System of a Down and Korn 2022

System of a Down, Korn, Faith No More, Helmet, Russian Circles

Banc of California
Page Hamilton of Helmet

‘Rona may have killed the mood for a while, but rock and roll will never die! Way back in 2020, pre-Covid and still working at my last job before being laid off due to the pandemic, I had purchased two tickets. I hadn’t seen one of my favorite bands, Faith No More, in decades. The last time I saw Faith No More, they opened up for Metallica and Guns N’ Roses and somewhat stole the show…for me anyways. I was really looking forward to seeing them after so many years. I believe the concert was originally supposed to take place in May 2020. Headlining the bill is System of a Down and Korn. Additional bands opening the show are Russian Circles and Helmet (“Unsung.”)

No More, Faith No More

Like the rest of the world, I’m not tapped into things I normally would be. So, a few weeks away from the show, I see an advertisement with no mention of Faith No More. I find out that the band dropped out last year due to lead singer, Mike Patton, having mental issues.

“Sorry to report that due to mental health reasons, I cannot continue with the currently scheduled Faith No More and Mr. Bungle dates,” said lead singer Mike Patton. “I have issues that were exacerbated by the pandemic that are challenging me right now. I don’t feel I can give what I should at this point and I am not going to give anything less than 100 percent. I am sorry to our fans and hope to make it up to you soon.”

The Show Must Go On

Although FNM was the reason I got tickets, there were still great bands playing this show. I’m familiar with both System and Korn. I even know the one hit song by Helmet. In these times in lockdown, it is rare to get the chance to see live music. Early on in 2020, I watched a few concerts live online, but it’s not the same as seeing and hearing a show in person. There’s a whole experience of a concert that includes traveling, parking and walking. For this show I would have the company of my close friend, Sean Kinney.

Banc of California Stadium, Los Angeles

The venue is fairly new, Downtown, next to the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. I look on their website and check out the parking lots. I click on the nearby lots and find them sold out. So, I purchase a $40 reserved spot. That’s right. Forty dollars to park my car a few hours. I paid for these tickets so long ago that it’s not a big deal to secure a parking spot.

Saturday, February 5th, 2022

You park your car and walk to the stadium. You secure your mask. You show your vaccination from your Apple Wallet. Then you slide the QR barcode in the reader from the tickets on your Ticketmaster app.

“Everybody’s going to the party. Have a real good time.”

– System of a Down

Russian Circles

The Banc of California Stadium erupts as the Russian Circles start jamming. No one is singing. In between songs you can hear the cars racing next door at the LA Memorial Stadium for NASCAR. A large flame lit up at the top of the Memorial Stadium, adding to the experience. We learn later in the show that the band played without their lead singer. How cool is that? Apparently, the singer got the ‘Rona. The last cancellation was due to System of a Down singer, Serj Tankian, getting Covid.


Another band from the 90s, Helmet, rocked the stage with their explosive “Unsung.” Solid set!

Jonathan Davis

Korn – Get Your Boogie On Ironically, the last big concert I saw had Jonathan Davis on the bill. It was at Ozzfest 2019 on New Years Eve and Davis was a solo act. I look forward to seeing both Korn and System, but not a serious fan. I downloaded some hit songs I liked. Because so much time passed waiting for this concert, I got into these bands a bit more. Put your ear plugs in. Bassist Reginald Arvizu is about to crank up this mother [BLEEP!] Korn’s set is fantastic! Davis enters the stage playing bag pipes on a song I had forgotten, Shoots and Ladders. And I love the off-shoot jamming and singing of Metallica’s “One” in the thick of it. Mosh pits that started early on were now growing in size throughout the floor.

System of a Down

Serj Tankian

But wait, there’s MORE METAL! My buddy and I sit in Section 213, an upper section around the side and middle. It’s been a long show and the seats are making our butts sore. So, when System or S.O.A.D. enters the stage, I’m relieved to stand up with all the fans so we old timers can stretch our weary legs. And we stand for the rest of the show. I don’t know or recognize the first handful of songs, but they all sound great. It definitely takes the experience to another level when you know the songs. There are songs I’m reintroduced to such as Hypnotize and Lonely Day as well as songs I didn’t know beforehand.

Feeling like I have no release

Why do we see bands play live? We want an experience. We want to see and hear our favorite bands. They inspire us. They give us something to bang our heads to. They help us hope and dream. We can dance and even enter a mosh pit if we feel like it. It makes us feel alive. Music takes us away from our troubles. It’s a release.

The Corona virus took away many of our chances to see our favorite bands live. It’s just not the same watching bands perform live online. You have to be there in person. You need to feel the vibe of the floor rocking and rolling under your feet. You need to be surrounded by other fans, yelling, screaming, rocking out, swaying their long locks, raising their fists, displaying their middle fingers and devil horns.

It’s also really cool to discover bands and be introduced to other music and songs.

Midlife Crisis

Regarding Mike Patton, other members of Faith No More; Billy Gould, Roddy Bottum, Mike Bordin and Jon Hudson released a statement, “Coming on almost two years of pandemic and lack of work, it has been heart-breaking to give our crew the news. We consider our crew like family. And then, equally importantly, we are aware of what this means to our fans, who have been patiently supporting us – hoping, as we have, for a break in this frustrating situation. Many folks have taken isolation quite hard, and patiently waited as shows have been postponed time and time again. This will be tough for them.”

I hope Mike Patton recovers from whatever mental issues he’s having. The pandemic has been so overwhelming for so many people. Musicians have been hit very hard, not being able to tour, make money and are dealing with both outer and inner demons. Patton is dealing with the elements just like all of us. Maybe he’ll get inspired and write a whole new album from it. We’re all dealing with different issues. It’s best to take care of ourselves and improve our health so we can perform at our best. Take care, Mike.

We Care a Lot. 


Faith No More cancels

Setlist for Korn

Setlist for Korn

Fantasy Football 2021. UGH!

I’ve been playing Fantasy Football for three years now. In the first few years I had no trouble making the playoffs. I did very well…until the playoffs. That’s when my players all tanked and my teams imploded like Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers losing 9-0 to the New Orleans Saints. No TDs. No points. A big, fat zero. 2021. UGH!

The Draft

You draft what you think is a solid roster with popular veteran players. You’re filled with hope for a whole new season of Fantasy Football. Being fifth in the draft, I’m pumped for the first round. In most mock drafts, I’m continuously snagging Tennessee Titans star running back Derek Henry. All that changes when the official draft takes place. Someone else grabs King Henry, so I pick Alvin Kamara.

Week 1

Your Roster Looks Good at least on paper (or the app)

Immediately after your draft you lose one of your running backs to a season ending ankle injury and the season hasn’t started yet. I lose Baltimore Ravens Gus Edwards. So I replace him with Ronald Jones who gives me negative yardage the first week. That just won’t work.

Last year I was fighting for third place in the main playoffs when my opponent had Kamara. Kamara had six touchdowns in one game. So, I figured if I had the chance to pick Kamara up he’d give me some karma. Kamara for karma. Kamara starts out okay, but then gets hurt and I’m without him for four weeks, Weeks 10 – 14.

The Waiver Wire

You hope you won’t be relying on it, but it may be your weekly necessity. You’re trying to figure out who’s producing and who’s not. Sometimes you discover gold. After hearing some hype about Cordarelle Patterson, I pick him up. He’s a great addition as both a running back and wide receiver. He produces consistently until the Falcons stop using him the same way.

Timing is Everything

Sometimes you pick up potentially a fantastic player, but things don’t click for them until after you drop them. Amon Ra St. John is a WR on the Detroit Lions I pick up and play in the Flex position for Week 6. He gives me 7 points. I drop him. He blows up later in the season. I pick him up again. My big dilemma in Week 15 is to play either my “consistent” player, Las Vegas Raiders WR, Henry Renfrow playing the Cleveland Browns or St. Brown against the Arizona Cardinals. I play Renfrow and he gives me 4 points. How many points does St. Brown get? 19.50. By Week 15 Amon Ra St. Brown is the Lions’ go to receiver. It doesn’t matter who the QB is for the Lions, Jared Goff or Tim Boyle. St. Brown is a force of nature.

Bye Weeks

You should be looking ahead to see what backup players you’ll need before your big players go on bye or it’s bye-bye. Week six is brutal. I will be without Kamara, Patterson and TE George Kittle. So, I pick up Alex Collins and AJ Dillon. And Dalton Schultz ends up being a great pickup as Kittle goes on IR.

Time to Panic?

Don’t Panic!

In Week four, Tom Brady only makes 11 points. What? Not the G.O.A.T.? Well, I panic and play Sam Darnold the following week. Darnold started the season pretty solid. Miami’s defense has been stepping up, so I refrain from playing Brady. Brady ends up with a whopping 37 points. I drop Darnold who reverted to his old ways and woes.

Veterans Not Producing

After a few weeks, I drop Juju Smith-Schuster. A few weeks later I find myself dropping injury-stricken Julio Jones. Julio scored his first touchdown with the Titans and this season in Week 18. 18! Another wide receiver I drafted who drove me to pull out my hair is DK Metcalf. He had a few good games to start, but Russell Wilson had problems finding DK. This connection got worse when Wilson was out with a bad finger. When Wilson returns, they don’t get back on track until Week 17 when I’m out of the playoff picture. DK get three TDs in Week 17. THREE!!!

Don’t Blame the Analysts

Week five. A killer. Not only do I play Darnold over Brady, but I play Van Jefferson over DK Metcalf. My record is 1-3. I’m desperate! Every week I watch and listen to a handful of various fantasy football analysts. My biggest dilemma is playing Van Jefferson or DK Metcalf. Seattle plays the LA Rams, known for having a great defense. This analyst who shall rename nameless suggests that Jalen Ramsey usually covers DK quite well. So, I take this analyst’s advice to sit DK Metcalf and play Van Jefferson instead. Jefferson ends up with only two points. DK has a whopping 24 points! It’s unfortunate.

Any Given Sunday

It’s even more unfortunate that I went off a bit on this analyst. I’m not proud of that. I realize later on that these analysts can only make suggestions on who to start or sit. You can have all the history and stats on players and who they’re playing against, but you sort of have to throw that all out at kickoff. Because it’s any given Sunday or Monday or Thursday. Hell, because of Covid this year we’ve had to endure Tuesday Night Football. In the end, you’re the one starting or sitting players. You can’t predict the mood of the players or radical plays attempted by coaches. This year especially has been incredibly unpredictable. Bad teams beating good teams. When Josh Allen of the Jacksonville Jaguars sacks Josh Allen of the Buffalo Bills, you discover that anything can happen. The impossible becomes possible.

Injuries, Injuries, Injuries

Losing Gus Edwards was an omen for my season. In Week 7, I’m excited to watch the Browns play the Broncos after picking up Donovan Peoples-Jones. But as the start of the game nears, the female broadcaster on the field announces that Donovan has a groin issue and most likely not playing. With a minute before the game starting, I frantically try to switch wide receivers, but the window to make changes has passed and I end up with a goose egg for him. It would be nice if more can be done to alert fantasy managers of players suddenly not playing if there’s time to do so.

Missed Field Goals anyone?

I did not have this issue so much. I used a handful of different field goal kickers. But damn! 2021 was a horrendous year for kickers.

Lucy talks Charlie into kicking the football. After all, the kickoff is a Thanksgiving tradition. Does Lucy have a different interpretation of tradition?


Perhaps players reaching 25 points one week and getting 5 points the next week are not the best players in the long run.

