Category Archives: Recommended Movies

Peaceful Warrior – Inspirational and Thought Provoking

I like a movie that teaches you, or reminds you, about how precious life is and how to make the most of it.  PEACEFUL WARRIOR is a couple years old. Based on the true story and book by  Dan Millman, The story is about a young gymnast Dan Millman played by Scott Mechlowicz, and his struggle to make sense of his life in which he is successful but still unfulfilled.

By chance he meets his “Yoda”/Shaolin priest/Boss Paul who helps him “git his haid straight” after which he goes on to be comfortable with his athletic prowess albeit not exactly Olympic caliber. There is a lot of jumping around scene wise during which we don’t know what is dream (part of getting his head straight) or reality showing his maturing personality.

He suffers a debilitating physical injury which forces him to work very hard to get back where he was ability wise earlier, but much wiser for successfully negotiating his transformation to wise old Grasshopper.

Inspiring quotes  include…

1. There are no ordinary moments.

2. This moment is the only thing that matters.

3. Wake up! If you knew for certain you had a terminal illness…if you had little time left to live…you would waste precious little of it. Well, I’m telling you…you do have a terminal illness: It’s called birth. You don’t have more than a few years left. No one does! So be happy now, without reason…or you will never be at all.

4. Find the love in what you do.

5. Everything has a purpose. It’s up to you to find it.

6. Some people live their whole lives without ever waking up.

7. Knowledge is not the same as wisdom.


8. Those who are hardest to love are the ones who need it most.

9. There is never nothing going on.

10. There is only the journey.


it gives us some tools and insight to deal with the conflicts within ourselves.
Check out Dan’s site and blog as well, for inpirational articles  emails!




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Al Gore and Cirque Du Soleil Founder Guy Laliberte October 9th

Guy Laliberté, Founder of Cirque du Soleil and President of the ONE DROP Foundation is proud to invite you to attend Moving Stars and Earth for Water, a unique event seeking to raise everyone’s awareness of water-related issues.

UNITING PERSONALITIES

IN 14 CITIES AROUND THE WORLD

A 2 HOUR ONLINE PROGRAM

Former U.S. Vice President Al Gore, Dr. David Suzuki, Joss Stone, Matthew McConaughey, Peter Gabriel, Salma Hayek, Shakira, Tatuya Ishii, U2, Cirque du Soleil and many others will join voices to celebrate water.


Witness this 2 hour  unique event  ONLINE. Find your time zone…

AFRICA – Johannesburg
 OCTOBER 10
 2:00 AM
 
AUSTRALIA – Sydney
 OCTOBER 10
 11:00 AM
 
BRASIL – Rio de Janeiro
 OCTOBER 9
 9:00 PM
 
CANADA – Montréal
 OCTOBER 9
 8:00 PM
 
FRANCE – Paris
 OCTOBER 10
 2:00 AM
 
INDIA – Mumbai
 OCTOBER 10
 5:30 AM
 
JAPAN – Osaka
 OCTOBER 10
 10:00 AM
 
MEXICO – Mexico
 OCTOBER 9
 7:00 PM
 
MOROCCO – Marrakech
 OCTOBER 10
 00:00 AM
 
UNITED KINGDOM – London
 OCTOBER 10
 1:00 AM
 
UNITED STATES – New York
 OCTOBER 9
 8:00 PM
 
UNITED STATES – Santa Monica
 OCTOBER 9
 5:00 PM
 
UNITED STATES – Tampa
 OCTOBER 9
 8:00 PM
 
RUSSIA – Moscow
 OCTOBER 10
 4:00 AM


Water for all, all for water


What is the Meaning of Your Life? Seven Pounds….

 



Last night we watched  Seven Pounds.
 

I thought it was a great story, but could have been told better, but still,  gave it a  4 out of 5!

If you HAVE NOT seen it, it helps to know the story. In a nutshell….


Tim Thomas (Will Smith) caused a car crash; seven people died: six strangers and his fiancée, Sarah Jenson (Robinne Lee).

Tim decides on redemption. He sets out to save the lives of seven good people. A year after the crash, and having quit his job as an aeronautical engineer, Tim donates a lung lobe to his brother, Ben (Michael Ealy), an IRS employee.

Six months later he donates part of his liver to a child services worker named Holly (Judyann Elder). After that, he begins searching for more candidates to receive donations. He finds George (Bill Smitrovich), a junior hockey coach, and donates a kidney to him, and then donates bone marrow to a young boy named Nicholas (Quintin Kelley).


Two weeks before he dies, he contacts Holly and asks if she knows anyone who deserves help. She suggests Connie Tepos (Elpidia Carrillo), who lives with an abusive boyfriend.

Tim moves out of his millionaire dollar ocean front house and into a local motel, taking with him his pet box jellyfish. One night, after being beaten, Connie contacts Tim and he gives her the keys and deed to his beach house. She takes her two children and moves in to their new home.


Having stolen his brother’s IRS credentials, he checks out candidates for his two final donations. The first is Ezra Turner (Woody Harrelson), a blind meat salesman who plays the piano. Tim calls Ezra Turner and harasses him at work to check if he is quick to anger. Ezra remains calm and Tim decides he is worthy.


