You can, however, read John Brodeur's round-up of recent albums here.
We reactivated the Video section of the paper this week. I reviewed a number of recent DVDs. Maybe this will become a regular feature. Maybe not. We'll see.
Alas, it's not online because there's no place to put it on our Web site. I direct you to the dead-tree edition of Metroland for comments on Pierrot le Fou, Lubitsch Musicals, Forbidden Hollywood Vol. 2, Michael Clayton and Zodiac on DVD.
It opened a month ago for "one week only," and I finally got around to seeing and reviewing The Orphanage this week.
Please excuse my tardiness. It's a superb film. At left, the gloomy mansion and haunted lead (Belén Rueda).
It's still playing, twice a day, at the Spectrum 8 Theatres in Albany.
Richard Widmark died this week, at age 93, in Connecticut.
He'd been retired for a decade and a half. Having started his career playing a vicious gangster in the original Kiss of Death, Widmark eventually transitioned to playing more complex parts--like the used-up police detective in Don Siegel's Madigan. (He's the only reason to sit through John Wayne's version of The Alamo.)
On the Guardian film blog, David Bennun writes:
There aren't many actors you can say this about, unless you're looking to start an argument, and I'm not: anyone who doesn't like Richard Widmark hasn't watched Richard Widmark.
Last month I finally got around to picking up Criterion's DVD of Samuel Fuller's 1953 drama Pickup on South Street. Widmark is Skip McCoy, a master pickpocket and thug. It's a wonder of a performance, because Widmark pushes the character to the limits of likability, and yet, you can't help root for him--even if he is violent and devoted only to himself. (Put it on your Netflix list.)
Dave Kehr has a good appreciation here, and a DVD list here. (From the latter I realized that Warner Home Video, which has issued crappy John Ford films like Mary of Scotland and the bloated Cheyenne Autumn, hasn't got around to issuing one of the best late Fords, 1960's Two Rode Together, which paired Widmark with James Stewart.) And that complete essay from the Guadian online is here.
State leadership, including Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno and Gov. David Paterson, has signaled that it will not support a 1 percent tax increase on incomes of $20,000 a week or more, although the vast majority of voters support such a tax increase (probably cause the vast majority of voters don't make even $2,000 a week).
Tot Rep Dem Ind Men Wom Wht Blk
Support 77% 65% 83% 81% 75% 79% 78% 77%
Oppose 19 31 13 16 23 16 18 20
DK/NA 4 5 4 3 2 5 4 3
Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver said that he would shelve the tax, for now, telling the Times Union:
"I believe the fairest way to do this budget is to ask the wealthiest New Yorkers to pay a little more," he said, acknowledging, "I'm alone right now."
Some people think New York City billionaire Mayor Mike Bloomberg is behind killing the tax. It is no secret that he opposes it . . .
Even Republicans back the so-called "millionaires tax" 65-31, even though it has been panned by billionaire Mayor Bloomberg, Gov. David Paterson and Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno. Democrats support it 83-13, and independents 81-16.
. . . and that he is the largest individual donor to the Republicans in the Capitol.
Facing a "$4.6 billion budget gap," the TU reported. "The parties have argued over increasing fees on HMOs and health insurance policies, according to some sources."
At least, there are always social-advocacy programs--such as providing job training for indigent AIDS patients--from which to cut funding.
"Just wait until November! People with AIDS will remember!" screamed more than 60 Housing Works clients and staff outside New York State Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno's office on Thursday afternoon . . . [due to] the Senate's proposed elimination of $1.4 million in job training programs for poor people with HIV/AIDS and failure to restore benefits to disabled children in homes affected by AIDS. . .
In total, the Senate will save $8.4 million a year, while the "millionaires tax" would have raised $1.5 billion.
So, to sum up: Millionaires needn't worry, cause the Senate leadership will continue to balance the state budget on the backs of the poor and marginalized.
"The council is in violation of the City Charter. They know they are. I can't figure out why that doesn't matter to them," said Jeff Buell, Troy director of Public Information. "The raises we are talking about here were not included in the proposed budget, but they were done prior to the budget being passed. The rhetoric coming from the majority that these were illegal pay raises is baffling."
Buell is referring to comments made by members of the council, including Council President Clem Campana, claiming that those troublesome raises were possibly outside the powers of Mayor Harry Tutunjian's authority.
"I don't know whether they are being lied to by people and are simply regurgitating these lies," Buell said, "or if they are just trying to put this out there and hope that people buy into it. The fact of the matter . . . the only illegal thing done here was done by the council." He pointed to section C21 in the City Charter which reads that any law that "abolishes, transfers, or curtails any power of the Mayor shall be subject to mandatory referendum."
"More importantly, it is not the money we are talking about but how the council is going to work with the mayor for the next two years. There are rules--they need to be followed. This is a strong mayoral form of government, and if the council is unwilling to honestly listen to the mayor, then a court of law is going to have to tell them to," Buell continued. "The City Council just ignores the mayor on so many issues, they ignore the fact that he is the guy elected to run this city. You can have political disagreements, but somebody needs to sit down with somebody and work things out, cause this is getting us nowhere."
Troy City Councilman Bill Dunne (D-District 4) said that the City Council got served today with a lawsuit filed by none other than Troy's mayor, Harry Tutunjian. The suit has been filed in Rensselaer County Supreme Court and named every member of the council, as well as the office of Troy Comptroller.
"We don't believe that there is an office of comptroller; it probably just should have said Debbie Witkowski," Dunne said, as he scanned from the papers served.
The mayor, Dunne said reading from the suit, "will bring an application for temporary restraining order to enjoin the enforcement of ordinance 5 and 6, passed on March 6th, 2008, overriding the mayor's veto of ordinances 4 and 9 passed on Feb. 22, 2008."
The lawsuit revolves around last fall's controversial pay raises for the Republican mayor's political appointees and the Democratic council's efforts--after seizing the majority last November--to rescind eight of those raises, affecting Dept. of Public Works Commissioner Bob Mirch, Corporation Counsel David Mitchell, and others.
"This all goes back to one thing, Harry didn't put the pay raises in the proposed budget. He waited until after the election. Had he put them in and won, what would we have said? Nothing. But he created this situation," Dunne said. "He chose to ignore common sense. And it is them bringing the lawsuit, not us."
Members of the council will be meeting tonight to discuss its course of action, including who it will use as its representation.
The case will be appear Friday in front of Rensselaer Judge Henry Zwack.
For those of you who missed the protest this past Tuesday at Troy City Hall, there is video online.
Chicago-based artist Wafaa Bilal’s exhibit The Night of Bush Capturing: Virtual Jihadi first lost its home on the campus of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute due to an apparently squeamish administration and the outcry of a minority of the college’s students. Then, after finding refuge at the Sanctuary for Independent Media in North Troy, the installation was ousted again, this time under the guise of a 13-month-old code violation. The irony that Bilal’s was the first in the Sanctuary’s series of exhibits celebrating democracy and the freedom of speech was not lost on hundreds of protesters who gathered Tuesday outside Troy City Hall. The demonstrators decried the use of a code violation to shut down events at the Sanctuary as a politically motivated attempt by the city to shut down an art exhibit that key members of the administration found distasteful.