Sunday, June 30, 2019

"Anxiety": a young women deals with the belief she is not competitive socially (short film)



Aailayh Larson stars and directs the short film “Anxiety”, on Michael Smiegel’s YouTube channel.
  
  
A young woman, PoC, gets a message from her parents that they are going away and she should look after the house.  Then he deals with her interpersonal problems by talking back at her own doppelganger. Those problems center around her belief she is not socially competitive with other people, especially dating.
  
She goes out.
  
The film notes a mental health service called “Better Health.”  Dr. Grande's YouTube channel will like this one. 

Thursday, June 27, 2019

"Vegas Nights": soft-core gay film presents nice college kids exploring night life: with some more character narratives it would be a "real feature" for theaters


If you want something a little bit erotic with nice college kids, try Alex Roman’s film “Vegas Nights”, a YouTube gay film in five videos, total about 40 minutes (released end of 2018 by Helix Studios).


Five college boys tour the Las Vegas night and club scene. (In the midst of all the clubs and casinos there is a CVS store, from above)/  This most charismatic is a fast-talking kid played by Julian Bell, who sounds like an expert in card counting (like in the movie “21”). If not, he’s probably something like a pre-med student. He gets an invitation to meet an admirer in a specific hotel room, and you can guess that it could be challenging.  In the bar scenes before, he does act like he is celebrating having turned 21. 
  
The film races toward a Las Vegas style gay marriage in the last video.
  
Starting in video 3 (the hotel room invitation) YouTube requires you to sign in, so at that point it regards the content as rated as a soft “R”.  What the lead character says when he gets into a car after the hotel encounter is catchy: he seems to be bragging about self-effacement, as upward affiliation.  This film could be packaged and released as a DVD as a “real film” in the gay market, maybe by TLA.  You want the screenwriters to tell the audience as much as possible about the backgrounds of the characters.  But some viewers might want the characters to look more diverse.

Vegas may be a bit sensitive about films set in skyscraper hotels after the awful incident on Oct. 1, 2017.  I was last there in 2012 (picture above; also 1985, 1997, 2000).  In 2000, I would then visit the outskirts of Area 51. 

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

"I Am Syd Stone": a bisexual man revisits an old boy friend and discovers, well, real marriage



I Am Syd Stone”, directed by Dennis Thieriault, presents a gay man (Michael Gaty) with an alcohol problem, who receives a visit from an old boy friend Syd (Gharret Patrick Paon) who seems to have gone straight on him and gotten married with a kid,


But maybe marriage was just a stage facilitated by their earlier love, which they trial to rekindle.

Syd runs, and it seems he is ready for a “real” marriage in the woke sense now.  But having a family the natural way as an important step for him. 
The film appears to come from Canada.

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

"To Scale: The Solar System": making a model at the site of "Burning Man"


Alex Gorosh and Wylie Overstreet present “To Scale: The Solar System”.
  
In Black Rock Desert in Nevada (site of “Burning Man” aka #NoSpectators” every September) three friends construct a scale model of the Solar System, through Neptune, seven miles in diameter.  Logan Paul is nowhere to be seen. 


The Earth is the size of a marble, and the Sun is a ball with the same apparent size as the real sun at the simulated distance.

Jupiter would have ten times the diameter of Earth’s marble (including the visible atmosphere to the cloud tops), and the Sun would have 100 times that diameter.
  
The Sun comprises plasma;  the outer planets comprise gas that compresses to slushy liquid, then liquid metal hydrogen (at least Jupiter and Saturn), and then a rocky core, probably.

The seven-minute film also shows some footage from Apollo 15. 

Sunday, June 23, 2019

"Apollo 11": 70 mm reconstruction of real footage from the first moonwalk


Apollo 11”, directed by Todd Douglas Miller, is a film that recreates the event that put man on the Moon on July 20, 1969, from archival footage only, some of the film in 70mm.


