2001: A Space Odyssey + Interstellar

By Lara Trace (sci-fi lover)

My wonderful cousin Dr. Charlie Bland is a movie expert.  Charlie (aka Afraid of His Horses) teaches movie history (college level) and analyzes all genres and loves films!  (I love many too, of course. I’m still hooked on all things Star Trek. That Gene Roddenberry was a total genius-visionary, right? And I am a X-Files/Chris Carter fan, too.  Lately quantum physics/mystics documentaries occupy my free hours.)

In Seattle, I met a Face Reader, a Sikh, who told me that the public is/was often given important messages/urgent warnings via movies.  I didn’t forget that.  It’s important. How are hidden warnings given now?  (You Tube? Hollywood? Netflix? Sitcoms?)

Here is Charle’s recent suggestion:

While we were discussing Interstellar, my friend Sumit and I suggested that you also watch 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), a magnificent film which you in a younger generation might not have seen or heard of.  This is to reinforce that suggestion, if you truly liked Interstellar, you will love 2001.  You can rent it from Netflix (or buy it or ask your library to get it.)

The Director, Stanley Kubrick (1928-1999) was known as a great director of the 20th Century, but made only a relative handful of films. 2001 is ranked #6 on the Sight and Sound Magazine list of ALL-TIME great films.  Kubrick, much more than the director of Interstellar limited exposition about science and like all the great directors, relied on the visual image you see to convey the drama and beauty of the science that unfolded. His 1968 film was visionary in many ways, including IPads, Skype, Voice print Identification, evidence of a wormhole in science fiction and above all, Artificial Intelligence that grows and challenges man’s wisdom.  A major characteristic of all Kubrick’s films was his personal misanthropy toward mankind.

He thought mankind was ridiculous and doomed to self-annihilation. In his Dr. Strangelove, (1963)  the film ends with a cowboy riding an atomic bomb to its destination which sets off a worldwide nuclear holocaust.  You can detect Kubrick’s misanthropy visually in the clip below when the two tribes of antecedents to humanity jump up and down and wave their arms at each other and in the explicit knowledge that without external God like intervention, we would have been doomed from the start.  This is reinforced by the religious tone of the music, most importantly the “Atmosphere’s”  of Gyorgy Ligeti (1923-2006) whose music permeates the film.  But the major theme is conveyed in Richard Strauss, “Thus Spake Zarathustra”, a tone poem to Frederick Nietzsche’s classic book by the same title that articulates the idea of the Overman who transitions from primitive to God-like attributes.

2001 unfolds in three stages: Dawn of Man; the Jupiter Mission; and The Stargate/Infinity.  The Dawn of Man sequence below runs for 9.5 minutes , Especially Important is the scene that begins at 2:25, when our antecedents wake to find in their midst an object they could not possibly have created themselves. It is a Monolith, one of three that guide the “Odyssey” throughout the film.  The music accompanying the scene is Ligeti’s “Il Kyrie” which suggests the awe and wonder with which our antecedents greet this object.  If you are interested, I attach an orchestral presentation of the same music which enables you to see the vocal and instrumental interaction that creates this beautiful music.  The second scene begins at 5:35 as our antecedent, desperate and starving, turns his eye to the Monolith.  His facial gestures suggest to me that this is the first prayer, and lo, the Monolith responds in a way that for Kubrick, underlines just how hopeless we all are.  The accompanying music is Richard Strauss, “Thus Spake Zarathustra.”  Enjoy.


BIG THOUGHT: Anthony Peake, in his new book Immortal Mind, points to scientific studies that shows consciousness survives brain death, and suggests that it does not and cannot die. Sounds profoundly good to me!  Visit


I’m reading: When Spirits Visit by my friend MariJo Moore.

brando with doxie

One of the most powerful moments in Oscar history

The unbelievable story of Why Marlon Brando rejected his 1973 Oscar for ‘The Godfather’

The Godfather was not too pleased with the Academy.

The man who made offers others couldn’t refuse once refused the movie industry’s heftiest honor.

On March 5, 1973, Marlon Brando declined the Academy Award for Best Actor for his gut-wrenching performance as Vito Corleone in “The Godfather” — for a very unexpected reason.

Here’s how it went down.

The Movie That Brought Brando Back

In the 1960s, Brando’s career had slid into decline. His previous two movies  — the famously over-budget “One-Eyed Jacks” and “Mutiny on the Bounty” — tanked at the box office. Critics said “Mutiny” marked the end of Hollywood’s golden age, and worse still, rumors of Brando’s unruly behavior on set turned him into one of the least desirable actors to work with.

Brando’s career needed saving. “The Godfather” was his defibrillator.

In the epic portrayal of a 1940s New York Mafia family, Brando played the patriarch, the original Don. Though the film follows his son Michael (played by Al Pacino), Vito Corleone is its spine. A ruthless, violent criminal, he loves and protects the family by any means necessary. It’s the warmth of his humanity that makes him indestructible — a paradox shaped by Brando’s remarkable performance.

