Thursday, April 4, 2013


This dream is almost a continuation of the previous dream about anorexia. Anastasia once again sees Ana and Mia. They greet her like a sister and usher her into a large banquet hall. It is a party scene and a banquet is laid out in the fashion of The Last Supper by DaVinci. Models are gathereed around the table where a sort of feast has been laid out. However, there is no real food at the feast. The center plate has an apple cut into perhaps a thousand pieces. There are a couple of bottles of Evian and the rest of the feast consists of a large variety of pills in a serving dish and cut lines of cocaine. The models are waiting for the Jesus figure who has not yet arrived. They are smoking and waiting in languid poses. One of them duscreetky vomits into a bucket beside the table. Anastasia watches all this Jesus finally shows up. It is Ivana. Her autopsy scars are still visible. At first, Ivana doesn't notice Anastasia as she greets all the other guests, but after she sits down, she leaves the seat beside her vacant and beckons to Anastasia to sit down. At first, Anastasia is afraid but she looks carefully at Ivana and she sees that Ivana's face has a soft demeanor and she finds herself drawn to her. Slowly, she makes her way over and takes the seat. After she sits down, she looks at Ivana for a few seconds without moving. Unlike the previous times she has looked at her, she does not look away. As she looks at Ivana directly, her fear begins to dissipate and her expression softens. Finally, Ivana puts her hand on Anastasia's face. Anastasia closes her eyes and allows herself to drift. She sees Ivana smiling and alive and remembers some of the great moments between them as friends. They laugh and finally hug each other tenderly. When she opens her eyes, everyone is gone and only the empty table is left. The table now is covered by a huge feast and everyone begins to eat.

Thursday, September 1, 2011


Anastasia is staring dully out the window as her friend GUNTHER, a middle-aged fashion designer and photographer, comes over carrying a cup of coffee.
I'm sorry to show up here so drunk, but I -
You don't have to apologize.
It's just that I watched her cutting those apples into like a thousand pieces and I should have known.
You're not a doctor.
I knew exactly what she was... and besides, I'm her - I was her friend. Friends are supposed to take care of each other.
There is a clap of thunder.
That rain is really intense - beautiful.
Some doctor cut her open. Like an animal. Like a pig.
Anastasia is very visibly upset. Gunther starts to touch her to comfort her, but she moves away.
You're right. The rain is beautiful. I've always loved the rain.
She stares out the window for a few moments while he watches her.
You can stay here tonight.
She looks at him.
In the guest room.
She smiles at him for a second and then she suddenly hugs him. As completely as she resisted him before, she melts into him in an open, child-like way. She remains comfortably in his arms for a few moments and then she gently moves away.
I should go home.
Ah, Princess Anastasia, you really should be careful. You need to take care of yourself.
Anastasia starts to leave, but she almost falls down. Gunther watches her as she just stands in one place wobbling. He goes to her to help her.
No. No. I'm OK.
Pillows and blankets are in the hall closet. Help yourself.

Sunday, July 10, 2011


Ah! wherefore with infection should he live,
And with his presence grace impiety,
That sin by him advantage should achieve,
And lace itself with his society?
Why should false painting imitate his cheek,
And steal dead seeming of his living hue?
Why should poor beauty indirectly seek
Roses of shadow, since his rose is true?
Why should he live, now Nature bankrupt is,
Beggared of blood to blush through lively veins?
For she hath no exchequer now but his,
And proud of many, lives upon his gains.
O! him she stores, to show what wealth she had
In days long since, before these last so bad.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011


Anastasia is still watching the girls as the camera pulls back farther and farther until they are seen through the rain and the leaves of trees and everyone becomes small.
The models are sitting around tying to console themselves with a variety of stimulants and distractions. The entire scene is disjointed in mood and action. Everything is seen in quick cuts and fragments.

Does anybody want anything to eat?
I ate at home. I don't want anybody to see what a pig I am.
I just had some green tea.
How about you Francesca?
I ate today at the reception after the funeral. They had sushi.
Francesca? Do you have anymore of those pills the doctor gave you?
The blue ones? Yeah. You want one?
What are they for?
The doctor says if I take one before drinking, I can drink as much as I want without gaining weight. I gave you one the other day.
Really? Oh yeah. Can I have one?
Is it safe?
You asked me that too the other day.
Oh yeah.
Me too. What are the red ones?
Oh, those are just to make mama happy.

