Saturday, October 27, 2007

Museum Of Moving Image

Saturday October 27, 2007: Today I am going to the Museum of Moving Image in Astoria (Steinway St).

The event is called Warhol's World - named after movie maker Andy Warhol.

Today's shows (descriptions from the MOMI website)

Kitchen and Beauty #2 : Edie Sedgwick tends to domestic chores while being seduced.
Camp and the Velvet Underground and Nico: Impromtu vaudeville show.

More on this later.

UPDATE - Ended up not going on Oct 27th

I finally went to the Museum on Nov 3rd (Saturday). Was around there at about 3:00 PM but found that the movie was going to start at 5:00 PM. Bad luck. Ended up eating at the Cup Diner opposite to the museum. I had an Omelette with Bloody Mary. Good meal.

Two Days in Paris

I saw this movie today. Hilarious.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Mean Streets

I just watched Martin Scorsese's Mean Streets - finished watching the movie with a glass of Californian Merlot called Fetzer along with Planter's Mixed Nuts! The whole package was especially awesome after I ran the 4-5 brisk laps of the Pershing Field park at Summit Avenue.

The movie is amazing - makes me wonder that even in 1973 people like Marty were already at the cutting edge of cinema (the art form as we know it today). Anything in art/cinema that triggers off a thought process is worth its time. The movie offers no solutions it only asks questions. Harvey Kietel plays the role of Charlie - a small time mobster in New York's Little Italy. His friend Johnny Boy (De Niro) is always a problem for him. Johnny has a gambling habit and owes people money. The loan sharks one of them called Michael (played by Richard Romanus) are always looking for Johnny to settle their debts. Charlie is romantically involved in a clandestine relationship with Teresa (Amy Robinson) who is also Johnny's cousin. Things come at a head when Michael threatens Charlie that Johnny better pay back the $3000 he owes to Michael. Charlie negotiates with him and they mutually agree for $2000 instead. Johnny discovers the relationship between Charlie and his cousin Teresa and threatens to expose it to Teresa and Charlie's families (Charlie's uncle is a businessman/public figure). When Michael is finally able to talk with Johnny Boy in front of Charlie and few other guys at the bar things flare up. Johnny tells Michael that he (Michael) is basically a jerk off and Johnny borrowed money from him because no one else would lend him and he figured he would not need to pay back Michael. He also pulls out a gun (probably the same 0.38 caliber he was shooting on rooftop just for fun) earlier in the movie).

Charlie decides to escape the neighborhood with Johnny. Teresa insists on coming along and the three of them head away (I think towards Brooklyn). In the last scene of the movie Michael along with a henchman shoots Johnny several times in the neck while driving alongside them on the road. It is later shown that the Police arrives at the shooting spot and helps Charlie.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Two Newspaper Articles

Today's NYTimes carries an article titled "For Young Earners in Big City, Gap Shifts in Women's Favor" by Sam Roberts. To quote

"The analysis was prepared by Andrew A. Beveridge, a demographer at Queens College, who first reported his findings in Gotham Gazette, published online by the Citizens Union Foundation. It shows that women of all educational levels from 21 to 30 living in New York City and working full time made 117 percent of men's wages, and even more in Dallas, 120 percent. Nationwide, that group of women made much less: 89 percent of the average full time pay for men"

Another interesting article from the same newspaper - titled "Within Discredited Stem Cell Research, a True Scientific First". Its about the Korean scientist Dr Hwang Woo Suk who "was found to have fabricated much of his work. But according to a new post-mortem of his research, he did achieve a scientific first, though not the one he claimed.
..His embryonic stem cells were the product of parthenogenesis, or virgin birth, meaning they were derived from an unfertilized egg.
..Other researchers have since developed embryonic stem cells from parthenogenetic eggs, but Dr, Hwang's team would have been the first to do so had its members recognized what they have done.
..Although some creatures can reproduce by parthenogenesis, virgin birth would be a miracle in humans.."

Is it only me who sees a connection here?

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Work Less Live More!

I just chanced upon this book titled "Work Less, Live More The New way to Retire Early" by Bob Clyatt, an alumni of MIT Sloan. I just perused through a few pages it sure does have a few interesting tag lines. Maybe one of my readers can pick it up and let us know more about it :)

It reminded me of the incredible lifestyle of Louise Hornor and Sean Welsh. See the link below

Our Odyssey

Now, this is what I call living life in your own terms. Fabulous!

