May 14, 2003

fair habitat

No more pencils, no more books, etc. On Monday, I went to a panel discussion down in Union Square about artistic freedom, featuring Anna Deveare Smith, Margo Jefferson, James Schamus and a couple of others. Margo asked ADS at one point what sorts of freedoms she'd noticed changing in her own practice in the last few years, and got a great answer: something to the effect of "well, since I've gotten to be fairly well-known over the last few years, one thing I really regret losing is the freedom to fail--to do something ambitious that probably won't really work, but that I can learn a lot from." Exactly, I thought, that's what I've gotten from working on Contes de Fées--it's a mess, and I don't know what I'm doing, but I'm getting a lot out of the process, both its successes and its failures.

So then last night was the final meeting of Sound/Image, and the presentation of everybody's final projects, which meant I finally got to show CdF to a bunch of people at once (people who'd been drinking beer for a couple of hours, even better). The sound was awful; the projector was set to "widescreen," so it cut off the top and bottom of the image. And what do you know: it went over great. People laughed when I'd wanted them to laugh; they clapped at the end; they came up to me afterwards and told me they'd liked it. Still kind of a mess, but a much more entertaining mess than I'd thought it'd be, and all the frantic ultra-terse editing I'd been insisting on to squeeze 4+ hours' worth of footage down to the length of a "Merrie Melodies" cartoon kept it from getting dull. Actually, everybody's projects were very good-to-better than very good, I thought.

And now I've got Leela Corman's mix CD of favorite Middle Eastern pop on the stereo, a giant vat of black bean chili molé in the fridge (it came out really well, based on first-night eating; if it stays as good as leftovers, I'll post the recipe), and a great big work-void stretching out in front of me (well, I have five definite assignments already, but for the first time since I started doing this I'm columnless--that's going to have to change pronto). Time to start typing.

Posted by Douglas at May 14, 2003 9:44 AM

From my experience, chili is one of those foods that gets better with age. I hope your recipe is no exception to that rule.

Posted by: Joe Szilvagyi on May 14, 2003 9:59 PM
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