Is everyone in la la land over “La La Land”?

I saw it today, The IT MOVIE that’s getting all this buzz, etc. I thought it was meant to be a parody of musicals and references to old movies, and that the plot was a joke on all the typical musical and romantic comedies. If they were picking an actor to play the part like she’s not a person but a kind of cardboard poster of any happy go lucky old style films, they did it right.

There were a lot of moments that seemed like a joke. Every kiss seemed to be imitating the big typical kiss of the romantic comedy that is wholesome. The profiles of each of them and the tilt of the head and placement of lips.

Whoops! Wait, am I really supposed to care about these two people who are mostly in montages for the real life part of time continuing but they are like advertisements of a life and of a relationship?  There are three parts to this kind of movie relationships : meeting and rubbing each other the wrong way, suddenly realizing they’re in love, being in love and having things to talk about and care about, telling each other they’re talented and believe in each other and that their dreams will come true, living out the dreams and realizing they can’t go down the road together any more and have to choose separate paths due to their successful careers. Oh how sad and bittersweet. Are you for real in 2016. I thought I went to sleep and woke up in the early 60’s but then got bored and went back to sleep.

It was like the whole movie was a clever ad, the kind where you’re wondering what exactly is the product they are trying to get me to buy? The colors are great and some of the visuals and movement of scenes have more of a cool movement than any of the boring dances and songs I can’t remember.

Here’s a fun quote about the costumes. She wears dresses in almost every scene of the movie,in bright primary colors that swing for dancing around in la la land. He wears the thin ties of the serious artist/musician as opposed to the husband character who wears regular ties for their regular life which she sacrificed the romance for.

I wanted women in the audience to be wooed by Ryan, and the men to feel romantic about Emma,” says costume designer Mary Zophres.gh

Are you kidding me? Is it actually 2017 or the 1950’s? I’ms supposed to be “wooed” by the guy and if i’m a male, I’m supposed to feel romantic about her through their boring typical musical sort of retro costumes? The costumes give the movie good pops of color but they’re hardly anything you’d swoon over or feel anything about these people. For sure nobody is sexy. It’s one of those movies where sex doesn’t exist even though were’ supposed to be so emotional about the characters arc of relationships etc.

Watch “Splendor in the Grass”. I can admit that movie makes me cry and feel the tragedy of how life can interfere with some kind of intense true love, but younger than the people in this movie. There is more going on in it anyway. The girl gets in a fight with her mother about sex while she’s taking a bath. It’s Natalie Wood and Warren Beatty. I’ve seen it at least 3 times.

They go to see Rebel Without a Cause. It’s like Annie Hall where the Woody Allen character takes her to see terrible movies about the Nazies. This is Two Couples with no Cause in search of an Author and some Academy Awards.

“La La Land reeks of mothballs”. What a great sentence by one of the few film expert/critics who haven’t drunk the Koolaid.

http://observer.com/2016/12/good-intentioned-but-overrated-la-la-land-reeks-of-mothballs/

What is the big deal about the acting in this movie? I used to be annoyed by people oohing and aaing over great performances where the actor had to play someone mentally ill or some other extreme and people went on and on about it. At least there the actor has to deal with real circumstances like schizophrenia or being blind. What kind of acting can you get out of a person who has maybe two or three facial expressions. There are a few versions of smiling, mostly done by having her  perfect mouth closed, slightly open or open big. There’s the biting the lip on the outside to stop herself from bursting into tears. She is able to get her eyes wet and look emotional but really her face is blank and one dimensional. She’s very good at the blinking and not blinking at the right moments in very close closeups and that’s about it. I don’t get the big hype.

Go back and actually watch any of the movies this movie seems to reference to, either on purpose or accidentally. Bye Bye Birdie is more complicated with the same kind of wholesome feel good ness.