“The Godfather” grossed nearly $135 million nationwide, and is heralded as one of the greatest films of all time. Pinned against pinnacles of the silver screen — Michael Caine, Laurence Olivier, and Peter O’Toole — Brando was favored to win Best Actor.

Drama At The Awards Show

On the eve of the 45th Academy Awards, Brando announced that he would boycott the ceremony and send Sacheen Littlefeather in his place. A little-known actress, she was then-president of the National Native American Affirmative Image Committee.

oscars 70s marlon brando native american

Brando sent Sacheen Littlefeather in his place, to address the American Indian rights movement.

On the evening of March 5, when Liv Ullman and Roger Moore read out the name of the Best Actor award recipient, neither presenter parted their lips in a smile. Their gaze fell on a woman in Apache dress, whose long, dark hair bobbed against her shoulders as she climbed the stairs.

Moore extended the award to Littlefeather, who waved it away with an open palm.  She set a letter down on the podium, introduced herself, and said:

“I’m representing Marlon Brando this evening and he has asked me to tell you … that he very regretfully cannot accept this very generous award. And the reasons for this being are the treatment of American Indians today by the film industry —”

The crowd booed.  Littlefeather looked down and said “excuse me.”  Others in the audience began to clap, cheering her on.  She continued only briefly, to “beg” that her appearance was not an intrusion and that they will “meet with love and generosity” in the future.

Watch the scene unfold:

Why He Did It

In 1973, Native Americans had “virtually no representation in the film industry and were primarily used as extras,” Native American studies scholar Dina Gilio-Whitaker writes. “Leading roles depicting Indians in several generations of Westerns were almost always given to white actors.”

But they weren’t just neglected or replaced in film; they were disrespected — a realization that crippled Brando’s image of the industry.

Marlon Brando

Brando was 48 when he became the second person to reject an Academy Award for Best Actor.

The following day, The New York Times printed the entirety of his statement — which Littlefeather was unable to read in full because of “time restraints.”  Brando expressed support for the American Indian Movement and referenced the ongoing situation at Wounded Knee, where a team of 200 Oglala Lakota activists had occupied a tiny South Dakota town the previous month and was currently under siege by U.S. military forces.

He wrote:

The motion picture community has been as responsible as any for degrading the Indian and making a mockery of his character, describing him as savage, hostile and evil. It’s hard enough for children to grow up in this world. When Indian children … see their race depicted as they are in films, their minds become injured in ways we can never know.”

A tsunami of criticism toppled over Brando and Littlefeather following the Oscars, from peers in the industry and the media.

Still, Brando lent the Native American community a once in a lifetime opportunity to raise awareness of their fight in front of 85 million viewers, leveraging an entertainment platform for political justice in unprecedented fashion. His controversial rejection of the award (which no winner has repeated since) remains one of the most powerful moments in Oscar history.


[check out the Twitter hashtag #OscarsSoWhite for more about 2016….  Lara]


Did you know about The Mashpee Nine?

My friend Paula Peters and I met at the Native American Journalists Association years ago

Paula Peters is an active member of the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe based in Mashpee, Massachusetts and owner of SmokeSygnals, a media and communications consulting firm.

She is currently producing a documentary on nine Mashpee Wampanoag men jailed in 1976 for drumming and singing their traditional music. The Mashpee Nine were later acquitted and law enforcement held accountable for their actions. Mashpee Nine: The Beat Goes On will premier at the 2016 Mashpee Wampanoag Powwow in July, commemorating the 40th anniversary of the raid on the men.

An independent scholar of Wampanoag history Paula is also the Executive Producer of  “Our”Story: 400 Years of Wampanoag Survival,” a traveling multi-media exhibit telling the back story of the colonization of Plymouth from the indigenous perspective.

A graduate of Bridgewater State College she was formerly a writer at the Cape Cod Times where she won numerous national awards for her journalism.

She lives in Mashpee with her husband, two daughters and elder mother.

About the FILM

During the summer of 1976 the revival of cultural and traditional values of the Mashpee Wampanoag was occurring at the same time tribal leaders and town government were clashing over land entitlement. An incident involving an over zealous tactical police force disrupting a group of traditional drummers and singers evolved into a high profile trial of nine young men arrested, eight Wampanoag and one non-native friend. Defended by one of the American Indian Movement’s most skilled and dogged attorneys the Nine won in a rare case of a court ruling against law enforcement. Court documents shredded, news accounts buried in microfilm, the case has faded into distant memory but the stories of the surviving Nine and those who rallied to their defense. What does survive is the tradition the Nine sacrificed their freedom for, even for a night, and fought vigorously to defend, the drum, the songs and the night. This documentary will resurrect that legendary incident and preserve the memory of those who experienced it for the generation now sitting at the drum, and those to come.

INDIGENOUS FILM FEST in New Hampshire: Nov. 6 and 7, 2015 READ MORE


We Come as Friends

“We Come As Friends” Explores the Beautiful Nightmare of South Sudan

As a filmmaker, Hubert Sauper does not take the road less traveled. That would be far too easy. He doesn’t, in fact, take roads much at all. First he spent two years on his French farm building his own ultralight plane out of tin and canvas and lawnmower wheels. Then, in 2010, he flew it from France to southern Sudan. And then things got interesting.

The Austrian-born Sauper spent the next two years flitting around the country in his rickety, two-seat, single-engine prop plane, keeping his eyes open and his camera rolling. The result, We Come As Friends (which opened in New York on August 14 and will screen nationwide throughout the fall), is an improbable, cinematic magical mystery tour of a documentary: a portrait of a new nation being born out of the ashes of civil war amid a swarm of self-professed do-good American evangelicals, expat humanitarians, Chinese oil workers, and South Sudanese power brokers — most of whom seem to do anything but good. The film comes at an opportune time, as another in a long line of potential peace deals to end South Sudan’s 18-month-old civil war has evaporated. While it does so in exceptionally subtle fashion, We Come as Friends helps explain just how things got to this tragic point.

The acclaimed director of 2004’s Darwin’s Nightmare, a harrowing study of globalization and economic exploitation in Tanzania, Sauper works in verite style and doesn’t lean on talking heads, title cards, or scolding voiceovers about the ills of neocolonialism, racism, globalization, or capitalism. Instead he allows his subjects to do the heavy lifting. “There must be a reason they’re still 200 years behind the rest of the world,” says a British Iraq War veteran, in Sudan to defuse landmines for an aid group, of the people he has come to help. Nineteenth-century “dark continent” themes seem barely submerged as the U.S. ambassador announces, “Today we are, literally and figuratively, bringing light,” before flipping the switch at a ceremony celebrating a modest electrical power project. And then there are the American Christian missionaries. “They don’t understand property ownership the way you and I do,” says one. “You were here first, but now there’s a fence here, so…” was how another explained it to locals who complained when the Americans took away grazing land to build a house for themselves.

Some of Sauper’s directorial decisions skirt the outer limits of heavy-handedness. He pans his camera from the partying of United Nations staff on South Sudan’s independence day to a lonely South Sudanese cleaning up the grounds outside or juxtaposes combat footage shot by a soldier, replete with gunfire and corpses, with a scene of white folks relaxing at some posh resort. We’re never given much context about these episodes, but far from phony, the contrasts ring true; anyone who has spent much time in the country (especially the capital, Juba) has no doubt witnessed similar incongruities.

In Darwin’s Nightmare, which shows how an invasive species of fish upends not only the local economy but the entire society around Lake Victoria, Sauper demonstrated an uncanny ability to document the everyday horrors of the developing world with an artist’s visual sensibility. The result was disturbing and beautiful. We Come as Friends shares the same DNA.

Sauper understands the power of ambiguity and its ability to involve the viewer in his investigations, so there isn’t much context or explanation anywhere in We Come as Friends. But this film isn’t about easy narratives or perfectly packaged stories. It’s about big themes told in very small fashion — a collection of discrete, seemingly disconnected vignettes mixed with stunning, sometimes dizzying, aerial footage taken from his trusty tin can, the aptly named Sputnik.


Sauper’s flying machine, “Sputnik,” over the Mediterranean Sea, on the way to South Sudan. Photo: Courtesy of Hubert Sauper

“The airplane was the key of this whole project,” Sauper said at a recent New York City screening of the film. “We are obviously Europeans … and we also repeat, despite ourselves, all these patterns. You know, like going to other places, discovering adventure. The notion of adventure is a very European, kind of colonial idea, right? Going to different worlds and the science fiction narrative is a post-colonial phenomenon; traveling through time and space and penetrating these other worlds, encountering these kinds of sometimes hostile, sometimes friendly other beings.”

Sauper wrapped up filming before December 2013 when South Sudan plunged into the current civil war. Today, it would be impossible to do what he did, though it was hardly less so then. For that alone, he deserves credit. For the documentary he made, Sauper deserves praise. Thoughtful and moving, We Come as Friends encourages the viewer to look closely and think deeply. “A lot of times … we, as filmmakers, were like ‘What the hell are we doing here?’” Sauper admitted at the Manhattan screening. “We’re just another set of white guys … and sometimes, you go, ‘Okay, we’re making a movie, but does it make sense at all?’” People interested in South Sudan or Africa or the human condition would be well-served by spending 110 minutes with We Come as Friends and answering that question for themselves.

Nick Turse is the author of Kill Anything That Moves: The Real American War in Vietnam and Tomorrow’s Battlefield: U.S. Proxy Wars and Secret Ops in Africa. He has reported from South Sudan, most recently earlier this year.

Photo: Adolescent boy from the Bari tribe, South Sudan, apparently imitating the tribal traditions of warriors putting ashes on their body. This ash is produced from burning trash. 

The film opens at the Laemmle Royal in Los Angeles and the AFI Silver Theater in Washington D.C. on August 21. It will continue to open across the nation with engagements in markets including Boston, Chicago, San Francisco, Seattle, and more. Sauper will be participating in special appearances and Q&As in New York, Los Angeles, and Washington D.C.

