Saturday, July 14, 2007

Bastille Day!

Today is Bastille Day. Vive La France! To celebrate this event, I went to see Pixar’s Ratatouille. More about that later. In other news, and this is for MK:

Ani DiFranco never fails to brings the ladies and a few sensitive dudes to tears or soft, gentle whimpering with her honest lyrics, music, and tight body. Anais Mitchell opens. Her folk-rock tunes of love gone gosh darn crummy start at 8 p.m. at the Warfield, 982 Market (at Fifth St.); Tickets are $40.50.

I stopped listening to Ani circa 2000. The most I ever paid for her concerts was $22. My college roommate used to go see her in clubs in NYC for free. I realize $40 is not nearly the same type of inflation you now get with really famous bands (you don’t want to know how much we are paying to see The Police in Fenway Park), and that musicians need to eat too, but this is sad.

Oh yeah, Ani - there was only so much tragic whining I could handle. Plus, she stopped being intriguing when she got married. That ended in divorce, yeah? I am happy she is still making music, and there are still people coming to ogle her tight body. Maybe if I listen to her again now (her new stuff, I mean) I might like her again. I should experiment.

But back to rats in the kitchen. In his excellent book The soul of a chef: The Journey Toward Perfection Michael Ruhlman says the following:

“When we braise meat, we can if we choose, connect ourself with everyone who has ever braised meat and everyone who will ever braise meat…to connect to that same pleasure, that amazement, to connect to that same gratitude. This is the kind of satisfaction that people who truly love to cook are after. We seek, in our collective struggle, to learn more and to cook better, but we are in fact reaching for that connection to humanity that we’ve lost or maybe never had or simply want more of. This connection will forever elude us…if we ever lose sight of cooking’s fundamental importance to others.…never forgot for a moment what the work was all about: to cook for people and to make them happy.”

That’s what food is all about. And that’s what Rémy, the cutest rat in history of film, wants to do for people, and does with great success. He has pink ears, nose, and paws, and is great at using these to express emotion as only a rat might. I predict a huge surge in pet rats this year, as there were thousands of clown fish being acquired after “Finding Nemo”, and dalmations a decade earlier. The depiction of the food and the restaurant business in Ratatouille is flawless, and I dare say Rémy’s fur is more realistic than that of James P. "Sulley" Sullivan (or as I like to call him, “Kitty” in “Monsters, INC”.) Aforementioned Thomas Keller, chef/owner of French Laundry, served as an adviser on the film, providing his recipes for the dishes, as well as the model for the way the kitchen should be run. In return, to quote SFGate’s Stacy Finz “To pay homage to the cooking profession, the filmmakers used Keller's voice for the role of a restaurant patron. The French version of the movie has chef Guy Savoy playing the part; the Spanish one substitutes the voice of El Bulli chef Ferran Adria. In the British version, "The Naked Chef" Jamie Oliver has a cameo as the restaurant inspector. My hero Tony Bourdain called this film “quite simply the best food movie ever made”, and anyone who has any modicum of interest in food (not even cooking, just eating well) should see it. I am done gushing now.


Crystal said...

I'm with you on the Ani thing. I loved her music until it hit a point where it just lost its edge. I still think she's a remarkable musician, but I just can't listen to her anymore.

I love that she doesn't shy away from making a statement, though. I worked on this Ani/Bob Dylan tour once, and she got booed so loudly for reading out this poem re: anti-war, US politics. And she just kept going, she tuned them out. I remember being backstage nearly in tears because these people were so narrow-minded and unaccepting, it was tragic.

But anyway, happy Bastille day.

ANI said...

i HATE blogger - i almost thought i lost this post because i was trying to fix some font issues i noticed - i've always loved Ani as a musician and a poet, just kind of grew out of it - she played the area where i went to college more than once a year sometimes, so we also got a little ani'd-out, i guess - this reminds me of a guy i used to know in grad school who referred to Ani strictly as "Ms. DiFranco" all the time, and worshipped the ground she walked upon, especially when he got to run the light board for one of her shows! i thought he'd orgasm right then and there! i am surprised she got booed in concert though - it's not like you don't know her political views if you are coming to see/hear her play - where was this geographically?

Crystal said...

This was in Sydney, coincidently at the same time when all the massive anti-war protests were going on. I think everyone was there to see Bob Dylan, she was just opening for him. But still... you'd think his fans would be a bit more open-minded.

But then that same week she played her own show, and that same poem got the biggest/loudest/longest standing ovation I've ever seen.

MK said...

Well, I have to say that I completely agree. I gave up at the Revelling/Reckoning album (2001?). She lost her punk rock edge and became really whiny and over sensitive, and the music showed it too. The obsessive horns killed the energy of the music and I thought the live shows too. It was kind of sad because I think I saw her about 15 times (Although I paid up to about $30). It was really too bad because for about 5 years there, she put on one of the best shows out there.

riese said...

I saw a terrible Ani concert right after she released Little Plastic Castle. The horns were so loud I could barely hear her sing.

Anyhow, I was probs stoned.

I go through phases with her: and actually, I found myself surprised that I really liked a few of her more recent tracks -- I'd listened to the album a little and it sounded bad, so I didn't buy it, but my ex-roommate did, and I kinda co-opted it, and discovered that Revelling, Reckoning, Old Old Song, Sick of Me, Your Next Bold Move and School Night are all really good. But that album Knuckle Down totally blew.

There's also a good spoken word poe thing about 9/11, I remember listening to it with Natalie in my Bravada with the broken side view mirror I'd just reattached with duct tape, feeling sad and it was windy and Michigan and just thinking about it, actually, makes my heart hurt a little. There were leaves blowing and stuff. October. michigan. Sigh.