Thursday, November 1, 2012

Susan Update!

Today Susan goes into her LAST CHEMO TREATMENT. Hooray!!!!

Having just hung out with her last night, I can easily say that she is ecstatic about her last round of chemo.
Susan being greeted by Scruffles & Punky,
the pups I get to live with. 

Susan's been doing great. Throughout the ups and downs of Life being heightened by the outrageous fortune of fighting cancer, she's hanging tough, for sure. She's been working on a children's book, taking commissions on art, and has two gigs through Fiverr.com. (Links are at the bottom). For those of you who don't know, Fiverr is a great resource where people hawk their wares and services for $5. I think everything you can think of is on that site.

Susan has become friends with renaissance man, Adam Emperor Southard, and got to be part of his series, Id, Ego, and SuperEgo.  In the L.A. Theater scene, Adam is a writer, musician, photographer.... I think he pretty much does everything. It makes nothing but sense that they found each other and hit it off. Susan was previously part of Adam's series, Body & Soul.

As Susan's a force to be reckoned with, she's also working on illustrating a children's novel called Zwoosh!. Below is the first layer of the cover. As I understand it, these things have several layers, (like a cake!), and here it is, right off the easel. I was lucky enough to see a draft, and it looks just delightful. As a big fan of picture books, (hello, I used to run StoryTime at Borders), I'm thinking this will be a hit.




And some of you are probably wondering how she's doing financially, as we had that emergency fundraiser a little while ago. Her Disability has finally kicked in! They lost her claim once, and I'm pretty sure, if she hadn't stayed vigilant and kept calling, it would've been lost forever, and I would've been trying to figure out other ways to help her raise cash monies. She luckily got a hold of someone who helped expedite the whole process, and it has kicked in. Finally. The relief has been palpable. She now can afford her rent and bills, but that whole food thing and you know, life, still needs a budget. So if you want to commission some art from her, or need some copyediting on your latest book, why not contact her? (Nudge, nudge).

 If you'd like to help out, you can kick in whatever you'd like, or even just simply share the links to friends.

If you need help with copyediting, go to here on Fiverr.com.

If you'd like to gift someone some handcrafted kanji necklace or Halloween Goodness, go here.

If you'd like to commission a painting from Susan, follow this link, and contact her at susan@lifeonitsside.com.

If you want to send Susan a note of encouragement and love, or even send her a buck, you can send it via PayPal at her email, susan@lifeonitsside.com

No matter what, chances are you know someone who has been affected by cancer. Give 'em a hug, ask if they need anything, and if they have an organization that's helped them. Share your stories.


Thursday, October 25, 2012

Webseries Watch Ep 2 - Halloween!

Yesterday, Cindy Marie Jenkins and I  got right down to biz and started our 2nd episode of Webseries Watch. We wanted it to be a little more themed this time, so we decided to make it all Halloween-y. We discussed watching Vampire Mob, Vampire Zombie Werewolf, Zurvived, and The Hunted.

Watch our chat here:



If you want to know more about Vampire, Zombie, Werewolf, click on the image below!



If you would like to catch up on your favorite Vampire hit man, click below:


Find out more about Zurvived and the Weapon of the Week here: 


 (You know, the more I type Zurvived, the funnier it looks...).


The Hunted!



Monday, October 22, 2012

Field Trip - RUN FOR YOUR LIVES! Zombies! 5k!

There are many great things to share from Saturday's 5k with zombies. I didn't bring my phone w/me as I didn't trust taking it into the mud and the water. Christy, one of trusty members, had a very cool waterproof case. I need to get me one of those things. Here are just a couple shots borrowed from others. There will be more pics and videos to share later in the week. Woo!

Amy the Writer's Camera Phone

Here we are, pre mud, pre hill climbing.  There was a HUGE hill they had to start us out on, nice and steep. It went on FOREVER. Right when you thought you would have a break, ZOMBIES!

I don't walk up hills very well... I really don't race up hills very well either. So I lost two flags right in the beginning.




Christy Black's Camera Phone! Pre Mud Cam.

Here we are, after the hill nonsense. We realized it's best to stay in a group. We're all so clean... Amazing. Me in the front, and going left to right, that's Amy, Trina, Kelly mark in black, Autumn, the tall drink of water in gray, Jim in green, and Richard in red. Brian is hiding behind Autumn, in blue. Christy took the picture. She and her friend Nikki were amazing to run and laugh with. We started adapting Nikki's technique of screaming and flailing arms to keep the zombies away. Brilliant, really.

