November 22nd was a somewhat cold and rainy day. And while it was bleak outside, @SkimMilkProject and I decided to warm up at The Smith before we made our way to Long Island City for The Distilled Theatre Company production of Long Distance Drunk.
Long Distance Drunk is a new play written by Corey Pajka, a young playwright from Brooklyn with a keen sense of hipsterdom and witty banter, and directed by Sharone Halevy. The play is about two young people, Cameron (Paul Eddy) and Meg (Marlowe Holden), who forge a relationship in college based around music, movies, books, and beer. Years later, as their relationship cracks, and their addictions deepen, they go their separate ways and create new lives for themselves. After overcoming their dependencies, they discover the only thing they were ever addicted to was each other. Closeness drove them apart, but distance may bring them back together.
I was pleasantly surprised by the wittiness, familiarity and warmth of Long Distance Drunk. While it had its fair share of overindulgent pretentious speeches, the conversations are less preachy, logical, and serve as more of character development. Paul Eddy tackles the language of the play with effortless charm. Eddy’s characterization and levity as Cameron manages to lure you into his spell and you quickly realize why the character Meg has fallen for Cameron. Marlowe Holden as Meg is Paul Eddy’s antithesis without being shrill and annoying. Holden manages to walk that fine line to make Meg a like-able and deep character that the audience roots for. Brittany Parker’s music propels the story with its melancholy strumming and engagement with each action of the play.
Corey Pajka’s melodrama bends some rules regarding linear timelines in theatre. The action is played out disjointedly with flashbacks and fast forwards that don’t always make it easy to fit the puzzle together. I found myself being pulled out for certain scenes and asking myself, “Where and when are they?” Halevy’s direction helps smooth some of the wrinkles in the quilt-like timeline.
While the play is largely focused on addiction, there is little information given as to the why. Why would an addiction occur in a too-smart-for-his-own-good college student and a shy somewhat sheltered freshman? I’ve known my fair share of both kinds of people, and not one did drugs or became an alcoholic. Unfortunately, there is a small disconnect for me with Pajka’s writing and the reason he gives for being dependent on substances. However, the brilliance of Pajka’s missing “why,” is the truth that anyone can fall prey to addiction, whether it is an addiction to exercise, drugs, alcohol, food, etc.
There were a number of standout moments in the play including a beautifully melodic confession opening the second act at both characters’ AA meetings. The juxtaposition of the characters works nicely in the scene creating a blender full of mixed emotions. Another scene perfectly suited for Holden and Eddy happens in front of the TV while each character “watches” the same program but in different places and presumably different times due to time zones. A religious program plays on the TV as Cameron heckles and Meg withdrawals. The harmony of the scene works as again Eddy shows his comedic side while Holden holds the dramatic side and pushes the story forward, reminding the audience that addiction is no laughing matter and causing conflicting emotions.
I was incredibly impressed with the performances in this wonderful drama. Standing ovation to Marlowe Holden and Paul Eddy. And of course kudos to Corey Pajka. Pajka’s story hit the depth it was looking for but could have left out the cliche ending. I felt thoroughly entranced by Long Distance Drunk and loved each and every one of the sad and funny moments.
This weekend was the much anticipated, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire premiere! Another blockbuster movie graced the theaters with a whopping $161 million for its opening weekend beating out the original The Hunger Games opening weekend. As Catching Fire is my favorite book in the Suzanne Collins series, I had high expectations, it lived up to them!
Catching Fire is the sequel to The Hunger Games and picks up where it left off with Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) and Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) after winning the games. Katniss is torn by her feelings for Gale (Liam Hemsworth) and her feelings toward Peeta. After a full totalitarian reinforcement in the districts and the Victory tour, Peeta and Katniss with the guidance of Haymitch (Woody Harrelson) and Effie (Elizabeth Banks), find themselves in The Hunger Games yet again with the Quarter Quell twist. There Katniss and Peeta must fight for their lives hopelessly once more.
Catching Fire was even better than The Hunger Games. The sequel was more influenced by the book. Of course they left a few details out but due to the fact that the book trilogy will be split into 4 movies, there is bound to be a few holes filled in. But CF was pretty satisfying to the book readers and even those that haven’t read the series. There are not a lot of surprises in CF but that is because they stayed faithful to the novel. There are added scenes of President Snow with his grand daughter that gave a depth that isn’t explained in the book.
