Thursday, May 28, 2009

SWINTON Watch 2009: Part III

me: shut up i dont believe you
Will: She was drinking a Diet Coke
And smoking a Marb Lite
me: WHERE!??!
Will: And wearing a bright green dress that looked like a hot air balloon
me: YES, Swinton, YES!!!!!!!!!!! Will... WHERE and WHY
Will: At a McDonald's in Bloomington I asked her if she was filming a movie here and she said "No, my laundry just isn't done at the Laundromat so I'm killing time."
me: what?!?!?!? you talked to her?!?!?
william this is HUGE.
Will: And then I said "Can you sign my Egg McMuffin wrapper?"
And she said "You fame-hungry commoner! No!"

He was lying. Will is a big fat liar. But it was really exciting for me for about two and a half minutes this morning and I must say-- I do want to live in a world where Tilda Swinton can be found at McDonalds eating breakfast borritos and smoking Marlboro Lites in a lime green hot air balloon dress saying things like 'fame-hungry commoner.' I want that world.

So it was a lovely little lie. And a girl can dream, right?

Friday, May 22, 2009

Happens Every Day

I don't know the last time that I read a book straight through without stopping, but I did just that with this one. I don't mean that figuratively, I mean I really read the entire book without coming up for air. Somewhere between New York and Minneapolis I uncovered a story and a life that reads so thoroughly indulgent while being of the most ordinary in nature.

The memoir feels like a long conversation with a good friend, and yes, I know how cliche that sounds. Yet, reading Gillies' words actually mimics what it would be like for your best friend to call you out of the blue and divulge all of her personal secrets, all of her heartbreak, all of her behind-closed-doors memories. You wouldn't tire of the story, you wouldn't change the subject out of boredom. You would sit there with your jaw on the table, leaning forward for more.

The reason for this, of which I am quite convinced, is due to Gillie's lack of training. She isn't a writer and writing a book isn't at all the point. She mentions early on in the book that she has been complimented on her emails a few times, which gave her the go-ahead to try a memoir. Isn't that gorgeous!?

Happens Every Day is the first thing she has written, and after getting to know dear Isabel on these pages, is quite a triumph for a woman who has felt a bit sub par in the intelligence category for many years (and yes, I blame her ex-husband for that.) She quite simply sat down in a public library and just told her story as we would tell it to our girlfriends over email, I'm not joking. Its EXTRAORDINARY that this works, mark my words.

In addition, Gillies tells the story we want to hear... the unedited version. It is quite simply the story of The Human Unraveling, specifically of a marriage. We've heard it before, after all isn't the divorce rate 1 in 2? But Gillies lets us into her extremely ordinary tale of falling, possibly before she is ready to tell it gracefully. In Gillies exists a bit of cattiness, a few daggers, which we lick up and can't blame her for.

The story also calls into question all of our futures, of course. What if our own lives are dismantled, what if our sweet, sweet, unseen future involves a husband leaving? What if we are the victim of an extramarital affair, what if we are the 1 in the 1 in 2?

Gillies thought that she had the perfect life, the perfect marriage, the perfect husband. She's a smart girl and wouldn't have married for any other reason. But this happened to her. It happens every day. Well, that, dear friends, is the point of the book, now isn't it? Its about a tumultuous happening in one's lifetime that ultimately will heal. Its about getting over the mountain, about what happens at the END of the journey, not during it.

The epilogue makes this book worthy of your time, worthy of your heart and your investment. (Trust me, your heart will enter the pages, it has to.) I fell in love with Isabel and with her vulnerability. She is the voice of so many, told in such a lovely, lovely way.

Read it. Even if you don't want to read about divorce and about unhappy things, READ IT. And when you're done, you will get a TREAT. That's right... you will get to hear Isabel Gillies speak at Madison Square Park this summer for the READ's series that my girl Alison heads. I'll remind you later about the date, but you can sure bet to see me there.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009


Sometimes when I need a little mid-week-pick-me-up I watch things involving Beeker on youtube. Things like this. I love that little guy!

