Monday, September 28, 2009

Weekend Update with Jack Torrance

Saturday evening I went to a production of Peter Sellars' retelling of Othello at the NYU Skirball Center. It starred John Ortiz in the title role and Philip Seymour Hoffman as Iago, which was completely perfect because PSH kind of makes my skin crawl anyway. I don't know, I'm really bothered by him, always have been, so it was fitting to see him in one of the most detestable roles Shakespeare ever wrote. I ended up with front row seats but at least a third of the audience left anyway. What I gathered from the British theatre snob who complained loudly and he exited, was that it was a combination of terrible acting, the actors being wired with mics and uninspired staging. I couldn't agree more that most of the (4 1/2 hour) play consisted of shouting into mics, completely unnecessary, well, ever but especially in that relatively small theatre. Jessica Chastain's pure portrayal of Desdemona was nice and the giant bed made out of TV screens that was the set was really cool, but I could do without ever having to sit through a tediously long White House-centered, semi-political, racially charged adaptation of one of Shakespeare's greatest works again. Especially when I'm close enough to get hit with PSH's spit. Yes, Obama is in the White House, things are changing and Shakespeare is timeless but I would have much preferred that message in an engaging and subtle context rather than to be smacked across the face with it. To each her own.

Because I was so close to IFC and can't resist an opportunity to go, I talked Candace and Sam L. into seeing the midnight screening of The Shining with me post-Othello.

Friends, I don't care how brave you think you are. Never, never ever go see a print of The Shining at midnight on a dreary, rainy night at a theatre that is renowned for its superior presentation. Ever.

Needless to say, the three of us shared a cab home.

Sunday was spent doing the usual Sunday family stuff. B doesn't have school today so our friends (the family with six kids that go to his school) invited him to spend the night and go with them to the Bronx Zoo today while I'm a work. The kids are all really sweet, well behaved and smart, and there are three boys all around his age, so I feel great about him being friends with them. He's never spent the night with anyone who wasn't family or Jaren, so this new territory for us. I missed him a lot but I schlepped my laptop up to Bobst library, pirated a conference room for Candace and I and got my entire first paper written and turned in four days early (at 4:00 this morning)! Go me.

Now I'm off to inject caffeine into my jugular and take my second film splicing test. Yay Monday!

Sunday, September 27, 2009


Yesterday B and I went to the New York Film Fest's 70th anniversary screening of
The Wizard of Oz
I jumped at the chance to see, and have my son see, the 8k hi-definition remaster (coming out on blu-ray) on the big screen in a beautiful proscenium theater on the film's 70th anniversary, and it turned out to be an even more incredible event than I imagined. The Lincoln Center's Alice Tully Hall was completely packed with people eager to see the film as they never had before.

Judy Garland's daughter, Lorna Luft, was there to present the film and the five remaining munchkins came out for a pre-screening storytelling session, which included memories of their time on set and impromptu performances of some of the film's most iconic songs. There was a definite sense of pride in the room, both on the part of those who were connected to the film and those of us who were getting to take part in this event.

It was really like watching a movie I've seen a thousand times for the first time. The colors were vibrant and the audio was near perfect, but it still looked like a film. The stills I'm posting are from the blu-ray, so that should give you an idea.

B was completely captivated the entire time (despite his insistence on pretending to be asleep when I tried to take pictures), which was really fun to watch. On the subway ride home and at lunch he even talked to me about the movie.
If you get the chance, I highly recommend seeing it when it does a brief run in theaters.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Toto, I've got a feeling we're not in Dallas anymore.

Tonight B's school had a potluck and dance and it was cuh-razy! I couldn't believe it. Every kid and their parents and probably a cousin or two were there. They had a dj spinning, an insane amount of food (the likes of which you only find in a city this rich in culture and ethnic backgrounds) and glow sticks! I mean, what more do you need, really?
(A video camera would have been nice. I was so sad that I forgot it but, in my defense, I had other things on my mind... like carrying a massive, burning hot casserole as we walked down the busy streets to get there.)

B played with friends...
jumped off the wall...
judged other kids' dancing...
and even danced himself! I never thought I would see the day. He did the macarena, the cha-cha slide, the YMCA, and something vaguely resembling the Yelle dance. I was super impressed.
My personal favorite moment was watching him do the entire Thriller dance. (Very hard to capture via iPhone but you can see two vital moments below.) Even more impressive because he wasn't the only kid there that knew it.

It was so cool to see little kids doing the meringue, teachers and parents dancing like fools and everyone having a blast. Eventually the sun went down and the glow sticks lit up. Music echoed down the block, everybody did the twist and I realized that there is no other city like this.

