Saturday, May 27, 2006

An Inconvenient Movie

An Inconvenient Truth

I've been yearning to see a film in a multiplex that has nothing to do with NewFest or the queer film festival circuit. Don't get me wrong, I love LGBT film, I'm just slightly burnt out at the moment, as we're ramping up to open the festival June 1st, and I'm working overtime to put together engaging panels of filmmakers, activists and academics for the Filmmakers Forum (June 10 & 11). I just needed a break. Yes, I saw "X-Men 3" the second it opened - c'mon, Halle Barry in tight leather kicking mutant and non-mutant ass is just too delicious to pass up.

At the urging of several friends and colleagues, I went to see Davis Guggenheim's "An Inconvenient Truth" - you know, the Al Gore global warming film. I tried to go Thursday night but it was sold out, Friday night but it was sold out and just barely squeaked in tonight. Being such a hot ticket on the Upper West Side made this more like an incovenient movie. Who knew Al Gore had a personality? We always knew he had the substance. This film basically follows him around the world as he gives his ever-updated scary-as-hell (that's how hot the planet will get) analysis of global warming and its catastrophic consequences. Just when the audience is about to despair at the seemingly hopeless situation, Mr. Gore cites precedents for such seismic shifts in our nation's conscience and policies, like the abolition of slavery and the dramatic reduction in CFC Emmissions to repair the whole in the ozone layer. That last one rang a loud bell of memory in me.

UN Peace Day 1989 (that's me on the right - like my baby dyke mullet?)

I have an incredibly clear recollection of standing proud and passioante on the podium of the general assembly of the United Nations in 1989 as part of Peace Child, facing the Secretary General, Javier Perez de Cuellar, and demanding that the UN mandate a reduction in CFC gasses NOW! I was so nervous that I'd mispronounce ChloroFlouroCarbons, or that I'd screw up the Japanese lyrics in the duet or that I might miss the fleeting glimpses of my friends in Moscow over the satelite feed. Mostly, I remember feeling empowered to change the world for the better. At age 19 I was standing in one of the great international halls of power pleading, demanding and singing my way to a healthier global future. Everything seemed possible. And at least one of those "demands" from us petulant youth came to pass with the signing and enforcement of the Montreal Protocol to reduce CFC's. The Ozone layer has mostly been repaired.

Part of the closing credits of "An Inconvenient Truth" (with an awesome not-too-subtle original Melissa Etheridge tune "I Need to Wake Up" as accompaniment) are suggestions for reducing carbon emmissions that individual folks can accomplish on their own - do their part to reverse the damage. Example: Replacing one regular lightbulb with a compact flourescent bulb will save over 150 pounds of carbon dioxide a year. Or ride mass transit. Recycle. Plant a tree. All very doable. The most marketable suggestion was to urge everyone to see this film. Clever promo, huh?

It made me walk home in the balmy Spring night, although hopping on a hybrid bus wouldn't have burned too much fossil fuel. Tommorow: light bulbs.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006


I'm not announcing which screenwriting competition/lab I got into, because it's not public knowledge yet (press releases and such), but I just have to scream YIPPEEEEEEEE! Much as I'd like to say that what other people think of my work doesn't matter, it's the work that counts - that's a load of crap (in a way). The work I do is for exhibition, so OF COURSE it matters what other people think, so I can get it out there and seen in the world. I could write scripts from now until I croak for my own pleasure, but what I'd croak from is knowing that no one else got to see/hear/act/direct/produce/screen them. They're scripts; they're meant to be made with other people, then shown to more other people. So, with any luck (and a ton of hard work), that's the path this script will take. Fingers crossed...

Friday, May 12, 2006


Typing with one hand, now, and not for any enjoyably naughty reason, unfortunately. Now, I'm no fan of doctors, especially not a fan of the ER, but I'm not a dope. Much as I'd love to never visit a medical facility ever again in my entire life, I knew something was amiss in my left arm/hand this evening that I should have looked at. Not a blood clot. Not a heart attack. Not a broken bone. Just sudden severe tennis elbow. Be it from too much hard labor, too much typing or too much sex, the result is a plaster splint, Tylenol and an appointment with the hand surgeon. Oh joy. Nothing says TGIF like Tenosynovitis.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Mental Space



I've been working in a veritable pig sty of an office for the past year, surrouned by the detrius of the past decade's illness and pain. For the last 2 days I surrendered to the steady hands of a professional organizer. She knew when to ride me hard, push the pace and drag me through the boxes piled as high as an elephant's eye, and when to back off and give me a break going through departed loved one's letters. Some things are too hard to slog through on your own. I'm thankful that I knew my limit and called in reinforcements. I'm not done with the sorting and sacking yet, but I've gotten a kick-start on clearing my mental space and motivation to keep it clear, now. I've been putting off so much: "When the office is done..." What happens now that I have no excuses? Nothing taking up my physical space to interfere with my mental space? Time and finally space to write, that's what.

Saturday, May 6, 2006

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished...

... or how Dasha got screwed by Transit Karma, a fable.

My day in brief:

I left this:
my awesome nieces and nephew
for this:
the other ex, my ex, my ex's new bride & me
and got this:
learning to breathe again on the NJ Turnpike

And now, the fable.

There is a natural order to the universe. Today I violated that order, and the universe threw everything it could in my path to stop my abberent behavior. First I should tell you my disorderly universal offense: I was attempting to attend my ex's wedding to another woman. This goes against all that is rational in the world, except for the lesbian world, where such acts of insanity are routine. Everyone and their uncle told me not to do it, but my ex was insistent, and I'm one of those true-blue friend types, so I set about defying nature.

