Thursday, January 31, 2013

Save The Byre

A St Andrews cultural hub is closing its doors today, but hopefully not for good. Though the Byre Theatre is home to St Andrews' annual poetry festival, StAnza, and many sold out theatrical performances, piano nights, and bar hang outs, it has faced financial difficulties for some time now. As of today, I'm told, the theatre will shut its doors to cut costs with a hoped-for reopening later in the year. 

I've seen so many wonderful things at the Byre. It is a beautiful space. My lone straight play was performed there in 2010 during the scary era of 10 X 10.

In the meantime, local patrons and devoted St Andreans are doing their best to spread awareness and activism on the issue. Even if you don't know the Byre and just love theatre, or the idea that there should be venues to host cultural events and dialogues, please consider signing this petition. There's also a facebook page devoted to keeping the space open, along with sustaining the jobs it provides students and locals. 

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The Middle Middleton

You know I love any good poke at the Middletons. To me, the Middletons are the British version of the infuriating Kardashians. I could go into it further, but I'm trying to lower my rage level lately-- not amp it up. So, instead, I'll just say, Oh, you St Andrews folks with your strange, subtle, humorous videos. 

Meet Doris Middleton. The lesser known, frumpier Middleton sister. This is so weird, I just couldn't resist. 

Oh, and why not! More St Andrews & Middletons.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

This Is Martin Bonner Wins Sundance Audience Award!

Every now and then, something really nice happens to the little guys. Every now and then, it pays off to live out of your car in order to make your thing happen. That time is now for Chad Hartigan, who won the Audience Award for NEXT at Sundance this weekend. Way to go, bud. 

Extra bonus points for This Is Martin Bonner taking place in Nevada. 

Monday, January 28, 2013

First Annual Ferguson Burns Night, USA

The First Annual Ferguson Burns Night Supper USA turned out not too shabby. I had my doubts leading up to the event with its ever-changing roster of guests. But as the food prep began, I started to feel better because everything was tasting pretty good. There’s something sort of counterintuitive about the idea of vegetarian haggis. But as I started to add in all the ingredients, I consoled myself that, at least in this situation, taste was more important than authenticity. (After all, real haggis is illegal in the USA.)

Not that I was comfortable with authenticity being sacrificed. At one point, I almost cried when everyone seemed reluctant to participate in reading and keeping with the traditional order of events. (They were warned!) But then again, it is nerve-wracking. I’ll admit that I was nervous doing Address to the Haggis. Whisky fixed that. I practiced a couple of times because even though no one else would know if I was pronouncing the Scots wrong, I would know.

There’s great slang in Scots. Sonsie, Scunner, Skinking. I think I’d like to try to find a way to incorporate more of it into American daily life. And more of these recipes. 

I substituted half red lentils and half quinoa in this recipe for vegetarian haggis, and ricotta + whipping cream for double cream on the cranachan. In addition to Talisker (Isle of Skye-- holla!) for toasting, I had ingredients for refreshing, jazzed with candied ginger Presbyterians.

Man, it made me miss Scotland. But thanks to my friends for helping to celebrate the cultural richness of the place I love most.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Hollywood Baby

She hiked all the way up with us. Like a boss.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Happy Birthday Burns Friday Links

Tonight, I am having a Burns Night Supper at my house. In the grand tradition of almost all my parties, almost no one is coming. (At least I can always count on McC!) At least the weather is obligingly Scottish.  Nevertheless, I am making vegetarian haggis, neeps & tatties and cranachan. Sophie has even offered to skype in to sing us some "Auld Lang Syne" at midnight (8 AM Scottish time) but to be honest, I doubt we'll make it that long. 

In any case, I love this holiday. It's also my dad's birthday, Rob Shafer's birthday, and Kate Floyd's birthday. All lifetime favorites. 

Here are your links. 

