Monday, December 31, 2007

year-in-review meme

. . . everyone's doing it, so i'm in (she says, recalling the '80s). i can't start in January 2007 because i've only had mylittlewebspace since April. i tend to write my way in to the complicated mess of it (it being the thing(s) i'm after), so first lines don't tell much, but so . . .

April: "i probably shouldn’t do this."

"this is me w/ my niece, fiona."

June: "i'm taking this out of "comments" and formalzing it."

July: "i've been wanting to make films that project some vibe, some desire, and i've wanted to do it with images and music and very few words."

August: "ingmar bergman, 89. michelangelo antonioni, 94"

September: "kafkaz responded to an earlier post about my Pavlovian-anticipated desire to own a particular lighter i'd seen in a film."

October: "i've been spending so much time making films that my reading has lapsed."

November: "i will write (maybe more seriously) again when i emerge from underneath this pile of papers and when i am not preoccupied with boots (current top contender, left)."

"okay, so only one person voted on my poll, and that's. okay."

Friday, December 28, 2007

the full awfulness . . .

this horrible program, photo booth, allows you to distort images freakishly. i hate it. but. it's true. playing w/ fiona in photo booth is a riot. i hurt myself laughing.

addendum: emily (my sister, fiona's mom) saw this post and gave me sh*t for not including a truly freakish but simply a modified image, so she did me the delightful favor of sending along her favorite. voilà.

p.s. when next we meet in person, reader(s), we will not speak of this.

Friday, December 21, 2007


so i've spent the past 24 hours snuggling with my new niece (and god-daughter), Matilda, and playing w/ my 2 1/2 year old niece, Fiona.

this is all so good.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007


it's helpful to go back and read earlier entries, things you've said before. especially the particularly earnest but maybe unwise things (unwise as in: "should i have said that out loud and in public?"). so going back helps because sometimes we let slip . . . things sneak out almost beyond our recognition, and this can be good (not always, but surely). and so going back. good. because often, (hyper)attention to audience concerns (a thing we teach and practice) can warp an idea beyond your earnest desire (the desire forming the compulsion to write) as well as your awareness of what you need to say (re: the reality of your sense of need, the reality of your hopes). and here now: not terrifically nuanced, but helpful as informal reflection. and it seems to me that this is something we don't often discuss with our students (and/or among ourselves). but maybe should. because instead, we say, "you should not say that in public. that is/was rhetorically unwise. what were you thinking?!" but then we disallow those moments, emergence, aporia . . . (which maybe only register as aporia upon reflection or "recursing," a new word i like a whole lot right now). and so much of it is about careering. not all, but. a lot.

maybe recursing is useful because of what it shows us about how our desires sometimes conflict with our aspirations, aspirations being ideas that are shaped by our sense of "how things should or might be" rather than how they are, how they align or conflict with how we think we can most effectively, joyfully operate in the world.

someone has probably written about this in a more sophisticated way. but i was just a minute ago recursing and found it especially useful.

* banner by jieun rim

Thursday, December 13, 2007


it's trivial. thinking about changing my name. polling about what to do with my hair. but these sorts of (trivial) things are likely to (have) help(ed) me survive many events in my life . . .

after being put on "permanent suspension" from the University of Florida in the early 1980's, i developed a pretty serious case of anorexia/bulemia. i was pretty happy being superthin, even given the costs. and it worked for me as i dove into fashion.

i went to "Beauty School" and, like any eating-disordered perfectionist, won both school competitions. first place in both cutting and styling. a friend who did a pristine updo should have won, but it was the '80's, and my "inspired" piece won. (note: Bradenton Beauty Academy did not have a website when i was there, so don't think you'll find pictures . . . because there is. no. evidence. i even threw out my trophies when i was feeling as though my cosmetology life was worthless after a few years of disenchantment -- that's another story).

but so my updo: i had found some broken pieces of black, plastic netting while walking by a construction site. i used it to create a "trash can" as the base of the style on my mannequin's head (i had pulled her hair into a high pony tail and used the netting to cover the hair beneath the rubber band).