WE COME AS FRIENDS is a modern odyssey – a dizzying, almost science fiction-like journey into the heart of Africa. At the moment when the Sudan, the continent’s biggest country, is being divided into two nations, an old “civilizing” ideology re-emerges – one of colonialism and  a clash of empires – with new episodes of bloody (and holy) wars over land and resources.  Academy Award® nominated director of Darwin’s Nightmare, Hubert Sauper, takes us on a voyage in his tiny, self-made aircraft constructed from tin and canvas, leading us into the most improbable locations and into people’s thoughts and dreams in both stunning and heartbreaking ways. Chinese oil workers, UN peacekeepers, Sudanese warlords, and American evangelists ironically weave common ground in this documentary.


Hey there, this post will be it until mid-September.  Please share this film.  Go see it.  Time for a road trip and a family reunion…  XOX Lara Trace XOX


Neither Wolf Nor Dog

Dave Bald Eagle, Christopher Sweeney, and Richard Ray Whitman on the road in ‘Neither Wolf Nor Dog.’

The much anticipated film project Neither Wolf Nor Dog is making its final approach to theaters, and to your home, but to actually get on the Big Screens around the country and not just on DVD, director Steven Lewis Simpson needs your help again. He successfully campaigned on Kickstarter last year to start making the film and now that they are close to the final edit, they move on to sound design, music, and grading (which gives the film its look, color and texture). And also critical is funding for a strong Film Festival campaign. Simpson said it was “miraculous” to get the amazing production value they have so far on screen for the “miniscule” amount of money they raised. This new campaign will accelerate the final production process as there will be more marketing and distribution issues to deal with later on. The main reason they want to get it out sooner than later is that lead actor, Dave Bald Eagle is 95 years old and they consider it crucial to have him see the film in its full glory. The Kickstarter campaign is at and as of this writing it’s raised over half its goal of $30,000 and has 16 days to go (as of March 6).

“When white people won it was a victory, when Natives won it was a massacre. When they fought for freedom it was a revolution, when we fought for freedom it was an uprising. No Indian alive dares to think too much about the past. The bones of our people are crying.”

—Dan (Dave Bald Eagle’s character)

Dave Bald Eagle, Christopher Sweeney, Richard Ray Whitman, Roseanne Supernault, Tatanka Means, Zahn McClarnon, and Harlen Standing Bear are the feature and supporting actors in the film, which is based on Kent Nerburn’s book, Neither Wolf Nor Dog (On Forgotten Roads with an Indian Elder). Nerburn’s trilogy of novels (the other two titles are The Wolf at Twilight and The Girl Who Sang to the Buffalo) is loved by Natives and non-Natives alike, has won Awards and is being taught in schools and colleges. The book and film are based in Pine Ridge, SD, circa 1994. The new trailer gives us more of the storyline: how Dan (Dave Bald Eagle’s character) has called on the writer Kent Nerburn (played by Christopher Sweeney) to write down his stories before he passes away, while those who surround Dan the Elder are very protective of him.

Dave Bald Eagle
95 year old Lakota actor Dave Bald Eagle gives an unforgettable, mesmerizing performance along with our incredible stars Christopher Sweeney, Richard Ray Whitman and others.
Filming 'Neither Wolf Nor Dog' on location. That's Zahn McClarnon on top of the truck, holding the boom microphone.
Filming ‘Neither Wolf Nor Dog’ on location. That’s Zahn McClarnon on top of the truck, holding the boom microphone.
The setup for the car scene that is depicted on the film's poster.
The setup for the car scene that is depicted on the film’s poster.

Alex Jacobs, Santa Fe, NM March 6, 2015

[This is my post for the week – Spring is coming…I can feel it!  XOX  Lara]

Vero Rising: Propaganda Again? #adoption #validvoices

By Trace Hentz (adopted by strangers in 1958)

I have a few words about this: I was not chosen. I was delivered. Seriously. I was available and handed over. Chosen? No. And I am no angel or angelic, not even close. I am sitting here shaking my head, thinking that ADOPTION PROPAGANDA WON! They won for years and are still winning.

What do I mean? The movies. The incredible amount of movies that depict adoption as heaven-sent, a miracle, a privilege. I think about the movies Arthur, Juno, Annie. Think of who adopted? Jane Fonda, Angelina Jolie, Sandra Bullock, Bob Hope, and that’s right off the top of my head?  It’s hundreds of celebrities!  I think about tons of old movies that got buried deep in our subconscious. That my friends is propaganda. And some Hollywood Stars (true serial adopters) were adopting from the notorious baby-seller serial-killer Georgia Tann.

Read this if you don’t believe me.

Georgia Tann: adoption architect, child advocate, and baby killer

A single woman gives birth in a Memphis hospital to a healthy, blonde-haired, blue-eyed baby girl. The mother hears the baby’s cries but is so drugged she cannot respond; later, she requests to hold her child. “It was born stillborn,” says the nurse. “It’s been disposed of.” In reality a woman named Georgia Tann has taken the child, paid the nurse, and now the baby is in the care of Tann’s children’s home because a wealthy couple has requested a blonde haired, blue-eyed female. Scenes like this played out for almost 30 years in Memphis, Tennessee.

