Really, really cool article about my field. This is what I'm studying in school, and what I hope to one day join the ranks of. Film preservation goes beyond this to preserving television, news broadcasts, PSAs, home movies, experimental film and any moving image of a culture. Moving image gives us a visual history, the value of which is immeasurable. Recently a graduate of MIAP (the program I'm in at NYU) discovered the only complete version of Fritz Lang's Metropolis in Buenos Ares. Because of people like her and backing from the likes of Martin Scorsese, we are able to save more and more important works from complete deterioration.
Update: I also just recently found out that the original Toy Story files are now completely obsolete. There no longer exists the ability to play or edit the raw files. Format obsolescence is a big part of what we deal with. Even digital files can deteriorate. Pretty crazy, hmm?
Walking to school in the snow because walking in my rubber goulashes is quite the workout, and also because it makes my favorite parks and walkways look so nice.
I want to thank everyone for your friendship and kindness. There will always be difficult decisions, rough patches and heartbreak, but I am trying to maintain perspective. I am optimistic and will always believe in following my heart and doing the best I can. Maybe one day it will get me somewhere.
Well, maybe not. My mom is a sci-fi loving conspiracy theorist, so I really had no chance. She introduced me to Star Wars, Star Trek and Star Trek the Next Generation (love) when I was just a wee fangirl. Over the years there was Buffy, Harry Potter (never Twilight, not in a million years, I have standards) and more recently Firefly. Then there was Dr. Horrible. Lacy, gently wafting Dr. Horrible. THEN there was the Dr. Horrible DVD with special features which include a musical commentary. Someone else please tell me how much you love this and that I am perfectly normal for having it run on a loop in my head for the past two weeks.
This is all Nathan Fillion's fault. Why must he be so dashing and even more hilarious? Last night I made Sam L. and Sam O., Ashley and Candace come over after class to watch "Commentary! The Musical!" and have an actual sing along with me. I. Can't. Stop. I just want to meet Joss Whedon and charm him so that I can penetrate his inner circle (heh), thus becoming BFFs with the Fillion, NPH and Felicia Day and the rest. Geek!
Okay, so, really... anyone else love Dr. Horrible? What about Captain Hammer/Malcolm Reynolds/Richard Castle?
I have a medical issue that I like to ignore because it doesn't manifest itself with symptoms and it is under control. However, every six months I am reminded of it when my doctor calls me daily to remind me that I need to come in for my biopsy. I make up excuses for days (this time months) about why I can't come in. I delay. But inevitably I have to face it. The thing is, I've never been afraid of physical pain. I've birthed a child. Needles don't scare me. I wasn't scared of the biopsy the first couple times. But now I know what it's like, how alone it makes me feel. It's that time again... and I am scared.
I saw another steamy Kurosawa noir film at Film Forum last week. I liked High and Low even more than Stray Dog and am really starting to appreciate Kurosawa for his detective films.
I've also been watching the Olympic qualifiers, skiing, snowboarding and figure skating. Conclusions: U.S. lady skiers and U.S. dude snowboarders are going to be so fun to watch and probably win every medal. Sasha Cohen didn't make the team so I could care less about figure skating. Maybe I have a girl crush on her. Johnny Weir skated to Lady Gaga...so...there's that. I am excited for the Olympics!
School is fine. I love, love, love my Television History and Culture class, which is weird because I'm not even that into television. It's a Cinema Studies course and is kind of almost making me wish I was a Cinema Studies student. The professor is awesome! Sigh. My MIAP classes are going well. I'm working on Bob Stein's collection for my Collection Management class. That means nothing to you, I know, but it's exciting for me because he was responsible for starting Criterion! He's not affiliated with them anymore but I can't wait to explore his collection, which I'm sure is full of all kinds of treasures.
That's all I've got right now. I'm internet-less until my student loans come in so that's what's up with the lame posting.
B came home from school today to find TWO packages addressed to him! One was from his New York nanny, Carolyn. Pocky was their thing so he was so happy to get a couple boxes of Pocky and a sweet letter from her.
Candace, our friend and also a frequent babysitter, sent him this wicked cool Wall-E lamp, which he LOVED. (Thanks Candace!)
He's currently doing Jump Rope For Heart! at school as has gotten really into it, even donating some of his own allowance money to some of the sick children that the school is sponsoring.
