Bastards.

January 7, 2014

Back when I had a more active interest in maintaining my big girl blog, I came across a writing prompt that really grabbed me:

You are in a coma but you can hear everything everyone is saying.

Unfortunately I can’t seem to place how my brain was connecting the storm of things together, but I decided to center the story around two very good friends who had met at summer camp and ended up staying close through adulthood. One of them is in a car accident, and the other is either listed as her emergency contact; or is the only number emergency personnel can find after the woman is brought in.

(I know for a fact, some of this is due to my shamelessly rampant addiction to homoerotic subtext of the lady-on-lady variety.)

With that said, I had two people in mind; whose relationship I had painted enough of a brain-picture of that I felt like selfishly connecting the rest of the dots wouldn’t be too much of a stretch. I decided to name them Mona and Heather.

Mona, short for Ramona, is a sassy lady who lets nothing stand in her way. She takes life by the horns, dives into everything wholeheartedly, and headfirst. Heather is pensive and bookish. Rather than recoiling from social situations, she prefers to stand on the sidelines and observe before making any decisions. They are each other’s yin and yang.

The way I’d set them up is that they were accidental bunkmates, and slowly developed a long-lasting friendship. (I’m trying to think of how to describe the two of them without gagging over the first wave of earnestly saccharine adverbs that are hanging out in my brain.) They aren’t saccharine, they’re just friends. They love each other in a “run out in front of a bus for you” way. After awhile, their roots just sort of grew together.

The story starts where Mona’s just been in a horrific accident, and Heather pretends to be her next of kin so she can stay with her at the hospital. It winds through bits and pieces of their relationship; showing how they fit together, and how well they can lean on each other for support. (I have a few particular scenes in mind that tie everything together but explaining them would be a load of superfluous drivel, trust me.)

Given the backstory I’ve set up for these two characters, it serves mentioning that the idea of RPF (‘real person fanfic’) creeps the ~shit out of me. Which actually, now that I’m thinking about it, may speak to this problem of personal ownership, if you’ll forgive the tangent.

In any case, writing this didn’t feel weird to me because I was wholly convinced that I was illuminating the story of Mona and Heather– but a part of me still felt weird because I was using real, tangible flesh as their inspiration. If Mona and Heather are secretly other, breathing human beings, do I own them? Did they come from me?

If Heather’s late-summer bedroom, filled with shelves upon shelves of books, warm afternoon light, and Mona’s skirted, happy, body is an amalgamation of childhood rooms I’ve lived in or seen, do I own it?

By piecing things together into new things, does that mean I created them? Or just facets of them? Do I own the things, or just the facets of the thing?

Mona and Heather are friends in real life, this much I know.

My hope is that everything else is just coincidence.

EXCLUSIVE BABY MAMA FILM SET, 052107

What it is.

December 17, 2013

Yesterday I watched Pina and it kind of changed my life.

pina-bausch-springLe Sacre du Printemps is one of my favorite classical pieces.

Not in the way that I was so moved by her art that I just couldn’t keep the joy in my body– more like, I spent half of the movie trying not to tear my hair out because I was trying to make some sense of her personal thesis and couldn’t fucking do it. The lit theorist in me was trying to explicate all of this movement, or like, presumptuously add purpose to it and I just ended up confused.

The beauty of this confusion was that up until seeing this documentary, I had a really bloated idea of what dance *was* and then I had to take a look at all of this movement, and though it didn’t make a lick of sense to me, I had to accept that it was dancing. It is. It’s awesome! (I can also see a lot of Pina’s influence on Mats Ek’s work, which I loved.)

I was planning on finishing the movie anyway, but it almost left a bad taste in my mouth. Until one of her company members started talking about things that were really important to her: pain, exaltation, and the elements. I also noticed that every woman was wearing some sort of long gown in each piece, which was so lovely to watch. (Also harrowing at points, because I thought they might trip!)

After this became clear to me, I started working out certain elements of each piece. Rites of Spring for example was stunning because the entire stage was covered in dirt. I enjoyed it a lot because of my previous relationship to the music, but also, the choreography was a lot quicker than most of her other work throughout the movie.

