Monthly Archives: October 2016

“The Photographer’s Truth” by Josiah Ralph Bardsley

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Bardsley, Josiah Ralph. “The Photographer’s Truth”, Bold Strokes Books, 2016.

Having It All

Amos Lassen

 Ian Baines has it all. He is a hotshot software programmer in Silicon Valley with a beautiful wife and family; he lives a nice house in an upscale San Francisco neighborhood, and a past that he’s mostly managed to forget. But then his life takes an unexpected turn for him when he goes to Paris for a three-month work project and where he meets former fashion photographer Luca Sparks. Luca takes him on a journey through Paris nightlife and Ian discovers something about himself when the two men begin to fall in love. Both men must fight their own demons as they emerge on new journeys of self-discovery— they must find ways to deal with both their feelings for each other and their pasts.

Ian narrates the story and so we read what he sees. He is well aware of his emotions and his fears. When he learns who he is, he is afraid and it takes him time to find self-acceptance. He finds it and embraces it but even then he is filled with fear. Luca was not expecting to find love and himself when he met Ian in a café. But that is what he found and it changed him and taught him a good deal about life.

We first meet Ian as a young college student who is just beginning to examine who looks at the world through questions. We then see him married with two teenage sons. It’s not until Ian is sent to Paris on a work assignment that so much changes for him and he begins to see the world differently that ever before. But what he sees now is overwhelming because of Luca and because he has to live two distinct lives.

Ian and Luca do not seem to have anything in common and neither man is what he seems to be. Ian is either ill at ease or not aware of his feelings with his feelings which creates a distance between him and the reader so it takes a while for what is obvious to the reader— however, we seem to know what he feels before he does. He is also filled with guilt about cheating on his wife.

As the relationship between the two men develops, we learn more about Ian and Luca and we see how they change as the romance between them evolves. When Ian meets Luca’s friends, (and from them hear about who Luca is) he realizes that what he and Luca share has changed Luca from a something of a secretive person relationship and he stops being with his friends as much as he had until then.

It is obvious that Ralph Josiah Bardsley knows a good deal about photography and he uses that in building the character of Luca. Luca views his world in various colors and tints and this helps him understand how Ian sees himself. Up until Luca, Ian’s life had been simply black and white. It is not always easy living truthfully when others are involved and we see that in terms of Ian’s wife and sons. We see the realism and the reality of the

human condition and that we do not have the power to control love and whom we share that love with. That, I am sure, is the very reason that I like Bardsley’s writing so much. He dares to say what we will say ourselves. At first, this is a bit uncomfortable but that passes. He provides us with a lot to think about so when you read this be prepared to have Luca and Ian on your mind for awhile. There is something a good deal deeper than the average gay romances that we usually get. Bardsley is a thinker and he makes us think. His dialogue engages us, his characters become part of us, his prose is beautiful and his plot has something important to say (Could there be any more to ask for?). It takes a while for the romance to build and that is not just for the characters to get to know each other but also for us to get to know the characters.

“MAIL TIME”— A Magical Mail Man

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“Mail Time”

A Magical Mail Man

Amos Lassen

 Sebastian Carrasco’s “Mail Time” is a short look at Ted (Timothy J. Cox), a mailman who practices magic as he delivers mail. There is little or no reaction from the people he delivers to with the exception of one woman, Julia Anne Pelton (Makeela Frederick) who is always pleased to see Ted. This is a peek into a boring job that Ted wants to make a bit more exciting.

One day, while on his route, a robber confronts Ted and steals his money, shaking Ted up. It is then that Ted finds inspiration from the TV show “The Illusionist” and he discovers that he has magic of his own.

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Timothy J. Cox as Ted does a wonderful job of playing a role with no lines to learn and we see that he can indeed tell a story without speaking. He is able to get us to relate to him and feel what he fells when a door is slammed in his face and delivering mail to Julia who likes seeing him. Julia shares that happiness and his visit to her is the highlight of his day.

Ted is fully aware of the repetitiveness and boredom of his job; doing the same thing every day especially when he has to pretend to be happy about what he does. After the robbery, Ted’s joy of mail carrying becomes more satisfactory for him.

