Social Connections

Lately I think more and more about social connections and how easily they can become frayed. In this digital age it’s easy to build and rely on an online community but we miss out on a lot when we fail to invest in our in real life. The past few weeks have been a bumpy period in my life and “How Laptop Living Almost Left Me Homeless” by Heather Seggel really touch me. It’s an eye opening article and I definitely recommend reading it.

Last week I turned 45. I may soon become homeless.
I am not the stereotypical candidate for homelessness: I have a B.A. in English and a small business as a copywriter. And yet, my situation says something about where we live now in California–somewhere between a real roof and a virtual one. When your work doesn’t demand a physical address and you’ve lost social contacts and the web of connections they provide, it’s all too easy to find yourself hovering more or less nowhere.

Continued Here

In the news, there are constant reports of an increase in depression in every generation. How can we as a society prompted investing in real world relationships. It’s so easy to get caught up in normal routines of work and school and long commutes that is not surprising that people no longer have time to connect in person. I am against scheduling every minute of my life outside of work but would it be worthwhile to arrange a regular get together in order to continue to invest social building?

I would love to hear your thoughts.

Advertisements

Legends – An Appreciation

One of the great benefits of living in Los Angeles, is the opportunity to see a lot of living legends at work. Recently, I have the honor and privilege of seeing two: Diana Ross and Cicely Tyson. I’m huge fan of The Supremes and when I heard that Ms. Diana Ross is currently touring, I jumped at the change to buy tickets. Ms. Ross put on an efficient concert hitting all of the high points of her career with The Supremes and her solo work. That may not sound like high press but back by a tight band and great singers, the iconic put on a very entertaining show.

Tony winner Cicely Tyson is starring in Trip to Bountiful with Blair Underwood, Vanessa Williams and Jurnee Smollett-Bell at the Ahmanson Theatre. Looking old and frail, Ms. Tyson commends the stage with her wisdom and humor. I’ve known of the story because of the film starting Geraldine Page and John Heard but I didn’t know the details of the plot. Because of events in my personal life, this play was especial poignant. The cast played off each other beautiful and there were many touch and beautiful season between Cicely Tyson and Jurnee Smollett-Bell.

I don’t always have the time nor money to indulge my love of theater and music, but when the opportunity arises to see an iconic performer, I make the sacrifice to.

Trip to Bountiful playing at the Ahmanson Theatre until November 2, 2014. Next appearance will be at the Emerson/Cutler Majestic Theatre Boston from November 20 – December 7, 2014.

Diana Ross on tour now.

Zócalo Public Square : Video – When Science and Science Fiction Collide

Tuesday night, Zocalo Public Square hosted a conversation lead by Annalee Newiz with Lawrence Krauss and Neal Stephenson regarding science, science fiction and optimism. While the evening was a “light” discussion of these topics, it was a fascinating evening.

The important takeaways for me are science and technology are not the same thing. People, including me, always think of the two as one in the same but the goals of science are not necessarily the pushing technology forward. Science is a very creative field were the ideas or sometimes more important than the outcomes. In Krauss’ opinion. Science is far more imaginative than science fiction. The human mind cannot reach the endless potential of reality. I’m not sure if I agree with the last point. We know so little about the human brain that there is no to quantify its potential.

Luckily for us Zocalo records its events. And post them online. Please enjoy the lively conversation at the link below.

Zócalo Public Square :: Video Archive.

Can Science Fiction Revolutionize Science – A Zocalo event

I am fortunate to live in the LA area where a lot of diverse events occur every day of the week. Tonight, there is a discussion on whether Science Fiction Revolutionize Science with Neal Stephenson and Lawrence Krauss at MOCA. Check back tomorrow for my recap of the event.

Until then, read Lawrence Krauss’s forward from the new anthology Hieroglyp at Zocalo Public Square:

Science fiction shares with science a most important driver: a fascination with the possibilities of existence. As a theoretical physicist, my motivation for studying the universe has always been the wonder of what might be possible rather than what is practical. This makes me particularly sympathetic to the challenges facing science fiction writers. After all, perhaps the most significant difference between science and science fiction is that the former explores what is possible in our universe, and the latter what might be possible in any universe.

Continue Here

PSYCHE – A Modern Rock Opera

pschyePsyche begin previews at the Greenway Court Theatre this past weekend. What a glorious experience it was. There are two tales unfolding during this opera. The first is a classic love story between Eros and Psyche. The second involves the journey that Psyche unwillingly finds herself on and her process of discovering her true self.

The opera is based on the class Greek myth of Psyche who is a mortal woman renown for her beauty. Although Psyche is loved by her family and worshipped by the kingdom as if she was a Goddess herself, she leads a very lonely life. Aphrodite, the Goddess of love and beauty, is furious that the people in the kingdom begin to worship Psyche and neglect her temples. So, she dispatches her son Eros, the God of love and sexual desire, to torment Psyche and bring an end to this situation. Instead Eros falls in love with Psyche and decides to make her his wife. Their commitment to each other has far reaching consequences. These events lead Psyche on her journey of self discovery.

The book, staging and orchestra make this a top notch production. The music with a tinge of 70s bombastic style creates a magically atmosphere. The cast really sells the story, especially Ashley Ruth Jones as Psyche and Michael Starr as Eros. Benai Boyd and Cindy Sciacca almost steal the show as and Sister/Trouble and Sister/Sorrow . You don’t have to be a fan of or familiar with Greek Mythology to join this production.

Now through September 28

Quick Movie Review – Trance **Revisited**

I missed Trance when it was first release in the theaters. But my go to guest blogger submitted a review when it was originally released. I had some time on my hands this weekend and that I would finally give it ago. It has a great pedigree written by Joe Ahearne and John Hodge and directed by Danny Boyle, but it is a mess. Starring James McAvoy, Rosario Dawson and Vincent Cassel as a art auctioneer, a hypnotherapist and a criminal mastermind respectively, Trance is too smart for its own good.

James McAvoy stars as Simon an art house employee who recently goes through extensive training on how to protect artwork. During an auction of famous paintings, a group of criminals lead by mastermind Franck (Vincent Cassel) decides to steal one. During the course of the robbery Simon suffers a brain injure and as a result experiences amnesia. We soon learn that Simon is in on the robbery and Franck is determined to get his painting. The criminal crew enlists the help of an hypnotherapist Elizabeth Lamb (Rosario Dawson) in order to recover the lost painting.

There are too many twist and turns in this movie. The viewer is never sure of anyone’s motives and honestly I didn’t care. The filmmakers wanted it to be like other highbrow fare but it in reality it is a nonsensical mess. I had to rewind it a few times in order to catch a line of dialogue or a hint of plot that went sailing over my head.

It’s available everywhere: Streaming, On Demand and DVD but I recommend just skipping it all together.

Challenge! – Revivisted

In September 2011, I ran across the NPR Top 100 Science-Fiction, Fantasy Books and I realized that I had only read 8 of the 100 books listed. As an avid reader and a sci fi fan, I was surprised by the low number. I challenged myself to read all of the books on the list. So three years later, how did I do? Not very well! I’ve read a lot during the last three years but most books were not from this list. Now, my total count is 15 books. 15 books in three years! Embarrassing. Some of my favorites from the list was The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula Le Guin and the Foundation Trilogy by Isaac Asimov. Ursula Le Guin created such an original world that I was swept up into the story instantly. Is I personally own a lot of the books on the list, but as a book lover, I’m always buying books and I have stacks and stacks of books that I’ve never read. So, I am recommitting myself to reading all of the books on this list.*

Next up: Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell. I started reading this book when it was first released but never finished it. I’m am confident that I can finish it by the end of the month! My goal is to write my review over Labor Day.

If you’re interested in joining me in the challenge, here is the link to the NPR list here

*Caveat – I refuse to read Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card. Given that I find Card’s personal reviews abhorrent, I have no interest in reading anything by him. 84 books to go.

Quick Movie Review – Soulmate and A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night.

There are hundreds of great movies released every year that the average person hasn’t heard of. A great way to check out small independent movies is to attend local film festivals. So far this year, I have attended two great local festivals: Etheria Film Night and Sundance Next.

Etheria Film Night screened the haunting Soulmate by Axelle Carolyn. Soulmate hearkens back to classic Gothic romance films such as Rebecca, The Others and Jane Eyre. Anna Walton is an ethereal presence as Audrey a young woman who is struggling to deal with the recent death of her husband. She retreats to the Welsh countryside to begin again. To say more than that would give away to much of the plot. Because of the beautiful cinematography, the country home in Wales becomes a side character itself. Tom Wisdom, Tanya Myers and Nick Brimble round out the cast of this lovely film. The film doesn’t have U.S. distribution yet but it has been released in the United Kingdom. Keep an eye out at your local film festivals for your chance to catch this lush movie.

The last night of Sundance Next, I caught the amazing A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night. This utterly original film was written and directed by Ana Lily Amirpour. This is no ordinary vampire film; it’s an Iranian vampire love story set in the Iranian town of Bad City. We meet a group of seemingly unrelated people who appear to be drifting through life. The city has become a hunting ground for vampire but the citizens are unaware of that fact. The style is almost Neo-Noir but with original elements sprinkled in. A Girl… domestic distribution so hopefully it will be in a theater near you soon.