Friday

MartiniLeaks

Hmm.. could there be a trend here?  Just thought it sounded funny.  After a couple of Martinis, who doesn't leak? Or feel like they're leaking?  "I am Spartacus!"  "I am a wikileaks!"  Find their mirrors here: http://wikileaks.info/

I was in India some years ago, and they had this t.v. show called "Tehelka."  And it was basically the same thing, but with video - and they caught these govt. guys robbing the country blind.  I watched as the Indian Defense Minister was caught on camera taking these huge bribes - and huge in India means stacks of rupees that are stapled in the middle - suitcases full.  And this guy was sitting there in front of a hidden camera, piling these stacks of cash in front of himself, promising the guy behind the camera that he was going to approve the Defense contract he was bribing him for.

A went back a couple of years later.. and nothing happened. Nobody got fired. Nobody got nothing. Same Defense Minister, they had a "commission" look into the details.. but basically; nada.  So, despite all the hoopla over Wikileaks revealing our state secrets (and to their credit, they had local journalists redact any names in the documents that might have cause problems with local contacts), we're able to get a glimpse into the darkest corners of our state secrets.  It's just about the biggest thing that's every happened to the Fourth Estate, and if you're behind the maxim from the Bible that says "The Truth Shall Set You Free..." --

which by the way, adorns the entrance to the CIA --

you must be for truth in all endeavors.  Julian Assange is merely a figurehead for thousands of journalists who are working behind the scenes to "keep 'em honest."  I'll predict that in ten years, there'll be a "wikileaks" t.v. channel, ala "Tehelka" in India.  Unfortunately, I also predict NOTHING will change.  Figures lie, liars figure, and everything will go into another closet.  But in the meanwhile, enjoy the holidays and the show!!!


"May you live in interesting times." Old Chinese Curse

Rich (my two cents)

Monday

Martini On The Rocks CD

Okay, after waiting 20 years, I've finally posted a smathering of my tunes.  Still waiting for itunes to put them online, but in the meantime, Amazon.com has put them up here:



http://www.amazon.com/gp/search/ref=sr_nr_seeall_1?rh=k:rich+martini,i:digital-music&keywords=rich+martini&ie=UTF8&qid=1290469417

Apologies for the off key notes, the clams, and the other obvious mistakes that I've made compiling this songbook, that dates back to when I was 18 and playing piano at the James Tavern while attending Boston University and had to write some tunes for my weekly gig.  Later, I wound up playing these songs in pubs and bars around the planet - so if you want to experience them the way you normally would - have a couple of cocktails and put some peanuts on a napkin.  I was the Piano Man for a certain portion of my life, and the songs reflect it.  I think you can sample them for free, so enjoy.  There are ballads, and instrumentals, and a recurring blues riff that I put in the movie 'Cannes Man.'  There's also the great Craig Cole, making an appearance from the Great Beyond on a couple of tracks.   But over the years, people would ask me for a cassette, and later a CD.. so here you go.  If you can't bear to part with the buck, email me and I'll send you a sample track.

best,

Rich

You Can't Hurry Love

You Can't Hurry Love is finally available.  While being released as the second film on a two bill  - with some other Love title, I found a place where you can get the title by itself.

Here it is:

YOU CAN'T HURRY LOVE




starring David Packer, Scott McGinnis, Bridget Fonda
with appearances by Charles Grodin, Sally Kellerman and Kristi McNichol.

Enjoy!

Thursday

Remembering Paul Tracey

I ran across the eulogy I gave at my friend Paul Tracey's funeral in Phoenix seven years ago. I'm a fan of honoring those odd incidents that occur in your life in some way, and so I'm reprinting it here.  In light of the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" debate, it bears repeating that gay people are part of our families... funny how archaic this debate will seem in 5 or 10 years. Like the Civil Rights or Women's Rights debate.  Did we really debate that stuff?  Seems silly now. But here's to you Paul, enjoy. 
Dave Patlak and Paul, circa 1985.



