Monthly Archives: May 2011

Update-Maryland film fest recap

I recieved a check from The Baltimore Guardian yesterday for all five shows I saw as part of the Maryland Film Festival. I did have to provide copies (as I am keeping the originals for my own records) of all reciepts from the festival. I have been promised payment for all my other pieces from The Baltimore Guardian… “sometime this year.” 

It’s a start anyway.

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Maryland Film Fest: Recap (part 3)

It takes a while to process a film as bad as Shunka.

Fortunately, I had the entire morning to finish the review. I wanted to get everything posted before the end of the festival, and I was running out of time. No fancy edits, I’d have to post them live and hope no-one noticed.

My initial plan was to see Weekend, Color Wheel, Shunka and Nostalgia for the Light on Saturday, and Small Pond and Art History on Sunday. However, that’s not quite what happened…so the only movie on my real world itinerary was Art History at 2pm.

I wanted to like Art History. It had a lot going for it. Okay, one thing going for it, but there was a lot of it. It was the rest of the movie they squandered: bad acting, bad writing, bad directing and even bad lighting. Come to think of it, even the “explicit sex” wasn’t that great (and that was the supposedly the main draw).

The last films of the day were seating, and festival was slowly wrapping up. I came back to my apartment and finished the last of my reviews before the final film ended, all with the knowledge that I’d probably never do this again.

 

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Maryland Film Fest: Recap (part 2)

I got almost zero sleep that night, my mind wandering between reviews, story ideas and random memories. I woke up after 10am, which meant there was no way I was making my 11am movie and that I didn’t need to see my in-fill movie at 1:30pm either. I did, however, have a movie at 4pm (or at least they called it a “movie”).

I went to buy tickets for that film (Shunka), I told the woman behind the table that I wasn’t sure which other film I was seeing that day, “but it was either Small Pond or-“

“See Small Pond!” the man in line next to me said, pulling a ticket out of a large envelop. “It’s a good film – I know, I directed it. Take it, it’s your lucky day, tell your friends.”

I cross the street, but the volunteer organizer out front says I’m “not cleared” to go into the theater yet (unless I had an “All-Access” pass…oh, right), but I was free to go wait in the “public” line with the rest of the unwashed masses. Fortunately, they let us rather quickly, and prodded us through the lobby just as swiftly before collecting our tickets in a massive bottleneck at the auditorium door.

I find a seat near the back of the half-full theater, and just as the introduction was about to begin a young man comes up to me and asked if the seat next to me is taken. I say no, and he then tells me I have to move over so he can sit with his girlfriend, actually one more so she sit with her friend (who didn’t show up until 5 minutes into the film). I was half surprised he didn’t ask me to boot the lady on the aisle too.

The festival organizer comes forward and gives some stupid spiel about “memberships,” “donations” and “All-Access” passes before turning the floor over to the director who simply said: “Enjoy the film.”

I didn’t, but I did get dinner afterwards and that wasn’t too bad.

The line outside the theater was longer than earlier, but it moved relatively quickly once they let us in. It turns out the show was completely sold out and I was able to find one of the last remaining seats before the festival director came forward to give the same spiel about the importance of “memberships,” donations” and passes. He then passes his mike to the film’s director who thanked us for coming and hoped we enjoyed his movie.

 The movie was called Small Pond and it was about a directionless girl who hates her life in Columbia, Missouri (pop: 108,500), and all I could think about during the movie was if she was that unhappy there she should come to Shamokin (pop: 8,009) – that would show her.

The movie ended and I went back to my apartment on the other side of the highway to begin writing my reviews of the day, and continued writing well into the morning.

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Maryland Film Fest: Recap (part 1)

I’ve never been to a real film festival before (the IMAX thing back in January was just a publicity event), but since it was going on right across the highway from me in Station North, I figured I had nothing to lose. Besides, I could write a few reviews and maybe squeeze a couple blog posts out of it (as I’ve been horribly neglecting this blog lately, sorry)…at the very least, it was something to check off that so-called “Baltimore bucket list.”

The festival itself started on Thursday night with a bunch of fancy “industry parties” that I wasn’t to, but the regular public screenings started on Friday. I had given my editor at The Baltimore Guardian plenty of time to pick me up an “All-Access” pass, yet on Thursday night, I get an e-mail saying:

“Box office is closed. You don’t mind buying tickets yourself do you?”

YES – I gave you a whole fucking week to do this! But hey, why not, I’m already paying for $33 theatre tickets out of pocket, what’s another $70 in movie tickets? Chump change when you’re making a whopping zero dollars per story!

