Tuesday, October 30, 2007

why not?

I was running across the street to the mailbox this morning when I noticed a man's leather dress shoe in the crosswalk. I looked around and saw a homeless-looking man at the corner with a chock-full shopping cart. On the lower level there was a single lonely shoe. I called out to the man that he may have lost his shoe-- and I pointed to the crosswalk. The bedraggled, barefoot man replied, "I'm Cinderella." Smiling, he set out to retrieve it.

Monday, October 29, 2007


We won the World Series! We, that is, not only the players and managers and Larry Lucchino and Theo Epstein and the Boston Red Sox establishment, no, ... the people of Boston. The hot dog sellers and the kid who listened to the broadcast on his radio under the covers and the old guys who've been saying "I think this is gonna be our year..." but maybe more truly believed they couldn't possibly have the good fortune for it to happen twice in their lifetimes... anyone who has ever called Boston home really... and gotten on that train. And cared! And cheered! And drank beer! And high-fived! YESSSS!!!!!!!!
... And talked stats and pitchers and came to feel like game days were a breath of fresh air, because as exciting as it is, baseball is also very simple. It is old-fashioned and classic and there are rules and everyone from player to ump to spectator, has TREMENDOUS respect for 'em. And as much as people might be talking about A-Rod's contract today, and the money these players make and whatnot, somehow it is hard for me to believe that any of us, even the players, are really thinking about that stuff. The bear hugs and the jumping on each other, the utter glee on Papi's face after Ellsbury's catch, Papelbon's drunk-on-life dance moves, Varitek's quick slip of Papelbon's final Series-ending strike into his back pocket-- you'd have to try pretty hard to convince me it's about the money... Sure the stakes are a lot higher when it's the World Series but I bet each of these players felt such glory at moments in the game their whole lives. In little league... Playing catch with their dad... A pick-up game with some friends in the park...
Anyway, baseball, and 'play' and 'games' -- pretty special stuff. I'm so glad I got to really be ON this ride.

Go SOX!! Now and forever...

Thursday, October 25, 2007

cheating on the memory of a loved one

When I finish a great book it takes me days, sometimes weeks, to embark on the journey of reading another.
I go through stages of minor grief, withdrawal, frustration, longing and nostalgia… and somehow, finally, I am ready to start again. When I read the first words of a new book they often strike me as extremely awkward, foreign, and of a world I have no desire to move into. I miss the old words, the characters, the mood, certain phrases and syntax and images that echoed in the pages and in my mind for the days or weeks I spent with the book.

Sometimes I feel like I am cheating. Betraying the one I loved so much, the one I said was “my favorite,” the “best ever.” But then, the end of that story has come and gone for me. I go back to it in my mind and visit the characters and imagine where they might be later on, but the words are finite. And for me, the days without a really great book in my life are less full. Less bright and resonant and meaningful.

And so I must move on. Begin again. Set out and quiet my comparisons and missing and longing and move forward with characters who still have a future ahead of them.

It reminds me of relationships. The steps of one ending, sometimes in a manner that feels as unresolved or incidental as a really great book, and the stages of transition, and the wash of feelings and missteps you might take in trying to move forward. I try to remember that the great books will always be there, to re-visit not only those characters, but the way I felt when I was with them. On a journey that felt infinite and forever.

The last book was Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer. Before that, the semi-connected The History of Love by Nicole Krauss. Now: The Road, by Cormac McCarthy.

Two passages I read this morning and want to share:
“You forget some things, don’t you?”
“Yes. You forget what you want to remember and you remember what you want to forget.”

“The last instance of a thing takes the class with it. Turns out the light and is gone. But the boy knew what he knew. That ever is no time at all.”

