Archive | City Matters

Love and Darkness, Green Days and Rain

I was so sad in my last post. More than sad, I was hopeless.

And I guess people aren’t accustomed to such despair from me. I’m glad they’re not, actually. And I’m even gladder for the subsequent outreach.

Subconsciously it’s probably why I put my great despair out there. Sometimes you don’t see the light unless you acknowledge the darkness from which it emerges. And a big source of light in my life are the people who do see me, and are loving and gracious in their perceptions. Are gentle with my heart.

Last week’s rain came right from my own body. I’d wept enough tears that they manifested as a nasty summer cold–sinuses streaming, fevers and body aches, all that natural-unnatural drama. Supernatural, too.

K and his kid dropped by impromptu Saturday evening with supplies and sardonic sweetness, their specialty for as long as I’ve known them as a dynamic duo. We sat on my dirty rug while I rasped like an inadvertent torch singer and Grace wove in between our legs. Everything under the sun got discussed except for the things that would have just hurt more. Then we even talked about those things because by then nothing hurt. My sweet sardonic friends kept me company until I was ready for bed, and then traveled back into the good night because they go to sleep just as I wake. Still sniffling, I floated in that darkness, grateful that K and I could fuse a real friendship from the embers of our failed expectations of each other. Continue Reading →

‘En El Séptimo Día,’ In Plain Sight

What follows is a transcript of a talk I gave about En el Séptimo Día for the Westchester Film Club, where I often deliver lectures on new independent and foreign film releases.

This may sound odd, but I am very grateful to have watched this film with you fine people. As a critic I embrace any film that does its job well, regardless of the genre. But I admit I most embrace films that shed greater light on the human condition. En el Séptimo Día achieves this and then some by providing a window into the everyday challenges of an immigrant existence that is too often ignored in cinema.

It is, as David may have told you, the first feature in 15 years from much-revered Brooklyn independent director Jim McKay. A few weeks ago when we were discussing the biopic Mary Shelly, I said that a gifted and empathic person could tell any story regardless of race, gender or any other identity marker. This is very true of McKay, who made his mark with two no-budget movies, Girls Town (1996) and Our Song (2000), which both depicted female high-school students of color. It’s safe to say McKay’s approach to filmmaking is classic neorealism, which I consider to be the opposite of reality TV. By this I mean that that through careful research, scripting, and casting he labors to achieve an accurate glimpse of woefully underrepresented subcultures. Continue Reading →

Not Even Eloise Could Sell This Story

I woke in this garbage mood, like GARBAGE–this, despite the fact that I have extraordinarily loving friends, and (you may as well know) a lovely beau and (you already know) a lovely cat and a lovely home and a lovely neighborhood and even a lovely car. This, despite the fact that I working on a book I’ve wanted to write my whole life, despite the fact that I have an amazing space within walking distance in which to write it, despite the fact that I live next door to the friendliest most delicious most endearing coffee shop, despite the weather being about as perfect as New York weather gets, despite the fact that I am healthy and strong and dammit very much alive. I woke up feeling this way because (in increasing order) our country is truly in its end-days, exemplifying every theory Marx ever espoused about late-stage capitalism and also, not unrelatedly, because I am worried about cash and also, I am sorry to say, because my favorite Meg jumpsuit disappeared, and it was that rare garment that was both obscenely comfortable and sexy as hell and therefore irreplacable and of course magic. This is a Capricorn for you–eyes on the prize but always obsessed SIMPLY OBSESSED with her things. Sheeeit.

"All, everything I understand, I understand only because I love."
― Leo Tolstoy