Seeing Red

Is it a bad sign if my girlfriend has started referring to herself in the third-or-more person as “Feitel’s Girlfriend”?

She used to be very sensitive to what I called her, usually preferring her name, “Eva”, as opposed to “my GF” or the more authoritative “the GF”.

But lately she’s been referring to herself that way in public and occasionally in private, though obviously as a joke.

We went to a party last night hosted by some friend of Chadd Harbold of Last Pictures, who was way into music.

I didn’t see anyone play, between a combination of bad timing and having to take “family crisis” phone calls, but I did catch a really great couple of mash-ups from Derrick Beckles of TV Carnage, who was conscripted there to the party by Gavin McInnes, his associate in crime, and then, by association, Chadd Harbold, who had hooked the whole thing up.

I had met Derrick previously at the Last Pictures’ gala event “The Re-Up”, where his piece, a you-tube/tv-recreation fake commercial was the comedy highlight of the evening. Seeing him at the party, which seem under attended given the opportune timing, cheap drinks and beautiful evening, I felt intimidated, as I often do by funny people.

We had a good conversation though as we discussed the social commentary within his work discussing exploitation of the media and the way Canada turns its eye inward to zany effect. We also talked about Tim and Eric, whose work on Adult Swim bears some resemblance to TV Carnage, in the way a biopic bears resemblance to a documentary. As I talked to him, I felt a little consolation, as Derrick recounted an Adult Swim pilot that “top people loved” but went nowhere and the people sending him emails for his influence while selling out as quickly as possible. Blame my youthful cynicism, but it was nice to see that talented people I respected had thwarted dreams as well.

As we kept talking, he was pulled away by a lady, Gavin was going to the next party and Derrick was to follow. He shook my hand, gave Chadd a kiss, much to all of our amusement and followed after.

After this, I was pretty much ready to leave the party, a Rubulad-type affair. Ro-beardo Malone, now beardier than ever and Nandan Rao had swung by a couple minutes and had swung back out real quick and Chadd seemed to be getting drunker based on the gradual escalation of his vocal volume. When I went to grab Eva , she was in conversation with two other girls who I had never met, who seemed sad and hurt when I dragged her away from them.

“Yeah, they asked me for my number and E-mail address.” Eva said.

I don’t she think she introduced herself as “Feitel’s GF” after then.

***

People have a habit of pointing out the things I overlook in life.

Whether its the words I omit when I’m writing, “on accident” as Rob might say it, or the colors I can’t see or misread when I walk down the street.

Eva was making a point of this to me when she saw me blinking or squinting or closing my eyes and wanted to see if I could tell the difference between my skin and my freckles.

She took the picture that’s at the top of the post, but it all just turned out looking red to me.

On Wednesday, I went out with the writing group I organize, a real good bunch this time around, for pizza at Artichoke and my pals there pointed out another instance of ignorance on my part.

I told them about my friend Dan’s break up and how he blamed me for it with text messages like “I feel like death” followed by “fuck you” (paraphrasing).

“What did you do?” Langston asked me, chowing on a Dragonbowl Q from the next-door-to-Artichoke Curly’s Vegetarian Lunch.

“Well, the girlfriend told me she was going to med school in Texas, so I said ok. And then they didn’t say anything. And so I asked what they were going to do about that.”

“You would.” Langston told me, amused.

“You broke his heart, man.” Andy Roehm told me, with conviction and a So-Cal drawl in his voice. “You just said what didn’t need to be said.”

Andy, a good guy by all accounts, had just brought in new pages of his South-African White-Supremacist Geo-Political Horror script and they had gone over really well, even though one of the group members had mistakenly brought over a pitcher of Yuengling Black+Tan while he was reading.

“There’s just some things man, that you gotta let a man work out for himself.” Andy told me, chowing on a chewy brick of Artichoke Dip pizza.

I demurred.

“You have some shit in your beard, Rob.” I told Rob.

“What? Oh god.” He replied.

Which sent him into paroxysms of beard-scrabbling, trying to find that stray speck of food.

Everyone returned to eating.

***

I got into a fight with someone on the street yesterday, as I walking around trying to find a sandwich.

There’s plenty of reasons to explain it and wasn’t much of a fight, more an awkward yelling match.

I had been searching for a sandwich for about 20 minutes, trying to find one in anticipation of a Triple Feature I was going to take with Rob and Ben Oviatt and Eva, spreading the 6-dollar pre-noon AMC special into an all-day sneak-around event.

I was turned down by first the City Bakery-run Birdbath Bakery, who claimed their sandwiches came in “sometime after 11”, to Olive’s whose chefs ignored me for sports-related phone calls to the burrito cart over on Wooster who told me “45 minutes, at best”.

The time crunch of making it up to the theater, my hypo-glycemia, my frantic calling of Eva to try to coordinate schedules. These are normal stresses.

There was also that my sister had been harassing my family and had recently claimed her computer for drug money.

Either way when the similarly unwashed, probably drunk or hungover varmint in front of me on that too-warm SoHo street called me a “fucking faggot”, muttering to himself, I started yelling back.

“Why don’t you shut the fuck up?” I told him.

In retrospect, this wasn’t a great idea. We got into a shouting match which ended in my walking away and just not looking at him, occasionally yelling things back.

I guess the lunacy of it just struck me, the sense of a moral “right”. He had insulted me and was threatening me in the middle of a bright, tourist-filled SoHo street. What the fuck could he do to me here?

Go ahead, I egged him on. What the fuck are you going to do?

Adrenaline rushed. I felt invincible. I sensed this man’s foolishness.

I was the fool, of course. If he was drunk or high, he could have done anything. Why provoke him? He might not even know what he’s doing, I don’t know his life, his situation.

There’s always your dichotomy in my head, the logic and the emotion, the sensible and the visceral, the acceptable and the repressed.

It’s telling that I engaged someone who crossed me in area I thought of has my home turf. What did it mean?

But he just kept yelling me and I walked away and cut through DKNY into Tisserie and bought the old sandwich I used to get there so frequently, with Pesto and Goat Cheese and Peppers and Chicken. And the guy behind the counter who still remembers my name, even though I hadn’t been back in a while. And treated me well. The sandwich was delicious.

And when I went home, I didn’t tell Eva, or anyone about the fight.

We went to see Harry Brown instead, about an old Michael Caine killing white-trash gang-bangers in inner-city London.

We tried to see more movies, but we didn’t like anything on the floor we were on.

And then everyone just went home.

***

I got some rejection letters this week from more film festivals, but they stopped getting me down.

I got a real nice email from Ronnie Bronstein, who made Frownland. I had been trying to talk to the guy since he went out for drinks with me after his film played at the IFC, a couple years ago.

I gave him a copy of my film at the screening of Daddy Longlegs, I went to but it when he put it in his DVD player it was blank.

Luckily, I had put my film up online (finally) in a password-protected format for a grant I applied to.

In another story of blind anger going a different way, I woke up to an email from an alumni listserv to see that two douchebags from my school had won a grant and decided that fuck these people so much I had to win it too and had filled out an application with my producer that very same day.

Actually it took a couple days (and the help of Nandan Rao) to figure out how to get my film online, but I filled out most of my application that day.

Anyway, I could say Ronnie dug the movie, but the email he wrote me was detailed and well-thought and very much appreciated.

He just had a kid too, so he doesn’t have much time to be talkin’ about movies.

It was nice.

Finally, I went to Tribeca to a panel and made an ass out of myself, like I sometimes do.

It was a panel on distribution, which I don’t much care for, especially considering that I just was turned down for a job in it.

But the people on the panel kept prattling on about Facebook and Twitter and “Social Networking” in order to capture “this generation”, because apparently we are illiterate, inarticulate sub-humans.

I got up for the Q+A on the Tribeca panel, my leg shaking furiously, to tell the panel of grown adults that I was 22 and the way they talked about people of my generation “made me feel like I was in a PTA meeting hearing about ‘all those troublesome skateboarding kids'”.

The panel cracked up, but no one really answered, except to talk about how young their interns were.

Afterwards, Geoff Gilmore, the head of Tribeca and formerly of Sundance, invited me up to the stage to talk to him.

He called me a “whipersnapper” and apologized for “the lack of 22 year-olds on the panel”.

He gave me his card and I didn’t mention that his festival had rejected my film.

I wrote him a nice email afterward, since I was still grasping for straws on my future in this business.

But I really don’t expect him to ever answer.

My boss, who was there, sent me this picture.

He also quotes my Sight-and-Sound film when he picks up the phone.

“Uh, and she was like, yeah, I’m drunk and I was like…”

And I ask him if that’s really relevant, for right now.

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2 Responses to Seeing Red

  1. Zach says:

    i love chadd’s built-in vocal drunk-o-meter, good observation. i finally just saw frownland and the whole time i debated telling you that i felt like i was watching a documentary on you. i can’t stand distribution panels, after the last one nandan and i got into a shouting match.

  2. Lisa says:

    Love you and your blog.
    writewritewritewritewrite and when you’re done, call me and we’ll have lunch. Love.

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