Friday, April 13, 2018

The Tribeca Film Festival Is No Longer Just About the Business, It Is Also About Serious Art and Is Being Taken Serious-ser and Serious-ser

Ilhan Omar is the subject of “Time for Ilhan,” a documentary that chronicles the campaign of the woman who would make history when she was elected to the Minnesota Legislature. Photo from Time for Ilhan website.

BY VW

THREE
works that have an African theme should have strong appeal.

In “Tanzania Transit,” a train ride reveals various facets of contemporary life in that part of Africa. Scientists undertake a 1500-mile journey in an effort to understand why Botswana's Okavango Delta wilderness is shrinking in National Geographic's “Into the Okavango.” Inspiration awaits the viewer in “Time for Ilhan,” a look at how a Somali-American Muslim woman made history when she was elected to the Minnesota legislature.

Muslims also figure prominently in “Terminal 3.” In the virtual reality piece - part of Tribeca Immersive - the viewer is asked to interrogate Muslims at the airport to determine whether they should be admitted into the country

All of the aforementioned are documentaries and are part of the 17th Annual Tribeca Film Festival (18-29 April 2018).

Over the last few years, festival organizers have invested their energies in curating some of the most interesting docs out there, and this year is no different.

Other notable documentaries to watch for: “Blowin’ Up”: a Queens court is a place where young women and men charged with prostitution aren’t treated like criminals;
“The Fourth Estate”: In the festival closer, a team of reporters from The New York Times covers the first year of the Donald Trump Administration:
“Love Gilda”: The festival opener is a love letter to comedian and trailblazer Gilda Radner;

San Diego Chargettes doing their thing, circa late '70s. Photo by Jack Schwaesdall.

“Sidelined”: The story of cheerleaders from the-then San Diego Chargers football team who were fired for appearing in “Playboy”;
“Unbanned: The Legend of AJ1”: How Air Jordans went from banned to spawning sneaker culture and its massive economy;
“McQueen”: The rise of uber talented designer Alexander McQueen;
“Studio 54”: The rise and fall of the world’s most famous disco;
“Blue Note Records: Beyond the Notes”: The story of the record company that launched jazz greats and gave talent 100 percent artistic control.

Meanwhile, one of the signposts that marks a film festival as serious is the number of world premieres. That means that directors are taking a pass on Berlin, Toronto, Sundance and other prestigious festivals.

With that in mind, the Tribeca Film Festival has entered a new sphere. Among its 96 feature films, a staggering 75 are having world premieres. Fewer than 20 have been seen elsewhere first. Do note that this does not include programming in other categories; world premieres abound across categories. Tribeca is no longer just a festival with a major Hollywood star behind it and a strong financial imperative behind the disproportionate amount of Hollywood fare with a bankable star attached.

A case in point is “Diane” starring Mary Kay Place as a woman living a mundane life as penance for past misdeeds. Sex on the hour may be the undoing of two frustrated women in “Duck Butter.” A retelling of Chekhov’s “The Seagull” is set on a lakeside estate. Among the stars are Annette Being, Mare Winningham and Brian Dennehy. In "Dry Martina," a singer begins to get her groove back when she leaves Argentina for Chile, prompted by a visit from her "sister."

The festival centerpiece, “Zoe,” is an entry with a more Hollywood feel. The futuristic drama about technology-produced love stars Léa Seydoux, Ewan McGregor, Christina Aguilera and Rashida Jones, among others.

Sir Ben Kingsley and Liam Neeson in "Schindler's List." Archive photo.

This year, three films will have anniversary screenings: "Schindler's List"(25th) "Scarface" (35th) and "In the Soup"(25th).

Shorts-wise, a one to watch is "The History of White People in America," an animated affair that explores the invention of race in this country. It is one in the Whoopi Goldberg category. In the Bold Moves category, geopolitics might complicate a joint concert by musicians from North and South Korea in "9 at 38."

“Homeless: The Soundtrack”
in the Home Sweet Home shorts category follows a woman who finds her long-lost father homeless. And a musician, like herself. The Lighten Up! category offers “So You Like the Neighborhood.” If you want to stay and not be evicted, some mafia members might be able to help. Two sisters must rethink their building plan in “Paper Roof,” a Loose Ends entry.

As the digital revolution continues to blur the lines of how and where content is consumed, Tribeca is trying to keep up with the times. Part of its response is both the Tribeca TV and N.O.W. (New Online Work).

