Year in Review: Shooting My Mouth Off in 2020, Part 1

What a year. Hard to say “the worst” because I was at least somewhat mentally stable during 2020, but this year was an assault. An assault after a couple of years of exhausting assault. It was an assault on us globally, on my country nationally – and the assault continues personally, it has been a horrific year for my family. I also don’t think the loss of my Film Comment column – which feels like it happened 10 years ago – has fully sunk in. I miss it so much. I have lost a lot this year. I can’t even mourn it all at once. It’s too much. But still, I have done work this year. Work I’m proud of. And often under very difficult circumstances. So. Here’s some of the shit I wrote this year. Thank you to all who continue to show up here and engage with what I write. It’s an oasis, this community here. I appreciate you all!

This is not just to show off my writing – lol – but also to point your way towards films you might have missed – the world being what it is. There’s so much out there, who can even see it all.

I’m going to post a Part 2, highlighting some of the pieces I’ve written here on my site. There’s some new stuff! I used my quarantine isolation to write up new “birthday posts” of people I realized I hadn’t written about at all – OR people I felt I needed to learn more about and researching and writing the post was the way I did it. A couple of personal essays too, which I don’t really do anymore, but this year was … different. Amirite? Anyway, part 2 to come.

My “Present Tense” column at Film Comment

At least I got to do my column for a year. At least it’s a nice healthy archive, and not just one or two pieces. For the first column of this year, a year I already faced with dread and loathing, it being an election year, I wrote about the most cynical comedy in American cinema, Robert Zemeckis’ and Bob Gale’s Used Cars.

Up until Flight, 32 years later, Used Cars was the only R-rated movie Zemeckis directed, and it earns that R the old-fashioned way, with gratuitous nudity and nonstop profanity, not to mention a profoundly anti-social attitude.

I wrote about Maryam Shahriar’s extraordinary Daughters of the Sun, so far her only film. She got into trouble for it with the censors in Iran. Seek it out.

As Dave Kehr pointed out in his piece on the film for The New York Times, this is not an Iranian Boys Don’t Cry (even though it was billed as such). Much is left unspoken. In one extraordinary scene, late at night in the empty workshop, Aman puts on a flowered skirt left there by one of the workers. It’s a moment of transgression: she glories in the now-forbidden sensation of a skirt. So, you see, it’s complex.

Nick Nolte is one of the great American actors, and I paid tribute to him in the column,

The aforementioned television series Graves starts with a closeup of Nolte staring at himself in the mirror. His face looks ravaged, like his insides are on the outside, and his eyes gleam out of the wreckage with icy-blue intensity. This is a man who has done much harm, and he is no longer able to live with himself. There’s the terrifying moment in Affliction (1997) where he stands in the middle of the street, arms flung out on both sides, his head flopped down on one of his shoulders. Cars beep at him. He stands so still it almost seems like it’s a freeze-frame, giving the moment a Gothic aspect. He’s a gargoyle, frozen in some grimace of unnameable horror.

For the 40th anniversary of the “miracle on ice”, I wrote about one of my pet obsessions, which long-time readers are very familiar with, the “miracle on ice” event, and the 2004 movie Miracle, starring Kurt Russell as Herb Brooks. The lack of critical recognition of Kurt Russell’s performance in particular calls into question the judgment/taste of the critical community. If you don’t recognize the greatness of what he did here, then I’m not sure what you’re even doing as a critic. Judging from the Twitter response to this column, I’m not alone in feeling this way.

And so O’Connor and Russell were left to imagine what Brooks was doing as the team celebrated on the ice. The moment in the film is worth the price of admission, and Russell does it all without closeups. He doesn’t need them. The sensation of triumph is so pure, so enormous, his body can’t contain it. In a career of wonderful moments, the scene in the shadowy tunnel beneath the rink, all by himself, is Russell’s finest.

It was a privilege to pay tribute to director Martha Coolidge.

