Archive | City Matters

Little Women, Inner Children

Yesterday we taped the first episode of Talking Pictures since my back went kablooey (and yes that’s the official medical diagnosis). To celebrate I got it into my head to decorate my head, and so into my triple-braided bun wove pine cones and branches, baby’s breath, and tiny birds, an effect that raised more than a few eyebrows among the normally unflappable population of NYC. Chalk it up to the fact that I was reviewing the most recent iteration of Little Women, which I had approached with great trepidation and from which I had floated with great elation.

There have many, many film, television, and stage adaptations of Louisa May Alcott’s Civil War-set saga about four Massachusetts sisters who are rich in love and poor in cash–it’s a YA novel with which I’m plainly obsessed–but this is the most ravishing and the first that does not betray the intense feminism of its author. Directed by mumblemouth millennial Greta Gerwig (cue my trepidation), it boasts an intensely good cast including Soirse Ronan as stalwart Jo, Meryl Streep putting her mugging to good use for a change as drolly disapproving Aunt March, Timotheeee Chalomet very right (if too slight) as Laurie, and Florence Pugh, channeling the authentically big emotions of her Midsommar character to animate Amy, the most bedazzled and entitled of the March girls. (Laura Dern is too Modern Millie for the Marnie of my dreams, but I’ve always been immune to her Lynchian charms.) Continue Reading →

Welcome to the Fun House

I woke Friday with the words suspended above my head like a cartoon bubble, like a neon sign:

Yesterday was fun.

Which may not sound like the sort of weighty dispatch I typically unpack here but if you’d had a year like I’ve had–and chances are, you have—then such words are a bolt from on high. Life-changing.

Because this Year of 12 Novembers was simply not fun. But it being December—the season of goofy Sagittarius, no less– I’m finally better. Not perfect, mind you, but by middle-age only fools strive for perfection. Fun on the other hand–

Fun is precious indeed. Continue Reading →

No Room to Let (Dowager Chic)

2002 me

This is a blunt story–which of mine are not?– and it probably deserves to live somewhere besides a blog post. But as is so often the case, I will begin writing it to the audience that exists in my head when I write here–namely, sensitive, smart, and roughly my generation, at least psychospiritually.

Four years ago I began a battle to establish my apartment’s rent stabilization. I’d moved into the building in 2002, a few months after September 11 had dashed my dreams of being a wife and a mother (a separate post; a separate book, really). There was a markedly different group of tenants  because back then third stop on the L Train did not mean hipster. It meant working-class families of mostly Italian, Dominican, and Puerto Rican descent. I was the only woman on the block living alone–definitely the only blond wannabe writer from Boston. Mostly I got along with everyone–oh, there was the time I got in a fight with a mafia princess over a parking space and her father came after me with a baseball bat screaming YOU FKING WHORE-but having grown up in Newton’s The Lake I knew how to hold my ground. Sort of. Continue Reading →

"All, everything I understand, I understand only because I love."
― Leo Tolstoy