For Kids, Many Voices Become One at “Twenty Feet from Stardom” Benefit Screening & Concert

Few third graders have been heard to proudly announce to their classmates… “I hope to be fourth cellist in the New York Philharmonic.” “I’d like to be a situational middle-inning relief pitcher for the Yankees.” “I want to be an Indy pit crew member.” or… “My dream is to be an editor.” Not many editors get a standing ovation.   Even at the Oscars, its award is sandwiched between Best Costume Design and the latest Revlon commercial.  And you are more likely to be mistaken as that fourth cellist before someone says, “Aren’t you an editor–of documentaries?” Twenty Feet from Stardom honors the teammate, the supporting role–in effect, the glue behind some of the greatest songs of the last fifty years.  And someone had to convert 700 hours of interviews and archival footage of these amazing women into 90 minutes.  Enter Doug Blush, who last Friday embodied the spirit of this movie to help young… Read More…

Free Trip to Hollywood this Saturday–Join Talented Young Filmmakers at the Michigan Student Film and Video Festival

You know their work.  And they all started right here in Michigan. If you’ve seen the Star Wars prequel trilogy you’ve seen one–Oscar-Winner, Doug Chiang If you’ve seen the recent Oz the Great and Powerful you’ve seen one–Aaron Lebovic One worked on Iron Man 3 this past summer–Kale Davidoff Two of them wrote and directed the cult zombie/comedy/road-trip/buddy Deadheads that’s been doing great on Netflix right now–Brett and Drew Pierce One works for the gaming division of a prestigious LA Agency–Blake Rochkind One of them just sold a screenplay after being selected by Robert Redford to attend his Sundance Writers Workshop–Dan Casey This Summer, one of them from Clawson, Dan Scanlon, has directed the May’s Monsters University from Pixar and you can meet him at a special benefit screening This Saturday, for free at the DIA’s gorgeous Detroit Film Theatre, you’ll have a chance to welcome more students into the ranks of… Read More…

You Can Take the Teacher Out of Service, But You Can’t Take the Service Out of the Teacher

One of the greatest gifts of teaching is spending the day with other teachers.  But even in the department-store enormity of a high school, we all close our doors at the bell and, in essence, work alone.  We meet in meetings that no one wants to attend, by the copy machine that no one wants to un-jam or by the mailboxes, that no one wants to look into–all of these situations aren’t the most positive climates for collegiality. I was fortunate to begin working in the late 1980’s, when Michigan teacher-strikes were winding down and school funding was healthy.  The veterans that were there when I started began their careers during the Eisenhower administration, many years before Mitt Romney’s father made teacher’s unions legal. Don’t worry, I’m not going on a political rant–I promise! In 1994, when school funding was removed from local communities in Michigan, things began changing.  And… Read More…

Willy Wonka, Shirking Responsibility and a Great Night Out!

  Tonight in Detroit you can once again blame your parents.  The punchline for the Oompa Loompa’s many songs dealing with Charlie and his competing four brats for the keys to the fabled chocolate factor is “The mother and the father.”   I was only six years old when this classic film premiered and I remember nodding my head in the theater thinking, “Yeah, the little creepy orange guys are right.  Those kids are spoiled rotten.”  Perhaps it was some kind of smugness that I would later have a stuffy professor explain to me as the same joy that the Greeks took in tragedies–“Whew, glad that’s Oedipus and not me!” At Detroit’s historic Redford Theatre this afternoon and tonight, you can not only see the film again in a classic 1920’s theater, complete with organ recitals before the show and during intermission just like they had for the silent films…. Read More…