Oct 31, 2010

Political Activism from the Future in the U.S.A.

Olivia Wilde, an actress best known for her role in the TV series House has appeared in a political campaign launched by Moveon.org that criticises the conservative Tea Party movement that has been apparently gaining support and influence in the last months in the United States with Sarah Palin as its symbolic leader. Wilde's contribution in this campaign is aimed at preventing the Republican Party to gain power in the next November 2 elections.

In this campaign, which is original at the very least, Wilde pretends to be speaking from the year 2057 to warn the voters of 2010 about the negative consequences for the country and for the whole world (privatization, war, elimination of education funding, environmental destruction...) that would have the Republican Party reaching power in the Congress and in the Senate. She asks the democrats to vote in order to prevent the Republicans from eliminating social rights and stopping Palin from succeeding in her search of political power because, according to her, the most terrifying words of the English language are: "President Palin".

Back to the Future Reunion

If you are a fan of the Back to the Future trilogy you are going to enjoy this video. As a part of the Entertainment Weekly Cast Reunions section we can find Michael J. Fox and Lea Thompson, who played Marty McFly's mother in the three movies, hanging with the DeLorean 25 years after the original release of the motion picture.

It is nice to see them both together talking about the film and sharing memories of events happened during the shooting. I've had the chance to see J. Fox more often, for example in the recent remake of the Back to the Future original trailer for the 2010 Scream Awards, but I don't think I've seen Lea Thompson in a long while...

Oct 30, 2010

A Brief History of the School Bus in the United States

Ever wondered what's the deal about those typical United States yellow school buses that we can frequently see on TV and movies? 

Here's an educational video on this matter that answers some of the questions that we might have asked to ourselves sometimes. This video was originally shown on learningmatters.tv, and it answers questions like "why are school buses yellow?", "how many miles to the gallon does the average school bus get?" or "how many miles does the average school bus travel?"

This video was made in 1992, when John Merrow, an education correspondent for PBS' NewsHour, immersed himself with school bus riders and drivers. Around that time, Houston's school buses got a whopping seven miles to the gallon and traveled over 15 million miles each year —and today, it's not much better.
Most school districts still rely on this outdated and resource-zapping mode of transportation, with the age of a school bus in the Los Angeles Unified School District averaging 17 years and still still lacking basic things like seat belts. Meanwhile, a school district in Arizona recently equipped its fleet with Wi-Fi.

Do you know of any other schools or cities over in the US also being innovative in any way involving student transport?

Oct 28, 2010

Sam Dunn's "Metal: A Headbanger's Journey".

A really nice and thoughtful Canadian citizen recommended this documentary to me this very evening. I had already seen it but it brought some great memories back from some months ago when I discovered it. 

Watching Heavy Metal: A Headbanger's Journey is a must for every heavy metal fan out there, and there's probably not a better way to describe it that the one that can be found in its official website: 
In A Headbanger's Journey, Sam Dunn plays himself, a 30-year old anthropologist. He's also a lifelong metal fan. After years of studying diverse cultures, Sam turns his academic eye a little closer to home and embarks on an epic journey into the heart of heavy metal. His mission: to try and figure out why metal music is consistently stereotyped, dismissed and condemned, even while the tribe that loves it stubbornly holds its ground- spreading the word, keeping the faith and adopting the styles and attitudes that go way beyond the music.

Sam visits heavy metal landmarks as far flung as L.A.'s Sunset Strip, the dirtly streets of Birmingham, and the dark forests of Norway. Along the way, the two sides of Sam Dunn - curious anthropologist and rabid fan - collide, as Sam explores metals's obsession with sexuality, religion, violence, and death, meets his heroes, and discovers some things about the culture that even he can't defend. Part social document, part celebration of a misunderstood art form, this documentary is the first of its kind: a chance for metal fans to speak out and a window into a culture that's far more complex than it appears.

