Aut and Black

When I woke up feeling extremely queasy on the morning of December 31, I did not have high hopes for either New Year’s Eve or the beginning of 2011. Luckily, a nap on the car ride home from Indianapolis and an additional nap when we arrived seemed to do the trick (I think I was suffering from severe indigestion due to the junk food I ate continuously throughout the week) and by around 8:00 I was feeling good enough to partake in our group’s New Year’s Eve tradition.

There’s not much to our tradition – Jess, Soph, and I put together a smorgasbord of snacks, Jess and I drink sparkling wine all night, we find something sweet and preferably peach-flavored for Anthony, and then we alternate playing video games and watching Dick Clark.  Last year’s game of choice was Rock Band. This year we opted for a dancing theme, with Just Dance and Just Dance 2 for the Wii and Dance Central for the Kinect. A most excellent time was had by all.

With 2010 going out on such a high note, it seemed appropriate to ring in 2011 in style as well. Patti, Ricki, and I decided to celebrate New Year’s day with brunch at the Aut Bar and a screening of Black Swan.

Aut Bar interior (

The Aut Bar is one of the most welcoming brunch settings in town. The first-floor interior of the bar retains a house-like layout, with lots of cozy nooks to settle into. The walls are painted in shades of warm reds and yellows. The staff is always friendly and the food is very good. Much of the Saturday brunch menu has a Mexican theme, an ode to the owners’ previous career of operating a Mexican restaurant.  All the better for the patrons – I can think of very few brunch foods I would prefer to a plate of Huevos Rancheros with black beans and rice (and a side of the Aut Bar’s terrific guacamole!) A nicely-spiced Bloody Mary (served with e garnish of celery, a hot pepper, and an olive) completes the feast nicely. A cup of locally-roasted coffee didn’t hurt, either.

Properly fueled up by our fantastic brunch, we headed over to the Quality 16 for Black Swan. All three of us girls are big Natalie Portman fans, so we were very much looking forward to what some critics say is her best performance yet.

All I can say after viewing this movie is WOW. First of all, it made me think of “Swan Lake” in an entirely new light (a pretty messed-up story, when you consider it). Secondly, this film is perfectly cast. Not only does Natalie make the best little-girl-turned-psycho-ballerina, but after seeing Barbara Hershey as her mother and (my favorite) Vincent Cassel as the director of the ballet company, I couldn’t  begin to imagine anyone else playing those parts. Bonus: Mila Kunis does a complete 180 from her role as ditzy Jackie on “That 70’s Show” playing a rival ballerina. Third, it’s a beautiful film to look at – the costumes and sets for the ballet scenes are extravagant and sumptuous.

All that said, this movie is not for everyone. It’s got a horror movie feel (and using classical ballet music instead of cheesy horror movie music during the scary scenes very effectively adds to the suspense). You really identify with Natalie as she starts to mentally break down. It’s pretty intense – but if you can handle it, it’s amazing. (I would recommend going to a movie theater near a bar – the three of us had to decompress with drinks at Weber’s.) Check out the trailer below if you’re interested:

I hope everyone was able to send 2010 out and ring 2011 in as pleasantly as I did. Happy new year, and here’s to a new year’s worth of adventures!



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