In Which I Fall in Love with Grey Gardens and Go Down the Rabbit Hole

I did a lot of things in art school. I stood out in the middle of Circle Park pretending to be the tree so that I could draw the tree. I learned how to weld. I figured out a way to turn every project in drawing class into a cloaked feminist message just in time for critiques. But I never managed to do one very important thing: Watch Grey Gardens. You know the seminal 1975 documentary made by the Maysle brothers? Yep, I never watched it.

Little Edie with Grey Gardens poster | Hannah & Husband

I don’t really know why except that, with marriage and a career, my college experience was a bit busier than that of some of my peers. Then again, it may just have been that the Edies were so engrained in the art school rhetoric that none of my peers had actually seen it either.

When we moved to Rivermont, the references to the duo and their unbelievable house multiplied. I choose to blame the paint colors of our house and not the hoarder habits on display in my studio.

Edies in the pink room at Grey Gardens | Hannah & Husband

Finally, about a month ago, a designer friend of mine finally managed to talk me into YouTubing the old doc when he told me that Angelica Huston had cited Grey Gardens as inspiration for her portrayal of one of my very favorite characters: Morticia Addams.

“I was fascinated by the way they’d found a certain serenity in their eccentricity,” Huston explains. “You realized that it didn’t matter if everyone else thinks you’re highly peculiar. You accept your own eccentricity.” [LA Times]

Sold! From the “best costume for the day” to the feeding of the raccoons, I was hooked. If only we all could ‘accept our own eccentricity’ with such pride.

Grey Gardens Little Edie's Best Costume for the Day via Hannah & Husband

“…then you can pull the stockings up over the pants underneath the skirt. And you can always take off the skirt and use it as a cape. So I think this is the best costume for today.” [Little Edie]

So fast forward to this weekend: Husband and I were flipping through Netflix and stumbled upon IFC’s Documentary Now.

IFC Documentary Now's Sandy Passage via Hannah & Husband

Episode 1: Sandy Passage is perfect, comedic eye candy for every Grey Gardens lover. Fred Armisen and Bill Hader play Big Vivvi and Little Vivvi and nail the details of the original doc.

Little Edie dancing in Grey Gardens via Hannah & Husband

So, without giving too much away, if you’re a fan of the original Maysle brothers doc or have a love for mockumentaries in general, this one is worth Netflixing tonight.

And Hader’s flag dance? It may be my new favorite thing.

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TGIF! (S?)

The weekend is finally here! *cheers* *applause* And I am happy to report that Husband is home, and there are paint chips hanging on the wall.

TGIF! | Hannah & Husband

Huzzah! It’s the little victories, you know?

In addition to a paint store visit and lots of football, this weekend will include Mindy Kaling’s latest, Why Not Me? 

TGIF! | Hannah & Husband

One chapter in and I’m remembering exactly why I loved her first book so much. Have you read either?

A favorite line from chapter one…

TGIF! | Hannah & Husband

Boom! #nailedit

In other news, Stephen Colbert also #nailedit with this.

Finally, in lieu of our usual TGIF! links from around the interwebs, I wanted to share three documentaries I watched this week that were amazing. Two of which were about men I already admired and the other about a performer–spoiler alert: that one was my very favorite.

Walt Disney American Experience

This week, PBS profiled Walt Disney on their American Experience series for two nights. Altogether, it’s a four hour documentary, which sounds tedious, but instead, it was engrossing. I’ve been a Disney nerd for years, but I’ve never seen such a balanced profile of Walt Disney the man–the capitalist, the obsessive, the guy that’s maybe a little racist. There was amazing footage from the studio, the strikes, and the early days of the parks that I’d never seen. If it piques your interest at all, it’s worth a watch.

Jim Henson In His Own Words

Before night 2 of Walt Disney, I caught the last five minutes of this one and had to look it up too. In Their Own Words: Jim Henson, also a PBS doc, is a profile of a completely different type of creative. The doc focused on Henson’s story and interviews with those closest to him. I was interested to hear that both Disney and Henson struggled with wanting to be artists for all, not just artists for children. But while Disney was often seen as a harsh manager, Henson’s people talked a lot about love.

I Am Big Bird

And speaking of Henson’s people, carve out time this weekend to watch I Am Big Bird: The Caroll Spinney Story. It’s free streaming with Amazon Prime right now, and it’s one of my favorite documentaries to date!