Published: January 22, 2012 at 6:09 am
Living in an apartment means giving up certain things, such as a degree of privacy and silence. One can choose not to know one’s neighbors, but sights, sounds, and smells reinforce their presence. Sometimes the things our neighbors are doing involve us in their lives, leaving us to make momentous decisions based on judging whether, for instance, the fight downstairs has escalated to the point where we should call the police.
When Eddie and Mitch, two recent college graduates, rented an apartment in San Francisco (1987), the absentee landlord advised them--after they signed the lease--that their next door neighbors were sometimes loud. What the landlord didn’t mention was that the two guys next door, Ray and Peter, had a habit of getting drunk and trading obscenity-laced invective, often into the early morning hours, and usually at the top of their voices. When one of the young men complained about the noise and Ray threatened to kill him, Eddie and Mitch began taping the fights. Thus Shut Up Little Man! was launched.Read more »
Like Phoenix rising from the ashes, the electric car spread its (figurative) wings and rose from the dead. But how did it die in the first place? It seems that by 2006 “as many as 5000 electric cars were destroyed by the major car manufacturers that built them.” One of those cars belonged to actor Danny DeVito who was very unhappy to lose the vehicle he loved. DeVito and vehicle industry experts contributed their opinions to Revenge of the Electric Car, a 2011 documentary directed by Chris Paine and narrated by Tim Robbins.
Revenge of the Electric Car delves into the history of the electric car, particularly General Motors’ EV-1 (the car DeVito loved), and its sudden demise. The documentary then explores the resurgence of this green machine. Perhaps it was the Tesla that brought it back, or maybe Nissan’s Leaf. Certainly General Motors' renewed interest in producing an electric car revived interest in the concept.
Although Revenge of the Electric Car is about the resurgence of interest in such vehicles, it is also a portrait of entrepreneurs and a lesson in business, though not necessarily “as usual.” It looks at the US economic crisis and the impact it had on the redevelopment of the electric car, and it examines the roles of four men instrumental in reviving it: Bob Lutz (GM), Carlos Ghosn (Nissan), Elon Musk (Tesla), and Greg “Gadget” Abbott (independent converter).Read more »
Author: Tricia Weight
Last night Aerosmith lead singer Steven Tyler did the honors of singing the National Anthem for a hometown crowd at the New England Patriot's AFC championship game. It was a performance that's sure to vie for a spotlight in the annuls of epic stars with epic anthem fails. Jezebel.com compared Tyler's vocals to a dying animal--and not in a good way.
It's going to be interesting to see what Steven Tyler has to say as a judge to wide-eyed American Idol hopefuls after yesterday's performance. It's sure to be a great punchline for the coming Idol season--perhaps a cautionary tale as well. Don't warble. Don't screech. And whatever you do, do not lose your shite and tear off your stage gear while glaring down the sound techs. [Aerosmith 1999 Grammy Awards] They will not help you. They do not care.
Unfortunately Steven's performance wasn't the worst of the anthem train wrecks, if it had been he could have at least counted on Madonna jumping to his defense. As it is she'd likely just tell him that he was trying way too hard... And Bootsy called. He wants his scarf back.
Madonna defends Roseanne Barr [1990 National Anthem Incident] (Language warning)
As it stands Tyler's performance wasn't the worst of the worst, and it wasn't the best of the worst anthem disasters either. It seems that the Lord of the Thighs is stuck somewhere in between--National Anthem Purgatory. But in those last few seconds, as fighter jets came barreling overhead, it sounded as if they might actually be dropping a bomb. It reminded me of another such ending...
Christina Aguilera destroys the national anthem LIVE - Hollywood Reacts
We knew right then and there--the end was bloody, frickin' nigh.
Of course, I'm a die-hard Aerosmith fan. Always have been. Always will be. Absolutely one of the best of the arena rock bands; rock stars who helped define the term. And they're still out there keeping the flame. I'd walk to see them live.
And hey, the Patriots won. They're Superbowl bound. That lucky scarf, I'm sure.Read more »
Author: Dean Howell
The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo is set to hit theaters on Dec. 21st and if you haven’t read the book, you are really missing out. Steig Larsson’s Millennium trilogy is one of the best international mystery/thriller series ever published. The first novel is an epic that can stand alone, and it’s not necessary that you read the whole series. Also, it makes use of some really cool computer gear. Today, I am going to take the high-road, however, and try to not be a book snob. It is my expectation that you will be able to enjoy this movie without regret of having missed out on the novel.
Cast Daniel Craig
Yes, I know that all the books are supposed to be about Lisbeth Salander and the miserable existence that she has been forced to lead at the hands of a secret organization, but it’s really about Mikael Blomkvist. His altruistic personally and his complete intolerance for injustice is central to the story. Daniel Craig fits the bill for me as a believable Blomkvist, right down to his natural demeanor, not to mention his parallel looks to Sweden’s Michael Nyquist.Read more »
Author: Edmund Jenks
John Bisignano, former ESPN motorsport journalist during Senna's timeframe, accepts the Dean Batchelor Award on behalf of Asif Kapadia and Manish Pandey for the documentary, "Senna". Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2011)
"Senna" Bestowed MPG's Best Of The Year Dean Batchelor Award
"Senna" ... the critically acclaimed documentary about the racing spirit and history of F1 driver Ayrton Senna just won the overall "Best Of The Year" Dean Batchelor Award - Excellence in Automotive Journalism for 2011!
Established by the Motor Press Guild in 1995, the Dean Batchelor Award recognizes excellence in automotive journalism as exemplified by the man it is named after – Dean Batchelor.
The Award singles out individuals demonstrating outstanding achievement in the profession of automotive journalism. Each year MPG presents the Dean Batchelor Award to the journalist judged to have produced the single piece of work which best represents the professional standards and excellence demanded by Dean Batchelor during his life as an editor, writer, and chronicler of the automotive industry.Read more »
Author: Bob Etier
How many ways are there to abuse a person? How many ways can someone be made to feel inferior? Apparently, in the 1950s and 1960s, Mississippi Junior League types were expert at oppressing not only their fellow citizens who happened to be Black, but also anyone else who didn’t meet their silver spoon standards.
Sadly, in the Deep South, there is still this us-them attitude among many Whites and African-Americans. There are pockets of racial hatred and oppression everywhere, but in places like Louisiana and Mississippi—and all those other places that don’t accept that the Civil War is over or that the South lost—social segregation flourishes.
Beautifully, sensitively acted, The Help recreates Jackson, Mississippi, circa 1963-4, where two worlds co-existed, the elite, rich, young, white families and their Black domestics—the maids who cleaned homes, raised other people’s children, and were insulted, bullied, and treated like property. The maids weren’t second-class citizens; their employers barely considered them people, treating them with an embarrassing degree of insensitivity.
In the early days of the civil rights movement, Eugenia “Skeeter” Phelan (Emma Stone) returns home to Jackson after graduating from college, intent on becoming a serious writer. She returns to the privileged life in which she was raised, and to all her equally privileged friends, most of whom are married and have children. They gossip, play bridge, go to parties, and engage in similarly amusing activities. They all have “help.” As Skeeter begins to appreciate how superficial their lives are and observes how they treat the women who serve them, she decides to write a book entitled The Help, about the relationship of her friends to their maids, told from the maids’ point of view.
She secretly embarks on her project with the help of Aibilene one of her friends’ maids (Viola Davis), although no others are willing to collaborate for fear of losing their jobs. Influenced by civil rights activists and the assassination of Medgar Evers, both Skeeter and the maids are ready to shake up the status quo. When one of the maids is brutalized by the police, all of them decide to cooperate with Skeeter.
Strong performances distinguish The Help, particularly Stone, Davis, Bryce Dallas Howard as the insufferably smug, bigoted Hilly Holbrook who gets her come-uppance at the hands of a maid she fired, Octavia Spencer as maid Minny Jackson (who gets her revenge), Allison Janney as Skeeter’s mother, and (especially) Jessica Chastain as the white, but socially unacceptable, Celia Foote.
There are many unlikely humorous moments in The Help, making it a glossy revision of what life was like in that time and place. However, they give the audience a sense of what “should have been,” a semblance of fairness in an unfair world.
Is The Help an accurate depiction of a certain segment of 1960s Jackson? Knowing that there are still areas in America where “White folks” and “Black folks” are socially segregated despite legislated integration, one suspects that it is rather close. The Help will be available on DVD and Blu-ray December 6, 2011. It is an intelligent, thoughtful, and thought-provoking look at a chapter in our social history.Read more »