Before mercury, my blood used to fill thermometers.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

It was a glass cigarette.

Making this both fast and thorough was hard because I'm in an anime K-hole, but I'm glad I did it. This was my favorite episode yet.

Girls, Episode Seven, "Welcome to Bushwick, a.k.a. the Crackcident"

Hannah Horvath: delighting me constantly. I have held off on some firm principles regarding the discussion of Lena Dunham's body, but I want to enthuse with everything I have: I love to watch her do things. The way she wields herself is brilliant. This was the first episode I ever watched on a television as it was airing and not on some kind of VOD. There's a little "and now, an HBO original" blabbity at the beginning and, within it, a little clip of Dunham doing a totally princessish ballet move to the total melting joy of somebody off camera. She's got a look on her face that kills with cuteness. This appeal stands out so sharply in Tiny Furniture that it is 2/3rds of what herded me to watch Girls. And in this episode, Hannah dances again. She danced in episode 3, but here she dances with Adam, in public, with more abandon, with negative inhibition. It was freeing to watch. I've been depressed. Watching her dance practically undid it.

The dancing takes place at a party in Bushwick, where Hannah goes in a wonderful sweater set and happens to spy, while clinging dilettantishly to Marnie - both of them only dabbling in parties of that scale - Adam, bedecked by dykes "all over him like he owns a Home Depot." Jessa is the one who makes this observation as Hannah gawks, but none of them know who he is. She declares, "that's Adam," and Jessa says, "he does sort of look like the original man," and even my boyfriend was won.

My boyfriend has, without much comment - save an unabashed love of Shoshanna - watched every episode with zeal, and before we watched this one together, I went off on a tidy Marnie rant. He counterattacked with some fascinating vitriol about Jessa. Jessa most resembles friends that I have had and loved, even if they weren't brilliant friends - she is just the kind of person someone like me can get into a noncommittal, sub-toxic friendship with and enjoy without taking everything she espouses to heart. My boyfriend characterizes her as one who goes abroad for a semester and returns with deeper wisdom, tours through peoples lives imparting bullshit under the guise of knowing better, and ultimately has no concern whatsoever for people, which via some experience has led him to read those like Jessa as borderline sociopaths.

Jessa gets a text - that she fails to call a "word alert" - at the beginning of the episode from an unknown number asking her what she's up to. Instead of asking who is on the other end, she instead declares she's at the best party ever, "come," and who should appear later but Jeff, the father of the children she babysits, looking absolutely terrified and clutching a bottle of white wine. He appears in the midst of Jessa talking down Shoshanna, but before I plow on:  I can't get over the quiet radiance of the choices made in the writing of their relationship. I think Jessa is making every effort to be genuine and demonstrates how unskilled she is in wielding herself as much as Hannah is, albeit in an inverted way: when Jessa doesn't want to seduce or play upon the expectation of seduction, she doesn't know what she's doing, and that comes out with both parents she works for. Her every interaction with them calls to mind the first one, which I didn't know how to read at the time - the mother gives Jessa instructions and squabbles with her older daughter, Lola, and all Jessa can manage out is a belated "don't worry" after the mother has shut the door. In the episode before last, when she readied herself for her date and the mother walked in on her talking to Jeff alone in the bathroom, Jessa departed by acknowledging her with a euro hello-kiss and dismissing him. That could be manipulative, but I didn't want to believe it, and even though her epiphany is suspect, sure - she is in her early twenties - when Jessa is finally propositioned by Jeff, she is disappointed and discouraged with herself and - more importantly, and more forcefully - with him. This takes place in a grimy clinic after Jessa incited two crusty punks who were offended after Jessa misidentified their subculture AND smashed the loaded wine bottle mere feet from them. They hauled off and beat Jeff who deserved it, but even for the breaking point it brought their precarious friendship to, I'm also glad it brought them to the clinic.

In every episode, in ways very much in the foreground, there's been death, disease, cancer, AIDS, the reality of living on medication, and the lack of grace with which it's handled. Here, Hannah sees Adam at the party, and he spots her. He calls her name, her real name, not "Kid," and all his friends know her name. One of them - Tako - seeks her out as she slinks away - and accidentally outs Adam by asking Hannah if he knows him from AA (when she declines a drink by saying "last time I got drunk I ate all this brie and threw up on my cell phone"). "That's like the main defining thing about him isn't it? That and his love of books." The case has been made for what kind of books and I would like to forsake that hipster nonsense and submit my bid for all Savoy titles. Hannah is whisked away on Adam's bike for a scavenging adventure that ends in her bruised on the ground, an occasion to talk about his unwillingness to disclose such sensitive information. "You never ask," he spits, which is not an appropriate answer - between his elusiveness and shitty listening, it is not surprising that Hannah feels alone in a monologue about self-justification when she's in his apartment. Hannah detects that he isn't on solid ground with his argument and they have a good spar that is crashed by Marnie, riding up in a cab, harping like a school teacher (diagetic comparison, Adam's).

Marnie's night led her immediately to Charlie, playing in a corner with his band that has improved by leaps unseen since the concert in episode four. It also looks like Ray has moved from body percussionist to conductor. He says to her, "It's nice to see your face," and she says, "I thought it might be," perfectly, beautifully, and the fact of her being the worst flushes into total being like the sun's dawning makes the day. "It's good to see you finding satisfaction outside of her relationship" speaks bounds about how she doesn't really believe that's possible. She is shut down by Charlie's energetic new female companion with the glowing query "are you one of those real housewives?" prompting Marnie to spend the duration of the party crying like an idiot.

"She wished for a second self of tears so she would have someone to hold." - Brad Neely, Wizard People

In her hunt for someone to help usher her into some catharsis that includes validating her perception of herself as an "ideal," she spots Elijah, Hannah's gay ex. He listens to what Marnie has to say before dumping some eloquent, torrential spite and coupling it with a bitch slap for which I stood up and cheered. In his own way, he and his "authentic self" are a great foil for Hannah and Marnie, and I hope they keep him around to both upend their willing blindness and to capitalize on the opportunity to examine navigating sexuality from that angle.

