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Let Me Tell You: New Stories, Essays, and Other Writings by Shirley Jackson

I’ve always had this quirky obsession with stories about families over the years. The Chronicles of Narnia. The Baby-Sitters Club. The Fast and the Furious. I would even include Remember Me by Mary Higgins Clark. I’m talking about Shirley Jackson’s “Let Me Tell You: New Stories, Essays, and Other Writings.” I found myself commiserating with her stories about her family and the goofy stuff they’ve had to suffer through together. Even something as silly as who left the hose out. I got to thinking why I gravitate towards stories about fictional families and not-so-fictional ones. Is there a universal truth about being a part of a family? Not that I don’t enjoy stories about orphans – though there is always a glut of those. But I think it’s because everyone has a story to tell. I didn’t have the idyllic family life like Ms. Jackson and her husband gave to…

Janelle Monáe (The Pearl Theater)

So, it’s your girl, hitting you off with something new. I was kind of waffling back and forth about how I wanted to grow this portfolio. I scrubbed most of the irrelevant junk so there’s probably a lot of dead links out there in the world, oops. On the outside, it looks like I have it all. But the fact is, I don’t. I’m left of center, and in the words of Miss Monáe, it’s right where I belong. I’m a dirty computer. And that’s okay. Speaking of which, this is my long overdue review of her show at the Pearl Theater at the Palms last week. I was unsure if I would even make it because midweek shows are harsh on someone who has to work the next day. But Vegas got the short end of the stick, tour date-wise, so I made do. The setlist: Dirty Computer Crazy,…

The Red Shoes (1948)

I fancy myself an armchair movie critic, so I will be reviewing films of all shapes, sizes, and genres with my sui generis perspective. OpenCulture has Martin Scorsese’s 85 films every aspiring filmmaker needs to see. Although I am many years removed from such an aspiration, the critical analysis of movies and filmmaking is something I never stopped doing. I figured I would incorporate a few of them into Silver Screen Sundays as I go along, which I will also call Scorsese Sundays when I review something from his list. I’ve seen quite a few of them already, but not enough! Luckily, The Red Shoes was screened on TCM as part of their Oscar winner series they run annually, and I managed to catch it. The movie won for Best Original Score and Best Art Direction, and was nominated for Best Picture (Hamlet won), Best Original Screenplay (The Treasure of…

Winchester (2018)

I fancy myself an armchair movie critic, so I will be reviewing films of all shapes, sizes, and genres with my sui generis perspective. I saw Winchester last Monday after work, so I’ve had a few days to nosh on it. I had been keeping up on the press for it since it was announced. I almost went so far as to watch the premiere at the actual Winchester Mystery House. That meant touring the mansion, enjoying a reception, and then walking across the street to CineArts on Santana Row to watch it, but it’s still getting caught up in the reality of it. I’m a huge fan of Mrs. Winchester. I’ve owned annual passes to the House over the years. It’s one of the best examples of Queen Anne architecture that survives to this day. I really enjoyed it. It took generous liberties with Mrs. Winchester’s story, but who’s…

Fruitvale Station (2013)

Sorry for not keeping up with this. Life’s been a handful to say the least. I’m trying to sort things out, so hopefully I can start posting regularly again. I still vividly remember watching the footage of Oscar Grant’s murder on New Year’s Day 2009. Phones were becoming smarter every day. Citizen journalism was on the rise, even if it didn’t have a name then. The videos disturbed me greatly. So I resisted watching this movie until I was better prepared to consume it. Ryan Coogler – being a Bay Area native – perfectly captures the Bay Area culture that I miss so much. Coogler showed the world what it was like growing up in the Bay in subtle ways, not even taking into account that they filmed on location when and where they could. The dialogue stood out to me in a finite sort of way, the diction was…

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