From Kanye West’s ridiculously overly dramatic, egotistical, self appreciation after accepting his award, to Tim McGraw proclaiming that he wants to live like he’s dying, it was apparent to me that the Grammy awards were nothing more than a shameless promotion of the artists that the corporations want people to listen.
From Kanye West’s ridiculously overly dramatic, egotistical, self appreciation after accepting his award, to Tim McGraw proclaiming that he wants to live like he’s dying, it was apparent to me that the Grammy awards were nothing more than a shameless promotion of the artists that the corporations want people to listen.
Halloween Directed: by Rob Zombie.
Starring: Tyler Mane and Malcolm McDowell.
Running Time: 109 min. Rated: R
Shoot ‘Em Up Starring: Clive Owen, Paul Giamatti and Monica Bellucci.
Running Time: 87 min. Rated: R
If you missed most of the summer movies I have two suggestions for you. Rob Zombie’s Halloween and Shoot ‘Em Up!
If you love a good horror movie especially the original Halloween. Do yourself a favor and see this film. It’s a great horror film. It’s different enough from the original film that you’re not getting the same story. There are echoes of the original throughout this film.
The film goes into the back-story of the legendary killer Michael Myers. Showing his horrible family life, which created our favorite Bogeyman. This version you still feel the dread and fear around every corner like in the first.
The young actor who plays Michael at 10 or so is frightening and childlike at the same time. The actor that plays Michael as an adult Tyler Maine plays the killer like a great white shark killing everything in its way until it catches its ideal prey.
If Myers is a great white than McDowell’s Dr. Loomis’ is Quint from Jaws. Also if you’re a horror film fanatic like I am you notice appearances by horror film veterans like Clint Howard Ron Howard’s brother and Dee Wallace Stone the mother from ET, The Hills Have Eyes and The Howling. Keep your eye out for more familiar horror film faces.
Rob does a great job of reinventing the legendary psycho killer and giving some believable motives for his behavior and need for wearing a mask. But you never truly know what’s going on in his head. Zombie brings a horrifying reality to the Halloween mythology and
brings a satisfactory conclusion to this story. So there is no need for further silly and unnecessary sequels. So do your trick-or-treating early and catch this film.
Finally the best action picture of this summer was the sexy, electric and violent live action cartoon Shoot ‘Em Up the title pretty much sums up the film.
Both male leads of this film play it like Bugs Bunny with carrot versus Elmer Feud. There are also traces of Tom and Jerry in the film with Rube Goldberg cause and effect machines included.
Add a baby, a sexy Italian call girl and a million, trillion body count of bullet riddled gunshot victims and shake well. You get a bang, bang, shoot ‘em up never ending adrenaline rush from beginning to end. You’ll never laugh so hard at multiple shootings again. This film was big over-the-top action scene after action scene it never lets up.
I can’t say much more about this film it’s just a freaking fun and inventive movie to watch. I give both films Stars (*****).
The holidays are around the corner! Share with us your favorite holiday movies and tell us why they are so special to you.
I’m twenty-five and single. Yes, single. I’ve never really dated anyone or had a romantic relationship. It might be embarrassing for some to admit something like this, but I think part of human growth involves sharing and learning from the experiences of others as well as our own. So, I am putting myself out there.
I have grown up with a muscular condition that has never been diagnosed. I was informed I either have two things going on, or I have my own unique condition that maybe nobody else in this world has. I compare it to Muscular Dystrophy because many of my physical traits are similar to those of Spinal Muscular Atrophy. I have been in a wheelchair since the age of ten, and also had scoliosis as a child. I was always somewhat shy and soft spoken, and of course there are some of my adolescent years I wish I could block from memory.
I consider myself lucky, I’ve never really fallen victim to depression or self-esteem issues. I was brought up attending a mainstream school, and fought the same fight most young people with disabilities need to go through. The fight is to simply be viewed as an equal in the eyes of our peers.
This carries over into matters dealing with the opposite sex.
