Wednesday, April 30, 2008

T-Shirt Slogan

"Thank God for the Devil's Music"

Or would it make a better country song? Maybe both.

Jihad for Love

Jihad for Love

I'm trying to determine whether the documentary A Jihad for Love has been released in the United States yet. Apparently not, though it's been released elsewhere and seems to be doing the rounds at college campuses across the country. It's been screened in Turkey and banned in Singapore. Directed by Parvez Sharma and produced by he and Sandi Dubowski, Jihad is a natural companion to Dubowski's excellent documentary Trembling Before G-d about gays within the Orthodox Jewish community. Jihad, of course, concerns the lives of lesbian and gay Muslims. You can follow developments for the film on the director's blog.

Additionally, if you know me and would like to see Trembling Before G-d, I have a copy I'd be happy to loan you. A follow-up documentary Trembling on the Road is also available with the 2-DVD set, which is the one I have.

Update: As noted in the comments, the U.S. release for Jihad for Love is May 21 at IFC here in New York City. Can't wait to see it.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Six Billion Others

Six Billion Others is a project by French photographer Yann Arthus Bertrand, which will tie in with Pangea Day, coming up on May 10th. It features video interviews with thousands of people from around the world on different subjects, such as love, liberty, anger, discrimination--the whole gamut of the human experience.

Attending a Tribeca Film Festival discussion on Pangea Day tonight, I learned more about that event's origins, too. Jehane Noujaim, director of the extraordinary documentary Control Room, provided the idea after winning a TED prize in 2006 for her film. The winner receives $100,000 and "a wish to change the world" and Pangea Day grew out of her wish to bring the world together with film or, as she described it, to create a "World Cup of storytelling."

Premiering this year, Pangea Day will be a four-hour event presenting live music, various speakers and, primarily, specially-commissioned short films from around the world. These films were made with camera phones, which were distributed around the planet. We saw some of the resulting footage tonight, and it was of surprisingly good quality on the big screen.

Noujaim closed out the night by paraphrasing this quote from Longfellow, which summarizes the intent behind Pangea Day:
If we could read the secret history of our enemies, we should find in each person's life, sorrow and suffering enough to disarm all hostility.
(I should mention, too, that my employer Avenue A | Razorfish provided the design and marketing for the Pangea Day Web site, though I wasn't involved in the project.)

Support the Global Online Freedom Act

Via Amnesty International, support the Global Online Freedom Act:
Repressive governments are making Internet and technology companies allies in their efforts to censor the Internet. Without any U.S. regulation to specifically prevent this, companies like Google, Yahoo! and Microsoft have sacrificed international human rights standards, and their own corporate missions, in pursuit of new and lucrative markets. Ask your Representative to support H.R. 275, the Global Online Freedom Act of 2007, which would prevent U.S. companies from carrying out or facilitating the suppression of online speech in repressive countries.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Subway Poem 4

Friday riders relax their bearing
Shunted homeward, slim smiles tweak their lips
Their heads turn to address and inquire
Though still isolated by the slender strings
Threading their chosen soundtrack through tender tympani
Still, more aware of the rich, heterogeneity enveloping them


Thursday, April 24, 2008

Subway Poem 3

Her on the subway reading Jung
Eyes aflutter, though, never settling
A permanent smile, dark eyebrow arched
Betraying the flit and flicker of her mind
Copper fingers interlaced, yet trembling
Her heart astir with Spring


Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Subway Poem 2

When the doors slid open
He left his seat and looked back
To confirm he'd left nothing behind
Though some years before he left his spirit
But did not pause to confirm its disappearance


Subway Poem 1

These skittering people on the train
Avoiding the berth of a huddled man
Fearful of his fear, his dissipation
The most helpless ever receiving the least help


A while back, I struck on the idea to take photo of a single person on the subway each day and create a year in portraits. Only thing is, I'm not that outgoing. So this weekend, I struck upon a different idea: subway poetry. A single, short poem based upon something or someone I saw on the subway or some thought, which struck me there. It won't be daily, I'm sure, but let's see how far it goes.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Much Ado About Nothing

Obama's "bitter" comment:
It’s not surprising then that they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.
Trying to come up with any reason Obama should apologize for this statement. Coming up empty. A moment of transparency? Perhaps. A moment of truth? Sure. Elitist? Maybe if you try to skew it that way. But a literal reading to me sounds more like his intention was sympathy for the disenfranchised, even when disagreeing with their choices. But spin doctors will latch on to anything.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Whale Brains

This is somewhat old news, but I was just reading about it again and it's pretty fascinating: Whales have brain cells like us. Specifically, they have neural structures, which, like ours, allow them to process information more quickly and to communicate more effectively than many other creatures of the sea.

According to the authors of the study:
Humpback whales exhibit complex social patterns that include intricate communication skills, coalition-formation, cooperation, cultural transmission and tool usage. It is thus likely that some of these abilities are related to comparable (tissue) complexity in brain organization in cetaceans and in hominids.
Did you also know that whales evolved from land creatures which returned to the sea? "Tiny, deerlike mammals," according to this National Geographic article.