Districtland

A new show about DC Millennials.

Short Films

Learn more about Russell's short films.

Humbled

Art. Ambition. Community Theatre.

Democracy is not what our founders had in mind… Nor is it even preferable

The best headline of the week absolutely has to belong to this Atlantic story, by Uri Friedman:

Boaty McBoatface and the False Promise of Democracy

See, what happened is that the UK government held a naming contest for a new science vessel. And the British voting public, in their wisdom, declared in a clear and not-so-authoritative voice, that they wished said vessel to be named… wait for it… Boaty McBoatface.

Introducing: Cam Girl, my fourth short film

Think I wasn’t doing anything else whilst promoting Districtland? Well, think again. A few weeks before the premiere myself and an intrepid bare bones cast and crew shot a beautiful little character study about sex, desire, watching, and being watched. Last week I finished post-production.

 

More on this production as it goes through the film festival circuit, but for now I want to thank the brave crew who helped me make this: Director of Photography Chris Mariles and PA and Script Supervisor Erin Davis (and of course Stana Kimball for lending her art to the production value and keeping us well fed). And especially my gratitude goes to Agatha Jazmin for her performance as the titular Cam Girl. Thank you Agatha!

 

Cam Girl Poster (web)

Lessons from The West Wing’s Brokered Convention Episode

Screen Shot 2016-03-19 at 12.04.59 PM

 

So, here we are.

Donald Trump is clearly ahead, but may not get enough delegates to actually clinch the nomination on the first ballot. The race is down to three people. Ted Cruz could wind up with momentum going into the convention. And John Kasich is furiously trying to normalize the idea of a brokered convention in the first place to give himself a shot.

A few weeks ago I re-watched The West Wing’s brokered convention episode, where our hero Matthew Santos goes into the Democratic convention against the current sitting Vice President, Bob Russell, who has more delegates than him but also sucks royally and would probably get crushed in the general. There’s also John Hoynes, the disgraced ex-Vice President who is trailing a distant third but is trying to pitch himself as the voice of reason and savior of the party.

Sound at least a little familiar?

Who Should Win at the Academy Awards

imgresThe Washington Post has a handy retrospective on who should have won Best Picture over the past 40 years, as opposed to who actually did win. As they rightly point out, the Academy gets it wrong more often than they get it right – a lot more.

But the Post’s story admittedly has the benefit of 20/20 hindsight, and as such many of their picks seem obvious in retrospect, relying as they do on a movie’s enduring cultural relevance than a look back at what seemed right at the time (of course Pulp Fiction should have beat Forest Gump).

Expat New Mexicans everywhere can rejoice: Trader Joe’s is carrying New Mexico green chile sauce

It’s difficult to really explain the depths with which this country has made the tragic, sad mistake of elevating “Tex Mex” above New Mexican Cuisine, which is superior in every single way to that sub-par, terrible-tasting culinary tradition. For native New Mexicans like myself, this tragedy is compounded by the fact that when we leave New Mexico we really can’t find authentic New Mexican food anywhere in the world. It is possibly the single greatest reason for us to return home – above seeing relatives, marveling at the sunsets, breathing the fresh air, and hiking through the Sangre de Cristos, we return home to eat New Mexican food.

I want to smack each and every person who uses “#adulting”

I have recently seen grown men and women – accomplished men and women, smart men and women, men and women who are going places in life – use the hashtag “#adulting” in various Facebook posts. I want to smack them.

With all due respect to my dear Facebook friends, please excuse me for what I am about to say:

GROW UP and stop publicly congratulating yourself for:

  • doing the dishes
  • cooking food
  • cooking healthy food
  • working
  • working late
  • having a full day
  • getting your internet hooked up
  • sending out a resume

These are all things my Facebook friends have recently hashtagged #adulting. You are not “adulting,” you are acting your age. I think Jezebel put it well:

Adulting is a term most often used when a person fulfills a basic prerequisite of adulthood and wants to feel special—or, worse than that, be charmingly self-deprecating—about it.

There are even ribbons for adulting:

…which is funny, because, even when given ironically, an award for fulfilling your basic responsibilities as a human is pretty much the most childish thing imaginable.

Indeed.

 

How to decide who to vote for in primaries (including this one)

Here’s my formula for how to decide who to vote for in the primaries. It’s a two-step process:

  1. Choose which party you agree with more.
  2. Vote the person.

That’s it. Do not try to pick a candidate until you’ve picked a party. Don’t get caught up in Rand Paul’s isolationism, Donald Trump’s promise to build a yuge wall, Bernie Sanders’ desire to break up the big banks, or Hillary Clinton’s desire for more gun control. None of that will actually matter when they get into office.

Step one – picking a party – is usually the easy part (Although, apparently there are some people who evidently still insist there isn’t a real difference between the two parties. I have nothing to say to those people. This post isn’t for them. Moving on…).

Personally, I’m a Democrat. I belong to the party which believes in climate science and supports clean energy. The party for gun control. The party for civil rights. The party that doesn’t start stupid wars (at least not lately). The party where it’s ok to believe that human law should be above religious law. The party for a higher minimum wage. The party of fiscal responsibility (by which I mean not exploding the debt and then trying to force a default on that debt). The party which essentially says, we’re all in this together, rather than you’re on your own.

Anyway, that’s my party. Step 1 is done.

The next step is vote the person. This is by far the trickier step.

Is this what Democracy’s death rattle looks like?

As Amy Davidson writes in this week’s New Yorker:

It is hard to picture Sanders (much less Trump) in the Situation Room, but, if Democratic voters were to feel as liberated from the constraints of prudence as their Republican counterparts seem to, anything might happen. We could have a radical from Brooklyn and a real-estate guy from Queens facing off in debates that would sound like nothing so much as an argument on the B41 bus as it barrels down Flatbush Avenue to Kings Plaza.

It is, in my humble opinion, time for a little rebellion in this country. And as all of us who have read our Thomas Jefferson know, in Jefferson’s humble opinion a little rebellion every now and then is a good thing for our particular brand of democracy.

The year behind, the one ahead (A 2015 review and 2016 preview)

On the set of Moonshot.

On the set of Moonshot.

This year I found out where my limit is, because I passed it. You can tell because I now have, for the first time, white hair in my beard. We’re talking white, white – not gray. Look for me to be closer shaven in the coming year than I was last year in order to disguise said new white hair.

But seriously. For years and years I let time go by with a feeling of not having done enough with my life. Plans unrealized, goals not met, projects not started, or abandoned. In 2014 I began to seriously change that dynamic, and in 2015 I can say for the first time in my life that I maybe did too much.

To be fair, I am still, by my own standard, behind in life. I turned 34 this year; oh, the things I could have accomplished by now had I not been… so many things. But let us leave that extremely long list of past mistakes and regrets for another post, and continue on.