He then contacts Emily Posa (Rosario Dawson), a self-employed greeting card printer who has a heart condition and a rare blood type. He spends time with her and  he begins to fall in love with her and decides that as her condition has worsened he needs to make his donation.


His brother tracks him down to Emily’s house. Ben then demands that Tim return his IRS ID to him. Tim leaves and returns to the motel. He fills the bathtub with ice water to preserve his vital organs, climbs in, and then commits suicide by pulling his box jellyfish into the water with him. His friend Dan (Barry Pepper) acts as executor to ensure that his organs are donated to Emily and Ezra. Ezra Turner receives his corneas and Emily receives his heart. 

WOW!  That’s  GIVING!



Seven Pounds YouTube Movie Trailer


So what can we do to make a difference???

Jason and deMarco – We’re All Angels now on DVD

 


GAY PEOPLE ARE  EVERYWHERE!

Literally. In the seventies, “gay” had a “look”. Over the last 35 years, with more youths coming out early in life, and with “gay” becoming the new “black”, the LGBT community has become  much more diverse, showing up everywhere and in places you would least expect.

But one area you don’t hear much  about – gay christian singers! Until now. Jason Warner and deMarco DeCiccio, known as Jason and Demarco,  met about 8 years ago, fell in love  and started performing the christian music circuit!

Two years ago they began their crossover into pop music and had two singles on the Billboard charts and LOGO tv.

A remix of “This is Love” along with their newest dance release, “It’s Okay”, both produced by DJ Scotty K, were both added to Abercrombie & Fitch’s playlist and have been heard in stores worldwide.
 
Last summer brought them more widespread exposure with an article in PEOPLE magazine and the release of their award-winning
documentary “We’re All Angels“, which has just been released on DVD. (directed by Robert Nunez).




At once a love story, a tale of religious struggle and a musical journey, WEʼRE ALL ANGELS takes an in-depth look at the lives of Jason & deMarco over eighteen months — at their music and their lives at home, in the studio, on stage and on the road.

Cameras follow the guys to rehearsals, recording sessions, label meetings, sound-checks, and concerts – giving us an inside look at the making of a pop album.


We also witness the joys and struggles of growing up, coming out, falling in love and living and working together. Through their story, we are confronted with the contradiction of spirituality and its relationship to sexuality, the power of music, self-acceptance, and the sometimes passionate resistance of many evangelical Christians to the expression of homosexual love.



By rights, Jason & deMarco should not exist. The “rules” say that Christianity and homosexuality are incompatible. Gay relationships donʼt work, especially when lovers work together. Young attractive gay men are said to be shallow and self-centered. But Jason & deMarco break all of these stereotypes, proving to all of us that life can be lived beyond conventional rules and without boundaries.


Following their appearance on the cover of The Advocate they struggled against the typecasting of being defined as “gay Christian singers.”

“We’re All Angels” reveals the duo’s efforts to achieve a wider message with
their music.  “We want our songs to be uplifting without being preachy,” says
Jason.  “It’s Okay” is a perfect example of their musical evolution.  “This is a
song that is bigger than our personal relationship,” says deMarco.  “It is about
the need for our world to come together, make a choice and take a stand for
what is really important — peace, freedom, liberty and justice for all.”



“We’ve had to work at clarifying that although we are both gay and men of faith, our music is not religious, nor is it gay,” continues Jason. “Our music has a message, and if I had to call it anything, it would be “uplifting.” We want it to speak to everyone, not only people of one particular faith.” 

Their music is really about love. And these two ARE SO IN LOVE!  To work together, live together and travel together, takes a strong relationship. And the documentary does an awesome job capturing that.

While they strive to achieve a successful musical career, their message of hope and acceptance to young gay Christian teenagers is nothing less than life-saving. The teenage suicide rate among this demographic is horribly high, and Jason and deMarco are positive role models for kids struggling with their conflicting sexuality/spirituality.



You have to hand it to them — or pray for them, if you like. If the usual trappings of rock music — tattoos, drinking, loud guitar, apathy and angry lyrics — are still rebellious to some, then a gay couple taking a message of love into one of the most unwelcoming, homophobic institutions in modern America — the traditionalist church — is downright revolutionary.


Catch them performing around Texas and Hawaii in the coming months!


Jason and deMarco website       Jason and deMarco on MySpace

   




PLAYING FOR CHANGE – “Stand By Me” Bringing Peace Through Music

 


Playing For Change
is a movement to connect the world through music.


The act of playing music with people of different cultures, religions, economics and politics is a powerful statement. It shows that we can find ways of working together and sharing our experiences with one another in a positive way.
 
Music has the power to break down the walls between cultures, to raise the level of human understanding.


Assembling non-established musical performers from around the world, PFC delivers its message of change through song and in a very unique, trans-continental way. “The Playing For Change movement has a timely connection with the ‘Change’ movement of President Obama in that they are both driven by humanity, inspiration, and the desire to create a better world,” says Mark Johnson, the Grammy-award winning producer/engineer and organization’s co-founder. “Change for the love of everyone, change for the good of everyone, change that will make everything all right.”




