Late Night FDL: Miscellany


I am in Tucson, Arizona for the huge gem, mineral, fossil and precious stones and whatever else expos/shows, and to visit Occupy Tucson which is staging several anti-bank rallies this week. I love gems and minerals, geodes, agates, and fossils, but it kinda bums me out to see so much of Nature’s beauty churned for a buck.

Today we just visited the fossil motel. Room after room in a two story building packed with stuff: A complete pterodactyl skeleton, small to giant ammonites, ichthyosaurs, and box after box loaded with small fossils. Many were dug up in South Dakota, Morocco, China and parts of the UK. Crates of ancient shark, horse and other critter teeth, sliced mammoth bones–I mean really, like what kinds of losses to science and the environment had been done by digging and dredging these things up just so someone could hang them on a wall?

And meteorites–absolutely insane chunks from 2 millimeters to many inches in diameter, weird metals and anhydrous balls of glass from the Libyan desert formed when meteors struck.

Two older guys, a dealer and a customer, were discussing a robbery that had occurred the night before in one of the rooms. Three carved stone dealers over from China were robbed at gunpoint by “a Mexican” who took all their cash. A fourth man stepped out of the bathroom and was robbed as well. This is one of the few times in anyone’s memory a robbery has happened at one of the gem and mineral shows. Consensus: Darn lucky none of the victims were armed because it could have gotten messy fast.

I ate lunch today in a cafe with a sign posted that read:

No firearms allowed inside


On a lighter note, here’s a quiz:

Which of these is not true:

A. Sean Penn has been named an ambassador.

B. Dehydrated, homophobic, really rich comic Tracy Morgan won’t pay $25K to save his mom’s house from foreclosure.

C. Brad Pitt has blocked his kids from Googling him and Angelina Jolie.

D. Mitt Romney was caught drinking hot coffee–but he claims it was Sanka.


Speaking of Mitt, according to the National Enquirer, three dozen of his extended family who live in Colonia Juarez, Mexico, have been targeted by the cartels:

Inside sources told The ENQUIRER that Romney’s advisers fear he will be scarred by a blood-soaked scandal if any of his kin are slaughtered due to their ties to the presidential candidate.

“These relatives of Mitt lived quietly until now, working hard as farmers and cattle ranchers,” a top political source told The ENQUIRER.


Friday Feb 3: National Day of Protest Against NDAA

Citizens, get ready! This Friday, February 3 is the first National Day of Protest against NDAA, the National Defense Authorization Act, which allows indefinite detention to be codified into law. We are urged to protest at the Congressperson’s office, a list of which can be found here:

So grab your friends, make some signs, plan some good street theater, keep it legal, and rally away!

Here’s what the ACLU had to say about NDAA’s indefinite detention statute:

This  statute is particularly dangerous because it has no temporal or geographic limitations, and can be used by this and future presidents to militarily detain people captured far from any battlefield.

Under the Bush administration, similar claims of worldwide detention authority were used to hold even a U.S. citizen detained on U.S. soil in military custody, and many in Congress now assert that the NDAA should be used in the same way again.  The ACLU believes that any military detention of American citizens or others within the United States is unconstitutional and illegal, including under the NDAA.  In addition, the breadth of the NDAA’s detention authority violates international law because it is not limited to people captured in the context of an actual armed conflict as required by the laws of war.


Gucci Baby, For Your Little Bundle of 1%

Oh goodie! The new Gucci Baby collection has arrived at Ron Robinson, a boutique located in the fancy retail souq Fred Segal. Worried that, with an average growth rate of 3/8 of an inch per month and 3 to 5 oz a week after 6 months, little Supine Charger or Nyak Lord Nelson Reilly could outgrow their $250 Gucci denim romper or $240 Gucci jacket? Well, gosh, just think how good you’ll feel when you go buy them a bigger size, knowing that:

Nearly 15 million children in the United States – 21% of all children – live in families with incomes below the federal poverty level – $22,050 a year for a family of four.


Gary Busey Un-endorses Gingrich


On Saturday, Celebrity Apprentice-wanna be and Wife Swap star/grinning skull goofball Gary Busey endorsed Newticles Gingrich, admitting

I’ve never met Newt but I know what he stands for.

But now in a shocking reversal, Busey has stepped off from the Newter’s ledge, declaring in a statement:

It is not time for me to be endorsing anyone at this time! When there are the two final candidates, then I will endorse.

Because really, Busey’s thumbs up is gonna sway a lot of voters.


Late Night FDL: Wolverines? US Military “Invades” Los Angeles for Training Mission


This must be the reason the Los Angeles City Council wanted Occupy LA out of downtown. I’m kidding!  They were actually worried about the trees and the lawn and the Farmers Market.

According to KFI640:

Joint military training exercises will be held evenings in downtown Los Angeles through Thursday, according to the Los Angeles Police Department.

