Monday, May 31, 2010
We conclude our month of quotes from left-wing radicals with this quip from the late rock and roll pioneer Frank Zappa (1940-1993) who probably never got around to performing in Provo, Utah:
"When God created Republicans, he gave up hope on everything else."
We take this moment to salute all soldiers serving our armed forces in Iraq, Afghanistan and Norway (well, we are getting ahead of our selves!).
I also want to take a moment to remember my late stepfather Donald Sullivan and my late grandfather Dudley C. "Doc" Sturgis, both of whom were World War Two veteran.
We thought we would go with an image of Godzilla, the Japanese monster who first surfaced on the big screen in 1954 under the direction of Ishiro Honda (1911-1993) to show irony (for those who flunked history in high school, we defeated the Japanese in World War Two) and to remind right-wing nuts that they are our friends now!
Honda did not direct my personal favorite Godzilla film (I would certainly agree it's not the best) "Godzilla Versus the Smog Monster" (1971). These films used to come on tv occasionally in the late afternoon on Channel 13 out of Lynchburg, Va., when I was a kid. And, my sister quickly got irritated with me for watching them. So much so, that she may have told my father (who died in 1983) that I was watching them instead of doing my homework. But, then again, this could all be revisionist history!
Sunday, May 30, 2010
The United State men's national soccer team hosted Turkey yesterday afternoon in a 'friendly' game in Philadelphia, which resulted in a 2-1 victory for the home team.
A few hours prior to learning about the game, I brought tickets to see a matinee performance of William Shakespeare's "All's Well That Ends Well" at the American Shakespeare Theatre in Staunton, Va., some four and a half hours south of Philly.
The soccer game was airing on ESPN-2 at 1:30 p.m., just a half hour before the curtain was to rise, so I phoned a friend in North Carolina to see if by chance he would tivo the game for me. As it turned out, Osman Bey (not his real name) was taking the whole extended family, a party of 11 people including his toddler grandchildren, to Philly for the game!
The game was apparently an exciting one as Turkey scored first on a goal from Arda Turdan, who plays for Istanbul powerhouse GalataSaray, in the 27th minute. But, the second half completely belonged to the home squad as Team America scored an equalizer in the 58th minute as Robbie Findley, who plays for the current MLS champ Real Salt Lake (Salt Lake City, Utah) lofted a pass to American star Landon Donovan of the L.A. Galaxy who in turned passed the ball to teammate Jozy Altidore who scored the goal.
Then, Clint Dempsey, on another Donovan assist, snuck the ball past Turkish goalie Volkan Demirel, who plays for another Istanbul powerhouse FenerBahce, in the 75th minute to give Team America a 2-1 lead which they held on to until game's end.
The match was played in front of 55,047 people at Lincoln Field. Afterward, Donovan told reporters that: "We're going to be good as we want to be." Team American next faces England in the World Cup in South Africa in June. Vice President Joe Biden will be attending the game in person.
As for the Turkish side, the newspaper "Today's Zaman" speculated that partisan Turkish soccer fans might be hostile towards new team coach Guus Hiddink (a Dutch citizen) if play doesn't improve. Turkey did not qualify for this year's World Cup though their arch rivals Greece did.
The Turkey-USA game put me in a bit of a political quandary as I am a Turkish-American, and though I grew up in Roanoke, Va., I felt compelled to root for my late father's country.
But, apparently, my situation was not as awkward as the one that Guiseppe Rossi, 23, an Italian-American soccer player who grew up in Clifton, NJ, faced as he chose not only to play for Italy, but he scored two goals for his team in a win over the United States earlier this year! Hence, some partisan American soccer fans have taken to calling him 'Judas.'
As for "All's Well That Ends Well," the production was simply delightful though I was glad I didn't have a Blackberry which might have forced me to check the score of the game during the play's intermission.
The ever-gorgeous actress Kelly McKinnon was delightful as The Countess and the barefoot pilgrim Mariana as was African-American actress Brandi Rhome who played the roles of Diana and Steward in the production. She plays Juliet in one of the troupe's other current plays "Romeo and Juliet." Rick Blunt also stood out as Parolles as did Josh Carpenter who played The Duke and (interestingly enough!) the widow.
For more information about tickets and performances, log on to www.ASCstaunton.com or call 1-877-MUCH-ADO.
Today, we remember our favorite Republican as actor/filmmaker/photographer/artist/art collector Dennis Hopper lost his battle to prostate cancer yesterday at the age of 74.
But, he leaves behind him a legacy of memorable films from "Easy Rider" to "Apocalypse Now!" to "Blue Velvet.
One film that many Americans are unaware that he starred is the brilliant Wim Wenders film "The American Friend" which was made in Germany in 1977. It was based on the Patricia Highsmith novel "Ripley's Game."
Here are some trivia bits we found about the film which is available on dvd through Netflix:
-In addition to Hopper, there are six other film directors in the film (alas most of them are deceased). Each of them play criminals. They include Nicholas Ray who actually directed Hopper, when he was 19, in "Rebel Without a Cause" (1955), maverick, independent director Sam Fuller ("The Big Red One," "White Dog") and famed French film director Jean Eustache who directed the 1973 classic "Mother and the Whore," which is also notable for being substantially more than three hours in length! Alas, Eustache committed suicide at a young age.
-John Cassavates was actually Wenders' initial choice to play Ripley (Hopper's part), but he declined. Though it was his recommendation that lead to Hopper's casting.
-Hopper improvised much of the dialogue including the line: "We have nothing to fear, but fear itself."
