Love and scandal are the best sweeteners of tea. —Henry Fielding

31 December 2004

Check This Out. I seriously almost cried when I read it.

Dear Sir:

I am writing this letter of recommendation on behalf of Aaron Thomas who I have had the pleasure of knowing since the fall of 2001. Aaron was a student of mine at Cal Poly in the B.A. Theatre Arts program where I am an Assistant Professor and Head of Acting. Aaron graduated in the spring of 2003 with a GPA of 3.69. 3.92 in his major and with the enormous respect of our entire faculty. Aaron is one of the finest, brightest, most dedicated students that I have taught in my 25 years of university teaching. One of the top ten students I have taught.

While at Cal Poly Aaron was in my advanced Styles class which dealt with Molière, Shakespeare and Restoration. His work was excellent. I know that you are interested in Ph. D. candidates that possess superior intellectual ability, as well as the ability to delve into research and a strong capacity for analytical thinking. Aaron is superb in all of these areas. He has a terrific understanding of language, comprehends very difficult verse and is simply fascinated by looking up historical references and what he may not know. Aaron's ability for excellence in writing, research, and analytical thinking are also reflected in his superb GRE scores. He is an outstanding student. I also had the pleasure of directing him in Othello where he was Roderigo. He is a terrific actor.

Professionally, I have had the pleasure of hiring Aaron for four projects. He directed for our Studio Theatre season at Cal Poly in the winter of 2004, The Sin Project: Four Short Plays by Thornton Wilder and again this fall, 2004, Valparaiso. His research for both projects was comprehensive and insightful and the actors commented on how much they all learned from working with him. He is a tremendously talented director. I recommended him for Taming of the Shrew this past summer at CSULB. His production was intelligent , funny and alive. In all his productions, the actors always know what they are saying and why as well as understanding the style of the particular play. He has directed two stage readings for me at Cal Poly one being The Long Christmas Dinner and the other Love's Labour's Lost. Both were superior.

In addition, Aaron has a great respect and knowledge of voice and how voice can help the actor, particularly the telling of the story. He understands how to make language work and how to work with actors. I have hired him as a voice coach for The Crucible, Othello and The Foreigner. I am a Designated Linklater Voice teacher. My standards for voice work are quite demanding in my attention to diction, precision for dialects that are required, and breathing for Shakespeare. Aaron was invaluable in all of these areas and did outstanding work with the students.

I recommend Aaron without hesitation. He will be an excellent student. Aaron is the type of colleague I will be looking to hire as a full professor at Cal Poly in the future. If I can be of any other assistance please contact me at the email or office phone below. Thank you for your time and consideration.


Linda Bisesti

30 December 2004

I Do So Hate to Be the Bearer of Bad News...

But tonight I saw The Aviator and I really disliked it. It's just so long and oh so boring and there's all of this weird, loving camera work devoted to the absolute lunacy of Howard Hughes: not looking at it in a weird, isn't-this-sick sort of way, but a fascinated, look-what-our-boy's-up-to-now kind of way. There are a couple of really nice sequences: the first flight in that silver aircraft with the flush rivets over the beet fields is really nice and emotionally intense, and quite literally every single scene with Cate Blanchett is fascinating (I can't wait to hear what she's going to say next), umm, and okay I can't really think of anything else I thought was stand-out. It's a studio picture without a heart, and I honestly thought Phantom of the Opera was more interesting.
Oops. I was going to try not to be mean but it got away from me.

So I was pretty confident about Million Dollar Baby winning that Best Picture Oscar and now I know I'm right. The Aviator hasn't a chance. It will probably get a Cinematography nomination, plus Sound, Visual Effects, Costumes, and Art Direction. Marty looks good for Best Director and Blanchett is definitely getting a Best Supporting Actress nomination (if not the trophy itself). That's seven and that's a lot. I don't think the pic has an original song, and the original score is extremely minimal (most of the important moments are set to Bach's Toccata in Fuge in D Minor--weird). It might also get a makeup nomination. So... Eight. Not bad, I guess.
I have to say: the CGI in the movie is not good CGI, and I say it's not good because it's obvious. When I'm watching something and thinking, wow, look at that completely fake image up there on my screen, I think that's a bad thing.

I kind of feel bad for Harvey Weinstein, although I guess I really shouldn't. It's only been 2 years since his last Best Picture.

29 December 2004

So, the Pontiac Sunfire or whatever the fuck this car is called is okay. It's not necessarily as much of a piece of shit as I thought it was.

Tonight I went over to Diamond Bar after work to make the birthday party for John D, Jaime's boyfriend. Jai had this idea in her head that she would throw it like a wake, so everyone wore black and we made this video for John as if he had died. I was wearing a hoodie when they filmed me, so I was smoking a cigarette and saying things to the camera like "John was the nicest homosexual I ever met" and "He taught me so much about what it mean to be a queer." It was funny, and my part on the video was a definite hit.