I saw the movie with a 9 year old who liked it but wasn’t absolutely in love with it. She commented that basically there were only 2 characters in the whole movie. Exactly. The only romantic movies with only 2 characters and a few background ones that works is the series about the man and woman that meet only for a day, and again in several movies, sort of a copy of the plot of Same Time Next Year: Before Sunset, Before Sunrise and Before Midnight. Guess one reason why we want to watch these 2 people in 3 movies? I’m not sure, but it feels way more realistic and romantic/nostalgia/sad. It helps that the woman in it, Julie Delpy writes the screenplays of the second two movies with Richard Linklater.

I liked the colors and the editing of the movie. I just told a friend maybe it would be fun to watch the movie without the sound on. There are these great cuts, unexpected, funny, meant to confuse between real life and “movie” life, and seem like a funny joke about the movie itself being so fake you think it’s done on purpose

Emma Stone has not written anything, thank goodness. I do not understand how everyone is swooning about this performance. I don’t get it. You would think singing and dancing was practically impossible in most movies that she is so great at it.

Once you’ve seen Charlie Chaplin in anything you can’t argue with the fact that in comedies especially, facial expression is everything. Ryan Gosling doesn’t have an expressive face either. People like Jim Carrey maybe go too far in the other direction. There’s Sean Penn, Kate Winslet, Helena Bonham Carter, Robert Downey Jr. and hosts of others who actually have faces that move and can carry an emotion or idea where the camera is on them and they do something magical. I don’t see that with the Stone face smile of Emma Stone.

The editing and composition of the scenes is great. I got pretty dizzy in a lot of the film with a lot of sudden cuts and the camera’s movement.

I’d say that was the most moving part of the movie, being moved around like that.

Supposedly the scene where the break up is happening is supposed to be so “real”. The lighting and choice of no music etc yes, but the plot is so boring and typical, it’s like real celebrities complaining about how they can’t sustain a relationship because both people travel so much for their jobs and don’t see each other. Oh no, she has to choose between her own success and seeing him less or just going around with him and giving up on her own career. Wow. i’m so sad for them. I won’t even list the real life celebrities that had this problem, touring for music and acting in movies all over the place. So tragic.

The whole plot is built on cliche. You can’t see the mold and the mothballs through the shiny feeling of this movie.

I just hate when everyone swoons over something that really is just not that great and not even good.

Sorry but I just don’t get it. I’m going to have to deliberately not watch the Academy Awards. By the way, I did for sure notice the weird racism in the movie; you’d have to be an idiot not to. I won’t even get into that. This review captures most of it:

http://fusion.net/story/377467/la-la-land-oscar-hollywood-musicals-race/

 

Everyday Inspiration, Back to Day 2: Lists

I’ve been rethinking the lists assignment for this great writing class I am taking now from WordPress.

I thought more about my relationship to lists and categories in general.

I enjoy categories and lists and lists within categories. Pinterest really satisfies that urge; lately I have been active on Pinterest, partly because it does not involve politics or the idea of being right or wrong. As with an art therapy group, there is no right or wrong to collecting images you like. Going back to Pinterest was very interesting in terms of how I viewed categories which are “Boards” and lists which are “pin/saved images”.

First I wanted to make a list of the lists I have been thinking of writing.

1.) There is still the List of choices for making a list provided for the class:

  • Things I Like
  • Things I’ve Learned
  • Things I Wish
  • Things You’re Good At

2.) List of films I saw in 2016 that had a big affect on me, that I can remember right now without looking it up and also what made these films have meaning for me.

3.)  List of specific 2016 things I am grateful for.

4.) List of regrets.

5.) The list of Pinterest boards I have added and other boards renamed.

6.) The list of lists I want to write that I can’t remember now but may remember later.

7.) The grand list of New Year’s Resolutions that I am not going to make.

8.) The list of things I want to do to my studio to make it match my dream studio as much as possible.

Everyday Inspiration Class: Letter

Write a letter to someone or something:

Dear Digestive System,

You have been torturing me all day. I eat and feel terrible stuff going on in my stomach area, I don’t eat and feel it also. Right now it is so sharp and blunt. I don’t know how else to describe it.

