The 5:24: If They Pay You For It, It’s Not Love

The 5:24: If They Pay You For It, It’s Not Love

For more than thirty-years, Rich Marin dominated Wall Street, producing some of the most creative investments, making billions for his clients and millions for himself. But it all came crashing down around him five years ago, when the hedge funds he oversaw at Bear Stearns imploded. The rest of the financial world followed within the year. Now Rich Marin wants to build the world’s largest ferris wheel in Staten Island, and New York City’s Mayor Bloomberg has just given Marin his blessing.

Before the big recession, nobody outside of Wall Street would ever have heard of him if it were not for the publication of a June 28, 2007, story on the front page of The New York Times Business Section. In his personal time, Marin ran a blog called Whim of Iron, an eclectic mix of notes to friends, ruminations on life in banking, travel writing and a listing of his weight-loss efforts. But most of all, it was home to his movie reviews. Cinema had been a driving passion for many years, ever since Mr. Marin spent some time as a high school student in Rome.

The Times reported that on June 17 of 1997, just as Bear Stearns frantically was trying to bail out two hedge funds that were run by two of Mr. Marin’s traders: “Richard Marin, the head of the Bear unit that ran the troubled funds, ‘stole away’ from the ‘crisis-hedge-fund-salvation-workaholic weekend’ to see the new Kevin Costner thriller “Mr. Brooks.” His advice on the film? Take a ‘pass,’ Mr. Marin wrote in a review he posted that day on his blog.” Rich Marin was out of a job two days after the story ran.

While Mr. Marin may have achieved widespread infamy for blogging about movies while the Bear Stearns division he ran collapsed, he remained unapologetic about his love of cinema, so much so that he even relaunched his movie blog last year. Further, the 1997 financial blogging embroilment was not the first time The Times had written about Mr. Marin’s flare for film. Before blogging, there was his screenwriting.

In 1996, Mr. Marin submitted a script to an HBO competition called Subway Stories, a project produced by Rosie Perez. Out of the thousands of submissions, only 10 were selected for production, and Mr. Marin’s was one of them. “It was the most highly reviewed by both The Times and the Daily News,” he said. In a recent interview, Marin didn’t indicate which of the 10 shorts was his, but it is almost certainly The 5:24, which is about a young banker’s reckoning with a wise old man as they ride the Lexington Avenue subway downtown before dawn.

The Times described The 5:24 as “the most successful example” of “eerie psychological confrontation” that suffuses many of Subway Stories’ series of shorts films, a “succinct study of the traps of financial ambition” starring Steve Zahn as the banker and Jerry Stiller as the wise guy. The 5:24 follows the daily conversations between the wary young banker and the seemingly brilliant, older and allegedly retired financial analyst, who claims that working in an office, although extremely lucrative, would take the fun out his predictive talents. When the older man proposes an investment that appears much too good to be true, will the young banker be able to set aside his fears and gamble his life savings on the older man’s lucrative proposal?

Read more about Rich Marin in The New York Observer here.

The 5:24: If They Pay You For It, It’s Not Love

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The Ghosts of British Shoe: A Haunting Narrative of Modern-Day Industrial Ruins

The Ghosts of British Shoe: A Haunting Narrative of Modern-Day Industrial Ruins

The Ghosts Of British Shoe is a four-minute documentary short film by English filmmaker Bill Newsinger, a powerful narrative of modern-day industrial ambition and loss. The film presents a hauntingly beautiful, but very lonely tour through the now-abandoned British United Shoe Machinery, with the  ghostly sounds and starkly riveting images of the factory’s decrepid ruins.

British United Shoe Machinery was the head office in Leicester, England, of a company that for most of the 20th century was the world’s largest manufacturer of footwear machinery and materials. In the 1960s and 1970s, it was Leicester’s biggest employer, employing more than 4,500 people locally and 9,500 workers worldwide.

The company was destroyed in 2000 by a private equity firm that bought it out and then quickly went bankrupt. The workers abruptly lost not only their life-long jobs, they also had their entire pensions stolen from under their noses. It’s made even more sad knowing now that the British government encouraged the company’s demise, vastly increasing its bureaucracy and running the industry into the ground. And this film shows the very sad, tragic outcome.

