Sunday, March 31, 2019

Hotel Taj Mahal: The Replica

The new movie Hotel Mumbai opened first at the Toronto International Film Festival on September 7, 2018; on March 14, 2019, in Australia; on March 22, 2019, and widely on March 29, 2019, in US theaters; and finally in India on March 29, 2019. The fiction film, based on true events, depicts the 26/11 attacks in Mumbai, India, that took place in 2008.

At the time, in 2008, I wrote extensively on Twilight Language of this incident here.

It is a film I wanted to see. I saw Hotel Mumbai this weekend, and was surprised the theater was almost full for an afternoon screening.

Tarrun Verma and Anupam Kher

On March 29, 2019, I noticed, via Facebook, that fellow Souvenir Building Collectors Society member Tarrun Verma attended the opening of Hotel Mumbai at NYC's AMC Empire 25. The showing he attended included a Q/A panel with Anupam Kher. Kher plays Hemant Oberoi, the hotel's heroic and celebrated executive chef, in the motion picture.

I wondered aloud to Verma whether there was a replica of the Taj Matah Palace Hotel of Mumbai. I wanted to add such a souvenir building to my informal buildings of disaster collection. He quickly answered that the Boyms themselves had created a new edition to their landmark Buildings of Disaster series in 2009. (I had placed this on the list I had compiled in 2018, but had forgotten.) 

Verma had attempted to obtain a copy but they were all sold out, a few years ago.

A quick internet search revealed the image of this replica when it was first on sale, and the background story.

Chor Bazaar wrote:
I recently came across this replica of the Taj Mahal Hotel in Mumbai (aka Bombay). It is designed and manufactured by a company called Boym Partners Inc. They have a series of what they call the "Buildings of Disaster".

This one in particular is called, "Hotel Taj Mahal, Mumbai, November 26, 2008. The date might sound familiar to you as it commemorates the recent Mumbai attacks. Source.

An old posting by Boym gives these details:
Our collection of Buildings of Disaster continues with a new edition, Hotel Taj Mahal, to commemorate the first anniversary of the terrorist attack in Mumbai on November 26, 2008.

Over ten years ago, we made our first buildings for the catalogue Souvenirs for the End of the Century. Produced in a limited edition of 500, many monuments are no longer available. Every piece is individually cast of specially formulated bonded metal, hand-finished, and consecutively numbered. The new building is 4.5” long. Source.

I have been unable to find one of these replicas for sale, so if you find or have any you wish to sell, please let me know. Contact Loren Coleman.

Buildings of Disaster is a project begun by Boym Design Studio in 1998. This thoughtful project is described by the creative director, Constantin Boym:
The end of a century has always been a special moment in human history. While we no longer expect the world to come to an end, we all still share a particular mood of introspection, a desire to look back and to draw comparisons, and a sense of closure and faint hope. Above all, the end of the century is about memory. We think that souvenirs are important cultural objects which can store and communicate memories, emotions and desires. Buildings of Disaster are miniature replicas of famous structures where some tragic or terrible events happened to take place. Some of these buildings may have been prized architectural landmarks, others, non-descript, anonymous structures. But disaster changes everything. The images of burning or exploded buildings make a different, populist history of architecture, one based on emotional involvement rather than on scholarly appreciation. In our media-saturated time, the world disasters stand as people's measure of history, and the sites of tragic events often become involuntary tourist destinations.

Monday, March 25, 2019

Parkland and Newtown Suicide Cluster

We are in the midst of a suicide cluster. The copycat ripples are reaching wider and wider. Be aware. Talk to anyone at risk.

A contributing factor to suicides being linked to other suicide victims and to other survivors of violent deaths is the "copycat effect."

Canada's Centre for Suicide Prevention states it thusly: "It has long been believed that when suicidal contagion occurs, a suicide cluster can develop. A cluster, in this case, is defined as multiple suicidal behaviours or suicides that fall within an accelerated time frame, and sometimes within a defined geographical area."

In my two books on the topic, Suicide Clusters (Faber and Faber, 1987) and The Copycat Effect (Simon and Schuster, 2014), I define "suicide clusters" as three or more suicides in close proximity with reference to time and space.

A suicide cluster occurs, through word of mouth or a media event, when three or more suicides take place in a restricted setting - a school, a community or a region or state - to those who are similar to each other in age, race, gender, economic status or via similar situations who have died by suicide. If one strongly identifies with the victim, these other individuals may be at risk too. The next victim may feel they had no other choices or options but to do the same thing - take their own lives.

