Monthly Archives: November 2015

Tiny Furniture – movie review

Tiny Furniture is the 2010 independent film by Lena Dunham, that lead to her hit HMO series Girls. It takes a humorous but loving look at the “artistic” people in Manhattan.

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Lena Dunham is Aura, a young woman who has just graduated from college and now has absolutely no idea what she is supposed to do with her life. Like Dustin Hoffman in The Graduate, Aura finds herself surrounded by people who all seem to know exactly what they want and are successful at getting it.

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Tiny Furniture is populated with characters that are uniquely New York.  Aura’s mother Siri is a successful artist, who makes a good living photographing tiny furniture. Siri is played by Lena Dunham’s real mother Laurie Simmons. (In fact, this independent film was so low budget that many of the characters are friends and family of Lena’s, who worked for no pay).

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Aura’s high school aged  sister (played by her real sister Grace Dunham), had just had a poem published nationally. The sister’s success only makes Aura feel more depressed about her own lack of direction.

Tiny Furniture is very much a female-centered world. The men come across as selfish takers, who only pretend to be interested in the women so that they can have sex. (Unfortunately, this profile of men is all to often completely accurate in the real world).

Tiny Furniture is a great film and it is fascinating to see the origin of many of the characters that Lena Dunham would later flesh out in the series Girls.

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The beautiful Jemima Kirke plays Charlotte, a role she would continue in the series Girls.  Charlotte is basically crazy, but unlike Aura; she does know how to get exactly what she wants.

If you love independent films and like quirky humor, you will enjoy Tiny Furniture.

 

3 AM on Showtime – more sad than exciting

3 AM is a documentary series on Showtime that focuses on the strange lives of New York City night people. Their jobs begin long after most of us have gone to sleep. In this Brave New World of ours,  it is interesting to note that their livelihoods exist totally  because of the internet.

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We see a self-proclaimed “party photographer” who runs a website called Krill Was Here. Basically, he goes to nightclubs and waits until young women get drunk enough to start doing crazy things. Then he photographs them and posts the photos on his website. The goal of each evening is to try to get women to reveal their naked breasts for the camera. As moronic as it sounds, he actually makes a living doing this. “Krill” is  a well spoken intelligent young man, who is well aware of the toll his lifestyle is taking on his personal life. The biggest problems are the fact that he ends up drinking huge amounts of alcohol each night, and that his live-in girlfriend is jealous of all the other women.  He ends up being pretty miserable for a guy who spends his nights photographing half naked gorgeous party girls.

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Another night person featured goes by the name of The Fat Jew. His real name is Josh Ostrovksy, and he also makes a living filming his strange antics for the internet. He does such weird things as climbing into a bathtub filled with Spaghettios. However, at 33 he seems to be getting a little too old for this grade-school type of humor.

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One also gets the feeling that The Fat Jew is not quite as laid back and easy going as he pretends. If you ignore the funny hairstyle you can see that he is actually a very tough guy who one day might do some damage to a fan who decides to push a prank a little too far.

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The saddest person featured is Samantha, who makes her living having “dates” with men she meets on Craigslist. She has sex with these strangers but somehow never actually uses the word “prostitute” to describe herself. She seems completely unaware of how dangerous her lifestyle is. Any one of these strangers could end up giving her an STD, beating her up, or even killing her. She does not  have the protection of an escort service or even a pimp. Samantha thinks of herself as a free-spirited independent woman, while in reality she is a vulnerable target.

Still, you don’t have to like or admire the people profiled in 3 AM in order to find them fascinating. It would be great to see a follow-up show 5 years form now to see what happened to each of them. Somehow, we get the feeling that their lives will be astoundingly different in the very near future.

 

Sasha Radetsky on Flesh And Bone

Sascha Radetsky plays the ballet dancer Ross on the Starz Network hit new  series Flesh and Bone.  As one of the few straight male dancers, Ross behaves like a kid in a candy shop when surrounded by the gorgeous ballerinas.

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In this first season Ross has mostly been a supporting character. We would love to see more of him; especially his dancing.

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In season finale of Flesh and Bone, we finally get to see the ballet for which the dancers have been preparing all season. While the style of all the dancers is good, the performance of Sascha Radetsky is extraordinary.

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The show focuses so much on the female characters that it misses the opportunity to show the unique challenges faced by the males dancers. In the United States these men simply do not get the respect they deserve as both world class athletes and artists.

We look forward to seeing Sascha Radetsky in next season’s Flesh And Bone, and in all his future endeavors.