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

incredible generosity

This morning I went to the Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego to bring some blankets, toys, clothes etc. to the people who have been evacuated from their homes in the area due to the raging wildfires.
More than 300,000 people have been evacuated. This is not an abstract number or idea. During Katrina say, or many other disasters, I watched images on the news and read the stories in the paper but my proximity to this situation has changed everything for me. The air everywhere, is FILLED with smoke. The few people who are outside, walking to work or waiting for a bus, have bandanas, or masks, or an extra piece of clothing over their mouths. As if they are running out of a house in flames. Only they are just there, in a moment in their lives, and you don't see the fires, but they seem to be EVERYWHERE around here.

I came down yesterday morning because my grandmother is in the hospital (unrelated to the fires). She is a serious current events buff in general but laying in a hospital bed with no mobility makes 'keeping up on the news' pretty inevitable. She suggested I bring a carload of blankets, toys, and clothes to the stadium as was requested on the TV. I did so this morning.
Here are a few amazing/sad/inspiring things I saw:

* A woman in her late-30s or early-40s pacing in one section of the parking lots, barefoot and crying. She had a baby over her shoulder that she was patting on the back. The baby was not real though, it was a plastic doll.
* Lots of donuts
* MANY grown men trying to put cots together (I think they were not quite camping/handy-person types)
* Wild exotic birds hovering around three teenagers in their pick-up. Two large macaws, several parrots and parakeets. Nearby, in another truck, several singing canaries.
* An older woman playing a flute
* Many children, one with a balloon-animal on his head
* Mounds of donations and and steady stream of more on the way
* Many couples staring into space but holding hands
* Newspapers
* Several neighborly interactions between strangers. Sharing refreshments, playing cards together, rocking babies.
* So many dogs.
* ALL kinds of people.

Monday, October 22, 2007

the things we tell ourselves and each other

being on a retreat with your theater company is really amazing.
So is eating ice cream.
Doing these two things together is off the charts.

Especially when the Red Sox are the BEST TEAM EVER.

I am thinking of the people who have been evacuated in the wild fires raging up and down this western coast. I was talking to someone about the Santa Ana winds on Saturday night and it was one of those things where I was just sort of saying something, as if it were true, and possibly even obvious, but in fact I had no real idea what I was talking about other than the sorta strange intuition that was permitting the words to come out of my mouth as if they were indeed fact or expert or something. We discussed Suzan-Lori Parks' play "Santa Ana." I kicked a felled large frond from a palm tree out of my path in the park near the substation in Culver City and watched a tumbleweed blow across Sunset Blvd. in Hollywood. Was it a premonition?
Man, ... strong winds.

Questions: Can it be a 'retreat' when it is just two people? What if, the actual purpose of the trip is entirely different and the retreat aspects are mere moments between the reasons you are really there? Is this denial? Is it effective?... Might this line-of-thinking be an option for all the evacuaees?... i.e. Visualize yourself on a sudden and spontaneous vacation. Everything is not bad and scary. You are going to the Stadium! Lots of people will be there! Free food and camping! TOGETHER! For days! (Hope, or, in Spanish, Ojala! (insert appropriate accents))

sometimes denial feels healthy and/or necessary

Sunday, October 21, 2007

on a dime

Things can change.

I just stopped by my dad's blog (http://bigmangettingsmaller.blogspot.com/) ... which I wonder may one day be akin to stopping by someone's home for a sit-down and storytelling... I can tell you right now I would love to visit with many loved ones, but the 3,000 mile distance makes looking at their words a bit more do-able.

I just finished writing the posting below and felt inspired and fairly happy in the 'outlook' department when I hit the Play button on the 'soundtrack' my dad selected for today's writing. It is an amazing song I have been obsessed with since I first heard it at age 9 when my sister brought it home from summer camp with her. It is called "Kilkelly, Ireland" and my dad has found an incredible video that is sort of a visual narrative of the song (which was based on actual letters from a father to his son) using historical photographs.

