Insiders Guide to Dining in Steamboat Springs

After a fun day of skiing or riding the slopes, or an invigorating hike or mountain bike ride, you will want to relax and refuel. Steamboat Springs has plenty to choose from either downtown or on the mountain and everything is within minutes of a complimentary shuttle, free city bus, or quick cab ride.

Deciding where to eat out can be daunting given the choice of over 60 restaurants and the wide variety of food from Mexican, Italian, Indian, Steakhouses, Seafood to Pub Grub. Here’s a helping hand:

TOP 5 FAMILY DINING RESTAURANTS:

Big House Burgers – Utilizing locally raised beef, free of antibiotics and hormones, means both a tasty and healthy burger. A unique list of dogs, brats and burgers are available or build your own. There is a full bar and over 50 beers to choose from. If you aren’t a burger lover, you can select hormone and steroid free chicken or a nice selection of salads and home-style dinners.

Fiesta Jalisco – This family run Mexican restaurant offers an extensive menu, great service and great value for family dining. Their meals are billed as “real Mexican” cuisine with delicious family recipes that date back many decades, passed down from one family member to the next. Owner Diaz explains that Fiesta Jalisco’s cuisine is real Mexican, but California-style, with every item on the menu made fresh, daily from scratch. “Nothing is pre-made,” he promises.

Mahoghany Ridge Brewery & Grill – Just because its the only brew pub in Steamboat doesn’t mean they only serve beer. They are just really good at ales! The menu primarily focuses on “Dipping Entrees” which means you get to choose two sauces to go with your Chile Rubbed Beef Tournedos or Caribbean Jerk Spiced Duck Breast or Tandoori Spiced Yellow-fin Tuna, to name just a few. The sauces range from chutneys to salsas to spicy but pleasant soys, Thai barbeque, and chipotle aioli are available for the less adventurous.

Mazzola’s – You get an instant understanding of why Mazzola’s is a family favorite when you learn their motto is, “Dress down, eat big, talk loud, and break a few rules!” Their menu is extensive covering pasta, pizza, calzones, and amazing house specialties. It’s fun, it’s casual, and it is great value. Their portion options are big and bigger! You’ll have plenty left over for the next day. Kids are entertained with a ball of dough to shape before they bake it just for you.

Rex’s American Grill & Bar – There is something for everyone at Rex’s. The Bar has 8 hi-def TV’s for the sports enthusiasts but the noise never reaches the main restaurant. In the summer, the outdoor patio is a huge hit for live music and has plenty of area for kids to run and play. The range of food is impressive as their tasty Buffalo Burger or Elk Sausage Burger are just as good as the Seafood Risotto or Ruby Trout. Likewise, the kids can enjoy a hand tossed pie or homemade Cheddar Mac.

TOP 5 FINE-DINING RESTAURANTS:

Bistro c.v. – As one of the newer additions to fine dining in Steamboat, bistro c.v. wasted no time in becoming everyone’s favorite. The Denver Post Dining Critic, Tucker Shaw, concurred by writing, “bistro c.v. may just be my favorite new restaurant of the year.” Their philosophy of cooking simply, honestly, and innovatively comes through in the steak tartare starter, baby herb salad, or the array of fish selections that come from natural, organic, humane fisheries. With floor to ceiling windows, it is a favorite spot for watching the Steamboat crowds.

Cafe Diva – You simply cannot go wrong with this intimate, unique gem in the heart of the slopeside. Since opening their doors over a decade ago, the staff has consistently provided exceptional, unforgettable service to accompany the ecletic offerings and extensive wine list. Their signature “Surf and Turf” is a mouth-watering combination of Maine Diver Scallops and Elk Tenderloin. They book up fast so don’t delay!

Harwigs Cellar – For the best culinary experience, romantic dinner for two, or unique setting for a special occasion, look no further than the Wine Cellar Table at Harwigs & L’Apogee. An authentic, European dining experience with multiple courses and wine pairing awaits you and up to 9 of your closest friends. For larger groups, the restaurant has ample room and deserves The Wine Enthusiast’s recognition as “one the top 100 restaurants in the U.S.”

Riggio’s – If you’ve never been to Italy, you will get a sense of it when you taste and smell the Italian fare at Riggio’s Ristorante. It has been family owned since 1990 and you will think the entire staff is family and you are simply their house guest. It can be difficult to choose but the Lobster and Shrimp Gnocci, Pollo Puttanesca, or Salmon Carciofi are certainly favorites. The desserts are homemade so save room for the Tiramisu.

Saketumi – When sushi is done right it is sublime. Saketumi does it right and in style. It is no wonder this slope-side gem is frequently jam-packed. Its popularity, and refusal to take reservations, may be its only failing. Choose from an extensive menu of sushi and sashimi delights or one of the Asian fusion dishes that light up the palate. They also make a pretty decent Mojito.



Source by Robin Craigen

We Are All Riders On A Storm And Along For The Ride

When the Doors came out with that most thought provoking lyric “Riders On A Storm” you would have thought that by now the world would be in a much calmer realm of reality. But, now as I ponder those whispering words of remembrance of my distant past they have morphed into the harsh realities of today where we really are like riders on a storm. No longer are the days filled with those wondrous moments of those care free summer days. Only a regrettable sense that in all those yesteryears the tranquility of that time hasn’t reemerged in the world of today.

