March 14, 2011
Photographer Kurt Markus is Visionary Filmmaker Behind It’s About You
Kurt Markus, whose work as a still photographer has put him in the front ranks of contemporary American visual artists, is the visionary filmmaker behind It’s About You. The film will premiere as one of the featured selections chosen for the 2011 SXSW® Film Conference and Festival at the Alamo Ritz 1 at 6:30 PM on Saturday, March 12, 2011 in Austin, Texas, followed by a Q+A session with the filmmakers and John Mellencamp.
It’s About You, an American Documentary Showcase selection, will be featured at the Nashville Film Festival next month. Nashville screenings are set for Sunday, April 17 at 8 PM and Monday, April 18 at 3 PM, both at the Regal Cinema in Green Hills.
Shot in Super 8 during the course of John Mellencamp’s six-week 2009 summer tour with Bob Dylan and Willie Nelson. It’s About You chronicles the recording of No Better Than This, Mellencamp’s T Bone Burnett-produced album at three historic locations utilizing a single microphone and a mono tape recorder more than a half-century-old. This film is far removed from the conventions of standard-issue “rockumentaries” and serves as a think piece about the battering of American society by globalization and greed and the transitory nature of its cultural touchstones.
Markus was assisted in the project by his son Ian Markus, now a film student at the University of Montana. The filmmakers participating in a panel discussion entitled “The Making of It’s About You, A Super 8 Documentary” at the Austin Convention Center Room 13AB that starts at 5 PM.
Father and son followed Mellencamp to 26 cities in 18 states where they documented not only Mellencamp’s musical performances but also the context of these shows as economic upheaval and diaspora have changed American lives and landscapes. The film conjoins Mellencamp’s songs with images of a nation wracked by malaise and decline with contemplative narration written and voiced by the elder Markus.
It’s worth noting that Mellencamp’s journey is the film's leitmotif but that the artist is never specifically interviewed; there are virtually no “talking heads” seen or heard in the naturalistic piece. This is not a retrospective film with interviews. It is of the moment.
The film visits the nation’s past through the prism of Mellencamp’s historically resonant recording venues: The First African Baptist Church in Savannah, GA where runaway slaves were hidden on their journey to Spanish-controlled Florida and to Sun Studio in Memphis where Mellencamp stood where Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash and Howlin’ Wolf had before him. A recording session in Room 414 of San Antonio’s Gunter Hotel with Mellencamp in the same corner of the room where blues legend Robert Johnson had recorded “Come On In My Kitchen” and “Cross Road Blues” among others more than 70 years earlier is another highlight of No Better Than This.
Markus, who was born in Montana and still lives in that state, made his mark in landscape, figure study, celebrity, fashion and travel. The Cowboy Hall of Fame, Hills Gallery, Halsted Gallery, Staley-Wise Gallery, Gallery have mounted exhibitions of his work for Contemporary Photography and Galleria Photology. Markus published several monographs, including After Barbed Wire, Buckaroo, Dreaming Georgia, Boxers, Cowpuncher, and Dune.
March 09, 2011
French Filmmaker Previews URBAN WOLF
I had an opportunity to meet URBAN WOLF director LAURENT TOUIL-TARTOUR in Los Angeles this past weekend, a French filmmaker whose new film premiered recently on Sony’s multiplatform website Crackle.
URBAN WOLF is a 15 part international mystery thriller that first premiered at last year’s Comic Con and the AFI Digifest, and won the award for Best Drama at this year’s ITV Festival. The story is told in a cutting-edge visual style with no dialogue.
URBAN WOLF is a prime example of the emergence of digital media as a platform for premium content as well as unique distribution and monetization strategy. URBAN WOLF is creating new models for production, sponsorship and content strategy for media companies and consumer brands.A few links:
March 08, 2011
Charlie Rose interview with Ray Kurzweil, Ptolemy to air March 8 and 9
The postponed Charlie Rose interview with Ray Kurzweil and director Barry Ptolemy regarding the movie Transcendent Man is scheduled to air on PBS Tuesday March 8 (check schedules here for your zip code) and on Bloomberg TV Wednesday March 9 (find showtimes in your area here).
