“Tinker”ing with a classic. One strategy: A cheat sheet for “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy”

My full reviews of several movies — including The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, which has some sneak previews tonight and opens formally Wednesday — will be in the week’s print and online editions starting late tomorrow, but I wanted to give a head’s-up about one of the new releases: Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy. This is a throw-back to the Cold War thrillers of the 1970s, both in tone, topic and look, but what’s really interesting (aside from a subtle gay subplot you should be on the lookout for) was something not on the screen, but in your hand.

At the press screening last night, attendees were presented a “dossier” (above), a slickly-produced fold-out intended “for your eyes only,” but really an almost-necessary cheat sheet to the plot of the damn thing! As any fans of John Le Carre know, Tinker, Tailor was originally produced as a seven-part miniseries in the late 1970s, which gave the labyrinthine plot room to breathe. The filmmakers do a good job concentrating on the major points and telling a complex but cogent story, but the existence of the dossier made me feel they didn’t really trust audiences to give themselves over and figure it out for themselves.

Or maybe they just didn’t trust critics. I’m not sure if the “dossier” will be available at all screening when it opens at the Angelika Friday, but let me know! It certainly is a fun little novelty if nothing else.

And until then, don’t miss Dragon Tattoo!!!

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Starvoice • 09.16.11

CELEBRITY BIRTHDAY

Twiggy turns 62 on Monday. Known mostly for her mod, androgynous look of the ’60s, the style icon was one of fashion’s first supermodels. She returned to fashion somewhat as a judge on America’s Next Top Model, but left in 2007. Also a singer, she is working on a new album of ballad covers due in November.

…………………

THIS WEEK

Mars entering Leo inflates energy and egos, and trine to Uranus in Aries, will lead to unexpected results. Stubborn assertion will lead to wacky disasters. Be bold, but adaptive and humble for best results.

…………………

VIRGO  Aug 23-Sep 22
Self-consciousness leads you to fashion disasters. Play with a new look where nobody except a trusted friend can to see it, just so you can be satisfied that it is indeed wrong for you.

LIBRA  Sep 23-Oct 22
Domestic victories make you cocky.  Better to offer an olive branch and build reconciliation. Don’t dread the cake with all those candles. Focus on accomplishments and goals.

SCORPIO  Oct 23-Nov 21
Count on your friends to help you get ahead. Keep your eyes open to colleagues who might double-cross you. Don’t worry: A rude surprise can prove a blessing in disguise.

SAGITTARIUS  Nov 22-Dec 20
Teamwork gets anything accomplished, so be attentive to those who can make or break your efforts. They’re inclined to support you, but they want credit and generally deserve it.

CAPRICORN  Dec 21-Jan 19
Focus on your career and getting ahead. You can focus on your goals with little interference. The boss is about to take notice and is likely to be very supportive. Just let your work speak for itself.

AQUARIUS  Jan 20-Feb 18
Connect with older, well-educated people. You can learn a lot and get a clearer idea of your direction in life. You can’t help but say the wrong thing to your partner, but you’ll be fine.

PISCES  Feb 19-Mar 19
Even sweet, affable chatter can get annoying. Staying between the extremes is your biggest challenge. Lean to the quiet side. Letting them wonder will arouse more interest in you.

ARIES  Mar 20-Apr 19
You want to have fun, but work demands time and energy. Getting boisterous upsets things and exposes resentments. It doesn’t matter if they’re jealous. Focus your energies productively.

TAURUS  Apr 20-May 20
Be as productive as possible while your discipline and drive are especially sharp. Worries about the future are distractions. Just stay the course; keep putting one foot in front of the other.

GEMINI  May 21-Jun 20
The coming social season puts you in greater demand. Fix up your home now to be ready for company then. Friends’ one-upmanship will throw you off your game. Ignore it.

CANCER  Jun 21-Jul 22
Social opportunities abound. You’re happier at home with your dearest and nearest, and some of your favorite recipes, but get out and develop connections. They’ll serve you well.

LEO  Jul 23-Aug 22
Your state of mind changes more than your finances, but you can relax. Your energy is cranking up and leads you into interesting adventures. Look for new ideas, not arguments!

Jack Fertig can be reached at 415-864-8302 or Starjack.com

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition September 16, 2011.