For over 3,000 years there have been prophesies, premonitions, and forecasts of events to come. A destiny predetermined or fate continues to rewrite the script of history itself. The promise of a brighter future always resonated the out look of my youth. Through the passing of time that brighter future is now shrouded over by storm clouds of uncertainty and anxiety. The realization that the promise was broken some time ago by events I had no real control over only confounds my bewilderment as to why my country has allowed me and millions like me to become so destitute. It’s like all the hopes, dreams, and aspirations we all sought have vanished right before our eyes. The world that I once knew is no more.

When a promise is broken all that is left are questions of how it could have happened. Hindsight is ill served when one is left with sorrow, disbelief and despair. Through it all, humanity has always had an innate gift given by our creator. The ever present will to survive, has enable us to rise from the ashes of deceit, deception, and destruction. There are those who have prophesied the events that have shaped our world and others who still believe time is running out for mankind. One can not help question the legitimacy of Apocalyptic events forthcoming. There again, all one has to look for in today’s realities the events of which through-out this first part of the 21st century have all pushed mankind to the very edge of self destruction.

I remember reading “A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens when I was young. So fascinated with that story it has always been a part of my core values. It is as though our society and our government today have become synonymous with the attitudes of Scrooge himself before he was visited by those three spirits. Point being that the Republican party in particular, with all that rhetoric about cutting much need services that have and are maintaining the public’s health and safety is very typical of “good old Ebonezer Scrooge.” The blatant refusal to acknowledge the fact that policies have always favored the wealthiest few while the majority of Americans continue to wallow in desperation is just another example of how callous our elected officials have become today.

While the United States continues on this path of indignation toward the masses in favor of consorting with the wealthiest the rest of the world is being held hostage by insurgents carrying out their hideous plans. It’s as though mankind has long forgot the lesson that was imbedded in the “Christmas Carol” where the benevolence of man is the business of mankind. As events unfold through-out the world are constant reminders of how far mankind has to go to eradicate the injustices that continue to plague us all.

In the state of Georgia a monument was constructed just as recently as 30 years ago. The Georgia Guidestones are a constant reminder of just how far humanity has gone to in causing such devastation and destruction through-out history. The catastrophic imbalance of man and nature caused by man himself continues to manifest into more unheard of atrocities accelerating more devastation on this planet. Some surmise that the Georgia Guidstones offer humanities only salvation while others have concluded a more sinister plot for world domination.

A wake up call for all of man? Or just some fanciful attempt by some eccentric to leave a lasting legacy? Or is the message inscribed offer hope and fulfills that promise of a better future? The message consisting of a set of ten guidelines or principles which is engraved on the Georgia Guidestones is in eight different languages. One language on each face of the four large upright stones. Moving clockwise around the structure from due north, these languages are: English, Spanish, Swahili, Hindi, Hebrew, Arabic, Chinese, and Russian. The eight most commonly used languages with the same message.

1. Maintain humanity under 500,000,000 in perpetual balance with nature.

2. Guide reproduction wisely – improving fitness and diversity.

3. Unite humanity with a living new language.

4. Rule passion – faith – tradition – and all things with tempered reason.

5. Protect people and nations with fair laws and just courts.

6. Let all nations rule internally resolving external disputes in a world court.

7. Avoid petty laws and useless officials.

8. Balance personal rights with social duties.

9. Prize truth – beauty – love – seeking harmony with the infinite.

10. Be not a cancer on the earth – Leave room for nature – Leave room for nature.

Like the Ten Commandments that Moses brought down thousands of years ago where mankind was given set principles and rules of self guidance. But, over the course of history humanity sought not to obey but to a certain extent to ignore the laws that our Creator bestowed unto man. Had mankind kept his word and actually followed the Ten Commandments just maybe my world today a brighter future would be a reality now. As it stands now these articles of guidance for humanity outlined above only are a continuation of the laws given to mankind those many thousands of years ago.

When Robert C. Christian [a presumed alias ] had this monument erected the world’s population was under 4.5 billion people. Projected worlds population will reach 10 billion before 2050 baring any unforeseeable disaster that could occur. The most controversial statement inscribed is the first one to keep population growth proportional to the balance of nature. Most likely the logical conclusion about this first statement has to do with mans industrialization of food to keep pace with increasing populations. What we all have seen within the past 20 years where more and more food is processed not from the natural process but by mans innovations to create faster more abundant food sources through artificial means. When this occurs man is no longer in tune with nature but more in tune to himself. This leaves mankind unsympathetic to the ever increasing needs to maintain the true balance of nature. In order to maintain that certain level of stability through-out the world man must realize that only a complete reversal of the direction of humanity will stave off the Grim Reaper of self destruction. This may have been the purpose of the Georgia Guidestones.

I keep going back to Moses and the original 10 Commandments had man continued to be faithful to all of these laws there would be peace, harmony, benevolence, and a genuine fellowship between man and nature. That brighter future that we all dream of would be a reality for every living being.



Source by Dr. Tim G Williams

Music Videos – The Extension To Musical Expression

Music has always been something that speaks to the soul. People listen to music to relax, to create an atmosphere, to set a mood. Music consists of two main parts namely the melody and lyrics. By combining these two aspects simultaneously you create a harmony that goes beyond explanation. The melody creates the correct atmosphere to bring you the true message of the lyrics. For ages people has been satisfied with an audio experience only, but as the music industry developed, people developed a need for an audio-visual musical experience. Music videos was the answer to that need. There were, and still are, many music lovers that have a negative view about music videos. They believe that music videos only have a marketing purpose and nothing else. There is some truth in this, but is a music video totally useless when it comes to the message a song needs to deliver?

You have to experience the song without a picture to really understand it. To really appreciate the work of a musical artist you have to experience a song through every mechanism available, through the artist's voice, through the specific music instruments, through the carefully selected melodies, through the wonderfully written lyrics. Your first experience of a song and its interpretation should be by audio only. You have to be able to capture its meaning before it is damaged by a visual expression. A song has to be free to speak a personal message and if a song is able to do that it is only because of artistic perfection. A music video takes away an artist's majestic power of illustration.

Music videos are not all that bad. The nice thing about music videos is that they give you a new approach to the song, another perspective that may not have been experienced during your first interpretations of the song. It opens your mind for new possibilities with a song. A music video is also a good medium that helps you to understand a song if you are not good at interpreting them. Not everyone is a good interpreter of musical literature. Music videos are also a great way of bridging the language gap for fans who enjoy the music of a foreign artist, but do not understand a word he or she is singing. After exploring a song trough audio only, it is always pleasurable for fans to see all the mechanisms of music combined in a music video, where you can experience the music with your eyes, ears and soul, all at the same time.

A music video should not be your first experience of a song, because that is when the theme of the song is killed. You have to focus on the music and lyrics to really appreciate the abilities of the artist. Not everyone looks good in a music video, but there are many, "not-so-good-looking" artists that produces great music. A music video is only a different medium through which one can experience a song, the music video itself can not speak to you in a personal way, only the song can. The music video only brings you the central theme of the song, the abstract, theoretical meaning. Therefore it is true that a music video on its own, gives you a very limited perspective and can, at most, be an extension to musical expression, but can not be the expression itself.



Source by Coenraad De Beer

Retire in Mexico

Is life in the US getting too expensive for you too? We had to leave due to the economy effecting the sale of our house in New Jersey, and the fact we could not afford the monthly cost of living: Tax $ 1100 Oil $ 450 Electricity $ 280 and cost of living increasing almost every day.

We love warm weather, good food, and friendly people, so we moved to Mexico. At the moment, we are in Monterrey in the north of Mexico, about 2 1/2 hours south from McAllen Texas, but in another few months we are moving more south.

A popular destination for Americans and Canadians to retire is San Miguel de Allende. A beautiful old town with a large plaza with restaurants, terraces to hang out, and lots of activities like photography, painting and cooking classes. Located 40 miles from Queretaro, which is the nearest airport with daily service to the US.

Another great area is Lake Chapala with little towns like Chapala, Ajijic and San Antonio Tlayacapan.
Lake Chapala is located about 20 miles southeast from Guadalajara, Mexico's second largest city. The weather is just gorgeous year round between 70 and 85 degrees, and the pace is quit and the native population is very friendly. Enjoying the good life: shopping at the local stores, sipping a cup of coffee or have a meal at the plaza's terrace.
You do not need a car to get around in one of these little towns. You can walk around town and the lake front is only a few blocks away.

The town, that caught our eye, is Tequisquiapan. A little town located in Queretaro estate in the center of Mexico, is only 2 hour from Mexico City, 40 minutes from Queretaro city, with everything you need, without traffic, pollution and delinquency. It is still less patronized by Americans, then San Miguel and the Lake Chapala area, but the numbers are growing.

Tequisquiapan is famous for its thermal waters, and for being the center of a wine and cheese producing region. May 21-June 6, the town hosts its annual wine and cheese festival, bringing together wine and cheese producers from all over the country. Apart from wine and cheese tasting, visitors will also enjoy regional cuisine, concerts, handicrafts and other cultural events.

What we like the best about the smaller towns in Mexico, is the fact that the people love life, and it shows with colorful festivals, small stands with food, people gathering on the plaza with kids playing around. The whole scenery reminds you of the 'good old time in good old America'.

Lets look at the top 10 why we moved to Mexico:
# 1 Health Insurance, IMSS as it's called in Mexico, cost $ 300 a year. The insurance covers 100% of doctor visits, hospital stays and drugs with no co-pays.

# 2 A visit with our dog to the vet cost about 50% less as in the US.

# 3 The water bill is ± $ 8.00 a month.

# 4 Real-estate taxes average $ 50.00 a year.

# 5 Due to the fact that these areas do not need airco, the average electricity bill here is about $ 25.00 a month.

# 6 Basic cable television service is about $ 50 a month.

# 7 We bought our video phone, so we can talk to, and see our friends and family when ever we want for $ 29.99 per month.

# 8 Our food budget including fresh vegetables, fruit, fresh pastries etc average $ 50.00 a week.

# 9 Our maid works for us 2 days a week cost $ 30.00 a week.

# 10 A nice 2 bedroom apartment can be rented for ± $ 400 per month.

You can see that a couple can live quite well for about $ 1,200 a month, so if you are living on social security after seeing your 401K going down the drain due to the bad economy in the US, there is even space for some traveling around.



Source by Yvonne Stephens

Easy Ways to Improve Your Partner Dancing

The best way to make something easy is to make it more interesting. There's little that's harder to do than something that is boring. If you're currently doing the same thing each week to develop your couples dancing, then you might find some of the following ideas helpful. This is especially so if you're keen to improve a bit faster, but you're not as keen on simply taking more classes, which could be due to boredom or cost.

Different types of classes

What type of class do you take now? They may be private lessons (1 on 1) or they might be group lessons. Each has their advantages and disadvantages. I do not think that one is actually cheaper than the other. You pay more for private classes, but you learn so much faster that it's about the same cost for a given increase in ability anyway. The major difference is that in privates you are dancing with someone who is experienced. This means that if you're a poor lead or a poor follow, then it will not be evident to you, and it will be hard for you to know if you need to improve it. Group classes give you an excellent chance to develop an ability that is more general, because you dance with many people, and they are social so often more fun. However, you're definitely able to get a lot of tailor feedback unless the instructor has that ability to pick small faults within a large group and quickly point them out to you. If you find a group class like this, then count yourself very lucky. I have only ever been in one. So if you've been doing nothing but groups, then try some privates. You can find people who do them at their home to keep the price down, if price is an issue. On the other hand if you're been doing nothing but privates, then try some group classes. They are a kit cheaper, they are a lot of fun and sometimes they are combined with social events.

Workshops

You could argue that a workshop is a different type of class, but I think that they are quite different to warrant individual consideration. Workshops are not really dance classes. They typically focus on aspects of partner dancing such as musicality, arm styling, hip action or general movement exercise. Some of them are one offs and some of them run weekly. I have been to a weekly class that focused on movement techniques for Latin dancing. There was no time anyone involved up and the activities revolved around walking, core strengthening and the subtleties of different types of foot work. People who went to these classes, and put the effort in, always commented upon how they had a better understanding of what to do to get better and had a good time there because the activities were different from the usual dance class. I have also been to a musicality workshop at a Salsa festival in Hong Kong. When you have someone take the time to go over a collection of techniques that help you better understand and express music through dance, a whole new aspect of dance opens up to you. Keep your eyes open for these workshops in your local area. If you're not sure where to look, then ask your dance teacher; They should have an idea. Workshops are an excellent change and a good one will re-motivate you in your regular class – making it easier to improve.

Social events at other places or different styles

Do you ever go to social dance events? Some people do not. If you do, then do you always go to the same one? If so, then that can get boring. A simple change of scenery can make all the difference. However, sometimes it is just listening to a different instructor that can help you see things differently, and make improving dance interesting and fun (and then easier) again.

What might really make things better is a different style. I spoke a friend, who was a salsa dancer, into going to a blues class / social night that I had been going to for a while. The simple change in music made it much more enjoyable for him. However, simply doing a slightly different dance made aspects of salsa a lot clearer to him as well. But what was probably the biggest difference was the nature of the other dancers. The places he danced at had a lot of salsa dancers who were a bit snobbish because they felt they were so sophisticated being salsa dancers, which I find amazing because salsa is a street dance not even really recognizable by international dance organization, but the people at The blues class were nothing but easy going and cool (it is blues after all, and you can not get much cooler than that). You can imagine how such a different experience would be interesting and easily exposes you to aspects of couples dancing that will help you to improve your ability

Videos

Videos can be good to practice with, but they can also be a good reference. I would not have thought it possible until I experienced it, but you can spend a lazy weekend afternoon watching a dance lesson on DVD. I was visiting a friend who had injured her self dancing and had been spending the whole time watching DVDs of dance lessons and various partner dance events such as burn the floor. To this day, I can still remember some of the key points from a Scottish dance champion on how to move in rumba and noticing how my culture affects the way I dance after watching an international dance event. So if you want to kill some time with a few like-minded friends, then try watching some dance videos. It's easy to do and you will get a few extra points on how to dance better.

Books

Books are a lot like videos. They make an excellent reference, and they can give you some insights into focused ways to improve your dancing as you casually flip through them. You probably do not want to get a book that only tells you what your foot placement should be for each type of dance. You have a dance teacher for that. Look for books that give you ideas on how you can easily improve your dance ability or give you more specific details on each dance. There are plenty of excellent free e-books online too so do an internet search for resources as well.



Source by Clint Steele

Inspired Words From a Billboard

I used to pass by this fly-over bridge to and from work while still employed as a call-center agent. Very visible from the top was a triangular billboard structure designed to present one face to the traffic coming up and another face when going down. The advertisements were for a Christian FM station, judging from the exhortations, surprisingly encouraging people to listen to inspired music. Smaller boards were posted below the main signs, each of which contains a popular bible verse. One of these quotes was "Come to me, all you heavily laden, and I will give you rest". The other, which is the topic of this article, quotes "I am the Lord, creator of heaven and earth! Is anything too difficult for me?"

Computers, internet, and information technology were still not commonplace when I was studying, up to the time I graduated from Chemical Engineering. It was after so many years, and having had a string of jobs, including three years as an overseas contract worker, that I first encountered this technological marvel. The monitors were still black / white / green screens and some programs had to be typed in, and floppy disks or diskettes were necessary.