Duvall goes as deep as he has ever gone, experiencing layers of painful self-reckoning, before admitting—devastated with himself—that he was wrong. I was able to ask Coolidge about that moment when the film screened at Ebertfest, and she said Duvall did the moment just once: “It was definitive.”

There was a flurry of great Jean Arthur pieces that came out around the same time. Criterion was paying tribute to her on their channel. I added my voice to the fray, and mainly homed in one element of this great actress – one of my favorite actresses – her distinctive voice.

There’s the famous scene in the bar when, wasted, she proposes to Thomas Mitchell. Playing out in one take, Arthur sloshes around in her drunkenness, her voice lilting even more than usual, displaying sadness, anger, frustration, before she draws herself up, drunkenly indignant, “Sayyyyy, who started all this?” This scene may very well be Jean Arthur’s finest hour. Howard Hawks said it was “one of the best love scenes that I’ve ever seen in a picture”. Capra was so impressed he said, “I defy any other actress to play that scene.”

I wrote about a long-time fave, and a movie I’ve only seen a handful of times, due to its unavailability – at least the version I saw – Emir Kusturica’s Arizona Dream, starring Johnny Depp, Faye Dunaway, Lili Taylor, Jerry Lewis, and Vincent Gallo. I MEAN.

Arizona Dream is informed by Kusturica’s outsider stance: his vision of America is a place of neon cactuses, wide open spaces, yellow desert, giant moons, pink Cadillacs, just like the onJe Elvis—the ultimate American symbol—had. In one scene, it looks like Axel and Paul emerge from New York’s Lincoln Tunnel directly into the Arizona desert, as opposed to New Jersey. And maybe America feels that way from the outside. The symbols of America are mythic and poetic through the lens of a man who hails from an area burdened by history, a country crowded in by other countries (Arizona Dream was shot in 1991, just as war erupted in the former Yugoslavia.) In Arizona Dream’s America, the sky can’t be the limit because the sky itself is limitless.

This would be my final Film Comment column, even though I didn’t know it at the time. (Who knows. Film Comment may still come back, but … who knows.) I had a couple of others in the pipeline when the word came down. At any rate, I’m glad I went out writing about this beautiful film, filled with the warmth and joy of totally-flawed humanity, Jonathan Demme’s Citizens Band.

Maybe we should be kinder towards other people’s fantasies. Maybe we should cut people some slack. The blinding light of reality 24/7 is no great shakes. The people of Union have a lot of reality to deal with: economic hard times, frustration, broken hearts, the universal stuff of life. Their CB call handles are protective coloring, but, as Kabuki masters know: the mask may conceal but it also reveals.

Also for Film Comment

I wrote a couple of things for the magazine, not online. I wrote about Eliza Hittman’s incredible Never Sometimes Rarely Always (which was just awarded Best Actress and Best Screenplay by the NYFCC). I wrote about Bombshell. I wrote about the DVD release of The Prince of Tides. There might be more.

But the biggest one, the one that took years off of my life – and I pitched the damn thing! – was an article about the Modernist poet H.D. and little-known short time writing film criticism for the film magazine she co-founded in the late 1920s. I am really proud of this piece.

Yet connections to cinema predate H.D.’s involvement with her Close Up collaborators. She was always interested in different angles of seeing, of shifting perspectives, of montage, of what we would now call “dissolves.” H.D.’s poetry is so filled with references to light that in reading it, you might feel the urge to reach for sunglasses.

Criterion Booklet Essays

I was honored to be asked to write two booklet essays for two wildly different Criterion releases, which came out back to back. So, yeah. I was BUSY. Moving from soldiers to ballerinas and back.

I wrote the booklet essay for The Great Escape, one of the funner research projects I’ve ever been assigned. And I adore this movie, so I loved watching it over and over again as I wrote the piece.

When Hilts, the “cooler king,” a veteran of seventeen escape attempts who is reluctant at first to join the “committee’s” plan for a mass escape, is brought back to the camp after yet another failed try, one POW says to another, “I didn’t think they’d catch him so soon.” The reply: “He’s not caught.”

It was an honor to write about Dance, Girl, Dance, starring Lucille Ball and Maureen O’Hara, directed by Dorothy Arzner, the only female director under contract during the studio era. There were a lot of “firsts” with her. It’s a wonderful movie.

Dance, Girl, Dance doesn’t have a love triangle, it has a love square, which then morphs into a love pentagon. And a love pentagon downgrades love’s importance, giving space to all kinds of other subjects. There’s a tension here between low art and high art, burlesque and ballet, that reflects the revolution going on in modern dance at the time, the push-pull between tradition and the new. The film ends not with a man and a woman falling into each other’s arms but with two very different women coming to a deeper understanding of their friendship and themselves.


I can’t say enough good things about The Assistant. And a first feature, no less, from director Kitty Green. My review here.

Green maintains strict control over how she tells the story, and it’s really something to behold. By imposing limits—through the narrow point of view, through never succumbing to the impulse to explain or underline or even show—Green reveals herself to be a narrative filmmaker of considerable power.

Angela Schanelec’s I Was at Home, But… is one of the more fascinating movie-viewing experiences I’ve had this year. I dug it.

Things don’t fit together neatly (or at all). Even time is parsed out in strange ways: it’s truncated or elongated or it stands still entirely. It’s almost like the film itself blacks out periodically, and wakes up some time later, having no idea what happened in the intervening hours.

Another amazing first feature, this one a new adaptation of Jane Austen’s Emma., directed by Autumn de Wilde. I really loved it. I’ve probably seen it 4 times since then. Not sure what it’s tapping into, but I’m also not sure that that matters.

The needle drops—of traditional English songs thrumming over the green landscape—are perfectly placed, and all of it pours into the thematic and textual concerns of the film, highlighting not only the artificiality of Regency society (its pretensions, colors and textures) but the swirling undercurrents of human feeling, which the surfaces desperately try to hide and/or suppress. The hats perched on women’s heads look like giant predatory birds.

2020 has been a year of absolutely extraordinary first features from new directors. This work is personal, eccentric, bold, confident, betraying no amateur flubs or uncertainty. The Assistant, Emma. and Saint Frances, from Alex Thompson. It’s a small story, with a cliched plot structure, but the way things play out is not at all cliched. And Kelly O’Sullivan, who also wrote the screenplay, is amazing in the lead role.

So many films offer up pre-packaged easily-digestible ideas, with risk-averse empowerment messages. It’s truly refreshing to watch a film where nobody has anything figured out, where life proceeds messily and imperfectly. “Saint Frances” is unpredictable in a very human way.

I really like Gavin O’Connor’s work (see the piece on Miracle up above), and The Way Back, I thought, was excellent. Ben Affleck is very personal here. It’s not easy to be personal (or at least I imagine it’s not) when everyone has their knives out at the ready to cut you down, mock you, criticize you. He delivers. And I’m proud of the closing paragraphs of the review.

Affleck is in a very personal zone here. When he gets angry, there’s something still bottled up in his beet-red face. There’s no catharsis in his rage; it remains poison in his veins. There’s also a thrumming sense of self-pity in him, so accurate if you’ve ever known any addicts. Affleck does not shy away from the character’s unpleasantness. He’s right in it, with the man’s flaws and failures.

The timing of this piece on Supernatural is so strange. I wrote it as the series was nearing its end, with only a handful of episodes to go before the finale, the end of a 15-year run. The piece was published on March 11. I went into self-quarantined lockdown on March 15. I should have been quarantined, as we all should have, two months before. But REGARDLESS. I had no idea when this piece went up that everything was about to change, and I certainly had no idea that the entire show business industry would shut down at the same time. Supernatural locked itself down shortly after this piece went up. No more filming for months. The finale put off. They hadn’t even filmed the final two episodes. We were in limbo for months, wondering … how this would all play out. Anyway, the finale did just air, and all finished up, but in the meantime, way back in March, I paid tribute to Supernatural, a show I hold very VERY dear.

