Posted: October 8, 2017 Filed under: Art & Culture, Entertainment, Mediasphere | Tags: Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, Acting, Jon Hamm, Mad Men, New Yorker Festival, Television
Sonia Saraiya writes: Navigating success after years as a working actor was a difficult part of the “Mad Men” experience for star Jon Hamm.
The actor reflected on the landmark 2007-2015 series and his performance as Don Draper in a wide-ranging Q&A Saturday night held as part of the New Yorker Festival.
Hamm told New Yorker articles editor Susan Morrison that the AMC drama was a transformational experience, personally and professionally.
“To have that kind of omnibus experience is once in a lifetime, if you’re lucky,” he said during the session held at SIR Stage37. “Navigating the success, what the show became. that was the trickiest part,” Hamm added.
Now that the series has ended, Hamm told Morrison, he’s looking to branch out.
“The fun of being an actor is getting to different things” after playing Don Draper for seven seasons. “It wasn’t that I wanted to react against and play the opposite, but I definitely wanted to do different things,” he said.
Morrison asked Hamm about his comedy chops, showing clips from “Bridesmaids,” “Saturday Night Live,” and “30 Rock.” A self-described comedy geek, Hamm credited his creative journey from losing his mother at the age of 10 and eventually finding a nurturing environment in his “wildly progressive” St. Louis high school, John Burroughs School.
[Read the full story here, at Variety]
“We didn’t have cable TV,” he said. “You had to like, read books and listen to albums and cassette tapes.” Hamm cited Spy magazine, Monty Python, and comedians including Bob Newhart, George Carlin, and Richard Pryor as inspirations. He even liked Cheech and Chong, adding ruefully, “My grandmother did not like that one. It literally had a car-sized joint on it.” Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: September 3, 2017 Filed under: Art & Culture, History, Mediasphere, U.S. News | Tags: 2015 Clinton Correctional Facility escape, Academy Award for Best Actress, Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay, Cinema, Millennials, Movies, Prison, Prison escape, Rob Reiner, Saving Private Ryan, Stephen King, The Shawshank Redemption, The Shining (film)
It appears that the “Golden Age of Cinema” has lost its sheen to the young over the years, as millennials are turning their back on classic movies.
A new study finds that less than a quarter of millennials have watched a film from start to finish that was made back in the 1940s or 50s and only a third have seen one from the 1960s.
Thirty percent of young people also admit to never having watched a black and white film all the way through – as opposed to 85 percent of those over 50 – with 20 percent branding the films “boring.”
Top 10 most common movies millennials have seen
- “The Lion King” 81.60 percent
- “Forrest Gump” 74.60 percent
- “Back to the Future” 66.80 percent
- “The Dark Knight” 66.50 percent
- “The Matrix” 63.20 percent
- “The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring” 60.90 percent
- “Terminator 2: Judgement Day” 59.20 percent
- “The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King” 59 percent
- “The Silence of the Lambs” 54.90 percent
- “The Godfather” 55 percent
Top 10 most common movies over-50’s have seen
- “Forrest Gump” 84.30 percent
- “Back to the Future” 80 percent
- “The Silence of the Lambs” 71 percent
- “It’s a Wonderful Life” 70.50 percent
- “The Godfather” 69.90 percent
- “Raiders of the Lost Ark” 69.30 percent
- “Saving Private Ryan” 68.30 percent
- “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” 66.40 percent
- “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly” 65.90 percent
- “The Green Mile 65.60 percent
A new survey polling 1,000 millennials and 1,000 Americans over the age of 50 conducted by FYE.com, reveals that looking back into the history of cinema isn’t the preference of youth today, with millennials exponentially more likely to have binged on films of the last 15 years than on classics from bygone eras.
Less than half of millennials have seen the likes of “Gone with the Wind,” “The Sound of Music,” “To Kill a Mockingbird,” or even “The Shawshank Redemption” — rated the greatest film of all time on IMDB.
