Friday, November 30, 2007

Katie the critic

I know some find the trailer charming, and I know that the story behind Diablo Cody, first-time screenwriter, blogger and ex-stripper is an interesting one. The buzz is out on her film, Juno which I saw last night at an ifp screening, but to this blogger and ex-stripper (I never mentioned that part of my past?), it was painfully trite and cliché and left my friend Luis and I cringing the minute the main character opened her mouth. There were a few great lines delivered by Allison Janey, but aside from that I found it to be a series of one false moment after another, with a cast of caricatures, not characters, fashionably trendy and edgy, shoving sophomoric and unfunny humor so far down your throat there was little room to breathe. It's shocking to me that this film is being compared to Little Miss Sunshine, one of my favorite films of 2006.

Verdict: Juno is a no-no.

From the corner of 5th Avenue & 57th

Me: "Annie, you live in one of the greatest cities in the world."

Annie: "Las Vegas?"


Sometimes when I pass a teenage boy on the street, I avert my eyes because I know what he is doing on a regular basis behind closed doors.

Thursday, November 29, 2007


When it takes a man time to get the message, especially if he was the one to send it.

I overheard in New York

Guy on cell phone: "You always tell me I don't love you, but you know what your fucking problem is? You don't understand that I still having feelings for your stupid ass!"

Wednesday, November 28, 2007


Yesterday my mother said to me:

"You're going to have to accept that you are an intensely feeling person, you've been that way since you were a little girl. You're going to laugh more and cry harder, you're going to feel more joy, more sorrow, more grief and more love, and when it gets to be too much, you're just going to have to go off and do the dishes."

Leo Horoscope by Rob Brezsney

"When love is not madness, it is not love," said Spanish dramatist Pedro Calderon de la Barca. But according to my analysis of the astrological omens, you will dramatically disprove that notion in the coming weeks, Leo. In fact, I'm betting that love will make you stark, raving sane. It will calm you down, heal a wound or two, improve your eyesight, help you understand yourself better, improve your digestion, and stimulate you to become more tolerant and forgiving towards the entire world.

Ukulele step 2

In my dreams

I dreamed someone cut off my long hair, made it into a short bob and bleached it blond. I was screaming and crying with such intense horror and grief, as if my child was being ripped from my arms and fed to a pack of hungry wolves right before my eyes.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Sitting at the sidebar

I don't know much about rap, hip-hop or trip-hop, but I do know that in 2003 when I saw Boots Riley and his underground group The Coup, they got under my skin and into my heart. Poetry, sometimes sweet, often brutal but always honest, it's music with a message and so much more.

Heaven Tonight

Preacher man wanna save my soul
Don't nobody wanna save my life
People we done lost control
Let's make heaven tonight
Preacher man wanna save my soul
Don't nobody wanna save my life
People we done lost control
Let's make heaven tonight

Now as I sleep may the oxygen inflate my lungs
May my arteries and heart oscillate as one
If police come may I awake escape and run
In the morning may I have the sake to scrape the funds
And if I take the plunge
May it be said that I wasn't afraid to shake my tongue
Show the state was scum
Makin' sure that the callin' bell of fate was rung
Cuz if they could the would
And probly tried to
Rape the sun
Someone said that this is just my body
Wait for the Afterpary
Where ain't no shut-off note
And every wallet there is knotty
Feet are on the asphalt
Dick in the dirt
This system take vickin' to work
Listen alert
Check out the introvert
In the corner with the rip in her skirt
Stomach pains so she grippin' her shirt
Ain't never had dinner
So she know she ain't gettin' dessert
Don't try to tell me it's her mission to hurt
I got faith in the people and they power to fight
We gon make the struggle blossom
Like a flower to light
I know that we could take power tonight
Make 'em cower from might
And get emergency clearance from the tower for flight
I ain't sittin in your pews less you helpin' me resist and refuse
Show me a list of your views
If you really love me
Help me tear this muthafucka up
Consider this my tithe for the offer cup


I used to think about infinity
And how my memory is finna be
Invisibly slim in that vicinity
And though the stars are magnificent
Whisky and the midnight sky can make you feel insignificant
The revolution in this tune and verse
Is a bid for my love to touch the universe
Strugglin' over wages and funds
Let the movement get contagious and run
Through the end when it's gauges and guns
And if we win in the ages to come
We'll have a chapter where the history pages are from
They won't never know our name or face
But feel our soul in free food they taste
Feel our passion when they heat they house
When they got power on the streets
And the police don't beat 'em about
Let's make health care centers on every block
Let's give everybody homes and a garden plot
Let's give all the schools books
Ten kids a class
And give 'em truth for their pencils and pads
Retail clerk - "love ballads" where you place this song
Let's make heaven right here
Just in case they wrong

Ukulele step 1

I didn't find a job today

Oh well.

