brightwalldarkroom
brightwalldarkroom:

Ladies and Gentlemen: ISSUE #11 IS HERE! 
(Go, read, subscribe!)
—-
Bright Wall/Dark Room, April 2014: The Magnificent Andersons
Letter from the Editor (free)
No, Man, It’s Not Evil. It’s An Illusion.Elizabeth Cantwell on Boogie Nights
A Film in a Minor KeyAndrew Root on Magnolia
Like I’d Never Seen BeforeMichael Arbeiter on Punch-Drunk Love
I Just Wanna Feel EverythingAlexandra Tanner on Violence, Love, and Emotion in the Films of Wes and Paul Thomas Anderson
Growing Up with Bottle RocketDaniel Reynolds on Bottle Rocket
Les Enfants TerriblesKarina Wolf on The Royal Tenenbaums
I’m Trying to Tell You the Truth About MyselfBebe Ballroom on Fantastic Mr. Fox
Wes Anderson is Looney TunesMichelle Said on The Grand Budapest Hotel
Is This the (Hyper) Real Life?a comic by Marieke Pras

Really super proud of this one.

brightwalldarkroom:

Ladies and Gentlemen: ISSUE #11 IS HERE! 

(Go, read, subscribe!)

—-

Bright Wall/Dark Room, April 2014: The Magnificent Andersons


Letter from the Editor
 (free)

No, Man, It’s Not Evil. It’s An Illusion.
Elizabeth Cantwell on Boogie Nights

A Film in a Minor Key
Andrew Root on Magnolia

Like I’d Never Seen Before
Michael Arbeiter on Punch-Drunk Love

I Just Wanna Feel Everything
Alexandra Tanner on Violence, Love, and Emotion in the Films of Wes and Paul Thomas Anderson

Growing Up with Bottle Rocket
Daniel Reynolds on Bottle Rocket

Les Enfants Terribles
Karina Wolf on The Royal Tenenbaums

I’m Trying to Tell You the Truth About Myself
Bebe Ballroom on Fantastic Mr. Fox

Wes Anderson is Looney Tunes
Michelle Said on The Grand Budapest Hotel

Is This the (Hyper) Real Life?
a comic by Marieke Pras

Really super proud of this one.

brightwalldarkroom
brightwalldarkroom:

Coming very, very soon:
A brand new issue, focusing entirely on the films of Wes Anderson and Paul Thomas Anderson - get it the minute it’s available by subscribing to Bright Wall/Dark Room Magazine now!
We’re putting the finishing touches on it as we speak, and can’t wait for you to see it. As our art director, Brianna Ashby, is possibly the biggest Wes Anderson fan on the planet (yes, she’s even had theme parties), you can just imagine how much fun she had doing the artwork for some of these. Consider this cover a taste of things come!

brightwalldarkroom:

Coming very, very soon:

A brand new issue, focusing entirely on the films of Wes Anderson and Paul Thomas Anderson - get it the minute it’s available by subscribing to Bright Wall/Dark Room Magazine now!

We’re putting the finishing touches on it as we speak, and can’t wait for you to see it. As our art director, Brianna Ashby, is possibly the biggest Wes Anderson fan on the planet (yes, she’s even had theme parties), you can just imagine how much fun she had doing the artwork for some of these. Consider this cover a taste of things come!

brightwalldarkroom
brightwalldarkroom:

"I have forgotten all the major stories, and yet I could carve in bone my memory of a dozen tiny, quiet scenes:
Betty, sitting in a late-day Roman glow, her hair whipped and molded into a European chignon. Looking so modern it was as if she alone dragged in the backdrop change, inventing the ’60s. As if she’d finally shed the kids like a dead skin or a fire and emerged, victoriously golden. Reborn. How the Italian men hit on her and insulted Don when he approached, as a stranger. Which was perfect, right? Because how long had it been since they’d known each other at all? I’d etch in how he fell back in love, madly so, with Betty for two days. With this restored, empowered version of her. All cold upper class beauty, all superiority, all linguistic-flexing power. Too good for him, which is the key to everything.
I’d etch the repose of Roger’s tired face when he calls Joan late at night, with Jane, the regrettable wife, passed out beside him.
Peggy’s hand on Don’s after Anna dies. This single brief touch a complete swelling orchestra composed to explain the depth of their bond and its tenuousness. How vital and still wildly vulnerable this tie is in the possession of a man so accustomed to scorching any tenderness entrusted to him.
Everything encompassed in the moments Don calls Betty “birdie.” The whole rattling film projection of their courtship and marriage and children and infidelities and lies and second tries and reheated dinners. And the end that Betty pretends comes with the bang of Dick Whitman’s betrayal, and not years of whimpers. Every aching sweetness remains in “birdie,” somehow fossilized and surviving but useless as a mate-less bull.
The literal restraint of the characters—their buttoned-up loneliness. The moments of elegant non-response and suffocated reaction. The things they do not tell each other, the fights they don’t finish, the slaps that aren’t delivered. The communicative release they never allow themselves (even as it might be their salvation).
Sometimes, I find myself watching  Mad Men through a sort of fantasy lens, as if it were an underwater ballet. A cold, slow-floating drift of Asian dance and sad, silent theater.
It’s hypnotizing.”
—Erica Cantoni, "I Won’t Have My Heart Broken" (Bright Wall/Dark Room magazine, June 2013)

