April 1, 2013 |
David Sutherland is the director of three remarkable documentary films - I should say at least three, having seen only the last three - notable for their length and their depth: "The Farmer's Wife," from 1998, a 61/2-hour look at a farm family in crisis; the six-hour "Country Boys," from 2005, about two teenagers in Appalachia; and now "Kind Hearted Woman," set in North Dakota, Minnesota and southern Canada, which follows a Native American woman and...
March 14, 2013 |
The short and sweet documentary "Hava Nagila (The Movie)" is a lively portrait of what is arguably the most ubiquitous Jewish song or, as one observer wryly puts it, "the kudzu of Jewish music. " Though perhaps best known to recent generations as that infectious, hora-accompanied staple of bar mitzvahs and Jewish weddings, the tune has a significant 150-year history that's warmly tracked by director-producer Roberta Grossman, with an assist from writer-producer Sophie Sartain.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 11, 2013 |
Once there was a little boy who rode Henry Huntington's trolleys. He was 4 when he first took a Yellow Car all by himself, along Vermont Avenue to nursery school. His mother handed him off to the motorman and said he was going to the end of the line. Now that little boy is 88, his mother and the trolleys long gone. PHOTOS: Los Angeles' Pacific Electric Red Cars So is his grandfather's Rialto orange grove, where he was sent to help weed come summer. So are the horse-drawn wagons that used to deliver his morning milk.
February 28, 2013 |
For the last week or so, I've been dipping in and out of a long-forgotten piece of Southern California literature: Timothy G. Turner's short story collection “Turn Off the Sunshine: Tales of Los Angeles on the Wrong Side of the Tracks,” published by the Caxton Printers in Caldwell, Idaho, in 1942. If you've never heard of the author, book or publisher, you're not alone; a Google search reveals little except for various online booksellers offering digital copies for download.
February 27, 2013 |
Miriam Katin's “Letting It Go” (Drawn & Quarterly: 160 pp., $24.95) is my kind of graphic memoir: loose, impressionistic, a portrait of the artist's inner life. Keyed by the decision of her adult son Ilan to take up permanent residence in Berlin, it is, in part, the story of her coming to terms, at long last, with her legacy as a survivor of the Holocaust. But without minimizing this part of the story, “Letting It Go” is much more than that - a meditation on love, on family, and an inquiry into art. Functioning in some sense as a sketchbook, Katin's story is delightfully open-ended, less a look back at a particular situation than a series of reflections from the trenches of her life as it is lived.
February 24, 2013 |
When photographer Steve Schapiro first arrived on the Lower East Side set of "The Godfather" in 1971, there were rumors floating around that Marlon Brando was not well. Moving closer to the action, he noticed an old man in an overcoat and hat talking to an assistant director with this gravelly, sick voice. The rumors must be true, he thought. "Suddenly," Schapiro recalled, "Brando turns to the crowd with this enormous electricity shooting out of his eyes and in his best 'On the Waterfront' accent said, 'I think there's someone with a camera out there.'" That stunning transformation was just one of many Oscar-worthy moments Schapiro has witnessed in his 50-year career working on the sets of such groundbreaking films as "Taxi Driver," "Midnight Cowboy" and "Chinatown.
February 22, 2013 |
In 1984, while flying at 43,000 feet, both engines on American International Group's corporate jet failed. The pilot "calmly but quickly" conferred on which airport he should try to reach with Maurice "Hank" Greenberg, AIG's chief executive. (One engine later restarted, ending the crisis.) If it is unclear to you why a pilot should take advice on how to tackle an air emergency from the head of an insurance company, you clearly don't know Greenberg, who took the helm of AIG in 1967 and was kicked out by his board in 2005.
February 21, 2013 |
Mesmerizing and haunting, "The Jeffrey Dahmer Files" is an inside-out serial killer movie, lacking in gore or cheap psychology and made in part for those who think they never want to see another serial killer movie. A hybrid of documentary and fiction, the film is directed by Milwaukee-based Chris James Thompson in his feature debut. Rather than indulging in exploitation kicks, the film engages more with Dahmer's impact on the community. The fictional footage features Andrew Swant as the notorious Dahmer, who murdered and dismembered 17 people; he seems to be a bland, weird-but-harmless blank slate.
February 14, 2013 |
Birth announcements tend to contain some of the most cliche images around: sleeping babies swaddled in soft blankets, propped up in flowerpots, kissed gently atop their foreheads. In other words, we've seen it all, and usually it's not very good. Or have we? A series of "baby" portraits taken by Kelli Higgins of her adopted son Latrell, 13, has gone viral since the professional photographer posted the images on Facebook. In one image, a shirtless Latrell is wrapped in a white blanket with his eyes closed.
February 12, 2013 |
Whenever I head to Good Girl Dinette for a hot bowl of pho, I like to sit directly across from a large oil painting of a beautifully depicted delicata squash that hangs alone on one of the restaurant's walls. A Highland Park local, Timothy Sellers, painted this rendition of the yellow-and-green-striped squash. His vegetable portraits inspired by his garden, fruit trees planted over a dozen years ago at his Highland Park home and the local farmers market, can also be found on view at Folliero's Pizza and exhibited occasionally at Future Studio . When Sellers is not painting portraits of tomatoes or mushrooms, he's making music with his band, fittingly named Artichoke . One of the band's songs.