I had to come into the office on Thursday, which always leaves me restless and stranded on the East Side of town. It feels stupid to be already dressed and already 40 minutes from home without capitalizing on it more, like it's just a waste of gas money to not do something else which technically would be on my way home, cause frankly everything is on my way home from the office. It's at the exact polar opposite end of my universe from my house, and all your places lie in between. There was this free talk, Spike Jonze and two other people I hadn't heard of but you know, film people. It seemed like a thing to do on a Thursday afternoon by yourself. So I found a free parking spot in the after work empty side streets of downtown, and went to the Downtown Library, my recent remembrances of you can read here. Don't you always feel so grown up and smart and aware when you walk into the big library? Among all the men in suits and old guys on bikes and girls in cute skirts leaving their offices. And then as I walked across Euclid, seeing the steady of stream of people you know are all headed to same place you can tell. I can't really pin down how you can tell. But it's a thing, when you go to a show or a lecture or a museum, you can tell the people who are going there too and the ones who aren't. Maybe it's a thing you recognize in their faces, the same way you can see which people are friends are bars, or who's related? There's a way in which we all match up our intentions. I first sat by myself in this bank of seats left alone by the rest of the crowded theater. A boy in a scarf saw this was a good idea and sat with me. He was really pretty, but also I felt like I recognized him and couldn't place where. The matching of intentions I guess. Only Amelia spotted me from down front, and did her little come hither smile, and so somehow I ended up in first row, at head level with and completely in love with Spike Jonze's white devil shoes, instead of hiding decorously in the back like I intended.
So there was Spike, who is so adorable, so hot, as to make his very existence completely unfair on a matter of principle. Geez but white shoes and the right manner go a long way with me. Oh, and you know, being horribly famous and successful and talented. I'm not one to be impressed by people with more fame than me, it's why bosses always like me too, cause I'll treat you like my equal no matter how much power you have. But I'll be a groupie for someone like him. Here's a thing I noticed about him, instead of answering a question, he really preferred to be the one listening to your answer, or to be asking the question. That's really what made me crush on him, that's sort of a sign of quality. He talked about the making of Where the Wild Things Are, and how when he pitched it as "melancholy" the studio execs heard "bittersweet", and the feeling of miscommunication when the buyer expects one thing and the artist creates their thing. He told a story about working on Harold and the Purple Crayon, which got killed after months of frustration, and when that happened how they took this big purple crayon someone had given them up to the rooftop and threw it off, and I imagined the unwieldy plastic thing falling through the air and how fun throwing things off roofs is. That guy does that well, evoking ethereal images even just as he's talking. God I wish I could do that.
The woman, Lisa Cholodenko, was the director of the Kids are Alright, which I haven't seen, and some other movies too I hadn't seen, but the interesting thing about her was that she was really aware of herself at this crossroads in her career, what with Kids taking off and studios suddenly knocking. That's something that makes storytellers fun to listen to when they talk about themselves, they are aware of their own story. They see their own lives in the same arc with which they see other people's lives. So when she was answering the standard questions that get lobbed at these things ("when did you know what you wanted to do?" "how hard is it to stick to your vision?") behind all her answers was this running shadow, you could tell she had recently been thinking a lot about what constituted selling out, what all this new fame meant, where she was going to end up. Like, if you were just drinking with her at a bar, she might run off at the mouth about it the way girls do when they like a new guy or need a new job. It was very personable and even though she wasn't trying to and in fact sort of seemed like she was trying not to, she felt intimate.
Then there was this Ted Hope guy sitting with these two fairly quiet reserved artists, and he does, I don't know, some sort of production thing? Working with producers? He had a lot to say. I mean, he was interesting too, I liked him, but you could tell he was a man who made his living by talking and writing and getting people to listen to him and give him attention. He kept coming back to one point, which was what he called "permission" or the "right to comment", as illustrated by the fact that his ten year old son already was taking his camera out to take pictures and make videos, something he wouldn't have felt entitled to do when he was younger because that was identifying yourself as an "artist" whereas now it's just a thing we all do. We all have cameras. Anyone can make a movie. And blogs fall squarely into that. It makes me think I should just not tolerate knowing anyone who doesn't make something outside their day job, art or projects or anything, cause it's true, we all have permission to now. So if you're not, then you're sort of not trying hard enough to live are you?
During the questions from the audience time, he also talked about how working for big evils was a thing you should do sometimes, to learn what you aren't willing to do. Where the lines are. He told a story about a grip crew that left him to work on some Chuck Norris movie, and on their way down to Texas, their car rolled and they all died and the people running the show, the Big Evil, decided to not tell the crew about the tragedy till the end of the production day. Or the couple who aborted a baby because they calculated it would be born during Cannes, which their film was going to. I liked him so much more right there, I just wanted him to talk about Big Evil for the rest of the night. Which is funny to me. Cause you might want to identify more with the graceful quiet artsy types, but in the end, you have to admit really you've got more in common with the loudmouth who knows the price of selling yourself. Dear Ted Hope, if you ever stumble across this little blog post, let's have drinks. I promise to be entertaining.
Afterwards Carrie and I had drinks at Greenhouse, which is where the afterparty was, and Spike walked by us and Carrie told him he was so handsome for being so talented, and then we totally both fan girled out over meeting Spike Jonze. The night ended at Tina's, with us pretty much taking over the karaoke, just us, these two hipster boys, and a mother/daughter/grandmother group of ladies. We sang Waterloo. I once again didn't get enough sleep, because let's face it, I just don't sleep anymore.
When I woke up today, I thought a lot about how we get identified by other people. Several people from twitter and facebook apparently spotted me last night, and that's a fucking weird thing, to be "spotted" and read about it later, without having actually talked to or in some cases having never met these people. I mean, on one hand, hey, that's cool. Next time, come up and introduce yourself, right? I want to meet almost all of you. But I also thought about how my bad ex spent years telling me I wasn't nice enough, was too negative, crazy. In fact I was none of those things all the time. I can see that now that there's space between us, that in fact I'm pretty fucking positive most of the time, and lots of people tell me I'm too tolerant and forgiving of people, and really isn't that how I ended up staying with him so long as it was? Because I kept forgiving and being optimistic? But people don't define you as an individual, they only see you as a mirror of their own personality, and everything you do or say is filtered through their insecurities or desires or moods. So if there's one person you are involved in the most, you start to only see yourself through their eyes, which is horrible sometimes if they are really self-involved. Here's an idea: the more people who know you, the easier it is to actually focus your haziness and become a strong single identity, because instead of their attention lighting up just little facets of you one at a time, mass attention allows there to be light on all of it at once. I'm looking forward to some day being completely lit up and getting to see all of myself. I feel pretty close to it now, like I've run my fingers and eyes along enough of me now that I'm starting to get it, what I'm supposed to be. Anyway, it's just an idea. It isn't true. Earlier today, I had a vivid idea of being stalked and attacked by a mob of phones. These are just things that happen in my head.