It’s been a while. March and April were a whirlwind. February too.

— I worked on this. It was a challenging one, and a little different for me. I loved the challenge.

— Michael messaged me (you know. Michael. This Michael.) when he heard the news about After Hours and he was flipping out. It’s his favorite movie of all time. I asked him “Did we talk about that ever??” He said he didn’t think we did. Imagine the weirdness of this. Our relationship is so strange and special. We were CHILDREN when we “went out” (I mean, not literally, but, whatever.), and here we are, still in touch, and I am hired by Criterion to write the booklet essay for his favorite movie. It’s perfect.

— Speaking of Michael, he wrote Dungeons and Dragons: Honor Among Thieves! There were all these red carpet pictures of him and I’m super proud. When it opened at the theatre down the street for me, there was a line down the block of D&D fans, all dressed up, waiting to see it. I sent Michael a pic.

— I went to Ebertfest. It’s been years because of the pandemic. It was a last-minute decision. I decided to go for multiple reasons. 2023 is my 10-year anniversary going to Ebertfest – the same way it was my 10-year anniversary going nuts in Memphis and getting diagnosed bipolar. I went to Memphis this year at the same time to commemorate how far I have come. I thought, “what the hell, let’s do the same for Ebertfest.” The first year I went, I was still so out of my mind, in the first month of being diagnosed, and … Mum came with me. I don’t remember how that decision was made. In retrospect, I think she came to just support me. (sob.) She ended up coming to Ebertfest for 4, 5 years in a row. It was this yearly thing we did. The other reason I suddenly decided to go: there are so many people I only saw once a year – Ebertfest people – people I really like, people I looked forward to seeing. The last time I went to Ebertfest was 2018 or 2019, I can’t remember, and I had no idea then I should be saying GOODBYE to all these people, other audience members, panelists, ushers, all the people I looked forward to seeing. So I was excited. I flew to Chicago, Mitchell picked me up at O’Hare, and we drove down to Champaign-Urbana together. This will be his third time accompanying me. We only stayed two days of the festival and it felt like we were there a week. The opening night film was Nine Days (which I reviewed), and had a great time interviewing the talented director Edson Oda and executive producer Jason Michael Berman onstage after the screening. It was incredible seeing that beautiful film on a large screen (one of the largest), and to FEEL the audience listening around me – 1200, 1300 people listening closely – it’s one of my favorite sounds in the world.

— Spent a couple days in Chicago afterwards with Mitchell and Christopher. We lazed about, we walked along the lake shore (experiencing a lightning-fast and sudden blizzard – horizontally driving snow and everything), we got together with Emma and her boyfriend Ben, it was a wonderful (albeit short) visit.

— I’m in a Ulysses reading group this year. It’s been tough to keep up, but I am doing the reading and having an absolute BLAST with it.

— Meanwhile, I was getting ready for this. It was postponed a couple of times for various reasons but we finally got the date nailed down. I prepared my notes for my introductory speech.

— MEANWHILE, in the middle of all this, I got a message from Criterion that Martin Scorsese wanted to talk to me. Now we have already made contact – or, he has made contact with me – and I have met him on a couple of occasions (the 50th anniversary gala of the Film Society at Licoln Center, and a couple of the NYFCC dinner awards) but I am sure he wouldn’t remember me. He only knows me now from the Raging Bull video-essay and now the After Hours essay. He has to approve everything on these Criterion releases. Everything I wrote was sent to him for approval and/or notes. So. He wanted to talk.

— A couple weeks passed. I was in contact with one of his assistants. He was busy. Of course. Marty is always busy. But finally a time was found.

— Martin Scorsese called me and we proceeded to talk for forty minutes. About everything. He talked to me about my Raging Bull essay and we talked a lot about After Hours, but then we talked about other things. I made him laugh. He said at one point, “I grew up in Little Italy–” and I wanted to say, “I know, Marty. We all know.” He was funny and extremely nice. It was amazing. I went into the call nervous. But about five minutes in, I was no longer nervous. He put me at ease. He told me the next time we meet to please introduce myself using the words ‘Raging Bull After Hours’ so he would be sure to remember me. “I’m old.” he confessed. And you KNOW I will. It was incredible.

