On the Road

A half century ago, Jack Kerouac had already been coast to coast and even set sights on overseas travel. It took many attempts and years of edits before On the Road reached the bookshelves. Initial reviews were positive, but misplaced. In a 1957 New York Times review, David Dempsey wrote that it is no longer “fashionable for the young and weary–creatures of Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald–simply to be “lost.” Generally, the Beats were discounted by the mainstream. By the time Kerouac reached fame, he had already written a dozen or so books that were then published back to back as if the author had written them over night.
Kerouacs
Adapting On the Road for the big screen was not easy. After years of development with Francis Ford Coppola, billionaire director Walter Salles has created an original perspective of the Beat Generation by combining the uncensored story of the original scroll with the character names of the well known book. Other reviews of the film have been mixed between praise by Kerouac enthusiasts and criticisms similar to 1957 when many felt the young were complaining too much and producing too little.

There’s a little bit of everything in this film including Benzedrine inhalers, marijuana, Proust quotes, jazz, long roads of America, and a whole lot of sex. Does the viewer have to have some awareness of Kerouac and the Beat Generation to really enjoy the film? It depends. Initially released in France, the film inspired many to travel and that in of itself is an accomplishment. Although slightly biased, this reviewer gives four out of four stars across the board. The performances by Garrett Hedlund, Sam Riley, Kristen Stewart and Viggo Mortensen were strong, along with the “kicks” covered from beginning to end.

Pre-launch event January 5 in Cleveland

The Paper Campfire will hold a podcast book signing on January 5th in Cleveland, Ohio to promote Wild Harmony and the “untitled american dream” documentary project. We’re expecting to start with live music by Brian Straw and then follow with some talk on the upcoming 2014 FIFA World Cup project. Either we’ll record the whole thing or parts, but stay tuned for the podcast following and further team development. Come for wine, book, and experimental folk jams 8pm 1/5/2013 at Visible Voices Books and Wine Bar. Check Facebook event page for updates.

The tentative plan as outlined on Open Door Rapport will start a road journey, taking Paper Campfire from Cleveland around the Great Lakes heading first to Buffalo and then northwest all the way to Chicago before turning westward again to the Rocky Mountains. In Steamboat Springs, Colorado, there’ll be an event at the Off the Beaten Path Bookstore and this may actually come before the trip. Since the details are still in flux, the conversation focuses on the capacity for citizens to engage in civic journalism in both North America and South America.

Paper Campfire

This magazine effort is simply trying to provide the written word that enhances social interaction and production on a community level. The first being, the foundation of the publication and eventual printing of a few copies to edit.

Our time outlined through the structure of weeks and weekends is maddening and beyond the business model of the coming year of 2013. The internet is vast with all the information that is possible, but with little to no organization. This magazine will attempt to collect stories relevant to Cleveland, Ohio and will include book excerpts, short stories, poems, news, restaurant and film reviews, and some other yet to be established topics. A goal like this is possible because so many of the readers will have submitted content to the magazine and therefore what they read will be a collection of people organized by an editing team. This is their initial note:

“For years the world has depended upon corporations for everything including news. Since the advent of the internet and social media interactions, there have been some attempts at creating an independent free publication for the people and by the people. This idea has been implemented before, but as soon as financial interests compounded the positions of government, the people no longer have a final say between the truth and what is commonly disseminated through newspapers, televisions, and even shaped communication by people through the internet. “It’s the death of journalism!” shouted every professor during college. Now that the present is here and people continue to move down the path that has proven before to lead to nothing more than circles around the chutes and ladders of corporate financial stability. The housing bubble should have proved to the world that money markets all end in collapse as one side topples the other in a world without heroes. Today, celebrities, politicians, media figures, and corporate executives take the spotlights even when they go out of style. Sure there are smaller groups that pop up now and then, some producing amazing creative feats that invites them into the next level with the decision makers. As soon as Bob Dylan reached those tables of back patters and certificates of appreciation, he in a drunken slur, told them all that they were old and he was young. Cryptic as ever, the facts remain behind those who control society from a financial point of view. The problem’s come when the financial decision makers interact with societal decision makers, especially in America these days.”

All of the above is part of the draft content and is subject to revision for the physical version of Paper Campfire. Please take your time to think on what you would like to include in this production because it is part yours.

The Ambassador

RoadBizarre, but a reality over in the Central African Republic with many roads going to nowhere. Places like CAR and Liberia are full of contradictions. Danish filmmaker Mads Brügger shows through an almost reality television presentation, the process for becoming a diplomat of one African country to another and how most of the diplomatic envoys on the continent manipulate the system in some way that profits their foreign bank accounts. “If you can mix business and politics, beautiful things can happen,” says the filmmaker who has become a Liberian diplomat and is in the process of started a match factory with Pygmies and collecting diamonds from a mine and transporting them across borders without being searched.

All it takes is a few hundred thousand dollars, some patience, and connections with firms that specialize in lobbying foreign governments and provide the network of bribery support in the region. Several of the people featured in the documentary are no longer living due to the politics of the region. If you need further proof into the “absurdity of the modern condition” as Shane Smith of Vice will likely feature in his upcoming HBO program, then sit down and watch The Ambassador, another Danish effort to shake things up. Four out of four stars for effort and production, but three for content because it ends abruptly. The viewer should have a final thought of, “these people really exist,” yes they do.

Activist travelers in generation flux

In a world a mess and full of so much anger and hostility, we must remember those who do things worth our admiration and respect. Superheroes do exist and persist under the radar to avoid scrutiny of those who possess control over the system. They walk among us and either are at work or have the makings of being a hero when the moment comes. Gabby Wild is one of these people who works with many others in a common effort to protect wildlife all over the world. She is your classic animal activist who has worked in Thailand with elephants and studied baboons in Africa. After spending one season in Alaska tending sled dogs of the Iditarod, she traveled to Ireland to work with horses.

Gabby

What’s an animal activist at the end of 2012 to do? Gabby Wild, who’s real name is Gabriela Wagner, graduated from Cornell University in 2011 with a Bachelor of Science in both Biology and Animal Science and is now working on her veterinary medicine degree. While in college Gabby put together the “12 in 12 for 12,” coming out with her new sustainable fashion design with at least 25 other people in which a threatened specie would be featured each month. Launched while still at Cornell University with “Project Runway” alumni, professional designers and Cornell’s Department of Fiber Science & Apparel Design, the fashion line hopes to raise $10,000 a month to work for the protection of each month’s featured animal. Nine of her dresses were made by designers from “Project Runway” and then featured by Luis Valenzuela in Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week’s TheGreenShows. Each dress has a story and they can be found on her website. She’s worn 12 so far this year for each month. “Four charities are receiving all of the funds that we receive from private donations that we recieve,” said Gabby. “These include Ya’axche Conservation Trust in Belize, the Zoological Society of London’s EDGE of Existence Programme, the Kakapo Recovery in New Zealand, and the Red Wolf Coalition here in the United States. These are the organizations that are working directly with the animals that we are hosting the campaign for.”

Wagner founded the 501(c)(3), The Gabby Wild Foundation, Inc. to help promote animal conservation through fundraising and awareness campaigns, which may include future trips around the world. Prior to the foundation, Gabby funded her own trips doing some pretty gnarly things on a few different continents.

“I’m not the voice for the animals, as some can really be quite loud. Rather I’m just their interpreter, translating their messages into human tongue.”

A winner of the Coca-Cola scholarship for college tuition, Gabby has succeeded at making moves that have allowed her to achieve some pretty impressive feats.

“And with the “why?” question! Because I had to! It pains me greatly to hear of the circumstances of our planet, and thus her animals, are currently placed in. Rather than weep over spilled milk, I do what I do to clean up the spill and refill the glass. The big kicker to officially form the charity were the startling statistics that 1/4th of all mammals, 1/8th of all birds, and 1/2 of all amphibians are at risk of extinction (i.e. we are within or closely approaching the 6th Mass Extinction, which has largely been affected by humans).”

