Monday, December 27, 2010
I"m looking forward to seeing Black Swan, Carlos, Another Year, Blue Valentine and Tiny Furniture.
Roger Ebert's Best of Films of 2010
The Social Network
The King's Speech
I Am Love
The Secret in Their Eyes
The Kids Are All Right
The Ghost Writer
Stephen Holden's List
1. THE SOCIAL NETWORK
2. INSIDE JOB
4. CARLOS Olivier Assayas’s 5 ½-hour docudrama about the life and times of the notorious terrorist Carlos the Jackal is a study of swaggering, lethal narcissism with an imposing lead performance by the Venezuelan actor Edgar Ramírez. Its great set piece reconstructs the kidnapping of OPEC oil ministers in Vienna in December 1975.
5. ANOTHER YEAR The English filmmaker Mike Leigh is a contemporary, cinematic offshoot of Charles Dickens. His newest group study portrait of humble working-class lives is one of his best movies and features indelible performances by Jim Broadbent, Lesley Manville and Ruth Sheen.
6. VINCERE Marco Bellocchio’s portrait of Ida Dalser (Giovanna Mezzogiorno), Mussolini’s mistress who claimed to be his first wife and was imprisoned in a mental hospital, is a tragicomic little opera of a movie that savagely mocks the vainglorious Italian dictator.
7. WHITE MATERIAL In this Claire Denis film, Isabelle Huppert gives a typically crackling performance as the white French co-owner of a coffee plantation in an unidentified African country, who refuses to leave when civil strife erupts.
8. THE KIDS ARE ALL RIGHT What does it say about our changing times that Ms. Cholodenko’s portrait of a nontraditional clan headed by a lesbian couple is the most believable and heartfelt film about an American family of the last several years?
9. TRUE GRIT Not a remake of the John Wayne classic, the Coen brothers’ adaptation of the Charles Portis novel leaches out most of the boisterous humor to treat the story as a stately black comedy with breathtaking cinematography by Roger Deakins.
10. MY DOG TULIP Narrated by Christopher Plummer, the exquisite hand-drawn screen adaptation of J. R. Ackerley’s 1956 memoir chronicles his late-life 15-year relationship with a beloved dog, devoting much attention to her bathroom and mating habits.
RUNNERS-UP (in no order): “The Ghost Writer,” “Fish Tank,” “A Prophet,” “Mid-August Lunch,” “Greenberg,” “Exit Through the Gift Shop,” “The Secret in Their Eyes,” “I Am Love,” “Toy Story 3,” “Winter’s Bone,” “Lebanon,” “Animal Kingdom,” “The Tillman Story,” “Boxing Gym” and “Blue Valentine.”
AO Scott's Best Films of 2010
1. INSIDE JOB (Charles Ferguson) The crisis of finance capitalism as a great crime story.
2. TOY STORY 3 (Lee Unkrich) The triumph of consumer capitalism as an epic love story.
3. CARLOS (Olivier Assayas) The failure of global revolution as farce, melodrama, erotic thriller and music video.
4. SOMEWHERE (Sofia Coppola) An eccentric, perfect poem about fame, loneliness and cross-generational need.
5. THE KIDS ARE ALL RIGHT (Lisa Cholodenko) An eccentric, perfect comedy about love, betrayal and cross-generational confusion.
6. GREENBERG (Noah Baumbach) A deliberately imperfect comedy about an eccentric fleeing from love, running from betrayal and wallowing in cross-generational confusion.
7. 127 HOURS (Danny Boyle) It’s all fun until someone loses an arm. And then, strangely enough, it’s even more fun.
8. LAST TRAIN HOME (Lixin Fan) The future of global capitalism, in China and elsewhere: a family tragedy in the form of a documentary, as full of anger, dignity and pathos as a play by Arthur Miller.
9. SECRET SUNSHINE (Lee Chang-dong) A family tragedy from South Korea, in the form of a melodramatic crime story. As dense and gripping as a great novel.
