Double G & Hal Masonberg on Chet Hanley’s “JAZZ IN THE MODERN ERA”

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New doc JAZZ NIGHTS: A CONFIDENTIAL JOURNEY’s sax player and composer extraordinaire, Geoff “Double G” Gallegos and JAZZ NIGHTS’ director Hal Masonberg were this week’s guests on Chet Hanley’s 3-hour TV show JAZZ IN THE MODERN ERA from April 5, 2016.

There’s a lot of music and extraordinary archival video to listen and watch on this episode. And weaving in and out of those, Chet Hanley interviews Double G and Hal Masonberg about both JAZZ NIGHTS and Gee about the saxophone and his lifelong influences.

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Double G & Hal Masonberg on Chet Hanley’s “JAZZ IN THE MODERN ERA”

“A MOST VIOLENT YEAR.” When Good Films Are Passed Over

a-most-violent-year-posterHaving just watched J.C. Chandor’s latest film, A MOST VIOLENT YEAR, I was yet again reminded of how easily terrific filmmakers and layered storytellers get tossed aside in the face of all the brouhaha that are the Oscars.

A MOST VIOLENT YEAR is a terrific film with complex characters that don’t offer simple answers to difficult questions. It is also a film I was told by a number of friends to “pass” on. That’s what I was also told about Chandor’s ALL IS LOST. I almost missed both films and I am SO thrilled that I didn’t as both hold places in my favorite films of their respective years. You can read my review and commentary on ALL IS LOST here

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“A MOST VIOLENT YEAR.” When Good Films Are Passed Over

Tackling My Oscar Blues While Celebrating “BIRDMAN”

87th Annual Academy Awards - Show For anyone who has read my posts here for any length of time, you know that I have some serious issues with the Oscars. It wasn’t always that way and, perhaps, that is part of my struggle.

Like many cinephiles out there, the Academy Awards were, as a kid, a big draw for me. I never missed watching it on TV. From start to finish. I hung on every word, every sound, every clip. As I got older, started working at film festivals, moved to Hollywood, started working in the industry itself, sold screenplays, directed two features, wrote for the studios, worked over 2 decades in casting, and have been represented by UTA, ICM and Gersh, my outlook on both this town, this business and the Academy Awards changed quite dramatically. Peeling back that curtain can be a scary thing. Like when one of my friends told me “Be careful of meeting your heroes. There’s a good chance you’ll be disappointed.” Of course, this is not always true. But I think the idea he was trying to get across was that, oftentimes, people, places and ideas exist in our mind in a somewhat more “perfect” or fanciful way than they may in actuality.

Continue reading “Tackling My Oscar Blues While Celebrating “BIRDMAN””

Tackling My Oscar Blues While Celebrating “BIRDMAN”

The Astounding Impulse of “JODOROWKY’S DUNE”

Screen Shot 2014-11-10 at 12.43.28 PMPassion. Vision. Insight. Inspiration.

JODOROWKY’S DUNE is filled with all of these. The documentary directed by Frank Pavich explores the film that never was, but still managed to influence and even sculpt the following decades of popular cinema after the project itself had collapsed. 

Screen Shot 2014-11-10 at 11.33.46 AMFor me, watching and listening to Alejandro Jodorowsky talk about why he wanted to make a film of DUNE, to see the amazing and influential group of talent he put together to create this potentially ground-breaking cinematic experience, to see his commitment and fervor and uncompromising vision play out, to see him tell this story, still passionate all these years later… It’s inspiring. It’s contagious. 

To relive the film falling apart and being made by others is painful, familiar and despairing. To see what rose from the ashes of that experience is downright uplifting. Alejandro Jodorowsky’s DUNE may not have been completed, but so much grew out of the experience and the passion behind it that it could not be squelched. It had and STILL has a life of its own.

Every second of JODOROWKY’S DUNE is energized. All the participants who were a part of the film’s making share with us — from the very cores of their souls — their immense creative journey together. If you love film and filmmaking, if you love art and artists, if you believe in the journey of self-expression, of taking risks, of reaching for the stars… Then this film may be your new bible.

The Astounding Impulse of “JODOROWKY’S DUNE”

Cinephilia and Beyond The Infinite

003_t Cinephilia and Beyond is probably the single best film site out there and has taken the place of insightful film mags that no longer adorn our newsstands (or have been replaced by tepid and less-inspired magazines that carry on those publications’ legacies in title only).

The most recent article posted to C&B is TERRENCE MALICK’S ‘THE THIN RED LINE’ IS A TRAUMATIC JOURNEY INTO THE HEART OF MAN. This article, like most articles on C&B, is more like a series of supplemental materials found on a Criterion DVD or Blu-ray than a straightforward write-up on Malick or THE THIN RED LINE. Contained on the pages of C&B is the screenplay for THE THIN RED LINE as well as storyboards, a short documentary, and interviews with key players like DP John Toll and composer Hans Zimmer. There are also links to books and other articles on both Malick and TTRL.

C&B is a true film-enthusiasts wonderland. And while the site is free, they do ask for donations to keep the good work going. If you’re interested in that, you can help support them at For the record, I am not affiliated with C&B in any way. I just think it’s an incredible site and love supporting it.

As for the subject of the article, Malick is still one of the few living and working American film geniuses. In a culture where the likes of Zack Snyder, Christopher Nolan and Alfonso Cuarón are casually called “Brilliant” and “Visionary,” filmmakers like Malick continue to explore film, cinematic storytelling and the human condition on a level the above-mentioned filmmakers will never attain or even strive for. Which doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy their films. Not every author is James Joyce, Vladimir Nabokov, Leo Tolstoy or William Shakespeare.  Thin Red Line

But Malick, like Kubrick, holds this place in cinema history. And he’s still alive and making films. That makes us all very lucky indeed. If you would like to explore the filmmaker and his films in more depth (and you can choose how deep you want to venture), please visit C&B. But be warned, it’s hard to find your way out once you willingly tumble down the deepening rabbit hole of cinema-geekdom & C&B. Luckily, if you’re anything like me, looking for an exit will be the furthest thing from your mind.
Cinephilia and Beyond The Infinite


jazz nights poster Horn 72smallerLike Jazz? Check out the 8-minute trailer for my documentary JAZZ NIGHTS: A CONFIDENTIAL JOURNEY. It’s showing exclusively at my Indiegogo campaign to raise the funds to complete the film. Production is done and now we need help to bring the film to fruition. Even if you have no interest at all in contributing, check out the trailer and maybe read a bit about the film. And, most importantly, pass on the link to others via Facebook or email, Twitter, whatever. We just want to get the word out there to reach folks who might be interested. It’s a project of love for myself and the musicians.

Jazz and the men and women who make it have always found themselves on the forefront of cultural turbulence. In many ways, this is part of the DNA of jazz. The documentary JAZZ NIGHTS: A CONFIDENTIAL JOURNEY chronicles a fleeting and almost completely unknown moment in time involving a group of L.A.’s top jazz musicians who congregated in alternating configurations every Sunday night at a legally ambiguous members-only, back-room hash bar. 

Once a week, these expert musicians formed a circle, a coterie of non-verbal, intuitive communication. There were no pre-determined set lists, no rehearsals. Attendance was through word-of-mouth only. No advertising. 

These musical nights at L.A. Confidential in Los Angeles poignantly echoed the Prohibition Era speakeasies of the 1920s as well as the ’50s underground jazz clubs of Harlem and Greenwich Village. The LACon experiment reflected a society caught in a quagmire of differing opinions and laws, this time surrounding the legalization of marijuana, which is currently considered medically legal in the state of California, while simultaneously remaining illegal under federal law. 

In addition to the music and setting, these cutting-edge musicians explore, via in-depth interviews, their lives, influences, backstories, upbringings, inspirations, and cultural affiliations. The result is an evocative tapestry of live music, thoughts and memories, and a snapshot of a moment in time amidst an ever-evolving American landscape.