Beyond Thunderdome

Our big Thunderdome reunion took place Saturday night on the old premises now called Club La Boom.

You could tell the rooms were the same shape as Thunderdome’s, but the initial bar area was all white and well-lit. It felt like it belonged in “Clockwork Orange”, but that didn’t stop us from meeting old friends and drinking.

The larger dance room opened at 10 p.m. to the music we know and love. Depeche Mode, the Cult, the Cure, Nitzer Ebb, New Order… we heard it all. This room was properly black, with bars a little too chic. The room was vaguely familiar but not quite right. Where did the spiral staircase go? Where were the cages and poles to hang to? I told my friend Barnes that it felt like it feels when you see your grandmother dressed as a whore.

Regardless, we danced and we drank. We met old friends. Actually, everyone we spent time with with an exception or two was someone we’d first met at the Dome but have since stayed in touch. There was only one person I was friends with 20 years ago whom I hadn’t seen since I moved to (and came back from) California.

We danced all night. Elvi and I didn’t drink all night – but some of our friends did. At least two hit on her as we left at 3:20 a.m., but good-naturedly.

It was a great time. As Patrick said, it made us all feel like 20 again. I can’t yet find any photos of the event online, not even on Facebook.

There was one fly in the ointment, however. I had played softball for two hours in the afternoon. I stunk up the place, but I hadn’t played in a decade. I had sore hips afterward, as I usually do, and a sore right knee that I attributed to aggravating the cartilage tear or whatever inside it.

The night of dancing did not help my knee at all. It is stiff today and has a fairly constant dull ache. If I put my right foot on the floor and use my body weight to flex my knee, there’s no pain. If I stand upright and try to flex my knee so as to pull my right foot up off the floor, it hurts like a mother. I don’t think that’s cartilage. I probably damaged a tendon running from my thigh and inserting on my tibia.

I put on a brace left over from when I strained the MCL in my left knee. The compression of the brace removes the dull ache and reminds me not to do anything stupid. I’m going to give it a few days to feel better and if it doesn’t, it’s time to see the doctor.

Bonus entertainment:

Today we went to a mud wrestling event staged to raise funds for Haiti and Pakistan. What a blast. Front row seats meant we got speckled with mud (actually pottery clay).

I saw more of Kai Nagata than I’ve ever seen of any current or ex-student.

A course in culture through film

Elvi and I have spent the last few months considering a cultural education for our kids. Specifically, we want to teach them the culture our generation gleaned from film. We want them to see movies that explain where we come from, that explain where our sayings come from.

To this end, we’ve built a list of movies that we are renting for our children to watch. The criteria for the list is cultural significance, to us. That doesn’t mean good movies, or any genre of film. We’ve discarded many great films because they have no impact on our culture.

Take “Annie Hall”, for example. It is a great movie. It has that famous lobster scene. If we lived in New York City, it would probably make our list. But neither Elvi nor I make any reference to it in our lives, and neither does any of the media we’re exposed to. It’s simply not relevant enough. You could make the same argument against “All That Jazz” – unquestionably a fine film but who refers to it these days?

On the other hand, who gets through a day without telling someone, “That’s why I’m going to kill you last”?

Here’s our list of approved cinematic cultural phenomena:

  • 2001, a Space Odyssey
  • Airplane!, Airplane II: The Sequel
  • Alien
  • Apocalypse Now
  • Babe
  • Back to School
  • The Bad News Bears
  • Blazing Saddles
  • The Blues Brothers
  • Caddyshack
  • Casablanca
  • Commando
  • Conan the Barbarian
  • Crocodile Dundee
  • Deliverance
  • Die Hard
  • Dirty Dancing
  • Dr. Strangelove
  • E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial
  • Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
  • Ghostbusters
  • The Godfather
  • The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
  • History of the World: Part I
  • Jaws
  • A League of Their Own
  • Lethal Weapon
  • Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior
  • Major League
  • Monty Python and the Holy Grail
  • Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life
  • The Pink Panther series
  • Planes, Trains & Automobiles
  • The Princess Bride
  • Raiders of the Lost Ark
  • Risky Business
  • Robocop
  • Rocky
  • Slap Shot
  • Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi
  • Taxi Driver
  • Terminator
  • This Is Spinal Tap
  • The Treasure of the Sierra Madre
  • When Harry Met Sally
  • The Wizard of Oz
  • Young Frankenstein

Here are films that didn’t make the cut:

  • An American Werewolf in London
  • Annie Hall
  • Big
  • The Breakfast Club
  • Dead Poets Society
  • The Exorcist
  • Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
  • Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom
  • Jerry Maguire
  • Life of Brian
  • Meatballs
  • Pretty in Pink
  • Pretty Woman
  • Pulp Fiction
  • Stripes
  • Top Gun
  • Trading Places

I guess this post is begging for comments. I also guess it won’t get many.

Print and principles

(I’m proud of the pseudo-Regency Blackadderesque title.)

Last Monday, the Gazette had on page A3 a story that featured Child Three, and the large photo that accompanied the story also featured Child Three.

That’s great and all, but something occurred me. No one asked us to sign a release for his picture.

We in the journalism department are keenly aware of Aubry v. Éditions Vice-Versa inc., in which the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that a person’s right to privacy outweighs a photographer’s freedom of expression.

What brought the case to court was a photographer who took a photo of a 17-year-old girl sitting on the street. The paper published the photo and the girl sued.

The Supreme Court decided that no one can publish a photo featuring a person unless you get the subject’s permission.

There are some exceptions. You may freely publish photos: of a subject who attend a public event such as a parade, demonstration, or sporting event where there is no expectation of privacy; of a subject who appears as incidental background; of a subject who is unidentifiable; of if the photograph is of the public interest.

How do I know all this? I said we in the journalism department are keen. We tell our students to always obtain permission to use a subject’s photo. We provide them with a boilerplate release form they can and should use.

None of these aforementioned exceptions apply to the photo of my son and the other children. I e-mailed Bryanna Bradley, the photographer, to ask whether she obtained permission to use the kids’ image from the camp. I asked if there was even a release signed at all.

Bryanna ducked my questions and told me to write Marcos Townsend, the Gazette’s acting photo editor, so I did. Here’s his informative reply, reprinted with permission (the larger-sized highlights are mine):

Thank you for your the opportunity to answer your questions. Newspapers operate a little differently than commercial photographers who do require written consent in the form of a model release. Having a person tell us their name is considered sufficient consent for their photo to be published. In the case of a minor, we seek out the parent or if they are part of a group/school – as was the case with your son – we leave it to that group/school to sort out permission (as they would get permission for any other activity the child might be involved with while in their care). I am told the children had been asked beforehand to ask their parents if there would be any problem with their photos being published and there were no objections.

If you have the opportunity, please do pass on to your students that the courts do not require us to have a written release – circumstance or the person’s name usually indicates that we had publication permission. As a matter of courtesy, we always try to let people know why we are photographing them, but please understand why we rely on organizers to sort out permission for groups.

I hope I’ve been able to answer the crux of your question.

Interesting, and sensible. Maybe we journalism keeners are acting on the side of caution, and I wonder if that is a service to our students.