Considering what appears to be happening in real time right now, late in March 2019 - with three deaths by suicide of people closely linked to high profile school shootings - in these cases associated with the events at Parkland, Florida's Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and Newtown, New Jersey's Sandy Hook Elementary School - this is officially a "suicide cluster."

On February 14, 2018, Valentine's Day, the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School massacre occurred in Parkland, Florida. It is one of the deadliest school shootings, with 17 fatalities and 15 injuries. 

On December 14, 2012, the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting occurred, resulting in 27 people (20 children and 6 adults plus the gunman by suicide), killed at the school in Newtown, Connecticut. The gunman had killed his mother before coming to the school. 

On April 20, 1999, the Columbine High School school shooting occurred at Columbine, Columbine. The carnage included the death of 12 students, one teacher, and the two 12th grade students (by suicide).

In late March 2019, it became apparent that suicide was haunting the survivors of the Parkland shooting.

On Sunday, March 17, 2019, St. Patrick's Day, a June 2019 graduate of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and survivor of the 2018 school shooting, Sydney Aiello, 19, (above) took her own life. The Broward County Medical Examiner’s Office said that Aiello died from a gunshot wound to the head.

Among the victims of the shooting was Aiello’s longtime friend, Meadow Pollack. Aiello was also friends with Joaquin Oliver, 17, another student killed in the shooting. She wrote lovingly about both on her social media following their deaths. 
Meadow Pollack, left, pictured with Sydney Aiello. Courtesy of Andrew Pollack. 

On Saturday, March 23, 2019, another Parkland student died by suicide. The Miami Herald reported that the male student, who was in tenth grade and attended Stoneman Douglas last year, died in “an apparent suicide” on Saturday night. The news came just days after the family of another Parkland survivor, Sydney Aiello, confirmed that she died by suicide after struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder and survivor’s guilt.

Then, on Monday, March 25, 2019, at about 7:00 am, the father of a Sandy Hook student who was killed in 2012, was found dead outside the Edmond Town Hall, the victim of suicide. The body of Jeremy Richman was found in his Connecticut office building Monday morning, Newtown police said.  Richman, 49, was the father of 6-year-old Avielle Richman, who was those killed in the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. Richman was one of the individuals who have sued InfoWars' Alex Jones. Police said they "will not disclose the method or any other details" of Richman's death, other than it does not appear to be suspicious.

Richman's death is the third suicide between March 17th and 25th, by survivors of school massacres.


After the Columbine school shooting of 1999, it is felt there have been more deaths, related to suicides.

This week CBS News published what one Parkland parent recalls about the Columbine suicides:
"We tried to get the warning out last year," said Ryan Petty, whose daughter Alaina was killed at Parkland. He was worried survivors would take their own lives – just like some of those at Columbine High School did. Thirteen people were murdered in that 1999 shooting in Colorado.
"Almost as many people died after Columbine as died during the event, and that was suicide," Petty said.

The internet's oldest site (source) tracking the tragedies in the wake of Columbine gives this limited list:

October 22, 1999 -- Carla June Hochhalter (pictured), mother of surviving victim Anne Marie Hochhalter went into an Englewood pawn shop, bought a gun and shot herself there in the shop. She had been diagnosed with depression before the shootings and the stress of having a daughter paralyzed by the attack on Columbine pushed her over the edge.
February 13, 2000 -- Nicholas Kunselman, 15, and Stephanie Hart, 16, - both students at Columbine - were killed late Sunday night at a Subway restaurant two blocks south of Columbine High School. Nicholas was supposed to lock up the store; Stephanie was there to give him a ride home.
February 14, 2000 -- The bodies of Nicholas Kunselman and Stephanie Hart were discovered at the Subway restaurant around 1:30 AM (Valentine's Day) by another Subway employee who noticed the lights were still on when she drove by. Victim Rachel Scott worked at the shop before she was killed at the school. 
May 4, 2000 -- Greg Barnes, a Columbine High student in his Junior year and a basketball player for the school team, died by suicide (by hanging himself) two weeks after the first "anniversary" of the shootings. He was in the school on April 20, 1999 and escaped without injury, though he saw Coach Dave Sanders die and victim Matthew Kechter was a close friend of his. His father found Greg's body in the garage at 12:15 PM with a CD repeating one song over and over: Adam's Song by Blink 182. He left no note but it is believed the suicide was prompted by a recent break-up with his girlfriend. His death left his family and fellow students at Columbine stunned.
What is clear is that suicides are occurring now, in March 2019. Do your best to ask someone if they are thinking about taking their own life today. Talking about suicide prevents suicides.

