first_imgIn “The Last Known Good State,” engineers mingle with a female robot; they blow up stars; they fall in love.The film, the brainchild of writer and director Alexander Berman ’10, is now in post-production, being edited in Berman’s scattered, near-apocalyptic basement office where working all night seems ordinary, an affect of the setting. Berman prefers it this way. He’ll edit — “binge” — until sunrise, before “purging for days.” Metaphors are, after all, the lifeblood of a filmmaker.The film is Berman’s thesis for the Department of Visual and Environmental Studies (VES). It is not his first film, but is the final one he’ll create at Harvard. And he wants to go out with a bang.“I wanted to do something you’ve never seen before,” he said, “and something that I may never get a chance to do again when I graduate.” In one of the film’s sequences, his star-struck engineer caresses his lovely blonde mate of artificial intelligence. She’s more Brigitte Bardot than R2-D2, and wearing pasties.“It’s sci-fi, so scantily clad is normal,” said Berman.Shooting over 10 days in the Carpenter Center, Berman secured two grants from VES and the Harvard College Research Program that afforded him a budget for an elaborate production. Though only 15-20 minutes long, the film is enriched by a litany of special effects and a set that could modestly be described as mind-blowing.For instance, imagine tents — used as futuristic office cubicles — that are projected with astral visualizations to create a sensory 3D experience.“In a 20-minute film, if you want people to experience something intellectually and emotionally,” he said, “you have to strike them with an image, because otherwise it feels like minimalism.”For Berman’s involved and visually arresting projections, he contacted the Alliances Center for Astrophysical Thermonuclear Flashes at the University of Chicago, which maps 3-D images of supernovae. He solicited the help of production designer Amy Davis, A.L.B. ’10, and Tomasz Mloduchowski, a special effects engineer, from Blattaria Design and Effects Ltd., whom Berman put in charge of special effects. Berman’s brother, Benjamin ’12, an animator also in VES, and director of photography Andrew Wesman ’10 are lending their skills to add more layers of artistry to this uniquely cool senior film.Berman, who has long been interested in technology, said, “The idea for this film went through a lot of iterations.” But he dubbed it, above all else, a love story. “Looking at all these boy-meets-girl, twenty-something films, the farthest thing from those is a sci-fi.”But doing the farthest thing is what Berman does best. He intended to go to law school but during his first semester at Harvard knew he wanted to pursue film. “I’m interested in politics and social issues but wanted to explore those issues instead through art.”After his change of heart, Berman embarked to, of all places, Siberia. His parents are Russian, and although Berman was born in the United States he knew he wanted to make a documentary there. The film was supposed to be about Siberian ecology and volcanoes. As Berman traveled from Alaska to Siberia, he found himself ironically “hopping on a plane chartered by Wall Street execs going trout fishing there.”When Berman finally arrived, the Russians he met wanted bribes for information, and Berman quickly realized he would go broke trying to make the movie he’d set out to film. So he chartered a cab to a remote part of Siberia, accompanied by his crew of brother and mother, who served as his translator. “I knew one name in this ethnic group of reindeer herders,” he recalled. “The guy’s name was Nikolai.”Against the odds, they found him. “He showed me around this village of aboriginal Siberians, closely related to Canadian Inuits,” Berman said. “After the collapse of the Soviet Union, these people went through a gut-wrenching time. Cultural subsidies created everything for them, and when that went away there was no economy.”Berman wanted a hopeful note, though, and centered his new film on the village’s makeshift shipping industry. “They take decommissioned Soviet tanks, all-terrain tanks, and run them up and down the Kamchatka peninsula to feed the villages that are most remote.”The result was “Songs from the Tundra,” which Berman screened internationally and which won the Grand Jury Prize at the Provincetown International Film Festival.He hopes to show “The Last Known Good State” in similar fashion, starting with the VES’s annual screening each April. But now, while he edits, he’s planning for his departure from Harvard and “trying to get some money together to go back to Siberia. I have a really great story to tell there, and that’s my most developed project.”He’s also writing a feature-length script based on “The Last Known Good State,” a project special to Berman for another reason. At the end of the film, artificial intelligence takes the engineer back to his college dormitory to before, Berman said, “he got on this very corporate career path.”“It was a script that became personal because I’m leaving Harvard and people from Harvard go on to do very high-profile, very well-paid, very successful jobs. But it’s so hard to live up to the variety and the intensity that you have here, and I wanted the character to experience that as well.”Berman is entertaining thoughts of where he might go next. He could stay in Boston, or possibly head for Los Angeles, even New York. Anywhere, just as long as he has film.“All my films are about frontiers,” he said. “In ‘The Last Known Good State,’ it’s a romantic frontier — how does one love a machine? — and a scientific frontier, which is blowing up these stars. Film’s ability to interrogate that frontier and bring that to people, I think it’s the most exciting thing.”last_img read more

first_imgAt 17, Laila Ali flipped on a Mike Tyson fight and was hooked, not by the heavyweight champion, but by the two women who entered the ring to box before the main event. Following in the footsteps of her legendary father, Muhammad Ali, Laila Ali became a world champion boxer and in the process helped redefine a sport traditionally dominated by men. Now a fitness and wellness expert with a lifestyle blog and podcast, she continues to push for equality for women in sports. Ali, set to deliver the keynote address at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study’s conference “Game Changers: Sports, Gender, and Society” on April 7, spoke with the Gazette about boxing, being a role model, and not backing down from her famous father.GAZETTE: How did you get interested in boxing?ALI: I was at a friend’s house and we turned on the TV to watch a Mike Tyson fight, like many people did back then. I wasn’t this big boxing fan but I watched the big fights. So when these two women come into the ring — Christy Martin and Deirdre Gogarty — I was surprised, excited, had no idea that women even fought, and these two women slugged it out. It was a bloody fight and I was like, “I want to do that.”I remember my friend’s dad saying at the time “Laila you can’t do that, those women will take your head off.” And I thought, “No, I could do it.” The seed was planted, but I think it took me about eight months to actually start training and it kind of just took off from there.GAZETTE: Do you think your instant attraction to the sport was influenced by your father’s career?ALI: Obviously I knew my father was a boxer and he was one of the greatest, but I never wanted to do it because of him. I never even thought about being a fighter until I saw women’s boxing on television.GAZETTE: How did your father react to your decision to become a boxer?ALI: He was definitely concerned. He would have rather me not. But he soon found out that not fighting wasn’t an option for me. He said: “What are you going to do if you get knocked down, or if you get knocked out? The whole world will be watching. Won’t you be embarrassed?” That’s my dad, that’s the type of teacher he is; he brings up every negative thing that could possibly happen, gets you to try to imagine that, and then he says, “Do you still want to do it?” My answer to him was basically, “You got knocked down, you got back up. Hey, that’s what I am going to do if it happens.”He didn’t believe that women should fight. My dad was kind of a male chauvinist, one of those guys who thought, “Women shouldn’t do this and women shouldn’t do that.” And I would say that over the course of my career I changed his view on that. He started respecting women’s boxing as a sport. So that was a big win for me.GAZETTE: What was it like to know you changed your dad’s mind?ALI: I was glad that he was honest with me and with himself and was able to say: “I was wrong.” I think that’s important for anybody.GAZETTE: How do you think the sports landscape has changed for women?ALI: In my work with the Women’s Sports Foundation, Billie Jean King’s organization that she started so many years ago, I’ve realized there’s still a lot of inequality as far as the participation. The amount of money in collegiate sports set aside for men and women is so different. We need to have more equality there; the same with female coaches. They are getting paid a whole lot less money than the male coaches. And the pay gap between men and women’s professional sports needs to narrow. Girls aren’t encouraged to participate in sports when they feel like they are not going to be able to make money.I’ve seen, over the years, women in every single sport now, every single sport we play, down to football. That really changes these young kids’ minds and opens their minds up to think, “Wow, women are strong, women can play just as well as men can play.” I think we are moving in the right direction. Still, a whole lot needs to be done.GAZETTE: What does it feel like to be a role model for the next generation of young female athletes?ALI: I think it’s important. I don’t wake up thinking about it. What I do is I focus on the decisions that I have to make on a daily basis that have to do with business, that have to do with my public persona. And I always take that into consideration. There are things that I will not do just because of how it will come off. I am really into fitness, health, and wellness. You are not going to see me in McDonald’s commercials. I just think it’s important for me being a public person to always watch what I say, how I act, how I dress, all those things, because young girls are watching. And you want them to see someone they can aspire to be like. That has her clothes on. That they can still stay, she’s pretty, she’s attractive, but she’s also smart, she’s strong, and she’s successful and confident. And it’s OK to be confident, it’s OK to be ambitious, it’s OK to feel like the sky is the limit. I try to be that person, to lead by example.GAZETTE: What do you think your father, who died last June, would say about you today?ALI: My dad’s proud of me. He was proud of me, he is proud of me. … I think he was happy with the ways things turned out. I didn’t embarrass him. I didn’t tarnish the family name [laughs]. I think he was very happy with the way I carried myself and that I am raising my children in a way that he would approve.I am different from my dad. I told him at a very young age that I didn’t want to be Muslim, which caused some rifts between us. I was his youngest daughter and I knew enough at a young age that I didn’t want to follow his religion. This is a man who put everything on the line for his religion and now you’ve got your youngest telling you “no.” I had the courage to stand up to Muhammad Ali as a kid [laughs]. So he knew there was something different about me. He knew from then on, “OK, I’ve got my work cut out with this one.”last_img read more

