Thursday, May 27, 2010



Phillipe Cousteau Jr. took a dive into the oil for GMA on ABC. Here's a link to the video:

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Tuesday, May 25, 2010



24, one of the most exciting and long-lived spy/espionage/drama/thrillers ever on TV has ended its eighth day, eight season, and final moment.

It may live again in a movie... but 20 someodd evenings of tension on TV at home at night are over.
(20 someodd -- not 24 -- evenings because the opening and closing nights are usually 2 hour episodes, so 24 hours plays on less than 24 nights.)

The finale was well acted, well written, exciting, and satisfying. It resolved This Day's issues, and left room for the sequel (ie a movie). 24, its writers and directors, Jack, Chloe, and President Taylor should all be leading candidates for the next Emmys.

Earlier I wrote about the status going into the finale, and looked at some of the options for the resolution:

Now, here are the results.

(DVR'd, Online, or on the season DVD)

And the results...

Note: Finale politics: Usually a TV show that sort-of deals with the real world as it sort-of is does not portray events that would drastically change the real world as it is. Thus it would be extremely impolitic for the resolution of 24 to either end on global world peace or the start of WW3.

THE PEACE TREATY -- Not signed -- President Taylor walks away.
THE COVERUP -- Announced and to be made public in about an hour.
(Note: sequel alert -- lots can happen in an hour -- that's a whole episode or half a movie!)
PRESIDENT TAYLOR -- Plans to resign and give herself up for prosecution to the Attorney General.
(Note: Since the whole thing transpired over a few hours, and she never saw any concrete evidence, prosecuting her could be an interesting courtroom drama itself.)
THE EVIDENCE -- None of the incriminating recordings have been clearly made available to responsible authorities. It's not clear that President Taylor heard the conversation between the Russian President and President Logan.
(Note: sequel alert -- the recordings may or may not still be out there.)
CHLOE -- Survived.
PRESIDENT LOGAN-- Tried to commit suicide but may have survived.
(Note: sequel alert -- he may have survived to live again.)
DANA's MURDER VICTIMS' BODIES -- Forgotten. (Note: sequel alert -- will the body in the wall of CTU become aromatic?)
THE RUSSIAN PRESIDENT -- Was not assassinated; Jack could have, but did not; it would have been the start of WW3.
(Note: sequel alert -- Russian as well as American forces will be after Jack.)
JACK -- Badly wounded. Hunted by Russian and American forces. On his way to a new international hideaway, with Chloe promising to guarantee the safety of his daughter and her family.

Sequel (ie movie) status...

We have Jack emerging from hiding. We probably have to deal with all the crimes Jack has committed. (How about a simple Presidential Pardon.) President Taylor and the coverup will have undergone some "events" during the interim between the end of Day 8 and the beginning of the movie. Chloe, and possibly Agent Ortiz, President Taylor, The Russian President, The President of the IRK, and even President Logan are possible returning characters, along with Jack's daughter and her family.

Well, here's how our "possible resolutions" from the pre-finale summary fared in the final hours:

From our previous notes of what the "standard" TV resolution could be...

Although much of these plot points came out as might have been expected, they were arrived at in a most exciting and twisted path of complications. It was a good show!

Some notes to the writers of 24 -- The Movie.

Obviously a 2 hour movie does not last 24 hours. A 24 hour day could be compressed. But "24" is just a number, it does not have to be hours. As long as it's not real time anyway, what about a 24 day timeline -- giving more room to expand the story around the globe. (And to space?)

If Jack's daughter shows up, please give her a really good story line.

How about letting Jack have some sex without killing off his wife/lover?

There have been Russian, American, Chinese, and Middle Eastern villains, nuclear weapons, plagues, toxic gasses. The movie needs a completely fresh impending catastrophe -- probably global in scope; and a totally different kind of person behind the threat.

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Monday, May 24, 2010



Watching the live (?) feed of oil gushing from

The Hole At The Bottom Of The Sea

at about 3:45 on MSNBC, there was what looked to be a large (? -- there's no scale, so it's not clear how big things are) fish (eel?) swimming (undulating) happily (?) right past the oil.

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Friday, May 21, 2010



From Lincoln Center:


"Join us this Friday from 12:00 to 3:00 as Lincoln Center gets a head start on summer with a free party for the community celebrating the opening of the Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Lawn.

"Come mingle, have a picnic, check out what’s new about the Lincoln Center campus, and enjoy a beautiful day. We’ll have...

"Ticket and picnic giveaways every twenty minutes, including events from Lincoln Center Festival, Mostly Mozart Festival, Midsummer Night Swing, Lincoln Center Out of Doors, Lincoln Center Theater, New York Philharmonic, Film Society at Lincoln Center, and New York City Ballet.

"FREE gelato and lemonade courtesy of Arpeggio Outdoors by Restaurant Associates
Brand new public spaces to explore, including the renovated Columbus Avenue Stairs and the new Benenson Grove at 62nd Street.

"This is all taking place on the Illumination Lawn, a new public gathering space that’s the perfect spot for an outdoor urban picnic, with a beautiful view of the reflecting pool, the Barclays Capital Grove, and the whole Lincoln Center campus.

Friday, May 21, 12:00 to 3:00
Illumination Lawn
Lincoln Center Plaza, to the right of the Metropolitan Opera House

Join us!

Can’t Make It to the Party?

You can celebrate online! Follow @Lincoln_Center on Twitter and like us on Facebook and we’ll keep you in the know and give you chances to win, too.

