Monday, December 31, 2007

Here's to 2008

It's New Year's Eve. My daughter is out with friends. She leaves early tomorrow morning to return to Boston. Fred and Ginger are dancing cheek to cheek. My cat is on my lap. My wine is within reach. Considering the year I've had, it's practically perfect.

I've been thinking about this all day and decided that I won't do resolutions. I haven't done resolutions for many years - not really. It's just another chance for me to fail myself. So this year, I thought I'd give serious thought to what I'd like my life to look like in a year. And maybe that will help me focus on what is really important and let go of all the other stuff.

So, a year from now, this is what I'd like to be different from tonight. I should like to be more kind to myself, more forgiving. I should like to worry less about my body and my diet and feel like I've made changes that are healthy and life long. I shouldn't mind being alone, but I'd prefer a small gathering of friends. If I'm watching Fred and Ginger, I should like to be cheek to cheek with someone who very much wants to be cheek to cheek with me. I should like to know that I wasn't living a half-life, filled with fear of failure, fear of success, fear of rejection, fear of looking like a fool. I should like to feel that my own personal economic future was secure, as well as that of my country. I should like to know that all my family is safe and sound with their loved ones and no one is overseas serving in a war that never should have happened. I should like to see my daughter happy, even happier than she is now. I should like to know that she is content with her path and feels confident in her future.

Most of all, I should like to believe that 2008 was the best year yet, and that many more happy years are ahead of me. I should like to be kind. Very kind. To myself and to everyone I love.

Happy New Year, everyone.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Raindrop Review - ENCHANTED

ENCHANTED (Kevin Lima, 2007) is enchanting. A Disney movie that makes fun of Disney movies while being a perfect Disney movie.

Amy Adams is Princess Giselle and James Marsden is her Prince. Or is he? On their wedding day, one day after they meet, the Prince's evil stepmom lures Giselle to a wishing well and pushes her in. The well is a portal between the animated kingdom Andalasia and New York City. Giselle rises up out of a man hole into New York traffic. (A moment worth the price of admission) And quickly is lost in this world of reality. Rescued by Patrick Dempsey, Giselle proceeds to turn his world upside down with her innocence and unwavering belief in True Love.
Excellent performances all around. Everyone must have had a marvelous time - especially Susan Sarandon as the evil queen. (That's the costume I want for next Halloween!) Timothy Spall is a wonderful second banana to the queen. Idina Menzel, as the spurned love of Dempsey's Robert, was supposed to have a song - I wish that she had. I love her voice. But the sweet songs by Alan Menken (the king of Disney songs) and Stephen Schwartz (the king of B'dway's Wicked) are perfect for the film.

Can True Love survive in New York? Well this is a Disney movie, so of course it does. But the fun along the way is not to be missed. A fully staged musical number in Central Park? Why not. Isn't everyone's life like this when they fall in love?

Perfect for hopeless romantics, like your's truly. Perfect for would be princesses of 8-12 years. They get a little cynical after that. Perfect for anyone who dreamed life could be a musical. Perfect for you, if you ever believed, if you still believe, in True Love's Kiss. Do you believe?

Monday, December 24, 2007

Raindrop Review: SWEENEY TODD

Attend the tale of Sweeney Todd
He served a dark and an angry God.

Tim Burton's vision of Stephen Sondheim's masterpiece is dark and angry. Johnny Depp is brooding, empty, fueled by revenge. Helena Bonham Carter is surprisingly (to me) wonderful as Mrs. Lovett. And I am completely in love with this film.

Now, you must understand that I wanted to love this film. Sweeney Todd is one of my very favorite musicals and Sondheim is a god as far as I'm concerned. His skill of sculpting beauty out of rhyme and his gorgeous melodies have always captured my ear and my heart. And Sweeney Todd is his finest work, imho. The sweetest songs come out of the vilest beings from "Not While I'm Around" to "Pretty Women". (on a side note...I can die happy. Alan Rickman and Johnny Depp singing Pretty Women made me so very happy....) The lyrics are clever and poetic. And the music drives us forward to the inevitable, bloody, sad, ending.

Now to the movie itself. From the first blast of the organ and bloody raindrops falling on a cartoon London to the last pool of blood, the film is bloody. But it should be bloody. This is a bloody tale of revenge and lost innocence and lies and pain. Yet it is remarkably funny. Black humor to be sure. And no one but Tim Burton could adapt this musical so well. He has used all his skill as a director to visually move the story along. And it everything serves the music, which it should. While the vocal chorus is absent from the film, the music is still there, driving us from moment to moment.

Performances are top notch. Depp, Bonham Carter, and Rickman are all perfect in tone and style. Timothy Spall is perfectly awful as the Beedle. Sasha Baron Cohen is wonderful comic relief. And newcomers Jayne Wisener and Jamie Campbell Bower are lovely and hopeful as the young lovers. Wisener has the voice and face of an angel and it is easy to believe in loving her at first sight. Sweet little Ed Sanders handles my favorite song, Not While I'm Around, with wonderful voice and great maturity.

Ahead there be spoilers....

