Saturday, June 20, 2009

Camera Obscura: New Twin Peaks; Zombieland; Augmented Reality

I do watch more than just horror movies. Really, I do.

But that is the genre I like best - I like getting frightened and equally like to create some scares for audiences too, yes. I do watch other things -- I've been noodling over all the brilliant work in "Wall-E" the last few weeks, for example. Science-fiction sort of folds into the horror movie mix, especially this summer and fall and there's some info on those movies below.

So, today's post is a brief look at some new scary stuff and some old scary stuff too.

Big news this week for fans of the long-gone TV series "Twin Peaks", thanks to a push from the former Special Agent Dale Cooper (actor Kyle MacLachlan) who wants to start up the strange world of the Great Northwest and backwards-talking-midget via a series of 5-minute webisodes. Could it work? And MacLachlan says it would not include the work of the series creator, David Lynch. All the current details are here.

And don't try and tell me that Twin Peaks isn't a creepy, scary show. Because it is.


In October of '09, a blend of laughs and chills arrives with the movie "Zombieland", which was shot in Georgia, in places like Atlanta, Buckhead, Valdosta and more. Bill Murray has a role as one of the zombies and Woody Harrelson plays a zombie hunter named Tallahassee. A brand spanking new trailer for the movie was released this week:

Almost looks like a Southern-fried "Shaun of the Dead", which is not a bad thing.

And speaking of Georgia and zombies, students at the Savannah College of Art and Design and the Georgia Tech Augmented Environment Labs are working on an amazing interactive game using mobile phones which looks like it is as much fun to create as to play. I see many more of this type of game ahead:


The Not Horror News -- in fact, it's "Good News, Everyone!!"

A new focus in sci-fi films on the way to a theater near you: scares and loneliness in outer space. Such as "Pandorum," which is from the producers of the "Resident Evil" movies. It stars the always scary Ben Foster ("30 Days of Night") and more info is here.

And then there is this one, which I am really looking forward to - a movie written and directed by David Bowie's son, Duncan Jones, titled "Moon" and starring Sam Rockwell, who plays the lone occupant of a fuel and mining outpost on Earth's moon. It's been getting rave reviews at film festivals across the country and is currently in limited release. Take a peek:

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Those Kids and Their Madhouse Circus of Socialism

A graduating high school student in Maine bowed and blew a kiss during his walk across stage and then found himself in trouble with school officials. Maybe it was because the ceremony had already been witness to an inflatable rubber duck and a beach ball, but the principal would not hand over the diploma to that crazy kiss blowing anarchist. Two students were escorted out by sheriff's deputies.

So now, of course, a mass public meeting is scheduled, and likely an investigative Task Force with perhaps the mission of creating an in-depth report on kiss blowing and rubber ducks and beach balls. The district's school board chair proclaims parents and community must decide if they want a 'refined event' or 'a circus'.

Cool! A circus at graduation next year!!

And of course, this kind of chaos is just more proof, say some, that President Obama and Democrats want Big Government Socialism (that link includes a local Maine TV news report on this ... um ... 'event'.) Rumor says another student started signing the yearbook with the phrase "Best Friends Forever - Love, Stalin". Other rumors claim UFOs and crop circles were seen briefly over the football field.

In related news, a young man who made some sculpture on the fly with roadside construction barrels in Raleigh, North Carolina is also endangering humanity, rules and the laws of science ... or something. (Although the company whose barrels were used say no charges or criminal prosecutions need to be attached to the artist in question.)

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

So Which State Workers Are Not Sending Out Tasteless Emails?

Stung hard and reeling from news about a racist email from a 20-year Republican staffer in the Tennessee Legislature, a Nashville conservative blogger, Blue Collar Muse, shot back today that he had evidence of a cruel email sent out by a Democrat staffer in the legislature and that no outcry would follow from those who blasted the GOP staffer. I tried to find enough details about this email to respond, though it seemed more to me a "so and so did a bad thing too!!" kind of game that BCM wants to play.

Christian at Nashville Is Talking has some info on the email and a link to some of the images allegedly sent out, plus responses by other bloggers across the state.

I rather like what Sean Braisted wrote of today's back-and-forth at Nashville for the 21st Century:

The "democrat" in question appears to be an intern, Blake Graves, who was recently honored by a house resolution citing him as being the "best dressed intern" and recognizing his numerous accomplishments, including "dedicat[ing] his singular skills to several student and civic organizations, including the Student Activities Council, the College Republicans, and volunteering for Hands on Memphis and Volunteer Memphis".

Yes, as an intern he was assigned to a Democrat, but it appears that his allegiances lie elsewhere. Regardless, this whole thing is rather silly. Neither should be fired, as for Goforth, the GOP staffer, the woman has been publicly humiliated on an international stage...a pretty brutal public shaming is punishment enough for what was never intended to be a malicious act, but an act of poor taste"

In the meantime, a very grim picture emerges via OpenPen, and a post there about the number of active white supremacy groups in Tennessee:

In April 2009, a new intelligence assessment by the Department of Homeland Security warns of an increase of extremist recruitment which was fueled by the the election of Barack Obama, fears about immigration and the failing economy. The assessment warns of growth of hate groups and extremist activity across the nation. The report also warned of recruitment of military veterans by these extremist groups. There are approximately 926 of these groups – a 54% increase since 2000 in the United States, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC). In Tennessee, there are thirty-eight of these identified hate groups. In Northeast TN, the SPLC has identified twelve hate groups."