There’s Lots More to Come

"This party is just the beginning of a summer full of fun and fascinating events here at Lincoln Center. Visit to learn about everything we’ve planned for this summer, including the open-air dance party that is Midsummer Night Swing, the groundbreaking cross-genre performances of Lincoln Center Festival, the free performances of Lincoln Center Out of Doors, and Mostly Mozart Festival, New York’s classical summertime tradition.

“Summer at Lincoln Center” is sponsored by Diet Pepsi and The Wall Street Journal.
Artist hospitality is provided by Zabar’s and


Tuesday, May 18, 2010



"24" is nearing the end of its eighth and last day. Game. Set. And M... well, not quite "match." Not the end of the end. There's a movie in development, but the TV Series has been cancelled.

Monday May 24 is the final, two hour episode of "24" on TV. (8 - 10 PM Fox)

"24" ends on the 24th. (Coincidence?)

This season has been up and down...

On the upside, 24 is without any doubt the most interesting, exciting, tension filled show on TV. Each hour segment is more exciting than almost any 2 hour film.

But more than usual, the storylines this season did not hold up to scrutiny...

The Dana Walsh storyline was not particularly credible; in fact, her whole story arc and her personality too, were at best off-putting. And there are three bodies left lying around and possibly forgotten: her old pal and the pal's partner in crime underwater someplace, and a parole officer (or something) crammed into a wall space at CTU headquarters.

After lots of media criticism about his ability to torture people into confessing in a half-hour or less, Jack has lost his touch with torture. While "Do you know who I am???" seems to work well in getting bad guys to open up, actual torture this year has not been too effective.

(Despite the torture, I've never felt 24 was an especially conservative show. In fact, many of the bad guys have been traitors who seemed to have neo-con domestic terrorist motivations.)

Jack, CTU and others' ability to go downstairs, get a car, drive several blocks around town in NY in less time than (admittedly eternal) commercial breaks, has been inspiring to traffic challenged New Yorkers. But the "real time" premise of the show has been stretched beyond the breaking point.

Somehow, the Justice department and the Attorney General have not gotten involved in one of the worst crime waves New York has ever seen.

There is no sign of any media coverage of the overnight terror threat, nor of all the dead bodies around town: it's afternoon now, and there has been chaos all night and all morning. Maybe in LA nobody would notice, but here in NY it would be all over the newspapers and TV.

Not to mention YouTube. Aside from all the uploaded videos by citizens of the carnage around town, with video evidence of the Russian involvement, and now an audio of the President of Russia admitting to ordering the hit on Jack's girlfriend, Jack could simply upload it to YouTube.
Getting the story into a newspaper or onto TV is so last century.

The US President is trying to cover up the involvement of the Russians until the treaty is signed. But why bother working so hard? In the real world it takes more than a few hours for any story to come out and prove itself. Some things need to be done within the 24 hours of the premise, creating a (ridiculous, doomed) cover-up is not one of them.

And finally, the last of the unbelievable plot points: the Russian President, who does not want the treaty anyway, got off the plane and is coming to the UN. Why? His ambassador to the UN was just killed. A really-really-highly-skilled-very-very-angry-assassin (Jack) is coming for him. This seems like it would be a pretty good time for the Russian President to get back on his plane and just go home, fast, thereby killing the peace treaty and remaining safe, a win-win for him. The only reason for him to continue in his limousine to the UN is because the script writer wants him to be there.

So where are we now, heading into the final 2 hours:...

The US President is trying to shore up a nuclear arms peace treaty with the Middle East & Russia, but knows that some Russians were behind the murder of the Middle Eastern leader, and is trying to cover that up.

The President of Russia is coming to the UN to sign the treaty.

Jack is trying to expose the coverup and take revenge on the death of Renee Walker. He knows the President of Russia ordered the hit. Jack may be trying to get the Russian President.

Here are some of the questions going into the finale...

Will the peace treaty get signed, and then hold?

Will the Russian coverup be exposed?

Will the US President fall victim to crimes in covering up the Russian involvement?

Will Jack be able to get to the Russian President? What will he do then? Will Jack assassinate the Russian President in revenge for the killing of Renee Walker?

Will Chloe survive?

Will the bodies Dana Walsh left behind be discovered?

Will Jack's daughter & grandchild show up on the finale?

Will Jack find... peace? love? revenge? justice?

Will Jack survive?

Note: 24 in the past has been quite ruthless about killing supporting characters. Jack's wife was killed in the climax of the first season; nuclear bombs have been detonated; Jack himself killed his boss to temporarily appease a terrorist; Renee Walker was shot; Presidents have been killed. So... Anything can happen!

If Jack were killed, would he be killed so dead he could not rise from the dead (or awake from a "dream") to appear in a new movie?

Here are some possible resolutions...

The standard TV resolution could be...

Deviations from a "standard" resolution provide the interest in the finale.

As for the movie...

The movie, "24," is "in development" so it may or may not happen. The current screenwriter is Billy Ray (who seems to have as many as seven other pictures currently in development) and whose writing credits include: State of Play, Suspect Zero, The Shooter, and Color of Night.


Here are some "24" sites...

24 THE MOVIE (2012) --

and links to some articles on both "24's," the film & TV show:

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Monday, May 17, 2010



The President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST)
is an advisory group of the nation’s leading scientists and engineers who directly advise the President, and the Executive Office of the President, and make policy recommendations.

The next meeting of PCAST is on May 21, (8:30-5:00) and the meeting will be streamed live on the web.