For years, Georgia Tann ran an illegal adoption agency; she stole, bought, sold, and abused children. She was never punished for her illegal activity.

Georgia Tann was probably one of the most prolific child abusers, murderer, and baby thief in United States history. The repercussions of her work have had a ripple effect for decades. Tann was able to buy, sell, steal, and murder children without punishment, making millions of dollars in her lifetime. She did not work alone; she bribed and paid off judges, law enforcement, media, attorneys, medical personnel, and the Memphis Mayor known for his political shadiness and illegal activity: E.H. “Boss” Crump. These people assisted in arranging illegal custodies, skirting adoption laws or creating loopholes from which to operate, changing birth and death certificates, and falsifying background information. Tann employed “spotters” to scout for children to steal and parents to scam.

Tann and her crew stole newborns from hospitals, kidnapped and abducted children from their homes or on the street, and tricked single and widowed mothers into signing over their parental rights. From the 1920’s into the 1950’s it is impossible to know how many children went through Tann’s Tennessee Children’s Home Society. Many children died as a result of neglect and abuse; in 1945 it is estimated 40-50 children died in less than four months while housed in the illegally operated home. Children were starved, beaten, molested, mentally abused, and received no medical attention. Pedophiles were employed at the home, including Tann. She sold the children without conducting background checks on the adopters. She falsified records and extorted adoptive homes. She used the children as pawns; for example, she adopted out children to politicians, and then threatened to take the child back if the political families did not support legislation in her favor. Children were sold or given away like prizes in Memphis newspapers. “(We have) the merchandise in hand and in stock to deliver to you” a 1944 letter read to a prospective client. “We can never tell when we can fill an order,” another letter explained (source). There seemed to be no limit to what the Tennessee Children’s Home Society could do.

Georgia Tann dealt with only white children.

Blonde hair and blue eyes brought the highest price. She lied about the child’s intellect and health to fit the adoptive parent’s desires. People ordered children as if they were ordering furniture, and Tann gladly supplied the demands, charging astronomical figures. She sold children to known molesters, abusers, for labor (one child toiled in a field at 18 hour days, eventually running away). She sold a baby to replace a dead baby. If the adoptive family angered her or would not bend to her extortive demands, she would remove the child. Her client list included Joan Crawford, June Allyson, Pearl Buck, Lana Turner, politicians, sports figures, mobsters, and those in societies “upper crust.” Her victims were poor, desperate, or worst. A few reporters bravely penned the truth about Tann; they were taken to state lines, beaten near death, and run out of town.

In public, Georgia Tann spoke out loudly against child abuse, baby selling, corruption, and advocated child welfare reform. (Sure she did!) — In private she sexually, physically, and mentally abused her charges, some of which were buried in the yard due to neglect.

Tann was never punished for her deeds. Some of the practices she utilized are still part of the adoption process today. Many adults, sold as children, continue to seek out their siblings, family members, and birth parents and reveal horrific memories of abuse. It seems the evil done by Georgia Tann will never be undone.

And we always have new books and movies to contend with – like adoptees as the Chosen One. Not one word about child trafficking, or how people who will do anything to buy a baby, or how someone has to lose their baby so someone else can adopt… (sigh) The fact that across American laws exist that prevent adoptees from receiving their adoption file or their original birth certificate is also a sign that ADOPTION PROPAGANDA won – at least in all but 14 states so far. There are too many secrets – it’s those who adopt who don’t want the truth to be told or known…

Laurice Elehwany Molinari’s Vero Rising hits February 4th, the book that debuts “The Ether” series. It’s an action-packed fantasy wrapped in the magical adventures of twelve-year-old Vero Leland (adoptee) reminiscent of the award winning “Harry Potter” books, a series readers of all ages will identify with and want more of.


Veteran Hollywood film and TV writer Laurice Elehwany Molinari bursts into the children’s book world with an outstanding debut novel, The Ether: Vero Rising—a fantastical middle grade story on good vs. evil.

As a baby, Vero had been left abandoned at a hospital. Under very unusual circumstances he was adopted by a loving family, Nora and Dennis Leland and their daughter Clover. Although his mother, Nora, does her best to provide the most normal family experiences possible, it is clear that Vero is anything but. Throughout his childhood, Vero has had the most incredible sense that he can fly. When the urge becomes so strong that he steps off the roof of his house, his life changes forever as his destiny to become a guardian angel begins to manifest. After some dangerous and otherworldly experiences, he finds himself in a surreal place known as the Ether, the spiritual realm that surrounds Earth, where he must go through training and practice skills like flying and listening to his inner voice. While these activities sound angelic and blissful, competition between budding guardian angels (fledglings), battles against mythical creatures, as well as demons known as maltures, keep Vero and readers on the edge of their seat challenging the spiritual and moral mind.

