Monday, November 26, 2012

The Shoot

A funny peculiar thing about making a movie is how much time you spend getting ready for the shoot. The actual time you are filming and with the actors is so small compared to all the prep. You have to create an entire set of details all ready for an amplified setting ahead of time. So here are a few pictures of us in and around the day of shooting. We filmed 80 percent of my vignettes all day yesterday. I still have one more set of scenes to film next Sunday. The photo of those donuts and coffee were from Friday. Tricia and I went to Wicker Park to do a "studio pull" of a bowler hat from  Goorin Bros.Bold Hatmakers-Since 1895. We stopped for a coffee and gourmet homemade donuts. Oh my god...these donuts are incredible
My cameraman, Xavier, came into town from Milwaukee on Saturday morning. So Saturday night we took him downtown for drinks and to walk around the city. We figured this young guy is gonna wanna get out in the city...so off we went. Stagg, Tricia and I did our best to show him a night on the town. We also went to one of our favourite local places Simones
.


 Stagg and I in front of  "the corn cob buildings" on a bridge over the river.

 Xavier is looking a little like our adopted son and we joked we're like Bradgelina...
 Tricia and I...
It was a pretty cold day at times, but not too windy and wonderfully sunny. That was great for us as we were outside for many hours filming yesterday.
Two of my characters greet each other as one arrives home and one is BBQ-ing. So Stagg set up the bbq and we cooked up a few pork chops.
Between scenes and right before our last location we stopped at Starbucks to get warmed up. Stagg, Tracy and Zandra joking around while I ran back and forth to get change for the parking meters. This was a nice moment for me to sit down and relax anticipating an indoor location. I can't show you anything from the film...but you can see the women are in some of their wardrobe...
It's a wrap! It felt so good to get the filming done. I've spent the past month obsessing about the scenes, sometimes not able to fall asleep, and to wrap it up last night we celebrated with a little wine and some cocktails.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Pre-Production Meeting

It's a tough job, but somebody's got to do it. Yep, this is my friend Zandra who is also a director (and actor) and we are collaborating on a short film. We are each directing vignettes that we each wrote, and then we are editing them together.

We are shooting principal photography this coming weekend. Last night we had supper together and talked aboutsome detals for the weekend. We have a cast of 6 or 8 actors. Zandra is filming on Saturday and has a crew and we need to feed them and and offer them a place to sit etc. I am filming on Sunday. We need to feed them too. So we had some last minute notes to cover them we had a great long evening relaxing. We played a board game and talked and had some cheese crackers, thai peanut sauce and nodles. Stagg , then Tricia, joined us and it was a great night.

We are filming Zandra's vignettes at our apartment. And Sunday I have several out door locations and a couple locations across the city. One downtown, one in a classroom and one in a barber shop.

I've got to tell you...I'm pretty excited. I feel a kind of buzzing...part wonderful part like I'm falling off a cliff ha ha.

Okay...got lots of details to do today...need a couple more items for wardrobe, for make up and things like duct tape, groceries (I'm cooking in the crock pot for "craft service" for the crew...making beef stew and chicken paprika). Zandra is also getting catering for the crew. We are really doing this! Yay!

I can't show you everything about the film...but above are some of the clothes for my wardrobe. And some of the make up kit. Curious?

Saturday, November 17, 2012

How It Feels Making A Film (Sometimes)

A coupe weeks ago I described the feeling of beginning this process of making a short film kind of like a train...and there have been days where I wake up in the night and my thoughts go tumbling around in my head...analysing clothing, hair...shots...scraping one idea replacing it with another...yesterday did some make up. Also doing a make up test tomorrow. Should be fun and I will post some pics.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

It's Not Just Me



 She's back.

Camille Paglia, who wrote one of the most important books written by a woman , (or a man) on art and culture has a new book. I'm so stoked because she is really a lot of fun and one of the few cultural critics who writes about art as if she still has a pulse. Paglia can be a polarizing figure...but the thing is...it doesn't matter if you agree with her views or not...she is an exciting thinker and passionate about art. In fact, Paglia's book Sexual Personae isn't just one of the best books written by a woman it is a great book period. A rare accomplishment making a huge contribution to discussions on art and culture.

I've written about The Real Housewives tv series before here at my blog
and how much I love it so it's a treat to hear someone else appreciate it's cultural insight and value.

Here is a quote from Paglia's introduction in her new book Glittering Images ..."the genre of painting has lost it's primacy and authority. Yet for five hundred years after the dawn of the Renaissance, the most complex and personally expressive works of art ever produced in the world were executed in paint-from tempura and oil to acylics. The decline of painting has cut aspiring artists off from their noblest lineage.

In most leading countries, art is regarded as central to national history and identity and is routinely funded by ministries of culture. Art is omnipresent in europe. which is littered with three millenia of monuments and ruins. European museums are treasure troves of cultural patrimony-works commisioned by church and state and later amassed by royal collectors, whose estates became public property after the rise of democracy. In the still relatively young United States, a practical nation founded by Puritans, the arts have never taken deep root. Much of the general public has fitfully regarded the fine arts as elitist or alien and chronically begrudged them government funding, which remains minuscule and is recurrently threatened with extinction."

You can see she is up and running! Below is an interview about her new book from here
...



What does inspire you that’s out there now?
Bravo’s “Real Housewives” series! Whoever is doing the photography and editing for “Real Housewives of New Jersey” and also for “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” and “Real Housewives of Orange County” — this is absolutely cutting edge. I can watch the same episode — while I’m cooking and eating dinner – five, six, or seven times. I savor how visually interesting they are — how long each shot lasts and how much information it contains. This is intelligent and sophisticated documentary filmmaking that really needs to be honored.
Documentary? Isn’t it just pop spectacle?
The early episodes of that series were bland and dull, even amateurish. Through trial and error, they eventually found a technical groove. It’s not just the sensational drama. As a soap opera fan, I’ve been in the depths of gloom for over 20 years as TV soaps declined. I was already lamenting this in a piece for TV Guide in 1992. I always adored soap operas. I was listening to “The Romance of Helen Trent” on the radio when I bicycled home for lunch in fifth grade. My grandmothers watched soaps, even though they barely spoke English. In the 1970s, I wrote down great lines from TV soaps. That’s when they were aimed at stay-at-home moms — all the tear-jerking emotion from the women’s pictures of the Lana Turner era. But there was this terrible decline when soaps suddenly wanted respectability — so then came the socially conscious message scripts and the crime drama. And they really missed the boat, because in the ’90s, drag queens got big! It was “Priscilla Queen of the Desert” and everything else – that flamboyant drag queen style was exactly the way the great soap opera queens used to behave. But the soap operas played it prim and safe. They receded and receded, and now they’re dead. The producers didn’t catch what was happening. The mass audience wanted theatricality and flamboyance! And that’s what this Bravo “Real Housewives” series is supplying in spades. I don’t like reality shows and have never watched them, but I’m addicted to “Real Housewives” because it’s authentic old-time soap opera reborn!
But beyond that, the shows are all about glamour — make up, hair, fashion. And sex! They show women trying to balance being sexy with being mothers. Most of the women on “Real Housewives of New Jersey” never went to college. So it’s great to see strong and outspoken women who are outside the elite zone of attaché-carrying careerists working their way up on Wall Street.
And these shows are archetypal bitch fests! I read a few months ago that Gloria Steinem hates “Real Housewives of New Jersey” and would be glad to picket it. Well, there’s the big difference between Steinem and me. She sees the show as a distortion of women, while I see it as a revelation of the deep truth about female sexuality. Right there is the proof of why feminism has faded. Those second-wave feminists had a utopian view of women — they constantly asserted that anything negative about women is a projection by men. That’s not what I see on “Real Houswives”! It’s like the Discovery Channel — sending a camera to the African savannah to watch the cheetahs stalking the gazelles! What you’re seeing is the primal battles going on among women. Men are marginalized on these shows — they’re eye candy, to use Obama’s phrase, on the borderlines of the ferocity of female sexuality.
The criticism is that the shows are heavily scripted and staged, though I would guess the pressure to create drama creates its own reality.
Well, there is no doubt that many scenes are staged. Women arrive at a restaurant and are clearly cued to talk about some topic or prior clash. But the conflicts and emotions are real — ending up with people walking out on each other or almost coming to blows. And there are real-life consequences from the eruption of hostilities.
And it’s being filmed, which raises the stakes.
Yes, the whole world is watching. I’m such a private person that I just can’t imagine this kind of intrusion into my private life. But “Real Housewives” is authentic about a stratum of New Jersey Italian life that was badly done in “The Sopranos,” which I hated.
Camille Paglia

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

I Love A Spy Story

If Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
was a good metaphor for working and office life...Homeland is a great metaphor for the contemporary lack of appreciation for employees in the workplace by corporate companies.
We usually see spies portrayed as the ultimate "don't let them see you sweat" characters who are calm, collected and holding all their shit together. How tricky to have Claire Danes play a spy that not only sweats but is the opposite of calm...she suffers from anxiety. She is playing a manic depressive person who struggles with sleep dep, lack of validation or respect by her bosses, and a total abyss of intimacy.

There are many many images of Dane's character asleep in the series. I think this is a useful and touching image because, sure, spies are so often "sleepers" set in place to live regular lives until they are "awakened" to go back into action. What a fantastic image for an artist or an internal process of our minds and ego and inner lives. The sleeping spy image is also useful because so much of her insight into global crime and terrorism comes to her through her unconscious and animalistic reading of people and their body language. She has "hunches". These hunches come from deep down inside her psyche but are not mystical...they are insights we all have but that can so difficult to access through our awake states of mind and  egos and personas. In eastern philosophy an image of a "sleeper" is a beauty because we are always in transformaton, always fighting an ego or social constraints that may or may not hold us back from "action". Sleeping is when we grow and heal.

Cezanne the painter once said great art reminds us of something we already know, but forgot we knew...and Danes character Carrie Mattieson is like a shaman that processes her animal intuitions into hunting bad guys. She is cut off and not functioning in a healthy social environment, a non-loving hostile calculating world (gee, sounds like the workplace) where communication is measured and competitive...those forces prevent imagination and creativity...therefore imagination and insight must come to her via her unconscious mind and despite her repressed culture and soul. She is almost like the "real" health and spirit of the world and she can not be tamed by social constraints and order. She is a wonderful spirit who is able to access her true imaginative "sight". Her lack of social constraint and emotions and anxiety are double sided (like a spy right?) They allow her to delve into people with her imagination but they mark her in our culture as "bipolar".  Her insight comes to her in unorthodox ways yet....she behaves with bizarre lack of boundaries and trust and fear. She knows things about people that she doesn't how know she knows...and her bosses don't understand how to control her...or harness her. Again, a great metaphor for the workplace. And for artists and those people whose passion and work is best served by setting aside cultural norms and social constraints to find "the truth" in the world.

The tv show Homeland is an exciting thriller spy story with twists and turns that are a hell of a lot of fun to follow and anticipate...I highly recommend this program. 10/10.

Debrief: I  have to say that I came late to this party...just watched first season last week (am half way through this second season now)...but the joke for me is...what great timing with the Petraeus sex scandal. It's a case of life copies art...

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Some Pilsen Action

Lower West Side is a community area located on the west side of Chicago, in Cook CountyIllinoisUnited States, three miles southwest of the Chicago LoopIn the late nineteenth century, Pilsen was inhabited by Czech immigrants who named the district after Plzeň, the fourth largest city in what is now the Czech Republic. They replaced the Germans and Irish who had settled there first, in the mid-nineteenth century. The population also included smaller numbers of other ethnic groups from the Austro-Hungarian Empire such asSlovaksSlovenesCroats and Austrians, as well as immigrants of Polish and Lithuanian heritage. Many of the immigrants worked in the stockyards and surrounding factories. Like many early twentieth century American urban neighborhoods, however, Pilsen was home to wealthy professionals and the working class, with the whole area knitted together based on the ethnicities, mostly of Slavic descent, who were not readily welcome in other areas of the city.Although there was a slight increase in the Hispanic presence in the late 1950s, it was not until the early 1960s that there was a great spurt in the numbers of Latinos in Pilsen. This was due to the destruction of the neighborhood where UIC now occupies. In 1970, Latinos became the majority population in Pilsen, surpassing the population of people from Eastern European descent.Many of the new residents to the neighborhood are not Latino, and it is projected that the neighborhood will continue to become more diversified in the years ahead. Half of Pilsen's population in 1996 had turned over by 2000. from Wikipedia












Monday, November 12, 2012

New Room Mate

 We got a new roommate...Pickles the fish. Pickles is a fighter not a lover...so stand back.
 We had a wonderful sunday...after a fw days of unpacking in our new place and juggling cleaning at Grandmas and settling up there slowly...we spent Sunday out and about. I took Stagg to a Buddhist temple for his first service there (he is going to take meditation classes). first we went to brunch at a great cute place I love red vinyl booths!
 Then we went downtown to research our new closest grocery stores. We went to the downtown Jewel and looked around...then to Traer'Joes and whole Foods locations. It seems like getting groceries downtown is our closest "regular" stores. We have tons of grocery options in Pilsen as well...but I tend to shop at about 6 grocery stores for different products with competing prices. Then Stagg took a pic of me with Brad. Isn't Stagg a good sport!
 No we don't have a chincilla ha...but this little cute guy is at the pet store I work at...and I love him. He has very old soul and wise eyes. He says..."take me home"...


Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Stop Procrastinating Stopping Procrastinating

Stagg and I made this chair for our friend Jenny. It's taken me a long LOOOONNNGGG time to finish this thing and it's part of a terrible trend I've been in of procrastinating. I procrastinate here and there but it's been chronic for quite a while. I'm working on just going ahead and doing stuff and not overthinking or waiting. We'll see...anyways I'm glad to have this chair done and will deliver it to her this week. No matter what!

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Big Changes

Okay lots going on! The above action shot of the bunny...is taken at Grandma's place yesterday. It ight be one of the last pics I take at Grandmas place...as we are in the slow process of moving. Yep...it's time. We've had a good run but it's time to get back on the saddle.

 Our new place is in Pilsen. Stagg and I love Pilsen and we have have always said we wanted to live here...and through a variety of events and good luck we got word on an apartment here...and so we have been slowing making a move. Sometimes we are sleeping at Grandmas and sometimes we are sleeping at new place and setting it up. The above picture is a a total change of pace...it's the film crew for Shameless
 We also had a moving company bring a lot of our stuff here today. So this is like the craziest longest day ever...I've been unpacking all day and trying to get the place comfy. It's coming along. And then I am biting my nails about the election...what a day I'm a wreck!!! Oh please please please let it be Obama...!!!!!

Yes, those really are black pvc curtains in the kitchen...lol