I’m in Martha Stewert mode this week as we prepare for the big Thanksgiving dinner. This year we’re having three people over, so it’s going to be a pretty big table. A big table requires a big turkey, so we picked up a 20 pounder at Safeway. They were having a sale that got it for us at 23 cents a pound, resulting in a $6 turkey. Mother would be proud. If you get a frozen turkey this year, do it now, give it the time it needs to thaw. And remember to take that stuff out of it before you cook it!
Last Friday we had a terrific evening with the Reynolds and went to see The Incredibles at the Seattle Cinerama. Seattle’s hip crowd was out for the 9:55 showing, with hardly a person over 35 or under 20 braving the cold in a long line to the door. Let me interject here to make a plug for some of the best Chinese food I’ve ever had, a little place across from the Cinerama called Chinese Wok. I go there every time I see a movie at this theater, and Seattle’s local police seem to agree with me. Anyway, it was a packed house where we had the usual hassle finding a seat. The Revenge of the Sith trailer got some cheers, and made me wonder if some of the attendees hadn’t come more for that than for the movie.
The Incredibles turned out to be not only a work of art in animation terms, but also competitive with some of the best live action films I’ve seen in the last ten years. The art direction struck me most of all; the characters exist in a nostalgic universe with international-style buildings and James Bond-esque evil villain decor, comfortable California ranch houses, and mid-twentieth century newsreels. The character designs have surpassed the stiff realism of Final Fantasy and the awkardness of the humans in Toy Story into something that Rankin-Bass should have been: well-sculpted action figures capable of extraordinary emotion and stretchy movement. This is a beautiful film from start to finish, and yet that’s only the backdrop.
The story has everything you could hope for on a Friday night, from fast action to drama, and when it means to be funny I can’t think of a joke that fell flat. It also had some instances of poignancy and depth. As Mr. Incredible sludges through his job and the repetetive nature of his family life, a sense of hollowness becomes very real. Some of the early family scenes are so bleak that they literally gave me nightmares. There are the usual Pixar instances where I question exactly what they are trying to say, such as the deeply negative attitude towards insurance companies or the dynamic between government and “super hero tolerance.” In fact, the “let’s all be normal and hide our specialness” theme has a certain ring to it that is right at home in Pixar’s San Francisco. It doesn’t matter. Everything works so well together, The Incredibles is ultimately Brad Bird’s finest hour. It’s no stretch to predict that his relationship with Pixar will continue for the rest of his career.
We got a little group together over Halloween and tried out one of Seattle’s unique events, Trolloween. My night started out great when I met up with some trick or treaters on the way out the door. I had put together an elaborate fairy masquerade outfit with a $14.99 used dress and a glue gun, and the results were terrific. Thank heaven for Michael’s. With the kids pointing and saying, “Look momma, she’s so beautiful!” I was feeling great about the evening and remembering my own childhood when anyone in a pretty beaded dress was a princess.
We hit the Troll at around 7:40 and the festivities had already started. People dressed as trolls did some narration in the middle of a massive circle of people in all kinds of getups. It was difficult to see, but amidst fire and drums a group of dancers in skeleton costumes arrived and did some funky dances. The trolls announced that they were going to lead us through the elements of earth, fire, wind and water, and the revelers took to the streets. Police stopped traffic as the group moved en masse into Freemont roadways passing through the night to the fire event.
We had front row seats at the ring of fire, where a matador with a lip ring waved the red cape in front of a bull with a bright red crotch. There was much whipping around in and out of the flames, spears afire, and suggestive mummery. When that was over we moved on to the water event, where after a brief wait, the trolls blew something up. On the way we noted some of the most interesting costumes: two lobsters, two skullheads with tattered umbrellas, one happy green dinosaur, one sumo wrestler and an assortment of who-knows-what-they-were.
By the time we made it to the last event we had gone quite a ways. Our pumpkin-headed escort disappeared to tie his shoe, and I bumped into a tall guy in a harlequin costume who honked his horn at me. He took another look and explained that I was “very honkable,” and asked Shannon and I which one was the good fairy and which was the bad. We slinked away and found Scott the pumpkin, and I was able to tell everyone the next day that I was chatted up by “some clown.”
Finished with that, we went to eat at Norm’s Eatery and Ale House, where throughout the evening we watched other Trolloween participants show up in costume and chow down. The skeletons arrived as a group, the weird cheerleaders stopped by to shout, and the lobsters attempted to have coffee with clawed hands. I love Seattle.