Saturday, February 28, 2015

My Melody's Coloring Book

Look what I found! My very first colouring book. As you can see, my skill improved greatly over the years.



Friday, February 27, 2015

Joesph Merrick & Me

While cleaning out my place and going through my books I came across my old paperback copy of The Elephant Man. I still remember the day I bought it. At my grade school we would sometimes have a book fair and it was my absolute favourite thing. It meant my mother would give me money and I was allowed to spend it at the fair on whatever book or books I wanted. I can still see them all laid out on the table as I walked in line with all the other students, waiting for something to catch my eye. Back then I really liked ghost stories that featured a young girl as the main character like Betty Ren Wright's Ghosts Beneath Our Feet. Then I saw The Elephant Man. As an adult looking at this book reminded me of what made me buy it all those years ago. I so vividly remember looking at the photo of a terribly deformed man from so long ago and at ten years of age I thought to myself, "he knows how I feel."

In school everyone was friends in third grade and I genuinely liked going to school. Then in fourth grade it all changed. It was determined, upon returning and starting a new grade in the same school with the same classmates, those that were considered good and those that were considered tainted. I was, along with my closest friends, considered an outcast. It progressively got worse with each year and I never understood why I suddenly was "unpopular." It was made clear that I was disliked because of the way I looked. Reading this book and seeing the photos of Joseph Merrick made me feel like he and I would have been fast friends. I'd lie awake at night in my girlie pink bedroom, under my canopy bed and daydream of our friendship. I'd imagine all the fun we'd have because if we were together, we'd feel safe and know that neither of us would look down on the other and say mean things. Even now, the most important quality I look for in a friend or otherwise is kindness. Meanness is the one true ugliness.

 
So this is me around the time that I first became aware of Joesph Merrick. I still think he and I could have been best buds, even though he was a dapper young Brit and at the time I could be seen wearing this hideous puffy coat.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

The Zen of Bennett

Wow, what a wonderful man. This documentary showcases the person behind the voice. Tony Bennett seems to have such a close and caring relationship with each of his children and is so adoring of his wife, which only endeared him more to me. I was especially touched by how he spoke to Amy Winehouse during the recording of their duet. She looked beautiful but seemed extremely nervous and very anxious. With each take, she seemed to become more and more on edge and continued to apologise to everyone. Tony brought it all together when he stopped and asked her if she'd been influenced by Dinah Washington. He then just softly spoke about Dinah and it seemed to lull Ms. Winehouse into a calm state where she could perform and feel no sense of insecurity. It was such a sweet, sweet thing for him to do.

I love storytellers. I collect stories actually. Throughout the film, Tony would often reminisce about his past performances, his time serving in World War II, his parents, different people he has known through the years, and other various moments in his life. Everything he said was fascinating and intriguing and he says it all in that magically soothing voice. He's definitely the kinda guy that I'd love to have dinner with at the 21 Club in New York. Hell, I'd even wear a dress and heels.

Everything you do should be done with love.
             - my new motto, care of the remarkable Tony Bennett.


(photo kidnapped from ifccenter)

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Saturn


Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Sassy Swayze...


Monday, February 23, 2015

Hotel Eden Roc

So here are some pics of our hotel in Positano. I love, love, loved the tile floor most of all, as well as the balcony. Just looking back at these photos makes me realise that I must return to Positano. Such a beautiful and serene place that I miss desperately. I wish Nicole and I had more time there. Even just sitting on our balcony and listening to the waves put us in a trance. 

 
 

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Godmommy

Here is my favourite photo of my wonderful godmother, Regina, taken in June of 1993 at my parents' house.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

So long, Ash...

Friday night I picked up Nicole in Fishtown and dropped her at her father's place up in the Northeast. Ashlee met me out front and we dashed out to Dunkin' for one last time together. She and Sean left early this morning to move to Norfolk, Virginia and last night I felt like a mother whose child is going away to college. I am very bitter about Ashlee leaving. For the last year and a half she's been my closest confidant. I can tell her anything and she's actually interested in what I have to say. She asks me for advice and we always have the best conversations. All of that is over now. She's all grown up and has a family of her own. I got really upset in the car when we were talking, but I felt so much better just letting her know how much I'm going to miss her. Then I got my shit together and we took a bunch of silly selfies in the car and then more with Nicole. I'm so happy for Ashlee, but it's really lousy that she's gone.