Technical progress very quickly made the personal computer very manageable and reliably inexpensively. Meanwhile, I was beginning to approach my silver years, financially challenged and in unemployed hiatus for quite a number of years. My back was on the wall! That was when I took notice of the recent upstart industry termed Call Center. The requirements seem to fit me: good English communication skills, able to work nights, and can get along well with others. Within six months I got employed, as a technical support agent for an outsourced line of business that provides internet service in the United States.

Truthfully, during each night of the two-weeks training sessions, it seemed to me as if a whole mass of new and unfamiliar data were thrown at me, only to be appended by another huge mass the following evening. A genuine "nosebleed"! It was almost a relief to finish the lessons and go to the production area. This, however, proved to be the even bigger challenge, for I had to take actual calls ofententimes irate agents complaining about internet connection problems.

I have come to like the atmosphere of working with young, smart, beautiful, outgoing, and sexy people. Inwardly, though, I was worried about my performance was not up to standards, and I would soon be asked to leave. It happened as my fifth month roled in – a notice of termination was handed to me by my team leader.

There was still a process it had to pass through before a decision on my case would be finalized, which of which was an interview with the Human Resources manager, yet to be scheduled some time later. Heavyhearted and depressed on my way home that early morning; I unintentionally glanced at that verse I so often read arbitrarily before:

"I am the Lord, creator of heaven and earth! Is anything too difficult for me?"

It must have been a beam of light, or a flash of lightning, that stuck my disoriented mind, and I stared at that sign until it vanished from sight. "Is anything too difficult to ask from the creator of everything?" Was the thought that kept popping up in my brain. Certainly none! I do not know if it is considered a prayer but I did silently wished for Divine control.

I was composed and untroubled reporting for work that night, clearly accepting of whatever development was in store for me, and actually already prepared to do the departmental clearances. The team leader, whose signature was on the notice she handed me two nights before, told me to log-in so I will not be late for my shift. Obviously, a consensus was reached that I was not doing so bad after all, and therefore describing another chance.

I stayed on for more than a year until pension requirements compelled me to tender my resignation. For some reason, the more common rarell pleasantry I received was that I "would not be forgotten". Even the Site manager wanted me to come back should I be able to go around the Social Security policy.

The billboards have now been replaced with more gaudy advertisements, but without smaller boards or inspirational versa. Neverheless, whenever I get to travel by that fly-over bridge again, or whenever I feel downcast or dispirited or despondent, I recall those powerful words that motivated me once, and are etched indelibly in my heart:

"I am the Lord, creator of heaven and earth! Is anything too difficult for me?"



Source by Manuel L Beronga

Music of a Life (Book Review)

A story with relatively few words but full of meaning, The Music of Life is the life of a frustrated musician. The story is told by a narrator who meets the musician in a train station probably in Siberia and in a snowstorm. The narrator in the middle of many stranded travelers looks for a chair when the sound of soft music beckons him to a deserted part of the train station where old furniture is stored. There he meets this musician and tells us his story as coincidences bringing them together, on and off, several times.

During the Stalin Era, Alexei Berg, the pianist, escapes from Moscow just before his first public recital. As he does so, he finds out that his parents are arrested, soon to be sent to exile. After quite a few incidents where people hide him and narrowly escapes from harm, he finds his way to a battleground where Russians fought Germans in World War II. He dons the identity of a dead Russian soldier who looks like him and manages to fight in the war to later become the driver of a general life life he saves during the war.

While working for the general, the musician falls for the general's young daughter who proves to be a callous and frivolous girl. When Alexei's mask falls, he is sent to Siberia for several labor-hardened years. This tragic story does not end with a disaster, but it is bleak through resembling the work of the older Russian masters, Chekhov and Dostoyevski.

What captivated me was author's use of selective language with intense economy, which reminded me of poetry. This story was originally written in French, then translated into other languages; Despite, in spirit, it always stayed Russian. The translator Geoffrey Strachan, too, describes high praise for this successful translation.

The author, Andreï Makine, was born in Russia in Krasnoyarsk in 1957 and was granted political asylum in France in 1987. In 1995 his novel dreams of my Russian Summers won the Goncourt Prize and the Médicis Prize, France's two most prestigious literary awards.
His works are:
A Hero's Daughter (1996), Confessions of a Fallen Standard-Bearer (1996), Once upon the River Amour (1996), Dreams of My Russian Summers (1997), Crime of Olga Arbyelina (2000), Requiem for a Lost Empire 2001), Music of a Life (2003), The Earth and Sky of Jacques Dorme (2005), The Woman Who Waited (2005)

This book is in hardcover, copyrighted in 2003, and with ISBN: 1559706376 and ISBN-13: 978-0743475600,

Music of a Life, although only 109 pages, is an epic in essence, since it is about love, loss, music, war, and political upheaval. It would make me very happy to see this wonderful writer win the Nobel Prize someday, only because (in my opinion), his work warrants it.



Source by Joy Cagil

Top 10 Comedy Films

So what is it exactly that distinguishes the good comedy films from the great? Is it their ability to endure, the way their humor creeps up on you or takes you by surprise? Maybe it’s a great script, perfect timing or one-liners that hit the mark every time? Whatever it is, great comedy films leave a lasting impression and have an ability to engage us. They allow us to lower our defenses and share in the joy and the pain of the characters, as we identify with their situations. Ultimately, truly great comedy allows us to laugh at ourselves.

