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October 7, 2011

The Pixar Blog: Steve's Pixar Legacy

The Pixar Blog: Steve's Pixar Legacy: Diana Walker —Contour by Getty Images for TIME The worlds of media, technology, and entertainment have been overwhelmed by the  sad new...

October 5, 2011

Paul McCartney Discusses His "Ocean's Kingdom" in New Interview (VIDEO) (Exclusive)

McCartney Announces Ocean’s Kingdom, his first orchestral score for dance released October 4 


Marking his first foray into the world of dance, Paul McCartney has announced the general release of Ocean’s Kingdom, commissioned by the New York City Ballet. The recording will be released by Hear Music/Telarc and is conducted by John Wilson, produced by John Fraser and performed by The London Classical Orchestra.


Ocean’s Kingdom is the first time Paul has written an original orchestral score or any kind of music for dance and is the result of a collaboration between Paul and New York City Ballet’s Master in Chief Peter Martins, who have worked together to present the world premiere of a new ballet for the company’s 2011/2012 season this September.


Though the work is Paul’s first ballet, he approached the project in the same way he writes all other music, driven by his heart rather than his head and inspired by feeling rather than specific technical knowledge. While this may have been another new turn for his staggeringly varied career to take, Paul knew it had to be influenced by his own personal experience and that he needed to create a story the audience would find equally compelling and moving.


Paul’s first step was to visit the Royal Opera House to see Adolphe Adam’s Giselle, danced by the Royal Ballet. Afterwards, Paul met the dancers and discussed the work with them, realising as he did so that he was still without a central theme to his work. Keen to tell a story through his music, Paul decided to focus on the purity of the ocean and within just two months, the first draft had been completed. He then went through the music again thinking specifically of the ballet itself, thereby creating a world featuring distinctive characters and a vibrant underworld kingdom.  Finally Paul spent many more weeks working alongside Peter Martins to refine the work, before Peter created the choreography with the NYCB dancers.


An hour long score featuring four stunning movements – “Ocean’s Kingdom,” “Hall of Dance,” “Imprisonment” and “Moonrise” – the ballet tells of a love story within the story of an underwater world whose people are threatened by the humans of Earth. A potently expressive and richly varied work, the score is Paul’s most challenging and emotionally complex yet. As he explains: “What was interesting was writing music that meant something expressively rather than just writing a song.  Trying to write something that expressed an emotion – so you have fear, love, anger, sadness to play with and I found that exciting and challenging.”


The premiere of the ballet Ocean’s Kingdom will take place at NYCB’s Fall Gala on Thursday 22nd September 2011 while the release of the orchestral score will follow on October 4th, available digitally, on CD and on vinyl.  It was recorded in June in London.


The artwork that accompanies the release is equally striking and inventive. Though it seems to suggest a city skyline, it is actually a digital readout of the notes from the ballet score.


Although this is his first orchestral score for dance, Paul is already quite at home in the world of classical music.  His back catalogue already carries four classical albums, the most recent of which was the Classical BRIT Award winning ‘Ecce Cor Meum (Behold My Heart)’; a work for chorus and orchestra in four movements that was released in 2006.




1. Movement 1 Ocean’s Kingdom (14:07)                       
2. Movement 2 Hall of Dance     (16:19)
3. Movement 3 Imprisonment     (13:36)
4. Movement 4 Moonrise            (12:29)


October 4, 2011

OCT 6: Sustainable Works Fundraiser at Lexus Santa Monica

Thursday, October 6, 2011 - 4th Annual Fundraiser for Sustainable Works
(a Community Partners project - a 501(c)(3) non-profit, non-partisan organization)

Location of Event:
Lexus Santa Monica
1501 Santa Monica Blvd
Santa Monica, CA

6 - 11pm

General: $75 in Advance | $90 at the Door
Member: $60 in Advance | $75 at the Door
Students: $30 in Advance | $45 at the Door

Catered by Rustico Café & Bakery - Vegetarian & Vegan options
Beer donated by Library Alehouse - Wine donated by a private sponsor 

A special shout out to our friends at the Sheraton Delfina,

who are not only a corporate sponsor, but also donated a
2 night stay to our silent auction PLUS a one night stay for our evening's drawing.
We are feeling the love over here at Sustainable Works! Thanks Sheraton Delfina!!! 

We have received so many wonderful donations that it would be IMPOSSIBLE 

to feature every single one so please visit our website to see an extended list
of all the fantastic businesses that have generously donated to our silent auction! 


