26 February 2008

Twice in one day? Apparently my long absence has turned me into quite the chatterbox.

I'd planned to write about the new movie from Simon Pegg and Michael Ian Black, Run, Fatboy, Run which I saw at an advanced screening last night (thanks, Mere!), but to be honest, it was neither a thing I loved, nor one I didn't. I liked it well enough but I found myself missing the subversive pop-culture references and sytlistic direction of a typical Pegg/(Stevenson)/Wright joint.

But what I would like to write about is the location of said screening, aka the best theatre in Houston, aka the Landmarks River Oaks Theatre. I love this movie theatre, y'all. In fact, it is probably my favorite theatre in America, second only to the original Alamo Drafthouse in Austin, which will always top any sort of ranking situation due to the fact that they serve actual food and also buckets of beer. But my odes to the Drafthouse shall have to wait for another day.

This is the River Oaks Theatre:

It's located in the (duh) River Oaks area of Houston, where all the hip rich folk live. I'm too poor to afford realty in the area, but they are nice enough to let us plebes roam the streets and dream about a more financially stable life. The theatre itself was built in 1939 and has been a Houston institution pretty much ever sense. It hosts first-run movies, indies and retrospectives. And, yes, it has a Rocky Horror Picture Show screening every weekend, at which I may have been present when I was a teenager. I'll say nothing about that.

The interior of the theatre is still that art-deco glam, with a small snack counter to the left and stairs leading to the second level (and the two smaller screens) to the right. And what greets you at the top of those stairs is the reason I love the River Oaks Theatre so much: a full bar.

Let me share with you a fundamental truth. No place in this entire world - not church, or a cupcake store, or a hospital birthing suite, or an old folks' home - not one place is so wonderful or awe-inspiring that its glory cannot be enhanced by a full bar. This is just a fact, people. Think back to the last time you felt absolutely one with the world, when your every breath was imbued with the satisfaction of knowing that you were exactly where you needed and wanted to be. Now, wouldn't that have been better with some whiskey?

The movies are no exception. Whether you're drinking to shut out the horror of what you're seeing, or to celebrate two animated rodents fall in love, you have to admit it all goes down better with the booze option. And this is why , more than the releases shown or its desperate attempt to make Houston a bit cooler, River Oaks Theatre is a good thing.

xx erin

"a curse upon her if she stay"

So something you may not know about me is that I tend to start things and then abandon them for months at a time. It happens a lot; I still have boyfriends from high school who are waiting for me to call them after I get home from dance practice. Okay, that's an exaggeration, obviously. Everyone knows I didn't have any boyfriends in high school.

At any rate, I apologize for my absence from the blogosphere (that's such a dumb word. Like I don't even think it makes sense in a scientific way. Where is the blogosphere located? At what distance from the earth? Will you be burned on your journey through defamer or Perez? Probably.) and can only offer for my excuse that I have been very busy buying a new car and being screwed over by the IRS. Also, tv.

One of the many reasons I've been kept busy is the fact that the third book in the Gemma Doyle trilogy has finally been released. So in anticipation of that event, I reread the first two books and am now happily ensconced in the last one, dreading the conclusion and hoping against hope that if the book does feature an epilogue, it does not involve Gemma's 2.5 children boarding a train for Hogwart's School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Yeah, I'm still not over that.

But perhaps I should back up and explain. Here is a true fact about yours truly: I love YA novels. Love them. People are usually either shocked or disdainful when I tell them this, which is dumb, because hello, we were all young adults at one time. Also, sometimes YA books talk about sex.

The Gemma Doyle trilogy is written by Libba Bray and is about a young teenage girl called Gemma (natch) who struggles to make her way in a repressive Victorian society whilst all the while grappling with a strange and exotic power that has been bestowed upon her. Joining her in her quests to discover the secrets of a magical dreamworld (while also learning how to properly serve tea) are her finishing school friends: the charming and damaged Felicity, beautiful and impestuous Pippa and scholarship student Ann, the emo self-harmer. (Whatever, I sort of hate Ann sometimes. Okay, you're poor and you'll have to be a governess to your bratty cousins! That's no reason to break out the sewing scissors, Maggie Gyllenhaal.) And, most deliciously, Kartik, the young Indian boy with whom Gemma would secretly like to have lots of sex and babies. So would I, Gemma! So would I.

The first book, A Great and Terrible Beauty sees Gemma struggling with her mother's death and a subsequent move to England from her childhood home of Bombay. She and her friends learn about the dark past of their finishing school, a secret group of powerful women called The Order, and the beauty of a place called the realms, where all their secret hopes can come true. Who controls the magic in the realms? Who are Mary and Sarah? And why won't Gemma just do it with Kartik already?

The second book in the trilogy is Rebel Angels and it picks up shortly after the first book ends. The girls have all changed: Gemma is experiencing frightening visions, Ann is struggling to invent a place for herself in British society, Felicity's secrets are revealed and poor Pippa is not at all what she seems. Gemma meets and is courted by the well-to-do Simon Middleton even as she fights her feelings for Kartik, and struggles to find a way to save her father from his opium addiction. Meanwhile, she struggles to find and destroy the villainous Circe and avoid the treachery of both the Order and their protectors, the Rakshana. And she still doesn't do it with Kartik, because she can't hear me screaming at her through the page.

The series ends with the most recent book, TheSweet Far Thing and I'm deep in the middle of it. No one is quite what they seem and poor Gemma has more enemies than ever. AND SHE STILL HASN'T GOTTEN IT ON WITH KARTIK. But they're getting closer. :)

Recommended for: fantasy lovers, girl power lovers and Jane Austen lovers. But hands off Kartik. I saw him first.