B's new school seems to be fine or whatever. I'm not exactly thrilled with it. It's not where I wanted him to go but he's content so I'm leaving it alone. I drifted through my first two classes... and semi-slept through one of them (I was up sick all night last night and just couldn't stay awake today). Not the best start to a semester ever. BUT! I did finally finish the big preservation project I've been doing for Library of Congress at work and I'm really proud of it. Life without the B is hard. There is not much to it. My favorite part of the day used to be running to catch the E train, waiting impatiently for the doors to open, running up the stairs and to my building and bursting through the front door to greet his sweet little face. I even really miss his sweet babysitter. Splinter is doing her best to keep me company and welcome me when I come in the door every evening. I think she understands. Not having him around takes the fun out of things and the brightness and perspective and promise out of the city... but I know I have to change my attitude and I am really trying to. I am so grateful that he is a part of my life and that he's healthy, happy and taken care of right now. I feel very lucky to be in the position that I'm in. School will get better and this is not the end of the world.
Throughout last semester I had the opportunity to watch several short documentaries, all of which were made and have been preserved for their cultural significance despite the fact that they will never make money or be seen by many. About a month ago I watched the last one on the list (you can watch it too by clicking the link) and, though it's completely different in form from the others, I thought it nicely (though abstractly) reinforced the feeling. These films are all very human in content and form. Neither the maker nor the subject is able to hide, leaving the audience with a real understanding of their subject.
A camera crew from Appalshop interviews people on the street in the small town of Whitesburg, KY, asking their feelings on Kent State, Vietnam and growing up in a small town. Not nearly as one-sided as you might think.
80-year-old Dewey has lived his whole life in the woods of Kentucky, making chairs by hand to sell at small town markets. He has very little interaction with other people. An animal running past the house is the event of the day. Watching this felt like spying, like peeking in on something private and rare, a life so foreign and different from the world we're used to seeing.
Multiple film gauges, various video and digital formats, several audio tracks, audio CD, book and website components--a pretentious undertaking and quite the challenge to preserve. Still, I was captivated by the images and, even more so, the poetry in this feature length experimental film. I include it because of how personal it is and how affected I was by the life on screen.
There's no way for you to watch most of these, but I feel the need to tell you that they're out there. I can't stress enough how important I think filmmaking like this is. My favorite set of films like this are also Kentucky based and amateur. I did a project on the filmmaker last semester and will put it up here soon.
Well, it's a new day, isn't it? Things always look a little less terrible in the morning and things do, I suppose, always get better. I've been an insomniac my entire life, and it's gotten really bad lately. All my worries (of which there are many at the moment) come out at night. But let's think about good things.
Fresh Direct is this lovely little service that delivers your groceries directly to you door for free. The best part is that you can pay online, which means that if--hypothetically speaking--you are dirt poor and your student loans haven't come in yet and you've been living on oatmeal for a week, your parents can buy your groceries and they will be shipped to you! Wouldn't that be crazy?! Ahem. So, this morning I was awoken by the unusually cheerful Fresh Direct man and I dined on Raisin Bran Crunch and orange juice and felt like a queen!
Because I was feeling so royal, I decided to watch Sophia Coppola's Marie Antoinette with my second bowl of cereal (shh). I understand all of the criticism this movie receives but I could probably watch it every single day and be an all around happier person. I LIVE for Miz Coppola's reflection-in-the-window-from-the-back-seat shots and the music could not have been better if Randall Poster were in charge of it. I love the way she sees women.
School starts tomorrow, which should make things infinitely better. I guess I can say officially now that I will be the film department intern at the Museum of Modern Art this semester. I will be helping with a book they're producing about the women involved in the early years of MoMA, including my darling Agnès Varda (!!!) and a series of film exhibitions that will go along with the launch of the book. I start February 9th, which is absolutely not soon enough. B is starting his new school tomorrow too, which I'm nervous about but I'm sure he'll be fine. I hope he can find some happiness of peace of mind there.
Other things I'm doing to try and stay centered: yoga, painting, sewing, blogging. If I can stay busy, maybe the time will pass much faster. And if anyone has an airline hookup and wants to be awesome and fly me to Texas for a weekend, well, I'm not going to say no.
Good things: My friends are wonderful, wonderful people. The Golden Globes made me think about wearing beautiful dresses, which always puts me in a good mood. I laughed a lot. My apartment was full of lively, intelligent conversation and laughter all evening.
