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The envelope I received today from Price Waterhouse

I’m a winner!

So is Hilary Clinton. My brother called to tell me that one.

My envelope was addressed to my neighbors but it was in my mailbox along with the box containing their Signature Hardware copper claw foot bathtub. Finders/Keepers. I have a really big mailbox. You could fit 140 of Donald Trump’s hands in it.


This is what you want to hide under when there is an earthquake, if it doesn’t run away on those fat little legs. Body shaming aside, they are a bit tubby.

Why did Price Waterhouse pick me? Probably because I am from Manchester by the Sea. I am one of the former residents who, like Casey Affleck’s character, moved away to make less money than they could at home. Manchester is a really pretty place but you have to be really rich to live there. Little did I know that you have to be pretty rich to live well anywhere.   Maybe the letter was meant for Casey but I think he already got one.

I hear P.W. has two copies of every envelope they give out, which is a bit excessive. I don’t write two checks when I pay my rent or have sex with individuals twice just in case they didn’t hear me the first time.

But what to do about the bathtub? I’ve already made a couple of speeches about it to my easily impressed co-workers. My neighbors might get suspicious if there’s a plumber’s van in the driveway tomorrow so I will probably have to sleep with a working man for a believable backstory.

Truthfully, I think the postman made the mistake because I am white and my neighbors are not. I don’t make as much money as them but I look like I do based on skin tone.

No that can’t be it.  I’m Catholic, like Casey Affleck’s character. I’m the one who is oppressed and just can’t beat my past including my genetic tendencies towards violence and ridiculous sensitivity to both the sun and the criticism of others. Don’t tell me I live in La-La land because I live in Alaska where no one has a tub like this and everyone is really just a loser from somewhere else. Don’t make me give it back.

 I have my doubts about the integrity of Price Waterhouse.  My first association with that kind of fancy-ass name is Fisher Price toys but their tubs are much smaller and apparently come equipped with photogenic bathers.


Move over Sunny Pawar! I’m younger than you and I’m white!

 You may ask, what do all these references have in common? Do they all involve water? Yes but NO!  THEY ARE ALL FAKE NEWS!

I only got a catalog from Signature Hardware which is the Rock/Movie/Musical star of bathtub makers. It was not addressed to me. It was not addressed to my neighbors either. It was addressed to my roommate who is black and has a much better bedroom set than I have.

We do have a big mailbox.  We just got an upgrade. With three of us living here and about 10 old roommates who still get their mail here we needed it. Besides that, it has a lock so no one can steal our Academy Award letters.

I did audition for a movie the other day but I was funnier off script than on so I don’t think that is going anywhere fast. A girl can dream about playing an old alcoholic smoker who sees dead guys coming on to her but that doesn’t make her dreams come true.

I am from Manchester by the Sea. I recognize that the movie is not so much about that town but about the small town that many of us come from. The one that never forgets the best of people and the worst of them. The small town that is our family, our workplace, our culture that we can’t get far enough away from, because they’re inside of us. I’m proud to be from a town that will now be forever remembered for alcoholism and dysfunction.

I will probably not see the movie La-La land because I don’t need more fantasy in my life especially  anymore white people’s fantasy. This includes thinking I deserve more than I get and that life is fair. I should see Moonlight. Maybe I will go with my roommates.  Meanwhile I just had my taxes done at H&R Block. They only use one envelope.


Negative Woman’s Oscar Picks

Negative woman opines again!

Negative woman opines again!

I’m not picky, just depressed. Some films make me want to die more than others. I like meaningful movies and really funny ones. I tend to vomit at romantic comedies. I believe in love but not what Hollywood is usually selling. So here are my violent reactions to this year’s crop.
Best Picture
Amour, if I were capable of watching it, should win. Mortality is a favorite topic but my mental health was too fragile to bear a feature length death scene. I hope the female lead wins best actress before she dies. Now would be a good time.
Lincoln will win. I didn’t see it because I know it will come to the cheap theatre soon. I hear it has lots of death in it. I think the lead character also dies.
Argo – most entertaining, but Oscar material? To honor the story or because it’s a movie about a movie? That’s depressing in itself, but that’s how awards work.
Beasts of the Southern Wild – This movie sucked. It irritated me in so many ways. I wanted to like it but the noble savage in an ideal community of happy drunks idea did not lure me in. Magical realism smells of J.R. Ewing getting killed in a dream sequence.
Zero Dark Thirty – No, don’t care. I read/watch the news for this sort of thing.
Django Unchained – Really? The poster looked like a Harlequin novella. For a second I thought it might be about guitar music.
Les Miserables – I heard they sang live. Nice but people do that at karaoke. I was not a fan of the musical, even though I like musicals. It’s trying too hard to be sad if that’s possible. I heard no comments about excellence of acting so I skipped it. Also, Anne Hathaway is pretty even when she is trying to look all fucked up. I can never forget she’s a movie star trying real hard. At least Russell Crowe looks like he doesn’t give a shit.
Silver Linings Playbook? – Too close to a romantic comedy trying to be deep. Good luck with that.
Life of Pi ? – NO, NO, NO! This is a movie about special effects. It’s like Jonathan Livingston Seagull for Christ’s sake. Have we sunk that low?
My preference for best film which is not nominated would be Flight because of the story and the acting. It made me laugh and it made me scared, (that part isn’t too hard.) It broached the always timely topics of narcissism, dishonesty and belief in God. If you think of the lead character as The United States piloting a plane of nations it seems even better. Denzel Washington earned an Oscar in my book, but no one reads my book.
On a more positive note -I love Alan Arkin so I hope he wins. I also loved Skyfall especially Daniel Craig if he’s reading this, also the theme song. I was both shaken and stirred. Has there ever been a bad Bond song? Even Paul McCartney was able to pull off a good one. I wish Kon-Tiki had played up here in Alaska but what were the chances of that?
The idea of giving awards to people who are already very successful is genius. They need something to fight for since they have everything else. I wonder how many of them are doping? Remember the Flashdance drama where someone wasn’t credited with doing the lead’s dancing? I wonder if that was really Daniel Craig’s chest? Denzel Washington’s butt? Anne Hathaway’s lice?  I guess that’s the magic of movies. We’ll never know.

