Tag Archives: watch

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.”

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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

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.

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.