Thursday, September 9, 2021

2021 US Open: Halep Outshines Competition in Nike's Gold&Blue NY Slam Dress, and Here's Why

SIMONA HALEP (5'6"/1.68 meters) of Romania has the winning slam dress look because it is on-point where it matters the most. Debuted look in first-round defeat of Camila Giorgi of Italy. Photo by Darren Carroll/USTA

BY VW

NO,
your eyes have not deceived you. They are seeing double, triple, quadruple and more.

Yes, they have seen the same gold&blue tennis dress nearly every day of the 2021 US Open. On a different player. Many different players, from Marketa Vondrousova of the Czech Republic to Amanda Anisimova of the United States.

The dress is a pandemic at this year's US Open and the vector is Nike.

That gold&blue number is called the Nike Fall NY Slam Dress. Besides binary blue and university gold, it comes in gorge green. The slam dress in the two color schemes is the lone style in dresses available to Nike-sponsored WTA players.

MARKETA VONDROUSOVA (5'8"/1.73 meters) of the Czech Republic looks good in the slam dress but could have benefited from a more supportive bra. Or should she stand up straighter? Debuted look in first-round defeat of Elena-Gabriela Ruse of Romania. Photo by Brad Penner/USTA

Does this uniformity — Nike is hardly alone (Adidas, among others) — signal the beginning of the end of the days when major players got the bespoke treatment and everybody else threw on whatever they could find? Let's hope not! At this year's open, Nike-sponsored Naomi Osaka of Japan may be one of a very few players who was presented with a tennis outfit, a gold dress designed especially for her.

This situation with the attire in a largely individual sport is yet another aspect of this year's tournament that may have Serena, Venus, Rafa and Roger shaking their head.

KATIE BOULTER (5'11"/1.80 meters) of the UK has perfect bra support and imperfect length in the slam dress. Debuted look in first-round loss to Liudmila Samsonova of Russia. Photo by Kathryn Riley/USTA

An attractive frock, the dress is a throwback look to the tennis fashions of the '80s. This is most apparent in its A-line shape and sleevelessness.

Obviously, the green is far more subtle than the gold&blue. Indeed, the latter catches the eye because of the bright, brash bold gold in its DNA. Much like New York. Seeing it over and over again, however, begs the question, "Who wore it best?"

PETRA KVITOVA (6'0"/1.83 meters) of the Czech Republic, like most of the really tall women, wants a smidgen more leg coverage in the slam dress. Debuted look in first-round defeat of Polona Hercog of Slovenia. Photo by Kathryn Riley/USTA

Before the answer is revealed, a few more remarks about the dress. It is no surprise that Nike constructed it with tennis players and court conditions in mind. For instance, an A-line shape ends with a flared skirt. This supports, rather than constricts movement, particularly running.

The dress is also constructed of a lightweight, breathable fabric, keeping sweating to a minimum on courts that can swelter.

AMANDA ANISIMOVA (5'11"/1.80 meters) of the United States would be en forme in the slam dress with more bra support and more length. Debuted look in first-round defeat of Zarina Diyas Kazakhatan. Photo by Garrett Ellwood/USTA

It has a crisscross bodice and empire waist. The latter detail is designed to minimize hips and tummy, plus maximize the breast. To really slay in an empire waist though, you need a killer bra that lifts the girls to high heaven.

Otherwise, it looks like you have no waist and your girls are down in the dumps. This has been an issue with most of the players who have sported the dress.

Because the navy band is positioned high on the waist, it is important to wear a bra with heavy support to prevent a sagging bustline that bleeds right into the band, choking off the waist and closing off what should be a sliver of gold directly beneath the breastbone and directly above the band. Virtually no one has pulled this off.

MARTA KOSTYUK (5'9"/1.75 meters) of the Ukraine is the 2nd runner up in the slam dress, with only a couple of inches or so holding her up. Debuted look in first-round loss to Maria Sakkari of Greece. Photo by Mike Lawrence/USTA

Another area of concern is the bunching at the waist, something the Nike designers should be able to easily fix. It could be using a less pliant lightweight fabric or using lycra/more lycra. OR specially fitting the dress to each player.

And oh, the length: It is too short on many of the players, looking more like a tunic. Most female tennis players are tall — at least around 5'8" (1.73 meters) and leggy. Again, an easy fix is customizing the dress to each player by adjusting leg exposure accordingly.

