More Parkour Please…

World Leading Free Runner Daniel Ilabaca

Parkour despite its extreme gracefulness is not seen as an extreme sport but rather “a physical discipline” that allows one to overcome physical obstacles in front of them by running, free running, jumping, climbing, vaulting and using their own body as leverage to get from point A to point B.

Parkour orginated in France and it is based on the principle, that with the right amount of focus, concentration and discipline, your body can do anything. These parkour practitioners move in an acrobatic and gymnastic way that is almost cat-like. Male Parkour practitioners are called Traceurs and female practitioners are called Traceuses. Parkour is meant to teach the body how to adapt to various situations and hasten the reaction time of the body in order to overcome immediate obstacles. Parkour is also known as a form of martial arts.

Most Parkour practices are held in and on top of tall buildings, walls, stairs, parks and anywhere that is possibly dangerous. Its forms and movements  separate it from sports and arts; it is difficult to put Parkour in a category since it is so unique.


MTA raises the fares and lays off 1,000 employees

MTA is on the path of raising the fares for subways, buses and tunnels twice before the end of 2011, along with laying off more than 1,000 MTA employees.

According to the plan announced on Tuesday, MTA is considering laying off 500 station agents who are no longer needed for maintaining the safety in the subway stations. MTA Chairman Jay Walder said that will happen because over 2,500 police officers and more than 2,000 cleaning workers are “moving around” the stations.

The problem with Jay Walder’s statement is, that the passengers don’t know where to look for a police officer or a cleaner and cannot be sure that they will find them in case of an emergency.

In addition, it’s very rare to find a police officer or a cleaning person in the subway system in the middle of the night, but the station agents are usually in their booths. The presence of them make the late night travelers feel safer while waiting for the train, because most of the underground station don’t even have the cell phone service.

I don’t think that Walder’s explanation for laying off station agents is persuasive.

Former Vice President of HBO NYC is New Second-In-Command of Sundance

Former Vice President of HBO NYC Productions Keri Putnam has been named  Sundance Institute’s new executive director, according to Robert Redford, founder and president, and Wally Weisman, chairman of the Board at the institute. In the past, Putnam has been responsible for New York centered film productions like “Subway Stories.”

The executive director position at the Sundance Institute had been held open for 10 months after Ken Brecher resigned from it last April, shortly following the exit of Sundance’s Film Festival director Geoff Gilmore for a position as chief creative officer at the much younger, uber-glamorous Tribeca Enterprises, which runs its own film festival in downtown Manhattan. Both men had been with the Sundance Institute for well over a decade. In contrast to Gilmore, Brecher who’s history was in nonprofit arts, has been almost conspicuously missing from media mention since his Sundance departure.

Putnam became president of production at Miramax Films in 2006. She was downsized in October, in one of the the earliest stages of contractions indicating the indie landmark company’s subsequent, and (almost certain now) collapse. The question New Yorkers can ask ourselves now, is whether Putnam’s new position is an instance of New York talent poached from our city, or has a New Yorker risen to a powerful position she can leverage to continue benefiting film making in New York? Time will tell.

Read the Sundance Institute’s press release, welcoming Putnam, here.

Illness Delays Jail Closing

New York City’s only immigration jail was scheduled to close this month. But it turns out that it is easier said than done as officials say its hard moving detainees with medical problems. Detainees were supposed to be moved to New Jersey, but the jail their refused to accept them because of their medical problems.  Should immigrant detainees be treat so harshly? Should so many be detained in the first place? Click here to read the full story.

Schools Need More Funding Not Budget Cuts

Is it possible that the education debate between government officials and parents could get any worse? Unfortunately, the already tense relationship has deteriorated since Governor Paterson proposed a $1.4 billion cut to the Education budget.

If the plan is approved, this will be the largest budget cut to Education in the city’s history. Parents and Advocacy groups joined forces to protest the cut to schools.

Here you will find footage of the Budget Cut Protest.

Can We Trust Our Pediatricians?

The question of the day: why would you leave your child alone during a medical examination?

According to a CNN report released Feb. 23, a pediatrician was convicted of sexually violating baby girls and recording his acts. Police found videos (12 hours/plus) between home and office work.

He had a Disney theme office full of toys and games so kids and moms would easily get distracted. He would switch from room to room and tell mothers taking care of a second child: ” I’ll just take (blank) with me to the other room while you change his/her diaper”.

Apparently, as told by experts,” the power of the white coat” has significant impact on us.

Watch this video to follow up on the story:

Film Here

One big reason that New York City is a magnet for film production is the Mayor’s Office of Film Theater and Broadcasting. They provide free police assistance, permits, locations, and a five percent tax credit on the expenditures of most productions recorded here. An even bigger reason to film in New York is an additional thirty percent tax credit that the state offers. Essentially, projects that film in New York City can expect impressive aid and a substantial tax reimbursement of money spent on costumes, crew, equipment, studios, animal wranglers–all of the film-making services that are considered ‘below the line’ expenses–expenses other than the director, principal actors, and screenwriter.

Maybe the biggest reason to film in New York City is it’s inimitable presence, but I’ll write about that another time.

Many states, and with notable success Canada, have worked up their own tax contortions, pairing these with other resources to compete for studio and independent feature film business. Connecticut has for years offered big tax breaks for ‘above the line’ film production expenses–expenses in exactly the pricey production area that New York declines to offset. Film productions with expensive stars stand to benefit by filming there. Since participating productions will likely spend a large chunk of budget importing their Bruce Willis’s and Spike Jonez’s, it makes sense for Connecticut to try and offer a trained home force of below-the-line drudges. Their salaries will probably still be taxed. Connecticut needs that tax revenue and Connecticut citizens need jobs. The state is trying to recruit and intern camera operators, sound technicians, production assistants and anything else that you shouldn’t have to send production dollars out of state for. Recruitment for film production training at websites like Connecticut Film & Digital Media Workforce, is hard to take seriously as a threat, but can Connecticut divert a significant amount of film productions that might otherwise be spending their budgets in New York?