The Micro-Mini Condo Minimalist Living Craze Started in San Francisco-El Toro Ca-Ca!

From all accounts that I have seen, printed newspaper, magazines, and various Internet articles, the general consensus seems to be that San Francisco has become the most expensive city in the United States in terms of rents & home ownership. This is not a good thing. In this instance, being number one has put us on the bottom of a very smelly & contrived dung heap.

Various Real Estate Agents are having a field day in their branding campaigns of “smaller is better.” The el Toro Ca-ca that real estate marketing experts get paid to splatter us with goes something like this: Their goal is to get us to pay more money for less living space & be happy with the stench that goes along with being part of a trend. We are being expected to literally buy into the concept that we don’t need much more than a mattress. Concepts such as art collections or versatile wardrobes are things we have no business having. Instead of living like adults, we are now expected to lower our standard of living, and we are supposed to go around with smile faces! In these tiny units (700 Square feet or less, in some instances) that are being marketed as upscale, you would not be able to have space for a smile button collection.

It’s for certain that the novelty of designer miniaturization will wear off, as the concept of not having space for a pair of crutches or a walker hits home when illnesses disrupt life in miniature. Suddenly, the cute preppy who needs a wheel chair will find out big time just what being handicapped really means. It won’t be funny or pretty to attempt to cope with illness or any state of decrepitude in living arrangements that are intended to put one’s life on hold. Holy Orders & Monasteries will become bastions of luxury.

We are being told that 700 Square Feet of living space is a luxury, and that we should be happy with even less than that. We are being told that we should pay just under a million dollars to live in apartments that are smaller than the average walk-in closet. We we being told to get rid of our things & to spend all of our disposable income in buying tiny living units that are not adequate for any adult person, let alone for one’s family of choice. Why should we accept living in packing crates not much bigger than a refrigerator? It’s sort of like getting skim milk when you want whole milk.

Here is the cute version of how compartmentalised living is SUPPOSED to look like from Barcelona: Let us Americans apply several coats of this hogwash patina to our culture & see it for what it really is: A bill of goods—We don’t need stuff.

Dumbed Down Buying in Barcelona: It’s good for you! How many thousands did he have to spend to create this? What happens when he needs a wheelchair, or wants to have a library, or a small art collection? He can’t support writers or artists, not living like this. It’s a cute video, but it’s not Versailles, nor even a good mobile home. It’s a load of expensive, downsized crap. This video, while well executed, is telling us to live like children, camping out–and dropping out from the adult world of real living. A rocking chair would never fit in this place, nor would a guest. The impracticality of sharing your space on a functional level with others should be obvious.

Here is the same, basic, miniature, minimalist crap from Paris:

In San Francisco, we have a core group who live outside the boundaries of cutesy miniature & expensive designer spaces that are supposed to make the single person feel that h/she has actually accomplished something by becoming The Incredible Shrinking Wo/Man. Lily Tomlin’s film was prophetic. In San Francisco, it is called being homeless & here is how they live.

LET US IMAGINE THE DAILY JOY OF THIS MODULAR UNIT!

Here, we can see we need no art collection, the mural on the building to which this modular unit was so cleverly affixed, has an automatic work of art, which doubles as a load bearing wall.  The person has done an excellent job of recycling cardboard containers, once used to crate kitchen appliances that this dweller would not be able to afford.  Please notice his clever use of red & blue water repellent materials.  All he needs is a place to sleep. There is no need for a high standard of living, no need for superfluous closet spaces, no need for toilets, showers, or their attendant 'products'.  Food is based upon the prehistoric hunter/gatherer model.  This modular unit is, indeed, priceless--a legacy of Ronald Reagan, the Great Communicator, who never had to live like this, nor was ever held accountable for his role in contributing to the homeless we see daily in this City of Saint Francis.   This individual Hooverville, gets plenty of fresh air, and street access is simple.  There are no parking problems--but being attacked in the middle of the night by representatives of the Koch Brothers is a very real possibility.  After all, we doubt that property taxes are being paid, and the Koch Brothers want us all to do our part in trickle down economics.  We would suggest making the closed St Joseph's Catholic Church, diagonally across the street, available to house people, but it's not exactly modular.  Alas, San Francisco is frumpy in how it puts forth it's life in miniature compared to our more elegant Spanish & French counterparts.  Ooops, no room for a counter, unless it's moduar!  Stay tuned for more El Toro Ca-Ca!

