Saturday, September 8, 2007
With the anniversary of the 9/11 attack on New York City just around the corner, Osam bin Laden has chosen the occasion to release a twenty-six minute video to remind the American people he's still a threat to be reckoned with...
His ramblings are not only misguided, but convoluted.
For example, in one segment he implies that U.S. Corporations assassinated President John F. Kennedy because he was opposed to the Vietnam War which had become immensely profitable to them.
More believable theories have been offered up elsewhere - in the Aristotle Onassis biography, for example.
Is he losing his grasp?
Osama also argues in this piece, titled "The Solution", that multinationals have put mankind in danger from global warming.
Frankly, it appears that he's taking a cue from former VP Al Gore, and Leonardo DiCaprio, and their astute, insightful observations in "An Inconvenient Truth" and the "11th Hour", respectively.
The head honcho of the outlaw society offered up some intriguing ideas about our system of Government, too.
"It has been clear to you and the entire world the impotence of the Democratic System and how it plays with the interests of the peoples and their blood by sacrificing soldiers and populations to achieve interests of the major corporations."
What an insane analysis of Democracy!
Read between the lines and it becomes obvious he's been closely scrutinizing a handful of American-produced documentaries - those of Michael Moore - in particular.
Basically, he's plucked up other people's ideas, and offered them up as his own, in a bold-faced effort to convince Citizens of the United States he's in their corner fighting all the ills of society they, too, are rising up against in America.
He's clever, but twisted.
Obviously, he's searching for novel ways to absolve himself of his heinous crimes against humanity.
The fact remains...his band of merry terrorists kill innocent people, intentionally.
His own people's blood is also spilled blindly for a cause that is not only self-serving, but ludicrous in nature.
Osama bin Laden is nothing more than a snake-oil salesman, using slight of hand, in a world of smoke-and-mirrors, to sell a perverted brand of terrorism...
If he wants the ugly side of man to come to its senses, then he should be the first in line to the bargaining table to put an end to the madness.
Violence, after all, only begets violence.
As Mahatma Gandhi once said,
"Be the change you want to see in the world"...
Friday, September 7, 2007
Of course, a handful of Hotel rooms have become landmarks because some debauched rock star once trashed the place.
Others have piqued public curiosity because of a mysterious guest.
And, there are those shady out-of-the-way Inns that anonymous couples seek out, where they can engage in a secret tryst far from the prying eyes of nannies, private dicks, and the like.
Who can forget the tawdry scene in LA Confidential when actor Danny DeVito's character busts in on an unsuspecting couple to snap photos for a trashy tabloid rag?
Many celebrities lodge at the Chateau Marmount or the low-key Sunset Marquis where privacy is key.
Keanu Reeves was known to have foregone on his own digs in his youth for a suite at a local hostelry while his personal effects remained locked safely in storage.
Meanwhile, Warren Beatty probably had the fanciest bachelor pad in Tinsel town in the Penthouse at the Beverly Wilshire in his wild tomcat days.
But, of course, reputable Hotel chains fulfill a purpose for a handful of others: businessmen on the road, flight attendants on lay-overs, and the tourist trade.
In a bold-faced effort to shed some light on the mysterious goings-on in Hotel Rooms around the Nation, a group of conceptual artists fathomed up a gallery exhibit - "50,000 beds" - which shed an insightful light on the Hotel "culture".
The stand out show was a collaborative effort involving 45 artists, 30 Connecticut Hotels, and a handful of the State's Art Institutions (the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum in Ridgefield, Real Art Ways in Hartford, and Artspace in New Haven).
Artist Chris Doyle shipped off artists to the participating Hotels, Motels and Inns, with the provisio that they shoot a short video during a single night's stay.
Doyle is a Brooklyn artist who has been making Hotel videos for years.
Three exhibitions were divided into 15 videos spaces apiece with a display structure for each.
With the aid of series of - ramps, translucent scrims, projection screens, flat screen monitors, and the occasional bed - the structures allowed viewers to move through the installations at their own pace along a path from the nightmarish to the comic, the sexy to the fetishistic, and to just plain weird.
