Tag Archives: film

Time To Rethink A Certain Reindeer Story

santa rudolph reindeer rankin bass

It’s December and the ubiquitous holiday music – playing since mid-November – reminds us that Christmas is just around the corner.  I’ve always been troubled by one particular Christmas carol I first learned at the tender age of 4: Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. You know the story, right? Young buck born with funny nose. Ostracized and bullied for it. Naturally, an extenuating circumstance (“one foggy ...

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When Intelligence is Artificial

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If you follow the popular tech press, it’s likely you’ve seen a number of stories about artificial intelligence.  The term “artificial intelligence” is somewhat loosely defined.  It fits under the category of “we’ll know it when we see it.” The mathematician Alan Turing defined artificial intelligence as an “imitation game.”  If a human couldn’t tell if the origin of the responses on the other side ...

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Garry Marshall – Cultural Titan and Family Man

garry marshall

If you are of a certain age, your cultural life was dominated by Garry Marshall’s touch.  The Odd Couple. Happy Days. Laverne & Shirley. Mork & Mindy. Pretty Woman. The Princess Diaries.  He helped Ron Howard get cast in his first film (George Lucas’ American Graffiti) and directed Jackie Gleason in his last (Nothing in Common  with Tom Hanks). And these are just a few ...

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The Bechdel Test and the Art of Politics

diversity bechdel scientist appearance

Have you heard of the Bechdel test?  It was developed to formalize an observation made by Virginia Woolf about the simplicity of women’s characters in literature.  A piece of fiction passes the test if, and only if, three conditions are met: The work has at least two women in it who talk to each other about something other than a man. Given the simplicity of ...

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Homogeneous Hollywood Losing Money?

On the heels of the recent diversity report from cross-town football rival, USC, today UCLA has released its study on the lack of diversity in Hollywood.  The 60-page scholarly report, created by the Bunche Center of African American Studies, is filled with numbers that are sadly familiar:  There can be no doubt that the entertainment industry is not a place of equal opportunity. This report ...

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Hollywood Diversity: Real-Life Stories

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The New York Times: The #OscarsSoWhite awareness continues with these stories from the field.  If there are more diverse roles, there would be more diverse Oscars.  Asian, Black, Latino, Female, Gay:  the story is always the same.  There appears to be a desire to use stereotypes to tell stories which only increases the awareness of the stereotype.  The present discussion may help break the feedback ...

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Diversity Stats in Hollywood: It’s Not Pretty

As the Oscars approach, we again are reminded that #OscarsSoWhite.  A scholarly report from USC entitled “Inclusion or Invisibility: Comprehensive Annenberg Report on Diversity in Entertainment” yields some troubling statistics.  These include a 2:1 ratio of male:female speaking roles and that only 28.3% of all speaking characters were from underrepresented racial/ethnic groups. Not surprisingly, the report concludes, in part: The film industry still functions as ...

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Audiences Can Fix the Diversity Problem in Hollywood

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Diversity is making headlines in both theatre and film. During an interview with Variety, “Mr. Pig” star Diego Luna offers a different take on the issues of diversity and responsibility, illuminating the widespread controversy as a topic not just generated by productions, casting or voting seasons. “Audiences also play a role in what’s reflected…”

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John Pollono, Ambi-Coastal Writer

John Pollono writer footlights

There are likely few new playwrights today who have more experience with both Los Angeles and New York theater than John Pollono. His raw and dark comedy, Small Engine Repair, was originally staged in Los Angeles by Rogue Machine Theatre in 2011 to great commercial and critical success before making the jump to the Off-Broadway MCC Theater in 2013. And while Small Engine Repair was ...

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Back To The Future inspires German Theater

american theatre back to the future footlights

American Theatre Magazine: It’s Back to the Future day, when Doc Brown and Marty (and Marty’s girlfriend, Jennifer) come in from 1985.  The film trilogy has inspired social commentary in Germany’s theaters.

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