Sunday, December 13, 2009

Recovery, and Hanging With the Talent

[ My first marquee!!! Very exciting. And many thanks to Alvina Chu for taking this photo, as I barely had time to glance at it. I didn't even have a moment to take a photo of me in front of it! Oh, well... ]

Today was AWESOME. Got up around noon, guilt-FREE. Nothing that needed to be done right that minute. I could get used to this, what do you call it? Breathing? Yea, it's nice.

Yesterday was what I will consider my final big film-related obligation for the year, teaching my first pre-production class at the Creative Alliance. I had seven students and the class ran from 10am-4pm. I really had fun doing it, and everyone was very engaged, asked a ton of questions, and we crammed a LOT of stuff into 6 hours ( 5 really, with the lunch break). If I do it again I will try to have it go til 5pm, the last hour was pretty rushed just to squeeze everything in. I truly enjoyed it, and they seemed to also (hope so!), and I even sold Smalltimore DVDs to 5 of the 7 of them!

I got some dinner on the way home and made plans with Phil Calvert (Thom, in Smalltimore). Poor Phil was out of town for work during the screening Wednesday, so he missed it. Cheryl Scungio (Gracie) was having a gathering at her house last night, and had invited me when I saw her at the DVD release party. Since Phil hadn't been there, I thought it would be a nice surprise to bring him along, especially since Kelly Coston (Mel) was also going to be there. I picked up a couple bottles of wine (the internationally recognized price of admission for party crashers) and went home to freshen up.

Timing out how long it would take to brush my hair, feed my dogs, pick up Phil, and get to Cheryl's at a reasonable hour, I had exactly 15 minutes of time not allocated to anything. I had been up until 3am Friday night, after having attended Mob Television's Very, Very Special Christmas Special at the Creative Alliance and then spending a couple hours finishing work on my class itinerary. My sleep pattern has been screwed up for weeks, I am sure mostly due to the stress of putting together the screening & party, and then the class.

I jumped into my bed, fully clothed, laid down as perfectly as I could in order not to wrinkle my clothing, set my alarm for 15 minutes later, closed my eyes and I was out like a LIGHT. I was out so fast and so deeply that I actually dreamed within those fifteen minutes. All my huge (albeit self-imposed) responsibilities were behind me! For the moment, at least. Maybe through Christmas. New Year's if I am lucky.

Anyway, that catnap did me wonders, and I went to get Phil. On the way there got a call from Cheryl, and turns out she was having a formal dinner party until 10pm and we weren't supposed to come over until then, I had misunderstood (or more likely, forgotten) exactly what she had said at the party Wednesday. Which actually worked out fine because now I had time to stop by Henderson's Wharf in Fells Point, where my artist friend Charles Lawrance was having an exhibit, followed by part II of the exhibit at his gallery, Fin Art (which was filmed as Moxie Gallery in Smalltimore). Phil had never been there because he wasn't in any of those scenes, so it was fun to introduce him to Charles and show him around. Charles does a lot of different stuff, but the bulk of his work are these AMAZING paintings depicting all kinds of fish underwater, they are incredibly detailed and beautiful. And unfortunately, a little out of my price range. But his girlfriend Cherise, had some gorgeous photos of her own on display and I did buy one of those. And, need I say it in this town, I ran into a few people that I know but had not seen in quite some time, I also met some people who know Tucker, and another guy who said I looked familiar, who, it turns out, lives like 3 blocks away from me.

Oh, but a little earlier, I found out via Facebook (the most efficient method of spying on friends and acquaintances, unless, of course, they have a blog detailing the minutiae of their lives) that Johnny Benson (Bentley), who was also stuck at work on Wednesday, was off work and had no plans. So I called him and invited him to crash with us, though I didn't tell Phil so it would be a surprise for him also.

Cheryl's house, as described by one of her friends, looks like it is made of candy. It is simply adorable and perfect, white picket fence and landscaped pond included. Her shed, which of course, looks like an equally adorable miniature house, is heated, so that she can put her cats out there when she has company that may be allergic to them. She thinks of everything.

Phil and I arrived at ten on the dot - and they (about 15 guests) were just about to START eating. Oops. But we brought wine, so they let us in. As expected, everything was perfect. Tablecloths and center pieces and gold liner plates and, I am absolutely not joking, very detailed hand-painted wooden Christmas tree ornaments, each a different holiday scene, tied around each set of silverware with a matching ribbon. And when I say hand-painted, I mean hand-painted by Cheryl. As I marveled at all this, Cheryl's friend James who was visiting from England asked me, "Did you see the pine cone?" I had not, so he brought it to me. What otherwise would have been a strangely-shaped, fat, semi-rounded conical blob of cheese spread had been transformed into what indeed looked like a pine cone. Because Cheryl had painstakingly individually placed almond slices in vertical staggered rows around the cheese lump, from top to bottom. It looked beautiful and it tasted even better.

Kelly was there when we arrived, apparently she was helping Cheryl and James with serving dinner. She looked very pretty and was behaving so... demurely... that one of Cheryl's friends, Reggie, who has met Kelly under more normal (or rather, less normal) circumstances kept giving her a hard time. She held her composure, though. Everyone was rather dressed up, and Phil and I were passable. About 20 minutes later, Johnny shows up wearing a biker jacket, skull t-shirt, at least twice as much jewelry as I was and one of his many signature belt buckles. I love Johnny.

Did you ever see the movie The Fifth Element? It was kind of like that. Suddenly, it seemed, things took a turn. Kelly and Cheryl were being very grown-up before Phil and I got there. Phil and I tried to be as unobtrusive as possible, since we weren't really supposed to be here for dinner, though we were cutting up a bit in the kitchen with Cheryl and Kelly as they carried platter after platter out to the buffet. Then Johnny showed up, and now there were FIVE Smalltimorons in the house, and it was all over but the crying. You know, the crying that happens after you laugh so hard it is the only thing left to do.

We had a fantastic time, and I was really happy to be able to spend an evening with the four of them, especially since Phil and Johnny had not been able to make the show. I know they were feeling little left out, and though they missed a few minutes of the limelight, I think the five of us being able to spend some quality time together instead of in a throng of almost 200 people made up for most of what they felt they missed. It certainly warmed my heart.

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