I don't remember much about the first time that I saw Jurassic Park, but I do remember a few things.
It was the summer of 1993, and I was six years old — which is to say, I was in the prime demographic of dinosaur lovers. I had the ill-gotten ZooBooks to prove it. It's almost guaranteed that my parents took me to see it at the long-defunct Lion's Head 5 on White Bridge Road, down the street from where I grew up in West Nashville. I'm certain that it completely terrified me (most things did), but I'm also certain that I loved it. A lot. I mean, I did have all the toys. That has to count for something.
But no matter how much I loved Jurassic Park when it premiered 19 years ago, I couldn't have possibly loved it any more than I did on Friday night at the Belcourt. Not only was Jurassic Park the most fun I've had at a midnight movie this year (sorry, Army of Darkness), it may be the most fun I've ever had at a movie. Ever! Not counting ones where I throw spoons — so, you know, The Room and Babe: Pig in the City.
Shinique Smith is a Brooklyn-based artist who seems to transform textiles into an extension of graffiti. After seeing Thornton Dial's "Birmingham News," as well as some of the lawn art sculptures in the exhibit, I wondered whether Smith had been inspired by Dial's use of clothing and ephemera as a tool to create a new kind of painting.
Remember the good old days of horror anthologies held together by a ghoulish host — a tradition that extends from Night Gallery and Darkroom to those Amicus portmanteau shockers of the early ’70s (e.g., The House That Dripped Blood)? Kentucky-born writer-director Michael Wade Johnson does, and his 2009 triptych Killer Shorts, shot in Tennessee for less than $1,000, did well enough that he put out a follow-up in 2010. Ill-fated lovers, vampire parties, and a GPS system that delivers its users to their fates await in Johnson’s tales of the macabre. Samplings of the Killer Shorts DVDs and more (including his most recent short, last year’s “Creature of Habit”) will get two shows tonight in the downstairs Cult Fiction Underground theater at Logue’s Black Raven Emporium, located at the corner of Gallatin and Trinity Lane in East Nashville.
And come back for the small DVD cinema’s screenings of cult movies every Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. This weekend’s offering is the Vincent Price vehicle The Last Man on Earth, the original movie version of Richard Matheson’s venerable I Am Legend. Coming attractions include John Carpenter’s inventive 1974 debut Dark Star (June 8-9), Sonny Chiba as The Street Fighter (June 29-30), and ’70s starlet Cheryl “Rainbeaux” Smith in the little-seen, oft-pursued Lemora: A Child’s Tale of the Supernatural (June 22-23). Admission $5, with beer available in the lobby.
In this week's Scene, Sam Smith previews the monumental Studio Ghibli retrospective opening tomorrow at The Belcourt, the source of much excitement since it was announced months ago. He recommends you see all 16 films in the two-week series, which covers the revered Japanese animation studio's biggest successes as well as features rarely seen in the U.S.
But what if you can't see all 16? We asked Smith to break down the series into bite-size chunks, allowing viewers to sample the retrospective's riches in a variety of ways:
FAN FAVORITES / HEADLINERS (the films for which Ghibli is best known): Spirited Away, Princess Mononoke, My Neighbor Totoro
MUST-SEE DISCOVERIES (if you like those, these are just as strong, in some cases maybe even better): Kiki's Delivery Service, Porco Rosso, Only Yesterday, Castle in the Sky
DEEP CUTS (if the others blow you away, you shouldn't miss these relative rarities): Pom Poko, Ocean Waves, My Neighbors the Yamadas, Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind
FOR THE WHOLE FAMILY (great fun for all ages): My Neighbor Totoro, Ponyo, Whisper of the Heart, The Cat Returns, The Secret World of Arrietty
See the trailer above, which gives us chills every time we see it (especially on the big screen).
Conexión Américas seeks to discover and feature your international Nashville — from the annual Kurdish picnic, to the Quinceañera fiesta, to the Celebrate Nashville Cultural Event to el Día de los Muertos festivities.
Plus, we want to see the simple and intimate everyday moments of immigrant and international residents at work, worship, play and rest, and present the visual diversity of everything from a favorite food truck to a costume or place of business.
First prize in each of the three categories — people, places and things — is pretty sweet, too: two round-trip tickets on Southwest Airlines.
The deadline for uploading photos is June 30, and winning photos will comprise the first exhibit at the new Casa Azafrán Community Center set to open on Nolensville Pike in the fall. Full contest rules are here (PDF).
So you’re an aspiring screenwriter with a dream of penning network dramas, summer blockbusters, irreverent cartoons or indie comedies? As it has for 13 years running now, the Nashville Screenwriters Conference has you covered.
