Sunday, November 27, 2011

A week of giving thanks

 This is how I started my Thanksgiving holiday on Wednesday and I just don't care.

 Central Park is so beautiful.


 My best Ruth showing off at dinner.

 I'd never had one of the cocktails that has cotton candy in it and they pour everything on top of it - now I have and it was worth the wait.

 I love New York at Christmas.

The "6" hotel. Profound for a myriad of reasons. 

 T
 I don't have much Christmas decor up in my apartment yet, but I sure do have my leg lamp night light in the kitchen.

 Because you never know what you will see scribbled on a subway wall in the village.

 Why not have brunch at a jazz cafe?

 The tree in the park by my house is lit again. I'm still convinced that the rats and pigeons put the lights up like the rodents make the dress in Cinderella.

Saw some movies, saw a play, had time with friends, went out and lived life. All without ever setting my alarm and sleeping as much as I wanted. Success.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The 'Connection'

I just started crying during a commercial for the Muppets movie.
Yes, I did.
This is me owning it.
They were singing Rainbow Connection, they gave Animal his drum sticks back, Kermit and Piggy are looking longingly into each other's plastic eyes...and I teared up.
Did I mention I haven't even seen the movie yet?
But the commercial got to me. As much as I'm a fan of the little things in life and you know how much I live for the love of a moment, I can only think of one other commercial that has ever caused me to have an emotional reaction. Actually, it's a family of commercials.
And they are Coca Cola.
Let me first clarify, the Christmas season doesn't officially start when Santa arrives at the end of the Macy's Parade. In fact, it starts the first time you see the Hershey's Kisses commercial where the kisses play like handbells. That means Christmas is here, but it doesn't make me cry.
What made me cry were the Santa trucks commercials. They were perfection. They made you feel like there was wonder in something ordinary. A truck that you see all the time was suddenly special and new. Plus, there was always something exciting about seeing the trucks with all the lights on them driving through the woods, headed to bring joy to the people of a small town. I'd be lying if I said I didn't have the mp3s of those commercials on my iPod.
The other Coca Cola commercial that moved me was the updated version of "I Wish." It's moving to me. As this woman walks down the road, she's handing out Coke as if it were hope, peace and kindness. As sappy as it might sound, I'd like to think I'm a bit like that woman, believing in people and trying to dole out as much hope as I can. I'm not going as far to say that a Coke commercial changed my life...but I kinda am.
I appreciate the fact that there was something in even a commercial that resonated within me.  That sort of simple hope keeps us alive, keeps us feeling something, keeps us connected. All from a commercial? Well, yeah.
 

Diet

I love Cream Soda. I always have and while I no longer drink regular soda (or even diet soda that much anymore), I tend to have a bottle of diet cream soda in my fridge. Part of that is a defense mechanism because if I'm craving something sweet, I can usually make the craving go away with the soda.
Here's the thing. I don't like soda in the morning. Some people wake up and the first thing they do is drink a soda. Some people are that way about their coffee too and you know I love my coffee, but I need my body to wake up a bit before I can go pouring coffee into it. If I don't wait, it upsets my stomach. I'm not sure why and I'm choosing to believe it's just a quirk...
Anyway.
I wake up this morning, tired because I'm mentally exhausted right now, and I start my routine. First stop? Bathroom sink to brush my teeth. So I'm getting ready, I turn the water nozzle and nothing comes out. The water has been shut off in our building for some reason. Okay...
You should know that I have to brush my teeth before I do anything in the morning. I have to have a clean mouth before I can feel presentable to anyone. I'm looking around, no water bottles anywhere, no water in the faucets, the only thing I have is...yes...diet cream soda.
So I brushed my teeth and had a diet cream soda rinse afterward to get the toothpaste out of my mouth. That. Happened. I'm nothing if not resourceful I suppose and while I didn't have that Orbit 'good-clean-feeling' afterward, it did the job I suppose. I'd like to believe that every time I'm resourceful in cleaning my teeth, a baby dentist gets their Red Bull wings.

Monday, November 21, 2011

A week of being out and about

 Just a technicolor reminder I suppose. "Sin will find you out."

 Patina Miller from Sister Act on Broadway and Whoopi Goldberg help unveil the Macy's Christmas windows.

 Hooray! (This actually did make me very happy)

 I've become obsessed with the Empire State Building. Since it gets dark here so early now, when I leave work, I can see whatever colors its lit in and I love it.


 Clearly.

 A great little play from a new theatre company trying to get off the ground.

 What do you get when you take a Pop Tarts box and cover it with fancy duct tape? Remote control holder. I should be on one of those silly DIY websites.

