The purpose of Sassistas!TM is to dole out sassy and stimulating perspectives on the weird and wonderful incongruities of life . . . or what we prefer to call our social soup. From the ridiculous to the sublime, from the stupid to the miraculous — we’re all swimming in it. Let’s make it easier to swallow.
Before Flannista's birthday month ends, she would like to share nowayasista's birthday gift to her -- something he dragged all the way back from Europe: a 3-pack of Underberg.
After extensive research, Flann learned that Underberg is a digestive aid. The German single-serving of 20 ml (just over a half ounce) bottles wrapped in brown paper are meant to be downed in one shot after a heavy meal to make it easier to digest your food. The flavor is supposedly (Flann hasn't tried one yet) herbal: a combination of cloves, cinnamon, mint, eucalyptus and . . . it's 88 proof -- 44 percent alcohol.
Here's a sophisticated description of Underberg from Peter Meehan in the New York Times Style magazine:
The aftertaste lingers, present but not overwhelming, as a coating of nonspecific but blatantly medicinal herbal flavors slowly suffuses from the throat to the lungs and eyes. Relief is immediate.
Then there’s the Underberg bottle, with its octagonal neck and natural paper printed with textured and lustrously glossy ink. The green cap is printed with a red crest, one of a number of symbols and signatures of the brand that give it the lure of a secret Masonic society beverage, not a Spuds MacKenzie-worthy party one.
Flann has to wonder what noway thinks about Underberg being perceived as part of "a secret Masonic society beverage". Should a cowpoke drink Underberg? Should you? Click here to watch an early Underberg commercial to help you decide.
On Monday evening, Matissta, treesta and Justista each pulled out a kazoo from a bag of kazoos Justista hauled across the country (see photo above), while Flannista warmed up the amp on her electric kazoo, a lovely birthday gift from Sista C. Yes, ladies and gentleman, it was the first gathering of the yet-to-be-named Sassistas! kazoo band!
But before we share the details of the gathering, the Sassistas! would like to answer an important question: Who invented the kazoo? According to the website, Kazoobie, the kazoo is based on the African mirliton, a mysterious instrument used in sacred ceremonies as voice disguisers (see photo, right). It is believed that the first American kazoo was created was created in the 1840's in Macon, Georgia, by Alabama Vest, an American black, and Thaddeaus Von Clegg, A German clockmaker. It was reported to have been exhibited at the Georgia State Fair in 1852. It was patented in 1923 by Michael McIntyre whose company -- The Original American Kazoo Company -- is now The Kazoo Factory, Museum & Gift Shop of Eden, New York.
But back to the first gathering of the yet-to-be-named Sassistas! kazoo band. After extensive rehearsing with Flannista leading on piano and electric kazoo, Matiss, treesta and Justista nearly perfected our kazoo rendition of perhaps the most beloved song in the world: "Somewhere Over the Rainbow". We were so pleased with our performance that we called PEACEsista, Sista C and babysis and played it for them. We totally nailed it! In fact, PEACEsista sent an email which said:
"Somewhere Over the Rainbow" as NEVER heard before! Thanks for the phone message. My favorite part was at the end, when someone said, "That should be enough." INDEED!
Justista and Flann were so tickled by PEACE's email that we called her and she sassgested that we post a link to a recording of our performance. Matiss and treesta were no longer here, but click here to listen to the unforgettable opening to "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" by Justista and Flann.
Now that you know the sheer talent in our kazoo band, what are your name sassgestions? What other songs should we perform?
One more day at SILVERDOCS . . . will the Sassistas! make it?
Flannista dropped off Sista C at the airport about two hours ago. We are now waiting for Justista to arrive for a couple of days. While we wait, we're heading back to SILVERDOCS. That's Flann's dog-eared scheduled pictured above. It's been a gratifying week. We'll post more from the venue. Thanks for standing in line with us. Click here for the link to SILVERDOCS if you want to read the latest.
Day Four of SILVERDOCS and the best day of the festival so far! Yesterday, Sista C and I saw eight movies and every single one we rated a 4 or a 5.
"The Central Pack Effect" (see trailer above) was about the impressive array of migratory birds in New York's Central Park each season . . . and the equally colorful New Yorkers who are compelled to watch, including a seasoned bird-watching group leader with terminal breast cancer. Will this season be the last for her to see the birds she's been watching for more than 30 years? A must-see.
"The Revisionaries" presents a behind-the-scenes look at the battle of what material is being taught in history and science books that will influence an entire generation of children. The documentary focuses on Don McLeroy, a dentist, an evangelical Christian and avowed Young Earth Creationist (he believes dinosaurs were on Noah's Ark) who became the Chairman of the Texas State Board of Education and word-by-word began to re-write textbooks to reflect his particular ideology. Believe it or not, he participated in a panel discussion afterwards last night. To its credit, the audience graciously gave him the respect he failed over and over again to demonstrate to those in Texas who disagreed with him.
Day Three of SILVERDOCS and another day of enlightenment although, as Sista C says, "We're still on a quest to find that ONE documentary that will knock our socks off or worth a two-bottle-of-wine conversation." Here's Sista C's take on a doc she saw yesterday called, "The Vanishing Spring Light".
This film is about a community in China, Silk Road Avenue, that is scheduled for regentrification by the government. A frail but feisty Grandma Jiang has lived there since childhood and is facing eviction when she takes a brutal fall that leaves her needing the care of her children. This is a portrait of a life forgotten, and a fractured family who feels the burden of caring for elders who were once venerated in the community.