Isn't that enough to give it a try? It took much less than that for me, let me tell you. But if you need a last push, take a good look at this trailer:

And there's something else. After releasing this film, Dunn received lots of e-mails from headbangers all over the world, even from places that he didn't even know metal existed. That motivated him to make another documentary called Global Metal, which provides a radically different insight on metal from what we are used to over here in Europe. You'll probably watch this if you like A Headbanger's Journey

Myself, what am I going to see next? While doing a little research for this post I discovered that Dunn has released a new documentary, this time about the legendary Canadian band Rush called Rush: Beyond the Lighted Stage. After taking a look at the trailer and seeing that people like Mike Portnoy, Billy Corgan and Kirk Hammet are interviewed, I'm already in the process of acquiring the DVD:

Oct 26, 2010

The Big Four at the Sonisphere Festival

Well, this is something that I didn't know and just learned that has amazed me quite a lot: Metallica, Slayer, Megadeth and Anthrax — the so-called "Big Four" of 1980s thrash metal — played together for the first time in history on June 16 2010 in front of 81,000 fans at the Sonisphere festival at Bemowo Airport in Warsaw, Poland. Members of these bands also came together on stage on June 22 in Sofia, Bulgaria to perform the Diamond Head classic Am I Evil?
Metallica's James Hetfield, Megadeth's Dave Mustaine and Anthrax's Joey Belladonna all took turns singing, with various other bandmembers playing guitar, bass and pounding on snare drums.

This was Anthrax's guitarist Scott Ian's comment on Twitter moments after the performance: After 29 years of doing this to reach this apex is just so fucking cool, it was a monumental moment of epic proportions. I'm so high from the experience I can't sleep.

The last time that Dave Mustaine performed with Metallica was on April 9, 1983 at the legendary Brooklyn, New York club L'Amour. He was unceremoniously fired by the band just weeks before they entered the studio to record their debut album, "Kill 'Em All", and was replaced by former Exodus axeman Kirk Hammett. So, it's been a while...

Metallica's setlist at the gig was as follows:

01. Creeping Death
02. For Whom The Bell Tolls
03. Fuel
04. Harvester Of Sorrow
05. Fade To Black
06. That Was Just Your Life
07. Cyanide
08. Sad But True
09. Welcome Home (Sanitarium)
10. All Nightmare Long
11. One
12. Master Of Puppets
13. Blackened
14. Nothing Else Matters
15. Enter Sandman
- - - - - - - -
16. Am I Evil? (w/ Big Four)
17. Hit The Lights
18. Seek and Destroy
The "Big Four" show, as part of the Sonisphere festival, will be shown in more than 450 movie theatres in the U.S., along with cities in Europe, Canada and Latin America. In addition, it has been recorded for a forthcoming "Big Four" DVD. Here's a preview for you to taste. It´s worth seeing something like this. Not really happening every day, is it?:

Oct 25, 2010

Lemmy (Motörhead) - The Movie

A major event is going to take place soon. A documentary of Lemmy, the legendary frontman of the British band Motörhead has been filmed and is about to hit theatres all over the world very soon. In fact, the first screenings have already started in the U.K.
This documentary film features a behind-the-scenes look at the life of Motorhead frontman Lemmy Kilmister, where the filmmakers followed Lemmy around for three years, capturing his essence and sides of him that many Motörhead fans may not be aware of. With heavy hitters like Dave Grohl, Henry Rollins, Thornton and members of Metallica weighing on Lemmy's sphere of influence in heavy metal, it crystallizes what Lemmy means to his community of fans. It won't show us Ian Fraser Kilmister; it will show us Lemmy, because that is who he is.
As the very trailer says: Over the past 40 years, Ian "Lemmy" Kilmister has registered an immeasurable impact on rock music, while becoming synonymous with the rock'n'roll lifestyle. Having continued to tour and record into his sixties , Lemmy has become a godfather of heavy metal, and an inspiration to countless musicians. Says Dave Grohl of Foo Fighters/Nirvana: "If anyone deserves to be in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, it's Lemmy. Gimme a fuckin' break!

