Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Over Our Hedge

During my 4-day vacation in New Haven which I spent with my lovely friends last week I saw Over the Hedge (2006) directed by Tim Johnson and Karey Kirkpatrick. It was the best animation I have seen in the last two years. Like other animation movies it spreads a moral message: the values of family life; but it does not stop there. The story is original and it is very well done. In addition to the interesting story the voices of Bruce Willis (RJ) Garry Shandling (Verne) Steve Carell (Hammy) William Shatner (Ozzi) Wanda Sykes (Stella)… and my favorite Omid Djalili (Tiger- a Persian Cat) make it more exciting.

You should see Over the Hedge especially if you are living on the other side of the hedge like us. A week ago after midnight my adorable husband discovered this Gigantic Raccoon eating garbage from the garbage can in front of our apartment. It is a pity that our neighbors don’t bother to close the lid and believe me there is enough sign around it to inform them that they should do this. I took pictures of the raccoon and decided to call him/her GR: the Gigantic Raccoon.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Spanish Wine

Yesterday I handed in my paper. Next week, as the last day of our class we will have a party. While eating and drinking, we will discuss each other’s papers once more, but more politely this time. I love these parties.

Along with the course material, each semester in the first day of the class, professor L. explains to us that we will have a party for our last class and every one in the class has to bring something for it. Believe it or not, it is part of our class assignments. Like our paper topics we have to decide what we are going to bring, ahead of time. Professor L. usually offers to bring a bottle of wine, and then we get to chose from what is left: vegetables, chips, salsa, cookies, paper plates, cheese and chocolate. Last year, I brought veggies, but this year due to the increasing number of wine lovers I will bring the second bottle of wine.

I saw two funny French comedies last week: Pas Sur La Bouche (Not on the Lips-2003) a musical comedy directed, interestingly and unexpectedly by Alain Resnais, and Milou en Mai (May Fools-1990) directed by Louis Malle. Both films elevated my taste in wine but not in a French way. So I guess I will get a Spanish wine for the party.

Last but not least the artists of Plan B are going to sue or have already sued both Brooklyn College and the Memorial Park. The Art Department supports them, but of course the College does not any more.

Glass and Bottle of Suze, Publo Picasso, 1912

* Suze is not Spanish, but Picasso is.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Art Against Censorship at Brooklyn !

Plan B is Brooklyn College’s MFA Theses Exhibition from May 3rd to May 25th. Art pieces, sculptures and paintings are works done by students: Carla Aspenberg, Jill Auckenthaler, John Avelluto, Zoe Cohen, David Davron, Susan C. Dessel, Carl James Ferrero, Carrie Fucile, Pamela Gordon, Yejin Jun, Diane Kosup, Marni Kotak, Augosto Marin, Akiko Mori, Christopher Moss, Sara Phillips, Megan Piontkowski, Tamas Veszi.

Couple of days a go I heard that the MFA Exhibition in Brooklyn College , Plan B, which had an extremely successful opening on Wednesday night was shut down yesterday by the Parks Department (who administers the Brooklyn War Memorial space) due to complaints about the sexual content of some work in the exhibition. On Friday the Brooklyn College lawyers have taken the case! It is now a total legal, first amendment issue, and the school is entirely behind the students. The [Parks] commissioner will not compromise, but what he is doing is totally illegal. The MFA students organized a protest rally on Saturday on the steps of the Brooklyn War Memorial in Cadman Plaza, Brooklyn*.

It is happening once more in Brooklyn, once more censorship. It is a sad reminder of Chris Ofili’s “Black Madonna” and the Rudolph Guiliani’s reaction to the work which was shown at the time in the Brooklyn Museum.

This kind of reaction toward art is expected by the viewers; sometimes the artist intentionally wants his/her work to be offensive. One can get upset by a work of art and can oppose it in a peaceful way of course. But when the authorities, in this case Park Commissioner, allow themselves to abuse or misuse their power in favor of their certain believes it is not a matter of people’s reaction anymore. It is just sad; sad when it happens so often recently: Morality overcoming Freedom. And it is always sad when you don’t give the same opportunity to every one. For instance there are thousands of religious painting in museums today, one who dislikes them can simply goes to other galleries. The same should be the case for those who dislike, say, nudity or abstract arts. They can directly go to the Byzantine section to get elevated and bored at the same time.

*You can find more here.

Chris Ofili, Black Madonna

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Loves of A Blond

While drinking tea I watched Milos Forman’s film: Loves of A Blond 1965 for the second time. The tea was so hot it burned my throat; Loves of A Blond burned my eyes not by heat but by laughter. Forman is a genius creator whom I have always admired. His films, particularly in his early period, had a bold honest look that I value in Cinema. Loves of A Blond along with Firemen’s Ball 1967 are two of his early films which not only brought a huge amount of international attention for Forman but also they have a precious sense of humor in them: Humor driven from life. Critics call it Czech humor but I think it is a humor without boundary. He uses a simple story absolutely about life and presents it as if it is a single long sequence.

The funniest part in Loves of A Blond is when Andula (the blond) goes to Prague to visit Milda, the pianist who she once made love to. He is not home then but his parents are. The best scene naturally follows when Milda’s Mother and Father have an unbelievably funny argument with their unwanted guest, Andula. The discussion starts again in early morning when Milda finally comes back home from the club. It is a must-see Film.

After three days of eating Instant Oatmeal* for breakfast and lunch, I gave my presentation this Wednesday. I heard some Loud Laughs - I had made little jokes with my slides - and I also heard some Curious Questions, which showed the class did not have a clue about the topic; so I figured it was a good presentation.

*My Oatmeal packets gave me these Trivia, which really helped me with my presentation: Irvin Berlin wrote the holiday classic, “ White Christmas”, There are 420 seats on a standard 747 jumbo jet and finally Thomas Edison invented the light bulb.