Paul’s Eulogy from Feb. 2003

For years Paul and I would argue over whether or not he’d come to see me in Santa Monica, or whether I’d come and visit him in Arizona... - oh what lengths you would go to win an argument, Paul!

Last time we spoke was a few weeks back.. Told him how he’s going to be an uncle in a few months as Sherry and I are due to have a baby girl.. We laughed about that, and then I complained about his complete inability to use email - something I’ve been after him to do since they invented it.. And I’m amazed to say that in the past ten years I’ve gotten a total of one email from him. And I think he sent that by mistake. He was a phone person - .. We spoke often, more frequently than I do with other friends who live nearby - and every one of our phone conversations was as if we’d just finished up the last one mid-sentence. I fully expect the phone to ring at some date in the future, and Paul and I will pick up where we left off.

Kathy Delaney, Paul, Janet Tuzzolino and Me
freshman year in High school
Where did we leave off? Well, the conversation started in 7th grade. He’d moved to Northbrook with his family and we met on a football field. Paul was a natural athlete, fast, our halfback, I was a guard - I can still remember in glorious detail the “40-cross” that we ran against St. France in a Championship game - Billy Meyer in the backfield, Dave Siebert at my side playing center, 40 cross meant I took Dave’s guy and Dave too mine -and number 40, that was Paul, would take off.. I’ll never forget looking up from the mud to see Paul running for the touchdown that won the game. Silly as it sounds, I’ll never forget that moment. He was poetry in motion. It was our sophomore season that he went into the hospital - as I remember it, he didn’t have to, but had an operation so he could play again - little did we know what the staph infection would do to his hip and keep him from being the athlete he was. Not to say that Paul was such a fan of football, but I know he loved the camaraderie and friendships we had on the field.

Dave Siebert, Kathy Kearney, Paul circa 69
We also traveled together a bit. In grade school during spring break, Paul and I had the brilliant idea to take a Greyhound bus to Florida to visit his grandfather in Deerfield Beach. We thought we were pretty cool, smoking cigars on the way, until we both turned green from the smoke. We got to Florida and burned ourselves to a crisp in a day - and since we spent the next week indoors, got in so many raging arguments that his grandfather, sick of the bickering, actually bought us both plane tickets and sent us home. We were both shocked that his grandfather actually thought we were serious, and laughed about it on the plane home.

But Paul and I spent most of our time laughing. I imagine it was that same sense of humor that inspired me to get into making comedy films. I paid homage to Paul a couple of times - In “Three For The Road,” Charlie Sheen’s character was named after Paul, and I even got him to do a cameo in my film “Limit Up” - he happened to be in LA for the day, stopped down to the set, so I threw him into a scene, which, of course, he nailed in one take. I asked him if he wanted to stick around and watch the filming and he said “I’ve already got my close up, what would I stick around for?”  Sue Bodine sent me an email expressing her condolences; she wrote “All I can think about it Paul the raconteur, standing at a table or piano with such humor and timing, engaging everybody in his earnest story. What does Renee Zellwegger say in that film? “You had me at hello.” He was like that. You loved him before anything happened. He just didn’t know that. We love you Paul.”
Paul, me and Dave Patlak describing the pizza at Numero Uno's in Chicago


It was indicative of the kind of person Paul could be when he gave it some effort. When he put his charm and ability in front of him, he made everything seem effortless.. I know that didn’t prevent him from finding ways to make his life full of effort instead of effortless. I only mention it because we talked about that too, his inability to conquer his demons and the stress it put on those around him. At one point, he was furious with the love of his life Carlos over the fact that Paul had bought him a motorcycle and for whatever reason, Carlos wasn’t able to make the payments… Paul was raging that he couldn’t reach Carlos and wanted to repot the motorcycle. I suggested that in actuality, Carlos had put so much time and effort into their relationship that if you put a dollar figure on it, Paul was into Carlos for much more than the bike was worth. He thought that was hilarious, and promptly sent Carlos the title to the bike and a note telling him the motorcycle was his.  I think Carlos sent him the full amount after that, but my point is that Paul had his own logic of how things and people should be and at his core, he cared deeply about other people’s feelings.