10. EXIT THROUGH THE GIFT SHOP (Banksy) All of the above. None of the above. Everything and nothing. An elaborate art-world stunt in the form of a documentary. Or vice versa.
RUNNERS-UP “And Everything Is Going Fine,” “Another Year,” “Black Swan,” “Boxing Gym,” “The Father of My Children,” “The Fighter,” “A Film Unfinished,” “Fish Tank,” “Four Lions,” “The Ghost Writer,” “Howl,” “I Am Love,” “Let Me In,” “Please Give,” “Solitary Man,” “Tangled,” “Tiny Furniture,” “Vincere,; “White Material,” “Winter’s Bone.”
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
Here are 10 assignments I'm asking the kids to try:
Assignment #1 Make a neighborhood field recording.
Go from door to door and ask at least four neighbors to sing a song or play one on an instrument. Record their song. Also take a photograph of each neighbor, sitting or standing in their home or yard, with their instrument, if they played one. Give each piece an audio caption: "Sam Looly, my neighbor to the right." You can add information that you think is pertinent, but never forget that you are a professional and do not steal the show with your own antics. Your job is to catalogue the songs of your neighbors.
Photograph a scar and write about it
Photograph a scar on your body or on someone else's body. Make it a close-up shot so that it shows just the scar. Include a story about how the scar happened.
Take a picture of the sun
Take a picture of the sun. Just a picture of the sun, nothing extra or fancy. Please make sure the sun is visible in the photo, we won't accept reflections of the sun or photos where the sun is not visible. Please be careful not to look directly at the sun through your camera's viewfinder; looking directly at the sun could damage your eyes. If you need to, just point the camera towards the sun and shoot the photo.
Make a video of someone dancing
Make a video of someone dancing to DJ Brokenwindow's Don't Dream It's Over dance mix. We asked DJ Brokenwindow to make a dance mix of "Don't Dream It's Over" (by Crowded House.)
Act out someone else's argument
Choose an argument and act it out with a friend or relative. Memorize your lines and make it as real as possible. When you are ready, videotape the argument. This can be done with the camera on a tripod, or with a third person shooting. It should be shot as simply as possible. Make sure the voices of both people can be heard clearly. Do not shoot any titles or credits, only the argument itself
Take a picture of your parents kissing
Take a picture of your parents kissing (or at least hugging). Do not send us an older picture of your parents, we are looking for a new picture taken specifically for this assignment.
Describe your ideal government
Describe in a paragraph or two how your ideal government would function.
Give advice to yourself in the past
Sure everything turned out ok, but maybe you should have quit that job five years earlier, maybe you should have had children when you were 27, maybe you should have flossed, maybe you should have gone to the alternative high school, or not said that thing to your best friend. Tell yourself what to do in clear, specific language. Do not write an essay, make it in list form.
Make a protest sign and protest
Make a protest sign and publicly protest something that you deeply and sincerely feel needs to be changed. It could be the mistreatment of chickens at KFC or the lack of rights for children in our society. You can protest alone, with a group that you assemble or with a pre-existing protest group.
Take a family portrait of two families
Go to a park, beach or other public place and locate two separate families who are having a picnic or barbeque. Ask the two families to join together so that you can take a group picture of them. Try to find two families who don't know each other and who look different from each other.
Monday, July 12, 2010
In April 1890, an exhibition of Japanese woodcuts at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris inspired Mary Cassatt to begin experimenting with different print techniques. Using aquatint, drypoint, etching, and hand-coloring, Cassatt attempted to capture the flat planes and simple lines of Japanese woodcuts. After painstakingly overseeing the execution of each print, Cassatt exhibited the resulting series of ten at the Durand Ruel Gallery in Paris the next year. Together, the prints combine the spare beauty of Japanese woodcut designs with innovative color patterns and finely tuned drawing. 'The Bath' was Cassatt's first effort in the series, and the only one, according to her, in which she truly tried to imitate Japanese design. She produced seventeen different states for 'The Bath', more than for any other print in the series.
