By Bob Grimm
on Mon, Feb 20, 2017 at 11:15 AM
Four women direct short films in this horror anthology.
Most notably, Annie Clark of the band St. Vincent (My hero!) makes her film directorial debut with a segment called The Birthday Party, where a frantic mom (Melanie Lynskey) panics when she finds a corpse just before her child’s birthday. The segment looks great, is acted well, and features some great sound and St. Vincent music.
As a piece of horror, it’s a bit of a failure (it’s more jokey than horror), but the segment does show that Clark can direct performances and pull together the technical parts. It’s just not scary.
Things get creepier in an Evil Dead sort of way with Don’t Fall, where some desert campers come into contact with demonic forces after seeing some sketches on a stone wall. There isn’t much of a story to the segment, but the scares come fast and furious once somebody gets possessed.
The other segments (The Gift and Her Only Living Son) deal with starvation, parenthood and the antichrist, and they also have their moments. Nothing in this anthology is groundbreaking, but there’s enough here to warrant watching if you are a horror or St. Vincent fan.
A special TUSD Board meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, Feb. 21, with only one agenda item: a discussion of the possible firing of Superintendent H.T. Sanchez and General Counsel Todd Jaeger. It's a bit more complicated than that—you can read the agenda here—but that's the gist of it.
The same item was on the February 14 agenda, submitted at the last minute by newly elected board member Rachael Sedgwick, but it was pulled before it was discussed in the open meeting. On Feb. 21, it is the agenda, period, unless other items are submitted. And Mark Stegeman has joined Rachael Sedgwick in requesting it.
After the last board meeting, I wrote that I wasn't sure if Sedgwick put in the earlier item on her own, but I suspected she did. This time, however, it's clear she has Stegeman with her, an experienced, thoughtful, strategic board member who knows how to dot his "i's" and cross his "t's." I expect the item will be discussed and voted on.
We'll see what happens. We could get a drip, drip, drip of information over the next few days, or not. I certainly wouldn't lay odds that Sanchez will have his job after the meeting; then again, I'm not a betting man. But you never know. These things have a habit of taking odd, unpredictable turns.
Tucson Unified School District's newest board member Rachael Sedgwick stirred controversy by adding an agenda item to Tuesday's regular TUSD Governing Board meeting. The item, bringing Superintendent H.T. Sánchez's job into question, will be heard at a special meeting next Tuesday.
The TUSD Superintendent’s job is still at risk, although discussion of it was absent from Tuesday night’s board meeting.
The crowd of more than a hundred people cheered at the beginning of Tucson Unified School District’s regular board meeting when the controversial item was removed from the agenda. For an hour and a half, one after the other, community members stood at the podium to thank Superintendent H.T. Sánchez and commend the work he’s doing with the district.
Nonetheless, a special meeting has been called for Tuesday, Feb. 21, where the question of Sánchez’s job will be back on the agenda, according to Rachael Sedgwick, the board’s newest member.
At the Feb. 14 meeting, 20 people spoke in support of the superintendent and three in opposition.
Community member Brian Flagg said Sánchez is present at school events and people like him.
“He brings his family, he hangs out, and he talks to people until the last person leaves—and he does it in Spanish,” he said. “I think the guy’s got real popular support.”
On Tuesday, the board received more than 75 emails in support of the superintendent and two in opposition, according to Board members Adelita Grijalva and Kristel Foster. Supporters of Sánchez include Michael Varney, President of the Tucson Metro Chamber, and Mayor Jonathan Rothschild.
Sedgwick, who put the item on the agenda, would like to see Sánchez make some changes but says it’s apparent he’s not open to working with her.
“It’s really not about firing H.T.,” she said. “It's really is about exploring the different opportunities and giving him a choice.”
She would like to see the board create a performance plan to assess progress the superintendent makes with the district. In particular, Sedgwick is concerned with enrollment numbers, standardized testing scores, AP scores, graduation rates and drop-out rates.
Sedgwick also thinks Sánchez spends too much time at the Arizona Legislature.
“The superintendent’s job is really not to be lobbying the legislators in Phoenix,” she said. “I believe the superintendent does not visit the schools very often and that it means that we, as a district, have sort of lost sight about the reasons that TUSD exists.”
Sánchez could not be reached for a response.
Sedgwick says she has the backing of Board member Mark Stegeman and that Board President Michael Hicks is open to discussion.
Other board members think bringing the superintendent’s job into question right now distracts the board from more important things and opens them up to possible legal problems.
“What we’re doing here is a side-show circus,” Grijalva said. “If I’m a parent of a kindergartner or someone who’s coming from a charter school and looking for a middle or high school for my child, why would I pick TUSD? Because all I see in the headlines is this drama.”
