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Thursday, September 2, 2010

What is Entertainment?

By: Ira Allen

In a world where we find ourselves ever more overwhelmed by—and drawn to—bright images and flashing screens, it is worth asking a few questions about that most important of consumer goods: entertainment. What makes entertainment entertaining? Why do we need it, or do we? What is entertainment, anyway?

These are a few of the questions I set out to answer in a class I taught a year or so ago: Entertainment in America. And while we couldn’t quite come up with satisfactory answers, even after a semester of reading and discussion, I’d like to try to set down a few of the thoughts that came out of that course here. But I don’t want to shove the partial answers I’ve come to down your throat—that’s no fun for anybody. Rather, what I’ll do in the following is offer a list of questions that you might ask yourself, along with a few resources that might be worth looking at as you search for your own answers to these increasingly crucial questions. I’ll also note, from time to time, the conclusions I have tentatively reached regarding these questions.

Are you ready? Here goes…

What is entertainment? (Too obvious, but we’ll come back to it. If you keep this question in mind as you go down the list, you may find a definition beginning to come together. Try it out.) Even if you know it when you see it, does it bother you if you can’t come up with a good definition of what it actually is?

Is there such a thing as "only entertainment"?
Only Entertainment—Bad Religion
That’s Entertainment—The Jam
That’s Entertainment—Judy Garland
When you read the lyrics of The Jam’s and Bad Religion’s songs, and read about the history of the Judy Garland highlights film, what is your sense of the kind of material that makes for entertainment?

Who needs entertainment? What for? When you are entertained, what are you feeling? Read a Dilbert or Doonesbury comic strip, and try to record what happened inside of you while you were looking at the comic. Did you feel happier? A sense of release? The resolving of tension? Was that entertainment? Would you say that reading the comic strip was the same kind of experience as watching a television show? How? How not?

Are some kinds of entertainment better for you than others? Which kinds? Is it better to play internet poker or to watch a video? Try doing each for a little while and record your feelings. Was one more entertaining than the other? How? Why? Did one make you more aggressive? Less likely to do something productive in the world around you? Did either change the way you felt about yourself? How?

One of the things I was struck by while teaching this course was the way entertainment can work as a substitute for action. If I can identify with a character on TV—on a soap opera, for instance—then I get to feel all the feelings that character feels, without having to do the actions that result in those feelings. I get to feel jealous without having a cheating spouse, excited by the intrigue of adultery without being an adulterer, and intimate without ever actually talking to a living human being. In short, I get to feel. Some researchers believe that feelings are the way we human beings experience our world most fully, but is there a price to pay when we feel our emotions in a way that’s disconnected from the physical world around us?

That is, if we get to feel feelings without taking risks, do we start to lose our ability to risk emotion in the "real world"? I don’t have a definite answer to that for you, but I do have one for me. I’ve come to the conclusion that entertainment is—while maybe necessary for emotional and psychological health—definitely a dangerous substance. Like fire. So, for my part, I’ll still watch a film now and then. But I’ll also think afterwards about how watching that film, getting that emotional satisfaction, affects my ability to act in the real world. You might consider doing the same; it actually turns out to be pretty entertaining.
By Buzzle Staff and Agencies
Published: 7/1/2006

Friday, July 23, 2010

5 Ways to Spot an Awesome Nightclub

We've all been there... You're out on the town with a close group of friends looking for a nightclub to spend the next 5 hours of your life in. You've all already had a little bit too much to drink thereby impairing your decision making and sense of judgment. As you stumble around the streets you get your friends together and try to decide which bar or nightclub you should head too.

So...given how important this decision is, how do you know whether a bar or nightclub is any good. Here are a few quick things to look for:

1. Bouncers

Bouncers tell you a lot about the bar or club. If there are 2 or 3 hard looking bouncers standing at the door with a metal detector and an attitude, then chances are this place isn't too "welcoming." Bars and clubs with a history of violence tend to have a hefty security presence at the door to try and deter potential troublemakers. On the contrary, if there is one bouncer at the door that doesn't look like he has had steroids for breakfast then chances are this club is a little nicer.

2. Velvet Rope

Or ropes/partitions of any kind. If the club has these out the front to assist with the lines, then its probably because they get big crowds and as such, is a popular bar or nightclub. When choosing a venue, always check for this as it is often a sign of things to come.

3. People Leaving The Nightclub

Bit of a no brainer, but if you see people flooding out of the bar or club then it is probably for a reason. The exception to this rule is when you notice a bouncer letting a person in for every person leaving. Generally this means the place is packed!!!!!