That's all. :)

Monday, May 18, 2009

SWINTON Watch 2009: Part II

This Just In: A THIRD friend of mine has spotted SWINTON in the somewhat recent past. Ms. Allison Fry spotted SWINTON outside of the Bowery Hotel sometime last year. Note interview (read: gchat convo) below...

Allison: heyi've spotted tilda too4:16 PM
but like a year ago
me: what?! where?!?!?
Allison: some event at the bowery hotel. i was walking home to 4th st, she was in front of the bowery
4:17 PM me: uh, was she stunning? and weird looking?
Allison: yeah, a bit
i don't remember what she was wearing though
like a long skirt with a roomy jacket

There you have it, folks. 'like a long skirt with a roomy jacket.' She just never disappoints. Please send all updates and sightings my way. Good night and have a pleasant tomorrow. :)

Well Done, Cecily.

The art market is FREAKING me out these days, as is--well-- the market market. It's all a mess, all of it, and the good news is far and few between.

Luckily there are individuals like Kirsha who find beauty in disaster and there are articles like this to make it simple for those like myself who need it simple. Polsky punches out the artists who are proving themselves during the financial turmoil (such an icky word, turmoil) and those who are beginning to fall behind (Damien?! Climb back up!). It makes sense and begins to formulate a rhyme and a reason for who is great and who will last. And, look at that... my girl Cecily might make it after all.

Thursday, May 14, 2009


Remember my slightly concerning SWINTON obsession? Just scroll down. Well, developments continue to unfold, the biggest being that TWO of my friends have seen her in person the past two weeks. Both John and Annie spotted dear Tilda at movie premieres, one in Cannes yesterday and the other in good old New York a week prior. My first question to both of them (as yours is too, I'm sure) is what was she wearing. A stunning Cabernet colored gown to one, and a burlap sack to the other, I am pleased to say.

But that isn't the point. The point is the film. I saw Julia last Saturday at the Angelika, where the soda is serve yourself, allowing as many refills as you please of your own flavor concoctions like 'half diet coke half regular coke' which is a Sarah Butler favorite (I love the Angelika.)

I first saw the Julia trailer with Alex a few weeks ago, and he predicted that the film would be a one woman show, its merit based solely on Swinton's performance. It might as well have been called Tilda. He was very right, as is always the case in matters such as this, but we both agreed it didn't discount the film as a whole.

The title character is a severe alcoholic turned kidnapper. I know. Its a little intense. And don't go in thinking it will be a nice little afternoon at the movies, this one's a doosey-- edge of your seat, hand over mouth, eyes wide in panic.

Most of the SWINTON press interviews for Julia centered around the alcoholism aspect of the film as if the addiction was the main plot. She tried to sidestep much of this focus during these interviews, and I can see why. The alcohol played part in her character's placement in life and therefore the crime but wasn't necessarily addressed as an issue. It was a trait, a costume. But it wasn't the movie, not in the least. The film was about The Human Condition, as so many good films are. It was about how far we can be pushed, and what we will do midst the pushing.

SWINTON herself was just ravishing in this role... she said in the fore mentioned interviews that she has been waiting and wanting to play a woman so catastrophically flawed and that Eric Zonca finally gave her the girl she was looking for. It isn't what we expect from SWINTON. She wasn't buttoned up, confident, snappy, and cold as she does so well-- she was messy, stumbling, and crass.

The costumes, for one, were shocking to see on our dear burlap sack fashionista... tiny slip dresses, big earrings, lots of makeup, slutty bras. We have NEVER seen SWINTON like this. She in fact often faltered toward 'drag queen' due to her northern androgynous features. This perhaps aided in our discomfort with the character, though I doubt it was planned.

SWINTON nailed the train wreck as she intended. The entire film was just mess in plot and circumstance. It began in a bar and ended in the slums of Tijuana, tumbling through the desert in between. It was uncomfortable, it was dangerous, it was thrilling. And our leading lady was an absoulte steam engine. And even when falling off her tracks, we could do nothing but lean into every word, every wrong decision, licking our lips for more.