Doyle claims he had no real expectations and didn't doctor the results.
Some artists focused on the physical elements of the rooms, while others took their rooms as an inspiration.
Erika Van Natta, for instance, created eye-catching photos for a fictional brochure for her designated hotel.
In addition to documenting details like door jambs, telephone keys, and bathroom faucets - visionary artist Marina Zurkow - included animations of human and animal figures cavorting to the "Blue Danube waltz".
"I wanted to deal with the fantasy of left-over dreams and the detritus of other people who had inhabited the space," she explained ruefully.
"So, I just followed my instinct which was to strip down to my underwear and set up my tripod."
Laurel Nakadate is known for her provocative hotel-room videos in which she has confronted strange men in chance encounters.
In her perversely funny - "Beds" - video she appeared on the balcony outside her suite's glass doors and falshed her panties at a fully-dressed man who was conducting her actions to the strains of a pop tune.
"You don't have to say you love me by Dusty Springfield," the artist giggled.
She alleges it could happen.
Gee, maybe I need to look beyond the Hampton Suites for my own accommodation in the future.
The world is passing me by, no doubt.
Mr. Doyle was concerned that maintenance help that clean the rooms might be overlooked; so, a couple of the featured videos address the staff exclusively.
Andy Warhol was known to have said, "Art is what you can get away with".
But, Benjamin Constant took another stance.
"Art for art's sake, with no purpose, for any purpose perverts art. But, art achieves a purpose which is not its own."
In this instant case, which is true?
For more information: www.50000beds.net
Thursday, September 6, 2007
Headin' home the other night, I spied a rag-tag band of protesters on the corner of Robertson and Santa Monica Boulevard waving banners high urging that George Bush be impeached...
The rally was strategically-placed, what with Hollywood's Power Brokers supping just down the street a hop-and-a-skip away at the trendy watering hole, The Ivy.
Spies inform me that somewhere down on Crescent Heights, just off the Boulevard, there's also a fresh gang of anti-Bushers ready to sign you up for the push towards impeachment.
Well, it's a last-ditch effort to out the President from the Oval office on the heels of a recent poll which indicates that Mr. Bush's job approval rating is the lowest point in his Presidency to date, according to Associated Press.
Ah, there's always someone around to seize the day!
According to the pollsters, if you look into the mirror and staring back at you is a white, conservative, Republican - an Evangelical who faithfully attends Church Service each week - then you are a George Bush supporter.
Frankly, I'm always amazed when I am out in public and all around me voters are complaining about Mr. Bush - whether it be in respect to the troops in Irag, his alleged corrupt cronies, or abuses of the Patriot Act.
Someone voted for him, I expect. After all, he's in office.
But who will admit?
The poll states that among all age groups the Prez's highest approval comes from the 40's set (that lets me out) and from those who are White and Hispanic (ya got me there).
And, rural folks (nay) warm up to him more than the City Dwellers do.
When it comes to the individual, those who have coupled are more fervently in support.
But, from a territorial perspective, voters in the South and West like the man better, though just by a sliver, or two.
Overall, just one in three Americans give him the thumbs up for a job well done.
Hands down, though, he is experiencing a crushing loss of support with respect to job approval in the political arena: although two-thirds of the Republicans support him, there are no Democrats left waving the Elephant flag.
What will George W's legacy be?
The Jury is still out...
*Photo courtesy Codepink
If you're into macho dudes swaggering around in chaps, dusty leather boots, and ubiquitous cowboy hats - "3:10 to Yuma" is the movie for you!
To date, the western has held a captive audience in its sway - mainly because of the charismatic on screen presences of Christian Bale and Russell Crowe - among others.
The tight intelligent script propels the storyline along without too many hitches.
Of course, there are a couple of lapses in judgment (moments of disbelief) but the audience is able to forgive some of the detours and implausible plot twists, so engaging are the characterizations on screen.
