A Proud Dad

I’m ecstatic to report that my son Jeff’s feature documentary “11/4/08” will have its World Premiere at the SXSW Film Festival in March. The film is what he calls a participatory documentary, in that many people contributed footage from around the world, and the film will exist as an ongoing project in which anyone can still submit footage and create their own personal versions of the film.

Check out the trailer and Jeff’s op-ed piece, both now available exclusively available at Mediaite.com, a highly-trafficked news and media website.

Also, you can still participate in the film… Continue reading “A Proud Dad”

An Open Letter to Senator Lieberman

I wanted share with everyone a note that my wife posted on Lieberman’s web site. I urge everyone to bombard him with your own thoughts on the matter..

Dear Sen. Lieberman,

I wish I were a constituent of yours.  Then, perhaps, I could fully demonstrate how outraged I am by your self-serving, grand-standing behavior when it comes to the health care reform bill. Instead of worrying about YOUR grandchildren having to foot the bill (and share their wealth), perhaps–in a true spirit of menshkeit–you should think of all those who are less fortunate and less entitled.  Unless we ALL share the burden, our society can’t move forward as a humane people.  When did you forget that Torah lesson? Your agenda does NOT look like it’s coming from an independent thinker, but from an angry, vengeful politician. And that makes me one angry, disgusted and cynical voter.  Too bad I can’t vote you out.

–Beth Krieger

Wavy Gravy…the real thing

Wavy Gravy

I’d like to bring to your attention a movie that Emerging Pictures is repping which will have its world premiere next week at SXSW. It’s the life story of Wavy Gravy, a guy who I was vaguely familiar with from the movie “Woodstock.” Those of you who have see that film might remember him as a kind of goofy guy in a cowboy hat who ended up becoming the unofficial MC of the event. He mentions in “Woodstock” that he’s “from the hog farm,” which I always thought meant that he was from some hog farm in upstate New York. Little did I know.

Now that I’ve seen the film “Saint Misbehavin’: The Wavy Gravy Movie,” I know better. Wavy (as he is known) is the personification of the counterculture and proof that it is alive and well and having a true impact on the world we live in. The Village Voice once called Wavy a cross between Harpo Marx and Mother Theresa. I couldn’t have said it better myself. The only thing they left out is that he is also Zelig…somehow turning up at every significant counterculture event from the ’50s though today. Wavy’s story is the history of that culture, but more importantly, it is the inspirational story of someone who made up his mind to devote his entire life to doing good in the world…and has made good on that commitment. When the film is over, and you’ll be singing along with Wavy’s song “Basic Human Needs,” and you’ll want to get out and make a difference yourself.

Those of you who are going to SXSW, please make a point of checking it out. There’s a pretty amazing party planned for afterward…details to come.

Bali High

Beth & Ira at the Sea Temple
Beth & Ira at the Sea Temple

From having read a little about the place, I knew that Bali was going to be a very different place than any I had ever visited. But there were a few things I hadn’t anticipated.

For one thing, I had completely forgotten that newly elected president-elect Obama had spent time in Indonesia…and was quite the local hero. On our first day in Bali, our tour guide Merte , with a little prompting, gave us a glimpse into the pride of the Balinese people in having a part in this historic event. That morning, the local newspaper reported how schools all over Indonesia had set aside 15 minutes of prayer on election day, hoping to help Obama get elected. Continue reading “Bali High”

Anxious for news

It’s been a few weeks since I last posted, so I have a lot to catch up on. First I owe an election night report.

Beth and I boarded a Cathay Pacific flight to Bali via Hong Kong at 10pm on the night before the election. I knew we would have about 2 hours to catch some election results between flights in Hong Kong. We landed at about 8am on Weds local time, which is 7pm Tuesday night in New York. We raced to the business class lounge, not knowing whether we would be using wifi on my phone, or my laptop, or some other method of getting some news. At the lounge we immediately found a wide-screen TV tuned in to CNN. There were a handful of people gathered around, and other folks would stop to glance at the TV as they passed by.

Continue reading “Anxious for news”

Slinging Obama

14 days to go until the election, and from what I can see, everything is trending in the right direction. There’s a part of me that is beginning to allow myself to dream about the possibilities. If Obama does indeed manage to win, there’s no doubt in my mind that it’ll be a true game changer in just about every way. New found respect abroad? Check. Forever removing the glass ceiling on race? Check. Reinvigorating the American dream? Check. Then there is the other part of me–I guess you could call it the Cubs fan part–which keeps reminding me that the Democrats (like the Cubs) have a way snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. In the meantime, I’ve become addicted to CNN, watching the pundits and reading into every potential portent.

Continue reading “Slinging Obama”

In the eye of the beholder

In the February 19, 1986 issue of The New York Times, Janet Maslin said in her review, “Most of ”Parting Glances” functions as a parade of homosexual stereotypes.” On the same day, several other mainstream reviews said basically the same thing. Meanwhile, every gay publication hailed the film as the first realistic portrayal of gay culture they had ever seen in a film. Due to the bad mainstream reviews, the film died a quick death at the box office (anyone remember the Embassy 72nd Street theater?). A generation later, the film is commonly thought of as a classic, a landmark film in the “New Queer Cinema.” When the film was restored and shown at Outfest earlier this year, the festival referred to it as “among the most beloved LGBT films of the last 25 years.”

Continue reading “In the eye of the beholder”

Carbon Neutral Distribution

Anne Thompson recently wrote a column in Variety about the “greening” of Hollywood–the attempts by certain folks in the biz to make the process of making films more environmentally friendly. I wrote her a polite note telling her that she’d actually missed an obvious angle–the fact that the current 35mm theatrical distribution process is quite unfriendly to the environment. It would take a lot of carbon credits for the industry to overcome the many trucks and planes that are necessary to delivery those 35mm film cans, not to mention the process of making the prints, which requires putting petroleum-based substances into baths of toxic chemicals. Then consider what has to happen to all those prints when they are ultimately “destroyed.” In other words, theatrical distributors have a lot to answer for with Mother Nature.

But rather than fret about it, perhaps the studios should wake up to the fact that there is a better solution than paying for carbon credits–digital theaters. Imagine a world in which film prints are merely digital files, and those files can be delivered electronically without the need for airplanes and trucks. Hollywood doesn’t want you to know this, but this world exists right now.  Continue reading “Carbon Neutral Distribution”