There were things I missed from the stage production. I wished there were more of the interplay between Lucy(the beggar woman) and Sweeney. Gives that final "Don't I know you?" a bit more punch. The staging where you can see Sweeney killing the Beedle above and know that Toby is about to get a nasty awakening in the cellar doesn't work quite as well for me. And I do miss the chorus - at least some of the song could have been included...perhaps at the opening or at over the credits. But these are minor points. I loved it. One of my favorite movies this year, to be sure. And a favorite for a long, long time.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Poetry Corner - Global Warming

For Winter Solstice

Global Warming - written Dec. 2006


The iceberg thaws. Floes of frozen matter,

Large and small,

Break off and enter the vast ocean.

The waters rise. Salty oceans are cooled.

The heat expands the air above,

And the planet is shaken.

This passionate fury

Of tempest and turbulence

Brings down upon us

Great suffering and pain.

Homes are broken and lives are lost,

And we wander without purpose,

Seeking Moses in the rushes,

Seeking answers in the questions,

Seeking light in the dark.

The Planet howls its' fury

Left too long ignored; her needs unmet -

So much given and so little asked.

Yet we wander on oblivious to the change that comes unbidden.

We stay the course. We refuse to see.

"We cannot change," we cry.

"This is the only way."

Change – and challenge –

Choose possibility.

Say yes.

Accept the grief and loss.

Ride out the storm that shook our core.

And let the thaw be not in vain.

Let every heart.

Prepare a room.

For possibility.

KC McAuley

Sunday, December 16, 2007

On a Desert Island

Every so often someone will ask me that question. If you were on a desert island what book would you take, what movie would you save, what music would you want? As if somehow these answers will define me once and for all. But it's a good exercise and I enjoy seeing where I am at this particular point in time. My movie hasn't changed for many many years. Children of Paradise - Les Enfant Du Paradis. I love this movie for so many reasons. Its history, its artistry, its story all appeal to the deepest romantic in me. Book - has to be the works of William Shakespeare. That will come as no surprise to those who know me.

Music is much more difficult for me. The recent request told me I had to limit my list to 10-15 pieces - just enough to fit on a CD.

There are some pieces of music that I simply adore and would have to have on my desert isle...

Rhapsody in Blue - G. Gershwin - Oscar Levant
Lacrimosa - Mozart's Requiem Mass
Violin Concerto in D - Beethoven - So many interpretations - but I think I'd prefer Pinkas Zucherman
They Can't Take That Away From Me - Gershwin again - but sung by Fred Astaire
Fields of Gold - Sting - but I'd want Eva Cassidy's version
San Diego Serenade - Tom Waits
Song About the Midway - Bonnie Raitt
Yesterday - The Beatles
Bohemian Rhapsody - Queen
Leaving/Wee Small Hours - Kurt Elling
If I Had A Boat - Lyle Lovett
Texas Flood - Stevie Ray Vaughn
Don't Smoke in Bed - Nina Simone
Trouble....from Music Man with the inimitable Robert Preston
Not While I'm Around - Sondheim - by Babs

I was the first to respond to this question and as other people began to answer I found myself realizing the gaps in my list. No Dylan. No Stones. No Porter or Rogers and Hammerstein, Lerner and Loewe. So today I expand a bit.

My 10 MUSICAL cuts (Broadway and movie - which is painful enough.)

Night and Day - Cole Porter - The Gay Divorcee
Brush Up Your Shakespeare - Cole Porter - Kiss Me, Kate
What I Did For Love - Marvin Hamlish - A Chorus Line
If I Loved You - Rogers and Hammerstein - Carousel
Dancing in the Dark - Schwartz and Dietz - The Bandwagon
I've Grown Accustomed to Her Face - Lerner and Loewe - My Fair Lady
Finishing the Hat - Sondheim - Sunday in the Park with George
I'm Not that Girl - Stephen Schwartz - Wicked
Singin' in the Rain - Freed and Brown - Singin' in the Rain
They Can't Take That Away From Me - Gershwin and Gershwin - The Barkleys of Broadway

Top 10 Classical Pieces

All of the Requiem Mass - not just Lacrimosa - Mozart
Violin Concerto in D - Beethoven (Pincas Zucherman)
Goldberg Variations - Bach (Glenn Gould)
Concierto de Aranjuez - Rodrigo (Christopher Parkening)
Symphony No. 2 in C Minor - Mahler - especially the final two movements
Sonata No. 3 for Cello & Piano - J. S. Bach
Sonata No. 2 in B Flat Minor - Chopin
Symphony No. 5 in C minor, Op. 67 - Beethoven
Piano Sonata No. 14 in C-sharp minor, Op. 27, No. 2 ("Moonlight") - Beeethoven
Piano Concerto in E Flat - Mozart

That's enough for today. I can't even start with popular music. I'd have to do 10 jazz, 10 rock, 10 blues, and on and on....

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Present(s)

Be here now.
Feel the force.
Let your light shine.
You had the power all along.
Click your heals three times....

