March 2016 | Vol. 26 Issue 2 | Always Free
FROSH SOCIAL JUSTICE ARE KEEN ON
YOUTUBE EMPIRE TAYLOR HAWKINS
HAS FUN WITH CLASSIC ROCK
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AN IMPRESSIVE, THUNDEROUS”
NERVE-WRACKER Peter Debruge, Variety
BARRELS THROUGH WITH THE IMPACT OF A TSUNAMI.
Gripping and naturalistic.” Marjorie Baumgarten, The Austin Chronicle
PUTS HOLLYWOOD DISASTER MOVIES TO SHAME.
A stellar work that will hopefully teach Hollywood a thing or two.” Perri Nemiroff, Collider
A CUT ABOVE ” THE REST.
Trace Thurman, Bloody Disgusting
IT WAS ONLY A MATTER OF TIME.
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TABLE OF CONTENTS March 2016 Vol. 26 Issue 2
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NEWS 04 FRESHMEN KEEN ON SOCIAL JUSTICE 06 STANFORD GRADS WANT TO HELP RUN YOUR OWN YOUTUBE EMPIRE! FILM 08 FOREIGN DIRECTORS GIVE HOLLYWOOD THE FLIP 12 OBSESS ABOUT FILM? MEET YOUR CINE FAMILY MUSIC 14 FOO FIGHTER’S TAYLOR HAWKINS PLAYS THECLASSICS
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COLLEGE FRESHMEN ARE KEEN ON SOCIAL JUSTICE, SURVEY SHOWS BY TERESA WATANABE LOS ANGELES TIMES (TNS)
LOS ANGELES — Today’s American college freshman is more liberal, less religious and increasingly committed to civic involvement and political activism compared with those in previous generations, according to a national survey by researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles. Nearly 60 percent of freshmen said they expected to vote sometime during their college years, and majorities supported same-sex marriage, abortion rights, affirmative action, legalization of marijuana and equal pay for women. They also overwhelmingly opposed U.S. involvement in other countries’ wars. “Collectively, the findings suggest that more students are committed to social justice,” said Kevin Eagan, director of UCLA’s cooperative institutional research program, which has conducted the annual American Freshman survey for the last 50 years. “That may be why they are the most committed to political and civic engagement of any of the previous 49 classes.” The results released last week showed that one-third of those surveyed said they were “liberal” or “far left,” the highest proportion in four decades, while one-fifth described themselves as “conservative” or “far right.” But their attitudes were markedly different according to race and ethnicity. Although interest in political and civic activism has grown among all students, African-American and Latino students were far more likely than Asians and whites to expect to participate in a campus demonstration. They were also more likely to believe it important to promote racial understanding and influence politics. For instance, only 6 percent of Asians planned to participate in a protest or felt it important to influence politics, compared with more than twice that share for African-Americans. The UCLA researchers said the heightened interest in political activism could be the result of students witnessing the
CAMPUS CIRCLE March 2016
recent wave of protests against police shootings of AfricanAmerican men and student demonstrations against campus treatment of minorities at Claremont McKenna College and Occidental College in Southern California, the University of Missouri and elsewhere. Whether the enhanced political interest will affect the presidential election this year is another matter. Although Barack Obama produced a record turnout of young voters in 2008 — and won the backing of 66 percent of those under 30 years old — young people still have the lowest voting rates of any age group. “We certainly see students embracing more of the progressive perspectives,” Eagan said. “But will it actually translate to action? “If they organize, protest and show up at the polls, they may have a role in shaping the public discourse on issues related to social inequality, equity and discrimination,” he said. “By contrast, if these students do not follow through on their intentions and goals, the enthusiastic support we’re seeing for addressing social justice concerns will likely diminish, eliminating the potential for a broader impact in politics or American life.” The researchers surveyed more than 141,000 first-time, full-time students who entered 199 four-year U.S. colleges and universities in 2015. Despite their overall embrace of liberal views, today’s freshmen are more likely to support restrictions on free speech — a trend that has led to controversial student movements to disinvite commencement speakers, disrupt presentations by those with unpopular views and demand “trigger warnings” before uttering potentially uncomfortable speech. Support for banning racist and sexist speech on campus reached 70.9 percent in 2015, up from 58.9 percent in 1992.
And 43 percent of those surveyed said colleges should have the right to ban extreme speakers, up from 25 percent in 1971. Eagan said he understood student concerns that derogatory speech could lead to violence or harm students. “At the same time, institutions need to make sure we aren’t insulating students from ideas that may be counter to their narratives,” he said. The proportion of students who did not affiliate with a religion grew to 29.5 percent, an all-time high since the survey began. Freshmen also continued to report that they studied more and partied less in their last year of high school than previous classes. For the first time, the survey asked students about their sexual orientation and gender identity and found that those who described themselves as bisexual, gay, lesbian, queer or “other” more frequently felt depressed and overwhelmed than the 93.2 percent of students who said they were heterosexual. The survey also asked questions about financial aid for the first time. It found that more than a quarter of freshmen received a federal Pell Grant — an annual award of up to $5,775 for low-income students — and they were disproportionately Latino and African-American. Those students worried far more than others about their ability to pay for college and had to scramble more to take out loans, find work-study jobs and seek other ways to foot their educational bills. The UCLA institute plans to release another analysis in June that will provide more detail about how college freshmen have changed over the 50 years of the surveys. ——— ©2016 Los Angeles Times Visit the Los Angeles Times at www.latimes.com Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
Film | Music | Culture
“NOT SINCE SISSY SPACEK PORTRAYED LORETTA LYNN HAS AN ACTOR INHABITED A LEGEND LIKE TOM HIDDLESTON PLAYING HANK WILLIAMS. HE QUITE SIMPLY BECOMES WILLIAMS FOR A NEW GENERATION OF COUNTRY FANS.” -Stephen Hubbard, ABC-NASHVILLE (WKRN)
TOM HIDDLESTON ELIZABETH OLSEN CHERRY JONES BRADLEY WHITFORD MADDIE HASSON WRENN SCHMIDT
SONY PICTURES CLASSICS AND RATPAC ENTERTAINMENT PRESENT IN ASSOCIATION WITH CW MEDIA FINANCE A BRON STUDIOS AND RATPAC ENTERTAINMENT PRODUCTION TOM HIDDLESTON ELIZABETH OLSEN “I SAW THE LIGHT” CHERRY JONES BRADLEY WHITFORD MADDIE HASSON WRENN SCHMIDT CASTING BY DENISE CHAMIAN, CSA COSTUME DESIGNER LAHLY POORE-ERICSON DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY DANTE SPINOTTI, ASC AIC EDITOR ALAN HEIM, ACE PRODUCTION DESIGNER MERIDETH BOSWELL EXECUTIVE MUSIC PRODUCER RODNEY CROWELL MUSIC SUPERVISOR CARTER LITTLE MUSIC BY AARON ZIGMAN CO-EXECUTIVE PRODUCERS MARGOT HAND BRENDA GILBERT EXECUTIVE PRODUCERS PATTY LONG JASON CLOTH JOHN RAYMONDS JAMES PACKER PRODUCED BY BRETT RATNER, p.g.a. AARON L. GILBERT, p.g.a MARC ABRAHAM, p.g.a G. MARQ ROSWELL, p.g.a. BASED ON THE BOOK “HANK WILLIAMS: THE BIOGRAPHY” BY COLIN ESCOTT WITH GEORGE MERRITT AND WILLIAM MACEWEN WRITTEN AND DIRECTED BY MARC ABRAHAM COPYRIGHT © 2015 RATPAC ISTL LLC AND I SAW THE LIGHT MOVIE, LLC ALL RIGHTS RESERVED WWW.ISAWTHELIGHTFILM.COM WWW.SONYCLASSICS.COM .
