During his days as a TSU theater student, and later in various plays and films, authenticity in writing and performance was Reegus Flenory's primary goal. Now, as writer/director of the new film Generational Curses, Part 1 — which will be screened four times Saturday at Scarritt-Bennett Center — he's continued that quest. Only this time, instead of creating accurate portrayals of historic figures such as Malcolm X, Flenory intends to showcase something literally closer to home — what life was like for some black men and women growing up in the '90s.
"My idea was to offer audiences an imprint of the people and experiences I saw growing up in Nashville," says Flenory, a local filmmaker who's already amassed a number of acting credits in short films and features. "The people in Generational Curses are modeled after friends I knew, my family to a degree, and the lifestyles I observed. We explore lots of issues, among them class conflict, the impact of drugs in the community, people trying to improve themselves through education, the conflicts that occur in trying to do the right thing, and clashes between old- and new-school philosophy in the African-American community."
The family drama A Shine of Rainbows opens this weekend in local theaters. Here's the review from this week's Scene, unavailable elsewhere online:
Set in an Irish locale so picturesque it makes The Quiet Man look like Angela’s Ashes, this disarming family film has the pleasingly old-fashioned virtues of a relaxed pace, non-CGI characters and a big mushy heart. An orphan boy (newcomer John Bell) tormented by bullies gets a new life with the arrival of a radiant visitor, who whisks him away to live with her and her husband. (This Irish beauty is played by Connie Nielsen, the Danish actress whose range is so vast it has impeded her stardom — you can’t recognize her from film to film.) She teaches him to sense the magic in the land’s wonders, from rainbows to a helpless seal pup washed ashore — but when she falls deathly ill, the boy and his gruff new da (Aidan Quinn, exactly the rugged but vulnerable presence the movie demands) need a miracle to come together. The solidly predictable movie’s virtues are modest, and it’s a pity the boy’s seal pup looks like something you’d win at a Kmart parking-lot carnival — but it’ll take a stony heart not to snuffle at that climactic father-son hug. Directed, photographed and co-written by Vic Sarin, who made the first of the Left Behind movies — but don’t hold it against him.
Two juicy quotes from last night's 8th District debate, where Congressional candidates Ron Kirkland and Randy Smith sucked up to teabaggers by evoking the good old days of shower tribunals and lynch mobs:
Kirkland, a Vietnam veteran, said of his time in the military: "I can tell you if there were any homosexuals in that group, they were taken care of in ways I can't describe to you."
Smith, who served in the first Iraqi war, added: "I definitely wouldn't want to share a shower with a homosexual. We took care of that kind of stuff, just like (Kirkland) said."
Guess the Tea Party has found an even safer target than Mexicans — those scaa-a-a-ary gays, with their track lighting and their fashion sense and their covert indoctrination plan. Uh-oh, here comes Aunt B. with something that sounds suspiciously like reason:
I mean, not like it ever was, but really, if you are of legal drinking age and you find yourself obsessed with gay people and what they’re doing as a group, like if you think they’re undermining the military or looking to rape you at any second or leading politicians astray or what have you, it’s time for you to seek therapy. You are stuck in some conspiracy-theory level rut.
Hat tip: The Welshman.
Austin's Alamo Drafthouse is known for its theme events pairing spaghetti Westerns with a spaghetti dinner. The Belcourt goes them one better tonight at 6:15 p.m., pairing the opening night of Marco Bellocchio's highly acclaimed drama Vincere with a meal from Savarino's. For just $25, which includes admission, you get baked ziti, salad, bread, a glass of wine and cannoli.
Here's a clip from Bilge Ebiri's rave this week in the Scene, worth reading in its entirety:
Marco Bellocchio is one of the great nihilists of the Italian cinema. He has spent five decades exploring Italy's social institutions — the family in Fists in the Pocket and China Is Near, the press in Slap the Monster on Page One, the military in Victory March, religion in My Mother's Smile — and pretty much finding madness and chaos at the heart of each and every one. It makes sense that much of Vincere, which may well be his masterpiece, takes place inside an insane asylum.
Actually, it could be said that the whole thing takes place inside an insane asylum, since Bellocchio depicts Italy in the first decades of the 20th century as a place of latent madness and grandiose irrationality. Intensely operatic, handsomely mounted, and at times unbearably dark, Vincere tells the story of Ida Dalser (Giovanna Mezzogiorno), a passionate and headstrong bourgeois who became Mussolini's mistress (back when he was a socialist). She financed his early political endeavors by selling off all her possessions, had his child, yet found herself suddenly out of favor as Mussolini became a fascist and grew into "Il Duce." Dalser may or may not have married Mussolini, but she did spend much of her life trying to establish her legitimacy as his wife — getting branded a nutjob as a result.
If the military gave out a medal for awesome hilarity, it should go to these guys. At least hang with it until 1:45, when it detours into complete "What the..." territory.
A long time ago, I used to see a guy in the Air Force who had the "exciting" job of guarding an empty hangar at a base scheduled to be closed. He and his buddies were all the time coming up with really strange stuff to do to keep from going crazy with boredom.