10. There’s Something About Mary

Arguably the best Farrelly brothers movie to date, they take a story about stalkers and turn it into a comedy. Ted Stroehmann (Ben Stiller) still longs for his prom date Mary Jensen (Cameron Diaz) years after losing track of her following an unfortunate accident on prom night. He eventually decides to hire a private detective to track her down, the only problem being, that the private detective falls in love with her too. Seems like Mary is every man’s dream girl. This movie produced many classic scenes, some you have to see to believe.

9. Airplane!

Considered by many to be the classic slapstick comedy. Airplane! tells the story of Ted Striker, who has never been able to fly a plane since an “incident” in the war. Striker is forced into action when a mysterious disease (don’t order the fish) knocks out the crew. Airplane! is so jam-packed with jokes you’ll need to see it a few times to catch them all.

8. Meet the Parents

This movie takes a potentially awkward situation that most people can relate to and takes it to the extreme. Greg Focker (Ben Stiller) tries to impress his girlfriends parents, but the father-in-law to be (played by Robert De Niro) is an ex CIA agent and is very mistrusting of Greg. Everything Greg tries to do ends up with disastrous consequences from losing the families cat, to giving his future sister-in-law a black eye. You can’t help but cringe and laugh at the same time at Greg’s misfortunes.

7. Blades of Glory

Following a fight at a medal awards ceremony, champion skaters Chazz Michael Michaels (Will Ferrell) and Jimmy MacElroy (Jon Heder) are banned from competitive skating for life. Years pass and circumstances bring them together for another chance at the podium, but this time in the “men’s doubles”. The story follows their hilarious preparations for the event; all-the-while dogged by attempts from the brother/sister pairs team of the Van Waldenbergs to sabotage their efforts.

6. Coming to America

One of the last great Eddie Murphy movies before his return in the late 90s. Coming to America tells the story of Prince Akeem (Murphy) coming to America to find himself a wife who will love him for who he is after rejecting the idea of an arranged marriage. A fish out of water story, Akeem can’t help but act with dignity even when working at the local fast food restaurant. He soon finds the women of his dreams but will she love him when she discovers he is a Prince from a far away land? A great story with very funny scenes and lots of cameos to look out for.

5. Borat

The story centers on Borat, the Kazakhstani reporter sent to the US to prepare a report for the benefit of his countrymen back home. Things don’t quite go according to plan as Borat falls madly in love with Pamela Anderson after seeing her in Baywatch. Borat decides to go to California to meet and marry her and encountering all sorts of people and situations along the way. Told in classic road trip style, the many adventures of Borat are sometimes crude, but often hilarious at the same time. The most amazing thing is that Borat is taken at face value by virtually everyone he meets with hilarious and sometimes jaw-dropping results.

4. This is Spinal Tap

This is the classic “rockumentary” – a spoof of so many other on-the-road, rock ‘n roll documentaries. It tells the story of Spinal Tap, a washed up British rock band returning to the US for another tour. What we end up with is a hilarious send-up and sometimes a biting commentary on the rock ‘n roll world. The band goes through inevitable ups and downs through their tour after their latest album cover is deemed too racy and is completely blacked out. The band breaks up only to reform (in typical rock and roll fashion) and to make more money on yet another tour.

3. Groundhog Day

Phil Conners (Bill Murray) somehow gets stuck replaying the same day over and over again… Groundhog Day.  Like most people, at first it seems like fun, but after reliving the same day 100s of times, Phil becomes suicidal and tries to take his own life. After finding out he can’t die, he tries every conceivable way to kill himself. He eventually realizes this is pointless and starts to learn about the people and the town he’s stuck in and falls in love with his producer, Rita (Andie McDowell).

2. Sleeper

During a routine operation Miles Monroe (Woody Allen) is cryogenically frozen and then brought back to life 200 years later. The future looks bleak and is controlled by a big brother like government headed by “the Leader”. Monroe ends up joining the underground resistance with hilarious consequences. Perhaps the most memorable scene in the movie is when Miles “disguises” himself as an android. This film is noted for its more visual and slapstick gags than many of Woody Allens’s later movies.

1. Monty Python and the Holy Grail

Considered by many to be Monty Python’s finest work, the Holy Grail retells the classic story of King Arthur, but does away with most of the classic story. Instead, the king searches for knights to come to Camelot with him; along the way God appears to tell them to search for the Holy Grail. Their noble quest sees the majority of the knights killed off in funny ways until only two make it to the end. What happens there is one of the funniest and most absurd scenes ever filmed.



Source by Noel S Byrne

American Film Market on a Shoestring Budget

In early November, the American Film Market comes alive with sellers, buyers, and promoters bartering for placement in distributor's catalogs. With attendance around 8,000 AFM is the World's largest motion picture trade event. It's a marketplace where producers and sales companies license films to distributors and this year they project to have 2,000+ New Films and Projects, 1,000+ Distributors and 400+ Production Companies. The market is based at the Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel and it uses conference rooms and movie theaters in the area.

For struggling filmmakers and screenwriters, AFM offers opportunities for networking, project financing, and distribution. However, on a shoestring budget it takes a lot of planning to achieve ones goals. Attendance fees are steep and exhibition costs are higher. Yet there are ways to obtain meaningfulful accomplishments and do so without breaking the bank.