-The film marked the screen debut for Bruno Ganz who in recent years has played Hitler in the acclaimed German film "Downfall."
-Hopper and Ganz actually got into a fist-fight on the set!
Those who wish to see Hopper can see the western film "Hang 'Em High" (1968) with Clint Eastwood that was already scheduled to air on TCM tomorrow afternoon (Memorial Day) at 3:00 p.m.
There will be more on Hopper on our other blog "Politics, Culture and Others of Time."
Saturday, May 29, 2010
Thursday, May 27, 2010
If you are going to drink and drive; however, you may want to go with either Arpanoosh or Behnoosh Beer. Both Iranian brews are non-alcoholic.
In a more serious matter, the Iranians in exile (oppose the government in Teheran) web site iran.org and the "Los Angeles Times" has reported that four Kurdish activists were executed in Iran circa May 10.
The executions including the murder of a young female Kurdish activist named Shirin Alam-Houli.
The above image, by the way, is of Iranian college-age girls partying. We presume they are doing so outside their native land!
Here are the last ten films I've seen. I will post commentary about some of them at the end of the list:
1. "White Dog" (1982. dir-Sam Fuller)
2."The Panic in Needle Park" (1971. w/Al Pacino. dir-Jerry Schatzberg)
3. "The Last Frontier" (1955. dir-Anthony Mann)
4. "Young Torless" (Germany. 1966. dir-Volker Schlondorff)
5. "Giants and Toys" (Japan. 1958. dir-Yasuzo Masumura)
6. "The Wild One" (1953. w/ Marlon Brando and Lee Marvin. dir-Laslo Benedek)
7. "The Red Shoes" (South Korea. 2005. dir- Yong-gyum Kim)
8."The President's Last Bang" (South Korea. 2005. dir- Sang-soo Im)
9. "Bandolero!" (1968 w/ Jimmy Stewart, Dean Martin and Raquel Welch. dir-Andrew V. McLaglen)
10. "Get Carter" (UK. 1971. w/ Michael Caine. dir-Mike Hodges)
Of all these titles, I had only seen "White Dog," which was highly controversial at the time. It is a poignant film about the negative effects of racism on American society as illustrated through a trained 'white dog' which is meant to attack black people.
The NAACP, however, misinterpreted the film's message and urged Paramont to block its release. Hence, it never found an office though the new Criterion release has helped further the film's well-deserved cult following. Interestingly, a very young Kristy McNichol (who was about 20 when the film was made) is the lead. I am pretty sure it is her most serious role, but films of "The Nights the Lights Went Out in Georgia" may beg to differ:)
The German film "Young Torless" is an exceptional statement on Nazi Germany even though it takes place at a boarding school in rural Germany during the turn of the 20the century. The film illustrates what can happen when one chooses to overlook an injustice they witness in front of them.
The Korean horror film "The Red Shoes" should in no way way be confused with Michael Powell's classic film of the same name, though both are based on the same Hans Christien Andersen fairy tale!
"The President's Last Bang," another Korean film made in 2005 is an excellent political thriller with lots and lots of blood. It should be subtitled: "Z Meets Reservoir Dogs." The film is about the real-life 1979 political assasination of then president Park Chung-Hee by Kim Jaegyu, his own director of intelligence! According to wikipedia, Jaegyu was hanged for the crime in 1980. He was actually a good friend of the president's!
And, the original 1971 version of "Get Carter" (pictured here) is a very unique film as it shows Michael Caine basically being a son-of-a-biscuiteater. Amazingly enough (SPOILER ALERT), his character Carter never kills anyone with his gun. But, his victim meet their fate in other ways, including being casually dumped from the upper story of a large office building.
Caine's new film "Harry Brown" seems to have a similar plot line and it is currently showing at the following places on the east coast: The Bow-Tie Cinema in Hartford, Conn., The Landmark Bethesda Row Cinema in Bethesda, Md., and The Ritz East in Philadelphia.
The South Korean horror
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
There were many things we learned this afternoon, including the disturbing news that a 13-year-old kid brought a gun to Blacksburg Middle School today in Blacksburg, Va, where the Virginia Tech shooting tragedy occured in 2007 (I grew up in nearby Roanoke, Va.), the UNC Tarheels' women's lacrosse team is getting ready to face Northwestern in the NCAA semi-finals on Friday and Pakistani officials are considering relaxing the nationwide ban on YouTube.
But, for our story of the day, we are going with this tid-bit we learned from a tweet from the NPR talk show "Fresh Air," which is hosted by Terry Gross:
'Green Day song "Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)" was used in "Seinfeld" and "ER." '
I knew that it was used in "Seinfeld," but it seems intriguing that it was picked up by the hospital drama which ran on tv for 36 years (that is a joke!).
The NPR radio program features an interview with actor Walter Goggins who is now appearing in the FX series "Justified" this week.
For those in my state of residence North Carolina,"Fresh Air" airs on WUNC-FM (90.7 FM/Chapel Hill) at 7 p.m. Those of you living just up the road in the hamlet of Boones Mill, Va., (near Roanoke) can listen to the broadcast at 6:30 p.m. on WVTF
Tuesday, May 25, 2010
The town of Rocky Mount, Va., in Franklin County located between Martinsville and Roanoke, will be hosting an old car show this weekend. So, we thought we'd feature a photo of a 1908 Model-T Ford even though we have no idea if this particular car will be among those at the show. The area is most known around the state, and perhaps around the world for its many moonshine still though most are no longer in existence.
