A Strange Short Film

Screen shot 2014-08-07 at 7.04.43 PMWow, I almost let today pass without a post. How irresponsible of me!  I’m a little busy today which is weird considering that yesterday was my last day of work for the summer. I know, time goes by so fast – it seems like just yesterday that I was writing about starting work.

And so, with summer’s end fast approaching, you may wonder, ‘well, what are you going to do now?’, and the answer to that is: I’M HEADING TO LONDON!! As a little background, I have family that lives over there. They are always really good about visiting us and almost every time they come we promise that we will one day come visit them. We are finally making good on that promise. I can’t wait to write my post for next week and add all the pictures that I will have taken. It was great being a tourist in my own city but how great will it be to be a tourist somewhere else?!

I’m leaving on Saturday and you can imagine that life on my end is a little crazy with packing and all that. Therefore, I will keep this post short and get to the point. So, earlier on this week, all the interns at the documentary center were supposed to bring in their work for an intern screening. Me, being very wary of sharing my work, went the lame route and brought some black and white photographs that I developed last year, instead of showing the little artsy found footage film that I made. Photographs are one thing but showing something that you worked hard on and want people to like is in two completely different ballparks. Not to say that I didn’t work hard on my photographs – because I spent many hours in the dark room to get them right – but somehow showing the film for me was very different. It’s also in part because I am embarrassed of it a little, I’ve seen it too many times and every single flaw is painfully apparent to me.

Anyway, I did end up showing the film at the screening after being peer pressured into it even though I was highly uncomfortable with the situation. Their reaction was good but this experience made me realize that I am VERY WARY of sharing my work with people. And so to try and get over this, I’ve decided to share it with you here. I guess the premise requires an explanation but I’ve decided to just let you interpret it for yourself. If there are any vlogger fans reading this post, you might be happy to see the material included. Hope you enjoy! Catch up with you next Thursday!

Soundtrack of my Summer (Do you know it’s unlike any other?)

itunes_logoSo…no adventures in the city this week, unfortunately. In fact, nothing much really happened at all if I’m being honest. Just the usual: waking up early and heading off to work. But you know what really helped me get through the week? MUSIC. I know everyone nowadays always has their headphones in, listening as they commute and go about their lives. I’m not really one of those people just because most of the time I can’t be bothered to pack my headphones every day and I kind of like hearing life go on around me. Beats me how people can hear train announcements and the like when music is blaring in their ears. However recently, I’ve started to warm to the practice of listening to music on my commute. And this is for two reasons: 1) It keeps me awake and alert. I know I really can’t doze off on the train when I’m holding my too-big-to-fit-in-my-pocket-phone and it’s all out in the open yelling ‘steal me!’ and 2) the trains have been ridiculously delayed recently to the point that I get so bored and annoyed that I just need music to take my mind off of how much longer I have to stand next to the antsy woman who is practically begging the person in front of her with her eyes to relinquish the seat.

In any case, I wanted to share with you all my most listened to album of the summer! Now before reveal the album title, I just want to say that I became a fan of the artist in question a little over two years ago after his first album was already out. He has a particular style when it comes to songwriting that I guess you either really like or you don’t, but what impresses me the most about him is that all of his songs come from the heart. When he sings it’s just like sitting down and listening to a story and you really feel all the emotions with him as he sings. A fan commented on one his songs to the effect of ‘I don’t know how but he makes me feel so emotional about things that has never happened to me’. Besides his epic song-writing skills, he is also an incredibly talented musician – whenever he performs I can only look on in jealousy. He makes it looks so easy when it’s obviously not. Have you guessed the artist? Any friends reading this post have probably already guessed correctly long ago as I make no secret of my admiration for this man and his music.
The correct artist is Ed Sheeran! Which would make my most listened to album of the summer ‘X’ or Multiply! May I just say that this album completely blew me away. I mean I loved his first album but this one was AMAZING. The first album introduced that  sweet, heart-wrenching story-telling songwriting style that has become a sort of trademark, while this one kind of shook up that foundation a little bit and introduced more R&B and hip-hop type vibes. I was especially happy that he added more rap tracks to this album because I loved ‘You Need Me, I Don’t Need You’ (which was the only rap track on the first album) and wanted more. His signature style is obviously still there, and I love those songs just as much as I love the other stuff, but it was great to see that he experimented with this album.
I have a new favorite song every time I listen to the album and I don’t think I can count the amount of times I’ve listened. How often is it that you come across an album where you absolutely love all of the songs?! If I really had to choose though, my favorite song off the album would be ‘Thinking Out Loud’ because it’s so sweet that it brings a smile to my face every time I listen. The first time I heard it I was washing dishes and I had to stop just to do a dance around my kitchen. It’s the kind of cute song someone could get married to. I’ll link it below:

Even though that one is my favorite, the all-time most listened to track on the album is ‘Take It Back’, which is one of the rap songs. I just love it. I love the rap, I love his voice when he sings the chorus – I just love everything. I’ll also link that song below:

In any case the entire album is awesome so check it out!

Runner-up music include:

Any song by Smallpools

Certain songs by Stromae

‘Stay With Me’ by Sam Smith


That’s all for today! Catch me next Thursday!

Pretend To Be A Tourist Day

20140718_153800As I mentioned in an earlier post, I’m a New Yorker through and through. I’ve lived in Queens in the same familiar house all of my life. When I was little, my parents would take me and my brother into the city to see Broadway plays and while I loved the plays, I think I was enamored with the skyscrapers and bustling crowds even more. Unfortunately for me however, our visits came to an end after we discovered that trips into the city gave my mother headaches. She would get a headache on every single single trip. And I do mean every. single. trip.

As fate would have it though, I ended up attending high school in the city. Now you would think that my constant exposure to Manhattan would somehow lessen the charm that it had over me but I must report that this was simply not true. I’m pretty sure my biggest fantasy in high school was just doing all of the stereotypical New York tourist things just for the fun of it. However, those tourist activities are normally very expensive and I was more than content to just be in the city hanging out with friends rather than being swindled blind like the poor unsuspecting tourists that don’t know any better. 20140718_125005 All this being said, you can imagine how happy I was when I was finally able to fulfill my dream of pretending to be a tourist for the day. It all started last Friday with a walk over the Brooklyn Bridge, followed by a lunch at Grimaldi’s Pizzeria, and ending with a stroll through Dumbo, Brooklyn. The weather, may I just say, was absolutely beautiful. The sun was shining and it was a wonderfully warm day – not too hot so that you might want to drag yourself to the nearest body of water and throw yourself in just to cool down. The walk over the Brooklyn Bridge was quite nice. Every now and then, my friend Claudia and I, would stop to take pictures (and selfies) and enjoy a bit of the view along the way. The pedestrian walkway was pretty crowded with people – it was a mix of New Yorkers who had the same idea that we did, New Yorkers who were in a rush to get somewhere (which I don’t really understand – if it’s that urgent take public transportation), and the real tourists who were in awe of everything around them and would frequently stop to take pictures. I was surprised to see, even though I probably should not have been, to see a lot of street vendors lining the way selling their wares and artwork. There were a few of them selling almost identical work in close proximity – to those vendors I can only wish luck. 20140718_130123 Towards the end of our walk on the bridge, we were graced by the presence of a group of university guys walking almost directly on our tails. If we had come to a sudden stop they would have most definitely bumped into us without being able to stop themselves. I felt that I must mention them in this post because they seemed very much a part of our experience after having been so close to us that there were times that I heard their loud, obnoxious conversation over our own. I wish these obnoxious youth well in their endeavors. One can only hope that they learn sometime in the future what a respectable walking distance is.

Excuse my finger at the top left...

