Archive | June, 2013

Stories We Tell, the movie

27 Jun

Mike and I went to Park Terrace a couple of weeks ago to see Stories We Tell, by Sarah Polley. This is a documentary that is also a documentary within a documentary, which has become a more common format these days. The self-conscious documentary filmmaker has struck me as conceited in the past but it’s not conceited here. Sarah Polley is, more or less, telling the story of her search for a father, and she equally involves her four siblings as well as the father who raised her, to help tell the story, as well as many other people who were involved in her family’s life over the years.

stories-we-tell-movie-posterStories We Tell focuses on Sarah’s mom, Diane Polley, and her secret affair. An interesting aspect about this film is that the subject is not just about the filmmaker and her quest to find the truth, and it is not just about her mother Diane, although her mother is the main focus. As the title suggests, the grander theme of this film is about how stories are told, how they are formed from real life and filtered through the memory, and how true events look different from different perspectives. The events that make up this story are quite striking, and about every thirty minutes, another layer to the plot unfolds, so we don’t get bored at all. Polley does a great job of weaving the interviews together along with a reenactment. The reenactment seemed cheesy for a moment, but then it didn’t.  What else are you going to watch while listening to people tell a story? The reenactment ends up looking pretty good as it mimics seventies style footage with a subtly scratchy effect and a richer, thicker color that we now associate with that stuff called film. There is a small bit of footage of the real Diane, which is nice to see. The film seems a bit long in the second half, but ends up being worth it. I do have to say, the very last scene (more of a shot really) in the film is completely unnecessary and confusing, and so Mike and I decided to ignore it. I think they were trying to add humor to balance the heaviness, but it was completely dumb.

I loved seeing a personal documentary such as this one, with the filmmaker being involved, and interviewing her family. Interviewers often seem so harsh in their questioning, and even cruel, and it is fascinating to watch Polley and her family interact. Her father (one of them) says to her at one point, ” What are you, some kind of sadistic interviewer?”. She comes from an acting family however, so they seem to understand.

The real gem in this story is getting to know Polley’s first father, the one who raised her and was believed to be her biological father. Without giving too much away, he makes friends with flies, and is inspired to write again after a lifetime of ignoring his talent. Mike and I both teared up a bit, somewhere in the middle. I often cry at the movies, but Mike never does.

Art in our bedroom

22 Jun

Here is the art we have in our bedroom:IMG_2286The top image is by Rachelle Diaz, the bottom by Julie Ray. Both were gifted to me. I am so happy to have them both.

IMG_2291My sister-in-law drew the animals on the left, and my 2-year old did the image on the right. These fabrics sit above my sewing table and one day they are supposed to turn into pillows.

IMG_2298 My friend Roberta Gentry did this piece, and gave it to me at our Vow Ceremony. Bobbi has always been one of my favorite artists, she is so talented.

IMG_2301 IMG_2303These are some pretty reproductions of paintings that my husband had in his room when we met. He bought them for a film he made, and they have stayed with us. That is my dad there…

IMG_2288A photo of a photo montage of the Brooklyn Bridge, by me.

IMG_2290This is a collage by Jaxun Doten. He made it during one of our ‘zine making nights, and then I nabbed it because I love it. Jaxun makes brilliant collages.

IMG_2292I bought this piece when I worked at Dinnerware, after an auction. It’s by Sarah Hardesty who is one of my favorite artists, and also one of my favorite people. She was my best friend when I was in New York. Every time I wonder over to her website, I see new awesome work. I love to watch the evolution of her works. You should definitely check out her website. This piece that I own by her is older, and the photo doesn’t do it justice. It sits above my sewing area, which is apropos as it is a mixed media piece made of different fabrics.

IMG_2295When I draw, this is what it looks like.

IMG_2300On Ross’ side, a drawing by his grandfather, and one by his daughter.

IMG_2305I love this old thrift store find. It finally found a resting place beneath my lamp, right next to my bed.

I feel lucky to be surrounded by artworks made by so many good artists who also happen to be my friends. One day I will put up a gallery, and hang all the artworks I own, made by all my friends.

Wee Reader

15 Jun

My daughter is a Wee Reader and has her first library card! Never has a mother been more happy. This brings back many fond memories of summer time… coloring and competing on reading charts with Tania. Coming home from the library with stacks (S T A C K S) of books to read. Many fine hours spent in the cool library, mostly in the Animal section.

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Frances Ha, the movie

13 Jun

“Frances Ha” is a fun film y’all.