New characters are introduced in Catching Fire. We meet the new, old tributes: Finnick (Sam Claflin), Johanna (Jena Malone), Mags (Lynn Cohen), Beetee (Jeffrey Wright), and Wiress (Amanda Plummer) with the arena villians, the careers. Plutarch Heavensbee (Philip Seymour Hoffman) is the Quarter Quell gamemaker with a few tricks up his sleeve for the tributes and the Capitol.
The costumes for the futuristic film are not as outrageous as they could be as they are made by contemporary designers like Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen and Prabal Gurung who’s gorgeous take on Katniss’ surprise wedding dress was astonishing and beautiful. Aside from the tribute parade, Capitol citizens and the homage to the storm troopers of Star Wars, the costumes were subdued and realistic.
I truly enjoyed Catching Fire and am looking forward to the next movie although Mockingjay is not my favorite book, the first half of the book can be enjoyable. I hope the movies are able to fix a few mistakes that occurred in the last novel of the series.
Powerful is not a potent enough word to describe the epic motion picture, 12 Years a Slave. I have been looking forward to this movie for over a year and have watched Steve McQueen grow as a director from Hunger to Shame to 12 Years a Slave. I am thoroughly impressed by his tenacity to tell this much neglected story that is not necessarily about the horrors of slavery, which are still going on in the world, but also about the struggle to remain human and not the property that most of the 1841 world saw black people as.
The film starts with a very compelling, awkward and tense montage of Solomon Northup’s (Chiwetel Ejiofor) life as a slave, and then flashbacks to the time Solomon was a freeman with a wife and 2 children. Solomon is a gifted fiddler and is soon approached by two men to play in a circus for a month or so. They treat him to a fancy dinner at a hotel but it turns out to be a trick. Stuck on a boat headed from Washington, Northup finds that he is being sold into slavery and they torture him to shut him up about his freeman status giving him a new name, Platt.
Solomon then gets sold to Ford (Benedict Cumberbatch) who seems kind enough, as much as a man who owns another man as property can be. But when Solomon, now Platt, gets in trouble with Tibeats (Paul Dano) he must be sold to another master. Now the story truly begins with the hardships of cotton picking in Edwin Epps’ (Michael Fassbender) plantation. There, Solomon meets Patsey (Lupita Nyong’o) and must learn to survive the gatekeepers of a Hell on Earth, Epps and his Mistress (Sarah Paulson), and find a way to get home.
I left the theatre, bawling my eyes out. The pain, the anguish, the sadness and the fear was so strong throughout the movie. Performances were equally strong as without these actors in these very difficult roles, there would be no movie.
A breakout performance was given by Yale Grad School graduate, Lupita Nyong’o, who is coincidentally a friend of a friend. Her performance as Patsey is heartbreaking and sad. Not much is known about Patsey except the scars from the torture that is afflicted upon her from the jealous Mistress Epps. Patsey is constantly in pain and not only from Mistress Epps but from Master Epps as well as he values her for a much different and humiliating reason.
Chiwetel Ejiofor gives a very honest performance as the stunned, resistant and now conscious man who must find ways out of the worst predicament you could find yourself in. Sadly, throughout the film, much like in real life, Solomon must figure out who to trust.
Normally, I like to talk about the costumes of the films and I will still do that here but, I do want to focus on the very serious matter that the world has not rid itself of slavery and though it does not outwardly exist in America, there are forms of slavery everywhere, even in your own backyard. Sex slaves are most known in America for still existing but in other parts of the world, there is still evidence of the old-fashioned, back-breaking slavery. Freetheslaves.net is a nonprofit organization dedicated to abolishing slavery around the world. If you are interested in more information about how you can help, please visit http://www.freetheslaves.net/.
The costumes were designed by Patricia Norris, the costume designer of The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford. Her costumes were very realistic of the time period and showed a great deal of restraint as often, when showing the Masters and Mistresses of the time, they are ornate with big ball gowns and embellishments everywhere.