Only 28 percent have seen “Casablanca,” 16 percent have watched “Once Upon a Time in the West” and only a measly 12 percent have seen the Hitchcock classic “Rear Window” – though the director’s “Psycho” fares moderately better at a rate of 38 percent.
On the other side of things, some over-50s appear to have the tendency to stick to their old classics and ignore new cinema altogether with one in ten admitting they aren’t sure if they have seen a film newer than 2010 – and eight percent straight up saying no, they have not. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: May 30, 2017 Filed under: Art & Culture, Entertainment, Humor, Mediasphere, U.S. News | Tags: Arturo Di Modica, Bill de Blasio, Charging Bull, International Women’s Day, Modica, New York City, Norman Siegel, State Street Global Advisors, Statue, Wall Street
Gee whiz, artists are so sensitive!
Nick Fugallo and Max Jaeger report: City sculptor Alex Gardega — seething over the “Fearless Girl” statue being placed across from Wall Street’s “Charging Bull” — has decided to retaliate with a work of his own.
Gardega created a statue of a small dog, titled “Pissing Pug,” and his sloppily crafted pooch takes direct aim at “Fearless Girl” — or, at least, at her left leg.
“This is corporate nonsense,” Gardega told The Post of “Fearless Girl,” saying it was put opposite artist Arturo Di Modica’s famed bull as a publicity stunt by a Boston-based financial firm.
Alex Gardena next to “Fearless Girl” and his “Pissing Pug”Gabriella Bass
“It has nothing to do with feminism, and it is disrespect to the artist that made the bull,” he said. “That bull had integrity.”
The Upper West Side artist sniffed that he even made his dog particularly poorly just to stick it to “Fearless Girl” even more.
“I decided to build this dog and make it crappy to downgrade the statue, exactly how the girl is a downgrade on the bull,” said Gardega, who has never met the other statues’ creators. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: February 6, 2017 Filed under: Art & Culture, History, Politics, White House | Tags: Democratic Party (United States), Donald Trump, Edward Sorel, European Union, George H.W. Bush, Mikhail Gorbachev, President of the United States, Ronald Reagan, The New Yorker, United States, Vladimir Putin, White House
From 2004: A behind-the-scenes look back at the man himself—detached yet accessible, astute and prophetic, colorful and complex.
rr’s birth zodiac—feb. 6, 1911” to “rr dies of pneumonia—june 5, 2004.” In between these two extremes, some eighteen thousand cards document whatever I was able to find out about thirty-four thousand of Ronald Reagan’s days. Which leaves sixteen thousand days unaccounted for. Lost leaves. “The leavings of a life,” as D. H. Lawrence might say.
June 28, 2004 Issue: There they lie in their guttered drawers, projecting from the rosewood desk I had specially made for them: four yards of cards, each eight inches wide, five inches tall, most of them with his initials handwritten, headline style, in the top left-hand corner, from “
“All the rhetorical arts—gesture, timing, comedy, pathos—were at his command.”
I once planned to show Reagan this card file, just to see him react as drawer after drawer rolled out yard by yard, green tabs demarcating his years, yellow tabs his careers, blue tabs his triumphs and disappointments. He could have looked down, as it were, on the topography of his biography, and seen the shoe salesman’s son moving from town to town across northern Illinois, in the teens of the last century; the adolescent achieving some sort of stability at Dixon High School in 1924; the Eureka College student and summer lifeguard through 1933; then, successively—each divider spaced farther from the next, as he grew in worldly importance—the Des Moines sportscaster and ardent New Dealer; the Hollywood film star; the cavalry officer and Air Corps adjutant; the postwar union leader and anti-Communist; the television host and corporate spokesman for General Electric; the governor of California, 1967-75; the twice-defeated, ultimately successful candidate for his party’s Presidential nomination; and, last, the septuagenarian statesman, so prodigiously carded that the nine tabs “1981” through “1989” stand isolated like stumps in snow.
