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Friday, March 30, 2012

The genius of the Brothers Dardenne makes a Landmark appearance in Royal Oak


Review: The Kid With a Bike

Jeanne-Pierre and Luc Dardenne.
When it comes to acclaimed directors, the Brothers Dardenne are to Europe what the Brothers Coen are to America -- visionary filmmakers who delve into compelling stories about everyday life and emerge with movies dripping with quirky, despicable, loveable and compassionate characters to whom we can all relate.
In their new film "The Kid With a Bike," Jeanne-Pierre and Luc Dardenne present audiences with the story of Cyril (Thomas Doret), a restless boy, on a mission to find the father (Jeremie Renier) who left him temporarily in a children's home. The guy even sold his bike. The boy's only hope is a local hairdresser, Samantha (Cecile de France), who reunites him with his bike and offers to foster him on weekends.
His predicament sets the stage for a moving story in which a troubled young boy, almost 12, and a complete stranger slowly come to understand each other. What draws you in is the woman’s genuine compassion for the boy, who has no connection to her except being akin to the same Belgium neighborhood. 

You’ll want to care about this poor little boy with unruly hair, determined not to cry, but he kind of remains at a distance.
That's not to say Doret isn't brilliant. His portrayal of the kid in motion -- riding his bike, chasing down leads on his father and escaping his listless caregivers -- was intense and amazing for a first-time actor.
"Right from the start we were struck by the expression in his eyes, his stubborn hair, his look of concentration," Luc said, during the Cannes' interviews. "He also had an astonishing ability to learn his lines ... and he had a lot of them," said Jeanne-Pierre. "From the first tests -- which, in fact, are the opening scene of the film -- we felt that he was the character. He had an intuitive understanding of his part, something immediately accurate and poignant, without ever sniveling."
That's the Dardennian style, never dictating an emotional response and remaining observers of the story.
I would have liked a little more sniveling, though, and a few more hints of the little boy. But then, that's also why we're attracted to this character. You know that deep down, beneath the brave exterior he's just a boy longing for a father.

Rated: PG-13
Landmark Main Art Theatre
118 North Main Street, Royal Oak
Show times: 1:15, 4:15, 7:15 and 9:30 p.m.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Bang your drum for the Bicentennial

Art courtesy of Howard Hughey


















Calling all citizens. A force of state agents and volunteers working on plans for the Commemoration of the Bicentennial of the War of 1812 are in need of volunteers locally to help plan the June ceremonies.

"We kindly ask officials, civic leaders, local historians and the public to help organize and hold special events in their communities in mid-June to commemorate the declaration of war on June 18, 1812," said Dr. James McConnell, War of 1812 historian and commission secretary. "Our goal is to have several hundred of these special events taking place across Michigan."

How about teachers looking for a great class project or Brownie troops in need of a service project?

The preferred dates for all events are Saturday and Sunday, June 16 and 17.

McConnell encourages anyone interested in learning more to check out Michigan War of 1812. The site features an event program template and further details to assist in developing ideas for community events.

"The commission has developed these materials to make it simple for people to participate in this historic occasion," said Phil Porter, commission chairperson and director of Mackinac State Historic Parks. "Michigan played a prominent role in the War of 1812 as a center of several major military encounters, including Monroe, Detroit and Mackinac Island. It's important to commemorate the declaration of war in communities and remember this important chapter in Michigan's history."

Also, as part of their ongoing effort to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the outbreak of the War of 1812 the Michigan Commission and Michigan Council for History Education are issuing a unique challenge to Michigan students in grades 3-12: participate in an exemplary essay contest by researching and writing about the importance of the War of 1812 for Michigan. One entry per student is permitted, and entry deadline is April 3.

Entry forms and contest guidelines can be found under "Workshops and Special Events" at  Michigan Council for History Education." Got more questions? Completed event registration forms and questions can be emailed to McConnell at jam1776@sbcglobal.net.