Oh, and I meant to share all of the gifts I got for Christmas, so here goes:
In America
Master and Commander: the Far Side of the World
Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter, and... Spring

The Complete plays of Tennessee Williams (hardcover, baby)
Jean Genet, Funeral Rites
Edward Albee, Seascape
Edward Albee, Finding the Sun
Augusto Boal, Games for Actors and Non-actors
Augusto Boal, The Rainbow of Desire: the Boal Method of Theatre and Therapy
Richard Greeberg, The Violet Hour
Jerzy Grotowski, Towards a Poor Theatre
Sarah Kane's Complete Works
A Harold Pinter anthology
Warren Leight, Side Man
John Gielgud: the Authorized Biography
A Performance book/lecture on Jacques Lecoq
Shakespeare's Songbook
Plus my cousin got me a daily calendar from The Joy of Cooking. Awesome.

I know nearly everything on this list has to do with theatre, but what can you do? It's what I love.

I watched a little bit of Maurice last night when I got home, and I started to feel a little emptiness in my heart. I want to be in love again. I remember how it felt and I miss the feeling. Maurice just made me want to lay my head on a man's chest and tell him I love him. If you've never seen Maurice and you like Merchant-Ivory flicks, be sure to check it out.

28 December 2004

Must It Really Rain This Much?

I rented a car today. It was really easy. In fact, I got there at 5:50 and the place closed at 6:00p. No sweat. The bummer is that my insurance has decided that they will cover $19.99 a day of the insurance and my car (the second cheapest on the lot) is gonna cost $27.99 a day. Plus, I still kinda have to figure out how I'm gonna drop the car off in the morning and then get back to my casa to drive the rental to work. I will probably be late to work tomorrow. I hope it's not a big deal.

I meant to be starting some of my applications today. Maybe I will in a bit. But where I really want to be is at the cinema watching one of the few remaining films on my list for 2004. No, I need to get to work on these apps or they'll never get done.

There is much to relate about the past couple of days. I will work backwards.

Yesterday, I met Justín at his house in Hollywood and after driving to Westwood for the sake of adventure, we saw Million Dollar Baby over at The Grove. (It's still considered a "holiday period" there, so expect to pay $12.50.) I am predicting Million Dollar Baby to win Best Picture when the Oscar ceremony rolls around in February, but things could change. The movie works splendidly and has a great emotional payoff. Expect nominations for Hilary Swank, Clint Eastwood (director) and Morgan Freeman. Furthermore, expect Freeman to take home the Supporting Actor trophy on Oscar Night. Bold predictions after seeing the movie last night, I know, but I think they'll come true.

Funniest joke of last night... Justin: "I thought this movie was about the Lindbergh kidnapping."

I felt so busy this weekend, and busy I do not agree. I like to relax and do things around my house. I'm not saying I like chores; i just like to have time to do chores. Christmas was lovely. I spent the morning with my folks, who all got me books or movies (all of which I selected ahead of time via amazon.) For the evening I headed up to my friends the Dunways' house in Valencia. There were nine people there in total and there was food for days. There was goose and lamb and roast beef and cheese fondue and yams and wassail and green beans and apple-sausage stuffing and mashed potatoes and spinach salad and poached pears in red wine and roasted artichokes and wassail. It was a fucking feast and no mistake. There was also an ornament from Pottery Barn at each setting and Christmas crackers to open. After gorging ourselves we all played Cranium, which is a blast if you've never played. All in all, it was a lovely time with friends old and new and a very happy Christmas day.
The 26th was more family stuff... this time my mother's family. I was kind of a dick at that event. I played the rebel son and kept bringing up liberal ideas. Plus, I showed up early and then left early to go see my friend Jill who is visiting from Ohio. It was also my homophobic friend John's birthday so Jill and I met him for a drink later on in the evening. (He is not a homophobe, really, to be fair... I just call him that.)

I want to relax for a bit... you'd think that would be possible with a long weekend, but no dice.

Also, I am really really annoyed with this one girl at work who isn't pulling her weight. It's not just that. In truth, I think her laziness is symptomatic of a larger unhappiness with life and her inability to be grateful for what she has. The latest news with her is that her beau gave her a ring for Christmas and she went and had it appraised! "I want to know how much I'm worth," she says. Uh-huh.

25 December 2004

Angel of Music

I was in La Verne all day so my cinema choices were limited this evening. The options were The Phantom of the Opera or Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events. I opted for Phantom. It was, ummm, pretty. The three leads are all beautiful, and they all sing excellently. That Emmy Rossum has some serious pipes. And I didn't even know Patrick Wilson could sing. I only know I hated his character in Angels in America. Hate. Hate. Hate.
'Tis the season?

Phantom was okay. Not great by any means. It looks gorgeous. I guess my main problem with it is that I'm never sure what's happening in it, you know? If any of you see it I'd like to get your opinion on this. There's a lot of singing, but what, physically, is going on in the film? I just don't get it. There's a lot of symbolism, I suppose, but I don't understand.

I changed my voice mail message. I'm singing on it now:
In the meadow we can build a snowman
And pretend that he is Parson Brown
He'll say Are you married We'll say No man
'Cause it's illegal in this part of town

Merry Christmas.

24 December 2004

Trailers, Baby

Robert Rodriguez can get me to watch anything, I swear. Check this out.

And you won't believe this, but Shirley MacLaine returns to cinema after a million years... but it's in a film version of "Bewitched." WTF?

Oh yeah, and this morning I woke up and watched The Grapes of Wrath, which I had never seen. It's wonderful, really. I was getting tired of the politics early on in the film: kind of weary, I suppose, of all of the poverty and the lack of hope, but by the time Tommy leaves his mama and gives that speech that they play in old cinema retrospective reels, I was bawling. It got under my skin that first hour and a half and then it just let it rip. Man, it packed a wallop. I thought John Ford overplayed his hand with the end, but I think Grapes is easily his best film.

Merry Christmas, yo. I still have rapping wrapping to do, but I'm off to the folks' house for a little R&R before the madness of the next couple of days.

22 December 2004


This evening at 5:30p, a woman in my condominium complex backed into my sad, tired little Honda Accord with her enormous Jeep Grand Cherokee. She was very sorry and I was very sorry for her.

But GODDAMMIT. Now I have to get the motherfucker fixed and deal with an insurance agent and figure out how I'm gonna get around without a car for whatever period of time mine is being repaired. What a pain in the ASS.

I don't think I would've gotten mad anyway, but I am so exhausted that when this woman plowed into my car, I barely lifted an eyebrow my unibrow.* We were in the main driveway on Allen and she was getting out of her car to come talk to me and whatever and I was like "Why don't we go in and park first?" So we parked our cars and then talked about what to do. The whole time, I was just trying to be nice to her. It's not like she meant to hit me or hit me because she's an awful driver or anything: she just didn't see me. Poor lady.
I just got off the phone with my insurance company. Someone will call me hopefully tomorrow, and if not then Monday.

I guess it's good I'm not hanging out with tonight anyway, since I am utterly exhausted and I've been hit by an SUV. Instead, I am on my way to the Cal Poly Holiday reunion, which won't be much of a reunion for me, since I will not know hardly anyone there. I'm going to go see Kathy Vega and the Fallons and then beat it. It's in Pasadena at Bucca di Beppo. (I probably wouldn't be going at all if it weren't down the street.)

*I am plucking that shit as we speak: it's unbelievable that I've let it get this bad!

It Hurts to Change

I feel like I ought to post since it feels like it's been twenty years since I did. So hello out there.

Work has been getting me down so far this week. I think it's because there isn't that much to do at work (which is just weird). We're always so busy, so I'm not sure why we're not busy now. I know I have job security and everything, but it's times like these when I feel like I could be getting fired any minute. Hm.

I have been so very busy with the "Holidays," as they have come to be known. Saturday I went to see Madison in A Christmas Carol down at SCR. She was very cute and the show was quite charming... and I saw James Ray, who looks the same as he did in University... at least to me. The show was nice and it's always nice to see Maddie, but this took up my whole day. I got home at 8:00p, went grocery shopping and headed out to see Mar Adentro (The Sea Inside) which is the first movie with positive buzz this season that has really connected with me. The Sea Inside is awesome. Really. It's great. It's an incredibly beautiful, life-affirming movie about a quadraplegic who wants to end his life. It's quite powerful and I connected with it very emotionally. Hooray for good cinema.

Sunday I went to lunch with my mother and then to Nancy's house to visit for a while and then to the girls' for friends Christmas night. It was lovely... everybody but Derek was there from the circle of friends and we had a great time. I should post about Scott and the disappointing blow he dealt me on Sunday, but I'll let it wait until another time.

Yesterday I finished all of my Christmas shopping and watched Miloš Forman's The Firemen's Ball which is a hilarious Sixties movie from the golden era of Czech cinema.

Tonight, Wahima and I saw Caroline or Change at the Ahmanson Theatre and it was spectacular. I loved it so much and I'm so glad we went and didn't miss it. I don't think I would have forgiven myself if we had.

But now it's really late for me. I need to get up in six hours to go to work... something I very much do not want to do. I want to take off work and go downtown and see Million Dollar Baby.


19 December 2004

FYC 2.0

If you are an Academy voter and have any sense whatsoever:



18 December 2004

FYC 1.0

I have been thinking about this a long time, and I want to beg for the following from Oscar Voters



16 December 2004

Quote of the day: Jill

So Jill is walking into a venue with her high school dance team. The girls are wearing black leggings with white oxfords and black fedoras (they performed "Beat It") Jill is wearing a jacket that says "coach" on it. Evidently, this "coach" jacket is what made the random nine-year-old boy feel the need to come talk to Jill.
Nine-year-old boy: "Those are the ugliest costumes I have ever seen."
Jill responds expressionlessly to nine-year-old boy: "So is your face."

15 December 2004

Post for J. Reynolds "Some things stay the same / Like time / There's always time"

I was thinking today about "She doesn't look at me. They never do. How can they. There are long lines of people all the time."

Today after I left Jamba Juice there was a woman with a stroller talking to a female companion about this store "Memories" that had God only knows what in it. As I walked past I sang "Memories" from Cats, and thought how freaking odd I must seem to this lady, to whom I was obviously singing. She answered back with the next line from the song. I didn't look at her; I had sunglasses on anyway. I just kept walking.

I applied for a day off in January to go to Las Vegas for a friend's birthday. The form said "Reason for request of time off." I asked my supervisor what she usually writes and she said "Personal." I wrote "Vegas, baby!"
My vacation day was approved.

Last night I saw Jon Robin Baitz' new play called The Paris Letter. It's really really good and needs a lot of help. It's three hours and has hardly any order at all. He does a lot of things wrong... he usually does. But I always ADORE Act I of his shows. Usually he ruins them in Act II with an upbeat ending that makes. no. sense. This one ends the way it should, but lacks focus and dramatic intention. The characters are masterfully drawn, though. I could fix it if I had the chance, but it's Jon Robin Baitz and he doesn't know me from Adam, so that won't be happening. I wonder how come no one else fixes the show, though. Ah well. Neil Patrick Harris is in the show and he's naked for like four minutes... no shit. He's kinda hot: nice body, a little skinny. The other guy in it: Josh Radnor is also naked in it and he's way hotter. Both are excellent in the show. I forget the other actors' names. Ron Rifkin is the lead more or less, but he just plays "irascible old man." Radnor is the most brilliant talent in the show. Hopefully he goes far... and hopefully he reads this and invites me to coffee. I wish I could fix this play. I know exactly how to do it.

Tonight Allan and I saw The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou at The Grove and we both liked it. It snowed at The Grove at precisely 7:00p--definitely worth the $3 of parking with validation. Plus I did Christmas shopping. Hooray. Almost done.

Oh, and I ran into Nathan Fillion who used to play Joey on "One Life to Live" and then was on "Two Guys a Girl and a Pizza Place." HOT. I didn't really run into him, but I did walk past him at a distance of about two feet and then turn and stare at him. I've run into other people at The Grove, but I stared at Nathan Fillion.

Quote of the day:
"I heard Mike Steger booked a McDonald's gig."
"Can you still recognize him with the white makeup and the big red shoes?"

Oh yeah, I finished Neil LaBute's Fat Pig, the politics of which are questionable. It's Neil LaBute. This play reads like a shocking episode of primetime television. It does a lot of things right in a lot of ways, but after watching Jon Robin Baitz' play, I was just reminded that Baitz is a very very talented person who needs help with his work. LaBute will never be anything more than somebody who thinks all people are basically assholes. Baitz has more talent in his little finger than LaBute has in his whole upper torso (I can't speak for the lower half).

13 December 2004


Ingmar Bergman is officially THE MAN. I have seen several of his films: most notably Cries and Whispers and Autumn Sonata and I think they are great films. I love their temperature, especially, and I love Liv Ullman in them. I've also seen and admire Through a Glass Darkly and Wild Strawberries but let me tell you, I just finished Fanny and Alexander and I feel like I've been bowled over.

Fanny and Alexander is a stunning, shining work of genius that holds its cards close to its chest and is uncompromising and beautiful. Anyone who says they love movies absolutely must see this film.

The Golden Globe nominations came out this morning. I hate the Golden Globes for their absolute devotion to celebrity and their complete and utter unaccountability, but they do sort of set the mood Oscar-wise. It really is a shame that such a band of outsiders should decide so much in Hollywood. Eh. They showered their blessings today on Sideways, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, and Kill Bill: Vol. 2. Li'l Miss Scarlett Johanssen also got herself a boost today and so did, inexplicably, Kevin Kline. Whatever. Very good news for Cate the great, though, as she is looking more and more like an Oscar nominee lock for The Aviator. It's-about-motherfucking-time.

12 December 2004

I didn't go to the cinema today. Instead, I cleaned like a madman. I moved all of the furniture and vacuumed everything. I replaced all of the light bulbs in the house, cleaned my bathroom, did the dishes, bought a print for the kitchen, replaced some of the fixtures in the bathroom and threw away a whole bunch of crap. I cannot believe how clean my floor is.

Besides, none of the films I want to see is playing near me and I just don't feel like driving to Hollywood today after driving to Santa Monica by way of Valencia last night. (The party was really fun, though. I love shit like that sometimes. I just talked with people about whatever nonsense came into my head. When I don't know anyone I can occasionally have a really nice time. No prospects, though there was this adorable Peruvian/Wisconsonian optometrist at the party who looked to be about 26 and came to the soirée direct from the audience at the Pasadena Symphony.) End flashback.

I watched about half of Fanny and Alexander: right up until the intermission, and then Eduardo came home so I shut off the TV. I like to give him the use of his own television when he's here. It feels odd to be watching a movie on his huge television while he's relegated to his room, especially since he uses the TV so much.

The print I hung in the kitchen is pretty cool. It is a framed photograph of a bunch of dusty old wine bottles. Dusty wine bottles say something interesting to me: they are like purposefully neglected little treasures. They know their own value and are simply waiting to be used. Or perhaps they are like academia: full of interesting information and always surrounded by more of the same but rarely called upon.

I bought a play today: Fat Pig by Neil LaBute. I don't like Neil LaBute, but I read scene one because of the title and kinda got hooked. Plus I had a 25% off coupon at Borders. I also felt like finishing a book. I have been reading Genet's Le Journal de Voleur for weeks and it is fabulous but rough going.

Los Angeles Film Critics Association Announces


Best Picture: Sideways
2. Million Dollar Baby

Best Director: Alexander Payne, Sideways
2. Martin Sorsese, The Aviator

Best Actor: Liam Neeson, Kinsey
2. Paul Giamatti, Sideways

Best Actress: Imelda Staunton, Vera Drake

2. Julie Delpy, Before Sunset

Best Supporting Actor: Thomas Haden Church, Sideways
2. Morgan Freeman, Million Dollar Baby

Best Supporting Actress: Virginia Madsen, Sideways
2. Cate Blanchett, Coffee & Cigarettes and The Aviator (WHY IS NO ONE TALKING ABOUT THE LIFE AQUATIC????)

Best Foreign Language Film: House of Flying Daggers
2. Diarios de Motocicleta (The Motorcycle Diaries)

Best Animated Feature: The Incredibles

Best Screenplay: Alexander Payne and Jim Taylor, Sideways
2. Charlie Kaufman, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

Best Production Design: Dante Ferreti, The Aviator
2. Huo Tingxiao, House of Flying Daggers

Best Score: Michael Giacchino, The Incredibles

Sideways is looking better and better for a Best Picture nomination. I am still unsure of its chances, though. Million Dollar Baby is now definitely a lock. I am a little surprised that Collateral, easily the best film about Los Angeles this ywar did not receive any mention from the LAFCA, although I expected them to embrace Sideways. Shit, the LAFCA fricking LOVED About Schmidt and I still can't see why. Important to note if predicting Sideways for a Best Picture nom. It all looked rosy for About Schmidt too and it ended up not being nominated in that category. Thomas Haden Church again? I want them to shut up about him, but good for Morgan Freeman and good for Liam Neeson here. Imelda Staunton is a lock for a nomination, so this award means nothing for her. Virginia Madsen is helped greatly by this and good for her, I say. The Sideways and Eternal Sunshine scripts are the only scripts anyone is talking about right now. Best Adapted and Best Original? I think they're locks for nominations, certainly. Wins are less certain. Things definitely look good for both Dante Ferreti and Huo Tingxiao. I think both are locks for nominations. I think Cate Blanchett is a real longshot for Supporting. There is buzz every single year for her, but she hasn't been nominated since 1999! She does too good of work too consistently. It's really too bad. Maybe this year...

