Thursday, October 28, 2010

Yes it's ladies' night...

 
Oh, what a night!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Sunday, October 24, 2010

It gets so much better.

I haven't known how to talk about this because there's so much to say, but every day that goes by that I don't feels a little bit wasted. This may be a bit disjointed, and will definitely be long, but I'm going to try to convey all of my thoughts as best I can.

 As a general topic, sadly, bullying effects most people at some point or another. I was made fun of as a kid for being fat (which I wasn't but believed I was for years), poor and different from the other kids. In 8th grade two girls started a very elaborate, widespread rumor that I was a lesbian. I don't identify personally as a lesbian and certainly the stories they made up to support the rumor (that I didn't even understand at the time) never happened, but that became the thing that defined me at that school and I was treated like I had a disease. I had family problems at the time that no one at school knew about and these school problems that no one at home knew about. The anger I felt accentuated the problems at home and the stress caused me to have migraines and insomnia. I was a 13-year-old depressed nervous wreck. I transferred to a high school in another school district where I tried for the first time ever to be like everyone else, and that started a whole new series of problems. I made it out of those problems just fine, but I wonder if I had actually identified as a lesbian how much harder it would have been.

When B was in New York with me he faced bullies too. They made fun of him for being from Texas, for having a big vocabulary and doing harder work than they were doing, for having a young mom and for being, again, different. My friend Lucie, whose kids went to that school with B and who served there as PTA President, told me that her quiet, sensitive oldest son was depressed for all of 4th grade before she discovered that he was being bullied for "acting gay." He and B were both physically assaulted by other kids and started having behavior problems because of it. That's why I chose to send B back to Texas, and Lucie started spending all of her free time at the school watching over her kids. I know my son has a hard time making friends and struggles with his self image. I worry every day about how best to protect him when I can and teach him to grow from these experiences when I can't. I wonder what Lucie's son will face in the years to come.

When I think about the impact that little bit of bullying from kids had on our family, I am overwhelmed at the thought of our LGBT friends who are bullied in much larger, more pervasive and hateful ways simply because of who they are. My first gay friend was Chris in 6th grade. He lived across the street from me and we hung out every day. We never talked about his sexuality because at the time it wasn't sexuality, it was just who Chris was and I never gave it much thought. I met Terrell at the end of 7th grade and we stuck together as fellow weirdos throughout that terrible 8th grade year. I know Terrell was picked on for being gay, but he never seemed bothered by it. When Terrell and Chris met, came out and dated each other in high school I remember being inspired and overjoyed. It didn't occur to me that other people might feel differently until a mutual friend of ours (who was also a member of my church) told us she would never talk to him again and openly condemned his "lifestyle." The other kids I met -- my closeted lesbian friend who felt she couldn't come out because she was the leader of her church youth group, the boy on my cheerleading team who had slurs written about him all over the school, my friend's younger brother who at 16 accepted that he was going to hell because he was gay -- all dealt with more than I can ever imagine, but what really matters is that they made it and things really did get better for them.

When I think of the five people I would have stand next to me in my bridal party were I ever to get married (that's a good gauge by which to define a best friend, I think), I realize that three of them fall into that LGBT category we're always talking about lately. Maybe at one time they felt the pressure of that label because of bullying, religious or social pressure, unjust laws, societal discourse, etc. But I know them now as mid-20 somethings who are brilliant, successful people and the most caring, supportive group of friends anyone could ask for. At the core of each of them is a set of standards and beliefs that that makes them strong and motivated but also empathetic and loving. They are also just really interesting, cool, likable, classy people. It breaks my heart that they are judged and granted rights based on who they sleep with rather than those characteristics. My Aunt Sue taught me that perception and discourse breed reality and I think I about that from time to time, especially lately as I've been watching all of the "It gets better" videos on YouTube. The more we talk about these issues and stand up as members of LGBT community or their straight allies for what we believe to be right; The more we teach our kids about acceptance and love (which I will alway thank my traditionally conservative mother for teaching me) and let the youth who are going through these difficult things know that they are not alone, the closer we come to a reality that really is better. 