Family Friday

This morning was Family Friday at B's school. It's a really cool thing they do every month to help the parents stay super involved. He got to make a timeline of his life and talk about it with his class. (Super cute except for when he opened the glue and started sniffing it, shrugged and said "smells good." All I could think about was Dee Dee Ramone.) I like how laid back his class is and all the cool things they do. Yesterday they went on a walking trip to the Museum of the City of New York to learn about the city's history. His school feels like a family, his teachers are cool and there is an opportunity for me to be a part of the experience. They are really working with him to make sure he is challenged and doesn't get bored. They let him read and write at an advanced level and have come up with a schedule that keeps him moving forward. ...And then he sniffs glue and I remember that he's still a second grader and am even more grateful that, above all, he likes his school.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

not much.

I've been incredibly busy but it's mostly all stuff that's boring to blog about.

Let's see... I've seen James Franco a few times at Tisch. I'm sure he's a lovely gentleman but he always looks so cranky. I imagine it's part of trying to be left alone so he can focus on class, which is understandable.

B has a school dance tomorrow night for the parents to come and mingle. Should be interesting. I'm working on a casserole. For real. I'm such a mom!

IFC sells the CineMetal shirts which are awesome. In case you didn't know, I love IFC.

I found out I can get cheap movie ticket vouchers from my school. This changes everything.

I'm prepping for the AMIA conference and my mom's visit, which I'm super excited about. She's going to organize my life with the help of IKEA and Home Depot.

I'm thinking about taking B to see
Shrek the Musical but I don't know if I can sit through it.

Yep, I'm boring. More soon.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

today was the longest day ever...

but I'm not complaining.
Who rules at film repair? Brittan rules at film repair.

Monday, September 21, 2009

The Blank Generation

Saturday night (post-podcasting) I checked out the "Punk Rock, Forever!" portion of the HOWL! Arts Film Series. It was a small screening in the basement at Millennium on the lower east side, but all the filmmakers were there. I dragged my MIAP friends out to sit through it with me on the premise that it was being run by a prominent NYC archivist. I don't know if they dug it but I know I did. It was pure Brittan heaven. Here's why.

The Blank Generation (Poe/Kral, 1976)
Early silent footage taken at CBGB when the "crowd" was still made up of only 10 or 20 kids. Patti Smith, Blondie, Talking Heads, Ramones, New York Dolls, Television, etc. shot up close by their friends and set to early demos that they gave them. Ivan Kral left communist Prague and started taking video to show his friends back home what punk music looked like. He and Amos Poe were reunited at the screening and their stories were incredible.
Soul City (Jones, 1979)
Such a great song. It took M. Henry Jones two years to complete this two minute film in the late 70s. Think about that as you click the link and watch it pop up in YouTube in a matter of seconds.Punking Out (Carson/Kossakowski, 1979)
It's like watching the punk scene fight the rest of the world to the death. I love seeing the innocence of the time. The kids still believed that it was them against the world and that they would never be changed by it, never conform. They're offended by the posers who come looking for the CBGB and take extreme pride in exclusivity, while the Dead Boys and Ramones are just bored. Amazing Richard Hell performance, great sound quality.

So cool. Interesting to see these incredible people reminisce about early punk and glam, hate on disco and talk about the change and disenchantment that comes with time. They are all still actively excavating old reels and creating new material, and still wear the mark of someone who was a part of that scene in New York.

Also that night I saw the greatest drumming I have ever seen in my entire life. I do not exaggerate. There is no way for me to put it into words and my Flip was not there (of course) so I will just post a picture that only I will truly grasp and assure you that I know what I'm talking about.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

"New York has, hands down, the best graffiti artists."

My friend Patrick took me to see his old school mate Jesse (along with Jordan and Jim Gaffigan) in The Monsters of Podcasting at Upright Citizen Brigade Theater, which is awesomely in my very neighborhood. The above quote was said by Jesse during the show in reference to the above poster, which I later stumbled upon myself. So true.
(click the picture to see it up close if you can't make out what it says)

Saturday, September 19, 2009

making friends.

Yesterday we had a play date at Madison Square Park and stood in line for an hour to eat at the famous (and rightfully so) Shake Shack. Delicious! So now I know a cool mom named Hillary and her two dudes, one of which is B's age.

After that I met up with my friend Patrick from the Dallas Observer who is in town for a couple days. I showed him my super glamorous apartment (ha), my campus (including my eyebrow threading place and favorite vegan noms) and the beautiful Tisch School of the Arts. I tried to sneak him into the projection booth so I could show off, but everyone was at the Cinema Studies Department mixer, so I couldn't get the keys.

Once we parted ways, I joined said mixer, met some non-MIAP peeps and then the second year MIAPs took us first years out. It was good times and a rare night out for me.
The walk toward home through Washington Square Park with Ashley, Candance and Sam was just as fun. I really, really like my new friends.