All the high-pitched action - and the screen is chock full of it from beginning to end - starts out simply enough.
A gang of outlaws swoop down on a Stage Coach and make off with the booty.
The Sheriff catches up with one of the lone criminals at a local watering hotel in town and faces the task of hauling him to the station where he'll have to embark on an arduous train ride to the State Prison in Yuma with prisoner in tow.
Hence, the title, "3:10 to Yuma".
With the gang leader's cohorts still at large, the law man is forced to hire out a handful of locals to ensure the outlaw is securely placed on the train without incident.
Christian Bale's character, a down-on-his-luck rancher, steps forward to sign up.
Although he's a real sharp shooter, it's the lure of cold hard cash that prompts him to take on the task.
The rancher reckons the payload will save his farm on the brink of foreclosure from the greedy clutches of a corrupt local lender.
Along the treacherous way - there are a number of clever twists and humorous turn-abouts - and enough rough-housing and fancy gun play to satisfy any fan of the western genre hungry for thrills.
Yes, "Yuma" is buoyed up by a well-crafted script and a cast of believable characters who are a delight to second-guess.
What we have here is a fistful of rugged individuals determined to succeed in their goal whatever the sacrifice may be.
There's the tough-as-nails bounty hunter out to haul the wanted man back to Yuma to face justice at any cost, the humble rancher out to earn an honest day's pay, and the crafty - but likable outlaw - biding time 'til his pals set him free.
There are no holds barred here.
And, to its credit, the action-packed western doesn't cop out at the end.
Russell Crowe is at the top of his game here, mainly because his performance is seamless, never stilted or phony.
His acting stint in "Yuma" is worth the price of admission alone.
Bale never disappoints either.
The actor's actor inhabits the role of a tough son-of-a-gun with ease.
In this well-directed, lush screen adventure, the characters not only think - but subtly reveal their conniving machinations convincingly on screen - by virtue of well-thought out story-telling devices.
In fact, on occasion, a character or two transforms right before the eyes.
When this occurs, it's a memorable moment captured on celluloid.
In sum, "Yuma" is a revealing look at the human condition.
But, because the tale flows from the whimsical pen of a screenwriter, not entirely true to life on occasion.
But, the theatre-goer can excuse its follies, because it is so darn rich in its layers elsewhere.
There is a lot of action, some dalliance with time-honored ideas about father-son relationships, and a struggle between the forces of good and evil.
A touch of morality is thrown in for good measure.
Not a great film, but the project is rendered well on screen, and will undoubtedly satisfy across the demographic.
One of the best westerns to come down the pike in a while.
Wednesday, September 5, 2007
“La Vie En Rose” is a feature film about the triumphant - yet tragic tale - of the French chanteuse, Edith Piaf.
Known as the Little Sparrow - the diminutive singer sprang from the gritty impoverished streets of Paris - where she enchanted passers-by with her robust naive renditions of popular songs of the day.
Unfortunately, her childhood was fraught with humiliating misfortunes.
For good reason, the filmmakers intently scrutinized those tender years with great sensitivity and in minute detail with the specific aim of shedding light on this complex intriguing personality.
For the most part, the subject matter is handled well.
Abandoned by her parents as a toddler, Edith was taken in by a Madame at a local brothel.
Understandably, it wasn’t long before the diminutive songbird was out on the mean streets mixing with ne’er do wells.
The conniving beggars, crafty pick-pockets and unsavory pimps - who traverse the seedy landscape onscreen in the engaging screen bio-pic - often pressured her for a take of her daily spoils.
At one point, Piaf was under investigation for her alleged associations with thugs in the underworld. But, the prosecutors caved in when they realized the evidence was lacking and they were essentially holding an empty bag.
Edith was released without much ado, but for a short period, her image was tarnished publicly.
There is some focus on Piaf and the monkey-on-her back, as well.
The emotional songstress was inclined to slosh down the ale with gusto as a young woman. Self-medication, perhaps?