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writer/director/producer/editor Carrasco in his 6-minute short looks at finding new joy and increased job satisfaction ion a boring job is entertaining from the very first moment. Ted is kind of an everyman who is completely relatable. Teds has the ambition that illustrates basic principals of finding new hope in a job that can be very depressing and routine. He thinks about better things but this seems to be fantasy to him. We especially see how much we need each other to make situations better. For Ted, it just took a wave and a smile to brighten his job and his day.

This is a six-minute film that is fun, direct and simple. Once again Timothy Cox gives a great performance and this time without saying a word.

 

“TRANSIENCE”— Tom and George

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“Transience”

Tom and George

Amos Lassen

Tom (Joshua Michael Payne” and George (Timothy J. Cox), are a couple that has been together for many years, but at present the two men are facing a serious issue in their relationship. George serious about his career and had a successful professional life. Tom, on the other hand, behaves as he did when he was a young man in his 20s and only wants to party. This is begun to take its toll on Tom’s connection with George who tries to get Tom to pay attention to him yet keeping enough of a distance so that he can with his own situation.

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toll both personally and on his connection with George. Trying desperately to regain Tom’s attention while also allowing him the necessary distance to resolve his own inner turmoil, George arrives home one night to find one act of simple, straightforward kindness and love awaiting him, heralding a new turning point.

writer/director/producer/editor Tan See Yun has been able to do in about six minutes what some full-length features have not been able to do and without a word spoken and in black and white. He brings us two characters and is able to develop them so that they are real and relatable. The themes of patience, never giving up on those we love, and being willing to not always try to step in and fix things ourselves stand out are all handled wonderfully alongside of two excellent performances. The narrative is presented through the two characters is by facial expression and body language in very effectively understated but no less affecting delivery

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George wants to fully commit to Tom while Tom, who seems to be more concerned with keeping himself young and does not seem to what that commitment or does he? He struggles trying to come to a decision and really influences him is the and this is lets him move forward and leave his younger self behind.

Cox and Payne use of simple body gestures and their eyes are able to communicate the emotions within.In not speaking or communicating with each other, we get the impression that each man has gone his own separate ways and the silence reflects their relationship. The black and white of the film also seems to reflect the dullness in the relationship.

We see the two men as opposites with George as the adult and Tom as the child. Yun uses flowers, meals and chess to tell the story of the two men and their relationship. We see George replacing dead flowers with new ones and making a move on the chessboard while Tom ignores the game board and puts his mind on eating the breakfast that George prepared for him. A little while later, we notice that the chessboard has been reset and once again the flowers have been changed. Undoubtedly this is a reflection that something has happened.

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Tom has a vision of George in a park asleep on a park bench with a chessboard opposite him and an empty chair is in front of the table. There is a cane on the ground near George.  What Tom sees here is the future and his partner, George, all alone and seemingly lost. It is then that Tom decides that he needs to invest in his relationship. We instantly see the message of having to be able to talk to one another if we want to have a relationship that does not stagnate and die.

Timothy J. Cox turns in a perfect performance as he shows his feelings and emotions without having to say a word. He totally moves us. Joshua Michael Payne matches him Cox with his own wonderful performance.

Tan See Yun provides us with the power of images and with no vocalization, we are left to draw our conclusions as to why this relationship is not working. It is almost like being a voyeur and spying on George and Tom. to push us along and provide an answer, we search through what Yun allows us to spy to find out why.

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Yun, in effect, mirrors life with its flaws and Mark Boyle’s stunning cinematography absolutely conveys the story. I can only hope that this film will be seen by many. Personally, I think it would make a wonderful addition to those LGBT short film anthologies that have become popular over the years. This is so much more than a film, it is an experience.

 

“TRUE NEW YORK”— Five Award-winning Short Documentaries about New York City

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“TRUE NEW YORK”

Five Award-winning Short Documentaries about New York City

Amos Lassen

New York is a city of stories as it should be with 8 million people living there. In fact, I bet everyone that visits New York has a story as well— I know I do. About three years ago as I was checking into a hotel, the desk clerk asked if I was “the Amos Lassen” and I asked who is “the Amos Lassen”? Come to find out that I had reviewed his book some years earlier.

