Tag Archives: monday’s watch listen read

Monday’s Watch, Listen, Read

An ongoing series where I share what I’m watching, listening to, and reading. Here are this Monday’s picks:

Watch

Do you love costume dramas/comedies? Ditto for British accents and Maggie Smith? Then you should be watching Downton Abbey on PBS. Don’t have a TV? No excuse because here’s a link to watch free full episodes, in their entirety (for a limited time! Act now!)

Listen

Nichols & May … is there anything better? Take a listen. It still holds up today. Every writer, comedian, actor, improv artist, general funny person should hear this. I wish I could have a kernel of their brilliance.

I remember the first time I saw Mike Nichols in person.  It was during a screening of a movie I had worked on. One of our actors had invited him. He came into the small screening room and sat right in front of me (Mike Nichols! Half of Nichols & May, sitting right there!) He was taller than I expected. I think I spent the entire movie staring at his broad back and trying to guess (based on the occasional tilt of his head) his reaction to every scene. I remember how he laughed loudly at one particular scene. His laugh was booming, even the sound-proofed walls of the screening room couldn’t quite contain it.

Read

I came across this blog post via a retweet from this fine playwright. It was one of those things that came along exactly when I needed it. It calmed a bit of my daily writing anxiety and confirmed that I’m not alone in feeling like a bit of a jester when I’m writing things that are fiction or deeply personal. Here’s one of my favorite quotes from the post “Dare to Be Foolish” by Terri Windling:

“The simple truth is that being a creative artist takes courage; it’s not a job for the faint of heart. It takes courage each and every time you put a book or poem or painting before the public, because it is, in fact, enormously revealing … Worse yet, what our work often reveals is not the beautifully-lit, carefully-presented surface of our creativity, but the darker shadow-play at its interior. That can’t be helped. But the good news is: that’s precisely where the best art comes from.”

Advertisements

Monday’s Watch, Listen, Read

An ongoing series where I share what I’m watching, listening to, and reading. Here are this Monday’s picks:

Watch

Prior to this evening’s workshop performance, the only time I had seen Sarah Jones perform live was in 2004, when I snagged a ticket to her off-Broadway show, Bridge & Tunnel. I was completely blown away. It was improv, it was art; it was like watching someone act as both the architect and builder of a character right before my eyes.

Here’s Sarah’s TED talk from 2009. Watch the entire “talk.” You won’t regret spending 21 minutes experiencing cultures intersect and characters emerge through the vessel of one extraordinary human being.

Also, if you’re in New York, get over to the Nuyorican Poets Cafe to see Sarah workshop her new show. In the words of Gloria Steinem (the featured guest at tonight’s show), “Sarah carries the world inside her.” Improv and art intersect with humanity and politics in beautiful, smart, funny, and fascinating ways. I cannot say enough about Sarah and this show except, GO, go go!

Listen

I’m a sucker for string instruments, cellos, violins, violas, basses, harps, and the banjo. I was first introduced to banjo music by the father of my childhood best friend. My friend would go on to play the banjo herself (and amazingly, I might add) when she grew up. Because of that early exposure, banjo music has always held a special, warm little place in my heart. More recently, I was working on a movie where one of our actors was quite the banjo player. He played a few songs off his new album one day. This track, Banana Banjo, is my favorite from his album entitled The Crow: New Songs For the Five-String Banjo. He also plays a mean Foggy Mountain Breakdown:

Four banjo songs in one post! Awesome!

Read

I’m in the middle of reading musician (and fellow Chelsea resident) Rosanne Cash‘s memoir, Composed.

I first read Rosanne Cash’s words in the NY TimesMeasure For Measure blog, before I had heard any of her or her family’s music. It’s an odd thing to read a singer/songwriter and not hear them first, but something in her words and the way she talked about the act of composing a song made me know, instinctively, I would like her work. I’ve always been fascinated by the songwriting and composition process, but I had found it hard to understand or connect with the explanations some musicians gave in interviews. It either seemed to be too general or too insider-y. Cash’s posts on Measure changed that. She was eloquent and insightful and demystified the process for the layperson — without talking down to them. It was the first time I felt as if I was inside the mind of a musician. It was a transporting experience. When the NY Times retired Measure For Measure, Cash’s music helped fill the void — and following her on Twitter helps, too — but it has been great to read her words again. Her beautiful prose and descriptions are, at times, reminiscent of Victorian poetry. I can’t wait to turn the page, but I also don’t want it to end.

If Rosanne Cash’s next book is written in Austen-ian dialogue and features pictures of vintage teacups, I think my book life would be complete.

P.S. For those of you waiting to read about my efforts to retrace the steps of Raymond Enders’ 1914-1924 diaries, I’ll be posting an update on Thursday. Stay tuned!

Monday’s Watch, Listen, Read

An ongoing series where I share what I’m watching, listening to, and reading. Here are this Monday’s picks:

Watch

When I grow up, I will likely be just like this. I’d also like a voiceover guy to follow me around and narrate my life. And I want the fabulous, ever-changing decor, of course.

Listen

I love the horns. I love the drums. I love the beat. What more can you ask for in an excellent song?

Read

I went into this book knowing nothing about it. I didn’t read the flap copy or the Amazon/news/magazine reviews, I just read. And, whoa. Whoa. At first, the story moved along, it was poetic at times and comfortable in a cozy, wrapped-in-your-down-comforter kind of way. I was observing a family and the intricacies, flaws, and moments of happiness that come with being a part of a familial unit. Then, suddenly, it was like someone punched me in the gut and knocked the wind out of me. I literally sucked in my breath. Anna Quindlen constructs beautiful (and beautifully flawed) characters and has them face the worst possible thing that could happen in a family.Quindlen hits where it hurts, doesn’t apologize and it is the most “real” work of fiction I’ve ever read. She’s a sharp prose writer who knows when to keep emotions and language raw. There’s a fine line to such a balancing act and Quindlen walks it like no one’s business.

Every Last One is not for the faint of heart or soul. It’s haunting, it will make you cry (several times), it might even give you nightmares. Despite the awful-sounding-ness of my warning, it’s still a must-read. A masterful story penned by an exquisite writer.