Category Archives: News

Mustang: “Forbidden Kingdom”

“Forbidden Kingdom” is the third and final part of the “MUSTANG” documentary.

Behind the haughty white peaks of the Himalayas that embrace it like a cocoon, in the northern part of Nepal stand for centuries the Forbidden Kingdom of Mustang.

The kingdom was ruled for seven centuries from its capital, the village of Lo Manthang, a metropolis compared with the rest of the villages. The tiny metropolis was established at the end of the 14th century by a king whose lineage continued uninterrupted till today. With its thick surrounding wall and fortress gates, Lo Manthang looks that could withstand any attacks against its peaceful inhabitants. The capital is surrounded by the famous “sky caves” dwellings where the locals lived for many centuries before they moved into the current villages.

The documentary is available for purchase on the FlyingMonk e-store at https://www.flyingmonk.com/product/mustang-forbidden-kingdom/

and Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Mustang-Demons-Lair-Radu-Polizu/dp/B08DPXBVJP/ref=sr_1_4?dchild=1&keywords=flyingmonk+films&qid=1596116160&sr=8-4

Mustang: “Demon’s Lair”

FlyingMonk announces the release of its latest documentary, “MUSTANG”.

Behind the haughty white peaks of the Himalayas that embrace it like a cocoon, in the northern part of Nepal stand for centuries the Forbidden Kingdom of Mustang. Flyingmonk produced the three-part series documentary about this mysterious and remote kingdom of the Himalayas. A place filled with legends about local demons that is spiritually cleansed every year by the monks from the local monasteries during the most fascinating Tibetan festival of slaying the demons, named locally Tiji, an event that happens uninterrupted every year since the 17th century.

The second episode of the three-part series is named “Demon’s Lair”.  The salt caravans coming from Tibet crossed Mustang’s clay hills for centuries. During these long hauls, local legends got weaved and they seeped through into the people’s mind. The stories about the local demons that terrorized the inhabitants, destroying their crops, and drying their fountains abound in Mustang. The demon made his lair in these places and from here he controlled an army of malevolent spirits that created havoc all over. But the strong Buddhist belief of the local kings found a way to get rid of them in fierce battles whose traces could be seen even nowadays.

The documentary is available for purchase on the FlyingMonk e-store at https://www.flyingmonk.com/product/mustang-demons-alley/

and Amazon, https://www.amazon.com/Mustang-Demons-Lair-Radu-Polizu/dp/B08DPXBVJP/ref=sr_1_4?dchild=1&keywords=flyingmonk+films&qid=1596116160&sr=8-4

Mustang: “Pilgrimage”

FlyingMonk is happy to announce the release of our latest documentary “MUSTANG”.

“Behind the haughty white peaks of the Himalayas that embrace it like a cocoon, in the northern part of Nepal stand for centuries the “Forbidden Kingdom” of Mustang.”

FlyingMonk produced the three-part series documentary about this mysterious and remote kingdom of the Himalayas, a place filled with legends about local demons. Each year the monks from the local monasteries cleanse the land of these malevolent forces in meditative dance steps during the most fascinating Tibetan festival of slaying the demons, named locally Tiji, an event that happens uninterrupted every year since the 17th century.

The first episode of the three-part series is named “Pilgrimage” focusing on the pilgrims’ route to the Muktinath temple.

“What could a pilgrimage mean in a world connected by the Internet and planes? However, there are places in the world that are still hard to reach where modernity was not able to penetrate their souls. Mustang is for sure such a place, an arid landscape surrounded by the haughty white peaks of the Himalaya. The shining peak of Nilgiri towers over the tiny town of Jomsom, a stopping place on the way to Muktinath, the highest altitude pilgrimage place in the Himalayas. A place venerated by Hindu and Buddhist alike and the only one in the world where all four elements, air, earth, water, and fire, meet in a tiny chapel lost among the barren hills.”

The documentary is available for purchase on the FlyingMonk e-store at https://www.flyingmonk.com/product/mustang-pilgrimage/

New design of our website

Not all was bad during the pandemic. The best thing that we got, especially in the USA, a country obsessed with work, it was an extended and relaxing vacation, even if it happened that we had to work occasionally hard during this time. And this free time gave us the opportunity to approach projects that otherwise would have been prohibitive in the middle of the constant rush.

One of these projects for us at FlyingMonk was a complete redesign of our website. It was not by far the first time when we planned of doing this complete rebuild forced by the change in the media publishing formats. And because of the large amount of content we have on the site we were pretty reluctant in starting the process. But it happened and last weekend, on July 11, 2020, we launched our redesigned website: www.flyingmonk.com

Please take a moment to browse through our redesigned website pages. No matter that we still have some content to add, especially in terms of albums of images, it’s a lot to see.

Seven Headed Serpent

The last part of the Angkor series focuses on Phnom Penh’s best-known celebration, the Water Festival. The Festival celebrates the reversal flow of the whimsical river Tonle Sap governed in legends by a Seven-Headed Serpent that assured the livelihood of the Khmer population for generations. A cosmopolitan city filled with life and entertainment, and peppered by museums and modern temples, Phnom Penh was the stage for the most abysmal tragedy a nation could witness, the Khmer Rouge 1975 occupation that forced the entire city population of 3 million to leave to the countryside within an interval of 3 hours.

The videos are available for purchase on FlyingMonk Store and Amazon

Lost gems of the jungle

The entire Cambodia jungle is peppered with temples and monasteries once-powerful centers of learning of South East Asia. Pyramidal or circular, built on land or on water pools and reservoirs, the Khmer temple cannot stop fascinating minds across the entire world. The details on their lintels astonished generation of archeologists and intrepid visitors alike and the hues reflected by their red bricks in sunrise are an inspiration for morning meditation. Many other temples are still left prey to the encroaching jungle with silk-cotton trees entrapping their structure creating a mysterious atmosphere that inspired producers to use them as movie sets for various Hollywood productions.

The videos are available for purchase on FlyingMonk e-store and Amazon

Immortal City

The second part of the Angkor Series focuses on Angkor Thom, a city built by the Khmer after the defeat suffered in front of the Chams invading army, the population from what is now neighboring Vietnam. At the center of this magnificent city stands its symbol the temple of Bayon, with its 54 towers covered on all sides by images carved in stone of Avalokinshcara, the boddhisatva of compassion in newly adopted Buddhist Pantheon, identified with the ruler of the Khmer empire, Jayavarman VII, the founder of the temple. The city is surrounded in its entirety by a banister shaped like a serpent saddled by gods and demons who churn for a thousand years the legendary sea of milk in order to extract the elixir of immortality, making in this way the newly built city immortal.

The videos are available for purchase on FlyingMonk e-store and Amazon

Angkor

FlyingMonk Films launches today a 4-part series about the mysterious temples hidden for centuries in the Cambodian jungle. The first part of the series is taking a view of the iconic Angkor Wat, a spectacular architectural jewel where symmetry is embedded in stone. Its discovery under the Cambodian jungle canopy in the second part of the 19th century by the French explorer Henri Mouhot created large interest in Europe and numerous expeditions followed. And with them, a veil of mystery was removed from this fabled empire and its powerful kings that ruled South East Asia for eight centuries.

The videos are available for purchase on FlyingMonk Store and  Amazon

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Own only what you can always carry with you
Roam the world and learn languages
Explore new cultures and laugh with the locals
Have adventures
Discover yourself
Be anonymous because life is short
Challenge yourself and feel more alive
Never look back and wonder what if.
Just grab your camera and shoot and later write about it.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

“The Art of the Deal”

by Tony Schwarz

Why does President Trump behave in the dangerous and seemingly self-destructive ways he does?

Three decades ago, I spent nearly a year hanging around Trump to write his first book, “The Art of the Deal,” and got to know him very well. I spent hundreds of hours listening to him, watching him in action and interviewing him about his life. To me, none of what he has said or done over the past four months as president comes as a surprise. The way he has behaved over the past two weeks — firing FBI Director James B. Comey, undercutting his own aides as they tried to explain the decision, disclosing sensitive information to Russian officials and railing about it all on Twitter — is also entirely predictable.

Early on, I recognized that Trump’s sense of self-worth is forever at risk. When he feels aggrieved, he reacts impulsively and defensively, constructing a self-justifying story that doesn’t depend on facts and always directs the blame to others.

The Trump I first met in 1985 had lived nearly all his life in survival mode. By his own description, his father, Fred, was relentlessly demanding, difficult and driven. Here’s how I phrased it in “The Art of the Deal”: “My father is a wonderful man, but he is also very much a business guy and strong and tough as hell.” As Trump saw it, his older brother, Fred Jr., who became an alcoholic and died at age 42, was overwhelmed by his father. Or as I euphemized it in the book: “There were inevitably confrontations between the two of them. In most cases, Freddy came out on the short end.”

Trump’s worldview was profoundly and self-protectively shaped by his father. “I was drawn to business very early, and I was never intimidated by my father, the way most people were,” is the way I wrote it in the book. “I stood up to him, and he respected that. We had a relationship that was almost businesslike.”

To survive, I concluded from our conversations, Trump felt compelled to go to war with the world. It was a binary, zero-sum choice for him: You either dominated or you submitted. You either created and exploited fear, or you succumbed to it — as he thought his older brother had. This narrow, defensive outlook took hold at a very early age, and it never evolved. “When I look at myself in the first grade and I look at myself now,” he told a recent biographer, “I’m basically the same.” His development essentially ended in early childhood.

Instead, Trump grew up fighting for his life and taking no prisoners. In countless conversations, he made clear to me that he treated every encounter as a contest he had to win, because the only other option from his perspective was to lose, and that was the equivalent of obliteration. Many of the deals in “The Art of the Deal” were massive failures — among them the casinos he owned and the launch of a league to rival the National Football League — but Trump had me describe each of them as a huge success.

With evident pride, Trump explained to me that he was “an assertive, aggressive” kid from an early age, and that he had once punched a music teacher in the eye and was nearly expelled from elementary school for his behavior.

Like so much about Trump, who knows whether that story is true? What’s clear is that he has spent his life seeking to dominate others, whatever that requires and whatever collateral damage it creates along the way. In “The Art of the Deal,” he speaks with street-fighting relish about competing in the world of New York real estate: They are “some of the sharpest, toughest, and most vicious people in the world. I happen to love to go up against these guys, and I love to beat them.” I never sensed from Trump any guilt or contrition about anything he’d done, and he certainly never shared any misgivings publicly. From his perspective, he operated in a jungle full of predators who were forever out to get him, and he did what he must to survive.

Trump was equally clear with me that he didn’t value — nor even necessarily recognize — the qualities that tend to emerge as people grow more secure, such as empathy, generosity, reflectiveness, the capacity to delay gratification or, above all, a conscience, an inner sense of right and wrong. Trump simply didn’t traffic in emotions or interest in others. The life he lived was all transactional, all the time. Having never expanded his emotional, intellectual or moral universe, he has his story down, and he’s sticking to it.

