Sunday, June 25, 2006

Duna Duna Duna

The Dizzies caught the wonderful Linda Linda Linda (part of the New York Asian Film Festival) at the ImaginAsian theater on East 59th Street. Enormously pleasing, exhilarating, and subtle, 3L is the story of a Japanese girl band on the verge of dissolution, who rally in time for a "rock festival" at their high school (where no one appears to do a lick of schoolwork) and adopt a Korean exchange student, Son, as their new lead singer. (She's played by Bae Duna, a/k/a Duna Bae, Doo-na Bae, et al., the terrific actress from possibly my favorite Korean movie, Barking Dogs Never Bite, as well as Take Care of My Cat, Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance, etc.) They cover a batch of exhilarating songs by a pop-punk band from the ’80s/early ’90s called the Blue Hearts. Sample raw/oblique lyric: "Do you know where my right hand is?" (When Son introduces the band as "Param Maum," to the confusion of her Japanese bandmates, she's giving the Korean translation of "Blue Hearts.")

And...that's about it, plotwise. Somehow it works. There are hardly any boys on the scene—and hardly any adults. We don't know much, at the outset, about the wide-eyed Son, who's tongue-tied in her temporary homeland, but her prior (pre-band) loneliness is suggested by the determination and infectious energy she brings to her surprise rock-diva role.

(Ex–Smashing Pumpkin James Iha's score also deserves praise: spare yet momentous.)

It's adorable, in the best sense of the word. And witty. And the title song is now permanently in my head. And I like it.

(Linda Linda Linda plays once more, July 1.)

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In theater news, fans of Ernst Lubitsch will enjoy the Hourglass Group's stage production of Trouble in Paradise, through July 8 at the Hudson Guild Theatre. Actors Jeremy Shamos and Nina Hellman play the thieving couple with relish and impeccable comic timing. Though some of the other bits aren't totally successful (I'm usually pretty happy with meta/framing shenanigans, but I think this play could have been done "straight"), these two are a pleasure to watch.

UPDATE: Read my theatergoing partner Alexis's review!

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Update: If you find yourself on the Upper West Side, feeling a tad peckish, and see a restaurant on Columbus called Aegean—don't go inside thinking it's a reasonable, family-style restaurant serving Mediterranean fare. It is, in fact, an overpriced, mediocre establishment—with flies!

The one highlight during a recent visit was an ad on the television above the bar. It was for something called Doggy Steps. Even without the sound, it suggested the kind of get-rich-quick-scheme that Dr. Reo Symes might have drummed up in The Dog of the South.


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