Friday, December 31, 2010

2011 - New Year's Wishes

I've almost given up on resolutions. I never keep them, most of the time I forget them, and if I do remember them, I feel bad about them. So, I have a different list.
Here are some things I wish for with this New Year:

Actually I guess most of these can be summed up in one word: Create. I want to Create things.

* create a new me: a modern day Lady. First, I need to get further along with my understanding of what it is to be a modern day Lady, and then pursue it and make it happen. I will find my poise, tact, grace, confidence, compassion, love, and use those things to make myself into someone people love, respect, admire, and are comfortable with.

* create a better financial situation for myself; a smarter situation. I'm okay with paving my way and paying off debts, and working a job other than my dream one. That's fine with me, as long as I am making my way.

* Create. just that - create song, stories, and theatre. I miss writing and singing. I was never that good, but those things brought me pleasure. And theatre... oh theatre. I want to create Theatre. Work hard on shows and at the end of them be able to hold my head up and recognize that I did something worthwhile. Theatre is the only medium I really have that I can touch people with. I want to educate and entertain and inspire.

But the most impotant thing on this year's list has little to do with creating, so much as discovering: in the new year I would like to find a new friend. Not a significant other, or a mate, but (at least) a good friend that I can share things with. Someone who is willing to explore my interests with me, as I want to explore their interests with them - a person willing to discover things together. Someone to call when I have good or bad news, and sometimes no news at all. A person to meet and have coffee with and go on "adventures" together. Someone to go through the times with and be a friend to.

It's not an impressive list - maybe not even a good one, but as I begin 2011 - these are my ambitions. Create and discover.

Happy New Year, everyone, and I hope 2011 brings you everything that you hope it will!

review: All The King's Men ('49)

I will admit, I am buyist on this one. I remember watching the 2006 remake, and thought specifics really escape me, I remember being overall impressed with it.

This one ... well, it wasn't as impressive. I will say this: it is a great story with some great thoughts and could prompt a very interesting conversasion or debate. But that has a lot of to with the writer of the book, and less with the movie itself. I guess for its time it was pretty good. It was nominated for and won Academy Awards, and even time has given it's stamp of approval as it is honored in the National Film Registry.

Still. For me, it just moves too quickly. Things happen, but you don't feel anything. A guy is shot. A girl dies from a car accident. A boy becomes paralyzed. But none of it means anything. Okay, so Broderick Crawford won for Best Actor, but he doesn't have half the charisma as his 2006 counterpart: Sean Penn. I will say this: you are able to see the transition more in Crawford from bumbling hick to corrupt politition, but a lot of that has to do with what is shown in the movie. But Penn brings the houses down with his speeches and his transitions from honest to corrupt completely trump Crawford. Sean Penn steals it.

The girl playing Anne annoyed the HELL out of me. Part of that has to do with the character, I will admit that. She doesn't play her part well enough. Was it the goal of the director to have people dislike her? If it was, then I retract the previous statement and say "well done." But, if he wanted her to be sympathetic, they went about it all wrong. There was no reason for what she did, and there was no feeling there. There was one thing she was really good at: being shaken and tossing her head to avoid looking at someone. That was about it.

I don't remember that much more specifically about the 2006 movie except that it was gorgeously shot. The cinematography in this movie was just there. There were very few interesting shots, nothing memorable. But, even without knowing the specifics, I remember enough about the movie to know that it was better than this one.

What is good about this movie/original book (although I haven't read it)/2006 movie, is the question it asks: Does the end really justify the means? Do you excuse all if the end is good? Or, if the end is horrible, does it stain forever the journey there, even if it is well intentioned and beautiful? It is easy to see why the book won the Pulitzer prize. It makes me want to join a discussion group, it really does.

Sorry. I'll be generous and say 3 out of 5 stars.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Christmas time has come and gone ...update

Another year, another Christmas - and time for another update!
Things are going well - again, not perfectly, but pretty well. I'm trudging through life. Still no theatre prospects, but I'm working a lot right now, so at least I am somewhat busy. For a couple weeks now I have been working at or a little over 40hrs per week - so, that is great. I like my job a lot right now. Good people make it wonderful! They seem to like me as well, and the Front End Manager seems to really trust and enjoy me, so I feel pretty confident in my work. Even the Store Director knows my name. My co-workers are really the best. Lots of laughter with my Front End co-workers, and there is a guy in grocery that can pretty much make me smile and break out in laughter under any circumstances. He's a lot of fun and seems really interesting, so I kind of wish we had more than 5-10 minute intervals to talk.
Family - we'll keep it quick before digging into Christmas. Everyone is pretty good. Dakota is doing more than well - he's entertaining and such an adorable little guy. Stephanie and Chris are engaged - you should see the rock she got! Gorgeous! Chris, sadly, is back in Iraq, but he is doing okay.
Friends - yeah right. I don't even know them anymore! Between work and having no theatre things going on, I have lost touch with pretty much everyone. Before Christmas I was able to have lunch with Matt D. I almost forgot how nice it was just to sit and talk and catch up with people. We hadn't been able to really catch up except for the "5minute sum up of my life" kind of thing, so this was refreshing. I was able to call Barry tonight, and talking with him is always comforting to me, although afterwards I miss him more than ever. I'm trying to bury myself in work so I don't notice how lonely I get. Doesn't always work, but I don't think there is much alternative.
Christmas: the season really began for me a week or so before. Mom called and wanted to know if I could come up for a couple days to help her around the house. I had the time, so I got to come home for a weekend of hanging out with the folks, christmas shopping, wrapping, and baking. It was a WONDERFUL weekend. It did me a lot of good, and I got a lot of work done. It also finally got me into the spirit of the season. Normally, at the first signs of winter, I get in Christmas gear, but this year, there was a delay on that, I don't really know why. So, that weekend helped a lot.
Leading up to Christmas was a little hectic at work. Not bad, but busy, busy. I worked Christmas Eve at the Service Counter, which meant I had to miss Christmas Eve services. I was bummed, but at the same time, I didn't mind being there one bit. We had a great group of people there, and the customers were all cheery. So it wasn't bad. The roads were mostly clear heading home, so I was able to make it in record time. Soon Nick, Amy, and the kids arrived and everyone settled in for the night. Sleeping arrangements were tight, so I was out with the kids in the living room. Didn't mind it so much, except that every move they made woke me up. And then there was Dakota waking Steph up for feedings, which woke me up. And there was Santa, which scared the heck out of me - luckily the kids were able to sleep through all of that.
Morning came before the morning actually dawned, and coffee was the only perk to that. We had our annual breakfast pizza, and opened stockings and some of the gifts:

Dakota snuggling with Dad.


Dakota in his Christmas sleeper

Nick and Matthew opening gifts in the morning

Savanna's reaction to the fashion drawing set she got from Santa. I LOVE this picture! She hardly stopped drawing the rest of the day!
Just about the time when we were wrapping up with opening the first round of gifts, Steph was able to get on a video chat with Chris. Pretty soon after they started that, all the women had to leave the room in search for a tissue, and in interest of giving them some private time, I took the kids and Allie outside to play. This lead to some interesting moments. Thank goodness Auntie J had her camera!

This is what Allie does as soon as she gets outside: shoves her face in the snow. Everytime! And then she looks at you like, "What?"

I somehow managed to get the kids to all sit down on the bench for a quick picture. Matthew was not thrilled, as he did not want to stray off the "trails" that Granpa made with his snowblower. Savanna and Daniel were thrilled enough until I told them to smile. It was then that Daniel mentioned that he couldn't smile because his mouth was covered. Like, Duh, Auntie. I then just told him to wave to the camera - which he did, and continued to do so with every picture we took outside.


