Date Night with Wrinkles

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Nestled on the wall in a small courtyard in Wynwood lies the entrance to O Cinema.  Passing the adorably artsy  open space of a couple picnic tables walls covered in surrealist art – see exhibits A and C – my boyfriend and I were not sure if we were going the right way. We stood, awkwardly between the might-be-locked-can’t-possibly-be-the-entrance door  facing us and the hippie-meets-hipster couple to our right. After a beat or two of uncertainty we asked them to confirm that we were, in fact, about to enter the theater the correct way. And true to Wynwood style the man smiled warmly and said, “Yeah man, you got it.”

We entered into a small foyer and were asked if we were there for the exhibit or the movie. What? I thought, There’s art here? Then I kicked myself. Of course, this is Wynwood. We turned a couple of corners, ducked under a red divider that led into near pitch blackness, handed a man our tickets and settled in for our viewing of Wrinkles.

O Cinema is by no means grand. The theater isn’t state of the art and one’s footsteps are much, much louder than in a typical theater. But it feels, in the best way possible, like watching a movie at home. It may be that O Cinema features indie films which draw a crowd that has more respect for the art. It may be that it was a Thursday night and wilder folks were busy with weekly routines, saving their strength for the weekend. Whatever it was, the want to ask people to stop kicking your chair, or to dim their phone screens or to just be quiet, was nonexistent.

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Wrinkles, for its part, was not what I’d expected it to be. I’d thought it would be an adventure. More comedy than drama with old folks escaping a nursing home and killing aliens. There was an escape, and there were aliens. But the presence of each was to bring to light what we face as we approach our last years, how our mentality can shift and how we cannot control our inevitable mental deterioration. In the film we follow an elderly man and his adventures in a nursing home with his friends. Naturally the film gives the audience the same emotions one will encounter when visiting a real life nursing home: awe at the adventures some people are able to go one in one lifetime, but a sense of melancholy because, in the end, the nursing home is where someone looses their life nearly every single day.

Kyle, my boyfriend, stayed awake. He said he thought the movie was horribly boring, but he did stay awake, which is more than I can say he’d done for Taken 2. Or 47 Ronin. Or The Hobbit.  I thought the movie was incredibly touching and immensely eye-opening. If we’re lucky we will reach their age, but if this film taught me anything it’s that I will try and be there for my parents as they age. I won’t give away anymore than I already have, and I apologize if I’ve ruined it for you. Watch it anyway. Visually it’s one of the best animated films out there and the cast of characters is top notch.

 

When we left we marked the chalkboard painted wall with our signatures, as all the patrons are invited to do upon leaving. His the Arabic “humility” and mine a princess flying a kite. We stopped to appreciate the art pieces in the cozy lobby. There were cookies on the counter baked by Somebody’s Mom – the company name – and each of the staff said goodnight as if we were friends leaving after a party. Both of us quite content in our date night choice. Well, both of us content with O Cinema and one of us with Wrinkles.

 

Overall, it was a good night and a Miami gem. I can’t wait to go back. But I think I’ll let Kyle choose the next film.

 

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What I should have said…

I am at a doubtful time in my life. I doubt whether or not I will ever be a wife and mother – something I’ve wanted since I was three. I doubt I’ll ever be able to set aside teaching and write full time. I doubt I have the ability to write full time. Hell, I doubt the sun rise in the morning, truth be told. So in this doubtful period, I – master of linguistics – have a hard time speaking. Really. I stumble, repeat myself and leave important things out.

Yesterday I had the pleasure of meeting two of the most inspiring writers of our time – Nikki Giovanni and Junot Diaz. Needless to say, I didn’t get the right words out. As I floated around Ms. Giovanni while she was attempting to make it to her signing post, I was beside myself with the want to tell her everything. So of course, I told her nothing. I got some words out about her being my biggest muse (why do you think I go by Nikki the Muse?), told her my father introduced me to her stuff and some mumbo jumbo about my being a poet who gets off track into the world of fiction and well – hell- i don’t even know what I said and I could tell by her “I’m-too-sweet-to-tell-you-to-piss-off-you-no-sense-making-fool-of-a-girl-face” that I was talking too much. I took my signed book – which, in retrospect, I may have too comfortably placed in her hands to sign, and moped off.

Then I spotted Junot Diaz. Maaaaaaaan he so cool I forgot to tell him how cool he was. We had a brief chuckle over the fact that I was Black and Korean with a Pinoy name – Miami life – and he was super cordial and warm and gave me a hug and kiss, but I didn’t get a word to him.

As I sit at this laptop, at my desk in my classroom feeling that the walls are closing in on me, feeling as if I don’t write something and get published soon I’ll implode, I realize that though I didn’t want to say “hey, read my stuff” I did want to say the right thing.

WHAT I SHOULD HAVE SAID:

Nikki, I mean, Ms. Giovanni,

I breathe your work. When I fall in the dream of love or find myself stirring as I wake from love it is your poetry that becomes my soundtrack. When I was 14 I read your stuff for the first time and thought, man oh man this is a Queen. I respect you, revere you even, for all that you are – militant, vibrant, and all that you are not – dull, conformed, and I have looked up to you like you are some dead white male writer – which, in the world of “respectable literature”, means a lot. I have dreamed of meeting you so often that they feel the reality, and this the fantasy. You showed me that a woman can be, hell, should be, sexy, strong, articulate, intelligent but not condescending and real – earth shatteringly real. And I love you for all you have given the world.

Meeting Junot Diaz at Miami Book Fair International

Meeting Junot Diaz at Miami Book Fair International

Junot, – I won’t say mister ’cause you seem like one of my boys –

You fly. You so fly. We can go down the colonial languages’ dictionary and find many, many words whose denotative definition can describe you but I’ll choose fly because we know that it’s a colloquialism that can hold so much more power than any fifteen syllable compliment. I regret not having read your stuff sooner, but I am a fan. Through and through, and I am inspired – not just to be a better writer, but more intelligent, informed. I love how you see yourself and by offering such a clear image, allow others to use you as a mirror when defining themselves. You are what Tupac calls a rose, one that grew from concrete of course. Thank you.

Alas, why is it that we only think of this stuff later?