Thursday, January 31, 2013

Happy Birthday Dad!

When I'm Sixty-Four by ronaldmacdonald33
Today is my Dad's birthday. It's amazing how a song can make a birthday feel unique. The power of music. My parents were even able to reminisce about how they never thought they would reach this particular age when this song was released.  Hmmmm...

Happy Birthday Dad! So glad I was able to share it with you.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Dealing with Rejection

Source: via Chelsea on Pinterest

Last week I was having a hard time finding the energy to post all that much. Since Monday was a holiday it did make the week start out on a different track than normal so that may have had something to do with it. It was also the first week of rejections (sort of) from the festival circuit and I was feeling a little less than positive. It is something you feel you should be prepared for it, but it is still a little rough.

When applying for festivals you apply for the most prestigious first and then work your way down. So really I had the smallest of small chances of getting into the first wave of festivals I applied for (and there are still a few whose tell by dates are later this month and for at least one of those I am almost certain I won't get in), but for some reason this is when all my self doubt begins to surface.

I keep thinking that no one will program a film about ballet and why did I make a film with all women again? People want to hear male voices. This is the sad truth about our society. At this point I have only been rejected by two or three festivals, but for some reason this is the hardest hurdle to get over. I am not sure why. When I watch my film now all I can think of are the reasons people will hate it instead of why they may love it. Some of the reasons are so miniscule like a sound pop that more than likely only myself and, perhaps, someone who is really into sound will hear.

I understand that there is a lot more that goes into programming a festival beyond whether a film is good. And these festivals at the beginning of my festival campaign get many thousands of entries. I can't even imagine how hard it is for programmers to whittle 5,000 films down to 100. Yikes. Of course just because something makes sense in your head doesn't mean it makes sense in you heart. Is that way too corny?

This week I am trying to put all that behind me and get back into the swing of a normal week. We are moving out of our apartment and into a house in the next few weeks so a lot is going on. If I am lucky I will be able to focus on other things and not even think about the upcoming notifications. Once February is over the notifications are much more random so I will have a better chance at forgetting that they are looming on the horizon.

I also remind myself of what it felt like a few weeks ago when someone who has seen the film made a fairly direct quote from the film in something I was reading. She wasn't promoting the film and didn't even reference the film at all, but clearly a moment from the film has stayed with her and she had been thinking about it. It made me feel that my work left an impression. Of course, it also meant that I want more people to see it.

(quote from pinterest; I think it might be about love relationships, but is also quite appropriate for the love-hate film fest journey)

Monday, January 28, 2013

It's Snowing

I had no idea it was going to snow today. Maybe I need to watch the weather more often. My daughter and I went to the gardens today and at 1:00 it was a sunny 58 degrees; though it was windy. I sat outside while my daughter ran around and she only had a hoody and I had a scarf, but no coat.

When we got home the sky started to grey and then the snow started around 3:00 or so. Unexpected snow is one of the greatest things in the world especially when you are already safe at home.

Downton Abbey

I am still spending the morning thinking about the very emotional episode of Downton Abbey last night. Often I feel as thought the show sometimes presents huge emotional moments and then sweeps them under the rug as if they didn't happen. For instance Ethel accepts her post as an old maid after being left at the alter pretty quickly.

But, Sybil's death last night took on a different tone. It was clear from the beginning that things were not going to go well with the birth. After the baby was born and Sybil felt the need to tell her mom to help Branson fight his fight I knew she wouldn't last long, but I wasn't ready for her death scene. Watching her suffer through the seizures of eclampsia while the doctors hopelessly stood there and her family tried desperately to do something was nearly unbearable.

My daughter got "stuck" and had to be born by Cesarean. It truly didn't hit me until the next day when my mom asked my grandmother (who was a nurse) what would have happened in the past; she very bluntly stated that more than likely both myself and my daughter wouldn't have made it. When I was pregnant if I felt nervous about something it was so often written off with, "women have been having babies since the beginning of time." Well, then they have also been dying in childbirth since the beginning of time.

The show seemed to present how much men are in charge of women's lives. Cora knew unquestionably what needed to be done and she was ignored (to be fair Branson trusted her, but they took to long to tell him what was going on). It has made me think even more about if pregnancy would be treated differently if it were men going through it as opposed to women.

A very good friend of mine is expecting a baby this week or next and we are hoping the baby comes earlier rather than later. I hope she didn't watch the gut wrenching episode last night.

(Image Sources: Top, Bottom)

Thursday, January 24, 2013

The Man in the Box

One of our favorite things to do is go down to the Pearl Street Mall in Boulder. My daughter can play on the rocks and we can watch the buskers. The man in the box has been around for decades, but is still amazing. Especially watching my daughter watch him as he does his show. Her eyes got even bigger than normal!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Reading Gelsey Kirkland

Source: via Chelsea on Pinterest

Gelsey Kirkland's most famous book, Dancing on My Grave, details the rise and fall of an extraordinary career. Though a wonder if she  will ultimately be remembered for her drug addiction or her dancing. She danced Clara in Baryshnikov's Nutcracker and I have a feeling she will be remembered, by most, for that. (Here is a link to a clip of her in Giselle, one of my personal favorite ballets)

She wrote a second book along with her, now ex, husband titled The Shape of Love. I have been thinking about it a lot because she goes into the extensive detail of creating the characters she is dancing and how it is more than simply dancing steps. The motivation behind any art form is so important and I believe can really make or break a piece (in dance, film, music, art, etc). I have really been wanting to re-read this book and may have to squeeze it in somehow.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Snow, Snow, Sun

It's not snowing here anymore and it is warming up nicely. I hear that it snowed last night in North Carolina though. Apparently it was thundering and snowing at the same time. I would expect nothing less.

These pictures are from the big snow in Colorado last month. We went to the holiday lights exhibit at the Botanic Gardens that night and must admit snow covered Christmas lights are amazing. I think this is all of my pictures from last month!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Chocolate Lollipops

I know I am extremely late at getting around to posting this, but I still wanted to share these pictures. For Christmas we made chocolate lollipops using this recipe from Ina Garten. They came our really good and were a great project for me to do with my daughter. She was able to be really involved without it getting frustrating because there wasn't anything she could mess up. Plus, she was really proud of them and liked to tell people she had made them.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Editing Insanity

 Yesterday I had a film festival postmark by deadline to make. On Monday I made some tightening edits to the film and started the three to four hour process of making the DVD. I woke up early yesterday morning to burn the DVD and then take my daughter to the museum since we had spent the previous day inside while I worked. Of course that wasn't to be the case because as I previewed the DVD I found that shots had been inserted into places where they didn't belong. It took me all day to discover how to fix the problem and then burn the DVD. It was an incredibly stressful day. The DVDs did not make it to the post office until about 9:00 pm; thank goodness for those new automated machines.

Even when I have work to do I have to rotate time with my daughter and editing. For lunch we decided to make black bean burgers and because she loves to cook it was a extra good idea. It is really easy to make all you need is a can of seasoned black beans, one egg, and bread crumbs. Then you puree the black beans, mix the egg into the puree, and then add the bread crumbs a little at a time until it reaches a thick consistency and keeps shape. Then form patties and put them on the skillet (medium heat with a little olive oil). It was a nice distraction from the stress of the day.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Back to...1998?

Last night on the Golden Globes Ben Affleck won the best directing award and my jaw fell to the ground. Ben Affleck? Who would have thought it; I know he's won an Oscar for writing and all, but who thought this would happen. I haven't seen Argo, yet, but was planning on seeing it before this happened. I mostly think of Affleck as the not so serious and not quite as talented half of a famous bromance (the other half being Matt Damon).

Back in 1998 when they won the Oscar (watch it here) for writing Good Will Hunting, I was on vacation in Los Angeles. We went down to the Shrine Auditorium (where the Oscars were being held. You can't really get close enough to see anything without fighing massive crowds so we found ourselves hanging out on the sidewalk where all the limousines line while waiting to turn onto the street where the occupants would exit to the red carpet. Surprisingly, we were the only people on the sidewalk and we were free from the mayhem in front of the building. We found it much more fun to try to guess who was in what car; we could see the sparkles of sequences and diamonds through the tinted windows. We could tell someone was wearing a green dress and later decided it had to have been Kate Winslet.

The most exciting event was when a hand came out of a sunroof with a piece of candy. My friend ran over and excitedly took it. I don't know if she ate it or not (I can't remember) but she said she got a good look at the hand of a young-ish man. We spent the Oscar viewing analyzing hands and decided it was either Ben Affleck or Matt Damon. It had to be.

