Shame On Oscar


Earlier this week reigning bobbleheads at The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (aka, the Oscars), puffed out ever so pleased with themselves chests to announce new inclusion and diversity guidelines. Ostensibly the first stage of a five year plan to promote diversity on and off the screen. Translation – Oscar consideration will be reserved for productions where people of colour, women, persons with disabilities and members of the LGBTQ community are included in minimum percentage quotas. From actors, marketing, pre and post production, catering and internships to location scouts, camera operators, lighting techs and extra wranglers, every aspect of production just became a box to tick.

Initial coverage centred on warm fuzzy kudos for Academy acknowledgement of trending social issues. Were we supposed to gush praise for enlightenment of an old guard white establishment? Sleep tight knowing another behemoth influencer feigned understanding or compassion for systemic injustice? What a farce!

Lets talk fine print before weighing in on the absurdity of hollow, insulting percentage quotas. New rules don’t apply to films vying for 2021 Oscar nods. Not until Oscar 2024 will films have to meet quotas in two of four standards. The four standards cover “diversity representation among actors and subject matter; behind-the-camera staff, such as cinematographers and costume designers; paid apprenticeships and training opportunities; and marketing and publicity.” Take your pick, no pressure. Pad the crew with a sprinkling of trans black lesbians, contract first aid to a immigrant Iranian doctor formerly flipping burgers to support his family because his degree isn’t recognized in America, hire amputee survivors of Rwanda genocide to sew costumes, recruit unpaid interns at predominantly black colleges, take a page from Netflix and script obligatory same sex intimacy in every production. Mission accomplished, standards fulfilled, business as usual.

What’s wrong with these people? Do they actually think spotlight posturing makes a difference? Believe marginalized people seek validation based on arbitrary quotas? It’s SO PAINFUL! News flash -we’re all the same. Black skin the same as freckled white, same sex union no different than traditional marriage, nation of birth, faith or lack thereof – all irrelevant. Diversity quotas prevail for purposes of corporate optics. Look at us, click, like, follow and share our trending abundance of social awareness. Shame on Oscar.

https://nationalpost.com/entertainment/oscars-academy-sets-out-new-diversity-standards-for-best-picture-contenders

Kings of Pain


Resistance is futile. Trust me, I tried to avoid Kings of Pain airing on History Channel. Ignored promotional clips, balked at tuning in, ran for the hills when it appeared on the TV guide. Ultimately I caved, momentary weakness spawned inexplicable obsession. Kings of Pain is satisfying on SO MANY levels!

Overview – hosts Adam Thom  ( “wildlife biologist” ) and Rob “Caveman” Aleva ( “animal handler” ) travel the globe in search of venomous, deadly or cranky insects and animals. Their mission, to rank bites and stings on a 30 point scale in 3 categories – 10 points each for initial physical pain, duration of pain and after effects. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kings_of_Pain

Kings of Pain must be seen to be believed. Not for the premise, but for dialogue (seriously now, how many times can two men call each other “dude” in an hour), absurd ineptitude of on camera medics and hysterical observation of fore mentioned medics posing awkwardly when on camera. It’s so great!

 

 

 

 

What The Fudd?


On May 27,2020 HBO Max began airing a series of eighty, eleven minute reinvented classic Looney Tunes cartoons. Reinvented as in “we’re not doing guns” according to Peter Browngardt, series executive producer at HBO Max. Looney Tunes icon Elmer Fudd, bumbling shotgun wielding hunter of “wascally wabbits”  since the early 1940s, now chases “wabbits” with a scythe. A scythe? What the Fudd?

Browngardt is quick to assure cartoon aficionados – “But we can do cartoony violence – TNT, the Acme stuff. All that was kind of grandfathered in.” Dynamite, booby traps, falling anvils, bank safes and pianos remain, guns and get this, “bullying” are out. What the Fudd?

On one hand there’s the NRA giving storybook characters guns – https://notestoponder.wordpress.com/2016/04/05/little-red-riding-hood-has-a-gun/ on the other HBO Max replaces Elmer Fudd’s shotgun with a scythe – https://www.msn.com/en-us/tv/news/looney-tunes-has-taken-elmer-fudds-gun-away-for-hbo-max-revival/ar-BB158Dvu What the Fudd?

How about Yosemite Sam? Will HBO Max replace his pistols with machetes? If this is how American entertainment executives tackle gun violence, I give up. What the Fudd?

See the source image

See the source image

https://www.msn.com/en-us/tv/news/looney-tunes-has-taken-elmer-fudds-gun-away-for-hbo-max-revival/ar-BB158Dvu

Arthur Gunn


Dibesh Pokharel, born October 24, 1997 in Katmandu, Nepal, effortlessly stole my heart courtesy American Idol. After immigrating to Wichita, Kansas in 2014, Dibesh adopted the stage name Arthur Gunn. If American Idol, for all its nauseating sparkle and flash is about discovering raw talent with dreams of what if,  Arthur Gunn’s wildest dreams just became reality. American Idol doesn’t matter. I’d line up for Arthur Gunn tickets tonight. Wikipedia bio link – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arthur_Gunn

Arthur lists his musical influences as – John Martyn, Nick Drake, Bob Dylan, Bukka White, Robert Johnson, Howlin’ Wolf, Sonny Boy Williamson, Led Zeppelin/Jimmy Page, Joe Cocker, Mississippi John Hurt and John Lee Hooker. Sweet mercy, that’s like a road map to my soul.

Arthur Gunn’s voice is my tonic. A remarkable artist destined to become more than American Idol contestant.

 

Exploding Kittens


Over the years card/board games have evolved into an integral part of Christmas Day. Without fail a new game appears under the tree, we know enough to realize game play is the only way to bypass convoluted rules. Never let it be said initial impression has any bearing on entertainment value. With that in mind we embraced a round of Exploding Kittens. Oh my, suffice to say it was painful. So bad each of us hoped an exploding kitten would end the misery.

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Time to dust off Werewolf – players draw one card, that’s your character. Every character has specific powers to switch other player’s cards or draw a new card during an opening round dictated by a game app instructing all players to close their eyes, followed by instructions for specific characters to open their eyes and switch character cards etc. Everyone opens their eyes and you have 5 minutes to figure out who the Werewolf is. Sound lame? It isn’t! It takes nerves of steel to lie convincingly to people who know you well – so much fun!

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It wouldn’t be Christmas at my house without card games. That said, Exploding Kittens is one game destined to gather dust for all eternity. Happy holidays from Notes.

His Dark Materials


Ad campaigns, promotional trailers, social media jibber-jabber and spoiler alerts create hype, expectation and collective judgement long before most entertainment has a chance to resonate with the masses. Rare is an opportunity to stumble upon entertainment without external bias. Yesterday, blissfully rare ignorance arrived in the form of His Dark Materials – from opening credits to end of season one, episode seven, I devoured this HBO gem. Hadn’t read the books, never heard of the author or series, couldn’t stop watching if I tried. In my book that’s a powerful and satisfying accomplishment.

A link for those who can’t live without background – https://www.chatelaine.com/living/entertainment/his-dark-materials-canada/ For everyone else watch it or not, but know I fell hard for His Dark Materials.

a little girl wearing a red jumper looks at a compass

Dafne Keen and her pine marten daemon in ‘His Dark Materials’

A woman wearing a blue dress walknig down a stone hallway with a tiger trailing behind her

Ruth Wilson and her daemon golden monkey in ‘His Dark Materials’

An armoured polar bear