Monday, December 14, 2009

oh how lazy and arrogant....



ok so i officially think that hollywood is lazy and arrogant. i mean, it has been coming for the last several years with the proliferation of remakes. basically negating the originals, unless you are one of the few non cinephiles who still enjoys seeing quality film not just the poor recreations, for the last several years. is it just me or does this spell absolute laziness on the part of over paid wall street...oh sorry i mean hollywood producers and executives. there are plenty of "new stories" as in originally created made by unknown writers that could be made into thoughtful and engaging films. yet instead we choose to recreate almost word for word a wonderful british comedy that is less than two years old. why in the hell are they remaking "death at a funeral"? seriously people was the first one not incredible...or is it that since alan tuydk and peter dinklage (oh who by the way is in the remake playing...oh my the same character) are the only american actors that it isn't good enough for americans...or was it "cheaper" ie you got to take home more money because the script was in hand and there were really no rewrites (given all the scenes that are being previewed are essentially word for word from the original..including delivery).

while i don't like the concept i guess part of me could understand why one would choose to rip off...i mean remake a film that was not a english language film (mostly martha, wings of desire) but why, tell me why wouldn't you just encourage people to see the original if it was a well made and funny english language film and then come up with something new to make into a film? i can understand taking something like shakespeare or austin and setting it in the context of the modern or different setting but really people remaking a movie that just came out TWO years ago and did well....how dumb do you think we as you audience are....yes i know really dumb because you don't think most people in america will know that it is a remake of a recent british movie. and this stupidity is why friends, i want to do something to change how we think and engage with film so this doesn't keep happening!!!

Sunday, November 08, 2009

a brave new world...

so i haven been reading "a brave new world" and it is so frightening and interesting that a book written over eighty years ago could be so apt in capturing major aspects of our America culture today. specifically the two concepts of extreme pleasure(escapism) and the inability to think independently. Or rather the fact that those who do think independently, who revolt against the society are removed and mistrusted with in the community. the integrity of the groups maintains over the Truth or even the search for Truth. The only truth that is allowed is what is mass produced by the media and government. this is evident in the dialogue with the director and bernard...where they talk about bernard's leaving.

i was especially struck by how the media (while not a huge part of the book) so resembled our current over saturation of hype and celebrity culture. the"savage" john, is never seen by any character as a person or equal but only as an oddity, amusement/entertainment, or extension of some aspect of them self...he is never seen as sacred purely for the fact that he is. this is the most stark element of a book that from the get go is, i believe, a commentary on dehumanization. this dehumanization is seen in every facet of this cultures structure and building. no one has value intrinsic to being human, they only have value in their relation to the good of the society. when the society is more important than the individual, all are possible kindling for the the good of the nation(society, community, religion, ect). if everyone is expendable then people will die; the lottery, iran, jesus, these are all examples of what happens when individuals are not as important as the "greater good". in this culture those who do not fit in are an absolute threat to the greater good and must be eliminated. this is one of the most disturbing things i can think of....

Friday, November 06, 2009

slow beauty

in little ways all week i have been given the image of slow beauty. that little steady voice in my head has been noticing all of these wonderful places where waiting and anticipation of something incredible is more potent that receiving what is desired when the first glimpse of want floats in. tonight while watching one of my favorite tv shows i was reminded of this. there is something so sweet watching the build up to the right time and place for two of the main characters relationship. i mean there have been so many times when i have wanted the writers to bring them together yet i can now see how the waiting is better, because there will be no questions when it finally does happen it will be the "ah" moment for the characters and the audience.

this is also true in real life. there is something so important to the process of waiting for the right. we are always offered the option of the "right here and now" and at times it is hard to see the difference between that and the "right, as in best". i think i am beginning to believe that there is something so very sweet and delicate, heady and powerful about the "best right" when everything aligns and it happens. there is something so rooted in the truth of that rightness that it becomes so evident it radiates.

it is for this "best right" that i truly hope i am waiting for career and relationship and even moving out of seattle wise. it is my dearest wish that all the struggle and heartache and growth is part of the process of getting to that "best right" and that maybe in that moment my over thinking mind will be so saturated with the truth of that reality that it will just shut up and trust without doubts or second opinions. there is something so lovely about the slow beauty that comes from waiting...plus when it comes to relationships i was told by two incredible older women "the sex is better"

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

We are not commodities...we are human beings

Tonight as I was driving home I turned on NPR and heard part of a very interesting address on the state of our culture. I think it might have been Empire of Illusion by Chris Hedges. No matter what it was I was struck by how absolutely it nailed our western (specifically American) view of life as being completely marketable in every aspect. Much of what I heard centered around Michael Jackson as the personification of this insidious cultural ethos. Central to this ethos is the notion that something only has value and worth because it is marketable. Anything that isn't marketable contains no value. While my heartbroke hearing this reality clearly articulated, especially since I want to work in an industry that is responsible for the mass distribution of this ethos, I was also challenged by the desire to work against this evil and insidious under belly. We don't have to buy into the cult of commodity.

