course, no one arrests Alicia. But Wendy, tricked by Kalinda and Will via a file Kalinda planted with Dana, has lost the confidence of the Grand Jury (who, let's be honest, was populated with idiots) and that of Peter, who fires her (but does validate her parking!) Despite Alicia's second season assertion that a Chicago Grand Jury would "indict a ham sandwich," so far the opposite has proved true for Lockhart Gardner. It seems that their 75% positive-outcome rate continues to rise!

Alicia was out to sea emotionally in this episode. She has been keeping her distance from Will, and even when they were sleeping together, one got the feeling that he was always into it more than she was (emotionally). But several times last night, Alicia distinctly chose Will over Peter, even though she denied her affair to Peter and later, decided against telling her kids. It seems clear that Alicia is realizing she may feel more for Will, and on a deeper level, than she realized. His precarious legal situation may be the best possible thing for his personal life, as it has brought out feelings for Alicia she hardly seemed to know she possessed. Will's troubles are far from over, judging by the preview for the next episode - it appears he could be disbarred. If Will is gone from Lockhart Gardner, even temporarily, ... might his affair with Alicia resume?

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Demetri Martin presents comedic data at The Punchline

Posted By on Mon, Jan 30, 2012 at 10:30 AM

My first introduction to Demetri Martin occurred when the young, deadpan actor/musician/comedian played "key-tar" opposite Todd Barry as the one-hit wonder band The Crazy Dogs on an episode of "Flight of the Conchords." Martin starred in Ang Lee's 1960s nostalgia flick Taking Woodstock, but his acting appearances have never done justice to his unique brand of whimsy as a stand-up performer. His comic approach often emulates the surreal one-liners of Steven Wright, at times accompanying himself on guitar or keyboard. Martin particularly likes to break down cliches or comedic concepts using visual aids, as if delivering the world's funniest TED Talk. Here he is analyzing the adage, "People in glass houses shouldn't throw stones:"

Martin performs at The Punchline tonight, Jan. 30, for one-night only.

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