Friday, June 29, 2007

John and Mike

For those of you who don't read Indiewire regularly (and you should - if you have anything to do with the independent film business. The rest of you are excused.) Here's an open letter from John to Michael Moore.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Movie love in Austin - Hasta La Vista Alamo D

Had a great Austin film time last night. Started off watching McCabe and Mrs. Miller at the glorious Paramount during the Summer Film Classics series. Film friends all around. After that powerful immersion, nostalgic but still mesmerizing, we walk over to bid farewell to the beloved Alamo Downtown. As we enter, our hearts skip a beat spying the empty Mondo Tee wall. Then upstairs, a few folks milling around are wearing yellow hard hats. Walking into the theatre to catch the Earthquake rumble in Sensurround, we realize EVERYONE is wearing yellow hard hats. It's hilarious. The Sensurround roars. I jump everytime they up the ampage. I also surprisingly engage in the movie, a suspenseful prototypical 70's disaster flick, now of course viewed differently through the Post 911 and Katrina lens.

But mostly it's an exhilaratingly happy night as we hang amongst the Alamo faithful. The mood is high and fun. Tim & Karrie, Lars (of course since it's Weird Wednesday), all the Alamo staff, putting on a great show. It's the place to be for movie love and film community in Austin.

We were there opening night, for the sxsw premiere of Company of Men. I loved that film intensely, though my memory is hazy on the half-finished soon-to-be-open theatre we were watching in. There were other, clearer, sxsw highlights, in those years as out-of-towners. How's Your News, first as a work-in-progress, then finished film quickly comes to mind. When we moved here three years ago it was easy to succumb to the gravitational pull. Our first private dinner with Tim & Karrie as a blast - because it was only too clear that Tim and John were peas in a pod, obsessional guys who shared an innate, deep love of movie exhibition and showmanship. And that Karrie and I, as their work and life partners, shared a unique skew and bond as well. I'm too old to be a regular for all the crazy experiential film happenings, but love them in theory, and love the moments I have imbibed. I'm particularly grateful for all the collaborations with the Austin Film Society.

As a still die hard movie goer, thanks Alamo D. for the good times! Looking forward to the next incarnation at the Ritz.

For more on the Alamo Downtown closing, check out the Alamo Downtown Blog-A-Thon initiated by Jette Kernion.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Shaq's Big Challenge - Definitely worth watching.

We had a surprisingly good time tonight watching the first episode of Shaq's Big Challenge. He's set out to help 6 very overweight kids get in better shape. I was crying my eyes out throughout. Because I loved the kids, because I know what it's like to be a fat kid. Oh, not that fat but close enough. It was always an issue. It's still an issue!

And this show's inspiring me as I just set out to regain lost ground the other day. I've been building the physical effort for years, stronger in yoga and pilates, now stepping up the cardio, but I also just started the whole WW food tracking thing again the other day, (again) trying to re-lose the 30 pounds lost in 2002-03. I hate the topic, I hate the worry, but I hate feeling uncomfortable too.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

One blogger amongst the millions

For pretty much the first time today I started randomly reading blogs. I mean really randomly. Just clicking the Next button on the Blogger site. Inspired I suppose by the international clicks on this one. How do people find there way here? So I hit that "Next" button. And started to laugh; a Chinese blog, a Brazilian, track listings from a wild selection of classic and electric albums, but then I came upon one and stopped. And stayed. And read. And am still disturbed by it hours later. No, I'm not going to link to it, because I don't want to attract the blogger's attention. Posted by a guy I'm pretty sure. A true depressive and perhaps stalker. Two years of regular postings, each one more miserable than the next, yet shockingly consistent in their message. "I'm tired. I'm in pain. I'm masking the pain going through the motions. I'm alone. I suck. I'm a loser. I'm unloveable. I'm invisible. Why doesn't she love me?"

