Marengo Media

A blog by Alice Groesbeck

Earlier this year, I spent a few days in New York City with up-and-coming singer Alex Young.

Here is the debut of our first video in a multi-part series on Alex. For more information on the release of my upcoming documentary, Alex Young: The Grit Behind the Polish, head on over to my website: http://servingcinema.com/

A view from the windows of Gibney Dance Studios on Broadway in NYC.

A view from the windows of Gibney Dance Studios on Broadway in NYC.

I launched a film site today with my creative partner Joey Nolfi: www.servingcinema.com. From our site’s About Us:

One day, post-grad writers, dreamers, provocateurs, and all-around staples of the international blogosphere Joey Nolfi and Alice G. Beck created Serving Cinema, a venture into film criticism, awards season coverage, and all things pop culture.
Too busy writing screenplays, making documentaries, and throwing shade at Tilda Swinton, Joey and Alice don’t have time to understand what “football” is all about, but they are  sure it played an important role in The Blind Side. Joey and Alice do, however, refer to the Oscars as their “Super Bowl,” with Meryl Streep being their “number one draft pick.” During the “off season”, their work serves up all the humble qualities of a 1990s after school special, if 1990s after school specials dabbled in film criticism, think pieces, and entertainment industry commentary. Their humor is as subtle as Kathy Bates swinging a sledge hammer, and they operate on suburban levels of the controversial. Serving Cinema aims to keep it real and 100% when serving up a fresh dose of cinematic realness.
So lock the doors, lower the blinds, and let Serving Cinema spill that truth tea for your sipping pleasure.

Joey and I spent some time in New York, NY filming videos for our site before our launch, and I put together a website trailer for Serving Cinema. We had a lot of fun with it, and I hope you do, too!

Serving Cinema: Official Trailer from Serving Cinema on Vimeo.

I launched a film site today with my creative partner Joey Nolfi: www.servingcinema.com. From our site’s About Us:

One day, post-grad writers, dreamers, provocateurs, and all-around staples of the international blogosphere Joey Nolfi and Alice G. Beck created Serving Cinema, a venture into film criticism, awards season coverage, and all things pop culture.

Too busy writing screenplays, making documentaries, and throwing shade at Tilda Swinton, Joey and Alice don’t have time to understand what “football” is all about, but they are  sure it played an important role in The Blind Side. Joey and Alice do, however, refer to the Oscars as their “Super Bowl,” with Meryl Streep being their “number one draft pick.” During the “off season”, their work serves up all the humble qualities of a 1990s after school special, if 1990s after school specials dabbled in film criticism, think pieces, and entertainment industry commentary. Their humor is as subtle as Kathy Bates swinging a sledge hammer, and they operate on suburban levels of the controversial. Serving Cinema aims to keep it real and 100% when serving up a fresh dose of cinematic realness.

So lock the doors, lower the blinds, and let Serving Cinema spill that truth tea for your sipping pleasure.

Joey and I spent some time in New York, NY filming videos for our site before our launch, and I put together a website trailer for Serving Cinema. We had a lot of fun with it, and I hope you do, too!

Serving Cinema: Official Trailer from Serving Cinema on Vimeo.

New projects, new pages, new hotness, etc.

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Photo by M.M. Gray.

Maybe it’s because I inhaled every word of High Fidelity when I was in high school, but I’ve always loved making lists:

- Favorite songs, August 2014 
- Best Conversations Overheard Out of Context While Using Public Transportation (on-going)
- Best French Onion Soup, ranked by year, place and vibe of place.

I don’t know if I would call my list-making “journaling,” but I think they are both equally cathartic.

For two years, I’ve kept tabs on my lists by writing them down in a journal. Just like my keys and wallet, I never leave my house without tucking my journal into my bag. I like to have it handy, so I can easily jot down new ideas and look over old ones every now and then to see if I’ve made any progress in any areas of my life.

Some lists make sense:

- Things to do today
- Dog-friendly places (local)
- Favorite fonts

Others don’t:

- Cornmaze Hacks
- Best Drag Names for Pat Roberston

When I think of a list I want to make, the process is immediately soothing. The structure of creating a list and giving it a particular order gives my thoughts a sense of calm and clarity. These lists also help me hone in on some much-needed perspective.

