Saturday, June 30, 2007

Indiana Jones and the Sighting of Harrison Ford

OK, day three and I'm really starting to feel like a stalker. Well, I shouldn't feel that way seeing that there was a good 200 people watching this movie being made along with myself. I saw Steven Spielberg waving to Harrison Ford's stunt double as he rode a motorcycle through that courtyard in a section of Yale. Then I saw him talking to a short gray haired man in a brown suit. The guy turns around and it's Harrison Ford! He was done before I could blink an eye. I'm starting to thing the stunt double is the true star of this movie.

I did sneak back on the set when they broke for lunch and got to stand next to the bike Indiana Jones was riding! I then was escorted off the set by the tough Paramont Studio security team. I at least got a few pictures off before they got me. There was also about a hundred extras all dressed up as though it was 1950. It was almost like a horror movie! I posted a pic on the bottom

Well at least I saw Harrison Ford. I think the movie is being shot all this week so I'll try to keep things up to date ... if I don't get busted first.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Indiana Jones and the Attack of the New Haveners

I went back to the film site again and this time things were really hopping. The street was lined with classic cars from the 50's. They all were idle and waiting for Steven Spielberg to yell "action". It was more difficult to walk around the set because the security was very tight. Down a side street was a old motorcycle with Harrison Ford's stunt double on it. That was the closest we got to seeing Harrison today. It was kind of like seeing his evil twin that can't act but could ride a vintage 1950 motorcycle through the streets of New Haven.

I saw Steven Spielberg walking around and looking into a camera pointed at the vintage cars. They were yelling "QUIET"... funny thing was that they were the only ones making noise by yelling quiet all the time.

Seeing Ford or not, it's still a fun experience watching all the film crew, cameras and lights. The filming is going to continue all through next week so I'm still holding out hopes in getting an up close pic of Steven Spielberg or Harrison Ford. Hell, at this point I'll settle for a shot of the evil twin on the motor cycle.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Indiana Jones and the Seekers of Spielberg

Today I went down the street from the hospital I work at in New Haven, CT and watched Paramount Studios transform one of New Haven's main roads from a thriving city street in 2007 to a strip of stores out of the simpler year of 1953 for a few scenes of the next Indian Jones movie.

Chapel Street is filled with stores and surrounded by Yale University. The movie studio changed all the store fronts to resemble the stores that lined the street in the early 1950's. I was amazed at the detail they put into their work, right down to the products that were hot for sale back in the day.

Although we didn't see Harrison Ford or Steven Spielberg...YET, (both are on location here), we did hear rumors of sightings of the two.

One of the scenes being shot is a motorcycle chase scene through the Yale campus and through the streets of New Haven.

After messing around with some props on the set and being yelled at by Spielberg's assistant for being on the set and taking pictures, we were lucky enough to be interviewed by a local news crew covering the story. Tomorrow I'm hoping to head back down to try to get a glimpse of Spielberg or Ford. I'll fill you in if that happens.

The pics I posted was me (in my hospital scrubs) in front of "Woolworths", a store that was in New Haven up until the early 1980's and was recreated by Paramount Studios.

The other is my friend Lisa being interviewed by NBC.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

True Colors Tour NYC

"Equality for all" was the battle cry from the "True Colors Tour" at the Radio City Music Hall in NYC. Last night I went with five of my friends to the five hour concert which featured several performers such as Cyndi Lauper, Erasure, Debby Harry (Blondie), Rosie O'Donnell and Margaret Cho. The tour is to raise support for human rights and equality for gays around the world.

The first half of the show seemed to drag as Debby Harry (Blondie from the 80's) belted out a few unknown songs of her upcoming CD. I actually felt a little embarrassed for her as she appeared sluggish and tired, singing mediocre songs. If it wasn't for Margaret Cho's superb comic skills I think the first part of the show would have been a total disaster.

Then after a quick break the second half of the show started and it ROCKED! Margaret Cho was right on target keeping people rolling in the isles. The biggest surprise of the night for me was Rosie O'Donnell. Rosie put aside the annoying politics and arguing and served up some of the funniest lines of the night.

The place really hit a high note when Erasure came out. They had the entire place on their feet and dancing. Andy Bell's voice is second to none and the show he and Vince put on was as incredible as always.

The real high light of the night was Cyndi Lauper, the creator of the True Colors Tour. Her voice is as powerful as it was in the 80's. Her "true colors" really came trough as she spoke from the heart about gay and equal rights for everyone. With Rosie O'Donnell on the drums, Cyndi was all over the stage giving an upbeat, energy filled performance.

In the end Cyndi Lapuer along with Andy Bell sang "True Colors", a hit of Lauper's back in the 80's. Tonight gave a whole new meaning for the song to me as it reminded us all to show out true colors and be ourselves and stand strong.

I walked away form the show feeling high spirited and proud to be a gay man. I looked around and I saw so much positive energy coming from the crowd and performers last night and it once again made me realize that being gay isn't a thing to hide or be ashamed of. It's who I am and something to be proud of.

My Rating.. First 1/2 (2 out of 5), Second 1/2 (5 out of 5)

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Mark Bingham (United Flight 93)

My name is Rick Clark. The last year my life changed for ever and through this change I decided to start keeping a record of who I am. Now, for me to say "who I am" is kind of important because to this point in my life not many people knew who I was.

I grew up in a large family. 5 brothers and 3 sisters. I was the 3rd youngest of this baseball team we called our family. We nicked name our house "The Clark Ark." I have a very close circle of friends. Now I have a lot of friends but I hold only a very few close to my heart. I have a saying that Family isn't who you are born with, it's who you let in to your life. I say that because I'm not to close to most of my blood family but I hold my best friend at the same level as I would a true brother. As time goes on I'll introduce you to who the people in my life are and how they played a role in me becoming me.

In the spring of 2006 I was depressed. I found myself totally alone again in my apartment in Wallingford, CT. I was alone by choice but at that point in my life I didn't realize that. The TV was on and it was showing a news broadcast. I'm still not sure if it was CNN, FOX... but it was one of those 24 hour news stations. I was half paying attention to it, feeling sorry for myself and not knowing why. Then suddenly a woman's voice caught my ear. Her name was Alice Hoglan and she was being interviewed. I heard her say she didn't want people to forget who her son was and what he did. It was like someone whispered in my ear and told me to pay attention. Her son was Mark Bingham. He was one of the 4 men on United flight 93 that stopped the hijackers from flying their plane into the Capitol on September 11, 2001.

For some reason that I can't explain I went to my computer. For these moments I forgot I was depressed and I typed the name Mark Bingham into search on Google. I already kind of knew who Mark Bingham was. I knew he was a hero and was on flight 93 but that was about it. When the search was complete there was a website listed. It was run by Mark's friend's and family. It was full of pictures and stories about who Mark was to them. I started reading and I was taken back by the love these people showed for him. There was even strangers who posted and thanked him. Then I came across something that would surprise me and change my life for ever. Mark Bingham was a 6'4, 220 pound rugby player, caring friend, devoted son and brother, business man and hero..who happened to be gay.

It was like something clicked in my brain. I read about him for hours that night. I saw so much of me in him. His belief in people and seeing the good side of them. Protecting the ones you love at any risk and when he was younger a fear I shared with him to this day...the fear of people finding out I was gay. The more I read, the more I felt my soul telling me it's time to tell your friends and family who you really are. I was afraid. I admit that dearly. I was afraid of the reaction, the backlash. I then came across a eulogy written by Mark's best friend Todd that was posted on the sight. It was the end of it that sunk deep into my soul and gave me strength. He wrote of fear. This is the end of that eulogy:

Fear can ruin a friendship. Fear can ruin a marriage. Fear can, at the very least, render a life completely and utterly mediocre.

We admire Mark because he had all of these wonderful qualities that I and everyone else here have talked about tonight. What I hope you realize that you love these qualities not just because Mark had them, which he did, but because you do, too. You just may let fear get in the way of how those qualities show up in your life.

Here's my challenge to you, the challenge I am giving myself. I challenge you to not necessarily be fearless, but to recognize your fear and to act anyway. To take action and make the most out of every single day. To not let fear of failure keep you from trying at all. To not let fear of rejection keep you from showing up every day of your life. I love you, Mark. I always, always will. I will make my life great, I swear I'll make you proud.

Todd Sarner

I actually started to cry when I read this. It was a line that spoke to me. The line that read "To not let the fear of rejection keep you from showing up every day of your life." I knew I could tell people now. I knew I needed to tell people who I am. I lived in that fear and I knew if a man could be like Mark, that could be so loved, so fun, so dedicated and so brave and be gay, that it had to be a good thing. Mark lived as Mark and I wanted to start living as Rick. I just didn't know how to start the ball rolling. That's when I emailed Mark's mother Alice.

I explained to Alice how I came across Mark's site and how I wanted to tell people about myself and was afraid. Thank God she emailed me back and that she was a caring, loving lady. She told me how Mark told her. He promised himself that he would tell his mom that he was gay before the sun went down one day. He did just that. Her email gave me strength and I decided to tell my best friend

Joe first. I called him and ask if I could speak to him face to face because I had something I needed to tell him. My heart was pounding just saying that over the phone to him. After I hung up I was almost panicked. I didn't know how I was going to do this. I read the line on fear that Mark's friend wrote and it somehow gave me strength so I printed it up. No sooner did I get to my living room that the phone rang. It was Joe and he said I'll be over in 5 minutes. I didn't expect him to come over seeing it was kind of late and a Sunday night. Now I was panicked. I knew I had to do it though. After he got here he sat down. I looked up out my window and saw the sun fading away. It was just peaking out on the horizon. I was totally lost in what I was going to say. My hands were shaking. I then took the paper I printed from Mark's site and read to myself what Todd wrote about fear. Without a word I looked up at my best friend and handed him the paper. I hardly got out "read this" before my voice cracked. He did and then looked at me kind of confused. I just blurted out "I'm gay."

The few seconds I waited for his reaction seemed like hours. I swear I felt Mark supporting me. I didn't feel alone anymore. Joe's reaction couldn't have been better. He showed me total support and I knew it came from his heart. His positive reaction helped me pave the way in telling my friends, coworkers and family who I was. It also made me realize that some of these people, especially Joe and his wife Cynthia knew me for years but never really knew me. As I told more and more people who I cared about it became easier. I did take out the words of Mark's friend Todd over and over before I did tell people. To this day I carry those words in my wallet. They are strength for me along with the heart of Mark Bingham and who he was and how he changed me forever. I never thought nearly 5 years ago watching the story of United flight 93 on the news that one of those heroes on that plane would be a true hero to me today.

On the weekend May 27th. I had the honor of meeting Mark's mother Alice face to face in NYC. It was at a Rugby tournament held in her son's honor called The Bingham Cup. She was even more incredible and caring then I could hope for. I met so many of Mark's friends and watched them play the game he loved so much. I realized at this point I finally arrived. I'm finally Rick.

Since that day I joined Alice Hoglan and Mark's friends and family in Shanksville, PA on the fifth anniversary of the plane crash and the terrorists attacks. Shanksville was the small country town where United Flight 93 crashed. Seeing the memorial site there was a surreal and moving experience. I will forever be thankful to Mark Bingham for being who he was and for what he did for this country and for me personally. Thank you Mark.

I would also like to thank Mark's Mom Alice for being a beacon in a storm for me and guiding me home. To Mark's friend Todd for words that gave me strength and showed me a new way to live my life. To Mark's friend Joe in San Francisco for the support and friendship he gave to me and to my friends who I love so much, especially best friend. You're a true brother to me!

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Am I the only one out there addicted to the Sci-Fi Channel's movies that are shown on Saturday? These movies usually look like they were made form 3rd rate directors that filmed them with a video camera and were scripted by some nerdy high school student. They star actors from yesteryear that seemed to have dropped off the face of the Earth (Vanessa Williams, C. Thomas Howell to name a few). Watching these once serious actors trying to keep a straight face as they run from really bad computer images of u.f.o.'s and animated giant bugs is a hoot.

There's something likable about a man eating fish that could walk on land named "Frankenfish", or the giant snow loving spiders that prey upon unexpected skiers called "Ice Spiders".

While most of these movies focus on animals gone wild, they do sometimes throw in a "the world is coming to an end" movie. Some of the movies are right out rip offs of major motion pictures but look like they were made in someones garage. That's the true appeal of this network's Saturday flicks.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Greed shows it's ugly face as Flight 93 memorial land in dispute

As the 40 passengers of United Flight 93 battled the hijackers that took control of their plane on September 11, 2001 they fought to stop the four hijackers from crashing the plane into our nation's capital. This event ended with the heroes of United Flight 93 giving their lives by crashing the plane in a field in Shanksville, PA. to save the lives of hundred if not thousands in Washington, DC.

As a temporary memorial was constructed by caring people who visited the site from day one it became obvious that this was now hallow ground that represented the bravery and spirit of the people on the plane that day.

On the fifth anniversary of the terrorist attacks plans for an official memorial site were announced. Through private donations and some money from the government things began to move along smoothly... until today. Mike Svonavec, owner of the land, wants $10 million for his 273-acre property in Somerset County, far more than the per-acre amount paid for nearby land. That is over 9 1/2 million dollars more than the land is worth. Mr. Svonavec knows that there is only a small amount of money to work with and decided to ignore that fact and is trying to soak every cent possible from this tragedy.

Mike Svonavec needs to remember that the 40 people on United Flight 93 gave their lives to save many others and that no one is asking him to give anything. All that's ask is that he goes with a very generous selling price and let the memorial that means so much to this country and the relatives and friends of everyone who died on that day be built.