Friday, September 5, 2014

Long Beach Indie Digital Edutainment Conference 2014 #Fashion Politics


I was a panel speaker for the Long Beach Digital Edutainment conference. The conference simultaneously focuses on social justice, media, technology, and entertainment. It was one of the most engaging events that I've ever participated in and I felt at home with like minded peers.

I was invited to discuss fashion politics based on my screen play "Harajuku Faux Pas," which is about an African American teenager that dresses in Japanese Goth Lolita attire.

I weighed in on topics that deal with fashion/cultural misappropriation, ethical garment production, and the purpose of fashion as a POC. All of the workshop attendees were encouraged to take their thoughts digitally using the hashtag #LBIDEC.

Dr. Chetachi A. Egwu, Gail Taylor, and my serious panel face.
The root of the picture on the right is actually a funny story. My boyfriend had texted me this right after the panel discussion had ended, and it sort of freaked me out because he wasn't even there, but found it through the hashtag.

I was definitely engaged in the conversation and was thrilled with the attendee participation.  My graduate program was not exactly an environment for meaningful conversation regarding people of color,  and the energy made me included in something that mattered.

My favorite discussion was led by founder of The Unslut Project, Emily Linden. She gave a riveting personal talk about her experience with slut shaming as a preteen. It was a story that deeply resonated with me. With the increasing number of young women committing suicide due to sexual bullying, I found her talk to relevant and inspiring.

According to the website "The UnSlut Project promotes gender equality, sex positivity, and comprehensive, age-appropriate sex education for all ages. This is a collaborative space for sharing stories and creating awareness about sexual bullying, slut shaming, and related issues. "If you get a chance you should check out their website and the trailer for their fully funded documentary is on their site. This is a great conference for educated free thinkers to engage in many socio political conversations that are relevant in our digital age.  It was a honor to be chosen! I had a great time connecting with some awesome women.  Below was the full schedule of the topics covered as well as the esteemed panelists. 


Here are also some videos that I recommended to some of the panelists that were relevant to our panel discussions.

Sewanee Writers Conference 2014 Review

The local reservoir.  Awesome swimming experience! 
If you've never been to a writing conference before this post might bore the hell out you. This is mostly for someone who might find this and want to know more about the Sewanee Writers Conference, because there isn't much from the perspective of the playwriting attendees.

I attended was the Sewanee Writers Conference at the University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee.  The conference is supported by the Tennessee Williams estate, and the town and university prides itself in being somewhat of a writer's colony. I was excited to visit the south, since I'd never been. My only reference to the south is only what I've seen in movies. As usual, I was in love with the accents and the southern hospitality. I've never been to any place so green. There were lush trees and plants everywhere. I also was geeked to see my first firefly! They are everywhere along with the sounds of cicadas in the background.

The conference was twelve days long. Yes you heard that correctly 12 days! The University of the South is located in a remote part of Tennessee where there is nothing but a few businesses around. Nashville is about an hour and half away so I was pretty much on campus for the whole twelve days.

Most of the writers and teachers were esteemed poets and published authors, many of which were SWC alumni. The day itself was about eight hours. There are readings, craft talks, editors panels, and more readings through out the day. In the evening time there would be poetry readings at the pub, trivia, and more drinking at a beautifully restored property called the "French House. " They had a great band playing while writers got to drink and mingle.

The accommodations are mixed. I got to stay in the new dorms that's a bit of treck from a lot of the activities. The mattresses were like sleeping on bricks and coffins. The food however, was really amazing. I never felt hungry or even sober for most of the time I was there. There was plenty of free alcohol for the most part and there's nothing that goes hand and hand like drinking and writing!

Although this is my first conference my experience gave me a lot of good information into what to research for future conferences. This is one of the most esteemed literary events to be accepted to, but I felt that their coordination of the playwriting aspect of the conference fell short. Out of the 20 readings that were TWO stageworks. There was ONE craft talk on playwriting and although she was a playwright and a teacher, she talked about her personal experience about writing an adaptive screenplay in hollywood.  As a playwright attendee, I was so disappointed.

My workshop experience ... was just that- an experience. It wasn't amazing. I met a pool of playwrights who were wonderful and amazing. However, it wasn't the right workshop environment for me. I only got to workshop once out of the twelve days and it wasn't fulfilling. I really enjoyed the one hour talk I had with my teacher and advisor. He gave me a wealth of information and encouragement, as well as solid craft feedback. I know now that there are better conferences for playwrights. I will probably pursue those in the future  but it was a honor to be chosen for Sewanee.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

The End. Post Graduate Updates.

