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February 26, 2012

It’s been a fun week following the adventures of Kristyn Burtt as she covers the Oscars and all things related for a second year. Burtt is smart, classy, savvy and a huge(and self proclaimed) Oscar Nerd who is tracking down Oscar stories for Mingle Media TV, StarPulse and other outlets. I first “met” Kristyn when she hosted/created The Web Files and it’s been very cool to see where she’s taken things from there.

But after trying to keep up with her racing around this week (when I wasn’t at the theatre for May The Farce Be With You), today I realized that Oscar Week with Kristyn Burtt is another holiday for me.  We all grow up with annual events we are born into.  For me, it was Christmas Eve on the couch watching the Bishop’s Wife, staring at the Christmas tree lights in the dark and going outside to count the stars, New Year’s Eve with my aunt and letting her eat all the creamed herring, Easter dresses and orchids, summer swims at “the lake,” birthday pancakes and bowling, first day of school new outfits and notebooks.

But then, I think we develop our own personal calendars as we start to have more control over our schedule and choices and new people and cultures expand our worldview.  So my current holiday slate goes something like this:

Advent (month of December) with quiet, contemplative Wednesday nights at church when I can; Christmas Eve with music, Christmas tree lights (although sometimes no tree, one year there was a ladder) and still counting stars; Chinese New Year when I spend two weeks refocusing my art through the animal of the year (this year, Water Dragon*); Opening Day:  I’m a Mets fan, I’ve always been one, I love watching baseball; Opening Night: an opening night of any show I’m involved in is a celebration of effort and art and collaborators; Fourth Of July:  I am not proud of politicians, but I am proud of this country’s founding principles; Election Day:  voting is an important choice to make as a citizen and I am appalled at the low voter turnout for most elections; Thanksgiving:  when family can make it and we throw around a football and play videogames and/or Settlers of Catan; Olympics:  I enjoy the spectacle, the competition and so many of the sports you don’t often get to see; mood:  October:  Halloween has morphed into me working on something creepy scary fun for the month and it’s one of my favorite times of year, I’ve always loved the crispness in the air and the wind so often sweeping summer heat into clarity.

It’s a holiday list I’m happy to add Oscar Week with Kristyn Burtt to.  Try it yourself, start with part of a day, Oscar Sunday, and follow along on Twitter @KristynBurtt.

What holidays do you actually look forward to celebrating?  Share a new one.  I miss back to school shopping in September, but I comfort myself with not missing early am classes that much.

Oscar movies:  watched The Help tonight.  They did not hand out enough Oscar nominations to the cast.  So much excellence.  Jessica Chastain did a standout job, as well as Allison Janney.  And of course, Davis and Spencer.  I liked the movie so much more than I expected to.

Hmmm, anything else?  Oh yes, how about a #donatediversity day.  I’ve decided to encourage people (yes, you) to get their libraries to acquire (or you, yes you, donate them yourselves) copies of Kevin Keller and Hopeless Savages.  Too many stories with gay characters assume there’s a fringe element, a necessary weirdness or misery. Yes, there is the essential weirdness of growing up and discovering who you like to look at/be with/talk to, but I think we could stand to see more characters who are stable people with supportive families.  There is as wide a range of behaviors and beliefs for gay teens as for straight and I don’t think that ends up being said or represented as much as it needs to.  There is too much emphasis on the sex part of identity and picking sides. And too many suicides and graphic descriptions of suicides and gay being used as a political bludgeon for both sides in the current political wrangle.

We are all so much more than that.  I get so aggravated when people make it sound like there are separate species based on gender or sexuality or race or culture or religion.  Such assumptions undersell and disrespect the full spectrum of experience that makes up any individual.

End rant.  Thanks for stopping by. Celebrate your own personal holiday.  Make it a fun one.  Most of mine seem to tend toward the working sort, but that’s what’s working for me at the moment.  It’s always interesting to see how things (and holidays and habits) evolve.  Happy Year of The Water Dragon, whether or not you  missed the actual Lunar Festival, may it bring you many good things and interesting people.

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