Sunday, February 10, 2008

musings around town

i have a little secret that i have been keeping to myself, that is i have been giving private english classes. i have only kept it to myself because i was not sure how it was going to work out. but the classes continue. they take up a tiny amount of my time, just a few hours on the weekends, but they are finding a wonderful place in my heart. let me explain. i tutor privately 2 brothers ages 9 and 10. going into this gig i thought it would be a nice way to help and pick up a few extra dollars to allow me to indulge in my museum, tea, and film going fixations. and this little gig is turning out to be more than i imagined. the basics are, they are two boys who have been living in new york for 6 months. they are attending a private school and all their classes are in english. so they have to navigate learning to speak english while keeping up with their studies. can you imagine? children continue to fascinate me. they are doing it. in six months they are almost fluent. the thing is just to iron out a few kinks here and there in terms of prononciation, writing, and learning new vocabulary words. i try to help them with their confidence as well, so that they can be a bit more secure when in class and hanging out with their friends. i think because they are 'into it,' that is, they are really interested in learning, it is a really enjoyable experience for me. aside from asking them to put away the nintendo, i have no real discipline issues. oh... their sweet mom sometimes makes tea for us and brings it to the study, i do have to hide the sugar because they literally will eat sugar rocks out of the jar like it is candy. so i'll let you know as time passes of the incredibly delightful things they say and do, sometimes we are in the room just laughing as we make our way through their lessons. yesterday boy l. tied a multi colored blanket around his neck in his efforts and performance to explain to me what a 'cloak of invisibility' is as we were reading harry potter and going over new vocabulary words. can you imagine?

change...

while living in madrid, one young woman said to me something that i thought was incredibly interesting. she is from paris. it was during the last u.s. elections 3 years ago. she said 'the whole world should be able to vote for the u.s. president. it is an election that effects the entire world.' wow. an incredibly interesting point. is change on the horizon? i sincerely and deeply and profoundly hope so. can we talk about a basic decency, respect... and do we go as far as honor in u.s. relations with all people both at home and abroad. that is a change i hope to see...
saw some art this week

i wonder if i will ever be able to talk about art intelligently. mostly all i can see is what i like and what i don't like. i like the work of this artist, aaron douglas. many of his paintings are from the harlem renaissance and they are his reflections on african heritage. i tend to like the soft colours he chooses and the way they can blend into one another. in addition his paintings inspire a curiosity about a culture i know very little about. i suspect when africa is good, it is really good. one young french guy said to me that there is no better living than the living in africa. i feel confident in saying, he must mean aside from the numerous tragedies that we hear about. and even still i have heard that in the face of tragedy, that when you are there, the people have such hope and faith that it is incredibly uplifting. it definitely seems like it is something one has to be in the midst of to know. those who have, share stories of hope and inspiration. courageous i call them...
i had no idea that my transition into the next idea that i wanted to share would seem so frivolous. that is, going from ideas of art and happenings in africa to ... film. forgive me, it is not my intention to be insensitive, just sharing a series of ideas...
this film


leaves me at a loss for words. i went to see it because i been told by many folk 'it's really good but it is incredibly violent and disturbing.' i've waited to see it because i was thinking that i could do without 'incredibly violent and disturbing,' and in a way i was right. as i watched the film i thought there are plenty more pleasing doings i could be up to. with that said i was there, and i had paid my money, so let's see where this goes. the coen brothers have a way of creating the most bizarre, albeit interesting stories. the film is well done, interesting, startling, and strange. it's good but... it's a tough film to watch. javier bardem delivers another 'fine' performance. some folks think that the main character kills because he just likes it. i tend to disagree. i think the character has some twisted sense of honor and ethics. like when he breaks his arm and convinces a kid to give him his shirt for a $100. the kid at first is reluctant to take the money. bardem encourages him to take it, it's just the 'right' thing to do. the kid gave up his shirt, he should be paid for it, even if the money comes from a man all bloodied with a broken arm who will pay that much money for a shirt that could easily cost $5. but that is not the point. and i think that is the one intriguing thing about this movie. in the midst of all the drugs, killing, confusion and fear it does encourage one to ask the question, what is the point, whether in the middle of a film or in life.

2 comments:

Le Tigre said...

That's fantastic you are teaching English! It must be so tough for kids who are thrown into school and just expected to pick up the language and deal.

I never know much about art either, I'm the same, I either like it or I don't. So I always feel so dumb when I go to galleries because so often I just 'don't get it'.

l'air de temps said...

le tigre, sometimes i don't even have the courage to walk into art galleries, but one lady said to me one day, 'artists want people to look at what they have created.' i thought, that makes sense, but i still get nervous.

... and the kids are great, it is such an inspiration to see them try...