 

 

Flesh and Bone – an addictive insult to ballet

According to the Straz network’s Flesh And Bone, all ballerinas are drug addicted, anorexic, neurotic nymphomaniacs who come from abusive childhoods. In real life, ballet dancers are among the most hard working and talented professional athletes on the planet. They take care of their bodies and undergo a training regime that most people would find amazing to witness.

A series about the real life of ballet dancers struggling to reach the top levels of this demanding performing art would have been fascinating. Instead, Flesh And Bone is a combination of a cheap rip-off of Black Swan, and Deep Throat.

The star of of the series is Claire Robbins (played by Sarah Hay). She comes from Pittsburgh to New York to escape the incestuous advances of  her brother. He is an Army veteran and is basically insane due to things he saw and did in Iraq.

This is another stereotype that T.V. shows and movies really need to end.  Please,  please stop portraying every soldier who ever served in Iraq or Afghanistan as some sort of psychologically damaged danger to society. Our soldiers deserve better than that.

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Claire seems completely psychotic herself. She does not like men touching her and ran away from her brother. However, she voluntarily spends all her free time performing in a Brooklyn strip club for fun.

One of the weirdest shows is the Thanksgiving episode. Clair feels guilty for leaving, and returns home to Pittsburgh for Thanksgiving.  Once there, she does end up having sex with her bother. Not exactly a Hallmark Channel Thanksgiving special.

Like most Straz Network shows, Flesh And Bone tries to get the most female nudity on screen whenever possible. Apparently ballerinas love walking around naked back stage, and in their apartments, and basically anywhere they can.

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The one bright light of Flesh And Bones is the fantastic acting ability of Ben Daniels. He plays Paul Grayson, the gay Artistic Director of the Ballet company. Instead of being a stereotype weak homosexual, his character is a tough as nails leader. He runs with an iron fist the company he started, and God help anyone who crosses him.

Still, despite all the soft core porn and crazy characters, you may find yourself becoming addicted to this series. It is like junk food. You know  all the salt and preservatives and fat are awful – but they taste just so damn good. After a few episodes you may say, “I will not watch another episode of this crap.” But you know you will.

Playing With Matches – book review

Playing With Matches is a wonderful first novel by Brian Katcher.  It is the story of a high school Junior in Missouri, named Leon,  whose life is changed when he meets a girl whose face was disfigured in a fire. The girl is named Melody and he had paid no attention to her until by chance her locker ends up right next to his.

matches 1Brian Katcher captures the real spirit of high school. He is a clever and humorous writer, without resorting to the use of stereotype characters. Leon and Melody had been in school together since Eighth Grade, but the reason they had never interacted before was that,

“Like at any school, some people at Montogomery Zummer were universally shunned. That girl in the wheelchair. The guy with leukemia who was obviously gong to get his own page in the yearbook before graduation. The retarded kids from the resource room. And Melody.”

Once Leon actually gets to know Melody he finds that they love the same movies, T.V. shows and jokes. She would be the perfect girlfriend. Except of course for her burned face.

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Leon wants to love Melody, but like Bonnie Raitt says, ‘You can’t make your heart feel something it won’t”.

Playing With Matches explores some serious questions without being preachy. It retains its humor throughout. Brian Katcher never forgets that high school boys are essentially shallow creatures obsessed with sex.  Even Leon notes that “Now, when a guy says a girl has a nice smile, he usually means ‘You have amazing breasts.'”

 

Alicia von Rittberg Helps Refugees

People have been asking where Alicia von Rittberg has been. Well, Alicia von Rittberg has been quietly working behind the scenes helping with the flood of refugees pouring into the EU and Germany.

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Alicia von Rittberg has been using her celebrity status to collect food, clothing and money to help the destitute masses coming into Germany.

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Alicia von Rittberg was quoted as saying, “my work on the movie Fury made realize that not so long ago we Germans were also cold and hungry and homeless. Now that times are good in Germany, we cannot just sit by and ignore others in need.”

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This remarkable young woman could have been partying in Berlin or Paris. Instead, Alicia von Rittberg had been handing out food and water to strangers from another land. We like her more each day.

Be sure to read all our Alicia von Rittberg stories.

Death To America Revisited

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei recently stated that when Iranians chant “Death To America” it is not really all that bad. He said, “we don’t mean death to the American people. It means death to U.S. policies and its arrogance.”

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We would like to thank  Ayatollah Ali Khamenei for his new “kinder and gentler” Death To America slogan.

So we at EastCoastStories.com would like to respond with an explanation of our own.

When we say “Fuck You Ayatollah Ali Khamenei” we don’t mean that in a bad way. We are actually using the phrase “Fuck You” in the sense that we wish you a happy and satisfying sex life.

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I am sure that all of us in Iran and the United States feel so much better now that we have explained what we really mean.