Undergraduate/Graduate: Still stressed

So the end happened.  About three months I was honored my degree for an MFA in Writing for the Screen and Stage.

My man, my family came to support me in the mean streets of Evanston.  Everyone was happy for me, but I was on the brink of meltdown. Stress has a very debilitating effect on me. If you were to look into my brain under stress you would see countless checklists. In my mind I would be focused one checklist and then three little checklists will pop up.

Then I'll get a phone call, an email, a text. The checklists will all disappear. I lose my place. I take of whatever immediate distraction and then start sorting through the lists in my mind all over again.

I almost didn't make it in the ceremony because I filled out the wrong form. Yes, let me repeat that. I almost didn't walk in my own Masters Graduation ceremony, because I filled out the wrong form. I went to go pick up my graduation tickets. The woman politely informed me that I had not even registered for the ceremony. I was about to collapse on the ground and kick my feet in the air. But I couldn't, this was Northwestern University.  I had to put on my WASP gangster face on and not be affected. I negotiated my ass off and I barely got into the ceremony.

Every day leading up to that day was meltdown central, but I finally I walked across the stage, and looked into the crowd. I was amongst the most elite intellectuals in the nation, and I almost fucked up the most important moment of my graduate school career. However,  I was the happiest that I had ever been when I got my Masters hood put on me. I was meant to be there even if I almost sabotaged it.

I look at my two graduation pictures side by side. They look almost identical despite the fact that there is almost a decade between the two. I went to two colleges that had purple school colors! My parents also have a penchant for fuchsia colored leis. I have the same look of uncertainty and fear. Don't be mistaken though- a lot of interesting and character building crap happened in between. The root of my fear is this- graduate school was the end game for my anxiety and fears in my twenties. Now that it's done and I'm in my thirties- what's next?

I have a large career to look forward to and the steps that I took to get to the first end game now have to be applied to this new one. The end has happened and now I have to move on.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Birthday 2014: Bad Bitch Contest I'm in First Place

Yep I can read the words upside down
Keep in mind a lot of these posts are on the #latergram status because I couldn't get my life together as these moments were happening.

Lets talk about my birthday ... well. I turned 32.

These are the years that the years keep on passing by. I think I have the Wendy Williams approach on aging.  There's nothing wrong with a tight dress at 50 why not add some heels and a microphone at 32? I introduced my cohorts to Korean karaoke in Chicago. If you've ever been to a Korean karaoke club, getting a sweet room with alcohol and and food served to you is pretty sweet. You get to sing sweet tunes on a fancy programmed microphone all night long.

However, this club will remain nameless but it was not as swank as the Korean karaoke clubs in LA or Asia. It looked like a cheaply made house that was converted into a cheaply made brothel that was eventually cheaply made into a Karaoke bar.  Basically so much cheaply made was happening and I could not handle. But everyone had a great time and I was grateful that I had gotten to spend my birthday with such wonderful friends. I was drunk as a skunk. I was rockstar and hot mess all at once. Here's a song to commemorate the experience.



Saturday, May 24, 2014

I'm pretty amazed at how much I didn't blog during the two years that I was here.  I thought I knew who I was before I got here.  Perhaps I just sketched the blueprint. One thing I know for sure is that I love writing. I truly love it.  I loved it before I came here and I love it more now. I had so much to learn and I'm grateful that I wasn't so self righteous in the process. But if I must be transparent- I will say that emotionally I have aged tremendously. To the naysayers and haters in the world, a MFA program is not a cute little two year writing workshop. I had the loveliest cohort, but to surrender your pride and soul to workshop and take criticism everyday is a beautifully painful thing.

I'm in the last quarter of my graduate program. My field of study is in one of most competitive and stressful industries known to most and conquered by few. I'm in the field of screenwriting, television writing, and playwriting. A part of me is eager to get out there and work, but I'm also anxious and depressed as I prepare for the level of ego degrading experiences ahead of me. There has never been an easy route to any success of my life. This next phase will not be any different. Even at looking at this blog, I realize that I have gotten rid of many of the superficial things that I used to love so much.

At this moment, as I approach the last month before graduation. I am so tired, exhausted, drained .... done. I am done with this journey. I don't even have an escape plan in mind. I'm just done.  I don't want my work to be under the watchful eyes of teachers anymore or the snap judgements of what it is I'm trying to write. Yes, I know it comes with the trade, but for at least two months after graduation I just want to write prose and build again.

Some great things I'd like to share. I wrote a full length play that became my thesis.  It had so many struggles that even my grade my deducted for it. After a million meltdowns which included no eating or sleeping for a time, I finally created an opus- an ode to the pain that I experienced before this journey began. It's etched in the dialogue. It's layered in the characters. I'm showing it to you but you can't see it. Booyakasha is all I can say. I wrote a play bitch.