He never visited my study, however, and on reflection I am glad he did not, because he might have been disturbed to see how far he had come in nearly eighty years, and how few more cards he was likely to generate after leaving the White House. Besides, I would have had to keep my forearm over a file more than a foot long, practically bristling with tabs descriptive of “rr the man.” Now that the man is no more, and subject to the soft focus of sentimental recall, a riffle through some of these tabs might help restore his image in all its color and complexity.
The first subsection deals with Ronald Reagan’s body. In 1988, at seventy-seven years of age, the President stood six feet one and weighed a hundred and ninety pounds, none of it flab. He boasted that any punch aimed at his abdomen would be jarringly repulsed. After a lifetime of working out with wheels and bars, he had broadened his chest to a formidably walled cavern forty-four inches in circumference. He was a natural athlete, with a peculiarly graceful Algonquin gait that brought him into rooms almost soundlessly. No matter how fast he moved (that big body could turn on a dime), he was always balanced.
One recalls how elegantly he choreographed Mikhail Gorbachev up the steps at the 1985 Geneva summit: an arabesque of dark blue flowing around awkward gray. Reagan loved to swim, ride, and foxtrot. (Doris Day remembers him as “the only man I ever knew who really liked to dance.”) Eleven weeks after nearly dying in the assassination attempt of 1981, he climbed onto the springboard at the Camp David swimming pool and threw a perfect half pike before anybody could protest.
[Read more here, at The New Yorker]
Gorbachev once remarked on Reagan’s “balance” to me in an interview. But he used the Russian word ravnovesie in its wider sense, of psychological equilibrium. The President’s poised body and smooth yet inexorable motion telegraphed a larger force that came of a lifetime of no self-doubt (except for two years of despair in 1948-49, after Jane Wyman, his first wife, left him for boring her). Reagan redux did not care whom he bored, as long as nobody tried to stop him. His famous anecdotes, recounted with a speed and economy that were the verbal equivalent of balance, were persuasive on the first, and even the fourth, telling. But when you heard them for the fourteenth, or the fortieth, time, always with exactly the same inflections and chuckles and glances, you realized that he was a bore in the sense that a combine harvester is boring: its only purpose is to bear down upon and thresh whatever grain lies in its path. Reagan used homilies to harvest people.
He was always meticulously dressed in tailored suits and handmade shoes and boots. But he was neither a dandy nor a spendthrift. In 1976, he still stepped out in a pair of high-cut, big-tongued alligator pumps that predated the Cold War: “Do you realize what I paid for these thirty years ago?” His personal taste never advanced beyond the first affectations of the nouveau riche. Hence the Corum twenty-dollar-face wristwatch, the Countess Mara ties, the Glen checks too large or too pale, and a weekend tartan blazer that was, in Bertie Wooster’s phrase, “rather sudden, till you got used to it.” Yet Reagan avoided vulgarity, because he sported such things without self-consciousness. And he wore the plainer suits that rotated through his wardrobe just as unpretentiously. No man ever looked better in navy blue, or black tie.
On a card inscribed “alcohol”—his father’s cross—appears the comment of an old Hollywood friend: “Ronnie never had a booze problem, but once every coupla years, he wasn’t averse to a lot of drink. Its only effect was to make him more genial.” His face would flush after a mere half glass of Pinot Noir, giving rise to repeated rumors that he used rouge.
Actually, Reagan never required makeup, even when he was a movie actor. He didn’t sweat under hot lights: he basked in them. A young photographer who did a cover portrait of him in 1984 for Fortune told me, “When I walked into the Oval Office, I thought my career was made. He was just back from a long campaign swing, and looked terrible, all drained and lined. I hit him with every harsh spot I had, and etched out those wrinkles, figuring I’d do what Richard Avedon did to Dottie Parker. Know what? When my contacts came back from the darkroom, the old bastard looked like a million bucks. Taught me a real lesson. Ronald Reagan wasn’t just born for the camera. There’s something about him that film likes.”