Ackles and Padalecki are two of the best-kept secrets in show business. Neither reached for the brass ring of wider cultural fame. They recognized the value of “Supernatural,” as the unbelievable gift of being given the space to develop and investigate the same characters over 15 years. Their careers have more in common with the actors in the old Hollywood studio system than the careers of their contemporaries. Actors like John Wayne, Gary Cooper, Humphrey Bogart, brought to the table specific personalities, essences, but it is a mistake to say “they just played themselves.” What they did was explore those essences, subtly and with great skill, over 30, 40 years of a career. This is the gift Ackles and Padalecki have accepted (and created).

The Vast of Night is in my Top 10 of 2020. Another first feature. Mind-blowing. SEE IT.

“The Vast of Night” is not just a stylistic exercise. It is not ironic in tone, and it doesn’t have quotation marks around the genre. The tail-finned cars, the saddle shoes, the cat-eye glasses, the Sputnik references, place us in time, but the period is not belabored and/or condescended to. Instead, what we get is a thickness of atmosphere and texture, a strange and eerie mood, and affection for the characters we meet.

Josephine Decker is one of my favorites of this new up-and-coming batch of directors. I have been intrigued from the start, with two films that weren’t even released, but I managed to see. Shirley is Decker’s latest, with Elizabeth Moss as Shirley Jackson.

Jackson wrote about ghosts, haunted houses … but she also wrote about the claustrophobia of small village life and the treachery among women. Facing down ghosts is child’s play compared to facing down a group of gossiping judgmental housewives. Josephine Decker understands this kind of dynamic on a very deep level, and brings it to bear in “Shirley,” her most ambitious film to date.

ANOTHER amazing first feature: Babyteeth, from Australian director Shannon Murphy, with an amazing cast: Essie Davis, Ben Mendelsohn, and Eliza Scanlen – who is having, understatement, a hell of a year. Shannon Murphy directed. I’ve watched it a couple of times since I reviewed it and it continues to satisfy. See it!

“Babyteeth” avoids almost every cliche you might expect in this kind of material. Henry and Anna don’t forbid Milla to see Moses. Moses is their daughter’s first love, as ridiculous a choice as he may seem. Milla might not live to adulthood, and they don’t want to deny her the experience. At one point, Henry and Anna stand in the kitchen, watching Milla and Moses wrestle in the back yard, and Anna drones, “This is the worst possible parenting I can imagine.”

The documentary Suzi Q, about pioneering glam-rock star Suzi Quatro, sent me down a rabbit hole of Suzi Q, listening to her albums, and re-discovering her. “Devil’s Gate Drive” is on constant rotation. I’m sorry this came out when it did. Quatro had planned a tour, to go along with the movie release … it had to be postponed, of course. Once this virus is handled, I am going to see this woman live.

A woman in black leather has a certain connotation (Barbarella), and a man in black leather has another (Elvis). Suzi Quatro’s entire career as a rock star could be viewed, then, as holding up a middle finger to that perceived difference. Barbarella is fine, but not if you want to be a rock star, and Suzi Quatro always—always—wanted to be a rock star.

Broken record: another amazing directorial debut (lots of women on this list too!), this time from Natalie Erika James. Relic is a haunted-house movie. It freaked me the fuck out. And it’s also a really insightful movie about dementia. Painful.

Edna’s fears are legitimate: there is something in the house that is not right at all. Yet she isn’t listened to, because the elderly in general aren’t listened to. They’re condescended to, dismissed, or ignored. Edna’s loneliness, her terrors, are all interpreted as signs of dementia. But maybe Edna is the only one who really knows what’s going on. When she asks, quivering with fear, “Where’s everyone?” she has the firmest grasp on her own reality than any of the women in the house.