Like when he called to tell me he was ‘coming out of the closet.’ At first he hesitated - his ex girlfriend Nancy Covington had told him I’d never be able to accept Paul being gay, and that my family would freak hen they heard the news. Of course, this coming from the girl who’d sailed to Greece to propose marriage to Paul and was devastated when her proposal was met with the truth - indicative of how honest Paul could be when he wanted to. I had just been to see him in San Francisco, living on his boat “The Endorphin,” and I had gone with Luana, my old girlfriend, who adored Paul up until her dying day - but Luana noted she felt something about Paul was different.  I should have had a clue when his dad looked at me and joked about Paul always having to iron his socks. I was clueless.
My dad, Paul and my mom

So Paul called, “Richard,” He said, with a seriousness unlike I’d heard before - “I have something important to tell you.. And I really don’t know how you’re going to react.” Hmm.. I thought, what could this be?  He said “I’m gay.” Stunned, - I chose the position I always chose when arguing with Paul - that I knew more than him about anything we ever discussed. I said “Like I didn’t already know that!”  He breathed a sigh of relief, I resolved that nothing Paul would ever tell me would be something I couldn’t handle or rather, wouldn’t be something I’d convince him I’d already considered and had a full blow opinion about.  My family’s response was equal to mine - we’ve always loved Paul, having always considered him part of our family - a fifth son - Paul was at just about every wedding and funeral in my family - but when I told my mom that Paul had ’come out of the closet’ she said, “Why can’t he just go back in there with a flashlight?”


I was weighing how to tell my mom the news of Paul’s passing. My dad’s got Alzheimer’s, she’s taking care of him at home - which is stressful as you can imagine - and I didn’t want to add any stress.. So I asked her what she thought happened to a person after they died. She said, “Well, I think they go to a wonderful place.. When you die, it’s beautiful, and you see people you love, and you feel better physically and don’t have any problems.. A place where you’re perfectly happy in the best of health, and all the worries and woes of this life are behind you.”  It was then that I told her that our dear friend Paul had left this planet, and that I thought he had perfectly described where he is now, and how he’s feeling.
A photo of Paul on The Endorphin next to his ashes

I know how much he loved all of you. I know because I haven’t seen most of you in 20 years but he kept me up to date with pride - Hope’s wedding - to which I replied, “Hope, married? Isn’t she still 12?”  About Peter’s job and family, Jack’s living her with his family - Susan the hippie rebel and Pam the practical professional - what you guys have been up to, even hilarious tales of Aunt Rhea - and especially his mom and dad - he was so impressed that his dad is Lance Armstrong senior, riding a bike every day for umpteen mils and how his mom was, as I’ve heard it, winning just about every bridge championship in the country. Maybe he was making it all up, I’ll never know, because you see, Paul and I saw the world we created. I’m sure he’s finding it hilarious to see us all here celebrating him - Dave, Mark, Billy, Dave and Maryanne - I’m sure he’s enjoying this.

Bill Meyer, Mark Caplis and Paul's
red Maple, growing with the help
of some of Paul's ashes.
Finally, we talked a lot about travel - using his sky miles to go somewhere - lately he had a passion for Ireland - He’d sign up with a new long distance phone service every week and get huge chunks of air miles - last year we were swearing we’d go to Ireland.. Something about the lure of the home country called to him, something deeper in his spirit that he longed for, I imagine.. I’m sure he’s here with us today, but I’ll be happy to spread some of his ashes on the Emerald Isle for him if the family would like me to.

I’m hoping one day Paul and I can continue our conversations, maybe in my dreams, and maybe after this life.. I may even admit to him that he’s right now and then.. But my phone’s been ringing this week and there’s no one there, so I’ll assume it’s Paul, but he’s at a loss for words. Thought I hardly think that’s likely. Paul, we’re all going to miss you very much.