Anyway, I leave the apartment the next day to get tickets for my show; it was over at MICA Brown Center so I had to buy tickets over there. I got there about an hour before the show was slated to start and rather easily found the table where they were selling tickets, but the woman sitting wasn’t going to make this easy.

“I need two tickets for today’s shows.”

“Tickets are available at the ticket both across from the Charles Theater.”

“Unless the show is at the MICA Brown Center, in which case, I have to buy tickets there.”

“Are you SURE you’re show is actually at the Brown Center?”

(Fist-palm) “I’m here to buy one ticket for Frankenstein at the MICA Brown Center at 1pm, and one for Convento at 7pm also in the MICA Brown Center.”

“Oh, both are indeed playing here…but we haven’t finished setting up yet so if you come back in a half-hour we’d glad to sell you tickets.”

“You’re kidding me, right?”

“Nope, go out, get a quick lunch and when you come back we’ll have tickets ready to purchase.”

“Actually,” a woman sitting next to her said. “There’s no reason we can’t give him his tickets now.” She takes my money and digs the two tickets out of a small box on the table behind her, but suggests I get lunch anyway until they begin seating.

It took me a minute or so to think of a place I could get to and come back from before seating began. I didn’t want coffee or that sub shop at Sutton Place so that left the burger place near the elementary school.

I finished lunch and made my way back to the MICA campus where I shared their cavernous auditorium with maybe a dozen or so other people. There was an introduction by incoming Centerstage artistic director Kwame Kei Armah and then the Baltimore premiere of Frankenstein at the Royal National Theatre commenced.

After the show, there was a brief Q&A session with and then I returned to the apartment to begin working on my review (which you can read: here). I logged on Facebook, checked my e-mail, eat dinner, and then it was time to head back for my second\third movies of the day. It was a combined feature – two drastically different movies in one sitting and once again it ended with a Q&A (and I have posted reviews for both Convento and Hillvanderbeek on The Guardian’s website).

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Food Court Follies: Part 2

I leave the store, look around to make sure the area was clear and then made my way back to the light rail stop (the northbound stop is relatively safe). I wait there on the hard metal bench, half-wishing I had bought a soda, a candy bar or SOMETHING else edible while I was still in the store, but all I can see\hear is that woman continuing to shout obscenities at me.

 

I am still fighting those same tears from back at the store (just as I am writing this account). I get back to the apartment and try to find something- ANYTHING – that could distract me from the day’s events: Nintendo DS – nope; Facebook – nope (even though I posted two different updates about it); funny cat videos on YouTube – no dice. I even tried the “special” magazines at the back of my closet – those ALWAYS work… but not this time (every picture was of the same 40ish black woman in a business suit shouting “FUCK YOU” and flipping me the bird).

 

I called my mom, but she doesn’t answer so I tried again about twenty minutes later. She answered and I managed to get her to at least listen to my story. I told her I’d been trying to distract myself and she mentioned finding a CD for her on Amazon so I did. It didn’t help that much, but I found a Mother’s Day gift so I guess that’s positive.

 

It’s almost dinner time by the time I calmed down enough to think somewhat straight. Leading me to a somewhat dubious question: what DOES a “crazy fucking asshole” eat anyway? Sorry, I wasn’t making the Buffalo Chicken sub (I don’t even like Buffalo Chicken sandwiches to start with); besides, all I bought was chicken tenders and pizza (okay, so I’m not a gourmet). Neither option really appealed to me, but it was the only food I’d had since this time yesterday, and I wanted to eat something now – preferably before someone kicked my door down and killed me (though no-one would’ve known I was gone for at least 2-3 weeks).

 

I sent some e-mails, checked Facebook again and went downstairs to get ready for bed. I was too mentally tired to watch television, but too worked up to go to sleep so I turned on the Tonight Show and Dave’s “Top Ten” before deciding to head downstairs to bed.

 

It was going to be a long night, and I spent most of the night staring at the ceiling, wondering why I can’t go anywhere in this city without pissing someone off. The saying goes: “If everyone around you (like an entire city) thinks you are an ‘asshole’ than you ARE an ‘asshole’ because YOU are the common denominator” (yep, same counselor from above).

 

After a night of somewhat precarious sleep, I wake up at 7 in the morning to that same woman shouting “YOU CRAZY FUCKING ASSHOLE” in the middle of the Charles Plaza food court. I even posted as much on Facebook, and just as I calmed down from the early morning excitement I got a comment asking me if this was “real or a dream?”