A key part of that story is that facts are whatever Trump deems them to be on any given day. When he is challenged, he instinctively doubles down — even when what he has just said is demonstrably false. I saw that countless times, whether it was as trivial as exaggerating the number of floors at Trump Tower or as consequential as telling me that his casinos were performing well when they were actually going bankrupt. In the same way, Trump would see no contradiction at all in changing his story about why he fired Comey and thereby undermining the statements of his aides, or in any other lie he tells. His aim is never accuracy; it’s domination.

The Trump I got to know had no deep ideological beliefs, nor any passionate feeling about anything but his immediate self-interest. He derives his sense of significance from conquests and accomplishments. “Can you believe it, Tony?” he would often say at the start of late-night conversations with me, going on to describe some new example of his brilliance. But the reassurance he got from even his biggest achievements was always ephemeral and unreliable — and that appears to include being elected president. Any addiction has a predictable pattern: The addict keeps chasing the high by upping the ante in an increasingly futile attempt to re-create the desired state. On the face of it, Trump has more opportunities now to feel significant and accomplished than almost any other human being on the planet. But that’s like saying a heroin addict has his problem licked once he has free and continuous access to the drug. Trump also now has a far bigger and more public stage on which to fail and to feel unworthy.

From the very first time I interviewed him in his office in Trump Tower in 1985, the image I had of Trump was that of a black hole. Whatever goes in quickly disappears without a trace. Nothing sustains. It’s forever uncertain when someone or something will throw Trump off his precarious perch — when his sense of equilibrium will be threatened and he’ll feel an overwhelming compulsion to restore it. Beneath his bluff exterior, I always sensed a hurt, incredibly vulnerable little boy who just wanted to be loved.

What Trump craves most deeply is the adulation he has found so fleeting. This goes a long way toward explaining his need for control and why he simply couldn’t abide Comey, who reportedly refused to accede to Trump’s demand for loyalty and whose continuing investigation into Russian interference in the election campaign last year threatens to bring down his presidency. Trump’s need for unquestioning praise and flattery also helps to explain his hostility to democracy and to a free press — both of which thrive on open dissent.

As we have seen countless times during the campaign and since the election, Trump can devolve into survival mode on a moment’s notice. Look no further than the thousands of tweets he has written attacking his perceived enemies over the past year. In neurochemical terms, when he feels threatened or thwarted, Trump moves into a fight-or-flight state. His amygdala is triggered, his hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis activates, and his prefrontal cortex — the part of the brain that makes us capable of rationality and reflection — shuts down. He reacts rather than reflects, and damn the consequences. This is what makes his access to the nuclear codes so dangerous and frightening.

Over the past week, in the face of criticism from nearly every quarter, Trump’s distrust has almost palpably mushroomed. No importuning by his advisers stands a chance of constraining him when he is this deeply triggered. The more he feels at the mercy of forces he cannot control — and he is surely feeling that now — the more resentful, desperate and impulsive he becomes.

Even 30 years later, I vividly remember the ominous feeling when Trump got angry about some perceived slight. Everyone around him knew that you were best off keeping your distance at those times, or, if that wasn’t possible, that you should resist disagreeing with him in any way.

In the hundreds of Trump’s phone calls I listened in on with his consent, and the dozens of meetings I attended with him, I can never remember anyone disagreeing with him about anything. The same climate of fear and paranoia appears to have taken root in his White House.

The most recent time I spoke to Trump — and the first such occasion in nearly three decades — was July 14, 2016, shortly before the New Yorker published an article by Jane Mayer about my experience writing “The Art of the Deal.” Trump was just about to win the Republican nomination for president. I was driving in my car when my cellphone rang. It was Trump. He had just gotten off a call with a fact-checker for the New Yorker, and he didn’t mince words.

“I just want to tell you that I think you’re very disloyal,” he started in. Then he berated and threatened me for a few minutes. I pushed back, gently but firmly. And then suddenly, as abruptly as he began the call, he ended it. “Have a nice life,” he said, and hung up.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/posteverything/wp/2017/05/16/i-wrote-the-art-of-the-deal-with-trump-his-self-sabotage-is-rooted-in-his-past/?hpid=hp_no-name_opinion-card-b%3Ahomepage%2Fstory&utm_term=.0ce290c151f6

The thieves’ paradise

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Victoria Square, Bucharest

Tonight the new government of Romania established Romania as the thieves’ paradise. The tremendous corruption that marred Romania was always there but in the recent years was challenged by a relentless group of prosecutors under the remarkable leadership of Codruta Kovessi who was able to prosecute in a “mani puliti” style lots of Romania politicians. It came to the point that a very large number of MPs were under prosecution or landed in jail after they lost the seat in the Parliament.
Unfortunately not all that were proved corrupt and accepting bribes because many dossiers were lagging in process but it was know that they will be soon prosecuted.

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Victoria Square, Bucharest

Tonight the government voted in a exceptional session, late in the night, especially chosen, a 18F frosty night, an executive order by which all who were under investigation were cleared giving basically a clean slate for a national theft and graft. The thugs won! The main thug is the leader of ruling Socialists who was already with a number of dossiers hanging on his head and his Justice Ministry , Florian Iordache, who is at the second try to pass such a law.

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The Romanian government building, Bucharest

After the Ministry of Justice obnoxious and aggressive press conference that happened around 10:30 PM, unexpected for the politicians, hoards of people in the entire country marched to the city center in a huge protest. The crowd surrounded the government building, blocking all access gates, hoping as one protester put it “to burn the rats live inside”. What made it interesting was that all this flux of protesters coming into the square was incessantly flowing after midnight, in a freezing midnight. In Bucharest, watching at 1:00 AM, I saw coming from all corners of the Government Square throngs of young people like in a procession that was mourning the Romanian democracy. It looked like a candle-less Easter procession but this time a mournful and angry one. TV anchors were denouncing the executive order that tried to protect not only the politicians but also their family and second degree relatives. Some anchors advised the viewers to leave Romania and emigrate because is nothing left to do in Romania except theft.

