In My Orbit: Dances with Films gives Independent Film a Fresh Take

2 06 2013

Dances with Films Logo

The Girl spent Saturday at the Dances with Films festival doing some press coverage for the world premiere of an innovative documentary, With No Regrets: A Dancin’ Man’s Journey.

Dances with Films was formed in 1998 by a group of filmmakers who envisioned a festival where the quality of the work was the point of entry, and not “who you knew”. Now in its 16th year, the Fest is often a launch pad for filmmakers and those who represent film. Some have gone on to write, direct, and produce for studio projects, as well as found agency representation.

With No Regrets: A Dancin’ Man’s Journey chronicles the life of Tony Stevens, a dancer/choreographer whose career spanned 45-plus years.  Tony danced, choreographed, and worked alongside such luminaries as Chita Rivera, Bob Fosse, Liza Minnelli, Michael Bennett, Mary Tyler Moore and Dolly Parton; yet many outside of the dance world (and some within) don’t really know who he was.  This film seeks to remedy this.

Tonv Stevens Collage

George Fairfield directed this labor of love, and his wife, Crystal Chapman wrote the script. Here’s the preview of George’s work. Read my review of the film at my Examiner.com page.

Crystal Chapman was also Tony’s friend and protégé. She wrote a moving article about him giving more detail on the depth of his influence: Thinking Out Loud: I Remember Tony.

The Director and his film are working their way through the film festival circuit and other outlets. Follow George Fairfield’s YouTube channel and LinkedIn page to find out whether it will be viewing at a festival near you.

The Dances with Film festival runs from May 30-June 9, and tickets are still available for many of the films and shorts. They also have a noontime panel starting Monday, June 3rd, featuring entertainment industry heavyweights from across the spectrum.

I’ll get the opportunity over the next eight days to view more of the films , and do some more coverage of the Fest–it’s always refreshing to see new vision and talent come to life on the screen!





The Los Angeles Mayor’s Race, aka the Real Candidates of L.A. City (Part 2)

17 05 2013

DWBLA Collage

First off, happy Friday! I would like to welcome all the new followers to this blog. Thank you, for reading, and wanting to come along for the ride! I am very happy that my commentary has found a place of resonance with you.

So back to our L.A. Mayoral election, which is only days away (sigh). I am still not thrilled, but a little less apathetic. I had the opportunity to attend A Dialogue with Black L.A. (DWBLA) last weekend, and the main event was a Q&A with both Wendy Greuel and Eric Garcetti. After watching two debates, I was convinced of two things a) both candidates could have used more debate training, because they both come off liked canned fish, and b) these debates did not serve either the candidate (or the constituents for that matter) in presenting their ideas, or lack of them, to the public.

At DWBLA, each candidate individually had a little over an hour with Event host Starlett Quarles, asking questions and getting responses, then giving time for audience questions and responses. That  time gave me a much better read on the candidates as people and as leaders than what was afforded us in the debates. As I said in my Washington Times Communities column, the laid-back atmosphere made a difference:

“Studying the candidates in this more relaxed environment revealed how each one navigated when off script, and showed their capacity in giving answers not clearly laid out in their usual talking points.”

Read the rest over at the Communities site: “L.A. Mayor’s race: Lesser of two evils or diametric leadership styles?

I have to say that Eric Garcetti came off the best unscripted. The host was a personal friend, so that may have played into it. But it also showed that he pretty much believes what he espouses, because it was given matter-of-fact and off the cuff, without equivocation or parsing. He communicated clearly and articulately, and has a great sense of humor. He had the audience laughing and clapping on more than a few occasions.

Wendy Greuel is a control freak, and it showed in every talking point, and every time she pointed to her 36-point plan (or whatever it is called) to “Move Los Angeles Forward.” Hmmm… we’ve heard this language before in a national election, so if forward means wholesale into morass and scandal, then spare me! But I digress…

It was clear that she really was not comfortable with this type of forum, and if her incoherent and rambling answers were any indication, she desperately needed her script.

