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Ray Pride

By Ray Pride Pride@moviecitynews.com

Yes Men, we have no housing today: the sequel

Too true to be good: “A prankster posing as a federal housing official took centre stage at a New Orleans event with the city mayor and the governor of Louisiana, controversially promising to throw open closed public housing to thousands of poor former city residents,” Reuters reports, via The Scotsman. Oh-oh: are the Yes Men in town? yes_men.jpg Report Peter Henderson and Matt Daily, “The stunt, which the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development called a “cruel hoax,” was the latest by an activist group known as “The Yes Men” who have previously masqueraded as World Trade Organisation officials announcing they were disbanding the body. Activist Andy Bichlbaum, pretending to be HUD “Assistant Deputy Secretary Rene Oswin,” told hundreds of businesspeople at a forum the agency would reverse policy and reopen housing units now targeted for replacement by mixed-income development. He promised to “fix New Orleans, not just for the benefit of a few but for everyone.” The audience applauded the speech and the moderator thanked “Oswin” for the “dramatic announcement.” A cruel hoax, indeed. “Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco and New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin gave the preceding speeches at The Gulf Reconstruction and Hurricane Preparedness Summit, although neither was on the podium when the bogus official spoke… Later, the group provided barbecued chicken and ribs to contractors at an open public housing development while a brass band belted out New Orleans jazz…. Mike Bonanno, the second “Yes Man,” told Reuters the hoax was a bittersweet achievement. “It’s helped us to become the people we wish we could be to correct the problems,” he said.” Here’s coverage by The Times-Picayune’s invaluable NOLA.com. The documentary The Yes Men does a fair job of showing the pair’s brass; their website is here.

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“Film festivals, for those who don’t know, are not exactly the glitzy red carpet affairs you see on TV. Those do happen, but they’re a tiny part of the festival. The main part of any film festival are the thousands of people with festival passes hanging on lanyards beneath their anoraks, carrying brochures for movies you have never and will never hear of, desperately scrabbling to sell whatever movie it is to buyers from all over the world. Every hotel bar, every cafe, every restaurant is filled to the brim with these people, talking loudly about non-existent deals. The Brits are the worst because most of the British film industry, with a few honourable exceptions, are scam artists and chancers who move around from company to company failing to get anything good made and trying to cast Danny Dyer in anything that moves. I’m seeing guys here who I first met twenty years ago and who are still wearing the same clothes, doing the same job (albeit for a different company) and spinning the same line of bullshit about how THIS movie has Al Pacino or Meryl Streep or George Clooney attached and, whilst that last one didn’t work out, THIS ONE is going to be HUGE. As the day goes on, they start drinking and it all gets ugly and, well, that’s why I’m the guy walking through the Tiergarten with a camera taking pictures of frozen lakes and pretending this isn’t happening.

“Berlin is cool, though and I’ve been lucky to be doing meetings with some people who want to actually get things done. We’ll see what comes of it.”
~ Julian Simpson 

“The difference between poetry and prose, and why if you’re not acculturated to poetry, you might resist it: that page is frightening. Why is it not filled? The two categories of people who don’t feel that way are children and prisoners. So many prison poets; they see that gap and experience it differently. I’m for the gap!”
~ Poet Eileen Myles