I was watching the new SciFi miniseries TinMan - which wasn't too bad actually. I like Zooey Deschanel and the story was a nice twist on the OZ tale. And I started thinking about Joseph Campbell and the Hero's journey and all the times in my life that I've tried to be present to what is happening in my life and not worry about what it might mean or that it might all go away. Because it always does. That's what makes friends so precious and memories so treasured. Because we only have those moments and those friends and those precious connections for a heartbeat.

It's been a year where I have had to let go of people. But mostly it's been a year where I have had to let go of me. A year where I have had to learn to be more gentle with myself - as gentle as I am with others. And where I have had to find the courage to be me, no matter what the cost.

I've realized much. I've learned much. And I've been greatly blessed, because I took a chance. And I found the courage to risk. Now I have to find the courage to forgive myself and be gentle where my aims have fallen short.

I've been so busy TRYING to be present, that I haven't been present. So busy TRYING to be safe, that I was not safe. So busy TRYING - that I have not Been. So it's time to realize...

That the power was inside me all the time.
It's time to let my light shine and stop worrying about it being seen.
I have a brain, a heart, a home and the nerve....

To be here now.

To be present and to be a present.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Raindrop Review - ONCE

6/20/07

Once in awhile a movie comes along with that
Once upon a time feeling of something that happens, if you're lucky,
Once in a lifetime.

Such a movie is ONCE. Frames singer Glen Hansard is 'guy' - a vacuum repairman who spends his spare time playing his guitar on the streets of Dublin. During the day he sings what people want to hear, but when the night comes and no one is around, he sings his own song. Well, no one but 'gal', Markéta Irglová, who is enchanting, beautiful, wonderful and heartbreaking. She spends her days selling flowers and magazines on the streets - but she listens to his song. The two quickly form a bond, perhaps recognizing the sense of aloneness that can so easily be hidden in this world.

The music is perfect, flowing out of the hearts of the characters. Who hasn't felt like a Broken Hearted Hoover Fixer Sucker Guy - at least once in their life? The un-produced feel to the songs and video lend a sense of voyeurism. We are peeking into these lives, learning just what they are willing to show us. There's are no big dramatic moments - no climactic scenes - no grand declarations. There is a guy and gal and their willingness to find each other, to see each other, to hear each other, to love each other - once.

I hesitate to say anymore. There's a fragility to ONCE that asks for an open heart, a listening ear, a willing spirit. Do yourself a favor and surrender to this gentle film. I'm going to see it more than once. And I already bought the soundtrack....

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Working for a Life

I just finished watching an episode of LIFE and toward the end of it, something happened which got me very excited. No it wasn't the cute blond trapping Damien Lewis in the elevator and kissing him. Although I have to admit that I'd be tempted to do the same if I were in an elevator with Damien Lewis. It was the introduction of a new character and it would appear that the actor playing this new character will be none other than Titus Welliver - which for me means the appearance of another DEADWOOD alum.

One of the main characters on LIFE is played by Robin Weigert (Calamity Jane) and a recent episode featured Garrett Dillahunt (Jack McCall/Francis Wolcott). And it isn't only TV. A group of friends who discuss DEADWOOD at length - among other TV shows - took to spotting actors from DEADWOOD in other shows and movies shortly after the end of the series - premature as it was. And these actors turn up all the time. Some, like Dillahunt and Dayton Callie (Charlie Utter) and our dear friend Jim Beaver (Whitney Ellsworth) work all the time. But even the central actors Timothy Olyphant, Ian McShane, Molly Parker, John Hawkes appear to be working steadily in an industry known for hot today and not tomorrow.

So what does this constant appearance of DEADWOOD alum say to me? Two things. One - The work done on DEADWOOD was of a consistent high quality and highly respected in the industry itself. People who know want to work with these people. Two - these are are WORKING actors. They show up and they do their work. It shows in everything they do. Go find their work before DEADWOOD and you'll see consistent good work. And they have NOT become prima donnas since their success on DEADWOOD. They show up. And they do the work.

In a world where people don't always show up and especially where they don't always do their work, it's good to know that good, hard work still gets rewarded. So show up. And be prepared to work for a LIFE.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Who's On The Line

I love writers!

Where have all the writers gone?

Of course, they're on strike. I know that. You know that. But have you really thought about what's at stake here? Since I fancy myself something of a writer and since I'm using this blog here to hone my skills - I thought I'd add my own humble opinion about writers here.

Writers are my salvation. I turn to Shakespeare, Yeats, King James and even Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert when I'm looking for the answer. At least once a day, a Seinfeld-ism pops into my day - from "it's in the vault" to "SALSA" to "master of my domain" And at the end of a long week, nothing soothes my soul like a new movie or TV show.

It's easy to fill the gap that the writer's strike has facilitated. I have plenty of backlog in my TiVo, a never ending list of movies to see, and boxes of videos and dvds to rewatch. I'm sure you are much the same. But I can see the horizon where I will have watched all there is of interest to me and my life will be much less rich because of it.

There are plenty of places where you can send a message to the management - Viacom, NBC, etc. - Let them know that WE know who really owns the intellectual property. Don't let the writers go.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Poetry Corner - Persephone

Persephone
KC McAuley - Sept. 2007

The ground heaved –
Great mounds of earth and rock rose up before her.
She made her way through the rough terrain,
Gingerly stepping here and there.
The mud sucked at her ankles and held her fast.