While everyone is gearing up for Christmas, I found PUMPKINS. Huge ones.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

A first

I did something interesting last night and I can honestly say it was a first.  I really enjoy "firsts." First dates, first listens to new songs, etc. I just like firsts.
I was trolling Twitter for nothing and everything all at once and I saw that a past contestant from So You Think You Can Dance was having some sort of Wednesday night prayer group online. So I click the link. Turns out, it's a video chat where he lets people type in prayer requests and he and his friends pray for the needs of his fans. That's fine and all and I'm in full support of someone doing something like this. It's different, it's interesting and it's accessible. But I found myself being less interested in the praying and more interested in everything else that was going on.
Here you had people who were there for so many different reasons. Some were actually there for prayer, but some were there to tell him they loved him. Some were there to ask for him to follow them on Twitter. Some were there just to see his face and comment how pretty his eyes were. While I'm sure all of that is very flattering for a past dance show contestant/fledgling Canadian pop star to hear, it wasn't the reason for the chat. It was interesting to me to watch him for that half hour try to bring things back to the praying.
At one point, things had gotten so far off track that I was worried the poor boy was going to lose interest. I could see the boredom in his eyes because all these girls were gushing about him and not sending in their prayer requests. So, being a student of pop culture communication, I decided to throw my hat in the ring and try to bring things back. I typed in, "My friends and I started an online magazine about creative culture because we were tired of the tabloid nonesense in every publication. It's tough and we could use the prayer."
So he reads what I typed in out loud, everyone in the room with him comments about how cool that is that we started that (thank you very much by the way) and they prayed for the magazine, and by doing so, brought the session back into focus.
I just thought the entire thing was so interesting. Here you have this person that is someone of a demi-celebrity within the dance world who takes half an hour each Wednesday night to pray with/for his fans and what they need, all the while fielding compliments about how hot he is. The juxtaposition was just too fascinating to me. Will I tune back in next week? I just might because it's not every day you get to see the intersection of faith and celebrity play itself out in a digital battle of sorts. Regardless of anyone's belief system, it was an interesting exercise in the capabilities of current technology to facilitate the interplay of communication between people from all over the continent.

Monday, November 14, 2011

...our next cartoon features...

I met Slappy the Squirrel today.
I did.
I mean, I think I did.
I'm kinda in a haze today because I don't feel the greatest, but I had to come to work because I had an interview and photoshoot with someone that wasn't going to happen if I wasn't there. But I digresss...
This woman that I'm interviewing comes in, and I've met her before, but she has cut her hair since then. That shouldn't matter but when I last met her and she looked more like Helen Mirren as opposed to the Chaz Bono look she's sporting now.
She starts talking in her very New York accent and I think it was a mixture of the short hair with the Brooklyn accent and my haze of illness that made her slowly morph into Slappy the Squirrel. Suddenly, I didn't see this woman anymore. All I saw was a talking squirrel that, at any minute, was going to make a wise crack about Milton Berle or drop an anvil on someone's head.
Can I tell you how profound it is to talk to a cartoon in person? It's not as exciting as you might think it'd be when you're a kid. But it's not terrifying either. What's terrifying is seeing the faux-cartoon characters dressed up and wandering around Times Square charging tourists five dollars a photo when that's precisely that amount of money they spent on their costume. Do we really need six Elmos wandering around Times Square? Do we really need a blue formless fuzzy blob trolling for tourists in an attempt to profit off of what I can only guess is a reject Cookie Monster outfit that got ran over on the Queensboro Bridge?
But in talking with Slappy, I realized one thing. I need to take some meds and I need to get into bed. We shouldn't be talking to cartoons in real life. It may have worked for Roger Rabbit but I just don't see it working here. I'd much rather talk to a Muppet in person, mostly because I already know the language. I speak fluent Muppet.
If you've read this blog before, you know that I think Slappy is one of the best animated characters ever and Animaniacs is obviously one of the best animated shows ever, but I will say that I don't have a desire to talk to Slappy again. She wasn't a very good interview. Gonzo however, would probably nail it.

Friday, November 11, 2011

11/11/11

It's 11/11/11 and a great many people are really counting on their wishes coming true today. They even closed the Great Pyramid in Egypt because there were reports of groups wanting to hold ceremonies inside. They were said to be trying to glean some of the magical powers from the pyramid on this special day.

Now, I'm a fan of conspiracy theory as much as the next person that also believes in Nessie (She's real y'all. She's in the Loch Ness and she's real. She is.), and you know how much I love ancient Egyptian folklore and culture, but I have some real questions about this. What's the significance of the magical power of today and the pyramid? I guess it's the fact that all the numbers are exactly the same and that won't happen again for another hundred years. But the Egyptian officials said that at 11:11 on 11/11/11, nothing was out of the ordinary. Except they had closed the pyramid.