Perhaps needless to say but I sobbed for the next 4 minutes. I have been thinking about 'important things' an unusual, and perhaps unhealthy, amount lately. I am torn over whether I am sort of a glutton for sadness right now or if I am just being honest with myself and doing the necessary 'riding it out.' It is hard sometimes not to let the sad and horrible things going on in the world, both macro and micro, get a sensitive girl down. Thank goodness for jokes and funny movies and the Red Sox right now!!

My dad's writing is quite powerful as well and I recommend to all taking a look.

Splash of Colors

My Mom sent me this article this morning from the Boston Globe. It is sort of a funny coincidence to me that she sent it because while I was watching the Red Sox play (AWESOMELY!) yesterday and interacted with many (RIDICULOUSLY AWESOME!) fellow Boston peeps I made a note to myself that I would write a bit about 'where I come from' today. Boston and it's people really do have a special spark. Especially in October. Go Sox!

So, another coincidence is that shortly after I moved to LA I went to an audition at the American Film Institute and as I was on the winding driveway I saw Corita's colors. And then her name. The Corita Art Center. I had completely forgotten she even spent any time in LA. Then, a little over a month ago, shortly after moving to a part of Los Feliz (an especially green, pretty unique and sort of 'intellectual' funky part of LA next to Silverlake and Griffith Park) ... while on a run one day I ran by the Convent that Corita had lived in. The Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. It was literally a stone's throw from my new house. What a special presence here.

Corita was like a godmother to me and many of the other women in my family. She was a mentor to my Aunt Sara, who's art now finds itself manifest in a sucessful fashion line (www.SaraCampbell.com), she was the one of first real artists I knew closely, she was the first 'old' person I really knew (and wasn't afraid of), and, she was the first person I felt close to who died. I remember visiting her in the hospital when I was 6 and she had cancer quite bad and she was playing with me still and making me laugh. She gave me some of her breathing tubes and other parapharnalia and I remember taking it home and playing in the bath with it, and pretending that my dolls had Cancer but were at a water spa and were going to get better because of a Dr. Corita.

Anyway, the tanks she painted were very close to where I lived from age 5 to 18 in the Dorchester section of Boston. I would see them all the time and smile and feel 'the world is an amazing place' every time. There was a lot of artwork by her in the apartment, and then house, I lived in growing up too. I don't have pictures of the paintings which accompanied these lines but a few of my favorite pieces had the following written on them in her very specific flowing cursive...
"The crocuses always come up."

"After ecstasy, the laundry."

"Of love,
(a little)
more careful
than of anything"

Belatedly, Dot says tanks, Corita
Kent's creation now embraced, and analyzed
By Michael Corcoran, Globe Correspondent | October 21, 2007

It has been more than 36 years since Corita Kent painted the Boston Gas tank on Commercial Point, but the intrigue over the colorful work of art has not waned.

Now, it's even the topic of scholarly discourse.

The work, which Kent designed to represent "hope, uplifting, and spring," will be the subject of a panel discussion next Saturday on "the art of Corita Kent and the history of the Rainbow Gas Tank." The event is being held by the Dorchester Arts Collaborative and Dorchester Historical Society at the Savin Hill Yacht Club, and is open to the public.

"It seemed to me that we should celebrate the fact that we have, right here in our neighborhood, the largest piece of copyrighted public art in the world," said Joyce Linehan, chairwoman of the arts collaborative.

The event will feature a panel discussion with artists and others familiar with the Kent's art, and on public art in general. It will cover the life of Kent, who died of cancer in 1986 at age 67, as well as the history of the tank, which Mickey Myers, a friend of Kent, described as "a sign of hope that we are not alone."

The painting was commissioned in 1971 by then-Boston Gas president Eli Goldstone, who thought it would be good to turn the two gas tanks into a work of art.

The design on the 140-foot-high tank features a vibrant rainbow splash and is easily visible from the Southeast Expressway. The original tank was torn down in 1992 and the painting was recreated on the remaining tank, now owned by National Grid.