I'm attending two amazing conferences this summer. One of them being the Sewanee Writers Conference and the other being the Long Beach Digital Edutainment Conference. Again, Booyakasha.

I'm happy.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

What To Value When You Have To Do It Alone?

She asked me, "How was your undergrad experience?" The mental health expert looks across to me and awaits my answer. Up until this question I was fidgeting, guarded, and shut down. But then- I light up and say, "It was great. The best time of my life." I remember the feeling clearly.  It was as if for a moment I was experiencing youth again. Gone were the expectations to be the super writer/gradstudent/girlfriend/friend/daughter/etc. or the anxiety of what if I'm going to be fucking poor and desperate in four months. I genuinely remembered a moment of my life where I was having a great time. Maybe in ten years I will remember these moments of being alone and maybe I will crave them. These two years of writing and crafting will mean something, and this really concise but intense time of my life will be a distant memory.  I'm  trying to appease people whom I may never see again.

Ying Out.

Monday, January 6, 2014

New Year 2014: What it means to a bootch like me.

I'm waiting in yet another line at Chicago Midway airport during one of the coldest days of the year.

I thought I was smart in not traveling with my winter jacket because of the bulk, but I was actually stupid. I'm shivering in baggage claim in my Northwestern hoodie and eggplant pants. They lost my luggage in the Chicago Midway Airport. My good friend lets me borrow her eggplant colored jacket for the way home so I don't get hypothermia. I am the spitting image of Grimace . 

I finally shuffle into my Evanston apartment, and I plop my tired head onto my couch after 12 hours of layovers and lines at three different airports. As my face buries into my pillow the first question I ask is, whew, where has my life gone? Hella dramatic, I know. But foreal- Am I doing life? Living life? Being life? What the fuck is life about !?! 

Some time ago I read an interview that Lena Dunham did with Mindy Kaling , and it had me on the floor laughing. When asked about what she would like her legacy to be,  Mindy Kaling said, 
"She threw the most amazing parties and she had the most gorgeous and cheerful husband. Gay teenagers would dress up as her for Halloween. She seemed to have read every book, yet no one ever saw her reading. She had the appetite of an Olympic swimmer and the physique of an Olympic figure skater. She dressed like Chloƫ Sevigny and could fuck for hours. . ."
When I read those words .... I was like - me too.

Why am I not throwing great parties?! No gay teen is going to want to dress like me if I look like grimace. How are they going to emulate an icon that spends most her days in sweats! Things are happening, they've always been happening, but I'm not content with the present state of things and I am eager to have my vibrancy back.

I really, really, really want to recharge. And not in that superficial neo/pretentious/hippie/new age type of way. It's the start of the new year and of course my eyes are being raped with everyone's fucking resolutions and inspirational quotes.  I would love to start the year with a new version of myself, but as this ole girl has learned, you change with the times as the times will allow.

Here are just a few I'd like to just hold to my heart, so that I can recharge mentally.

1. The age deterrent: I'm not longer going to use my age as a means to justify anything or to even start a conversation. I'm seeing a lot of women my age do this and it's annoying. "Oh I'm almost 30 ... so I should do A, B, and C before babies..." Nope. My age will no longer determine the value of my worth, intelligence, looks, or reproductive organs.

2. Read a form of literature for pleasure: I'm told that six minutes of this will increase happiness substantially. So yes I need to read a fucking book. I used to love them. What happened?

3. Not eat like 13 year old boy: If I could do this for at least winter, I'll aiming for a less than craptastic body before summer.

4. Finish Shit: Like one thing at a time. I am notorious for having at least twenty tabs open, because I'm doing everything and finishing nothing. I've been functioning this way for the past five years and I'm morphing into an ADD kid that can't pay attention to anything.

5. Put it Down: I have an unhealthy relationship with my phone. I think I'm helping with managing time, but I'm not really managing shit. I'm looking at people's fly ass fashion, lives, thoughts, and food while I'm in my sweats procrastinating on work.

6. Envision and Plan: I need to make time out of my day to envision and plan for what it is that I truly want. My needs and aspirations are horribly short term, because of the things that I need to do for school. It will help me gain a healthy perspective of my life and the goals attached to them.

These are just some first week of New Year goals that I'd like to tackle, in addition to my quest to help humanity and all of its flaws.

Happy New Year everyone.


Monday, August 26, 2013

How I managed getting what I wanted.

