Dream: An Interview, a Folder, The Donald

I’m waiting for a job interview, and in my hand is a folder containing something new and exciting that I plan to share with my future employer. But in the hallway with me is Donald Trump, who is wearing a black trenchcoat over a black suit and red tie. He looks massive, a giant, and he demands I hand over the folder to him, now. I refuse. I run. He chases me, his body almost fishtailing because he’s going so fast and he’s so heavy, bumping against the walls. If not for me sidestepping at the last possible second to pivot and change direction, he’d catch me. His enormous hands barely miss me, again and again. But each time it feels like he’s getting closer.

Then I wake up.

Haiku and Review: First Reformed

a man of God, lost
finding purpose in darkness
and bliss in a cup

The film begins with a perfectly centered shot of a church at dawn, the camera slowly pushing in as the sky lightens.

Within ten seconds, you know you’re in the hands of a pro, and the pro here is Paul Schrader.

In a way, this movie is reminiscent of one of Schrader’s earlier works, Taxi Driver, which he wrote.  I’m not usually a fan of voiceovers, but I make my exceptions with Schrader and Terrence Malick, because these aren’t really voiceovers per se.  Voiceovers can easily become a crutch in a film, the laziest way to info-dump, but in this movie, it serves to build character more than anything else.

The best thing you can do for yourself is to watch this movie with as little information as possible.  All I knew was that Ethan Hawke plays a priest (turns out to be a minister) who’s lost his way.  That’s all you need to know.

First Reformed is a work of art.  I think that’s the highest praise you can accord a film, and this movie deserves every bit.  Taxi Driver is a movie written by a young man; it possesses that raw, unbridled energy.  First Reformed is a movie written and directed by an older, wiser man, and it’s full of grace and beauty.  Best movie I’ve seen this year so far, hands down.

Dream, 11/29/2018: Tina, Ellie, Lance, and I

I’m in a massive dorm room with Tina Fey, Ellie Kemper, and a woman named Lance Gabriel who looks just like Anna Chlumsky. The women are all on their own twin beds as I chat with them. We are good friends. I tell them they should never leave school — we are all attending Cornell. I’m a senior. I suggest that with the money they have, they really never have to leave, and they find this notion hilarious. But, I warn them, if one of them decides to leave, it’s over; the pact/spell will be broken. The women look at me solemnly, understanding the gravity of my words.

Then Ellie, Lance, and I are at a basketball game. The teams are terrible…it takes more than ten minutes for somebody to score, the other team, the ones in blue. The guy is fouled as he takes the shot; the ball bounces around the rim a few times before it finally falls in. He swishes in the free throw to give the opponent a 3-0 edge. On the Cornell team, there’s a player who is supposed to be really good, but he’s got a bum leg. His entire leg looks like it’s in a cast. Ellie and Lance are ignoring me, so I leave.

Then I’m in the dining hall and I continue to feel like an outsider. So many diners, and yet I don’t know anyone, and I can’t buy anything because I don’t have a swipe-able meal card, even though I’ve signed up for a meal plan at the start of the semester. A card? I ask the cashier. Really, you still need a card in this day and age? I’m told to go to Willard Straight (the student union), so I go there, and there are two women and a student in a tiny office that resembles a gas station mart. The student looks at me with exasperation. He holds up his smartphone and says, Touch and Pay, right? Ugh.

One of the women, an old lady, asks me why it’s taken me so long to come here. I tell her it’s because I live off-campus, but she doesn’t buy my excuse. She and the other woman chat among themselves, intimating that it’s too late for me to get a card now.

And then I wake up.

postmortem

I know why Ellie Kemper is in this dream; it’s because I read her By the Book in the Times yesterday (how cool she’s a fan of Richard Yates!). But Tina Fey and Lance Gabriel, a.k.a. Anna Chlumsky? Welcome to nonsensical dream logic. And I think beds play a part because because I watched a CBS Sunday Morning segment last night about the history of the waterbed, which was fascinating.

11/2/2018 7:30pm: The Washing Society/Loads of Prose

Attention, friends and strangers who happen to live in the vicinity of NYC!  I’ll be at the Anthology Film Archives on Friday, 11/2 at 7:30pm, to take in the screening of the film The Washing Society and afterwards, I’ll be doing a reading in support of Emily Rubin‘s Loads of Prose.  My story is titled “The Best of the Vest,” and if you want to know what it’s about, come on by!

Here’s a trailer for the movie.

The Washing Society (trailer) by Lizzie Olesker and Lynne Sachs – 2018 from Lynne Sachs on Vimeo.

And here’s all the info you need for the event.

THE WASHING SOCIETY/LOADS OF PROSE
Screenings and Readings
Thursday and Friday November 1, 2 at 7:30

ANTHOLOGY FILM ARCHIVES
32 2nd Ave NYC NY 10003
212-505-5181
http://anthologyfilmarchives.org

The Washing Society
by Lizzie Olesker & Lynne Sachs
2018, 45 min, digital

Film Notes

SPECIAL SCREENINGS: ARTISTS & SPECIAL GUESTS IN PERSON!

Featuring laundry workers Wing Ho, Lula Holloway, and Margarita Lopez, and actors Ching Valdes-Aran, Jasmine Holloway, and Veraalba Santa.

THE WASHING SOCIETY brings us into New York City laundromats and reveals the experiences of the people working there. Filmmaker Lynne Sachs and playwright Lizzie Olesker collaborate to observe and investigate the disappearing public space of the neighborhood laundromat, and the continual labor that happens there. The intersection of history, immigration, and underpaid work is woven into the film’s observational moments and interviews, along with the uniquely public/private exchange of dirt, lint, stains, and money. The juxtaposition of narrative and documentary elements creates a dream-like, yet hyper-real portrayal of a day in the life of a laundry worker, both past and present.

Screening with:
Lizzie Olesker & Lynne Sachs DESPERTAR: NYC LAUNDRY WORKERS RISE UP (2018, 5 min, digital)

SPECIAL GUESTS:
Thurs, Nov 1:
Historian Tera Hunter, whose book TO ‘JOY MY FREEDOM depicts the 1881 organization of African-American laundresses in Atlanta, and Mahoma Lopez and Rosanna Rodriguez (Co-Directors, Laundry Workers Center), will join us to discuss justice in the workplace.

Fri, Nov 2:
‘Loads of Prose,’ a reading series staged in laundromats, presents authors Emily Rubin (STALINA, 2011), Sung J Woo (LOVE LOVE 2015, EVERYTHING ASIAN, 2009), and Christine Lewis (Organizer, Domestic Workers United), who will read their stories of hidden labor and the challenges of our changing neighborhoods, where infrastructures are crumbling due to the visceral and economic demands of gentrification.

And here’s a bit of lovely trivia — I watched the film Private Life this afternoon, written and directed by the always wonderful Tamara Jenkins.  It’s currently playing on Netflix, and how cool is it that the Anthology Film Archives is featured in the film!  Check out the screencap.

Private Life (2018)