It was excruciating yet I couldn't stop. On the one hand, it reminded me of the self indulgent whinings and pinings I started writing in H.S. I still have the tendency. It's just the unrelenting nature that's terrifying. No ups to the chronic downs. No identifying info either, this blogger could be anyone, anywhere. Writing weekly to mark their existence, despairing of the solitude, yet sure of an audience. Felt like a cautionary tale.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Julie and Elizabeth

I so enjoyed Eat Pray Love in audible form - surprised actually, by how much the engagement in the narrative encouraged me to head on out everyday. I hadn't thought the audio stories would replace music as a driving force. But they did, or at least so in Liz Gilbert's case. That book was so satisfying to hear in her own voice, what would be the follow-up? I've got too many books already on my Next list, what would make sense to spend the extra money on for the audible experience? Today, I figured it out. Catching up with an older Newsweek Q&A with Julie Powell. Right, author of Julie/Julia. I always meant to read that book that evolved from her blog. Hmm, yeah, she's from Austin! That's good! My friend Irene even wrote recently recommending it, mentioning that her voice reminded her of me. And the clincher? In her perfect dinner party, one of the 12 invited would be her good friend Liz Gilbert. Of course. 30 year olds who met their "don't really want to have kids right now" crisis with one year self assigned-assignments that turned into best selling books. Of course. I imagine they must have met criss crossing the country on their book tours, or sitting on panels at writer fests. Don't you think? It's a tempting form, that one year what I learned...I keep mulling it. 40 minutes into to Julie/Julia, I'm delighted as a listener. Unfortunately, demoralized as well.

Science of Gaydar - good read

Terrific article, The Science of Gaydar by David France in New York Magazine. (Oh, how I used to love that magz over John's objections. I reluctantly cut it off when I moved.) I've always been interested in what the so-called gay "affectations" have to do with the sex act (although ok, I guess it's more about preference than performance anyway, which could be an important distinction.). Particularly wondered why preference would affect a voice. Thinking about it from another angle these days, as I'm readying for a small part in a film as a lesbian. When I heard about it I was like, sure! I've always thought I'd looked like a lesbian. When I've repeated that to others, including my husband, they just stare at me dumbfounded. I don't? Hmm, so what is that essential otherness that's often so easy to read? How do I incorporate that secret ingredient to make this connection authentic on screen?

Thanks Eugene for the tip! Excellent read and now for the first time in my life I see that the index finger on my left hand is much longer than the one of my right. And you have to check palm up! The relative lengths are different palm up or palm down.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Idly continuing, living online

So many ways to keep thinking about the privacy vs. public in modern day. When I first started this blog, an old friend, wrote, "you were the original blogger!" Well hardly. When I lived with him I kept journals in black sketchbooks. Private journals. Ok, well maybe I read them aloud now and again, maybe to him (not that he was interested) or my h.s. pal Suzy. They certainly weren't available for strangers idly searching on the odd word.

So here it is 30 years later, and millions of us are typing our secrets online. Well maybe secrets, or maybe facades, or maybe just the day to day. When I started this, I wrote about bleeding through my jeans. So how come now I'm not writing about the cessation of the bleed? And how weird that feels? About buying Germaine Greer's, The Change over 15 years ago, keeping it on my bedtable and never reading it? About the surgery consult I had on Tuesday, for a procedure first suggested by my father, when I was 16? Why is that suddenly off bounds? Or why would it be in? Because we hunger for community? And the facades and what's behind the facades? I'm not sure where I want to draw the line.

I know I get sucked into almost everything by peer pressure. I'm the opposite of the loner explorer, iconoclast. Instead I get pulled in - what are they doing? what's that feel like? maybe I should be doing that? So I'm writing this blog because I'm curious. I really don't know if it's a good idea, a nice warm up, or a total waste of time. I don't know what it'll bring, but I'm sucked in, in the flow. So are we all. Pulled faster and faster, in more directions. No time for understanding the consequences, just slipping into the experience. What's it matter?

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Time and Twitter

Time is the endless subject. Oh and I guess, Value. How to spend one's time. How to spend one's time the best way. How not to waste time. I'm a huge time waster. I get things done but slowly and erratically. I move forward but hardly in a straight line. I think about time. I worry about time. When Rebecca had my insight personality profile done alongside her non-profit, "...could use help with time management" figured prominently.

Only so many hours in a day. And way too many ways to spend them. I don't jump out of bed like you read of captains of industry, or yoga masters, or writers. I stall, I go back to sleep, I worry about what to wear, and what next I'll do. I wake slowly. The day continues, filled with activities that other's might call hobbies, or as my longtime astrologer laughed, "a life you should have been born into money to lead." Around 10pm I get a second wind. I start to focus. Overall, things get done, perhaps not the most important, but still things get chipped away, experiences had.

