Friday, August 14, 2009

Happy Birthday to Lucille Kyser

I want to wish a terrific, happy birthday to my grandmother, Lucille Kyser, who is celebrating her eighty-sixth birthday today. Lucille, or "Grandma," is the mother of my late father, John Kyser, and has two other children, my uncles David and Paul Kyser. She lives in Hallsville, Texas, an East Texas town about ten miles outside of Longview. The picture to the right is of my grandmother and me on Dedication Day, when I was inducted into Maroon Society as one of the top five seniors at Austin High School.

In her honor, I have posted the video below of Dusk, a short film I wrote and directed in the winter of 2007, in which she makes a brief appearance.

This seven-minute video was one of several short films I submitted to New York University as a Creative Submission for admittance into the Tisch School of the Arts. Filmed in Hallsville and the East Texas countryside, Dusk represents the opening seven minutes of an unfinished feature-length film of the same name. I hope you enjoy the video.

Today is also the fiftieth birthday of Oscar-winning actress Marcia Gay Harden. I mention this very talented actress because this past Monday evening, I had the pleasure of dining with Mrs. Harden's sister, Sheryl Peyton, and her niece, Natalie Peyton, who will be a sophomore at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts next year. Our mutual friends hosted a dinner party, where I was able to get to know Natalie and her friend Kendyl Dunn, who will be a freshman at NYU in the fall.

Mrs. Harden is currently starring in God of Carnage, the Broadway drama that recently won Tony awards for Best Play, Best Direction of a Play (Matthew Warchus) and Best Actress (Harden). The production, which I have been incredibly excited to see since it first premiered last year, features only four actors - Mrs. Harden, James Gandolfini, Jeff Daniels and Hope Davis - but Lord, what a cast!

Mrs. Harden, who has blown me away in many incredible performances - including Mystic River (2003, Clint Eastwood), Pollack (2000, Ed Harris), Into the Wild (2007, Sean Penn) and Miller's Crossing (1990, Joel and Ethan Coen) - is not only a graduate of The University of Texas at Austin, but also received her graduate degree from, ahem, New York University's Tisch School of the Arts.

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