A mighty chasm yawned before her and up from the darkness

He rose.


His chariot of twisted roots and hardened clay flew high above her.
Sinuous vines wrapped around her and lifted her up.
Up beside him.
Where he pulled her to him and kissed her with his sour mouth.


Down into the abyss they dove.
And blackness surrounded her.

A thousand hands were on her.
A thousand mouths devoured her.
A thousand cries to Zeus she wept.


Hades slept.
At last.
Slowly she slipped the vines from her body.
Slowly she forced the hands away.
Inch by painful inch she climbed.
Up.
Up – was light.
Up – was home.
Up – was all she knew.

With measured pace and careful step the darkness fell away.
Encased in mud
She stood upon the edge of the abyss
And spat into his eye.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Raindrop Review - INTO THE WILD

I've had a hard time composing my thoughts about this movie, separating what it is as a movie from what it did to me emotionally. I give up.

I can appreciate the love and compassion that Sean Penn had for Alexander Supertramp. It's evident in the care he took in making this film. The scenery is beautiful. The supporting cast of characters that Alex meets along the way are note perfect. I can appreciate the desire Christopher (Alex's real name) had to escape the world, figure the meaning of life, get away from all the artifice and pretense and the complication of emotional relationships. But when William Hurt, playing Alex's father, collapsed into the middle of the street sobbing because he doesn't know where his son is or what has happened to him - all I could think of was how selfish Chris was being.

We all have our selfish moments. We all have days, weeks, months even when what we want is all that matters and we will walk over anyone, especially those we love the most, to get what we want. Most of us are lucky enough to not have to pay with our lives for being selfish. Most of us are lucky enough to be forgiven by the ones we hurt. Most of don't have to go to Alaska and live in the wild to learn that - happiness is only real when it is shared.

Maybe that's why I can't be happy anymore. Because I may not be living in geographical Alaska. But my heart is definitely living alone - in the wild. And nothing is real to me. Because I can't share it.

Maybe that's why I started this blog. Maybe I hope someone hears me. Maybe I shouldn't be so honest here - but who believes what they read online anyway...

Monday, November 26, 2007

Company

I tried something new tonight. I was looking for a way to meet new people and do something I enjoy and am pretty good at. I went to a pub quiz. I knew there would be things I would know for certain - like - What is Ophelia's relationship to Polonius? Things that I might know or could make a good guess at - like - In what movie do the Beatles sing If I Fell... ? And things I wouldn't know no matter how my brain tried - like - What is the lowest weight class in boxing?

My first clue that this wasn't my night? The pub quiz was in a gay bar. No problem for me. I was the prettiest woman in the bar. In fact I was the only woman in the bar - even once the quiz started.

Next clue - the teams were all set and the group I was supposed to be meeting wasn't showing up. So I signed up to be my own team. I had my glass of Johnny Walker Red - I'd paid my 3.00. And there wasn't any reason to head out into the cold, rainy night and go back home. Beside, I wanted to see what kind of questions this pub quiz stuff would really have.

I did okay. I held my own in there. I took 2nd place. I even won one round by one question. I wasn't even really trying that hard. Didn't figure I had a chance all by myself.

I'm trying to think of this with humor. It took a team of 6 gay men to beat me. And they had to work hard to keep up. I nearly beat them - if I had bet all my points in the final round, I would have won it all. But it's the story of my life. Even in a room full of men, I can't find one who can keep up with me. 6 of them - to edge me out. And I know if I go back next week - they'll be happy to see me. We'll laugh and joke about it. Me and my admiring men. All of them telling me how fabulous I am and how I'll make some lucky man so happy and loved and if they were straight (or single or younger or older or richer or poorer or better) they would be proud to be with me.

And yet...

"I don't have a point to prove or a stand to make
I'm just trying to find my way
And a face to wear and a place to be
In the absence of your company"
Kim Richey

Friday, November 23, 2007

Raindrop Review - THE ASSASSINATION OF JESSE JAMES

There were four of us there - all women, all alone. They were perhaps lured by the prospect of Brad Pitt's blue eyes and sculpted abs. They were sadly disappointed. I was there to see what Jim Beaver called Ingmar Bergman's western. I was not.

What I saw and loved was a poem. An elegy to loss. A loss of innocence, loyalty, heroes, trust, brothers, and life itself.

We Americans love our Westerns. We love the romance of a cowboy riding alone for miles and miles. As I once said to a dear friend of mine, Cowboys don't have families. At least that's what we like to tell ourselves. But the truth is much harder to face.

The west was brutal, lonely, unbending. Trust in another wasn't given, it had to be earned. And even then it was a tenuous trust and could be broken at any moment. Loyalty was a precious commodity. Families were fragile. And heroes weren't always the good guys.