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Epoxy helps YouTubers optimize their publishing schedule, while also growing their audience and increasing engagement on their video networks. (GENARO MOLINA/LOS ANGELES TIMES/TNS)
THESE STANFORD GRADUATES WANT TO HELP YOU RUN A YOUTUBE EMPIRE BY DAVID PIERSON
LOS ANGELES TIMES (TNS) LOS ANGELES — Aspiring stars in Los Angeles used to measure success by the number of parts or auditions they snared. Travel video-bloggers Damon Dominique and Joanna Franco do it by brewing a pot of coffee in the morning, opening their laptops and counting the number of new comments, mentions and likes they tallied. The duo, known online as Damon and Jo, have attracted advertisers by amassing more than 210,000 subscribers on YouTube. That’s enough of a following to hopefully never have to walk dogs or deliver groceries again. But maintaining that momentum won’t be easy. It takes a relentless pace of new content and round-the-clock tending of fans on social media. “When you get to a certain level it’s impossible to see every YouTube comment,” said Franco, a 23-year-old native of Rio de Janeiro who grew up in Connecticut and moved to LA last summer. “It’s easy to say, ‘I’m overwhelmed.’” Without the means to hire a team of publicists, agents and assistants, Dominique and Franco turned to software developed by a LA startup called Epoxy to maximize their digital influence. The company’s tools bolster the art and science of Internet fame, giving so-called content creators, in the parlance of the digital video world, a badly needed edge at a time when competition is fierce. Epoxy does this by merging Damon and Jo’s YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts, allowing them to post new clips and pictures on any of those networks from one place. “I don’t have to have 7,000 tabs open anymore,” said Dominique, a 24-year-old native of Fort Wayne, Ind., who became close friends with Franco at Pace University in New York. Settings can also be toggled so that the pair are notified any time someone with a big social media following gives them a shout-out — a golden opportunity to reach a wider audience with a simple reply. The emergence of companies like Epoxy underscores the breadth and sophistication of today’s YouTube and online video ecosystem, which only recently was dismissed as a compendium of cat videos rather than an alternative to traditional entertainment. There are now 165,000 YouTube creators around the world with followings of at least 10,000 subscribers, according to Tubular Labs, a Mountain View, Calif., digital video analytics company.
CAMPUS CIRCLE March 2016
Within that community, 8,600 creators have at least 250,000 subscribers (also known as “now you can quit your day job” level), 4,100 have a following of at least 500,000 and 1,800 have at least 1 million subscribers. Those at the top of the heap, such as Lilly Singh, Tyler Oakley and PewDiePie, command millions of dollars in endorsements and brand campaigns. “It’s a more crowded environment,” said Allison Stern, cofounder of Tubular Labs, which offers creators free software to chart their influence. “I do think it’s definitely harder to become a star today than before.” Creators compete with one another for eyeballs and brand campaigns. Advertisers look for the top influencers in targeted markets. That gave rise to an industry connecting advertisers to creators led by startups such as Zefr, Famebit and OpenSlate. Although Epoxy also wants to help the most established creators maintain their social media empires, it largely helps up-and-comers find their footing. The company was co-founded in 2012 by Stanford graduates Juan Bruce and Jason Ahmad, who both have backgrounds in design and engineering. The idea came when Bruce served as head of digital at Team Downey, a production company founded by actor Robert Downey Jr. and his wife, Susan. Team Downey was making a Web series and asked Bruce and Ahmad to research why some online videos prospered while others didn’t regardless of production value. Bruce and Ahmad interviewed top YouTubers like Jenna Marbles and Hannah Hart, ad agencies, Hollywood studios and multichannel networks that were representing the biggest digital stars. Using the Downey name helped open doors for the soonto-be founders. When they were done, they were surprised by what they discovered. “Winning in online video very often didn’t have anything to do with the video itself,” said Ahmad, now Epoxy’s chief product officer. “It actually had more to do with all the activity surrounding community building.” The way beauty vlogging star Michelle Phan explained it to them, you have to build an audience first by promoting a new video on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram before you can expect to rack up views on YouTube and elsewhere. “All these different networks support each other. They’re not the islands people had traditionally thought they were,”
Ahmad said. Bruce and Ahmad started building Epoxy while at Team Downey and spun it out when they realized that there was demand for the software across the online video industry. In 2013, Epoxy raised $2 million in a seed round led by Santa Monica’s Upfront Ventures. The following year, it raised an additional $6.5 million in a Series A round led by Time Warner Investments and Upfront Ventures. Included in that round was Downey Ventures. Mark Suster, managing partner at Upfront Ventures, said Epoxy wasn’t a short-term bet. The rise of Netflix, Hulu, YouTube and HBO’s streaming service signaled the end of a stranglehold on distribution by a handful of powerful media companies. That will eventually lead to a surge in demand for more content and the people needed to make it, he said. “We believe by capturing the most elusive part of the market — the creators — we become infinitely more valuable to distributors who want access to talent,” Suster said. When Epoxy officially released its publishing platform in May 2014, it included an editing tool to tailor video for the different social networks, a scheduling feature so that content could be posted strategically and a system to sort social media interactions so that creators could quickly respond. The company released a mobile version of its software in September and recently released a feature where, instead of replying to posts in text, users can do it with a short video clip. The company charges between $19 and $109 a month for access depending on the level of service desired. About 60 multi-channel networks, including Fullscreen, Maker Studios and AwesomenessTV, have purchased bulk subscriptions to Epoxy. Bruce declined to say whether the company was profitable and it’s unclear how many creators are using the software. The company will say only that its clients collectively capture about 6 billion views on YouTube each month. For comparison, Maker, a Disney-owned multi-channel network with stars such as PewDiePie, attracts 10 billion views each month. For creators, many of those views are hard-won. “It’s a really hard, exhausting, fragmented life,” said Bruce, Epoxy’s chief executive. “But on the plus side for us, if you can solve for that, you can win loyal users.” ——— ©2016 Los Angeles Times Visit the Los Angeles Times at www.latimes.com Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
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FOREIGN DIRECTORS FLIP THE SCRIPT ON HOLLYWOOD STORY IDEAS BY JEFFREY FLEISHMAN AND CAROLINA A. MIRANDA LOS ANGELES TIMES (TNS)
CAMPUS CIRCLE March 2016
Film | Music | Culture
FILM A SCENE IN THE NEW TURKISH FILM “Sivas” shows a boy in the cruel mountains of Anatolia peering through an old ViewMaster at images of Lassie. It is a hushed, startling moment that is at once a homage to American film and a comment by director Kaan Mujdeci on how Hollywood fantasy often translates in strange and absurd ways to the lives and rhythms of distant lands. Hollywood has long been a powerful shaper of global culture. Italian filmmakers have made westerns. The Turkish film industry has reconceived “Rambo” as a zombie movie. And India’s Bollywood has produced a NASCAR flick: “Ta Ra Rum Pum,” about a humble pit-crew man who becomes a famous race car driver. But increasingly films such as “Sivas” and other foreignlanguage movies, including those nominated for this year’s Academy Awards, are chipping at the edges of American dominance. Talented directors and advances in digital filmmaking are helping countries rarely associated with movie production to gain acclaim for turning out intriguing counternarratives to familiar themes. “It used to be that everyone was excited to see the new movie coming out of Italy, France, Spain or Germany. But now you’re just as likely to see a film from Jordan or Peru that will knock your socks off,” said Mark Johnson, head of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ foreign-language film committee. “Amazing stuff is coming out of South America. Filmmakers in Chile, Argentina, Colombia are vibrant. There’s an excitement with young filmmakers.” To understand what’s fueling the boom, The Times spoke with a dozen foreign filmmakers at the Palm Springs International Film Festival in January. They cited artistic influences as diverse as “Indiana Jones,” the sweeping beauty of Japanese director Akira Kurosawa and the moody minimalism of Iranian cinema. At a time when Hollywood has been criticized for a lack of diversity, international filmmakers are exploring war, famine, colonialism, the nature of god and the plight of indigenous peoples. But Hollywood remains the barometer, a soft-power extension, critics say, of U.S. foreign policy and American capitalism. In 2015, the 20 top-grossing films globally came out of or were in some way connected to U.S. studios — including “Jurassic World,” “Cinderella” and “Mad Max: Fury Road.” Hollywood increasingly depends on it: 73 percent of its ticket sales come from international markets, up from 66 percent in 2010. Filmmakers such as Bosnia and Herzegovina auteur Ines Tanovic, who directed “Our Everyday Life,” about a family adjusting in the aftermath of the Bosnian war, said: “I cannot work as if Hollywood doesn’t exist. We all refer to Hollywood. Maybe we want to do the opposite of Hollywood, but it’s still there.” Jayro Bustamante, the Guatemalan director of the awardwinning “Ixcanul,” about the life of a Maya girl in the highlands, agrees: “It’s a total influence. There’s an Estadounisamiento (United States-ification) of Guatemalan society. We are interested in having large cars even though we don’t have the roads for them. We have malls but not the money to spend at them.” The phenomenon led one French writer in the early ‘90s to coin the verb jurassiquer, from Steven Spielberg’s “Jurassic Park,” to describe how Hollywood can appear to obliterate local culture — like a runaway dinosaur on a snacking rampage. And it’s not just the popcorn flicks that wield influence. Serious directors, such as Quentin Tarantino and David Fincher, have also inspired the works of many international directors. “I couldn’t have done my film without watching postVietnam American films and modern ones like ‘The Hurt Locker’ and ‘Zero Dark Thirty,’” said Tobias Lindholm, whose movie “A War,” about a Danish soldier facing war crimes charges, is nominated for a foreign-language film Oscar this year. “Once in a while we (European) directors say, ‘I want to be (Ingmar) Bergman. I want to sit on my island alone.’ That’s romantic but not true. Because when we look to the U.S., it’s still some of the best films we see.” Moreover, a cross-pollination is also taking place as Hollywood lures global filmmakers who possess captivating styles. Mexican director Alejandro Inarritu, who won a directing
Oscar for his best picture-winning 2014 film, “Birdman,” and has been nominated this year for “The Revenant,” became a sensation after his 2000 homegrown work “Amores Perros.” That film, which came out of a vibrant Mexican film community that also produced Oscar-winning directors Alfonso Cuaron and Guillermo del Toro, was nominated for a foreign-language film Academy Award. But Hollywood’s balance of power could soon shift, or at least teeter, as international directors concentrate on indigenous stories. When the academy launched the foreign-language film category in 1956, it received eight submissions, all but two from European countries. By 1986, there were 32 submissions. For the 2015 Academy Awards ceremony, to be held Feb. 28, there are 81 — including contenders from Guatemala (its second Oscar submission ever), Cambodia (the fourth) and Jordan and Ethiopia (the third). Countries that weren’t known for movies are now home to production boomlets. Colombia in 1993 produced two domestic films that made it into local theaters. By 2014, that number had risen to 28, according to the country’s Ministry of Culture. This year, Colombia earned its first foreign-language film Oscar nomination for “Embrace of the Serpent,” director Ciro Guerra’s hypnotic tale about the brutal effects of colonialism in the Amazon.
