Thursday, August 25, 2011

pirate summer

Tonight, I lay my head here. I feel very artsy pirate-y already.
I will report back on the all-but-guaranteed adventures.
Thank you Daphne and Eliza for including me.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

In honor of the upcoming anniversary of the demotion of Pluto as a planet

Here is a delightful if a little heart-wrenching video made by Brendan Hughes and the cast and crew of Sexual Perversity in Chicago, which played at the Wellfleet Harbor Actor's Theater in the summer of 2008. (I was in the show.)
In honor of Pluto. Because we've all felt demoted before. Knocked out of orbit. Replaced or discarded entirely.

As thia 7 year-olds can attest however, Pluto is not forgotten. Not by a long shot.

For more of this excellent kid wisdom, click here.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

thank you stella

For all the magic you are always spreading around...

From: Stephen Elliott
Date: Tue, Aug 16, 2011 at 8:56 AM
Subject: (The Daily Rumpus) notes on editing

A friend said to look at The Limey by Steven Soderbergh. You could see the editing, like a pattern on an expensive shirt. The movie was the editing, as opposed to the acting or any of the other elements. I wondered if the point was to save a film that didn't otherwise work but my friend said No, it had to be shot that way.

So I watched Out Of Site, perhaps Soderbergh's best. In Out Of Sight the editing is again on display, but it doesn't overtake the acting, or the music. You never wonder what the film is about. It's perfect. A symphony.

A friend encouraged me to write about editing. I don't know enough, or anything, I said. She said try. I decided to conflate her, marry two story lines. You can do that, cut out entire threads, why consummate anything, have everything be an open question. Let the viewer decide their own stories while your protagonist stares off, quiet.

The thing is there's a story that never rings true when you tell it yourself, the story where you apologize for a lover's failures. Or, like a guy I knew in Amsterdam who mentioned the way the window girls winked at him. They wanted someone younger and better looking, he said, and I laughed. Though there was Toine. The Nigerian lady did knock on the glass and invite him in for free. But... I think about the porn star who wanted to have sex with Vin Deisel. She wished he made porn. Why not sleep with him anyway? No, she wanted to get paid for it.

I dated a girl who had a client and a slave. They both got her symbol branded on their bodies. I didn't get branded; I was just the boyfriend. Her husband didn't get branded.

It's not uncommon for a sex worker to have a special client. It's just complicated. The movie Going Under is about that.

In this conflated world she said, You always go there; it's like you're hiding. She wrote me first. She said, You're like an irresistible trick. He said, Why am I the only person in the whole world who's not allowed to see you naked? She said, You love me, but not enough to jerk off to someone else. My friend said, That's just like you and me. I said it was just a movie. I said, Actually, yeah, that's the point.


What I look for when I'm editing is shape. Here she's a little stronger, here she's a little more shy. If she's awkward maybe I play her best lines on the back of her head and focus on her when she isn't saying anything. I like dialogue from people I can't see but I don't like to see a character from the front saying something without her lips moving. If you're not going to see someone again I might play a song over their scene that continues deep into the next, so it's like a montage, especially late in the film.

I learned the software so I can try something, a cut or a song, and only tell the editor if I think it works. The editor's time is more valuable than mine. I don't want to waste it. She cuts to rhythm, she fixes scenes that otherwise wouldn't work. She knows how to cut around people. I like it most when she takes risks. She's cut many films and knows so much. We both lean toward discordant notes.

So that and I read works that wouldn't make any sense to me if I wasn't in the middle of trying to do it. But right now I inhale them. Elia Kazan, Sidney Lumet, Walter Murch. And I watch movies. And I'm amazed by how much I don't know. I could write a whole book about it.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

if thr r childrn, thr mst b a fUtr, rt?

Just finished Jennifer Egan's A Visit from the Goon Squad, from which the title for this post comes. I had been putting off inevitable turning of the last few pages as much as possible-- suddenly the work-reading I'm doing on my Kindle was a means to avoiding the end of this transcendent work of fiction.

You: Transcendent... really? Is that hyperbole?
Me: No. At least not for me.

I chose a perfect sun-dappled rock along a river for my final reading spot. I had just spent 25 minutes swimming against the current, and 5 minutes returning to my point of origin, and I felt that somehow that experience was the perfect preparation. Reading this book has felt like coming home. An abstract home yes, but a home nonetheless. She so elegantly weaves together so many of the ideas I've been obsessed with for as long as I can remember-- and is as inventive with her medium (using powerpoint and text messages at points to help tell the story)-- it is no surprise the book won the Pulitzer. It has also been refreshing for me for other reasons. The book I was reading was an actual book which I purchased in an actual independent bookseller in lenox, massachusetts. She is a writer whose stories I've loved to run away with since I was 17, and this was my August reading-- a tradition I've savored since I was lugging 10 picture books home from the local library to spend the summer with.

The book, like almost all of my favorite forms of art, weaves together a polyphony of characters and relationships in the most surreptitious way.
Tangent: Ms. Sydelle Gomberg taught my ballet class the word in 1988 and I will never forget it. She wanted us to move our arms, to do our ports de bras, like we were gently pulling a twig through the water, making figure 8s with it, letting the buds at the end of the branch form 'S's, and do our best not to disturb the rest of the water. I liked that metaphor then and now.
It deals with the struggle between youth/innocence and age/knowledge/corruption as well as how curiosity and adventure can be both excellent and dangerous. It raises a ton of brilliant questions about technology, the 'information age,' sound versus music, and silence. It also got me thinking a lot about aging, and change and what change means at different points in a person's life. I kind of want to read it all over again.

Also, I saw Another Earth a few weeks ago and loved that too. Bravo to Mike Cahill and Brit Marling and the 2 or so other people involved. Yay for books, plays and movies that are tackling the metaphysical while also being really accessible and entertaining.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Clear eyes, full hearts...

I'm borrowing the locker-room chant from Friday Night Lights to convey my pride at the students at Codman Academy (founded by my mom!) and their work with the Huntington Theater Company.

I love this video documenting their first time working on the plays of August Wilson. (In the past they've always done a Shakespeare play.)

High School Students Perform August Wilson from Chris Lovett on Vimeo.