brightwalldarkroom:

"I have forgotten all the major stories, and yet I could carve in bone my memory of a dozen tiny, quiet scenes:

Betty, sitting in a late-day Roman glow, her hair whipped and molded into a European chignon. Looking so modern it was as if she alone dragged in the backdrop change, inventing the ’60s. As if she’d finally shed the kids like a dead skin or a fire and emerged, victoriously golden. Reborn. How the Italian men hit on her and insulted Don when he approached, as a stranger. Which was perfect, right? Because how long had it been since they’d known each other at all? I’d etch in how he fell back in love, madly so, with Betty for two days. With this restored, empowered version of her. All cold upper class beauty, all superiority, all linguistic-flexing power. Too good for him, which is the key to everything.

I’d etch the repose of Roger’s tired face when he calls Joan late at night, with Jane, the regrettable wife, passed out beside him.

Peggy’s hand on Don’s after Anna dies. This single brief touch a complete swelling orchestra composed to explain the depth of their bond and its tenuousness. How vital and still wildly vulnerable this tie is in the possession of a man so accustomed to scorching any tenderness entrusted to him.

Everything encompassed in the moments Don calls Betty “birdie.” The whole rattling film projection of their courtship and marriage and children and infidelities and lies and second tries and reheated dinners. And the end that Betty pretends comes with the bang of Dick Whitman’s betrayal, and not years of whimpers. Every aching sweetness remains in “birdie,” somehow fossilized and surviving but useless as a mate-less bull.

The literal restraint of the characters—their buttoned-up loneliness. The moments of elegant non-response and suffocated reaction. The things they do not tell each other, the fights they don’t finish, the slaps that aren’t delivered. The communicative release they never allow themselves (even as it might be their salvation).

Sometimes, I find myself watching  Mad Men through a sort of fantasy lens, as if it were an underwater ballet. A cold, slow-floating drift of Asian dance and sad, silent theater.

It’s hypnotizing.”


—Erica Cantoni, "I Won’t Have My Heart Broken" (Bright Wall/Dark Room magazine, June 2013)

Some med students get nervous during our encounters. It’s like an awkward date, except half of them are wearing platinum wedding bands. I want to tell them I’m more than just an unmarried woman faking seizures for pocket money. I do things! I want to tell them. I’m probably going to write about this in a book someday! We make small talk about the rural Iowa farm town I’m supposed to be from. We each understand the other is inventing this small talk and we agree to respond to each other’s inventions as genuine exposures of personality. We’re holding the fiction between us like a jump rope.

One time a student forgets we are pretending and starts asking detailed questions about my fake hometown—which, as it happens, if he’s being honest, is his real hometown—and his questions lie beyond the purview of my script, beyond what I can answer, because in truth I don’t know much about the person I’m supposed to be or the place I’m supposed to be from. He’s forgotten our contract. I bullshit harder, more heartily. “That park in Muscatine!” I say, slapping my knee like a grandpa. “I used to sled there as a kid.”

Other students are all business. They rattle through the clinical checklist for depression like a list of things they need to get at the grocery store: “sleep disturbances, changes in appetite, decreased concentration.” Some of them get irritated when I obey my script and refuse to make eye contact. I’m supposed to stay swaddled and numb. These irritated students take my averted eyes as a challenge. They never stop seeking my gaze. Wrestling me into eye contact is the way they maintain power, forcing me to acknowledge their requisite display of care.

I grow accustomed to comments that feel aggressive in their formulaic insistence: That must really be hard [to have a dying baby], That must really be hard [to be afraid you’ll have another seizure in the middle of the grocery store], That must really be hard [to carry in your uterus the bacterial evidence of cheating on your husband]. Why not say, I couldn’t even imagine?