I really do want to see this, and the trailer really looks quite promising. For those who like Lemmy/Motörhead at least just a little bit, I think that we'll be having a great time watching this:

Oct 17, 2010

Jordan Rudess "Explorations" Uncovered

This is an interesting video that Dream Theater's keyboard player Jordan Rudess has just shared on Twitter about his current work on his own composition Explorations for Keyboard and Orchestra, in a performance that is going to take place on Nov 19th in Venezuela. Explorations is Rudess’ first composition for orchestra and fulfills a dream that began at the renown Juilliard School of Music. In Jordan's own words:

I once had the opportunity at Juilliard to watch Pierre Boulez conduct Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring. The passion in the composition, combined with the power of the full orchestral sound, made a huge impact on me. I’ve sat in front of my synthesizers for years, twisting the knobs, trying to recreate that power.
With Explorations, I will finally be able to hear one of my own compositions brought to life by that unmistakable sound of a live acoustic orchestra.
Explorations is a total “progressive” music experience. “Progressive” in that it is a forward thinking composition fusing my classical and progressive/metal sensibilities, but also progressive in that I will be playing a keyboard connected to an Apple Macbook Pro running MainStage software . In writing this composition, I was able to bring together the elements of the most influential classical music I’ve experienced, along with the rock power and intensity that I am known for in my work with Dream Theater. 


Oct 16, 2010

Edguy's Song Introductions

Ever since I had the chance to see Edguy live I've become a huge fan of this German band. Not many bands are able to involve the audience in their Freakshow as much as these guys do. Lately, I've been watching some live performances of them and I'm starting to think that Tobias Sammet gives the best song introductions ever! Theirs are concerts that you can't really forget, and even though I just saw them opening for Iron Maiden with a few songs they caused a very strong impression on me because of the energy they transmitted, and for this Sammet deserves a lot of credit for his skills as a frontman. Take a look at these two ways to introduce Fucking with Fire (the quality of the second video is not that good but it's still worth it):


Oct 6, 2010

Mike Portnoy talks on the Uproar tour.

MP gives some interesting insight about what his life is like right now and also about his future with Avenged Sevenfold, now that he is officially out of Dream Theater. Take a look:

Oct 4, 2010

A Game of Thrones: Main Actors

Here is a chart depicting the main roles of the series and what actors/actresses are going to interpret them. There shouldn't be any changes on them but we'll be keeping an eye on the most recent news just in case (Source: Sonia Unleashed - in Spanish).

Oct 2, 2010

Phonetics Show-off: 24 Different English Accents in 6 Minutes.

This is a really funny video where this guy shows-off his skills when it comes to imitate up to 24 different English accents in fake telephone conversations during 6 whole minutes. Thanks to Gemma for calling my attention to it! Enjoy!:

Oct 1, 2010

Joaquin Phoenix returns to The Late Show with David Letterman

I hadn't had the chance to see the video of the first visit of Joaquin Phoenix to David Letterman's show (one of the many late night shows that exist in the US, I've honestly lost track. I hear of a new late show every two months) in 2009 as a part of his mockumentary I'm Still Here. The whole thing didn't call my attention too much, but out of curiosity I've had the chance to watch it today. Of course, when this interview was done, nobody knew that his appearance and weird behaviour were part of the role he was playing for his film and that he wasn't actually gone nuts. Phoenix not only tricked the public but also the very Letterman as well. And he's been back to the show as his true self to apologize. If you haven't had the chance to see the first interview, I assure you that it's worth a look. Right below it you can also see his return to Letterman's show now that the truth has been revealed. And Letterman wants one million bucks for the free publicity he unknowingly was doing Phoenix.... is that the joke that it seems to be? Because in the US suing is their everyday bread and the Letterman's Show could easily win a piece of the pie...

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