Kal Penn (aka Kumar from the Harold and Kumar cult films) has traded in White Castle for the White House. The actor has left a regular role on Fox’s House to join the White House staff as an Asscociate Director in the Office of Public Liaison.

 

I’ve heard that the successful online shoe and apparel retailer, Zappos has a unique approach to hiring. Regardless of the job position, all employees must start off working on the phones providing customer service. At the end of this introductory training cycle, the candidate is then offered $1,000 to quit. You read that correctly; to quit. The idea here is that the company wants loyal employees, high productivity and low turner over. Google is also known for their rigorous process in which potential employees are asked to take aptitude tests. So with all of this in mind, it shouldn’t come as a surprise to know that Amazon is also concerned with maintaining a strong workforce. Jeff Bezos, the innovative CEO & founder of Amazon spent this week working among other wage earners in a Kentucky based distro-center to learn a thing or two.

Today is Barack Obama’s sixtieth day in office as the President of the United States of America. He is doing the most impossible job at what may be the most impossible time. I was surprised to see how quickly he addressed many of my concerns ranging from Guantanamo Bay and the War in Iraq to issues of social change. Of course, the big topic is the economy. His proposed budget is an extremely progressive sign of landmark change. I suppose it’s fair to say that we all have mixed emotions about the economic crisis as we should, our President included. Putting all of this aside, Barack made history yesterday on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, as the first sitting US President to appear as a guest on a late night talk show. It feels really good to have a president that makes me laugh and smile. I simply can’t think of another Head of State known for his character and affability to Barack’s tune, and this is no small thing in leadership at times like these.

Ed Ulbrich is the visual effects Executive Producer at Digital Domain and a frequent collaborator of film director, David Fincher. Straight out of film school, I had the pleasure to work with him. On several occasions, I found myself engaged in conversations with Ed about the future of filmmaking and the role technology will continually play. I was always inspired by his sense of enthusiasm and tenacity to be at the forefront of an inevitable shift. Over the last several years, he has lead a team of over 150 digital artists to create seamless FX for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. Here he gives a TED talk on the long process of creating a digital Bratt Pitt that is both emotive and realistic.

At a young, I was exposed to a range of comedians beginning with Charlie Chaplin and eventually found myself watching Abbott & Costello, Laurel & Hardy, and of course The Three stooges. But one of the earliest truly potty-mouthed performers that I took notice of was of my grandparents generation, Don Rickles. Check out this documentary on “Mr. Warmth” the living legend of comedy.

 

David Lynch is also on twitter and indeed it really is him. Apparently he likes to update with weather reports for LA. I found two gems linked off his page. Here is a clip of David Lynch, the cowboy singing in a studio. And here, he talks about making art. Only Lynch would think to title a painting, Woman with Broken Neck and Electric Knife Speaks to Her Husband.

A dome is such a great shape to project a movie on. I think one day people will have domes in their homes. They’re magical. - David Lynch

Plenty of people have claimed to have spotted Elvis. But really, I did see him. He wasn’t picking up his dry cleaning and I didn’t see him at the drive through car wash. Nor was this an apparition of him that had sizzled it’s way onto a slice of bread like Jesus toast. Elvis goes to my gym in Brooklyn. I had never seen him there before, so I guess we are just on different schedules. He looked great and thinner than many of us remember him. He still has a penchant for wearing oversized sunglasses indoors and sports the old zip up suite. I’d say he appeared to be in his late 60’s so the gym is doing him well since he was born in 1935. Honestly. I am not crazy. My girlfriend asked if I noticed him and pointed him out. My jaw dropped. Elvis goes to my gym, holy shit!

 

Martin De Thurah is a Danish filmmaker with a brilliant mind for creating striking, dreamy visuals. He arrived on the music video scene a few years back with a video for Carpark North in which angst ridden adolescents are seen spastically dancing, tussling, and flying through the rooms of their school. His work is often characterized by moody lighting, seamless special FX, and a painters eye for detail. In addition to videos, he has spent the last several years working on a handful of film projects. In this interview, Martin De Thurah discusses his video work and cinema endeavors. His reel can be seen here. Be sure to check out his latest video for Glasvegas.  Additionally, he talks a bit about that project here.