Cold, wet and tired…filming in New York City at 60…


This past Friday was a cold, raw, rainy day in Manhattan. The previous day I had journeyed cross-state from my home in Rochester to New York City. A seven hour bus ride and a $20.00 cab ride later, I arrived at my film subject Mra Armij-Gill’s apartment, where I got a few hours of sleep before jackhammers went off from 7am to 7:15. I was in the city to finish filming for my next film about Mira, a top-tier pianist and teacher.

O.k., I’m cramming a bunch of baggage into the title of this post. I could have added the shoot was exhilarating too, as I tried to find the special wavelength that would help me see the images I needed to see to cover subjective parts of the narrative that needed to be covered. Except that I’m a bit cranky, unwinding my sore back from 16 hours or so of sitting on a bus over a two day period.

My filming was fun, especially shooting B-roll in Times Square. And spending a few special moments with an office assistant, name unknown, in a Physical Therapist’s office Mira had an appointment at. This was a young woman who began asking me a bit about my work and my life. I think she was in that lovely stage somewhere in her early twenties where she was finding herself and, interestingly, looking to learn from others – even old guys like me who are usually completely invisible to people her age. I was flattered and moved by her questions. Then goodbye, good luck; just a couple of people who will never meet again but glad to have connected. It was a sweet experience, then gone in the rear view mirror…

Mira’s appointment with the physical therapist was brought about partly by me I confess. Early on, before we even began filming in December, 2012, I learned that she enjoyed figure skating. In fact she let it be known that she could skate backwards, do spins, perform jumps – all that stuff that always amazes a person like myself who clings to the barrier wall around the rink just trying to survive the “fun”. So I asked her if we could include a trip to the ice skating rink during my December trip. I didn’t know how or even if I would use this footage but, in my mind, there is a poetic common denominator between piano playing and skating. She agreed, and in typical Mira fashion, immediately began taking lessons and practicing so that her skating would be up-to-par. Up-to-par for Mira means no-screwing-around-its-got-to-be-perfect. As it turns out, I’m glad I shot the footage. I’m using about 7 seconds of it in the video and it’s effective.

As it turns out, the skating flame did not die out after filming. Mira continued her lessons and skating until a short while ago when she injured her knee during practice and is now in physical therapy. Will she continue skating, I asked. I might has well have asked her if she’d give up piano…Will I take another Trailways excursion in the future? Not a good time to ask…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *