Archive for the people Category

And in non-Vegan related news…

Posted in people, things you should know on November 17, 2009 by wfon

Yes, there is a world outside of leafy greens and nuts…

Last night, one of the funniest guys in the world had one of the brightest, young Disney stars on his new late night show. That’s right: George Lopez had a sit-down with Demi Lovato! Viva la Raza!!!

check it out:

What I’ve learned on my Vegan Vacation: Part 1

Posted in people, places, things you should know on November 16, 2009 by wfon

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meeting T. Colin Campbell, author "The China Study"

Hollywood is almost always all talk. People talk while ‘doing lunch’, people take ‘meetings’ to talk… people in Hollywood really just like to talk. After awhile you get used to the fact that 99.9 percent of the ‘talks’ you’re having will produce absolutely nothing… but more talk. So, when my nearly-life-long friend Julieanna Hever (a.k.a The Plant-Based Dietitian) called with an idea to combine our talents and produce a television program as a guidebook for those interested in going vegan (Plant-Based), at first I thought, “well, that sounds interesting, sure, a year or so from now we’ll still be thinking about it…” Okay – Julieanna is not Hollywood. She is not about ‘talk’… although she loves to talk. I say this because within a month of that first call, we were climbing aboard a Continental flight to Newark to begin conducting interviews with prominent vegans, Dr. Joel Fuhrman in New Jersey and T. Colin Campbell in Ithaca, New York. For Julieanna the experience was akin to me getting to sit and chat with George Lucas or Steven Spielberg, or so she tells me. Our guest subjects were incredibly warm and welcoming and their associates, families and friends certainly made us feel at home right away. Again, this is Julieanna’s territory, I’m either a pilgrim in a foreign land or an infidel. I went so far as to dub myself “Broccolini” so I could blend in with the vegans a little better. Here’s the scoop: I’m not vegan. I’m not even vegetarian. But I also don’t chew on cows regularly. So it begs to be asked: what have I learned on my Vegan Vacation so far?

A few interesting facts: 80% of Americans are deficient in Vitamin D. Protein is plentiful in vegetables, you don’t have to eat animal products to get it, and in fact the protein you get from vegetables is better for you. The ‘statistics’ you get from the FDA and other groups, especially when it comes to Daily Values is corruptible and influenced by lobbyists like the Dairy and Beef industries (imagine that, something else that is manufactured by big business.) I also learned that if meat wasn’t subsidized by the government, beef would cost $90/pound. Roadkill and euthanized animals are re-processed into feed for cattle. Yum. When it comes to food, there really is no room for a Free Market. I still don’t like Tofu.

As a filmmaker, this project is intriguing. I’m used to working from a script. Here we’re making the script up as we go. We’re off to a good start: Google names like Dr. Joel Fuhrman, T. Colin Campbell, John McDougall, Mike Anderson and you’ll find that we’re sitting down with the biggest names in the vegan world. The time is right for this collaboration. And it’s a project with its heart in the right place, my producing partner is on a mission to save the world… I’m on board to document her efforts. I will continue to let you all know what we learn.

In the meantime you can follow our progress and adventures at www.goingveg.net. You can also keep up with Julieanna HERE. More to come!

New Video from the Naperville Independent Film Festival

Posted in people, places, things you should know on November 2, 2009 by wfon

A little memento of the trip to Naperville in September. Thanks again to Edmond, Glessna, Daniel, Gary, Ed and, of course, Pat Trapp!

U2 360 Rose Bowl

Posted in people, places, things you should know on October 26, 2009 by wfon

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As always, an evening with U2 is a bit of a religious experience, a communal give and take between the band and the audience. It’s arguable that any stadium show is too big and the case can be made for that with the current 360 Tour, but with its open architecture and in-the-round feel, it’s hard to imagine anybody being able to bring the show closer to the masses than this outing. Unfortunately, this tour suffers from having to support U2’s weakest effort since Pop and the inclusion of six of No Line On The Horizon’s songs seemed only able to dampen the energy stoked by the show’s best moments: a cathartic Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For, furnace-hot Vertigo, funky Elevation and one of the more moving takes on One that I’ve heard live in awhile. Hard to say why the band continues to flog With or Without You since Bono seems so uninterested to the point of barely bothering to sing it. The true star of the 360 show is the stage, the well-documented and discussed Claw that manages to put all the stadium-show superstructure up out of the way, on top of four legs, allowing for a 360 degree view (or pretty close) in the vast setting. It’s every surface lights up, pulses, expands and contracts; concentric rings allow some of the audience up close while also bringing the band members within reach even to the 50 yard line. An incredible 550,000 pixel, 880 light LED array brings sharp live images to a round screen over head that expands downward making a screen twice its size. There’s even a disco ball at the very top, 179 feet above the ground. Band? What band?

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Our vantage point near one of the rear legs gave us a good look at the behind the scenes and an up-close-and-personal view of the scale of this endeavour. We were also just above the VIP tunnel and got to wave at a number of celebrities as they came out before U2’s set. Among them: Pierce Brosnan, Barbra Streisand, Paris Hilton, Ben Stiller, Pau Gasol and Slash (who did a rocked up Sweet Child O’ Mine with openers The Black Eyed Peas). A start-studded event, no doubt.

It was a long day spent at the Rose Bowl but a spirit of positive energy and the immensity of a pure rock and roll show pervaded the Arroyo and for a little while all was good.