4. Who Are They Letting In

If they are only letting girls in, or, only letting guys in who are with girls then that is the place you want to be, no matter what sex you are. Bars and nightclubs like this are generally very popular, and have reduced levels of violence given the nature of their patrons. Although these can be harder to get into (particularly for a group of guys), generally they are more fun.

5. What Time Is It

If it is after 2am and you can hear or see a crowd out the front, then that is the place to be. Many bars and nightclubs start to get a little quiet at this time, so if the place is still pumping at this hour, then go there.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

The Hollywood Film Institute: Learn Filmmaking Without Going West

Film education has been revolutionized forever by the Hollywood Film Institute, an educational resource center founded by a great film instructor, Dov S-S Simens.By Linda Orlando

One of the most acclaimed names in filmmaking education is someone you’ve probably never heard of. But Hollywood certainly knows him, celebrities cheer about him, and graduates of his classes thank him for making them successful. Dov S-S Simens never went to an expensive film school to learn about filmmaking. He graduated from Muhlenberg College in Allentown, PA, with a degree in Economics and then spent three years in the Army, serving as a 1st Lieutenant in Vietnam. After returning to the states, he owned a successful bookstore in Carmel, California. But his longing to learn about the world of filmmaking outweighed his love of books. So in 1980, Dov decided to do what many people before him have done—he sold his store, took the cash, and headed out to Hollywood with nothing more than an idea and a dream. For a while he worked the Hollywood circuit, calling agents, meeting with studios, soliciting stars and foreign investors, pitching ideas to development groups, optioning books, and writing scripts. Finally he decided to step out on faith in himself and create a film of his own, a 90-minute 35mm feature film that went on to win awards at several film festivals. And from there, his career in the film industry really began to take flight.

As a result of his self-taught approach, Dov learned to make movies from beginning to end—not from theories taught in film schools, but from learning on his own, working directly in the business. Over the next several years he worked with major studios in management and producing jobs, and then began teaching classes on film production at UCLA. Three years later he decided that the time was right for him to take the skills he had honed through the years and create the Hollywood Film Institute, home of the 2-Day Film School. The course is presented 25 times a year, and Dov claims that 3% of his students make a feature film within 6 months, while no graduates of expensive 4-year film schools have produced or directed a feature film within 6 months of graduation.

For over 15 years, The Hollywood Film Institute has taught students how to produce, write, or direct, and graduates have had incredible success, all together grossing over $2 billion. Dov does not claim to be a great director or producer; instead he calls himself "a great film instructor who is proud to give you the most amount of filmmaking information, for the least amount of money, in the shortest period of time." And he really does mean the shortest amount of time—the longest program he offers is only 2 days long, and it is offered in major cities throughout the world, including Los Angeles, New York, Toronto, Houston, Seattle, and London. The U.S. price for the school is only $389. If you can’t make it to the class in person, you still have options for learning everything Dov has to share, because his class is available on DVDs, videos, and cassettes, consisting of 16 one-hour filmmaking lessons that take you from idea to script, to shoot, to answer print, to distribution deal as you make and sell your first independent feature film. A Streaming Film School is currently in development for e-learning on your computer. If you’d like to sample a taste of the information contained in the entire film school session, you can visit The Hollywood Film Institute website and read through the 18-Minute Film Program free of charge before you decide whether to buy the comprehensive program.

Dov S-S Simens claims to have revolutionized film education with his Hollywood Film Institute, and apparently he knows what he’s talking about, because several well-known celebrities have gone on record to support his claims. The home page of the Hollywood Film Institute displays some enthusiastic rave reviews from the likes of Will Smith, Sinbad, Queen Latifah, Guy Ritchie, Roger Corman, and Quentin Tarantino, among others. If you’re interested in learning about filmmaking and you don’t have four years and $100,000 to spare, you may want to check out The Hollywood Film Institute. You have nothing to lose but about 18 minutes!
By Buzzle Staff and Agencies

It's OK: the fat lady can't sing

Hilary Rosen runs the Recording Industry Association of America - the American music industry's trade body. She has become a media celebrity because of the RIAA's practically medieval suppression of file sharers, downloaders and other copyright miscreants. This is not an obscure tussle between corporate lawyers but a very public war between the net and the music biz - involving one of the most powerful corporate lobbies in history, the brightest geeks of their generation and up to 100 million people - the file sharers themselves. Both sides see this as a battle for survival.

Rosen has upset so many people and created such a poisonous atmosphere between those nearly-friends - the net and the music biz - that it is easy to read the episode as a disaster for all involved. Walls have been erected, businesses shut down, millions alienated. Right-thinking people everywhere shake their heads. But why is all this happening? Is there reason in this apparently senseless conflict and could some good come from it? Yes, and yes.

