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Unpaid Intern Erin...

July 20, 2007

'London Eyes America' - American Asks Londoners What They Think of U.S. Then Acts Out the Result


My favourite new blog is London Eyes America.  Rachel Parish, an American living in London, (and sister of our very own Unpaid Intern Erin / Whitey Can't Dance Girl), approaches Londoners - asks them what they think about the U.S., then dramatises the result. 

From her blog:

"I've travelled around several inner London Boroughs, with several different wonderful English women (Rose, Feyza, Liz, Sophie--thanks!!). We approach people, and ask them--whats the first thing that comes to your mind when you think of Americans? We then get their permission to take their picture and record what they've said. That is what you see here. But thats just the tip of the iceberg... Next, a team of fabulous makeup artists will work with me to transform me into representation of these diverse ideas of what it means to be "American."

Go and have a look around the site, I think it's a wonderful idea, very 'LTA'; I hope she keeps it up!

(Photo above: Rachel dramatising 'Immaturity')


June 14, 2007

Unpaid Intern Erin Starts Her Own Blog

Unpaid Intern Erin at the St Georges Market, Belfast, Northern Ireland

Yes, it's time Dear Listeners.  Every parent knows that some day their sweet child will leave the nest.  Whether it's heading to college, moving in with a partner or, in my case, escaping to Mexico to wait out the statute of limitations, every 'little one' moves on.  This is now the case with our Unpaid Intern Erin.  She's started a blog of her very own:

Terrific Whistlers

It's well worth a read and I expect you to bookmark it accordingly.  Anyhew, please join me in wishing Erin the best of luck - I miss her already.

(Photo, Erin at the St. Georges Market, Belfast:  Pointing to that which I treasure almost above all else)


May 07, 2007

The 8th Cathedral Arts Festival 3

Misguided Tours at the Festival of Fools, 8th Cathedral Arts Festival, Belfast, Northern Ireland

I went on the Misguided Tour this Saturday past - had a ball.  If you're in Belfast today tours leave at 2pm and 4pm - departing from the City Hall Gates.  Highly recommended!

Cathedral Arts Festival previously on LAT:

The 8th Cathedral Arts Festival 2

The 8th Cathedral Arts Festival 1

Star Trek Predicts A United Ireland; The 8th Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival

(I took this photo at the end of the tour - and yes that's Unpaid Intern Erin smiling out on the right!)


April 08, 2007

Letter to America - Chapter 62 - The Saint Patrick Day Search

St Patricks Day, Belfast, Northern Ireland
Ah, Sweet Truth Inside Us it's Letter to America - Chapter 62 - The Saint Patrick Day Search!

In which Jett and Wayne look for sexy, sexy Samantha Mumba, Custom House Square is no longer welcome to Skate Boarders, Miss Morans is the place to go for Smokes, Sonia Butterworth asks if we would 'Catch a Fish,  Photographs of Festivities are taken, Unpaid Intern Erin's posts are discussed, Buses are ridden for free, Senan and Robert Sands are mentioned and a Monkfish is searched for high and low.

All this and more on your "We could have gone back to Kansas anytime" Podcast.

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March 29, 2007

Unpaid Intern Erin's Guide to the Belfast Film Festival - The End

Rachel and Erin Parish in Maili

When I was a little girl, my mother would quiz my sisters and I on the countries of the world, using homemade flash cards with hand-drawn maps filled with information she copied out of the encyclopedia.  My wanderlust was sparked at a very young age and has been nurtured throughout my life.  Watching many of the films from around the world during the festival once again set off my nomadic buttons, none more so than Nomadak TX.  More a patchwork quilt of sound and image than a movie, Nomadak TX combined many of the elements that have most intrigued me throughout my life and created out of them a visual and auditory feast. While my days of adventurous travel through dusty towns by camel or muddy villages crammed in the back of a dilapidated pick-up truck feel like almost a life-time ago, watching the two main characters of Nomadak TX travel to far away corners of the world afforded me the opportunity to vicariously re-live my past experiences.

