This is an ever-evolving story of a girl writer and her two greatest loves, the movies and travel. As she hikes the trenches of Hollywood, you're brought along for the ride.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Five Things I Just Don't Get

I want to like anime.  I'm totally into Japanese language and culture and I dig the style & exaggerated features of anime characters.  That said, I don't understand the enormous popularity of it.  The cutesy-ness of it, the stories... they do nothing for me.

Up until about a year ago, I was blissfully unaware of what a Kardashian was.  I thought it was a bonus word which might come in handy someday, but now I know that "Kardashian" has very little to do with intelligence.  I still can't tell any of the sisters apart; I don't even know how many sisters there are.  With their increasing empire and unfortunate influence on American culture however, Kardashians are becoming harder to avoid.  [It helps that I don't have cable.]

Under the regime of President Mohamed Morsi, a Cairo court recently ordered a TV channel off-the-air because it broadcast belly dance clips.  These belly dance clips were deemed "sexually explicit" and in direct violation to strict Islamic standards which require women's bodies to be entirely covered except for their faces.  I'm no expert, but didn't belly-dancing originate in Egypt and Turkey?  Hasn't belly-dancing been around for eons?  Like since Mesopotamian times?

On a lark, I checked out this TLC series about people with unbelievably odd addictions.  There's the woman who eats toilet paper like popcorn, the ventriloquist who can't go anywhere without her puppets, and the woman who can't fall asleep without having a running blowdryer on the bed next to her.  

I've seen enough episodes now to wonder about things like: why didn't they pair the woman addicted to "collecting rocks" in the same episode with the woman addicted to "eating rocks"... seems like a win-win solution there.  Privately, I also wonder why I'm strangely addicted to My Strange Addictions.  Is there a cure for that?

Why does it seem like every other week there's a cover story about the proliferation of violence in entertainment and the media?  Just this last week, The Los Angeles Times devoted the front pages of both the Calendar section and the Arts & Music section to this very topic.  I skipped reading both stories. How can there be any more to say about this topic?  It's the week before the Academy Awards!  Isn't there anything else entertainment-related to report?  

I'm not saying that movies, video games and television content aren't violent.  I'm just getting tired of the constant "blame game."  [I think violence in America has more to do with what's lacking in our culture than what people are watching on their TV screens.]

©2013 by KLiedle

Friday, February 15, 2013

This Is How We End: Getting It Out There

Anything worthwhile is worth the heartache.  No, I'm not talking about love (given it's the day after Valentine's Day.)  In this case, I'm talking about writing.  After close to a year of writing and editing, I've released my first short story collection, "This Is How We End."  It's a collection of short stories, poetry & art that centers on the themes of both beginnings and endings.  (It's now available on Amazon in print and digital formats, including Kindle.) 

Working on a book is not an easy process.  Just before publication, I read and re-read my own book more times than I'd like to remember.  Well before that stage, I'd spent countless hours coming up with characters and initial ideas.  I wrote most stories out longhand in a pink composition book.  Sometimes there were so many chicken scratchings and notes written in margins on those first drafts that I could barely figure out what I'd meant.  

Sometimes my ideas didn't even make it to the notebook.  Those ideas were written on strips of scratch paper or anything I could get my hands on whenever an idea struck.  I kept these raw notes in a Strawberry Shortcake folder.  I'm probably way too old to be carrying around such a folder, but Strawberry Shortcake makes me happy.  I also convinced that it would make my former six-year-old self proud of the adult me.

This Is How We End also includes several illustrations by Los Angeles-based artist, Scott Vogel.

In life, sometimes an ending is really a beginning. We just don’t know it at the time.
Filled with heart, passion & emotion, “This Is How We End” is a collection of short stories, poetry & art that examines beginnings & endings.

Check it out and help spread the word!
  I welcome comments.  In future posts, I'll also include exclusive excerpts from the book.

Like it on Facebook!

Kendra Liedle

Friday, February 8, 2013

For The Love Of Dance: First Position

When I was four years old, my mother enrolled me in ballet classes.  I continued studying dance at Omaha's Entenman Studio Of Dance until I graduated from high school.  My mother has a closet full of my old tutus, leotards, sequined hats, pink tights, and pointe shoes.  Over the years, I've studied ballet, pointe, jazz, tap, and Middle-Eastern bellydance.  Even when I haven't formally been studying dance, I've been known to spin around and 'bust a move' in the comfort of my own living room.

