Author, attorney and costume designer - Angelique Pesce love of reading is at the center of everything we talk about on this episode. Her first novel, American Pastime, is available for pre-order and ships on June 7, 2022.
Adam is a writer having a conversation with God at a baseball stadium in the Bronx. God chooses Adam because his stream of consciousness since childhood has been heavy on commentary about American life connected to love. God narrates on Adam’s baseball field of life.
Rounding first, second, third, and then heading for home, we watch Adam’s life: past, present, and future unfold. God is always in on things as he sees and hears everything, but now they sit side-by-side at a baseball game ear-to-ear, no longer separated by space. Their conversation is heavy on capitalism, culture, violence, religion, art, science, and hope. The art of conversation is in danger of being lost, but now more than ever we need to use our American pastimes to bring it back, ear-to-ear, device-to-device, and ask “What is love?” And, even further reaching, “If you knew how your life affected humankind, what would you do differently?”
Slow down and think about the world and love yourself enough to change it. Will Adam find love as life stands in the way?
Angelique 0:00 Hi, my name is Angelique Pesci, and my favorite thing is reading.
Announcer 0:05 Welcome to the Finding Favorites podcast where we explore your favorite things without using an algorithm. Here's your host, Leah Jones.
Leah Jones 0:18 Hello, and welcome to Finding Favorites. I'm your host, Leah Jones. And this is the podcast where we get recommendations without using an algorithm. This morning, I am joined by author Angelique Pesci. Her book, "American Pastime," is coming out on June 7th, 2022. You can pre-order it now; it will be available this summer. And her next book is already in the works, as well. Angelique, how are you doing this morning?
Angelique 0:47 I'm great. Thanks for having me. I'm excited to be talking to you today about these novels and "American Pastime," in particular.
Leah Jones 0:57 I'm so happy to have you here and to get to know you. Where are you based these days?
Angelique 1:05 Right now, I'm up in Connecticut, by Stamford, which is nice. I'm a born and raised New Yorker, though. So, I've lived in New York my whole life. I've been up in Connecticut now, for a couple of years, which has been really good for my writing, believe it or not.
Leah Jones 1:24 Oh, I'm sure. Without the competition of all that New York has to offer.
Angelique 1:28 Yep, exactly. New York is a great place. But there's so much to do, even if you're just going out to get a snack. And Connecticut is incredibly pastoral. So I'm by a little river called the Five Mile River that has a little brook that goes all the way from Northern Connecticut all the way down into the Rye area. It goes into the Atlantic Ocean eventually and empties out somewhere in Rye. And then, a little waterfall and this little walking bridge. There's really no better place to write.
Leah Jones 2:00 That sounds beautiful.
Angelique 2:02 It is. It's really, really, really nice. Although writing in New York was great; I'd wear my headphones, and I'd have my laptop and I would just tune it out. But I would definitely always write in a coffee shop. And there's no better coffee shops in the world than New York -- maybe in Rome.
Leah Jones 2:22 That's fair. But in Rome, you have to pay the extra cost of -- I went once, I went truly for 24 hours -- if I remember correctly, there's a difference between the sit-down price and the standing price in Rome.
Angelique 2:38 Yes, that's very true. I forgot about that, that's really funny. There are differences like that, that I completely forget.
Leah Jones 2:47 If you're getting -- if you're going to a wine bar before dinner, or if you're having a coffee, it's like, "Well, are you going to sit? Are you going to stand?" It's not to-go; it's like sitting and standing.
Angelique 3:02 I wonder what Americans would say if we tried to do something like that here?
Leah Jones 3:08 I don't think it would go well.
Angelique 3:12 Probably not.
Leah Jones 3:15 But if it came with paying a living wage to the waiters, oh, that's kind of it -- you're paying an extra fee to sit, because you're going to need the waiters. You're going to need waitstaff.That is my assumption. You're not just paying rent on the table.