You visit me from time to time; there is no warning. I drink coffee every day, sometimes sipping on it all day long, and you leave me alone. I don’t eat consistently healthy foods. I have not been motivated lately to be careful or mindful of food choices. My mind has been on other things. You know I try very hard from time to time, and then let go and stop caring about proper nutrition when I have other more important things to deal with

I would gladly feel the knife in the gut pangs of hunger than you. You come whenever you feel like it. You are supposed to be inspired by stress but stress is an everyday thing in my life, and you often leave me alone. You like to pick times like weekends or vacations to come and make yourself at home, because you are a sadistic asshole.

Today you were determined to make me suffer. In the morning I was fine. I ate ice cream because there is an article out there that says very intelligent people eat ice cream for breakfast. No, as you well know, I wasn’t suddenly deciding to eat ice cream to convince you I was intelligent. You already knew this years ago. As a child, I had grand ambitions to eat lots of ice cream as an adult. In fact, I saw little other reasons to be excited about becoming an adult. I’ve eaten ice cream for breakfast at different times for years. In fact, this morning I had sneaked some ice cream before anyone else had any idea to want ice cream for breakfast. I was excited to be given the green light f to eat ice cream this morning, out in the open.

I felt fine before, during and after that. You struck later in the day before the trip to Ikea. By the time I was making lunch I had no interest in eating as the pain had begun. It wasn’t as sharp as it is now. I brought some bread with me in case I decided to eat it at Ikea. I drank my coffee late; I decided not to let you prevent me from having my coffee since you had already started tormenting me.

I think you went away for a bit and I got alittlebetter in the late afternoon. I decided to eat whatever I want as an experiment. You’re there not because of any specific food, so why bother avoiding any foods in particular? I decided to eat through you and see if you might retire and leave me. Things I ate: a bowl of spinach linguini with pesto,peanut butter, not that much, dark chocolate, and some cheese popcorn. By the time i ate two handfuls of that pop corn, you had settled in for th night and were not going anywhere. I’d already gotten out the rolaids and taken 3 of them.

At this moment as I write this, you are now a big monster doing your worst. I am not tired enough to just force myself to go to sleep; it is true that you often fall asleep during the night and slink off and leave me alone by the time I wake up. My stomach middle area feels like it’s riveted with bullets, or that you’re twisting something in there.

I thought writing this letter might help. At the moment of the pop corn, I had this urge to eat a lot more food, maybe eat my way through you. Right now, I think I will try ginger tea.

It’s 10:56pm. Still time to do my almost daily yoga. Earlier I thought it might help push you away for a while, but at this point I can’t imagine doing much besides lying on the couch and trying to find a Twilight Zone episode to distract me from your relentless insistence on making me feel like I’m being punished for something.

What could it be? I could come up with many reasons. I acted like a jerk early in the day. I tried mightily to improve my behavior and succeeded. I mostly acted quite well as I can sometimes do if I catch myself and turn things around, somehow back to trying mindfulness to manage my angry thoughts.

I know you have something to do with anger as you’re right in the center of the third chakra, the fire, the action and ambition chakra, all about doing and using the fire. Fire is part of anger, when controlled and focused it can be a great energy. Indifference and complacency are the enemy of focused thought out action. Anger is the friend of action, activism, ambition, caring. You are angry at me first, you came here unannounced and now I’m angry I have to endure you for hours on end.

At the moment I find it hard to care. I am in selfish mode and negative cloud. I am cut in half by a sword.

I don’t expect this to be great writing or a great letter. IT’s not helping me feel better physically or motivating me to do yoga to try to fan the flames and make you smaller.

Please, I beg you, just go away. You can return another day. The tea does nothing

Ok. I should try that thing where you go into the feeling rather than run away from it. Not effective either.

Sometimes if I don’t eat anything for hours, I feel better, like this afternoon. It was a terrible idea to eat through you.

I hope you’re having a great time in here.

