Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Justin Bieber?

Harmless fun, just helping out friends keen to spread the word...

Monday, January 27, 2014

Annual Summer Holidays #02

   Well, it's been a full couple of weeks since Yurora NCYC '14 with the promised cricket, tennis, movie catch ups and a short but complicated list of tasks at home. They've been hard work for someone who has no aptitude for it but it's true that in the hours taken to prep and try to work at such things, you can't have a head full of work worries, jobs to do etc.

The garage is better, with lots of stuff taken to the dump to be repurposed
The storeroom concrete cracks are coated awaiting enough rain to patch any leftover holes
The 4 window frames are repainted with stain & varnish [plus brother Mark's repairs to one rotten bit]
The loungeroom ceiling watermark is covered and repainted [roof patched also by Mark
Wall mark patched and painted
One ceiling patch to finish tomorrow that somehow was originally painted a creamy colour, not ceiling white
Golf played

About seven films viewed, including 'One Chance' at the Openair, two or three to go!!
'Blue Jasmine'
'Saving Mr Banks'
'The Secret Life of Walter Mitty'
'The Hobbit Desolation of Smaug'
'Hunger Games Catching Fire'

Some lap swimming but not much in painting time...
A little reading
A little new music and catching up on some old

BUT I'm not feeling rested, I still feel very weary from 2013, so I am glad the odd jobs will be done with tomorrow and I have a few days after school goes back to do, let's face it, not much!! Coffee, swimming, and enjoying some music!! Or maybe just sleeping... oh and getting two new tyres and a pink slip for the car!!

"Happy" Pharrell Williams

Featured in 'Despicable Me 2'
So, hats are his 'thing' huh?

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Row F Seat 19 "One Chance" rated PG 103 mins

"You know what you were put on this earth to do, you have a natural talent for singing!"

   This is a film with 'heart'! It's a story in good hands as the retelling of the global sensation Paul Potts who auditioned for, took on and won 'Britain's Got Talent.' His audition video went viral globally on the internet and conquering his nerves allowed him to live out a dream as an opera singer.

"The only time I'm ever truly happy is when I'm singing opera!"

   But in truth it's the 'heart' shown by Paul's slightly reluctant best friend and his positive, encouraging, beautifully  supportive girlfriend who allow Paul's own 'heart' to show through. He endures merciless bullying, a lack of support from his dad, an accident prone life and the disappointment of nerves on the big occasion of singing for his hero Pavarotti in Venice.
   It's a well told story evoking the same tearful response as Paul Potts' youtube sensation where even Simon Cowell pays attention to this surprise packet!!
   I am uneasy about clips like Paul's, Susan Boyle and others... Yes, they are a surprise, but are also a reminder that we find it so easy to judge on externals and maybe the whole reaction that leads to these clips taking off is a shallow starting point from which we should learn our lesson...
   Like many good films, I was moved by those experiences and insecurities Paul showed and how they relate to my own sense of self, hopes and dreams and life opportunities passed up or missed for lack of confidence.
   I wonder if 'heart' is a given quality or can be learned or gained. If we are the sum result of everyone we've met and every life experience we've had, we will make small choices everyday about how we encounter others, what judgements we make and whether or not we seek what best for others. These are values to live by, to shape a community with and to change the world through... one day at a time!!


Wednesday, January 22, 2014

"Stay Alive" Jose Gonzales

Having heard Jose at Greenbelt Festival in 2008, there's something about his music that gets me in... this one helps that it connects with a terrific film!!

