Video: Eddie Redmayne on “Theory of Everything’

Eddie Redmayne plays the role of famous scientist Stephen Hawking in the “Theory of Everything.” The film is based on Jane Hawking’s book about her marriage to Stephen Hawking. The Hawkings eventually divorced. Hawking was a young graduate student, when he suddenly developed symptoms for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). He earned his PhD and eventually went on to teach. He and Jane started a family and stayed together for many years before calling it quits.

Redmayne is so convincing in “The Theory of Everything,” that it hard to believe that that is not the real Hawking on the silver screen.

Redmayne was in San Francisco, where we got to interview him and ask him questions about how he prepared for his role in the film. Here is a snippet from that interview.

 

Video: Interview with Damien Chazelle of Whiplash

Damien Chazelle’s new film “Whiplash” has got lot of positive reviews from the film festival circuit. The film was recently shown at the Mill Valley Film Festival.

We sat down with Chazelle to talk about the making of “Whiplash” that takes you behind the scenes and shows you the blood, sweat and tears that goes into making a successful musician. Draconian is not a word you normally associate with musicians, but apparently that is how some music teachers are, and they drive their students through a tough routine and toss them off if they fail to keep up with the rest of the group. We also talked about Chazelle’s next film project, which is a musical. He has already begun working on his next project.

The film stars JK Simmons, who is a tough music teacher and Miles Teller plays his student, who is hungry to achieve musical success.

Video: Diwali Dhamaka by Non Stop Bhangra in San Francisco

Diwali, the Indian festival of lights is a celebration of the triumph of good over evil. Diwali is the Indian (desi) equivalent of Thanksgiving and Christmas rolled into one. It is a time when friends and family come together and celebrate.

Here is a quick peek into how San Francisco-based Non Stop Bhangra (NSB) celebrated Diwali. It started with a street mela (procession) complete with a brass band, singing and dancing.

 

NSB holds a monthly bhangra event in San Francisco.

Video: Highlights – Whiplash’s Director Damien Chazelle

Whiplash,” is an intense film centered around two ambitious musician – a 19 year old drummer (Miles Teller) and his Draconian music instructor (JK Simmons). The film is written and directed by Damien Chazelle, and inspired by his own musical journey as a jazz musician. He played the drums.

The film was part of the Mill Valley Film Festival lineup. “Whiplash” was the film  Metallica’s Lars Ulrich chose to show at the festival. After the screening there was a Q&A with Ulrich and Chazelle.

We sat down to talk to Chazelle about the making of “Whiplash” and one of the first questions we asked him was how did he come up with the title of the film?

Stay tuned for an extended interview with Chazelle.

Video: CollegeFeed’s Aman Khanna

Mountain View-based startup CollegeFeed matches recent graduates with prospective employers. Think of it as social networking site is how Aman Khanna, co-founder of the startup puts it. Founded in 2013 by Sanjeev Agarwal and  Khanna, the startup raised $1.8 million in funding led by Accel Partners.

We sat down to talk to Khanna about Collegefeed and what propelled him to take the plunge right after he completed his MBA from Stanford Business School. How is CollegeFeed different from other companies in this space? Prior to this Khanna worked in a series of companies as an engineer in India and the US. This is Khanna’s first shot at entrepreneurship.

Video: Dr. Aaron Lington on Music, Jazz and Grammy Winning Pacific Mambo Orchestra

Dr. Aaron Lington is baritone saxophonist, composer/arranger and jazz professor at San Jose State University (SJSU). He is also involved with the San Jose Jazz and is the director of the San Jose High School All Stars band. And he is also a member of San Francisco bay area’s Grammy winning group Pacific Mambo Orchestra and performs with them around the San Francisco bay area on a regular basis.

We sat down to talk with Dr. Lington to find out how he developed an interest in music and majored in it and went to do a PhD in it. He has been teaching at SJSU for over 10 years, and finds time from his busy schedule to arrange and compose music and play music with local bands in the bay area.

Gandhi in San Francisco

Gandhi in San Francisco you ask? Yes, there is a statue of Mahatma Gandhi tucked away in one corner of San Francisco’s Ferry Building. You may miss it if since it is located a little away from where folks sit on the bay and watch the water, boats and the traffic on bay bridge. In fact, I almost missed it the first time. I discovered it the second time when I stepped out of Sur La Table, the speciality kitchen store and spotted the statue. A couple of days ago it was his birthday (Oct 2), and I happened to be in the Ferry Building and decided to go pay him a visit.

Here is a collage of pictures from the Ferry Building area along with the wonderful view of the San Francisco bay bridge that connects San Francisco to East bay towns like Berkeley and Oakland.

If you happen to be in San Francicso’s Market Street area walk down to the bottom of the street towards the bay and  you will see the Ferry Building. And inside the building are a cluster of food shops and restaurants like Cowgirl Creamery, Strauss Family Creamery, Blue Bottle Coffee, Acme Bread, Frog Hollow Farm and much, much more. And if you are lucky, you may just be able to visit the wonderful Farmer’s Market on Tuesday, Thursday or Saturday.

Tucked at the back of the building are a bunch of benches, where you can sit and watch the boats come and go or simply enjoy the sun sitting by the dock of the bay.And by the way remember that famous song Sitting By The Dock of the Bay of Otis Redding? He wrote that sitting by the dock of the bay in Sausalito, which is just yonder across the bay.

If you are in the mood, to visit Sausalito  you can jump into one of those ferry boats and go over this picturesque town and sip your coffee sitting by the dock of the bay in Sausalito.

Video: Jason Reitman on “Men, Women and Children,” at Mill Valley Film Festival

Filmmaker Jason Reitman’s new film “Men, Women and Children,” is the opening night film at this year’s Mill Valley Film Festival. The film looks at how ubiquitous and always-on Internet and Social Media has permeated our lives, especially the lives of younger people. But, why single out the young folks? The adults are also plugged into this digital lifestyle. You know that. Throughout the day our eyes are glued looking into one screen or another.

What does this ubiquitous always-on Internet do to our lives? Does it lead to a richer social and inter-connected life, or does it lead us to a disconnected and isolated lifestyle? How has our behavior changed? How are parents dealing with this digital addiction of their kids, and sometimes they too find addicted to this stuff. How do parents handle this inter-connected lifestyle, where we are one click away from everything. Do they need to police their children’s lifestyle or give them general directions? Where do you do draw that line in this digital age is one of the central questions the film explores.

I found the film an absorbing watch. Living in San Francisco bay area we are in the thick of this digital lifestyle and I am part of this like almost everyone in this part of the world. So, it was interesting to step back and watch this film.

Here is a short video with Reitman shares why and how he made “Men, Women and Children” from the Mill Valley Film Festival.

Video: Meet Karen Vasudev – An American in 1960s India

Karen Vasudev is a San Francisco bay area native, who spent time in India during the 1960s and 1970s. It was the height of the flower power and Hare Rama Hare Krishna movement here in the bay area when Karen relocated to Kanpur, India with her young son and husband. In a sense she missed the whole flower power movement of the bay area, but in spending time in India she got some fantastic real life experience of living in India and learning the language, food and culture of her husband’s country.

After finishing his PhD in Seattle her husband  landed a teaching position at the Indian Institute of Technology in Kanpur. Karen did not know what to expect except since this was her first visit to the country. For starters she certainly did not expect to be greeted by a large group of her husband’s extended family at the airport. Karen was a quick study and learnt to navigate her way through the Indian social system. She learnt not one, but two Indian languages and honed her cooking skills in her mother-in-law’s South Indian kitchen. Today, Karen can quickly rustle up South Indian dishes like idli, dosa, sambhar and chutney in a jiffy.

We sat down to talk to Karen about her experience of being an American in India in the 1960s. We wanted to find out how she learnt to speak Hindi, cook Indian food and enjoy Indian films – think Bollywood. We also found out how she navigated her Indian kitchen and the cookbook that rescued her. That cookbook was  The Landour Cookbook, compiled by American missionaries in Landour, which is home to the oldest American school in India – The Woodstock schoolKaren still has her copy of The Landour Cookbook and we got to see it.

Karen lived in India for over 10 years before returning to the US and making the San Francisco bay area her home.