Black History Month

Monday Muse: A Valentine’s Day Lesson in Love & Healing

  Learning to love yourself-This is a prerequisite for all things when talking about love. It is when you can truly love others and help others that you can learn to help and to heal others. In The Growing Group, there are several unexpected Valentine’s to give to yourself this February on Valentine’s Day. And these are ideas and quotes and motivations that will stay with you through the year!   Find Your Virtual Mentor The first is to find your mentors as you read your favorite books. Today is International Book-Giving Day, and a wonderful place to begin is to remember and revisit all of the newly-acquired mentors that you will find when you read the quotes and passages from your favorite authors. The notion of finding a ‘virtual mentor’ is one that can be familiar to all as we have revised our thinking during the pandemic years. So let’s take a moment to find some favorite passages and quotations that were part of the books you’ve read and loved through the years. For my part, Atticus Finch would be one of my virtual mentors for sure! (See the end of this to look for more suggestions of books to help guide you…)   The Metaphors of Love in your life… Looking at some of the metaphors found in The Growing Group magazine, we see they are used to illustrate how to think of your burdens and to bring about a positive mindset. The positive perspective is one of the best Valentine’s presents to receive! Look at “The Weight of Water’ in the metaphor for a glass that is half empty/half full and see how to look at the glass you are holding in a different light.  Looking at the cracks in the bucket in a different light is a helpful metaphor for the realization of how the cracks and leaks can also be of use to all of usl! And seeking the realization of the delights of eating a tangerine, or the benefits of floating in water…all of these are ways to look at ourselves and our lives in a different light! Another way to seek positive affirmation is by learning to handle criticism well.   Author and happiness expert Gretchen Rubin advises us  to listen carefully and to learn to ‘enjoy the fun of failure,’ as she describes it! Valentine’s Day Quotes on Love & Motivation… Another way to learn how to see love in a different light is to seek affirmations and to seek love through the ideas that others use to inspire and motivate us. Here are some quotes from our Growing Group magazine that deal with the notion of love in all its different forms. How you learn to love yourself can affect the relationships and the amount and quality of love you ‘bring to the table’ to give to your family and spouse. And it may also be a reflection of the love you can generate and convey to others in your life. In other words, Love is the driving force behind all you do or all you should be doing! And that is the other important message from Valentine’s Day…. Walt Disney’s Inspirational Quotes From Walt Disney, here are some unique quotes to further advance the notion that we need to start within and move outward as we grow and expand our capacity to love… Why do we have to grow up? I know more adults who have the children’s approach to life. They’re people who don’t give a hang what the Jones’ do. You see them at Disneyland every time you go there. They are not afraid to be delighted with simple pleasures, and they have a degree of contentment with what life was brought — sometimes it isn’t much, either.” “The more you like yourself, the less you are like anyone else, which makes you unique.”   Black History Month reveals inspiring quotes on Love & ‘Making the Impossible-Possible!”   In honor of Black History Month, here are some of the most prominent African-American authors and influencers who have helped shape our culture, talking about love and loving yourself and doing the impossible! It’s all about falling in love with yourself and sharing that love with someone who appreciates you, rather than looking for love to compensate for a self love deficit.” Eartha Kitt  “Every time you state what you want or believe, you’re the first to hear it. It’s a message to both you and others about what you think is possible. Don’t put a ceiling on yourself.”– Oprah Winfrey Impossible is just a big word thrown around by small men who find it easier to live in the world they’ve been given than to explore the power they have to change it. Impossible is not a fact. It’s an opinion. Impossible is not a declaration. It’s a dare. Impossible is potential. Impossible is temporary. Impossible is nothing.”– Muhammad Ali “You are your best thing.”-Toni Morrison “It always seems impossible until its done.”-Nelson Mandela  “Success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it-“Maya Angelou Recommended Reading to help you on your journey! Books to find your “Virtual Mentor” and to help guide you in your Growing Group journey! THE POWER OF FUN: HOW TO FEEL ALIVE AGAIN-By Catherine Price If you’re not having fun, you’re not fully living… A WORLD WITHOUT EMAIL: REIMAGINING WORK IN AN AGE OF COMMUNICATION OVERLOAD By Cal Newport LAZINESS DOES NOT EXIST-By Devon Price For too many of us, our self-worth has become a function of our productivity. In other words, we only feel good about ourselves by working hard… TRACKING WONDER: RECLAIMING A LIFE OF MEANING AND POSSIBILITY IN A WORLD OBSESSED WITH PRODUCTIVITY-By Jeffrey Davis A refreshing counter-voice to the exhausting narrative hyper-productivity… Mantra: This week I begin with the thoughts of healing and of the power of love in healing. I will look at things I have taken for granted and now see and appreciate more.