Gabby developed her love for wildlife in her backyard at the age of 4 and began working with Ada Cole Rescue Stables in Essex, English. There she rehabilitated abused horses and other farm animals followed by time with Asian elephants a year later. Staying busy and preparing for the end of her campaign, Gabby is a strong example to how many other people could work together within their community to pool resources and lead to the kind of change worthy of a world that has given so much all the while we take every last available resource for our consumption.

Gabby3

To contact or learn more about Gabby Wild, visit the links below:
Blog: http://gabbywild.wordpress.com
Website: www.gabbywild.com
Youtube Channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/TheGabbyWild
Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Gabby-Wild/200877039959729

Police Mistakes Leave Citizens Angry

In looking at the facts, the numbers are concerning:

  • 13 patrol cars from 2 cities
  • 2 fleeing suspects
  • 26 minutes of a high-speed police chase
  • 137 shots fired by police into the stopped car of the suspects
  • 24 of which killed Timothy Russell
  • 30 killing Malissa Williams

4Cleveland
Cleveland police gave chase after suspected gunfire was heard emanating from the car near Cleveland police headquarters. No firearm was found in the vehicle of the deceased, although claims of weapon tossed from vehicle at high speed continue to be a significant point of the investigation. All shots fired at police vehicles were a result of “friendly fire.” The 13 officers who killed the unarmed suspects were placed on administrative leave with pay.

Community groups and the Cleveland NAACP have called the shooting racially motivated as the 13 officers consisted of 12 whites and 1 Hispanic. The deceased were both African-American. Conversations in the city all seem to circle back to the idea that 137 shots appears to be excessive force to any expert or layman.

The state of Ohio is assisting the City of Cleveland with the investigation, but the families of the deceased have called for a federal investigation. The city’s investigation will take about six weeks and the State’s will take about three months. If the Justice Department decides to investigate possible civil rights violations, it may be years before the there is a resolution. If the Justice Department opens an investigation, that may prompt action by the state or city, as was seen after a federal investigation was opened in the wake of the fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin earlier this year.

Being the change

HereNowAll evidence points to a clear and present danger when considering humankind’s progression. Any arithmatic on resources and usage shows us that the world is destined to run short of providing all inhabitants with what they need. The World Wide Fund for Nature publishes a report every two years outlining the state of the planet. This organization, known for their trademark panda outline, notes that high income countries consume five times as many resources as low income countries. That means we are not even capable of providing those low income countries with what they need. Even though it’s resourcefully impossible, it is also difficult to extend a helping hand after decades of perpetruating a problem that has made it so difficult for these countries to stand on their own two feet. A projection into 2030 shows that we will need the equivilent of two planets to sustain our current growth. Something’s going to happen.

Most of the potential doomsday scenarios are related to some degree. An environmental catastrophe caused be climate change will have significant ramifications upon the economic conditions of the world. If the ice above Greenland were to melt, sea level would increase up to 23 feet according to an intergovernmental panel on climate change. In 2007, NPR reported that 634 million people call land at below 30 feet their home. This mass displacement, which would happen in high income countries as well, would lead to global food and water shortages. The extent at which governments continue their ignorance of this growing threat is unfathomable. Sensing that those in charge do so for the better interest of mankind, many believe these scientific claims to be false, or at least exaggerated. How do those who want to improve the ways of the world succeed?

So much information is at our finger tips yet it is incredibly difficult to become productive enough to do it yourself, this gathering of information and ideas needed to express action in a meaningful way. In the past, groups of people worked together to put out publications that outlined the news and ideas relevant to those who can potentially be the change. Paper Campfire is a stepping stone to participatory demoncracy, something that has been talked about at length but hardly ever achieved. Democracy defined may only be possible at the local level. The individual influence factor is much higher than at the federal level. Mayors, city councils, school boards, and that doesn’t include county commissioners, sheriffs, judges who are elected and will respond to “the will of the people.”

Beware the Gonzo

“There’s no more gonzo, that’s for sure,” said the lead character played by Ezra Miller near the end of the film. Of appropriate length, this story of an underground high school newspaper is fun and leaves you with a “oh that’s nice” type of feeling.” The production and readership of their publication is probable and the dynamics of high school are covered fashionably. The effort is at three out of four stars and the content is two out of four as well for not going further with the newspaper. The goal of the characters was to start a revolution and all they ended up doing was creating an outlet for emotionally disturbed Eddie “Gonzo” Gilman.
DrGonzos
Netflix provides us all with films that we would have never heard of and expands the reach of films like this. Although, the filmmakers stopped short of covering what really goes on within the 24,000+ high schools in America. Sex, drugs, and violence are largely left out and rightly so if the goal of the film is to entertain with comedy. Hunter Thompson is barely mentioned all the while many people continue to emulate his example to disastrous ends. Ezra Miller is excellent in this role but does not get to exemplify it to the lengths possible if the filmmakers went beyond the social power structures of high school. The Perks of Being a Wallflower actor states that the film is a more John Hughes approach to present high school in a likable fashion compared to Miller’s earlier work in Afterschool. In his feature debut, Miller plays an internet addicts who witnesses and videotapes a cocaine overdose of two popular senior high school girls who puts together a memorial video, but is shunned by the school officials who would rather not discuss the root of the problem. Instead they institute rules that punish students for drug use and a whole lot of other activities that the school board can deem problematic. Three out of four stars as well for that one and unknown for the flower flick.

Snow on tha Bluff

Bluff

The opening sequence is perfectly predictable and goes exactly where the two girls and cameraman do not want to go. Loud and intense, the robbery is followed up by a series of clips shot by the drug dealer who just held the suburban youngsters at gun point and stolen their video equipment. Recruiting a friend to hold the camera documentary style, the drug dealer relaxes with others drinking beers, rolling blunts, and evading police through a litany of schemes and bad dialectics. The actors, if that’s what they are, become incredibly excited whenever someone would show up on the corner to score a good high. New techniques for discrete distribution and surveillance on the competition are showcased in this crack saga.

The reviewer at this point, along with some law enforcement officials, are not entirely sure if what is being shown is reality and warrants an investigation. After learning more about the film from director Damon Russell and producer Chris Knittel, they “show the realities of gangster street life. You see it in movies and it’s glorified. But when you see it up close and real, it’s a completely different thing…we’re trying to get to the truth of the story.” Their next project will cover a veteran from Atlanta returning from Afghanistan or Iraq with some more funding and hope to market it to more people than “Snow.”

The content is over the top and worth watching if you prefer reality and are curious about the next docufilm. The reviewer will no longer give total star counts because it’s stupid. This film gets four out of four stars for effort and potential, but two out of four stars for content.

Tree of life, what?

The Tree of Life with Brad Pitt and Sean Penn in a melodramatic sequence of timelines and long shots that pan across various sets without any dialogue or music. For me, watching the film again was a task and hesitation due to previous encounter with its vague story line. With animated shots of dinosaurs and amoebas, this cinematographic masterpiece took one year to shoot and then three years to edit down from initial release of five hour epic. The release of this film is not met with the same intensity as the production dealt with on a daily basis for the majority of shots being deleted and silenced.

There are no quotes from the film to speak of, simply abstract questions followed by a camera shot beneath the waves of an ocean and flashforwards to Sean Penn’s life who is apparently son to Brad Pitt’s fatherly stern figure. Parallels to dinosaurs and truly unknown, but there would have been improvements had the film possessed any soundtrack whatsoever. The only transitional tunes the film uses are screams and instrument change. Occasionally the screen changes to fixate on a flock of birds while music is being sung with Latin lyrics and violins, again all with no dialogue between the cast. Then all of a sudden, black. The screen is replaced with an animated light in the middle before disappearing and being replaced by ghost figures of some form of stampede.

Again, the viewer is completely lost and at times feels as if they are in a dream state or somewhere they shouldn’t be in an almost Willy Wonka boat ride with the wacky footage designed to creep out the viewer take up the screen for two hours straight. 3/4 Stars for solid presentation of the cosmos, a topic worthy of pushing upon the world. I would never rate this movie higher than that, but if you asked if it was worth your time, I wouldn’t say anything. Carl Sagan would have been perplexed by the overuse of explosive footage and abuse innuendo.