Thursday, June 28, 2018

"Ronny and I": how a relationship starts on a road trip

Ronny and I”, directed by Guy Shalem, presents two male friends, (Adam Berry and Luke Humphrey) each early 20s perhaps, on a road trip around Big Sur.
One of the friends is supposedly straight but probably bi.  As they take videos of one another, they begin to realize they want a relationship, but oddly at the distance provided by real-time video clips with mirrors.  Are they married to their technologies?

At the end, the bi gay says, “we can make babies together”.

I didn’t get the beginning where the second guy shows scars on his hairless chest.

I once had a day trip sort of like this in northern New Jersey in 1973, after my “second coming” when a straight friend, a chess player, came to visit for the weekend.  There are also some traces of my last year in NYC, 1978, in the dialogue. (Oh, he was so jealous.)

Monday, June 25, 2018

"Singing with Angry Bird": a choir director from South Korea teaches a kids choir in India by making the parents sing

Singing with Angry Bird” (2016), by Hyewon Jee, on PBS POV (Monday June 25, 2018) . It is directed and narrated by Hyewon Jee, link

Jae Chang-Kim, from South Korea, experienced with children’s choirs, decides to train a choir in a slum in India.  The parents resist, so he decides to train the parents.
The music includes a lot of hymns (“Amazing Grace”) and local popular. Yup, a lot of the singing is out-of-tune.  But they finally train for a big “spring concert” at the end of the film.
In the meantime, he becomes close to the families and their needs, such as one where mom lives on a ventilator.
The PBS presentation was condensed from 88 minutes to 53 minutes.  There was a brief interview with the filmmaker at the end, who spoke in Korean with subtitles. She says she didn’t know very much about music!
By Mehak madan - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link

Saturday, June 23, 2018

How a CIA-spy film "Three Days of the Condor" started an episode in my life

In early October 1975, I recall seeing “Three Days of the Condor” in a big theater on 86th Street on the Upper East Side (when I was living in lower Manhattan).

After I left the theater, I encountered a newsstand with a little magazine that told me about Dan Fry’s group “Understanding” in Arizona, about UFO’s.  In early November 1975, Travis Walton would report his “abduction” in northern Arizona.  In early December, I would use a little vacation and make a 4-day air-car-rental trip to Arizona to look into this and visit Understanding. That started a significant activity in my life.

But the film (directed by Sydney Pollack [for Dino de Laurentis and Paramount] and based on James Grady’s novel) is controversial. It presents Robert Redford as Joseph (“Condor”) Turner, a librarian in the pre-internet days whose job for the CIA was to read everything that got published and connect the dots.

Condor himself is in mortal danger when one day after lunch he finds six of his co-workers assassinated.
The film will actually get into the idea that the 1973 energy crisis (and oil embargo) could severely curtail American lifestyles.

Friday, June 22, 2018

"One from the Heart": odd Francis Ford Coppola musical was shot for big screen with old aspect ratios

I recall “One from the Heart”, directed by Francis Ford Coppola (American Zeotrope and Columbia) back in early 1982, as a framed love story musical (composer is Tom Waits) promoted as being in 70 mm “Technovision” but actually presented on a square old-fashioned 1.37:1 aspect ratio, to emphasize the staginess.

Hank and Frannie (Frederic Forrest and Teri Garr) have an embedded relationship on the Las Vegas circus stage which translates to real life, rather like “I Love Lucy”. When they break up in real life, everything comes apart;  there is even a kidnapping.

This was a very odd film given its effect with the small aspect, when I saw it at old Northpark on a large screen in Dallas.  But with Coppola, you never know.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

"Why Humans Are Obsessed with Cats" (they domesticated themselves)

Here’s a Facebook shortWhy Humans Are Obsessed with Cats” (6 minutes).

The domestic cat domesticated itself about 4000 years ago, self-selecting to be welcome around humans. It seems to be the only animal that can survive on its own in the wild and yet invite itself into a human home, and remember every home it has ever been in.

The short is based on the book “The Lion in the Living Room: How House Cats Tamed Us and Took Over the World” (2016, Abigail Tucker).

Some slightly larger wildcats, like the bobcat, cannot legally be kept as pets and safely live in a home, but will befriend humans and return to homes where they have been fed, even days later after hunting miles away.  Cats (apart from cetaceans) may represent the apex of mammalian evolution (you could include bears) without developing bipedalism, which gives primates the ability to use their hands to make tools and becomes an enormous advantage, giving reason for a larger brain to develop.

Monday, June 18, 2018

"False Negative": curious gay Italian short film that starts out in a straight disco

Domenico Sarsco (Luca) and Emanuele Gampa appear in the 23-minute Italian short film “False Negative” (“Falso Negativo”), written and directed by Dario Lauritano

Luca and a younger friend get in to a straight disco in Milan after waiting in line. The younger friend tries to come on to Luca in a restroom (unusual behavior in bar). Luca tells him to go away but has to drive him home anyway.

One the way home, they’re caught in a drag race or road rage situation with some hooligans but manage to get away. Then Luca suddenly decides he is interested in his younger partner after all.

This is a rather strange story concept.  I though that the title would refer to HIV.

Luca is particularly appealing physically.  Both men speak English as well as Italian and can sing to 80s music on the radio.  I thought he spoke Spanish to one guy in the bar.
I have yet to go to Italy. Picture, from Winstar in Oklahoma.

