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John Yearley
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A thrilling piece of writing about something that thrilled you. How apropos. When we love fervently we should shout it from the rooftops. Well done, Rolo! I so hope I get to see it.
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So happy to provide inspiration, Amy, as I have received so much from you!
Toggle Commented Jan 15, 2014 on My Late Night Cinematheque at Extra Criticum
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Thank you, David! You are like an uncredited co-author here, so much did our conversations influence it.
Toggle Commented Jan 12, 2014 on My Late Night Cinematheque at Extra Criticum
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The Executioner's Song is, to me, the greatest example of this balancing act. A "nonfiction novel", Mailer called it. It is truly an astonishing book, one of the best I've ever read. Some gigantic truths are dredged up in that book. I believe the veracity of the characters and the story (maybe because they are verifiable to a degree? maybe that's the difference?) so much that issues of whether a particular conversation is made up, or a particular image is a writer's embellishment, seems irrelevant to me.
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I'll totally be your date next time, Rolo. I think all of the above play a part, but I'd go strongest with C. Who has any bad feelings about MacDowell? They give to you and honor you and expect nothing in return. I would walk over coals for those people. The mere mention of the word MacDowell gets me smiling and misty-eyed. How could you not have fun?
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And yet you are reading a performing arts blog. One assumes that if you are reading a performing arts blog you are interested in the work of performing artists. All the piece was saying was that the work of actors deserves to be treated with as much respect as that of other artists. You disagree? Unless you have acted yourself, and acted very well, you might not know how difficult it is. True, it is not difficult like coal mining is difficult. But what is easy for one person can be almost impossible for another. I am playwright, and I once had a conversation with a woman who ran a children's hospital in Kabul. When I told her how I sent my work out into the world she said, with no irony at all, "You are SO BRAVE." To me the idea that a woman who runs a hospital in Kabul would think me brave is ludicrous. But she wasn't kidding.
Toggle Commented Sep 25, 2013 on No Respect for Acting at Extra Criticum
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Fantastic piece, Rolo. You conjure that room so vividly. The fragility of it, the violation when it is trampled on. People like that are pure poison, working out their own dramas while smashing through life oblivious to(or maybe just uninterested in) the harm they cause.
Toggle Commented Sep 16, 2013 on Post-Traumatic Diva Syndrome at Extra Criticum
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Thanks, David. I had never used the Miller quote in that direct a way before. It was a way of recognizing a feeling I couldn't put my finger on. Feeling like, "Everybody is happy, it is clearly a good play...so why do I feel so blah about it?"
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There was a similar story in 80s academia. A professor, fed up with utter incomprehensibility of most papers published academic journals, composed an essay that was just jibbersih littered with buzzwords. It was submitted to a prominent journal, and promptly published.
Toggle Commented Sep 5, 2013 on 'Steps' of Rejection at Extra Criticum
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I don't think it's an either/or. I think craft augments and jumpstarts inspiration. I don't think there's any reason to take a class, or get a different camera, because you think in some abstract way you will do better, or become a "real photographer". (See my own post about being a "real writer" to know how well I understand this phenomena). I think you reach out when you start straining against your own limits. When you want to do things you don't know how to do, or create something that is somehow out of your wheelhouse, then you seek new equipment, new mentors. Your photography now is lovely. It is an expression of the same sensibility as your writing: cool, sensitive to beauty and difference, inquisitive. There's no need to change it unless YOU feel a need to change it.
Toggle Commented Jul 9, 2013 on The Untrained Eye at Extra Criticum
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I'm guilty of this, too. There's a certain arrogance about it at some point - "I shouldn't have to submit anymore!" But like most arrogance, it just masks insecurity ("I don't want to be rejected anymore!"). The point about good things happening even if you don't win is 100% true, however, and not just cheer-you-up bromide. The path of my play being done at Cincy Playhouse in 2005 was: submit to NY contest, become a finalist for that contest but not win, successful reading of said play at that theatre, become writer-in-residence at that theatre, have workshop production of that play, director of that workshop production hand my latest play to Cincy Playhouse, latest play wins contest, Cincy Playhouse produces latest play. They never even would have read me through the normal path, as I was agentless at the time.
Toggle Commented Jul 3, 2013 on Overcoming "Submission Aversion" at Extra Criticum
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It makes me happy this spurred memories for all of you. I am a dad with no time and no energy so I watch many movies at home. But nothing will replace the group experience of cinema for me. Dreaming in the dark.
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I think artists spend so much time feeling like beggars at the door that they internalize this feeling. It's really destructive. I was recently discussing a project with some people who were not writers and were, in conventional terms, much more successful than I. When they turned to ask me a question about something a thought occurred - "Oh, right. They NEED me. None of them can do what I do. So why am I sitting here feeling like I'm lucky to be here?"
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A beautiful dissection of a beautiful scene. I love it when directors trust actors. It pays off wonderfully here.
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Oh, Rolo! This makes me a bit weepy. You too are a wonderful writer, and it is my great privilege to be your friend. Thank you.
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Well, the same thing should be true of filmmakers then, yes? Rather than go to school, or write a story, or set up shots, you should just give cameras to people with no idea what they are supposed to do. That way they won't use any of those irritating filmmaking "tricks". Truly offensive. Great actors make acting look effortless, so people assume that it actually is.
Toggle Commented Feb 5, 2013 on No Respect for Acting at Extra Criticum
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I have very little to say about this other than I think it's a terrific post. I love that you did not push yourself to a conclusion you did not feel. The writing here feels authentic, lived-in, questioning. Well done, Rolo.
Toggle Commented Jan 15, 2013 on Mixed Feelings About Theft at Extra Criticum
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There's a terrific book, The Revolution Was Televised by Alan Sepinwall, that talks about this specifically. It says that one of the revolutions of The Sopranos was just that, the rejection of the classic story arc of growth. I think it's genius goes even further, to speak of the limits of psychiatry itself. Without the desire for actual change, which Tony lacks, there can be no growth. In the end, Dr. Melfi was just helping him be a more efficient sociopath.
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Hmmm..."Life Drawing" class? I saw a wonderful play that featured a Life Drawing class once...
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It's a terrific piece, David. I love these movies in a very personal way. I love the respect with which these lives are regarded. There is a phrase that says that anybody's life, told properly, is the stuff of great art. The Up movies are the strongest argument for that I know of.
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I think walks are built in to the MacDowell experience. I think that's most of the reason it is put in such a beautiful place. I know many seemingly intractable problems in my work would be simply and efficiently resolved while on a MacDowell walk.
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I never stop reading. One of the great joys of an artists colony is the ability to have sustained attention, to read for longer times, to read deeper. God I miss them!
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Opening those floodgates is one of the key functions of art. I had a total breakdown watching King Kong (of all things) after a miscarriage. Though it was overlong and a bit self-indulgent, I've always been grateful to Peter Jackson for that.
Toggle Commented Jan 3, 2013 on Permission to Cry at Extra Criticum
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Welcome back, Rolo. Be gentle with yourself. It can be a tough transition. I think walking is very meditative. I walk to and from the train every day (15 min) and it is good for my soul.
Toggle Commented Dec 28, 2012 on On re-entry into the "real" world at Extra Criticum
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I think it depends on the series. I watched The Wire and The Shield straight through and loved it that way (I got so far into The Wire I started dreaming about it). Modern Family, however, I find much better week-to-week. This is no slight on the show, which I still find hysterically funny. But the episodes are all self-contained. There's nothing to follow show-to-show. And frankly, the sitcom format is not forgiving of that kind of scrutiny. Watching that family get into 22 sets of wacky hijinx in a year, it is hard not to roll your eyes.
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