Monday, March 30, 2020

Escape from LA

'You are ruling over us for our own good,' he said feebly. 'You believe that human beings are not fit to govern themselves, and therefore --'

He started and almost cried out. A pang of pain had shot through his body. O'Brien had pushed the lever of the dial up to thirty-five.

'That was stupid, Winston, stupid!' he said. 'You should know better than to say a thing like that.'

He pulled the lever back and continued:
'Now I will tell you the answer to my question. It is this. The Party seeks power entirely for its own sake. We are not interested in the good of others; we are interested solely in power. Not wealth or luxury or long life or happiness: only power, pure power. What pure power means you will understand presently. We are different from all the oligarchies of the past, in that we know what we are doing. All the others, even those who resembled ourselves, were cowards and hypocrites. The German Nazis and the Russian Communists came very close to us in their methods, but they never had the courage to recognize their own motives. They pretended, perhaps they even believed, that they had seized power unwillingly and for a limited time, and that just round the corner there lay a paradise where human beings would be free and equal. We are not like that. We know that no one ever seizes power with the intention of relinquishing it. Power is not a means, it is an end. One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish the dictatorship. The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me?'

- George Orwell, 1984


In predictably knee-jerk reactionary fashion, Bill Brand has banned swimming in the ocean, sun-bathing on the beach, and even walking on the Esplanade above the beach (wouldn't be surprised if looking at the beach unless doing so through a telescope east of Prospect Avenue is soon banned under Bill Banned's draconian leadership). By the way, sunshine, exercise and fresh air have all been proven to boost the immune system.

Social distancing is also in effect, which was easy for Brand's whingey band of sycophants; they just pictured everyone holding a cigarette and then even 20 feet distance wasn't enough. 

And what of the side-effects, ramifications and consequences of shutting beach restrooms, confining people to their homes, and bringing the economy to a grinding halt. Moreover, just like after the terrorist attacks of 9/11, once we forfeit our rights to protect us against this invisible enemy, these rights won't be coming back again. We are on the brink of Martial Law, evisceration of the Bill of Rights, and economic collapse because a glorified flu virus. 
The folowing is from the website Wanttoknow:

Did you know that according the the most recent update (Feb. 29) of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), “so far this season there have been at least 34 million flu illnesses, 350,000 hospitalizations and 20,000 deaths from flu.” See “Key Points” on this CDC webpage to verify this statement.
And on this CDC webpage reporting U.S. annual statistics, “influenza has resulted in between 9 million – 45 million illnesses, between 140,000 – 810,000 hospitalizations and between 12,000 – 61,000 deaths annually since 2010.” This CDC webpage further states, “between 291,000 and 646,000 people worldwide die from seasonal influenza-related respiratory illnesses each year.”
That’s roughly 100 deaths every day in the U.S. and over 1,000 every day worldwide from the flu.
And it's not just fringe websites reporting this stuff. Here's an article from Wall Street Journal.
Lastly, natural antibodies through herd immunity maybe the only real protection against Covid-19, since many experts are now saying this virus will be with us for years and could pop up every winter just like the seasonal flu.
So, that being said, it seems to be a good time to escape the big city and venture off to some distant locale... away from the tar pit of paranoia, fake pleasantries, and over-zealousness that is Redondo Beach. Redondo means round in Spanish, and the Hegelian dialectical circle of problem, reaction, solution is being well employed. 

Death Valley is perhaps the last place that the Coronavirus would come looking. Life is harsh in the desert, even for a tenacious microbe.

Life has adapted for life in the desert though.

In the desert life simply refuses to die.

The desert hides some truth for me that seems quantum physical in nature. After all, 90% of the atom has been observed to be empty space. A barren wasteland. Yet it makes up everything around us. Scientists call this 'the desert of the real.'

There is also a spiritual component to the desert. A close connection to the earth and profound sense of wonder consumes one.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

To find myself in the desert. To get lost. And to lose myself. Only to emerge from the cave a humble warrior. To fight for what is still good and right in this world. To fight for truth, the first casualty in wartime. To rail against mass surveillance and digital currency. Against erosion of liberties and consolidation of power. Till my last breath. And even long after.

Check out the - a great resource 

'I don't fight fascists because I'll win, I fight them because they're fascists.'

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Video Editing Choices

Since the Government has sent us to our rooms and we are inevitably watching more films than usually, perhaps it's time to switch from consumers to producers...

"Don't hate the media, be the media."
- Jello Biafra

Fargo - Framing Relationships | The Cinema Cartography

Usually when we experience media we do it passively. I do it as well, we get wrapped up in the story and the characters and are no longer paying attention to the technical aspects of the production.

TV Shows are typically shot with 3 cameras, alternating between in editing. Other Directors like P.T. Anderson, Stanley Kubrick, and Alfred Hitchcock are auteurs... They put a temendous amout of effort in pre and post production...

An important part of this process is story-boarding and shot lists....

The above Storyboards were drawn by professional comic book illustrators. On independent productions they're usually much more crude:

These Directors meticulously choose where to place the camera, how to block the scene, and what to do in the editing room. 


Why would it make sense to cut on action?

What effect does a match cut have? 

What does a dissolve transition show?

If you show a character from a low angle what does it say about the character? Or for that matter, looking down on a character?

When shooting there's an invisible line that is rarely crossed- 

Why use a Wide/Long Shot verses a Close Up? A Two-Shot verses a Single? Inside the circle of action and outside? Jumpcuts? Parallel action? POV? Over the Shoulder? L and J cuts? Cutting on beat? A Oner? A Reveal? Magic Hour? Slowing down or Speeding up video?

Assignment: Choose a short scene from a movie and point out something about camera, blocking or sound.

Music Videos:

This video seems fitting for the paranoia of today. Anything you like or dislike about the cuts?

Assignment: Choose a music video, show and we'll discuss.

Now it's your turn: 1. Record yourself, family, friends or Choose some video from phone 2. Add music 3. mix in stock footage.


Alternate assignment: Put pictures from Facebook to music and make video:


Example of Production that had a lot of planning-

Sunday, March 22, 2020

Pop Icon

                                                  S H A K I R A

                         LOVE   ME      OR        HATE   ME 

             “My brain, I believe, is the most beautiful part of my body.”


                       “The leaders are lacking love, and love is lacking leaders.”

                                                Who Is Shakira?




February 2, 1977 (age 43)


Barranquilla, Colombia

Shakira Isabel Mebarak Ripoll


Early Life and Career

Shakira Isabel Mebarak Ripoll was born on February 2, 1977, in Barranquilla, Colombia. With a Lebanese father and Colombian mother, Shakira honors both her Latino and Arabic heritage in her music. She wrote her first song at the age of 8 and signed her first record deal at 13.

Breakthrough: 'Pies Descalzos'

After her first two albums flopped, Shakira took the reins of her third album, becoming involved in every aspect of its production. 
Released in 1996, Pies Descalzos, meaning "bare feet," sold more than 3 million copies. The album featured her trademark sound, a blend of Latin, rock and Arabic musical styles. 
Her follow-up record, Dónde Están Los Ladrones? (1998), which translates as "Where are the thieves?", reached the top of Billboard's Latin charts. Not long after, Shakira won her first Grammy Award (best Latin pop album) for Shakira: MTV Unplugged (2000).
With the success of her albums, Shakira became a music superstar in the Spanish-language markets, known for her strong vocals and incredible hip-shaking belly dance moves.
                                     HIPS DO NOT LIE, DON'T THEY!?
The album reached No. 3 on the charts, selling more than 200,000 copies in its first week of release. Laundry Service's big hits included "Whenever, Wherever" and "Underneath Your Clothes."
In an attempt to increase her American fan base, in 1997, at the age of 20, the singer moved with her family to Miami, Florida, and taught herself to write songs in English. There, she enlisted Emilio Estefan, of Gloria Estefan and the Miami Sound Machine fame, to act as her manager and producer.

Thursday, March 19, 2020

No, I regret nothing

French singer Édith Piaf, also known as “The Little Sparrow,”
was one of the most iconic performers of her native country.

Édith Piaf was born in Belleville, on the outskirts of Paris, on December 19, 1915, and rose to international stardom in the late 1930s as a symbol of French passion and tenacity. Of Piaf’s many ballads, “La Vie en Rose,” which she wrote, is remembered as her signature song. Other favorites among the singer's repertoire include "Milord," "Padam Padam," "Mon Dieu," the charming "Mon Manège à Moi" and the anthemic "Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien." Having a life beset by addictions and related health issues, Piaf died in France in 1963 at the age of 47. She continues to be revered as a national treasure.

Tumultuous Early Life

Édith Piaf was born Édith Giovanna Gassion in Belleville, Paris on December 19, 1915. Much of her past is shrouded in mystery and may have been embellished during her time as a celebrity. It is believed she was named after the World War I British nurse Edith Cavell, executed for helping Belgian soldiers escape from German captivity. Her mother, Annetta Giovanna Maillard, was a cafe singer of Moroccan Berber descent who performed under the name “Line Marsa.” Piaf’s father, Louis-Alphonse Gassion, was a highly skilled street acrobat.
Annetta had abandoned Piaf to live with her maternal grandmother, where she grew malnourished. Being taken from that household by her father or another relative, Piaf then lived with her paternal grandmother, who ran a brothel. Piaf suffered greatly from impaired vision for a time yet also became renowned for her voice at a young age. At the age of 7, she joined her father and a circus caravan to travel to Belgium, eventually participating in street performances all over France.
Piaf later separated from her father, who was often a temperamental, abusive taskmaster, and set out on her own as a street singer in and around Paris. At 17, she and a youngster named Louis Dupont had a daughter, Marcelle, who died of meningitis at 2 years old.

Rise to Fame

In 1935, Piaf was discovered by Louis Leplée, who owned the successful club Le Gerny off the Champs-Élysées. Her nervous energy and small stature inspired the nickname that would stay with her for the rest of her life: La Môme Piaf ("The Little Sparrow"). Piaf received guidance in the literary arts from French poet/historian Jacques Bourgeat, while Leplée ran a major publicity campaign promoting Piaf’s opening night, which was attended by the likes of Maurice Chevalier. She was popular enough to record two albums that same year.
Leplée was murdered the following spring. After authorities investigated her as a potential accomplice to the crime, Piaf and a new team took charge of her career. She began to work with Raymond Asso, who also became her lover, and adopted her stage name Édith Piaf permanently. Continuing the tradition of performing chansons réalistes, she commissioned songs that romanticized her life on the streets, passionately emphasizing her inner strength. The singer worked closely with composer Marguerite Monnot during this time.

Revered by luminaries like Jean Cocteau, Piaf was one of the most popular performers in France during World War II. Her concerts for German servicemen were controversial, although it was later believed that she had been working for the French Resistance and helped Jewish comrades escape Nazi persecution.
After the war, her fame spread quickly. She toured Europe, South America and the United States. Although American audiences were initially put off by her dour demeanor and dark clothes, Piaf garnered glowing reviews and ultimately achieved enough of an audience to warrant several televised performances on The Ed Sullivan Show throughout the 1950s.

Personal Life

The personal life of Édith Piaf was characteristically dramatic. She was involved in three serious car crashes after 1951, leading to morphine and alcohol addictions.
Piaf, living through the hurts and abandonments of her early life, had high-profile romances with many of her male associates and some of the biggest celebrities in France. Known for intense dalliances that fizzled out, she married twice. Her first marriage to singer Jacques Pills in 1952 lasted until 1957. Her 1962 marriage to Théo Sarapo, a Greek hairdresser and performer 20 years her junior who was gay, lasted until her death the following year. 
It was revealed posthumously via letters that Piaf had great affection for Greek actor Dimitris Horn during the mid-1940s, but married boxer Marcel Cerdan, whom she met in 1947, was considered to be her deepest love. Their time together was cut short when he perished in a 1949 plane crash, with the singer recording "L'Hymne à L'Amour" the following year in his honor.

Death and Legacy

Piaf remained professionally active until the final years of her life, performing frequently in Paris between 1955 and 1962. In 1960, though aiming to retire, she had a resurgence of sorts with the recording of the Charles Dumont and Michel Vaucaire tune "Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien," which would become her latter day anthem.

April 1963, Piaf recorded her last song. With an array of health hardships over the years, Édith Piaf died from liver failure at her French Riviera villa on October 10, 1963. (Other potential causes of death have been suggested as well.) She was 47. The archbishop of Paris denied requests for a Mass, citing Piaf’s irreligious lifestyle, but her funeral procession was nonetheless a massive undertaking attended by thousands of devotees. She is buried in Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris next to her daughter Marcelle.

A lauded biopic on Piaf was released in 2007—La Vie en Rose, with French actress Marion Cotillard ardently embodying the singer and earning an Academy Award. The Knopf book No Regrets: The Life of Edith Piaf, by Carolyn Burke, was published in 2011. 
Plans to mark the centennial of Piaf's birth in 2015 include a 350-track box set to be released by Parlophone and a major exhibition to be held at the Bibliothèque Nationale de France. "The magic of Piaf is her repertoire that touches everyone,” said Joël Huthwohl, the head curator of the exhibit, in an interview with The Guardian. “She sang simple songs with lovely melodies that spoke to everyone at those important moments in their lives."