Monday, May 23, 2011


It has begun to rain as they reach the graveyard and climb from the car for the walk to the grave. As the models proceed to the grave dressed in black and covered by black umbrellas, they form a sort of slow motion image of stunning beauty morbidly arrayed - deeply mournful as they enter and emerge from rainy mist with quick cut close-ups of gloves and veils, dresses, shoes and tear-stained cheeks. Only Anastasia does not shed tears.
Everyone gathers around the grave as the rain falls and the priest intones biblical phrases. Amidst the bowed heads and teary eyes, Anastasia remains stoic as she looks at everyone. She sees people trying to obey the conventions of the funeral even as their feet shift and they look at their watches and she sees people in the back trying to hide that they are using their blackberries and checking messages. As she peruses the crowd, Anastasia notices her friend GUNTHER standing far back. He catches her glance and nods to her.
Finally she watches Ivana's mother and two sisters. She watches Oksana crying and she sees Polina put her arm around her sister and help her wipe away her tears.

Sunday, May 1, 2011


A shrieking pig is put on a block for slaughter. The pig is held down by 2 men and a little girl. The pig struggles valiantly and squeals horribly but the knife eventually finds its throat and the blood gushes into a bucket set on the side of the block. The pig continues to squeal as it bleeds out. The girl is terrified but she obeys orders to move the bucket more directly under the pig's spurting blood. As she watches the pig twitch and finally become still, she looks at the blood on her hands and her clothes.

“Auschwitz begins wherever someone looks at a slaughterhouse and thinks: they’re only animals.”

But the degradation of the food system from uber-institutionalized food production is only part of the story. There is a another dark, gruesome side, seen only by those on the front lines whose days in America’s slaughterhouses are routinely steeped in blood and violence.

Fitzgerald analyzed 581 rural counties in the study from 1994 to 2002, and found that counties with slaughterhouses “have higher arrest levels for sex offenses and more frequent reports of murder, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, larceny, motor vehicle theft, and arson. This study also found that, compared with other industries, the slaughterhouse industry has a more significant effect on community crime rates.”


For every 4000 slaughterhouse employees there was a 2 percent increase in arrests.

There was increased crime in communities where large slaughterhouses were recently opened to communities with smaller and older slaughterhouses.

The control variables were grouped into three categories: demographic, social disorganization, and unemployment.

This study cannot control for the possibility that work in slaughterhouses might attract people who are already predisposed to or involved in disruptive behavior and consequently that the work itself has not caused their anti-social behaviors. However, there is nothing in the literature on slaughterhouse workers to indicate that this is the case.


Since the immigration raid on the Agriprocessors kosher meat plant in Postville, Iowa last May, the United Food and Commercial Workers Union, which maintains a seat on the board of the National Consumers League (NCL), has diligently been trying to alert the nation that minors were working in the plant, which it had been trying to organize (along with an Agriprocessors plant in Brooklyn) since 2005. Because of its child labor work, the staff at NCL took great interest in the possibility of child labor at the plant.  In late August, the state of Iowa announced the findings of its child labor investigation, concluding that 57 minors, aged 14 to 17, were employed illegally in the slaughterhouse under working conditions rife with health and safety violations. With dozens of articles about the working conditions and child labor at the plant in the national media, including extensive coverage in the New York Times, Sally decided that the story was too big for NCL not to take action, given our history of advocacy on child labor, sweatshops, and worker rights. The nightmarish working conditions seemed eerily similar to those NCL’s founders fought 100 years ago

Eleven-year-old Irfan was one of these child workers whose day would begin at 4 AM with a long walk to the slaughterhouse along with his father. “I used to feel very scared of the screams from the animals as they were being killed. I would tremble with fright,” he recalls.

The revelations of the survey led to the launch of the project aimed at putting a stop to the age-old tradition of children working in the slaughterhouses.

Today, Irfan has finished school and plans to learn driving or electrical work through one of the schemes offered by the government.

The elimination of child labour and the rehabilitation of these children was by no means an easy task. The community was socially mobilised through religious leaders, community stalwarts, community volunteers, and resident community volunteers.

A motivated cleric, Khwaja Moinudin, even admonished the parents, saying: “For too long you have lived off the earnings of your children. You should hang your heads in shame. Give your children their childhood back and honour your responsibilities and duties to them.”