How do I end this? Sincerely? Best? Goodbye? Be gone? Fuck you forever? A plague upon your house! Actually I am your house for now. I hope I’m just a cheap motel with free breakfast in the morning.

Your host, my body.

PS.You’re still  here…

 

Everyday Inspiration Day 1: I write because…

You finally admit that this is who you are, you come out and hope that no one runs away.” – Mark Haddon

I did this assignment so fast, that I want to go back and really focus on the question and answers or clues. Maybe I was running away from the assignment; it’s the crucial question for me. That is what is going on right now and has always been there; hiding in the closet. I am fonly now admitting to myself most of all, and to a few others, that I am a writer, and have been one long ago, at least since that journal from high school.

It is easy to hide behind being a “visual artist”. People might not understand my being a writer because I’ve convinced them I am a painter. Pictures and words. I worked hard to go from words to pictures back age 20 and now I’m back to going to words.

Actually after losing that journal on the subway, the other day I found a bright red “cahier” not sure the English word, from a much younger me. There were lines in it for learning handwriting. The kind where you can fit lower case next to each other and more space above to make upper case. There were a few pieces of other peoples writing, some poems. Then the writer’s name. That was it. I was probably practicing handwriting, but I’m not sure what the thing with writing other’s writing. It seems like a clue. I liked other people’s writing. I liked writing their writing. I even today started with a quote.

I think I always was interested in the visual aspect of words and handwriting. It was a big deal for me at some adult age to consciously decide I didn’t like the way I print low case “a”s and wanted to make them look like how this font is; maybe it’s a writer’s a, the a on the typewriter. Recently I started writing t’s Ls ps and gs differently, from copying my daughter who talks about handwriting with me. She thinks my handwriting is messy. It is but I’m sort of changing it. It helps you slow down. I’ve always wanted to write the way my brother does. His capital A”s are so beautiful and impossible to copy. It came from his working at an architecture firm a lont time ago. I am fascinated with other people’s handwriting.

So in this case, the answer isn’t even I write because I like words; it’s because I like letters! Wow, maybe that is ultimately what it is. I’m not super into fonts, but I do like certain ones and think about that choice seriously.

So that might be one answer. I write because I love letters. I love all the books that start little toddlers or younger children reading. A is for apple; B is for barn, etc. My I write because is also very entwined with reading other writer’s. Looking at their writing, their sentences, their words, the letters.

I remember being excited to tell a friend that the word “urine”, is You Are I N E. It seemed so important at that moment 29 years ago. Sort of strange now. I admit it with a tinge of embarrassment, not about the word, but that it doesn’t seem to mean much. I guess it meant what it was: You are I. The “N E” is subtler but was part of it.

I have landed back to the beginning. I was thinking a lot about words, which I’ve been thinking about long time; I love looking up origins of words, especially fun to look up a name and surprise someone with the meaning. I see names as very important; of course they are. How they are chosen, who chose the name, what was the process. Ultimately I guess I wrote simply because I love letters; I love the alphabet. I love other language’s alphabet, but I am most familiar with English. When I was studying Japanese back in 4th grade, I remember the first thing we learned was how to read and write the 2 easy Japanese alphabets. First “Hiragana” and then “Katakana”. The first one is away to write Japanes words simply and read them. The second one is an alphabet just used for foreign country’s words. The real tough and important one is “Kanji”, it is impossible to learn all of it. Each character is so complicated and means a whole word. That is what I remember. It was fun doing the letters. Same thing with Russian in college. You get to do the alphabet. It’s cool in its own way, and learning a new alphabet of another language; that got me already into the concept of languages, and how other languages can be so different from English, starting with the alphabet. Alpha turns out to mean ox and beta turns out to mean house if you go back far enough.

The secret to my wrestling and struggling and process with “Why do I write?” may be simply in this ox an house

Day 2 of Writing Class: List

These are the choices:

  • Things I Like
  • Things I’ve Learned
  • Things I Wish
  • Things You’re Good At

I wrote a whole draft of a list of Things I’ve Learned, but I decided to do something different with the same topic.