Looking for inspiration?
The Lorenzo Cultural Center is bringing the state's early history to life through May 4 with its presentation of "Becoming Michigan: From Revolution to Statehood.”

Read more



TODAY'S MUSE
Activism is my rent for living on this planet -- Alice Walker

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

It's open season on 'Michigan Birds' photo contest

Great gray owl photo above and others below by James Fox.
Michigan is home to some of the world's most beautiful birds -- proof of which can be seen through images snapped by hobbyists and professional photographers alike. 
If you're among those lucky enough to have seen a great gray owl or sandhill crane through the lens of a camera, consider sharing it for prize and prestige.
The Gillette Sand Dune Visitor Center at P.J. Hoffmaster State Park in Muskegon is holding a "Michigan Birds" photo contest.
James Fox
Participants are invited to submit their favorite photo from last year or this spring (as many as two) by 4 p.m. April. 27.
"From bird feeders to lakeshores, there are many places to find photo-worthy subjects," said Michigan DNR spokeswoman Elizabeth Brockwell-Tillman. Some examples include cardinals, chickadees, white-breasted nuthatches, American goldfinches and even bald eagles. As of lately, many bird enthusiasts in Macomb County have spotted great gray owls and snowy white owls. "During any season, birds can be seen in every corner of the state in all types of habitats," Brockwell-Tillman said. "Some common non-native species that will not be accepted into the contest include mute swans and all types of domestic or exotic fowl such as farm-raised chickens or geese."
For a full list of contest rules and requirements, visit Gillette Sand Dune Visitor Center

Kirtland's Warblers nest almost exclusively in Michigan
How does one capture a prize-winning photo of Michigan birds?
To help get you started there is, below, a recent interview with James Fox, a student of Christendom College in Front Royal, Va., and avid bird photographer/blogger from Farmington Hills, whose beautiful photographs have Michigan birdwatchers flocking to his site.

Q: What do you love about photographing Michigan birds?
A: One of the things I love about photographing Michigan birds is the great variety of birds there are in Michigan. Every time I go out to look for birds, I know I can find something different. Especially with the Great Lakes, it is possible to see many birds here that are normally seen only near oceans.




Q: Describe one of the most difficult shots you've taken?
A: One of the more difficult shots was the photo of the Purple Gallinule in Ohio. This is a bird normally found only in Florida and along the Gulf Coast. When I heard there was one only a few hours away in Ohio, I had to go see it. Although it was not that far away from the trail, there were bushes between the bird and me. Eventually, I was able to get a relatively unobstructed shot of it after I crouched down to shoot through a hole in the brush.

Pine Siskin on a tree in Fox's yard.
Q: What's the most important thing for an amateur photographer to remember when photographing birds?
A: Hold still and be patient. If you hold still long enough, the birds will forget you are there and will go back to their normal behavior. This is when you can get the best shots.

Q: Is there any trick to photographing cardinals, chickadees, white-breasted nuthatches, American goldfinches or great gray owls?
A: It always helps to know the habits of the birds you are trying to photograph. Some bird like chickadees and nuthatches are very friendly. At some parks, such as Kensington, they will even eat seed out of your hand. With these birds it is usually easy to get close and get good photos. Other birds like goldfinches, however, are very flighty. I have had the best luck taking out the screen in one of my windows near a tree they like to be in and photographing them through the open window. Even then, you have to be very careful to hold still and move slowly. 

The Snowy Owl that captured everyone's attention in Macomb and Oakland County.
Owls are some of my favorite birds to photograph, but they can be hard to find as most spend the day perched in trees where they blend in well. It is helpful to look for them if you notice a flock of chickadees, blue jays, or crows that are very excited. Often it is because they have found an owl! Once you have found one, it is important to give it plenty of space so you don't cause it to fly off.


For further inspiration visit: James Birding Blog. For contest rules and information visit Gillette Nature Association

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Severe weather: Tips regarding insurance claims

AP Photo
    Stepan Delebzda, of Statewide Disaster Restoration, nails plastic  to a wall of a house
    damaged in last week's tornado in Dexter.
______________________________________________________________________________
Our home has been hit a number of times by severe storms. One year high winds brought down the biggest tree in our yard, leaving us with a smoking power line and one -- very big stump.

The first thing we did was call the fire department.

Once the power lines were secure, we assessed the damages to the yard and called our insurance company. Having been through it before, we had some idea as to what our policy covered.

However, not everyone is familiar with the process. Following last week's tornadoes and subsequent calls from concerned homeowners, the Office of Financial and Insurance Regulation (OFIR) issued a list of tips for Michigan consumers that may have been affected by severe weather -- including the storms that damaged homes and property in Dexter, Monroe, Lapeer and other areas.
"Consumers are encouraged to first assess the damage and then keep detailed records as they begin the claims process," said Commissioner Kevin Clinton. "Our consumer assistance staff is prepared to answer any insurance questions and concerns from consumers in areas affected by Mother Nature."

The following are a few tips regarding insurance claims:
* Know your policy before a storm. The insurance policy you have is a contract between you and your insurance company. Look it over and make sure you understand what your policy says. Know what's covered and what's excluded. Do you have replacement costs? Do you have a deductible and if so, how much is it? Who in the company do you call in case of an emergency?

  * Get a record of the damages. Right after the storm, pull out your iPhone or camera/video camera and take photographs of your property and any damages that might have occurred following a storm. 

  * Don't wait to make a claim. Do not make any purchases or let bills and receipts pile up. As soon as possible, contact your agent or company's claims hot line. Also, your insurance policy may require that you make the notification of any damages known within a certain time frame. 

  * Be a stickler for details. To avoid delays and any problems with your claims, be certain that you give your insurance agent all the information he or she might need and that it is correct. Whenever you communicate with your insurance company, remember to keep copies and records of all correspondence for yourself. When corresponding via the phone, be sure to write down any information pertinent to the call, including the date it was made, the name and title of the person you spoke with and what was said during the conversation. Also, keep a record of your time and any expenses incurred as a result of your claim.

  * Homeowner claims. In some cases damages caused by a storm my require you to make temporary repairs to keep your family safe and protect your property from further damage such as a hole in the roof or a fallen tree. While your policy should cover the cost of these repairs, it is important to be able to show proof -- via receipts. Again, take video or photos of the damages before making any repairs. The OFIR, however, recommends that you do not make permanent repairs. "An insurance company may deny a claim if you make permanent repairs before the damage is inspected. If possible, determine what it will cost to repair your property before you meet with the claims adjuster," according to the OFIR report. "When meeting with an adjuster, provide them with records of any improvements you made to your property and ask for an itemized explanation of the claim settlement offer.
  For further information and questions, consumers can contact OFIR on their toll-free hot line at 877-999-6442.


Friday, March 16, 2012

Whatever it takes get your teen reading

Metro Newspaper Services
The Harry Potter books may have ignited teen reading, but as of last year, more than 60 percent of middle and high school students are scoring below proficient in reading achievement, according to a report by Alliance for Excellent Education. 

"Teen literacy is a huge problem in the United States. Its 15-year-olds rank 14 among developed nations in reading behind Poland, Estonia and Iceland," said Rhiannon Paille, 27, author of a new fantasy novel for teens, "Flame of Surrender," and an advocate for teen literacy. "Kids need strong reading skills if they hope to graduate from high school. And they really need it to plan for college -- 59 percent of jobs in the U.S. today require some postsecondary education, compared to 28 percent in 1973."

What's a parent to do?

Start early.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends reading to children as young as 6 months old on a daily basis. This will set them on a path to learning reading skills such as phonics, vocabulary and reading comprehension.

