Somewhere In Utah

a one-stop shop for Jason Piccolo's photography updates. fine art color and black and white photography.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

NYC photography

the hint of a larger-scale photo project are in the works.

trying to get some quality portraits taken in NYC. as well as other pretty found objects...

a teaser here.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Somewhere In Utah: P90x

P90x

video

Friday, October 23, 2009

fall

So last night, I drove home...in Atlanta. Temperature was around 66 degrees. Balmy for some here, deep in October...

I was listening to BEIRUT and suddenly... I was transported to NYC.

specifically a long long night out in NYC. You know, one of those really good ‘long nights’...out with your peeps til 4am walking a dead-end street someplace in Brooklyn that you think you ‘know’, but in reality you’ve really never been in.

that mustardy-orange glow of the streetlights illuminating your unforgettable pre-dream memories.

that pre-chill in the air, telling you that Gotham is about to lose its leaves.

I love the fall.

I relish the fall.

I don’t think fall anywhere compares to fall in the city. ‘the city’ is NYC FYI...

fall in NYC to me growing up was always the same staccato rhythm;

Mom’s bday in September - always at the cousins in Astoria and dinner at Angelo’s in Little Italy

pre-Halloween Shopping - Chinatown or FAO Schwartz by the park - Two-fold cause my birthday was a week after Halloween and it was both getting halloween costume supplies AND test marketing b-day toys.

Nov 7 - The Actual Bday - again cousins in Astoria...and once, I think, roaming the halls of Nat. History Museum...with the leafy park there, the old buildings, and TR’s statue out front, it’s possibly my favorite group of blocks on the planet.

Thanksgiving - Parade watching or pre-parade watching all the balloons get inflated in the freezing night air...Big bright neon caricatures illuminating the dark of Central Park West and the History Museum.

Christmas - the shop windows rolling over to showcase the extravagance of excess and snow snow snow...i know it's not 'fall' but all fall you get inundated with Xmas propaganda about how how tied to NYC the holiday is...movies that take place there seem to cement that notion. it's practically a City Holiday that the rest of the free world has adopted. so growing up in the shadow of this Christmas-laden goliath was kind of myth-making. Santa was more tangible, 'miracles' (whatever those were) were easier to swallow on 34th Street or beyond, and the air just tasted like snow.

so the fall has always been this month by month and event filled build up to winter. there was always something to look to, something to circle on a calendar, something to prepare for. i miss some of that. it's still ever present, but it's not the same without all those places and those people.

I’m jealous of you Gothamites.

...but I got a small taste of it last night. just for a minute the air was there, the sound of the wind was there, the leaves fell and gave the air just a hint of winter.



go out and enjoy that city of yours. keep her safe for me.

Labels:

Sunday, August 16, 2009

so...what would you little maniacs like to do first?


it's been a while since i last posted something on here. strangely enough, the item that drew me back was John Hughes' passing. so much have been said about his death and his work in the last few weeks that, in reality, there isn't much left to say. but for me, as a writer and a filmmaker, that's not good enough. i make no bones about my insignificance in these fields compared to him, just that i owe the man a lot.

as a kid, i loved movies. i acted out movies. i made movies...1st with GI Joes and a VHS camera, then graduating to actual human stars in terrible parody or bizarre riff on some sort of pop culture subject. i think i always would have gravitated towards movies, but without the works of John Hughes i don't think i ever would have seen myself working or striving to succeed in that field.

the 1st film of his i saw was Sixteen Candles and i didn't get it. it was a funny movie with a lot of 'grown up' things for a kid of 10 to grasp...but again, on the base level, it was funny...i think part of it was the dorky kid reminded me of myself...

the rest of his films came in rapid succession as my adolescence approached...
Breakfast Club, Weird Science, Ferris Bueller's Day Off...This core of his early work really had an effect on me. again, in the beginning, they were simply funny. nothing more. then some became part of my family's video library, and heavily rotated on HBO or Showtime, and quoted by my friends at school and i. that latter part, without knowing what 'pot' was or why Anthony Michael Hall would need/want a girl's underpants at 10 or 11 made for hilarious jumps in logic by our brains.