My losses were often by a few points. In our league in 2021, there weren’t many points separating winners from losers. And of course our champion had breakout running back Jonathon Taylor.

Don’t be one of those players who gives up and doesn’t set your lineup! PLAY ON!

Have Fun

That’s the point. Whether you’re losing or winning, find a way to enjoy the chaos, I mean, madness, I mean, the FUN! When I realized I had no chance to even make the playoffs, I shrugged it all off. Oh, well. There’s always next year, right? I had a blast during my Consolidation Semifinal matchup. One of the best reasons to play fantasy football is when your favorite team is one of if not the worst during that season. Oh, Giants. Heal your bodies, brains and your hearts. I may be a NY Giants fan, but I live in Los Angeles. So, it was a lot of fun cheering on both replacement running backs, Sony Michel on the Rams and Justin Jackson on the Chargers in Week 17.

Players Can Impact Lives

Players on your fantasy team can have long lasting effects too. Last season, as I mentioned earlier, my opponent had Alvin Kamara who scored SIX TDs!!!!!! I would need a miracle to come back and win towards the end of that weekend.

Davante Adams

My dad was watching the games with me that Sunday, December 27, 2020. He didn’t play fantasy, but knew football and sports in general more than most fans or one-time players. My dad was also the biggest skeptic and/or critic. So, we were watching the Green Bay Packers play the Tennessee Titans. Cooper Kupp may be the best WR this season, but last year Davante Adams was on fire! #1 Wide Receiver! Adams scores a TD at the very start of the game. Great! Now I only needed 5 more TDs. Adams scores again. Huh. My dad’s face lights up. Could there be a smidgen of a chance I could win? My father starts cheering on Adams with me. Adams scores a THIRD TD!!! It wasn’t enough. At least I lose with a closer score and some dignity.

The family has dinner after the game at my parents’ house. My sister’s family is there with her three kids. My father passes away in the early hours of Monday, December 28, 2020.

Cheering on Davante Adams is my last shared experience with my father and I’ll think of him any time Davante Adams plays or is in the news. Players can definitely impact your lives.

This blog is dedicated to my father, Jeffrey Allen Martin.

Some Analysts I Follow

After watching our NY Rangers beat LV Golden Knights 5-0 in Las Vegas, NV. That’s my dad behind me.

NFL Fantasy Football

Fantasy Football Today

Fantasy Pros

Fantasy Headliners

Fantasy Football Endgame

Fantasy Flock Network

BDGE Media (Big Dog)

Andrew Kiorkof

Clubhouse Sightings

Movies like “Star Wars” and “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” and TV shows like “Star Trek” shaped my early wonder and imagination. My love of science fiction had taken flight. 

What are they looking at? 

In 1985, my world view or should I say view of the Universe changed immensely. At age fifteen, I was leaving Friendly’s family restaurant chain known for their ice cream sundaes. It was night time, but something big and bright was shining down on that Main Street in Mt. Kisco, NY. I noticed a few others looking up. I believe I even said out loud, “What are they looking at?” I was accompanied by two associates. We all looked up and stared at this enormous disc full of one very bright white light. There were tiny lights of yellow and red flicking on and off. It was mesmerizing. 

Slowly, the giant unidentified flying object, or U.F.O. the size of at least one, if not, two football fields, drifted away from us. We must have watched it for about five or six minutes. And then walked to our car. Those five or six minutes would leave an incredible impression on me. In 1985, unless you happen to be carrying a camera, there was no way to capture it. And then who could you share your extraordinary experience with? Are you crazy? Yes, I must be crazy. Okay, we got that out of the way.

The local news reported it as a weather balloon. That was NO weather balloon. 

I had just witnessed a sight right out of “Close Encounters” and had to keep the experience to myself. I now had a slight obsession with this movie as Richard Dreyfus’ character had with the mountain he kept seeing in his mind. 

Alien spacecraft is hovering abpve the meadow

The Truth is Out There

In the early 90’s there was a TV show called “Sightings” that mentioned what could have been the sighting I saw. Other than “The X-Files” expanding my imagination, there was nothing about U.F.O.s in any real sense of investigation in main stream or on prime time news programs. 

With the increasing popularity of social media platforms like You Tube and smart phones giving people immediate ways of capturing and sharing sightings, chatter about the phenomenon was coming to life. Every once in a while a sighting would make the local news wherever it occurred. And then there was always some sort of punchline. No more punchlines!

Welcome to the Clubhouse 

Fast forward to my introduction to The Clubhouse app on February 6, 2021. I was all excited to join film and entertainment clubs and anything that interested me. I am a screenwriter and write in various genres including science fiction. 

At some point I came across some clubs talking about U.F.O.s or U.A.P.s and aliens. It blew my mind. Strangers openly sharing their U.F.O. sightings. Some brave souls went further with their alien abduction experiences. WOW! I began learning a whole new language. Not Vulcan. I was hearing about all sorts of theories about space crafts, aliens, frequencies, dimensions and star seeds. Are they ours? Theirs? Both? Are they Russian? Chinese? If so, the United States is in big trouble. 

The more I listened, the more my curiosity was peaked. Soon I felt brave enough to share my U.F.O. sighting on a Clubhouse stage. These strangers were no longer strangers. When I’m in a club room talking about the phenomenon I ping in my newly found friends and they ping me in too. We’re a family, a community.

Ufology: Countdown to Disclosure

Clubhouse has this Creator First pilot series. Club hosts applied to be one of a small group of clubs to host their shows in the Clubhouse Headquarters room. One of these clubs was Roderick Martin’s Extraterrestrial Evidence. The pilot show was titled, “Ufology.” I had been listening to their club for months now and was so excited to listen to their pilot show on the main Clubhouse stage. Roderick was the main host who mixed in some humor with his paranormal discussion. Tiffany Meyers was Roderick’s co-host. She added to the conversation and controlled the administrative flow in the room. She brought audience members up to the stage and googled things mentioned in the discussion. Roderick and Tiffany are both M.U.F.O.N. investigators. M.U.F.O.N. stands for Mutual UFO Network. The slogan for their club is:

‘It’s time to believe.’ 

So, on Thursday, May 20th, 2021, the audience of hundreds that stemmed from various other U.F.O. related clubs all gathered to witness history. It was definitely Clubhouse history. The line-up consisted of a very diverse group of influencers, experiencers and experts in the field. The guests included Kathleen Marden, Barbara Lamb, Alan Steinfeld, Whitley Strieber, Billy Carson and Linda Moulton Howe. Other U.F.O. related club hosts were eager to support Roderick and Tiffany as their pilot show represented everyone as a community. Never before had the U.F.O. community of enthusiasts had a place to come together and discuss things.

There are, of course, conventions, but with Clubhouse you’ll get people who wouldn’t dream of attending those events. Clubhouse gives people with the smallest curiosity the opportunity to expand their minds and explore their imaginations.

Who is Kathleen Marden? 

Kathleen’s aunt and uncle were Barney and Betty Hill. When Kathleen was thirteen years old in New Hampshire, 1961, her aunt and uncle became the first couple to have an official case in the U.S. government. The investigation involved Dr. Jacque Vallee, an expert who was an inspiration for the French agent character in “Close Encounters.”

Barney and Betty were driving one night in September. They got out of their car after seeing a U.F.O. They woke up some time later and thirty five miles away. Their clothes were torn. Magnetized spots were all over their car. The Hills spoke only to the military and close family members. The Hills were actually invited to Lyndon B. Johnson’s inauguration. 

In the discussion, Kathleen mentioned how dis-informants made things even tougher than they already were. She saw how events and things were being covered up first hand.

Kathleen mentioned the Robertson Panel, made up of non-military scientists to study Air Force records on U.F.O.s for a few days in January 1953 dating back to 1947. It seems the panel was not seeing these flying saucers as threats. The panel was more concerned with the public’s knowledge turning into ‘mass hysteria’ like what happened after Orson Welles’ radio play rendition in 1938 of H.G. Wells “War of the Worlds.”

Who is Barbara Lamb? 

A psychotherapist and regression therapist, Barbara Lamb, has regressed thousands of people with alien encounters. Lamb has also been involved with numerous crop circle discoveries.  

Lamb believes there are hybrids, half human, half alien. She says that some hybrids live on ships while others live on Earth. Lamb also believes the U.S. government not only knows about hybrids, but is involved with special hybrid programs. 

A clubhouse audience member asked Barbara what she knew about ‘star seeds.’ Barbara explained that aliens study our emotions and habits. She mentioned that star seeds are ‘people who live of service led by aliens for doing good.’ All star seeds have their own agendas.

Who is Alan Steinfeld? 

Alan Steinfeld is the author of a new book, ‘Making Contact: Preparing for the New Realities of Extraterrestrial Existence.’ The book contains writings by Darryl Anka, Grant Cameron, Nick Pope, Linda Moulton Howe, Whitley Strieber and others. 

Steinfeld, often one of Roderick’s co-hosts in Extraterrestrial Evidence, mentioned how we as a society need to raise our ‘consciousness.’ Humans need to ‘be open, be receptive.’ Steinfeld also said we are ‘stepping into the unknown wonder, creativity.’ IG: alan_steinfeld

Steinfeld: ‘We are to know we’re not alone collectively.’  

Who is Whitley Strieber? 

Strieber is also a subject in Steinfeld’s book. If I mention ‘Communion’ does that ring any bells? It was a very popular book made even more popular by the 1989 movie, “Communion” starring Christopher Walken. The story is based on Strieber’s own experiences as an abductee. 

Strieber recalls the graphic experience involving a bug-like being placing a needle in his head. He explained being raped. A doctor confirmed Strieber had been raped. Strieber and his family were the laughing stock for many years. 

Whitley’s neighbor realized years later after the Communion book was released that he most likely witnessed it. At first the neighbor thought it was the Goodyear Blimp. Upon a closer look, he witnessed lights turn on and heard someone screaming from the craft. 

In the discussion on Clubhouse, Whitley mentioned having an implant. He had worked with Dr. Roger Lier. Lier is known for doing surgery on people believing they have implants. A recent documentary by Jeremy Corbell called “Patient Seventeen” featured Dr. Lier who passed away a few years ago. 

Whitley Strieber stressed that his experience had changed over the years. At first he reluctantly requested their return. And then his whole perspective changed. His books seem to have taken on a new spiritual direction. 

Whitley shared what the aliens told him about Earth. He said they’d emerge when Earth reached a time of no return. This could suggest that all the bad things taking place on this planet are destroying its chances of survival, a serious stage of decline.

Who is Linda Moulton Howe?

Linda Moulton Howe is a journalist and investigative reporter on “Ancient Aliens.” Linda talked about a measure inserted into the Covid Funding Bill that President Trump signed eluding to 180 days for agencies to disclose everything they had on U.F.O.s. The report is to be released in June 2021.

Many experts and enthusiasts have discussed the possibility that the report could be delayed for whatever reasons. On Clubhouse, Linda expressed her anger towards the U.S. government for keeping the truth from the American public for decades.

“Is Congress going to reply or not?”

She later asks the panel and the audience, “What kind of country are we in?” 

Linda mentions how Senator Harry Reid had pushed for funding to AATIP, Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program. Louis Elizondo was the head of AATIP until a few years ago. Elizondo has been at the forefront of these leaked military videos displaying three different U.F.O. or U.A.P., Unidentified Aerial Phenomenon. The AATIP program is now called the Unidentified Aerial Phenomena Task Force. Senator Marco Rubio is now leading the charge to get this disclosure document released. 