ANASTASIA POTAPOVA (5'9"/1.75 meters) of Russia comes up short just so length-wise in the slam dress. She also has more-than-normal bunching below the breast. Both easy fixes for that look of perfection. Debuted look in first-round loss to Jessica Pegula of the United States. Photo by Rhea Nall/USTA

Now, that ends the comment period. No one has looked hideous, but who has worn our gold&blue slam dress the best. Drum roll, please ... Simona Halep of Romania! (See video of her on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/p/CTm8QcMlg5i/?utm_medium=copy_link)

She is wearing a better bra, which does the necessary lifting and separating. And the length is perfect. On Simona, who is the shortest of the group at 5'6" (1.68 meters), it looks like a rather fetching minidress.

BELINDA BENCIC (5'9"/1.75 meters) of Switzerland is the bronze winner and 1st runnerup in the slam dress stakes, wirh only razor-thin margins separating her from winner Simona Halep. Debuted look in first-round defeat of Arantxa Rus of the Netherlands. Photo by Garrett Ellwood/USTA

Congratulations, Simona, you've got the look!

Visit https://www.usopen.org/ to watch and listen to live tennis, plus get scores, schedules, stats, draws and more information about the 2021 US Open.

Tuesday, September 7, 2021

2021 US Open: With Launch Of 'Mental Health Initiative,' USTA Amplifies Commitment to the Whole Athlete

Nick Kyrgios of Australia explains his concerns about towels during the post-match interview following his first-round loss to Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut. Video courtesy of USTA.

BY VW

THE USTA’s
new Mental Health Initiative, which launched at the 2021 US Open, is one of those programs that prompts the question, "Why didn't they do that a long time ago?"

The centerpiece of the initiative is access to licensed mental health providers who are available to players throughout the duration of the tournament. There are also quiet rooms, among other support services.

The mental health initiative is an extension of what the USTA terms the US Open's existing comprehensive medical services program through its partnership with Mount Sinai Health System.

“Our goal is to make mental health services as readily available to athletes as services for a sprained ankle – and with no stigma attached,” says USTA Vice President Brian Hainline, a medical doctor and university neurology professor.
“We will provide an environment that fosters wellness while providing the necessary resources to readily allow mental health care-seeking.”

In a press release, the USTA cites the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic as the driver behind the mental health initiative, but tennis watchers know that Naomi Osaka likely had a greater impact.

A few months ago, the world No. 3 tweeted that she was withdrawing from the 2021 French Open because she did not wish to continue to be a distraction. Earlier, she had disclosed that she would not be doing post-match interviews, citing mental health issues that dated to her 2018 US Open title win over Serena Williams

Though the Japanese player was criticized for disclosing her withdrawal on Twitter after the kerfuffle that ensued from her first-round victory announcement, she had let the mental health genie out of the bottle.
Qualifier Emma Raducanu of Great Britain reached the quarterfinals with a straight-set victory over the USA's Shelby Rogers. Photo by Darren Carroll/USTA.

And that's a good thing, because other players will be more willing to admit that they are not feeling well mentally. Or they won't have to. They can quietly and discreetly avail themselves of the services available at the current tennis tournament.

One can't help but wonder whether players like Tracy Austin, Marion Bartoli, Bjorn Borg, Steffi Graf, Justine Henin, Pete Sampras and others would have stayed on the tour longer if they had the kind of on-demand mental health support promised by this initiative.

Among its collaborators is the ITF, as well as the ATP and WTA. Officials from the latter two organizations welcome it, in fact.

"The mental health pressures faced by players week in week out on Tour are significant. This is a matter of paramount importance and increasing focus for the Tour, as we continue to expand support available to players," says ATP Chairman Andrea Gaudenzi.

"The wide-ranging initiatives in place at this year’s US Open are another valuable step forward, as is driving more open discussion around this space in years ahead.”

Andy Murray of the UK speaks about the breaks that Stefanos Tsitsipas took during his five-set, first-round loss to the Greek. Video courtesy of USTA.

Becky Ahlgren Bedics, the WTA's VP Mental Health & Wellness, echoes those sentiments: "The renewed interest and energy around discussing the mind-body performance connection, generated by athletes, is a welcome and important enhancement to the discussion.

"We appreciate," adds Ahlgren, "that the US Open continues to evolve its services offered to athletes and we are confident that these new initiatives will complement our WTA Mental Health & Wellness services.”

