urban_memories [the unfinished polaroids]
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
Tuesday, September 11, 2007
The Monarch; A Butterfly's Odyssey.
Last week, we were lucky enough to have witnessed the release of the second generation of Monarchs, at the Botanical Garden of Montreal. These fascinating North American Butterflies are especially noted for their lengthy annual migration; they make massive southward migrations starting in August until the first frost, and then a northward migration starting spring - an incredible yet perilous journey of more than 4.000km in total [from Canada to Mexico].
Female Monarchs deposit eggs for the next generation during these migrations. It takes several generations to complete one journey, and scientists are still trying to figure out how a Monarch Butterfly can find its way along the migration route, if it had never been there in the first place. The normal lifespan of a Monarch is less than 2 months for butterflies born in early summer. The Last generation of Monarchs born towards the end of the summer, enters in a non-reproductive phase (diapause) and can live longer, up to 7 months. During diapause, these butterflies "overwinter" and usually do not reach sexual maturity until it gets warm, and only then, they can reproduce (a butterfly that can have sex, lives a lot less than a non-sexual butterfly). The generation that "overwinters" can reach as far north as Texas or Oklahoma during spring migration; only the second, third and even fourth generation of Monarchs reaches Northern USA, and Canada sometime in spring.
Monarch Butterflies can also make transatlantic voyages to Bermuda, and southwest of Great Britain. They have also been noted in New Zealand during warm seasons.
These orange & black butterflies are one of the few insects that allow themselves to chill and fly carefree in our skies. They are able to do so, because as beautiful and colorful as they are, they taste very bad. Predators (birds), after having a tasting of one Monarch will have cramps, stomachaches, and will most likely vomit. They will remember this bad taste and associate it with the color of the butterfly. They will never attempt to attack it again.
Monarch Butterflies nest in one special plant called Asclepiade (or milkweed). Unfortunately this plant is considered a "bad herb" and is, most of the time, removed from our gardens and lawns. I urge you my friends, if you happen to identify the Asclepiade in your garden, do not remove it for it will most likely become a substation for these gorgeous butterflies; an oasis where they can rest... and get busy!
You can also buy a kit for breeding Monarchs, with tags and all. You breed it, tag it, release it, and contribute in better understanding the behavior of this fascinating Butterfly.
Thursday, September 06, 2007
Wednesday, September 05, 2007
Tuesday, September 04, 2007
Her Sacred Feet.
Monday, September 03, 2007
Caramel [Sekkar Banet!]
Lebanese language pic eyes French record
By Charles Masters
Aug 24, 2007 PARIS -- "Caramel" is the flavor of the month in France. The female-skewing Lebanese comedy last week drew 160,000 admissions in its first week of release and could be on course to become the biggest Arabic-language hit ever in Gaul.
"It's absolutely incredible. Especially given that it's a first film with no stars," says Jean Labadie, head of French distributor Bac Films.
Directed and co-written by Nadine Labaki, who also stars, "Caramel" centers on a Beirut beauty salon where women of different ages and religions discuss their lives and loves. The intimate exchanges cover the problems of having a married lover, coming to terms with same-sex attraction and deciding whether to have surgery to restore "virginity" ahead of marriage.
"We promoted it as a film about women and one that doesn't talk about war. It evokes the situation in Beirut today with a lot more subtlety than a lot of other recent Lebanese films," Labadie says. "It talks about women in a manner that women find very funny but that men do too. It's what you call a date movie."
"Caramel" was produced by Anne-Dominique Toussaint through her Paris-based banner Les Films des Tournelles. The $1.5 million film screened in the Directors' Fortnight sidebar at May's Festival de Cannes (during film projection in Cannes), which Toussaint says was a "huge" boost for its profile. Sales company Roissy Films closed about 30 deals in the space of a week.
In an audacious release strategy by Bac, "Caramel" came out on 182 prints in France, an approach Toussaint praised. "(Labadie) saw that he had to bring the film out of the world cinema ghetto," she says.
Last year, Bac enjoyed considerable success with another Arabic-language film, "The Yacoubian Building." It sold 150,000 theatrical tickets and racked up strong numbers on DVD. With favorable press and good word-of-mouth, Labadie says he is hopeful that "Caramel" can top the record for the biggest-selling Arabic film in France, held by Youssef Chahine's "Destiny," which sold about 600,000 tickets in 1997.
"Caramel" was released Aug. 8 in Lebanon, where it looks set to break the 100,000-admissions barrier, a major hit on home turf. But will France be the only Western market with a taste for "Caramel"? Toussaint thinks not.
"It's a comedy, but it also has a strong emotional base," she says. "The film is very anchored in its specific culture, but at the same time it's universal."
"Caramel" begins its North American career with a slot next month at the Toronto International Film Festival ahead of a planned U.S. release through Roadside Attractions. Those involved with the film hope it will be Lebanon's contender for a foreign-language Oscar nomination, which already looks to be a good bet.
official site for Caramel