Prop 8 still a hot issue

Prop 8 banned same sex marriage in California, but the battle to have the decision overturned wages on.

A short film that reverses role of discrimination has become the latest campaigning tool.

Originally released in 2007 ‘Love is Love’ is a short film that chronicles the life of straights men and women in a gay world.

“Imagine how it would feel if you were the minority and other people voted on your rights” the film asks viewers to consider.

It also dedicated to those who voted ‘Yes’ on Prop 8.

Months have gone by and the issues still remains in the spotlight in California.

The California State Supreme court has finally decided to hear the case, which has revived the passionate arguments about the topic.

Protests go on

The state had legalized same-sex marriage this summer. According to reports polls first suggested that a ban would not go through.

On Election Day however Proposition 8 passed with just over half of the votes. Gay rights groups call this change discriminatory.

Protesters have targeted the Mormon Church which is said to have donated over 20 million dollars to the cause.

Los Angeles has witnessed continued protests.

Conservative religious organizations, like the Campaign for California Families say that it would be unfair to overturn the law.

They believe it will go against the wishes of the majority who passed it.

As of this time all of estimated 18,000 marriages that took place this summer are still recognized.

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Green holidays at the Christmas Eco Design Fair

Reindeer sweaters and fruit cake are the don’ts of gift giving.

Christmas is right around the corner and many are still stuck on gift ideas.

The Christmas Eco Design Fair tries to ease shopper fears.

For one weekend local environmentally friendly designs at Brick Lane in London.

It features recycled goods, organic material and fair trade items.

“The idea is that anyone walking in here know it is ethically sourced.” says organizer Louise Kamara.

The fair has been going on for 5 years now and has attracted a crowd each year.

Even during the recession shoppers have not forgotten about the issues plaguing the environment.

Green holidays

Highlights of the fair included the clothes and recycled creations.

Ties turned into belts, leather into jewel and parachutes into bags.

Even if you walked away empty handed it still worth a look.

See something you like in the picture blog? It’s not too late.

For a complete list of designers click here.

 Shopping bags made from old parachutes. Photo by Raquel Villanueva

Shopping bags made from old parachutes. Photo by Raquel Villanueva

Earrings made from bottle caps. Photo by Raquel Villanueva

Earrings made from bottle caps. Photo by Raquel Villanueva

Ties made into belts. Photo by Raquel Villanueva

Ties made into belts. Photo by Raquel Villanueva

Bottle made into drinking glasses. Photo by Raquel Villanueva

Bottle made into drinking glasses. Photo by Raquel Villanueva

Fair trade handbag

Fair trade handbag. Photo by Raquel Villanueva

The fate of live music during the recession

Band To the Pub is hopeful

Band To the Pub is hopeful to play gigs. Photo Raquel Villanueva

Things are not always what they seem.

At first glace it looks as though live music is thriving.

Kings of Leon sold out there entire tour in a matter of minutes online. Other bands also have this good luck.

The Killers, Oasis, Take That have no problem selling tickets, but if you look deeper there is a problem.

Mid level acts are beginning to suffer. This was the case for Coheed and Cambria who could not fill the Astoria to full capacity.

A band with their reputation would have easily sold out and old tour.

Music or money

No one is safe during the recession.

This is troubling news for musicians, who are facing the consequences of the economy.

“Live music is where it’s at and this really puts a damper on my dream.”  says aspiring singer Amy Amiz.

Now in her final year of studying commercial music at the University of Westminster she faces an uncertain future.

Gig sales have declined along with the market. People are no longer as enthusiastic about spending money at a show.

“Bands are going to have to look quite hard at themselves and how they are going to
make money in the next few years” say Paul Stokes, the news editor of music magazine NME.

This includes new creative ways to attract fans.

The next step

The Arctic Monkeys are luring in listeners by offering them free goodies. Fans who buy a copy of their DVD online will also get a free ‘Live CD.’

The idea keeps people wanting more. After hearing the live CD may bring in more people to their gigs.

The recession not only sparks creativity in the marketing sector, but artistically as well. During tough economic times new music genres tend to arise.

In the 70’s punk was born and the slow in the 80’s brought the wourld Brit Pop according to Stokes.

In a few years we may hear a whole new sound. Music is one area that the recession may dent, but not stop.

It’s up to fans to save the music. Care to see a gig?

Beyond book burning: The works of Ray Bradbury

The carnival had come to Waukegan, Illinois. Mr. Electrical was up to his usual antics when he noticed a small boy standing by edge of the stage. Without warning he swung his electric sword towards the child’s hand.

“Live Forever!” Mr. Electrical commanded. The shock and words not only made the boys hair stand on edge, but inspired the next 75 years of his life.

Shortly after Ray Bradbury’s father bought him a toy typewriter where he was able to write about his carnival encounter.

From that moment on, he never stopped writing.

Now in his late eighties Ray Bradbury is best known for his science fiction novels.

Works like Fahrenheit 451 and The Martian Chronicles have been made it countless adaptations.

Bradbury thoughts

What he may best be known for is his dislike of the mass media and particularly television. After penning the Fahrenheit 451 in 1953 at the early stages of tv, does he believe his vision of self-centered apathy is a reality?

Barely a year after the book’s publication art imitated life sooner than he thought.

“One night, a husband and wife passed me, walking their dog. I stood staring after them, absolutely stunned. The woman held in one hand a small cigarette-package-sized radio”………”she was, oblivious to man and dog, listening to far winds and whispers and soap-opera cries, sleep-walking, helped up and down curbs by a husband who might just as well not have been there. This was not fiction.”  according to his biography.

