Thursday, July 30, 2009

Pune on Link TV !

How shall I thank the wonderful LINK TV for bringing not one,
but a whole series of films
that use my Indian home city of
Poona/Pune as the backdrop ? By sharing the news wherever
I can, and hoping you can catch some of it soon.

The link to the series 'Indian School' opens in this way:
' What's it like to grow up in a country with the largest child labor
force in the world, an ancient caste system and a film industry
bigger than Hollywood? Over 10 episodes INDIAN SCHOOL
follows the highs and lows of the students and teachers at
Kalmadi Shamrao High School and Rewachand Bhojwani
Academy in Pune - near Mumbai, one of the world’s fastest
growing cities.'

A great way of introducing the whole world to the charming
city that I grew up in, where I earned a B.A. in English Literature
before immigrating to America at my sister's behest. I have tried
my best to survive in the USA for decades without caving in to
many a corporate bigwig. I chose instead to seek alternate methods
of survival other than chasing the American Dream, much to the
dismay of well-wishing friends and family members. What I brought
with me from Pune is the inherent Indian qualities of hard work and
brotherly love, born of humble family beginnings. Things I appreciate
increasingly as I continue to work while others of my age have
reached their goals of a comfortable retirement and grand-children
to dote on.

But enough about me.....the
point that I was trying to make is
that the person from Pune is as determined and focused as his
counterpart from Mumbai, the home of big Bollywood stars and
World Finance contenders. Mumbai's little sister might be on
the fast track to big-city success but it comes from a small-town
ethos that is at the heart of its residents, past and present.

'This fast-paced, observational documentary takes us, over
the course of a school year, into the world of India’s ‘rising
generation’. The series gets inside the skin of India’s middle
classes, exploring their dreams and anxieties in a world that
seems to be changing every day
' ~ also from the Introduction.

if the clip doesn't work for you, here's the link to the
promo for the series

Hollywood Does Bollywood on IFC

Photo credit: Kerry Monteen/IFC

From the NY Times Review of 'Slumdog Millionaire' :
" In the end, what gives me reluctant pause about this bright,
cheery, hard-to-resist movie is that its joyfulness feels more
like a filmmaker’s calculation than an honest cry from the heart
about the human spirit (or, better yet, a moral tale).

Long before the Slumdogs' Millionaire creators convinced
Hollywood that Bollywood deserved
greater Hollywood
treatment (since Bollywood had been
giving itself the Hollywood
treatment for decades)
Filmmaker Mira Nair had slowly
but surely paved
the way for this day, giving us her deep
and personal insights into an alternate Indian film culture.
Mississippi Masala', Bride and Prejudice, Salaam
Bombay and
The Namesake all attempted to arouse
Hollywood Film Moguls to the unseen dramas of Indians
abroad and at home
And now Hollywood sits up and takes
notice of the still-untapped but burgeoning Bollywood market.

With lush scenery like India as the backdrop for
hijinks played by a diverse
cast that includes Keanu Reeves,
David Alan Grier
, Maya Rudolph and others, this new
Mini-series promises to keep all Bollywood fans
and amused.
Saturday Night Live's Chris Kattan is a wannabe
Hollwood hero
who isn't making it to stardom., Fed up with his
situation, he
seeks his fortune in Bollywood, figuring he has the
insider advantage to get his big breakthrough moment
via the Mumbai film industry.

Subscribers to the wonderful Independent Film Channel are
the only ones who will initially be able to enjoy this comedy
starting Aug. 6, 7 and 8. The best I can do is push this trailer
and hope anyone who has access to the actual show will
sharing this with the rest of us ;-)

Monday, July 20, 2009

McCartney Rocks Citi Field 7/17

Paul sounding great as ever at Citi Field NY NY

The Cry from a Facebook Victim

The Cry by Edvard Munch

Mature Content Ahead !
As a favor to a Photoblogger in another country I am
sharing his true and woeful Cry with the world,
with the simple warning :
Watch who you Add as Friend
on Facebook, MySpace, Flickr, WordPress, Scribd,
Blogger, Twitter..........everywhere !

Firdaus Zakir (real name withheld) of Mumbai, India is a
talented Muslim lensman who found his niche taking pics of
and Muslim religious occurrences in his area.
Not an easy task to accomplish, since many of the subjects
belong to an arm of internationally reviled 'Trannies', forbidden
by society leanings to be in the mainstream workplace, who are
often forced to earn a living in the sex trade where they constantly
face threats, violence and harassment from Johns and local
authorities. Protection is available from those authorities, but
at a price in the form of weekly bribes and yes, sexual favors.
Crooked cops and perverted politicians have their cake and
eat it, too. That's nothing new.

