Tuesday, December 1, 2020

The Art of Sharing the Gift of Art

I normally take this time to say something about being kind, being a better person...or aiming to do that in the new year. If you’ve missed my year-end posts from previous years about that and need some inspiration, see here and here and here.

This year, I’d like to do another round of sharing the gift of art. So below, you’ll find a list of artists and their various offerings for you to enjoy, discover and/or gift. Filmmakers, musicians, writers, and more. These are good people, so please watch and/or partake in their work. It will help keep you entertained while stuck at home.

And, if you want to support me and my work, go to Gregory's Store and/or Gregory's Patreon.

Other than that, let me simply wish you a very happy and safe holiday season.

Thank you for being here.  

Stay safe.  Stay kind.

~Gregory


Artists (in no particular order)


Film/Entertainers 

Chris Moore
“A Stranger Among Us” (a horror film) https://www.amazon.com/gp/video/detail/B08K2P5T57

Mikeal Burgin
“The Caregivers” (a screenplay) https://www.facebook.com/TheCaregiversMovie/

Edward Martin III
Media creator
https://www.hellbendermedia.com/

Itai Guberman
Filmmaker https://www.imdb.com/name/nm2760127/

Mark Schaefer
“Hell Childress, Episode 7” (TV Series)
https://youtu.be/PEFuogBXYBY

Paul Stephen Edwards
"The Great American Horror Road Trip"
(Horror filmmaking docuseries)
https://youtu.be/snitFLL-6SY

Dawn Fields
“Yesterday’s Moon” (a romance film’s journey) www.YesterdaysMoon.com

Kevin Quezada and Hannah Koi Prado
Entertainment Film Producers
HKP-Entertainment.com

Jenn Nangle
"Malvolia: The Queen of Screams" TV Series
www.YouTube.com/malvoliathequeenofscreams

Judd Angel
Actor (demo reel)
https://youtu.be/qVmRWyDF4m0

Colton Baumgartner
Entertainer (Amazon page)
https://www.amazon.com/s?k=Colton+Baumgartner


Music/Video

Roy Padro
Music creator
https://allmylinks.com/flava1radio

Anthony Honore
"Get Up!" (Music video)
https://youtu.be/NWdhVc7EzBM


Books/Other Media

Brian Fitzpatrick
Writer
http://www.brianfitzpatrickbooks.com/

Daryl Hajek
“Blood Blossom” (a suspense drama novel)  https://amzn.to/397VgUa

Mindy Dougherty
An entrepreneurial idea & inspirational books www.feedmycity.net 

Edison F Cortez
Fashion Designer, Costume Designer & Artist https://www.instagram.com/edisonsatelier/

Dónaco Smyth
“Animal Watch” (card game)
www.animalwatchgame.com

Tim Gross
“Tales from the Gross Side” short horror tales
https://rb.gy/p6q3nx

Addison Rose Peacock
“Heart Games” (podcast) https://twitter.com/HeartGamesPod




Saturday, November 7, 2020

From “Us vs. Them” to “We, Together”

America has spoken. Starting next year, Trump will no longer be our president. Joe Biden beat him by over five million votes. Five million votes.  That’s a monumental statement our country has proclaimed for the world to hear. And history has been made: Biden won more votes than any presidential candidate prior. We’ve voted in the first Black female vice president. And more people voted than ever before. All of that is monumental.  The people have spoken and spoken loudly.


Trump can cry “fraud” all he wants; false narratives and finger-pointing have been two of his more fascistic tactics all along. But it’s pure irony: he’s been the fraud since Day One and enough of America has, thankfully, gotten wise to the fact. Most of the civilized world is sighing with relief that we’ve managed to kick him out of office. So is most of America, as evidenced by Biden not only winning both the popular vote and the electoral college, but by earning more votes than anyone in the history of our country. 

There’s no denying Trump has been the most divisive, dismissive, disrespectful, bullying, belittling, bragging, obstreperous, recalcitrant president of our lifetimes. History will rightfully brand him as one of the great stains on the legacy of American presidents: casually lying, scoffing at science, failing at diplomacy and—literally and figuratively—recklessly endangering the nation from the COVID 19 virus to willfully emboldening bigots to murderous action. Even in the final hours of the election, he once again proved his true nature: falsely claiming victories that weren’t true; spreading lies about wide-spread election fraud with little to no supporting evidence, knee-jerk suing multiple states he feared he’d lost and prematurely demanding either recounts or ends to counting, and so on; the desperate acts of a drowning despot.