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The husband and I saw this movie tonight, written by Noah Baumbach and Greta Gerwig and starring Greta Gerwig. There’s been a string of films we’ve seen lately that have not been my favorites such as, “Cosmopolis”, “The Master”, and “Anna Karenina”, but I have to say that this was a good one. Frances is in her late twenties and looking for some self-definition. Gerwig plays her character with a healthy lack of irony. She’s kinda dorky but we love her nonetheless.

While this is a modern film about modern life in NYC, we are watching the film in black and white which automatically gives it a vintage feel.  The look of this black and white is not a rich one either, but a thin dilution which I quite enjoyed. I am not sure if it was the projection, or the way it was filmed, but it looked great. This film captures the spirit of being young in New York City without focusing too much on the particulars of being a New Yorker. You can enjoy this film even if you don’t know about life in the Big Apple. I find this nice, because so many films based in NYC seem to be insular to living there and knowing about what that’s like.

There are many George Delerue musical pieces through out the film which give it a lovely, light-hearted  feel. My husband tells me that these musical compositions, along with some of the shots that accompany them, are a nod to Truffaut’s  “Jules et Jim”. Delerue composed music for many French new wave films and these compositions are a great addition to this modern film.

Overdressed, the book

9 Jun

I recently read “Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion” by Elizabeth Cline.

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I am happy to say that I do not fit the “average American” profile when it comes to buying clothes. I do not buy new clothing every week, nor do I buy new clothing every month. I could actually be accused of not buying enough clothing. I believe in signature outfits, like Jackie O. This just means I wear the same piece of clothing over and over for years, if I really like it.  I still wear dresses that I had in high school! Okay, just one item lasted from high school, a long leopard slip I wore as a skirt that is now short with new elastic, and worn as a slip only.

After finishing this book, I am inspired to mend and take in more of my clothing, and to start re-fashioning thrifted clothes. I am inspired to make more of my clothes too although I have been inspired to do this for a while, and have not found the time yet. Elizabeth Cline talks about the idea of buying quality pieces of clothing that can be mixed/matched for different looks, rather than buying a lot of new (cheap) clothes all the time. I am down with this mode of fashion, as I actually hate clothing shopping, mainly because what I want to buy often costs too much. I am not going to spend $30 dollars on a shirt. Then again, Cline talks about spending more for quality clothing. As I am not going to do this any day soon, I have opted for the re-fashioning of thrifted items. Cline mentioned Jillian Owens of Refashionista.net, who will be my new guide for ripping into awesome, natty thrift dresses. She doesn’t have tutorials on her techniques, but quite enough info to get me started. The great thing about sewing is that you are always learning something new! I let you know when I get something re-fashioned.

I grabbed this list from her website. Rent a dress?! Sweet.

“Ten Simple Tips For a More Ethical & Sustainable Wardrobe

1. How you shop is just as important as where you shop – Wherever you buy your clothes, buy things you really love and are going to wear. Americans buy 68 garments and 7 pairs of shoes annually. One of the easiest changes you can make is to buy fewer items of clothing and get the most out of what you own!

2. Avoid Disposable Purchases – In the U.S., 68 lbs of textiles per person go into the landfill every year. Help fashion’s waste problem by buying clothes that are made to last.

3. Shop Secondhand – Recycled, upcycled, refashioned, secondhand, vintage–it all means giving clothes a second lease on life and reducing demand for new products. Find gently-used, on-trend fashion online at eBay, Etsy, Threadflip, and Dresm, and at your local charity shop, consignment shop, or thrift store like Buffalo Exchange, Salvation Army, or Goodwill.

4. Share and Rent Clothes – Instead of buying new, organize a clothing swap, rent a dress online (RentTheRunway.com is one option), or shop a friend’s closet. This is a great option for weddings, holiday parties, and other special occasions.

5. Try D.I.Y. – Refashion thrift-store finds or what’s already in your closet with scissors, a sewing-machine, or fabric dye. Refer to YouTube for endless online DIY tutorials.

6. Shop your closet – Do you really need that new dress? A large percentage of the clothing own goes unworn. Get creative with what you already own by recombining pieces and accessorizing.

7. Maintain Your Clothes & Shoes – Textile waste is a growing problem. Extend the life of your clothes by sewing buttons back on, cleaning stains, mending tears, and resoling shoes. For clothes going to a charity shop, this is just as important. Otherwise, they might get trashed.

8. Donate Unwanted Clothes – Textiles are almost 100% recyclable, so never throw them away. More info here.

10. Support Ethical and Sustainable Brands – When buying new, vote with your dollars and support clothing designers and brands that are eco-friendly and support good jobs for the folks making their products–this can include American-made and fair labor brands. Check out the Shopping Directory below for affordable alternatives.”

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