Lisa, a friend of mine from Dallas, came to NYC to take the test to be a Producer's Guild intern and I got a house guest for a few days! She was pretty much the best guest anyone could ask for. She cooked me a delicious vegetarian dinner, took advantage of my MoMA hook up and brought me cupcakes! She even got us front row tickets to West Side Story, and didn't mind that I spent the whole time drooling over male dancer thighs.
Then she stole my kitty and now I hate her!
Just kidding... Splinter had to go back to Dallas because I'll be out of town for most of March and can't just leave her. (Lisa took that picture of her, don't you want to die?! Look at that face!) Lisa was so sweet to take her as carry-on and hand her off to my family last night. I'm just sad. Nonny kitty was my last little comfort. I just have to plow through this last week and a half and then I'll be out of the city. I'll spend a week in Culpeper, VA doing archivist things and then head off to Salt Lake for Missy's wedding where I'll be met by B for his annual birthday week of fun with our favorite friends ever. Then only a month after that we'll all be back together for a glorious summer.
Then... who knows.
Lisa, thanks for hanging out with me and for taking such good care of my precious little furball. See you in April! (She's coming back for an interview for the same gig...)
I just booked a vacation for B and I to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter theme park at Universal Studios! Practical? Um, no. But I am getting a hefty income tax return and we have had one rough year, so whatev! Bring on the wizards! We're are big Harry Potter readers, so when we first heard about this we both freaked out and decided we HAD to go. I figured it would take a long time to save up, but it's actually more reasonably priced than I assumed, especially the "grand opening" packages they have now. We're going in June and I can NOT wait! I just wish it were actually in London...
My internship at the Museum of Modern Art rules. I've been cataloging records of old film exhibitions, which doesn't seem too exciting, I know. BUT! I get to read emails and letters between studios, curators and filmmakers like Martin Scorsese and Michael Haneke. I've actually learned so much about the process of setting up an exhibition (which is a lot like what I'm familiar with from film festivals but there are some significant differences) and balancing relationships with important people and your public. I've also learned so much about the "culture" of an institution, what that means and why it's important to uphold it.
This is what my desk area looks like:
File after file, film book after film book. Stacks and stacks of research on every film and director. It's basically a class in itself and I love it.
Today my supervisor and I watched a print of Herzog's The Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call - New Orleans to see how it looked and I learned a lot about how to assess the physical condition of a film print on the screen (I inspect condition by looking at the film itself at my job, but not on screen). I'd really been wanting to learn how to do that, so today was a great day! I also LOVE the Chief Projectionist and want him to teach me everything he knows. Just chatting with them for a bit before the screening taught me so much. I can see that I'm going to take so much away from this experience.
Also, New York friends, please take advantage of the fact that I can get you into MoMA and any of its screenings or events for free! I also get a 50% discount at the MoMA store. Let me know if you're interested. Might as well take advantage of it before it ends in April! The Tim Burton exhibit is still there and it's a must-see!
(Also, I find him weirdly attractive. But I do prefer "awesome" to "good looking" and I dig a boy on a board, so I guess it's not that weird for me.)
It was so fun to watch him breeze out there all "Psh, I got this" and win gold YET AGAIN.
Lindsey Vonn, Shani Davis and Apolo Ohno were exciting to watch and I got really into men's figure skating Tuesday night. I kind of think Yevgeny Plushenko is a super villain but I totally love him, and Johnny Weir is fabulous. I don't care what the judges say. It was fun to see Canada win gold! I just wish Vancouver hadn't got off to such a sad start. Who's been watching? What's your favorite moment so far? What are you most excited for? I'm excited for the end of men's figure skating tonight, and for HOCKEY! I know it's started already, but I don't have cable so I have to wait for the big games to come on NBC. All this Olympics watching has somewhat hindered my social life, but I had a fever all weekend anyway, so I was totally fine with staying curled up on the couch, wishing I was an athlete.
That's what all my Texas friends are calling it on Twitter. I have never in all my 24 years seen real snow in Texas until Christmas Eve, but even that was just a few inches that didn't really stick. I'm slightly unsettled.... and actually kind of sad I missed this.
Here are beautiful pictures of my mom's house and my little bro. I HAVE STILL YET TO GET A PICTURE OF B IN THE SNOW! This needs to be remedied. Grandma, I'm looking at you.
