Friday, November 07, 2008

Camera Obscura; Morristown's Ballet Movie Premieres; Ultra-Groovy 60s Movies; New Futurama on DVD

On Saturday at Rose Center's Perk Prater Hall, a movie premiere will be held for "Morristown - A Ballerina Love Story". It was all shot in town, especially amidst the old Downtown area and on the overhead sidewalks, and at Ashley Cunningham's Dance Studio. The movie is already available on DVD, which you can order here at the film's web site.

The story follows several dancers and their passions on and off the dance floor and it looks like a fine bit of work. WBIR reported on the story and offered this behind the scenes look at the film. The showing in Morristown Saturday is at 1:30 pm, no admission charge. Here's a trailer:

Best of luck to these very talented performers.


The first theatrical film version of the James Bond novel "Casino Royale" from 1967 boast a 1960s cast of huge stars (Peter Sellers, Ursula Andress, Orson Welles, David Niven, Woody Allen), has 6 James Bonds, was written and directed by half a dozen pros, and gets a new special DVD release this week.

The eye-popping visuals are matched with an excellent score by Burt Bacharach and some truly wild story twists and turns as it spoofs the Bond genre. I've always liked the movie -- not because it is great, but simply because it is so ambitious and (at times) a spectacular failure. This new disc captures the movie and the experience of making it quite well:

Was it censored, assembled from bits by Frankenstein, or did everyone quit halfway through? The answer, courtesy of an exhaustive disc docu and commentary is, "All of the Above."

It includes the ultra-weird performance of Deborah Kerr as M's wife, a Scottish matriarch whose madness is so hammy it could fill an entire deli. Take a peek if you've never seen this Technicolor trip of a lifetime:


Speaking of ultra-trippy 60s movies, you can catch the amazing version of Marlowe's classic play Doctor Faustus from 1967 on Turner Classic Movies at 6:15 pm. The movie was made after Burton had a highly successful run of the stage play and was made at the height of the frenzied tabloid reporting on his marriage to Elizabeth Taylor, who plays Helen of Troy in the movie.

Cinebeats has a great write-up on the movie and it's history here. As she writes:

Together with the skilled international crew that included cinematographer Gábor Pogány, this group of creative people helped give Doctor Faustus an impressive look and stunning visual style even though most of the film was seemingly shot on rather small sets. Horror fans who enjoy Roger Corman’s Poe films, Hammer studio productions and Mario Bava’s Italian thrillers might be surprised by how much Burton’s Doctor Faustus seems to resemble horror films from the same period."


The third of four Futurama movies has arrived on DVD, titled "Bender's Game".

I love this series so much, and I've liked all the movies, despite some shortcomings. This time, the wise-cracking Bender leaps into the world of Dungeons & Dragons as he tries to create a sense of imagination within his circuits, and yes, hilarious and crazed results follow.

The makers of the show continue to excel at sci-fi comedy, and there just ain't much of that around ... well, comedy sci-fi on purpose.

Also worth noting on DVD is the result of the very obscure TV show "Quark", starring Richard Benjamin, from 1977, created by Buck Henry. The show is almost indescribable, but I have friends who just loved it and quote it to this day.

This review of the DVD set tries to capture the plot-line:

Set in the year 2222, Adam Quark (Richard Benjamin), captain of the interstellar garbage scow, the United Galaxies Sanitation Patrol Cruiser, scours the Milky Way, seeking baggies full of trash. Relegated to the most prosaic of United Galaxy duties, Quark longs for adventure and excitement as the captain of his own star cruiser, but for now, cleaning up other people's mess is his main assignment - that is, until "The Head" starts giving him more dangerous assignments (often by default, since no one else is out in the middle of nowhere more often than Quark), missions that Quark often lucks his way into completing.

Aiding Quark in his unconventional missions are his, to say the least, unconventional crew members. Ficus Pandorata (Richard Kelton) is the ship's science officer, an emotionless Vegeton (plant humanoid) who engages in endlessly convoluted philosophical discussions with Adam. Betty One and Betty Two (Cyb and Patricia Barnstable) are the gorgeous navigators and pilots of the ship. One of the Bettys is a clone (both of them deny it), and both are in love with Adam - only Adam can't determine who the "real" Betty is, and thus, keeps his distance. The ship's engineer is Gene/Jean (Tim Thomerson), a "transmute" with a complete set of both male and female chromosomes."

I say give it a look - it's an amazing bit of TV which TV was never ready for.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Calming The Hysterical Conservative

I did not want to post anything today about politics or President-elect Obama .... however.

There remains this bitter denial of reality from the Conservative Right for the decisive choice made this week by the majority of Americans.

Fervent expressions of shock, disgust and other howling tantrums from the Right might best be addressed by this video which Metulj offered on KnoxBlab:

At this point, cable news, talk radio and much of the online world need a Time Out, if only so the rest of us can get a little peace and quiet and go on with our lives.

Be sure to Read This Post from DeMarCaTionVille for a Reality Check:

It wasn’t the firecrackers tossed in my driveway that caused me to cringe, but the words. It probably caused some of you to cringe seeing it typed out here… because no matter how many times you have seen or heard it and regardless of who pushes it forth - this word will never completely lose it’s power to shock, offend or leave some feeling as though they’ve been punched in the stomach by centuries of history.

