Dangerous Minds pal Ned Raggett has been bravely looking into the career and ultimate downfall of You Light Up My Life composer Joseph Brooks who committed suicide this past weekend.
Read the New York Magazine article for the full deal about why this man will not go mourned by most of humanity. But if you want a picture of deeply hilarious delusion-in-action, enjoy this collection of bits from his WTF 1978 romantic melodrama If Ever I See You Again (With Jimmy Breslin and George Plimpton, who aren’t in this selection of scenes—Shelley Hack, sadly, is immortalized forever.)
It’s been thirteen turbulent years since Tony Kaye’s controversial first feature American History X nearly finished his career. Now the man who once described himself as “the greatest English director since Hitchcock,” is continuing to confound, surprise and impress with his latest film, the powerful and uncompromising Detachment, starring Adrien Brody, Marcia Gay Harden, Christina Hendricks, Lucy Liu, James Caan, Blythe Danner, Tim Blake Nelson and William Petersen.
three weeks in the lives of several high school teachers, administrators and students as seen through the eyes of a substitute teacher.
It will hopefully be on national release soon.
When not making his excellent films and documentaries, or painting and campaiging, the bearded, Biblical-looking Kaye has been recording and gigging at various venues in LA and NY over the past few years with his own distinct and original songs, of which these are just a selection.
Poetry of the Western World Read By Celebrities and Collected by Clare Ann Matz is a fab selection of poems read by Ralf Zotigh, Wim Wenders, Dave Stewart, Billy Preston, Ian Astbury, Dario Fò, Robbie Robertson, Allen Ginsberg and Solveigh Domartain.
The video starts with Ralf Zotigh reading the Ancient Native American fable - “Today is a Good Day”:
This is followed by Wenders reading from Walt Whitman’s Inscriptions (“To A Certain Cantatrice”). Dave Stewart, erstwhile of the Eurhythmics, reads William Blake’s “Sick Rose”, then, the late Billy Preston (first silently, then with soundtrack) reads Dylan Thomas. Ian Astbury, of The Cult (and clearly no fan of Dylan Thomas!) also reads, from the same poem, “Should Lanterns Shine”. Dario Fo, Nobel-prize-winning playwright and theater-director, reads (in Italian) Andre Breton’s “Fata Morgana”. Robbie Robertson, Bob Dylan’s confrere, comes in next, reading a selection from Allen’s “Song”” (“Allen wrote this. huh?”), and has some difficulty following the syntax (“an the soul comes..”? “and the soul comes..”?). Allen himself follows (with the aforementioned reading of “Father Death Blues”). Wim Wenders’ Wings of Desire “angel”, actress Solveigh Domartain, concludes the tape, returning once more to Allen’s poem - “the weight of the world is…love”.
Heard the one about the footballer, the actor, English privacy laws and Twitter? Not if you live in the UK you haven’t—or so the British legal system would like you to think. However the reality is very, very different. Things are kicking off here at the moment over the distribution of certain bits of information (which cannot be mentioned) concerning certain individuals (who cannot be named) on the Internet (where all this info is being made public regardless).
In the UK the courts can issue a thing called an “injunction.” This is in effect a gagging order that stops the press from reporting on a particular story or court case, though the injunction itself can still be reported on. It can be taken one step further with the imposition of a “super-injunction,” in which the media can not even report on the issuing of the original injunction. Recently a few new Twitter accounts have popped up that claim to spill the beans and name the names in a number of super-injunctions. Although oldstream media have been forced to remain silent on these stories, the juicy details have spread like wildfire across the Internet. You can have a look for yourself, though the names will probably not mean much to a non-Brit audience—the most popular of the Twitter accounts are InjunctionSuper, SuperInjunction, and SuperInjBuster.
Some of these claims leaking through these accounts are believed to be false, but some not. If they are true, this brings English privacy laws into massive disarray, and makes injunctions pretty useless at stopping information from reaching the public. And with the information now available, people are now voicing what many have suspected for years—that super injunctions are used not for the sake of justice but to protect the careers and public images of the rich and famous by gagging the press. Comments from senior members of the legal system only go to re-enforce the idea that they are badly out of touch with the public and the reality of social networking media. From the Telegraph interview with Lord Judge (yes, that is his name) last Friday:
“The internet had “by no means the same degree of intrusion into privacy as the story being emblazoned on the front pages of newspapers”, which “people trust more”, he said.”
But Internet access means that people in the UK can quickly and easily read about the injected stories in other countries’ media, begging the question, what’s the point of injunctions in this day and age? And so the British print media are fighting back, finding ways of getting around the court’s orders. Yesterday the Scottish Sunday Herald published the face of the footballer at the centre of the biggest super injunction row, Ryan Giggs, on its front page (injunction are apparently limited ot the English press). Giggs’ name was also mentioned in British Pariliament, meaning that that story can now be reported on in the English newspapers due to rules over “Parliamentary privilege”. MPs and the courts are now at loggerheads over whether injunctions should restrict Parilamentary privilege.
The major questions all of this brings to mind are: are we going to start seeing clampdowns on freedom of expression here on the Internet? Are new rules and measures going to be put in place to stop people from talking and writing about specific topics? Those topics may or may not be true, but should we be stopped from mentioning them? And just how exactly would these potential rules on the limiting of expression be enforced? The English courts have already issued the first ever injunction specifically for Facebook and Twitter but just how they are going to enforce these laws, in this age of WIkileaks and Anonymous, of proxies, of IP address blockers, of pay as you go dongles and multiple fake online personas, remains to be seen. Somehow I just don’t think it will be as simple as the lawyer Mark Stephens (interviewed in The Independent) believes:
“The person who has committed this contempt of court will be best advised to take their toothbrush because they will probably be going to Pentonville jail,” he said. “Their emails used to upload this information are being traced, I imagine, as we speak.”
The cat is out of the bag, as it were, or to use another mammalian metaphor, the horse has bolted. New information on the super injunction story (and the stories the super injunctions are trying to protect) is coming to light every day. To keep abreast of what’s going on you could keep tabs on the British news outlets I have linked to above (The Guardian, The Independent, The Telegraph, The Evening Standard) or ironically you might just be better off getting your info from a non-British source. Me, I’ll stick to reading the no-holds-barred Super Injunction Blog. Tough luck Mr Giggs.
Not exactly, but he might as well be talking about the so-called “Ryan plan” from beyond the grave…
The more things change, the more they… oh wait, nothing’s changed!
This video is as evergreen as it is brilliant, a “one size fits all” discourse of the futility of capitalism that lends itself to an infinite number of different blogging contexts. Today, it’s the “Ryan plan.”
“Life,” as Forrest Gump’s Momma used to say, “is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.” Which suggests (as may have been the intention) that Mrs Gump was either illiterate or just too damned lazy to read the chocolate box menu card before cramming a fistful of soft centers into her gob.
Well, this enlightening little film, How Do They Put the Centers in Chocolates? shows exactly how those tasty surprises Mrs Gump favored so much are added to every box of chocolates.
Chocolate is produced from the seed of the tropical Theobroma cacao tree. In 2007, archaeologists at a site in Puerto Escondido, Honduras, uncovered the oldest known cultivation and use of cacao dating back to around 1100 to 1400 BC. Mayans used cacao to make a rather frothy drink, and it wasn’t until the Spanish invaded South America did rich Europeans first get a taste of the delightful stuff.
Cacao was a luxury, and it wasn’t until 1847, that Englishman Joseph Fry invented the modern chocolate bar when he mixed cacao butter with Dutched chocolate, added sugar and made a chocolate paste that could be molded. Roald Dahl that fabulous writer and connoisseur of chocolate believed such historical events were more important than the tiresome facts of battles and kings taught at school:
“Never mind about 1066 William the Conqueror, 1087 William the Second. Such things are not going to affect one’s life ... but 1932 the Mars Bar and 1936 Maltesers and 1937 the Kit-Kat - these dates are milestones in history and should be seared into the memory of every child in the country.”
Europe still consumes around 40% of the world’s chocolate, with Ireland, Germany, Belgium, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom making up the top 5 of the per capita chocolate consumption table. The USA is 12th, ahead of Australia, Italy and Canada.
Terrence Malick’s The Tree Of Life which was five years in the making has won the Palme D’Or at this year’s Cannes Film Festival. Personally, I’m thrilled. I am a huge Malick fan and the film’s trailer suggests something quite magical. The reviews confirm my sense that this movie may be one of the few contemporary American films that aspire to the kind of consciousness raising that has been all but abandoned since Kubrick’s 2001: Space Odyssey and Peter Weir’s Fearless. Gaspar Noe’s Enter The Void stands alone among recent films that recognize cinema as a form of alchemy.
With Sean Penn and Brad Pitt in starring roles and the Palme D’Or, it is conceivable that a pure art film may find an audience in the USA.
Tree Of Life opens next weekend in New York and L.A. and expands to other cities on June 3rd.