When the film ended, people seemed to leave the theatre feeling energised and happy.  Perhaps due to the dark subject matter of many of my chosen films, I can’t say that occurred at the end of many of the other films that I saw. It’s hard not to feel good after hearing a Mongolian man explain his priorities.  “The most important things to a nomad” he said, “are their family, their friends, and their horses.  If they have these three things, they will have a good life.”  When later asked what he wanted most in life, he responded, “Food for my horse.  I’m not happy when my horse has no food.”  Later on, a Sudanese refugee who had found a home in the forbidding Moroccan desert was asked what his greatest wish was.  He responded, “to be happy.”  Gesturing at the desolate, windless wasteland behind him, he elaborated, “I only want to find a wife, to live in peace, to settle down here and live right here for the rest of my life.”

While so many films at the festival centred around darkness and death, Nomadak TX chronicled and acclaimed the simplicity and beauty of life. For all these reasons and many more that I haven’t thought of yet, Nomadak TX wins the coveted Erin Parish’s choice for Best of Show in the 7th Belfast Film Festival Award.

(Photo above:  Rachel and Erin Parish, Mali)


Unpaid Intern Erin's Guide to the Belfast Film Festival - Part 9

Still from the film Enemies of Happiness

Nearly bankrupt and fighting back a nervous breakdown, documentary filmmaker Peter Whitehead wandered the streets of Edinburgh on a summer evening in 1969 shortly before the premiere of his latest film, The Fall.  A flock of birds surprised him and caused him to pause in a square.  There, he saw an elderly man pull food out of his pocket and start feeding the birds, calling them individually by name.  Whitehead, who over the previous four years had chronicled an era of excess, energy, anarchy, and angst with unparalleled access and acumen, left filmmaking and bought his first falcon. 

While Whitehead did not entirely abandon filmmaking in the 1970s, making a Led Zepplin concert-pic in 1970, Daddy in 1972, and Fire in the Water in 1977, the passion of his past three and a half decades has largely been devoted to majestic birds-of-prey.  The film that served as the catalyst for his dramatic life overhall, The Fall, chronicled the descent of the student protest movement from a legitimate political force to what Whitehead described as “calculated political anarchy.”  The film that resulted was a genre-bending experiment mixing a fictional political assassination with real-life footage of the protest movement.

Nearly forty years after beginning filming of The Fall, Whitehead told Sight and Sound, “I’ve never been on holiday, never wasted a single day.  I would consider it a waste if I’m not pursuing my myth in some form or another.”  Don't miss the myth of Peter Whitehead this Saturday at Studio Cinema, where The Fall begins at 7:00 PM.

Also on Saturday…

Two documentaries on the difficulties and disenfranchisement that occurs when people exert their right to vote are playing together at QFT on Saturday.  No Umbrella: Election Day in the City follows the experiences of voters in one of Ohio’s poorest voting precincts during the 2004 presidential elections.  Enemies of Happiness tells the story of a 27-year-old woman running in Afghanistan’s parliamentary elections in September 2005.  Celebrate Northern Ireland's upcoming power sharing scenario with a Saturday afternoon of election woes starting at 2:00 PM at QFT.

As if our lives weren't scary enough, on Saturday afternoon, you can witness a dystopian future in which only Jett Loe and Martin Sheen’s brother can save the day.  The Patrol is just one of many short jewels on display at the Jameson Short Film Competition, starting at high noon at the Black Box.

(Image above:  still from the film Enemies of Happiness)


March 28, 2007

Unpaid Intern Erin's Guide to the Belfast Film Festival - Part 8

Cinema Sports taking place at the Queens Street Studios, Belfast, Northern Ireland

While women have made great strides in reaching parity in both levels of participation and payment in many fields, cinema would not be included on the list.  Seven percent of films are directed by women, a statistic only slightly less shameful than the number of female candidates fielded in the last Northern Irish assembly election.  Friday’s film fest line-up, however, highlights female-made short fiction and non-fiction films.  Coming off the back of their week long-film festival in London at the Barbican, Birds Eye View, an organisation supporting women in film, brings six short films made by female directors to the Belfast Film Festival.  These films screen Friday night with the short documentary, Like a Ship in the Night, about three Irish women taking the boat to England for an abortion.

