Sunday, November 3, 2019

Fall Back, Spring into Winter Blues, and how to stay sane when the days are short...

Hi Santa Monica,
it's Analisa, again. Excited to say be saying hello from my second full week in the residency. I'd been wondering what I was going to tell you all about, what news I'd report from the art corner of the Beach House, and I figured this week I'd spend a little time talking about how to stay inspired in the winter. Now, I have many "East Coast" friends (and I use quotes because many of those people are transplants to that coast), who claim that winter doesn't happen in Los Angeles. I beg to differ. Winter does happen, here. And okay, sure, it doesn't get that cold (though I'd challenge any self-proclaimed East Coaster to walk dogs before sunrise and not wear at least a fleece). But the time does change-- as it did last night-- and though for one day we wake up feeling fat with sleep, what we get in return is several months of early nightfall. It gets dark early and often, and with that comes The Cloak of seasonal depression, wrapping itself around me like a chenille boa constrictor (according to Psychology Today, 10million people are affected by seasonal affective disorder annually, if you were looking for a number). As The Cloak wraps itself around me, I find it harder and harder to keep working past 4pm, and easier and easier to throw myself into a volcano of anxiety over the lack of daylight/ perceived lack of TIME to do all the things I have to do before bedtime. The one thing that's been saving me recently: Drag. Drag in all its forms, from what most folks might think of (RuPaul, the Birdcage), to what some of the incredible drag performers of LA are doing currently (if you're interested, I highly recommend seeing Drag Brunch at the Lyric Hyperion, or going to Exposure Drag at the Offbeat Bar).

On occasion, these chilly, dark evenings make me not want to leave my home. On those nights, I take comfort in the drag I can find on the world wide web. So without any more fuss, here's a list of the best Drag I've watched this week:

"Tipping the Velvet" - this is a BBC miniseries about male impersonators of the Victorian Era music halls... the writing is hit or miss, and we get some moments of grueling, turn of the century melodrama (the protagonist is down on her luck! she's starving and bleeding and unable to find even a spoonful of porridge!)... but I dare anyone not to fall in love with Kitty Butler as played by Keeley Haws, who folks might now know as the Home Secretary (may she rest in peace) from Netflix's Bodyguard (also spoiler alert for that, sorry)

The Birdcage- do I need to explain this one? Nathan Lane is a true vision in this, but upon rewatching, Robin Williams' performance is subtly gut wrenching and extremely grounded. After all, he's just a father willing to do anything for his son, including putting on his own drag king act in order to be convincing as a hyper masculine "cultural attaché to Greece," a job about which, to this day, I know absolutely nothing.

Some Like It Hot- again, doesn't need an explanation nor an endorsement from me... but I'd offer this. Two "no good musicians" find their humanity not just because they're asked to dress as women, but because women of the day were expected to perform their femininity daily-- and I would argue that Marilyn Monroe is just as much in drag as Tony Curtis when it comes to performing gender.

Victor/Victoria - it surprised me that this came out in 1982, because it's both a throwback and incredibly relevant. At one point, Julie Andrew's character says, "I'm not sure I want to stop being a man." It's worth it for that line, alone. And for James Garner, who is the visual equivalent of a hug from your high school crush.

More to come on this list as my time in the residency progresses. And always excited to hear some suggestions, and curious to see if anyone who hasn't seen these will reach out -- remember, it's @anirayflo on twitter and ig. Until then, happy fall back into the time of short days and cozy nights.
Siempre, Analisa

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