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Archive for May, 2010

If you know me, you know I do not drink alcohol, at all.  So with that being said, you may have been confused if you happened to see me last night sitting at The City Winery on Varick street, for about 5 hours.  I was there with my girlfriend and some other friends to catch the NY premiere screening of the film “Blood Into Wine”.

The film, a documentary about the Arizona vineyard owned and run by Eric Glomski and Maynard James Keenan, had sold out in a flash once tickets went on sale.  Now I,  like a lot of the attendees, swooped up those tickets fast.  Not only to see the film, but also due to the promise of a special guest Q and A following the screening, which everyone expected to include, Maynard James Keenan, himself.

And yes, he was there...

But this is not a post about a Q and A with the man, the myth, the legend, etc. This is a film review, of one hell of a fantastic documentary.   In an echo of the introductory speech given before the film, by the now east coast distributor of the wines made at the Arizona Stronghold; It does not matter if you are interested in seeing and being a part of anything Maynard touches, it doesn’t matter if you are the world’s greatest wine enthusiast, it doesn’t matter if all you love is a summer blockbuster that is all about the explosions and special effects, and it doesn’t matter if you really don’t care about anything; this film will move you.
Very quickly, for those who don’t know, Maynard is the lead singer for the band Tool as well as the mind and creator of his ever evolving solo, vaudeville-esque side project, Puscifer.  Around 2003 he bought up land in Jerome, AZ and started his own winery with the help of experienced wine maker Eric Glomski.
The film chronicles the hardships and rewards of the entire wine making process from planting to bottling and in the case of these two men, how to market a wine from Arizona, to a country with the mindset that wine not made in Napa, Italy or France, for example, is not a quality product.
But when everything is over, this film is really about passion.  It didn’t have to be about wine, though some things a laymen or even a connoisseur, may learn about the history and or myths about wine is fascinating, it could have been about anything.   This is a film about two men who are doing something they truly love, that drives them, that makes them want to explore their worlds further.   It is something everyone should feel in their lives and even if you have not taken that journey yet, watching Eric and Maynard at what is one’s craft and one’s growing craft, will move you; will inspire you.
It should also be noted that if you think you are walking into a straight forward documentary, you are wrong.  This film three-quarters of a learning experience and one-quarter ingenious laugh fest.  I dare anyone to see this movie and tell me they did not crack up at least three times (more if you have a sense of humor).
Do yourself a favor, If there is a screening of this movie near you, go.  If there isn’t and you are not up to booking your own screening, go to the film’s website: http://www.bloodintowine.com/ where you can pre-order a copy for yourself, to be released on September 7th. You will not be sorry.
I would like to finish this short review by apologizing to Eric and Maynard for the collective group of drunken maniacs who did attend the screening along with me, my girlfriend, my friends and the handful of civil audience members who were there and thank them for the tremendous job they did, in handling the questions and the screaming freaks, kudos.

Thank you gentlemen

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Lenore Ann

   This Saturday, May 22nd, would have been my Mother’s 59th birthday.  We lost my Mother to breast cancer on December 26th, 2009.  I know it is a little early, but I wanted to put up a small video to celebrate her on her birthday and to also give anyone who reads this some information on a foundation my Aunt created in my Mother’s name.

   The Norie Promise Fund aims to make donations to services and programs that can have an immediate impact on the lives of those who are stricken with terminal illnesses and their loved ones.  To date, the fund has raised close to $15,000 and we hope to make it grow.  If you wish to make a tax deductible donation, please make a check out to: SCF c/o The Norie Promise Fund and in the memo line, write, account #3511-8889.  Donations can be sent to Joy Soodik c/o The Norie Promise Fund, 505 Court St. Brooklyn, NY, 11231.

  As previously stated, I have made a small video to celebrate my Mother’s birthday.  It is nothing too amazing and I only had a small amount of time to put it together, but I think it is a fitting tribute.  This also goes out to everyone else we have all lost, to cancer or not, including; Bernard Soodik, Harold and Dorothy Schuchman, Emmanuel and Irene Weisburd, Nancy Rodriguez and Carlos Rodriguez.  Thank you to everyone for your support.

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When it Rains, it Pours

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Thank You, Elbowtoe

  It is the very little things in life, that make me smile.  It may be hard to see, even if you enlarge the picture, but the quote that is crudely scribbled onto the “blank” space of this subway ad location reads, “The memory of you is never lost upon me”-Elbowtoe. 

  Now, it is nothing insanely profound or new, but there is something about sitting on a train, feeling down because I am heading to work stuck in a sweat box with a bunch of other miserable people and looking over to see something that is ultimately, the sweetest, yet,  most pointless thing in the world, to bring a smile to my face.

  Of course, it is not only something that was meant to be serious or profound that can do it.  I admit it, even the stupidest of subway humor is enjoyable to me.  For instance: 

  Nothing smart here, in fact this is very childish, but it still makes me smile and I still think it is brilliant.  I like to think I have a creative mind, yet, I would never walk past a bunch of, “Wet Paint” signs, and think of doing this.  I know the type of person who did this, they are in the station stop all the time.  On most day-to-day terms I would probably despise and ridicule this type of person, but on the day they did this; genius.

  There really is nothing more behind this post, I just wanted to share the fact that there is plenty of magic left in the NYC subway system.  For people who don’t think so, feel free to paint my wet taint.

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  If you haven’t seen it somewhere on this blog already, I am a film snob.  This doesn’t mean I only like arty films that no one understands, it really just means that I take in a whole lot more than just the visceral side of films.  So I won’t like a film just because it is action pack or has a lot of cool special effects.  I pick movies apart.  A lot of people see movies as just entertainment as if the movie is not trying to say something, like a book would.  I completely disagree of course and unless I am watching a bad spoof movie, I always look for what a film is trying to tell me, you know; a theme.

  I think it is great that “The Big Lebowski” gets so much praise from the general public.  I am a huge Coen Brothers fan and like to see them do well.  However, the fact that “The Big Lebowski” is seen by most everyone as just some funny comedy about a stoner, bowling and missing toes, does bother me a bit.  I mean, they even have Lebowski fests, where rabid fans dress as their favorite characters and watch the move in a bowling alley and recite lines along with the movie; ala, “The Rocky Horror Picture Show”.  I wonder if any of these people looked further into what this movie truly is about; The death of the ideal of the traditional Western/American hero.

  Before the film was completed, the Coens said, they were filming their Western and that is what “The Big Lebowski” is.  But of course, The Dude, is the new age cowboy.  There is a reason the film takes place in Los Angeles, there is a reason why there are so many Gulf War/Saddam Hussein references, there is a reason the film opens up with a tumbleweed through the desert and LA landscapes, there is a reason there is a mysterious stranger/cowboy that The Dude meets at bar, or should I say saloon.  These elements are not put in just for comedy, they all have a point.

  I’ll try to make this short and not sum up each little piece of the movie in a 50 page essay.  The point of the movie is that, once America was all about the cowboy, who would come and save our skins from some terrible force and then ride back off west into the sunset, of course more precisely into the western land, symbolizing the western hemisphere’s dominance in the world.  As times changed, we idolized our solders, fighting overseas to keep the world safe from communism and other threats to personal freedom.  But in the world of The Dude, these people are no longer worth being idolized.  Cowboys are long gone in the way they are seen in out eyes and our solders are off fighting for oil, not freedom.

  This is where The Dude comes in.  The new heros of our land are the common man, who will out of nothing more than a good conscience go and aid a man who looks poorly upon the common man, with his kidnapped wife.  The Man who will help out a woman, who is practically a complete stranger, (whom had a very large man punch you in the face) conceive a child.  The man who will still stand by a friend who constantly provides the common man with poor misguided advice that spirals him deeper into a Kafkaesque world of  absurdity.  The man who will take the time in the middle of all this ridiculous crap to hold up the promise of seeing his land lord’s, one man interpretive dance performance.  The Dude.

  But there is another message layered in here.  This is a story about how we have forgotten our past/bastardized it.  Driving his car after it is retrived from being stolen, The Dude finds out that it was a high school kid who stole his car, via some poor homework he discovers within the vehicle.  The Dudes friend Walter, informs The Dude that this kid’s father was the Creator and Author of over 150 episodes of the TV Western classic, “Branded”.  When they arrive at home of, Arthur Digby Sellars, they find him to be dying, encased in an iron lung.  So here, in front of these men, is a man that they view as a legend, a man who wrote about the great western period America, no matter how embellished it may have been and not only he is being kept alive by a massive contraption that breathes for him, but his son can not even write a passing grade worthy paper, on American History.  Our past is dying, if not already dead and we are letting it wither away.

  Of course though, The Dude himself, is not perfect and is, in his own way, guilty of warping the past.  When The Dude, meets the character or   The Stranger, he is treated to an old American Proverb.  Now, I don’t want to assume that everyone  in the world does not know what is being said, but from talking to people about this, I believe most people hear this, “Sometimes you eat the BAR and well sometimes, the BAR, well he eats you”.  Of course, the real saying has the word, BEAR, in place of the word Bar.  It is simply The Strangers accent that makes you hear it one way instead of the other.  And when it comes time for The Dude to use this saying himself, not only does he say BAR, but he can’t even complete the phrase.  Now, this is also there to illustrate this movement from an older hero to a new one, but it is still a bastardization of what, once was.

  There is so much more to go into when it comes to this movie, but as I said, I am trying to write a blog post not an essay.  If would love to discuss this further with anyone else and would hope everyone out there really digs deep into the true meanings of the movies they see.  I am sure I already made no sense in my condensed explanations of this particular movie, but hey, sometimes you eat the bar…

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