- One of my favorite articles (from the D. Patz) on Burns
- Tartan picks for a stylish Burns Night
- I. Love. This. Song. I wish all bands sang with Scottish inflection. 
- My next read, Elena Ferrante's My Brilliant Friend
- 25 greatest unscripted movie scenes.
- Facts about the new Mad Men series. Oooh, so soon!
- This is hilarious!
- I always loved you, Jimmy Carter
- There's a part of me that agrees with this.
- But then, I do also love Andrew Sullivan
- Salon's guide to memoir writing
- Oooh, new Stephen Poliakoff film project
- Rice is going to have a CLASS ON DOWNTOWN ABBEY next semester!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Mind The Gap

As many of you know, I do all the original content on the voice over industry for my company, Resnick Interactive, on our website. I don't normally post them here, but this one has a lot of overlap between what I'm working on now, and my eternal love of the United Kingdom. So here is the history of London's iconic 'Mind The Gap.'

While New Yorkers may have to put up with cacophonous and disjointed announcements on their subway systems– where the voice seems to be screaming at them– the British tube has long been understood to be a more civilized system. The tube was made famous thanks in part to its soothing, silver-voiced announcement to please Mind the Gap.
At its most basic level, it was a simple service announcement, reminding commuters to be aware of the space between the platform and the car. It’s gone on to become a symbol of not just the London Underground, but of London itself. Let’s not forget though, that this iconic phrase started as one more great voice over performance.
Increased traffic, added frequent stops, and adherence to schedules had made it impractical for drivers and station attendants to warn passengers when necessary at the curved platforms. The phrase was coined in 1968 and began airing in London Underground stations along the Central, Northern, and Bakerloo Lines in 1969.  The Underground chose digital recording and as storage capacity was expensive, the phrase had to be short. Mind the Gap was the winner.
According to the Independent on Sunday, the sound engineer hired for the project, Peter Lodge, who owned Redan Recorders in Bayswater, working with a Scottish Telefunken engineer, cast and recorded an actor reading “mind the gap” and “stand clear of the doors please,” and called it a day. But it turned into a moment of voice over casting gone wrong when the actor eventually turned back up, insisting on royalties– per use–for the performance! And since “mind the gap” was played thousands of times a day, this was not a cost Transport for London was willing to pay and the phrases were re-recorded. Lodge himself read the phrases, initially just to line up the recording equipment for levels, and in the end, those were the ones they used.
While Lodge’s 1969 recording is still in use, many lines use other versions. Perhaps you remember that soothing feminine voice? That very commonly used track comes from Manchester/Cheshire based voice artist Emma Clarke. (Here’s a great extra read about her, too!) Others, on the Piccadilly line, are by Tim Bentinck, who is not only an Earl, (with a very long title) but who also plays David Archer in The Archers.
Despite its humble and unglamorous origins as a utilitarian safety warning, mind the gap has become its very own stock phrase cottage industry. It’s used in many other contexts having little or nothing to do with travel safety. You can find it in the names of songs, bands, films, production companies, and novels. At least four non-fiction titles use Mind the Gap as their primary title, but rather than the safety warning, these books are about generations, class divides, social science policy and even the origins of human universals.
Mind the Gap is featured in video games, such as Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, Halo, and many more, plus in several animated series. It’s spawned an entire collection of merchandise from mugs to t-shirtsboard games, and decorative tins.
Even when used ironically, as it often is today, nothing seems to be able to dislodge the phrase and its Cool Britannia from the public consciousness. Not only is it a staple of modern British personality, but goes down as one of the defining moments in voice over performance.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Frightened Rabbit - Pedestrian Verse

Frightened Rabbit will always remind me of the North Sea. And those first, best, months in Scotland. It still feels like I've just left, when actually, I'm rounding the corner of a half a year gone. So just in time, Frightened Rabbit comes along with a new album, Pedestrian Verse. The single "Dead Now" seems like an interesting departure for them. But I also heard, "Late March, Death March" on NPR the other day and loved it.

