Thursday, August 29, 2013

Observations from the Coffee Shop 8.29

If you are anything like me you're probably confused by what is going on with same sex marriage in New Mexico. I didn't understand why when one county in Pennsylvania began issuing marriage licenses to same sex couples all hell broke loose yet in New Mexico it seemed the opposite happened. One county followed another in issuing licenses or was ordered to do so. I didn't realize that not only doesn't New Mexico have a law banning same sex marriage it has no laws regulating marriage at all. I found this opinion piece in the Los Angeles Times that does a good job of explaining what is happening in New Mexico and because the Times is sometimes behind a paywall I thought I would post the entire article. Quirky indeed but whatever works.

New Mexico's quirky path on gay marriage
By Karin Klein
2:05 PM PDT, August 27, 2013

"Welcome, New Mexico, to the roster of states where same-sex marriage is performed and recognized. Sort of.

It has been a bumpy ride on the way to marriage rights for gay and lesbian couples. Some states have come to that point through the courts, sometimes though their legislatures, sometimes by the voters themselves. Not counting New Mexico, 13 states and the District of Columbia now recognize such marriages.

Why leave out New Mexico? Same-sex marriage hasn't exactly been legalized there because of some unusual factors particular to the sometimes quirky state. For one thing, New Mexico doesn't have any laws that ban same-sex marriage. It in fact doesn't have laws regulating marriage, period. As a result, a clerk in one southern county recently began issuing marriage licenses and, unlike in other states where municipal governments took it upon themselves to make marriage law, it’s OK. There is no state law to override the clerk’s decision.

Meanwhile, the New Mexico Supreme Court has made clear that it’s in no rush to make a decision about same-sex marriage. In fact, the court suggested that lower courts just see if they couldn't handle this on their own. And that just happened twice over the last week in separate court victories that institute same-sex weddings in New Mexico’s two most populous counties.

How this affects the other counties in the state is unknown for now; the rulings aren't binding on them yet. Republican politicians are talking about a lawsuit to stop the weddings, saying that the governance of marriage is up to states. That’s true, but in the case of New Mexico, the state’s governance up to now could best be described as “Hey, whatever.” Gay marriage foes might try legislating against the marriages, but it’s late in the game and any such attempt might be viewed skeptically by courts that see it for what it is: An attempt to take away a civil right that a group already has.

It’s a messy way to go about achieving the admirable goal of full recognition for same-sex couples. But then, California’s  struggle over marriage rights involved a much more twisted tale. As Shakespeare might put it, the course to true civil rights never did run smooth."

8/30 update - Just after I posted last night I saw some news that throws a new twist into this story. All of New mexico's county clerks (21 Democrats and 12 Republicans) have joined the ACLU of New Mexico's lawsuit as defendants. New Mexico is the only state that has not explicitly allowed or banned same-sex marriage in law and the clerks are seeking a definitive answer.

This is from an article in the Albuquerque Journal News. "During a Wednesday conference call, county clerks voted 31-0 to have their attorney seek a state Supreme Court ruling to address their concerns and determine whether the constitution’s equal-rights protection allows for same-sex marriage," said Daniel Ivey-Soto, executive director of the New Mexico County Clerks Affiliate.

And here is a statement issued by the ACLU of New Mexico.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Observations 8.28

Now this is an idea whose time has come, start naming hurricanes after climate change deniers. I first saw this video on Joe My God.

Published on Aug 26, 2013

"If you agree that it's time for a naming system that names extreme storms caused change after policy makers who deny climate change sign the petition at, before John Boehner blows your entire city away."

note - I stopped using the tag 'global warming' a bit ago and switched to climate change. Rather than have a mess noting that fact here and tagging this post with global warming. If you want to see previous posts on the subject, including those during Sandy, click that tag.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Observations from the Window 8.27

A few days ago Chelsea Manning was sentenced to 35 years in prison which, all things considered, I didn't find that bad. Wikileaks called the sentence a "significant strategic victory." With credit for time served she could be out in 8 years which is far better with the 90 years without parole she faced and didn't deserve. While the sentence is by far the longest ever given to a whistleblower, people need to remember that Manning is a member of the military and that fact changes everything.

While my feelings about Manning are tainted some by how I feel about Julian Assange I do consider her heroic in many ways. She didn't run from what she did, she stood up for what she believed, and she paid the price. If I were President I would at least commute Manning's sentence to time served when she requests a pardon. I doubt very much President Obama will do the same but I think history will be kind to Chelsea Manning.

I wasn't irritated by the sentence itself, if anything I was surprised because it bordered on fair, but I was irritated by the reaction some people had to it. I haven't been around any Occupy people in some time but I still have a Twitter list I use to keep track of them. While most on the list reacted to the Manning sentence with disgust and outrage there was no mention at all of the other breaking story that day, the chemical weapons attack in Syria.

Keeping with the subject of tinkers, geeks, whistleblowers, and spies yesterday I saw some new things about Edward Snowden's excellent adventure. The Russian newspaper Kommersant reported that the reason Snowden didn't fly to Cuba wasn't the fear of being forced down by some grand international conspiracy but something far less sinister. Cuba didn't want him. They and The Washington Post also reported that far from surprising the Russians by flying to Moscow on June 23rd, Vladimir Putin himself said "It is true that Mr. Snowden arrived in Moscow, which was completely unexpected for us," Snowden actually spent several days in the Russian Consulate while in Hong Kong. Glenn Greenwald and The Guardian must have missed that minor part of the story. I don't think history will judge Snowden as kindly as it does Manning.

I've made no secret of the fact that I do not like Snowden or his sideshow at all because it takes away from a very important discussion of privacy in the digital world. I do however have a bit of advice for Mr. Snowden. Get a new photo taken, there are some good Russian photographers out there, because the world is really tired of that same photo of you it's been forced to look at since day one.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Sunday Observations, Sports Edition

It's the sports edition because I don't feel like getting into all the ways the world seems to be falling apart at the moment. Another reason is the time of year, this was always the time of year I obsessed about the coming hockey season.

Before I get to the sports one non-sports related item I think I'll pass on. The Penn State class of 2017 met for the first time today and includes students from 41 states and 71 countries. Classes begin tomorrow.

Penn State's field hockey and women's soccer teams start their season on Friday. The football team begins it's season Saturday in a game that will mark my first ever trip to MetLife Stadium. Penn State opens with a game against Syracuse at the Meadowlands Saturday afternoon and I shall be there along with my brother and a few others. Don't expect any photos from the game due to the new NFL and NCAA regulations which allow nothing into a stadium not resembling a large zip-lock bag. The days of sneaking beverages into a game are gone forever, just another way the terrorists have won.

Have I ever mentioned what a most awesome brother I have? For my birthday he gave me a HartnellDown t-shirt autographed by Scott Hartnell himself. For the uninformed HartnellDown is a charity started by Flyers' forward Scott Hartnell. Why is it called Hartnell Down? A few years ago a group of Flyers fans on twitter started posting with the hashtag #hartnelldown whenever Hartnell fell on the ice, mostly mocking him because he sometimes isn't the best skater in the rink. Instead of getting mad Hartnell commandeered the tag and made it his own. His foundation sells apparel and other things with the tag and donates all the proceeds to various youth sports related charities.

Admittedly it hasn't been the best of summers for the Phillies but last night they played in a rather historic game. The 7 hour 6 minute 18 inning marathon was the longest game in the Phillies storied history. It was also the longest game in Major League baseball in 25 years and tied the record for most pitchers used by both teams in a game, 20. The Phillies' final two pitchers weren't pitchers at all but a center fielder and a third basemen which may explain why the Phillies lost.

Tonight it was announced that former Penn State and NBA player John Amaechi will be Penn State's Homecoming Grand Marshall this year. Normally I wouldn't care who the Grand Marshall was but Amaechi has a bit of history I personally find important. In 2007, in his book Man In The Middle, Amaechi became the first former NBA player to come out of the closet.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Observations from the Window 8.22

I wrote this a few days ago. I was catching up on magazines, but now have no idea where I was going with it. I'll just post it as is with a link to the complete article at the bottom.

