28 March 2012

the dream of a common language

Earlier this evening while on my dinner break, I was on Facebook and noticed several references and quotes to poet Adrienne Rich. These mentions told me two things: My friends have (unsurprisingly) excellent taste in writers and that Ms. Rich had died.


She is one of a handful of poets, along with the likes of T.S. Eliot and Ted Hughes, who have inspired my own writing. I wrote academic papers on her and titled my BFA thesis "Whatever Happens, This Is," taken from her [floating poem]. Frequently her graceful words were used as epigraphs to my own.

She was an amazing woman and writer, fierce and fabulous. She will be missed.

So, I share with you now not only my absolute favorite Rich poem but quite possibly my favorite poem ever. This is selection II from her Twenty-One Love Poems:

I wake up in your bed. I know I have been dreaming.
Much earlier, the alarm broke us from each other,
you’ve been at your desk for hours. I know what I dreamed:
our friend the poet comes into my room
where I’ve been writing for days,
drafts, carbons, poems are scattered everywhere,
and I want to show her one poem
which is the poem of my life. But I hesitate,
and wake. You’ve kissed my hair
to wake me. I dreamed you were a poem,
I say, a poem I wanted to show someone…
and I laugh and fall dreaming again
of the desire to show you to everyone I love,
to move openly together
in the pull of gravity, which is not simple,
which carries the feathered grass a long way down the upbreathing air.

Adrienne Rich
May 16, 1929 - March 27, 2012

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus

27 March 2012

i get a kick out of you

Just a little bit ago, Cleveland's own Playhouse Square announced the line up for their 2012-2013 Broadway series. I don't know if I've mentioned this yet or not, but I am a total theater junkie. I did theater in high-school, have had two stage plays of my own produced, and loved Wicked so much I got a "Defy Gravity" tattoo. That last one takes nerd to a whole 'nother level, people.

There's just something so magical about seeing a live show. Of getting all dressed up and the excitement and anticipation as you're waiting for the curtain to rise, getting goosebumps as the Overture starts. I love movies and all but I love musicals.

So, without further ado, let's take a look at this year's shows!

Anything Goes [October 2-14, 2012]
Um, I freaking adore Anything Goes. I was in the chorus my junior year of high-school and of all the plays I did while at HHS, this was by far my absolute favorite (and not just because the set was phenomenal). I still remember every line from the title song and who doesn't love tap dancing on a big cruise liner?

Beauty and the Beast [November 6-18, 2012]
Pretty sure this is the first Broadway show I ever saw actually on Broadway and it'll be in town during my birthday! Double yay!

Priscilla Queen of the Desert [January 15-27, 2013]
Drag Queens. Need I say more?

Sister Act [March 5-17, 2013]
Singing nuns? Sign me up.

War Horse [April 9-21, 2013]
You know a play has street cred when Spielberg directed the movie adaptation.

Guys & Dolls [May 1 - June 23, 2013]
Gambling, drinking, and dancing, oh my! Another show I did in high-school and loved.

Book of Mormon [June 18 - July 7, 2013]
Hell. To. The. Yes.

With the Broadway Series I usually just pick and choose, but this season is so strong I am highly tempted to buy a subscription. Oh Playhouse Square, you really are the top.

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus

26 March 2012

the hunger games

On Saturday, my yoga instructor asked me what it feels like to have lost 70 lbs.

Truthfully, I don't even really think about it. The number is just too huge to properly process. Plus, I'm not even halfway through this journey yet. I don't want to fall into that mental trap of thinking Oh em gee. I've been at this for fourteen months and I still have 80 lbs to go. So, instead of focusing on how much I've lost so far or how much I still have to lose, I focus on every day. I focus on what I eat at each meal and how much exercise I log and how much I lose each week.

Like this week. This week I lost only 0.2 for a total of 70.4 (look at me, being all nice and telling y'all at the beginning so Jenn doesn't have to hold her breath until the end of the post). I know that's not a lot, but it's totally par for the course at this point in my monthly cycle. I also know that had I not been careful, it easily could have been a gain because this past weekend proved to be one of those situations that challenged me in the food arena, because with the film festival I was stuck eating several meals at Tower City Center where all they really have is fast food. Plus, being a vegetarian, my options were even more limited. So, I had to be smart and I had to be creative.

Thus, my plan of asnack.

The secret to this plan was really just in bringing my own food and working with what was available. I stayed far away from the food in the volunteer room, knowing that it was mostly pizza and popcorn and candy and stuff. So on Friday, which was my 13 hour day, during lunch break I bought a six inch Veggie Delite from Subway.

Now, normally the full sandwich the way I get it with provolone and light mayo on flatbread would be 9 Weight Watchers points. That comes out to 1/4 of my daily total. However, if I cut that sammich in half, I not only save on points, I also save on money since I just bought myself dinner, too. Get enough veggies on that sucker and buy the Baked Doritos and you don't even notice the sandwich is only 3 inches. I wrapped the other half up and stuck it in my bag and it was fine a few hours later when I had it for dinner with some pretzels I brought from home.

Done and Done.

Saturday I planned for popcorn. And when I say I planned for popcorn, I mean I saved half of my daily points and ate very light during the morning and afternoon so I could have a small bag during the 6:00 movie. I'm pretty sure I do this every year. I'm also pretty sure that every year I also end up regretting it a few hours later because I'm so hungry by then I practically inhale it, which means my body doesn't really process it, which means within two hours I'm hungry again. Well done, Jill. And, honestly, the points aren't worth it. Not when, come Sunday, I bring in a carefully portioned bag of mini Ranch flavored rice cakes that serve the same purpose for way less points.

Let's just hope that by the time the 2013 festival rolls around, I'll remember all of this and not make the same mistake again.

Also: Don't forget your water bottle. Yes, obviously, taking a water bottle into a movie theater is not technically allowed. But, honestly, at CIFF, I was hardly the only one. And you could always hear at least one can of pop being opened as the trailer started.

Granola bars are your friend. Seriously. Just be careful, because if you don't watch the nutrition information you might as well just eat a candy bar. But every day at the festival I had a granola bar on hand as either a mid-afternoon or post-dinner snack. The Hospitality Headquarters provides food, but I can't look at a wrap and know what it's in it or how much of anything. Chips and hummus or celery with peanut butter is a fabulous snack and as much as I love both hummus and peanut butter, they are high in points and I don't exactly have ready access to measuring spoons like I do at home. So, on Saturday, after showering and changing at yoga class, I grabbed a Southwest Salad (minus the chicken) from McDonald's and took it up to the HH. So, yes, I was that weirdo who bought her lunch when there was free food available. And when I was finished, I went to my movie and ate my baggie of exactly 8 Swedish Fish for dessert.

Anal? Hell yes. A little OCD? Perhaps. But I have lost 70 lbs. I'm not leaving this to chance. But, more to the point, I didn't lose those 70 lbs by chance, either. This took freaking hard work, people. Like yoga once a week. Like Couch to 5k three times a week. Like walking instead of driving. Like paying attention to nutrition information and portion sizes. Ohmygod the portion sizes. I wasn't kidding about measuring out hummus or peanut butter or counting how many Swedish Fish I take from the bag.

As they say, though, the proof is in the pudding. Even the low-fat kind.

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus

24 March 2012

mind the gap

As someone who has been attending CIFF on-and-off since 1998 and has always had to buy tickets and has felt the disappointment of Stand-By, let me tell you: having a pass is weird. I've suddenly turned into one of those people I've always seen. You know, the ones who walk around carrying a huge purse or back pack, never realizing that their food and drink and in-between-movie-magazines-and-other-entertainment are in there. They are constantly flipping through a Program Guide because they have the luxury of making their schedule up as they go along. It really is like this magical movie skeleton key.

A magical movie skeleton key that lets you gain access into the magical movie room that is the Hospitality Headquarters.