Dorking out with Brian.


Below are the times! Took us an hour and a half, basically, to hike, walk, sprint between zombies, and climb over things after we finished diving into mud. Good, good times. More pics will come later, promise. Steph took amazing shots of as much as possible. I will share when I get them.


I'm 428!!!!



Monday, October 15, 2012

Field Trip-Laker Game

On Saturday, Stephaine scored  4 tickets to a Lakers game, (she has perks through her job), and she invited Trina, Casey, and I to join her. Woot. Mind you, none of know much about basketball, but hell - let's do this. 
On our way there, we spotted Charlie Chaplin just hanging out and looking forlorn on Venice Boulevard. 
Our seats were in the Premiere Section 2. We even had a waitress! So fancy. 
Casey and Trina!
Steph lookin' all executive in our seats. 
Me, dubious. 
National Anthem time!
Add caption
Steph, proudly dorking out. She's wearing a Starks Hockey jersey - not a Kings jersey. She had everyone fooled. 
We were behind press. Here he is watching TNT. 
Here he is watching a baseball game. At a basketball game. 
Laker Girls! We ladies weren't that entertained by them. We were more admiring The Gun Show put on by the players.
NEXT WEEK: RUN FOR YOUR LIVES! ZOMBIE 5K OBSTACLE COURSE! AGGHHH!!!!!!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Webseries Chat Episode 1!

I always have a good time talking with Cindy Marie Jenkins. She's one plugged-in lady. She's always working in the social media world to promote theater, outreach, and everything in between. I've known her for a couple years now, but have been in her presence just a couple of times. Love the way the world works....

Cindy had me on her webseries, Navigate the Arts recently, and our topic was the Wild West of the Webseries World. We had such a good time, she asked if we could start our own wee show. I, of course, said YES! And when do we start?

We started today, with hopes and plans to do this bi-monthly. Today's chat was mostly just the beginning, laughing at my poor lighting, having technical difficulties, and just having a good chat. Somehow, we mentioned 11 shows to watch, and we've only just begun...

If you want to see the page with all that we talked about, go here and scroll down.

While you watch this, I will finally catch up on Jedi Camp.





Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Learning to take my own advice: Acceptance

Hi there. It's been about two weeks since I posted about my huge ball of stress manifesting into a huge ball of gunk in my lower left eyelid.  

There it is! Look, almost all better..... Gah. 

It's still gonna take awhile, now it's almost a sore from the outside instead of something icky brewing on the inside. I'm a lucky gal.... 

So, let's talk about the stress factor. Or when you're fighting a Funk of Depression. Something is bringing you down right? You don't like It. You want It to stop harshing your mellow. It's bringing you down and you're fighting It. 

Fighting's good, right? YES, AND... accepting It. 

You know what happens when you finally accept the existence of It?  You let go of the worry, stress, and funk of it. You wind up feeling a lot better. Let me sum up. 

There I was, stressing out about the eye, the stress that must've brought it up, stressing about the pain, stressing about how gross it must look, and therefore how I must look, stressing about going out into the world with Eyegor the Horrible and feeling like I must've looked like Quasimodo. I was trying to ignore It, I was trying to fight It, I was trying to take care of It, I was trying to deny It. Frickin' Eyegor wasn't having it. "I'M HERE AND YOU CAN'T IGNORE ME!" I felt like a nutcase. 

I dunno what happened. I blogged about it. I felt like crap, but the next day when I woke up, I worked on a project, I went out into the world and gave a friend a massage. Something just clicked. Eyegor was there and was in it for the long haul and I just accepted It. That day it felt like a literal weight had lifted off my shoulders. Despite the weight of Eyegor pulsing in my eye, I laughed and went about my business. You can call it surrender, and you know what? It very much felt empowering, it didn't feel like being defeated. 

As I was driving away from the massage and heading towards a walk with my wonderful friend Victoria, something felt different. This is gross, but, my eye started oozing out gunk. Yeah, it was nasty. Yeah, it was while I was driving. Yeah, I was totally stoked. There's me, excited and grossed out at every stoplight sopping up the Nasty. Finally I just pulled over at a nearby park and just finished getting the gunk out. I can only imagine what people were thinking if they caught a look at me. "Why is that woman smiling so much and making icky faces at the same time? What is she doing with her eye? Is she? Oh my god! GROSS!"

