Tag Archives: Harkins Camelview

Film takes flight

Arizona Audubon shares tales of Pale Male at this year's Nature Film Festival in Scottsdale

I’ve got a serious case of bird envy. Turns out there’s a Red-tailed Hawk who thinks he’s got his own Fifth Avenue penthouse in NYC.

I’d be lucky to catch a cab on Fifth Avenue, let alone perch there long enough to ogle the passersby.

The bird, dubbed “Pale Male,” started “raising his young atop a Fifth Avenue high-rise” during the 1990s. Apparently it wasn’t enough for “Pale Male” to garner the attention of urban “birdwatchers, movie stars, poets, children, dogs, reporters and celebrities.”

He’s flying high on the prospect of fame, having already starred in one movie. Naturally it’s called “Pale Male.” But come Wed, June 15, he’ll be spotted near a Scottsdale high-rise as “The Legend of Pale Male” is screened at Harkins Camelview 5 Theatre — where I enjoyed seeing “The Beaver” with my daughter Lizabeth Monday afternoon.

The latest tale of “Pale Male” is one of two films being shown during Audubon Arizona’s “9th Annual Nature Film Festival & Silent Auction.” Don’t expect “Pale Male” to coast in for the event. He doesn’t do personal appearances.

Your family can read about Pale Male before enjoying the Nature Film Festival together

I wonder how he feels about sharing top billing with a bunch of hummingbirds. Their film, titled “Hummingbirds: Magic in the Air,” will also be shown that evening.

Sounds like a fun way to introduce kids to the magic of film festivals — especially if you couple the evening with reading about “Pale Male” or birds of other feathers.

The Audubon Arizona event kicks off at 5:30pm with a “picnic supper” and silent auction. Organizers promise “one-of-a-kind” items including “unique art, jewelry, restaurant certificates, sporting and cultural events.” Also “travel-themed packages, including local resort stay-cations and a thrilling African safari!” Films start at 7pm.

It’ll be quite a step up for me, since most of my animal time involves watching nature shows on PBS. Lately I’ve had great fun getting to know more about birds featured in the BBC “Wild Australasia” and “Wild Caribbean” series. (I remember my mom doing the same thing when she was my age.)

Hummingbirds: Magic in the Air from the PBS Nature series will also be shown

Seating for the film festival is limited, and RSVPs for advance admission are due no later than June 12.

Tickets are just $25 in advance and $30 at the door (if space is still available) — and include the two bird films, a picnic supper, popcorn and soda.

You can pop for a VIP ticket if you’d like to enjoy reserved seating and express auction check-out. VIP tickets are $100, and include a $75 donation to Audubon Arizona.

General admission and VIP tickets can be purchased through Valerie Ramos at 602-468-6470, ext. 103 or vramos@audubon.org. They’ll be held for you at the door. Unless, of course, part of the “Pale Male” entourage sweeps down to snatch them up for nesting material.

— Lynn

Note: Lizabeth and I both enjoyed “The Beaver,” but wouldn’t recommend it for children. It’s solid storytelling with fine acting and direction. Those who find its premise absurd don’t know the power of depression. Watch the credits carefully for a movie-related website with mental health resources.

Coming up: Arizona arts with a Tony Awards® twist?


Democracy day?

My favorite Schoolhouse Rock song features a bill longing to become a law

I often find that a single theme, like democracy (or chocolate), seems to tie together the events of my day…

When I hit the mailbox this afternoon, I found a lovely hand-written note from “Alaska’s fiddling poet,” Ken Waldman.

Waldman graciously thanked me for posting about his recent gigs at the Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix, where he hopes to perform again one day.

He included a small goldenrod-colored card with a work he remembered I’m quite fond of, his “Suffering Democracy” poem that reads like this…

Instead of a gun, or a knife,
or pill, or drink. Or punching
a wall, the dog, screaming
at kids. Or holding
too many pains too deep–
brutal parents, cruel lovers,
bad bosses, debts, illnesses,
dying friends, extinct creatures,
absent God, near-ruined planet.

First. grip a pen, and write.
Then, pick a place, and plant.
Then, be patient, and let it grow.
Then, enter a small booth,
pull around the blue curtain,
kiss that ballot, and vote.

I was on my way out the door to see the movie “The Greatest Movie Ever Sold” — which follows a filmmaker as he captures behind-the-scenes and in-your-face images from the world of product placement.

Early in the filmmaking process, he finds folks eager to analyze his identity — that thing that’s perfectly acceptable until it morphs into a brand. Then, according to moguls from the movie, it becomes “cheesy.”

Turns out filmmaker Morgan Spurlock is a rare mix of “mindful” and “playful.” So I suppose his film is best described as a meditation, and musing, on marketing. If someone sells it, Spurlock tells it.

And while Spurlock’s machinations don’t extend in this film to the overtly political realm, it left me wondering how his discoveries might apply to the branding of candidates making the news, as well as those who “report” it.

The film includes interviews with folks few of us have ever heard of. But also consumer advocate Ralph Nader and real estate/reality television tycoon Donald Trump (whose face has otherwise been blissfully absent from screens I’ve spent time with these past few days).

Some of my favorite scenes include Spurlock spending time with his son. In one they enjoy a bubble bath alongside a pony — both species apparently equally smitten with the product du jour: Main ‘n Tail shampoo (the one product featured in the film without paying for the privilege).

The movie closes with father and son seeking a place that’s free of advertising clutter — opting for a walk along a path that follows the arc of a nearby creek. It’s the great outdoors, he suggests, where marketing leaves its shoes outside the door. But there’s a caveat, which you’ll enjoy when you hit the film for yourself.

This evening I’m heading to Greasepaint Youtheatre in Scottsdale to watch their final rehearsal of “Schoolhouse Rock” — which opens Fri, May 6 and runs through May 15. Friday shows start at 7pm, and weekend shows start at 2pm.

“Schoolhouse Rock” was a popular television series during the 1970s, so many of today’s parents likely recall snappy “Schoolhouse Rock” tunes like “I’m Just a Bill” and “Conjunction Junction” that make subjects like government and grammar fun.

I often thought, during my brief stint as a lobbyist for an Arizona non-profit, that the “Schoolhouse Rock” soundtrack ought to find its way into more Arizona households.

Today, even as citizen activism appears to be on the rise, I’m not convinced that most folks understand or appreciate the complexity of the legislative process.

But we keep plugging away at it — or plugging it, in the case of Spurlock and his sponsors.

— Lynn

Coming up: Summer of dance, Schoolhouse meets stage

Scottsdale Film Festival

"Hidden Diary" (France, 2009, French with subtitles)

I hit Scottsdale Fashion Square with my daughter Lizabeth several days ago in search of dowdy slippers to compliment a lovely landlady costume she’s wearing this weekend during her school musical.

While walking past the Harkins Theatre near the food court, I noticed a stack of yellow flyers and larger booklets detailing offerings at this year’s Scottsdale International Film Festival (some of which are pictured here).

"The Chef of South Polar" (Japan, 2010, Japanese with subtitles)

We grabbed a few copies (I always take extras so I can leave them at favorite coffee houses and such) and enjoyed browsing film selections as we sat atop the red stools along the Johnny Rocket’s counter sharing french fries and ketchup poured to look like a smiley face.

Friday’s film and opening night party take place at Scottsdale Center for the Arts, a beautiful venue (amidst lovely grounds) that’s close to several other Scottsdale attractions. If I didn’t live just minutes from the center, I’d book a few days at a local resort and treat myself to a charming “staycation.”

"Anita" (Argentina, 2006, Spanish with subtitles)

The Scottsdale International Film Festival runs Fri, Oct 1 to Tues, Oct 5 — so it makes for a great weekend (and beyond) getaway. My children, now ages 17 to 21, are all old enough to enjoy the film’s mature fare. But were they younger,  it’d be fun to grab a few other families, get a couple of hotel rooms, and take turns watching children and films.

A few hours at the Harkins Camelview Theatre enjoying films. A few hours poolside with the kids. More film. Bedtime stories. More film. Perhaps a wee bit of shopping. But best of all, the chance to enjoy time with grown-ups who share an interest in reel storytime adventures and the conversations they generate.

"The World is Big" (Bulgaria, 2009, Bulgarian with subtitles)

I mention all this today because it looks like the best pricing awaits those who make their ticket/pass selections before the festival opens Friday evening. So take some time today to get online and review your many options. It’s no fun to show up at the last minute and find that a favorite film offering is already sold out.

A quick review of featured film titles has certainly piqued my interest. Hidden Diary. Come Undone. The World Is Big. Burning in the Sun. There’s also Bride Fight, Fathers & Guns, Time of the Comet, Chef of South Polar and many more.

"The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest" (Sweden/Denmark, 2009, Swedish with subtitles)

The opening film, “The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest,” shows at 7pm, Oct 1, at the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts (home to the “Talk Cinema” series beginning Oct 19).

I’ll be attending if I can convince my hubby to take over my volunteer box office duties at “Lucky Stiff” that night. He’s way-beyond-worthy of being officially promoted to “Stage Dad.”

"Conviction" (USA, 2010, English)

Lizabeth is most intrigued by the closing film, “Conviction,” which shows at 8:25pm on Oct 5 (at Harkins Camelview) — so I hope to enjoy that one as well.

The brevity of blogging prevents me from sharing details about individual films, so I really do hope that you’ll go online to read more about the magnificent depth and breadth of the festival’s offerings.

"Nora's Will" (Mexico, 2008, Spanish with subtitles)

Thank goodness I’ve never run into a dessert menu with this many gourmet options. After learning more about this year’s film offerings, I’m on the verge of saying — without guilt — that I’ll take one of each.


Note: Click here to visit the Scottsdale International Film Festival website

Coming up: Disney meets Diamond Head?, Gleeks: There’s a camp for that?