If you need to talk, for any reason, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or contact the Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741741.

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Looking At Kubrick Through A Lion's Eyes

Want to observe A Clockwork Orange from the inside out?

Would you prefer to watch 2001: A Space Odyssey or The Shining?

It actually doesn't matter, as there is a universe of information to be learned from any of Stanley Kubrick's films.

As most students of understanding Stanley Kubrick know, the American documentary film, Room 237 (2012), directed by Rodney Ascher, is filled with possible meanings of Stanley Kubrick's film The Shining (1980). But perhaps studying the mainstream interpretations would benefit us too.

Cryptokubrology: "A useful methodology for deconstructing cinema, history, and synchronicity." ~ says Alex Fulton (crypto-kubruology), January 31, 2017. 
Cryptokubrology has been defined as "digging through the works of Stanley Kubrick on the premise that its body is a muted mass of coded cabalistic ministrations comparable (in scope) to the works of William Shakespeare, but incomparable (in complexity) to anything in recorded history. In fact, Cryptokubrology has led to an entirely different view of so-called 'history' itself." ~ says Robert Shawn Montgomery (shawnfella)

There is a scholar and popular cultural anthropologist, which I submit, has created a body of work that should be viewed by cryptokubrologists.
Gary ("spear") Leva ("lion')

Etymology: Gary is likely derived from compound names of Germanic origin, composed of the element gar ("spear). Sources: [1][2][3]
Leva: In archaic Bulgarian the word "lev" meant "lion." [4] It is a variant of лъв (lǎv, “lion”). Literally, lion, OCS lĭvŭ, probably < Old High German lewo < Latin lēo; leu; Romanian: literally, lion, a designation based on Turkish arslanlι (arslan lion + -lι adj. suffix), name given to the Dutch rijksdaalder, which circulated in the later Ottoman Empire and bore the image of a lion.
The name Lev may be of different origins.
It is typically a first name, or less commonly a surname (e.g. in Czech Republic) of Slavic origin, which translates as "lion". Cf. Germanic form Löwe or Löw.
It is also a common Israeli surname and uncommon female first name which translates as "heart" (לב, Loeb, Löb) in Hebrew.
The name also appears in the forms Liev, Lyev, Leo and Leon. [5]

His name is Gary Leva. He is a filmmaker, film historian, and film professor living in Southern California who has distinguished himself as the creative force behind scores of documentaries, broadcast programs, and special features. Leva formerly was associated with Lucasfilm, and in recent years, with Warner Brothers.

George Lucas, Gary Leva, and Francis Ford Coppola.
Film director William Friedkin (L) and director and editor Gary Leva (R).

August 2012: The World Premiere of Gary Leva's documentary Fog City Mavericks at the 50th San Francisco Film Festival:

Back row (standing) 

1. Dominic Angerame, Independent Filmmaker

2. Andrew Stanton, Director, Finding Nemo, WALL-E

3. Brad Bird, Director, The Incredibles, Ratatouille

4. Pete Docter, Director, Monsters, Inc., Up

5. Robin Williams

6. John Lasseter, Director, Toy Story, Cars

7. Chris Columbus, Director, Home Alone, Harry Potter and Sorcerer’s Stone

8. Robert Dalva, Editor, The Black Stallion

9. Peter Coyote, Narrator, Fog City Mavericks

10. Walter Murch, Editor and Sound Designer, Apocalypse Now, The Godfather: Part II

Front Row (sitting)

11. Ben Burtt, Sound Designer, Star Wars, Raiders of the Lost Ark

12. Rob Nilssen, Director, Northern Lights

13. Saul Zaentz, Producer, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Amadeus

14. George Lucas, Director, Star Wars, American Graffiti

15. Gary Leva, Director, Fog City Mavericks

16. Matthew Robbins, Director, *batteries not included

17. Carroll Ballard, Director, The Black Stallion

18. John Korty, Director, The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman


Leva's filmography is impressive, but let us merely concentrate on his work analyzing Stanley Kubrick's films. The list is worthy of your time.