Some lists only have a few items on them:

- Times I’ve Enjoyed Riding Greyhound
- Best Seafood (Landlocked States only)
- Reasons to love Quark ExPress

Others are pages long, with even longer titles, like the list I add to the most:

- Things I need to do/want to do/haven’t been able to do but will!

Whenever I’m on a break at work, I usually add to this list, read it over or modify it in some way. It’s mostly additions and revisions like:

- make more movies (any camera will do)
- start a business (c’mon already)
- live in a tiny house (stop buying stuff)

This particular list is nearing its fourth page, and in a few weeks, I’ll be able to finally cross a few items off of it until it whittles down to just under two pages. I’m excited and ready for what’s going to be a few pages ahead. Stay tuned!

This past weekend, I was on location in New York shooting a documentary about independent recording artist Alex Young. The project is a collaboration between myself and my longtime writing partner Joey Nolfi. Above is a photo of Joey and I reviewing interview questions in-between takes with Alex at Gibney Dance Studios in Manhattan.
We are a few weeks away from launching Serving Cinema, a daily Internet publication that will be devoted to film criticism and commentary, along with film news and interviews with emerging artists and filmmakers. Serving Cinema will also focus on independent filmmaking, especially documentary shorts.
We are eager to tell Alex’s story, along with many others, on Serving Cinema. Alex Young is seriously such a force. I am so excited to share this story about her artistry on Serving Cinema this Fall.

This past weekend, I was on location in New York shooting a documentary about independent recording artist Alex Young. The project is a collaboration between myself and my longtime writing partner Joey Nolfi. Above is a photo of Joey and I reviewing interview questions in-between takes with Alex at Gibney Dance Studios in Manhattan.

We are a few weeks away from launching Serving Cinema, a daily Internet publication that will be devoted to film criticism and commentary, along with film news and interviews with emerging artists and filmmakers. Serving Cinema will also focus on independent filmmaking, especially documentary shorts.

We are eager to tell Alex’s story, along with many others, on Serving Cinema. Alex Young is seriously such a force. I am so excited to share this story about her artistry on Serving Cinema this Fall.

Stop Telling Women to Smile

Street harassment is a human rights issue I’ve had to deal with as a woman (as I’m sure a lot of other women have, as well), so I find the “Stop Telling Women To Smile” art series from Tatyana Fazlalizadeh to be empowering. Fazlalizadeh will be in Maryland this month to photograph women for new installations as they share their experiences with street harassment in Baltimore. More information about her appearance below:

stoptellingwomentosmile:

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Tatyana Fazlalizadeh will be bringing STWTS to Baltimore April 20-27th, as an artist with Open Walls Baltimore X, an international festival of site-specific street art, performance and installations in the Station North Arts & Entertainment District. .

 

I had the opportunity to write a little something for a photo feature about one of my colleagues, Ashley Rosemeyer, in this month’s Blisss Magazine.

Ashley is a gifted snowboard photographer currently working for Sugarbush Resorts in Vermont as their terrain park photographer. She’s been consistently featured online on Snowboarder Magazine.com and has appeared on Thrasher.com, New Women Snow, Focus Skate Magazine, Steez Magazine and others. I’ve worked with her on some documentary film and photo projects in the past, and am just beyond thrilled to see her blowing up.

Take a glance at some of her work in this month’s Blisss Magazine on page 80: http://blisssmag.com/march14.html

This weekend, I am wrapping production on “Dealing,” a dark comedy I co-wrote and co-produced with my writing partner Joey Nolfi. The film is directed by Dillon Becker, founder of The Casting Pitt. We’ve been shooting on location in Pittsburgh, PA since November, and we’re all eager to begin editing the whole thing together over the coming winter months. Here are some production stills Dillon snapped during last week’s shoot.

The 5 Most Important Things You Will Learn After You Turn Your Front Yard Into a Farm

I accomplished a lifelong goal this year of starting a farm in my front yard. I felt like I was conducting a months-long science experiment most of the time, but it was an empowering feeling to accomplish a goal you’ve always had in the back of your mind.