The immense size of AFM may seem overwhelming to first timers, but it's more a community with established relationships that date back years. Rapport and trust have been built up over time and while the products may evolve, the people stay pretty much the same. It's also a market of niches where buyers must evaluate which products will have value in their home markets. Buyers face another challenge, in addition to assessing potential value and the whims of film goers six month to a year hence; They must also judge how present economic conditions will affect the entertainment marketplace. In previous downturns, movies have played the escapist role but that was before entertainment became so fragmented. Now there are significantly more choices and younger audiences find that the Internet, I-pods, and video games better fit their needs and budgets.

Yet, whatever the state of the economy there will always be a need for product. Theaters, television, cable, satellite, and now the Internet all look for viable programming. Multiplex screens and television schedules eat up a vast number of titles. With the major studios cutting back and concentrating on blockbuster entries, there are product voids and independent filmmakers stand ready to fill them. What's more, as the ongoing credit crisis limits the number of movies released those that do obtain financing will find foreign distribution easier to acquire.

For the low-budget independent filmmakers, especially on a shoestring, working this market requires careful preparation. The AFM Pitching seminar stressed the importance of having a succinct coherent presentation, whether it's a project in development, a proposed script or a completed film. One must remember that buyers, sales agents, and distributors receive countless pitches and to avoid getting lost in the shuffle, you and your project must be memorable. Your pitch should have water-cooler talk-ability. By that, I mean it should be highly transferable and be able to travel through the community without losing energy. Long before the market opens this process should begin by contacting your prospects and giving them a preview of what you will be presenting. You can do this via mail, email or by phone. Give them a taste to wet their appetite. See the Market's tips on how to work the AFM, especially the guidelines on Pitching Essentials.

Jonathan Wolf, AFM Managing Director, reiterates the importance of obtaining assistance in areas where you are weak. Being able to pull together the expertise and good judgment of others is an essential part of being a successful producer. This may require attaching a producer to your project who is more familiar with the creative aspects or one who is capable at securing financing, or a line producer who is able to manage the details of the production itself. If the film is near completion, a producer's rep may be of help in obtaining festival exposure as well as securing a distribution deal. A publicist may also be required to create the desired pre-market buzz. Adding a sales agent to secure licensing rights within various foreign territories is another asset that ups the value of your package.

One obstacle for first timers is identifying reasonably prospects and obtaining their contact information. For a listing of exhibitors and their contact information, go to American Film Market website and navigate to Attend / Buyer / Exhibitor List. Since some of these companies also serve as sales agents, this list will be useful in locating these people. One can use other directories to cross-reference and identify the sale agents attending. Google or Bing "Sales Agents for Films" for various directories and look specifically for the one put out by the Screen Australia. This pdf directory contains 22 pages of detailed contact information, including person to contact, acquisition policies, and recent acquisitions.

Another source is the directory on the Internet Movie Data Base, pro version – IMDbPro. . Navigate to Company Directory and from Type Company scroll down to Sales Representatives. This addition to IMDb offers greater industry information and is available on monthly subscription bases. Also, check out the KFTV online directory for their list of sales agents. This free online service caters to the international entertainment industries. Enter Sales Agents in search window.

Short phone calls can help establish a rapport with targeted personnel. However, most filmmakers are reluctant to do this because international calls can be expensive. I would suggest using a low prepaid international calling card. LDPOST has a list of available services along with rates by countries. For instance, calls to France, London, and Germany can be as low as 2.0 to 2.4 cents a minute, which is cheaper than stateside long distance rates. Simply place your call-in number, then your PIN number on your speed dial to streamline this connection process. There is also a Direct Dial option available where you dial a single number.

Because your prospect will not likely have the final say, your pitch and accompanying materials should provide strong sales arguments that can move up the corporate ladder. Up front, it should state your objectives, ie, seeking international sales agent, seeking co-production financing, or seeking acquisition of completed script, etc. While your presentation may be confusing, it's competitive with numerous others and having statements and figures to back up your arguments is essential.

There is a long list of evidentiary materials and here are some of the more prominent ones. Include the ones that best represent your project. Comparisons to similar balanced films – their critical and box office success, log line, elevator synopsis, full synopsis, script coverage, named actors, named director, named DP, projected budget, festival awards, reviews, test screening results, audience ratings, Trailer, DVD screener, poster art work, press book materials, production stills, production stories, music tie-ins, merchandising opportunities, unique locations, EPK , film's web site, and project's blogs. Label these items with project name and contact information, then package them in a clear plastic bag so they are not mixed up with materials submitted by others. State the availability of the master and release copies as well as their screening format. Condense your pitch into succinct leave-behind summaries that contain pertinent arguments and include goals along with all vital contact information.

While one quest in presenting a film at the market is to obtain a sale, another is to generate a buzz for your movie. Post cards, DVD handouts, one-sheets and walking billboard characters are some of the methods used. A film's talk-ability inertia is a key factor in gaining distribution or representation by an international sales agent. In fact a small number of this year's foreign language Oscar contenders are using AFM to maximize award season exposure. Additional buzz can be obtained from reviews or news briefs posted in trade publications such as Variety, Hollywood Reporter, The Wrap, Deadline Hollywood, and indieWire.