I got this email from my grandma last night and it made me laugh. Don't we all remember making these in school? My son sees things like this as juvenile, so I'm happy she forced him to do it.
"He didn't really want to do valentines, but I knew he would feel left out if he didn't so we went shopping and he picked them out. I also knew he wouldn't "decorate" a box so we got him stickers and he was okay with doing that. His name is in the Jedi font, which makes it acceptable.
I feel like the blizzard is blowing right through me.
Today NieNie ended her blog post with a simple message:
P.S. If you carry on, I will too.
After a near-death plane crash and years worth of physically and emotionally excruciating recovery to go, she tells me that if I can get through my little problems, she can get through the unbearable pain. I keep rereading the words and they are heavy on my mind and heart. I can't be cynical and discouraged if Nie isn't.
(I think this picture of the birthday girl is better without context.)
Yesterday began with a morning trip to the extremely rad Fales library for a film and video collection assessment with Swinny and Erik, and then a couch-mergency that sent me traveling all over New York to get to Ikea.
It could not possibly be more difficult to get there. I walked a billion miles, took three trains and a bus and THEN got off at the wrong stop and had to walk the rest of the way there in probably the sketchiest neighborhood I've ever seen. But I got there and was swept away into the magical world of Ikealand, where I ended up finding an even better couch than the one that was supposed to be delivered for half off! I also got a frame for my amazing Alamo Drafthouse Pretty in Pink poster and really cool LED Christmas lights which I hung up around the house for Swinny's birthday party. I also walked through the children's section and teared up a little but that's another story.
After nearly a full day, a shuttle ride, two more trains and some grocery shopping, I was back at the apartment with all the MIAP ladies for cake baking and couch building... or watching Candace couch build...
...and then relax with her celebratory beer.
Isn't it great?! (For a cheap Ikea couch belonging to a poor grad student with a tiny apartment.) Those pillows are really comfy and go well with my pretty gray rug. I wish I could get a better picture of this poster. (I need a camera...or Photoshop. I'm so tired of these iPhone photos.) You can buy these one-off Alamo Drafthouse posters here. You're welcome.
So the six of us baked Swinny a truly delicious chocolate cherry cake (she's 24 but #1 in our hearts. aw.) which was rapidly devoured by the constant flow of people through my apartment.
My little apartment got lots of compliments, and feels legit now that it's survived its first Manhattan party. Splinter was also quite the hit with the ladies. Everyone loved her, rubbed her belly, held her like a baby and told me that she is the queen of cats. It's true. She even gave birthday kisses.
Happy Birthday, Ashley! Hope you had a great time. Thanks for barefoot dancing with me all night and reminding me why we're friends.
Things are hard right now. B is happy and doing so well, but I am selfish and I miss him. It's not just B, though. I miss my best friend and miss being loved.
I have great friends and a wonderful life. I am really lucky.
But it's hard right now to get out of bed. It's hard to keep my days straight. It's hard to try to be emotionally supportive when I just want to be angry. It's hard to smile and fix my hair and be fair to everyone and be effective at work and school.
Lately it's hard to sleep, be on time, find my train.
I may have had a major meltdown in Penn Station yesterday.
So. What to do?
For starters you can dry your eyes, remember that nothing and no one is worth feeling dead inside, find your damn train and get on it. That's what I did last night, even though I didn't want to. Just getting on the train was hard. A thousand memories ran through my head, my breath shortened. The exhaustion of three sleepless nights had set in.
But then I got to my stop, hugged my friend and things didn't seem so bad. Getting out of the city did worlds for my perspective. The snow was pretty, the diner food was dinery and the conversation was awesome. We talked about having things to look forward to. I rode back to the city feeling ashamed of myself for not being stronger. I've given myself till Tuesday (when I start at MoMA) to get my head together.
Right now I am working and I feel totally peaceful. This is my favorite time of day. I love inspecting film. I love the feel of it running through my hand, and all the bumps, knicks, warps and texture that make each one unique. I love watching the frames pass by like a tiny movie and mastering the art of winding it by hand. Look how perfect this wind is.
Note how you can see my hand through it. That means it's on a polyester base. Isn't it beautiful? It's Black Girl, a 1966 film by Ousmane Sembène.