Strangers on a plane

Last night I did something I'd never done before. I met a person I'd become acquainted with through the blog. He's from England, lives in France, and stopped in New York on his way to Haiti. We had a couple of drinks at a hotel bar, shared a few stories and insights, and at one point he said something like, "I was just thinking how amazing it is that I'm sitting here talking to you." And it was, it is. It's amazing how we can connect with people from around the world in such a personal and effortless way. It was interesting to see how comfortable I was sharing a drink with a stranger who felt more like a friend. He also said to me that I was just as he imagined I'd be, which even though I didn't ask how he imagined I'd be, I took as a great compliment.

But next time let it be me who is getting off the plane somewhere, let me be the one lugging the heavy bag with my iPod dangling from my pocket. In an airport in London or Paris, Morocco or Mongolia, let me be the familiar stranger on a flight to everywhere, stopping by to say hello to everyone.

Big small world

Last night while waiting at JFK to meet someone who was arriving from Paris, I saw my neighbor, jazz trumpeter Tom Harrell coming off the same flight. Click here to read about Tom, it's kind of amazing that he still plays as often as he does, still tours, still frequents the corner health food store.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Sitting at the sidebar

Feels Like Home by K.T. Tunstall.


Every time I watch my film Cold Tea, I cry. Every time.


I heard that some readers of The Half Note don't listen to the sidebar selection.


Sunday, November 25, 2007

Blogger dreams

I've never had the pleasure of meeting Dina from Hawaii, reader of the Half Note, but the other night I did manage to make an appearance in her dreams. She describes it below, and I must admit, it has caused me to wonder how I am perceived here on the blog. (Please, don't answer that).

Katie, I woke up today and swore that you and I had just been hanging out! I dreamed you made it to Hawaii, and after about 20 minutes you were bored to death! You got kind of snobby (sorry, it was the dream) and were stomping around saying,"Is this all you guys do all day, go to the beach?!" I felt utterly responsible for your happiness. I said I was sorry but because you just showed up, I wasn't prepared for a visitor. All of a sudden this guy appeared, and within minutes you two were gazing at each other, lost in lust, love, whatever, you were lost! Then you were all over each other and I remember getting very protective of you (like a big sister). I tried to get you to go surfing and you said, "Dina, NOW it's getting fun!"

Moon over my hood

Bright idea

From the east side of Manhattan to the west, from San Francisco to Barcelona. Ticket prices will be high, but the trip will be worth every penny.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Friday, November 23, 2007

In real time

I want to clean my apartment and I'm craving ginger ale, but I'll forgo the cleaning until tomorrow, drink a glass of water instead, then climb into bed next to Annie, who has no idea that I asked her to come so I wouldn't have to sleep alone tonight.

Gas station conversation

Mom: "What an odd chair."

Me: "It's not a pretty chair."

Mom: "It's a 1950's chair."

Me: "It's a 1950's restaurant chair."

Mom: "You're right."

Me: "I bet we could have it if we brought something to replace it."

Mom: "I don't want it."

Me: "I don't want it either."

Mom: "I almost want it."

Me: "I almost want it too."

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Sitting at the sidebar

I've got the world around my finger today, and Erroll Garner to make it even sweeter.

The herstory of Thanksgiving

Annie: "This is just like the olden days."

Katie: "You mean when little girls used to help their mothers in the kitchen?"

Annie: "When the women would just sit around cooking all day and the men were out lassoing ponies."

Thanksgiving in real time

12:24 P.M.

Rosemary and garlic in turkey and turkey cooks.
Annie cuts green beans and Erroll Garner plays.

Poetry, pollen & presumption

Honey is honey, loads of wild flowers and herbs-
pollen to excuse the crystallization.

Eat it on warm fresh bread with loads of cold butter.

If you knew my friend Natassa from Greece, you might think, as did I, that what she wrote above in an email was an odd expression of her love for me, perhaps a hidden, sweet message. But only days after reading it did I realize, it was her response to an email I'd sent asking her to translate the back of a honey jar that was written in Greek.

