Thursday, March 31, 2011

Crane Madness

Since we have begun to create a vast number of oragami paper cranes for the 1000 Crane Project for Japan last week I have had a number people ask about the largest and smallest cranes and above is a video of the creation of the largest, 268 ft 10 in wingspan, created by the Peace Piece Project at Hiroshima Shudo University, Hiroshima, Japan in 2009. The smallest on record was created by Assistant Professor Watanabe at Nigata University, Japan and it measured 1 mm by 1 mm. It was created using a microscope and sewing needle. So rather than beating either of those records maybe I'll just try to create the coolest looking crane...

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

2011 Newport Folk Festival Lineup

I'm excited for the return of the annual Newport Folk Festival® this summer at Fort Adams State Park July 30-31. There lineup was announced today and is listed below and I was excited to see favorites such as the Decemberists, M.Ward, the Middle Brother crew (Dawes, Delta Spirit, and Deer Tick), and Elvis Costello are on the list after buying early bird tickets this weekend.

SATURDAY, JULY 30 ~ 11:30 am - 7:00 pm
The Decemberists Gillian Welch Earl Scruggs Gogol Bordello Ramblin' Jack Elliott Tegan & Sara Mavis Staples The Felice Brothers Delta Spirit Freelance Whales Pokey LaFarge & The South City Three What Cheer? Brigade The Devil Makes Three Song Circle with Dar Williams, Ellis Paul, John Gorka & Liz Queler The Wailin' Jennys Typhoon The Ebony Hillbillies River City Extension PS22 Chorus

SUNDAY, JULY 31 ~ 11:30 am - 7:00 pm
Emmylou Harris Elvis Costello Amos Lee M. Ward Wanda Jackson Carolina Chocolate Drops Middle Brother Justin Townes Earle The Secret Sisters Trampled by Turtles The Civil Wars The Head and The Heart The Cave Singers David Wax Museum Mountain Man The Seeger Clogging All-Stars BrownBird

Here's a collection on You Tube Videos of the lineup put together on

Friday, March 25, 2011

Cold War Kids @Terminal 5

I had a chance to check out the Cold War Kids play last night at Terminal 5 to a packed house that was moved from Radio City a few days ago. Fellow L.A. natives No Age opened up with a experimental set of sound and recieved one of the worst receptions I've ever seen with a constant barage of beer cups and garbage being thrown at them. But the Cold War Kids hour and a half long set was well paced and featured a number of songs from their new album Mine Is Yours as well as some of their classic tracks like: "Hang Me Up to Dry" and "Audience".

Sunday, March 20, 2011

A Thousand Cranes for Japan

Made a ton of paper cranes this weekend and photographed a few as a demo for the project I'm doing to support Japan in my classes this week, 9 cranes down, 991 to go! (if anyone want to make and photograph a crane, please do we'll be mosaicing the 1000 together and selling small prints with the proceeds going to the Japan Society's relief fund)

Monday, March 14, 2011

5 Questions for the director and star of Kill the Irishman

I recently had a chance to talk with some of the director and star of the new film Kill the Irishman. Here’s a short interview with director Jonathan Hensleigh who produced films such as: Gone in Sixty Seconds and Con Air and was the screenwriter for films such as: Jumanji, Die Hard with a Vengeance, and Armageddon and actor Ray Stevenson who you might know from his roles as: Titus Pullo in the HBO series Rome, Frank Castle/The Punisher in Punisher: War Zone, or as Roger Wesley, the private security guard who strips Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg of their weapons and shoes in The Other Guys. Both of these figures have had a good deal of success despite getting into the industry late so I spoke to them about the experience, their future, and the film which opened this weekend in New York.

Jonathan Hensleigh
I read that you started out as a lawyer and segued into a writer, how difficult was that process? Had you always wanted to be a screenwriter and director?
It’s been so long since I made the transition, I wanted to write professionally but when I was 18, 19, 20 I lacked the courage and I didn’t, I knew it was hard to break in and I didn’t want to spend those years of my life trying to do that, I didn’t follow my calling out of fear so I took the easier route. I practiced law for a couple of years and then I reached a stage of maturity and a financial state that I could make the transition and I did.

It’s really amazing, very encouraging.
Oh, well cheers!? I did it a little later in life.

Do you think that makes a difference in your work? That you were ready for it?
Yeah, absolutely. I think that I was, I broke in when I was 31 and I didn’t go to film school, I didn’t do anything, I just sat down and started writing scripts and screen plays. I had written a novel, I had written a three act stage play but I had not written screenplays. I just immersed myself and went after it.