Excuse my finger at the top left…

Once of the bridge, Claudia and I made our way over to Grimaldi’s Pizzeria. Grimaldi’s, for those who are unfamiliar, stake claim to the coveted ‘Best Pizza in the City’ and can be found in many a New York City guidebook under ‘Places to Visit’. We soon learned that Grimaldi’s does not serve slices and only takes cash. Yup. If you want to eat at Grimaldi’s you better be hungry for an entire pie. And you better have the cash to pay for it. Anyway, being the famous little pizzeria that it is, there was a line of people extending down the sidewalk waiting for their table (because they also do not take reservations). Claudia and I almost left because we were hungry and there were other places that didn’t have a line extending down the sidewalk but we stuck it out like troopers just to catch a taste of “New York City’s Best Pizza’. And why do they call themselves the best pizzeria in NY? Because each pizza is made in a coal oven which apparently does something for the crust or something (Admittedly, I don’t really care what they make it in…as long as it tastes good). And so the verdict: the pizza was alright. Not mind-blowing like all the reviews boast. I feel like I’ve had better pizza in other places. Grimaldi’s pizza was certainly not bad – it was great – but it was also not the best pizza I’ve ever had. I do encourage people to get on over there though for the experience. The atmosphere of the restaurant and the quick service makes the trip worth your while. 20140718_132807 20140718_142605<img
Bellies full, Claudia and I head over to some park with a great view the NYC skyline where there were a line of folks waiting for the NY ferry. Everything about the park was gorgeous although I was a little put off by the fact that they were selling ice cream for $4 a scoop. That’s so unreasonable! Let’s suffice it to say that I did not get any ice cream that day. Even though I really, really wanted to. I can’t remember the name of the park (curse my memory!) but if you ever come across it or think you can find it based on the clues in this post please note that they do not allow dogs or furniture on their lawns. That’s right. Leave your sofas at home. 20140718_151004 20140718_151151
Anyway, the day ended with a nice stroll around Dumbo, Brooklyn where there were a lot of nice expensive looking eateries and small shops around. On the particular day we went there was a Come Out and Play Festival that some people were setting up for and I do believe it was basically an event where adults could play like little children. We did not attend because I had to head home but we were able to watch some employees make a fool out of themselves while they worked.
So that was my ‘Pretend to be a tourist Day’! It was great, and relatively inexpensive might I add. I now feel inclined to have more days like this. It’s strangely refreshing to be a tourist in your own city. Maybe next I’ll hop on a boat to the Statue of Liberty, who knows? Catch up with me next Thursday to see what happens next!

Brothers Hypnotic in the Park

2014-03-17-BrothersHypnoticHello Everyone and a happy Thursday to you! I’m a little pressed for time today because I have to work an extra day this week but I wanted to pass along a great event if you are in NYC and enjoy film and music. Maysles Cinema is hosting an event later tonight (7/17) at the Jackie Robinson Park Bandshell in Harlem and it will include music from DJ Laylo followed by a showing of a documentary called Brothers Hypnotic about the Hypnotic Brass Ensemble, their beginnings and their career while maintaining their maintaining and showing the world their unique style of music. It’s a beautiful day today here in the city so if you have the time please come out for what should be a good time. And did I mention it’s free! I’ll include the flyer below so take a look at that for all the details. Well that’s all for now, gotta run. Catch you next Thursday!

Things I’ve Seen

3862382389_680d67017a_oHas anyone seen anything interesting lately? It’s always a dull week when nothing exciting, interesting or strange catches your eye. That’s why I’m always on the look-out – it adds a little spice to my life and a little chuckle to my buckle (<-not an actual phrase, sorry). Here’s my list of interesting/strange things that I’ve seen this week! I wish it was longer but it will suffice…
1. Gimme Shelter (Albert and David Maysles, 1970)

So I was working through my list of Maysles documentaries and finally got the chance to sit down and watch Gimme Shelter. Gimme Shelter is a documentary about the Rolling Stones as they work their way into giving a free concert at the Alamont Speedway. The first thing I really enjoyed about the film were the shots that Albert and David (the directors) employed. The documentary switches between footage of a concert The Rolling Stones did at Madison Square Garden, shots of the band in the recording studio, shots of the process of preparing for the Alamont free concert, but more interestingly, footage of Mick and Charlie reacting to the footage that we are also seeing. It was great how the film switched between the actual footage and then that same footage on a second screen that the band was watching. The second thing I enjoyed was just watching the band members themselves and how they reacted to certain things and how they reacted with each other. I think I have a new interest in Mick Jagger and a strange fascination with Charlie Watts.
2. Cracked Actor (Alan Yentob, 1974)

After watching Gimme Shelter I decided to watch another music documentary to see the difference in style between the two films. Cracked Actor is a BBC Tv documentary about David Bowie. The documentary mainly flitted between footage of Bowie’s concerts and then interviews that were done in limousines or backstage and the like. With this documentary I was just really focused on David Bowie’s character. In the film he describes the creation of his different stage personas and how they are all a part of him – different facets of the same person. He also goes into why he had to kill off his alter ego, Ziggy Stardust, as a result of the fame. In general, David Bowie came off as a very straaaaange character. Sometimes he would make absolutely no sense and other times I would be so interested with what he was saying and his little mannerisms even though I still would not understand what he was getting at. I don’t really blame myself for not understanding though, because he was famously addicted to cocaine at the time and the film really shows off his delicate mental state.