Angelique 3:34 Correct? Correct. Makes sense.
Leah Jones 3:40 We were chatting a little bit before I hit record. "American Pastime" is a novel. Why don't you tell me a little bit about it?
Angelique 3:54 Sure. The main protagonist in "American Pastime" is a writer, he's also a builder. He decides one day, while sitting at a baseball game, at Yankee Stadium, to reflect on his life. Because he sees the players rounding the bases, and reminds him of his own childhood and when he was a baseball player as a kid. As they're rounding the bases, it uses the analogy of life is a game, and the bases of life are first, second, third base, before you get home and pass on into the nether regions of our next existence. So he goes through flashbacks in the novel of his childhood, then his adulthood.
Angelique 4:41 Ultimately, he projects, because he's only in his 30s, late 30s. So, he projects into his future and imagines his senior years and what that might be like. During this plotline --there's arcs, like any story has built into it; act one, two and three -- during those various acts in the book, he's joined by an omniscient being who he calls God, who decides to personify and sit with him at the game and have a talk about life. About American life, about American culture, about COVID, about high school shootings, about politics, about what we're going to build in our future. And all of that reflection allows for him to go through his life change, before it's too late. So if you had to live your life all over again, how would you live? If you had that crystal ball to see what your finale would look like, would it be the same? The book really does internalize all of those questions for its audience. It kind of gives you a couple of exercises as well, about how to handle those issues when you have to make huge life-sweeping decisions.
Angelique 6:03 As Americans, we have huge, sweeping decisions to make all of the time. Whether to work remotely; whether to become an artist; whether to be a corporate employee only; whether to be a farmer; whether to live a more sustainable life. These are the questions that we're faced with, and those questions persist even through tragedies like COVID, and how we stick together after September 11. All of these overriding issues that make your own tiny speck of dust that you are, seems so infinitesimal, small, but you're so important in the larger scheme of things, as part of a team. So, we're back to the analogy of sports, and you're all a part of a world team. And so the book really does get the reader to think that way.
Leah Jones 6:54 What was the first kernel, as you started down the path of writing this book, as you headed to the ballpark of this manuscript? Are you a life-long baseball fan, or did you have kind of an epiphany at a park? How did this analogy and setting come to you?
Angelique 7:17 I'm an athlete. I'm an avid athlete. I've had a lot of friends over the years who've talked about baseball, and the innings in baseball, and how it's not like basketball or anything else. For a game that technically doesn't have to end -- there's no time clock in the game. So that became a mantra in my mind. I don't play baseball; I did play softball. I was really good at running bases. I was *terrible* at hitting the ball. Terrible, just terrible.
Angelique 8:17 And hitting the ball is what gets you to the bases.
Angelique 8:02 I can't tell you how many I had to punt, you know? After the sixth ball, they would just let me punt and run. But I was really good at guarding my bases, and I was really good -- back then, you're allowed to steal bases; you're not allowed to do that anymore. But I would help my middle school win games that way. Because of my bad batting, I had to make up for it with my strong legs. But I was a really good runner. So, I was better at soccer.
Angelique 8:32 But this was the right vehicle, because I really did need something that went through the stages of life. That was sport. I really wanted that team-oriented, hard work ethic, and reflect them to come through in the story. And then the stages of baseball -- first, second, third base, and home, we use it all the time. We even use it as kids growing up. We were among the first base of my life, and so the analogy just seemed really appropriate for the athlete and me.
Leah Jones 9:12 Oh, that's great. And you mentioned COVID -- was this a COVID, primarily COVID writing project for you?
Angelique 9:24 This novel started being written well before COVID. It was originally a screenplay that was being produced and it was picking up some tread, and then I decided to expand the plotline, because there were a lot of issues with regard to American culture and life. I studied theology, ethics, law, and art. So I wanted a vehicle that permitted me to be able to write a story about American pop culture, and about the game of life, and about having great conversations with each other. I decided to turn this book into a novel, and I'm so glad that I did. This novel started in 2019, well before COVID. Because it handled a lot of issues like gender bias or racism, the history that we've inherited and oddities, transgender, issues that students and adults really need your support -- a loving, kind scientific community, it hit all of these issues. Even our great tragedies like September 11, that what does it mean to be in the legislature during a time like that?
