Thursday, April 17, 2008

Eric Bogosian is one of America’s great multi-dimensional talents. “There’s sort of three different careers, and any one of them could exist by itself, on its own two feet. There was that solo stuff, and then I started writing plays in the late seventies.” Although his work has spanned genres, most readers will recognize Bogosian for his acting, which has included a memorable performance in Woody Allen‘s Deconstructing Harry to co-writing and starring in the Oliver Stone movie Talk Radio (based upon his Pulitzer Prize-nominated play) to playing the bad guy in Under Siege 2 to his current role in Law & Order: Criminal Intent as Captain Danny Ross. They may not know, however, that he had collaborated with Frank Zappa on a album, worked with Sonic Youth, and was a voice on Mike Judge‘s Beavis & Butthead Do America. He started one of New York City’s largest dance companies, The Kitchen, which is still in existence. He starred alongside Val Kilmer in Wonderland and his play Talk Radio was recently revived on Broadway with Liev Schreiber in the role Bogosian wrote and made famous.

Currently at work on his third novel, tentatively titled The Artist, Bogosian spoke with David Shankbone about the craft of writing and his life as a creative.

Contents

  • 1 Bogosian’s view of his work
  • 2 How Bogosian approaches his writing
  • 3 How Bogosian works himself into his writing
  • 4 The future of the narrative
  • 5 Collaborations with Steven Spielberg and Frank Zappa
  • 6 Source

News briefs:April 23, 2010

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 Correction — August 24, 2015 These briefs incorrectly describe BP as ‘British Petroleum’. In fact, such a company has not existed for many years as BP dropped this name when becoming a multinational company. The initials no longer stand for anything. 
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 Correction — February 6, 2013 This article does not conform to our neutrality policy, due to its manner of presentation of an out-of-context selection of facts. The lapse appears to have been unintentional by all parties involved. We apologize for the error. 

Sunday, February 3, 2013

A number of suicides as a result of self-inflicted gunshot wounds took place around the United States this week with reports of deaths in Arizona, California, Indiana, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Nevada, Ohio, South Carolina and Washington.

Last Saturday in Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina, Assistant U.S. Attorney Alston Badger died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. He was 51 years old.

On Monday in Clark County, Nevada, Jody Sherman, the Ecomom founder and CEO, died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Another suicide occurred Monday in New Jersey. Chester and Rosaria Andraka died after Chester allegedly shot Rosaria before killing himself. Chester was a former police officer and there were few signs of trouble in the relationship prior to their deaths.

Another murder-suicide shooting took place on Monday. This one occurred in Elmont, New York, where 58-year-old Audley Dennis is believed to have shot his 46-year-old wife, Karen Rodgers-Dennis, before he shot himself. The couple allegedly had a history of fighting, with a family friend telling the New York Post, “They had their altercations. They would argue and yell, have outbursts.”

In Greensburg, Indiana on Tuesday, local police Lieutenant Larry G. Dance committed suicide, dying from a self-inflicted gunshot. He had joined the police force on January 1, 1995. He left behind by a wife and two daughters.

On Tuesday in Waldorf, Maryland, local police reported an attempted murder-suicide with sixty-four year old Linda Lindsey believed to have shot her husband before fatally shooting herself. Her husband was reported to have survived and be in critical condition.

Devin Peterson, a twenty-two year old, allegedly committed suicide with a state trooper’s shotgun following his alleged theft of a police cruiser, another car and a police chase on Interstate 80 in Nevada on Wednesday.

A seventy-year-old man from Renton, Washington died from a self-inflicted gun shot wound on Wednesday shortly after he called 911 to tell the dispatcher he was planning to take his own life.

On Wednesday, three people died in a murder-suicide in Oxnard, California that involved at least one gun. The deceased included two women and the suspected male shooter.

On Thursday, Lee Vining Fire Chief Tom Strazdims reported an Oregon man likely commited suicide by shooting himself in the parking lot of the town’s visitor center.

Also on Thursday, the body of a suspected gunman accused of killing a call center CEO and injuring a lawyer was found dead of a suspected self-inflicted gunshot wound in Mesa, Arizona. Police had been searching for the man since Wednesday following the shooting at a mediation session over a lawsuit.

In another reported suicide on Thursday, this one in the Baltimore area, a man was found dead in the parking lot of the Timonium gun range of a self-inflicted gun shot wound.

In Radcliff, Kentucky on Thursday, alleged burglar Michael Strand exchanged gunfire with police after they attempted to bring him in for questioning. Following a lull of approximately an hour, police entered the apartment and found the man dead from an alleged self-inflicted gunshot wound.

