I recently returned from Havana and a screening of "Disconnect" at the 35th Festival of Latin American Cinema.
It was a fascinating trip, as I was able to meet and talk with local and international filmmakers and producers, as well as talk to the audience after the screening.
In a country where most of the population has limited access to the internet, this cautionary tale about the effect of technology on human communication and interaction was both eye-opening and provocative, and lead to some good conversations.
I took the opportunity of a walk around old Havana to search out some old Cuban sheet music and scored when one vendor dug into his cardboard box and came out with some fragile and frayed and water-stained old paper with the lost beautiful notes of Ernesto Lecuona, Emilio Diaz, Nita Almansa and others.
For the musicians out there, and for others who just appreciate the vintage design of these rare papers, I wanted to share them with you here:
This last song was autographed by the great Cuban singer, bandleader and composer Miguelito Valdes. My wife loosely translated the inscription as "As I promised, I am sending this song and wishing you great success and much more to come. This won't be the only one!"
Natalie had quite a
day today as we maxed out on Beatlemania opportunities locally.
Starting at the Beatles US label - the old Capitol Records building in Hollywood.
Where she found Paul McCartney's star on the Walk of Fame right outside the front door (along with Ringo, John and George, but no Pete Best or Stu Sutcliffe of course)!
Feeling inspired we made a quick trip over to Abbey Road in our time machine.
And found we had time to check out the latest fashions on Carnaby Street!
Hitting the Kaiserkeller in Hamburg to check out Rory Storm and the Hurricanes and their rocking drummer RIchard Starkey, taking top spot on a double bill with some lesser known Liverpool band called The Beatles.
Rory is the genius who convinced Richard to change his name to Ringo, and Starr was kind enough to let Natalie sit in on the drums during the last set.
My daughter would have kept going until last call but her old man had to get home and hit the hay after A Day In The Life of my little Beatles Fan #1.
(Ringo and Beatle paraphenalia photos courtesy of the Ringo Peace and Love Show at the Grammy Museum!).
A bomb explodes in the Paris office of the Springer Press. The Baader-Meinhof group claim responsibility.
And the latest edition of STRANGE comics hits the newstands.
I found this vintage edition of STRANGE on my recent trip to Paris in one of those kiosks along the quay on the Seine. Somehow seeing all of my old comic book superheros speaking in French gave them a certain je ne sais quoi!
As these two pulsing figures of light say "prepare to be transmitted"!!
I found this picture of Roger Ebert standing on Dearborn Street in front of the marquee of the old Playboy Theatre. After the demise of the Playboy, the theatre was taken over and renamed the Sandburg Theatre, and then closed yet again a few years later. In May of 1979, Albert Berger and I reopened the theatre, still named the Sandburg, with a repertory policy of showing classic American films and recent foreign films.
Roger was a frequent patron of the Sandburg and a strong supporter of our programming. The Wild Bunch. Peeping Tom. Aguirre, The Wrath of God. Gun Crazy. Roger. A tub of popcorn. 35mm Technicolor prints. A lobby full of film geeks debating the auteur theory. This was the era where I spent the most time interacting with him, and how I will best remember him. Smart, funny, passionate, and crazy about movies.
If we are lucky, we all have had that teacher or mentor who touched our core and gave us inspiration or direction or a good old fashioned kick in the butt at some crucial moment in our lives. I used to think these teachers came to us most importantly in our formative years, but as I got older and discovered life is a long journey and an unfolding mystery, that the more you know the more you find yourself just at the beginning of knowledge, I have changed my mind.
Greg Baker was an English teacher and swin coach at the Latin School of Chicago who over decades touched the lives of so many generations of students, that he was a bit like the Jimmy Stewart character in Frank Capra's "It's A Wonderful Life" dream/nightmare sequence on steroids - it is hard to imagine what direction my own life and so so many others would have gone without him.
When he passed away ten years ago, a scholarship fund was established in his name to support opportunities for deserving and under-privileged children to get a quality education at The Latin School.
I'm excited to be having a premiere screening in Chicago on April 11 of my latest production Disconnect as a benefit for the fund. I wish that Greg could be with us to see it. But his spirit and legacy will inform the evening and hopefully this new generation of students will find something of his teachings buried in the DNA of this contemporary story.
There was something both surprising and ultimately gratifying when I stumbled across this pop culture artifact at the Japan/LA store this week - a Ryan Gosling coloring book! And lo and behold, a drawing from one of my favorite movies that I had the privilege to be part of making.
I guess seeing Lars and Bianca wind up as a line drawing in a coloring book is a testament to some kind of lasting imprint in our cultural consciousness, even if it is hard to imagine what a kid would make out of the two of them?!?
With just a hint of her wheelchair-bound status in the line drawing but nothing to really reveal to the uninitiated the plastic doll that lies underneath the wig and sweater, Nancy Oliver's brilliantly original creation and Lars' instrument of love and therapy has been reduced to this simple iconic image for posterity.
Thought you might enjoy printing it out and coloring it in - if you have the DVD of Lars and The Real Girl you can even try to match the color palette as chosen by costume designer Kirston Mann!