Any number of players at this year's open could or should take advantage of the mental health services and/or quiet room:

1. Nick Kygrios (Australia; on-court towel placement);
2. Andy Murray (UK; Stefanos Tsitsipas' particularly long break that the Brit believes may have contributed to his first-round loss);
3. Stefanos Tsitsipas (Greece; vilification by media and fans for taking a break that is not forbidden by the rules but may have been excessive);

Czech Barbora Krejcikova was escorted off court in distress after her straight-set victory over Garmine Muguruza of Spain. Photo by Darren Carroll/USTA.

4. Leylah Fernandez (Canada; managing spotlight after consecutive upsets of world's Nos. 3 and 17 players);
5.Carlos Alcaraz (Spain; managing spotlight after upset of world's No. 3 player);
6. Emma Raducanu (UK; managing spotlight as a qualifier through to the quarterfinals);
7. Naomi Osaka (Japan; general issues and outburst during second round loss to then-18-year-old Canadian, Leylah Fernandez)
8. Shelby Rogers (USA; managing spotlight and possibly self-imposed pressures after upset of world No. 1, Ashleigh Barty) 9. Ashleigh Barty (Australia; spending months on the road without going home)
10. Barbora Krejcikova (Czech Republic; hyperventilating after fourth-round victory over Garbine Muguruza of Spain)
11. Novak Djokovic (Serbia; attempt to win 21st grand slam AND win first calendar slam in more than 50 years) and the list goes on ...

Novak Djokovic of Serbia prepares to hit balls into the crowd in Arthur Ashe Stadiium after his fourth-round, four-set victory over American Jenson Brooksby. With three more match wins, the world's No. 1 tennis player will reach major milestones. Photo by Garrett Ellwood/USTA.

Mental health ambadsasor Mardy Fish of the United States also gives the mental health initiative a thumbs-up.

“As a player and individual that dealt with issues of anxiety on and off the court, I applaud the USTA for providing licensed mental health care providers and services for today’s athletes and for taking proactive steps to draw awareness to an issue that has been overlooked in the past."

Visit https://www.usopen.org/ to watch and listen to live tennis, plus get scores, schedules, stats, draws and more information about the 2021 US Open.

Thursday, September 2, 2021

2021 US Open: Win, Lose or Withdraw, the Spanish Men Will Do It In S-T-Y-L-E

Bernabe Zapata Miralles’ graphic tee by Lotto was a winner in his loss to Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime. (7[7]-6[5], 3-6, 2-6) Photo by Andrew Ong/USTA.

BY VW

IT
is common knowledge that some of the most successful players on the men's tour are from Spain, and we're not just talking Rafael Nadal.

The field goes much deeper, from David Ferrer (highest rank 3; retired in 2019) and Fernando Verdasco (recovering; currently 132; highest rank 7) to Carlos Alcaraz (55) and 2021 US Open singles qualifier Bernabe Zapata Miralles (116) .

It is no surprise that a country around 1.3 times smaller than Texas can produce such a wealth of talent, considering that the mild climate is perfect for tennis most of the year.

This can be said, of course, about many other parts of the world. But what sets Spain apart is its tenacious dedication to developing its athletes, particularly footballers and tennis players. Indeed, it is not uncommon for Spaniards to start their training as young as 4.

Further, certain fundamentals are ruthlessly (for better or worse) drilled into them: fitness (for endurance), mastery of select shots such as forehands. Other key fundamentals are grinding, speed, agility (the latter two are required for success on clay). In recent years, more academies have been installing hard courts to give their pupils more of an advantage on this faster surface.
Of course, the tennis world can see the fruit of these labors in the number of Spanish men at the top of the rankings and their formidable court play.

All that written, one aspect about the Spaniards may have been overlooked. Or is it simply more apparent at this year's US Open?

And that aspect is ... their sense of fashion. They play with flair. And they dress with flair, from subtle to ebullient.

Consider the mesmerizing b&w geometric tee with a pop of chartreuse on the edge of the sleeve that Miralles wore during his second-round loss to Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime 7[7]-6[5], 3-6, 2-6). Meanwhile, the prints of Albert RamosiVinolas' marine blue shirt were fairly rippling like waves in his first-round win against Lucas Pouille of France. How soothing (or unsettling)! (6-1, 5-7, 5-7, 7-5, 6-4)

The female players have more to work with because they can don catsuits, dresses, skirts as well as shirts and shorts. The men, on the other hand, must rely mainly on the shirt on their back.

