By Risa Nye
It’s hard not to give in to the urge to use the onion as a metaphor when writing a story that centers on onion rings. But the truth is, The Ringmaster tells a many-layered story that resembles nothing so much as an onion in that it begins by telling one story which gradually peels away to reveal another, closer to the central core of the filmmaker and the main subject of this documentary.
By Kim Nalley
A 1938 portrait, when she appeared at Cafe Society in NYC with a swatch of gardenias in hair hairstyle, which from then on became her trademark. (Photo by George Rinhart)
Billie Holiday. Her name is eponymous with the phrase “jazz singer.” There is no jazz figure so well-known, yet shrouded in mystery, as Lady Day. Many important details of her life and her musical genius have been overshadowed by a lurid interest in her love life and drug use. Recently some articles based on faulty interviews emphasize her persecution in Hoover’s war on drugs without realizing this was a fact of life for all African American jazz musicians. I do not see the same attention given to Miles Davis’s or Charlie Parker’s drug use or their abusive relationships. Davis’s and Parker’s “women” are not given a megaphone to comment on them, and I never have seen their musical genius attributed to drug use. I sometimes see the hardships of being a Black man highlighted but I do not see the same courtesy given to Miss Holiday.
By Dick Fregulia
When asked to review the new Billie Holiday documentary “Billie, ” my first concern was whether it would play as a Hollywood melodrama or as a true musical testimony to the jazz vocalist legend. My preference was for the latter, but the film actually achieves an impressive balance between the gritty details of her life and the beauty of her singing.
Compiled by Gary Meyer
The Internet can be a dangerous place to find the good, the bad and the ugly. Thanksgiving as a search subject is especially rewarding. We present a sampling, mostly from the past. We found vintage greeting cards, Hollywood stars, ads for disgusting sounding foods, awkward family photos and all around nostalgia.
By Gary Meyer
Are you ready for candy that offers the flavors of the traditional American Thanksgiving dinner spread: Roasted turkey, cranberry sauce, stuffing, green beans, ginger glazed carrots, and, for dessert, sweet potato pie?
A candid conversation with the film programmers at the Berkeley Art Museum Pacific Film Archive (BAMPFA).