See? There's the wave again!
Somehow, Matthew managed to get the idea to help Grandpa with the "trails" by kicking the snow on the edges of the "trails" I asked him what he was doing and he said "snowblowin'" I about died! And then he did this: He kicked the snow, some of it got on his boots and he just look at it like: "how did that happen?" I snapped the picture quickly. To me, he looks like a Peanuts character.
Soon, Matthew got cold and tired and I took him inside. With the other two, I figured it was safe to head to the house, because I had a project for them. You see, Mom and Dad didn't remove the fall lawn decorations before the first snow, and then the first snow became covered by the second, and so on, and so on. At some point, the wind knocked over one of the little scarecrow people and they got buried under the snow. I thought it would be kind of fun to dig it out. So the kids helped me out. I told them that I would get pictures and that we needed to make up a story to tell the adults when we got inside about how the Scarecrow person got caught and their rescue. Daniel jumped in with his ideas and then Savanna threw in some finishing touches and something about the "Crutacious age" While we were in the process of saving the Scarecrow person, Allie came over and played rescue:

We came inside and the rest of the day was dedicated to getting the meal ready. Then the rest of the family showed up. It was about this time that my photography abilities failed and my natural tendency to feel like I am in the way took over. I didn't get many pictures of the rest of the time. Mostly because I spent a lot of time with mom in the kitchen, getting everything ready. Or at least trying to help. So yeah - sorry about that everyone.
Best part of the evening: after dinner we put in Mom's Christmas gift: which was a copy of the original UNCUT version of 'Muppet's Family Christmas' It's a family favorite of ours for YEARS, and this year Santa was about to find a dvd copy to get to Mom. So, at some point after dinner and before the kids started going crazy, we found everyone in the living room, watching this movie together. For a little while it was quiet except for a couple of us softly singing along with the carol medley. It was beautiful.
All in all, it was a good Christmas.
I was able to get the next day off, and it was a well needed rest. Hated to leave home and head back to Bemidji though. I think Mom hated it too.

So: back now to the present. A little more work news: I am now going to be trained in on Books. Isn't too much of a big deal, but I am more than a little nervous about it. Only bad part: work begins at 5:00am. I mean, I can do it, no problem, but that is still going to suck a little.
Personally: I'm going to talk around this more than about it, but it's a kinda major thing going on right now, so I'm mentioning it. There is a thing with a person, and I think there might be more to it. Only problem is: I have a history with not having the best of luck with this kind of thing, and I am scared. I don't want to make a fool of myself, or turn this person away. But I also don't want to miss a possible oppurtunity. The family is being very helpful and supportive - even people who don't know the situation are being supportive and encouraging. I compared my state of being to that of Charlie Brown's when he's talking about going over to talk to the Little Red Haired Girl: "I'm standing up, now I am going to walk over there. I'm standing up! I'm... I'm ... I'm sitting down." People got that and are kind of cheering me on, which is great. I almost did something about it. I mean, I started to, but I kinda bailed at the first sign of trouble. Now, I've just about convinced myself to trust my past experiences, and my instincts. There is no way something could come of this. Well something has come of it, but I don't want to ask anymore. I know better, or at least, I do in the back of my mind. Right now, I am thinking that is just going to have to be it. I'm not going to make any kind of move here. I just can't because I don't trust it.
New Years: no plans. no resolutions. no idea what I am going to do. I am kinda upset by this, but there is no alternative right now. I may just end up ignoring the whole celebration - but I have the next day off, so it seems kind of a shame to just waste the evening. Who knows? I may spontaneously come up with something spectacular.
In case nothing comes before then: Hope everyone had a Merry Christmas and I hope you have a rockin', romantic, or just plain fun New Year's Eve. May you all find a sweetheart to kiss to ring in the new decade!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

review: The Desperate Hours ('55)

Well. I was a little disappointed. I mean, I worship almost everything that Humphrey Bogart does. He was good, but the movie overall was a little ... meh.
It's about a family who becomes hostage to three escaped convicts. It boils down that easily. Again, the movie is okay, but it is a little too "50s idealistic" for me. Almost unreal. Like I said, good, but unimpressive.
I saw as I was researching this poster:It's for the play. LOOK AT THOSE NAMES!! Karl Malden and Paul Newman!! No wonder it was a hit! I think this probably would be better off as a play. The reality of the situation would help with actual presence. I would love to read the script. I'll have to get my hands on it somehow.
As for the movie. Mediocre rating: 3 out of 5 stars.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

review: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows part 1

I admit, I was impressed. Of course, I expected to be. Word got 'round quick that this was a good one, and it is.
Design/Concept: wonderful! Of course, you have come to expect that from Harry Potter movies, but they REALLY outdid themselves with this one. Especially the animation (that's right - animation!!) for the story of the three brothers. GORGEOUS!! Not to mention there are some abesolutely beautiful screen shots in there. I really mean it, just beautiful.
Acting: fantastic all around. Say what you will about child stars - the group in this movie are good. Especially the core three. I really can not wait to see what they do now that they are done with HP.
Writing: Okay, something had to take a hit, and well ... the writing got more than a little corny at points. But, it wasn't very bad at all. Just not on par.
I know I am missing a lot of other factors, but those are the ones that stuck out, which usually means that the other aspects did their jobs well enough.
Story - no spoiler here. Anyone who has read the books will approve, and those who haven't won't care.
Now I really want to re-read the book, which makes this a DARN good movie.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

'DoG SeeS GoD' Post Mortem AND Dakota is born!

My life for the past month is over :( Why haven't I been blogging? Because I've been busy :) Busy with theatre :D But now I am done :(
How did it all go?? Well, let me tell you (pictures included!) (If any one of the people who worked on this show are reading this, hope no one is offended, but it is the truth from my perspective)
Well, it was interesting. We overcame a lot, I mean, A LOT!
We got off to a bad start because the person who was basically the producer didn't know the show that well at all. She had seen scenes and knew the general idea, but hadn't completely read the script or done any kind of analysis at all. So, it came as a complete surprise to her that we would require more than $300. to do the show well. :S Here's a tip to future producers: do your research BEFORE starting something. Another bad thing: the production crew was less than good. Many of them were BRAND new to what they had signed on to do. This would not have been too much of a problem if they at least had (1) dedication and (2) the ability to ask questions. What really drove me crazy was that it was all amateur problems: not reading the script, not doing an analysis, but mostly it was not asking questions and not doing their jobs. Sorry, it just drove me crazy. Not to mention that we barely ever had every designer at any given production meeting.
Our Assistant Designer and Stage Manager were in the university show, so they were never at rehearsals. Both eventually lost their titles. The only ASM to ever show up after auditions was kinda surprised to learn that she became the SM and had to call the show. Bless her heart, she tried, but she had never done this before and had no idea what to do. Because the original SM wasn't on top of things at all, there was no paper tech or dry tech, so Tech week was TERRIBLE!
Don't even get me started on Props and Set :S Sound was not great because our original person who signed up to do both lights and sound decided a couple weeks into it that he was too busy to do both, and (surprise, surprise) didn't have the knowledge to do Sound Design. On one side I was glad he at least admitted it, but seriously, he couldn't have thought of that before? So, we got another sound designer - a guy who wasn't in school, so he had limited time availability. Mostly he did okay, but some of the sounds were all wrong, but since time was short, there was nothing we could do. Also: I had to turn to Barry for one of the sound cues, because even the new Sound guy didn't have the ability to do what we needed for the dance sequence. :S
But enough about the stressful side of things:
The cast was fantastic. PHENOMENAL! When we chose the cast, I made sure that no one could easily walk into the role. Everyone had potential, but no one found it too easy. They all worked hard and really latched on to the show and to the characters.
I don't know if I already mentioned this, but for this show I was able to contact the author. No kidding, I have his phone number in my phone right now. (not that I would call him out of the blue like that, but I'm just saying: it's there) He was SO amazing and kind. He offered to send me the unpublished version of the script, and if we liked it, he gave us permission to use it. So, use it we did, because Love it we DID! Both versions are great, but the unpublished version really put the cycle of bullying front and center and it made it all a little more complete.
How did the show go? Aside from some tech issues: INCREDIBLY WELL! We sold out pretty quickly both nights and all of the reactions were very positive. We got rave reviews from 2 of Bemidji's biggest theatre supporters and participants, and no one seemed to have any complaints at all.
This is one of the best experiences of my life in theatre - no kidding. Following are some of my favorite pictures from the process.


"You make me sick'


"Prick"

'The Hangover'


'High as a Kite'


mixing drinks at lunchtime


scars


'DoG SeeS GoD' official poster :D


'Nocturne'


'Fire is Bad'


'Dear CB...'


'Dear CB...'


Beethoven playing the piano


the actors focusing in


ALSO ...

Guess what?! I'm an aunt again! Stephanie had her baby! Dakota Paul Manikowski was 7 lbs 1oz, 20 inches long and in good health. Apparently he is a little fussy about eating, but other than that he is doing great, and so is new Mommy! I'll have more for you once I get to see him this weekend.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Update - it's been awhile!

Here is where I am:
* In Bemidji
* working a job at Luekens as a Front End employee (cashier & bagger). I like the place and the people and I like the job. It's not my dream job, but its earning money and I like it.
* still working on 'Dog Sees God' with Theatre Unlimited. It is going well, I think. Tech could be going better, but I still have faith that we'll pull together. Acting-wise, this show is AMAZING! The cast is a wonderful group of people and I can only think that we will make this into something special.