Jesse James was a hero to many. Penny westerns and newspaper accounts of his exploits fired the dreams of many a young boy. Such a young boy was Bob Ford. We meet James at the end of his career. Scarred, physically and emotionally, he trusts no one. The small joy in his life, his wife and two young children, is short lived. They move in the middle of the night from town to town, when someone recognizes James and the fear of capture raises it's head. Brad Pitt is perfect here. Weary, in pain, depressed, longing for just a little bit of peace. You can imagine his own life must feel something like this at times - never a moment when you can let your guard down.

Into his life comes Bob Ford, Casey Affleck in yet another stunning performance. (With a name like that how could he be bad?) 19 year old Bob adores the James brothers. He can recite the stories, give you facts and physical descriptions of the men. His encounter with Frank James (Sam Shepard) is wonderful, juxtaposing the eager Bob with the aged, worn, fed up Frank. When Jesse "chooses" him as his companion, takes him into his very home, he can hardly contain his joy. But as with all heroes, once we meet them face to face, we learn that they are not the perfect human being we imagined. The gradual and painful disintegration of Bob's hero worship is what makes this movie. Bob needs his hero and Jesse needs to be worshiped, but eventually neither one can keep up the charade. And the result is inevitable, painful, perfect.

Technically, the movie is stunning, filmed to perfection by Roger Deakins, (he of Coen Brother's films - O Brother, Big Lebowski, etc). The grey and brown and white of the vast prairie lands are occasionally shattered by Bob Ford's clear blue eyes. The rich sepia of candlelight and firelight lend a shadow world to the bright light of day. The sound editing alone gets my vote for Oscar. The click of a gun, the exhalation of a breath, the echo of a gunshot, linger long after the image has faded. The cast is perfection - even if Mary-Louise Parker (WEEDS) and Zooey Deschanel are only seen and rarely heard. But then this isn't a place where women belong.

There are some who say the movie is a bit too in love with itself. I say, why not? Bergman isn't everyone cup of tea. But I like him. This is not an American Western. This is a western for the mature among us, for those of us willing to look a little deeper at what makes us who we are, and what we have sacrificed to get there. This is poetry. And I am, after all, a poet.

My secret

I have a secret. I've kept this secret for years - for most of my life actually. I've kept it because I feared misunderstanding, misinterpretation, punishment, retribution. So I've kept my secret and not let it into the light.

You see - I am a woman who loves...something that nice women don't love. Something nice girls don't do - or at least they don't admit to. My secret is not something isolated in one particular part of me, but is wholly integrated into everything I do. Everything I see, taste, touch, smell, hear is part of this secret, this power in me, this energy.

I've struggled with my secret for so long, suffered so many bad experiences and tried to make myself fit into someone else's vision of what kind of woman I should be. I've finally realized that trying to shape myself into these other visions has meant denying the very thing that I love about...sex. I've been denying my own powerful, passionate, sexual, sensual self. When I let this secret out into the world, I get hurt. I make mistakes. I use others and am used by others. And now, there is no one I can trust. Especially not myself.

I am a woman who loves sex. Not anonymous, serial, one-nighter sex. But powerful relationship sex where that energy is a connection, a bond freely entered into with another. Passion and play. Intimacy and skin. Trust and honesty. Hot, sweaty, steamy, wet, fabulous, erotic sex.

It's very hard to be a woman who loves sex and live alone. You can't tell men that you love sex, because they will never look beyond the sex and see the whole woman that is waiting to give herself to them. You can't tell other women because they are just as afraid of their own secrets. You can't tell your mother or your sister. And you want to tell your daughter, so she won't have to keep her secret. But you can't.

I'm not a slut. I'm not a nymphomaniac. I'm not on the hunt or in heat. I'm not looking for a good time or a fast ride. I'm a deeply passionate, caring, honest, real woman, who lives alone and is pretty sure she'll be alone for the rest of her life. And it's very hard to think that I'll never find that relationship. That one person who wouldn't be afraid of my secret. That certain someone who'd find it an important element of me - but not the sum of me. I'd like to believe that I can trust someone with my secret. I'd like to think that someone would be willing to uncover the whole person and appreciate everything I've struggled to accept about myself. But I just don't think it's possible. I don't think I can be safe anymore. I don't think it's safe to be me in the world. I just don't trust anyone anymore. Least of all - myself.

A View from the Couch

This is the writing that led me to my name for the blog...the balcony is an online community of movie lovers that I have belonged to for many years now. I wrote this in August 2006 while recovering from surgery.

Thanks,
kat

Due to a series of circumstances that I just won't go into here, I have spent much of the past month in hospital beds, my own bed, and finally my couch. While much of the time has been spent in a medicated haze, I have had the opportunity to view a great many movies. Not new ones, due to the lack of a Netflix subscription and/or willing souls to make a video store run for me, but whatever I could find on the pay-per-view, HBO, Showtime, Turner Classics and my own library.

It has given me an amazing opportunity to rediscover some of my favorites and to make some conclusions about movies in general - at least as they apply to those of us here in the balcony. I don't presume to understand the general public's movie decisions in the least. But I've "known" a good many of you for over a decade and feel safe in making the following statements.


1) A Bad Movie - is universally bad. This is a film with no redeeming features. Not a pretty face, no pretty clothes, no good scenery, horrible script, predicable story, and wretched directing and acting. These get about 20 minutes of my time to make their case - then I change the channel. It's been a long time since I went to the theatre to see a truly BAD movie. They abound on daytime and late night TV.

