RIP John Lennon


I remember being in English class in Grade 8, and our teacher -who often taught with a guitar- described to us how awful this event was. I was surprised that a lot of my classmates had no idea who The Beatles were. Even though the mp3 world is experiencing a revolution in accessing those wonderful tunes, it’s the truth that those songs were rightfully hard to get without buying the entire albums.

Rest in PEACE, John.

Sadly, Mel Gibson is Dead to Me Now


It is with a heavy heart, and a sad farewell that I confess: Mel Gibson is forever stricken from my list of actors I like. It’s a huge loss for me, as The Road Warrior and Lethal Weapon were both pivotal movies in my youth. However, the actor whose alcoholism has affected his work throughout his life, the guy who we tried to forgive for his Jose Cuervo inspired drunk driving arrest tirade, the guy who was infamous for being a practical joker on set…

He’s done it again. And I have had enough. Here’s to filmmakers hopefully culling a good remake of the Mad Max franchise. Maybe even remake the strangely titled Braveheart. Seriously, did anyone ever say the word “Braveheart” in that movie? I think not. And Mr. Gibson is not brave, and he has no heart. This is the final straw.

Kevin Gilbert’s “Kashmir”


(YouTube Link)

Kevin Gilbert was a flourishing musician in the L.A. scene who tragically died the same way INXS singer Michael Hutchens did. He left behind some promising recordings, including this cover of Led Zeppelin’s “Kashmir. “

The simple, but rockin’ twist on this version kicks in at around 1:30. Oh, and yeah… Koyaanisqatsi footage.

Buy Kevin’s music at Amazon.

R.I.P. Dennis Hopper


MGM Studios

R.I.P. Ronnie James Dio


Photo: Guino Patrice

Ronnie James Dio has lost his battle with cancer, and Clark Collins has a great lil’ eulogy of sorts up, along with some of the metal icon’s best work à la YouTube. I saw him live once, and it was an amazingly great experience.

R.I.P. Dede Allen, Film Editor


Dede Allen was a phenomenal editor whose work covers many of my personal favorite movies, including Bonnie and Clyde, Dog Day Afternoon, and Wonder Boys.

Allen was the first American to embrace European methods of editing by beginning sequences with close-ups or jump cuts and using the sound from the next shot while the previous scene was still playing. Greg S. Faller, professor of film studies at Towson University in Maryland, said “The Hustler” and “Bonnie and Clyde” “must be considered benchmark films in the history of editing.” Many of her techniques are now standard in modern filmmaking. “It’s hard to see the changes she made because most of what she did has been so fully embraced by the industry,” Faller said. (Texarcana Gazette, Associated Press photo)

She has been immortalized (at least in this heart) through her oft-quoted mantra: “Cut from the gut.” Everyone will have their favorite movie she edited, but for me it’s The Breakfast Club, hands down. Particularly the penultimate sequence where the Club has its first (and ostensibly only) meeting. That scene is all about Dede and her mastery of the split-edit. The next time you see that scene, just imagine how different it would be if the camera would always just show who’s speaking. Her gut decisions on who to show, and when to cut back to the speaker is awe-inspiring.

Remembering Dede Allen with a happy grin. She did good.

Unfairly Obscure: I Love You to Death


In my post, Great Movies That Don’t Get Major Play, I listed five flicks that have become what I’d call Unfairly Obscure. So in that vein, and since I keep thinking of others that (other than word-of-mouth) aren’t all that well-known, I’ll just update this new category now and then.

First up, I Love You to Death. Sandwiched between Lawrence Kasdan’s The Big Chill and Grand Canyon, this comedy wins over every person I’ve ever shown it to. Kasdan favorite Kevin Kline is an unfaithful husband to the wholesome/batty Tracey Ullman, and a cast right out of ensemble nirvana carry out his punishment: to be put out of his philandering misery.

Sample scene here featuring the brilliant William Hurt, the perfectly cast Keanu Reeves, and the tragically-talented River Phoenix.

(YouTube Link)

More River Phoenix clips at river1983.

