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Showing posts from August, 2005

A complex phrase, in which the various parts are enchained

“Barry,” my cousin Mike said, “I think it’s time.” It was clear that my brother didn’t feel the same way, but he only shrugged, which Mike took as agreement. “Dave,” he said, giving the words as much gravity as he could muster, “Go get the dictionary.”

I was nine years old, and a tag-along. I’d walked in on my brother telling a story about how—during school that morning—a girl he knew got her period in the middle of French class. And I laughed like the dickens. And then they called me on it.

After I’d lugged the dictionary down from the spare room, Mike told me to look up the word period and read out the definition.

“The end of a cycle, a series of events, or a single action?”

“Keep going,” he said.

“The full pause with which a sentence closes?”

“Not that.”

“An interval of geologic—“

“Gimme that!” He yanked the book towards him, read down the page, and pointed me towards the definition he’d found. Menstruation: the monthly discharge of blood from the uterus of nonpregnant women from puberty t…

Rich, Famous, and Beautiful -- 2.2

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II.
My first film role was in a movie called ‘The Valiant.’It was described to me as a period piece, but it was really an action movie with muskets.It was about an American man who seeks out justice after English loyalists murder his wife.I, of course, played the wife.She really had no personality, she was just sweet enough that she had to die.I had a total of fifteen minutes of screen time.It wasn’t a good movie, a far cry from anything I’d been a part of before, but it had a fairly large budget, which meant, “Big distribution, big exposure,” according to Norman.I was cast alongside a man named Jude Rollins, who was supposedly an up and comer.The Valiant was supposed to be his breakthrough role, taking him from national to worldwide recognition.We met for the first time in a costuming session.“Hey there, Smallframe.You must be my wife,” were the first words he ever spoke to me. “My name is Katherine,” were the first words I spoke to him.He smiled deliciously, “I kn…

Wednesday Movie - Out of Africa

It’s difficult to see a current movie and not already know too much about it. I love trailers, but more often then not, they render the set up of any movie almost meaningless. Mr. & Mrs. Smith—a great movie that I enjoyed a lot, but we all knew going in that the Mr. and Mrs. were assassins for hire, and it gave the first half an hour a real get-on-with-it feel. This is why I enjoy these Wednesday movies, because I only know most of them by reputation and what I think I know is typically wrong.

There were only two things I knew about Out of Africa before I watched it: it had won Best Picture, and it was longest movie in all of movie history. Turns out I was wrong on the second thing. I think my parents—to whom a ninety-five minutes feature is “some long, b’y”—might have seen this when I was young and I’d witnessed the fall out. At two hours and forty minutes, no one would define it as short and breezy, but it’s no Das Boot, if you know what I’m saying. So here’s what I didn’t know …

Gunther and Moe

I'd like to take this opportunity to introduce the newest members of clan MacDonald-McLean.

First, Gunter. We'd had our eye on this guy for about two weeks, but the hours of the Anrprior Humane Society coincided pretty much exactly to our own work hours. He was a handsome guy, described as talkative and affectionate, and frankly, we just liked the name.

He's the alpha male, or so he'd like to have you believe, but he's run off and hid like a pansy at least six times in the last two days. Oh, and he grumbles like a person. If he's pissed, you'll know it. But he's all talk. For the most part, he's a good guy. And he's also fond of giving headbutts of love.

Next is Morris, who I like to call Moe, and Sarah likes to call Snowpants. (And when we're feeling particularly witty: Moepants Snowpants.) We weren't looking for a young guy, or a long haired cat, but this guy seduced me with a look after about ten seconds. (When I first met Sarah, it took…

I grow old... I grow old...

When I was twenty-four years old I dreaded my thirtieth birthday, but for different reasons than I do now. I was still in University then, finishing up the last year of a creative writing degree. At the onset, those of us in the program (with some exceptions) started out certain we’d all be little wonder boys and girls by the time we’d finished. We’d form a crew; we’d write and be written about. This of course never happened. Near the end of fourth year we were all certainly better writers, but none of us were superstars. We weren’t even published. But it was okay, I rationalized; I was still young. While my original plan—to have amassed a portfolio of writing so enormous that something would have to get published—failed entirely, my new plan would simply be to publish a novel by the time I was thirty. It was six years away. Actually, I think the full plan was to churn out three books by then, because then one would surely get picked up. If I couldn’t publish a book by the time I was …

Rich, Famous, and Beautiful -- 2.1

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Part TwoI.It was an entire year before I was ready to start my movie career.It’s not as if I had to retrain as an actress.Outside of hitting your marks and having divine amounts of patience while waiting between scene changes, it was much the same as being on stage.What kept me off for seven months was recovering from the surgery.Celeste had asked long ago, how far is too far?Where does it stop?After meeting with Norman Webb on several occasions to discuss my film career, I took a screen test.I was asked to ‘shoot off some Shakespeare,’ to which I gave them Lady Macbeth’s ‘dash’d its brains’ speech.Then I was given some lines from a very melodramatic film about a mother finding the child she’d given up for adoption when she was just a teenager.Norman reviewed the videos and called me in for an interview the next day.“Kate, your acting is phenomenal, just out of sight.”From the tone of his voice, I knew there was something wrong.“But?”He sighed, “You are a very …

Wednesday Movie - Garden State

Garden State is a very good movie. Just wanted to get that out there right at the start, because a little farther along I’m going to start sharing my issues with this movie, particularly the last fifteen minutes of it. So up front and right away—I really enjoyed it. If you haven’t seen it, pick it up. If you have, go tell Zach Braff that you liked it.

It’s the story of Andrew Largeman, a mostly out of work actor who has been tranquilized with anti-depressants since the age of ten. After getting the call that his mother has died, he returns home to New Jersey for the first time in nine years, and he makes the decision to do so with a clear head, leaving LA without his requisite arsenal of medication. He has an awkward visit with his father (who is also his psychiatrist), and remains numb throughout his mother’s service, but after the funeral an odyssey begins. He connects with an old friend from school and a free-spirited, oddly compelling girl, and finds himself traveling throug…

Rich, Famous, and Beautiful -- 1.9

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This one's a little long.

IX.After Merchant had ended, I had a great deal of time to myself for the two months that it would take the company to prepare and run The Taming of the Shrew.I suggested that Celeste would make a fine shrew, but the role went to a fiery Irish actress that had been with the troupe for years.During this time, I accomplished two things.I had my first adult relationship, and I read and reread Hamlet until it was committed to heart.I had dated before, mostly back before I’d started acting.These were men I was introduced to through my parents, and the dates were very traditional: expensive dinners, hand-holding long walks, then to be driven home by the chauffer.I never saw any of these boys more than twice and I don’t think that I was meant to.My parents probably set these up as a sort of dating rehearsal for later in life.If I hadn’t found acting, they probably would have married me off by this point, to a stock analyst or to some media…

Yes, Virginia, a Bear Does Shit in the Woods

Camping is mostly about drinking, lazing, waiting to eat, eating, waiting to eat again, and sleeping poorly.It’s actually a lot of fun, but it’s hard to convey this fun to others, so I’m not going to try.I’m going with the easy out: bullet points.Jorge is braver and more diligent than I am, so for a more complete version, swing round to his joint.Highlights from last weekend’s trip to Algonquin.On the way out, Isha and I stop for dinner in Eganville at a place called The International Meeting Place.Our food—grilled cheese and a hamburger—is prepared in a microwave.During the meal, a very obese man marches in and announces something like, “Oh jeez—you know Joey with the gimp leg?He just hit Morris’s station wagon and drove the damn thing clear through the garage!”He immediately moves on to inform the rest of the town.Isha tries to check the signal on her phone, but before it’s even half way out of her purse the waitress calls out, “Oh you won’t get a signal out here!”Clearly, we’re not…

Rich, Famous, and Beautiful -- 1.8

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NextThe Merchant of Venice came next and I was given the joy of playing Portia.Portia is a lot like Beatrice, although when she speaks her mind it is generally just among friends.But it's the only case in Shakespeare where a woman saves the day.Zwick said it was the perfect role for me to rediscover my fan base.I wasn’t aware that I'd lost it.What was especially great about the production was that Celeste was cast as Narissa.We’d been in productions before but never acting off of one another.“You know that I’m going to steal every one of your scenes,” she told me in mock confidence.“And how is that?” I asked.“Pick a scene.”“The Prince of Morocco scene.”“I’ll slip Morocco the tongue every time you turn your head.Pick another.”“The court scene at the end.”“Well, we’re supposed to be disguised as men.I’ll just have a better disguise.”“Like what?”“Like a t-shirt that says ‘No Fat Chicks.”One night, during after-rehearsal drinks, Celeste asked me if I would ever…