Monthly Archives: December 2010

Wiki Leaks, Videos and TARP Rock and Roll

Wiki Leaks, Videos and TARP Rock and Roll

With Wiki leaks threatening to go public last week on a “nuclear level” involving The Bank of America, and the Country-Wide scandal, (according to AOL and other news reports on Monday December 6th), here at home, under the very noses of local Angelenos, there has been another story slowly gaining awareness of a little “bailout” music video called, Live My Life, released in 2009 by an unknown Los Angeles production team, Semplice Pictures /Brink Tank Productions.  Live My Life, originally created to launch a local Los Angeles band called the Sonic Project, started off as “just a music video.”  It is now being championed by journalist and Wall Street insider, Nomi Prins, winning multiple accolades on the Film Festival scene and beginning to resonate with audiences as a “breath of fresh air” to headlines, articles and pundits.

The producers got a chance meeting in 2009 at Book Soup in West Hollywood, CA with journalist and former Goldman Sachs insider Nomi Prins, who had been scheduled for a book signing and discussion about her new publication, “It Takes A Pillage – Behind the Bailouts, Bonuses and Backroom Deals from Washington to Wall Street.”  (Ms. Prins is currently donating all December 2010 sales of her book to The National Coalition for the Homeless)

With Ms. Prins delightful reaction to a DVD of the video with a token dollar bill included, personally handed to her by executive producer Tracey Paleo, the Live My Life Video has now taken on a whole new meaning as a light-handed, political, “non-denial denial” sound bite and backdrop to the inside story of America being “jacked” by its own government – coincidentally, the title of an earlier book by Ms. Prins.

Playing with other people's money - Live My Life

Playing with other people’s money in Live My Life

Most recently, the Live My Life music video was showcased at, In Conversation, a special event at Largo in West Hollywood, the gathering place of Hollywood’s elite “intelligentsia” such as Sean Pean who also attended.  The evening, featuring singer, songwriter and composer, Michael Penn, was hosted by Ms. Prins joined by Rolling Stone journalist Matt Taibi to discuss his own, newly published and very detailed American Mortgage Crisis “map” called, “Griftopia.”

Adding support, Ms. Prins has recently blogged about the video on her personal site and to her Facebook fans, in connection to the TARP issue.  Earlier this year, she offered her take on the video for the official Live My Life website, “In today’s world where, more than ever, the ongoing concentration of money and power in the hands of a self-selected few, relies on political and public apathy, Live My Life provides a much needed shot of timely, thought-provoking, musically forward, irreverence to the status quo.”

Live My Life is a musical parody, loosely based around TARP, the inspiration and angle that director Michael Cornell was looking for in order to brand Kameron White, the band’s lead guitarist and songwriter.   The device:  Mr. White, as Henry Paulsen, former head of Goldman Sachs and U.S. Treasury Secretary, giving White the ultimate rock and roll status mimicking the very entity he was rocking out against. The hook:  no one in the black and white, security camera parody, takes responsibility for anything –right down to the ticker tapes giving out Maria Bartiromo’s personal phone number, the Monopoly references (Do Not Pass Go. Go Directly to Jail), and the final “live” interview by Mr. White, as the CEO of a company that no longer exists.  What’s more, the fingers of the heads of a bank where strange yet fashionable people wearing sunglasses, walking down halls with locked brief cases and playing with other people’s money, point at you, the public.  The lyrics “I can’t control what you’re gonna be,” chime as the characters revel in their play.

The Live My Life music video wins its fourth accolade this year, The Gold Level Award, for best music video at the 2010 California Film Awards.  Live My Life, at first considered a long shot on the festival scene as a mere music video, has so far, since June 2010, received four awards and five selections, which continue to gain in level of prestige, including, Finalist in The Flip Side Film Festival (formerly the SoCal Film Festival), Honorable Mention at The (inaugural) Los Angeles International Film Festival, Selection and double screening at the LA Femme Film Festival with the support and enthusiasm of festival director Leslie La Page, and the prestigious Accolade Award of Merit, for its simple originality and unusual portrayal of the bailout in a rebel rock and roll genre.

“I always felt that this piece would become more relevant as time went on,” expressed the video’s director Michael Cornell.  “Live My Life is now being viewed by more people all the time and resonating with audiences.”

The Model Critic reviews: The Language Archive

Reviewed by Carlos Stafford, the Model Critic 

The Language Archive by Julia Cho has an auspicious beginning–a clever theme, full of promise. But sadly, as the play progresses, instead of adventure and insight, we get a routine Carnival Cruise Line five-day vacation to one island and back.  What follows is a one-dimensional, black and white juxtaposition of airy concepts.

George, (Matt Letscher), a passionate expert on languages, can’t communicate his feelings to his wife.  His wife, Mary (Heidi Schreck), on the other hand, has an abundance of emotions as she strangely weeps, and leaves arcane, poetic messages for George to find.  When they do speak, Mary says she has no idea what George is saying.

George, in the meantime, has invited an aging foreign couple to his lab, to tape their soon to be extinct language.  They hail from a far eastern European “Borat-like” land, and speak Elloway  Alta (Jayne Houdyshell) and Reston (John Horton) are ersatz noble savages.  They bicker in English because “its the language of anger,” buy otherwise, they speak Elloway because its the language of love. In Elloway,they don’t say “I love you,” they say, “I could never live without you.”

Mary walks out on George, and meets a man at the train station. He is carrying a parcel, and is on his way to commit suicide. He has been a baker all his life, and is taking his most important possession–his “starter.”  He gives it to Mary, and she decides to embark on a new life as a baker herself.

Emma (Betty Gilpin), George’s attractive assistant, is hopelessly in love with George, and to impress him, decides to learn Esperanto.  Literally throwing herself at him, poor George doesn’t see.  When they hug, George weeps remembering his wife, and Emma smiles now that she finally ends in his arms.

All this literal construction, gives the play an artificial feeling–Theatre of the Absurd-Light, and gets in the way of a theatrical piece that is very well crafted, clean, learned.  It is well directed by Mark Brokaw with quick pacing and fluid transitions, and the set design by Neil Patel was astonishingly handsome.

As for the acting, Jayne Houdyshell and John Horton make the evening enjoyable in their multiple roles. As for the principles, all were finely skilled actors without a script to work with.  The old saying that they’re are no bad scripts, only bad actors is not true here.  There was little character development, and the actors struggled to breathe life into a play more concerned with literal concepts and structure than real people.