Award-winning Static People Go Halfsies Unplugged

Half People
There’s an adage in publishing circles that goes “novelists are born at 40.” In music, however, most rock stars are dead at 40, or at least their best creative years are behind them. San Francisco Bay Area-based Static People, however, are writing their own rules and in their book, 40 is the new “shut-the-fuck-up-about-our-age-already.” It does beg the question, however, “why this band, why now?”

“I feel like I’ve been kicking off since I moved to San Francisco in 1992,” says Dmitra Smith, whose multi-octave range and keen sense of the dramatic bring a rousing energy to the act, which also features guitarist Pascal Faivre and drummer Ken Shelf as well as a coterie of auxiliary members, who are brought in as projects require. “I started dreaming the ‘self’ that I’m becoming now when I was 14, but I had a hard time hanging my ass in the wind in public.”

Smith’s reticence gave way in 2008 when she formed Static People as an act of personal survival. Continue reading “Award-winning Static People Go Halfsies Unplugged”

Take My Wifi, Please

Wifi Street

So, I’m on deadline penning a puff piece about the local choir’s Mozart program and Comcast, my ISP, took a shit on my block, which meant I had to trawl downtown Sonoma for free wifi to file my story via e-mail. The Historic Sonoma Plaza has no fewer than three wifi signals, mostly concentrated around City Hall. “Sonoma Sq. by Americas Freedomlink” was the name of the signal I tapped, which would intermittently swap with a signal called “SonomaWinos Wifi” After making my deadline, the whole business of casually logging onto an “unprotected network” and wantonly trading bits with an anonymous machine – in the park, no less – suddenly seemed like letting my laptop wallow in some order of digital bathhouse. I checked the “wireless connection properties” and looked at my machine’s networking history. That’s when I realized that my computer is a slut. Continue reading “Take My Wifi, Please”

Lost & Found Pages

When I lived in Los Angeles, I would frequently discover stray screenplay pages littering the streets. I saved them all and with my ArtsID co-host Gretchen Giles, am pleased to present a staged reading of these pages, complete with cast and soundtrack provided by the fine folks of KRCB 91 FM, Cotati, CA. Since I had no idea who wrote these pages, they have no idea that their work, or at least part of it, has been performed and immortalized in this recording. If you happen to be the writer of one of these specimens, by all means, drop me a line – I’d love to hear your side of the story. Continue reading “Lost & Found Pages”

The Movie Title Stills Collection

The Designated Victim
The Movie Title Stills Collection, “a collection containing hundreds of main titles from feature films,” curated by designer Christian Annyas is an awesome compendium of what happens when font meets film. Dating from the 1920s to the present, The Movie Title Stills Collection is a masterfully deployed timesuck that shows that a film’s titles and tone are often (or perhaps should be) aligned.

As Annyas explains on his site, “I’ve seen a lot of movies over the years. To prove I’ve sat through at least the first ten minutes of them I started making screenshots of the titles. Then my computer crashed and I almost lost them all. To save them for future generations I created this little website.” As a designer with a keen eye for typography as evinced by his blog, I suspect that Annyas’ project has more to it than proving he simply pressed “play” on a few flicks.

Click through to kiss away your afternoon on a splendid tour of beginnings that never seems to end.

3 Tips for Your Oscar Speech

3 Tips for Your Oscar Speech
The glam and glitz notwithstanding, what viewers of Sunday’s Oscars Awards ceremony will be watching won’t only be who gets anointed with Academy Awards, but how they express their gratitude upon receiving them. This is when the real drama begins for viewers of the annual industry love-fest. In my opinion, this should rank its own award. After all, this is where stars either shine brighter or start their inevitable fade. Continue reading “3 Tips for Your Oscar Speech”

How to Be a Leader: Be a Dog

Throw me a bone.It’s been said that there are dog people and cat people. I’m neither. I’m barely a people person. This is ironic since people occasionally gravitate to me in search of a leader and become disappointed when I don’t pass the Kool-Aid.
I have been known, however, to share the wine and if you’re hip to a Jim Jones-esque experience, the diminutive size of my expense account relative to affordable yet drinkable plonk could very well yield a killer hangover. But I can’t guarantee death. At least not a mass death seeing as our supplies would likely run out between the two of us and, well, two’s company but not a cult. Continue reading “How to Be a Leader: Be a Dog”

Han Shan Meet Han Solo

Han SoloWith the recent announcement that Harrison Ford will be reprising his role as Han Solo in J. J. Abrams’ Star Wars VII, all manner of Solo-themed notions have loomed large over the culture. It’s brought to mind another Han who has inevitably benefitted from a spike in collateral search traffic. Han Shan, the 7th century Tang Dynasty poet might see an uptick in Google-love but not just for being a typo.
Han Shan (wandering poet) and Han Solo (itinerate space cowboy)  share some biographical details as well. Both were traveling rogues and occasional heros, they both consorted with royalty and each had a trusty sidekick (though Shan’s was a hirsute poet named Shide instead of a wookie).

Continue reading “Han Shan Meet Han Solo”

When is Presidents Day?

Presidents Day
Monday, Feb. 18, is Presidents Day, a federal holiday that’s traditionally relevant only to those in need of banking, school kids and Macy’s. It is that magical time of year when a deposit made after 3 p.m. the previous Friday isn’t available until Tuesday, latchkey kids run rampant and department store sales managers try to redeem themselves after a holiday slump.

When I was a kid, however, I was in the karmic crosshairs of this Presidents Day trifecta: My mother was a banker and, having the day off, would trundle me to the nearest department store sale to put a new blazer on my back. I was the best-dressed street urchin in Petaluma. Continue reading “When is Presidents Day?”