Apalled by the state of affairs in the 'hood Firdaus Zakir the
humanitarian decided to do something meaningful with his
50-odd years' existence, and began publishing his collection of
religious Muslim rituals, Eunuchs and LGBT pics online via
any website or Blog he naively assumed to be free of scandal.
Many sleepless days and nights spent in scanning, uploading
and posting his work yielded results with unbelievably high online
posting stats. He became a Hit counter even as his websites'
Hit Counters
generated torrents of comments and views.

But as is usually the case with ignorant and jealous folks online,
all the comments posted weren't of the kindly variety. Increasingly
his Blogs and websites received harassing mail and responses
and elicited repeated hacker visits. The worldwide hatred for
Muslims post-9/11 didn't help his case either, and try as he
might, he will not shake off that stigma, short of turning Atheist.
The final insult came a few days ago when he was threatened by
a Facebook 'friend' who roused his ire and forced him into an
online shouting match complete with CAPS LOCK attitude.
This 'friend' added Firdaus at the suggestion of the Facebook
sidebar on the Home page, then experienced religious rage
leading to vicious and nasty exchanges.
The result was that the local police took down a formal complaint
from Firdaus of Cyber death threats and violence, and Firdaus
(once again, as he often did in the past) swore he would stop
Adding friends, allowing Comments or posting his poems of
pain. He is now a victim, he claims of Racial Harassment not
only at Facebook, Flickr, Scribd and Word Press but also at
Now Public
and many other free sites. Facebook was kind
enough to auto-reply with the standard link to the 'Help' section.

So what are the chances we've seen the last of Firdaus and
his self-flagellating persona online ? Will this poetic poster boy
of Pain inflict more grief on his soul ? Stay tuned....he gets verse.

See worldwide pics of Self-Flagellation on Flickr
See worldwide pics of Muslim Rituals on Flickr

Helpful Flickr comments :

view profile

PetWerewolf says:Erm... What's a tranny?

Posted 32 months ago. ( permalink )

view profile

redxdress Pro User says:

It usually means a transsexual, although it could theoretically
mean a transgendered person or a transvestite.*

In this case, I honestly couldn't tell you for sure which category
this person might fit into, but s/he was clearly born as a
man, and dressed as a woman.

Anyway, this title is a bit of a joke for people here in the US
(and maybe also other English-speaking groups) because a
lot of commercials used phrases like "Peanut butter and
chocolate- together at last!" and it's become sort of a
sarcastic expression.

*Transvestite means someone who just likes to wear the
clothing of the opposite gender, while transgender means the
person actually lives like someone of the opposite gender
every day...and transsexual is someone who has gone a
step further to have surgery, hormone treatment, etc. to
modify the body.
Posted 32 months ago. ( permalink )

Everything Old is New Again

Something I posted on Facebook that you may not have
A neat Podcast....listen and enjoy.

The raging reporter Egon Erwin Kisch of yesteryear Europe
lives on in today's driven, attacking PhotoJournalist/Blogger
who floods the entire landscape with his passion.

A Superhero reporter as depicted by the photographer,
Umbo, Egon Kisch experimented with multiple exposure,
unusual camera angles, photomontage, collage, and
x-ray film. He took part in FiFo (Film und Foto), the
important international exhibition of avant-garde
photography and film held in Stuttgart in 1929
(Catalogue of Cleveland Museum of Art). Way ahead of
his time.

I tagged most of you so you can use this as a point
of comparison in YOUR creative journey, not because I
am seeking comments. I'm just looking for an alternative
landscape from the ones I keep seeing on Flickr, Facebook,
etc. At times like that I find it helps to take a look at the past
.....I'm nostalgic to the bone.

If you like Podcast and videos related to Art and Art
History, visit

Thursday, July 16, 2009

India : Unlikely Yours

Tired of the same old Tourist twists on what India looks
in the Entertainment Sections,

Fashion magazines

and in Travel Guides,

I recently decided to search for more realistic and meaningful
photographic captures that pay homage to
the seamier side of
life there. The life that I saw as a boy growing up
in India, long
before I immigrated to America.

Fortunately, I had a head start when I saw that three of

my Flickr contacts had already paved the way for my quest.
None of them can be pigeonholed, easily related to or
explained. Each one approaches their work from a Mission
standpoint. Each brings the full force of their lens
to every
picture, which is a near-unachievable feat in my
an experience not that of a Photographer but
that of an adult,
one who has grown to understand and more deeply appreciate

true artistic talent. The kind that speaks directly to the soul of
Man, as I learned from my artist Father.

Firoze Shakir of Bandra, Mumbai has the approach of a
poetic soul and he rips it open, while hoping you won't rip
off his precious, personal mind-boggling collection
. I intend
tell you more about his tremendous achievements at a later
time -
if that is ever possible - because I have yet to digest
the brunt of his prolific blogging, photography and outpourings
on Flickr, WordPress, Scribd, Friendfeed, Twitter, etc.

Psychiatrist Dr. Glenn Losack of Manhattan, New York
is a world traveler, Musician, and a National Geographic-
calibre Photographer
among other things. A true humanitarian
and a
Renaissance man, he was introduced to me online by
Firoze Shakir
....they are like two sides
of the same coin,
having shot Mumbai street scenes in tandem.

Another great recent connection made thanks to untiring
Mr. Shakir, is Author
Linda Schaefer

who teaches at ECU in Ada, Ok. This lady who has served
as an NYPD photographer and worked
with CNN among
other things, considers one of her finest moment
s to be the
work she did at the
Missionaries of Charity, an Organization
started by Mother Teresa
of Kolkata. That icon blessed
Linda with her personal permission to shoot what turned out to
be the final photo documents of
an exemplary existence.
A Single Mother, Linda tours the country frequently, sharing her
life experiences
via speeches and photo exhibitions.
Linda is my idea of a true Renaissance lady.

And finally, to round up my list of great unknowns, may I
present the simply
amazing talents of Roland Lubiger of
Dresden, Germany.
His son Bertie was an International
Exchange Student living at my sister's place in Pearland,
where I had the opportunity to learn of Roland's Travel
and Photography exploits. While Mr. Lubiger does not
display images in the same vein as the Trinity above, his work
is nonetheless in their league when it comes to quality and
content borne of sheer gusto. From climbing the highest peaks
in the Himalayas to up-close shots of the Komodo Dragons
in Indonesia,
from dancing natives in West Papua to the
ruins of mountainous Machu Picchhu,
Roland is fittingly
represented by

which feels like a broader-based European alternative to
the USA's National Geographic Magazine.

Find more photos like Roland's on Flores eco tourism

Click on all the links.
Leave comments, for it is only
with your honest input that these artists receive appreciation,
inspiration and recognition.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

From World Globes to Humanitarian GPS

I always love a World Globe when I see one.
Like so many
children of my time, I was fascinated by this
intelligent toy/
Educational aid so prominently displayed
in many a living room I visited back in India.

Relatives who returned to India from their work overseas

used the Globe to sneak in many an exciting tale of villages
in Africa; Colonels in the Indian Army leaned back at their desks
and expertly flicked their wrists to outline regions where they
had seen combat, and my school teachers came up with truly
creative ways to incorporate the Globe into subjects other than
Geography and History. The ability to pinpoint a country location
in the shortest time was something we considered a great talent,
simple pleasures in the days before computers, Google
Maps and GPS
entered our lives. The importance of these
World Globes have thus receded but their history and unique
designs will always have a respected place in our memories.

Nowadays, it's all about high-speed locating of areas of critical
importance, as we know from the 'pinpointing' of targets in Iraq,
and the locating of missing personnel in similar situations.

Enter MapAction.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

The Furious Physician

There are tales of despair that I thought would never darken
the pages of this little corner of mine where I share the kinder,
gentler, funnier things that visit my
consciousness in life and

And then there is this : masterful images from an extremely
talented individual who has made my acquaintance via
Flickr and Facebook, someone I now count as a friend, even
though we have never met in person.

Like a snail-mail Penpal from the days before email, I share
many interests with him such as Music, Art and the need for
a better place in this world for the folks such as he pictures
in his Flickr sets and on his website.

Visiting his photographs and pondering his words I find many
parallels in my life for I have seen a lot of the misery and
misfortune that has befallen so many of his subjects, and
have personally faced trials similar to what he mentions.

So as a small tribute to Glenn Losack, MD ( yes, he is
really a Psychiatrist ) I have taken the liberty of linking to
one of his recent works

in the hope that sharing his amazing photos will help in
spreading his message of love, compassion and
Which is what he desires, I gather.

Please visit his website and leave a comment.
and also his Flickr collection here.

My sincere thanks go to Glenn for allowing me the liberty
of uploading the small-sized picture above as a teaser for
you, the viewer. Enjoy !

Thursday, July 02, 2009

MJ Rehearsal 2 Days Before Death

A look at what might have been an amazing comeback/final
live performance. I believe
he had his talent and spirit pretty
much in control here,
true to all the talk about his 'control freak'
Wish his health wasn't permanently affected by that fire
at the Pepsi
commercial shoot. He certainly had the moves in control.

With the sensational Orianthi

on guitar taking it up more than a few notches I think this is a
sizzling moment that
serves well as the last bit of live footage
we are privy to
there will be more unseen but not unexpected
popping out , I'm sure and I hope).