June 21, 2014
The Palomino: An Oral History

The sign outside the squat rental hall reads Le Monge, an odd faux-French touch for a North Hollywood neighborhood that never had any pretensions, not even when music’s elite came cruising past the liquor stores and auto body shops lining this stretch of Lankershim Boulevard. Back then the low-slung building was the Palomino, aka the Pal, a honky-tonk that would reign for more than 40 years as L.A.’s top country spot. Now it’s just a banquet facility that’s seen better days.  During the Pal’s prime, from the early 1960s through the mid-1970s, such country icons as Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, Merle Haggard, Buck Owens, Hoyt Axton, Kitty Wells, George Jones, Charley Pride, and Ernest Tubb played the foot-high stage, sweating under the hot lights, the audience inches from their feet. Emmylou Harris sang with a band that included Elvis Presley’s guitarist James Burton and his pianist Glen Hardin. The Flying Burrito Brothers, who were fronted by country-rock artist Gram Parsons, entertained on Monday nights. (The hard-living Parsons, whose mix of country, blues, and folk influenced a generation of musicians, was beaten up one night by a group of rowdy marines.)

May 29, 2014
Beyond Google Glass: Wearable tech hats, clothes, even nail polish

March 20, 2014
Speaking Truth to Power: 'Anita' Tells a Tale of Transformation | International Documentary Association

Academy Award-winning documentarian Freida Lee Mock takes on law professor Anita Hill’s testimony at the Clarence Thomas confirmation hearings and its two-decade-long aftermath in Anita, a thoughtful, deeply felt account of Hill’s remarkable journey and transformation from private citizen to internationally respected gender equality activist.

The Anita Hill-Clarence Thomas hearings took place the weekend of October 11, 1991, and those nine hours of testimony were indelible. To watch the articulate, reserved and unshakeable Hill give a straight-forward accounting of workplace sexual harassment, only to be subjected to scurrilous attacks and dismissed as a scorned loon by a panel of smug, old, white men was nearly incomprehensible.

January 13, 2014
Wiseman Plays Berkeley: The Legendary Documentarian Takes on the Decline in Funding Public Education | International Documentary Association

If it’s possible to push a boundary any further after 40 films in a nearly 50-year career, Frederick Wiseman—a filmmaker with a ceaseless curiosity and a wide range of interests—has achieved that distinction with his 244-minute documentary At Berkeley. The film premieres January 13 on PBS’ Independent Lens.

The filmmaker’s particular affinity for institutions and the people who are invested in them are in full flower in the film, a wholly engrossing, immersive study of the importance of higher public education, as evidenced by the myriad day-to-day activities that his camera captures on the campus of the University of California at Berkeley.

October 21, 2013
How Transmedia Mastered Social Media and New Media Tech

Jay Bushman is an Emmy-winning transmedia producer, show runner and writer. He was behind the Jane Austen inspired, tremendously successful, 153 episode series The Lizzie Bennet Diaries and more recently, its 27 episode summer spinoff Welcome To Sanditon. An innovator in the way we experience narrative entertainment, Bushman is the co-founder and leader of the group Transmedia Los Angeles, the creator of the Fourth Wall Studio series Dirty Work, and the genre-defying, animated steampunk show Airship Dracula. He’s comfortable telling stories that cross platforms in unexpected ways: Viewers of his work may jump from YouTube to Twitter, to LinkedIn, to Facebook, Tumblr, OkCupid and more over the course of one character’s brief conversation with another.

July 11, 2013
Great Expectations: 'First Comes Love' Takes a Journey to Motherhood | International Documentary Association

Intimate, smart, witty, complicated, moving, messy: All apt descriptions of producer/ director/writer Nina Davenport’s new documentary, First Comes Love. On the surface, the film is a story about the journey of first choosing to be, and then becoming, a single mother, but the strength of the film’s message lies in what it means to be an adult and what it takes to create the family you want while still navigating the thorny, well-trod paths of the one you were born into.

June 13, 2013
Life after Death: Reviving a Pioneering Punk Band | International Documentary Association

In 1971, in a working-class Detroit neighborhood, three rock ‘n’ roll-obsessed brothers started a band. David, Bobby and Dannis Hackney were influenced by fellow Motor City denizens Iggy Pop and Alice Cooper, and they loved The Who, Jimi Hendrix and the Rolling Stones. They were supremely talented innovators. If the stars had aligned, the band would have been known across the US by 1973.

Unfortunately, they had three strikes against them.

The Hackneys were young black men in a world that expected them to be Earth, Wind & Fire, not the MC5. They called themselves Death in tribute to the fragility of our physical being, but that nuance was completely lost in translation. Most importantly, David was a musical genius, so possessed by his artistic vision, that even a request by music mogul Clive Davis to change the band’s name in order to get a deal would not deter him. Death was inviolate.

February 8, 2013
Online Dating Costs You More Privacy Than You Think

Here’s a heads up to the millions of people looking for love on line: Your security and privacy are probably at risk. Many of the most popular dating sites are playing fast and loose with your romantic avatars. Some of them are susceptible to hackers and, to paraphrase a Microsoft cybersecurity expert, anything that you post on line is pretty much permanent after 20 minutes, whether you’ve deleted the file or not.

Robot LoverStill feeling brave? A few more facts, then. Of the most trafficked sites, only Zoosk and the alternative dating site Fetlife offer standard HTTPS encryption, and Fetlife only implemented it after user complaints. Sam Yagam, CEO of the wildly popular OkCupid, has said that his company just doesn’t see a need for encryption because users haven’t asked for it. Well, OK.

imageDice News in Tech (http://s.tt/1zvbz)

December 6, 2012
John McAfee Crashes and Burns in Guatemala

John McAfee was climbing into a unique group of eccentric, adventurous and filthy rich legends like William Randolph Hearst, Howard Hughes and Richard Branson. But unlike them, and more like Icarus, he stopped paying attention and flew too close to the sun.

Thanks to a hacker who traced his smartphone tracks, McAfee was found earlier this week in Guatemala, where he was arrested Wednesday for entering the country illegally. Although he sought asylum on Thursday, his request was denied. Later that evening, he complained of chest pains and was taken to a local hospital. His return to Belize is now pending.

McAfee’s free-fall has been riveting.

If you’ve looked at pretty much any media site in the past two weeks, you already know some of the details. McAfee, 67, is a pioneer in the anti-virus industry and founder of the company that still bears his name. For the past few years, he’s been living in Belize, allegedly experimenting with MDPV, aka Bath Salts. He’s also been blogging about their many supposed benefits.

imageDice News in Tech (http://s.tt/1w12x)

September 6, 2012
Geeks Leading a Fashion Revolution?

Whether it’s PeeWee Herman or Urkel, the media and fashion businesses have had a limited grasp on what’s often referred to as “geek” or “nerd chic.” In its September issue, Women’s Wear Daily devoted three pages to “the new nerd.” Bulky, over-sized suits in bold colors and mismatched prints, cropped pants, clunky heels, jangly accessories and those giant, ugly twee glasses dominated.

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