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

As someone who loves to take pictures, and is a big fan of street photography, this story really touched me. It’s nothing short of amazing and is absolutely inspiring.

Listen

It felt appropriate to introduce this week’s Read pick with a song by the author. Especially this song.

Read

I must confess, it took me a while to get into the rhythm of this book. There’s something different about reading poets who turn to novel/non-fiction writing. Their language is laden with a beautiful density. It’s like the breath of their sentences is deeper than that of book writers because they typically have so much less space to work with. Their words are more carefully chosen and layered with meaning. Novelists have that, too, but not in the same capacity as poets. Patti Smith is a poet. Once I let her voice take over, I dove into the depths of words and language. “Just Kids” is about art, sacrifice, and most importantly, love. There were moments where I entirely identified with Smith’s thoughts, feelings and actions. Other moments, the more brutal ones, made me think about art and its place in my life: How much would I be willing to sacrifice for my passion? It also brought to mind this Carl Jung quote:

“The artist’s life cannot be otherwise than full of conflicts, for two forces are at war within him—on the one hand, the common longing for happiness, satisfaction and security in life, and on the other a ruthless passion for creation which may go so far as to override every personal desire. There are hardly any exceptions to the rule that a person must pay dearly for the divine gift of creative fire.”

There’s a ruthless passion in both Patti Smith and Robert Mapplethorpe, but I wondered if Smith ever wanted or needed the force of security. She makes clear Robert Mapplethorpe wanted it, but, during the time period the book covers, I wasn’t so sure about her. They sacrificed themselves physically, mentally and emotionally for the “divine gift of creative fire” and, through their sacrifice, changed the world(s) of art/music/photography/poetry — all of this while they were still just kids.

P.S. It always excites me to read books that take place literally outside my front stoop. There’s inspiration in stepping in the invisible footprints of the world’s great adventurers. While reading this book, there were a few times I stopped, walked out my door and over to the Hotel Chelsea just to read about that very building while standing in the lobby. I drank sangria in El Quijote while Smith’s words took me back to what it was like there in the 1969/1970. New York is a place full of ghosts and magic. Luckily, there are poets like Patti Smith who lead the exploration and became cartographers to the generations of young New York artists who will follow their paths.

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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

I’ve wanted to see this movie since the trailer came out, but I just got around to it now. Yes, it’s a teen comedy. However, it’s smart, funny and even appealing to adults. I don’t think I’ve seen anything this good in the teen comedy genre since Ten Things I Hate About You or Clueless. It’s neck-in-neck with Mean Girls, though the main character in “Easy A” (Olive) is way more appeal because she’s not as apologetic for who she is — a testament to both the writing and the actress who portrays Olive, Emma Stone. This movie is also filled with fun cameo performances from Patricia Clarkson, Stanley Tucci, Fred Armisen, Lisa Kudrow, and Thomas Haden Church,   The writing is so smart and so, so tight, which is probably why it’s such a diamond among all the cubic zirconia out there. We have writer Bert Royal to thank for that. He also has the best imdb page trivia ever:

Won the Clay County Spelling Bee in 6th Grade only to lose a shot at Nationals by misspelling a ridiculously easy word that he will never misspell again as long as he lives – ‘Buccaneer.’

Listen

I’m slowly weaning myself off of the Christmas music, so until that process is complete, I’m giving you an old favorite. I’ve been obsessed with this song since Girl’s Gone Child posted it on her blog. I listen to it while walking in the rain, the snow, during the fall … pretty much anytime and at least once a week. It reminds me of a lullaby. Love.

Read

Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubb’s Food52 is the most interactive food website on the internet. I’ve followed Food52 since their site launch and it has overtaken Epicurious as my go-to food site on the web. The site is a font of culinary information. The website’s focal point is to cultivate an “online community cookbook,”  where home cooks submit their best recipe, depending on the theme for the week. The recipes are edited down to a few main contenders and then the site’s audience vote on their favorite. After 52 weeks, Amanda and Merrill had enough recipes for their first cookbook (which will be published, in hard copy form, by HarperCollins). Food52 also became a place for lively, culinary-related conversation and source to get all of your food-related questions answered in real-time (via their Food Pickle section). If you’re a home cook or just love reading about food and finding new recipes, the Food52 website is definitely a must-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

Fran Lebowitz is one of those New Yorkers other New Yorkers innately know about. It happens that one day you wake up, and you know who Fran Lebowitz is. You know someone who knows her. You see her on the street. On your street. Or on Sixth Avenue and 50th on a cold Saturday night in January when you are the only two people who have decided to walk to their destinations. Based entirely on this general awareness, I tuned into HBO’s Public Speaking to learn more about her. What I got was an earful. She has an opinion on everything and she’s always spot-on. Always.

Fran Lebowitz might be one of the last great talkers in New York. Her honest, slightly acerbic, and witty social commentary can sometimes be found today in anonymous comments on blogs like Gawker, the occasional tweet from an observant human, and maybe a bit in these guys. There really isn’t anyone as consistent or off-the-cuff as she is, especially live. Don’t mention the political pundits to me. They don’t say anything that doesn’t first appear on the Teleprompter right in front of them. Democrats or Republicans.

Watch this. Learn from it/from her. Listen more. Observe more. Read more. Sharpen your social interaction skills. Put down the Blackberry, the iPhone, the iPad, etc. and live more in the moment. Look at how much of the world you’re missing if you don’t.

P.S. This great documentary was shot by my super-talented friend/D.P., Ellen Kuras.

Listen

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It wouldn’t be the holidays without this soundtrack playing on a loop on my iTunes, iPhone and anything else I own with speakers and an “i.”

Read

I love SMITH Magazine. The creators of the six-word memoir (which became the NY Times bestseller, “Not Quite What I Was Planning”) always have fascinating projects going on, on their website. They are the curators of stories. The SMITH tag line, Everyone has a story. What’s yours? has become a bit of a mantra for me as I take the writing plunge into conducting more interviews, constructing narratives, and reporting on people & events. I could spend hours on the SMITH site reading people’s stories, imagining their history beyond or behind their six-word memoirs, their moments, and their brushes with fame.

My friend, Susan Orlean, once told me a story about a piece she was doing for Esquire magazine. It was supposed to be an interview with Macaulay Culkin. There was already a headline in place: “The American Man, Age 10.” Susan, fascinated by the title, went out on a limb and suggested instead of an interview with Culkin, she could write a piece on an average ten-year-old boy. She took a risk, flipped the narrative and got to tell the unique story of ten-year-old Colin Duffy. Colin did not have a movie to publicize, nor did he have a publicist, manager, acting career, press junkets or pre-coached sound bites. He had a story that was truly his own, not something drafted and filtered by a team of adults around him.

I always think of “The American Man, Age 10” when I read Smith Magazine. SMITH Magazine, like Susan, knows that the best (and most fascinating) stories come from the people we encounter every day. Whether it’s six words or 6,000, everyone has a story. What’s yours?