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Archive for October 2011

The Fourth Way begins

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The Fourth Way, a new art/action collective committed its first action this past Saturday. Occupy Windows took over the  window of the charming Hourglass Tavern on 46th Street and 9th..using the theme that time is running out, Lady Nancledra, witch and seer, held placards that were noted and studied by the passer-bys who have yet to make it down to Occupy Wall Street. With the help of the Fourth Way graphic and animation department, this action plans on continuing in other venues all over the city. Please let them know if you have a window that needs to be occupied.

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Written by nancykoan

October 24, 2011 at 10:48 pm

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The Rum Diary

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by nancy koan

The Rum Diary
A few years back I stood on the rim of Hunter S. Thompson’s memorial service in Woody Creek. I almost made it in on my Abbie Hoffman credentials, but alas, was deported to the side of the road with what I call real journalists.  Yammering on, I made the social faux pas of suggesting that if Mr. Thompson were alive, he might be put off by seeing shadows of his former self forced to stand outside the holy circle of the glam pack. I got quoted and my pre-booked interview with his widow was promptly cancelled.

That same integrity that I granted Mr. T at his memorial comes thru his character as played again  (Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas) by Johnny Depp. It’s not an impersonation of looks or gait, but Mr. Depp’s understanding of this writer’s soul and his burgeoning outrage at greedy human behavior.  I love films where characters, esp. artists or writers find their moral compass, and that happens for Hunter in Puerto Rico, where he innocently (was he ever innocent?) takes a job as a reporter. As written and directed for the screen by Bruce Robinson (The Killing Fields) based on Hunter’s book The Rum Diary, there is much that feels authentically remembered. Nixon,  Cuba and the beginning of the great American tourist occupation are more than the backdrop. It’s a new political era. Where my parents brought back dance records and pictures of themselves smiling with the natives, this film is a reminder of what went on underneath the rum cocktails.  Robinson knows how to pair up drinking buddies (Withnail and I) and a scene where Depp drives down a hill of stairs in a tin can of a car with cohort Michael Rispoli is truly funny. I wanted more of these antics, but of course, the bad guys, are on board, and in black and white. Just once, it might be nice to have them more likeable so that when the lead has to make moral choices, it’s harder …not because of the girl or money…but because the crook might actually be nice, as people often say the Republicans are.

It’s basically an all boy film, especially with the cock fights (PETA, please read the disclaimer) and Giovanni Ribisi’s derelict could use a little less screen time. The one IT girl, Amber Heard, seems out of time for the era. She’s just too Television now; her assertiveness didn’t stick nor does her looks… women were more zoftig then and I never bought her death wish- joy ride as a key to her greater  emotional depths.

The film is shot beautifully (Dariusz Wolski) and the scenes that focus on locale, like the café where the gringos aren’t wanted, are riveting.

In a time when so many journalists have been hoodwinked, gagged or just too pooped, it is great to be reminded that Hunter S. Thompson found his voice and wrote. As for the rum, just don’t drive.

The Rum Diary opens this week in NYC

Written by nancykoan

October 24, 2011 at 10:34 pm

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Something’s happenin’ here..

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First it was Times Square… as you can see by the photos, lots of theatrical energy. Occupy Times Square.  The demonstrators wore white and perfomred on stilts, played drums and spread the word. I zipped out early cause i heard the next stop was back to Washington Square Park. The air was chilly but the crowd was hot. When the vote was taken for staying the nite, there didn’t seem to be enough hands raised to push it, so we drifted to the outer rims where stunning horses waited, topped by stern looking police. Looking in on the scene was straight out of the movie Hair.. no hippies, but the same virile cops on even more virile   ponies.  What might happen? If the few remaining in the park refuse to move, they will be moved. A frantic woman told me that a horse fell earlier in Times Square and that tomorrow the Peta people would be there. Lots of agendas… someone yelled to the men in blue that their pensions were on the line as well… of course,  they’re probably on the right side, if they thought of it, but as they say : they’re doing their job”, which doesnt include hitting demonstrators, no matter what.

This is strong action. But funny how only 3 blx away in the East Village, skyscaper heeled women and their very important dates are thinking  only about the next long drink… might as well be from a different planet from the Occupy Washington Square Park folk.  Going to sleep and hoping no one was hurt.

Written by nancykoan

October 16, 2011 at 5:25 am

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Dim Sum not so Dim

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Went to tasting at the Golden Unicorn to meet Ching-He Huang and see her new EAsy Chinese Everyday cookbook.

Delicious food that you eat at breathtaking speed. What I like particularly is taht you fill up fast but by the time you’re home, you are too tired from going to Chinatown to consider getting more food. Easy on the budget, easy on the belly. Ms. Huang’s folding of the dumplings was a sculpture’s dream…easy pleating of the dough creating wonderful pocketbooks for sumptuous insides.  And all this as Andy Lee, filmmaker, was just landing in Shanghai.

Ching He Huang and Dimsum Chef

Ching- He Huang and Dimsum Chef

Written by nancykoan

October 12, 2011 at 10:40 pm

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Films about commitment

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by Nancy Koan

VITO is a tender and powerful look
into one of the most important voices in the birth of contemporary gay culture
and AIDS activism, Vito Russo. The film covers his early days of the New York
gay scene, with juicy landmark moments like Stonewall and Bette Midler
performing  at the Baths. Through his
great concern for community, we witness Vito’s becoming one of the most
important civil rights activists in the country As a film lover, his book The
Celluloid  Closet
 deals with the many unspoken portrayals of
gays in early films before the Code so naturally the film is loaded with great
Hollywood clips. It’s an archivist’s dream. As a template for political
organization and urgency, Occupy Wall Street will find much in this film to be
inspired by.

Director Jeffrey Schwartz of
Automat Pictures encourages Vito’s own family to speak so openly from their
hearts that by the end of the film, it is difficult to feel that you’re not
part of the Russo family.  Terrific
soundtrack from Miriam Cutler.

The film shows at New York Film Festival, Oct. 14 at
6 and 9pm and will be aired on HBO in 2012.

From a completely different POV, is GOD’s LAND, written and directed by Preston
Miller (Jones), tells the story of a group
of Taiwanese zealots who descend upon Garland, Texas with the promise of being raptured
up by a spaceship. Based on a true story, these white jump-suited strangers
wearing cowboy hats and boots, are endearing as they try to fit in and follow
their faith. The local media worries that they could pull off another Wako
resulting in decreased property sales, but these people don’t even own a gun—and
this is Texas. The members seem to actually care about each other and as the actress
Xiu Hou, playing the wife of the most recent inductee says to her much loved
husband: “I don’t have a vision, I’ll take yours.”

It’s
slow-moving (165 minutes) but the pace is important to understanding the
characters’ interiors and Mr. Miller has a great time shooting the strange urban
landscape, though much of it was apparently shot in Hicksville for a pittance.

The
film opens at the Quad on October 28.

Written by nancykoan

October 12, 2011 at 10:28 pm

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