Friday, July 20, 2007

A Partnership of Minds

I am impressed with the article carrying the same title as this post and written by David Brooks in today's New York Times. I quote

"...It emphasizes how profoundly we are shaped by relationships with others, but it's not one of those stifling, collectivist theories that puts the community above the individual.
It exposes the errors of those Ayn Rand individualists who think that success is something they achieve through their own genius and will-power.
It exposes the fallacy of New Age narcissists who believe they can find their true, authentic self by burrowing down into their inner being. There is no self that exists before society.
It explains why it's so hard to tackle concentrated poverty. Human beings are permeable. The habits that are common in underclass areas get inside the brains of those who grow up there and undermine long-range thinking and social trust.
It illuminates the dangers of believing that there is a universal hunger for liberty. That universal hunger may exist in the abstract, but we're embedded creatures and the way specific individuals perceive liberty depends on the context.
It lampoons political zealotry. You may be a flaming liberal in New York, but its likely you'd be a flaming conservative if you grew up in Wyoming."

And further

"..In the information age, it seems fitting that we'd see people bonded by communication. It's not exactly new to say that no man is an island. But Hofstadter is one of hundreds of scientists and scholars showing how interconnectedness actually works. What's being described is a vast web of information - some contained in genes, some in brain structure, some in the flow of dinner conversation - that joins us to our ancestors and reminds the living of the presence of the dead."

Monday, July 09, 2007

Ingrid Bergman

I watched Ingrid Bergman's The Passion of Anna today.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Existing - Fyodor Dostoevsky

I recently picked up Fyodor Dostoevsky's Greatest Short Stories (also progressing albeit slowly on my study books). The story I started with is titled 'White Nights' and the basic plot is about a man aged 26, living in Petersburg (St.?) who has never dated a woman in his entire life and suddenly has this chance encounter with an amazing woman during one of his lonely walks around the city in the middle of the night. My first foray into existential literature - I must say it strikes me as very honest and interesting. I especially liked the bits about how a person leads an almost detached existence amidst so many people around her/him in the big city.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

On Difficulties

Real difficulties can be overcome; it is only the imaginary ones that are unconquerable.
Theodore N. Vail

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Another June afternoon

Its another afternoon like the one I wrote about earlier and I am sitting at home watching this movie Little Giants on HBO. Its about "a man who leads a group of misfits into competition against his brother's successful football team". My query in the earlier post is answered. Now I know why those kids give free car washes. Its to collect tips for their sports gear and stuff. Aha - my moment of Zen!

Friday, June 22, 2007

Brandon Ratcliff

On Wednesday (06/20/07) I saw Me and You and Everyone We Know, an award winning comic film which is very reflective of our times. The basic plot revolves around Christine Jesperson (Miranda July) and Richard Swersey (played by John Hawkes) who acts as a salesman and a father of two boys, and has recently separated from his wife. One thing that struck me was the uncanny facial resemblance this guy has with Ben Kingsley (esp how he looked in Gandhi). Christine is a struggling artist who is trying to get her work recognized in (fickle?) the world of modern art. For her living she runs "Eldercab" - a car rental for elderly people. Apart from this main plot there are subplots involving among others a shoe salesman colleague of Richard who is a single guy on the heavier side and has obviously not been so successful with the female kind. His role involves communicating his hidden fantasies to two teenage girls who are school mates of Richards sons.


My pick of the whole cast though is the 7 year old Brandon Ratcliff who plays the role of Richards younger son Robby. Even though I would give in that the character has been given a role which is decidedly too mature and weighty for a 7 year old but Brandon does a remarkable job. In one of the scenes where Robby and Miles (his older brother) are chatting anonymously with a girl on the internet he matter-of-factly gives out the theory of "back and forth".

I lost the rest of this post because of some special symbols I used in the text!! Aaaarghhh!!! Even Google has flaws!!

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Today and Tomorrow (Hoy y mañana)

06/13/2007: I picked up this DVD at random from the library. The cover says its the winner at Havana Film Festival and also chosen as the Best First Film at LA Latino Film festival. This is my first experience with Argentinian cinema.

My take - Good movie to watch if you are in introspective mood. Definitely not a happy ending.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

A June Afternoon

Yes its a June afternoon alright, but very far from what Roxette described in her song! Its 65 deg F (18 deg C) here near New York City and its a cloudy, windy day. I am sitting in my apartment near the window facing the backyard and every couple of minutes a cool gush of wind soothes me!