Wednesday, June 23, 2010
Tuesday, June 22, 2010
Monday, June 21, 2010
Conceiving a diorama is an adventure in scale and spatial relationships. Choose a container, then put yourself in the shoes of one of its future inhabitants.
Tools and Materials
- Sardine tin (well washed and dried)
- Nautical map
- Blue paper
- Toy Birds
- Cutout images (from sardine label)
- Fish cutout
- Card stock
Ocean Diorama How-To
- For background, trace bottom of well-washed sardine tin onto cardboard and a nautical map, and cut out; glue map onto cardboard, then glue inside tin.
- Cut waves from blue paper, making tabs on bottom and sides for attaching to can; glue in place. Glue on shells, twigs, toy birds, and cutout images photocopied from sardine label, and cheesecloth for a net.
- To make free-floating fish, glue fish cut out to one end of card stock strip folded at each end; glue other end to background.
- Brush glue on floor of diorama; sprinkle with sand. To hang diorama, tape rope to back.
Friday, June 18, 2010
I'd love to take on a backyard landscaping project this summer. My vision is to remove everything but the plantings lining the perimeter and install a flat, unpaved, crushed rock and sand courtyard. Think Parisian parks and French country courtyard cafes. No weeds. Low maintenance. Environmentally sound. Fill the edges with color and potted plants, plus colorful seating perhaps?
Friday, May 28, 2010
- Feed some ducks
- Finish the skeleton puzzle and the glow in the dark stegasaurus puzzle
- Make a strawberry bush
- I want to eat a smore and go camping and listen to this american life
- We need to buy a tent and some sticks
- Pick some raspberries from our raspberry bush
- Plant an apple tree, instead of buying apples we could pick an apple from our tree
- Take a boat ride at greenlake where we get off is right near peets because I was hoping you wanted a coffee
- Eat some doughnuts and crackers and lime popsicles
"How much truth do we tell? What story are we actually telling? How do we know when we're our real selves? How do we know if the sentences coming out of our mouths are real stories or real sentences or fake sentences that we think we ought to be saying?"
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
Eating Animals is such a persuasive book about the choice not to buy / eat animal products because of Safran Foer's personal ethical evolution as well as the way he frames the issue around factory farming as a destructive environmental force. Of course big agriculture is destructive too. If you have the resources, the best solution is to abandon grocery stores for farmer's markets or ethical local sources of produce. If you must eat meat, eggs or dairy, carefully consider the source.
Here are 10 reasons not to buy factory-farmed meat, poultry, or fish. The quotations are from Eating Animals:
Factory farms …
1. Use antibiotics to raise sick genetic mutants in crowded, filthy conditions
In the typical cage for egg-laying hens, each bird has 67 square inches of [floor] space [or less than ¾ the size of a sheet of typing paper]. Nearly all cage-free birds have approximately the same amount of space. (p 79)2. Send animals to slaughterhouses where cruelty and even sadism are routine
Animals are bled, skinned, and dismembered while conscious. It happens all the time, and the industry and the government know it. Several plants cited for bleeding or skinning or dismembering live animals have defended their actions as common in the industry and asked, perhaps rightly, why they were being singled out. (p 230)3. Produce highly infected animals
Scientific studies and government records suggest that virtually all (upwards of 95 percent of) chickens become infected with E. coli (an indicator of fecal contamination) and between 39 and 75 percent of chickens in retail stores are still infected. Around 8 percent of birds become infected with salmonella…. Seventy to 90 percent are infected with another potentially deadly pathogen, campylobacter. Chlorine baths are commonly used to remove slime, odor, and bacteria. (p 131)4. Contribute to the creation and spread of new viruses (think influenza)
Breeding genetically uniform and sickness-prone birds in the overcrowded, stressful, feces-infested, and artificially lit conditions of factory farms promotes the growth and mutation of pathogens. The “cost of increased efficiency,” the report [by the Council for Agricultural Science and Technology, which brought together industry experts and experts from the WHO, OIE, and USDA] concludes, is increased global risk for diseases. (p 142)5. Contribute to antibiotic resistance (think MRSA)