The Ghosts of British Shoe: A Haunting Narrative of Modern-Day Industrial Ruins

Photo-Gallery: The Ghosts of British Shoe

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Tripling: Playing Dress-Up to Disrupt Identity Politics

The Compatibilty Quiz

Paint by Number

Triplet Crime

Miss

Table for Three

Black and White

Triplet Pregnancy, Too

Tripling: Playing Dress-Up to Disrupt Identity Politics

Triiibe is a performance collective that originated in 2006 when performance artists and identical triplets, Alicia, Kelly and Sara Casilio joined creative forces with noted documentary photographer, Cary Wolinsky. Together, Triiibe creates political and social commentary through art using performance, video and photography. They explore diverse ideas together and their collective voice allows them to reach a broad audience. The images their exhibitions are carefully constructed observations on identity and the politics of identity. The works ask questions such as: How are we the same? How are we different? What is feminine? What is masculine? What role goes gender play in politics?

In 2009, Triiibe had their first solo exhibition of photographs at Gallery Kayafas. They unveiled a solo exhibition in Boston University’s 11,000-square-foot gallery 808 in the fall of 2010. Their current show at DODGEgallery is Triiibe’s New York debut.

Triiibe: In Search of Eden

Triiibe: Bailout and Bonuses

Slide Show: Tripling/Playing Dress-Up to Disrupt Identity Politics

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We’ve Got Some Very, Very Bad News!

We’ve Got Some Very, Very Bad News!

Bad News is a remarkable animated short film created by Bastian Böhm and Nico Uthe.  The film has been named to the Guggenheim Museum’s shortlist for its YouTube Play: A Biennial of Creative Video contest, which has generated some 23,000 submissions since it began in June.

The viewer is confronted by headlines proclaiming the end of the world, reports of terrible financial crises and fears of an impending apocalypse.  Bad News presents the viewer with a question about what kinds of consequences could be caused by sensational news reports, to what extent does mass-media become a form of catastrophic self-fulfilling prophecy.

We’ve Got Some Very, Very Bad News!

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The Poor in America: Friends and Neighbors in the Heartland

The Poor in America: Friends and Neighbors in the Heartland

For some people, our economy may be turning around, but millions of families are at risk of going hungry, in one of the richest nations on earth.  The poorest people in America are those who are the first to feel the downturn, and will be the last to feel the country’s financial recovery.  The hardworking poor in America’s heartland, with their long and deep traditions in mining, manufacturing and military service, are increasingly seen in food pantry lines, feeling ashamed and angry.  Their stories and images push beyond stereotypes and reveal a hidden America of families living in poverty, which is both surprising and haunting.

Friends and Neighbors: The Recession’s Unseen Victims

Poverty in the Hills of Central Appalachia

A Hidden America: Children of the Appalachian Mountains

Kris Kristofferson: This Old Road

Slide Show: The Poor in America/Friends and Neighbors in the Heartland

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Ghosts of Shopping Past: The Failed Illusions of American Consumerism

Ghosts of Shopping Past: The Failed Illusions of American Consumerism

Photography by:  Brian Ulrich, Chicago

Ghosts of Shopping Past is a photo-documentary by Brian Ulrich, a photographer who lives and works in Chicago.  His work has been shown in the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; the Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego; the Art Institute of Chicago; and the Museum of Contemporary Photography.  He is a 2009 John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Fellow.

Brian Ulrich’s photographs of closed-down malls and big-box retail stores reveal the potential ghost towns lying inside successful shopping complexes all across America.  His photo-documentary is a testament to the devastating impact of the current financial recession, as well as to the failed illusions of a lifestyle based upon unbridled American consumerism.

Slide Show: The Ghosts of Shopping Past

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Tomas: There is Only Money and Sex

Tomas: There is Only Money and Sex

Tomas (an acronym for There is Only Money And Sex) is a series of three short-short animated films by James Palumbo, which are based upon his debut novel Tomas.  Both the films and the very timely book set out to chronicle some of the more sordid aspects of the age in which we are presently living.  Tomas is a brilliantly grotesque retaliatory attack on bloated bankers, salacious socialites, filthy-rich professional sportsmen and the cancer of economic excess.

The films and book have been received with considerable critical acclaim.  While some have described his new works as startlingly grotesque, Palumbo responds, “Is it grotesque?  What does that mean?  I don’t want to say something boring or clichéd, but it really has gotten to extreme levels.  Something’s got to give.  It’s gotten to the point of Sodom and Gomorrah.”  Reviewers have applauded Palumbo’s new works as dripping with disdain for the cancer of economic excess, picking up the literary baton of monomaniacal money lust carried by Bret Easton Ellis during the 90s.

The series of three animated short films is presented here as one piece: Champagne-Fuelled Jungle; Torture, Truffles and Truth; and lastly, Cocks Away! In the finale, an army of male members parachutes from the skies to the tune of Wagner’s Ride of the Valkyries, the battle-cry of finally rising up to redeem mankind.

Tomas: There is Only Money and Sex

The series of three animated shorts can be viewed as separate pieces on Vimeo here.

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