In Star Wars: Episode II -- Attack of the Clones, it took more than the Force to convert Yoda from a manually operated puppet into a digitally enhanced green fighting machine. Now you can learn firsthand how technical wizardry morphed Yoda and friends into the 21st Century at an interactive seminar sponsored by Florida Atlantic University's Center for Electronic Communication.
The "Computer Generated Character Animation Seminar" will feature guest speakers Wayne Gilbert and Ron Bublitz, computer animators with Industrial Light & Magic, the company that brought the characters in Clones to cinematic life. Besides putting their magical touch on George Lucas' latest, Gilbert has recently worked on The Mummy Returns and Bublitz has done Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines. The seminar will cover both storyboard animation and the technical aspects of animation software. Admission is free for FAU students, faculty, and staff; $10 for educators and students with current ID; and $25 for the general public. The Museum of Art is located at 1 E. Las Olas Blvd., Fort Lauderdale. Registration begins at 9:30 a.m. To reserve a seat, call 954-525-5500, ext. 239. --Jason Budjinski
Heraldry á la femme
Although Gulfstream Park (901 S. Federal Hwy., Hallandale Beach) is known primarily for horse racing and for large outdoor concerts featuring the greatest names in rock circa 30 years ago, it boasts more than just gambling and headbanging. The Women's Club series brings speakers to Gulfstream's Turf Club. The presenters tackle a range of topics, from being a star to designing for stars, subjects generally thought to be close to women's hearts. It's a great way to give the wife something to do while her husband is blowing all their hard-earned cash at the betting windows. Perhaps even more important to Gulfstream, and quite a bit less chauvinistic, the speakers series also pulls women into the male-dominated world of the horsetrack, ensuring that Gulfstream grabs a few more loyal customers.
Although Sigourney Weaver, Mary Norton, and Naomi Judd have all already given their orations, the series wraps up this Friday at 11 a.m. as Miami Herald columnists Joan Fleischman, Lydia Martin, and Tara Solomon provide a panel discussion around the theme "Keeping You in the Know." Admission is $30 and includes buffet, parking, a racing program, a $2 betting voucher, a gift bag, and the services of a handicapping expert. -- Dan Sweeney
Film Fest Flick
PBIFF includes Dave Katzir's short
Because filmmaker Dan Katzir didn't know either of his own grandfathers -- one of whom was assassinated by a Japanese terrorist in Israel in 1972 -- he created "the grandfather I always wanted to have" in Today You Are a Fountain Pen, his short "semiautobiographical" film.
Set in 1989, Katzir's affecting 25-minute coming-of-age tale about the circumstances surrounding an unnamed suburban L.A. boy's bar mitzvah deftly explores intergenerational ties, the embrace of culture, and first love. Suffering from acute peer envy, the curly-haired narrator (Rob Paulson) aches for a spiffy bike as a bar mitzvah present, while his ailing grandfather (Len Lesser, from Seinfeld and Everybody Loves Raymond) pledges to hand over the violin left to him by his grandfather after the Holocaust.
"In Israel, it's really important to pass along traditions from one generation to the next," Katzir notes, "and one of the things that shocked me when I came here was that [bar mitzvahs and bat mitzvahs] are about commodities -- a social status kind of competition for parents rather than a way to pass on the cultural heritage."
After growing up in both Israel and the U.S., Katzir, 34, relocated full-time to L.A. three and a half years ago, after his successful one-hour autobiographical docudrama Out for Love... Be Back Shortly -- shown here on HBO -- generated a furor back home. "The left wing thought it was very left wing, and the right wing thought it was very right wing," Katzir says. "I realized I wouldn't be able to develop as an artist in Israel."
Entered in the Palm Beach Film Festival's short features competition, the engaging and endearing Fountain Pen likely won't prompt a similar polarization of opinions. "I like to bring a lot of love and hope into my films," Katzir says. "Connecting to humanity is part of the Jewish sensibility." --Michael Yockel
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Maybe it's penis envy, but the ladies who perform at Drama King nights are facing some stiff competition. Pretenders to the throne can slap on some facial hair and belt out any song of their choosing. With a stable of regular performers boasting names like Dante Inferno, Diesel, and Morpheus, these kings bring a lusty dose of faux-testosterone-fueled entertainment. Standouts include Dante's rendition, with partner Harlequin, of Prince's "Darling Nickki." Drama King happens the first Friday of each month at J's Bar, 2780 Davie Blvd., Fort Lauderdale. Call 954-772-0324, or visit www.sisterspeak.org. -- Audra Schroeder
It's Not a Crime
Skateboarding and rock 'n' roll: two great tastes that taste great together. Boardz and Bladez skateboard benefit concert and contest cooks up performances by the Heatseekers and others, with a dash of skateboarding thrown in. All proceeds go to benefit Special Olympics Broward. Boardz and Bladez, corner of Sunset Strip and Nob Hill Road, Sunrise. Contest goes from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.,;concert starts at 6 p.m. Tickets cost $8. -- Audra Schroeder