Here, we can see we need no art collection, the mural on the building to which this modular unit was so cleverly affixed, has an automatic work of art, which doubles as a load bearing wall. The person has done an excellent job of recycling cardboard containers, once used to crate kitchen appliances that this dweller would not be able to afford. Please notice his clever use of red & blue water repellent materials. All he needs is a place to sleep. There is no need for a high standard of living, no need for superfluous closet spaces, no need for toilets, showers, or their attendant ‘products’. Food is based upon the prehistoric hunter/gatherer model. This modular unit is, indeed, priceless–a legacy of Ronald Reagan, the Great Communicator who never had to live like this. This Hooverville, gets plenty of fresh air, and street access is simple. There are no parking problems–but being attacked in the middle of the night by representatives of the Koch Brothers is a very real possibility. We would suggest making the closed St Joseph’s Catholic Church, diagonally across the street, available to house people, but it’s not exactly modular. Alas, San Francisco is frumpy in how it puts forth it’s life in miniature compared to our more elegant Spanish & French counterparts. Ooops, no room for a counter, unless it’s moduar! Stay tuned for more El Toro Ca-Ca!

Less is not more, less is expensive & less is cramped & crowded.
New York Apartment Squeezes The Out of the Dwellers. Buying into reduction in Manhattan.
(Some day he will figure this out).

Lizabeth Scott (1922-2015)–Noir Will Never Be The Same…

I can’t exactly remember when I first became aware of Lizabeth Scott as an acting persona. It would have to be sometime in the Mid 1960s, when many films started to gain a following due to being televised via either the national network system, or the local/regional offshoots. My guess is that Frances Farmer may have hosted some of Lizabeth Scott’s films from her Indianapolis affiliate. ??? In any event, she made a very solid & favourable impression on me–her allure, her defiance, her real eyebrows, her lower & husky voice, all combined to show me a woman who was not quite like the other Hollywood Stars I was used to seeing.

She had a commanding presence, not beautiful like Grace Kelly, but more down-to-earth, but composed of enough glamour to lift her into what seemed a rarefied & slightly dangerous lifestyle. In her parts she was able to connive, charm, steal–and would make one horrible moral choice after another–and the men whose lives intersected with her came to a bad end. Today, we call them managers. Believe me, trust me, it was far more fun in play acting for films than the dreadful stuff of day time reality that will never be televised, nor ever see the light of day.

I miss Lizabeth Scott. I wish I could have gotten to know her–to get her take on what all those dramatic moments caught on film might have meant to her…Perhaps, it was just a job for her. But for me, it was a whole, new & strange way to see a world I would never be a part of, except either through television or at the back of an increasingly rare repertory theatre.

Farewell, Lizabeth Scott! You left us a fine legacy of the femme fatale….lessons that seemed to have been lost on the next generations who lived out what you played on-screen. Rest in peace. I hope we meet, some fine day!

You Tube Montage of TOO LATE FOR TEARS–Starring Lizabeth Scott

A Beautiful Visual Tribute to Lizabeth Scott via You Tube:

Slap for Too Late For Tears--Princess Melita Bonaparte's Parody of this splendid Noir Masterpiece!

Slap for Too Late For Tears–Princess Melita Bonaparte’s Parody of this splendid Noir Masterpiece!

A Photograph of the Actual Poster Used to Promote Too Late For Tears

Film Poster For TOO LATE FOR TEARS--on its own merit.  February 2014-Castro Theatre.

Film Poster For TOO LATE FOR TEARS–on its own merit. February 2014-Castro Theatre.

AND TO ADD THIS SUPERB STILL PHOTOGRAPHY TRIBUTE FROM DAILY MOTION. IT IS BEAUTIFUL!

Believe In The Films You Like #Popeye & #TheWiz

#MiDNiGHTSFORMANiACS will be entertained & enlightened by two films featuring people who are (and sadly, now were) living legends during their life times. #Popeye & #TheWiz will be shown FRiDAY @ #TheCastroTheatre.