I've been feeling a hell of a lot better since then. Like I've said before, I take these symptoms from the body, (ginormous stye, horrible neck spasm, lung infections, the flu like you've never had it before), as a sign that something is off, and that people need to see it like that as well and take a frickin' break. 


In talking with my friends Jan and Kim and how they deal with stress I came away with this: If you let yourself continue to stress, all it does is lead you down the rabbit hole of stress. It serves no purpose in life accept to further add feelings of guilt, depression, more stress, and continued yuckiness. (the yuckiness was my choice of words, not Jan and Kim's). Letting one's self remain in a prolonged, never-ending cycle of stress, worry, doubt, and guilt brings you down and never lifts you up. Gad, I feel a little yucky just thinking about it. Oof. 


What I'm trying to say here, is that you first need to accept that you have this problem, (whatever it is you Fellow Stressed-Out People, you), and just let go of It. I'm not saying it's an easy thing to do. How can it be an easy thing to do when you're in a maelstrom of stress? But you know what? It is. Accept it as fact and let it go. A shitty thing is happening to you right now. It doesn't mean you're a bad person. It just means it's happened/ is happening. It's there, it exists. Let that acceptance of it take the weight off instead of add to your stress. It's sometimes not very easy to change one's perspective, believe me, I know. (I KNOW IT). We all have our special crosses to bear for any set of circumstances in our lives, but let me tell you - that acceptance will take you further than you think is possible. It will relieve you. 


I think the next step is learning to take back control of ourselves. I'll save that for another post. You may have realized, I'm no mental health professional, just an Average Patty Jean of the World. I'm learning as I'm experiencing, and sharing as I'm grokking. (If you don't know what Grokking means, you need to read A Stranger in a Strange Land. It's all cool, I still grok you). 

I would just like to take this moment to thank my little feline best friend, Bugaboo, for being a very helpful muse. She sat right between me and the computer the whole time. She's a very helpful kitty. I'm very lucky that she chooses to supervise me when she's not supervising her mom, Trina




Tuesday, September 25, 2012

When to Take a Step Back

Over the past 8 years of being a massage therapist, I have seen what we, the human race, do to ourselves when we feel that we can't back down. It's not pretty. Time and time again, I have seen friends, family, coworkers, and complete strangers stress themselves out in such a way that their bodies start to malfunction.

For example, how many of you work yourselves to the bone, only to wind up sick? Now that you're sick, how many of you continue to work slavishly to The Greater Cause? (That Greater Cause could be work, a show, a project...). You feel that you HAVE to keep going right? And this cold/flu/ickiness seems to be the worst because it just won't end! How many of you keep going until you get diagnosed with some horrible respiratory infection/fever of over 100 degrees/can't get out of bed  - and THEN you stop?

How is it we get ourselves in this crazy cycle of lamenting and stressing? Why do we have to keep going against these great odds? Is it a need to be a hero in a story - to fight against all odds? I don't know. I'm certainly guilty of it as much as anyone else.

I often see people working themselves to the bone, I see them lament about not sleeping well, body parts hurting, and talking about how they never have enough time. When I can, I'll tell them - hey, you should take a break, your body is sending you these signals for a reason - and often the advice is ignored, and the person in question continues the cycle of stress and pain. It happens ALL THE TIME.

We've forgotten how to listen to our bodies as a barometer of how we're doing. Wha? Barometer? What am I even talking about? Lately, when I get stressed the F out, I get these wonderful breakouts on my face, sometimes even a stye of ginormous proportions. If I'm really over doing it, I'll get a lousy flu to last me a week or more. Fantastic stuff, really.

NOT.

So there's me. Today. Lookin' ever so ugly and tired, and just plain miserable. My genetic make-up has blessed me with the ability to get a sty (think acne for the eyelid), and when I get pretty stressed, it never fails to blow up into something bigger and uglier. This has been happening since I was a teen. Doctors have been unsympathetic. "Use a heat compress." "There's nothing we can do. Use a heat compress." Last year, thanks to my lack of income to support health insurance, I went into an acupuncture student clinic. In the Eastern medicine world, I've been told I'm overheated, to use a cool compress, and to have cool foods and drinks. No matter what, I have to sit through it and wait for it to go away on its own.

This lovely little fucker has been brewing for a week. 

What do I do? I called out from work for a couple of days, but still proceeded to stress out over stressing out. Was I stressed out? What am I stressed out for? Am I stressed?!? I feel like crap, I gotta take the day off. Compress, eye drops, compress, nap. More naps. Netflix. I gotta take more days off. I can't take any days off I need the money! I can't flake on my friends, I've made plans! WHY ISN'T THIS FUCKER GOING AWAY?!?!?!?!?

Shit, I need to breathe. 

Breathe again, Patty. 

Kay. So here, I'm going to take my own advice. Obviously, this body of amazing knowledge is trying to tell me something. When I think about it, this past year has been red flag after red flag - back spasms, neck spasms, a week long cold on a vacation, and now this. Kay, I get it. I need to take a step back, so to speak. To get myself on a more solid foundation of whatever the heck I'm doing. 

First, I need to get a reality check of how I'm taking care of myself. If I had health insurance, I would go into the doc's and patiently listen to them tell me I need to use a compress. Who knows, they might even have something else to tell me. However, since I don't have health insurance, I need to take matters into my own hands and figure out what to do. 

Second, what can I control? I can control the basics, right? Sleep, food, exercise. Work on getting 8  hours of sleep, stop eating junk, and go for a frickin' walk, or even just do some yoga. If I'm stressing, I need to unwind the stress. 

Third, what am I stressing about? Gad, when I think about it - everything! Every single thing. Oh man. MoneyMoneyMoney, my bod, a lack of relationships, what the fuck am I doing with my life, jobs, I need a haircut, This Project, That Project, I must be letting everyone down, I haven't talked to friends in forever, Traffic on the 405, getting my car registered, the sound on my computer doesn't work, I want to take my family to Disneyland for a week, I should do This, I should do That. STRESS.OUT.OVER.ALL.THE.THINGS.

I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one who stresses out. As a matter of fact, I KNOW I'm not the only one, otherwise, my work as a massage therapist would be non-existent. 

What do we do, people? How do we take care of ourselves when it feels like the world is weighing ever so heavily on our shoulders? Start with the small stuff. Learn how to let go of anxiety (life long work in progress, I'm thinking). Ask for help. Take mini vacations. Take a long vacation. Treat yourself as a priority. If you're not feeling good, how can you do well at the Job/Project/Goal/Cause/Show? You can't. You can't be as good as you want to be if you're feeling like poop. Something has to give and it shouldn't be you. 

So be good to yourself, dammit. Take a step back and breathe. Make some compromises in your favor. We're in this together, so I'll go try to do the same thing.

And you know what? Like my friend Vicki just pointed out - you have to have faith that will get better. Hope. It might feel impossible, but it's not, truly. Keep the hope going!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

I want a Panda Cub

To make you oooh, and awww, and giggle, and coo all over your computer.




Thank you San Diego Zoo!

Pics from Disneyland 9/19/12

Trina, Kevining
Kevining, is something that was started by a favorite DJ - Kevin, from the Kevin and Bean show. Poor guy got the worst picture in the world taken of him, and they used it for a promo picture. Henceforth, the phenomenon, Kevining.
Here we are, having a blast while screaming and enjoying Tower of Terror. Trina's face is just awesome. 
That last of dive in Splash Mountain still scares me a bit. Love how the camera captures the fear and fun. 

The gang Kevining on Space Mountain. Love how we all look. 

My Diptic/Instagram Montage of my funny faces. 
I sent this to my dad. Was *this* close to getting it for him. 
Someone tried to dig Sparky out, methinks. 
I think this is new to the set,  and it just cracks me up. Wish I could collect them all. 

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

What Happens When Brian and I Get Together

I never have enough time with Brian. He lives up in the Bay, and I'm down here in LaLa Land. But when we get on the phone, when we get to hang out, we giggle like there's no tomorrow. He puts up with my Crazy.

I got to see Brian this past weekend when he came down with Vera and Friends to celebrate her 30th at Disneyland. I only got to join them for the second half of Saturday, but it was such a wonderful time! Luckily, I get to go back with Trina on her birthday - National Talk Like a Pirate Day.

Anywhoo....

I captured another silly moment with Brian on Sunday morning.




Here's the first Moment I captured on my Nifty iPhone.



