11 December, 2009

On being a cinema snob

I used to be a huge film-goer. I'd see practically every movie that came out on circuit (unless it was a horror or something with the Wayans Brothers). I just saw random stuff because it was there. When I first met Mr Ruby Slippers, we used to go to the movies at least once a week, if not more. It was what we did together, because we're both movie nuts. But gradually it kind of started tapering off. Partly that's because the last year or two, or three, have produced some pretty crap movies. But mostly it's because we hate the way people behave in the cinema.

Yes, I'm a cinema snob. I don't believe you should talk during a movie, EVER. Unless you're dying and need to alert someone. People who sit there and have a chat during a movie that they've paid good money to see completely mystify me. If you wanted to have a fat chat, you could do it at home without paying for two tickets and popcorn. And spoiling it for everyone else who paid for their tickets because THEY actually want to see the movie, and not listen to you talk talk talk.

Anyway, the reason I bring this up now is because of something that just happened on Twitter. The movie INVICTUS opens here today, and of course everyone is keen to see it because it's about...um, South Africa. Actually I have very little idea what it's about, other than the Springboks winning the World Cup in 1995 and Nelson Mandela being there. I don't know how you make a whole movie out of that, but anyway. I couldn't care less about sport if I tried. I think the way people get worked up about sport is quite insane. Do you know what I was doing when the Boks won that game in 1995? I was at the opera with my family. Yep, we watched The Merry Widow (ok, I was at the operetta) instead of watching our country win a sports competition. Because we don't care.

I've just got totally off the subject. The point is, I'm actually pretty keen to see Invictus, if only to see Matt Damon putting on a heavy Afrikaans accent, and Morgan Freeman trying to emulate Madiba's unique voice. And see local places that we don't usually see in movies (I loved District 9 for this - I loved it anyway because it was excellent - but it was great seeing Johannesburg on screen!). So today on Twitter some guy says, "Are you a South African? Then you've bought tickets for INVICTUS, opening nationwide tonight, the movie every SA-n must see? Yes? Good."

To which I responded, "No; I'm waiting because I don't see movies with the talking masses."

His response: "  do you ever go to stadiums or are you generally living with Heidi's grandfather in a mountain hermitage?" AND "think you should make an exception here. Be an enthusiastic citizen of your own country, belong to a sense of community"

At which I, of course, took offence. So apparently I must go and PAY good money to sit through a movie on a Friday night, which will be filled with loud talkers and silly teenagers and people loudly mocking the attempts at the South African accents on screen? Because this will somehow give me a sense of community?? (Yeah, a sense of 'I hate my community') Because if I don't go, then I'm living like a hermit (and why is that a bad thing, anyway?)? 

If I don't want to see a film about a sport I despise amongst a crowd of people whom I will begin to despise as the opening credits roll, and they all start talking, playing on their cellphones, and laughing, WHY DOES THIS MAKE ME A BAD PERSON???

*Rant Over*

And yes, I AM going to see Invictus. Just at a time when the cinema is mostly empty. And that won't be this weekend at any time. Should I apologise for that? Cos I'm not going to.

10 December, 2009

How Babes on Broadway stole November

Having NaNoWriMo in November was a really bad idea, for me, because November is also when my community theatre puts on its musical show. And if you say the words "musical show", I'm there. If you say the words "Broadway musical show", I will be there five hours early with a list of songs I'd like to sing (I'm like a less pushy Rachel from Glee), fifty musical soundtracks, and the complete score of Wicked. If I had it.

This show was called "Babes on Broadway", and they had me at the title. The "babes" part came in because, as per usual, no men auditioned for the show. What is it with men and theatre? In Allo Allo they had to have two women playing some of the men's parts, although at least they had five men, which is five more than we had!