“True New York” is a compilation anthology film that features five award-winning short documentaries set in New York City.

Jordan Roth’s “C-ROCK” looks at the Bronx tradition and it features stunning cinematography and staggering footage of cliff diving. We see a group of Bronx boys who leap off the 100-foot tall cliff known as “C-Rock” and into the Harlem River. This is a dangerous rite of passage going back generations in the Bronx that captures the rawness of youth while at the same time revealing a wistful nostalgia for a changing neighborhood. Together, boys on C-Rock face jumps up to 110 feet into the Harlem River and they know that by growing up, they have to leave this thrilling tradition behind.

“TAXI GARAGE” from director Joshua Z. Weinstein is a powerful and touching look inside a taxi depot in Queens filled with classic New York personalities and immigrants who dream of making it in America. The film focuses on Johnnie “Spider” Footman, a colorful man in this eighties who has been a cab driver his entire life and it today the oldest taxi driver in New York City.

Jeremy Workman in his “ONE TRACK MIND” shares the story of Philip Coppola, who has over forty years been to cataloging, archiving, and sketching every station in the New York City subway system. Coppola is a man whose obsession is the unique artistic idiosyncrasies. Using his own resources, he has self-financed a multi-volume “study” of the design-work found within New York’s underworld. It came to be long ago and is unnoticed by most. The buildings are made up of mosaic, tin-glazed earthenware, terra cotta, tile, and steel. Coppola’s passion is shared only by a few others. The documentary was shot almost entirely in the subway system in post-9/11 New York.

“A SON’S SACRIFICE” from Yoni Brook is a classic immigrant story and father/son tale. Imran is just another 27-year-old New Yorker struggling to take over his family’s business, which happens to be a halal slaughterhouse in Queens. Imran has to deal with his mixed Bangladeshi-Puerto Rican heritage and gain acceptance from his father’s conservative community.

“BLACK CHEROKEE” directed by Sam Cullman and Benjamin Rosen looks at street performer Otis Houston Jr., a self-taught artist from Harlem who performs before a captive audience of car-bound commuters along Manhattan’s FDR Drive. The film is a meditation on family, inspiration, creativity and success. It gives us a chance to see Houston’s unique charisma and art.

 

 

 

“Inspired Journeys: Travel Writers in Search of the Muse” edited by Brian Bouldrey

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Bouldrey, Brian (editor). “Inspired Journeys: Travel Writers in Search of the Muse”, University of Wisconsin Press, 2016.

Different Paths

Amos Lassen

In looking for their muses, writers take a variety of paths. Some search for legends, others look for artistic inspiration or spiritual epiphany or just the fulfillment of promise. They set out on pilgrimages that become redemptive and very serious yet they suspend the rules and find both absurdity and exuberance”. The individual essays by such writers as Trebor Healy, John Beckman, Raphael Kadushin, Lucy Jane Bledsoe and Goldie Goldblum (to name just five of the seventeen included here span such places as “Dracula’s castle, Laura Ingalls Wilder’s prairie, the Grimms’ fairy-tale road, Mayan temples, Nathaniel West’s California, the Camino de Santiago trail, Scott’s Antarctica, the Marquis de Sade’s haunted manor, or the sacred city of Varanasi”. These are journeys that are all worthwhile for each author and reading about them give us insights and anecdotes that are totally entertaining.

Today, with the Internet, we can travel to wherever we want without ever having to leave home but real travelers actually “travel” and those who do, as in this book, are pilgrims. The essays we read here are not just about the destination but also about getting to that destination. Each journey here is original and we see that the desire to go somewhere else is a “moral oblivion”. Each writer here answers the question of what is a pilgrimage and those definitions are what make up this book. Each journey made here is built on “fun” and the joy it brings.

 

“MOONLIGHT”— Black and Gay in America

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“Moonlight”

Black and Gay in America

Amos Lassen

Last night I had the pleasure of being invited to a special showing of writer/director’s gorgeous new film, “Moonlight”. We are all aware that the film industry rarely explores perspectives that aren’t white, male, and heterosexual. This does not allow for a more diverse sense of storytelling, but it also stops some very important narratives from being told. “Moonlight” just might be the film this year to shake things up.