According to Linda, in May 2020, in Mage, Brazil, a United States military craft used a direct energy laser-type weapon to attack an unfriendly U.F.O. Linda asks, “How did the U.S. even know to go to Brazil?” Sound like a 50’s style B-movie? Whatever you believe, Brazil has been a U.F.O. hotspot.

Linda mentions that there are aliens who are friendlies, neutrals and hostiles.

Silhouettes of creepy aliens and bright light in tunnel. 3D rendered illustration.

Who is Billy Carson? 

Billy Carson is the founder and CEO of 4BiddenKnowledge Inc. and 4BiddenKnowledge TV, a new streaming conscious network. Carson is an expert host on “Deep Space,” a series by Gaia. “Deep Space” explores the secret space program about amazing technologies and their possible origins. On another Gaia program Carson hosts, “Ancient Civilizations,” a team of scholars uncover the mysteries of our origins and pieces together forgotten history. 

In the Clubhouse discussion, Carson mentioned we humans need to approach the aliens with ‘intelligence, not fear.’ He mentioned there are 132 worlds inside our solar system. He also suggested that there are ancestors inside all of us. 

Carson talked about the Great Pyramid of Giza in Egypt and evidence of alien influence. The Great Pyramid does remain somewhat of a mystery. The mathematics used to build it and astrology displayed pointing to the stars is another mystery. 

Billy, who often researches the past, asked the audience to look back at history. Our origins.

“Who are we? Where do we come from?” 


There is increasing hype and excitement about a report to be released supposedly June 24th, 2021. So many secrets. So much time invested on this topic from countless people at the Pentagon, inside the military, paranormal investigators, E.T. experiencers or simply U.F.O. enthusiasts.

What is the U.S. government going to disclose? Do the Russians or the Chinese have advanced technology light years ahead of the United States? Are malicious aliens about to invade? Is that why we now have Space Force? What do they want? Why are they here? So many questions.

Scared by UFO man screaming at night in the forest

This disclosure report was a part of the Covid 19 Stimulus Package Bill in 2020 led by Senator Marco Rubio. And now that June is around the corner, some people are holding their breath for full disclosure while others are nonchalantly awaiting what will be extremely light information. Drip, drip, drip.

The timing is interesting. These leaked U.F.O. reports coming out now with the disclosure report supposedly being released in June 2021 while we’re in a year-long plus pandemic makes one wonder if it’s all connected.

Is this the Great Reset? Are we humans supposed to ascend to a higher frequency so we can communicate with the aliens telepathically? Is this the Age of Aquarius?

The age of the what? If you Google Age of Aquarius and look at the meaning you get the following:

The Age of Aquarius, or simply the Aquarian Age, is an astrological time period that the Earth is currently moving into. … In astrological meaning, the age of Pisces (the world we’re leaving behind) represents power, money and control. Astrologically, the Age of Aquarius represents cooperation, humanitarianism and peace. “Let the sunshine in.”

“Our soul is the most important part of good and bad in the universe,” says Linda Moulton Howe.

Senator Harry Reid stresses that the U.S. government should be studying this phenomenon. Reid is one of the subjects in the documentary, “The Phenomenon,” directed by James Cox.

The important thing is whatever and whenever the disclosure report is released that the people share their stories on Clubhouse and elsewhere. That’s the most truthful disclosure. Witnesses know what they’re seeing in the skies. Credible witnesses like ex-Air Force and even current Air Force report objects that do 90 degree turns at impossible speeds and then dive into our oceans like it’s nothing. How do they fly? And what the hell is in our oceans? Alien bases? It’s something to take seriously.

If these objects or ships move the way they do signifying they have no need for oil or gas and that there is such a thing as ‘free energy’ that information could change EVERYTHING! It would change the world. Imagine cleaner water, air, feeding the homeless and every human on the planet. It would mean a major shift in global corporations and money. So, it is understandable on many levels why the U.S. government would be extremely careful about this disclosure. And this is just one theory.

On disclosure, Whitley Strieber exclaimed “We’re just at the beginning.” 

If you want to learn more about the topic here are some additional experts in the field you can look up; Jeremy Corbell, Luis Elizondo, Dr. Steven Greer, Jacque Vallee, Christopher Mellon, Bob Lazar, and George Knapp.

We’ll see what happens in June. I may have to follow up with a part-two some time later. In the meantime, I’ll keep looking up. You should do the same.

You just never know when an alien will pop up in your local store to pick up beef jerky.

Alien Fresh Jerky, Baker, CA



Kiss the Ground: Dirt, What is it Good For?

*Originally post was Oct 21, 2020 on another site.

“Kiss the Ground” is a groundbreaking and eye-opening documentary about soil and how we can use it to improve farming and reverse climate change. Filmmakers Joshua and Rebecca Tickell and narrator Woody Harrelson share their vision for what is known as regeneration, the renewal or restoration of a body or biological system.

“We must harness the regenerative power of earth itself,” states Harrelson.

SPOILER ALERT! I am about to discuss everything in this documentary so if you want to see it first go to Netflix, chill and come back here to revisit.

The Dust Bowl

The plow was a popular machine that drilled and turned the soil on farms to plant seeds. In the 1930s, America saw erosion in ‘the Dust Bowl.’ Farmers tilled fields and left the soil exposed. The Southern Plains from Texas to Nebraska were hit by a severe drought with intense dust storms and high winds killing people and livestock. It was a significant part of the Great Depression, 1929-1933. It moved farming families out of the area. By 1934, roughly 200 million acres were destroyed in the Great Plains.

President Roosevelt establishes Soil Conservation Service

Seeing the devastation in person, President Franklyn D. Roosevelt developed Soil Conservation Service to save America’s soil. Today it’s known as the National Resources Conservation Service or N.R.C.S. The mission is to reduce tilling and plowing, but they continue today.

People don’t like change

Farmers have been farming the same way for decades and don’t like change. They don’t understand the principles of working the soil and making the soil work for them.

Everything runs on carbon.

Human beings are built on carbon. Microbes in soil feed off carbon. Carbon is the driving force. Carbon dioxide is a gas. Human beings breathe carbon dioxide out. Plants breathe carbon dioxide in. Additionally, human beings create carbon dioxide by burning fossil fuels. That burned carbon dioxide heads into the skies and stays up there.

Carbon isn’t all bad. It’s actually good. Plants, using sunlight as energy, pull carbon dioxide out of the air. The plants turn it into carbon fuel and that helps them grow. Plants take in carbon dioxide and use it for carbon and producing oxygen.


Forty percent of carbon entering the ground goes directly to microorganisms; worms, amoeba and other microbes. This forms nutrients. Micro-organisms make a glue-like substance out of carbon fuel. They control the flow of air and water in pockets.

The Soil is Alive!

Soil absorbs carbon dioxide out of the air and stores it. It’s a universe of life. There are more bacteria cells than human cells in the body. More than half of the human body is made up of micro-organisms. Amazing!

Chemicals and Pesticides

Crops sprayed by chemicals and pesticides leave far less microbes, micro-organisms, thus, nutrients in our food. The nutrients that strengthen our bodies and make us healthy are depleted.

The more farmers till the soil, the weaker the soil gets. Then those farmers rely on pesticides and chemicals to save their weakening fields. This is the awful relentless cycle of industrial agriculture.

Glyphosate Most Likely Causes Cancer

Corn is mostly sprayed with glyphosate, a chemical that most likely causes cancer. Absorb that for a moment. Has it sunk in yet? Glyphosate has been discovered in our drinking water. Bottoms up. Chemical and pesticide companies like Monsanto are now being sued for millions in lawsuits by cancer patients. So, next time you’re looking to purchase Roundup to spray your garden, think again. Glyphosate not only kills microbes in the soil, but in humans too.

Top Soil

Since the 1970s, we have lost one-third of Planet Earth’s top soil. We have one world and we’re losing it. We have one home and we’re letting it go to wasteland.

Allan Savory, the Founder of Holistic Management, talks about desertification, destroying the soil, turning it into erosion, desert. Soil, plants and earth are connected. Without living, thriving plants, there will be more erosion. More plants equals more rain. With more carbon dioxide in the air, warming things up, rain clouds are pushed away. When plants thrive, rain clouds are more likely to stick around.

Poor Land = Poor People

By changing the micro-systems we can affect macro-systems and regenerate the world. In the meantime, people are being pushed off their eroding land, becoming refugees. Poor land leads to poor people. Suddenly, there’s a social breakdown. And the weather becomes more unpredictable with wild floods in some areas.

60 Harvests Left

Could there really only be only 60 harvests left? Paul Hawkin wrote a book called Drawdown about how we can reverse the climate crisis. Hawkins suggests we use biosequestration or the removal of carbon from the atmosphere by photosynthetic plants and bacteria. Basically, we take the carbon dioxide from the air and hold it in the soil, retaining it.

“Our farms are going to dust. Our farmers are going to bust,” says Gabe Brown.

Gabe Brown calls himself a regenerative rancher. He believes livestock should roam freely. After struggling to farm the usual ways, Brown took a chance by implementing natural ways of farming. Plows should not till the land. His machines cut very little grass. When rain hits tilled soil it runs away from the soil. This prevents the ground to absorb water and carbon dioxide.

Free the Livestock

Almost all of the crops are for feeding animals. Monoculture farming holds feedlots where cows are shoved into tight spaces on top of each other, causing greenhouse gases.

When cows roam freely they don’t push GHG (Greenhouse gas) into the air. The gases seep back into the soil below, restoring it. Feedlots send GHG way up into the atmosphere and the carbon dioxide doesn’t come back down to return to the earth. The cows aren’t the problem. It’s how and where the cows are placed that determines the outcome.

Take the Money and Run?

Farmers are hesitant to change their farming ways when they’re guaranteed money before entering their fields. The United States gives $25 billion in subsidies.

Most farmers barely make a living. They struggle to make a few dollars per acre and that’s with the assistance of subsidies and GMOs. Brown’s ranch makes significantly more money farming the natural way.

Brown also stresses that diversification is key to reversing climate change. Brown grows wheat, barley, oats, alfalfa, vegetables, etc. His ranch also has bees producing honey. His animals include lamb, pigs and cows. Brown says diversity builds resiliency into the ecosystem.

Most farmers work farms owned by someone else. When land owners and farmers can see for themselves the difference between old school farming and natural regenerative farming, they won’t go back to those old ways. Farmers will see the profits too. Farmers could make $100 billion annually! Farmers could reduce and eventually avoid subsidies all together.

“If you build a healthy farm ecosystem, you’re going to be resilient. You’re going to take the risk out of it.”

If politicians don’t see this or push this forward it’ll be up to the people. Educate the farmers. Let the farmers educate the people. Let the people tell everyone they know.

Ian Somerhalder, actor and environmental activist, says that tall grass is perfect for capturing carbon dioxide back into the soil. The ability to add more carbon dioxide back into the land can happen globally. Somerhalder says cow poop is full of microbes that would be ideal to fertilize the land.

Food For Thought in San Francisco

What if all those trash piles covering the land in landfills could be put to work, making the earth healthier? The idea is to collect leftover food and turn it into compost. Compost assists soil in holding water. It’s a natural sponge.

In San Francisco, California, residents have three different disposal cans; trash, recycling and compost. The program of taking trash and turning it into compost is so successful that any residents not placing food waste into the compost cans could be fined. Empty trash cans are very much encouraged. If the trash can is full, the authorities will charge you.