The film was released theatrically by Neon on March 1, 2019 and shown on CNN on Sunday, June 23, 2019 by CNN Films. Universal Pictures released the DVD.


The astronauts wore what amounts to Holter monitors underneath their spacesuits, mostly on the lower ribcages, that transmitted vital signs that were reported on the flight. 

July 20, 1969 was a Sunday. The mission took from July 16 (Wed AM) to July 24.  The achievement marked a major change in attitude toward technology as an instrument of freedom. Stonewall had occurred just three weeks before.

Picture: from NASA Virginia Air and Space Museum in Hampton VA at Langley, Aug. 2012 visit. 

Friday, June 21, 2019

"Song of Parkland": high school students put on a major musical after a catastrophic event


Song of Parkland”, directed by Amy Schatz, is a 29-minute HBO documentary about the students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL in a drama and chorus class, taught by Melody Herzfeld.

The students and teacher heard the shots, and Melody sheltered them for two hours in the Feb. 14, 2018 school shooting until police led them out.


Two months later, they resume production of a musical, and students composed portions of it, like a song “Beautiful Things Can Grow”.

Eventually the students perform in Boston, New York, Washington and San Francisco. They win a Tony Award at the end.

Several students appear and talk about the production, like Alex Wild and Cameron Kasky.  Some of Emma Gonzelez’s speech from March 24 in Washington.

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

"State of Pride": a young "conservative" midwestern gay man learns about different values among LGBTQ+ as he visits Pride events in four cities


State of Pride” (2019), directed by Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman, from YouTube Originals and Telling Pictures (71 minutes, 2019), presents (small town) Ohio-born Raymond Braun as an athletic, “masculine” gay man visiting pride in Washington DC, Tuscaloosa AL, San Francisco, and Salt Lake City, and encountering LGBTQ+ people very different from him.  The events seem to come from 2018.

  
Braun says he outgrew his “sassiness” and became a mainstream-valued and athletic young adult man, but “still” gay. He wrote his mother a 16-page letter coming out and was reassured by her response, before he went on the tour to make the film. 

In Tuscaloosa, he met the trans community, and especially POC and underprivileged. He learned about systematic violence against that community, and noted the cultural separation from white gay men, including racial problems in the deep south.  He is told that trans pride should be part of the regular pride weekend, and is often viewed as a “protest” rather than pride.

In San Francisco, he meets a young man who had fled Syria through Lebanon.  It was not clear whether he was a refugee or asylum seeker (or whether he was Christian or Muslim, as religion was immaterial).
  
He also met a young man who had been a gymnast but broken his neck in an accident in 2013. He was now in a wheel chair but had regained some leg use.  He didn’t even realize he was paralyzed for a few moments after trying to get up. He was also Mormon, and had done an LDS mission, and was familiar with the LDS member forced support of Prop 8 a few years before,  Braun accompanies him to a pride march in Salt Lake, where he meets and has dinner with the Mormon family.
This little film has quite a narrative, matching some of the larger films around.

The film is offered for free viewing.  It would seem that YouTube (given the current controversy) could help content creators by offering some films for rent ($3.99) from documentary or news creators affected by current issues.

Picture: Tuscaloosa, May 2014, my visit, in area leveled by 2011 tornado 

Monday, June 17, 2019

The Mandelbrot Set: a secret of life buried in the complex variable plane


I’ve not talked about the Mandelbrot set here before. So here is “The Mandelbrot Set: How It Works and Why It Is Amazing”, by Jimi.


It is a set of numbers c on the complex variable plane for which f-c(z) = z**2 + c does not diverge when starting at z-0.  It is a fractal of self-similarity, which generates amazing shapes with cardioid edges that seem to grow like plants.

This mathematical beauty seems to point to how life would evolve in an organic soup. It’s very existence seems fundamental almost to consciousness and reproduction.

This is a relative short video, but there are much longer ones on YouTube which we can come back to later.

