Tuesday, December 12, 2006

'Apocalypto' review taken a step further

Here's the response to the film as given to the publicity agency representative following the press screening ... for the complete review, pick up a copy of the Dec. 18 Midtown Messenger, or visit here a week later for the complete review, and others ...

'Apocalypto': It's the sustainability, stupid. (Gibson does get it)

In "Apocalypto," Mel Gibson continues where he left off in both "Braveheart" and, in a minor way, "The Passion of the Christ."

Following one of "Braveheart's" themes, he continues to uphold the essential value and goodness of small-scale "sustainable" societies (i.e., Daniel Quinn's "Leavers") and documents their ultimately vain struggle against imperial, hierarchical civilizations (Quinn's "Takers").

Following an implication of his professed Catholicism, he points out that Mesoamerican civilizations were not some kind of paradise, but corrupt, decaying and evil--cultures of cruelty and death--as much a "Taker" type of civilization as any to be found--and which also depredated their nearby "Leaver" peoples.

This is historically accurate. So, in his view, it presumably should also rob us of much sympathy for the way the Mayan and other large Mesoamerican civilizations fell victim to the Western invaders. (I.e., consider the Will Durant epigraph at the opening of the film.)

Understood in these terms, the storyline is exactly what I'd hoped it would be. Acting, cinematography, production design, directing etc. all seemed masterful to me, though the casting was somewhat off, with the producers mistakenly thinking anyone of brown skin would fit as New World aboriginals, while some of the actors were clearly of Midde Eastern ethnicity (e.g., Jaguar Paw's wife).

The gore (and the hero's superhuman stoicism and resolve) were classic Gibson--as well as the gimmick of having people look distasteful in proportion as they are evil or corrupt. (E.g., the fat little Mayan princeling on the temple summit, the diseased little girl "prophet" with the facial boils, etc.)

I did enjoy the proud mantra: "I have hunted this forest with my father, as he did with his father," etc. As I recited to Wendy (the screening rep): "My name is Inigo Montoya. I have hunted this forest with my father. You killed my father. Prepare to die. ... My name is Inigo Montoya. I have hunted this forest with my father. You killed my father. Prepare to die. My name is Inigo Montoya. I have hunted this forest with my father. You killed my father. Prepare to die. ..." etc.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

New Garfield infill housing unveiled

Dana Johnson of the Garfield Organization’s Revitalization and Economic Development committee invited the public to an unveiling of new, single-family infill houses in the neighborhood.

An Open House around the unveiling was held Tuesday, Dec. 12, at 1025 E. Portland, Garfield Neighborhood, Phoenix. The following announcement describes the significance of the housing toasted at the event.

For over a decade, Garfield Organization (GO) has partnered with Neighborhood Housing Services of Phoenix and the City of Phoenix’s Neighborhood Services Department to develop infill houses. The goal: to fill vacant lots in Garfield neighborhood with single family homes, inviting new homeowners. Garfield Organization has a vision of what is in keeping with the character of the neighborhood, and has always insisted on infill housing that fits that vision.

After working to support two new historic district overlays in the neighborhood, Garfield residents further responded with a request for new house designs to express a more contextual esthetic in infill housing in their neighborhood. In response to GO’s request, an RFQ was issued and several architects were interviewed.

The winning proposer was Roberts Jones Associates, an award-winning architectural firm with a reputation for designing high-end custom houses from Carefree to Sedona. Their designs for Garfield’s infill houses demonstrate that affordable housing can fulfill the requirements of historically appropriate context, while also meeting financial and market constraints. Roberts Jones Associates accomplished this goal while also exhibiting attention to detail both in materials and in use of vernacular design elements.

Poor William's Almanack - 12/10/06

APHORISMS, or, notes for a stand-up routine

David "Poor William" Tell

The suffix of the word “misogynist” seems to imply that merely by adding a little focus, one can refine a general, perhaps casual hatred of mankind into something more a hobby or art.

If the valley in which Phoenix lies were meant for human habitation, the Hohokam would still be living there.

I’ll never forget the time my wife told me the difference between me and her is that she doesn’t dwell on the differences between people.

She also once admitted that once she gets breast implants, she’ll probably find other aspects of her body to be dissatisfied with. “Yes,” I said, “but at least then you’ll be able to take your mind off it by playing with your boobs.”

Filial love probably arises in early childhood from the sycophancy of being “in” or “tight” with the most important person you know.

I like product names. I noticed an RV with the model name “Intruder” emblazoned on it. I imagined the tagline or slogan to go along with this product: “And we’re parking in your neighborhood!”

“Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” is “my wife’s and my movie.” It’s about a couple who get a second chance at their relationship because HOW MUCH THEY HATE EACH OTHER HAS BEEN BURNED OUT OF THEIR MEMORIES!

Or, to put it differently, paraphrasing Santayana: “Those who can’t remember the history of their relationship are doomed to repeat it.”

This is true: My toilet paper brand found an innovative place to put a coupon to buy more of their product. Actually, I didn’t notice it right away. But the clerk I hand it to probably will.