Friday, August 31, 2012

What a Wonderful World Friday Links

Even though I get pretty wound up about the state of things-- personally and worldwide, there's also a lot that's right. I'm completing things, I'm spending time with the people I care about and making new friends. Last night, I was on a boat cruise on the East River, listening to Dion and Tyler Hilton

When we got near the Statue of Liberty, Tyler stopped singing and we all just appreciated our surroundings. It was a gorgeous New York night. The sun had not quite dipped below the horizon line and Lady Liberty was washed in a rose colored light. Once we had passed, he didn't go back to the song he was singing before. He went into one of the best renditions of "What a Wonderful World" I've ever heard. I'll upload it. You'll see. 

Have an awesome and safe Labor Day weekend, you guys. I want to spend the weekend reading in a big chair. Here are your links. 

- Everything Has Its Way
- What Americans actually do all day long. 
- I was just in Italy last month (feels like a lifetime ago) and I want to go back. 
-Sooooo many things about the politics of being a woman these days. Bic can help. Read the comments.
- Even Fox News thought this speech was full of lies. 'Cuz it was.
- One-Conditional Love
- Excerpt from Michael Chabon's new novel, Telegraph Avenue. Oooh!
- Excerpt from Zadie Smith's new novel, NW. Oooh!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Epic First Listens - Cat Power & The Avett Brothers

Thanks to the good people at NPR, I've been listening to Cat Power SUN pretty much non-stop. "Manhattan" is my current fave track, but I suppose that will surprise no one. Other tracks I'm especially digging are "Human Being" and "3,6,9."

Here are the facts about Cat Power aka Chan Marshall which I cannot believe. 

1. She is forty years old. That's crazy. Look at her skin. She looks like she's 22. 
2. She moved into her NYC apt in 1992 and still maintains it. Pays $160 a month. Stop. It. 

Okay, that's a shorter list than it felt like it was going to be, but that second one alone is worth making the list. ONE HUNDRED and SIXTY DOLLARS a MONTH!? The nineties, man. 

Anyhow, check out Sun. It's the very mellow jams I needs in my life right now. 

Also, Also! As of midnight, I've also been plugged into the eagerly awaited First Listen of the new Avett Brothers Album, The Carpenter. Which they say harkens back to a time when they were in a "loud band." I don't hear it. And I'm okay with that. 

If I live the life I'm given, I won't be scared to die. 

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Downton Abbey Enters The Roaring Twenties

Vanity Fair decided to indulge our fantasies and speculate on some of the roaring twenties styles we'll have to look forward to on Season Three of Downton Abbey. Not least of these trends, Vanity Fair looks at wedding dress standards of the day, speculating on what Lady Mary's wedding dress might look like. 

Earlier this month, before the premiere of BBC's "Downton Rival," Parade's End, (which I've seen the first episode of, and will elaborate on my thoughts in a future post) Benedict Cumberbatch said of Downton that it was "sentimental, cliched, atrocious." (He later said the whole thing was a joke. PS- I love how that's the constant defense of saying anything that's rude or terrible. Ugh.)

I hate to quote the Daily Mail (always) but so far, I can't help but agree a bit that "I don't want to rain on the Beeb's Parade, but this is no Downton." While I loved Ford Madox Ford's original book, even then I don't know that it inspired any particular attachment to characters. I didn't go giddy at the thought of what any of them might wear to their wedding. Let's just put it that way. 

Anyhow, I loved these photos from Vanity Fair. How adorable is Flobelle Fairbanks (and what a  bitchin' name! I feel like it's the name of a character from a novel.) the niece of Douglas Fairbanks. I'm sort of intrigued by her, but can't seem to find much info. Anyone know anything good about her? I love a good twenties heroine. 

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The Mindy Project

I'm staring into the mouth of some pretty serious writing deadlines these days. It's the same old thing with me and writing deadlines. I remember this time last year with my dissertation. Oooh, did I want to be left alone. I view pretty much any distraction with resentment. And then I feel guilty that I feel so resentful. Sigh.

But I felt absolutely no resentment whatsoever yesterday when I took some time out to watch The Mindy Project on sneak preview from Hulu. I've been eagerly anticipating this show from the moment I knew of its existence. And though it felt a little sacrileg to watch it without McC, we'll have to wait until the end of September to premiere properly and resume the rest of the season, so I comfort myself in knowing that McC and I can watch this show and its obvious natural counterpart, Downton Abbey, together in Los Angeles splendor. 

Speaking of Downton Abbey, one of the high points of the show was Mindy's crack about Downton Abbey in her drunken, uninvited wedding speech. I loved the cameos, I loved the constant rom-com commentary, you know I loved the Chris Messina (though obviously not as much as, inevitably, McC will love him in the show) and I loved how just like all the good rom coms you know right away that Chris Messina and Mindy are supposed to get together, even though they hate each other. 