Yeah, I don't know. I don't feel good, can't sleep, keep dreaming about zombies. I feel very unfulfilled. I also feel 20 kinds of wrong about being away from B. In the grand scheme of things, I am doing exactly what I dreamed of doing and accomplishing some of my biggest goals. But right now, at 4 a.m. on a Monday, all I can think is "No, no, this isn't right. Nothing is right." I know I'm doing the wrong thing but I don't know how to fix it. I wish I had a partner in this that I could lean on, but I know that's not my story. It's my thing to be alone and awake in the middle of the night. It always has been and it always will be... but it's never been my thing to feel so far away from where I should be. I feel like someone's removed my heart but my body is still going. Maybe that's what's up with the zombies.
I haven't been able to stop thinking about this film for a second since I saw it at Film Forum last night. Set in a small German village just before WWI, it's a disturbing look at the loss of innocence and what breeds evil, corruption and terror. It's Michael Haneke (just as much a psychological puppet master as a director) at his best. To me a perfect film gives you a glimpse at something and then ends with no unnecessary loose ends, leaving you with a thousand things to think about but not needing anything more from the picture itself. This did that and I have a feeling I'll be thinking about it for awhile. Has anyone else seen it? If so, please comment. I need to discuss!
P.S. I wont make the mistake of doing a Top 10 before I've seen everything on my list again. Is it too late to revise? You tell me.
I went with friends Ben and Alice to see Stray Dog, part of the Kurosawa Centennial at Film Forum. The house was packed (awesome) and the film was so good. It's about a cop who loses his gun and becomes obsessed with finding it before it's used to hurt someone. Sometimes it's hard not to laugh at the intensity of the acting but then there's a shot that so thick and complicated and things get serious real quick. Man, I should totally be a film critic.
I've been keeping busy. There's been work, art gallery receptions, dim sum, Brooklyn apartment hunting (no luck), Park Slope Ale House (love) and other such running around the city. But it's hard to enjoy it. Nothing has the same excitement and life that it had before. I really miss him.
Oh, I fixed the comment box and took off word verification so it's easier to leave comments now. Back to work. Sigh.
I've been a vegetarian for 14 years. My grandma likes to tell the following story:
I'm six years old and we are out to dinner. I'm eating a chicken wing and get down to the bone, at which point a look of horror sweeps across my face.
Little Brittan: Did they have to kill a chicken to make this?
Grandma: Well... yes...
Little Brittan: I don't think we should come here anymore.
At 10 I read an article about the cast of Clueless in which Alicia Silverstone explained her choice to become vegetarian. Gasp! I didn't even realize that was possible! At that point I swore off animals forever, one of the best decisions I've ever made. Thank you, Alicia.
I write about this now because my aunt is dying of kidney failure and her doctor told her the only way she could get better is by adopting a vegan lifestyle, so she came to me for help. Three of my favorite bloggers are giving up meat in some capacity, for one reason or another. I feel like it's time to share this part of my life.
I stopped eating meat and have grown more and more steadfast in my convictions about it first and foremost because of the treatment of animals in the modern meat and dairy industry. If you don't know much about that, there are a thousand documentaries, a video on PETA's website and local farm shows in most towns to inform you. Or you can ask me. Beyond that, I have no desire to eat "grass fed free range" animals for my own ethical reasons that I will spare you. I never, ever judge anyone's choice to eat meat. My son eats meat. I will just say that, for me personally, I feel that I am living closest to my belief in internal cleanliness and compassion for all when I abstain. I sound like a freak, but there you have it.
I can't call myself a true vegan because I love pizza. I just love it and I love it with cheese. I also don't ask restaurants or people who cook for me to alter my meals beyond no meat (take out the butter, etc), but I do commit to being completely vegan at home and try my best to avoid egg and dairy... except for the occasional slice of pizza. I call it picking my battles, and I do it because I want to be conscious of what's going into my body and what industries I'm supporting without completely disrupting life.
I've gotten everything from "How do you get your protein/vitamins/minerals?" to "The Bible says we're supposed to eat meat." (LOL) But there is scientific and historic evidence to support my lifestyle. I've done the research. I balance my diet and it's not even difficult. My eating is simple, most things I cook only have a few ingredients, all of which I can name. When I feel like getting crazy I go for Indian, Thai, Mediterranean, Korean or any of the many types of cuisine that accommodate vegetarians. When I feel like pigging out, I hang around Taso and make him take me out for pizza and Slurpees and eat gummy candies all night long.