Truly, we have many silly moments. I am now on a mission to capture as many as I can whenever I see him.

Consider yourself warned, Brian!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Will You Adopt Us? Life in the Pattyverse: Rescue Kitten Edition

My friend Elisa just rescued two kittens!

For about the past month, there have been two feral kittens living underneath my building and in the parking lot.  While I debated what to do, when my neighbors started complaining I was feeding them and they started darting out into the busy street I live on, I knew I had no choice but to take them in.  I'm fostering them for now, but my own cat is super freaked out even though they are cordoned off, and my own allergies prevent me from having more than one cat and I'm looking for forever homes for them.  They are feral, though I believe still of an age they can be socialized.  Unfortunately, I've been working so much, I haven't had much time to do so myself.  Do you know anyone who may want them?  It would be great to keep them together.  It would take a patient person as they will take a little while to warm up, but they have already let me get closer and closer.




I went over to her place tonight and took a couple videos on my ever so nifty iPhone. Elisa was so handy with her iMovie, that she was able to take a couple of clips and put them into one movie.
video

These kittens will be needing a home filled with patience and love. We're hoping that it's not too late to get them socialized and happy to be around people. In the next few days, Elisa will take the kits to FixNation to get them checked out and to see when it'll be good to get them fixed. We're hoping we can get them to a home as soon as possible! Please share this post - spread the word!


Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Recent Exploits

Aside from my crusading for Susan, what else have I been doing?

Well....

I've recently become the Social Media Maven for Short Wing Productions, a co-op type company founded and run by my friends Genie Willett and Alexandra Gioulakis. I'm very excited about this, as I'm working with people I love, and I get to play online a lot for them. Yes please! You will be seeing fantastic work coming from them soon enough. First up is their short, Pizza Time.

Speaking of Social Media, I've begun blogging for Kristen Nedopak, creator of The Skyrim Parodies. Kristen is a busy lady, and she always has lots of adventures. I get more added fun as I get to learn about WordPress.  Here's my first post for her:

To Lydia With Love Goes to Dragon*Con!

Really? I'm excited about WordPress? Who have I become??? I dunno, but it's good times.

My other favorite side-project that I've got going on, is working as photographer for my roomie Trina's fashion blog: Operation Wear My Closet.

Not only do I get to take pictures of the pets, (weeee!), but it's very fun for me to think of new angles to help highlight Trina's outfit and get her to pose in fun and different ways. I wind up taking TONS of pics, and Trina selects the ones she likes best. She's been doing it since the beginning of the year and it's been a fun project to help out on. I do like taking pictures.....









These are all pursuits that I hope open up new worlds for me. The plan is to never need an office job again. The more I can play and work with creativity and my creative friends, the better. I'm reinvesting my time in vlogging and blogging and staying in touch with the world. You'll also notice there's a lot of Scotty the Kitten videos on my YouTube Channel. A couple of weeks ago, I fostered him for about 5 days, and then took him up to my family. I hadn't taken care of a young kitten in such a long time! I'm pretty sure I have hundreds of pictures of him just from those first couple of days. Heee. Mom tells me he is happily prancing around, chasing anything that moves, and even other random things that don't. Look for #ScottyTheKitten on Twitter to keep up on his cuteness.  


Monday, August 27, 2012

Thank You For Helping Susan!!

I am pleased to announce that through the efforts of friends, and friends of friends, we raised just about $1200 for Susan this weekend. We paid for her August rent, and she can now get some groceries and pay some other bills.

SO THANK YOU!



While Susan's waiting for her disability to kick in, she's still got her many hats on, in the air, everywhere.

Find her art (oil and watercolor) here: http://art.lifeonitsside.com

Find her Fiverr copywriting/editing gig here: http://fiverr.com/side_life 

UPDATE: Find her handcrafted Kanji Jewelry here on Fiverr: http://fiverr.com/side_life/create-a-handcrafted-kanji-necklace-out-of-polymer-clay

You can still send her donations, if you'd like, via PayPal at susan@lifeonitsside.com. I know some people have mailed in contributions, and this effort is just truly touching. You're all a bunch of angels.

If you want to know what lead to this mass effort of fundraising, look at my last post: Help A Susan Out, Yo. 

Here's Susan on her first day of chemo, and where she become a BAMF in my eyes: Susan's First Day of Chemo.

Here's my post on Susan as The Bravest Storyteller I Know.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Help a Susan Out, Yo.