In the United States, about 3 million pounds of antibiotics are given to humans each year, but a whopping 17.8 million pounds are fed to livestock—at least that is what the industry claims. The Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) has shown that the industry underreported its antibiotic use by at least 40 percent…. Study after study has shown that antimicrobial resistance follows quickly on the heels of the introduction of new drugs on factory farms. (p 140)6. Destroy species
For every ten tuna, sharks, and other large predatory fish that were in our oceans fifty to a hundred years ago, only one is left. (p 33)7. Pollute
[Shrimp] trawlers sweep up fish, sharks, rays, crabs, squid, scallops—typically about a hundred different fish and other species. Virtually all die…. The average trawling operation throws 80 to 90 percent of the sea animals it captures as bycatch overboard. (p 191)
Farmed animals in the United States produce 130 times as much waste as the human population—roughly 87,000 pounds of shit per second. The polluting strength of this shit is 160 times greater than raw municipal sewage. And yet there is almost no waste-treatment infrastructure for farmed animals. 1748. Contribute to climate change
Conservative estimates by the EPA indicate that chicken, hog, and cattle excrement has already polluted 35,000 miles of rivers in twenty-two states. (p 179)
According to the UN, the livestock sector is responsible for 18 percent of greenhouse gas emissions, around 40 percent more than the entire transport sector—cars, trucks, planes, trains, and ships—combined. (p 58)9. Violate the human rights of their employees
[Undocumented immigrants] are often preferred, but poor recent immigrants who do not speak English are also desirable employees. By the standards of the international human rights community, the typical working conditions in America’s slaughterhouses constitute human rights violations. (p 131-32)10. Change or ignore regulations in order to make more money
High-speed machines commonly rip open intestines, releasing feces into the birds’ body cavities. Once upon a time, USDA inspectors had to condemn any bird with such fecal contamination. But about thirty years ago, the poultry industry convinced the USDA to reclassify feces so that it could continue to use these automatic eviscerators. Once a dangerous contaminant, feces are now classified as a “cosmetic blemish.” As a result inspectors condemn half the number of birds. (p 134)
Thursday, May 20, 2010
- Para amino benzoic acid...
- Octyl salicyclate...
- Padimate O...
- Menthyl anthranilate...
- Trolamine salicyclate...
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
Among the top 10 best places to be a mother:
6. New Zealand
Among the bottom 10 places: Afghanistan ranks last, preceded by Niger, Chad, Guinea-Bissau, Yemen, Democratic Republic of Congo, Mali, Sudan, Eritrea and Equatorial Guinea.
Monday, May 17, 2010
- diane arbus
- frida kahlo
- mary cassatt
- fay jones
- dorothea lang
- alice neel
From the film, Who Does She Think She Is? 70-80% of visual art students are female, but 80% of the artists in galleries and museums are male.
Thursday, May 13, 2010
Researchers first asked 61 girls (between ages 7 and 12) to do something stressful, like give a speech or tackle math problems. Then one-third of the girls were reunited with their mothers for 15 minutes of hugs and soothing talk. Another third got no hugs, but spent 15 minutes hearing soothing talk from their mothers on the phone. Both of those groups then watched a chatty, nonstressful movie for an hour. The last third had no contact with their mothers, and watched the same movie for 75 minutes.
The levels of cortisol (a stress-producing hormone) and oxytocin (a stress-reducing hormone) were measured both before and after the stress test. Those who had contact with their moms showed a decrease in cortisol levels and a decrease in oxytocin levels, while those who had no contact showed had cortisol levels that continued to rise even while watching the movie, and they showed no increase in oxytocin.
I imagine many of you want to jump in here and point out that dads can soothe their daughters, too, or that sons respond to their mothers, thank-you-very-much. I know that. But this study happened to be done with mothers and young daughters. Yes, I’d like to see one that includes some men, but the one I would like to see even more is a measure of the stress levels of these parents who are doing the long-distance soothing. I would bet that their cortisol levels jump when a stressed-out kid is on the line. And I would also bet those levels remain elevated long after the child’s have gone down.