August 31, 2008

Famous last words

Your Projectionist still can't believe that U.S. Republican presidential hopeful John McCain would want Alaska's current governor, Sarah Palin, for a {ahem!} "running mate." Especially after these telling 10 seconds from MSNBC, of all places:

©2008 NBC–Universal.


The folks at Brave New Films can't understand why, either.

That makes more than two of us.

Feature Presentation; Naomi Klein, live

Since your Projectionist mentioned subMedia and its frequently—made It's the End of the World as We Know It and I Feel Fine, it probably won't hurt to embed one episode for our beloved viewers.

This episode contains the speech that journalist/author/lecturer Naomi Klein (whose book The Shock Doctrine is her most recent work) gave during the 2008 National Conference for Media Reform, sponsored by FreePress.

But you will not find it embedded on their site. It is thanks to an "anonymous" contact that subMedia's mysterious "Stimulator" managed to get the unreleased footage. He has also learned that Ms. Klein's critique of Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama was the reason for withholding the video.

The official reason FreePress gave follows:

Despite our best efforts, we feel that some of our speakers encroached on electoral space during their remarks at the National Conference for Media Reform. It is not in our interest to disseminate these recordings. We are reviewing all of our video content and will add that which we determine to be free of electoral statements to this page.

In other words: stay on topic, preferrably ours.

Which makes the Projectionist wonder why they would book Naomi Klein in the first place. Especially when they know full well that her role as journalist is to critique the news we get spoonfed so daily.

With sincerest thanks to the Stimulator for his efforts (as well as that of the anonymous source), here is the video FreePress didn't want you to see:

Three words for FreePress: Live with it.

Everybody else: Please show your appreciation for subMedia by purchasing DVD videos and other goodness at their Infoshop.

August 30, 2008

Coming Attractions: Diane Wolkstein's Journey to the West (updated with video!)

A big heads up to fans of storytelling:

There is a new website on behalf of storyteller Diane Wolkstein and her new performance project: Monkey: Journey to the West.

©2008 Diane Wolkstein/Cloudstone Productions.

Based on the famed Monkey King epic (Xi You Ji), this production unites the talents of Mme. Wolkstein, India's own Anita Ratnam, and Taoist master Sat Hon for a new retelling of Monkey's best–known [mis–]adventures.

From the site:

Our presentation of Monkey offers the excitement of the journey while also focusing on the inner adventures of the protagonists. Monkey has gained immortal powers from studying with the Taoists; his first instincts are to triumph, to prevail. However, in his role as the monk's protector, he runs into constant difficulties, for the Buddhist monk cannot see the difference between fiend and friend and his loving heart would care for all, even those who would destroy them.

Sounds very exciting, and worth watching out for. Perhaps Mme. Wolkstein will eventually get it taped for posterity?

Until it happens, here's some video of her and Anita Ratnam in rehearsal to tie you over:

©2008 Diane Wolkstein / Cloudstone Productions.

If you work for (or know folks who work for) a performing arts agency, have them see the site (as well as Diane's own) and contact the teller. This roadshow deserves to travel far and wide.

August 29, 2008

In Memoriam: Abe Nathan (The Voice of Peace)

From somewhere in the Mediterranean came some sad news this week: the passing of Abie Nathan, founder of Israel's celebrated offshore radio station, the Voice of Peace (Kol Hashalom).

You can read more about the man and his mission over at Wikipedia, and check out some of the memories below:

I am certain more memories will be YouTubed shortly, but these should be enough to start with.

Rest in peace, Mr. Nathan. And thank you for all you and your colleagues did in the name of Peace, Love, and Good Music.

Coming Attractions: Citizens United strikes back (twice)

Welcome to Friday, everyone.

Your Projectionist deliberately avoided National Public Radio as much as possible during the course of our nation's Democratic National Convention (choosing instead the street–level It's the End of the World as We Know It and I Feel Fine streaming from SubMedia — nothing like a shot of double–expresso anarchism in the morning). He knew full well that Barrack Obama would accept his party's nomination just as sure as John McCain (and whoever his running mate will be) will claim his at next week's Republican National Convention in Minnesota.

In the meantime, the conservative agitators known collectively as Citizens United are ramping up their anti–Obama attack: a new video feature entitled simply HYPE: The Obama Effect. At issue for them: the man's celebrity versus whatever "skeletons in the closet" Citizens United's David N. Bossie and company can dig up.

