Monthly Archives: October 2010

The Model Critic Theatre Review: Brief Encounter

Brief Encounter

Roundabout Theatre Company

Reviewed by Carlos Stafford, The Model Critic

A pretty woman and a doctor meet, by chance, at a train station in London, 1938.  She has a cinder stuck in her eye, and he offers to remove it.  She then “sees” with perfect clarity, perhaps for the first time in her life.  His vision is also “corrected,” and like a lightening bolt of recognition, they both fall madly into an irresistible sea of love.  Hannah Yelland and Tristan Sturrock in "Brief Encounter"

“Brief Encounter” is a joyous, light-hearted bon mot to romantic love.  With live music, film projections, vaudeville, pantomime, and puppetry, clichés of love fly through the theatre, breaking the fourth wall, and our resistance to its charm.  While the parodies abound, everything morphs into wise, sophisticated nuances that touches everyone.  The simple is made complex, and it becomes a fun ride.

The Kneehigh Theatre Co., from Cornwall, England brings this Noel Coward adaptation to our shores; originally a movie, “Brief Encounter,” made by David Lean in 1945, originating from the play by the same name, and emanating from another Coward play, “Still Life.”  It had a successful run at St. Ann’s Warehouse in Brooklyn, N.Y. last year, before Roundabout’s current offering at Studio 54.

The lovers, Laura and Alec, are conventional pilgrims of life, respectable, married with families.  They meet, and like the famous duo from Verona, are immediately smitten.  They agree to tryst on Thursdays for tea, then a movie, a boat outing, and lunch.  Bored with their private lives, they now become new, free and weightless.

The romantic comedy becomes richly endowed with visual and aural underscoring to their emotional flight.  We see stunning projections of white, fluffy, Botticelli-like clouds, and wild waves beating on rocky shores, matching the ecstasy of their inner lives.

Another transporting image is of a film of a woman swimming underwater, in a sea of shimmering shafts of light, free and unbounded.  We see Laura and Alec, like lovers everywhere and for all time, as levitating souls.

All of this splendor is countered by the crashing reality of their ordinary existence, and mundane responsibilities.  For Laura, when she goes home, she in lonely and removed, and barely knows where she lives, almost a stranger.  Her husband is a couch potato, who does crossword puzzles for entertainment, and barely notices her.  But for Alex, her magic face is like that of Helen of Troy, “the face that launched a thousand ships.”

And although they are set with this sad dilemma, we have a brilliant comedic scene that celebrates the fandango of their love when they meet for lunch.  All stops are pulled as they dance the tango in a shower of roses, drown in bubbles of champagne, and defy gravity with wild abandonment by swinging on the chandeliers, star-dust falling around them.  LOL.  It’s wonderful!

Most of the action takes place in a tea room at the train station where they first meet.  Here we are introduced to two other couples: the woman who owns the store and the stationmaster, and her young assistant, and her lover, the vendor.  Both couples have uncomplicated affairs, and they seem to have no conflicts to resolve with their choices and stations in life, all flows easily.  They bring us back to reality.  As for Laura and Alex, there are important, life altering decisions to be made, as they realize their sad predicament.

The whole, complex effect of the play is filled with visual and aural candy, strung seamlessly together.  The Noel Coward songs are especially remarkable, simple and poetic.  The director, Emma Rice, has done an outstanding job in bringing all to a magical creative reality, and the company starring Hannah Yelland and Tristan Sturrock, were a pleasure and a delight to watch.

Semplice Pictures and Brink Tank Productions Win Accolade Competition For TARP Music Video Live My Life

Los Angeles, CA,  10.19.2010

Director Michael Cornell and Producer Tracey Paleo of Semplice Pictures and Brink Tank Productions (GiaMedia3), have won the prestigious Award of Merit from The Accolade Competition. The award was given for Mr. Cornell’s and Ms. Paleo’s exciting music video, Live My Life, filmed as an irreverent, rock and roll, parody about TARP, The Wall Street Bailout of 2008-09. Live My Life features the music and lyrics of Kameron White, who also poses in the video, as U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulsen in a Fellini-esq, security camera capture, revealing what really goes on inside a bank when no one else is looking.

“I love that art, especially rock and roll, has an explosive ability to mock power and authority. The Live My Life video was meant to be an irreverent response to the Wall Street Bailout where everyone is examined, even the apathy of the American public. The fundamental need for TARP was absurd. These bankers were supposed to be professional money managers, yet we had to loan them 800 billion dollars to prevent the collapse of capitalism? When you step back and look at who was involved, the connections of power, the hearings, and the way the media covered it, this entire event was bizarre. The situation compelled us to use the rebellious nature of a rock video to craft a response. It is an amazing honor to receive the Accolade Award. We are thrilled to be selected and humbled to be along- side so many incredibly creative film makers.”

The Accolade recognizes film, television, videography and new media professionals who demonstrate exceptional achievement in craft and creativity, and those who produce standout entertainment or contribute to profound social change. Entries are judged by highly qualified professionals in the film and television industry.

In winning an Accolade, Semplice Pictures and Brink Tank Productions (GiaMedia3) joins the ranks of other high-profile winners of this internationally respected award. Thomas Baker, Ph.D., who chairs the Accolade, had this to say about the latest winners, “The Accolade is not an easy award to win. Entries are received from around the world. The Accolade helps set the standard for craft and creativity. The judges were pleased with the exceptionally high quality of entries. The goal of The Accolade is to help winners achieve the recognition they deserve.” More information about the Live My Life music video can be found at or please contact For more information about Semplice / Brink Tank please visit

View the Trailer:

To See the Full Video visit:

LA Femme Day 2

Just getting back from the LA Femme after party at the Sofitel L.A.  Hanging  with other filmmakers is always an interesting experience. I find that I am usually the most flamboyant person in the room.

And here’s an interesting thought.  I spoke with a filmmaker whose producer didn’t want to put his name in the credits of her film because the subject was “controversial.”  I paused, and then responded, “don’t you think you should be able to stand behind something that you produce?  Shouldn’t you have passion and shouldn’t you be able to be proudly associated with a piece of art you had a hand at creating?  Because if not, then why do it?  I mean, you had better be passionate about something about the film business or just don’t do it.”

And the truth is, I really mean that.  I cannot think of a moment when I wasn’t deeply invested in my current project or for any project.  I actually find it difficult to accomplish anything that doesn’t move me deeply.  But then again, perhaps that is just my Joan of Arc complex shining through. Well, I am ok with that.  Tenacity is my middle name especially these days and it is a part of me that I truly love right along with my passionate nature.

So back to the films. This entire day has been a whirlwind beginning at 10:30am, searching for the confirmation for my special invite list tickets. Then, sitting in to an 11:00am slot filled with 3 movies.  Not too much commentary here today except for one … 999.

The sort of Russian version of 8 mile and the eastern version of Vanilla Ice.  The lead actor a rapper, graffiti artist, composer, and somehow acrobatics expert.  Quite impressive really when he had to jump roofs and flip himself off walls while doing some necessary street fighting in order to save the lady of interest. I wish I could say, “finally a movie where everybody doesn’t die.” It was not to be.

“Life is precious.”  A philosophical theme that kept trying to make itself clear and apparent in worded vignettes on-screen in the transitions.  And this film did in fact live up to its promise.  Shattered hopes and dreams, lost loves, desperation, drugs, violence, revenge, reparations and finally reclamation.

999 at times felt like it was actually nine hundred and ninety-nine minutes too long. But in between the hardened criminality and sadness, we finally are left with a young man who absolves his life with his death. Heavy.  Intriguing.  Edgy. Dedicated cast.  And a cast of characters, although, Russian (actually very Sarmatian – and you have got to know your geography and history for that one), very much like us (Americans) in every way.

LA Femme Festival Briefs

Women in Refuge.

A documentary focused on women (especially with children) as the most vulnerable subset of refugees,  escaping brutality and often murder by guerillas and para-military operations in Columbia by crossing  into  Venezuela.  Representing the highest percent of those attempting to gain refugee status in their new country and facing prejudices as well as the government obstacles of being refused status and as a consequence of having no legal papers – medical care, job opportunities and education (hmmm, sounds familiar).

– An interesting 33 minutes of a small mix of women whose lives and the lives of their children are changed forever – some of whom do not beat the odds.   We hear their histories, struggles and some of the outcomes – not all great. I came away feeling that the story was incomplete.  However, a wonderful attempt to fit a vast issue into a small time frame.

The Lost Girls of South Africa.

Without a doubt, one of the most heart-wrenching films I have seen all year.  The Girls of South Africa are the young, age 12 and younger, females, who are the victims of family violence and rape inside their own homes and by perpetrators who are getting younger and younger (under the age of 14 years and some as young as 10 years old).  These girls are losing the battle at over a 90% victimization rate (a child in South Africa is raped every 3 minutes), between the cultural stigmas, abusive fathers at home molesting daughters at will, passive mothers, AIDS, the repercussions by neighbors and the families of perps when the girls go to the police, and the court system who serve essentially no justice for the crimes, letting these men run free.

-Wow!  I was blown away by the statement that every 1 in 3 children under the age of 12 will be victimized.  These girls are so torn and yet so strong to attempt fighting the odds to obtain some sort of justice and try to “make the bad feelings all go away.”

My only two issues with the film were that, 78 minutes of repetitious, documentary story telling took away from the impact of the lives of the girls themselves, most of whom, have still not had a resolution with their respective cases (tragic) or lives.  And…the disappointing attendance. There were not enough people in the theatre today to witness this story especially.  As someone put it today, “this is Hollywood and there weren’t enough people in the theatre to see a film?  That is like going to an opera at La Scala and no one likes Puccini.”

