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Private Violence

A look at the complexity of domestic violence, especially when it comes to the difficulty of prosecuting abusers in a court of law, "Private Violence"…



If this directorial outing was in any sense an audition for the talented Mr. Macy, he should be congratulated on passing it.

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Ballad of Narayama

"The Ballad of Narayama" is a Japanese film of great beauty and elegant artifice, telling a story of startling cruelty. What a space it opens…


Monsieur Hire

Patrice Leconte's "Monsieur Hire" is a tragedy about loneliness and erotomania, told about two solitary people who have nothing else in common. It involves a…

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Jana Monji

Jana Monji

Jana Monji, made in San Diego, California, lost in Japan several times, has written about theater and movies for the LA Weekly, LA Times, and currently, and the Pasadena Weekly. Currently living in LA, she has found her inner Latina dancing Argentine tango. Her short fiction has been published in the Asian American Literary Review.

Going to the Dogs: Comic-Con 2013


One of the important pre-Comic-Con tasks is determining the Comic-Con exclusives or freebies you want to get. In some cases, if you don't get in to the Wednesday preview, you aren't getting the exclusives or freebies at all.Lately, not all of the exclusives are so exclusive as Comic-Con International attempts to be more consumer friendly. Some of the items you can pre-order and you don't even have to make it to Comic-Con at all.My favorite four-lettered word is free and while my husband and I are TOS Star Trek fans, we also like Star Wars. Of course, Comic-Con has plenty of merchandise for fans of either series. After snafus with line management (which according to some posts on the Comic-Con International Facebook page were many), I dashed into the preview night crowd searching for that one item that would make this fan happy. My superpower is the ability to slip through crowds as I dodge elbows.When I initially got to the booth I had been seeking, I was disappointed. They had given them all out, but I stuck around talking to the people in charge and a stash of merchandise was found. Although I have two dogs, I was only able to get one pair of Yoda ears.Yes, Star Wars has gone to the dogs. That shouldn't surprise people at Comic-Con for two reasons. Petco, the company that is selling the Star Wars pet collection, is a prominent San Diego company and has its name on the nearby park, Petco Park.Some Star Wars fans have always had the suspicion that Star Wars is a little canine-influenced. Don't the Ewoks remind you of Affenpinschers or the Brussels Griffon? Chewbacca is little more than a giant version of the common horror flick werewolf. Those Storm trooper outfits look like Cubist impressions of a Pekingese. Moreover, Yoda has a strong resemblance to a Fennec.So teaming up Petco and Star Wars seems like a natural. Dog lovers and Star Wars fan are invited to a Yappy Hour on Friday at the Hotel Indigo in downtown San Diego from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Finally, Comic-Con has incorporated everyone—adults, male and female; families with kids in tow and people and their fur friends.The party is open to the public and you can bring your dog (sorry no cats). Darth Vader and Chewbacca are scheduled to make appearances (helping to adopt out dogs from the San Diego Humane Society) and you can have movie caricatures drawn of both of you and there will be plenty of treats, giveaways and chances to win products from the new Petco Star Wars Pet Fans collection. The collection doesn't launch until this fall. We'll have to wait until then to order our second pair of Yoda ears.The Petco Star Wars Yappy Hour may be a canine-centric zoo, but we're going. I'm even bringing my new purple light saber. Hotel Indigo is located at 509 9th Ave., San Diego. (619) 727-4000. If you dress in your favorite Star Wars gear you get a free "Wookie Juice" cocktail.After acquiring my set of Yoda ears, I was able to relax and enjoy the sights and cut through and past the lines in the exhibition hall to photograph the various displays before returning to the all-night line for "PSYCH: The Musical." More on that later.

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A beauty pageant Gloria Steinem would love

May Contain Spoilers

Women's History month is just the right time to watch, "Miss Navajo," a documentary that premiered at Sundance in 2007 and was broadcast on PBS the same year. The title alone may turn people away if you are, like me, not a big fan of beauty pageants but Miss Navajo is the kind of pageant that perhaps even Gloria Steinem could get behind.

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A little black dress makes the world go round


With the passing of Andy Williams, I keep imagining his golden tenor singing Henry Mancini's "Moon River." The song talks about crossing life in style. "Breakfast at Tiffany's" is all about fashionable cafe society and love; in an adult fairy tale, you can have both even if you are two drifters.

The director Gregory Nava once commented, "Whenever any question of style or taste in dress comes up, I simply ask myself, 'What would Fred Astaire have done?'" Audrey Hepburn is Astaire's female equivalent: sophistication mixed with fizzy fun.

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Nostalgia for the Light

You can watch the full video of "Nostalgia for the Light" (2012) on the PBS POV website until January 23, 2013. Also available to watch instantly on Netflix.

The desert light in the daytime is sharp and destructive, slowly blinding you as you age. I grew up in what had been a desert, and that taught me to love the night, yet I never looked up to contemplate the stars. Perhaps if I had I would have learned to love the desert as Patricio Guzmán.

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Third Star

May Contain Spoilers

I clearly remember the first day of our only family vacation while my father was alive. My father was wearing a dapper boater "Can Can" straw hat, but the window was left too far down and it soon swooshed off my father's head and was gaily rolling down the highway. On that particular day, he knew he was dying and that is the reason for our journey. I thought of my father while watching "Third Star," a touching independent movie about four male friends taking a journey to a remote Welsh beach. The film's narrator, James (Benedict Cumberbatch), has an unnamed terminal cancer. My father didn't die of cancer, but he was bit of a dandy and always wore a hat, usually one more like the fedora Cumberbatch's James sports at times in this movie.

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