In real time

Just too tired, and those fresh white sheets are calling, Katie... Katie...

'Round midnight

Just in from being out, coffee's on, contemplating a bit of blogging.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Full of it

Me: "Do you like my new coat?"

Annie: "Yes. Do you feel pretty?"

Me: "I do."

Annie: "Do you feel beautiful?"

Me: "I do."

Annie: "Then you're prettyful."

Me: "I like that."

Annie: "Pretty full of yourself."

Today's weather

Not real rainy, not real sunny, not snowy at all. Just damp and gray, it's what I call Wet-dog weather.

Fact #89,230

My father, a talented actor, a brilliant writer and a highly educated and intellectual man, faithfully watched the television series, The Bionic Woman.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Sitting at the sidebar

Oh hell, I know I do.

I'm spent

That's the only reason I haven't blogged today, I promise.

Sunday, November 18, 2007


My friend Vlad and I were having lunch and the conversation eventually turned to romantic relationships. He offered me a quote from a U2 song, and although I'm not a lover of U2, I love the quote:

I want the lot of what you got, and I want the nothing that you're not.

Cuddle whore

Katie: "Come over here and cuddle with Mommy."

Annie: "Nope."

Katie: "Please? I'll pay you twenty bucks."

Annie: "You'll really pay me twenty bucks?"

Katie: "You know I'd never pay you to cuddle."

Annie: "Yeah, that would be like prostitution."

In my dreams

Last night I dreamed that my brother Michael instructed me to jot down a note to myself: Write screenplay about the women of Al Jazeera. I kept trying, but the paper was wet and the words were unreadable.

I dreamed I was on the back of a subway car. A man stood up behind me and began to exit the train, and in his hand was an electric chainsaw that was on. I moved toward the window, afraid he was going to use it on me, but he didn't.

I dreamed about dogs chasing deer, hunting them down and killing them, and I could hear the screams, the sounds of fear and death.

Dreams, even bad ones, are gifts, and this morning I know more about myself than I did when I closed my eyes last night. ~kb.

Friday, November 16, 2007


After dinner tonight, Annie and I went out for a walk. In the elevator ride down, she looked in the mirror and said, "Mommy, you and I are beautiful, but we're most beautiful when we're together. "

Sitting at the sidebar

Cuz I feel like it.

Sudsy love

My mother is a professional theatre director and acting coach. When she's preparing an actor for a soap opera audition, she always gives them the same advice. It's something to this effect:

Every time you open your mouth, every time you say a line, imagine you are completely in love with yourself. Even if your character is taking out the trash, imagine you are making love to yourself in every moment.

Now, if you can stand it, turn on a soap opera, any day, any channel. Watch for a minute or two and tell me if you think she's wrong.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Neurotic moment #967,222

The other day as I walked toward work, I realized I forgot to switch my black purse to my brown one to match the boots I was wearing. Before I became aware of the mistake, it was a beautiful morning and I was in a happy mood. But once I reached the street and noticed my brown boots hitting the pavement and the black purse swinging at my side, I immediately felt out of sorts. And now instead of enjoying my walk to work, I contemplated buying a cheap brown purse from a street vendor just to save myself from any further discomfort. Now, instead of savoring the cup of coffee in my hand, I began to fantasize getting back on the train and going all the way home to retrieve my brown suede bag. It no longer mattered that the sun was shining, I could no longer see the smiling faces. I was blind to everything except the toes of those brown boots, peering out from the dark blues jeans and hitting the ground, and that black shiny purse swinging back and forth, back and forth.

Suddenly, I noticed something else. A button. A button on the sweet green sweater I wore under my coat. It was a brown button, the same brown as my boots. And once I noticed that brown button peaking out from inside my coat, and my brown boots directly below, I felt a sense of comfort and relief. My coffee tasted good again, I returned to appreciating the mix of sun and cold air of a fall day, and as for the smiling faces, I still couldn't see any, but upon reflection, I don't think they were there before.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007


My friend Tai says that the piece of music I posted today causes her to remember--or imagine--a new story from her life. This has caused me to remember some of the songs that are attached to stories in my own life.

Stevie Wonder's, You and I reminds me of being 10, first crush and feeling pretty in my green t-shirt with the owl on the front. If You Leave Me Now by Chicago brings me to 11, sitting at the back of the school bus, dreaming of the boy who sits beside a girl he likes better. Whenever I hear Bob Dylan's If You See Her Say Hello, I am 18 again, driving across country in a '63 Chevy pick-up with a man who watches Gene Autry movies with me on motel TVs and tells me I deserve more. I Can See Clearly Now by Johnny Nash played at my wedding in Central Park, and 18 years later, David and I can smile. We were so certain as we danced that night, that the only thing ahead for us was a bright, bright sunshiny day. And when I listen to the Yiddish Lullaby Tumbalaika, I remember singing it to my baby, holding her little body in my arms, rocking her to sleep in the same chair that my mother held me, rocked me, sang to me.

Last night I heard for the first time, Over the Rainbow/What a Wonderful World by Israel Kamakawiwo'ole, and undoubtedly it will forever be etched in my memory. A gentle and beautiful song sent by a man I've only known a short time, delivered in a moment when I sat alone in my apartment with a heavy heart. And as I listened, I imagined a new story in my life--one where my child runs free from her cares, where her troubles melt like lemon drops, high above the chimney tops, and where dreams really do come true.

Sitting at the sidebar

I sat down at my computer late last night with a heavy heart and found this song in my inbox. My heart lifted and I fell asleep smiling.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Parent-Teacher Conflict

If I could be questioned by the authorities for angry thoughts inside my head, tonight I'd be down at the station. If I could be fingerprinted for imagining taking my hands and wrapping them around someone's neck, I'd have a bucket of ink all over me. If I could be arrested and thrown in jail for wishing a fifth grade science teacher would cease to exist, I'd be given a life sentence.


The Half Note recently sat down with screenwriter David Kosh, to talk about his experience with the short film, Cold Tea, at The Heart of Gold International Film Festival in Australia.

Half Note: Tell me a bit about what's at the heart of the Heart of Gold Film Festival in Australia.

David Kosh: Nourishing, uplifting, spiritual and/or funny films -- an antidote to the usual bleak stuff offered by many other festivals and the world in general.

HN: Talk a little about Cold Tea and why you felt it would work at this particular festival.

: COLD TEA is about perception, acceptance and true love. Toni Powell, the festival director, said for her, the film was about grace. It felt like COLD TEA and Heart of Gold were a natural fit.

: It was a 30-hour journey from New York to the town of Gympie. I imagine there were a few moments on the trip that stand out for you. Would you care to share some?

: I have to admit, it was no fun getting there. Hours 5 through 30 were exceptionally long ones, although I did see Stevie Wonder being taken to the men's room at LAX, watched a movie called ONCE that I really liked, and was quite successful at not killing myself or any large marsupials while driving on the wrong side of the road.

HN: Once you landed in Brisbane, you had to immediately drive two hours to the town of Gympie. How was it to operate a car over there? Tell me about the Roundabouts.

DK: In my land of Oz, there was no yellow brick road to guide me, hence I was lost a lot of the time, and I had cramped fingers from clutching the steering wheel so tightly. Australians thought I was nuts for driving two and a half hours after being on airplanes for more than 25 hours. As for roundabouts, we may have a fascist president in the U.S., but we don't have roundabouts. Let us count our blessings.

HN: What were your impressions of that part of the world, and more importantly, how was the coffee?

DK: Flat whites! Kind of a more masculine cappuccino without the girly foam. Much better than anything I've ever had at Starbucks, I swear. As for my impressions about Australia -- I didn't get to see much, no outback or barrier reef, nothing exotic or other-worldly enough to make me feel like I was actually 10,000 miles away from New York. The trees and plants were different, the air was different, the birds were different, the sunlight was unbelievably bright and intense, and of course the accents were different, but the actual structure of daily life was the same as ours -- shopping, eating, bad TV. It was a bit surreal, like being in a universe only slightly different than the one you're used to.

: How did you find the caliber of films at the festival?

DK: Actually pretty high in comparison to the other festivals I've attended.

HN: What were the audiences like for Cold Tea? Were they responsive?

DK: We had very good responses for both screenings, but holding true to the notion that each audience is its own animal, reactions varied in each group. For example, at the first screening, the audience didn't laugh at a line that usually gets a laugh, but it really responded to the ending -- the strongest response of any audience so far. At the second screening, the audience laughed at the expected places, but weren't so vocal at the ending.

HN: What were some of the comments you received from people about the film?