I must profess that as I drove through the area this weekend that I was wondering if the Franklin County Democratic Party was now outlawed as signs for far-right Tea Party Republicans were everywhere in view as were militant pro-life billboards. Similarly, many churches in the area (also in neighboring Henry County, Va.) had very overt, anti-Obama messages--so much for the separation of church and state along Route 220!
Apparently, the Franklin County Democratic Party in Rocky Mount does in fact still exist, but when we did an arbitrary web search for the organization we stumbled upon the web site http://www.fcdp.org
I got quite excited before I realized it was the web site for the Franklin County Democratic Party in Columbus, Ohio!
Perhaps, it was Christopher Sharrett who said it best in a recent issue of "Cineaste," a publication which unapologetic film snobs such as myself really adore (having said that, I am openly debating whether I should add "Soggy Bottom USA"- a 1981 film which isn't exactly "Rashomon" to my Netflix que), when he said the following statement regarding the 2004 horror film "Saw" and its many sequels:
"The latest in fashion in fear or politically toxic mortality tales? Make your choice."
Sharrett then added the following sentiment about Jigsaw, the engaging mass murderer in films who 'welcomes guests' into his house or horrors:
"Jigsaw, the disgruntled, middle-class white male professional, fits in a long tradition of male characters fed up with democratic institutions, determined to set their own rules."
"Saw" will air at midnight as part of IFC's midnight pulp series this Friday. I've seen the film and many of its sequels (I think there are five or six films in the series) though I've often wondered why I am lured to this exercise in torture porn- and, in fact since the film series is now a billion dollar franchise so have many other people around the world!
According to the IMDB, the original "Saw" (2004. d. James Wan) was originally rated NC-17 before cuts were made after its premiere at the Sundance Film Festival (of all places!). Pre-production for "Saw" was a mere five days. The shoot lasted just 18 days. "Saw II" was green-lighted after the original's opening weekend. And, the film's puppet Jigsaw (pictured here) was made from scratch by the filmmakers.
Even though the film has a subversive far-right message that those 'who do bad things' bascially deserve to be gradually be sawed or hacked to death or beheaded......(hmm, perhaps they should show this film at a radical Southern Baptist Church in a town like War, W.Va), one of the orginal film's stars Danny Glover is known for being one of Hollywood's leading liberal activists.
"Saw" also features Leigh Whannel (who co-wrote the screenplay), Monica Potter, Cary Elwes and Tobin Bell as Jigsaw. Ironically, Bell is not a fan of horror films!
Monday, May 24, 2010
The poet Allen Ginsberg (1926-1997) is our choice for The Quote of the Week as we continue our series on left-wing rdicals. Ginsberg was part of the beat movement, which included the late William Burroughs ("The Naked Lunch") who is perhaps my favorite writer/novelist.
We quoted Ginsberg earlier in April for National Poetry Month. This particular quote came across 'our desk' by chance, and we love it!:
"Democracy! Bah! When I hear that word I reach for my feather Boa!"
Sunday, May 23, 2010
My friend Jason Garnett's new film venue in downtown Roanoke, Va., called The Shadowbox: Community Microcinema has announced its schedule for the month of June, which will include a screening of "This is Spinal Tap" and Jean-Luc Godard's New Wave classic "A Woman is a Woman."
Here is the complete lineup:
June 8- "Lady Snowblood" (1973)-This Japanese film directed Toshiya Fujita was reportedly Quentin Tarantino's inspiration for the 'Kill Bill' movies.
June 12-Brian Bear's Musically Animated Variety Show
June 13- "The Car" (1977). This is a drive-in movie starring James Brolin. The car used in the film cost $84,000 to build according to the IMDB.
June 15- "Until the Light Takes Us" (2008)- A documentary film about Norwegian black metal, which includes Jan Axel "Hellhammer" Blomberg (yeah, I have no idea who he is either, but I love his name!).
June 18- "Drive Well, Sleep Carefully"- A documentary about the band Death Cab for Cutie.
June 19- "This is Spinal Tap" (pictured) The classic 1984 mocumentary film about the heavy metal band Spinal Tap has developed a loyal following. The band 'reportedly' lost some 32 drummers due to drug overdoses.
June 21- "We Are Skateboarders"
June 22- "Wild Zero" (2000)- Cult Japanese film with zombie subplot!
June 25-27- Gay Lesbian Film Festival
June 29- "A Woman is a Woman" (1961)- Godard's musical! film revolves around a striptease artist who tries to have a baby with her boyfriend. The vintage Godard flick is obviously not set in Topeka, Kan.!
For more info, log on to www.theshadowboxcinema.com
Saturday, May 22, 2010
I am continuing my series which looks at the Best Films of each year that started a decade from 1950-2000.
Today, we look at the Best Films of 1990, which in cinematic terms was a fairly tepid one though it produced some great films from Martin Scorsese, The Coen Brothers, Pedro Almodovar and David Lynch.
I first saw "Goodfellas" (pictured here) at an outdoor cinema on the island of Buyukada, off the coast of Istanbul, Turkey. A friend of mine who I ran into at the cinema left during intermission (in Turkey to this day, they insert a ten-minute intermission to all films which can at times be a bit awkward) because he thought the film was 'too violent.'
But, irregardless of what the guy (I believe his name was Ali or Ahmet) thought the film by Scorsese is a genuine masterpiece which complements his other superlative films like "Raging Bull" (my choice for the best film of 1980) and "Taxi Driver."