Apple Announcements Analyzed: iPhone 4s x 3, iOS 5 & iCloud Get a Date, Cards App, Getting Siri-us With Voice & Sprint to the Finish Line (At Last)

Tech Thoughts by Don Rose


Well, a lot of words went by today, from Apple CEO Tim Cook and a cast of other players, and here are the main highlights, as I see it.


First, the iPhone. As usual, this was what the attendees in Cupertino were salivating for, the meat of the presentation - perhaps a bit leaner meat than in the recent past, but the upshot is this new pricing structure:

iPhone 4s (new generation): 16 GB, $199 ; 32 GB, $299 ; 64 GB, $399.

iPhone 4 (old 2010 model): 8 GB, $99.

iPhone 3Gs (old old model, gen -2): 8 GB, FREE!

The above pricing assumes 2 year contract, natch.

Among other improvements, the new iPhone 4s sports a faster dual-core A5 chip, with up to 7 times faster graphics, and features a cool new assistant named Siri, who I will get to in a minute.


Other news: Sprint is finally getting in on the action; the nation's third largest cell provider will offer the iPhone to its customers for the first time, something widely rumored - but still no Tmo. The "Joy iPhone Club" is now up to 3: AT&T, Verizon and Sprint.


Meanwhile, iCloud and iOS 5 officially have a date. Don't get excited, it's not love, just a drop date. iOS 5, the next generation of the operating system powering Apple's mobile must-haves (iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch), will be a free update available October 12 for download. Apple promises over 200 new features. iCloud will be available the same day.


CARDS is a new free Apple app that lets you create and send cards (real not virtual) right from the palm of your hand. Yep, snap a photo and create a beautiful letterpress card, then mail it anywhere from your iPhone or iPod touch. The cost: $2.99 for mailing that card anywhere in the USA, $4.99 to the rest of the world. Not a bad deal when you consider it includes the card, the envelope, the postage, the effort of delivering the card, and a push notification on your phone to tell you when the card is delivered! Expect this to be a huge holiday helper (hell yeah!).


SIRI voice control for the iPhone was arguably the biggest announcement today. Siri is a new virtual assistant you talk to, enabling you to do a ton of tasks via your iPhone, using voice dialogue. Set up appointments, convert currency, search websites, dictate email and more — just by talking to your phone. Fast, easy. Kinda like dealing with a female HAL 9000, but thankfully much much smaller (and, I assume, more benevolent). The voice itself is not perfect, but does sound decent enough to not get annoyed.


These are just a few highlights from today's announcements, but perhaps the most interesting Apple after-effect was the emotional reaction when it ended. Several tech pundits put down today's event as less than stellar, less than groundbreaking, and perhaps it was a bit of a letdown after so many home runs in a row. For example, many people expected an iPhone 5 along with the 4s we got, which led to disappointment among some. But perhaps the prevalent putdowning of the presentation is more a testament to the 800 pound gorilla who was not in the room. This was, after all, the first Apple announcement in a long long time without Steve Jobs at the helm, and it showed. Perhaps the "reality distortion field" was gone. Perhaps new CEO Cook just doesn't have the charm and charisma of Jobs. 

But let's get real, folks: the new iPhone 4s will sell millions of units, the 4s is the best iPhone ever made (maybe not a quantum leap beyond last year's model, but still a leap), and the iPhone 5 will eventually come. We just come to expect so much from Apple that, when they deliver an A instead of an A+, everyone cries failure. If only we all could fail so successfully.

October 2, 2011

SINGAFEST Film Festival 2011: Saturday Event Report

Photos/Report by Don Rose

The first SINGAFEST featured a full Saturday of films (at Westwood's Crest Theatre), panels (at Westwood's stellar eatery Napa Valley Grille) and a fun festive late night party (again at the NVG). The day began with a shorts program, followed by the well attended afternoon luncheon, featuring two panels focusing on the current state of the Asian film industry.


Professional panelists, post-panel, pose patiently.

Then came 3 more films, the closer being 1981's "Samurai Reincarnation" (aren't you just dying to say Samurai Resurrection? sounds much better), starring Sonny Chiba, owner of the sternest face I have ever seen onscreen. I loved the surprises after the film. After a short martial arts demonstration, the audience enjoyed a brief DVD screening featuring Sonny and his daughter fighting in a remarkably well done short, which almost felt like a mini sequel to the film just screened. Sonny himself then took to the mic, live at the theater, to thank the audience, acknowledge his recent celebration of FIFTY years in showbiz, and promise more films in the future.


Above: Sonny Chiba (R) at the SINGAFEST Saturday night party.

Below is a photo album with some highlights from Singafest Saturday. Enjoy.

SINGAFEST oct1 2011 pix

  View album