Whew! I've been away for a couple of weeks. Part of it was vacation fun times in Orlando with some of my best friends and part of it was working fun times as my brother and I went to New York City to attend the screening of the music video at New Filmmakers at the Anthology Film Archives!
There are TONNES of photos in these slideshows...and I'm not sure why most of the daylight New York pics are out of focus...kind of annoying, actually. Guess I'll just have to go back. Oh darn. ;D
The Harry Potter area of Universal Studio's Islands of Adventure opened up maybe a month ago and that happened to co-incide with my sister-from-another-mister's vacation here in FL (which also co-incided with New Filmmakers in New York) so I arranged for some time off and ran away to Orlando with her, her sisters, and some of her friends for happy fun times! Harry Potter is insane, J.K. Rowling really pushed the reality of the area as the most important thing even at the expense of common sense (as in the main souvenir shop which is WAY too small), but the details are incredible and the area as a whole is well worth the oppressive press of humanity in the hothotheat of a typical Florida day.
The main food attraction is the butterbeer. Yes, they have pumpkin juice, but I couldn't even drink a whole bottle of that stuff. The butterbeer, however, is utterly amazing, refreshing, and delicious. It's like butterscotch cream soda. Thankfully, it's not distributed outside of the park, or even outside of that area of the park. That would diminish the specialness of the drink, I think, to be able to go to Walgreens or 7-11 and buy it.
The main attraction for the park, however, outside of the loads of Potter merchandise, is Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, a Haunted Mansion-type ride that's anything but Haunted Mansion. I don't want to give the whole thing away because you really need to go and experience it, but suffice it to say that it's utterly amazing and is absolutely worth the hour and a half wait for it. It's housed in the forced perspective wonderland that is Hogwarts castle. Seriously. It's pretty amazing.
We did ride other rides there, like The Simpsons, the Mummy, and Rip Ride Rockit, but Potter's where it's at right now, especially with the disrepair that some of the once-pristine rides have fallen into, like Spider-Man.
Even if you're not a Potter fan, I think you'll enjoy the Potter area at Universal: Orlando.
A couple of days after I got home from Orlando, it was time for me to take off for New York. My sister-from-another-mister asked me to use FourSquare so she could stalk me from Florida so those of you who are on my Twitter, I apologize for the inundation of notifications of where I was, but once I started, it was kind of addictive... I'll only use it for vacations, special occasions, and film festival trips, though...y'all don't need to know my work schedule or my address!
The first thing my brother and I did in New York was get to our hotel which was in Chinatown, between Bowery and Mott on Grand, then we had the most delicious pizza at Lombardi's (the first pizza place in the US) and then we went to Times Square to see Nathan Lane and Bebe Neuworth as Gomez and Morticia Addams in the new Addams Family musical. I've been a big fan of the Addams Family for as long as I can remember and while I was excited to see this, I was dubious because it could've been terribly bad. It wasn't. It was WONDERFUL! It reminded me of why I adore the Addams family. While there is no other Gomez for me than Raul Julia (sorry, John Astin, but Raul was amazing), Nathan Lane did a fantastic job! To me, Bebe Neuworth isn't Morticia, but she was good in the role. I really don't know who I would've cast. Everyone else was brilliant and the show is so funny and the songs are great, but they're pretty show specific so I can't say you should run out and get the soundtrack if you haven't seen the show.
The screening was fantastic. There was a good, receptive crowd and a lot of people took some of Shawn's CDs and a couple of my compilation DVDs. Most of the filmmakers left after their films showed or weren't there. I can understand not showing up, but I don't really understand not watching the other films you're screened with. That's one of my favourite parts about going to these festivals: checking out what else is playing. I did get to meet the director and one of the stars of Modern Love is Automatic, a feature film out of D.C. that was produced by the juror of the Female Shorts film festival in VA where Anathema had just played. They were super-sweet, even though we were the only ones who stuck around to watch it, and the film was great. The actresses in particular were spectacular!
My brother and I walked around New York City...quite literally. The day of our screening, we walked from Chinatown to Times Square (took about and hour and a half or so) and went to the Empire State Building (the best photo keepsake picture EVER!) and Madam Tussaud's and just all over the place!
I moved to New York after I graduated high school in '97 to go to the School of Visual Arts in Manhattan. While various events conspired against this and I had to come back to Sarasota, I've always loved the City. It's dirty and stinky and dangerous, but vibrant and real. The mentality there is if you don't keep moving forward, you might as well have stayed home. Seems like a pretty good analogy for life if you ask me. And jaywalking isn't just against the law, it's a way of life.
Now, I'm returned to a pile of work, both at the theatre and for the Circus documentary I was working on and the Sarasota Fringe Film Festival's Halloween Mini-Fest for which I'm the program director, not to mention my own films. Speaking of which...I have to make the arrangements to go to D.C. at the end of August for the World Music and Independent Film Festival where "Essenger" has been nominated for Best Alternative Rock video and Best Cinematography!
Also, voting is still open for the People's Choice Award, where we're in 4th place! C'mon y'all! If you haven't voted yet, you can do so by clicking on THESE WORDS, finding our video (World Collision's "Essenger"), clicking ADD then scrolling to the bottom and clicking on vote!