Friday, February 29, 2008

The Shoot That Keeps On Shooting

Yesterday Scott Colthorp shot segment 4 of Tag, You're It!, the exquisite corpse film project I've been documenting over the last two months or so. I'm not at liberty to say much about the shoot except that his great editor Jessica and Scott will have to turn around that last minute of their segment to the segment 5 group tomorrow... Good Luck!

On a somewhat related note: I'm not going to Austin to record the panel about Tag, You're It! at SXSW. Unfortunately, the logistics just weren't favorable. But if everything works out, Scott Colthorp will attend and be able to film the panel for my documentary. Although he's already made clear he would not bring his brand new RED camera to do so. What? Why?

Monday, February 25, 2008

A Week Full of BAM

This past week I went to BAM (the Brooklyn Academy of Music) three times to experience three quite different events, proving yet again how versatile and amazing of a venue it is. BAM calls itself a "multi-use, urban arts center bringing international performing arts and film to Brooklyn" and is basically a complex of two large theater stages, several movie theaters and a big cafe also utilized for live performances.

And it's so close to where I live that this cultural mecca is my neighborhood live performance and movie theater. I just love living here!

Patrick Stewart in Macbeth

This week I saw the stunning opening night performance of Macbeth, starring Patrick Stewart (and "featuring" William Shatner in the audience) at the beautifully designed Harvey Theater with its run-down chique. Magnificent. Personally I loved the witches and the music and colors during their sections the best. But then I sat a little too far away to really appreciate the subtler nuances of the actors' performances. The show is currently sold out for the remainder of its planned stay at BAM. But there are rumors of an extension. Add to that a late night dinner at Junior's with the best cheesecake in town and you have a perfect date for a group of 8.


Then there was a spontaneous "let's pay our check and head over to BAM to see a movie" screening of Persepolis, which was also fantastic - informative, moving and funny. What an incredible accomplishment. Since then I've heard several times that even in this case of an animated movie based on two graphic novels, the books go even more in depth. In any case, don't miss this one.

To round out the week I was lucky to get a ticket (thank you, John!) to one of the two sold-out shows of The National playing at the grand Howard Gilman Opera House. In addition to their usual line-up they brought a brass and a woodwind section, some strings and a grand piano. Seeing them play at little Hamburg club Knust a few months ago has to be one of my favorite shows of recent years. But the quality of sound due to the instrumentation, the quality of equipment at the opera house and the spaciousness of the BAM Opera House was something else. Even the visuals of the tall stage with the long silvery curtain and the changing lights, the dozen musicians with the various instruments and of course the huge space of the room itself made this experience simply beautiful. Sitting down through most of the concert in theater seats though: unbearable!

I can't wait to see The National again while being able to move freely and I'm always looking to BAM for some great culture and entertainment.

Friday, February 22, 2008

"Thirsty" on PBS

"Thirsty", a short film I script supervised a few years ago and which was written, produced and directed by friends at Ugly Betty Productions and Spun Helga Productions, won the voting competition on the Reel13 website will be playing on PBS in New York on Saturday night.

From the filmmakers' thank you note:

Thanks to you THIRSTY will be screening on NYC PBS station, Channel 13 as part of the Reel 13 Program!

THIRSTY will screen tomorrow night, Saturday Feb. 23 (that's lucky 23 if you're into those things!).

The program begins at 9PM with the classic film A Letter To Three Wives, followed by THIRSTY and ending with the indie Marion Bridge.

If you just want to watch the short it will be on at 10:47PM.
There is an encore screening at 2:22AM as well for you night owls.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

The Boys Online

The online show Wallstrip now has a Flickr pool with pictures of Wallstrippets. Here are the pictures of our boys:

Slow-Mo Jarmo

Lynch Kater

Post your best buddy's picture to the Flickr Photo Pool...

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Vote for "Thirsty"

"Thirsty", a short film that friends of mine (Caitlin, Bo & Amanda) wrote, directed and produced and which I script supervised might be shown on PBS as part of the NYC Reel 13 program. But it's up to the voters to decide. There are only two days left to vote for the film - so please take a moment and do just that. Here are the details in the filmmakers' own words:
We wanted to remind everyone who hasn't had a chance to vote for THIRSTY, to please take a moment and visit: saturdays-short

It only takes 10 seconds.
Just click on the 5 stars under the director's name.
Watching the film and leaving a comment are totally optional.

