Wednesday, July 18, 2007


I don't have an update to the stone sculptures I've been working on. They have become informally on hold. I don't want them to slip into abandoned. So, I will be working on them this week.

In the meantime, I thought I'd share an interesting little find. You know how I enjoy short films? Well, I found a recently launched quarterly "magazine" called Wholphin which is devoted to short films. Their masthead claims "DVD magazine of rare and unseen short films", but considering the limited venues available for short films, I think "rare and unseen" is a bit redundant. Of course, it does have a certain ring to it.

I picked up the first three issues. I haven't watched everything, but I've definitely enjoyed what I've seen so far (except for "The Passion of Martin" on disk 3). It's difficult to give a taste of what Wholphin offers using just words, and I suspect that if you're into short films, you probably followed the link above and haven't looked back. However, I will say that if you're into watching things like Dennis Hopper's explosive performance art, a guy singing "Stairway to Heaven" backwards, God taking potshots at unseen targets with a rifle, or even touching or just interesting documentaries, then you should give Wholphin a shot.

In fact, if you were willing to check out just one issue of Wholphin, I would suggest issue 3. That one contains a documentary called "A Stranger in Her Own City" that follows a young girl named Najmia for a couple of days. Najmia lives in Sanaa, Yemen and is 13 at the time of the filming. She's apparently come to the age that she is supposed to wear a veil, but she refuses. Najmia is practically the definition of indomitable, and watching her made me realize just how easy I have it. But while viewing the film, I just "knew" that spirit couldn't last much longer as the cost of resisting society's demands can be very high, but I was probably projecting onto her my own weak response to societal demands that I reject. Regardless, it's the first documentary that had me on the edge of my seat wondering what was going to happen next.

Anyway, it's interesting to watch the incredulous and spontaneous reactions people have to Najmia. Where she lives, the idea that a woman should wear a veil and disappear into her home is the norm and taken very seriously, and rejecting it seems to be considered either an insult or a challenge. Many reactions are angry, but some are surprisingly not. I did find a short clip on Youtube to give you taste. Also, there is some good news about Najmia, but I think you should pick up issue 3 to find out about it. Yes, I'm a jerk.

Here are some other clips to give you a little more of an idea of what to expect with Wholphin:

Part one and two of a "documentary" that was apparently supposed to be part of Gore's presidential campaign. For some reason, it was never released. Honestly, I've never seen the man so natural and relaxed as he appeared to be in this video, and as much as I decry how superficial most American political discourse has become (especially during campaigns), it would have been interesting to know if that small documentary could have changed people's perceptions of Gore. Probably not...

A quick clip of people playing volleyball using part of the never completed wall that separates San Diego from Tijuana.

I'm not grinding any political axes with either of those videos. They just happen to be the ones I could find. Just watch them if you're interested. By the way, according to Wolphin, the U.S. taxpayers (or maybe future taxpayers?) spent 3.4 billion dollars on that wall you see in the video. I feel so embarrassed right now.

Hey, I found that video about God I mentioned earlier. You probably shouldn't watch it if you don't have a good sense of humor about religion. You know who you are. "Tactical Advantage".


P.S. The other wholphin.

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