Susan's had a rough time of it, no doubt.

We've raised money for her through Give Forward, which was wonderful. She's been working as much as possible as a Fine Art Teacher to kids, and she's started up her own copywriting business through Fiverr.com. I've shared her vlogs with you and now I'm gonna share a video of my own:



I think the fastest/easiest way to support Susan, is to send a donation in to her via PayPal at her email address: susan@lifeonitsside.com. $1, $5, doesn't matter, because every little bit will help. 

If you want to support her through her art, look here for her watercolors.  Look here for her oil paintings. 

Soon enough, she'll be opening up her own little shop online where you can buy her handcrafted jewelry. Oooh! I'll link to that as soon as I can.

In a world of crowdfunding for video games, webseries, adventures, and more, I think it's possible that we can raise at least $850 for Susan. That's a pittance compared to most campaigns!

No matter what, please share this post. Spread the word. I think we can help Susan.

THANK YOU!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Susan Lee - The Bravest Storyteller I Know

My last post showed a wee little video of Susan knitting during her first chemo treatment.

Since then, her hair fell out, and she embraced it. Like REALLY embraced it. Here's her video of cutting off all her hair:



Like most of us creative people, Susan is a storyteller. It's a very important place in society. I think we need storytellers. We have to share our experiences with each other, because it helps us connect - connect to each other as a species, to the heavenly beings above and beyond, to every creature that inhabits this earth.

The art of telling a story is primal. It cannot be helped, and it oozes out of our hearts and souls in many aspects. Susan's one of those people where it just flows in abundance. She writes, paints, draws, directs, produce, knits, you can't stop the art flowing out of her if you wanted to.

I'm extremely inspired by her as she has been sharing her story with us. That video is just plain fun, and don't you find it extremely touching as well?

She's had her second round of treatment. Boy, has this round changed some things. There is a ton of shit going on in her life, and it definitely is scaring the crap out of her. But look what she did:



She embraced her change, and connected with a couple of lovely artistic souls, (Adam Southard and Melissa Collins), to share this story of Body and Soul. 

This next video came yesterday. She is in a huge place of transition, and you'll see why if you watch the video. It's fucking scary, and I want to share this with you all, because it needs to be shared. Susan's Storytelling Soul is coming out in spades, and this is where we connect, People: when we're scared, we're lonely, and we're fighting uphill battles.



I just want to honor and thank Susan for being so brave. 'Cuz Lord knows how I would handle this. If you feel the need to connect to Susan, to send her some love, you can find her on Twitter at: @LifeOnItsSide.

Susan's not backing down. BAMF

Friday, July 20, 2012

Susan's First Day of Chemo

My good friend Susan Lee is battling Breast Cancer. We've helped raise close to $5000 for her, so she keep a roof over her head, we've been taking her to her appointments and hanging out with her, and yesterday, Susan went through her first day of chemo.

While we were hanging out and watching various medical personnel walk through and play with the contraptions, Susan kept her cool. I was extremely impressed and wanted to share that with you all.



If you want to keep track of Susan's journey, she has started her own vlog series. Find her on YouTube. You can also find out about her many talents by visiting: www.lifeonitsside.com

And yes, one day, I will remember to hold the camera the right way.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

San Diego Comic-Con 2012 - Pattyverse Videos

My friend Cindy asked me and several other friends to make little videos about our fun at SDCC. I wasn't sure I would have much to share, but I made a couple anyway.

My family absolutely adored them. That's what family does. So I thought I'd share 'em. Why not?







This next video wouldn't send to Cindy. I don't know why. But I could upload it to YouTube, so now I can share it.



And the best thing? The best video? The best celebrity sighting? Geoff the Robot from The Late Late Show. My family absolutely adores Craig Ferguson and Geoff. So when I heard Geoff's dulcet tones floating through the exhibit hall, I HAD to get in line. I couldn't think of which question to ask, so I settled on asking him to say hi to my family. They were so happy. SO.HAPPY.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

I Think I Missed Something: Reviewing Red Tails

Last night, I was happily invited along to join my friend Steph and her husband Ryan to watch a screening of Red Tails at the Fox Studios Lot.