1. Rental cars suck.
The econobox I rented for this mission had a dead battery this morning. I discovered this after already loading the trunk with her precious wedding gift: smoked nova scotia salmon and whitefish with assorted NYC bagels. With the key stuck in the ignition, the car unresponsive, the trunk locked solid and roadside assistence estimating 90 minutes for a jump-start, I begged my brother-in-law for his car. He surrendered it, minus child seats, and I was off!

2. Mapquest lies.
As one of the locals in the middle of nowhere, PA put it "They changed the Route Numbers but not the signs." And apparently forgot to notify Mapquest and the rest of the driving public. Had the directions been correct, I wouldn't have wasted an hour driving up & down a mountain, thus missing my ex's nuptials by 45 miunutes.

3. Weddings are fun - if you know the people.
I arrive at the fire hall, as cute as can be in the Hawaiian shirt my new girlfriend bought me, trying to recover my composure from the driving ordeal. I greet my ex and her new bride (first time I've ever laid eyes on her) in the midst of blow-up palm trees, rainbow lei's and lots of food I can't eat. My ex's bride's ex hunts me down in the crowd of squealing nurses and introduces herself as "The other ex." We both share a haried-weirded out bonding moment, and then she moves on, having filled in but a few tiny details of the new bride and the couple's history.
Aside from my ex, I know only 4 people at this shindig: My ex's best hometown friend, her best medical school buddy and her parents. No one's very talkative and we are stranded on the tiny Ex island, in the sea of her hard-partying co-workers. I lasted about an hour, having indulged in a piece of wedding cake, which I'm assured contains no dairy (I'm lactose intolerant - Wheee!). My ex, feverish from dancing the Grease Medley Remix, jots down directions back towards Philadelpia which are not quite right (remember the mis-labeled routes?).

4. Best Buy rocks.
Lost, in need of a toilet (there really was dairy in that cake) and plain old frustrated, I land on the doorstep of a Best Buy. The geek in the PDA section gives me a choice of "quick or Easy" routes. I choose Easy, and am off toward Swarthmore, PA to exchange cars with my brother-in-law and family, who've driven my now-repaired rental car to a friend's picnic. While scenic, the route takes me ominously past Three Mile Island. The nuclear meltdown analogy of the day is not lost on my weary soul.

5. Swarthmore rocks more.
I am never happier to see my sister's smiling face welcoming me to a picturesque cook-out in bucolic suburban PA. BBQ and nice people abound as my adorable nieces and nephew putter around with the neighborhood kids and the dog steals dinner off unsuspecting plates. A perfect antidote to the day's trauma.

6. Not so fast!
The universe is still pissed at me. The emergency brake on my cheap-ass crappy rental car is broken, perpetually stuck in Park. Maybe the forces of good want me to stay in this idyllic setting longer, continue to recover from my ordeal... My host physically wrenches the errant brake into place, and I follow my sister's car to freedom, also known as Rt. 476 North.

7. Psyche out!
So, I'm almost to NJ - home free, right? As Julia Sweeney said: "And G-d said HA!"
All that bucolic scenery in Swarthmore was full of pollen. I pull over on the PA Turnpike with an asthma attack. The universe is really really into retribution, apparently.
Heart racing from my inhaler, I pull into the first rest stop on the NJ Turnpike, down some cough medicine and wait for the palpitations to subside.
To pass the time and try to avert a complete nervous breakdown, I scribble the day's trials in my journal. Let's see: Heart rate? Almost normal. Bladder? Full. Psyche? Damaged, but not beyond repair.
So, pre-trip potty, and I'm off again.

8. Home sweet hairball.
I walk into my apartment, finally. My cats are not thrilled with my absence for the past 24+ hours. Right on cue, one of them coughs up a hairball at my feet. Welcome home, you're not in charge of your life, human. Got it. Now I sit and type, waiting for my new love to walk in the door and hold me until morning makes this all less awful.

To the NJ Turnpike Authority: Playing Philip Glass's Koyanasquatsi in the restrooms is not restful.
To all PA drivers: what's your hurry? Posted Speed Limit= 55, I'm driving 75 in the slow lane and getting tail-gated and passed by Hummers doing 80+!
To the universe: I learned my lesson! Never again for an ex: No good deed goes unpunished.

Car Rental: $350 *REVISED* - they took off $200 for my troubles, so $150
Gas: $100
Tolls: $40
Fish & Bagels that never got delivered: $45
Miles Driven: 500
Divine Retribution: Priceless


Wednesday, May 3, 2006

smoldering memories

Yesterday (and today, still) a 10 alarm blaze ripped through a warehouse in Brooklyn. All day my boss kept saying "Do you smell smoke? Is something burning?" Yeah, Greenpoint. Our office is 2 blocks from Ground Zero in lower Manhattan, so when I stepped outside to head home, the haze of smoke and acrid air that wafted from the Brooklyn waterfront was a surreal reminder of 9/11 in the worst way.

A few days ago I was a few short blocks away from the conflagration at Galapagos, to cheer on my new band mates, The Lesbian Overtones. I sat in the audience, an apprentice Overtone, still.

I had hopes of writing a profound blog entry on the virutes of the theater vs. film vs. TV, inspired by meeting the great playwright and "Law & Order" veteran Eric Overmeyer last week, but the flames of terrorist memories have overwhelmed my thoughts. It doesn't help that a few blocks away the Tribeca Film Festival ushered in the first major motion picture depicting that day, Flight 93. Over at NewFest, we had films dealing with the terrorist attacks about a year later, I think because the Indie world moves at a faster pace emotionally and technically than the studio world. Theater used to serve that need and purpose in the cultural landscape, but now it's the blog/vlog/TV/film world filling that void, and not in as satisfying a way, unfortunately. My audience is small and intangible in my immediate blogosphere, not unlike off-off Broadway...