DK: Many, many positive comments. Hard to remember specifics, but other filmmakers really enjoyed it. A musician, the guy who did Heart of Gold's theme music, told me he couldn't get COLD TEA'S music out of his head. I got compliments on the cinematography, art direction, even the sound mix, since I told a lot of people that we had to dub every line of dialogue. The sound and visual quality of the projection was also fabulous. COLD TEA has never looked or sounded better than it did in Australia.

: I hear there was some controversy surrounding Cold Tea's acceptance into the festival.

DK: Toni said it was the most divisive film during the selection process. COLD TEA had the most ardent lovers and the most rabid haters than any other film. Toni loved that, thank God. Did I mention that Toni is an incredible human? And not just because she's a huge fan of our movie. She had a vision and she made it real AND successful and professional. The media coverage for a festival in only its second year was astounding.

HN: It seems that people either don't really respond to this film, or they love it and are deeply moved. Why do you think there is such an extreme split?

DK: COLD TEA has a sensibility much like the lead character, Eve. It won't do anything to make you love it like some other films that jump all over you like a desperate puppy. You, as a viewer, need to come to it, enter its world -- which is sort of slightly off center -- not realistic, but not fantasy, either. You need to appreciate what is just past the edge of "normal." Eve, in the film, has a thing for bones and brains -- a bit crazy by most ways of thinking, but I maintain we all have our "bones and brains" -- things we do, say, feel, think -- that if viewed by someone else would immediately be tagged as "fucking insane." Like Eve, COLD TEA melts for those who truly love it. To those who don't, it's just a queasy freak show.

HN: Were there any films at Heart of Gold that you loved? Tell me about those films.

DK: There were several. WE ARE TOGETHER (I think that's the title) was a documentary about South African orphans, all of them singers. It was achingly sad, but so beautiful, and it had what one would call a happy ending. VALIDATION -- a big prize winner -- was the film I wished I made -- original, funny, romantic -- it made me very jealous. I really liked the films of some of the other filmmakers I met -- always a good thing. It's a relief to tell someone "I loved your film," and actually mean it.

HN: Cold Tea won the Director's Choice Award. Please explain what that is.

DK: Toni, the festival director, as mentioned previously, chose COLD TEA as her favorite film of the festival. A close second was VALIDATION, so it was really an honor. She really championed our film. Gratitude will be eternal.

HN: What's next for Cold Tea?

DK: It's going to be a guest on "Jimmy Kimmel Live" and then it's going to open for Meshugah, the Norwegian death metal band, on its world tour. But seriously...There's a possibility of a distribution deal, but until the contract is signed...

HN: Thanks David.

Sitting at the sidebar

My father's favorite Beatles song.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Walking in Manhattan

Annie: "Mommy, let's pretend we're really rich because we've just won the million dollar lotto."

Katie: "OK."

Annie: "So let's pretend we're on our way to someplace really exciting."

Katie: "Where are we going?"

Annie: "We're going to the Bahamas, but we can afford to have had our luggage flown on a plane and delivered to the hotel several days in advance. That's why we can just be walking down the street like this with no luggage."

Katie: "Sounds good to me."

Annie: "But first let's go see Daddy, because my psychic tuning tells me he has surprises for us."

Katie: "Your psychic tuning?"

Annie: "Yes."

Katie: "Well then, I can't wait to see what your daddy has for me, do you think it's a gift certificate to Saks Fifth Avenue for $8,000?"

Annie: "No! Daddy doesn't do extravagant! For you he's throwing a wild party. My psychic tuning tells me he's invited all of your friends. There will be plates of the best cookies in the world, and they will have no calories but will taste like the most sugary treats ever!"

Katie: "And what surprises will he have for you?"

Annie: "He will have brought my puppy early."

Cold shoulders

Twelve winters ago, the temperature was well below zero when I met a homeless woman near Lincoln Center who wore only a sweater. I gave her my goose down coat, then ran as quickly as I could to hail a cab to take me home. As I stood in the snow with my arm held high, shivering in only a shirt and jeans, one available taxi after another passed me by.

"Hey!" I'd shout, perplexed and outraged that no one would stop. Finally, a cab cautiously pulled over and I jumped in.

"What the hell is going on?" I snapped at the driver, "I'm freezing to death out here, why would no one stop for me?"

The driver turned his head and looked me up and down.

"No offense," he said, "but standing on the corner of 66th Street in below zero weather with no coat on, a cabbie wouldn't want to pick you up because you look insane."

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Sitting at the sidebar

Before I head out with my child, from God Bless the Child by Kenny Burrell, here is Love is the Answer.

certainly think it is.