They're offering a little preview of Pedestrian Verse on their website for anyone who's already purchased one of their albums. My hand has lingered on pulling the pre-order trigger because I can't decide if I want it on vinyl. Decisions!!

Other fans here in LA can catch them March 13 at the Music Box. I'm pretty set on going. Anyone wanna go with me? Lofgren? West Coast trip?

Here are the songs I mentioned and a cool tour video from their trek through the Highlands. 

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The Most Astounding Fact - Neil deGrasse Tyson Appreciation Day

My heart is warmed thinking of this guy speaking at the 100th commencement of my alma mater. Rice 2013 grads sure are lucky. (His wife is an alum, so I guess that was our in.) 

Neil is more than a scientist. He's a modern philosopher of real life and I can't wait to see what he tells those kids. I feel like he's going to blow our minds. Where Alberto Gonzales (a Rice alum) merely praised the virtues of George W. Bush in my own commencement speech-- in a desperate play to become Attorney General-- I doubt we'll hear much of that from Neil. 

Personally, I hope he break dances to Michael Jackson. But in lieu of that, I'll take something more like this. The simple revelry in the science, but also the magic of our existence. This is poetry as good as any I've heard. 

Inauguration/MLK Day!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Terminator: Termination

Here's a little laugh for Sunday. A comedy short my friend directed. I'm so tired and hiked for so long today, I just want to lie on my couch and laugh. Enjoy!

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Saturday Song - The Staves - Tongue Behind My Teeth

Enjoy today's Saturday song courtesy of London-based sister trio, The Staves. They remind me of The Wailin Jennys in more ways than one. (PS- I wish The Wailin Jennys still made albums. Their last new one was  at the end of 2011-- though its anybody's guess which members were involved. I can't keep up anymore.)  There's three of 'em. They're brunettes. They rock similar harmonies. 

I dig these Staveley-Taylor sisters. I like the simple, but inventive visual storytelling in their videos. Check out their album, Dead & Born & Grown. And have a listen to "Tongue Behind My Teeth."

Friday, January 18, 2013

The Get Real Friday Links

McC and I frequently discuss the state of blogging. I still think blogging is writing. And is about ideas. (Or should be.) Not just a glorified way to hawk products or gain sponsorship or ask soul-searingly obvious questions, or give soul-searingly obvious advice. 

I suppose I just think you should be contributing something to a conversation. And asking an obvious question as substitute for a hard question isn't the same thing. I guess this is why I have a problem with a lot of (not all, but a lot of) "here's what I wore today" blogs and whatnot. 

And the line was really crossed for me with the blog mentioned below in my first link of this Friday. It's difficult for me to sum up all the reasons this is the nexus of everything that makes my stomach turn about blogging (and sort of by extension, America?) but it feels like the perfect crystallization of all that is inane and wasteful about blogging and American culture. A corporate sponsor for a braid bar. You must be joking. Every mention of the move to Paris being referred to as Paris, France. Yes, we know. I'm sure you wouldn't be flaunting a move with your two kids to Paris, Texas. 

I don't really make it a point to call people out in writing, unless it's to give kudos, but... oh man. I like my blogs with a heavy dose of the get real. I think blogs are a daily tonic of get real. Of reconciling one's ideal with their reality and making peace with that. Not some twee luxurious quirk overdose. Maybe a lot of people don't want ideas in their blogs, just pretty pictures. Maybe if I posted more pictures of my outfits or hosted more parties with corporate sponsorship, I'd have thousands and thousands of readers each day, instead of a hundred or so that I have. But I'll still with my ideas and my readers who want those, thank you very much. 

At the end of the day, I think everyone is just doing their best--- blog offenders included-- but also, please... come on...

A Bing sponsored Braid Bar? With Letterpress braiding instructions? We've reached the lowest low with vapid blogging. 