When reading to infants, consider small, chunky board books that babies can grip, and do not be in a rush to read the story through. Take time to stop and talk about the pictures with your little one. Point out similarities such colors and shapes or people and things familiar to the baby. If you really want their attention, sing the text or read the words in a different voice.

Lift-the-flap books offer parents a wonderful opportunity to engage baby by playing a round of peek-a-boo with the flaps.
Books that feature textures babies can touch and feel lead to a better understanding of words such as soft or bumpy.


As for older children (12-18), the best way to boost their literacy is to get them reading something, anything, they’re interested in.
    Try the classic approach with comic books. "Boys persistently lag behind girls in reading, according to the National Center for Education statistics," said Paille. "Stephen King started off reading comics, 'Tales from the Crypt.' Hey, if it was good enough for him...?" If he finds that interesting, he might move on to graphic novels, a popular young adult genre. "As long as they're reading, they're building comprehensive skills and vocabulary so it needn't be 'War and Peace,'" Paille said. 
    2011-Lionsgate still from "Hunger Games."

    Look for book-to-film adaptations. If they're excited to see a movie such as "Hunger Games" or "The Avengers," which are two soon-to-be released movies, check to see if the film is based on a book or series of books. "Hunger Games" is based on a series of books by Suzanne Collins about a futuristic society, while "The Avengers" features heroes from Marvel comic books. If they enjoy the movie, chances are that's enough to get a nonreader curious about the books. "This is another especially good hook for boys," Paille said.
    Share in their experience by reading the same book. Numerous book clubs were born when parents and their children started reading stories about Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, as did many after the launch of the "Twilight" series. "Your teen may not be ready for a formal book club, but discussing the pacing of 'Hunger Games' can further their interest in reading and make for some interesting conversation on the way to karate class or soccer practice. And don't be afraid to nudge with comments like, "Oh, you haven't gotten to that part yet? It's really good." 
    What is your nonreader interested in? What kind of video games does he or she enjoy? Some of the more popular games have spawned books that could be introduced to them such as Halo, EverQuest, ElfQuest and Gears of War. What about the gaming guides? Even these are filled with interesting text and graphics, which players read to unlock clues that enable them to advance in the game. If they love to skateboard -- pick up a magazine that's all about their sport. It's a start.

    The point is to get them reading -- as it helps build comprehension skills and vocabulary. If novels are a stretch, consider starting off with good magazines with shorter articles suited for distractible adolescents such as 'Sports Illustrated,' 'People,’ ‘Seventeen' or 'PC Gamer.'
    "When you're out shopping, think about what they're interested in and pick up something just for them," Paille said. "Sometimes, it's as simple as putting the right reading materials right into their hands."

    TODAY'S MUSE
    This is my life. It is my one time to be me. I want to experience every good thing -- Maya Angelou

    Wednesday, March 14, 2012

    When it comes to important tasks, not just any rope will do

    Just as any sailor knows there's a knot for every task, any cordage expert knows there is a rope for every purpose. This is especially true around the house. Be it a backyard tree swing, a carefree hammock or clothes drying in the breeze -- rope is a year-round staple.
    Why talk cordage?
    With spring just a few days away, many of us will find ourselves in the yard rigging up something with rope - which can cost up to $8 a square foot. If you're paying those kinds of prices, you should know what you're buying. Below is the skinny on cordage from the experts at the Lehigh Group, one of the largest suppliers of rope in North America:

    Hammocks and tree swings
    Whether it’s a small child or 200 pound adult, you never know who might take their turn on the tree swing. For this reason, one should always use cordage that is strong and holds up to the elements. All-purpose solid braid or twisted nylon rope is what the experts recommend in this case. This type of rope resists abrasion, sunlight, rot and mildew.

    Backyard clothesline
    What you hang on the clothesline is too important to trust  to a rope that won’t hold the weight of, say . . . grandma’s quilt. If you are planning to install a clothes line this spring, look for an all-purpose rope designed to be flexible, sturdy and to hold knots well.

    Gardening
    When it comes to tasks having to do with your fruit and vegetable garden, such as lining up the plants or rigging a barrier to keep Mr. Rabbit at bay, sisal rope should be the cordage of choice for two reasons: The natural fiber knots well and the rope resists sunlight.

    Camping
    Raise your hand if you have stumbled over the ropes securing the awning of your tent or camper? What I've learned through the experts at the Lehigh Group is that there's rope designed to light up low-visibility areas. Visiflect, as the new kind of rope is called, features reflective technology that is meant to prevent one from stumbling over the ropes in the dark. Available in two sizes, these brightly colored, versatile ropes reflect light from up to 200 feet away.

    Watering holes
    Did you know there is rope that floats? If you're going to be adding any rope to your pool inflatables, consider twisted polypropylene rope. It's lightweight, floats and holds knots.

    Boating
    If you live on a canal and need a strong, durable and flexible rope for mooring and anchor line, experts recommend nylon yacht braid.
         
    Visiflect Reflective Rope at SecureLine
    Road trips and windsurfing
    Hauling a sailboard or kayak up north means it probably will ride on the roof. To secure gear and sporting equipment on a roof rack or even in a truck bed, rope experts recommend Visiflect Reflective Rope or Cordzilla stretch rope.

    For more information on rope products visit: SecureLineSend your comments or home and garden tips to Gina Joseph gina.joseph@macombdaily.com; <a href="http://bit.ly/wwIwMi">@gljoseph</a>

    TODAY'S MUSE
    We should all do what, in the long run, gives us joy, even if it is only picking grapes or sorting the laundry -- E.B. White


    Friday, March 9, 2012

    Birmingham's UFF selections will stir emotions and donations

    Still from Machine Gun Preacher. Photo by Iize Kitshoff.
    The films chosen for the Uptown Film Festival in Birmingham are not just a reflection of the creative and talented people working in Michigan's film industry, but of their passion and concern for one another. Showing tonight as part of the festival's annual charity gala is "Machine Gun Preacher," starring Gerald Butler (“300”).


     "We're excited to show 'Machine Gun Preacher' as a feature film in our festival benefitting these phenomenal charities," said UFF Co-executive Director Kirk Miller of the film released in September and that premiered at the 2011 Toronto International Film Festival. "We're honored to be able to give local filmgoers and supporters of Michigan-made films an exclusive opportunity to see this film on the big screen, as it has not yet been released on DVD."


    It is the true story of Sam Childers, a former drug-dealer and criminal who is transformed as he discovers his unexpected calling as the savior of hundreds of kidnapped and orphaned children in war-torn Sudan and founder of Angels of East Africa.

    The VIP Charity event will be held at the Palladium 12 Theatre beginning at 7 p.m. with a percentage of ticket sale proceeds to be donated to Gleaners Community Food Bank of Southeastern Michigan and "Defeat the Label" an anti-bullying nonprofit organization. "Machine Gun Preacher" also will be shown at 9 p.m.

    To purchase tickets, visit Uptown Palladium TheatreThe Palladium 12 Theatre is at 250 North Old Woodward Ave., Birmingham, 48009.

    Below is the complete schedule for this weekend's Uptown Film Festival (UFF). More than 100 films were submitted by Michigan filmmakers and of those, 61 were selected as Michigan Film Award nominees.

    March 9
    Birmingham 8
    6:30 p.m.: Filmmakers Reception
    7:30 p.m.: Domestic and international shorts and experimental films:
    8 p.m.: D-Force (Detroit premiere)
    8:30 p.m.: Restitution (Detroit premiere)
    8:30 p.m.: Blood on Canvas
    9:30 p.m.: Slave
    Palladium 12
    250 North Old Woodward Ave., Birmingham
    10 a.m.: Michigan Film Office Advisory Council Meeting (Nain Rouge Screening)
    7 p.m.: VIP Charity Gala
    8 p.m.: Detroit Music Awards Video Nominations
    9 p.m.: Machine Gun Preacher
    11:30 p.m.: VIP AfterGlow Party at What Crepe (172 North Old Woodward Ave.)

    March 10
    Birmingham 8
    11 a.m.: Otelo Burning
    11 a.m.: Detroit Winter (world premiere)
    11 a.m.: Michigan Film Awards (MFA)-nominated shorts program "Funny and Clever"
    11:15 a.m.: Somewhere West (Metro Detroit premiere)
    12:30 p.m.: MFA-nominated short documentaries
    12:45 p.m.: Dear Chelsey
    1:30 p.m.: Mooz-lum
    1:30 p.m.: MFA-nominated shorts program "Dramatic and Exciting"
    3:45 p.m.: Mary's Buttons
    2:45 p.m.: Alleged
    3 p.m.: On the Bridge
    4 p.m.: MFA-nominated shorts program "Artful, Dark and Edgy"
    4:30 p.m.: Everyday People
    4:45 p.m.: In Your Hands
    Palladium 12
    10 a.m.: Panel: Filming in Michigan, Trends and Updates
    11 a.m.: Panel: Camera Solutions and Work Flow for the Independent Filmmaker
    11:30 a.m.: Michigan's Interactive Gaming Industry: The New Frontier
    2 p.m.: Bully
    4 p.m.: Panel: Anti-bullying discussion featuring students, teachers and parents
    6 p.m.: Michigan Film Awards Reception
    7 p.m.: MFA-nominated top five shorts
    7:30 p.m.: Detroit Music Awards top 5 video nominations
    7:30 p.m.: Salvation Boulevard
    9:30 p.m.: Michigan Film Awards
    10 p.m.: Michigan Film Awards Afterglow Party

     For more information visit: Uptown Film Festival

    Thursday, March 8, 2012

    Uptown Film Festival rolls out the red carpet for world premiere of ‘Brothers On The Line’

    If you’ve driven along Interstate 696, chances are you’ve seen the signs paying homage to the family name. History books talk about the Reuther brothers who spearheaded the UAW’s transformation of the nation’s social, economic, and political landscape. But who really knows Walter, Roy and Victor?

    Filmmaker and Detroit native Sasha Reuther knows the story of his grandfather Victor and uncles and he’s telling it tonight.

    Read full story


    UAW negotiations/archives.





























    New York City director and Detroit native Sasha Reuther at right, working on his documentary, "Brothers On The Line." The new film about Walter, Roy and Victor Reuther (Sasha's grandfather) will make its debut at 8 p.m., March 8 at the 2nd Annual Uptown Film Festival in Birmingham. The documentary features rare interviews and never-before-seen archival footage from the UAW archives.


    Celebrate the Detroit premieres at UFF
    The Uptown Film Festival (UFF) is an annual celebration recognizing Michigan's film industry. More than 100 films were submitted by Michigan filmmakers and of those, 61 were selected as Michigan Film Award nominees.
    The selections to be screened throughout the course of the three-day film event, through March 10 are as follows:

    March 8
    Birmingham 8
    211 S. Old Woodward Ave., Birmingham
    7 p.m.: Michigan Filmmakers Reception
    8 p.m.: Brothers On the Line (world premiere)
    8 p.m.: Preemie
    8:30 p.m.: Dirty Energy (Michigan premiere)
    10:30 p.m.: Michigan Filmmakers After Glow Party at South Bar (210 South Woodward Ave.)

    March 9
    Birmingham 8
    6:30 p.m.: Filmmakers Reception
    7:30 p.m.: Domestic and international shorts and experimental films:
    • Cabby
    • Easy Snappin
    • Time Freak
    • The Disarticulation of Sarah Fisher
    • Tea for Two
    • Year, Make and Model
    • Pennipotens
    • Mirages
    8 p.m.: D-Force (Detroit premiere)
    8:30 p.m.: Restitution (Detroit premiere)
    8:30 p.m.: Blood on Canvas
    9:30 p.m.: Slave

    Palladium 12
    250 North Old Woodward Ave., Birmingham
    10 a.m.: Michigan Film Office Advisory Council Meeting (Nain Rouge Screening)
    7 p.m.: VIP Charity Gala
    8 p.m.: Detroit Music Awards Video Nominations
    9 p.m.: Machine Gun Preacher
    11:30 p.m.: VIP AfterGlow Party at What Crepe (172 North Old Woodward Ave.)

    March 10
    Birmingham 8
    11 a.m.: Otelo Burning
    11 a.m.: Detroit Winter (world premiere)
    11 a.m.: Michigan Film Awards (MFA)-nominated shorts program "Funny and Clever"
    • Heart Shaped Man
    • Springfield and Sausage
    • Killing Kevin
    • Menage Detroit
    • The Paper Man
    • Neurotica
    • One Door Closes
    • Donald
    • Holy Car
    • Deadline: Medium Rare
    • Sobriety Test
    • Pucker
    11:15 a.m.: Somewhere West (Metro Detroit premiere)
    12:30 p.m.: MFA-nominated short documentaries
    • 14 Days with Alzheimer's
    • Birmingham Public Schools Millage Renewal
    • Strong from Detroit
    • New York Accent
    • Time Dances On
    12:45 p.m.: Dear Chelsey
    1:30 p.m.: Mooz-lum
    1:30 p.m.: MFA-nominated shorts program "Dramatic and Exciting"
    • Appleville
    • I Wish
    • The Girl with Blue Eyes
    • Promises! Promises!
    • Lifeless
    • Disappear Here
    • Collusion
    3:45 p.m.: Mary's Buttons
    2:45 p.m.: Alleged
    3 p.m.: On the Bridge
    4 p.m.: MFA-nominated shorts program "Artful, Dark and Edgy"
    • The Olympian
    • American Terrorist
    • Antonio
    • Dirt
    • Slow Burn
    • Patient Spider
    • Abandon
    4:30 p.m.: everydayPeople
    4:45 p.m.: In Your Hands
    Palladium 12
    10 a.m.: Panel: Filming in Michigan, Trends and Updates
    11 a.m.: Panel: Camera Solutions and Work Flow for the Independent Filmmaker
    11:30 a.m.: Michigan's Interactive Gaming Industry: The New Frontier
    2 p.m.: Bully
    4 p.m.: Panel: Anti-bullying discussion featuring students, teachers and parents
    6 p.m.: Michigan Film Awards Reception
    7 p.m.: MFA-nominated top five shorts
    • Bright
    • Camp Chapel
    • Down to Sleep
    • The Dream Collector
    • Nain Rouge
    7:30 p.m.: Detroit Music Awards top 5 video nominations
    7:30 p.m.: Salvation Boulevard
    9:30 p.m.: Michigan Film Awards
    10 p.m.: Michigan Film Awards Afterglow Party

    For show times and updates visit Uptown Film Festival

    TODAY'S MUSE
    Wherever there's a scuffle for justice I want to be part of that struggle. This country is my country too, sir. I am not a second-class citizen and I will not act like one -- Walter Reuther 

    Monday, March 5, 2012

    Artist leaves behind a legacy of characters: Darth Vader for one

    Artist Ralph McQuarrie.
    The artist who brought George Lucas' dreams to life -- Ralph McQuarrie --has died. He was 82 years old.

    High on the list of amazing characters to his credit is Darth Vader. He also worked on Steven Spielberg's blockbuster film ET, Battlestar Galactica and the science fiction film Cocoon, for which he won an Oscar.

    Lucas released a statement saying he was deeply saddened by the death of "such a visionary artist and such a humble man."