—  Michael Stephens

Snap shots: ‘Bill Cunningham New York’ turns the camera on fashion’s most influential paparazzo

LENS ME A SHOE | The Times photographer documents foot fashion in ‘Bill Cunningham New York.’

ARNOLD WAYNE JONES  | Life+Style Editor
jones@dallasvoice.com

Maybe Project Runway’s to blame, maybe The Devil Wears Prada, but for the past few years there has been a surplus of documentaries about the fashion industry, with profiles of designers like Valentino (Valentino: The Last Emperor), Yves Saint-Laurent (several in fact), even young designers (Seamless) and Vogue magazine’s editor (The September Issue). (By contrast, I can only recall one fashion doc from the 1990s: Unzipped, about a young designer named Isaac Mizrahi.) Is there really that much to say about dressmaking?

Maybe not, but while Bill Cunningham New York fits broadly within the category of fashion documentaries, its subject is unusual because he eschews the trappings of haute couture even as he’s inextricably a part of it — a huge part, really.

If you don’t read the New York Times, you might not recognize Cunningham’s name, and even if you do read it, it may not have registered with you. For about, well, maybe 1,000 years, Cunningham has chronicled New York society with his candid photos of the glitterati on the Evening Hours page. At the same time, however, he has documented real fashion — how New Yorkers dress in their daily lives — with his page On the Street, where he teases out trends (from hats to men in skirts to hip-hoppers allowing their jeans to dangle around their knees). Anna Wintour may tell us what we should wear; Cunningham shows us what we do.

“We all get dressed for Bill,” Wintour observes.

What makes Cunningham such an interesting character is how impervious he seems to the responsibility he effortlessly wields. He loves fashion, yes, but he’s not a slave to it himself. He scurries around Manhattan (even in his 80s) on his bicycle (he’s had dozens; they are frequently stolen), sometimes in a nondescript tux but mostly in jeans, a ratty blue smock and duck shoes, looking more like a homeless shoeshiner than the arbiter of great fashion. He flits through the city like a pixie with his 35mm camera (film-loaded, not digital), a vacant, toothy smile peaking out behind the lens, snapping the denizens of Babylon whether they want it or not.

One of the funniest moments is when strangers shoo him away as some lunatic paparazzo, unaware how all the well-heeled doyens on the Upper East would trade a nut to have Cunningham photograph them for inclusion in the Times. Patrick McDonald, the weirdly superficial modern dandy (he competed as a wannabe designer on the flop reality series Launch My Line a few seasons back), seems to exist with the hope that Cunningham will shoot him. And shoot him he does.

Many artists are idiosyncratic, even eccentric, but Cunningham is supremely odd by any standards. He lives in a tiny studio near Carnegie Hall filled with filing cabinets cluttered with decades of film negatives on the same floor as a crazy old woman, a kind of urban variation on Grey Gardens. He knows tons of people but most of them seem to know very little about him. By the time near the end when the filmmaker, director Richard Press, finally comes out and ask him outright whether he’s gay, Cunningham arches in that prickly New England way, never really answering outright, though he says he’s never — never — had a romantic relationship. Things like that were simply not discussed by men of his generation.

In some ways, we never really know any more about Cunningham at the end than any of his friends do, and perhaps even him. Cunningham comes across as defiantly non-self-reflective. He lets his work do all the talking for him. And that work has a lot to say on its own.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition April 8, 2011.

—  John Wright

Interesting statistic re: Texas Hate Crimes

Out of 2500 hundred hate crime’s reported in Texas only twelve have been designated as hate crimes. I wonder why?




AMERICAblog Gay

—  admin

BlogHer10 pics, swag, vendors — and an interesting contrast to Netroots Nation

I’m reporting from NYC at the 2010 BlogHer convention, and it’s my first time attending this event, held this year at the New York Hilton. It is HUGE; it’s like an explosion of women from all walks of blogging life – mom bloggers, young newbies, seasoned women full of energy and activism, lifestyle bloggers, etc.

I’ve yet to attend any sessions; I’ve been so busy with offline networking – there are many areas for just chatting and meeting up. I also had a number of other appointments outside of the con, so that complicated matters a bit.

Welcome Swag

The welcome bag is an enormous burlap bag holding many goodies and promotions, but wow – really heavy on stuff for kids – toys, alarm clocks, grow-a-plants… The item holding 3 cans of Play-Doh was the most amusing – and heaviest goodie by far.

What was really nice is that there was a Swag Exchange room where you could recycle (i.e. dump) the items you didn’t want and pick up ones you liked that others discarded. Well what did you know — the tubbie containing the Play-Doh was overflowing. Note to vendors — bag-dragging goodies that need to travel aren’t popular, even if fun and useful for kids.

Exhibits and atmosphere: this is NOT Netroots Nation

One of the fascinating aspects of BlogHer is that it’s fairly non-political on the surface, but highly political once you scratch that surface. The conference is very mom/kid/family-focused when it comes to the market that the vendors and sponsors target – there are kid-accommodating eco-friendly cars, toys, learning projects…and a whole lot of food, from Hillshire Farms, Jimmy Dean, Healthy Choice…I lost track. You could basically graze the hall and leave full. Also, I have to go back today to check out the skin care and other lifestyle vendors. There was one exhibit with some feminine protection items. I joked on Twitter with Lizz Winstead:

Pam_Spaulding: #blogher10 sponsors: food, everything for baby, autos, lifestyle products…def not #nn10. Totally different feel.

6:07pm, Aug 06 from HootSuite

lizzwinstead: @Pam_Spaulding I’ll be there tomorrow. Curious to compare and contrast. #blogher10 #nn10

6:08pm, Aug 06 from TweetDeck

Pam_Spaulding: @lizzwinstead @Pam_Spaulding A mind-blowing difference. You didn’t see a tampon of the future @ #NN10. ;)

lizzwinstead: @Pam_Spaulding And I don’t have much of a future in the Tampon dept…. #NN10

In all seriousness, the number and variety of corporate sponsors at BlogHer dwarfs those at Netroots Nation. Of course, when you think about it, the level of PC at Netroots — concerns over union issues, corporate responsibility, etc., I would think one advocacy group or another attending NN would have some problem with some of these companies, making it difficult to please everyone.

All of these sponsors are dying to get to the technically adept, wired moms and other women who have a lot of spending power that are attending BlogHer. It’s an aggressive presence of a wide .

There’s no specific targeting of the LBT market at BlogHer; it’s not that there aren’t lesbians here and I’ve seen no trans folk; I’ve spoken to several lesbians, but they are there as moms, which means they fit that target market. So if you’re a child-free, not-straight woman, BlogHer may feel like an odd experience, a dip into a very hetero-centric pool. That said, there’s no homophobic vibe at all; in fact the sisterhood of living in a man’s world is quite powerful politically, and that’s a common thread in the discussions. Women still earn only 77 cents to the dollar that men earn, with women of color earning way less than that. The need for more political involvement and organizing is essential, something Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand said during her Q&A (more on that later).

It would be great to see more women of color at BlogHer as well. Netroots Nation has bolstered its POC and LGBT presence (and content) significantly over its five-year existence; women’s issues not so much. Of course these conferences are not equivalent in purpose, but it’s hard not to analyze the differences and similarities in programming and exhibits and what it says about target audiences.

***

The panel I am on today at 3PM:

Change Agents: How to Start, Engage in and Moderate Civil Political Debate

What are the online “rules of the road” that can keep even heated debates civil? Where is the line between dissenter and troll? How do you take personal responsibility for your role in the debate, and how do you encourage the behavior you want to see on your site and at the online communities you frequent?

Four women will share their secrets to stirring their readers and engaging in friendly debate: Ann Friedman of The American Prospect and Feministing.com hashes it out with Denise Tanton, community manager at BlogHer.com; Pam Spaulding author of Pam’s House Blend and Suzanne Fortin, the writer behind Big Blue Wave. Join us for a lively discussion, pick up a few tips, and share a few of your own!

As you can imagine, we’ve had to deal with all sorts of moderation issues over the years, and there will be war stories discussed about trolls, astroturfing, reprimands and warnings, and more.

Some photos of the brilliant women I’ve met up with at BlogHer10.



@sharkfu, a.k.a. Angry Black Bitch; with @GloriaFeldt of HeartFeldt Politics.



Cheryl Contee, a.k.a, Jill Tubman of Jack & Jill Politics. @ch3ryl; @LisaStone, BlogHer Founder & CEO.

I’ll have a post about yesterday’s meeting with Sen. Gillibrand later (I have to head over to the conference now!).
Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  John Wright