I am so excited to be revisiting my blog. It’s been some time but it’s fun and so I’m going to try to get back into it – especially to document what’s happening this summer. It’s a summer of dreams coming true…. I’m directing the play PHOENIX by Scott Organ, that will star Julia Stiles and James Wirt. It’s been an amazing journey so far and it only began less than 8 weeks ago when I told Julia about my dream of her and I collaborating together on a stage production. She loved the idea and one thing led to the next and here we are, just under 6 weeks out from the beginning of performances. This is something that I’ve always wanted to do and to be able to do it with such a loving and talented group of producers, cast, designers, and new partners, is making the adrenaline surge 27 hours a day! James aka Jimmy will come out in theaters in my film BILLY BATES in November. I couldn’t be happier to be continuing our creative exploration and to continue building my company and collective initiatives with my dear partner Julie Pacino. Rian Patrick Durham was our intern once upon a time and now he is the lead producer of PHOENIX! And Burton Machen, artist and soul mate, created all the viable works that play in BILLY BATES and now he is onboard to do something special pertaining to the design of our show…and Amit Gajwani, dear friend and wickedly-awesome stylist, is pulling costumes together… it’s a family reunited and with new additions that we will get into soon…. I am so so so happy and grateful. Please stay tuned as we share our summer of dreams coming true with you! Last night was our first table read!! Please follow us on social media! @PhoenixthePlay and Like us on Facebook and definitely pre-buy your tickets at http://www.phoenixtheplay.com. We need all the support we can get and really appreciate it!! xxx Jen
HI! I found some interesting insight about the need to be right. Thought I’d share because I think we all can relate to at least some degree. Who wants to be right all the time anyway?! Better to learn and love, and move with an open heart….right?! x Jen
“Whether you point your finger in blame or extend the hand in partnership –
is only a matter of perception.” — Virginia Satir
One of life’s biggest set-ups for being lonely is living with the erroneous belief that your way is the best way of doing things and insisting others agree with you. Some people seem to have taken a life course called, How To Be Absolutely Sure of Everything! It’s like their reality testing mechanism is stuck on “It so because I think it is so.” People who feel constantly threatened and angry when others question their actions substitute being right for living a happy life. Living daily always on the defense, being in charge of the rights and wrongs of the Universe, is no fun!
Wanting and insisting on getting your own way is a set up for unhappiness. Rigidity in thinking leads to power struggles or submission from others and distancing. As Andre’ Maurois said, “Everything that is in agreement with our personal desires seems true. Everything that is not puts us in a rage.” People who are prone to anger have a set pattern of beliefs, attitudes, expectations and behaviors that insist on getting their own way. They have a strong case of the “shoulds” and “musts” for others. They believe that there is a certain way that others should act and become angry when their expectations are not met. They need to be seen as good, innocent and superior in their knowledge and how things should be done. They may use charm or anger and intimidation to get their way.
A system is two or more individuals who interact. A couple, a family, a neighborhood and our planet are all examples of systems. Systems can be put on a continuum from open to closed. In open systems, people talk and exchange ideas and feedback so the people stretch and grow. A closed system is one which keeps new information out to protect the status quo. Closed systems do not stretch because no new ideas are allowed in. The feedback loop continues the same way of thinking, precluding change and growth. The person who needs to be right all of the time is a closed system big time! He cannot allow his ideas to be challenged and shuts down input from others. People in closed systems are rarely happy. Unfortunately, the need to be right is accompanied with a rigid stance and anger. Others distance from them and they cannot experience intimacy and connection. They cannot understand why their partner is so angry with them–their rationale is that the partner should just change! They do not want to be confused with facts when their mind is made up!
The ego always acts to preserve the sense of well-being and sets up defenses to avoid feeling fragmented. Turning the problem around and blaming the other person is a defense that reduces inner tension. Putting the problem outside of one’s self brings up more feelings of self righteousness. The unwanted parts of the self are projected outward on others as an ego defense against internal feeling of anxiety that conflict brings up. In severe cases, reality is distorted, aspects of memory forgotten and fantasy created. The person assumes that others are out to do them in. Defenses protect the person’s sense of well being. Defenses keep the pseudo self-worth that has been built on self-righteous beliefs from plummeting.
People who must defend their rightness are often preoccupied with imagined shortcomings of others and perceived attacks form them. They often feel betrayed by others. They justify their criticizing and blaming others to avoid the insight that they themselves might be in error. They fear losing power and will use anger to keep others from asserting themselves. Life becomes miserable for the family because it is fear and control based.