Sometimes I'll read a whole magazine and have only one sentence or paragraph linger after I finish. That's what happened when I read The New York Times Magazine from a few weeks back. In an article about a French base jumper who had died I found the following words that ring true in more areas than base jumping.

"If you’re all tuned in, there’s ‘Yes,’" he said. "On the mediocre days, there are two other voices. One’s ‘Fear.’ Your body is screaming out at you, ‘Don’t do this,’ because it’s dangerous, unnatural. You’re there to conquer your fear. But there’s another voice that hangs around every now and again, and that’s called ‘No.’ Something’s not right. You can never put your finger on it, it could be something in your pack job, or the weather, or the people you’re jumping with, or your mind-set. It’s just, ‘Walk away, don’t go jumping today.’ The difficulty is trying to discern between ‘Fear’ and ‘No,’ because they’re both telling you the same thing. ‘No’ is your sixth sense that’s trying to save your life."

"It’s More Like a Suicide Than a Sport"

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Dear Mr. Putin

Last Saturday, after winning the 4 x 400 meter relay at the World Athletics Championship in Moscow, Russian sprinter Ksenia Ryzhova kissed Yulia Guschina on the podium, on the lips. Maybe they meant the kiss to be a protest, maybe they didn't, in fact both sprinters are married to men though I don't know what that proves.

Under Russia's anti-gay law anyone who distributes information with the intention of persuading minors that nontraditional sexual relationships are attractive or interesting, or are even the social equivalent of traditional relationships, can be arrested and accused of breaking the law.

Granted I'm far from a minor but as a strictly impersonal observer, try to cut me some slack on the impersonal part, I have to say this looks very attractive and interesting to me. No matter what their intent this certainly looks like, and under Russian law should be considered, gay propaganda.

See you in Sochi Mr. Putin.

Grigory Dukor/Reuters

Monday, August 19, 2013

Observations 8.19

This is just an addition to yesterday's post. It's a second video Dior film from Versailles with more outside shots and less of the Hall of Mirrors.

Dior - Secret Garden 2 - Versailles
from Inez & Vinoodh on Vimeo.

"Inez Van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin disclose Versailles is a more intimate way. The chateau and its park abound with well-kept secrets. The heart of the royal lands conceals an extraordinary world of poetry and color: in the depth of its mysterious woods a secret garden blooms out of sight, inhabited by flower-women. From the Petit Trianon to the enchanted forest, the Top-model, Daria Strokous becomes the reincarnation of Marie Antoinette, Queen of France, of fashion and elegance. The painting “Le Déjeuner sur l’Herbe” of Edouard Manet becomes the picturesque backdrop of the dreamlike tale embodied by Daria and transposed at the Château de Versailles."

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Observations from the Window 8.18

I suppose I could say I'm officially obsessed. Not that I haven't to some degree been obsessed with France, more specifically with Paris, my whole life. At the moment it's worse than it's ever been, much worse.

I just finished reading The Story of Paris and now have Thomas Carlyle's The French Revolution, Charles Dukeyonge's The Life of Marie Antoinette, Jeanne Louise Henriette Campan's Memoirs of the Court of Marie Antoinette, and François Auguste Marie Mignet's History of the French Revolution from 1789 to 1814 all lined up on my Kindle.

Add to the reading list the course I'm registered for at NYU, Women Writers in France (12th century to the present), and you begin to see what I mean by obsession.

How bad is it? I can watch this short film and not see the models or hear one of my favorite songs. All I see is Versailles' Hall of Mirrors which is something I neglected to see last year. I won't make that mistake next time.

Christian Dior - Secret Garden - Versailles
from Inez & Vinoodh on Vimeo.