Friday

Windy City White City






In light of the brouhaha over Muslims v Christians, I've posted my two part documentary "White City/Windy City" - the film was made at the behest of Layalina.tv., and organization created by former Ambassadors Richard Fairbanks and Marc Ginsberg to foster understanding between cultures.  In this case, I chose Chicago and Casablanca as Sister Cities that exhibit tolerance - the documentary was made with the idea of creating a series that would eventually be broadcast in the middle east and the U.S., featuring various Sister Cities and what they have in common.  Either way, I think it stands on its own, if only to hear both Mayor Daley and the Imam of the largest mosque in Casablanca say the identical things, word for word.  Enjoy.  For more info on the film, go to www.layalina.tv




Monday

Martini On The Rocks

I finally decided to take the tracks out of my closet and put them into a CD... I've been playing Chicago Blues and Boogie Woogie Piano for longer than I can remember, frequently in some piano bar in some far corner of the world.  Over the years, people would ask me if I had a CD, and I would chuckle and say CD? Moi? I played alongside Craig Cole at Les Deux in Hollywood for six months, played with Imminent Disaster Blues Band in LA in various venues around town including Les Deux, and the House of Blues.  A damn fine band. There are various tunes I've written over the years as well as some covers, like "Route 66."  Enjoy. 
Martini On The Rocks at CDBaby.com

Thursday

Charles Grodin's paean to yours truly...

I got an email from the amazing, hilarious, loyal pal Charles Grodin the other day. When he's not writing plays, starring in films, directing/producing/emceeing, he's saving people in prison who've been incarcerated under bizarre circumstances.  He's an all around amazing guy, and happens to be Godfather to my son.  That being said, I was a bit flabbergasted to read this - which will be posted in his weekly column at the NY Daily News (as of today, they've held it up, perhaps thinking it was about broadway musical producer Richard Martini).  I post it here, because after I read it, I swore I was going to tattoo it to my forehead. In lieu of my forehead; Enjoy.

(PS. His daughter Marion is a brilliant standup commedienne, son Nicholas (on the left) is a terrific actor and has appeared in a number of cool feature films and wife Elissa is an accomplished children's book author. Talk about a tour de force de family...  Look for Chuck to appear in the sequel to Midnight Run, (knock on wood) and he appears on the radio doing hilarious and often touching commentary on your local CBS radio affiliate...)


Richard Martini

My brilliant close friend, Richard Martini said to me recently people who rarely speak often have a strong inner monologue going, so sometimes if they behave strangely when you speak – it’s because you’re interrupting their strong inner monologue.

Richard Martini is so gifted in so many ways – writing – directing – producing – but he has no greater gift than being a devoted friend. When my wife and son wanted to go to Italy, I knew I wasn’t going anywhere except maybe downstairs, so I asked Richard Martini to accompany them – Italy – Martini – hellooo.

He even flew to Africa to be with me ,where I once did a picture.  He got a discount for me on a fabulous rug – two actually.

Recently we were discussing all the distracting DVDs that are now available for cars.  Richard said “We have a great DVD in our car.  It’s called a window.”

God blessed me with having Richard Martini in my life.  Look for your Richard Martini or better yet – be a Richard Martini.

"Salt" to theaters in July...

Just a few words here in praise of "Salt."

I had the great opportunity to work on this film the past year.. I created a previsualization site where everyone on the cast and crew could view the Director's Vision on a daily basis - Phillip Noyce would ask me to search things out for him, and I'd post them daily on this web page.  There was character background info for the actors, links to the story boards, clips of all the locations and just about everything that could go into a film appeared on this one page.  I'd update it every day so that all the crew members were on the same page as Phillip.  Then one day he handed me a digital camera and asked me to shoot some flashback sequences for him - not sure if any will actually make the final cut, but during the editorial process, it was hilarious to see the footage I shot on a Sony HD cam show up on the big screen.  Oh, and I also appear in the film - look for me as a driver for Evelyn Salt when she is brought out of North Korea. I nearly killed my precious cargo when I nearly turned into a huge army truck during the shot, but it was fun speeding around with August Diehl, who plays Salt's husband.

