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Showing posts from 2014

My Twitter Feed @alexanderchow

As the new year approaches, I seem to find less and less time to blog but I remain very active on Twitter, which I have always hugely enjoyed.

Therefore, in 2015, although there may be the occasional photograph or longer post from me here, my blog will move to Tumblr and will share much of my Twitter feed, which is much more current and, quite frankly, more fun to do.

Please follow me on Tumblr at and on Twitter @alexanderchow

Nick D'Aloisio Talks About Yahoo News Digest and Apple Watches on Bloomberg TV (Video)

I first met Nick D'Aloisio on Twitter when he was fifteen and had created Summly, a remarkable algorithm (and company) that summarized news stories into 400 characters that you could then expand into a longer article if you wanted greater depth.

I introduced Nick to our wonderful friend Stephen Fry (of whom he is a huge fan), and Stephen became a spokesperson for the company, making an entertaining and highly memorable commercial in which he and Nick sat opposite each other in quite distinctive blue chairs.

In March of 2013, Nick sold Summly to Yahoo for a reported $30 million, started working with Marissa Mayer and headed up a team that has created another truly beautiful and innovative news app, Yahoo News Digest, which deservedly won the 2014 Apple Design Award.

Presenting a mix of summarized news, photographs, quotes, a highly relevant Twitter feed and deeper background information, Yahoo News Digest is the first truly digital presentation of news I've seen that is uniquely t…

Boogieboarding With My Family

Boogieboarding with my family is one of my absolute favorite things to do. We do it often, but rarely capture it on camera. This photo of me in the surf with our daughter was taken by my wife, Charong Chow.

My Buddha Hat (by True Religion)

I have an unnatural love for my Buddha hat. Many thanks to True Religion for making it! (The camel pin is mine:)

Happy Birthday to my dear friend Nicolas Roeg

To mark the birthday last Friday of my dear friend, the groundbreaking British director, Nicolas Roeg, here is a post originally from March 19 2011, about the huge impact Nic has had on my life, and about our work together on the film Insignificance, about Marilyn Monroe and Albert Einstein, which I optioned as a play and executive produced together with the great British producer, Jeremy Thomas.

Insignificance is not yet available as a legal download or stream in the US, as far as I know, but the crisp Criterion Blu-ray DVD is available from Amazon.

Nicolas Roeg - His Own Timing, His Own Wisdom and Kindness

I look on British film director Nicolas Roeg as many things: a friend, a mentor, almost a second father to me, but also the filmmaker who had the greatest personal influence on opening my eyes to what film could do.

His films, not least Performance, Walkabout, The Man Who Fell To Earth, Don't Look Now and Bad Timing, had the greatest individual resonance for me, because they cha…

The High Tower Apartments and The Long Goodbye (revisited)

I'm in a reposting mood today, so here is the most popular post of all time from this blog (followed in rank by a personal favorite, Hudson and the W Hotel Hollywood: A Love Story:), featuring our friend Dwayne Moser's photograph of the High Tower Apartments, one of the key locations in one of my all-time favorite movies, Robert Altman's incomparable The Long Goodbye (available to download from iTunes or Amazon).

This post first appeared on March 9 2012.

This beautiful apartment complex in Los Angeles is called the Hightower or High Tower Complex (the High Tower name refers to the central elevator, I believe), and was designed in 1935-1936 by architect Carl Kay - and made famous in 1973 by my favorite film, Robert Altman's The Long Goodbye (see Why I Love Robert Altman's The Long Goodbye).

Although Altman used the building as Philip Marlowe's apartment in his somewhat post-modern Long Goodbye (the film plays with references to Old Hollywood and opens and closes wi…

Happy 4th of July!

A little late, but happy 4th of July to all! The picture is a drawing by our five year old daughter, Paradise, of 4th of July donuts!
Very happy also to see Brazil go through to the semi-finals of the World Cup. May they win magnificently!

Jellyfish at the Monterey Bay Aquarium - and World Oceans Day

Today (Sunday, June 8, 2014) is World Oceans Day.

71% - or almost three quarters - of our beautiful planet is covered by oceans, and yet we do not give them the love and respect that they deserve. 

We pollute them disgustingly (the Exxon Valdez and Deepwater Horizon disasters are only two of the most publicized instances of our damage to the oceans), even on an individual level, every time someone leaves a plastic candy bar wrapper or a soda can or styrofoam cup on the beach.

We overfish them, hugely depleting creatures such as the bluefin tuna and the cod. We eat clams that have taken 200 years to grow - and will not grow to that size again for another 200 years, if they survive at all. Despite treaties, dolphins and whales are still hunted (particularly by the Japanese) - these glorious creatures who are among the most magnificent on Earth.

We know of 230,000 living species that inhabit the oceans - and yet we have only explored about 5% of the seas, leaving the vast mass of the underwa…

Isserley, Penelope Cruz And The Slow Gestation Of Jonathan Glazer's Under The Skin

My friend, the film critic Ryan Gilbey, recently wrote this piece for the New Statesman in Britain about my work on the first three drafts of the script of Jonathan Glazer's upcoming film, Under The Skin, released April 4 in the US and already in release in the UK and elsewhere.
Working with Jonathan was a great experience, and Under The Skin itself is an extraordinary piece of work, both in terms of Michel Faber's novel and Jonathan's film.
Ryan's review of Under The Skin is here, and to experience more of Ryan's work, check out the Guardian article about my lifelong friend and collaborator (on Insignificance), the great British filmmaker, Nicolas Roeg, at the end of this blog post from June 3 2012: Nicolas Roeg - His Own Timing, His Own Wisdom and Kindness.
Here is Ryan's New Statesman article:
Isserley, Penélope Cruz and the slow gestation of Jonathan Glazer's Under the Skin Jonathan Glazer's new film Under the Skin, starring Scarle…

Jonathan Glazer, Scarlett Johansson and Under The Skin - in The Sunday Times

Ryan Gilbey has an excellent article in today's Sunday Times about British filmmaker Jonathan Glazer's movie, inspired by ("adaptation" seems too literal a word) Michel Faber's deeply unsettling novel, Under The Skin.

The film stars Scarlett Johansson as an alien predator (of sorts) who picks up male hitchhikers in the seemingly unlikely landscape of Scotland. (I'm half-Scottish; somehow science-fiction isn't a topic you most immediately associate with Scotland.)

I worked on the first three drafts of the script, before Jonathan - over the period of a decade - took it in a totally new direction, including the intriguing device of having Johansson pick up unsuspecting real-life hitchhikers (who were later persuaded to sign a release for the film - or not, in some cases) and see what came next, courtesy of a camera hidden in her truck.

Ryan was kind enough to quote me twice in his piece. You can read the Sunday Times article here, but it's protected by a pa…

San Francisco's Wonderful California Academy of Sciences

The California Academy of Sciences really is one of the wonders of California. 
Located in San Francisco's beautiful Golden Gate Park, just across from the Japanese Tea Garden, the Academy's building alone is worth the visit. 

Designed by Renzo Piano, the Academy's stunning $500 million ecologically sustainable structure, with its multi-domed "living roof," is both highly distinctive and, hopefully, earthquake-proof - the Academy having suffered two major losses of structures and parts of its collection, in the great 1906 San Francisco earthquake and in 1989's Loma Prieta earthquake, after which the Piano building was commissioned. 

The Academy's attractions include the hugely popular (be prepared to wait in line) 90-foot-domed Rainforest Exhibit, which includes a beautifully presented view of the Amazonian flooded forest, as well as butterflies flying freely inside; and the Morrison Planetarium, which features the largest all-digital planetarium dome in the…

Ivanpah - The World's Largest Solar Power Plant - Online Today In The Mojave Desert

The future - at least, one potential solution to our energy and climate problems - is here now. 
As reported by Gizmodo, the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System - the world's largest solar plant, comprising 300,000 computer-controlled mirrors and 450-foot centralized solar power towers powering turbines with steam - started generating electricity today in the Mojave Desert on the California-Nevada border. 

Dedicated today by Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, and jointly owned by US-based NRG Energy, US-Israeli BrightSource Energy and Google (which put up $168 million to help build it), Ivanpah is the world's biggest solar power plant. 

The remarkable photographs tell some of the story, but essentially - according to the official news release - Ivanpah (located on the site of a silver mining ghost town from the mid-1880s) is capable of generating sufficient electricity to power 140,000 California homes with clean energy, and avoid 400,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide per year -…