During the later half of the market, Industry Half-Market Badges are available. During this period, exhibitors have more time to meet with you and are more receptive to hearing your pitch. To best utilize your time, map out your prospects and their locations in the hotels. Be aware that exhibitors are on numerous floors and that some share space. Scheduling appointments will help lend more credibility to your project. While the Half-Market Badge is good for four days the final day is a get away day and most exhibitors are packed and closed up by noon.

It may take some time for buyers to get back to you so it's a good idea to follow-up reinforcing your pitch and document the arguments supporting your project. It also helps to add new developments that make the project more appealing. Follow up first with an email and later with a phone call. Because these are busy people, focus on the feedback you really need. While you may be looking for a deal memo, you should also be looking for ways to strengthen the relationship. An appreciative thank you card can be helpful in this regard especially when it notes useful advice or feedback you've received.

AFM conferences and seminars are also good places to network and promote your project. In past years, topics have included suspects on pitching, financing, co-production deals, and incentives and tax rebates. These conferences are typically an added cost to your market pass and prices are listed on the American Film Market website.

One of the perks to being a holder is being able to pick up various print publications covering the market. These publications include Screen, Cineuropa, Beyond Cinema, Filmmaker Magazine, American Cinematographer plus industry trade editions such as Variety and The Hollywood Reporter. These are available on the mezzanine level and free to pass holders.

I would also suggest taking in a number of screenings to see how other filmmakers promote their product. There are over 500 screenings to pick from and while big budget, big star films draw respectable audiences, most films play to small crowds. Yet these gatherings afford opportunities to meet industry people, particularly filmmakers and producers. Use this time effectively and choose films that are closely related to your project. Screening times and theater locations are listed in the catalog. Shuttle buses to various theaters are provided outside the Loews Hotel.

There are numerous opportunities at the market to pitch ideas, network, and gain knowledge about the industry. The hotel lobbies where participants mingle are prime spots. It's a relaxed atmosphere where spiels and business cards fly about at will. In addition, it's a good idea to have as much information as possible on your card. Some attendees apply a sticker to the back with pertinent information about their project and / or company. Where applicable, write on back a desired call to action. Things like "View my trailer at …" When you exchange hundreds of cards one can be easily forget, so make notes on the back of those you receive.

With the advances in technology, you will also find notebook presentations as a practical means of making a presentation. These devices are able to play trailers, interviews with stars, and offer samples of promotional materials. There are numerous advantages to this type presentation in that they are quick and to the point. Film is a visual medium and what better way to promote a project. Most prospects are amicable to watching a short trailer and if interested open to viewing more materials. However, you have to identify the buyers and open a dialogue. While the color-coded badges provide some helps, most buyers are so inundated with impromptu pitches that stuff their badges inside their shirt.

There are also special receptions, parties and red carpet events, and most require being on the invitation list. While most of these events are for established friends and associates, a kindly inquiry can sometimes result in an invite. While not openly publicized, invitations are handed out to promote a product or company. It some cases it is to firm up established relationships or in appreciation of past business.

Lastly, mingle effectively. Introduce yourself by tagging your name with a profession, company affiliation, and info about your project. Listen, ask questions, and work the entire room with meaningful productive dialogue. For when it comes to mingling with the international side of the business, AFM is at the top of the class, a marketplace where chance encounters can easily evolve into lucrative deals.



Source by Erik Sean McGiven

Speaking Spanish – A Must in Today's Globalized Economy

A hundred years ago, 60 million people spoke Spanish in the world. Nowadays, there are more than 400 million people speaking Spanish as their native language and 100 million people speak Spanish as their second language. It is one of the most spoken languages ​​in the world and one of the six official languages ​​of the United Nations. The Hispanic community represents one of the fastest growing markets in the world, from which 100 million live in the United States. Demand for products and services in Spanish has increased substantively and more companies are targeting their efforts towards the Hispanic segment. Beside, the growing importance of the Hispanic population has had a clear political impact. This was seen during the last election campaign where the Hispanic vote had a considerable strength.

Today more than 655 cities in the United States are composed mostly of Hispanics and millions are surfing the web to purchase online, to read or simply for entertainment. According to WingLatino the buying power of the Hispanic population reached 1.2 trillion in 2010. Many major websites are translating their content to Spanish in order to take advantage of this potential market. For example, Yahoo! has opened more sites with content in Spanish. These include: Yahoo! Argentina, Yahoo! Mexico, Yahoo! Chile, Yahoo! Colombia, Yahoo! Peru, etc.

Being bilingual will provide you with a great competitive advantage since many companies are hiring employees who speak another language between English. However, with more than 10 Spanish dialects, learning Spanish has become quite difficult for many people. It is a language with many variations and spoken differently among many Latin American countries. Therefore, what is the most efficient way to learn Spanish? Definitely by practicing but there is also another component. People usually learn faster when they have fun doing it. A good recommendation would be watching television and listening to music in Spanish. Write down the words you do not understand, create a list and look up their definitions in the dictionary. But it is equally important to learn the culture, popular phrases and sayings. The idea is to find fun ways of studying this foreign language and understand its tradition to get familiarized with it more easily.

In short, it is essential to speak a foreign language in today's globalized economy, especially Spanish. If you live in the United States, simply look around and you will see how Spanish influences your everyday life. So do not lose any more time and learn how to speak Spanish efficiently, quickly and easily.



Source by Miguel Barahona