My choice for the best foreign-language film is the Iranian classic "Close-Up" by Abbas Kiarostami, which merits a second look (alas, my Netflix que is full!). Kiarostami has also directed great films like "Ten," and he helped define the surprising film movement in Iran. With the recent arrest of Jafar Panahi (director of "Offsides"), Iran is alas still not a place where artistic expression, especially ones with political overtones, come easily.
Two films which lead to the NC-17 rating came out in 1990, including Almodovar's "Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down!" and Philip Kaufman's "Henry and June." Both films were also as good as they were provocative and hence both make my top ten:
1. "Goodfellas" (Martin Scorsese)
2. "Miller's Crossing" (Coen Bros.)
3. "Close-Up" (Iran. Abbas Kiarostami)
4. "The Grifters" (Stephen Frears)
5. "Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down!" (Spain. Pedro Almodovar)
6. "Wild at Heart" (David Lynch)
7."Edward Scissorhands" (Tim Burton)
8. "Europa, Europa" (Germany. Agnieszka Holland)
9. "Henry and June" (Philip Kaufman)
10. "Trust" (Hal Hartley)
Other films of merit from 1990 include the indie film "Metropolitan," "The Godfather III," "Dances With Wolves" and "Misery."
My choice for the Best Films of 2000 will be listed on our sister blog "Politics, Culture and Other Wastes of Time."
Friday, May 21, 2010
This comment was actually posted on Youtube against my fellow Turkish-American progressive Cenk Uygur, a talk show host with "The Young Turks" (he was once a Republican!). It is in reference to a segment that Uygur ran featuring Bill O'Reilly and Dennis Miller (he used to be sane!) discussing how President Barack Obama has been hypocritical with his policies:
"all I can do is laugh at that smug, dirty arab when HE calls oreilly smug."
The kicker here is that not only Uygur openly agnostic (as am I), Turks are NOT Arabs. We are completely different ethnic groups.
This illustrates one of my main points of contention with the right, especially the whacko tea partiers, they believe that racism and xenophobia in America are not a part of society.
While I would agree that there are times when the left cries wolf when there might be other factors to explain a situation like the Cambridge, Mass., incident between a police officer and an African-American Harvard professor besides racism, there are also times when it is very clear and very apparent. And, this is one such example.
Thursday, May 20, 2010
We should admit upfront that (since I haven't ridden a public bus domestically in ages) that this is a 'a bit hypocritical,' but nevertheless we should all 'ride the bus' more often. The last time I rode a bus, for any substantial duration, was between the main cities of Istanbul and Ankara in Turkey in 2008.
I got this idea when I saw a Valley Metro bus pass me as I was walking down Jefferson Street in downtown Roanoke, Va., yesterday. The public bus service is available throughout the Roanoke metro area, including the suburbs of Salem and Vinton.
(We should point out that this picture is actually of a bus in Seattle, which is very far from Roanoke!).
According to the Valley Metro web site, passengers may bring a baby stroller on the bus as well as service pets, though one can bring a pet on-board if it is in a carrier. For more info, one should contact 540-982-2222.
If you are in the Seattle-area, you can contact the public bus services for King County (Washington) at 206-553-3000.
I was going to add some commentary about Warren Beatty (pictured here from "Shampoo") in light of the fact that Peter Biskind's new book about allegedly suggests that he has made love to 12,775 women! And, in the '60s, he was actually close to marrying Joan Crawford who is the star of "The Story of Esther Costello," which also among the last ten films I've seen.
But, we are pressed for time. There are reviews of Biskind's book in back issues of "Film Comment" and "The New Republic" with more 'gory details.' It is supposedly more than 500 pages in length!
We should point out, so Gavin Smith (managing editor of "FC") doesn't start harassing me on Facebook ('course, we say this in jest) that I got this idea from his publication, which in my opinion is far and away the best American magazine on film. It could also be the best film magazine in the world, but it's been a very long time since I read the British film magazine "Sight and Sound."
Character actor Jack Weston (1920-2006) was in three of these films: "Shampoo," "Please Don't Eat the Daisies" and "Donovan's Reef."
Here are the films:
1. "Bliss" (Turkey. 2007/Abdullah Oguz)
2. "Runaway Train" (w/Jon Voight. 1985/Andrei Konchalovsky)
3. "Shampoo" (1975. Hal Ashby)
4. "The Story of Esther Costello" (UK. 1957/David Miller)
5. "Lemon Tree" (Isr/Palestine. 2008/Eran Riklin)
6. "Please Don't Eat the Daisies" (w/Doris Day. 1960/Charles Walters).
7. "Hell's Angels" (w/Jean Harlow. 1930/Howard Hughes)
8. "Donovan's Reef" (w/John Wayne and Lee Marvin. 1963/John Ford).
9. "Sunday, Bloody Sunday" (UK. 1971/John Schlesinger)
10. "The Seven Year Itch" (w/Marilyn Monroe. 1955/Billy Wilder).
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
I must profess that it was a bit of a slow news day on Twitter though I did officially find out that right-wing nut Tea Party candidate Rand Paul won the Kentucky Republican gubernatorial primary.
We also learned that a fifth-grader brought a gun to his school at Sumner Elementary in Greensboro, NC, near where I live. Fortunately, it wasn't loaded.
But, when I found out that the Grub Steak Restaurant in Park City, Utah, is offering complimentary Angus meat loaf sliders (yes, I have no idea what those are either!) with a soup and salad combo, I immediately thought of indie film queen Park Posey.
Posey, pictured here, who is literally just slightly older than me (she's 41; I'm 40), is known for coming to Park City quite frequently to promote her latest indie film at the Sundance Film Festival. So, out of curiosity, I checked and she is (well, sort of on Twitter).
