RIP: Lauren Bacall

Gods, I love Lauren Bacall — elegant, smart, witty, husky voiced, strong-willed. I loved her hair, her movies, her romance with Humphrey Bogart, her graceful ballsy aging. This elegant, intelligent no-BS woman has died at 89 of stroke-related complications, and with her passing a great deal of Hollywood history is gone.

Her movies with Bogey were my favorite, Dark Passage my ultimate fave, but who can forget this sexy scene from The Big Sleep?

Or this classic from To Have and Have Not, where the legendary couple met:

Bacall had impeccable comic timing:

And she wrote a great autobiography, By Myself (and the revised edition By Myself and Then Some, which detailed her career, her marriage to the older Bogey (who died when she was 32 of esophageal cancer), her engagement to Frank Sinatra (which he ended over phone), and her later marriage to Jason Robards. Vanity Fair details her later career thusly:

Bacall, who had bought an apartment in 1961 in New York’s legendary Dakota building (where she would live for the rest of her life), found a new home on Broadway, winning best-actress Tonys for 1970’s Applause (the musical based on All About Eve, with Bacall playing the diva role made famous by her idol and friend Bette Davis) and 1981’s Woman of the Year (in a role originated on-screen by another Bacall pal, Katharine Hepburn). She continued to shine on-screen in such films as The Shootist (her last romantic lead, opposite John Wayne, in his last movie), The Fan, Misery, and The Mirror Has Two Faces, where, as Barbra Streisand’s imperious mother, she finally earned her first and only Oscar nomination at 72. (The Academy finally gave her an honorary award for lifetime achievement in 2009.)

Bacall remained an icon of old-school glamour and poise, even as she continued to take risks in her work (appearing in Lars von Trier’s experimental film Dogville in 2003, or playing a version of herself who gets mugged by a mobster in a 2006 episode of The Sopranos).

Bacall was astounding, and affected me so deeply growing up, those cheekbones, the non-traditional (by California standards of surfer girls) beauty, the voice, oh the voice. All the angels know how to whistle now.

FDL Movie Night: Sharkando 2, The Second One

Super-sized storms loaded with vicious sharks are poised to take a bite out of the Big Apple in Sharknado 2, The Second One , the next installment of mega-franchise from The Asylum and the SyFy Channel. And like a shark circling its prey, we’re back with writer Thunder Levin, director Anthony C. Ferrante, and screen scream goddess Tiffany Shepis to discuss the toothsome oeuvre.

Sharknado protagonist Fin Shepard (Ian Ziering) is back to, yes, shepherd hapless victims through the fins. The former pro surfer is a reluctant hero on his way to a book launch in Manhattan with his ex-wife (now fiancée) April Wexler (Tara Reid), when a freak storm strikes their plane. Shark attack (and a nice reference to a classic Twilight Zone episode, plus Airplane) ensues, a couple famous faces are munched, and Fin manages to land the plane, though April suffers a traumatic injury. But Fin’s sister and (semi-douchey) brother-in-law (Mark McGrath in a stellar turn) are in peril, sharks are falling, and even more celebrity cameos get chomped before Fin can save the city with the help of his high school sweetheart, played by Vivica A. Fox.

The original Sharknado was a huge success–so much so that The Second One is filled with celebrities–Matt Lauer, Al Roker, Kelly Ripa, Michale Strahan, Wil Wheaton, Kelly Osbourne, Perez Hilton, Judd Hirsh….Sharknado 2 The Second One is just as funny, tongue-in-cheek, irreverent, and gore-filled.

What’s next for Sharknado? Is it true that it will Sharknado in space? Does Daniel Radcliffe really want a role as shark bait? Find out in this discussion (maybe!) as we delve into the depths of Sharknado 2! (more…)

Late Night: Sometimes You Just Need Cute

Things all over the world suck pretty much. Hugely. And sometimes we just need a break from misery, war, death, drought, disease, fires, floods, and plague. And that’s why there are cute animal videos. I have friend who actually asked me to block him from seeing any cute animal pics and videos I might post on Facebook (grinch), but in general, most people find cute animals to be very relaxing, a nice break from the horrors of our news (and the ads for catheters and transvaginal mesh lawsuits).

So take a moment to enjoy some goofiness and joy. Sleep well and Happy Late Night!

More videos after the jump

Late Night: Sometimes You Just Need Cute

Things all over the world suck pretty much. Hugely. And sometimes we just need a break from misery, war, death, drought, disease, fires, floods, and plague. And that’s why there are cute animal videos. I have friend who actually asked me to block him from seeing any cute animal pics and videos I might post on Facebook (grinch), but in general, most people find cute animals to be very relaxing, a nice break from the horrors of our news (and the ads for catheters and transvaginal mesh lawsuits).

So take a moment to enjoy some goofiness and joy. Sleep well and Happy Late Night!

 

FDL Movie Night: 15 to Life: Kenneth’s Story

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Tonight’s documentary, 15 to Life: Kenneth’s Story is a hard look at the juvenile “justice” system in America and prison rehabilitation. The United States is the only nation that condemns juveniles to life without chance of parole (LWOP). Kenneth’s case is especially disturbing: At 14 he was convinced by an older man, his mom’s drug dealer, to participate in a series of armed robberies.

While the older man planned the robberies and brandished the weapon, he was sentenced to only one life term in prison, while Kenneth was sentenced to four. Four. Life. Terms. At 14.

There are more than 2,500 juveniles serving life sentences in the United States for non-lethal crimes, as well as for murder. In the 1990s, many states reacted to a rise in violent youth crimes by amending their laws to allow more juveniles to be tried as adults. Then, in 2010, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Graham v. Florida that life sentences for juveniles convicted of crimes other than murder were unconstitutional. That made 77 Florida inmates, including Kenneth, eligible for early release.

15 to Life: Kenneth’s Story follows Kenneth’s Graham v. Florida hearing, in which evidence of rehabilitation and remorse is presented as well as testimony from his victims and his mother (herself not the most reliable narrator). While some of his victims are inclined to see him let go; others, along with the prosecutor, defend the original punishment.

The film shows both e human side of the juvenile justice system and the appalling statistics: Every 13 and 14-year-old sentenced to life without parole for a non-homicide crime is a child of color and 60 percent of children sentenced to life without parole are first time offenders.

Director Nadine Pequeneza, our guest tonight, takes a straightforward look at both Kenneth’s story and the imbalance in our prison system. It’s a hard sad story that is an ongoing and ugly part of America, and one that perhaps can be fixed.

15 to Life: Kenneth’s Story premiers tonight on PBS POV. Please check your local PBS station for showtimes. You can also stream the documentary beginning tomorrow. (more…)

FDL Late Night: Cameron, Wormwood Star

Muse, witch, magician, painter, poet: Cameron, born Marjorie Elizabeth Cameron in 1922, and one of the most inspirational figures of the last century, will be the subject of major exhibition at the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art featuring art and ephemera. Opening October 11, 2014, “Cameron: Songs for the Witch Woman” highlights the the publication of “Songs for the Witch Woman,” a collaboration between the painter, and her then-husband, rocket scientist and occultist Jack Parsons, one of the founders of modern rocketry and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

Parsons, known as Brother 210 within his occult fraternity, the Ordo Templi Orientis, died in a (mysterious?) explosion at his home on June 17, 1952. Curiously, several years after his death, the work began on the freeway that now runs past his old home in Pasadena up to JPL, and then to his rocket testing ground known as Devil’s Gate; the freeway is Interstate 210….(cue theremin!)

Cameron and Parsons were major influences on Western culture–and on me personally. They were bold, brave free spirits who embraced spiritual and artistic freedoms, heavily influenced by Aleister Crowley and the religion of Thelema. After Parsons’ death, Cameron became more immersed in art, working closely with Wallace Berman and George Herms. A small reproduction of her erotic “Peyote Vision” drawing — not much larger than a matchbook —was responsible for a vice raid at Ferus gallery in the ’50s. (She flaunted segregation laws dating jazz musician Leroy Booth, a relationship that was illegal during the 1950s because he was African American and she was Caucasian.)

Cameron created her art as ritual pieces and burned many of them ceremonially, as seen in the Curtis Harrington film, Wormwood Star, above. Some survived because she sold them to friends, but after the Ferus raids, she declined to show in galleries. Since her death in 1995, there have been several exhibitions of her surviving work–she was included the major cross-city Pacific Standard Tim– but this exhibition centers around newly discovered art and material including letters to Jack Parsons, as well as her better known extant pieces.

In a press release, MOCA Director Philippe Vergne writes:

A key figure navigating between disciplines and traditions of poetry, cinema, visual arts, and spirituality; Cameron has opened many doors that continue to intrigue and inspire generations of artists. Her hallucinated vision, at the edge of surrealism and psychedelia embodies an aspect of modernity that deeply doubts and defies Cartesian logic at a moment in history when these values have shown their own limitations. Her work demonstrates that the space in the mind is without limit.

More to the point, Cameron’s life was her art, and art was her life. Both have achieved immortality. (more…)

FDL Late Night: Cameron, Wormwood Star

Muse, witch, magician, painter, poet: Cameron, born Marjorie Elizabeth Cameron in 1922, and one of the most inspirational figures of the last century, will be the subject of major exhibition at the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art featuring art and ephemera. Opening October 11, 2014, “Cameron: Songs for the Witch Woman” highlights the the publication of “Songs for the Witch Woman,” a collaboration between the painter, and her then-husband, rocket scientist and occultist Jack Parsons, one of the founders of modern rocketry and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

Parsons, known as Brother 210 within his occult fraternity, the Ordo Templi Orientis, died in a (mysterious?) explosion at his home on June 17, 1952. Curiously, several years after his death, the work began on the freeway that now runs past his old home in Pasadena up to JPL, and then to his rocket testing ground known as Devil’s Gate; the freeway is Interstate 210….(cue theremin!)

Cameron and Parsons were major influences on Western culture–and on me personally. They were bold, brave free spirits who embraced spiritual and artistic freedoms, heavily influenced by Aleister Crowley and the religion of Thelema. After Parsons’ death, Cameron became more immersed in art, working closely with Wallace Berman and George Herms. A small reproduction of her erotic “Peyote Vision” drawing — not much larger than a matchbook —was responsible for a vice raid at Ferus gallery in the ’50s. (She flaunted segregation laws dating jazz musician Leroy Booth, a relationship that was illegal during the 1950s because he was African American and she was Caucasian.)

Cameron created her art as ritual pieces and burned many of them ceremonially, as seen in the Curtis Harrington film, Wormwood Star, above. Some survived because she sold them to friends, but after the Ferus raids, she declined to show in galleries. Since her death in 1995, there have been several exhibitions of her surviving work–she was included the major cross-city Pacific Standard Tim– but this exhibition centers around newly discovered art and material including letters to Jack Parsons, as well as her better known extant pieces.

In a press release, MOCA Director Philippe Vergne writes:

A key figure navigating between disciplines and traditions of poetry, cinema, visual arts, and spirituality; Cameron has opened many doors that continue to intrigue and inspire generations of artists. Her hallucinated vision, at the edge of surrealism and psychedelia embodies an aspect of modernity that deeply doubts and defies Cartesian logic at a moment in history when these values have shown their own limitations. Her work demonstrates that the space in the mind is without limit.

More to the point, Cameron’s life was her art, and art was her life. Both have achieved immortality.

FDL Movie Night: “Matthew O’Hanlon: A Creative Journey” and Jose Ho-Guanipa

Tonight’s guest Jose Ho-Guanipa is an upcoming filmmaker and video director whose most recent 8-minute film, Matthew O’Hanlon: A Creative Journey, follows artist/writer Matthew O’Hanlon through his creative process and through the Los Angeles streets. O’Hanlon’s art is dark and surreal, Ho-Guanipa captures the artist’s dystopian vision through his documentary.

Along with discussing O’Hanlon’s art, writing and the artist’s 2013 film The Somnambulist,  Ho-Guanipa and I will be delving into making commercials, shooting videos, what expectations new filmmakers can and should have, and the art world. (more…)

Late Night: Grammatical Goofing

I could of maybe found some other video, but this one, its really accurate about mistakes people make in there writings. Plus I drunk a lot of expresso and surprise!!

Actually tonight I’m prepping for ArtExpoSD — I leave tomorrow at 8am–where I’m showing five artists in my booth, plus wrangling another curator, an artist and a company that makes limited edition prints. And I organized a book and CD signing for one of the artists I’m showing. My section focuses on Dark Progressivism, a specific genre that originated in Los Angeles, and this is a taste for the bigger show I’m co-curating that opens August 2. Expect to hear more about that later.

But for now, let’s enjoy Weird Al’s interpretation of grammatical errors. And me personally I appreciate and use the Oxford/serial comma! What grammar issues bug/plague/annoy you? Do you agree with everything in the video?

And do you think a preposition is a bad thing to end a sentence with?

Late Night: Grammatical Goofing

I could of maybe found some other video, but this one,  its really accurate about mistakes people make in there writings. Plus I drunk a lot of expresso and surprise!!

Actually tonight  I’m prepping for ArtExpoSD — I leave tomorrow at 8am–where I’m showing five artists in my booth, plus wrangling another curator, an artist and a company that makes limited edition prints. And I organized a book and CD signing for one of the artists I’m showing. My section focuses on Dark Progressivism, a specific genre that originated in Los Angeles, and this is a taste for the bigger show I’m co-curating that opens August 2. Expect to hear more about that later.

But for now, let’s enjoy Weird Al’s interpretation of grammatical errors. And me personally I appreciate and use the Oxford/serial comma! What grammar issues bug/plague/annoy you? Do you agree with everything in the video?

And do you think a preposition is a bad thing to end a sentence with?