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Sunday, January 6th, 2008 | All Things, Film

I had a full first weekend of 2008 planned — CS’s birthday dinner, FH’s “Wii, Wine and Wiener” party — but all was waylaid by a very inconveniently timed stomach virus that hit fast and hard at the end of the work week. Is there any other kind, really? At first I had chalked up the growing aches and weariness to too much coffee and late nights at the office, but by Friday afternoon, I knew I was not going to make it through the day at work. I took my leave, and descended into the subway, hoping very hard that I would not become just another sick passenger.

Somehow I made it back to my apartment without transit delay-causing incident, and there I remained for the next 48 hours.

The one good bit of timing was that my home confinement fell just days into the free month of HBO I argued out of Time Warner after my service went out for two days last week. I ended up re-watching, at least in part, a few films I’d seen (and liked) in the past, including Little Miss Sunshine and Children of Men. One I hadn’t seen before: A Good Year, the rather bad and embarrassingly clichéd movie about a ruthless bond trader (played by flash-tempered Russell Crowe) rediscovering la joie de vivre in a Provençal vineyard. Marion Cotillard as his local love interest is all but unrecognizable from her star turn in La Vie En Rose. But on mute (and on meds), the film plays like a beautifully shot travelogue. Ah, I will get back to southern France one of these days.

I was excited to come across Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, which was one of the most trippy, moving films I’ve seen in theaters in recent years. The vision of Joe (Jim Carrey, whom I generally dislike) standing in the living room of an abandoned Montauk beach house, reliving his first (and soon to be vanquished) memory of his lover, Clementine (Kate Winslet), as the walls crumble around him into the Atlantic Ocean — just devastating.

In a funny bit of synergy, I noticed that Saturday’s word of the day on Dictionary.com was “lacuna” — the name of the fictitious company whose memory-erasing services are the focus of the film’s action.

lacuna \luh-KYOO-nuh\, noun;
plural lacunae \luh-KYOO-nee\ or lacunas::
1. A blank space; a missing part; a gap.
2. (Biology) A small opening, depression, or cavity in an anatomical structure.

By the time I finally emerged from my apartment on Three Kings’ Day, it was as if I had stepped into another season. Gone was the icy chill of just a few days ago; in its place: sunshine and temperatures in the 50s. And in January!

The shoppers at the I.S. 44 flea market on Columbus and 77th Street seemed to take it all in stride.

I.S. 44 Flea Market

I.S. 44 Flea Market

I.S. 44 Flea Market

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Trinity trick-or-treating

Wednesday, October 31st, 2007 | All Things, Events, Film

At Trinity Church Wall Street for the Halloween celebration of “Ghouls, Games and Graves.” From 4PM onwards, the North Churchyard — the oldest surviving churchyard in the city, with stones dating to the early 18th century — hosted a series of family-friendly events. Adorably costumed kids (and their guardians) were out in full force this mild late afternoon for treats, games, crafts, and face-painting. The “ghost” of Alexander Hamilton (buried here at Trinity; Aaron Burr is safely entombed across the river in Princeton Cemetery) roamed among the guests telling stories of New York’s past.

Trinity Halloween

Trinity Halloween

Trinity Halloween

Trinity Halloween

Had I stayed on past dark, I could have attended Trinity Church’s screening of the 1922 silent vampire classic Nosferatu — the earliest surviving screen adaptation of Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Adding to the spooky ambiance, in place of dialogue, the film was to be accompanied by Cameron Carpenter on the church’s state-of-the-art electronic organ, which was installed in 2003 to replace the Aeolian-Skinner damaged on September 11, 2001. (The controversial “virtual pipe organ” uses digital samples of actual pipe organ timbres, sent through speakers hidden behind dummy pipes.)

Watch Carpenter perform his own arrangement of John Williams’s Raiders of the Lost Ark  theme on the Trinity organ.

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My star turn

Monday, July 23rd, 2007 | All Things, Film

Walking home from the subway station this evening, I was approached by a young man with a headset and clipboard, who without much by way of introduction, asked if I’d be interested in appearing in a movie being filmed in my neighborhood that evening.

Hmm… this sounded like the set-up for a Lifetime Movie of the Week.  Probably sensing my suspicion, he quickly assured me that he had no prurient interests in mind, and showed me some production materials and a permit for a small independent film that appeared indeed to be shooting at The Church of the Blessed Sacrament on West 71st Street.

Well… why not?

For the next two and a half hours, I (and a couple dozen others) posed as wedding guests for what I understood to be scenes in a low-budget thriller to hit the festival circuit sometime later this year.

See Saw wedding

DVD screening party in 2008!

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