Molinari does a wonderful job building tension, drama, and suspense as Vero is transported back-and-forth between the Ether and Earth. With her carefully plotted storytelling, readers come to realize that there is a connection between what Vero needs to accomplish in the Ether and in his life on Earth if he is to become fully actualized as a guardian angel—and possibly not just any guardian angel, but a Chosen One meant to fulfill an even bigger prophecy.

This is a book for children that live for action and excitement. Molinari has created a well-developed protagonist to connect with, and kids ready to take on Vero’s spiritual journey will not be disappointed—they’ll be more than ready for the next book in what’s shaping up to be an exciting series. -Children’s Book Review

*****************The Best Adoption Movies

*Note: my software detected a virus in the Georgia Tann link so it’s been removed.

An Exclusive Interview with Angela Tucker #Closure #flipthescript #NAAM2014



Starring: Angela Tucker

Genre: Documentary

Directed By: Bryan Tucker

An interview with the fabulous Angela Tucker

By Lara/Trace
November is Adoption Awareness Month and a movement has begun to broaden the adoptee voice with #FLIP THE SCRIPT (on Twitter).
I thank you Angela Tucker for this opportunity to talk about your journey in the documentary CLOSURE and your journey to find your first family. [TV:]. For those who are interested, please visit: CLOSURE: The Film (Facebook:
Angela, you recently had national exposure to your film, when it aired on November 5th! What kind of responses and comments are you getting from the viewing audience who may not be aware of the complicated nature of closed adoptions and your personal story?
Angela: Closure aired on ASPIRE network, which is a station owned by Magic Johnson, and their mission is to bring positive black television to their viewers. We were curious about the response seeing as the primary focus of the film is not the racial aspects of my adoption. So far the feedback from the cable premiere has centered around the filmmakers decision not to address race more strongly. One viewer felt irked by the fact that my voice doesn’t come in to the movie in a prominent way until about a half hour in to the film. They interpreted this to be another way that White’s control the racial conversations. While I understand her sentiment, I sometimes wish that the film began with a disclaimer that Closure does not seek to be a rulebook on adoption, or provide an educational guide to those within transracial adoptions. What began as a simple request for some home video footage, turned in to a film that has gripped a wide variety of people, and has provided a springboard for conversations – whether around race, openness or even just the greater concept of what it means to be family. In that sense, we’ve succeeded!
In the movie, one of the most moving moments for me was when your first mom, Deborah found out that your adoptive mom, Teresa had sent a letter and photo of you every year, but your mom never received them. This is revealed at the adoption agency with your two moms sitting with you there. How did that discovery feel for you – knowing the adoption agency dropped the ball?
Angela: It’s frustrating knowing that just down the street from where Deborah lived were the answers that she was asking for years; “Where is my daughter?” “Who has her?” “Is she being cared for?” These questions tormented her, while we (my adoptive parents) were excitedly providing her these answers, but the adoption agency didn’t make a concerted effort to do their part to give these letters to their rightful owner. This feels criminal.
Did you ever find your lost sister?
Angela: Not yet. But I will not give up. I think she lives in Pennsylvania.
What is your occupation/job today?
Angela: I currently work at a University in Seattle, accommodating students with disabilities and providing de-stigmatizing counsel around disabilities and ableism.
You blog at THE ADOPTED LIFE [link]. Has blogging and writing and your public speaking affected your relationship to your a-parents and siblings?

I sure hope not! My family reads my blog, and I’m sure they don’t agree with every single thing I write, but they don’t take offense as they respect my viewpoint. Many of my blogs are prompted by conversations with them about current events, or comments that we’ve received about the film. My {adoptive} mom will be attending my next speaking engagement with me next week!

Your husband Bryan recently made a short film “Flip The Script” with contributors from Lost Daughters, including yourself. (readers, please watch)
Since you have been doing activism, awareness raising, what is one thing that could shift people’s perception? The Adoptee Voice?
Angela: Of course adoptee voices have a lot to offer the discourse, and would undoubtedly shift public perception. I’m working to learn why there is such resistance to hearing adult adoptees speak in the first place. From my work thus far, I think the answer lies within adoptive parents’ reasonings for adopting in the first place. Only when people are able to be honest with themselves with this question will they be able to accept adoptee’s viewpoints without the fear of being hurt, ousted or challenged. I think the answer to this question would also help those adoptive parents who aren’t able or willing to journey with their children when they seek to find answers about their roots and their past.
[Thank you Angela! We know you are one busy woman. You are brave. I thank you for your time….Lara/Trace]


Disturbing Truth about the History of Our Education System (watch today)

This is a clip from Schooling the World: The White Man’s Last Burden. Thanks to the generosity of the film-makers, (until Sep 9th) you can watch the full film online for free and in HD!

Watch it here while you can:

Video clip link:

Filmmaker’s site:

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Thoughts on depression from an artistic mind – The Globe and Mail

sheepHey everyone!

I just finished up writing an essay for a new anthology about adoptees, adoption and Ireland! Whew, it’s done! The editor wants the Irish government to sit up and listen.  Exactly!  (We all want America to sit up too and listen to first mothers and adoptees.)  As some of you know, I am a mix of American Indian (Tsalagi-Shawnee with French Canadian- Irish) – That makes me a very spunky gal.. so I hear.

