Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Arthur C. Clarke, Author of `2001: A Space Odyssey,' Dies at 90

March 19 (Bloomberg) -- Arthur C. Clarke, the U.K. science- fiction writer and futurist visionary best known for the novel adapted for the film ``2001: A Space Odyssey,'' has died. He was 90.

Yikes... what a day.

Anthony Minghella Dies

By Peter Griffiths

LONDON (Reuters) - British film director Anthony Minghella, who won an Oscar for "The English Patient", died in a London hospital on Tuesday after a short illness, his agent said. He was 54.


Anthony Minghella was a really smooth director. By that, I mean - his movies had a sheen, a beautiful quality about them that really let you sit back and relax. You knew you were in the hands of someone who knew what they were doing.

Here's an imdb 'cut and paste' list of his directing work. Some of his writing work overlapped.

My personal favorite of his was The Talented Mr. Ripley.

  1. The Ninth Life of Louis Drax (2008) (announced)
  2. New York, I Love You (2008) (filming)
    ... aka New York, je t'aime (France: literal title)
  3. The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency (2008) (completed)
  4. Breaking and Entering (2006)
  5. Cold Mountain (2003)
  6. Play (2000)
  7. The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999)
  8. The English Patient (1996)
  9. Mr. Wonderful (1993)
  10. Truly Madly Deeply (1990)

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Still Alive and Breathing

Years ago now, I named this blog, "Stefan Avalos Tells All." It wasn't meant as anything serious; I had intended to stay focused on the film making aspects of my life. However, over time, I have obviously written about my life. I have in fact, told all -- or at least, a lot.

I will stay vague on my life right now. Since it involves more than just me, I don't know that it would really be proper to tell all. However, in lieu of the fact that I haven't written much in the last few weeks, and that I still have faithful readers hoping for new words, I will admit some things. I am in the midst of one of the most difficult times in my life.

Marianne, my partner, my lover, my best friend of thirteen years left me, initiating a separation. Whether it is permanent or not remains to be seen, but for now she is gone. Trying to find out what means anything in her life, what her future is, she is seeking a new path. Whether it includes me or not I do not know. I don't think she knows either yet. It is not about lack of love. It is something else. It is about many things. But these will remain private.

There is nothing funny about a mid-life crisis, and when they hit with the severity of what she is going through, are incredibly painful for all involved; especially to those who have to helplessly watch, wondering what they could have and should have done differently. A physical punch to the stomach feels no different than what I am feeling right now. I know, I've been punched in the stomach. Feels the same.

I could blame and point, self-recriminations abound; I could look at things I've done wrong, or things she didn't communicate in a way that my male ears heard clearly. Or I could point angrily to books like that tripe(!) on every bestseller list, Eat, Pray, Love. I did ask her about it, and indeed – she had read it – just as every middle aged woman 'in search of herself' seems to be doing now. Unlike many though, Marianne thought it was not very good; something that other intelligent women seem to also think. Thankfully, Marianne's taste in literature seems to remain fairly intact.

No, it is more than just things for which I can blame myself, and it's more than bad writing that set her mind a-churning over the past months (it turns out).

She is rudderless attempting to find a direction and thus - I too have been forcibly be cast adrift. It's a rough sea, horribly unpleasant. But if there is any future to be had with her, I have to bear it.

Only time will tell.

I will attempt to return to more regular blogging. In fact, I have a very powerful topic to share with you all. I will write a name – a name some who come here will recognize instantly. And I am going to be writing about him soon: Richard Mazeffa.

One more note: Last night I was having dinner with a friend who just returned from SXSW (South by Southwest). We talked about the bands he heard and he said that he was happy to hear bands that gave him hope in Rock; that it isn't as dead as had believed it to be over the last ten years. I agreed saying that I had also recently found several bands that I really dug; that gave me hope in the musical future. He asked which I liked and I mentioned Devotchka. He told me he saw them at SXSW. It was one of those synchronous moments he and I have had on occasion. I'm listening to them now as I write this.

The long and the short of that last paragraph is that if you are looking for a wonderful, great and unique band – listen to Devotchka. They are one of the best I've heard in years!