Thursday, April 29, 2004
Wow, Bush and Cheney
speaking to the 911 Commission
in a White House today I was hoping to read the transcripts and see their pictures but none of this was allowed. Bush and Cheney didn't even answer questions under oath
also no film or audio recordings were allowed
. This was the White House's negotiations to allow the President and Vice President participation. Maybe I'm confused but this doesn't seem like the behavior of an open democracy to me. I find their secrecy disturbing.
Saturday, April 24, 2004
it's Saturday Night, I'm in Inglewood
California, well known as the past home of the LA Lakers
and the town that rejected Walmart. I have mixed feelings about the Walmart ballot Measure 04-A which lost with 69% of the voters casting a ballot against it. There is no doubt that Walmart, with it's huge success, low salaries, their financing of the measure which attempted to bypass government regulations, and use of sweat shop labor internationally is at best a controversal corporation. But I found many of the commentaries criticizing Walmart were lazy journalism. It's easy to attack Walmart but there are many corporations that exploit their workers. One article that caught my eye was written by Ken Gracia, published in the San Francisco Chronical, Wal-Mart starts to pay the pay. The authors states that Inglewood's business district burnt down
during the 1980 riots. This just wasn't completely true. Downtown Inglewood did not burn down. Actually Inglewood was known for it residents not participating the LA riots. I would appreciate more investigative journalism about corporate America. How are workers treated, are these entities given too much economic advantage and what is their advantage or disadvantage within communites.
I'm in LA this weekend to visit my sister and her family but I'm also here for my annual trek to LA TIMES Festival of Books at UCLA
. The weather was beautiful, warm and sunny - something rarely experienced in San Francisco. It was a perfect day to wander the campus - checking out books, authors, and family entertainment. Usually I buy a few books but not this year I have a backlog of purchased books to read and sadly the sales and specials at the Festival do not exceed visiting your neighborhood book store. But the selections always makes it a tempting environment.
My highlite this year was the panel discussion, Can America Pursue a Moral Foreign Policy?
The panel members were Chalmers Johnson, Saul Landau, James Mann, and Samantha Power with Jacob Heilbrunn as Moderator. Samantha Power was the draw but I'm planning to read the other panel members books. The panel discussion on America foreign policy and Human Rights reinforced my fears that the country is slipping more and more into militarism. One of my favorite quotes is "America has no friends only allies and Common Interest".
Wednesday, April 21, 2004
Wednesday - French class tonight
. I really suck when it comes to pronouncing French but I'm taking this class solely for pleasure. This summer, I'll take French grammer instead of conversation. Hopefully, I'll be really for more language challenges in the fall. I'm taking French for future travels, my dream is to visit France and Mali in 2005 - my goal is to be able to communicate with the people - and pseudo sign language doesn't count. Also, studying French is given me more insights into my own culture. There are plenty of french word usage in America - now I have a chance to pronounce them correctly and understand what I'm tiring to say. It's a totally difference experience than staring at a computer screen all day - those neurons are being used in a fresh way.
The previous two night I went to the San Francisco Film Festival
at two different locations Monday at the AMC Kabuki Theatre
I saw Dame la Mano
a documentary about a Cuban immigrant community in New York City and their love of music and rumba in their lives and how it sustains them - this documentary was very good I really enjoyed the structure of the film. Meeting the people in their day to day lifes and finally spending an evening in the club 'La Esquina Habanera' with them. The music and dancing is great - it works wells.
On Tuesday, I went to the Castro Theatre
to see Dans La Nuit
a French Silent movie made in 1929. This film had a live musical accompaniment by the Alloy Orchestra
. The Castro theatre is the perfect place to see silent movies, the theatre with its' beautiful Art Deco design and The Mighty Wurlitzer organ,
- which is played before all movies creates the perfect atomosphere. Dans la Nuit
did not pop my cork - the first third was painfully slow for me - I felt the musical arrangement was better than the film for the first third -and the music shouldn't overshadow the movie. The last two thirds when the conflict occurred was better, full of drama and a plot twists but the ending .....oh brother. Where's Germaine Dulac
when you need her- it was decent.
Sunday, April 18, 2004
April 18th - wet and cool in San Francisco - but the wet weather was not going to cramp my style. Today, I had the chance to see the movie Dogville
.. I wanted see the film for two reasons, the film has been criticized as being anti-american, and it was shot in video. The American criticism is a little strange to me - I felt the condition presented in the film dealt more with the human condition - it's just Americans are sinners like everyone else. And acourse we have the resources to make a sins very big. Regardng the video, when I first watched movies shot in video I found the textures of the image not as aesthetically pleasing as film. So watching filmmakers now use the strength of video is exciting. Third reason, Nichole Kidman is also in the film - with many good actors/actresses - ok I like Nichole.
From reading reviews on the film I knew I would either love or hate the movie. Well, I fall on the love side. Dogville
, challenges it's viewer on several levels. FIrst is the length approximately 3 hours - for me it was a quick three! Second is the set design - which is beyond bare - the Town is presented as a outlined in white on the flat, dark stage, that resembles a chalk drawing on a blackboard. Everything and everyone is constantly exposed - when I the film started I felt like I was watching a play - the dialog with it's structure and candence felt very theatrical. But as the tale goes on - I felt the director Lars von Trier
was challenging his audience and I appreciated the challenge. Yeah the film isn't perfect but what film is????