I think most ladies of my generation-- at least my friends-- feel more like Mindy Kaling than Lena Dunham. I've bought Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? for almost all of my close girlfriends. Her blog, The Concerns of Mindy Kaling is one of the funniest on the internet. Mindy, girlfriend, I'm coming to Los Angeles. Let's be pals. 

Monday, August 27, 2012

A New Yorker is Someone Who Longs For New York

A lot has come and gone in New York since when I last lived here two years ago. H & H Bagels is gone. On the flip side, we have an Experimental Cocktail Club. And last week, we learned that Broadway/Times Square Main stay, Colony Music would close its doors. 

This disappearing act and others are all being documented by Jeremiah Moss on his blog, Jeremiah's Vanishing New York, aka the Book of Lamentations: A Bitterly Nostalgic Look at a City in the Process of Going Extinct. 

It is a melancholy blog that you can't help but feel achey scrolling through-- memory after memory of places lost to New York's escalating rents, corporate buy-outs, and fickle tastes. He says goodbye to all kinds of things I didn't even know we'd lost: the Les Desirs bakeries and the  Partners & Crime Mystery Bookshops. 

Justin Davidson of New York Magazine called Moss, "the defender of all the undistinguished hunks of masonry that lend the streets their rhythm and give people a place to live and earn a living: bodegas, curio stores, a metalworking shop in Soho, diners, and dingy bars."

He's expanded into an additional blog: Dreams of a Vanishing New York, where he posts his dreams and those of other New Yorkers. He started this side project after he noticed he'd be having dreams about the vanishing aspects of New York's character. 

Though, he's also quick to point out that it's not just what's going away, but what's replacing it. I don't know that I agree with him on the High Line, but I see his point. And cities built on tourism are kind of a common thread in my lifetime. 

I always think of the monologue in the wonderful You've Got Mail, on the night when Kathleen Kelly is closing her bookstore

People are always saying that change is a good thing. But all they're really saying is that something you didn't want to happen at all... has happened. My store is closing this week. I own a store, did I ever tell you that? It's a lovely store, and in a week it'll be something really depressing, like a Baby Gap. Soon, it'll be just a memory. In fact, someone, some foolish person, will probably think it's a tribute to this city, the way it keeps changing on you, the way you can never count on it, or something. I know because that's the sort of thing I'm always saying. But the truth is... I'm heartbroken. I feel as if a part of me has died, and my mother has died all over again, and no one can ever make it right. 

Which is all to say, I think this is indicative of an even bigger problem-- in our spheres of employment and occupation and our interests. A massive consolidation of value controlled by "the market." Cannibalizing the specialties to feed the consolidated giants. There's a lot we choose not to concern ourselves with. There's a lot of world out there, but we seem to be sticking to our comfort zones. Even I'm at Starbucks right now because I know what I'm going to get and they have free internet. But it depresses me. 

This is an American Soul question to me. (And a human soul question.) One we're not going to immediately get to the bottom of, for sure. But I think it's important for us to not breeze past it on the way to whatever we're going to do next. I think Jeremiah Ross's blog is that moment before movement. We have to at least sit with it for a while, roll it around in our thoughts and then proceed.  At least then we'll be able to say wherever we end up, it wasn't by accident, because we were too busy to pay attention. Wherever we end up, we'll be able to say we did it deliberately. 

“There is this sense of powerlessness as the city is being radically changed around them and the things they love about it are being taken away,” Mr. Moss said. “There’s this anxiety about being discarded. A lot of the dreams have to do with destruction and the fear of destruction, but there’s also a wish for destruction. I think underneath the anxiety, is the thought that if the thing you fear happens, then you don’t fear it anymore.” 

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Sunday Jams - Barcelona - Not Quite Yours

Sunday is obviously a day for jams. Barcelona is a band from Seattle. Obviously. I was a big fan of their 2007 album, Absolutes, but since then, they've kind of fallen off my radio. They circled back around with their newest album, Not Quite Yours, thanks to a Sia pandora station. (Or was it Milo Greene? Neither would surprise me actually.)

Anyhow, enjoy some Barcelona and this slow jam, "Slowly." They funded this album on kickstarter! I'm off to Astoria for a surprise lesbian bridal shower. Party!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Houston Treasures - The Rothko Chapel

Mark Rothko (and the play Red, which I saw on Broadway several years ago and is now playing in Los Angeles) was pretty much my gateway into appreciating the more visual arts. Obviously, I've always had an artistic bent, but paintings, sculptures, installations... their ability to move me was always lacking. Until I saw this play. Perhaps because it came in the package of an artform that utterly moves me, for the first time, I was able to experience paintings like I never had before. 