Oh yes, because nobody likes to kill time by wandering Tower City, so those people with passes are given a swanky area with comfy couches and tables and free food and drinks. I swear I feel like I'm gate crashing up there, it's so surreal. I mean, I'm up there with the filmmakers and the actors and the people who paid good money for their pass and what did I do? Watch a couple of shorts over the fall? (Okay, so when I say "a couple" it was more like 160. But still.)

Like, okay, in the past I'd kill time between movies by reading a magazine in the food court or by window shopping at the stores. But yesterday? Yesterday I spent ten minutes talking to a very handsome filmmaker who was made even more handsome by his British accent. I was just sitting on the couch, reading my magazine, when he got up from the couch on the other side of the room to come over and sit down next to me.

Whiskey. Tango. Foxtrot.

(And while I suspect he might have been hitting on me, I'm not letting myself entertain that thought because, well, stuff like that doesn't happen except in, uh, y'know. The movies.)

Here's a little insider tip for those of you attending CIFF: If you see someone with a pass hanging from a bright green lanyard, they are somehow attached to a film being shown. Directors, actors, crew members, family and friends of filmmakers, etc. Just a little hint from me to you.

Oh yes: for those who haven't yet attended but want to, I have two vouchers available (you need to just go to the box office and turn them in for actual tickets). Just shoot me an email if you're interested (first come first serve) and I'll mail them out. Festival doesn't end until April 1st, so you have plenty of time to use them if interested!

It also turns out that being friends with some of the executive staff gets you some perks. Like, yesterday I was in the lobby waiting for my shift to start when I was asked if I wanted to screen a feature film for them. It hadn't been watched yet for quality control and it had arrived with two copies of Reel 3 and they wanted to make sure nothing was wrong with it before it was presented to an audience. So, I spent my first two hours or so as a volunteer sitting in a theater by myself watching a movie. And while that sounds kind of silly, about 2/3 of the way through German subtitles popped up. I don't mean like I was watching the film in German, I mean they were speaking in English and subtitles in German were on the screen.

Guess that was the mysterious second third reel.

Liebe aus der Asche,
Dame Lazarus

23 March 2012

to a tee

This week has been so sloooooooooooooow and I fully blame the nice weather and my impatience.

But today it doesn't matter anymore. Because today starts film festival fabulousness.

Oh, yes. This is going to be quite the weekend, starting with a thirteen hour jaunt today that includes two volunteer shifts bookending two movies.

But first! A comparison.

So here is last year's volunteer shirt:

Ooooh. Ahhhh.

(I know, the color is a little obscene and believe me, even without Instagram it's still that shade. I'm pretty sure they pick bright colors so we stand out in the crowd. And so we can't sneak into movies while on shift).

And here is this year's volunteer shirt:

I wasn't crazy about the color at first, but it's definitely grown on me. And the yellow is, oddly, a nice compliment to my red hair. I'm not one to really repurpose t-shirts, but this one is so adorable. I think it would make a cute tote bag or something, yes?

But that's not what I want to show you.

This is what I want to show you:

I know it doesn't look like much, but today I weigh 240.8. A year ago I weighed 302.6. A year ago I hadn't even lost 10 lbs yet and here I am minus 70. Granted, most of that weight loss has been in my hips and thighs and I'm still rocking a DD, so there isn't that big of a difference in shirt sizes between 2011 and 2012. But still. Just look at that. No lie, I'm already looking forward to next year's festival so I can see how my 2013 shirt compares.

Talk about being carried away.

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus

21 March 2012

be carried away

Tomorrow marks the Opening Night for the 36th Cleveland International Film Festival. I won't be there, but starting Friday I'll be all over Tower City Center. Here's my schedule for opening weekend:

Friday March 23rd
10:15am - 2:15 pm --> Volunteer
4:20pm --> Woman in the Fifth
6:20pm --> Hollywood Complex
9pm - 11:30pm --> Volunteer

Saturday March 24th
1:45pm --> Brooklyn Castle
6pm --> Shuffle
8:15pm --> Cat Vanishes

Sunday March 25th
9:40am --> Love Free or Die

Sunday is my annual film festival day with Papa G., although we don't have all of our films decided yet. He brought me to my first ever CIFF in 1998 when I was a sophomore in high-school and we've attended almost every year since. We pick one day and about three or four movies. Over the years I've seen some amazing films and I don't know if I would be as involved with CIFF as I am if he hadn't introduced me to it at such a young age. I mean, I was on the Selection Committee this year. My name is in the program guide.

Let me know if you're interested in joining me for any of the films on Friday and Saturday, since, as you can see, I have an extra magical all access pass (obviously Papa G. gets it on Sunday).

Looking at my schedule, most of my planned films are this first weekend. There are two that I'll be seeing after the BGSU Alumni Event and my Day o' Docs with my friend Staci next Saturday, but other than that, next weekend I'll only be at Tower City to do volunteer stuff.

Truthfully, next weekend I hope to see The Hunger Games with some friends. It seems so wrong, to go see this big Hollywood blockbuster when there is a wealth of independent films available, but man oh man oh man do I love that series. Of course, I don't love it enough to go opening night, but only because the opening weekend of The Hunger Games is this weekend, the same opening weekend as CIFF.

Talk about the odds not being in my favor.

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus

19 March 2012

walk the walk

Over the course of the weekend, I walked about 5 miles around the city. And I did it in flip-flops and calf-length yoga pants. I mean, this is Cleveland, people. Cleveland in mid-March.


I only really discovered I enjoyed walking so much back in September when I accidentally walked six miles in one day (long story). But after that experience I decided to walk where I could when I could. So on Friday, when I was asked to volunteer at the Cleveland International Film Festival offices, I decided to walk up there seeing as how it was a gorgeous day and only a mile from my apartment. Around noon, Papa G came by and we walked over to Light Bistro for lunch.

Saturday, of course, was St. Patrick's Day. Green flip flops and fake red hair was about as festive as I got, but considering it was once again a gorgeous day and only imaging what downtown was like, I decided heading to yoga class on foot was probably my best option. I also took it as an opportunity to snap some pictures of this lovely city.

After yoga class, I headed uptown to grab something for lunch before heading back to my side of the river. Yes, I was that weirdo walking away from the parade. Also, turns out my yoga class is maybe a ten minute walk from my place. So adding that walk to my weekly workout routine.

Yesterday I went back to the film festival offices for some more volunteering (considering the festival starts this Thursday, you can only imagine how much help they need). In fact, including the few hours I spent at the 90.3 WCPN pledge drive, I volunteered three times this weekend. Not too shabby.

Despite all that walking, I only lost 1/2 a pound this week. But that is totally okay because it brought my total to 70.2! (As Miss Musings pointed out, I've lost a tween.) One of these days I'll get around to posting pictures, I promise.

I hope all of you were also able to enjoy this crazy beautiful weather! My plan for the rest of the week is to eat my dinner at the park near work. Yay spring fever!

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus

16 March 2012

get your pledge on

Tonight, from 6:30pm to 9pm, I'll be volunteering at the WCPN pledge drive! If you listen to and support public radio like I do, then call 1-877-903-9276 with a donation. Every little bit helps, but there is some sweet swag if you donate at certain levels. You can either donate all at once or break it up into monthly payments. Regardless of how much, if you donate you are entered into the drawings that feature prizes like gift cards to local restaurants or tickets to concerts (I'm secretly hoping my own small pledge turns into an iPad 3 or a $500 gift card to Legacy Village. A girl can dream, right?)

Of course, if you don't like talking on the phone like I don't (which, I know, is weird, considering that's what I'll be doing), you can always pledge online. That's what I did and it's super easy.

The pledge drive ends tomorrow, so time is a ticking.

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus

13 March 2012

callin' all film lovin' falcons

I'm a fourth generation BGSU falcon: My mother went there, my grandparents met there, and my great-grandmother went there. My sister also attended, along with some of my mom's cousins, and one of my grandma's sorority sisters was actress Eva Marie Saint. I don't exactly bleed orange & brown, but I thoroughly enjoyed my time in good ol' Bowling Green and am still friends with many of the people I graduated with.


