(Image courtesy 20th Century Fox)
Whenever I see a movie, particularly a Hollywood movie, I watch the closing credits through to the bitter end -- the "bitter end" usually being the official MPAA rating logo before the lights come back up. I learned my lesson when I bailed on X-Men: The Last Stand about halfway through the closing credits, only to learn after the fact that there was a little "stinger" scene after they were finished. Frequently after the credits you might catch a final joke, a hint of a sequel or, with horror films, one last scare. The 2004 remake of Dawn of the Dead uses the closing credits to such frightening effect, they actually make the whole movie better.
It can be disappointing to sit through at least five minutes of scrolling names for no payoff except seeing an unusual moniker. It's getting more annoying, however, because some movie credits are dragging on longer than ever. Partly it's a matter of having more people involved in films with lots of computer-generated effects (I've seen names in such films roll by in three columns). Partly it's because, as this article suggests, some films choose to recognize more professions involved with the production.
Sometimes, though, it seems like a gambit to give a short movie a longer running time. I don't have hard evidence to back this up, but all my movie-going friends and acquaintances believe the same thing. Sometimes movies that are "officially" less than 90 minutes seem to have extralong, leisurely credit sequences, to make the official running time at least an hour and a half. Perhaps the studios are operating on a nebulous, more-perceived-value-for-money kind of thing, as if they'll be less likely to spend $10 on a ticket if they notice a short running time when looking up the film online. One of the first times I noticed this was at the end of the awful, blessedly forgotten Debra Messing comedy The Wedding Date.
(Photo by Jim Stawniak)
Atlanta-based actor/writer/performance artist Scott Turner Schofield brings his new one-man show, Becoming a Man in 127 Easy Steps, to Little Five Points' 7 Stages from Jan. 31-Feb. 3. It's entirely possible that the title is both playful and literal, since Schofield, formerly Kt Kilborn, is a woman-to-man transgender artist and his energetic, accessible work explores his personal transition. Reportedly he lowers himself from the ceiling to begin a show that he calls, "a roller coaster ride through your heart, your soul, and your genitals!"
I wrote the Creative Loafing cover story "I Changed My Sex. Now What?" on Schofield in 2006, and found him to be not only extremely likable, but a candid, illuminating guide through transgender issues, which can have mazelike complexities. Following his previous one-man shows Underground TRANSit and Debutante Balls, Becoming a Man in 127 Easy Steps promises to be another funny, revealing portrayal of one of Atlanta's most interesting personalities. The performance also comes in advance of Schofield's new book, Two Truths and a Lie, due to be published this winter.
J.A. Jance, a bestselling mystery author with 37 novels under her belt, is on tour promoting her latest installment in the Ali Reynolds series, Hand of Evil. The novel follows Edge of Evil and Web of Evil, taking ex-TV journalist Reynolds down a messy and dangerous path involving sexual predators and a long-forgotten murder. Here's what Publishers Weekly had to say about the book:
Jance crowds the book with subplots, and her characters air a lot of opinions about sexual abuse and health care. But sparks between Ali and Dave and an upbeat ending keep this latest Ali outing on track.
Jance will appear at the Decatur Library tonight at 7:15 p.m.
To get the latest info on Jance's tour, check out her blog, chronicling her tour de U.S.
(Photo by Joeff Davis)
We always like to hear from Blake Beckham, one of the more powerful young voices in the local dance community. (Check out Thomas Bell's mini-profile in our 2006 Fall Guide.) So we were thrilled to learn about tonight's screening of Dance For Reel: An Evening of Dance on Camera, curated by Beckham, sponsored by Emoryâs Dance and Visual Arts programs, and presented at Performing Arts Studio (1804 N. Decatur Road). The show starts at 7:30 p.m.
Here Beckham explores the genre of "cinedance," with pieces from the New York-based Dance Films Association, which has taken its work to festivals and tours around the world. The works range from five to 30 minutes, and offer the average viewer a bird's eye view of the form, which often can feel trapped onstage and hence feels out of the mainstream of the performing arts. But a quick peek at the British short "The Cost of Living" shows how the camera can capture movement for an audience.
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(Image courtesy HBO Home Video)
Not long after the debut of âCurb Your Enthusiasm,â HBOâs unscripted but carefully structured sitcom, creator/star Larry David described working on the script of a âSeinfeldâ episode. He felt like writing down the dialogue was practically unnecessary -- that the story practically wrote itself. In âCurb Your Enthusiasm,â David famously put those instincts to the test, since each episode features a precise outline but no written dialogue -- instead, the performers improvise while filming. On one of the extras of âCurb Your Enthusiasm: The Complete Sixth Seasonâ (released on DVD Tuesday), David explains that most scenes require multiple takes before they hit on the funniest combinations.
At times âCurbâ can feel structured to a fault, like some of the overly schematic âSeinfeldâ episodes. On the sixth-season episode âThe Rat Dog,â Davidâs alter ego âLarry Davidâ insults an acquaintanceâs dog for looking like a rat, and also reluctantly befriends an exterminator. Rat dog + exterminator = collision course for hilarity! Or maybe just a big contrivance.
