Films: Maya Deren and Sharon Lockhart Explore Movement at Light Industry

Sharon Lockhart's Goshogaoka (1997)

Light Industry in Brooklyn will be screening two films this coming Tuesday, August 26.

  1. Maya Deren’s A Study in Choreography for Camera (1945, 16mm, 3 min.)
  2. Sharon Lockhart’s Goshogaoka (1997, 16mm, 63 min.)

The two films, despite being produced in very different contexts and over fifty years apart, employ film to study the various possibilities of how the human body moves. We even explore some of the “impossibilities,” too.


Toenail Trouble

This was the first procedure to partially remove part of an ingrown toenail, in April 2012. Partially removing my toenail has become a yearly ritual.

This was the first procedure to partially remove part of my toenail, in April 2012. Partially removing my toenail has become a yearly ritual.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve had some pretty painful ingrown toenails. I even remember getting them as a kid, but I was always able to dig around a bit to get the nail in a good spot. But perhaps in a sign of aging, my ingrown toenails have become so painful that I’ve deferred to the help of medical professionals. About once a year since April 2012, I’ve had a podiatrist essentially give me a high-priced manicure. A doctor will trim the part of the nail that has worked itself into my skin and then call it a day. I was anxious the first time I had the procedure and was expecting to need help getting home. One friend said that I would need as much as month recovery time. It concerned me so much that I looked into filing a disability insurance claim to help cover my lost wages. However, it wasn’t as bad as all that. After each procedure, I have been able to walk out and even ride my bike home. I felt so good the first time, I even went to the once-monthly Tiki Tuesday night at the Astor Room in Astoria with Sarah and my friend Julia.

Warning: It’s going to get a little gross, here.

But after at least three procedures, most recently in March 2013, I think it’s time to get the problem permanently fixed. I want them to remove the toenails entirely so they may finally grow straight. I also have a few really discolored nails, too. They developed over time, and I neglected them so long, there might be no other way to fix the problem than to get rid of those altogether.

I’m not sure how bad the procedure will be and whether I will be able to walk on my own. When I asked the doctor how much recovery I would need after a complete toenail extraction, she said that it would only require a day or two of convalescence compared to the partial extraction. I am hopeful that means I can at least walk out of the doctor’s office and get around okay, preferably even bike around since it keeps most of my weight off my feet.

My biggest concern at the moment is my recovery. I don’t have a permanent home right now, and I am worried that I might not be able to get to my temporary home. Where will I recover, if it’s as bad as I fear? For the most part, I’ve been able to get by on my own after the previous toenail extractions, I was able to do quite a bit on my own after I dislocated my pinkie last April, and I was able to take care of myself when I had food poisoning in late May. But even through those times, I had someone to take care of me, should I needed help. Right now, I don’t have that, and I really miss it. And I’m scared.

Hampton Jitney and My Distant Uncle

Eddie Duque shows his award-winning design for the Hampton Jitney 40th Anniversary Coach

The Hampton Jitney is celebrating its fortieth year of bussing people from New York to Long Island. For those of us who don’t have access to a car or helicopter to whisk us off to the Hamptons, we must make do with the Jitney or the Long Island Railroad, provided I don’t elect to bike there.

To commemorate the anniversary, they held a design contest for the 40th Anniversary Jitney Coach.

The results of the content were announced last week, but I didn’t see the message because it ended up in my spam folder. The winners were:

  1. Lynn Mara
  2. Eddie Duque
  3. Stephanie Baloghy
  4. Francis Quigley

I mention this because the second winner on this list is a distant family member. He is my mother’s half-brother’s brother-in-law. I think it makes him an uncle, despite being a bit younger than me.

It’s unlikely I’ll be out on Long Island again before the summer ends, but if you see the bus wrapped with a design that features the city skyline, the beach, and I-495 (i.e., the Long Island Expressway), that’s his design.

Way to go, tio!

Jonathan Sterne’s Resources for Academes

For years, Jonathan Sterne has maintained a collection of links on academia and professionalization, simply titled Academe. He recently updated the links, including some new material on how to deal with campus rape culture, a challenging but relevant theme.

While publishing a collection of links might seem antiquated, I would prefer that this information remain on the web. As a webpage, it is more permanent than a stream of shared links from a Twitter or Facebook account, where immediacy and ephemerality prevail. A valuable reference such as this one should always be available. I also like that it embodies an enduring aspect of the World Wide Web: to openly share information.

Thank you for sharing, Professor Sterne.