And speaking of River and Keanu, I remember spotting Reeves walking through Northwest Portland around 1991, and tried to circle back in my car to catch up, but lost him. I had wondered about it, and if it was real, when I later learned that he and Phoenix had spent a month or so living in a house in Portland, researching their roles for My Own Private Idaho. They even jammed out with bassist Flea, and Phoenix comes across as someone very serious about his craft here, in this rare video of the creative process.

(YouTube Link)

(Poster: Tri-Star Pictures)

Week in Review


from brandlabs~ John Bender's glove button

- The Academy Awards made history Sunday night, or at least director Kathryn Bigelow did, but the highlight was the tribute to late director John Hughes.

However Emilio Estevez, who played the high school jock in “BC,” was notably absent. A source exclusive to Yahoo! reports that Estevez was spotted at the Cornell Winery and Tasting Room in Agoura Hills, California, shortly before the ceremony. A representative for the actor, who is now known more for directing, said professional obligations also kept him from the tribute.

- EMI was dealt a double whammy this week by two great bands. OK Go, who have become my gods of all things music video, told the record label adios after a month of squabbling about embedding their amazing videos to the Internet, and now have their own label, called Paracadute (parachute). And today news broke that Pink Floyd legally stopped EMI from selling single songs, claiming an appropriate and precedent-setting artistic imperative that their albums (which the judge ruled does not mean a physical record, tape or CD) were intended to be listened to as the whole wonderful experience that they are. (Applause.)

- Corey Haim finally lost his battle with drug addiction. And Corey Feldman was swift to the media with his ego scarcely sheathed, a fierce belief that the death was not caused by a drug overdose, and an inexplicable front-side rat-tail.

(YouTube Link)

- I also learned today that there are not one, but two “re-imaginings” of The Wizard of Oz in the works. I’m speechless, but Phil Jones, Tupac Shakur, and The Wicked Witch of the West have something to add in my stead.

This makes me like Tim Burton’s latest movie a bit less, for it hath unleashed a monster.  Next thing you know we’ll see a Casablanca “re-visiting” and so on.

I’d have blogged all this individually, but my real estate listings just keep selling, so busy bee!

The Fascinating Tale of the Kee Bird


Once upon a time I was most interested in the world of aviation.  I was actually contemplating pursuing a career as a helicopter pilot, and had always found myself gravitating to the lore of flight machines.  As kind of a fluke, I ended up in the US Navy as an airman loading ordnance onto planes; this led to other duties such as towing jets and the corrosion control/painting of the A-6 Intruder, a fine bird.  The films of Steven Spielberg had a role as well, like a shared love of all things WWII aviation.

Nova’s B-29 Frozen in Time, about the Kee Bird, renewed my geek affair with aircraft in one fell swoop.  Here’s Part 1, narrated by Richard Crenna (!):

(YouTube Link)

The story is romantic, and tragic.  It’s the epitome of FAIL, but it’s so very inspiring.  Darryl Greenamyer was a test pilot and B-29 enthusiast who, after learning about a certain abandoned bomber called the Kee Bird that emergency-landed 50 years hence in Greenland, decided to launch a rescue mission.  With his long time mechanic on board, a crew of skilled workers, and a lot of financing to get the seemingly simple task done, he delved into the harsh Greenland waste.

The ensuing voyage of frustration, drama, determination and ultimate failure shines a light on the nature of strength.  You can see what happens as you watch the videos (linked in each part at the YT link), and perhaps relate to efforts and best laid plans… an agent at my office wrote on her whiteboard: “There Is No Struggle Without Strength.”  It is so true, and sometimes the struggle turns out okay.

Like it did for me today.  After a month of negotiating, salvaging failed sales, dealing with scared and angry people, and a lot of hard work, my sellers signed today, and their buyers sign Tuesday.  It was a struggle, but I was strong.  And for some reason, this all reminds me of Darryl Greenamyer and his Kee Bird dream.

Buy it on Amazon.

Bob Marley T-Shirt


This would be an awesome shirt to wear out in public, just to see how many people respond to it.  It’s like that shirt that says “Soccer” with a distressed image of a football on it, only cooler due to it being music related, not sports related.

Over at AfricanApparel


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