Seven hundred tons of food scraps are being turned into compost daily. Food waste is full of nutrients and carbon. It’s sorted at a facility and goes through a process that further refines it into compost. Then the compost heads to a farm to regenerate the earth.

San Francisco developed into the most renewable city in just a few short years. It’s economy has blossomed too. If it can work there the same model can be replicated in Los Angeles, Moscow and every city around the world.

In many ways, compost is about community. All the people in the area come together for a common purpose, healing the earth. There’s also the community of microbes breaking down the physical trash. One man or woman’s trash should be everyone’s treasure.

Collecting Food Scraps in Detroit, Michigan

Murray collects food scraps from restaurants to make good rich dirt. She wants to keep food waste out of the landfills. Pashon is passionate about the environment. You should be too.

Poop belongs in the loop

Actor and Founder of, Patricia Arquette went to Port-Au-Prince, Haiti, to help the people rebuild after the devastating 2010 earthquake. It was discovered that water under the soil was getting contaminated. Sanitation was bad throughout the area. Bad sanitation could lead to diseases.

Patricia taught the Haitians how to turn their toilets into compost-friendly toilets. “People can learn to do this everywhere,” says Arquette. Her team went out to additional places like Uganda to educate people.

A sign on one of the compost-like restrooms reads: Poop belongs in the loop.

“We eat food. We poop it out. We can then treat it. And create soil that has good content for the plants. And then the circle just goes around and around,” says Arquette.

Plant-Rich Diet

Ryland Engelhart, executive director of “Kiss the Ground,” explains that there’s a way to eat healthy and heal the world simultaneously. A plant-rich diet is also known as a regenerative diet. “If you eat meat, you can eat from healthier farms. Meat from pasture-raised, grass-fed cows,” says David Bronner, CEO of Dr. Bronner’s.

Count Your Chickens

Those eggs you buy in the store that say ‘cage-free’ are still raised in confinement and fed mostly grain which means they have less nutrients. Chickens raised without confinements thrive because they eat whatever they find in the wild. That extra diversity adds to plentiful nutrients.

In “Kiss the Ground,” rancher Gabe Brown shows in a pan how much stronger and darker eggs are from roaming chickens than cage-free chickens raised in confinement. How do you like your eggs?

50% Regenerative Farms by 2025

Today only 5% of American farms are doing regenerative agriculture, healing soil. In 2015, Ray Archuleta, Conservation Agronomist, went to meet with Gabe Brown at his ranch. Their meeting blossomed into an all-out mission to save the soil. The Nature Conservancy partnered with the National Corn Growers’ Association to create Soil Health Partnership. The mission has a goal of 50% regenerative farms by 2025.

That’s a lot to achieve in a short amount of time. Then again, our planet is running out of time. So, anyway we can push people in the right direction as soon as possible the better off we all are.

Changing China

“If we restore all the land on the planet, we can return to paradise,” states John D. Liu, Ecologist at Commonland and Foundation.

Liu went to the most eroded place on earth, China. Liu and his team implemented regenerative agriculture on an area of deserted land the size of Belgium from 1994 to 2009, 14 years. The area went from being completely eroded to seeing green for miles in every direction. An amazing 14,000 square miles were regenerated.

“It’s not about religion. It’s not about politics. It’s about love,” says Maria Rodale, former CEO/ Chairman of Rodale, Inc. publishing.

As a reminder, narrator Woody Harrelson said, “We must harness the regenerative power of earth itself.” Harrelson adds, “I’ll make you a deal. I won’t give up and neither should you.”

Today is Wednesday, October 21, 2020. In less than two weeks, U.S. citizens will be voting on the next American president. It’s no secret that President Trump has no interest in the topic of climate change. Everything to him seems to be a hoax. In addition, he’s not a fan of scientists even though the entire world is dealing with a deadly virus. Trump has lead the Republican Party down a path of destruction. He released the pandemic team in place long before Covid-19 arrived. He did not hire them back when we needed every hand on deck. The largest contributors of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, China, India and the United States were all absent from the Paris Agreement on climate change. Trump took the U.S. out of this crucial Paris agreement.

The climate is going to worsen. As long as we keep burning fossil fuels and pumping carbon dioxide into the air, global warming will intensify. The earth’s climate will increasingly heat up, causing hurricanes, fires and floods the likes we’ve only seen in apocalyptic movies.

Even if ex-Vice President Joseph Biden becomes the next President of the United States, he will need to be reminded that the biggest threat to America and the world is not terrorism. It’s global warming! Biden has his own plan to battle climate change, but it’s not as immediate as the Green New Deal lead by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Hopefully, during the next four years, Democrats and Republicans can come together on this most important issue.

This blog is in many ways a summary of the content in “Kiss the Ground.” But if you haven’t seen the film, go see it on Netflix!!!

The issue of change has always been about politics and money. If we, the human race, hope to have any kind of future it will be up to the youth to educate everyone else since people don’t like change and generally are hard of hearing. The following Ted Talk is not in this movie. You may be familiar with her name and face, Greta Thunberg. Her Ted Talk is about getting people to stop talking about climate change and start acting on it.

“Once we start to act, hope is everywhere,” says Greta Thunberg.


Vintage Black Films @ Film Grove

Whole lotta’ streaming going on! Film Grove is a new company by Rayna Booker and Charmaine Clark seeking aspiring filmmakers to submit their films for a film festival competition. Filmmakers will share in the revenue as their films stream on the channel. Their mission is to add more diversity to the film and television industry. Film Grove looks to fill their online presence with up-and-coming filmmakers, especially women of color.

Sports Legends

In the spirit of recent events, here is a wonderful collection of Vintage Black Films already streaming on the Film Grove channel. Some of these treasures have historical significance. “The Joe Louis Story” and “The Jackie Robinson Story” are about two sports legends that changed the look of sports forever.

Joe Louis

“The Joe Louis Story,” starring Cole Wallace reminds us what a giving individual Joe Louis was. At first, Louis was taking violin lessons until someone pointed out he was built to box. His family supported his passion for boxing. Joe Louis quickly became a contender, but often bought meals for everyone.

Unfortunately, Louis wasn’t very good at keeping track of his finances and often found himself in debt. His stubbornness forced him to return to boxing no matter how much his wife wanted him to retire.

Joe Louis fought Max Baer in the mid-30s. Baer wore a giant Star of David on his boxer shorts. It was a sign of the times as Germany’s Nazi Party was ruling Europe.

Germany had its own boxing champion, Maximilian Schmeling, on the forefront of a battle of ideologies, democracy vs. nazism. Schmeling was the World Champ in 1930 and 1932, but the main events came years later when the two fighters, Joe Louis and Maximilian Schmeling, fought in 1936 and 1938 in worldwide events with global appeal. The bouts were much bigger than two men in a ring. The whole world was tuned in and had their radio dials turned up. Schmeling won the first fight in the 12th round. But Louis made a comeback in the second fight, knocking Schmeling out in the very first round. It’s one of the most talked about boxing matches of all time, but this 1953 film did not emphasize the details well.

Although not the biggest or best production, the film gives a little bit of insight into Louis’ stubborn character. Joe Louis had to fight racism when he wasn’t in the ring, but the story in the film sadly does not cover that.

Jackie Robinson

A much better production and story that covers everything in depth is “The Jackie Robinson Story.” Not to be confused by the excellent 2013 film, “42” starring Chadwick Boseman, this is the 1950 earliest telling of Jackie’s story. I didn’t realize until after viewing the film that the lead actor is played by Jackie Robinson himself. The film, directed by Alfred E. Green, also stars the dashing Ruby Dee as Rae Robinson, Jackie’s wife, who would be cast many years later in Spike Lee’s “Do the Right Thing.”

After working as an athletic director for the army, Jackie lands a job playing baseball on an all black touring team called the Black Panthers. The bus stops at a restaurant. Being the rookie, Jackie’s teammates asked him to go inside and ask;

  • if they can eat inside
  • if they can wash up
  • if eating inside is okay, can they get sandwiches

Jackie asks his teammates about contracts. His teammates had a good laugh. The black or colored teams were not supported well, if at all.

After a game, Jackie gets a call from someone representing the Brooklyn Dodgers. Jackie blows off meeting with the guy because he thought it was hoax. Finally, Jackie meets with Branch Rickey. The story of Jackie Robinson is also the story of Branch Rickey. Rickey had been scouting other black baseball players in hopes of adding diversity to Major League Baseball. Rickey’s own career is on the line if this idea goes south.

Rickey explains to Mr. Robinson, “It’ll take a lot of courage.” Rickey states further, “We’re talking about the night for any American to play baseball.” If that wasn’t enough to think about, Rickey informs Jackie, “I want a ball player who’s guts enough ‘not’ to fight back.” Rickey stresses,

“No matter what happens on the field, you can’t fight back.”

Mr. Robinson tells his mother on the phone, “I can be the first negro to play organized baseball, Mom.” His mother advises Jackie to seek the guidance of a priest. Jackie talks to a priest in New York. Jackie then marries Rae. They sit in the back section of a bus. Rae is decked out in her wedding dress. It is one of the many sad images displaying segregation and racism in American society and culture.

Jackie gets hired to play for the Montreal minor team. Every step in his climb to the top has its challenges. He needs to win over not only the players that would be his teammates, but his new coach. More challenges arise when the team shows up to play and they find a sign reading:


In accordance with

City Ordinance No. 11725

relating to prohibition of

sports events between


In 1946, at Roosevelt Stadium in Jersey City, New Jersey, 52,000 fans witnessed history as Jackie Robinson, playing for the Montreal Royals, stepped up to home plate against the Jersey City Giants. Regardless of the turnout, his first at bat was a first for him and a first for all people of color. Robinson grounded out, but the rest of his day was filled with excitement, four hits including a three-run home run, four runs batted in, and stolen bases.

As expected, some fans did not take kindly to Jackie’s participation in organized baseball, throwing trash onto the field. A few caucasian men tried to intimidate Jackie after a game. One says,”Hey Jackie, gimme a shine.” Jackie remembered what Branch Rickey told him by not letting it get to him.

The Montreal Royals were thrilled with Robinson. The coach, resistant at first, ended up praising him.

There was talk of bringing Jackie Robinson onto the Major League Brooklyn Dodgers team, but a small group of Dodgers were against it. There was a petition going around for players to sign to rid of Mr. Robinson. Branch Rickey meets with the small group of players. He reminds one of the players about his ethnic Italian background. No one stopped this player’s immigrant parents from working so why should that stop Jackie Robinson from playing.

Jackie Robinson played for the Brooklyn Dodgers and as they say the rest is history. Robinson’s story has been very influential in race relations in sports and American society and culture. As good as “42” is, check out “The Jackie Robinson Story” too. It’s an excellent film!

RIP Chadwick Boseman (“42”) who died at age 43 ironically on Jackie Robinson Day.

Dirty Gertie from Harlem USA

“Dirty Gertie from Harlem USA” is a 1946 film with an all African American cast. Francine Everett plays lead Gertie La Rue with a lot of spunk and spirit. Gertie belongs to a dance troupe that had been exiled from their usual locations because Gertie had a falling out with Al, her ex-boyfriend. Al manages the group.

Other dancers suggest Gertie really had it good with Al, but she expresses a different experience. Gertie very much beats to her own drum. She answers to no one. When another dancer asked about her going out the night before an early rehearsal Gertie says,

“He’s the manager of the show. I’m the star! I’m the big shot around here. Nobody tells me what to do. I tell them.”

Gertie then heads to the nearby bar, Diamond Palace. After seeing a flirting Diamond Joe give Gertie a bracelet, a co-worker comments to Diamond Joe, who runs the establishment, “She’s hard to get and hard to hold.”

