Thursday, August 29, 2013

#tbt #minibunny #balletbunny

Gems of wisdom I've learned from living in Manhattan for one decade

No one, and I mean, absolutely no one, is looking at you while you walk down the street. With the exception of the occasional whistled cat call from street workers / construction men / horny old men, I can confidently assure you that there is not a soul on the streets of Manhattan who is looking at you. Everyone is much too concerned with themselves (or perhaps equally importantly, their phone) to give a single shit about you, your outfit, or your very unimportant presence in their personal space.

Everyone. Is. Replaceable. In business, that is. While this downer-esque mantra may in fact hold true in urban meccas other than the great island of Manhattan, it is particularly so here. White collar Manhattan working folk are a particularly unique breed of humans. Not only are we (typically) much-too-eager over-achievers, we have an unparalleled ability to remove the remnants of former co-workers from our brains instantaneously after they depart. Oh well, we think, and move on to one of two reactions. He/she was great but we will march ahead. OR. He/she wasn't right for the job anyway. Henceforth I assert -- everyone is replaceable.

No matter what you studied in college, what your GPA was, your average daily time spent in the library or, gasp, your top-notch internship, what matters most in your if-you-can-make-it-here-you-can-make-it-anywhere career, is experience. Real, on-the-job, down and dirty experience. Believe me when I say, if your resume doesn't fit on a page, all those pre-real-life shenanigans will be just about as valuable to your employer as a letter from your mom.

Making eye contact with basically anyone is sending an open invitation for personal space invasion. Perhaps you'd like to undress me with your eyes while I sit here quietly on the subway trying to read my book. Or maybe you feel the need to strike up a conversation that I very much do not wish to have. Either way, direct eye contact will inevitably land you smack dab in a direct and deep hole.

Everyone is competing with you. You think you look better than that girl... well that other girl looks better than both of you. And she knows it. You're convinced you've outrun that chick on the adjacent treadmill when you exhaustedly dismount and head straight for the mat. Surely you've been on longer. Too bad when you get up from your ten minutes of weak sit-ups, she's still running furiously and makes sure you know it. That peer of yours at work who you casually happy hour with... she's silently judging and trying to outpace you. Note this is an absolute exaggeration, however is best served to make a point. Take it or leave it.

There is always something better lurking right over your shoulder. In life. In love. In work. Or at least that is the prevailing mindset. And that, my friends, is the trouble on this tiny little enormous island. So be alert of what's lurking right around the proverbial corner. And beware.


Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Woody Allen certainly puts the blue in Blue Jasmine

If I was at a loss for a good, thought-provoking post-Oscar film until now, Woody Allen has just managed to turn that around... and so much more. Allen's latest drama, Blue Jasmine, is perhaps the most realistic look at human relationships, wealth, and mental illness the writer-director has put forth to date. It is also unquestionably the most solid drama since his 2005 tense tennis murder mystery, Match Point.

Blue Jasmine explores the life of Jasmine, played by the gloriously talented Cate Blanchett, during two distinctly different time periods. The film toggles between Jasmine's earlier, wealthier and more glamorous upper east side married days, to her current husband-less, broke, and on-the-edge state. After Jasmine's "departure" from her late husband, a wheeling-and-dealing financial fraud (Alec Baldwin), her what-was-once posh Upper East Side / Hamptons life quickly morphs into a disastrous meltdown of despondence and mental anguish. Over the course of the nearly two-hour drama, we literally watch as life drains from Blanchett's Jasmine. She struggles to keep her head above water in her new-found "menial" job as a dental assistant, becoming consistently flustered by the need to maintain an up-to-date dental day planner. The experience of watching Allen's compelling fantasy-meets-reality saga is equivalent to watching a gradual human train wreck take place on screen. The film is rich with themes of marital dischord, class tension and mental madness without feeling forced. It is, after much delay, at last another display of Woody Allen genius.

In addition to Ms. Blanchett and Mr. Baldwin, the film is also quite pleasantly cast as a whole. Bobby Cannavale perfectly embodies the essence of Jasmine's sister Ginger's, terribly blue collar (perhaps an intentional double use of the word blue on Allen's part of perhaps just a fortunate grammatical coincidence) boyfriend, Chili. Blanchett's Jasmine constantly talks down to Cannavale's Chili, insisting her adopted sister should "find herself a decent man" superior to Chinatown-inhabiting-mechanic Chili. We also see a cameo from Louis CK, playing the role of Ginger's momentary male misstep. Ginger (Sally Hawkins) meets Louis CK at a party, commences a short-lived affair with the fun-loving guy who she later discovers keeps a wife hidden at home. While brief, Louis CK's presence in  the film does not disappoint.

Mr. Allen's Blue Jasmine, a long-overdue re-entrance into the human drama genre, aptly places him right back into the pinnacle of 2013 cinematic brilliance. Disturbing - check. Real - check. Raw - check. And that is exactly the place any proper Woody Allen fan would expect him to land a come back. So let's all take a deep breath, maintain our own sanity and raise a glass to commencing Oscar 2014 countdown.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Oprah... in Person

Meeting the immaculate Big O, otherwise known as Ms. Winfrey, was truly a once-in-al-lifetime experience. Words are minimally needed to describe. Suffice to say this. Watching Oprah's brand new movie screening a mere few inches behind the arguably equally awesome Gayle King, occupied a space of surrealism in the body of work that is my life. Thank you, media, for granting me the privilege of having one of my most significant life dreams come true. Love.