So to the bullies -- the children who learn it at home, the high school kids who do it out of insecurity, the religious leaders, the politicians, the families who do it out of fear or misguided diligence or "tough love" -- please think about the individuals you're affecting. Weigh what you're getting out of it against what you're depriving someone else of. Watch these videos and open your mind and heart to all of the love that's out there. I think of my son as being open minded and empathetic (he certainly is when it comes to gay rights issues because he's been exposed to my group of friends and we talk about), but I can never be sure how he is treating other kids at school. I hope we can keep an open dialogue going about bullying so he never feels the need to pick on or hurt anyone, and he can stand up against bullies who victimize kids around him. And to the kids, teens and even adults who feel alone, a simple YouTube search, or call/email to the Trevor Project will show you that you're not. We love you.

This is really hard to watch and you will probably cry, but it's so inspiring.

I urge you to search "It gets better" and check out all of the videos, but here are a few of my favorites.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Monday, October 18, 2010

Home Movie Day

"Saving our film heritage should not be limited only to commercially produced films. Home movies do not just capture the important private moments of our family's lives, but they are historical and cultural documents as well. Consider Abraham Zapruder's 8mm film that recorded the assassination of President Kennedy or Nickolas Muray's famously vibrant color footage of Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera shot with his 16mm camera. Imagine how different our view of history would be without these precious films. Home Movie Day is a celebration of these films and the people who shot them. I urge anyone with an interest in learning more about how to care for and preserve their own personal memories to join in the festivities being offered in their community..."
Martin Scorsese

Home Movie Day almost didn't happen in New York this year, but the archiving community came together and donated their time and resources. At the last minute some former MIAP students organized an event in Brooklyn and my classmate, Erik, organized one in the Hamptons. Swinny, Candace and I went out to Southampton with Erik and his girlfriend Friday night to spend the night at his family's lovely cabin. We woke up early Saturday morning to head out to the venue, a beautifully restored historic barn, and set up for a day of inspecting and projecting 8mm, Super 8mm and 16mm home movies.

We had to beg and borrow (no stealing as far as I know) for all the equipment we had, but ended up with a pretty legit setup of portable rewinds, a portable light box, tape splicer, split reels, leader and other odds and ends necessary for inspecting film. Erik set up a table of old film boxes, cameras, literature and other stuff to look at, and the barn came with chairs and a stable perfect for setting up our screen. 
We began prepping the 16mm films Erik brought with him as soon as we arrived, while he set up and manned the projector. I had to be clever with a flashlight and a loupe in order to inspect the film and it made me feel a little like the MacGyver of film handling. 
Yes, there's a whaling room behind that film reel I wound. Among the sweet finds of the day were a home movie from 1939 that included footage of the '39 Worlds Fair, an early '60s film of a hovercraft landing on the beach and other beautiful amateur family and travel films. So cool. I highly recommend checking out a Home Movie Day in your area next year. Take your grandparents' films if they have them!
The day was super chilly and the grounds were so beautiful, we were forced to take little breaks to explore (check out those big pots for boiling down whale blubber on whaling boats), climb trees and get in trouble.
When the event was over we had a little lunch, browsed a yard sale and headed to the beach for a little taste of the Hamptons life. (That third picture would be me strutting away victoriously after chasing seagulls.)
 
We had one last hurrah in Erik's backyard right before we left that involved some 35mm nitrate film and my penchant for destruction. Video soon.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

"Hey, are you ready for this? Are you hanging on the edge of your seat?"

Friday morning was star-crossed.