in the jungle in search of divine cure — and turns it on its head, centering the action on a shaman-warrior named Karamakate who has lost all the members of his tribe. “That’s what we Latin American filmmakers can do,” says Guerra. “The stories of the explorers have been told. What we can do is turn history on its head, give another perspective.” “Lamb,” the debut feature by Ethiopian director Yared Zeleke, which screened at the Cannes Film Festival last year as part of Un Certain Regard, tackled the question of landscape — an important issue for a country whose global image has been largely defined by outsiders. “Films about Ethiopia are generally not shot in Ethiopia,” says Zeleke, who divides his time between Addis Ababa and New York. “Angelina Jolie’s ‘Beyond Borders’ was shot in Namibia. There’s an Israeli film, ‘Live and Become,’ which has to do with famine, and it was shot in Israel. In Ethiopia, we don’t have desert like that. Therein lies the problem, you’re watching a film about Ethiopia, but you’re not looking at the country itself.” None of this suggests that Hollywood’s soft power will recede any time soon. The top-10-grossing films in Mexico in 2014, a country with a respected, if not always prodigious film industry, all hailed from the U.S. In Colombia, nine of the top 10 grossing films were from Hollywood, such as “Furious 7” and “Jurassic World.” There are exceptions: More than 60 percent of box office
“It used to be that everyone was excited to see the new movie coming out of Italy, France, Spain or Germany. But now you’re just as likely to see a film from Jordan or Peru that will knock your socks off…” “I remember seeing (Federico Fellini’s) ‘8 1/2’ on television at the age of 13,” says Guerra. “At the time, I knew that was what I wanted to do. But in that era, wanting to be a filmmaker in Colombia was like wanting to be an astronaut. I’d say that in the last 10 years that has changed. It has started to grow. There is government support.” The country now has at least half a dozen film programs at universities around the country. And in 2010, it opened its first dedicated film school, the Escuela Nacional de Cine (National School of Cinema, known as ENACC), in Bogota. It has accepted an estimated 350 students per year. Even nations with well-developed film industries have seen growth. Between 1990 and 2007, Turkey produced roughly 40 films a year. In 2015, that number reached a peak of 134, according to Antrakt, a local film research and marketing company. Of the country’s top-10-grossing films in 2015, only three hailed from U.S. studios. At No. 1 was a comedy titled “Dugun Dernek 2: Sunnet” — “Unconventional Wedding 2: Circumcision.” Digital filmmaking has had a transformational effect on some countries — especially nontraditional locations such as remote Ethiopian villages and unnavigable corners of the Amazon. “In Guatemala, you have a new generation of directors making cinema,” says Bustamante. “In the past, making a film was complicated because Guatemala didn’t have things like laboratories to develop film. But digital has changed that.” Such technology made it possible for Bustamante to create “Ixcanul,” his first feature film, shot on the lap of a volcano in the Guatemalan highlands in the indigenous language of Kaqchikel. The movie picked up the Alfred Bauer Prize at the Berlin International Film Festival last year, was nominated for five Fenix Awards (the important Ibero-American prize) and was Guatemala’s submission to the Academy Awards. (It wasn’t nominated.) Many of the new international films are stark and foreboding in their beauty, including a glimpse at Islamic radicalism in “Timbuktu,” the first film from Mauritania to be nominated for an Academy Award. “Ixcanul” and “Embrace of the Serpent” tell stories from an indigenous point of view. The latter takes the typical Hollywood exploration film — botanist
receipts in South Korea and Japan come from domestic films; that figure rises to 90 percent in India, home to Bollywood, the well-oiled, long-running filmmaking industry that produces hundreds of films every year, many of them dazzling song-anddance spectacles. Questions also arise over how Hollywood will navigate countries such as Russia, which has increasingly strained diplomatic ties with Washington, and China, which is fiercely protective of its own movie industry — setting quotas on how many foreign films can be screened in the country. “There’s less cooperation and more disagreements and conflicts,” said Icelandic director Grimur Hakonarson, whose critically acclaimed film “Rams” centers on two eccentric, estranged brothers and their sheep. “It’s a little like going back to the Cold War. Maybe American cultural dominance will fade with changes in global politics.” International directors may not have the power to instigate their own cultural shifts. But many like Indian director Raam Reddy see a start. Last year, Reddy, who feels the influence of Bollywood and Hollywood, co-wrote and directed “Thithi,” a dramedy that has no songs, a cast of amateurs, and an intergenerational story line that revolves around the death of a trash-talking elder named Century Gowda. Reddy saved a lot by shooting in digital. “The ability to roll the camera without worrying about waste was so important,” he says. “If we were dealing with film stock, it’d be impossible.” “Thithi” has gained praise on the festival circuit and will screen at the New Directors/New Films festival in New York City in March. It joins a new wave of films that aim to provide a more incisive, less glamorous view of Indian society. The question is will such films resonate with audiences accustomed to the allure and flash of two moviemaking empires. “I don’t see Hollywood being replaced,” says Reddy. “But I think the ratio might change. You will see other types of filmmaking grow alongside.” ——— ©2016 Los Angeles Times Visit the Los Angeles Times at www.latimes.com Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC. CAMPUS CIRCLE March 2016
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IN A FILMOBSESSED TOWN, YOU CAN FIND YOUR CINEFAMILY BY SAM MCMANIS
THE SACRAMENTO BEE (TNS)
LOS ANGELES — This city adores the movies — excuse me, the cinema — absolutely reveres the art form, worships the craft to near fetishistic levels. No surprise, since it is a company town, home to studios big and small, theaters seemingly outnumbering those other places of worship: churches. Given this milieu, it’s also no surprise that revival and repertory theaters flourish here at a time when, in much of the country, vintage films are only streamed in the comfort of your living room. Art-house staples such as the New Beverly Cinema, American Cinematheque at the Egyptian and the Aero, the UCLA Film and Television Archive, and the Nuart curate classic, cultish and curiously idiosyncratic offerings to audiences with a deep sense of history and equal amounts whimsy. But you haven’t truly experienced Los Angeles’ celluloid culture — digital be damned; we’re talking primo 35mm prints — until you spend a night at the Cinefamily at the Silent Movie Theatre in the Fairfax District. Since 2007, a group of film buffs, some of the periphery of the industry, has turned L.A.’s erstwhile lone silent movie house into a tabernacle of talkies with offerings even movie mensch Peter Bogdanovich wouldn’t recognize. Willfully obscure (anyone familiar with “Jeanne Dielman, 23 Quai du Commerce-1080 Bruxelles”?) at times, quirkily nostalgic (Bogey & Bacall in “Dark Passage”) at others, and campily creepy (“Blue Sunshine”) on weekends, the Cinefamily offerings may entertain you, mystify you, occasionally infuriate and disgust you, but these flicks are like nothing you’ll ever experience either in a chain theater or at home with a Redbox selection. It’s more than just a revival house; it incorporates films into broader entertainment. About once a month, a program called “Doug Bensen’s Interruption” takes a cheesy movie — December’s offering: “Kirk Cameron’s Saving Christmas” — and has comedians and actors (Sarah Silverman and Zach Galifianakis, for example) sit on the couches in the first few rows, microphones in hand, providing snarky commentary, a la “Mystery Science Theater 3000.” Cinefamily plays vintage Saturday morning cartoons on, well, Saturday mornings, hews to its roots with a Saturday night silent movie, and often presents curated compilations, such as “The Comedians: Drunks, Thieves, Scoundrels and the History of American Comedy,” hosted by author Kliph Nesteroff.