In my candidate research, the most scandalous thing I could uncover about Garcetti is that his penchant for urban planning and engineering (part of his educational background) has pissed off neighborhood activists. There are more than a dozen lawsuits brewing over the business and community developments in Hollywood and Echo Park–too much overbuilding, too many tall buildings, and too much gridlock. The latter is a Los Angeles problem no matter where you go, so every City leader is at fault here. Garcetti has also been accused of being in the back pocket of developers; as opposed to Greuel, who is in the back pocket of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power to the tune of nearly $4 million dollars being poured into her campaign.

As a resident of Atwater Village, Garcetti’s former City Council District, I have no complaints about the encouragement of small business and building a community that mixes residential with commercial. It has done wonders for Atwater, and I can see it has enlivened Hollywood too. The only way I would have bothered venturing into Hollywood at night was either heavily armed or dead; with some of the revitalization, it has changed the atmosphere and made it much more habitable. One still needs to be wise–this is L.A. after all–but compared to the cesspool Hollywood was 15 or so years ago, it is now a totally different place.

I have no doubt that Garcetti visualizes replicating what he did in these communities across Los Angeles.  The Los Angeles Times confirmed the same last week in the article, “Garcetti’s Hollywood script“: “Hollywood is ‘a template for a new Los Angeles,’ Garcetti says, ‘a blueprint for a city where you can live near where you work, near where you play … where the hours you don’t have to spend in your car, you can spend with your family.'”

Garcetti is also a green activist (his house in Silverlake is supposed to be this ecological marvel), and had his hands all over last November’s Measure B, which in a nutshell, had the aforementioned evil LADWP in charge of green expansion and green contracts–akin to having the Fox in charge of the Hen House. Greuel has been on the attack regarding this (she had her hand in it too–Duh!), with little rebuttal or response from Garcetti. He’s not owning it, but he’s not denying it either.

The latest attack on Eric Garcetti is his endorsement of Occupy L.A. Occupy L.A. camped out on the City Hall lawn for weeks, building up waste, and straining city services. Garcetti, as City Council President, basically laid out the welcome mat, as did Mr. 11-percent, Mayor Smilin’ Tony. Stupid move on Garcetti’s part, but again, no surprise–it ties into his liberal and activist philosophies. He headed a group at Columbia called “Black Men for Anita Hill”, so that should tell you all you need to know. For him, bleeding hearts will always be the fashion.

L.A. Jobs PAC in sponsorship with the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce released this online attack ad just today pointing out this yawing gap in leadership. h/t: L.A. Weekly.

L.A. Weekly wrote a really good piece on the five key differences that distinguish Greuel from Garcetti. I found the last difference the most compelling:

“This may be the most fundamental difference between a Garcetti and a Greuel mayoralty. Garcetti has recently taken to quoting his friend, Newark Mayor Cory Booker, who said in a commencement speech last year that ‘It is better to have your ship sunk at sea than have it rot in the harbor.’ And indeed, Garcetti has had his share of shipwrecks. He lured an electric car company to L.A. with a $1 million relocation package, only to have it go bankrupt. As council president, he approved the ‘modernization’ of billboards, unaware of the storm of protest that would follow. And have you seen those awful condos at Sunset and Alvarado? Of course, he can point to successes too, or he wouldn’t have won his district by 34 points in the primary. Greuel, on the other hand, is more risk averse. As a result, her sins are ones of omission. Her disappearing act during the city’s budget crisis is a prime example. As controller, she could have had as large a role as she wanted in shaping the public debate about budget cuts. Instead, she avoided the subject as much as possible. In part, her aversion to risk seems to be the legacy of her years working for Tom Bradley, who governed in a very cautious style. That style does not mean that nothing gets done, but that it happens slowly and carefully and only after all the risks have been weighed through careful deliberation. What Greuel chooses to focus on, she will probably achieve. Garcetti is more likely to fail, but also more likely to try harder things.”

As I pointed out in my WT Communities column, they’re leadership styles are diametric; so I see it not as lesser of two evils, but what type of leadership do you feel L.A. needs right now?

The choice is yours. Please go out and vote on Tuesday May 21–the City needs an engaged constituency putting a Mayor in the office who will focus on the people and their needs, and not solely on the people who paid the most to get them there.