I've seen a rough cut of the film and it jumps off the screen.  Phillip is really a master of this genre, and knows how to take something and amp it up without losing story focus, or what the emotional impact might be. And I can't praise Angelina Jolie enough - I was startled by her ability to nail each scene over and over again, under sometimes bizarre circumstances, while flying, jumping, leaping, kicking or doing all the stuff that she does really well.  It's the first time I'm aware of that she's able to play an action character with multiple levels of personality - in this case, I felt she captured a certain kind of schizophrenia that is written into her character, and I'm amazed at her multiple personas.  A tour de force, or a force majeure, or a force of nature.  Take your pic. Oh, and Liev Schreiber rocks as well.  Another amazing actor who gives nuance a new name.

This is not a movie review, nor is it trying to sell the film in any way.  I think anyone who goes to see it will get a thrill ride out of it, and it always keeps you guessing.  The acting is top drawer, the action isn't over the top, and the story leaves you trying to add up the clues - they're all there, but may require subsequent viewings to nail them all.  Oh, and of course, to catch me on screen.

Rome Center

Looks like I won't be teaching at the Rome Center this summer after all.... La Prossima!

Tibetan Filmmaker sentenced to six years for his documentary

Zurich, 6. January 2010. Dhondup Wangchen, the Tibetan filmmaker who is currently in Chinese detention, has been sentenced to six years imprisonment by the provincial court in Xining (capital of Qinghai province). The sentencing took place on 28 December 2009 but his relatives in Xining were neither informed about the trial nor the verdict.


Outrageous!!!
 This filmmaker made a documentary in Tibet and has been sentenced to six years in prison.

Write a letter, send a fax, to to the webset and watch the movie at http://www.leavingfearbehind.com/downloads.php
Here's my letter to the Minister of Justice:

Jan. 21st, 2010

Minister of Justice of the People's Republic of China
WU Aiying Buzhang
Sifabu
10 Chaoyangmen Nandajie
Chaoyangqu
Beijingshi 100020
People's Republic of China

Dear Minister,

It has come to my attention that an amateur filmmaker has been sentenced to six years in prison for making a film.  I've seen footage from his film "Leaving Fear Behind," and can see that he made a film without much more than his camera and computer. Since the proliferation of video cameras worldwide, anyone can take up a camera and point it in the direction of someone else and ask them a question. 

Certainly the great country of China has it within their power to allow artists to take photographs, or paint pictures, or create music that reflects the times.  I've been to China a number of times, and am always amazed by the breadth, depth and mastery of Chinese artists.  The history of China is replete with artists and craftsmen making artwork that reflects their time in history.  I submit to you that a student asking his fellow citizens what they think of the upcoming Olympics (the 2008 Beijing Olympics) is not an act of sedition, rather it is a time capsule of feelings from the region.

Since China claims that Tibet has always been part of China, I find it ironic that the government doesn't treat their Tibetan brothers with the same dignity and expression that they might allow in their fellow artists in Shanghai or Hong Kong.  Certainly, a filmmaker like Chen Kaige has made films that reflect a time and a place - I submit to you that if China truly considers Tibet to be part of its heritage, then it should allow those artists and filmmakers, even if they're student filmmakers, to be allowed to express themselves.  No flags were burned. No posters were printed. No one was harmed by the telling of this story.  In fact, the opposite is true - its made the government of China appear weak, repressive and frightened by a student with a video camera.
(http://www.leavingfearbehind.com/index.php)

I sincerely hope the Justice system finds a way to right this wrong. Having spent time in Tibet, Shanhai and Beijing myself (as well as Hong Kong), it's apparent that the authorities in Tibet  act with a heavier hand then perhaps in other regions of China.  I will ask my fellow filmmakers here in the U.S. to lend their voices to help get this student (and the monk who assisted him) out of prison and home to his family.