 

No, it’s not a dream – it’s a nightmare…and I live out scenes just like it every day in the self-styled “Charm City” where civility apparently is not an option.

Categories: adventures, Baltimore | 2 Comments

Food Court Follies: Part 1

Civ-il-ity – n – civilized conduct, especially: Politeness and Courtesy.

 

It had been raining all weekend, and today was the first day I was able to go out and get some errands done outside my apartment in Bolton Hill. My horoscope said to avoid new experiences and to”stay close to home and experience your life the way it is right now.”

 

All well and good, but groceries aren’t going to buy themselves. I could get a quick lunch, get my things and be back before the next batch of showers moved through later in the day. That was the plan anyway.

 

I got on the light rail at Cultural Center and made my way down towards the Super Fresh near Lexington Market. Lexington Market isn’t my favorite station, it’s downtown so it’s dirty, crowded and has lots of pan-handlers\drug dealers milling around the already packed station area. However, the store is only two blocks from the market’s northbound station (there is a full block between the two stations) besides said store has its own plaza on Charles St (a safe area with lots of stores\restaurants) with coffee shop and a small food court.

 

They say “never shop when you’re hungry,” so I went into the food court as usual. It’s not a huge variety of offerings (five or six quick service restaurants) and most of their menus leave a lot to be desired… but it’s there so why not?

 

I went in for pizza, but I stopped for a second in front of the sandwich shop. I was looking at their menu for a moment when a 40ish black woman in a blue business suit turned around and said “No, please, I’m not in line go ahead.” She sees me looking at the board behind her, and almost as an aside said “get the Buffalo Chicken sub.”

 

“No thank you,” I said politely. “I don’t feel like having a sub today.”

 

“What was that you said?” she asked in an almost accusatory voice.

 

Between my speech impediment and my dad’s Meniere’s, I’m pretty much used to having to repeat everything at least once, but still taken aback by her tone. “No, thank you. I don’t feel like having a sub today.”

 

She turns around and goes to leave, and as I approach the counter for a better look at the board, she spins back around.

 

“Hey crazy!” she said sidling up to me. She startled me, “Yes, YOU, you fucking MORON!” and I didn’t expect her to change a name either. “I was trying to be NICE to you, but no, noo you HAD to be a god-damned ASSHOLE about it. All you had to do was say ‘no thank you’ and that would have been it. But no, you have to a FUCKING CRAZY ASSHOLE about it!”

 

“That’s what I did say. That’s ALL I said.”

 

“DON’T YOU DARE TALK TO ME LIKE THAT! YOU FUCKING, GOD-DAMNED CRAZY ASHHOLE! ”

 

People are looking at me like I’ve done something wrong here, meanwhile, I’m just trying to figure out what the hell is going on here.

 

“All I wanted to do today was get lunch, get groceries and go home before the rain starts again,” I said exasperatedly, but determined to stay calm. “I can’t do any of that with you yelling at me.”

 

“Oh, I’m sooo sorry, if calling you a ‘FUCKING, GOD-DAMNED CRAZY ASSHOLE’ offends you, but I’m PROUD I said it, and I’ll say it AGAIN – FUCK YOU!” She flips me the middle finger dramatically as she leaves the food court.

 

I try to compose myself, but I can feel everyone’s eyes still on me. I still don’t want a Buffalo Chicken sub, but it’s the only thing I can see on their menu now. I apologize to the woman behind the counter, but I lost my appetite.

I walk across the plaza to the Super Fresh… but I couldn’t focus on anything on their shelves as that woman’s voice was literarily still ringing in my ears. However, I also wasn’t about to leave empty-handed either so I grabbed all the stuff I normally get and headed to the cashiers stand. I noticed my body was trembling and my eyes heavy with tears, but I was DETERMINED to keep as straight a face as I possibly could in public. What was left of my pride depended on it!

“How are you doing today,” the cashier asked mechanically. I knew she didn’t care, but I told her anyway, if only because the act of telling it might make it seem clearer in my own head.

 “Well,” she said somewhat nonchalantly.” There’s no accounting for people act sometimes.”

“Yeah,” I said defeatedly. “Like my counselor at my last school said: ‘If you’re offended by something it’s because you KNOW it’s true.’”

“Well…I guess she’s right about that.”

“You’re not helping.”

“Well, have a nice day anyway,” she said cheerfully.

“Sadly, it’s probably too late for that.”

Categories: adventures, Baltimore | 3 Comments

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