Friday, June 14, 2013

World War Z Takes Me Back

If you haven't noticed, either from reading my blog, chatting with me on Twitter, or stalking my Facebook page, I am a geek. Well, I write about theatre for a living so there's the artsy geek, but the other day, my editor-in-chief called me an "aficionado" of geek films, when I told him I was seeing "Man of Steel" (aka: "Henry Cavill's Abs"), tonight.

But one of the things I love about summer, and what I've always loved about summer, were superhero and fantasy films, which takes that human pathos and realism that you see the other days of the year, and adds in superhuman strength and dragons. What I'm looking forward this summer is the movie "World War Z," about the zombie apocalypse and the ensuing war, adapted from the book by Max Brooks.

Judging from the reaction from my brother-in-law to the trailer, it's not quite clear that the movie is about zombies. He thought it was about a virus (a la "Contagion"), because the trailer never hones in one blood-thirsty individual zombies, instead utilizing wide, tracking shots of zombies as a virus-like hoard, as you can see in the poster below.

I love this poster, I think it's both striking and horrifying, as well as very old-school cinematic. And that last part may be because it references, I don't know if it's conscious or not, this iconic photograph by Hubert van Es of the end of the Vietnam War, taken in Saigon at the American consulate of the CIA evacuation.

I may be reading too much into a summer movie poster.

While I don't enjoy the jump-off-your-seat-horror, "Night of the Living Dead," "28 Days Later" type of zombie films, I do enjoy zombies as an allegory, such as in "The Walking Dead." That show is similar to "World War Z" (or what I know about it), which focuses on living characters reacting in a hostile post-apocalyptic environment, rather than running and shooting zombies Milla Jovovich-style. And when it seems like civilization is ending (which was the fall of Saigon seemed like to a large number of people), the ones still standing turn into a mindless hoard focused on one thing: survival. For the living, it's the way to keep on living. For the dead: it's brains.

Much like the book, and what I'm hoping the film will be, the "World War Z" poster is a reference to past failed wars and future wars. Not that I'm saying "World War Z" is an allegory for the Vietnam War in particular. It's an allegory for wars in general. And it's always fun to get a reference that may not be the most overt.

Enough about wars and death. Let's close on a more upbeat, Jonathan Coulton note.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

J-School, or Justifying My Questionable Financial Decision

I'm back from Dallas, from a very exhausting week of reporting on the 2013 TCG National Conference.

Background: TCG stands for Theatre Communications Group, a membership organization for non-profit theatres across the country and the publisher of "American Theatre" magazine (aka, where I work). During the week, besides getting trapped in the elevator of the Borg-like Dallas Theater Center headquarters (seriously, it's shaped like a cube), and getting to finally meet certain artists in person (shout-out Desdemona Chang, Tlaloc Rivas), I was struck by how very lucky I am to be able to write about an industry that I adore, and to see as much theatre (good and bad) that I want.

There are people going to school to do exactly what it is that I'm doing. And if I made it, others might, right?

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

25: My Quarter Life Crisis

Here's a funny thing that happens when you graduate college and become an alumni, especially when you are living in New York City: You suddenly become a repository of advice.

I just turned 25 in May. And along with a promotion at work (I'm now an assistant editor, which means I am qualified to edit other people!)--and renewing an apartment lease for the first time (which meant I bought a bed frame and will finally be decorating my apartment), and traveling for work (which will never not be awesome)--here are some things that I've learned in my 25 years of life, and two years post-college as a working professional. These are stemmed from my experience as a writer, for other young writers trying to make this crazy thing called life (and love!) work.

I'm writing this blog post from my hotel room in Dallas. Because I am an adult now, and with adult work comes adult business/reporting trips. And while I have learned these things, I don't always follow them, so this is a good reminder for me as well when I'm feeling useless and hack-like.