One "trailer" (no contractual credits, though) and one TV teaser thus far:

Both videos ©2008 Citizens United.

And that's not all, folks. Also on the horizon is Blocking 'The Path to 9/11' (The Anatomy of a Smear) — as in the Walt Disney Company's refusal to release on home video their Cyrus Nowrasteh–authored take on the events that led up to the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, D.C., on 11 September 2001 (fingering former President Bill Clinton's administration in the process). It's not new — a previous Citizens United feature, Hillary: The Movie, made reference to the miniseries.

We have a promo video for this one, too:

©2008 Citizens United.

Both discs street on Monday. While you can order them directly from Citizens United (that is, if you really want them), you'll end up paying a little extra for their cause. Try tracking them down via instead.

Just don't inhale too deeply. There are no opinion disclaimers on their discs.

As for your Projectionist, he favors Green Party candidate Cynthia McKinney (the Congresswoman whose fight for the black American vote was the subject of the documentary American Blackout).

[UPDATE 12h25: Both National Public Radio and FOX report that Republican candidate John McCain chose Alaska's current governor, Sarah Palin, as his running mate. On the one hand, she's the first woman getting the chance to run for Vice–President. On the other hand, she opposes abortion. Oops. Good luck, guys.]

August 27, 2008

Zen and the art of pushing sugar selling breakfast

One big shout out to The Worst Horse (actually the best place to square pop culture against Buddhism) and one of their contributors for the heads–up on this Kung Fu Panda–inspired advert.

Except it's not selling a movie. Actually, it's from sugar–pushing… Kellogg's:

©2008 Kellogg Company.

Joke's on them, though: your Projectionist is Type 2 diabetic.

August 26, 2008

Music Time: David Van Tieghem

Before David Byrne decided to turn a whole building into a musical instrument, another David — David Van Tieghem — played Manhattan… quite literately.

Enjoy Ear to the Ground:

©1982 David Van Tieghem / John Sanborn / Kit Fitzgerald.

Dame Evelyn Glennie, who's coaxed sound out of unexpected objects and places herself, would definitely smile.

In Release: I.O.U.S.A.

Your Projectionist got socked with a cold over the weekend, and will have to wait for this one to hit DVD, but if you can catch the Roadside Attractions release of the documentary I.O.U.S.A, please don't hesitate:

©2008 Peter G. Peterson Foundation.

Come back after the credits and let's talk. About debt, that is. Right now.

If this doesn't become an election issue, we'll be truly sorry. Or should be.

August 25, 2008

How not to do a trailer

It's bad enough when you become suspicious about the possibility that, one way or another, your vote won't be counted.

It gets worse when you learn that yet another non–fiction feature on the very subject has been given a limited release. Especially when you stop to consider that the matter has been dealt with by a better flick (American Blackout, available on one all–region DVD from Disinformation).

Then comes the title of the johnny–come–lately flick: Stealing America: Vote by Vote.

How could it get worse? Look at the trailer Direct Cinema made for their release!

Courtesy Direct Cinema, Ltd.

Guys. was it absolutely necessary to narrate the intertitles?

FYI, PopMatters's Cynthia Fuchs wrote the best assessment of the film, while conservative blogger/pundit Debbie Schussel wrote… well, you'll see. (Check out her interesting rating system.)

It's what your mamma warned you about

See, this Fox News Channel guy Griff Jenkins walks into a crowd of protesters in Denver, Colorado (just before the start of the Democratic National Convention), and…

Well, we warned you once, we warned you twice…

August 23, 2008

Goodbye, Kleenex®?

Some of us, afflicted with allergies of one kind or another, have no choice but to blow our noses. Sometimes it means a hankerchief, but more often than not, it's a box of bloomin' tissues.

That said, your Projectionist would prefer seeing more hankies than tissues for sale.

We bring this up because it seems Kimberly–Clark, which makes Kleenex® products, recently pacted with the Walt Disney Company to do a marketing tie– between Kleenex® and Disney's recent Pixar–erd animation WALL–E™.

And so, dear friends, another pact was created — to stop the Disney/Kleenex® scheme in its tracks — by Mark Fiore and Greenpeace.

