Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Bill Cunningham New York (2010)

For the photographically-inclined, this is an inspirational documentary about Bill Cunningham, the man behind my favorite long-standing New York Times column On the Street.  Still running around the streets and shooting pics well-into his eighties, Cunningham is legendary in the fashion world.

Monday, February 27, 2012

This Weekend...

Although I was feeling a little under the weather this weekend, we managed to make it out to a few special events this weekend.  It was my dear friend Sonya's 26th birthday, so we headed her way for a painting/pizza party where much merriment was had and art work was created.

Once our collective creativity was running low and the house was filled to the brim with revelers, we moved onwards to one of our main hangouts for late night beer drinking and crab feasting: 24G.  A stones' throw from the corner of Vo Van Tan and CMT8, this has recently become a hot-spot for the young and party-inclined, both local and expat.

Ghe Rang Me (Crab Legs Drenched in a Sweet Tamarind Sauce)
The Birthday Girl
Sunday began slowly with mango smoothies in bed and a great documentary: Bill Cunningham New York.  Around three we thought it would be best to get some fresh air and visit some friends.  We first indulged in huge, steaming bowls of authentic ramen @ Osaka Ramen - 19 Thai Van Lung, Q.1.

After the late lunch we road-tripped out to the wilds of District 8.

There we enjoyed another quintessential Saigon sunset with coconut, mango slices, and fresh jackfruit along the Saigon River (specifically at Tree 1302).

To continue the birthday spirit, we made a gluttonous return to Fanny's @ 29-31 Ton That Thiep St, Q.1.  The Big Share was consumed with 10 of our pals and between our hunger and the heat the 20 scoops of ice cream went quickly!

The Big Share - 20 scoops of ice cream

Eschewing tradition, ice cream was simply an appetizer and some of us continued onwards to a barbecue feed @ the ever-popular Luong Son Quan - Beer Garden and Barbecue - 31 Ly Tu Trong, Q.1.

Famous for Bo Tung Xeo (a tender grilled beef dish), intrepid diners can sample such delights as steamed goat penis (see below).

Ech Chein Bo (Meaty Frog Legs Battered in Tempura)
Grilled Chicken during Bird-Flu Season

Vegetarian Curry with Tofu, Okra, Potatoes, and Carrots

Friday, February 24, 2012

What We're Listening To: Lambchop

Mr. M
Merge Records; 2012

Another subtly sumptuous, genre-defying album by Nashville odd-ball extraordinaire Kurt Wagner. File under orchestral, indie-country... I guess. A pleasant listen through and through.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Koh Lanta: Klong Jark Bay

Marching through the woods, to the next cove we go...

Largely due to the hospitality of Sid (look for an unassuming shack and some beach chairs at the southern end of the beach),  Klong Jark Bay became a holiday staple for us.  A good place to sit and drift away...

...or enjoy the company of close pals.

A glorious reunion... these two grew up across the street from each other in Reno, Nevada.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Films About Music: A Jazz Focus

Let's Get Lost is an impressionistic, pensive documentary made by Bruce Weber in the waning years of Chet Baker's extraordinary life.  Watching some of the last recording sessions involving Chet is a highlight: he possessed an inimitably warm voice and his brilliantly understated trumpet playing remained phenomenal until his untimely death. For the uninitiated, start with his records and then head to the film.

Bird is a biopic starring a young Forest Whitaker as bebop king Charlie Parker.  A Clint Eastwood passion project, the film follows Parker's rise from the Kansas City jazz scene in his teens. The musical performances in the film (which include a who's-who of 20th century legends) are rousing and the acting is commendable throughout.  As Parker was a junkie throughout his all-too-brief adult life, expect some lugubrious moments. 

Both are from the late Eighties and slightly difficult to obtain, but worth the extra effort.

"You don't know how hearts burn,
for love that cannot live but never dies,
until you've faced the dawn with sleepless eyes."
-Chet Baker