Things I’ve Learned about My “Writer” Identity:

  1. I’ve been hiding in the writer “closet” for years, at least 30 years.
  2. I was struggling with this beast back in 1985 in my writer’s journal for an English Creative Writing class in high school.
  3. It’s always been, “What do I write about?”, “What do I have to say that people will want to read?”, having this urge to write but not having anything to write or write about, least of all fiction.
  4. I try in every way possible to destroy my thinking of myself as a writer or at least place obstacles in my pat. I left the 1985 writers journal on a subway two weeks ago. I was terribly upset and angry at myself. I had lost a big clue to who I was, not as a teenager, but as a budding writer back in 1985. When I first discovered that journal in the spring, I felt like I had been given a time capsule to this person that had been me, at least, what she wrote and how she thought about writing. I found it at this point where I had started writing a lot more again, so it seemed so just right that it fell into my lap.
  5. Did I lose that journal to tell myself that I can’t write or to make things hard for me, did I lose that writer in me, or that key into my mind as a 17 year old, or, did I lose that journal because I don’t need it and have already incorporated that writer inside me and need to focus on what I am writing now or my writing process? the Maybe both are true. The reason I was carelessly carrying around this old green covered Meade notebook was that I brought it to my therapy session that morning to show my therapist. This is a new therapist I am working with after several years hiatus from therapy. One main focus of my therapy is my struggle to be ok with being a writer and with my writing. It seemed even more of a message from the universe that the last event with that journal was for that very purpose. I texted my therapist about it right after I lost it. I seemed to need for him to know that he was the last person to see it and hear it.
  6. The more I write, the more I delete my writing and sometimes edit it but no longer just look at a first draft as finished. I used to write posts for this blog and fling them out there. Now even for the blog, I write many drafts I never post.
  7. I started writing something new in the spring that was a new kind of writing and a new sort of genre I tried out, some kind of  personal narrative. I did not know until then how much my work as an art therapist from the past especially was going into my writing. The other thing I discovered was writing and my daughter, writing about being her mother and writing with her. I already considered her a good writer back when she got excited by writing in second grade.
  8. The whole writing issue, beast or monster is intricately connected with my  GraphicNovel, started in 2000, which is a sort of memoir of the mind. This graphic novel has been torturing me for the past 16 years, most of which have been “writers block” years. It was started with the goal of publishing it; that goal has always been there despite my success in squashing it.
  9. My writing and my art have been coexisting with my Graphic Novel illness. I only realized it with writing recently when I saw that the more I write the more likely I am to get back to the graphic novel, and that whatever I’m writing somehow seems to be an act of avoiding working on the graphic novel, but sometimes seems to get me back to it. The art coexisting has been going on since the beginning. This last project involving cartoons, Bathroom Art Only, is the first series of work where my art directly connected to the graphic novel and sort of spilled into it and the art work threw me back into it after a long block. Then the door closed a few months until my writing flung me back at it. At other times, my art has seemed to focus on being as different and far away from the graphic novel as possible, as if it is trying to keep me away from it.
  10. The graphic novel has become a strange realization of my personal “Pictures and Words” struggle. More on that another time. End of list!

 

My Solo Art Show in Brooklyn!

#Bathroom Art Only is the name of the exhibition of my art in Williamsburg at the gallery of the art therapy clinic, New York Creative Arts Therapists. The opening reception was at their Open House on Saturday, October 29.

Somehow, with Halloween and the pre election events, and the election and post election events and reactions going on and ongoing, my show event got lost in all that, and I neglected to post photos on this blog, my Facebook page, Twitter and everything else. I am still trying to sort out how this very important event in my career seems to have been pushed to the side by me, the artist. Another post can address that complicated issue…

The show is still up through the end of 2016.

I wrote some posts about my art project, #bathroomartonly (#Bathroom Art Only), which was created to address the rights of transgender identified people, as well as gender non comforting, gender fluid and every gender in between, to equal access to public bathrooms. I started the project in the spring and over my summer road trip, I posted photos of public bathrooms I “visited”, as part of my whole project, which I think of as going beyond just having this exhibition of my work.