[feel the excitement! . . . ] so the night before the competition, i set her hair in perm rods of various sizes. then, during the competition, all i did was take out the rods and let the hair spring all over, sort of like trash spilling from a trash can (my "concept"). oh, i fussed with the pieces, trying to make it look as though i was "styling," but it was done. and i dare say that my mannequin resembled the image, above -- a much more "ordinary" updo in today's hair scene, but back then, it was radical. and it's all performance.

and of course, yes, i had dreams of being a "platform artist," which is a hairdresser who performs at trade shows and competitions. because i had to be the best, and to be "just" a stylist would. not. do.

so my overfull trash can hair "style" won. and though i was d-e-l-i-c-i-o-u-s-l-y enchanted to discover that my "inspiration" could take me just as far as could "skill" (which, i mean, of course my little project required no small amount of skill -- rolling hair on perm rods was a talent l-o-n-g in development, for me), i felt sort of bad. i believed that my friend Terry should have won because she did a beautiful roller set and back-combed like the wind. her updo looked just exactly like the picture in the book. it was perfect. later, as a way of apologizing, i tried to befriend her and even went to support her at a local roller-skating competition (she wore the bespangled costume and skated in perfect circles and figure-8's; roller skating and hairdressing and ballroom dancing -- there must be a gene). at the competition, i was bored, but i played it up and cheered and generally felt as though i'd atoned for my "sin" of winning.

later, i won 2nd place in The Annual State of Florida Hair Cutting Competition. i cut a classic bob (sort of a no-brainer) on my sister, Emily, and when i went up to accept my trophy, i thanked "The Lord Jesus Christ" as well as my Beauty School mentors. oh yeah.

i could never back comb (tease) very well or in a very orderly fashion that would produce a neat, picture-perfect updo. my experience of teasing evolved from my punk life back in Gainesville. i had a very short haircut w/ long bangs; i would use the palm of my hand to mash it around to create a messy nest that formed the base from which the bangs would spring up and out and down. voilà. trivial things.

. . . l'image . . . happy, happy . . .

Sunday, December 2, 2007

sundance themes, past and present

okay, so only one person voted on my poll, and that's. okay.

i've decided to keep my Sundance updates here, on "kind of . . ." because, well, it's a catch all. i'm not an especially theme-driven writer person, and, well, my thoughts about Sundance, while wandering from film reviews, celebrity news, and behind-the-scene stuff about working the festival *do*, in a sense, represent.

as you can see in the above photo, this year's theme is "film takes place," and if you're a fan of Marc Auge, and his theory of "non-places," you may appreciate the irony. because film sets -- which is where films actually take place -- represent "non-places," i think, because of how they represent "places of transience that do not hold enough significance to be regarded as 'places'" (from same wikipedia entry, which seems okay by me). i mean, of course, "film happens," and thus, "takes place" (the traditional meaning of "taking place"). but to consider film taking place through the lens of Auge's thinking about "places of transicence" -- film sets are obviously transient and merely representational spaces (and yet, they are "set" ?? . . . so maybe this theme is actually nuanced and cool, like the Sundance i know and love) -- one might also call up images of film crews blocking, cordoning off, and controlling certain places -- Vaquez Rocks, anyone?? think Star Trek and that fight between Kirk and that white horned monster "da da DADADADA da da da da da." i'm not a trekkie by any standard, but there is your memory of Vasquez Rocks.

someone is always shooting at Vasquez Rocks because it's "otherworldly," "extraterrestrial," "historical", or "barren landscape with craggy nooks within which to place your Terrified Heroine."

but so the point is that film takes places, takes over, and that's sort of fine, but kind of funny and horrible, also. and, not so tragically, it's not a place in any "real" sense of place as knowable, grounding/grounded, and/or permanent. and yet, it's "set." maybe it would have been more forthcoming to theme the festival "film takes space," but that sounds far more hideous and colonial and nasty (i.e., um, somewhat honest . . . sure, the film industry is fabulous, and i love it, but it's also kind of nasty, and i don't think anyone who works in it would actually deny this perspective). when i was in L.A. for my interview at CalArts (i probably should have taken that job #%$##!!! . . . despite the poor pay), i climbed up that highest jagged rock, and it was p-r-i-t-t-y cool, placing myself in those scenes from my memories of beloved films and cheesy t.v. programs. there's a picture somewhere. i'll try to find it because i can feel your fascination, your deSirE!.

