Alexander Countey, in loving memory

My most longstanding and best friend passed away, and I don’t know what to do about it. Alex had been living in India for some time, he kept trying to get me to visit. He loved it there. I thought nothing unusual, as we had grown up on Carmine Street in the Greenwich Village together, his family had moved to the Catskills and Alex had spent some considerable time abroad: first living in Australia, then Amsterdam, and finally moved to India. I truly cherished every visit that we had together, and feel very close to his family, who had taken me in and treated me as one of their own. I just found out today, and I miss him so much.

𝘉𝘭𝘦𝘴𝘴𝘦𝘥 by Supreme

Supreme has brought skateboarding culture into high fashion here in New York City. Sometimes I wonder if any of the people waiting in line around the block on Lafayette and Prince St ready to drop $40 on a t-shirt actually skate. Some of them do!
These kids can skate!

Blessed like the skate videos that you can see on Thrasher except edited into a feature length film. Beautifully. With a great soundtrack.

Skating is hard work, and it takes balls. If you’re attempting new tricks, you fall a lot. It can take hundreds of tries to land something new. And Blessed takes the time to show some of that effort that can go into landing skateboard tricks.

There isn’t really a storyline, or much talking, barely any interviews in Blessed, but you do get a sense of the humble glory of street skateboarding. Like the dedication to perfection, and the high that comes from doing the impossible.

These kids own their streets. They take over parks, courthouse steps, driveways, alleyways, bomb down hills, fly down stairs, I don’t know if it looks hard, but it is.

These guys are athletes of the highest order.

I saw this at Cinema Village and was ready to pay to get in, but admission to this film was free that day. I was blessed.

A Star Is Born

Village East Cinema, NY
A Star Is Born opening credit

In the news yesterday, I noticed that Lady Gaga is engaged to be married. My only hope is that it works out better than it does for Ally in her 2018 film A Star Is Born. I liked this film, a romantic drama that was not quite a musical but featured some pretty good musical numbers; particularly her first song that she sings in French at the drag club. This film had character, and feeling, and glitz, and romance as imperfect as it can be. I think that Gaga had direct creative control over every element of the production, while some of the scriptwriting might have seemed forced it was actually the pop star’s own true voice.

The film is about Ally, who is a normal girl who lives with her dad in the suburbs. She works some service job in a high-end hotel and sings when she can at a drag bar in the city. It is in this drag bar where she’s discovered by the rock star Jack.  Jack is kind.  Jack is sensitive.  Jack knows how to ice a broken hand. His brother is the cowboy from Big Lebowski.     Don’t be Jack.

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Viking Destiny (2018)

Walking by Cinema Village yesterday, I checked the showtimes and was intrigued by a doc about space travel but there was this other film that only had two showtimes that day 11 am and 11 pm. So, passing over Above and Beyond: NASA’s Journey to Tomorrow, which has better press and many showings, I determined to come back at 11pm to see Viking Destiny. I was the only person in the theater, which was alright, but disconcerting. Probably better than seeing Venom with one hundred twittering teenagers. This film is probably the best viking movie in recent memory. Like Valhalla Rising (2009) it features panoramic shots and odd long silences, but that may be a part of Scandinavian culture and filmmaking. Oh, but you believe in it. It has a weird philosophy, and doesn’t shy away from moralizing, but let me tell you the story. It presents as a saga, with Odin and Loki visiting mortals and swaying events to their greater goals.

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Hondros (2017)

I just got home from watching Hondros at Village East Cinemas in New York. It is a documentary about Chris Hondros, a photojournalist who covered conflict zones on the global stage. His work brought him from New York to far flung parts of the world, including Liberia, Iraq, and ultimately Libya where he died while reporting on the revolution that ultimately deposed Muammar Gaddafi.

It was a well made piece, with war correspondents honoring one of their own. He died in 2011, and it was immediately noted by members of his community, some of whom I had been acquainted with on the Black Flag Cafe of comebackalive.com where adventurers rub shoulders with international journalists.

What moved me the most, was not the story of Chris Hondos, but rather as a good journalist it was the stories of the people he met while on assignment that were the most meaningful. One child soldier who he had photographed who had grown up and gotten an education and ultimately become a police chief. Another was the story of a US Army unit and a girl who had been the only member of her family to survive a shootout in Iraq. It is difficult for me to describe, but while we watch the news about wars, now Syria, we forget that there are people there. Not just the belligerents in a given conflict, AK-47s in the dessert, but there are regular people, families, kids who have to live through horrifying circumstances.

Sometimes, once in a while, our worlds meet. It can be through photojournalism, a televised interview, word of mouth. We citizens of the world need to learn to respect each other and work together to find peaceful resolutions to our problems, and we need to know each other’s stories preferably without the eulogies of journalists killed in mortar fire.

Nostalgia (2018)

I just went to the Angelika Film Center to see the film Nostalgia.  It’s about what we leave when we pass away.  Some of it is things, the material stuff, your belongings, heirlooms, whatever is of monetary value, sentimental value. Then there is your family that remains; who cleans out your house?  What do they take?  What is trash?

It begs some difficult questions.

Web Design

I have been working on website development for some years now, and I’ve learned a few things.

  • Simpler is better.
  • Sites have to work.
  • Update links.
  • Review settings.
  • Communicate with people!