What was it like to finally get what I wanted? First of all, it was hard. The happiness of achieving a goal was mind blowing, but graduate school doesn't validate anything except that you need to work harder.  I've never been so emotionally drained in trying to keep up with everything. I was managing my life in school after a seven year absence, while embarking in a new long distanced relationship, then appearing for family and friend's life events, and maintaining and creating meaningful relationship with my new cohorts and teachers. I endured the year hoping to fly back to Los Angeles and embark into hedonism that I first experienced when I first moved here .

Wrong.

The act of maintaining continued and it worked me all summer long.  Los Angeles was a launching pad into my dreams, and every day of this summer I was so stressed about everything and anything. Nothing is ever balanced when you are obsessed with succeeding, but god damn it- I really thought I could part the river the summer. I did it without really having a place to live and it fucked me up royally.

Now I am at the end of the summer about to start my second year of grad school, and I've learned that I don't need to catch up with anything- I need to just be. It's easier said than done and being present in the moment is something that I'm not good at doing. I've lived a million different lives in my mind- sometimes through other people. Mostly I've lived a millions lives as a different version of myself. I will never accept the current version of myself. I always have to be better- but why?

I should never stop preparing for the next moment of excellence, but the current version of Christina is operating the campaign, and I should treat it with more respect.  Today I accept that not everything I'm doing will be perfectly managed equally.  I move forward tomorrow still giving myself the opportunity to learn. 



Monday, February 18, 2013

Power.

They say that you can't always have what you want, at the time that you want it.  This is not the same for art. In art, you can have exactly what you want, at exactly the time that you want it. All you need is enough passion, preparation, and vision. Yesterday, was my second film shoot ever. I prepared my ass off to write, produce, and direct this simple six page horror script. I got home at around midnight, slept at 1:00,  and I woke up a few hours later in tears.  I haven't gone back to sleep yet. I don't have my people with me, the ones that have known me for the past decade or beyond, and just know what I need.  I have to convince fairly new friends and colleagues to trust my vision.  I didn't achieve  that today.

By no means am I a Svengali, and I never aim to be, but I had this revelation with my partner the other day, and I haven't been able to shake it.  I told him I feel like I've been chasing power all of my life, and I never really have it.  Except. When I'm making my art.  In these moments,  I forget all of the negative energy that holds me back and I create a "symphony." Whether it's been with writing, dance, or directing I just know in my gut when I have the symphony. I know when I created the piece that defines my creed, desires, and being.  I think with this particular production I just worked on,  I was hoping for that moment, but it fell flat.

Each venture is practice for something greater if you learn from it. Three hours later from since I woke up, I'm still collecting my data.  I have to remember that it was absolutely to my benefit to be this far away from the familiar to work on my craft. Without distraction and interruption,  I often have the best learning stride. Although I miss home terribly. I just need to be patient.  I'll be able to communicate my vision better soon. It'll take more practice. 

Friday, February 1, 2013

Grad School Life: Winter Addition

So gone are the days of being a glamourpuss.

This winter quarter has been super kicking my ass.  It just started off all bad....

I came back to school with a kidney stone. If you've never pass one, just imagine someone stabbing you from the inside. I got it removed, but there were a lot of complications.  The nurses told me the pain of a kidney stone is worse than a childbirth.

Send me a baby. I'm ready mofo.

I'm in the playwriting phase of my program, which has taken me into dark places. My professor is a provocateur and a darling in the playwriting world. His class has definitely has encouraged me to go as dark as I've imagined. The snow and the short winter days have given me horror movie thoughts. Man, just looking at my face in this pic is so telling. I've started to worry about my mental health as well as my physical being. I hope I don't have a Jack Nicholson moment a la The Shining.  I've spent the morning committing to more solution based thoughts.  Finishing this program is a monumental accomplishment, but I need to find happiness while I'm here. I want to enjoy the limited time I have here.


Sharing is Caring

Today I was reading tweets from a blogger whom I absolutely LOVE,  and I was ready to jump after her after she threatened to commit blog suicide. This word "over sharing" has been used a lot lately when it comes to bloggers and social media, but hello, everyone is doing it. Whether is snarky thoughts about your bitch room mate, complaining about your coffee, 500 pics of your dog, twenty videos of your baby,  I've accepted that if I have access to you online. I'm going to know it all.  Give it to me. I need another baby video.

I've actually had the opposite problem of not having shit to share on my blog.  Maybe on the real,  I'm gun shy for the vary reason my girl wants to commit blog suicide.  The down side of the internet is that everyone is a fucking expert. As fly as I am, an off color comment will send me scarfing four rows on oreos. I love blogs! Political blogs, mommy blogs, celebrity blogs, cat blogs. Give me MORE. I love all of the endless info. Who knows if I'll have kids,  but reading homegirl's mom blog was insightful, because she's trying to be a writer as well as raising a family. Sigh, I can't jump after her. C'est la vie.

If any of you have learned something about my dumb ass life that put things into perspective, we must be like minded and fab. Blogging is an edited moment, thought, and it will fly away in people's minds until they read something else that catches their attention. I just don't have the attention to write about my boring ass life, but I want to try harder. I need to relieve the load that chatters in my brain.


Thursday, December 6, 2012

Oh Hello

I've been a little light on the posting this year.  I wish I could say I had good reason for it, but I have nothing to say. I can't be a beauty or fashion blogger right now. I'm too broke to buy clothes, and being back in college mode has not created the best fashion choices. Basically the world is not allowed to see me right now. I'm a hot ass mess.

If I make to class with matching clothes and a little bit of makeup,  then my day has been awesome!

As mentioned in previous posts, I've been writing my ass off. I wrote, directed, and edited a short film, which was something I never thought I would do. Although I have an Ethnic Studies thesis in my mind,  for every moment that I'm misunderstood in my program, I try to flip so that I don't take the experience for granted.

I keep reminding myself that I'm creating characters that I need to be seen on the screen, the losers who are dying to be champions, and the misfits who are unaware of the glory ahead of them.

I just keep reminding myself that Tarantino wrote the first draft of Reservoir Dogs in three weeks. The key word in this sentence is "draft," which means you gotta just get it done before it can be gold.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Mastering the Skill

Jiro Dreams of Sushi
When I was a young kid, writing and dancing were my skills.  To clarify, they were not my passions they were my skills.

I used to think that dancing was my stronger skill, because it was the first to become a passion. I spent a number of years training and obsessing, and eventually it killed my spirit. Sadly, I no longer dance.

Fast forward to the present. I'm here mastering another skill turned passion. Although I am afraid I will reach the same plateau that I did in dancing, the possibility of mastering this skill is substantially more tangible.

Unlike dancing, it is okay for me to access a dark and sad part of my mind. This part of me does not sabotage my writing like it did with dancing.

I'm grateful for the years that I was lost and weary, the loves that broke my heart, and the interesting childhood happenings that weighed down my mind. It was all fueling something bigger in my life, and I wasn't ready for it until now.

I love my graduate program right now. My class is amazingly talented and down to earth. I love hanging out with them and talking about ideas. Nothing ever seems too crazy or too strange, and I love that we all help each other in making it work. I don't know if I'll ever get this camaraderie at writing table for a T.V show, movie, or whatever I decide to do after this. I'm doing my best to stay present and enjoy the time, and dedicating my life to mastering my skill.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Chi-Town: Story Begins



Jesus.... I can't believe a month passed by so quickly!

So as soon as I wrote that entry I got a job as  production assistant in Los Angeles for a film, which pretty much took up all of my time for the last month I was in Los Angeles.  It was a job that was jam packed and full of to-dos from start to finish. Sadly, there was no looking pretty or inspiring make up posts to share. I've been on autopilot for the past five weeks.

Then, I'm in Chicago. Correction, Evanston, IL.

You know those scenes in movies where planes are passing over a the protagonist? They are dreaming and then the plane sounds wake them sudden and their eyes open. Well my eyes opened this morning in another state all by myself.  The first thing I looked at was the floor, filled with all my clothes, shoes, and what nots. It was assuring that I had a purpose for today, and not obsess over the fact that for a couple of days, hopefully less, I will be completely alone.

Prior to this morning, I was very loved by friends, family, and him.

Last night I said good bye to the very handsome man who helped me get here. I focused on his white t-shirt as he walked toward security check, and I couldn't fight the tears gushed through my eyeballs.  As I stomped away from the terminal to the CTA, and I focused fiercely on myself and remembering to be brave and positive.

Now, it's time to write.


Saturday, August 4, 2012

One More Month To Go: Pep Talk

I have one month before I leave for Chicago.  If I sit still long enough I start to shiver. What if this is a fluke? Maybe I'm not ready for grad school, I'm not a writer,  and Northwestern is going to send me home as soon as they read my stuff.  How the fuck did I get into this prestigious college? Then in my head I slap myself in the face, shake my shoulders, and scream "Get it together Christina!"

You got your ass kicked, got up, and asked for help. With enough preparation, focus, and determination you took the proper steps that were needed to get into school. The last decade may seem a blur, but it nothing happened in vain.  Nothing about this is an accident. You are a creative, and you picked the right program. Soon, very soon, we will have to pack our things and leave Los Angeles.