And, sadly - years later - she became addled by a dependency on drugs.
Piaf, after all, was an uneducated unsophisticated woman who generally fluttered in the wind - this way ‘n that - without any particular purpose or direction in life.
Undoubtedly, the fragile woman was traumatized by haunting images of her troubled past.
One day, an Angel appeared in the form of a talent manager, who was versed in the Musical Arts.
He spied the young diamond-in-the-rough belting out a tune on a street corner and took her under his wing.
Probably one of the most entertaining segments of the film fires up when the audience witnesses the magical healing transformation from lonely street urchin to Concert-Hall vocalist under his tutelage.
At one point, Director Olivier Dahan, flashes back to the exhausting rehearsals Piaf endured at the hands of her new mentor.
With keen insight - he manages to convincingly depict the Maestro as he allegedly was - a relentless taskmaster hammering away nonstop pointers on phrasing, proper breathing, and the importance of persona on stage.
“Such beautiful hands,” he assures her. “Use them.”
Aghast at the thought, she awkwardly thrusts them into her pockets as if they were dead-weights. In time, though, hand gestures became an integral part of the vocalist’s emotionally-thrilling performances.
The film shifts non-stop from one rough and ragged period of her life to another, then back again.
Frankly, I found the storytelling methodology choppy, distracting, and not very impressive.
In contrast - the producers of “Lady Sings the Blues” facilitated the powerful stylish technique to sweep up an audience of yesteryear to emotional heights, with great effect.
A plateau - that ”La Vie En Rose” was in dire need of - which was never realized.
My favorite scenes occur when the spotlight is turned on Piaf and her on-the-down-lo tryst with a Professional Boxer.
In an era of restrained social graces, the high-profile couple were forced to sneak around in out-of-the way love nests for fear of being found out.
The winsome twosome were quite a duo.
He knocked ‘em out in the ring, she on stage.
In one scene, the handsome virile athlete laughingly noted their jig was obviously up.
“Every time I go into a restaurant in Paris, the band starts playing your hit song, La Vie En Rose,” he chuckles.
Sadly, the romance ended tragically.
Without ruining it for you - I’ll just suffice to say that the subtle encounter inferred in the box-office hit - has been bestowed upon but a precious few.
The scripted tale of her mystical experience with St. Teresa of Lisieux moved me, as well.
In the past, I have experienced the Saint’s presence in my own life, and can attest to the veracity of such claims.
One of the most powerful scenes breathes to life on the screen when a young composer is ushered into Piaf’s elegant suite to play a tune he has penned for her remarkable voice.
At the urging of a handler, the young man slips onto the piano bench and nervously begins to play.
Hardly a few bars into the tune, Piaf issues a command. Stop!
“I like it,” she cries out excitedly to the pianist.
“It’s me. It’s what I’ve been looking for. I want it. Continue.”
In what is probably the most powerful dramatic moment in the film, the audience witnesses Piaf’s remarkable performance of her signature song - “NO REGRETS” - which causes movie-goers to openly sob in the theatre.
In fact, there was barely a dry eye in the house.
As I sit here keying in this observation, shivers run up-and-down my spine.
They say, that’s a sign of a spiritual presence in the room.
Of course, all this was only made possible, due to the remarkable performance of Marion Cotillard which won her the coveted Oscar this past year.
New York Times critic Stephen Holden put it this way,
“Marion Cotillard’s feral portrait of the French singer Edith Piaf as a captive wild animal hurling herself at the bars of her cage is the most astonishing immersion of one performer into the body and soul of another I’ve ever encountered in a film.”
A little over the top, but a bang on assessment.
Although flawed, “LA VIE EN ROSE” is potent filmmaking.
If you take the journey, be sure to take along some tissues.
Well, the bloom appears to be off the rose, if you're to believe a sports writer - T.J. Simers - at the LA Times.
"The bloke is already a joke," he laments.
Of course, the writer is referring to media darling David Beckham, who's endless battle with injuries has sidelined the soccer icon once again.