Transcendent Man by Barry Ptolemy focuses on the life and ideas of Ray Kurzweil. It is currently available on iTunes in the United States and Canada and on DVD. Screenings in Washington, D.C. and Boston are sold out, but tickets to London and San Francisco screenings in April are available.
February 28, 2011
JetStreamHD Streams Movies, Music, Photos & Other Digital Content to the Palm of Your Hand
JetStreamHD, the world's first consumer electronics product to stream all of your digital media stored anywhere on a home computer network to the iPad, was announced today at DEMO Spring 2011.
JetStreamHD enables iPad users to instantly access and stream any video, song, or photo from their home network while traveling for business, visiting friends and family, or simply relaxing anywhere – without upfront planning, conversion headaches, download time, sync hassles, or iPad memory limits.
Consumers own an enormous and expanding volume of digital media and are increasingly using mobile devices to enjoy it. Consequently, the market potential for mobile media streaming devices is exploding: according to IDC, the global smartphone market recently surpassed the PC market, with over 100 million units sold in Q4 of 2010 alone. Research firm iSuppli forecasts cumulative sales of iPad and other mobile media tablets to exceed 600 million units by 2015, while a recent InStat survey reports that 50% of US home network users are interested in products that enable video streaming.
Using JetStreamHD, a person at a coffee shop, on the train, a business trip, or at a friend's place, can use their iPad to easily find and instantly play videos, listen to music, or show-off some photos from their home-based media collection – at the highest possible resolution without stuttering.
HOW IT WORKS:
- Plug and play setup in minutes – you simply plug the sleek, quiet JetStreamHD box into your home router and download the free app to your iPad. Within a few minutes, it discovers all of the media that resides in any format, including 1080p HD, on any computer, media server or NAS attached to your network. All of your media is immediately available for viewing on your iPad.
- Easily and quickly find any media with the beautiful iPad app – powerful search, sort and filter controls make it easy to quickly find any item in the largest of libraries. You can quickly sort and filter by movie, genre, rating, date added and much more, and JetStreamHD takes it a step further by automatically adding media cover art, plot summaries and other important data to ensure a rich viewing experience.
- Instant access to your media without any upfront work – as anyone who has worked with digital video knows, video format conversion and streaming is computationally intensive and time consuming. With JetStreamHD, just one touch on the app starts the selected media playing in the best possible resolution without stuttering.
- The best possible mobile viewing experience over any connection – JetStreamHD's powerful hardware takes care of everything automatically as it streams in real-time: converting any format to accommodate your mobile device and adaptively adjusting the streaming bit-rate to make best use of your available Wi-Fi or 3G connection strength. Unlike other solutions, you don't consume one of your home computers to act as the streaming server.
- Support for Apple TV lets you enjoy your JetStreamHD mobile media on the big screen – JetStreamHD streams any video from a home-based media library to any local Apple TV unit using AirPlay, so you can enjoy your media on the iPad or the big screen.
- Multiple iPads, music and photos all at the same time – unlike other solutions, JetStreamHD multitasks as much as you do: more than one iPad user can stream media at the same time or listen to streamed music while also viewing streamed photos or using another iPad app.
JetStreamHD for the iPad, to be priced at $199 USD, is available starting today for pre-order in Canada and the United States at the time-limited special price of $119 USD from the JetStreamHD website (www.JetStreamHD.com). Additional mobile formats will be supported and announced later this year.
Note: I am a consultant to JetStreamHD.
February 24, 2011
Swerve Connects People to Great Things To Do
At the LAUNCH Conference in San Francisco this past week, I interviewed Swerve's John Magdziarz about their iPhone app. Swerve connects people to great things to do. Serving up thousands of events in cities across the U.S., Swerve is for anyone who wants to get out and do something – a couple planning a date night, a group of friends looking for a club party, or a businessperson attending a conference or networking event.