Ones to watch on TV include Jay-Z’s (executive producer) “Rest In Power: The Trayvon Martin Story” and “Bobby Kennedy for President,” coming to Netflix.

On N.O.W. is “Snugglr,” or a young woman who cuddles strangers as an income-generator to make rent. A guy in “Driver Ed” hopes to impress a racecar enthusiast gal by getting his driver’s license. Drug counseling gets a twisted treatment in “Cleaner Daze.”

Jacob A. Ware as the title character in "Driver Ed." Photo courtesy of "Driver Ed" production.

“Tribeca Talks” offers post-screening chats with Brian De Palma, Sir Ben Kingsley, Liam Neeson, Al Pacino, Michelle Pfeiffer and more. Those in conversations include Alec Baldwin, Edward Burns, Claire Danes, Jamie Foxx, John Legend, Nancy Meyers and Sarah Jessica Parker.

Visit http://www.tribecafilm.com/festival to learn more about it and the 2015 Tribeca Film Festival, including tickets and schedule.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Holiday Gift Guide 2017: From Catskill Provisions, Honey for Your Honey, 'Cause Nothin’ Says Lovin’ Like It Does, Honey!

The cost to impress with the Catskill Provisions Weekend Kit is an easy-to-swallow $115.50, including packing and shipping.

HEADS UP: We're back – from outer space – and touch down to find you here with that stupefied look upon your face. Don't be petrified. We will be your guides ... As per usual, til 24 Dec., the elves at The Wright Wreport will introduce at least one or a series of products, items and brands that we believe are worthy of consideration as holiday gift(s). You will survive (the Yuletide season and beyond)!

BY JOEL LEVIN

DEM
good ol' boys was makin' whiskey from rye and adding New York State honey from the "state's happiest bees."

The happy result is an ultra-smooth whiskey made from local grain, but mellowed with artisanal honey to remove the spirit's sting (apologies to those well-adjusted bees). The whiskey alone is wonderful, but sensational as part of the inclusive Weekend Kit.

Thanks to proprietor Claire Marin of Catskill Provisions, who is both a beekeeper and the formulator of the multiple award-winning New York Honey Rye Whiskey, there is gender-neutral honey and more.

The whiskey, though a full 80 proof, is gentle enough for serious sipping, but hearty enough to use in upgrading your customary cocktail. It's more than half rye, but packs a mild sweetness not only from added honey, but from the natural sugars in sprouted barley and a bit of corn in the "mash bill."

The Catskill Provisions Weekend Kit arrives in a smart box similar to this one.

Catskill Provisions' Weekend Kit packs a 3/4 liter bottle of that beautiful whiskey, a pound-and-a-half of two different seasonal Catskill Mountains wildflower honeys (made by happy bees from clover, apple and pear flowers in springtime, and a sharper honey from chestnut and maple blossoms and asters harvested in the fall).

Also included are a pancake-and-waffle mix that will amply feed two hungry lovers, nine ounces of Grade A New York State maple syrup, plus for perfect drizzling, a handy honey wand crafted from wood.

Claire Marin knows her way around bees and whiskey, honey(child).

The packaging of the Weekend Kit by distribution partner Mouth Foods smartly announces love and good taste. The items come in an attractive box made from recycled materials that includes a cotton totebag from Mouth Foods.

Meanwhile, want to venture beyond honey at Catskills Provisions? Our thoroughly-researched luscious favorites are the chocolate honey truffles, the precious hand-made confections carefully nestled in clever die-cut protective presentation boxes.

The chocolate and honey in Catskill Provisions' chocolate honey truffles make for good bedfellows.

And don't think that chocolate and honey cannot make a good marriage. They can ... and they do!

Not only that, but – purists, forgive me – they harmonize well with the mild spicy taste and notes of blackberries, butterscotch and dates found in New York Honey Rye Whiskey.

Visit https://www.catskillprovisions.com/ or https://www.mouth.com/ to learn more about Catskill Provisions and/or other products.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Holiday Gift Guide 2017: Drinking With the Coravin Wine System and HOOCH


The Coravin Wine System.

HEADS UP: We're back – from outer space – and touch down to find you here with that stupefied look upon your face. Don't be petrified. We will be your guides ... As per usual, til 24 Dec., the elves at The Wright Wreport will introduce at least one or a series of products, items and brands that we believe are worthy of consideration as holiday gift(s). You will survive (the Yuletide season and beyond)!