That is about it. As far as how I am doing, well, that varies according to the day and time. Mostly though, I am okay. I love working on this show, and I kinda love having to work somewhere else to make that possible. So, while my situation is far from ideal, it's not bad. The show makes it all worthwhile, and I don't think I have ever been this excited to be apart of something. I'm not saying I am an amazing director or anything, but I am certainly much more confident about my abilities and less constricted by my failures.

So all is good, and things are well.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Why I need to do this - 'DoG SeeS GoD'

I'm not Miss Up-To-Date most of the time, I admit it. I just mostly don't get to hear/see/read much of the news. I also kind of avoid it because ... well, because its just depressing. I know, not a good excuse at all. I'm trying to remedy that slowly. That aside, sometimes you can't not know the news. (if that makes sense) Sometimes, it comes at you from everywhere.

That said, I am big in believing in things that were meant to be. How does this connect? Let me tell you: Most everyone who has even been on Facebook has heard about the Tyler C story. In case you haven't, here is the just: a young gay man took his own life after being bullied about a webcam broadcast his roommate secretly made of Tyler and a male friend of his. This is the latest in a long line of items I have been seeing lately about gay teenage suicide.

Let me be clear: I don't agree with suicide, I think it is never the right answer, and sometimes I think it is a cowardly way out. But that being said, I have almost nothing but sympathy for those who decide to commit suicide. I can't imagine being that hurt, scared, ashamed, sick, or whatever they feel. Maybe if I felt what they were feeling I would want to do the same thing. But, now, I just can't imagine ever doing that to myself or to the people I love.

Sorry, sidetracked there. Recently, I have been seeing a lot about teenage bullying and its effects. It has mostly been in the news because of the whole gay issue, but I'm looking at the broader picture here, and a lot of things I have been reading, watching, seeing recently have been very closely tied to this subject. It's terrible, and it makes me a little sick.

But I also think it is inspiring. That seems like a terrible thing to say, so let me explain it: for those that don't know, I am working with BSU's student theatre group, Theatre Unlimited, on a show called 'DoG SeeS GoD' which is an unauthorized parody about the Peanuts gang 10 years after the comic strip ended. The group is in high school, and they really didn't turn out the way you would have hoped. It's hilarious, but it deals with some very serious issues. Including bullying and gay suicide.

I had a hard time with the script at first, I didn't like it a lot, but I knew there was potential there. It's a really modern comedy, and most of the time, I don't like what we call funny nowadays. I read the script straight, and then, it dawned on me that this is a satire of our times using familiar characters to make a point. The more I looked at it that way, the more I saw the serious side of the script, and what I thought it was saying. But I was still worried. Would anyone get this? Do kids actually act like this to each other? I grew up in a very sheltered high school, so I didn't see a lot of bullying. Maybe what I saw as the thread to this show, was just in my head, and wouldn't translate. Still, I decided to run with my ideas, and hope others would understand.

Then I saw an article posted on Facebook about a high school in the suburbs of the Twin Cities that had, I think, 6 student suicides in the last year, and half of them were related to gay issues. THIS is why we had to do this show. After that article, I began to see so much about bullying in schools. In tv shows, in movies I watched, in the news, and then the Tyler C story came out. National attention is being brought to this issue.

Now I feel like I am in the right place at the right time, doing the right show. It's almost as if it was meant to be. I have no doubt now that we were meant to do this show, with our message. I'm not much of an activist, and I don't have a lot of talent and power, but what I do have is theatre. What I can do is theatre. Maybe that doesn't mean a lot in the grand scheme of things, but I know that if a single person takes what we do onstage to heart and learns to be a better person, to fight against bullying, to be a friend to the friendless, to help someone in need, to prevent another suicide, than it will be worth it.

Maybe in the grand scheme of things, this is pretty petty and self-centered. But I feel really good about this show now, and I'm going to make sure that we do the best we can. It's not just about bullying though - it's about this generation. The Generation of Desensitization (thank you KD Howells for that brilliant thought). We're so numb to things these days. We don't seem to feel as much, but we are constantly searching for it, for connection, for someone to care, for something to feel strongly. That's the thrill of getting high and living dangerously. You feel those things. But then, there is a flip side. Because we don't feel that much, we don't think about our actions effecting others, and sometimes, effecting ourselves. Sometimes, I think because they're not used to strong feelings, that they don't know what to do with them when they happen. They don't know how to deal. This leads to a lot of acting out (like drinking and drugs to kill the feeling or to enhance it) and sadly, sometimes, suicide.

I hope I am doing the right thing. And I hope feeling this way isn't wrong. I just have to do something, and I think this is what I am meant to do.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

movie review: Julie and Julia

It seemed appropraite to watch a movie about cooking as I was writing down recipies. And let me tell you, now all I want to do is cook. Woe is me that I don't have the money to do it, or the people to do it for, or the talent for cooking that these women have. Still, now I want to cook. I made my grocery list after watching this movie, does that count?

Wonderful idea. A duel story between the lives of two women: Julia Childs on her road to success as a goddess of a cook, and Julie Powell on her road to control in her life. That is an utterly simplified version of this movie. It's a great movie. Everything about it is good. The tying together of these two life stories, the design, the direction, the acting; it's all good.

And the food. Need I really mention the food? I think the only thing I really didn't like about this movie is the fact that I couldn't smell or taste the food. But that is the beef I have with any food related show.

Meryl Streep is amazing. The woman is a chameleon! Is there anything she can not do? Amy Adams is one of those emerging actresses. Well, I guess by now she isn't emerging, really. She is to me, I guess. I'd like to see more of her work. Really, I have only seen her in Doubt (which I adored! - and again, her paired with Meryl Streep and Phillip S Hoffman made that an EXCELLENT movie) and Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day which was great, but I don't think it did justice to her possible talents. Still, it was a great movie, and she was good in it. The rest of the cast was wonderful, and I must say, it was nice to see Jane Lynch as something other than a snarky cheerleading coach.

Solid 4 and 1/2 out of 5 stars!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Movie Review: Dead End (1937)

Once again, WOW. I love this movie. Not a complete 5 out of 5, but a very respectable 4 1/2 stars.

Based on the stage play of the same name, this film is about life down by the docks of the East River in NY. It is an interesting time, because very recently, the fashionable and rich moved into the area in big apartment buildings that overlooked the river and its "picturesque" views. With the fashionable front street closed for repairs, the rich must mingle with the poor on the back street.

A hot scorcher day in the slums. Its starts out like everyday with everyone getting up and starting the day. You meet the groups that define the area. The "Dead End Kids" who are pretty much hoodlums. They talk tough, act tough, and try hard to be tougher than the slums they grew up in. They're not a good bunch of kids. They've got it in for the rich kid who lives in the apartment looking over their turf. The leader of the Dead End Kids is Tommy Gordon. He lives with his sister, Drina(Sylvia Sidney), who has always slaved away in the slums to try and get a better life for herself and her brother. She is on strike from her work, trying to get a raise which will allow her to send Tommy someplace better. You meet Dave (Joel McRea), who grew up in the area, managed to escape to college and became an architecht. But, as one character says, jobs "don't grow on trees" and Dave is back in the tenants, doing odd jobs to pay his way. Dave has met and fallen for a girl named Kay, who is the fiance of one of the fashionable rich. Kay loves him too, but not where he comes from, or what he has. On this particular day we also meet "Baby Face" Martin (Humphrey Bogart), an infamous murderer who grew up in the area. Now a big-time gangster, he managed to get some face work done so that few can really recognize him. He has returned to see his mother (Marjorie Main) and his best girl Francey (Claire Trevor).
It's a great story with a lot of social problems seen and discussed. I imagine the play would be better at the moral part, but the film does okay. The set is fantastic and gritty. I loved so many of the shots used in this film. There is a fantastic lack of space, throughout the entire thing except at the docks, the "dead end." Beyond that is just the river. A lot of the settings have that wonderful sense of being very enclosed. When Kay goes into the tenants to meet Dave, her horror is perfectly justified in the way these people lived. But there is also a sense of doing the best with what you have. You always see people cleaning, painting, trying to improve their enviroment and their lives as much as possible. It says something about the people there, and the time it was made.

