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”

Going Wider

Not a day goes by that I don’t write something in my head. The subjects are as varied as my interests, and anyone who knows me, knows that “independent film” is just the tip of the iceberg. In fact, ever since movies became my career, I am less drawn to them as recreation, and more drawn toward music and technology among other things as my hobbies. So, I’ve decided to move my blogging off the Emerging Pictures site, in order to free myself to talk about any subject I want. I’ll still cross-post when something might relate to Emerging Pictures activities, but here you’ll find me also talking about everything from my latest gadget to my thoughts about how fucked up this country is. Anyway, stay tuned.

Ugh…time for a team shrink?

at Wrigley with Leo Gilbert and Richard Brick -- all smiles, but that was before the game!
at Wrigley with Leo Gilbert and Richard Brick -- all smiles, but that was before the game!

The less said about the Cubs post-season performance, the better. Just know that there is definitely something more going on here than your average 100 year curse. Next year will mark the 101st anniversary of their last championship, and the 60th anniversary of their last World Series appearance. Could that be the omen we’ve been waiting for?

In the meantime, there is much to occupy us until Spring Training…

1. Ron santo is one on the 10 finalists on the Hall of Fame ballot. We’ll know if he made it in February. Go Ron!
2. Why not buy copies of “This Old Cub” and “Chasing October” to keep the baseball season alive!
3. We have another Cubs movie coming shortly…watch these pages!

Chasing October AGAIN!

Yes I obviously do!
Yes I obviously do!

Here we go again.

The Cubs are in the playoffs for the second year in a row…a feat that they haven’t achieved since 1907-1908. Is that a sign that THIS COULD BE THE YEAR? I made up my mind many years ago that if it ever happened, I would be there to witness it. And so far I’ve managed to be at every post-season game played at Wrigley Field since the day I was born. Of course, there used to be a simple punch line to that–there weren’t all that many. But lately, the Cubs are acting like they mean it.

Please note that I have no special privileges that entitle me to post-season tickets. In 2003, I flew to Chicago for each game, not knowing how I’d be able to get in. I hung out at the will-call window and subtly let it be known that I was looking for a single ticket. I managed to score each time, at only a bit more than face value. But it was nerve wracking to say the least.

Continue reading “Chasing October AGAIN!”

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”

Is it sour grapes to ask?

Today’s Variety includes one of the many special sections that are geared toward the awards season. Today’s issue is called “Eye on the Oscars: Best Picture,” and like all of these special issues, it attempts to handicap the race. It lists the so-called “contenders” for the Best Picture category, but somehow it doesn’t include any, that’s right, ANY films that have not also bought ads in that publication over the last few weeks. Is there a connection between these things? Of course Variety would deny it. And by the way, I’m not singling out Variety. All the trades appear to operate the same way. Have any of these issues done feature articles on any films that have not bought trade ads?

Why does this matter? Academy members do not have time to see every eligible film before they vote. They depend to some extent on the handicappers to narrow down the field to a manageable number of films. These special sections are among the ways the race is handicapped. If you are not listed as a contender, you basically don’t exist. So, how much does it cost to get an Oscar thse days?

Opera lovers rejoice!

Emerging Pictures’ venue partners are finding ways to give their Opera-loving audience a way to appreciate the La Scala series even more. The Charles Theatre in Baltimore welcomes local opera aficionado Jonathan Palevsky, Program Director at WBJC a non-commercial, classical music and arts radio station, who will introduce the 7 p.m. AIDA screening at the Charles on Sunday evening, December 9. He stopped by and did a brief introduction at the December 6th 2 o’clock screening.

Check it out here

Thoughts on the Re-release of ‘Diva’

The re-release of Jean Jacques Beneix’s “Diva” has brought back a lot of memories for me. I was working at United Artists Classics when we released the film in the U.S., and I find it fascinating to read about the film’s history in the various articles that have appeared in the last week. Having been there when it all happened, there’s a lot of misinformation floating around. The film was NOT an instant hit or a sensation upon release. Quite the contrary. In fact the film was a complete flop when it was first released in France. No U.S. distributor was interested in it. The film came to us at U.A. and we passed on it…at least twice.

Continue reading “Thoughts on the Re-release of ‘Diva’”