Speaking of navigating sexuality: SHOSH. Shoshanna smokes crack, her spirit guide Jessa disappears with Jeff, and no sooner does Ray the relentlessly gross accept that he should keep an eye on her does Shoshanna BOLT. They spend the episode running around, he in a quasi-endearing effort to take care of her that I believe is really only rooted in the real danger of knowing somebody's running around alone and on crack in a strange neighborhood, and she in a blinding high bolstered by inhuman strength. As Slate points out, "Shoshanna has what it takes to become a leader of men." In the end her skirt vanishes, she cold-cocks Ray and apologizes, initiating sheepishly some intimate touching on a cold street - no skirt, all the while. At the same time, elsewhere, Marnie guilts Hannah away from Adam, with whom she's trying to have an argument with real results, and Adam extends to Hannah the question, agitated to screaming: "do you want me to be your boyfriend?" The only answer comes in the form of he, bike jammed over his lap, vised alongside Hannah and Marnie. He and Marnie are quietly livid, and between them, Hannah bursts out in such a smile.

"I had what alcoholics refer to as a moment of clarity." - Pulp Fiction

I am amazed and aglow with what this series is becoming, that it is granting so many of my wishes and surprising me with things I didn't know I want desperately, particularly to see Adam Driver do anything and everything. I still dread the idea of encountering any more people like him IRL, but I think the emotional terrain of his and Hannah's relationship is unseen and so vital. There is such a richness to every interaction between them and everybody and I'm excited for next episode to include a Marnie/Jessa outing. NOT TO MENTION A CERTAIN MAN KNOWN AS GENTLE IRISH ROY. If Chris O'Dowd became a series regular in addition to Donald Glover, this would truly be my dreams made manifest.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

I know enough to know you don't have to know anybody.

I am so honored by Kate Zambreno's mention of my Girls recaps and by beautiful things like this.

Girls Episode Six, "The Return"

My long-standing hope since first reading the titles of these episodes was to see Hannah go home in this one. Hannah does return to Michigan and her parents, who I was initially dreading the sight of as much as I was excited by the goodbye to Marnie in the first scene. I really think - at least my hopes were piqued by the complexity of last week's episode - that wonderful things can be done with Marnie. Through a girl like her so much can be explored about boundaries and performance and intimacy, all of which I want to see so badly. But if Marnie was a person - and she is so thoroughly blooded by the writing of the show, she is so real, as is everyone - if Marnie were real, I would not be able to deal with her.

Her parents were a discouraging part of the pilot, for me, and they kick things off with a squabble that I don't think was honestly necessary to propel Hannah into HER CHILDHOOD ROOM. Holy shit! I am overwhelmed by the bedrooms of some people. I have to craft my own bedroom into my primary space. I am a very able one-room-dweller. I make use of my living room and prefer to take appointments there, but I'm never there alone. My room is my nexus. And I am stunned by people who make of their space a little battalion of reasons to look around and leave. This is entirely subjective, this observation, but that's how I read Hannah's room and it makes a great deal of sense. I once knew someone who, when we would spend time at his house, would dread being bumped out of the living room and forced into his own room because he hated it there. This belied so many problems anyway, but this really shocked me. Some intangible quality - its familiarity with rooms that I have known - cries boredom so resoundingly. This made an outsized impression on me. I admired the dressing of that set way more than the Greenpoint apartment, which has been glimpsed ultimately so little and not in the clinical way Hannah takes in her other surroundings - the doctor's office, her ex-employer's - and I am looking forward to something that contrasts disgustingly with the wallpapered kitchen cabinets that were definitely Marnie's idea. I want to see, in the words of Ray, where Hannah keeps her chocolate. I bet it's turned.

Hannah binge eats mightily. I'm really amazed by this behavior - in people in general, not just in Hannah. Filed away among all my other wishes is for disordered eating to be engaged in a way that isn't ridiculous and after-school-special-esque, consuming other plots or the complexity of the characters. In college I worked on a paper about the ways in which the female voice is undermined by popular perception of the female point of view, and while I worked on it my roommate watched In Treatment. During the first season, a young girl - a gymnast - who is being treated for problems I don't remember, divulges some anorectic tendencies to her therapist but dismisses a legitimate discussion of them by declaring it "a girl thing." I think Lena Dunham could make a great case for that being a human thing and not a quirk of the double-x.

Hannah drops in on a high school friend who gives me the absolute shivers. She tells Hannah the sad, sordid tale of a friend named Carrie who vanished and likely died in a Natalie Holloway situation. Mutual friends of theirs left Carrie at the beach when she stopped answering her phone. "We are not going to hang around and wait to clean up her dirty underwear," is how they justified it and how the friend relates it to Hannah, in an eerie little parallel to Hannah's arrival when her dad accidentally drops her laundry all over the parking lot of the airport. This girl is a nightmare of superficial achievements, who leaps at the chance to "honor" the memory of a dead peer as a means of demonstrating what a good girl she is. This was enough to freak me out, but it escalates horrifically later.

Hannah flirts successfully with a pharmacist. I was endeared by the difficulty he experienced in the flirting through which he nevertheless persevered in order to ask her to the benefit for Carrie's memory. As I type it, although I've seen it spelled otherwise, I am delighted by the idea of the "death of Carrie" as it relates to Sex and the City, in this tiny slip of a way. Hannah's date conflicts with her parents' plan for the weekend, and the clarity with which Hannah explains how and why she needs this date comes across as a real epiphany - but that reminded me of how she spoke to Marnie at the beginning of the episode. Marnie asks Hannah if she's going to tell her parents how she lost her job, and Hannah protests that she lost nothing, she gave her job away because she refused to abide the breast-massages. This is not the precise truth, and neither is her crystalline observation that she is being warped by her involvement with Adam and she needs some exposure to a nice young man before she has no ideas what qualities to look for in a partner.

Hannah gives herself a pep talk before the date that just annihilated me. "The worst stuff that you say sounds better than the best stuff that other people say."

At the benefit for Carrie, Hannah's friend performs a desperately appalling and disrespectful "tribute" dance to some nightmare to the tune of "Pretty Girl Rock." It is so blandly faux-sexual and uncomfortable. No amount of viewings could lessen the impact of its grossness. I love that this is the only thing going on and how it signifies the lack of culture in the midwest - this resembles everything that everyone has seen, so nobody recognizes how basely wrong it is. Hannah is massively thrown off by this and gets gloriously tongue-tied in an exchange about legitimate jobs, how "writing" is her "real job in New York." When the pharmacist asks her, "is that how you make money?" she nearly yells "I HAVE NO MONEY." I just rewatched Tiny Furniture and I am more amped than ever to see Dunham navigate art-making and Twitter and money and legitimacy.

