Of Music, Moroccan Food and Brothers

Of Music:

I’ve never tried to obtain the encyclopedic knowledge of music that I actively seek with film and literature, but I know what I like, and I’d like to think I know raw talent when I hear it.  Amidst a busy weekend a-visitin’ and travelin’ to Atlantic City and then up to the Big Apple, the highlight was watching Robbie Gil perform at Rockwood Music Hall on 197 Allen Street in NYC on Saturday night.  Live music isn’t typically my thing (in fact, this might’ve been the first live music act I’ve seen since college), but there’s certainly something to be said for the intimacy and communal energy at a small and eager venue, especially when you know the performer personally and are there mingling amongst not just his family and friends, but his fans, who swayed hypnotically, bobbed their heads, smiled and sometimes sung along with his powerfully lyrical and heartfelt songs.  If you are a fan of live music (especially of the bluesy rock nature) and live in or visit NYC frequently, you’d be a fool to pass up the chance to see Robbie Gil perform. 

I’m listening to his latest EP, “Lightning in a Bottle” as I type this post, which I purchased at the show and features five great songs, though the title track and bittersweet “How’s Colorado” (which was amazing live) are my favorites.   You can check out more at Robbie Gil’s official website

Of Moroccan Food:

Cafe Mogador at St. Mark's Place.

If you happen to be in the East Village on an early Sunday afternoon, the brunch at Cafe Mogador on St. Mark’s Place is a must.  A small, cozy, and bustling establishment serving up fresh, organic brunch items and traditional Moroccan food is well worth the wait at the door.  The Moroccan Benedict plate is a flavorful and tasty ethnic spin on the signature brunch dish.  It was the perfect “chill” capper to a chilly but warm-spirited weekend celebrating friends’ birthdays and being out and about.

Of Brodre vs. Brothers:

Connie Nielsen's understated performance gave BRODRE its emotional heft.

Before heading up to NYC, we caught a showing of the new Jim Sheridan film, Brothers, which is a somewhat inexplicable remake of a Danish film from just a few years ago.  It was especially interesting because I had just seen (finally) the original film, Brodre, aptly directed in an intimate quasi-Dogme-style by Danish auteur Susanne Bier and featuring a sterling performance from Connie Nielsen.  As far as the remake goes, I appreciated the fact they tried to transplant the European film to an American setting as a way to shed light on some of the psychological and emotional trauma POW’s go through when returning to their families on the homefront, but it didn’t quite work for a number of reasons. 

Maguire and Portman show curious emotions and spend most of their time over-acting in BROTHERS.

The screenplay adaptation from the original film was sloppy and added an unnecessary dosage of American cheese to the proceedings and featured some stiflingly inept dialogue despite the fact it successfully translated many of the key scenes almost word for word.  It did open up the door to explore more even-handedly the impact of certain traumas on POW’s (in the original, there was a more abrupt turn-about off the deep-end for one character), but the main players weren’t able to pull it off.  Brothers became one of those unfortunate melodramas where two little girls acted circles around the adult leads, of which Natalie Portman and Jake Gyllenhaal were especially awful and out of tune.  The film wasn’t without some entertainment value, though, as there were some finely wrought “uncomfortable dinner table” scenes, and watching Tobey Maguire get all spit-fueled and go bonkers in the end after some cringe-worthy moments early on certainly was a bit of fun.

Bottom line, as is often the case, and so sadly cliched, the original Danish version is far superior to the American remake.

Written by David H. Schleicher

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3 comments on “Of Music, Moroccan Food and Brothers

  1. Sam Juliano says:

    David: I liked BROTHERS more than you did, but I’ll agree it doesn’t touch Blier’s version remotely. But I thought it had some potent moments and by and large the performances were compelling, if not all the dialogue as you rightly note. I went with 3 and 1/2 of 5 which was probably a bit on the generous side. I liked the settings and the pacing, and as entertainment it was fair enough.

    Ah, I know that Morrocan place well, as I am on St. Mark’s regularly, but darn I’ve never eaten there. I will certainly remember that Moroccan Benedict plate when I finally try the joint out!

    And great news on Robbie Gill at the Rockwood Music Hall! Yes, it’s terrific you got to see and hear this live performance, and normally I am a big fan of ‘powerfully lyrical and heartfelt songs’ of the bluesy rock nature.

    A weekend to die for.

    Sam, I highly recommend the Moroccan place on St. Mark’s. –DHS

  2. DeeDee says:

    Hi! D.H.Schleicher,

    Of Music: That sounds interesting
    Robbie Gil performance at Rockwood Music Hall…also thanks for the links!

    D.H.Schleicher said,”but there’s certainly something to be said for the intimacy and communal energy at a small and eager venue, especially when you know the performer personally and are there mingling amongst not just his family and friends, but his fans,…”
    Wow, I would think so…Do you know personally? or do you mean that the setting or “venue” was “small” and it made the experience seem personal?

    Of Moroccan Food:
    Hmmm…I have never eaten Moroccan food, but it seems as if a good time was had by all on this outing. Once again, thanks for the link.

    Of Brodre vs. Brothers:
    Isn’t that always the case…Because I’am reading mixed reviews about the film Brothers out there in the blogosphere. Similiar to the film
    Mostly Martha or Bella Martha and the American
    remake
    No Reservation.

    Once again,
    Thanks for sharing!
    DeeDee 😉

    DeeDee, it’s interesting, I noticed many bloggers who have not seen the original seem to think more highly of Brothers. I thought regardless of comparisons to the source, the acting was pretty terrible (from Portman and Gyllenhaal)…though the children were fantastic in it. –DHS

  3. DeeDee says:

    D.H.Schleicher,
    Oops! This is what I meant to ask you…
    Do you know him (Robbie Gil) personally?

    DeeDee, yes, I know Robbie Gil; we have an intersecting circle of friends, and we’ve eaten Moroccan food together. Ah, see how it all ties in? Ha ha. –DHS

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