There were a few pieces that actually brought me to tears.

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Particularly this one, which was set to an Amon Tobin song. I feel like certain sects of electronica music are totally underrepresented in the dance community– but it’s likely because I’m laughably uneducated. The fellow who was describing this piece said that Pina had asked him to come up with a movement that represented “Joy” and she then decided to make a scene around it.

Then I understood: she is the most raw emotional switchboard operator I’ve ever seen. She takes broad things like ~*~emotions~*~ and turns them directly into movement. I wouldn’t call it a translation persay, more a direct representation of what this thing… is. It’s weird! It’s so opposite my own process that I just sat slackjawed through the rest of the documentary. There aren’t really any words to describe what’s going on (emotionally, I mean) or why it’s happening; just like there aren’t any proper words to appropriate certain feelings you have.

I was battling with myself this entire film to try and make something out of her work. Not really something, I guess more of a heads or tails situation.

pina

I also cried after watching this dance as well. The concept is stunning, the choreography is simple, and the execution is utterly flawless.

What I loved most about Pina is that it completely turned my shallow definition of dance on its head.

Though I remain a little frustrated with my small mindedness (in terms of the desire to answer a lot of the “why”s Pina has in her work) I am so, so, so thankful that she could broaden my horizons in such an epic way.

Pina, I don’t understand you, but I know you’re fucking brilliant– and you totally rock.

Vielen dank!

Dream.

December 11, 2013

Yesterday I had a really delightful dream. It wasn’t delightful for any particular reason, it was just really nice and peaceful. I’m struggling with how to write it down so I can recall it later. It’s been difficult, because writing down its events feels aseptic. As if you were reading a to-do list instead of re-imagining a lush landscape.

To be clear, I’m not trying to parcel through this so everyone else can feel the same peace I did, I just want to be able to bring myself back to it at some point.

To my big empty house, to the rooms I had forgotten, the large closet I figured I could use as a spare bedroom for Amanda, the ballroom, the gymnasium, the school outside, and the sunshine. 

She has her arm sideways, and I can’t find which chapter it’s located in.

This was the best part of my dream, and I don’t feel like explaining it beyond the fact that I was watching this action transpire as opposed to being involved with it.

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It was filled with fresh breath.

At this point in the morning, my grandmother phoned me to say they were through with breakfast and on their way to my house.

I was sad to see this pleasantness drift away and out through my ears. *sigh*

Guidone.

November 22, 2013

fellini-8.5-glasses-hate-coatI’m having a Guido crisis.

Not in the fighting of swarms from my harem of hot babes way, though, that too has been going on. More in the, I don’t know what I want to say and we haven’t yet gotten to the part where everyone’s peachy keen with that and decides to dance around a spaceship with musical clowns way.

If you haven’t seen Otto é Mezzo (8 1/2) I recommend it highly. I have this strong belief that everyone has had a major Guido crisis at least once in their lives. To be clear, Marcello Mastroianni plays Guido, a moderately successful filmmaker who just has throngs of money thrown at him for his next picture– which he can’t decide what to do with. Rather, he doesn’t know what he wants to say.

The movie follows his decision making process of figuring out what it is he wants to say, but in the end he never figures it out. I want to say something trite like “OMG, SPOILERZZZZ” but in all honesty, knowing that piece of the ending shouldn’t deter you from at least trying to watch the film. It’s a fascinating tale about this guy, who essentially ruins everything good in his life trying to figure out what to do next. You know, as opposed to being a grownup and admitting he’s not really sure. It’s really dreamy, and even if you’re not really into Fellini’s other works, you should try and see this. If only for the snobby street cred you’ll get after the fact.

Lately I’ve been having what I refer to as a Guido crisis. I’m not trying to say anything meaningful, or even anything with a particular je ne sais quoi. I’m not bubbling with inexpressible energies, or trying to make sense of some inexplicable internal knots. All I can surmise right now, is that I want beds. I want them to be from a hospital, and I want them to be vintage.

