Thursday, September 18, 2014

Weekly Buffet: Overflowing Goodness

[Just a little guy I found in the garden.]

It seems really lame to lament about excess. I can't help it though, as I am currently up to my ears in tomatoes!

For the last month my daily routine has in some way involved tomatoes. Picking, washing, storing, baking, boiling, slicing - you name it and I've done it.

Starting from seed and not having had too much success in the last couple years (a cold snap ruined 50% of the crop last year) I never expected that 15 plants (the ones I carefully babied all winter and spring) would grow large and in-charge. So far producing upwards of 40 pounds of tomatoes. And there's more on the way.

Sure, I could be charitable, finding a good home for part of the litter. I have given some away, but there is also a kind of pride in making use of everything in the harvest. Just my small way of acting like the olden days. They're my little guys and I'm going to put them to good use.

When not doing my passable Ina Garten, Gordon Ramsay, ____ (fill in the blank famous chef) impression, guess where else you could find me over the last seven days? That's right, soaking up some high class entertainment.

Here's what's been cookin' outside of the kitchen.

Orphan Black

Anyone reading the drama building up to the Emmy Awards will recognize Tatiana Maslany's name.  Yup, she's the actress from Orphan Black that people continue to think is a lock for Best Actress material, but has yet to receive an  Emmy nomination. That voting body seems to be behind the times, since she has already received many other accolades.

This gem is worth all the praise and uproarious talk of snubs. It's been said by many before me and it will continue to be said for years as new people see the show, but Maslany's performance really is brilliant to watch.

Without big spoilers - for those who are completely unaware, the reason her acting is entirely noteworthy is that she flawlessly plays multiple characters. I'm not talking about Eddie Murphy gender bending style, but true transformation. Each of Maslany's characters have different accents, hair, clothes, and even expressions, walking style, and varying personalities. All of these idiosyncrasies make you forget that it is the same actress. 

On top of this fantastic feat of acting, the whole series revolves around a complex mystery. Little bits are revealed in each episode and once you are addicted to finding out more, it is very easy to watch four episodes in one night. Plus, Emma from Degrassi: The Next Generation guest stars (or rather...plays a bit part) in the fourth episode. That is how you know this show is made in Canada.

Catch up on BBC America before season 3 kicks off sometime in spring 2015. You've got plenty of time.

First Aid Kit

Sharing equal ranks with the The Voyager, First Aid Kit's Stay Gold has been the soundtrack to my spring and summer. The album has been a mainstay in the car, playing on repeat for weeks at a time.

On a recent family road trip, a consistent cycling of the 10-tracks quickly transformed my dad into a fan.

These Swedish sisters have been kicking around the music biz (with the help of Conor Oberst and other members of Bright Eyes) for numerous years, but finally achieved a more mainstream success after 2012's, The Lion's Roar. The 2014 release continues to feature this duos unstoppably gorgeous harmonies on top of their own breed of pop invigorated bluegrass.

When these gals start singing it is enchanting and I find it impossible to stop listening.

A Streetcar Named Desire

For a classic movie fan, I'm still perpetually catching up. How had I never seen A Streetcar Named Desire before? Until this past weekend, I was entirely in the dark about this flick. So much so, I didn't even know details of the plot. Brando just screams "Stella!" a ton, right?

There definitely is a lot of that - Brando swaggering in to every scene making ladies for the last 60 years swoon to the floor. After spending the last couple years catching up on all things to do with The Godfather, a gal forgets what a babe this guy was in his younger days. Anyone not in the know about this situation should get their paws on a copy of Steetcar or On The Waterfront as soon as possible. You know, they say he's quite the actor as well. He did happen to win a Best Actor Oscar for his performance.

Speaking of talent, this flick also features Vivien Leigh (aka Scarlett O'Hara) in another Oscar winning role. And, oh boy, is Blanche DuBois the part of a lifetime. Ms. DuBois is the essence of a loonie, and with one crazed grand entrance, instantly became one of my favorite movie characters of all time. There is nothing I love more than watching actresses play extreme cuckoos - what's better than that?

The acting talent is top-notch, one of the best complete casts (which also includes the loveable Karl Malden) to come together, but it is also a classic story brought to the screen from the work of famed playwright, Tennessee Williams. An American treasure from all angles.

The Trailer Park Boys

To repeat what my brother exclaimed in numerous text messages I received earlier this week, "The BOYS are back!!"

Indeed, after a seven year hiatus, Netflix resurrected the The Trailer Park Boys from cancelled Canadian television obscurity. Netflix doesn't release viewing numbers like regular TV networks, but I can muster that the first seven seasons of this show must have had high streaming numbers and made the company some moolah. If that is the case, it's a no brainer why the show is back.

Fans will be happy to know that right now they can binge watch 10 new episodes starring their favorite characters - Ricky, Julian, Bubbs, J-Roc, Mr. Lahey, Randy, and more. Look out for a couple new characters as well, including my favorite addition, Orangie. (That's a goldfish.)

The antics of these perpetual convicts all centered around some small town in Canada and the trailer park where they live, continues to bring the brilliant hilarity even after a long break between seasons. Ridiculous characters maybe, but laugh out loud comedy usually comes from strange places.

Netflix has the guys signed up for two more additional seasons after this one - maybe by then Ellen Page will decide to come back.

Who would have thought I could be entertained by both Brando and "hash coins" in the same week? That's like listening to Julie Andrews sing, "I Must Have Done Something Good" followed by Ke$ha - a musical pairing that has more than likely occurred for me as well.

I hope y'all have tastes that are just as random, or maybe, even more drastic.

Until next time.

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