Ry Russo-Young, director of the new feature film "Before I Fall," tells the story of a break-up, a best friend, and a performance artist.
This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
Modern love the pod cast a supported by before the work messages begin to pour in, let's gift ourselves a good morning, a good morning as a moment to pause and ease into the day. It's I meant to run and chase the sunrise or to gently settle in routine a good morning. is a moment to be present to find clarity and be grounded for the day ahead. Good days start with good mornings and good mornings start with Yogi tea, Yogi tea Teasmade to doom,
then just tastes, good, oh from the New York Times and w you are Boston. This is modern the stories of love loss and redemption. I'm your host Magna Chakrabarti the seven years ago in Brooklyn New York, the performance It is known as death bear was making the round his mission. being the broken hearted in this week's s, Lauren Berlin writes about what it was like to invite death bear into her friends home, run, Russo young director of the film before I fall reads Us Laurens essay death. Bear we'll see you now
Sunday morning we sat at Diana's dinette table in park, slope Brooklyn waiting for death bear we considered making him breakfast but decided not to thinking probably just come in, take the stuff and leave we waited. You think he'll talk to us. I asked it said in the email that he will talk, but that he will only speak to you is death. Bear. We waited some more then Diana received the text message announcing his arrival, he's down, stairs she shrieked death barriers, downstairs, oh my god. She leaped up. rush down the steps I followed her. And stood at the top of the stairwell watching it was January.
The eastern seaboard was recovering from a storm patches of ice lurked on the sidewalks in the street. Curves were ridged in mounds of dirty ploughed snow. I come to New York for the weekend to see Diana one of my best friends from college she'd broken up with her boyfriend of five years and was having a difficult time. I was there to cheer her up the frightened I arrived We bowls of chick, be students labs of her mothers, tarp lemon cake we put on our budget is opened a bottle of wine and curled up on the sofa to Chad. Oh got this email. I wanted to show you Diana exclaimed, leaping up to grab her laptop. It was from the skimm a popular newsletter. It read. Someone's knocking at your door in a seven feet tall bear suit. Summoned the text message. Death bear will visit your Brooklyn apartment to remove painful reminders of your past and give you the chance start fresh. The resolution services free this Saturday and Sunday April.
A phone number to text and make an appointment as well as websites to learn more about the performance artist who had created death bear we decided to do it. Diana texted him to request a Saturday appointment. He promptly replied that he was already booked for but he asked if we would be willing to wait for his visit during a four hour window on Sunday as if he were the cable guy final. He agreed to a nine am visit. which he later we scheduled for ten, on Saturday Diana hauled out a cardboard box and began surveying her apartment for items for death bear her exit taken most of his stuff when he moved the framed poster of his favorite movie was gone as we're a series of prints above the sofa leaving silver hope. on the walls he taken, his clothes and music collection. But so I still remained tucked away everywhere, like Easter eggs.
there was the green artichoke shaped candle her mother had given him a piece of white plastic shaped like a robot that he'd hung on her keychain, Mister T postcard, he'd center, that red you dumb man in shiny gold, letters and expensive Corduroy Blazer accidentally left behind the maroon campus best he'd, given Diana one Christmas, which she decided to keep arguing that practicality out, sentimentality on this specific item, the ip
He bought her an engraved with the phrase Diana's anti stress machine for a long subway commutes is ready, red backpack and the four costume rubberducks he'd bought as a joke to line the back of their toilet Diana through most of this into the box for Dead bear neck. She pulled out the top drawer from her dresser dumping its contents on the ground. He sat Cross legged on the floor, surrounded by the scattered letters cards and photos. She must have gathered them in the drawer after the break up and hadn't looked at them until now, she's shuffle through the papers stopping at a photo of her acts, her eyes filled with tears, her face flushed she coped and sniffled and sniffled again, then she began to cry
joined her on the floor, rested my face on her shoulder and rubbed her back feeling her ribs rise and fall with each sob. She shoved the last of the letters into the cardboard box that evening we ate pasta and oysters at a neighborhood italian restaurant and wondered aloud if death bear would actually show up on Sunday morning, as I stood at the top of the stairs watching Diana greet death bear. The first thing I noticed about him was that he was thin and delicate with the lithe frame of a boy who was never large enough for a high school sports team. He wore flimsy black pants, a long sleeve black shirt that looked as if had been bought on sale at a discount retailer and black LISA
leather boots that were popular among grungy teenagers. He had a massive bulbous black bear mask that engulfed his head and his entire neck. The masks cheeks were round and bulging. The effect was a creepy bear like animal that simultaneously recalled a child's cartoon character and the grim reaper, as if TIM Burton had decided Beetlejuice needed a sidekick. I watched death. Where is he gingerly slid afoot, first up one step and then up another while lightly resting his hand on the weathered banister. He seemed tentative. Almost shy Is this okay Diana asked? Can you see she's beside him with her hands in the air, like a parent spotting, a child who is learning to ride a bike before he replied his voice, by the giant, bear head over new steps he round the top of the stairwell and enter Diana's apartment, So, Dan,
An awkwardly thank you for coming death, bear She sounded both amused and unsure of herself you're welcome. He replied, if put down a large black duffel bag. There was a moment of silence and then more silence. he turned to study the room. Like an exterminator searching for signs of vermin. and I wondered if he noticed the empty silver hawks on the otherwise blank walls were Dianas. Excess pictures at home death bear face Diana what you me to do his voice was kind and distant. Well, have some stuff. I need to get rid of Diana said she didn't mention the break I don't know how much stuff you can take. He showed her the
AG and explain that he could take whatever fit in it. They decided that meant everything, but the plastic. Viking helmet and the backpack great Diana said she sat down next to the Box of stuff she had collected and began to pull out items and hand them to death. Bear the artichoke candle, the Corduroy Blazer, an old cell phone full of text, messages from her Ex death bear accepted the items and gently placed them into his bag. He moved deliberately in with the air ass. If he was preparing to ship them far away and new, they needed to arrive safely soon. It was time to give him the letters death burst, silent facing Diana his palmed outstretched he kid smooth hands that looked as if they weren't done growing in his wrists, which were just barely visible beneath the costs of his black shirt. we're slim in square
unusually angular with protruding bones. His skin was the color of milky hot chocolate and hairless Diana paused. Looking at the pile of papers, the card celebrating anniversaries, the photos from her travels abroad and the sentimental notes wordlessly. She handed the stack to death bear and then she began right. I did not go to comfort Diana. Instead, I remained seated at the tiny Dinah table where I had been since death. There's a rival. I watched in silence as Diana cried and death bear, tucked the letters into his duffel bag. She looked up at him tears streaming down her face. He was bent over his bag rearranging items. Finally, death bear zipped the duffel bag closed and stood to face Diana. I hope that I'm helpful to you
Some way she smiled back unable to speak and no one said anything. as I watch Diana and death bear. I felt proud of her for being so brave. Maybe it was bizarre to invite a complete stranger dressed as a psychedelic animal went to your house to remove your most intimate buzz. since then again. Maybe it wasn't maybe we all have moments where we need such a stranger. Some Does anonymity allows us to let down our guard and show our raw and battered hearts to reveal the mess we know ourselves to be. Maybe death bear provides a public service by wiping the slate clean. When we are too asked to pick up the rag and do it ourselves and then yet again by disappearing. so that we can resume our normal lives Damn
pulled herself together on off that she can now speak what do with the stuff that you collect. It goes in my cave. Are you going to do an art installation with it. You should know. I think there are a lot of people who would feel uncomfortable seeing their stuff on display huh. She said I guess there was silence Then the first book I should be doing ok. Well, thank you for coming that. Bear you up. Diana opened the door and watched his death bear headed towards the stairs. Thanks again, she said He turned the stairwell, the black duffel bag, stuffed and hanging from his shoulder.
many was gone right. So young reading. Lauren Berlin's piece Bear will see you now danger, an editor of modern love for the New York Times says this. Peace was a bit of an oddity for the column. It was a sweet moving story. I think a lot of the reaction. I know my own reaction was how it's strange, but you get used to that and becomes very moving when she's handing these things over and handing over letter There's an handing over these things that have such an emotional power is them all the more remarkable that they, emotion and that sort tenderness can overcome this bizarre scene and in a way the death bear become sort of invisible. By the end, it's really just about a breakup and a catharsis
Different kind of essay deserves a different kind of conversation. Lauren Berlin and her friend Diana, have a lot to say more in a minute. I, the Carmax, gives you the freedom to shop. However, you like you, can shop for a car online and on the lot, once you find the right are you can buy. However, you want buy online and get home delivery in select markets, or by our mine entries express pick up at car max and no matter how you, by your car, comes with a thirty day. Money back guarantee up to fifteen hundred miles, learn more and start shopping at car, MAX Dotcom Car MAX Carbine re imagined. I love. I wish my boyfriend and I often play falling they together by ticket
I mean sitting next to each other playing individually and not cheating. Sometimes when I open up spelling bee- and I see that you have completed a few words on your own, I feel a little betrayed. We may have happened again. You I have one friend who I will send screenshots from spelling bee of inappropriate words. Then I always get nervous. I sent it to my parents or something like that. Me and my dad. We liked the first together and I wish her out. I it a c K. P, o t I panicked yeah nice I'm same as the sky. The digital puzzles editor for the New York Times. You can try spelling bee and all our games at N Y Times dot com. Slash games were back. It's modern love, the podcast, a magnet Chakrabarti when we reached,
Lauren Berlin. We asked her if Diana had recovered from the break up, she told us It asked I and herself so we did Laura enjoined us from Evanston Illinois and Diana from New York City and from them but we all connected, we couldn't help but notice that, despite the years and the distance these to share a really tight friendship de we have two core I feel like we should have like a list. Winning party or something alright I agree to like listen to it. At the same time, we started by asking Lauren what she remembers about the experience We're thinking. This is so out of character for me, from Oklahoma and on all everyone. Do is go to bed early and eat broccoli cause, it's good for you and suddenly there is this. We're gonna let this stranger into my best friend's apartment and let her take all this stuff, and I remember part of me felt, like I hadn't no business being there like. I I felt like I was watching this incredibly intimate moment that in some ways,