Seeing this video made me laugh, but it also made me a little nostalgic, too, so fair warning, if you know military folks, this might make you weirdly weepy.
Whew — no property tax increase and smaller cuts than expected as Mayor Karl Dean unfurls Metro's budget. ... The FBI is offering $25,000 for tips on the frustrating Tabitha Tuders case. ... After three days, the jury's hit a snag in the Sarah Palin hacker trial. ... Four words that have never appeared previously together: Well played, Zach Wamp. ... WTVF investigates a mysterious malady afflicting Fort Campbell soldiers who have returned from overseas. ... If you live near Charlotte Pike and your car won't run, blame this guy. ... Maybe they didn't serve peanuts: Two planes take gunfire at Clarksville's Outlaw Field. ... Hey kids! A clown's serving ice cream! ...
The Williamson County Special Olympics Spring Games are underway in Brentwood. As for nationals, local athletes Teresa Dennis and Caroline Walker are already on their way. ... Kid Rock will host the CMA Awards this summer. Better luck next time, Liza Minnelli. ... Carrington Fox has a round-up of the hottest thing going in local food: CSAs, or community-supported agriculture. ... The good news: Nashville's foreclosure rate beats the national average. The bad news: The numbers are still up. ... MBA students remember their slain custodian by sharing his tasks. ... Hear us out: This movie based on the life of Mussolini's mistress is amazing. ... Happy birthday, Mama. ...
If you missed the first part of the story, which covers Gaile's troubled childhood, her allegedly abusive marriage to Ron Owens, her record of compulsive embezzlement and the incidents leading up to the murder, you'll find it here. Many thanks to our art director, Elizabeth Jones, for fitting some 14,000 words of copy in this week's cover story. And special thanks to Liz Garrigan, who was instrumental in putting Brantley's and Kay's stories together. Her name isn't on the story, but it wouldn't have happened without her counsel.
Thousands of Tennesseans suffering from cancer and other maladies — and thousands more of their families, spouses and loved ones — got a boost of hope when the House Health and Human Resources Committee voted Tuesday to send a proposed medical marijuana bill for further study by the State Board of Pharmacy.
It was a remarkable turn of events for the dogged citizens' coalition that has been pushing the Safe Access to Medical Cannabis Act. (And not just because it seemed to slap the smirk off some of the state media covering the issue.) Just last week, the bill appeared on slippery footing as the same committee members voted 12-9 against the measure recommending study. This time, though, the measure passed with bipartisan support, with just four Republicans voting no.
What made the difference? According to Bernie Ellis, the voting-reform advocate who has emerged as a leader in Tennessee's medical-marijuana movement, it was a combination of factors — including hundreds of constituent emails bombarding legislators; an amendment adding the TBI and the Tennessee Sheriffs' Association to the study group; a lobbying effort that put representatives in touch with Tennesseans directly affected by the bill; and a full hearing three weeks ago that helped convince lawmakers the issue was both serious and urgent.
Above all, Ellis says, it was a meeting between two men that made the difference: John Donovan, a 25-year-old Red Bank, Tenn. resident who began suffering at age 16 from juvenile-onset rheumatoid arthritis — a condition portrayed movingly in a widely read Chattanooga Times Free Press article — and Rep. Joey Hensley, the Republican MD from Hohenwald who chairs the committee.
Below, Pith excerpts an email Ellis sent describing the process that led to the vote.
Watch Mayor Karl Dean's State of Metro address live starting 10 this morning at wsmv.com. ... A Lebanon police officer slips and accidentally discharges his weapon, and moments later the subject of a high-speed chase is dead. His family wants answers. ... How exactly does one (or two) spend $300,000 at Nashville Sporting and Academy Sports? Ask the couple going to jail for it. ... Chief Ronal Serpas tells reporters no job offer has been made in New Orleans, but the paper down there says he's one of three finalists for the top-cop job. ... A former Florida state trooper and registered sex offender is shot when he reportedly tries to run over a Metro police officer. ... Sixteen people have already been excused from jury selection as the heinous rape-murder trial of Vanessa Coleman gets underway. The sticking point is evidently the death penalty. ... With Cole Goforth as their flagbearer, Tennessee's gay high-school students are refusing to get shut in the closet. ... If you're one of the five people in the Nashville area not running for Juvenile Court Clerk, today's the last day of early voting in Davidson County before the May primary. ...
"I knew instantly that there were no dogs, that these were men I was hearing, men reduced to their lowest, most animal level, barking at me like wild, hungry, rabid dogs. The sound was the most evil thing I had ever heard. ..." Part of a gripping excerpt from Eric Volz's new memoir, via 1100 Broadway. ... The proposed urban-design overlays in Antioch that had developers crying foul are now off the table. ... Not even Republicans will touch pre-K budgeting, Ron "Das Boot" Ramsey says. ... A buddy with a bulldozer is a friend indeed when your mobile home falls on you. ... The popular Hillsboro-area restaurant tayst is closing — but just for a quick upgrade in decor. ...
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