Thursday, January 21, 2010

Staceyann Chin

Feministing posted something about Staceyann Chin today and thus introduced me to this incredible, brave, beautiful woman. I've been watching some of her work, and the ending of this made me seriously tear up. Fucking awesome.

Just another reason why I love Sadie Nardini.

Thursday Morning News Brief.

Haven't really been keeping up with much of the news as of late. It's my fault, I know. I need to keep being a well-informed citizen. I think the holidays kind of zapped me out of wanting to know about reality to completely wanting to AVOID reality. However, I know I don't live in a bubble and so... here's some random news you might have missed:

Focus On The Family is putting up a pro-life ad during the Super Bowl starring Gators Golden Boy Tim Tebow. Completely lame, yes?

Good job, NBC! Conan O'Brien got fucked again!
Jay Leno will be going back to his original spot because he's an ass hate and Conan won't be on TV for 8 goddamn months. Granted, they're both going to be enjoying their millions regardless and it really doesn't affect me personally. But shit, I really was with Team CoCo...

Too fucking cool.
Kathleen Hanna's papers will be placed in NYU's Riot Grrrl collection at the Fales Library. First off... they have a RIOT GRRRL COLLECTION IN THEIR LIBRARY!? Just... wow. Impressed and it just makes me want to go to NYU for grad school now, hah.

In case you're not familiar with Kathleen Hanna...

A short quip on the Ethics of Looting over at NPR.

And finally... An incredible victory just happened in South Miami wherein the (usually not so fabulous) commissioners have granted benefits to domestic partners in the area! This is seriously amazing and going completely under the radar. Could this be what Miami needs to get the ball rolling?? Maybe I should finally switch my permanent address (I'm on the cusp between Pinecrest and South Miami so I'd need to find out whether it would count...) Seriously GOOD news, though!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

I'm with CoCo.

Since I have access to television right now, I've been missing all the juicy insanity between Conan O'Brien, Jay Leno, and everyone on the sidelines. Here's a few clips I dug up, plus an extra surprise at the end.

Oh, and... if anyone was wondering... I am totally with Conan. NBC need to get their heads out of their asses.

Conan griping about the situation. (Not to be confused with 'The Situation')

David Letterman getting his shots in years after he underwent a similar ordeal.

Craig Ferguson laughing his ass off at everyone.

Jimmy Kimmel on Jay Leno Show. Seriously one of the most brutal interviews I have ever seen (maybe I haven't seen enough but... well, holy shit.)

And finally...

SNL Digital Short: Laser Cats 5. Just... cause.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Tuesday Trailers!

Sorry I haven't done one of these in forever. Here's a few to start off the year!

Red Riding - Script was written by Tony Grisoni of Fear and Loathing fame, plus newcomer Andrew Garfield (from Gilliam's Imaginarium) will be starring. Apparently it's 3 films combined to one, each directed by a different person. Interesting concept, and hopefully it works!

Multiple Sarcasms - I have a feeling the movie might be more entertaining than the trailer... Maybe.

The Beautiful Person (La Belle Personne) - Everything just seems better in French.

Babies - Babies have always been of a bizarre interest to me. Not in that "I want to be a mommy" way, but just fascinating as these tiny human beings to which everything is new and who can absorb so much knowledge without even really trying. This looks like a really fantastic documentary.

Waiting for Armageddon - A frightening look at what religious extremists are seriously convinced of and what their hatred approves of.

Fading of the Cries - Because this trailer was ultimately too WTF to pass up...

The Other Side of Paradise - Starring a bunch of random people including a guy that looks like he could be brothers with Christian from Nip/Tuck... looks interesting enough. At the very least for my netflix queue!

A Prophet (Un Prophete) - All I can say is... looks good!

More next week!

Math LOLs

(Via wtf_sexism and Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal.)

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Review: "Nothing is permanent. Not even death." - The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus

I've been waiting for the Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus for a few years now and it was such a great surprise to find it was playing at my local theater yesterday. I'm a devoted fan of Terry Gilliam, who is a master at weaving fantastic tales and taking his viewers on other-worldly journeys. You'd expect nothing less out of every single one of his films, from the child-like Adventures of Baron Munchausen to the darker yet still innocent Tideland. Imaginarium's trailer seemed to promise no different. Added to this was the bittersweet delight of watching the gone-too-soon Heath Ledger's final performance, cut short by his untimely death, and only completed thanks to Gilliam's directorial creativity and the short but on spot performances of Johnny Depp, Jude Law, and Colin Ferrell.

(The spoilers begin here, I'm afraid. If you don't mind having information about the first half of the film, read on.)

The trailer for Imaginarium doesn't give the viewer much except that you know it will look beautiful. From the get go, you realize it's a very different tale from what you might first expect. Doctor Parnassus (Christopher Plummer) is not only a magical old man, but rather an unhappy drunk who made a bargain with the devil to gain immortality. He travels with his daughter Valentina (played by the lovely, up and coming talent Lily Cole), a quick witted little person named Percy (Verne Troyer), and loyal underdog Anton (Andrew Garfield). Parnassus, we later discover, is completely disheveled as the clock ticks closer to Valentina's 16th birthday, the age at which he must turn her over to the devil (played marvelously by Tom Waits). Meanwhile, Valentina's dreams of escaping the life of a traveling street performer are interrupted when the group discover a man (whose name we later find is Tony, and who was played by the late Heath Ledger) hanging from a rope underneath a bridge. The stranger turns out to be a man of many faces and he joins the performers, enchanting ladies to come through Doctor Parnassus' mirror, and essentially, in to Parnassus' very imagination. Without giving too much away, the rest of the film follows the ongoing wagering between Parnassus and Devil, the slow discovery of who Tony really is, Anton's ceaseless devotion to Valentina and her equally unshakable devotion to Tony, and occasional visits in to the beautifully bizarre Imaginarium.

There are a lot of interesting undertones involved in the film. For one, Parnassus was originally part of a group of individuals who tell the story of the universe. Without people to tell the story, the universe would cease to exist. The devil attempts to prove him wrong, but fails because Parnassus realizes that no matter what, someone is always telling a story. This was probably my favorite sentiment in the film, something I think any writer could have a soft spot for. Technically, this scene didn't serve much purpose except to find a way to introduce Parnassus, but I love that Gilliam included it (although I would love to see him follow up on that idea in a separate film.) There is also the battle between flawed-but-good and evil (Parnassus versus the Devil.) Parnassus has incredible powers, but he doesn't want to rule the world. As Percy so eloquently puts it, "he wants the world to rule itself." What a fabulous way to look at and interpret religion/belief. In this world, it's almost as if god is a lonely alcoholic who just wants people to be happy and wants to be happy himself. Heaven lies within his mind and all who enter find their own version of paradise to submit to. Parnassus and the Devil vie for souls and each has their own technique at fooling/enchanting people to submit. But with Parnassus, there is no guilt to be good, to do right, but rather to just be happy. He is flawed as are the souls he takes, but in this world there is nothing "wrong" with that. At the same time, the Devil, who is quite the gambler, doesn't necessarily want to win but just wants to keep the game going. It's no fun if you're going to win all the time and so he presses on wager after wager. Brilliant.

The film itself is beautifully shot, and even with the use of CGI (which I normally can't stand), it actually still worked. It appears that Gilliam's personal touch went in to all of the shots, and he must have had an amazing art direction department to get it all just right. There's definitely some bits of Monty Python that creep out (some of the visuals, as well as the bizarre scene with the dancing male cops dressed in skirts, pantyhose, and heels) which may have seemed out of place if you weren't familiar with Monty Python. Lily Cole is definitely going places, she has a genuine charisma that complements her unusual look. Andrew Garfield, another up and comer, also delivers a wonderful performance. Sure, you can kind of hate him at certain points for seeming to be the immature friend who doesn't get a clue, but you then realize his heart is in the right place and he rises from underdog status before the credits roll. Waits portrayal of the sly, squinty-eyed, thinly moustached Devil steals every scene he's in. Overall, i'd say this was another Gilliam-esque triumph.

One final thing worth noting: If you never fell in love with Heath Ledger in his previous roles, guaranteed you will love him here. It makes me wonder if he was as enchanting in real life as he was in this film. Charming for the most part and then somewhat villainous in others, it's just a shame he won't get to see it, and even more of a shame that we'll never get to see him do it up this way again.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Jackson Health System halts dialysis for poor patients

I don't even know where to begin with this...

Dozens of patients are facing a life-or-death situation after Jackson Health System stopped paying for treatment for their failing kidneys.

The financially strapped Jackson Health System has stopped paying for dialysis treatments for 175 poor patients with failing kidneys -- a decision that experts say could be deadly.

``It is no game,'' says Emelina GarcĂ­a CordovĂ­, 67, whose treatments at a South Miami-Dade center were cut off Dec. 31. ``We are talking of the lives of persons who depend exclusively on their dialysis.''

Jackson, Miami-Dade's government health system intended to be a safety net for the poor and uninsured, said it expects to save $4.2 million by stopping payments for outpatient dialysis treatment for the 175 patients. Of those, other avenues for care have been found for all but 41, says spokesman Robert Alonso. About a third of those are undocumented immigrants, who are not eligible for government programs.

Read on...


Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Happy Drag History Month!

Thanks, Queers United for turning me on to Drag History Month! Maybe someday we WILL be able to celebrate internationally all out :)

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

3D Television Channel!

Always knew it would be a matter of time before this happened. I had this idea as a kid and these bastards have stolen it! I coulda been rich... Hrm.

Discovery, Imax and Sony Form 3-D Television Channel

What I want to know though, is when they're going to make 3D contact lenses or 3D filters for people WITH glasses. Cause i'll be damned if those things don't give me a headache...

First Transgender Presidential Appointee!

For all of Obama's faults, he does continue to make quiet, positive strides here and there. Just found this buried between posts on Feministing (Via HuffPo)!

President Obama has appointed Amanda Simpson, a transgender woman, to be the Senior Technical Adviser to the Commerce Department.

"I'm truly honored to have received this appointment and am eager and excited about this opportunity that is before me," Simpson said in a statement. "As one of the first transgender presidential appointees to the federal government, I hope that I will soon be one of hundreds, and that this appointment opens future opportunities for many others."

Bravo, Ms. Simpson and Mr. Obama for not allowing narrow mindedness to prevent you from picking the right person for the job.

Monday, January 04, 2010

Monday Discoveries.

Today I learned that...

Garlic sesame sticks from Whole Foods are one of the greatest snacks in the world. Ever. I think you need to go buy some right now.

Fidel Castro will probably never die. I'm pretty certain of this. Or at least anyone who was around during his initial takeover will probably die before he ever does. Maybe that's what happens when so many thousands of people wish someone dead. Not that I'm a fan of Fidel, but just saying.

Apparently Miami is feeling its coldest winter in 9 years.
Meaning the last time it was this cold it was 2001 and I was 16. I actually recall cold winters in my early high school years, waiting at 6am for school to start was always a fun/not-so-fun time for us. A lot of people are complaining about this, but I'm welcoming it with open, shivering arms.

Rediscovering old DVDs is fun. We bought The Animation Show ages ago and I've been reconnecting with some of my favorite animated shorts, like this little gem:

NicCageAsEveryone fever is sweeping the nation! Or at least my Facebook. Okay, maybe I'm just thoroughly amused.

And finally, this isn't something I learned today... but we've been watching Newsradio reruns thanks to Hulu as of late and i'll be damned if I don't fall in love with Bill McNeil (Phil Hartman) during every single episode. With his wit and charm and that goddamn awesome voice... how can you not?? You'll always be missed, Phil!

Friday, January 01, 2010

Things I'm Looking Forward to in 2010.

Welcome, 2010! So far, it's been a lazy start to the year for me, but definitely a good one. The weather in Miami is perfect and I'm taking it all as good omens. 2010 should be an exciting time, and I'll keep on with the general hope that it'll be an even better year. Here's a few random things I'm looking forward to in this year:

-New Movie Releases! Although looking down the list, I haven't found as many movies to be excited about as I should be, there are a choice few that I'm psyched about (most especially the Nightmare on Elm Street remake!) I seriously need to make more time for watching movies at the theater this year, even if it's just on campus at the Cosford. Regardless, I'm sure 2010 will bring in a few gems, as occurs every year.

-Television! I know, it's sad to admit but I'm going through some MAJOR TV withdrawls. Luckily, Grey's Anatomy (my girlie kryptonite) starts up in a few days. From there, it'll be a long Spring waiting for new episodes of True Blood, Mad Men, and even Weeds, whom I had given up on until I saw that jaw dropping season finale. For now, I need to catch up on Breaking Bad and maybe finally get around to finishing Six Feet Under and some others. Hurray, Netflix!

-The 2010 Fifa World Cup! I'll admit, I don't regularly watch soccer, but I definitely jump on the bandwagon for this. And on a more superficial level, who can really deny how great it can be to watch some of those boys run around for a few hours? ;)

-Finally getting a radio spot! I've been doing newscasts for WVUM 1-2x a week for the last two semesters, but I really want to have an hour to play music and such. Maybe 2 hours. I'm hoping I can get my hands on some new music and maybe get a feel for the radio dj thing. Definitely excited about this on a personal level.

-Vancouver Winter Olympics! Mostly because I never watch the winter games and i'd finally like to get around and do it. I have a secret love of watching professional figure skating.

-TWO Florida Renaissance Festivals! Every year, I go to the Renn Fest over at Quiet Waters Park, but this year it was impossible. Luckily, the people who run that fest are also having an additional fest in January over in Virginia Key. My nerd-self is definitely excited about this!

-Winter Music Conference! I completely missed out on too many good shows last year since school was becoming overwhelming. I'm hoping I can get out to at least one or two this year. The timing sucks because it's immediately after my Spring Break as well, but maybe I can get caught up with things before that time. I need something to top my dancing on stage with 2 Live Crew when they were down for WMC a few years ago! Hell, maybe I'll even make my way to Ultra for the first time ever. Need to start using my WVUM creds for these things!

-MegaCon... and conventions in general! I went to my first MegaCon (and also, my first comic convention ever) two years ago and last year I wasn't able to, but I really hope I can make the time this year. My main literary man (well, sortof), Levar Burton is going to be there!! Other random but also welcome guests in attendance will be Lea Thompson, Billy Dee Williams, and Mr. Hercules himself, Kevin Sorbo hah. But really, I just want to see Levar and pick up some comics and meet some new artists. Hopefully we get a few other random cons here throughout the year as well. I'm still kicking myself for being sick the weekend the cast of Futurama was down for a convention. But at least I saw Bruce Campbell AND got the Bounty Hunter from X-Files' autograph!

-New Music Releases! Lots of bands/musicians are coming out with some long anticipated albums and I'm anxious to hear them. Earlier, I watched the video for Paradise Circus, a track off Massive Attack's latest due in February, I believe. Magnetic Fields, Deftones, Juliana Hatfield, Portishead, Nine Inch Nails (as well as Trent Reznor separately) and Radiohead should also have some new stuff out this year. Best part is new albums generally mean tour dates and i'll be damned if I miss any more concerts. Still a little weirded out by the Soundgarden reunion, but i'd probably want to check em out for the hell of it.

-Super Bowl XLIV! Okay, so I'm not the biggest sports fan around, but it's cool to be in the host city of this year's super bowl. The Dolphins... still.. have a bit of a chance from what I understand, and if they somehow made it that would be ridiculous. However, it should still be a good time (not that I could actually afford to go to the game) and I'm sure we'll have a watching party to go to at any number of places.

-Writing! A novel, some short stories, a comic, whatever. I need to ante up as far as my writing is concerned. Looking forward to creating some horrible (and hopefully in between, some good) writing this year.

What will you be looking forward to in the new year?