November 29, 2011

I have a love hate relationship with Woody Allen. 98% of his movies are exactly the same. Neurotic Jew, (who’s currently seeing an analyst to “deal with it”) rants about current life happenings to his muse-girlfriend. Usually, there’s not a lot wrong with that, because his muse girlfriends are often really gorgeous, so they detract from any lack of interesting plot. “RANT RANT RANT DIANE KEATONS BOOBIES RANT RANT RANT.” (Actually, I’m not sure she was ever nude in a Woody Allen movie…)(Whatever.)

I used to whine about the homogeny of his films until my boss brought up a good point: “Authors are lucky if they have one really great piece of work. He’s got about five, which is really astonishing when you think about it.” True. (I love my job sometimes.)

I started this post on Thanksgiving, and I was going to write about how I’m thankful for this movie, because no matter what, it’s always perfect, it always concludes in the same perfect tied up like a present bow way, everyone ends up where they need to be… Then, maybe delve  into the coincidence of one of my best friends being named Hannah, and being thankful that there are people that tolerate my punkass…

Really though, this Thanksgiving, I’m thankful that some people really understand Chekhov. I’m thankful that quiet, character driven films exist, (though they seem to be much less popular), and I’m thankful that I get to read a bunch of drivel at work so I can appreciate what’s really good. I’m also thankful that Dianne Wiest won an Academy Award for this movie because she was fucking brilliant. (Ughhh the last scene just kills me every time.)

I’m also super thankful for my BFF Hannah, (and my other BFF’s Fif, and Aleena) because I really can’t think of a reason to keep me around, but they seem to think I’m sort of worthwhile 😛

That said, if you haven’t seen this movie, see it.

Here are some of my other favorite quiet character movies:

Judy Berlin (Dir: Eric Mendelsohn, 2000.)(Super hard to find, download it here.)

Bande a Part (Dir: Jean-Luc Godard, 1964)

Harold and Maude (Dir: Hal Ashby, 1971)

Ali: Fear Eats the Soul (Dir: Rainer Werner Fassbinder, 1974)

Ordinary People (Dir: Robert Redford, 1980)

Rabbit Hole (Dir: John Cameron Mitchell, 2010)

Happy Birthday, Gemini (Dir. Richard Benner, 1980)

State and Main (Dir. David Mamet, 2000)

Adaptation (Dir. Spike Jonze, 2002) <- Not sure this one counts, I just really like Charlie Kaufman (/HIPSTER.)



November 15, 2011

 Let me tell you something about tap dancing: I’m not very good at it.

It’s one of my favorite pastimes. I have an expensive pair of Capezios (with a box in the front) that I found at Reminiscence in Manhattan for $18; I’ve been taking class from the same woman for almost 10 years; my other teacher was in Enchanted ; and despite my best efforts, my double pullbacks are shit. Class usually goes like this: “Mac, pull your feet up.” “I can’t!” “Never mind, just cheat it.” “DJ, I can’t cheat it.” “What do you mean you can’t cheat it?” C’est la vie.

This weekend I was in San Francisco. I took a picture of the woman on  the left four and a half years ago at the end of the cable car line by Union Square. She was watching two of her students tap dance on a piece of plywood.

I was in San Fran this past weekend, and I saw the same woman! Strange how such things comfort you. I fell even more in love with her than I already was. She was wearing an orange hair scarf, flowy skirt leggings and flamenco shoes. She watched the same two dudes tap dancing on the same plywood. I was able to pick apart the steps they were doing, and although they weren’t terribly complex, they were clean, and they were fast. The guys turned to the crowd and said: “if you see something you like, you can clap. Unless there are some amazing tappers in the audience.” My hand stayed in my sweater pocket. Tapper, yes. Amazing, no. “There was a guy earlier who tap battled us.” I would love to tap battle someone; but not until I can master my pullbacks & butterflies. Again, C’est La Vie.

Tea Chai Te just moved into my neighborhood. I’ve dragged Kathryn along on a few of my tea-ventures and the last time we were there together, the guy behind the counter came over and introduced himself. “I’ve seen you guys here before,” he said, “what are your names?” Today, I woke up early, and stayed in bed late. My mother and I had a fight about my supposed lack of ambition, and I walked to the tea house to calm my mood. The same guy was there, and I asked him what he would recommend as a “worst day ever” tea. His eyes lit up, and he mixed me some strawberry coconut oolong with honey and rice milk. I enjoyed it while reading a Clive Barker novel, listening to bent, and watching the little bit of sunshine hiding behind the rainclouds disappear beyond the horizon.

