Monday, April 28, 2008

TriBeCa Film Festival, Secret Admirers and Runnng With Serial Killers

Been away, so here are links to all my stories from l week (finally). At TriBeCa, I covered a JFK documentary, the first feature film from one of the co-directors of The Blair Witch Project, and a documentary about an artist determined to get the blessing of David Hockney for his work. All those ran online only. In the Sunday edition, I had three short pieces on TriBeCa documentaries, including a basketball docu by Beastie Boy Adam Yauch, a film about the driving force behind the NYC marathon and a short blurb on Julian Schnabel's Lou Reed's Berlin -- all included in this omnibus roundup. I also did a roundup of movies featuring secret admirers and had a q and a with memoirist Augusten Burroughs.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

American Idol -- The Top 6

Here's my Huffington Post on the Top 6 performing the songs of Andrew Lloyd Webber.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

TriBeCa Film Festival and Hubert's Freaks

Here are my latest articles for the New York Daily News: coverage of three short films at the TriBeCa Film Festival and an interview with the author of Hubert's Freaks, the story of an antiquarian who discovered a cache of unknown Diane Arbus images. My rundown of classic stoner movies? Apparently, you'll have to buy the print edition to enjoy that one.

But you can read my latest Huffington Post DVD column (highlighted by some trash talk about season two of Friday Night Lights) for free, so life isn't all bad.

Monday, April 14, 2008

On Alfred Pond: 2008 Edition

Some guest musings from my Yankee friend Pete, who just became a dad for the second time a few short weeks ago. He lives in Alfred, New York, way upstate, by the by:


Okay, so it's been almost 2 years since I broke out an OAP and that's completely unacceptable. However, the material that would have been included these past 20 months would have been exclusively parental drivel that only my parents and I would enjoy. But, I will give you one parent-of-a-newborn anecdote before I move on to my other musings.

If you never knew that I wore contacts, then you may not know that I'm as blind as an 80 year old man with cataracts without my corrective lenses. I'm also lazy and a psuedo-vampire when it comes to my disdain for lights on at night. Having to get up multiple times each night to feed and change an infant is brutal for anyone, but when you add in those three conditions from above - poor vision, sloth, aversion to light - to general exhaustion, bad things happen. As Janet likes to point out to me, without my glasses on I tend to put my face within 6 inches of whatever I'm looking at. So, it should come as no surprise to anyone that during Micah's first month he has on separate occasions peed and pooped in my mouth!

Having kids does make you consider things you never did before. Justin is now at the age where a stop at a fast food restaurant requires a kids meal to appease him. In staring at the menu board at on McDonalds I discovered a peculiar pricing model which is constant throughout the fast food world. Consider this: a hamburger costs 89 cents and a cheeseburger 99 cents at most McDonalds. That clearly establishes that the value of cheese on a burger is 10 cents. Now, if you shift your eyes over to the Happy Meal section of the board you will notice that a hamburger Happy Meal costs $2.59, but a cheeseburger Happy Meal is $2.89! Basically, the fast food chains are leveraging the fact that no kid will eat a burger without cheese by price gouging their parents an extra 20 cents over the preestablished value of adding a slice of cheese to a burger. How is it that there isn't a class action lawsuit because of this practice?

Speaking of McDonalds, have you ever thought about the population of McDonaldland? What a truly bizarre collection of characters. Half of the citizens look like food objects and the other half are either odd looking humanoids or whatever the heck Grimace is. How about Mayor McCheese? He's essentially a cheeseburger with arms and legs and while there is more burger and bun to him his last name is McCheese. But that's not nearly as confusing as the fact that in McDonaldland, home of golden son Ronald, he is Mayor! How did he possibly win that election? Or consider the Hamburglar. Here is a man who ostensibly eats only McDonald's hamburgers and he only has one tooth! What does that say about the nutritional value of McDonald's food that someone whose staple dietary item is a McDonald's cheeseburger has lost all but one of his teeth and runs around talking nonsensically? The Hamburglar should sue Morgan Spurlock for copyright infringement.

Enough with the fast food, how about some local politics? I'm now a member of the village planning board which really serves no purpose except to be one of the first people to hear the newest village gossip each month. But, the new president of my employeer, Alfred State College, just presented a proposal to build a wind farm on the college farm. I'm torn about whether I'll support the idea or fight it (especially since I bought my house for its view and I'm not sure 300 foot wind turbines are as idyllic as the current arrangement), but what purplexes me is the extent to which both Alfred State and Alfred University are embracing the the whole "greening" movement. It would seem to me that both institutions would benefit from supporting global warming since the village of Alfred is some 1700 feet above sea level. If the oceans were to rise about 100 feet, that would wipe out all their low-lying, coastal competitors while simultaneously raising the
average temparature in Alfred and increasing the number of potential students who live near the schools (out of necessity once Scranton becomes beach-front property). This really seems like a missed opportunity for both schools.

Okay, that's about all I have for now, so I think I'll go home and not watch the two disks of Battlestar Galactica that I have from Netflix like I've been doing ever since Micah was born. Oh, and get ready for Friday's 70 degree day (the first time Alfred will hit that mark since September).



Since the release of the On Alfred Pond earlier this week, I have been contacted by Burt R. King author of "Fanatics in a Fantasyland" an exposé into the sordid affairs which have led to the current political structure in McDonaldland. For a number of years, a bloody civil war was waged against the residents of McDonaldland who resemble food items by their human and furry creature brethren. Many in the shunned community were forced to go into hiding and change their names to avoid persecution. This was the case for the ancestors of McDonaldland's current Mayor who went by the surname McCheeseburger prior to the genocide of their people.

The power structure has been reversed in McDonaldland with McCheese having won election as Mayor and Big Mac working as the Chief of Police. Ronald, whose family masterminded the McDonaldland atrocities is so guiltridden that he daily covers his face with clown make-up to hide his sadness and shame, spending all of his time and family blood money to provide for orphans and terminally ill children. Constant rumors of pedophilia have never been proven, though many wonder due to the fragile state of his psyche.

There still remain backwater factions who wish to return McDonaldland to the apartheid state that was ruled by Ronald's ancestors. Among them are Hamburglar and Captain Crook who spend all their time undermining the McDonaldland economy by stealing hamburgers and Filet-O-Fish sandwiches, respectively. A gang of neo-conservative youngsters known as the Fry Guys roam the streets at night perpetrating malicious acts against the food people of McDonaldland such as spilling condiments on their lawns and toasting effigies of the Mayor and Chief of Police in McDonaldland square.

There has been a lot of progress in McDonaldland, but much education and reconciliation still needs to occur. As such, all of us at On Alfred Pond have enacted a moratorium on McDonaldland jokes. We sincerely regret the comments we made in jest earlier this week and ask that you will keep the good people of McDonaldland in your thoughts and prayers.

-- Pete

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Osama Bin Laden, Rapp Music and Numerology

My latest features for the NY Daily News include an interview w Morgan Spurlock about his new documentary Where in the World is Osama Bin Laden?, a chat with actor and musician Anthony Rapp and a dive into the numerology of movies that include the number 8 in their title.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Kicking, Slashing and Hoofing

Three new stories for the New York Daily News: a profile of hoofer Savion Glover, a story on the flood of remakes in the Eighties slasher genre and a rundown of kung-fu comedies. (And yes, I know "sensei" is a Japanese term and inappropriate for a story on Hong Kong star Jackie Chan and the Chinese art of kung-fu. It was an editing error, so hi-yaaah!

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

American Idol -- The Top 9

Here's my latest Idol coverage for Huffington Post, this time covering the Top 9 and guest mentor Dolly Parton.