Of course, these were just mouthy high school kids - little boys and not very bright ones at that since they had picked the minority family on a dead-end street, meaning they’d have to turn around the circle at the end of the subdivision and bring their narrow-butts right back by my house.

I was angry nonetheless.

I was so angry that I grabbed my car keys and headed out the door, intending to set up my own a road block, take names, call Mamas and the police. If necessary, I’d involve the National Damn Gaurd, the ACLU and the DOJ. Also, suspecting that I knew one of the car’s occupants, I absolutely meant to cut a switch from a tree and whip his half-grown ass myself… because I’m sure his Daddy wouldn’t mind.

In the end, however, I didn’t do any of those things."

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Exit Polls Analysis in Tennessee

Some reasons and trends in Tennessee voting:

Tellingly, a 52 percent majority of those voting Tuesday in Tennessee where whites who described themselves as evangelical or “born again” Christians. And of these white evangelical voters, fully three-fourths (75 percent) voted for McCain. McCain drew just 36 percent support among the 48 percent of Tennessee voters who were not white evangelicals.

“It’s likely that ‘values’ in the context of Tennessee’s presidential election meant ‘white, evangelical Christian values,’” Blake said. In Edison Media Research’s national exit polling, white evangelicals made up a relatively smaller 23 percent of voters. But, as in Tennessee, about three-fourths of white evangelicals across the nation favored McCain.

“Change,” the key theme of Obama’s campaign, appeared to lack resonance with Tennessee voters, according to fellow MTSU pollster Dr. Jason Reineke.

Other exit poll findings include:

• Obama won among Tennesseans age 18 to 29, but these represented only about 14 percent of those voting. McCain won among voters 30 and older.
• Obama won among African Americans, but McCain won among whites.
• Most Tennessee voters (61 percent) said they had made up their minds sometime before September.
• Obama won among those who disapprove of George W. Bush. McCain won among those who approve of Bush.
• McCain won among the state’s wealthier voters – those earning $50,000 or more. McCain and Obama basically tied among voters earning less.
• Most (72 percent) said the race of the candidates was not a factor for them. But among those who called it an important factor or the most important factor, most went for McCain.
• Obama won in urban areas. McCain won in the suburbs and in rural areas.

Pollsters Blake and Reineke are director and associate director, respectively, of the MTSU Poll, a twice-annual, scientifically valid public opinion poll of Tennessee adults. The most recent MTSU Poll was conducted in September 2008. See:

More info is available here.

Victory For All Americans

I haven't ever seen anything like that crowd at Grant Park in Chicago last night. Hundreds of thousands of people gathered to celebrate not a candidate or political party or even a campaign, but to celebrate a victory for Americans who have a vision for a better future, a better nation and a better world.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Liveblogging The Election Returns

UPDATE 01: Just in case the night is more than you can handle, some advice on a variety of beverage recipes and Candidate Cocktails based on your candidate of choice here.

UPDATE 02: A flood of returns should start rolling in very soon - I'll post the local returns in Hamblen County, but also have results for the 1st District Congressional race too. The city of Morristown is considering a referendum for liquor by the drink, which almost passed in 2003, but I'd bet the referendum fails by a larger number this time around. County by county returns in Tennessee will be posted here at the state site as soon as they get the info.

UPDATE 03: Early voting results in Hamblen County: 12,666 votes cast in early votes
Liquor By The Drink - Yes: 2,733 No: 2,580
Sales Tax Increase - No 4,069 Yes 3,079
1st District Congress (D) Russell - 29% (R) Roe - 66%
Obama - 30.6% McCain - 68%

UPDATE 04: About 4 precincts reporting, with the local results
Liquor By The Drink -- Yes 3517 No 3235
Sales Tax -- No 4471 Yes 3328

Looks like the city may just get their long-sought-for LBTD sales, and the county is rejecting a sales tax increase. For national offices, the Republicans continue to dominate.

UPDATE 05: Final Hamblen County results:
LBTD passes with Yes 4525 No 4098
Sales tax increase defeated with No 8316 Yes 5556
John Litz (D) unopposed is re-elected
Roe 66%
Russell 30%
Obama 30%
McCain 68%

Looking at the national results, it looks like NC, FL, PA and OH are in Obama's corner. Results will take more time to settle out, but the Senator from Illinois may become the next president. Stay tuned for more info as soon as it is available.

UPDATE 06: A resounding win, much as expected, for Phil Roe (R) against Rob Russell (D), with Roe taking some 72% of the vote according to the AP. Overall, solid wins so far in the Congress for Democrats. As the pundits on MSNBC reported, the one region of the country with a solid Republican block in Congress is on the South. Sigh.

Conservatives On The Way Out

I tend to think the result of today's election will be the rejection of the howling lunacy masquerading as political debate which dominates the Republican/Conservative movement.

For well over a dozen-plus years, they have leapt forward to demonize anyone who might voice opposition to their ideas. Rather than debate any issue on merits, the Hate Machine rolls over anything in it's way.

Two recent examples -

-- The Freepers who see conspiracy in the death of Sen. Obama's grandmother

-- The Tennessee GOP spokesman Bill Hobbs, who lives far too close to racism.

I am optimistic that Americans will vote for a new direction in political discourse and in government, away from division, distraction, delusion and the dictates of a vocal minority.