I am super proud of anyone who learns to conquer their diet. For me it comes and goes. I pigged out over the break, ate the cheesy foods my family makes and the goodies that are always stocked in Taso's house. (Coconut M&Ms...omg! They deserve their own blog post.) Now I'm back to rice, broccoli, cereal (with almond milk) and apples, and it's not difficult because it makes me feel good and I never feel like I'm denying myself anything. Over the past year I've become more interested in local, sustainable farming and committed to buying local produce. It requires just a little knowledge, awareness and effort to make a change in ourselves and the world, so why not?
If you're thinking about trying out the meat-free life, get ready for a whole lot of misinformation and opinions. Vegan Outreach is a good place to start. They're a little in-your-face with the advocacy but they will send you a free "starter kit" with some useful information and recipes. I highly recommend Jonathan Safran Foer's Eating Animals, The China Study by T. Colin Campbell, PhD (for all the hard facts so you can prove the naysayers wrong) and any book by John Robbins. If you ever want to talk veggies, feel free to comment or email. I'm your girl.
I promised I would think of some positive things but then Rohmer died, what did you expect me to do. Okay, here we go.
1. B gets to play sports, play outside with the kids across the street and live comfortably. I am taking comfort in the thought of grass-stained jeans and his head hitting the pillow every night completely exhausted from so much playing. He'll get to go back to piano lessons (which he loves), go camping (which I can't understand why he loves) and not feel stressed.
2. It has occurred to me over the past two torturously long days that I have never been an adult without B. I don't know what to do with myself, how to operate. I have become uptight, stressed and constantly rushed because that's what my life has been and even when it doesn't need to be, I make it that way. I suppose because that's all I've known. Maybe this will be a chance for me to learn how to be 24 and figure out my identity outside of being a mom. I honestly feel like this is my year. This is my year to learn from my mistakes, calm down and become a more secure person. This is my year to figure out how to make my relationship work and become a better mom/family member/friend by becoming a better, more confident person.
3. B can play hockey, which he's wanted to do but I could never afford.
A fascinating man and filmmaker has passed away. One of the founding members of the French New Wave, Eric Rohmer is best known for his Six Moral Tales. The role of preservation becomes even more important as we begin to lose members of one of the most important eras in film history. Tonight I think I'll watch a film of his I've never seen.
"There it was before her - life. Life: she thought but she did not finish her thought. She took a look at life, for she had a clear sense of it there, something real, something private, which she shared neither with her children nor with her husband. A sort of transaction went on between them, in which she was on one side, and life was on another, and she was always trying to get the better of it, as it was of her; and sometimes they parleyed (when she sat alone); there were, she remembered, great reconciliation scenes; but for the most part, oddly enough, she must admit that she felt this thing that she called life terrible, hostile, and quick to pounce on you if you gave it a chance."
1. B is unhappy with his school and our current situation.
2. B's school is unhappy that my NYU schedule is the exact opposite of what they require of their parents.
3. My pockets are empty.
When B went back to school this week after a long break (that his school wasn't happy about but was unavoidable for us), there had been a "miscommunication" and his desk had been cleared out, all of his stuff thrown away. His teachers were surprised and upset (true) to see him because they thought he wasn't coming back. He was so hurt and embarrassed. He yelled at me that all he wanted was to be a kid and play and not feel stressed. My heart broke. Without the time to find a proper solution to the three problems above that would also make my son happy, I decided to let him go back to Texas for this semester while I figure something better out.
There are people in my life who judge my coming here, I know that. But my Bachelors degree and honors were getting me nowhere, our future was not in Texas and things were no better there. Something had to be done. I'm not apologizing or feeling ashamed of the decisions I've made. I am extremely financially committed to my program and emotionally committed to the future I see for myself and B, we just have to figure out all the pieces to the puzzle (as Swinny says). I am lucky enough to have two sets of family who are more than willing to help, and friends who love me probably more than I deserve. I think in 10 years we will look back and say that coming to New York was the right thing to do. Either way, here we are.
Last night as he played "Let It Be" on the piano, I packed his bags and giant, silent tears fells from my face, soaking his stuffed animals. This morning he started to wake up, so I slipped my arms around him, pulled him tighter to me and told him to go back to sleep, I wasn't ready. He is gone now. I feel empty. The apartment is cold. A part of me has been removed and as it moves farther south, my body feels weaker and my heart hurts. But here we are. It's four months and I will spend Spring Break and his birthday with him. The next post will be full of all the positive things I can think of that will come out of this situation. Now, I let myself cry.
This I would actually change my Top 5 for. Yes, 5. It's becoming clear to me that I should have waited until I had seen everything on my list before I made a Top 10. (As a side note, Taso told me I could probably legitimately include The Beaches of Agnèsas a 2009 film, which also drastically changes things.)
A Single Man is one of three incredibly personal experiences I had in a theatre this year. That rarely happens once a year, so 2009 has officially topped 2007 as my favorite year of film. The other two were Beaches, where I saw Agnès Varda as everything I've ever wanted to be,and Where the Wild Things Are, where I felt like I was watching my own little boy roughhousing with monsters. A Single Man was different in that everything I felt while watching it was specific to what I went through this year. It's a beautiful, poignant, extremely well made film. It would have had made an impact either way. I don't think anyone could see it without feeling something. But every word of the opening monologue stung as though I'd written it myself. Maybe that's not the nicest way to recommend a film... Let me try again.
The writing is superb, the camera is patient, the story is heartbreaking yet satisfying, Colin Firth should without question win the Oscar. Hands down. It was nice to watch this just into 2010 and at the very end of a fulfilling visit home. I am in a good place and was able to appreciate all of the beauty and happiness that seeps through the sadness of the story.
I'm not a fan of 3D at all. Not to sound like a broken record, but I definitely value great writing and creative filmmaking over visual effects, and I see 3D as nothing more than a trend that can't work in the long run. Also it hurts my head. I'm an old person. Anyway, Taso and I went to see Avatar in 3D at a true IMAX theatre (in the back row - all Taso demands) and we had a great time! From the very first shot it's clear you're seeing something that has never been done before. Would I have loved it as a movie sans 3D? No. But it was a lot of fun and prettier than I thought it would be. Taso brought up the interesting point, "I wonder if this is what it was like for the people seeing King Kong for the first time in 1933." He's smart. He's also right that it's something we've never seen before, and I would even say it's finally been done right. Still, I'm not buying my own pair of 3D glasses any time soon.
Update: Yes, I've been reading about all the 3D television and DVD deals. Bleh. Still not interested.
I'm not even going to pretend like I have any authority to tell you what the best films of 2009 were, but I can definitely share with you my favorites. Isn't that what Cinemawesomeness is for anyway? Sure... So, here we go. My Top 10 of 2009!
I really wanted to include Goodbye Solo (it was released in the U.S. in 2009) but it made it's Toronto debut in '08 so I can't. It's on DVD now so add it to your Netflix. It's truly a beautiful film, one of the very best I've seen this year. Visioneers is also a 2008 film that was just released on DVD. It's a weird Zach Galifinakis movie, but I recommend it as well.
I'm kind of bummed by the lack of foreign films on my list, but what's a poor girl who can't go to festivals supposed to do? I see what I can as time, money and distribution allow but I'll never catch up.
Some films I wanted to see but never got the chance to are Precious, Away We Go, A Single Man andWhite Ribbon, and I wasn't brave enough to see Antichrist or The Cove but I'm sure they lived up to the hype.
Yup, there you go. I'm a regular Roger Ebert with my little list, eh? Speaking of, if you'd like to see real top 10 lists, Mr. Ebert's are about as good as they get.
Taso took all my "I want to go to a hockey gaaaaaaaame" whining to heart and surprised me with access to a sweet box at the New Years Eve game. His bff John came with us and they talked about hockey stuff that I don't know about, but I loved the game and cheered lots. Someone even got into the NYE spirit...
You should know that I love this band. Anyone I have ever introduced to them has loved them just as much. They are good. Next you should know that they haven't played a show in a thousand years and I was terrified (we all were) that they would break up for good, so the fact that they pulled together a legit show while I was in town is pretty much a Christmas miracle. The show was so good despite the fact that the lineup has changed a bit and there were no epic covers (one of my fav parts of a MF show). They played some of the upcoming Street Fighter Round 2 songs and I got to hang out with people I haven't seen in awhile. Very fun indeed.
Check out Man Factory: http://www.myspace.com/manfactory
And if you get nothing else from this post, PLEASE watch this video of my all-time favorite Man Factory song, "Feelin' Fancy (Goin' Crazy)." I was at this show and am a little surprised you can't hear a very loud and very off-key Brittan singing along in the background. Because that definitely happened.
I would be remiss if I didn't share a couple of the best Street Fighter Round 1 songs too, as that's sorta their thing. You're going to like this. Enjoy.
(They had technical difficulties at that show but still good, no?)