"Stay Alive"
There's a rhythm in rush these days
Where the lights don't move and the colors don't fade
Leaves you empty with nothing but dreams
In a world gone shallow
In a world gone lean

Sometimes there's things a man cannot know
Gears won't turn and the leaves won't grow
There's no place to run and no gasoline
Engine won't turn
And the train won't leave

Engines won't turn and the train won't leave

I will stay with you tonight
Hold you close 'til the morning light
In the morning watch a new day rise
We'll do whatever just to stay alive
We'll do whatever just to stay alive

Well the way I feel is the way I write
It isn't like the thoughts of the man who lies
There is a truth and it's on our side
Dawn is coming
Open your eyes
Look into the sun as the new days rise

And I will wait for you tonight
You're here forever and you're by my side
I've been waiting all my life
To feel your heart as it's keeping time
We'll do whatever just to stay alive

Dawn is coming
Open your eyes
Dawn is coming
Open your eyes
Dawn is coming
Open your eyes
Dawn is coming
Open your eyes

Look into the sun as the new days rise
There's a rhythm in rush these days
Where the lights don't move and the colors don't fade
Leaves you empty with nothing but dreams
In a world gone shallow
In a world gone lean

But there is a truth and it's on our side
Dawn is coming open your eyes
Look into the sun as a new days rise

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

'MLK' U2

U2 - MLK
   Thinking about Dr King today and the story of a letter written to him by my Dad when his Sunday School Group were learning about MLK. MLK's Secretary replied she was sure he would like to write back to the group on his return from a speaking tour... he never made it back!! That reply was 'borrowed' and lost...
   I love how even his 'Have a Dream' speech was referenced as a hope for the world in which HIS OWN CHILDREN would grow up... a grounded vision for community, not heroism, for change, not compulsion!!

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Row F Seat 19 "Saving Mr Banks" rated PG 125 mins

"That's what we storytellers do. We restore order with imagination. We instil hope again and again and again"

   Redemption is a constant and resonant theme in popular Hollywood films [even those made possible by the BBC apparently]. "Saving Mr Banks" centres on the twenty year battle for Walt Disney seeking to make the film of the popular story of 'Mary Poppins' by author PL Travers [Emma Thompson}. The reality is Travers needs the money as she hasn't written anything new in some time.

   The film isn't a documentary and so concentrates on parts of the story that help us imagine redemption is possible. The Walt Disney [Tom Hanks] character is there in determination, problem solving, a trip to Disneyland and his insight that he hasn't yet cracked what makes Travers so resistant to allowing the film rights to be given. It isn't until Walt can confront and share the story of his own Father and his childhood delivering newspapers in a snowbound Missouri twice a day no matter what...

   Disney's own promise to his daughters to make their favourite story into a film sits alongside the flashbacks to Ginty's father [Travers Goff] struggling with alcoholism and her tightly held story of growing up with the broken promise that he would "never leave her." These vignettes set the context for the whole story as her imagination was encouraged by her childhood picture of her Father [Colin Farrell] and the way he fostered her vivid imagination.

   Emma Thompson and that Tom Hanks bloke play their characters with humour, warmth and just enough vulnerability. Paul Giamatti does brilliantly with the role of the limo driver Ralph [the only American Travers likes]. Colin Farrell is good as Travers Goff.

   You don't need to be a fan of Mary Poppins to find this film a tear filled experience but I do think growing up with 'The Wonderful World of Disney' 6.30-m on TV every Sunday night makes the story accessible and important for an audience in any country around the globe.

"You think Mary Poppins has come to save the children... oh, dear"

   Redemption... once flawed, making bad choices, unable to see past our own inadequacies, are we forever labelled or is redemption possible? What story or relationship and story shared in common opens the door to letting go or laying down our stories. In the case of PL Travers it's Walt Disney's shared common experience and a  a Father, who in the face of his troubles says, "let's go fly a kite" opening up possibility and a freedom from the past...

   The Film's credits include old b&w photos of the real characters and a great original tape deck recording of the writers production meetings Travers insisted be taped so they kept their promises.

Friday, January 17, 2014

'Cracked and Broken' a work in progress?

The familiar clay jar sits on the shelf
We are comfortable with it, it is what we know
It's very presence evokes tactile memories of a rich past.