“For the past four years, a small crew has traveled the world with recording equipment and cameras in search of inspiration and human connections,” Johnson explains. “The result is a movement connecting the world through music.” He witnessed, firsthand, the power of music when, in South Africa, he and his team watched “people marching down streets, singing in groups of thousands,” and doing more to “effect positive change than any weapon ever could.”

His truly big idea began when he heard two monks playing in a New York subway. They were surrounded by about two hundred morning commuters who chose listening to the pair than arriving at work on time. The producer recalls, “It occurred to me that here is a group of people that would normally run by each other, but instead, they’re coming together. And it’s the music that brought them together.”

Johnson then began recording little known musicians from around the world, dubbing the process “Playing For Change,” it implying both busking and trying to propagate evolution. Eventually, he and his team visited everywhere from New Orleans to the Himalayas, South Africa to Jerusalem and beyond in his quest to capture the essence of regular people making heartfelt music, that being the universal condition that links musicians, vocalists and the message in all parts of the world. Filmed under the sun or streetlights, doorways, parks, plazas, on cobblestone streets or hilly regions, and employing innovative, state of the art equipment and techniques, these collaborations took place hundreds to thousands of miles apart, and has become the standard process.

The Movie and a CD will be out soon!

WATCH SOME OF THE PLAYING FOR CHANGE VIDEOS AT YOU TUBE

Sign up for exclusive content, news and updates from hundreds of musicians and students around the globe!

 

Turbo Tagger

From Poverty to Living Legend….A Star Dies… Remembering Eartha Kitt

 


What an example of someone born with nothing and having the strength to pull herself up by her bootstraps, and move forward.

Considering that she was abandoned by her mother at age 3, forced to pick cotton by age 6 and kicked out of the house at 16, Eartha Mae Kitt did not appear destined for global stardom.


She born in extreme proverty in the South. And because of her light skin color, had a hard time being accepted by both the blacks and the whites.  
(remember Imitation of Life?)


Yet by her 20s she had willed herself into becoming a singing sensation in Europe — the next Josephine Baker, proclaimed critics in the late 1940s and early ’50s. In quick succession thereafter, Ms. Kitt seduced American audiences singing in Broadway and Hollywood musicals in the mid-’50s and purring as Catwoman on TV’s ” Batman” in the ’60s.


Triply blessed with a pliant voice, a palpable charisma and a voracious appetite to succeed, Ms. Kitt conquered virtually every medium she took on, earning multiple Tony and Grammy Award nominations. Yet if she made her triumphs look easy, her journey was tumultuous from start and practically to finish.


 


In 1968 she made scandalous headlines by speaking her mind at the White House,  and her career came to a screaching halt. It took nearly a decade to start up her career and wasn’t really until  1995 when she won her rave reviews for shows at the Cafe Carlyle in New York and at Navy Pier in Chicago, where she clenched her fists and bared her teeth in a roaring medley of “I’m Still Here” and “I Will Survive.”

 


Since then, she played frequently in the Chicago area, performing cabaret at the Ravinia Festival in Highland Park, and bringing a shot of energy to Lanie Robertson’s “Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill” at the New Athenaeum Theatre.


She earned a Grammy nomination for her aptly named 1995 CD “Back in Business”; performed the voice of Yzma in the 2000 Disney animated feature “The Emperor’s New Groove”; and replaced Chita Rivera on Broadway in 2003 in a revival of “Nine.”


“When I look at my Eartha Kitt scrapbooks today, I think, ‘You know, she did a pretty good job of herself,’ ” said Ms. Kitt — who was married in 1960 and had one daughter before divorce — in the Tribune interview.


“She didn’t do too badly — for an ugly duckling.”

Perseverance pays off!

What a wonderful lady and wonderful talent.


Sadly, the singer-actor-dancer-raconteur died December 25th,  at age 81 in Connecticut of colon cancer. She will be greatly missed.

BWW TV – Broadway Beat did a great Tribute with Eartha Kitt, full  of  wonderful footage! Watch it online!


The Best of Gay New York   and  The Best of Gay Chicago

Turbo Tagger

Unconditional Love with Kathy Bates and Rupert Everett

 



I came across this movie last week, and what a find! I guess it was never released in theaters for some reason – it went straight to cable and dvd. It’s about unlikely friendships, unexpected encounters  and unconditional love.

After her husband (Dan Aykroyd) leaves her, a woman (Kathy Bates) travels to London for the funeral of the pop star, Victor Fox (Jonathon Pryce), she’s adored all her life. There, she meets the lover (Rupert Everett) of the dead pop star, and convinces him to come back to Chicago with her to figure out who killed the singer.

Unconditional Love is the best representation of “quirky, dark comedy” I’ve seen. From the opening number of Jonathan Pryce singing “Hitchcock Railway” (I have no idea about the title) through the closing number of “(You Know I) Can’t Smile Without You,”  (with a cameo by Barry Manilow!) the film will keep you off balance with its irreverent tale of love, loss, and discovery.

A  great  find!













Watch this movie clip!