Respectfully,

Richard Martini
Documentary Filmmaker ("Journey Into Tibet")
Member of Director's Guild, Writer's Guild and Screen Actor's Guild (as if that would help!)

Anyways, with a concerted effort towards his release, we all were able to get Tibetan filmmaker Ngawang Choephel out of prison (letters to Amnesty Intl, people like Diana Takata with the Students for a Free Tibet, contributions from many people across the planet) - and he went on to win Sundance last year for his documentary!!!!

It's an amazing story - and at the very least write a letter to protest.. here's the details from his website:

PLEASE WRITE IMMEDIATELY in Mandarin or your own language,
calling on the Chinese authorities to:


> release Dhondup Wangchen immediately and unconditionally, as he has been detained solely for his peaceful exercise of the right to freedom of expression;

> guarantee that while he remains in custody, he is not tortured or otherwise ill-treated, and has access to family, legal assistance of his choosing and any medical care he may require;

> ensure that Dhondup Wangchen’s trial is in line with international fair trial standards;

> conduct a prompt and impartial investigation into the allegations that Dhondup Wangchen has been tortured and otherwise ill-treated, with a view to bringing those responsible to justice.


Minister of Justice of the People's Republic of China
WU Aiying Buzhang
Sifabu
10 Chaoyangmen Nandajie
Chaoyangqu
Beijingshi 100020
People's Republic of China
Fax: +86 10 65292345
Email: pfmaster@legalinfo.gov.cn
Salutation: Dear Minister

Prime Minister of the People's Republic of China
WEN Jiabao Guojia Zongli
The State Council General Office
2 Fuyoujie
Xichengqu
Beijingshi 100017
People's Republic of China
Fax: +86 10 65961109 (c/o Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
Salutation: Your Excellency

Also send copies to diplomatic representatives accredited to your country.

Wednesday

Adventures on Pandora

The beautiful alien planet Pandora depicted in James Cameron's 'Avatar' is so captivating that some audience members are becoming depressed and even suicidal when they fail to find meaning in real life after the film is over.
Writes Jo Piazza for CNN.com:
On the fan forum site "Avatar Forums," a topic thread entitled "Ways to cope with the depression of the dream of Pandora being intangible," has received more than 1,000 posts from people experiencing depression and fans trying to help them cope. The topic became so popular last month that forum administrator Philippe Baghdassarian had to create a second thread so people could continue to post their confused feelings about the movie...


I'm concerned about these posts about depression for not being able to live as they do on Avatar's Pandora.  I'm a filmmaker, have been researching reincarnation via a documentary ("Over the Rainbow - a tourist's guide the Great Beyond") for the past couple of years, and have been particularly focusing on the work of Michael Newton (Journey of Souls). I was pleased (amazed, astounded) seeing that the Pandora world as depicted in Avatar echoes of what people under hypnosis describe as the "Life Between Lives" or the Afterlife. For those folks who've become depressed, I highly recommend checking out his work, there are interviews with him on youtube, and a number of other hypnotherapists have come to the same conclusions that his 7000 documented patients have come to - that the universe is all energy, that every living thing, every object contains energy, and that its all part of an ecosystem that nature (or God, or whomever) has constructed so that we're all connected at all times.  Avatar like worlds (realms, planes) have been reported from various people under hypnosis - other realms, or planets where we supposedly reincarnate between journeys to Earth.  I don't know if any of this is real or accurate, I can only report that the end result is that people who've gone on these journeys have the profound feeling that they actually have gone on them - the affect is the same.  So if you'd like to visit Pandora, visit a trained hypnotherapist near you (I'm not selling anything, you can google him and find these same details), and happy voyages!

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