I figured drawing these beds would somehow placate this emptiness in my bones. I was wrong. If I go around drawing beds, the only thing that happens is that I get better at drawing beds. Sometimes when I’m writing things, I just feel relieved of whatever I was trying to get out of my system. Something that had been building up gets depressurized, and I’m able to calm down a bit. (Physiologically speaking.) Right now I’m having a desire to consume a certain kind of media, instead of making it. (Because making it allows you to be inherently intimate with its flaws, or disregard them entirely, and its bananas blahblahblahhhhhh.)

Right now I suppose I’m too beat to design the box to think out of, or to search for the proper box in which to build upon. Or I should say, I’m not sure which preexisting elements I’d like to bring together to create a new box which I could either use like a dollhouse by rearranging everything, or just use as a box think out of.

And all I’ve got is beds.

I have nothing that makes me feel bursting at the seems, which on the one hand is pleasant, but on the other hand I feel insatiable. Just in that I’m so used to being able to have a high output of ideas that interest me, that when I don’t it just feels weird. Strangely enough, movement has been able to satisfy some of my creative output lately, but I’ve not been feeling well enough to keep going to my dance classes the last few weeks.

I guess the strange thing for me is that I don’t have anything within the vast range of emotional switchboarding that I’m trying to make accessible to others, or to compartmentalize for myself.

It’s odd!

I wish I were at that point where everyone’s dancing around the spaceship, happy that Guido can finally admit he has no idea what he wants to say. I’m afraid I’m still in the daydreaming point of his journey.

But who knows…Maybe my next thing will be “How Saraghina Got Her Groove Back”?

8etdemi 26

I guess we’ll have to see.

Superfluous Quandaries.

November 21, 2013

Today as I was walking to my mom’s house to pick up her car for work, I had a thought.

If I could spend the day/afternoon/whatever with any musician, who would it be? 

I internally parceled through a small list of contingencies, like would this person have to be alive, what sorts of things would be appropriate to talk about, and where we’d possibly want to hang. (The last of course, differed with each musician.)

My mind immediately erased certain possibilities (Joni Mitchell, for one) because of all I’ve read of her/others I’d thought about, we seem to have little in common. That became a sticking point, I wanted to hang with them as people  not just musicians. I kept trying to avoid grooves in the sidewalk with my feet, while concentrating heavily on this question.

Who -would- I like to hang out with?

The obvious answer for me at least, is Janis Siegel. (Because she’s my favorite singer, and she’s totally rad!) But the more I got to think about what I wanted out of this potential encounter, the more I thought it would be fun to hang out with someone like Bobby McFerrin. I would honestly just let him talk at me about music theory. It would be simply divine. Laurel Massé also came to mind, just because I love how she writes about religion. I would love to have a conversation with her about her favorite bible verses, and get her perspective on living thoughtfully.

Before I came to the conclusion that I’d prefer if this person (or persons) were still alive, I thought about asking Carmen McRae how she came to approach phrasing in such an innovative way. Which, afterwards I realized would be a hard question to even answer, so I rephrased it in my brain as a question that’s more like, “what gets you excited? What makes you want to sing?”

I also just thought about unwindulaxing with Liza Minnelli. How rad would that be? I’d love to just hear her talk about how she’s able to infuse her life with such positivity. Her optimism tickles me pink. Or, if we’re going to wander down that road: how about Bette Midler? I feel like because her twitter is bloody hilarious, I’d probably require some sort of adult diaper just to be safe.

I thought about Cher, or Bernadette Peters; I thought about musicians I’d like to meet just so I could punch them in the face(Jimmy Buffet& Taylor Swift); powerhouses of the early 2000’s to now (Beyoncé, Rhianna); but I couldn’t really come up with a good answer.

It was certainly a nice way to occupy my walk, but after awhile it started to majorly stress me out! I still don’t know who I’d like to choose!

What about you? If you could hang out with any living musician for a day, who would it be?

Dudies.

November 13, 2013

I’m trying to sit through Minority Report right now and it’s testing my patience in a serious way. After spending an inordinate amount of money studying writing at film school, all I can do is cringe because of what a shitstorm this movie is.

Can I just….. the budget for this movie was 100 million dollars. A LOT OF PEOPLE GAVE SPIELBERG 100. MILLION. DOLLARS. TO MAKE. THIS MOVIE.