As a group, the Spanish men are the most fashionable "courtiers" at this year's US Open. Regardless of their results, they will win sartorially. See evidence in the photos that follow.

Albert Ramos-Vinolas’ multiprint marine blue shirt by Joma is reminiscent of waves. It was a fitting get-up for his topsy-turvy, five-set victory over Frenchman Lucas Pouille. (6-1, 5-7, 5-7, 7-5, 6-4) Photo by Mike Lawrence/USTA.
Pablo Andujar’s green, white and yellow cap and shirt ensemble lent him a commanding air in his victory over Philipp Kohlschreiber of Germany. (6-4, 6-3, 6-1) Photo by Mike Lawrence/USTA.
Carlos Alcaraz, the 18-year-old presumed heir apparent to Rafael Nadal, wore a white-striped Nike T-shirt with navy sleeves and dashes of colors on the collar and shoulder that are similar to those of the insignia on the Spanish flag. Perhaps feelings of patriotism, plus his lethal forehand, helped in his victory over the UK’s Cameron Norrie. (6-4, 6-4, 6-3) Photo by Manuela Davies/USTA.
Carlos Taberner’s white shirt with a blue side stripe is cool and crisp – almost zen. That was not enough, however, to overcome Botic van de Zandschulp of the Netherlands in five sets. (6-2, 6-3, 4-6, 5-7, 3-6) Photo by Rhea Nall/USTA.
Roberto Bautista Agut floats like a butterfly and stings like a bee in his sleek black (or darkest navy), white and yellow Lacoste ensem. Just ask the mercurial Aussie, Nick Kyrgios. (6-3, 6-4, 6-0) Photo by Brad Penner/USTA.
Pedro Martinez looks like a superhero in a blue Joma tee that suggests both slanted raindrops and clouds (remnants of a hurricane?). Alas, his nemesis – Russian Andrey Rublev – got the best of him. No doubt, the super man will fight another day and be well-dressed for the occasion. (6-7, 7-6, 1-6, 1-6) Photo by Manuela Davies/USTA.
Roberto Carballes Baena, like countryman Bernabe Zapata Miralles (top), went for a Lotto graphic tee, while prevailing over Tommy Paul of the United States, possibly hypnotizing him in the process. (7[7]-6[5], 6-2, 1-6, 6-3) Photo by Mike Lawrence/USTA.

Visit https://www.usopen.org/ to watch and listen to live tennis, plus get scores, schedules, stats, draws and more information about the 2021 US Open.

Wednesday, September 1, 2021

From Day 2 US Open: Djokovic Can't Get No Respect, But He Doesn't Let 'em See Him Sweat (Figuratively Speaking)

View extended highlights of the Djokovic-Dune match at https://www.instagram.com/tv/CTQ97i3D6Kw/?utm_medium=copy_link Video courtesy of USTA.

BY VW

NOVAK Djokovic,
the current world No. 1 men's player, has 20 grand slam titles just like his fellow competitors Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal. But while the latter two are beloved, the former is merely liked. Or quite possibly, merely tolerated.

Latest case in point is in his first-round match yesterday evening (31 Aug.) against Holger Vitus Nodskov Rune of Denmark. The crowd at the Arthur Ashe Stadium continuously offered up near thunderous applause for the 18-year-old qualifier (See match highlights above and on Instagram).

Yet, Djokovic pulled it off in four sets, 6-1, 6-7, 6-2, 6-1.

IT should be noted that Djokovic is chasing history at this year's US Open (Federer and Nadal withdrew). He has a chance to pull ahead of the competition with Title No. 21. There is a lot of history around lucky 21, the biggest is a calendar slam. In other words, winning the Australian Open, French Open, The Championships Wimbledon AND the US Open in the same calendar year. Having already won the other Big 3 this year, Djokovic only lacks the US Open.

The last male tennis player to win a calendar slam was Australian Rod Laver in 1969. No female player has done so since German Steffi Graf in 1988.

Djokovic is chasing momentous history and practically everyone in the Ashe stadium was awares.

That is precisely why it was so astonishing that fans were cheering so enthusiastically for Rune. Sure, he was encouraging the crowd from the get-go, but to be polite fans could have offered tepid support. Instead, they chanted his name throughout the match. In post-match interviews, both players said they thought the crowd was booing, not RUNE-ing. It was Djokovic, the history chaser, who received tepid support.

