Ringo Starr – The Most Sincere and Authentic Half of The Surviving Beatles

by Shannonn Kelly
03:26AM EST, June 16, 2012

I don’t think when the concert was slated for Ringo Starr and his All-Starr Band that the booking agent knew his client would be the opening act for tightrope walker Nik Wallenda in Niagara Falls last night. But seeing both was a night to remember…

Ringo Starr – “The King of Peace and Love”

In February I got tickets for my significant other, a rabid Beatles fan to see Ringo Starr at the Niagara Fallsview Casino Resort. But back in that cold month, I also had no idea that I’d also be on hand to witness history in the making – seventh-generation Nik Wallenda walking a high wire across Niagara Falls from USA to Canada.

But for me, Ringo made a little history himself. In our house, Ringo is known as “the most sincere and authentic half of the surviving Beatles“.

I came into listening to the Beatles very late. I discovered a John Lennon album at a flea market. It was called “Rock ‘n’ Roll” and was made in 1975 and featured late 1950’s, early 1960’s songs covered by Lennon. The cover struck me immediately because John Lennon was standing in a doorway dressed in 50’s wardrobe with a 50’s ‘duck tail. I didn’t even have a record player (this was early CD era) but I liked the cover and bought it anyway, because John’s pose reminded me of Gene Vincent. Sure enough Be-Bop-A-Lula was one of the songs Lennon covered on the album as well as one of his idols songs, “Sweet Little Sixteen” by Chuck Berry.

After I discovered this album I started to go backwards into Beatle history learning about them and listening to their music, Revolver (1966), Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967) and Abbey Road (1969) being my favorites. Individual songs such as “Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)” from Rubber Soul, (later covered by P.M. Dawn 1988), “Eleanor Rigby” , “Taxman“, “Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite!“, “She’s Leaving Home“, “Come Together“, “I Want You (She’s So Heavy)” and the adorable, peaceful “Octopus’s Garden” by Richard Starkey / Ringo Starr. Continue reading “Ringo Starr – The Most Sincere and Authentic Half of The Surviving Beatles”

Hot Docs! Hot New Cinema

by Shannonn Kelly
11:48AM, EST, April 27, 2012

Wednesday March 14, the newly christened “Bloor Hot Docs Cinema” opened it’s doors with a special screening of Big Boys Gone Bananas!* with director Fredrik Gertten running his Q & A via Skype. Doors to the general public opened March 16, 2012.

Newly Refurbished Bloor Cinema - The Bloor Hot Docs Cinema

The 700-seat facility is now the permanent home of Hot Docs and will devote about 80 per cent of its programming to documentaries. The theater will also be available for rental for private events, corporate meetings, presentations and screenings.

The original Bloor Cinema opened its doors as a film house in 1913 under the name Madison Picture Palace, making it one of the first “picture palaces” in Toronto. The newly renovated theater features a larger screen and 1940s-era architecture and design. Renovations also include upgrade to existing projection and sound capabilities, improved seating, expanded restroom and lobby facilities and refresh to the existing facade.

Last night the 19th Annual Hot Docs Festival launched with Director Alison Klayman’s film “Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry” and resulted in a provoking Q & A. This year’s Hot Docs features 189 films from 51 countries, over 11 days. Continue reading “Hot Docs! Hot New Cinema”

4 Years Ago I Joined FaceBook – A Musing On Social Media

By Shannonn Kelly
05:51AM, EST, March 02, 2012

4 years ago Today, March 02, 2008, I joined FaceBook.

Looking back, I absolutely dreaded joining. As filmmakers and friends know, I am not comfortable having my picture taken at all. So the name FaceBook, to me meant I had to show my face. Then one day, a colleague said, you don’t really have to show your face.

Shannonn Kelly
South Park Shannonn Kelly

So I took the plunge and joined, using some forgettable avatar until I arrived at the current series of “South Park Shannonn” with my favorite dirty old Yankee cap and my long brown hair flowing beneath.

I also started a page for my cat, Franklin who was an abandoned cat who ‘adopted’ me. I’m a horse and dog kind of person. I never had a cat before. I didn’t like them. I thought they were creepy. And the girlfriends who owned them were quite bonkers. Plus I was allergic to cats. But, as some of you know, I now have 3 cats. All rescues.

At one point, Franklin the cat had more friends than me, somewhere around 30.

At first I joined groups and added likes. I eventually beat Franklin with 78 friends. Then the friend requests poured in. I decided to handle them on my day off. Trouble was, at that time I didn’t have any days off, generally (at that time) working from 5AM until 9PM, 6 – 7 days a week.

I work as a Project Manager for an American company and as a Managing Director for the ReelHeART International Film Festival, which is 8 and ½ years old. Continue reading “4 Years Ago I Joined FaceBook – A Musing On Social Media”

TIFF 2011 – Day 6 – The Lady, The Killer and The Cop

by Shannonn Kelly
06:18AM, EST, September 13, 2011

Yesterday was a day of Dirty Cops, Beauty Queens and a really crappy film.

I’ll furnish my review later, but in a nutshell, Rampart starring Woody Harrelson was a rambling mess. Blame Oren Moverman the director and no one else. Producers, do NOT give this director any more money to make films. I implore you…

After TIFF2011 is over, I’m going to watch “No Country For Old Men”, to reboot my memory of when a script is great, how great things come of it, especially in the form of Woody Harrelson.