 





In My Orbit: my Red Carpet Moment and the 2013 Oscars’ recap

25 02 2013

Farshad Farahat with Jennifer Oliver O'Connell (Formatted)So the Girl got the closest she’s ever been to a Red Carpet a few weeks ago at the 2013 MovieGuide Awards. You can get the skinny from the write-up I did for my Examiner.com column “On the Red Carpet at the 21st Annual MovieGuide® Awards“. Please give it a read, and feel free to comment!

The only thing I’ll rehash from that experience is my photo op with actor Farshad Farahat, whose star turn in Argo was critically acclaimed. Argo won the Best Picture Oscar last night, so I’m sure Mr. Farahat’s currency has risen exponentially. Well deserved, and I wish him all the best. Thanks for the opportunity to say that I met you when!

I enjoyed watching the show with industry friends who gave me the insider take on some of the Oscar guests and other gossip–gives some added color to an already colorful night! Here’s my summation of the evening:

Host Seth MacFarlane. Sue me, but I like Family Guy and American Dad, and I liked Seth MacFarlane as Host. Unlike several of the past Oscar hosts (since Billy Crystal’s first departure), MacFarlane did not desperately try to resurrect Crystal’s mojo (as if anyone could). He simply brought himself, his style, and his humor; and for the most part, it worked. If you have watched an episode of any one of his shows, or saw Ted, then you full well knew what expect. So what exactly is everyone so shocked and disappointed about?

I’m getting quite a chuckle reading the articles (many by women) about how sexist and misogynistic MacFarlane was, ad infinitum. Riddle me this: since when did Buzzfeed, the bastion of testosterone-laden muscle flexing, care about sexism?

And tell me, feminists, how do you rate the women MacFarlane lampooned in the “We Saw Your Boobs” sketch? Where is the commentary on a Hollywood that gives high kudos and awards to the female roles where pretty women ugly themselves (The Hours, Monster), or bare their comely parts (Monster’s BallThe Reader) in order to have their acting prowess recognized and score a big win? MacFarlane did swift work of  the sheer ridiculousness of this machine with just that one number, and I appreciated it. We will see if he is invited back next year; frankly, I hope so. As a musical/variety fan, it was nice to see singing, dancing, and movement incorporated back into the show in a fresh way.

Quentin Tarantino. As I wrote on my Twitter feed, Tarantino is a joke and a fraud who has parlayed video-game style revenge fantasies masquerading as high art to new levels. The same people who screamed about The Help being racist and a detriment to Black people are lauding and applauding a white man’s take on slavery in Django Unchained. More twisted logic and hypocrisy on display in that one. I refuse to see the movie, as being assaulted with the N-Word for two and a half hours is not my idea of a fun time. Suffice to say the fact that Tarantino eked out even two awards from this farcical product is egregious.

Jennifer Lawrence. Not really a fan of her work, although Silver Linings Playbook was watchable, and the roles were well acted. I have no idea whether Jennifer’s particular choice of attire was foisted upon her or if she actively chose it, but it clearly was not well thought out by someone. When Jennifer came up as a presenter before her category was announced, a Facebook friend joked about how many people were under her dress–it truly was a giant moving mass of fabric, and one has to learn to walk in such a contraption. I don’t think anyone gave Jen lessons, poor thing.  So when she took an almost face plant as she walked up the steps to receive her Best Actress award, I wasn’t surprised. I was among some Jennifer Lawrence haters, so they considered it schadenfreude. Interesting….

I rather admire Diane Keaton, who mostly eschews the pretty Barbie doll attire for a more polished, practical, and personal look. Should the day ever arrive when I get such an invite, I would probably trend in that direction.

In Memoriam: They gave the technical and behind-the-scenes folks some real honor, but they left out the likes of Andy Griffith, Ben Gazzara, Alex Karras, Gore Vidal, Richard Dawson, and Sylvia Kristel. These individuals were also television, literary, stage, and sports figures, so they received commemoration from those respective fields. But what hit home to me is that all the great ones are dying off, and fairly quickly. A fact of life, but still sad to see.

Daniel Day-Lewis. I have great admiration for this man’s talent. I think that appreciation also stems from the fact that he does not overly saturate himself. It’s obvious that he loves and delves deeply into his craft, yet he hasn’t appeared in a ton of movies. But each time he does appear, it screams for Oscar gold. This is a record third Best Actor Oscar: something that has never been accomplished in the 85-year history of the Academy Awards! So hats off to you, Mr. Daniel Day-Lewis, for bringing our 16th President to magnificent life, and being a credit and fine example of your profession.