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The Romanian Government building in Bucharest

In Romania if you are not a thief, you are a sucker!

Complete 9 DVDs series about Tibet’s culture and tradition

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We reedited with new material and a different story the pilgrimage we did several years ago to Mount Kailash, the holiest mountain in Tibet venerated by Tibetan Buddhists, Shiva followers, Jains and the followers of the Bob religion, the pre-Buddhist religion of Tibet. From there we continued to Lake Manasarovar, the holy lake revered by Shiva followers whose pilgrimage was mentioned in the old Indian Purana writings thousands of years ago. We ended the foray in Western Tibet at the base camp of Mount Everest, in Rongbu Monastery, the highest monastery in the entire world, hiking towards the peak till Camp One. These two new DVDs complete a series of videos about about Tibet, a 9 DVD foray into the traditions and culture of this distant land, about a mysterious city located somewhere over the edge of the world in a land brutally occupied by the Chinese; a spiritual devotion not easily encountered anywhere in the world, a charismatic leader well known to the entire world and a 6 year old boy imprisoned to control the future of this spiritual land.

Click here to order the videos

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Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

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Chilling under the sun,
Relaxing under the stars,
Sipping on a raspberry cocktail,
Riding buses in the night
Trying exotic dishes,
Bicycling on unknown routes,
Canoeing in small rivulets,
Learning the language and rituals of the locals
Losing yourself in temples lost in the jungle
Staying with shamans in the forests
Waking up at dawn for meditation
Writing books about the experience
And shoot lots of footage and make videos

Happy Holidays and a wandering New Year from all of us at FlyingMonk!

2017-2

Two wars in one play at the BAM

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Watching Ivo van Hove’s spellbinding four hours and a half staging of the three Shakespeare’s plays about the English kings, Henry V, Henry VI and Richard III, all flowing one into the other, you span two wars, the hundred years war and the War of the Roses, and about one hundred years of history, presented with wit and humor but in a contemporary current affair broadcast style. Van Hove divides the action between the front stage and the backstage, watched by a video camera that streams video to a large screen, bringing the audience to the blighted corridors of the Tower where the dark secrets of power are played and princes are killed to satisfy the rulers’ lust of power. The resemblance to our current politics is intended and subtly occasionally inserted. The hidden secrets that crafts power are happening in the 15th century’s London or in the contemporary Washington? Comparing with the six hours marathon of the Roman Tragedies presented several years ago at the BAM this series is more focused keeping the audience in their chairs, instead of mingling with the actors on stage and ordering cappuccinos, and the effect is so powerful that you don’t even feel when the first part’s almost three hours pass till the intermission.
In the second part Richard, probably the best Richard I ever saw on stage, a con of his times, keeps alluding that cons are perennials, his traits being so similar with our contemporary one whose lust of power drives him to run trying to become king. In a spat of fury toward the queen who could not be cowed to his wishes, Richard moves away from the Shakespearean text and adapts it to today’s version adding through invective and insults, “such a nasty woman”.

What a schmuck….

 

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Watching the debate last night I kept wondering who in a sane mind can vote for such a schmuck? It’s good business to make the market collapse because he may make money when he buys cheap and is smart if you pay no taxes. He runs for what? Such a moron and a thief. Hillary may not be likable but in comparison with her some of The Donald’s ideas seem stemmed from a bar at late hours when the owner wants to kick out the patrons.

A dictator’s dream

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Each and every time when it happens to hear The Donald speak I have the feeling that I am in a bar at a very, very late hour. But when I pinch myself and realize that he does not drink it becomes surreal. However many people connect very well to his bar style and embrace ideas to the extreme. This girl wears this incredible T-shirt, in this photo taken at event at Plymouth State University sometimes in February this year. Maybe Erdogan can get a position in the cabinet also. As long as this partnership looked like it didn’t click The Donald had to concede and settled for Mike Pence.
As rightly Michael Bloomberg put it the previous night: “I am a New Yorker. I know a con when I see one.”

Globalism versus nationalism

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The wave of uncontrolled immigration that flooded Europe last year started to bring to fruition all the predicted omens. Almost everyday is an attack, some of the perpetrated by migrants, infiltrated through Merkel’s “children” or regular guys radicalized by lack of conditions. I lived in Germany 30 years ago and I was shocked at the time by the lack of available housing. I know lots of people there, some Germans for generations and some with German ancestry immigrated from the Romania and they all told me the same thing: it’s no housing capacity in Germany for so many refugees. The refugees are living in containers heated in the winter or in gyms taken from schools or sport halls. moved from one city to another. And nobody can seem to know how this problem would ever be solved. The Merkel’s approach at the time, mistaken as it was, created a wave of right wing sentiments in Germany that fruited in the advancement of the AfD and other nationalist movements. Since Nice’s attack the post that I published in November after the attack in Paris was read more than any other of my posts with beautiful pictures and interesting stories.
See: https://flyingmonk.wordpress.com/2015/11/16/the-political-correctness-of-france/

Jonathan Haidt is a well known American social psychologist and professor of ethical leadership at Stern School of Business of the New York University. His TED talks trying to explain the reason American society is so divided nowadays was impressive and made me follow his articles.

In his new article published in American Interest “When and why nationalism beats globalism” he presents an in-depth view of how societies react to change of their social texture and how immigration shape their reaction.

