cinema under the stars (and a really big moon)

,,and if Tropfest NY isn't enough for you, here's a supermoon to push things over the top!

Whenever I hear the phrase 'film festival', my mind is filled with thoughts of highly intellectual and esoteric cinema that can only be appreciated by people who use the word 'cinema' on a regular basis.  But my personal movie preference leans toward presentations that involve any combination of gunfire, aliens, explosions and shirtless heartthrobs. So when I registered to attend the free Tropfest NY short film festival it was only due in part to my curiosity about the actual films. My main incentive was the opportunity to see Liev Schreiber (this year's host) in the flesh.

With low expectations, and a burning desire to take advantage of a rare sunny day, I packed up a little picnic and headed to Prospect Park with my sweetie to check out some film (and Liev Schreiber).

Because I had an early-morning commitment, we were only able to stay for the first eight films (there were sixteen finalists in all) but I was really surprised by how much I enjoyed every single one we saw.  They were funny, poignant, clever and highly entertaining, even without explosions and heartthrobs and stuff. I'm definitely adding this one to my annual summer 'must do' list and if Tropfest ever comes to a location near you, I strongly urge you to do the same.

I wonder if next year's host will be as cute as Liev Schreiber...


it's just like riding a bicycle

I feel rather envious of the people who never come to the realization that nostalgia can be a dangerous thing.

For most of my childhood, mid-year school holidays involved endless hours spent on my bicycle (a purple Chopper with orange lettering, a banana seat, basket AND tassels) zipping back and forth on the 4-block stretch that was my street.  Being profoundly chicken-hearted even back then, I rarely ventured beyond the confines of that quiet strip, and I look back in amazement at how I was able to while away so much time in so small a place.  I remember the warm sun on my shoulders, and the wind whipping through my hair, and having not a care in the world.

So, when the long-awaited Citibike scheme finally came to fruition in New York, I was among the very first to sign up, eager to relive those carefree days of my childhood.  Last weekend, I had my first opportunity to hop on one of these blue behemoths, and let's just say things didn't go quite as planned.

I had envisioned myself coasting along Brooklyn streets, enjoying the scenery and garnering looks of admiration from pedestrians.  Instead, I discovered that after 30+ years out of the saddle, I had absolutely no idea how to ride a bike.

I wasn't completely unprepared for this, as I'd had the fairly recent experience of failing to stay upright on a very rickety rental bike down the Jersey Shore.  I blamed the problem on the bike at the time, and settled for an equally rickety three-wheeler, even though I knew, deep down, that my cycling abilities had gone the way of my youth.

However, spurred on by my enthusiastic sweetheart (and the thought that I had spent $100 on annual membership) I resolved to give the whole cycling thing another try.  We found ourselves a relatively quiet side street and engaged in a session of 'Cycling 101'.  I won't bore you with the details, but I will say there were attempts, failures, adjustments, readjustments, words of encouragement, expletives and in the end, a tiny bit of progress.  I eventually managed to stay upright and in a somewhat straight line for about 30 feet.  And since my free ride time was about to expire at that point, we declared the lesson a moderate success.

I have no doubt there will be many more lessons before I'm capable of navigating a busy bike path in a responsible manner, and I won't even dare to speculate about riding in NYC traffic, but I will most definitely persevere.  One way or another, I'll get back in the saddle!