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Even if you don’t consider yourself a cinephile, even if your idea of edgy is the oeuvre of Garry Marshall, you’ll feel smarter and hipper hanging out with these cool kids. If possible, try to schedule your SoCal trip to coincide with Cinefamily’s monthly “A Band and a Movie” night, in which a musician pairs a movie that best encapsulates the aesthetic of her or his music. After the showing, the crowd repairs to the back patio for a short set by the musician. In late December, for example, drone metal artist Dylan Carlson picked Sam Peckinpah’s bloody “Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia.” The night I attended, Bay Area singer-songwriter Cass McCombs chose a quintessential California drug movie, “Dusty and Sweets McGee” (1971, directed by Floyd Mutrux), preceded by a short called “Sean,” a 16mm documentary about a boy raised in Haight-Ashbury in 1969. I was not familiar with either flick, but when I saw the line stretched along Fairfax Avenue — not exactly “Star Wars”-long, but significant — I decided to check it out. I fell into line behind a late-20s-something couple, Jordan Londe and Caitlin Geiger, card-carrying Cinefamily members. They’re both “in the business” — Londe works “in commercials” and Geiger “in fashion” — and both are admitted cineastes. “I moved here 7 years ago, and I found myself not really liking L.A.,” Londe said. “I was from the Midwest and so it wasn’t until six months in that somebody recommended I come here. Something shifted for me. I found a group of people I like. It very much is a Cinefamily. I’m not joking. The cool thing is the aesthetic diversity. You find other theaters in town, but they have a very specific theme to their program. But this one kind of does it all. It’s all over the map.” An added attraction for Geiger: “There’s the history of the place. Do you know the history?” I reeled off what I’d read on Cinefamily’s website, how this was a silent movie house started in 1942 and run, on and off, until the early 2000s before a consortium of movie types — led by Hadrian Belove, a writer and owner of the erstwhile Cinefile Video store — got together and turned it into a repertory house. “No, I mean the murder,” Geiger said. “The what?” “It’s a sordid history,” Londe added. Subsequent Googling turned up the story: In 1997,
Lawrence Austin, the owner of the Silent Movie Theatre (which then stuck true to its name, refusing to play talkies), was killed in a murder-for-hire scheme by the theater’s projectionist, who paid an assassin/moviegoer $25,000 to off his boss/lover for the insurance money. The trigger man, Christian Rodriguez, and the projectionist, James Van Sickle, both were convicted of murder in 1999. “But the really interesting part,” Geiger added, “was that there was a live organist playing and the man playing it was deaf and didn’t realize somebody had been shot. So he just kept playing the organ during the whole thing.” “That’s the spirit of L.A.,” Londe quipped. That’s just the kind of ironic, slightly twisted sensibility that draws people to Cinefamily shows. The interior of the 180-seat theater is noir chic. It’s dark and slightly dank, with framed photos of silent-screen icons (from Fatty Arbuckle to Clara Bow) lining the walls. The velvetbacked seats clearly have seen better days, but early birds willing to pay slightly extra can lounge on the couches in the first few rows. A DJ is camped in the far left front of the stage to provide pre-movie entertainment, but most of the crowd hovers in the narrow lobby, getting caffeinated and talking movies under framed posters of John Cassavetes and Buddy Rogers. Everyone’s a critic here, or so it seemed. I overheard a confab about the plot ambiguities of “Eraserhead” and how it presaged the psycho-sexual pathology in “Blue Velvet.” But then I ran into Steven Gonzalez. He was no cinephile, thank goodness. “I just think this place is cool because they have all these strange movies,” he said. “One time I came, they showed a documentary about some religious cult. They showed infomercials from the cult from ’70s TV. Craziest stuff you’ll ever see.” ——— CINEFAMILY AT THE SILENT MOVIE THEATRE Where: 611 North Fairfax Ave., Los Angeles More info: www.cinefamily.org ——— ©2016 The Sacramento Bee (Sacramento, Calif.) Visit The Sacramento Bee (Sacramento, Calif.) at www.sacbee. com Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
Film | Music | Culture
TAYLOR HAWKINS, FOO FIGHTERS DRUMMER, HAS FUN WITH CLASSIC ROCK
BY ALLISON STEWART - CHICAGO TRIBUNE (TNS) BEING IN A CLASSIC ROCK COVER BAND ISN’T COMPLICATED, especially if you’re Taylor Hawkins, frontman of Chevy Metal (specialty: Black Sabbath, Queen and early Van Halen covers) and drummer for the Foo Fighters. According to Hawkins, these are the rules: 1. Pick some songs you know. 2. Play them. 3. Don’t be afraid to shuffle the set list around: Two fast songs followed by a medium-tempo song will usually work. 4. Don’t worry about playing slow ones. There will be no slow ones. “We’re not good enough to play Journey or anything like that,” Hawkins says wistfully. 5. Special guests are something everyone can enjoy (Hawkins: “I’ll let anybody up”). Past examples include Hawkins’ boss Dave Grohl, Motley Crue’s Nikki Sixx (this happened one time, and was a highlight of Hawkins’ career) and “the guy from Ratt.” 6. If a gig is going poorly, there is nothing to be done, no messiah, no one surefire, crowd-pleasing song that will save you. Let it happen. Hawkins, 44, is a drummer of formidable skill, but he’s also an
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unjaded Everybro. He formed Chevy Metal to fight the boredom and erosion of musical discipline brought on by Foo Fighters down time, and because he wanted to play James Gang covers with his friends. He divides his life between his superstar rock band and the pressure-free existence of his other rock band. He is doing what you would do with your life, if somebody let you do it. “I need to find another hobby,” Hawkins protests. “I could use a life, trust me.” Hawkins belonged to a few cover bands in high school in Laguna Beach, Calif. They would play school dances, and the weddings of the less discerning. “Those were fun,” Hawkins says. “That’s fun. When we go do those kinds of shows, it kind of transcends you back to that frame of mind, which is a very simple way to enjoy music, remembering the old songs you love, getting together with your bros. There’s no real high tension. No one’s life depends on this.” He joined the Foo Fighters in 1997, a few years after they first formed. “When we were younger, when we were first trying make our mark for real on the first three records, it was intense,” Hawkins recalls. Participation in outside bands was frowned upon: When Grohl joined Queens of the Stone Age in the early ‘00s, it sent fear into the hearts of those in the Foos camp. “When you would do anything different, people would get uptight,” Hawkins says. “I remember when Dave was doing Queens, everyone was really uptight. They were like, ‘Oh no, he’s in that band right now.’” Chevy Metal began as a reaction to, and an escape from, the Foos’ pressure-cooker existence. “I started Chevy Metal because
I needed to stay in shape,” Hawkins says. “I needed to kind of lightly think about music, because the Foos had gotten really heavy at that point. We were trying to make this record, and it was really hard. We just weren’t doing what we wanted to do, and everyone scattered. Chevy Metal became kind of a musical gym, somewhere I could stay in shape and enjoy music on a high school level.” The Foos play arenas and large-scale European festivals. Chevy Metal plays clubs, a lot of charity gigs and the kind of local events that involve tractor pulls. Grohl sometimes appears alongside them onstage, and he guested on the self-titled 2014 debut from the Birds of Satan, which is Chevy Metal reconstituted as a prog-flavored rock band performing original material. If Hawkins minds being upstaged by his superstar boss during his own gigs, he betrays no sign of it: The Foo Fighters seem to be the rare band that actually enjoys one another’s company. “If we do a Foo Fighters record, we work off and on for six months, from inception to final recording. Sometimes it takes a year to do one, but that’s not (working) every day,” Hawkins says. “There’s a lot of time to do other stuff. The more you do, especially if it’s a good, positive experience, you come back and you bring that zest back to the Foo Fighters, which is the mother ship for all of us. (We’re) always doing stuff on the side, and that’s fine. You should.” ——— ©2016 Chicago Tribune Visit the Chicago Tribune at www.chicagotribune.com Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
