Happy Halloween!

HAPPY HALLOWEEN, y’all. My favorite holiday, for sure. Everything is all crisp and chilly outside. When you walk on the street you can’t help but crunch some leaves underfoot. Everyone gets to dress up as something or someone else today, putting on a mask of sorts and escaping reality for a short time and just enjoying being wild and crazy for a night (or a few nights). I love it. To celebrate, here’s some photos of me from past Halloweens…

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At some kind of school function… an awesome vampire (with ghost socks!).

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A (very unimpressed) ballerina.

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A cat! Sitting with my awesome Grampa.

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A much younger cat (with my Mom & Aunt Patty, who clearly ate all my candy).

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A pumpkin, perhaps? Holding a fellow pumpkin’s severed head for my candy spoils. I was a bad ass.

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Not sure what I am here, but I think my brother is the real focus in his adorable, orange lady bug costume.

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And the best costume ever — Sparkle Bat. I think one of these years she might make a reappearance!

Chen Jiagang

I’ve been fascinated with Chen Jiagang‘s work, particularly his “Third Front” series, for which he visited a large number of abandoned villages and factories. All of these photos not only feature the sprawling landscape of the location, but a woman and sometimes a young girl as well. His work is often featured in huge sizes, as large as several meters high, which I think must be FANTASTIC to see in person.

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Self-Perception

Someone made an offhand comment to me a couple months ago that has stuck with me ever since. It was someone I had just met, and I was photographing them, and at some point I said “you look like a bad ass!” and they laughed. Not a shy chuckle, but they were genuinely amused. I asked them why they were laughing and felt surprised a bit – I was expecting to reassure them that they truly were rocking the shoot. Instead, she said “it’s just funny — it’s like being called a bad ass by a cute little kitten”. This obviously wasn’t meant to be insulting, but it’s just been stuck in my head. Do I really strike people as a “cute little kitten”? What about me and my personality made her think this? Is this something common that people gather about me, or was this unique? It really bothered me because I don’t see myself this way at all. So it has lead to many deep thoughts about self-perception.

I would be willing to bet that every single person alive has some personal idea of how they are, how their personality is, their aura, the vibe they give off to others, their demeanor. And I’d also be willing to bet that at least 99% of us are totally wrong. The way we feel inside isn’t always the way we express ourselves on the outside, which is often a shame. I for one know that I am not always openly the person that I truly am, for better or for worse. The reasons why it hides vary — shyness, insecurity, attempting to fit into some other mold. It seems impossible to be 100% yourself, 100% of the time. And you open yourself up, ultimately, to people not liking things about you. But that’s okay. My Mom is a huge proponent of this — being truly yourself so you weed out everyone who is not meant to be close to you, and you reel in those who are. I’ve watched her fully blossom into her true self over the past 7 or 8 years and it’s been awesome. She’s an encouraging example of just saying “fuck it” and putting yourself out there.

I don’t know if I want to be a “cute little kitten”, and I may never know what about me struck her that way. Is it my more positive qualities — being warm, kind, friendly? Or some not-so-positive ones — being shy, timid, lacking a sense of confidence and power? Either way, it motivates me to always be aware of putting forward my most honest and true face.

Visiting Hours (1982)

To sum this movie up: Strong-willed television journalist is attacked in her home by a creepy, misogynist dude who then becomes determined to finish the job by stalking her (and anyone else who gets in his way) at the hospital.

My first thought after watching it? Boring. There’s some good bits, for sure. William Shatner makes a few smaller appearances as Deborah Ballin’s boss/boyfriend. He doesn’t add much to the movie overall, but come on — it’s Captain Kirk! Lee Grant’s role is played out very well, and I can certainly relate to her strong-willed, feminist character. And above all, Michael Ironside is nothing if not convincingly slimy and creepy. His role is played with very little dialogue and he does it pretty damn well. I felt disturbed and uncomfortable watching him, especially when he got a camera in his hands (ugh).

Other than those bits… I don’t know. It was just TOO slow-paced for me. The characters, for the most part, had the stereotypical absence of logic… most of the time the hospital seemed to switch from well-staffed and buzzing to completely deserted (naturally once someone was being actively chased)… some weak dialogue and confusing (and sometimes seemingly pointless) camera cuts.

It’s not a great sign when I find myself getting restless an hour into a movie. I’d give it 5 stars.

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Visiting Hours (1982) | Directed by Jean-Claude Lord | Written by Brian Taggert (screenplay) | Music by Jonathan Goldsmith | Starring Michael Ironside, Lee Grant, Linda Purl, William Shatner, Lenore Zann | 5 stars