THE SAN DIEGO PARTICIPANT OBSERVER Participant Observation is the Process of Learning by Observing and Participating in Cultural Life
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October, 2020 - (Click Here for Previous Issues)
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April 17, 2020



Online Film Festivals

Kansas City International Film Festival Online
Los Angeles Latino International Film Festival Online
San Diego International Film Festival Online Series
Hawaii International Film Festival Online

International Live or Streaming Music, Dance or Theater Performances

One World AccuRadio with many culture specific channels. It's cool!
Live with Carnegie Hall Tuesdays and Thursdays from New York (11:00 AM here). World class talent live.
• Pickathon Concerts Recorded Live, on Youtube and Facebook. Every day at 1:00 PM until June 3rd!
National Theater at HomeFree full-length plays every Thursday (in Britain could be Friday here) Each performance available for a week.
The Shows Must Go On! Full Length Theater Shows Every Saturday at 11:00 AM (each available for 48 hours)

Museum Virtual Tours

Virtual Tour of Egypt's Giza Plateau (Pyramids!)
Musée du quai Branly - Jacques Chirac - Paris, France
Lahore Museum - Pakistan
Museum of Ethnic Cultures - Minzu University of China
Museo Arqueológico de Granada - Spain
The State Hermitage Museum - Saint Petersburg, Russia

World Cuisine & Recipes

Global Table Adventure
World Cuisine at tablespoon.com
Recipes Around the World
Global Recipe Guide from foodandwine.com
Easy International Dishes from Patty Saveurs' blog

Practical Stuff

Ok, some folks really need to get their hair cut. If you decide to cut your own hair, check out this resource from Cosmopolitan. How to Cut Your Own Hair at Home Without Totally Effing It Up which gives tons of info on how you can cut your hair in a variety of different styles.

International TV

Atelier (Japan) Netflix

Ateliers are designer's workshops. This series is about a high-class lingerie shop, Emotion, located in Tokyo's fashionable Ginza district. The firm was established by Ms. Nanjo (played by Mao Daichi) as a one off or limited production shop producing lingerie for women who want the best no matter what it costs. Nanjo is extremely dedicated to creating the most beautiful and most comfortable lingerie possible. She is considered to top designer in Tokyo. She knows what she wants and her staff works tirelessly to make Mayuko's vision a reality. However, Mayuko (Mirei Kiritani) a young undisciplined upstart with big ideas and considerable ambition joins the firm. Mayuko is an obsessed fabric geek who wants to expand the line and use new patterns and fabrics, so that women with more modest budgets can afford Emotion lingerie. Mayuko frustration with Ms. Nanjo's resistance to change is only made worse by Mayuko's tremendous respect and awe she has for her employer. While the individual plotlines are perhaps not that unique, wonderful acting, high production and insights into uniquely Japanese ways of understanding the world makes Atelier a captivating show.

Call My Agent (France) Netflix

The in movies and TV shows talent agents are usually portrayed as having the ethics of an ambulance chasing lawyer. Call My Agent is series set in a Paris talent agency. The agency represents the most well-known stars of French cinema. Like the series Extras (starring Ricky Gervais) many notable French actors appear in the show, playing themselves but in a way that may be somewhat contrary to the public's perception of them. In addition to comedic tension, the show is often quite human and tender. We feel for the stars but also for the agents who have to manage them. All normal cut-throat shenanigans happen in Call My Agent, but differing from most TV and movies that involve talent agents, Call My Agent looks at the world from the viewpoint of the agents and not the stars. These agents go to rather extreme lengths to please their famous client's needs whilst doing their best to maintain their own dignity and personal integrity. The French name for the show is 10 Ten Percent, the agents normal fee, but earning that fee is no easy feat. This comedy is well acted and often rather clever. The comedy is entirely situational and avoids descending into cheap laughs. All the characters, in the own unique ways struggle to make it and even though it is a comedy, none of the characters seem overly caricatured. It's a decidedly different sense of humor than normal TV offers.

International Movies

We are living in challenging times, for many the hardest times they have experienced. These two films, one a documentary, the other based on a true story show how remarkable humans can be when the chips are down in ways most of us may never know.


The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind (Malawi) Netflix

The movie depicts the real life experiences and best selling autobiography of William Kamkwamba. William grew up in a farming community in Malawi that was on the verge of famine. The film is quite sophisticated in showing the myriad ways, both subtle and extreme, political corruption, corporate agendas, climatic and environmental conditions (changed by human activity) have conspired to make rural life in much of Africa near impossible. Watching the film you will have a deeper understanding, at a more personal level, how these forces have compelled people to move to urban slums where life is extremely hard but more survivable. His parents unable to pay his school fees 13 year old William is expelled from school. His mother, Agnes, wants her son and daughter to do well in school and go to college. William is an earnest, but not great, student. But he is absolutely consumed by the wonders of electricity and electronics having a side-gig of repairing radios and cassette players for his neighbors. Farming is dependent on both sun and rain, but rarely do the two factors seem to work together well for farming. It's either flooding because of too much rain or the earth is too dry because of long droughts. The have water wells but no practical way of getting the water to the fields. But William thinks he can change this equation if he builds a wind mill that drives a small generator and pump. But under conditions where neighbors are fighting to survive by either fleeing to the city or trying against all odds to continue farming, it's hard for William to convince people to buy into his plan. His biggest obstacle is his own father who is at his whit's end trying to ensure his families mere survival. William loves his father but he has tremendous faith that his idea is worth the sacrifices required. As you might guess, William succeeds. Most reviewers loved this film, the ones that didn't complained about the film craft, not the underlying story or the treatment of the issues involved. I found the film to be wonderfully anthropological in the sense that it brought out the intricacies of everyday life without cinematic fanfare. There are strong performances throughout and it is really a story worth telling.


Honeyland (North Macedonia) Netflix

Honeyland has won numerous "best documentary" awards and a 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Set in a remote mountain village of North Macedonia, Honeyland chronicles the real-life experiences of a traditional bee keeper named Hatidže Muratova, who lives with her blind and aged mother. With neither running water nor electricity she ekes out a life by selling the honey that her bees produce. Hatidže's life changes dramatically when Hussein and his family of 9 and 100 head of cattle take up residence next door. Relations between Hatidže and Hussein's family are great. . . at first. What makes the movie particularly captivating is Hatidže herself. She has real grit but still has a softer side, a wise humanity about her and she embraces the few joys that come her way. The film is less about triumph than it is about perseverance, it's deeply touching.
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