Sunday, December 28, 2008

Having worked on Cirque du Soleil's Wintuk, my wonderful, wonderful production friends with both Cirque and Madison Square Garden allowed me to shoot the company's winter show.

My favorite part of the show?

Simply the fact that you must put yourself in the mindframe of a child in order for this to make any sense whatsoever. Not following? Well, let's take into consideration that this is a show geared toward children. It's not Alegria, O or Dralion. It's an adventure story about a little dude who wants to find some snow.

Simple? Simple. Now, this kid needs to go through some pretty complicated things to get to aforementioned snow. You know, singing street lamps, ice giants, ridiculously large birds, bendy hula-hoop ice princesses, tumbling tribesman and a pair of ambiguously homosexual robbers. I think somewhere in there, adults get lost:

"Seems like a lot of work for some frozen precipitation."
"What do you mean, Honey?"
"Battling ice giants for some snow?"
"Wait, what ice giants?"
"Those big lantern-like rock things with the strobes?"
"Those were ice giants?"
"I guess."

When you see Wintuk, you have to watch it as you would watch The Radio City Music Hall Christmas Spectacular. You have to appreciate Wintuk's characters as you would the Rockettes - for what they are, rather than for what they're not. In the Rockette's case, if you try to place the creme de la creme of entertainment in the 1930s in 2008, you end up wondering why you just spent 200 bucks per seat to see a bunch of skinny girls with pretty teeth and long legs tap and kick their little hearts out to basically the same routines for 90 minutes... with no intermission.

Watching the Rockettes, however, as a historic look back to what once was a fabulously grand spectacle is a totally different experience. I've seen it twice and done it both ways. First time? Bored out of my mind. Second time? Had a ball. It's as simple as a tiny change in perspective. You still might not be ok with the price on the ticket, but you can now pleasantly cross it off your "To Do" list. Or if you're me, cross off the "change attitude on Rockettes" line.

Wintuk is the same. Through the eyes of a kid, the show is cool. Through the eyes of an adult, it's a confusing labrynth of storyline holes, physical tricks and special effects. If adults can avoid being adults through the duration of the show, therein should lie the entertainment value. I guess my point is to flick off your "you" switch every once in awhile and have the will to suspend your disbelief in entertainment, or like I do every day, for better or for worse. That's the trick to living a cinematic reality, I think. Life is just as much about perspectives and illusions as theater is, be it acting like a kid to enjoy Wintuk, or hopping back to 1937 to catch the hottest show in the town, oorrrr being a popstar every Saturday night, live in New York City.

If someone tries to tell you that you can't live your life that way, just say, "Try it sometime," faintly smile and hope for the best. For them and for you.

I also fully recognize that anyone who may be reading this at any point probably thinks I'm nuts, but all I have to say is, "Try it sometime."

And umm, now, if you don't mind, I'm going to go look for some snow.

Monday, December 22, 2008

I would be inclined to say that there are very few people who would appreciate the above as much as I do, with the exception of the fact that I took this picture last year, on a ship, off an incredibly remote Thai island after baking over 2000 Christmas cookies for all of us who couldn't spend the holiday with family. Either it really is an international classic, or somebody up there really loves me.

White Christmas (1954), one of my favorite films ever, with Thai subtitles? What are the odds? Furthermore, what are the odds that someone had it on while we loaded the speed boats with equipment for the day's shoot?

This scene plays out as follows:

Betty (Rosemary Clooney): Look, Mr. Wallace, before you go any further, I must tell you - you were brought here tonight under false pretenses. Benny didn't write the letter, my sister did.

Bob (Bing Crosby): Judy?

Betty: Yeah, she figured you'd never come to see us if we asked you and you might if Benny did. It's as simple as that.

Bob: How do you like that, even little Judy there's got an angle goin', huh?

Betty: She didn't mean anything by it, she just-

Bob: You don't have to apologize, everybody's got an angle.

Betty: That's a pretty cynical point of view...

Bob: Oh come, come now Ms. Haynes. Surely you knew that everybody's got a little larceny operating in them, didn't you know that?

Betty: Well, just for the record, I want you to know that my sister and I don't play angles.

Bob: Well, if that letter wasn't an angle, I don't know what it was.

Betty: I don't like your inferences.

Bob: I've got no squawks, no beefs - the kid played a percentage, it worked and we're here. Let's not make a whole big mish mosh out of it... All I'm saying is when you've been around show business for as long as I have, you just get used to people working angles, that's all.

Betty: Mr. Wallace, since the chance of our seeing each other again is extremely remote, I don't think it's important to go on arguing.

Bob: I'll drink to that!

Betty: Be my guest.

Not to ruin the film or anything, but they obviously fall in love. I adore cinema.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Story to come.

Photo: Jamie Foxx jammin' out at Mansion on W. 28th on 12/16/08.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Rolling Stone!!

Sometimes last minute assignments are the best assignments- now if I can only get this in print...

Photo: Bruce Springsteen and fam.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Once upon a time, I went to Mexico and woke up next to Viggo Mortensen.

Ok, so that's not totally true, but I did go to Mexico and meet a Viggo look-a-like who owned a very nice amber shop. That was in my LOTR-loving days, which I am proud to admit, are still running strong. In case you were wondering, a piece of amber was indeed purchased.

Ohhhh Dreamboat Central. Darling... where is your beard, cloak, sword and irresistible perseverance/strength/courage/million other traits that don't actually exist in most men?

Anyhow, tonight I learned that it's really hard to gawk at the film love-of-your-life when you are shooting next to a bunch of dudes all over the age of 35, buuuttt I did anyway. They all just laughed at me. I was ok with it.

What did I have to lose? I had my new hat on and I was feelin' spiffy despite the crummy weather.

Sad to say, no marriage proposals this time, but I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

Photo: New York Premiere of Good, Mortensen's newest film.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

So as you may have noticed, this image doesn't have my obnoxious watermark on it. Reason, you ask? This is the first image in a long time that I've taken off-assignment. It's been weird to not shoot things that I love (I mean not that it wasn't exciting to shoot God, er I mean Oprah) and I don't quite know what's been amiss lately. As some of you may also have noticed, this blog has been boorrrrrrrrinng or rather, as Jen Bilec described it with a subtle downward motion of her hand, "downhill."

Well Jen, I couldn't agree more. So now that I'm sure I lost half of my readership, we're going to get this little cupcake back on the plate.

Believe it or not, I've never shot the tree in Rockefeller Center, so I figured, by accident really (a big thank you Bruce Springsteen, his wife and his daughter), that this image would be a festive way to renew. Even in the crappiest of moments, you can't help but be joyous to be where you are when you look at that tree. Not that it's any sort of beacon of hope or something of similar dramatic nature, but it's just a twinkling reminder that things aren't so bad. Not that it's the tree alone, but that it is an icon of a season in New York City.

A symbol of the grandeur, friends, stories, competition and history, reminding you that there is no other place on Earth that could deliver such an energy - if you choose to feel it.

And dudes, I am totally feelin' that vibe.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

I really like this picture. Not a bad image for being part of the media circus.

Image: Susan Taylor, editor of Essence, and Oprah Winfrey on 12/2/08.