Other students seem to understand that empathy is always perched precariously between gift and invasion. They won’t even press the stethoscope to my skin without asking if it’s OK. They need permission. They don’t want to presume. Their stuttering unwittingly honors my privacy: “Can I… could I… would you mind if I—listened to your heart?” “No,” I tell them. “I don’t mind.” Not minding is my job. Their humility is a kind of compassion in its own right. Humility means they ask questions, and questions mean they get answers, and answers mean they get points on the checklist: a point for finding out my mother takes Wellbutrin, a point for getting me to admit I’ve spent the last two years cutting myself, a point for finding out my father died in a grain elevator when I was two—for realizing that a root system of loss stretches radial and rhizomatic under the entire territory of my life.

In this sense, empathy isn’t measured just by checklist item 31—“Voiced empathy for my situation/problem”—but by every item that gauges how thoroughly my experience has been imagined. Empathy isn’t just remembering to say That must really be hard, it’s figuring out how to bring difficulty into the light so it can be seen at all. Empathy isn’t just listening, it’s asking the questions whose answers need to be listened to. Empathy requires inquiry as much as imagination. Empathy requires knowing you know nothing. Empathy means acknowledging a horizon of context that extends perpetually beyond what you can see: an old woman’s gonorrhea is connected to her guilt is connected to her marriage is connected to her children is connected to the days when she was a child. All this is connected to her domestically stifled mother, in turn, and to her parents’ unbroken marriage; maybe everything traces its roots to her very first period, how it shamed and thrilled her.

Empathy means realizing no trauma has discrete edges. Trauma bleeds. Out of wounds and across boundaries. Sadness becomes a seizure. Empathy demands another kind of porousness in response. My Stephanie script is twelve pages long. I think mainly about what it doesn’t say.
Leslie Jamison, “The Empathy Exams”

I’d excerpt this whole essay if I could. It’s that good. You can read the whole thing here.

sometimesagreatnotion

sometimesagreatnotion:

Between the Bars - Elliott Smith (live, 9/25/96)

"Here’s a song I made up while I was watching Xena the Warrior Princess with the sound off. It’s a fact. I had a secret crush on Xena. It was a secret to me too. I wouldn’t admit it. She’s pretty fucking tough. She has a good yell… she kills the stupid gladiators with the log-trap. Release the log-trap! She releases the log-trap and they all get… crushed. They’d all wanna be with her if they could, but unfortunately they’re not on her side. It’s a lot better with the sound off. Really, it is. And the song didn’t have anything to do with Xena… but… I was about half a bottle through Jameson’s… if that makes any sense."

- Elliott Smith, 9/25/96 (audio here)

christinelinnell
One thing that makes art different from life is that in art things have a shape; they have beginnings, middles, and endings. Whereas in life, things just drift along. In life, somebody has a cold, and you treat it as insignificant, and suddenly they die. Or they have a heart attack, and you are sodden with grief until they recover to life for thirty petulant years, demanding you wait on them. You think a love affair is ending, and you are gripped with Anna Karenina-ish drama, but two weeks later the guy is standing in your doorway, arms stretched up on the molding; jacket hanging open, a sheepish look on his face, saying, ‘Hey, take me back, will ya?’ Or you think a love affair is high and thriving, and you don’t notice that over the past months it has dwindled, dwindled, dwindled. In other words, in life one almost never has an emotion appropriate to an event. Either you don’t know the event is occurring, or you don’t know its significance. We celebrate births and weddings; we mourn deaths and divorces; yet what are we celebrating, what mourning? Rituals mark feelings, but feelings and events do not coincide. Feelings are large and spread over a lifetime. I will dance the polka with you and stamp my feet with vigor, celebrating every energy I have ever felt. But those energies were moments, not modifiable, not certifiable, not able to be fixed: you may be seduced into thinking my celebration is for you. Anyway, that is a thing art does for us: it allows us to fix our emotions on events at the moment they occur, it permits a union of heart and mind and tongue and tear. Whereas in life, from moment to moment, one can’t tell an onion from a piece of dry toast.
Marilyn French, The Women’s Room. (via ablogwithaview)
sometimesagreatnotion
Longing is painful. Every work of art is an attempt to bring into being the object of loss. The pictures, the music, the poems and the performances are an intense engagement with loss. While one is in the act of making, one is not in loss, and one has meaning. The fierce crashes that happen to many creative people when a piece of work is done (read Hemingway on this) come out of the sense that however good the work, it has not answered the loss.
Jeanette Winterson, “In Praise of The Crack-Up.” (via ewilcox