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“Moonlight” chronicles three distinct times in the life of Chiron that span the periods of from childhood to adulthood. When he meets drug-dealing Juan (Mahershala Ali) and his girlfriend Teresa (Janelle Monáe), he begins to learn about himself. He has other problems that include his drug-addicted mother (Naomie Harris) and his own personal struggles with sexuality and trust begin to shape him in various ways.

Most coming-of-age films touch upon the same plot ideas and these deal with nostalgic emotion. Jenkins develops a character that feels like a real person; one that is relatable. When Chiron is introduced as a young child, he seems mute. It isn’t until he meets Juan and Teresa that things begin to change. Maternal influence is a common theme throughout the film, as Chiron deals with his drug-addicted biological mother and a supportive almost adopted mother. Regardless of whatever age he is, these two environments are seen as polarizing ways that allow Chiron’s character to evolve in a fluid way.

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One of the important themes in the film is sexual orientation and nit is dealt with subtly and powerfully. Questioning oneself or feeling ashamed of one’s identity can certainly result in cutting himself off from others. A heartfelt discussion with Juan and Teresa regarding sexuality is perhaps one of the film’s most emotionally impactful scenes, essentially telling Chiron to never be ashamed of himself. “Moonlight” pulls apart what it means to be being a teenager, with its ups and downs and from first love to extreme social pressures that could drive anybody over the edge.

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Chiron as an adult gets a phone call from a voice that he hasn’t heard in years, which immediately seems to change everything. Forgiveness is a major theme in his life as an adult— he must face those who tormented him in his childhood and teenage years. I am still feeling the impact of the film. The performances are all powerful performances and they thereby allow the screenplay to have a very special life. Chiron is portrayed by three actors over the course of time. Alex Hibbert is the young Chiron, and is extremely quiet during his screen time. He remains engaging through his use of body language, which tell us a great deal about the role, without a single word being spoken. Ashton Sanders as a teenaged Chiron brings every the awkwardness and curiosity of adolescence convincingly. Trevante Rhodes as the adult Chiron allows the most subtle aspects of the character to breathe without much exposition. All three come together to bring Chiron to life., Mahershala Ali and Naomie Harris are also excellent in the supporting roles of Juan and Paula. Ali’s heart-to-heart moments with Hibbert are memorable, as they simply feel so natural. Harris displays a great amount of range in every scene, allowing Chiron’s story to feel very real.

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Barry Jenkins knows how to tell a story in a way that is both genuine and consistently engaging. This is a unique coming-of-age film that conveys a different perspective and an array of clever themes in a subtle way. Set in the 1980’s Miami during the height of Reagan’s War on Drugs, “Moonlight” follows Chiron as he comes of age, falls in love and discovers his own sexuality. At the same time, he is learning to embrace his own vision of masculinity as characters come in and out of his life. This is a crafted study of African-American masculinity from an important and vital creative voice in contemporary cinema.

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When we meet young Chiron, he has been bullied at school and beaten down by a harsh home life. Chiron is at risk of becoming a statistic: another black man dominated and ultimately destroyed by the system. However, Chiron is a survivor, and, as he grows, it becomes clear that his real battle isn’t even on the streets. It’s an internal one that deals with his complex love for his best friend.

“Moonlight”  defies coming-of-age conventions. Instead of offering a clear progression of time, Jenkins pulls us into an atmospheric subjectivity, an impressionistic vision of Chiron’s psyche in which sensuality, pain, and unhealed wounds powerfully dominate.

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The best scene in the film is also its longest. It depicts two men who, in their boyhood days, shared both a sexual experience and a violent episode and meet again after years apart at a close-to-empty diner, hesitantly exchanging information about the lives they’ve lived in the interim. Chiron, after a stint in juvenile detention, is now “trappin’”; Kevin (André Holland) talks of a marriage, kids, and an amiable divorce. These are real-time conversational moments and Jenkins gets the balance perfectly, allowing for an interpersonal intimacy with his characters and a sensory understanding of their unspoken desires.

