LISTENING

Back on the WTF with Marc Maron grind, I back-to-back listened to his interviews with Lynn Shelton and Todd Haynes, two independent film directors. Both were cool and I would encourage anyone interested in film to check them out. Lynn Shelton’s films include Humpday (2009), Touchy Feely (2013), and Your Sister’s Sister (2011). Full disclosure, I’ve seen known of her films, but many are on my “To-watch” list and I guarantee you I’m bumping them up after listening to her chat with Maron. I think the thing I liked most about her interview was when she mentioned how her initial pre-pubescent creativity faded (not necessarily faded, rather went into hiding due to self-consciousness) and it took a lot to eventually get back into it with confidence. She wrote poetry, did photography, then started getting into avant-guarde film. And only later in life did she get into directing narrative features. That gives me hope that it’s never to late to start a new venture. I’ve been thinking a lot about what will I do next after I leave Taiwan and how all the things I’d like to do I have no real formal training in. I think it’s nice to know that with true passion, you can pursue anything.

Todd Haynes’ films include: Carol (2015), Far From Heaven (2002), and I’m Not There (2007). I’ve seen I’m Not There, and plan to see Carol (as soon as it comes to Taiwan) and his other films too (Velvet Goldmine [1998], Safe [1995]). I enjoyed the Todd Haynes interview because they literally discuss every one of his films and his thought process about the subject and why he wanted to make a film about that subject. At one point during the interview, he said this, and it resonated with me so much that I recorded it in my favorite quotes Google spreadsheet: “Look, there are all these languages that keep people in place, that conform us to a sort of set of terms. It’s why I think the whole idea of identity as something that is somewhat of a straight jacket. That most of us like to think of as something natural and innate that we just find and go ‘yeah, that’s who I am’ and […] it’s a mindfuck. It keeps you straight jacketed to something or other.” Again, I haven’t seen all of his movies, but I think the idea of identity is throughout many of them and that’s a theme I like to think about and like to put into the things I make. I was struck by his idea that identity is a straight jacket because so many people would suggest it’s the opposite, it’s more of a warm blanket.

 

WATCHING

Probably would’ve watched more films if DUMBASS NETFLIX HADN’T BLOCKED MY VPN. Netflix is now legal in Taiwan, but the content is EXTREMELY LIMITED compared to what I could get in the States. So many of my films are not watchable now that DUMBASS NETFLIX HAS BLOCKED MY VPN.

Whatever. I boycotted Netflix (not really I still pay a subscription fee…) and watched Season 1 of Fresh Off the Boat. HOLY MOLY IS THAT SHOW FUNNY! If you haven’t given it a try, seriously give it a try. The MOM (Constance Wu) IS SO HILARIOUS. I can’t even describe it. The writers of that show do such a good job creating her character. I also really like the two little brothers Evan and Emery. They are so cute. They make me want to have cute little baby boys and hope they turn out as cute and wonderful as them.

 

READING

I recently had a short story published in an anthology (Peak Heat) by Taipei Writers Group, so I purchased a copy of their first anthology Taiwan Tales and read that. It’s great. The stories are fun and quick reads. As someone who’s been in Taiwan for over a year now, I know a lot of the stories are a good representation of life in Taiwan. Anyone interested in learning more about Taiwan (but not with a boring travel book or something) should check out this book!

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