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6 Degrees of Film February Round-up: Oscar Nominations are here!

Film fans, there has been a lot of hype surrounding this awards season in Hollywood. Some films were snubbed and some great acting performances were overlooked. But there has been more emphasis on diversity and inclusion, and this is something new to the Hollywood brand! The Oscar Nominees for 2022 Denzel Washington (The Tragedy of MacBeth) and Benedict Cumberbatch (Power of the Dog),  are two actors that are always in my top tier of Best Actor choices.  Also nominated in the Best Actor category:   Javier Bardem (Being the Ricardos),, Will Smith (King Richard) and Andrew Garfield (Tick, Tick..Boom!)   For Best Actress: Kristen Stewart is nominated for Spencer along with Penelope Cruz  (Parallel Mothers), and Nicole Kidman (also Being the Ricardos) plus Olivia Colman (The Lost Daughter.) Jessica Chastain has long been one of my favorites, and she is up for The Eyes of Tammy Faye.   The Best Picture list is long (too long!) There are ten films that include most of the usual suspects that were expected to be nominated, or have won other prestigious awards. The Power of the Dog is a strong favorite, along with Belfast from Kenneth Branagh. The other films are Dune, Drive My Car, King Richard, Licorice Pizza, Nightmare Alley, Don’t Look Up, CODA & West Side Story.   The Best Director category is notable as Jane Campion is one of the few female directors who has even been nominated for this honor. Kenneth Branagh is a strong favorite,  as is Paul Thomas Anderson for Licorice Pizza. But the Japanese film, Drive My Car has also won several top honors so director Ryuseke Hamauguchi has a good shot at it, making this a very tight race! Turner Classic Films: The Armchair Film Fest   We often speak of the Armchair Film Festival (even before there was COVID!), so this month is chock full of films to record and to revisit in the wake of the Oscar Nominations. The Boxing films to record for an Armchair Film Fest would begin with the great documentary on Muhammad Ali’s fight with George Foreman called, When we were Kings. It is a good film to see as part of Black History Month also.   The Set Up with Robert Ryan tells the classic story of an aging boxer on the ropes who is asked to throw a fight. Robert Ryan is one of my favorites from the Noir genre. The director is notable too; he is Robert Wise, the same director from the Film Noir genre who went on to fame with his masterful direction of The Sound of Music in the sixties. Pioneering Women The women pioneers of #MeToo are out in force in February. Judy Garland plays this remarkable character in The Harvey Girls that was based on the real-life women who worked in these Western towns and really were instrumental in helping to build and to carve out civilization in the “Old West.” Lauren Bacall debuted opposite Humphrey Bogart in To Have & Have Not, which was based on a story by Ernest Hemingway. It’s a good film, not as good as Casablanca, and not as engaging as The Big Sleep, but it’s still a good B movie. Armchair Film Fest Recommends…   One of the best Film Noir stories is shown in a two-part Armchair Fest featuring Gene Tierney. Laura is the Film Noir classic that is definitely required viewing for all lovers of Noir. Next is The Ghost & Mrs Muir, which is an entertaining and unique romantic tale of two lovers who meet and are doomed to be apart as one of them is already dead! The ghost is played superbly by a young Rex Harrison. Some of the greatest actors in Hollywood are featured on TCM this month. Gene Hackman and Dennis Hopper are outstanding in Hoosiers. And Montgomery Clift is featured in Red River followed by Wild River. The young Monty Clift vs the older version is worth recording for the Armchair Film Fest… And since PBS has shown a series based on the Jules Verne classic, “Around the World in 80 Days,’ it’s worth seeing the version that was a big hit in the fifties starring David Niven. Rounding out Turner Classic this month are films that honor black history. We have mentioned When we were Kings, and for your Armchair Film Fest, you can add the documentary Black Panthers, and the film, Mississippi Burning, starring Willem Dafoe.  The film was based on a true story of what happened to Freedom Riders in the sixties as they tried to register African-Americans to vote in the deep South. 6 Degrees of Film: The Long Reads   This month, Friday Flix has an article from Film Comment that delves into the question of what is going to happen to the art form of cinema in the post-COVID world.  That is an interesting question that was also discussed at length in my book from 2013:  6 Degrees of Film: The Future of Film in the Global Village.  The era of streaming and the pandemic has created a real dilemma for the film industry which has always been based on the big business of profit and loss over the question of artistic freedom and purity. There are other questions that are raised when discussing where film is going, and were also addressed briefly in 6 Degrees of Film. One of them regards the 74 year old court ruling known as “The Paramount Decree” which sunsets in August of this year. The move paved the way for the rise of television but also ushered in the end of the Golden Age of Film.  Movie theaters controlled a monopoly, as they also owned the theaters in which their films were shown. When they were ordered to sell their theaters, the profit margin collapsed along with their business model! That ruling is discussed as well as what may happen to the industry when the law sunsets in August. Another fly in the ointment of

