87 posts categorized "Books • Films • TV"

July 04, 2013

The East :: The Prayer. The Love

Thought I'd check in during our family vacation to say hello and let you know about an amazing film that we saw last night. It's called The East, directed by Zal Batmanglij and starring Brit Marling, Alexander Skarsgård, and Ellen Page.

The EastIt's one of the smartest, most inspiring films I've ever seen. A few things that struck me most ...

The protagonist (Sarah) takes on her most challenging work assignment as an FBI agent and prays to God that she find a way to take the challenge without being arrogant or weak. It's an interesting and telling prayer, as the film masterfully illustrates how strength can, in the blink of an eye, transform into arrogance or cowardice. We toss around words like "bold," "brave," and "courage," as though they are colorful gumballs dispensed when we insert a coin into a machine. But do we really know what it means to be strong? Do we really know how to be independent thinkers? Do we really know what is right and wrong in bringing justice and fairness for humans in the world? And once we know, or think we know, is it possible that what is just and fair changes based on ever-changing world circumstances? Are we keeping up with changes? This film did a great job in reminding me that there are fine lines that separate strength, arrogance, pragmatism, and cowardice. These fine lines are what cause conflicts, war, and if we are lucky, eventual love and peace.

As inspired as I was at the end with how the protagonist paved a truly enlightened path to change the world, I was also sad that this path is one she would travel alone, without the one she fell in love with from the extreme "other" world. Her path was not his destiny. Nor was his hers.

And it is in the face of passionate love ... where one chooses to travel one's destiny, even if it means saying goodbye to love, is I think one of the most courageous things to do ... and one of the most painful.

May 07, 2013

Announcing My New Book :: Stamp It!

I am thrilled to announce my new book: Stamp It! It's a book that has 45 fabulous projects and 200 motifs that you can use to carve your own stamps for DIY printing.

The comprehensive Basics section will teach you how to transfer designs onto rubber, carve that rubber, and then use that carved rubber to make the funnest, hippest projects around.

Stamp It
Many thanks to the amazing designers who contributed the projects and motifs for this book. They are (in order of appearance):

Riyo Kihara
Memi the Rainbow
Josephine Ho
Kerri Winterstein
Ishtar Olivera Belart
Gertie Jaquet
Noelle Griskey
Sarah K. Patro
Cynthia Shaffer

Stamp It! is available everywhere books are sold, including on Amazon right here. Many thanks to my entire book team for their outstanding work in making this one come to life.

Here's a tiny little video that gives you a peek inside the book. Hope you'll check it out. Enjoy!

February 20, 2013

Book Signing at Glitterfest's New Location :: March 9th

Have you heard?
Glitterfest has changed venues! Yup. The fantastic event that has been masterfully nurtured by Sheryl Simpson and Diane White has finally outgrown its Santa Ana Elks Lodge location and they are now going to be holding their events at the Business Expo of Anaheim located at:

1960 S Anaheim Way, Anaheim, CA 92805 from 10AM to 4PM

Here's a photo of the location and its spacious parking lot. :)


I am honored to be joining Sheryl, Diane White, and the Glitterfest team on March 9th to help them break in their new location as I sign copies of my new book, Creative Lettering. Hope to see you at Glitterfest where I know you'll enjoy all the fantastic vendors selling their handmade treausres.

Jenny DohI hope you'll stop by, say hello, and in honor of Creative Lettering, share with me your favorite letter and your favorite pen/pencil that you like to use when you letter. I'll be sharing the results of my field study about lettering in a future post. :)

See you at Glitterfest!

Creative Lettering

February 19, 2013

Announcing My New Book :: Creative Lettering

I am thrilled and humbled to announce my newest book titled Creative Lettering!

Creative LetteringIt is a book where 16 amazing arists share their unique insights and signature methods related to their lettering work. From the bottom of my heart, I'd like to offer my sincere gratitude to these artists for working with me to create this truly breathtaking book.

They are (in order of appearance):

Flora Chang, Jessica Swift, Pam Garrison, Francois Begnez,
Karyn Denten
, Aimee Dolich, Andy Ainger, Linda Schneider,
Lori Vliegen, Madeline Tompkins, Stine Kaasa, Lisa Engelbrecht,
Philippe Debongnie
, Barbara Close, Rhianna Wurman, and Martha Lever

Creative LetteringCreative Lettering will hit book stands on March 5th but you can also pre-order it here on Amazon. And here's a little video to give you a sneak peek. Enjoy! :)

December 25, 2012

Les Misérables :: The Bishop and the Game-Changers

Les Misérables. The miserable ones. A musical based on the novel by Victor Hugo.

You know the story, right? It opens with Jean Valjean being released from prison after having served 19 years. Unjustly so.

Bitter he has become. Can you blame him?

Jenny Doh and Monica Mouet
And with this bitterness, if he had gone down a path of being a thief forever, bitter forever, and even perhaps to do harm unto others out of uncontrollable anger and mental instability, would we blame him? After having endured an unfair 19 years behind bars? 

Even if we couldn't bring ourselves to exonerate him, we'd at least understand him.

But early on, as we think he'll go down that path of destruction, he meets a Bishop who gives him food, refuge, and a warm bed.

And even with this generosity, Jean Valjean's state of being causes him to become a thief in the night, stealing the Bishop's silver. The authorities catch him and bring him back to the Bishop. And the rest we predict will go predictably, with the Bishop pressing charges and Valjean returning to prison and bitterness reining over these lives forever.

But the Bishop.
The Bishop becomes the game-changer.
To Jean Valjean who is before him with the authorities who are accusing him of having stolen the silver, the Bishop could decide to press charges, and to send him away. But instead, he says this in front of the authorities, to Valjean about the silver candlesticks that Jean Valjean didn't take:

But my friend, you left so early. Surely something slipped your mind. You forgot I gave these also, would you leave the best behind?

That line is the line that brings me to my knees every time. It's the Bishop's courage and generosity and Jean Valjean's ability to receive that generosity that a new story begins.

I just saw Les Misérables tonight with the family. I'm so completely drained. I've adored this story for years and I'm so happy that we have this new exquisite production to enjoy ... and to introduce the story to a whole new generation of people.

To me, the most significant thing about life that this story tells is that no matter how sorrowful a tragedy is, life goes on. Sometimes, you think that when there is such pain in a person's life, that the universe should pause for a little bit ... so that we can all catch our breaths. So that we can mourn. So that we can cry. So that we can grieve.

Right? Shouldn't life pause when life hurts so much? 

But that's the thing about life. It never pauses. It just goes on. Relentlessly so. It doesn't stop. The sun does come out tomorrow ... not in the "bet your bottom dollar" sort of way, but in the "at the end of the day you're another day older" sort of way.

So maybe what we need to do with this life that never pauses is to do something so that it continues in a good way. In ways where in the face of hurt, we become generous and brave game-changers so new and better stories can become born out of bad ones. Maybe we can do this through love. And maybe when we do this, it's true about the final and most significant line in the story, which is that:

"To love another person is to see the face of God."

Merry Christmas to all the game-changers past, present, and future.

December 22, 2012

This is 40. At Times Tidy. At Times Tangled.

There's a restlessness in the air. For me and other 40-something friends, the restlessness is so intense and so thick that some days, some nights, it feels suffocating. Cat on a hot tin roof is a good way to describe it I think ... as we wrestle with the tangles, annoyances, joys and challenges that this season of life brings.

Last night, I watched "This is 40." There's a scene where Leslie Mann's character (Debbie) points out that according to research, the happienst time in a person's life is usually during the ages of 40 and 60.