Angelique 11:01 How does the politic help improve the country? How do you help improve the ethics of our leaders by being involved in our American culture? How important are our conversations with one another, when spreading that kind of support that adults need, young adults need, seniors -- they need support in the later stages of their life, as well. So the book really hones in on that. So when COVID came up, it got added in an edit, briefly about what that kind of communication tool gives you. Facebook, Twitter, podcasts, Spotify, YouTube. These are our communication tools, they shouldn't alienate us, we shouldn't get made fun of for looking at our device, we should see that there's a human on the other side of those devices.
Angelique 11:57 And our ethics should persist through that. I teach mass media law, ethics, and mass media communications law. And our legislatures are constantly dealing with bullying on the internet. Then there's the high school shooting, and the mass shootings on the high school campuses and our kids need support. They need to know that we don't envision a future where their school is the next war zone. We're going to build a future that's going to protect them, we're going to build a future that's going to thrive, and we pull together -- COVID is an amazing example of that. We pulled together through that. We definitely have a healthy economy, and we care a lot about our economy. But we were all willing to use the devices that are talked about in my book, to make a safer place for ourselves. We put humanity first and worked remotely.
Angelique 12:57 It's so important that as I was writing that book in 2019, and then had it slated for publication -- that was in 2000, I think '20 or '21, and they held it back. It was amazing to see what I was talking about with regard to using the internet more appropriately, to not bully each other over it, or use it as a means of distancing ourselves from humanity, but getting into the electronics as a way of communication, conversation -- increasing it. And then lo and behold, everything that I said came to pass. Everybody was really connected, thanks to the internet highway, and being able to see the devices as our way of staying close to humanity. And it's necessary -- we're gonna go to the next century, and the inventions that we build and make, and how we learn to have communication and humanity when those changes come, is of high importance. And that's really what the team effort is, with the game of life and the game of baseball, how we go through all of those bases together as a country.
Leah Jones 14:07 Wonderful. You've mentioned working remotely a couple of times. Did you have to take your classes, your media law, mass media and communications classes online, as well?
Angelique 14:34 I would've had to, but I went into sabbatical, right before COVID, because we were working in conjunction with a law school. So I had to discuss whether or not I was going to take sabbatical -- this was at Manhattan College, one of the greatest colleges. Also, why the book is set at Yankee Stadium, because I was a volunteer at Highbridge Community Center. I worked in the Highbridge community a long time as a former NYU and former Manhattan College graduate. So they're being pro-Yankees. The stadium's right down the block, so it's a huge part of my personal history.
Angelique 15:17 But yes, I've been on sabbatical. And I wrote two children's books, I have another book called "Yemen Love Story" coming out, which is about falling in love under the burqa; it's gonna be so interesting to see how the audience feels about life and communication from under an entire garment, where you can only use your words, to build that rapport and that relationship. While a law student -- I was a St. John's University School of Law graduate -- I summered there at the United Nations division for the Advancement of Women while I was a student there, and I was in the war crimes unit. So, I decided to get this other idea for this book about a woman falling in love under the burqa based on my work down there, and I've been teetering with that and writing that here and there for the last couple of years. It's finally coming together. So that's really exciting, too.
Angelique 16:28 But to answer your question, because of writing and work, and I have a law firm, and I'm a costume designer, and I'm a mom, which is the most important job that I have in the whole world. I did take sabbatical, but I'm sure I'll go back probably in a year. I miss it. A lot of my lecture material ended up in "American Pastime," too.
Leah Jones 16:54 Oh, really?
Angelique 16:56 All of the communication ethics, issues and concerns, and how we talk to one another and treat each other -- that all ended up in the Eastern Western philosophies of how we handle each other in humanity. A lot of good lectures ended up in the book.
Leah Jones 17:12 That's neat. That's such a great device of being able to turn what you've been lecturing on and what you've been teaching people into -- like one, people don't have to get into law school to hear what you have to say -- but what a great way to translate those lectures into something for the masses. That's outstanding; I look forward to reading it. Now, you mentioned that you're a costume designer, and you have quite -- I mean, already, we've heard of the things that you do in your life and quite a varied life. But one of the favorite things you suggested we talk about, is science fiction. Specifically, we were going to start with "Dune," because you do costume and -- Jacqueline, her last name escapes me -- the costume team, the costume designer, got incredible recognition. But you are a lover of science fiction.
Angelique 18:27 I am. I think I like science fiction, and "Dune," in particular. I was amazed this year and thrilled that a sci-fi feature was being so honored at the Oscars, and I know "CODA" won best picture and I still have to see it. I heard a lot of great things, I actually have co-workers who worked on "CODA," in the production department. I'm really proud of that. But "Dune," I thought did such a splendid job, and I like sci-fi for the same reason that I am always forward and foreseeable and negligence-oriented thinking. I'm always wondering, "What are the improvements we can make? What's wrong in our way of functioning, that we can improve?" I like to make things that are wrong, right. Things that are right function better -- because I organized wardrobe all of the time as a designer -- I have that in my background; my grandmother owned a bridal salon, and was a designer herself. So, I grew up really organized. And my dad, he owned a pastry shop, and that takes a lot of organization.
Angelique 19:36 Yeah, so I grew up around two incredible -- an incredible matriarch and patriarch that always was organizing the day. It's a lot like King Richard. I don't know if you've seen it yet, but it's so great. And in it he asks his kids, "What did you write in your daily planner to organize your day?" And I was like, "Bravo, that's the right way to be as a parent." So, I like sci-fi a lot because you have all of this creative freedom; there's no parameter. You can suggest really great inventions -- like "10,000 Leagues Under the Sea" suggested the submarine. And I think sci-fi is a great vehicle to do that. And then there's -- Ruth Carter is an incredible costume designer, and she got to show different ideas and cultures and textures and ethics in Black Panther.
Angelique 19:36 In our country, in American comics, and I think it's important to have that growth when you do period pieces as a designer or you're in the period piece genre, instead of sci-fi -You have all of the history to speak to, so it's really very strict like law, it's a very strict place to me. So I love sci-fi for that reason and "Dune" was great. I think that the directorm Villenueve, he did an incredible job.
Leah Jones 21:13 When you think about watching science fiction through your life, was there a first movie or first science fiction book that really stands out to you as starting down the path of this genre?
Angelique 21:26 I pick the "Time Machine" by Wells. Thing that I loved as a kid, I remember I think it was Guna [Gulniece] was her name. The main actress in it, who was educating the time traveler about all the Morlocks being underground, and how their society looked ideal, but under the surface, something was going on. I found that to be fascinating. I thought the physics of it was fascinating. I thought that the morality play within the novel was fascinating, and it really opened me up as a reader and a writer.
Leah Jones 22:08 Is there a science fiction book that you've read that hasn't been made into a movie, that gets Angelique Pesci thinking, "If I could, I would adapt this, if I could be the director or the costume designer?" Is there a book that's kind of on your dream list?
Angelique 22:27 That's a good question. I would have said "Wonder Woman," as far as an action science fiction piece, but that got made over the last four years. I know there was the TV show while I was a kid, but that was the one I waited forever to see finally made. And I was a literary major, too. I was a double major, I have an English literary major, so your question is really good. Other than that actually coming to fruition, I believe that for me, it probably comes through my English major. There's a film called -- a there's a book called "Perfume" that I have often -- it's not sci-fi, though. It's a little sci-fi.
Angelique 23:25 It is set in the past, but he has attributes or qualities that are like a science fiction. Because he smells people's oils -- he smells with perfume on them, is what he says. But he's a very dark, dark character. That's kind of Jekyll/Hyde kind of stuff. But it's something over the years that I as a book reader, who read that book, it's something that I would like to have seen do in a modern or futuristic context. Not so much in the past, but his attributes are really quite something.
Leah Jones 24:04 I've never read that book, I'll look at it. I'll link to these in the show notes so that people can find things and be able to read them. Where along the path -- because you're a lawyer and author, you've studied so many things --where along the path, did costume design get folded in?
Angelique 24:28 Good question. I was a managing attorney of a New York City law firm. The law firm owner, his name is David Scheinfeld. He was an incredible Harvard law graduate. He had this law firm in midtown Manhattan for 40 years when I arrived. It was federal law, immigration practice, and also state and federal litigation, and entertainment and some real estate and some criminal. So, it was almost general practice. But it had a lot of different areas of law that it focused on, but it was heavy into litigation. So I had been promoted to managing attorney after five years at the law firm, and then we wound down the practice, because the owner had passed on. And he was a rabbi, as well as a lawyer.
Angelique 25:26 He actually went to Harvard Law School with Clive Davis. So he's the most incredible boss I could have ever had, and I miss him dearly. It still exists; the sons took over and decided to parcel the law firm out, based on my suggestion, out to two large Manhattan law firms, and I ended up going to London for a little soul searching. I was so exhausted, I was so burnt out, and I was so tired. I just decided to see how to tap in to becoming either my own law firm owner, my own film producer, because I had produced or I had production, coordinated a film and worked for a production company, back in 2000 to 2001. I had kind of wanted to go back to that, because I did some assisting and second unit producing to a producer. And I learned a lot about filmmaking.
Angelique 26:37 I wanted to use my law degree for that purpose. So all of a sudden, when I'm back from London, and I start working for a production company making a film. I start out as an assistant to the production coordinator thinking that that's really a good way for me to use my law degree and my film and my education background. All of a sudden, I walk up one day to the head producer, and I say, "Can I just work in the wardrobe department on this one instead, because I'm just so tired of paperwork."
Angelique 27:18 I grew up in the Bridal Salon with my grandmother, and the costume designer kept coming in on the film and asking me for help with getting products from Ann Taylor or getting products from Dick's Sporting Goods. I ended up out of the office in the stores, pulling the garments for him. We became so close that I said, "I could really use like a new career, a change of pace." So I can always produce, I'm my own producer in that regard. And I have a documentary I'm producing right now called the "God Doc," being directed by Olenka Denysenko , who just directed an episode on "New Amsterdam," she's a really talented director. So, I'm really happy that she signed on.
Angelique 28:07 I just decided to go back to the other side of my family, my grandmother's side of the family and just enjoy the hard work that comes with clothes, and clothes are so much hard work -- but, they're not paper, they're on people. And so I just wanted -- and I love writing, so I love paper. But I think that I needed to free my mind a little, dive into something I did as a child. I sewed as a child, I beaded as a child, I sketched as a child, I helped my grandma design clothes as a child. I missed her and she was getting on in years -- this was right before she passed away. And I kind of have this feeling that I felt her with me more every second while that transition was going on, I was missing her already. And so I think what happened was all that hard, hard work at the law firm before it was sold. And then that soul searching in London and then coming back to New York and diving into the career of film, I really did honor that as a producer, you should be able to do all of the departments.
Angelique 29:15 I have so much respect for production designers, lighting departments, screenwriters, costume designers, that I decided to just kind of -- and cinematographer -- that I decided to jump into something where I had a familial background in it, and then I never stopped. So as much as I produce and as much as I write, I also costume design, have my own law firm. It's really worked out and it's because of my grandma, that that happened and it always gives me that extra step and creativity. That takes us to llike a sculpture like and that's really special because as much as I can write a script or produce a document. This is such a humane area, and department in filmmaking that it came really naturally to me thanks to her and her name was Benera, Venus Vanessa Rica. I continue in her in her footsteps to keep that part of our family tree alive.
Leah Jones 30:23 It's beautiful. How do you balance? You do so much, how are you --
Angelique 30:38 -- talking to nice people like you? You give me balance.
Leah Jones 30:48 Do you have some , do things come in waves? It's your life like, "This quarter is more about costumes, and this quarter is more about law?" Or is it sort of juggling the costume design and the law firm and the family and the writing all at the same time?
Angelique 31:12 Well, the good news is, I'm a project person. So, the law firm is something that has been open for a while now. And there's a partner that I have who runs it. I usually handle stuff as it arises, but the bulk of my day is spent as a legal consultant, helping law firms and agencies where they need aid and help. I have the law practice run with a partner. And then the film is -- I guess it does all happen at the same time.
Angelique 31:59 I definitely have the law slated, every day from like, 7am to 4pm. I have from 4pm to like nine or 10. I have costume work, I just designed a play and they do tech runs in the evening. So there's no work to be done during the day on those projects. And sometimes my partner will let me go, and I won't have a consulting client, and then I won't have as much work to be performed during a workday, so I can do a job. Films are typically slated during the day, a work day. So it depends on who's hiring me and where I am and why I'm there.
Leah Jones 32:50 Yeah, that's great. It sounds like you've found a lot of flexibility in the people that you're working with -- the people that you've chosen to make your businesses with?
Angelique 33:02 Yeah, it's been good. It's been this way since 2009, so I can't really complain. But a long time now.
Leah Jones 33:15 And now that you're in Connecticut, do you have to go in to New York for film work and plays? Are things shooting locally?
Angelique 33:26 There are things shooting locally. I am a member of the Guild, and a lot of people when they hire designers, believe it or not, designers don't necessarily go to set. It depends on what kind of designer you are. I've been around a really long time, so most of the directors like to work with me before they shoot at all, and before they've even cast. They like to have evening meetings, sketches, photographs of ideas, mood boards, and then you send that off to them, then they cast, and you do your fittings, like at a hotel once the cast flies in. And so that usually takes-- I have shoppers -- you hire your shopper, and then all of your visual ideas. It's almost like being a writer, right? So, all of your visual ideas are sent to your shopper.
Angelique 34:21 Then you have a supervisor who goes to set for you. They pack and they put the truck together and everything is pre-selected by the director. And it's a budget-savvy department so you make sure you're within your budget boundaries, you're not over budget. Then, you have all of the actors and the garments on set working and everything slated in advance, like get a library all the books are slated and coded. The looks are coded in advance. So, the designer does not have to go to set, although you can. You can be working while it's shooting. It depends on --r ight now, I tend only to take projects where I don't necessarily have to go to the set. And I can hire the shopper and the supervisor and a set costumer, and they'll do that work. They'll just send me everything via email, text, telephone, Zoom, and stuff like that. Then there's some some projects that are just handled differently, and I'm on set the whole time. It depends. So I've done both. I just costume designed a piece called "King of Queens" out in Hoboken, New Jersey, and the whole thing was done remotely. And then an assistant took all of the costumes to set.
Leah Jones 35:50 I'm curious, is that something that -- pre-COVID, were you allowed to work remotely as a costume designer in that way?
Angelique 36:04 Yes, technically all productions are our shot are organized from what's called a production office. The production office is a new rental, usually, it's not something that's already in existence. You start up the corporation that shooting the film and rents an office for a specific period of time, four months, three months, whatever it is, in the pre-production, sometimes it's a year or two years, it's on the feature that you're shooting. But the less bodies in there, the better until the actors arrive. So you can have the clothes shop for and sent there, and you could still be sourcing and contacting distributors, designers, or just drawing and coloring and sketching your ideas out and discussing them by meeting. Once the people arrive, then you really go to the office, and start to show them the fitting photos and meet the actors and try on the clothes and decide what works and what doesn't work.