There is apparently a web site called parkerposey.org which reports on her latest ventures. And, apparently Posey, who I have had a crush on since at least 1995, will be making a guest appearance on the new HBO series "Bored to Death." That's almost enough to make me call Time Warner and ask for HBO!
We also learned on Twitter than Sen. John McCain is having lunch with President Ivan Calderon of Mexico. No doubt, they will talk about Arizona's new highly controversial anti-immigration bill. But, somehow, we don't expect they will be traveling to Park City for lunch at Grub Steak. Maybe, they will just head out to an Ethiopian place in the Georgetown section of Washington, DC.
THE WHOOPS DEPARTMENT- We learned through NPR that the president of Mexico is Felipe Calderon, not Ivan Calderon--there are two guys with that name. One is a boxer. The other is a baseball player.
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
Friday night while I was waiting for the Neil Diamond All-Stars to perform (don't laugh) at the Cat's Cradle in Carrboro, NC (outside Chapel Hill), I came across a listing for the local elementary school lunches for this upcoming week in "The Carrboro Citizen."
I thought it would be a great segment for my two blogs. We will list the items that will be served for school children in the Chapel Hill, NC, (Orange County) area for Wednesday on this blog. We will list Thursday's items on our other blog "Politics, Culture and Other Wastes of Time."
For Wednesday, 5/19: Oven Baked BBQ Chicken (pictured) w/White Roll or Ham and Cheese Wrap as well as Baked Beans, Seasoned Collard Greens and Fresh Grapes.
This weekend, Cat's Cradle hosts Superchunk on Friday and Railroad Earth, a popular band at FloydFest (music festival held in Floyd, Va, every July) on Saturday.
UPDATE- Cat's Cradle announced today that Saturday's Railroad Earth concert has been indefinitely postponed. But, we can tell you that the Floyd Country Store in Floyd, Va., will be hoping this weekend!
Monday, May 17, 2010
My dear mom who resides in the cola-mining hamlet of War, West Virginia (ok, she doesn't really live there) thinks that there is probably already an FBI file on me since my late father was a Muslim from Turkey and I once had a subscription to the very liberal publication "Mother Jones" for a short while after George W. Bush became our el presidente.
(I checked out the "MJ" web site- they have an interesting article by David Corn on Afghan president Hamid Karzai's visit to Washington, DC, in which allegedly President Barack Obama grilled him like Mike Wallace).
So my idea of devoting Quotes of the Week to radical left-wingers during the month of May will probably not change anything, though I should point out that I'm a moderate Democrat.
Having said that, I may want to take a cue from the Oklahoma City Tea Party, and start a radical far-left revolution only to remove myself from the movement if I should run for Congress one day! One has to wonder why there are Tea Parties in places like Oklahoma City since the only elected Democrat in the state is probably a water and sewer commissioner for the City of Tulsa.
Of course, we should add that this does not mean we favor Fidel Castro's policies even though we are quoting him. In fact, we will give you the link to a Cuban-American blog (cubalibre.org) even though they may be to the right of Bill O'Reilly. Though there could well be a Cuban-American Democrat in the Miami metro area--and, he probably has an unlisted phone number.
Here is our quote:
"I began a revolution with 82 men. If I had to do it again, I would do it with 10 or 15 men and absolute faith. It does not matter how small you are if you have faith and a plan of action."
UPDATE: I should point out that I am aware that the governor of Oklahoma and several members of Congress from the state are in fact Democrats. But, somehow I doubt they are as liberal as Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.)
We want to congratulate the residents of Bursa, Turkey, including my good friend Ugur Celikkol, and the fans of BursaSpor, my favorite Turkish soccer team (ok, so I root for IStanbul powerhouse GalataSaray too).
I saw the BursaSpor Crocodiles play two games at Ataturk Stadium in Bursa several years ago. One of the guards at the gate asked me why an American (my late father came from Turkey) would want to see a BursaSpor game? He was genuinely confused, but I suppose there is a college student from Istanbul at UNC-Greensboro who wonders what this NASCAR thing is all about here in North Carolina (I wonder the same thing myself, actually!).
BursaSpor won the Turkish Premiere League by defeating another Istanbul powerhouse Beshiktash 2-1 over the weekend.
The championship, one of only two in the franchise's history (I believe the team was formed circa 1963), will mean that BursaSpor will able to compete in next season's UEFA Cup.
The team's roster consists of captain Omer Erdogan (a Turkish national) along with his countrymen Yavuz Ozkan, Serdar Azin, Volkan Sen and Ozan Ipek. The international players include Tomas Zaposay (Czech) and Leonardo Iglesias (Argentina) as well as star goalie Dimitar Ivankov (Bulgaria).
As the old Queen song goes: "No time for losers 'cause we are the champions......of the world!"
Sunday, May 16, 2010
Alas, life has been difficult for Dennis Hopper, the iconic character actor hippie-turned-Republican who voted for Barack Obama also known for his photography skills and art collection as he has been going through a divorce and dealing with what is reported to be terminal prostate cancer.
But, since May 17 is his 74th birthday, I thought I would post my ten favorite films of his. This is a new pet project I am starting with this entry which focuses on my favorite films (note- not the same as best films) of a given movie star.
On my other blog, I will be focusing on my ten favorite films of Henry Fonda (1905-1982) who would have turned 105 on Sunday.
I was surprised to see that Hopper has actually been in more films than Henry Fonda (he co-starred with his offspring Peter Fonda in "Easy Rider"), but when one considers that Hopper has acted mostly in supporting roles that makes sense.