first_img View Comments It’s Independence Day weekend, and if you’re like us, you’ll be spending every hour of sunlight outside grilling, getting a tan and wearing these. Of course, you’re going to need some serious summer music to kick off the festivities—may we interest you in some awesome showtunes? Some of the season’s best Broadway and off-Broadway shows have recently released cast albums, and they’ve been in heavy rotation around the office. So, we want to know: Which of these new cast recordings is your absolute favorite? Cast your vote below!last_img read more

first_imgWe heard it through the grapevine…The Commitments will close in London’s West End on November 1. The production opened at the Palace Theatre on October 8, 2013 and has played more than 1000 performances.Adapted for the stage by Roddy Doyle from his original novel, The Commitments tells the story of Jimmy Rabbitte. He shapes an unlikely bunch of amateur musicians into an amazing live act, the finest soul band Dublin has ever produced. The show features classic soul songs including ” I Heard It Through The Grapevine,” “Think,” “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction,” “Papa Was A Rolling Stone” and “Mustang Sally. “Directed by Jamie Lloyd, the tuner currently stars Brian Gilligan, John Currivan, Natalie Hope, Sam Fordham, Sarah O’Connor, Jessica Cervi and Denis Grindel. View Commentslast_img read more

first_img 11SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr continue reading » President Donald Trump signed a $1.1 trillion spending bill on Friday, funding the government through Sept. 30 and preserving NAFCU-backed funding for the Treasury Community Development Financial Institutions Fund and NCUA Community Development Revolving Loan Fund.“NAFCU appreciates lawmakers’ support for the Community Development Financial Institutions Fund and Community Development Revolving Loan Fund – which deliver important resources to low-income-designated and CDFI-certified credit unions,” said NAFCU President and CEO Dan Berger. “We will continue to advocate for funding these initiatives and look forward to working with lawmakers to address these and other credit union issues.”The bill provides $248 million for the CDFI Fund program, with various amounts allocated for grants and technical and financial assistance to CDFIs. It provides $2 million to the CDRLF, which makes the funds available for initiatives such as expanding member services, funding risk-based lending programs, constructing branches in unbanked areas and providing financial education services.last_img read more

first_imgThe Federal Reserve Monday announced changes to its Main Street Lending Program – a collection of facilities established as part of the Fed’s effort to support the economy and businesses amid the coronavirus pandemic – to allow more small and mid-sized businesses access to funds.The Fed announced in April that it would provide up to $2.3 trillion in loans to businesses, households, and state and local governments through new and expanded programs and facilities. The Fed, in Monday’s announcement, indicated it is also working to establish a program for nonprofit organizations.The changes to the Main Street Lending Program include:lowering the minimum loan size for certain loans from $500,000 to $250,000;increasing the maximum loan size for all facilities; ShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr continue reading »last_img read more

first_imgFlixBus supports domestic manufacturers and uses its wide network of bus lines to represent domestic manufacturers. Hand-prepared and processed chocolate melted with home-made ingredients such as lavender, honey or flower salt awaits domestic travelers in FlixBus, as well as tourists who find themselves on the road.  Ruby chocolate, the newest type of chocolate in the world that appeared for the first time in Croatia thanks to Vrsna chocolates, along with milk and dark chocolate will be in the selection of chocolate delicacies.  Thus, on European roads you can meet FlixBus buses with motifs of Croatian cities, choose, plan and book excursions while driving thanks to cooperation with Combis, while this weekend it will be possible to try chocolates from the domestic producer of chocolate delicacies of the Reizl family from Sesvete, Excellent chocolate. Thanks to Fran and the Reizl family, owners of a private production of chocolate delicacies in Sesvete called Vrsna čokolade, FlixBus passengers will be able to taste some of the best homemade chocolates this weekend, March 2nd and 3rd.  ˝We are glad that with FlixBus, in addition to many beautiful destinations, we will take everyone who tastes our products and introduce them to the fine world of carefully selected Croatian chocolates and the flavors they bring with them. In addition to being able to try some of our chocolates, travelers will also be able to order their chocolates immediately through online sales˝ said Fran Reizl, production manager of Vrsna chocolate.  ˝Given that we are a global brand, but with the influence of the region in which we operate, it is in our interest to use this wide European network of lines with many passengers and tourists for local promotion of our destinations, but also the promotion of Croatian domestic products. It was in this combination that we found ourselves with the Reizl family, which will offer the finest chocolates from domestic production to travelers for tasting, and thus to foreign tourists who find themselves on a bus in the direction of Zadar and Split.˝ said Petra Milanović, head of public relations at FlixBus. After cooperating with Combis and promoting Croatian tourist destinations in FlixBus, the largest bus carrier in Europe with over 120 million passengers and a network of bus lines of 2000 destinations through 28 European countries, have taken a step further and with their activities seek to exploit through the promotion of domestic destinations and domestic products.  On the one hand, we encourage and promote Croatian products, the local small business and the promotion of our tourist offer, and on the other hand, FlixBus passengers have added value. Great cooperation and win win situation. RELATED NEWS: COMBIS AND FLIXBUS THROUGH A NEW DIGITAL SERVICE ENABLE THE PURCHASE OF EXCURSIONS DURING TRAVELlast_img read more

first_imgPension Insurance Corporation (PIC) has invested £114m (€143m) into university student accommodation in Central London.PIC, which specialises in insuring the liabilities for defined benefit (DB) pension schemes, is the sole finance provider to help the University of London redevelop part of its student housing.The facility, once complete, will provide 1,200 student rooms for the university that will be run and managed by the University Partnerships Programme (UPP).The allocation to housing falls under PIC’s infrastructure portfolio, which includes other social housing investments. PIC has insured close to £2bn of liabilities in 2014, requiring it to further develop its investment portfolio to match its longer-dated liabilities.Investment manager at PIC, Delphone Deasy, said: “In the right investment structure, student accommodation is a good investment for PIC, providing long-dated, secure cash flows to help us match our pension liabilities.“With £3.7bn of pension scheme liabilities insured by us last year and almost £2bn so far this year, we have a growing portfolio and appetite to invest in further opportunities of this nature.”In other news, the Pension Protection Fund’s monthly update on the state of UK DB schemes has revealed the funding level has risen over the month of June.Calculated on an s179 basis, which estimates a pension scheme’s ability to pay out PPF-level benefits, the current deficit of 6,150 schemes is £109bn, down from £118.2bn – although still £4bn higher than 12 months previous.The aggregate amount of assets over the month of June fell by £3.5bn to £1.17trn, most likely driven by a 1.5% fall in the FTSE All Share.However, liability levels fell by £12.7bn to £1.28trn after the yield on 15-year Gilts rose 8 basis points.Liabilities over the 12 months have still risen significantly.There are now 4,308 schemes in deficit and 1,842 schemes in surplus.last_img read more