To some, he's sort-of a clever thief who scoffed up millions on a promise to perform, but ultimately failed to deliver right out of the gate.
In this rant - albeit an entertaining one - sensitive conversations normally relegated to the mysterious male locker room have busted right out on Page 2 of the Sports Section.
Yes, Simers cautions Becks about the perils of sporting tight underpants.
Contrary to the soccer stud's misguided notion that snug undies will juice up his sperm - and subsequent plans for a new addition to the family - the sports columnist points out that according to Dr. Landrum Shettles, an expert in this - er - area,
"Tight-fitting underwear are not recommended for men trying to father a child because it may raise testes temperature to a point where it interferes with the sperm production."
Gosh, I thought every guy knew that!
It was hammered into me since I was a wee lad that to protect the family jewels, boxer shorts were the undergarment of choice; and, a loose non-restrictive white tightie was known to be a particularly stylish sexy favorite among the ladies.
In fact, I even recall being warned not to ride a bicycle long periods with the leather seat riding up the crotch because the practice might hinder sexual performance, as well.
Generally speaking, to most males, it's common sense: don't take any chances when it come to the man tool, get my drift?
But frankly, I was under the impression that Becks didn't wear any underwear at all.
I mean - look at all those photos of the Super Stud on the Internet naked - well almost!
And, he's rarely spied full-throttle.
In fact, in the one featured above, he doesn't appear to have any male organs to fuss over.
Oh, I get it, they've been carefully tucked up for the photo op?
Maybe - it was because the one shot of his **** on the World-Wide-Web - was a bit of a turn-off.
The unsightly skin gift-wrapping the end of his member was not appealing to the picky.
Moms and Dads take note: circumcision may not be the unkindest cut of all.
When asked, a couple of fans were anxious to spout their opinions about the whole Beckham brouhaha.
"He's all washed up," quipped one.
"Look at a couple of the leading football players in the National League," piped another. "A handful of 'em are in their late forties and still goin' strong."
And what of Beckham?
Well, what with all those injuries in his prime, they conjecture that the time may be ripe for Becks to bow out of the game.
He could try his hand at modelling.
Of course, he could segue into coaching, as well.
Then again, he could stride into the role of Sports Commentator.
There have been some questions about his spelling ability (Victoria's name is misspelled in the tattoo on his arm); but, he may be capable of reading copy from a monitor.
Heck, he's got the looks for the on-camera gig.
Don't know many women (or men) in TV land that would throw him out of bed for eating crackers.
Just fix him up in a classic navy blue jacket and a rep tie, being mindful to point him in the direction of the camera.
But, David - for heaven's sake - if you take the desk job remember that the bikini-style undies will have to go if you're pining to be with child with Posh soon.
Tuesday, September 4, 2007
Minnie Driver has been nominated for an Emmy award in the prestigious category of "Best Actress in a Drama Series" for her performance in "The Riches".
A most deserving honor in my estimation.
A short while ago, I attended a special screening of one of the episodes of the Fox show and had a rare opportunity to catch her work up-close and personal in a comfortable state-of-the-art setting at the Fine Arts Theatre.
Most certainly, it was a curious experience previewing scenes fading to black without those nasty intrusions - commercial breaks!
Minnie Driver, Shannon Woodward, and the TV Show's Executive Producer Dawn Prestwich appeared for a Q & A afterwards.
As to Driver, well, she was received with enthusiasm by a rapt audience.
The Oscar-nominated actress announced that Fox was picking up the show, but cleverly held back on plot lines for the upcoming season.
"The Pilot was much darker," she said matter-of-fact.
Indeed, it was not until a couple of female writers came on board and offered up some "crazy mom energy" that the popular show - "The Riches" - became balanced, she contended.
In the episode we viewed, dialogue was edgy, witty, and believable. Material which would have been risky by any standard - magically hit its target - mainly due to the competence of skilled actors like Eddie Izzard and Greg Henry.