Theoretically, and I know it’s difficult, you’re supposed to set up the rules of the universe of a sci-fi movie before the end of the first act. We’re also supposed to care about the main character a little bit. You know, figure out what their shit is about. Figure out why we’re waisting, (in my case) 2.5 hours on their journeys. I don’t give two shits about Tom Cruise, or his dead son, or his sad George Jetson dystopian life.

It’s mildly dreamy, and the idea of personalized advertising through reading someone’s eyeballs is interesting– but not interesting enough for me to care about it. I was so through with everything by the first five minutes that I almost turned the movie off. If my director weren’t such an awesome dude, I totally would have.

It struck me after I became fed up with every conceivable law of physics that was presented being immediately broken, that Minority Report is a dudie. A movie for dudes. What other kind of movie would have two dudes beating the shit out of each other, mano a mano on a fucking luxury car assembly line?

I don’t care about babes being submerged in water, actually, strike that….

BUT THIS STORY IS FUCKING BANANAS. AND NOT IN THAT INFURIATING INTERNET HYPERBOLE WAY. I HATE IT.  It’s ridiculous.

The fact that everyone in that movie is making more money than me, us, a lot of people.

AND THEY HAVE THE FUCKING AUDACITY TO USE BILLIE HOLIDAY’S SOLITUDE? ARE YOU FUCKING SERIOUS? SHIT ON ONE OF THE BEST JAZZ SONGS IN FUCKING HISTORY?

SERIOUSLY?

I…..am sorry for all of this ranting.

Perhaps if you’re a dude from the ages of 12-30 you enjoy this movie, I’m happy it exists for you, but I am beyond irritated.

Dana Scully’s Hair.

October 14, 2013

…and reasons why it wasn’t enough to save the X-Files for me.

The last two (or so) years I’ve been trying off and on to work my way through the X-Files. I’d sort of figured that space aliens was the reason I didn’t really care much about anything besides Mulder and Scully’s brolationship. (It’s great!)

I blamed space aliens for everything that was wrong with that show, but as I’m starting to revisit it a little bit, I finally figured out why it really irritates me. (Let me be expressly clear: I want more than anything to love this show like it deserves to be loved, I just can’t wrap my head around it I guess.)

Anyway, I’m watching the two parter in season five that involves Emily Sim. (A three year old girl who’s biologically Scully’s.) And it hits me: so much of this show rests on coincidences going horribly awry, or the audience not being able to figure out exactly what’s going on that I can’t bring myself to pay attention.

For example: Mulder just told a member of the SDPD not to shoot this other dude (because, ALIENS) which he does anyway, and then the alien dude shapeshifts into the SDPD guy tricking Mulder into thinking things are totally peachy when it’s totally the opposite. (Again, ALIENS.)

Even typing that paragraph was confusing to me.

Basically what I’m saying is, nothing -ever- goes right for these people. (Mulder, Scully, Scully’s hair, or anyone they encounter.) And it’s infuriating! I haven’t felt this way about a TV show since Rocko’s Modern Life, which at the time I couldn’t really articulate why I didn’t like watching it.

These characters NEVER get what they want, and the coincidence factor of everyone else being able to be right in their way is all too convenient.

So, I’m sorry space aliens, even though you cause a lot of problems; it’s not your fault that I can’t stand anything about the X-Files aside from Scully’s hair.

Recess!

October 11, 2013

Screenwriting is hard you guys.

I love it and everything, but being on a short deadline is crappy.

I downloaded a new Towa Tei album for “research” and so far this song is my favorite:

Pick meme!

October 4, 2013

I posted this on tumblr, but no one sent me any numbers to answer. Normally, in a fit of solipsistic rage, I’ll fill these out on my personal-personal blog (LJ, WHADDUP) but I wanted to do this one in a somewhat public venue, because it’s interesting. (As opposed to the ones that are like, “1. What’s your favorite color? 2. Did you poop today? 3. If you were stranded on a desert island with cannibalistic molerats and one celebrity, who would you choose to be with you so they’d get eaten first?”

No.

I also just found out that a job that I’d accepted is going to pay me a lot more than I’d thought, so I’ve been celebrating all day.

I went for the hundred pack! *cue: Paul McCartney and Wings*

I’m addicted to these f^ckers. Instant mocha flavored coffee sticks? SIGN. ME. UP. (Always.)

The other thing I’m going to do is fill out this film/tv meme. Yay?

1. Talk about your favorite film of all time (or one of them)

I was just watching it because I couldn’t sleep yesterday evening, actually. Hannah and Her Sisters is by far my favorite movie. I have a lot of others that constantly compete for a spot in my top 5, but I was struck so dumb by the end of that movie that I couldn’t even speak. There’s nothing really *special* about it, (aside from HOLY CHEKHOV style subtext) but I really enjoy it’s tone, and the way Woody Allen decided to break it up into chapters. Dianne Wiest is my favorite actor, and she does a really tremendous job in this film. It’s a really subtle powerhouse, and one of the best movies I’ve ever seen.

2. Talk about your favorite tv show of all time (or one of them)

I’m not sure what to choose for this one. My immediate first thoughts are, Cagney and Lacey, ER,  the Golden Girls, or Saturday Night Live. They’re probably all tied for the number one spot. The first three, because they’re totally timeless. The humor on GGs stands up today because thematically, it’s not a topical show. (Or super zeitgeist-y.) The feminist dynamic of C&L is still relevant today. (Because women in the workforce are still dealing with the same bullshit.) ER because it captures the dynamic between people who are very invested in their work, as well as personal goings on. SNL on the opposite side of things, is brilliantly topical. Their satire is usually A+, and it’s awesome that they’ve been such an institution of American television for almost 40 years.
3. Talk about a movie, or an aspect of one that you think people don’t get or misunderstand

In terms of movie writing, I think a lot of people don’t understand the beauty of a character driven piece that has the proper amount of subtext. It’s rare that you see a mainstream film that’s just about people living life, without the additions of like, zombies, explosions, or being set in the Victorian era.

Also, on a completely different note, I feel like people knock Spice World all the time because they don’t understand how delightfully campy it is.

4. Talk about a film you think is underrated

Judy Berlin. It’s another quiet  Chekhovian masterpiece (Madeline Kahn’s last film, as well) but no one seems to have heard of it. I’d also say Scotland, PA because Maura Tierney as Pat is the EPITOME of sass.
5. Talk about a film you think is overrated

Titanic.

6. Talk about a show you think is underrated 

‘Cagney and Lacey’ is often a pejorative phrase to describe prominent (or even barely noticeable) female friendships on TV, but I honestly believe it’s one of the best show’s ever written. It deals brilliantly with the idea of layered arc structuring, and after watching the whole series a few years ago, I was stunned that it wasn’t more positively discussed.

7. Talk about a show you think is overrated

Glee, PLL, Gossip Girl… Any show that’s marketed towards high schoolers, or where the protagonists are high schoolers and are set in the most hyperbolic, unrealistic atmospheres. PUKE.
8. Talk about a movie you love

I was just thinking about this movie by happenstance the other day, but it’s a German film called “Ali: Fear Eats the Soul” and it’s really a beautiful movie. I haven’t watched it in awhile, but I feel like I’m due for a rewatch now.
9. Talk about a movie you hate

I really wanted to shoot myself in the face after watching PS I love you.
10. Talk about a show you love

The Lawrence Welk Show! Again, camp at it’s finest. (With the exception of Jo Ann Castle who just blows my damn MIND.)

11. Talk about a show you hate

See the list above.
12. Talk about a performance you love

Ellen Greene as Audrey in Little Shop of Horrors always grabs me. I also really enjoy Ruth Gordon as Dame Marjory Chardin in Harold and Maude. The last one I feel needs a mention is Jim Carrey in Eternal Sunshine. I wasn’t really a huge fan of his before I saw that movie.

13. Talk about a performance you hate

I just watched the Shining the other day, and I wasn’t really fond of anyone’s work in that movie. (Aside from Danny, the child.)
14. What’s a character, from film or television, that you relate a lot?

I know I’ve mentioned Cagney and Lacey a lot, but one of the reasons I enjoyed it so much was because I saw so much of myself in Cagney. She’s “brusque”, opinionated, and independent; and often reacts how I would in precarious situations. (With 100% sass mouth.) The two other’s I’d like to mention are Dorothy Zbornak from tGGs, and Susan Lewis from ER. They both have a really dry,  quick wit; and aren’t always sure of their decisions.

15. What’s a movie you expected to like/love but ended up disliking?

The Shining, actually! It was gorgeous, but left a lot to be desired story-wise.

16. What’s a movie you didn’t expect to like but ended up loving

CARRIE. I had no expectations going into it, but MAN did I enjoy the hell out of that film!

17. What’s a show you loved at first but ended up disliking by the end?

The X-Files. I found myself heavily invested in Mulder and Scully’s brolationship, but not really caring about space aliens or government conspiracy.

18. What was the first movie or show that made you cry?

A movie I checked out from the library when I was five or so. It was just a collection of bad 60’s cover songs, that also had bad music videos to go with. I just remember watching the one to “Come Saturday Morning” and being like, “No! What… why is this happening? My face? What’s going on…?”

19. What was the last movie you saw in the theater?

In a World.

SAVE YOUR MONEY.
20. What’s a movie that caused you to become scared of something? 

Before learning about “Child’s Play” it had never occurred to me that inanimate objects could come to life and do harm. To this day, I’m totally weirded out by automatons, wax figures, and creepy dolls.

21. Talk about a specific nightmare that a movie or show gave you:

I remember being very young and not understanding what the word “horror” meant. I just remember glancing at covers of movies and not being able to sleep at night. My brain’s conscious concoctions are always worse than nightmares.
22. What do you think is the funniest movie ever made?

Either A Fish Called Wanda, or Wet Hot American Summer.

23. What do you think is the saddest movie ever made?

I avoid sad movies like the plague, but I got really choked up during Sophie’s Choice, and the end of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. I also was a wreck after Night of the Living Dead, surprisingly.
24. What do you think is the scariest movie ever made?

Good question! I’ve seen a lot of the supposedly ‘scariest movie’s ever’ and wasn’t really that affected by them. I thought the Exorcist was stunning, and I totally loved Suspiria. I don’t even know if I can answer this, because nothing’s really scared the pants off me. I will say, Sybil is probably the eeriest movie I’ve ever seen, but not exactly scary.
25. What do you think is the funniest show ever? (you can pick a specific episode if you want)

Oh goodness, I’m a huge 30 Rock tool, but I’d have to say I Love Lucy, The Golden Girls maybe… I’m not sure. Gilda Radner is the funniest TV show ever. Is that an ok answer?

26. What do you think is the saddest show ever?

ON THE BEACH. (The end of ER season 8) that whole arc destroys me every time I watch it.
27. What do you think is the best adaptation of a book? (film or TV)

I’m not quite sure, actually! I’m not familiar enough with either that match up. (IE I’ll have watched the movie, but not read the book; or vice-versa.)

28. What do you think is the worst adaptation of a book?

Again, not too sure.

29. What do you think is the most well shot film or show?

ER is great with all of the steadicaming. There’s also one shot in Hannah and Her Sisters that’s to DIE for. It’s a tracking/steadicam/somethingorother shot of the three sisters at lunch. AMAZING.

I also really enjoyed the camera work in the Shining. It’s GOR.GE.OUS.

30. What’s a movie or show you love but often forget about?

Anything that TVLand used to play in the mid 90’s. Most of the sitcoms from 55-85 were absolute GOLD. Also, that cartoon Recess. I really enjoy that show a lot!

Where angels go…

September 29, 2013

Today is Madeline Kahn’s birthday~! 

It is also Sunday 29th. 

I have a bunch of songs swirling around in my brain, and I’m brewing a much needed post about the pleasures of the Miles Davis Sunday. 

For now… 

post-37737-1320233816

 

For you: 

Heartbeats – Knife

Sunday 29th – Bent 

Blue in Green – Miles Davis 

Where Angels Go (Trouble Follows) – Boyce & Hart