Reviews, articles, rants & ramblings on the darker side of the media fringe

Posts tagged “San Francisco

Batkid Begins – Poster and Trailer

The Make-A-Wish story that took the world by storm and turned San Francisco into Gotham City for a day premieres this month in Park City. Pint-sized Batkid (aka leukemia patient Miles Scott) has even pulled iconic poster artist Drew Struzan out of retirement as the feature documentary Batkid Begins: The Wish Heard Around The World prepares for its world premiere at the Slamdance Film Festival.

The crowdfunded Batkid Begins chronicles how then-5-year-old Scott got to live out his superhero dream on November 15, 2013 with the help of the city, President Obama, and thousands of supporters by playing sidekick to the Caped Crusader in a series of staged missions as onlookers cheered him on. The event culminated with Scott receiving the key to the city from Mayor Ed Lee and sparked media attention and more than 400K tweets in 117 countries, reaching over 1.84 billion social media users.

Struzan’s artwork for film in the 1970s and ’80s is the stuff of movie geek legend, and his breathtaking painted designs for the Star Wars and Indiana Jones films in particular sealed his place in the hearts of generations of fanboys and girls. Despite officially retiring from the poster game in 2008, Struzan is rumored to be coming back for the new Star Wars films. But first he created this original poster for director Dana Nachman’s Batkid Begins, pro-bono… Awesome.

batkid-begins-drew-struzan


Dolores Claiborne – The Opera

Delores Claiborne_The OperaAn opera by Tobias Picker, based on the novel Dolores Claiborne by Stephen King
By arrangement with Andrew Welch · Commissioned by San Francisco Opera

Desperate. Passionate. Trapped. Dolores Claiborne is willing to do whatever it takes to save herself and her daughter—even if that means taking a life. One of the most compelling characters to emerge from the imagination of Stephen King, the feisty Maine housekeeper is a natural fit for opera—and specifically for the dark theatricality of American composer Tobias Picker, who “embraces opera as a populist art form” and “does so with undeniable skill” (The New York Times). Memorably played by Kathy Bates in the 1995 movie, Dolores will be sung by Patricia Racette (Sep 18, 22, 25, 28), “an artist at the peak of her powers” (Opera News) and Catherine Cook (Oct 1, 4), a singer who knows how to “delight with a treasure chest of voice and gesture” (Bay Area Reporter). This chilling work features a libretto by poet J. D. McClatchy. “Expert conductor” George Manahan is at the podium (Financial Times) and the “imaginative” and “inspired” James Robinson directs (The Wall Street Journal).


Birth of the Dragon – Bruce Lee Biopic

Bruce Lee_Birth of the Dragon_BannerQED International and Groundswell Productions have joined forces for Birth of the Dragon, which will focus on Bruce Lee’s career-defining 1965 no-holdsbarred TKO battle with kung fu master Wong Jack Man.

According to Linda Lee Cadwell, Bruce Lee’s wife, Lee’s teaching of Chinese martial arts to Caucasians made him unpopular with Chinese martial artists in San Francisco. Wong contested the notion that Lee was fighting for the right to teach Caucasians as not all of his students were Chinese. Wong stated that he requested a public fight with Lee after Lee had issued an open challenge during a demonstration at a Chinatown theater in which he claimed to be able to defeat any martial artist in San Francisco. Wong stated it was after a mutual acquaintance delivered a note from Lee inviting him to fight that he showed up at Lee’s school to challenge him. Martial artist David Chin reportedly wrote the original challenge, while Wong asked Chin to let him sign it.

According to author Norman Borine, Wong tried to delay the match and asked for restrictions on techniques such as hitting the face, kicking the groin, and eye jabs, and that the two fought no holds barred after Lee turned down the request.

The details of the fight vary depending on the account. Individuals known to have witnessed the match included Cadwell, James Lee (an associate of Bruce Lee, no relation) and William Chen, a teacher of T’ai chi ch’uan. According to Bruce, Linda, and James Lee, the fight lasted 3 minutes with a decisive victory for Bruce.

Lee gave a description, without naming Wong explicitly, in an interview with Black Belt: 

“I’d gotten into a fight in San Francisco with a Kung-Fu cat, and after a brief encounter the son-of-a-bitch started to run. I chased him and, like a fool, kept punching him behind his head and back. Soon my fists began to swell from hitting his hard head. Right then I realized Wing Chun was not too practical and began to alter my way of fighting.” 

Cadwell recounted the scene in her book Bruce Lee: The Man Only  I Knew:

“The two came out, bowed formally and then began to fight. Wong adopted a classic stance whereas Bruce, who at the time was still using his Wing Chun style, produced a series of straight punches. “Within a minute, Wong’s men were trying to stop the fight as Bruce began to warm to his task. James Lee warned them to let the fight continue. A minute later, with Bruce continuing the attack in earnest, Wong began to back pedal as fast as he could. For an instant, indeed, the scrap threatened to degenerate into a farce as Wong actually turned and ran. But Bruce pounced on him like a springing leopard and brought him to the floor where he began pounding him into a state of demoralization. “Is that enough?” shouted Bruce, “That’s enough!” pleaded his adversary. Bruce demanded a second reply to his question to make sure that he understood this was the end of the fight.”

This is in contrast to Wong and William Chen’s account of the fight as they state the fight lasted an unusually long 20–25 minutes. Allegedly, Wong was unsatisfied with Lee’s account of the match and published his own version in the Chinese Pacific Weekly, a Chinese language newspaper in San Francisco. The article, which was featured on the front page, included a detailed description of the fight from Wong’s perspective and concluded with an invitation to Bruce Lee for a public match if Lee found his version to be unacceptable. Lee never made a public response to the article. Wong later expressed regret over fighting Lee, attributing it to arrogance, both on the part of Lee and himself.

Written by Oscar nominees Christopher Wilkinson and Stephen Rivele, who worked on Oliver Stone’s Nixon and Michael Mann’s Ali, the film focuses on the aforementioned Oakland fight that launched Lee to martial arts stardom, which happened against the backdrop of the Hong Kong Triads’ criminal control of San Francisco’s Chinatown. The film will also detail a team-up between the two legends to take on the Triads. The fight with Jack Man was the last official one of Lee’s career before he headed into acting, competition and building his martial arts philosophy. “We’re excited to retell the fantastic origin story of the world’s most famous martial arts icon, which in the hands of Christopher and Stephen, lends itself to an action thriller we’re sure will enthrall movie fans around the world,” QED’s Bill Block said in a statement. The film will be produced by Block, Groundswell Productions CEO Michael London, Wilkinson and Rivele, and executive produced by Groundswell’s Kelly Mullen.