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.

New Mexico sorted COVID-19 with science, good sense. Come and make movies, y’all!

When the movie industry ramps back up, states will be competing for their business. the COVID-19 pandemic may actually help give New Mexico an edge. That’s largely because of the state’s coronavirus response which has made it one of the safest places for productions to shoot.

From Transformers to the Breaking Bad franchise, New Mexico has served as the backdrop for dozens of major films and TV shows. One local filmmaker believes a lot more are on the way. “It looks favorable to us because we’re going to health wise look like a better place to shoot,” says Film Crew Trainer Grubb Graebner.

The coronavirus outbreak has halted film productions for the past three months. Graebner believes once productions get the green light, many of them will head to New Mexico first because it’s safer. “They have the choice of going to shoot in New York where cases are going up. LA where cases are going up or shooting in New Mexico where cases are going down,”…

Same as it ever was!

Comeback of the Century


Best Example

❝ In the digital age, the printed book has experienced more than its share of obituaries. Among the most dismissive was one from Steve Jobs, who said in 2008, “It doesn’t matter how good or bad the product is, the fact is that people don’t read anymore.”

True, nearly one in four adults in this country has not read a book in the last year. But the book — with a spine, a unique scent, crisp pages and a typeface that may date to Shakespeare’s day — is back. Defying all death notices, sales of printed books continue to rise to new highs, as do the number of independent stores stocked with these voices between covers, even as sales of electronic versions are declining.

❝ Nearly three times as many Americans read a book of history in 2017 as watched the first episode of the final season of “Game of Thrones.” The share of young adults who read poetry in that year more than doubled from five years earlier. A typical rage tweet by President Trump, misspelled and grammatically sad, may get him 100,000 “likes.” Compare that with the 28 million Americans who read a book of verse in the first year of Trump’s presidency, the highest share of the population in 15 years.

❝ So, even with a president who is a historic, borderline literate and would fail a sixth-grade reading comprehension test, something wonderful and unexpected is happening in the language arts. When the dominant culture goes low, the saviors of our senses go high.

RTFA. Short, to the point, illustrative.

I have personal feelings about the subversive reappearance and growth of documentary film, as well. I think this growth parallels the growth in books. Personally, I’m tired to death of all the Murphy Brown wannabes who think the only thing called news is in the “magazine format”. The same topics, of course, on every other magazine format “news” show the whole damned day.

I think some of us really miss learning stuff.

Extinction Rebellion mural is a Banksy


Click to enlargeIsabel Infantes/AFP

❝ A Banksy collector and expert believes a mural that appeared at Extinction Rebellion’s Marble Arch base overnight is an authentic piece by the Bristolian street artist.

❝ John Brandler, who owns a dozen pieces by Banksy is convinced the artwork – which features the slogan “From this moment despair ends and tactics begin” next to a young girl sitting on the ground holding an Extinction Rebellion logo – is an original because of its execution and theme.

Good enough for me. And sock it to the pollution pimps!

Streaming soon: AppleTV+


Click to runDailyMotion

We cut the cable cord [well, satellite box cord] a couple of years ago. AppleTV had been a consistent, productive adjunctive device providing some of my favorite movies – and 4K was coming. We’ve experimented with a couple of streaming services, now, and I don’t mind admitting that to date cost is prime. Yes, “Prime” is another important word in our extended household.

Quality delivered for a certain cost is more important than quality alone. Our wee compound is entirely populated by retirees. Politicians who would screw over social security or Medicare or Obamacare should only dare enter our driveway in an armored vehicle. Budgets for retirees always end up being a life-or-death discussion.

Right now, AppleTV is primarily a delivery system. Damned good, for example – when we actually catch a live 4K feed of, say, a Euro or British football match. Exceptional, satisfying, mind-grabbing when it’s episode after episode of a murder mystery with Detective Bosch stalking the villain. Yeah, the commercials are right.

We’ll decide about AppleTV+ — the streaming service — after we try it. Storytelling will play as big a part as cost, no doubt. But, the storytelling is how it always starts. A great deal on crap television is not what we’re looking for.

Get hip to Mongolian Rock!

❝ A band from Mongolia that blends the screaming guitars of heavy metal and traditional Mongolian guttural singing has picked up 7 million views for its two videos.

Leather jackets, skull rings and bandannas alongside intricately carved Mongolian horsehead fiddles are just some of the images in the first two music videos the Mongolian band The Hu released on YouTube this fall…

❝ As the Soviet Union crumbled and Western influence flooded in during the late 1980s and early 1990s, Mongolian musicians chose to preserve Mongolian culture while also adapting new influences, explains University of Chicago ethnomusicology doctoral student Thalea Stokes…

“Mongolians are not just taking elements from Western music and just copying and pasting,” says Stokes. Instead, they’re using some of these elements and making their own authentic music.

“So it’s not rock music performed by Mongolians. It’s Mongolian rock music,” she says.

It rocks. It’s real. An authentic sound introduced to Western ears.

Thanks, UrsaRodinia