The impressive thing about âCurbâsâ sixth season is the way it flips the script. Most seasons feature an arcing, unifying subplot (like Larry performing in The Producers in the previous year), and in this latest one, the David household offered shelter to the Blacks, an African-American family displaced by a hurricane. The odd-couple setup felt a little pat, but Vivica Fox and J.B. Smoove made terrific comedic foils.
(Â© C.J. Gunther/SIPA)
Unfortunately, we weren't able to put up my interview with Harvard law professor Randall Kennedy, author of Sellout: The Politics of Racial Betrayal, in time for his appearance tonight at the Margaret Mitchell House. (Here's my review of the book.) That's OK; it's better to see and hear Kennedy in person. He's a provocative, thoughtful and insightful expert on race relations, regardless of whether you take his side on such works as Interracial Intimacies: Sex, Marriage, Identity, and Adoption; Race, Crime, and the Law; and his most controversial work, 2002's Nigger: The Strange Career of a Troublesome Word.
The reception is at 6 p.m., followed by the lecture and reading at 7:30. (We'll have that podcast interview up shortly.) Check out Kennedy discussing Barack Obama and his so-called "crossover appeal."
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In researching "Tell me a story," my current cover "package" on professional storytellers from the Atlanta area, I didn't find very much online video about my primary tellers. Carmen Deedy's website does include a clip, introduced by Cokie Roberts, of Deedy addressing the Library of Congress' 2002 National Book Festival.
However, I did find this extremely amusing clip of the Kandinsky Trio and storyteller Andy Offutt Irwin performing a classical-style arrangement of Thomas Dolby's "She Blinded Me with Science." No storytelling, but it showcases Irwin's enjoyable talent for whistles and song effects:
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You can hear individual podcasts of the cover story's four principal tellers as they practice their craft here.
To embed or not to embed? The question arises when blogging about the $1.43 million fine that the Federal Communications Commission proposed for ABC on Friday. At issue is a 2003 episode of "NYPD Blue," Steven Bochco's once notorious cop show (1993-2005) that featured unprecedented quantities of nudity and profanity.
In the scene in question, on an episode titled "Nude Awakening," a young boy surprises Charlotte Ross' detective character before she steps into a shower, as an example of the awkward encounters when single parents start dating again. It's reminiscent of a similar scene in Kramer vs. Kramer when Dustin Hoffman's character invites a new lover to spend the night, and she unexpectedly encounters his son while walking through the hall in the middle of the night.
The FCC indecency fine features some odd parameters. According to a Washington Post story:
Under the FCC's indecency statutes, over-the-air radio and television stations are prohibited from broadcasting "patently offensive" material of a sexual or excretory nature from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m., when children are most likely to be watching. ABC stations in the Eastern and Pacific time zones were not fined because the episode appeared after 10 p.m. in those regions.
So material that airs at 9:59 is "indecent," while the same material shown at 10:01 is perfectly fine.
Probably the first question that comes to a casual reader's mind is, "So, can one actually find the clip in question online?" (I'm sure we're only interested in terms of freedom of speech issues, of course.) It turns out you can, based on a quick keyword search on a certain popular video file-sharing website. I considered embedding the clip in this blog post, but hesitated. The nudity in the scene seems a little too gratuitous for an encounter that's meant to be awkward and comical, and including it in PopSmart would seem a little gratuitous, too. We're cool with some content that's Not Safe for Work, but to me at least, the clip seemed to cross a line.
The FCC fine still strikes me as a censorious overreaction, particularly given that the episode aired five years ago. But given the amount of choices today's pop audiences now have for more mature content â on DVD and cable television, to name two â encouraging broadcast television to be a little more family-friendly, maybe in PG-13 terms, seems like a reasonable goal, if it can be voluntary. Just because a little nudity won't hurt anyone, that doesn't mean you have to see it everywhere.
(Photo Â© 2007 James Bowdoin)
We are officially in the mad rush of visiting authors, as you will probably notice from upcoming issues loaded with book reviews, author interviews and more. But here's one that unfortunately slipped through our fingers: Jennifer Finney Boylan, one of the leading transgender writers around who made a big splash with her 2003 memoir, She's Not There: A Life in Two Genders.
Boylan recently released her second memoir, I'm Looking Through You: Growing Up Haunted, which uses the word haunted in unexpected ways. Boylan will appear tonight at the Margaret Mitchell House for a reading and signing. The reception starts at 6 p.m.; the reading kicks in at 7:30. Admission is free for members, $10 for the general public.
Here's a little reading she did at her home, accompanied by her pet Lab, apparently.
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All the way from Mount Fuji, the Japanese drumming troupe FUGAKU TAIKO continues its world tour at Agnes Scott College tonight, JAN. 29. The guys pound out complex beats for several minutes at a time all in syncopated perfection, with arms flailing high in the air. It's an intense and hypnotic live experience, both beautiful to watch and to hear the rhythms. Free. 7-8:30 p.m. Presser Hall, Gaines Chapel, 141 E. College Ave., Decatur. 404-471-6000. www.agnesscott.edu.
Little harsh, in'it?
Oh that's right...I DID say enjoy yourself.
Go to hell Kombo!
When will you be accepting applicants for the 2014 competition?
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