McCain victory day Contingency Plan – Week one

August 29, 2008 at 9:43 pm (politics) ()

Yeah, with this female veep nod I’m terrified that the worst is going to happen. In that eventuality I’ve developed a plan of how to cope with the first week of the new shitty world order.

Day 1 – Doomsday : One six pack and several hours later as the final electoral count rolls in I scream, “Nooooooooo! “. I proceed to yell at my friends that “I told them so” and hysterically compare myself to the Greek Cassandra as I curse them for convincing me to become emotionally involved in yet another lost election.  The host takes the beer away from me and asks me to leave. I slink away and yell at random passerbys that they should be ashamed for voting for “McBush” even though this is NYC and they probably didn’t.

Day 2 – 10 am :  cry

12 noon : I name my bottle of vodka “Carville” and go into a detailed analysis of exactly where the campaign went wrong. Carville remains smugly silent.

<tab> 3pm : I stare at the wall with my two cats and call them pussies for not wanting to take a shot

Day 3 – 2am : After hours without sleep, water or food I start to wonder if I can learn how to kill people or take out the entire landlocked center of the country south of the Mason-Dixon line just using the power of my mind.

<tab> 9am : run to Blockbuster across the street and rent “Scanners”, “Carrie”, “The Fury”, and “They Live”.  Commence intense psychic concentration.

Day 4 – 9pm : abandon mission after I discover that the only thing I’ve accomplished is giving myself a migraine, making Cindy McCain’s forehead revert to a pre-botoxed state and causing an unexplained electrical blackout at a Walgreens in Topeka, Kansas. McCain’s head is still intact. Epic Fail.

Day 5 – search expedia for plane tickets to Japan. Call gaijin houses to see if they can take me in starting tommorrow.

3 hours later – realize that Japan has been under a conservative govn’t for decades and that they aren’t exactly progressive when it comes to gender.  Also, my Japanese still sucks. Console myself by watching “Zatoichi” and eating Katsu Don.

Imagined conversation with Japanese person:

Him: Amerika-jin desu ka? (Are you American?)

Me: Hai. (yup)

Him: Anata wa Nihongo ga wakarimasu ka? (Do you understand Japanese?)

Me: E to…chotto… sukoshi Nihongo ga hanasemasu demo mada jouzu jaa … (uh, I can speak a little but I’m not good ye…)

Him:  邪法ワポトユンもウェゆっくりしょう。。。。(long string of unintelligible words. to me, that is)

Me: oh fuck.

Day 6 – rule out being cryogenically frozen for 6 years – the max amount of time I think that McBush will be lucid, or be able to fake lucid thought through his advisors – because I’m a broke ass grad student.

Day 7 – Slowly come to my senses. Start hoarding contraceptives and morning after pills like they’re fucking pez.  Meet with local “midwives” *ahem*. Plan to start an underground railroad for women who need abortions. Find other pissed people and figure out how to fuck shit up a la “V for Vendetta”. Rent “Vera Drake”

Year 1-4 : organize, organize, organize


If Nov 4 is V-day and Obama wins….

Day 1 – All my friends make fun of me being so freaked out and doubtful.

I think I’ve never been so happy to be so wrong.  Am in euphoric state for next 4 years.

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Inside (A l’interieur) and film nihilism – SPOILERS

August 25, 2008 at 4:18 am (Uncategorized) (, , , )

Always in search of the next horror movie that will genuinely freak me out, last night me and a friend of mine watched Inside (A l’interieur) a French flick that received good notices from both reviewers and gorehounds. Starring the once-lovely now-slightly haunted looking Beatrice Dalle and Alysson Paradis is the harrowing tale of 9 months pregnant Sarah (Paradis) besieged in her home by a mysterious woman in black who wants her baby and will cut it out of her if she must. Sarah lost her husband in a car crash 4 months ago and is grieving and surly to everyone around her and probably not that sure that she’s glad the baby survived.

Inside’s grand guignol is truly inspiring. Blood spurts, its jets, it comes out in flowing streams of every artery, vein and organ covering the walls in Pollock-esque designs. The actresses are superb in their cat and mouse game. But unfortunately that’s where my praise ends. The motivation for La Femme’s rampage is laughable. Her characterization is pegged somewhere between traumatized woman and impenetrable super-villain caricature. This woman will not or cannot die. Every character in the film is guilty of making the stupidest possible decisions at each possible moment. Several people have their backs turned to open doorways, drop loaded guns, don’t call for backup and one inexplicably comes back to life after being shot in the head. The plot holes are numerous and in the end….