Ms. Driver finds her stride in "The Riches" in a role that she's been "waiting ten years for".
Her responses to queries from the audience afterward were measured, thoughtful, and surprisingly revealing. There's a lot of depth there in the innermost reaches of her soul which also reflects in her work.
She's competing with Patricia Arquette, Edie Falco, Mariska Hargitay, Kyra Sedgwick, and Sally Field for the coveted award.
Good luck, Ms. Driver!
Monday, September 3, 2007
Recently, Hillary Clinton faced a group of testy Black Journalists who were asking the candidate point blank: "Are you Black enough?"
Some argue the "other guy" is a better choice to represent Black issues in America today.
Mrs. Clinton asserted, "..I can make a strong case that my experience and my ideas, going back into the White House, is exactly what we need at this point in history."
She used the occasion to her advantage at The National Association of Black Journalists conference to underscore a number of bold-faced efforts she intends to pursue on issues affecting urban and black America when she's firmly ensconced in the Oval office.
Clinton is proposing a $10 Billion investment in Universal preschool and $100 million for Internships giving to middle-school and high-school student job skills.
She said she would increase funding for the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission and reverse proposed Federal cuts in child support enforcement.
Another worthwhile project is a plan to set aside $200 million over the next five years on community partnerships aimed at helping ex-offenders to re-enter the job market.
Where does she expect to get the big bucks from, Mr. Hsu?
In the future I may be a little more cautious when I bend over and snatch up the Sunday paper...why?
Recently, the LA TIMES featured a handful of snapshots of politicians in various clinches - lip-locks with the Gores, the Giulianis - and yes - the Clintons.
Heh, I nearly lost my breakfast!
The caption read, "...in '08 a little leg may go a long way".
If sex sells, the probing Journalist theorizes, aspiring couples in the Presidential race - knowingly or not - may bring the issue to the fore.
The thrust of the article is whether "public displays of affection" (or PDA's,the code word we used as kids to signal a date to get the paws off) are an asset to a campaign or not.
One expert opines, "Politicians often say that a candidate's spouse is a negligible factor when it comes to choosing a candidate".
"A candidate's spouse has to be a possible enhancement, if not - at least cause no harm."
Well, in the instance of John Kerry, it may have been true.
How many voters were comfortable with the idea of the ketchup bottle heiress roaming the hallowed halls of the White House swilling an expensive glass of wine in hand?
If the photos are any indication, it is evident that calculated press ops should be kept at bay.
The Al & Tipper smooch is not only reminiscent of the forced one Michael Jackson planted on Lisa Marie's pert lips, but also the dry, uncomfortable peck Cruise tried to launch on Katie Holmes (Mission: Impossible).
The Giuliani still appeared staged and phony in one sense.
The Body Language - especially the prominent hand grips by both partners - on arm, shoulder, and face (!) - suggested that His Honor was holding on for dear life - lest the trophy wife take flight; while his other half may have been clutching just as fiercely for fear he'd catch the eye of a seductress seeking to be number four wife.
Notwithstanding, the impression elucidated subliminally, is that of sublime bondage, perhaps.
The shot of the Clintons takes the prize, though.
The whole attitude of the photograph - their stance - and especially her bare legs and his noticeable lack of muscle tone (the line in the song goes something like this: with a figure less than Greek...) offers up something entirely unique.
The image reminds me of two has-been celebrities trotted out on "Dancing with the Stars" - workin' out their moves - and praying for a second chance at the brass ring.
It'd make a good ad for Viagra or a time-share, without doubt.
One has to wonder, does Hillary still hanker for nookie with Bill?
Gee, if we don't ask, maybe they won't tell.
Having missed “GOOD NIGHT AND GOOD LUCK” the first time around, I settled onto the cold hard amphitheatre seating at the California Plaza to take in an outdoor screening of the award-winning film, starring George Clooney.
The acting was stellar and the script equally as powerful.
The intense award-winning drama focused on the McCarthy-era witch-hunts and the Senate hearings on the threat of Communism back in the 50’s.
But, there were a number of thought-provoking moments in a Q & A afterwards, as well.
A panel consisting of pundits from KTLA, a writer from salon.com, and a research Professor from the USC Annenberg School for Communication put the provocative question forward,
“Is News Over?”
Maybe the question should have been,
“Is news as we know it, kaput?”
After all, the general consensus was that our staple of news is alive and well - albeit - flourishing in a myriad of intriguing new dynamic places.
One speaker was adamant that,
Of course, the influence of the Internet loggers was discussed thoroughly ad nauseam.
One writer theorized that Internet surfers are essentially “grazers”. (moo)
While the world-wide-web tends to be wildly fragmented, he noted it’s a green pasture for newsies in-between their frantic updates for e-news bites on Kobe and Paris Hilton.
Curiously, when asked who the audience was comprised of at salon.com, the writer simply shrugged and muttered,
“We can only imagine”.
Although he admitted news outlets may be broader in scope - “they’re shallower” - he conceded.
“Internet surfers appear to be assembling their own mosaic.”
All the panelists were in accord with the idea that people seek news at the sources they trust. But, it would appear that they ake a sojourn here and there to sample the enticing flavors across the net, now and then.
There was a lot of discussion about niche news on cable, Internet sites, and the like.
All panelists concluded that the majors were on their last legs in respect to their actual influence on consumers.
For a brief moment there was an intriguing foray into the area of demographics.
The KTLA spokesman noted that the target group at the local news station ranged in ages from 25 to 54.
If you’re 55 or over, he added, you’re out of the loop when it comes to product placement.
After all, he theorized, at that retiring moment you’ve pretty much figured out your likes and dislikes and aren’t likely to roll over.
When Martin Kaplan (Director of Norman Lear Center) asked if baby-boomers in the audience (and upwards in age) would consider new products encountered in a retail outlet, a majority of the hands shot up.
The enthusiastic response appeared to defy the demographic research cited.
At this juncture, another panelist quickly sprang into action and noted - as if to make a concession to that sector - that the over-54 crowd was definitely a focus for financial products!
Ah, money. The power of the true Maestro!
Then the conversation drifted to influence.
One panelist from salon.com argued that the distinction between journalist and blogger was rapidly fading - that from a blogger - of course.
That’s not true, in my humble opinion.
Many astute armchair critics are still keen on legit credentials, especially when they’re inclined to put trust in the messenger.
Without doubt, it was wholeheartedly agreed that the Internet was driving stories.
The mainstream media could not ignore the fact, they implored.
Most agreed that pervading access to documents and a wider-range of at-your-fingertips research materials was worth the surf over the internet to acquire the data.
In conclusion, it was pretty much agreed upon that the Internet was evolving into a public square where individuals could communicate openly and freely without threat of repercussion or censorship.
When the focus turned to news outlets, I was taken aback when the salon.com writer remarked at the end of the discussion,
“Fox News has a party line. It’s unspoken. But employees at Fox know where it is and don’t cross it.”
A curious comment.
Golly, it seems to be the fashion to put Fox News down and attack their news outlet.
They’re a wild card to many - playing fast and loose with the rules - to others.
This past summer, I penned commentaries at a Fox-sponsored web site.
I don’t recall any post being blocked, or any sinister hand stretching down from the corporate offices above, to throw a monkey wrench into my blog with the aim of barring my viewpoints from the band waves.
I just reported what I encountered on street corners, in cafes, and in chat rooms around the planet.
May the best man (or woman) win in the upcoming election, I say!
Indeed, citizens of this great country should speak out, voice an opinion, and - most of all - vote accordingly.
I pray they’ll be able to do so without a muzzle restricting ‘em.
That’s the American way, after all.
If you want to know what the people are thinking, go into the streets openly, and check their pulses.
Good luck and good night!
Filmmakers take note that in an interview recently with MovieMaker Magazine, Oscar-winning director Francis Ford Coppola allegedly said,
"The movie business is not a good business to be in. You can have the money to finance your own movie, the actors can all love you, and if you don't control the distribution, you're DEAD!"
