Seeing ’71

Monday was my day off so I spent it very responsibly…binge-watching the first season of Garfunkel and Oates and going to the movies.  I loved Garfunkel and Oates, more about it later though.

I was excited to see ’71.  It documents a British soldier’s experiences over a night in Belfast during The Troubles.  In 2012 I went to Belfast for two weeks with my school.  We learned about The Troubles and heard from active participants on either side.

I loved the movie.  I thought the story, the actors, the visual elements, and the production values were wonderful.  It feels like a documentary, which helped get you immediately invested.

I really enjoyed the costume design as well.  The soldier takes a sweater from a clothesline and I spent a few seconds debating if I could make it.  Being set in the 70s there were wonderful suits and fun short dresses.  The colour palette was very muted; a lot of neutrals with the men’s clothing and uniforms with brighter additions on the women and children.

The movie was fast-paced, packing a lot of story into a short amount of time.  At times I was a little skeptical about the events as they were unfolding, but it definitely helped to keep me interested in the story.  I was a little confused about who was on which side until almost the end of the movie; I’m not sure if that was intentional or if I didn’t pay enough attention, but the confusion lent itself very well to the “I don’t know who to trust” theme.

While ’71 might not be everyone’s cup of tea, I definitely recommend it.

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Book Review kiss me like a stranger

kiss me like a strangerI finally got to Burke’s, the bookstore around the corner from the intern house.  I bought three books and blazed through one in a few days.

Gene Wilder’s memoir, kiss me like a stranger, was an open and honest glimpse into his life.  I’ve always loved Gene Wilder in everything I’ve seen him in (not much as I found out) and I was excited to read about him.

Growing up I first saw Wilder in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, which I was incredibly surprised to learn was considered a flop at the box office.  It only earned $4,000,000, one million more than its budget.  I also discovered that Wilder was a writer having many ideas turned into movies, most well-known to me being Young Frankenstein.

Reading about Gene Wilder’s stage days were particularly interesting because I hadn’t known about them.  He auditioned for and became part of The Actors Studio, here he was mentored by Lee Strasburg.  In those early days Gene had focused on being dramatic instead of playing to his comedic strengths, and Strasburg called him out on it, saying:

“I got news for you: If you don’t know how you’re going to act some part of the script–work on what you do know.  Build up your confidence a little bit.  That will help you find what you don’t know.”

I was struck by this statement.  So often I focus on what I need to be doing and learning and working on that I forget to play to my strengths.  I spend too much of my time and energy worrying about how I’m doing compared to others.  My biggest competition is myself; as long as I’m doing better than I was yesterday that should count as a win.

I loved this book.  The flow was easy and made me want to read way past my bedtime.  I would recommend this book to anyone and everyone, specifically theatre people and those interested in Gene Wilder.

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Let me order last, please.

When I was a little girl I was far from the most well-behaved child.  I would throw temper tantrums…just terrible screaming and crying fits, and my parents wouldn’t know what to do with me.  I think their general reactions were to try waiting it out or threatening me: with a spanking, time-out, having a toy taken away or otherwise.

These tantrums could happen at any moment, but were most guaranteed when we went out to eat at a restaurant.  My most famous childhood story starts “Hey Kelly remember that time we were in Waffle House and you wanted pancakes…”  I actually don’t remember that story.

The point is that eventually my mom wised up.  She noticed that I took forever staring at the menu, going through every dish before I could choose one.  Soon she started giving me a smaller selection to make a choice from, and I got better at restaurants.

To this day I am one of the last people to order at a restaurant because I have to read the whole menu.

This inability to make a choice without knowing all my other choices affects more than the time I spend at a restaurant.  I put off starting on projects because I get pulled to other projects.  I have more blog post drafts than I should.  I have a to-read pile that’s about 20 books long at any given point in time.  The amount of clothes I want to make would triple the size of my already packed closet.

Sometimes I get a little disoriented and panicked when I’m over-stimulated.  I dislike the mall and big stores for this reason.  I am a slow walker because I like to notice things.

I want to say that this behaviour will stop now…but I don’t want to lie.  I will challenge myself to finish more projects than I start this year and I think that’s a start.

 

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I’ve yet to see a deer…

In keeping with the West Virginia homesick theme, I have to mention the other night.  I was talking on the phone with my friend Tyler, who’s currently in New York, and as we were talking I was enjoying the cool night air.  Back home I wouldn’t be outside at night this time of year without a heavy jacket, and probably a scarf and a hat, but only a light sweatshirt is needed so far in Tennessee.

Anyway, as Tyler and I were talking, I walked around the corner of the house and saw an opossum….in Memphis…in Tennessee.

Cute, in a scary stay-over-there kinda way.

Cute, in a scary stay-over-there kinda way.

 

Doesn’t seem too shocking, does it?  In West Virginia, wild animals are all over the place.  Our state is stereotyped for eating roadkill, of all kinds; we even have a roadkill festival.

For me, this sighting marked two things.  1) It was my first live wild animal sighting in Tennessee.  (I did see a dead raccoon within a couple of weeks here.) 2) If opossums live here, then maybe there are more wild animals (not counting that one raccoon, he could’ve been a fluke).  If there are more wild animals, they have to live somewhere, right?  If they have to live somewhere, there must be wild green space, right?

So really, I’m just excited about the prospect of forest, or uncultivated green-ness.

I make it sound like I’ve never been to a city before Memphis.  I have been to plenty of other cities.  I lived in Morgantown last year and I thought that was a city…I never expected to be this confused living in a city though.  I expected to panic about driving, and get lost all the time.  I even expected Mom to tell me about all the crimes that happened here in the last year and a half.  I just didn’t expect the city to be so grey.

And I’ve yet to see a deer.

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Oh the hills…

029

I made this as a present for one of my best friends, Kurtis.

I’m not saying that Memphis is flat…but it’s no Mountain State.  I never really thought about how much the land impacts my mood.  I should have known that being away from my hills would zap a lot of my energy though.  I had a folklore class that talked about the ‘sense of place’ that is so important to Appalachians, it’s one of the reasons that so many people never want to leave home.

I’m one of those people.  Living in a city is so oddly disconcerting…I just want to find a hill and roll down it.  People would probably think I was crazy, but I’m used to that sort of thing.

And missing home doesn’t mean I think any less of Memphis.  This place is great.  There’s always something happening or something to do, which is refreshing.  Back in Fairmont it seemed like we were always trying to find something to do, and yes it would sometimes mean going to Wal-Mart to walk around.  At the same time, all this bustle makes me long for a back porch to sit on…

Having this internship has made me realize quite a lot of things in the short time that I’ve been here, but the point that stands out most is how important West Virginia is in my life.  It has shaped my worldview in so many ways, mostly good but some that I’m working on changing.

One thing I know for sure, I’ll live in a lot of places before I settle down, but West Virginia will always be home.

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