Monday, October 31, 2005

There is nothing called ‘hope’ in my future

I signed up for Netflix a short time ago after a recent fruitless search through my local Blockbuster. God, I hate Blockbuster. Anyway, I just watched Born Into Brothels, which won the Academy Award this year for best documentary.

When I was in middle school and my sister was in college, she began majoring in photographer. My sister was very gifted with a camera, particularly at capturing people in candid moments. My sister, despite being a real talker, somehow managed to disappear when she had her camera. I say this because it's hard to get pictures in a candid moment of teenaged girls, and yet she took roll upon roll of photos of me and my friends without any of us noticing. On the other end of the spectrum is the photographer who becomes a part of what she is photographing.

Born Into Brothels tells the story of a photographer (Zana Briski) who went to the red light district of Calcutta in order to photograph the prostitutes. Instead, she gets caught up with their children and teaches them photography. The story has several interesting ideas – first is the transformative power of art on children who would otherwise simply become pimps and prostitutes themselves. Then there is the way that this story is just as much about Zana Briski getting wrapped up in saving these children. And finally, the horrifying truth that no schools in India will take these kids… these kids who need help more than anyone else. And even when there are schools that will take them, breaking from the red light district isn't always a possibility.

Two of the children are especially haunting – Kochi and Avijit. Kochi speaks with the sort of worldliness and brightness that an eleven year old simply shouldn’t have. And Avijit has the sort of talent with a camera that a trained photographer in his prime would kill for. Avijit, after his mother is murdered by her pimp, says “There is nothing called ‘hope’ in my future.”

Without giving anything away, some of the kids succeed, go to school, escape the district. Most of them don’t. Despite that, Zana's best interest, most of the kids wind up staying in the red light district. But Kochi and Avijit do succeed, and go off to school. Zana subsequently started a foundation for the kids where she sells their work to pay for their school. Some of the photography is truly amazing. Check it out.

This is Halloween

So, it’s Halloween, one of my favorite holidays. I have affection for the holiday from childhood, but these days most of my memories regarding Halloween come from my apartment during college on Richardson Street. Devon loved Halloween, and she would go crazy with the decorations. Then we’d have a party. We had a few parties a year, but it was the Halloween party that I always remember with such fondness. I can’t entirely explain why. Perhaps it’s the change in the weather that marks the true delineation between summer and fall.

Anyway, we would always tell everyone to come in costume, but inevitably it was just the residents of the apartment that were costumed.

Regardless, Halloween reminds me of carefree, cool fall nights, and the company of old friends. Well, that and a good scary movie. Of which there have been paucity in recent years.

Tonight I'm taking the nephews trick-or-treating. Wish me luck getting Connor to share some candy with me.

That’s How I Roll, Son

So, I’m back. Nothing like a little two month hiatus to make me appreciate the medium of blogging. To summarize what’s been going on lately, I’ll give you an itemized list:

Moved out. Yes, an absolutely dreadful week of packing, movers, so on and so forth. But the new joint is great and Mr. Abbott, after a week of serious grumpies, is now quite happy in our new home.

New job. Well, all I can say is that, like the blog name, work is still seriously for suckers.

Plenty of concerts. Saw Green Day, Coldplay, and the Dandy Warhols. The Dandys were at CBGB, and it was my first time there. Didn’t get to see the Chemical Brothers at Central Park, but don’t get me started on that debacle.

Lots of TV. Loving Rome on HBO. It’s not as multilayered as Deadwood, but it’s fascinating and for the most part, historically accurate. And my new obsession Prison Break. I highly recommend.

More on all these things (minus the moving) later. I probably won’t post every day, but you can expect me several times a week, and I promise, no more two month breaks.