In spite of this negative stance on a key issue (he obviously learned first-hand about distribution angst from various experiences in his storied past) he offered up intriguing insights into the filmmaking process.
For starters, he noted that "Youth on Youth" (one of his latest films) was a departure from his earlier work.
"My work here is interesting because the camera never moves. It's rock steady. It's a frame."
And he stressed, "there is tremendous power in that".
From that project evolved a unique visual language which the remarkable auteur counts as a triumphant achievement.
"Every movie should have a distinct style," he argued.
Until now, the award-winning director has humbly been under the impression that his prior movies have been mere experiments, at best.
Films like the "Godfather" (Trilogy), "Rumble Fish", "Apocalypse Now", "One from the Heart", and "The Conversation" - to name a few - have garnered him accolades few will ever attain in this lifetime or the next.
The man has very high standards, without doubt!
Looking back on his own career, it is only natural to take a glance at the talent coming up through the ranks.
When it comes to the youth of today, he has a lot of faith in young filmmakers ability to survive in the jungle out there.
"They're bright and savvy about the marketing-intensive world they've been born to."
He senses a longing for heritage - with the college students - anyway.
He wholeheartedly believes that the younger generation is not only "deep" but have instincts that can be cultivated.
With respect to his ideas about TV - well - they're old school.
Coppola theorizes that children have been been negatively impacted by a "generation of fifty years of television" which he contends "has been destructive to the brain cells."
Unfortunately, he concludes, the film industry is a continuation of that mentality.
He scorns a system that focuses on how to make money off the slippery trends and fads spawned by the younger generation, instead of one that lays down resources or offers up the mystical beauty of the culture at youth's feet.
In many respects his approach to filmmaking has changed over time.
Not just in respect to what he refers to as the "Holy Grail" of filmmaking, but the creative process, too.
For example, today the insightful director is mindful of production issues.
Normally - after first considerations were made on scripting, casting, and other key elements - his attention would focus on the issues pertaining to crew and the logistics of filmmaking.
For example, in the naive days he was inclined to hire the key grip first because - in the words of one of the best grips he ever hired - "Grips power the show".
After all, he quipped, "A show only moves as fast or slow as grips move."
Today - because the cinematographer, grip and gaffer are a team that come with the equipment package rental from Panavision - his approach is different.
He used to jump into the fray and instruct the crew to put the camera "here or there".
If he took that bold step today, the grip would look to the cinematographer first - then most likely - forewarn Francis about the technical obstacles he'd be facing with regard to the shooting schedule, budget costs, etc.
Essentially, in the last fifteen years or so, the Cinematographer (and crew) have assumed a mighty position. Even the all-powerful Coppola is inclined to bow down to that reality.
It's all about team work, I surmise.
And yes, Mr. Coppola has come a long way since the days of shooting the Godfather.
When he looks back - not in anger necessarily - he admits,
"I nearly got fired."
"They didn't like the cast. They didn't like the way I was shooting it."
Executives at Paramount had so little faith in the 32 year-old filmmaker they had hired to direct "The Godfather", they actually lined up another director to follow Francis around the set just to remind him he could be replaced at any moment.
Despite studio interference, Coppola trusted his instincts and the "gangsta" picture became a massive success with both critics and the public alike.
Along with its more-acclaimed sequel, the Godfather is one of the highest-grossing films of all time and generally appears on every list of the best films ever made.
Francis Ford Coppola continued to trust his instincts - and in the interim - proceeded to win multiple Academy Awards for "The Godfather" (Part II) and for directing such legendary films as "The Conversation" and "Apocalypse Now".
Today, he leads in the industry by way of personal example and due to his generous support of aspiring young filmmakers.
More importantly, he has left an indelible mark on cinematic history.
Personally, I'm anxiously awaiting his next project, the adaptation of Jack Kerouac's classic book "On the Road'".
Will he snag it?