Of course, there is much speculation about the reasons for fan behavior. Some suggested that they wanted to encourage the young Dane, whom most had never heard of. Understandably, fans wanted to see at least four sets of tennis. Some wags ventured that fans may still be rankled by the incident at last year's US Open that got Djokovic summarily booted. One of his angry balls landed in the throat of a lineswoman. Ouch! Then, there is racquet-gate from the Tokyo Olympics.

Fans with long memories may recall unfondly a decade or so Djokovic's tendency to retire from or collapse during matches. These peculiarities were so commonplace that he even received heat from others players. American Andy Roddick famously sneered, "Two injured ankles, hip ... knee ... cramps, bird flu, anthrax, SARS, common cough and cold."

Even the ever-benevolent and diplomatic Federer declared Djokovic a "joke" with the injury business.

Much of this was forgiven, however, when a Serbian doctor discovered that gluten was the problem. Djokovic immediately changed his diet and his stamina and game took off, landing him in the stratosphere where he currently resides.

Djokovic's predicament vis-a-vis tennis fans can be explained by some, all or none of the aforesaid and a million other reasons. Regardless of the reason(s), tennis fans around the world treat Roger and Rafa like prime rib and Djokovic like chopped liver. It is unfair, unfortunate and sad. Though some of the Serb's troubles have been self-inflicted, he does deserve redemption at some point, no? Certainly, at a time such as this. Trite to say it, but he deserves better.

To Djokovic's credit, he continues to take it in stride. He handled himself with decorum and restraint during and after the Rune match, considering that he was not yet aware that he wasn't being booed. Ouch!

In his on-court, post-match interview with Brad Gilbert, he was very gracious in his comments about Rune, a young man with swagger and a bright future. Pointedly, he did not address the crowd. Who could blame him? What was he to say?
Novak Djokovic and Holger Vitus Nodskov Rune on the court of the Arthur Ashe Stadium on Tuesday, 31 Aug. during their men's singles match at the 2021 US Open. Photo by Brad Penner/USTA.

The 34-year-old has a lot on his mind. If he is to win a calendar slam, he must keep himself to himself. Though he was no doubt deeply wounded by the crowd's shabby treatment, he was wise to not remark on it.

He knows what is at stake. That is why he won't wear his wounds on his sleeve. One can sense that his eyes are firmly fixed on the prize: 6 more match wins. It will be interesting to see how both Djokovic and the fans comport themselves tomorrow evening (2 Sept). His opponent in the first of the six remaining matches is 25-year-old Tallon Griekspoor of the Netherlands. He is ranked 121st in the world.

Of course, if Djokovic plays his cards right he can comfort himself with a 21st grand slam. Victory and History can make up for his troubled and complicated relationship with tennis fandom.

Visit https://www.usopen.org/ to watch and listen to live tennis, plus get scores, schedules, stats, draws and more information about the 2021 US Open.

Sunday, July 25, 2021

'Intersections: The Art Basel Podcast' Debuts With Architect David Adjaye Who Discusses His Monument (EMOWAA) About RESTITUTION

Sir David Adjaye says in the “Intersections: The Art Basel Podcast” that the type of art that interests him leads to knowledge that “helps us all understand who we are on this planet called Earth.” Archive photo.

BY VW

ARCHITECT Sir David Adjaye
is a disc jockey (deejay). Or at least he was once upon a time.

This little gem of information can be heard on the inaugural broadcast of “Intersections: The Art Basel Podcast.” The biweekly series debuted a few days ago with two “conversations” (Episodes 1 and 2). The other is with Kasseem Dean aka Swizz Beatz: https://artbasel.com/stories/podcasts.

Hosted by Art Basel’s Global Director Marc Spiegler with sponsorship by UBS, the podcasts will feature convos with “thought leaders” from the worlds of architecture, design, fashion, literature, music and visual arts. “Intersections” is part of Art Basel’s continuing mission to reach as many as possible in the global creative market.

“Bringing together vibrant voices from all over the globe, 'Intersections' will extend Art Basel's long history of amplifying perspectives from pivotal players within the visual arts and the adjacent areas of cultural activity,” Spiegler says. “The podcast reflects our commitment to offering audiences worldwide access to the conversations shaping contemporary culture.”

A rendering of the Edo Museum of West African Art (EMOWAA) in Nigeria. Photo courtesy of Adjaye Associates.

One of the highlights of Spiegler’s dialogue with Adjaye touched on the emergence at Art Basel of African artists from countries other than South Africa. Adjaye, who helped identify some of these artists, expresses optimism about the viability of the art-collecting and gallery scene on the continent. “Several significant artists are also realizing that they've taken the mantel on to incubate and create spaces for emerging artists in the absence of institutional and commercial operators doing this in the normal, traditional way.”

Adjaye also spoke at length about his current project, the Edo Museum of West African Art (EMOWAA) in Nigeria, emphasizing that it is different from other independence projects and museums because of its emphasis on restitution, artifacts and social memory within communities.

Says Adjaye: “But this is really talking about heading straight and dealing with the other elephant in the room, which is to do with the extraction of the creative heritage of the continent and the fact that it is displaced in the West. And so there’s this bizarre imbalance of ‘Nothing happens down there,’ ... Well, when you burn it all and take it away what do you expect?”

Kim Gordon. Archive photo.

On the next “Intersections” (3 Aug.) Lisa Spellman, founder and director of New York City’s 303 Gallery, and artist-extraordinaire and Sonic Youth co-founder Kim Gordon will journey down memory lane. Under discussion: the impact of gentrification, the relationships between visual artists and musicians on the 1980 and 1990s NYC indy scene, and more.

All episodes of “Intersections” are available to download free of charge across all streaming platforms and on Art Basel’s website: https://artbasel.com/stories/podcasts.

Friday, June 25, 2021

'A Crime on the Bayou' Spawns a Friendship Forged in the Murky and Treacherous Waters of 'Justice,' Southern-Style ' (Louisiana)



By VW

A CRIME ON THE BAYOU
is a documentary that might be better titled "Crimes on the Bayou."

Nominally, it is about Gary Duncan, a young black man in late-1960s South Louisiana trying to prove himself innocent of trumped-up battery charges. Nancy Buirski's film is currently playing in select theaters in the United States.

But there are numerous crimes on the bayou:
1. The father of Herman Landry, one of the white boys, falsely accusing Duncan of slapping his son on the elbow
2. The false charges Landry’s father filed with police against Duncan
3. The refusal of police to believe Duncan in taking the word of white folk over black folk, resulting in his arrest on a battery charge
4. Landry and his friends lying in court testimony about what happened
5. The repeated arrests of Duncan for this alleged crime after being exonerated through appeals
6. The bald-faced conflict of interest of the judge in Duncan’s case
7. The arrest of Duncan’s D.C.-based attorney, Richard Sobol, for practicing law without a license and so on …

Gary Duncan in 1967.

The nasty business chronicled in “A Crime on the Bayou” all went down in 1966 around the time of the federally ordered desegregation of the schools in Plaquemines Parish, a coastal area south of New Orleans, situated near where the Mississippi River meets the Gulf of Mexico. Both area overlord Leander Perez and a significant number of white parents were staunch segregationists.

Anywho, apparently one day after school, two of Duncan’s cousins were about to get involved in fisticuffs with some white boys. Duncan happened to be passing by. Seeing what was soon to be going down, he approached the group to break it up. In his peacemaking attempt, Duncan touched the arm of Landry. Then it was ON!

Circa 1960s Louisiana, if a white person said a black person committed a crime, that was that. If you were said black person, you could protest your innocence until you were red or purple in the face. With a thousand proofs. It didn't matter. You were guilty and you were going to pay.

Thus began the shit show of justice not at all atypical in the South at the time. Many men like Perez, who was the power behind Duncan's troubles, ruled with ironfist ruthlessness. The type was famously and uproariously lampooned in the character of Boss Hogg in the wildly popular comedy-action series, "The Dukes of Hazzard" (1979-1985).

Court drawing of witness in Gary Duncn trial.

In recounting the valiant fight for justice of Duncan and Sobol in “A Crime on the Bayou,” Buirski cleverly uses scenes of the bayou with moss from trees hanging so low that they meet the inky waters to dramatize the proceedings. Documentarians are forced to do so, lest they are too often left with a barrage of yawn-inducing talking heads.

Of course, there are talking heads: Duncan, Sobol (he died in 2020), the son of one of Sobol’s associates on the Duncan case, a cause celebre in Louisiana. In fact, Duncan’s case (Duncan v. Louisiana; right to a jury trial in state criminal cases) would be argued in the U.S. Supreme Court. He won.