BY VW

YOU
like to wind down from a long day at work or whatever you’ve been at with a glass of wine. Or you like to have a cocktail most days and/or evenings. Naturally, you drink responsibly.

A couple of interesting propositions for you: the Coravin Wine System and HOOCH.

HOOCH promises a cocktail a day.

The former preserves corked, still wines. The latter is a first-of-its kind app that for a fixed, monthly rate signs up users for a cocktail a day at more than 450 top bars and restaurants around the world from brunch to late night … More shortly

Visit https://www.coravin.com/ to learn more about Coravin and https://www.hooch.co/ to learn more about HOOCH.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Holiday Gift Guide 2017: Technology From MARS That Facilitates Ear-to-Ear Translation With Fewer Buds

MARS goes where ear buds have not gone before.

HEADS UP: We're back – from outer space – and touch down to find you here with that stupefied look upon your face. Don't be petrified. We will be your guides ... As per usual, til 24 Dec., the elves at The Wright Wreport will introduce at least one or a series of products, items and brands that we believe are worthy of consideration as holiday gift(s). You will survive (the Yuletide season and beyond)!

BY VW

BEFORE,
when Madeleine was speaking to Dumadi in French wearing ear buds he was hearing her wearing ear buds in Indonesian, the language he understands well because he doesn't speak a word of French beyond "bon jour."

This exchange via wireless ear buds has been made possible through the ear bud translation technology that has been emerging over the last year or so

Now, there is an improvement on that:  MARS wireless earbuds.Using Bluetooth-technology, MARS allows this exchange to take place, not using one pair of earbuds each, but one earbud each. That is, one ear bud per person.

The result of a collaboration of Korean Internet provider, Naver Corporation, and one of its subsidiaries, Line Corporation, and using Naver’s Papago AI (artificial intelligence) translation technology, MARS currently works in more than 10 languages, including English, French, Indonesian and Japanese. That number will eventually rise to more than 40 using Google Translate.

MARS ear buds are designed with a microphone inside which shuts out ambient noise. Another nifty feature of the ear buds is their Clova AI technology. This allows users to make phone calls, receive texts and listen to music using their voice.

MARS should be on the market in early 2018.

Visit and bookmark https://line.me/en-US/ to learn more about MARS.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Holiday Gift Guide 2017: Innovative, Interactive Mobilize Rescue Systems Teach Medical Basics in a Pinch Until the Calvary Arrives

The Mobilize Rescue Systems Compact kit is small enough to carry on your person.

HEADS UP: We're back – from outer space – and touch down to find you here with that stupefied look upon your face. Don't be petrified. We will be your guides ... As per usual, til 24 Dec., the elves at The Wright Wreport will introduce at least one or a series of products, items and brands that we believe are worthy of consideration as holiday gift(s). You will survive (the Yuletide season and beyond)!

BY VW

YOUR
partner suffers a nasty cut while carving the bird. An accident victim is suffering convulsions. A passerby passes out – right at your feet.

Of course, one of your first thoughts is to see what you can do – usually not much – until the paramedics arrive. This has been the normal protocol in emergency situations for time immemorial, but things have changed.

You, you, you and you now have the power to do more with the advent of products like the Mobilize Rescue Systems. Simply put, it is an interactive first-aid kit that can arm untrained bystanders with enough medical know-how and equipment to help someone in distress until the professionals arrive on the scene.

The Mobilize Rescue Systems Mobile kit.

Developed by a team of emergency response educators, military veterans, physicians and software developers, Mobilize Rescue Systems launched about a year ago.

It is an app-based, interactive first-aid kit that uses an algorithm to determine the most serious injury or injuries. Then, through prompts, it directs the user with step-by-step instructions on how to manage the emergency using corresponding, color-coded supplies in the first-aid kit. This latter element sets it head and shoulders above competitors.

The Mobilize Rescue Systems is based on the standard emergency care guidelines and can be used in a variety of emergencies, including CPR, allergic reactions, severe bleeding, cardiac arrest and chest trauma.

Among the supplies, depending on the kit: First-aid Guide, Sterile Conforming Stretch Gauze, Burn Cream Packets and Instant Glucose. The kit has been put through its paces by various safety experts and professionals and has not come up wanting. That’s a good thing, considering what’s at stake, including the pricetag.

Currently, there are three Mobile Rescue Systems kits: a 15-pound Comprehensive ($2199)
and 10-pound Mobile ($1750) that come with an embedded iPad. The one-pound Compact ($180) works with smartphones.