Her dad's Woody Allen impression opens a dialogue between he and Hannah's mom about their sincere concerns for Hannah, about what she knows how to do, and her mother defends her, which is good to see. The way her mom identifies with her is small and sweet and I love how it is expressed in this scene, which aptly segues into Hannah and the pharmacist going to bed. In response to a "no pressure" disclaimer, she says "I like pressure." She attempts to initiate some Kid-tested, Adam-approved banter and it is a testament to the pharmacist's wont to get laid that he endures a finger in the ass and "I'm tight like a baby, right?" which he deserves for gleaning any enjoyment from the Pussycat Dolls/Natalee Holloway mashup.

When Hannah gets out of the pharmacist's car to walk back to her front door, it really hit me so profoundly: all the listlessness, in and out of cars, the trees, the solitude, the isolation, the feeling of waiting and the dread of leaving people to go be totally alone. The solitude that makes way for horrible things in Twin Peaks. David Lynch's assessment that a suburban house is "a place for things to go wrong." Not to say that anything is implied, for me it is just so present in that scene.

Her parents have some wonderfully hazardous sex. Her mom calls out the inadequacies of the pharmacist and makes other telling remarks that Hannah is very loved and very known by her parents, which gently justifies the opening squabble when Hannah rejects their assessment of her mood because they don't know what's going on with her. Because her mother is proud of her, Hannah declines to discuss money issues and keeps the loss of her job a secret. "That's my scrappy little girl."

Adam calls her. I think I would be excited to get a call from Adam if I was in Hannah's room, it is so lonely. In their conversation, Hannah observes how cheap it is to be there in Michigan, how the pharmacist has a mammoth apartment, and how strange it is so many people jockey for spots in New York when things are so financially bleak, when people who are becoming are not wanted. "Why doesn't everybody move out here and start the revolution?"  I guess it is right that an episode that takes place in her childhood home should call out so much to the future. Touching upon it is one thing, but I would be truly staggered if the whole show at one point fractured into the titular ones falling where they may, where they manage best, and deal with - in a way beyond Marnie's lip-service to Rent - why New York remains a big deal, what "remaining" has to do with it, and the differences between the place it was for young artists in the seventies, when Laurie Simmons arrived there, and the place it is now.

The episode ends with Fleet Foxes, at which point I closed the window where the video was playing because I got Helplessness Blues for my birthday last year and listened to it in its entirety at 4 am on a train to New York all funded by the first money I'd ever earned myself and I cannot share it yet because I am still in my tender becoming.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

She could be running off copies at Kinko's and saying that she has a press.

What my mom asked for for Mother's day was to get Chipotle and watch every episode of Girls with me, so I have some renewed perspective on the show as a unit - this is the halfway mark - to say nothing of the perspective I have gained regarding my mother's viewing habits (currently getting rehabbed after total immersion in my sister's gutter palate of the Real Housewives of Mortville).

Girls Episode Five, "Hard Being Easy"

This episode is initiated by a very ritualistic, very sadomasochistic gesture by Charlie, who forces Hannah to read what she's written in her journal about his and Marnie's relationship. He's all ready read it - aloud, to an audience at the end of the last episode. This is a power play. He and Marnie argue about the veracity of feelings as relayed by a third party, and Hannah talks as if she is alone, musing to herself about what makes a journal a journal as opposed to a notebook (which is what she has, "notes for a book"). Childish as this may come across, I think Hannah's reaction to Charlie and Marnie is pitch perfect. Those two are brilliantly inarticulate - he makes the case that he is "important to the community of the apartment" and Marnie says "I did nothing wrong." They aren't even really saying anything, which is a much more authentic means of arguing than their exposition-ridden fizzles in previous episodes. Hannah asks Marnie if she could divorce herself from the situation and judge the essay as a piece of writing. David Haglund criticized the scene and said it didn't work - I vehemently disagree. Hannah has known Marnie and has metabolized Marnie's psychotic nonsense for unforetold years. Hannah knows Marnie blames her for the demise of her relationship, and Hannah knows that's nonsense. Marnie struts out her enmeshitude full-force in the follow-up conversation where she invalidates Hannah's well-meaning consolation by dismissing it because Hannah has no frame of reference - she has never been loved as much as Charlie loves Marnie. "Except by me," says Marnie, "I love you that much." This from the girl who stated in episode two that she was put on this planet to be a mother. Hannah plays it off with the skill and consideration of a professional best friend. This is really subtle, and if you have never been loved this much by a person as messed up as Marnie, you'll miss it entirely, how deft and small and exact their relationship is.

Hannah's version of she and Adam in the last episode is hilariously sad. She has occasion to gush about how "together" they are after he engaged her in the most feeble way possible so that she might just shush and now she is fully armed, fully justified to do some completely insane things because somebody loves her - somebody who isn't the flavor of crazy Marnie happens to be. I really cannot wait to see the Hannah/Marnie dynamic picked apart more. If not Adam, then some guy -more deserved - could get genuinely close to Hannah, which would make Marnie act like a total fool. I am on board. The only person who is aware of the fact that Marnie is poison, who remains broadly and reductively so, is Jessa, who, as she walks along and listens to Hannah talk about Adam, plants the seed of her escalation of workplace-sex-weirdness. The more Jessa and Hannah hang out, the more I think about Jessa getting angry in episode two, when Hannah reacts in a very self-absorbed way to Jessa's real problems. I think that was, on Hannah's part, a reaction tailored to living with Marnie, not a conscious reaction to Jessa, to whose presence she is still adapting. As much as the audience knows Hannah is idealizing her tryst with Adam, Jessa's idealization of sexual harassment is very much implied, and I look forward to these two dropping the facade and being honest with each other. After a few more talks, they will stop worrying about impressing each other or living in idealized worlds as a result of their interaction and get down to some raw, Tiny Furniture conversation. Every action that exists as an exchange between two people in this episode is so many-layered, it's staggering and very un-television in a way that is really a boon for all television-kind.

Ray works at CAFE GRUMPY! Where he verbally abuses a young female customer and sews more demon-seeds by relaying Charlie's address to Marnie. "I don't even want to hate-fuck you, it's that real," he says to her as she leaves. My only hope for Ray is that he never redeems himself.

When Hannah couldn't break down the box, I surrendered my critical distance.