This is 40(Photo by Suzanne Hanover/Universal Pictures)

In the movie, Debbie is married to Pete (played by Paul Rudd) and they are entering this happiest period of life with lots of things that make them unhappy. They are both like cats on hot tin roofs ... and we wonder if they're gonna slip off that roof or if things will eventaully simmer down.

What I like most about the movie is that it points out how little things can become big effin deals. Like cupcakes. Cigarettes. Sex. iPads. The season finale of "Lost." Personal trainers. Birthday parties. Dads. Moms. Your kids' friends. The parents of your kids' friends. Business ventures.

When little things make us feel like exploding, there are people in our lives who remind us to count blessings and gain perspective. Blah, blah, blah. Even with such wise counsel, my friends and I know one thing for sure: the roof remains scorching hot. That's what this movie honors ... that even the "little things" in life are actually big things. And no amount of perspective can make things better. At least in the moment. And sometimes, moments are L O N G.

Maybe in another decade or two my friends and I will truly have perspective and laugh at the restlessness of this season. Maybe our footing on the roof will be solid. Or mabye we will have swapped out roofs for different foundations altogether. That's what I'll wonder about Debbie and Pete ... certainly in the movie's final moment, they were happy. But sometimes, while moments are indeed L O N G, they are at other times short. Sometiems neat and tidy. Other times messy and hopelessly tangled. 

PS: I loved that the movie started with Yoko Ono's "Yes, I'm Your Angel" as its opening track—the song that used to annoy me to no end in 1980 but wasn't half bad in 2012. I also loved seeing comedic genius Phil Hendrie's cameo in that short but fantastic scene.  

November 29, 2012

Silver Linings Playbook

There's something about walking into a movie house without really knowing what you're about to experience. That's what happened last night when I was with my girlfriends and decided after dinner, to push the pause button on the busy-ness of the season and to catch a movie. As I sat myself down in my seat, it took me a while to calm the racing thoughts in my mind ... like "I really should be working right now" and "This is so indulgent of me to watch a movie when I have so many things I have to do. I must be crazy." 

And then it started. Silver Linings Playbook. I knew nothing about it.

Silver Linings PlaybookAs the characters and multi-faceted storyline started to unfold, I became mesmorized. It stars Bradley Cooper, Jacki Weaver, Robert DeNiro, and the captivating Jennifer Lawrence.
Silver Linings PlaybookThe movie introduces us to characters who are in one way or another broken ... fractured ... injured ... and arguably crazy. As the ones deemed most crazy struggle to find normal again, we are challenged to question what exactly is normal and what exactly is crazy. And what type of crazy gets admitted to hospitals and prescribed medications and what type of crazy gets to walk free ... with a glass of chardonnay hand, and a plate of repression and passive aggression on the side.

Jennifer LawrenceAnd then there's love.

Love ... and how our heart feels in the midst of the complexities of life ... no matter how normal we think we are, we empathize with characters who show us how deeply we all hurt as we feel what we feel, want what we want, don't get what we want, and get what we think we want. 

The many interesting stories and characters and nuances ... at times felt dizzying but by the end of the film, became masterfully connected to help me realize that this life in many ways makes no sense but if we are lucky, it sometimes makes good sense.

And if we are really really lucky, life makes love.


November 18, 2012

Lincoln's Leadership

I saw Lincoln last night. What a film.

There was a scene where Lincoln's eldest son explained with convicion to his disapproving father that he had to enlist in the war because if he were to have any chance at becoming somebody of worth in the future, he would have to enlist and risk his life ... because "What will matter most is whether or not I fought." [Paraphrased.]

The scene tore me up. It made me think about boxing ... and about how to find courage in the face of fear ... about those who get in the ring and those who don't.

When we consider who to follow in terms of those who want to lead us, it's true what Lincoln's son pointed out ... it matters whether the leader, in the face of danger, either hid in the bathroom or got into the ring.

LincolnAbraham Lincoln had strong ideals. These ideals are what helped him conceive of crafting an amendment to our constitution to abolish slavery. Such audacity.