I want you to read this post Thoughts on depression from an artistic mind – The Globe and Mail — since it pertains to so many of us humans right now … Yes, it seems like today everyone has depression — or is now becoming depressed.  I do understand why!! Hello? It’s like – turn on the news – the world is insane!

Really, though, I had heard this about comedians. Many are depressed. Many show only one side – the humor, the smile, the goofiness, the wit, the brilliance.

As a kid, I was the class clown, smart alec, etc.  One nun hated me so much she flipped me out of my desk! I also had a home life that was anything but funny. Humor was an outlet, a good one. I made all that nastiness go away with laughter! (I still want to…)

Robin Williams was the court jester of the world. He brought us to our knees with laughter. We needed that. Now that he is gone, we still have his many movies.

Michael RedHill

This says it all: “ROBIN WILLIAMS… REST IN PEACE… MAKE GOD LAUGH” — the poet-playwright Michael RedHill did a bloody brilliant job on his post.


I’ll be back next week posting more of my brain farts…Lara/Trace




Lost Sparrow solves mystery but leaves wounds exposed


lost sparrow

Four Native American children adopted by the Billing family

I think of this important documentary LOST SPARROW all the time and wanted to share the links with you again. The earlier review I wrote is on this blog here and I’ve included it in TWO WORLDS: Lost Children of the Indian Adoption Projects.

Review by Lara/Trace

On November 16, 2010, the documentary “Lost Sparrow” premiered on PBS Independent Lens.  Based on a true incident in 1978, two Crow Indian brothers (both adoptees) ran away from home and were found dead on railroad tracks the next day. Chris Billing’s film takes a closer look at what killed these two boys and what truth shattered his entire family.

The filmmaker is one of four biological children. His parents adopted six, with four of them from the Crow tribe. Billing was 16 when the boys died. The family buries them in New York and moves on with their lives. His parents eventually divorce.

The filmmaker narrates how his little brothers Bobby (13) and Tyler (11) were trying to help their sister Lana (who is also Crow). Lana told her brothers she was being sexually molested by their adoptive father. The two boys were going to Montana to get help. They knew who they were and knew their tribe.

As the film unfolds, Billings’ story becomes more about the despondent quiet Lana, and how she didn’t survive the sexual abuse or find peace after her brother’s heroic gesture and unfortunate deaths.  Lana runs far away from the adopters to North Carolina. Her pain is so deep the alcohol abuse seems the only antidote she can afford.

There are no signs of wealth where Lana lives; unlike the Billings and their homes in New Jersey and the summer mansion in upstate New York. Journalist-turned-filmmaker Chris Billing said it took three years to make the film. His parents, Mr. and Mrs. Billing, agree to see Lana on film but neither managed an appropriate response to her troubled past. Dysfunctional denial, which Mr. Billing’s exhibited while filming, seems inappropriate and not an apology, considering the facts revealed during the course of filming. The man at the center of the conflict, the adoptive father, an all-controlling philanderer, rich businessman, acts like nothing happened, like he did nothing wrong. What you hope is he was charged as a pedophile and sent to prison. This didn’t happen.

What does happen is the filmmaker and his siblings repatriate the two boys to the Crow tribe and have them interned on tribal land.

Chris films the boys’ father and tribal family who knew the boys were adopted by a rich East coast family but could do nothing to stop the adoption. Their grief leaves the viewer tormented. After revealing the entire truth, the filmmaker said it did little to bond their family or cure old wounds, “If it was good for Lana, then making the film was worth it.”

Wounds this egregious and deep are not healed by a 78-minute film.

From the Lost Sparrow PR:  On June 27, 1978, a 44-car Conrail freight train struck and killed two Crow Indian brothers near the town of Little Falls, New York — a day after Bobby, 13, and Tyler, 11, had disappeared. The two boys had run away without warning from the white, Baptist family that had adopted them and their biological sisters seven years earlier, spiriting them from a troubled Montana reservation family to an idyllic Victorian castle across the country. Lost Sparrow recounts award-winning filmmaker Chris Billing’s investigation, three decades later, into the dark family secret that prompted his adopted brothers to flee.

Trace A. DeMeyer (Lara) is the author of One Small Sacrifice and Two Worlds: Lost Children of the Indian Adoption Projects… She lives in Massachusetts.

The Red Road on Sundance

10 Things to Know About ‘The Red Road’ and Star Jason Momoa

Lisa Bonet with husband Jason Momoa. Photo by John Shearer/Invision for SundanceTV/AP Images.

The Red Road is a fictional TV drama, that premiered Feb. 27 on Sundance TV, that tells the story of a Native American tribe on the New York-New Jersey border and its uneasy relationship with the nearby town of Walpole, New Jersey. In recent weeks, the show has sparked a lot of buzz among potential viewers and in Indian country, for at least two reasons: It’s a show about the lives Native Americans set in the contemporary era (rather than a historical one), and its star, Jason Momoa, most famous for Game of Thrones, is suddenly one of those Actors You Need to Know.