Here's more information:




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Sunday, May 16, 2010




Space shuttle Atlantis soars to orbit
from Launch Pad 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida
Image Credit: NASA/Kenny Allen

The STS-132 mission to the International Space Station at 2:20 p.m. EDT on May 14 is the third of five shuttle missions planned for 2010, the last planned launch for Atlantis.

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Thursday, May 13, 2010







Singer Maria Gadu


The CINE FEST PETROBRAS BRASIL is back for its eighth edition this year – June 5th thru June 12th. As always, the competitive screenings will take place at the Tribeca Cinemas while the annual outdoor spectacular at Summerstage, which usually opens the event, will take place this year as the Closing Night excitement. The 8TH CINE FEST PETROBRAS BRASIL is presented by the Inffinito Group.

The Festival will kick off at the Tribeca Cinemas on Saturday night, June 5th with the Opening Night film, THE WELL BELOVED ONE (O Bem Amado) (description below), and other screenings followed by a rollicking Brazilian party. For the next 7 days and nights, the most exciting cinema Brasil is producing will be on tap, followed each night by a reception complete with caphirinas and a hot Brazilian DJ. Many of the filmmakers and cast members from the 8th CINE FEST PETROBRAS BRASIL film presentations will be in New York to attend the festivities and participate in Q & A sessions following the films.


The Closing Night film on Saturday, June 12th, to be presented outdoors in Central Park at Summerstage, will be the documentary OSCAR NIEMEYER – LIFE IS A BREATH OF AIR (description below). But prior to the screening will be the exciting performance of one of Brasil’s top bands – PARALAMAS DO SUCESSO who will be performing with Special Guest Maria Gadu!!

PARALAMAS DO SUCESSO is the most successful Brazilian rock band with over 12 albums released and a strong international following. Formed in the early 80’s, its members are Herbert Vianna (guitar and lead vocals), Bi Ribeiro (bass), and João Barone (drums). In its beginning, the band combined reggae and ska with rock, but later added horn arrangements and Latin rhythms. The Paralamas are considered part of the “Brasilila Gang” and are one of the "Big Four" bands of Brazilian rock. MARIA GADU is one of the rising young stars of Brasil’s music scene. Only 22 years-old, this singer from Sao Paulo has easily won over the Brazilian public with her beautiful voice and compositions and now the international audience!!

This year’s CINE FEST PETROBRAS BRASIL will be paying homage to the country’s capital city – Brasilia – as it celebrates its 50th Anniversary. There will be an exhibition at the Tribeca Cinemas to illustrate the construction of the city by the very well-known architects Oscar Niemeyer and Lucio Costa. The celebration of the city continues with the Summerstage film & concert as both Paralamas do Successo and Maria Gadu hail from that city. And a number of the films and/or filmmakers are set or are from Brasil’s most modern city.

Tickets for the 8th CINE FEST PETROBRAS BRASIL are on sale at (enter PETROBRAS or TRIBECA CINEMAS in the search bar) and are $10 for each film.

Many special events are free. Check the phone number below for more information.

The 8th CINE FEST PETROBRAS BRASIL full program, film descriptions and ticket information can be found on
or by calling 646-827-9333.

BLUE EYES (Olhos Azuis), Narrative / 2009, Directed by José Joffily, featuring David Rasche, Cristina Lago, Irandhir Santos, Erica Gimpel, Frank Grillo, Valéria Lorca, Pablo Uranga, Branca Messina, Hector Bordoni, Everaldo Pontes, Zezita Matos and Fernando Teixeira. Marshall, chief immigration officer of New York’s JFK Airport faced a compulsory retirement. On his last day of work, drunk and blinded by prejudice he harasses a group of Latin American visitors and exposes them to a series of humiliating events that result in the death of a young Brazilian. Years later, after serving a lengthy prison term and filled with guilt, Marshall goes to Brasil in search of the victim’s daughter and is guided by the young, Bia.

CABEÇA A PRÊMIO, Drama / 2009, Directed by Marco Ricca and starring Alice Braga, Daniel Hendler, Fúlvio Stefanini, Otavio Muller, Eduardo Moscovis, Cássio Gabus Mendes, Ana Braga, Via Negromonte and Cesar Troncoso. Decadence, power, betrayal. Three stories get intertwined in the arid border landscape – the end of the line where Brasil, Paraguay, and Bolivia meet. A land of strayed away, forgotten, disillusioned characters. An important cattle farmer and smuggler, his impulsive daughter in love with the father’s airplane pilot, and the gunman, who ordered to bring her back – himself victim of a love story.

ELVIS & MADONA, Comedy / 2010, Directed by Marcelo Laffitte, featuring Igor Cotrim, Simone Spoladore, Sérgio Bezerra, Maitê Proença, Buza Ferraz, José Wilker, Alexandre da Costa, and others. A romantic comedy that deals with an unusual subject in a delicate and realistic way: a love story between young lesbian, Elvis and a transvestite, Madona. The story takes place in Copacabana, in Rio de Janeiro. The screenplay comprehends a full array of human types and, by following the journey of both protagonists, illustrates the conflicts generated by the evolution of behavior and custom. It is a modern and agile picture, and its soundtrack will follow the latest musical trends. Nevertheless, it is essentially a love story, proving that love can exist in any situation.

