Tracey Jackson's Blog, page 8
October 30, 2014
I don’t usually give movie advice or critiques. Mostly because I don’t go the movies often enough these days, as I don’t like nine tenths of what is out there to see.
But there is something playing in only forty-seven theatres right now that deserves butts in the seats. It’s called WHIPLASH.
It is a small film; three million dollar budget, no giant stars or exploding universes to be seen. It doesn’t stem from a gothic novel or a children’s book. It’s just a terrific story with amazing performances.
I was on the edge of my seat for much of the film. I screamed out loud at one point. Something I never do in a theatre. I was totally engrossed in every moment of this film, as were Glenn and Lucy.
In fact it’s because of Lucy that we went. She has a crush on the young star Miles Teller. This was news to me; last I heard she was in love with Daniel Radcliffe. But she has divided her affections, so she dragged us to see this film. A film I thought was about a roller coaster. Whiplash. Who knew?
I won’t do a spoiler alert. When I taught screenwriting a formula I used to use to describe how one should structure a protagonist was BLANK will go how far to achieve what. Far has to be far and the strength of your story is what stands in the way of Blank and Blank’s goal.
In this story Blank is Andrew Neyman, played with great authority and depth by Miles Teller. Andrew enrolls in the countries most difficult music school. My guess is the school is a stand in for Julliard. His goal his to be a great drummer, not just great, the greatest,. his devotion knows no bounds. This is a good thing as he is under the tutelage of teacher that uses the same I’m gonna kick your ass until you can’t stand up methodology not seen since Louis Gossett Jr. in OFFICER AND A GENTLEMAN
If JK Simmons who plays Fletcher is not nominated for Best Supporting Actor I will, well, what can I do? I will be shocked. That is pretty much all I can be. But I will be. We are coming to the end of the year, so he hopefully has a good shot
But what really needs a shot is small, well made movies with great stories. Movies like Whiplash that was written and directed by the twenty-nine year old Damien Chazelle.
It is hard for most movies to make it, unless they are tent poles or brands; Much less indies that get a release of forty-seven theatres.
I have written movies that played in only forty-seven theatres. It’s virtually impossible to get them enough attention or traction that the theatres will allow them to stay and find their audience.
I sent a friend to see WHIPLASH this week in Chicago. He loved it. He said there were maybe five people at the ten pm showing. Not a good sign.
So if you trust me, and you are in one of the forty-seven theatres where the film is playing – GO SEE IT. I promise you will thank me.
It’s not like when I told you to buy Rimowas. That was a bad call on my part. I will explain next week.
But in the mean time, take two hours and to see Whiplash. If you want them to make movies we want to see we have to go them when they do.
October 26, 2014
When we started writing this book, I told Paul the one thing we have to do, the one place we have to read is at Shakespeare and Company in Paris. For the entire time we were writing I kept repeating this wish. It is not only the most famous bookstore in the English speaking world, it is the most magical.
If you doubt these claims, pick up a copy of this month’s Vanity Fair and you will see what I mean. Or just click here and read about it.
I got to read my last book there and it was the highlight of my book tour.
So last night Thursday night Paul and I made our way through the heavy Parisian traffic to 137 rue Bucherie to the fabled Shakespeare and Company.
We were greeted not only by owner Sylvia Whitman but a packed room and some people who had driven as far as seven hours to see us.
There is a protocol all writers follow. When you first arrive you used to be taken across the street to the cafe for a glass of wine. Now they have transformed the third floor into an office/ apartment. So you sneak up the rickety back stairs and have a quick drink before you go on. I had a glass of wine, Paul had water. Then you make your way down the stairs and enter through a side door to the reading room. It is long and narrow and goes back into a second room. It’s a sea of faces and books.
There is something that takes over the second you walk in. It could be the ghosts of all the people who have read there and sat there and read and written. It could just be that Shakespeare and Company is just one of those places that the universe kisses and it’s hard to pinpoint how and why.
You stand or sit in the window, with Notre Dame behind you where so many literary giants have read their work and you do the same thing you do most everywhere else on a book tour, only somehow it’s different. For a writer there is nothing quite like it.
After the reading you head downstairs to Poet’s Corner where two chairs are set up, and you sign your books and chat with the attendees. It’s the same format every time. And it has been that way for decades.
If one carries on about who has read there and what it feels like it starts sounding braggy or portentous. But those who have come before have left their magic behind. And there is a reason it is considered the most famous bookstore in the world, the combination of geography, history and and unwillingness of George and now Sylvia Whitman to compromise the authenticity of it for something more contemporary has allowed it to retain its intellectual glamour and wobbly mystique.
It is an honor and a privilege to be a tiny part of its history in any way. It’s not about flogging product or brand, or selling or advertising your book, it’s about sharing what you have done and somehow planting it in the soil where so many extraordinary works have grown and flourished.
It’s a pleasure and a privilege to be a part of this wonderful world of literature if only for a few hours. But the truth is everyone who has read there leaves a little part of themselves behind and Shakespeare and Company keeps those memories alive.
First thing you see when you get there.
Then your books in the window.
Greeted by owner Sylvia Whitman and head of events Laura Keeling.
Typewriter upstairs in the office.
Looking out to the crowd.
This is Lou Ravelli, on the left, she came all the way from the South of France to meet Paul and hear us read.
This is Dominique. She came from Aix en Provence.
This is one of my oldest friends, the artist Annie Laure Banon. She came from across town, but still.
When its over you walk to dinner. But the magic continues.
It is Paris after all.
Glenn and Sylvia at dinner.
We always have Shakespeare and Company.
October 22, 2014
I got so many responses to my suitcase saga blog. It was really impressive. People really wanted to help me. And come on, it was just a suitcase.
But I have good friends and loyal readers.
My friend Ira Nadel who lives in Vancouver got in touch with a friend’s son who happens to work high up at Air Canada and he offered to help me.
I needed help as the website would not even let me enter my info to make a claim online. I had heard from no one at that point in regards to any financial restitution.
But the day and the bag were saved by my friend Paulette Alden Robinson. Who on her own surfed the web like a Hawaiian until she found the email address for the president of Air Canada. I don’t know how she did this. But she sent me an email that was a letter someone else had written to him with a random complaint. His email address in bold at the top. She also found all the names of all the important people at Air Canada. But the email address of the president was the key.
I sent him a very nice email. I said I knew he was a bit high up the food chain to deal with such a trivial manner, but it was impossible to make contact with anyone who dealt with these things. I asked if he would hand this over to the person who took care of such matters. I then sent him my blog.
I had an email within 36 hours, that they would cover the price of a bag for me. I could have my Tumi to replace my Rimowa. They were sorry but they had no address for me.
I called Philip in Dallas. He said he had also sent them an email. But by then the president had received mine and they gave him the OK.
However it had taken so long I had bought a Tumi as I had to fly to Paris on Monday and this was not sorted out until Monday am. But they are sending me one size down which I need for shorter trips.
So I ended up with a matched set!
Thank you Paulette!!! You could open a new business taking care of these things for people. Well, she is a personal manager so I guess she does!
October 16, 2014
On the first leg of the book tour, somewhere between Vancouver and San Francisco, Air Canada destroyed my Rimowa suitcase.
I left it with the baggage handler in grand shape and it came down the conveyer belt three hours later battered, bruised, missing a wheel and with a huge dent in it. It looked like it might have been run over by the plane.
I calmly (I follow a book called Gratitude and Trust) filed a report with a very nice man whose only job is to take reports of damaged and lost luggage.
He looked at mine and said “They will give you a new one. They have to.All I had to do was follow the protocol.”
He handed me his report and gave me a FedEx receipt. I was to take the bag to a FedEx store and send it to Dallas, to a repair shop. They were, according to the instructions, the only ones allowed to make a diagnosis and decide if the bag could be repaired or should be replaced.
When we left the gentleman said how nice I had been. I told him it wasn’t his fault, he didn’t break the bag. He said I’d be surprised how many people blame him and yell at him. Not me, not Miss Trusty. Paul even told me how well I handled it.
So, the bag stayed with me like a three-legged dog until I got back to New York a week later. It wasn’t the end of the world. I would be getting a new one to replace it.
I immediately filled out my paperwork and FedEx took it off to Dallas.
I waited ten days. Not a word. So I called the repair shop/luggage dealer in Dallas. Phillip runs it. We became fast friends. He told me the bag was useless and I needed a new one. If I wanted another Rimowa I could either have the top of the line, and thus pay some extra money, but also add about five pounds to what I drag around the world; Or there was a great new Tumi. I might also have to put in a little money, but he could have it to me by Friday.
We talked for a half hour. Rimowa versus Tumi. Polycarbonate versus aluminum. He has endless patience for luggage talk. We left it that I would go to the luggage store near my office check them both out and call him today.
Long story made a little shorter I picked the Tumi. I called him today. He told me Air Canada denied his request to replace the bag. They wanted to give me some money instead. Not sure how much but he was selling an 850 dollar bag to them for 400. Which means they wanted to give me like 300. Like maybe. Like maybe less
So tonight I called the number of the supposed luggage authorities.
