Last Month In Art – November 2022

This short essay is part of a series called ‘Writing on Writing.’ This series takes a few different forms, and in this post, I’m featuring some of the art that fuels my creativity. Want to see content like this more often? Consider supporting me on Patreon.

Here we are with last months art review! Is it just me or did this year go by fast?

All That Jazz 1979

I’ve now seen this movie three times this year. I love it. I’m obsessed. This is what I hope dying is like.

Arrival 2016

Another rewatch. This movie gives me chills every time. Simply a beautiful meditation on life and time, and very cool aliens.

Certain Women 2016

This film in vignettes was very pretty and very sad. It’s an all-star cast including Laura Dern, and the film manages to describe ‘America’ better than film explicitly about America ever could.

The Fabelmans 2022

What a sweet movie! A wonderful film about growing up and about how important movies are. If it’s still in a theater by you, go see it. 

Galaxy Quest 1999

I haven’t seen this since I was a child, and I was surprised at how well it held up! A truly hilarious tribute to Star Trek. They even made a poster of it that ripped off the original Star Trek movie.

Party Girl 1995

This wasn’t a five star film for me, but I’m including it because Parker Posey works at a library. I watched this movie right as I was applying to MLS schools, and it felt a bit like a sign.

Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut

This is the only book I gave 5 stars this month. Until this year, I had no idea Vonnegut wrote what today is called ‘speculative fiction.’ His books are so much funnier than I expected.

Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home 1986

I rewatched this with a commentary track from William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy, and it was honestly the sweetest thing. Who knew Shatner loved whales so much? What a guy!

TÁR 2022

My absolute favorite movie of the year. A rewatch for me, and an incredible rewatch at that. The detail in this film is overwhelming.

Zen – Grogu and Dust Bunnies 2022

This is a tiny short with no plot or anything. It’s simply very soothing. Watch it next time you’re anxious.

There you have it! Making these lists every month is always really fun for me, because it reminds me what I loved and also reveals how I’ve been consuming art. The goal for next month is to read more.

Love and gratitude.

Last Month in Art – October 2022

This short essay is part of a series called ‘Writing on Writing.’ This series takes a few different forms, and in this post, I’m featuring some of the art that fuels my creativity. Want to see content like this more often? Consider supporting me on Patreon.

New month, new art to come! But for now, here’s what I was up to last month:

Bacurau 2019

This film is very dark and violent, but it’s also strangely uplifting. Definitely tough to watch at parts though, so proceed with caution!

Bonsai by Alejandro Zambra

A recommendation from Oscar that I finished in about an hour. It’s a melancholy little book recently translated by Carolina De Robertis, and it’s exploration of the lives of two young people is perfectly touching.

Cat’s Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut

I zipped through this strange romp of a book, the first Vonnegut I’ve ever read, and I get what the hype is about. The prose is wonderful and precise, and the story is strange and imaginative. 

Elvira, Mistress of the Dark 1988

Why did no one tell me how incredible Elvira is??? Halloween may have come and gone, but this spooky classic should be revisited all year round. 

Extracting the Stone of Madness by Alejandra Pizarnik

Oscar gifted me this incredible collection of poems, and I honestly can’t believe that Pizarnik isn’t as celebrated as Plath or Baudelaire. These are absolutely stunning poems, wonderfully translated by Yvette Siegert, and I can’t recommend them enough.

The Handmaiden 2016

While rough at parts, this Korean lesbian love story blew me away. It’s beautifully shot, has a wonderfully twisting plot, and one of the most satisfying endings I’ve ever seen.

Over the Garden Wall 2014

This is a mini series produced by Cartoon Network that was beautifully crafted and left me feeling warm and hopeful. Highly, highly recommend this, especially if you need something to watch with kiddos.

Psycho 1960

I saw this movie for the first time at Village East on Halloween night, and it was everything I’d been promised it was. Thrilling and strange, this film really is the perfect example of a thriller.

Speed Racer 2008

So colorful! So weird! Not what I would expect from the Wachowskis, but I’m here for it!

TÁR 2022

If you have the chance to see this film, take it. Cate Blanchett gives an amazing performance as a conductor at the height of her career. It’s a masterpiece.

Web of Venom: Carnage Born #1 by Donny Cates

I received this violent, lovely comic from a mystery bag of comics sold by Forbidden Planet. This is a truly excellent way to discover comics, I’ve learned, and this is one of the better things I found. It’s dark and bloody with some truly excellent art. Plus, cults! I love cults.

Werewolf by Night 2022

Marvel should do more things like this! Aside from the fact that I love love love Gael Garcia Bernal, this 30s-esque horror short film is just delightful. Worth watching, for sure.

Love and gratitude, friends. Let me know if you happen to watch any of these and what you think of them.

Last Month in Art – August 2022

This short essay is part of a series called ‘Writing on Writing.’ This series takes a few different forms, and in this post, I’m featuring some of the art that fuels my creativity. Want to see content like this more often? Consider supporting me on Patreon.