But really today, what I'm thinking about is Twitter. Twitter, for those of you who don't know, is like crumbs in the forest. It's a line you post from your phone or computer - saying something like, "just had coffee with joe" or "standing in line at the bank." I first stumbled across it during the Sundance fest coverage. Lately, I've noticed Matt Dentler is using it more and more. Austinite, sxsw film fest producer, and inveterate blogger, Matt's clearly of an entirely different generation - chronically multi-tasking, and living his life out in public. His blogging, a daily must read, has everything to do with breaking down my initial resistance. But now Twitter? I read his daily messages, and wonder what is this??? They show up in a list with all my regular blog reads, and I can't help but wonder, who are they for? Who needs to know where he had dinner? Who's he writing them for? Why I'm reading them? And of course it's not just him! Apparently Twitter's gaining millions of twitters daily. It's addictive of course, but is it more than that?

Here's an interesting perspective by Kathy Sierra, creator of Creating Passionate Users blog. Excellent read.

Twitter scares me. For all its popularity, I see at least three issues: 1) it's a near-perfect example of the psychological principle of intermittent variable reward, the key addictive element of slot machines. 2) The strong "feeling of connectedness" Twitterers get can trick the brain into thinking its having a meaningful social interaction, while another (ancient) part of the brain "knows" something crucial to human survival is missing. 3) Twitter is yet another--potentially more dramatic--contribution to the problems of always-on multi-tasking... you can't be Twittering (or emailing or chatting, of course) and simultaneously be in deep thought and/or a flow state. (cont)

Choose Responsibility

I just read about this organization in the June 11th Newsweek.
June 11, 2007 issue - John M. McCardell Jr.'s latest mission may have a greater effect on college freshmen than anything he did during his 13 years as president of Middlebury College: he wants to lower the drinking age to 18—but not in order to encourage drinking. In January he started a nonprofit organization, Choose Responsibility, which proposes educating teens in responsible drinking just as we teach safe driving, and then rewarding them with a drinking license, for which they become eligible at 18. He spoke with Samantha Henig.

What's wrong with the current legal drinking age of 21?
It has driven drinking off campus, behind closed doors and underground, into dark corners where it can't be supervised or managed and where responsible drinking can't be modeled. Binge drinking is this generation's protest of an unjust law.

That's a rather sympathetic view of binge drinkers.
If I shake my finger in your face often enough, and say to you, "Your brain's not fully matured, your judgment is incomplete, you are still a child when it comes to alcohol," why should I be surprised when I get infantile behavior? Alcohol is a reality in the lives of 18-, 19- and 20-year-olds. Anybody denying that inhabits a different planet. The goal of public policy should be to create the safest possible environment for that reality to take place.

You believe education can help make that happen?
Alcohol education now consists of little more than lectures, readings and videos. We would never teach driver's ed that way. We would never tell potential drivers just to read some books and hand them the keys.

You'd let 18-year-olds, licensed or not, drink at home with their parents?
A vast majority of 18-year-olds already are consuming alcohol, [but] for the first time they're going to be able to do it in the presence of their parents, out in the open, in the privacy of their home. We think that's a good thing. Legal age 21, frankly, is antifamily.

I'm sure you have encountered a lot of critics on this issue.
I've been described as a wacko or as somebody who's tilting at windmills. I don't know what the public or the scientific community has to fear about having this debate.

This makes a lot of sense to me - perhaps it's because it was my father's approach. He felt it was more important for us to learn how to drink responsibility than to be out puking in an alley somewhere. He also advised me to drink my liquor straight. Said to stay away from mixed drinks, particularly those super sweet girly ones, since you could never be clear of how much alcohol you were taking in. I've followed that to this day - from the early years of drinking a lot, to my neglible intake at this middle-age. Of course some people will always have problems with alcohol, with knowing how much is enough and drinking responsibility (hell, I have that problem with food!), but I agree we've created a monster by encouraging a sense of taboo and hidden thrills. Binge drinking is a terrible by-product.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Buffalo, Lions, and a crocodile

I don't know why a couple of my friends were talking about this, but somehow the link got to me and it's really something amazing. A battle between some buffalo, lions and a crocodile!

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Blue Lapis Light in Austin Now - Go See!

What an incredible treat! Tonight went with Yvonne and Brian to see Blue Lapis Light's performance of Constellation. It's a magical experience: sitting outside in the beautiful Austin night. Between two Federal Buildings, you witness dancers descending from the roofs, dancing and gliding and turning. In the wind, in the light, up high. It's glorious. Like Tinkerbell made flesh, multiplied.

Highly recommended.
June 14, 17 & 21: 9pm
June 15-16 & 22-23: 9pm & 10pm (2 shows per night)
Chronicle review
Statesman review
Photo from Requiem - previous performance

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

My little girl, off to Nicaragua

A sweet sweet moment yesterday. Hanging at the airport with my daughter, waiting for her departure to Nicaragua, both of us comfy with our feet up on the rail. She'd bought her ticket on Friday afternoon. She and her boyfriend spent the weekend getting ready, buying traveling backpacks, reading the guidebooks, buying clothes and toiletries. He left a day ahead, tied to a ticket that would expire on Sunday. She had to wait to appear in traffic court, which she did, walking away scott free. She'd been calling all through the process, "what do you think about this?" "what about that?" But now she was packed, and ready, and totally excited. As was I. Excited for her and how much fun lies ahead, along with all the learning.

I flinched when they first mentioned the destination - knowing only the war and documentaries from the early 80s. David says, "But now it's the second safest country...." did he say in the world? in Central America? They report that it's a surfer's paradise. She has Fiji as a reference point, the heat, the poverty, what it means to live without phones and electricity. It's clear she can't wait to get back to that kind of life. Spreading her wings, exploring, conjuring up expat business ideas.

Some parents prefer the innocence. Some parents try to keep their kids young as long as possible. I've never been that way. I've loved too much every step forward. The first sitting up, walking, asserting themselves, growing into who they are. This is another big one. Her first big travel adventure. Nicaragua for three weeks. She sends me the first email today, "It's awesome."

Love this song - Beautiful by Damien Marley w/ B. Brown

Maybe it's a little lazy to be posting different internet links rather than writing but so be it. Heard this song earlier today and just fell in love. Can't stop playing it:

Monday, June 11, 2007

I actually love this little computer "game" below. Found it by idly checking out the most recent from the Four Eyed Monsters duo. They've been relentless and inventive about promoting their indie feature and themselves since their sxsw premiere in 2005. I missed it at the fest, watched a bit on a screener, was intrigued, got distracted, and ever since have been just watching their attempts at audience building -- never having actually finished the film. I've just been observing their creative moves on Myspace, self-directed theatrical screenings, Second Life and Sundance, now You Tube and They've made their film available this week only for free on You Tube - I believe it's the first feature available that way. And you can buy the download or dvd via They've also got a promotion where if you join using their entree, they get paid $1. I was looking to see the latest total when I ran into this page of DIY promotional ideas, and found this little game. See how successful they are?! I was so intrigued with this little computer graphic game that I've pasted it into my blog and have even been writing about them. At the end of the day it'll be interesting to see how many people pay for the priviledge of seeing their film, how much people like it, and whether money or opportunities will revert back to the duo. In the meantime, I've got to give them a hand exploring all the mediums and working like mad on that never ending question - how to connect creative work with an audience.


......................Watch Episode 7

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Director of the women in art video animation

couldn't get this into my previous post. Sometimes embeds confound me a bit. Don't know anything about the director but here's their page on youtube: eggman913.
eggman films.

Fantastic Women in Art animation on You Tube

My friend Joan just sent me this great youtube piece: Women in Art.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Immersed in The Wire

Had a stupid misunderstanding Friday night which left me furious, and alone unexpectedly in the house for the evening. I fumed for a few minutes, then turned my attention to the three seasons of The Wire dvds, sitting, waiting for me, as they have been all year. John spent one week camped in front of the TV last summer, literally doing nothing else but ingesting the three box sets. I started with Season One over xmas, loved it, then got distracted. The borrowed dvds have been waiting ever since. Well this quiet Friday was suddenly the moment. And what a delight to immerse! The Wire is great TV, great drama, great writing, tremendous acting. I'm not quite done, tearing myself away at 3 and 4am, jamming through, loving every second. I'll be sorry when it's done. Same way I feel actually about Liz Gilbert's book, now that I'm closer to the end. It started out great and kept improving. Hard to believe, really, kind of wonderful. So this has been a surprisingly rich moment for input. The Wire - so strong, so adult, so the opposite of babysitting the audience. Back I go. Gratefully.