La Femme, with half of her face melted off due to an earlier self-defense attack from Sarah, cuts her stomach open with a pair of house scissors, reaches into her belly and pulls out the baby along with the surrounding viscera while Sarah squirms. This is after La Femme kicks Sarah in the face multiple times, cuts her cheek with scissors and bashes her over the head with a toaster. The final scene is of the unnamed woman in a rocking chair with the baby.

In short, WTF? Critics nearly shat themselves over this film and I can’t imagine why except for the fact that it treads into serious taboos by violently dispatching a pregnant woman. Inside contains a host of interesting concepts – is La Femme a figment of Sarah’s imagination? a manifestation of her guilt about surviving? a statement about French violence and society (there’s a subplot about the banlieue riots)? pregnancy trauma and anxiety? – none of which it bothers to develop at all. The result, as my friend said, is that any genuine suspense that the plot generates devolves into the viewer’s tension at when the next gory death scene is coming.

I couldn’t shake the ending though which added nothing to the overall theme of the movie and seemed only to exist to be bleak for the sake of being bleak. Postmodern horror’s tendency to not allow for narrative closure has transformed into a misanthropic habit of not letting anyone out alive. I haven’t thought about what this trend means but it is precisely the type of cruel nihilism masked as a important social statement or realism that is pushing me away from this genre.

I had a similar feeling after learning that the original ending of The Descent had the main character dying in the cave while hallucinating about her dead daughter. There was alot of hubbub from international fans about how the original ending was better and that facile Americans can’t handle unhappy endings. I took this controversy for what it was worth – a bunch of smug Europeans lazily invoking the cliche of the bourgeouis, puritannical, multiplex loving American. The fact is that the movie is better served by the ending of the heroine reborn. What is the point of going through a grueling journey with these characters if nothing is going to come of it? This is not to say that it’s never appropriate for a main character to die but rather that the dying should serve some purpose in the story other than proclaiming that everything is pointless and so we should all go at each other like animals.

Happy and neutral endings are as much a part of real life as sad, traumatic and destructive ones. It’s hard not to feel suspicious about the fact that in both of these films women are the monsters or behaving monstrously and also the victims. In France, in this day and age, it’s really sad if the best gesture they can make towards realism is suggesting that women are constantly, brutally punished and worse, that they somehow deserve it.

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Jesse Jackson, irrelevant?

August 25, 2008 at 3:26 am (politics, snark) (, , , )

I was not really shocked when I heard that Jesse Jackson, was caught yet again uttering a crass statement into a hot mic during the taping break for a news show. The fact that it was about the first viable black candidate for President, Barack Obama, however was somewhat dismaying.

Stating to his co-guest on the show that Obama “talks down to the black community” when he lectures on morality in the black church and that he wants “to cut his nuts out” only adds to his earlier statements about Obama “acting white” regarding his silence about the Jena 6 debacle in Louisiana.

While Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson’s own son have been quick to distance themselves from these comments, this seems like an opportune time to critique the increasingly crotchety and out-of-touch old guard of the civil rights movement, which Jackson is a part. Jackson and Sharpton were alongside Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and integral parts in securing equal rights for people of color in this country. Indeed, their continued willingness to publicly speak out about racism – however questionable their particular crusade may or may not be – is important and rarely seen in the more institutionalized black organizations (NAACP, etc).

However, somewhere around the 80s something started to go horribly wrong. Jackson began to compulsively rhyme, Sharpton insisted on keeping his flashy conk (relaxed, processed hair) and both started to believe too much in their own cult of personality rather than keeping their eyes on the prize. Now, I am not one of those people who would say that Jackson and Sharpton are relics in a racism-free world. I have more politically in common with the radicals of the 60s than the wishy-washy compromisers with a political office. For the record I also find fault with Barack Obama’s overemphasis on pull-yourself-up-by-the-bo

otstraps, personal responsibility speeches a la Bill Cosby. The problems of the black community were not created by laziness, stupidity or any other inherent pathology and they will not be solved by mere lectures that amount to telling us to get our shit together without addressing the persisting (notice I didn’t say past) structural inequalities that make this so difficult. I KNOW that men as smart as Jackson and Sharpton have an incredibly complex understanding of racial relations beyond the black victim/white oppressor dichotomy, but whenever they throw their 2 cents into a debate about race it SEEMS to always come down to this oversimplified equation.