This can only mean that these groups that wanted in there were onto something. Am I right? I mean, why else would they close the pyramid down if not to hoard all the magic for themselves? I don't think I'm alone in thinking that Egypt could use some magic after the year they've had, and perhaps this was a selfish move on the government there to keep the magic to themselves.

That makes me wonder what the magic did exactly. When the clock hit 11:11 and the magic of the pyramid was secretly released to the selfish government officials who snuck in there, what did they get out of it? Did they see visions of King Tut being super-pissed from beyond the grave that he became so famous when in reality all he ever wanted was to be a normal boy? (he and Frodo Baggins have this in common) Maybe they saw a vision of Cleopatra in which they realized she wasn't actually beautiful and she actually looked more like Star Jones before the bypass surgery. It would stand to reason that if they saw that, they also saw in an adjacent vision that Mark Antony looks eerily similar to Marc Anthony, a realization that was at once both frightening and disappointing.

Ultimately, I don't think we'll ever know what happened inside the Great Pyramid at 11:11 on 11/11/11, but I'd like to believe that something amazing happened. People all over the world today are making wishes, for what purpose I'm still not one hundred percent clear on, but I'd like to believe that with all that positivity being thrust into existence, something great might happen. And I know we aren't supposed to tell people what our wish is (or is that just when you throw money into the fountain at a mall?) so I will just tell you that my 11/11/11 wish may or may not have something to do with a magazine...or a person...or a monster in Scotland.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Fail.

"What have you failed at?"
I was recently asked that question and it had about as much context as I've given to you.
"What?"
"Well, most creative people have to have failed at something before they find success."
There's the context. Found it.
I thought that was interesting, mostly because I've never thought about it before. I know the sayings about failures building character and preparing us for the successes ahead and stuff, but I've never thought about my own failures as the plot points on the road to a successful finish.
Self-analyzation begins here.
I've failed quite a bit and I'm not just talking about my college Spanish classes. When I was in high school, I was a student director of the fine arts program at my church. I remember one summer, we didn't do a big musical as we had the previous three years, instead doing two smaller plays. One was the director's piece and one was mine. Basically, they told the same story just in two different ways: The director's was more a more literal telling and mine was more...uh...abstract. I thought to myself, "why aren't we doing interesting things like what we see on awards shows?" (remember that this was around 2000, when the VMAs were still exciting and creative) So I created this "play," about half an hour in length, using very little dialogue and all interpretive dance. We wore flashy colors and tried to tell this story using something that proved to be way way way too abstract for the southern conservative audience that favored straight-forward story telling and no dancing. (it's a sin apparently to some) So myself and my fellow dancing sinners failed. Big time.
That was the sort of thing that bugged me, not only because it failed but because I felt like I really could have done it right had I had the chance. I had this big dream but wasn't old enough or experienced enough to make it happen the way it should have. Had I done the exact same thing two or three years later, it would have been solid. (still sinful, but solid)
I've never let that experience go either. I've held onto that failure and the knowledge that if I'd just waited, it would have been a success. The timing wasn't right. Has that shaped the way I strive for success now? Perhaps subconsciously. More than anything, I've held onto the fact that people should be allowed to dance wherever they want, something I believe firmly to this day and try to put into practice in store aisles, on street corners or on empty subway cars. 
So I know our failures shape our successes and as much fun as thinking back on all the times I've failed has been, I'm gonna choose to look at today instead. Plus, if you want to read all about my failures, you'll just have to read it in me memoir.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

You may say I'm a dreamer

I'm a dreamer. I've never hidden that and I wear it proudly.
Yesterday, the new issue of my magazine came out and it's always so exciting. Today, I and the magazine were featured on my college's alumni website and I think for the first time, it settled within me what I was doing.
I've known that I was doing something cool and something that not a lot of other people have done. I've known that people read it and like it. I've known that it's brought me such fulfillment personally and brought other people who write for it fulfillment as well. But I think today was the first time that I saw anything said about it that really showed me the scope of what's really going on.
I imagine this is what performers must feel like when their hometown newspaper writes a story about them when they have their first big break. There's somewhat of a novelty about having your hometown write about you and toot your horn so to speak. It puts a few things into perspective. That perspective will sit heavy within me for a while I think. I mean that in a good way as opposed to a wanna-vomit-and-die way.
So it goes without saying that I'm excited and thrilled that people are getting to see the magazine. I'm excited that they're getting to see all the work that went into it from all the different people who did the work and I'm excite do share with them what my passion is. I don't feel like we often get the chance to really share our passion with people directly. I think we indirectly show people what we're passionate about, but not too often is it spelled out there in black and white.
So it's been a good couple of days. 
Go Team Monica.