Brain Drain

[flickr id=”7632084596″ thumbnail=”medium_640″ overlay=”true” size=”original” group=”” align=”none”]

It’s the thick of summer, and after playing intense rounds of tag and “monkey in the middle” with my nephew, I really need to get into better shape. I know this should have been a New Year’s resolution. You might as well call me Mr. Procrastination. But keeping yourself sharp helps stave off brain drain and can only help you as an artist. I’m not just talking about diet and exercise. I’m also talking about keeping yourself creatively fit.

The best way to keep creatively fit is to take in varied experiences and check out new material. I recently attended a screening of a movie called “Into the Wake” downtown at the Gene Siskel theater. It was one of those friend of a friend of a friend things.  The lead actress, Kristin Anderson, is the cousin of my sister’s friend. She had three tickets waiting for us at will call. That’s called “workin’ the network.”

[flickr id=”7632089134″ thumbnail=”medium” overlay=”true” size=”original” group=”” align=”none”]

This was definitely a…“varied” event. I got to see a free movie…which is good. Free is good. Also I got to support the Siskel theater. It’s one of my favorites, specifically because of their commitment to promoting the works of “people of color.” They even say so on the wall.

[flickr id=”7632088070″ thumbnail=”medium” overlay=”true” size=”original” group=”” align=”none”]

The thing is (if I can call it the thing), I got to catch a glimpse of the world I’m entering. I’m entering the world of the independent Chicago filmmaker.

As I said, I saw “Into the Wake.” Here’s the mini-review. The movie was about a “loser” guy that finally decides to get his life on track when a mysterious phone call draws him back into a deadly family feud. As an independent film, it was entertaining. I did have a few issues though. The female characters were one dimensional, meaning they were hyper-sexual damaged creatures that used their bodies to justify their self worth. Pretty much like every female character in a Tarantino pic. I also had an issue with the score. Although the piece was set in Chicago, the Deliverance-esque soundtrack became a bit unsettling. The music implied that the movie was set in the backwoods of Appalachian but seeing the Willis Tower in the background took me out of the story.

[flickr id=”7632089982″ thumbnail=”medium” overlay=”true” size=”original” group=”” align=”none”]

That being said the cinematography was terrific. What I really enjoyed was the crafty use of Chicago locations. There were some empty lots on the south and west side that allowed for some dramatic shots. And after sitting through a Q & A, I felt my brain getting a filmic workout.

I did say something about diet and exercise right? I seriously believe that if you feel good, you can create better material. So along with cutting out most processed food (good for me) I decided to try a retro heath plan. What is a retro health plan?  Well, I was helping my family do some spring cleaning, and I came across a vintage Bullworker. It’s a classic exercise thingy circa 1980. I think it’s gonna be kinda fun to use…I mean…what’s the worst that could happen? Wait, don’t answer that.

[flickr id=”7633750644″ thumbnail=”medium” overlay=”true” size=”original” group=”” align=”none”]

On that note, I’m off to do some chest squeezes and finish some summer writing. Can you believe the new semester is just a few weeks away? Geez…where does the time go?