Although abortion is legal in Great Britain, it remains illegal in both the North and the South of Ireland.  Perhaps not coincidentally, Northern Ireland also has the highest rate of teenage pregnancy in Western Europe.  Like a Ship in the Night explores the story of three women from very different backgrounds sharing in a journey that 8,000 women a year make.  Director Melissa Thompson will introduce her film and lead a discussion following the screening.  Enjoy an evening of female-driven programming at the Studio Cinema beginning at 8:30 PM on Friday night.

Also on Friday…

Before James Cameron became the intrepid explorer, expert archaeologist, and self-proclaimed finder of Jesus’ tomb, he used to make some pretty flipping frightening films.   Aliens is appropriately playing at the drive-in at the Titanic Quarter Paint Hall at 9:00 PM.

In what is apparently a regular club night fixture, RINKA offers a mix of screenings of independent films and live music.  Jim Jarmusch’s ode to Coffee and Cigarettes begins the night, followed by electronica/avant-rock instrumentation from the Bangor-based group When Pilots Eject, finished off by what is described as “deviant acid turntablism” provided by DJs Sinister Industry with visuals from Chewie Films. RINKA kicks off at 8:00 PM at the Black Box.

Note:  Hi folks,  Jett here; the photo above was taken at the Queens Street Studios this Saturday past during the Cinemasports event - unfortunately I didn't have the time to participate, (the challenge: make a short film in one day - show it the same evening), maybe next year!  If you're interested in making media in Northern Ireland definitely check out the QSS - they've got all sorts of stuff that would come in handy!

Note 2:  Jett here again; I see I've illustrated Erin's post about the shameful lack of films directed by women with a photo of a bunch of guys who are off to make a film.  Hmm.


March 27, 2007

Unpaid Intern Erin's Guide to the Belfast Film Festival - Part 7

Tough Guy at the John Hewitt Pub, Belfast, Northern Ireland

Last year around this time, I went to New York with my boyfriend.  We had breakfast with friends of his, one of whom is a poet. One of her poems, “The Spirit of 34th Street”, had been included in an anthology of poetry about New York City.  She read it out to us over coffee and pastries:

“Doors opened with a silent scream.
like photographs of anguish;
the subway paused, shed cargo
and raged on.
She lurched aboard,
sagged into a vacant seat,
frail weight of her gray years
hunched with cold.
Numb fingers plucked at rags,
drawn close against raw misery.
Knuckles, cracked and swollen white,
clutched into a plea for warmth.
He, dark and lithe,
swung down the aisle,
taut jeans dancing
With Latin grace
he, sidling past
her patient form,
in one smooth gesture
disappeared through subway doors,
leaving in her lap,
like folded dove wings,
his black leather gloves.”

After finishing the poem, she remarked, “life in New York City is filled with misery and majesty.”  Filmmaker Jem Cohen uses this polarity of the urban landscape as his muse in the two films, Lost Book Found and This is a History of New York City.  Both are mosaics of city life cobbled together from years of Super-8 and 16mm filming of the streets of the city.   Lun Sante says of Lost Book Found, “Its beauty is quite ineffable.  It’s the sort of visual experience that transforms everything seen by the viewer for several hours afterwards.”  Such high praise might just warrant the price of admission.  Check out the films of Jem Cohen at the Studio Cinema (above Belfast Exposed) on Thursday at 7:00 PM.

Also on Thursday…

Polarity takes centre stage once again in John and Jane, a documentary about the experience of working in Indian call centres.  Employees leave their Indian identities outside the walls of the office, where inside, the dominance of American culture reigns supreme.  John and Jane is playing along with The Intimacy of Strangers at QFT at 6:45.

A day without a mention of totalitarianism during the Belfast Film Festival would be like a day without an alcopop during a vacation to Ibiza.  Get  your cinematic fix of state control with the Academy Award winning film, The Lives of Others, about the experience of state surveillance under Communist-run East Germany.

