Posts by Johanna Blakley

Local News in Earthquake Country

  Ask any reporter – earthquakes are great for the news business. Gut-wrenching visuals accompany heroic and tragic tales about survivors and victims alike, and the aftermath stories can go on for months. Earthquakes are inherently dramatic, demonstrating as they do the pent up power of a planet we ceaselessly… More

Nightmare as Entertainment

The Hollywood “dream factories” have always utilized themes from dreams and nightmares, and there’s no doubt in my mind that this compelling stream of screen imagery insinuates itself into our own personal dreams and nightmares. So I was riveted by a recent New Yorker piece that provided an overview of… More

Taking TV Online

With the Comcast/NBC merger on the horizon, Hollywood has been abuzz about how all this is going to affect the beleaguered TV industry. Now that the biggest Internet and mobile-phone provider in the U.S. is buying a vast vat of premium TV and film properties, will audiences finally be able to watch what… More

Generational Divides: How Deeply Do Women Differ?

Last year, Zogby International and the Norman Lear Center surveyed 1,637 American women about their political beliefs and their media, entertainment and leisure preferences. Looking through the data, we realized that there were some stark differences among women of different ages. Not only do they gravitate toward different media and… More

140 Characters in Hollywood

Devoted to all things Twitter, Jeff Pulver’s 140 Character Conference landed in Hollywood this week at the Kodak Theater, home to the Oscars. It was a symbolically appropriate venue for a new technology that thrives parasitically on ‘old media’ . . . . you know, the stuff that people used… More

What’s the World Watching?

Whenever I meet someone from abroad, I can’t wait to ask them what TV shows are popular in their home country. In the U.S., we are inundated with information about the popularity (and financial success) of every imaginable kind of entertainment product, but it’s pretty rare to hear about what’s… More

Polanski & the Art of Celebrity Scandal

There’s been a barrage of news stories about director Roman Polanski’s arrest in Switzerland and the flood of support he’s received from major figures in the entertainment industry, including Woody Allen, Martin Scorsese, Tilda Swinton, David Lynch, Harvey Weinstein, Julian Schnable and Michael Mann. Of course their support is quite… More

The September Issue

I’ve always been a fashion magazine addict (I delivered newspapers as a kid in order to support the habit), and the September issues were always the most important to me. Turns out, I’m not alone. One in ten American women consults the September issue of Vogue magazine, and it made… More

What is it about House?

  For the last two years, the Lear Center has partnered with Zogby International on a survey that asks American citizens about their entertainment preferences and their political beliefs. We were eager to discover the cultural touchstones that united our often divided nation. I was very disappointed to discover how… More

Message Movies in Alien Clothing

  District 9 is the kind of movie you see at Grauman’s Chinese. After wading through throngs of sunburned tourists and ghastly cartoon character impersonators, I entered the sanctum sanctorum of movie geeks. The kitsch is three-feet thick in Grauman’s, but the audience that packed that theater wasn’t there to… More