As far as acting goes, Sylvia Sidney is a little melodramatic, but appropriately so - her character has a beautiful moment of confessing her dream to Dave, and in that moment, you truly see the beauty in her; Joel McRea is fantastic - he is kind of the moral beacon of the piece, but you can see his struggles between what he wants and what he should do; Bogart is as amazing as always - he is constantly the gangster, but he's never the same one twice, and in this film you really see the man behind the story. But the two best performances for me came from Marjorie Main and Claire Trevor. They did not get much screen time, but they were fantastic. First of all, Main is usually a very specific character actress, and when I first saw her, I couldn't recognize her at all. She was so gripping! You could hear the various levels of disgust in her voice as well as the weariness and pain. Her scream near the end of the movie is shattering! And Claire Trevor was amazing as well. In her brief appearance she captured that character. You could see who she was, what she became, how it hurt her, and how she hated it. In her voice and eyes, you could see her anger and pain. I was fascinated. The movie doesn't say this, but in the script she has syphilis. She does say in the movie that she is "sick" What I love about this character is that she is truthful about it. Knowing that he has come back to take her with him, and to build a life with her, she shoves him away and tells him that she isn't good for him. After he truly looks at her, all she can manage to say is "What did you expect?" And that says it all. It's amazing.

I highly, HIGHLY reccommend this movie!
4 and 1/2 out of 5 stars!!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Public Apology

I have to learn to be more careful about what I write.

The biggest problem about having a public blog is that sometimes people read it, and aren't entirely pleased with what they read. Just like any diary or journal entry, only this time, it is on a public forum and many other people can read it, interpret it, and understand it differently.
A couple people fell victim to my careless phrasing, and I want to apologize.
You know who you are, so I am not going into any more details so as to not create a stir and to protect the innocent.

I am so sorry.

I have no excuses; I only have the reason of: I didn't think. Sometimes when I write I get so caught up in a thought or a feeling and I just go with it and use an entry to flush the feelings away. I now recognize how terrible that can be.
I hurt some people dear to me with my writing and I feel terrible about it. I can't truly erase what has already been done, but what I can do is learn from my horrible mistakes. And trust me, I have. There is no worse feeling in the world, I think, than knowing that you have hurt someone you care about.

All I can say is that I love you and I am sorry and I ask forgiveness for my carelessness.

Monday, September 13, 2010

It's Hard, You Know

Well things have been ... going. Not well, but it could be a lot worse.
Had 2 interviews this last week - One with a coffee shop and one with Vanity. Both seemed to go pretty well, especially the coffee shop one. I had great recommendations from employees there, so I am hoping against hope that I get the job. At least it would be something. I won't know from either of those places until the end of this week, so that is frustrating. I've not heard anything from anywhere else. Tomorrow, I begin calling all the places I have put in applications and asking where I am in their process. I have done this with a couple places before, and each said they would get back to me - and each place has had a week to do so. I'm getting very frustrated. Why is it so hard for me to get a job?
Money is getting SO tight and bills are piling, and I'm just getting scared. I CAN NOT go home. I mean, I can, but the last thing I want to do is prove some people right. After a comment this earlier this year, I am bound and determined to make it on my own, but life is not making that easy at all. I know it is not supposed to be easy, but at this point, I just need SOMETHING to go right. I've lost my chance at getting into the Duplex my friend is in. And until I have a job, I don't have anything to offer any perspective landlords. I just feel so helpless right now.
If it weren't for my family and friends, I don't know what I would do. I've become pretty good at enjoying free entertainment and drinking water. I'm on a trivia night team now. Every Monday at Brigid's Cross. We're not amazing, but it is a really fun time. I've gone to a couple free concerts at the local bars, and have been getting into watching my friends play Magic and whatnot.
The best was one day after an interview: I went to a coffee shop to fill out an application and stayed drinking water for a while until I had to meet with a friend to discuss 'Dog Sees God' in another coffee shop. Then we both went to the Pawn Shop to see a friend who works there. The owner, a really wonderful guy, asked if we wanted anything from next door (another coffee shop) and I ended up getting a free chai tea. So my friend and I went next door for a couple hours and just sat and chatted until our other friend got off of work. The thing was: that day began HORRIBLY, and on my way to the interview, I just cried because everything was weighing on me. But sitting in the shop with my free chai and a dear friend talking about this and that and theatre was just the perfect medicine.
Speaking of theatre: it is official - I am directing Dog Sees God. I signed the contract today. Only 2 performances though. Still, we got the alternate version of the script from the author (who, by the way, is the nicest man I have never met), and everything seems to be running smoothly. Hopefully soon, they will schedule production meetings and we will get started on that. Auditions are early October and we perform mid-November. I am very excited, but I am also nervous. I want to use this opportunity for a lot of things; namely to show TU what they can do if they really put their all in, but also to prove that I can do this too. Granted, I don't think this will be able to happen, but I have this secret desire to have a bunch of really important people in my life come to this show, just to show them what I can do as a director.
Aside from that: said good-bye to Andy. That was hard. I was proud though - didn't cry until after I left, and only a little. I know I will see him again, it was just that he bowed to me before I left, and well, you know how sentimental I am. It's a long story, but a bow means something special to the two of us, and so, it just got to me. Saying good-bye to him brought back a lot of feelings I've been having lately. I miss my absent friends terribly. I've been trying really hard not to be "that" friend, so I haven't tried to call anyone, and only occasionally text them. But that's still been pretty hard. There are some that I miss so much; I miss being with them, but mostly I just miss talking to them, and I want to call them so bad, but I can't bother them that way, and well, it's just hard.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Sickness & Dog Sees God

Ugh! I am sick. Today is better than yesterday though, thank goodness! I was a mess. All the sinuses were draining and I felt like my face was about to slide off of my ... face. It was not pleasant. Today I am merely stuffed up - but I can feel the collecting and it feels icky. I hate it when I get sick. I am never one to be taken care of, so yeah, more frustrations. Oh well.

On the more positive side: I got the directing gig - this is for sure happening! We have most of the designers on board except for Props (go figure) and Sound. Someone said they would be willing to do Sound, but I am thinking that the person needs to be more of an actual Designer as compared to a Technician, which is what this person is. Hopefully we will find someone in the music department who can manage. My good friend is doing the graphics and I couldn't be more excited about that because this girl is seriously talented. Also kind of excited for the girl who asked to Costume Design. She has been refused Design at the university, and it is something she has been trying to do for a while. I like giving people opportunities like that. The good thing is that we're going for modern, realistic costumes, so she won't be too overwhelmed with having to find things, but on the other hand, there are up to 40+ costumes in the show - so she won't be bored.
I can not wait to start having production meetings! I've got so many ideas running around in my head! If this turns out even 3/4 as cool as I'm thinking, we're going to have a great looking show. Of course, it is going to be up to them to make it work, and I can only hope they will be as enthused as I am. The first TU meeting went well, and it sounds like many of them are excited about this as well. Right now, I think my biggest problem is going to be finding the medium between helping them and doing it for them (At least when it comes to the paper work and design) - but I'm also not too worried about it as of now. This is mostly because I'm obsessed with figuring the characters. The more I dig, the more I feel that my concept is perfect - which is always a good thing, I think. It really is interesting to see how the characters have changed, but more importantly, why. What have they chosen to change? What have they held onto? It is just fascinating! I can hardly wait to get some actors in on this.
But I am also nervous. I was a bit of a wreck when I directed 'Boys Next Door' Thankfully I have grown a bit since then and I honestly think I can do this, and do it well. But still - this is my first out-of-school directing experience, so a lot is riding on this. I know that if this show fails, it will be my fault, and I will be tainted as a director. So, I am really hoping I can do this justice. I had a dream about the experience, and it was mostly great, but the dream ended on a weird note: everyone that I had ever worked with in theatre was in the opening night audience. EVERYONE. And to make matters a little scarier, everyone had a rose and a tomato aimed at me, looking at me like "which one are you going to get??" Then I woke up. YIKES! Freaky? Yes. Not saying that I don't want to have people to come and see this, but wow - not like that.

Okay, well that is enough for now. I'll keep you posted!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Here it is ...

This is has little to do with me and more to do with other people. At least this first part:
I hate it when people make my friends cry. HATE IT! Why, why, why do people have to be jerks to other people? Why does making others feel bad about themselves make them feel good? (Did that make sense?) I don't understand people sometimes, I really don't. And what I don't get more is why people LET others make them feel bad. I don't understand, I just don't. No names mentioned, but a good friend of mine was seeing this guy (sorta, their relationship was never defined by either one) and she did something big for him - life-altering kind of thing - which was at his request. Not too long after the life-altering thing, he began to question their relationship and since then they have been in a relationship through Text message only - and not just sweet texts, but also fighting through texts. What is up with that? This guy was such an asshole and she changed so much for him. Mistake #1. He made her feel bad about things that she liked to do, like hanging out with her friends, etc. And she still took it! ARG! Since they have mostly been not speaking, she felt comfortable going back to doing the things she likes to do. Today he messaged her and accused her of "returning to her old ways" And continued to try and make her feel bad about those things. ARG! ASSHOLE! And she feels bad, and I feel bad for her, but she is not helping herself at all, and the whole thing is just frustrating!

That aside - things with "Dog Sees God" seem to be going well. TU meeting tomorrow night that I was told to come to. Which doesn't makes sense to me because I was told they were not allowed to discuss shows without first talking to Patrick. Oh well, we'll see what happens. Did 2 different script analysises (sp?) One for me, and one for the students. But after all that work, I just have to say this: I had BETTER get to direct this show, and they had BETTER NOT have a problem with paying me for my work because, wow, I have already put in a TON of time on it. I'm getting really geared up for it! The best part: I can actually forsee this happening. If TU really gets it together, this could be one of the best shows they have done in the recent past. I think they can do it, and I have a completely optimistic view about the whole thing. For Now. I am sure at one point of another, something will change, and I will worry, but as for right now, things are looking pretty good. I even have a loose concept statement that I am PSYCHED about! This could happen!

Friday, August 27, 2010

another Update - Dog Sees God, etc

We'll quick update and move on to more interesting things.
I'm doing okay, sorta. Not having a job sucks, especially when bills are slowly trickling away all my savings. So, good-bye rent money, it was nice knowing you. Did have an interview at a Verizon store. Said I would hear back in a couple days or so. Not too encouraged, but I did all I could. Hoping it comes through. Hoping anything comes through. If not, Wal*Mart, here I come.
Knee is doing SO much better. I haven't had to wear the brace in a couple days, and just today I found out that I could go upstairs walking regular with little problem. Going down is still a bit of a problem. The knee gets a little stiff and unsure after three or four steps. But other than that, all good - THANK GOD!

On to more interesting things:
Don't remember if I mentioned this or not last time, but I am currently working on getting together a production of 'Dog Sees God: Confessions of a Teenage Blockhead' with BSU's Theatre Unlimited group. If they can find their way to pay me, I will be doing the show. I feel kinda bad about asking them for money, but I need all the help I can get and I have already invested a lot of my time into it. On one hand I have my guilt because apparently they don't have a lot of money (what the Heck happened to it all, I don't know) and I want to do this show so badly. But on the other hand, I HAVE to start getting paid for my work. I would be okay with making it a labor of love if I was in school, but I wouldn't be helping them out, or me, by doing this. The students need to understand (as I never did in school) the importance of the business side of theatre.
I'm getting INCREDIBLY excited about the show! I've got a loose concept running around in my brain, now I just have to get it concrete on paper. I'm getting a lot of ideas and I just kinda need someone to bounce those ideas off of right now.
AMAZING thing: I actually got to talk to the author of the play. It was wonderful! He was so nice and incredibly open to my questions. He is sending me the original script and has given me permission to use it if we like it better than the published one. I was so happy to be talking with him, and he just kinda confirmed a lot of the things that I was thinking about the show, and gave a new perspective on it to. Very excited to read the original script and now I can hardly wait to get working on this!
I can only hope that the group is as gung-ho about this as I am. This is such an opportunity for them! It's an edgy show with a lot of message written in the comedy, so it will be wonderful if they just give it 100%. I know they can do this, and I know this can be better than anything they have done before. The only hard part is going to be breaking out of the lackluster way their shows are usually produced. Nothing against them, but in the past (yes, I was apart of it too, I admit) not enough consideration was given to the technical and business side of the production. And if there is one thing I have learned since my time at BSU, it is the importance of tech theatre. A lot of people don't get that, and it makes for lesser quality shows. (don't even know if that sentence works structurally, but hey, there it is.) I can not WAIT for this!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Quick Update.

Sorry folks, but I won't be able to be on Blogger much for a while. 'Why?' you may ask. Well, it's a quick long story.
My Hard Drive on my laptop freaked out on me. It needs to be "wiped" according to the professionals. So what does that mean? It means $135. if I don't want to keep any files and it means $250. if I do. So, that won't happen for a while. I may loose ALL my pictures in the process, so yeah ... trying not to think about that.
That aside: Playhouse is over. I'm too busy to be depressed about that, but there is the end of season sadness that lingers for a while after everyone has left. I miss them all - especially certain someones - but mostly I miss my job. One thing I will say about the Playhouse: I have never been happier than when I am working there.
I'm in job search mode now. I've filled out an ass ton of applications and I have an ass ton more to fill out. I hate those damn things. Hopefully one will lead to full time employment.
Theatre prospects: Although it is not official, I have been asked to direct BSU's TU production of 'Dog Sees God: Confessions of a Teenage Blockhead' SUPER excited about that. If it happens. Nothing against the administration of the group, but there is history of a lot of talk with no action. I know it is selfish of me, but I am going to push this to happen. They have the talent, the resources, and the capability. But I don't know if they would want me as their director. I've got some very definite standards that I would try and make them live up to. But I will say this, I have read the play over a couple times, and I am having trouble finding out what it is. What does the playwright want to do with this show? "Find An Identity" is a major theme in the show, but it seems like the show itself is trying to do that. I've read a lot of reviews and watched some clips and it seems as though every production is SO varied. There is no common element except the words being said. On the plus side: that makes for a lot of artistic input. So for now, I am just trying to imagine what I would want to say with it and how I would make it work. I've started a lot of research on the Peanuts characters and the show, so I am constantly thinking about it. Like I said: I am super excited! Hopefully this will happen, and hopefully it will be something they can be proud of.
What else? Not much. Staying with my friend Sarah until I can move into my new place. Sharing it with KD and 2 others girls. Don't know them, but we're all into theatre, so at least there is something in common there.
Like I said, I won't be available much, so reviews, Etiquette posts, and 'Rimers of Eldritch' thoughts are going to be put on hold for a while. Sorry.
Oh - and Sarah was nice enough to take some pictures of me. As much as I don't like me in them, of the ones I have seen, I LOVE the pictures. We're going to try to get some more, and hopefully I will get a new headshot out of the deal. Which is great because I kinda really need one. Look for those on her Flicker account and hopefully I will be able to post some when she is done editing them.
TTFN - ta ta for now!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

thoughts: Rimers of Eldritch - characters

** Disclaimer! Before I get into this, I should just mention that these are my thoughts only. Well, not really. I've gotten ideas from others, but what I want to get across is that they are only thoughts of an individual. I am NOT trying to imply that my way is the right way for everyone. I will also admit that I can be wrong - and more often than not, I am. So - just keep that in mind.
The way I will be going about this is by character, but I will also insert group bits as well as characters who do not make an appearance in the show, but are mentioned.


Robert "Driver Junior" Conklin - 18 years old. A boy on the doorstep of life. He just graduated from high school, and he doesn't know what he is going to do, if he is going to go or stay. Robert has lived in his brother's (Driver) shadow all of his life - and now that he is grown up, he is feeling the pressure of peoples' expectations for him. He's kinda quiet, shy with people, and socially a little awkward. There is a frustration in him that makes an appearence every now and again, which leads you to believe he is a little repressed. However, he is sensible, smart, and practical. He finds comfort in his strange friendship with Eva.

"Driver" Conklin - Robert's deceased brother. He was 12 years older than Robert and the exact opposite. He was outgoing, popular, and utterly confident. He used to drive in car races, and was very good. It is those races that a lot of people remember fondly - a highlight in their lives. But he had a darker side too. He was dating Betty Atkins before his death, and it was not a good relationship. He was a little wild and he did some vandalism. He died in an accident at the races. It is unclear exactly how Robert and Driver got along. Robert never went to his races, which can say one of many different things: either he didn't like his brother or he resented all the attention he got, or he was scared of the races, but adored his brother; or any level of medium between the two. My pet thought is that there was some admiration and a bit of resentment.

Eva Jackson - 14 - Crippled girl. The script doesn't exactly say what is wrong with her - just that she is not like others, that she gets fatigued easily. I don't know where I got this idea, but there is the thought that she has one leg shorter than the other, or she has some trouble with one of her legs. I also think it is also due to over-protection from her mother. She is a little bit of an outcast because of her limitations, but also because she doesn't fit into the crowd. She's a bit of a dreamer. Eva is young, but she wants so badly to grow up. She is at that awkward stage, trying so hard to be so grown up. The best way I can describe it is "Spring Awakening"

Robert and Eva - they have a very strange relationship. No one really understands it, and I think that includes them. They take comfort in each other. Robert can be just himself with Eva, with no pressure - and Robert is the one person who doesn't baby Eva, and she is drawn to that. Also, Robert is almost the only male in Eva's life and I think Eva sees him as all the different men she is missing: father, brother, son, boyfriend. But as much as they get along, they also don't. They always seem to be on the edge of getting on each other's nerves. They teeter that line throughout the play and it changes so quickly that you hardly ever know exactly how they feel about each other at any given moment.

