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Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Boulder International Film Festival



47 films from 18 countries in four days. WHEW! And I thought the 24 Hour “Cosby Show” Marathons had it going on. And I got my kicks by being a correspondent for "In the Loop," Two days of interviewing filmakers, producers and speakers for the Symposium.
My favorite part about festivals like this is that everyone has a shot. You don’t have to have the clout or connections or an Oscar behind you. You need an idea and passion to make it happen. And the audience needs have an open mind. And they could be sparked with new ideas about culture, community, humor and controversy.
Over 13,000 filmmakers made their way to the city surrounded by the Flat Irons. This festival spanned more than films, they also had a forum on creativity and new media. The panel covered all of the new technological advances that have been made over the years. And to be honest, as much as Avatar rocked my sox, it scares me think to think about all the technology advances being made.
I am traditional and believe so much in a good story over fancy effects.
But the symposium brought me back down. The panelists ranged from a Disney producer, an animator, and a game developer for I-phone apps and they all assured me in their conversation that no matter the media or how far technology is advanced the story will always be the core.
I took a breath, a deep breath and my shoulders sat back in place. As a reporter and producer story telling is at my core as well I hope that audiences never escape seeing the meaning behind the technology. We as story tellers will just have to keep up, telling stories that are authentic.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Denver FireFighter Museum

As I wrapped my arms around the pole, I took a leap and slid right into the world of a fireman, as preserved in the Denver Firefighters Museum. My adrenaline wasn’t pumping as much as the brave and burley firefighters that are responding to calls, but my energy was on fire! Studying the old fire alarms and bell towers, I was impressed by the progression of firefighting.
Bell towers were placed on the streets of the Denver area and when pulled, it signaled back to the firehouse of the location of the tower, and with the combined hustle of citizens and firefighters uniting, the fires were extinguished. Of course, there were a lot of false alarms because anyone could pull them at any time. (And I know how much trouble a false alarm can cause because well, I pulled one. As a curious toddler, I ran right up to that big red lever and pulled down with all my might. It worked! )
Even more amazing was the evolution of fire trucks from pumpers, to horses, to steam engines to motorized engines.
Ten men pumped the handles on each side until the fire fizzled. This machine pumped 300 gallons of water a minute.
Horses replaced the pumpers and also the amount of people needed to fight a fire. Horses trained to recognize the sound of an alarm, dashed from their stall to the exit doors and waited to harness up! Harnesses were latched onto the ceiling and with a simple push of a lever; the harnesses would fall right onto the backs of the horses.
Steamers also came into the mix and were able to pump up to 500 gallons of water a minute!
But when motorized engines made their debut, the haylofts were out and lockers for the crew were in. Motorized vehicles doubled the amount of water that a steamer could produce; now 1,000 gallons of water.
Beyond seeing the innovations, there are also solemn moments. The museum preserves not only the equipment but also the bravery of the firemen.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Human Powered Brewery Tour






Human power is the best kind, especially when there are hops involved! This weekend was the third annual human powered brew tour in Fort Collns and the effort was to raise money for A.L.S. (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis) and is better known as Lou Gehrig's disease. People with this disease loose their ability to control their muscles, and the really hard part to swallow is that there is no cure.
The turn out for the event was small, but the energy could not have been bigger. About 40 of us started at New Belgium Brewery and after a few samples headed to the Fort Collins Brewery, less than two miles down the road. Drinking beer from brewery to brewery seems like the easiest way to raise awareness, why didn’t someone think of this before? But of course there was a fun catch.
The only way to get to the breweries is in a “human powered” way. People ran, cycled, and rollerbladed, but if you still have the good ole scooter, that works too! Or if you are up for a big challenge the human wheelbarrow would be an excellent idea! Or who wouldn’t want to crab walk the five mile roundtrip tour?
From the Fort Collins Brewery we powered our way to O’Dell’s. The spunky part was the costumes. I realized I must have missed the costume memo when I saw a tooth fairy and beer maiden head into New Belgium. But next year I am going all out, maybe I will even bring the gorilla suit out.
And from O’Dell’s to Coppersmiths, and it was only 2:00. The run was in, fun had and awareness was raised. A successful Saturday afternoon. Make sure you hop on the next tour.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

The Soloist


What’s better than coming up with a story that is powerful and has never been told before? To me, the answer is one that is inspirational and changes lives. Especially when it is the life of the person telling the story and also the life of the person whom the story is written about.
The movie the “Soloist” tells the true story of the powerful friendship formed between a homeless man and a newspaper columnist. Nathaniel Ayers, a musical prodigy, ends up on the streets because he is mentally ill. L.A.Times columnist, Steve Lopez, is always digging for new stories and upon hearing the sounds of a violin Lopez follows his instinct.
The conversation he strikes up with Ayers leads to many published moving stories and the transformation of both their lives. Lopez steps beyond the journalist mode and is able to break the stereotype many hold about homeless people and bring Ayers back in touch with his musical abilities.
As a journalist, I live to tell stories. The ones that mean the most are the ones that I discover completely on my own. When covering a beat and daily assignments it is hard to make a story completely original. I was incredibly inspired by this story because it made me realize how no story is off limits and to always be on the search for a story that has never been told before.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Korean Food at Yee Ga



Chinese food and Japanese food were already checked off my list, so naturally Korean food would round out the Asian cuisine experience. I did not have the slightest clue of where any Korean restaurants were located, so luckily I had a guide and friend to get me in the loop.
If you are looking for a Korean restaurant, you can find a lot of mom and pop type restaurants in the Aurora area, just look for the Korean lettering above the door. Like me you may not be able to translate or have any idea of the name of the restaurant you are in, but having a taste of what’s cooking is a worthwhile experience. And the prices are great, for a table full of food it was right around 30 dollars. We ate at Yee Ga. So simple for such complex lettering :)
Korean food mostly consists of rice, vegetables, meats and tofu. An authentic Korean meal is served with many side dishes, or banchan. We also can’t forget the Kimichi, spicy radish and cabbage that is used to stimulate the appetite. But with all the side dishes that were laid on the table, I sure did not need any stimulation.
There are many spices incorporated into the cooking, like sesame oil, soy sauce, salt, garlic, ginger and red Chile paste. The spices and heat on some of the side dishes were turned on high, so I kept my barley tea in my eye sight at all times.
At this restaurant it could not be more from the stovetop to the table, as the stove was on the table. We cooked marinated BBQ beef ribs, and the spicy marinated BBQ pork right there. After, it was time to start sampling. (Well lets be honest, I had already been eating the cabbage, radish and carrots).
Side dishes change on a daily basis so it’s always a surprise what will be laid out on your table. Ours included spicy picked radish, carrots and cabbage, bean sprouts, cold seaweed and fish cakes.
I followed the leader and found it was best to take a lettuce wrap, add a spoonful or two of rice and a sampling of one of the side dishes, some ribs or pork, then wrap the lettuce, eat and enjoy. The best part about this was I didn’t have to tango with the chopsticks.
And we can’t forget the tofu soup we had, and for the sake of being as authentic as the meal, it was called Sundubu Jjigae. Please do not ask me for the pronunciation! This soup, besides having a kick, includes tofu, vegetables, mushrooms, onion and scallions.
There are also Korean desserts, like rice cakes, but after a meal like that I think that would be for another day, and an excuse to come back for some more excellent fare. Yee Ha for Yee Ga!!