Saturday, May 31, 2008

Sex and the City The Movie Premieres

last night I went to see Sex and the City on its opening day. Soon I will be posting a journalistic video of the occasion/idea.

Here's a taste. This is the moment when after waiting years, the audience heard the familiar sounds of their favorite opening credits. There aren't any give aways.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Kindness Movie

Here is the first movie I ever made! It was done for Samara Halperin's intro to video class at USF last Fall. The assignment was to do an on camera edit, and it's my first one, so forgive the shaky camera, i-pod cord, and unfocused lens. It's supposed to be a portrait of kindness, features an experience at Burning Man, and is narrated by my friend and photographer David Calvert.

Go See Young at Heart

This Memorial Day Weekend I drove back home for a little relaxation/family love/refreshment.

*the sky in Reno is always fantastic (I think it has something to do with how it's simultaneously the desert and mountains), this weekend especially so because it was drizzly the whole time.

While here I saw the documentary Young at Heart by Stephen Walker, which is a portrayal of an elderly choir called Young at Heart. It was a fantastic! The movie has been recommended to me a lot because of my own similar documentary film making interests of late, which I will be posting proof of here soon.

OK, easy subject you may say. Old people say the darndest things. Pretty much, exactly. But also way more than that. They have 80 or so years of knowledge that is the foundation for what they have to say. In spending an hour and a half with older people, it's hard for your head and heart not to go back to the basics and realize what's important in life. Props to Walker I say. I'm all about creating entertainment by simply (not to say it's not a difficult task) putting a frame around beautiful things in life.

A scene most powerful is when the choir performs at a jail. Here we get to watch the prisoners watching and listening to the chorus, as we are thinking the prisoners must be affected, and be realizing, like we are, that we must live each day to the fullest, savor every moment, and appreciate life for what it is.

Smiling? I thought so.
Young at Heart is currently playing in San Francisco at the 4 Star Theater on Clement Street.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

The State of Cinema Address

Last Sunday morning in San Francisco, Kevin Kelly, founding editor of Wired magazine, delivered the State of Cinema address. Kelly has worked in digital technology since his founding role with The Well, in 1985, one of the first "true" online communtities. So he had a lot to say about what the future, inevitably and obviously digital all the way, will look like for motion pictures.

He opened his talk with a little factoid about life today: the huge amount of screens everywhere. "Anywhere we are waiting, there are screens," he said (gas stations, grocery lines, etc.).

He hit many points about why and how cinema has been and will continue to change:

- the home theater situation has been morphing: "There's a whole system of underground groups of state of the art home theaters."

-3D cinema may have a future. Theater owners want to use 3D to try and get customers into theaters. This was also a large topic discussed at last year's Future of Cinema Conference in Cannes, since this was also where Michael Peyser's U23D - "the first live-action 3D concert movie" premiered at the Cannes Film Festival.

-Because of all new possibilities and venues for distribution thanks to the Internet, there are all new rules and ideas for movie time frames. Think Youtube. "Before, you either made home movies or real movies. Now we have a middle. More than a home movie, less than a masterpiece."

-Tools are no longer a big decider for who is making movies and who is not. Since inexpensive video cameras are everywhere now, it's not the tools that prevent people from making movies. The only necessity now is the "ambition of the artist." Also because of accessible, inexpensive tools for production (cell phone cameras) and distribution (youtube) we now have soooo much content out there. People emphasize the crap. But, this just means there's more to weed through. "In order to have really great stuff you have to allow bad stuff."

-Computational Photography Film making- Take a film, extract out a person, and reassemble the story that you want (I wasn't quite sure what he was talking about here)

-Videos are increasingly everywhere. "It's similar to text everywhere. We don't even notice it. The moving image is becoming ubiquitous." When the printing press came out and text began to dominate, everyone was complaining about the loss of oral communication. This was known as the Gutenburg shift. Now, the same thing is happening with the shift from text to video. "We went from oral to written and now we're going to screen. There was a lamentation then. I think because of this shift to a visual culture, literary skills will be lost."

- What about the question of the literary form of film? How do we summarize, condense, make abstracts of films? How fast can we watch a film and still understand it? Everything is all about linking now. Eventually we will want to be able to link to certain frames in films, or even to certain things in frames. We don't have this technology yet.

- "It's the liquidity" of the medium. Film is becoming like this. Transformable.

-copy copy copy. "Freeconomy." What do we do? How do we make money? The copy machine is "the intermedia." (Mr. Kelly though is not worried about new media economy). "Where attention is money will follow. Stories have an incredible capacity to hold attention."

-For the future: the first lesson we learned on the web is that: we can do it! Nobody believed in the internet when it first came out. "We better start believing in the impossible."

-On the fate of film (celluloid), Kelly said, "I say good riddance to film (celluloid) because you can fake it (create the effect that film gives) with digital"

After the talk there was a Q and A and someone asked how artists will make money in this new "freeconomy." "I do believe we will find a model for artists being able to make a living," Kelly said.

