Making a video on gun violence in Philadelphia can get you killed

A man working on a video about gun violence was shot and killed in Philadelphia, police said … “This 55-year-old male was working for a production company. They were inside of a private residence. They were interviewing and filming some family members whose children were victims of gun violence in the last two to three years,” Police Chief Inspector Scott Small said.

The man went out to his van to get more equipment and police said he was shot multiple times. Production equipment and two cellphones were found on the sidewalk … The man was taken to a hospital, where he died.

Though police didn’t initially identify the victim, his name was published a day or two later. Anthony Merriett Jr.

The eruption of Paricutin volcano

There are very rare occasions when people can see a new volcano emerging from virtually nowhere. Considered by some as one of the Seven Wonders of the Natural World, Parícutin volcano is undoubtedly one of the wonderful geomorphological landscapes of the Globe…

Parícutin volcano was born on a Mexican cornfield owned by Dionisio Pulido, a farmer who saw vapor emanating from a hollow and shortly afterwards, witnessed the beginning of a unique event of a volcano being created…

[February 20, ~4 in the afternoon]…Pulido reported…I left my wife to set fire to a pile of branches when I noticed that a crack, which was situated on one of the knolls of my farm, had opened . . . and I saw that it was a kind of fissure that had a depth of only half a meter. I set about to ignite the branches again when I felt a thunder, the trees trembled, and I turned to speak to Paula; and it was then I saw how, in the hole, the ground swelled and raised itself 2 or 2.5 meters high, and a kind of smoke or fine dust – grey, like ashes – began to rise up in a portion of the crack that I had not previously seen . . . Immediately more smoke began to rise with a hiss or whistle, loud and continuous; and there was a smell of sulfur.

I saw a roughcut documentary of the birth and growth of this volcano around 1948-1950. Sound overdubbed on film probably 16mm Ektachrome or something similar. May have been made from the work of Howard Thompson, though folks who manage his estate say his film records weren’t available that early.

Wherever it came from, it impressed the heck out of me. I was still in elementary school at the time.

A movie you should watch

I watched “ONE NIGHT IN MIAMI” for the second time, tonight. I’ll return to it in the future, no doubt, as one drops in on an old friend to refresh all the thoughts and concerns that grow a friendship in the first place.

I had a personal experience, interaction if you would…with Malcolm X around 1959. I’d traveled down to that wonderful Harlem Institution, the African National Memorial Bookstore, with my best bud from night school. He happened to be a Black ex-Marine, and we both hoped to hear Malcolm X giving one of his street-corner education classes to the masses…after we finished our shopping list at the bookstore. He often worked that corner.

He did so that day. I heard a lot and learned a lot. By the time Daniel and I headed back home, I was convinced this was a man who continued to learn, to build upon knowledge he was still acquiring…and that he could and would broaden out his appeal to encompass activists of all colors. It was that clear to me that afternoon in Harlem. No wonder he was such a danger to the status quo.

Is this a brand worth buying?

With extremely rare exception, I watch Fox NOTHING! If they approached reasonable humanity, someday, in the political management of their content, I’d consider changing my attitude. Of course.

There is also no shortage of great sports programming, short fiction, long-form film-making, musical entertainment…you name it…to be found within the multiplicity of channels streaming from watchable sources available damned near everywhere. More than I can keep up with.

So, screw the pricks sucking up advertising dollar$ that benefit the current and future waves of fascist, racist, bigoted ideology that keeps the shit-end of human beings from being as poverty-stricken as their hearts and cruel minds.

Exorcist pea soup

The radiological technician in ‘The Exorcist” who gives Regan a medical examination to find out what is wrong with her was played by Paul Bateson, who would later be convicted of murder and is a suspected serial killer. In fact that whole scene existed because William Friedkin saw him assist in a real life procedure and wanted it in the movie, and Bateson was cast because his boss Dr Lane- also in the scene- asked that he and the nurse be in it. The whole thing was shot on-location in his place of work and Bateson is the one with the most dialogue in the scene, calmly talking Regan through things in the exact same manner he did real life child patients.

Har!

Ron Cobb has died

One of the greats in artistic design for film and TV…and everything else that required talent, humor [often] and courage [just about all the time].

Here’s one from the original LA Free Press…back when you could say you saw it in the “FREEP” and anyone hip and willing to challenge the bourgeois establishment knew exactly what publication you meant.

He will be missed.

Feds get ruling from 1948 overturned – you may end up with ONLY DisneyPlex theaters


A choice of one

If you went to the movies in 2019, you probably saw a Disney movie. Seven of the top 10 highest-grossing films released in the United States last year were distributed by the House of Mouse, and hundreds of millions of people went to see them on thousands of screens. Some weeks it felt like the entire film industry was Disney: Captain Marvel and the rest of the Avengers (Endgame) competed for your attention for a while, as Aladdin, The Lion King, and Toy Story 4 kept up a steady drumbeat of animation until Elsa dropped back onto hapless households in Frozen II. In amongst that morass, though, there were still other movies shown, many of them popular with audiences and critics alike.

But now, the rule that prevented a studio from buying up a major theater chain is gone—opening up the possibility that your local cinema could go whole hog and become a true Disneyplex before you know it.

In isolation, the decision could raise some concerns. In a world where theaters are decimated thanks to a pandemic and consolidation among media firms is already rampant, the future for independent theaters looks grim.

But, hey…if Disney suits your comfort level of sophistication, daring and intellectual challenge, you’ll have a few more choices. Maybe 10 out of 10.