More news Monday with the GG nominations and the announcement by the NYSFC

11 December 2004

Summing Up 2004

1. What did you do in 2004 that you'd never done before? Quit a job. Drove 8 hours by myself. Made hotel reservations. Sang karaoke.
2. Did you keep your new years' resolutions, and will you make more for next year? I didn't make any for 2004. I doubt there will be any for 2005, either.
3. Did anyone close to you give birth? My friend Jill's ex-boyfriend Gareth and his wife Guinivere had a baby named Emma: her picture is on my refrigerator.
4. Did anyone close to you die? No.
5. What countries did you visit? None, I'm afraid.
6. What would you like to have in 2005 that you lacked in 2004? A scholarship to grad school.
7. What dates from 2004 will remain etched upon your memory, and why? 10/4 My first day at Avjet Corp.
8. What was your biggest achievement of the year? Directing Valparaiso.
9. What was your biggest failure? Allowing myself to get pudgy again.
10. Did you suffer illness or injury? No.
11. What was the best thing you bought? A new chandelier for my condo and... [I haven't decided yet, but there will be more purchases to come.]
12. Whose behavior merited celebration? The Mayor of San Francisco, Gavin Newsome. My friend Scott.
13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed? George W. Bush and the four members of my immediate family for voting for his ass.
14. Where did most of your money go? My mortgage. Health Insurance.
15. What did you get really, really, really excited about? Troy.
16. What song will always remind you of 2004? Such Great Heights - The Postal Service
17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
a) happier or sadder? About the same.
b) thinner or fatter? Fatter, easily.
c) richer or poorer? Definitely richer.
18. What do you wish you'd done more of? Yoga.
19. What do you wish you'd done less of? Thinking about Andy.
20. How will you be spending Christmas? With my brother, sister, parents, and my father's family.
21. Did you fall in love in 2004? Not a chance.
22. How many one-night stands? None.
23. What was your favorite TV program? I didn't watch TV in 2004 except for a single episode of the new "Hawaii Five-O."
24. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year? Karl Rove. The entire state of Ohio except for Jill and her fiancée.
25. What was the best book you read? The Red Tent by Anita Diamant.
26. What was your greatest musical discovery? Damien Rice and Caroline, or Change by Jeanine Tesori
27. What did you want and get? A new job.
28. What did you want and not get? A boyfriend... who am I kidding? a husband.
29. What was your favorite film of this year? I haven't seen it yet. If nothing better comes out this year, then it's Kim Ki-duk's Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter, and ...Spring.
30. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you? Julie, Anna, Lisa, Jaime, Derek and Ryan came over to my house and we talked and just hung out. I turned 23.
31.What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying? Achieving some ability to take care of myself better. A million things. What the Hell?
32. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2004? Small is the new Medium. The MX1 shirt goes with everything.
33. What kept you sane? My friend Jaime who ALWAYS understands.
34. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most? Rodrigo Santoro replaced Raoul Bova.
35. What political issue stirred you the most? The election.
36. Who did you miss? Kristen, Derek and Jill.
37. Who was the best new person you met? Danny Lampson.
38. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2004: I learned that waiting for things to get done does not get them done. No one is going to drop by and do them.
39. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year: "Ground Control to Major Tom your circuit's dead is there something wrong? Can you hear me Major Tom? Can you hear me Major Tom? Can you hear me?"

I Was Hoping I Could Come Home and Say I'd Seen the Year's Best Film

La Mala Educación is good. In fact, it's really good. But it's not as good as Todo Sobre Mi Madre and it's nowhere near as brilliant Hable con Ella.

Gael García Bernal is out of luck for his Best Actor nomination this year, even though his performance is spot-on. I'm thinking that Almodóvar may still get a Best Director nomination, though. The screeplay could wind up nominated too, I guess, although I just didn't embrace the film whole-heartedly. Pedro obviously has a language and style all his own, and Educación is unmistakably Almodóvar, but I think it has too many layers to it: for me this diffuses my emotional involvement in the characters.

Still, it's a nice piece of cinema and something everyone involved can certainly be proud of. I just wish the story of those little boys in love had been told more clearly.

10 December 2004

Don't Raise Your Eyebrows; You Look Smug.

I am loving this Damien Rice album called "O." I listened to it because of the main song from Closer that he penned. The album is so cool. A small lyric sample:

Don't hold yourself like that
You'll hurt your knees
I kissed your mouth and back
But that's all I need
Don't build your world around volcanoes melt you down

What I am to you is not real
What I am to you you do not need
What I am to you is not what you mean to me
You give me miles and miles of mountains
And I'll ask for the sea

Another excerpt:

You wanna get boned
You wanna get stoned
You wanna get a room like no-one else

You wanna be rich
You wanna be kitch
You wanna be the bastard of yourself

You wanna get burned
You wanna get turned
You wanna get fucked inside out

You wanna be ruled
You wanna be fooled
You wanna be a woman like a man

What a badass guy. He sings a bit like Jude and the lead singer of Coldplay with the sensitivity of John Mayer and Rufus Wainwright, but with a cruel streak.

In other news, the controller pulled me aside today and told me that they asked the owner for a raise for me. "I know you haven't been here long," she said, "but we asked anyway." I'm a fucking rock star.
This week I worked a total of 6 hours of overtime in addition to my 40 regular hours. Things are swell.

Now... The America Play. Do I have a concept? No. Will I invent one in the next hour? You bet your ass I will.


I got a call yesterday from Bill asking me to direct for CSUP in the Spring.

Still haven't sent in my directorial approach to The America Play. That's an assignment for tomorrow. I will do it tomorrow. I'm also going to try to apply to at least one of the other schools.

I did most of my Christmas shopping last night, too... online.

Debs came over. I had purchased alcohol for her, so she came to pick it up. Cheers. We visited for over an hour. It was nice.

Tonight I will go the cinema. Probably Bad Education, since there are really late shows and all the movies I want to see are playing in Hollywood.

06 December 2004

I Don't Like Mondays

Went to Westfield Santa Anita and was pleasantly surprised to find that it was uncluttered with riff-raff on a Monday evening. There were very few people there in general. It was nice.

I went to Express Men and exchanged the blue shirt I bought on 11/26 for the green one I wanted that they didn't have on 11/26. It's a very nice green: a kind of jewel shade of lime.

I finished re-reading The America Play. As I was reading I kept asking myself "What the fuck am I gonna do with this?" I called Allan but he wasn't much help, although his explanation of "The Great Hole of History" was better than the stuff milling about my head. PLUS something Allan said--can't remember what it was now--made me think of a set. Maybe I'll read it again tomorrow. I just don't know what this play looks like. I hear it really well, and it's a badass piece of writing, but man, I don't see it.

