A Presidential Campaign “By the People”

     On Nov. 4, 2008 Barack Hussein Obama was elected President of the United States of America.
     Today, Nov. 3, 2009, you can find out how he got there when HBO premieres “By the People: The Election of Barack Obama” at 9 p.m.
     The documentary, by filmmakers Amy Rice and Alicia Sams, follows the incredible ascent of a relatively unknown Illinois senator to the highest political office in America.
     “By the People …” is an inside look at the machinations of a presidential campaign, including the passion and conviction of Obama’s campaign workers to the strain of politics on an American family to the ups and downs of American politics, which all of the presidential candidates faced at one point or another during the two-year run up to the 2008 election.
      I remember the first time I heard of Barack Obama, shortly after he announced his run for president in February 2007. My first thought, after doing some research and listening to his inspiring speech at the 2004 democratic convention, was, “Wow! Dynamic speaker, but there’s no way in HELL Americans are going to elect a man whose middle name is “Hussein” president.”
     I was wrong.
     And after getting to know the man behind the completely foreign name, I also became a supporter of Obama.
     The documentary begins in 2006 – before Obama even announced his candidacy – as an examination of the political experience of a promising young politician. According to the film’s synopsis on the HBO Web site, the documentary “Captures the boundless fervor of the campaign’s volunteers, as well as the extraordinary skill and technical sophistication of its organizers.”
     Whether or not you voted for our current president, “By the People: The Election of Barack Obama” will be of interest. It’s an unprecedented look at the hopes and heartache of a presidential campaign from the inside out.
     Tune in to HBO at 9 p.m. tonight for a front row seat to an historic election from  beginning to climactic end. 

A Party for Pets

     Although I’ve been laid off for almost a year, I’ve been keeping very busy.
     One of the projects that has brought me the most joy is raising money for a cause that’s near and dear to my heart, the Chemung County Humane Society and SPCA.
     On Saturday, Nov. 7, come to the Starlite Room on Lake Road in Elmira Heights and support our local animal shelter at a fun and entertaining benefit from 6 to 10 p.m.
     The event features a silent auction with lots of very cool offerings, including several gift baskets filled with wine and chocolates or goodies for pets; a bike tour from the Chemung River Friends Watershed Group that includes an educational bike ride along the river with a boxed lunch; a catalogue and four admission tickets to the Rockwell Museum of Western Art in Corning; gift certificates for a free dog and cat adoption from the Chemung County Humane Society and SPCA; a three-month membership to downtown Elmira’s New York Sport & Fitness gym; and several choice door prizes from area businesses such as Barb’s Soup’s On/Express Cafe, the First Arena and more.
     Tickets are $10, and for your generous donation you can enjoy delicious hors d’oeuvres, a Heron Hill Winery wine tasting, and a super groovy 1970s drag show, featuring several talented area performers.
     Call (607) 731-7953 or 733-3333 for information and tickets.
     All proceeds benefit the Chemung County Humane Society and SPCA, helping the shelter to maintain its level of services and support to the community which includes providing shelter for animals awaiting adoption, public education on animal welfare, spay/neuter services, and much more.

Mark your calendar for these upcoming cool flicks:
“Precious,” is a heart-wrenching tearjerker that stars new up-and-comer Gabourey Sidibe, along with Monique, Mariah Carey and Lenny Kravitz. The movie, based on the novel “Push” by Sapphire, is about an abused Harlem teen mother who’s given a chance to change her life with admission to an alternative school. It opens in “select” theaters Friday, Nov. 6.

“The Men Who Stare at Goats” stars George Clooney, Kevin Spacey and Jeff Daniels in a zany exploration of what was rumored to be an actual unit of the U.S. Army, the First Earth Battalion, which attempted to use paranormal powers to combat America’s enemies. And it’s NOT directed by the Coen Brothers. This funny flick also opens Friday, Nov. 6.

“2012,” a disaster flick that stars my super teen crush John Cusack, as well as Amanda Peet, Thandie Newton and Danny Glover, opens nationwide Nov. 13. It’s an “end of the world” saga with plenty of action and explosions.

“Planet 51,” takes a fun twist on the alien theme, with a human astronaut landing on a distant planet inhabited by little green people. In other words, the human is the alien. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Jessica Biel, Gary Oldman and John Cleese are among the animated voices in this colorful movie for kids of all ages, opening Nov. 20.

“The Twilight Saga: New Moon,” the second movie in the popular teen vampire series, hits theaters on Nov. 20. Based on one of the most popular book series, “New Moon” features vampires, werewolves and humans in a twisted love story. It stars Robert Pattinson, Kristen Stewart, Taylor Lautner and Peter Facinelli.