author of Where the Sidewalk Ends, The Giving Tree, A light in the Attic
Shel Silverstein, author of The Giving Tree and Where the Sidewalk Ends, began drawing cartoons for the military newspaper, “Stars and Stripes”, in the 1950s, when he served in Japan and Korea.
Author of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Matilda, James and the Giant Peach
Dahl was a fighter pilot in World War II, until he got shot down in the Libyan desert, which left him with head injuries that eventually caused him to have terrible headaches. One of Dahl’s first published works was a piece for the Saturday Evening Post called “Shot Down Over Libya,” which became a popular article and helped encourage him to try his hand at writing.
[information taken from here]
author of the Godfather Trilogy (novels and films)
Mario Puzo was brought up in a poor family in New York. He served in Germany in World War II and later went to college on the GI Bill.
author of The Lord of The Rings Trilogy, The Hobbit, & Multiple critical essays including Beowulf: the Monsters & the Critics
Tolkien was a survivor of the trenches of World War I, who wrote that “a real taste for fairy-stories was wakened by philology on the threshold of manhood, and quickened to full life by war.”
author of On the Road, The Subterraneans, & Big Sur
“Before he became a famous novelist of the counterculture, Jack Kerouac enlisted in the U.S Naval Reserve. He lasted through only 10 days of boot camp, spent more than two months in a psychiatric ward and then was deemed ‘unfit for service.'”
( Los Angeles Times )
I recently rewatched Hedwig and the Angry Inch, a glamrock, gender-bending musical that holds a very special place in my heart. In a world where subjectivity is lost in favor of rigid, boring stereotypes, a film which welcomes interpretation is refreshing. As simple and comforting as it would be to reduce sexuality to GAY, STRAIGHT, LESBIAN, & BISEXUAL, we cannot. There is no truth in that. Sexuality & Gender Identity are messy and complicated. They exist in spectrums, not uncompomising boxes.
The film itself is about a transgender woman left deformed by a botched sex-change operation (hence The Angry Inch), so the plot itself is one which offers commentary on the lives of people living in the grey area of gender identity. But what’s more striking is the creative risks that the director takes with the film’s form in order to deepen his commentary.
The film takes elements from multiple genres (musical, animation, romance) and combines them to create a new style which emphasizes the fluid nature of sexual identity. In fact, the film’s amalgamous style makes it difficult to place it within a specific genre. But this is not an accident nor is it a flaw. The interweaving of different styles strongly reflects the ideas explored in the story, providing cohesion.
As a woman who has always struggled to define her sexuality, I am comforted (moved even) by the nonjudgemental approach that the director takes when portraying these characters. With a subject as unconventional as this, I think it is important to encourage the audience to relate on a level that is independent of stereotypes. Love is complicated, and so are we. The End.
People are too complex to be categorized neatly, and Hedwig gives us the opportunity to see the complex mixture of thoughts, feelings, and anxieties that are born from believing just the opposite. In fact, the film points to confusion and self-loathing as inevitable developments of strict definitions of gender and sexuality. Hedwig’s internal conflict is in part, the result of her need to please those around her– to fit into our culture’s standards of beauty.
I don’t think that the pressure to be beautiful is the film’s focus, but I do believe that the danger of internalizing fashionable opinions (whether they relate to beauty, gender, or art) as objectively true is touched upon. The story shows us that just as people morph and change, so do the shared truths of entire groups..entire countries.
Hedwig’s transition from male to female is paralleled by the erection and destruction of the Berlin Wall. To cross the wall and gain freedom, Hedwig must surgically alter himself. Shortly after this, the wall is demolished, suggesting that the restrictions placed on expression and identity change (sometimes drastically) over time. Hedwig is then tragic and pathetic, because his hardships have been rendered meaningless. We get the sense that conforming to cultural standards of gender or beauty, always leads to misery.
In the last scene of the film, Hedwig discovers that through love, we share so much of ourselves, that we morph into each other. Though relationships can be painful, they lead to rebirth and reinvention. For some, this film is odd, erratic and sort of hard to relate to, but I felt connected to it in a special way. As an outcast, as a woman, as a sexually confused person. And it helped me to understand that blurring boundaries of gender, sexuality, and artistic form can deepen our understanding of beauty and our capacity for empathy.
by Angie Hoover-Hillhouse
There is a debate I loathe, but which I feel I must address as it feels the need to keep rearing its scaly head from the public consciousness; “Are Video Games Art?”
Those who pose this question are missing the forest for the trees, judging videogames for their exploitative elements instead of acknowledging the design and collaboration that goes into the medium. People look at game content and see violence, running jumping, reacting quickly. They see something that is titillating, pornographic and entirely reactionary. But video games of today offer a level of creative agency that cannot be found in games of the past/ other mediums of art. This agency is what turns entertainment into self-expression. The ability to experience, discover, and create your own narrative in a medium that would typically be inaccessible (film/animation) .
Unlike a painting, a novel, or a sculpture, a video game employs teams of hundreds, working together, to create worlds that are then handed to their fans to be shaped and developed. The curtains raise, the scenes play out, and art is achieved. There are entire labyrinths of imagination laid out for each and every one of us to explore. Great, collaborative artwork the likes of which had never been dreamed before the modern age.
I have slaughtered innocents, rescued princesses, saved the universe, lost a daughter, loved and lost… all through this medium. I did things that I never could have attempted in our own world! Because of that, I have felt, seen, and expressed things that I never would have; and isn’t that what art is all about?
by Mitch Schiwal & Angie Hoover-Hillhouse
Frank Henenlotter’s “That’s Sexploitation!: A Visual History” (WORLD PREMIERE!)
a documentary featuring rare and lost clips of the sexploitation genre
Tuesday 06/25/13 Doors open at 09:50 PM Show Time 10:15 PM
tickets: $12 http://www.cinefamily.org
Sissy Spacek and Martin Sheen star as a a fifteen-year-old girl and her twenty-five-year-old boyfriend who slaughter her entire family and several others
Saturday 06/ 29 Doors open at 7:30PM Show Time 9:00 PM
Hollywood Forever Cemetery
Tickets: $12 http://cinespia.org/event/badlands/
Bertrand Blier’s surreal cinematic exploration of the war of the sexes
Sunday 06/30/13 Doors open at 08:45 PM Show Time 9:15 PM
tickets: $12 http://www.cinefamily.org
REVIEW OF LAST WEEK’S EVENT HERE
Starting today, our site will incorporate
several new and exciting weekly features including
Every Monday at 2pm, we will provide information about what our top 3 art & film related events in Los angeles for the upcoming week.
Tuesdays at 9, we will be offering fun, theme-related top 5 picks from The Show Tell Project Editors.
Fridays at 11, we will be offering theme-related articles about gender issues in film & television
Insightful commentary on theme-related issues from Mitch Schiwal: Dungeon-Master, comic book expert, and Guru of all things awesome.