Surrealist Dinner

When I was young – I had three things I loved – Film, food, and music…

Movies and documentaries shaped the majority of my childhood. As an adult – I lost track…

Once a loved past time, I would drive to the local college town, where they had a few independent film shops and record shops, here, I dug through tapes, cd’s,  VHS tapes and DVDs, where many a gem from my excavations still give me comfort.  This was also the time when Blockbuster video had random movies alongside their blockbusters, and that was where I found this one.

Jans Svankmajer has been a favorite of mine since I was a young teen. I first saw Alice, his dark and surreal take on the classic Lewis Carrol’s story Alice in Wonderland on a rainy night – I remember grabbing the VHS off the shelf and some microwaved popcorn and watched the movie probably 2-3 times.

For it being an already surreal cast of characters,  his take was even more so.  He created a sense of intrigue and wonder in me with stop motion, but also with the type of….off narration. Everything about his works is haunting and rightly so, they are so bizarre.

He stands to be one of my favorite and haunting storytellers, that has certainly shaped the way I think about film and storytelling.

Why have I never seen this? Also, I like the all Asian cast. Before his time and before Crazy Rich Asians  – definitely no tokens here!  Love that it’s normalized.

From the captions of this YouTube:

“AT LAST!! For you obscure media fans, here is one of legendary filmmaker Tim Burton’s early efforts in collaboration with The Disney Channel that aired only once on Halloween night in 1983.”

Wild Geese – Mary Oliver

You do not have to be good.

You do not have to walk on your knees

for a hundred miles through the desert repenting.

You only have to let the soft animal of your body

love what it loves.

Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.

Meanwhile the world goes on.

Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain

are moving across the landscapes,

over the prairies and the deep trees,

the mountains and the rivers.

Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,

are heading home again.

Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,

the world offers itself to your imagination,

calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting—

over and over announcing your place

in the family of things.


You can lead a horse to water…

I went ahead and snooped – I rummaged through my past, I looked at old photos, I listened to old music, I sat with old memories. What seems like a shouldn’t become yeah you should, and it became time to reflect.

Since I’ve decided to bastardize my love for all things food and cooking I don’t even know where else to begin. Scratch that – I didn’t know where else to begin. I’ve fully accepted that I no longer want to cook like I used to – how does one lose interest so fast, and so hard?

Before I moved to New York I asked myself…”Hey Tina…when your old and on your deathbed, would you regret not having moved to New York when you had the chance to?”

I had no plans. I had no incentive. I had no known nothing… I had little to expect and not much to lose when I moved to NY. But give or take a year in – I lost all knowledge of what or who I was, and I completely lost my love for food and cooking. I disassociated myself from many a friend, from a stranger, from many a happy day.

New York is a spiral – a winding staircase that coils… the steps down disappear and the only thing you can do is … Step. by. Step.

Many a teary night, many a lonely fight but many a time to be lifted up.

I’ve learned a lot within these past few years – I’ve lost a lot in these past few years. I’ve gained a lot in these past few years – and not all were tangible.

When I cooked I remember asking another fellow fancy chef what changed when she started to cook. Her reply? “My palate” . When I cooked, I remember asking myself what the most important thing that I had learned. My reply? “When I became a cook I learned that within a split second I could lose my patience and gain it back.” Certainly, I ask myself way too many fuckin’ questions.

A test of will, endurance, humility…CHANCE. Just take it…what can you lose.

When I went on interview after interview here in NY someone had asked me “What has been the hardest part about New York?” My reply? STAMINA – But rummaging through my past does one thing. Rummaging through old photos, reconnecting with old friends, rummaging through old things…things…

This has taught me one thing – that if I thought those times were hard and if I got through then I can do it again – my stamina for the hustle isn’t the same but what stays the same?

It takes lots of stamina to muster up spirit when you no longer have an identity to which you were once so praised. You no longer have an identity – a box as you will – something you worked so hard towards. Now that box is ripped open – it’s ready for something new. I want to be liberated from that box.

You know…it’s been a tough one. Trying to find out who I am again – but I’ve made some strides.  Absolute solitude is my wakening force and trusted friend, I gotta say, New York is a great place for finding your gems again. Finding your voice again.

Time to take out the trash my friends.