Ultimately we have the power to change this which we think we are powerless against. Yet like becoming more green, more aware of the needs of our global and local brothers and sisters, or becoming more aware of seeking justice it will cost. Unlike what we are mostly told change costs. To do something for the betterment of another will demand something of us, will demand something of me. So often we ask whether or not the risk and the cost is worth it. I do every time I encounter a situation where I am given the chance to act or to ignore. But is your life that trivial? No, so then why is the life of another. I know so often I don't live as I would like to...taking costs so that I may bless others even though I know that when I do I learn so much and am in turn so blessed by the act of seeing another person as intrinsically valuable. I hope that we will soon shake off out 24 hr cult of the impossible perfect, the new, the meticulously crafted celebrity and instead enter into a place where every one is intrinsically valuable because they are.

Friday, September 18, 2009

bones is back and i am so happy

ok so i am not a tv watcher and when i do i watch online because really who wants to center their life around tv programing. but this week "bones" one of my favorite tv shows started back up again and i am so excited! cyndi lauper was the guest star which was sooo cool! but the best part about it all beside the how the weekly installment of new bones warms my heart to it's toes is that in four weeks not only will i get to watch my favorite show but my friend kasey will be on the tv in my favorite show for a whole hour!!!! you have to understand that when i saw a commercial that he was in a month ago while babysitting i totally freaked out. it is a funny thing to look up and see someone you spent years in school acting with on tv. i squealed "oh my god kasey" causing the dog to look at me in alarm. this i am sure will happen again when i watch that episode of bones if nothing else i will be flooded with the warmth of watching my lovely friend in his art. so yeah for fall and kasey and bones!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Body as battlefield

Every time I get to the point where I stop being aware of the fact that as women we are still underlyingly seen as body/sex object, I am smacked in the face with a stark reminder.Whether you want to accept it or not from the beginning of history to now women's bodies are a battlefield of gender and power dynamics the place where control and domination are proven. How often is a man in public leadership critiqued first and foremost on his looks or attractiveness, yet any woman in a position of power is ALWAYS described first by her subsequent attractive (or hotness) factor even before we speak about her qualifications.

Yesterday afternoon a dear friend and I on a respite from the city began talking about how we are taught to hate our bodies and how the most harmful experiences we have had are around sexuality, desire, attraction and our bodies. As we spoke I started to cry because I want so badly for this not to be true for this not to happen for women to be seen as beautiful in the diverse and lovely ways they all ready are. Today reading through an article on "feeding porn" (http://bitchmagazine.org/article/feast-of-burden) in on of my favorite cultural critiquing feminist magazines I felt the anger and sorrow filling up again. I keep thinking about taking Women and the Bible and reading biblical texts like the Rape of Tamar. Why do these things still happen? Why do we let them? Why are women still seen as objects and things for men to dominate and conquer...and why do we encourage mentalities that feed this understanding? I know many good and kind men but I also grieve for men that the gift of maleness being the expression of God in that manner is not honored and because of that seeks to destroy the beauty of God's femaleness that is present in women. I believe and hope to see God's presence in the restoration of male and female relationships both in moments now and in the final recreation.

Monday, August 17, 2009

do we always have to choose?

i am reading an article that a friend sent me about an amazing female artist/art anthropologist. on one hand i am blown away by the great offering that she gives and on the other i am so struck by the either/or mentality in her life story. it to me is indicative of the sad paradigm of second wave feminism. the incredible wonder that this woman has to offer the world and especially in regard to understanding of art is incredible but the splitting of self of motherhood and marriage makes my heart ache. maybe this is because i am a third or more wave feminist who doesn't think one should have to give up family, love, or dreams. i come from the generation who tries to do all and level the balance between career and children in the partnered relationship realm. if i ever get the chance to have all three (love, family, and career) i hope that i will not have to give up one on the pyre of any of the others. it makes me so sad that many have seen no other way to live but by the pyre, offering everything to do the work they were uniquely created and made for.

Monday, August 10, 2009

In light of 30

after a horrible week and a contemplative weekend peppered with pep-talks from my roommate i have decided that i am going to take baby-steps to move forward in my thirties. the first of these baby-steps started last week in the midst of my mental chaos. instead of allowing the sinking ship of my brain to take everything down with it, i choose to do something and at that point what i could do was art. over the course of a week i have made several paintings and pieces of jewelry. this is a huge acomplishment the ability to do something that is life giving in the middle of a hole of sour thoughts.

another thirty resolution is to try and focus on the good things, glass half full that sort of thing. in light of trying to do this i have been able to embrace what next steps might look like and where to go from here. with the blessing of a studio space and time hopefully i can begin to find some steady rhythms even when it feels like chaos.

in light of thirty i am seeking hope and a future in the day to day of the hear and now.

when i spoke with my grandmother today she said "honey this is the first time i have heard such hope and joy in you in a long time...i think this is the break that we've been needing." thanks grandma!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY DORIS AND GRANDPA, and early BIRTHDAY ETHAN WESTLEY big nine year old.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

antidepressants, true love, and why i have neither

i have been struggling no rather battling with depression a lot recently what with my 30th birthday just weeks around the corner. that age looms stark and bright on the horizon seeing as how i not only am no where near where i thought i would be at when turning thirty but in fact am feel like a utter fucked up failure. i don't have enough work to pay the bills, i have been single for the last ten years, and i can't seem to get out of the hole no matter what i do. to top it off i am so screwed and broke i don't even have the luxury of being able to get medication to bring my self into balance because i haven't had health insurance for the last four years.

so instead i practice my own form of self medication...creating art and watching great film making (which kind of works and kind of doesn't). it works because by making art i am at least being productive and creating something...painting is especially therapeutic yet also i get more depressed because i want to badly to be a part of making movies.

tonight in the name of self medication therapy i watched "across the universe" which i love, most likely because at my heart i am a HUGE fan of musicals. julie taymor does an incredible job and creating films that capture the nature of live theatre plus they are so damned cool looking. oh yeah and she has both bono and eddie izzard in the trippy song sequences so that's pretty cool yeah. any way as i was engulfed in beatles music and love stories i found my self wondering about the nature of true love. you see i have been questioning the actuality that it is possible for everyone to experience love healthy and life giving love. so many of my friends are separated or divorced or choosing bad relationships or worse settling for something that isn't what is best for them. all of this makes me question the possibility of true love for everyone, granted i know a chosen few who amazingly do have this dynamic in their relationship yet they are few and far between. i often ponder the question of if love will actually come to me in my life or if to have a relationship i will have to settle for what comes that which is less than my heart aches for. or am i so very wrong and love is out there and he who my heart longs for will come. a phrase which comes out of the many hymns we sing at church leading to a follow up question can i love God with out experiencing loving another person who is tangible and flawed?

i don't know all i know right now is that i want so badly to move from hoping someday things will come together to a place where they do in their flawed and beautiful way. gosh i am scared about my birthday.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

the beauty of two messes....

i love stories about two messed up people coming together and finding hope and life in each other...the in-between that martin buber talks about. this process is never clean or neat but messy and painful and sometimes down right shattering yet it is also what pushes the characters to grow. this is so aptly true in the film "dedication", the story is about henry and lucy who are each in their own ways huge beautiful messes.

henry is the totally negative ever so slightly neurotic who has just lost his writing partner and best friend and lucy has fled education and thesis advisor/ex-boyfriend and now lives in an apartment that her crazy mother owns. they come together to finish a contracted book that henry started with his recently dead friend. what i love about this film, besides the fact that it is so visually beautiful and interesting, is that neither henry or lucy really changes that much in the film from beginning to end. what changes is their engagement with each other but they are still the same people just becoming better because they are together and that togetherness allows them both to live into their best selves. one of my favorite quotes from the film comes from henry's writing partner played by the lovely tom wilkinson, "you idiot life is a single skip for joy".

oh and i have to totally gush all over the fact that justin theroux, of whom this is his directorial debute, has proved that not only is he a incredible actor but also a great director. please rent this beautiful movie!

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

when i grow up i want to be....

perfectly comfortable in my self and my own skin...true yet i also want to have a "real" job. tonight i had a final meeting with a professor for an early education class that i was taking. several times through out our ten minute conversation she referenced how she thought i would have no problem finding a job(yeah right) and how she thought that i should become a professor of some kind...while waiting for the meeting i was chatting with two different students from this class and they both said the same thing that they could see me as a professor. it was kind of cute one of the other students essentially said that she thought i was "too smart" to be teaching children (i actually think that some of the best early education teachers are incredibly smart and creative and that it is not a waste).

