Special effects genius Ray Harryhausen changed the way we make and watch movies. His split screen technology married stop action animation with live actors–remember Jason and the Argonauts? The 7th Voyage of Sinbad? The original Clash of the Titans? Tonight at 5pm west coast time on the frontpage of Firedoglake.com, we’ll be discussing his many movies. Curious about Harryhausen and his creatures? Check out this documentary:
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Star Trek is awesome. I remember the first episode I ever saw–I must have been about 7, and my mom always sent me to bed before it came on, but that night she fell asleep on the couch and I got to watch as a pointy eared guy and his captain somehow ended up on modern day Earth trying to catch a mad scientist and his lady friend who would turn into a black cat. A few years later, the entire series was in reruns, and every night at 6pm, before I Love Lucy, there would be an hour of aliens, be it children who developed weird blue spots as they turned into “grups,” Greek gods forsaken by their worshipers, android women chanting
Harcourt Fenton Mudd
amazing costumes, epic fisticuffs, and of course tribbles. Reading the book, The Trouble with Tribbles, by tonight’s Movie Night guest, David Gerrold gave me, at whatever age I was when it was published, a background into television production and excited me beyond measure about writing as a career. Gerrold wrote the script for The Trouble with Tribbles on spec; it was produced and became one of the most popular episodes ever. And Star Trek, through eleven films, four lives series (weirdly, my ex-husband has appeared on all four, and is a Star Trek trading card!), an animated series, and ongoing conventions around the world (as well as web series Star Trek Phase 2, for which Gerrold penned a two-part episode) has shaped our world by boldly going where no man has gone before.
Please join us Monday, March 25 form 5pm-6:30pm west coast time on the front page of firedoglake.com to talk Trek and sci-fi with one of the greats, David Gerrold.
(FYI: All of the Star Trek series are free this month on Hulu!)
NOTE: To participate in Movie Night by asking questions, please make sure you are logged in. If you don’t have a log-in, register using the red button up top. It’s fast and free! At 5pm west coast time, sign in to Firedoglake.com, Type in your questions or comments, hit the “send” button, and please refresh your browser every minute or so to see new questions and responses. To reply to a question, hit the “reply” button. Thanks!
Side note: I don’t mind the IRS making a training video based on Star Trek. WHat I mind is that it sucks.
The ball in Time Square is going to drop in a just a few hours, and since New Years Eve is time of both hilarity and glamor, what better way to celebrate it than by embracing tonight in the form of Lucille Ball? Groundbreaking media pioneer, the first woman in television to head a production company, Lucy is one of the greatest American icons, full of glamor, strength and style. Heck, even FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover, in the midst of the 1950′s Red Scare — Ball gave sealed testimony to House Un-American Activities Committee because she’d registered to vote in 1936 as member of the Communist Party – said Lucy and her husband Desi Arnaz were
among his “favorites of the entertainment world.”
Tonight we’ll be discussing Lucille Ball, I Love Lucy, and her other shows, and as a special treat, we’ve uncovered this: Lucy’s Really Lost Moments, featuringthe only appearances of the cast of I Love Lucy in color and as guests on The Bob Hope Chevy Show sponsored by Chevrolet, along with other moments (some of which have been colorized). Segments of this compilation are fascinating because they really reveal the heavy, obvious level of sponsorship of early TV programs: The plot of one segement revolves around Ricky wanting a deal with Westinghouse for their new show, while Lucy just want new appliances. Another segment, I’ve Got a Secret, sponsored by Clairol with lots of signage, shows Lucy trying to affect the panel (including a young Johnny Carson), with her changing moods. And as a bonus, on his program, Bob Hope appears to the strains of “Aulde Lang Syne!”
See you tonight!
(And special geek alert: Desilu Productions, which Ball formed with husband Desi Arnaz, was the production company behind the original Star Trek, producing the show’s first season. By the second season, Ball sold the company to Gulf+Western, which renamed it Paramount Television. The couple had founded Desilu in 1950 to produce I Love Lucy; Ball bought out Arnaz after their divorce, and became the company’s head. Desilu also produced The Dick Van Dyke Show, and several other classics.)
Things are scary right now: The Frankenstorm. The election. Gas prices. Let’s not forget Halloween, the holiday designed to make us forget our fears by making us really scared. And for a long time one of the scariest things has been the estate market, buy or selling. And thus [cue spooky music]:
Firedoglake is chillingly thrilled to present a Halloween spookfest, The Selling, a horrifyingly funny movie about flipping a haunted house. Imagine if you will, an honest real estate agent named Richard Scarry who tries to talk people out buying houses they can’t afford. When his less-than-honorable partner convinces him to flip an old house to make a huge profit, Richard agrees, since his mom needs the money to cover her medical bills.
Already we have two major FDL issues: Real estate profiteering and health care reform!
While most renovations have problems with plumbing, electricity, and load-bearing walls, the house is, well, a real mess with bleeding walls and a portal to the spirit realm in the upstairs bedroom closet. Not even kindly Father Jimmy or the Ghosts’ Rights activist Richard enlists to settle the spirits can help. In fact they make matters worse.
And then the unthinkable happens…
Join us Monday night form 5pm-6:30pm West Coast time as we discuss The Selling with writer/producer Gabriel Diani and actress Etta Devine.