No joke, one of the most beautiful scenes I've ever seen in on stage, was just two men prepping a canvas while an old record played. It was like a dance. 

The timing couldn't have been better. When I think about all I might have seen without appreciating living in Europe... In two years, I saw the Prado, The Louvre, The Musee D'Orsay, The Rodin, The Vatican and... well... ALL the London and Edinburgh art museums. I easily could have breezed through them... or worse, skipped them entirely.

Which is what I did the entire four years I lived in Houston. I never went to the Menil Collection. Or saw any of the other amazing art there. I'm especially sad I've yet to see the Rothko Chapel. One of the world's first truly ecumenical centers, all are welcome to practice in the space in whatever way they choose. The place itself is a piece of art. Man, I would have loved to see Houston in the 60's.  

The documentary done on the chapel has been remastered and is now available for the first time on DVD from Check it out! Hope you're having a great Saturday. 

Friday, August 24, 2012

Friday Fear & Loathing in LV & NYC Links

Finally feeling like I'm back in the NYC groove a bit. Probably because I'm working. And busy. I'm already laughing because I bet by the time I feel like I'm truly back up and running here, it will be time to head to California. Oh, life. You make me laugh. The world is just plain crazy. 

- You might have heard about the Prince Harry naked pictures. It's all kind of sad and invasive, but I do feel slightly proud that if he was going to get caught in that position, that it would go down in my home town. 

Speaking of kind of cringey things that happen in America...
- Americans throw away 40% of their food everyday. Ughhhh. 
- Ha! The Frank Ocean guide to affordable classics.
- A case for critics... aw, I dunno, man...
- Meeting for coffee vs. meeting for a drink. Personally, I'm up for both and alternate between uppers and downers all day long! 
- More writing tips from famous writers. Can you really ever have enough?
- Normalize: the new app that to un-romanticize your instagrams. Shit.
- From the McC collection of awesome links: Be Less Crazy About Bad Boyfriends
- This was my favorite commentary on the whole "legitimate rape" fiasco.
- Speaking of which, look at these laws. This will blow your mind. 
- The Problem With Men Explaining Things. So So So So True. I can name you 3 boyfriends just right off the top of my head who've patronized me in this manner. Let's not even get into bosses.

- And finally this. This is the funniest truest thing I've read in a long time. 

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Missing David Rakoff - Making the Invisible Visible

We've lost a lot of great ones these days. Too too many. Too many personal friends (Ben, Gil, & Guy) too many great artists and writers and thinkers. Too many to list them all. It overwhelms me.  

Oh, but David Rakoff. I can tell you that, particularly during these strange days, this strange transition, I've found a lot of comfort in David Rakoff's gentle/not-so-gentle, pessimistic humor. This video talking about making the invisible visible...and about dancing...  is a perfect example of everything a sunny girl like me finds occasionally darkly comforting during uncertain times. I promise you, if you wait until about eleven minutes in, you will not regret it. 

Perhaps its important for everyone to have a pessimistic friend. One that allows you to feel and then release your own negativity. To tell you that's okay. I think David Rakoff has been that friend for a good many people. Whatever happens now, I know I like to laugh-- then sigh-- about it all. 

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

I'm Not Asleep, I'm Just Resting My Eyes

Annnnnd that's exactly what I'm doing today. As you may know, I don't take vacations from this blog. Not when I'm on a plane. Or in the wilderness. Not when I'm moving. Even-- or perhaps especially-- when I'm, ya know, on vacation. 

I'm not on vacation here in New York. Actually, I am on a massive deadline for Nicholas & Alexandra. But unless all my belongings were stolen, say, in Lisbon, Portugal (or that one scary minute [four hours] this weekend, when I was locked out of Peter Sheik's house with no shoes on and no phone and no recourse for rescue. And perhaps my first fatalistic thought was... wow, what if I have to sit in this hallway for the next 36 hours until Peter and Sarah come home and let me back in? At least I have my Chinese takeout. And then my next traumatic thought was, Hey! This isn't what I ordered! Okay, okay, but you know what? One of my very very next initial traumatic thoughts was... EFF!  That's like two days with no blog! I digress.) 