Leva Filmworks' "Stanley Kubrick Collection" includes (each link has a clip from his selection) the following:


Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Trump Building Replicas: A Collector's List

Being a member of the Souvenir Building Collectors Society, I assemble, gather, and organize small replicas of architectural structures.

Politics aside, I generally garner items based on spots I've visited, sites I've studied, and the historical significance I see attached to them. I do this without regard to my own political leanings, and find value in the events and names linked to specific locations.

The 45th President of the United States, Donald J. Trump, has many buildings named after him. I decided to collect the ones I could find available.

To gather these, I needed a baseline, and below is a list I developed from Wikipedia. I've added what I've collected, plus a few notes on the buildings' appearances in popular culture (films) and only a mention of one tied to Trump's political history:

Trump Towers
Trump Tower, New York City
Trump Towers Istanbul, Turkey
Trump Towers (Sunny Isles Beach), Sunny Isles Beach, Florida
Trump Tower (White Plains), White Plains, New York
Trump Towers Pune, India
Trump Tower Kolkata, Kolkata, India
Trump Tower Manila (Philippines)

Trump International Hotels
Trump International Hotel and Tower (Chicago)
Trump International Hotel and Tower (Honolulu)
Trump International Hotel and Tower (New York City)
This building is used as the setting of the 2011 comedy crime film Tower Heist. It also appears in Enchanted and Ghostbusters.Trump International Hotel and Tower (Vancouver)
Trump International Hotel Las Vegas
Trump International Hotel Washington, D.C., also known as Old Post Office Building

Trump Plazas
Trump Plaza (New York City)
Trump Plaza (New Rochelle)
Trump Plaza (Jersey City)
Trump Plaza (West Palm Beach)

Other Buildings
Trump Bay Street, in Jersey City, New Jersey
Trump World Tower, in New York City
The Trump Building, in New York City
Trump Parc and Trump Parc East, Manhattan
Trump Parc Stamford, Stamford, Connecticut
Trump Park Avenue, Manhattan
Trump Park Residences, Yorktown, New York
Trump Hollywood, a 41-story condominium tower in Hollywood, Florida
Daewoo Trump World, apartment brand in South Korea

Former Trump Entertainment Resorts
Trump Taj Mahal, a casino and hotel on the Atlantic City boardwalk (closed in 2016)
Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino, in Atlantic City. Initially a 50/50 partnership with Harrah's, then wholly owned by Trump since 1986. Closed on September 16, 2014.
This Atlantic City casino was the scene of a notorious baccarat session in May 1990, in which the Japanese high roller Akio Kashiwagi lost $10 million. The incident was later fictionalized in Martin Scorsese's film Casino.
Trump World's Fair at Trump Plaza in Atlantic City. Operated with its own casino license in a wing of Trump Plaza. Closed in 1999 and demolished in 2000.
Trump's Castle in Atlantic City (renamed Trump Marina in 1997), sold to Landry's, Inc. in 2011
Trump 29 Casino, in Coachella, California, now Spotlight 29 Casino. Former 50/50 partnership with the Twenty-Nine Palms Band of Mission Indians of California; Trump exited the business in 2006.
Trump Casino in Gary, Indiana, now the Majestic Star II.

Other Former Properties (which may still exist in replicas)
Trump SoHo, a hotel condominium complex in New York City (name licensing deal ended in 2017)
Riverside South, Manhattan (Trump Place), Manhattan (de-branded in November 2016)
Trump International Hotel and Tower (Toronto) (divested in 2017)
Trump International Hotel & Tower (Panama) (licensing deal ended in 2018)

Projected Fantasy Project (released by an organization gathering funds for the Reelection of Donald J. Trump):

Mount Rushmore with Trump added.

Replica Trump Buildings (I own the first five; building names are linked to InFocus Tech descriptions.)

725 5th Avenue, New York, NY 10022 (Trump Tower)
In film fiction, Trump Tower served as the location for Wayne Enterprises in Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight Rises (2012). The penthouse in Trump Tower was used as a filming location for the action film Self/less (2015). 
For Devil's Advocate (1997), the "deliriously kitsch, nouveau stinking-rich living room of property developer Alex Cullen (Craig T Nelson) could belong to only one person. It’s the real apartment of Donald Trump, occupying the top four floors of Trump Tower, 725 Fifth Avenue." Source.