first_imgThere is a bay window and walk-in wardrobe.The sale was a bargain at $130,500 below the suburb median, although Mr Given said the new owner would undertake some renovations at some point in the near future.According to CoreLogic Data, the median house sale price for Grange is $957,500, which is up 4.6 per cent on the 12 months to September.Video Player is loading.Play VideoPlayNext playlist itemMuteCurrent Time 0:00/Duration 1:44Loaded: 0%Stream Type LIVESeek to live, currently playing liveLIVERemaining Time -1:44 Playback Rate1xChaptersChaptersDescriptionsdescriptions off, selectedCaptionscaptions settings, opens captions settings dialogcaptions off, selectedQuality Levels720p720pHD540p540p288p288p180p180pAutoA, selectedAudio Tracken (Main), selectedFullscreenThis is a modal window.Beginning of dialog window. Escape will cancel and close the window.TextColorWhiteBlackRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentBackgroundColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentTransparentWindowColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyTransparentSemi-TransparentOpaqueFont Size50%75%100%125%150%175%200%300%400%Text Edge StyleNoneRaisedDepressedUniformDropshadowFont FamilyProportional Sans-SerifMonospace Sans-SerifProportional SerifMonospace SerifCasualScriptSmall CapsReset restore all settings to the default valuesDoneClose Modal DialogEnd of dialog window.This is a modal window. This modal can be closed by pressing the Escape key or activating the close button.Close Modal DialogThis is a modal window. This modal can be closed by pressing the Escape key or activating the close button.PlayMuteCurrent Time 0:00/Duration 0:00Loaded: 0%Stream Type LIVESeek to live, currently playing liveLIVERemaining Time -0:00 Playback Rate1xFullscreenHow to bid at auction for your dream home? 01:45 The house at 74 Uxbridge St, Grange, sold for $827,000.A HEATED auction unfolded last weekend as bidders fought for a house in the “best location in Grange”.Four registered bidders were vying for the three-bedroom house at 74 Uxbridge St, which was on a 461sq m block.Ray White New Farm agent Nicholas Given said bidding kicked off at $650,000 before being swiftly boosted up to $700,000. More from newsParks and wildlife the new lust-haves post coronavirus15 hours agoNoosa’s best beachfront penthouse is about to hit the market15 hours agoThe house has sweeping polished timber floorboards.The pace slowed until $780,000, when the agent said bidding went “rapid fire” until $815,000, and shortly after the house was sold under the hammer for $827,000.Mr Given said the house was bought by a female buyer who was upgrading from an apartment.“She just loved it for the spot and was taken by the location,” he said.“Think of the best location in Grange, a little corner block, surrounded by trees and in a peaceful cul-de-sac street.”last_img read more

first_imgNZ Herald 13 February 2016An Australian campervan company that puts controversial slogans on its vehicles has been threatened with prosecution and a fine of up to $20,000.The Whangarei District Council is also threatening to wake up Wicked Campers’ clients in their vans to tell them to cover up the offensive words.The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has made numerous rulings against Wicked Campers, and has expressed disappointment at its refusal to respect the principles of self-regulation.Slogans such as “Fat chicks are harder to kidnap” have incurred the wrath of Women’s Refuge NZ and Equal Employment Opportunities Commissioner Jackie Blue.And this month, a slogan proclaiming, “My boss told me I was a w***er, I was so surprised I almost let go of his c***”, prompted a Whangarei resident to complain to local MP Shane Reti.Dr Reti, who in turn complained to the council, says its threat of legal action alleging a breach of its signage bylaws is an important development — and he wants other councils to take note.READ MORE: Keep up with family issues in NZ. Receive our weekly emails direct to your Inbox.last_img read more