Tuesday, July 27, 2010

summer’s reality tv … Sigh

I just don’t get this reality thang. Yes, I understand the American public has taken to it like frozen yoghurt on a melting summer's day. And reality TV is cheap to produce because there are no mega-stars demanding blinding salaries. And production schedules simply mean letting the cameras roll.

But … it’s just so fake.

Take Ali of The Bachelorette, for example. (No, no, no, I don’t watch. Home alone one night while my partner was otherwise engaged, I, like every girl loves to do, settled in for some schlock TV.)

Ali is on the brink of choosing her one and only love – for life. (Except, the series ain’t been too successful so far; it seems the lustre of romance can’t quite live up to the reality (hah!) of life’s daily routine once the sunsets, cocktails and exotic locales have dissolved in a whiff of perfume.)

Anyway, on this particular night, Ali was betrayed (gasp!) by one of the three guys left in line, as he grappled with his feelings for an ex-girlfriend. To be honest, Ali didn’t look hugely upset, other than the really painful sting to her pretty, pert-nosed ego. But you could just hear the producers going, “Aw, c’mon, Ali, we need a little more emotion here. Can’t you squeeze out a few more tears for the camera?”

The guy, on the other hand – can’t remember his name and not interested enough to Google it – sat by, red-faced and swollen-eyed. It’s a wonder what fresh-sliced onion can do.

In the meanwhile, Ali, get over it already! You’ve got two very good-looking men tripping over their feet and their tongues to get to your heart.

Then there’s the Real Housewives of New Jersey. The catfights are so patently ridiculous that when Danielle – she of the cheekbones sharp as a switchblade and a face so plastic it doesn’t move when she talks – had a handful of her hair extensions pulled out by the daughter of a rival housewife, she called 911, for goodness’ sake. If you ask me, the producers quickly slipped Danielle a clump of horsehair or whatever they use to closely approximate the human version, so she could use it as evidence.
And the theatrics … Danielle shaking and wailing and gnashing her teeth while she waited for the cops to arrive.

Puh-leez. The producers were going, Hey, our ratings are down
. . . come guys, you need to be a little more provocative, a little more confrontational, give us more trashy.
Is that possible?  Whether Danielle was successful in taking the daughter to court I have no idea. I’ve stopped watching.

And as for Jersey Shore, about a bunch of Italian-Americans who bake to a crisp brown on the beach, drink copiously and party raucously till dawn, let’s not even go there. I know pint-sized, bouffant-haired Snooki has captured the TV-viewing public’s imagination, but I can’t bear even to try watching.
[Photo: Emily Shur]

Monday, July 19, 2010

graffiti on The Bowery

This is for my friend, Sheryl B.

Street art on a long road, The Bowery, bordering the up and coming Lower East Side, trendy hangout for the arty bar-hopping set.

it's a loong hot summer

This was the colour of the sky at 10:00 this morning (I swear it. . .) but the tiny patch of orange above the apartment buildings was more yellow and sulphurous. And from somewhere this weird eerie light reflected off the glass skyscraper like sheet metal.

Then it rained, and when it stopped, I thought, Great time for that run I've been putting off. Perhaps it will have cooled off the dank humidity. Famous last thoughts. In terms of energy expenditure, running in such thick air was like swimming against the current in the New York Triathlon (which was staged this weekend in unprecedented heat and moisture-laden air).

But I did come across this quirky street lamp art at the Central Park Reservoir. Either someone with a sense of humour staged it because they'd fallen out of love with their sunglasses. Or they genuinely left them behind.

Scene of the crime in case the person wants her sunglasses back . . .

Monday, July 12, 2010

idyll in alonissos

There’s been a little hiatus in my posts recently as you shall soon see … just spent two weeks in the Greek Sporades islands, on a less-trafficked island not far from Skiathos called Alonissos. Definitely the type of holiday where you’re obliged to arrive totally stressed out. A lot of unwinding took place.

We swam in intense, impossibly blue-green waters with such a distilled clarity you could see the seagrass and sandy sea-bottom for hundreds of metres out. At rustic beach tavernas we ate tzatziki and calamari and Greek salads so laced with garlic the mosquitoes still won’t come out. And on long, lazy afternoons we were chased into our dreams - or not - by the sawing of the cicadas: a sound so harsh and rasping and constant it outdid the hum of the vuvuzelas at the World Cup.

When we did rouse ourselves, we explored the hilly island, surprisingly verdant and densely treed in such a hot dry part of the world. Our sexy little fire-truck-red Suzuki jeep took us through groves of pine and silver-green olive trees to secluded, hard-to-reach, and thus deserted beaches (pebbled ones, in case you’re asking). And to high-lying springs where taps have been installed so we could fill up our plastic bottles right at the source of pure island water.

In a little motor boat we raced past dramatic, white, horizontally striated cliffs or red, crumbly conglomerate hillsides held together by pebbles and earth-cement. Once, dolphins leapt 50m away and one sliced through the clear water towards us, shooting alongside our boat before disappearing, a murky shadow into the depths. We also watched an orange-orb moon rise over an island as we dined at a taverna table perched on the edge of a tiny harbour.

The pictures will speak for themselves.

Steni Valla, the pretty harbour we overlooked from our villa, by day…

… and at dawn.

Alonissos style … whitewashed walls, cobalt-blue details, fuchsia bougainvillea

Inquisitive nose … from a balcony

Greek rooftop dining

Blue-green waters of an indefinable hue …

… so crystal-clear you can see the boat anchor

Our friend K. with our sexy Suzuki

Bench at the edge of the world


Surrounding our villa were grape vines…



Lemons …

Plums …

… and Olives

And now we're back to reality. Bye for now.