Within the past few months both Matt Damon and Ben Affleck have both been guests on David Letterman. I don't know if it was intentional or not; I would think not, but they both told the same story. Apparently, when Ben Affleck was giving the cast of his film, The Town, a tour of Boston (the location of the film) he pointed out Matt Damon's apartment. At this point Blake Lively exclaimed something like, "OMG, you know Jason Bourne." To which Ben Affleck was taken aback because he thought everyone knew about his best bud. This made Affleck and Damon feel a little old and irrelevent. I actually had a different reaction to the story. It made me think of Blake Lively as an airhead because, in the very least, who doesn't read the imdb page for the person that will be directing them? Clearly, she had no idea who Ben Affleck was; her agent or someone told her she should make this movie and she said, "ok." And that was that; she did not do any legwork to prepare herself.

Getting back to 1998. The best part for me was actually a few hours after the Oscars were over and we decided to go back to the Shrine. Nobody was really there at that point, but some blockades were up so you couldn't just walk into the building. There were maybe ten people still hanging out and out of nowhere Kim Basinger and Alec Baldwin suddenly walked up. She had her the Oscar she had just won for L.A. Confidential (one of my favorite movies) in hand and she walked up to us to show it off. Baldwin stood back on the street and watched, seemingly proud. Soon, their marriage ended in a most spectacularly horrible way. It's funny and kind of odd that I can look back on the lives of these people I don't know.

Well, that was the best Golden Globes I have seen in awhile (thought the acceptance speeches seemed a little long). Wonder what the Oscars will be like?

P.S. Remember when Jennifer Garner was in Felicity? And what do you think J'Lo thought of all the cuteness radiating from Garner and Affleck? I couldn't help, but think of Bennifer.

(Photo Source: top School Ties with Ben Affleck and Matt Damon, bottom Ben Affleck's hands Sunday Night)

Thursday, January 10, 2013

A Little Squirrelly

Last week when we were visiting the Botanic Gardens for a good long walk (one where my daughter can run ahead of me without me getting stressed about cars and streets and the business of Denver) we came across this interesting little guy. He was on top of the trash can eating something indiscernible. As we approached instead of running away he went into the trash can. I was not expecting that, nor was my daughter. Throughout the Gardens squirrels were running a muck. Especially on the small trails that run along the South side of the compound. Perhaps, the trees are more brittle in the winter and so we heard many snaps as the squirrels ran from tree to tree.

It reminded me of this guy I went to grad school with who was deathly afraid of squirrels. He was and, still is I am, one of the most handsome and charming men I know. He was very tall and was the quintessential ladies man. I saw him with various women throughout our tenure at school, but never the same one. You would think he had no weaknesses. But he did. Squirrels. There was a wooded area, well, really just a clearing between buildings on campus where there are a fair amount of trees (of course this is in Greensboro, NC, and if you could show me an area where there where no trees I would be shocked) and anytime I walked through this area with him he would grab on to my arm, scared a squirrel might jump on his head. He knew various stories of the small animals attacking people and if we saw one he would stop dead in his tracks. Sometimes he would whisper to me, "look how they move, you can't tell what they are going to do, they could come at you and you wouldn't know what was happening."

I have to admit last week I was a little freaked out by the squirrels I could hear them all around me, but was only catching glimpses of them. When we walked by the trash can again the squirrel who had been sampling the unknown treats inside was gone or so we thought. As we neared the can it suddenly scampered out in a blur, stood on top, and looked at us. Then, quick as a flash it hurried across the sidewalk and over to a little pond where it got a drink before scurrying up a tree and out of sight. The entire time it's wary eyes followed us.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Natalia Markarova

This week I have will have to play catch-up. I have some pictures from December that I want to share, but did not get to given the hustle and bustle of the month. Before I get to those, I have been wanting to comment on the Kennedy Center Honors that were doled out the week after Christmas. 

The first I heard of it was from David Letterman. He is by far my favorite late night guy. It seemed pretty cool that he was being honored and when I saw Natalia Markarova was also going to be there I was ready for a good show (even later I heard about Led Zeppelin and, really, could this get any better?).

I thought the whole show was spot on (I love, love, love, Julie Kent dancing Juliet and Beth Hart was also a stand out), but there was just one thing that kind of got my goat. Now, I know comedians get laughs at the expense of others and usually it doesn't phase me. I was even bummed that Ricky Gervais wasn't hosting the Golden Globes this year; don't get me wrong I like Tina Fey, but  it is kind of fun to watch the celebrities squirm and see who can take it the best. In that instance Gervais was the host and he set the tone so when the Hollywood Foreign Press chose him they were making a statement as to how the show would go. In contrast the Kennedy Center Honors are hosted by Caroline Kennedy and represent the Kennedy Family.