Gertie hangs out with two other gentlemen taken by her. She teases by kissing both of them at the end of the night.

A holy man, Mr. Christian, in a light suit, tries to talk Gertie into seeing the Lord and changing her ways. Mr. Christian goes to tell the governor to stop Gertie from performing at the Diamond Palace bar.

Gertie, feeling lost, sees a female medium who sees a bad future for her. She sees a man yelling at her. Gertie also breaks a hand mirror. Perhaps Gertie has brought all of this bad luck on herself.

The ending is very abrupt. Their manager and Gertie’s ex-boyfriend, Al, shows up to shoot her dead with a hand gun. And all Al says, “I killed her because I love her.”

It seems Gertie simply drove everyone mad and got what was coming to her. I would have liked to have learned a bit more about Al and his troubles with Gertie. I am somewhat spoiling it because there really isn’t a complete narrative story here. The interest in this film is the period it was made. It is a decently made film and adds to cinema history.

Blaxploitation Films

What Vintage Black Collection would be complete without a some blaxploitation films like “Mean Johnny Sparrows” directed by and starring Fred Williamson and “Lady Cocoa” starring Lola Falana.

You may ask yourself, ‘What is blaxploitation?’ It’s an ethnic sub-genre of exploitation cinema in America during the 1970s originally targeting African American audiences. These films were low-budgeted, independently produced films with subject matter about oppressed black people working for and sticking it to ‘the man,’ the white man. There is often an underlying message of black power and unity.

Lady Cocoa

You could see similarities in both the character of Gertie in “Dirty Gertie from Harlem USA” and Lola Falana’s feisty, fast-talking Cocoa in the 1975 film, “Lady Cocoa.” Cocoa is also having boyfriend issues.

The film starts with Cocoa being released from Nevada State Prison for not testifying against her ex-gangster boyfriend, Eddie. Now she’s taking the opportunity to testify and get out of prison.

Ramsey, an older policeman, gathering Cocoa from her cell, asks her if she’s ready. Cocoa responds,”Cocoa’s always ready.” She enters the unmarked police car with Ramsey. Officer Doug Fuller, in the driver seat, is chosen to watch over her while staying at King’s Castle Hotel & Casino in Lake Tahoe, Nevada. As soon as she sits in the backseat, Cocoa starts running her mouth. She looks over Doug’s quiet demeanor.

“Does it talk or is it fully automated here?”

The two cops share a look suggesting ‘it’s going to be a long night.’

The group of three arrive at the hotel. Doug checks himself and Cocoa in as ‘newlyweds.’ In the hotel room, Cocoa takes one of her many showers of the day. She’s really taking advantage of the day out of prison. Doug, knowing he’s one of the few black officers around, asks Ramsey why he picked a regular patrolman to look after Cocoa when he could have hired an experienced detective? Ramsey assures Doug he chose him because he’s qualified.

After Ramsey exits, Doug and Cocoa lightly argue about politics. Doug talks about his experience in Vietnam and how he didn’t have choices there, but Cocoa is free and has had choices in America. They argue about people getting locked up for smoking grass. Cocoa loves throwing out random trivia and quotes from French philosophy, popular art and music. “Freedom’s just another word for love.” Janis Joplin.

Cocoa orders a lot of food for room service. When it arrives, Cocoa changes the order to caesar salad because according to her you can’t have a heavy meal after being in the shower. She likes being difficult and Doug, inexperienced in this position, let’s her have her way.

Cocoa decides she wants to go downstairs to buy a new dress. Doug mentions limits. Cocoa says, “Limits my ass.” Doug eventually agrees. As they arrive at the elevator, her salad shows up. Cocoa tells the same clerk he must have misunderstood and cancels order.

Feeling lucky, Cocoa gambles at one of the tables. She wins a few hands. With the money, Doug accompanies her in the clothing store to buy a dress. While Cocoa tries on a dress, Doug is met by a young caucasian man waiting for his wife in the changing room. They have a chat about being newlyweds.

Cocoa purchases some clothes. As she and Doug walk out of the store he realizes she stole a necklace and returns it. They run into the couple from the store whom invite them later for live music and dancing.

Just like the old selling point for movies is showing some skin, Cocoa asks Doug in the hotel room to apply some lotion on her bare back. Doug can’t resist Cocoa. She flirts hard time. They kiss. Doug comes to his senses and separates from her.

Cocoa talks Doug into taking her out to dinner. After all, she bought these nice clothes. When Doug and Cocoa enter the dining room Cocoa recognizes a big African American man, Big Joe, played by none other than ‘Mean’ Joe Greene who played professional football. He sits with another man. They’re not smiling.

The rest of this film gets weird. The young white couple they met earlier sets Cocoa up. The young ‘wife,’ Marie, talks Cocoa into hiding in her hotel room until the bad men are gone. Marie let’s Cocoa enter the hotel room, but closes and locks the door without entering. Cocoa finds herself alone with Eddie, the ex-boyfriend she’s supposedly testifying against the next day. Eddie sweet-talks her. He seems to be feeling her out. Cocoa tells Eddie she was never going to testify against him. She only wanted the day out of prison.

Hitmen shoot inside the hotel room window and kill an unsuspecting female hotel staff worker. Cocoa calls downstairs to find and speak with Officer Doug and Ramsey.

Doug confronts the young white couple as they seem to be working with either Eddie or the hitmen. The couple attempt to run Doug down. After driving through a wing of the casino, their car ends up in a pool. Marie, the white woman from the young couple, turns out to be a man. Doug had a shooting match in the bathroom. Doug realized Marie’s wearing a wig and pulled it off. Doug, pissed, states,

”And I danced with him. That son of a bitch!”

Ramsey and Cocoa find Doug and they drive away. Ramsey notices they’re being followed most likely by the hitmen. Doug tells Ramsey he knows a friend’s boat they can hide in. Ramsey pulls the car over. Doug and Cocoa get out and hide until after the hitmen’s car passes.

Cocoa finds an abandoned car and jumpstarts it. Doug and Cocoa arrive at the docks and find his friend’s boat. The hitmen were tipped off and show up at the docks. While Doug and Cocoa think the coast is clear, they let their guards down, deeply kiss and make out. Clothes come off.

The hitmen shoot into the correct boat, but Doug and Cocoa hopped into the neighboring boat because it has a proper shower. And as you’ve learned, Cocoa likes showering. Doug shoots the hitmen.

Ramsey is found to be a traitor. Lady Cocoa and Doug walk away happily ever after. I guess she testified against her ex-gangster boyfriend. It’s a fun, watchable, popcorn flick. With these low independent movies, there aren’t perfect resolves and ending wrap-ups.

Mean Johnny Barrows

From Mean Joe Greene to “Mean Johnny Barrows,” there’s plenty of blaxploitation films from the 70s. Fred Williamson, like Mean Joe Greene, was also a former NFL football player. Williamson is the lead actor and director of “Mean Johnny Barrows.” The 1975 film, taking place in Los Angeles, California, also features Roddy McDowall as Tony and a ‘special guest star’ role by Elliot Gould.

Williamson plays a down-and-out ex-army vet, discharged for punching a superior. His superior had provoked Williamson’s character, Johnny, with racial insults.

Johnny is arrested after a scuffle in the street. The police officers give Johnny a hard time. They mention ‘splitting his skull wide open.’ Finally, an older officer, their superior, recognizes Johnny as a college football star. They chat about how Johnny is a legend also for winning the Silver Star for taking on the Vietcong in Vietnam. Johnny is released to the streets.

Johnny enters a restaurant seeking work. The mobster owner, Mario Racconi, offers Johnny a hitman job. Johnny refuses. The owner tells him, “See how many meals you can buy with a Silver Star.” Music with lyrics about finding work accompanies Johnny on his request to find a job.

The Racconi family discovers that their rival mob family, the Da Vinces, may be moving drugs through a flower shop. Once again, Mr. Racconi tries to talk Johnny into joining their organization. Johnny informs Mario that he was a soldier when he killed all of those men. Racconi asks Johnny, “What are you now? A man just do what a man must do.” Nancy, a pretty, young woman working for the Racconis, asks Johnny again while walking him out to the street. Johnny tells Nancy to thank Mario.

Johnny starts a crappy job washing bathrooms and cars at a car repair shop. Another song plays on the nose lyrics, “He was a hero.” Johnny’s grouchy, horrible boss only pays him $21…for a month’s work! They get into an argument. And then it’s almost like two police officers patrolling nearby channel this potential scuffle. Sure enough, Johnny gets arrested.

The Racconi Family has a meeting with the Da Vince Family. Mario doesn’t want drugs being sold in the area even if it’s only directed at blacks and minorities. The Da Vinces shoot and kill a bunch of Racconi’s crew.

The Racconi Family bails Johnny out of jail. They offer Johnny $100,000 and some land to kill the entire Da Vince Family. They remind Johnny about how the Da Vinces are selling drugs to blacks. “You’re not only doing me a favor, but helping out your own people.”

Nancy is betraying the Racconis with a secret relationship with Tony Da Vince, played by Roddy McDowall. Tony boards a ship to escape to Mexico. Johnny, secretly onboard, throws Tony off the boat in the middle of nowhere.

Johnny gets back to land. He makes a special delivery by surprising a driver working for the Da Vince Family. Johnny and the driver speed down a driveway and crash into the Da Vince house. Johnny then lights all the drugs on fire. Johnny’s ex-army supervisor shows up out of nowhere to battle him. It’s kind of funny how army soldiers also know some form of karate. It’s not like they teach that in army training. Only movies in the 70s and 80s do that. Johnny eventually kills his ex-army supervisor by throwing his Silver Star at him. TWHACK! Perhaps there’s a message there somewhere. Don’t mess with Johnny Barrows.

Now Johnny ends up running into some hills in Malibu with Nancy. Johnny believes Nancy loves him, but she informs him she was in love with Tony. She shoots Johnny and tells him,

“So long, sucker.”

And then like the opening where Johnny is with his army team in Vietnam, trying to avoid the mines, Nancy steps on a mine. Why are there mines in Malibu? This is one of many questions that go unanswered in a blaxploitation film. Blaxploitation popularity filtered into other ethnic audiences.

If you’re a filmmaker seeking exposure and potentially some money for your film, check out In addition, there are other categories of films in the Film Grove collection; science fiction, horror, Betty Boop cartoons and some episodes of “The Lucy Show.”


Movies & Racism

What can white people do?

As a white person, what can I do to contribute to the conversation on racism? I’m already passionate about human rights, civil rights, equal rights and justice for all. Protesters march the streets condemning police brutality, calling for better treatment of black men and women. Just as people of different colors, races and religions marched with raised fists supporting our black brothers and sisters, white people need to continue the conversation on racism.

It’s not enough for black people to discuss racism with other black people. The beauty blossoming from the Black Lives Matter protests is the unity, and not just in America, but around the entire world. The entire world is shouting, “ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!”

Racism is a global sickness. Protesters, wearing protective masks, have often mentioned their concern about COVID-19, but racism has been around for over 400 years. Their fight for racial justice is more important. They would die for this cause as many have for many years. Hate is a virus.

Black men in particular have been treated unfairly. It has been difficult at times in some cases to witness any justice whatsoever. A lot needs to improve. I may not be able talk specifically about racial justice or police reform, but my experience and passion is the movies.

Having discussions about racism in movies is a great way to talk about the issues. Just as there is a lot of racial history in America, there’s a lot of movies about the topic.


“Broken On All Sides”

Broken On All Sides: Race, Mass Incarceration & New Visions for Criminal Justice in the U.S. (Trailer) from Collective Eye Films on Vimeo.

In 2012, I ran the Social Media Film Festival in Las Vegas, Nevada. The festival was about social media taking on social issues. One documentary film in particular, “Broken On All Sides: Race, Mass Incarceration & New Visions for Criminal Justice in the U.S.” focuses on a book by Michelle Alexander, The New Jim Crow. Michelle Alexander’s book focuses on how the war on drugs and tough on crime policies targeted people of race, specifically black men. If these same black men completed their time, they had very little chances of employment or improving their lives once released back into society.

Prisons became a place of overcrowded cells. Many simply could not afford to bail themselves out and ended up doing more time. “Broken On All Sides” can be viewed on Vimeo. The director, Matthew Pillischer, shared this link and password (broken) to let anyone watch this important documentary.

“I Am Not Your Negro”

In 1979, James Baldwin turned in an unfinished manuscript entitled, “Remember This House.” The book was to be a first hand personal account of three very outspoken black activists; Medgar Evers, Malcom X and Martin Luther King, Jr. Filmmaker Raoul Peck took the unfinished manuscript and turned it into this very intelligent and insightful documentary narrated by Samuel L. Jackson. “I Am Not Your Negro” was nominated for an Oscar at the 2017 Academy Awards. James Baldwin: “The story of the Negro in America is the story of America, and it is not a pretty story.”

Ava DaVernay

“13th,” an Oscar nominated documentary by Ava DuVernay, discusses mass incarceration and racial inequality. The title, ‘13th’ refers to the thirteenth amendment of the United States Constitution to abolish slavery unless it is punishment for a crime. The amendment was passed on January 31, 1865 and made official on December 6, 1865. Michelle Alexander (“Broken On All Sides”) is a subject in this film too.


Another Oscar nominated film by Ava DaVernay is “Selma.” “Selma” (2014) is the narrative story of Martin Luther King, Jr. pursuing a campaign to achieve equal voting rights for black people. King, played wonderfully by David Oyelowo, lead a large march of mostly black people from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama in 1965. President Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act into law. It is an extraordinary and powerful portrayal of a man looking to make peaceful change in the world.

“Green Book”

Another movie taking place in the 1960s is “Green Book.” Director Peter Farrelly is a story that tackles both issues of racism and homophobia. Tony Vallelonga, (Viggo Mortensen) a nightclub bouncer, reluctantly takes a job driving a classical pianist, Don Shirley (Mahershala Ali) on a tour of the deep southern states. Their main resource for their journey is The Negro Motorist Green Book, a travel guide for black people looking to be safe in the segregated south. By the end of the film these two strangers become very close. They may have not changed the world, but they changed each other’s world for the better.

“It takes courage to change peoples’ hearts.”

It’s an excellent film! Don Shirley is masterfully portrayed by Mahershala Ali who won an Oscar for an Actor in a Supporting Role. Viggo Mortensen was also nominated for the Leading Role.

Spike Lee – “Do the Right Thing”

As far as I know, whenever Spike Lee is mentioned “Do the Right Thing” in 1989 is the movie that always comes to mind. It is so powerful and important. It takes place on a very hot Summer’s day in a Brooklyn, NY neighborhood where tempers often rise due to racial conflict. Sal, Italian, played by Danny Aiello, owns a pizza parlor where it’s patrons are mostly black and Hispanic. His son, Pino, (JohnTurturo) would love nothing more than to move their pizza place to their Italian neighborhood.

When one of the black customers, Buggin Out (Giancarlo Esposito) looks up at the famous people in pictures on the wall he points out there’s no black people. Sal reminds him there’s only Italians because it’s an Italian establishment. Things get heated throughout the day. Mookie (Spike Lee), Sal’s delivery driver, is friendly with Buggin Out, putting him in a tough spot.

The rest of this amazing cast includes; Ossie Davis, Ruby Dee, Bill Nunn, Samuel L. Jackson, Rosie Perez, Martin Lawrence and John Savage. ‘Fight the Power,” a strong political song by Public Enemy is still very relevant.


Spike Lee has gone on to make numerous films about racism including “Malcolm X,” but my second favorite film of his is his more recent “BlackkKlansman” in 2018. As incredible as it sounds, this movie is based on true events. It’s about, Ron Stallworth, the first black officer hired in the early 1970s at the Colorado Springs, Colorado police department. Stallworth, played by John David Washington, working in the records room, is sick of hearing racial insults from his co-workers. He decides to switch to undercover work in a big way. He simply calls up the grand master of the KKK, David Duke, and state how much he hates blacks, Jews, Mexicans, etc. He forms an instant bond with Duke, but he can’t meet with Duke in person for obvious reasons. So his white, Jewish partner, played by Adam Driver, uses his name to go undercover to infiltrate and expose the KKK.

Steve McQueen’s “12 Years a Slave”

Solomon Northrop, played by Chiwetel Ejiofor, is a black man born free in upstate New York. Northrop, a professional violin player, thought he was meeting with some men about a job opportunity, but was mislead, abducted and sold back into slavery. It is an unbelievably true story showing one man’s struggle and survival for a right to win back the freedom he already had. The amazing cast includes Michael Fassbender, Paul Giamatti, Benedict Cumberbatch, Paul Dano, Brad Pitt, Sarah Paulson, Alfre Woodard, and Lupita Nyong’o. A fellow slave in captivity advises Northop, “If you want to survive, do and say as little as possible.” Northrop answers, “I don’t want to survive. I want to live.”

Jordan Peele’s “Get Out”

This is a horror story about a white girl named Rose Armitage who brings her black boyfriend, Chris Washington, home to meet her parents. Chris, played by Daniel Kaluuya, is concerned about meeting Rose’s white parents and family. Her parents make him feel comfortable. Too comfortable. A party with guests has some strange aspects to it and even stranger characters. Black male and female servants act like they only speak when spoken to. Rose’s mother, played by Catherine Keener, is some sort of psychologist. When Chris mentions to her parents he’s trying to quit smoking Mrs. Armitage offers Chris tea to take him to his ‘sunken place.’ Chris learns the hard way that Rose’s family have bad intentions for him. There are levels of deceit, manipulation and blatant racism throughout this story.

Movies That Matter

In the spirit of my Social Media Film Festival, I started Movies That Matter LA Meetup in 2015 through 2016. It was a movie group with screenings about social issues. The idea of the group was to see a movie and discuss it afterwards. Movies touched on climate change, prescription drugs, anti-semitism and racism. Three films regarding racism during that time were “Loving,” “Hidden Figures” and “3 1/2 Minutes, Ten Bullets.”


“Loving” is based on the true story of Richard Loving, portrayed by Joel Edgerton, who falls in love with a black woman named Mildred (Ruth Negga) in the 1960s. They decide to drive up to Washington DC to get officially married. The couple was arrested for being an interracial marriage in Virginia. Loving began a legal battle that would end with the Supreme Court’s historic 1967 decision to make interracial marriage legal.

“Hidden Figures”

“Hidden Figures” is the unbelievable story about three black female mathematicians highly responsible for the success of astronaut John Glenn into orbit. The space race in the 60s between the Soviet Union and the United States was fierce. The times were intense, but even more so for these women as they had to not only prove themselves under duress, they had to battle many racial biases. Simple things like going to the restroom weren’t so simple for black women. They had to walk great distances to relieve themselves. These extremely intelligent women, Katherine G. Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan and Mary W. Jackson, were performed beautifully by Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer and Janelle Monae. It’s a very inspiring story.

On Wednesday, June 24th, 2020, NASA Administrator, Jim Bridenstine announced the agency’s headquarters building in Washington, D.C. to be named after Mary W. Jackson, honoring her as the first African American female engineer at NASA. Additionally, Jackson was posthumously awarded the Congressional Gold Medal in 2019.

Bridenstine stated, “Mary W. Jackson was part of a group of very important women who helped NASA succeed in getting American astronauts into space. Mary never accepted the status quo, she helped break barriers and open opportunities for African Americans and women in the field of engineering and technology. Today, we proudly announce the Mary W. Jackson NASA Headquarters building. It appropriately sits on ‘Hidden Figures Way,’ a reminder that Mary is one of many incredible and talented professionals in NASA’s history who contributed to this agency’s success. Hidden no more, we will continue to recognize the contributions of women, African Americans, and people of all backgrounds who have made NASA’s successful history of exploration possible.”

Ryan Coogler’s “Fruitvale Station”

Sundance winner “Fruitvale Station,” written and directed by a Ryan Coogler (“Black Panther,” “Creed”), is a true story about 22-year old, Oscar Grant, played beautifully by Michael B. Jordan. Grant wakes up on the last day of the year, December 31, 2008, thinking about his future and improving his life. Recently unemployed, he wants to be there more for his four year old daughter, Tatiana, and be a better boyfriend to his live-in girlfriend, Sophina. Grant spends much of the day preparing for his mother’s birthday party. After the party, his mother, Wanda, (Octavia Spencer) talks Grant into to taking the BART train over driving because of all the NYE drivers drunk drinking. The unfortunate incident shows how the police officers shot an unarmed Grant and used excessive force.

“Just Mercy”

Michael B. Jordan is also the lead in “Just Mercy” about a young lawyer, Bryan Stevenson, who, after graduating from Harvard, decides to defend the wrongly accused in Alabama instead of taking potentially more lucrative financial job opportunities. One of his notorious cases involved Walter McMillian, on death row for murdering an eighteen year old girl. The only testimony against McMillian played by Jaime Foxx, is of a criminal with a motive to lie. There are a lot of things hindering Stevenson’s progress in this and other cases. One thing you learn about Stevenson is that he never quits. “It’s never too late for justice.”

“3 1/2 Minutes, 10 Bullets”

The last movie I’ll share is another documentary film, “3 1/2 Minutes, Ten Bullets” directed by Marc Silver. In November 2012, four young black teenagers pulled up to a gas station in a red SUV. Their music was blaring. Another vehicle pulled up with a white couple inside. The woman entered the store. The middle-aged male driver, Michael Dunn, started a shouting match with the boys about their music. Three and a half minutes and ten bullets later, seventeen-year old Jordan Davis was dead.

It’s just one event in an endless string of endless of similar occurrences where both black men and women should have no reason to lose their lives over the smallest things or nothing at all.

Police Brutality

Police officers are now wearing body cams. Those cams need to be recording all incidents out of protection for both the officer and the person they’re arresting, displaying exactly what goes down. It’s not that black people haven’t been victimized the last several decades. Arrests are now being recorded by the police themselves, but more importantly THE PEOPLE. The people are recording everything even before anything happens, using their cell phones. They anticipate something happening because their trust of the police has diminished.

After seeing the body cams of the police officers before and during the George Floyd arrest, people stood up. Eight minutes and forty-six seconds was a long time to watch a Minneapolis police officer place a chokehold on Mr. Floyd. Not only did black people stand up, but they started marching. They were not the only people that stood up and started marching. Brown people stood up. Asian people stood up. And white people stood up. By and large, Americans, Europeans, and human beings all over the world felt and shouted “Enough is enough!”

In Summary, here is a list of films in the order presented in this blog about racism people of all ethnic backgrounds can view to discuss the issues further.