Broken record again: Palm Springs, a directorial debut from Max Barbakow, is fantastic! It seems at first like it might be just ripping off Groundhog Day, but it really is its own thing. I loved it so much.

“Palm Springs” is genuinely romantic, in a way that (sadly) feels old-fashioned (but isn’t). People get bruised by past experiences in love, they barricade themselves off from hurt. This becomes a habit, and the habit then becomes your personality. “Wait until the right person comes along” assumes that people stay as open and vulnerable as they were when they were young. But when you’ve been knocked around by life, love is not necessarily a 100% positive experience. Love comes with other painful things attached: regret, fear, mistrust. “Palm Springs” explores it all.

Karen Maine’s Yes, God, Yes was a breath of fresh air.

It’s baffling that “Yes, God, Yes” was saddled with an R rating. There’s no nudity, no tough language, nothing exploitative or racy. This is a sweet sincere film about a girl getting all twisted up because of the mixed messages passed down to her. There’s nothing here that would shock a teenager. On the contrary: there is much here that would say to a teenage girl: “You probably think you’re all alone in feeling like this. Good news: you’re not.”

Amy Seimetz’s She Dies Tomorrow was one of my top films of the year. I’m not a big list person, and I am generally opposed to ranking – although I understand why it exists – but this film was one of the most moving and unnerving experiences of the year. Amy Seimetz and I were both jurors at the 2018 Indie Memphis Film Festival, and I got to moderate a panel where she participated. She’s so smart, such a go-getter, such a fresh talent.

Fear is present in every visual choice Seimetz makes: the camera placements are alarming, with sudden shifts of perspective. The camera moves to floor level or peeks through a partially closed door. The style is experimental yet coherent. “She Dies Tomorrow” jumps back and forth in time with no warning, skips from night to day and back, and although sometimes this technique is unnecessarily distracting and self-conscious, it adds to the feeling of disintegration, everything breaking down: norms, linear time, relationships.

Another first feature, this time from writer-director Dean Kapsalis. The Swerve is an incredible film, and Azura Skye gave one of my favorite performances of the year. It’s gotten a bit lost in the shuffle, so I definitely want to point this one out and urge you strongly to see it.

When Holly eats a piece of apple pie, alone in her kitchen, her lips jerk back, baring her teeth which then clang on the fork. It’s ferocious, animal fangs, fury now out in the open. In such details great performances are made and this is a great performance.

A Call to Spy is a fascinating movie about the “lady spies” of WWII. It’s long. But it didn’t FEEL long. And that is HIGH praise.

It takes a dedicated researcher to sniff out those stories, since there’s no huge fingerprint of research to rely on. This is what Sarah Megan Thomas has done with “A Call to Spy,” an excellent historical drama detailing the experiences of the “lady spies” recruited into England’s Special Operations Executive (SOE) during WWII. Directed by Lydia Dean Pilcher, with script by Thomas (who also produced, as well as plays one of the lead roles), “A Call to Spy” is an engrossing and often thrilling spy drama, and a tribute to this courageous and diverse group of women.

What a treat The Life Ahead was, starring Sophia Loren, and directed by her son, Edoardo Ponti. It’s so good to see her in a role so right for her, a role she can sink into. Legend.

The fear going into the film was that it would not be worthy of her. Thankfully, it is.

Collective was the best documentary of the year. It’s a front-row seat to the investigation into government corruption in the health care sector in Romania. Something’s not rotten in the state of Romania. The whole thing is rotten. Haven’t stopped thinking about it since I saw it.

“Collective” is a great movie about how a free and independent press holds power to account, and calls out hypocrisy and venality. It’s illuminating that a sports daily would head up this investigation, and not a mainstream news outlet.