Singing and Dancing. I love both, especially when they are done well. And all the numbers, from Charlize Theron and Channing Tatum (who knew she could dance?), to Seth himself doing an old soft shoe, and belting out a few tunes, was all great fun.

Unlike my criticism of Bouncey‘s lip-synching the Inauguration National Anthem, I cannot be critical of a 10-years-older Catherine Zeta-Jones doing the same while performing her “All that Jazz” dance number from the movie Chicago. One Facebook friend pointed out that actresses/dancers sing and dance on Broadway six days a week, but Catherine hasn’t been on Broadway (or much of anything for that matter) in quite some time. The fact that she can still dance and look fabulous while doing it, is enough for me.

I can be critical of Barbara Streisand, though. Babs still sings and tours (despite several “Farewell” performances… go figure), so this rendition of “The Way We Were”, though heartfelt, was not very good. Contrast that with the powerhouse performance of Shirley Bassey singing “Goldfinger”, and Streisand’s performance pales even further. Shirley is not a regular performer, but she’s still got her chops–and she looked awesome in that gold dress.

Jennifer Hudson represented as always, delivering an abridged version of “And I’m Telling You” with iron lungs. I recently watched Dreamgirls again, and I will say publicly that Jennifer had a fuller, lusher sound when she had a bit more… substance. My vocal coach agreed with me, though he said he’d never go on the record–but he admires my freedom to do so. Hey, I’m just a lowly writer who also sings–he actually has to work with these people. Enough said.

She’s still Jennifer Hudson, and still fabulous–so do yo’ thang, girl, do yo’ thang.

Adele. What more can I say about Adele? I’m a fangirl, not only because she is an awesome songwriter with pure vocal supremacy, but she’s a big girl and is neither apologetic, nor ashamed about it.  Adele performed with class and polish, despite the technical mess they made of it–who puts their orchestra in another building several blocks down?! Her Best Song win for Skyfall is just another jewel in a tremendously weighty crown.

Steven Spielberg/Lincoln. Well, one thing was glaringly obvious: Spielberg is no longer the favorite son.  Tommy Lee Jones was robbed by Christoph Waltz, who basically reprised his role in Inglorious Basterds with a different accent and costume. Then Tony Kushner, who is a brilliant writer, was trumped by Argo-writer Chris Terrio. So save for the Best Actor prize, folks in the Academy are no longer in paroxyms over Spielberg’s accomplishments: and Lincoln really was a stellar accomplishment all around.  Shame it wasn’t more recognized.

Argo. I must say I was impressed by Argo, and by Ben Affleck as director. I still say Lincoln deserved Best Picture, but I can’t be mad about it. It was predictable that a movie where Hollywood was the hero would receive the biggest film nod of the night, and sometimes the Academy is nothing less than predictable. Over the years, the Academy has picked some stinkers for Best Picture, but thankfully this was not one. Argo was a nicely conceived, historical vignette, weaved  with layers of humor, suspense, and intrigue in presenting its story. It worked for me, and for most audiences.

Michelle Obama’s Bangs. With poorly trimmed bangs and another ugly dress, Michelle Obama made a surprise appearance via satellite, to lecture us about the meaning of films and present the Best Picture Oscar. For me, part of the point of entertainment is to escape the routine and vagaries of life–and that includes politics. So for the Obamas to once again inject themselves some place where they clearly do not belong was jumping the shark. This is not just my conservative bent talking: Read the comments on the Yahoo! and The Hollywood Reporter articles. These publications aren’t exactly right-leaning, so the fact that these viewers were equally mystified or appalled speaks volumes.

Despite the inauspicious ending to the evening, all-in-all, it was one of the better Oscar telecasts. Here’s to more Red Carpets and Oscar brushes In My Orbit!

 





Your 15 Minutes

21 01 2013
Salvatore Vuono / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Salvatore Vuono / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Let’s be honest: enthusiasm for Oprah began to flag once she put herself out there to make Barack Obama our first “black” President. “A surprise: Oprah pays a real price for supporting Barack Obama” and “Oprah’s ex-fans trash her support of Obama over a woman“.