Saturday, June 15, 2019

"What If 'IT' Was Gay": new horror short from Eduardo Sanchez-Ubanell, making fun of, well, a current social media mess, perhaps


Eduardo Sanchez-Ubanell offers the satirical short, “What if ‘IT’ Was Gay”, with Max Emerson, Michael Henry, Tony Directs and Ruba Wilson.


The short film is a satirical skit based on the Clarabelle-looking character from Stephen King’s 1986 novel, made into a miniseries in 1990 and a film in 2017.

If you listen to the dialogue (like “IT’s” lines at around 1:05) you wonder if there is some satire of the Maza-Crowder-gate and Voxadpocalypse.  Ubanell’s films and videos seem non-political (usually about cis male gay life), until you look at the jabs behind the lines (he made fun of Buzzfeed in an earlier film by posing as a prize-fighter).  This little film seems to want to poke fun at how silly everyone has been recently.

I’m also reminded of baseball player Bryce Harper’s meme “clown questions”.

Friday, June 14, 2019

"Titan Revealed": Maybe the best ever documentary on Saturn's moon which may have life on the surface


TexFilms offers maybe the best film about Titan, the largest moon of Saturn, yet, “Titan Revealed” (2018, 35 minutes).


The film gives the most comprehensive picture of the geography of Titan than I have seen, with descriptions and simulated scenery of the large lakes near the north pole as it emerges from Titanium winter.

The film is in even sections, the last two of which deal with what like would be like.  It would involve hydrogen as fuel, acetylene, and methane as a by-product, like carbon dioxide of animal respiration on earth.  Would the methane become a fuel for “plants”?  There has been other speculation that life on Titan might consists of sheets in its lakes that are colonial like slime molds on Earth.
  
I’ve seen animated designs of the proposed submarine to explore the lakes before.

See also “Titan: A Place Like Home”, TV blog, Sept. 20, 2013, BBC.
  
By NASA/JSC - uppper photo; NASA/JPL - lower photo - File:Titan dunes.jpg, Public Domain, Link

Thursday, June 13, 2019

"Interstellar Highway System": why black holes will draw the development of space capital cities


Cool Worlds imagines an “Interstellar Highway System” (31 min).


Is this like the Interstate highway system as Ike imagined it?

In conjunction with the Halo Drive, the speaker imagines a slingshot propulsion system where the traveler “steals” energy from a binary or circular black hole system.

Just as with the US railroad system, interstellar civilization “cities” would develop near the black holes.

Then constant acceleration and time dilation would allow “superman” to traverse the universe in his own lifetime.
  
You would have to accept the idea that people age at different rates.

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

"The Big Bang Wasn't an Explosion" (Thaller); the Universe is super round



The Big Bang Wasn’t an Explosion”.  Michelle Thaller says “Visualize It Like This”.
  
  
A good way to visualize this is to imagine you are living on the surface of a Baby Trump baby balloon, and it is constantly expanding. There is no edge to the surface you are living on.  You are living on the surface of a sphere and there is no edge. Sorry, flat earth people.
  
Likewise, the Universe has no boundary in 3-dimensional space.  That is because it is part of a 4-dimensional (or more) manifold. The way this gets experienced as time dilation as your velocity approaches that of light. Think of time dilation as taking a short cut through the interior of the Trump balloon, without making it pop.
  
It’s theoretically possible for a teenage Clark Kent to travel through the universe at relativistic speeds and visit many places, and he might return to where he started from in a normal lifetime. In a sense, the universe is round.

Sunday, June 09, 2019

"Stonewall Forever": what it was like in 1969


Stonewall Forever: A Documentary about the Past, Present and Future of Pride”, from the LGBTCenterNYC. 


A young man starts by saying that teaching the history of Pride is important for future generations.
  
A homelessness advocate talks about undercover gay life in Washington Square Park around 1962, near the chessboard tables (which are still there).