My point is... I got so much done yesterday on the show without having to divide my loyalties (I preblogged. Actually, I'm preblogging now....) that I'm going to try to snowball  that momentum without spending quite as much time on the old blog today. It's not a vacation. I'm here. Talk to me. But let's whisper. I'm not asleep. We're just resting. It's okay for you to rest too. We're in a hammock. We have margaritas. Maybe hump day is a good time to catch up on posts you've missed. Now is as good a time as any, I suppose,  to quote one of my personal fictitious heroes, Ferris Bueller, when he said, "Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and take a look around once in a while, you could miss it." So, even though I'm using this time to work more (typical NYC Ryann) let's just rest.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Life & Fiction - Close, But they Never Actually Touch

Ever since I first conceived the interweaving storylines for my novel, I've been intrigued by issues of writer's ethics, plagiarism, and how much credit do we owe our sources of inspiration. I tend to be of the opinion that everything is fiction and all experiences are fair game in some way and I think that the process of writing about our experiences changes us and those around us no matter what.

So let me just say that I'm more intrigued by The Words than I have been by any other film in a long, long time. It seems a little big-budget-y and I'm sure it will not live up to my expectations, but nonetheless, I am-- now more than perhaps any other time in my life-- super drawn to it. Don't worry, guys, I'm not so desperate as to think of plagiarizing... I just know what Brad Cooper is feeling in those low moments so dramatically underscored in these previews. 

The Words comes out Sept 7. I may even see it in the theaters. That should tell you something. 

Monday, August 20, 2012

And the Readers Said 'Amen'

For a long time now, I've been fascinated with the repurposing of some of the world's most beautiful buildings-- churches. New York is full of elegant old churches, many of which no longer have congregations and have adopted new uses in order to avoid being torn down. 

There's the one on 6th Ave and 19th (20th?) that was a nightclub when I moved here and now fronts as a boutique mall. (I went to the opening.) That sort of makes me sad, actually. But then there's the amazing Novare condos of West 4th, formerly the Methodist "Peace" Church for helping Vietnam protestors in the 60s. This 1860 building is kind of my New York dream building and the living spaces in there are nothing short of heavenly. 

But now, it seems as though the Netherlands has honed in on the exact right repurpose for a once and still grand cathedral. A bookstore. Seleyx hired architects Merkx + Girod to give this Dominican structure in Maastrich, which fell into disuse after Napoleon, a major makeover. Give me 8,000 square feet of books and coffee bar and I'm a happy camper. I could browse in here for daaaaays. Old + New... always my favorite. 

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Let The Costume Dramas Begin

Just because I'm no longer living in the UK (and in fact, don't live anywhere) doesn't mean I plan on waiting until the American air dates for all my favorite BBC (and others) dramas. Only a few more weeks until Season 3 of Downton and there's a whole slate of other costume dramas set to rival Downton's ratings supremacy. Parade's End, The Bletchley Circle, The Hour Season 2 and the upcoming Hitchcock/Tippi Hedren flick, I'm going to consider in the strike zone of my costume drama wheelhouse. (Do I say wheelhouse too much?) Anyhow, hope you're enjoying your Sunday. 

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Sip n' Stroll to Fishs Eddy

As Steven prepares to leave spacious splendor on 45th Street for the more miniature, bespoke charm of a Chelsea Studio, (goodbye elevator, hello walk-up) we've been scouting ways to pimp and maximize the little space he's going to have. Thus, a Saturday sip n' stroll was in order. Margaritas followed by a trip to NYC institution, Fishs Eddy aka the world's coolest dish store. 

So many little things to handle, ogle, and imagine cooking with. God, I yearn to be more domestic than I am. To have a reason to be more domestic than I am. Instead, I am a gypsy. So I can dream of my polka dot Sundae pots, Boylan's Soda Bottle Glasses and softer than soft Michelle Obama t-shirt/matching mug, but my nomadic ass is already out of Manhattan and back in Brooklyn again. 

This time, Prospect Heights. And I'm lounging in my own borrowed spacious splendor: cuddling kitties Beezus & Ramona, drinking a beer, staring at this Roberto Bolano book I'm going to start, listening to Fiona Apple on Peter's record player, and writing about domestic flux. 

But if you're ever in the market for some New York themed dishes, totes, or colored espresso cups-- or even if, like me, just want to ogle the goods-- and odd paintings, of people which I assume have some connection to the store, as they're all in a very specific wheelhouse-- I recommend a trip to Fishs Eddy on Broadway and 19th Street. It's a treasure. 

Friday, August 17, 2012

Electric Feelings Friday Links

Have you gathered that I've been having a whole lot of feelings these days? I suppose it's be expected, moving back to my home country and trying to get on my own team about how to live the next chapter of my life, considering it's drastically different than how I thought I'd be spending this chapter. In every. possible. way. 

So, in addition to writing like a maniac, working it out in the recording studio, dog walking and babysitting, I've also been eating my feelings with some good old Italian (or New Orleans, as they are often around Mardi Gras Festivities) Rainbow Cookies. Holy Mother, that coconut & almond cake flavoring? That's my favorite thing about my life right now. 