- Speaking of inane and obvious, PippaTips mocks P. Middleton's "book."
- Famed British photographer, Rankin, is leaving LA and heading back to the UK. Take me with you!
- Las Vegas does have some wild street names. I grew up on Ramrod. Too bad it wasn't Tupac Ln.
- Still considering the white & gold version of this for my foyer. Someone talk me out of wallpaper.
- Digging a lot of this Scotch & Soda line
- A pal of mine, Chad Hartigan is rocking Sundance with this awesome review
- My interview for the Theological Seminary program I did as a teenager. Nice to be asked spiritual questions. 
- Argumentative fallacies I learned in high school forensics. Wish the Republican Party would read this

Thursday, January 17, 2013

LA Furniture Angel - Disregarden

Winter '12-'13 will probably go down in history as the winter of the Melrose Trading Post. I've circled that place with various friends nearly every Sunday of this colder than I'd expected Los Angeles season. The biggest score came the first weekend, though, when McC and I discovered Disregarden and we added a lovely hand painted dresser-turned-sideboard to McC's new dining room. (Which they so kindly delivered. Big news from a flea market.)

But Disregarden had so much more to offer. And if they'd had any piece I actually needed for my house, (or could have fit) I would have walked away with something myself. Disregarden is an adorable husband and wife team who source, restore and style awesome furniture pieces and accessories. Jessica not only has awesome taste and a wicked sense of humor (the quotes on their framed chalkboards were off beat to say the least. I loved 'em!) but also, curly blonde hair, which of course an early indicator of badassery. They do other stylings and even furniture rentals. So check them out. Because they pretty much rock. 

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Following Steve McCurry & The Last Ever Kodachrome Quest

Thirty-six frames and out. I've talked before about Steve McCurry being bequeathed the last ever roll of Kodachrome film.  I've been writing about contemporary art in Istanbul lately for a freelance job and so of course, this melancholy story is coming full circle for me. 

The prints from Steve McCurry's Kodachrome finale were recently on display at the Istanbul Modern. (Also on McCurry's website.) DeNiro, New York, India!

But most especially, NOW there is a new documentary about the experience, from National Geographic-- the organization that helped to make Steve McCurry famous when they put his Afghan Girl on the cover. Check it out, ya'll. Kodachrome may be dead, but the stories aren't.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Smash Season Two - Episode One, Part One

As cynical as I have sometimes been in my recapping of the show, both here and in the more official capacity over at, I want to reemphasize that I've never actually been one of the SMASH cynics. My deep hope persists that SMASH can still be a great show and occasionally shows flashes of it. 

When I heard about the shake up at the helm and on the decks, I was pleased. Mostly that we'd be losing that yucky assistant, who, strangely, my mind has already repressed. I cannot remember his name. Hold on, I'm going to go look it up... Ellis! 

Anyhow. I was less pleased to eventually lose Brian D'arcy James and Raza Jaffrey, but, alas. What we were gaining in return was worth the price. Jennifer Hudson (sorta), Andy Mientus, Krysta Rodriguez and most especially Jeremy Jordan as series regulars with Sean Hayes and LIZA MINELLI as special guest stars?? Okay, then. Sign me up and let's get to watching. 

I still find that there's something quite vacant about Katharine McPhee as a performer. She never feels present in any scene or any song. And I still don't get Marilyn even when she's playing her. Also, I feel like she's a little too bitchy anymore to Ivy. I dunno... maybe because to me, it was months and months and a whole country ago-- 5,440 miles ago-- I think, dude, let it go. No need to get anyone fired. Plus! You breaking up with your Dev (was that his name? Another one I've almost completely erased from my memory) meant that now you live with Krysta Rodriguez and I'd way rather watch her.

Most of the plot elements you guys can guess because, well, they pretty much give them all away in the promo. And I don't have much to say about them. I'm good with it. I don't mind some soapy elements. I lived on the Broadway campus long enough to know that the soap factor is actually one of the more accurate (and often satisfying!) elements of SMASH. 

