Happy Pride Month! Several years ago, I made an observation… my home state of Maine has produced a fairly high number of books by, about, or connected to Trans people. I thought I’d gather those I know about here.
Jennifer Finney Boylan Jennifer is a former professor at Colby College here in Waterville, Maine. She’s best known for her book She’s Not There: A Life in Two Genders, which documented her transition. I’ve also attended a few readings of the book and was able to meet her on at least one of those occasions.
Nicole Maines Nicole first came to the public’s attention by fighting discriminatory practices at her school outside of Bangor, Maine. The incidents resulted in a several legal cases as well as her family relocating to Portland, Maine. She went onto star as Dreamer in the TV series Supergirl and the independent vampire movie Bit. I met her in passing at a past Portland Pride event.
Imogen Binnie I can’t recommend this book, and its very stream-of-conscience writing, enough. It’s clearly semi-autobiographical – the lead character is Trans and works in a bookshop (much like the author). Though I’d seen her band, Correspondences, a few times, I met her briefly when she was working a local bookshop.
From the Amazon page for the recently republished version of the book:
`One of Vogue‘s Best Books of 2022 So Far
Buzzfeed‘s Summer Books You Won’t Be Able To Put Down
Book Riot‘s Best Summer Reads for 2022
Dazed‘s Queer Books to Read in 2022
Janet Mock Janet isn’t from Maine, but the state gets a shout early on in the book. Her boyfriend at the time grew up in Cumberland, Maine.
In preparation for the (rather interesting) Oscar ceremony this year, I watched several nominated films. This included the Jonathan Larson musical tick, tick,… BOOM! Knowing that I was going to see that film, I watched Rent for the first time as well. I didn’t really know Larson’s story going into it either musical.
I was impressed when hearing Andrew Garfield had not really sung before and learned a few songs on piano for the part. He’s come a long way from the first time I saw him – in an episode of Doctor Who (which included pig men in 1940’s New York).
One particular song and scene from tick, tick,… BOOM! was interesting to me for a few reasons. Although I’ve seen quite a few Sondheim musicals, Sunday in the Park with George was not one of them. Learning the song Sunday was homage to the identically named song from George made a lot of sense – the song felt different from others in tick, tick… BOOM! (and Rent, for that matter). (On a side note, I highly recommend Six by Sondheim, which I also watched after these films).
Not only was the Sondheim connection interesting to me, but also the number of cameos in the scene. This post from CBR.com gives a good breakdown of the cameos in the scene. Joel Gray, Chita Rivera, Bebe Neuwirth, Phylicia Rashad, original Rent and Hamilton cast members, and more all appear in the scene. Lin Manuel Miranda, who directed this version and has starred in past productions of TTB, also makes a cameo.
It must also be pointed out that the Moondance Diner makes an appearance in a non-Garfield Spider-man movie AND Jake Gyllenhaal (who plays Mysterio in yet another Spider-man movie) also has a connection here.
Additionally, I’m including renditions by Raul Esparza who sang both Sundays in productions of these shows.
I’ve been on a risotto kick lately and for a good reason… I find I often have seemingly random ingredients on hand these days. Dried mushrooms? Toss ’em in! Some cooked chicken thighs? Great, add it! Leftover bacon from breakfast? Perfect! Shrimp in freezer? Why not!
I’ve actually pulled elements from each of these recipes and made my own combinations. It (almost) always works!
Taking inspiration from my last post about Korean food in movies and my love for our local Korean place, N to Tail, I decided to try my hand at making some Korean dishes. I was pretty pleased with the results (though I didn’t get a good photo).
I’ve been on a bit of a kick lately with Korean food, TV, and movies. Interestingly, food plays a major role in most of the Korean films I’ve seen.
The original Oldboy is the first Korean movie I remember seeing years ago. The lead actor famously eats a live octopus – something he did four times. Second, mandu (Korean dumplings) play heavily into the plot.
Even Joon-Ho’s The Host features food fairly heavily. The main family owns a small river-side food shack, selling beer and grilled squid. Instant ramen is seen a few times; from an empty container being used as a piggy bank to the means of showing family bonds. I wouldn’t exactly call the movie, uhm, appetizing.
You probably don’t think about food first with Snowpiercer, but thinking back – it’s a huge part of the Bong Joon-Ho flick. The poor people of the back of the train with protein bars and the “balance” that’s maintained in the other sections with sushi, steak, etc.
From the main family’s food struggles, to a housekeeper’s food allergies; food is seen throughout Bong Joon-Ho’s Parasite. The best known food from the movie is ram-don, a mixture of jajangmyeon and jjampong topped with expensive steak. The name, ram-don, was a creation for the film and is usually called jjapaguri. But similar to his earlier movie The Host, food, and the struggle to get it, is a symbol for family.
Lastly, Squid Game, features a few instances of food, the most well known of which is dalonga. But, like some of the other films above, steak is again used a symbol of wealth and success.
Thankfully, I have a great Korean restaurant here in Portland, Maine called N-to-Tail. I’ve been able to sample bulgogi, Korean fried chicken, kimchi pancakes, and more. At home I’ve been making Buldak spicy ramen by Samyang. My “recipe” of late has been to toss in some kewpie, chicken, and egg, and a vegetable. While not as as good as N-to-nail, Bibigo offers frozen Korean fried chicken, mandu, kimchi fried rice, and more.
Up until recently, I’d never had congee – I’m an instant fan. I’ve mentioned Crispy Gai here in Portland, Maine before and theirs was so amazing that I had to try and make a version (or three). These all use the same congee as 1 cup of rice yielded a lot of leftovers. If you haven’t had it before, congee is basically Chinese rice porridge and can be dressed with any number of items.
What I made…
Congee with roast pork belly and egg
Congee with shrimp and nam jim sauce
Congee with bacon and egg
I watched a number of videos and looked over a few of recipes before trying this one, but overall it’s very easy.
8 parts chicken broth to 1 part rice (I used jasmati)
This can range from 6:1 up to 10:1, depending on the recipe used – 8:1 worked for me
Rinse rice until the water runs clear
Cook in Ninja Foodi on pressure cooker setting on high for 30 minutes and natural release
Next time I want to try something more like this recipe and use bone-in chicken during the cooking process. I attempted fried garlic, but it was a little bitter.
I managed to squeeze in a few more horror / semi-horror movies and TV shows for October/November. Gotta say, House, the Haunting series, and Squid Game are probably the standouts from this batch. Mike Flanagan might be a new favorite!
I’m bit behind on my October/November horror movie watching compared to last year (see posts Halloween, Halloween II, Halloween III) where I hit 30+ movies. I may have been distracted by Dune (both versions!), No Time to Die,Shang Chi, and other new movies (some of which I saw in a real theater!!!).
I’ll concede that some of these lean towards Sci-Fi or psychological thrillers and maybe even outside October and November… my blog, my rules!