Monday, January 28, 2008

Congrats, Miss America

Kirsten Haglund of Farmington Hills, Michigan was named Miss America 2008 this past weekend. I heartily congratulate her. It's always great to see a fellow Detroiter accomplish something cool on the national stage.

As proud as I am of my neighbor, I can't help but thinking that, way back in the 1960s, the Miss America pageant was targeted for protests by feminists who believed it was symbolic of everything that they were opposed to. It was after those protests that the pageant's television rating began to fall - from almost 2/3 of the American public tuning in to its current state where the show isn't even on any of the major television networks.

While feminists like Robin Morgan, who organized the first protest of the Miss America pageant, might be pleased with the pageant's declining status, I can't help but feel that we as a society have lost something. As Miss America has declined in its status, it has been replaced by the likes of Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan and Britney Spears.

No matter what one might say about the pageant, I have to say that Miss America is a much better role model for young girls than either Paris, Lindsay or Britney. At least in the 87-year history of the Miss America pageant, its contestants have consistently worn underwear. Furthermore, none of the young women to hold the title of Miss America has ever been in prison or rehab.

Yes. Yes, indeed.

Miss America makes a much better role model than anything else that pop culture currently dishes out. Although, I seriously doubt that any of the protesters who crowned a sheep in 1968 and threw their bras into a Freedom Can could have ever imagined that American culture would have deteriorated to the point that Britney and company would become the most recognizable women around.

Anyway, I'm getting off on a tangent at this point.

Once again, I congratulate fellow Detroiter Kirsten Haglund on becoming Miss America 2008. I hope that the coming year is filled with amazing experiences for her.

Friday, January 25, 2008

3 Weeks. 1 Post.

Okay - so I haven't posted very much this month. One could even say that I've been down right neglectful of all things in cyberspace.

The fact of the matter is that I launched a brand new event this month - the first annual Detroit Oscar Film Festival. It showcased some of the Academy Award winning film makers who have come from Michigan as well as some of the young, up and coming ones. The main event happened at the Music Hall on January 13, but I also had a launch party at the Garden Lofts the evening before.

I was even lucky enough that one of my favorite photographers showed up to snap some cool photos of the event. (Thanks again, Liza!)

You can see the rest of Liza's amazing photos here.

Anyway, the weeks leading up to Oscar Fest were a non-stop flurry of activity. There were interviews with local newspapers. I also went on three different radio stations (WDET-FM, WJR-AM and WWJ-AM) as well as the local ABC affiliate, WXYZ-TV.

We had a decent turnout for an inaugural event and some impressive buzz. All in all, not bad considering that we had no sponsors and the budget was basically what we managed to find in a few seat cushions.

I'm really looking forward to doing this again next with a much larger budget and some more lead time.

Anyway, once that event was over, it simply took me awhile to regroup enough to post about everything here.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

My Oscar Picks

This year's Academy Award nominations were announced this morning. I would feel remiss if I didn't take a moment to put forward my picks. We'll have to wait a little over a month to find out just how accurate these picks are.

Best Picture: No Country for Old Men.

Actor in a Leading Role: Viggo Mortensen in Eastern Promises.

Actor in a Supporting Role: Tom Wilkinson in Michael Clayton.

Actress in a Leading Role:
Cate Blanchett in Elizabeth: The Golden Age.

Actress in a Supporting Role: Amy Ryan in Gone Baby Gone.

Director: Ethan & Joel Coen for No Country For Old Men.

Original Screenplay: Tamara Jenkins for The Savages.

Adapted Screenplay: Paul Thomas Anderson for There Will Be Blood.

Animated Feature: Ratatouille.

Foreign Language Film: 12.

Art Direction: Sarah Greenwood and Katie Spencer for Atonement.

Cinematography: Roger Deakins for The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford.

Documentary Feature: Richard E. Robbins and the Documentary Group for Operation Homecoming: Writing the Wartime Experience.

Animated Short Film: Chris Lavis and Maciek Szczerbowski for Madame Tutli-Putli.

Live Action Short Film: Daniel Barber and Matthew Brown for The Tonto Woman.

Visual Effects: John Knoll, Hal Hickel, Charles Gibson and John Frazier for Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End.

Costume Design: Jacqueline Durran for Atonement.

Documentary Short: Cynthia Wade and Vanessa Roth for Freeheld.

Film Editing: Roderick Jaynes for No Country for Old Men.

Sound Mixing: Scott Millan, David Parker and Kirk Francis for The Bourne Ultimatum.

Sound Editing: Karen Baker Landers and Per Hallberg for The Bourne Ultimatum.

Original Score: Alberto Iglesias for The Kite Runner.

Original Song: Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova for "Falling Slowly" from Once.

Makeup: Ve Neill and Martin Samuel for Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End.

RIP Heath Ledger

Academy Award nominee Heath Ledger was found dead in New York City this afternoon at the age of 28. I first saw Mr. Ledger in his 1999 film 10 Things I Hate About You and was impressed with his acting abilities. My respect for him only grew as he moved into more challenging roles.

He will be missed. His family and friends will be in my thoughts and prayers this evening.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Democrats for Romney

Michigan had its presidential primary today - such that it was a primary. But I won't get into that rant right now. Instead, I'll simply say that this video persuaded me to cross party lines and vote for Mitt Romney.

I'm sure it was my vote that put him over the top.