Those of you voted him out: I thank you for putting decency over all the unacceptable behaviors listed above. You have restored my faith in the goodness of America. You have shown that the majority of Americans agree that Trump’s egregious words and actions are unacceptable for anyone—especially a president; that bad behavior must never be rewarded; that bigotry in all forms—from racism to sexism to homophobia and more—must be called out without hesitation and eradicated without yielding. I celebrate you. I honor you. I am with you.

To those of you who supported Trump: I love you no less (love is unconditional), I care for you no less (caring is the mark of a civilized society), but I do respect you just a little less because your support of Trump means you approve and enable all his ugly words and actions and all the ugly words and actions he’s incited in our streets. That is something I simply cannot honor. However, I’m confident most of you can and will earn that respect again. The opportunities are bountiful and I look forward to the day when we can work together, side by side, to make this country the best it can be: one that shuns harmful behavior and beliefs; that honors transparency, inclusivity and diversity; that values kindness, decency…and liberty and justice for all.  I hope it's any day, now.

So, here's to a brighter future. It’s in our grasp. There is still much to do, but we can certainly do it faster and better, together.


Friday, October 23, 2020

I almost never talk politics, but this is a historic time and I think a few words are appropriate.  So, here are my thoughts on the Presidential race and, specifically, the latest debate--especially for anyone who is still undecided.


Trump successfully appeared calmer and less orange, but he still talked over the moderator, slung mud instead of answering questions, lied often (all the fact checkers agree) and boasted laughable statements like “I'm the least racist president. I'm the least racist person in this room."  His regular attempts at restraint allowed him to make a far better impression than last time, but his content was all the same game of finger-pointing and falsehoods, egregious claims and egomaniacal boasts. Ironically, his most true statement, in more ways than one, may have been “I know more about wind than you do.” Indeed.


Biden wavered between relaxed and confident to floundering and stammering to fired-up and strong. He called out Trump on some of his more outlandish claims and fired back a fair amount of return digs. But he also choked and misspoke a few times (such as referring to the “Proud Boys” as “Poor Boys”). But Biden’s heartfelt, genuine answers about the country’s race problem and the border children without parents demonstrated the difference between a candidate who brags about how he understand and cares “better than anyone” and a candidate who actually does seem to care. If that weren’t enough, his closing remarks blew Trump’s out of existence and came with a mic drop which is good enough to repeat, here:


"What is on the ballot, here, is the character of this country. Decency. Honor. Respect. Treating people with dignity.  Making sure that everyone has an even chance. And I'm going to make sure you get that. You haven't been getting that the last four years."


Biden makes it clear he understands that, in the final analysis, this isn’t about right and left. It’s about right and wrong.  Are you (we) going to reward a man who regularly and shamelessly lies, belittles, boasts, mudslings, denies fault and recklessly endangers or do we want to be represented (and have our country) represented by a man who listens to the experts, learns from his mistakes and sincerely wants to help us become a wiser, kinder and more unified country? There is only one acceptable choice. 

So...to you as yet undecided few.  I beg you: don't be an enabler of Trump's crimes; it's a stain of guilt and shame that will live with you for the rest of your life. That's why so many who voted for him the first time--Republicans and Democrats alike--are staunchly against him; they, like Biden, recognize their mistakes, recognize villainy, and aim to do better.  And we deserve so much better.

Vote decency.  Vote Biden.

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

All The Write Stuff

 
Writing is tough. Choosing the right subject, the right words, the right rhythm. So much more than simply dragging a pen across paper. Or typing on a keyboard. But, if writing is tough, for writers, not writing is tougher.  Especially when we want to be writing. Well, I’m here to tell you scribes out there to relax and take heart: that part of writing actually is not writing.

Let me explain.

Just the other day, I sat at my desk, script open to the last scene I had written. And I stared at the screen. I reviewed what I’d done so far. I stared at the screen. I perused my notes of what was to come next. I stared at the screen. I tweaked some of the notes. I stared at the screen. I made coffee.  I stared at the screen. I walked the dog. I stared at the screen. I had lunch. I stared at the screen. And so on.