At least they didn't assign Imperceptible Mutabilities of the Third Kingdom. ? Geez.

I had a nice salad for dinner: bacon, Gorgonzola, jícama, tomatoes, fresh basil. Yum.

I think I was going to say something about work. Ah well. The CFO loves me now, by the way. She asked me about movies today and then roped me into conversation for twenty minutes. And then I worked an hour of overtime. I love this job, I swear.

Oh, and I didn't hear back from Dr. Melissa Aaron about writing me a recommendation, so I decided to hit Send on the Berkeley application. I am now completely finished with Berkeley. I still have stuff to send in for Stanford (obviously: see above frustration about Parks' America Play.)

To go:
Cornell University, Ithaca NY : Deadline 1/15/05
University of California, Davis CA : Deadline 1/15/05
University of Washington, Seattle WA : Deadline 2/15/05

I wonder what hoops they'll want me to jump through...

I'm an Adult. 'Cunt' away.

I liked Closer, but I certainly didn't love it. I saw it last night with Elizabeth after we had a surreptitiously truncated excursion into the Beverly Center. Why on Earth a shopping mall would close at 6:00p in December is incomprehensible to me. I expect better of West Hollywood.

Closer, as you may know, is a witty, biting, venomous play by Patrick Marber, and the play I directed as my senior project when I got my undergrad. At least I see it as biting and venomous. The movie is only a tad vitriolic. It definitely has its moments, and the really cool scene that is my favorite at the end of Act I remains intact and still packs a punch, but a reviewer used the phrase "Neil LaBute Lite" on Friday and I think that's fairly accurate here. I never liked Neil LaBute and I still don't, so maybe that's an insult... perhaps I just think the movie is Closer Lite. A lot of the vulgarity is edited out... not all of it, mind. There is certain stuff at which I still cringe, but the movie uses the word "fuck" only about half the time the play does, and there isn't any sex in the flick at all.

This was the biggest disappointment for me watching the movie. If it were my movie I would have done so much differently it's not even funny: starting with there would've been some sex, baby. Also, and Elizabeth pointed this out so don't think I came to such a realization alone, I think I see the material in a completely different way than Mike Nichols did. For me, the play is about poison and us hurting other people because we can, and it's about lying and when we should lie and when we should tell the truth. For Mike Nichols (again, this is Elizabeth speaking), the play is about love and cheating. When I directed it, Closer was very much not about love, and I still see the material as not about love.

Clive Owen is fabulous in the movie and will definitely be nominated for an Academy Award.
Julia Roberts and Jude Law are excellent: note-perfect, actually, and though their chances are less sure with AMPAS, they are not undeserving.
Natalie Portman is way better here than she is in, say, Attack of the Clones, but not nearly as great as she was in Garden State and Cold Mountain. The role is flashy, though, and chances, I would say, look good for her to be nominated as well.
Look for the screenplay to nab a nomination and one of the Damien Rice songs (the main one in the film "Blower's Daughter"--whatever that means--is not original) but I think he wrote one or two others.

04 December 2004

Aaron Goes to College: Vol. 1

"Aaron Goes to College" is akin to Kill Bill, I feel, in scope and length.

I have been applying to college all day. After I woke up and did yoga (!) I ran to Target for envelopes (just the regular kind) and some quarters. When I got home I shut the door on the roommate and his girlfriend and attempted to finish all of the application processes for Stanford and Berkeley. I finished the web-based part of Stanford and pressed Send. I still haven't finished Berkeley because I'm waiting to hear if Dr. Melissa Aaron will write me a reccomendation. If she will, I'll hold off on pressing Send, but if I don't hear from her Monday, I'm hitting Send without her. After I hit Send at Berkeley, I'll be done with that school. But I still have more to mail in for Stanford. As follows:

1. Stanford wants a Statement on Directing, which they describe as "a brief (no more than 3 pages double spaced) description of your approach to a proposed production of one of the following plays: Sophocles’ Electra, Shakespeare’s King Lear, Brecht’s Good Person of Setuzan [sic], or Suzan-Lori Parks’ America Play." I'm totally going with the Parks' piece, but I'm exhausted. That can get done tomorrow.

2. Stanford also wants "one or two papers that best demonstrate your potential for doing independent and sophisticated work in criticism. Please do not submit papers of historical research that is not subjected to analysis, reviews of productions, or original plays. We value historical study, journalism, and playwriting, but such work gives little indication of your ability to handle critical language or deal with abstract ideas or aesthetic theory. The paper need not deal with drama; critical studies of another genre could provide the evidence we need." Thankfully I have something that fits this bill. It's called "Girl-Power and the English Restoration," and it's quite good if I do say so myself.

3. I'm also supposed to send "a statement indicating your experience attending live theater so that the Committee knows what kinds of theater you have been exposed to at this point in your life."