But where will we keep the biscuits?
The bought ones, the different ones
The clay jar is no longer useful for it's purpose
It holds pens
It is a deep colour
If only it could speak.

We were given a plastic container
It lacks the history
It is a different colour
But it does have dividers
for different flavours and types.

What do we put on our shelf
Is there space for the new?
How do we stay connected to the history?
If we use that container then anyone will feel like they can open it.

It is meant for biscuits
Not our favourites but other ones
What happens if it doesn't work out?

The familiar clay jar sits on the shelf
Make space for a new container
Invite people to use it as they had hoped
Those biscuits have a familiar flavour
Hospitality takes a new step forward.

We get the jar out from time to time
to celebrate
to hold flowers
to remind us of the clay

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Annual Summer Holidays #01

Following a long week of work [make that five weeks or more with prep, art, video work] I am in my fav. part of the year. Holidays in January are a recharge, a sport filled respite and I am someone who enjoys the heat!!

So far I've enjoyed:
- A Garage Clean Up part one and [2] trips to the Dump
- Fresh rolls and salads at liesure
- 'The Secret Life of Walter Mitty' kicks off my movie catch ups anytime the girls are with friends or in Sydney
- 30 Laps at the Pool today and an arvo nap!! followed by tennis and cricket viewing

Have a party, golf and Openair Cinema lined up soon... plus finishing the garage tidy and one or two projects!!

"The Secret Life of Walter Mitty" 6 min TRAILER with music from Jose Gonzales

Row K Seat 19 "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty" rated PG 114mins

"To see the world, 
things dangerous to come to, 
to see behind walls, draw closer, 
to find each other and to feel. 
That is the purpose of life."

 So reads the slogan on the wall at 'LIFE' magazine where Walter Mitty [Ben Stiller] works as a 'Negative Asset Manager' catalogue-ing and making accessible the stock of images from photographers like the 'old school' Sean O'Connell [Sean Penn]. This provides the backdrop for the story of Walter, who had dreams that were effected by the death of his Father when he was younger. The film is quite different to the 1947 Danny Kaye adaptation [which I think I have seen on TV when I was much younger] of the James Thurber short story.
Instead of sometimes saying or doing what he wished, Walter 'zones out' into vivid CGI day dreams...

   I really enjoyed the film as an up close story about having the courage and the 'heart' to do and be who we can be, want to be, hope to be... it was the perfect way to kick off my holidays!! Did I think it was made brilliantly or that it wasn't slow like I'd read or that I didn't wish Benjamin Button had been left on the digital 'cutting room floor' NO, but as a story told I was 'in it.'
   For me the 'slowness' of the story was an invitation that Walter didn't jump at the opportunities 'overnight' and his hopes and wishes were deeper than and yet encompassed a love story. I felt connected with the painful part of his story. The musical soundtrack was downloaded on my phone before I finished watching the entire credits... which I still do for films I like. I thought Shirley MacLaine and Kristen Wiig were great casting choices.
   Courage is about more than opportunity. Our ability to be ourselves is shaped and fostered in relationship, through circumstances creating emotion and resilience from within our lives. Walter's Father died leaving no money but the impact of that on Walter is a slow burn in the story... from budgeting and what to do with his mum's piano through rediscovering his love of skating and onto an uncomfortable visit to 'Papa John's' Pizza!!
   In terms of how we might understand God I am reminded of the writings of German theologian Paul Tillich. Tillich presents anxiety as an outcome of the 'loss of meaning' in life and suggests courage is an antidote. "Courage is the strength to affirm ones own life in spite of the fact that life will inevitable end, that it may seem to have no purpose and that people are destined to carry great burdens of guilt for not being perfect or "acceptable" in their own eyes." writes one reviewer of Tillich's work in 'Courage to Be' from the early 1950s.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

'Story of My Life'

When it's a great creative effort and a good idea, it is no matter whose it is!!
The springboard of possibilities are there...