LOVE STORIES LAST ONLY 90 MINUTES (Histórias de Amor Duram Apenas 90 Minutos), Narrative / 2010, Directed by Paulo Halm, featuring Caio Blat, Maria Ribeiro, Luz Cipriota, Daniel Dantas and Lucia Bronstein. Zeca, a young writer, immersed in a novel he cannot write, lives an idle life. He is 30 years old, but behaves like a teenager. He is talented, but unfocused: he’ll write two sentences, then abandon the work. He has a strained relationship with his wife Julia, as a result of their antagonistic temperaments: Zeca is unmotivated, while Julia knows exactly what she wants. Zeca is unhappy, but appeased. Until the day that he starts to believe that Julia is cheating on him. And, much to his dismay, with another woman.

SO NORMAL 2 (Os Normais 2), Narrative / 2009, Directed by José Alvarenga Jr., featuring Danielle Winits, Drica Moraes, Cláudia Raia, Daniele Suzuki, Mayana Neiva, Alinne Moraes, and Daniel Dantas. It’s a mistake to think that Rui and Vani’s saga had come to an end. Luiz Fernando Guimarães and Fernanda Torres bring back their outstanding characters in Os Normais. Just like in TV Globo's series and in the first feature film, a good laugh is guaranteed when the couple decides spice up their relationship and goes after someone to join them in this adventure.

SUNSTROKE (Insolação),
Romance / 2009, Directed by: Felipe Hirsch and Daniela Thomas, featuring Paulo José, Antonio Medeiros, Simone Spoladore, Leonardo Medeiros, André Frateschi, Maria Luisa Mendonça, Leandra Leal, Jorge Emil, Daniela Piepszyk and Emilio di Biasi. Sunstroke tells stories of unrequited Love. “Love and loss. Loss, mostly”, says a character. In an empty city, scorched by the Sun, the young and old confuse the fever of sunstroke with the delicate birth of passion. Like ghosts, they hover through buildings and endless flatland in search of the ever elusive Love. Inspired by 19th century Russian short stories, the plots weave and unravel together in the improbable city of Brasília – a distorted mirror-image of the soviet utopia – located in the heart of the Brazilian desert. Paulo José, the actor whose life is intertwined with the history of Brazilian cinema, plays Andrei, the nostalgic witness of these stories.

TIME OF PEACE (Tempos de Paz),
Drama / 2009, Directed by Daniel Filho, featuring Tony Ramos, Dan Stulbach, Daniel Filho, Louise Cardoso, Ailton Graça, Anselmo Vasconcelos, Ewa Stulbach, and others. The whole story takes place on the 18th of April in the year 1945. The battles had ceased in Europe, but Brasil still found itself technically at war. The encounter between the interrogator, a customs official and former-torturer for the Political Police of President Vargas and a Polish ex-actor who had lived the horrors of war but was suspected of being a Nazi fugitive, takes place in the Rio de Janeiro port immigration office. The film portrays a critical period of Brazilian history and speaks of Manichaeism and of fighting for life.

THE WELL BELOVED ONE (O Bem Amado), Comedy / 2010, Directed by Guel Arraes, featuring Marco Nanini, Matheus Nachtergaele, José Wilker, and others. Based on the literary work of Dias Gomes, O Bem Amado tells the story of the mayor of Sucupira, Odorico Paraguaçu, who has as his main aim in his administration the inauguration of a cemetery. On one side the Cajazeiras sisters support him. On the other he has to fight the strong opposition led by Neco Pedreira, owner of the town's gazette.

MAMONAS 4-EVER (Mamonas Para Sempre), Documentary / 2009, Directed by Cláudio Kahns. Mamonas Forever is the amazing story of five talented musicians, from the suburbs of São Paulo to the biggest success in the Brazilian music history. After five years playing dense rock music and performing' seriously as Utopia band, chance knocked on the door. There was only one request, they had to show their extroverted selves: happy and irreverent. What was sad became funny and satirical in all senses, and the Mamonas Assassinas were born. In only 10 months they put the country upside down and as never seen before, rock music united families to sing, dance, laugh and cry.

OSCAR NIEMEYER – LIFE IS A BREATH OF AIR, Documentary / 2007, Directed by Fabiano Maciel. Is it possible to tell a story of a nation through its architecture? It’s been said that the most important aspect of a building is the legacy that it represents for the society that built it. Therefore the work of Oscar Niemeyer, and his generation, is undoubtedly the best Brasil has ever produced, architecture with a soul of its own inspired in the country’s geography and that influenced architects worldwide. OSCAR NIEMEYER – LIFE IS A BREATH OF AIR is a movie that without trying to imitate the uniqueness of its subject relies on the precision of his lines and on the poetry of his forms, in order to reconstruct the history of the greatest icon of Brasil’s Modern Architecture.

QUEEN OF BRASIL (Rainhas), Documentary / 2010, Directed by Fernanda Tornaghi and Ricardo Bruno, featuring Fábio Mota, Otacílio Júnior, Marcos André, Alexandre Braga, Nany People, Luiza Ramil, Cleidina Mota and Aline Mota. Fábio is a small town boy from the Amazon region. He departs to Rio de Janeiro hoping to become the next Miss Gay Brasil. The documentary tells the story of Fabio and his partner as they embark on a journey towards a little known national beauty pageant which mobilizes the lives of hundreds of guys around the country – all pursuing the dream of being crowned Brasil´s most beautiful girl.