"Secret Garden - Versailles"
A film by Inez and Vinoodh
Starring Daria Strokus, Melissa Stasiuk and Xiao Wen Ju in La Galeries Des Glaces - Château de Versailles.
Music by Depeche Mode: 'Enjoy the Silence'

"Before the camera lens of Inez van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin, the looks from the fall 2012 collection are brought to glorious life. In a deserted Versailles, as if plucked from a fantasy, the model Daria Strokous invites you to follow her on a wondrous path that winds through the Galerie des Glaces, through the palace's endless interconnecting salons, as far as the grand tree-lined walks that sweep through the classic parkland à la française.

Along the way she's joined by fellow models Melissa Stasiuk and Xiao Wen Ju for a dreamlike fashion show where Versailles is transformed into Christian Dior's secret garden, his emblematic château. D'or et Dior."

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Observations from the Window 8.13

This summer it seems like one weather event after another is a major news item. Just in the past week we've had out of control wildfires in the west, flooding in the midwest, resort swallowing sinkholes in Florida, and this morning massive thunderstorms in the northeast. We haven't even gotten to the peak hurricane season yet. At times like this it's good to be reminded that human caused climate change is just a massive liberal atheistic hoax.

I haven't mentioned America's tard in chief in some time, possibly because he has so much competition or possibly because I'm being overly politically correct, but this seems as good a moment as any to bring him back. I give you Rush Limbaugh during his radio show yesterday when he somehow managed to go from abortion to climate change with hardly a breath. He was commenting on Secretary of State John Kerry's remark that climate change was "a challenge to our responsibilities as the guardians, safe guarders of God’s creation."

"What about God’s creation called a fetus? See, in my humble opinion, folks, if you believe in God, then intellectually you cannot believe in manmade global warming. You must be either agnostic or atheistic to believe that man controls something that he can’t create. The vanity! These people on the one hand, ‘We’re no different than a mouse or a rat.’ If you listen to the animal rights activists, we are the pollutants of this planet. If it weren't for humanity, the military environmentalist wackos, the Earth would be pristine and wonderful and beautiful, and nobody would see it. According to them we are not as entitled to life on this planet as other creatures because we destroy it. But how can we destroy it when we’re no different from the lowest life forms? And then on the other end, ‘We are so powerful. And we are so impotent — omnipotent that we can destroy — we can’t even stop a rain shower, but we can destroy the climate.’ And how? With barbecue pits and automobiles, particularly SUVs. It’s absurd."

You can listen to the entire Limbaugh segment here, if you dare.

I like the beginning where Limbaugh corrects Secretary Kerry's use of the English language. More than likely it was a rather crude attempt at bringing attention to Kerry's Boston accent but as most of Limbaugh's listeners are rather crude I'm sure they fully understood.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Sunday Observations 8.11

This is an odd mix of things but it's Sunday and I'm cleaning up notes.

Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona is the first openly bisexual member of Congress. Sinema says she was always open about her sexuality but her first comment on it as an elected official is classic. In 2005, while she was a member of the Arizona State Legislature, a Republican colleague gave a speech in which he insulted LGBT people. "We’re simply people like everyone else who want and deserve respect," Sinema said. Later reporters asked her about her comment and she answered "Duh, I’m bisexual."

Jay Leno was talking about comedy but the Republican Party could have learned an important lesson had they listened to him a few nights ago. He said that when you play to one group, a part of the audience in his case, in the end all you do is pander to that group at the expense of the rest of the group.

I enjoy Abby Huntsman on The Cycle so much more than I did Sarah Elizabeth Cupp.

Something I want to read is Five Star Billionaire, a new novel set in Shanghai and written by Malaysian writer Tash Aw. I was reading a column about it and others in the current rash of Asian superwealth novels when I saw the following line. "Does the rapid ascent of the $30,000 handbag spell some sort of apocalyptic, karmic doom? Or a societal dynastic pattern in which Asian superwealth will end up where America is now, divided and waiting for the revolution." The review was written by Chinese author Janice Y. K. Lee who resides in Hong Kong. Nice to know that the residents of Hong Kong think Americans are awaiting the revolution, they might be right.

Another book i just added to my wish list is Taipei by Tao Lin. Technically Tao Lin is an American writer but his parents are Taiwanese so I guess you could say I'm currently looking at Asian writers. But then I haven't read any of them yet, right now I'm reading The Story Of Paris by Thomas Okey which was written in 1906.