One sketchy 1 a.m. subway ride home and I was back in my little place, continuing my The Office Season 5 marathon and eating a post-midnight sandwich. Not one bit of studying all day. I almost feel like a college student!

One more reason to love my new home.

Chelsea, Chelsea, Chelsea.
What are you trying to do, blow my mind?
Alan's Alley Video is my neighborhood video rental and I am in love.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

New York, New York, ready for the likes of this!

So much happening for we two B's!

B got into the Gifted & Talented class at his school today! This is such a big opportunity for my little dude. The G&T program in Manhattan (particularly in his district) is amazing, and he deserves this so much!
As for me, I took my first film inspection/repair test yesterday. I should find out how I did on Monday. I feel really good about most of it, except that sprocket hole repair may be the death of me.
I also got the ball rolling on my super amazing dream internship today. I probably won't have any more info on it until after the AMIA conference in November, and it probably won't take place until Fall 2010 but I had to share my excitement! This is going to be the experience of a lifetime and I absolutely can't wait. Okay, I can't help myself... I'm going to give you a hint...

Monday, September 14, 2009

Just another manic Monday.

Today I worked in the lab for a billion hours...Took a lunch break and found that NYU was pretty much shut down because Presidents Obama and Clinton were eating lunch on campus...
Cooked dinner and scrubbed down my apartment like I do every day...
And now I want to sleep.
'Cause that's my funday.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

we heart ny

We're feeling pretty popular. Making friends left and right. I school. The people in my department are nerdy like me and into the same stuff I'm into. Four of us went to Best Buy the other day and without a word to each other all went straight upstairs and to the Criterions as soon as we walked in. How cool! I get really into my classes and participate a lot, which is something I've never done before. I really connect with the material so much that it doesn't even feel like work to me.

Speaking of work, my job is way rad. I am a projectionist and work in the archives. I can totally load a 16mm projector super fast and skillfully! I'm learning how to inspect, splice and repair film as well (significantly harder) and will be tested on it this week for certification. I hear it usually takes several tests before you're certified and I'm nowhere near ready right now, but once I get my certification I can work on repairing real films. Exciting!

Bradley's school is awesome and just dripping with amazing arts programs. This is one of the best schools I could have ever hoped for. The teachers and principal know all the kids personally and look at them as individuals rather than a "class." Their motto is "K & G" for kind and gentle and the teachers and administration seem to work extra hard to keep that up. I met another mom who has six kids, five of which go to B's school and she has only excellent things to say about it. B's stoked because her three older boys are into Star Wars. Score!

I really love the old school vibe of the city. There are some traditions upheld here that don't seem to exist most other places anymore. People don't tend to spend much time on their cell phones and daily activities require more effort here than other places. It makes me feel more involved in life and connected with people. There also seems to be an appreciation for history and days gone by, which something that I really identify with. My professors and the professionals in my field are passionate, brilliant and classy in a way that is refreshing to me after some of my experiences in the film industry. Sometimes when I hear the click of the film reel or walk out onto Broadway from the bright hallways of Tisch, I really feel like I'm in a movie.

Also, they have Snapple Apple here. Snapple Apple. I don't know if you realize how big an event this is in my life. I haven't had Snapple Apple since 2006 and here I can get the best vegan meal of my life and Snapple Apple. Praise Jesus.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

when i'm stuck with a day that's gray and lonely...

This picture makes me laugh.

I'm asking if yall feel me and the crowd left me stranded

Hey, not to be a huge dork, but I want to get to know my readers so... leave me comments! Say hi, give feedback if you feel so inspired, tell me if you see any of the movies I talk about, let me read your blog! I like friends.

(Also, I love this song.)

Respiration - Black Star

Friday, September 11, 2009

Things you never really get used to

Today a socially awkward girl who was sitting in on my class brought up the issue of my age in relation to my son's in front of everyone. I can't really fault her for it (though I don't understand this sort of rudeness) because she was rather unfortunate and clearly meant no harm. Still, it never gets any easier to laugh and say in a forced casual voice, "Yeah, I was 16." The awkward silence as everyone else in the room searches for something to change the subject is never any less embarrassing than the time before. It's like being right back in 2002, put on trial and trying to excuse myself, put on exhibition with a scarlet letter on my chest. I'm forced to remember that I'm different, that I did something wrong. It's one of those things that B and I will deal with forever, I just hope I can get to the point one day where I'm not just acting like it doesn't phase me.

Wendy Anne

Happy Birthday, Wendy!!