While the gowns of the Mistresses and the suits of the Masters were not over done and excessive, they were a far cry from the rags that the slaves had to wear. Harsh and minimalistic were the style of the slaves clothes and Norris did a wonderful job showing the difference.
12 Years a Slave was a true testament to the real book and was a very powerful telling of the true story of Solomon Northup’s sinister history. Sadly, much like the book, you don’t find out too much about the other people from Solomon’s encounters as they were all through his eyes. I still wonder what became of Patsey and the others. From what I know about history, the future probably didn’t bode well.
Please see 12 Years a Slave as it was the best film of the year!
Images via screenrant.com, imdb.com and collider.com
Last Thursday, I was invited to the announced partner launching of Religion and the Noah Scalin opening at Krause Gallery next to Any Old Iron on the Lower East Side.
The Noah Scalin opening was fun. The exhibit consisted of photos of famous men’s skulls made out of odd materials, such as light bulbs for Nicola Tesla, dice for Albert Einstein, feathers for Darwin etc.
I didn’t know too much about the label Religion and wasn’t too sure what to expect so I did some research. Quickly, I found out that Religion is sold on Asos.com! Check out the AW13 collection.
When I arrived at Any Old Iron, I was happily surprised by how sleek and modern the Religion collection is. Of course there is a grunge element to it but it is also chic. Any Old Iron also has a great collection of vintage hats and necklaces as well as some DIY inspired jewelry.
There was one blazer that might have been a men’s blazer that looked amazing on me and could’ve been worn as a dress. It has a shimmer on the edge of the sleeves and bottom of the jacket. Unfortunately, I did not get a photo of it. But take a look at my favorite Religion picks that you can buy from Asos!
Images Via NoahScalin.com Any Old Iron & Asos.com
Last Sunday, was a beautiful, slightly chilly day. I thought to myself, “this is good movie weather,” so @SkimMilkProject and I made our way to the Williamsburg Cinemas. I was very eager to see Ron Howard’s Rush. I am really glad I was!
Niki Lauda (Daniel Bruhl) is an Austrian Formula 3 driver with one miscalculation, he didn’t expect to gain a nemesis in James Hunt (Chris Hemsworth). James Hunt is also a Formula 3 driver trying to make his way to Formula 1 who finds himself in love with the gorgeous model Suzy Miller (Olivia Wilde) but he’s not as in love with Suzy as with racing. Now Niki and James must find the balance between winning it all on the track and losing it all in life.
I’m not a racing fan, so I knew nothing about the legendary drivers, but that did not stop me from thoroughly enjoying the movie. Rush is shot a lot like on a race track, there are some rough turns, some genuine kick back moments, and some times where the story is just hauling bootay! Chris Hemsworth and Daniel Bruhl fit perfectly in this storyline keeping the acting fresh and exciting. But the real surprise was the actress who played Marlene (Alexandra Maria Lara). She was just wonderful in the role, and while I don’t know enough about Marlene Lauda in reality, I think that Alexandra made her character stand out perfectly and beautifully on its own.
As you know there are always costumes to be discussed. Rush takes place during the epic rivalry of Hunt and Lauda in 1976 and the costumes are closely inspired by the time but not complete replicas.
The wedding of James Hunt and Suzy Miller is a major fashion moment in the film. The wedding dress is gorgeous but clearly not 70’s. The dated tuxedo and top hat of James Hunt has been updated in the film version to a sleek and beautiful tuxedo. They kept the gray vest for authenticity.
Alexandra’s costumes were elegant and extremely 70’s Italian with halter dresses, leather jackets and her 70’s hair, Alexandra looked perfect for the period. Daniel Bruhl also seemed more 70’s than his co-star Chris Hemsworth. They dressed him in turtlenecks and more modest clothing that screamed, “aaahhh menswear in the 70’s!”
All-in-all, Rush was a fantastic movie. I had a lot of fun watching it and found it informative. Now I can say that I’ve seen 2 Formula 1 racing movies, Driven and Rush. I should see more since the men in their racing gear are so incredibly sexy, especially Chris Hemsworth!!!
images via Universal Pictures, imnotobsessed.com, jamisusmaximus via Reddit, geektyrant.com