Finally a link I've been saving so long I forgot what it was, "Architecture: Pre-emptive Moves, Predemolition." It's about the New York practice of tearing the decorative pieces off of classic buildings so there is no reason to give them historic designations and clearing the way for the developer to tear down the entire building. I saved the article because it reminded me of a cool store in Adamstown, Pennsylvania. The 'store' is a warehouse next to a huge century old barn both of which are filled with things salvaged from buildings about to be torn down. Everything from doors and windows to mantels and antique crystal door knobs, this place has it all. According to it's website Oley Valley Architectural Antiques even has 150 antique bars.

I warned you it was an odd mix of topics.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Observations on Art 8.10

To start I don't mean this to be rude or to sound like I'm making fun of the writer, I don't mean to, it's just that when I first read this letter I couldn't stop laughing. I mean who even notices descriptions like the ones she is talking about and the first article was written over ten years ago. To me art thief is enough of a description, it doesn't matter if said thief is French, Romanian, or Samoan. Okay I might notice a Samoan art thief, that would be something special.

The letter was written to the editors of  The New York Times by Monica Syancu who had been an intern at the Romanian Mission to the United Nations. I'm posting it here for entirely innocent reasons, or for the links, or because I'm a snobby art bitch. Take your pick.

"You recently published an article about a Romanian mother who may have destroyed the works of art stolen by her son. In 2002, The Times presented a similar case that involved a French family. Although both articles covered art theft and destruction of property, the headlines have very different tones: "Your Stolen Art? I Threw Them Away, Dear" (lighthearted) for the French case and "Romanian’s Tale Has Art World Fearing Worst" (sensationalist) for the Eastern European case.

In the case involving the Romanian family, you quote Ernest Oberlander-Tarnoveanu, the director of Romania’s National History Museum, saying that if the stolen paintings were burned, it would be “a barbarian crime against humanity.”

While Stéphane Breitwieser, the French art thief, is described as a likable “self-taught art lover,” Radu Dogaru, the Romanian art thief, is described in another recent article, "Romanian Says Her Tale of Burning Art Treasures Was a Lie," as standing silently, “flexing his biceps,” during a hearing on his case.

Thus, Romanians are suggested to be backward while those in the West are civilized.

Headlines and articles of this nature fuel prejudice against Romanians at a time when they are already being discriminated against in Europe. The destruction of art is a great loss for our universal heritage. But there is something wrong when the same crime is presented in a more favorable light when carried out by French citizens and as a tragedy when carried out by Romanian citizens."

Basel, Switzerland, July 30, 2013

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Observations from the Coffee Shop 8.8

There was a time I watched MSNBC's The Last Word religiously. During last year's election season it was awesome to watch after Rachel. Lawrence O'Donnell always showed he knew the inner workings of the political bubble after having worked in it for years. The show always has the best panel and the fact that Krystal Ball seems to be O'Donnell's favorite panelist never hurt. That time may have passed as lately O'Donnell seems to be following Keith Olbermann's trajectory into smug arrogance. For personal reasons I'm never one to complain about arrogance but if I want arrogance at the expense of intelligent conversation I'll waste my time with Fox News.

Last night O'Donnell outright irritated me.

The opening segment of the show was about President Obama's decision to skip a one on one meeting with Russia's President Putin. There are various reasons for that, Snowden being the obvious fall guy, but that isn't what I'm writing about. I would probably just agree with both sides on this or that point, it's why we debate these things. No I'm writing about O'Donnell's performance during that segment, a performance that reminded me all too much of Bill O'Reilly.

