Doodad Kind of Town


Sunny Sunday Roundup
August 5, 2007, 6:58 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

I had planned to attend the Kane County Flea Market in St. Charles this afternoon, but my trip there was short-circuited. Half way to the fairgrounds, we heard a scraping noise, which appeared to be the sound of something hanging off my car and dragging on the pavement. Turned out the heat shield over my catalytic converter had rusted off on one side and was, indeed, scraping on the ground. The guys at Firestone were able to remove it, but not replace it (this being Sunday, there were no auto parts places open), but assured me I was safe to drive home. So tomorrow will be a day at the dealer’s – sigh – cars are nothin’ but trouble.

This weekend I managed to overcome my dislike of multiplex crowds to see a couple of smash hits. “The Simpsons Movie” was every bit as entertaining as the best installments of the series and laugh-out-loud funny from start to finish. “The Bourne Ultimatum” was well-acted and sharply directed, but it WORE ME OUT!!! All that on-the-run camerawork, the chase scenes, the fights, the car crashes – it never slows down! And you never get a really good look at any of the exotic locations where the elusive Mr. Bourne does his dirty work. I admired it but I’m not sure I really enjoyed it.

Meanwhile:

I am postponing my HBO turn-off for at least a month – turns out they will be airing a new Kenneth Branagh-directed Shakespeare adaptation: “As You Like It” (which happens to be my favorite Shakespeare comedy) set in 19th century Japan. The cast includes Alfred Molina and Kevin Kline and a lot of other well-known to semi-well-known actors, but Molina and Kline are the ones who really cinched it for me.

I am not the most knowledgeable person when it comes to Shakespeare; I managed to get through high school and college without studying any of his plays except “Macbeth.” However, I’ve usually loved what Branagh does with his work. I even loved all four-and-a-half hours of his “Hamlet” film and bought it on VHS. (There was also a less-than-stellar adaptation of “Love’s Labour Lost”; Branagh’s decision to make it into a 30s musical was inspired, his idea to cast it with mostly non-singers and non-dancers much less so.) And I do love “As You Like It.” I saw a beautiful production of this play at the Stratford, Ontario Shakespeare Festival in the early ’90s and fell in love with it. I hope the Branagh version is at least as good. It premieres August 21.

Finally, the show that makes my Mondays a little less blue is showing new signs of life. “Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations” has fired up a new season. I felt – and other Bourdain-a-holics I’ve talked to seem to agree – that the last season of “No Reservations” wasn’t quite up to the usual standards; our feisty travelling chef seemed a bit weary of it all. No worries. On his opening show in Shanghai last Monday, Mr. Bourdain was back in good form and got me positively joneseing for some of the soup dumplings he sampled in the opening scenes. This week, he’s heading for New York, and I’m particularly excited about it, since I myself will be visiting the Big Apple in about two weeks. I’m hoping to get some great dining suggestions.

Photo from hbo.com

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