Film | Music | Culture
LET’S EAT: ORANGE BEEF
BY GRETCHEN MCKAY - PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE (TNS) CHINESE NEW YEAR, which began last week, ushers in the Year of the Monkey, the ninth of the 12 animals in the recurring 12year Chinese zodiac cycle. While people born under this sign can be a bit quick-tempered, they’re also thought to be cheerful and energetic. Monkeys might even be described as magnetic. The recipe we offer below to celebrate the new lunar year has many of the same qualities. Tangy-sweet and crunchytender, it offers the perfect balance of flavors and textures. True, it’s more Chinese-American than authentic Chinese, but it’s a favorite take-out dish nonetheless. It was a little spicy for my parents, who got it for their 65th wedding anniversary; next time I’ll cut back on the chilies. Serve with white rice and charred orange wedges. Chopsticks optional. ——— ORANGE BEEF PG tested For sauce 1 1/2 cups orange juice 1/2 cup unseasoned rice vinegar 1/2 cup granulated sugar 1/4 cup reduced-sodium soy sauce
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2 tablespoons Thai or Vietnamese fish sauce 1 1/2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh ginger 1 1/2 teaspoons finely chopped garlic 1 fresh red Thai chili, thinly sliced For dish 1 pound boneless rib-eye steak, fat trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces 1 large egg white 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon cornstarch 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt 1/4 cup vegetable oil 1/2 cup sliced red onion 3 scallions, dark greens thinly sliced, the rest cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces 2 Asian dried red chiles 1 tablespoon finely grated orange zest 2 cups steamed broccoli florets Make sauce: Combine all sauce ingredients in medium skillet, bring mixture to a boil over high heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until it reduces by about half (to 1 1/2 cups) and it’s just barely thick enough to coat the back of a metal spoon, about 10 minutes. Reserve 1/2 cup for dish. The rest will keep in
the fridge for up to 5 days or in freezer for up to 3 months. Make dish: Combine steak, egg white, cornstarch and salt in bowl and toss with your hands to coat the beef well. Heat oil in a wide cast-iron skillet over high heat until oil begins to smoke. Add beef in one layer and cook without stirring until the bottoms of the pieces are golden brown, about 1 minute. Flip beef, add red onion, scallion pieces and dried chilies and cook, stirring occasionally, until beef is cooked to medium rare, about 2 minutes more. Transfer contents of skillet to plate. Pour 1/2 cup orange sauce into skillet, let it boil and cook, stirring occasionally, just until sauce thickens to a syrupy texture. Dump rib-eye mixture into sauce and stir until sauce coats the beef, 12 to 30 seconds. Take skillet off heat, stir in orange zest and scallion greens, and transfer the dish to a plate with broccoli. Serves 4. — “Asian-American: Proudly Inauthentic Recipes From the Philippines to Brooklyn” by Dale Talde with JJ Goode (Grand Central Life & Style, Sept. 2015, $32) ——— ©2016 Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Visit the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette at www.post-gazette.com Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
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DRAMATIC ROCK FORMATIONS, BARREN LANDSCAPE GIVE DEATH VALLEY FEEL OF UNEXPLORED FRONTIER BY LAUREN WILLIAMS THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER(TNS)
FROM THE MOMENT OUR CAR CLIMBED OVER THE RUSTCOLORED MOUNTAINS and descended into boulder-studded valleys, a sense of peaceful solitude was the tone for our weekend in Death Valley National Park. Only five hours from the coast, the barren landscape and dearth of cars outside our caravan of three added to the feeling that we were a world apart from bustling Southern California, away from civilization altogether, pioneers exploring virgin land. It felt as though we ventured out onto the surface of Mars, or at least, that’s where my imagination took me. Of course, we’re not the first people to set foot in Death Valley — far from it — but the vast expanses of open space, absence of structures and preternatural silences can inspire such musings. It is astonishing that the land in Death Valley remains as pristine as it is, with its history of mining. In 1994, Congress expanded the area’s protection beyond its status as a national monument to that of a national park. While its land is characterized by sparse vegetation, the rocky terrain is amazingly varied, from salt flats and sand dunes to snowcapped mountains and trickling springs. We entered the park through the desolate mining town of Trona. Had we driven an extra 100 miles or so, we could have stopped to visit Manzanar, an internment camp where Japanese Americans were confined during World War II. But on this trip, we concentrated on the area’s ancient history. Driving into the park from the west meant we could stop by the Trona Pinnacles, jagged peaks formed underwater up to 100,000 years ago in the now dry Searles Lake, according to the Bureau of Land Management. There are more than 500 of these unusual tufa spires in the dry lake basin, their pores and jagged edges reminiscent of corral. Our group of six left our respective homes at 6:30 a.m. on a Friday, wading through a little Southern California traffic before arriving at our rendezvous point, the Outpost Cafe in Hesperia. From there we would caravan into the park.
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After our Trona Pinnacles pit stop, we arrived at our campsite in Furnace Creek by early afternoon with plenty of daylight left to pitch our tents, despite the shortened winter days. Of the nine campgrounds in the 3 million acre park, Furnace Creek is perhaps the most “plush,” with sinks to wash dishes, RV hookups, fire pits, picnic tables and flushing toilets. It’s also the most expensive, at $18 each night during peak season. (During the park’s sweltering offseason, the price dips to $12 nightly.) It’s also convenient, given the campgrounds’ proximity to Furnace Creek Ranch, which includes a motel and a well-appointed convenience store with craft beer, firewood and decent snacks. Fifty miles from the Furnace Creek campsite sits the incredible Ubehebe Crater, which was formed as recently as 300 years ago, according to the National Park Service. Visitors park near the crater’s precipice and can hike 600 feet into its core, or climb up and around its rim. We opted for the latter, walking up the pebbly path made up of tiny black volcanic rocks, where we glimpsed neighboring Little Hebe crater in the distance. Closer to camp lie the rolling Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes that seem to stretch on for miles. Some mounds reach 100 feet in height. Climbing to the top of a few of the taller sandy hills is a must, if only for the view. The fine sand has an almost silky quality, although the tiny particles invariably find their way between your toes and coat your skin, detracting somewhat from the landmark’s appeal. Salt and other minerals coating the landscape give Death Valley a perennial winter wonderland quality. Despite its barren landscape, Death Valley isn’t devoid of life. The Devil’s Cornfield, a field of low-lying green brush, is between Ubehebe Crater and Mesquite Flat. A wooden boardwalk at the Salt Creek Trail follows a trickling stream in which pupfish perform a quirky mating ritual in the springtime. Croaking ravens patrol the campgrounds on the hunt for food. Other desert dwellers, such as the hairy scorpion, kit fox, pallid bat and chuckwalla, are also Death Valley inhabitants,
although we didn’t encounter them. The night before we left, a full moon cast a luminous blue light over the campsite, eliminating the need for flashlights, and dry lightning over the distant mountains further lit up the night sky. Yipping coyotes, audible both from the north and south, intensified the eeriness. On our last morning, we awoke before dawn to watch the sunrise at Zabriskie Point. The slowly unfurling light painted the distant mountains and marbled rock formations in incredible purple, pink, orange and yellow hues. IF YOU GO Getting there: There are several entry points into the park. We wanted to see the Trona Pinnacles and took I-605 to I-210, then caught I-15 to the 395. The road to turn off the 395, Searles Station, isn’t clearly marked, so be sure to keep your eyes peeled for a green sign that says Trona. Pro tip: Check your tires before you head out. Some of the backcountry paths are unpaved and have sizable holes and rocks that can wreak havoc on smaller cars. That being said, my Toyota sedan did fine. Weather: Death Valley has highly variable weather and is the hottest and driest place in North America. Between November and March, though, daily highs range from an average of 65 to 82 degrees. After March, average high temperatures climb and by July can reach 116 degrees. Rainfall is near nonexistent. Pack accordingly. Reservations: Campers should make reservations up to four days in advance during peak season — Oct. 15-April 15 — at 877-444-6777 or recreation.gov. Other times of the year, it is first come, first served. ——— ©2016 The Orange County Register (Santa Ana, Calif.) Visit The Orange County Register (Santa Ana, Calif.) at www. ocregister.com Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
Film | Music | Culture
‘LUCHA UNDERGROUND’ WRESTLING: TIGHTS AND MELODRAMA ON TV
BY JEFFREY FLEISHMAN LOS ANGELES TIMES(TNS)
LOS ANGELES — Across the Los Angeles River, in a warehouse of ghosts and corrugated steel, King Cuerno fastens his mask and strides bare-chested past girders and broken windows toward the ring, where wrestlers spin in pinwheels and dance on ropes in a frenzied ballet of peacock colors and flying head scissors. The crowd in Boyle Heights — twentysomething Latinos, comic-book geeks and a rowdy bunch of Marines — stomps in glee. Sliding through the clamor with sinister aplomb is promoter Dario Cueto, his voice like a bullet through velvet. He rules over “Lucha Underground,” a professional wrestling TV series where heroes and villains tangle in noirish melodrama and Aztec mythology in search of the Gift of the Gods championship belt. The scripted program blends the flamboyance of the aerobatic lucha libre wrestling style prominent in Mexico with the brawn and punch prevalent north of the border. Airing on El Rey Network, which reaches 40 million homes in the U.S., the show is a glimpse of a hybrid America at a time when immigration reform and Donald Trump are challenging the parameters of citizenship and the nation’s changing demographics. “Latino culture is very pop culture now,” said Chavo Guerrero Jr., a third-generation wrestler whose grandfather was a famous luchador in Mexico. “People think, ‘Oh, “Lucha,” it’s a Mexican show.’ Uh, no. Look at the fan base. It’s wrestling. Wrestling is African-Americans, whites, Asians. It’s all different. In the wrestling world this show is the first thing that’s been
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different in years.” Beginning its second season, the English-language show is an echo of Los Angeles, a city of incongruent architecture and shifting syntax, where food trucks traversing the fringes park amid the glint of razor wire and the blush of graffiti. Rising beneath palms on ground where trains run no more, the building that houses “the Temple” and its ring is an early 1900s metal factory that has appeared in the movie “Horrible Bosses” and the TV show “NCIS: Los Angeles.” “Boyle Heights was the first stop for many immigrants who came to Los Angeles,” executive producer Eric Van Wagenen said before the taping of a new episode on a recent Saturday afternoon. He noted that the show is trying to unite the neighborhood in a county that is about 50 percent Latino. “We’re embracing them with a throwback nostalgia for lucha. It’s kitschy fun for a phenomenon that came before.” George Arenivar waited in the dusk near a hamburger truck during the intermission before a six-on-six tag team match. A cool breeze lifted as young men in white T-shirts and loose jeans finished their beers and drifted toward distant fences. A graphic artist whose day job is at UPS, Arenivar stood near a white guy with a shaved head, two furiously texting blond girls and a trio of hipster types who looked as if they had wandered over from a Spring Street cafe. “‘Lucha Underground’ is culturally diverse,” said Arenivar, one of more than 400 fans who attended a recent taping; “Lucha’s” highest-rated show drew 250,000 viewers. Arenivar
credited the program’s theatrics and polished editing. “Wrestling used to be more campier. But this is cinematic, and the crowd is involved. They have storylines and wrestling. It’s entertainment.” Professional wrestling has long been the odd cousin of who we are, that sequined and booted carnival of scowls and grimaces, of hammerlocks and backflips, of mad men aflight; all make-believe, but in the spark of the moment, wonderfully alive with the scent of blood and the glimmer of pomp. “Lucha” captures this with eight cameras, editing booths and back stories woven with Aztec folklore that seek to compete with the dominant programming on World Wrestling Entertainment. With menace and winked charm, “Lucha” is emblematic of the style of El Rey Network, begun in 2013 by filmmaker Robert Rodriguez. The network conjures the mischievous shadows and gonzo bloodletting in two of Rodriguez’s films “From Dusk Till Dawn,” a tale of vampires and hoodlums starring George Clooney and Quentin Tarantino, and “Sin City,” a noirish thriller starring Bruce Willis and based on Frank Miller’s graphic novel of the same name. “It’s not just pure lucha libre out here,” said Brian Cage, known as “The Machine,” brandishing a mohawk haircut and restless muscles. “It’s a blend of styles. It crosses cultures. Instead of being a B-version of the WWE, it’s something different. It’s more of a TV show about wrestling than a wrestling TV show. It’s not watered down. It’s not overdone with drama and soap opera BS. It’s more (vivid) as opposed to corny and cheese ball.” The six-on-six tag team bout was a blur of colors when
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“A body slam was a huge move back in the 1960s…Today if you body slam they’ll boo you out of the building.”
Prince Puma — donning animal headdress — marched into “the Temple” through a scrim of smoke with a cadre that included a black wrestler brandishing an Afro pick, a woman dressed in a dominatrix skirt and a cat-like mask, and a white guy who looked like he belonged on a ZZ Top album cover. They faced off against King Cuerno and his crew, notably Taya, who wore red lipstick and eyelashes as plush as a crow’s wings, and her partner, the magically cocky Johnny Mundo. “We’re this absolutely glamorous, mean-streaked couple who are here to show we belong in ‘the Temple,’” said Taya, a classically trained ballerina who hails from Canada and like other competitors wrestles for Asistencia Asesoria y Administracion, a lucha libre promotion in Mexico. “Johnny Mundo and I are viewed as foreigners in this Aztec-Mexican legend built scenario.” Off to the side of the ring, Cueto (played by Luis FernandezGil) lurked about like a gangster’s whisper. He disappeared into an office of pulled blinds, booze and a set of bullhorns on the wall. The promoter’s lair had the whiff of old smoke, creaky leather and a man up to no good; Cueto, of course, was maneuvering to regain control of “the Temple” after a murder at the end of Season 1 forced him to vamoose as the luchadores scattered. “I’m a lifelong wrestling fan. I’ve always been fascinated, and I’ve flown all over the country to see matches,” said Gabriel Daigle, who brought his 14-year-old son to the match. “But over time I lost interest.” He added that the WWE and other wrestling programs “got stupid and challenged my intelligence.
But ‘Lucha’ blew me away. You can tell it’s shot by filmmakers. It’s totally revolutionary.” Despite its edge, though, “Lucha” evokes a past of ragged arenas and masked men, when challengers appeared out of the Mexican countryside and legacies were handed to wrestlers like King Cuerno, who trained in the arts of combat and started wrestling when he was 4. “The masks and the whole mystery behind everything comes from Mexico,” said the king, zipped into a mask and peering through eye-slits. “We love all this paraphernalia and flamboyance.” He disappeared toward the workout room — a shamble of weights, graffiti, duct tape — as Guerrero, his mustache neatly trimmed, spoke of speed and flying moves and how much things have changed since the time when his father wrestled the lucha style in Japan and the U.S., including in Los Angeles at the Olympic Auditorium. “Back in the day it was just a headlock,” said Guerrero. “A body slam was a huge move back in the 1960s. You body slammed somebody and it was, ‘Whoa, that’s crazy.’ Today if you body slam they’ll boo you out of the building. You got to light yourself on fire, you know. It’s like X Games now, and we’ve taken it to a different level.” The thumping bass line of “the Temple’s” band, a collision of guitars and horns that could startle the dead, roused the crowd. Ring announcer Melissa Santos wore a tight green dress and slipped through the ropes with a microphone, followed by a man in black who told the crowd: “We love you like family …
. (But) don’t take spoilers and send that … on the Internet … . Everybody deserves that emotional ejaculation when they see a show.” A guy in the crowd, wearing a “Lucha” mask T-shirt, threw his arms to heaven and stood like a statue. “USA, USA, USA,” chanted a row of Marines. A man turned to his girlfriend: “I will not sit down. I will not be contained.” A little wrestler, Mascarita Sagrada, accompanied by Famous B and Beautiful Brenda, bounded into the ring in a mask, zip-up white suit and matching patent leather boots. He went at it with Joey Ryan, but after a few leaps and kicks the little man hit the canvas and the ref moved in. The crowd booed, screamed and whooped, and after a moment Guerrero, dressed like an Aztec gladiator, faced off against Cage, who was squeezed into a black and yellow singlet and growled like a man who had lost a bag of money. “You still suck,” somebody yelled. Guerrero and Cage went balletic, spinning, flipping off ropes, slamming each other. They spilled out of the ring and back into it, and when it was over, sweat on the canvas and a roar in the air, one of them (no spoilers allowed) lifted the belt and let the cameras feed upon him. ——— ©2016 Los Angeles Times Visit the Los Angeles Times at www.latimes.com Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC. CAMPUS CIRCLE March 2016
LESSONS LEARNED FROM 10 SEASONS OF NEW YORK FASHION WEEK
NEW YORK — Another New York Fashion Week is in the books. While this biannual marathon of runway shows across the Big Apple is always a big deal, this one was a little extra special to me. The fall/winter 2016 shows, which wrapped on Thursday, marked my 10th time covering New York Fashion Week (excluding a stint reporting on the inaugural Council of Fashion Designers of America men’s shows last summer, and hours upon hours spent organizing editors’ runway show invites in college as an intern for a Manhattan-based fashion magazine, back before most of the invitation process was digitized). Over the years, I’ve been asked all sorts of questions about these experiences: What’s it like? How does it work? Do you get to dress up? Can people sneak in? (And the list goes on … ) Here’s what I’ve figured out along the way: New York Fashion Week is …
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— Not for the faint of heart: If you’re not prepared for it, New York Fashion Week will kick your butt. Most days, shows span from morning to night, you’re on your feet (a lot!), and a meal is sometimes whatever you can find in your bag or grab on the go while dashing between shows. Plus, factor in whatever the weather is up to (90-plus degrees sometimes during the September shows, and the occasional blizzard, ice storm, wintry mix and below-freezing temperatures during the February Fashion Week). Lots of sleep isn’t a luxury, either. For journalists, nights and early mornings are spent writing, catching up on emails and responding to last-minute invitations. The Fashion Week cold is a common thing. One season, mine turned into mononucleosis. I also developed severe tendinitis in my ankle from attempting to traipse around the city in cute heels. Lesson learned.
Now before I head to Fashion Week, I’m like a runner training for an actual marathon: I take lots of vitamins, try to stay hydrated and eat the right things, get plenty of sleep to build up my strength and break in comfortable shoes. — Misunderstood: Sure, New York Fashion Week has its glamorous moments. I’ve seen some of the most spectacular views of the city from fashion shows atop five-star hotels and swanky Fifth Avenue penthouses. One time, I entered a room and there was singer Rod Stewart lounging on a couch chatting up guests. Another time, I almost rode in a golf cart through Central Park with supermodel Karlie Kloss. For a few seasons, my assigned seat was regularly a couple of rows behind Vogue editor Anna Wintour, so I started a collection of photos of her signature bob shot from behind. But for every chance to rub elbows with a celebrity or see the back of Wintour’s head, there are lots of lessglamorous moments. Fashion Week isn’t all parties and paparazzi.
Film | Music | Culture
BY SARA BAUKNECHT PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE (TNS)
Most of the time, it’s work. (Not convinced? See above.) — At times, political: Who gets in and sits where is serious business at New York Fashion Week. There’s lots of jockeying involved. For journalists, it’s about knowing the right people and trying to forge relationships with those you don’t know. As a reporter for a regional newspaper, it’s interesting to learn about how a brand measures the importance of a metro daily newspaper based on how it responds to me. (Thankfully, there still are several designers who view newspapers as valuable.) Tips for rookies: If you can snag an end seat, take it (the sight lines are typically better). If you get stuck in the standing section, don’t fret it (if you maneuver your way to the front there’s a good chance you’ll get tapped to fill an empty seat). If you don’t get in at all, try again next time (the more you cover Fashion Week, the more it will open new opportunities with other shows in future seasons).
— A terrible place to use the restroom: At some venues, it’s just a trailer with skinny stalls and sticky floors, sometimes with an artificial flower bouquet or some fancy soap on the sink to try to make you feel like you’re back in that Fifth Avenue penthouse with the spectacular views (where you wish you would have used the restroom instead). — Is unlike anything else: In spite of the long days, scarce food and less-than-ideal restroom accommodations, I would do it all again — and again and again. For me, New York Fashion Week is not only an opportunity to network and accumulate story ideas for the next six months, it’s inspiring. I’m always amazed by what designers come up with, from the clothes to the actual runway shows themselves. I’m awestruck by someone like Tommy Hilfiger, who season after season comes up with creative sets and show concepts that are masterfully executed. Every minute detail is
tended to, and it inspires me to strive for the same attention to detail in my line of work. Someone like Dennis Basso or Zang Toi produces collections and shows that are shining examples of pure glamour, no matter what the garments look like or who the models are. Those are reminders that beauty comes in all shapes, colors and sizes. When Betsey Johnson or Libertine holds a runway show, models usually end up dancing down the runway. It’s hard to not have a smile on your face. You forget about that smashed granola bar from the pits of your purse that you called lunch. Shows like these are just plain fun. Isn’t that what we all need to make a little more time for? ——— ©2016 Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Visit the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette at www.post-gazette.com Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC. CAMPUS CIRCLE March 2016
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