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Status Report

Mar. 6th, 2013 | 12:12 pm

Bang Bang

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The Seven-year Itch

Dec. 9th, 2012 | 02:17 pm

The Seven-year Itch by Tiffany Leigh
The Seven-year Itch, a photo by Tiffany Leigh on Flickr.

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Photo Whore: Bettie Page Tribute Edition

Jan. 30th, 2012 | 03:12 pm

January 2012, Triangles Cafe, Danbury CT:

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Photo Whore, Tiffany Approved™ party edition

Nov. 21st, 2011 | 11:19 am

Preening and posing with Amanda Lay, who hosts a weekly TG party in northern NJ.

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Photo Whore: August 2011 (Long Time No See Edition)

Aug. 22nd, 2011 | 01:52 pm
New Best Friend: The Jezabels - Hurt Me | Powered by Last.fm

Long time no see! I've been hosting my Triangles parties monthly now for over a year and they've been getting bigger and bigger.

This past weekend was our "Sexy Summer Slumber Party" - a lingerie theme, which to TG's is as soulmatey as chocolate and peanut butter or gasoline and an open flame.

My boudoir ensemble was photocapped by Amber Amberazzi while I was primping in the ladies':

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For the record I *am* wearing something from the waist down; you just can't see it under the corset.

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The Official FAQ for my monthly TG parties can be found here.

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Pop Medicine: "Endless Summer" by The Jezebels

Jul. 15th, 2011 | 01:06 pm

The Jezebels are a jaw-dropping pop miracle.

I speak from personal experience when I say that listening to them will SAVE YOUR LIFE.

They recognize that you are at the center of the the most extraordinary and epic pop romance in the entire universe.

Their songs soundtrack you. Bringing you back to life. Rushing in and saving you with a powerful embrace, with deep and passionate kisses in the pouring rain, note-by-note, song after song, a lyric and chorus at a time.

The Man Is Dead

She's So Hard

Dark Storm

After releasing three five-song EP's in just over a year and touring non-stop in Australia (with a few sneak attacks stateside) they've proven that 1) they are wholly incapable of making a bad song, and 2) that they're about to explode.

Their shimmering new single "Endless Summer" mainlines dreamy 80's pop, soars in Kate Bush's ether, and (as advertised) washes over you with the warm shivers of your ideal summer, conjuring nostalgia for the most treasured moments in your life that don't yet exist.

The Jezebels' debut album, Prisoner, is due out September 16th.

The Jezebels - "Endless Summer"

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Widdershins

Apr. 5th, 2010 | 07:09 am
New Best Friend: The Smiths - William, It Was Really Nothing | Powered by Last.fm

I'm not on here too too much. Twitter mostly. I finally migrated to Google Reader and set up a feed to follow my LJ friends' posts from there, so I have been keeping a close watch on you.

ALL of you.

March was an eyeblink.

I went to Maine to see my father. I hadn't spoken to him in five years until he reached out to my mother to let me know he was diagnosed with lung cancer. A quick visit last December, when things were still optimistic despite the writing on the wall (smoking multiple packs of cigarettes a day since he was 14 years old). Fast-forward to a visit from me and my sister three weeks ago, when things visibly and noticably worsened. And flash ahead to last week, when word is that he's been moved into a hospice, under the presumption that he isn't moving back out of it.

His cancer has spread to everywhere, he won't live to see the summer, and this is all a bit distant and diffident to me. He was always a shadow figure in my life, but ironically have never a been non-factor. I am still working off and working out his negative influence on me to this day.

When not jotting in 140-character bursts or piffle status updates for Facebook, I'm writing a script for the SCRIPT FRENZY. The goal is to write 100 pages in April. So far so good. Yesterday I wrote with a hangover. I wrote despite the hangover. An encouraging bellwether. They call chapter in the "How to Write a Screenplay" Fucking Write Anyway.

The script I'm working on is an outright messy horror flick. A "monster in a house" movie (that isn't MONSTER HOUSE). Think JOHN CARPENTER'S THE THING.

The soundtrack for the script so far has been THE SMITHS discography on perpetual shuffle. It's tonic and it's gangbusters as I plow through the shitty-on-purpose first draft.

I still host TG-positive Triangles parties in Danbury, CT. We increased them to occur monthly now. The next party is this Saturday. The entire schedule for the year is here.

I recently re-negotiated my "deal" with the club. Going from pro-bono to a mere pittance to now being compensated enough where I feel like I'm not being taken advantage of anymore, finally. They pay my way with a little extra for expenses/premium cat food.

I am getting better at asking for what I want, and need. I'm not getting better at feeling good about it. I still hate the idea of having to even ask at all, about stuff that should be obvious in my opinion, because asking for what I want or need is a confrontation, and I hate those. But if I don't self-advocate, no one's going to do so on my behalf. So I swallow the discomfort. And I get paid, and Elvira the cat eats like a queen. Win/win.

I'll be guest-hosting once a month at a new weekly party in NYC called CRISIS. The crowd is mixed, and the denizens in attendance last weekend gave me real hope for some semblance of a nightlife. The people were friendly, dancing, casual and mixed and mingly, and the crowd was actually "trying" - i.e. dressing to impress, some with wild outfits, or high/low drag. Not a lot of boring American Appareled, PBR-swilling wallflowers looking at their shoes or cellphones or each other and celebrating the idea of a good time. But unself-consciously having one.

My girlfriend, Jane Doe, took smokin' new pics of me from her brand-spanking new makeup academy and photo studio in Brooklyn. It's two blocks from our Bushwick apartment. Bushwick is more commonly referred to by real estate agents and self-conscious, insecure hipsters (are there any other kind?) as "East Williamsburg." But saying Bushwick is "East Williamsburg" is like a Hobokenite saying she actually lives in Manhattan.

Anyway. Here's a photo. Is there a market for non-explicit content, un-Drag Queen looking tranny models out there?

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Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid

Jan. 20th, 2010 | 12:30 pm

[Another crosspost from "A Week in the Cinematic Life"]

SUNDANCE: Think you used enough dynamite there, Butch?

I was born in New England, in the suburbs. I knew no one in the film business, I didn't know anyone that knew anyone in the film business, nor did THEY know anyone that knew anyone in the film business. Growing up hanging out week after week at the Showcase Cinemas, or renting VHS tapes from Movies & More, I was like virtually every other kid: it didn't occur to me that that there was a film industry beyond the actors I saw onscreen and beyond Steven Spielberg or George Lucas (the only directors I knew by name even if I didn't know what the hell they did).

I also didn't know there was such a thing as film school – I had inklings that NYU/USC existed as schools that taught film, but that very idea:"teaching film" was an abstract concept. How exactly did one teach Star Wars, Jaws, Close Encounters, Raiders, or E.T.?

I eventually discovered that working for the motion pictures was a job, like any other (while unlike many others). It took hundreds of people many years to make one movie, and it always took that many people (maybe more) and that much time (usually more) whether or not the movie was good, bad, or indifferent. Whether or not it won an Oscar, a Golden Razzie, or anything in between.

But, since that penny didn't drop until after college there wasn't any such thing as film school, working in film, or WRITING for the pictures in my life. I loved movies, and I wrote, and the parts never added up to a synergistic whole. So I went to a (non-film) college and tried to figure out what (non-film) job I'd end up with.

I majored in Creative Writing, the worst subset of English. And I hated writing short stories. My stuff was procrastinated, unfinished fragments of purple prose and never resembled the photocopied New Yorker pieces my professors handed out: slice of life navel-gazes centering around some mundane, middle-to-upper class object (a wooden spoon, a kiwi fruit) which duly served as metaphor for a crumbling marriage. My stuff was genre-oriented – fantasy, horror, crime – which always elicited safe workshop feedback like "creative" or "provocative" or because it never took place in a Volvo or over demitasses of cappuccino.

So while washing out of fiction writing, in the meantime I took any course that had "FILM" or "MOVIE" or "VIDEO" or "CINEMA" in the title. One course was called "American Screenplays." The adjunct professor was a fringe industry guy who lived nearby and had two 1970's ABC Afterschool Specials under
his belt. For homework we'd watch a movie, read its script, and meet weekly to discuss it and screen snippets.