I wanted Diana to get to have a loan, and I felt really bad that I was there. Any other part of me felt really really glad to be there so that she didn't have to have this experience aloe another thing, I really remember you the experience and know what you never told you this, but I thought of it. A million times is that some of the things die. It shows to give to death in my head. I was like no. I want that real. You gave him an ipod human. There are just some things like there had relieved that I still feel like a was like selfish thing to be thinking in the midst of this really significant moment. After all, it really was a difficult time for Diana. So how does she feel about her best friend, writing a modern love essay about it. I'm a pretty reserved private person, so I think it it did kind of catch me off guard a little bit and but I I thought it would be a good part of the process of kind of moving on
in this relationship too. So it was that for me as well. I remember feeling like before I contacted you remember thinking in my head. Okay, love her. If she says it's not okay, for this to run that's going to be okay, while all breakups are hard. It turns out that Diana's breakup is basically the definition of why truth is stranger than fiction and her boyfriend were together for almost six years. You we together. In you know in my mind, I had thought that that was going to be at that we were going to be together forever and of towards the end of our relationship. Things were really deteriorating and it was just clear that it you know we were with. finish with really gone sour and one day, I got a phone call from a woman and she
I don't know why your phone number keeps popping up in my boyfriend of the last two and a half years and and I called her back, and I said I don't understand what you're talking about your boyfriend of the last two and a half years and she said yeah I mean he's my boyfriend and I was pretty startled and then we just kind of broke and it would have been going on and she you know she, it turned out that she had been in. She said. You know. I've been in your apartment like forty times, and I said what are you talking about? I mean I I If here all of my stuff is here- and she said yes- but he told me that you all have broken up but that you were suicidal and so you won it move any of your stuff out and hidden
push it. You know that in retrospect I remembered weird things about coming back to my apartment in, like all of my mail was stuffed in my underwear drawer, and I was like what what's my mail doing in here and like oh, I was just cleaning up and straightening up and I just kind of threw it in there. And so there are all these kind of little things in retrospect that you know maybe I should have picked up on, but that at the time they just heard seems seemed justifiable You know there were. There were so many things her mother had died a couple months ago and he was at the funeral and we figured out that he was calling me from her mom's funeral. We'll after that, Diana decided to confront her former boyfriend, and I
I said you know I I spoke to her and I know everything and I never want to hear from you ever again and I hung up the phone and I've never heard from him ever again. Do your parents know d like- and I know your sister knows, but dear I put the whole purpose of hot. What's in LOS Angeles and king has just thinking, but you knows its seven years. they and they know that I'm really happy now. So works at Christie's as a specialist in the latin American ART Department, she's been in a healthy and happy relationship. Just over three years as for Lauren she's married and says wife is less adventurous these days. I think we do a lot of cool things, but I like to think our lives are pretty Monday and in a lot of respects, any good way like the type of nails, debility and boredom that kind of means. Everyone,
k in your life. You know, I think we are also at a different place in our lives. When death there came over, I mean Lauren has to a baby in small child, and so they are not allowed a dull visits. Now that was Diana, random and Lauren Berlin Lauren wrote this week's essay The bear will see you now. She's, a writer and communications consultant and lives with her family in Evanston Illinois Diana lives in Connecticut with her long term partner. Dad Jones has more to say right after the break the, I cast is supported by the new Showtime original documentary Cyprus Hill Insane in the brain part of show times hip hop. Fifty selling
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a c K. P o t I panicked yeah. Nice I'm same as the sky. The digital puzzles editor for the New York Times. You can try spelling bee and all our games at N Y Times dot com, slash games, welcome back Daniel Jones, editor of modern love for the New York Times says this essay was especially interesting because of it's structure. It's really told by an observer. It's such a strange, seen and the woman is going through. The break up is so invested in it that it also benefits from having this neutral observer, who can just described Rarely does this happen on the column, but it worked really well in this case. their Jones editor of modern love for the New York Times the we asked Ry Russo Young about this essay. I liked the way.
This story was a way to pay This loss, it felt unusual and honest to me, and I think that sometimes experiences can be the Arctic, where you least expect them, and this performance artist sort of strange ritual, seemed unexpectedly effective to cope with loss think it's nice to look for catharsis and unusual places thanks again to Ry Russo Young she's, the director of the film before I fall based on the popular young adult novel by Lauren. Oliver, it's in theaters now next week on the podcast Laura Dern tells the story of a unique relationship between a priest and a former parishioner Ets Indeed one
He was in love with a twist your old man and the church was going nuts. Priests sometimes have to ask hard questions. Gently About our parishioners lives, mostly were called simply to offer them the kind of compassionate presence that we believe defines a holy modern love is the production of the New York Times and W B you are Boston MP, our station it produced directed and edited by Jessica, Albert John Pilate and Emery secrets. The idea for the mod, well, the podcast was conceived by LISA Tobin. Iris Adler's are exact you're pretty serve Daniel Jones
is the editor of modern love for the New York Times, an adviser to the show music for the podcast, courtesy of a p m. A magnet Chakrabarti see you next week. The.
Transcript generated on 2022-04-16.