Sophie's Choices

Here's a new something I'm going to try to do once a week. Too ambitious? Ok, once a month. If... I’m really good. I plan to mention a book, movie, album, band, song, etc. that's somehow stuck with me. Although I’m no high critic of any of the aforementioned, I’m quite the avid consumer, so there you have it. The title happens to be an homage to both my pseudonym (or nom de plume, if I will, a story for another day), and a favorite movie that first introduced me to the disarming talent of Meryl Streep. Come on, who else could pull off “a dingo took my baby?” Now on to the choices of the hour….

The man, the musician, the Ukrainian legend-- Eugene Hutz. Not one to be pigeonholed, he’s in both a band AND movies, and he has even inspired characters for movies that he’s not in at all (Wristcutters, a love story). He heads the “gypsy punk revolution” in the form of Gogol Bordello, and, though I haven’t had the chance to get familiar with many of their recordings, their live show is first fucking rate. There’s so much iCake to behold -- the main man burning more calories during his performance than I do in a month (sad but true); a Russian violinist who hasn’t let a head of white hair stop him; a fellow who probably went to your high school and looks like he crashed the show but actually does back-up vocals and percussion; and, if you’re a girl (and maybe even if you’re not), you can’t tell me you don’t leave the show desperately wishing you were one of the cool gypsy chicks who alternate between banging giant drums and shaking their skinny asses on stage. It was a blast, I even bought a t-shirt. And I hereby challenge you to find someone remotely interesting who doesn’t love their backdrop: “Think Locally. Fuck Globally.” How they speak to me so.... Is that wrong?

Stew in that while you watch the video for "Start Wearing Purple."

But wait, the man’s genius doesn’t stop there! No sir, he’s also the shining light in a movie called Everything is Illuminated, this post’s second honorable mention. The story is born out of historic tragedy, someone dies, and Elijah Wood’s cartoonish character occasionally plucks at my nerves. Even so, I absolutely love this movie. It’s worth seeing for Eugene Hutz’s hilarity alone, but the well-balanced injections of hope and humor are heartfelt and totally relatable. And who couldn't love an "officious seeing eye bitch" named Sammy Davis Jr. Jr? In fact, the image for my next post (currently cookin') comes from a scene in the movie. For me, the image represents the moment you finally find something you were looking for when you didn’t know exactly what it was or how to get there. And yet. There it is. And it's beautiful.

If you are fortunate enough to know what it is you're looking for, and it just.so.happens. to be the gypsy punk revolution and/or a silly yet serious and surprisingly great movie, look no further.

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