3. A Friend!

This one’s not a film, surprise, surprise! Yesterday I had the chance to see a friend that I haven’t seen in a long while. She goes to school overseas so I obviously don’t get to see her during the year and she was held back a bit this summer because she got an awesome internship over there (that made me insanely jealous) which delayed her return flight home. She came and visited me at work and we went out for lunch. Nothing fancy, just Subway but it was awesome because it’s really great to see someone in person instead of just messaging all the time. She made my day yesterday!
And for a bonus I’m including something that I saw this week that I wish I didn’t…

4. A Funky Haired Man

On my way to work on Tuesday I saw a man with a long ponytail on the bus. I thought to myself  ‘wow, his ponytail is so long and luscious’. But then he had to go ruin it by sitting directly in front of where I was sitting on the bus. It was then that I saw with great detail what I previously thought was “long and luscious”. I could see bits of dirt and dust littered throughout the ponytail and there was even a portion that was stuck together by some unidentified substance. But it did not stop there. Unfortunately, it got worse when I saw a little white tick looking bug crawl out of the depths of his ponytail and continue up the length of his hair. I watched on in horror as I started to get the chills and started to feel itchy all over. For the remainder of the ride I felt like things were crawling all over me and I wanted nothing more than to throw myself into the shower. I kept myself as far away from that man as I possibly could but even now when I think about how close I was to him I cant help but shudder.
And that ends all the note-worthy things that I’ve seen this week! There are others that I’ll probably remember later but whatever. Don’t forget to catch up with me next Thursday!

Independence Weekend Eve

Red-White-and-Blue-Ice-Pops-My-RecipesHello everyone and a happy fourth of July weekend eve to you! As I am a firm believer in having an enjoyable time on the gifted days off, I am not going to do much in the ways of a post so that you all can go off and enjoy life. As usual though, I will leave you with a beloved Youtube video. This song is an all American favorite and so appropriate, i’d say, for the coming weekend! Cheers and a Happy 4th! Sorry to all the non-Americans but hey the weekend is coming up and you can still enjoy yourself then! Catch you next Thursday, I’m going to look up how to make a potato salad (I’m inept in the kitchen)

Albert Maysles The Legend

Albert-MayslesHello everyone and Happy Thursday! I have some good news this fine day…I have a job! It’s at a documentary center in the city and it has the best possible environment that anyone could ask for. The people here are all exceptionally nice and the vibe is so chill that I don’t have to bother with business casual. You have no idea how happy it makes me to just wear a t-shirt and shorts when the weather is heating up as it is. As an aside, a coworker informed me that this summer will be an extremely hot one and this absolutely terrifies me.

In honor of getting a job at a documentary film center, I want to turn the focus of today’s post to a very prolific documentary filmmaker, Albert Maysles. Albert was born in 1926 and actually started out teaching psychology at university before turning to filmmaking. I had the amazing opportunity to sit in on a talk that he gave in which he talked a little about his work and the differences between shooting celebrities and the normal folk. He does not include people who do not want to be filmed in his documentaries and is adamant about creating a bond with his subjects and filming them as they are instead of creating a narrated version of themselves. Albert truly humanizes his subjects’ experiences and stories.
Among his most notable films are Salesman, Grey GardensGimme Shelter, and The Beatles: The First U.S. Visit, but let me be the first to tell you that that he has countless others. At 87 Albert is still filming diligently. He is currently working on a film about train travel…yes I know, Albert is a legend. He has won so many awards for his work including two Emmys. Watching him is so inspiring because he truly is such a wealth of information and crazy cool stories, yet so humble.
So if you all have time please check out some of Albert’s work. I, myself, will be watching Salesman this weekend and I’ll let you know what  I think. As an aside, Salesman tells the story of four  door-to-door Bible salesmen who struggle to sell their wares despite their target audience being religious church-goers.
So if you have seen or will see an Maysles original leave a comment below and tell me what you thought or which movie you’re going to see! Catch you next Thursday!