According to Ed Klein’s book, The Amateur, Obama, and specifically Michelle, have kicked her to the curb. “EXCLUSIVE: Jealous Michelle Obama’s ‘rage’ led to Oprah being shoved aside…” Oprah’s noticeable absence during the 2012 elections appears to give validity to this.

So Oprah has OWN (the Oprah Winfrey Network), whose claim to fame is boring interviews with people who only interest The O herself, Lisa Ling’s Our America which is mostly fully of freaks, weirdos, and anti-Christian idiots, and reruns of past Oprah episodes.  Baby, the thrill is gone.

Now Oprah is seeking to regain her former luster with a Lance Armstrong confessional interview. But the Kansas City Star rightly surmises that this interview is less about Lance, and more about Oprah:

“The person to gain the most from this interview is not Lance Armstrong but Oprah Winfrey,” said Robert Thompson, professor of television and popular culture at Syracuse University in New York.

“Those who counted Winfrey out, even predicted the demise of her empire, likely spoke too soon, Thompson said.

“That the OWN cable channel hasn’t taken off in two year’s time is no surprise, he said. Even though everything Winfrey touches is supposed to turn to gold, cable stations can take several years to gel, he said.

“But its fortunes indeed need pumping up, Thompson said, and this event is exactly the vehicle to do it. Sports doping is huge news, and Armstrong is one of the biggest interview catches in years.

‘This is what it takes to get a cable channel going,” he said. “And it sends the message that Oprah is still relevant.'” “Oprah Winfrey, America’s confessor, is back in the spotlight“.

Ummm, not so fast. This “coup” is overshadowed by the Oxygen network’s (an earlier Oprah offshoot) greenlighting production on All My Babies’ Mamas, starring marginal rapper Shawnty Lo, and his 11 kids by 10 different mothers. The show’s concept makes Honey Boo Boo look like a “normal” reality show–if such a thing exists.

Outcry from black leaders, protests, and a petition with 40,000 signatures appears to have tanked this sorry effort, and rightly so. There is enough on the news and music videos that place a glaring spotlight on the immoral and unsavory aspects of Black culture; do we really need a reality show to reinforce this? “Sources: Oxygen to cancel new show ‘All My Babies’ Mamas, starring Shawnty Lo

We will see what the ratings bring from the Lance Armstrong interview, but I’m sensing a collective yawn on all my fronts. It doesn’t take much to knock someone out of pop culture consciousness–such is the brutality of a perpetually wired society.

Robert Thompson, professor of television and popular culture at Syracuse University is betting Oprah could have a comeback, but my gut says the party is over.

Who will tell Oprah that her 15 minutes are up?





“Kumaré”–Enlightenment of Different Variety

6 08 2012

The Guru, Sri Kumare–aka Vikram Gandhi courtesy of Kino Lorber

So on top of my birthday this week, the Girl also celebrated her fifth wedding anniversary [pause for cheers, hoots, and confetti tossing]!

It was low-key, as both me and the hubby are dead-busted broke; but that didn’t stop us from celebrating. After a low-key morning of sleeping in and breakfast, we took advantage of a couple of Groupons purchased months prior (pays to plan ahead),  and one of them was for a screening, two popcorns and two drinks at the independent theater Cinefamily.

This weekend, Cinefamily happened to be screening Kumaré, a gem of a film in limited release throughout the country.

I was quite surprised by the film’s rare honesty and nuanced portrayal of spiritual leadership and faith. Check out my review on my Examiner.com page‘Kumare’ offers enlightenment of a different variety, and see the Official Movie Trailer below for a tidbit on what to expect.

It will be at the Cinefamily (in the Fairfax District) through August 9. You can visit the movie website for where it may be showing in your city.

My weekend tip for you!





In My Orbit…

10 07 2012

Digital Image courtesy of Danilo Rizzuti / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

As the Beatle’s song says, “I read the news today–Oh, boy!” The usual assortment of the good, the bad, the ugly, and even the downright entertaining!

