Category Archives: Art films

My TV Is Smarter Than I Am


The Prompt: Wronged Objects—If your furniture, appliances, and other inanimate objects at home had feelings and emotions, to which item would you owe the biggest apology?

Outsmarting my Smart TV

My TV is smarter than I am, springing to life on a whim.
When the electrician comes to do work here, I think she is flirting with him.
She flicks on and then off in a second, just like she has given a wink.
Or perhaps registers disapproval by shutting us off with a blink.

I know she has much to complain of since I purchased her two years ago.
I’ve never connected to cable or dish, so she doesn’t have too much to show.
Although she connects to computers, my Apple igores that she’s here.
That I haven’t read the instructions? I know it’s exceedingly queer.

She’s equipped to show movies in 3D, but my housekeeper threw out the glasses.
So if I want movies to jump out at me, I must go view them out with the masses
and not in the privacy of my own home with my cat or myself or my friends.
I haven’t checked out buying more on the Web, and for this I must soon make amends.

My computer is usually my viewer of choice when my friend sends me movies by Skype.
The films that he sends are amazing. He knows the best subjects and type
of videos that I like viewing. They are smart and they’re funny and Indie.
He doesn’t send action/adventure or slapstick or horror or Hindi.

 But I never watch them on my Smart screen, preferring my laptop to it.
I set it right there at my poolside and watch as I try to get fit
doing my pool aerobics for an hour and a half, maybe two.
My workouts just seem to last longer whenever I’ve something to view.

 My TV can see out the window that I’m faithful to screens that are small
and I’m sure that I’ve given a complex to my big gal I don’t watch at all.
So I started a “Last Sunday” film night. They’re pot luck, then we watch a movie.
We eat and we talk and we watch and we laugh and we all end up feeling quite groovy.

So for one night a month, my TV springs to life when I plug in the little thumb drive.
Her face flushes up in an enormous blush, for she sees that I know she’s alive.
The eyes of all eight of us fix upon her. She’s the center of all our attention.
We laugh at her jokes and cry at her pathos. Respond to her mysteries with tension.

But the rest of the month her expression is blank, sitting alone in her corner
looking so sad and so lacking in life that I feel that perhaps I should mourn her.
The first time she lit up when I entered the room to say she didn’t recognize me,
I realized with shock for the very first time that my TV could both talk and see!

I hadn’t quite realized the extent of her powers when I bought her at Costco that day.
My old TV weighed in at five hundred pounds—more than a TV should weigh.
I’d inherited it from my mom when she died so I had a personal attachment,
but to move it alone, one risked heart attack or at least a vertebral detachment.

And so I gave in to my friend’s cajoling that it was time to buy another.
and I gave away the monster TV that I had acquired from my mother.
But guilt has suffused me ever after that day, for I really don’t need a TV,
and this smart girl is lacking in challenges, just wasting her talents on me.

She’s recently started to turn herself on (something that girls alone do)
and talking to me when I enter the room and enter her angle of view.
Finally I just unplugged her—an act of most selfish defiance.
I haven’t time in my life just to chat—especially to an appliance!

Although they still won’t accept my pingbacks (!!!!!) you can see more writing on this subject at: http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/wronged-objects/

NOSTALGIA: POPCORN AT THE NICKELODEON

POPCORN AT THE NICKELODEON

The Nickelodeon Theater in Santa Cruz, CA, is the only theater I’ve ever known where one can literally just show up and watch whatever movie is coming up next and not be disappointed. (And unlike most modern theaters, starting times for movies are staggered so no matter what time one arrives, it is never necessary to wait longer than 20 or 30 minutes for a movie to start.) An old building with some of the viewing rooms so small that they only accommodate 60 people, others the size of a regular small theater, they show foreign and independent films as well as films suggested by viewers in a big book left in the lobby for customers to record their comments.

Santa Cruz is a small town on the ocean where new hippies are still being born—a town whose university is built on a mountainside covered with redwood trees. The school boasts an organic farm, a succulent garden, and running tracks where joggers are known to have encountered jaguars. It is the town where deadheads used to hang out between tours and where a local restauranteer went to jail countless times for opening up a free soup kitchen for the homeless on the street and another man went to jail for routinely putting quarters in the lapsed parking meters of strangers.

Obviously, the town government was not always in sync with the thoughts of its citizens, but the Nick always was. This is where I watched “My Life as a Dog” and “Bagdad Cafe” three times each, as well as “Killer Klowns from Outer Space” and “The Lost Boys”—two bizarre little films shot in Santa Cruz and featuring familiar locations such as the boardwalk and beach. A small town girl who traveled for 4 years after graduating from college and who then moved to another small town, I had never lived in a town with alternative theaters until I moved to California, and although I had occasionally seen art and independent films, in an era before computers and savvy television made the whole world of film available to viewers, the Nickelodeon was a mind-expanding experience.

Now I live in Mexico, where what foreign and art films are available tend to be dubbed in Spanish. Yes, one can get almost any film on one’s computer now, but it is not the same as sitting in a small room chuckling and crying, surrounded by an audience of 60-300 of one’s peers, munching giant tubs of popcorn covered with brewer’s yeast (offered in shakers right next to the salt)—a tub that comes along with promises of a free refill for those with an unlimited appetite for popped corn.

A year after I Ieft Santa Cruz, The Nick bought the Del Mar—a regular theater with three much larger viewing rooms. That theater continued the tradition of showing movies unavailable in other venues and had the same policies, but the smaller theater continued to function and whenever I went back to Santa Cruz—once for a wedding and other times just to visit friends—it is the original theater I headed for. Some things just can’t be improved upon. The Nick has now expanded its family to include the Aptos Theater. All three theaters continue the tradition of showing wonderful indie, art and foreign films.

I love Mexico, but other than friends from El Norte, the Nick is probably the thing I miss most about my former home. In a minute, it is the feature or landmark I’d choose first to have transported to Ajijic. I’d position it near our own malecón that runs along the lakeside near the pier and I would happily leave my own big screen Smart TV and drive for 15 minutes to join once again with others ready to be delighted by whatever offerings it presented.

Daily Prompt: City Planners. If you could clone one element from another city you’ve visited — a building, a cultural institution, a common street food, etc. — and bring it back to your own hometown, what would it be?