Saturday, January 28, 2012


I've promised a blog about the amazing show I saw the Sundance Film Festival, at the Eccles Theater in Park City. This is by no means meant to take away from the film I saw at the Broadway in Salt Lake City which was also part of the Sundance Film Festival called Room 237, an entry in the Experimental Documentary category. And because I don't want to take away from Room 237, I'm gonna give a little information on that one first.

Room 237 is about a few different theories on what Stanley Kubrick's The Shining was "really" about. The most popular theory--and I say popular only because I had heard it before--was that the film was really about the Indian (Native American) genocide that took place, pointing to the line about the Overlook Hotel being built on an Indian burial ground and the other little hints and signs referencing Indians throughout the film. Another idea was that it was a statement about the Holocaust. Other ideas noted were things like, "It's meant to be [figuratively and literally] seen forwards and backwards," or it makes reference to the fake film that was televised of the Apollo 11 moon landing (not saying it didn't happen, just that what was on TV wasn't real), etc etc etc. There were so many ideas in this film, and in the Q&A afterward we learned that there were other theories the movie makers researched but didn't use. The awesome thing I found in this documentary was the way it was put together, the actual screen footage we saw. The film was mostly just a ton of strung together clips from other Stanley Kubrick films put together to tell the "story" of these themes and to "narrate" the talking-heads voices. For example, if the talking-head said something like, "I know I'm being watched," shown on the screen was the scene from Eyes Wide Shut where Tom Cruise's character is literally being watched and followed. They also used the actual footage from the film to show exactly what the talking-heads were talking about. So if someone was describing the way the window in the hotel manager's office is in a place in the hotel where there couldn't possibly be a window (emphasizing that things in the hotel are not always what they seem to be, or what you think they should be), what you saw on the screen was the window in the hotel manager's office. This served quite a few purposes, but the one I loved the most about not seeing any of the talking-head's faces was that I wasn't prejudice about what I was hearing based on the way the person looked, or what was their connection to the film, or what they may have previously said but I couldn't remember the particular person who said it because I never saw his/her face. It was awesome. If you have any feelings (good, bad, or in-between) toward Stanley Kubrick's The Shining, or if you have seen it at all (even if only once), you'll find this film insightful and interesting. And then you'll want to see the original again.

Now, I've paid my homage to Room 237, which I really did thoroughly enjoy. But now I can move on to what was seriously one of the coolest "shows" I've ever been attended. Yeah, I may be a little biased because I found the owner/Master of Ceremonies extremely attractive. But seriously, this show rocked.

hitRECord is an online "open-collaborative production company... [for] writers, musicians, filmmakers, video editors, animators, photoshoppers, illustrators..." etc. (see owned and run (along with others, though he really does seem to have a hand in pretty much everything that gets produced through this organization, based on the credits at the end of each of the short films we saw) by Joseph Gordon-Levitt. They've put out a collection of videos/music/short films/art in box-set, as well as a collection of tiny stories. Really, seriously, just go to the website and watch the little video that explains what the company is about. Then come back and read the rest.

OK, now that you've seen what the big deal is, let me tell you about the show. Joseph Gordon-Levitt (RegularJOE, but I'll just refer to him as Joe from here on out) comes out and just starts filming and getting the audience pumped. Then he tells us about the organization. Then starts in with some audience participation. The theme for the night is "Independence." What is it? How do we attain it? How do we use it? What's the difference between "Independence" and 'Indie"? He has this dude come up on stage and kinda has a conversation with him about the difference and then he gets into the definition of the word "hipster." Check this out.

Unfortunately, the other audience members who made it to the stage were equally ridiculous. Joe did his best and made the most out of their conversations, which was impressive. He didn't let the idiots ruin the show.

There were a ton of new short films (collaborative efforts made by hitRECord artists) that debuted at the show, all of which were different in style and message and genre. And all of which I enjoyed immensely. There was one that was an animated statement on the right to take pictures in public (though, of course, it was more than just that). The animation had a song also, and at the end, the chorus had the "follow-the-bouncing-ball" kind of sing along. So, after we watched the video, Joe asked for whoever wanted to be part of the "choir" to come on stage and sing along. Marie, Jana, and I ran up there. None of us got a great video of it, but I think Jan's came out best, so here it is: proof we shared a stage with Joseph Gordon-Levitt for about two minutes.

About 3/4 of the way into the show, Joe brought another star to the stage: Parker Posey. They had a chat about what Joe's doing with hitRECord and that kind of thing, and how she's never seen or heard of anything quite like it. They chatted for a bit with another audience member, and then they put on a little show for us. Well, they and Brady Corbett, who starred in another Sundance film called Simon Killer. The three of them acted out chapter two from Mark Twain's The Adventures of Tom Saywer. I'm in the middle of editing that one, though. It's a long video, as you can imagine. For now, I'll give you a taste.

These are the kinds of things we saw and participated in during the show. It was pretty awesome, as you can see. Joe performed a couple of songs for us as well.

And then it was over.

We had a lovely time. I just can't say enough about it. My biggest qualm with the whole thing was that Joe seemed to feel the need to swear a good deal, and I think that was mostly to get the audience to cheer. Something about the f-bomb makes a crowd get louder for some reason that I just don't understand. I personally don't let myself get offended by cussing. I grew up around it, and I don't want to say that I'm used to it because I don't think I'll ever get used to hearing certain things, the f-bomb being one of them, but I don't really get offended. It's more like a feeling of losing my balance. Anyway, though I'm not offended, it is highly unattractive. But since Joe did sing to us, and dedicated "Baby Mine" to his mom, I'll forgive him.

A long post, I know, but I hope an interesting and entertaining one. Leave me a comment with questions or ideas about how to make these videos awesome (I want to submit some to Joe asked the audience to do--and then hope that something I submit gets collaborated on) or just tell me you read/watched, or just say hi, or whatever. I like having proof that people read my stuff. I need the validation.

Love to you all!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012


Change is hard. It's a difficult process. It literally gives me anxiety and leaves me short of breath.

But I have to make some changes in my life.

My beautiful and insightful sister shared some of her thoughts and a devotional talk on her private blog earlier this week which I read today. It was eye-opening and comforting, and it helped in motivating me to do what's right not to please anyone else or to "earn" salvation or whatever, but instead to show my appreciation and devotion. And I thank Marie for sharing.

It's time to do a little more growing up. I need to get myself out of rut and figure out what I want (besides the obvious, of course). And I need to be better at the daily things.

Hold on to your hats. It's gonna be a bumpy ride. But it'll be worth it in the end.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Sis. Hyer

I haven't yet put my feelings into words about dear Sister Hyer, who passed away on Christmas day, 2011. I have to do this. It's going to make me cry, I know, but I have to do it to remember her and remember how she made me feel.

I love Sister Hyer. She was my primary teacher. She was my leader. She was my friend. She was a co-leader. She was almost like a third grandma. Though I was never extremely close to her, I always felt like she loved me and cared about me in the same way that my biological grandparents do. She taught me how to spell "family":
She taught me more than that. She was the most wonderful example of how to be a good visiting teacher, not only by being a good visiting teacher, but by being available to be taught. Marie and I were blessed to be assigned as Sister Hyer's visiting teachers for a while. I loved visiting her. It was always such a warm, comfortable, spiritually uplifting experience being in her home. She welcomed us with a hug and let us go with a kiss. Caroling to Sister Hyer every Christmas was always a joy. She was so happy to have us in her home, and never allowed us to just sing on her door step. We were always invited in for a chat and to warm up, and easily enticed to sing a few more songs inside.

This Christmas was only a little bit different. We planned ahead when we would visit her. We brought some food with us to help feed her family who had gathered to her home for their last Christmas with their mother and grandmother. We were there only a little while because we didn't want to intrude. We sang a few hymns. She requested that we sing "White Christmas" and her favorite Christmas hymn, "Silent Night." She gave each of us a hug and a kiss, with us bending down to reach her warm cheeks and be enfolded in her arms. She whispered, "Thank you" and "I love you" to each of us. We said our goodbyes.

And then she was gone. That was the last time we saw Sister Hyer in this life. She died early on Christmas morning. She was able to spend the day celebrating with her husband, who passed nearly 30 years ago.

She was a wonderful, sweet, kind, generous, humble, Christ-like woman. Full of love, without guile. I love her very much. She will always hold a special place in my heart. I hope she knows how much she means to me, how much I value her love and her example.


Everyone sets goals, New Year Resolutions. I do too. I won't lie.

But that's not what this post is about.

This post is to share a couple of silly videos. That is all.

Jingle Bells!

Deck the Halls!

Oh, and one more thing. Do your best to keep your goals. Follow your heart. Make a plan. Take it one day at a time. And please remind me to do the same.

My love to you all!