Beauty at SXSW, Day 4: Claire Danes and Margaritas

clairedanesAfter my six-film mania yesterday, it was inevitable that I’d need to take it easy today. I attended only two movies today, including the “Super Special Screening” this morning at the Paramount. I got in line with no idea what it was, until Janet Pierson, producer of the SXSW film festival, announced that we were about to watch Richard Linklater’s latest film, called “Me and Orson Welles.” It’ll be released in October, so I won’t say much about it, but I will say that one of my favorite moments of the day was watching Claire Danes’ performance in the movie. I know her mostly from her early and mid-1990s movies like R+J or Little Women, in which she played a tremulous ingenue, which was appropriate for her age at the time. In this movie, though, we get to see the actress playing a grown-ass woman, complete with gravitas, wit, and resonant lower-pitched voice. Something shifted between then and now, and she has come into her own presence as a strong actor. It was a pleasure to watch.

My real-life favorite moment of the day was sitting down to a Tex-Mex dinner and margaritas with four friends from out of town, two local pals, and Vu. One of my favorite things to do is gather together people that I adore and find fascinating and introduce them to each other. Good things always follow. My relationships with these folks span from being college roommates to meeting through a mutual friend and hitting it off from there. They’re all cool, talented people who are bringing new creative endeavors into the world, like a cooking site rich with recipes from the world’s best chefs, an online platform where artists connect with audiences, an interactive storytelling and publishing project for girls, innovative video games, creative commercials and short films, and a gal without a website who’s kicking ass as a fiction writer in the prestigious Michener Center at UT.

Yeah, I’m bragging on their behalf. I can’t help it; I’m thrilled and humbled by my friends’ talents.

The two hour dinner break turned into six hours of conversation and laughter, and I was glad I didn’t rush off to cram in another movie. It is a beautiful thing to know your limits, and to follow what feels warm and good. Sometimes that’s six movies, and sometimes that’s a relaxed dinner in the warm light at sunset. Today, it was the latter, and I will go to bed happy and satisfied.

Beauty in a Wicked World is a weekly column by Jennifer Gandin Le. It appears on Wednesdays, with a special daily edition during the SXSW Film Festival.

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