Jefe's House

Film/TV

Terri Schiavo Redux

by on Jan.27, 2014, under Film/TV, NYC, Politics, Theatre

Terri Schiavo

Back when the infamous Terri Schiavo case was running at full throttle with Jeb and George Bush and a lot of other men sticking their  paws into her dead brain and playing politics with her corpse I wrote a short, satirical play about it called Lady in a Box which was performed at Chashama in Times Square and featured downtown performance artist Michael Weiner. After that I kept getting requests from people wanting to produce it in evenings of short works, including from my friends at Eastcheap Rep Theatre Ensemble.  I then adapted it into an award-winning short screenplay, then a short film in 2006 which I directed starring Mississippi Masala‘s Sarita Choudhury (currently Mira Berenson on Homeland), John Lordan, Luke Rosen and Sean Hayden and which aired around the world.

Marlise Munoz

Here we go again and again in 2014, this time with Mrs. Marlise Munoz in Texas and a 13-year-old girl in California who I won’t name here.  May they rest in peace.

As the vultures, mostly men, pick and peck over their corpses — over ownership of these women and  girls who can’t speak for themselves  — I’m reminded of what inspired me to write Lady in a Box in the first place and make a little movie of it eight years ago. Enjoy the trailer–

*

The full 15-minute short is available here.

[photos via Dallas Morning News and wikipedia]

 

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American Hustle v. Argo Smackdown

by on Jan.20, 2014, under Film/TV

A few days ago I tweeted and facebooked, “American Hustle is what Argo wanted to be.”  It wound up sparking a lively and unexpected debate.

americanhustle

Men,

argo

men,

American Hustle is not David O. Russell‘s finest for sure (it’s no Three Kings, mind you). It’s slowly paced for one thing and virtually plotless. I know that a lot of plot appears to be happening but after awhile it’s just so many circular subplots frustratingly knotted together.  If watched at home I’d be starting and stopping, catching it in 30 minute chunks over the course of a week.  It was, frankly, boring. Christian Bale‘s heart pills entered late in the movie and came out of left field, feeling like a tired plot device, and it never made me feel sorry for him if that was the intent. Glorification of criminals, that’s our culture. And Bobby De Niro as…surprise, a gangster.  That was sad.  As my old Italian accountant in Brooklyn who hates Bobby D. always sez, “Robert DeNiro is the Stepin Fetchit of the Italian-American community.”  Enzo’s words, not mine.

What I do like about Hustle is the performances and the dialogue. But it kept reminding me of Ben Affleck‘s Argo, which I loathed, another cute caper movie that celebrates/parodies 1970s pop culture,  but it pretentiously insisted to audiences that it was a “true story” which any fool could see was ludicrous.  I had one knock down, drag out fight after another last Oscar season with my undergrad film students at two universities who hated me for hating Argo because, they insisted, it was “true.”  I had to remind them that real life doesn’t happen (continue reading…)

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Downton? I thought that was a typo.

by on Feb.25, 2013, under Film/TV

Downtown Abbie Hoffman holds a toy bomb in New York City on Sept. 16, 1969. Photo via The Nation, nation.com.

All this time I thought it was Downtown Abbie and that it was a docudrama about Abbie Hoffman’s early years on the Lower East Side. Suffice it to say the season 1 DVD was a big letdown for me.

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It’s Lady in a Box, old boy

by on Feb.04, 2013, under Film/TV, NYC

For all of you who enjoy paying for things with pounds (or have to) please enjoy a really inexpensive download of my award-winning 2006 short Lady in a Box in one more new location online. It features the likes of Luke Rosen and John Lordan along with Indian star Sarita Choudhury and featuring the ambient trance hit “Sweet Lassi Dub.” Check it out at MiShorts.

 

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Michael Moore at Quig’s on 6/30/12

by on Jun.10, 2012, under Film/TV, The Press, The Sixth Boro, Theatre

And don’t forget…

Still SiCKO After All These Years
 

June 30th, 2012 @ 7 PM
$40 Minimum Donation.  
First Come, First Served. 
Michael Moore’s documentary SiCKO was released in 2007 to widespread acclaim. A straight-from-the-heart portrait of the crazy and sometimes cruel U.S. healthcare system, SiCKO is told from the vantage point of everyday people faced with extraordinary and bizarre challenges in their quest for basic health coverage.
Join filmmaker Michael Moore, Health Insurance Industry whistleblower and Deadly Spin author Wendell Potter, and American SiCKO’s real-life cast for a Q&A about the film’s impact and their lives five years after its release.
See Michael Moore and Wendell Potter on the same stage face-to-face for the first time since Wendell spied on the film’s release back in 2007 while working for Cigna. Celebrate how SiCKO changed the conversation on healthcare reform in America, and hear the latest on the movement for healthcare justice from leaders around the country.
Proceeds to benefit Vermont Public Assets Institute (publicassets.org
and Healthcare-NOW! (healthcare-now.org).