Endless music. Thirty minutes wait time. When the suicide inducing music finally stopped an Indian voice answered. Now, I love India more than most, but I knew I was in trouble. This girl had no authority.
She kept saying, “Nothing I can do.”
I kept saying “Pass me on to someone higher. “
I told her I knew she was in Bangalore.
She said, “Pune.”
But that did not make her anymore helpful. She told me a supervisor would call me.
Wouldn’t you know when he did, I was in the other room and didn’t hear my phone. The number he left was the main one. Another forty minutes of the endless music. Thank God for speaker phones. I finally got a guy, explained my story in detail for the fourth time.
I’ve decided there are no supervisors, no higher ups, they merely hand the phone from one friend to another.
So this guy says, he has to call the guy who took the report.
I was floored. “You’re going to call the guy in San Francisco who simply filed the claim? What on earth would he know at this point?”
“He knows what is wrong with the bag.”
“ Read his report. He wrote it down. The paper says the only person who can decide the fate of the bag is in Dallas at the designated dealer. That would be Philip and he says I need a new bag.”
He said, “He (Philip) needs to send the bag back to the man who took the report.”
This is Indian bureaucracy at its worst. It’s when globalization totally breaks down a supposedly functioning system.
“He needs to send the broken bag back to San Francisco. FOR WHAT?”
“So he can see if it’s broken.”
“He already saw it’s broken. Read his report.”
“I have his report”
“Then read it properly. It says, “Bag destroyed. Only designated repair shop can deicide. Philip decided. What more do you want? Philip wants to send me a Tumi for an additional $276.78. I’m fine with that.”
“Not his decision. You must write or fax Air Canada.”
Fax? Fax? Really? We’ve gone back to faxing?
I said, “Give me a phone number.”
“There are no phone numbers only this one.”
Right – 1 – 800 – INEPT.
I told him writing would take forever. I leave on another trip on Monday. They promised me a new bag.
“We have no authority.”
I said, “That is what I’ve been telling you. Only Philip has authority.”
“www.AirCanada .com” he muttered. Then hung up.
So I called Phillip. He was shocked. He thought they would approve it. I told him I would work on it some more and call him tomorrow. He told me he wouldn’t be in tomorrow. He wasn’t feeling well.
“Oh God Philip, You’re in Dallas. Ebola.”
He hadn’t thought of that. He told me he would give me forty percent off two bags and twenty off of one.
Not sure if this is a racket. But he’s a nice guy. I’m hoping he hasn’t been exposed to Ebola.
Glenn says we will just buy a bag.
But I’m not giving up.
This is not the last they have heard from me.
Send it back to San Francisco…
October 15, 2014
There is really not much to say. They eat dessert and stay thin. They don’t get facelifts but look great until they get toe tagged. They have better sex, better kitchens and better motto jackets. They only have three things hanging in their closet but manage to always look perfect.
They have something to teach us about everything I guess. I am embarrassed to tell you how many of these I have read, though I still come off as a total American. I’m thinking of going to Paris and trying to sell a book about how hip it is to be an American.
I will be there next week. Wish me luck. Bon Chance!
October 10, 2014
October 8, 2014
If you live long enough you get to see many trends come and go. I was alive and trending, (or so I thought) in the 80’s when culottes last reared their schizophrenic legs.
The skirt/pants combo actually dates back to the eighteen hundreds. The culotte was created as a way to be appropriate and comfortable at the same time. You’re wearing a skirt, but no, not so fast, you can’t get up there, nor can you take a peak at anything. It looks like a lady, but moves like a man.
This is true of that other fashion fooled you item, the skort. Looks like a skirt – but I see London, I see France, I can’t see your underpants. While an adult can get away with culottes, any female over the age of seven, unless she plays tennis for a living should never put on a skort.
So we lived very nicely for a long time without the culotte, until they suddenly reappeared. They tried to slip them in last season. I ordered a pair thinking I would be ahead of things, and then cancelled the order when I remembered what they really looked like.
Why would a grown woman wear a pair of pants that pretends to be a skirt? And why in the age of short shorts and see through everything and the jegging would this form of fashion propriety really matter?
Unless you are spending time on the jungle gym, go with a skirt or a pair of pants. If you’re dressing up as Punky Brewster for Halloween go on Etsy and find yourself a skort, otherwise stick to the real deal.
So I was not remotely divided by the new culotte craze. I stood firm in my pants or my skirts.