RITA CADILLAC - THE LADY OF THE PEOPLE (Rita Cadillac – A Lady Do Povo), Documentary / 2010, Directed by Toni Venturi, featuring testemonials by Rogéria, Drauzio Varella, Hector Babenco, Djalma Limonge Batista, Leleco, and others. Queen of the truck drivers, gold miners and godmother of jail inmates. Sex symbol in the 80’s, Rita Cadillac was the fantasy of a whole generation of Brazilian males. Now middle-aged, she has starred in 3 adult films in order to earn money for her retirement. An intimate documentary about the star and her private life.

STRAIGHT TO THE POINT (Onde a Coruja Dorme), Documentary / 2010, Directed by Márcia Derraik and Simplício Neto. This engaging documentary profiles Bezerra da Silva, a Brazilian music legend known as the father of “gangsta samba.” Da Silva’s songs, many of them written by residents of the slums of Rio de Janeiro, are social critiques that champion the underdog who must do whatever it takes to survive.

TAMBORO, Documentary / 2009, Directed by Sergio Bernardes, featuring Rose Marie Muraro, Mãe Beata de Iemanjá, Leonardo Boff, Hermeto Pascoal, Aziz Ab’Saber, Orlando Valverde, Ailton Krenak, Velha Guarda da Portela, Seu Jorge, Afroreggae, Antonio Lisboa, Orlando Miranda de Carvalho, Repentistas Nordestinos and Movimento dos Sem Terra (MST). TAMBORO broaches the main social and environmental issues of Brasil. The deforestation of the Amazon Forrest, the conflicts over land property in the countryside, growing shanty-towns and increasing criminality in the great urban centers are exposed, creating a somewhat muralist panorama of our civilization. The documentary roves all over Brasil, from Mount Roraima to Aparados da Serra, revealing amazing images of our country.

(No Meio do Rio entre as Árvores), Documentary / 2009, Directed by Jorge Bodanzky. It is the result of an expedition to the Alto Solimões that ministered video, circus, and photography workshops to the creeks communities inside the reserves. The film was made by them, from the recently-learned technology, with an insider view aiming abroad, without interpreters. From the hearth of the Amazon to the world, we come to know how It is the daily life of these people who live in the farthest reach of Brasil. What they think, what are they’re dreams and hopes, how they solve the problems they face for living within the river, among the trees.


The 8th Cine Fest Petrobras Brasil–New York is presented by Petrobras with the sponsorship of Brasiliatur and Ancine; Official Airlines – American Airlines; Official Hotel – Hudson New York; Supported by the Ministry of Culture, Department of Culture/FNC, Consulate General of Brazil in New York, Fastway Moving, Piola Restaurant, Churrascaria Plataforma Tribeca, MPB.FM, Contigo, Revista Movie, Filme B, City Parks Foundation and Summerstage


Comprised of Inffinito Núcleo de Arte e Cultura, Inffinito Eventos e Produções (Brasil) and Inffinito Foundation (USA), the Inffinito Group has as its main objective the promotion and diffusion of Brazilian cultural productions in Brasil and abroad, with partners Adriana Dutra, Cláudia Dutra and Viviane Spinelli.

In 1995, the three partners took the first steps towards of what became the Inffinito Festival Circuit, when they conceptualized the Brazilian Film Festival of Miami. The first edition took place in 1997 and since then the trio has been organizing Brazilian film festivals around the world. In 2003, Viviane, Cláudia and Adriana produced the 1st Brazilian Film Festival of New York.

This year the Inffinito Festival Circuit was present in Canudos and will appear in Miami, Vancouver, London, Rome, Montevideo, Buenos Aires, Madrid and Barcelona before the end of the year.

The full program, film descriptions and ticket information can be found on
or by calling 646-827-9333.

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Wednesday, May 12, 2010



The Peking Duck was one of the best ever! The dumplings were terrific. The Spinach (& other things) Soup was delicious. The Whole (boned) Crispy Fish was great. Same for other dishes.

Service was friendly and efficient.

The rooms are very attactive and comfortable, and feature large water tanks with interesting fish swimming around to keep children and adults absorbed.

Expensive, but not unreasonable for a Manhattan restaurant.

I enjoyed it!

Tse Yang
34 E 51 St.
New York, NY 10022

212 688-5447

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I had a hamburger at Nick & Toni's Cafe. It was excellent: cooked just right with a lot of flavor!

It was quite big, though. I wouldn't have minded a smaller hamburger, a smaller sparkling water bottle, and a smaller price.

Their wood oven baked pizzas looked terrific (also big for one person's lunch -- portions seem like they're designed for perhaps 1 1/2 normal people or 1 super-duper hungryhungry giant -- share it)!

Nick & Toni's Cafe is near Lincoln Center. It's a spin-off of their tony (pun intended) Hampton's restaurant.

Nick & Toni's Cafe
100 West 67 Street
New York, NY 10023

212 496-4000


Tuesday, May 11, 2010



In an even position Topalev declines a chance to repeat moves. Anand then launches an attack winning Topalov's Q for R & N. Endgame is easy. Anand wins.

Anand retains the world chess championship by a score of 6 1/2 to 5 1/2.

For more coverage and links to all the games and commentary:

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At the beginning of Leno's Monday night "Headlines" segment there is always a "newspaper" with a headline... which is on screen barely long enough to read. Whatever is on the newspaper next to the headline, I've never had time to look at, much less read.

HOWEVER! This time, tonight, I froze the TV with the pause button on my DVR at the headline image and could actually read the left sidebar headline.

For those who were unable to read it tonight, on the left it said (more or less)...


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Monday, May 10, 2010



Streaming video is proliferating and becoming more and more useful, as it becomes technically easier, and the quality continues to improve.

