Ellen Kennedy is a girl, and her book of poems, Sometimes My Heart Pushes My Ribs, was published by Muu Muu House — an elegant appellation for a press that, according to me, refers to Miuccia Prada’s saccharine fashion label Miu Miu, helpless cows murdered by tasteless American whities, and kitties.
I’m not quite sure how to pronounce the title of the three-part story poem, Eoody Mobby, in Ellen’s collection, but that doesn’t bother me all that much. I like the way it looks. The two “o’s” in Eoody almost mirror the two “b’s” in Mobby, and symmetry and identical-ness are really enchanting, as they suggest all types of things, including systems, which can be severe, as the one implemented by the boys who ruled Germany 1933-45 obviously was. E, too, is a fine letter to start a word. With those three prongs sticking out from it, “E” is a strong and pointed letter. Also an admirable letter to begin a word is “M” — you can’t spell “murder” or “McDonald’s” (which concocts yummy ice cream) without it.
The stars of Ellen’s narrative prose poem are Woody Allen and Ned Vizzini. Since these Woody and Ned are boyfriend and boyfriend in the poem, they most likely can’t be the commonly known Woody and Ned, since the commonly known Woody doesn’t like boys, as nearly all of his movies showcase and adore very pretty girls, like Mariel Hemingway and Mia Farrow. As for Ned — an author of YA books, (one of which touches on the loony bin), he may very well like boys, but probably not.
So… why did Ellen choose to use the names of Woody Allen and Ned Vizzini? Perhaps it’s because she was taken with the way the names sounded or the way the names were spelled or the way the names looked when written. For instance, I’m quite intrigued with the way the name “Reinhard Heydrich” looks and sounds, and I may very well one day make it the name of a boy who likes kitties and McDonald’s ice cream, but all of that doesn’t necessarily mean that I’m referring to the Reinhard Heydrich famous for coming up with the idea that, years later, would lead to numerous memoirs and Hollywood films.
(PS… Adolf nicknamed Reinhard “the man with the iron heart”… umph…)
In the poem, Woody and Ned, being boyfriend and boyfriend, spend a lot of time together. Their activities include licking each other’s teeth (though, really, Ned just does this to Woody), showering (an atrocious activity), sipping soy milk ice coffee, and eating toasted sea vegetables. I myself have not tried this edible, but I want to, since it seems like something everyone who lives under the sea in The Little Mermaid would like.
Overall, Woody appears to be much more sadder, discontent, and macabre than Ned. According to Ellen, Woody “often daydreams about being buried alive and being exposed to other dangerous and tragic situations.” He also steals Nicorette patches (though he doesn’t smoke), and subjects himself to one of the most vulgar environments of modern culture — the gym.
Obviously, Woody’s weary and restless doings are justifiable. I mean, Mark Zuckerberg, Mayor Bloomberg, the gay and lesbian community… the average-ness is just awful! Woody’s sullen sentiments saturate “Eoody Mobby,” which, says me, makes it a continually curious and commendable poem.
In Manhattan Murder Mystery (1993), Larry Lipton (Woody Allen) struggles to keep the telephone cord away from his face as his wife Carol Lipton (Diane Keaton) goes over the details of a recent neighbor’s death. The still does little to fully convey Larry’s frustration, but I found the best moment I could. I thought about how this humorous scene would not be possible now, as Carol would either be on her cell phone, or wireless landline — which sounds almost as ponderous as landmine. It seems so primitive to be tethered, as technology has convinced us we are free. Our cellular voices are sent to space and back, as if edited or revised by aliens. 1993 is hence immortalized, like “I will always love you,” “Creep,” and “Everybody Hurts,” which all came out the same year. I feel nostalgic towards technology quickly disgraced with time. The best moment in an early-90s movie is when someone picks up a phone the size of a toaster and puts it next to their face. HELLO? they always seem to say. In a convertible, they always seem to be driving. It isn’t his best movie, but this post is less about Woody Allen than the cultural traces we inadvertently leave behind. The way we talk. The way we sleep. Carol goes on to ask if Larry still finds her attractive, and he defensively mentions something about sex once a week, as an excuse. Some things are timeless.
I went to see Midnight in Paris last night. It was silly and predictable and obvious. And I loved it. Owen Wilson played a great Woody Allen. Rachel McAdams, a truly hateful soon-to-be wife. But their story is really just a vehicle to get the actual narrative rolling. When Wilson’s character, Gil, a hack screenwriter trying to be a novelist, starts going back in time on some freak Cinderella-story midnight stroll and meets up with the Fitzgeralds, Hemingway, Picasso, Stein, Dali, Man Ray, Cole Porter, TS Eliot–there are many more–I couldn’t help but be giddy. I’ve always wanted to see these people in action–and there they were. Hemingway talking in Hemingway sentences, Zelda Fitzgerald’s buzzing mania, Dali rambling incoherently about rhinos, Picasso a little bald, Stein the gentle aunty. Sure, Allen’s depiction was as Disney as it gets. Sure, Allen was indulging in pure fantasy, and I fell hard. I left the movie theater…dancing. This is not a movie review. I’m not generally a Woody Allen fan, even. This is a note about surprise. I went to see Midnight in Paris because there was nothing else worth watching, and I wanted to sit in the local art house theater with a very full glass of Pinot Noir, some Dots, and a handsome date. I’m surprised that make- believe can still give me joy. I’m happy that I haven’t totally given up on the fairytale. And it’s cute to see Wilson playing Cinderella.
WOODY ALLEN & JOYCE CAROL OATES
There’s a Woody Allen joke where he and a woman mutually undress in a hotel room, until he, without his glasses on, realizes he’s standing before a mirror. That woman, if there ever were one, would be Joyce Carol Oates, also near-sighted and pensive, self-conscious with dour eyebrows. Of the life-size bronze statue of him in Oviedo, Spain (a town he featured in Vicky Cristina Barcelona), let us hope he doesn’t undress before it. He also said “Don’t knock masturbation, it’s sex with someone I love,” which Joyce read as a rejection that fateful night in that hotel room, leaving her with nothing but time, and that chest-sinking task of writing too many novels to count.
A while back, I got drunk and watched this movie. And I took drunken notes thinking of writing a real review. I am not going to write that review. Here are my drunk notes. READ MORE >
June 14th, 2009 / 10:43 pm
My name is Woody Allen. This is the opening scene from Annie Hall where I tell some of my morbid stand-up jokes. If you’re curious about what I said, many years later there will be this thing called youtube so you can check it out here. As for the tan brown color behind me, you’ll notice both my hair and jacket are brown, and I’m just that subtle. Anyways, check out my jokes, I’m really funny. I’m really looking forward to the future.