Friday, June 30, 2023

A Review of "Noir Bar: Cocktails Inspired by the World of Film Noir" by Eddie Muller


Not every book can help you fill your Nick and Nora coupes and your evening’s film-watching playlist, but Noir Bar does both with elan. That’s not too surprising given the author is Eddie Muller, host of Turner Classic Movies’ Noir Alley, on which he curates and provides intros to generally 1940s noir from well-known classics like The Big Sleep to the B-est of B-pictures, like The Devil Thumbs a Ride. Although the book is full of gorgeous photography from the shadow-soaked films to the shots of the drinks, it’s not just some coffee table symbol of class. On the facing page to the Contents there’s a still of little known Virginia Field from even lesser known Dial 1119, and while there’s a quote from Arlen & Mercer’s “One for My Baby (and One More for the Road,” it alludes to Ida Lupino singing the ballad in Road House. Take that, Ol’ Blue Eyes.

Care to read the rest then do so at the California Review of Books.

Saturday, June 17, 2023

A Review "The Wonder Paradox: Embracing the Weirdness of Existence and the Poetry of Our Lives"


It’s not every self-helpish book that asks you to create your own poetry anthology, but The Wonder Paradox is sui generis. As Jennifer Michael Hecht puts it, “It is in poetry that we learn that nouns are really verbs, caught in a moment as a dancer in a strobe light.” That sentence hints at so much of Hecht’s skillful method as an author, with its insightful sweeping grandeur still tethered to vivid image, one far from whimsically chosen, for this is a book about illumination. Seeing. Dealing with what it is seen.

Care to read the rest then do so at the California Review of Books.

Monday, June 12, 2023

Santa Barbara Has a New Saint in the Hood

Even a June-gloomy marine layer doesn’t dull the charm of the poolside location of Saint Remy, the newish (debuted on Boxing Day 2022) restaurant at the heart of State Street’s Courtyard by Marriott. (Old-timers will know the spot, beyond its expansion and extensive spiffing-up, as La Quinta or El Prado.) Looking a bit like a David Hockney painting sprung to life with its midcentury modern design, the location hopes to lure locals as well as hotel guests.

The spot is also a boon for “an enormous contingent of Marriott fans” who now get a hotel in downtown Santa Barbara. At least that’s how Tim Billing, vice president of operations for the AZUL Hospitality Group, explains it to me. AZUL operates this hotel for StonePark Capital, the hospitality development company led by Andrew “The Bachelor” Firestone and Jess Parker. StonePark and AZUL hope to become bigger players on the Central Coast, for along with this location there are two in-transition projects: Hotel Cerro, about to become an Autograph Collection with Marriott in S.L.O., and the Waterman, formerly the hostel Wayfarer, about to become a Moxy with Marriott. And yes, Billing made sure to clarify that it’s “M-O-X-Y, not M-O-X-I,” given its Funk Zone proximity to the museum of exploration and innovation.

Care to read the rest then do so at the Independent's site.