But in other news...

- I love the Newsroom, but this recap of last week's ep in verse was hilarious.
- How can women gain influence in Hollywood?
- Loved this Rakoff article
- Speaking of pessimism, they're shrinking our pints in NYC and charging us the same. Sigh. A pint isn't arbitrary. It's a unit of measurement. 
- Oh well. Coffee is the new wine
-  iPhone 5 preorders next month? Yes, please. As it happens, I'm in need of a new phone. 
- The philosophy of John Rawls as applied to current politics. Interesting. 
- More on books to movies. (Meant to post this last week)
- More on books to pulp: what happened to all those Jonah Lehrer books that got pulled from shelves. 
- I'd rather pay a fortune to live in NYC than...almost... anywhere else....
- Downton? Here's the trailer for the new season in case you missed it.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

This Boat Is Real. Halifax Boat Cruise at Sunset

Are you guys sick to death of my travel photos? Can one even get sick of beautiful locales? I'm going to hope your answer is no and keep editing and moving through some of these, but I also promise that I'll be taking some quality alone time in Brooklyn this weekend while I housesit for one of my favorite people to hit you with some real writing or whathaveyou. 

Today, on the other hand, let's bliss out on a Canadian Seaside Sunset. We took a boat cruise the first night I arrived in Halifax. It was chilly and brisk and the air smelled salty and fresh and amazing-- a welcome contrast to the 12 hours I'd just spent in NYC, the 8 hours on a plane, and six months of rain in London before that. 

We danced, drank a strange Coors Light Iced-Tea beverage, let our hair frizz, and caught up with people, some of whom we hadn't seen in years. Obviously, because let's face it, Aly and I take the opportunity to sing "I'm On A Boat" even when we're not on a boat, even when we're somewhere like a Madrid Roof terrace, we sang snippets of our jam allll night lonnnng. It's a joke obviously, but then the thing is, I'm sincere about it. No matter what the body of water: The Seine, The Thames, The Tiber, The Hudson, or Halifax Harbour, there's pretty much no where I'd rather be than floating on a boat on the water with my friends. 

This float was special, too, in that we even saw a Mountie Wedding. That's right! A Royal Mounted Canadian Police (did you know that they're called, amongst themselves, "The Force?" Hardcore.)  getting married in full costume. Most of the Haligonians said it was pretty much the first time they'd ever seen a Mountie in that get-up, but nevertheless, it didn't feel like we could have gotten much more Canadian than that. 

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Halifax Harbo(u)r - Natal Day Fireworks

Saturday night before Aly & Dion's wedding, the city of Halifax decided to celebrate them with a fireworks extravaganza. Okay, actually the fireworks were for Halifax's birthday, the uncomfortably named Natal Day. 

Though, apparently, Halifax isn't a city. It was dissolved in 1996 and made a municipality along with a few other former cities. There are no longer cities in Nova Scotia. I have no idea what that actually means, but I'm intrigued by what appears to be a lot of semantics and bureaucratic rigmarole. 

City, Municipality, unincorporated provincial metropolitan area, potato, po-tah-to, I have to give it to Halifax Harbo(u)r. Daytime, Sunset, Night time... it is gorgeous 24/7. 

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Fountains of Rome

One of my favorite things about Rome was the abundance of fresh water fountains. There's always been free-flowing water from the aqueducts. Everyone's heard of Trevi Fountain and its wish granting. But in addition to the majestic wish granting kind, Rome is filled with fontanelles or nasoni (for their nose shaped spouts) you can drink from. Not only are they (at least most of them) beautiful, but under the hot Italian Summer sun, it was important to stay hydrated. The water in Rome's fountains is both deliciously drinkable and so so cold. 

We saved a fortune by not having to buy water bottles as we walked all over the city and it was so nice to cool down our swollen feet and ankles. I'm not kidding when I say it was real real hot when we were there. And I'm from Vegas, so I know me some hot. It actually felt a lot like Vegas, but with more breeze. (Thankfully.) 

The difference between Trevi in the day and Trevi at night was amazing. Pictures don't do it justice. I definitely made wishes. And at one, in the middle of an expanse of green, I wanted to run through the sprinklers to get to it. 

For the full list of Rome's fountains, check this out.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Battleborn, Or Be My Friend, Claire Vaye Watkins

Comparison is the thief of Joy. It's a lesson I've always had to learn the hard way. I'm hard on myself. Always. So I stack myself up against others all the time. I transfer my own judgement of myself onto my dealings with my family-- and make them the people who are disappointed in me, when really I am the one. It's me. I'm comparing me to others. Not them. 