To make it happen, he also had to get into the ring, if you will, and deploy strategically pragmatic political tactics—the kind that could potentially lead to success or complete and utter defeat.

There are pivotal scenes that show how Lincoln and his allies found ways to push idealism aside as needed, to allow pragmatism to advance their cause. In many ways, he cared less about whether legislators felt black people were inherently equal to white people. Rather, he cared whether he could convince them to support the amendment, regardless of how they felt. Pass the amendment, and worry about feelings later.

By using pragmatism, Lincoln risked his entire political career. But ultimately, it is pragmatism that procured the votes needed to cause our nation to say yes, we amend our constitution to abolish slavery. And with this amendment, the horrific war eventually came to an end. It was the ultimate in-the-political-ring jab-cross-hook-cross. Genius, courageous, unflappable, and masterful.

As I was walking out of the theater with my family, I wondered out loud about how our nation healed and recovered from such a devastating war ... to which I answered myself by realizing that in many ways, we are still healing from it. Sometimes, recovery is never complete. It's ongoing.

October 19, 2012

Journal It! Book Signing + Painting Demo with Belinda Fireman!

There's really not a spread in my new book, Journal It! that I don't adore. But one of my favorites is this one, by Belinda Fireman, who takes the mystery out of exactly how she creates one of her signature journaling methods. Each of the 19 artist shares in this manner, which makes Journal It! so special.

journal itAs soon as I saw Belinda's work more than a year ago, I knew I loved it. So colorful and multi-layered but interestingly, so uncomplicated and honest. I've had the pleasure of getting to know Belinda by meeting up with her once in California and another time in Colorado and I'm really excited that she will be our special guest at this FREE event that you are all invited to:

You Are Invited!
Journal It! Book Signing Celebration + Painting Demo
with special guest: Belinda Fireman
Saturday, Decmeber 1st • 7-10PM
207 N. Broadway St., Suite L, Santa Ana, CA 92701

belinda fireman

Belinda is not only a journal artist, she is also a wonderful painter. At our party, she'll be signing copies of Journal It! with me, while she also does a live painting demo and also having a few pieces available for purchase.

belinda firemanThis event takes place on the first Saturday of December, which is the monthly Art Walk in downtown Santa Ana. If you've been to one of our events of this nature before, you know that it gets very crowded. But once you make it inside, you'll be glad you did because it's where the most interesting,  art-focused people gather to appreciate and celebrate art. This is a FREE event but it is recommended that you give yourself ample time to park, as traffic can get quite heavy.

studio crescendoh
Books. Painitng. Live music. Wine. Cheese. Interesting conversations with interesting people (and a few more surprises up our sleeves). What's not to love? Hope you'll join us and hope you'll stay up-to-date with all the programming that is starting to come together for the months and year ahead right here on our master studio calendar. See you soon!

Journal It

October 09, 2012

Announcing My New Book :: Journal It!

I am thrilled to officially announce my brand new book: Journal It!

Journal It

It is a book that contains the fascinating whys and the signature hows of 19 amazing journalers. I am honored grateful to have worked with these talented contributors to put forth what I know will be one of the most exciting books about creative journaling. They are: Julie Balzer, Jill Berry, Sarah Atwater Bourne, Alisa Burke, Debra Cooper, Belinda Fireman, Bob Fisher, Susanna Gordon, Bruce Kremer, Katherine Jebsen Marwedel, Corey Moortgat, Melanie Mowinski, Zom Osborne, Jeannette Sclar, Carolyn Sewell, Susan Shelley, Roben-Marie Smith, Anna Maria Wolniak, and Alison Worman.

JI_PromoPieceThe book officially hits bookstands November 6th
but it is available for pre-order on Amazon right here.

Many thanks to everyone who was involved with making this book a reality. The best team ever. And to you, the reading audience, for your on-going support and enthusiasm.

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