Bernstein’s Wall: An Extraordinary Extrovert’s Life

By C.J. Hirschfield

July 19, 2022

In the upcoming (2023) Netflix biographical film Maestro, based on the life of renowned conductor/composer/pianist Leonard Bernstein, directed by and starring Bradley Cooper with Martin Scorsese and Steven Spielberg producing, there is a scene already circulating on social media of Bernstein passionately kissing his male lover.You will not find this sort of scene depicted in the new documentary film Bernstein’s Wall, which has its San Francisco premiere at the 42nd San Francisco Jewish Film Festival, July 21-August 7. What you will see, however, is a richly textured biography of a man whose remarkable story includes a deep commitment to his Jewish heritage, to political activism, to his art, to teaching, and to his family. His bisexuality, not so much. Continue reading

Living Wine- Land to Bottle 

By Risa Nye

July 15, 2022

The first thing to know about Living Wine is that it was filmed in 2020. The reason the year is worth noting—as one would note a particular vintage on a wine label— is that this was the year of the Lightning Complex fires: one of the costliest disasters of the year, and the sixth most destructive wildfire in California’s history.

Before viewers know this, however, producer and director of this documentary, Lori Miller, introduces us to a number of nontraditional winemakers who produce natural wines in Northern California.  We accompany these winemakers through their beautifully tended vineyards: Gideon Beinstock and Saron Rice (Clos Saron), Darek Trowbridge (Old World Winery), Megan Bell (Margins Wine), James Jelks (Florèz Wines), and Dani Rozman (La Onda). Continue reading

Deep Diving into Living Wine

By Fred Swan

July 15, 2022

Many wines are simple. The world of wine is not. A seemingly endless list of factors creates the individual character of any wine. From microbes to mesoclimate, from variety to vintage.

If you scratch the surface of most any wine topic, you’ll find greater depth, and more connections with other topics, than you’d imagine. Living Wine, a new film being released Friday, July 15, does more than just scratch the surface of “natural wine.” Nearly every one of its 85 minutes raises an idea or question that would be fascinating to explore in depth.

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Fire of Love: Bring On The Heat and Light

By C.J. Hirschfield

July 8, 2022

National Geographic and Neon hope that you’ll come for the volcanoes and stay for the love story. And you most definitely should.  “In this world lived a fire; and in this fire, two lovers found a home.” Jeesh.

What are the odds of two scientists, obsessed with volcanoes, falling in love and then travelling the world for decades in an attempt to get as close as possible to the most dangerous, active eruptions?   Continue reading

2-2-1: Your Ultimate Recipe for Ribs

By Kristy J. Norton

Like most budding pitmasters, you may have heard of the 3-2-1 method of cooking ribs but the 2-2-1 process may be a bit of a mystery.

Photo by Luis Aleman

Well, the 2-2-1 method is pretty similar. For this process, you smoke the ribs for 2 hours, uncovered. Then, you wrap the ribs and cook the ribs for another 2 hours. Finally, you unwrap the ribs and then cook for an hour, until the ribs are done.

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Hallelujah—Leonard Cohen, A Journey, A Song

A Review by Gaetano Kazuo Maida

July 1, 2022

They had me at “Leonard Cohen.”

Ever since Judy Collins introduced his song “Suzanne” on her great 1968 album, In My Life, his name on a project—book, album, song, film—had special meaning, somehow within and yet beyond pop culture. Here, it’s perhaps his best-known, and certainly most covered song, “Hallelujah” that takes the lead, and offers a lens through which to survey his life, the music business, and the cultural era he inhabited and inspired. Continue reading