I went from the lab to the projection booth, where I sit now listening to a lecture on American film during the Depression through my headphones. The projection booth is my favorite place in the whole world. This is my zen.
This is a weekend of parties and friends. Things to look forward to. So, I suppose that's what I'm relying on right now. The zen of doing what I love and the excitement of having things to look forward to. Excitement is my most favorite emotion... and things always get better.
I finally saw Lone Scherfig's An Education and, yes, it is lovely. (Especially for this girl whose heart already belongs to Paris, despite the fact that she's never been. Le sigh.) But even lovelier than the jazz clubs and greyhound tracks of 1960s Europe was the screenplay by Nick Hornby. I ate up every word and every character. There were moments where this could have easily gone a dark and sinister route, but in the end it was the mundaneness of reality that was most unsettling. Carey Mulligan was wonderfully dimpled and naive in the lead role but I found the supporting characters to be just as well-developed and have better dialogue, just the way it should be for a group of flawed adults surrounding an impressionable 16-year-old. Other writers could take a lesson or two from Mr. Hornby (cough Diablo Cody cough). I appreciated the honesty about bourgeois white people and women in the 60s, that made it from the memoir to the screenplay to the screen without rose colored glasses. Also, Paris. Sigh.
Update: I guest reviewed this on my friend Candace's blog. I'm not so great at reviews, so she was nice to let me!
First, if you haven't already, you can check out the complete list of nominees here.
The Academy has changed things up by adding more films to the big categories, in an effort (let's be honest) to mainstream the awards and bring in the viewers who typically have never heard of most of the nominees. What this means is that films like Avatar and The Blind Side are nominated for best picture, while A Single Man is not. It means 10 nominated films, taking away from the prestige of a nomination and, mostly, it means that the focus is departing even further from the point: honoring greatness in film.
Okay, yes, it's the Oscars, maybe not the most reliable source for recognizing the best in cinema. But it is a symbol that gives someone in the business the credibility to get good work. It's a major recognition and it shouldn't be taken lightly by the Academy. It certainly shouldn't be dumbed down for ratings and studio money. Come on, this isn't the Golden Globes! These awards are given out by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
When our cultural institutions start losing artistic credibility in order to appeal to the masses, it's a very scary thing. Why not nominate great films a couple weeks earlier and then put them in theatres, market them to the masses. How will people ever see these films if they don't know about them or know that they're worth seeing? Is it worth letting great writers, filmmakers and talent struggle, unnoticed for your own monetary gain? Maybe in the short term (and in Los Angeles) but what about 50 years from now when the auteurs are dead or 100 years from now when the prints are dead? Okay, maybe I'm being melodramatic, it just frustrates me to see one of the most powerful institutions in film "mainstream" itself, leaving the nearly bankrupt film festivals and independent distribution houses with the responsibility of supporting artistic cinema.
I'm just saying. If the films were out there and people knew about them, I believe they would see them. I sincerely believe we can open minds by allowing people access and pointing them in the right direction. Of course I'll watch, but I'm not the least bit excited this year. This new system is ridiculous.
My new favorite blog, The Swede Records, spilled out the contents of her purse to share what she carries around every day and why. I've seen this done on lots of blogs and decided it's time to keep it going.
Until I get my perfect Janus Films bag to carry to school every day, I am rotating through random totes and my trusty Mary Poppins (it holds so much!) purse:
Dump it out and you will find:
- A smaller bag made out of seat belts that holds: my glasses and cleaner, white out for all the many mistakes I make, ChapStick for kissin', Purell because I ride the Subway and my favorite hand lotion.
- My iPhone which is actually rarely in my purse because it is constantly attached to my hand. It's embarrassing how dependent I am on it.
- My Skull Candy headphones and iPod that doesn't hold enough but let's me listen to Notorious BIG and the Magnetic Fields (currently on rotation) while I walk through the city.
- A notebook that I made by hand at the New York Historical Society + pen because ideas tend to come to me at the most inconvenient of times.
- My Flip Mino HD just in case I need to be the next Zapruder.
- My Brownie 8mm camera. Isn't it pretty? I have one roll of Kodachrome that is dying to be shot but I'm waiting for the perfect opportunity.
Okay, your turn! Blog about what's in your bag and why, then link me to it so I can read. Fun!