Sunday, September 26, 2010

WGIRLS- Odyssey House


Monday, June 14, 2010

2010 FIFA World Cup™: Schedule- June 14th

Netherlands vs Denmark- Jun 14 7:30am (ET)
Japan vs. Cameroon- Jun 14 10:00am (ET)
Italy vs.Paraguay- Jun 14 2:30pm (ET) on ESPN

Sunday, June 13, 2010

ESPN FIFA WORLD CUP SCHEDULE- June 13

Algeria vs Slovenia- June 13 7:30 am (ET)
Serbia vs Ghana- June 13 10:am (ET)
Germany vs Australia- June 13 2:30pm (ET)

Friday, June 11, 2010

ESPN's WORLD CUP SCHEDULE- JUNE 12th

South Korea vs. Greece- 7:30AM EST
Argentina vs Nigeria- 10:00AM EST
England vs. United States- 2:30PM EST

ESPN's FIFA WORLD CUP SCHEDULE June 11th

SOUTH AFRICA vs. MEXICO- 10:00 AM EST
URAGUAY vs. FRANCE 2:30 PM EST

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Broadway Musical "FELA!" mixes video with theatre

-by Christopher E. Scott
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It was a warm November evening when I attended the musical “Fela!” at the Eugene O’Neil Theatre on 49th and Broadway. Upon taking my seat, it became instantly apparent that “Fela!” would be a unique theatrical experience. The theatre itself was decorated from top to bottom with Afro-centric iconography, paintings, and sculptures. There was a huge banner above the stage that read “Afrika Shrine” in reference to the club that Fela Kuti owned in Lagos in the 1970s. The stage was decorated to resemble the interior of the club, with zinc paneling behind the band that were on the stage playing Afrobeat music. Men dressed in 70s attire strolled down the aisles, smiling and greeting the audience. One of these men sauntered up the steps to the stage, glanced directly at me, nodded, and waved. The setting of the musical “Fela!” was at the Shrine during Fela Kuti’s final concert in the summer of 1978.

The musical began with a rousing dance number in which Fela Kuti (played brilliantly by Kevin Mambo) boogied down the aisle, through the audience and onto the stage. His acting performance was phenomenal and his singing abilities were tremendous. He instantly connected with the audience, employing humor and allusions to Nigerian politics.

The musical was directed and choreographed impeccably by Bill T. Jones. The dancing went beyond mere movement and became an extension of the story itself. One didn’t have to be a connoisseur of Afrobeat music in order to enjoy this musical. The vivid setting, combined with the dark political themes, and the fantastic choreography enticed me on a visceral level that transcended my musical tastes.

The first act was amazing, but following the intermission, the musical ascended into the stratosphere. One can only begin to fathom the painstaking amount of effort that must have gone into the production of “Fela!” This musical made amazing use of multi-disciplinary art forms- the most effective being the use of video projection.

All in all, “Fela!” was a phenomenal musical and I would recommend it highly.

Monday, November 23, 2009

MIDNIGHT PREMIERE OF "NEW MOON" WAS A MAJOR EYE-OPENER

By Christopher E. Scott

New Moon

Megan invited me to the midnight screening of the film “New Moon”. She is a prominent New York Public School teacher at an all-girls school in Harlem. Like many teachers, she is extremely dedicated to the interests of her students. She often stays late to assist her pupils, or supervise extracurricular activities. Her school has one of the highest graduation rates of any school in New York, and many of her students have gone on to study at some of the top universities in America. Currently, she is organizing a fundraising concert to generate extra revenue to offset the New York City budget cutbacks that have left her school’s music program without sufficient funds. So when she heard that some of her students would be attending the midnight screening of “New Moon” in Manhattan, she graciously volunteered to act as their chaperone. She invited me to come along with them.

It was raining the night I arrived at the Loews theatre on 86th and Broadway. Megan had arranged for my ticket to be waiting at the booth. The theatre was three-quarters full, but there was a seat reserved for me. I bought bags of popcorn at the bodega, smuggled them into the theatre, gave them to Megan to distribute to her students, and sat back to enjoy the film.

In my experience, midnight screenings can be kind of dodgy. They frequently consist of hardcore fans that oftentimes have a propensity for being obnoxious and somewhat inconsiderate. This crowd was no exception. I came to find out that many of the people in the theatre were carry-overs from the “Twilight” screening that occurred in the same theatre prior to my arrival. By midnight, the theatre was sold out. I glanced across the aisle to my right and witnessed a young lady who had brought her baby! I guess she couldn’t find a sitter on short notice.

Over the years, I have become somewhat accustomed to people talking relentlessly during a movie. It usually takes me 15 minutes for my ears to acclimatize to the chatter. But this time, it was impossible. The rowdiness of the crowd was like something I had never experienced before. I felt like the only sober person at a party full of people who had eaten magic mushrooms. That’s the only way I can describe it. And then the screaming started. Not screaming because something scary happened, but screaming because one of the male characters took his shirt off, or said something romantic, or just strolled from one side of the screen to the other. I remember one young girl in the audience screaming, “Oh my God, I love him sooooo much!” The audience responded to her outburst with a combination of applause, and laughter. It became virtually impossible for me to enjoy the film.

But it wasn’t just the audience that ruined “New Moon” for me. The film ruined itself. The opening title with a shot of a full moon, followed by a poetic voice-over by Bella, and a clever scene in a field gave me faint hope that this movie might actually be somewhat interesting. It started out like a Salvador Dali painting. But then, the film plummeted quickly into the realm of “ABC Afternoon Special” meets, “90210”, meets “Young And the Restless”. If the movie was two hours long, it felt to me like one hour and 50 minutes of it was devoted solely to dialogue. There were scenes in the film that were so blatantly redundant that they made me wonder if the filmmakers actually read the script before they decided to shoot it. It was torturous for me to hear a character explain the exact same thing to the exact same character that they explained two or three scenes ago. But judging by the enthusiasm of the audience, no one seemed to take notice. The people around me were eating it up faster than they were eating their own popcorn.

There was one scene where Jacob was walking around topless in the rain for no reason. It was obviously a scene designed to drive the ladies crazy. Well, it worked. Sitting in that movie theatre was like sitting in the audience at a New Kids On The Block in the concert. Now, I don’t care if a character walks around with his shirt off in the rain to titillate the female demographic, but would it kill them to at least let him karate chop a guy in the face afterwards? I wanted to see an action-packed vampire movie, not a Calvin Klein ad.

Another thing that I needed to understand is why the vampires in the Twilight saga felt the need to reside in such a small town? If they love eating people so much, why didn’t they just come to New York? There are tons of people to eat here. As a matter of fact, I could suggest a few victims: starting with the two guys across the aisle from me who wouldn’t stop laughing during the movie. There wasn’t even anything funny happening. It wasn’t a comedy.

I can’t stress enough how corny “New Moon” was to me. The film relied solely on dialogue to move the story forward. It was like listening to a movie on the radio. Not to mention, the lack of a cohesive plot structure, the sappy love story, and the weak protagonist.

When I say weak protagonist, I refer to the character of Bella. Who wants to watch a heroine who spends the entire movie crying and acting a like a victim all the time? Shouldn’t a good movie heroine be a person who makes things happen? If she wasn’t lying in the fetal position in the woods, then she was sitting around in her room feeling sorry for herself. How is that interesting to watch? And the male protagonists were even worse because they spent the movie trying to romance her. But they weren’t trying to win her heart by doing something interesting cinematically; they did it by just talking and talking incessantly. I couldn’t understand why the audience around me actually liked this film. But they didn’t just like it. They loved it!

I noticed that the story of Romeo & Juliet was used as a motif. There were numerous visual cues as well as a plot twist taken directly from the Shakespeare play. But it seemed to me that it took a Shakespeare to turn the themes of Romeo and Juliet into a masterpiece; themes of love, ambition, jealousy, and obsession. The writing in New Moon wasn’t strong enough, in my opinion, to treat these themes well, and so it felt like the filmmakers took refuge in the minor second-hand themes provided by pop culture.

I realize that the film in a lot of ways is a just a fable and isn’t meant to be realistic. But it was obvious to me that the vampires were merely wearing white paint on their faces and red contact lenses. The werewolves looked like video graphics from an Xbox game. However, as I was walking out of the theater, I specifically overheard one of the teenaged students comment on how realistic the werewolves looked and how they conveyed so much emotion. That’s when I decided to start asking myself whether or not adults and teenagers actually see the same film differently. That probably is a subject too complex for my current understanding. It would call for me to do research on the cognitive faculties of people in different age groups. But needless to say, I left the film feeling absolutely flabbergasted. Every single thing that I hated about the film is exactly what the teenagers in the audience loved about it.

It may not even be a “teenage” thing. During the ride home, I asked Megan the schoolteacher what she thought of the film and she said that she enjoyed it. I asked her what she liked about it and she said that she liked the fact that it was exactly like the book. I asked her what she thought of the film’s liberal use of dialogue to tell the story and she said that that was exactly how the book was. Then I asked her why the female protagonist had to be so passive and wouldn’t it have been more interesting if she were more proactive. She responded that that was exactly how the book was. For every thing that I said about the film, she dismissed it with the argument that I don’t understand the film because I never read the book. But what’s the use in making a movie if reading the book is a prerequisite for its enjoyment? If anything, shouldn’t it be the other way around? Shouldn’t the movie help people appreciate the book, by providing a visual anchor for the themes being conveyed by the author?

Then, Megan came back to what I said about Bella acting like a victim. She responded by saying that there are a lot of young girls who go through the same emotions in real life that Bella experienced in the film: heartbreak, depression, etc. “Chris”, she argued “you fail to recognize who the primary market is for this film: young girls.” I couldn’t argue with her. My response might have opened up a whole other conversation about gender roles in film and literature; topics I felt that I wasn’t qualified to debate with a highly educated teacher at an all-girls school. But I will say this: can you imagine if Bruce Willis in “Die Hard” spent the entire movie feeling sorry for himself? To me, a good heroine would see that there is a problem and formulate a strategy to fix it. The story would get interesting, when in the process of tackling the problem, she inadvertently made things worse, thus adding to the tension, and leading us to an exciting conclusion. But I guess that’s not in the book.

It doesn’t matter what I say, because I am obviously out of touch with the zeitgeist. This point came home to me when I read on the website BoxOfficeMojo.com that “New Moon” grossed over 140 million dollars over the weekend!!!!!! That was just the domestic numbers. World wide, it was approaching 300 million dollars. At the rate the film is going, it will generate more revenue in a week than “Twilight” (New Moon’s predecessor) made during its entire theatrical run. I left the Lowe’s theatre in Manhattan seriously thinking that no one in his or her right mind would possibly like that film. I’ve never been so wrong in my entire life.

I posted a status update on my Facebook asking how a film so bad could make so much money, and people responded by suggesting that I get more familiar with subjects like merchandising and marketing. They are right. I’m out of the loop. I’ve been living in a bubble that has separated me from the outside world. I have no idea what teenagers like. I used to, but not anymore. Today, I saw a box of “New Moon” candy. I read the ingredients (high fructose corn syrup and artificial coloring) and asked myself why would anyone eat this poison? But I bet it’s selling like hot cakes.

Maybe I need to look around me if I desire to find an explanation for this phenomenon. For example, as I write a portion of this article, I am in the New York public library in the Bronx. I am surrounded by thousands of books on the shelves and I don’t see one person reading. In front of me is a well-dressed woman in business attire sitting in front of her laptop while talking incessantly on her cell phone. No one around her has the courage to ask her to be quiet. Behind me, is another well-dressed man snoring loudly. He’s been asleep for an hour. Behind him is a mother who is yelling at her small child to “Hurry, the f**k up!” The overweight security guard is nearby, yet he is chatting up a pretty older lady. No one gives a damn. People are bored. I look through the windows below me and I see a 24-hour pawnshop, the neon lights of a tattoo parlor, an out-of-business Tae-Kwon-Do school, and a plethora of discount retail stores.

It seems obvious to me that people desperately need to be inspired. They are hungry for something to care about. Seemingly intelligent people handed over 300 million of their hard earned collective dollars in the middle of an economic depression to see “New Moon”. That is not including revenue generated by merchandising and concessions like popcorn and soda. What are the marketing techniques that were used to create such a phenomenon? How can we use these techniques to get people interested in issues that will inspire and empower them? That is the question that I am asking myself and I feel it begs a proper answer. It is still debatable whether or not cinema has any psychological impact on people; but based on the reactions of the audience I saw at that midnight screening, it most certainly does.


About the author: Christopher E. Scott is a writer, film director, and co-founder of GrandTheftVideo.com

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Grand Theft Video - Le Soul Afrique - Dance Like U Want It [HD Music Video]

Le Soul Afrique - Dance Like U Want It [HD Music Video]

Global Hip-Hop collective Le Soul Afrique make their music video debut in “Dance Like U Want It”, a tribute to the dance element of hip-hop culture. [Directed by Christopher Scott / Produced by Santiago]


Le Soul Afrique - Dance Like U Want It [HD Music Video] from Le Soul Afrique on Vimeo.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Grand Theft Video - Panama

Grand Theft Video - Panama


Panama took the time off of his busy schedule to meet Jay Rome in the Bronx to talk about his role on HBO’s “The Wire”, upcoming acting roles, music career, and to give sound advice to young artists. Very informative, inspirational, and another Grand Theft Video MUST-SEE interview.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Grand Theft Video - Music Retail

Grand Theft Video - Music Retail

Jay Rome interviews the owners of the legendary Moodie’s Records in the Bronx. They talk about the history of the store and the future of music retail. Very informative.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Grand Theft Video - Blahzay Blahzay- Exclusive interview

Grand Theft Video - Blahzay Blahzay- Exclusive interview

Jay Rome had a candid interview with the hip hop icon Blahzay Blahzay in Brooklyn. Blahzay discussed the current state of hip-hop, reminisced about the old days, and gave prudent advice to young artists. A must-see.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Grand Theft Video - Ludacris and Nas in NYC

Grand Theft Video - Ludacris and Nas in NYC

Pure- the documentary

Click Here to Watch It

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GrandTheftVideo.com presents the grittiest documentary ever made about the subject of drug culture. The first film of its kind to deal with the subject from the unique point of view of the user and the dealer. Directed by Christopher Scott and Produced by Amer Musharbash. 24 minutes

Grand Theft Video - Cinemavericks- Episode 1: Media Kite

Grand Theft Video - Cinemavericks- Episode 1: Media Kite

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Grand Theft Video - FOR OUR SONS- 1st 13 minutes

Grand Theft Video - FOR OUR SONS- 1st 13 minutes

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Friday, October 23, 2009

Ludacris and Nas in NYC

Ludacris and Nas storm Heineken’s Red Star Soul Series in NYC. Featuring Jay Rome.