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It is interesting in that it seems that nobody knew about “Moonlight” until a month ago. There had been whispers among some critics who got the chance to see it early, but the indie film was a relatively unknown quantity until the first trailer was released. It was hypnotic, mysterious, and stunningly gorgeous and it unleashed a wave of anticipation. After watching that trailer and the buzz at the Telluride Film Festival. It became “the” film and we then sensed knew that it is something special.

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You will not be able to stop thinking about this movie- it has haunted me ever since I saw it. It is poetic and graceful, emotional without ever feeling manipulative. The storytelling is elegant and patient, and the performances are wonderful, the cinematography is thrilling, the use of music is brilliant. It’s a vital, sensational and unforgettable movie.

“KISS ME, KILL ME”— The Prime Suspect

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“Kiss Me, Kill Me”

The Prime Suspect

Amos Lassen

I always look forward to a new film from Casper Andreas and I totally understand why. I have been reviewing his work since his short film about his grandmother’s visit and I have watched it mature into some of the very best LGBT films available today. I do remember once writing a somewhat tepid review about one of his films and he was upset with it and I understand why—I had not given it my full attention and I was wrong.

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“Kiss Me, Kill Me” is a collaboration between Andreas and screenwriter David Michael Barrett. Dusty (Van Hansis) blacks out while confronting his cheating boyfriend Stephen, (Gale Harold). When Dusty comes to, Stephen was murdered and he’s the prime suspect. What I really love about this film is that the characters just happen to be gay and that is only a part of their composition. The plot is definitely more important than the sexuality of the characters.

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Stephen Redding is a successful producer of reality television who while at his birthday party, his boyfriend, Dusty discovers that Stephen had an affair with Craigery (Matthew Ludwinski). Criaigery is a very popular and hot guy and the fact that his lover cheated with him humiliates and embarrasses him. Dusty leaves the party and goes to a convenience store with Stephen following him and trying to explain that Craigery was just a trick and is over. Suddenly there was a flash and Dusty blacks out, awakening to learn that both Stephen and the clerk are dead. Dusty knows that he has to find the murderer in order to clear his name. The film is at times outrageous but great fun.

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When at the convenience store, gunshots are heard but it’s unclear what happens after that and this is a deliberate ambiguity. Technically, the film is wonderful and the cinematography is brilliant. It was shot on real locations and a tight and small budget. I am not going to summarize the plot because it would spoil the viewing experience. We never really know exactly how much time has transpired in this film. At some points it feels like it takes place over just a few days, while in others a few weeks. It doesn’t matter because we do not care because we are having so much fun watching and trying to understand the twists of the plot.

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The story sends us in many directions and guessing until the end. Just when I thought I had it figured out…I was wrong and more than once. As the film progresses it moves from one crazy night to days of confusion and character play. It seemed obvious to the viewer that Dusty was not the killer but as the visuals unfolded that became a question again in everyone’s mind.

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Unlike traditional film noir, the film portrays gay and transgender characters in a contemporary way. The characters are driven by grief, love and loss of a spouse. The film also depicts the circle of gay and lesbian friends that is more than just a stereotypical depiction. We also see a drag queen take off her makeup and give us the man beneath the make-up.

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The film never takes itself too seriously either. Yet there is suspense, humor and accurate portrayals of the LGBT community in a re-imagined look at film noir.

“PEGGY GUGGENHEIM: ART ADDICT”— The Woman Who Was Peggy

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“Peggy Guggenheim: Art Addict” 

The Woman Who Was Peggy

Amos Lassen

Director Lisa Immordino Vreeland has made the most out of taped conversations with art collector, Peggy Guggenheim, a mover-and-shaker. Guggenheim was born into a wealthy family. She lost her father on the Titanic and she seemed to be always seeking freedom from the boring life that came with wealth. She escaped to Paris where she was met and was entranced by the creativity, rebellion, and exotic lives of artists and writers such as Salvador Dali, James Joyce, Fernand Leger, and Wassily Kandinsky. When her first marriage failed, under the tutelage of Marcel Duchamp, she opened a gallery in London in 1938. She saw herself as “a midwife” and so introduced art collectors and the general public to Joan Miro, Constantin Brancusi, Yves Tanguy, and many others.