And here is what they did, little children:

2008 Mark Fiore / Greenpeace.

Let's hope the creators of a certain Broadway musical–turned–movie have a sense of humor. They'll need it.

Meanwhile, your Projectionist is on a hankee hunt.

August 21, 2008

Hey, didn't this guy play Buddy Holly?

This one cracked your Projectionist up too much. And it's from the folks at the appropriately–named GOOD Magazine, so you've just gotta watch it:

©2008 GOOD Magazine.

Then you better watch out, y'all.

August 17, 2008

One fraud, on two DVDs to go

I guess the people at China Central Television (CCTV) still feel pretty good about the Opening Ceremonies of the Beijing Summer Olympic Games: They have put out a double DVD set (PAL standard only, not NTSC) of the entire thing, and ChinaSprout is offering the set for USD 30 (before postage and sales tax, natch).

In case you are genuinely interested, make sure your gear can speak fluent PAL as well as NTSC.

As for me, director Zhang Yimou has done better things. Trust me.

Coming Attractions: Mumbai Meri Jaan

The next few weeks will be hard for your Projectionist, as he will be hard at work packing up whatever is left of the office he worked at for nine years — and which will be shut down in early September. So the number of posts will be low for a while. Thank you in advance for understanding.

That said, I did want to get the word out about Nishikant Kamat's new film, Mumbai Meri Jaan, which opens this Friday, August 22nd. Set in the city formally known as Bombay — and dealing with the aftermath of the July 11th, 2006 bombings that rocked the city — I personally feel this will appeal not only to some Bollywood fans (the ones who might prefer more substance over spectacle), but to arthouse movie lovers as well.

Be advised that UTV Motion Pictures' special movie site uses Adobe Flash and will take over your entire workspace for the duration.

I can't post the trailer (which isn't subtitled), but you can catch it at the UTV Motion Pictures website.

It should at least prove far more compelling than the recently–opened God Tussi Great Ho (reviewed over at Bollywood Hungama). Apparently, Amitabh Bachchan as the Supreme Being aside, I didn't miss much.

For pure Bollywood escapism, I'd stick with Singh is Kinng, still in current release and still making money after two weekends.

[UPDATE 2008.08.20: Just checked the National Amusements website, to get the showtimes for this week. Sadly, not one of the multiplexes on Long Island (or anywher close) is going to host Mumbai Meri Jaan. Damn. Guess I'll be waiting a while for the imported DVD.

Amazingly, Singh is Kinng is still going strong into its third weekend at the National Amusements multiplex in Farmingdale. Akshay Kumar as a "kingpin" down under outlasted Amitabh Bachchan as the Supreme Being. At the box office in America, and the world over. Fancy that.]

August 12, 2008

Playback Singer Alert: A fraud grows in Beijing

Have you ever heard of Marni Nixon?

Chances are, if you've ever seen a few vintage musicals made into Hollywood movies, you probably have heard of her — or, more accurately, you just heard her. She provided the signing voice you heard while you saw Deborah Karr (The King and I), Natalie Wood (West Side Story), or Audrey Hepburn (My Fair Lady) on the screen. The way people commonly describe what Miss Nixon did was to "dub" the singing for these non–singing actresses.

It's an awkward description, and not really accurate.

But the film industries in India and Pakistan came up with one which I like, and which describes Miss Nixon's movie jobs very well. In Bollywood, we would call her a playback singer. And she would have plenty of company — the celebrated Lata Mangeshkar and Asha Bhosle immediately come to mind.

I bring all this up because of yet another faux pas that has come to light during the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, China. Yes, after TV audiences learned that some of the fireworks they saw on Friday's opening ceremony were a piece of CGI fakery, we now learn (via the BBC and the Associated Press) that a pretty young girl named Lin Miaoke pulled a mimic on audiences during the "Ode to the Motherland."

Meanwhile, audiences heard the voice of 7–year–old Yang Peiyi, who actually doesn't look like an ugly duckling (glance at the two pictures on the BBC site and decide for yourself). But, oh, no, the powers that be insisted on perfection, a best face for the world to see.

Quoth Chen Qigang, who made the call:

After several tests, we decided to put Lin Miaoke on the live picture, while using Yang Peiyi's voice… The reason for this is that we must put our country's interest first. The girl appearing on the picture must be flawless in terms of her facial expression and the great feeling she can give to people.