When Jimmy Kimmel was honoring Letterman (watch it here) he said that Dave is a hero to everyone in the room with the possible exception of those who came to see the ballerina. What really got me was that he didn't say her name. It was like she became this non-entity and almost not at the same level as the other honorees. The thing is if he had just said, "with the possible exception of those who came to see Natalia Markarova," I think I would have chuckled, rolled my eyes, and not thought about it again. If he had said verbatim what he said during the opening monologue of his show I wouldn't have batted eye because the venue is so different and it fits. Up to the point of that comment I was feeling how great it was that ballet was being featured with this variety of work and people. It is not like there is always a ballerina; Suzanne Farrell was the last ballerina to be honored in 2005 and before that Maria Tallchief in 1996 and Alexandra Danilova in 1989 (there are some men interspersed in there as well, but I am talking ballerinas here).

Luckily, Ray Romano came on next and he was hilarious and got me back on track, though I did keep thinking about it and how easy it was too trivialize one of the honorees simply because her profession isn't quite as cool as rock n' roll or comedy. She lived an extraordinary life (see here) and did more than dance; she truly stood up against communism, had to abandon her home, and could have been killed if she was apprehended.  She was instrumental in helping Baryshnikov find his footing after he defected and he was honored twelve years before her. In addition to all of this she was an amazing ballerina and continues to inspire dancers to this day.

Maybe I am being too sensitive. But I was there to see Dave Letterman AND the ballerina.

*     *     *

Note: I love when Martha Stewart is on Letterman. This is an all-time favorite of mine particularly the second half when they taste oysters! (I also found this, which is also quite entertaining)

(Picture Source: top, second, third, last)

Monday, January 7, 2013

Goodbye Christmas

We left for North Carolina just days after Christmas and before New Year's so I didn't want to take the Christmas tree down before I left. This morning we woke up and enjoyed the glow of the tree until the sun came up and then decided it was time to take it down.

Since we haven't been to the grocery store since returning I chose to make these scones to munch on while we took everything down. For Christmas my daughter received the DVD of George Balanchine's Nutcracker and she hadn't watched it yet so we popped that in. We watch the Nutcracker year round in our house and I have been wanting to take a little break from the Baryshnikov version we have stuck with for the past couple of years. While I baked she danced out the first act.

Snow is my favorite part of the Nutcracker and I think George Balanchine really did an amazing job with that particular part of the ballet (the Baryshnikov version is only so-so). I adore how toward the end the snow is so thick on the ground that you can see the dancer's footprints; even though I am sure that makes for some difficult dancing the effect is really wonderful. I also really love Arabian/Coffee and Wendy Whelan is superb in this version and Baryshnikov cut that variation out of his Nutcracker!

It has been a very oddly festive morning until, of course, my daughter lost her patience and started running around the house dragging a garland around and demanding to put away the ornaments I was putting away and frustration took over our happy dance filled morning. But that is life with a three-old in a nutshell. ;)

Picture Source: Snowflakes

Saturday, January 5, 2013

New Years Resolutions
We just arrived back in Denver about five hours ago. My resolution for the day is to take a nice long hot shower. It will be so nice. Hopefully by Sunday evening I can pack away all the Christmas stuff and unpack from the trip.

As for my New Years Resolution I really want to focus on getting all of my work and career more active in Denver. With all these movies out about Alfred Hitchcock (whom is one my favorites filmmakers so I have been bombarded with questions about him recently) I have realized that I haven't sat down and watched one of his films in a long a time and I think not watching great movies has my inspiration running low. Since I have been working on Strength and Beauty I have been watching a lot of documentaries and that has sort of zapped my creativity because, unfortunately, a lot of docs are very poorly made. They are so reliant on the subject at hand that attempts to really create a story, flesh out characters, or simply create a nicely paced and well edited film fall to the waste side. Though, I would argue that most films made nowadays are extremely poorly edited - but that is a whole other post. So a very important resolution for me is to get back into watching films made before 1960.

In addition to that my other resolutions are as follows:
1. Continue writing in this space on a regular basis.
2. Finish up everything with S & B (master cut, DVD).
3. Write a Dance on Film article I have been gathering notes on for years it seems!

That is about all. There is probably more, but I have hit my threshold for computer time. Though, accomplishing this would really get me to a good creative place I believe. So here goes for a great year in 2013.

(Alfred Hitchcock photo: source)