O'Donnell's primary guest for the Russia segment was Julia Ioffe of The New Republic. Why was Ioffe the guest? Probably because she was born in Moscow and has written about Russia in The Columbia Journalism Review, The Washington Post, The New Yorker, Foreign Policy, Forbes, as well as The New Republic. Suffice to say O'Donnell didn't agree with Ioffe's assertion that Vladimir Putin isn't nearly as omnipresent as the west gives him credit for (you can watch the segment here). At one point O’Donnell almost shouted, "We’re getting absurd now!" Ioffe answered with a question, "Have you reported out of Russia?" At this point Ioffe's part in the discussion pretty much came to an end. It irritated me not only because of O'Donnell's arrogance but also because I really wanted to hear what Ioffe had to say.

Thankfully this morning I saw this article, "What Lawrence O'Donnell Didn't Let Me Say About Putin." Hopefully you read it. I'll post one part here because it jumped out at me, it's what I think, and it's an opinion O'Donnell totally disagrees with. "Putin does not orchestrate, he reacts. Putin is no chess player. He is a knee-jerk, short-sighted little tyrant. Don't give him credit where credit isn't due." She adds that in her opinion the U.S. totally mishandled the Snowden affair and if they really wanted him back it should have been done quietly. Again I agree but I don't think a man named Glenn Greenwald was or is about to let anything happen quietly.

I may be right or wrong, who knows, but as I wrote on Twitter last night, lately too many journalists make me think of the word hubris.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Observations on Art 8.7

You know by now that I love timelapses and this one is just stunning. I probably use the word stunning too much but I can't think of a better way to describe this film. Nightvision was created by Luke Shepard, an American student videographer studying at American University of Paris. He raised the money to do it with a kickstarter campaign last year. I'm not sure what does it for me, the song, the simple beauty, or the fact that I studied a few of the buildings. The buildings themselves range from the most modern through gothic and baroque to almost ancient. It really is stunning.

The bigger you watch it the better.

NIGHTVISION from Luke Shepard on Vimeo.

"Nightvision is a celebration of the brilliance and diversity of architecture found across Europe. Over the course of three months I journeyed with a friend through 36 cities in 21 countries with the ambition of capturing some of the greatest European structures in a new and unique way. Comprised of thousands of carefully taken photographs, strung together and stabilized in post-production, Nightvision aims to inspire appreciation for these man-made landmarks.

Nightvision would not have been possible without my Kickstarter backers, the support of the American University of Paris community, everyone who helped along the way, and of course, those who designed and built these architectural masterpieces."

Director: Luke Shepard

AD: Henry Farrow Miller
Music: "Outro" by M83
Equipment: Canon 5D Mark III, Zeiss 18mm f/3.5, Zeiss 21mm f/2.8, Zeiss 25mm f/2, Zeiss 35mm f/1.4, Canon 8-15mm Fisheye f/4, and Canon 24-105mm f/4
Software: Adobe Premiere Pro, Adobe After Effects, Adobe Bridge

update - I just wanted to add this link to Luke Shepard's website which has a list of the buildings and cities of Nightvision. Personally I like the sweeping shot of Rome's Trevi Fountain best. Anyway, I know you were guessing, now see how many you had right.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Sunday Observations 8.4

So you should know by now I have a thing for movies where things go boom but rarely if ever has that included French films. Live and learn. I watched a movie called Forces Spéciales (Special Forces) which is about a fictitious hostage rescue mission into Pakistan. I have to admit I did enjoy it even if I was bit confused at times because it's in French but also English and Persian. As for the plot, well if you have ever seen the Bruce Willis movie Tears Of The Sun you get the idea, just substitute the Hindu Kush for Africa. What's also funny is that the French reporter who is taken hostage by the Taliban is played by Diane Kruger who also happened to play Marie Antoinette in the movie I mentioned last week, Farewell, My Queen. For the record Kruger is a German actress.

It may seem like a weird quirk but when I read a magazine article about a woman I always look to see if the writer and photographer were men or women. What made me think of that? Currently a short bio of Kate Upton in the June issue of Vogue which mentions her breasts quite a few times. Both the writer and the photographer were women. The same issue has a nice fashion layout by Peter Lindbergh, "Stardust." I can't say I've ever really wanted to do fashion photography but if I did I like to think it would look something like that. Maybe it's just the motorcycles, or Edie Cambell's eyes, or her short dark hair, I'm not sure.

