Sunday, October 28, 2012

Andrew McCarthy's WONDERFUL book The Longest Way Home

Just finished Andrew McCarthy's, the former Brat Packer's, memoirs which was just published. It is titled The Longest Way Home. This is a self-styled as a memoir. Quite frankly much more than that.

It reminded me in many ways of Bruce Chatwin's travel books (and not just because of the Patagonia connection). This publication is a book about travel. And, similarly, as in Chatwin's works, it also a book about how the travel experience impacted writer's emotional life. I want to clarify that I wish not to diminish in any way (or praise) of McCarthy's book with this reference to Chatwin. But they have achieved an similar achievement (McCarthy's book and Chatwin's ouevre). Perhaps McCarthy has never read Chatwin? But he still channels equal intelligence.

I was especially impressed with McCarthy's spare writing style regarding the travel aspects. McCarthy's ability to analyze his emotional life as influenced by his travels around the world makes this book excellent. The travel aspects would have had me mesmerized but it is the relationship to the travels to his own life that makes this book truly genius.

While it was self-titled a memoir, it is probably more a travelogue. I say that for those fanaticists who'd like to argue (and that is the way of life a blog writer).

Although it is not a comprehensive biography of McCarthy's life it does intersperse important aspects of his life including his first marriage and his time as a BRAT PACK movie star, among others.

The essence of the book is about the transformation of a young boy. He was transformed by travel. The travel first came through the theater. And after that the travel was afforded by his career as a "brat pack" movie star. He then overcomes his addiction ot alchohol and drugs. And the marries his first wife and has a son

Throughout tall of these changes McCarthey changes.

I discovered this book by watching Piers Morgan on CNN (whom I detest). He was interviewing Andrew. I was so compelled with the actor/director/writer, so I ordered the book. I think that I was hooked by the author me during the interview, particularly his observation that American's fear of travel is a downfall. I've always found every moment I travel always make me more alive and aware. Smarter. Z better human.

Most Americans just want to stay in the comfort zone. I connected with McCarthey's claim that traveling was a noble experience.

This book is a peon to travel and the author's spiritual and emotional growth as a result. McCarthy somehow came to find himself in a deeper and more meaningful way only because of his global travels. He is also a man of many talents. In addition to being a successful actor and television and play director, he has spent much of his adult life traveling as a professional travel writer for National Geographic and other periodicals.

This book chronicles a series of trips to Patagonia, the Amazon, Costa Rica, Vienna, Baltimore and Mt. Kilimanjaro, among other. These all lead up to his marriage to his second wife in Ireland.

Andrew's ability to overcome his hesitence to a his second marriage was achieved only by these arduous, lonely journeys that he tells about us in his spare riveting way in this book. Through his solitude travels he finds a way to embrace a future of being a husband, father, son-in-law, and friend in ways he couldn't before his lifelong journey.

I think what I took away from his story: by facing his basest /fearsissues he found much more profound issues that he couldn't have understand had he not traveled the world.

Let me say......I agree with McCarthy's belief about travel: that it transforms you. But I wouldn't want to face an anaconda or boa constrictor. I wouldn't mind seeing Patagonia. I would love to go to Africa. I've been to Costa Rica. I've done Baltimore. I don't think I'll suffer the final "day of hell" that he experiences on Mount Kilmanjaro.

But I'm so blessed to have had experienced these moments thanks to Andrew McCarthy's talents.

Isn't he simply gorgeous. He has aged, beautifully! Good for you Mr. McCarthy.

I literally enjoyed every single moment of this book. While he was always appealing to me as an actor, he seems much more sensuous, appealing, intelligent and distinguished in this artistic work. His accomplishments are really impressive as an (artist) actor, director and writer. Don't miss this book.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Astonishing virtual choir of 2,000 featuring Eric Whitacre

This is an astonishing video which features two virtual videos of people from around the world singing and compiled into a choral work, composed by the gorgeous Eric Whitacre. It is astonishing.