I've known this girl since her birth on September 11, 1985 (three months after mine) and I can't even begin to explain how much I love her. She's brilliant, sassy, feisty
and fun. She's a peacemaker and a do-gooder, a compelling writer and lovely singer, a makeup fiend and TV junkie. She knows way too much about me and loves me anyway. I'm sorry to say she had to put up with me being quite the brat growing up. Sometimes I wonder why in the world she's still friends with me. I remember throwing fits, being a snot and always making her play Danny when we acted out Grease. I'm sure she remembers even more that I've blacked out. She has always been the sweetest, most loyal friend and I plan to spend the rest of our lives trying to be as good to her. I look up to Wendy so much.

Today I'm thinking about all the happy memories we have of pigging out (3D Doritos!) and watching musicals, sleepovers, Spice Girls and lollipops, girl dates, heart to hearts, puberty, first loves, Hanson. When we were 13 we vowed that as soon as we had cars we would head to Tulsa to see our beloved Hanson in their homeland. So many things happened in both of our lives over the next several years but in 2004 we finally did it. We hopped into Penny (isn't she cute) and went to the Mmmecca. (See what I did there?) Wendy and I will never grow up and always secretly love the things we loved when we were little girls. And we're both cool with that. She's a wonderful aunt to Bradley. We love you, Wuwie. Sorry your birthday is now a national tragedy.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

I love living in Chelsea.

I love the pier. You can sit on the grass and watch the boats and helicopters and people. There's a free skate park right down on the water. There's such a cool vibe to the neighborhood and friends nearby. Between home, school and movies I couldn't be more happy with the parts of the city I get to see every day. All I need now is a laundromat.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

"You know, Tommy, you're a freak. I don't mean that unkindly. I like freaks."

Guess what I'm watching.

First day of school surveys

B's first day of 2nd grade was a little rough. The transition is pretty major and he's only been here a few days, but he's handling it like a champ. I'm so impressed by his positive attitude and couldn't help but smile when I read about his favorite hobby on the paper he brought home today:
Definitely my child.

Tonight his homework was to fill out yet another survey about himself and he agonized over one question on it for at least an hour. "Who or what do you like to write about?" This simple question caused crying, torment, shutting himself off in his room and refusing to speak to anyone. Then he came up with the perfect way to word his answer, bounced cheerfully out of his room, wrote it and went on with his evening.

Definitely my child.

Monday, September 7, 2009

NYC: Where a kid can be a kid!

We decided to be tourists today because B was mad that he hadn't gotten to see all the bright lights and crowds of people and awesome things that New York supposedly had to offer.

This morning I saw Roman Polanski's Knife in the Water at IFC.

Happy day.

Saturday Cinematheque: Orientation Week

Our first Cinematheque was New York themed, naturally. It was actually a perfect welcome to the city. There weren't many of us there, mostly a bunch of freshman who laughed at the films and left halfway through, but I can already see a group of people that I will fit nicely into. It's exciting to be in a creative environment with so many people who love the same thing I love. It's also refreshing (and often surprising) to see all the different ideas people have and the different aspects of film that interest them. Here's what we saw at our first screening. I hope this doesn't bore anyone too much. The links are to YouTube so you can watch them!

1. Skyscrapers of New York City (Edison, 1903)
This literally made my heart race. It's mind-blowing when you think about what it meant at the time and how far we've come. I get emotional thinking about how the world and the human experience (and my life) have been altered because of it. I thought about the emigrants and I can relate to them in experiencing this city for the first time, and the fact that this is what Edison chose to shoot.
2. The New York Hat (Griffith, 1912)
The script was written by Anita Loos when she was 16, and ended up directed by D.W. Griffith and staring a Barrymore. I can never make another excuse again. Quite funny and racy for its time.
3. Manhatta (Strand, Sheeler, 1921)
A bunch of people left during Manhatta, which is such a shame. It has some really innovative, interesting shots. It was really late and had been a long day of orientation for all of us but every time I would start to feel sleepy something cool would happen that would grab my attention again. So cool. One of my favorites.
4. A Bronx Morning (Leyda, 1931)
Jay Leyda was a professor at NYU in the 70's and 80's. This film got him an invitation to study with Einstein and is in the National Film Registry.
5. Lights of New York (Foy, 1928)
The only talkie in the group. An average early sound movie with musical numbers, old-school gangster action and crazy dames. I can't find a video or still and don't feel like stretching beyond Google to look for it because it's honestly not that great. Also, NOT the first all talking picture. This was post-
Jazz Singer. Confused.
6. Docks of New York (Sternberg, 1928)
Lots of fun, entertaining and heartbreaking. I found this really interesting as it came from the Hollywood machine as a commercial release but has some dark, controversial elements and so much style, which I love. My favorite of the night. The video is just a series of clips set to piano, can't find the full thing.

So we didn't have accompaniment for all these silent films and our 16mm projectors only go down to 18fps which didn't work for many of them, but it was still such a treat. I can't believe I get to go to stuff like this every week. There are screenings every night and if I were childless, I swear I would be at every single one.