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Monday, October 10, 2011

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres

"The public milestones of #occupywallstreet are well known. A July 13 call to arms by activist magazine Adbusters. An August 31 YouTube video by hacktivist collective Anonymous. A few hundred protesters on September 17. Arrests the 24th. Taking the Brooklyn Bridge on October 1. Massive media attention and a national movement afterwards.... But most accounts fail to grasp the real disruption going on here. Something was different about this initially chaotic-seeming assembly from the beginning. And if it was so chaotic, how has it grown from a toothless web post to an action threatening to go nationwide? By working differently than protests in recent American history--using everything from social media shadow puppetry to a radical consensus process and a lack of official leaders. I’ve been following the movement and attending events and meetings from day one, and for much of the time, it seemed destined to flop. Yet it took off. In retrospect, there were moments where it became obvious something new was going on here. Here are some of those moments." (Sean Captain/FastCompany)


"On April 10, 2010, the Liu family was living the Chinese dream. The couple had moved to the city, rented an apartment, and were blessed with two beautiful children. They weren't rich, but they were getting by. Like many Chinese people, they felt their lives were getting better. The next morning, strange men came to their house, grabbed their son Liu Jingjun, dragged him into a white van, and drove off. Since then, the Lius have been looking for him. They haven't found him, but they have discovered that there are an awful lot of people just like themselves. Since at least the 1980s, kidnapping and human trafficking have become a problem in China, and most often, the victims are children. Estimates vary on just how bad things have gotten. The Chinese government reports that fewer than 10,000 children are kidnapped each year, but the U.S. State Department says it's closer to 20,000. Some independent estimates put the number as high as 70,000 (compared with 100 to 200 children kidnapped per year in the United States, for example). The vast majority of kidnapped children will never see their families again. In China, kids are abducted not for ransom but for sale. Often, they come from poor and rural families -- the families least likely to be capable of tracking their kids down or fighting back. Some children are then sold to new 'adoptive' families looking for children. Others are sold into slave labor, prostitution, or a life on the streets. In some cases, healthy children are brutally crippled by handlers on the theory that a child with broken legs or horrific boils looks sadder and can earn more money begging on the street." (ForeignPolicy)



"I met him several years ago here in New York. We lunch four years ago when he was in town promoting a book on Irish Georgian furniture, about which he was an expert. I saw him again less than a year ago when Susan and John Gutfreund gave a cocktail reception for him and his latest book, “The Irish Country House.” He was a soft-spoken man with an unassuming bearing.He was in poor health at the time but you wouldn’t have known: he had a job and that was to promote his book and his passion for Irish Georgian furniture, the houses for which they were made and a legacy that extended back twenty-nine generations, all of which is noted in this report from the Telegraph: 'Desmond FitzGerald, the 29th and last Knight of Glin who died on September 14 aged 74, was a connoisseur of the decorative arts who worked for the Victoria and Albert Museum and the fine art auctioneers Christie’s and, as a campaigning president of the Irish Georgian Society, helped to save many architectural treasures over the Irish Sea from dereliction or insensitive development. The greater part of his energies, however, he devoted to restoring and preserving his family’s ancestral seat of Glin Castle, on the Shannon estuary in Co Limerick.The Knight of Glin, also called the Black Knight, is one of three ancient Irish hereditary titles dating from the 13th and 14th centuries and recognised by Irish Republican governments. (FitzGerald’s kinsman, Adrian FitzGerald, the 24th Knight of Kerry, is known as the Green Knight; Maurice FitzGibbon, who died in 1611, was the 12th and last White Knight.)'" (NYSocialDiary)



"There has been much speculation on the West Coast about which 'work in progress from a master filmmaker scheduled to be released this year' is going to be the subject of New York Film Festival’s mystery screening Monday night at Avery Fisher Hall for only the second time in the fest’s 49-year history. It’s certainly a good ploy for Oscar attention. A lot of the guessing centers on Clint Eastwood’s J. Edgar or Steven Spielberg’s War Horse or The Adventures Of Tintin — but all of those films are finished, not works in progress at this point. Another popular guess is Stephen Daldry’s post-9/11 New York-set Extremely Loud And Incredibly Close. But as fine a director as this three-time Oscar nominee is, I don’t think the word 'master' yet applies, so scratch that. It could be the latest from Wong Kar Wai or Zhang Yimou, but neither of their films are set for this year yet — at least in America. Some think it may be David Fincher’s The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, but I know for a fact no one at Sony is aware if it is, and apparently it would violate his deal if he were doing this on his own. So very doubtful. That leaves a genuine 'master,' Martin Scorsese, with his work, the 3D Hugo from Paramount, which is still 'in progress' toward its November 23rd holiday release." (Deadline)