And this is only two schools. I have three more of these bad boys to turn in.

Pop Quiz


Is a picture of...

A. Artistic director of L.A. Women's Shakespeare Company, Lisa Wolpe
B. The kid who didn't win on "American Idol," Clay Aiken
C. Friendly blogger, girmo2003, with glasses

I may be forsaking Rodrigo Santoro...

I saw House of Flying Daggers last night and I liked it better than Hero... though not that much better. It is just as rooted in silly melodrama and fantasy, though I liked the politics of this one better and the end makes a lot more sense than Hero's. Also, House is not as outlandish and seems a tad bit more rooted in reality.

But the real discovery of last night was Takeshi Kaneshiro. Oh my god, this man is beautiful.

03 December 2004

My Honor Student Is Not Nearly as Cool as Your Student

What happens if your kid turns out to be totally uncool.

I was watching a some people last night: an older couple and a younger one. The older woman was either the younger woman's mother or mother-in-law. But I couldn't help notice how much cooler the older woman was. She had a nice haircut, rather stylish outfit, etc. The younger woman (mid-forties, let's say) had bangs and hair down to the small of her back, too-tight jeans, and was clearly uncool. What, I mused, must the older woman think of the younger. If she's her mother-in-law, she probably thinks her son chose awfully poorly, but it's so much worse if she's her mother! I mean, how could she with the stylish haircut and savvy demeanor have produced someone so out of it?

Then I took the thought further. My father the minister produced a liberal, athiest, homosexual son. Could I not then produce a son who could become a convert to Christianity or Islam or something? How horrified I would be! And if my son could be converted to a religion could he not then become homophobic even, and be taught to hate my partner and me? I mean this could happen!!

I mean, I suppose every child hates his parents at some point in his existence.

What did our parents do when we hated them?

01 December 2004

Oscar Season Begins

National Board of Review

Best Picture: Finding Neverland
2. The Aviator
3. Closer
4. Million Dollar Baby
5. Sideways
6. Kinsey
7. Vera Drake
8. Ray
9. Collateral
10. Hotel Rwanda

Best Director: Michael Mann, Collateral

Best Actor: Jamie Foxx, Ray

Best Actress: Annette Bening, Being Julia

Best Supporting Actor: Thomas Haden Church, Sideways

Best Supporting Actress: Laura Linney, Kinsey

Breakthrough Performances:

Topher Grace, P.S. and In the Company of Men (what, no mention of Win a Date with Tad Hamilton!?)
Emmy Rossum, The Phantom of the Opera

Best Foreign Language Film: El Mar Adentro (The Sea Inside)
2. La Mala Educación (Bad Education)
3. Maria Full of Grace
4. Les Choristes
5. Diarios de Motocicleta (The Motorcycle Diaries)

Best Animated Feature: The Incredibles

The big winners here is obviously Neverland, which I think is a ludicrous choice for Best Picture, but... hey, it's the National Board of Review and they're a bunch of nuts anyway.
I think Thomas Haden Church wins big here, too. I guess steam is building for his performance, but I frankly hope it subsides soon. I thought he was the worst thing in Sideways, and I don't know what people think they see, but I just didn't believe this guy when he was talking.
Million Dollar Baby looks like it is going to be a big force soon, and that's good. I hadn't heard of this film three weeks ago and now the buzz is everywhere. Good for Clint Eastwood, I say.
And Collateral! Hello. This movie is getting buzz again and that's awesome. Notice how the NBR didn't mention Jamie Foxx as Best Actor for Collateral and Ray. That's because they're pushing him as supporting for Collateral. Whatever, but that means he might actually get two nominations this year... geez. But good news for Michael Mann, and congratulations: Collateral is an excellent film with a soul of iron and I respect it a Hell of a lot.
Good news also for France and Spain for The Sea Inside and Choristes, respectively. Those are the only two flicks on this list up for the Foreign Language Oscar, and their pedigree definitely increases being mentioned today.

Big losers today: Spanglish, The Phantom of the Opera, and I'd mention Alexander, but it's already dead and there's no need to trample on it.

I have put the movies I've already seen in bold-face, so as you can see, there aren't too many flicks left to catch this year, which, I guess, is a bit of a disappointment. Hopefully a few more good films will emerge in the next couple of weeks.

Best Directorial Debut: Zach Braff, Garden State

Best Adapted Screenplay: Alexander Payne and Jim Taylor, Sideways

Best Original Screenplay: Charlie Kaufman, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

Best Ensemble: Closer

Best Production Design: House of Flying Daggers

Another Dumb Quiz That I Just HAD to Play

Your Years at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry
Family Line
Dated Draco Malfoy
You are well known for Excelling in Quidditch
Percentage of student body you shagged - 27%
How do the staff and students feel about you *giggle blush*
This cool quiz by lady_ameily - Taken 254197 Times.
New - How do you get a guy to like you?