anyway...i say all of this to provide scope.

these films as well as his others; Planes, Trains, & Automobiles, She's Having a Baby, and Uncle Buck, plus the ones he Produced: Some Kind of Wonderful, Pretty in Pink, and The Vacation Films, they did something drastically different than anything i had seen before...they took kids seriously. they made the stories of people just older than me dramatic. they allowed for levity and gravity. they put these kids in the real world, albeit with some heavy-handed nomenclature 'jocks, dweebs, etc'...but in all seriousness...as bizarre and weird as Weird Science gets, in the end it's about two kids who are trying (desperately so) to understand and engage members of the opposite sex. man's quest from that moment of puberty til the last foot enters the grave.


Hughes had a way of choosing the characters and stories that helped illuminate different ages and angsts for those ages...i mean even though i loathed it...Home Alone has some moments in it that Culkin really shines.

But finally, on the screen, you had high school kids who weren't stupid, horny, or nerdy. you had what felt like actual people who were in high school. he never put kid gloves or 'stupid goggles' on for the audience and for that we (as a generation of moviegoers) owe him a debt of gratitude.


"Set in a senior high school class, J.J. (Michael J. Fox) pursues the girlfriend of a rival from a higher clique which culminates in a race at the end of the movie between the two rivals in this light comedy."

that is the description of the 1983 'classic' High School USA starring Micheal J. Fox, Nancy McKeon, and Todd Bridges. (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0085679/ for complete memory lane flashbacks)

now look...i have fond memories of this film...what i vaguely remember is that Todd Bridges (nerd) helps his buddy Michael J. Fox (would-be cool guy) win the heart of a girl Nancy McKeon (popular girl) from Anthony Edwards (rich douche). this all culminates with some 'race' for the grand finale...and i think that Bridges' pet robot (yes, a robot) gets sacrificed to supe up whatever vehicle needs it to take team Fox over the top. um...what?

i mean they really made movies like this...they cranked them out in fact. put teens in glorious romp and BAM...teen comedy. don't get me wrong, i have a huge soft spot for any of these films, but i'm trying to address what Hughes did for film on larger scale than his own work.

John Hughes changed the game.

Hughes took young people from the trash heap of pop culture and actually had them talk to each other AND listen. he allowed them to have feelings in front of each other and to talk about those feelings to boot. in short, the guy wrote films for younger actors...not teen movies.

when i wrote my application to film school, I cited John Hughes and Cameron Crowe as my two biggest inspirations as a filmmaker and it was something (in the interview AND once accepted) that i was made to defend vehemently because Hughes didn't direct Citizen Kane or Rashomon or The Godfather Part III (it goes both ways).

i still fell like his work sits in a genre of its own. 'teen movies' have been and will always been around and be profitable...but 25 or so years later, Hughes' films are genuinely 'watchable'. dated? sure they are, but they succeed where other films fail in that they make a total and complete film. those others never sat down and tried to be anything different than an excuse to give young actors pocket money to blow all over Hollywood in the 80's. (High School USA i'm looking at you)

i will miss John Hughes.

i'll miss his talent but also i will miss him for very selfish selfish reasons too. i won't ever get to meet him. i won't get to talk to him. about his career and about his life and times within it.

yes, pipe dreams, but the guy is one of the few people who's simple eloquence in the work he left behind truly impresses me. in a film world largely filled with drivel and insensitive visual stimulation where douches like Sommers and Bay still live, it's a sin that John Hughes went home without the recognition he deserved.

sure, everyone knows his films...but their place in the pantheon should be more pronounced in my opinion. i know that he changed the game with his work and not everyone changed with him (see High School Musical...or rather DON'T)...but SOME changed with him and others grew from the seeds he planted.

Rest in peace John Hughes and thank your sensibilities, thank you for the work you did, and thank you for the work you made possible.