We started rehearsing in August, and by early November most of the cast never wanted to hear "You Can't Stop the Beat" ever again. Or "Fame", or "There's no Business like Show Business". Except me, cos I'm theatre-geeky that way. :-) The show was to go on stage on the last two weekends of November, with three shows the first weekend and two the second. And as November wore on there was more shouting, more tantrums, more people crying because they were being picked on, more threats of walking out (between August and November we did lose about 12 cast members, but you get that with every show. There are always people who can't be bothered to show up and perform properly), and lots of yells of "You're not ready to go on stage in front of an audience!" from the director. And yes, we do this for fun. :-)

And it was fun! I LOVE those 15 girls who were in the cast with me. Not only did they include Sister Ruby Slippers and BFF Ruby Slippers (whom I blackmailed into joining by promising to watch all her June Allyson movies, because she adoes June and I kind of hate her), but a there were a few old friends and some fantastic new ones! And not a bitchy diva amongst the lot of them. Which is unbelievable.

Anyway, the long rehearsals and then weekend performances really took it out of me, especially since I was spending all my free time writing that darn novel. Which is my second excuse reason why I haven't been around on here.

And when we get the dvd of the show I'll try post some clips on here. It went amazingly well; we played to almost packed houses every night, and people couldn't gush enough. But the best part was making all these new friends, who are now my karaoke posse and party pals!

Here are some pictures of the fun we had on Sunday at our Christmas party:

Bombs away!

The Producer of the show, Paul:

Something so great about sitting round on the grass in the evening, eating boerewors rolls and salad...

This is a running joke that I can't even begin to explain...

There's me on the left at the back. The downside to being the photographer is that you're never in any pictures! I can't remember who I got to take this one, but I'm glad I got to be in one with my lovely ladies.

09 December, 2009

How NaNoWriMo stole November

Because in November I pretty much vanished from this blog, didn't I? I'm not going to keep apologising or make excuses. Except this:

There was NaNoWriMo.
Have you heard of NaNoWriMo? It's short for National Novel Writing Month. You can read more here, but the basic premise is that you have to write 50 000 (yes, fifty thousand) words during the month of November. It can be any kind of story you want, but you're not supposed to go back and read over what you've done and change things, because that slows you down and discourages you. The point is to make you write, however bad it might be; just to let the words flow out, and worry about fixing it later.

Mr Ruby Slippers and some of our mutual friends were taking part, but I wasn't sure if I was gong to have the time and, let's face it, the dedication to do it. But I'm terribly guilty of starting stories and never finishing them. I write the good bits and then I give up after 2000 words, or something. And there was a novel I'd been writing on and off for over two years, which really needed some impetus. In two years I'd written about 16000 words of it, and, while those wouldn't count - everything has to be written in November - it was something I could definitely carry on with. You don't need to write a complete novel, just 50000 words of it.

However, by the time November rolled around, I was still dithering about taking part. Mr Ruby Slippers got cracking on Day One (a Sunday) and wrote even more than the daily target (which was a1667 words). I, on the other hand, went off to rehearsal, danced, painted, sang, and came home exhausted. Wash, rinse and repeat on the Monday and Wednesday, and by Saturday I still hadn't decided if I was even going to take part. And if I did, I was going to be incredibly behind - the target for that day was 11667 words. Still, it was Saturday, I felt bright and chirpy (for once), so I decided to start and see how it went.

Of course, once I'd started I had that "I will not fail and get beaten by my husband and friends" competitive feeling come over me, so I persevered and wrote nearly every day, even when I wanted to throw the keyboard on the floor and scream at my characters for talking like a really bad soap opera. Even when my arms and neck were aching and I just wanted to watch Glee or House or ANYthing that would let me sit back and not have to think about what to write next.

Here's my stats graph for November. Having a graph you can use to see how you're doing compared to the target and compared to others is really motivating! The blue bars are the daily targets, and the brown ones are where I was each day. I started late, but I trucked along just behind target every day, only finally hitting it on the last day. But that's typical of me. I was always the one having to get up early to finish school projects on the morning they were due, and writing essays during break before they had to be handed in. Oh, school. You were...fun in spots, but better to look back on. :-)

Anyway, my point is - I WROTE 50000 WORDS IN NOVEMBER! It's completely crazy, and the book is nowhere near finished, and it's pretty damn sucky, I'm sure, but I DID IT.


And that, readers (if you're still out there!) is what happened to my November. Well, it's part of what happened to my November...