Who says an advanced art degree is worthless? It seems more and more people are willing to pay to have someone give them a private tour of a museum or a 'cultural excursion' as it is called. A couple of examples are Art Tours in Europe and Art Smart in New York City. The going rate in New York, about $200 per hour with a two hour minimum. I could handle that kind of money but I wonder how much I would have to talk to people because, well, anti-social.

Something in the same line of thought, art degrees not money. It's that time of year when everybody comes out with a list of worst college majors. I wont bother with links but just say that there is a common thread in all of them, art degrees. All the worst ten degree or major lists include Fine Arts, Film, Photography, and Theatre. None of the lists include Art History which either means they think it's a good degree to have, highly doubtful, or they don't even want to admit it exists.

Finally my sister is off on a fishing expedition this weekend. She texted me a photo of her holding a bass she caught and I'm terribly jealous. For a change that isn't sarcasm.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Observations on Art 8.3

Court is always fond of saying a good short film doesn't need a soundtrack or narration, it tells its story with no sound at all. That is the case with this short bio of Danish artist, designer, and self proclaimed "creative madman" Dennis Seide.

The film is by Mads Jeppesen and I found it while trying to find out if Jeppesen every finished his documentary on New York's underground art called Somewhere In The Dark. The concept trailer of that film is also below. As far as I can tell Somewhere In The Dark was never finished as he only raised $600 on indiegogo and the trail seems to have stopped at the end of 2012. Too bad.

Dennis Seide - No refund from Mads Jeppesen on Vimeo.
Filmed, edited and directed by: Mads Jeppesen.
Vocal mix: Jens Sejersen
Produced by: Mifune Film

Somewhere in The Dark - Concept trailer
from Mads Jeppesen on Vimeo.
Directed by: Mads Jeppesen and Betty Kaye

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Observations from the Coffee Shop 8.1

Twitter always seemed a more natural media to me. It doesn't have the massive profiles, groups, or games of other sites. It serves a more limited purpose and in most cases what I post is what I'm reading, looking at, or thinking about at any given moment. I have been known to delete a post I don't think looks like it belongs, I've been told I'm aesthetically obsessed at times, and because I hate typos but both cases are rare.

Over the past couple weeks (July 16th through July 29th) something fascinating and important happened on Twitter. Scott Simon, a weekend host on NPR, live tweeted the final days of his 84 year old mother's life. I didn't read it live but I've read it since and I think it's beautiful. Simon said he didn't plan on doing it but it began when he found out his mother needed emergency surgery. As he updated her condition he began receiving thousands of responses and so continued posting till the end.

I learned a few things going through my mom's death and one of them relates to this. Some people think death needs to be extremely private and happen behind closed doors. Out of sight. I finally decided, with some help, that those people thought what they did more out of their own fear of death than for any other reason. As with life what matters most in the end is what is best for the people directly involved.

Even now, over ten years after my mom's death, it helped to read his tweets. It helps to realize other people go through, feel, and think the same things. I remember at the time so many questions were running through my head. What should I say? What should I do? How am I supposed to act? I was touched by Simon being torn at times between holding his mother's hand and doing the 'manly' thing by not. I was at my mother's side at the very end and I didn't hold her hand, I just couldn't. That still haunts me sometimes.

But then there is a moment that makes me smile to this day. Needing to be alone I walked out to the hospital parking lot and smoked a cigarette next to a no smoking sign. At the moment I imagined my mother smacking the back of my head for being rebellious even then. Maybe it's just me, maybe the moment doesn't exist, but it seemed like the moment when memory took over from reality. Maybe that's just the way my mind works.

At 8:17 PM on July 29th Simon tweeted this; "The heavens over Chicago have opened and Patricia Lyons Simon Newman has stepped onstage."

notes - Here is the link to Scott Simon's twitter page, @nprscottsimon, you'll need to scroll down to the dates involved. Here is a good column on NPR by Andy Carvin that includes many of Simon's tweets and also some of the responses, "On Twitter, Scott Simon's Long Goodbye To His Mother."