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Ignited by ‘Portrait of a Lady on Fire’

What follows is a talk I gave about Portrait of a Lady on Fire, which opened this weekend and which you absolutely must see on a big screen if you love and support contemporary cinema about something besides metaphorical and literal penises.

With its gorgeously textured examination of female desire, creativity and agency, Portrait of a Lady on Fire is one of my favorite films of 2019.

Though it may seem magically out of time and space, it was shot in a never-rehabbed house in Brittany and set in the autumn of 1770—when all that would remain of a moment after it passed was what could be captured by memory and imagination. Witness one of its first scenes, when Marianne, played by Noémie Merlant, leaps fully clothed into the sea to save her canvases while the guys rowing the boat watch impassively (read: uselessly).

This sets the tone for this film, not only in terms of how largely absent men are—this is the last time we see one until nearly the end—but in terms of the female determination that defines this story. Continue Reading →

Pro Love Platform, Sure

Because I am mildly evil, I have stationed myself in the corner booth of my coffee shop so I can watch all the couples straggle in today, stooping under the immense pressure V Day exerts on hipster Williamsburg relationships. “Do we act above this? Do we embrace the traditions but, like, in a meta way? Do I find out if s/he/they likes me as more than a hookup?” Then there are older, more-established couples (read: smugmarrieds) whose grimly set mouths and shoulders betray their trepidation around this Hallmark holiday–you know, “Is this year he is hopelessly disappointed by my lack of a gesture though we assured each other we didn’t care about hearts and candy? Is this the year she is hopelessly disappointed by me in general?” Sure, this should just be a day celebrating love of all kinds but everyone knows the kind of expectations that get attached to anything that marries capitalism and romance. The tension in the air is so deliciously high as people order their americanos that I scarcely need caffeine at all! But seriously folks: I send love on this WTF day because, well, why in tarnation not?
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Seeking love insight during these topsy-turvy times? Book a reading, dolls.

The Future as February

For as long as I can remember, I have known that staying wedded to the past denies the magic of the future.

It’s why I’ve always stayed open to what movies, music, fashion, technology, ideas, humans, nature have brought in next. It’s also why I love reading for people. I can see the whole of their stories; I can see them shine.

But this month—this bleak, rainy February—I’ve been realizing that I like my future best when it’s rolling in front of me like a red carpet or a yellow brick road, glittering as a promise rather than a manifestation.

In other words, I don’t dream of sowing my dreams. I dream of my dreams themselves– glorious sunrises forever igniting the horizon. Continue Reading →

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