Producer’s Club with Sam Jones

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Video Wednesday: Happy Birthday Mr. President

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Theater Club with Taylor White

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Video Wednesday: Swing Low…

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David Dibble Interview: Adonis the Movie

David Dibble is a film maker. His short film, Adonis the Movie, won the Jury Award for best short film and the Audience Favorite Award for best comedy at the Riverside Film Festival. It won best short film at Cannes.

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Video Wednesday (Redux): Nicky And The Woman

Nicky And The Woman from Joseph Valentinetti on Vimeo.

In the mirror I flicker like a failing
fluorescent tube. Opaque, virtuous,
transparent, vanished.

Did I mention how she looked sitting on the couch, her small feet tucked under her, Pussycat Sweetie in her lap. Her lips moving slightly as she read, as though she was the one purring.

She was a writer, or one day she’d be one. For now she liked to write notes, to share her feelings, her joys and, especially her sorrows. She was failing French. How could that be, Nicky? I am French, at least my grandmother on my father’s side. It’s a disgrace, a personal disgrace, she wrote.
In a p.s. she put, Un tour de cochon. I hated when writers showed off with foreign phrases, making me stumble over pronunciation. Did they get a laugh of it or what? I vowed I would never do that if I ever became a writer; Que sera, You know?
I asked her what a pig doing a trick had to do with failing French and she asked me, with a sigh, not to be so tiring. It’s an idiom, Nicky, a pig trick equals a dirty trick. Pigs are dirty, tricks are dirty. Life has played a dirty pig, a dirty trick on me. She held out her hands like scales, weighing my ignorance before my eyes. Why was French so hard? She demanded.
Could you try again, I asked?
Courir après le vent, she said, with a deep red gash of injury in her voice. I was about to wonder what running after the wind had to do with anything but she began to cry. She covered her eyes and turned, leaning into my chest.

I guess this meant I was supposed to hold her, so I did.

In the mirror I flicker like a failing
fluorescent tube and I’m getting tired of it.

Did I mention she became dramatic? She dyed her hair red, changed her make-up to greens and beiges, her contact lenses to a sparkling emerald. She started dotting her `i’s’ with tiny hearts.
I’m going into acting, she said. She slammed the door. That is `She’ who dotted her `I’s’ with tiny hearts. She was always slamming doors now. She was a lousy actress. She ran toward things she should have fled and fled from things she should have embraced. She was drawn to fire and repelled by kindness.
She shrugged broadly, she frowned grimly, she opened her bulbous almond eyes so wide. All so dramatically. When I reminded her of pussycat sweetie, dead in the gutter, she opened her eyes so wide, Oh Nicky, she said, as though it was news to her. She could have frowned. Surprise was unnecessary, it was a story from the past. When I asked her why she never got another kitten, she shrugged, shoulders up, shoulders down. She may have gotten that one right.
When I told her an abortion was all right with me if it was alright with her she fled to the bedroom and slammed the door. I knocked. I opened the door. Even from behind her I could tell she was crying. I touched her shoulder. She covered her eyes and turned, leaning into my chest.

I guess this meant I was suppose to hold her, so I did.

Opaque, virtuous,
transparent, vanished.
Without my consent.

Did I mention, after the abortion she hated everything, even her newly minted chestnut hair– the contact lenses liquid as golden brown honey, her new gypsy blouses and flowing flowered skirts? Everything was all so unfair. The natural bulge of her bright golden brown honey eyes gave her sallow face a cast of self-pity that she wore with the thrill and flourish of loathing. Her skin flushed easily, instantly. Her insides molten and churning, threatening to erupt at the slightest provocation, threatening to take the top of her head off, dark chestnut hair and all. Behind the waist length chestnut hair, the constant brushing, the liquid eyes, the perfect make-up, the chic and couture, she was fragile with a capital F. You were absolutely right, Nicky, telling me to get the abortion. How could I carry a baby to term? I didn’t correct her, I didn’t ask her, What? Or, Why not?
Work day afternoons she would sit for her break, five or ten minutes, no more, with a co-worker. She would bring the jokes and stories home to share with me. Once in a while they were funny. I was glad someone was making her laugh.
We make each other laugh, Nicky, she corrected.
I envisioned her smile, tentative, sincere and brittle, below those darting honey brown eyes, her fingers like the teeth of a wide comb drawing out her long hair.
She said his wife had seen them laughing. He was sorry, her comedian told her. Sorry, but it had to stop. She fell silent. Her face filled with blood and hatred. Seen us laughing, she said again. Not fucking touching, not fucking sucking, not fucking, just fucking laughing, she screamed. She began to cry. I touched her coarse, too often dyed, chestnut hair. She was, at first, inconsolable. She moaned with resignation, sealed in her fate. She covered her eyes and turned, leaning into my chest.

