Friday, July 30, 2010

Friday Favorite Photo: Girl in green tutu

I took this photo at the Michigan Womyns Music Festival in 2004. I was walking down the path past the porta-potties when this nice young woman asked if I would hold her tutu, being that it would not fit comfortably into the porta-potty and she didn't want to put it on the ground. "Sure," I said, thinking it was not everyday that one was asked to hold someone's tutu, much less a big green one, for a girl with pink hair.

And that's the thing about the festival... it's filled will lots of strange and wonderful little moments like this one. Moments that make you glad to be there in spite of the lack of flush toilets, electricity, or indoor showers.

For one week, each August, women from all over the world come to this place they call "Michigan." And since it's right here, not far from my neck of the woods, how could I not be there too?

The festival land is a place like none other in the world, a happy place of celebration and peace. It's a place where you can wear whatever wacky thing you want - or nothing at all. Sure, you have to stand in line under the blazing sun (or pouring rain) in order to be served food on a paper plate, but the food is great. And everywhere you go there are women smiling, women laughing, dancing, and of-course lots of music.

I love the fest but haven't attended in a couple of years, and I'm having a hard time getting myself in the mood for it this year. There are SO many other things I would rather be doing, not to mention how much I'll miss my own bed. But we've bought our tickets, so that's where we'll be for four days next week.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Damned distractions

I'm distracted. And slightly anxious. Which is not a good state for creative writing. Or for the pleasures of summer.

I've been doing pretty good recently about sitting down to write every day. I'm working on some short stories. Not just story ideas, which I'm very good at, but whole, complete, polished stories with middles and endings, which I'm finding to be a challenge.

I need to have four stories done for my MFA program between now and November, and so far I only have one and 3/4ths stories completed. So, there's still a lot of work to be done. But...

I'm in the middle of painting a room and organizing all our books in a new bookcase. There's neglected gardening that needs to be done. The house is a mess. We have no groceries. And we're expecting guests this weekend.

I also need to think about getting packed for the four day  music festival we'll be attending NEXT WEEK. I have to haul out all the camping gear, make lists, plan, shop, do laundry etc...etc...

And with all this on my mind it's nearly impossible to write.  I'm SO distracted and annoyed that it has caused me to rant and complain on my blog! Crazy. Oh! How I wish for long, lazy, quiet summer days.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

The Kids Are All Right

I was really looking forward to seeing The Kids Are All Right, the movie about the children of lesbian moms who meet their biological father. But maybe I was looking forward to it a little too much. It's been so highly praised that maybe my expectations were a tad too high.

Not that I didn't like it, I did. It just that I can't help being bugged that in this mainstream, potentially Oscar quality movie about a lesbian couple, one of them ends up having a sex with a man. I completely buy that this is what happens, I completely understand it, and I get that it's vital to the plot, but it still bugs me.

I am also perplexed by the fact that the lesbian couple in the movie gets off on gay male porn. WTF?!%$! That doesn't make any sense AT ALL.

In spite of this & a few other little quibbles I have, it's a pretty good film and and I heartily recommend it. It's funny, touching, and the performances are great. Annette Bening plays a lesbian to perfection, and I appreciate that the lesbian characters aren't caricatures.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Weekend at the beach

We spent the weekend in Saugatuck, a beach town on Michigan's west coast, and couldn't have picked a better weekend to be there. The water temp of the lake was 74 degrees and the waves were continually rolling in. It was gorgeous!

When we weren't floating over the waves with our "boogie boards," we were reading books under our umbrella (the blue and white one in the lower left corner of this photo.) Bliss.

I'd almost forgotten how magnificent it can feel to be in that cool, fresh, wavy water on a hot summer day. It's just like the ocean, minus the salt and the sharks.

The beach in this photo, Oval Beach, has been ranked one of the 25 best beaches in the world by Conde Naste Traveler. And it's just one of a string of incredible beaches and dunes along West Michigan's fabulous shoreline.

Here's a little beach video I shot on Saturday:

Tuesday, July 13, 2010


I just finished reading an excellent book about Joni Mitchell. "Will You Take Me As I Am - Joni Mitchell's Blue Period" by Michelle Mercer. The book is a fascinating examination of Joni's development as an artist, focusing mainly on the years between the recording of Blue and Hejira.

Not a straightforward biography, the book delves into the influence of landscape on music, and the topic of "confessional" songwriting, but also explores her wanderlust, and relationships with Graham Nash, Leonard Cohen, James Taylor, and Sam Shepard, among others.

So, I'm feeling slightly Joni obsessed at the moment. I've hauled out all my old albums and I've been listening to my CDs with an ear for all the new Joni information and insight that I've absorbed. This is mostly a good thing, except that Joni's highly expressive, evocative music and poetic lyrics can have such an influence on my mood.

I'd like to write an essay about Joni and what she's meant in my life, but I've got other writing I need to be doing, and anyway dwelling on Joni might just take a little too much out of me right now.

"Like her, I had a dream to fly."

Thursday, July 8, 2010

It's a scream!

I'm not a fan of horror movies, but I'll be anxiously awaiting the release of Scream 4. It's currently shooting here in the Detroit area and I got to work as an extra in it yesterday. It was a long, exhausting day, on the set from 7AM to 7PM, wearing fall clothes in 90 degree heat, but I got to be in a scene with Courtney Cox!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Winter's Bone

It was so hot yesterday we didn't even want to go to the pool! We went to a nice, cool movie theater instead and saw the Sundance Festival award winning movie, Winter's Bone.

Winter's Bone is the story of a 17 year old girl, Ree, who needs to find her meth cooking father or lose the family homestead, which he's put up as bond. As she goes looking for help among her kin the mystery of her father's disappearance unfolds.

This film is certainly deserving of awards and accolades, and it's certainly engrossing, but I can't say it's enjoyable to watch. Its depiction of poverty and violence in the Ozarks is stunningly realistic. The authenticity of the cast, the sets, and the dialogue is amazing.

Even though this movie took me to a place I didn't enjoy being, I was fascinated by the strong, smart, resourcefull character of Ree. She has your heart from the beginning and she's certainly someone to root for.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Miles of Aisles

We went to see Eric Clapton, and opening act Roger Daltrey (of the Who), in concert last night at the Detroit area venue now known as the "DTE Energy Theater," but which will always be PINE KNOB to me.

Pine Knob is an outdoor amphitheater and has presented popular musical performers since the early 70s. I hadn't been there in nearly 10 years, and had never seen Eric Clapton in concert, so it was a  treat.

It's nice to know these guys in their 60s can still rock and roll. Though it was somewhat disconcerting to witness a sea of AARP card holders pumping their fists in the air to a performance of the Who's Teenage Wasteland.

This afternoon I Googled "Pine Knob" and was surprised and delighted to learn it is pictured on the cover of Joni Mitchell's live album, Miles of Aisles. I'm a huge fan of Joni and have looked at that album cover countless times. Since the album was recorded in LA, I'd always assumed it was a photo of an LA venue. How interesting to learn that it's Detroit's Pine Knob - makes that album all the more special.

Clapton & Miles of Aisles photos from Google images