But then I kept seeing them all over fashionville. They appeared on fashion bloggers in crazy combinations and chic ones too. They were on the runway. They were spotted at all the various fashion weeks, in every shape and size. Culottes were back.
And there is that point where something you really don’t like, perhaps for all the right reasons, starts looking appealing to you, perhaps for all the wrong reasons. You get sucked into the trend vortex. About a month ago I found myself staring at culottes and they had lost that Shelly Long quality.
Now if you pick up that reference you were totally around for the last phase of culottdom.
So each day when I got bored with my work I would take a cyber stroll through my favorite place – Net A Porter. Inevitably, I would find myself on the culotte page. The first pair I truly liked was by Philosophy. They were black and sleek and I suddenly envisioned myself pairing them with a little sweater and low boots. I showed them to one of the girls. They laughed at me. I went back and snuck a peak at them the next day. They were sold out of all sizes. Somebody was not finding them so funny.
I continued to lurk in the land of culottes for a good four weeks. I would find a pair I like, though I was unable to pull the buy trigger. Then the next day, they too were sold out or down to one size. Not mine.
Now something happens when you don’t think you want something, yet everyone else is snatching it up. You become obsessed. That item you were iffy about becomes the only thing you want. And this is what happened to me as pair by pair al the cuottes disappeared into other women’s closets.
Monday I had had it; I had my eyes on pair of black ones by Marni. They were totally sold out the first time I clicked on the sizes.
Suddenly, I had to have culottes . Just one pair. Just try them on. I know I was deep in the rabbit hole of trends and pressure by peers I didn’t even know, but I didn’t care.
So, I bought a black pair. I had them delivered that day. I tried them on after work. Lucy laughed at me. She told me I looked like a fool. Lucky she’s never watched Three’s Company, she would have started making eighthes jokes. She told me to leave her room and take them off.
But, then at dinner she announced she was only wearing black things with holes and buckles. So she was deep in the land of teenage goth. Which is not like real goth. It’s goth light. It’s Lulu Lemon leggings with my old sweaters and Zara boots with broken zippers. I could not take her opinion seriously.
So the next morning I tried them on for Glenn. He said I looked “adorable.” I don’t know if that means young, like I might have looked in the 80’s only with wrinkles. Or he missed me so much when I was on the road I looked cute no matter what I was wearing. But I chose to go with he meant they were adorable. Culottes were adorable. So I bought them.
And I wore them that day.
And there were moments I felt good, and moments I stopped and caught sight of myself and I thought I’m wearing culottes. WTF?
Who knows if they will last – the trend. I will wear them all year. They could end up on RealReal next fall. Or you never know – they could end up on Lucy. Fashion is funny that way.
These are some from the 80′s that can be found on Etsy.
A shot from Fashion Week.
Various styles from Net A Porter.
A pair from TopShop for $60.00. Just as cute as the pricer ones.
How 80′s is this? It’s positively Baywatch. Hawiian print skort from Trixie Tiki Toggs on Etsy. Just in case you want them.
Me in culottes. Not sure what the foot thing is. Must be an 80′s thing.
Every week Kathie Lee Gifford will be joined by an eclectic group of friends from the world of TV, film, music, sports and news. In the latest episode, Kathie Lee welcomes Oscar/Emmy award winning Singer-Songwriter Paul Williams along with his current co-author and screenwriter Tracey Jackson to talk about the power of gratitude.
October 5, 2014
I am tired of telling stories from the book tour tonight. If anyone is interested you can click here for an update on our time at Square Books and Thacker Mountain Radio.
Last week we were in Oxford, Mississippi. Two days before the football game. The energy and enthusiasm were starting to build.
But I have blogged about the charming town of Oxford and Rowan Oak, the home of William Faulkner.
I do have an obsession with houses. Always have. Since I was a little girl I have been looking at houses and wondering who lives in there? What does there life look like and how is it different than mine?
This summer Lucy started doing the same thing with me. We both decided it would be fun to live in a sitcom town. She picked Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin. Every time we would spot a house that felt like it could be plunked in Chippewa Falls we would get all excited and start imagining who lived there.
While in Oxford I took a walk and just looked at the houses. If they were not in Mississippi, they could be in Chippewa Falls.
We also stayed in a charming B & B called the Z- Hotel. It was on a residential street – anywhere USA. Loved it!
William Faulkner lived here.
The street where the Z Hotel was located.
There was a front porch.
Inside the Z.
Hammock out back.
This Annie she lives at the Z.
This was Paul’s room it was called LIVE. I took photo from the website.
This was my room the photo from their website.
My door said Laugh. I wish every door said that as you entered.