As Hannah fails at work and Marnie pursues Charlie, Jessa preps for a date at the house of the parents whose children she sits. I do not think that Jessa is very calculating or has any sinister intentions with the kids' dad. She is very open with him, versus the behavior she demonstrates later and the wildly calculated "seduction" of the boss that Hannah executes in language that made me shriek and cover my face. I watched Mad Men right afterwards and did the same thing. It takes a lot. "You should act on this fantasy because I am gross and so are you." "I'm quitting this job for sexual reasons." One time a friend of mine was trying to decide on a monologue to perform for an audition and she went with Patrick Bateman's confessional phone call from American Psycho. I would like to see this bolstered by acting-enthusiasts into the monologue hall of fame, because for content, it's right up there with, "Howard! It's Bateman, Patrick Bateman. You're my lawyer so I think you should know I've killed a lot of people." Hannah's exertion of power is laughed off really beautifully by her boss, who reassures her he isn't mad because he enjoys her and feels she has potential. But she is all ready humiliated - this is a new low, I would think, but I'm hesitant to jump to that conclusion about Hannah. My feeling about Hannah's ritualized humiliations - I don't believe she feels challenged most of the time, and when she is genuinely challenged by things like a Windows computer, she deflects it by creating very mired-in-human-feeling problems. Because she is sensitive, she can navigate these and appreciates these as exercises. And people challenge her and interest her.

Immaculate Marnie attempts to sneak into a skeezy apartment only to find that Charlie has a tricked-out micropad full of self-constructed furniture that she likens ebulliently to a Target ad, repulsing everyone. Their attempt at closure is woven throughout the episode and includes a flashback to the Galactic Safe Sex Ball at Oberlin College, 2007. Jessa is there, and I choose to believe that she's in town for the party. I am sticking fast to the hope that she's the one from New York who knows Hannah somehow and she and her seed-planting ways plant the seed of desire to move there, and that she did not go to college. I can't believe her as a character if she had it together enough to apply in the first place. Charlie and be-banged Marnie met that night, hence the flashback (when Marnie looked uncannily like a girl I knew in college, although she had outgrown the look Marnie exhibits here by the time she got to school and was halfway between that and the totally laquered look they both favor now - whatever, I don't put it beyond Marnie). "I decided on you," Charlie says, presenting a grim and remote vision of relationships and enticing her ever more. Marnie begs him to not break up with her, bargains with him, grovels! When they move in for the makeup bone, she snaps out of her dense thicket of nonsense. Charlie is really assertive and she is no longer begging - she is being commanded, and she can't deal with it. When there isn't anything more to beg for, she breaks up with him.

This and other facets of this episode demonstrate - in a much more realistic range than in, say, a soap opera, where a character might be endowed with a certain bent for dominance of submissive behavior to the point it flattens out the character into a single gesture - tact and power are fluid and external - situational - as much as they are influenced by one's temperament. Marnie thinks she wants a guy to be assertive, but Charlie is assertive and constantly making plain what he wants. She is the one who witholds. Her reactions and feelings exist not in herself but in the space between she and other people - she sees others as her own limbs, and that makes Hannah's "better to cut off the limb and let the stump heal" overwhelmingly apt. If Booth Jonathan, the artist from episode three who she finds so inspirational and aggressive, could tell her that, he would redeem his name and the presence of the art-scene Marnie exists in, if he could just clue her in to the fact that she doesn't treat people, herself among them, like people. Ray's observation in the last episode - when he sees a family photo of Marnie's and says "whenever I see a family like this I wonder if they're all having sex with each other" - also becomes, in light of her behavior, super insightful. Incest or no, enmeshment is a seriously intrusive quality that diminishes boundaries and can cause a lot of confusion, and while enmeshment does not imply incest, incest begets enmeshmed behavior very hard. I wouldn't be surprised if Marnie's Facebook wall is full of her mother intercepting compliments about Marnie's accomplishments in order to take credit for them. What I hope I am communicating effectively here is that while something like that, like abuse, is something I'd love to see the show take on, I don't think anything has been planted to point to the fact that that is what's going on with Marnie, however I think that the kind of boundary-erasing that happens between families and their young girls is genuinely weird and damaging and absolutely rampant and that would be tremendously important to address. And Marnie is a perfect tool for that. You're a shared tool, Marnie.

Jessa hangs out with an ex who is currently dating a woman with a small press, which Jessa quips about gloriously. She is totally calculated here and exacting revenge with every move. She takes him back to the apartment - which is Shoshanna's, where Shoshanna very much is - and enjoys a variety of moves that zap the makeup off her face before rejecting a kiss and dismissing Mr. Circus-stache. Shoshanna watches it all. "You're a batshit little perv!" Jessa declares. I was pretty disappointed to find that Shoshanna didn't do something really perverted. Maybe she will become a serial peeper! I would LOVE to see this show venture into that kind of terrain. But, as I was saying, power: Jessa's decision to ravish Circus-stache was to prove her "unsmotable" quality - he wanted to see her while he was in town, preparing to move in with small press woman. Jessa felt this was dubious and his intentions were, in fact, to give her the opportunity to seduce him. That's why she donned her "sexy geisha" guise - that is exactly what he wanted, and he used it against him. This is the kind of cycle Jessa is in, I would assume, most of the time, and what most of her interactions consist of, and why someone who did not approach her like "here I am - I'm not saying seduce me, I'm just saying, here I am and look at how you're dressed." I don't think babysitting dad is like that. So far their family unit strikes me as cohesive and affectionate with very usual troubles. I have faith in this story line and, again, in Jessa in general. She's very complex, and as much as I'm over it in characters overall, I accept the way she uses sex as it is authentic and look forward to that being explored.

To bring the episode to a neat finish (badumTISH), Adam mirrors Charlie in the opening scene and accomplishes the same thing Hannah did in the last episode, albeit less verbally. He gets himself in a loop attempting to reject Hannah and then presents her with an opportunity to extend to him what he really needs, which is someone who will step up to the challenge that he is. She comes out of the bathroom and he is whacking it. He initiates an exchange, prompting her to call him pathetic and bad and disgusting. She rolls with it. She excels at it. She goes to enjoy it and he tells her no, so she seizes the reigns and extorts him for money. He apologizes himself into a frenzy and then some shit spills out of his mouth that makes her scream at him, and that does it. He finishes and offers her a handshake with the offending extremity. This was read by LV Anderson as a gesture of solidarity. I don't believe that's how Adam meant it, but I do love that after an episode full of pretty morbid, unfriendly little power-plays, Hannah ends on an even playing field with someone. Not with the right person, but with the person she wants to be with. When her boss extended her the metaphorical DNA-covered hand of mutual exposure (she was directly engaging behavior that he inspired with his groping), it had to do with herself as an employee, as an office worker, as something she had no faith in. But Adam engages her on the level of adventure after revealing he's as ambivalent about their relationship as she is, a more sincere gesture that she can do more with than his lame "don't go" look and kiss in the last episode.