I'll say this though. I really do think they're going in the right direction. Yep. Bombshell should be thwarted. Because that shit's real. And because even without seeing the entirety of Bombshell, I can tell you right now I know for a FACT Julia's book for the thing was bad. Most shows get thwarted in some way, even when the writers have clout. 

And thank god for whoever's idea it was (I'm guessing new showrunner Gossip Girl's Josh Safran) to bring in plot lines (and REAL MUSIC!) from young and emerging writers! YAY! It feels like being single for a really long time and then finally getting asked out on a date. And I'm not even writing for the show! But that's how satisfying it feels. 

I'm also going to make a note that this episode features two of the most honest moments ever featured on the show to date. One of them, however, was immediately followed with eye-rolling pretense. 

When Jennifer Hudson tells Kat McPhee to 'protect the work,' I nodded my head for like a full 30 seconds. But then, she said, "This will be you in six months," and walked out of her dressing room to a stage door that felt like a red carpet premiere. And just like that, the moment was shattered on the dirty theater district pavement. 

The other moment--- oh, the other moment-- there was just nothing Hollywood could do to ruin it. Not Kat McPhee holding up her iphone for Derek to hear it, nor the plot contrivance of her forgetting the phone on the bar forcing her to come back and hear it. Nothing could ruin Jeremy Jordan singing Joe Iconis's 'Broadway Here I Come.' 

I'd personally like to thank my friends Joe and Jeremy for this moment of the show. I re-watched the last four minutes of the episode about seven or eight times last night and once again this morning. It's so much better in the full version than what they show in the promo. I'm not a fan of the way they edited the song for that promo. It doesn't show off the best parts of the song IMO. But you'll watch the full thing and you'll see. You can also hear the lovely Molly Hager sing it here. And of course, Krysta, sing it here

Off to a good start, SMASH. Please, please, I beg of you, keep it up. Josh Safran promised me and you "more music, less scarves." I'm going to choose to trust him to keep that promise. And I'll keep watching. But who am I kidding. Like all the people who love Broadway, I'm a glutton for punishment. I'd watch it no matter what. 

You can watch part one of the Season 2 premiere on Hulu here
The full two hour premiere airs on NBC February 5

Fly Aways- 

- What's going on with Jennifer Hudson's teeth during her performance? It's like she lost the weight and became a lollypop head and her teeth just seem HUGE now. 

- I was surprised to find Theresa Rebeck listed as an executive producer. My understanding is that she was relinquishing all affiliation with the show from now on, save Created By. Guess not. 

- I feel a little dirty for saying it, but can we petition for more Riedel in this season. I'd take him in every episode really. There's something more palatable about him as semi-fictional soap villain on TV. AMIRIGHT??? 

Monday, January 14, 2013

London Night - 1934

Like with Denim London, something just feels right about a London cast in shades of eerie blue. 

This series is actually a photo series from the 1930's that feels both otherworldly and also very immediate. I feel sucked into these haunting images, but also slightly scared someone might jump out from behind one of those columns and mugs me. 

These photos-- of a London that would soon disappear with the coming of the second world war -- were curated by two photographers John Morrison and Harold Burdekin into a book called London Night. It's out of print, but thanks to Vintage enthusiasts, The Library Time Machine,  many of the photos have been made available for viewing online.  All the photos in the series are prime examples the advances that were made in night photography at the time. The word that gets thrown around to describe them is "atmospheric" and I couldn't agree more. 

For more on London Night, check out here (sorry, its the Daily Mail.) and here. Thanks to the lovely Caroline for sending these my way!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Angelinos and Winter

Okay, but seriously. I moved here to be warm. For. The. Warmth! And I'm still cold all the time because there are no properly insulated buildings here... because its never supposed to be cold! Nevertheless, all the Angelinos have been circulating this video which is equal parts hilarious and true. I mean, yes, we're over reacting, but also... Brrrrrr.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Friday, January 11, 2013