He sat at the front of the hall at a desk too small for his whippet-thin frame, his legs bouncing constantly underneath and jerking out from under every five minutes to avoid cramping. His only question to the class for each movie: "Did it creak?" His most popular response to a clip: "It works, doesn't it?" The course was a football team favorite. Gut level lecture, automatic A's, and a one-and-done semester for both the college and the professor's teaching career.

Our first assignment was Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. And the following script-to-screen moment was my Rosetta Stone. From the script:
THE SAFE - Just before a cataclysmic explosion rocks it. For a moment there is just the flash of blinding light, then deafening sound. The whole goddam railroad car has been blasted away to its foundation and as the sound diminishes, something fills the air: money.
Now the same scene, as filmed:



Between Butch saying, "Well that oughta do it" and the motherfucking BOOM that follows? A supreme and amazing frisson that had me laughing out loud in wonderment and surprise. Even to this day it's one of the best and most prodigious film edits (and explosions) I've ever seen. Seeing the sequence in its blueprinted and then constructed form, 25 years after the fact, was when my repressed muscle memories kicked in and I realized: I want to do that. I want to be a screenwriter.

I'm no longer in the film business proper but I'm still of it, and while not yet a professional hack in Hollywood, I'm still writing. With explosions like Butch's as a horizon line.

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Chinatown

Jan. 19th, 2010 | 11:05 am
location: United States, New York, New York
New Best Friend: The English Beat - Mirror in the Bathroom | Powered by Last.fm

[Cross-posted from a guest blogging stint called "A Week In The Cinematic Life"]

It might not be the first film I remember ever watching, but it's close.

Chinatown was released theatrically in 1974. Which means that probably sometime in 1976, not much later, it was shown for the first time on network television. I don't (and with Google's help, cant') recall when exactly it was showing, or which network. But I couldn't have been older than four or five. I was at my grandmother's old house in North Attleboro during a family sleepover. We kids (sister, cousins) all slept in the big living room on the floor in sleeping bags. After a full day of tear-assing all over the yard, three floors of the house, the attic, and the basement, we were tuckered out.

It was past bedtime but the TV stayed on. It was a white noise machine and, more importantly, a suitable nightlight to keep away the Thing Under the Bed. Because when you're four or five there are always Things, and when there are no beds for them to hide under they settle for closets - but light keeps them at bay. We were grateful for the talisman our grandmother left us and immune to the hard floor, the uneven flicker of the screen, and the clanging loud quiet loud network chatter. Not that we were sleeping anyway.

Five of us laid side by side and contracted Overtired, whose side effects included not thinking you can or need to sleep, contagious laughing fits, and flopping like big blue swordfish on the floor, with an occasional trampoline routine on the couch or ottoman. The cure: a parent shouting that we better knock it off and that we wouldn't want them to have to come in and turn off the television. This would have invariably been all the invitation that the Thing in the Closet needed, and our parents knew we knew this, so we tried to keep it down.

But looking back I realize that parental threats were ultimately hollow that night. The television would have stayed on regardless. Not because we were young and due to comatose anyway. And not because the television was the only de facto babysitter in the mid-seventies, well before the science fictions of portable Walkmans that only took two AA batteries instead of four, coin-operated Pong, laserdiscs, or Betamax that were to come. I believe that the only reason the TV was on all night was because my grandmother wanted me to see Chinatown, and she knew I'd stay up and watch the whole thing.

My grandmother was a huge movie fan and genre fiction reader – mysteries and horror specifically - so Chinatown dovetailed all passions. Maybe if something else was on that night, curfews would have been imposed and the living room would have been dark and noisy with us weeping in fear and the Thing cackling with glee.

I didn't understand very much - but was mesmerized. The look and feel of every single frame. The period it depicted. The very colors of Los Angeles and its seediness and dryness. The music, and the edited sound (the footfalls that Jake Gittes made, the rushing water that almost drowns him when he's snooping in the culvert at midnight, the crunch of the watches under the tires).

I so misunderstood the spell that the movie cast over me that I mis-epiphanied: I thought I wanted to be a detective. I was in love with the idea of being Jake Gittes: uncouth, rumpled, scrappy like a get-me-by fastball but with a few tricks left whenever underestimated: leaving pocketwatches under car tires to record the time a vehicle left a location. I wanted his wrinkled suit, and especially his hat. I started playing Chinatown make believe. Let's pretend: I'm Jake Gittes. I practiced all summer by sitting in cars and waiting. For something. Patrolling the yard for clues. Snooping on neighbors or "tailing" passing strangers.

I didn't make it through the entire movie. It was a series of fugues. The movie was a murmur, a series of fugues while drifting in and out of sleep, punctuated by eyewitness glimpses: Gittes getting his nostrils slit by Polanski; the glasses in the garden pool, Faye Dunaway with a bullet through her eye; "Forget it Jake, it's Chinatown."

Much of the movie didn't make sense then. I didn't know what film noir was, or hard-boiled fiction. I didn't understand the futile, tragic inevitability that Jake's case represented. I didn't experience unhappy endings yet at age five. But I was still attracted to Gittes' slumming knight on his luckless quest.

I didn't know how hard it was to make a movie so good - that it was a confluence of often chance elements that led to filmic immortality. I didn't know that Polanski's directing a Hollywood studio picture was a ballsy and significant decision by Robert Evans to have made, since Polanski was only five years removed from mourning Sharon Tate's murder, and only three years before his infamous statutory rape scandal.

Most importantly, it didn't yet dawn on me that what I was watching, what was holding me captive and spellbound, had actually been written by someone. This place, these people, how the looked and lived, was somebody's words first.

All those revelations came later. But that first time, the film simply resonated, like a new spine or a pulse. It kept me awake (alive), washing over me with more than its light and shadow and mystery. It was opening in me my love for film, my yen to orbit that world for as much and as long as I could. Later I'd realized that I didn't want to be Jake Gittes the detective, but that I wanted to be Robert Towne the screenwriter.

That summer night was the infancy of a lifelong affair. It was the origin story for my passion, vocation, and avocation. My grandmother's living room-turned-screening room, well past my bedtime, while I was sleeping, was the womb. And Chinatown was a rich new world I had finally discovered. Or, just as much and as deeply, a world that had finally discovered me.

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"You're Catherine Zeta! -Actually, my name's Marina."

Jan. 7th, 2010 | 07:58 am

HOLLYWOOD (acoustic version) by Marina & the Diamonds. Her debut album is set for release right about St. Valentine's Day, which is apt since I'm inexorably in her thrall.

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Two Oh One Oh

Jan. 5th, 2010 | 05:22 pm
New Best Friend: Annie - Heaven and Hell | Powered by Last.fm

The glasses aren't rose-colored, but the frames are definitely tinted optimistically.



My past 12 months has been a seemingly cthonic and wholly prodigious sea change.

No area of my life was spared: work, home, personal, spiritual, health, writing, relationships, technology, family... to deal with it, I didn't deal with it. I went into survival mode: go to mattresses, batten hatches, hack-and-slash, Sherman march, self-impose siege and wait out my demonic aggressors. Which often are me, myself, and I.

Collateral damage: my LJ page became urban blight. Although why I was on LJ changed benevolently, I didn't know how to manage the morph. So as I'm prone to do -- and, going forward, what I'm trying to prevent myself from doing any more -- I abandoned it.

I'm learning balance. More importantly, I'm understanding it, and not just wearing a ribbon pin on my lapel in solidarity.

I'm reminding myself that the day-to-day, the causes and effects, aren't only always Either, or Or. Life and how I view it, and how I cope with it, isn't solely a Michael Baysian series of blipping bombastic money shots of speedball-high Zeniths or bottomless Abysses, strung together kinetically like a gonzo pearl necklace.

On any given day I still might have Best Days Ever, or monogrammed Charlie Brown rainclouds over my head. But they aren't at the expense of the rest of my life and all its ingredients. There is no all-or-nothing.

I found this site recently, which is an ode to organization and defragging. Where I currently am in my life, it looks and reads better than any of the best porn I ever porned. Someone recently posted that just as important as making and keeping To Do Lists is making, keeping, and *honoring* one's To Be List.

As I continue to regress to the mean in the best possible ways, I want to re-imagine my space here (and everywhere) as something that suits me better. More middling, common, stabler ground. Between the extreme states of orgiastic feast or utter famine, I *can* nourish myself.

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Photo: My birthday at Rock 'n Roll High, LES

Jul. 4th, 2009 | 03:57 am

Outside The Skinny Bar, 07/02/09 =

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