The origin of the conflict lies in fundamental differences between the two warring industries: music and the net. The net is a new industry. In new industries, almost all value is created by new ventures raising new capital for new projects (let's ignore the crash for a minute, shall we?). Everything about a new industry is expansive, creative, positive. It attracts innovators and entrepreneurs, creators, people who like new stuff. The psychological profile of the entire industry is up, optimistic, open. Net people don't understand defensive, negative behaviour. It makes them anxious. But new industries are not a good proxy for the wider economy. Out there, in the older sectors and businesses - where growth is slower, change more measured - value is created in a pretty even mixture of creation and protection.

Music businesses produce value in two ways. First, they invest money in new assets. This is the risky part - most new acts fail, most releases don't cover their costs. Second, they operate back catalogues from which they hope to wring steadier, longer-term returns to balance the high risk stuff. Music businesses have to balance both within one organisation. The hothouse produces value in the creation phase, regularly betting the farm on a faint promise. And the more conservative rights management function defends the tail-end of an asset's productive life. Rosen has well-developed defensive instincts: this is an industry where firms employ hundreds of staff solely to defend rights. So, given the instincts of the rights owners, the battle was always going to get nasty.

But can any good come from it? When the dust settles will we be left with the status quo or, worse - as the net-heads fear - a compromised net industry and a pumped up music industry, newly empowered by silly new laws everywhere? Probably not.

If music lovers had shunned file sharing when Rosen told them to, it might never have come to this. Unfortunately, for Rosen, the consumers aren't returning her calls. File sharing is now a mainstream habit and new evidence suggests that it's started to dent record sales. It's only once sales really start to suffer that the music industry's attitude will change. This is as it should be. In established businesses, almost all change is resisted at first, often by brutal means. It's a simple calculation: even an expensive and drawn-out legal battle with a new entrant can prolong the exploitation of an established line of business profitably. It's almost always a good use of an established industry's cash pile to mash up the new guys. Only when change is inevitable do the big guys cave in and adapt - often with surprising enthusiasm - sometimes turning a new technology from an existential threat to a profitable new line of business over night.

So the bloody battle of the file sharing minnows and the music industry dinosaurs is programmed behaviour. Do not panic. Do not leave your seats. It will soon be over. This also explains why the experienced business people now running the surviving file sharing firms haven't given up in the face of Rosen's withering siege. They know that the accommodation is coming. Their bet is that they can stretch their resources and their patience until it does.
© Guardian News & Media 2008
Published: 9/11/2002

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Male Belly Dancing

When we hear or read the word ''belly dancing'', the immediate image that jumps in our mind is that beautiful plump female dancer in her ornamented and sexy outfit dancing and wowing the male audience. It never occurs to our minds that a ''belly dancer'' could be a man. Some people receive the idea with resentment, shock or lamenting the lost masculinity. Some other broad minded people like and encourage the idea.

Actually, male belly dancing is becoming more famous as a unique form of art. It is the opposite of what most people think. It is not new, in fact male belly dancing is very old.

The Ottoman Empire was an era that was named for a Muslim prince called Osman I. The golden age of the Empire was during the reign of Suleyman the Magnificent (1520-66). Throughout the reigns of several sultans, the Ottoman Empire lasted from 1345 until 1922, when the sultanate was abolished and Turkey became a republic.

The center of the Empire was always the royal palace of the Sultan, the Topkapi Palace in Istanbul. Should you visit Istanbul today, you can still visit the buildings of the Palace, now presented as a tourist attraction and a museum of great historical value. The Palace was at its greatness a collection of buildings around a series of courtyards and included beautiful gardens and the Sultan's harem.

In Muslim countries, the harem was that part of a house set apart for the women of the family. It was a place in which non-family males were not allowed. Eunuchs guarded the Sultans' harems, which were quite large, including several hundred women who were wives and concubines. There, female dancers and musicians entertained the women living in the harem. Belly dance was performed by women for women. The rakkase is the female dancer of the Ottoman era. Becoming a rakkase or a singer was strictly forbidden for Muslim women. Even non-Muslim rakkase had to wear headscarves and very conservative dresses. Although forbidden by religion, the government tolerated music and dancing. Yet, female dancers hardly ever appeared in public.

With the absence of females in social and entertainment life, Ottoman men would watch male belly dancers, generally known as rakkas, to satisfy their need to see something aesthetic. The male dancers had more freedom when compared with rakkase. They could be either Muslim or non-Muslim. Historians say that there were two different kinds of rakkas: kocek and tavsan oglan.