More to come later, and the more I think about these characters, I will probably be editing this as well.

Monday, July 26, 2010

thoughts: Rimers of Eldritch - set-up, setting, and plot.

I have to get all of these thoughts out anyways, so why not blog it?
Here's the jist: 'Rimers of Eldritch' is a play by Lanford Wilson. Barry had me read it a couple years ago, and I fell in love with it. Now it has become something that I HAVE to work on. Well, not just work on, it is something I have to do. I have a ton of director's notes, I know the story backwards and forwards, I even have set design, lights, sound, and costume ideas as well as general blocking figured out. I had a reading of the play a little while ago - simply because I needed to hear it outside of my head. Unfortunately, I don't think anyone was impressed.
To be fair though, this is not something I think a lot of people can understand with just one reading. The script is rather complicated. It jumps back and forth in time without much indication of timeline. I do think this play is better after you've studied it awhile.
I have, and I have a lot of thoughts on this - especially on the characters. So this blog entry - probably will be a long one - will be an attempt to get some of these story and character thoughts out in the open. If anyone cares to comment, I welcome other opinions!

Basic Setting: The play takes place at various times during the Spring, Summer, and Fall of a year in and around the town of Eldritch somewhere in the midwest. There are several references to Des Moines, Chicago, St. Louis, and since the author was from Missouri, people generally tend to place it there. It is usually played in the late 1950s, early 1960s. Eldritch was once a bustling coal mining town, but since the coal ran out, has been reduced down to almost a ghost town. The general feeling the script gives you about the town is that almost everything is either closed, or in disrepair. The people living there seem kind of stuck, and are worn out from life.

Basic Plot: Like I said before, the play kind of travels back and forth around this one event. Although, its not life you see a scene before the event, then a scene after, then before, then after, with the powerful event in the middle. There is no logic, it seems, to the showing of what happens when. Often, you don't really know when a scene takes place - mostly because you don't really know exactly what the main event is until near the end of the play. But this play is about more than just this event. It is a portrait of this town, and the people in it. It is unflinchingly accurate with some of its cruelty, but there is also great beauty in the script. Wilson takes the ordinary and makes it poetry without losing an authentic feel; kind of a common man's Shakespeare - and that is a compliment. PLOT SPOILER - basically, the event is the almost rape of a young girl, and the death of an innocent man. But like it said, it is also so much more than that. This is as scaled down a plot as I can muster. Because so much of this story is about the town, and only has some connection to this event. You'd have to read it to understand what I mean by that, but trust me, which that event is the center of the plot, it is not the center of the overall story.

More to come later - will start with character descriptions next. :D

Saturday, July 24, 2010

review: Way Down East

Apparently this movie is a 1935 remake of an earlier, silent film by DW Griffith. This is one of those "lost treasure unknowns" It's sweet, sad, and melodramatic.

But it is still good. This is one of, if not the earliest leading roles Fonda had - and he is wonderful.

Story: a young woman turns up at a small town farm looking for work. Despite some reservations, the family takes her on as a houseworker. Slowly but surely the son falls in love with the girl. But she has a dark past - and it is haunting her.

I was surprised by the seriousness of some of the issues in this film. Overall, it was a little corny - kinda sentimental (but in my world, that is not a bad thing) - still it did make its moral views known. A little too plainly. The forgiveness lesson was almost too much for me, but it made a point, and I could never fault a movie (or anything) for making such an important point.

The acting was okay - again, a little on the corny side at times, but oh well. Some of the photography was nice, but nothing spectacular.

Overall, a nice little film.

3 and 1/2 stars

review: The Sorcerer's Apprentice

Interesting. Not the best movie I have ever seen - but not the worst. I guess I am easy to please sometimes, but I did like this movie a lot. Maybe it was the company. But I do think this movie can stand on its own.

Yes, there were some"Really?" moments, all movies are bound to have some. But it was entertaining, and I needed something I didn't have to analyze too much.

Best parts: (PLOT SPOILER a little) The use of the original Sorcerer's Apprentice music and concept from Fantasia. I was going to be incredibly disappointed if that was not used - and not used well. The other great moment was realizing that the Morganians was Abigale Williams. BRILLIANT!

It's fun, its Nicholas Cage, its a little corny, it's magical, its sweet, and it's Disney. Everything you would expect is in those words.

One thing I will say about Cage: even though he has become a type, he is a type well. He's a good enough actor to not take everything too seriously, and therefore, he will take some of these kinda corny roles and throw his persona into it. He's legit and I totally respect him. Not to mention, that even if his movies can be a little corny, they, again, are entertaining.

3 and 1/2 stars.

review: Capote

If ever there was a movie whose reputation definately proceeded it - this is one. For me at least. At least, I remember this movie being such a big deal.
I was not disappointed.
It's good. Really good. My only regret is that I didn't read the book 'In Cold Blood' first. You don't have to read it to get the story or anything like that, but I imagine it would help with the epicness of the tale. So much is made of the book - how important, how gorundbreaking, how consuming it is to Capote - and not having read it, I think, put me at a disadvantage.
Still and all, it was a great movie. Phillip Seymour Hoffman, I bow to you. Well done sir. I know everyone makes such a big hype over him, and you know what? They should. Have you seen his roles before he was famous? Still pretty amazing - and he doesn't play a type. He is incredibly talented.
I did get mad at the movie, but it had to do with the story. Which is a good thing. I just wanted to slap Capote a couple of times. He's all: woe is me - and you have to stop and think: you got yourself into this! And then you come as a beacon of hope to one of these guys and suddenly, in preparation for their hour of need, you withdrew your support. And he lied to them. Oh! I got so mad about that. So, it was good.
While part of me wanted to sympathize with the criminals, I just couldn't because no matter how you feel about it, these men killed 4 people. IN THE FACE! I couldn't feel too sorry for the men. Although, I do think this movie helped me be less of a fan of the death penalty. The interesting thing is: I wanted these men to get punished terribly, and I think the death penalty was appropriate for their crimes - but I still didn't like it. Conflicted, yes - makes for a good movie experience. I wish they would have shown the darker side of Perry Smith though. Granted, that must not have been something that Capote ever really saw, but it would have helped support his sister's statement about him being a fake sympathetic.
Wonderful movie.
4 and 1/2 stars

Thursday, July 22, 2010

review: Sullivan's Travels

I'll start with the rating and go from there.
4 stars.
Included in the National Film Registry as well as 3 AFI lists.
Respectable, I would say. I liked this movie a lot. But for the life of me, the last thought I had about this movie is: so why is Veronica Lake such a big deal?
Not her acting - she is a fine actress in this movie. I just don't get why the iconic image of this film (not the one I posted, obviously) is a line drawing of her. She's a big character, but not that big, and certainly not central. The moral of the story is almost overshadowed by the fact that everyone made such a big deal about her.
That aside - I really did enjoy this movie. Good story, funny, good acting, and some truly touching moments. The scene in the country church was inspiring. Very inspiring. If only more people used religion that way. To remind us of our humanity.
What I wrote above aside, I really liked Miss Lake. She played the role quite well and brought a real girl next door kind of feel to her character, when she could have easily let her beauty overshadow everything. Joel McCrea was wonderful as well. I really want to see what else he is in. He looked familiar.
All in all, a delightful film which I recommend that people see. But don't judge a movie by its poster.
(I would like to mention that I like the poster, I just think the marketing guys were too busy trading on Miss Lake's good looks to premote the story)

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Let's Play: "What's My Problem?"