The Kids Are Not Alright

According to an analysis by the nonprofit, nonpartisan group YoungInvincibles, Youth Joblessness will drone on, and prospects of a future upswing look bleak. The bad news, from Yahoo! News:

“The unemployment rate for 16- to 24-year-olds now stands at 16.5 percent, more than double the rate for the population at large (8.2 percent). For Latino youth, the rate is 20.5 percent, and for African-American youth, 30.2 percent. Fewer than half of all young Americans hold any kind of job at all, says the report.

These numbers, while daunting, fail to take include young people who have given up looking for work and dropped out of the labor force altogether.”

Youth Joblessness: No End in Sight.

All I can say is, welcome to real world, youngins. When you vote for tropes like Hope and Change, you pretty much get neither. My wish is that you choose better this go-round, but I won’t hold my breath.

Colored People

Apparently Governor Mitt Romney plans to speak to the NAACP on Wednesday. I ask myself, Why? But, that’s a blog post for another day.

President Barack Obama cannot break away from his busy fundraising and campaigning schedule to speak to the organization who got out the vote for him in 2008. So who is he sending?… Vice President Joe Biden. That’s a comedy sketch ready to be written.

A bunch of white progressive liberals decided to make the joke on Romney by dubbing him “too white for Blacks to like.” Riddle me this? What do a bunch of entitled media-elite white men know about what is “too white” for Black people? Did they quiz their Black friends? Hire a Black media consultant? Put Dave Chappelle or Chris Rock on retainer? And if they did this, why not give the brotha (or sista) some credit?

And they call conservatives and the Tea Party racist? SMH.

Still shaking my head over the Morgan Freeman NPR interview. According to Morgan, Obama is not our first Black President. I’ve been saying that since he was elected in 2008, so big whoop. However, the fact that the President can’t get ahead with his agenda is not his fault–it’s Republican obstructionism. Can we get some cheese with that whine?

The first two years of his Presidential term he had a full Democratic House and Senate, pushed through the Porkulus package that was supposed to keep unemployment below 8 percent #FAIL!, and got Obamacare Obamatax passed. So can we also color Morgan confused?

I have loved Morgan Freeman on screen since The Electric Company, but like most celebs, when it comes to politics, he is off his nut.

Obla de Obla da Life Goes On…

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention our old friends, the Occupy Movement. There was a National Gathering mounted for 4th of July weekend, appropriately dubbed “The Occupy National Gathering” or #NatGat for the Twitterverse.

Occupy just refuses to go gently into that good night, and apparently the event went over like a lead balloon. The skinny from Breitbart’s Big Government site:

“The turnout was awful. The Guardian said about 500 people showed up for the National Gathering. There’s no real excuse for that since the event has been promoted for months. Philadelphia was actually a great choice for a location and not just for symbolic reasons; it’s an easy train ride from a number of cities that had significant Occupy presences, including New York City, Washington D.C. and Boston. Even bringing a small percentage of the Occupiers in those cities should have culled a far higher number.

If the attendance was pathetic, the fundraising was downright humiliating.  The Occupy National Gathering put up a fundraising page with the modest goal of $15,000. […]

“Total raised for Occupy National Gathering according to their website : $600. Not a typo. Six. Hundred. Dollars.  There are church bake sales in small towns that bring in more ducats than that. “

In Occupy’s defense, there was record heat in the East Coast that weekend. On second thought, when there are good barbecues and fireworks going on, why waste your time on an essentially defunct movement? Missing you already, Occupy, missing you already.

Now we move from the entertaining, to the ridiculous.

Sitting Doing Nothing

The Wall Street Journal is being its usual helpful self by reporting that Sitting for more than 3 hours a day can cut your Life Expectancy. If this were true, I should really be dead by now!

Yet another medical study (published in BMJ Open, an online medical journal) that someone spent millions of dollars to mount. The amount of people who are unemployed and underemployed, and you couldn’t spend the money on something more… productive? And how many hours did these researchers spend sitting to research and write this drivel?

In protest, I decided to find Couch Potato; Weird Al Yankovic’s parody of Eminem’s Lose Yourself. BMJ Open can bite my sometimes sedentary, shapely Yoga ass.

Short People Got No Reason to Live

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, the diminutive crusader (at 5 ft 6 inches) against salt, trans-fat, and now Big Gulp sodas is mounting a contest to stir development of 275- to 300- square-foot micro apartments. [Pause here for uproarious laughter]

“The ministudios will be just big enough for a bathroom, kitchen and sleeping and dining areas — but Bloomberg said tenants shouldn’t plan on doing much entertaining.”

Mayor Bloomberg launches contest to stir development of  tiny 300 square-foot apartment for singles.

So, what’s the point? Or are we trying to create a new generation of clown car?

The article also points out that, “Bloomberg’s 12,500-square-foot upper East Side townhouse is about 40 times as big as the micro units.” Bet he won’t be moving into one of those units, despite being the perfect size for them.

One more reason that I am thankful to live in Los Angeles. Smilin’ Tony may be the 11 percent Mayor of Los Angeles, but I’ll take a do-nothing over a meddler any day.

 





In My Orbit…

28 06 2011

Digital Image courtesy of Danilo Rizzuti / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

So my worlds have collided in a good way. I taught my first C-1 class at CorePower Yoga Sherman Oaks. It was a good experience, and I hope the students felt the same. And I get to do it again next week! How cool is that?

Starting this Friday and through the month of July, I will be subbing a Yoga class for my friend Patty Rae at Santosha Space in Atwater Village. If you’re in the Los Feliz/Silverlake/Atwater Village area and want a good workout, come on by! Class starts at 10:30 am for those who like to sleep in.

I also completed my Yogis of Faith series on Examiner.com. If you have not read or commented lately, I invite you to join the conversation–and if you enjoyed the articles, please “Like” them! It does so much for my Google rating.

This evening, it’s off to CAAN Connect, an annual event hosted by Columbia College Chicago’s West Coast Alumni Association & Network. Now in it’s fourth year, this event connects entertainment alumni with industry insiders who can open doors and introduce us to key connections in the industry.

I found it an invaluable experience to polish and present my pitch, not to mention the great contacts I acquired. I plan to volunteer this time out, but there’s still the opportunity to schmooze, no matter what I’ll be doing!

One of the contacts I made at the previous CAAN is the lovely Jenny Januszewski, artist extraordinaire. Jenny will be pitching the short film she directed, The Shadower: a 3D Film about Love and Circumstance.

Above- and below-the-line talent from five film schools and nine countries were represented in the project, and everyone donated their time for this vision. Financial backing is needed to complete the film, so if you love film and love supporting independent vision, consider giving at the The Shadower‘s Kickstart website, or “Like” the The Shadower Facebook page.

For a “behind-the-scenes” look at the film project, go to the Kickstarter site or the Facebook page and click on the video.





In My Orbit…

21 06 2011

Digital Image courtesy of Danilo Rizzuti / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

The Girl is prepping for a Tuesdays with Transitioners meeting today with Karen Hudson, a Costume Designer and Supervisor who has worked in television, film, theatre, opera, and print.

She’ll talk about First Impressions and Creating the Character you want People to See–a knowledge topic that will benefit the career seeker, entrepreneur, or any average Joe or Jane.  If you have the time, come on by–12:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. Details are here.

And I find it humorous that everyone is all a-twitter over Jon Stewart appearing on Fox News Sunday. Both the left and the right see it as a coup for their side. Moe Lane writes over at RedstateChris Wallace schools Jon Stewart“, while HuffPo felt the win was in Stewart’s corner as he slammed Fox for wrongly editing his interview. Newsflash: Everyone edits to suit their agenda, CNN does it, ABC does it, and The Daily Show definitely does it–so why this faux outrage?  But I digress…

I read the transcript and saw the interview, yawning over both. I am no fan of either Wallace or Stewart–both are waaay too full of themselves for me to care about their opinions. But a quote that both sides are jumping on is the one Stewart made to prove his “expert opinion”:

“‘Who are the most consistently misinformed media viewers?’ Stewart shot back, his voice rising. ‘The most consistently misinformed? Fox, Fox viewers, consistently, every poll.'”

The great fount of hard-hitting journalism, Wallace, failed to challenge him on this. I’m glad that Politifact decided to take up the gauntlet, with interesting results.  Give it a read: The Truth-o-Meter.

My opinion: Fox, The Daily Show, and other outlets get ratings and exposure no matter what they talk about, which three-quarters of the time, isn’t much. Most of it is Echo-Chamber Theater depending on which side of the agenda you’re on. Hey, I’m writing about it, and I rarely tune in to either show!

Stewart is no purist hero representing his side, and neither is Wallace–it’s all about the money and the ratings. So both sides need to step off the soapbox.





In My Orbit…

8 06 2011

Digital Image courtesy of Danilo Rizzuti / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

The Girl is still coming down from the high (and the jet lag) of my whirlwind trip to Washington, D.C. I’m at least more awake than I have been over the past few weeks, so along with writing articles for the SCNUCC’s Connecting Voices and my church’s newsletter, I penned an article on my Examiner.com page about my friend Kathy Riley’s organization, We Can, Pediatric Brain Tumor Network.

The organization is hosting a walk this Saturday, June 11 at 9 am in La Crescenta, and would love to have you walk or donate to the cause! Details can be found in my article and at their website.

And I get the distinct pleasure of seeing a friend (and mentor) on stage tonight in Unmerciful Good Fortune at the Underground Theater. Patricia Rae is a prolific actress, well known for her turn in one of my favorite indie movies, Maria Full of Grace, and for playing Morgan’s mom in one my favorite series, Chuck. This is the final night for the production, so I’m glad I was able to fit it in. If you’d like to join me for an evening at the theater, you can purchase tickets here.

Look for Patricia in an upcoming comedy Gently Down the Stream, with Robert DeNiro, Amanda Seyfried, Topher Grace, Susan Sarandon, and Katherine Heigl. Always lovely to see people you like and admire taking flight in their calling!





In My Orbit…

20 04 2011

Digital Image courtesy of Danilo Rizzuti / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Coming up for air from a truly trying weekend. As someone who tries not to attend pity parties, I make an effort to not waste this page on personal woes in fear of it sounding like one. Suffice to say that the Girl, her hubby and her Bubbas need a new home–pronto! So any good thoughts (or referrals) to low-cost housing in the East San Fernando Valley, California would be greatly appreciated.

It’s D-Day for my Yoga training, starting tonight, with the practicum test. In this first stage, I  teach an entire class from start to finish. I’m fairly confident I’ll do well, but am soliciting more prayers and good thoughts in this regard. So around 7:30 p.m. PST, drop whatever you’re doing and say a prayer for me–thanks!

And on the lighter side of life, I ran across a piece in HuffPo about the current war of words between Spike Lee and Tyler Perry. Tyler Perry to Spike Lee: ‘Go Straight to Hell’.

Known as a better provocateur than filmmaker (IMHO), Spike Lee dishes and disses:

“I know it’s making a lot of money and breaking records, but we can do better. … I am a huge basketball fan, and when I watch the games on TNT, I see these two ads for these two shows (Tyler Perry’s ‘Meet the Browns’ and ‘House of Payne’), and I am scratching my head. We got a black president, and we going back to Mantan Moreland and Sleep ‘n’ Eat?”

This coming from the man who launched his career with She’s Gotta Have It? I could barely sit through the film, and certainly didn’t consider it either a compliment to the Black race or of any groundbreaking artistic merit. Yet, Lee has made a name for himself, as well as set himself up as judge and jury to other Black artists creative endeavors.

I admit bias. I think Spike Lee is a fraud with two watchable films out of the number he has directed. Add to that his arrogance, condescension, and looking down his nose toward his peers, and I immediately turn off.

Since I don’t recall when the last Spike Lee Joint was at the box office, I can only surmise that Spike is feeling neglected and needs some attention. On the converse, Perry seems to crank out hit after hit, along with using his currency to bankroll and produce other’s artistic visions. Precious being the most recent of note that elevated and launched a few careers.

While I don’t love everything that Perry does (Why Did I Get Married Too and For Colored Girls immediately come to mind) I find his humor and characters like Madea and April more relative to my experience than Nola Darling or Mookie.  And he comes off as infinitely more grateful and gracious for his successes, which goes a long way toward admiration in my book.

Oh well, as they say in Hollywood, there’s no such thing as bad publicity!








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