Friday, October 18, 2013

Seattle Mayor speaks up for the divestment ask at Harvard

Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn has joined a growing chorus of environmental and other activists in calling on Harvard University President Drew Gilpin Faust to accede to the "ask" of Divest Harvard to divest the University's world-record endowment from entanglement with the fossil fuel sector.  

You can read his op-ed piece,"Let's Prevent This Crisis: A Letter to Harvard's President Faust,"on the Huffington Post's Green section.

Etopia News has requested an interview with Mayor McGinn and is waiting to hear back.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

"Escape Plan" screenwriter Miles Chapman talks about his work

Published on Oct 15, 2013
Miles Chapman talks about writing Escape Plan and what it was like for the Philadelphia native to script fight scenes with Sylvester Stallone. Chapman's comments were recorded at the Writers Guild of America, West's BEHIND THE SCREEN 2013 screenwriter/press reception held on October 10, 2013 at Capital Grille in West Hollywood, CA.

All credit for the content of this blog entry belongs to the Writers Guild of America, West.  Used with their permission.


Friday, October 11, 2013

Last night at the Writers Guild’s “Behind the Screen 2013”

The Writers Guild of America West outdid itself last night (October 10, 2013), throwing an intimate and distinguished shindig at the Capital Grille adjacent to the Beverly Center to honor and promote their member/screenwriters who have new films opening soon. 

Chief among them were Miles Chapman, the screenwriter of the soon-to-be-released “Escape Plan”; Michael Polish, writer/director of “Big Sur,” coming out later in October; and Karl Mueller, whose picture isn’t coming out for a while yet, and was more subdued than the other two. 

Miles Chapman has been working since 2007 to see his idea for a film about an escape artist trapped in a prison he can’t escape from (or can he?) finally come to the screen.  Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger play the leads.  Miles met his vivacious wife at the Harvard-affiliated American Repertory Theater in Cambridge, Massachusetts. 

Michael Polish recounted filming “Big Sur” in Big Sur, California.  His movie is a chronicle of the demise of New Age icon Jack Kerouac, who was residing in that locale during that time.  He related that Kerouac himself had once met Richard Brautigan, author of “A Confederate General in Big Sur.”    He reported that Esalen, once the epicenter of New Age exploration/hedonism and located in Big Sur, is now a spa.  Was Kerouac ever a guest at Esalen?   Did (or would) it have helped him or exposed him to even more of what eventually did him in?

Press Pass LA Founder and Head of Content Jennifer Buonantony was there, along with her congenial colleague Lauren, who helps produce a lot of the text pieces derived from long interviews with worthy Hollywood denizens that run on this information-packed website that helps its visitors “get what matters.”

The mood was convivial and the culinary opportunities were plentiful, including slices of beef, delicious tamari-tasting broccoli florets, Crème Brulee, some kind of dry and crispy flatbread/cracker, the usual shrimp, and plaster serving spoons loaded with mini-crab delicacies and kernels of corn.  Truffles and high-glycemic chocolate cookies were also available during the dessert course.

Gregg Mitchell, Communications Specialist at the Writers Guild, was there “hosting the event & running around wrangling screenwriters for on-camera interviews,”  He should be commended for organizing and running a pleasant soiree featuring some of today-and-tomorrow’s most important screenwriters in a congenial setting with a commanding view of the streets below.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Compilation of Divest Harvard videos and articles on Etopia News as of October 9, 2013

Etopia News has been covering Divest Harvard since June 13, 2013, when it presented “Akhil Mathew talks about Divest Harvard,” at:

This was followed up with a multi-campus panel discussion of university divestment entitled, “Talking Divestment Blues: UC Berkeley, Princeton, Brown, Harvard,” which first aired on June 24, 2013, at:

Prior to the September 16, 2013 alumni rally for divestment in Harvard Yard, Etopia News featured a “Harvard Alumni for Divestment 9-16-13 Rally Preview” on September 11, 2013, at:

Following this event, Etopia News convened a panel of Harvard Divest activists on October 7, 2013, to talk about it and about the path forward for the campaign, entitled “Update on Divest Harvard, October 7, 2013, at:


Vote Solar’s Adam Browning elaborates his views on solar+batteries vis a vis utilities

 In an article published yesterday by Bloomberg entitled “Battery-Stored Solar Power Sparks Backlash from Utilities,” which describes efforts by California’s privately-owned utilities to block network access for residential and commercial solar systems seeking net-metering benefits, at:

Adam Browning, executive director of the San Francisco-based lobbying group Vote Solar Initiative, was quoted as saying, “The next step is that people with solar and batteries will find a way to make it work without utilities.”

Etopia News contacted Mr. Browning, asking him to elaborate his views on the evolution of battery-assisted solar systems and their relationship with utilities.  He responded with this statement:

I think the parallel to the telecom industry is striking.  At one point, customers could only lease a landline telephone from AT&T.  And it came in one, maybe two colors.  With the advent of the mobile phone, choice, innovation, and value exploded…and customers finally had an option other than to simply take whatever their phone company decided.  In the case of AT&T, they were faced with developing the mobile business their customer wanted, or losing their customers.  Solar + batteries presents that same proposition: either utilities figure out a way to make it work for their customers, or customers will figure out a way to make it work without utilities.  With the drop in costs driven by expanding scale for both solar and batteries (the latter driven by EVs [electric vehicles]), that day is not far off.”

Monday, October 7, 2013

Update on Divest Harvard, October 7, 2013

A discussion of Harvard’s attempt to shut down discussion of fossil fuel divestment at the University, and student and alumni efforts to generate that discussion, with Akhil Mathew, alumni liaison at Divest Harvard; Beth Newhall, freelance editor and Harvard alumna, and Harvard alumna and founder and co-director of Mothers Out Front; recorded from Cambridge and Boston on October 7, 2013.