Here are a few problems I have with the old guard and their position as spokesmen of the cause of civil rights:

1. Why does everyone have to be/sound like a preacher to represent the black community? This is really important to me because I think the role of the church and Christianity needs to be seriously, seriously examined in black progressive politics. At one point the black church functioned as the public sphere for a group of people hard pressed to find anywhere else to organize – for fear of their very lives. But what seems to be forgotten is that the same Christian theology that Dr. King used towards liberation was also used to justify the institutions of slavery, and prove the general inferiority of people of color (the story of Ham). Also, Marx’s statement that religion is the opiate of the masses perfectly sums up how apolitical the black church and believers have become. Too often when people have serious problems caused by poverty or inequality they are told to pray on it instead of engaging in collective action. The church has become a site for escapism where we can fantasize about how meekness and devotion to a deity will hopefully earn us a place in heaven if not an equal standing here on earth. Christianity is also fundamentally reactionary in terms of sexuality and gender roles. How many queer blacks are excluded from the public sphere of the black church and how many devout blacks are defecting to the conservative end of the political spectrum for abortion issues or to prevent gay marriage? As an agnostic black person I often find myself shut out of conversations that equate blackness with following Jesus or regularly attending church.There are blacks in all different religions (and non-religions) which deserve to be a part of discussions about the direction of our race.
On a personal note I find it annoying that every black intellectual or spokesperson (Tavis Smiley, Michael Eric Dyson, Cornel West…etc) finds it necessary to affect the cadence of a Southern preacher. It’s irritating precisely because it is an affectation. Worse, it’s goal appears to be to superficially align them with Dr. King or to downplay their extensive academic training in a “keeping-it-real” vernacular so as not to sound “white”, “uppity”, or “bourgie”.

2. They completely ignore gender issues . Many of the problems in the black community are inextricably linked to gender issues and the culture of hypermasculinity, yet these problems are only alluded to implicitly in discussions of the disintegration of the black family. Jackson and Sharpton’s main solution to the problem of single mothers is to chastise fathers for not staying with their family without asking why this happens in the first place. Besides the historical reasons that necessitated why black fathers often had to live away from their families to find work and send money back to them; the current problem is that the ideal of masculinity for young black men has been narrowed to material acquisition, sexual virility and brute strength. Instead of blaming this all on rap music or something equally specious, I would suggest that other avenues of traditionally masculine achievement in business, education, and production of knowledge were not only structurally closed off to men of color due to discrimination but black men were simply made to believe that they were not capable of it . Not to mention the class and religious issues that come into play with contraception use and young pregnancies. This doesn’t excuse the lack of respect towards women in the black community (or in any community for that matter), but it sheds some light on reasons other than amorality.
Old school civil rights leaders have long approached black issues in ways that made blackness synonymous with maleness. Jackson and Sharpton only deal with black women’s issues, rape and sexual harrassment cases if they present an opportunity for them to criticize white men. They are either conspicuously silent or side with the men in cases where it is a black woman who complains against a black man. Where was the support for the woman who charged Isiah Thomas with harassment or Anita Hill against Clarence Thomas or the underage girls against R. Kelly? Instead of taking these cases as a chance to critique attitudes towards women, often black women are accused of colluding with white men to bring powerful black men down.

3. They presume to speak for the rest of us Now this is as much their fault as it is the media’s. Men like Jackson and Sharpton are invited as talking heads for their pedigree and experience as much as their entertainment value. They will almost always give a pithy or ridiculous sound bite and therefore help the ratings. News talk shows will always invite the rare and extremist token black conservative for the same reason. However, there are other faces of the progressive black movement that are rarely seen in the media such as bell hooks, or the myriad of local, non-pastor community leaders that are helping people everyday on the grassroots level. If this is about advancing a political agenda that is helpful to blacks and not about advancing their own position, why can’t Jackson, Sharpton and the like defer to these younger activists for issues that they are not as in touch with any longer? And after so many years in the public eye why do they seem so media unsavvy in terms of simple mistakes like speaking into hot mics, badly worded comments and wild conspiracy theories that are sure to find eternal life on you tube or fox news? It’s not fair but a verbal slip from a black leader will get twice the airplay and derision than a similar slip from a McCain advisor for example, whose faux pas will get buried in page 15 of the NYT then forgotten. This is a fact that even I had to learn during two years of small-scale campus activism and media interviews at UT. How did they miss it?

