Monthly Archives: July 2014

The Omnipresence of James Franco in My Life

broadway barks

James Franco & A Cat

This past weekend James Franco participated in the annual Broadway Barks adopt-a-thon event and posed for a bunch of publicity photos with this adorable 3-month-old tuxedo kitten named Totes McGotes. Totes McGotes is an Anjellicle Rescue Cat, just like my Ali! And I’ve been volunteering with ACR at least once a week for a year and a half now. Very cool to have this kind of celebrity promotion, but unfortunately when Franco posted some of the pics on his social media outlets with the caption “YOU’VE GOTTA BE KITTEN ME!” and “adopt a pet,” he didn’t mention the name of our organization, the ASPCA, or the Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals.

WHATEVER, JAMES. Totes McGotes can promote himself for adoption. Just look at dat wittle face. (Excuse me. I don’t know what came over me. It’s just that KITTENS!!!)

Or you could click here to read more about our awesome no-kill, grassroots, volunteer-run animal rescue nonprofit. Adopt adopt adopt.

Ahem. We can now return to your regularly scheduled programming.

OK, fine. So I do love how both James and the kitten are making smoldering, come-hither faces at the camera. It’s almost like James Franco needs a loving forever home too.

And I do have this weird hobby of posting photos of famous people with cats on Pinterest. For example:

Bob Dylan & A Cat

Bob Dylan & A Cat

John Lennon & A Cat

John Lennon & A Cat

Andy Warhol & A Cat

The point being, of course, that only really cool people have cats. Or interact with cats. Or pose with them for photographs, at least. But now I’m off topic.

My point is that James Franco is always popping up in my life! He is the only famous person I’ve ever seen in real life without having to, you know, pay money to see perform or whatever. (He was at the same preview performance of “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” on New Year’s Eve 2012. He was wearing a striped scarf. He also loves Southern literature. We might be the same person.) Funnily enough, almost everyone I know who’s lived here for a year or more seems to have a Franco-sighting story. One of my co-workers has seen him trying to bum cigarettes off NYU students. Another saw him eating tacos, like a normal person. JAMES FRANCO IS EVERYWHERE, I TELL YA.

For example, Faulkner’s “As I Lay Dying” is one of my favorite novels, and who adapted it for film, both directing and acting in the movie version? James Franco. Whose novels do I see on display tables every time I walk into a bookstore? James Franco’s. And who was filling up my Instagram feed, until I remembered that is one of the few things in life I have control over, and unsubscribed? James freaking Franco.

A couple months ago there was some controversy because James Franco sent skeevy text messages to an underage teenage girl visiting NYC from Scotland. She had seen him perform in “Of Mice & Men” on Broadway, and tagged him in a photo she took of him as he was leaving the show, signing autographs, etc. And then he private messaged her wanting to meet up a hotel room. Um, ew.

Anyway, when this news broke, my Twitter-savvy co-worker announced it to our little desk area, as he always does with news items of personal interest. And I was like, “NO, PLEASE DON’T LET THAT BE TRUE. WHY WOULD HE DO THAT?” Because again, um, ew.

My co-worker then asked if James Franco was, I quote, “my boo.”

Me: NO, I AM JUST DEEPLY FASCINATED BY HIM. It’s also how I feel about Kanye West. And no one likes Kanye West. His music, yes, But Kanye the person, no. I mean, why does James Franco have to make so many kinds of art? He paints, he writes reviews for Vice, he teaches creative writing at UCLA, he’s written books. He did a book-signing at The Strand last month! And, of course, he acts in movies and now on Broadway. One person cannot possibly be good at all those things!

Co-worker: You sure have a lot opinions about someone who you claim is not your boo.

Me: Touché.

(For the record, I still don’t know how someone I don’t know personally can be “my boo.”)

Needless to say, it made perfect sense to me that of aaaaaaaaaaaalll the famous people/Broadway actors and allllll the nonprofits participating in this past weekend’s adopt-a-thon, James freaking Franco would be the one paired with an Anjellicle Rescue Cat. Go. Figure.

OK. And James Franco was maybe kinda sorta really great as an ’80s James Dean-esque stoner rebel kid in the wonderful series “Freaks and Geeks,” whose cancellation after less than one full season is a great injustice to classic high school television shows everywhere. That is one version of James Franco I genuinely appreciate.

Do yourself a favor and Netflix this series, OK?

Do yourself a favor and Netflix this series, OK?

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My favorite things: Summer edition

Welcome to NYSummer is in full swing now, and as I sit here in shorts and a tank-top, I find it hard to believe just a few months ago I was bundled up in layer upon layer upon layer. Seasons are crazy, man. Especially when the only seasons you’ve previously known are hurricane season and not-hurricane season. (: I last did a roundup of current obsession in the dead of winter, so I figured it was high time for me to do another one.

1. The Morgan Library & Museum
Morgan LibraryOh my god, I am convinced this place was built just for me. I found out that JP Morgan — ya know, like the supah-famous banker — was a bit of a bibliophile and that nowadays his former home, library and study are a museum open to the public. And on Friday nights, you can get in for FREE-NINETY-NINE. My favorite price of admission! So of course I had to check this place out.

I was fully ready for a Beauty and the Beast-esque moment, in which I saw a glorious three-story private library filled with leather-bound, dusty tomes. But I got so, so much more out of my visit than that. First of all, the library room itself is GUH-OR-GOUS. The detail in the tapestry over the gargantuan fireplace and in the ceiling paintings is of the caliber typically reserved for cathedrals and other such places of worship. And who am I kidding? For me, visiting this library was a religious experience.