Banks And Trust: Music the the Ears


Banks and Trust: Music to the Ears at the LA Femme Film Festival

A chance meeting with a Wall Street pundit sends, Live My Life, the music video that created a flash-point around banks, trust and rock and roll, all the way to the 2010 LA Femme International Film Festival.

Live My Life Video Trailer

Los Angeles, CA (PRWEB) October 12, 2010 — The little video that could, and did rock Wall Street, is set to screen at the 2010 LA Femme Film Festival this week. Live My Life, the originally conceived low budget music video arrives with several awards and a push from the current media around TARP, music to the ears of the production team who spent 30 days of prep, 10 hours of straight shooting and one full year breaking through.

GiaMedia3 logo


“Sometimes, music and lyrics capture more meaning and heart than pundits and articles.” quoted Nomi Prins, from her blog last Wednesday, author of “It Takes A Pillage – Behind the Banks, Bailouts and Backroom Deals from Washington to Wall Street,” and Live My Life music video fan.

Director Michael Cornell, and Producer Tracey Paleo, in 2009, created an accidental flash-point around banks, trust and the American financial collapse, while developing a concept for a music track composed by then lead guitarist Kameron White of the Sonic Project. Inspired by the music and lyrics of White’s song, Cornell’s idea was to set Kameron (White) apart as a rock and roll artist without the usual stereotype and to create a brand around the musician who just happened to look like Treasury Secretary and former Goldman Sachs CEO, Henry Paulsen, orchestrating the heavily debated Wall Street Bailout.

What is really happening when no one else is looking? – has, ever since, been the driving anthem of this music video, which was almost entirely squashed by the media blitzkrieg surrounding the death of Michael Jackson, and nearly died on the vine, until the producers had the good fortune to meet journalist Nomi Prins. Ms. Paleo’s quickly put together “leave behind” which included a DVD of the video, a press release, photos and real dollar bill, the embodiment of the bailout debate, caught the immediate attention of Ms. Prins at a Los Angeles book-signing.

“Michael (Cornell) called me about the West Hollywood Book Soup appearance and insisted that we attend. He was very politically charged by the whole TARP issue and excited about Ms. Prins’ new book. And so I worked on this silly little thing all day, pulling apart the jewel case and putting it all back together thinking, ok, if nothing else, she’ll at least remember us when she uses the dollar bill to buy a cup of coffee or something,” says Paleo. The chance meeting began an ongoing loose dialog which, earlier this year culminated with a “coup de gras” statement by Ms. Prins for the filmmakers’ website. Ms. Prins will also be attending the festival in person.

Live My Life is set to screen on Saturday, October 16th, 2010 as part of the Sixth Annual LA Femme International Film Festival, held at the Renberg Theatre in Los Angeles, which runs from October 14th to October 17th and is expected to be attended by such Hollywood celebs as Steve Carell, Virginia Madsen, Angela Bassett, Rosanna Arquette, Laurence Fishburne and Amanda Seyfried.

LA Femme is dedicated to celebrating and empowering female artists creating work for a worldwide audience. LA Femme Film Festival highlights commercially-viable films written, directed or produced “by women for everyone”. Now in its sixth year, the festival is solely dedicated to nurturing a new breed of female filmmakers and providing opportunities for those careers to blossom.


Live My Life

breaking news: David Merman Scott

Develop a real time mindset of speed with communications.  On the Vocus webinar this morning with the best selling author and PR strategist who fronted the idea that news breaks so quickly today that you just have to jump on it quickly.  Really brings home the phrase, “a rolling stone gathers no moss. ” Who invented that phrase anyway? Looking forward to reading the book, “Real-Time Marketing & PR.”

“When something interesting happens when I think I can add something to my heart starts to flutter.  There is something you can do within a story to get your take out and profit from a story.  Drop everything and work on it now.” ~ DMS

Find David on Twitter @ dmscott

Still rockin’

Tonight’s the night!  LA International Film Festival screens the music video that rocked Wall Street.  LIVE MY LIFE.    Next week LA Femme Film Festival.

What is most amazing about all of this is that even with all of the  puddles in the road, this little video has still managed to not only stay above water  but has begun to influence real Wall Street bankers who follow and tweet the producers and GiaMedia3 every now and again.  Some would say, “Is that actually a good thing?’ ‘Do you really want to piss anyone off?”  Well, actually, YES.  In a world full of apathy, isn’t it refreshing to be able to get someone to, for one moment, let go of their narcisism and pay attention?  A bit  harsh sounding sure.  However, we live in the Dancing with the Stars generation.  The fame generation.  The me, myself and I generation.  This little video is saying, ok, sure, be who and what you want to be.  Just don’t blame anyone else when you are not paying attention and around you the world starts falling apart, when you might have just given things a moment of your thought and focus. 

For today, however, we just say, enjoy.  And…LIVE YOUR LIFE!

View the trailer:

Visit the website: