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Synecdoche, New York: A Review

How does one begin to approach Synecdoche, New York, first-time director Charlie Kaufman’s tortured and often brilliant tale of an artist paralyzed by his insecurities and haunted by opportunities missed?

It’s not so much that his film defies description as that none could adequately prepare you for the experience of watching it.  Kaufman’s existential musings on life, death and the pursuit of love are sometimes messy and maddeningly self-indulgent, and they're stuffed into a sprawling, surreal narrative that unfolds like a dream.  But they are also heartfelt, painfully honest and wickedly funny.

Cook like Thomas Keller

The other day I read a great article in the Washington Post by food writer Jane Black (free registration may be required), all about how anything Thomas Keller touches turns to gold. Producers clamor to be considered, sending samples of their best butter, cheese, chocolate and pork in hopes that it’ll become part of the pedigreed French Laundry pantry.

Down on the Farm

Artful Harvest makes hay for the Djerassi Resident Artists Program

View photos from this party

A cool, white mist slowly crept over the coastal mountains from the Pacific as 150 revelers gathered under the long shadows of a warm, waning autumnal sun at the third annual Artful Harvest to raise a glass (and their checkbooks) in support of the Djerassi Resident Artists Program (DRAP).

Photos: Stereolab at The Fillmore

Stereolab rocked The Fillmore on Wednesday night.

View photos from the concert

To see more photos, visit

Absinthe's Hot Toddy Recipe

I’ve heard that in places where the days are very short in the winter—Alaska, Finland, Iceland—that people drink a lot more. This makes perfect sense to me—I mean, what else are you going to do? Drinking is a good way to defend against cold and darkness, particularly if the beverages in question are hi-test and hot. We’re here to report on a happy little phenomenon sweeping our freezing, fogged-in city: the resurgence of the boozy, hot drink.

So You Wanna Be a Supermodel? Casting Call for Arts of Fashion

If you are a true lover of fashion, you’ll want to check out some of the lectures, workshops and parties being hosted by the SF-based Arts of Fashion Foundation from Oct. 25 to 29 at venues around the city.

Manga Sommeliers and Suitcase Clones

Two good articles in the New York Times yesterday on wine.  The first is on the Japanese manga sensation "The Drops of the Gods," which is a comic book drama about wine tasting with its heroes and anti-heroes being sommeliers. I'd been hearing about the books for quite some time before I finally saw a few copies in a bookstore in Burgundy a few months ago. The works have yet to be translated in English, but there they were in French, which I could generally follow. I stood for 15 minutes in the bookstore, trying to figure out what this wine-soaked melodrama was about.   Apparently they are quite the tastemakers.

Sarah Palin's Wardrobe Makeover

The New York Times ran cover story today about Sarah Palin's wardrobe makeover - apparently a $150,000 pop at Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue to jazz up her now famous hockey mom meets Tina Fey look. 

The Economy Sucks: Go Out to Eat

Clearly this whole economy thing is confusing us. On one hand, big-name restaurants are going gonzo and offering up packages like I've never heard of before. As Eater reported, "Big Restos Can, And Will, Ignore the Economy." Witness "Dining with the Stars:" For $1900 per couple, you can experience what you might call the ultimate progressive dinner, including Michael Mina, Cyrus and Meadowood.

Then, in the New York Times yesterday, an article in the Dining & Wine section entitled—"Across the Country, Restaurants Feel the Pinch"—reported of NYC: "Many restaurants say more customers are sharing appetizers, buying cheaper wine, ordering less wine and fewer courses, or just not showing up as much." It's a sentiment I've heard echoed by many restaurant owners in SF.
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