A few weeks ago, my mom sent me an email from the alumni association announcing an event at the upcoming Cleveland International Film Festival on Thursday March 29th from 5:30pm to 7:15pm. For $15, you get hors d'oeuvres, cocktails, and a voucher for the film festival. A regular ticket is going to cost you $12 ($10 for CIFF members), so you might as well spend the extra few bucks and get food and drinks too, amirite? Go here for more information or to register to attend (deadline is March 23rd).

After I get my Falcon Fun on, you should join me at the 7:45 showing of Girl Model followed by King Me at 9:45 (have I mentioned yet how much I like love documentaries?) I was already planning on leaving work early that day to go to these two films and at least this way I can make it sound good by telling my supervisor I'd like to leave work early to attend an alumni event instead of telling him I want to leave early so I can go to the movies.

It's all in how you present the information, amirite?

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus

12 March 2012

all in the family

Friday I had a lady date with the always awesome Lindy Loo. First, we met up at Happy Dog for a late lunch. This is essentially a make your own dog kind of deal. I mean, just look at this list of toppings. As many as you want for 5 bucks. And they have the best tater tots, no lie. And the tots and fries come with as many dipping sauces as you'd like for only $3 (my personal favorites are the Chipotle hollandise, the grape jelly and chile sauce, and the Oaxacan red chile and chocolate mole). Cheap and tasty, just the way I like it.

So after our happy dogs vegan Italian sausages, we headed over to the Capitol Theatre for a movie. Located in the heart of the Gordon Square Arts District, the Capitol is the most fabulous movie theater in all of the Land of Cleves. Originally built in the 1920s, it currently operates as a first-run movie theater while still holding on to its original character. It only has three screens, with the two upstairs being kind of small, but the single screen on the main floor is gorgeous and glamorous. Very old school art deco.


What I love best about The Capitol is its mix of new, independent/foreign, and old films. Over the years I've gone to the Capitol to see "Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows: Part 1," the Swedish version of "The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest" and on Friday Lindy and I went to see "The Godfather." That's right, Michael Corleone was kicking it in Cleveland this past weekend and it looks like he's still in town through Thursday.

I love "The Godfather" and have seen it many times but man there is just something about seeing a movie on the Big Screen. It's also one of the things I love about Playhouse Square and their Cinema on the Square program during the summer. Also cheap and tasty but in a totally different way.

(During the credits I turned to Lindy and said "I think actress Talia Shire [who played Corleone sister Connie] is Jason Schwartzman's mom." Upon coming home, I used my mad librarian skillz (ie: Google) and sure enough I was right. But I also found out that Talia is director Francis Ford Coppola's sister, which means she's Nicholas Cage's aunt (his father is Francis and Talia's brother), which makes Nick and Jason cousins. Talk about a family reunion I want to crash.)

Despite the fabulous dogs and tots and multitude of dipping sauces, I lost another 1.8 lbs this week. I'm sure Saturday's yoga class and that headstand helped. That brings my total to 69.8 pounds! I'm losing at about an average of 5 lbs a month, give or take, which means I could have that 100 lb tattoo by the end of the summer.

Talk about an offer I can't refuse.

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus

10 March 2012

practice makes perfect

There is power in the poses. Beauty in the binds. Magic on the mat. The energy changes with each class. Sometimes it is there, sometimes it isn't. Some days you struggle with something seemingly simple, while other days you are able to bend in half and fold in on yourself. You feel fierce and flexible, beautiful from the inside out. And you realize that energy you sense isn't in the studio, it's in you.

And sometimes, just sometimes, that energy bursts forth and in one swift moment you feel the potential, the possibility in a single pose. You take the risk, the chance, no longer afraid to fall. In one swift moment you go for it.

All you can see is your yoga instructor squatting in front of you, a bemused look on her face. Only she's upside down because, hello, you are standing on your head. So, really, she's not upside down: you are. This realization, instead of freaking you out and making you lose balance, grounds you even more in the this exact moment.