"I am moving again, this time from one side of Key West t’other. The rental I have occupied since spring has been rented, to others, and I must move, immediately. For the millionth time in my life I fill my car with my gear. A friend will take me in for a few nights. But I waste no time and with the help of online listings I am on the case finding new digs. This being a tiny island, I swiftly visited a pile up of unlivable quarters, unless, of course, one was routinely inebriated, blind and insensate. Early this morning I saw a fresh post on the electronic billboard, it read, ‘hidden gem’. Anywhere else I would have had my heckles up, and brimmed with suspicions. But here, where people say ‘good-day’ when they pass by in the street, I knew that ‘hidden gem’ was going to be the real thing. I made an appointment to visit. In this town rentals go fast, the nice and the not nice. One day you may see a red and white ‘for rent’ sign hanging off a white picket fence, and the next day you will see a moving van and a person, grinning, carrying in their possessions. Who knows if down the line some unforeseen horror will rear, and ruin my life. I’ve been fooled many times before, and that includes two ex-husbands (another story altogether). But I fell in love with the ‘hidden gem’, before entering it. It was a carnal lust that wrapped me up, and I signed a year lease before my future landlord had time to run my references. I employed my most convincing English accent (acquired after years of otherwise useless education), I thrust my books on the man, by way of introduction." (Christina Oxenberg)


"Behind every great pop music genre, there's a record label that launched its stars. Blue Note pushed Theolonious Monk and Art Blakey into the mainstream. Sun Records brought us Elvis and Jerry Lee Lewis. Motown had its glittering roster of the Supremes, Stevie Wonder and more. For hip-hop music in the early 1980s, that label was Def Jam. A new book attempts to capture that history in photos, interviews and essays. It's called Def Jam Recordings: The First 25 Years of the Last Great Record Label. LL Cool J was just 17 when he became one of the first artists signed to the company. The men who founded the Def Jam label in 1984 weren't much older. There was Rick Rubin, a 21-year-old NYU art school student from Long Island making music in his dorm room; and Russell Simmons, a 27-year-old from Queens, who was already making a name for himself in the downtown scene with his brother's rap group Run DMC. Weekend Edition Sunday host Audie Cornish spoke with both founders separately about the early days of the label." (NPR)


"When Wet Hot American Summer hit theaters a decade ago, the film—a sketch-based comedy set in 1981, on the last day of the fictional Camp Firewood—came and went faster than a hormonal teenage boy. But then something amazing happened: Thanks to the movie's ahead-of-its-time absurdist humor, a cast stocked with relative unknowns who blossomed into marquee names, and the magical word-of-mouth power of DVDs and Netflix, Wet Hot became a cult classic. For this complete-ish oral history in celebration of Wet Hot's 10th anniversary, we asked director and writer David Wain, his cowriter and creative partner, Michael Showalter, and stars including Janeane Garofalo, Paul Rudd, David Hyde Pierce, Elizabeth Banks, and Amy Poehler to reminisce about the shoot, the living conditions, the kids, the notoriously horrendous weather, and the hilarity (and debauchery) that took place off-camera. Throw another log on the soaking-wet campfire—theirs is an epic tale of camaraderie and survival in the heart of Pennsylvania darkness." (Details via Jason Hirschorn)



" I look at Breaking Bad as a show about the American family. It's an interesting investigation of where we're what as a people. Middle-class people are becoming desperate. It can cause a moral man to break bad. It makes you ask yourself the question: What would you do if your chips were down? ... Gus was the manager of chicken restaurant, and possibly something more. What I loved is that he's affable, posing as a manager but owns the whole chain. I chose to make him very low key, to be a really good listener. Then they asked me would I come back for the third season. But I was just unwilling to do guest spot after guest spot -- I wanted to be part of the Breaking Bad family. If I was gonna come back, I wanted to come back as full-fledged character. Then they offered me seven episodes, to which I said no. Then they offered me nine, and I wound up doing eleven. I wanted to create a character who became intrinsic to the show. And their writing inspired me to think, to create someone threatening, poignant, polite. Gus speaks with his eyes. I didn't use the word 'villain' to describe Gus." (Giancarlo Esposito via Jason Hirschorn)

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