The work in the show is meant to be provocative and humorous and to use the comic strip medium to address how we construct gender and invite people, whether cisgender or non conforming, transgender, and all others, to look at gender in a different way. The show is organized in categories of “characters” that typically are not viewed in terms of gender, office supplies, cats, heads with non gender bodies (self-portrait collages), toilets and poop all talking. Not all are directly talking directly about gender, some are more subtle ways of thinking about gender construction. Here are photos and you can see the messages without me explaining it:

 

Cupcakes still on my mind

I must add as an afterthought, that I just realized during one of my Guilty Internet Window Shopping Black Friday weekend experiences, I put a cupcake watch in my cart. I put things in carts and then get off quickly after having spent too much time figuring out the 35% discount.

That cupcake watch, I thought about it today and sensibly told myself, you certainly don’t need another watch, another Bestsey Johnson watch, after all you have the sugar skull, that Alice looking one, the cat one, the Marilyn face one…

Writing this list, I realize I already went into the too too much so much that you can get more because the muchness has already gone over the top, so it’s again so tantalizing to think, after writing this Ode to Cupcakes, don’t I need to reward myself with that cupcake watch, if its’ still on sale of course. Oh no. I will try to resist it.

Cupcake watch

I confess I have a small “cake” wristlet bag that was one of those I must have this, things, It says let them eat cake on the bottom. But still, cupcakes are better…

Everyday Inspiration Day 1

This is a topic, “I write because”, where I am excited to say that today, I wrote because my 9 year old daughter was writing; I have a love hate relationship with writing, but when we write at the same time, I enjoy writing and don’t feel all the usual crazy stuff and insecurity and everything else that comes with torturing yourself writing and in between writing.

The prompt was a great 4th grade prompt: Cake or Cupcakes, which do you prefer? A very important question that I have pondered quite a bit.

It just so happened that we went to get cupcakes today with her friends and friend’s babysitter Heidi. I already knew my daughter was writing in favor of cake.

So here is my writing that I did in the 20 minutes that she did her piece. I’d also like to say that writing for 20 minutes is great because you enjoy it and have fun but don’t go too much into it and get caught up. For the ADHD writer, it’s great. No time to get bored or distracted except within the topic.

Ok, here it is. I have to add that my daughter asked me to put it in this blog!

Actually it is probably more fun to read as a post on its own, so I will make a separate post right now, write now!

we can sketch it out.

I love these quotations and how they are placed in these great portraits!

malcolm-yelloThere is nothing better than adversity. Every defeat, every heartbreak, every loss, contains its own seed, its own lesson on how to improve your performance the next time. — Malcolm X

leonard-cohen There is a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in. — Leonard Cohen

tawakkol-karman In our hearts, we are just human beings who want a dignified life. Is that too much to ask? -Tawakkol Karman

bill-murray-yello The last time doesn’t exist. It’s only this time. And everything is going to be different this tie. There’s only now.  — Bill Murray

coetzee We are not by nature cruel. — J.M. Coetzee

mother-teresa Peace begins with a smile. — Mother Teresa

tim-gunn Life is not a solo act. It’s a huge collaboration.  — Tim Gunn

shermanWe are all products of what we want to project to the world. — Cindy Sherman

henry-jamesThree things in human life are important. The first is to be kind…

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there is a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in.

Great! So sad to lose Leonard Cohen.

We lost singer-songwriter-poet-artist-novelist Leonard Cohen, one of my personal heroes and the mentor I never met. Here’s my little tribute.

leonard-cohen There is a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in.

cohen-color Act the way you’d like to be and soon you’ll be the way you act.

leonard-love Love is the only engine of survival.

cohen-yesterday-colorHow can I begin anything with all of yesterday in me?

cohen-trainingBTW, I’m training mediators in New Orleans this week, and Mr. Cohen was my co-trainer.

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