I hope you’ll pardon the tardiness of today’s post, the last 24 hours have just been dedicated to all sorts of other things more important than blogging.
In a way, it’s fitting that I’ve been so distracted for the last day and a half, because today’s entry is a bit of a testament to distractions…how they can change things…and how truly wonderful they can be. If you’re familiar with this site, by now you’ve probably seen an “Everybody’s Talkin” post and perused the links that I round-up every week. This week though, it’s about two links. Not only that, but the two links in question aren’t being highlighted for what they’re saying, so much as the fact that they’ll be saying a whole lot less of it.
For starters, there’s Stevee Taylor and her site Cinematic Paradox. I was first introduced to Stevee when we both appeared on a podcast two years ago. While it took me a moment to get over the fact that I was speaking to someone about half my age, the moment passed and I was quickly impressed by Stevee’s passion and taste for film. She was – and remains – so far ahead of where I was at her age, and was not only able to speak chapter and verse about most of the newest releases, but also about a great deal of essentials.
To put it bluntly, Stevee gave me hope.
Increasingly, it seems as though the multiplexes are filled with self-obsessed teenagers. Half the time they are there to see something dumb that would be better off being ignored, the other half of the time they’re there to ignore and talk through something the rest of us are trying to watch. When Steven Soderbergh said that he feels film has lost its relevance, he was talking about the effect it has on these very teenagers.
And then there’s Stevee.
I see these gaggles of teenagers, and I think to myself that even if Stevee would be friends with them, she’d never regard a movie theatre the same way these teenagers do. I’m not just saying this because the girl needs to take a hefty drive just to get to a theatre, I say it because Stevee is obviously a devout follower of the Cinematic Religion, and every theatre is like setting foot into church.
Beyond her passion and taste, Stevee has also done great things to keep me grounded. It’s no secret that I’ve gotten into my share of comment wars and Twitter fights over the years. Sometimes when these go further than they should, Stevee has chimed in and pointed out how upsetting and disappointing the situation is in her eyes. Whenever this has happened, it’s felt like the kid sister I never had has told me that I’ve let her down. It’s usually the wake-up call I need to be better, and she provides it without even directing it at me.
Her site has been a joy to read, and her enthusiasm is hard to match. She is about to begin a particularly busy stretch of school, and as such needs to focus her energy elsewhere. There are people around the world who are drawn to one thing about her, but it’s one thing of many, and a thing that needs to be put aside for a while.
Stevee, if you ever decide to start writing about film again, there will be a lot of people who will want to hear what you have to say. If you don’t, we’ll all be proud of how you’ve gone on to do bigger and more important things than discuss movies.
At the same moment that Stevee is stepping away from her keyboard, Rachel Thuro and Jess Rogers at Reel Insight are stepping away from their mics.
In 2010, the brains behind two separate websites got together and launched a joint-effort-podcast. Knowing both of these women from their individual sites, I was intrigued to hear them assemble like proverbial Avengers. All the more intriguing was the podcasting chemistry they had even though they’d never met face-to-face (trust me, it’s not a guarantee). Take all of that, and underline it with the fact that the sausage-fest world of podcasting was getting a much-needed infusion of estrogen, and you have the makings of legend.
That fall, I was lucky enough to be invited on the show for the James Franco episode. I was impressed with their skills behind a mic, and how welcoming they were to me, and sat there thinking that I seldom had that much fun podcasting. Then, when the red “recording” light was turned off and we all just started shooting the shit, I was further impressed with how genuine they both were with someone they barely knew. The morning had a massive amount of honesty to it, something I rarely find in the people I interact with every day…let alone people I don’t know.
Thus began two friendships I hold dear.
Both Rachel and Jess have been deeply supportive of everything I have done, and have been go-to’s for anything and everything that have crossed my mind. The three of us have different tastes and are never shy about poking each other’s weak spot, and from my perspective, I am so much the better for it. They’ve pointed me towards great things, and given me a smack upside the head whenever I’ve deserved it. The three of us come from very different backgrounds and have very different lives, and yet this common bond of cinema makes me feel that we are all very much the same.
Since that James Franco episode, Reel Insight has been my go-to. It’s been the podcast that plays in my ear as I commute into work, and has kept me company through many a round of dull data entry. They’ve made me laugh, made me yell in disagreement, and always entertained me.
Something tells me that undeterred, Jess and Rachel would be podcasting until rapture. However, they finally have been deterred – and deterred for the best possible reason: Rachel has just given birth to her second daughter, Zoe. They’ve said that the written work will continue, but that the podcast and the commitments it entails (which are hefty) are on indefinite hiatus. It’s better than the alternative of course, but at the same time, I will miss those two voices in my ear and listening as they unleash their goofiness every other week.
We live in an age where we all stay connected, so none of these women are truly “going away”…but in every case, things are about to change. For Stevee, Jess, and Rachel, the archives of their work will serve as the indelible mark that they were here, and for people like me, they will remain as beacons that they might someday return. They might indeed return, they might not.
Whatever all three of them choose to do, I for one feel all the richer that I call them my friends.