*this post is the first of my culture review series. watch for more!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Tag Cloud of this Blog

created at

So this is the tag cloud of my blog. Sara introduced me to tag clouds, when she did one on of all of our tags from the StoneLake Farm trip. A tag cloud is basically a summary of a group of words, in this case just all of the most used words in my entire blog. The larger the word in the cloud, the more often it was used in the blog up to this point. Looking at this tag cloud is special to me, because it's like a little summary of this past semester, a great semester, which also happens to be my last one in college.

I love how "people" is in the largest font, the only word of its size in the cloud. This reflects my interest and passion in life- the way people interact, what affects people, how people can be moved to change, connecting people, the idea that people need people, what makes people feel the way they do...and I'm looking forward to living the rest of my life meeting and connecting with new types of people all the time.

Also, this semester in the Davies Forum (the reason for which this blog began, but not the reason for which it will continue) has been all about interacting with and learning from and with different people. The outline for the Davies Forum, with one different guest speaker every week to learn new things from, is a big reason this could happen.

It's also quite nice how the cloud begins with "artist" and ends with "world." I think of myself as an artist, I think more people should think of themselves as artists (maybe it's like Scott McCloud says in his book Understanding Comics: the Invisible Art, "art is any human activity which doesn't grow out of either of our species' two basic instincts: survival and reproduction") and I also think about myself as a part of this world! It's like the cloud represents my path in life right now: OK artist, interact with people, learn from them and affect them, the world is waiting and ready!"

I think I also just realized right now from looking at this tag cloud what the Davies Forum on Digital Literacy was all about. I don't think it's really explainable in a paragraph or classic sentence form, which is probably why I think we were all a little confused about what this class was supposed to be, what exactly digital literacy is, until after it all happened. I wonder what I would have thought if I had seen this cloud before taking the class.

Visit these other blogs for more thoughts/explanations/summaries on digital literacy:
Lulu's User friendly Guide to San Francisco
Sara's Studies
Shiny Things
Silver in SF
Stay with the Soft
Digitizing Dreams and Waking Life
and also check out our flickr doings

Monday, May 5, 2008

Thinker Phillip Thurtle

Thurtle at USF (yes, he was not wearing shoes- apparently his students at UW are used to this).

I quite enjoyed the casual nature of his talk. He opened by saying he prefers questions whenever people have them, rather than at the end of his talk- that he is a very interactive speaker. This immediately made the event more of a conversation than anything else, which was good because Thurtle got into some abstract stuff that was best cleared up with a question or two.

His task for the talk was to make us realize that we take comics, the medium that teaches us to read text as image, for granted. In fact, comics, a medium thought of as low culture, can actually teach us loads about the world, the future, and philosophy. He began by comparing journalism to comics. "Journalism is limited: it only covers what just happened. Comics cover what may happen."

Here are some other snippets of the presentation/conversation:

Comics teach us:
how to read surfaces instead of lines
what it means to live in an industrial society
ways to engage in the world.

"The image shows states of affairs and scenes and the eye has to discover the relations"- Villem Flusser

Comics always deal with a high level of industrialization- Superheros always have one foot in industry and one foot in their bodies.

"Superheros exist."

In comics, it's not about personal transformation, it's about world transformation. With images, time is different. The time of the panel moves with the world, not by the subject, like in other mediums of storytelling. You the reader has to move time in a book. How? You have a plot. Something happens through the action of an individual. In comics, time is part of the world.

Images are important for provoking the imagination into inhabiting a possible future. The idea is not to get rid of conscious thought, the idea is that things don't always move with reason and logic.

"We are who we are because of our environments." It's about understanding the world instead of the world understanding you.

"You have to change the way you think about space. For me, a much more interesting way of thinking about space is as the things that bring us together. I can see outside because of the window."

Thurtle also touched a bit on Scott McCloud's book Understanding Comics: the Invisible Art, which we read in preparation for his class. An interesting point I found in this book is the idea that we apparently see ourselves in cartoons, and other people in realistic drawings or photos of faces. Thurtle touched on this too. He said, "detail is all about othering."

Hmmmmm. Interesting.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Jasmine Park, Fashion Blogger

*all photos in this blog are from

Jasmine Park puts positive vibes into the world.

She does this by walking around the streets of Seattle and telling people they look great, so great, that she would like to take a photo of them for her blog Pike/Pine. Then she only puts photos in her blog if the photos are complimentary of the person. No bad photos, and no disses on outfits either. Only positive pictures and commentary. Cruel reader comments also get moderated.

She spoke as part of the Davies Forum last Thursday, and she gave us her 4 rules for blogging: 1) take good photos (in fashion reporting people expect detail) 2) make people look good 3) Be nice "there's a certain amount of karma in the blogosphere and you sort of get what you put into it," Park said. and 4) Only post what I'm proud of. She also told us one thing that she has learned from her blogging is that people are nice. I imagine people are even nicer when you compliment them at first encounter.

Her fashion blogging has taken her to Tokyo

and she said it is by the far the most fashionable city, in her opinion.

I'm excited to see where she goes with her career, as she mentioned she may eventually move on to photographing not just people's fashion, but just people. Steven Shore, and Tuka are some photographers in this realm she really admires.