4. Stop blaming young people and youth culture As I alluded to in the previous points, the older generation of civil rights leaders – and Bill Cosby – are all too
content to criticize this new fangled youth and hip hop culture for all of the problems of the black community. But children learn from their elders and many of the stubborn issues that we are facing stem from the oversights, flaws and mistakes of their generation. When several of the main architects of the movement, including Jackson himself are proven womanizers and have fathered babies outside of the marriage how can they be surprised at the rate of single black mothers and broken homes? When they complain that young people aren’t active and have bad values while ignoring the many young activists doing great work, then how can we close the generation gap?

I understand Jackson’s frustration with the overemphasis on morality in the black community. It’s easier for white Americans to blame black pathology than national policies or their own complicity in a system which privileges them. However, I’m just as frustrated with their slipups, hypocrisies and stubborn refusal to contend with how the face of racism has changed, the reality of spin and new media technologies and what it means for racial activism and public opinion, and continued ignoring (for the most part) of gender and sexuality issues.

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April 29, 2008 at 1:35 am (pop culture) (, , )

So very hot.

Last Friday I had a nearly front row seat to the Tribeca Film Festival’s Filmmaker Talk with Clive Owen. One of my favorite directors, Mary Harron, led a truly craptastic interview (on her part). In person, Owen does not disappoint, he is tall, rugged, and dressed in an impeccably tailored suit. Not to mention gracious, funny and British – always a plus. While Harron weirdly neglected to ask him about Sin City or Inside Man, two of his biggest films, the din of the Apple Store below made it difficult to hear his responses. Nevertheless, the crowd actually asked some pretty good questions about his future plans and past regrets and he seemed happy to answer, if slightly restless probably because he is in the middle of filming Duplicity with Closer co-star Julia Roberts. If the attendees did not get as much of the inside track on Mr. Owen as we would have liked, we got to bask in his glow for an hour and a half which suits me just fine.

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Why Miley, why?

April 29, 2008 at 1:16 am (pop culture) (, , , )

I pretty much predicted Miley Cyrus’ slow descent into skankdom as soon as I noticed that her hemlines were going up and necklines drooping down with every awards show appearence. Although her parents claim to be Christians concerned first and foremost with their meal ticket’s kid’s well being, I think we all know what that really means having watched Beyonce’s Jehovah’s Witness dad, Jessica Simpson’s creepy pastor dadager (dad and manager all into one!) and Britney’s Baptist mom pimp their kids out worse than Terrence Howard in Hustle and Flow. But I’ve never been so unhappy to be right.

I’m sure we all know preschoolers and girls 6-13 that for some reason find Cyrus’ barely passable pop insanely entertaining and aesthetic snobbery aside, I was fine with that because she wasn’t flashing vag or trying to be Lolita redux. Now, with the internet pictures of her flashing neon bra and draped across her boyfriends lap, she comes out with this Annie Leibowitz shot which wouldn’t be scandalous at all if she wasn’t 15 frakkin years old. A high school sophomore and most certainly under the age of consent. So why do a topless, satin bedsheet draped, come hither over-the-shoulder pic in the first place? Was there no other age appropriate scenario that established photog Leibowitz could think of? I think it’s just as likely that Cyrus’ handlers orchestrated this in a savvy move to catch the attention of an older post-Disney audience similar to the recent oops nudie shots from Vanessa Hudgens – another mildly talented teen from the channel.  Although she has issued an apology for this shot, it seems as if it is more to do damage control for the angry soccer moms than genuine. I predict a full break out as the new pop tartlett for Miley in about another year and a half. Expect Maxim covers and a whole good girl gone bad PR campaign to go with it.

Tragically, this newest teen pop star scandal confirms two sad facts: 1) it proves to little girls that their worth and value is the sum total of their body parts and their desirability to drooling middle aged men. 2) that I was right in never, ever wanting to have a daughter.

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Best Actors on the Planet? I think so.

April 24, 2008 at 9:00 pm (pop culture) (, , , , , , , , , )

Normally I think that lists make for lazy blog posts. And they do. But recently I caught a glimpse of Phillip Seymour Hoffman’s IMBD site while searching for Charlie Kaufman’s new film Synedoche, New York. Many of the message board posts were about whether he was indeed the “Best Actor on the Planet” or “annoying and overrated”. It got me thinking about who I thought were the best (male) actors in the world – people who have given consistently great, epic performances elevating even subpar films into art. Undoubtedly some deserving people will be left off this list but for what it’s worth these people, in no particular order, are truly badass and a testament to their craft.

1. Phillip Seymour Hoffman – Obviously, this entire list was inspired by him. I’m always amazed at how Hoffman throws himself into each role with a complete lack of vanity and delivers searing, intense performances of troubled characters in the midst of often desperate circumstances. I’ve yet to see Capote (I know, I know) but his performances in Boogie Nights, Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead, Happiness, Magnolia, The Talented Mr. Ripley, Almost Famous and Twister — yup, that’s right, Twister — are more than enough to make his case. He’s got the chops and integrity of a character actor workhorse, but luckily for us, he has recently been able to step out as leading man (Capote) or as the main actor in an ensemble piece (Before the Devil.., Synedoche, NY).

2. Tommy Lee Jones – I adore how Tommy Lee Jones’ no nonsense, Texas straight-talkin is inextricable from his Ivy League intellect. His measured, weary performance in No Country for Old Men was overlooked as was his moving neo-western Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada. This man’s man has been setting the screen on fire since TV’s Lonesome Dove and best of all as Doolitte, Loretta Lynn’s husband in Coal Miner’s Daughter, or what I like to call the best bio-pic ever, EVER. Consistently thoughtful and explosive with a wry sense of humor thrown in, he’s just about perfect.

3. Daniel Auteuil – Often called the French Robert De Niro (see below) because of their physical resemblance and sheer level of commitment to every role. Auteuil is equally adept in contemporary and costume dramas, thriller and comedies. His “everyman” bearing renders him immediately relatable if not always sympathetic or likeable – a choice which sets him apart from many actors who turn unsavory characters into (anti)heroes to win over the audience. Whereas Auteuil’s men are often conflicted, flawed and self-absorbed but honest until the final reel. A mega-star in France for Jean De Florette, Un Coeur en Hiver (one of the best films of all time IMHO),and Queen Margot, he’s best known in the U.S. for Michael Haneke’s film Caché.

4. Robert De Niro – What is there to say about the man who starred in Godfather 2, yowzaGoodfellas, Cape Fear, Wag the Dog, Awakenings, Raging Bull, Brazil, Mean Streets, The Deer Hunter and Taxi Driver? His filmography spans the list of the best American films of all time. Recently he has been picking silly projects (Godsend, Rocky and Bullwinkle) that are slowly eroding his legacy through caricature. But even if De Niro were to make films with Hannah Montana or the Jones Brothers for the rest of his life, he is still an icon (and decent director) that disappears into every role and lets his work speak for itself. He should also be given credit for choosing to age gracefully unlike a certain Godfather 2 co-star who looks botoxed and orange. How unseemly.

5. Koji Yakusho – In the name of full disclosure, I must say that I am totally in love with this man. I became a Yakusho fan after viewing him as brooding cop in Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s superior thriller/urban alienation nightmare, Cure. He’s starred in at least five other Kurosawa films of varying degrees of quality (Doppelganger, Pulse, Retribution, Charisma, Seance), worked with master Shohei Imamura in Cannes Palme d’or winner The Eel and his kooky tribute to female sexuality Warm Water Under a Red Bridge, not to mention crossover hit Shall we Dance? (which spawned an awful remake). Yakusho also co-starred in the classic Itami Juzo film, Tampopo as a kinky gangster epicure and Americans saw him in Memoirs of a Geisha and Babel. Considered to represent the average everyman type, Yakusho’s disarming personality leaves you unprepared for many of his character’s violent outbursts and haunted pasts. He is such a relaxed and natural actor that the lingering power of his performances will come as a shock.