Jonathan Haidt: “…it leads to a clear set of policy prescriptions for globalists. First and foremost: Think carefully about the way your country handles immigration and try to manage it in a way that is less likely to provoke an authoritarian reaction. Pay attention to three key variables: the percentage of foreign-born residents at any given time, the degree of moral difference of each incoming group, and the degree of assimilation being achieved by each group’s children. ”

Read here: http://www.the-american-interest.com/2016/07/10/when-and-why-nationalism-beats-globalism/

Now you can order “Cartea povestilor uitate” in USA

Coperta

This volume gathers travel adventures and experiences from various parts of the world. From religious pilgrimages in Tibet on the Himalaya heights to the surrealist landscape of the American south-west; from the Peruvian altiplano that Inca used to build their empire to the Kuna Indians forgotten on the Caribbean’s atolls or the ones from the Embera tribes living their life as the way they were born on Chagres River; from an India frozen in time to a museum-like Cuba, impeccably preserved by the American embargo. Most of these experiences delved in a world outside of the beaten path, little exposed to the tourist routes. But the described experiences are not related only to the places and people we visited but depicts also the shock of the westerner less exposed to vary ways of life so different from the world in which he regularly lives.

You can order a copy of this book in the USA, in Romanian language, by clicking here

“Brexit was a healthy shock”

The current impasse of Europe does not come from the fact that one member voted to leave the Union but by the forced recognition of the “luminaries” from Brussels and Berlin that the people do not like their project. For sure this is not “new news” but till now, with no referendum whatsoever even when the countries had to be accepted in the Union, the European politicians in their Brussels ivory tower could save face by pretending that everything is fine and all the countries and people’s complains are just moaning. But the UK referendum is more like the cry of the child pointing that the emperor is naked because is not just a small child but is one of the most important of the adults of the group. And the first reaction of the emperor was anger. But instead to accept that their utopia does not work the way they constructed and to start rethinking it, Ms Merkel & Co jogs along with a failed project, bracing for a summer in which they will again try to hide the news that their countries are invaded by refugees.
The frustration and the lack of hope in the European project is explained the best by John Cleese, the famous Monthy Pyton: “If I thought there was any chance of major reform in the EU, I’d vote to stay in. But there isn’t. Sad. Sorry, Paddy,’ he tweeted and he suggested that “the only way of reforming the EU is to KILL European Commission President Jean Claude Juncker”, a catastrophically incompetent bureaucrat who would have been much better situated as a Communist Party secretary in the old Soviet Union. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3637610/John-Cleese-backs-Brexit-suggests-way-reforming-EU-KILL-European-Commission-President-Jean-Claude-Juncker.htm

However the UK vote was, hopefully, a “healthy shock” for all who somehow still have a faint belief that the Union can be reformed. Surprisingly this statement comes from an old EU commissioner Günter Verheugen who does not hope that the Union will survive:
http://www.dw.com/en/former-eu-commissioner-verheugen-brexit-was-a-healthy-shock/a-19365292

And this is very sad because EU is by far a grandiose idea that would serve both the countries that cannot withstand by themselves and neither its people. EU was able to bring the core values of the European democracy and law in full force in the newly accepted countries of Eastern Europe marred by the old dictatorial mentality and corruption. Europe needs the Union with all that it comes with but with an intelligent and flexible leadership not with the current apparatchiks paid with bloated salaries that make the Union resemble more the Soviet one than the American version. The Brexit was a shock for many of the Brits and to add insult to the injury England soccer team could not put up with the tiny Iceland and was kicked out of Euro. A real disaster for many, worse than the Brexit vote, especially for the “Leave” camp who has to contemplate using exclusively the meager local talent of the British soccer for its hyped up Premier League.

“Utopian” illusions are tearing Europe apart

“It is us who today are responsible,” Donald Tusk stated, speaking at a conclave of Christian-Democrat and centre-right leaders in Luxembourg. “Obsessed with the idea of instant and total integration, we failed to notice that ordinary people, the citizens of Europe, do not share our Euro-enthusiasm.”

I was quite surprised to see a statement like this from one of the cheerleaders of the European integration, an ex-president of the Union. However with a looming Brexit, an uncontrollable immigration crisis fueled by Merkel’s promises and a far-right making in roads in the European politics the Brussels elites started finally to feel the heat and accept that “their” euro-project is different from what people really care about.

Read more at : http://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2016/05/31/tusk-blames-utopian-eu-elites-for-eurosceptic-revolt-and-brexit/

Muslims concerned about radical Islam

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By the numbers

In spite of the news covering the atrocities that radical Muslims perpetrate around the European cities and around the world the most affected by these heinous acts are mostly the Muslim communities.
I happened to watch an extremely interesting and short video, (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AcJZb7bnOs8) , created by the Clarion project (clarionproject.com), a site that challenges extremism, a site where Muslims like Raheel Raza explain in an open, honest, fact-based conversation with no PC attached the facts as they really are, simply because it is their life and religion at stake. What you would discover in this video it may change your idea about the dimension and layers of the Islamic radicalism and its influence on the globe arena.
It is our duty to know about these facts, so please distribute this video to your friends.

Peter Fischli and David Weiss teach us “how to work better” at the Guggenheim

Peter Fischli and David Weiss, two famous Swiss contemporary artists that work together for a long time, are shown now in a full retrospective of their work at the Guggenheim demonstrating that Swiss-Germans can be really funny.

