was profoundly moved by "Anvil! The Story of Anvil", a perfect encapsulation of the risks and returns of committing yourself to the artistic life. (Or maybe I can just relate a little too much to the rigors and annoyances of day-jobs while what you want lies elsewhere). There are no guarantees. Getting what you want might not look the way you envisioned. And so on. At it's core is a pursuit, spanning decades, a pact between two friends, endless tests, stumbles, setbacks and every once in awhile, soaring. Highly recommended.


kindness, awakening

given the opportunity on his last show at nbc to fully defame, besmirch, rail at, crap on, tar and feather, or otherwise blame his enemy for their stupidity, short-sighteness, unfairness, and callousness, Conan O'Brien takes the opportunity to express his gratitude to them.  it defies the baser default instincts of our human character. His resigned tone became not a capitulation but a mode of transcendance. truly amazing.

I am reminded of a phrase of St. Francis of Assisi, a phrase which dogged me for the past several years, one scenario in particular, a phrase easy to say, near impossible to put into practice, near impossible to mean, but one which at last I relented to :

it is in pardoning that we are pardoned


wk in movies

this will no doubt be the source of endless fun for m, making fun of me that is but i'm going to save/post movie tickets from here on in. yeah, there i've said it. above, please find offerings this week:

virgin suicides 1.22 at the laurelhurst, still holds up 10 yrs later. pretty amazing for a debut feature. tone straight out of picnic at hanging rock. works.

an education 1.23 at the hollywood, which i loved until the last 5 minutes. ending felt like out of a diff movie, syrupy score along w/ seasons-change montage. bad character actions have no repercussions. very odd. felt focus-grouped and studio-tinkered. i'd be interested to know how much it changed from original script.

up in the air 1.20 at cinemagic. i liked a lot. did not love. likely a case of raised expectation.


random scattering

m and i both have several plates spinning currently as we make our way - a wk from today - to puerto rico. the vacation feels essential but currently it feels also like one of the plates, requiring nurture and attention, distracting us from the other, more urgent needs of other plates. i'm 1/2 way through shooting a short film (which has multiple strands needing tending) and, m is applying to grad school for fiction and prepping for a reading tomorrow night, which by coincidence is her b-day. it's all been a little exhausting, in a good way ultimately since we're doing what we want/need to do, but exhausting nonetheless. add to that the fact that we've been abstaining from sugar and alcohol this month and things quickly feel punishingly masochistic.

this wknd i finally saw hiroshima mon amour and was struck by many things, among them emanuelle riva. monday i had off due to holiday and took the opportunity to re-watch kieslowski's 3 colors trilogy and there, in bleu, as juliette binoche's mom, is emanuelle riva. also watched lyme life which i rather enjoyed until i listened to the director commentary track, which was so so self-congratulatory and dull that it retro-actively undid my enjoyment of the movie. last night we watched a german film from a couple yrs ago called yella, which i liked but did not love, but it got me thinking so that's something. a triangle, an office park, a countryside, some mysterious element that keeps you engaged at least on a base level - that's enough to lay a feature upon, is it not?


featuring margaret malone

this likely goes w/o saying but i'm going to say it, i'm a big fan of margaret malone: portland author, write around portland facilitator, general purpose ass-kicker and provocateur, upcoming reader at true stories at mississippi studios on 1/21, oregon literary fellowship winner, co-writer of my latest short film, and of this wknd website designer and owner, promoter, etc:


hits keep coming

received an excellent letter in the mail yesterday, excerpted below. though the news was expected, it was no less glorious to hold in my hand and read out loud. for the medically un-initiated or for those not interested in penetrating the levels of medical-speak, the phrase in question, ie the one imbued with life-extending, ie life-altering ramification is thusly:

"...the mass has not changed in size or appearance..."


patience, reward

the other morning margaret learned she won an oregon literary fellowship. the public announcement was to be that night at a reading featuring christopher hitchens. they comped us two tickets. in the sold out schnitzer auditorium margaret's name was announced - along with the other winners - and she stood in the warm glow of applause. we returned home to find in the mail a letter announcing the same news and a check for more money than we've seen in a long time for anything, certainly for creative endeavor.

we determined it's been at least a decade since she began writing in earnest. and what to show? a smattering of publications? a more substantial stack of refusals? the rewards are meager, few and far between. this fellowship felt like a long-forming reprieve, a tacit acknowledgment from the powers that be, a move up the ladder to the next level. sadly or happily, margaret realized this: we are so acclimated to rejection that our default state is to expect it, one presumes in fact, to invite it.

accepting and honoring what you deserve can run counter to one's internal mechanics. but margaret deserves it. for sure. at the same time there is a buddhist precept (i think, maybe it's from an old cowboy movie) that says: accept good news and bad news with the same emotion. this is what we are trying to do. Being grateful without being entitled. Altering the default setting to the one that engenders more scenarios like this, less piles of 'no thank you'. And yet at the same time committing to the work, not the response. The pursuit of applause is a hollow undertaking. It's delicious and satisfying but it's only garnish, not the meal.

also, it was a kick-ass start to 2010.


new yrs wknd in thumbnail

Off to a roaring start. all strides in 2009 that felt so epic at the time feel now like foundational groundwork, support beams put into place. ny eve m and i sat in a bar and - as is our tradition - shared a top ten list (best moments of yr, followed by worst) as well as naming the year to come (2009 was Year of Right Now) and announcing the things we hope to experience or happen in the new year, be it individually or as a marital unit. by coincidence we each came up w/ 10.

spent wknd home, ailing from some mid-range unshakeable cold. cleaned the house. watched sugar, the auteur, and taste of cherry - all great in 3 totally different ways. blazer game. breakfast. complete rehaul, cleaning of my office, taking away all the parts that i don't need any more, or at least don't need in there anymore. prepping a short film, shoots in two wks. planning for puerto rico in three wks. took down tree, put its bare lonely husk by yard clipping bin in driveway. made indian food for the 1st time (eggplant w/ garbanzos, cauliflower w/ spinach) helped m w/ her website, quit alcohol and sugar (at least til puerto rico) and went to yoga.