Lawrence Michael Levine’s Black Bear was great. Aubrey Plaza is out-of-this-world in it, but everyone’s good. It was hard to write about without spoilers, but I did my best.

The surface of life in these films, and in “Black Bear,” is often banal, polite, obnoxiously liberal and literate, while underneath roars a river of unmanageable “unacceptable” feelings like rage and envy. Social niceties conceal chaos.

I was almost surprised at how much I loved Wander Darkly, starring Sienna Miller and Diego Luna. But it’s a deeply moving film about mortality and love.

Matteo and Adrienne wander in and out of their memories, and they re-enact the memories, while simultaneously discussing them. It’s such a poignant approach. It mirrors how the brain works, and how memories operate: time collapses, there’s no object permanence, memories overtake the senses, locations collapse.


For a new site, New York 1920, I wrote about Oscar Micheaux’s film Within Our Gates, which had its premiere in Harlem in 1920.

2020 In Memoriam

These pieces are all written my site, usually within a couple of hours after hearing that somebody passed. There are many I probably missed, since sometimes I can’t get to it in time. Life … you know. Some of these are not really in-depth, but I still felt I had something to say, even briefly.

For Max von Sydow, I mean, what do you even say?

I saw one headline that read “Max von Sydow from ‘The Game of Thrones’ has died.” Nothing about The Seventh Seal? No? Okay, okay.

Wonderful author Patricia Bosworth died of Covid in April. She was working on a new book. I’m angry. Her books have been so important to me and so many – her Montgomery Clift bio, her short Marlon Brando bio – she’s an Actors Studio lifetime member (I’ve met her on numerous occasions), so she knows her stuff. But her two memoirs too! One of my favorite non-fiction writers. I will miss her.

Bosworth always approached her subjects understanding that life is complex and people are complex. She didn’t put people on pedestals in the first place, so she didn’t feel the need to go around tearing them down. And yet she also knew, without a shadow of a doubt because she lived it, she saw it, she experienced it, that some people are, let’s say, more special than others. And so in her books she dug into why. What made Clift stand out? What was it about him? Because everybody felt it. She was interested in how people worked. She understood the problems of the creative process, and she understood that understanding “how someone works” is critical and you have to get a handle on it if you want to be a writer.

Irish poet Eavan Boland, a giant on the often very clogged landscape of Irish literature, died at the end of April. The tributes ranged far and wide, a heartening thing to see.

While there have always been Irish women writers, more often than not, Irish women are the subject of the literature, rather than the creators. Historically, it’s a macho field. (That’s changed and THEN some. Some of the best books I’ve read in the last 10 years have been by Irish writers who happen to be women.) Boland was one of the pioneering voices who changed all that.

We lost something precious and irreplaceable when Little Richard died in early May. I’ve written a lot of posts about him on my site, but that’s just a small tribute to the magnitude of who he was and what he did. It’s the connection to the PAST that I mourn. Although we’ll always have his music. Attention must be paid.

Little Richard gave us “A-Bop-A-Loo-Bop-A-Lop-Bam-Boom.” You can’t even believe someone even made that up. It seems like it was IN us somehow from the start. But it WASN’T. Little Richard gave it to us.

A month later, Bonnie Pointer died.

As the other sisters said about her, Bonnie was the fearless one, the one who stayed out til dawn dancing while the rest of them slept in the hotel, the one who had the vision first, who knew what she wanted to do, who created the space in which to do it, with the no-limits parameter: “We want to sing everything.”

Great actor Ian Holm died in June. My piece focuses on his cold-as-ice performance in Woody Allen’s Another Woman.

Ken is a void. And so what does it say about Marion that this kind of man – a married man no less – is the kind of man she would choose? She chose KEN over warm sexy Gene Hackman. It’s so revealing, and it’s revealing because of how Holm plays it.

Linda Manz died in August – on Elvis’ birthday, no less – a propos since her character in Out of the Blue – her best role – had an Elvis shrine in her bedroom. It’s hard to even say how important Linda Manz is – and was – to me. She was one of those people who got under my skin early. I wrote a little bit about that in my piece about her.

She was a role model to me when I was a weird scrappy tomboy kid, filled with ambivalence about being born a girl – ambivalence I couldn’t of course name or even speak about, but I remember it very clearly. I didn’t NOT want to be a girl, but I didn’t want being a girl to LIMIT me. And I sensed those limits very VERY young. I can’t even express how important Linda Manz was in this aspect. Then, when I got serious about acting, I realized: Wow. This CHILD is one of the best actors I’ve ever seen.

It still doesn’t seem quite real that Chadwick Boseman is dead. In this year alone, he appeared in Spike Lee’s Da 5 Bloods (for which we at the NYFCC awarded him Best Supporting Actor), and in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom – two extraordinary performances. It’s such a loss.

I am mournful to think of what might have been and I am in awe of the courage he showed in battling cancer while he was doing all this, knowing his time was limited. I mean, everyone has limited time on this planet, but it’s easy to ignore it when you’re healthy. He knew.

Songstress, activist, and symbol of a generation and its liberation movements, Helen Reddy died in September.

“I Am Woman” is fine as a self-empowerment anthem. “Leave Me Alone” gets down to brass tacks. Here is what we face on a daily basis and here is what I have to say about it: LEAVE ME AL

Irish poet Derek Mahon died in October. I’ve loved his work for a long time.

He has been writing poetry for most of his life, and there are many great poems to choose from but “A Disused Shed in Co. Wexford” is one of Ireland’s most beloved poems.

There are other lengthier and better tributes (the best one is by Doreen St. Felix in The New Yorker), but I did want to pay tribute to his work with the USO. So I did.

He’s been working with the USO from the jump, going on constant tours to war zones and bases around the world. Some of the soldiers he met during these tours would eventually become contestants on the show. You never heard much about these tours, did you. He didn’t publicize his work with the USO. That’s not why he did it.

If you didn’t follow Chuck Yeager on Twitter, you need to ask yourself what you’re doing with your life. Twitter is terrible, we can all agree on that. But people like Yeager make Twitter – almost single-handedly – worth it. I wrote a small tribute, focusing on Tom Wolfe’s fascination with Yeager’s voice over the radio, how calm and cool it was. Chuck Yeager was representative of something, a rare quality, a rare symbolic significance, that still has resonance. We will always need people to push back different sound barriers, to not be afraid to go past the known world.

No matter the crisis, Yeager’s voice over the mic was always the same. Cool. Calm. No-big-deal. This was not “fake it til you make it”, this was not “fight through the fear”, this was not an act, in other words. It was something else. All people are created equal but we are NOT all the same and Yeager – and his ilk – were a different breed. Wolfe wanted to understand why.

Icon. I tried to do right by her in my tribute.

Not every dancer could get into Fosse’s twisted headspace. Empty Fosse moves are not Fosse moves. For Reinking it was natural. But it was not just the dancing that made her so great. Or her LEGS, as awesome as they were. It was about the look in her eyes. The look is not “come hither” and it’s not “stay back”. It’s BOTH, simultaneously. Mixed messages are totally Fosse, and she projects both like a klieglight.

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2 Responses to Year in Review: Shooting My Mouth Off in 2020, Part 1

  1. carolyn clarke says:

    I haven’t finished this huge, complicated piece yet and it will probably take me days but I had to stop and comment on that first paragraph. “…somewhat stable..?!

    Woman, given the sh**show that this year has been and your own personal losses, this whole column with the amount of density and detail and depth is an absolute miracle and glorious to boot. I don’t know your whole history because it is none of my business. But your writing is a blessing and I commend you.

    • sheila says:

      Carolyn – thank you!!
      It was a good year for writing – AND it was a port in a storm for me, in the crazy storm of this year that we all experienced!

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