Another month in this year over before I could even fully welcome and realize it, which makes me sad since I really like November. I’m a bit biased, as my birthday is at the start of the month, and it’s the start of the holiday season. The festive feeling is the only distraction there is from the biting, unrelenting coldness of a New England winter.
This year for my birthday, the bf and I visited Bear Mountain, which I guess is a tradition now since we did it last year as well. Due to rain saturating the trails, we didn’t hike it, but rather just walked around and visited the little zoo they have. The Bear Mountain zoo houses animals that, either due to injury or human interference, can’t be released into the wild. There are eagles, turtles, bears, and so, so many animals, including personal favorites: two adorable foxes, one of which only has three legs.
I was able to do and see lots of animation and film related things this month, starting with attending a screening of the Animation Show of Shows, which is an annual curated, traveling showcase of the years best short films. I also attended a screening of the new Floyd Norman documentary (which you can see on Netflix) followed by a Q&A with the legend himself. I also saw Dr. Strange, Trolls, Moana, Fantastic Beasts, and special 35mm print runs of Satoshi Kon’s Paprika and French gem Amelie courtesy of our local Alamo Drafthouse. I saw other documentaries: Miss Representation, which was painful and so important, The Eagle Huntress, which is just astounding, and Generation StartUp, which was followed up by a great discussion at my local library where the film was screened. The one film I missed out on that I regret is Loving. Oh, and The Handmaiden, but that might still be showing at some theaters… I also re-watched Harriet the Spy and dang, that movie holds up.
My parents and tia (aunt) visited for my birthday and I got to surprise them by telling them I managed to get us all tickets to see Hamilton on Broadway without having to sell an organ! I also got the bf and I tickets to see an orchestra performance of Kingdom Hearts next year too, as well as Harry Potter! There are previews available for the Broadway adaption of Amelie, but I honestly have mixed feelings about it…
Thanksgiving was peaceful since all talk of politics was banned outright, much to my mixed feelings. It was a quiet holiday though, which was nice. And was cut a little short so I could get back home and help my friend Ric record an episode of his Action Film Autopsy podcast. The episode we recorded, the fall movie wrap-up, isn’t out yet, but all of the episodes are really interesting, and I’m on a few other ones too!
One of the highlights of the month was meeting up with some of my best friends at a board game cafe in Manhattan and just playing board games for hours. It was awesome–you pay a $10 cover per person and you have unlimited time, unlimited games, and easy access to mini hotdogs and personal pan pizzas. Dangerous. We played a few games I’ve been wanting to try from Tabletop, but there were still so many I wanted to try! Another fun thing was that my D&D group at work started up again. We went on a long hiatus and I was pretty bummed about it, so I’m happy it’s back. We play with a simplified version called The Black Hack. Having never played D&D before though, I can’t really comment on it compared to the robust version, but I look forward to playing.
Another highlight was seeing animation director and legend LeSean Thomas give a talk at Kinokuniya NYC! He’s such an inspirational person, and I honestly will sometimes just go to his twitter feed just to read his latest real talk and advice. I recorded the audio from the talk–he was dishing out the goods for almost 2 hours if I can remember correctly. I’m going to process it and throw up a blog post about it over on my new project, Animation Complex.
Speaking of AniCom, the last really interesting thing I did this month was give a talk at a Mini Maker Faire!! My friend’s wife was managing one, and asked me to come on as one of the guests, so I had to come up with a demo and talk for an hour. I gave a simple talk about early animation and current jobs you can have working on bigger projects, as well as ways the kids in attendance could get started making their own shorts, and then the bf did a simple demo in Maya. A woman who works at our local library approached us afterwords and asked if we would be interested in doing something similar for the library’s Random Fandom Comic Con that’s in the works!! Hopefully by then Animation Complex will be a little more developed. That’s the plan.