As I said previously:

It is wrong for elected officials and their staff to sling this racist swill disguised as 'humor' -- I've seen and heard what such nasty racial hatred can do to people, how it nurtures this madness and helps it grow. Well, I won't stand for it. I'll do all I can do to stop the growth and nurture a better world and I trust you won't support their racism either."

Monday, June 15, 2009

Republican Staffer In Tennessee Emails Racist Image of President Obama

NOTE and UPDATE: The worst part of the story detailed below regarding the state's Republican party is captured quite well by OpenPen:

This is an obvious racist’s email, sent out by a state employee, on state time, on a state owned computer. She will keep her job.

Her response when asked about whether she knew the controversial nature of the picture, she would only say she felt very bad about accidently sending it to the wrong list. Exactly what was the right list?"

2nd UPDATE: Tuesday afternoon:

GOP State Senate staffer Sherri Goforth offers an apology for her actions:

I want to offer my deepest apology regarding the offensive nature of the email forwarded to several of my colleagues.

I also want to make it clear that it was forwarded to me from an acquaintance with absolutely no political party ties and who is outside the Tennessee Capitol Hill arena. I should have deleted it upon receipt.

Again, I am deeply sorry and offer a sincere apology to anyone offended."

Also, her boss, Senator Diane Black made these comments via CNN

And Nashville political blogger Kleinheider at Post Politics writes about why he was slow to cover the story.

It is worth noting in his post how he recalls the recent and current climate in the state's GOP when it comes to racial issue. Sure seems to me to be a climate that embraces dubious tactics - "
Sherri Goforth is not Chip Saltsman. She is not Bill Hobbs. She is not Robin Smith. She ain’t even Scott Gilmer. She’s not a player in game."

Read on to the bottom of this post to see what I think of this event ....

A racist email was sent out by a staffer for Tennessee Republican State Senator Diane Black of Gallatin, which my friend Newscoma shared with her readers and with me today. Thanks to what 'Coma did, others in the state blogosphere followed up on the nasty email and Christian at Nashville is Talking spoke to the staffer and got the lamest response - "Oopsie, I am sorry I sent that out to the wrong people." The email arrived with the title: "Historical Keepsake Photo".

See Newscoma's original post here
. She writes:

Dammit, Tennessee, haven’t we moved past this kind of crap."

At NIT, we get this response from the staffer Sherri Goforth, who sent out this "Keepsake Photo", plus NIT has a round-up of other responses in the state:

When I asked her if she understood the controversial nature of the photo, Goforth would only say she felt very bad about accidentally sending it to the wrong list. When I gave her a second chance to address the controversial nature of the email, she again repeated that she only felt bad about sending it to the wrong list of people.

“I went on the wrong email and I inadvertently hit the wrong button,” Goforth told NIT. “I’m very sick about it, and it’s one of those things I can’t change or take back.”

It is wrong for elected officials and their staff to sling this racist swill disguised as 'humor' -- so why am I also sharing this with you? To shame the senator and Goforth, and because I've seen and heard what such nasty racial hatred can do to people, how it nurtures this madness and helps it grow. Well, I won't stand for it. I'll do all I can do to stop the growth and nurture a better world than the one the senator and her aide want to nurture. I trust you won't support their racism either.

UPDATE: The racist email was sent out to the following recipients:

From: Sherri Goforth
Sent: Thursday, May 28, 2009 8:33 AM
To: Alice Bigham; Anna Richardson; Beth Chiles; Carolyn Newman; Catherine Haire; Christina Barber; Chuck Grimes; Darlene Schlicher; Deana Guenther; Debbie Martin; Debbie Rankin; Glenda Mayes; Jeremy Davis; John Michael Burch; Lance Frizzell; Lee Harrell; Linda Klingmann; Liz Alvey; Logan Grant; Loudene Gee; Matt King; Micki Coode; Pam George; Pat Farmer; Patti Saliba; Rick Nicholson; Sandra Smith; Sherri Goforth; Tina Still; Tonya Morelock; Valerie Yancey; Will Canterbury; Wilma Carney; Zach Bates

Sunday, June 14, 2009

I Begin To Make A Giant Peach (And A Giant Octopus)

Good morning, afternoon or evening.

I have been somewhat busy the last few days and weeks working in the actual world rather than here in the virtual one.

Summer always brings many new jobs my way -- For instance ..

Starting Monday, I'll be teaching a week of acting classes for kids at Walter's State Community College and also this week I start rehearsals directing a children's production of "James and the Giant Peach", based on Roald Dahl's book, for the local community arts organization, Rose Center, here in Morristown. I love working for them, and I will also be teaching acting classes as part of their summer arts camp as well. You can learn more about Rose Center here at their website. (And their building is a beautiful place and the scene of literally hundreds of cultural events every year)

The show will be performed July 31, Aug 1 and Aug 2 and I am really looking forward again to working on this Summer Players program and I'll post some pics next week of the cast and give some updates about future rehearsals as some very talented young performers and I work to create not only a Giant Peach, but a Giant Flying Peach, which will endure such hardships as attacks by sharks and an appropriately Giant Octopus as well.

The show marks my very first opportunity to create a Giant Octopus and a Giant Peach for a theatrical performance, and I'm rather excited to get such a chance.

NOTE: Both the peach and octopus images shown are not images of the ones I am actually making because, duh!! They have not been made yet and are meant only to stoke your imagination and provide me with reasons to write about both peaches and octopi of the Giant variety. Thank you.