 
 
 

Friday, February 20, 2015

A Maddening Decision

I absolutely adore, adore, Thomas Hardy's novel, Far from the Madding Crowd. I've never watched any of the film versions due to fear that it would erase my own imaginings; for I know the colour of Bathsheba's hair as well as the gait of Gabriel Oak's stride and his quiet countenance. I have seen the sheep grazing on the meadow, known the heat of the ricks as they burn in the night. I know the aged smell of the wood beams in the malt house and I am the sole designer of the furnishings in Mr. Boldwood's home. I do not wish to have my visions replaced by another's.

I, of course, had read of Thomas Vinterberg's upcoming adaptation and instantly knew it could be nothing short of magnificent. I had seen his previous films The Celebration, Submarino, and The Hunt and was impressed by all. Portraying Gabriel Oak is Matthias Schoenaerts. I feel that he is, without question, one of the finest actors ever to exist and I've seen nearly everything he's ever been involved in, save for a small handful of his short films (sidebar: what the fuck is the point of making short films if NO ONE ever gets a chance to see them??? Although god bless the Flemish for releasing SOME of Schoenaerts' short films, but come on, let the world see 'em for chrissake.). Schoenaerts as Oak would be extraordinary, but...even that might not be enough to tempt me to see the film.

Today I watched, with mild apprehension, a two and a half minute preview of Vinterberg's Madding Crowd and it looks spectacular. Beautifully shot, incredible cast (Carey Mulligan actually seems to make Bathsheba less cold than she seemed in the book and way more human), and if there is a part in a film that will make Mr. Schoenaerts a star in the States, it is this one. Gabriel Oak is a character that (dare I say it?) can out-swoon the likes of Mr. Darcy. Even still, I doubt I will bring myself to see the film when it is released in May. Who knows, maybe I'll be dead by then and won't have to make the decision at all.  
(As a lil' sidenote, while Matthias Schoenaerts is ideal for the role of Gabriel Oak, I envisioned Miss Everdene as Lana Parrilla, a raven haired beauty that could absolutely have more than a few men fall madly in love with her. I think she would have been perfect.)


(Matthias photo kidnapped from uk.yahoo)

(Post script - saw a late showing of the film on May 8th at the BMFI and in a word, disappointing. It felt rushed and the characters were under-developed, aside from Bathsheba. I knew that so much would be left out, but why would the writer not use the words of Thomas Hardy whenever possible. Did he think he could do a better job? I say nay-nay, sir. I pretty much went to see it for the silliest and girliest reason. I wanted to see Gabriel Oak kiss Miss Everdene. Sooo embarrassing to admit, but I knew the "Hollywood" version would deliver a smooch. There wasn't much chemistry and I think that's due in part to the race to the finish line. It needed to be a glorious, drawn out, three hour plus film that was strewn with the words of Thomas Hardy and rich with the longing that Oak felt for Bathsheba. It should have given us, the viewer, a deeper insight as to why Gabriel Oak adored her so. Oh and they butchered the ending! So much to complain about. Don't even get me started on the singing. Anytime a film shows a woman walking toward a pianoforte I know I'm in for something truly excruciating. I should have known it would be a let down when before the movie began I went into the peepod and discovered a cockroach the size of a rottweiler. A foreshadowing... Well, the good thing is thankfully, I have read the book so many times that my image of what occurred remains intact. Thank Christ!)

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Attention Deficit Disorder - The Early Years

Finding this old note that was written to my mother still cracks me up. It makes absolutely no sense and therein lies the cuteness!



Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Careers

When I was in second grade I was a Brownie in the Girl Scouts of America. We were asked to stand up and say what we wanted to be when we grew up. I confidently and without a shred of pride or vanity stated that I wished to be Miss America. I was seven years old. I never gave any thought whatsoever as to a future career, but when asked, this came to mind and I ran with it. Miss America seemed to always be smiling; everyone appeared to like her. She was happy and admired. After I said "Miss America", the girls all giggled. I didn't get it, I didn't know why it was funny to say this, but I immediately knew that it was wrong. I didn't think that it was wrong to be Miss America, how could it be? As I said, she was happy and well liked and pretty. I knew that their laughter meant that it was wrong for me to think of becoming Miss America. When I remember this moment I recall it as almost an out of body experience. As if it were a dream. I am standing outside the room and looking in through the window, witnessing my reaction to being laughed at for the first time. I now know that perhaps they laughed because I didn't say a real career, like a teacher, but the sting remains no matter the clarity I now possess.

Years later I wanted to go into acting or directing because I was, and am, obsessed with all things cinematic. However, the dedication and drive with which it takes to become a fine actor does not lie within the insecure being that is me. To act one must be tough and unafraid of failure or looking foolish. I am not tough. I am easily hurt and seeking a life filled with innumerable rejections suddenly did not seem so appealing.

In high school and through college I thought quite seriously about working with people with AIDS. The gay community at that time were the ultimate underdog. I felt a sort of kinship with them because of this. I had noticed that gay people tended to like people that were in their corner; that all it took was to show them respect and kindness and they accepted you. I was definitely in their corner and wanted to help in any way possible to fight this disease. Plus I love Streisand and Judy Garland, Liza and musicals and men. Those queens and I would get along like gangbusters. This career was never to be, as medications have vastly improved and living with AIDS has (thankfully!) seemed to take the place-card that once read Dying from AIDS.

Now I am a grown up and I work in IT. I know nothing about computers and am truly gobsmacked that I have this job. I think of myself as a writer. A good writer? Maybe; an unpublished writer, most definitely. I have several stories that I would like to send to publishers and find that ideal illustrator to give colour and breath to my words and my characters, but the fear of being that joke in front of that group of girls has a strangle hold on me that is deteriorating my life rapidly. My fear of failure is so great that it keeps me from trying to live. It acts as a terrorist, holding me hostage. I wish for the strength of character to magically appear and rescue me; convince me that I can succeed and ask me, "what would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail?" Honestly, I would motherfucking soar.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Lane Pryce...Is that you???

 
From Rolling Stone April 18, 1996

Monday, February 16, 2015

154 Warwick

This is the cute lil' place Ashlee and I stayed at when we were in London.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Family Portrait of Stuffed Pals

Why I felt the need to hang on to an out-of-focus photo of my stuffed animals from the 80s is beyond me. Also, I'm unclear as to why I posed each one with a postcard or photograph. Clearly I have been strange for a very, very long time.


Saturday, February 14, 2015

Friday, February 13, 2015

Dylan and Waits

My mother's favourite singer has always been Bob Dylan. I guess growing up and hearing his records in our home, I never questioned that he didn't sound like other singers. I just always accepted the fact that everyone sang differently. I remember my father would always say that Dylan "sure could put a song across". The singer I most adore is Tom Waits and I think both he and Dylan tend to get a lot of flak for their voices. Unwarranted flak, in my opinion. Today I read the transcript of Bob Dylan's acceptance speech for the 2015 MusiCares Person of the Year and this part stood out the clearest:

Sam Cooke said this when told he had a beautiful voice: He said, "Well that's very kind of you, but voices ought not to be measured by how pretty they are. Instead they matter only if they convince you that they are telling the truth." 

Leave it to the genius of Sam Cooke to say something so gracious and true. Leave it to Bob Dylan to bring it to my ears and make me admire him all the more.

(thanks to latimes for the transcript!)

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

I Love You, Honeybear

Father John Misty's latest release is possibly even more perfect than his last effort, Fear Fun, an album I have not stopped listening to since I first discovered it in 2012. Apparently bliss, true love, and marriage suit Joshua Tillman quite well since I Love You, Honeybear contains some of the most stunningly beautiful lyrics I've ever heard. Every single song is absolutely dreamy and fantastically warming. It's exactly what I need to hear right now.


Tuesday, February 10, 2015