And Mr. Whitacre is awfully easy on the eyes too. Really. I mean who needs Brad Pitt.

photo from by Sibielusblog DANIEL SPREADBURY on AUGUST 4, 2009

Thursday, October 18, 2012

NOW that's TALL

These pictures were taken by German photographer Bjoern Lauen, who went up to the top of another building to capture the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, the world's tallest building, in the central business district at sunrise. Mr Lauen, who has lived in Dubai since 2005, added: 'It is a bit of a challenge for motorists on Dubai's roads and a rare natural spectacle for the very early riser.

'During those few moments before, Downtown Dubai, with Burj covered under a blanket of white.

Standing at more than 828 metres (2,716.5 feet) and more than 160 stories, the Burj Khalifa is also the tallest free-standing building. That's 1,000 feet taller than the second tallest structure in the world, Shanghai World Financial Center which equates to almost a doubling of height.

Now that is my kind of tall. Taller, further, faster, more beautiful, more efficient. That is what human beauty and spirit should be. Unfortunately, how much of all the underbelly, the truly repugnant aspects of the species of man were substantially used to create this one item of exquisite perfectness and beauty. Was it worth it? I say yes and yet I'm also ashamed of how much harm we do to our world.

National News and Pictures

Sunday, October 7, 2012

A MUST see movie: The Perks of Being a Wallflower

I recently saw this amazing brilliant, heartbreaking and yet uplifting film. This is truly a must see.

Starring Logan Lerman (The Three Musketeers 2011), Emma Watson (of Harry Potter fame playing the Hermoine Granger character from 2001-2011) and Ezra Miller (We Need to Talk About Kevin-2011, these three actors truly propel this film to a higher level of excellence.

The film is essentially about being an outsider in high school. And about bullying. It's also about some kids who embrace their differences and find camaraderie of fellow wallflowers.

The hero of the film is Charlie (Logan Lerman) who is a 15 year old freshman who is entering high school for the first time. Charlie has had more than his share of tragedies. I won't spoil anything but to say that Charlie has been recently hospitalized for a mental issue.

As he suffers the indignities and horrors of high school that are inflicted by the idiot popular people he eventually meets and is befriended by seniors Sam (Watson) and Patrick (Miller) who make being a "wallflower" cool.

This movie is rather amazing in many ways. But perhaps the most significant ways are the intuitive script/story and the three main leads. Watson shines in her performance, showing that she has graduated to her master's in acting after her 10 year stint in the Harry Potter series. She is truly luminescent at times. A beautiful muse who casts a spell on Charlie (Lerman).

Her step-brother, Patrick, are sophisticated wallflowers. They immediately befriend him but after learning some of his story they truly take him in under their wings.

Lerman and Watson are absolutely the soul of this movie as is Miller. They are the perfect realization of these characters and the director has made a movie that Stephen Chobsky (novel, screenplay, directing) makes transcendent. The film encompasses so many contemporary issues: bullying, homosexuality, first love, alienation. But it does so in such a compassionate and thoughtful way that I was literally sobbing out loud in the theater at both the uplifting and sad parts, equally.

In addition this film has an ensemble cast which is absolutely wonderful including: Paul Rudd, Joan Cusack, Dylan McDermott (among many others).

Perhaps the most powerful aspect of the script and the movie is the astonishing ending. I'm not sure that everyone will catch to what the story is going to tell a few minutes before the end, but it's startling either way. I started having a suspicion but I was still astonished at the end.

This film should be nominated for Oscars for Best Picture, Best Actor (Lerman), Best Actor (Watson....because she has fucking earned a nomination) and Miller as Best Supporting Actor (although his screen time is about equal to Emma's but Lerman truly carries the movie).

Take a box of Kleenex. I was in "floods" as the Mitford Sisters used to say.

Bravo. I'm going to re-see this film this week.

FALL: the most beautiful season of the year

Photos copyright AP and from Daily News