My deep and abiding love for Queen is pretty common knowledge. They are on constant iPod rotation, my go-to karaoke night starter and Freddie Mercury is a regular in my dreams (that's 100% true). So Friday morning I was listening to "Another One Bites the Dust" (the best breakup recovery song ever) on the subway and by the time it got to my stop at W. 4th St. I was feeling pretty psyched about life. I bounded up the stairs two at a time (on the beat) and when I came to the top I smacked right into some muscly dude. After apologizing profusely, the first thing I noticed was that he was wearing a tank top and that's weird because it was a chilly October morning in New York. Then, in slow motion, it all sunk in -- the tank top was obviously couture, the curly black hair was perfectly tousled and the mustache. was. glorious. One of the top five best mustaches I've ever seen. He smiled politely, dodged around me and was gone just like that. It took me a good 30 seconds (frozen at the top of the stairs, not breathing) to realize that this was Freddie Mercury's doppelganger and there was no way it could actually be him. It was seriously freaky... also the best way to start a morning ever.

In related news, I have never been more excited about a casting choice than this:
Have you guys heard about this? Sacha Baron Cohen is going to play Freddie Mercury in a biopic. They are both geniuses. There is literally no way this can go wrong. 

Friday, October 15, 2010

I find this hilarious.

I miss hiiiiiiiiiiim.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Bomb the Music Industreezer!

Sneve ^ got me in to the sold out show. Bomb the Music Industry playing Weezer's Blue Album and Pinkerton in full.
 I was expecting a sloppy punk band doing so-so but fun covers. 
Sounds kind of awesome already, right?
It turned out to be near perfect, technically. They're a punk band so of course they played fast and crazy but I couldn't believe what a good job they did getting the songs right, down to every guitar solo and falsetto. Not to mention it was more fun than a real Weezer show has been since the mid-90s... actually, probably ever.
 
These kids were going crazy, screaming the words, moshing, crowd surfing. It made me feel a little old. I saw Weezer for the first time in 1998 and spent years (well into my 20s) coming home from shows with bruises, missing shoes, ripped t-shirts and even a broken rib once. It felt a little satisfying to stand back this time with the mid-20s to 30s crowd and sing along, watching a bunch of kids with X's on their hands go nuts over two albums that probably had a huge impact on all of our teenage years. I personally love The Blue Album. (Sneve and I agreed that most people lean one way or the other.) I think "Buddy Holly" is one of the best love songs of all time and every song on that album traces back to a memory of growing up. This is the way I always wanted to see it performed but never thought I would because, let's be honest, Weezer is pretty boring these days.


What's your favorite Weezer song/album?

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Announcement! *Finally* talking about my thesis!

 My Masters Thesis is a plan to restore the Fine Arts Theater in Denton, Texas and run it as an archival-film-safe repertory and art house cinema. 

There you have it. The theater is pictured above as "The Texas," which it was called from the late 1930s through the mid 1950s before it became the Fine Arts. It has a long and interesting history, but now sits mostly vacant (a church rents it on Sundays for service) on the super cool, otherwise lively town square. I love this theater and am passionate about bringing archival films to theaters all over the country (not just NY/LA). My thesis will cover the history of theater and projection techniques, a business and programming plan for the restoration and operation of the theater and an argument for certain projection techniques that are safer for the films and present a higher quality, more authentic viewing experience that a typical cineplex offers. So far it's going great, the only exception being that I was told I have to spell theater with an -er rather than -re, like I have my whole life. This is bothering me immensely but I'm practicing. I'll post pictures and stories as I work on it and you'll all be very tired of it by the time it's due in March. Of course I plan to see this through to the actual restoration of the building and opening of the theater, but my thesis will just be a history, business plan and proposal.

On a related note, I love New York so much. I could stay here forever and be happy, but I've felt more and more a responsibility to take all that I can from New York and bring it back to my hometown. I don't know what will come of this but I'm excited.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Madison Square Market

 
 
Swinny. Roasted Corn and Mexican Coke. Supporting local artists (whose totally weird artwork you find frighteningly relatable). A bright spot in an otherwise crushingly terrible Friday. There is always good if you look for it.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

iPhone Portraits: Turtle Face

When he was a baby I always laid with him on my chest. He would use his fat little arms to push up and look at me, but his face was too close to mine so his eyes would cross and he would purse his little lips from the strain. That face combined with the fact that this was the only time it looked like he actually had a neck and not just rolls of chub under his chin, made him look to me like a funny little turtle. He loves when I tell this story, mimic the face and call him Turtle Face. (I swear he does.)