now i am not writing all of this to brag or boast, especially since i know so many people who are so much smarter than i, but rather because i have been thinking a lot about what i want to be when i grow up and where my skills lay. many people have offered their perspective of what i would be good at or what i could do with my life. after hearing that i have two undergraduate degree and a master's and that i want to get another degree many have responded with phrases like "you sure do like school." (not true just like learning and thinking about specific things) or "with that much education you should just become a professor then they will pay you to go to school". while i was in my graduate program many people encourage me to continue as an artist, an advocate, and at times a pastor. i have battle with my own desire to be an actress and work in film and theatre as well as teach.

in the spirit of trying to be open, healthy, and growing i realize that my own image of what being an artist/teacher/whatever may be very different than how it will play out in my life. what i am beginning to see is that to be any and all of these things starts with me being myself (i do listen margee it just takes a while for it to saturate). and this is what i plan on doing here in seattle until i am told and doors open to go on. well at least that is what the good bold part of me says the other side shouts that by now i should have had my ducks in a row and quacking. yet here i sit very broke, in seattle, unsure of where i will be working in the next two weeks and where i will be living in the next two months and trusting that as i learn to live and be myself that everything else will fall into place. and someday i will find out what i became when i grew up and i am sure i will be very surprised by what it all became.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

choice

i have to keep reminding myself today that for as much as i feel stuck i still get to choose how i am going to respond to life and decide to see the good over the seemingly bad. it is so hard to trust in the good of unseen, to have faith in the reasons for blessing that lead to remaining in seattle for another year.

one of those pesky reasons being the fact that the doors for both a layover in portland and the finish line of los angeles have been slammed shut. i did all that i was capable of doing and still those hefty doors didn't open. each moment and breath is a reminder that just because it didn't open now doesn't' mean in twelve months that the door to the dream of los angeles will still remain like the fiery angels at the entrance to eden. God, as my dear auntie weekly and sometimes daily reminds me, is not a God of chaos. the hopes and dreams which sit in the depths of my heart and course through my being are not in vain but are being molded and fire tested for the best possible creation of jessi.

it is in moments when i actually allow that to sink in that i can see the whimsical beauty of details: five clouds dancing in the brief bit of light sky, the enchanting cry of breath taking view as i drive across the 99 bridge, the oddity of neon signs when only a few odd letters blaze out some unknown code, and the lush comfort of neighbourhoods lined with trees as you drive under their canopy in the warm night listening to the echo of a love song by led zeppelin. because these are little gifts of light and they are offered up to you in the midst of cloudy despair to remind you to look up, play, wonder, and see.

so in a ten minute drive i am reminded of being open and purposeful and enter into the offering of a cosy yet squeaky old bed.

Friday, May 01, 2009

where do fit?


over the course of the last eight months i have been trying to figure out what is next where to go what to do now that i have spent three years working on a master's degree. at first i tried to get a second but that didn't happen (although i still might apply again), then i just wanted to find something i could do that was enjoyable that would pay the bills. somewhere in limbo of that idea is where i rest right now yet i have to wonder if that doesn't happen. if i don't get this job what then? how will i get out? how do i get out and where do i fit?

many of my prayers recently, well beside the basics of "don't let my car break" "please let me have enough money to pay my bills", have been about what is next and where i should go, what i have to offer the world. i have huge hopes and dreams but they feel about as worthless as my three worthless degrees. i just don't know what it is that i am created for. so many people have said that i am a leader, translator, teacher, artist, pastor, what have you but i have no idea where i am or where those things come together to become something.

it will become clear and the pieces will come together but right now that is hard to believe.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

hope deferred..

i got a call this morning from a dear friend who lives on the other side of the country and hearing her joy in working as a counselor made my heart very happy. she loves what she does it is her delight and her calling even when it is hard.

over the last two month i have been wrestling and searching for what that looks like and is in my life. i find that i spend many a night in prayer aching and questioning what puzzle piece in this world am i. there are times right now when i can't even bare the word artist, specifically actor, because it seems so impossible. with each film or script or even the simple act of a song from rent coming up in my i-pod play list my heart breaks with the ache of desire. i want so badly to know what my unique place is, where i can best serve others. it is hope and desire and dreams of life and each night i give them up and ask for clarity.

two nights ago i felt the pain that comes from deferred hope, the wormwood of bitterness coating my conversation...the weight of it mounts at the frustration of wanting to be somewhere else. the next step to calling is los angeles yet to get there money or a job have to come through. i find that my doubts are heightened by the desire and hope of los angeles coupled with the uncertainty of calling. there are times when having faith that if i am called then a way will open give way to a exestencial self loadthing. very often i think things like "it's just me i carry the screw up mark" or "everyone else is better than i am that's why things work for them" these voices have a hard time being dispelled when your parental voice tends toward reminding you that so many people are jobless and homeless and screwed and dying all over the world and beside that things never worked out for you before...when you get a little bit of leeway it just creates bigger problems.