Posted in Uncategorized, tagged David Brancaccio, documentary, economy, environment, film, Fixing the Future, innovation, job creation, marketplace, movie, one and one and 50 make a million, pri, sustainability on August 17, 2012 |
Leave a Comment »
A guy at the office reads a different blog I write, a blog for work, and knows the types of stories I like. Recently he e-mailed me about a new documentary in which the solutions to our economic problems are tackled by “just folks.” Add this to the growing list of proofs that “one and one and 50 make a million.”
“In Fixing the Future, host David Brancaccio, of public radio’s Marketplace and NOW on PBS, visits people and organizations across America that are attempting a revolution: the reinvention of the American economy. By featuring communities using sustainable and innovative approaches to create jobs and build prosperity, Fixing the Future inspires hope and renewal in a people overwhelmed by economic collapse.
“The film highlights effective, local practices such as: local business alliances, community banking, time banking/hour exchange, worker cooperatives and local currencies.” That’s what the film’s website says anyway. Read more. And if you see the movie, please let me know.
Read Full Post »
Pamela and I went to see the movie Hugo. The theater didn’t have 3-D, and one critic said 3-D is essential for full enjoyment of the film, but we found it delightful anyway.
Before I saw the movie, a NY Times review worked its way into my post on the charm of looking out windows. Indeed, as little Hugo peers out of windows and clock faces in the Paris train station where he works, it’s as if he were watching a theatrical entertainment staged for him alone.
A major “character” in Hugo is an old automaton that the boy had worked to repair with his father before a fire left him an orphan. He desperately wants to finish the work. He fancies that if the automaton were to write something, it would deliver a message from his father.
Automatons were apparently quite popular in the early 20th century. They were ingenious robots that could perform feats like writing and drawing.
There is one that can be seen today at the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia. Thought to have been constructed around 1800, it knows how to make four drawings and write three poems — two in French and one in English. “Henri Maillardet, a Swiss mechanician of the 18th century who worked in London producing clocks and other mechanisms” is the tinkerer behind it. Read more.
Read Full Post »
Posted in Uncategorized, tagged esperanto, film, hope, incubus, invented language, language, ludwig zamenhoff, movie, peace, william shatner on July 29, 2011 |
2 Comments »
When you have a doctor’s appointment in the morning and go to work late, you see a whole different crowd riding the subway. In the summer after rush hour, there are a lot of families on outings. A woman and a boy of about 11 got on and sat near me. The boy began to tell his mother that he had been reading about a made-up language called Esperanto. She said she had heard of it and thought it had been popular a long time ago but hadn’t worked out. An older kid they didn’t know chimed in to confirm the woman’s view. Esperanto was intended to be used as an international language, but nobody spoke it anymore.
That was too much for me. “Well,” I said, “hundreds of thousands of people speak it. I speak it.” If I may say so, the boy and his mother were delighted. Could I speak a few words, they asked?
“Mi parolas Esperanto,” I said. The boy repeated the “I Speak Esperanto” phrase several times. He then wanted to know “hello.” “Saluton,” I said. I told him and his mother why Ludwig Zamenhoff had felt a need for such a language more than 100 years ago in a war-torn part of Eastern Europe.
When the woman and the boy were leaving the train, they asked how to say “good-bye” and told me good-bye in Esperanto.
Now get this. Here is William Shatner, long before “Star Trek,” in a spooky black and white movie called “Incubus” — filmed in Esperanto!
That is so bizarre, I thought at first it must be a hoax. Maybe some Esperantists dubbed it for a joke on YouTube, I thought. But Wikipedia is very careful about such things, and it confirms that William Shatner performed in a movie in Esperanto that was thought to be lost. The recently rediscovered print had subtitles in French, which have now been converted to English. Read Wikipedia here. (Read my previous post on invented languages here.)
And just in case you are now inspired to learn the language, this little clip offers a pretty good lesson.
I hope the boy on the subway finds it. A terrifically curious and open-minded young man.
Read Full Post »
Posted in Uncategorized, tagged art, art gallery, artist, brasil, brazil, film, garbage picker, healing, marwencol, movie, netflix, poor, poverty, psychology, recyclable, recycled, vik muniz, waste land on June 12, 2011 |
We watched a couple unusual documentaries last night and last weekend. Often by the time films are available on Netflix, all I remember about the review is that someone highly recommended them. I know only that we will get a big surprise.
“Marwencol” and “Waste Land” were amazing surprises. They turned out to have something in common, too — the idea that art can lift people from despair, help them see things in a way that opens up their world. What was different between the movies was that for the troubled guy who created art in “Marwencol,” showing his work in a NYC gallery is quite beside the point of his healing process and probably the last thing he needs.
The movie is beautifully executed, but one has the sense that the young filmmakers who think the protagonist will benefit from the big-time art world don’t understand psychology very well.
The protagonist of “Waste Land,” successful Brazilian artist Vik Muniz, although equally idealistic, understands his subjects better, having experienced a life similar to theirs in his impoverished childhood. He decides to combine an art project with helping “garbage pickers” in the world’s biggest landfill, in Rio. Getting to know a few of the workers really well, he develops tremendous admiration for them and their deep dignity. He pays a few to work with him on giant portraits on themselves, portraits that play on the themes of some famous paintings. They use recyclables to complete the images, which are then photographed and shown in galleries and at auction. The proceeds come back to the people and help them both individually and collectively.
But the biggest transformation is not monetary but rather what Vik anticipated based on his own life experience — that by seeing things in a new way, they would get new ideas about themselves and their possibilities.
Read Full Post »