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Here's to you, Chelsea.

B and I lived in Chelsea when we first moved to the city. We had our little home, the piers, our friends Danielle and Jimmy close by, PS 11 and Whole Foods on our block. It was, in my opinion, pretty perfect. But PS 11 turned out to be not at all perfect for B and... 
you guys know the rest. 

Danielle and I have picked up our brunch in Chelsea tradition now that I'm back in the city and it is my favorite thing ever. My unwind time. It's hard to find a window in my days that I'm not interning or in class, but I adore Danielle and love any chance to stroll through my old hood and spend an hour chatting with her. 

This week we went to Westville Chelsea on 18th. It's right by Splinter's kitty doctor that fixed her hurt bum and I got all nostalgic and had to take a picture.

I walked up and was immediately feeling the look of the place, but the hot dog sign scared me a little bit. Sometimes places that advertise their hot dogs aren't the best places for vegetarians (which D and I both are).

BUT! Someone in heaven loves me because this is what I wound up with:
...a vegetarian hot dog!!! I sometimes feel left out on the hot dog front (though no part of me actually wants to eat a real one, it's just the charm of it), so this was super exciting for me. It was delicious and paired perfectly with my slushy mint lemonade. However, both were completely upstaged by that mess of green next to it -- garlic pesto mashed potatoes. Amazing. (There are two plates of green because I totally copied Danielle and ordered the exact same thing as her. She'd been there before so I figured she knew what was up.)

That's a pretty cute green meal, isn't it? Mmm... it was so good. Seeing D was so good, too. She and Jimmy are pregnant (!!!!!) and she's glowing from head to toe in that very beautiful, serene way that moms-to-be do. (I should have taken a picture but I always feel so guilty accosting my friends mid-meal for my blog's sake.) Like always, she gave me great advice and we chatted about leaving behind our Dallas lives (TRIVIA: Danielle and I met working for a film festival in Dallas. She moved here first. I copied that too.) and all the other secret things we chat about at our Chelsea brunches. It was lovely.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Promises

Friday night I met one of my best friend Justin's closest friends.
Timmy.

He is absolutely wonderful, you guys. Where to start?

I've never met anyone (except maybe Justin) who made such a great first impression. I was waiting outside the theatre where we were meeting to see Promises, Promises when he snuck up next to me and stood just as a straight and tall and inconspicuous (though much cooler, like he'd just strolled over from a movie set [oh, because he did]), as though he were waiting for someone in the crowd too. It took me a minute to realize it was him and when I did he gave me a huge smile, tickled my shoulders and then pulled me in for a huge hug. He gave me a once over, complimenting different parts of my outfit, my glasses, my hair. Telling me how good I looked and how excited he was. Instantly it was like being with my dearest friends, awash with excitement and the feeling that only wonderful things are in store.

The play was fantastic, so funny! Sean Hayes, as some of you may know, is one of my most favorite individuals on this planet. Which is a little sad because I don't actually know him... But he is hilarious and full of happiness and just so, so entertaining. I felt so proud of him while I was watching the play, like Jack finally got his big break!

Tim and I whispered and giggled and sent our friends pictures of the fabulous time we were having in New York without them.

After the show, in a crowded gay bar in Midtown West, we talked about life and business and beliefs and success. Tim imparted wisdom on me, gained from his own successes, and gave me hope that I can handle all of the new, terrifying things coming my way. We instantly clicked, just like I did with Justin, and I was struck with that feeling that everything is happening (don't say for a reason)... 

Tim is one of those people who makes you want to be better, the type of person you want to be around all the time because they bring out the best in you without trying. He gave me a kiss on the cheek and sent me home in a cab, realizing that I suddenly understood one of my closest friends on a whole new level and feeling less terrible about adulthood. Thanks, Tim. And Justin. I want to be you guys when I grow up.