The scene is a vaguely rendered church. Everything looks like a regular church in some ways, but things are not quite right. The benches are worn and broken and the vestibule has tattered curtains. Anastasia walks out into the vestibule wearing a very beautiful, traditional wedding dress. Familiar bridal music starts and Anastasia begins her the solemn and joyful walk down the aisle. She is caught up in the intensity and magic of the moment but suddenly, as she reaches about the halfway point, she is set upon by a group of stylists who begin to tease her hair and smear her make-up and rip, tear and distress her wedding dress and veil. In seconds they have transformed her and she's surrounded by photographers who pose her and move her around. She runs the gamut of emotions from joy to sadness and pleasure to terror.
Then she sees that all of her best friends are also dressed as brides.
Francesca is dressed very sexy in a bodice and long bridal veil. Her breasts protrude above the bodice and she is taking fierce and sexy poses for the photographers. Nicoleta's bridal gown seems almost more like a uniform and she is wearing glasses and carrying numerous books (including Das Kapital) which she is pondering seriously with little notice of her bridal status.
Marcelle is like some kind of old-fashioned glamour queen and she poses and smokes seductively amidst while pressing her face gently to soft velvet curtains.
Fawn is dressed as a very traditional bride but Anastasia notices that Fawn is very pregnant. As Fawn begins her walk down the aisle, milk begins to pour from her nipples and stain the dress. Angry stylists surround her and remove the dress. They leave her crying in her stained and dripping lingerie. Anastasia goes to help her but she notices that the mood and lighting around the entire shoot have darkened and finally, Ivana appears. She looks normal at first, but as she walks, she becomes increasingly pale and finally, blood begins to pour out on her dress in the shape of her autopsy scars. All of the other girls have backed away in terror but Anastasia tries to watch everything.


A murky shot of a woman standing with her back to the camera as she looks in a mirror and combs her hair. As she combs, clumps of hair fall out. Upon closer examination, it can be seen that Anastasia is combing her hair with a piece of broken glass. She continues combing as blood drips down her face. She has circles under her eyes and she looks pale and wan and sad.
Two incredibly skinny women (ANA and MIA) approach her from behind. She is surprised to see them but not shocked. She looks at both of them and then she begins to notice something in her mouth. She moves her tongue around and then puts her hand in front of her mouth to catch several teeth as she spits them out. Ana and Mia smile at her and comfort her with pats on the shoulder. She vaguely smiles back.
Suddenly, in the mirror, she can see that Ivana is standing behind her in a bloodstained nightgown. Ivana looks worried and she tries to come to Anastasia but Ana and Mia stop her. Anastasia is confused.

Thursday, March 17, 2011


So many beautiful things. So many beautiful women. So much delicate, sweet, magical beauty everywhere. It's impossible not to be impressed by it all. It's impossible not to enjoy it in some ways. It's also impossible to tolerate it. All this refinement is in the service of some sick view of humanity that we all recognize whether we want to or not. Everybody can see that it leads to huge inequalities that can only create misery and bitterness. Sure, I know that miserable people can sometimes find misery in everything. I know that there's no system of justice and no possibility of some kind of perfect fairness that would make everything all right for everybody. Still, I can't help feeling a little sick when I watch all the time and effort and care that goes into creating some perfect runway experience compared to how much time goes into just trying to treat each other a little better. I don't pretend to understand what would be right and I don't have any answers, but sometimes, the questions make me a little sick. That's why I create so much "angry art" that tries to be some kind of "punch in the face." I don't have any illusions about it but I have to say what I think.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


I know that my mother cares about me. I also know that she just doesn’t understand. She thinks I should come home and stay with her and my sister and work there. She can’t see what I’m trying to do. She can’t see that I need to be away from the things that made life so impossible for so many years. I keep offering for her and Katya to come and stay with me but she won’t listen. No matter what I do, it isn’t enough for her.


 A shrieking pig is put on a block for slaughter. The pig is held down by 2 men and a little girl. The pig struggles valiantly and squeals horribly but the knife eventually finds its throat and the blood gushes into a bucket set on the side of the block. The pig continues to squeal as it bleeds out. The girl is terrified but she obeys orders to move the bucket more directly under the pig's spurting blood. As she watches the pig twitch and finally become still, she looks at the blood on her hands and her clothes.

Ivana is being dragged to an autopsy table. Attendants and doctors tear off her gown and push her naked onto the table. She screams and struggles but she is surrounded by doctors holding her down. One of them takes a scalpel and cuts her throat to silence her. Her eyes register terror until suddenly, they go blank. Her blood pours downs the drainage troughs on the side of the table. Suddenly, photographers enter and begin to take pictures. Flashes are going off in every direction.

Friday, November 26, 2010


The haunted look began even before she died. Ivana had one foot in the beyond for a long time.

Looking back, it seems obvious, but at the time, she just seemed a little tired and sad. It was nothing different from what we saw all the time. All our friends were moody. Who wouldn't be? If you don't eat enough and you work to exhaustion all the time and run from go see to go see not sure where your next work is coming from, you get stressed. It's not that hard to figure out. Gunther told me I shouldn't be so upset because I didn't see what was going on. He said I'm not a doctor. I know he's right. But it doesn't change anything. And I should have known.

Look at those pictures. I've never seen anybody so naked. So haunted. It's there in her eyes for anybody to see. That horrible look. It has to be death. What else could look like that?