    "His genial contribution, in the form of unequalled production paintings, propelled and inspired all of the cast and crew of the original Star Wars trilogy," said Lucas. "When words could not convey my ideas, I could always point to one of Ralph's fabulous illustrations and say, 'Do it like this.’"

    StarWars.com/Concept by Ralph MQuarrie.
    When Lucas, who described McQuarrie as father to a conceptual art revolution, made his “Star Wars” pitch to Alan Ladd Jr. at 20th Century Fox, he did so with a table full of Ralph's art.

    McQuarrie not only captured the visions of geniuses such as Lucas and Spielberg through his illustrations, but seized the world's imagination in the process.

    Friday, March 2, 2012

    Local expert to host ‘Gone With The Wind’ screenings at the Redford Theatre

    Warner Home Video. All rights reserved.
    I've read about it.
    I've seen pictures of Clark Gable as the roguish Rhett Butler and Vivien Leigh as the famous southern belle Scarlett O'Hara.
    But, alas, I have not seen "Gone With The Wind."
    And frankly, I do give a damn.
    The film is showing on the big screen this weekend at the historic Redford Theatre. Besides being the film adaptation of the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Margaret Mitchell, it is considered by many to be one of the most celebrated films in cinema history.
    Warner Home Video. All rights reserved.
    "Absolutely," said Kathleen Marcaccio of Royal Oak and an expert on the film. “I saw the movie when I was 12 years old in 1969. The next day, I checked the book out of the library, and have been enamored by it ever since.”
    The film will be shown at 8 p.m. tonight, 8 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday.
    As the special guest host, Marcaccio will be attending all of the performances, offering audiences special insights into the history and making of the film, the characters, and answering all of those pressing questions such as what cast members are still alive. In addition to talking about the film, Marcaccio will be showing audiences a display of “Gone With The Wind,” memorabilia. Among her treasures is a 1939 copy of the book (Motion Picture Edition) featuring stills of the movie and information about the cast, as well as an original sewing pattern for a Scarlett O’Hara dress and perfume and handkerchiefs, also inspired by the character of Scarlett.
    “You wouldn’t think it (being a movie from the 1930s) but ‘Gone With The Wind’ was marketed as much and if not more than Star Wars,” Marcaccio said.

    Gone With The Wind Trivia
    • Of the half a million feet of film shot for the movie, only 20,000 feet were saved from the cutting room floor.
    • The film employed more than 50 speaking roles and 2,400 extras.
    • One would think that it was the first film in the 1930s to use the word "damn" but it wasn't. Numerous silent movies and several talkies before it used the expletive, including Cavalcade and Pygmalion.
    • The red carpet premiere for the movie was held in Atlanta, Georgia, Dec. 15, 1939.   
    • The movie is an adaptation of Margaret Mitchell's monumental classic considered by many to be not only the greatest love story ever written, but also the greatest Civil War saga. David O. Selznick purchased the movie rights from Mitchell for an unprecedented $50,000 a month after it was published. Shortly after the film was made, he gave her an additional $50,000 as a bonus.
    • Of the 1,400 actresses who were interviewed for the role of Scarlett O'Hara, only 400 were asked to read for the part. Those considered for the role at the time were Jean Arthur, Lucille Ball, Tallulah Bankhead, Bette Davis, Claudette Colbert, Joan Crawford, Paulette Goddard, Katharine Hepburn, Olivia de Havilland, Carole Lombard, Norma Shearer, Barbara Stanwyck, and Margaret Sullavan.
    • Had Judy Garland not been tied up with her commitments to do another film directed by Victor Fleming: The Wizard of OZ she may have played the role of Scarlett's sister Carreen.

    The Redford Theatre is located at 17360 Lahser Road (corner of Grand River and Lahser) in Detroit. For more information visit: Redford Theatre General admission tickets: $4. Doors open at 7 p.m.