Leah Jones 37:18 Oh, that's so interesting.
Angelique 37:20 It's fun. It's a fun thing. It's a lot like writing books. It is a lot like that, too. Very creative. It's a very creative party part of work.
Leah Jones 37:31 Now, we went pretty far away from science fiction, which is fine. This has all been so fascinating. Because how movies get made, how shows get made, is so opaque to people who aren't in the industry. But I'm gonna take us back to "Dune." Did you see it? Did you watch it -- on TV or `did you go into the theater to see it?
Angelique 38:10 I went to a bowtie cinema to see it on the big screen. Yeah, it was phenomenal. But I did get a screener, because I'm in the Union, too.When it's a big, big, big production, I typically like to dip into the theater. I took my sons as well, I thought it was going to be a fairly unique film to watch, and they liked it a lot.
Leah Jones 38:36 It was one of the first movies I saw back and I actually went and saw it in the theater twice. Because I hadn't read the book, I hadn't seen the David Lynch version of it. I enjoyed it much more the second time because I finally understood the story a little bit more, I had read more about it, and I could take it in at a different level.
Angelique 39:06 And the production design, the whole schematic of the spice and the agriculture in this piece, to have the background be yards and yards and yards of the sand and the dunes was so breathtaking. Such a grand accomplishment to make that look interesting for two and a half hours. *So* much footage of sand that the designers and the actors and the cinematographer and the score, which I believe was done by Hans Zimmer, was incredible.
Leah Jones 39:54 I think he also won the Oscar for Best Score.
Angelique 39:58 Yes, he did.
Leah Jones 40:01 Did you have a favorite -- when you watch movies, do costumes stand out to you? Was there some a character that you thought was your favorite or an environment the way they were dressed that really caught your attention?
Angelique 40:24 I really liked Colleen Atwood's work over the years. I liked Edward Scissorhands. When I was in high school or college, I forget. I remember that being so creative and so fascinating to me. That's one of those movies, that's fantasy/sci- fi, but more period than one would expect, right? I like those very large productions, "Gangs of New York," "Phenomenal," where everything is built head-to-toe and really gets your creative eye to to be fed. For me, there's movies where the fabrics and the textures and the designs, they just don't stop. Baz Luhrmann -- I know his costume and production designer. "Romeo and Juliet," "Moulin Rouge," both of them. Whether they're set in contemporary times, or in the past, or kind of a collage of all of those things, it makes sense to me. It's how I do things, too. So for me, I know they're the best designers. But they're inspiring designers.
Leah Jones 41:42 Yeah, I think "Great Gatsby" is a great, it's such a good example. Because it's a period piece, but it's it's elevated. It's not true to the period, it's definitely inspired by the '20s. But then it is kind of the musica, elevated version of that cranked up, dialed up to 11
Angelique 42:08 Yes, absolutely. There's a creative, internal space that is projected externally in the screenplay in the piece itself on film. You'd have to speak to the filmmaker directly, not just me as an audience and craft person, but I see a lot of an extra element added to the pieces of work that go to the externalization of what the characters are going through. I think that's what gives you that extra element of fantasy, and takes you out of it being a decade or period piece, and allows for that collage of music and cinematography, and over-the-top fashions that exaggerate w`hat the film is actually about, or the period that film is actually told from. I talk about "Gatsby," and I talk about F. Scott Fitzgerald in "American Pastime." The whole American society and the whole different wealth classes and what the periods go through internally and externally and how that affects the country. It's fully written into "American Pastime," the novel, as well. F. Scott Fitzgerald was a poignant author, and I think that Baz Luhrmann, the Australian director, did an amazing job capturing a piece of iconic American history in that film.
