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January 31, 2010

Music Biopics

Danny Leigh from The Guardian weighs in on the new crop of music biofilms coming through:

Among the foremost "buzz films" (sorry) delighting Park City has, for instance, been The Runaways. A biopic of Joan Jett, Cherie Currie and their legendary posse of 70s proto-riot grrrls ....

... Witness in recent weeks alone the excitement around Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll, Mat Whitecross's excellent portrait of Ian Dury, and the less justifiable fuss about Sam Taylor-Wood's sudsy young Lennon saga, Nowhere Boy. After the visionary Hunger, meanwhile, Steve McQueen is to turn next to the fascinating life of Afrobeat pioneer Fela Kuti. By the time that makes it on screen, there will surely have been any number of others coming down the pipe, if not from here then Hollywood.

He concludes with a wishlist of musicians he'd like to see on film:

But the prize catches for me lie elsewhere – in the diverse forms of Afrika Bambaataa and Syd Barrett. The first could follow its hero from gang leadership in the South Bronx to spiritual epiphanies in Africa and the introduction of the world to hip-hop (Warriors meets Malcolm X meets 8 Mile, in the parlance of the studio executive); the second, in all its fractured melancholy, would surely be the last word (finally) in the 40-year celebration of 60s rock gods.

This set me thinking - what would my preference be for musicians I'd like to see on film. Obviously, it has to be cinematic, a life staid lived wouldn't translate well onto screen. Here are some candidates:

  • Marvin Gaye: There's been numerous rumors through the years about some kind of project taking off (here's an example) but the music rights have always proved too painful to surmount. Regardless, the man's life would make a helluva film. Starting off as a doowop singer, then Motown session drummer, rising all the way to the top on his own terms then getting sidelined by drugs and his own inner demons, mounting a comeback only to be shot by his own Minister father? Are you kidding me?

  • Fleetwood Mac: The recording of Rumours alone had enough illegal substances, dalliances and breakups for an entire book, never mind the entire history of the band. Should be fascinating.

  • Ravi Shankar: If you read his autobiography, the talent and the prickly nature of the man comes through. He also loosely touches on his own private life and his "a woman in every port" approach. Given the amazing arc of his career, this one is a no-brainer as well. I have no idea how commercially viable this is but I do worry about how sanitized it would be if an official version ever comes out.

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- January 31, 2010 7:02 PM // Film , Music

January 17, 2010

Marketing To Asians

From Pineapple Express:

The San Francisco Giants are one organization that seems to understand that Asians aren't a monolithic group. Or that Asians automatically imply only those hailing from the Pacific Rim countries. Part of the GIants' 2009 marketing campaign targeting Asian Americans in the Bay Area involved organizing separate theme nights for each community complete with "exclusive" tchotchkes.

All events apparently featured pre and in-game "cultural entertainment." Not sure exactly what those were. However, I thought it would be interesting to list all the promos on offer and see how they differed.

Indian Heritage Night:

"Come be a part of the Second Annual Indian Heritage Night Celebration! The San Francisco Giants have partnered with the National Federation of Indian American Associations and the Hindu American Foundation and are thrilled to be hosting this event during the 2009 season, kicking off Asian Heritage Week!"

"Your package will also include a very special Indian / Hindi themed Giants t-shirt"

Chinese Heritage Night;

With the purchase of this special ticket package at only $20.00, you will not only get to sit in the Chinese Heritage Night section but will receive a unique gift to commemorate your trip to the park - a Lou Seal themed Lion Dancing bobblehead!"

Korean Heritage Night:

"When you purchase your ticket for a special price of $20.00, you will get to experience the pre-game AND in-game cultural entertainment, special seating in the Korean Heritage Night section as well as a Giants/Korean headband and thundersticks."

Japanese Heritage Night:

"When you buy the $20.00 ticket package you will receive a limited edition Giants themed Sake Set, a Sake Tasting Punch-Card which allows you five free tastings AND a seat in the Japanese Heritage Night section. Further details on pre-game party to posted shortly."

Filipino Heritage Night:

"For only $20 you will get a seat in the Filipino Heritage Night section, cultural entertainment prior to and throughout the game, and a special edition Filipino-themed Giants T-shirt (right)"

Some Impressions

  • Sake sets, headbands, bobbleheads .. but only T shirts for Desi Night, no mini Taj replicas? Meh.
  • All the themed nights save for the Indian one sold out. The Filipino event was extended to two nights due to heavy demand.
  • No Middle Eastern events then?

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    - January 17, 2010 10:16 AM // Bay Area

    January 2, 2010

    Crocs Fail

    Here is a snapshot of the Crocs store in South City mall in Kolkata.

    In this picture, we have two salespeople inside the store. They are idle.

    We have one salesperson stepping outside the store. He is not idle.

    He is rushing to prevent us from taking a picture of the store.

    Why? Fear of terrorists reccing the target? Copycats stealing storefront designs? Paranoia? Irrational camera hatred? All we know is we've seen this before - it is very difficult to publicly take images of any kind in a Kolkata mall (you can always sneak the pictures, nothing stopping you from doing that!). In Croc's case though, you think they'd make an exception:

    Reports about the company's future look bleak -- it lost $185.1 million last year, shed 2,000 jobs, and revenue in the first quarter of 2009 declined by 32 percent. And yes, you read that right -- they had grown so big so quickly that they laid off 2,000 people. Just three years ago, Crocs went public in a splashy stock offering, raising $200 million; now it trades at about three bucks a share, down from a high of nearly $70 in October 2007.

    Come on fellas, you need all the viral love you can get.

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    - January 2, 2010 7:41 PM // India