Figured it out. Well, not "It" - but at least a portion of the puzzle of "It"
"It" is simply what my Problem is. There have been a lot of theories, and I guess a fair portion of them are a part of the Problem. I don't think it is any one single, large thing, so much as a lot of little annoyances that culminate into the big Problem.
What I am focusing on tonight is this: I'm just scared.
I am so nervous/worried/frightened of ... so many things - not your normal fears - but strange things.
I think what it boils down to is fear of inconveniencing, bothering, annoying, frustrating, angering, or disappointing others.
This fear rules my life. It is the reason for the apologizing, for the jumping out of the way, for the way I try to be cautious about everything I say, think, or do (although most often I fail there).
What makes this worse is that I have a wonderful playback memory when it comes to my faults. I can see those things quite clearly. Or at least, I think I do - but they aren't always clear enough for me to heed the "danger" warnings in my head. Which I proved tonight.
I won't go into it.
The problem is, I am stuck with the knowledge of what I do and what I say - and I have to live that down. I am my own worst enemy here. I know people get frustrated with me, but that is normally only a fraction of what I feel towards myself. I have always been that socially awkward girl. The person who just doesn't get it. The one who, for some reason, can't catch on quick enough. It makes me dumb, it makes me boring, it makes me scared.
Tonight I talked to a friend about things that didn't need to be talked about - things that should have been left unshared. I knew it would be bad going in, so why did I continue? Because I felt I had to apologize - and I couldn't apologize without an explanation. And there was a part of me that was sure that saying these things would help me to feel better.
They didn't.
And now I feel so bad. I know I annoyed them because of my inabilities. I can't express myself well - my linguistics are pathetic, really, and I know how important it is to choose your words carefully. So, I try and do that - but instead I just end up fumbling and mumbling and making an idiot out of myself. Which tends to lead people to believe that I am not sincere. I wish they could FEEL what I do in those moments. If I could just translate what I am feeling into what I am saying to these people, they would now how much it means to me. And the worst part is that I can't apologize for this, because that would only annoy them more.
The people around me here are so important to me because, somehow - despite these faults - they still care about me. I don't want to sound like I am assuming too much, but I do like to think that some of them even love me. I don't understand why they do or why they would - because someone who is as terribly stupid as I can often be, is worth little and is often more trouble than their little worth. And I am scared that one day they are going to realize that.
I can not express, in any way, how much their friendship and their love means to me. Someone else might have the words, the ability to do this, but I fail. And I am scared of this failure. What happens if I can't ever find a way to tell them how much I love them in return properly? I can try to tell them, but, I would make a mistake and find someway that this expression of my feelings might be misconstrued.
And the fear takes over again.
I am so tired of this fear.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

review: In the Heat of the Night

Wow! Good film! Won a slew of Academy Awards, is on 4 AFI list (one of course for the famous "They call me Mister Tibbs!" line), and even without those things, this film is amazing. I don't need an organization to tell it to me.
Its about a Philedelphia Homicide Detective who gets caught up in a small town murder in the south. The racist south. It's not a happy story - it's dark, its complex, its disturbing. The people are ... less than good.
What really gets to me is the incredible racism in this film - all the different kinds, I mean. There is the subtle "we're just not used to blacks" uncomfortable kind of racism, and then there is the plain, outright, almost KKK kind of racism - and every kind inbetween. Which makes for some wonderful acting ... the range, I mean, not the racism. And Poitier is brilliant. Strangely enough, the only time I did not like him is in that classic line. Maybe it was just that I have seen it out of context so many times that it just seems like a strange shift in context. But still, he's a powerful actor in the moment with a powerful voice making a powerful statement. So I don't mind if the delivery seems a little over the top.
I'm not going to say too much more on this subject.
Great acting, great directing, wonderful story. See it!
4 and 1/2 out of 5 stars!

review: Sunrise

I will say this: it is a gorgeous film. Gorgeous in its simplicity and in the beautiful sweetness of the story. That being said - this film would never be able to be made in this day and age.
This 1927 Silent film is a little gem. It is one of the movies listed on AFI's Top 100 list, as well as winning Oscars at the very first Academy Awards ceremony ever presented, and is on the National Film Registry and adopted into the Library of Congress collection. The only sad part is that the true original film is lost to us. The original was destroyed in a nitrate fire in 1937 - so what is presented today is only a piecing together of something close to the original. It works still, but you have to wonder what the differences are.
The story revolves around a man and his wife. The man is cheating on his wife with this vixen from the city, who proposes that he drown his wife - and of course, men being the way they are - he sets the plan in motion. However, at the critical moment, he can not do it. The wife runs away, and catches a trian to the city. He follows her. They make amends, spend a glorious day in the city, rekindling their old, fun-loving romance, and head back. I stop here, so as not to ruin the movie completely for you.
Like I said, the story just would not work. A man tries to kill you, and then an hour later, you're getting your portraits taken together? Wouldn't work in this day and age. But somehow, it just does in the movie. The poor wife is the sweetest thing, and of course, she looks like an angel - so why he is unhappy at home never really gets explained. The vixen is obvious enough - a typical 1920s vamp flapper with dark bob and eyeliner to match.
The music, the design, and the lighting work together so well. The director was a German and very much influenced by German Expressionism. And you can see that - without being beaten over the head with it. The only room that looks a little misconfigured in the beginning is the bedroom. Other design aspects are in place, but you don't really notice them unless you are looking for it. Look for the forced perspective in the city scenes. Almost flawlessly done. It's just gorgeous, reaally. It really does seem like a visual song of the life of these two humans. It's sweet. Might be too sweet for some, but it is definately worth a watch - if for nothing else than to think back to a different time.
4 out of 5 stars

Don't Read Unless You Want to get an Earful

In the context of a blog, 'earful' doesn't work, but the meaning is still there.
Just got back from the bar and ... I don't really know why I am so pissed off. It was a fine evening, but I am fairly on my way to being tipsy, so I guess alchohol does just amplify your mood, because on any normal night I would just be a little miffed. But tonight, I just want to scream at the world. I h0ld a lot of this kind of thing in, so in this moment, I figure I have a right to let it out at the top of my typing voice. Ask me tomorrow, and I will feel bad about it, but I won't delete this blog because, secretly, I will be glad I wrote this.

I am so sick of men following thier dicks. They get so fucking stupid about everything when you combine a pretty girl with some liquid courage. Hell, she doesn't even have to be pretty. Any girl, any girl who is even a little willing. I'll admit, I have, at times, taken advantage of men like this. It's not some of my proudest moments, and its not some of their proudest moments either. Like I said - she doesn't even have to be pretty. Call me a hypocrit, because I am in this situation, but it just pisses me off.
Being in the bar tonight was like watching a bunch of fucking hormone driven teenagers at a middle school dance. But not like the school dances we all had as kids (you know, enough room for Jesus in the middle, kids!), school dances now. With all the floating tension in that room tonight, all I have to say is that someone, ANYONE, had better be getting laid. Otherwise, the whole evening was a wasted torture device. Except for maybe some of the dart players - at least the ones who were focused on the game.

Who knows? Maybe I am just being a prude. In fact, I know I am. I am a lonely prude. Maybe it is jelaousy -probably is too - because with all the objects of desire being lusted after by all the men, the number of people to have a real conversation with kept going down. There are a lot of interesting people in the crowd, and any one of them I would have loved to have struck up a sustained conversation with - but you can't really do that when they are focused on matters below the waist. Thank God for some people.
Of course, I can't just blame it on the girls, who are asking for it, or the men, who want it in their groins. I have to blame myself. This is what makes me so mad: that it bothers me. I don't know why I watch a man grope all over not 1, not 2, but 3 girls, and get mad. Its none of my business. And the girls don't mind, so why should I? Again, jelaousy probably.
But this is more than that. It's just another incident in a series of disappointments with the human race. Lately I seem to be reminded of the lower levels of human interaction. A couple dear friends of mine disappointed me the other day (something I never thought they could do - I looked up to them for so long), and then another friend was being so damn indifferent to me after a couple days of pure friendship bliss. Things with the job have been less than good, and I have been dealing with non-stop Inconsiderates and a couple of Assholes. And top everything off with sleep/health problems.
I need to just shut up and get some sleep - but now would be a really bad time to get addicted to sleeping pills. Wish I had a boxing bag in my room right now.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

review: The Ringer

I will admit, I expected to hate this movie. And I did at first. Johnny Knoxville is not exactly a person I admire on principal - and it takes a little while to get to the good parts of the movie. So, my best advice is just to stick it out. You'll be kinda glad you did.

The story is far fetched, but most comedies are. Knoxville plays a man named Steve who desperately needs to make some money. He enters somewhat reluctantly into a hairbrained scheme with his crazy uncle to fix the Special Olympics. Pretending to be "Johnny" he enters the compitition. Long story made short: there is a girl, a counselor of sorts, he is found out by some of his other competitors, and they decide to help him.