In conclusion, for being a piece of criticism I resoundingly agree with and delighted in reading, an absolute, eternal YES.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Steering New York like her own private car.

Was steered, very much, by the city, like an old Checker. And it was awesome.

Francesca Woodman at the Guggenheim was intimate, very serene and perfect to do first. I got to be very close to every image and read everything and relax in front of my favorite of her photos. That was a really special experience and geared me up to be the blur of self-righteous outrage I become after a few minutes in a museum. By the time I got to Cindy Sherman at the MoMA, I had real momentum going on my mass-shaming of museum-goers who do nothing but take poor-resolution photographs of the art. People herding ahead of me with i-devices and Canons are no match for my indignation. Both shows still really overwhelmed me.

The Taschen cashier teased me with a returned copy of Pinxit. I spent every waking second at rest reading the Marbled Swarm, the experience of which is like having a meandering, indulgent conversation with an old best friend who has always justified the things about you that you like but know are not good, whose vignettes you take in as things you have been through yourself, oh my god, I needed it so badly. It is my favorite book I have read in a very long time.

My boyfriend made me cackle in the Cafe Sabarsky, with a penis joke. I was dripping with sweat. I felt very classy.

In the hotel I kept unfolding the cover of the Francesca Woodman monograph because it is, on its underside, a giant copy of one of her photos. It's on my wall now, over my bed, where I have been, catching up with books and watching my boyfriend's present to me, the entirety of Daria.

I managed in between long, long naps to post a new installment of Very Literary that received a lot of positive attention. I am very grateful, even though it isn't a thorough exploration of its subjects. I could have gone on listing presses I want to talk about forever, but that is what Very Literary itself is for. All the omissions I made smacked me firmly in the face and I continue on now, armed with a lot of subjects to cover in future posts.

My favorite part, even though I was feeling extremely unwell and looking for a place to sit down, was when I got my boyfriend and I lost around St. Mark's, because we were actually walking around other people who didn't seem furiously hurrying away from where they were. And when I got home and since I've been home this week, I haven't gone through the usual separation anxiety I used to get from visiting Manhattan. I still do get pretty sick and experience serious dread going to my parents' house. I am happy to find out that leaving there has resolved a lot of problems. Being in proximity to places and institutions I love, having a job I love, doing the things I most want to do (practically in a vacuum), with someone I love immensely and not spending any money doing it (I do not exaggerate, my expenses are nil and it has everything to do with the cost of living here) - all of that and having extremely capable access to a fast train to New York, I am very happy for right now and so much happier than I used to be, when I would have to take six months to recover after going from the MoMA to a house peninsulaed by unforeseeable acres of farmland. Now I have only to get over how ill others think of the city where I live, versus a place like New York - the efforts of individuals aside, which should be commended and respected, that is a strong brand, NYC. "Harrisburg isn't effectively branded" is an understatement that no amount of hyperbole can accurately capture.

As considered on my commute, in relative solitude, along the riverfront.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

That's a-hella different.

Without further ado.

Girls, Episode Four, "Hannah's Diary"

Or, On Boundaries.

A cornucopia of line-crossing kicks off when Hannah's boundaries are trespassed by Adam in the form of an accidental sext. Hannah then foists the message - a photograph - on Charlie and Marnie, who she's awakened with her wild reaction. It got more real later, but I was irate with Hannah. I got in there and took this scene personally. I do not like it when, to put it delicately, I'm in the position Marnie was in here. Being shown. Also, this is the second instance of Marnie saying "ew" to Charlie with such loathing that I don't know how he stands it. Even the end of this episode wasn't enough of an exorcism.

Hannah has a job! I like after getting so worked up over the past few episodes, the event arrives with a whimper. A very the Smiths move. She is suddenly in an office, feebly operating a Windows computer, being taken to school on her aesthetic hygiene by her older workmates. Also, her boss gropes her mightily. She gets her workmates to confirm that this is a habit of his, but they are willing to deal with it since he doesn't take it any farther and he is nice. He springs for gifts and is lax about attendance. He is even, in a later episode, perfectly open with Hannah about his "touchiness" and advises her to speak up if it bothers her. This is a few shades different from Adam's behavior towards her - her boss acknowledges that he's crossing a boundary and makes Hannah accountable for saying yes or no, which, instead of adhering to the basic tenant of do not grope your employees, makes Hannah into an accomplice whose boundaries are perfectly crossable without concern, which is all she needs right now, yeah.

Lena Dunham talked to Terry Gross on NPR about an encounter she had with a guy who was very rough with her. When she asked him about it, if he was always so rough, he said he wasn't, he could just tell that's what she wanted. This sent her into a tailspin of wondering how she provoked that, what about her gave off that desire to be brutalized, until she realized that was just a manipulative tactic, just his excuse. That dynamic is even more significantly universal than the vulnerability of being an employee, I think, subject to groping, and this little plot tapped into way more than conventional office harassment. When she tells her workmates about Adam's sext and his retraction - wherein he stated the photo wasn't meant for her - in a way that doesn't necessarily seek validation of her feelings over it. She laughs as she tells the story, after wrenching it in awkwardly, so her divulging it is very much motivated by her desire to see some reaction from someone besides Marnie. The workmates snap. That is demeaning, they tell her, which Hannah counters by pointing out how they allow their boss to grope them. And that is crossing the line! THAT'S A-HELLA DIFFERENT, they declare. I love that. They have put that boundary in place and Hannah is calling them out on it. I love that they perceive themselves as taking advantage of the situation, just as Hannah perceives herself as merely taking what she wants of her relationship with Adam, never bothering to assess the inadequacies and inconsistencies and how they make her feel.