At the moment the World Economic Forum on Europe is streaming live on Livestream.

Livestream seems to be one of the growing distributors of interesting live streaming content, as well as a very simple platform for anyone at all to begin streaming.

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Thursday, May 06, 2010



The current issue of Science Magazine (May 7, 2010) includes an article comparing a completely sequenced Neanderthal Genome with genomes of 5 Modern Humans.

Four of the five Modern Humans seemed to have an overlap (small) in their genomes with Neanderthal DNA. The human of African descent did not show evidence of Neanderthal DNA.

The conclusion is that some Modern Humans interbred with some Neanderthals. The fact that this evidence is in individuals of Asian descent (where no Neanderthal traces have been found) as well as European descent suggests that the interbreeding occured before Modern Humans spread into the European and Asian areas.

One model is that modern humans moved out of Africa two to three hundred thousand years ago, interbred (lightly) with Neanderthals in the Middle East from 30-60 thousand years ago, and then continued to spread around the world (eventually replacing any other hominid variants -- including Neanderthals -- that may have existed).

This is the first evidence of interbreeding between any of the ancestors of today's humans and Neanderthals.

One Neanderthal and 5 Modern Humans is not a large sample! Clearly, the continued study of Neanderthal and Modern Human DNA is of the utmost interest in understanding who we are and how we got that way.

This discovery of our heritage should provide a big boost to Spelunkers!

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are pleased to invite you to the second annual


Monday June 7, 6:30pm





René Auberjonois, Lee Blessing, Eric Bogosian, Daniel Breaker, Kate Burton, Michael Cerveris, Robert Cuccioli, Richard Easton, Michael Emerson, Roberta Maxwell, Jefferson Mays, Kathryn Meisle, Patrick Page, Everett Quinton, Amy Irving, Dana Ivey, David Rabe, Laila Robins, and Judy Woodfin

Join special guests Robert Cuccioli, Roberta Maxwell, Patrick Page, Laila Robins, Michael Urie, and more for an evening featuring thrilling entertainment, fine dining, great company, and spectacular views. Come celebrate Red Bull Theater, honor four super contributors to classical theater in NYC, and be the first to hear about the 2010-2011 Season.

Note: RED BULL THEATER is an especially interesting company, with an ongoing and terrific reading series. David Rabe, one of our most important current playwrights has a reading coming up.

Rene Auberjonois, by the way, is one of the first actors I ever interviewed, and that interview was one of the first I ever got published.

They have a very interesting Classical Theater Acting Intensive this weekend. (Yes, overlapping Mother's Day!)

A great company to support! And it sounds like an interesting evening!

Buy Tickets:

463 West Street
between Bethune and Bank Streets

Annette Blaugrund, Mary Collins, Katherine Hood, Aurore Quercy,
Betty Rauch, Ben Rolly, Gloria Talamas, Mechel Thompson

Allan J. Arffa, Katherine Hood,
Bradley McCormick, Adam J. Natale,
Howard Owens, Matthew Rauch, Kathleen J. Yoh


"The most exciting classical theater company in New York."-Time Out New York

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GAME 12 (Final game -- Players even at 5 1/2 - 5 1/2 going into this game.) In an even position Topalev declined a chance to repeat moves. Anand then launched an attack, winning Topalov's Q for R & N. Endgame was easy. Anand wins game 12 and the match!

Anand retains the world chess championship by a score of 6 1/2 to 5 1/2!

Here's a video analysis of the final game. There are similar videos of the other games in the match:

see also:

ChessNetwork —


Topalov [B] managed to hold Anand [W] to a draw in game 9 -- in a tense endgame (Q N & advanced pawns [B] vs 2 Rooks N & strong attack [W] ) -- after winning a tense endgame in game 8 that looked like a possible draw (Bishops of opposite colors with [W] one advanced pawn ahead) .

Score is 4 1/2 - 4 1/2. Next game is Fri May 7 3 PM (Bulgaria) 7 AM (NY time). Topalov [W].

UPDATE NOTE: MAY 7: Game 10 is drawn. Score is 5-5. Next game is Sunday. Anand has White.
UPDATE NOTE: MAY 9: Game 11 is drawn. Anand sacs a pawn in the endgame, but Topalov holds off an attack. Score is 5 1/2 -5 1/2. Next (and last regular) game is Tuesday. Topalov has White.

Game 12 is the last regular game... Winner is World Chess Champion. If the game is drawn, there is a series of faster and faster tie breaks. (It used to be that the reigning Chess Champion remained Champion until beaten. Now neither Champion nor Challenger has an advantage going into the match, and the match is guaranteed to produce a winner.) Here are the rather complex rules:

For an intro to the match, see QPORIT

Official site (live video feed and live game board links from the site!):

Replays of all games & Official after-game press conferences (but on my computer the audio is essentially incomprehensible):


Also check...

For background on the World Chess Championship:

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Monday, May 03, 2010



Here's some interesting news about events, videos and research from THE INSTITUTE FOR ADVANCED STUDY (IAS), one of the world's most important independent research institutions:


Save the date for the Institute’s eightieth anniversary celebrations on September 24–25 and November 12–13 featuring presentations for the general public and events for former Members.

PUBLIC LECTURES in May will include

A presentation by Charles Simonyi, Chairman of the Institute’s Board of Trustees, who will speak about his most recent trip to space on Thursday, May 6

And a lecture by Heinrich von Staden, Professor in the School of Historical Studies, entitled Experiments on Animals in Ancient Greece and Rome: Private and Public Science, on Friday, May 7.


The quest for understanding the origin of the universe is explored in a video lecture by Matias Zaldarriaga, Professor in the School of Natural Sciences.

Patricia Crone, Andrew W. Mellon Professor in the School of Historical Studies, discusses nativists, nationalists, and Western-born jihadists in historical perspective.


The Spring Institute Letter explores the discovery and invention of an epidemic in France, Mesopotamian mathematics, the origins of a legal myth, and other subjects of research.


A Revolution of the Mind, a new book by Professor Jonathan Israel, traces the intellectual origins of modern democracy to the Radical Enlightenment, beginning in the late seventeenth century.


The Opportunity Equation, a new initiative of the Institute and Carnegie Corporation of New York, promotes equity and excellence in mathematics and science education.

Institute for Advanced Study
Einstein Drive, Princeton, New Jersey 08540

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Saturday, May 01, 2010



on Monday, May 24


Catherine Zeta-Jones & Kirk Douglas along with
Barbara Walters, Tobey Maguire, Steven Soderbergh,
and a special performance by Jimmy Buffett

are among the Luminaries to Pay Tribute
to the Illustrious Career of Oscar-winning Actor Michael Douglas


on Monday, May 24:

This Gala Celebration will include many of Douglas's most celebrated collaborators and friends, such as Danny Devito, Erika Christiansen, Milos Forman, Curtis Hanson, Tobey Maguire, Steven Soderbergh, Barbara Walters, as well as Douglas's wife Catherine Zeta-Jones and his father, the legendary Kirk Douglas, with a special performance by Michael's longtime-friend singer/songwriter Jimmy Buffett, plus film clips commemorating Douglas's lauded career. The evening will culminate in the presentation of the Chaplin Award.

The event will start with VIP cocktails with the honoree in the Hauser Patron Lounge at Alice Tully Hall followed by a seated dinner in the glass atrium. The presentation of the award will be in the Starr Theater with tributes by those mentioned above... with more guests to soon be announced. The festivities will close with dessert & dancing at the after-party which is being co-hosted by Justin Bartha, Adrien Brody, Piper Perabo, and the New Wave Committee, also taking place in the glass atrium.

This year's Gala Co-Chairs are Liz Macklowe, Ann Tenenbaum & Thomas H. Lee with Vice Chairs, Daniel H & Nanna Stern; The Tribute Chairs are Irene & Bernard Schwartz.

The Annual Gala began in 1972 and honored Charles Chaplin - who returned to the US from exile to accept the commendation. Since then, the award has been renamed for Chaplin, and has honored many of the film industry's most notable talents, including Alfred Hitchcock, Billy Wilder, Laurence Olivier, Federico Fellini, Elizabeth Taylor, Bette Davis, James Stewart, Robert Altman, Martin Scorsese, Diane Keaton, Meryl Streep and last year's recipient, Tom Hanks.

An actor with over thirty years of experience in theatre, film, and television, Douglas produced his first feature production in 1975 with the Academy Award-winning "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest".

Since then, as a producer and as an actor-producer, Michael has proven to have an intuition for choosing projects that reflect changing trends and public concerns such as, "The China Syndrome" and "Traffic".

Over that past three and a half decades Douglas has also starred in many box-office blockbusters and pop culture favorites, including; "Romancing the Stone", "Fatal Attraction", "Wall Street", "The War of the Roses", "Disclosure", "The American President", "The Game", "Wonder Boys", "Don't Say A Word", "The In-Laws", "The Sentinel", "You, Me & Dupree", "King of California", and "Ghosts of Girlfriend's Past."

Michael has also been a behind the scenes force for well known hits with stellar casts, like "Flatliners", John Woo's "Face Off", "John Grisham's The Rainmaker" and "One Night at McCool's".

This year Douglas is returning to his National Board of Review, Golden Globe, & Academy Award winning role of Gordon Gekko in "Wall Street 2; Money Never Sleeps", again directed by Oliver Stone with co-stars Shia Labeouf, Cary Mulligan and Josh Brolin as well as "Solitary Man" co-directed by Brian Koppelman and David Levien, co-staring Susan Sarandon, Danny Devito, Mary Louise-Parker, Jenna Fischer and Jesse Eisenberg.

In 1998 Douglas was appointed a United Nations Messenger of Peace. He is a strong advocate of nuclear disarmament and the control of small arms, and he sits on the Board of Ploughshares Fund. In 2009 Michael joined the project "Soldiers of Peace," a movie against all wars and for global peace as well as "Nuclear Tipping Point," about the journey that brought four prominent architects, Henry Kissinger, Sam Nunn, William Perry and George Schultz, of America's nuclear deterrence policies, to a startling conclusion: it's time to eliminate nuclear weapons altogether.

Douglas has also hosted 10 years of the "Michael Douglas and Friends" Celebrity Golf event that raised over $5 million dollars for the Motion Picture and Television Fund.

Limited tickets for the gala evening are still available at the following levels:
Premium seating single tickets to the Gala Tribute and Champagne Reception for $325 and
General Admission seating tickets including the Champagne Reception for $175.
After-party only tickets are also available for $50.