I am Lady Mary Friday Links

What a long week! Sadly, I won't be considering this week over until the end of the weekend. Basically, I have a lot of work to do and less energy to do it with than I'd prefer. But at least I can bundle up in a lot of sweaters at my desk for a full 48 hours. Also, I'm helping McC decorate her house on Sunday. She's made some really stellar furniture choices including THIS awesome statement chair

Anyhow. Your Links:

- A wonderful piece by John Lithgow reporting from inside Britain's National Theatre
- A new-found hilarious Downton site.
- Also this. IAmLadyMary's twitter. Though I wish it were funnier.
- Janet Hill's art is the shit. I want like 15 of these paintings.
- Look at my beauteous friend Parisa's dreamy Persian-themed wedding!
- This really is a very bad portrait of Kate Middleton
- This is the most astute piece on Downton Abbey I've ever read! (Thanks, Anna!)
- The World can never have enough baller short stories-- like George Saunders, Tenth of Dec.
- God is not a Christian: an extraordinary talk with Desmond Tutu and the Dalai Lama
Oh, Elizabeth Wurtzel. On one hand, please just stop. On the other hand, I've made some similar choices...

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Rachel Potter - Live The Dream

What a few years Rachel Potter has had! I've said before-- one of the only things that's really genuinely encouraging after so many years in the biz is having being able to see the arc of someone's success in hindsight. I remember sunny summer afternoons in Astoria park with Rachel talking about the struggle. 

At the time, she singing in a wedding band and feeling sort of dissatisfied with auditioning. She'd always been high on my list for Muffin in VOTE! at some point. Often, I wish I had more going on only so I could hire more of my friends. We talked about all the discouraging things that had ever been said to us and how we tried to shake them off. 

Shortly after I left for Scotland, all the good stuff started happening for Rachel. She got Wednesday in The Addams Family and then The Mistress in Evita. She's always done her own original music, and now that is taking off like whoa. Case in point, her new video airing on CMT, "Live The Dream." 

There's a lot of reasons to love this video. Most of mine include the obscene amounts of friends yukking it up in the background. Yours might also include Ricky Martin. (!) Check it out. Live the Dream, people. 

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

An Odd Echo - Dotter of Her Father's Eyes

Apparently the legacy of Lucia Joyce lights a fire under a good many writers. This year's Costa Prize for biography in Britain has been awarded to Bryan & Mary M. Talbot for their graphic biography (yes, you saw correctly, a graphic novel bio) of James Joyce's daughter, Dotter of Her Father's Eyes

I haven't forgotten about my shelved phd project and find Lucia's sad story as fascinating as ever. I'm still hard at work on the novel portion of said phd and am sort of simul-adapting as I move along into the accompanying screenplay as more and more of the sections feel best represented visually.

Clearly the Talbots thought so as well and chose to depict the story of this dysfunctional family with its literary genius at the center in images as well. I jumped to acquire the hard copy of course, but this is a perfect work to engage with digitally, either on ipad or iphone or e-reader. All the images are black and white and have a kind of child-like quality which, in my opinion, sort of adds to the heartbreak. 

The Talbots were also inspired by the same book as I was-- Carol Schloss's To Dance In The Wake, but I've obviously added several highly fictional elements to my version of the story. 

Interesting fact, Mary Talbot has lived and breathed the Joyce family most of her life as the daughter of the eminent Joycean scholar, James S Atherton. And the piece tells not just the story of Lucia the daughter, but of of Mary the daughter as well. The part memoir, part biography juxtaposes Mary's childhood with Lucia's. 

It's strange hearing about a similar yet so dissimilar project to mine. In some ways, it gives a feeling of validation. I maintain my feeling that I'm on the right track. In other ways, I feel territorial and want to write faster. Either way, I'm looking forward to cracking into this one. Keep on thinking of unexpected ways to tell those stories, people. 

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

But I Have Been Privy To Something True...

I remember with utter clarity the moment Sophie first performed "Something Old, Something New" for me. She had just finished it, Mama Louise was consulting on the newest additions, and we were at Bamff in the Morning Room. Everything was cast in a kind of golden/pink light. It was one of the happiest moments of my life. It came to symbolize something. Something old and something new-- and all the "splendid times that would probably ensue." (And they did!) I beamed, still stunned and still wondering how I had fallen into this surreal crevice of people who seemed to be just embracing me all the time. And I remember thinking that I needed to pay attention to this moment because Sophie's album was going to be something so special. So unlike anything in contemporary song writing. 

Looking at the landscape of music during my lifetime, I have a hard time naming many, if any, lyricists who leave their guts on the table the way Sophie does. F. Scott Fitzgerald said that price you pay for doing first rate professional work is that you've got to "sell your heart." Sophie does that and somehow manages to keep it too. She is unflinching from the grief she's experienced. And even though I missed that darkest chapter in her life, when Fred was quickly and unexpectedly taken from her, I can't help but know -- because she has succeeded in conveying to me through song and soul-- the strange dark place she journeyed through.

In "Something Old, Something New," the vivid New York she experienced in the aftermath of Fred's death is perfectly etched, and we see the city as a perfect conduit to move her into the alternate version of her life without Fred. And the friends who would help her. The upside down bridal imagery is arresting. It breaks and eventually raises my heart to think of her re-imagining her wedding and her future. 

"Song I Never Wrote For You," was the first original song off the album I heard. And also, the last song I heard Sophie play live on my last day in Scotland. She was just wrapping up recording the album. I heard some not-quite mixed tracks. And on Dublin street, as I went through clothes to give away, her simple, pure piano version echoed down the hall to me as she played. I thought about Fred and I thought about Sophie and how I would miss this part of my life so dreadfully. No part of my American life is as simple, or bare, or uncomplicated, or earnest as any moment I spent with Sophie. Except for when I listen to her album from my house in Hollywood. 

Sophie Ramsay is a blessing to this or any life. Add her to yours. 

Monday, January 7, 2013

New Year, New Job, New Website

Many of you noticed that I got a new job in December, (Thanks for the well wishes on that, too, people. Much appreciated.) as the Director of Communications for voice over casting and production company, Resnick Interactive Group. I've been getting the lay of the land for the past month, but also working on our new website! 

I get to write a lot, so that's the main thing. Content for the site & our blog, press stuff, script stuff, etc.  But I also get to get in there on where the business is going to go next and so I'm excited that direction is onwards and upwards with more children's entertainment. Which is perfect, since that's right up my street! We already work on tons of animation including the hit show Barbie Life in the Dreamhouse (Seen by over 100,000,000 viewers and starring the one and only Haviland Stillwell as Barbie's nemesis, Raquelle. Also, doesn't it just seem fitting with the universe that I should write for a Barbie show? I mean, amiright???) and I can't wait to see what 2013 brings from our efforts. 

They're even shipping my NYC keister back to my favorite city for most of the month of February (not actually the month I'd choose to spend in NYC, but that's neither here nor there) and throughout the year--- so people of the Big Apple, prepare ye for my imminent return! 

And check out our new website! Happy Monday!

Oops, I Ryan(n)'ed again

PS- I know you guys just got Downton Season 3 last night, so I'll remind you of my previous writings, here

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Denim London

British artist Ian Berry (though he lives in Sweden and calls himself Denimu [which he spells in katakana pulled from the Japanese take on denim] ) repurposes old jeans bound for charity shops to his artistic renderings of his old stomping grounds. (Also, incidentally, mine.) I loved seeing Camden Town and Hampstead in the most casual and constant of our daily companions-- denim. Some those graffiti shots, I know exactly where he's captured... 


Saturday, January 5, 2013

Abandoned Nevada

When I was growing up and my grandmother would drive me all over the deep south in search of all Gone with the Wind related historical sites of interest, I was always deeply and adolescently moved by abandoned buildings. Perhaps it was just the feeling of connection to a physical manifestation of all my abandonment issues. (!) I'm still drawn by that mood. How many posts have I done on abandoned buildings like theatres? Or this in Scotland? But when I was an angst-y adolescent, it was too big to be contained. I wanted to do a book of photographs with that feeling. 

Too bad I didn't know at age 10 that Sally Mann was already doing it way better than I ever could have. But, listen, Nevada holds its own on the ghost town front. From derelict boom towns to discarded neon graveyards, Nevada knows how to love 'em and leave 'em better any pretty much anybody. 

Buzzfeed did this nice (if a little bright) photo aggregate and I just keep going back to this haunting pic (above) my friend and fellow Nevada writer turned New York writer Foster Kamer posted on a recent trip back home. I like to look and just get the sad out. 

Friday, January 4, 2013

The Russian Crown Jewels Are Missing & Whatnot Friday Links

Today is Friday, but it feels like a Tuesday because of the holidays. So much so that I woke up intending to write about something else and then realized I needed to bust out some links. So here they are! Happy Friday!

- Author Wally Lamb works with female inmates. He posted this tale of forgiveness
- I love Stephen Schwartz's Pippin and wish I could see the Diane Paulus production. Sigh.
- Season 3 of Downton Abbey starts in the US this Sunday. Good luck with this one, guys. 

Thursday, January 3, 2013

BaubleBar is Hiring!

Perhaps it is a contradiction in terms to post one day about the high price of materialism and the next about jobs in consumerism...however! Everybody's gotta get paid and most everyone wants to look pretty. And at the fundamental level, I'm super proud of one of my oldest and bestest pals from childhood, Daniella. Her company, Baublebar, is like the gold standard in affordable jewelry. And you can flip a page of US Weekly or whathaveyou in the line for the grocery store (actually, they don't have that at Trader Joe's and that's the only place I shop, but you get the idea) without spotting pictures of every starlet on that planet wearing some gorgeous morsel from Daniella and Amy's venture. 

Daniella and I became friends in junior high because we were neighbors, sort of. We'd walk home from school a lot together until we both finally got cars. I rolled in the same group of girls for pretty much my entire childhood. A gift I didn't realize was so valuable at the time. Daniella and I had a lot of the same irritations with adolescence and high school-- wanting to get somewhere that valued people for their brains, etc etc. She went to Penn and the Harvard. I went to Rice and the St Andrews, but we were neighbors again for a long time in the East Village too, when she had a sweet deal on a place on 4th and A....and I did not have a sweet deal on either 4th and B or 4th and Second. But, ah, that delightful neighborhood!

Anyhow, BaubleBar is hiring! Most notably for anyone reading this blog, the Social Media Coordinator. New Yorkers, get on this one! I know I'd probably be all over it if I were there. I like their style, and by that, I mean their attitude. I think it's a really good sign when a company asks you what your 'at-bat' song would be. 

They also just opened their first brick & mortar store on Fifth Ave this fall!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

The High Price of Materialism

While I am probably culprit numero uno when it comes to retail therapy as a fix for insecurity-- and I do quite like my creature comforts-- it was nice to see this video. 

Especially after my time in Scotland, it's quite shocking sometimes in LA with the materialism. I'm intrigued by the video and by Tim Kasser's book of the same name. If I buy it to check it out, does that defeat the purpose? Can books every really count as being materialistic? I'm going to give books a pass. 

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Auld Lang Syne

I blame Billy Crystal, (or maybe just dear Nora Ephron) but no one in this country can seem to make out the meaning of this song. Here's a really good chart with the Scots on there. I both welcome and resent a little all the changes that have been made to the song over the years. "My Jo" to "My dear," "braes" to "slopes," gowans" to "daisies" and most especially, pronouncing syne as zein. But at least old Rabbie Burns's tune is cemented for good. 

My favorite version will always be Sophie's. And the other melody. Which is sadder. And more true, I think. 

But I was happy to have this version from one of my favorite new bands, Lord Huron, to listen to these past few days. Minus the awful orchestrations. 

Why Stop Now?

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