I went to Columbus this past weekend. Since I am more accustomed to the east coast (NJ, NY, Penn) roads, I noticed something which looked very odd at first. On a lot of busy intersections you would find kids and young adults standing with big placards which read "Car Wash" or "Free Car Wash". Sometimes they would also shout the same; at other times they would advertise specialties like 'gay friendly' etc.

Friday, April 20, 2007

One Hundred Years of Solitude - Found it!

Yahoo! I finally found Gabriel Garcia Marquez's magnum opus on the library shelf. I have been searching for the book for many weeks now and it was quite unexpected to find it today suddenly.

Is this Magic Realism? Fluid thoughts.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

On Writing

Today I attended a 'Workshop On Writing Memoir' organized by the Gotham writers workshop at a Barnes and Nobles shop on upper west side (66 St subway station). It was a free event to promote their memoir writing workshop classes amongst interested writers. The sole speaker at the event was Janice Erlbaum (author of Girl Bomb) who took us through the basics of writing a memoir. Here is what happened at the event.

Janice started by mentioning that a memoir is a true story of one's life. All of us remember most of the traumatic events of our lives; the ones that induce change and are the first of their kind for us. Memoir writing is recreation of all these changes. The following books were mentioned as noteworthy memoirs -

Jesus Land by Julia Scheeres
The Year of Yes by Maria Headley
The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion
Angela's Ashes by Frank McCourt

Memoir writing (as any writing) can be classified into three main areas - Character, Plot and Good writing.

Character - All the minute details of a personality matter here. Who has what characteristics? Who is the hero and who is the bad guy? A character need not generate sympathy of the reader to be a strong character; the more detailed and vivid the character is the more audience can see themselves in it and so empathize with it.

Plot - A plot of a memoir should ask the question - 'Are you going to get what you want?'. The reader should be sufficiently interested in this basic question. You may or may not get what you want, but the details of how you go about it about it should induce them to read on.

Good writing - Good writing is vivid and specific in its descriptions. Janice said that adjectives and adverbs are often overrated as fas as good descriptions go - sometimes a well used noun can do the trick. As a writer you should do everything possible to refresh the memories which form the basis of your memoir. Sometime some specific sight, sound or a person can act a catalyst in helping you remember exactly what happened. The writer should try and recreate the dialog between the characters. Memoir is an honest account of what happened; however a writer can lie by omission. This means that the reader is most often not interested in the boring parts and it is the writers prerogative to skip these in the memoir. Good writing also details the environment or the setting in which the events took place. As an example if your mom tells you - 'You have been adopted', you will most probably remember such a shocking dialog in very vivid detail. You would tend to remember the minutest details when such a conversation took place. However other stuff like you traveling to work usually could be skipped over to achieve a good pace in the story.

Three exercises were undertaken in the workshop:

#1 The first was to remember some first time incidents.

#2 Building up on the first exercise we were asked to write some more details about the event in exercise 1.

#3 We were asked to write for 6-7 minutes about the event in 1 and 2.

At the end of the workshop Janice gave out pointers to help publish the work. Specifically two books were mentioned as references

- The Art of the Book Proposal by Eric Maisel
- Thinking Like Your Editor by Susan Rabiner and Alfred Fortunato

All in all, I think I spent a quality one hour at the workshop and made a promise to myself to read some of the works mentioned here.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Negotiate Smart

I recently picked up a book from the library titled Negotiate Smart by Nicholas Reid Schaffzin. The 'About the Author' gives the credentials like this - "He (Nicholas) loves negotiating. He recently traded an old rag and a bag of dirt for a large island off the coast of Malta". He is also a Stanford and Columbia University graduate.

The book is about practical smartness - all deals we make in life (jobs, business, buying house or car, renting apartments) involve negotiation and if you are smart you can definitely get more bang for your buck. In a chapter titled "Prepare or Beware" it is mentioned that usually the person who has thoroughly thought through all the possible outcomes of deal and his reactions to them, is more likely to come out grinning.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

On Reading

What I have been reading the past couple of months?

I. Books which I read completely:

1. Khalid Hosseini - The Kite Runner
2. V S Naipaul - In a Free State

II. Books which I picked up but left in between

1. Gabriel Garcia Marquez - Memories of My Melancholy Whores
2. James Joyce - A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
3. Joseph Conrad - The Heart of Darkness

III. Books which I am currently reading

Milan Kundera - Life is Elsewhere

IV. Books which I picked up but did not get time to go through

1. Mark Twain - The Diaries of Adam and Eve
2. Eva Hoffman - Lost in Translation