#221: Blu Hunt
Blu Hunt on Misanthropy, Harry Nilsson's Think About Your Troubles, Spry Gum, and more.
Cool people like cool things, which is why we asked Blu Hunt to share a taste of her taste on Perfectly Imperfect.
Blu Hunt is a Los Angeles-based actress, writer, and director. Her career has been thrown a few loops…when she was 21 she starred in an X-Men film, The New Mutants, that was buried by the studio and by the time it came out during the pandemic she was already 25. These days she’s ready to leave her superhero era in the past and focus on writing + directing, what she really cares about. Blu has made a few smaller short films that are still being edited, but the one she’s most excited about is titled BATS and was cowritten with her best friend Sally Sum, who’s also the star. Recently she also starred in, and executive produced, an indie horror film directed by Elric Kane (@purecinemapod) that’s called The Dead Thing. Lucky for us, Blu is here to tell us what she’s been into.
Without further ado
I am always chewing gum. Gum is the ultimate satisfaction to the demands of my oral fixation. However, most gum is evil. Most gum is just literal plastic and sugar. When you chew ‘regular’ gum you are also chewing the same chemicals and substances used to make plastic bottles and bags and things. But what’s even worse than that, is that the sugars in gum cause bacteria in your mouth that makes your breath smell like shit. There are lots of organic, clean, sugar-free options of gum to choose from, but Spry gum rises above them all. It’s the only dentist recommended gum. It cleans your teeth and contains not a single naughty ingredient! Spry is what gum should always strive to be and only does what gum should do. Sure, its durability is lacking, you can’t chew it for long, but this is a solvable sacrifice. I buy my Spry in this weird apple sized bulk container, so as soon as I’ve chewed one through, I can begin anew without any worry of running through my stockpile. I find myself at parties handing out little chiclets of gum to various drunk people, who when they see my funny little container contraption suddenly not only want a piece, but also to ask me about it, and like a character in an infomercial, I am always ready to tell them.
👛 Sleeper Vintage in Echo Park (has anyone recommended this before? lol)
I think probably more than half of my closet is from Sleeper. I most likely wear something from Sleeper every day. It’s rare for me to find a vintage store that has a large quantity of clothing that fits a 5’1 sized person, and Sleeper really changed the game for me in that respect. If you ever wonder where I get all my little linen suits from, and silky blouses and things, it’s here.
🎂 Cake Baking
I love baking cakes for people. Store bought cakes are so boring. What do they show? That you have fifty bucks and a half hour to kill? Who even needs a cake at all at that point. Cakeake isn’t about being a cake, it’s about thoughtfulness, decorum, and perseverance. I will exhaust myself and push myself to limits I didn’t know existed in order to make elaborate cakes for my friends’ birthdays. The funny thing is, I always run excessively late at finishing them, barely getting the frosting on… And by the time the cake reaches its destination, it inevitably falls apart. But they always taste good. People think they can’t bake, even people who like to cook think they can’t bake… And I guess I kind of just explained how baking is hard and I’m not great at it, but that’s exactly why you should do it! It’s good to not be good at things and who knows, you could be really great at it. And if you aren’t it’s still fun and makes people happy.
🐳 Think About Your Troubles – Harry Nilsson
The perfect song to listen to whenever you feel stressed or sad. Like most of Harry Nilsson’s music, it’s a weird little song that was written for a children’s animated television film called The Point, about a little boy named Oblio and his dog Arrow. On the soundtrack album for The Point, Harry Nilsson narrates the story, even performing the characters' voices and dialogue, in between all of the songs. The whole thing is really quite soothing, I think. But this particular song really just does something for me.
📖 READING/WRITING DETAILED INSCRIPTIONS IN BOOKS
Well, first, let me just say that if you don’t read often, my initial recommendation is that you change that, and begin reading often.
I love to read. I refuse to borrow books from people, and I never lend them out. I’ve always felt like there was something special about the physical copy of the book you read any story in. Something I love to do is to inscribe my books. In fact, it’s sort of a rule of mine, or if not a rule, a sort of ritual. Years ago, my inscriptions started out simply, usually just when and where I got the book (i.e. Mast Books 2019) with my signature underneath. But over time my inscriptions have become increasingly more detailed. In addition to when and where I got the book, I now write everything about the moment in which I bought it, including my day preceding the moment of purchase, my mood during the actual sale, and whatever else springs to mind. After this I write another equally detailed inscription whenever I actually start reading the book. Finally, I write a culminating inscription in the back of the book as soon as I finish reading the last page. Through this process, every book I own becomes a sort of makeshift diary, demarcating the specific period of my life in which that book kept me company. Little bits of ordinary days that I otherwise would never have thought to remember become a matter of permanent record in my library. And when I flip through an old book, I remember not only my life at that time, but also how it was interwoven with the actual narrative of the book. It’s a strangely comforting feeling. Whenever someone gives me a book, I always request an inscription from them, so I never forget who gave it to me, and when I give a book, I of course inscribe it for them too. So, if you ever find yourself looking at your pile of books, big or small, and can’t remember when you read them, or who gave them to you, just start inscribing them! You don’t have to be tedious and sentimental about it like me (although being tedious and sentimental, I do highly recommend), just write a little something, and then you’ll have a library of memories too. And an inscribed book really is the best gift you can give! (Along with cakes)
(If you do want a good book rec, check out The Factory by Hiroko Oyamada, it’s like 120 pages, so hardly a book, but a really great quick and profound little read)
Recently a close friend (my ex-boyfriend) called me a misanthrope. I felt a little insulted, but I didn’t disagree… Scrooge is a misanthrope. That guy notoriously really sucks until he isn’t a misanthrope anymore. Then everyone decides he’s better. I’m not sure I agree with this. Maybe Scrooge was right all along! Scrooge’s real issue was the degree in which he was misanthropic (also his hoarding of wealth but that’s not what this is about). You can’t let it control your life. But a little bit of misanthropy never hurt anyone.