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Just at the same time, Guggenheim, who had no formal training in art, began purchasing paintings from these avant-garde artists. When World War II changed her plans, she returned to New York and set up The Art of This Century Gallery where she showcased the creations of an incredible number of artists. Her intuition led her to champion certain painters and for many years she was Jackson Pollack’s patron.

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Director Vreeland takes us through archival footage, stories, and expert commentary from art critics and others in order to celebrate Guggenheim who made so many contributions this to the world of art.

In this documentary Guggenheim tells her biographer Jacqueline Bogard Weld that she only had a fortune of $450,000 growing up, which was a paltry sum for a Guggenheim even in the days preceding the 1920s. She adds that her fortune doubled when her mother died and left her nearly five hundred thousand dollars. The arts are forever grateful to what she did with her inheritance.

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The film covers an impressive range of terrain as it tells Guggenheim’s journey from the cradle to the grave in which she defied convention, lived an eccentric lifestyle, and amassed a landmark collection of art.

We see prized pieces from Ms. Guggenheim’s collection but somewhat too quickly to appreciate them fully. Immordino Vreeland shows that Guggenheim’s real knack was not for spotting essential artworks, but rather for finding talent. She uses Guggenheim’s shrewd eye, passion for the arts, and penchant for veering from the mainstream to chronicle the host of artists she fostered in her career. Perhaps most significant among the artists was Jackson Pollock, but there were also post-World War Two painters as Clyfford Still, Robert Motherwell and Mark Rothko. She was a major collector of the Surrealists, especially Max Ernst, with whom she had a short-lived marriage. Long before arts councils gave grants, there was Peggy Guggenheim and we hear how appreciative, the arts community was of her commitment to the arts.

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Guggenheim had the courage to preserve and take risks in a male-dominated field. Especially significant is Vreeland’s look at Guggenheim’s formative years as an art gallery owner near the onset of World War II. The film has Guggenheim recount the astonishing story about she amassed a collection of works that are now priceless for the mere collective sum of $40, 000 by purchasing paintings by artists who were fleeing the forces of fascism and needed funds to escape. As the film chronicles the growth of the Peggy Guggenheim collection in London, New York, and its eventual home in Venice, it shows how the various forces that created modern art were empowered and partially sustained by her.

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Yet the film doesn’t shy away from Guggenheim’s dark side as it acknowledges her failures as a parent and the scandals of her family, including an especially troublesome case in which her sister allegedly dropped her children off the thirteenth floor of a building. Similarly, the film tells of Guggenheim’s many with artists (from Ernst to Samuel Beckett) and her penchant for kissing and telling. The film uses the complexity of Guggenheim’s life to convey how richly the arts fill voids in an existence and add meaning when one searches for answers.

peggy6We hear from Robert De Niro (his parents, both artists, showed work with Guggenheim), Marina Abramovic, and Larry Gagosian, and they liken Guggenheim to a work of art in her own right. Guggenheim was a colorful and peculiar character. Few collectors, promoters, or gallery owners have left marks as lasting as those made by Peggy Guggenheim.

“Have I Got a Story for You: More Than a Century of Fiction from ‘The Forward'” edited by Ezra Glinter— Forty-Two Stories in English for the First Time ‘The Forward’”

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Glinter, Ezra (editor). “Have I Got a Story for You: More Than a Century of Fiction from                                                                                                                                                                             ‘The Forward’”, Norton, 2016.

Forty-Two Stories In English for the First Time

Amos Lassen

 “The Forward” was founded in 1897 and it is the most renowned Yiddish newspaper in the world. It was something of a welcoming mat to generations of immigrants to the United States, bringing them news of Europe and the Middle East as well as providing them with “sundry comforts such as comic strips and noodle kugel recipes”.

“The Forward” also published some of the most acclaimed Yiddish fiction writers of all time including Nobel Prize laureate Isaac Bashevis Singer, B. Kovner and as well as Abraham Cahan, Roshelle Weprinsky, Sholem Asch, Chaim Grade, Lyala Kaufman and Miriam Karpilove to name a few.

Taken together, these stories have a good deal to say about the human side of the challenges that faced Jews throughout this time— immigration, modernization, poverty, assimilation, the two world wars, and changing forms of Jewish identity.

Editor Ezra Glinter combed through the archives to find the best stories that were published during the newspaper’s 120-year history and he presents us with such diversified works as wartime novellas, avant-garde fiction, and satirical sketches about immigrant life in New York. He provides introductions to the thematic sections and short biographies of the contributors. The collection has been translated into English by today’s best Yiddish translators, who totally capture the sound of the authors and the subtleties of nuance and context. From the moment I began reading, I feel in love with the book. It takes us back in time through wonderful fiction.

The stories are diverse and share a collective meaning of giving readers a glimpse of the writers’ minds. Like the newspaper, the “Forward”, the stories are a record of human experience. Most of us are aware of what Jewish immigration was and that it included learning a new language, getting rid of old world ideas and habits and having another look at religion and family and work. Yet we see it differently in the stories here. Looking at stories closely, we get to see the psychological aspects of what it means to be a people. As Jewish immigrants became part of the fabric of America they embodied the newness of the country and the newness of their lives. There are stories that take us back to Europe by Bashevis Singer, Chaim Grade and Kadya Molodowsky but the authors were no longer parts of that world that they wrote about. The trips that they made to the old country were fictional and they were not yet ready to take on being total Americans. The stories are not sentimental and neither are they nostalgic. They face the dark reality of relocation. Editor Glinter tells us that what was been called the American Jewish experience was the result of trauma and it is this trauma that has caused tension between the culture of America and Jewish culture. It is our responsibility to fulfill the American dream and it is what brought so many people here. The Torah, when given to the Jews, it was not just for the generation present at the time—it was they and for all future generations and this is the opposite of what is known as the American dream. We have been challenged to not just live with tension but to thrive with it and it is all about being alive and telling our stories.

The stories in this collection contain life and art, personality and history, humor and pain. Together they are a record of who we are.

“SUBTERRANEA”— Living as an Adult

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“Subterranea”

Living as an Adult

Amos Lassen

“The Captive” (Bug Hall) has lived in isolation since he was a child and has spent his entire life in a dark cell. He has never seen the light of day or another human being. When he is released into society, he must learn how to live for the first time as an adult. As he approaches the age of thirty and without warning, he is released into society with nothing but the clothes on his back. Determined to find out who he is, The Captive learns that he’s the centerpiece of a dangerous orchestrated sociological experiment and sets off to find the truth about his existence. This ultimately leads to a thrilling confrontation with his maker (William Katt). The film is based on the best selling British neo-progressive rock band IQ’s album “Subterranea”, whose loyal following was instrumental in making the movie. The film features music from the hit album along with a soundtrack score featuring new music from the band as well.

sub21While being held, “The Provider”, only spoke to him through a hole in the wall. Once released, the homeless Remy (Nicholas Turturro) takes him under his wing and teaches him a thing or two. However, Remy is a thief with a tendency for murder and even betrays his friends (and that includes the Captive whom he eventually tries to frame for a murder that he, himself, committed). The police almost get their hands on him, too, but Maya (Amber Mason), has taken a liking to him and gets him off the street. She is also the first one who believes the Captive’s story and promises to help him find “The Provider” – and of course, the two fall in love and plan to just run away with one another but then she was suddenly gone.

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The captive then runs into Andrew (Howard Kingston), who claims to have shared his fate but now knows where “The Provider lives and wants the Captive to take his revenge on him.

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This is a science fiction story about and paranoia tale the film spins out of the premise and is totally original. It boast a fine ensemble cast that includes Bug Hall, Nicholas Turturro, William Katt, Amber Mason, Howard Kingston, Ken White, David Mills-Low, Ann Peacock, Lily Gladstone, Caden Zaluski, Angelina Mason, Ella Steinberg, Katie Kohler, Jeff Medley, Russ Gay, Adrienne Bertin, Tashia Gates, Jill Valley, Bear Strauss, Kale McClure, Sarah Leow, Henry Leow, Derek Emerson, Pierce Coulter, Logan Cook, Ali Tabibnejad, Dan Molloy, Megan Toenyes and Joseph Grady.