Tag Archives: Brooklyn

five ways to leave your lover: #4 brighton beach

Last night, Lukas screened Five Ways to Leave Your Lover, shot on 16mm film. It went to the Short Film Corner at Cannes this May, and I finally saw Way #4: Brighton Beach. Watch it.

In less than ten minutes Lukas, a pro-snowboarder turned filmmaker from Vermont, somehow captures the essence of Brighton and Russian relationship dynamics (leave and come back, anyone?). It’s almost amazing. Inna is in the red dress, and her own father plays her father in the short. Watch.

Lukas was my student while he was at Columbia. Last spring he asked me if I knew any Russian actors for one of his shorts. I did, and told Danchik’s Inna about it. The short was meant to be filmed out in the Rockaways, but the location had to be changed to Brighton. Perfectly so.

At some point when filming, Lukas asked Inna how we knew each other and Inna replied, “We share the same boyfriend.”

Lukas was intrigued. I can just picture his expression, head slightly lifted, eyes sparkling, mouth open in “ahHHhh.”

“Uh, not exactly,” I laughed, much later. Definitely meaning was confused in her translation.

Initially Inna did not get why I connected them. I explained that Danchik is now like a little brother to me. I love him but am not in love with him. If Danchik loves you and has for some years now, clearly I love you, too. And why not introduce one amazing artist to another? (I’m not being douchey. They are amazing. Watch it.)

Nevertheless, Danchik and I aren’t really speaking at the moment. He’s annoyed with me for reasons I find mysterious and tiring, and I’m annoyed with him. Danchik can be an asshole. He knows it. He owns it. Unlike most people, he doesn’t pretend to be a good person, nor does he need to rely on such pretense as a mode of seduction. Yet he can be a very, very good person. I admit my acceptance was based on his not being an asshole to me, or in front of me, and recently he was. And I was offended. Whatever. I’m over it.

Seeing Inna fanned my current frustration about people, relationships, and how we view the world. We live in such little boxes of thought and expectation that we do not really perceive or understand the world around us. Inna and I discussed Russian men and American men, the pros and cons of each, and I admit I see her relationship with Danchik as being completely Russian in its patience and execution. My lack of this “womanly” patience (yes, to my American view, doormattery) is inherently why Danchik is annoyed with me. Yet it’s our difference and we won’t talk about it. We will let time heal us or we won’t.

Now, we will size life up as it fits our stories, not ever pulling our projections off the world to see it as it is. It is exhausting and the root of all misery. Danchik probably does not know or care that I am annoyed with him, and I am exhausted by his story around why he is annoyed with me. We are so attached to THE WAY WE SEE, the way we think and understand (not least because it is how we define ourselves), that we don’t give life a chance.

How to stop? Dunno. I think I’ll watch this for the 41st time for clues and comfort.

And this too, more kind of unbelievable student magic in film art & yoga: Purva’s Kumaré opens this week at IFC. How am I so lucky as to have such amazing people in my classroom and life? The list goes on and on. At risk of wanking, I will say I am hugely grateful. I never wanted to teach yoga, but it’s brought me the best of everything.

 

moving psychology: settling in

hahaSo much to convey I have nothing to say, really. I just don’t know how. Everything I’m doing at the moment feels very transitional and process oriented, or old hat. I’m lucky for the old hat, because it’s giving me the base to transition. Yes. I am still settling in, and yes, the move has been a ten-month process, if not longer. I find that I partly plan things (settling in) and partly go with what feels best next. On Sunday, I cleaned the cupboard under the sink quite thoroughly. I put a lamp inside so I could sweep it out properly. This kind of thing has to be done for me to settle. Some might come and go without ever noticing, but no. I have to take everything out and scrub.

Why does this matter? I find the psychology of the home fascinating. Settling in means I move the bed back and forth until it feels right. I unpack books, many boxed and unmissed for six months. I give them away. I go to the store, get a friend to take me to the store, and go to the store again. I rebuy a bookcase I sold on craigslist in March. I move the books around again. I get lectures from friends about installing blinds and keeping dirty laundry under the bed (the latter a chide about choosing such a small space. “So you are going to sleep over your dirty laundry? (This, from a non-feng shui/energy-feeling type guy, I might add.) What is this? You would pay $800 for this in south Brooklyn (read: российский Бруклин~rossiiskii Brooklyn).” “Yeah, and I’d spend three hours a day on the train. Is my time and sanity worth nothing?”

In my other spare time, when I am not in the mood to settle in, I archive. I’m on 2004, which like 2000, is a very full year because of travel. Tagging the photos can be both tedious and emotional. The other day I tagged August 8, 2004, which was one of the most amazing days of my life, one I’ve always wanted to write about, but again, never knew quite how. Tagging the 187 photos was kind of a drag, though. All all of it feels a bit removed and gone, though my epiphany that day involves a prominent theme in my life. I had dinner with a friend last night and she validated my feelings about it entirely. But for six years I’ve wondered how to explain it properly. Now that it’s pertinent, especially because I needed help with the move, that’s what I’ll tackle next. Happy weekend.

a few weeks before 9.11.2001

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Brooklyn Promenade, Brooklyn, NY, August, 2001

Archiving on, I found a shot I’d thought I’d taken for the Time Out New York Guides after 9/11, but obviously it was a few weeks before, as you can see the towers standing. It’s almost the same shot as in the previous post.

back to the archives::nyc 9.11.2001

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Brooklyn Promenade, Brooklyn, NY, September 11, 2001

I finished archiving 2000 in June, and took a break from heavy cataloging, but also had to add the photos I’d scanned myself over the years to 2000. It was highly tedious. It was not pleasant. Neither was what I had to return to—2001. It wasn’t a great year for me on any level, but ugh, it was worse for the city.

People have asked to see these images and I never really wanted to look at them or to present them in any way, but now that I’m chronologically moving through all the photos, it’s time. They are up on flickr.