Wednesday, May 18, 2005
The LineI feel compelled to share this. Check it out: a panoramic photograph of the line for "Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith" that has been in place in front of Grauman's/Mann's Chinese Theatre since the beginning of April.
My guess is that you read that and thought, yeah, so what? (Especially if you live in L.A.) What's so freaking interesting about a line for a movie that's been in place for 6 and a half weeks?
The first thing that's so interesting about it... is that we no longer really think it's that interesting. Here we are in 2005 and we totally take for granted human behavior that is willing to sit in line for six weeks for a movie.
But here's what's really interesting: They've been sitting for six and a half weeks in front of Grauman's.... and it's not even playing there.
Is that cool or what?
Here we have a group of people sitting in line outside a theatre... for a movie... for over six weeks... and the movie isn't even playing at that theatre.
They have a web site where you can read some informational things: the rules for how to accrue hours for standing in line, for instance. And the breaking news that there are now two Chinese lines in which you can stand and accrue hours --- one in front of the Chinese theatre, and one in front of the Vista theatre. The Vista theatre is interesting because, well, they are actually showing the movie there. Hence, I guess, the idea that standing in front of it might be somewhat productive. Go figure.
The Chinese line (the one actually in front of Grauman's, as opposed to the Chinese line in front of the Vista) was slated to move earlier this evening down to the Cinerama Dome/Arclight where some of the line members will see the 12:01 a.m. showing. What's beautiful about the Arclight -- besides killer popcorn, amazing projection, pitch black theatres and pristine sound ---is that the Arclight takes reservations online. So the people sitting in line in front of Graumans probably bought their tickets, using their Bluetooth-enabled laptops, for the movie down the street. Where the movie is playing. Without losing their line hours, which will accrue to get them a more advantageous place in line in front of the Chinese. Where it isn't.
There is something so beautifully whimsical and downright demented about this. I can't get over how much I love this manifestation of human eccentricity. As much as we assume these people don't have lives... ya know, let's be charitable: they probably do. They actually probably do have something resembling a life. At the very least they have hygiene and nourishment needs, which means that they are going through a certain amount of effort and discomfort to be doing this thing.
So why are they doing it?
I think they're doing it because Star Wars should be at Graumans. These people met in line for Episodes 1 and 2 and dammit, they're going to recreate that magic time if it kills them. They will withstand ridicule and boredom. They will tough it out. Beause they are making a stand for a life experience they hold dear.
In their minds it simply should be at Graumans. Even if there is no way it'll ever happen, it still should be there. They are standing in tribute to what should be in the world, and not what is.
These people are believers in the Force. (As am I, perhaps less literally). These people are sitting in front of a theatre willing reality to change. Expecting reality to change. Knowing reality will change.
Except it won't. It just won't. From what I can tell, the movie is just not going to manifest on a screen at Graumans. However... it is going to manifest somewhere else. And these people are going to see it. After waiting for six and a half weeks, in front of a theatre not showing the movie, they have reserved their tickets online, and are going to walk down the block and see the opening trailers in approximately 53 minutes from when I'm typing this. The whole thing is so weird and so L.A. and so 2005.
And I'm all for it. May we stand up for what should be, even in the face of obvious absurdity. May we stand in line waiting for life to be fair, for politicians to honorable and the world to be a better place. May we stand in line for honesty in our dealings and joy in our hearts. May we camp out and commit to things that are silly and whimsical and completely unrealistic.
May our blind belief in what should be give us reason to live, the spirit to engage in new adventures and a memory of things magical. May our human ability to be utterly demented serve to send us down new rivers of experience. May our wisdom fail us from time to time. May our instincts guide. And may the Force be with us all.
# posted by Katherine Doughtie Nolan @ 10:48 PM 0 comments
Monday, May 09, 2005
I was a Middle-Aged Drug DealerYesterday, on Mother's Day, my mom asked where I was getting all this money from -- a concept, I should note, that's inversely proportional to reality. Hardly missing a beat (as I'm used to these departures from logic) I replied that actually I'm dealing drugs these days to supplement my income.
She didn't quite disbelieve me.
At first I found this highly disturbing, that my mom really might believe such a thing of me. Then I found it really funny. Then I found it disturbing again.
She knows so little about my life. Maybe it's possible, in her mind. She knows I have the things that make me respectable -- job, kids, house, car. Those things are OK. She knows I'm the technical director for Opera A La Carte because, after 21 years, it's been kind of hard to conceal why I occasionally go visit the coal mining communities of Northern Colorado, or spend a weekend in Peoria or Galveston. I simply ran out of lies to cover that gig.
She doesn't know I do martial arts, though. She doesn't know I let my kids cuss. She certainly won't ever know about the Nelly concert we're going to this Friday.
And she has no clue whatsoever that I'm writing a book.
My writing has always been a source of confusion and dismay for my mom. She doesn't get it. She doesn't like it. She has never read the words I've presented to her, and I don't think she ever wants to.
It's sort of like I really am a drug dealer.
I like this.
I am in the business of taking people out of their realities for a short while. I do aim to amuse and entertain. I do want to make you laugh with what I do. I do want to make you cry.
Check out my excerpts. The first ones are free, my friends. Read the preview book.
It's true, you will need to pay a price of admission to read the whole thing. Not much, but I am in business and it will cost you.
But what you'll get is something, I hope, that you'll be able to hook up to time and time again. What I'm offering is something that will heal your spirit, not fracture it into splintered pieces. I won't dispense street-quality shit, if I can help it. I am working on a product that isn't stepped on, that is pure and clean.
I want to get you high.
I want to get you off.
I want to blow your mind.
Words are a drug and a book allows you to modulate the flow. If you can't handle the intensity, you can close the cover. If you're a junkie, you can read until you pass out.
Is it enjoyable? Please, yes, let it be.
Is it safe? I truly hope not.
So I'm proud of myself. I've managed to not entirely lie to my mother. I strive to provide escape, entertainment and elightenment. I want to get you addicted. I want you to be sleep-deprived on my account. I want you to walk around with your head still spinning with my reality. I want my stuff to be so high grade that you just can't live without it.
And if I can figure out how to avoid the taxes, too, we're really going to be in biz.
# posted by Katherine Doughtie Nolan @ 1:58 PM 0 comments
Wednesday, May 04, 2005
Facehuggers: Part IISo I squeezed in a quick beer today with my pal, Cindy, in between work and a potluck at my youngest son's school. I previously mentioned Cindy Jackson, artist and sculptor extraordinaire, in the Facehugger blog a few months ago. She is on jury duty downtown and has started ending her day as a dutiful member of society by stopping off at Mijares, also now known as Our Lady of Tasty Margaritas. The first day she was there she was accosted by some bible thumpers, so today I said I'd come and take communion with her and attone for some sins by breaking of the chips and drinking of the Corona.
We were complaining about life in general and how everything gets in the way of our True Calling, in particular. Complaining about how there's never enough time is what we do. And it turns out we were both freaking out in exactly the same way last night.
At 2:30 she was up doing the mental and emotional equivalent of hyperventilating. She's working on a huge public scupture, involving the figures of two men. One of the men is done, the other one is unfinished. In her mind, it's a disaster.
Me, I'm working on the final edits and deep polish of the book. I'm so burned out that I'm loathing every word. Last night, while Cindy was hyperventilating, I was yanking out one essay after another, hating every last one. In my mind it was easier to pull the whole thing rather than work on fixing a couple words that one of my editors questioned. I rapidly degenerated into a kind of collegiate too-much-speed kind of mentality: This piece sucks, the whole book sucks, I was stupid to start this in the first place, therefore I suck most of all. Mature stuff.
After we compared freak outs, we started the confessional.
Her fear is that there's going to be an earthquake and the finished piece will be smashed, leaving only the unfinished one and her dead body. People will come in, look at them both and declare her a hack because all they'll have to judge her on is the unfinished piece.
My fear is that I'll forget to send myself the latest draft and my computer will crash and I'll never find those words again. The words will be lost, the book won't be written. I'll end up in a ratty hotel room with a broken bulb swinging overhead and really disgusting carpet underfoot.
Her fear is that she'll stop seeing the piece in her head.
My fear is that I'll have a stroke and the words will all be on the left side of the brain and the mechanics will all be on the right. I'll be looking at the words on the other side of the chasm and never be able to access them again.
She fears looking at the piece and not feeling it talking to her anymore.
I fear smashing my hands in industrial freight elevators. (Now that she's heard that, she's added losing the use of her hands to her list.)
She fears sitting in jury duty and having a fire come and wipe out the courthouse, killing her and leaving the sculpture undone.
I fear dying on the freeway and not being able to find notoriety even posthumously. Whoever is in charge will look through my computer and not find the good stuff. The folders will be named wrong, cryptically. I'll have fucked up in some fundamental way. They'll give up easily. "Whatever, man," they'll say to each other. "She's gone. So what?" They'll format the hard drive and poof! all my words will disappear.
We are both at a place in our careers where we've never been before. She is under contract, doing a big public piece. I'm paying people and becoming visible and making commitments to produce a book.
She fears that she will freak out to an extent that she can't finish and she'll be swamped by lawsuits and legal actions.
I fear that I will freak out to an extent that I can't finish and I'll be flayed and dipped in acid by my adoring and supportive partners in this venture.
She fears fear.
I fear fear.
We have no choice. We are all but totally paralyzed by out endeavors... yet we must carry on. There is no alternative. We must quiet our breathing, we must steady our hands, and we must continue.
It is do-able.
It is what we both set out to do, many years ago.
And it's OK.
Maybe this is what everyone goes through. Maybe it is. Maybe you can't really go forward with a brave act without moments of pure logic-destroying freaking-out fear. We're both obviously in it too far to actually cave into the panic. And we're both too old to really consider giving up. My god, we'd never be able to live with that.
So we meet and we commune. We break of the chips and we drink of the Corona. The angels sing the Ave Tequila and it is goood. To be with a fellow nutcase. To be with a fellow frontiersman. To be with a fellow human.
Amen. And pass the salsa, please.
(By the way? It's in the D:/My Documents/Grace Notes folder. FYI.)
# posted by Katherine Doughtie Nolan @ 10:35 PM 1 comments