In college, my friend Parisa had this great rule we always tried to follow whenever that feeling crept up on us about other women. Whenever you feel tempted to feel jealous or envious of another girl, you should immediately become their friend. Nothing will kill that jealousy faster than becoming friends. It really works and I've done it a lot. Some of my best friends came from The Parisa Method. 

It's also the inspiration for the series I do on this blog: "Be My Friend, So & So." I've talked about Liz Merriwether, Liz Gilbert, Allie Brosch and others.  So here's a new one in honor of Nevada writer, Claire Vaye Watkins' new collection of short stories, Battleborn

If you know your state mottoes, you'll see right away that these are short stories about our shared (ambivalently felt, in my case; less so, in hers) home state of Nevada. Drifters, wanderers, that washed-out old photo feeling that comes from the place... that's Battleborn. I'm only one story in, but that was pretty much enough. I'm sold. 

She has lots of interesting things to say about writing and the Battleborn State (NV was admitted to Union in 1863 during the height of the Civil War, thus the moniker) on this Granta podcast. The sound is rather low, so crank up that volume.

One of the things I like best about Claire is the free writers workshop she's put together for rural Nevada teens, The Mohave School. It took me a long time to own where I'm from (or at least accept it and love it as one of the places I'm from) but now that I've arrived in that mental state, I'd love to get involved in her endeavors there. The thing I could always say is that there are far more stories in Nevada than anyone would think at first guess. FOR EXAMPLE, in Claire's case, this little teeny tiny bio detail. My most extensive experience with Charles Manson was playing Squeaky Fromme in Assassins where I sang a love duet to him (while John Hinckley Jr. sang to Jodie Foster.)

Perhaps because that song is called "Unworthy of Your Love," that detail feels simultaneously like a joke and also massively significant. I suppose, I think it's interesting to look at the parallels and the diversions between any two people. Like me, Claire was born in California and thereafter moved to Nevada (Pahrump in her case.) Like me, she had an alcoholic mother (she describes her mother as "this incredible dynamo; a great bullshitter.") My father is the opposite of Charlie Manson's right hand man. Unlike me, she stayed in Nevada and went to UNR. We both did postgrad writing programs in places you might not expect.  

Bringing this back home to the beginning of this post, and in my continued effort to get really seriously real with myself and you on this blog,  I suppose I want to say this. (In addition to "Be My Friend, Claire Vaye Watkins.)

I want to say that Claire is two years younger than me and has been published in all manner of places I envy. The Paris Review. Granta. She gets compared to Cormac McCarthy and Annie Proulx and Joan Didion. My teeth hurt, I am so envious. But here's my confession: I don't even send my stories out anymore. I have been propped up and pared down so many times now, I don't know what to think. I don't send any fiction out into the world, save on this blog. I both know and don't know why that is at the moment. I have been hoarding. I have been waiting for people to ask. And when people finally ask-- and mean it; not just as a courtesy-- it feels like my heart is going to explode. I cry on the spot. 

I am trying to work through this unworthiness I feel-- with my family and with myself. And in the odd manner in which I choose and sometimes choose not to share my work with others. 

All photos from the author's (really beautiful) website

Sunday, August 12, 2012

What Do We Think About Book Trailers?

You may have noticed that the ancient art form known as 'novels' has finally jumped on the bandwagon of the twenty-first century and decided to use youtube to help market their products. In general, I think it's hard to go wrong with having one for a book. But then again, I've seen a couple that actually made me less interested in the book. and how many views do they really even get?

So what to make of that. It's hard to believe that high profile books with major publishing house marketing clout behind them would allow a shoddy trailer to be made. And I know that my marketing (and OCD) background make me perhaps overly sensitive to things like font and editing. 

But a case in point is the trailer for the book that was next on my list by the amazing Adam Haslett, Union Atlantic. I was so pumped. And after watching, I was pretty deflated. I mean, I'm a nerd, so I'm still probably going to read the book. But... you know what I mean? 

And for me, the jury is still out on the trailer for my man Cronin's newest, The Twelve. (Get your preorders in NOW people!) I think it does some things right. But while those children are good for setting tone, knowing the series like I do, I just kept wondering, who the heck are these kids? At least they got the font right. 

Anywhooo, check them out for yourself and let me know what you think. Included here is also one I find wonderful-- the trailer for my pal Jenny Smith's novel The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight (being turned into a movie by Dustin Lance Black!!) That's a commercial for a book right there! Also there's two versions from the point of view of each of the main characters. Adorbs. 

I'm going to use my impending subway ride to Washington Heights to contemplate what my book trailer will look like. Which isn't much of a stretch considering I'm about two secs away from turning the thing into a screenplay anyhow. 