  • “Broken On All Sides”
  • “I Am Not Your Negro”
  • “13Th”
  • “Selma”
  • “Green Book”
  • “Do the Right Thing”
  • “BlackkKlansman”
  • “12 Years a Slave”
  • “Get Out”
  • “Loving”
  • “Hidden Figures”
  • “Fruitvale Station”
  • “Just Mercy”
  • “3 1/2 Minutes, 10 Bullets”

What else can white people do?

Donate & Share Fundraising Campaigns #HateIsAVirus

Where to Donate for Black Lives Matter

Justice for Breonna Taylor Go Fund Me #SayHerName

Official George Floyd Memorial Fund

Ahmaud Arbery Go Fund Me

Official Go Fund Me for Rayshard Brooks

American Civil Liberties Union

Equal Justice Initiative

NASA Resource for “Hidden Figures”


Let’s All Go to the Movies


Let’s All Go to the Movies!

It’s Saturday night. You and your significant other plan a night out at the movies. It’s tradition! Most of you plan to see a new release. Cinephiles may be seeing an old movie like “The Godfather” on the big screen. Maybe you’re out with friends, sharing a common interest in a particular movie. A part of the excitement is simply getting cozy in a dark theater with your favorite snacks and drinks. And then take a ‘most excellent adventure’ with the characters on the big screen. 

Since Thomas Edison sold a few Vitascope projectors to brothers Mitchell and Moe Mark in Buffalo, New York, movie-goers have been infatuated with seeing movies in the theaters. The Mark brothers called their storefront theater, Vitascope and opened their cinema with seventy-two seats to the public on October 19, 1896. 

The State Theater in Washington, Iowa is the oldest operating movie theater in the world, first showing films in 1897. The theater was entered into the Guinness Book of Records on April 21, 2016. It was still operating as of January 1, 2020. 

But as you are all unfortunately aware, all movie theaters around the world are closed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. As a society the entire world has looked to the cinema in good times and bad times. Movies help us escape the daily grind as well as to be informed in times of war and conflict. Technology has placed moving pictures and information into the palms of our hands, but our appreciation and excitement for the big screen will never fade away. 

In 1902, the first motion picture theater, Tally’s Electric Theater, popped up in a California storefront. One of the first and most popular films was “The Great Train Robbery” in 1903. It was only twelve minutes long, but it captivated imaginations. 

John P. Harris and Harry Davis, in 1905, opened a movie theater in a Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania storefront, coining it Nickelodeon for its price of admission, five cents or a nickel. By 1908, thousands of Nickelodeons had opened up across North America. 

Aero Theater in Santa Monica

Before Nickelodeon theaters were all the rage, people flocked to theaters to watch actors perform vaudeville, a variety show and combination of burlesque, comedy, song and dance. One vaudeville veteran, Buster Keaton, was invited by Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle to play a small role in a two-reel comedy he was co-starring in and directing, “The Butcher Boy” in 1917. Keaton found his calling! 

Buster Keaton went on to direct and star in films he made famous, “The General,” “Steamboat Bill, Jr.,” “Sherlock, Jr.,” “The Navigator,” “Go West,”, “The Scarecrow,” “The Paleface,” “Battling Butler” and “Seven Chances.” His deadpan face and humorous ways made us laugh at him and with him. He did anything for a laugh. He went to great lengths to perform the most incredible and dangerous stunts just for a laugh. He put his own body through a lot of damage. All in the name of entertainment.

Personally, I grew up admiring lots of characters that stemmed from the early days of cinema when everything was in black and white. Other favorites include Abbott & Costello, Laurel & Hardy and The Three Stooges. 

I really liked Charlie Chaplin, but didn’t know the extent of his genius until I moved from New York to Los Angeles, California in 1992. And I barely knew of Buster Keaton really until I moved to LA. The Los Angeles County Museum was screening many of Keaton’s films for a few months in early 1994 I believe. Those screenings literally changed my life. I fell in deeper love and appreciation for the cinema and seeing movies on the big screen that I didn’t know was even possible. And I have Buster Keaton to thank for that. I even ended up making a few short silent films with a friend. 

Seeing "The Great Buster"

Seeing “The Great Buster” at The Aero with my friend, Sean Kinney, on the left.

Charlie Chaplin was someone I got a kick out of. While Keaton made audiences laugh at his expense, Chaplin’s humor was often politically motivated. “The Great Dictator” is an amazing accomplishment, poking fun at Adolf Hitler while Hitler was still in power. Both comedians took amazing risks in order to reach millions of viewers. Chaplin is known for “The Tramp,” “The Kid,” “The Gold Rush,” “Modern Times” and “City Lights” co-starring Buster Keaton. 

Both Keaton and Chaplin along with other film artists such as Harold Lloyd helped kick off the passion that is the cinema. These funny, creative, innovative brilliant minds took us from the days of silent films into ‘Talkies’ an era where sound was added, giving actors a more realistic human feel. Talkies may have ended the silent movie phenomenon at the time, but silent films are still inspiring entertainment today everywhere you look. Keaton’s house falling on top of him, just missing him in “Steamboat Bill, Jr.” has been mimicked dozens of times in film,  television and commercials. 

Los Angeles also has the Silent Movie Theater on Fairfax Avenue in Hollywood. In the mid-90’s this place screened all sorts of silent films and with live organ accompaniment. It was a really hip thing to attend. There are still events today, but not as authentic as those days in the 90s.

Some of my earliest experiences with the cinema were in Minnesota where I lived as a kid. I recall seeing movies in a drive-in theater. I remember seeing “The Towering Inferno.” And my most endearing memories of cinema involve a gigantic dino-lizard named Godzilla, stomping through Japan and destroying Tokyo. Last year, 2019, The Egyptian Theater in Hollywood, California, did a revival of Godzilla movies and played back-to-back films in 35mm. I…was…in…heaven. Seeing and hearing Godzilla ROAR on the big screen put me right back into my childhood days. 

Sidney Patrick Grauman built two of the most elaborate cinema landmarks in Hollywood; the Chinese Theater and the Egyptian Theater. My favorite movie theater to see larger-than-life movies is by far The Chinese Theater. The Chinese Theater opened May 18, 1927. A lot of the elaborate decor is of Chinese nature. And Chinese artisans designed sculptures to enhance the theater’s look and feel. The TCL Chinese Theater, as it’s now called, is absolutely breathtaking! The Egyptian is also quite amazing. Both theaters have very high ceilings like buildings that could have belonged to the Greeks, Romans or even the Egyptians perhaps in between the Pyramids. 

When I was about six years old, my father took me to see “Star Wars, A New Hope” in 1977. I was FLOORED! What is this world of rebels, furry characters and dark figures breathing heavily into my face and psyche? I think my Dad, a huge movie fan was taken by it too, because we returned to the movie theaters to see it a second time. I believe we were going to see a different movie the third time, but whatever that movie was was sold out. No matter. I would spend the rest of my life seeing this movie, “The Empire Strikes Back” and “Return of the Jedi” whenever the chance presents itself on the big screen. That’s where these George Lucas movies were intended to be seen and for generations to come with the new Star Wars adventures. 

My childhood was also very much influenced by Steven Spielberg. “Close Encounters,” although I didn’t quite understand it until years later, would have a profound affect on me. My sense of wonder about the world and the universe would blossom over the years. Soon it would be “E.T., the Extra-Terrestrial” that warmed my heart. And my sense of adventure was catapulted into existence by “Raiders of the Lost Ark.” All these movies seen first on the big screen is how I’ll always remember and think of them. 

In my early adult years, Stanley Kubrick took over my mind. I think he stole it. Kubrick figuratively pulled back my eye-lids like in “A Clockwork Orange” and pulled me in to his worlds. “The Shining” is one of my favorite movies. “2001, A Space Odyssey” continues to affect me. The visual effects are absolutely dream-like and gorgeous. If anything was meant to be seen in 70mm IMAX, it’s “2001.” Much of Kubrick’s films, like Spielberg, were meant to be seen on large screens. Some of Kubrick’s larger-than-life films include “Paths of Glory,” “Spartacus,” “Lolita,” and “Dr. Strangelove or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb.” Another wonderful film worth mentioning is “Full Metal Jacket.” Larger than life characters need to be seen and heard as big as the screens can be made. 

The bigger the better! That’s why we need to support the movie theaters when unforeseen events force them to close for a period of time. Los Angeles is especially full of cinema history. And there’s outdoor venues, cemetery screenings, movies in the park, etc. Go see them all, but don’t forget the movie theaters.

The Landmark

Movies That Matter movie Meetup at The Landmark.

When Laemmle Theater chain opens up again I plan to go see a movie to support bringing them back. They’re a smaller movie chain that often shows independent and/or foreign made feature films. Laemmle is just beginning to partner with a streaming company that will offer their movies on demand so they can survive in the meantime. Click here for more info., trailers and more. 

AMC Theaters recently started on-demand to coincide with the regular box office theater option. I’ve been a member of their popular AMC Plus Pass which allows you to see three movies a week for $19.95 a month. They’ve suspended the cost for now while the theaters are temporarily closed. 

For a few years I had a Meetup group called Movies That Matter LA. Usually I would pick a new release that involved a social issue related story. Often these movies were based on real people and true events. Some movies we saw were “Hidden Figures,” “Miles Ahead” “The Zookeeper’s Wife” and “Snowden.” One of the documentaries we saw was “An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth To Power” about climate change. My group would see the movie and then we would discuss it afterwards at a restaurant or coffee shop. 

That’s me, Ross H. Martin, in the photo  holding a Golden Ticket from “Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory,” one of my favorite movies. This screening with a Q & A took place at the NoHo 7 Laemmle Theater. It was part of a month-long celebration of Gene Wilder films.

Laemmle NoHo 7

Laemmle NoHo 7

Originally called The Pacific Theatres Cinerama Dome, it opened November 7, 1963 with the premiere of “It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World” in 70mm. Cinerama is a process that brings three synchronized movie projectors together displaying one-third of the picture on a wide, curved screen. The curved screen is an added touch to make the audience member feel more connected than watching on a plain flat screen.

What’s your chosen candy? I grew up eating anything chocolate. My go-to was Rasinets, Goobers or Nestle Crunch bars. And of course, popcorn. Although I can’t much popcorn anymore as it upsets my stomach. There’s nothing like kicking back and reclining in a stadium-made leather chair with a drink and snacks and watching a new movie release. I actually miss the old days when you could hear the plastic film running through the projector.

Today, projectors run digitally and very quiet. With technology getting better and better, movies are looking better and sounding better. Having worked at Fotokem post-production the past five years, I’ve witnessed the work being done on 70mm films still being produced by the likes of filmmakers Quentin Tarantino (“Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”) and Christopher Nolan. Just last night I watched “The Dark Knight” on my little TV screen. Yes, I need a bigger TV. But I recall first seeing “The Dark Knight” at the famous Arclight Cinemas in the Dome. Over 75 feet tall, the Cinerama Dome, another favorite theater of mine, is as impressive on the outside as it is on the inside.

The Dome w Godzilla

The Dome with Godzilla

Today, the Dome seats 800 people. At times, there is a display as a part of the giant white dome. When “Godzilla: King of the Monsters” (2019) was released you could see Godzilla’s face breaking out of the top and light shining from it symbolizing his nuclear energy zapping the heavens. The Arclight Theaters is also very big on quest speakers doing Q & As after screenings. 

And after writing about these movie theater icons and theater chains, I may have to attend them all once they open back up for business. I’ll go see a movie at Grauman’s Chinese Theater (TCL Theater). Then maybe I’ll catch a movie at the Dome. I’ll definitely go support Laemmle Theaters. 