Leah Jones 43:55 I think I'm due for a re-watch. I saw it in the theater; it was so beautiful. It was so beautiful, it was such an immersive -- I remember it being just an immersive experience because it was the way it was -- the camera direction, Some of the party scenes, the single shots -- I don't know the words for it, but where they they're taking you down and in and through. I remember it being very immersive and very high energy.
Angelique 44:30 Well, it could be a dolly shot or it could be a crane shot, I'm not sure. But there's a lot of devices that they use for those sweeping emotive, evocative entrances and exits in and out of those lush parties. And the champagne fountain overflowing and the absolute opulent luxury of it all and then juxtaposed against the dirt road that runs through town with the billboard with the glasses on the film, everybody? It's an incredible American tale.
Leah Jones 45:08 It really is. Angelique, is there anything about science fiction, costume design, "American Pastime," or writing that I haven't gotten to ask you about that if we hung up, you would be so bummed I didn't ask you?
Angelique 45:29 No, not at all. It's been a pleasure. Your questions, you made me feel complete, really, that I've had the opportunity to write a piece about American culture, American pop culture, American families, American art, sports life and conversation, you really hit all of the points of the book on that.
Leah Jones 45:56 I look forward to to reading it. Like I said, it feels like it could either be a whole encyclopedia -- I'm excited to see how you've distilled it into a novel that is not 5,000 pages long.
Angelique 46:12 I appreciate that. I can't wait for you to read it. And I want you to privately write me at my email address and give me your reviews. I hope that in words, in the textile that we have, thanks to trees on our page and the ink on the page, I hope in that language, textile, it gives us a little bit of what Annie Liebowitz gives us with her photography. We tried very hard to use language and language arts and to be creative about it. Not as creative as let's say author who plays with language a lot, whose name escapes me right now. His novels are written in a vernacular that's almost brand new, and made up. So not in his shadow, but more in the vein of our ability to use language to communicate, so that we can get along and create a better future of peace by using our words and our textile on the page and our computers in a way that really brings our teamwork together and being a part of a nation together.
Angelique 47:40 With what's going on in the Ukraine and Russia, I think that this book has a lot of peacekeeping studies and a lot of peace-minded negotiations and diplomacy ideas and using them properly and not blaming each other and supporting all of those scientific parts of being 99.9% exactly the same in the world, in our DNA composition. What is different, our .01 differences, is just aesthetics, like a dress, nothing else. It's no got value, except self-expression. I think that's a good thing, to see each other that way is a good thing. So I hope you liked the book. Leah. I hope everybody likes the book. Any questions while you're reading, you're more than welcome to email me, and ask. I hope that I'll see you again and that this is not the only time that we have a podcast together.
Leah Jones 48:38 Can people -- are you on social media? Do you want people to follow you online?
Angelique 48:43 I'm on Twitter. My Facebook page is public. So you can also find me on that. I'm on LinkedIn right now. I'm sure I'll get more -- I was on TikTok. I don't know what happened -- I had the funniest videos of me on TikTok and my kids and -- my account got, I don't know what happened. It just disappeared on me one day.
Leah Jones 49:05 I accidentally logged out on my TikTok. In order to set a new password, I then created like five more TikTok accounts and I was like, "What is happening? I just want to log into the one I have!" truly accidentally created I get -- alerts in my email like you know, "Leah Jones 32525, we think you'll like these videos" and I'm like that account was an accident. I love TikTok -- I hate how much I love it.
Angelique 49:44 It's the funniest, I'm a big fan.
Leah Jones 49:48 But yeah, I have absolutely accidentally created, it seems so easy to lose accounts. Great, thank you.
Announcer 49:57 Thank you for listening to Finding Favorites with Leah Jones. Please make sure to subscribe and drop us a five-star review on iTunes. Now go out and enjoy your favorite things.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai
To leave or reply to comments, please download free Podbean or
To leave or reply to comments, please download free Podbean App.