It's Sunday in New York City, ya'll. The best scenario in the world. Joy to yous. 

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Fresh, Friendly, Local - A Trip to Brooklyn's Farmacy

Being back in NYC with the heat and humidity made a trip to a classic old time soda shop a necessity. After a day of babysitting the adorable Penny, we (Penny, Penny's mom Bob and I) decided to take ourselves on down to Brooklyn's adorable Farmacy. New York is known for its egg creams and soda floats and Farmacy takes the whole thing to a new level.

Our pal Bryce Nice mixed me up one of their best: The Violet. It's a soda float with vanilla soda and black raspberry ice cream. Ugh! Perfectly refreshing and not too sweet. Other flavors I was tempted by: The Betty Boop- chocolate soda and vanilla ice cream, The Purple Haze- chocolate soda and black raspberry ice cream, and The Strawberry Fields- strawberry soda and ice cream. 

Let it be known as well that this place has shelves and shelves of dill pickles. One of the things I'm happiest about now that I'm back in the USA is the return to a world with dill pickles. I was also thiiiis close to leaving that place with about 5 jars of pickled okra. 

If you should find yourself round Carroll Gardens way, you should stop in at Farmacy. I think it might be my new babysitting Penny tradition. 

Friday, August 10, 2012

First Friday Back in NYC Links

Well I'm back. What do I do now? There's still this lingering flakiness juju in the air that I am trying to effing sage-smudge out of my general vicinity. More things have fallen through lately than my patience level can really cope with-- and yet, I'm remaining relatively calm. I feel like I end up having a lot of conversations with people about my standards. That I expect too much of people (only what I expect of myself, for the record) yada yada yada. While I think I've become softer in my existential angst towards the parts of the world that don't make any goddamn sense, I don't see myself being any less demanding anytime soon. 

It's weird to be here without a job and weird to constantly answer so many questions (How long are you here? Where are you living? What are your plans now?) with a big smile and an "Uhhhh.... that's a good question. I'm not sure about that yet." For the most part, though, I'm trying to stay positive and looking ahead. I think there's a lot to be excited about this Autumn.

- What if Olympics 2012 had been in NYC instead of London?
- Wait, the power of negative thinking??
- Six Reasons Your Move Abroad Might Not Work Out. I laughed.
- The world's most perfect man? Just. Might. Be.
- Owls are assholes. No... I love them. Go Rice.
- What if I lived here?
- Behind the scenes of the Chaplin musical and his famous bread roll ballet
- I can't wait for Season 2 of Homeland. Counting down the days.
- Everything Is Fiction from Keith Ridgway. So good.
- Speaking of writing, The Fall Book forecast looks gooooood! I want to read almost all of these. Junot Diaz short stories! NW from Zadie Smith! And The Twelve is out! Huzzah for Cronin.

- Speaking of Cronin, here he is reading from The Twelve. Have a great weekend!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

For Alyson & Dion, On Their Wedding

It was my great honor, this past Sunday, to stand under the chuppah with my best friends and say a few words-- some mine, some Don Paterson's-- about their great love and our shared experiences together over the last seven years. The two of them remain constant sources of inspiration to me to stay patient, to enjoy it all, and that loyalty to those you love really is its own reward. Here's what I said. It was a really beautiful day and I'm so grateful I could be a part of it. More from the wedding to come. 

For Aly & Dion
August 5, 2012

I spend a lot of time thinking about geography. So I'd like to say a little bit today about finding your way.  

There's a kind of emotional geography to these readings-- what you'll write and what you'll say-- in that, the spot on the map you're aiming for is the sentiment that is equally true of the bride and groom's relationship as it is of your personal feelings about them. That's why I'd like to start in New York City and end in Scotland, both old and new. 

New York is the kind of place where serendipity doesn't hide. It's right around every corner, on every subway platform, in every artistic partnership formed at a bar, in every answered craigslist ad. This is how we all came to be together today. Even though New York is on a grid system, it can still be remarkably easy to feel lost on occasion. It's the kind of place that serves as a proving ground that we are capable of making our way in the world alone....

But also that it is easier... and sweeter... when we go together. The way any number of people can see off the light of a single candle... and how that candle loses nothing by lighting others from its flame.  This is the best way I can think of describe both Aly and Dion. What they represent to me, to each of us here, and to each other. 

I'd like to quote my friend, the great Scottish poet (and rockstar!) Don Paterson: "And the true path was as lost to me as ever, when you cut in front and lit it as you ran. See how the true gift never leaves the giver; returned and redelivered."