You don't watch this movie for the romance, the acting, or the meaning. You watch it because of the writing. There are some hilarious one liners in there. Its one of those incredibly quotable movies - "Ice Cream? When the f*^#k did we get Ice Cream?"
I give it a solid 3 and 1/2 stars.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Say a little prayer

We are entering changeover from 'Picasso at the Lapin Agile' (which, by the way, has become the second best selling non-musical play at the PBP!) to 'Dracula'
It's not our souls that we are worried about (we have given up on that long ago)
It's our sanity.
This show is HUGE. Huge in the sense that we have at least 120 light cues, I don't know how many sound cues, underscoring cues, fog cues; we have a monstrously amazing set; 9 actors in multiple period costumes; and blood.
Anyone who has ever worked on this show at all knows that this is not an easy thing to do. And we have 3 days in which to do it.
So, do us all a favor, will you, and pray to the Theatre God in the catwalks of Theater Heaven, and ask Him to just hold our sanity, keep us from major bodily harm and dismemberment as we embark on this transitional period in our lives. We're not asking for everything to go smoothly and perfectly, but we are asking for no power outages during Tech rehearsal, not having to revert to Plan J, and no more than one all nighter. May the blood of our actors and technicians be fake, the patience unending, the water plentiful & refreshing, the support ever present, and the drinks at the bar flowing at the Afterglow.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Somethings different about that girl ...

Something has changed. I know what it is; I have a mental list, but, for the life of me, I don't know why. And I can't figure it out.
A normal person would accept this change ... correction, a normal person wouldn't probably notice this change ... but I have never claimed to be normal - and well - not only do I notice the change, but like everything else, I am probably going to over-analyze this. I already am. I should like this mysterious shift, but its one of those things that makes me a little uneasy - like you are whenever something changes in your life.
Lately, I've been in an uncommonly good mood. I've always been peppy, but this is different. I'm Feeling really good about myself. Lately compliments have been flowing from people, and I've been taking them (at least more so than I usually do). This is a narcisistic, but when I look in the mirror, there are times I think to myself "I look kinda good". I have started to "let go" a little and just have some fun when I'm hanging out with others. I've started singing kareoke again (although, after the disaster at Cattails, I may renig on that). I've started to be more comfortable in my own skin around others - especially my peers and my superiors. I'm apologizing a lot less now (the impulse is still there, but I am learning to curb it, especially around certain people). But most of all, and this is the big one, I have started to think that I am somewhat good at what I do. I even had this as my Facebook status: "Teresa Rankin ... is a better props designer than Jesus. Why? Because I can turn water into Brandy, Vodka, Whiskey, Rum, and 2 different types of wine." That was pretty ballsy of me.
I know that list looks a little pathetic, but - hey, these things are big steps to me. I'm an incredibly modest person; the last one who would ever praise themselves or their work. This has its advantages. No one has ever been able to accuse me of being a snob or a know it all, and in general, people seem to like my humbleness. I think I will always carry that feeling of being in someone's way - and I don't mind that feeling, because it helps me be more aware of my surroundings and be more considerate to others.
What I am afraid of, is that this will get to me or it will be one of those "one step forward, two steps back" things. For every high there is a low, and I worry what will happen when I get my comeuppance. The other worry is that this will change me - for the worse. I have people who love me the way I am - and I don't want to change that. There is a thin line between having more confidence and having false confidence, and I don't know where the line is. What if I have already stepped over it? How will I know?
The other thing is: people around me here are so nice to me. More nice than I deserve. I'm not saying they are not sincere, or that they would lie to me (even kindly), but I worry sometimes that they're not telling me everything. They're so kind and so considerate that I fear their critiques of me are ... obscured(?). So how will I know, how do I know the answer to all my questions - like "how can I do better?"
And yes, even though I am taking compliments more, I still feel a little bad about it sometimes. All the love and thanks the tech crew has been getting lately is wonderful, but I don't deserve to be included in those things. Karn and Adam are working their asses off and they still find time to do all the little extra things that fall to them. Emily - I can't even begin to describe how amazing she is - and she has no help at all! Barry comes and goes, but gets his shit done in less than three days. I give him a lot of credit because, unlike the rest of us, he can only do his work inbetween shows. I just don't live up to their level of awesomeness. Anyone can do what I do. Not that I am not grateful to even be grouped together with these people - and I still do recognize that I must be doing something right this year, because everything is feeling so good.
Will the ball drop? God, I hope not.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

review: A Serious Man

... Okay ...
Don't really know what to say about this movie. It is beyond my understanding. I read a little about it after watching it, and I was glad to see that it was somewhat based on the book of Job. I was even more glad that I could see the connection.
However, I think this is just one of those movies that I am not going to like. I respect it, but it certainly is hell to sit through.
Why did I watch it in the first place? It certainly was not because I adore other Coen films - in fact, I only know 2 for sure, and I only like one of those. I watched it because of Ari Hoptman. He plays Arlen in the film and he is one of the actors that comes up to the do shows at the Playhouse. He's an amazing guy, and I was really excited to see him on film, and he was good. Small part, but a good role. I'd watch it again to watch him.
Other than that, there is not much I would re-watch this for. Except maybe with someone who understood it more than I did. That would be helpful.
I guess the only reason I really didn't like it is the characters. Most of them were assholes. And all the humor was because of that - and I guess that is just not my thing. I don't like watching movies that have characters of the lowest possible factors. It seems like everyone was mean, lazy, and self-centered. I'm not a violent person, but I wanted to bootkick his wife out of the house and onto her ass. I wanted to bitchslap the daughter, and I wanted the bully have a crackshot at the son. And I feel completely justified in saying that.
I do commend the lead actor - he was wonderful, and I guess everyone else did a great job because I did dislike them so much.
So - the only reason I suggest that people watch this is because of Ari. I will say that it does a good job of portraying the incredible detachment of the sterotypical suburban 60s.
2 out of 5 stars

Friday, June 25, 2010

review: 2012

Hmmm.
The jury is still kind of out on this film right now. Hopefully by the end of this blog I will be able to give it a proper rating.
The plot is rather obvious. It starts about 2009 and with a couple of quick flashes through the years you learn that the government is preparing for something. Of course, you have an idea what it is. This is where science and prophecy meet. The Mayan calender predicts an event of cataclysmic proportions. We learn that this is true because the sun is putting off exra ... waves (don't ask me what kind) This is causing our core to heat up, which is causing something a lot like a land shift. The earth is essentially exploding on itself.
Obviously there are a lot of different stories weaved into this - as with all disaster movies. The main focus is on a down and out writer and his family - estranged wife, son, and daughter, as well as his wife's new boyfriend. But we also are introduced to the scientist who brought the problem to the attention of the government (it is worth to note that he is NOT the person who first discovered the problem though - I thought that was a nice change up) Add a couple of politicians, a freak, a religious man, and their families and you have the general core of characters.
I liked the movie. It isn't something I would want to own, but I would watch it at a friend's house or on tv once in a while. Acting is pretty good. I'm a sucker for John Cusack, I am. There wasn't any really fantastic performances, though. Good, adequate, but nothing mind blowing.
The plot - while typical had some good points. It started off kind of slow. The first wave of disaster was detached somehow. It was more spectacular than I really cared for. However, I will say that I understand why it was that way. The ending half of the movie is incredibly emotionally charged. So, I think the first wave of city destruction was designed to be more for the wonder aspect than for a feeling for all the suffering. It also held the concentration of the family, which made sense too.
There were some cheap shots though, in the plot, and at one point I did start thinking - when are they going to reinvent the pattern? Why is there always a good scientist, a dirty politician, a bad man who somewhat redeems himself in the very end - and why, why, is the main family always somewhat broken? I'd like to see something different.
Still and all, it was pretty good, and there was some amazing camera work. Obviously, a lot of special effects were used - and it was pretty effective. I was on the edge of my seat for a lot of it. I was most intrigued by watching the different types of people dealing with the end of the world crisis.
You know what bothered me the most? It has nothing to do with the movie, though, so pardon the hiatus here. I was watching it with Barry - who has a big problem with organized religion. Okay, fine, that is his beliefs, and I respect that. But I got really irritated when they showed the Vatican and he cheered the destruction. I got mad really. And I feel bad that I did, because there was no reason to. But it bothered me that he could only see the Church as false hope. It really bothered me. It was not the time to have a religious discussion, and I am the last person who should even get into such a discussion. I am not a good Christian, and I know little about world religions - but I wanted so badly to make him understand. I know every religion has its downfalls, and too often people use religion as an excuse for intolerence (which makes me SO MAD). Religion is there to comfort people - to guide them - to teach them to be good. Organized religion is simply a community of believers. It is simply a group of people who agree and who worship together. It is a beautiful thing really. I'm not Catholic and I don't believe exactly as they do, but I respect their faith - and watching the symbol of that faith crumble is powerful and sad. It is just as sad to see a Jewish temple bombed or guards having to stand outside a Mosque. I wish I could get him to understand - but I don't want to be disrespectful to him, so I say nothing.
Back to the movie: I think I have made a decision.
3 and 1/2 out of 5 stars - borderline on 4 stars.
I recommend it for at least a one time watch.