2) An acceptable movie is a variable thing. Movies which I would not find acceptable in a fully sentient state, are marginally acceptable when I am fading in and out of consciousness, up and down in pain levels, and just need the sound of a human voice. Acceptable films over the past few weeks have included - Kingdom of Heaven, Melinda and Melinda, Matador (which I slept thru the middle of and still managed to find the thread of the story when I did wake up) Without Limits, and Must Love Dogs. I imagine I will be adding Mr and Mrs Smith to the acceptable list later tonight after it "premiers" on HBO.

3) A good movie is personal call. For a movie to be "good" to me, I need a decent script, good acting, competent direction, well composed picture and interesting (not necessarily pretty) faces to look at, and something that engages my attention - that makes me want to stay awake and see what will happen next. We may disagree here in the balcony about what made a movie good or what would have made it better, but we are surprisingly quite accepting of one another's categorization of a movie as GOOD. Good Movies I have seen - Munich, Walk the Line, Downfall, All About My Mother, and a whole cadre of older films that I can't even begin to remember - Dark Passage, Camille (Garbo), Meet John Doe, Tess of the Storm.

4) The line between a Good Movie and A Great Movie is almost impossible to describe. But here's an experience that summed it up for me. I was watching WITNESS for the twelfth or fifteenth time. I didn't need to know the story - I already know the story. I didn't need to watch the action. I knew what the action would be. So there was a certain freedom allowed in simply sitting back and letting the movie show me what it had that might be new to me. And there it was. John Book is on the phone learning that his partner has been killed. All we see is the back of Harrison Ford's head in that ridiculous straw hat. All we hear is the voice on the other end of the line. And for a good 30-45 seconds, that's all we need to see. The back of Ford's neck tells us everything we need to know. The tension in his body rises and so does our own. And I thought - "How courageous of Peter Weir to trust the back of Harrison Ford's head. How courageous of Harrison Ford to trust Peter Weir. How courageous of the camera to stay with him. And God I Wish Peter Weir Made More Movies." I started to think of those kind of discoveries I've had over the past 10 years learning along with you how to watch and rewatch a movie. I personally can't wait to watch The Godfather and Godfather II again. And I challenge those of you who, like myself, will not be coming to it fresh - but with a history of viewings - to surrender that history. Sit back and let the movie show you something new. You may find yourself falling in love with Francis Ford Coppola all over again.

And THAT, for me, is what makes a GREAT MOVIE.

Happy Viewing -

What I think is....

(From June 2007)

My therapist said it was time. He said I was ready. Over a year of soul-searching, breakdown then build-up sessions, and he said I was ready to date. Ready to meet someone and perhaps find a partner who would be willing to walk by my side on this path I seem to be on. I'd identified my strengths and weakness. I'd examined my past relationships and determined what my expectations and losses and joys had been in each. I'd learned what I needed and wanted from a relationship and, more importantly, I'd learned how to articulate it. Not just say it in a couple of pat phrases, but to truly articulate it. This is where I am, this is what I've lacked for most of my life, this is what I expect, need, want. These are my deal breakers. This is who I am at this point in time. That is who I was, who I pretended to be, who I assumed others needed me to be. But today - this is me. Fabulous, funny, strong, sexy, sensual, talented, creative, passionate, independent, thoughtful, caring, generous, cautious, scared, open, honest, real. The whole package. The Powerball of womanhood looking for the guy with the winning ticket. Ready to try again - to love and laugh and share and give and receive. Ready to expect everything I ask for to be honored and respected and heard. Ready to negotiate through the quagmire of learning how to be a real grown-up in a real grown-up relationship. I was ready.

Well - what I think is...I may be ready, but I don't think the world is quite ready for me. At least not the world of dating men. I know I'm only a month into this dating thing, but so far I've been rejected, assaulted and stood up. And those are just the one's I've actually gotten to meet. Well except for the stood up guy. Still haven't met him.

There are the ones who respond to my profile or my icebreaker. I've had them ask me to color my hair, lose weight, change my movie or tv habits, change what music I listen to, what food I like, what I do for my workout - and then they might consider MEETING me. Not even a real date, just a meet. I've been told that I'm too in conflict with myself. I'm too honest. I expect too much. I am out of touch with reality.

Okay, so I'm an idealistic, romantic with many passionately held beliefs. What's wrong with that? I've chatted with plenty of men who don't hesitate to state their deal-breakers up front. Just because I'm a woman, I shouldn't ask for what I need? I should just wait for you to give it? No thank you.

Then there are the one who never quite get past the profile. That's okay. I've done my share of scanning the men.

Christian Conservative - nope. Sorry. Deal breaker.
Wants children - no can do. I'm not bearing the next Messiah.
Allergic to cats - well, that's workable. But then he rejected me.
Loves to hunt, fish, camp, ski, sail, run, rock-climb, etc. - I love the Pacific Northwest, too. But I've never been a big outdoor girl. Let me sit by the fire while you're on the slopes. Let me sit on the sand while you go for a jog. Let me sleep in a motel while you get up at 4:00 to get that salmon, tag that elk. I don't have to do everything with you. But they seem pretty determined to have an Olympic athlete with them. So...move on. And if I read one more "love to walk on the beach holding hands, curl up by a warm fire, dinner by candlelight" Please - we all love that.

What I really want to know is, are you going to put up my bookshelves when you said you would? Are you going to kill those ants because you know how they make my skin crawl? And are you willing to clean out the cat box, take out the garbage, sort the laundry, wash the car? How about washing the cat? How about helping me into bed when I've had major surgery and it's all I can do to get from the couch to the bathroom? Will you wash my hair when I can't? Because I know myself and I'll do all those things and more for someone I love. I'll drive all over town to find a blue shirt because it's your favorite color and you hate green - which is the color this year and seems to be the only thing in the stores. I'll fix your favorite dinner. But more than that, I'll spend years getting that recipe your grandmother always cooked for you - just right. And when I've found it, I'll fix it every time you ask me. How do I know I'll do these things? Because I have done all this before. Not because anybody asked me, but because I believe that when someone is important to me - there is nothing to big or small I do to show my love. In fact, the smaller the gesture, the dearer I hold it. Leave me strawberries in the fridge because you know I love them. Buy me that fabulous pen because you know I'll love how it feels in my hand when I write you little notes. Call me just to say you can't wait until you see me again - because you just saw something that you have to tell me about and because you miss my smiling eyes. Anyone can buy roses, but finding me violets in February? That's love.

But back to this dating thing. I guess I just don't date. I never really did. My first boyfriend was in my junior year of high school and he broke up with me because I wouldn't put out. He broke up with me when I was sick - with mono - which he gave me. It still stings. I didn't date senior year because I was going away to college and it just didn't make sense to get involved. I didn't date in college because I was too busy. Working, acting, directing, classes. My god it's a miracle I found time to even have sex. But I did. Or I guess I wouldn't have gotten pregnant at 22. I dated my ex. We dated while we were married. Or we would never have had time together. Life gets in the way so easily.

And what I think is...I'm not the dating sort. I'm the sort of woman you go with. You go to the same movie or concert. You go to the same art exhibit or restaurant. You just go along because it matters to me and because I'm the one you want to do this with.

What I think is...when I "date" - when there is an expectation placed on me, that I am to meet some nebulous standard of yours, I fail every time. I talk too much. I over share. You don't really want to know how long it's been since I made love. And you don't really want to know why my mother is still in my head telling me I want too much. You don't really care that I am incomplete. But I think it's important for you to know.

I think it's important that I haven't settled with myself yet. I think it's important that I want to keep growing. I think I'm growing into someone really wonderful, but this whole dating thing...it has me over thinking every tiny rejection. I spend hours agonizing over why they reject me - what do I have to fix in order to be perfect? What did I do wrong, say wrong, think wrong?

So this weekend I came to a conclusion of sorts.

What I think is...when I meet the right person I will be perfect. There won't be a thing I need to worry about or change.
What I think is...I need to stop looking at these internet sites as anything I really need to do and as the only way I'm going to find someone.
What I think is...that I need to spend this time working on the things I want to change FOR MYSELF, not for a date. I need to continue my workout and diet regimen. Not to get the perfect body, but because I feel better when I do.
What I think is...that I need to stop looking for a date and let the date come to me.
What I think is...I'm a really great woman with a great deal to give.
What I think is...anyone who makes me feel this insecure is definitely not right for me.
What I think is...Love isn't here, but it's somewhere. And when the time is right, it will find me. It'll walk right up to me and say "Where have you been? I've been looking all over for you!"
And then I'll know.
I'm ready.

A survey for big people

Borrowed this from Bridgete's Blog - Living, Learning and Loving the Law. http://bridgetem.blogspot.com/



Here are some questions for the "out of high school" group...

What bill do you hate paying the most?
Rent. I love my place but I do wish I was building some equity with my monthly outpouring of cash.

Where's the best place to eat a romantic dinner?
There are so many great restaurant's in Portland, I have a hard time with this one. But I guess my very favorite is right in my own little apartment, candles and music and great wine. Makes the transition to other activity so much easier...

Last time you puked from drinking?
I was 20 and leaving a man I was very much in love with to go to college. I still think of him holding my hair back while I puked in his bathroom - how lovingly he took care of me that night and didn't take me home until I was relatively sober so as not to create havoc with my mother. I miss you, David. Thanks.

When is the last time you got drunk and danced on a bar?
Never, but I got pretty stewed at bowling a couple of weeks ago. If my boss hadn't been there, who knows?

Name of your first grade teacher?
My god, I'm ancient! I can barely remember my high school teacher's names.

What do you really want to be doing right now?
I can't post that on the web!

What did you want to be when you were growing up?
A Broadway Baby! World class actress, singer, dancer.

How many colleges did you attend?
4. Three undergrad - one for my freshman year, one community college, and then my alum - PSU. Grad school was UofPortland

Why did you wear the shirt that you have on right now?
It's warm, it's a good color with my hair, and it looks good on me. Nice rack, kat.

GAS PRICES First thought?
I'm so grateful I have options for commuting. I can make a tank of gas last for 5-6 week. But now that I'm trying to book airline tickets for my annual Oscar trip to California - I hate them!!

If you could visit anywhere and take someone with you...
Bridgete said "Paris, with my mom." I want to see so much of Europe - Paris, London, Ireland, Tuscany...and I would definitely take Bridgete with me - or my sister. They are the only two people I know I could easily travel with anywhere for any length of time.

First thought when the alarm went off this morning?
Monday Again!! Then I realized it was really Friday after Thanksgiving.

Last thought before going to sleep last night?
I can't print it...

Favorite style of underwear for the opposite sex?
I've always been a boxer gal. But once it comes off, who cares??

What errand/chore do you despise?
cleaning the bathroom. it's a good thing mine is so small.

If you didn't have to work, would you volunteer at an art gallery?
Yes.

What is your favorite cartoon character?
Winnie-the-Pooh. Of course I don't actually consider him a cartoon, but a work of literature. So my second favorite would have to be Norbert Beaver. "Daggie-poo. Dagg-a-lagg-a-lindo"

Are you planning on remaining in your current field?
At this point in my life, there aren't many things that would make me change.

Do you see yourself married in the next five years?
No. Thank you, but see my other posts related to dating and sex and love and life. There isn't much point for me.

Your favorite lunch meat?
meatloaf...mmmm

What do you get every time you go into a WalMart?
I am actively boycotting Wal-Mart.

Beach or lake?
Beach!

Do you think marriage is an outdated ritual?
No.

TV show you miss?
Deadwood! Damn you HBO for not doing the final season! The story isn't done! The fire hasn't happened! Okay...done with my vent.

Favorite guilty pleasure?
bananas dipped in hershey's syrup. hell anything dipped in hershey's syrup.

Favorite movie you wouldn't want anyone to find out about?
There aren't many movies I don't talk about - but I'm a sucker for a good love story and I still weep at The Way We Were. Every single time...Hubble don't get in the cab!

What's your drink?
Single Malt Scotch

Cowboys or Indians?
I was the school marm taken prisoner by the Indians and waiting to be rescued by the Cowboys.

Cops or Robbers?
Always a cop. Always wanted to be a robber. Love those death scenes.

Do you cheer for the bad guy in a movie?
Sometimes.

What Hollywood star do you think resembles you best?
Can't think of one. Wish I had Kate Hepburn's hair, cheekbones, spirit, balls...

If you had to pick one, which cast member of Lost would you be?
Whoever died in the first episode.

What do you want when you are sick?
Blankets,tea, toast, and a movie.

Who from high school would you like to run into?
I recently ran into him - Bob Rothery. Great guy, still.

What radio station is your car radio tuned to right now?
NPR - no question.

Worst relationship mistake that you wish you could take back?
It was trusting someone who didn't deserve that trust. I've done it with more than one person. And I'm always the one who pays. I don't want to talk about it.

Do you like the person who sits directly across from you at work?
I sit between two of the greatest people I know. I'm proud to call them friend.

If you could get away with it, whom would you kill?
I don't like to waste my energy thinking like this. maybe W?

What famous person would you like to have dinner with?
Jon Stewart. I love that man.

What famous person would you like to sleep with?
Oh my - there are so many...Mr. Stewart is one of them. Alan Rickman. Sting. would like to know if that tantric stuff really works...

Have you ever had to use a firearm?
No. Never will either.

Last book you read?
Mistress of the Art of Death

DO YOU HAVE A TEDDY BEAR?
Several Winnie-the-Pooh, including my very first one who is over 40 years old.

Strangest place you have ever brushed your teeth?
I think it was in O'Hare airport after an international flight and getting through customs - then waiting for my flight home. Or maybe it was in Rome....

Somewhere in California you've never been and would like to go?
San Francisco. I know - I can't believe it either.

Number of texts in a day?
Zero. I get them very rarely.

If you had to choose- would you start a new career or relationship?
Either one would be tough at this stage in life. But I guess I'd rather tackle a new career than a new relationship. I don't seem to be very good at that.

Favorite Winter Olympic Sport?
The luge.... I just like saying...The Luge.

Pencil or pen?
I adore a good pen. I have several that I love to hold and write with. My handwriting has suffered since computers became my main mode of communication, but I still love the feel of a pen in my hand.

Ancient Egyptians or Mayans?
Egyptians.

How many jobs have you had?
8 - not bad for my age.

Are you where you thought you would be at this age?
No. But then who is. Would I change anything? nothing of significance. Or I would be changed. And I like me.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving

My friends have been asking me to do this for some time now. They promised that if I started a blog, they would read it. We shall see...

So AJ, Brett, Nancy, Cindy, and all the rest of you - I don't promise I'll write every day. But I promise that when I have something I feel is important to say, whether it's about me or life or movies or my fabulous daughter, I will say it here.

To start with, I'll post some of my past writings. Get them out there in the world and see what happens. From there, who knows?

Here's hoping that you have a wonderful holiday and I'll be back soon.