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Article ID: 8351
Age Group: Adult
Posted: March 12th. 2004
Witch Cinema 18
by Peg Aloi
Lots of news to report on and some reviews... first of all, I want to say thanks to those who have emailed me with their concerns about the new reality TV show, Mad, Mad House. One of my "scouts" is getting me a tape of this and I will provide a review and comments in my next column...
Have you seen Hidalgo yet?
Just go already. This wonderful film will help you forget whatever problems are keeping you up nights, making you eat too much, making you lose your appetite, making you drink one too many beers every night, making you take the dog for a much shorter walk than she deserves/needs.
Viggo Mortensen stars as the legendary horseman Matthew Hopkins. Although historians disagree about some of Hopkins' claims to fame, it's agreed he was the first American to ride in the Ocean of Fire in 1900. This race across the Arabian desert was known for attracting wealthy American and European investors who bet on Arabian horses and their Bedouin riders. In this film, we see Hopkins, a dispatch rider for the Cavalry, witness the brutal slaughter of his friends and kinsmen at Wounded Knee (Hopkins was half-Sioux). He deals with his depression by drinking too much and performing with Buffalo Bill Cody's Wild West Show (I once hooked up with a young English man purporting to be a great nephew of Cody, but that's another story). Hopkins is asked to ride in the race, based on his reputation for winning cross-country races. He accepts, but insists on riding his trusty dappled Mustang, Hidalgo. (Mortensen, an experienced rider since his youth in South America, became very attached to this horse and purchased it after filming was complete). There's all sorts of adventure and intrigue along the way, and a great cameo from legendary Omar Sharif (yup, that hottie from Dr. Zhivago) as a proud sheik whose daughter befriends Hopkins. Gorgeous cinematography is highlighted during scenes where herds of wild mustangs pound their way across the open plain, nothing but the wind and the sun to harness them. A more beautiful sight may be found in the movies, but I don't know what it is.
You have all heard by now that Angel has been cancelled. Those bastards. (That is what I say when some unexplained entity takes away something I love). The producers are making sure the parting is a slow, painful one by making us wait several weeks before showing us any new episodes. Maybe they've had to re-do some episodes because of the sudden notice (the network admits it was sudden and gave Joss Whedon time to wrap things up in as agreeable a manner as possible - jeez, what a considerate bunch. That sounds like sheer torture to me. What's next, death by unemployment? Wait... that's not funny.). Anyway, here's a link to an article from CNN: [Link], and one from Sci-Fi Wire: [Link]. I loved that Muppet episode: hilarious.
But here's my question: what the heck are we going to watch on TV now with Buffy and Angel both departed for further realms?
I know Sarah Michelle Gellar has another installment of Scooby-Doo coming out, and Allyson Hannigan had a great cameo on That 70s Show recently, and Eliza Dushku is doing okay on that new show Tru Calling, but it's not the same... and not being able to see Spike in any shows anymore... that depresses me.
Anyway, here's some good news: Ben Bella Books is going to be publishing a book of essays on Angel written by a number of science fiction and fantasy writers (myself included), to follow up on their recent release Seven Seasons of Buffy, another anthology of essays by science fiction and fantasy writers (myself included). So check it out. www.benbellabooks.com.
include('wm3/sbr_wm3.inc'); ?>West Memphis Three
More good news along these lines: My pals Brett Savory and Mike Anderson (both professional writers and editors, as well as staunch defenders of the West Memphis Three, like so many other level-headed, compassionate people these days) came up with a great idea: publish an anthology of writings as a benefit for the West Memphis Three, with stories from well-known fantasy and horror writers, and essays from various other people connected to the various support efforts over the last few years (myself included). Here's the official announcement from Brett and Mike:
"The anthology is called Last Pentacle of the Sun: Writings in Support of the West Memphis Three. Sales of the book will raise money for the defense of the "West Memphis Three," young men tried and found guilty of a murder through a disturbing pattern of public hysterics, official misconduct, and completely illogical judicial conclusions. These young men were convenient suspects not because of evidence, but because they wore black, listened to heavy metal music, and liked horror fiction. It is a very disturbing situation. Check out the site created to raise awareness of the case:
The book will be made up of 13 works of fiction and 8 works of non-fiction, plus one set of lyrics, some black-and-white photos, and several black-and-white illustrations, which, when all is said and done, comes out to about 70,000 words. Contributors are (in alphabetical order):
Peg Aloi, Clive Barker, Joe Berlinger & Bruce Sinofsky, Gary A. Braunbeck, Poppy Z. Brite & Caitlin R. Kiernan, Stephen Dedman, Adam Greene & David Niall Wilson, James Hetfield, Brian Hodge, Gerard Houarner, Philip Jenkins, Mara Leveritt, Bentley Little, Simon Logan, Michael Marano, Elizabeth Massie, James Morrow, Scott Nicholson, Mike Oliveri, Grove Pashley, John Pelan, Adam Roberts, Burk Sauls, Peter Straub, Paul G. Tremblay.
The more people know about this book, the better, because time really is running out. And with two films about the case coming out later this year - a feature film, West Memphis Three (www.imbd.com/title/tt0362306/) and Devil's Knot, based on Mara Leveritt's book (www.wm3.org/html/news.html), the timing of this anthology's release couldn't be better.
Please take some time to look into this case, and help us reverse this horrendous injustice."
I couldn't have said it better myself, guys! Thanks for our vision and efforts. Everyone out there: make sure you buy this book when it comes out. I feel very honored to be in such distinguished company: Clive Barker and Peter Straub... wow. You know a cause is worthy when busy artists like that volunteer their time and efforts. Other artists who have helped publicize the case include Henry Rollins, Eddie Vedder, Winona Ryder, and Steve Earle. Witchvox has supported this case since 1996 and we have a number of articles and interviews on the website. Check 'em out if you haven't already.
The two narrative films in the works should help reach a larger audience than ever before. Your local video store should have the two excellent documentaries available: Paradise Lost introduced the world to this injustice in 1996 and its follow-up Revelations looks at events as of 1999. Bruce Sinofksy and Joe Berlinger are the award-winning filmmakers who created these stunning chronicles of a shocking murder case in Arkansas. The fate of three innocent young men lies in the hands of the court system now; but spreading awareness of injustice is always important - and there are many who believe the actual murderer(s) remains unapprehended to this day.
And just to end on a controversial but media-related note, I want to say that, today, Massachusetts seems poised to ban gay marriage, yet uphold equal rights for those in civil unions. My questions is: what's the difference? Is the issue that you just don't want gay people saying they're "married?" I am sick of stupid people being quoted on TV and the radio saying "marriage is a gift from God" - since when? The last I knew (of course, I only have several thousand years of history to defend this view), marriage was about love and commitment and, to a lesser extent, money and property rights. I am outraged when people defend their bigoted views on this issue by saying "this country was founded on the word of God." Since when? My favorite dumbass statement of the day came from a woman (quoted on NPR) who said that gay marriage would lead to fewer children being born in this country, and that children born into other countries with an anti-American agenda would then "outnumber" us. This would be laughable if it were not so offensive. I got news for ya, cupcake: they DO outnumber us. And most of 'em are godless heathens, according to your view of the world. Better get used to it. If these people protesting the right of gays to marry believe that marriage is a religious issue, why then are they asking for the state to outlaw it? Don't we have a separation of Church and State in this country??????
And another thing: why aren't they talking about all this on Will and Grace?
Until next time,
yours in righteous indignation,
Media Coordinator - The Witches' Voice
Monday, March 15th.. 2004
Email: [Staff Email]
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