Benedict Cumberbatch in Frankenstein

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Left: Benedict Cumberbatch (The Creature)
Jonny Lee Miller (Victor Frankenstein)
Right: Jonny Lee Miller (The Creature)
Benedict Cumberbatch (Victor Frankenstein)
Photos by Catherine Ashmore

Adapted by Nick Dear and directed by Danny Boyle, The National Theatre in London was savvy enough to film this production for the balconies in America and the rest of the world.  If you’re a fan of the BBC series Sherlock, invest the time and money to see the film or rent the dvd when it’s available. Why?  The story, the acting, the theatrical setting, it’s all great. It’s a straight theatre show so might actually bore some folks but it’s fun to see Mr. Cumberbatch play one of those roles which Robert Downey Jr.’s character in Tropic Thunder cautioned  Ben Stiller about playing. That would be the “special person”, the handicapped one with the odds against him. Not every actor can pull it off but some get awards for it. These guys did.

The creature appeared to me to be like a man who was damaged, not just by his lack of parents but through the unlikely survival of his birth.  I was reminded of  the folks like me, and possibly you, who might have been dead a hundred years ago if not for modern medications and procedures. I particularly thought of how many war veterans may return to a society who is so obsessed with conventional beauty  and “normal” parameters of behavior that they are considered monsters of sorts.

I read a few things about the show online  which made me think. Cumberbatch says the show is about bad parenting.  This is too simplistic for me unless we want to get all Universal and label God a bad parent.  I’m guessing Cumberbatch didn’t have bad parents because being abandoned by your father and being nurtured by a blind man doesn’t seem so harsh to me. I really don’t know what it would be like to be the only one in the world without a biological mother but I bet someone will as soon as science gets around to it. I will admit that my view is skewed as I have been in therapy of one kind or another for decades and have become a therapist so I have heard a number of more dramatic tales than this. Blaming the bad parent is common but  makes little sense since the monster might have just as easily absorbed the emotional lessons the blind man gave him as he did the intellectual ones. Everyone thinks that they are the only one of their kind, with the saddest fate possible. I think this is nearer to the crux of the story than bad parenting. It reminds me that Cumberbatch is a fine actor but I’m not sure if he’s a good psychologist. Although, that said, many people, myself included, chase after the parent who has abandoned us in various ways all of our lives. Some of us eventually find that parent within ourselves. Scary!  Aversion itself is an intense form of attachment which is certainly at play between the two leads in this production.

The next point I would like to differ on is that Doctor Frankenstein and The Monster are polar opposites of one another or mirror images. I would say, like father and son, they are very similar. They both appear to be intellectually gifted but emotionally stunted. There is a line where The Doctor’s father says Frankenstein was such a lively young boy which reminded me of Cumberbatch’s first moments as the monster, learning to walk like a toddler, feeling the rain, the grass. But when The Monster can’t control the feelings of others he needs to change them by destroying them. The Doctor would also like to create a human he can control. At first the chaos of the world is enticing to them and then as the chaos turns on them as it will, they attempt to control it with violence and mechanisation.

I thought the major difference between The Monster and The Doctor was that The Monster acted as if his temper were the result of a severe brain injury as might be expected in having an entire head transplant! The Doctor has no such excuse so his violence, though less physical and more emotional, is also less forgivable. It appears as though Viktor’s desire to question and break rules is a reaction to his father being a magistrate. Has that relationship then wrought the fate of the entire family down to The Creature? Doubtful.

One review said that Cumberbatch was not as effective in the role of The Monster as Mr. Miller was.I can imagine this might be true. I found Cumberbatch very interesting to watch but only sympathetic on an intellectual level.  It was the situation, the missed connections and longing for love from those who could not give it which I found sad.  The film was long and depressing, as it should be, so I could not convince myself to buy a ticket for the next night to see Miller as The Monster. I’m sure Cumberbatch would be a great Viktor as he plays a nasty intellectual so well on Sherlock.

As far as theatre goes,  I can see why it still thrives in Britain while we Americans have favored films. Theatre requires  the kind of work that most audiences here are not used to doing. I was exhausted after watching this film. Yet it works because the actors are working a hundred times harder than we are and you can smell their sweat. No matter what film actors tell you, it’s not the same. When the train ploughed onto the stage I was wondrous, when the fire was lit I was mesmerized. The light piece, which is the feature of several scenes, is at once lovely and frightening. When I watch special effects in most films they leave me cold as they are trying too hard to convince me. It takes much trust but few materials to do this.Perhaps  theatre is too expensive for the majority of people in the U.S. and can’t be mass produced like most of our products. Or maybe, as Mr. Cumberbatch says, it’s just a result of bad parenting.

I have been a mediocre actor, but a good comedian for years. I’ve seen many plays and know that this is a piece that feels epic in scope. I remember an acting class where we were told that all good theatre is about  sex, death and God. This one is. Don’t miss it. Let me leave you with one last image “KHAAAAAANNNNNN!”