From your position, blood rushing to your head, all you can do is laugh and tell her to stop because you're about ready to cry.

She says she's not doing anything, and she's not. She's just watching. With a look, a smile, that suggests she thinks you've been holding out on her. As though you do this in secret, like in all of those movies where the young protege practices on their own, just waiting for the chance to show up and wow their mentor.

Fact is, I hadn't had the chance to try in two weeks. Jessica was gone last week and we had a sub and while she was good, Ashtanga isn't her primary practice so some poses were skipped over, including the supported headstand. Maybe it was because I hadn't practiced the full primary Ashtanga series in two week, and, so, was excited and ready to take it to the mat, but body and soul aligned this morning and what was impossible three months ago was suddenly very, very possible. So well executed, done with such ease, it felt as though I've been doing it all along.

The phoenix has -- literally and figuratively -- risen.

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus

07 March 2012

cold comfort farm

This season's of The Biggest Loser is all about "no excuses," and last night's episode was focused on getting out of your comfort zone. I fully confess to being one of those people who likes her comfort zone. It's safe and familiar and, y'know, comfy. I get anxious and nervous when challenged and tend to turn into a little turtle who retreats back into herself. I call it self-preservation but I know it's really just fear.


A few weeks ago my friend Lindy posted this fabulous post and I told her I was in. All the way. Because I am someone who needs to put myself in situations that make me uncomfortable if I expect magical things to happen. And I want magical things to happen. But they haven't happened yet, which means I'm going to have to go outside of myself and my usual boundries to find them.

On my commute to and from work, I listen to my local NPR station, which, c'mon, is probobably not that surprising. Their big pledge drive is this week and they have put a call out for volunteers. I was all gung ho and emailed them asking for more details. That is, I was all gung ho until they emailed back and said "Oh, yeah, we need help next week!"

Oh. Oh, next week. Like, next week. Like, four or five days from now. Oh, and, hmm, it's a pledge drive so I'm probably going to have to, y'know, answer the phone and talk to strangers.

See this? This is me in my comfort zone. And waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay over here is talking to strangers on the phone.

I'm not kidding, as soon as the reality of volunteering at a pledge drive hit, I felt myself start to get anxious and wanted to tell her I was busy every single shift she offered. Except, y'know, I'm not. And the shifts are a max of 3 hours, most only 2.5, and they train you at the start of each shift so really it'll be less than that. This isn't a baptism by fire kind of deal. No throwing me into the deep end, sink or swim situation.

But, see, I'm not very good at handling situations where I have to engage with people I don't know. Back when I was working at the public library in my hometown as a high-schooler, I would start to get panic attacks when asked to work the circulation desk. It got so bad that my supervisor made it a rule that I didn't have to be asked anymore and could continue to stay all safe in the stacks reshelving books.

It really is crazy that I ever became a librarian and that my first two post-grad professional jobs have been in places where I am the only librarian so there is no option to hide.

But the really crazy bit is that my previous job was in a prison. I spent everyday for almost two years behind bars. True, it was minimum security and the worst offense was domestic violence, but still. I didn't have an officer in the room with me, it was just lil ol' moi and about forty inmates.

Soooooooo I can hang out in a room with prisoners for several hours a day for twenty-two months, but I can't spend 2 1/2 hours answering the phone?

Talk about crazy.

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus

05 March 2012

exercise schmexercise

I had to step on the scale four times this morning to convince myself, but I lost a little over 3 lbs this week, bringing my overall total to 68! It's incredible and I think I'm still trying to process. It also means my 100 lb reward tattoo is a mere 32 pounds away.

The body is an amazing mysterious machine, especially when it comes to weight loss. It isn't always linear: something good or bad may not show up on the scale for a few weeks. Patterns emerge. Some women gain or stall during their period, I tend to do it in the middle of my cycle. Or I'll have two really small weigh-ins in a row and then a big one that third week, which is what happened this time. Last week I only lost 0.2. This week, 3.2. That averages out to 1.7, which is right in line with the recommended weekly loss.

