On Art & Film…

12 Oct

So for some reason, the past several weeks have had a recurring theme in our discussions during my art lectures: what is art?!?!? Inquiring minds keep asking why painted rocks go for 12 grand at auction, and why a tweaked video game platform is in the permanent collection of a major New York art institution.

We have gone back and forth between the various reasons and arguments:  the monetary value of art, the cultural importance of art’s creative push, the emotional response that people have to various works of art, and the very nature of art itself – what art needs to be made of and what is must or must not depict.  Is art valuable because a billionaire owns it or  is its value inherent in its very creation… does art need to be visual? Numerous NY art institutions this past summer have tied sound together to sculpture and painting in their exploration of the definition of art, and  pursuit of a larger and more varied audience.

How do you define art?

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https://twitter.com/profvfranco/status/875939707116539909

17 Jun

Booze, Books & Bocce!

26 Nov

Sooo much to talk about these past few weeks I don’t know where to start- some great film Q&As in LA & NY  ( including hell or high water & arrival), the soft opening of Barnes & Noble kitchen in my backyard ( I love #food&film but #boozeBooks&bocce is right up there! ) & Oliver Sacks’ thoughtful & oh so timely little gem, GRATITUDE. 


So, let me finish the post-Thanksgiving clean-up, get my holiday lights up & get back here to hash it all out. 

From Krall to Luther: Idris Elba tears it up

10 Aug

It’s always interesting to see actors’ develop in various roles throughout their careers but it’s a guilty pleasure for me when I can binge watch a few different shows over the course of a night or two in my own de facto retrospective.

 My own mini Idris Elba fest combined his turn as the evil Krall in the latest Star Trek franchise installment, BEYOND, & his work as noble but emotionally tortured policeman John Luther, in the BBC program, LUTHER.


I get a kick out of Star Trek, always have – always will, even before my days in LA working for Paramount & then the sfx house that did the effects on Star Trek:The Next Generation, so to watch a screening & get absorbed in the well written, boundless universe that incorporates Kirk, Scottie & Bones is pure pleasure.  Simon Pegg’s tight script & Justin Lin’s fluid direction give everyone a bit of joy. But we expect great writing & performances from the guys who brought us ( separately) such films as The World’s End, Shaun of the Dead, Better Luck Tommorow & the Fast & The Furious. 

Psycho, Hopper, Tourists & Booze… Rooftop Met

2 Jul

Sitting in the bench against the wall, facing Central Park & the Dakota, In the full hot early evening sun, watching 400 or so of my closest strangers pass by as they walk around & display themselves & peruse the (maybe not) Art … I am reminded why I love Manhattan & why I really love the seasonal rooftop installation pieces at the Met. 
An adorable 8 year old is splayed out over his dad like a blanket as his mom reads “Digger & Daisy” to him (they are in the shade of the pergola column, facing me & so completely obvious of the Installation – a version of ” psycho meets hopper ” type of scaled down installation that actually works with the background of various skyscrapers setting it off as a grown-up’s over done doll House set. 

With the 2 bland exceptions in the distant past of painted blood colored leaves on the floor & ripped up tiles with weeds growing between them ( the former meant to inspire contemplation of the blood being spilt in the Middle East & the latter meant to be an imitation of an urban archeological dig) usually the seasonal exhib – no matter how great or horrible is wonderful- because it serves to bring the city’s flotsam & jetsam of tourists, art lovers, first dates, young families, bored bro-artists, etc etc etc., together. 

They are the real, ever changing, often drunk, sometimes complaining, never boring, exhibit. Sit with your prosecco & ham with Brie sandwich, & watch it all go by. 

You have got to love it. Literally. Love. It. 
If you don’t, don’t bother taking up space in my bench…

Derek rocks…

15 May


Love him or hate him – check out Ricky Gervais’ gentle 2012 comedy “Derek” on Netflix. 
His autistic character is kind, patient and caring & the whole show looks at the humanity & dignity of the overlooked, the old, the different, the forgotten & the ignored.

Gervais said in an interview that he loved Derek because the character was a hero…

  &… A bonus is Karl Pilkington, Gervais’ Idiot Abroad, in a wonderful turn as Dougie. 

Swingers: 20 years & still so money, baby…!

7 May

Kevin Smith broke out with his no-budget CLERKS; Robert Rodriguez did it with EL MARIACHI; Matt Damon & Ben Affleck did it with GOOD WILL HUNTING… But maybe the eponymous break- out indie of all time is 1996’s SWINGERS by Jon Favreau & Vince Vaughn. 


The Derby in Los Feliz is long gone, and cell phones have removed the need for a wise ass answering machine machine & paper photos of ex-girlfriends, but otherwise the tenor of this little indie gem still stands the test of time on its (almost) 20th anniversary. 

Favreau’s performance as a hapless jilted comedian trying to navigate his personal life & career during his twenties in Los Angeles is a preview of the tremendous comic timing & emotional fragility that Favreau exhibits in his 2014 follow-up CHEF.