Sunday, April 20, 2008

"Big Movie Star Now"

For weeks now I have been trying to post about something that I feel is one of the brightest highlights of our adventure in New York so far. I left school late one night and took the train back to Brooklyn, dropped my bags off at home, and went to pick Susanna up from her job. Our friend Joe was shooting his first feature length film after years of being an editor in the city and he hired my lovely and talented wife for a few scenes. Filming in the back half of a genuine Greek Diner in our neighborhood, directly across the street from the hospital our little man will be born in this summer, Susanna played an obsessive homeless woman with a slight case of hypochondria and a penchant for banana splits. Her rants about the uselessness of some of humanity act as the catalyst to a dialogue heavy scene in which the main character and his girlfriend are having a conversation over a late-night dinner. The film is legit, and Joe hopes to get it into as many festivals next year as possible. He used the script to get into Columbia grad school this year. So maybe next year, if we are all lucky, you can see my crazy little lover, 5 months pregnant, on the silver screens at Sundance.

Action Shot

We had a lot of fun that night. Joe's cute wife Natalie was scurrying around taking behind the scenes photos with her newborn baby girl Mabel sleeping in a sling wrapped over her Mamma's shoulder. My college roomate Magnus, who is a cinematographer, flew in from Norway for the job. Our friend Chris played the part of the Diner's waiter, and his wife Scarlet and I racked up a gyro tab on the production's budget while everyone else worked into the early morning hours.

magnus, chris, and joe talking

nathan (joe's brother), natalie and scarlett

You would be shocked at how many people frequent a Greek Diner in Park Slope, Brooklyn when it's open all night. One woman, in particular, was Susanna's character incrnate. But my favorites were the three guys with heavy Brooklyn accents who wouldn't stop saying, "Oh, big movie stars now, huh?" It was a phrase I'd heard before in movies and was delighted to see in real life. Brooklyn is it's own caricature.

We saw a similar pair of guys at the Mets game we went to last week. They sat up on the very last row, with their butts on the backs of their chairs, holding two beers each. Big guys, over 200 pounds a piece, barking insults at the group of very slight accountants (looked like em anyway, either that or they were programmers or a Dungeons and Dragons club) sitting a few rows in front of them, one of whom committed the sin of wearing a Brewer's cap, and all of them committing the greater sin of trying to fit in with the blue collar crowd.

Game Night
Met's fans are intense. I have never seen a louder group of people who honestly believe that the direction they yell from 500 feet up actually controls the game below. Shae Stadium is an enormous bowl, and after the game a mob pours out of its gates and into the subway outside to head back home. Because only one line goes to the stadium, and because that train stop is between the field and the parking lot, almost no one drives. The energy of the crowd and their numbers on the trains actually extend the excitement of the game, creating a buildup as more and more fans in blue and orange get on at every stop, and as people yell "Yankees Suck!" and ask you for the final score while packing in for the ride home. It's like going to the game with 30,000 of your closest friends (except for those computer dorks).

Above: Exodus
Below: GK, Suzi, Valerie and James
We went with our friends James and Valerie. He is a poet who teaches at NYU while doing some graduate work there and Valerie works for a publisher and has done some acting in the city as well. Valerie had already spent the afternoon with us at the two-story Costco in Brooklyn where we all had churros and she and Susanna tested the mattresses.
Suzi and Val

I can't adequately explain how much I am touched when I think about what a fun time it is for us to be surrounded by so many wonderful people who share our interests and passions and lack of money, and who are living their own adventures. For now, even though we get sick for home, we love New York, and especially Brooklyn. We love the people it's given to us, the adventures, and even the struggles, which I'll honestly admit are many. We love the work and the park and how everyone in town has to say something about our 3 pound dog. It's a foriegn place to us, and a foriegn culture, and I'll honestly admit that it is full of almost constant struggles of some sort or another. But that is exactly what makes it a wonderful time in our lives. And I am certain that it will shape us forever and be a few short years that we will never forget. I hope that as much of the good stuff rubs off on us as possible, and that whatever of the bad that sticks can be removed with a simple disinfectant, and not an amputation.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

GK's turn

GK thinks this picture is gay, but I like it.

So for the past few days GK keeps telling me that he has a blog entry he wants to post. This of course makes me pretty excited for several reasons. One, he's a great writer and a wonderful story teller. Two, nothing terribly out of the ordinary or exciting has occurred aside from Conference, a stomach virus, being hooked up to an IV for a quick rehydration... which really left me a little warn out and not feeling very articulate or clever. However, since his blog post has yet to appear, I thought I'd write a little for him.

He recently got a job with a literary agent here. He had been curious about the role of agents in the industry and thought the best way to figure it out was to work with one. He's an assistant to the head agent and one of the younger agents. (I'd tell you who, but he had to sign his soul away in a confidentiality agreement. Yikes!) He gets to read and edit manuscripts, screen proposals and they have a little seminar meeting once a week to go over things like contract negotiations and things like that. Over all it's been an incredible opportunity in just the first month of the job. Most of all because I think he's found his niche. He said being an agent is kind of like being an editor, a lawyer and a real estate agent all at once. (for those of you who know GK, he needs variety) He has discovered that he has a good eye for good writing, for okay writing that has potential, and most importantly exactly what changes would make certain writing good.

On top of that, he found out this week that he will be finished with his program in December, about six months earlier than we thought. And now our minds are spinning with thoughts of what comes next, as well as really trying to enjoy every bit of New York in the spring.