(Photo taken by Jett of a Tough Guy at the Belfast Film Festival Quiz, the John Hewitt Pub)


Unpaid Intern Erin's Guide to the Belfast Film Festival - Part 6

Woman sitting alone at the Queens Film Theatre, Belfast, Northern Ireland
In the small town of Rheims, France, three skinheads were looking for an Arab to bash.  Instead, on a September night in 2002, Francois Chenu had the misfortune to cross their paths.  Because Chenu refused to deny the fact that he was gay, the three men beat him, threw him in a pond, and left him for dead.  The story of his family, their grieving process, and their quest for justice is the subject of Olivier Meyrou’s documentary, Beyond Hatred

QueerSpace, a Belfast-based organization serving and advocating for the needs of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgendered Community of Belfast and Northern Ireland, has worked in conjunction with the festival to present the film. While the festival has included a wide array of programming around same sex themes, Beyond Hatred stands out for its poignancy and topicality for a society recently bestowed with the dubious moniker of “the most bigoted place in Western world.”  Beyond Hatred is playing at Studio Cinema on Wednesday at 8:30 PM followed by a discussion with our very own Dr. Gareth Higgins.

Also on Wednesday…

The Black Box might do weird better (or at least classier) than anywhere else in Belfast.  While I’m not exactly sure what a double bill of a Turkish remake of the Wizard of Oz and a 1960s Japanese children’s television show re-scored with live electronica would look/sound/feel like, I’m sure it wouldn’t fail to be an interesting and maybe even unique experience.  Check out Turkish Wizard of Oz/Gimme Gimme Octopus at the Black Box at 8 PM.

If you’ve always felt there weren’t enough documentaries on the protracted conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the contested region of Nagorno-Karabakh, watch A Story of People in War and Peace fill that niche at QFT at 9:10 PM.

(Photo taken by Jett of woman sitting alone at the Queens Film Theatre)


March 26, 2007

Unpaid Intern Erin's Guide to the Belfast Film Festival - Part 5

Still from Buenos Aires 1977

In the summer of 1971, Stanford social psychology professor Philip Zimbardo conducted the now famous Stanford Prison Experiment in order to observe what happens when ordinary individuals are placed in roles of authority and submission.  Twenty-four college students were divided into two groups—guards and inmates.  Originally designed as a two-week study, Zimbardo ended the experiment on the sixth day due to the increasingly sadistic manner in which the guards treated the inmates and the rapid psychological deterioration of the inmates as a result of the simulated prison environment. 

The film Buenos Aires 1977 takes place in a secret detention centre run by the military junta who ruled Argentina from 1976 until 1983. The literal translation of the Spanish title of the film, “Chronicle of a Fugue” points to the dreamlike state in which both captive and captor exist.  The Zimbardo experiment shows how quickly individuals can slip into experiences or actions that were once relegated to the stuff of nightmares.  In a world in which law and order now includes the vocabulary of stress positions, extraordinary rendition, dietary manipulation, and coercive interrogation, Buenos Aires 1977 can be viewed not only as a reminder of a dark page of one nation’s history but also as a cautionary tale for the future we are in the process of creating. You can listen to Dr. Zimbardo on Radio Open Source this Tuesday and you can watch Buenos Aires 1977 at QFT at 6:30 PM.

Also on Tuesday…

The Monastery: Mr. Vig and the Nun wins the best lead in a festival brochure blurb prize with the following description: “Mr. Vig, an 82-year-old virgin, realizes a 50 year-old dream—to turn his castle into a monastery.  Then, love and the Russian Orthodox nuns arrive.”  Watch those Russian monastic sparks fly at QFT at 8:45 PM

The 6th Belfast World Pong Championships show the world that unlike cheese rolling, this sport is here to stay.  Watch out for “young fresh faced joystick jamming pretenders” and the cunning linguistics of such clever people as Richard West and Dan Jewesbury.  If for some unfathomable reason you find yourself not able to attend what is sure to be a cultural jewel you can soothe your soul with vintage pongage courtesy of LTA.

Still from Monastery and Mr Vig.jpg

(Image above from 'The Monastery:  Mr Vig and the Nun; Image at top from Buenos Aires 1977)



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