The tavsan oglan (which means "rabbit boy") wore a charming hat and tight pants. The koceks often wore women's clothes and allowed their long, curly hair to flow freely. Koceks and tavsan oglans performed for wedding celebrations (the custom included men and women to celebrate separately), feasts, festivals, and also in the presence of the sultans.

The tradition of rakkas is a reflection of the solitary existence of the Ottoman male. The dancing boys were organized into different companies of entertainers called kol. By the mid 1600's, they were said to be about 3000 of these dancers in twelve companies. They were young boys who were sensuous, attractive, effeminate, and carefully trained in music and dance. Their dancing was sexually provocative and impersonated female dancers. It incorporated ladylike walking, finger snapping (a special two-handed finger snap), slow belly movements, suggestive gestures, acrobatics, and playing wooden clappers called calpara or, in later times, metal cymbals called zils. The boys danced as long as they stayed good looking and could hide their beards. The dancing boys were an acceptable substitute for the prohibited women dancers. Some audience members were so enamored with the koceks that they would write poetry about the male dancers. Many times audiences lost control, shattering glasses, and even shouting and attacking the dancers.

The koceks profession went out of style in the 1800's during the era of Mahmut II. It was officially banned in 1856, forcing many of the koceks to emigrate to other countries such as Egypt.

Nowadays, male belly dancers perform in many places of the world. One young and talented male belly dancer Jamil says ''I want people to know that male bellydancing is something that many males grow up with a passion for, it is not purely for commercial purposes. Male Bellydancers have to deal with a lot of crap inorder for them to express their passion to others. it is not easy. Also various movements and the biological differences between males and females shows that men although dance in a 'bellydance' style have different ways of interpreting music with their body. it is not meant to be graceful and tender like female dancing. It iS more a blend between Raqs el Sharqi and Saaidi, with a mixture of Lebanese Dubki thrown in.''

When asked about if he thought that belly dancing is female art he said ''I think bellydance has beecome a female art, because socially and commerically it has been pitched in such a manner for many many years! I dont think any form of dance should be 'specific' to any gender. dance is an expression of passion and emotion... to say that men shouldnt dance, would mean that men should not have the right to express either of these two qualities which in essence is absurd! the entanglement of bellydance and sexually has further increased the notion that belly dance is a female art as many people have preconcieved notions that Bellydance is actually a eroticly exotic dance performed by females, not a classy performance of emotion.''

In the future, Jamil would like to have his own studio where he can ''teach dance to both men and women and break down social conceptions of what the dance is and 'should' be... to an expression of spirit.''

Maybe you'd like to change your conceptions too. Tens of male belly dancing videos are available on the internet.

Jamil is a professional dancer in Sydney Australia and has been learning the art for over 9 years. a clip of Jamil can be seen at

Jasminjahal, February, 2002
By Heba Hosni

Dance, the eternal stress reliever

Ever wondered how dancers across the world glow so daringly at any given time in their lives? I’ll tell you why!Amidst the mundane chores that women have to accomplish, it’s easier to get bogged down by stress related diseases, which may be as simple as a common cold and yet be as dangerous as a Heart attack! This is perhaps one reason why most women live long! I don’t make sense do I? I’ll explain. It has been observed that women cling on to their duties and responsibilities in life. Of course many of us who don’t accept them initially, may actually be driven to accept them, thanks to the various truckloads of obligations that we have to take care of, in this life of ours. The resultant is stress, and lots of it!

There are many who succumb to eating disorders, some hit the bottle and still others rely on drugs. It’s unfortunate to see this happening to women, as they are the sole flag holders of the beginning of life so to speak. Another optimistic lot of them; succumb to exercise. Although there are many healthy forms of getting rid of stress if you really want to, my best bet on absolute redemption is ‘Dance!’

Advantages of Dancing

There are many who believe that marriage is a means to an end. In fact if you live by the way I would look at it, I should think that marriage or no marriage, a woman’s life is never free of turmoil, so why should she take things so seriously… There is no beginning, so there certainly has to be no end either. Dance is known to be one of the best forms of exercise. There are many cultures that promote dance as an anti-stressful form of keeping fit. There are others who agree that being an exercise that includes, both stretching and cardio, dance is perhaps the only exercise that is acceptable to all age groups; young and old alike.

‘There is a dancing bone in every body’, so said a prolific philosopher, and moreover, dancing is known to be the reason for a number of beneficial effects. After a good bout of dance, the release of endorphins is immense. It gives you a certain ‘high’, almost 56 per cent higher than marijuana, with anti-ageing factors, which reduce the occurrence of wrinkles to almost 63 per cent. This is so, as more often than not, if you are dancing to your favourite tune, which happens most of the time, you tend to grin and smile a lot more than you ordinarily would. According to research, babies smile more than a hundred and forty six times in a day as compared to adults who barely smile not more than four times in a day.