The museum is filled with exhibits about the history of the written word, including a Gutenberg Bible — Morgan owned three (!!!) — and a first edition of “The Star Spangled Banner” sheet music, complete with a typo. (Copy editors: important, since ALWAYS.) But the things that moved me most were handwritten drafts, edited galley proofs, journal entries, and personal letters from my favorite authors. The first one I saw was a draft of a Walt Whitman poem. I literally could not breathe when I saw it. I spent a whole semester in college studying Whitman, and to be less than a foot away from a piece of paper he touched was just too much.

I also saw scribbles from the likes of Jane Austen, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, William Faulkner, Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, and more! I thought my heart was going to explode, I really did. (Hello, Nerdiest Fangirl Ever, Party of One.) The thing that touched me the most about these artifacts were seeing how many revisions and insecurities these now-renowned writers had about their work. We like to think of genius as a gift, of something easy and lucky. But so many of the Great Literary Masterpieces are the product of So. Much. Hard. Work. I was completely floored.

The piece at the museum that was most memorable to me, however, was a collection of fragments of Sappho’s poetry recorded on papyrus in the third century B.C. I could not move when I saw those little scraps of paper. All I could think about was how absolutely incredible it is that humans have been creating stories for much more than 2,000 years, and what’s more, they’ve been so kind as to have them written down to share with others. And I still get to participate in this great scheme of storytelling, every time I edit a Word document or lay out a page in InDesign! I am humbled and blessed and awed. Human beings are amazing.

I just stood there in awe, and this stranger next to me also totally got it and was in awe, and then finally he said, “Absolutely incredible, isn’t it?” And I used all my energy to say, “Yes. Yes, it is.” HUMAN MOMENT OF CONNECTION, RIGHT THERE. I love museums.

 

2. Stay Gold – First Aid Kit

First-Aid-Kit-band-photosI saw these two lovely, folk-singing Swedish sisters at ACL in 2010 on my 21st birthday weekend. They were one of the morning performances, meaning they were not a big deal and pretty undiscovered. Two albums and four years later, they’ve come out with “Stay Gold,” and It. Is. Fantastic. I’ve been listening to it on repeat. These ladies have always had an incredible set of harmonious vocal chords, but they’ve really matured their songwriting with their latest album.

I saw them perform at Webster Hall a month or so ago, and I was blown away by how much their stage presence has developed. Also, they are adorable. They introduce their accompanists in unison and curtsy, etc. Love them! They make me long for a sister I can record albums with.

3. Friday Night Lights

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I can’t believe I’m addicted to a TV show about a fictional high school football team. But at the same time, I totally can. Friday Night Lights is one of the best representations of Middle America I’ve ever seen. I love how Texas-centric this show is (cowboy boots, country music, BBQ, H-E-B, a Dairy Queen thinly disguised as an “Alamo Freeze”), but in so, so many ways the town of Dillon reminds me of my own hometown of Niceville. I mean, we did go to state semi-finals and finals. But in Florida, not Texas. (I sat next to our Lyla Garrity in my Algebra II class, I swear! She was dating an older guy on the football team, was on the cheerleading squad, was the perfectly adorable Christian girl-next-door type, and her dad owned all the McDonald’s in the county.) Part of the reason I never wanted to watch this show, despite both Netflix’s and friends’ recommendations, is because I went to every single home and away football game at my high school as a member of the marching band. Why would I want to watch an imaginary team play?

tumblr_le9sttBSLS1qbujvho1_400Thankfully, this show is about much more than football. My favorite character, hands down, is Tami Taylor, the coach’s wife. She is so flawless as a wife, a mother, a guidance counselor/principal, a friend, a community member, you get the idea. Connie Britton is killing it in this role. Even when Tami makes mistakes, as humans do, Connie’s performance makes me support her 112%. Also, to be honest, I love the way she talks! I wish I could call my husband “hon” and not sound like a total drag queen. Tami & Eric’s marriage is perhaps the most authentic, exemplary  marriage I’ve seen presented on TV. They have their hurdles and challenges, but they are such respectful, loving, and sacrificial partners to each other. I’m not even embarrassed to say I think that they are great role models, even though they’re not…you know…real.

On a slightly more lowbrow note, I wish someone had just said “Google image search ‘Tim Riggins'” to me about five years ago. Case. Closed. Sign me up to watch “this football show.”

tim rigginsSorry, but no one I knew in high school looked like THAT. That would be because this actor is at least five years older than me (nine, to be exact…Lawd!). Also Canadian, not Texan. Behold, the magical delusion of television!

Bonus points to Friday Night Lights for having a character go on to play for Texas A&M and for using actual Texas high school football footage as B-roll. One of my college friends (who, I would like to note, is one of two football players I’ve known who was not a total jerk) appears in the first season this way! Whooo.

But seriously, I cry an average of 1.2493 times per episode because the writing is so good/hormones. OK, and Coach Taylor’s speeches are the real deal. (He reminds me a lot of my high school band director. And I know music programs aren’t sports, but that man would either inspire or beat perfection and ambition into us, so help us, God. There are some teachers who view what they do as a job, and a select few others who few it as a vocation. You’ll know the latter when you meet them within minutes.) Living in a ginormous city, this makes me so nostalgic for small town life, where everyone not only knows everyone, but everyone genuinely cares about everyone. And where everyone is passionate about the same thing, at least for one night a week.

Clear eyes, full hearts, can’t stop watching this show. TEXAS FOREVER, JAY. TEXAS FOREVER, RIGS.

I’ll stop now, I swear.

riggins 3

riggins 4

OK, now I’m for-reals done. I swear I roll my eyes at redneck, alcoholic jocks in real life, but on TV…

 

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