For more information regarding purchasing tickets, please
call 212.875.5685 or


Past Film Society of Lincoln Center Gala Tribute Honorees
2009 Tom Hanks
2008 Meryl Streep
2007 Diane Keaton
2006 Jessica Lange
2005 Dustin Hoffman
2004 Michael Caine
2003 SusanSarandon
2002 Francis Ford Coppola
2001 Jane Fonda
2000 Al Pacino
1999 Mike Nichols
1998 Martin Scorsese
1997 Sean Connery
1996 Clint Eastwood
1995 Shirley MacLaine
1994 Robert Altman
1993 Jack Lemmon
1992 Gregory Peck
1991 Audrey Hepburn
1990 James Stewart
1989 Bette Davis
1988 Yves Montand
1987 Alec Guinness
1986 Elizabeth Taylor
1985 Federico Fellini
1984 Claudette Colbert
1983 Laurence Olivier
1982 Billy Wilder
1981 Barbara Stanwyck
1980 John Huston
1979 Bob Hope
1978 George Cukor
1975 Joanne Woodward & Paul Newman
1974 Alfred Hitchcock
1973 Fred Astaire
1972 Charles Chaplin

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The Kentucky Derby, of course, is the first Saturday in May. That's today!

The Derby broadcast is on NBC beginning at 4:00 PM.

It's a wet track. The favorites seem to be (as of now) Lookin At Lucky, Super Saver, Sidney's Candy and Ice Box (all with odds around 8-1 or 10-1), but how often does the favorite there actually win?

Here's the official site:

I've been watching the KD on TV every year for a long time. And I learned how to make a killer mint julep. I'd love to visit Churchill Downs for the race some day. But, in fact, I've never, ever been to a live horse race, not even at Belmont, which is not too far away from me. I must do that one of these days.

I've always tried to have a mint julep (MJ) on KD day. That's how I discovered Ruth Reichl (for a while the NYT food critic). In the early 90's she was a food critic in LA. On a business trip I knew I would be somewhere south of LA on derby day. I needed my MJ. I noticed an article she had written in the LA Times Magazine about new fine restaurants in California, and I found one that was near where I'd be. When I went there on KD day, they didn't know how to make a mint julep, but they were nice enough to try to follow my instructions, and when the first one didn't quite work, tried again and came up with something memorable, together with a really good meal. I've followed R Reichl ever since.

Here's how you make a wicked MJ. (Note: Don't drive or ride a horse or operate heavy machinery after this; don't ingest with anything that will exceed your tolerance for total number of chemicals in the body!) Boil a little bit of water and then put it in a cup with some washed and dried, torn up, fresh, nice looking mint leaves, to create a strong mint tea.
(Note: Mint leaves are not always that easy to get, and when you get a bunch, many leaves are often wilted, or blackened. It's important to select the best leaves even if that is only a fraction of the bunch of mint in the package.)

Add quite a bit of sugar. (Optionally -- ideally, in fact -- some sugar could be replaced with a half jigger of a sweet liqueur like Cointreau, Drambuie, or Grand Marnier.) Add about a half jigger of a good Kentucky Bourbon. (After trying quite I few, I found that my favorite is definitely Maker's Mark.) Add this mixture with some additional torn up, fresh, nice looking mint leaves to ice in a crusher.

Crush the mixture of sweetened mint tea, and bourbon to make a tall glass worth of flavored crushed ice. Take a tall, chilled glass, add a long straw, fill the glass with the crushed ice, and then pour in a jigger more bourbon to fill up the cracks. Turn on the pre-race show, and enjoy it!

It's matter of taste what you eat with the drink, if anything. My own preference is Greek or similar appetizers. In the New York area, Molyvos probably has the best selection of appetizers I know of. Near Carnegie Hall, they do provide food to go if that's how you want to enjoy the Derby.

I enjoy the race, by the way, but to make the race better (since it only lasts two minutes, after all), enhancing it with slow motion replays and particular horses isolated in the picture (the more the better) is a way of greatly extending the experience. I hope the TV broadcast does a lot of that.

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We're in the middle of a match to determine the World Championship of Chess. World Champion Vishy Anand defends against Challenger Veselin Topalov in Sofia, Bulgaria from April 24 to May 13, 2010.

The prize fund runs 2 million euros.

It's a 12 game match, and Anand currently leads after 6 games by 3 1/2 to 2 1/2. Anand has won two games, and Topalov one; the rest were drawn. The seventh game will be played on Monday.


The first match was delayed because Anand was stranded by the volcano eruption.

Note: May 3 -- Game 7 World Chess Match -- drawn. Anand 4 Topolev 3. Next game tomorrow 2:45 PM (local Bulgaria) or 7:45 AM NY

Note: May 4 -- Game 8 World Chess Match -- Topolev managed to win what looked for a while like an easily drawn endgame with bishops of opposite colors. Either brilliant play by Topolev or a blunder by Anand. All tied at 4-4. Next game May 6.


For complete coverage of the current match, here is the official website:

For background on the match:

Here is a list of previous world chess champions:

Wilhelm Steinitz (1886-1894)
Emanuel Lasker (1894-1921)
Jose Raul Capablanca (1921-1927)
Alexander Alekhine (1927-1935, 1937-1946)
Max Euwe (1935-1937)
Mikhail Botvinnik (1948-1957, 1958-1960, 1961-1963)
Vasily Smyslov (1957-1958)
Mikhail Tal (1960-1961)
Tigran Petrosian (1963-1969)
Boris Spassky (1969-1972)
Robert James "Bobby" Fischer (1972-1975)
Anatoly Karpov (1975-1985)
Garry Kasparov (1985-2000)
Vladimir Kramnik (2000-2007)
Viswanathan Anand (2007-current)

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