Sure, I’m a Fester.

While Sundance Film Festival is a major economic event for Park City, UT, there will always be some people who need to take jabs at it. I’ve heard of two somewhat funny pejoratives for festival-goers: “PIBs”, which stands for People In Black (go to any film event and you’ll understand); and “Festers.”

A couple years ago I made a button with a picture of Uncle Fester on it and the words, “I’m a Fester,” but I think it was too small for people to notice.

Connecting Power / Visualizing Change on the one-year anniversary of Tahrir Square

An excellent, simple animation explaining the importance of strong, open networks for organizing revolution. It also applies to organizing globalized society as a whole.

It’s a quick, entertaining video about the importance of grassroots international interconnectivity in the face of governmental international interconnectivity.

As I said in an earlier post, creating robust networks without regard to borders is necessary for globalized solidarity actions to be able to have tangible, on-the-ground effects. So far, solidarity actions like the Oakland/Cairo marches against police brutality in each others’ cities provide a transitory morale boost (not to be discounted), but little more. This video shows how robust connectivity, or its lack, helped or hindered events of the last year in the Arab world. I believe the next year will see rapid advances in global solidarity actions, the effects of which we can barely imagine now.

For convenience, I’ve copied the list of links to Arabic- and Persian-language versions and their other information below. (Now, speaking of openness and connectivity, you have to ask to join their Facebook page, something that is usually a hindrance to sharing.)

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Sundance documentaries I’ve seen so far.

Wednesday, 1/25: DETROPIA, THE IMPOSTER.



If you scroll through my Twitter on the main page sidebar, you can see some of my commentary.

Also saw OSLO NOVEMBER 31 (see post below), WRONG, TEDDY BEAR, I AM NOT A HIPSTER,  MOSQUITA Y MARI, CORPO CELESTE. Loved the last two. The others, not so much.

Lastly, I’ve added a few posts below this one that were in draft form for a while. I adjusted the dates so they’d be in the right order, so if you’ve been reading these as I posted them, you probably haven’t seen those yet.

No livestreaming at Sundance (huh?)

Besides the obvious and well-known films, Sundance Film Festival also includes panels at Filmmaker Lodge and special multi-media installations at New Frontier. Today I nearly missed out on a panel on indie film distribution at the Lodge because it was over-capacity. Luckily I was first in line, so when a few people left, I got in, missing only the first ten minutes.

While I was waiting, I checked in to Twitter on my iPhone to see if anyone in the audience—or if Sundance officially—happened to be livestreaming it. If so, I could just watch it there or go back to the condo and watch it on my laptop. Not only was it not livestreamed, but doing so is prohibited without the written permission of the Sundance Press Office.
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Sundance film: 1/2 REVOLUTION documentary


This evening, I saw the beginning of the doc 1/2 REVOLUTION about last year’s Tahrir Square uprising. I had to leave the theater to help with a minor medical emergency, but what I saw of the film looked inspiring and intense. Great for riot-porn junkies. In the first scenes, some of the first confrontations in the Square, people are being beaten back by riot cops, but chanting “No violence! No violence!” A short time later there was a scene where the word “Egypt” was written in English and Arabic in the blood of a slain protester spilled on the pavement.
read the other 1/2

Live from Sundance Film Festival 2012

This will be my eighth year as a volunteer at Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah. I’ll be here till Monday, January 30th. For the previous seven years, I’ve worked at the Yarrow Hotel Theater or Holiday Theaters helping run the press and industry-only screenings. These are the same films that the public sees, but in theaters reserved for industry people.

This year, I’m back at the Yarrow, but doing something a little different. I’m helping coordinate the seating of the entourages that many filmmakers bring with them to their film screenings. This is usually the cast and crew and friends and family. It would be a good job for someone who likes to meet stars, since you get to hang out in the “green room” with them.
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Mic check!?

This morning I was out in the big tent at Library Theater, in the ticket line for ETHEL, the documentary on Ethel Kennedy. The crowd liaison was having to yell to try to get the talkative herd’s attention before beginning the process of letting us into the theater. A similar thing happened a bit later in the theater when a manager tried to begin the introduction of the director.

Both times, I couldn’t help but wonder what would happen if they’d yelled “Mic check!” Certainly some people there have been involved in Occupy or have seen the mic-check practice online and would respond. If enough people echoed the call and others became silent, it would be a measure of how deeply (or not) the Occupy Wall Street memes had penetrated mainstream society.

I’m just dying to try it to find out.

Sundance film: OSLO, AUGUST 31ST.

Narrative feature.

It’s a big deal for any director and crew to premier a film at Sundance. You want to fill theaters, get standing ovations, generate buzz, attract buyers or distributors and so on. Last thing you need is some nobody like me panning your work on social media networks. (I sent out my first tweets as the crowd was still leaving the theater after the premier.)

Maybe it’s because I went through a depressive period myself the last half of December and can’t relate to a downer story (or can relate all too well and don’t want to). Or maybe it’s because I like a story with a long arc—i.e. where the protagonist starts one place and ends up somewhere far away, emotionally speaking. Either way, I felt that OSLO was a waste of good acting, directing and screenwriting, a downer film that goes nowhere.
click for more, if you’re in a downer mood

So you want to get a fake scab job?

[UPDATE: Strikers have settled! But these suggestions below can come in handy next time, especially with more pre-planning and lead time. Heh heh heh]

Here are some background and tips if you want to be a scab/spy or “salt” as it’s also known. I’ll start with a bit of my history with this.

Back in ’98, I got a job as a “replacement worker”—aka “scab”—at two different Kaiser Aluminum plants struck by the United Steelworkers. They were on strike against Kaiser Aluminum’s new corporate owner, junk bond and S&L scandal criminal Charles Hurwitz, owner of Maxxam Corporation. Here in Norcal, we’d been fighting Maxxam since ’85 after they’d taken over Pacific Lumber and begun liquidating old growth redwood forests. When we in Humboldt heard about the Steelworkers striking in Washington State against the same company, we immediately jumped at the opportunity to form alliances.
Click for more story and tips

How to remove scabs and save workers’ health benefits

[UPDATE: Strikers have settled! But these suggestions below can come in handy next time, especially with more pre-planning and lead time. Heh heh heh]

Workers at American Licorice, located in Union City (irony noted), makers of Red Vines, have been on strike for a week now. More details here in the Union City Patch. The Occupy Oakland General Assembly recently voted to support the strike and early this morning, many Occupiers stood with workers on the picket lines, trying to prevent “scab” workers from entering the factory.

The strikers cannot legally block the gates, but nonunion supporters can do that and much, much more. Below are a few off-the-cuff ideas from previous strike support work I’ve done. The important thing is that, with a couple exceptions, they are all legal and nonviolent and help increase the support base by involving people who otherwise wouldn’t be able to be involved in a picket line. These and similar tools also directly target vulnerabilities. Picket lines, while important for morale and highly symbolic are themselves somewhat tangential.

I might try to update this later, since I have to get to real work now. Any suggestions welcome!
Read below for list of suggested actions!