Here are top ten films for Hopper, and our thoughts are with him in his fight with prostate cancer:
1. "Apocalypse Now" (1979. Dir-Francis Ford Coppola)
2. "Easy Rider" (pictured). (1969. Dir-Dennis Hopper)
3. "The American Friend" (Germany. 1977. Dir- Wim Wenders)
4. "Blue Velvet" (1986. Dir-David Lynch)
5. "Rebel Without a Cause" (1955. Dir-Nick Ray)
6. "Cool Hand Luke" (1968. Dir-Stuart Rosenberg)
7. "Rumble Fish" (1983. Dir- Coppola).
8. "Straight to Hell" (UK. 1987. Dir-Alex Cox)
9. "The Pick-up Artist" (1987. Dir- James Toback)
10. "Red Rock West" (1993. Dir- John Dahl)
Saturday, May 15, 2010
According to a tweet posted yesterday by "San Francisco Weekly," a new study has found out an interesting tidbit on Gatordae:
"Gatorade Confirms What We All Knew: Bulk of Its Drinkers Are Nursing Hangovers."
A tweet from the Museum of Modern Art in New York reported that today is legendary artist Jasper Johns' 80th birthday.
We saw a great tweet earlier in the week which stated that the reason the National Hockey League plays a regular season is so it can be determined who will have home ice advantage when the 7 and 8 seeds play each other in the conference finals.
This was in reference to the fact that there was a possibility that the 7-seed Philadelphia Flyers might host the 8-seed Montreal Canadiens in the Eastern Conference finals, and low and behold---that is what happened!
I thought the tweet may have come from the hockey news source 'Mother Pucker' (can we use that word here?!), but apparently it did not.
In other hockey news, the Cincinnati Cyclones are battling the Idaho Steelheads for the East Coast Hockey League crown. The Cyclones won game last night. Game two is being played as we speak. There was no score as of last report. I have no idea if they are playing the game in Boise or not!:)
Thursday, May 13, 2010
In our on-going series of ten best films from the years 1950, 1960, 1970, etc.- we focus on 1970 which happens to be the year I was born. For the longest time, I thought "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid" was a 1970 film but it was actually released in 1969.
Not all of these films were released in the United States until at least 1971, but we thought we would focus only on the films which first came out in their country of origin in 1970.
"The Conformist" (poster pictured here) tops the list. The Bernardo Bertolucci film is also a favorite film of my friend Bilge Ebiri, a film critic in New York.
My number two film "Claire's Knee" happens to be a favorite of my friend Moviezzz who is an ardent admirer of Eric Rohmer, the French New Wave master who passed away several months ago.
"MASH" which is actually being remade (?!) is my favorite American film of the year. Robert Altman's film is considered to be one of the best contemporary domestic political comedies ever made. I also admire the film "Five Easy Pieces" which many argue should have won Jack Nicholson his first Oscar (George C. Scott actually won for "Patton" that year. Nicholson would Oscar five years later for "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest).
Here is the list:
1. "The Conformist" (Italy. d-Bernardo Bertolucci)
2. "Claire's Knee" (France. d-Erich Rohmer)
3. "The Red Circle" (France. d-Jean-Pierre Melville)
4. "MASH" (d-Robert Altman)
5. "Five Easy Pieces" (d-Bob Rafaelson)
6. "The Honeymoon Killers" (d- Leoanrd Kastle)
7. "The Ballad of Cable Hogue" (d- Sam Peckinpah)
8. "Zabriskie Point" (d- Michaelangelo Antonioni)
9. "The Wild Child" (France. d-Francois Truffaut)
10. "Umut/Hope" (Turkey. d-Yilmaz Guney)
Honarable Mention: "El Topo," "The Butcher" (France), "Little Big Man," "Beneath the Planet of the Apes," "Beneath the Valley of the Dolls," "Husbands," "Performance" and "Even the Dwarfs Get Small" (Germany).
Alas, we are bit pressed for time today as I have to go to a talk about how to use the computer for workplace activities---hmm, I don't think this counts.
Anyway, our Public Service Announcement for today is a simple one: Watch more PBS! (that's American public tv for those of you in Bergen, Norway).
While kids can watch Oscar the Grouch (pictured) on "Sesame Street," us adults can watch "The Charlie Rose Show" tonight. Alas, the show's web site did not indicate who the guest was for tonight's show (which airs at 11:30 p.m. in most markets), but they did have Willie Nelson on last night!
Wednesday, May 12, 2010
According to their tweet this p.m., "The Baltimore Sun" is looking for recent college grads (we presume they prefer residents of Maryland) who are now living with mom and dad for a future features story idea.
The fact that all these girls pictured here are wearing no shoes (it was the closest image we could find) reminds me of a barefoot UNC college girl I saw walking down Franklin Street in downtown Chapel Hill, NC, last year. I was wondering if her seventh grade health teacher told her that was a very bad idea, or if she just chose to simply ignore that advice...perhaps, the later!
Tuesday, May 11, 2010
I promised a friend of mine in Martinsville, Va., that I would be posting an image of the chia pet as part of our Silly Picture to Fill Space series. I'm not sure that he actually believed me, but here it is!
While researching this piece, I found out that the chia pet first hit the market in 1982. You are supposed to water some moistened seeds which allows the green substance to fully grow.
There are now licensed chia pets for Garfield, The Looney Tunes and The Simpsons.
In addition, one can supposedly find chia pets for both Barack Obama and George W. Bush. Hopefully, there are no Sarah Palin chia pets on the market quite yet!
My good friend Tony (pse) and I are apparently getting ready to remake "My Dinner with Andre," but we are going to have our own script and it will be a ten-minute film.
We are currently scouting locations in and around Roanoke, Va. Ironically, much to my surprise, I found out the actual 1981 film was shot at the old Jefferson Hotel in Richmond, Va., even though the film takes place in New York.
There are apparently "My Dinner with Andre" action figures for sale on the Internet, but I couldn't find any images. The screenplay by Andre Gregory and Wallace Shawn, who are also the only two actors in the film, is for sale through outlets like amazon.com as well.
"My Dinner with Andre" was directed by Louis Malle, and it has developed a cult following. Amazingly enough, The Criterion Collection has also introduced a full second dvd of 'extras' to go along with the film!
We will be conducting the shoot so that we can hopefully have it screened at the Shadowbox Cinema in Roanoke as part of their 'sweded film series.'
Monday, May 10, 2010
Here are the last ten films I've seen. No time for commentary, but we decided to feature an image of Roman Polanski not because of the current controversy he is embroiled in but because his latest film is on this list:
1. "The Art of the Steal" (doc. d-Don Argott. 2009)
2. "The Wages of Fear" (France. d-Henri-Georges Clouzot, 1959)
3. "Ghost Writer" (d-Roman Polanski, 2010)
4. "Roaring Twenties" (with James Cagney and Humphrey Bogart. d-Raoul Walsh. 1939)
5. "Four of the Apocalypse" (a spahetti western. Italy. d-Lucio Fulci, 1975).
6. "Heaven Can Wait" (d-Warren Beatty and Buck Henry, 1978)
7. "Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars" (doc concert about David Bowie. d-D.A. Penebaker. Filmed in 1973, released in cinemas in 1982).
8."The Story of Floating Weeds" (Japan. d-Yasujiro Ozu, 1934)
9. "The Killers" (with Lee Marvin. Last cinematic role for Ronald Reagan. d-Don Siegel, 1964)
10. "Dr. Strangelove........" (d-Stanley Kubrick, 1964)
SIDEBAR: My friend Jason Garnett is showing the documentary "Cinemania" about film fanatics tonight at the Shadowbox Cinema in Roanoke, Va. That might be short notice, bue he is also screening a night of vintage '70s era trailers which he is calling "Trailer Trash Night" on May 17 at 8:00 p.m. Admission is five dollars.
Since we are featuring quotes from left-wing radicals during the month of May, we thought we'd go with someone we've never quoted before in Slovenian Marxist philosopher Salvoj Zizek, who is the subject of the 2005 documentary "Zizek!"
It turns out that Zizek, who is 61, is really into films, and he is not religion so even though I'm more politically moderate, we'd probably get along swell!
Here is today's quote:
"Cinema is the ultimate pervert art. It doesn't give what you desire- it tells you what how to desire it."
Saturday, May 8, 2010
I jokingly tell folks that I might be a Republican.....in Berkeley, Calif., but even on Sept. 12, 2001, I had a very hard time supporting this particular president. Nevertheless, we loved this tweet from "L.A. Weekly," which was actually posted on Thursday:
"Fox News just called the UK election for Bush."
To be honest, I'm a bit confused about the elections in the United Kingdom, and I watched the BCC News on Thursday night!
"LA Weekly" also reported that a teacher in Burbank, Calif., got a two-year sentence for having sex with a minor. Not good!
Since tomorrow is Mother's Day, we thought we'd continue our annual tribute on this day to the late Joan Crawford (1906-1977) since she has been synonomous with domineering mothers since the movie "Mommie Dearest" (1980) came out about her alleged over-the-top antics and abusive behavior towards her daughter Christine Crawford.
The Criterion Cinema in New Haven, Conn., has traditionally shown "Mommie Dearest" on Mother's Day weekend, but that appears not to be the case this year. Though they are screening "Pee Wee's Big Adventure" (1985) at 11:30 p.m., next Friday and Saturday night.
Crawford's 1964 film "Strait Jacket" is actually available through free streaming for Netflix members.
We just learned this week, that the iconic '40s-'50s movie star was also romantically involved with Warren Beatty (?!) even though he was 29 years younger than her in the 1960s. Of course, Beatty was romantically involved with lots of gals back then.
Faye Dunaway, who played Crawford in "Mommie Dearest," was Beatty's co-star in the legendary film "Bonnie and Clyde" (1967).
Here is our traditional quote from Crawford:
"Hollywood is like life, you face it with the sum total of your equipment."
Yeah, we're not sure what exactly she's talking about either!
Thursday, May 6, 2010
Since many official government agencies at the local, federal and state levels are recognizing National Prayer Day in spite of the fact that Federal Judge Barbara B. Crabb ruled it unconstitutional, we thought we would revisit this crazy church sign I saw as I was cruising down Wendover Ave. in Greensboro, NC, last weekend.
(We could have never made this up)!:
"JESUS TOOK a WHOOPIN FOR YOU."
Yes, they did leave out the 'g.' We imagine many people at this church are affiliated with the Greensboro Tea Party.
Mayor William Bunter of Topeka, Kan., told the AP that his jurisdiction would recognize today as National Prayer Day because prayer was a rite of passage in the Jayhawk State. Many cities around the country seem to following suit.
But, there is hope. As I was researching this piece, I was deligthed to find out that there is a 'congregation' of atheists in Charlotte, NC, (web site: charlotteatheists.com) which is the home of the Rev. Billy Graham.
As someone who was once a Muslim as a child (my late father was from Turkey), I know that people would actually hate me more if I had maintained my faith. So, I urge all of us who 'have a different view' to express ourselves as openly as we can. After all, even if one lives in a place like Provo, Utah, or Fort Mill, SC, they are still residing in a free country.
We thought we'd reprise the 1980s "Just Say No" campaign implemented by former First Lady Nancy Reagan with an image of her. But, even though we hold her in higher regard than her husband, we thought it would be funnier to use an image of Cheech and Chong who were marijuana culture icons in the late '70s.
Though none of us smoke pot here at The Daily Vampire headquarters in Bethesda, Md., (ok, we actually live about six hours from suburban Maryland), we are intrigued to learn that they are actually on tour.
In fact, you can see them perform together at The Mirage in Las Vegas on the weekend of May 21 and May 22. Alas, I think I have a Tea Party rally to sabotage in Martinsburg, W.Va., that weekend.
Wednesday, May 5, 2010
"The Idaho Statesman" in Boise, Ida., is reporting (I saw this via Twitter) that a local man has admitted to the Boise Police Department that he stabbed himself and told a police officer that a passer-by had in fact stuck a knife in his chest. The police are considering filing chrages against the man who has not been identified to the press. The self-inflicted wound occured on Friday morning near a hotel in downtown Boise according to Lynn Hightower, spokeswoman for the Boise Police Department.
And, in our nation's capital, Ahmed Hassan, a man who is reportedly between the ages of 28 and 35, dropped his wallet after he robbed a bank on Connecticut Avenue. According to "The Washington Post," if anyone has any info about the crime, they are being asked to call local authorities.
SIDEBAR- If you see a Craig's List post for "Baby-Sitter Wanted in Istanbul," it might be the result of the fact that more mothers are working in Turkey, according to "Today's Zaman."
I must profess this series of entries looking at the Ten Best Films from 1950, 1960, 1970, 1980, 1990 and 2000 came to mind after I read a great retrospective piece in the current issue of "Film Comment" about the 50th anniversary of Jan-Luc Godard's landmark French thriller "Breathless" (which was dubiously remade in the 1980s with Richard Gere in the lead).
My ten favorite films from 1960, a very, very good year for film are going to be listed on my other blog "Politics, Culture and Other Wastes of Time."
Here, I will list my ten favorite films from 1950. I must profess that I really want to revisit "Rashomon" by Akira Kurosawa. It was my favorite Japanese film of all time until I saw "The Pornographers" (1966, d. Shohei Imamura) which is actually my favorite film of all-time (well, at least as of right now).
Here is the list. "Rashomon" is pictured:
1. Rashomon (Japan. d-Akira Kurosawa)
2. Los Olvidados (Mexico. d-Luis Bunuel)
3. Sunset Blvd. (d-Billy Wilder)
4. Night and the City (d-Jules Dassin)
5. Winchester '73 (d-Anthony Mann)
6. Asphalt Jungle (d-John Huston)
7. In a Lonely Place (d-Nick Ray)
8. Panic in the Streets (d-Elia Kazan)
9. Rio Grande (d-John Ford)
10. Broken Arrow (d-Delmer Daves)
Tuesday, May 4, 2010
Well, I had told my friend Haywood Harvey (pse) in Martinsville, Va., that I was going to post a blog entry about useless things most of us would never buy (like a bobble-head doll of Rambo......actually, I happen to have a bobble-head doll of Rambo).
But, since we are running low on time, I thought it would be best to simply post some images of old clocks. Though I don't reside in the Volunteer State, I would assume that one could find such antique time-keepers at the Willow Creek Gallery in Knoxville, Tenn. (yes, there is such a place--in fact, their phone number is 865-525-1925).
There is also a nice town clock on the island of Buyukada near Istanbul, Turkey, and when we have the time, we may post an image of it on here. Although some photographers are very picky about how their images are used without someone paying up!
Monday, May 3, 2010
Just when you thought the world could not possibly get any more confusing, in comes this tweet from a news anchor with Fox 59 in Indianapolis (to make things confusing here, we feature this image of the vintage Shell Station in Winston-Salem, NC, which is nowhere near Indiana):
"Gas prices skyroket....find out why and when they'll go down, tonight at 10!"
NOTE: The tweet left off the c in skyrocket, that is not our error! But, assuredly, we make mistakes like that all the time. Nevertheless, when someone else does this sort of thing, it is inexcusable!
SIDEBAR: Thank you. Muchos gracias. Merci beacoup. Cok tesekur ederim. Yes, because of you the faithful blog reader "The Daily Vampire" has now passed 1,000 hits! I especially want to thank Chris Knight of Reidsville, NC, for posting a link of this blog at his blog, which gets much, much more traffic! And, if you happen to live in Bergen, we would have looked up how to say thank you in Norwegian, but right now we are really pressed for time!
Since the traditional Socialist holiday May Day was Sat., May 1st, we thought we would feature quotes from left-wing radicals throughout this month even though I myself am a moderate left-wing radical (that is a joke...all of us who are Democrats in either Virginia or North Carolina have pretty much been accused of being with the Reds and we aren't talking about the baseball team in Ohio).
Today, we thought we'd start off with the radical of the radicals, the late Che Guevara (I thought his last name was spelled Guevarra....oops!):
"It's a sad thing not to have friends, but it is an even sadder thing not to have enemies."
SIDEBAR: In a related matter, I saw the following tweet from Mashable who is really Scotish technocrat Pete Cashmore (yes, I have no idea what a technocrat is either!)last week: "Hugo Chavez asks Fidel Castro to Join Twitter."
We could not make this stuff up!