And it looks like another scholar, Jie Qin, has similarly been collecting links for those looking for research and teaching jobs in Communication and Media Studies.

Long Island City Has Three Breweries

Three breweries in Long Island City: Big Alice, Rockaway, and Transmitter are all within a manageable walk from each other.

Three breweries in Long Island City: Big Alice, Rockaway, and Transmitter are all within a manageable walk from each other.

It still amazes me how in the decade since I moved to New York, there were almost no noteworthy breweries in New York State, save for Brooklyn Brewery and one or two more. Today, however, there many more than I comfortably count, such as Sixpoint, Singlecut, Captain Lawrence, Keegan, and Greenport Harbor. In Long Island City, we appear to be following that trend. We now have three breweries whereas a couple of years ago we had none.

The other day, while hanging out at my favorite hostel/work-space/trivia-night, I saw a postcard showing the three Long Island City breweries: Big Alice, Rockaway, and Transmitter. Placing them on a map like that was an invitation, almost a challenge, to visit all three of them.

All three are within a long but manageable walk from each other. You could also visit all three by biking to each one, as I would almost invariably do.

Brewery Location Taproom Hours
Big Alice Brewing 8–08 43rd Rd Friday, 5:00 – 8:00 PM.
Their Facebook page lists their hours as 5:00 – 7:30 PM.
Rockaway Brewing 46–01 5th St Thursday and Friday, 3:00 – 8:00 PM; Saturday and Sunday, 12:00 – 8:00 PM
Transmitter Brewing 53–02 11th St Friday, 5:00 – 8:00 PM; Saturday and Sunday, 12:00 – 5:00 PM.
Their website lists their Saturday and Sunday hours as 12:00 – 6:00 PM.

You can visit each brewery, one at a time, or take a Friday evening and hop to them all, as their taprooms are all open on Friday evenings. If I get around to visiting all three on a single day, I’ll post a report here.

Coffee and Indoor and Outdoor Music

Seasonal creep

It’s when someone tries to hurry along the next season when we’re still in the midst of the current season. Some examples include Back-to-School sales in July, Christmas decorations in October, and Valentine’s Day swag right after New Year’s Day. I’ll even add registering for spring classes in the second week of the fall term.

I’ll admit that the weather this summer has been downright pleasant, temperatures in the low 80s with very low humidity, which hasn’t resembled the sultry summers of late. But yesterday, August 15, it was downright autumnal. Not only was it chilly enough for me to wear a sweatshirt when I saw the Boogaroos at the free outdoor show at the South Street Seaport last night, there were other signs of autumn:

  • There were NFL football games were playing on the big screens at bars across the city,
  • At one of those same bars, I saw a sandwich board easel advertising Oktoberfest beers,
  • On Thursday, I was handed a beer list that included four pumpkin beers,
  • Yesterday afternoon, I swore I saw NYU students beginning to move in to some of the dorms along Washington Square.

I really hate fall, despite the pleasant weather in September and early October. It signals the end of my lighter-than-normal workload, the end of softball season, long bike rides before more difficult to schedule, greenmarkets approach the end of their flavorful harvest, everyone is watching football, and I revert to wearing long pants. But before summer gives way to fall, here’s a few events still going on before it all ends in about two weeks.

Sadly, because the semester is about to start and I have work to do, I’ll probably miss all the outdoor stuff. Dang!

Syllabus for Experimental Film, Fall 2014, Now Available

In recent years, it’s been pretty regularly expected for my fall classes to begin before Labor Day weekend. It’s something I despise, but since I have little power over the academic calendar, all I can do is complain out loud.

This year, however, only one class begins before Labor Day weekend. Experimental Film, a course at Pratt Institute begins on Thursday, August 28. That is less than two weeks away!

After a slight moment of panic, I updated the syllabus for the Fall 2014 semester, and it is now available on my professional website. As always, here’s the course description:

Experimental Film surveys the major avant-garde film movements of the twentieth century. We will closely examine the films and theories of the film and filmmakers that challenge the dominant commercial cinemas of Europe and the United States.

A nice thing about teaching this class at Pratt Institute is that the department always markets the electives throughout the institute. Here is the poster they designed to pitch my experimental film class.

Posterdesign new 4 1512

Yes, that’s a frame grab from L’Age D’Or (1930), one of my favorite Buñuel films from his surrealist era.

Immersed in the 1960s with Jacco Gardner

Over the last week, I’ve been in a pretty melancholic mood so I’ve been working long days and listening to music throughout most of that time. Upon the suggestion of a good friend, I’ve been listening to Jacco Gardner.

Immediately, Gardner’s music comes across as psychedelic, a throwback to the 1960s, which coincidentally is the period I’ve been immersed in as I write a dissertation chapter. You can choose your favorite artist to compare Gardner, such as The Zombies, Cat Stevens, Syd Barrett, but it’s not an exact replica of that era, either.

Jacco Gardner has two releases from 2013 easily available. His full-length album, Cabinet of Curiosities, is available on iTunes. In addition, a single bears an appropriate title for this time of year, The End of August is also available on iTunes.

New Yorkers can catch him for free with the Boogarins tonight at the South Street Seaport, part of the Seaport Music Festival. If tonight’s no good, Jacco Gardner is also playing tomorrow night, August 16, at Baby’s All Right in Williamsburg, where it seems there’s at least few good shows for me to catch each month.

Dear United: It’s Not Me, It’s You

Chart showing that I have flown Zero Premier Qualifying Miles flown and Zero Premier Qualifying Segments flown, with Zero Premier Qualifying Dollars spent in 2014

Summer is almost over, and while in the past I was flying a ton on United, visiting family and friends, this year the situation is very different. I haven’t flown a single revenue flight on United this year.

But it’s not like I have been flying on the other guys, either. My diminished travel is due my trying to save money and because airline consolidation has made flying very expensive. Even on the competitive JFK-LAX route, it’s hard to find a flight for less than $400. Not too long ago, I remember easily finding an “L” fare in February for about $240 roundtrip.

The other thing factor is that flying on United is kind of miserable these days.

Since the merger, they’ve made a lot of cuts. Some I accepted as reducing redundancies, but others changed my whole reasoning for sticking with one airline. They’ve gutted the frequent flyer program for leisure travelers like me. Over the years, United has been following Delta’s lead in making flying less pleasant, such as requiring us qualify with dollars spent on tickets, tying our frequent flyer “mileage earnings” to dollars spent instead of miles flown, taking away our pillows and blankets, and devaluing our miles when we go to redeem them. They could at least follow their lead on the good stuff, too, right? Why not improve the clubs and provide some decent snacks and palatable booze for free? Why not finally add WiFi to the entire mainline fleet? Why not, at the very least, make a goofy safety video?

Last year, I only had a handful of revenue flights before Labor Day: a roundtrip to Louisville, Kentucky and a five-segment vacation/mileage run to Burbank. However, I flew a bunch in the fall to Paducah, to Indianapolis, to Memphis, to Nashville, and a six-segment trip to Burbank (via Washington and San Francisco on the outbound, and via San Francisco and Cleveland on the inbound). All those flights added up qualifying for Silver status, not only with miles but also on segments.

This year, though, I shop around since there’s no point in remaining loyal.

Adjunct Teaching: Procrastinate or Else

Earlier this summer, low enrollment cancelled two of my courses at Fordham. I was slated to teach two new offerings, The Broadcast Industry and Digital Media and Cyberculture. The two were so new that no one had taught them at Fordham before, which is probably why students didn’t enroll and the class was cancelled. I had kept thinking about materials for these courses in the back of my mind, but I never prepared a syllabus or ordered textbooks. I learned a some time ago that, because your course can be cancelled due to low enrollment, you have to be prepared to trash a syllabus you worked on over the summer. It’s better to wait until August to create that syllabus.

After the classes were cancelled I was assigned to teach TV News and Today’s World, a stalwart course of the undergraduate curriculum that I’ve never done before. A few weeks later, I was asked to fill in for a professor on medical leave and cover his Introduction to Media Industries. I was happy to do that because this is a course I’ve done many times, as recently as this past spring. I went from having two courses to zero, and then back to two. In addition, another professor was granted some course relief (sounds nice, doesn’t it?), and I was asked to cover his Introduction to Electronic Media course. Because I consider him a friend and because I have also done this course in the past, as recently as the Sandy-shortened semester of Fall 2012, I happily took the course, provided I was relieved of TV News and Today’s World.

That’s exactly what happened. At the beginning of the summer, I dreaded the thought of creating two new syllabi for courses I’ve never taught before. That’s a lot of work to do over the summer, and I was even preparing to ask for a raise when I went in to sign my contract. I was also anxious about the new courses because I suck at doing a class the first time around, or at least it feels that way to me. But then they were cancelled. With these personnel issues that arose over the summer, and that our department chair had to handle, I was able to not only substitute for two full-timers who couldn’t teach their courses, helping out the department with crucial staffing issues, but my overall workload will be much easier with these tried-and-true courses.

Sometimes, it pays to procrastinate.