Ray is back. I finally purchased Tiny Furniture over the weekend and watched the conversation with Lena Dunham and Nora Ephron. Dunham talked about her difficulty coming up with names that seemed realistic. Alex Karpovsky's name in Tiny Furniture was Jed. Dunham has gone beyond selecting names that are unfortunately plausible - they lend so much to the characters in his case. In the case of how insufferable he is. Every word out of his mouth, I have heard before. In fact, it was with his perfect likeness that I used to stay up with all night, quoting Frisky Dingo: BOUNDARIES! Without even attempting to be ironic, which, later, spelled my doom. Ray instigates a raid* on Hannah and Marnie's apartment wherein Hannah's diary is discovered - among pictures of Marnie that inspire incest fantasies (they aren't related, I think he was just trolling for any excuse to talk about incest) and Hannah's hole-ridden clothing. They discover incriminating evidence of the extent of Marnie's unhappiness, making this a majestic three-way boundary-rape entirely befitting the few minutes Ray spends on the screen. He is a destroyer of lives.

*Speaking of raids - Shoshanna is scooped up off the street by an old acquaintance from camp ("you led the most INTENSE kitchen raid I ever saw in my time as a junior counselor," he tells her) with whom she has a riotously weird tryst that ends before she can, by her standards, declare herself devirginized. Shoshanna sometimes reminds me of the anger I experienced reading the Purity Myth, although she herself does not make me angry - I really, REALLY hope she can become a means by which to discuss the way young girls use images and "rules" they learn from contemporary culture and how it inhibits them but establishes boundaries they feel they need, that reassure them. As Shoshanna walks across the street with Jessa, when first spied by camp dude, she is wobbling to hell on a serious pair of Sex and the City shoes in a way that isn't goofy and too much the focus of the scene but also, for the way Jessa glides around, refreshingly realistic and funny and empathetic. In bed, camp dude tells her she smells like a baby. I lost my shit. Shoshanna plays wonderfully along with everything and responds to the ridiculous things he says with such earnestness - when he says he doesn't like virgins because they get attached and they bleed, she says it's amazed, but she's totally not an attached bleeder. In Shoshanna's attempt to transgress a boundary, one she perceives as being operated by a man, she is shot down, and that is awful and awkward.

Also, recently, one of my best friends - Scott Mitchell of ReadySoup - came to visit, and we watched the Girls pilot and had a rousing discussion about sitcoms and social conditioning, about which he is passionate. I commend him for his ability to mine those shows for data, so I imagine it is a luxurious position I'm in that, so far, only one thing on this show has bothered me for the sake of its presence. I didn't like how camp dude hedged his declaration of love for administering oral sex with the fact that it was weird that he enjoys it. Not weird! Why perpetuate that notion? I'm so angry about North Carolina! I am full of feelings about how wrong the world is.

Jessa's plot is a continuation of her babysitting adventures in the last episode. I wonder what the deal is with the children's father being unemployed vs the necessity of Jessa as what seems like a full-time nanny. I worry for Jessa that she might become a device to make episode-to-episode melodrama with topical overtones, but it is not a throbbing concern. She was still wonderful in her speech to fellow nannies about unionizing, where there are so many invisible lines she can't appreciate she's crossing. And her own boundary was penetrated so sadly and pointedly: the children's father asks Jessa how she was when she was young. Jessa says she used to run off and tell lies, just like his kids. When queried as to the kind of lies, she says they were about what a wonderful mother she had and what kind of awesome relationship she had with her. It is clearly so sore for her to bring up, and the economy of the scene is amazing. I hope this continues to be the kind of thing folded in the too-played-out lechery for which the dad's scenes have such potential.

Inspired by her workmates, Hannah attempts to hurdle a line of her own and spits some vitriol at Adam for not being the person she wants. Because he isn't, she has to act dissatisfied, and she doesn't want to, she only wants to be "sweet" to him, but treating him thusly makes her feel like garbage. One time, a guy manipulated me and my best friend into a very unsavory dynamic. I couldn't believe she and I, who had been beyond close, were being cold with one another over his behavior. I talked to her and she got very rationally fired up about what a nightmare he was, and decided we needed to confront him. The minute she saw him, she talked herself in the same kind of lunatic spiral. So powerfully negative was the idea of displeasing this person who had heretofore demonstrated no regard for her feelings. All it took was one little pat, like the one Adam gives Hannah, no doubt administered because he thinks she's just going hysterical. This was jaw-dropping to me, this veracity.

The episode ends with the girls all together at a concert, and it marks the first time the four of them are all hanging out together. Somewhere, in a tweet I think, someone pointed out that crafting of this episode is inferior to the crystalline, cinematic first three, which were conceived as a piece and premiered together at SXSW before the show aired. But I think this episode was tight and amazingly cohesive, and at the end everybody is pretty vulnerable and ready to run into each others' embraces. But then! Marnie's feelings about Charlie, as they are detailed in Hannah's diary, are revealed publicly in an agonizingly bad performance by Charlie and Ray as the band Questionable Goods. This boundary-violating comes from both Charlie and Ray as well as Hannah, so Marnie feels intensely screwed and storms off after throwing her glass at Hannah and calling her a bitch. She is SO enmeshed! There is so much emotional dynamism and these characters are ready to move in serious ways. A lot has been catalyzed.

The next episode will be the season's halfway mark, and at this point I have been swayed by Adam as a necessary factor. I begrudgingly accept that that relationship is an awesome, complex one to focus on and is being done so with outrageous clarity. My own perception of such guys is so clouded and that behavior is rendered so acutely by Adam Driver. Quoth Jane Hu at the LA Review of Books.