Buirski also cleverly uses voice actors to read from the actual court proceedings. This not only further dramatizes “A Crime on the Bayou,” it makes it far more engaging than it would otherwise be. And, of course, there is the standard archival footage one expects to see in a documentary of this type: myriad photos of relevant people, places and things.

“A Crime on the Bayou,” though, is not without its lapses. As dramatic as the bayou scenes are, they are a bit overdone. That is a minor quibble. The absence of any perspective from the “antagonist” side (spokespersons for Perez’s family, Landry's family, family of the then-chief of police or sheriff) is not. It leaves a gaping hole because the viewer only gets one side of the story. Did Buirski attempt to reach any of their relatives/surrogates? There is no mention of it.

Another lost opportunity is Buirski’s failure to show the friendship that developed between Duncan and Sobol. It is mentioned almost as an aside near the end of the film. Further, the director draws a much richer picture of Sobol (He would become a noted Civil Rights attorney.) than she does of Duncan.

Mugshot of Richard Sobol. Photo courtesy of Richard Sobol estate.

The latter is still alive and would become a seemingly prosperous fisherman, seafood being a major industry in the area. However, this is only tangentially mentioned toward the end of the film. Here was a huge opportunity lost in not showing over the course of the documentary the trajectory of Duncan’s life from young man falsely accused to a solid, respected citizen who has thrived despite what must have been a traumatizing experience.

Those major shortcomings notwithstanding, “A Crime on the Bayou” is an important story – in fact one of a trilogy detailing Civil Rights-era cases – and deserves an audience.

"A Crime on the Bayou" is not rated. Visit the following websites to learn more about the film:
https://www.shoutfactory.com/blog/a-crime-on-the-bayou-june-18/
https://www.facebook.com/ACrimeOnTheBayou/

Thursday, June 17, 2021

Keeping a Cool Head and Looking Even Cooler, Because These Hats Are Eco-Friendly

YELLOW 108

The Stevie for men from YELLOW 108, here and below. DETAILS and PURCHASE INFO: https://www.yellow108.com/collections/straw-fedoras/products/stevie-seagrass-straw-navy

By VW

SUMMERTIME
weather is here in many places and the living is easy (as suggested in the famous tune by Gershwins&Co.).

Therefore, you will be spending more time outdoors – especially if you have been fully vaxxed. In the sun. Where you will need all manner of protection from its harmful rays. One word, then: hat.

A covered head can help protect you from any number of discomforts, including dizziness and migraines. Plus, hats can make you look cool and chic. Definitely a win-win. But whaddaya say to a win-win-win?

Yes? Good. It's simple. When you go hat shopping, patronize brands that are committed to making hats and all of their products in an eco-friendly manner. No worries. We have curated some brands for you. They are listed below. All you have to do is point, click and await delivery.

You are making a good decision. Because you have experienced and/or witnessed enough wild, weird, wacky weather to believe that something is amiss. To that end, if the environmentalists are right about climate change and all it engenders for our planet, then the least you can do is shop responsibly, no?

Off you go then ...

PACHACUTI

Mirabelle Orange for women from Pachacuti. DETAILS and PURCHASE INFO: https://www.panamas.co.uk/product/mirabel-orange-elegant-panama-hat/

UNITED BY BLUE

Organic button hat (unisex) from United by Blue. DETAILS and PURCHASE INFO: https://unitedbyblue.com/products/organic-bucket-hat?variant=31703844945992

ACCOMPANY

Made in the Shade for women from Accompany. DETAILS and PURCHASE INFO: https://www.accompanyus.com/products/whipstitch-hat

VITAMIN A

Cannes bucket hat for women from Vitamin A. DETAILS and PURCHASE INFO: https://www.vitaminaswim.com/collections/accessories/products/bucket-hat-natural-accessories

G.VITERI

Hydra (unisex) from G.VITERI. DETAILS and PURCHASE INFO: https://www.gviteri.com/product/hydra-hat/

TENTREE

Festival (unisex) from Tentree. DETAILS and PURCHASE INFO: https://www.tentree.com/collections/accessories-hats/products/festival-hat?METEORITE%20BLACK

EQUAL UPRISE

Round Top (in pale green) for women from Equal Uprise. DETAILS and PURCHASE INFO: https://equaluprise.com/collections/accessories/products/the-round-top-pale-green
 
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