Headlining a list of panelists, which seems to improve every year, is former Nashvillian Callie Khouri, an Academy Award winner in 1992 for her Thelma & Louise screenplay and the creator of ABC’s forthcoming locally set and shot musical drama Nashville (see above). Other panelists scheduled to attend include John Requa and Glenn Ficarra (I Love You Phillip Morris, Crazy Stupid Love), Alec Berg (Seinfeld, Curb Your Enthusiasm, The Dictator), Marti Noxon (Buffy the Vampire Slayer and the fine Fright Night remake), Phil Hay (Clash of the Titans), The Wibberleys (National Treasure), John Hamburg (I Love You Man), Nichelle Tramble Spellman (Justified), and Michael Brandt (3:10 to Yuma, Wanted).
Perhaps even more enticing to Music City’s workers in song is music supervisor Anastasia Brown’s annual lunch with visiting executives, such as New Line Cinema senior VP of music Erin Scully (now in collaboration on Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit) and ABC Studios senior VP of music Dawn Solér (Revenge, Nashville — don’t hit her with demos all at once). The distinguished attendees will cover everything from reality television to pitching a script and writing something someone will actually buy.
A Standard Weekend pass, which includes all panels and Friday’s HBO screening, runs $105, while a $355 All Access Pass adds access to a lunch with the panelists and a wrap party. Click here for more info.
YouTube, as a cultural phenomenon and as a vernacular repository of everything I could ever want to see ever has inspired my work more than any other cultural phenomenon period. After much contemplation and extensive viewing, I have realized/decided that, by and large, I am most excited by faces on YouTube. The idea of looking at another persons face as if I were their computer screen in a most private setting brings me the most delight, and is why I think there is still so much to love about YouTube.
In no particular order here are my favorite faces of YouTube:
"Countdown," Tyrone Jones: I love tribute videos and Tye has embodied Beyonce in a completely magical way. I felt compelled to Facebook friend him after watching this video a million times. The dedication to which he emulates Beyonce is inspiring, and watch out for the crazy color changes that happen halfway through the video.
Harry Enton over at the Guardian's Comment Is Free blog tries to figure out why the South has so many American Idol winners by statistical analysis. His theory?
It will come as no shock to anyone living on the coasts that there are many record labels in California and New York. California has about 2,500 record labels or 1 record label for every 15,000 residents, while New York has about 1,500 record labels or about 1 record label for every 13,000 residents. It's fairly easy for a talented musician to get noticed fairly quickly in these regions.
Southerners just don't have as many opportunities. The southern hub of Georgia has only 293 record labels or about 1 record label for every 33,500 residents, while Texas has only 559 record labels or about 1 record label for every 46,000 residents.
I'm not sure where he gets his numbers. A quick search on yp.com reveals listings for 386 record labels in California, not 2,500. Plus, he doesn't include Nashville in his analysis. Southerners have untapped talent? Southerners have their own indigenous recording industries (country and Christian) Enton just ignores!
In case you missed it — and you spent all weekend wondering what the hell everyone was tweeting about — here's the short film The Belcourt staff put together (in just a few days, we're told) to advertise their Dino DNA drink special before the theater's beyond-sold-out Jurassic Park screenings last weekend. (If you've seen that obscure mumblecore indie, you'll get how closely the short mimics the park's explanatory industrial film.) This really is a thing of beauty — the crowd went totally bitchcakes.
Kudos to Kevin Doyle and Zack Hall, who made it, and to The Belcourt's redoubtable mixologist Pat Halloran, who's coming up with some damn fine drinks. (We still can't guess the identity of the voice of Mr. Shaker.)
Before we start this journey together, some context: I did not pitch this to my discerning Scene editors as some sort of ironic adventure I would undertake on behalf of Country Life readers, in order to report back from the upside-down world of reality television. Rather, I told them I have just begun the third season of what started as a friendly agreement with my wife and has turned into a masochistic ritual in my home. This is not an experiment. This is my Monday night.
Obviously, we’re getting a belated start. To catch you up, our Bachelorette this season is Emily, a 26-year-old single mother living in Charlotte, N.C., with a rather flat personality and a daughter named Ricki. She was previously engaged to Ricki’s father, NASCAR driver and team owner Ricky Henderick, who died in a plane crash just before Emily found out she was pregnant. As she is a single parent, the show, which normally bounces around the globe, has been anchored in Charlotte — a better scenario for Emily’s daughter, no doubt, but a disappointing one for viewers, who will apparently not get the chance to see sweeping shots of Emily and a guy kissing on top of various mountain ranges in exotic foreign locales.
This is Emily’s second go-round in television dating, making her just one exhibit, amongst a heap of evidence, that this will not work out for her.
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