"A Girl Like Her" tells a story that many of us don't know. In the '50s and '60s, more than a million unmarried American women lost children to enforced adoption. With minimal or no sex education, pregnant singles were commonly ostracized into leaving their homes and enduring shame-filled pregnancies in distant institutions. Comprised almost entirely of vintage footage from the 50's and '60s, this documentary about forgotten mothers falls short because it's just too damn preachy. Yes, it's sad that so many white, upper-class women were sent away to "institutions" and then had to give up their kids, but the self-righteousness of the story-telling kept getting in the way. There's documentary filmmaking and there's propoganda. This felt like propoganda.
Day Two of SILVERDOCS and another adventure into the best and worst of human nature. Two films were stand-outs yesterday and they could not be more opposite.
The first is "Planet of Snail" (see trailer above), about the deaf and blind South Korean poet, Young-Chan. The intimate and small details made this documentary a wonder of creative productivity and erotic happiness. Who knew so much happiness could be accessed from touch, taste and smell? If you own an iPad, go to the film's website, Planet of Snail and click on "Love is Touch" and learn how to use finger braille to communicate just as Young-Chan does in this film.
Jarring in comparison to "Planet of Snail" is the Sundance Grand Jury Award winner for documentary, "The House I Live In" written and directed by Eugene Jarecki about America's War on Drugs. In the past 40 years, that war has accounted for 45 million arrests, made America the world's largest jailer, and destroyed impoverished communities at home and abroad. Yet drugs are cheaper, purer and more available today than ever. Where did we go wrong, and what can be done? Why is our war on drugs "a halocaust in slow motion"?
What a wonderful first day of SILVERDOCS 2012! A day marked by "imposters" of all kinds.
Let's start with the Wilsons -- the family pictured above and featured in the documentary, "Virgin Tales". All seven children of the evangelical Christian Wilson family, founders of the Purity Ball, take the concept of purity of body and mind very far . . . even their first kiss will be at the altar. Are these kids happy? They seem to be . . . or are they just pretending to please what appeared to be parents a little too interested in their personal lives? The patriarch is a member of the Family Research Council staff which means he would never approve of the Sassistas! Despite that, the seeming emotional imprisonment of a couple of his kids pulled at Flann's heart strings.
All is not what it seems in "The Imposter" (see trailer above), a documentary that knocked Flann's socks off. A young boy disappears and more than three years later reappears. Or does he? Why does his family accept someone who is obviously not their lost son? Who is telling the truth? Who is lying? This story seems completely impossible . . . if it weren't true. Astonishing. A must-see.
Anyone who does not believe in global warming after seeing "Chasing Ice" is a human imposter, to be sure. This film which won the best cinematography award at Sundance is beautiful AND terrifying. In one scene, a chunk of glacier the size of lower Manhattan, but 2.5 time taller, "calves" off -- the first time any human has witnessed such a huge event . . . and there is was documented before Flann's eyes. Again, amazing and horrifying. A must-see.
It's that time of year again! That time when the Sassistas! sit in dark theaters for most of the day for a week and watch documentaries that alternatively challenge our thinking, break our hearts or slap us upside the head. Yes, it's time for SILVERDOCS! Check out the "sizzle reel" above!
Sadly, SILVERDOCS will be missing one key component this year, namely Matissta, who must continue her ongoing web development education in the evenings and weekend. Stepping up to the SILVERDOCS plate, however, will be our own Sista C, who is flying in on Wednesday to join Flannista in this documentary marathon.
This year marks the 10th year for SILVERDOCS which has grown into a national venue (after Sundance) for "must-see" documentaries. Oscar documentary winners such as "Taxi to the Dark Side," "Man on Wire," "No End in Sight" and "Grizzly Man" all played at previous SILVERDOC festivals. This year, SILVERDOCS will be showing several of the 2012 Sundance Documentary winners, such as "The House I Live In", "Searching for Sugar Man," "The Queen of Versailles" and "Detropia". Flannista and Sista C plan to see each one and hope that Matissta might be able to join us on Friday and Saturday evenings.
Flannista will be on her own today at SILVERDOCS and will post from her iPhone when she can. In the meantime, check out the film roster (in the link in the first paragraph) and let us know which documentaries you believe are "must-sees"!
See you at "The DOCS" . . . what Sista C calls our annual week of films that examine the worst and best of what it means to be human.
BREAKING DOCS SASS! BREAKING DOCS SASS!
Last night, Matissta and I attended Opening Night at SILVERDOCS that featured, "Don't Stop Believin': Everyman's Journey" by Romana S. Diaz about the Filipino singer Arnetl Pineda who becomes lead singer for the rock band, Journey. Guess who was there at the center of attention? The ACTUAL lead singer? Nope, someone even MORE FAMOUS!! Michaele Salahi with Neal Schon, Journey lead guitarist and former flame (who knew)? She was clinging to him the ENTIRE NIGHT -- "lovin', touchin', squeezin"!!
Who would have thought that the highlight of the U.S. Open Golf Tournament would NOT be that that no one finished under par? After six and a half hours yesterday, the "open" championship ceremony was hijacked by a likely intoxicated fan dressed in what appeared to be United Kingdom garb jumping into the camera and wooping loudly. Or was it a drunk bird call? Or commerical for the London Olympics?
Who knows? Click here to watch the video. You tell us.