Apr 30, 2007

I meant to write last week about this amazing movie I saw at the Tribeca Film Festival, Planet B-Boy. My friend Massie and I went to the premiere last Thursday since her good friend Mike worked on the movie. I had no real expectations, I just knew that Mike had been travelling around the world with a couple of other guys filming stuff about breakdancers, and I'd heard him talk about it a few times and it sounded interesting.. I was not expecting to be so blown away! It's a documentary about the "Battle of the Year" held every year in Germany and we follow a few of the main crews as they prepare for their big moment, from Japan and Korea and France and the U.S. It's totally funny and clever, hugely suspenseful (I was on the edge of my seat, literally, tho I suddenly realized near the end of the film that the make up of the audience should have clued me in on who had won..! I think they all flew in for the movie.. ), and really moving, too, since of course all the boys have a ton at stake and they live to do this and they make all these sacrifices to do what they do and have tremendous passion and it's emotional and sacred and their parents and communities don't quite get or respect it, etc. etc. And what they can do is unbelievable! They can move their bodies in ways that don't seem possible, like gymnastics and martial arts and circus all put together. The movie's playing this Wednesday and next Saturday, and I meant to post earlier because there were events on Friday and Saturday that included battles and performances.. Toooo bad for you. But it's playing two more times in NYC so go if you can. Otherwise you might experience an emptiness you can't quite account for, but that haunts you...

Apr 25, 2007

My sister has just left this morning on a much-needed many-month leave of absence and has jetted off to some meditation retreat in California and will be going to a boot camp and a yoga center and all these other places over the next three months, and THEN she is meeting my mother in CHINA for an exotic 10-day vacation, after which she will go off to Europe for a few weeks to meet up with friends. Yesterday she showed me her and my mother's itinerary and of course I was extremely jealous but even if I could AFFORD to go to China I can't afford to use up the vacation days, since I'm saving up to spend three weeks in FLORENCE ITALY next fall for fourth-novel-istic research. Plus I think I am supposed to be doing another book tour for my paperback, which comes out in October, so I might need a few days for that. Anyway, so my father, to my shock and surprise, emailed this morning and proposed that he and I take our own trip this summer. He suggested Nashville or Yellowstone Park. I glamorously suggested FLORENCE ITALY this fall instead. And he said yes, as I suspected, as he loveslovesloves Italy, and he said that he will already be in Austria this October and that we could do it then. Which filled my heart with happiness. Especially as we have much family in Calabria and Turin and we have family friends in Sicily and if he were with me we could go visit them all, too. SO I AM VERY EXCITED. And really all I have to do in Florence is walk and walk and walk around it until I know it inside and out, which I could do with anyone. And Florence is cool. And I really want to go to Sicily, where our friends own a big villa in Palermo and one on the beach. And I really want to see the teeny one-room house in Bova Marina, Calabria, where my great great grandmother gave birth to EIGHT CHILDREN who all died ONE AFTER THE OTHER before she realized that her milk was bad, and then gave birth to SIX MORE CHILDREN who actually lived with the aid of a wet nurse. So I am very excited. Plus the Knitters are here next week. The end.

Apr 9, 2007

This past weekend, in Pennsylvania, I innocently walked into BEST BUY and found true love in the form of a gorgeous, glittering, winking, widescreen GATEWAY MT6451 laptop computer. I didn’t think I could feel this way again about a piece of machinery, not since my bright pink now-expired engraved IPOD that is, but it only goes to show how the human heart endlessly renews itself. My gorgeous new computer is flat and wide and metallic and shiny and snaps shut like a vintage compact that Greta Garbo would have powdered her face with. The screen is like glass, like a flat sheet of diamond. Behind it, my MICROSOFT WORD documents glimmer like exotic museum pieces. The keyboard is black inside an expanse of smooth metal, and when you tap the keys they barely make a sound. The word GATEWAY appears under the screen, like a promise of eternal bliss, like a gateway into a future in which there is no wood, no grass, no disgusting bugs that crawl from under leaves, only silver and glass and smooth flat things you can run your hand across for hours and hours and hours. The end.

Apr 5, 2007

So I handed in my book last week and then flew off to Charlotte with my sister in order to peruse this strange southern city. Despite having heard many unpleasant things about it I had a huge bias in its favor, since Charlotte makes me think of lush brown hair and long eyelashes and glittering webs and is just an extremely gorgeous word all on its own. I mean, that is a word reclining on a chaise lounge if I ever heard one, a word that should be sipping iced tea. And I liked it: there are trees dropping over everything in charming fashione, and it's very clean, very pretty. But then on Saturday I was not only attacked by furniture-polish-scented body lotion but we were kidnapped by a realtor who drove us around for five hours in a Mercedes SUV listening to Phil Collins so that we could see every depressing apartment complex in the city, the kind where your gym and your coffee bar and your pool and your club room and your bbq pit are all within a few feet of your apartment and big gates separate you and your neighbors from the world at large. So despite our ambitious plans to go to Asheville and/or to explore the more charming aspect of the town that afternoon and evening, we stayed in the hotel to recover mentally and emotionally, and we ordered in room service and watched The Painted Veil. Which was extremely romantic and sweeping and weepy and Garbo-esque, as it happened, and renewed my deep and sincere affection for Edward Norton. Then on Sunday we met the generous and beauteous DJ Spider and her John-Doe-esque beau, and they told us all kinds of cool things about the city but then we had to go to the airport almost directly after, where we were whisked into a storm and almost died.

Monday, my friend Massie and I saw Frost Nixon. Frank Langella plays Nixon, and the play's about his first post-Watergate interview where he apologizes for letting down the American people, and all the events and tension that lead to that moment. The play is way more funny and snappy and smart than you'd think--totally engaging, poppy--and Frank Langella is brilliant. What an intense character--this damaged, impossible, larger-than-life man. And I managed to appreciate all this even though Massie had adorned her ears with giant silver beetle earrings that have traumatized me for life.

In other news, I am now extremely obsessed with novel 4 though I am trying to get back into the noir to finish it over the summer. But the fourth book will be set in 13th century Florence and have to do with Dante, and so I needs to do some research and planning. Yesterday I ordered several bios of Dante and histories of the city, and went home and racked my bookshelves for all my medieval stuff. I am planning a three-week trip to Florence next fall and yesterday wrote a few pages of notes. I have to say: one thing I love about this period is how totally funny and weird it was, how Dante and his friends wrote extremely ridiculous poems to each other about LOVE and the beautiful women they admired from afar, and even composed lists of the most beautiful women in Florence with absolute dead seriousness. When bringing one's modern sensibility to it, one cannot help but note that it is, by far, the wussiest poetry ever written. The end.