Here’s a guide that will give you some useful background on the story and a crash course in Momoa 101.


WATCH: watch the first episode in its entirety now at

[I watched the first episode early and I can tell you – it’s definitely GREAT, full of suspense and you won’t be able to stop wanting more…My friend Gary Farmer is playing the Tribal Chairman… Lara/Trace]



#Utopia #Colonization #John Pilger

Utopia – A Film by John Pilger – Official trailer from Dartmouth Films on Vimeo.


This is what colonization in Australia looks like...History repeats itself over and over until we can get it right and make it right... Lara/Trace

Utopia, a new, epic film on Australia by John Pilger, will be released in Australia in January 2014. The film has been named among the top films of 2013.


Australia’s boom is anything but for its Aboriginal people

In an article for the Guardian, John Pilger reveals that the story of the first Australians is still one of poverty and humiliation, while their land yields the world’s biggest resources boom.

The new propaganda is liberal. The new slavery is digital.

John Pilger examines propaganda as not so much a conservative concept as a quintessentially liberal concept, an extremism that never speaks its name.


The Truth about Emanuel

Watch ‘The Truth About Emanuel’ Trailer Starring Jessica Biel and Kaya Scodelario

The Editors 
Never underestimate the power of a mother’s love. Check out the official trailer for this atmospheric genre piece from writer/director Francesca Gregorini.

The trailer for The Truth About Emanuel, the film that mesmerized audiences at the Sundance Festival, has finally arrived! Written and directed by Francesca Gregorini (Tanner Hall), the film stars British sensation Kaya Scodelario and Jessica Biel as a pair of unlikely neighbors who find unexpected solace in each other as both of their lives start to crumble.

Also featuring strong supporting performances from Alfred Molina, Frances O’Connor, Aneurin Barnard and Jimmi Simpson, The Truth About Emanuel is a dramatic, stylish thriller that explores the healing bonds of friendship and the lengths we’ll go to save one another.

The Truth About Emanuel hits VOD and digital platforms on November 26 and select theaters starting January 10.


Read more:

Young Lakota airs tomorrow


“Young Lakota” Documentary to Premiere on PBS Independent Lens Nov. 25

Trailer here. Website here.

“Young Lakota” Official Trailer from marionlipschutz/roserosenblatt on Vimeo.

Young Lakota will air at 10 p.m. EST, Monday, Nov. 25, on PBS’s Independent Lens. The film chronicles Tribal President Cecelia Fire Thunder’s challenge to a proposed abortion ban in South Dakota, and the political awakening she inspires in Sunny Clifford, a young Lakota woman living on the Pine Ridge Reservation.
Young Lakota was an Official Selection at the Big Sky Film Festival, the New Orleans Film Festival, the American Indian Film Festival, and won Best Documentary at Cine Las Americas and the Smithsonian Showcase.

The Film

In a small town in the heart of the Pine Ridge Reservation, Sunny Clifford, her twin sister Serena, and their neighbor, Brandon Ferguson, share a common dream of helping to create a better future for their tribe. When South Dakota passes a law criminalizing abortion, their tribal President, Cecelia Fire Thunder, challenges it with a threat to build a clinic on the reservation, drawing Sunny, Serena, and Brandon into a political storm that changes the course of each of their lives.

Sunny Clifford works as a clerk at the Kyle grocery store, living in “the housing” in Kyle, population with her twin sister, Serena. The twins — who have dropped out of college — dream of finding a way to help make things better on the reservation, but they don’t really know where to start. Their idealism is shared by Brandon Ferguson, their neighbor, who — like Serena — has young children.

All three look up to Cecelia Fire Thunder, the first female president of their tribe, as she counters a South Dakota law that makes abortion a crime, with no exceptions for rape or incest. Fire Thunder takes a stand by proposing a women’s health clinic providing abortions on the reservation but open to all local women.

But Fire Thunder’s bold proposal is seen by some as grandstanding, and the tribe is divided over both the abortion issue and Fire Thunder herself. Ultimately, Fire Thunder is impeached by her political enemies inside the tribal government (perhaps with the help of the South Dakota political right), an act that sets off a chain reaction in the lives of Sunny, Serena, and Brandon. A tumultuous tribal election to replace Fire Thunder and a state vote that defeats of the abortion ban, open a political rift between the friends, and help determine the adults they will become.



Producers / Directors: Marion Lipschutz & Rose Rosenblatt

Executive Producer: Heather Rae

Writer: Marion Lipschutz

Director of Photography: Gary Keith Griffin

Sound: Susan Bryant

Editors: Rose Rosenblatt, Jeremy Stulberg & Diego Siranga

Composer: Garth Stevenson

About Independent Lens Independent Lens is an Emmy® Award-winning weekly series airing on PBS. The acclaimed anthology series features documentaries united by the creative freedom, artistic achievement, and unflinching visions of independent filmmakers. Presented by Independent Television Service (ITVS), the series is funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), a private corporation funded by the American people, with additional funding from PBS and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. The senior series producer is Lois Vossen. More information at Join Independent Lens on Facebook at

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