As an adult, I sometimes reflect upon how I viewed dating, romance, and sex when I was in my late teens and very early twenties. I had a few big crushes, but it was really hard for me to even find a guy to have a crush on. Maybe I was being extremely picky. As cheesy and as cliché as it sounds, there had to be something “special” about the guy. I was always trying to read between the lines and analyze his words and actions towards me to determine if he was “into me.” Ugh. I cringe when I think about those years and how I acted like a silly teenager. But, that is what I was.
The topic of the opposite sex is seen so much differently as an adult. I think it takes becoming an adult, experiencing life, and simply observing the experiences of people around you to help you find who you are and what you want out of life. For the past two years, I’ve seen a few of my friends get engaged, married, or have kids. I am now the only single person among my close circle of friends. I’m comfortable being single, and usually don’t feel like I’m missing out on anything. I don’t need a relationship to validate my identity or to feel whole or worthy. I am confident in the fact that I do have something to offer, whether it is to someone else or to the world in general.
Over the years I’ve flirted a bit here and there. I have had guys approach me when I would go out to the bar with my friends. Unfortunately, I was most often targeted by the wrong types of males. These are the kinds of guys who use the sex laden pickup lines and attempt all the smooth talking they can manage. Needless to say, they picked the wrong gal to do this to. I am not going to fall for a man who talks that way. Sometimes I would get so tired of these empty lines I would almost ask them what their mothers would think if they knew their sons chatted up women like that.
I understand that the bar is not the best place to find quality guys, but it can be done. I come from a small college town that is also home to a couple large international corporations. There had to be some men here who had decent manners and great personalities who had their lives in order, right? If there was, I don’t think I was looking hard enough. Loud bars also aren’t conducive to conversation anyway, and I can’t exactly talk loud.
Last summer, I did meet someone who changed how I felt about relationships, love, and sex. I didn’t meet him in my town; he wasn’t even from here. He found my Yahoo profile online, saw my picture and thought I was cute. He randomly contacted me on messenger and we started getting to know each other. I found out he was an amputee from New York City, and he was so incredibly funny (not to mention totally handsome). Something between us clicked. We chatted for a year, talked about meeting, and um…had some rather racy conversations. This continued until a couple months ago. I’m not naïve so I always knew it wasn’t a relationship. You can’t fall in love with someone online. I held no expectations so when he found someone in his area to date; I really wasn’t disappointed and wished him the best.
Although we are no longer in communication, I guess I can give him a little credit for helping me see relationships and issues related to them in a different light. Also, society often stereotypes individuals with disabilities as asexual and this is something that also gets wired into our brains. This is not a good thing and needs to stop. This guy helped me to understand sex isn’t taboo for us and it is a subject we need to communicate more about in terms of relating personal experiences and resources to inform one another. There are people out there who will see us for who we are, see us as beautiful, hot, sexy, and attractive. It is not impossible for us to find love. We just need to find ways to let more people see us. Why should we closet ourselves?
Following my online fling (I guess I can call it that), I knew what I needed to do. If I yearned for my personal life to progress the way I wanted it to, I needed to take action. It was imperative that I meet individuals outside my rural bubble. Someone referred me to a free online dating site that has become one of the largest on the web. I finally decided to grab the bull by the proverbial horns and go with it. Last month, I posted my profile and I am happy to say I have been communicating with some really great guys who actually live in my state. Although I have not met any of them face to face yet, I am proud of myself in that I am taking more control of my life in a way I really hadn’t before.
I feel like I understand the male gender a lot better as an adult, as well as how dating and relationships should be viewed. Not everyone will see these topics the same way because everyone is different. In looking for someone to date, and during the process, we must always be realistic. If after a few conversations or dates the other person feels you aren’t right for each other, don’t feel rejected. It just means there is someone else out there who is better suited for you. Always be honest, open, and I cannot stress this enough, communicate! Know what kind of person you’d like to be with, but be a little flexible. Nobody is perfect.
I’m not saying everyone has to approach looking for a relationship the same way I am, but if you really want to reach a broader pool of people, you might want to give the online thing a whirl. It is quite fun. Who knows, in the end, you might find exactly the man or woman you are searching for and be able to change your single status.
Questions or comments? Send them to email@example.com .