Currently we have a nice lead, but more votes would never hurt. As you know, it would be huge to get to show on NYC's Reel 13 program.
Thank you!!!

Monday, February 18, 2008

Production Goes On

I haven't had much time to write lately. But production has continued on filming all the events of the Exquisite Corpse Film Project, Tag You're It!

Last weekend Scott Solary shot segment #3 with the help of several people from Wallstrip & MobLogic. This weekend he handed over the last minute of his film to Scott Colthorp who will be responsible for conceiving, shooting and editing segment #4 within 14 days. Scott Colthorp is an outstanding cinematographer and director who is in the process of finishing up his documentary Trek Nation and who has been super helpful consulting on the edit of All's Well and Fair. I can't wait to see what he will do with the Exquisite Corpse challenge.

Friday, February 8, 2008

On The Radio

On more than one occasion I've gushed about my favorite radio show: Chicago Public Radio's "This American Life" hosted by Ira Glass. There's nothing quite like the hour of high quality audio documentaries and essays all focused on one distinct theme per episode.

But during the last few weeks of mostly re-runs I discovered another brilliant favorite for myself: New York Public Radio's "Studio 360 with Kurt Andersen". Another show on NPR, which "brings you great stories and conversations about creativity, pop culture and the arts".

Another NPR show I've been pushing on people for the last year is "All Songs Considered" in which host Bob Boilen introduces new music of different genres (Although mostly that indie rockish kind - so don't expect any gospel, classical or kazoo orchestras. Okay, maybe the last is a possibility.) The blog also features great music discussions that go beyond the show.

The program also features live concerts sometimes, which recently have been split up into a separate podcast: "Live Concerts From All Songs Considered".

Last but not least, I'm totally hooked on "the oddly informative news quiz" "Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me!" It makes American politics much easier to take.

All these shows can be heard on the radio or on podcasts. Two shows with readings of short stories I believe exist as podcasts only: PRI's Selected Short and The New Yorker Fiction Podcast. The later features short stories first published in New Yorker magazine and a discussion of the work.

Here are some complete lists of podcasts from the same sources:

NPR podcasts
PRI podcasts
New Yorker podcasts

How about you? Can you recommend any other shows?

Monday, February 4, 2008 already has a new video up on its website today. But my favorite is still the previous one, featuring Putin:

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Another Handover

Today I was filming again for the documentary about the Exquisite Corpse film project, "Tag, You're It!". The filmmakers of the second segment handed over the last minute of their short film/segment to the filmmaker of the third segment. And that filmmaker happens to be Scott. This, of course, means that I have to make sure I don't spill anything I know about the previous segment. All he's allowed to know is that one minute (while I know a lot more). But I've done okay with keeping mum so far.

It was really interesting to watch Scott react to the minute and talk to the women from the previous segment about the expectation, then watching the minute and then trying to figure out what it might mean and more importantly what kind of a film you can spin out of it. Since the IEP women had just gone through this experience two weeks before, they certainly could relate.

The tension and suspense that happens around this handover made me realize again how interesting this whole process is. It gave me a bit of a push again to see that this is a worthwhile project. Of course, documenting everyone's work and this experiment is worthwhile no matter what. But is this documentary going to be an actual film worth watching and does it make sense for me to put my time and effort into it? Some questions like that have lately been sneaking up. I'm already involved in three full-length documentaries (in very different stages). Also SXSW hasn't been all that supportive of me filming during the festival. That's pretty frustrating since this is where some of the filmmakers will officially present "Tag, You're It!" at their panel and probably recruit more collaborators. And last but not least, I usually make films that deal directly with the human experience, films that hopefully will move, enlighten and encourage. I know it sounds cliche, but I like to think that the work I do might make a difference. I suppose a documentary about an arts project can be quite inspiring. It just feels a little bit superficial compared to my usual work.

But either way, today was exciting and the last minute of the second segment turned out great and it looks very promising for the entire Exquisite Corpse film collection/project. And in regards to my documentary about the project... I'll just keep you posted.

Friday, February 1, 2008

115 Years of American Movies

On February 1, 1893 Thomas Edison opened the first "film studio" in America - basically a dark room called the Black Maria.

According to the commemorating "Day In Tech" article in Wired Magazine, which is in turn quoting Wikepedia, the correct pronunciation is: ma-RYE-uh.

Oh no, I've been mispronouncing all these years?