so but it's easy to critique this year's theme, and there is certainly MUCH more to say. BUuuuuut, i actually love it. it's sort of simple. not going for too much highbrow metaphorical self-importance, as in years' past (see my PRE/TEXT piece for my thoughts on last year's theme -- ugh, flames . . . there aren't enough words . . . ). this image (right) is of the giant posters that marketed the festival and identified certain spaces as Sundance venues. the Film Guide (left), which is the index to all things Sundance, looks much better, but it's still clunky, that "fiery passion" theme. an insider told me it was all about Prometheus. ha.

the far better rendering of Prometheus came in the '06 retro-literary theme (Sundance is ALLL about "story," which is fine. maybe even good. but sometimes, the talk about story feels kinda creepy in its self-importance;it's like when people talk about their love of "WOoooords!!" please). so but '06: even the screen "fillers" -- images that fill the screen between events, creating a mood -- were pretty clever (various literary and "storied" figures sat in a film theater, doing the things -- in nanoscopically determinable moves -- that people do in theaters: eating popcorn, flirting, pushing past seated patrons to find a seat, etc. there was even, if i recall correctly, a trojan horse in the theater. that was kind of funny).

when i first started to volunteer for Sundance in 2001, the theme was sort of freakishly vibratory . . . sort of about motion and electric vibes and circuits (lordy, i hated that theme; see right). the colors. the mess.

better was '03, even if it was a little hippy-groovy. an image of a cupped hand holding what seemed to be a sun coming up over the horizon in the distance but was actually a large, orange egg. grooooooovy. but actually, groovy (see left, which is actually an image of the framed poster i took in my basement office, so it's not exactly clear, but maybe this ambiguity will aid in your appreciation . . . because. it is. pretty corny). maybe it's simply that 2003 was a great festival year, and my memories are so happy from '03. maybe this is why i can more easily tolerate the hoke. not sure.

2004 went full-on "cowboy," and i recall feeling angry that one promo book (right) contained images of male cowboys, exclusively (come on, Sundance!). there was a nice page that detailed "festival basics," (left) and it sort of resembled those cut-0ut articles of clothing you'd use to dress your paper dolls. still, it had a retro feeling that worked (and, well, maybe thus the male-only theme . . . retro . . . ???). actually, there may have been one cowgirl, but she feels like an afterthought, a smurfette (although in this image, she leads the charge; still, front and center is the blonde, Great American cowboy. heath? sorry).

as i write, i think, why haven't i done some writing about the visual rhetoric of the Sundance Film Festival? probably because the 12-hour work day exhausts and delights me in ways that occlude Serious Academic Thought . . .

and this brings me to the TRAGIC 2005 theme, "independent." yep, that's all. just "independent." and, i mean, well, of course. but here's the awful thing: Sundance usually screens these self-promotional shorts just before a festival selection screening (because, what? you might forget that you are at the Sundance Film Festival? . . . more like, let's work that theme we paid so much to develop, i guess, in my more cynical mode). anyhow, so the giant theme appears -- texty, as in the film guide image (left). and then a few letters drop out, so that INDEPENDENT morphs into INEPT. um. so. going for self-deprecation, i think? so it's kindofinaverytinyway funny, but to me, as a filmmaker and a theater manager who interacts directly w/ the filmmakers and actors and producers, etc. -- who show up full of nightmarish hopes and frightfully desperate, faith-wearying dreams -- well, it's a little insulting. more than a little, maybe. were i a comedian proper, i'd have to say, "d-e-l-i-c-i-o-u-s." but i'm not. so.

a bit of naughty fun. more later . . .

stand up straight & let me get a look at you

It's awards show Sunday, so i'm giving Margot. I'm through with the wishfulness and angst and regret, and Margot, more than an...