How much did you think about the genre of gangster films while working on this because this film sort of fits in the genre in an interesting way? When I was thinking about the movie Goodfellas certainly came to mind but Kill The Irishman has its own place in this blue collar, “soda bread gangster” way that I haven’t seen before. Did you think a lot about the genre?
Yeah, you can’t not think about it, it’s impossible to make a picture like this and not have it in the back of your mind and it has been dominated by Martin Scorsese for good reason, you know the pictures are extraordinary. The pictures that Marin Scorsese has made about organized crime in this county are considered some of the finest films ever made in America so it’s daunting, it’s challenging you know but you gotta make a move so if I did anything to create a movie that stands on its own, I’m proud. I do think that Kill The Irishman does have, has a unique tone, I do and I think that it has a very, very nice set of performances by all the wonderful ensemble cast that you don’t see every day.

In this film was there a concern at all that you might have glorified Danny Greene too much?
Yes, yes and that was part of the internal debate and because there were a number of people in Cleveland, remember this didn’t happen that long ago so there are people that Dan Greene’s violent actions harmed who are alive and well in Cleveland, and Danny Greene was a violent man, he was a murderer but there is a duality to the human character at times. He is also a man who did subsidize the education of orphan children in Collinwood, he did pass out 50 turkeys on Christmas and 50 turkeys on Thanksgiving, it sounds quaint but these were acts of kindness that were very appreciated in those impoverished neighborhoods, so it really happened, you know, these are historically confirmed facts and we just tired to strike a balance I guess.

Ray Stevenson
You started acting a little later than most people, how hard was it to break in for you and how much does that change your mentality when approaching a role?
Well, it was the right time for me, I think early on when I would go to some audition meetings and I’d recognize everybody I lost jobs to people who are more recognized and indeed it still happens now where the money people will say “yeah but we want Nick Cage for this job because he’s going to bring us the box office”. That’s the nature of the business you know, you just gotta maintain your faith and know if it’s right. Acting is not a competition, it’s just got different rules and any business is the same- businesses make decisions for one reason or another, not [always] because this is the right product, like beta max, beta max was a far better system than VHS, but VHS won the war, you know it won the marketing campaign and now where’s VHS? But the people made their money from it so if you were a DVD back in VHS days, you’d [say] “why can’t they see how brilliant I am?” One day! Just suck it up and get on with it and enjoy your career that you’re having, cause that’s the one you’re having not the one you think you should be having
But you gotta be happy now, I mean this movie really showcases your talent.
Oh yeah, I’m very happy, it’s great, I’ve been able to keep myself busy for the next couple of years and I have a good body of work behind me. I’ve worked with some great people which it’s all about and I’ve got the biggest production happening in 3 weeks time, my second boy, yeah so talk about productions, that’s a big production, boom!

What other new projects do you have coming?
Three Musketeers in 3D is coming out at the end of the year, Paul Anderson directed it and it’s going to be a lot of fun, all sorts of flashing swords and everything and I get to bring my poor-thoughted- sexiness with a tendency toward violence. I know it sounds cliché, we’re fielding a few things at the minute, I’m at that position now where, it’s who I work with next and what we get involved with, it’s nice, it’s a great position to be in. I’ve got enough work now where people can see that I can change between- it’s not like in the next movie he wears a blue suit- Ken Branagh said (while filming Thor) “I know you’re a big strapping lad but I’m going to put you in a big fat suit you’ll be great!” My agent’s going “you know people won’t recognize you, what if they don’t recognize you?” I said, “I don’t give a damn!” I said who else is going to give me a chance to put on a big fat suit and ham it up! Right? It’s what we’ve been aiming for, now the industry out there in LA, they know me, moviemakers know me, it’s seeing what’s going to come next, who knows? I could play a midget, I’m classically trained, if they make everyone really big around me, it could be done. Will Ferrell played Elf, you never know, it could be a lady, a very tall, deep voiced lady, who knows, but it’s been great, it does veer from feast to famine that’s the nature of the beast. It’s good, I support my family and do what I love to do and that’s sort of the biggest complement you can ever get from life, that you get to do it.

For: Short & Sweet NYC

Friday, March 4, 2011

Vivian Maier, the unknown street photographer

Here's an amazing story of Vivian Maier, a nanny who was a terrific photographer. Her work was found a few years ago by accident and is now being shown in exhibitons. The work itself is right up there with the best street photographers and really stands on its own.