Review: Patti Cake$

It could be said (it has been said, I’m sure) that Sundance Film Festival likes to play favorites. It’s a bit of a clique, and you’re not in until you’re in. Like the cool kids’ table at lunch or the VIP section at the club, you gotta know someone or be in the right place at the right time.

But I don’t think that’s entirely fair. Especially not while Sundance continues to identify and champion emerging talent like Geremy Jasper and his wonderful feature narrative debut, Patti Cake$. A project developed with the help of Sundance’s Screenwriting and Directing Labs, it premiered earlier this year at the 2017 film festival to generally┬ápositive reviews and was snapped up by Fox Searchlight for a cool $10.5 million.

Patricia Dombrowski is living paycheck-to-paycheck with her mother and grandmother in suburban New Jersey; the Manhattan skyline is just visible in the distance, but a world away. She dreams up raps between serving boozy regulars at the dive bar where she works, scraping together enough to pay her ailing Nana’s medical bills and cover some time at a recording studio with her best friend and rapping partner, Jheri. She’s got big dreams and talent to back them up, if only she could get a break.

Continue reading “Review: Patti Cake$”

John Cho at Miller House, Columbus

Review(s): Columbus and Menashe

Two quiet independent films slip into theaters soon, and each is worthy of your attention. Both premiered in Chicago earlier this year at the Chicago Critic's Film Festival, a week-long affair that's proving to be a local film staple previewing the year's best fare. It was there I saw A Ghost Story, The Little Hours, Patti Cake$ and more well before their theatrical release.

Columbus (Sept. 8) and Menashe (August 11) couldn't be more different in some ways, and yet they're strikingly similar. Each follows a male (minority) protagonist as he navigates a rocky time in his life. Each is built around a very specific setting, the architectural enclave of Columbus, Indiana (Columbus) and the Hassidic Jewish community of Brooklyn (Menashe). And each brings their respective world to life in crisp fashion, yet without much fanfare. It's the subtle but diligent care the filmmakers take that pays off for both films. Continue reading “Review(s): Columbus and Menashe”

The Friendliest Island in the Atlantic

When I made the decision to go into business for myself, my mom was not only my biggest cheerleader but also my first client. Her own small business, STEPS for Kids, Inc, was in need of some direction on marketing and business development. So one day in March, we met for lunch at Panera to dig into how I might be able to help.

To my surprise and delight, our work meeting went well and my insights and recommendations proved to be helpful enough that I’m still working with her today on social media and email marketing. It’s been a win/win arrangement, as I’ve got the client work to keep busy with and she’s able to move these efforts off her own plate so she can focus on the work of growing the business.

I think it was at that first lunch that she mentioned that she’d been booked to present at a conference in Bermuda in late July. It would be her first trip abroad with the wildly successful class she’s been teaching and touring with for over a year now. I immediately insisted she extend her flights and take a few days to enjoy the beach while she was there. How could you not?!

Not long after mentioning the trip, she messaged me one morning to ask if I might be interested in joining her. YES is be my answer! And with that, we set to booking flights and lodging and learning as much as we could about what to do in Bermuda (which, honestly, I had to look up on a map…). Continue reading “The Friendliest Island in the Atlantic”