 Geek out moment: The lot is AWESOME! My inner tourist wanted to run around every where snapping pictures of Moe's Cafe, the fake New York(?) street, the giant murals painted everywhere. SO.COOL. But I knew I had to keep my shit together, so I just walked around in awe grinning from ear to ear while trying to not look too eager. I'm gonna have to find a way to go visit friends who work there.

 Going into the movie, I was very excited. Coming out of the movie, I was bummed at how disappointed I was.

 To set the record straight, yup, I'm a white chick. Yup, I'm ignorant about a lot of history. But somehow, I was raised to know injustice when I see it, to believe that we are all equal, and that there is an infinite amount of power in the art of storytelling so that it connects us all. Storytelling is such a powerful tool, and when you use it to pay tribute to someone, to educate people who know nothing about another person's struggle, you're using it to help connect to something bigger than the individual. Personally, whether fictional or not, I want to see how we come out alive, how we survive, how we become better people. So when I walk into Red Tails, I want to know that George Lucas has spared no expense in the effects, or in the writing, the editing, or the casting. I want to know he hired a fantastic crew and cast to tell the story of the Tuskegee Airmen.

 I felt like George Lucas produced a fairy tale. Here's the Bad Guy. Here are the Good Guys. Here's their struggle. Here's every shot clean and beautiful and glossy. Here's the Happy Ending. It felt like watching the Special Edition of Star Wars - every thing was so sharp and crisp and clean, it no longer felt real. Yes, I know Star Wars is fantastical, but man did you feel like every single atom in the movie was textured, layered, and palpable. It's part of what drew me into the universe and the struggle of the characters.

 I loved the cast, even if they were given some badly written lines. I especially loved David Oyelowo, as Joe "Lightning" Little. But did every word out of Terrence Howard's mouth have to sound like an epic moment with the music swelling, each and every time? The action sequences were really great to watch, especially the train blowing up. But did every set up of a fight have to feel so campy?

 I didn't feel like war was hell unless we were in battle in the movie. But I thought every moment was hell. I thought soldiers fought every day, every moment to feel human in the indignities of battle. I feel like Lucas poured a hell of a lot of money into giving us a glossed over, pretty version of the experience of The Tuskegee Airmen and the men they fought to protect.

 I don't know - I feel conflicted. I wanted to love this movie. I wanted to feel proud of the homage paid to our WW2 vets. I wanted to know that I saw historical facts in play, and that I could learn and relate through the experiences of our protagonists. But maybe I'm over thinking it all. Maybe, if I really wanted to learn something, I should just get off my ass and do some research my damn self and just enjoy the entertainment in front me. Maybe if I'm looking to be moved by the subject matter at hand, I should just watch The Tuskegee Airmen with Laurence Fishburne from 1995. (Which Cuba Gooding Jr. was also in). I just feel that Lucas produced a bad film, and it's such a shame when the stories, the people, the situations are so rich in every element. The Tuskegee Airmen did so much for our country, I feel that they are owed at the very least, from my world of Storytellers, the best job that can be done of sharing an amazing story.

 Did I miss the boat? Was I supposed to know that I was watching a fairy tale from the very beginning? If that's the case, I still think something was amiss in the execution of said fairy tale.

Go see it and tell me what you think.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Ooh, More Trailers

I got a lot of war-type movies going on for this post. These movies are all about the highest stakes and what the characters have to do to survive, physically and mentally. War is hell, right?

1. Wrath of the Titans - I actually watched the Clash of the Titans remake last summer, and I gotta say, I really liked it. It was much better than I had thought, it was a good script. I'm excited to see what comes of this movie.



2. The Hunger Games - I can't wait to reread the books. I can't wait to see the movies. I really hope they don't screw it up, but this preview shows a lot of promise. This story is an intense one. I'm pretty sure that'll I'll be sitting on the edge of my seat, even though I know how it all ends. Eeeee!



3. Red Tails - I would be excited about this film no matter who was involved. I'm even more excited to see it now that my dad has met two Tuskegee Airmen. I get chills watching this. I'm pretty sure I'm gonna be an emotional wreck at the end. "We fight!"



4. Coriolanus - As a fan of Shakespeare, Ralph Fiennes, and Gerard Butler. I'm in. This ShakesNerd is eager to see this great cast be exceptional.



5. Act of Valor - I came across this trailer when I was at the cheap theater awhile ago. I had never seen or heard anything about it until then. What compels me most is that they're not using "actors", they're using active Navy Seals. I'm intrigued to see what comes of this combination.