Popeye, the 1980 film, did not do so well critically & financially when initially released. It’s now being seen a bit more charitably, and perhaps will find a ‘home’ with a new generation who may turn out to become more appreciative than we expect, once exposed to screening opportunities such as this one, coming Friday–29 August 2014. It remains to be seen how screening opportunities for the next couple of generations will come about, considering the rapid demise of single screen houses & 35mm film projectionists.

Robin Williams as Popeye & Shelley Duvall as Olive Oyl bring the comic strip characters from the televised animation many of us knew as children during the 1950s-60s & give them a spin that enhances their depth, especially as they touch real issues of biological identity angst (Popeye) & eviction from one’s home (the whole Oyl Family).

YOU TUBE OF THE 1980 FILM POPEYE-FEATURING ROBIN WILLIAMS & SHELLEY DUVALL

The other film featured is #TheWiz (1978), based upon the book by L. Frank Baum, originally entitled The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. This film, too, derives from the long-established & popular classic film #THEWIZARDOFOZ. The Wiz was a remake of a classic specifically to engage black Americans in a universal application of the theme of the importance of knowing where your home is. Dorothy, played by Diana Ross, discarded the trappings of glamour, which had been embedded in her career, & made the simplicity of her soul her only resource. This was all she needed. Her journey was not about wealth, but about wisdom. Michael Jackson, also too soon gone, played the scarecrow (made) of garbage, and this Oz, based in New York City, features the now extinct World Trade Center. Dorothy once again finds the meaning of growth & renewed value in what home really means, made especially more important when threatened with it’s loss.

One of the greatest joys offered in this film is the legendary Lena Horne as Glinda The Good Witch of the South. #LenaHorne sings #BelieveInYourself, which was a show stopper. I remember seeing this film during it’s initial theatrical run, downtown #Indianapolis @ the #CircleTheatre, one of the last single houses left, Indianapolis having switched to multiplexes 15 years before that movement hit San Francisco. Her performance garnered a huge applause from the audience, something Indianapolis audiences seldom displayed. I knew who Lena Horne was, in a vague sort of way, but this commanding performance of hers sealed her into my psyche, and turned me into an instant fan. Being reminded of her loss, too, brings simultaneously a sadness, but a joy from knowing that she met the challenges of her day with a gusto tempered with class, a rare combination.

YOU TUBE FEATURING THE LEGEND of LENA HORNE: Believe in Yourself-1978

This will be an evening of challenge, moving on from loss, Robin Williams, Michael Jackson, The World Trade Center…and challenge to continue to find truth in from past generations of films that can resonate for all audiences, young, & those who are old enough to be familiar with the history of both films and what came before. This film series is taking a different spin, embracing films that were intended from the start to be “mainline” films, but were not well-accepted during the eras in which they were made. This night may be #JesseHawthorneFicks chance to turn some of that around.

In Memoriam: ROBiN WiLLiAMS 1951–2014

Thank you for blessing us with your talents. Rest In Peace. We shall miss you…

In Memory of Robin Williams-who gave us many facets of the human diamond.  Too soon gone.

In Memory of Robin Williams-who gave us many facets of the human diamond. Too soon gone.

Happy Birthday To Judy Garland: Who Could Go On Singing….

Just to take a brief, belated (late-in-the-day) moment to think about today being Judy Garland’s birthday. Words are not needed.

Here is a You Tube from her last film, I COULD GO ON SINGING–a film not given proper respect during her lifetime.

Enjoy!

MALEFICENT WAS MAGNIFICENT

With a story line that was simple, easy to follow, accessible, we now can see that MALEFICENT was not always like the Duchess of Windsor. In fact, she started life as a normal little fairly, a little girl fairy. She had fun, played in her natural habitat, and was altogether a charming & sweet creature.

Broken promises & a broken heart took their toll. This story is told from Maleficent’s point of view, showing us what meanness can do to the spirit, even the spirit of a fairy. She was mutilated by the one she loved, her wings taken, clipped. That was when everything changed for her, and she cast a spell on one whom she would come to love quite profoundly.

Angelina Jolie has never looked more enticing. Her performance wisely avoids the maniacal antics of frustrated, mid-level managers who wear power suits. As a fairy, even with her wings cut off, she’s a bit better balanced than what we see parading around in our offices these days. She keeps it together enough to have a believable purpose in life. Unlike her human counterparts, she still knows the difference between right & wrong, and while revenge is in the air (the one thing she does seem to share with bad managers), she manages to see through this, and there is redemption that saves her from drowning in her own hurt.