The Vista Theater

The Vista Theater playing “Wonder Woman.”

And now I’m reminded of another great movie theater in Hollywood. The Vista Theater, opened as early as 1923, holding 400 seats. It plays newly released movies as well as classic movies of the past. Last year, at the Vista I saw “Batman: The Movie” (1966). It was the first time I had seen it in a theater and it was wonderful. All the cheesy dialogue and action made me feel all warm and fuzzy. 

At Vista the manager or ‘epic manager’ as he is often referred to as, Victor Martinez, is very much like a showman, dressing up at his premieres. He even recruited Wonder Woman.

Vista Theater

Vista Theater Wonder Woman Premiere. My friend, Michael McLaughlin, is on the far right. Manager Victor Martinez, far left. 

And finally, with my re-instated AMC Plus Pass, I’ll return to doing what I love most, seeing movies in the theaters. 

We in our 40s grew up with so much change at the cinemas. We look forward to bigger and better. Younger people can look forward to those awkward first dates. The movies give them something to break the ice afterwards. Some hand-holding. Sharing popcorn. Maybe a scary horror film makes one lean on the other. These couples will have families and take their children to see the newest animated film and perhaps see them in 3-D. Enjoy! 

See you at the movies! 

Blinded By the Light

“Blinded By the Light” is a narrative feature film about a Pakistani male teenager trying to assimilate into British society in 1987. His strict father holds his Pakistani roots tightly and doesn’t let anyone else have independent views. Plagued by racism and pressured to become a lawyer or doctor, Javed, played wonderfully by Vivek Kalra, writing since an early age, wants to make a living as a writer. Javed abandons his Pakistani roots after being introduced to the music of Bruce Springsteen. 

Why Bruce Springsteen? When Javed asks his new friend, Roops, ‘Who’s the boss?’ Roops responds, “He’s the boss of us all.” An American pop icon. And nothing says American pop culture more than Bruce Springsteen. Although the story takes place in England, Javed’s desire to break free from his surroundings is the American spirit. Writer-Director Gurinder Chadha (“Bend It Like Beckham”) and additional writers, Paul Mayeda Berges, and Sarfraz Manzoor wrote about Manzoor’s experiences growing up Pakistani in England. Chandra was also a ‘Bruce’ fan. Springsteen’s songs were often about hard-working families getting through the tough times. 

The film follows a universal message inspired by Bruce Springsteen, ‘No one wins unless everybody wins.’ Bruce treats people equally and lifts them up. In a Rolling Stone Magazine interview, Chadha says, “…we all stand side by side, and it’s not an us or them – we’re all in it together. And that’s what I think the majority of people want to raise their kids to know. That’s what makes us human. And Bruce is all about empathy.” 

There are a few scenes that break into song and transform into a musical with dance routines and it totally works. It’s not all Bruce songs. Javed makes a deal with his sister to take her to a club where everyone enters and changes out of their ‘school clothes’ and into sparkling club-wear. A disc jockey plays popular Middle Eastern 80’s music. It shocks Javed to see his sister all decked out. And then he learns she’s seeing this young boy. This becomes another secret these siblings keep from their family. Their older sister gets married through a traditional arrangement between families. 

Some liberalities were taken. Apparently, journalist Sarfraz Manzoor did not have a girlfriend at the time. He also never talked back to his father to the extent the character does in the film. These additional elements heighten the stakes and build deeper levels in the story. 

The film is also a sad reminder that racism and xenophobia were prevalent in the 80’s, but unfortunately that has not changed today. In the film, it’s mentioned how open and free America is or was. So much hatred has come out of the woodwork in America in the last few years that it’s a bit ironic. This is why more films about people from different backgrounds is vital to America and the world. The more the world sees that we’re all just people trying to find good jobs and live together in peace the less likely we’ll hate each other. Because…’Tramps like us, baby we were born to run.’

Rolling Stone Interview


Why is Comic Con So Serious?

The following blog is very old as I attended Comic Con the first and only time in 2008. This article was on my Hubpages site which I’m discontinuing. I thought this might be an interesting addition and timing as Comic Con 2019 is taking place this weekend. And no, I am not attending and miss this experience. I’ll have to plan on going next year.


There’s Batman exiting the parking lot! And there’s the Joker crossing the street. And there’s another Joker. For years I heard about the Comic Convention or Comic Con as they like to call it. Every year seemed to pass by and I’d forget about it when it was time to get tickets. This year almost slipped through my fingers like a villain falling from a great high-rise. About a month before Comic Con it was nearly sold out. I got a ticket for just Sunday. I drove down to San Diego from Los Angeles. It only took 1-and a-half hours to get there.

I thought I might try to catch the “Smallville” panel upstairs, but a staff member told me it was sold out. So, I started walking along the great line of people waiting to get into “Smallville” and got on at the end of the line to think about attending the “Supernatural” panel in the same room afterwards. I mainly got in line to collect my thoughts. Am I going to wait in long lines all day on my first and only day of Comic Con? NO! I decided to check out and spend the whole day downstairs where all the booths are. Somehow I found myself on a long line there too. It wasn’t for a panel with celebrities talking about filmmaking. It wasn’t for a celebrity signing autographs either. The line was for picking up free stuff off of a table. That’s insane! The staff person said the line was about 5 minutes long. Twenty-five minutes later I was more relieved to be done standing in that line than whatever crap I got from the table. I’ll probably end up throwing most of it away. So, long lines leading nowhere is a part of Comic Con.


You’d think by Sunday the convention would thin out a bit. No way! It was wall-to-wall people. Some were dressed as PREDATORS, STORMTROOPERS, GHOSTBUSTERS and EDWARD SCISSORHANDS. The good thing I got about walking up and down the aisles was a warm, fuzzy feeling, a nostalgic heaven of sorts. There were toys I saw that I used to own. There were toys I saw I’d like to own. My budget was tiny, but there was one item I really wanted, a small figurine of a Cylon. I LOVE “BATTLESTAR GALACTICA”! They were sold out of course. All the cool stuff is available early on in the convention. I did purchase a few items; One Batman tee shirt, 2 8x 10 photos of DARTH VADER and INDIANA JONES. The convention is jam- packed with figures of superheroes and villains of all sizes. The HULK and IRON MAN were bigger than life.

Various celebrities and artists were signing autographs throughout Comic Con. The actor that played the guy in the bunny suit in “DONNIE DARKO” was signing autographs. After walking all day long I took a little time to rest up at a table I found luckily. I ate my pretzel and water for 7 dollars and people watched. Well, some of them looked like people. Actually, sitting down, eating my pretzel and people watching was a highlight to my day. I was exhausted. It was nearly 4PM and I wasn’t sure how much more roaming around I could do. I got a tip from a fellow fan that Lou Ferrigno was there. That’s the real INCREDIBLE HULK! There he was with his arms the size of my head. I snapped a few photos. I didn’t want to take too many pictures as he was actually there to sign autographs and take pictures for cash. I currently don’t have $20 for an autographed picture with The Hulk and definitely not for the actor who’s name I don’t know who played that guy who wore the bunny suit. So, if you’re new to Comic Con and want to get the best out of your experience be prepared for

1) Long lines everywhere you go

2) Most wanted toys sell out early

3) Heavy crowds

4) Expensive food

5) Oh, and if you’re driving from LA, what took me 1-and-a-half hours to San Diego took me 3 hours to drive back. I felt like the Hulk. My body was even turning green. RRRRRRRRR!

Comic Con is a serious business. Somewhere the Joker is laughing. “Why so serious?” HA HA HA HA!

Midsommar: Summertime and the Living is..Not So Easy

The latest horror film by Ari Astar, “Midsommar” is about a handful of Americans that vacation in a secluded Swedish location. A Swedish friend brings these innocent folks to his ‘hometown’ in the middle of nowhere. Dani, played by rising star, Florence Pugh (“Fighting with the Family”), is a lost soul seeking a sense of community and belonging. Her boyfriend, Christian (Jack Reynor) reluctantly told her that he was invited to go to Sweden with his guy friends. You get the feeling it was just going to be the guys venturing to a land full of blondes. Christian is a mixed bag. After Dani lost her parents because her bipolar sister killed them and herself, Christian stayed close to comfort her. His guy friends, young promiscuous college kids, have been telling Christian to dump her sad, depressing ass.

When Dani finds out Christian is leaving in 2 weeks to go away with his buddies without her they argue. Christian ends up inviting Dani to tag along with them on their adventure. Pelle (Vilhelm Blomgren) sold his friends on the concept that his home is a loving, peaceful village full of tranquility. As soon as the group arrives, they run into some of Pelle’s ‘family friends’ whom also brought guests. Immediately, drugs are offered. Dani, reluctant, doesn’t want to ruin the timing of the trip so they’re all tripping at the same time.

After the ‘trip’ they reach the homestead where there are only a few buildings. A large group of people are performing some sort of dance, wearing clothes you might find in Amish country. The group is notified of some rules. One building is where everyone in the village sleeps up until age 36. 36? There are numerous beds and no privacy. Another building is completely off limits. Photography is not permitted.

Things and customs seem a little bit strange, but Dani and Cristian’s friends stay optimistic and positive about their experience. And then things take a horrific turn when a big event takes place early one morning. The group of friends are not told by Pelle or anyone else what was about take place in this ritual. There was a slight hint by an older male member of the group that when you reach a certain age you no longer exist. He made a swiping hand gesture across his neck. This older couple, roughly in their 70’s, walked out to the edge of a cliff a few stories high. One by one they sacrificed themselves, falling face first onto large rocks that split open their faces and crushed their bodies. Dani and Christian and their friends looked on in horror. The actual horror are the grins and smiles on the faces of all the residents of this twisted place.

Soon other guests complain about the festivities. Dani and Cristian are told lies about the other guests and why they’re suddenly missing. Slowly, this vacation unravels the evil that is an agenda Pelle is a part of with the community. The friends learn that all these activities are a part of one big 90-year mysterious celebration. The residents have a lot more in store whether the guests like it or not. I’m not going to give away the ending, but to quote another horror film from 2019, “This is going to end badly.” (‘The Dead Don’t Die’).

It’s obvious to me now why Jordan Peele was so excited about this horror flick. In many ways, “Midsommar” is a lot like “Get Out.” In both films, one person or a group of unsuspecting friends are invited to stay with their friend or significant other’s family. You’ve spent a year or more with this person and think you know everything about them until they invite you to certain death and/or torture.

The writer/director, Ari Astar, seems to have a thing for cults, human noises and nakedness. After seeing “Midsommar” in the theaters I was compelled to rent his first feature horror film, “Hereditary” starring Toni Collette and Gabriel Byrne. In “Hereditary” Collette’s character, Annie, learns that her deceased mother was a part of a group of mediums. Annie’s strange, lonesome, daughter, Charlie, likes making a noise with her tongue and the roof of her mouth. It lets her family members know when she as a ghost is around. The villagers often mimic others’ cries of pain and anguish throughout “Midsommar.”

When it’s known that Annie’s mother in “Hereditary” was part of this cult of mediums, scenes of nakedness pop up.

In “Midsommar,” artwork is everywhere in the village. It seems to share the unfolding story of the people and events that are about to take place. You may even want to see the film a second time to see just how much the images give clues.

Ari Astar also likes to use cinematography as a device. In both films, there’s a point when the stories have been set up and things are about to take a drastic turn…upside down. So, everything must go upside down. And I love how the film gets more and more trippy. The audience too has unknowingly been sipped the mushroom drink. The visual effects are magnificent!

Go witness the trip!

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