Sunday, November 21, 2010


It seems like people expect a lot of sophistication out of girls who are barely out of high school. From working in a slaughterhouse to going to school in Paris and landing on a runway six weeks later is a pretty huge jump. Maybe they should try to give us some idea of what we should read or watch. Maybe they should make some kind of school for us where we could go and spend a little time each day learning more than just how to walk or pose. Maybe your body finds new poses from new words and ideas. Maybe things are connected in ways that we could understand if somebody tried to help us understand. Maybe that's asking too much. I don't really know.

At least Marcelle understands. She's read a lot of books and a lot of poems and she likes to think. Gunther too. He loves to think. Hanging out with him is probably like going to college. I guess sophistication takes time.


In the makeup chair again being handled by so many people. Sometimes, in the right mood, it all seems like a fun game of dress up. But Ivana isn't here. She's dead. She'll never be here. It seems impossible. Once or twice, might be able to pretend she's just not in this show. Pretend she's off on another runway somewhere and we'll meet up after for drinks and we'll laugh like always at how stupid and frustrating it gets. But....Instead, the rain is falling outside and a chill is in the air and there is nowhere that can be warm enough because Ivana is gone and she isn't coming back.

Saturday, November 6, 2010


So I came in and caught the guy masturbating to pictures of me! I mean, he had the real thing right there in his bed and he hardly ever touched me but there he was getting off looking at pictures.
Sick shit.
Definitely. So, I -- A guy comes over and tries to talk to Francesca and Anastasia.
Are you guys models?
Why do you ask?
Because you are fucking beautiful.
Anastasia smiles and then she slaps him.
Am I still beautiful?
Jay is taken aback but he tries to laugh it off. Maybe this is some kind of test. Still trying to be cool.
You like it rough, huh? I'm up for that.
Oh. You want to play? Great. Do you know how to play?
Francesca smiles and throws her drink in his face. Jay becomes very angry.
You fucking bitches. You're crazy. What's your major malfunction?
He is angry but he sees that many people are watching and he just decides to walk away.
Crazy cunts. He walks away.
Oh. Too bad. He doesn't think we're beautiful anymore.
Anastasia gives Francesca high five while Marcelle and Nicoleta just stare at them.
What's wrong with you two? Are you out of your fucking minds?
Anastasia just laughs insanely and downs her drink. Marcelle and Nicoleta look worried as Francesca and Anastasia laugh and drink together.

Sunday, September 19, 2010


Roses of Shadow is the story of a young model (Anastasia) whose best friend (Ivana) dies during a runway show from complications due to anorexia. The story follows Anastasia and her closest friends as they deal with Ivana’s death in various ways. Anastasia is forced to face her own demons (including her eating disorder and cocaine habit) and also her relationship with her family.

Roses of Shadow is a serious drama which explores many issues concerning appearances and beauty and with how people deal with traumatic experiences from their past and their present.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010


As she sits glumly, Anastasia begins to notice Marcelle  preparing for the show. Marcelle takes her time and feels each article of clothing before she puts it on. She is clearly enjoying the textures and smells and whatever she is looking at. Marcelle finally notices that Anastasia is watching and she smiles.
You're amazing. You're so into every detail and it looks like you notice everything. The smell, the feel...
I love beautiful things. Ever since I was a child.
Anastasia smiles at her.
My mother loved beautiful things too. Gloves, fur coats, perfume. She used to let me touch the fur when she was wearing it. I think of her every time I wear something she would love.
Isn't that painful?
I guess so...but I think beauty and pain are never far apart.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010


Slowly, amidst the ocean of flowers and photographs and elaborate tributes, the body of Ivana is revealed in her casket. Her mother DASHA and two younger sisters POLINA (14) and OKSANA (10) stand over the coffin weeping together. Polina puts a picture of her with Ivana in the coffin and  Oksana puts a small teddy bear in with her sister. The family then moves away to allow others to pay their respects.

Marcelle, Fawn, Nicoleta, Francesca and Anastasia go to the coffin. Each of the closest friends takes a turn looking at Ivana and struggles to make reality of the corpse that confronts them. Anastasia remains at the casket as her other friends move away.


When I came to Auschwitz, my sister was with me. She was only 14 and it was a miracle she got past Mengele. From the moment we got into the camp, she couldn't eat. Once a week in Auschwitz you received some marmalade made from sugar beets in your hand. She couldn't even eat that. The only thing she ate was the slice of bread she got and I used to get angry with her. Once I yelled at her, "If you don't eat, you will die!"

Needless to say, I know in my head I'm not the cause of her death... but in my gut I've believed that I caused her death.

I felt guilty for many years that maybe I should have run back and tried to get her with me or stay with her. Maybe I didn't do enough to stay together. Maybe I was too selfish about saving myself. You can excuse yourself and say if I had run back my fate would have been the same as hers. There is no logic to my feelings.. but those words ring in my ears, "If you're not going to eat, you're going to die."