Swerve offers listings for Music & Nightlife; Food & Drink; Speakers & Networking; Art & Museums; Get-togethers; Deals; and Facebook public events. Swerve also makes it easy to share event details and gather friends through social networking services such as Facebook and Twitter, all while on-the-go from your mobile device. John explains in the video below and shows us a demo on an iPad.
February 24, 2011 in America The Free, Arts & Creative Stuff, Entertainment/Media, Europe, Events, On Mobile & Wireless, Social Media, Travel, Videos, WBTW, Web 2.0 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack
February 21, 2011
David Silverman on Animation and the Tuba
Most known as the animator for directing numerous episodes of the animated TV series The Simpsons, as well as The Simpsons Movie, David Silverman walked out onto the TEDxBerkeley stage playing a tuba last Saturday.
He gave a very funny historical summary of the tuba and why he started playing it as a teenager.
The main reason that he started playing the tuba is that he thought it would be funny.
He learned how to draw all the instruments in the orchestra and showed a number of his sketches from piano books ranging from Alfred publishing to tuba characters and Bart.
The video of his talk and tuba playing should be up on the TEDxBerkeley site sometime in the next couple of weeks.
February 16, 2011
Introducing New Film: The Economics of Happiness
The Economics of Happiness is a new movie that describes a world moving simultaneously in two opposing directions. On the one hand, an unholy alliance of governments and big business continues to promote globalization and the consolidation of corporate power. At the same time, people all over the world are resisting those policies, demanding a re-regulation of trade and finance—and, far from the old institutions of power, they’re starting to forge a very different future. Communities are coming together to re-build more human scale, ecological economies based on a new paradigm – an economics of localization.
The film shows how globalization breeds cultural self-rejection, competition and divisiveness; how it structurally promotes the growth of slums and urban sprawl; how it is decimating democracy. You will learn about the obscene waste that results from trade for the sake of trade: apples sent from the UK to South Africa to be washed and waxed, then shipped back to British supermarkets; tuna caught off the coast of America, flown to Japan to be processed, then flown back to the US. We hear about the suicides of Indian farmers; about the demise of land-based cultures in every corner of the world.
The second half of The Economics of Happiness provides not only inspiration, but practical solutions. Arguing that economic localization is a strategic solution multiplier that can solve our most serious problems, the film spells out the policy changes needed to enable local businesses to survive and prosper.
You are introduced to community initiatives that are moving the localization agenda forward, including urban gardens in Detroit, Michigan and the Transition Town movement in Totnes, UK. They explore the benefits of an expanding local food movement that is restoring biological diversity, communities and local economies worldwide. They also introduce Via Campesina, the largest social movement in the world, with more than 400 million members.
The movie shares voices from six continents, including Vandana Shiva, Bill McKibben, David Korten, Samdhong Rinpoche, Helena Norberg-Hodge, Michael Shuman, Zac Goldsmith and Keibo Oiwa. They tell us that climate change and peak oil give us little choice: we need tolocalize, to bring the economy home. The good news is that as we move in this direction we will begin not only to heal the earth but also to restore our own sense of well-being. The Economics of Happiness challenges us to restore our faith in humanity, challenges us to believe that it is possible to build a better world.
The movie features: Vandana Shiva, Bill McKibben, David Korten, Michael Shuman, Juliet Schor, Richard Heinberg, Rob Hopkins, Andrew Simms, Zac Goldsmith, Samdhong Rinpoche. The schedule of where previews will be showing is here, ranging from London, Berkeley, Portland to Ireland, Thailand, Tokyo and India.
February 13, 2011
Go Meet, Read and See The Mentalist in Las Vegas
Gerry McCambridge has been traveling the world and amazing audiences for over 25 years. He took his love for magic, and mixed it with the observational skills he learned from his father, a New York City Detective, to create the character of “The Mentalist” which is now a show that plays regularly in Las Vegas where he now lives.
I saw him perform in Las Vegas recently and was able to chat with him one-on-one after the show because a friend happened to know him.
He's an incredibly interesting yet quietly intense guy, with a warm smile, great sense of humor and an easy-going relaxed energy that puts you at ease immediately. Gerry has an uncanny way of getting into your head -- literally -- and into getting you to share personal information willingly, a gift that only some of the best personal coaches have.
He uses part magic, part intuition and part common sense - in other words, he looks for patterns that are likely to happen based on the fact that a large percentage of the time, they either DO happen or ARE LIKE THAT.
The latter can translate into him guessing people's names, ages, cities they come from in a way that only suggests that he's either performing magic or the man can really read your mind.
Gerry appeared on countless radio and TV talk shows including "Late Night with David Letterman," "The Today Show," “The Vegas Show,” “Soap Talk,” “Real Life” and "The Best Damn Sports Show Period."
February 10, 2011
39-A: Een Reisverhaal Van Eindeloos To Screen At SXSW
Filmmaker Evan Mather’s autobiographical mash-up about a family vacation to the Kennedy Space Center, will screen at SXSW this March.
The 7-minute video is an insightful autobiographical mashup of Super-8 home movies, vibrant animated cartography, and Dutch pidgin-speak, in which his family’s 1981 vacation to the Kennedy Space Center is chronicled in exquisite detail.
Initially created for the Architecture and Design Museum (Los Angeles) as part of its Summer 2010 art installation “Come In!”, the piece has screened as part of AIA San Francisco’s “Architecture and the City” Festival, as part of A+D’s inaugural OnScreen film series, and in Atlanta at DOCOMOMO Georgia.
February 07, 2011
Arianna Huffington: $300m in Cash, Hmmm, Let Me Think About That One
If you were Arianna Huffington, wouldn't you take the money, even if it meant a relocation to New York as a result? After all, with that kind of exit ($300 million of the $350 million is in cash), you can jet back and forth the 5 hour commute without that much of an inconvenience.
Besides, as part of the deal, she also gets to be in charge of Michael Arrington and his posse at TechCrunch, which should be interesting to watch from the outside -- personally and editorially.
As Kara Swisher points out in her write-up on the AOL acquisition, "the deal gives it a popular branded site that is very good at generating lots of page views and impressions very efficiently–which is the company’s whole thrust these days. That means lots more ad inventory to sell and an injection of content talent, giving AOL the scale it desperately needs."
The projections look good, so the acquisition is no surprise and frankly, many a conversation in my circles have revolved around who they'll ultimately sell out to over the past few years. They increased their ad sales from $ 31 million in 2010 to a projected $60 million this year. Sweet. I guess it was time to hand over the goods to a 'bigger power', at least on paper.
Let's face it, AOL's branding 'magic sauce' hasn't really taken a strong turn yet, so having both Huffington Post and TechCrunch under their wings, gives AOL editorial direction, identity and a sense of purpose, particularly in the eyes of readers and users who are not exactly living on the leading edge of technology.
With Arianna as Editor-in-Chief, things could get interesting....smart move on Armstrong's part. Her compelling combination of smart aggregated content with original content and celebrity names has become a winning formula others haven't been able to replicate.
As part of the deal, Tim Armstrong will take over from Huffington Post's Chief Revenue Officer Greg Coleman and the existing AOL ad sales head Jeff Levic will remain on board.
Paul Carr has an amusing and thoughtful take on the acquisition here. He talks about the potential downside of the SEO implications down the road for them (TechCrunch) and the rest of the world (readers). The other downside is that because Huffington Post doesn't remain solely independent, some things will no doubt have to give over time. Having Huffington in the editorial seat for now reduces the risk at least in the short term.
She will apparently be in charge of Engadget, Mapquest, TechCrunch and Moviefone. If its true that one reason they bought them is because their readers make up a significant number of important women with money to spend, then why not put her in charge of more brands?
Photo Credits: Planetpov.com, All Things D and Bloomberg BusinessWeek.