"I think it is an interesting example of a piece of public art that has been closely identified with Boston," said Ricardo Barreto, executive director of Urban Arts at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design, who will moderate the forum. "It's a piece that people were skeptical about initially, but has since become a symbol of the city to some extent."

Part of this skepticism may have stemmed from the whispers that Kent intentionally inserted a silhouette of Ho Chi Minh, the longtime Vietnamese revolutionary leader, to make an antiwar message. This idea has made the iconic piece of art somewhat divisive. When the original tank was torn down in 1992, veterans' groups demanded the design not be included in the replacement.

Kent denied that Ho's likeness was on the painting, and many doubt the validity of interpretations to the contrary.

According to Alexandra Carrera, director of the Corita Art Center in Los Angeles, Kent's style wasn't well-suited to concealing an abstract representation of someone's face. "There was nothing really meticulous about her paintings," said Carrera. "I don't think there was anything to the rumors."

Myers, who is executive director of the Bryan Memorial Gallery in Jeffersonville, Vt., also said there is nothing to the rumors.

"I can tell you from [seeing] those earliest sketches there was never any intention or goal to create a portrait of anyone or to make any form of political statement in Corita's brush strokes."

But controversies aside, the painting has persisted through the years as a slice of quintessential Boston. Paul White, who in the early '70s served as state senator for the district in which the tank is located, said that while constituents initially didn't know what to make of the eccentric design, it has grown on the people of Dorchester.

"It's a real unique community icon, it has an identity, and it is so different from public construction, which can be so bland," said White, who will take part in the panel discussion. "It has endured because, despite its age, it continues to be a fresh image."

"Anyone from the community will instantly recognize the gas tanks," said Barreto.

"The traffic reports even cite the tanks when giving traffic reports. It is really a piece to celebrate, and I think people would be really disturbed if it were gone."

Wednesday, October 17, 2007


things to make a person feel lost:
1) losing a personal journal/diary/daybook. (red colored. leathery cover and bound-ish. three-quarters full.)
2) losing a loved one (or hearing of a friend who did and feeling overwhelming sadness and complete fear at prospect of losing a loved one myself).
3) having your pregnant sister have to go into the hospital with an appendicitis. scary x2. (see number 3)
4) having four days pass and still not being able to find your lost journal/diary/daybook.
5) losing control of something or someone that used to feel right and good and THERE.
6) all or any combination of these things.

on the upside, this happened:

(remember good things)

Sunday, October 14, 2007

jump in

it is not often that one gets to feel like Clarissa Dalloway and a naked-but-for-body-paint "Earthling" in one weekend.
I had that rare opportunity.
sometimes when it rains it pours.
hosting a party is a very special experience. We did it! Chefs as friends doesn't hurt but getting the party dancing is a skill not to be undervalued either...
everything went grand and our house is now officially 'warm-to-very hot."
then saturday was an event called Eco-Nouveau. fashion/film/art/dance/DUBLAB afterparty. Backstage is so fun! Madness! Models everywhere and so many assistants and flashes popping and the I have never heard the questions "are you done?" and "which shoes are you wearing?" so often in one day. It was fun playing in that world for a day. Getting painted and hair done and performing on a giant catwalk in a grand cathedral downtown is sort of a grown-up Eloise experience I think and I embraced it as such. I feel a little bit closer to Demi Moore now (that Vanity Fair cover). And to spencer tunick and the lovely ladies I performed with. there is nothing like the feeling of skinny dipping through a crowd.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

for what its worth

please look at someone/something/yourself today with a little more love
a little more patience
a little more laughter ... humility ... pride
a little more space