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6 Degrees of Film: February Film Round Up

Oscar News This month, February is a preview of things to come. And for things delayed! The Oscars will be held this year on Sunday, April 25th, so there will be a few months to go yet before the Oscar “Buzz” and predictions heat up. A good indicator always for the Oscar nominees are the many award shows that precede it. The Golden Globes, the SAG (Screen Artists Guild) awards, the BAFTA (British Equivalent of Oscar) and the Sundance Film Festival all preview some of the pre-eminent films of the past year. CODA won the Sundance Film Festival Best Picture; and Frances McDormand will surely be a nominee for Best Actress in Nomadland; plus the late Chadwick Boseman has been nominated in multiple categories for his performance in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom. For current information and up to date reviews of the latest award nominees and winners, check out 6 Degrees of Film magazine each week. Tributes to those we lost We just heard of the passing of Christopher Plummer, an exceptional actor who after so many credits, will always best known for his role of Captain Von Trapp in “The Sound of Music.” Cicely Tyson also died recently, and that fact only serves to remind us of the talents of those pioneers who helped to break barriers for African-American women in film. Black History Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom is one of the films that is showing at the movies and is streaming currently. And as mentioned, the late Chadwick Boseman has broken ground for nominations in a variety of categories, for roles in Ma Rainey’s as well as the many memorable roles he created. Boseman, like Mr Plummer in Sound of Music, will be known primarily as the defining character in the Black Panther Marvel series. Some other notable films for Black History Month include Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner starring Sidney Poitier, playing on Turner Classic this month.  But I would recommend the original documentary series “Eyes on the Prize” and Spike Lee’s Malcolm X with Denzel Washington for those who seriously want to delve into Black History. The movie: The Black Panther is another obvious choice to watch, as well as Hidden Figures, both of these films being much more recent and notably well received. Chadwick Boseman was also brilliant as Jackie Robinson in 42 and to complete your viewing, there is his turn as the famed first Black Supreme Court Justice, Thurgood Marshall, playing Marshall as a rising young lawyer in the early fifties in the film- Marshall. Armchair Film Fest At 6 Degrees, each week we highlight the film events as well as the small screen feature films that are notable enough to record and watch (Sometimes known as “Binge-watching”!)….This month on Turner Classic Movies, they are featuring: Comedies with Mel Brooks: Blazing Saddles and The Producers are shown this month, both starring Gene Wilder. Robert Ryan: The Film Noir star is a particular favorite of mine-he is featured in Marine Raiders, The Set-up (Directed by Sound of Music director Robert Wise), and a Western-Trail Street. Romantic Valentine’s: For those who would like to see something romantic around Valentine’s Day, know that some of the most enduring romantic couples of all time are found in Hollywood’s Golden Age films. Casablanca features one such couple, and Doctor Zhivago features another. Alas, (Spoiler alert), both are films about a timeless love that endures, but if you are a fan of happy endings- Love doesn’t always lead to ‘Happily ever-afters” even in Hollywood! The state of Hollywood films in 2021 There are still many delays of big-studio films due to the ongoing Pandemic. James Bond will wait till November to debut with Daniel Craig in his last Bond film-No Time to Die. Some films will be released for streaming and On-Demand due to COVID-19 concerns. Stay tuned for announcements as the release dates have changed frequently these past months. That’s all for now, folks, and like everything else during the era of Covid, we will have to wait and see what the next few months bring in terms of Oscar nominations as well as the release dates for this year. Denzel Washington is currently starring in The Little Things, one of the films listed as popular at the drive-in’s, if you are lucky enough to find one near you!  Check it out if you can…Till next time, see you at the movies!-ML

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