After many successes and numerous failures this season, I grew a healthy crop of tomatoes, beans, corn, spinach and basil. This past weekend, I enjoyed the fruits of my labor with a homemade caprese salad. I didn’t realize how transformative starting a garden was going to be for me. I learned so many new things about myself and Mother Earth from this experience, and thought I’d pass along some pearls of wisdom I picked up while digging around in the dirt over the past few months:

1. Every living being needs strong support.

Tomatoes grow long, wild and free vines that need to be supported. Because of this, you need to do everything you can to keep them off of the ground. Big box stores will try to sell you expensive and flimsy tomato cages, but you can make your own low-cost support system by using what you have laying around your home. At my house, we spent three weeks ripping out our back deck and ended up with an abundance of old lumber. Instead of sending it off to a landfill, we made our own stakes with the left over wood and secured our vines with some velcro ties we found in our basement. We even used the handle of an old red wagon to keep our tomato vines from laying on the ground. In my grandfather’s garden, we experimented with drilling holes into the bottom of multi-gallon paint buckets and used those as planters. It’s much more rewarding to use what you have to make your garden an extension of yourself instead of buying what a chain store says you should have to create the world’s most perfect garden. 

2. Make sustainability your first choice.

Along the same lines, I have found that when starting plants from seed, I much prefer growing seedlings in homemade, 100% biodegradable containers. Many gardeners prefer using plastic seedling trays, but I find them to be cumbersome and costly. When it comes time to transfer seedlings from trays into pots and then your gardening plot, you can run the risk of snapping stems. Using biodegradable materials like egg shells, lemon peels and newspaper as planters is less wasteful and also way easier. I can plant my seedlings straight into the ground without having to scoop them out one at a time. For a beginning gardener that likes to work fast, this was the perfect solution for me. Also, these sustainable alternatives eventually turn into compost in your soil once they’ve been planted, which makes your soil rich with nutrients for years to come. 

 3. Improvise!

At first, I was too afraid to be myself when I was gardening. I wanted the garden to live up to all of my expectations. I thought I had to plant everything a certain way or else I was going to fail. But after hating every single Martha Stewart gardening tip I read online, I decided to cast my fate to the wind and just wing it. Letting myself let things grow (and go) was so freeing. My first improvisation came with turning my soil. Instead of throwing money towards fancy ingredients to provide my soil with nutrients, I just threw in a few tablespoons of Epsom salt instead. From talking with friends, I learned adding a little Epsom salt into your soil is indeed an old gardening trick of the trade. The salt helps ease the transition from pot to outdoor soil while also preventing your tomato plants from bolting too early in the season. Another low cost ingredient that will turn your soil into gold are egg shells. All spring, I made everyone in my house save their eggshells in a container in the fridge so by summertime, I had a great supply for my soil. Sprinkling eggshells into your soil is an inexpensive way to give your soil more nutrients. When gardening, play to your strengths and trust yourself. You’ll figure it out.

 4. You gotta have friends.

I love gardening and farming because it shows you some of the fundamental truths of life on a very basic level. One of these truths is that nearly every living being needs a support system and plants are no exception. Companion planting gives your plants numerous benefits including better soil and better flavor. For my tomatoes, I planted basil and rosemary next to each plant, and the flavor of my tomatoes was incredible. In between my rows, I also put in some marigolds to act as a decoy to repel rabbits, who hate the sight and smell of the flowers. It was amazing to observe these plants working with each other for mutual benefit.

5. It’s okay to fail.

Out of the 12 tomato plants I put into the ground at the start of the growing season, only half survived. From rabbits having the best buffet of their lives (before I planted marigolds) to planting my corn way too close to my tomatoes (corn devours all nutrients, especially in my garden), I found out through trial and error how to grow food. You’re not going to get things right on the first go around, and that’s okay. I’m so glad I made mistakes in my garden plot because I’m going to be so much wiser with my garden next time.

If anything, the most important thing to remember about gardening or urban farming is this: the fact that you are trying to grow something in this world is enough of a victory, so just keep on growing!