Most reviews of Lena Dunham's new HBO show Girls so far have focused on its "realism," which immediately begs questions. If Dunham's show is meant to be realistic, then we're obliged to judge whether it's either refreshingly on target, or entirely missing the mark. Do we, the viewers, feel represented and reflected by the conversations and scenarios that Girls presents? Or do we feel alienated from them? Do we identify? Or do we feel something in between?
In the promotional trailer for the series, Dunham's character Hannah Horvath sits before her parents and proclaims: "I think I may be the voice of my generation," only to retreat instantly behind the modification: "or at least a voice … of a generation." This line, tagged as the catchphrase of Girls in the lead up to its pilot, was received almost as a dare. Someone, finally, was going to take on the challenge of speaking the real and raw truth for recession-era youth! For all its overwhelming narcissism, though, the line also anticipates the mix of recklessness and reluctance that the show cultivates. Girls wants to have it both ways: it wants to be both brash and unsure of itself, universal and specific, speaking (when it wants to) for a generation but reserving the right not to specify which one.
I enjoyed, in Dunham's NPR interview, how she experienced misgivings about calling the show Girls since so many Girls-something or something-Girls titles popped up simultaneously, and how her dad swayed her by screaming YOU HAVE THE METATITLE. Personally, my immediate reaction - which reasserts why I don't engage TV on a critical level - is that I have no desire to see someone else be "the voice of my generation" because I do write, I do articulate, I have friends I feel write of experiences and in ways that reflect the world in ways idealistic and uncannily foreboding. I feel my generation isn't lacking for voices at all and is served by technology to demonstrate how futile a voice would be, how that's not the thing anymore. What I would love to see - and it doesn't keep me up at night that Girls doesn't serve this purpose, because I have faith that people will keep getting angry and brilliant people will keep working - is anything that exposes me to lives that aren't like my own, that aren't in the same class, who didn't have the same racial experience. Whatever this inspires Lena Dunham to do, I am on board for it: I watched Creative Nonfiction this afternoon, which came with Tiny Furniture and was made during her junior and senior years in college, and the technical leap between the two versus the time between them - no more than months - to say nothing of her composure and readiness to engage the criticism she's received - I am very, very interested.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

This summer, say you're a fiction!

When you see your own photo, do you
say you're a fiction?

Strike up the languid guitars and bathtub chanteuses - my tiny book of poetry, Say you're a fiction, is coming out this summer from Dancing Girl Press! It has conspiracy, stripteases, murder, talking portraits - everything you want from poetry!

One of my best friends in all the universe, Kara Sheaffer, is a brilliant artist, and she designed the cover so perfectly it makes my eyes roll out of my head in surrender. I am showing you the graphic that occupies the front, but you cannot know the total grandeur that is the whole package she's designed. I am so thrilled for this to come out.

In other news: Freud, Orson Welles and I are having an amazing birthday. I read the Marbled Swarm in museums all over Manhattan, which epitomized the experience of reading anything, anywhere. The inimitable, brilliant Blip accepted a piece of my fiction. THE FUN PERCENT is all ready for editing. I have a lot of reveling to do.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

What I’m having right now is an inappropriate physical reaction to my total joy.

I made my mother watch the Girls pilot over the weekend. She had trouble penetrating the wonder of "Brian Williams' daughter" and of Greenpoint. When Hannah's mom says "I want a fucking lake house" my mom did a "raise the roof" move and howled. Also, one time, I told my mom about a delusional graduate I read about, who wrote cover letters wherein he described what kind of environment he flourished in and what kind of job he deserved, and she applauded. What bit of this show squeaked through to her proved her to be the exact audience in which this show demonstrates an authentic condition, replete with real anguish, and totally flat - no layers of criticism or irony wavering through the unreasonably real.

The other night, one of my best friends live-txt'd her reactions to the pilot. Her impressions were tempered by her fundamental dislike of the kinds of people the characters represent. One thing she pointed out that I enjoyed is the fact that Marnie is being really passive but she demonstrates so much neuroticism over, for instance, the dinner party. It's hard for me to think critically about Marnie for the same reason it's hard for her to think critically about Shoshanna, and I'm relieved when others do it.

Girls, Episode Three, "All Adventurous Women Do"

In this episode, Hannah busts out an outfit similar to one that Aura wares for a date in Tiny Furniture. I love Dunham's adolescent look and the way she never disappears into what she's wearing - her appearance continuously asserts itself. That is really good to see - someone who doesn't, cannot, disappear.

One of my best friend's complaints about the show is that Hannah seems too young for twenty-five. Her outfit had a weirdly sentimental impact on me: I just gutted my closet and got rid of the supergoth stuff I've had since high school. Watching Hannah - ill received as her outfit is by Charlie and Marnie, whose interaction, while it is totally absurd, throws more foreboding dark on the tall shadow these three episodes have built up in the form of terminal illness - watching Hannah, I was very nostalgic for community, since looks like that, not professional or necessarily flattering, are part of the experience of a subculture.

Then I read this observation from the Lavin Agency tumblr:
Sex apart, another reason for the show’s appeal, according to Eric Klinenberg, the author of Going Solo: The Extraordinary Rise and Surprising Appeal of Living Alone, is that it depicts a new way of living. The four main characters, he said from his New York University office, are typical of college graduates who move to cities and form “tribes” of friends en route to maturity and independence.
“We always see a tension in these friendships because this is a phase, a second adolescence, which will give way to something else,” he said.
Klinenberg, a sociology professor who studies urban and demographic patterns, said that this was a relatively new phenomenon. “It’s a kind of luxury for young Americans from affluent families. It used to be you married young and stayed married.”
The Girls of Slate cite "the little hop in Hannah's step when Adam summons her upstairs" as evidence that they have a good, if fraught, thing going on in Hannah's estimation. "Hannah hasn't fully cracked the code of Adam yet—and he's obviously even farther from cracking hers—but she's fascinated by his untrammeled relationship to his own desire, and they do share a genuine, if uneasy, connection." That's what I perceive as being the source of her skip - she is quick, endlessly analyzing, and he is the only person who is more pointed than her in his criticisms - notably of herself - and he is so quick that he barely lets her finish a statement before he assesses it. As awful as he is, it is believable - because Adam Driver is an astounding actor, this part is rendered perfectly - that he is Hannah's intellectual peer, and she wants his consideration and to suss out his potential. She thinks he is smarter than her because he doesn't have time for her. This is almost so subtle that I wish it were a little more plainly demonstrated, a little more sitcomy (although I don't, because it's perfect), just so that young kids watching don't miss that. This is the way that it's important and vital, I believe, the way this particular relationship is rendered not as abusive and black-and-white, but is the kind of bad situation that can befall young, smart girls.

OH the precocity! Jessa is babysitting - in a risque outfit - the children of a documentary filmmaker. The kids do things like judge the homeless and write novels and are probably circa age 7 - one above, one below. This kind of thing makes me gasp/groan like when Shoshanna revealed what her rent was. It's not even precocity. I like the child Aura was saddled with in Tiny Furniture who, when she tried to inspire him to play, shut Aura down with "definitely N-O." That's a pretty precocious move. A preadolescent writing about being an alcoholic divorcee is funny but it makes me long for "Uncle Wiggily in Connecticut." The precocity on parade in Salinger's "Uncle Wiggily" is unrivaled and has ruined me as a spectator of smart-child antics. But the scene did bring Salinger to mind, which is more than most TV does. I brought up Salinger in the last post! I'll get to why in just a minute. As the night wears on, Jessa meets and bonds with the girls' unemployed stoner dad - I cling to the dream that this will turn into a very uncomfortable friendship from which Jessa will be inspired to change her life, but if they do sleep together, may it be interesting and not what I'm dreading. So far Jessa has been outstanding to see, for me, and I'm ready to see the real weirdness she and Hannah will get down to, as foreshadowed by Marnie in the first episode - such are the pitfalls of episode-by-episode analyses.

In her absence from the "perfect bachelorette pad," there is an opportunity for Hannah and Shoshanna to be on screen together - although much of their dialogue, perfect for the occasion as it was, quivered in the shadow of Shoshanna's hair and the fact that she was heaped, in the middle of the day, on her couch in a mass of blankets watching TV. These kinds of flights of privilege will make Hannah, for all she has endured, look downright street savvy by the time Shoshanna is ready to look for a job.

Speaking of which:
When I graduated college I had a series of just humiliating jobs that I couldn't believe I was at. It's like when they describe people disassociating during a traumatic attack. I'd go to be at work and fantasize that I was in Hawaii in the '70s, making a movie...a Woody Allen movie about a girl with a job. I was raised by artists who I now know were working really hard, but as a kid it appeared that they were doing what they wanted to do all the time. I was ill-prepared. And then I had gone to two liberal arts schools, a high school with no grades and a college where you could leave anytime for a sit-in. So the idea that you had to do things—I mean this sounds so bratty—but the idea that you had to do things you didn't want to do was shocking to me. - Lena Dunham's GQ Interview
I like that she is forthright about the extent of her shelteredness, and how directly Girls responds to the need she felt to see her experience reflected. Now that I have gained some perspective - badly needed - I sort of love to meet people who are surprised they have to take terrible jobs to get the ones they want, or are clearly not fit to do much. Sort of. It's so warped, this whole thing, what is being depicted and what kind of conversation this show is taking part in. My own experience being, when I was young watching my parents work - ineffectually, with the relative ease of financial security - I harbored the assumption that since I was an artist, I believed, I would not have it like they had it, the notion of artist being for me steeped in the starving and struggling. I had the impression that I was bound to be doing something on a ship or at night, monitoring the security of an empty building. I had lots of romantic ideas about where my money would come from while I made art. I had absolutely zero understanding of a creative class or professional writing or liberal arts degrees. Right up until college, when I was three years into it, I distrusted the whole idea of institutionalized art down to its existence. The only thing I felt I knew was work, which had to be done to get to the next place, where I definitely spent every debasing day fantasizing I was elsewhere (when I had nothing-jobs, that is). But that was what I saw coming - and certainly any means to get anyplace is more than many have right now. In the New York Times op-ed everyone on my Facebook feed is linking to, "Wasting Our Minds", Paul Krugman rehashes the fact that it's pretty alienating that so many people with excellent educations aren't working in their field or working way below their skill level, if they are working at all. I say "rehash" but every time I see multiple headlines stressing a topic, I think about what it would be like if things weren't talked about, even if much of the talking feels like a lot of complaining and no tangible progress.

I thought, in reading that, how I like that Girls gives vent to some of my own obviously repressed professional frustrations. I like that - so far in its young life - it has avoided the grave offense of Sex and the City, posited as it was as a fantasy, an escapist exercise, when it was just a commercial - but it is still as unreasonable, but its unreasonableness extends beyond the how-are-they-living-in-New-York and into how-is-anyone-living-with-this-totally-unsustainable-circumstance?

Then my friend, Matt Parish, a newspaper editor and one of the soundest minds I know, asked on Facebook: "How often do we like stuff because it excuses and encourages our own tendencies?"

Despite the fact that this episode had significantly less to do with what I'm zeroing in on than the previous two episodes, where education and employment were directly invoked as topics of conversation, this episode stirred those feelings more as it got away from the telling and approached the showing - now these characters can just be themselves, and I am starting to melt. I long for the days when I had a cohesive, loving social unit in which I was centrally fixed. Way beyond the fact that Hannah is a writer, it is the quality of her relationships that I relate to. And something else, which is not a tidy thing to admit and I'm grateful for my own sense of modesty (which doesn't exist except on the internet) that Lena Dunham isn't more balls-out in her approach to this topic so as to make me bring it up sooner (this is still soon) since it is so embrocated in what she does and the characters she writes - I am talking about Salinger and the frustration of being smart. Not the foremost, not in every arena, but for all the ways that Hannah is behind, she is ahead of many. She is quick. And given as she is to opening up in the tub like Zooey Glass, she probably could list nearly identical complaints about her incompatibility with the world.

Also, she was looking for Jessa in her scene with Shoshannna because she found out she has HPV. Hannah's pursuit of this information is occasion for a very enjoyable performance. The emotions that quaver through Hannah's expression when she explains this fact to her guy reveal that she doesn't know what is appropriate, and that loss of control is sad. It's very small but very effective, this little moment of confusion. I wish the episode would have focused on this reality, which does come with the real threat of cancer, instead of diverting to the scene where she confronts her ex-boyfriend, the one she assumes transmitted the HPV to her. Her ex is now out and their conversation is well-played - very well-played, even if I didn't want the scene to be there. It's a very different kind of talking about sexual orientations, way more involving the real feelings at risk when people aren't being honest, and the only thing played for laughs is the acid that gets mutually spewed - his, however, is a little less pointed and feeds the trend of people dumping on Hannah for reasons other than the good ones given onscreen. She is painted as unsympathetic and gross and mean-spirited, which is his cause for anger, while he is now so assertive with his sexuality that she sees how blatantly he was lying before. Still important to bring up for many girls, though. Same with scene where Marnie whacks it in the gallery bathroom. I'm a little surprised that was called out as unrealistic, that Marnie would dash from a heated encounter with a professional artist who is everything her boyfriend is not to work it out alone.

After the gallery, the next and last scene is Hannah composing a tweet. I like the segue from hyper-institutionalized artmaking to ultra-diy social media artmaking. This is a tension I am dying to see explored. The most significant gesture on the show to come from the protagonist herself - embracing her situation as the result of her choices, embracing that which makes her adventurous - drives her to dance. Marnie joins her. Maybe Hannah will pull herself up with art! Maybe she will understand, via the vacuousness that seems to pervade at Marnie's job, that art entails meaning apart from success! I look forward to seeing.