Foster says terminating the superintendent with no backup plan is a dangerous decision, and putting that option suddenly on the agenda is not the way to solve a problem.
“We’re, right now, in the middle of a legislative session, trying to advocate on behalf of public education,” Foster said. “This shows absolutely no understanding of what we do as public officials that represent a school district.”
By Bob Grimm
on Wed, Feb 15, 2017 at 4:58 PM
Writer-director Asghar Farhadi’s (A Separation) latest involves Ermad (Shahab Hosseni), a teacher and part time actor in Iran forced to leave his home when it becomes uninhabitable. He moves to a new place on short notice with his wife, Rana (Taraneh Alidoosti), while they are both in the middle of a run for Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman.
Things go badly when Rana leaves the door to their new apartment open and is attacked after someone thinking they were visiting the previous tenant enters. The film then becomes a slow burn mystery as Ermad, a normally mild-mannered man, unravels a bit (but only a bit) as he tries to figure out who the attacker is. Perhaps the most unnerving aspect of this film is Ermad’s relative coldness towards his wife in the aftermath of the attack, a move that makes her even more of a victim. It’s hard, and painful, to watch, but Hosseni and Alidoosti make it very compelling and real. It’s also a story that is far from predictable.
The film was nominated for Best Foreign Language Film for the 2017 Oscars. It stands a very good chance of winning.
The agenda for TUSD's Tuesday board meeting included an action item to look at firing Superintendent H.T. Sanchez and General Counsel Todd Jaeger. The item was pulled from the agenda. No action. Nothing to see here folks. But this isn't the last time we'll witness an attempt to oust Sanchez. It was a preview of coming events.
I'm only going to indulge in a general discussion of the situation. There's so much heat and so little light on both sides of this battle, it's impossible for me to sort out fact from fiction or determine the difference between cause-and-effect and random incidents. The fighting is fierce, filled with leaks, rumors, accusations and strange bedfellows.
So, just a few comments.
I think Sanchez should stay. [Open The Comments Floodgates!] He's done a decent job as superintendent—admirable in some instances, less admirable in others. Based on my 30 year-plus career as a public school teacher and a student of education around the country, I have no reason to think another superintendent will do a significantly better job steering this difficult district filled with the kinds of problems facing most large, ethnically diverse urban areas. More likely, the district's loss of continuity would do more harm than good.
R&B/pop band Small Faces still leave there impression on history that they were a lot more than a mod combo. Steve Marriott, Ronnie Lane, Kenny Jones and Ian "Mac" McLagan, four young hungry musicians who looked to break the business wide open. And they did. And then everybody sort of forgot. (There were the best band ever not to hit the American bigtime and then they became the Faces with Rod, Marriott went off to lead Humble Pie, but those are other yarns.)
Yes, Don Arden was a bus y manager too, working on The Small Faces recordings and shows, and having a pretty aggressive go at whatever money was earned. Anyone with even a cursory knowledge of rock 'n' roll history knows The Small Faces were a million stories in one—too many to name—not the least of which is a we-got-fucked cautionary tale. (Arden was extra special at robbing the band piggy bank.)
P.P. Arnold: Better singer than you.
Marriott, playing the electric guitar, moving on the right of Ronnie Lane, two artists who were bursting with cool, a peerless creative duo. They were East Londoners and had a huge following with the kids who shared a love for fashion and love of bands who could do bold live show that excited absolutely. The Small Faces troubled the waters with a passion for loud, raucous vocals (Marriott!) while psychedelically treating each new single—with knobsman Glyn Johns at the helm—with rock-challenging ideas and a sort of irony or self-deprecation.
In '67, Marriott penned "Tin Soldier " for P.P. Arnold, herself an R&B belter and star who
they respected and worked with on their records. (I'd guess Marriott felt too close to the song and decided to keep it for the band, instead cutting it with P.P. sharing the chorus.)
Keyboards kick it off, then the drumstick-on-rim to make the entrance perfect, guitar and bass warming up as Marriott yells "C'mon!" then delivers the sparse first verse which quickly rocks with full-on American R&B power and muscle, the whole outfit just kicking full tilt, loud, heavy, then back to that intro one last time. Each performer plain in the pocket, obviously thrilled to be putting their stamp on this historic single. It's all them, and it has been covered but seldom well. "Tin Soldier" is included nicely as a bonus in reissues of Ogdens' Nut Gone Flake, which remains a imperfect masterpiece—from the circular tin cover art to the very British narrator.
Sometimes when I want to know why I still love rock 'n' roll I play "Tin Soldier" and wait for the magic they made. Young, sure and alive.