On TIFF 2011 – Day 6, here’s what I’m seeing:

Matthew McConaughey strikes a pose and a deal in "Killer Joe" by William Friedkin

The Lady directed by Luc Besson tells the true life story of Burmese pro-democracy activist and political prisoner Aung San Suu Kyi (Michelle Yeoh) and the bond she maintained with her husband back in the UK, Michael Aris (David Thewlis) while under house arrest for over 10 years.

Killer Joe directed by the great William Friedkin (To Live and Die in L.A.Rules of Engagement), stars Emile Hirsch (Into the Wild) who plays a desperate Texas debtor who plots to kill his mother, with help of his family (Thomas Haden Church, Gina Gershon). They hire a crooked cop (Matthew McConaughey) to do the job, but “Killer Joe” asks for their teenage daughter (Juno Temple) as a “retainer.”

My Midnight Madness film is the 3rd film in a row to come from a French Director. Can I get a Ouah trop génial !!. Last night’s film “The Incident” had no stars, no hype and was an artful craft project of chopping, dicing and slicing. Review to follow.

Nuit Blanche (Sleepless Night) directed by Frederic Jardin is the heart pounding story cop dodging drug dealers, and corrupt cops in a mad chase to rescue his kidnapped son.

TIFF 2011 Review :: You’re Next, But You’re Not that Good…

by Shannonn Kelly
04:40AM, EST, September 11, 2011

While there were some fun and very bloody scenes (such as the brother that wouldn’t die) in tonight’s Midnight Madness premiere “You’re Next” didn’t work for me on many levels.

Killers in Animal Masks in "You're Next" by Adam Wingard

Adam Wingard had much to live up being billed as “Director and writer of last year’s Festival indie hit, A Horrible Way To Die”.

It’s like the feeling you get when you watch a stand-up comic who laughs each time he delivers a punchline. After a few set-ups you want to heckle “Dude, you’re not that good.” Continue reading “TIFF 2011 Review :: You’re Next, But You’re Not that Good…”

TIFF 2011 – Day 3 – Getting My Grunge On With Pearl Jam Twenty

by Shannonn Kelly
04:37AM, EST, September 10, 2011

I absolutely loved the new Bobcat Goldthwait film God Bless America at Midnight Madness tonight and still thinking about how Joel Murray ( Mad Men, Dharma & Greg) if given enough of the right roles, could be this era’s new Henry Fonda. I’m writing my review now, but thought I’d keep you up on what I’m seeing in less than 5 hours:

Pearl Jam, Twenty Years Later...
  • Pearl Jam Twenty, directed by Cameron Crowe is one of my most anticipated films of TIFF 2011. I know its going to sound a little over the top, but this music, “Grunge”, really  had an effect on me. It helped me get in touch with a lot of things and leading the scene was my beloved Pearl Jam, whom I’ve seen a few times live and in different cities and have always felt transformed in one way or another
  • Beauty (Skoonheid) from South Africa / France I think will deliver a promise to make you squirm a little at 9:30 in the morning over subject matter, class issues and violence, as we follow Francois, a middle-aged, a successful businessman who’s a repressed homosexual. This is the 2nd feature screened at TIFF by director Oliver Hermanus
  • Into the Abyss directed by Werner Herzog, who last year gave us the breathtaking and moving Cave of Forgotten Dreams. This outing is more of a statement rather than a mystifying discovery. Herzog, a strong opponent of Capital punishment, traces a triple homicide in Texas, committed by teenagers, from the perspective of the victims’ families to one of the convicted men on death row 10 years after the crime
  •  You’re Next by Tennesee filmmaker Adam Wingard is my Midnight Madness film about a family get-together that turns into a bloody reunion. I can hardly wait…



TIFF 2011 – Day 2 – Black and White and Red All Over

by Shannonn Kelly
05:43AM, EST, September 09, 2011

Only 2 days into the the 36th Annual Toronto International Film Festival and I’m already feeling the lack of sleep. Maybe it has something to do with the Midnight Madness premiere last night of “The Raid“. I’m exhausted from all that killing.

As I was about to finish this blog, I was reminded by the set-up of that children’s joke, “What’s Black and White and Read all over?”

Today’s choices are black and white and Red all over so I might as well live up to the fact that I like violence. Not in real life mind you, just while looking up to a screen in the dark.

Tomáš Luňák's "Alois Nebel"

My 2 TIFF 2011 choices today are about intolerance and injustice but couldn’t be further apart in tone. Continue reading “TIFF 2011 – Day 2 – Black and White and Red All Over”

TIFF 2011 – Day 1 – Dreadlocks, Drug Dealers and Parties

by Shannonn Kelly
06:10AM, EST, September 08, 2011

Last night, Entourage‘s Adrian Grenier was the special guest at a charity event for War Child at The Bowery billed as a pre-TIFF event.

I had tickets to see Stone Temple Pilots tonight, but I couldn’t get back in time for the “official” Day 1 of the 36th Annual Toronto International Film Festival and the last time for the next 10 days I’ll have any real sleep and keep any prior commitments. Parties, people, films and blogging is what I’ll be doing during TIFF.

Iko Uwais fights Dreadlocks and Drug Dealers in Gareth Evans film "The Raid"

My first film of the 10 days will be the Midnight Madness opener from Indonesia, The Raid, directed by Welsh born director, Gareth Huw Evans. The Raid is a martial-arts action flick about a SWAT team’s attempted raid to take down drug king-pin Tama in a sketchy apartment block inhabited by dreadlocked criminals and crazy-ass drug dealers.

That film should be a Woot-Party with the Midnight Madness audience. I’ll supply my review sometime in the wee hours of the morning. Continue reading “TIFF 2011 – Day 1 – Dreadlocks, Drug Dealers and Parties”