Instead of the “big game,” I watched MOONLIGHT

While the rest of the USA watched football on Sunday, a small group arranged by my pastor went to the small one-screen Ken Cinema for a screening of Golden Globe winner and Oscar-nominated film Moonlight. The movie’s promoters are encouraging screenings and discussions within faith communities. I went in with literally no expectations. I hadn’t even watched the trailer, but I knew the movie had people talking.

Moonlight Movie Posters

Usually the use of “coming-of-age” in a movie synopsis means it will be a heartwarming and cute film. This particular coming-of-age story was heartbreaking aside from a glimmer of hope at the end. This was a hard movie to watch, although the music and cinematography were amazingly gorgeous and full of symbolism.

The story challenges your assumptions from the very start. Characters who are supposed to be “bad” are “good” and vice-versa. More accurately, the characters are all humans with good and bad parts to them, on a life journey like you and me. Over the course of three acts, the story tackled race, poverty, and sexuality in authentic, tender ways. One of the most interesting things in this film was that I was constantly being surprised in happy and sad moments. With that said, I can’t get too deep into synopsis or discussion because if you see it, I want you to feel the same surprises as I did.

After the showing, a group of about 8 of us went out to eat and discuss the film. I really appreciated the chance to decompress and debrief, and share perspectives. When going to a movie, we always bring our own experiences to the table. I frequently bounce from narrative to narrative when watching Netflix, reading a book, or writing, so setting aside intentional time for group discussion is quickly becoming something I get a lot out of.

Last fall I was fortunate enough to attend a book signing as part of the launch for Literally Unbelieveable: Stories from an East Oakland Classroom. The book, totally true, details the author’s 8 years teaching in the worst neighborhood in Oakland. As I watched Moonlight, especially during the first act of Chiron’s childhood, I kept thinking that these situations are real stories for students in our country. The power of one influential adult can change the trajectory for a kid’s life if given the chance, and teachers try to make that difference every day. Then again, there are powers at play in this world beyond our control and things don’t always work out. Teachers and administrators have really hard jobs and deserve as much support as we can give them. I highly, highly recommend buying this book, reading it, and then gifting it to educators in your life.

Have you seen Moonlight yet? Which Oscar-nominated movies (if any) have you made it to this year?

Clicked…

A lot of bloggers I like post these little Friday “recommended reading” posts, and I came across a lot of stuff interesting to me this week (and last week) that I thought maybe some of my friends and readers would be interested in.

There’s a new book out in the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo series, but it’s written by a new author (Stieg Larssen passed away). This is a controversial development for fans of the series. Check out this interesting NPR piece for a couple of perspectives. I have the book on hold at the library and will be getting my mitts on it this weekend! Can’t wait.

Ever wonder why pop songs all sound the same? They are written by the same bald Scandinavians. This is a bummer, but most of the songs are pretty solid so I guess they know what they’re doing.

Two San Diego-centric links: This cool old bandshell is a case study in the fact that San Diego almost always lets cool old things fall into disrepair. I feel we could be a little more like LA in this way (what with The Forum and the Hollywood Bowl, to name a couple). On the positive side, this very cool art installation (not sponsored by anyone, just the photographer/resident) gives me hope for neighborhood unity through diversity!

I’m trying my hardest to hop on the Podcast train. I need something to occupy my mind while exercising, and our condo’s workout room does not have a TV. So, like the rest of the internet, last week I discovered Limetown which from what I can tell after two episodes is like LOST meets Serial. Very highly recommended!!

I hope you like one or all of these links! Got something to share with me? Put it in the comments!

I’m Around

Well, it is hard to blog without a photo editing software. Photoshop had been making my mac run like quicksand, so I updated the RAM and now it is having some visual component problems. Calling in some friend favors to tinker with it… but for now I am more or less photo-less. I’m not hiding in a cave though– iPhone to the rescue! Follow me on instagram to see what I am up to.

In the meantime, I am…

Soda & Swine

eating at the new Soda & Swine in Liberty Station. Eager to support such a delicious eatery much closer to home than North Park (where most of the good food is). Mmmmm… meatball sub….

drinking Pope’s Blend coffee from Reverie Roasters in Wichita. Was gifted a bag and some mugs and am thoroughly enjoying both.

cooking a lot! Doug and I took a Sur La Table cooking class last week and the food was phenomenal. I am eager to recreate the recipes at home. However, last Saturday we had friends over and I made choripan and pebre which was an all-around hit.

stressing out about our refinance. It’s been a little over a year since we bought our home and already we have made money! But I can’t wait for the phone calls, e-mails, and hurriedly faxed documents to come to a close (and have a little more money in pocket each month, too).

Balboa Park

viewing the Coney Island exhibit at the San Diego Museum of Art. With art museums, I tend to be easy to impress. I love art! That said, this Coney Island exhibit not only impressed me but blew me away! The combination of paintings, photos, original ride components, postcards and ephemera, and videos dating from 1900-today was very, very well curated and encompassed the whole feel of Coney Island. Even though I have never been there, I now feel that I have! Psst: The art museum is only $5 on Fridays 5pm ’til close.

watching How I Met Your Mother, the last season. When you know what is coming at the end, and then re-watch, it is all very obvious and much less outrageous. Unpopular opinion: I loved the ending the first time I saw it! And even more so now!

So… what’s new with you?