Friday, May 8, 2009

This American Life: LIVE

As we all know, This American Life is one of my favorite things in the whole entire world. So when Alex invited me to attend a live broadcast of the radio program, I of course greedily accepted before he could finish his sentence.

The format was simple as it sounds-- the radio program was video taped (is 'video taped' still a phrase I can use in 2009? Digitally recorded? I just don't even know...) and then broadcast to movie theaters across the country. At any rate, the format was this: Ira at his little radio set-up in front of a live audience beaming.

All the heavy hitters were there... Starlee Kine, Dan Savage, MIKE BIRBIGLIA (he deserves caps lock, he just does). Plus a few surprises including the Dr. Horrible guy (remind me to figure out how to watch that online) and a few artists to aid in non-radio visuals for our viewing pleasure. So good.

The main reason for the evening's success, however, had little to do with the stories. Yes, they were the reason I laughed and cried and clutched my heart, but I would have done that without visuals as I usually do. The live broadcast success had more to do with the idea of 'celebrity.' Admit it or not, even liberal arts raised scarf wearing pseudo intellectuals enjoy a little behind the scenes action every once in a while.

Now, remember, this was a live broadcast of the RADIO show, not to be confused with the televison show, which is a very, very different experience. Watching Ira, Starlee, Dan, and Mike tell their stories at the broadcast was thrilling. It was a secret, a privilege. It gave us audience members a step up from the rest of you, America, and we loved it.

Ira hinted at this point toward the beginning of the program, asking for a show of hands of audience members who had never listed to TAL before. He laughed, saying that they must be all, 'what the hell' finding themselves sitting in the fore mentioned situation (Ira, radio set-up thing, stage).

He compared their experience to seeing the X-Files movie without having seeing an episode. 'You'll be fine! It will all make sense, the movie has nothing to do with the TV show,' his friends assured him prior to the viewing. False. He was the only audience member not to gasp at the opening shot, having no idea who any of the characters were and why they were gasp worthy. The broadcast would make no sense to someone who had never heard the radio show, even Ira knows that. We all did. It would appear too low budget, too simple, too confident. The entire evening was one big inside joke. And that's why it was so much fun.

The show ended an hour after it began and Alex and I sat in the empty theater for a good fifteen minutes coming down from the high of clever anecdotes before exiting to the seemingly less interesting world outside. Its better, though, too-- the world outside after an hour with Ira. You find yourself viewing those around you with that soothing NPR lens which makes everything just a little bit better, a smidge more thoughtful.

You can listen to the episode here, and please do. Remember my hit-list? Add this one on there, right up at the top.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Randomness in the Form of Art

Interview Magazine recently published an interview with Rita Ackermann's little girl Marika Thunder Nuss who is suddenly having solo shows in Chelsea. She's 10 years old, in the fourth grade, and been given the tools, talent, and encouragement to make art with the best of them.

While her work is actually quite good and interesting (if you want to have a discussion with me sometime about 'good' verses 'bad' art and why some children DO have a talent worth gallery walls, let me know. I have a few opinions.) its the way she talks about art that gets me.

Like Antoine below, Marika is able to unashamedly live and express and create in the most honest of manners quite simply because she is young. She thinks about it in a very straight forward and believable way. It's completely refreshing and for some odd reason doesn't make me gag as it probably should. And, to be honest, she kind of makes me want to paint again.

AK: And you’ve also always made art.

MTN: Art is a fun word. Aaaarrrrt. Now let me say it fast: Art, art, art, art, art . . .

AK: What do you like about art?

MTN: It’s entertaining. Not like movies. You have to stare at it for a while. It’s just special, too, because there are so many different kinds. Sometimes it represents what people think and it lets you look into their brains. Like, if a person thinks something, they can make it into an artwork. If, say, you’re thinking about a fish, you can make one. You can draw or sculpt one. And there’s a fish.

Couldn't have said it better myself.