The latter, small enough to fit comfortably in a bag or large pocket, currently has only eight supplies: SOF-T Wide Tourniquet, Emergency Trauma Dressing, QuikClot Bleeding Control Dressing, Hyfin Chest Seal, CPR Face Shields with bite block, Emergency Space Mylar Blanket, Trauma Shears and Nitrile Gloves. The larger kits have 30, including all of the aformentioned.

The Mobilize Rescue Systems Comprehensive kit.

A brand representative with whom I spoke at the recent Luxury Technology Show in New York, where the kits were on display, acknowledged the shortcoming and said it is being addressed.

Still, with its limited supplies, the Compact kit is a handy piece of equipment to have on hand if someone falls down and breaks his or her crown.

Visit http://www.mobilizerescue.com/ to learn more about the Mobilize Rescue Systems.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Holiday Gift Guide 2017: In 'The Little Black Book of Backstage Etiquette,' Brenda Braxton Tells Show Business Types How to Act

In "The Little Black Book of Backstage Etiquette," Brenda Braxton dispenses advice about how performers should act backstage.

HEADS UP: We're back – from outer space – and touch down to find you here with that stupefied look upon your face. Don't be petrified. We will be your guides ... As per usual, til 24 Dec., the elves at The Wright Wreport will introduce at least one or a series of products, items and brands that we believe are worthy of consideration as holiday gift(s).  You will survive (the Yuletide season and beyond)!

BY TAMARA BECK

"IF
a project is due at noon, have it ready at 11:30 if possible."

"Don't be afraid to admit what you don't know and ask questions."

"Once again, gratitude goes a long way. A smile and a “please” and “thank you” should not be a thing of the past."


You want a successful career in the theater, or show business in general. However, you take your behavioral cues from the divas of reality TV. To be a star, you believe that you should be a brat. Your sense of entitlement is colossal.

You, my friend, are on an express train toward Nobodyville, that is unless you get your hands on a copy of Brenda Braxton's "The Little Black Book of Backstage Etiquette." And heed the aforementioned wisdom and more (common sense stuff, actually) as if your career depends on it, which it does.

The Broadway star, who got her break in 1976 when she was cast in "Guys and Dolls," will help you reset your manners meter. Good manners, she says, work best for you backstage just as they do in life. She should know.

A poster of Brenda Braxton as Velma in "Chicago."

BB has gone on to star in such shows as the long-running Broadway musical, "Chicago," in which she played Velma as well as a member of the chorus. Her work in "Smokey Joe's Cafe garnered her a Best Actress Tony nomination. The New York native has also choreographed for several productions of "Dreamgirls."

"You just never know when the question might come up, 'Can someone stand in for so-and-so?' " "You'll be able to raise your hand and say, 'I know those lines',"that is, if you've learned those lines.

"The Little Black Book of Backstage Etiquette" grew out of backstage conversations over the years between BB and young performers seeking advice about longevity in the industry.

Visit https:/www.brendabraxton.com/new-books/ to learn more about "The Little Black Book of Backstage Etiquette," including purchase information. The book is also available on Amazon.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

In the Classroom of Prof. Johnny Leggs, 'Latin History for Morons' Is Delivered With Light, Heat and a Lotta Heart

John Leguizamo proves that he is a graphic artist in "Latin History for Morons." Photos by Matthew Murphy.

BY TAMARA BECK

YOU
paid your ticket, and honestly, it's on par with what Dr. X has been charging for your 50-minute hour.

The question is whether John Leguizamo's Latin History for Morons, at Studio 54 in an extended run through 25 Feb. 2018, is your therapy or his? Either way, your 100 minutes give you more than your fair share of entertainment and food-for-thought.

As is his wont, JL sprinkles intimate details amid quips and dance routines. He boasts, as is also his wont, of his street cred with something like a diffident bravado. He is a charmer.

Director Tony Taccone could have tightened the pace a touch, but JL's observations are clever and wide-ranging: from the current sexual harassment charges pouring out of Hollywood, to politics, to centuries of oppression of Latinos.

Rachel Hauck's classroom set centers on a large blackboard on which JL imparts the Latin history (Add graphic artist to his resume, which already includes stage star, screen actor and author).

The artist has a catholic (with a small "c" – look it up) knowledge of the world, hence "Latin History for Morons" is quite illuminating.

It is also heartfelt and heartwarming.

Visit https://www.latinhistorybroadway.com to learn the more about "Latin History for Morons."
 
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