Wednesday, November 22, 2006

The Return to Vegas - Part 2

I arrived around 11pm (Vegas time) the night before the final table of the main event. Paul was getting pep talks from all sides. I managed to get some shots of the discussions - inside the Rio double that had become the pre-game war room. Paul's father was proud, you could see it in his soft eyes. Mike Odeh spoke exclusively in hyperbole and waved his arms around like Mussolini. Tom sat quietly off to the side, seemingly unshaken by all of the surrounding hoopla. Paul, in bed, at the center of all of this. His look of focus would occasionally lift into a smile as newly arrived friends and family dropped by.
The next morning I did an interview with Paul. He was relaxed, smiling. If he was nervous, I couldn't see it. He talked a bit about strategy - how he would play extremely tight until it got down to a few players, then pull a 180 and start bludgeoning.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

A few people have asked me what I was for Halloween. Here it is, in all of its it-took-me-5-minutes-to-put-this-costume-together glory.

Click here to see the original movie poster.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

This story ran in the Pioneer Press this past week. Thanks to everyone who attended the screening on Saturday!

Teens tell their own 'West Side Story'
Neighborhood film will show at Walker
Pioneer Press

At a film camp last summer, five young St. Paul residents pondered one question: What makes the West Side neighborhood special?

The answers they found are presented in the short documentary "My West Side Story," which will be shown Saturday at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis. The film is one of 17 included in a Twin Cities Youth Media Network screening.

The five teens — Camila Davila Alvarez, Natalya Fromm, Julian Garcia-Delaney, Shampayne McKee and Bryant Slack — produced the five-minute film in less than a week.

"They came up with the idea, shot and edited it in five days," said Kevin Kalla, who worked with these students during the St. Paul Neighborhood Network's camp.

The boys and girls spliced images of the area's colorful murals and other community art together with video clips of adults and young people discussing what they think makes the West Side unique.

Film locations included neighborhood playgrounds and the new Wellstone Center for Community Building, which houses the community institution Neighborhood House. To reflect the area's strong Hispanic culture, the group visited a Mexican restaurant and included an interview conducted in Spanish in the film's final cut.

St. Paul Neighborhood Network, a nonprofit that produces programming for five St. Paul television channels, offered young people in four areas of the city — Dayton's Bluff, Frogtown, the North End and the West Side — the chance to produce films during weeklong day camps last summer.

Kalla said the West Side group's work was submitted for screening because it stood out with its positive message of diversity.

Julian Garcia-Delaney, who did most of the filming, said he is looking forward to seeing the movie on the big screen.

"I didn't think much of it" at the time, he said. "But now I'm excited."

Saturday's event will be the second time this year that Walker Art Center has collaborated with area organizations to encourage teen filmmakers to share their work with an audience.

"We want to make it apparent to youth filmmakers that you shouldn't keep films in the closet," said Witt Siasoco, teen programs manager at the center.

Siasoco said many of the youths have shown their films only to friends.

"A lot of the filmmakers are really surprised that there is an audience," he said. "It's encouraging for them."

A core of eight local youth and film organizations, including the St. Paul Neighborhood Network, make up the Twin Cities Youth Media Network.

Siasoco said the network is not formally organized but is working to add some structure. He said he hopes to make the film screenings regular events.