As I was going back through my various art logs for this month, I realized not only did I consume less art than normal, but I also consumed a lot of art I didn’t particularly like. So if I went by my normal standards of only listing 5-star art, there would only be two things here. That feels like a lame post, so I decided to add a few of my 4.5 to 4-star things as well, the ones that almost hit 5. Hopefully, that doesn’t water down these recommendations too much!

Beauty and the Beast 1946

This is an exceptionally beautiful French film directed by Jean Cocteau. Supposedly it’s a children’s film, but its depth is much more adult. It’s also fun to see just how much Disney borrowed from this version of the tale in making their animated version.

Elvis 2022

I actually saw this movie twice last month, once with Oscar and again with my mom. It’s definitely a Baz Luhrman film, but I think it captures something really beautiful about art. There are about ten minutes towards the end that I’m not feeling, but overall, it’s a stunning film. Some of the ways they use music are just brilliant.

Heaven’s Gate: The Cult of Cults 2020

This is a mini-series of HBO max about ‘the spaceship cult.’ I’m fascinated by cults in general, but this one really gets me, because it went so horribly wrong in a way it shouldn’t have. With other cults that end in suicide, they’re often responding to a threat, usually some sort of law agency. Heaven’s Gate wasn’t like that, which I think makes it all a lot sadder. This show provides an excellent, fascinating look into what happened. 

Little Miss Sunshine 2006

I rewatched this movie with my parents recently, and it’s such a brilliant little movie. Steve Carell’s performance is kind of exceptional considering how queer men were usually shown in media at that point. This film always leaves me with such a good feeling at the end.

The Mummy 1999

I’m also surprised just how good this movie is when I rewatch it. Brendan Fraser is just so fun to watch in this movie, and the scarabs are so good. Just a wonderful horror element. All of the sequels are truly devastating, but this movie is really a classic.

So there you have it! The goal this month is to actually finish some books. We’ll see how it goes.

Love and gratitude friends.

Last Month in Art – June 2022

This short essay is part of a series called ‘Writing on Writing.’ This series takes a few different forms, and in this post, I’m featuring some of the art that fuels my creativity. Want to see content like this more often? Consider supporting me on Patreon.

It’s been a really tough week, but the month was alright. So here’s the art that kept me going.

A Sea of Glass by C. Drew Harvell

This interesting little book explores some of the more unusual creatures in the ocean, focusing on finding the real-life counterparts to incredible glass-blown pieces made decades ago. It can be a tad sad when nit highlights how climate change is affecting the oceans, so only look into it if you can handle that.

All That Jazz 1979

This masterpiece of a movie is Bob Fosse’s autofiction in film. I happened to watch it the night before I found out about my grandmother, which I think was good. The movie has a lot to say about reckoning with death, and I found that comforting after the fact.

Everything Everywhere All At Once 2022

This absolutely stunning piece is about complicated family relationships, but is also hilarious and has some of the best performances I’ve seen in a film. It’s still playing in theaters, and I highly recommend you go watch it.

The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson

I’m late to the party on this one. The slow, subtle horror of it will be swirling in my head for months. Having this floating in my subconscious is going to do wonders for my writing, I can feel it.

Hot Fuzz 2007

I’m late to the party on this one, too. If you need something that’ll warm your heart and crack you up, this is the way to go.

John Mulaney & The Sack Lunch Bunch 2019

This is worth watching just to see the wonderful André De Shields. He’s nearly as magnetic on film as he is in person. Not to mention, there is some great kid acting and singing that’ll really blow your mind.

Memoria 2021

This odd, quiet film takes place in Colombia. It’s about sound as much as it’s about the plot, and Tilda Swinton is stunning.

Neptune Frost 2021

This radical Afrofuturist musical hates the Western viewer just as much as it informs. I’ve truly never seen anything like it.

As always, I would love for you to share the things that are inspiring you right now. Love and gratitude, friends.

On Motivation (or lack thereof)

This short essay is part of a series called ‘Writing on Writing.’ This series takes a few different forms, and in this post, I’m discussing some of the things affecting my writing right now. Want to see content like this more often? Consider supporting me on Patreon.

I am writing this very reluctantly. Not because I don’t value all of you (because of course I do) and not because I’ve stopped liking doing Patreon (I think it’s one of the best things I’ve ever done). I am just feeling very, very tired.

I suppose I’m still recovering from Covid just a little, though my energy feels back to normal overall. There’s a lot of uncertainty in my life right now, too. There’s the job hunt, which is generally unpleasant, and then larger issues around the news and midterm elections and the general state of the world. 

I have this really bad habit of looking at really negative things on Facebook. There’s a particular profile belonging to an extended family member of mine that I seem to enjoy torturing myself with. I won’t go into details, as it’s unnecessary to put all of you through it, but I’m sure you can form an idea of what I mean. I tend to excuse looking at it by saying I’m ‘doing research’ or ‘understanding the other side.’ But really, what am I actually learning from looking at it? The particulars of pro-gun talking points or the newest anti-Pride rhetoric? And what do I actually gain from ‘learning’ those things?

In the end, all I’m doing is making myself sad. What’s so tragic about this is I’ve always liked this extended family member. Our interactions have only ever been kind, and they have always made an effort to keep up with me and check in. We’ve never been close, but nothing they ever said or did gave me the impression that what they’re really thinking is so negative. Because really, what I’m seeing when I look at that Facebook, is that they hate me.

That sounds extreme, of course. Like I’ve said, they’re very nice to me when we interact. Just a few months ago they reached out to see how I was feeling after my first bout with Covid. They tend to like my posts when they’re about things like traveling with my parents or school accomplishments. In fact if asked, they’d probably say they don’t hate me at all, despite the fact that I’m queer or pro-choice or any of the other stances they don’t agree with. But I also know that if they didn’t know me, if I was just some person that was described to them as being all the things that I am, they would say the most vicious things. And that is really disheartening. 

I think deep down what has me so tired right now is that I feel kind of hopeless, but not in a way that I’m used to. I’ve struggled with depression for years now, and that personal hopelessness is something I’ve learned to manage. This is a different feeling. It’s a lot less personal, but also a lot bigger. As much as I tell myself that the true majority of the country is more left-leaning, or that the only thing I have the power to do is live my own life the way I think I should, I can’t seem to shake the feeling that it doesn’t matter. It seems like the bad guys are winning.

I’ve always considered art to be incredibly powerful as a tool for empathy and compassion. I still think that’s true. But in my day to day, when I’m sitting down to try and work on my own art, I’ve wondered what the point is. It’s a really awful feeling, and so far, I’ve been very unsuccessful at talking myself out of it. Things aren’t all bad, though. For the first time in months, I’ve finished reading two books and I’m quickly working my way through two more. I’m going on walks by myself or with Peggy Sue in the sun, which I know is good for me whether I feel it in the moment or not. I’m applying to jobs at companies and institutions I believe in. I’m going through the motions, waiting for the good feelings I normally have to come back. And I’m sure they will come back. It just kind of sucks right now.

I hope you don’t find this post too depressing, and please don’t spend any time worrying about me. I honestly feel a little better now that I’ve gotten to the end of this, which I think says something about the value of my strategy. If I just keep doing the things I know are good for me, I’ll get out of this funk. It’ll just take time.

Love and gratitude to all of you.

Last Month in Art

This short essay is part of a series called ‘Writing on Writing.’ This series takes a few different forms, and in this post, I’m featuring some of the art that fuels my creativity. Want to see content like this more often? Consider supporting me on Patreon.

Interestingly, I didn’t finish any books last month. Not sure what that’s about, aside from just so happening to be in a bit of a slump. I did, however, watch a lot of movies. Here are the ones I gave five stars–

Drive My Car 2021

This movie was absolutely beautiful. I think it’s way better than the short story it’s based on. Some people think it’s slow, but I wholeheartedly disagree. It was a beautiful, riveting movie that I highly recommend.

Writing With Fire 2021

This documentary about a women-run newspaper in India reminded me that documentaries can really be excellent sometimes. I’d watched quite a few bad ones before getting here, and this one restored my faith in the medium. It’s the right amount of uplifting while still exploring a very difficult, very complex culture.

The Hand of God 2021

This incredible little movie tells the story of growing up without being cliché. It’s a movie that manages to be about film without feeling self-indulgent. Plus, the aunt is hot. I left it feeling good about family and how much they can mean to us.

The Queen of Basketball 2021

This short documentary is literally the best documentary I’ve watched in years. It features a woman basketball player whose personality shines on camera. If you want to watch something but don’t have two hours, this is the thing to watch.

BoxBallet 2020

Another short one here. Some people really hate the animation, but I think it’s delightfully quirky. It’s a sweet little love story that I found incredibly touching.

Flee 2021

I’m now of the opinion that more documentaries need to be animated. Re-creations are overrated. The animation isn’t the most sophisticated, but the story makes up for it. 

Cyrano 2021

So I gave this movie five stars, but I’m not sure if my reaction to it was completely rational. I spent the first half being kind of angry, and the second half being in love, then I screamed at the ending, then I gave it five stars. So who knows what that means.

Living In Oblivion 1995

This is a movie about making a movie that also is somehow about a dream in a dream in a dream. Plus, a surprise appearance from Pete Dinklage. A lovely little comedy that is well worth a view.

The Power of the Dog 2021

I’m obsessed with this film. Jane Campion did a stunning job, Benedict Cumberbatch did a stunning job, Jesse Plemons did a stunning job, Kirsten Dunst did a stunning job, Codi Smit-McPhee did a stunning job. Everyone moment is riveting because every single moment has meaning.

What movies are you loving right now? Let me know! And if you want, give me a follow on Letterboxd.