Saturday, June 16, 2018

"What If?" Trump shows Kim Jong Un propaganda film

Donald Trump and the White House had a propaganda film called “What If” produced to show to Kim Jong Un, four minutes.

The Huffington Post examines how it was wrongly connected to a real Hollywood company, “Destiny Films”.

The film sounds like an obvious sales pitch intending to manipulate an audience. It is possible, of course, to imagine a unified Korea (but what about the communism?) 

Trump says the buttered up Kim Jong Un at the meeting (to the great offence to the victims of his regime) because he doesn’t want Americans some day have to deal with nuclear explosions on their homeland (he didn’t mention EMP specifically, but he knows about it). Trump has given credit to the sacrifices of the Warmbier family. 
Trump had been coached starting in late winter to tone down the rhetoric against Kim.
The “What If” could be continued:  :What if my own blogging and writing output (and music) is one lifelong process piece that gradually gets less bad?  The jury is still out.
By Zubin12 - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, Link

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

"A Colony on Titan": short

Dreksler Askal’s “A Colony on Titan” (6 minutes) offers an animated view at what Titan really looks like if you actually land there.

Admittedly, it is ten times as far from the Sun as Earth (Mars is 1.5 times as far) and it may take a century or more for humans to even envision going there.  I think Huygens took about eight years to get there.

Gravity is 1/7 of earths, and climbing 12,000 mountains of ice and sand would be easy (in a space suit).

But what would a live colony there look like, at almost -300 F.

The hydrocarbon chemistry is there to support maybe some kind of prokaryote-like cell, if it can find an energy source.  Maybe there is something like a slime mold.  And there is a subsurface water layer, heated by gravitational tug from Saturn, which could have life, in comparison to Europa.
There will be volcanoes with ice as lava.

It’s rather interesting that the fictitious company on “Days of our Lives” is called Titan.
Wikipedia attribution link for picture of cryovolcano 

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

"Standing on Ceres": with 3% gravity

Standing on Ceres: Closest Dwarf Planet to Earth”, by Drexler Astral.

Gravity would be only 3% of Earth’s.  The dwarf planet is 584 miles in diameter, so the horizon is very near.  There are salt flats, and a 12000 foot mountain of salt, almost Biblical.
It would seem to take very little effort to function there, until your bones got weaker.

By NASA / JPL-Caltech / UCLA / Max Planck Institute for Solar System Studies / German Aerospace Center / IDA / Planetary Science Institute - (see also, Public Domain, Link

Saturday, June 09, 2018

"Harley": a gay bodybuilder teachers his lover self-defense after a gay bashing

“Harley” (12 minutes), is a short film set in San Francisco, by Bea Schreiber and Blinking Dog Pictures. 

A bodybuilder Harley (Lars Slind) grieves when his male lover Lucas (Caleb Hoffman) is brutally beaten and in a coma for a while.

Harley’s former girl friend (Hannah Elder) and roommate counsels him that if he doesn’t control his desire for revenge, he could wind up in prison.

But when Lucas recovers, Harley starts to teach him karate and self-defense. In one scene, Harley tells Lucas that he is fascinated with him (Lucas) because he (Lucas) is “feminine” – right out of Rosenfels.

The photography could use a little more consistent definition in spots. 
Wikipedia attribution link for San Francisco skyscraper picture, by Harmonywriter, CCSA 3/0

Friday, June 08, 2018

"Japan's Baby Drain": demographic winter

SBS (Australian) presents “Japan’s Baby Drain” (16 min, 2013), now five years old, presents rather bluntly Japan’s “demographic winter” of low birth rates.

The film starts in a mountain village of 2000 people, Nanmoku, which has a big school that used to have 2000 students and now has just 37.  A first grader is taught by a male teacher all by himself.
The young adults move to the cities, where the problem is less obvious.

As in western countries, women have their own careers and approach men in earnings. They postpone marriage and having babies.  Long hours in the Japanese workplace are said to be part of the problem.

A young woman, who plays the harp in an orchestra, is interviewed, and says at 32 she is still “picky” about men.

The film also looks at the eldercare problem.  Japanese assisted living or nursing homes depend on foreign labor, but immigration laws make that very difficult (to pass the language exams).

The Japanese government has implemented policies to encourage marriage and procreation.
The film doesn’t mention LGBT issues, which would obviously be pertinent to the birth rate.
Wikipedia attribution link for baseball stadium in Japan picture, by DX Broadrec, CCSA 3.0 

Tuesday, June 05, 2018

I did see "The Last Picture Show" one time; it looks like Thalia, TX never even had one

I do remember seeing Peter Bogdonavicy’s “The Last Picture Show” (1971, Columbia), with Timothy Bottoms and Jeff Bridges, early in my own young adult working career.

I recently drove through the town of Thalia, Texas not far from Vernon, in the north Texas prairies. Indeed, it looks like a ghost town, with a few broken houses and no businesses.

This is Trump country, but Trump hasn’t done anything for this part of his base. Other towns, like Seymour (a county seat) are in bad shape.

 Lake Kemp has a small state-run observation deck but is private land, a good place for hidden intrigues.

Sunday, June 03, 2018

"You're Not Edgy, You're Just Lazy": a conservative college student takes on a "cultural Marxist"?

You’re Not Edgy, You’re Just Lazy” (4 Minutes) from College Humor.

Checking your mail is “invisible labor”?  Is checking Facebook labor? 

Is the rentier class really lazy?

Is “she-he” socialist, communist, anarchist? 

Is cultural Marxism just a front for personal laziness?
Conservatives will love these videos.