Simon Illa’s interview was unique from the get go. It’s always an awesome experience to speak to a fellow OI’er, someone living with Osteogenesis Imperfecta. The interview you are about to read couldn’t be written in a normal format because let’s face it, if once you get to know Simon you will realize that following the mainstream is not his beat.
So what kind of an interview do you get when the interviewer is a little latina diva on wheels and the interviewee is a short stature young man with an ego that can plug up any hole in the ozone? A great time and some interesting answers.
Audacity: What was your attitude like as a kid, throughout your teens, 20s and what’s it like now as you begin your 30s?
Simon: My attitude toward things has not changed to much on things. I have always been a driven person, who goes after what I want in life. Obviously some of my personal experiences such as the loss of my mother when I was 3, my father when I was 23, and my grandmother (who I grew up with) just a few years ago really shaped who I am and how I look at life as something you have to own… if I am making sense…haha.
Simon’s mother was killed before his very own eyes and his father committed suicide. He explains in his video at myspace.com . You can click on our link at myspace and find Simon’s there!
Audacity: What did you want to be when you grew up?
Simon: When I was very young, I had thought of being a doctor. My grandmother was a nurse and always suggested I would make a great doctor… but as soon as I discovered my musical talents I knew I wanted to be in the music business and the doctor thing went out the window.
Audacity: How did the music industry grab your attention?
Simon: My dad, who was a great musician, bought me a documentary on rock group Metallica and how they made one of their greatest selling albums… a documentary of making a record, in the studio. I must have watched it a thousand times. I knew that I wanted to make records. That was when I was about 13 or 14.
Audacity: Do you ever use your disability as a unique angle?
Simon: The only way I really see its use is that people rarely forget me which in this business is a great thing. I must note that it is my skills as a writer/producer/musician that has gotten me this far… everyone has a gimmick. But the great thing is that once I get hired to work on a record, my physical “differences” are no longer a part of the equation. Then it’s all on my talents. That’s the beauty of the job, it’s not about what I am physically, it’s all about the music, and I always say, my music sounds the same with your eyes closed.
Audacity: What is your regular work day like?
Simon: There is no “regular” work day… depending on where I am, it is usually sleep, wake up, go into the studio for a whole day and then back to sleep. Then there are days of meetings and traveling.
It can get crazy, I remember a few months ago, flying to Cleveland for a weekend of studio work, flying back to Philly (Philadelphia) for a day, flying to Miami for 3 days of studio work, meetings, and a huge magazine interview, back to Philly and then flying to Atlanta for three days of more meetings… it can get crazy to say the least.
Also, depending on the client, a work day may start at 9 am or 11pm, it varies from project to project. Can’t forget to mention getting tons of phone calls.
Audacity: Where do you see yourself in five years?
Simon: A few Grammy nominations, a win or two would be good… Cover of Rolling Stone Magazine and maybe another condo in Miami.
Audacity: Have you helped other disabled people who might be musicians, songwriters and musical engineers
Simon: I help anyone as much as I can who are striving to be in the music business, disabled or not.
Audacity: Some people with disabilities say that the music industry discriminates against them because they are disabled.
Do you agree?
Simon: Depends on what aspect of the music business you are getting into. I know perfectly “able-bodied” people that get discriminated against in this business, especially those trying to be recording artists. I know that if the talent is there whether that person is disabled or not, it will find a way to the top. It’s not an easy business to thrive in.
Audacity: Has your disability helped or hurt you in your profession?
Simon: I don’t think it has done either. If it has done anything, I think that it helped me realize that I have a real talent at what I do. Also, my personal drive has proven so many people’s stereotypes wrong, there is a great deal of satisfaction in that.
Audacity: What do you consider your weaknesses and your strengths?
Simon:Like any creative individual, I am always my toughest critic and nothing is ever good enough for me… that’s why I always strive to do better but it adds stress to the job and my life in general.
My strength is my networking and my way of working with singers and musicians. I am definitely a people person. I can get along with just about anybody and I have incredible patience… all of which I have found are the cornerstone of being a great record producer.
Audacity: You wrote on your myspace that you are the definition of a hustler, why?
