Saturday, January 24, 2009

Internship, Family, and Rachel Getting Married

The weather took a turn yesterday and I experienced my first California rain. It does not in any way compare to Boston rain. But in lighter news I secured and started my internship!

This was such a stressful experience - researching and applying and interviewing and following up... I applied to so many internships and I interviewed at about 8 different companies. Everything from strictly development film companies where I would only be doing script coverage to music video companies offering on-set experience to Working Title Films who didn't know what the hell I would be doing. So I was actually offered positions at my two top choices and after some confusion (I accepted one and then was offered the other and realized I needed to switch) --- I will be working at a Music Video company out in West Hollywood (edge of Santa Monica) called The Oil Factory. It was really similar to the other company I first accepted, but I liked the more comfortable feel of this place and the people were also friendlier. I think it will be a good learning experience and hopefully I will have some time on set.

Yesterday was actually my first day at my internship- I carpooled with the other intern who is in the LA program with me - and we mostly got acquainted with things and watched a ton of director's reels of commercials and music videos (everything from Jet to Gwen Stefani to Beyonce to car commercials to kodak commercials) and ate free lunch.

After work I met up with my cousin Lindsey who lives by Cal State Fullerton and we drove down to my Aunt and Uncle's house in Lake Forest to hang out and spend the night. And today Aunt Pat and Lin and I went to see "Rachel Getting Married" (which Anne Hathaway is nominated for a Best Actress Oscar) and got lunch.

"Rachel Getting Married" was really interesting - it's about a dysfunctional family: Anne Hathaway gets out of rehab in time for her sister Rachel's wedding which is taking place at their family's house in Conneticut and the film takes place over three or four days around and during the wedding. The performances were all really honest and there were some very moving moments - and though there are times it feels long and some scenes that were unnecessary- it had a very real feel to it and it seemed very alive. The overwhelming realness to the relationships and friendships in the film are fantastic.

Also the Production Design was really awesome! The film takes place mostly in the family's giant house and the set was really really cool - very layered and personal with a lot of history. And the wedding design was so unique - it also has many layers and themes to it. The design was just so encompassing and natural and really beautiful. Oh and Beau Sia the poet is in the film.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

$75? Thanks, I'm broke.

Last night I went to check out "Da Poetry Lounge" in Hollywood at the Greencourt Theater on Fairfax. I'd been researching it quite a bit and was looking forward to going. It's Shihan's venue and I like Shihan, but I knew it was going to obviously be West Coast slam and was college/high school kid heavy. I went alone and ended up in line by a girl and a guy who rode up on bikes so I talked to them and they were both cool UCLA kids and we sat together during the show.
The venue has limited seating - it's like a mini-theater and once all of the audience seats are filled, everyone else has to sit on stage. There are also two halves to the three hour show so a huge line of people wait outside for their chance to get in the second half. I was just planning on reading for the open mic but the first half was a slam so I put my name in at the last minute.
There were about ten poets in the Slam and all of us were high school or college aged - three white, seven black, three girls, seven guys - mostly bad hip hop/Def Jam style stuff. One girl was really great- really powerful in both her stage presence and writing. They pull names at random from a bucket and surprisingly score creep wasn't really an issue in the slam and everyone was really vocal and open about scores (in the sense that people booed high scores for bad poems). The second round would be 4 poets and third round 2 poets.
I got pulled last in the first round and I knew I was going to open with Elbows. Nobody said anything or reacted or made any noise whatsoever while I was performing... I thought I was just bombing so hard. You could hear a pin drop. When I finished I got the first 10 of the night and the two kids I was sitting with were FREAKING OUT -- one of them leaned over and said "I'm so glad you don't suck, that would have been so awkward."
There was a sorbet poet and as I had the highest score I went first in the second round. I did Carburetors and simply prefaced it with "I wrote this about a party I went to once." Which I think definitely helped. The performance felt good and I got two tens.
I wasn't expecting much but I ended up in the final round with this kid who was pretty decent. Coin toss elected me to go first and I went up with Open Letter To The Last Person I Will Ever Love - which is my most recent performance piece and somewhat on page (it's almost completely memorized). Though I got another ten and high scores, I was pretty positive that I had lost because the other kid did a very political piece that the audience really liked and scored really well.
The prize was $100 -- and Shihan had the audience vote on the winner getting the whole $100 or splitting it with second place, $75-$25. I voted for the second and ended up screwing myself out of $25 haha.
It was totally unexpected and cool and a bit like walking into a saloon and being the new gun in town. A ton of people talked to me and kept asking "Where the fuck are you from?!" and I was like "BOSTON" and then this one guy goes "Ahhhhh Cantab!! Now I get you."
Which was perfect.
I did get told I reminded a lot of people of Buddy Wakefield. HA.
We got food at a 24/7 weird chic DJed restaurant bar. I got oatmeal. It was delicious.

It felt so incredible to perform in an entirely new place for all of these new people and be the complete opposite of what everyone else was performing ... and have people like my work.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Los Angeles!

I know I'm behind on my posts but I'm pretty much winding down road trip blogs and figured I would go ahead and dive into details of what L.A. has been so far!

First - go see Slumdog Millionaire. It's incredible. I saw it with my beautiful friend Emily who was in town last week and I involuntarily cried during it because I want people to love each other or something along those lines. The acting is awesome, the story is great, it's enthralling, and there's totally a surprise when the credits start rolling.

Second- my apartment is great! I live in the Oakwoods right at the border of L.A. and Burbank and am pretty much a stones throw away from downtown Hollywood. I live in a single because I'm an RA and my bed comes out of the wall. It's cool. I do wish I was closer to Santa Monica because it's so cool and totally an hours drive away.
Also- a lot of people told me not to expect much before I got here and said the Oakwoods weren't as nice as Emerson wanted you to think. In response to those people: you're fucking spoiled. Grow up. I have a pool outside of my room.

Third- The weather has been nothing short of phenomenal here. I know the rest of the country is literally freezing but we're having this weird heat wave and it's been around 80 degrees every day. I haven't seen a cloud yet!

Fourth- Driving everywhere sucks. There are too many cars and no one walks anywhere. Nor can you actually walk anywhere. People drive places to go exercise. That doesn't really make sense.

Five- I miss Boston. I'm having a good time and I do like it and am excited for everything to actually begin with classes and internships but... Boston. People in Boston. I miss you. I don't necessarily think Boston is the place for me to stay forever and that's not a plan at the moment... but I do miss all of my friends. A lot.

Oh yes- I think I'll go for a dip in the infinity pool

Above photos: Welcome to Tom and Michelle's house in Phoenix Arizona! From top, the infinity pool; Julie in the guest house in her robe; The super cute dog whose name I can't remember; The dream kitchen; and the foyer with the giant piece of art made from recycled newspapers...

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Arizona: Look to the skies

Above Photos: El Morro National Park Monument; Entering Arizona; Heading towards Flagstaff and the Mountains; Mike takes a photo of a great sunset and cloud formations; On our way out of the Mountains and towards Phoenix.

New Mexico is Snowing

Above photos: Driving out of Albuquerque; The Land of Enchantment - ehhh it's pretty cool; We stopped to look at all of the beautiful and bizarre snow!; Me making out with the top of Julie's head; Heading into the mountains of Route 53.

New Mexico to L.A. Recap!

Sorry for the much much much delayed recap of the fantastic road trip!

It snowed in Albuquerque New Mexico the night we stayed there and we continued West in the morning to take some time off of old Route 66 and onto a mountain pass called Route 53. We had some extra time to spend on a more scenic journey and so we headed off into the mountains of New Mexico only to discover it was REALLY snowy up there and totally beautiful. It was one of the most silent places I have ever been and there were thousands of pine trees just covered in snow. We stopped at this National Park called El Morro where there was this ancient Inscription Rock people crossing through New Mexico used to find water and shade and carve their names into the rock. It was really beautiful and full of snow.
We continued back onto Route 66 into Arizona - where there was still snow! - but it was incredible beautiful as we raced past the painted desert (and raced literally - the speed limit in the South West is abut 75 and we were cruising around 90). We passed through Flagstaff (B Ellis I thought of you!) which was in the snowy mountains of Arizona and we turned to head south to Phoenix.
We stayed with my dad's best friend from college, Tom, and his wife Michelle, in their unbelievable mansion in Phoenix. They are two wonderful people - they were really interested in what all three Rudzinski children were up to, took us out to dinner, let us stay in their guest house, hung out with us in the hot tub, dared us to jump in the infinity pool (which was freeezing), and made us a delicious breakfast in the morning. It was totally the highlight of the trip and NO ONE does a better impression of or has better stories about my dad than Tom. It was so cool to really spend time with him and see so much of my dad in him. It was like hanging out with my dad's long lost brother.
After lounging in our bathrobes and having pancakes with Michelle we finished up our final leg of the journey into Los Angeles and arrived in Los Angeles on the evening of the 6th!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

The Cadillac Ranch

Above photos: The cattle field in which The Cadillac Ranch resides just outside of Amarillo, TX; The Cadillacs noses up as Julie approaches; The graffiti on the cars; THE BEST PHOTO EVER - I can fly!; The Rudzinski children just moments before the cattle attack...

Oklahoma Motel 6

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Oklahoma -Texas Photo Blog

Above photos: At the Cherokee Trading Post in Oklahoma, I will lead you to the buffalo!; Evidence of the buffalo!; BUFFALO!; At the Palo Duro Canyon; A long horn and the Rudzinskis!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Texas-New Mexico Recap

Road Trip day two was a whole lot of driving to make it to several key destinations in the great land of Texas! We were in a race against the sun to make it to both the Palo Duro Canyon (about 25 miles south east of Amarillo) and then to the Cadillac Ranch (6 miles west of Amarillo). But we did it and it was totally awesome.

We were driving way out of the way for Palo Duro which is a state park and I was like "Our parents would be so proud of us! Here we are on our own in the middle of the US and we're going to state parks!" The Canyon was beautiful and the colors were incredible. We chatted with Cindy, who was working at the Coronado Lodge overlooking the canyon, before taking a drive down into the bottom of the canyon. And you know what's awesome?! You can go camping down there!! I totally want to go! It would be so cool.

The Cadillac Ranch was possibly my favorite thing we did on this trip and we were only there for about twenty minutes. This was in part due to the sun was setting and that it was below 30 degrees -- but also because of the cattle. We run up to the Cadillacs and there's
this large herd of cattle about 100 feet away. And we're jumping around and taking photos and we turn around and the cattle are now 20 feet away. Staring at us. They move to the end of the Cadillacs and begin to rub (sharpen?!) their horns on the Cadillacs. Julie then reveals she is afraid of cattle and we decided to run back to our car. According to Mike, however, the people who showed up as Julie and I were running away started to pet the cattle. Is then when you can tell when someone is from the city or not? I guess so.

We made it for dinner in Santa Rosa, New Mexico and discovered that sleeping in the car would not be the wisest decisions as it was supposed to snow that night. So we made it THROUGH THE MOUNTAINS and stayed in Albuquerque, NM (ohhhh Albuquerque ... how I've missed you... not).

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Illinois and Missouri Photo Blog

Above Photos: My Polish bumper sticker on my minivan; Julie and I in front of the World's Largest Catsup Bottle; Route 66 Sign in Missouri State Park; A Jesse James Trading Post sign in Missouri; a giant Elephant on wheels in some creepy Reptile Petting Zoo parking lot in Missouri.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Illinois-Oklahoma: Recap!

January 3rd.

So we aimed to leave at 8am and we left by 10 (as promised). But no worries as the Rudzinskis are excellent speeders! We hit up the World's Largest Ketchup Bottle in a very foggy Collinsville, IL where I preceded to flick off the people who stared at us as we stood as the only people taking photos in front of the bottle. We went right through St. Louis (saw a very foggy Arch) and didn't stop until the sun poked through and we found a Missouri State Park where we ran and jumped around for an hour and got our shoes all muddy. It smelled earthy and wonderful. I named my walking stick Emeril. I guess we were there too long if I was naming sticks.
We pulled off a couple of times for some photo opportunities with Teepees and giant fake Elephants and just drove and drove all the way to "The World's Best Bbq" in Springfield, MO which made everyone feel ... not so good. We made it to Tulsa, Oklahoma and crashed for the night. We briefly considered staying at a little place just outside of Tulsa called "The Elm Inn" or more affectionately known as "The Bates Motel" for $25 a night and the possibility that your car might not be there in the morning. We stayed at a Motel 6 and lived to see another day!

Yeah Starbucks!

Right now there is a woman dressed head to toe in white fake fur and a gold purse ordering eggnog at the Starbucks counter. Hello Oklahoma City! We spent the night at a chaaaarming Motel 6 last night in Tulsa, Oklahoma -- right after a $15 meal for all three of us at The World's Greatest Bbq Joint in Springfield, MO (it was a lie). The World's Largest Ketchup Bottle was AWESOME and we're having a great time!! Wooooo Route 66!!

Friday, January 2, 2009

Route 66!

I hate packing. It's definitely in my Top Ten Least Favorite Activities list. Though I have to say I did remarkably well this time and I am essentially entirely packed for the ROUTE 66 ADVENTURE 2009!! I am adventuring with my brother and sister and am really excited. Tomorrow morning Mike, Julie, and I will be heading out around 8am. Now in Rudzinski time this means 10am ... which is why I have told them we're leaving at 7am.
We have about three and half days to make it to LA: we'll be aiming to make it close to Oklahoma the first night, New Mexico the second night, and we're staying with one of my dad's friends in Phoenix on the third night -- then LLLLAAAAAA. We are on the lookout for adventure (can anyone say World's Largest Ketchup Bottle?! Sounds like adventure to me), BBQ, and embarrassing photo opportunities. We don't really know what's going to happen. It's gonna be great. I think we've done just the right amount of not really planning to make sure it's full of surprises. Which is the best kind of adventure!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Ringing Out 2008

For some reason '80s music started and dancing Kevin Bacon would have been proud of ensued in the early evening hours of New Years Eve 2008 at the Rudzinski household. My mom was downstairs completely unaware of the above photos.