The best thing about the Thanksgiving holiday is that it offers an exceptional excuse to watch movies until your eyes liquify and ooze out of their sockets. Which is your indicator that it might be time to take a little break.
The Dallas Buyers Club
Two of the most influential people of my photography career I met when I was nineteen and just starting to learn how to shoot fashion. By the time I was approaching my 21st birthday, both of them had passed away. The AIDS epidemic hit San Francisco with extraordinary ferocity in the mid-eighties. I saw, first hand, not only the effect that the disease had on those that were infected, but also the effect it had on those who weren’t. Families were devastated by the loss of young sons, and, for a little while, lack of education about the disease by the public at large had led to prejudice and absurdity. I saw people actually avoid touching the bus bar for fear of contracting HIV when the metro passed through the Castro, the predominately gay district of San Francisco.
The Dallas Buyers Club is a movie about those days in the eighties when HIV and AIDS, and all its misunderstandings was winding its way into the public consciousness. Mathew McConaughey plays a heterosexual Texan who contracts HIV and is given 30 days to live. The movie chronicles his journey to try and beat the disease by procuring experimental drugs from Mexico which he brings back to the United States to sell. The movie, and McConaughey capture the time flawlessly. Jared Leto plays McConaughey’s gay business partner who is also stricken with the disease. He too is absolutely flawless playing his roll.
Thankfully the movie avoids being overly maudlin. Instead it delivers a remarkable story about a chilling time in our recent history. I’m putting my money on McConaughey and Leto for Oscar attention this season.
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
I’d like to propose that any movie over two hours long have a symbol of a urinal next to its title. This would go a long way to alerting movie goers not to purchase a diet soda at the theater so they can make it through the whole flick without having to sprint to the bathroom ninety minutes in.
Unscheduled pee break aside, the second Hunger Games movie is fabulous. The introduction of Phillip Seymour Hoffman rounds out an incredibly solid cast. The movie is a faithful second chapter of the story, which is why I warn you to see this film only with those who have seen the first Hunger Games. Otherwise you’ll spend the entire movie whispering explanations. The scenes are wonderfully wide and luscious, so definitely catch this movie on the big screen.
This film starring Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy was made in 1995. It is a beautiful romantic movie. Two young adults in their early twenties meet on a train and spend a night together walking around Vienna getting to know each other and encountering actors, poets and street performers. The pacing is wonderfully true to life, and the screenplay avoids the typical plot devices that would fabricate some sort of conflict or peril that they would have to survive.
In the end the two part ways without exchanging last names or phone numbers, but rather a promise that each will return to meet in Vienna in six months time. Without any of the cliche’ elements of most movies, superb dialog and compelling performances, Before Sunrise will, depending on your age, remind you of your past, or give you a glimpse of your future.
Happy Thanksgiving, y’all.
I am fascinated by high dollar auctions. This one in particular caught my eye. It’s for the Pink Star diamond, of which I know nothing except that it’s pink, fabulous and sold for 83m US dollars in less than five minutes. It’s fun watching the video of the auction. The auctioneer is nervous and funny at the same time.
At first I was a little unclear about the 83m dollar price quoted in the headline of the article, because in the video the auctioneer says the final price is $68m Swiss Francs which comes out to $74.3m US dollars. Then I recalled the fees that Sotheby’s receives for its auction services. 25 percent on the first $100,000; 20 percent from $100,000 to $1.9 million and 12 percent of the rest. Add those up to get just over $9m which brings the total price up to $83m.
I wonder how much the model wearing the ring got paid.
Artist Stanley Lau’s stunning print The Mother of Dragons.
Available for purchase at Society 6.
The mark of a good photograph is when you see the story that it conveys and not the technique used to convey it.
Bold, and unapologetic in its vision, I’d say.
A compelling, if not slightly disconcerting mens collection for Spring/Summer 2014 from Xander Zhou.
Steve Albini produced Nirvana’s final album, In Utero. Letters of Note has Albini’s pitch letter to Nirvana which explains his philosophy behind producing records.
I like to leave room for accidents or chaos. Making a seamless record, where every note and syllable is in place and every bass drum is identical, is no trick. Any idiot with the patience and the budget to allow such foolishness can do it. I prefer to work on records that aspire to greater things, like originality, personality and enthusiasm. If every element of the music and dynamics of a band is controlled by click tracks, computers, automated mixes, gates, samplers and sequencers, then the record may not be incompetent, but it certainly won’t be exceptional.
Everyone who makes a living being creative should read this letter in its entirety before taking another step on the path of their career.
One of the most important speeches of the year for writers, filmmakers and story tellers. There is a ridiculously hacked five minute version of this video that is floating around the internet. Ignore it. It’s meant for ADHD suffers and wannabes. Watch the full 46 minute presentation. It is terrific.
The Creative Grit podcast was kind enough to have me on their show this morning. Marc Harmon and I talk about bidding jobs using BlinkBid, and dancing to the techno beat of the Skype ring tone. Time well spent to be sure.
Movie theater popcorn is a concession stand staple whose scent has spawned marketing ploys and copycat recipes, but movie theaters haven’t always been saturated with the tempting smell of salt and butter. The history of popcorn is vast, and it intersects with movies in the relatively recent past–a symbiosis of taste and place created to save the fledgling movie theater industry from near collapse during the Great Depression.
Fun and fascinating. Movie theaters were originally created for the upper classes. It’s a great story from Smithsonian online.
If you’ve seen any, or all of the Bond movies based on the Fleming books, you’ll love this collection of book cover art.
The fine people at Photo Nights Boston asked me to guest blog this week. I wrote about the madness that surrounds the process of finding your own originality.
Evolving your originality to a point of supreme confidence is a maddening journey that includes copying other peoples work. Which may, at first blush, seem slightly smarmy. But it’s not, everyone starts this way.
Another fabulous story from Josh Bearman.
Welcome to a place where even beer runs are a matter of life and death. As the Iraq War draws to an official close, Joshuah Bearman tells the funny and poignant story of the real-life Baghdad Country Club, a bar in the Green Zone during the conflict’s bloodiest years. Against all odds, its proprietors struggle to keep their raucous watering hole safe and well-stocked as the insurgency rages outside.
You gotta pay for this one, 2.99 from the Atavist. Well worth the price of admission.