Saturday, March 23, 2013

"I'm a what?!"

B turned 11 on Thursday. If you're not familiar with Harry Potter (who are you even?), this is the year when young wizards are brought to Hogwarts to hone their craft. B woke up to his owl (thanks, Candace!) and Hogwarts acceptance letter -- he doesn't know this yet, but they're a precursor to his party next weekend. Thursday is a busy day for us, so he ate a quick breakfast of eggs over medium that he made for himself, and we rushed to school in our usual hurry. We brought him lunch at school, but most of our visit was dominated by a particularly loud friend of his who joined us. I brought cupcakes to his class at the end of the day, and he was unusually happy to be the center of attention as his class sang their special birthday song, and he got to ask his friends if they would like chocolate or vanilla. He's an introvert and usually shies away from any attention, but he was excited that it was finally his turn to celebrate with his class. 
He came home from school to two big birthday presents -- a full size piano (which he's been needing for a long time, now that he's playing classical) and a card telling him that his best friend in the whole world/long distance bro Jaren is coming from Salt Lake for his party next weekend! He was so happy when he figured out the card (my grandma printed a map of the country with a little plane flying from Utah to Texas) that he couldn't hold back tears. Jare and B were inseparable from the time they were toddlers until Jare moved away when they were five. B spent birthdays 6, 7, and 8 in Utah with his bud, but it's now been years since they've seen each other in person. If you're not familiar with their movie, STAR WARS: EPISODE ZERO, you can watch it here.

Thursday night B had four hours of band practice, so any further celebration had to wait. 

This morning we picked back up with a late breakfast, just the two of us, at our favorite coffee house. B Instagrammed these pictures of his cinnamon cruller and fancy hot chocolate because that is what you do now days, I guess. 

Tonight we ate ourselves silly at Greek Isles. Gus made shrimp just for B and he blew out candles on a giant tray of baklava and ice cream. It was a great day for this little wizard, and there's still more to come.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Utah and the Art House Convergence

I really wanted to write out my thoughts and intentions for the year before posting about any of the things I've been up to over the last month or so. It's nice to start with that framework. However, I'm starting to realize that I'm not in good a place to write right now. That's not to say that I'm not in a good place in general, just that I'm stressed and focused on so many professional projects, that I can't spare the mental capacity to put my personal thoughts together in any way that feels useful. Of course, one would probably benefit the other, so I'll keep working on it. 

In January, just before Sundance, I was in Utah for the Art House Convergence. Missy and Ryan picked me up and let me stay with them in Salt Lake before taking me up to Midway for the conference. The snow was beautiful and made me miss wearing layers and heavy boots, and trudging through snow. I realize the insanity of that statement, but I can't help it. I love winter. We had one of the best dinners I've had in recent memory, at a place called Eva -- the kind of place you want to sit for hours feeling warm and soaking in good conversation. It reminded me of one of the dinners I had in Seattle, both of which allowed me to indulge in rich gnocchi and the company of good friends. Missy has one of the photos she took of my wedding in her home office/studio. She has such great style and her home always looks so nice and "finished" -- I'm happy to be included! I didn't get much time in Salt Lake because this was really a working trip, and I was in Midway/Park City most of the time, but it was nice to do some quick shopping/eating/Will and Grace watching and have friends drive me up to the conference. 
(I wanted to include some pictures of cute, snow covered Salt Lake. My friend Katie taught me about all the hip people and places you can find in SLC if you know where to look, and now it's one of my favorite places to visit.) 

The Art House Convergence was bigger than ever this year, and had something of a trade show feel. Some of it worked and some of it didn't, but I think overall it benefitted from having more of a traditional industry/Hollywood presence. The more attention art house theaters can get, the better. I just hope they don't get overlooked as more big name players try to get a piece of the art house action. The highlight of the conference for me was connecting with people that I respect professionally, on a personal level. Okay, I'll be more specific... I had dinner with David Bordwell. He's a genius and a hero of mine. He gave the best speech of the Convergence for sure (on the history of film exhibition), and I sat in awe while he drank a beer and made everyone laugh. I made some friends, reconnected with old friends, and pitched Tugg about 50,000 times. My bosses gave an excellent panel on how theaters can use Tugg to connect with their community, and it made me happy to be doing work for a company that I really believe is doing something valuable. In a way, the Convergence motivated me to be more proactive with my time and more confident in my projects. I can't say that it was even a professional development thing, as much as just spending time around interesting people with good ideas. I didn't really take pictures because I was so busy, but I did sneak one of DB pre-drinks for Taso.