One sip of the sweet concoction was enough to save what was left of my mood, and I cradled the mug while curled over my book.

Behind-the-counter-guy, (who’s name is actually Chris) is cute.

Sometimes we’re flirty when I order a cup of tea. Today it was just what I needed.

“Why tell these stories together?” You’re wondering. There is some sense of comfort in familiarity. Seeing the woman with her students rekindled my sense of wonder. I remembered why I loved her, if only from a distance. Tap is comfortable because it’s expressive.

Comfort to me is warm tea in your stomach.


My ecstatic esophagus tingles sometimes.

Comfort is a nice feeling.

Incase anyone was wondering, here is a video of someone doing pullbacks and butterflies (they start at :15) :

And my favorite step, paradiddles! (they start at :21)


November 9, 2011

First of all, before I delve into the superficial, yet emotionally exhausting subject matter of this entry, let’s take a gander at how presh KBates is looking right here. Despite the fact that she later ruins any further listen of Beethoven’s 5th– REFUSE THIS FACE. I DARE YOU. I also should mention that she’s had a special place in my heart since almost castrating someone in Primary Colors and refers to it as “his weenie.”

…on to new business.

I’ve been thinking about the concept of “misery” recently. (Given the fact that I’ve ugly cried at least TWICE in the last 7 days. GROSS.) Ugly crying is dumb. I suppose that’s why they call it ugly crying and not “wanton bitterweet unnaturally natural looking wavy haired blonde pixie-girl” crying. Or even “disney princess” crying. (“Favorite team just lost the superbowl” crying? I haven’t the faintest idea what that even looks like, but I’m sure it’s quite different than the afore mentioned genus of blubber.)

I am not miserable.

I have to keep reminding myself this.

When one is in the midst of a good ugly cry, one often forgets time and space and the fact that other emotions have indeed passed through their system. I try my best to let it happen and then move on to new, slightly refreshed business shortly after. This week has been different. I can’t seem to shake the urge to ugly cry ALL THE TIME. The other day, I broke my favorite pair of chopsticks in the dishwasher, and it sent me through a tidal wave of despair. (About 30 minutes of loss of my face [including snot&spit. TMI ALERT!], and then an hour nap on the dog bed which is in front of our fire.) Maybe the sun going down earlier had something to do with it, it may have been the fact that I’ve eaten well over 1,000 meals with these chopsticks, all I know is that I couldn’t finish cleaning the kitchen after the incident; and my mother took it upon herself to do it after seeing me completely and TOTALLY unfit to finish a simple task.

She angrily stormed into the family room, demanded to know what was wrong, and I honestly couldn’t tell her. Yes, I was upset about my ‘stix; but was that really the end of the issue? I had absolutely no energy to be introspective, and dog hair was getting caught in my scarf. Not good times.

…But what is misery anyway? Is it an unrelenting cloud of depression that follows you wherever you go? Is it an emotion that’s flimsy and fast moving? Can you be miserable and not stay that way for very long, or is it the rock bottom of emotional misfortune?

I have always been a proponent of simple pleasures. The downside of that kind of emotional nourishment is that my happiness is rarely sustainable, and must be searched for often. The upside is that being momentarily stuck in whatever “misery” is, is that it’s usually just that– momentary.

Today after a long stop at Tea Chai Te (WHICH FINALLY MOVED TO MY ‘HOOD PRAISE THE GOOD LORD IN HEAVEN AND DAMN MY PALTRY BANK ACCOUNT) I sat in the tip-top of the caboose, contemplating things I’d like to do in the near future. After I’d erased any trace of my presence in the tea house, I started walking down the street, and that song came up on my shuffle. (You know ~that~ song. The one that gets you excited despite the circumstance.)

I skipped down the rest of the block.

I realized then, that I had to allow myself to be joyful, and experience joy, even when others give me the impression it is a luxury I cannot afford. I relished in it, and crossed the street.

For those who are curious, here are my “that song”s for today:

Wavelength — Van Morrison


Settle Down — Kimbra