Simon: I did not personally write that… that was a quote from Urban Hitz Magazine in Australia. My interpretation of that is that they are saying, here’s a guy with more odds stacked against him than the average person making their way into the music business and he is doing big things.
The word hustler has taken on a new meaning in the world of urban culture.
Audacity: What is the one question you wish other interviewers would ask you?
Simon: Do you think your physical “situation” had more to do with who you are than your personal life experiences?
*On the telephone, Simon and I discussed or rather debated this issue after he stated that it was his personal life experiences. After reaching a stalemate, he stated that his disability has much to do with who he is but he doesn’t make it a point to revert to his disability to make major decisions in his life.
He said usually others point it out for him. For example, his lawyer reminded him that he needed to prepare financially for any medical emergency that would allow him to maintain the lifestyle he has now.
But it’s his personal experiences that drive him to perfection and his disability takes a backseat to that.
Audacity: Are you married? Seeing someone?
Simon: Not married, not seeing anyone right now… are you askin me out??? hahaha kidding.
Audacity: Do you have children?
Simon: Not that I know of… I do travel a lot… kidding again… no, I don’t have children… someday…maybe.
Audacity: Where do you live? Do you live alone?
Simon: I live in a penthouse condo in downtown Philadelphia. I lived alone for about six years but my good childhood friend, Patrick moved to Philly and he is a great musician and he has been co-writing on a few records with me.
But personally, I take care of myself, although I travel with a bodyguard now when I fly to other cities as more and more people are recognizing me.
Audacity: What are some of the hobbies and interests that you have in your spare time?
Simon: Unfortunately I don’t get much spare time. In the spring and summer, I like to break away on occasion and go to a few baseball games… I am a Phillies fan, plus I produced music for Major League Baseball, so there are always free tickets available to me.
I also spend my available free time driving around (in the chair) listening to my ipod.
Audacity: What is your favorite type of music?
Simon: all kinds…
Audacity: Who is your biggest inspiration?
Simon: My parents and my grandmother. My parents, especially my mother, who never had a chance to do what she wanted to do in life. I was always told that I am very similar to my mother even though I never really knew her. My father was a great guitar player and my grandmother always allowed me to find my own limits.
After several hours on the phone, Simon, a funny, outspoken man was asked do you think you are a role model for other people with physical disabilities.
Simon said, if pursuing my dreams and living my life doing what I know how to do best inspires, motivates or gets someone else with a physical disability or without a physical disability to go after their dreams, then that’s good too but I don’t live my life to inspire others. I live my life for me.
You can catch Simon Illa on the cable show TLC, The Learning Channel, tonight on Miami Ink as he gets a tattoo that symbolizes his love for his family.
Questions and comments: email us at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Yew Choong Cheong, a West Virginia University student who plays and studies classical piano despite a loss of hearing, recently won the 2007 International Young Soloists Award given by VSA arts.
The international, nonprofit organization was founded in 1974 by Ambassador Jean Kennedy Smith to create a society where all people with disabilities learn through, participate in and enjoy the arts.
As one of four award recipients from around the world to receive this honor, Cheong will play at the John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts in Washington, D.C., on March 21. He will also receive a $5,000 scholarship to assist with his career and studies in music.
Cheong, who is pursuing a doctorate in musical arts in the WVU Division of Music in the College of Creative Arts, studies under the tutelage of Professor Peter Amstutz. He considers the selection — the first for a WVU student — a great honor.
“This award is by far the biggest achievement I’ve ever had in my life,” Cheong said. “Receiving this recognition certainly motivates me to keep doing the one thing I love the most, playing piano. I really wish to dedicate this award to everyone with disabilities. Nothing is impossible if they have the necessary passion and perseverance in pursuing their goals.”
Cheong is also a graduate assistant and teaches applied piano to others while assisting with tuning and maintaining the University’s piano inventory. At the Kennedy Center, Cheong will perform “Piano Variations” by Aaron Copland and Franz Liszt’s “Hungarian Rhapsody No. 6.”
“It’s a joy to see Yew Choong do so well,” Professor Amstutz said.
“This is quite an accomplishment, and it’s especially amazing with his specific circumstances and the challenges he’s overcome. He’s a brilliant student — both academically and at the piano, and I’m very happy for him.”
Cheong has a form of nerve deafness. He can read lips and carry on a spirited conversation, but his hearing impairment is so severe that he cannot use a telephone. He rents a room from Ed Keller, a professor emeritus in the University’s Department of Biology.
“The magnitude of Yew Choong winning this award is incredible,” said Keller, who is well known for his life-long work to obtain funding and support for students with disabilities.
Cheong was born in 1978 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. He started playing piano at the age of six at the urging of his mother. When he was about eight years old, a viral infection damaged his left ear. Ever since, he has worn hearing aids.
Despite his severe hearing loss, Cheong continued to study piano, working with P’ng Tean Hwa, a professor at University College Sedaya International. P’ng also earned his doctorate of musical arts degree at WVU as a student of Amstutz.
Although he admits initially disliking piano lessons as a child, Cheong remembers a special day when he was about 14 when he listened to Ludwig van Beethoven’s “Bagatelle in E-flat.”
“I suddenly fell in love with the music for the first time,” Cheong said of that day. “Since then, I became very curious and obsessed with classical music.”
Beethoven, who also suffered from hearing loss, is Cheong’s favorite composer.
“I always feel a sense of kinship with Beethoven,” Cheong said. “I admire his perseverance in doing what he really wanted. His music is not always about struggle, but it often speaks about a strong will to overcome any circumstance. Yet there is an inexplicable calmness and depth in his music. I always feel Beethoven telling me himself, ‘Accept your flaw. Know who you are.’”
In 2001 Cheong was awarded a full scholarship to WVU, followed by graduate assistantships, to continue his musical studies. Playing piano doesn’t come easy, says
Cheong, who in recent years has experienced bouts of sudden hearing loss in both ears. He admits he has difficulty recognizing pitches of high frequency.
“I’m still able to hear physically with the help of hearing aids, and play whatever I feel, right from my heart,” he said.
Cheong said understanding speech is more difficult for him than listening to instrumental music because of different intonations among people. He uses computer software to assist him in tuning pianos.
“I’ll try to hear the ‘vibration’ of the pitch,” he said. “If the piano sounds ‘calm,’ then it’s in tune. That’s how I work with tuning.”
Cheong has won numerous prizes, including the 2002 Music Teachers National Association Collegiate Artist Piano Competition in West Virginia. He was one of the selected soloists in WVU’s annual Young Artists Auditions in 2003, playing Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s “Concerto No. 1″ with the WVU Symphony Orchestra.
He has been selected to perform in master classes at the University, and he has also participated in the International Keyboard Institute and Festival at Mannes
College of Music in 2004 and the Forum Internacional de Musica Barcelona
Ciutat in Barcelona, Spain in 2005.
Cheong has completed all of his doctoral course work at WVU and plans to graduate in spring 2008. One of his dreams is to organize a piano festival in his hometown where professors and pianists are invited to perform and give master classes to promote the appreciation of classical music and piano among the public.
“I wish to extend my deepest gratitude to my parents for their love and support,” Cheong said. “I also want to thank Dr. P’ng Tean Hwa, my former teacher in Malaysia – without whose encouragement I could never have made it to the United States to study; Dr. Peter Amstutz, for his invaluable teaching and support; Dr. Edward Keller; and Tim Richards, the piano technician at the Creative Arts Center, for teaching me how to tune and regulate pianos.”
V For Vendetta is about a freedom fighter known only as “V”. Similar to that fictional hero, Zorro, he fights to free his countrymen from an oppressive and evil totalitarian government. He even leaves his own mark the letter V behind him just as Zorro had.
V wears a black Cape and hat similar to those worn by Zorro. He wears a mask in the likeness of a great English revolutionary, Guy Fawkes. The English observe a national holiday in his honor on the fifth of November.
The story is set in an Orwell like 1984 future version of London. V harbors a vendetta against his government because leaders sanctioned Nazi like medical experiments to be performed on him and other innocents.
The scientists created a monster, however, when V survives with newly gained superhuman stamina and fighting skills. His face was badly burned while escaping his tormentors ergo his mask.
There are a few references to the punk rock culture in England. The word bullocks, for example; a vulgar colloquialism often used by punks in England is used over and over again in the film.
There is a reference to the Sex Pistols song God Save The Queen. The film’s theme literally brings to mind the Pistols’ punk rock anthem Anarchy InThe UK.
The producers, the Wachowski Brothers adapted the graphic novel by Alan Moore and David Lloyd for the screen. Alan Moore requested his name taken off the graphic novel and had no involvement with the film because of his objections to past movie adaptations of his works From Hell and League of Extraordinary Gentleman.
He felt his work was not faithfully adapted for the screen.
The story provides a lot of food for thought. It is a metaphor for the main message of the film, which is “Ideas are bulletproof!” In other words, men may die but ideas can live forever.
The film was violent but necessary for the story to be effective. Throughout history violence has been a necessary evil to create great change. Such was true of the American Revolutionary War and World War II.
I enjoyed the film immensely. Hugo Weaving was the epitome of an antihero. Even though he could not use facial expressions his voice and gestures made his performance outstanding.
V For Vendetta was a dark and moody film but uplifting in the end. When I left the theater I felt glad to be a free American citizen enjoying all rights we sometimes take for granted.
Running time: 131 minutes
Director: James McTeigue
Distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures
Starring: Hugo Weaving, Natalie Portman, Stephen Rea, and John Hurt
If you like fun, scary and gory horror films, that don’t require a lot of thinking, then Final Destination 3 is the movie for you. This film only requires three things from its audience; first, the $8.50 admission price, second, suspension of one’s disbelief and third, a fear of death.
It can’t stand up against classic horror films such as Psycho or Night of the Living Dead, but it was an entertaining film.
This is the third installment in the highly successful trilogy about cheating death and the consequences to be paid when you don’t meet your maker on schedule. It isn’t really necessary to see the first two films; each can stand on its own. Usually sequels fall short of the original entry.
This was true of the second film in the series, but the third installment was just is good as the first one.
Surprise scares jumping out of their seats. The death scenes, however, were exaggerated and unbelievable fun to watch.
FD 3 takes place six years after the first film. This time the story is set during a senior class trip to an amusement park. Wendy, one of the senior girls has a premonition of a horrible roller coaster accident, which tragically ends her life and the lives of her friends.
When she manages to avert the natural order of things, she changed death’s plan. All three films portray death as an unseen and malevolent force of nature rather then an entity wearing a black hood and carrying a sickle.
This fear of our ultimate demise is a common theme in horror films. The idea of cheating death has been the basis of many horror stories most notably Frankenstein. Horror cinema provides the viewer a safe and controlled way to experience their fears and terror at a safe distance.
This is also true of roller coasters, where riders pay for a terrifying experience that ends when the ride stops.
It has been said that there are many ways to die, and director James Wong comes up with a lot of new and inventive ways to die. As a diehard fan of the genre, I enjoyed this film.
However, it isn’t for everyone especially the faint of heart and the squeamish. There is a lot of blood and guts in Final Destination 3.
Three out of five stars!
Running time: 115 minutes
Director: James Wong
Distributed by: New Line Cinema
Once again Miami’s own, Harry Horgan uses Shake A Leg’s historical hangar for a worthwhile time of fun and inspiration. Last night, Shake A Leg held a movie screening for “39 Pounds of Love”, a film that truly captures Audacity Magazine’s message of living an audacious life!
Ami Ankilewitz’s story can be appreciated on so many levels: spiritually, literally, figuratively. As disabled people, we appreciate, understand and support his decisio
n to travel from Israel to the United States in search of a doctor who predicted he would not live past the age of six. The movie does more than concentrate on the search for the physician. It digs into our own need to do more with our lives than merely exist.
Ami lives with a severe form of muscular dystrophy. Rather than dwelling on the medical interpretation and limitations of the illness, the film focuses on Ami’s thoughts, decisions and actions.
At his celebratory 34th birthday dinner, Ami announces his plans to leave home and find Dr. Cordova. Despite his parents’ protests, Ami sets off with his best friend and former caretaker, Asaf, and his friends who make up the filming crew. A rather sudden decision?
Not exactly. A year earlier, Ami realizes that his feelings for his caretaker, Christina, will never be reciprocated at the same passionate level, he decides to cut her out of his life and makes plans to travel abroad. The film footage is excellent. There is no guessing or too much narrative to explain to the viewers what is better said with film.
To further enhance Ami’s views about his love for Christina, Ami created a 3D animation love story using only the one part of his body that he can still move: his left finger. The story is about a bird who is in a similar love predicament and must give the lady bird the moon to have her into his life. Ami’s symbolism is so apparent yet, it is romantic and heartfelt with a touch of class that would make any woman swoon.
Rather than spoil the ending for you on that story line, let’s focus on the other story subplots that capture the hearts and souls of everyone in the audience. Throughout the entire movie, Ami’s witty humor and peaceful attitude shine through in those moments when people would tend to lash out of frustration, anger or resentment.
For example, there is a scene where Ami is in the park and people literally appear to be frightened by the mere sight of him. While many people with physical disabilities can empathize with Ami, those feelings do not last too long when Ami makes a quick comment about the strange reactions from the people in Israel.
Regardless of where he travels, Ami gives quite an impression. In one scene, Ami sits in a green inflatable chair in the middle of the desert with several strangers having a philosophical conversation. The image depicts a strong connection to Jesus in his travels.
Many of us with a physical disability are often given unsolicited prayers and predictions of a near future cure that will take our pain, discomfort and disability away. Ami is no stranger to that in his travels from California to Florida. He accepts their blessings and well wishes. Right before he is about to make one of his lifetime dreams come true, an unlikely person performs a healing treatment and tells him that he will be fine. Ami replies that he will be fine after he completes this particular goal.
It doesn’t take much to realize that his thoughts might be spiritual but his attire is screaming, “Where is my Harely Davidson?” Ami has a scruffy not fully grown beard, a tattoo on each arm, and motorcycle boots. He describes himself as weighing similar to a big turkey. There is a prominent sense of spunk in his personality.
His desire to locate the doctor who sentenced him to 6 years of life and not one day more is compounded by a surprise visit to his brother’s home in the United States. Oscar, the older brother, felt ignored because of the attention Ami’s disability demanded from people which lead to their estranged relationship. The visit brings tears to our eyes. The reunion is met with more unexpected surprises that remind us to forgive one another and embrace the moment.
The film flows smoothly. I can honestly say there is not one scene in the entire film that does not add another dimension in Ami’s life. From his comment about a particular owner’s Dracula looking door knocker to the 3D animated storyline, there is part of Ami in everything.
The most profound statement in the film is Ami’s perception on death. “I live with death by my side. We’re old friends.” As people with physical disabilities, we know exactly what he lives with on a daily basis. No pity, a simple statement that says it all.
Even if I describe and analyze every scene my words would still not give the film the justice it deserves as an excellent portrayal of a man setting out, as he puts it, on a climb up Mount Everest. Ami’s story earned its accolades in the film industry and it will earn it in your hearts.
The movie will air on HBO on March 22, 2006. The DVD will be available on May 1, 2006. The soundtrack is available now.
The musical maturity of System of a Down (SOAD) has propelled them to the forefront of the alternative metal heap and silenced the critics who had labeled the group as a loud screeching disorganized swell of noise.
That’s not to say that these tortured artists lost their maniacal sharpness and uncontrollable propensity to rattle skulls and get your adrenaline flowing, since they are still as chaotic as they have previously displayed on earlier releases. The evidence appears in the meaty momentous rhythmic assault that is apparent with the wall shuttering romp “Attack,” which contains the power and political strife to energize the listener and feeds their salivating angst.
This album is more of a follow up to the brilliantly produced platinum breakthrough success “Mesmerize,” that hit the shelves earlier in the year, and “Hypnotize” continues on with that similar vibe. The surprising emergence of guitarist, Daron Malakian, as a vocal presence on the last two records has given the band a split personality and a versatility that was severely absent from the first few releases.
Many of the hardcore followers may take issue with his high pitched wails and emotional comfort he’s taken license with, but it only adds to the raw aggression and gives the band moments of serenity and self actualization. It’s very difficult to scrounge around a corporately run record store and discover a group that has resonance and something to say while possessing the ability or talent that they have obtained.
SOAD has evolved through their existence and are only discovering how transcendent they could become but with their humble personalities and love of making quality tunes, they might get in their own way of them realizing how huge they could become.
The combination of haunting harmonies and frantic guitar pummeling is a blissful reminder of how a band can redefine a genre and give you a fresh listening experience. Serj Tankian has no problem sharing the spotlight with his fellow band mate even though he possess a superior vocal ability and can challenge for the crown of best rock singer.
That’s not to say that Serj is completely overshadowed or shutdown from making his explosive contribution, but doesn’t have to dominate as the face of the group. “Holy Mountains” is the most seamless example of the muscle and the delicacy of the harmonizing on the disc and is most representative of how flexible they could be. The obesity of their reverberation is a gateway to their beautiful melodies and surprisingly hearty hooks.
The anger and aggression seems to be a facade perpetuated by the band and might rub new listeners the wrong way but to a patient and understanding ear; the sugar lies within the structure of the song and pulls your heart right from the depths of your rib cage. The abrupt but decisive shift in the rapidity of the tracks is a trademark of SOAD and gives the listener a burst of energy after a much needed lull or vice versa.
“Stealing Society” is a schizophrenic rock canvas as it erupts from the beginning, scales down to a pop rock opera and transcends to a surfer style or beach boys anthem with a bit of a sarcasm and displaced obscenity. The guitar crunching style takes somewhat of a back seat to the experimentalism and willingness to open up and present the vulnerability to their audience.
As someone who wasn’t a fan of their music at the outset, I have become a giddy crusader who wants to build up this band’s growing reputation and propel them to immortal status. The bandwagon is reaching capacity as of late, but with the attention span of the A.D. D. generation, it’s what have you done for me lately and the fame bubble can burst at any moment.
That might be too far fetched with the work ethic of this feisty bunch and the fact they tend to connect with people on many levels. They know how to inspire the hearts and minds of the impressionable spirits of any generation as we move through these tumultuous times.
SOAD has been loosely associated with bands such as Faith No More, Soundgarden, and Helmet, but has grown into its own influential beast and might help other bands without an identity gets their feet wet. Their Armenian backgrounds add a unique flavor to their sound and it lets them get away with writing adventurous jingles and sweeping melodies.
This total disregard for hard rock formulas and boring conventions inspire others to mix genres in order to formulate an interestingly unexpected hybrid of music. It is also very refreshing to see a genuinely outraged and disgusted group of American citizens who sing with their souls, while embodying the activist mantra that is so sorely absent from today’s collection of millionaire and camera hogging artists.
They don’t hate their country but know it has a long trek to make in order to free itself from the notorious reputation of being the world’s biggest hypocrite. This gives the band the edge and gives them license to maintain a lack of respect it has for abusive authority and SOAD has learned how to connect with the misguided young adults who have no release for their frustration.
The hard hitting lyrics launch an attack on Hollywood and the publicity hounds that leave footprints on the red carpet in order to build up their undeserved celebrity image. They also harp about the negative role of television in our lives and the apathetic lifestyles we create for ourselves so we can have a clean conscious about how our actions affect the biosphere around us.
The uncompromising assault on the role that drugs play in society and the despicable exploitation of sex and violence are the unflinching nemesis that’s at the brunt of their cold vengeance. These lyrics seem to strike a chord with millions of people and add to their growing appeal but also serve as a perfect compliment to their non derivative music or unmatched intensity.
At an all too brief but concise 40 minute mark SOAD were still amazingly able to compress their message and accomplish their goal of penetrating the listeners psyche. It’s not about the length of the record that’s important but it’s absolutely imperative that you encourage people to connect with it and these four men have mastered the art inspiring their fans, while inspiring newcomers. There has never been a shortage of testosterone in the music but also never lack humility and they have never forgotten where they came from.