Americanish Premieres at CAAM

A notable moment I want to record it before it passes too far into the past: AMERICANISH, a film that Paul produced, had its debut in San Francisco last weekend at CAAMFEST where it won the audience award!

In an only-barely post-Covid-vaccine world, the viewing was both virtual geo-locked to California, and live, at a drive-in at Fort Mason Center.

This felt especially sweet as last year was chock full of disappointments when the film was rejected from a number of top festivals. The producing team went through the additional time, effort and expense of “re-opening” the cut and do more edits, as well as take a hard look at where their film “fits in.” A fun, sweet comedy about Muslim women following their dreams in New York can be a “one of these things is not like the others” situation at film festivals that tend to have a more serious-minded curatorial bent. The movie still has an uphill climb to find love and distribution, but now there are some good reviews coming in, the pandemic easing up, and people in general wanting to feel more optimistic and have fun, it may have found its stride! Here’s hoping!

And here’s a trailer:

A little background, since I don’t think I’ve talked much about this project here on this blog. AMERICANISH has been in the works for about five years. When Paul came on board four years ago, the working title was still “My Cousin Sister’s Wedding.” Paul’s role as a producer began when his friend, Iman, from film school approached him about doing a rewrite pass on a feature she was going to be directing. She and her co-writer were applying for some funding and the script needed a little push to get it in shape. He did the pass, then ended up mentoring and helping her on set, since this was her first feature. (He directed his first feature in 2011-12). During post, he spent months working with a first-time feature editor here in LA. And throughout, he has been involved in the gazillion little decisions and frustrations that go into making a film: which edits, which music, what posters, what trailers, what colors, what name, what fonts where to spend money, what to do then there is no money, what festivals to enter, what to do when festivals say “no,”— and more. This small victory is well-earned by everyone involved.

When Paul or I get some kind of award or a good thing, we joke/not joke, saying, “I’m proud of you everyday, but today you got an award.” This week the film achieved a benchmark, but I’m proud of Paul for the things he does every day. For mentoring and helping people—not just his friends, and not just people in a position to “pay him back”—from where he is now — even when he’s dealing with a disappointments or losses in his own life or career, he is generous with his skills, his time, his advice and his presence and unique energy. There were many examples of this during the course of making this film. (I can say all this, because he does not read this blog!)

I Saw a Fish Poop

The other night we ate at a restaurant that has a tropical fish tank.

I had a good view of the fish over the shoulders of my dining companions, and I noticed that one of the fish had a small, rectangular protrusion from it’s “belly” region.  For a moment I wasn’t sure. “Is that a belly button. a phallus, or poop?”

They turned to look and both affirmed, “It’s poop.”

Huh.  I would have guessed that it would emerge from a different place. Shows what I know about fish anatomy. Nothing:fish-pooping-sketch

In my own defense, our pet when I was a kid was a dog.

At our table, we all watched, transfixed, waiting for the small brown cylinder to separate from the body of the fish. After a few moments it did, launching then wafting gently down, down… and getting caught in a plastic green frond.

The poop-caught-in-a-frond situation was both unexpected and disconcerting.  We waited for it to resolve itself. The frond swayed softly; at any moment it seemed it would dislodge its burden and the poop would continue its journey into the pebbles at the bottom of the tank, but this didn’t happen.  Instead, the poop remained, clinging to its position: img_3291

Would it ever fall?

Presumably yes, it did, but we didn’t see, because our food came, and we forgot to watch.

And we were  also distracted–per usual– by Paul.

It delights me that after years of marriage, I still learn new information about my husband. This delight is mitigated by the fact that some aspect of the new information is often horrifying. This night I learned that as children Paul and his brother did have fish as pets. Huh, I never knew that–interesting!

And then there’s the turn…

From somewhere, the boys had inherited a fish tank. It was a tropical fish tank, complete with little heater at the bottom.  Unfortunately, Paul and his brother — seemingly operating without parental oversight — didn’t realize that goldfish are not tropical fish, so their goldfish lived with a  perpetual low-grade fever.

The boys also knew little about chlorine and other water quality issues, so their fishes’ eyes exploded or fell from their sockets. Usually just one eye, but in one case both eyes –memorable to Paul because he could see all the way through the fish’s head. Each day after school, the brothers would come home to see whether their fish still had eyes, and/or if they had survived the day. Often, they had not.

Fortunately for the boys’ morale (but unfortunately for every fish who crossed their path) there was a fish store nearby, and goldfish only cost a dollar. He estimates the number of fish who lived briefly in their horror-tank to be “over twenty, but under fifty.”

Weekend at Home / BIG ANNOUNCEMENT

(This is a pretty boring post with a BIG ANNOUNCEMENT buried about halfway through.  I’ll TYPE IN CAPS when we get to it, so you can skim without fear of missing it.)

Did I mention Paul got in a accident and totaled one of our cars?  That happened. A few weeks ago.  Everyone is fine, and insurance paid generously enough that with a little effort we should be able to replace our mediocre car with one of equal mediocrity.  But driving around L.A. looking for cars you’ve seen advertised Craigslist is tedious, so we haven’t done very much of that yet, and are existing with just one car.

Paul was supposed to be doing night shifts color correcting every night this weekend and taking the car to get there, so I’ll say that is my excuse for not having made any evening plans this weekend.  Other excuses might include needing to write, or energy-sapping ennui.

I do, however, wish that I could invite people to come see me–but our house is super messy right now.  To that end, Paul and I spent about four hours each today trying to reclaim the space.  This was hugely exciting for me, in a muted, I’m-folding-clothes-and-vacuuming kind of way, because Paul is generally opposed to cleaning and doesn’t see the need for it, but in this case, because he is avoiding doing film related work, he actually volunteered, and was quite focused.  I think with another 8-10 man hours, things could be quite presentable again.

And on the topic of the film that Paul is avoiding …(THIS IS IT, this is the BIG ANNOUNCEMENT)

 Rock Jocks. 

Is it done????!!!!

No, not quite.

But it will have to be really soon, because THE PREMIER SCREENING IS SCHEDULED.

It will be at DRAGON*CON in ATLANTA, GA over LABOR DAY WEEKEND.  Rock Jocks will screen at 8pm on Sunday–but that’s not a school night, cuz the next day is Labor Day.


So, if you live near Atlanta, you should come on up, down, over and see me.  I don’t know if we’ll get any comp movie tickets.  It seems like the screenings are “inside” the festival.  A day pass for  Sunday is $40.   That will maybe be fun and worth it for you if you are into anything geeky, sci-fi, fantasy or comic-book related.  Otherwise it will be a waste of your money.  In that case, don’t feel obligated to see the film, just come see us.

I am also interested, if my entourage duties allow, in going to the Decatur Book Festival, probably on Saturday.  I believe I have at least one friend who is doing a reading on Saturday afternoon, but I’m not sure where, and I’m not sure what the geographic relationship is between the con and the fair.

More details to come.  Facebook posts and Tweets no doubt.  But for the loyal readers of this blog–you four know about it first!

My Husband’s Diet is Making Me Hungry

My husband is doing the Master Cleanse and it’s making me hungry.

For those of you who don’t know Paul, his philosophy might be summed up as something like “Life is the stuff you do to pass the time between meals.” He likes to eat meals, preferably at a restaurant. He likes to plan where he will eat his next meal, the one after that, and maybe a special one sometime next week. He likes to look forward to his plans to eat meals.

For those of you who don’t know the Master Cleanse, it is a dietary program consisting of NO MEALS. Unless you consider water mixed with lemon juice (cleansing part), sweetened with a tablespoon of maple syrup (to keep your blood sugar up so you don’t faint), and a dash of cayenne pepper (to stimulate your metabolism) to be a meal.

Paul’s intention is to do this for ten days.

Fasts are an age old tradition, so I’m sure he will be fine.

The question is: Will I?

Normally, I like to consider Paul to be the one with “food issues.” Because of, well–all the eating, and planning, and the way any time you get in a car with him, you run an 85% risk of being “Paul-jacked” and taken to some kind of food or dessert purveyor.

I consider myself to be the person with a healthy relationship to food, because I sometimes eat vegetables, or take my lunch to work, or make frozen ravioli and broccoli at home instead of driving to to the Inland Empire in search of the only local branch of a chain restaurant that makes the kind of mac n’ cheese that I’m in the mood for.

Long story short, when it comes to food, I’m reasonable–he’s crazy. I’m moderate–he’s extreme.

Except now that he’s not eating, something is happening to me.

I think it might be like a sympathy pregnancy–except it’s sympathy starvation. All the sudden I’m hungry all the time. I’m constantly ruminating about what kind of food I’ll eat next. And when I start eating, I keep eating, because the idea of being hungry again is panic-inducing. Since I’ve begun writing this post, I’ve eaten two halves of a particular sandwich–a large bacon, lettuce, tomato and avocado sandwich with garlic aioli on oversize toasted sourdough bread. The last time I ordered this sandwich, the shop that sells it was still on summer hours. The last time I ordered this sandwich I ate half for lunch, and the other half for dinner. But today I thought about the sandwich non-stop for five hours at work, while staving off hunger by eating a candy bar from a vending machine! And then I ate both halves in under twenty minutes.

And now, despite the whole earlier candy-from-a-vending-machine debaucle, I’m wondering if I need dessert. Do I need ice cream? Do I need a snack to get me through class?

And what about when class is over?

It is typical for me to be hungry when I get out of my night class at 9:30, but I don’t worry because I have an unofficial arrangement where Paul picks me up something wherever he happens to dine. Now, however, Paul won’t be dining. Alarm Bells! I am already mentally searching the shelves of the refrigerator for something quick and easy to prepare–in my imagination (and likely reality) they are frighteningly bare.

Oh no! I’m so hungry!

No, wait, you’re not hungry. You just had a huge sandwich.

Oh. Right. … But I’m going to be hungry!

I’m going to be happier when Paul is done with the Master Cleanse.

Rock Jocks Update

Paul continues to work with his editor Adam to get a locked cut of the Rock Jocks–the film he wrote and directed. There are still many things to be done, like sound mixing, music, special effects etc, before the latest deadline for Sundance at the end of September. But this week he took a few days off to visit Chicago Comic Con and promote the film.