You Tube Trailer of Angelina Jolie as MALEFICENT

The finding of balance, in terms of mending her life wounds, is what I think we see happen with Maleficent, as the story unfolds. This, is one of the more important themes of the story.

Her Imperial Highness, The Princess Melita Bonaparte, generously gave of her time & advice to Angelina Jolie in preparing for "this role of a life time.  I had turned it down, it was too much like my own life, plus I am too young to play the part, so I was so happy to help Angelina Jolie with the part."

Her Imperial Highness, The Princess Melita Bonaparte, generously gave of her time & advice to Angelina Jolie in preparing for “this role of a life time. I had turned it down, it was too much like my own life, plus I am too young to play the part, so I was so happy to help Angelina Jolie with the part.”

Angelina Jolie poster without the Imperial Princess. We are certain that Princess Melita Bonparte’s influence will make the film a huge success.

The Official Poster/Standee, as inspired by Her Imperial Highness, The Princess Melita Bonaparte.

The Official Poster/Standee, as inspired by Her Imperial Highness, The Princess Melita Bonaparte.

The Immigrant–AMC Metreon-San Francisco

Take a break from the franchise blockbusters, romantic comedies, and the man-boy genre, that have been entertaining & fun, but not desert island films. THE IMMIGRANT has the makings of a story that will stand the test of time. It is a beautifully told story about two young girls from Poland who are supposed to meet relatives in the New York City area. Things go horribly wrong & it becomes a story of survival.

It’s wrong to give away the story line, even an inexperienced reviewer (such as I am) knows this. So, I won’t. It’s also about Redemption, a theme that when handled properly, needs no special effects. One scene in particular was a surprise. For the last 25 years, the Catholic Church has been under almost relentless attack from issues ranging from priests who abused altar boys, to financial mismanagement & intolerance towards homosexual persons. Much of this lambasting has been long overdue. But, for once, a film depicts the Church in a positive light, and not by using saccharine. The female lead, Ewa (Marion Cotillard) manages to break away from her confinement, to make Confession. What she has to confess is that she has become a woman who sells herself in order to help her sister, who is undergoing medical confinement. The priest who heard her Confession does not judge her. Instead, he urges her to “get away from that man as soon as you can…” If was as if he understood that she was in over her head, and he gave her the best advice he could under the circumstances. He did not condemn her to Hell, as she thought. She followed his instructions, when she could.

This film explores corruption surrounding the immigration policies of the time, 1921, Ellis Island, New York. The labyrinth of deception is overwhelming. Joaquin Phoenix (as Bruno Weisss) was just as trapped in a world of his own making as those he conscripted to perform in this sordid entrapment. It was Jeremy Renner, as Orlando the Magician–a cousin to Bruno, who is most deceptive of all. Jeremy Renner was stellar in this part, seemingly innocent, till light is shed upon his darkness.

The issues surrounding immigration to this place where a young Polish girl dresses as The Statue of Liberty in a libertine review have always been complex, fraught with moral compromise. From the Landing of the earliest Pilgrims, the confusion of religious freedom with liberty to take land from the indigenous, fast forward to our bi-polar relationship with Mexico & many other countries. The Immigrant does not attempt to tap into all these areas of immigration history. But it is another important part of the continuum of literature that addresses the loss & sacrifices that so many had to make in order to call this place home. (Directed by James Gray).

Cast:
Marion Cotillard as Ewa Cybulski
Joaquin Phoenix as Bruno Weiss
Jeremy Renner as Orlando the Magician / Emil
Yelena Solovey as Rosie Hertz
Dagmara Dominczyk as Belva
Maja Wampuszyc as Aunt Edyta
Angela Sarafyan as Magda Cybulski
Ilia Volok as Voytek
Antoni Corone as Thomas MacNally
Dylan Hartigan as Roger
DeeDee Luxe as Bandits Roost Tart
Gabriel Rush as Delivery Boy
Kevin Cannon as Missionary

YOU TUBE TRAILER OF THE IMMIGRANT-Released 2014

This was a gem that might be overlooked in the rush for "BIG" blockbusters.  It was a fine film & deserves an appreciative audience.

This was a gem that might be overlooked in the rush for “BIG” blockbusters. It was a fine film & deserves an appreciative audience.

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