I've started running more, doing the Couch-to-5K plan. I like it because it only requires three days a week, at about 30 minutes each day. I was already doing similar intervals, but this feels more focused and bumps the workout up each week on a schedule.

I did break down and buy a new bathing suit. After measuring myself, I realized my bust is two dress sizes smaller than my hips and waist. No wonder I felt like I was, literally, swimming in my old bathing suit. So a tankini was my best option. I went with this top and a pair of swim shorts.

Beach Living Batik Dot Tankini Top

Let me tell you, after a lifetime of swimming in one pieces, a tankini is weird. As are shorts. It's just a very different sensation in the water and I kept feeling all paranoid because the top would float up and my stomach was showing. But, y'know, underwater so it's not like anyone could really see it and, hello, the only other people in the pool with me on a Friday afternoon are retirees, so it's not like they care. But, man, were my boobs secure which was all I was really concerned about anyway.

After careful consideration (and mostly after looking at my budget) I decided to drop my 6am Tuesday morning yoga class. For the first two months I was on their introductory offer and at the end, I think I paid only $4 for each class, which is less than half the normal cost. Twice a week and the regular price is just too much for right now, but with all the swimming and running I still am working out 4 days a week. I mean, on Friday I did that day's C25K workout when I first woke up. That means I was on the treadmill before I even had coffee. And then, a few hours later, I was at the pool. Weird. Just weird. I mean, who does that?!

Well. Apparently I do.

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus

03 March 2012

the penn is mightier than the sword

So last November, my family and I went to Las Vegas for my 30th birthday. While planning the trip, I told my mom I didn't care what else we did or where we stayed or any of that, but I was going to see the magicians Penn & Teller. I have loved them for years and years and years but have never had the chance to see them live. For the uninitiated, Penn is the big tall one while Teller doesn't talk. At least not on stage. Teller is the magician, Penn is the distraction. To truly understand their awesomeness, I suggest you check them up on YouTube. This one is a personal favorite.

Now, we were able to get tickets. Good tickets. But a few hours before my parents picked me up for the airport, my mom called me and said the show had been cancelled. They weren't given a reason why, just that Penn was working on some project in New York without an end date and wouldn't be back in time. I was disappointed, naturally, but it didn't ruin the trip. Then, a few weeks ago, the cast for the newest Celebrity Apprentice was announced and voila! There was ol' Penn. I watch an obscene amount of reality TV, including the Donald, so this almost makes up for it.

It should come as no surprise, then, that I follow both Penn and Teller on
Twitter. I'm also someone who Tweets to celebrities, never ever expecting a response back. Like earlier this evening, when Penn posted this:

There was no way I was going to let that go, so I directed him to the video I shared with all of you in this post.

And thus began an hour long Twitter conversation with Penn Jillette on why he shouldn't use the word slut, regardless of his connotation.

Don't believe me?

Word's matter, regardless of your own personal intent. Words have context and connotation and do not exist in a vacuum. So, while, yes, you or I or Penn can choose to use a controversial word like Slut and say No, no, it's okay because I don't mean it like that, some people do mean it like that. Continuing to use that word, in whatever context, gives someone else permission to use it, too. And their context might be the complete opposite of yours.

But, more to the point, there is no such thing as a slut. They don't exist. And anyone who tells you different is contributing to slut-shaming and rape culture. The idea of a "slut" is a social construct designed to demean women who enjoy sex. Or look like they enjoy sex. Or look like they might enjoy sex. There's no magical line that gets crossed. Hell, a woman can be a virgin and still be called a slut. Sluts exist entirely in the minds of men (and women) who are offended by another woman (or man) who owns their body.

Now, there are some, like my good friend Penn here, who want to reclaim the word Slut.

(I'm not going to mention that one time, years ago, where I realized that if I married him my name would be the oh-so-awesome Jill Jillette.)

Personally, I'm torn on the idea of reclaiming the word slut. I can see arguments for both sides, so until I come up with a precise position, I'm not going to judge another's opinion either way.

So there you have it, folks. This is how I spent my Saturday evening: arguing against slut-shaming with one of my favorite celebrities. I know: I live an odd life. Of course, now whenever I finally get to see them in Vegas, I'll be able to go up to him after the show and say Hey! I'm that woman on Twitter who told you to stop using the word slut. That being said, the fact that he did take the time to talk about it, even if we don't agree, makes him that much more awesome in my book.

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus

01 March 2012

the most wonderful time of year

Obviously I am not talking about Christmas seeing as how it's March 1st. But! Because it is March 1st, that means the 2012 Cleveland International Film Festival is only three weeks away!



CIFF is, without a doubt, my most favoritest thing about Cleveland in the spring. Nothing else even comes close. Held at Tower City Cinemas, it is ten days of movies, movies, movies. Foreign films. Independent films. Documentaries. Shorts. You name it, they have it. There really is something for everyone. This year I was asked to be on the Shorts Selection Committee, so between, oh, August and January I spent my weekends screening entries and giving comments on what should (or should) not be admitted in my not-so-humble opinion. I've been attending since 1998, but there were a few years missed here and there, so this will be my tenth CIFF, so the fact that I was on the selection committee this year seems rather serendipitous.

Going through the list of films this year, a short that I screened and loved has made it into each of the Shorts Programs. See, there are the Late Night Shorts (horror), 10% Shorts (GLBT-themed), Family Shorts (self explanatory), Hollywood Shorts (not quite so independent), Ohio Shorts (again, self explanatory), Short Take On History (with a historical bend), and just the Independent Short category. And it's not like there is just one program for each. Like, there are two Ohio Short Programs, four Late Night, and eleven Independent. While some films can cross over between programs, each program in the same category are totally different. And a short that I adored is represented in each category, which makes me a very, very happy screener indeed. And if those are just the variety of shorts they have, imagine the range of feature films available.

I'm also a volunteer, both at the actual festival and in their offices in Ohio City. Just last weekendI went into the office to volunteer for the first time since the summer and I cannot even tell you how excited I was. I really had missed the office and the employees. As you can imagine, they get pretty busy in the weeks leading up to the festival, so hopefully I'll be back to help soon. And, then, of course, I'll be volunteering at the actual festival a few times.

Because I was on the Screening Committee, I get a pass which means -- yay! -- no need for tickets! (All vouchers I get from volunteering will go to friends, because I'm awesome like that.) So if there's a movie I want to go see, I can pretty much just walk right on in. Anyone who has attended the festival and had to deal with Stand-by can appreciate the magical power my pass will provide.

One film that I am so freaking excited to see is Shuffle (and not just because it's starring the cute TJ Thyne from Bones). See, maybe two months ago I watched this documentary Dear Zachary on Netflix Instant and was completely and utterly blown away. And I'm someone who watches a ton of docs, so it takes a lot to really get to me. But Dear Zachary was so amazing, I started looking up the director's, Kurt Kuenne, other films which is how I not only found out about Shuffle but that most of his other films have been at CIFF in the past.

Well. Being the utter geek that I am, I found the email address on the Shuffle website and emailed Kurt (true story). Not only did I email him, gushing about Dear Zachary, I told him that I noticed his other films had been at CIFF and hoped he had submitted Shuffle as I'd love to see it. Apparently my geekiness was endearing enough for him to write back. And apparently CIFF is in agreement about his awesomeness, because they are giving him the Director's Spotlight honor and doing retrospective of his previous work. The best part, though, is Kurt told me he's going to be at this year's festival, so not only will I get to see his new movie, I'll get to meet him, too.

So. It's March 1st. I have looked through the online film guide. I've made my list of films I want to see. I'm planning a Day O' Doc(umentarie)s with my friend Staci. I've drafted a tentative film festival schedule (dependent on when I volunteer).

Now I just have to impatiently wait for the next three weeks.

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus
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