The documentary talks about the strict ordnances against cross-dressing.

Also, it was against the law to exhibit “homosexual behavior in public” (like Russia now). The film says “we were not a protected class” but that isn’t the reason by itself;  it was also a “due process” problem.

There was a culture of safety in numbers.

The Stonewall rebellion was completely spontaneous.

The Atlantic has an article on how Stonewall was reported back in 1969, by Garance-Franka-Ruka. 

Solidarity and “becoming a people” was important then in a way that it is not now, as individualism has broken it up. In the early days, transgender people, although important in the rebellion, tended to be excluded from the "people". 

There is talk about a "non-binary body" in a binary world, as if it were special relativity in physics. 

Saturday, June 08, 2019

"Higher Dimensions Get Really Weird": mathematics for science fiction movies ("My boyfriend is an alien!")




“MajorPrep”, a video channel for math, physics, and CS students largely, offers “Higher Dimensions Get Really Weird: The Mathematics of What We Can and Cannot Imagine


In the beginning he talks about platonic solids (dice), and Euler’s number – and soon migrates to Mobius strips and unknotting numbers. A seaman’s knot in the Navy is based on this kind of topology.

His central object is the Klein Bottle, which has a “hole” in three dimensional space because we don’t live in more than than 3.

I hadn’t realized that academic mathematicians have studied manifolds of up to 256 dimensions.  
  
String theory supposes that there are eleven. 

My screenplay "Epiphany" imagines a Mobius strip (almost, it fractures at one spot) as a subway on a space station, and interesting things can happen if you ride it.   

If your perfect boyfriend at Pride can disappear and reappear at will like Clark Kent, then he lives in four dimensions (and shrinks and expands and contracts when he comes for a visit to your dimension). That's how your boyfriend can be an alien (and get around Trump's travel bans).  This could be how the Ascension happened, too. (But not the birth.) 

Thursday, June 06, 2019

"The Stonewall You Know Is a Myth": New York Times short film




The Stonewall You Know Is a Myth, and That’s OK”, is a short film from the New York Times, produced and directed by “Shane”.
 
The film looks at the gay rights movement back to 1897 and reports it as more substantial than we realize. 

Marsha P. Johnson didn’t throw the first bottle (or brick), nor did Sylvia Rivera.

There was also a story that it was prepped by the death of Judy Garland.

The film maintains that truth in the narrative of a historical event is important for its own sake.  

Tuesday, June 04, 2019

"Starman from Heaven": a coming of age gay musical (short film) from Brighton, England with a teen director and producer



Starman from Heaven” by Elliot Kershaw, starring Jamie Lye and Milo Wilson, bills itself as an award-winning gay short by a 17-year-old director and producer, just published. 
  

The story concerns two friends, one of whom is just now coming out, as they both belong to a boy band in Brighton (Beach), England, not to be confused with the neighborhood in Brooklyn, NYC. 

Much of the 19-minute film shows the band performing in a theater on the beach.

The film stays in PG-13 territory, except that one of the characters is often shown smoking.
  
The original music is by James Grantham. 

Sunday, June 02, 2019

The Constitution of the Spartans: a foreshadow of modern fascism


Historia Civilis explains “The Constitution of the Spartans” (21 min).


The city-state was a diarchy with two kinds.  It was in a constant state of war readiness because it had been set up by foreign invaders who kept the “helots” in slavery.

Young men, when finishing military service, were given land with slaves.  But the complicated inheritance laws resulting in women accumulating a lot of wealth and power over time, as men often died in battle.

The five “ephors” provided oversight. But they were reviewed by their successors, providing a bizarre kind of stability.

There was also a council called Gerousia.
  
Young men were sent through rigorous military training where they learned to endure much pain.  Weaker boys were often executed, so the system had some of the elements of personal fascism.  This was a militant society as authoritarian as Nazi Germany. 

Wikipedia attribution: By Publius97 at en.wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link