Samsara, the cycle of life and death and rebirth, the continuous flow of beingness, is explored in this Monday’s FDL Movie Night feature, Samsara, directed by Ron Fricke and produced by Mark Magidson. The film, which was shot over five years in twenty-five countries is non-narrative, and flows from one image to another, set to an original score. Breathtaking visuals provide a flowing meditative experience which as in real life is disrupted by militarism, prison, the artificial, only to cycle back again.
The film is especially timely given the upcoming GOP convention with its focus on control of life and imposition of religiousity, as opposed to just letting things flow.
Samsara is screening across the country in limited engagements, and we are honored to have this extraordinary film on Movie Night. Please join us Monday at 5pm west coast/8pm east.
HEADS UP TRAILER NSFW!
Monday on FDL Movie Night we discussing one of the most ambitious indie films ever made, Showgirls 2: Penny’s From Heaven” Rena Riffel’s surreal riff on “Showgirls,” one of the most reviled, yet beloved, movies of the 90s Riffel–who co-starred in the original Joe Eszterhas scripted melodrama, directed by Paul Verhoeven–revisits her character Penny and takes her on a wild trip as she strives to become “Goddess” the star of “Star Dancer,” a television show that is the foundation and apparently main focus of the freakish resort, Seven Sisters.
Calling to mind early John Waters, with references to David Lynch and 1970s horror, “Showgirls 2: Penny’s From Heaven” is a spoof, and homage, a camp comedy, and a commentary on fame and the lengths some people will go to achieve it, plus it touches on feminism and post-feminism. And it’s definitely NSFW!
Please join us at 5pm west coast, 8pm east coast time to discuss the film which is destined to become a cult classic.
Saturday night, the reading of Dustin Lance Black’s “8″ based on the transcripts of the 2010 trial in Judge Vaughn Walker’s courtroom on the constitutionality of California’s Proposition 8 live streamed on YouTube (where its now archived and available for viewing for free), and Monday March 5 we’re discussing the play, directed by Rob Reiner, with FDL’s Teddy Partridge who liveblogged the trial.
The play’s reading is jam packed with celebrities (George Clooney, Martin Sheen, Brad Pitt, Jamie Lee Curtis are just some of the famous faces you’ll see onstage) and is around the trial’s historic closing arguments in June 2010, 8 provides an intimate look what unfolded when the issue of same-sex marriage was on trial.
Please join Monday at 5pm West Coast, 8pm East as we discuss the importance of this play, the events that lead up to the trial, and the trial itself.
A couple years ago Shane Smith, the founder of Vice–a bold and in your face Gen-Whatev website–tried to get into North Korea to document the country, because, well why not. That’s what Vice does. Eventually he and another Vice-ster, armed only with point and shoot cameras, found a way in and recorded the most insane documentary ever. Shane, being an International Man of Mystery and possibly The Most Interesting Man in the World, hasn’t been available to join us on Movie Night, though we’ve come pretty close. (He travels a lot, to say the least).
That being said, this three part, hour long travelogue of absolute cognitive dissonance should be watched, enjoyed, and discussed for its utterly absorbing, fascinating look at the most surreal nation in modern times. So please join us Monday January 2 at 5pm West Coast/8pm East for our first Movie Night of 2012 as we present Vice Guide to North Korea and discuss this mysterious and um peculiar country. Includes rare footage Shane shot of the the Grand Mass Gymnastics and Arirang!
Monday’s Movie Night features The Power of Two, a documentary that focuses on twins Anabel Mariko Stenzel and Isabel Yuriko Stenzel Byrnes, identical twins born with cystic fibrosis. The film charts their journey through the illness and their lung transplants, highlighting the need for organ donation.
Ana and Isa will be joining us along with director Marc Smolowitz. When the twins were diagnosed with CF, a fatal genetic disease that impacts the lungs and pancreas, their doctor told their parents they would be lucky to live to reach 10 years of age. With a daily exercise and nutritional treatments, and their combined emotional strength, the twins exceeded their expected lifespans attending graduate school and living life fully , but by the time they reached their mid-twenties, the outlook was grim. Until they both received double lung transplants.
Now Ana and Isa are advocates for organ donations, and are bringing awareness of the need for organ donations to boht the United States and Japan, their mother’s homeland. Their story highlights the importance of living life to its fullest, and shows us that each day is a gift.
Ana and Isa’s experience has influenced them to cherish the following values:
1. Each human interaction is a cherished blessing.
2. Illness has great potential to teach awareness and appreciation of life.
3. Life is too short to not appreciate every moment- the good and the bad
Please join us Monday evening at 5pm-6:30pm west coast time, 8pm-9:30pm east coast on the front page of Firedoglake.com
Monday, Firedoglake Movie Night discusses Chasing Madoff with the film’s writer/director/producer Jeff Prosserman, which tells the story of Harry Markopolos, a Boston-based investment analyst who figured out Madoff’s Ponzi scheme in five minutes and spent a decade trying to alert the SEC and the media, only to be ignored.
In 2000, Markopolos alerted Securities Exchange Commission with detailed reports, and nothing happened. A story in the Wall Street Journal was killed. And Markopolos grew increasingly more paranoid as his calls for action and justice were ignored.
Oh if only it were a giant conspiracy! But as Chasing Madoff shows, the SEC was just simply ill-equipped and inept.
Please join us and guest Jeff Prosserman is discussing Madoff, his financial skullduggery, the SEC, and the man who tried to bring it to a stop, Monday September 25, 5pm west coast/8pm east coast on the front page of Firedoglake.com.