Am I really a misanthrope? Sure, yeah, I don’t really like people! Or at least… I don’t like most people. Or maybe what I mean is that I don’t like people because I have to or because I should. The sole reason I like a person isn’t just because they are talented or successful or beautiful or (ugh) popular. Sure, if someone I do like has those qualities then that’s great of course… But for a long time, I think I may have deluded myself that some of my friendships were deeper than my attraction to those qualities and how they benefited me and vice versa. Like an ouroboros of narcissism disguised as friendship and intimacy. For a long time, I was nervous to give in to what felt like my less personable traits, like being critical of people, or being reclusive, because I didn’t want to degrade my social capital, I didn’t want to be perceived as the bitch I was afraid I really was deep down inside. But the more I felt guilt over my feelings of dislike, the more I started to hate myself, the more I started to act in ways that I never would have, had I just been more conscious of the reasons behind my lifestyle in the first place. And I know that not everybody has experienced this, but I know I’m not the only one who has. The realization that I was living a life that was a rejection of my actual self in order to protect my place in “the world” was not an easy one to come to. It’s not like it’s easy to admit to yourself that you aren’t immune to the shallowest impulses of human behavior and connection. It’s so much easier to continue pretending that you enjoy the presence of everyone around you, that you like all the things they do and make and say. It’s easy to accept someone as being interesting and smart because everyone says they are and because they are right there looking at you, talking to you. And so it’s then very easy to assume that you are also smart and interesting, because they are, or at least everyone says they are. And if questioning someone's merit also questions yours? Well it’s just easier to not. It’s easy because it feels good to be liked, it feels good to be liked by people who other people like. It feels good to receive admiration for simply ‘being’. But just because something is easy doesn’t mean it’s right. And just because something feels good doesn’t mean it’s good for you. And this is where a little touch of misanthropy comes in to save the day. And not like, hate for mankind! Just an acceptance of your own moral failings, and those of the people around you. It’s weird because as soon as I took myself out of the center of the dissatisfactions of my life, only then was I finally able to honestly relate to everyone. It’s like… We are all equal to each other in our inadequacies, but then different in what we do about it. So, once you’ve come to the realization that you might suck and that the people around you might suck, and that both of these things lend themselves to making the entirety of your life suck, you can take action!
My most recent example of misanthropy (love this word), the one that probed my Ex to label me as such over the phone, is my current chosen state of extended solitude. Over a month ago, during a bad night’s sleep, I woke up at 3AM and decided to pack a couple suitcases and get on the next flight out of LAX. I ended up in Mexico City, where I don’t know a soul and can’t speak the language. I just had an intense desire to be alone and away from (mostly) everyone I know. And now I’ve been here for weeks and weeks, completely alone outside of a couple short visits from some good and trusted friends.
And so, what I would like to recommend to you is the act of leaving. Leaving everything behind you when you need to. And you probably need to or have needed to or will need to. So just do it, leave! Leave your home, the place you live, wherever it is, as often as you can, whenever the impulse strikes, if you have the lifestyle that offers you that privilege. Get on a plane, get in your car, rent a hotel. Go somewhere, anywhere, that makes you feel a little apprehensive at first, somewhere new that you’ve never been, or somewhere far away that you know well and that you love. Go to see others, or go to be alone, but go for longer than you think you should. If you try to think of reasons not to leave, you won’t, so don’t consider any of them, don’t think about it at all. You will never regret it. And if you can’t get on a plane and go to another country near or far, if you have a solid job like a normal decent person, or something seriously tethering you to one place… Then get up from whatever you are doing and go somewhere else. Start walking to a park or drive to some neighborhood you’re not familiar with and spend time alone there. Explore your unfamiliar surroundings. Just forge an escape plan, suddenly and without thought, whatever it is or whatever it looks like, and just do it….
You have to force yourself to tackle the hard thing, whatever that means to you. Because the more difficult thing, it’s probably the right thing, or the thing your life needs. I think for me, the hard thing was to submerge myself into genuine solitude. And I’m not talking about like, My Year of Rest and Relaxation or Leaving Las Vegas type solitude… And I am definitely not talking about anything related to the type of seclusion that came with quarantine. The objective here isn’t to isolate yourself to the point of total deterioration or to reject the people who love you. It’s about stomaching the feelings of loneliness that come with deep personal reflection. It’s about enduring the self-imposed boredom that comes with getting to know yourself without any external influence. It’s not about being physically alone (though it is a part of it), it’s just about finding ways to be alone with yourself and who you are, the good and the bad, and really admitting to the bad. And then, what was at first so uncomfortable and sort of embarrassing to undertake will eventually become easy-normal. Everything outside of your solitude becomes so peripheral it’s hard to remember when you existed right in the center of it all. And some people, the ones who really do buy into their socio-infallibility, will probably, yeah, consider you some misanthropic outcast! But, what my friend and I like to joke about as being misanthropy is actually just self-awareness and conviction, and belief in the improvability of everything that is or can be wrong with oneself or others... The world feels constantly disappointing, and people are disappointing, and you’re disappointing, and I am definitely disappointing… But all of that can be improved upon and then improved even more, and more and more… But you can’t improve anything about yourself until you know what it is that needs improving. And even then, knowing is only the first step, knowing doesn’t mean anything if you don’t do something about it. So if any of this applies to you, maybe think about it, do something about it. Leave, find solitude, change what needs to be changed, even if it’s really, really, hard to do that. And most importantly… embrace your cynicism in positive ways instead of in ways that honestly just fucking suck!
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