Wendy Doniger, editor
The Getty Villa Malibu
First of all, the Getty Villa Malibu is exactly what you think it is- fucking amazing. It's the Getty. Villa. in Malibu. Well, I think Pacific Palisades to be exact but who's counting? Adimission is free, but you should call ahead (although if you show up and look respectable the first guard probably has passes- don't be a dick to him!
Second of all, I want to say that I've been to these European style villa/museums.
Here's one from Sevilla, it's called the Hospital de Venerables Sacerdotes in Sevilla:
So I understand that the Getty Villa is an imitiation- but it's incredible. It's as well executed as it can possibly be for being on a site that combines a greek style ampitheatre with an entrance to an Italian style villa museum- um ok.
Ok this is the Harp Player, and I don't want to bore everyone with the Indo European blah blah, but it's important to recognize that the Greek wing of the Indo European family- the Doric people in theory- they ran into a culture that was already pretty heavy- they made this awesome sculpture circa 3000 BC. Now that means they actually predate Indo European entry to southern europe. This culture is called Cycladic and probably my favorite single moment in the museum was watching a Japanese business man operate a display where succeeding buttons illustrated the spread of various mediterannean civilisations: beginning with Cycladic.
But the thing to take away here is that the evolution of Greek Indo European culture took place in the context of an already developing middle east with a totally separate tradition. You can think of the classical greeks (and they latins, and the etruscans) as being early variations on the Goths who raided the Roman Empire.
It's important to realize how Greek civilisation, in particular, blended Indo European traditions with the traditions of the Middle Eastern cultures which preceded it. Aphrodite, for example, is a very Middle Eastern goddess figure that shows up nowhere in the other Indo European dervied cultures. Of course, Judaism was a religion that derived from Middle Eastern tradition, not "indo european" and, according to Niezche (he was really controversial on this subject, as was Hitler) so was Christianity.
It all goes to say that the Getty Malibu is a great place to check out, and if you live in West LA and don't go you are a sucker.
This movie bombed and got terrible reviews but people are wrong and in time this will be what they call a "comedy classic." I think the problem is that it combined Judd Apatow style stoner comedy w/ some pretty high minded cultural/religious humor where it just kind of exists in he fabric of the film but doesn't generate the strong laughs. The old people there for the Mel Brooks style religious humor don't like the stoner comedy bigs, and the stoners don't get the biblical/cultural stuff- Director Harold Ramis really fucked himself there, but it's one of those movies that people will be talking about after it comes out on dvd and more people see it.
I'm not what you would call a "Jack Black enthusiast" but I appreciate his good performances- he was awesome in Tropic Thunder and really good in Be Kind Rewind. Same thing with Michael Cera- no thanks on Nick n Nora's Infinite IPod or whatever but yes on Arrested Development and Superbad. As a comedy team, I liked them both. Jack Black is just the ultimate ham and Michael Certa is the thoughtful counter point. Cera handles the awkward counter-punch timing perfected by Larry David (and Cera in Arrested Devleopment) onto the big screen with apolomb. I imagine that it would be difficult to pull that off on a scene said in the ancient middle east, but it's there, and I was laughing.