The LAPD will be providing support for the exercises, which will also be held in other portions of the greater Los Angeles area, police said…

The exercises are designed to ensure the military’s ability to operate in urban environments, prepare forces for upcoming overseas deployments, and meet mandatory training certification requirements, police said.

The comments on KFI are hysterical, in every meaning of the word:

-I don’t have to imagine the reasons for this training, or its location. Only wonder when it will be put to use. Can you spell Marshal Law?

-Yes, but evidently you can’t.

plus the usual screams about Posse Comitatus. At least it’s not interfering with the Downtown Art Walk/food truck frenzy. Now that would cause a serious uprising!

Oscar Nominees Announced

This year’s Oscar nominees have been announced, and To Hell and Back Again, which we featured on Movie Night is one of the nominees for Best Documentary.  In a great vindication, Joel Berlinger’s Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory, the final chapter in the West Memphis 3 saga was nominated for Best Documentary.

Social/modern history dramas The Help and Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close made the Best Picture list, as did War Horse and two movies about movies, the black and white silent The Artist and Hugo, while another movie about movies, My Week with Marilyn scored Best Actress and Best Supporting Actor nods.

The dense Tree of Life received two noms, Moneyball scored, Clooney will be on the red carpet for The Descendents,  and best of all, Melissa McCarthy was nominated for her wonderful role in  Bridesmaids. I hope she wins.

We’ll be liveblogging the Oscars here at FDL, and hope you’ll put on your tiaras to join us.

Best Picture
“The Artist”
“The Descendants”
“Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close”
“Midnight in Paris”
“The Help”
“War Horse”
“The Tree of Life”

Best Actor
Demian Bichir, “A Better Life”
George Clooney, “The Descendants”
Jean Dujardin, “The Artist”
Gary Oldman, “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy”
Brad Pitt, “Moneyball”

Best Actress
Glenn Close, “Albert Nobbs”
Viola Davis, “The Help”
Rooney Mara, “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo”
Meryl Streep, “The Iron Lady”
Michelle Williams, “My Week With Marilyn”

Best Supporting Actor
Kenneth Branagh, “My Week With Marilyn”
Jonah Hill, “Moneyball”
Nick Nolte, “Warrior”
Christopher Plummer, “Beginners”
Max Von Sydow, “Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close”

Best Supporting Actress
Berenice Bejo, “The Artist”
Jessica Chastain, “The Help”
Melissa McCarthy, “Bridesmaids”
Janet McTeer, “Albert Nobbs”
Octavia Spencer, “The Help”

Best Director
Woody Allen, “Midnight in Paris”
Michel Hazanavicius, “The Artist”
Terrence Malick, “The Tree of Life”
Alexander Payne, “The Descendants”
Martin Scorsese, “Hugo”

Best Original Screenplay
Woody Allen, “Midnight in Paris”
JC Chandor, “Margin Call”
Asghar Farhadi, “A Separation”
Michel Hazanavicius, “The Artist”
Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumolo, “Bridesmaids”

Best Adapted Screenplay
Alexander Payne, Nat Faxton, Jim Rash, “The Descendants”
John Logan, “Hugo”
George Clooney, Grant Heslov, Beau Willimon, “The Ides of March”
Aaron Sorkin, Steven Zaillian, “Moneyball”
Bridget O’Connor, Peter Straughn, “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy”

Best Animated Feature
“A Cat In Paris”
“Chico & Rita”
“Kung Fu Panda 2″
“Puss in Boots”

Best Foreign Language Film of the Year
Bullhead (Belgium)
Footnote (Israel)
In Darkness (Poland)
Monsieur Lazhar (Canada)
A Separation (Iran)

Original Score
“The Adventures of Tintin,” John Williams
“The Artist,” Ludovic Bource
“Hugo,” Howard Shore
“Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy,” Alberto Iglesias
“War Horse,” John Williams

Best Original Song
“Man or Muppet,” The Muppets; Music and Lyric by Bret McKenzie
“Real in Rio,” Rio; Music by Sergio Mendes and Carlinhos Brown, Lyric by Siedah Garrett

Best Achievement in Art Direction
“The Artist”
“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2″
“Midnight in Paris”
“War Horse”

Best Achievement in Cinematography
“The Artist”
“The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo”
“The Tree of Life”
“War Horse”

Best Achievement in Costume Design
“The Artist”
“Jane Eyre”

Best Documentary Feature
“Hell and Back Again”
“If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front”
“Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory”

Best Documentary Short Subject
“The Barber of Birmingham: Foot Soldier of the Civil Rights Movement?”
“God Is the Bigger Elvis”
“Incident in New Baghdad”
“Saving Face”
“The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom”

Best Achievement in Film Editing
“The Artist”
“The Descendants”
“The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo”

Best Achievement in Makeup
“Albert Nobbs”
“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2″
“The Iron Lady”

Best Animated Short Film
The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore
La Luna
A Morning Stroll
Wild Life

Best Live Action Short Film
“The Shore”
“Time Freak”
“Tuba Atlantic”

Best Achievement in Sound Editing
“The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo”
“Transformers: Dark of the Moon”
“War Horse”

Best Achievement in Sound Mixing
“The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo”
“Transformers: Dark of the Moon”
“War Horse”

Best Achievement in Visual Effects
“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2″
“Real Steel”
“Rise of the Planet of the Apes”
“Transformers: Dark of the Moon”

Rick Santorum Wants Your C.U.M.

Either Rick Santorum has grown  a frothily perverse sense of humor since Dan Savage Google-bombed his name, turning “Santorum” into a universal synonym for a post-coital mix of feces and lube; or his campaign unwittingly hired a 4Chan mole. Santorum now wants us all to join in a hot, slick orgy of money-giving called Conservatives United Moneybomb.

Yes, Rick Santorum wants your C.U.M. And he’s gotten a big load already, over $1.5 million. You can also buy a Rick Santorum sweater vest. Just don’t call it a C.U.M. rag.


Palin: Newt’s Open Marriage Ask Is a Winning Strategy

Newt explains his patented "wiggle" move that makes him such a hit with the ladies.

Newt Gingrich has won the “swinger” vote in South Carolina, proving that the matron of marital virtue, Sarah Palin, was right regarding the revelations that he’d asked his wife for an open marriage when she said:

Newt, he’s now going to soar even more.

Though maybe she meant


HT: Raw Story

Late Night FDL: Wayne Martin Belger’s HIV+ Photoshoot


So I was in a bit of a quandary: A few months ago I wrote about a photographer, Wayne Martin Belger, whose work really moved me. In the course of my writing about him, we became pals since we are both LA natives, punk rock changed our lives, and we both practice “Afro-Caribbean Orthodox Christianity,” more commonly known as African Diasporic religions: Santeria, Voudon/Voodoo, Hoodoo, Espiritismo.

When Belger said he wanted to come to LA and shoot for his series on HIV+ people, I offered to help find models. I also volunteered to organize four other shoots for him of rabbis, priests and imams with another camera. (I’d told him, “I’ll do anything to help you, except book your girlfriend’s travel–that’s up to you!” and so I wrote and sent out press releases, confirmed models, set up craft service at the shoot, etc.) It kind of put me in a weird place, because I felt that since I was working with him I couldn’t really write about him. But then I saw this video from Sunday’s shoot with HIV positive models, and nearly cried. And I wanted to share it with you.

As a model wrangler, I’d contacted a dear friend who works with the Los Angeles County HIV Drug and Alcohol Task Force and Transgender Outreach. She’d put the word out and some really wonderful people contacted us and agreed to pose, including vivacious and charming 73 year-old Thelma James who is on the LA County Commission for HIV and her friend, the very lovely Sandrine Lewis, whose son Will came along, gamely humping gear upstairs and helping Belger to load film. Thelma arranged for super-fox David L. Kelly, who had modeled on an AIDS Healthcare Foundation billboard, to pose for Belger. The goal was to show that HIV/AIDS isn’t a Cute Guy disease. In fact the Los Angeles County Commission on HIV/AIDS states:

Communities of color and women–constituting more than half of the LA County population–continue to be the special populations most disproportionately impacted by HIV/AIDS. Currently, AIDS is the leading cause of death among African American men and the second leading cause of death among African American women between the ages of 25 and 44. In Los Angeles County, for the first time this past year, numerically, Latinos/as with HIV/AIDS now outnumber every other population locally.

I also called on friends of mine who were out about their HIV status, and they all said yes: We had a physical trainer/activist, an artist/activist, a writer/editor/activist, a scholar/activist, and an actor/activist. (Do you see a theme here?)

And then I screwed up my courage and asked Harriet, a profoundly beautiful friend of mine, if she would like to participate. She said yes, and that her daughter Isabella who is also HIV+ wanted to do the shoot, too. Isabella, who set a goal for herself to shoot 90 videos in 90 days, made this mini-documentary/montage of her experience.

The shoot was amazingly moving, so many emotions. Sam Page, the physical trainer who I’d met during the El Coyote/Prop 8 community meeting, began to cry. He wrote later:

I had to stand still for about two minutes for each shot (he took four) because of the exposure time of the lens. While standing there, I stared into the wood floor — and somehow, made out the reflection of my mom’s face looking back at me. Tears began to stream as I thought about all of those who have died—and how important these images will be in telling our stories about the stigma that still exists between the HIV negative and the HIV positive gays. It was truly one of the most moving experiences of my life, when time literally stood still, and I cried, seemingly on cue.

The strength and beauty and love of life each of these models expressed during their time with us was beyond inspirational, as was their commitment to spreading the word that HIV can happen to anyone no matter what their age, race, socio-economic class, education, sexual orientation or any other demographic.

Sing Along with “Gay Homophobes”

This gentle alt.rock ditty from Jonathan Mann incorporates a list of anti-gay public figures who have been outed by their own behavior and ties it together with a study which found that homophobic men harbor homosexual feelings.

Archived Posts