After Dogville, I strolled down to Japan Town
where the Annual Cherry Blossom Festival
is happening. It's a great stop for foods, music and exhibits.
Thursday, April 15, 2004
-well for once I dropped off my taxes before 11:55 PM. Actually, I missed the last minute rush today but I'll get over it. Today was quiet- a working day, I'm trying my hand at some scripting and saying I'm rusty is an understatement. Anyway I left work feeling good , I've been groovin to a very nice CD for the last few days. I went to Yoshis
. At .Jack London Square in Oakland
. If you don't know Yoshi is the best Jazz club in the bay area. It's comfortable and the acoustics are excellent I went on a lark and good graces were with me Larry Vuckovick
Young at Heart Band, YAH
was jamming. It's a group of primarily senior musicians, the music they played was Jazz Big Band classics like a Night in Tunsia by Dizzy Gillespie
Latin and Balkan favored jazz. The music was upbeat and tight. My good buddy purchased YAH new album Reunion
with Jon Hendricks
Listening to it reminds me how much I appreciate Jazz.
The intelligence and elegance of the music is a joy
Thursday, April 08, 2004
Thursday I started the morning listening to Condie Rice - finially the administration let her participate publicly in the 911 Hearings. I was struck how bureacratic she reponded at times - stating Domestic security was the responsibility of the FBI which is true but was the organization given proper direction what about Coleen Rowley
why didn't the FBI support her?. I wish someone in the administration's inner circle would do something to make me feel wrong about my perception regarding the Iraq War and our Foreign Policy in general.
The Pacific Film Archives
is presenting a program of Charles Burnett
films. Tonight they showed, Nat Turner: A Troublesome Property
Charles Burnett was also present. Hopefully, everyone knows Nat Turner, the enslaved african who organized a bloody but unsuccessful slave rebellion in Southhampton Virginia.
The film is about how Nat Turner has been interpreted in American Culture and how this interpretation changes to meet the needs of the people of that time. It's an intesting documentary partially because the filmmaker re-enacts- visualizes, books and plays based on the story of Nat Turner. I couldn't help but remember my own supicious adversion to William Styron
The Confessions of Nat Turner. I never read the book - assuming if it was embraced by the larger society -that Nat Turners representation would by negative - the film didn't came my youthful assumptions.
Wednesday, April 07, 2004
Wednesday - hump day - I was working like a hermit - barely peeping my head out of the server room I was working in. This inspired me to excerise after work. Well I had a planned to see The Revolution will Not be Televised
. The documentary about the failed Coup in Venezuela in 2002. The movie was playing at The Red Vic
in the Haight. Well I got my excerise by walking to the theater. I live near Golden Gate Park and I had a pleasure but vigorous walk to the theater.
I like the Red Vic, it's a worker owned and operated theater. The house is a second-run and art house light theater. The vibe is pleasant -they have these sofa-pew seats in the front rows for those who want to share a seat. The popcorn comes in bowls - and there's plenty of condiments even yeast.
The Revolution will Not be Televised is a filmmaker's dream - to actually document a failing coup -to be there while it's occurring, to obtain the footage is amazing. It's an exciting timely film - I couldn't help but think about Haiti while watching this film. A successful coup which appears CIA supported (can't we ever be the good guys-sigh) The film is pro Hugo Chevaz
true -but I've yet to read anything to explain my Chevaz should be pushed out of power in Venezuela
. I do know that anyone who tries to redistribute wealth is treading dangerous territory on this planet.
Sunday, April 04, 2004
Sunday, Daylight savings Time.
I hate losing one hour of sleep but I love gaining the longer days. The outdoors is calling my name. Sunday I went Condo Shopping - checking out Open Houses. Saw one place I was thinking about bidding on - but in its' disclosures it was disclosed the property is in a liquidification zone. It's bad enough to live in San Francisco - but living in a liquefaction
zone is scary too me.
I want the soil under my property to stay soil. I don't know - for $345,000 what do I expect - not much in San Francisco.
This evening I hooked up with a buddy and saw SHAOLIN SOCCER
at the Lumiere in San Francisco. OK, let me start by saying that I have a long tradition of enjoying Hong Kong Action and Fantasy Films
. I've watched The Killer, Legend of Fist
, Chinese Ghost Story, Swordman II, The East is Red and the Iron Monkey just to name a few I was enjoying these films way before Crouching Tiger. So Shaolin Soccer should be a natural choice for me right -wrong. I'm just starting to learn a little about socceer and I'm only a so-so fan of Chinese comedies. But this film works - it's funny, clever,and entertaining. I went to the 9:45 PM show - I stepped in tired - left wide awake.
Thursday, April 01, 2004
Happy Birthday Grand Ma!
Earlie Lee Magby was born 1906
HAPPY BIRTHDAY Grandma,
today is my Grand mother Earlie Lee Magby birthday.
She still with us in our hearts.