It is fantastically, gloriously blazing hot and sunny, and this is what summer should be all about floating in the pool, drinking pina coladas and mojitos, and frying your pasty white skin into submission. (Disclaimer: I wear SPF 55 and still burn a little because I am naturally the shade of a vampire). Let's just take a moment to appreciate how marvelous this summer has been. Last summer, I believe that there were about five total days that were pool-worthy and the aid of an air conditioner was never necessary. I'll accept the blame for this, as I, ecstatic over my recent and long-overdue graduation and stint of "funemployment," misguidedly dubbed it "The Summer of April," hoping to spend my overabundance of free time frolicking in the sunshine and lazily sipping rum-and-pineapple concoctions. Instead, I learned the same lesson George Costanza did in the "Seinfeld" episode where he proclaims it "The Summer of George," hoping to, and I quote, "taste the fruits and let the juices drip down my chin!" Just as it didn't pan out for George (he succumbed to a near-deadly combination of errant invitation and extremely atrophied limbs), it didn't pan out for yours truly, either. What is the moral of this story? I guess it's something like, take all lessons learned in "Seinfeld" episodes quite seriously, keep your expectations low and you won't be disappointed (this one courtesy of Mom), and if you're lucky, you'll be rewarded with a heat wave. I don't know.
Some people just can't handle the heat, though. There's something about high temperatures that really take generally unpleasant individuals to off-the-charts obnoxious. Let me tell you how I really feel:
WHAT REALLY GRINDS MY GEARS
Western New Yorkers who complain about the cold and snow all winter long, and then, as soon as it's summer, do nothing but whine about how it's too hot to function. Shut up.
Summer should be all about luxuriating in an air-conditioned movie theater, knocking back $6 fountain drinks and $7 tubs of buttery popcorn, and covertly enjoying your contraband stash of Sour Patch Watermelons and other assorted gummy treats. (Disclaimer: If I am paying $10 for a movie ticket and buying other concessions on top of that, I'm going to guiltlessly bring some extra candy along. Maybe even some chicken fingers). However, the summer 2010 release schedule is weak. Check it out on FirstShowing.net and watch the trailers. There isn't much to be excited about, is there? Instead, I've struck up a summer romance with Netflix. You want it, they've got it obscure, foreign, what have you. Here's some of the best I've seen so far and one that isn't worth watching.
Foreign Film Fest
"Priceless" (French) In a nutshell: A shy bartender becomes enamored with a girl-about-town (Audrey Tautou) who practically has a doctorate in gold-digging, and he sure does learn a thing or two.
The verdict: Netflix has this fun little feature where it suggests other movies you'll like, and you'll find that "Netflix" knows you better than you know yourself. Tautou is like a modern-day Audrey Hepburn, and the movie is silly, funny and delightful.
"The Lives of Others" (German) In a nutshell: In East Berlin, before the fall of the Berlin Wall, a secret police agent becomes fascinated by the couple he is spying on.
The verdict: This movie won the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film of the Year in 2007 and 60-plus other accolades with good reason. Rent it.
"Black Book" (Dutch) In a nutshell: A Jewish songstress in hiding in the Nazi-occupied Netherlands has to do anything she can to survive, and throughout her struggle, the hits just keep on coming.
The verdict: I discovered this one via a trailer prior to "The Lives of Others" and it looked so good, I had to see it. It was fantastic! Every time you think you know what's going to happen, there's another twist and turn. There's drama, action, romance and some great performances, especially from star Carice van Houten, a Dutch actress (she was also in "Valkyrie"). Movies set in World War II are usually good and "Black Book" is one of the best I've seen.
"A Single Man" In a nutshell: A professor (Colin Firth, who I never really cared for until this movie) struggles to cope with the loss of his lover.
The verdict: It was the best couple of hours I've spent bawling my eyes out, and I mean that in the most positive way possible. "A Single Man" is so moving and visually arresting (the use of color! The 60s fashion!), it's an unforgettable movie-watching experience each frame was perfection. If you can't handle some sadness, maybe you should stick with "Hot Tub Time Machine."
"Youth in Revolt" In a nutshell: A hopelessly nerdy teen (Michael Cera in his trademark role) tries to adopt a tougher persona in order to win the girl of his dreams.
The verdict: Leave it on the shelf. That girl wasn't worth the trouble! How this movie managed to accumulate a 69 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes, I cannot comprehend.
Buffalo-based blues/rock/funk band The Filter Kings perform at Music on the Pier tonight at 6:30 p.m. Stay hydrated!
Walleye Willie's will have live music all weekend, with Side Effect tonight, Super Charger on Friday and Beatle Magic on Saturday.
The Clarion's Dockside Cafe & Bar will also have live music all weekend, with Randy Milligan Thursday from 8 to 11 p.m., 3 Amigos Friday from 8:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m., and Naughty Dawg on Saturday from 8:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m.
Bart's Cove will have some live, beachy music by Pirate Dreams on Sunday, July 11 from 5 to 9 p.m.
ABATE of Chautauqua will have their memorial run and chicken barbecue at the Dunkirk Moose Lodge 89 on Saturday, with bike run sign-ups at 11 a.m. ($20 per person), to depart at noon; barbecue at 6 p.m. (take out for $8) and music from 7 to 11 p.m. by Bar King Spiders. Call Mark 366-5455 or John 366-0360 to learn more.
GET OUT OF TOWN
Titus Andronicus will be at the Ninth Ward at Babeville in Buffalo on Tuesday, July 13. This hard-rocking indie band from Glen Rock, N.J., have crafted an epic album for 2010 called "The Monitor." It's a loosely based concept album about the Civil War, living in the Garden State and the trials of being in a band. Hallelujah The Hills and The Failures' Union are also playing. Tickets are $13 and available from Tickets.com. The doors open at 7 p.m. The Ninth Ward is located at 341 Delaware Ave. in Buffalo.
It's time for the Taste of Buffalo this weekend! The Taste, the country's largest two-day food festival, is Saturday from 11 a.m. until 9 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. until 7 p.m., featuring 56 restaurants and half a dozen wineries from across Western New York. I checked out the food lineup (www.tasteofbuffalo.com) and I don't know how I'm going to narrow down my choices. Ticketed menu items range from $1.00 to $4.00 and tickets are purchased in $5 increments. Be sure to check the weather before you go it's not so fun if it's raining or over 80 degrees.
April Diodato is the OBSERVER Lifestyles editor. Give her the dish on what's happening at firstname.lastname@example.org