Sundance: Secrets of the Tribe

The movie description offered so much promise. Researchers in the late 1960s and 70s studying a tribe in South America that's been untouched by civilized culture. What could we learn from them about our past?

Unfortunately, the film was largely a bitchfest by various academics pointing fingers, blaming one another for misdeeds that occurred during their field research. Some of the accusations were startlingly. I come from a social science background and know that various factions of academia can be brutal toward one another but I've never heard one accusing another of genocide.

I was disappointed that the filmmaker didn't do a better job driving a narrative. It felt as though the film was all over the place with the story that it was trying to tell. Several people walked out of the theater during the movie. I'd take a pass on this one.

Wow Vacuums!

Here's a link to my latest article for Utah Stories magazine. I promise that it doesn't suck despite the subject matter! ;)

Mediterrean Sprouted Lentil Salad

The holiday excesses are a distant memory and my 2010 healthy living resolutions are still in place. I've been interested in incorporating more raw foods into my diet and read about Daniel Koontz's seven-day raw food trial here. I don't really see myself taking a raw foods diet to that level but I like the idea of working some into my regular diet.

I decided to try sprouting lentils. I used the instructions posted here at The Nourishing Gourmet's website. I soaked the lentils on Friday night and started the rinsing process on Saturday morning. This morning I woke up to mason jar full of sprouted lentils!

For lunch this afternoon, I mixed a cup of lentils with chopped roasted red peppers, red onion, and olives with a dijon balsamic vinaigrette. Then, I added a scoop of the lentil mixture to a bed of salad greens. The salad was light and healthy but very filling. Manga!

Sundance: The Oath

Filmmaker Laura Poitras' documentary tells the story of Salim Hamdam, bin Laden's former driver who spent seven years detained at Guantanamo Bay. His story is told through his letters home to his family, as well as, the eyes of his brother-in-law (and bin Laden's former bodyguard), Abu Jandal, who now drives a taxi in Yemen.

The film does an excellent job portraying Abu Jandal as an approachable, charismatic, and intelligent man. At the beginning of the film, I found myself vacillating between liking and hating him. He introduced Hamden to jihad and now feels responsible for his imprisonment.

I found one of the most compelling characters to be the military attorney who represented Hamden during his military tribunal. He clearly expressed his contempt at the they way the American government was stepping beyond its legal boundaries with the Guantanamo Bay prisoners. I was surprised that a military officer would openly denounce the government's dealings with the prisoners at Guantanamo.

The film will be screened four more times during Sundance. It's a balloted film in the U.S. Documentary category.

Traveling Cheap

I have family members who reside on each coast plus friends scattered across the country. I'm always on the hunt for travel bargains. This recent New York Times' article offered some interesting tips.

As an avid Twitter user, I especially liked the travel tips that can be found via my twitter account. I've already started following both the suggested entities. I'm hoping to score a good deal on airfare to New York and somewhere warm and beachy. Doesn't that sound heavenly? The winter doldrums have set in for me.

Sundance Film Festival 2010

Sundance Film Festival starts next weekend and I'm excited to have tickets for several movies. All my films are in Salt Lake City so I'm unlikely to be sharing any photos or stories of star encounters. I have tickets for the following shows and will keep you updated on what I think of the films as I see them. Do any of you have tickets this year?

Secrets of the Tribe
Jean-Michel Basquiat
Last Train Home
Son of Babylon

Every Little Step (Film)

This past fall I saw Pioneer Theater Company's production of 'Chorus Line'. It was my first time seeing the musical that tells the stories of Broadway dancers awaiting their big break. 'Every Little Step' is a documentary about the casting of the 2006 Broadway revival of 'Chorus Line'. The film also tells the back story of how the musical initially came together weaving audio and video footage into the narrative. Three thousand dancers showed up to audition for the revival. Several dancers were followed through the audition process. It's a fascinating look into the physically grueling and rejection filled world of a dancer. 'Every Little Step' is available on DVD.

An Office with a View

We've had another reorganization at work. This will be the third one in less than three years. My job doesn't seem like it'll change much and I still report to my awesome boss although he'll have a few more people reporting to him now. Mostly, I'm grateful to still be gainfully employed.

The reorg involves some folks moving offices. I'm part of that group. I'm scooting down from the fifth floor to the fourth but for the first time in my life I'll have an office with a door AND a window! The move takes place on Tuesday. I'll post pictures of my new space once I'm settled in.

Sita Sings the Blues

I've been perusing many of the ubiquitous 'best of' lists for books and movies over the holiday and keeping track of those that I want to see and read. My Netflix queue is once again ridiculously long and my 'to read' bookshelf on Goodreads is intimidatingly full.

In my web travels this weekend, I discovered that the animated film, Sita Sings the Blues, which has been buried on my Netflix queue is available online in its entirety here. While you are on filmmaker Nina Paley's website, be sure to spend a little time checking it out, she strikes me as a very interesting woman. I've added her blog to my RSS feed. You can check out the movie trailer below.

Nina Paley's cathartic rendition of the Hindu tale of Rama and Sita parallels the demise of her marriage. The film features several styles of animation while interweaving the two stories. The music of jazz legend Annette Hanshaw provides an additional layer of narrative to the film. I'm thrilled to discover Hanshaw's music. I'm a fan of this genre and can't believe that I didn't know of her before watching the film. This is one of my favorite Hanshaw songs from the movie.

I loved the movie. I found the animation style charming and appreciated Paley's novel approach to combining seemingly unrelated content (Hindu story, 1920s jazz, and her personal heartbreak) into one cohesive whole. Plus, it's free. You really don't have an excuse to not at least check it out for yourself.