I guess this meant I was suppose to hold her, so I did.

In the mirror I flicker. Opaque,
transparent, gone.

Did I mention her teeth were imperfect? Her two front teeth were too close together, like tectonic plates pushing at each other, causing one to rise slightly, one to dip behind. This was the imperfection that made her perfect to me, captivating to look at, new in every light.
And did I mention she was better now? Her hair was fading back to her natural color, her eyes now her original hazel. She sat on the bed next to me. She was brushing it with long slow strokes, the muscles in her neck fighting against the tug of the brush. Acting? she said. What was I thinking? What good would that ever do for anybody? I want to work with people, Nickolas. Not just stand in front of them oink-ing it up with someone else’s words. Ha, she laughed, looking thoughtful. Maybe a psychologist or a social worker, maybe.
She told me I had always loved simply because I was loved and she had done the same but now it was different for the both of us. Now we’d discovered our true third self, `Our Love Self, Our WE. We were no longer just devoted to some idealization of what love should be. We just had never stopped before to take love’s measure.
`To take love’s measure?’ I said, accusing her of stealing that from Shakespeare. Can’t you be serious? she said, poking me in the ribs, Take that, Nicholas.
I said, “Don’t,” delighted by her touch but pretending not to like it.
Acting this way, she said, was too wary, too cautious to be more than a concept, without the breath and the food of life itself that love requires.
Being less lonely isn’t being in love, Nicholas and love isn’t gratitude to be given in return for kind. She talked about our love a lot. Each lesson more complex than the last.

When she’d moved everything out, when all that was left was a box of odds and ends, we stood in the living room. It was a quiet, cool, morning, just a single car outside the front window, idling at the curb. The ghosts of the photos she took lingered on the eggshell walls. The memory of a rug here, some books there, gave haunting meaning to the emptiness. She looked at each place where gone things had been, a quiet inventory of the loss. She turned for the door. She took hold of the glass knob then let it slip from her fingers. She told me, without turning around, she didn’t know if she was doing the right thing.
I asked, You know what they’d say about that in France? She didn’t answer. Fuck it, they’d say-except they’d say it in French.
She ignored my attempt at cleverness, telling me, There’s a space in my heart for you that will never be filled by someone else no matter what. Oh, what am I doing, Nicky? she asked. She nearly leapt in the air when her comedian honked his horn. Was he able to take love’s measure? I wondered. She began to cry. I reached around and turned the glass knob, opening the door for her. She covered her eyes and turned, leaning into my chest.

I guess this meant I was suppose to hold her, but I couldn’t.

In the mirror I flicker.
Is this what love is, a
a rabbit-from-the-hat
now-you-see-it-now-you-don’t, middle-class miasma?
Mirrors and vanishings, peripheral glimpses, whispers in the dark?
Groping through a face-to-face noisiness no better than silence?
If I stop looking for myself, drop ego’s shabby tapestry,
are you standing there?
Are you on the other side of this mirror?
Will you call out my name?
Will you touch your finger to the glass?

 

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Video Wednesday (Redux): Knothole

Knothole from Joseph Valentinetti on Vimeo.

Knothole

Image of you
flickers in brain like
candle on very dark midnight
silent tolling bell of light
in seemingly distant past.
I watch face in flame and
feel warmth on self
from earlobes to groin.
Spy magic in face
inside flame like
witchcraft of desire and
spell of friendship and
incantation for the
well being of another.
Face is made anew
each time by
gyrations of fire in
still dark night floating
in tear of flame like
knothole to world unknown.

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