look for the subtleties
they are there

I promise

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Miss Musical

Apparently I am a huge musical aficionado. Actually, I'm not. But I have seen two in the past four days. And I saw a couple this summer, and I saw one this spring/summer about 7 times. Why, you ask? Well, for many reasons. For love. To support. For fun... For reasons to do with the musical that my mom and I are working on. For the reason of being on a quest to satisfy multiple unusual obsessions with the recordings of musicals I had not yet seen. That sort of thing.
On Saturday I went to Wicked which I feel like I am the last person I know to see-- even all the 11 year-olds I know saw it LAST year... and tonight I saw A Catered Affair, a brand spanking new musical by Harvey Feurstein. It is going to Broaway next Spring but if you can get to San Diego in the near future-- go see it!!!!!!! it was absolutely amazing. There was a talk back after, which was actually very illuminating and lovely because no one was too full of themselves, even though in my book these people have a right to be, and the dramaturg stayed out of the way and didn't get too esoteric or abstract... anyway, some people felt that it was more of a play with music but it truly was a musical, just a COMPLETELY UNIQUE one. and not in the way the Spring Awakening is unique-- because it uses rock and minimalism and has so much style... but because I literally felt inside of it, on a journey with the characters the entire time-- beginning to end. That never happens in musicals. Rarely does it even happen in plays for me. Truth be told, and I hope this doesn't scare anyone away, ... I also felt like my eyes were nearly filled with water/three stoplights short of full-on tears for most of the show. The subject matter is ordinary and yet momentuous. It is 1945 or so and a son is dead and a daughter is getting married, and money is tight and tempers are fierce. It had the simplicity of It's A Wonderful Life-- and of course, in that simplicity there is a universality. Wow. CHARGED.
Now as a theatermaker myself, the differences between WICKED and A CATERED AFFAIR were huge, Wicked was massive and epic and spectacular, a spectacle with substance to back it up... and A Catered Affair started quiet and simple and surreptitiously snuck inside you and rocked you to the bone; heart and mind's string playing vibrato...

musicals really are a wide open affair.
go figure

Monday, October 8, 2007

antidotes for heavy boots

So this kid in an ESL class I was teaching in the other day brought up this letter and asked me very politely to read it over and make sure it made sense, etc. He looked about 15, definitely shorter than I am, but very cute with a great smile... and so, the first line caught me a little off-guard.
It went like this:

I am so happy being married to you.
I desire you and I love you.
You are the most beauty.
You are so precious and funny laughing.
Being married to you means getting to spend the rest of our lives annoying each other.

It went on and I asked him about the sincerity of his message. Was he really married? Did he mean this stuff? Or, was it a joke? I thought that last line was extremely brilliant and funny and probably true-- but I was trying to get a sense of his intention. I asked him if he wanted to say something 'good' or something 'bad' or something 'funny.' Very sternly he said, "no no Miss, not funny. Not bad. Only loving." I figured out he meant to say "enjoying" ... instead of "annoying" ... I think it really works either way though. For now anyway, that is one lucky lady.

Friday, October 5, 2007

music - part II

Last night I got to go to the gala opening of the LA Philharmonic's season at the Disney Concert Hall in LA. My friend's friend is the principal oboiest, and I am SO GLAD we ran past the free wine and coffee and crumpets in time to catch her solos in the 'love scene' from Berlioz's "Romeo and Juliet." She was incredible. Gehry's design and the acoustics were incredible. Esa-Pekka, the handsome, young, conductor was incredible. Renee Fleming was incredible. And Jack Nicholson and Diane keaton, seated to my right, were INCREDIBLE.
A hundred or so musicians working together, playing so brilliantly, but with such subtlety and nuance, to transport the entire hall into edge-of-your-seat mesmerized stillness... oh my gosh-- I loved it. Renee Fleming even led the audience in a sing-along version of "I Could Have Danced All Night." And yes, the entire group sitting around me beamed at each other as we sang; the older tuxedoed gents leading some of us younger, casually-attired and musically-ignorant kids...
At the end Jack leaned forward towards Diane's ear, and, in a classic Jack stage-whisper said, "Thank you so very much." He adjusted his shades and was off.
I couldn't have said it better myself.