It’s part of being human to want to have our way. We all have a touch of the need to be right and control others. We all have areas of self-righteousness where we believe that we know better than others. To the extent that this need to be right and resulting defensiveness permeates one’s life, the less connected you will be with others. It’s sad, but true, the more you have of the following characteristics of rigidity of thought, the more anger and disapproval you will get from others. An insatiable need to be right which masks a deep fear of being wrong ; A high need to expect others to see it your way ; An inability to say, “I don’t know.” and “I was wrong; Feeling threatened when new ideas come from other people ; Fear of hearing new information that threatens your beliefs ; Fear of letting go; need to be in control of self at all times ; Preoccupation with winning approval from others ; The need to always be seen as tough, powerful and strong ; Pride at always being rational and logical ; Uncomfortable with expressing sensitive feelings ; Shame and fear of being vulnerable and insecure ; Fear and severe discomfort about having bad feelings ; Believe that others who disagree with you are wrong and should “just get over it”; Use charm, anger, withdrawal or blaming to settle arguments.
I have to say that of all the movies I’ve seen this year, PHILOMENA is definitely one of the most refreshing – on a very short list. Judi Dench is such a joy to watch as she journeys around Ireland looking for her long lost son taken from her by Irish Catholic nuns in the 1950’s. Madame Dench delivers a perfect balance of heart-wrenching emotion and genius comedy. And I must add, she’s quite beautiful to watch, as well. Awards season is upon us and I will not be upset to see her win. xx Jen
Here’s a pick of Dench and the real woman Philomena Lee she portrays:
Sorry its been so long since I last wrote! A lot has been going on. Specifically, a project that Julie and I produced for the band Blinddog Smokin’. We shot a music video that I directed in New Orleans in September. It was pretty epic – shut down the streets in the French Quarter, had a crane, and all. Also, shot at a house in Treme, and all kinds of Nola things. Lately, I’ve been working in post-production to get it finished before the holidays. It will be released sometime following the start of the year with the new album for Blinddog. They’re awesome! The track we worked on also features music legends: Bobby Rush & Dr. John. Bobby has just been nominated for a ‘Best Blues Album’ Grammy at nearly 80 years old. We are so so excited for him!!! And my little angel brother Jeff manages Blinddog. We couldn’t be happier for everyone involved and we couldn’t be more honored having been a part of this project. The song/our video is called ANOTHER MURDER IN NEW ORLEANS. It sounds morbid, but its not – its actually about turning dark into light. Stay tuned!! Here’s a link to see a few pics from the shoot: http://anothermurder.tumblr.com/ …. and, tonight at 8pm EST there will be a live show by Blinddog at www.musiccityroots.com – a massive concert with other amazing artists. If you can, check it out! Luv, Jen
Excited to be gearing up for the release of our film BILLY BATES….finally- early 2014! Here’s some backstory for you (check out the video clip)…. this is the first of many stories so stay tuned for more! Its taken so much to get to this point and support from loved ones and their loved ones and on and on is the only way. Thank you … love and good vibes… xx Jen
Its crazy to think that nearly five years ago at this point, Julie and I met for the first time. Who ever would have thought that we would cross paths in Austin – a place that neither of us expected to be based for any amount of time. I was there for a movie that never ended up being shot – I was attached to direct a movie that someone else wrote and thankfully, it didn’t go anywhere. Initially, I thought I wanted it to but once it didn’t, I realized that it was a marriage that would have ended in divorce….as just around the corner, BILLY BATES stared me down and so did my future business partner Julie. She was there after her stint with UCLA softball, deciding next moves. I stayed in Austin due to the aftermath of a relationship breakup back in New York …and somehow I was able to intercept with Texan angels who made my first very own movie possible – so I got to shoot in Austin, and it was amazing. I was subletting a room from a friend of a friend who owned a deli and lo and behold, Julie was a customer at this New York-style deli. She heard from the owner that I was there shooting and she left her number on a napkin, thinking it would be cool to meet someone who’s actually making their own independent project. Little did she know that she’d be whisked away and that we would start a company and make movies together, and that life would just take over and next thing you know …… This is a testament to life’s chaotic order. xx Jen
My friend Jason Dasilva made an incredible doc thats playing at IFC. Its a fascinating take on identity and mortality and love and the unknown. A beautiful exploration of life and its challenges and the unexpected. Check out this article:
I am probably late to the party when it comes to reading David Byrne’s article about New York’s body and mind. Its really inspiring as a true account of whats going on, I must say…. I moved here after growing up mostly in Kansas, ages 7 -17. As a kid, I had become infatuated with Janis Joplin and Andy Warhol and the times that coincided. I was floating between worlds, physically in Kansas but mentally and soulfully elsewhere. I was a daydreamer always fantasizing about a time and place I would never really know but yet felt so close to….and the only place that made me feel like I could experience anything like what was happening in my mind’s eye was New York City. Of course I had no idea that I had practically missed the boat in terms of what I was fantasizing about all those years. When I arrived in New York in 2000, I was an idealist, a romantic, an optimist, bright-eyed and ready for spontaneity, creativity, serendipity, any word that embodies the feeling of being a part of a movement and a movement where money does not have to be the sole currency. I have never been anti-money and never felt as though I didn’t need it or want it. I actually was always excited to make money but specifically to make it doing what I loved and not compromising until that was happening. I was willing to build character, serve people, clean toilets, do whatever it would take in order to be someone making money doing what I loved. From the moment I set foot in New York, my blood boiled in a way I had never experienced before. It was absolutely where I was meant to be, and to that end, still is. It took me a while to realize I would never be in the New York of the 60’s, 70’s, 80’s, or even 90’s for that matter. I did get to experience Limelight. I do have a taste in my historical palette of what it means to really party in New York at a time pre-dating the isolating prices and guest lists. All kinds of people could mingle together and dance and enjoy life. But as David Byrne put it, New York is becoming more and more for the one-percenter, the rich and elite. The artists are going elsewhere, further and further away. This city has a heartbeat unlike anywhere I’ve ever been, still to this day, and I’ve been many more places at this stage than I had in 2000 upon arrival. No matter how many months I spend somewhere amazing like Brazil or Berlin, I always inevitably want to come back to New York and charge my battery to then go out and do whatever I need to anywhere in the world. I have accepted for better or for worse, that certain creative endeavors I choose to embark on or that choose me, must come to fruition somewhere other than the place I call home. In those other places its easier, its cheaper, its more organic, its fluid, there’s movement, quite possibly the movement I fantasized about sitting in my suburban hell in Kansas. I’ve accepted that it may not be in New York. I don’t know whether thats sad or exciting. I think its both. I am grateful to be globally-minded and to be able to bring my New York energy and sense of creativity to other places, and to make shit happen. Its extremely sad though, too, because the day may come when New York can’t even be home base. When its taken over by luxury condos and clubs for rich people who don’t even really live here, what will the point be? I absolutely do not want that day to come. I agree with everything David Byrne says in his article. For those who don’t know I have a small production company with my partner Julie called Poverty Row Entertainment. Poverty Row was the nickname for the studios (first being Columbia) when they struggled in the days of early Hollywood, which I found quite apropro for independence, independent filmmaking in this case. We found a gem of a space in Chinatown. Its way more expensive than it should be but way cheaper than it should be, as well. We were lucky to find it and hopefully my dream can come to fruition — a space for our friends, our collaborators, and co-creators who want to do their thing in Manhattan, and breathe life into the heartbeat that is unlike anywhere else, and hopefully help the cause. Let the mind of New York City not just live but thrive, the mind being the creative pulse, the culture, the artists, and let it be vast again. I agree with everything in David Byrne’s article. Here it is: http://creativetimereports.org/2013/10/07/david-byrne-will-work-for-inspiration/ xx Jen
One time I was sitting on a rooftop in the LBC…thats Long Beach, California for those who don’t know…where I was attempting college at the time…. This was in the mid-90’s during the high times of hip hop and Sublime. I mean people were dying all the time –Biggie, Tupac, Bradley, and it was sad but it was nonetheless a very exciting time. And during this time I imagined or maybe hallucinated but pretty sure imagined, a creature that could fly, walk, and soar deep beneath the sea. In my mind’s eye she was a merbird. She was the most evolved creature I could imagine because she could see the world from all different perspectives, literally and figuratively- the most empathetic creature on the planet, without ego. She could understand any other creature’s emotions and point of view. Truly an amazing being! After all these years, I was finally able to get someone who is very close to me to actually paint a picture of her. She’s existing now in our company’s new loft. We love her! And, Joel Bergner is the artist. Check him out! xx Jen
Whoever would have thought I’d find bliss in Mystic, Connecticut? Thats right, where the awesome Julia Roberts 80’s movie Mystic Pizza was based and filmed. An amazingly-beautiful quaint little gem two hours from New York City. Feel free to share images of paradise you’ve encountered…..
Its amazing how we’re stuck in our little bubbles all day in our own private little universes and somewhere in the world, actually many places in the world, there’s a piece of heaven…. xx Jen