Because of the feeling of well being, dance also brings an excellent glow to the skin, no other tonic, moisturizer could ever be replaced with. It makes women physically occupied, as they are known to be the emotional type. Why do I say that? Well, for starters, women are more emotionally bound than men are to their respective spouses. More often than not, men tend to take things in a lighter spirit faster than women. So the more physically occupied they are without their sub conscience mind knowing it, the better it is for them and the better they think. I am not justifying anything but this is generally the case with most women. Of course we have exceptions in this world and it is also true that dancing makes anyone feel on top of the world.

An excellent cardio, dancing also finds its way in many of its forms, aerobics, calisthenics, in fact, fusion dances are all forms of the same dance that is meshed with a high dosage of exercise thrown in. For a long time, women, read as obese women did not feel the need to get to the gym, fetch themselves a trainer or even the exercise gear that they would ultimately wear as it was quite an ordeal hunting for one. Wit Dance, you could dance in the privacy of your own home, to your kind of music, and feel the exhilarating feeling that is associated with it. Worth trying, I’ll say!
By Prerna Salla

Uncanny But True Facts of a Modern World

A list of funny yet original anecdotes on life will be available to all who read the following article. Enter and get amused.How many times during an ordinary day, do so many of us repeat actions even though they are illogical and irrational? Sometimes we might laugh when a friend commits such an error of judgment or just an action that cannot be explained. This article will focus on a combination of some of these actions. I have compiled a list of such actions that are so common that I would be surprised if every man or woman does not do at least ten of the following twenty. Don't believe me? Read and check for yourself.

1) How come when you close a glue cap the glue sticks but this same paste does not stick to the sides of the glue tube?

2) Sanity statistics has proven that one out of four people are insane or suffer from some form of mental disease. Think of three of your best friends. If they are fine, then you must be the fourth one.

3) If you have either a television or a Video Receiver or a DVD or anything that needs a remote controller, this odd behavior is familiar. Have you noticed that whenever the batteries begin to get dull, we press down harder? Are we expecting to squeeze more out of them?

4) Supposedly the man from the jungle lives in the jungle, yes? Then, how and where did his beard disappear to?

5) How do bugs get into the enclosed and sometimes shut-tight light bulbs?

6) Why can't we ever manage to open a plastic bag on the first attempt?

7) Why do they use sterilized needles when injecting a convict on death role?

8) Why does a bank take interest on money when your account is overdrawn. From where do they think you are going to pay them? If you had the cash you would have used it, wouldn't you?

9) Why doesn't anyone ever make fun of their father-in-law?

10) If people run into a sign near a park bench saying that the paint is wet, every one will touch it to check. If this is so, why don't these same folk verify the star count of around four billion stars so stated according to various scientists?

11) How many times will we return to the fridge even though there is no food in it and we know that from the previous time we paid a visit just minutes ago?

12) Even though superman is supposed to be invincible and bullets ricochet off his chest, why does he duck if the villain lobs the pistol at him when the bullets are over?

13) If the human race evolved from monkeys, why are there still monkeys?

14) If you are sitting by a table and something is accidentally falling off, don't try and prevent its fall. Why? Every time you try, you will accidentally hit and break something else.

15) Why did the Japanese pilots who were planning to crash into American ships wear helmets?

16) Why do people move a vacuum cleaner over a small piece of thread again and again. Why do we pick it up, examine it and then place it back down and move the vacuum cleaner over it to give it a second chance?

17) A visit to one of the many soap shops that have sprung up all over and you'll find that soaps come in all kinds of colors. But then, why does the bubbles always turn out white?

18) Is it winter or summer wherever you are right now? Have you noticed that if it is summer we try and make the house as cold as it would be during winter, and if it is winter, we try and make the house as hot as it would during summer?

19) Is there any day when mattresses are not on sale?

20) When we go to the supermarket and someone hits our ankles with their cart and then apologize, why do we reply that everything is fine? Why don't we just reply, "that hurts, asshole"?

Uncanny facts and features are not novel. The fact that we humans have strange habits is not new too. But, I have pointed out some of the few irregularities that we live with. This article is for entertainment purposes alone and doesn't try and offend or create new realities. So, take it in the appropriate manner too.

A famous backgammon player came up to Rammy Johnson a few weeks ago asking him what he thought of all the various online casinos that advertise jackpots. Ray Johnson answered that as long as there are people there will be fools.
By Jack Reider