6. Morgan Freeman- I’m sure I’m not the only one who wishes that Morgan Freeman WAS actually some of the characters he has portrayed – God (Bruce Almighty), the President (Deep Impact), your best friend (Shawshank Redemption), the narrator of your life (March of the Penguins), or maybe just your grandfather. Brings incredible gravitas, depth and warmth to his roles. Too often relegated to playing the lead white actor’s sidekick, friend, martyr, driver etc…Freeman transcends his supporting roles with the reassuring wisdom and dignity in his voice and bearing.

7. Max Von Sydow – is still alive my friends! The lead from so many of Bergman’s iconic films like The Seventh Seal, The Virgin Spring and Winter Light was also in The Exorcist as the elderly priest and continues to make movies — unfortunately Rush Hour 3 is one of them but a man has to eat I suppose. There is something grand and regal yet achingly human about Von Sydow so when you look at him as a angst-ridden knight, grieving father and avenger, world-weary priest or the devil himself in Needful Things, he’s seems to encompass all of the pitfalls and potential of humanity at once.

8. Gary Oldman– Cool yet with the latent malevolence of a coiled snake. This dynamic actor is known best for his portrayal of characters on the fringe of society and morality. His most memorable scenes are the craziest — the screaming, pill-popping cop in The Professional, as Sirius Black in Harry Potter, raving Beethoven in Immortal Beloved, dreadlocked, white rasta in True Romance and the self-destructive Sid Vicious. Oldman is underused recently and hopefully he has a few lead roles lined up for the future.

9. Jeffrey Wright – Oldman’s costar in Basquiat, Wright is a genius at playing haunted, troubled characters. He is without a doubt the most underrated actor on this list and is unfortunately effected by the lack of roles for black actors. Otherwise, there is no doubt that he would be up for the same roles as Phillip Seymour Hoffman and his ilk. Wright’s subtlety and uncanny way of showing a character’s inner life through gestures and voice inflections are profoundly affecting. In a change of pace from his usually heavy roles, Wright recently played the upbeat supporting character Winston in Jarmusch’s Broken Flowers and nearly stole the film from Bill Murray. Stunning performances also in Angels in America, The Manchurian Candidate, and Lackawanna Blues.

10. Daniel Day Lewis – Bill the Butcher, Daniel Planiview, Hawkeye, John Proctor, Christy Brown, Gerry Conlon… just like the titans he plays, Day-Lewis is not even an actor anymore, he is: a force of nature, a weapon of mass destruction, a bad mutha-shut-yo-mouth, and he will drink your MILKSHAKE! Nuff said.

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Why I support the writer’s strike

November 7, 2007 at 4:13 am (news, politics, pop culture) (, , )

_1304774_strike2_300.jpgI intern at a talent management agency so I get to look at the big project books of all the films in production over the next year. The William Morris Agency sends them out so that the guys I work for can scramble to get their best talent in meetings with the casting directors for those films. For the past couple of months while scanning the upcoming flix I noticed that most production companies were busting ass to get as many finished scripts into production “pre-strike”. It seemed a given that this writer’s strike was gonna happen – not to worry though, most of those scripts were formulaic crap starring Channing Tatum or Gerard Butler types or more bloody remakes anyway (Straw Dogs and The Magnificent Seven, for Chrissakes? Is anything holy to those bloodsuckers in LA????!) .

People in New York can be surprisingly whiny about strikes. When the MTA workers striked for a few days people grumbled copiously about everything and the union head was thrown into jail. This should scare the shit out of all of us because were it not for unions and the influence of socialist politics on the workforce in general, we wouldn’t have stuff like overtime, child protection laws, minimum wage, sick leave, etc… Sure, unions can be corrupt, racist and exclusive, however without their collective bargaining power the indifferent market and greedy fat cat capitalists would steamroll all over workers’ rights. Check out the minimum wages and benefits in states that have anti-union policies (Texas, for instance) and you’ll see what I’m talking about.

We might not be talking about blue-collar workers here, when we talk about the writers strike, however writers have been the underdogs of the Hollywood machine since cinema began. Unless they are a hyphanate writer-director-actor or exceptionally successful like Charlie Kaufman and Paddy Chayefsky from a while back, writers are woefully underappreciated and considered unglamourous. Now, they are trying to secure a bigger piece of the digital pie for themselves as films, TV and other scripted entertainment segues into non-traditional screening venues like your iPod or more DVDs. And why shouldn’t they? Directors, producers and talent make the big bucks filming the stuff that these guys and gals pen. If Hollywood is a big shiny mansion then writers are the beams and 2 by 4s that keep it from sinking into the tar pits.

Let the writers have their extra 4 cents in DVD revenue and if I have to watch reality shows for the next year due to the lack of produced material from the strike I’ll gladly tune in to I Love New York 2 or American Idol season 82 in the meantime. Honestly, that’s what I’d probably be watching in the first place.

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I met my friggin idol – David Cronenberg…

November 6, 2007 at 9:51 pm (news, pop culture) (, , , )

cronenberg.jpg…Like a month ago, but I’ve been busy with PhD apps OK? One of the great things about living in New York is that you have access to all sorts of random screenings and appearences that often materialize at a moment’s notice. If I hadn’t been at my internship where we get the daily Variety I would have never known about the Museum of Moving Images screening of Eastern Promises followed by a Q&A with director, the illustrious Cronenberg, and the screenwriter Steve Kloves (Dirty Pretty Things). After missing a panel interview with other idol, Wes Craven, due to a bizarre food poisoning incident and getting the date wrong for an interview with Eli Roth, I had resigned myself to never meeting any more of the directors that I admired (except for Tarantino and Spike Lee ages ago). So, when this glittering opportunity presented itself I jumped and bought a ticket the same day.

Of course, my admiration for Craven and Roth is based on nostalgia and my indiscriminate love for all slasher cinema instead of a deep intellectual connection to their work (except for the Elm Street series which is brilliant). Cronenberg’s films on the other hand have inflamed parts of my brain with their bizarre bodily transformation, gender relations, and existentialist themes. Videodrome and ExistenZ alone ushered me into film school, mind ablaze with questions about the nature of reality, representation and how media changes our subjectivity. Needless to say, I was SO EXCITED.

Eastern Promises didn’t disappoint (see for a review)- its a grave tale of organized crime, violence and rebirth with fantastic performances by all of the actors. But as the credits rolled my heart pounded. He was coming out on the stage. I expected a somewhat pompousand creepy intellectual droning on about theory and philosophy.. I never expected him to be so funny! Cronenberg spent the next 30 minutes poking fun at his pretentions, answering even the most boring questions earnestly and with enthusiasm, and amusing us with anecdotes about the production. Everyone else brought DVDs and pictures to sign but the only thing I had on me was my new volume of Tales from the Crypt reprints. Cronenberg remarked on how cool the book was and how those comics used to scare the shit out of him when he was a kid. I muttered something about Videodrome being the reason that I study film in school and thanked him. He signed it and I left more enamored than I had been coming in. If you ever need a personal assistant Mr. Cronenberg, I’m your woman!

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New York Korean Film Festival 2007

October 7, 2007 at 8:36 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , )

It’s time once again to discover new and re-released films from a country with a growing artistic and financial presence in the Asian film industry. The 2007 New York Korean Film Festival is presented by Helio and organized by The Korea Society. Over the past decade Korean cinema has garnered more acclaim in the states with the emergence of auteurs Kim Ki-duk, Park Chan-wook and the popular Im Kwon-taek, whose rarer works are the subject of a retrospective in the festival. Read the rest of this entry »

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File this one under “duh”: Study confirms cats have short memories

August 22, 2007 at 3:03 pm (news)

In a groundbreaking new study scientists have figured out that your cat Fluffy can only remember certain types of information for about 10 minutes at a time. Furthermore, most of that info is body memory instead of visually based. Perhaps this explains why my retarded felines need to be scolded every SINGLE day about scratching my couch to rivets despite the fact that I spray them with water and tap them on the heads (gently) as a deterrant. They just don’t remember that I told them not to.

Or that’s what they want us to think.

It’s just as likely that they know their position in the household is as king and queen and just choose to ignore me. After all, those buggers eat before I do – and often! They know who’s in charge and it ain’t me. I just love the picture Yahoo! put with this article.

wrinkly_cat_big.jpg <——- kitty means business

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