By the end of the day, I had written not a single new word in the script. I used to get quite despondent about that. But time has taught me that such days are part of the process. Our brains often need time to sift through ideas—not just consciously, but unconsciously. I think doing other things energizes and refreshes us, clears away cobwebs, and lets ideas percolate and gel on their own accord.

The next day, I banged out ten pages with (relative) ease. I have no doubt that was a result of my efforts at the computer and my time away from it the previous day. That seemingly unproductive time was, in fact, very productive; it just didn’t manifest itself on the page until the following day.

Thus, I say to all my fellow wordsmiths, don’t despair the next time you’re sitting at your desk, unable to put words on the page.  You don’t suck. You’re not suffering from writer’s block. Your brain is busy processing input in ways that will make a scene seem to magically pop out of your head in the very near future. And that’s gonna feel so good!

So, in the meantime, enjoy your coffee.  

Walk the dog.  

Love your life.


Thursday, July 2, 2020

2020: Midpoint Musings


There's a far worse pandemic than COVID19.  But fortunately, there's a cure...


We're only half way through the year and it's already clear that, looking back, 2020 will be remembered as the year it all came out; when all the systemic evils of our lives were thrust into the zeitgeist. The economic and judicial iniquities, the racism and bigotry, the oligarchy-run news outlets; the perfect storm of the COVID19 pandemic and social media brought all these monsters out, screaming too loud to be quelled and swept quietly aside this time. 

Sure, those issues were a part of the U.S. before and we had protests and vigils in the past and had some champions to fight to end some of the atrocities.  But for every Harvey Milk there was a Harvey Weinstein; for every Martin Luther King Jr. there was a Roy Cohn; many of the villains working behind closed doors or out of the public eye. But this time, no one could hide from the spotlight that shone on the systems that were failing us or those who were responsible: from the smallest town’s malcontent ranting on YouTube that they were free to shun masks, black, gay and/or transgender Americans and anything else they chose, to the country’s president lying on national television about the border wall, the COVID19 pandemic and his own political prowess—punctuated by inflammatory, finger-pointing tweet storms.  It was all out there for everyone to see: inarguable, infuriating, and utterly irreversible from the analogues of history.

Everyone who looked at all that without filters saw it for what it was; evidence that there was a pernicious pandemic—and not the latest coronavirus, which was temporary—but a pandemic of a contagion causing a lack of empathy.  And lack of empathy is the root of all bigotry, all greed, all injustice.  Because with empathy, we cannot heartlessly harm another living creature without feeling harmed ourselves.  And whether that amounts to killing an animal for food, fashion or sport or denying a human being justice and equal rights, it is a crime against nature and it is what destroys our world.  With empathy for the planet and all its inhabitants, you cannot condone pollution just to line your pockets; you cannot hate someone because of who they are by birth—whether it’s immediately evident like skin color or realized later in life like orientation; you cannot create religions, governments or laws that harm people with dogma or decree.  But we do.  And we are damned forever to live in a world of iniquity and hatred unless we change.  Unless we end the pandemic of prejudice, greed and the abuse of power. 

Fortunately, a cure for this pestilent malfeasance exists. And the cure—as old as the world itself—is love. Because love breeds empathy.  And empathy breeds kindness and respect.  And kindness and respect are what will guide us to make the changes necessary to build a better humanity.  A better world.  A future in which we can—not only survive—but thrive.  Together.  In harmony.  But it is up to us demand those changes in ourselves and our systems.  

There is work to be done and we cannot afford to wait or to be afraid to begin.
 With a brave spirit and a kind heart, we can all do our part, however small.  

And do it, we must.


Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Creating...No Matter What


As the world navigates how to best return to public activity, we can still take refuge in the indoor joys that our creative world has opened up in response to the current pandemic.

As I noted in my last post, thanks to the internet, art is flooding our world in manifold ways.  Opera houses, theaters, and individual artists of all sorts are sharing works, new and old, to help each other connect with our culture and creativity.  It's heartwarming to see how we have opened up new ways to share our lives and our dreams.

I have enjoyed many an offering and, have for the last month, been creating one of my own:  a sci-fi short film that I hope to have completed next month.  Made entirely in quarantine, with fellow actors performing and filming their parts, a fellow writer brainstorming ideas via computer and a lot of hours using what post-production programs I have at my disposal. I hope you enjoy it, once it is ready.

Here are some sneak peeks to whet your appetite.






Till next month,  s
tay strong.  Stay safe.

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Resilience


As we are all in the throes of the first pandemic of most of our lifetimes, what I am most moved by is the response from the good people of the world: those who have paid attention to the scientific experts and are doing their utmost to keep us safe and sane in a time of quarantine and isolation.  Not just the heroic people in the medical field, fighting the disease firsthand, but those on the front lines of society’s essential machinery: those who risk their lives to make sure food and supplies are delivered.  And, even more astonishing, my fellow artists who are sharing work in new (and often free) ways to fill our lives with much-needed diversions and delights, with messages of hope, with laughter, with music, with song.


Thanks to the internet, art is flooding our world in manifold ways.  Opera houses are sharing recordings of their works, writers are releasing free copies of their books, museums are offering free virtual tours, performers are doing free virtual concerts—many of these linked to fundraisers to help various groups affected by layoffs, closures, and so on.  There are so many people finding ways to help each other connect and find a little solace in this dark time.  Clearly, the virus cannot touch our creativity, our resilience, our ability to touch one another—even in times of isolation.

Perhaps that is the purpose and power of art: to remind us how interconnected and interdependent we truly are.

Stay strong.  Stay safe.

My two films are free on Amazon Prime:
GARDEN PARTY MASSACRE  (Horror/Comedy)
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07KLQRNFV
DEADLY REVISIONS  (Mystery/Horror)
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B016DJB226/






Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Oscar Winner


I'm not writing anything this time. Joaquin Phoenix has said all that needs to be said in his Oscar acceptance speech. Emphasis on "acceptance".

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

2019 Movies To Cheer

Awards season is here.  There were many memorable films full of incredible talent on both sides of the camera.  Some got Oscar nods, some didn't--but that doesn't change the quality of the work.

I haven't seen all the 2019 films that have been lauded, but a few of the standouts for me were as follows: 


JOJO RABBIT: A surreal, utterly original tale--expertly told; as wickedly funny as is it sobering and thoughtful. It’s everything a movie should be. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

BOMBSHELL: This hip and thrilling expose of the women behind the takedown of Fox News’ Roger Ailes is a masterpiece of filmmaking: the acting, writing, directing, editing, costumes, makeup—every element calibrated to perfection. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

PARASITE: A stunning piece of cinema in many ways, what begins as a delicious tale of bad manners loses credibility with each plot twist and jarring shift in tone before coming to its splashy climax and preposterous denouement. Still, it’s a fresh, engaging journey. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️1/2

JOKER: A dark meditation on society’s failure to care for the mentally ill, boosted by spectacular cinematography and Joaquin Phoenix’s superb performance. Overlong and borrowing too much from “The King of Comedy”, it still packs a powerful punch. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

ROCKETMAN: "Rocketman" proves that a biopic can be as imaginative as anything else out there. Excellent writing, directing, cinematography and acting offer surprises and delights as we float along with Taron Egon singing his way through Elton John's life.  The jukebox musical has finally grown up...and it's glorious. 
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️1/2

AVENGERS: ENDGAME: Too many recent films run over two hours and can't support their runtime, but this final chapter of the series is an exception.  It's a crowd-pleasing, eye-popping piece of old fashioned fun with all the bells and whistles.
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️1/2

Saturday, December 21, 2019

Wrapping It Up


I normally take this time to say something about being kind, being a better person...or aiming to do that in the new year.  


I did that last year...

http://gregoryblair.blogspot.com/2018/12/new-year-new-habits-new-you_22.html


and the year before...

http://gregoryblair.blogspot.com/2017/11/this-year-its-personal.html


and the year before...

http://gregoryblair.blogspot.com/2016/11/greater-gifts.html


If you haven't figured out what's really important in life, go check those posts out.

After you've done that, if you still find yourself in need of more of me (and there really should be a cream for that), I'm simply going to direct you to my year-end wrap up on my website, so you can see  what you missed out hearing about this past year.

You can find that here: 

http://www.2writers.com/Gregory_2019Review.htm

Other than that, let me simply wish you a very happy holiday season and all the best for the coming year.

Thank you for being here.

~Gregory