For me (especially for me) and for each other, you have served as beacons-- lighting the path in front with your glowing, inimitable 'Aly&Dion-ness,' providing unparalleled comfort & relief, and signaling the way home. Which perhaps has never been a spot on the map at all-- never here nor there-- but which has always been together. 

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

What I Did For Love - We'll Miss You, Marvin Hamlisch

Like most everyone else in the theatre community, I was heartbroken to learn yesterday that the wonderful Marvin Hamlisch had passed away. I only got to meet him once, when he came to a tourism event I participated in when I worked for the Shuberts, but it was enough. What a role model. He's one of only eleven people to have all four of the major arts awards: A Grammy, a Tony, And Oscar and an Emmy. And he's one of only two people to have all those things plus a Pulitzer. (The other being Richard Rodgers.) 

And what I lovely, funny man. I have a special place in my heart for "The Way We Were" (and all things Redford, obviously.) And I don't think there's any kid who ever dreamed a Broadway Dream that didn't listen to "What I Did For Love" on repeat and know in their hearts it was written for them. Marvin, you will be much much missed. 

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Tigerlily Reads Kafka

In the great tradition of the Tigerlily Classic Rock photo series, here is the second in what I hope will become an extensive new photo series, Tigerlily Appreciates Great Art at a maturity level far beyond her years. We already have, Tigerlily and Modern Painting. And now, I present you with Tigerlily Reading Kafka. What can I say? She's advanced. Hope you're having a super Tuesday. 

Monday, August 6, 2012

Watching Wilfred With a Wedding Hangover

How did I have to come all the way to Canada to discover the genius of Wilfred. This is easily my new favorite show. Jason Gann, where, WHERE have you been all my life. It's so weird, it's perfect. It's like bordering on surreal. The only thing surpassing it on the surreal scale is this crazy synchronized swimming happening on the Olympics. Bless the absurd. I feel like I accidentally took acid. Or maybe that's just my hangover. Or the giddy laughter high I've been on for the last three days. I have... not as bad of a hangover I should have... and I watching lots and lots of this. 

Sunday, August 5, 2012

A Perfect Song for a Perfect Couple

Milo Greene released the official video for my favorite track off their new album-- "Perfectly Aligned." It's part of a larger film piece they're doing called Moddison. It's a feature length film that corresponds to all the songs. Cool, right? The whole thing is shot in these beautiful woods-- kinda like Canada!

Anyhow, this is the perfect song for a day like today, when I'm celebrating Aly & Dion. Let's go to a wedding!

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Nuns & Sailors

When I travel, I often end up with some kind of photographic fetish. Often, it's been doors, rows & color blocks, and sheep. I love sheep. They give great face for photos. My 2004 trip around the UK with my dad was completely dominated by photos of lambs in buttercup meadows smirking, winking, you name it. 

Do ever get into a zone or zero in on a particular thing when you're taking pictures? 

In Rome, I kept finding groups of nuns-- not surprising in the capital of Catholicism-- and often intermingling with sailors. I really dug their uniforms. And I love juxtaposition of social groups. Nuns and sailors. Nuns and tourists. Sailors and street performers. There's something about the soul of the city there. 

We're off to a Halifax BBQ! I'm having yet another cultural experience. Soon I'll show you the latest, Canadian social juxtaposition: Mounties and Brides. That's right, we ran into a Mountie Wedding last night on the Halifax Harbour. Priceless. 

Friday, August 3, 2012

In Transit Friday Links

When you read this, I'll be on my way to Halifax, Nova Scotia, having spent about 12 hours in NYC. It's been a four countries in a week kind thing. But I have a super fabulous reason for this excursion-- and it isn't just for the beautiful scenery and the fact that Nova Scotia is New Scotland. 

It's Aly & Dion's Wedding Weekend Extravaganza! I'm so excited to celebrate this day that's been so long in the making with so many of my absolute favorite people. Aly & Dion are basically an institution. They've always been together as long as I've known them and they're part of that bedrock group that is still the foundation of my life in New York. 

I'm also super honored that they've asked me to write something and give a reading. So I'm back to that. Want to get it just right, of course. I have a reputation of wedding speeches to maintain afterall. 

So here are your links:

- Funny article about writing. I can never read too many of these.
- I've been hard at work these days on my TV pilot. Let's just say, it has echoes of Three's Company.
- I could never read enough about Jeff Buckley.
- This Jonah Lehrer thing is depressing
- This "Things you might read on a fashion blog" is hilarious. 
- Kim Kierkegaardashian is genius. The philosophy of Søren Kierkegaard mashed with the tweets and observations of Kim Kardashian.
- Ultra, delux, cast signed copy of Gone with the Wind book sells for $135,000. Boom. 

Why Stop Now?

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