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Two apes incapable of understanding the mystery of the monolith

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Mick Jagger and Brian Jones going home satisfied after composing “I can get no satisfaction”

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Galileo Galilei shows two monks that the world is round

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Mr. and Mrs. Einstein shortly after the conception of their son, the genius Albert

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The dog of the inventor of the wheel showing his admiration to his master

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James Ensor on the way to a costume ball

The Donald under fire

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“Donald you are a jack ass”

Ilegal Mezcal is attacking “The Donald” with ads all over the country. This one happens tonight in Columbus Circle on the side wall of the Museum of Arts and Design. One non-Spanish speaker comment: “I don’t know what it says there but he deserves it”

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Columbus Circle, New York City

Our over the top elections

NewYorker-Presidents

“We, as Americans, are the most tolerant people. We live in a society of freedom of expression that empowers the individual so all live free in the American melting pot”. Well, I used to hear similar slogans when I was living in the Communist Romania and the truth was some kind of ….opposite. Unfortunate, no matter how much we wish America’s reality to be as it was crafted by the Founding Fathers, it cannot be far from the truth. And if we did not have a live proof of racism in the last years in parts of the media, or the fact gathering through the new media and portable cameras that are able to document the abuses against minorities that till now were just told in stories, or to have a racist mass murder in a Southern church, now we have finally found someone who can even promote this type of views on all national channels as a candidate to the nomination of the Republican Party. Trump may be just a very skilled reality show guy but what is really sad is the popularity that he is riding on in this election. Because if the only education people get is through comedies, sitcoms and reality TV you should not be surprised when they react at everything around them as in a circus. As the Romans were doing in their time, American society is deft in offering bread and circus, more than in any other time. It may have been one of the presidents who said some years ago that the American people are smart. Let’s wait till November and see.

Steve McCurry @ Rubin

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Monsoon in Varanasi, India

Steve McCurry is for sure one of the most well known photographers. Through his travels in almost all parts of the world he shot incredibly arresting photographs most of which became iconic like the famous afghan girl.

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Monsoon in Varanasi, India

Rubin Museum hosts an exhibit of hid photographs shot in India in many of his travels in South and South East Asia. One of this trip was dedicated to shoot during the monsoon and many other during the famous Indian festival, Holi and Kumbh Mela.

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Holi Festival in Karnataka, India

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Buddhist debate at a Tibetan monastery, India

Keep traveling!

I found this note by Henry Rollins on the Facebook page of a friend of mine, Jeff Lovinger. Jeff is a photographer and an arduous traveler that it happens to be right now in India from where he sends occasionally amazing and inspiring images that stir you just to get up, buy a ticket and go. I met him some years ago walking by accident in his photography gallery in Provincetown, MA and asking a question that would have required a 10 seconds answer. But I don’t know how we talked for more than two hours to the desperation of my family who had no clue where I disappeared. And we keep talking….
Read what Henry Rollins says here because nobody can say it better. This is what we all travelers feel when we are away.

Travel

Finally, Obama!

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How many more people had to die till the money would stop trumping life? They love to talk about liberty. Do they really know what means to have liberty? Meanwhile they have no clue that they are just tools in the hands of the NRA, a major tool in the hands of the industry. Because in America if you are able to make money and hire people off the street you are a hero even if what you do kills others. How many years we had to wait to get even this most basic executive order? An executive order that tries to state that you cannot buy a gun as easy as a 6 pack of beer. Finally, Obama!!!! Why not in 2012 or right after? We have a Congress that lost completely the touch with any form of common sense; everything is politics, money and interests concealed under the shroud of the public good; and is valid for sure for both parties. They don’t even consider a limitation of the assault weapons, a ban that existed during Clinton and that even W did not want to eliminate when it expired. Banning assault weapons is a common sense policy that only the money hungry and the cuckoos cannot get it, or don’t want to get it. When you listen to the media attacks that will follow notice the people who would oppose it; they are the ones that do not care at all about your life and neither about your liberty. Because you cannot have liberty if you have fear.

Why me?

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Scene from “Why Me?”

Under a packed audience “Tudor Giurgiu’s “Why me?”, a brave movie about the Romania’s corruption, premiered last night in New York. The movie follows a prosecutor who was given a case to indict one of his colleague and is based on real facts following the time of the oil embargo for Serbia that Romania was stealthy breaking. The proceeds of this traffic was siphoned to enrich Romanian politicians and their parties and mainly to various factions of the Romanian Secret Service, the oil traffic being approved by the highest levels of the government and the Romanian presidency. Having doubts that his colleague was guilty, mainly because he used to be involved in the investigating this oil traffic, the prosecutor decides, in spite of tremendous pressures, not to give an indictment, that brings upon him a harassing campaign and a threat of prosecution. The paranoia impeccably painted in the film around the main character, symptomatic for the Romanian society, in the end drives the main character to suicide, as it happened in real life. The film was released specially one month before the last year presidential elections in which the prime minister at the time was running for office as a wake up call for the Romanian society to mobilize and vote against him. This ex-prime minister, Victor Ponta, also a prosecutor, was the one who was given the dossier after the prosecutor Cristian Panait refused to indict and is the last one who saw him alive before allegedly Panait jumped from his house terrace. Many in Romania rumored that Ponta is guilty of his suicide and the most brazen ones accused him of pushing him off the rails. Victor Ponta is currently in indictment process for a number of corruption charges.
The Q&A after the screening triggered so many discussions that the Walter Read Theater personnel had to come and cut it short in order to be able to keep up with the theater schedule.

On the nature of things

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Steven Greenblatt, a Harvard humanities professor writes in “The Swerve” an incredible real thriller that spans 2000 years about the rediscovery during the Renaissance of a manuscript, “De Rerum Natura”, written by Lucretius, a Roman poet and philosophers, sometimes around 50 AD. The manuscript discovered around 1417 in the Fulda Monastery by a renaissance man Poggio Bracciolini is a manifest for a life ruled by science, for pleasure and happiness and with no fear of gods who may exist but “they have better things to do” than punish or award the mortals. Lucretius was schooled in the Epicurus school that adopted the idea of atoms as building block from which the entire universe was continuously and dynamically constructed. The Catholic Church, just out of 800 years of dark ages, was more concerned in selling indulgences and feigning opposition but also in dealing with its schism, a time when no less then three Popes were in charge of the European souls. Poggio was at the time the “secreto” secretary of one of these Popes. The life of this interesting character dug from letters written at the time is a precarious balance between the dogma that must be respected in order to stay alive and the curiosity of the man whose humanism interest is absolute. The rift between the time when “De Rerum Nature” was written by Lucretius in 50 AD when the spirits were aspiring for elation and the time of its rediscovery in 1417 in Renaissance is the darkest period of Europe that I could not relate in a way with the events that are happening these days. The inflexibility of the church and the viciousness of its revenge against the enemies are resembling the today actions of the radical Islamists who try to impose by fear and stifling of opinions in the same backward and primitive way of the Dark Ages. According to Greenblatt, “De Rerum Natura” was the seditious manuscript that inspired elevated spirits of further times like Giordano Bruno, Galileo Galilei and Thomas More, whose Utopia inspired Thomas Jefferson to declare himself “an Epicurean” in his endeavor to create a new world based on “the pursue of happiness”.

GOP or Taliban

GOP

It happened that I was surfing the net on the night of the GOP debate and poked through side links to Fox News website that was streaming the live event.
There, in front of a large audience, ten men dressed almost identical in black western suits asked by other two men in black suits, no turbans or qabaas on either of them, were debating the perennial American question if women should be allowed to choose. This was not happening in Raqqah, Riyadh or Herat but, somehow by mistake, in Cleveland, OH and it did not happen sometimes in the 17th century but on August 6, 2015 in the most advanced country of the world. Or is it?
The ten men looking like “mullahs”, all strongly opinionated, making their point heard in the total absence of women, were looking like a religious council of one of our archenemy countries. In their speeches the women were not actually mentioned by gender, they being just supposed to be the vessel that carry the life forward, a life that the men cherished with all grandeur in their speeches. The fact that “vessel” receives in the great United States of A the worst treatment after birth of the entire developed world was of no concern for the ten “mullahs”, none of them mentioning anything about this “insignificant” detail.
When I started to expect that they will get more in detail about these side-creatures and we should talk about what women should wear, if they can divorce of if they must drive a car in order for all ten of them to be in sync with countries of similar mentalities, I was thrown out of the couch by Megyn Kelly’s question, the only woman visible on TV: ‘I want to know if any of you have received a word from God on what they should do and take care of first if you get elected.’ (I don’t even want to mention the depth of this profound journalistic question….)
Knowing that we had another President who was talking with God daily and we know what we got from him I quickly turned off the computer. Let me be surprised and still hope, than to know from the start what God told them personally over a cappuccino… I was already starting to suspect that the site was spoofed by some of kind of terrorist organization who perversely dressed its mullahs in western clothing for everybody’s confusion and now NSA follows me watching their propaganda.

This is NOT from the Onion

“Kamil Abu Sultan ad-Daghestani has complained that Saudi militants in Iraq are putting their friends and relatives forward for cushy suicide-bombing missions in Iraq, leaving Chechens without opportunities to blow themselves up. As a result, militants are forced to spend months on the suicide-bomber waiting list in Syria in order to land a job.”

Full article: http://www.rferl.org/content/islamic-state-suicide-bombers-waiting-lists/27028459.html

OPTIC 2015 in New York

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National Geographic Traveler Magazine senior photo editor Dan Westergren’s presentation at OPTIC

The Outdoor Photo/video Travel Imaging Conference was for the first time organized in New York by B&H. With three days of talks by the luminaries of American photography, most of them photographers for National Geographic, the conference was a dream event in terms of quality, information and photographic knowledge that was disseminated to an eager audience that overfilled the theaters. The Sunday marathon of talks lead by Ralph Lee Hopkins and Art Wolfe was streamed live the entire day. more than 8 hours, and still can be seen on the Internet. A remarkable event for which we really have to thank B&H.

FlyingMonk participated in ACSIL 2015 in New York

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5th Avenue, New York

The Association of Commercial Stock Image Licensors, ACSIL, has its first footage expo with interesting seminars and discussion topics in a penthouse overlooking 5th Avenue. Most of the stock footage company were represented among which Getty, Corbis, Global Image Works, WPA, Bridgeman, etc. and the archives from many TV stations.

NAB 2015 cool toys

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If it were for the number of drones showed on the NAB floor in Las Vegas this year we should probably stay indoor. I am sure that beside lots of professionals using the gear carefully will be lots of others with a “Hey, watch this!” attitude. However the technology is super and with a minimum training you can hold the gizmo flying safely giving you high production value for a very low cost. And if the battery runs out it comes back home safely (if is no tree on the way….). This company looked like it learned from the fact that the CEO was originally with DJI and built more robust bodies for their copters, so less repairs after crashes.

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The 4K is kind of “yesterday” with most of the components already in place for a full blown production. No matter that everybody talks about it, few actually bought into it for a full production because of the low budgets. But in spite of this lack of implementations the eyes are turning for the next big thing, 8K. It was shown in the previous 3-4 years at the NAB, sometimes as research and recently as products, but now the technology evolved and it can display 120Hz. Cool as it sounds and maybe even look, I was not impressed at all by this monitor.

Genesis

Sebastiao Salgado is a name synonymous with photography. His amazing body of work spans more than 100 countries where the social documentary photographer traveled in self assigned projects, the images taken being published latter in various albums and magazines.