Dance brings me calm, a sense of enjoyment, a joy for life.  Somewhere along the line, I realized I'd never be good enough to pursue dance professionally.  However, I do have an amazing appreciation for the beauty and artistry of dance and a high level of respect for young dancers who set out to follow their dreams of dancing professionally.  Dance is an art form that is easy to love, but unbelievably difficult to pursue as a career.

First Position is a dance documentary which provides a rare glimpse into the varied lives of six beautifully talented young dancers as they prepare to compete at the Youth America Grand Prix.   All of these young adults, some of them mere children,  genuinely love dance.  Even though dance training consumes their young lives, one gets a sense that they wouldn't want it any other way.  Filmmaker Bess Kargman, studied dance at Boston Ballet School.  By watching the film, it's obvious that she knows this world.  She's been there.  First Position is her first film, and it's an excellent one at that.  It premiered at the 2011 Toronto International Film Festival.

There's a sadness in knowing that, no matter how much talent or perseverance they have, few dancers are able to make a living at it.  There's a heartbreak in knowing that dance careers, by their very nature, are short-lived. But there's a beauty in knowing that dance in all its many forms brings joy to people around the world.

First Position is now available for viewing on Netflix, Video On Demand, and iTunes.

Copyright © 2013 by KLiedle

Friday, February 1, 2013

Spring Flicks Of Interest

This time of year usually marks the beginning of a dead zone at the cineplex.  The holidays are a distant memory, award season is drawing to a close, and summer blockbusters are still months away. 
Traditionally, later winter / early spring was considered a dumping ground for marginal films without much critical or box office potential.  However, as I look at the slate of films to be released in the next several months, I see several upcoming releases that pique my curiosity, inspire me, touch my romantic side, or tickle my funny bone.  Here they are (in order of release date):

TABU (Trailer above)
Tabu follows the story of a dying woman who enlists help from her maid and neighbor to find a long lost love "with whom she shares a secret pact."  I'm intrigued by the sense of romance, mystery, and heartbreak.  (Directed by Miguel Gomes, B/W, Portuguese with English subtitles)

I don't imagine this is going to win awards, but the story of a man tracking down the woman who stole his identity sounds like a payback comedy I can root for.  Add Melissa McCarthy, Jason Bateman, Jon Favreau and Amanda Peet to the mix and you can almost guarantee you'll have fun.
(Directed by Seth Gordon / Universal Pictures.  Release Date: February 8, 2013)

Taking your parents hostage is something every wronged teenager has probably fantasized about at some point or another.  When I learned the girl feels "wronged" because her parents missed her jump-roping competition, I was hooked by the hilarity of such a premise.  If it's both dramatic and comedic, it could very well be the jump-roping version of Whip It. 
(Directed by Benjamin Epps / Arc Entertainment.  Release Date: March 29, 2013)

ROOM 237
In the documentary realm comes Room 237, a film which dissects Stanley Kubrick's esteemed horror film, The Shining, as told by five cinephiles obsessed with the film.  
(Directed by Rodney Ascher / IFC Midnight)

Biopics can sometimes go terribly wrong, but I have high hopes for this one about baseball player Jackie Robinson.  I've always been a baseball fan and it's about time that Robinson's story made it to the big screen.  Thank God that Warner Brothers had the insight to cast relative unknown, Chadwick Boseman as Robinson.  A star in such a role would be far too distracting.
(Directed by Brian Helgeland / Warner Brothers.  Release date: April 12, 2013)

And here comes the first of many projects about Apple CEO and co-founder, Steve Jobs.  (Another Jobs movie is currently in development at Sony Pictures.)  jObs, however, follows Steve Jobs in the early start of his career-- the frustrations, the inspirations, the conflicts, and all the defining moments that became the core of the Apple we know today.  Ashton Kutcher starts as Steve Jobs in a rare dramatic role for the actor.  Also starring Dermot Mulroney.
(Directed by Joshua Michael Stern / Open Road Films.  Release date: April 2013 TBA)

Copyright ©2013 by KLiedle