----------------------------------------------
Below is an article by David Sirota who stretches and reaches to tie Hughes to politics...(and fails in my opinion)...but it's funny that a guy like Sirota is using Hughes and his characters after all these years. they're just that real and relevant i s'pose.

jp




Truthdig - Reports - Don’t You Forget About John Hughes
Posted on Aug 13, 2009

By David Sirota

Confidence is a strange and elusive thing. As a nation, we clearly have it in this post-Vietnam age of chest-thumping invasions and flag-pin patriotism. But as humans, we are each, well, human. In our minds’ most secret caverns—those shadowy places that stiff upper lips, Botox and sports cars obscure—aplomb is often just a fleeting relief from more constant fear and loathing.

A country of human self-doubt birthing a nation of superhuman hubris—it’s not the paradox it seems. After all, the popular culture sustaining this oxymoronic reality revolves around exalting the impossibly gifted virtuoso, the against-all-odds champion, the Mount Rushmore-size megastar—in short, the larger-than-life individuals from Michael Jordan to Lance Armstrong to Ronald Reagan whom we know we cannot be.

While such deification drums up national pride, it also evokes the ugly feelings associated with personal insecurity, which is why I think so many mourned last week’s passing of John Hughes. The filmmaker, most well known in the 1980s, was one of the only contemporary artists who found success providing an uplifting antidote to those darker emotions—an antidote that is more relevant today than ever.

While Hughes’ works were marketed as one-off parables about teenage angst, they really make up a single catalog extolling something bigger—something that today’s infotainment teaches us to ignore: the intrinsic worth of the regular person.

Hughes created “National Lampoon’s Vacation”—a classic so intent on honoring the typical buffoonish-yet-loving father that its poster featured Clark Griswold as a Herculean colossus. With “Pretty in Pink,” “Planes, Trains and Automobiles,” “Uncle Buck” and “Some Kind of Wonderful,” Hughes made films whose paladins weren’t aristocratic perfectionists, but working-class and decidedly flawed commoners. Even when Hughes went sitcom conventional with “She’s Having a Baby” and “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off,” he still produced plots forcing picket-fence protagonists to make do with—rather than magically transcend—their weaknesses.

Certainly, the demography of Hughes’ on-screen world was whiter and wealthier than the country he aspired to portray. And even devoted fans admit he occasionally dabbled in offensive stereotypes (examples: “Vacation’s” redneck caricature, Eddie, and its minstrel-show depiction of the inner city).

Yet, for all his blemishes, Hughes accomplished the seemingly impossible: At the very moment America was being conquered by the cult of the celebrity superhero, he ascended through films insisting that the rest of us mere mortals are not as weird, alienated or worthless as we’ve been implicitly led to believe.

This is a big reason why Hughes’ work remains as embedded in the American psyche—and therefore politically significant—as any recent cultural product. That includes even those ubiquitous Barack Obama T-shirts because in many ways, Hughes’ themes are central to today’s epic battle between hope and panic.

As economic crises compel us to confront debates about taxes, health care and the common good, the enduring hyper-individualist conservatism of the 1980s now chafes against a president with a very different vision. He asks us not to trust only in his individual skills and not to obsess over society’s differences, but instead to be confident in our own problem-solving talents and to remember that we all are in this together.

We are, indeed, watching Obama channel his fellow Chicagoan, Hughes. As if ordering the band to substitute “Don’t You Forget About Me” for “Hail to the Chief,” the president implores us, as “The Breakfast Club” said, to understand that “each one of us is a brain, and an athlete, and a basket case, and a princess, and a criminal”—that is, each one of us, however flawed, is of value.

The only question now is whether we will run with that Hughes ethos, or simply walk on by.

David Sirota is the best-selling author of the books “Hostile Takeover” (2006) and “The Uprising” (2008). Find his blog at OpenLeft.com or e-mail him at ds@davidsirota.com

© 2009 Creators.com

Friday, November 07, 2008

Obama Wins

I can't express the numbness I feel post-2008 Election.

