Monthly Archives: June 2009

Sunrise/Sunset at the Rodeo

Despite the peripheral crazies on my job, my immediate co-workers are amazing. Back on one cold December morning, one of them took a picture of the sunrise from our office building rooftop. It was a reminder that we were close to shooting and at the “dawn” of our new project.

Seven months later, during an overnight shoot on a warm summer morning, he went up on our rooftop again to take a picture of the sunrise over Brooklyn. He called it our “light at the end of the tunnel.” Another co-worker remarked that for it to truly come full-circle, we should really take a picture of the setting sun, a full daylight cycle, marking the end of a very wild ride.

Sunset over Greenpoint, Brooklyn

Sunset over Brooklyn

It’s the little things like this that mean the most. We never let a day go by without laughing so hard we were crying, office QOTD’s are written down so we’ll never forget. These are my war buddies and this is what I love about my job, each show is so unique, the dynamics, the energy, the talents, the highs and the lows. Working on a movie is also called a “rodeo.” And, the name is very apropos. Each movie is like an untamed stallion, you start out with a beast, but by sunset, you can anticipate nearly every buck and kick of your trained equine. You’ve mastered it, and now it’s time to let the horse go out into the world, while you saddle up in time for the next sunrise.

–Downtown

The Measures of Success

I always wanted to be successful in my chosen career. Of course, everyone has those ambitions. No one strives to be mediocre. But success can be a lonely place if you let it all go to your head. Tonight we celebrated our soon-to-be-wrapped movie. At first it was awkward. No one knew if it was ok to let loose, dance, drink, and be merry. Finally, our director threw up her hands and started dancing and never stopped. She danced with everyone, no matter if she knew them or not. Once she started, everyone took it as their cue and FINALLY, FINALLY shed their stoic exteriors, threw back some drinks and hit the dance floor. We all had a ball. The playing field had been leveled. It lead me to thinking, “if only the tone during production could have been like this. If only she had jumped in, arms raised, and started dancing.” We all would have followed, with wild abandon, and gladly joined her in the conga line. Watching her for a moment, I almost had respect for her. I saw the person she could be (and maybe was, at some point in her life).

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As I was leaving, we ended up riding down alone together in the elevator. We had never had a conversation. She started one. I introduced myself. She glanced up at me. “Of course,” she said. “You’re [downtown]. I might need you to do some things for me this week.” I watched her, wearing her black-framed glasses, dressed impeccably (of course) in head-to-toe black, her hair still perfectly coiffed, eyes glued to her Blackberry screen. I also saw a very lonely woman. One that can only let go a little bit for one night. One who sees only what others have to offer her. One who will keep making the same movie, over and over again, telling the single story she owns, because it’s the only thing she can do for herself. We exited the elevator. She didn’t say good night. Just stood there, waiting for her car to pick her up. I hailed a cab and headed back downtown, happy I know how to do things for myself, how to wear glasses that aren’t always rose-colored. In that moment I realized I am successful. I know who I am, I see what other people have to offer the world, and I know that sometimes, to get everyone on-board, you just have to throw up your hands and dance.
–Downtown

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Happy Father’s Day to the Mothers

As tough my mother was on my father throughout their lives together, and it wasn’t all misdirected, this Father’s Day, I pay homage to my husband, the father of my children. He is a truly good man, dedicated father, devoted husband. And yes, sometimes, he drives me nuts. And yes, he works all most of the time. But it’s for the good of many. Trouble is, I can’t help but see my mean frustrated mother shining through as I berate my husband for some perceived shortcoming. And then I pause, mostly, because it is father’s day. But of course, he’s not my father. I’m the mother of his children. They are the ones that should be celebrating their father.

I halt my fury on the heels of  Sandra Tsing Loh’s not so subtle message re marriage in the July/August issue of The Atlantic, the friend you wrote about not long ago here and Sunday’s NY Times Style Section review of single-mothers-to-be memoirs by Christine Coppa, a 28-year-old blogger and freelance writer; and by Rachel Lehmann-Haupt, a 39-year old journalist.

On the one hand, I can’t help but express my profound respect for single mothers, some by choice, others not. Circumstances aside, their courage and commitment to their children is to be celebrated. But on father’s day, I am reminded of my good fortune to have partnered with a person with whom I share the joys and travails coupled with a smidge of personal and financial expense that comes with raising children. It’s not so easy. But neither is marriage. Just ask Sandra Tsing Loh. Like anything, raising kids takes work. and a lot of it. No matter who’s in charge.

Pretty Faces by Jackie of Elmhurst, IL with thanks to etsy.com

Pretty Faces by Jackie of Elmhurst, IL with thanks to etsy.com

We Aren’t in Seattle Anymore

First Brazil blessed us with Havianas, the multi colored flip flops worn by many. But given the inclement weather as of late, I’m less inclined to go open toe opting instead for some fun closed-toe plastics made by Brazilian manufacturer, Melissa. These PVC shoes come in handy during and after a day of rain.

melissa Clough (or clog as we say stateside)
melissa Clough (or clog as we say stateside)

The company teamed up with a few designers, including Campana Brothers, Vivienne Westwood and Zaha Hadid (ok, she’s an architect) and offers much more than the Dutch shoes, as shown above. Design blog, Core77 offers a nice little write up here and offers a shopping link to Epaulet, a store in Brooklyn.

I bought my red clogs earlier this month at Blue Tree, a quirky little shop at 1283 Madison Avenue (between 91st and 92nd Streets) that sells unique gifts and toys, jewelry and clothing. Most of the things that are on offer are more likely to be found downtown, in the East Village or across the River. Owned by Phoebe Cates, the store offers a breath of fresh air from the sometimes staid atmosphere Uptown. There, I said it. And yes, the weather is taking a toll on my psyche.

“I don’t think many people will notice them,” said the 15-year old, with a twinkle in her eye, as I mulled over what color rain shoes to purchase.

I chose red over yellow thinking they’d pick up the color in my … yes, fancy uptown raincoat.

burberry

In case it ever stops raining, I’ll be very happy to deposit my groovy Dutch-style made in Brazil inclement weather clogs in the coat closet WITH my fancy raincoat.

But, in the meanwhile, I wear the red shoes and coat with twisted uptown flair. Suffice it to say, they slightly elevate my mood. Simple pleasures.

Just goes to show you, “Every cloud has a silver lining.”

Lulu Guinness Umbrella
Lulu Guinness Umbrella

And there’s more. More Melissa shoes, that is and they are on sale this week:

Wednesday, June 24 through Sunday

June 28 from 12n to 7p

520 W. 27th Street,  Suite 601

Vivienne Westwood Three Straps are lowered from $119 to $45,  Vinyls are $40 (from $99), and Zen Girls are reduced from $79 to $35. There are lots of others in all sizes. The cloughs are not on sale, though, the showroom is out of stock. If the sale styles don’t work for you or if you are a size 6 or 7 and feel like hightailing it to the East Village, there’s one pair of white cloughs (clogs) on sale for $39 at gominyc, 443 East Sixth Street. Call first, tel. 212.979.0388. The shoes are super cute, if I do say so myself. xoxo

UPDATE:

Melissa’s “cloughs” are on sale! In bright purple, black, fuchscia – the showroom is on 27th street between 10th and 11th Avenues. The 15-year old and I headed over this afternoon and came back with plenty of plastic. If you aren’t able to pick up some this go ’round, stay tuned, there will be another sale in August.

A Night of Queens

June 11th brought with it a windfall of invitations to some very New York events. Apparently, it was a night fit for a queen or, more accurately, queens. I had to choose between an event at the NYPL with Queen Noor of Jordan, an evening of theater seeing MARY STUART at the Broadhurst Theater or a gala benefit for amFAR hosted by a different sort of queen, “Lady Bunny.”

Despite the unique appeal of each event, I had to choose just one. I went with MARY STUART,

Harriet Walter and Janet McTeer

Harriet Walter and Janet McTeer

because I can’t pass up a good Elizabethan drama. I arrived in Times Square directly from work and was still emailing from my Blackberry. Since I had enough time to spare, I took advantage of the new lawn chairs in the middle of Broadway and finished up the last of my emails sitting on a lawn chair right in the middle of the square.

By the time MARY STUART started, my exhaustion hit and despite the intriguing story line, it was a struggle for me to stay awake at first. But then I hit a point (and a second wind) where I was swept away in the language, the rhythm, lyrical dialogue and powerhouse acting of Janet McTeer (as Mary Stuart) and Harriet Walter (as Queen Elizabeth). They truly deserve the title of theater royalty.

Earlier this theater season I saw another member of theater royalty when actor Frank Langella starred in A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS. Though I am a fan of Langella’s work, SEASONS didn’t stir my emotions the way MARY STUART did. SEASONS gave us a portrait of a complicated and multi-layered man, something we’re used to seeing so much in theater that now it’s a bit old and overplayed. MARY on the other hand, was fluid, intriguing and dynamic. Perhaps this is because we don’t see many women on stage represented as complicated and multi-layered, especially during the time period of MARY.

The big second act rain/rebirth scene left me feeling like I’d witnessed one of those moments in live theater that people talk about for decades; it felt like a privilege. It also perfectly illustrates what I love about live theater: it’s a moment shared intimately by the actors and the audience. It only happens once, and, though it’s played out again and again, night after night, it’s always different. The audience gasps when the mists of rain suddenly come down and I wonder if that same reaction happens nightly. I wonder if rhythms in the character’s big monologues change, if the energy is different, how the theater smells (always a combination of upholstery and women’s perfume), if someone dropped a line, changed the order, missed their mark or is so caught up in the scene, they almost forget to breathe. Such elements can rearrange the molecules of a production leaving a mark like DNA, one that can never be duplicated — it’s there and it’s gone in an instant.

But no matter which night you go and which performance you see, the words are intact, the meaning translated; the audience moved. Just like the moment the rain appears on stage (whether you are surprised or not at its appearance), I gasp when I think of the singularity of what I’ve witnessed and how it can never be completely captured in that way and on that stage again. I suppose that also holds true for any of the other events I could have attended that evening, but MARY STUART captured my spirit. And in witnessing that performance, my very molecules were rearranged.
–Downtown

Janet McTeer as Mary Stuart

Janet McTeer as Mary Stuart

If it’s the Weekend, There’s Likely a Parade

Along Fifth Avenue. But the fun doesn’t start there. Take the N, R, W subway to Fifth Avenue and the ticket booth sets the tone. Here’s what’s hanging today: PuertoRicanDayParadeAbove ground, New York’s finest is out in full force. The male members of my family steer clear from all things crowded, especially parades. The ladies like a parade. In small doses. And only to watch. NOT to stroll the Avenue. Moving right along…

Puerto Rican Flag

On being a mom: I love you, You make me crazy.

Hot, cold, rain or snow, the freckle-faced schoolboy and I managed to uphold our promise to wander from west side to east at least once a week; every week school was in session. Today concludes those 5th grade meanderings because by end of day Tuesday, he will move up to sixth grade and summer will officially begin.A boy and his binoculars can see forever

Sweet as he so often is, I couldn’t help but notice a bit of push-me pull-yous since the reality of the season and his imminent stay chez sleep-away camp is on the horizon Yes, it’s his job to separate from his mother. Yes, it’s his job to be short tempered with his mother.

And yes, mothers do have feelings.  And desires. To let our children grow and seize the world.

I don't care said Pierre/the 11-year old

I don't care said Pierre/the 11-year old

Of course, my “mother” job is to raise the children so that they can move along in life, learn to walk, talk and eventually cross the streets with confidence and humility by themselves. With pride and joy I watch as my own have come to navigate their NYC way of life. They not only cross the streets by themselves with self assurance, they’ve come to embrace the excitement and stimulation that this city life has to offer. These were the California kids that just three years ago wouldn’t get out of our car by themselves if only to run 10 feet to the neighborhood bakery and pick up their LA made pain au chocolat or raspberry croissant.

bakery breakfast

bakery breakfast

But now, there’s no turning back. It is true that by spring of 5th grade, many NYC children do not yet have a mastery of public transport. This boy does as do many of his friends. Just the same, as he became comfortable with the concept, the not-so-little 11-year old nearly always requested that I meet him after school and travel by his side. He says he likes the company, as do I.

And that tender time of after-school togetherness is manifested in our winsome walks across the Park. Many times as of late, the schoolboy reached out his arm, hung his hand on my shoulder or held my hand without letting go.

OldTownCanoe It’s easy to understand why. Not only is the boy moving up a grade but there’s the camp thing. His first extended trip away from home. I know he’ll be fine (I hope I’ll be fine) but I will miss him because I know that when he comes back he’ll have made the break. He’ll have spent more than a night or two away learning to canoe, make his bed (maybe) and live with others.

No doubt, the 11-year old’s recent resistant behavior coupled with his hand on my shoulder, he can see the open road. Fortunately, it’s a two way street. xoxo sweet bear.TwoWay