In Medina, Ohio on Thursday, United States Marine Andrew Baumgartner, who served in Afghanistan and had been discharged several months ago, got into an altercation with Sgt. Scott Schmoll after Schmoll felt a gun on Baumgartner’s person. Following this, Baumgartner hid in nearby woodlands, emerged to knock on the door of a local home to tell the resident he had been hit by a car, only to disappear into the woods again. He subsequently died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Police discovered his body alongside items they believed he had stolen.

The problem of suicide by self-inflicted gunshot wound is recognized by some gun groups. The Royal Oak shooting range in Michigan stopped renting guns this week following after twelve people having attempted to kill themselves with guns rented from the range since 2001 (five of them were successful). Three of the incidents occurred in the past four months, with two of them fatal.

These suicides take place against a backdrop of gun control discussion in the United States Congress, where former Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and an NRA spokesperson appeared before the body this week to discuss the possible need for stricter gun control laws.

According to the Maine Center of Disease Control and Prevention, guns are used in 85% of male suicides in the state. Debate has continued this week in the state about gun control as it relates to suicide. Iran’s PressTV published an opinion piece claiming that for every gun owner who uses their weapon in their home for self-defense, there are eleven suicide attempts involving a weapon. In the United States, veterans are more likely to use guns in acts of suicide than acts of homicide. The number of daily suicides by veterans is currently 22.

Guns are often used in suicide attempts, with PolitiFact reporting on Wednesday that there were 4,643 non-fatal gun involved suicide attempts in 2010. This number contradicts testimony by Wayne LaPierre of NRA to the United States Congress regarding unintentional deaths cause by firearms as LaPierre cited 600 deaths. Australia instituted tougher gun control regulations in 1996, including gun buy back programs. According to a study by Andrew Leigh of Australian National University and Christine Neill of Wilfrid Laurier University, these programs correlate to an 80% drop in suicides involving guns at a time when other methods of suicide remained consistent.

Similar research done in the United States has similar results. A 1991 study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found stricter gun control in the District of Columbia was a likely cause of a reduction in the number of suicides by gun shot in D.C. compared to surrounding areas.

Published:Wednesday, September 7, 2005Updated:Saturday, September 10, 2005 (Travolta, Preston, Moore, Stones, Three Doors Down, Johnson, Smith)

After Hurricane Katrina passed across the United States, various artists and media stars have leapt at a call to action.

John Travolta and wife Kelly Preston flew his private plane to deliver a load of supplies and tetanus vaccine to Baton Rouge and New Orleans. Part of a Scientology project which has been using their non-massage “assists”, in an interview Preston mentioned that “auditing” had also been performed on victims.

Kevin Smith is holding an online auction on his Web site.

Sean Penn actually went to Louisiana. After loading down a small boat with his entourage, it was discovered one of them had neglected to seal a hole in the bottom. Penn was wearing a white vest rather than a life vest while bailing. After the motor wouldn’t start, the crew paddled down a flooded New Orleans street. Bystanders jeered at whether any victims could fit aboard the crowded craft. No report on rescue stunts. Local authorities had previously been criticized for not allowing volunteer boaters in to help.

Morgan Freeman, whose home fared well, is organizing an online auction of celebrity items at charityfolks.com, to benefit the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund.

Curt Schilling opened his home to a family of nine driven out of their New Orleans home. The Schilling family will provide housing for the Fields for a year while their home in New Orleans is rebuilt and repaired.

Some celebrities “graced” disaster zones with their presence in the days following Katrina.

Singer Macy Gray and television personality Phil McGraw visited Houston’s Astrodome.

Celebrities visiting New Orleans include Michael Moore (opposite side of lake), singer Harry Connick, Jr., CNN’s Anderson Cooper, actor Jamie Foxx, singer Faith Hill, actor Matthew McConaughey, singer Lisa Marie Presley, comedian Chris Rock, and The Oprah Winfrey Show contributor Lisa Ling and interior decorator Nate Berkus.

Oprah Winfrey visited New Orleans, Houston, and Mississippi.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

In the biggest ever narcotics haul in India’s capital, the New Delhi police have seized over 4,400 kg of Mandrax and Rs. 20 crore from a dealer in the city. The consignment, meant for a customer in the U.S, was seized from a godown in Badarpur, near the Delhi-Haryana border. The alleged trafficker, identified as Vinod Sharma, claimed that the contraband was not his and that he had nothing to do with the matter. Sharma started his career as a scrap-dealer in Delhi, and police suspect that with the help of some contacts he used container depots for drug-trafficking, whilst successfully dodging both the police and the Customs Department.

On Sunday the Delhi Police arrested him at his Kalkaji residence. The Deputy Commissioner of Police for South District, Delhi Police, Anil Shukla said, “Sharma befriended container drivers and once they had driven past customs, he and his men would meet them at a distance and pilfer the containers.”

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Cecile Willert is running for the Green Party of Ontario in the Ontario provincial election, in the Ajax—Pickering riding. Wikinews’ Nick Moreau interviewed her regarding her values, her experience, and her campaign.

Stay tuned for further interviews; every candidate from every party is eligible, and will be contacted. Expect interviews from Liberals, Progressive Conservatives, New Democratic Party members, Ontario Greens, as well as members from the Family Coalition, Freedom, Communist, Libertarian, and Confederation of Regions parties, as well as independents.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Music producer Phil Spector has been sentenced to life imprisonment, of which he will serve a minimum of nineteen years in prison. This for the murder of actress Lana Clarkson who was shot through the mouth in Spector’s Los Angeles home in 2003.

The 69-year-old man had spent two trials and millions of dollars before conviction, with his defense being the claim Clarkson had killed herself due to depression. Spector’s chauffeur testified he heard a gunshot before Spector told him “I think I killed somebody” and five separate woman said Spector had previously threatened them with guns.

Spector had a previous conviction for brandishing a gun in the 1970s, and received probation at the time. In addition to the mandatory 15 years imprisonment for second-degree murder he will spend another four years in jail due to the use of a firearm, making him 88 when he is eligible for parole. He was also ordered to pay over $26,000 restitution costs.

Wife Rachelle Spector maintained her husband’s innocence, saying “This is a sad day for everybody involved. The Clarkson family has lost a daughter and a sister. I’ve lost my husband, my best friend. I feel that a grave injustice has been done and from this day forward I’m going to dedicate myself to proving my husband’s innocence.”

Son Louis Spector, however, felt that his father was guilty. “I’m torn about this. I’m losing my father who is going to spend his life in jail. At the same time, justice is served.”

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Peng Chang-kuei, a Chinese-born chef credited with creating the internationally popular dish General Tso’s chicken, was yesterday announced to have died by his son.

Chuck Peng told The Associated Press his father died of pneumonia in Taipei, Taiwan on Wednesday. The chef fled China to Taiwan in 1949 and invented the dish shortly thereafter. In the 1970s Peng opened a New York restaurant, which he claimed was a regular haunt of Henry Kissinger. Peng credited Kissinger with the dish’s popularity.

Peng conceived the famed dish, which is unknown in China, as unfried. Garlic and soy sauce provided flavour, as did chillies. Today the chicken is served across the US as fried chicken in a sweet, sticky sauce. The chillies remain, with broccoli also appearing. Peng named it after Zuo Zongtang from his native Hunan Province; Zongtang assisted in suppressing the 19th-century Taiping Rebellion.

Peng said the meal was invented for a US admiral visiting Taiwan. Over three days, Peng was contracted to produce several banquets, with not one repeated dish. After exhausting traditional chicken dishes Peng said he created what became General Tso’s chicken as an experiment.

In later years he ran Peng’s, a chain of Taiwanese restaurants. General Tso’s chicken also remained popular across the US. His son claimed he remained working in the kitchen until a few months before his death, at 97. In a documentary two years ago, shown photos of General Tso’s chicken served in the US in modern times, he remarked “This is all crazy nonsense.”

Running away from his farming family in Changsha, Peng trained under Cao Jingchen. He fled communist rule that followed the 1930s Japanese invasion. He fathered seven children, six of whom remain alive, from three marriages. Chuck Peng described his father as “very good to other people, [but] very hard on his family.” Peng Jr. spoke of a “very demanding” man who “thought other people’s cooking was no good.”

Two years ago the Taipei City Government awarded Peng an Outstanding Citizen award. Peng, then 95 and unstable, collected the award in person and delivered a speech in Mandarin Chinese.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The Metropolitan Police — the police force for the Greater London area — has announced they may sell their headquarters, New Scotland Yard, in order to cut costs.

They are trying to reduce their £3.6 billion annual budget by £500 million, following cuts by the coalition government. If the sale of New Scotland Yard goes ahead, the Metropolitan Police would move to a new location on the Embankment in the Curtis Green building, formerly the site of Cannon Row Police Station.

Other proposals have been raised including selling off other property assets and closing police counters during off-peak hours, but officer numbers are to be maintained.

New Scotland Yard famously has a three-sided rotating sign that turns 14,000 times per day. John Tully, chairman of the Metropolitan Police Federation, which represents the interests of police officers, said it is “regrettable” that an “iconic building like New Scotland Yard is going to bite the dust”. Tully also noted there will be relocation costs.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Thailand’s National Film Archive in Salaya, Nakhon Pathom unveiled a new museum and cinema on Thursday night for the 100th anniversary celebration of the birth of Rattana Pestjoni, a filmmaker who is considered the “father of contemporary Thai cinema”.

With Pestonji’s family, movie stars, filmmakers, government officials and fans on hand, the National Film Archive’s museum was opened for tours, and the facility’s 120-seat cinema hosted the screening of a documentary film, Signature: The Life and Work of R.D. Pestonji.

Pestonji was born in Bangkok on May 22, 1908, to a Parsi-Indian (ethnic Persian) family. For his first short film, Tang, in 1937, he received an award from Alfred Hitchcock at a film festival in Scotland. Pestonji directed his first feature film, Dear Dolly, in 1951. He was known for his skills as a cinematographer, and he shot the first Thai feature film to be submitted to an overseas film festival. Pestonji also pushed for innovations in the Thai film industry, such as using 35mm film, and raising the level of cinematography as an artistic element of the films, said film historian Dome Sukwong, director of the National Film Archive.

The now-lost Santi-Weena was submitted to the Asia-Pacific Film Festival in 1954 in Tokyo. Pestonji served as cinematographer on it as well as Forever Yours, in 1955. He then directed four features, Country Hotel in 1957, Dark Heaven in 1958, Black Silk in 1961, and Sugar Is Not Sweet in 1964. His films were never box-office successes, which led to Pestonji retiring from feature-film work to make television commercials, Sukwong said.

Pestonji died of a heart attack on August 17, 1970 at the Montien Hotel Bangkok, while giving a speech to government officials and film industry executives about the prevalence of Hollywood films in Thailand’s cinemas.

Contemporary directors who were influenced by Pestonji include Wisit Sasanatieng and Pen-ek Ratanaruang (Last Life in the Universe). Sasanatieng was among the filmmakers present at Thursday’s event.

Prae Dum [Black Silk] is the film that remains my single major influence,” Sasanatieng was quoted as saying by the Bangkok Post. Sasanatieng’s colorful features, Tears of the Black Tiger and Citizen Dog bear many of the hallmarks of Pestonji’s films. “Khun Ratana was not simply a master storyteller … he knew how to use color, art direction and camera angles to create subtle nuances and charge the movie with strong emotions.”

Pestonji’s sons, Santa and Edel, have continued in the film business. The Bangkok film production house their father started now houses a firm that hires out equipment and film crews to foreign films shooting on location in Thailand. Films that the company has been involved with include Heaven & Earth and The Beach. Pestonji’s daughter, Ratanavadi Ratanabhand, was the lead actress in 1961’s Black Silk.

The Pestonji centennial celebration was the first major event held in the new facilities at the National Film Archive, which moved around 10 years ago to the Fine Arts Department compound in Nakhon Pathom Province, about 50 kilometers from Bangkok, where the archive had been previously located. The museum and cinema complex were built in the last year, and Thursday’s event was the first major function held at the facility, said Chalida Uabumrungjit of the Thai Film Foundation, which has worked closely with the National Film Archive to preserve Pestonji’s legacy. The foundation holds the rights to Pestonji’s films and plans to issue a DVD set of his works later this year.

The centerpiece of the archive’s museum is a wax figure of Pestonji, seated with his prized Mitchell camera in front of a recreation of the set from his 1957 musical comedy Country Hotel.

In a manner similar to Grauman’s Chinese Theatre in Hollywood, handprints, footprints and signatures of celebrities are being collected in the concrete outside the museum’s cinema. That initiative started on Thursday with actor Prompong Nopparit, a spokesman for the Ministry of Culture, being the first to make his marks.

Other stars making impressions included actor Suthep Wongkamheng, who starred in Pestonji’s Dark Heaven. A rain storm dampened the festivities, but didn’t keep 1970s action star Sombat Metanee from making his mark in the slab, albeit under cover of umbrellas. Other figures adding their marks to the wet cement were pioneering animator Payut Ngaokrachang and Santa Pestonji, Ratana’s eldest son.

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