The novel has become a staple in schools across America and banned in others for implying the dangers of government censorship. Interestingly enough another never sought a higher education.

“I wrote about it because since I never went to college I went to the library all the time and I educated myself at the library so my love of libraries was hurt when I heard about the libraries in Alexandria in Egypt 5000 years ago burning. They were burning people – they were burning ideas they were burning philosophies – so Fahrenheit is the result of my love of the books that go back 5000 years.” he told Reviewplays.

More than five decades later the themes of censorship and the effects of the mass media still resonate. As of late 2008 a new screen adaption to the novel is in the works.

Too Young For Facebook

A ‘Facebook’ site for children as young as five has sparked fears about safety and rung alarm bells among parents.

“I don’t want people to see my daughter,” says mother Bo Kyung Park.

The idea of strangers accessing her young child’s information is worrying.

“Personally, I am afraid of releasing her pictures and how other people could use them.”

The new site in question was created by a mother of three in order to keep in touch with other parents. It also encourages children to “friend” each other so that they can play games and email.

Pupils are allowed to register without having a way to verify their identities, which leaves the site open to predators.

Ms. Park hopes her daughter will join a social networking site much later in life, but would be more open to this site if it were completely secure.

Esther Guy, who set up the site, has told reporters that the social network would be “self-policing”, with the parents who join supervising the entries.

The creator claims that security measures make it difficult for strangers to enter, but it may still be possible to access the site according to reports.

TOO YOUNG?

The first mass waves of users to join social networking sites were college-aged. Older and more aware of the dangers, some people feel that joining at five is too young.

“They don’t know what can go wrong and they are just too innocent to everything.” says Facebook user Kriti Nandwani.

She opened her account when she was 18 even though she had known about the site a year before.

“I just didn’t really see the need for it till I was older.”

Doug Fodeman, co-founder of ChildrenOnline, an organisation that researches the behaviour of children on the web, recently told The Times that it is the worst way for children to socialise.

“Behind the anonymity of the screen, people say things they’d never say and do things they’d never do,” he says. “One look at some of the humiliating, brutal posts on YouTube will confirm that. Children are even more susceptible.”


NO MORE PLAYTIME

University of Westminster student Sacha Fortune also has a similar view. Her niece has recently joined Facebook when she was six.

“I can’t imagine using Facebook that young. You’re going to be stuck inside even more.”

She thinks that going outside and playing with friends and toys will become history if the trend continues.

“It’s more important for college people but not for a little kid. You can see your friends at school when you are young.”

London musicans want to stop form 696

Screenshot of form

Musicians in London have lashed out against a police measure that they believe stereotypes fans.

Form 696 was implemented after there was a rise of crime at clubs. Although it is voluntary to fill out it may soon become a requirement.

“It’s a bit of a racist tool used by the London Met and other boroughs to basically stop black kids having gigs” Reverend And The Makers‘ frontman, Jon McClure told the BBC.

McClure is not the only musician who feels this way. Many artists are concerned that the questions asked unfairly profile their music and fan base.

Those questions include ‘Music style to be performed?’ with the only options listed as R’n’ B, Garage and Bashment. All music genres that are popular in the black community.

Other questions ask for more specific details about those attending. For expample “Who is the target audience?” is also found on the form.

Action taken

Thousands of people have already signed a petition and the prime minsters website to scrap the form, according to Stage news.

Feargal Sharkey, the head of UK Music has also taken action by reporting the use of the form to the Equality and Human Rights Commission.

“UK Music is currently looking at the process of judicial review and that would involve all 21 local boroughs that we believe are involved in this,” he said to the BBC.

Detective Superintendent David Eyles of the Metropolitan Police defended the form to NME.

“It’s a matter of common knowledge that serious violence at music venues tends to be by black gangs,” he told the online magazine. “That’s relevant for risk assessment.

“Gangs associate themselves with particular music events. It’s not about the music, it’s about the fact that those people [gang members] have a propensity to shoot each other and attach themselves to that music.”

Meanwhile London hip-hop artists have counter this argument by say that violence in not caused by just one ethnicity

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‘W’ as sucessful as Bush’s career

The attempt to make an empathic political satire failed.

Directed by Oliver Stone “W” tries to answer the all important question. Why did Bush go to war?

To answer this question Stone takes us back to Bush’s early days as a drinker, a juxtaposition to the sober man he is today.

Actor Josh Brolin plays a convincing ‘dubya’,but the rest of the cast falls short.

Given such a rich amount of mock material by the lame duck president, it seemed like fool-proof way to bring on the laughs.

No one was laughing. The theater was dead silent throughout the film and the punch lines become painfully obvious, yet no laughter ensued.

Lack of conncection

So where did the movie go wrong?

This question may have an ironic parallel to actual administrations problem. Bush’s cabinet.

The characters are too deeply involved with their own dialogue that they fail to connect with one another.

The film is a sequence of event where Codeleeza Rice and Karl Rove talk at, not to, the president.

Jokes only really take jabs at Bush’s intelligence and drinking. Subjects that have been made fun of at nausea by countless comedy shows.

“W” did have potential during the flash back sequences, however instead of trying to capture the essence of the future president, Stone decided to slip in a cheap, shot.

The film delivers nothing new and fresh about Bush. The audience is instead left with tired jokes that have them looking at their watch, more than the screen.


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