Several of my cards itemize the President’s deafness. People who sat to his right imagined that they were privileged. In fact, he heard nothing on that side, having blown an eardrum during a shoot-out scene in one of his old movies. His left ear was not much better, so he relied increasingly on hearing aids, although their distortion pained him. One learned not to sneeze in his presence. When the room was crowded and voice levels rose, he would furtively switch off his sound box. I could tell from a slight frown in his gaze that he was lip-reading.
The quietness that insulated him was accentuated by severe myopia. As a boy, “Dutch” Reagan assumed that nature was a blur. Not until he put on his mother’s spectacles, around the age of thirteen, did he perceive the world in all its sharp-edged intricacy. He did not find it disorienting, as somebody who had been blind from birth might. Perhaps his later, Rothko-like preference for large, luminous policy blocks (as opposed to, say, Bill Clinton’s fly’s-eye view of government as a multifacetted montage, endlessly adjustable) derived from his unfocussed childhood.
[Read the full story here, at The New Yorker]
Or perhaps the novelist Ray Bradbury, who also grew up four-eyed in small-town Illinois, has a more informed theory. “I often wonder whether or not you become myopic for a physical reason of not wanting to face the world,” Bradbury says in an oral history. Like Dutch, he competed with a popular, extrovert elder brother by “making happy things for myself and creating new images of the world for myself.” Reagan was not introverted, yet from infancy he had the same kind of “happy” self-centeredness that Bradbury speaks of, the same need to inhabit an imaginative construct in which outside reality was refracted, or reordered, to his liking. “I was completely surrounded by a wall of light,” Reagan wrote of his first venture onto a movie set. It was clear that the sensation was agreeable. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: February 4, 2017 Filed under: Art & Culture, Crime & Corruption, France, Global, History, Mediasphere, Terrorism | Tags: 2024 Summer Olympics, Bataclan Theatre, Bruno Le Roux, François Hollande, Islamic terrorism, Louvre, Paris, President of France, Reuters, Soldier, Takbir
PARIS (AP) — The Louvre Museum reopened to the public Saturday, less than 24 hours after a machete-wielding assailant shouting “Allahu akbar!” attacked French soldiers guarding the sprawling building and was shot by them.
The worldwide draw of the iconic museum in central Paris, host to thousands of artworks including the “Mona Lisa,” was on full display on a drizzly winter day as international tourists filed by armed police and soldiers patrolling outside the site, which had been closed immediately after Friday’s attack.
The attacker was shot four times after slightly injuring a soldier patrolling the nearby underground mall but his injuries on Saturday were no longer life-threatening, the Paris prosecutor’s office said.
French President Francois Hollande said there is “no doubt” the suspect’s actions were a terror attack, and he will be questioned as soon as that is possible.
An Egyptian Interior Ministry official confirmed to The Associated Press on Saturday that the attacker is Egyptian-born Abdullah Reda Refaie al-Hamahmy, who is 28, not 29 as widely reported.
The official said an initial investigation in Egypt found no record of political activism, criminal activity or membership in any militant group by him. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to brief the media.
French authorities said they are not yet ready to name the suspect, but confirmed they thought he was Egyptian.
The suspect was believed to have been living in the United Arab Emirates and came to Paris on Jan. 26 on a tourist visa, prosecutor Francois Molins said. The suspect bought two military machetes at a gun store in Paris and paid 1,700 euros ($1,834) for a one-week stay at a Paris apartment in the chic 8th arrondissement, near the Champs-Elysees Avenue.
On the Twitter account of an “Abdallah El-Hamahmy,” a tweet was posted about a trip from Dubai to Paris on Jan. 26. In the profile photo, Hamahmy is seen smiling and leaning against a wall in a blue-and-white sports jacket. Read the rest of this entry »