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West Papua, Indonesia

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West Papua, Indonesia

“Genesis” is a large scale project that lasted between 2004 and 2011 in which Salgado portrays the beauty of nature untouched by the marching development of our world and inhabited by people that live still in the traditional ways inherited from their ancestors.

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Siberia, Russia

“Genesis” is probably one of the most impressive photography exhibition I ever saw and it is on display in the International Center of Photography in New York till January 11.

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Namibia, Africa

Jeff Koons@Whitney

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Baloon Dog

Jeff Koons is probably the richest artist alive. His retrospective at the Whitney spans his entire art career on four floors full of playful creations of recognizable objects of popular culture. Most of his work is a statement against commercialism in art and the banality of kitsch that permeates all level of the society.

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Hulk

However he is not shy of making a fortune by selling this work, that is really aggrandized kitsch, to rich collectors.

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Michael and Bubbles

One floor is dedicated to the never made film where he was suppose to star with his wife at the time, the Italian porn star Cicciolina. The stunt worked and at the end of the 80s this poster could be seen in various locations of the city. The show will end on Sunday but in order to make sure that the show is fully accessible the museum will stay open continuously from Saturday at 11:00 AM to Sunday 11:00 PM.

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Made in Heaven

About life and heaven…

A friend reminded me recently Joseph Campbell’s saying that, given the choice between Heaven and a lecture about Heaven, most Americans would choose the lecture.
Nuri Bilge Ceylan, the Turkish director that won this year Palme d’Or at Cannes for the movie “Winter Sleep” has this to say talking about his film:
“We intellectuals like thinking about life more than living it.” he said. “It leaves you with a guilty conscience sometimes. Other people are living it.”

NAB 2014

Each NAB shows some specific new technologies that defines it in a particular direction. This NAB was no exception and it showed an entire line of digital cinema cameras in HD, 2K,4K, 6K and 8K all shooting RAW on cards that are trying to compete RED, Alexa or Sony but at impressively low price points. And if all these Ks are not enough there were some articles mentioning 12K in some white papers.

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Alexa from ARRI

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CION from AJA

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4K mini camcorder from JVC

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Astro was also the leader in UHD and beyond

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8K monitors used by NHK

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The Cube 8K camera by NHK

The 2013 MAKING WAVES: New Romanian Cinema Festival

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What we can do for a fistful of dollars?
The 2013 MAKING WAVES: New Romanian Cinema Festival

Coming up Nov 29 – Dec 3 @ Film Society of Lincoln Center
Dec 5-10 @ Jacob Burns Film Center
With new releases, retrospectives, special programs,
including an original foray into the Western genre

The celebrated Romanian film festival in New York needs your support to return with the Film Society of Lincoln Center for the eighth time. Please join our Kickstarter campaign by August 4th and help us reach our financial target, or all support pledged will be lost. No amount is too small. Exclusive cinematic & musical rewards are offered.

What can fistfuls of dollars coming from the many Romanian film fans do? It can help the best in contemporary Romanian cinema return to the Film Society of Lincoln Center, along with retrospectives, special programs, conversations, galas, and award-winning guests.

This year’s festival will present, for the first time in the US, a classic Romanian take on the spaghetti Western and will also expand outside of New York City, to the Jacob Burns Film Center in Pleasantville, NY.

Stay tuned for more details on the festival program and keep making waves!

“Making Waves: New Romanian Cinema is the annual weeklong survey that has helped define and establish the southeastern European country as a stronghold of socially incisive, independently minded personal cinema.”      -The Wall Street Journal

NAB 2013, Las Vegas, NV

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The word of the day at this NAB is 4k. It took 12 years for the American market to implement HD and now the manufacturers try to push for higher resolutions. Spearheaded by NHK that was a pioneer in this Ultra High Definition field when HD was mainly talk, and that has a scheduled broadcast in 4k in 2014, the companies display all needed equipment for production and post production in 4k or 6G-SDI. Occasionally you may encounter 8k cameras and the associated RAW recorders and DownRes equipment that would enable to monitor them on 4k displays.

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Samsara

The new film Samsara produced by Mark Magidson and directed by Ron Fricke, the team that produced Baraka and Chronos, had its sneak preview in New York’s Walter Read Theater on August 16. For 100 minutes we were transported in twenty five countries over five continents by images of spellbound beauty and inspiring transcendent music. The film had its official opening on August 24.

“The Family” by Jocelyn Bain Hogg

An impressive body of work by the British photographer Jocelyn Bain Hogg had its opening at VII Gallery in Dumbo. “The Family” documents the contemporary London gangster world. The collection is a continuation of another project named “The firm” Jocelyn shot about ten years ago.

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The Tenth Parallel

Recently there were lots of news about the carnage that happens in Nigeria where a full blown war happens between Muslim and Christians, more vicious than anywhere else in the world. As Eliza Griswold describes in her book “The Tenth Parallel”, this war has claimed way more lives than many more mediatized wars in the world. And as the participants are declaring this is the real front line of the fight between Christianity and Islam way more gruesome than Afghanistan or Iraq.

Pina

If you did not have a chance to see any of the amazing choreographic experiences, because there are way more than simple “pieces”, staged by Pina Bausch, that passed  away in 2009, do not miss “Pina” , a tribute film directed by Wim Wenders, It is a life experience that is for sure worth the effort. Besides, is the first movie that is done in 3D and is really worth watched this way.

Enjoy!

Steve Jobs 1955-2011

Ocupy Wall Street protest

The Art Festival in Dumbo

Start the redesign of our website

We started to work on redesigning the website. It is for long time due but did not have to much time to concentrate on it. Since we launched FlyingMonk in 2000 many things changed in the web design. We started at the time with maybe a hundred images and one video and from there the website grew “organically” to close to 100 video and about 20000 images.