Really, now. This isn't Bollywood, people. This is a global athletic competition, and there are some things you just don't do during such an event. As if fake fireworks weren't bad enough.

It certainly outraged a few folks online, including one Weirderhua user quoted by the New York Times:

Please save the last bit of trueness [sic] in our children… They think Yang Peiyi's smile is not cute enough? What we need is truth, not some fake loveliness! I hope the kids will not be hurt. This is not their fault.

Reportedly, Miss Yang wasn't too upset by these events, and even said so on China Central Television (CCTV) ("I'm OK with it; my voice was used in the performance. I think that's enough"). She also sang on camera, I'm told.

Here's hoping both girls grow up to become beautiful ladies who can think and act for themselves. Maybe Miss Yang will even launch a singing career — without hiding behind another face.

Why not? It worked for Marni Nixon. And Lata Mangeshkar.

August 11, 2008

It shut us up with science (SCIENCE!)

This item is courtesy of the Onion News Network, so you know no one beyond us bloggers and webmasters with a sense of humor will touch it:

©2008 Onion News Network.

But seriously, how far off are we from seeing this as a regular on FOX?

August 8, 2008

Do as he says, not as he does

Question: Why would Fox News Channel and radio pundit Bill O'Reilly write a book to teach kids about good behavior — even as he conveniently throws the book out the window once he's on the air?

©2008 Robert Greenwald/Brave New Films.

Just wondering.

Meanwhile, Robert Greenwald has put a call out for "Lessons Bill O'Reilly Should Have Learned in School". Give it some thought today during lunch. It shouldn't be too hard.

August 6, 2008

Was that what we thought we heard?

The least said about Connecticut–based U.S. Senator Joseph Liebermann, the better. He's poison to Democrats — nay, he's just poison, period.

And he won't stop making a fool of himself, not even on the radio:

Video 2008 Bob Adams, a/k/a Connecticut Bob.

We've heard of "toilet humor," but…

At least we don't have to blame Judd Apatow for this one.

House Lights: Image is everything — even in Bollywood (updated)

When it comes to making movies in India, the film censors can sometimes be the least of your worries.

Two cases in point: ScreenIndia reports that famed actor Manoj Kumar is taking another actor, Shah Rukh Khan — plus movie producer/director Farah Khan and Sony Entertainment Television — to court. At issue are two scenes in the movie Om Shanti Om, in which Mr. Kumar is lampooned.

[Update 2008.08: BollywoodWorld has details of the contentious scenes.]

The Khans had reassured Mr. Kumar that said scenes would be cut. They weren't. Moviegoers saw the contested material in theatres, and I wouldn't be surprised if Eros International's recent all–region DVD release (two discs in a deluxe package) included it.

So Mr. Kumar is trying to get Sony Entertainment Television to cut the scenes from its August 10 TV premiere.

[Update 2008.08.10: As per BollywoodWorld, Mr. Kumar won his case, and Sony Entertainment Television was ordered to make the cuts. How this will affect Eros' home video release remains to be seen: The same article notes that Mr. Kumar is now working with his lawyer on mounting a criminal case against the producers. Some people do have the power after all.

In addition, Screen India has reported on another court action against the movie's producers — this time for plagiarism. Although rival screenwriter Ajay Monga, whose own credits include Corporate and Fashion, couldn't get an injunction against Sony Entertainment Television's August 10th screening, his case will get a hearing in late September.]

Meanwhile, as per IANS and BollywoodWorld, the Delhi Sikh Gurudwara Management Committee recently found three experts to carefully screen the comedy Singh is Kinng [sic] and see if the movie makers are being unfair to Sikh culture and practices. They're worried that their worst fears will be confirmed, as per the DSGMC's president Paramjit Singh Sarna:

We have formed a three-member committee of experts that will see the movie and based on their feedback further action will be taken....The film's promos showed a Sikh character wearing a turban, while sporting a French cut. This is not a positive Sikh image. The screening should not be allowed until its makers make changes in the portrayal of [the] Sikh character.

They probably should have acted sooner: The film reaches theatres worldwide — including a handful in the States — this Friday. A partial listing was on the Studio 18 website, along with a Liliputian–sized stream of the trailer. (We'd embed a YouTubed trailer here, but it's been pulled. How stingy can you get?)