Sound advice…

Posted in people, things you should know on September 21, 2009 by wfon

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Coming from me, I bet you think a blog entry titled “Sound advice…” would have something to do with audio or post-production. Alas, today, no! Today, I’m going to draw your attention to an interview dear friend and current collaborator Julieanna Hever gave to Meatless Monday about teaching children good eating habits and other important nutritional information. Julieanna, through her company To Your Health Fitness, has worked as a clinical dietitian, personal trainer, group fitness instructor, lifestyle coach, nutrition consultant, and fitness consultant. (She can also juggle flaming bowling pins while riding a unicycle – no, I just made that part up… or did I?) We’ve known each other since 1992 when I cast Julieanna in my (more-or-less) thesis film at the Art Center College of Design and are currently working on a concept to combine our talents (film production along with nutrional expertise) with the goal of bringing the Plant-Based-Dietitian to a theater, classroom or DVD player near you. So, I want to introduce you (in some cases re-introduce you) to Julieanna and give you a taste (no pun here!) of her work. Hopefully we’ll have plenty to talk about and show you in the coming in months. In the meantime, check out Julie’s interview with Meatless Monday here: READ ME and her website HERE and blog HERE. You can also follow her on Twitter HERE.

9/11

Posted in daily musings, people, things you should know on September 11, 2009 by wfon

Today I was going to write what everyone’s thinking: eight years ago this morning, 19 Saudi Arabians, under the leadership of Osama Bin Laden hi-jacked four planes and managed to take three of them to their intended targets: the World Trade Center’s North and South towers and the Pentagon. The fourth plane was taken down in Pennsylvania when a few brave people onboard fought back against the terrorists. Over the years, the events of that day, in my opinion, have slipped away in memory until now we recognize the day, lower the flag and take a moment of silence and that’s about it. I was going to ask questions: why did the Bush administration abandon the campaign in Afghanistan (the only justifiable military excursion of their entire 8 years, not to mention the only legal one) for the Haliburton-Blackwater disaster in Iraq? Why don’t we talk about Osama Bin Laden? Why don’t we care to see justice for that crime against this country and the 143 other countries that the World Trade Center casualties represent ? Where are the Inglourious Basterds when we need them, scalping and beating Arabs to death on a mission to kill the perpetrator behind this crime. Why are we flacid in the face of Saudi Arabia, a nation we cuddle with and which has a human rights record that makes Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib look like an afternoon at the Four Season in Palm Springs? Why? Why? Why?

Where is the Man? You know the song “The Man Comes Around?”, yeah? where is he? I’ll offer these borrowed lines of dialogue from “Pulp Fiction” and hope you all join me in never forgetting that as of September 11, 2009, eight years after the fact, justice has yet to be served. So where is the Man who will command the following: “I’m prepared to scour the earth for this motherfucker, if (he) goes to Indo China, I want a nigger hidin’ in a bowl of rice ready to pop a cap in his ass. I’m gonna call a coupla pipe-hittin’ niggers, who’ll go to work on the homes here with a pair of pliers and a blow torch. Hear me talkin’ hillbilly boy?! I ain’t through with you by a damn sight. I’m gonna git Medieval on your ass. This shit’s between me and soon-to-be-livin’-the-rest-of-his-short-ass-life-in-agonizing-pain, Mr. Terrorist here.” Bush had one job after 9/11 and he failed. Obama has been left to pick up the pieces and start again. But somewhere, I hope there’s a Bear Jew with a Louisville Slugger just about to get some hummus-licking-camel-riding-dirtbag to put his finger on a map or else learn quickly what it feels like to be a fastball heading for the center field fence.

Now, I could have written about all that, today. Instead I want to wish someone a Happy Birthday. This man inspired me to pick up the guitar and write my first songs. He played in the band I went to see at my first concert. Thomas Roland Shaw was born September 11, 1953. He became a member of Styx in 1976, helped lead them to their four consecutive platinum record run in the late 70’s-early 80’s, formed Damn Yankees with Jack Blades and Ted Nugent, released four solo albums and later re-organized Styx in 1999 with James ‘JY’ Young. They continue to play 100+ shows a year. I don’t go to all of them, but I’ve been to quite a few. I met Tommy once at the Paris Hotel-Casino in Las Vegas when my girlfriend and I passed him and his wife on the way out. He shook my hand and thanked us for coming up to see them.

So, while we’re doing our best to memorialize, commemorate, forget… whatever we’re doing, raise a toast to Tommy Shaw at some point, too!

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Happy Birthday to Shannon Elizabeth

Posted in people, things you should know on September 8, 2009 by wfon

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Way back in 1996 I was working on a film called “Jack Frost” (not to be confused with the Michael Keaton film of the same name released a few years later). In one particular scene a very fetching young woman is smothered to death in a bath tub by a huge, obviously styrofoam snowman. That poor lass, credited then by her full name Shannon Fadal, became a mega star two years later as Shannon Elizabeth in “American Pie” where she played the Czech exchange student, Nadia. Since then, Shannon has continued to act (I worked on “Tomcats” a few years later), model and eventually became a professional poker player. She turned thirty-six yesterday (Sept. 7) and I applaud her for her continued artistry, her work with abandoned animals, her innate hotness (nod, wink) and her defiance of the normal Hollywood vibe that suggests there’s no room in the business for women over 22. There is when you’ve got plenty to back it up with and, frankly, time isn’t fading this flower one bit. Happy Birthday, Shannon, I have a script for you! Call me.

Here’s your good laugh, moment of Zen for the day:

This one’s a little better: