Friday, June 15, 2007

Scene First Student Film Festival

The inaugural debut of the Scene First Film Festival was terrific. The event was kicked off with an outdoor film screening overlooking the Cape Fear River and an up and coming local band. There are students here from 28 states and 8 countries - all showcasing their works and passions.

After an evening sitting on a veranda with rocking chairs (very Southern, I was told), chatting to Rick Butler (production designer for The Talented Mr. Ripley) and goading him into telling inside stories, I found myself in front of lots of students this morning, earnest and enthusiastic about their work. In the interest of full disclosure, I am on the board of advisors for this film festival - and joined several famous Hollywood directors and producers. I am not so famous. This, of course, does not bother me in the least. Fortunately, I do not get recognized (except occasionally in the Gap by teenagers) - so I can, and do, know how to enjoy a big meal. (Note to self: The food in Wilmington, North Carolina is fabulous. Start diet on Monday.)

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

World Team Sports - Disabled Athletes

I attended an event hosted by World TEAM Sports at Boston University last weekend, where kids of differing races, socio-economic backgrounds, religions, and physical abilities, joined together to play wheelchair basketball, indoor soccer, and golf (learning from a golf pro who had only one arm). They also heard from a one-legged Iraq war veteran describe losing his leg when his vehicle was struck by an IED, but then how he began to press on with the business of life.

As a board member of World TEAM Sports (which serves disabled athletes), I saw first hand how inspiring it was to see a little girl afflicted by multiple sclerosis with braces and crutches, swing her legs around, trying to get to get her feet on the soccer ball - and how none of the kids gave her a break, treating her like a real kid. She hustled as fast as she could, leg braces flying with a grin that stretched from ear to ear. Another little girl, a redhead missing most of her left arm, doggedly fought her way up to the top of the indoor climbing wall, a task all the more inspiring as many of the able-bodied kids her age were unable to get to the top. Kids heckled and cheered each other on, with teams which mixed suburban wealthy kids with inner city kids, blue eyes with brown eyes, different languages and skin color and physical abilities - and it occurred to me how wonderful and remarkable this event was, not just for the disabled children, but for my own children as well.

My good friend Sandy Kendall, a world champion in the sport of rowing, good-naturedly volunteered for the event - and her blog can be found here.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

The Sopranos Finale

I have started a new mob comedy, partly based on complete fiction and partly based on stories my grandmother used to tell us about the Mazzio side of the family. According to my nana, my grandfather came from Sicilian thieves and crooks. She would typically remind us of this fact when my grandfather got out of line, which was fairly often.

That being said, my grandfather's brother, Johnnie Mazzeo (don't ask how the spelling changed), truly did own one of those big blue car carriers which could transport up to 20 automobiles. The funny thing was this - he was not a car dealer.

And so it is with great anticipation that I await the final episode of The Sopranos. I am not sure they can top last week's carnage (and frankly, the best episode of the entire series), but here's hoping.


Friday, June 8, 2007

New England Cable News

For those who may watch New England Cable News (now NECN), I am on tonight with Jim Braude on Newsnight at 7pm EST - for my monthly appearance on Jim's quiz show. Although I have been known to win a NECN coffee mug (this was a highlight), more often than not, I think I am invited solely for the purpose of heckling the other guests. Ciao.

Monday, June 4, 2007

Title IX

Many thanks to Katelyn Aitcheson, a senior at Union College, who sent me her 70 page senior thesis on Title IX, quoting A Hero for Daisy. Katelyn traces the legislative history of Title IX and the enforcement of Title IX nationwide, as well as at Union College, specifically. As promised, Katelyn will get, courtesy of our friends at LIFE IS GOOD, a daisy hat.

Also - the Women's Sports Foundation has released a new report on the state of gender equity - and unfortunately, the report shows great disparities between the money and resources allocated to women at the college level as opposed to men's sports. Both Katelyn's thesis and the Women's Sports Foundation report will be posted shortly at on our Title IX resources page.

In other news, Lemonade Stories screens in the UK at the Swansea Bay Film Festival - and then on to broadcast television in New Zealand, Hong Kong, and the Middle East later in 2007. Also - this month, Apple Pie will circulate as film of the month for Spiritual Circle Cinema.