Drive far enough north in LA and you arrive at Six Flags Magic Mountain. Just a mile further and you can uncover Santa Clarita Studios - the TV home of Justified, Vegas, and Make It Or Break It. The independent filming location is nestled among non-descript office space. I was there thanks to one of those who-knows-who type things. My congregant, Bernie Kessler, knows Pamela Chais, a veteran TV writer of such shows as Love, Sydney and Maude. Pamela is the mother of Bill Chais, a TV writer and producer, who is also the co-creator the TNT Dramedy Franklin & Bash. Bernie was driving Pamela up to see her son’s set and got me an invite along. Now that’s an excellent congregant. And I got a great tour.
The Bible is inherently cinematic. it has the global story filled with dramatic tension, complicated personal lives, special effects, war, comedy, power, surprises, and much more. It is Game of Thrones with more violence and sex, but without Peter Dinklage.
So when The History Channel’s The Bible miniseries was announced, I was curious to see how a modern television version might put out a sweeping run of biblical stories. Along with millions of Americans, I watched the 10 hours of The Bible and I found those key elements – it was dramatic (the overbearing score reminded me of that), intense (the constant violence made sure I knew that), and passionate (all the shouting made sure I was aware they were playing IMPORTANT characters).
The Bible was produced by Mark Burnett (from Survivor) and Roma Downey (from Touched by an Angel) as a….well, passion product. They hope to bring over a billion new readers to the Bible. To help you on your journey there is the companion website, and they have created a merchandising machine – a companion novelization (Stephen Colbert had something to say about that), soundtrack,, DVD (on sale today!), mobile app, and more. Their “passion product” has also become a money making machine.
But while they attempted to make a family-friendly, marketable Bible for today, there were some areas of significant concern. And areas where I would have wished things were different.
A beautiful post by Rabbi Eleanor Steinman of California Faith for Equality on the recent mass changes in profile pictures on Facebook for Marriage Equality. I get quoted.
Check out her whole blog for her personal recap of going to DC for the Supreme Court hearings on Prop 8 and DOMA.
Today’s post can be found on the blogs of the CCAR Convention at http://convention.ccarnet.org/emeritus-pope-and-rabbi/
I finished watching Netflix’s House of Cards last week. While I saw all 13 episodes in a relatively brief time, I did not have the same intensity as with other marathon TV watching (ex. early seasons of Breaking Bad, Mad Men, Homeland, Parks and Recreation). I did not binge.
The main reason? I just didn’t really like almost any of the characters.
The men are byproducts of their vices and power. There is little self-control or morality at play.
The women ultimately are objects of desire who use sex to further their ends (with some exceptions).
The show is wonderfully acted with great production values, surpassing twists, and great suspense and surprise. But that’s only enough to make it good.
Throughout February, there was apparently an Academy Award promotional campaign called the Oscar Roadtrip. Led by celebrities you have to look up to have any idea who they are – Ben Gleib and Angie Greenup – an actual Oscar statue was brought around the country and placed in people’s hands for maximum Twitter and Instagram low level marketing.
Their last stop…the Red Carpet on Oscar night, of course. Around 10:30am, Ben and Angie appeared on the stage in front of my bleachers on the red carpet. The said this was the first time an Oscar statue had appeared on the red carpet. And that they were making further history as they would bring the Oscar into the bleachers. And if an idea is worth doing, it is worth doing big – they were actually going to bring TWO Oscars into the bleachers.
Okay, celebrities are fine, but what about the food and freebies?
Here we go:
Breakfast – LA Bagels with cream cheese, Coffee
Drinks (all day) – Vitamin Water Zero (the red one), Coke, Diet Coke, Water
Lunch - Box lunches brought to us in the stands with either a turkey or roasted veggie sandwich, chips, chocolate chip cookie, and a red apple. It was quite tasty and filling.