Meanwhile, there is the issue of the spelling of that title…

[Update again, 2008.08.10: Not only did the movie make it to cinemas worldwide intact, it is reportedly doing very well. And the soundtrack CD on Times–Junglee Music is a huge seller — no doubt because of the presence of such big names as Punjabi music legend Daler Mehndi and American rapper (yes) Snoop Dogg, on loan from Universal.

I saw the movie myself at a National Amusements multiplex (!) in Farmingdale (Long Island, New York), and while the ending was a bit messy for me, it certainly works as the mass appeal popcorn flick it was meant to be. At least star Akshay Kumar has a helluva more class than Mike Myers. ;-)

And I suspect we'll be seeing more of leading lady Katrina Kaif — and understandably so.

Oh, yes: That extra "n" in the last word of the title: Blame it on Mr. Kumar and producer Vipul Shah. In an interview published in India Abroad, writer/director Anees Bazmee let slip that his star and producer added the second "n" "for numerological reasons." Oh.

Finally, I miscredited the movie to Studio 18. It is in fact an Indian Films Company release of a BlockBuster Movie Entertainers/Sari Om co–production. Credit where credit is due.]

And Oceania is always at war with Eurasia. Correct?

H/T to Robert Greenwald's Brave New Films for seeing the people at Al Jazeera as a bonafide news organization and not as "the enemy" or the "boogeyman."

And your Projectionist gives thanks to this, because we can now see how prepared Mainland China is for the 2008 Beijing Olympics:

2008 Al Jazeera.

David Hawkins is your guide to what can be properly called the "Big Brother Olympics."

Tune in next week when we ask whether two plus two really does equal five.

To our friends north of the border

Attention, Cannucks: I know this is old news, but September 15th is drawing near.

Back in June, Michael Geist — a law professor at the University of Ottawa and the founder of Fair Copyright for Canada — threw down the gauntlet by inviting his fellow Canadians to fashion short YouTube–able pieces for FCFC's C61 in 61 Seconds Campaign.

For those of you outside of Canada, C–61, also notoriously known as "the Canadian DMCA," is Canadian Industry Minister Jim Prentice's proposed rewrite of his nation's Copyright laws — and a very draconian rewrite at that.

There's more at Mr. Geist's blog — but for now, and if you're Canadian and have what it takes, here are your marching orders:

I'll start showing some of the entries here shortly.

To all those who will be affected by this bill, just three more words:

The clock's ticking.

August 5, 2008

Mark Fiore on the drillaholics

Just so! Not too long after we brought you GOOD Magazine's take on our grim fossil fuel addiction, Mark Fiore — on behalf of the Natural Resources Defense Council — takes the "let's drill more" argument to its illogical conclusion:

©2008 Mark Fiore/Natural Resources Defense Council.

Some people in high places (like the White House?) are just so obsessive.

Coming Attractions: Diamonds in the Rough

In these United States, hip hop — and especially rap — is blamed for so many of our nation's ills.

In a nation like Uganda, it's a completely different story.

Keep your eyes peeled for the Subterranean Network's recent documentary, Diamonds in the Rough: The Bataka Revolution, which features the members of Bataka Squad and their mission to educate the world about their nation's lethal civil war and living under the thumb of the Musoveni regime. The film has been making the festival rounds, so catch it if you can.

Courtesy of The Subterranean Network.

House Lights: Well, so much for the letters B, M, and G

And then there were four.

The BBC has reported that Sony BMG Music Entertainment will be dropping the "BMG" part of their name soon, after offering to buy Bertelsmann's share (roughly 50%) for some USD 1.2 billion.

The result will be known henceforth as Sony Music Entertainment, Inc., and will have its headquarters in the States. Regulatory hurdles still need to be cleared first, of course.

Like you'd care today. Like I'd care.

That won't repair the damage the music industry has done to itself, by itself. But you knew that.

August 3, 2008

Music Time: Devendra Banhart

Because you deserve to end the weekend on a high note, we offer you the video for the song "Carmensita" by freak folk favorite Devendra Banhart, from his recent XL Recordings release, Smokey Rolls Down Thunder Canyon:

©2008 Devendra Banhart/XL Recordings.

And, yes, that is film idol Natalie Portman in the female lead.