It has been a long long road and frankly I'm exhausted.

Tuesday night, American took it's 1st steps into adolescence and elected the best man for the job regardless of color, creed, or prejudice. I'm not naive...there was plenty of prejudice out there.

Prejudice disguised or wrapped in 'simple' critiques or flat-out statements from folks that I pity in the long run. Take 'Charles' for instance.

'Charles' is a guy who I went to middle / high school with...He was gregarious and loud, always quick with a pun at someone's expense, and generally treated people who were different like total shit.

'Charles' is the 1st kid my age in middle school who used the word 'nigger' where I could hear it and understand its context. Now I'm sure I'd heard it in movies or in music but this was face to face. And it was in reference to our 7th grade teacher who was African American.

Recently upon reconnecting through one of those nostalgia social networking sites, he and I became 'friends'. I honestly can't understand why we 'befriended' each other...When we parted company at age 18 for college and whatever the hell he did with his life we weren't friends. We had 'mutual friends' but we had nothing for each other. It was a two-way street. As bigoted and ignorant as he was, I offered him nothing appealing in the friend department I'm sure.

So we 'friend' up on the site and political debate ensues as the election nears. His anti-Obama views were and are centered on race but he's either too smart to admit it out loud, or too ignorant to know what he's so upset about. I'd lobby for a healthy mix of the two, leaning towards the former.

It just ginned up a whole lot of resentment and feeling about how the kids in my area were raised...Meaning devoid of experience, culture, perspective. It's dangerous. It bred a generation of willfully ignorant and braggadocios blowhards.

But although I had no chance of getting out of my youth without falling in line with this type of short-sightedness...I did. I made it. And others did too, here and there.

And Tuesday we put Hope in the office of the President.

I'm no historian but as Dan Carlin would say, I'm a fan. The Civil Rights era has always been a central point to understanding the cultural and economic plight of blacks in the south. My congressman is John Lewis...I mean how much better can you get? (John Conyers maybe, but screw living in Michigan)

So I've always been someone who took it upon himself to learn more about what people endured just to go to a shitty public school near their home instead of being bused across town to the black school, or the psychological effect of having the Governor of your state BLOCK THE DOOR so you can't attend college because of the color of your skin.

The problem with this arm-chair Conservatives is that they blame people for systemic problems inherent in society that have been against them for generations. Education, equality in the workplace, and general discrimination on all fronts. Hurdles as opposed to the relatively smooth track that me and my Classmates had to navigate. We went to good schools. We came from good economic backgrounds. We could afford higher education to better ourselves.

And when others didn't or couldn't meet those standards and couldn't go the same routes we did, the failure is on THEM.

Not the system, but THEM.

It's preposterous and whenever I hear someone like 'Charles' talk the GOP talking points and feign like it's an original thought it saddens me. Not for any other reason than this person is willfully or systemically ignorant. And if they weren't, oh the places we could go with them on board the American experiment.

I'm just tired and exhausted.

Tired of the doom, tired of the gloom, and tired of the blame being put on the people who want progress.

"We shouldn't free the slaves, it will ruin the economy and our way of life" - WRONG

"We shouldn't let women vote, they're the fairer sex" - WRONG

"We shouldn't let negros vote" - WRONG

Historically this rhetoric has been applied to every major progressive benchmark. Doom and gloom...until it eventually happens. Then what? Does the world go up in smoke? Does the country implode into itself?

No.

Chicken Little once thought the sky was falling.

But it doesn't.

And we grow up and put away our childish things.

Barack Obama is President of the United States.

Here's to hoping that people can act their age and treat him with the respect of the office and not their bigoted view based on the color of his skin.

jp

ps - he's 1/2 white...does he at least get some extra credit for that?

Monday, September 22, 2008

finally Gervais is funny

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

HA...Go Tweety Bird

worth watching the who thing just for the Matthews' last line.

"Next time you quote Harry Truman Congressman Cantor, remember what he said, 'The Buck stops here'..."


-Chris Matthews, aka 'The Only Journalist in America'