— Five days later I was introducing Viva Las Vegas at the Paris Theatre in New York. It was a great event. Great turnout. Lots of friends, lots of people I didn’t know. My speech went great. The movie was so much fun. The whole thing couldn’t have gone better. Went out for drinks afterwards with a random group of my friends, none of whom knew each other outside of me – so we all bonded together, and became a group as we ate and drank. It’s my favorite thing. People meeting and connecting. I was so happy.

— To re-cap: In the same week I
1. had a 40-minute phone conversation with Martin Scorsese
2. introduced Viva Las Vegas at the Paris Theatre.

— It was only on the following day when it occurred to me: “Okay so … for this week at least … I’ve been living the dream.”

This entry was posted in James Joyce, Movies, Personal and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

24 Responses to Snapshots

  1. mutecypher says:

    Sheila, this is all so great! Congratulations and good for you!

    Marty gave you a passphrase so he could recognize you, that’s cool. What a thoughtful guy, to make it clear he wants an in-person connection.

    And talking about Elvis… what a great week for you.

    • sheila says:

      Yes, I will definitely barge up to Marty at the next awards show and blurt out “raging bull after hours” and just hope he remembers our conversation. So glad he’s happy with what I did – he said a couple of things I will think about to myself and not share – and it was very enjoyable. I told him about my experience seeing Wolf of Wall Street on its opening night at a packed sold-out show in Hoboken – and the RIOTOUS response – people were missing entire scenes of dialogue because of the laughter – MS was laughing listening to this – and then I told him about watching it alone once it came out on DVD and how it was a totally different experience – an existential grim almost empty experience – and I said, “The film was both!” he was laughing so hard – “It’s both!” :)

      Then we discussed Murray Moston – the guy who got his hand blown off in Taxi Driver who is also in After Hours. I told him I studied Shakespeare with Moston’s son Doug Moston – and he exclaimed, “Dougie? I knew Dougie!”

      all in all, a success.

      thanks for the good wishes. It was a great week.

  2. Jimmy Ray Flynn says:

    Congratulations, Sheila! Everything is coming up roses. I’m happy for you, especially your special phone call with Marty. I LOVE the guy.

    A story for another day is how “Mean Streets” changed my life. I just finished writing a memoir (Creativity Doesn’t Know What Time It Is) devoting a chapter to it and Marty.

    Stay tuned…

    • sheila says:

      Jimmy! Good to hear from you! Oooh your memoir – I love the title. I am so intrigued by how Mean Streets changed your life. I love movies that can do that. I will definitely stay tuned.

      Speaking of Mean Streets – Cesare Denova – who played the Count in Viva Las Vegas – also played the neighborhood Don in Mean Streets! so there is a direct line from Viva Las Vegas to Mean Streets – or that’s how I like to look at it.

      Thanks for sharing and good luck with your memoir – I can’t wait to read it.

  3. Melissa Sutherland says:

    Sheila, reading about your great week almost made me miss the city. Thirty years there; going on thirteen here in SW New Hampshire. How to choose?

    • sheila says:

      In the last three months, I have probably spent two of those months in new York – lol – so my move has been in name only. Still here for a bit and then I’m coming back in a couple of weeks for the Bloomsday celebration I’ve been going to every year since 2004. You just can’t get those things elsewhere – or things like catching The Leopard during its run at the IFC Center, etc. I’m glad my day job is a remote job – so I can basically work from anywhere – this makes it much easier to flit about in this manner.

  4. Lyrie says:

    Sheila, that’s all so amazing – congratulations!
    I love anniversaries – such amazing opportunities to look back and realize how much things have evolved.

    Here I am so excited because one of me favourite TV writer replied to on of my very silly tweets, and you’re having an amazing convo with Martin Scorsese! I wish you would unblock me on Instagram so I could follow your adventures – unblock meeeeeeeee?

    • sheila says:

      I blocked you??? I didn’t mean to. WTF IT WAS NOT DELIBERATE.

    • sheila says:

      Please remind me of your handle so I can follow you again. I am horrified.

    • sheila says:

      and who replied to your Tweet?? that’s awesome! I love it when Twitter is good! It’s rare!

      • Lyrie says:

        Jane Espenson – I adore her! It was a really silly interaction, but I didn’t expect a reply at all, of course, so I was just dumbfouded. And for some reason John McNamara followed me back!! With the strike, tv writers are very active on Twitter again.

        Also Jericho Brown replied to me a few days ago – why do famous people only notice me when I tweet really dumb shit? ha ha

        In the same vein, not long ago I signed up to attend a Q&A with Sera Gamble on Zoom – I thought I’d just be an anonymous audience member, watching. Turns out it was a very small group, and the host decided to call on me for the first question. I wanted the earth to swallow me lol. It’s a good thing I think about screenwriting A LOT and actually had a very practical question ready, but I hated every second of it! But still, Sera Gamble talked to me!! I tried telling a few friends but they don’t get it (they don’t know who she is). But you get it, Sheila? SERA GAMBLE WHO WROTE FAITH AND DEATH’S DOOR TALKED TO ME.

        • sheila says:

          This is amazing!!! I love her! Her Instagram feed is just fantastic – she really does it right, I think – I love how she puts out advice, and tips for writers. She’s so cool!

          I love that she responded to you – AND that you got to ask a question. I am sure she appreciated a practical question.

          I haven’t been watching You – have you?

          • Lyrie says:

            I agree, she’s very cool! And I love that she’s a TV showrunner, which is arguably very business oriented — even if the writers aren’t the ones making money — and a poet, where there is no money to be made, by anyone.

            I have been watching You and enjoying it a lot. It’s funny in a very dark way, it’s kind of meta in a way that isn’t always explicit, and I like how it plays with genre. You have to go along and accept that it can be pretty camp at times!

            It’s also not as simplistic as it might appear about gender dynamics. Sure, it’s mostly about the main character, who is despicable – in my opinion, I know some disagree, which WORRIES me, ha ha. But it’s also about the people — and the women — who enable that kind of behaviour. There’s no easy answer.

    • Lyrie says:

      It’s not your fault, I get how it happened! A while ago I deleted all my social media accounts, because I needed to. I’m glad I lost touch with some people who were making me feel like crap, but I also lost touch with a few cool people, such as our SPN friends – Cassandra, Barb, Mike, Helena, Paula…

      Not long ago I came back on IG and Twitter and followed you, and after a while I could see yout IG snippets here but I couldn’t see you there… I figured you had blocked me – I was heartbroken – Sheila hates me again, ha ha! I tried to CBT myself lol, I know you’ve been busy, etc. and I guess my account looked like spam or something? @RhymesWithGenre
      SAme handle on Twitter

  5. Lyrie says:

    Also, Sheila, I’ve heard such great things about Dungeons and Dragons: Honor Among Thieves, I can’t wait for it to be available on digital platforms. I can’t believe it’s THAT Michael – so very cool!

    • sheila says:

      Right? I actually had no idea he was a D&D nerd as a kid – although he did love things like magic tricks – so maybe I should have guessed. I love that it’s gotten really good reviews too. Proud of him!

  6. Barb says:

    Hi, Lyrie, Helena, and Sheila! I’m still here, mostly lurking these days, but sometimes piping up. I did wonder what happened to you on IG, Lyrie, may I follow you again?

    PS–wow! Martin Scorsese! Sara Gamble!

    • Lyrie says:

      Barb! It’s so nice to hear from all of you fine folks <3
      Depression and all the good stuff that come with it happened.
      Find me at @RhymesWithGenre – I hope you like bats!

      • Barb says:

        Thanks! I understand needing to focus on one’s mental health. I hope all is well.

        As for bats, well, all good libraries should have them, right?

    • sheila says:

      Hi, Barb! Love our spontaneous SPN reunions here.

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