Plays and Players Theatre
1714 Delancey Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103

 

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Patriots Fight Tomorrow

by on May.17, 2012, under Film/TV, NYC

Thrilled to have been voted the winner of the IFP pitch presentation today by the panelists at the Internet Week Cross-Media seminar (my pitch, PATRIOTS FIGHT TOMORROW,  included a screenplay with videogame tie-in).  Panelists included acclaimed indie producer Jason Kliot, MyDamnChannel’s Director of Content Jesse Cowell, New York Television Festival head Terence Gray and The Gersh Agency’s Mira Young. The panel was moderated by ShootingPeople’s Editor-in-Chief Ingrid Kopp and introduced by IFP Deputy Director Amy Dotson.

Great fun, nice prizes bestowed upon me as the winner, I got sound advice on how to improve my pitch in the future, and made a few new friends. All around a terrific experience.

 

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He pauses for the windup. AND…

by on May.14, 2012, under Film/TV, NYC

Come hear me pitch a new screenplay & videogame in NYC this Thursday 5/17 at 1pm at the Tribeca Grand Hotel. I was just chosen as 1 of 5 IFP members who get to pitch to an industry panel at the Cross-Media Mixer, a networking event for professionals from the television, advertising, new media, and independent film worlds.  Presented in collaboration with the New York Television Festival, and NY Internet Week.  Come cheer me to victory or ply me with drinks if I crash and burn.

Wish I could tell you the logline but that would be spoiling it. Come find out.

Panelists include producer Jason Kliot, Rob Barnett (founder and CEO of mydamnchannel.com), Terence Gray (New York Television Festival), Ingrid Kopp (Shooting  People), and Mira Young (The Gersh Agency).

Full info and tickets here.

[image via yourkillinmesmalls.files.wordpress.com]

 

 

 

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AN IDEAL HUSBAND Monday 5/14 @7pm

by on May.07, 2012, under Film/TV, Politics, The Sixth Boro, Theatre

Sylvia Kauders

Dear Friends,

It’s my pleasure as a Plays & Players board member to invite you to the 3rd and final 100th anniversary reading and fundraiser next Monday 5/14 at 7pm.  All year long we’ve been presenting readings of plays that were performed at Plays & Players 100 years ago during its first season in 1911-12.

Blondell Reynolds Brown

This final reading is the most star-studded of them all.  The play is An Ideal Husband by Oscar Wilde, directed by Daniel Student, and features  features Sylvia Kauders (Witness, American Splendor, The Wrestler, Sex and the City, The Sopranos); Fox 29′s Good Day co-anchor Karen Hepp, City Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown, Revenue Commissioner Keith Richardson, restaurateur Jack Roe, Barrymore Award winning actors Madi Distefano and Amanda Schoonover; Joe Turner’s Come and Gone‘s Kash Goins and Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens creator Isaiah Zagar among others.

Karen Hepp

This final reading and fundraiser kicks off our Next 100 Years campaign to renovate and restore our beautiful old building which is a National Historic Landmark. For the past six months the acclaimed nonprofit Community Design Collaborative has been working with Plays & Players to create a 10-Year Master Plan with recommendations on sustainability and accessibility under the direction of Philadelphia’s leading architectural firm Studio Agoos Lovera.  The May 14 reading will feature raffle drawings, a silent auction, and a chance to hear about the Master Plan.

Tickets: 
$50 VIP – Reading and Meet the Cast post-show reception from 9-10pm at Quig’s Pub

$25 – Reading

$10 – Reading artist/industry ticket

PURCHASE TICKETS ONLINE NOW

Thanks so much, and I hope to see you there.

Jeff
[photos via wearysloth.com, philasun.com and ovi.com]

 

 

 

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Bringing Death to Life

by on Apr.12, 2012, under Film/TV, NYC, The Press, The Sixth Boro, Theatre

Philadelphia’s arbiter of good taste, the South Philly Review, sez don’t miss the 2012 Philadelphia Playwright Showcase April 25-28 @7pm.   Buy your tickets here.

Plays & Players Resident Plots Future

A New York transplant, now residing in East Passyunk Crossing, presents his work to Philly crowds

by Jess Fuerst

On March 27, Jeffrey Stanley workshopped his play “UFOs Over Brooklyn,” which has been in development since 2001.

“The intention is a little more of a showcase, for who in Philly might be interested in producing it,” Stanley said.

Stanley is a resident at Plays & Players Theater, along with Jeremy Gable and Brian Grace-Duff, until September. As such, the writer has access to stages and actors, as well as exposure within the local community.

“Promotion is also part of their agenda. They are not necessarily going to produce all plays residents write,” Stanley said. “It’s an introduction to other professionals in the Philly theater world, so there is a publicity component involved when they showcase us and Plays & Players gets to showcase itself.”

A New York transplant Stanley has spent the past year diving head first into the local community. His debut was a one-man show he wrote and starred in for last year’s Fringe Festival, entitled “Beautiful Zion: A Book of the Dead.”

“Why I did the Fringe was to announce my presence. It worked.  Well, it made them more aware. The decision makers … put me on the radar. They all came and saw,” the 44-year-old said. “It’s a dark comedy and autobiographical. A close relative of mine died of acute alcoholism, drank himself to death, and it’s about my year spent dealing with that.”

The show, which Stanley performed in a basement in West Philly, involved monologue pieces, as well as audience participation. Stanley asked for viewers to help him reach out to his dead relative through the use of a Ouija board, the result of which is the show’s grand finale.

“It culminates with starting them in another room, trying to make contact with the spirit world on my CONT’D at southphillyreview.com>>

 

 

 


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