In political reality, the Trump Tower meeting took place on June 9, 2016 in New York City between three senior members of the 2016 Trump campaign – Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner, and Paul Manafort – and at least five other people, including Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya. Others may have been there. Originally it was said to be a meeting about Russian adoptions. It eventually was revealed to be about data leaks concerning Hillary Clinton’s emails. Source.

Trump World Tower is a residential condominium in Midtown Manhattan, New York City. The building was developed by Donald Trump and opened in 2001. The tower is located at 845 United Nations Plaza (First Avenue between 47th and 48th Streets, Manhattan). The building also featured heavily in the 2007 film Before the Devil Knows You're Dead.

The final confrontation scene between Batman and The Joker in the 2008 film The Dark Knight was shot at the construction site of the then partially completed tower. The tower was also one of the key locations filmed in Chicago for the 2011 film Transformers: Dark of the Moon.

The Old Post Office, 1100 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington D. C. 20004 (Trump International Hotel Washington D. C.)

The United States Information Agency often used it as a backdrop for propaganda films to be shown in foreign countries. In one instance, a portion of a film about Soviet dissident Alexander Solzhenitsyn was taped in the tower.

(These all are cast metal miniatures by InFocusTech, created by Mike Merwine. The links above go to more information on each replica.)


Joseph Kopitz of the SBCS has also written of having another Trump replica (and shared this image):

Trump Plaza Hotel & Casino, Atlantic City, New Jersey.

Share others you know about.

Other selections you may wish to read at this blog on similar topics:

The Ambassador Hotel, 3400 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90010, the site of Robert F. Kennedy's assassination, June 5, 1968; he died on June 6, 1968.

I have written about other building souvenirs on Twilight Language, in the following essays:

Monday, March 18, 2019

Terrorist Attack on Utrecht Tram Leaves Three Dead

On Monday, March 18, 2019, a suspected Turkish-born terrorist killed three tram passengers and injured five others in Utrecht, the Netherlands.

The alleged man-of-interest has been identified by the Utrecht Police as Gokmen Tanis, 37.

Local news media quoted witnesses who said there were multiple gunmen involved in the shooting, which took place at 24 October Square, but the police did not comment on the number of attackers.

The attack took place in the Kanaleneiland neighborhood, which is home to a large Muslim community, largely Moroccan and Turkish. It was not clear whether that influenced the decision of the gunman to open fire when and where he did.

The historical significant of "October 24" in Utrecht does relate to the fact the United Nations was established on October 24, 1945. Theo Paijmans mentions that one of the streets leading to the square is named Weg der Verenigde Naties (Street of the United Nations).

The story of this being a terrorist is falling apart, or at least convoluted.

Some news accounts are mentioning that Gokmen Tanis has a long history of previous charges, including recent ones of rape and manslaughter. This specific incident involved his targeting a relative (his sister-in-law?) and then shooting three nearby individuals dead.

One Turkish BBC journalist claims that Tanis fought in Chechnya, and another said he shouted "Allah is great!"

Other reports continue to indicate there may have been more than one gunman.

Late in the day, Tanis was arrested.

The God of Hellfire Cancels

The Christchurch attacks had a soundtrack. The gunman Brenton Harrison Tennent  decided what he wanted to have playing as he killed and killed and killed.

The livestream had the sounds and the media identified the music for those who were unaware.
...he picks up his gun, storms into the mosque, and cuts down one innocent life after another.
When it is over, he climbs back into his car, where he has left his music playing — the song Fire by the English rock band The Crazy World of Arthur Brown. And right after the singer bellows, 'I am the God of Hellfire!' the gunman drives away.

But Arthur Brown has some choices to make too.

Arthur Wilton Brown was born on June 24, 1942 ~ St. John's Day, which is associated with fire, and which would be the date of the birth of flying saucers five years later in 1947. Brown is an English rock singer and songwriter best known for his flamboyant theatrical performances, resulting in his creation of The Crazy World of Arthur Brown. His signature lyric from his wildly popular song Fire is "I am the God of Hellfire and I bring you fire." 

In the 1980s, Brown moved to Austin, Texas, where his wife was from, and obtained a master's degree in counselling. He moved back to the U.K., and then back to Austin, where he has been living for several years.

Arthur Brown in 1968.

On the night of the Ides of March 2019, Brown performed at Austin's Empire Garage, ending with his 1968 song, Fire.

In New Zealand, the killer Tarrant livestreamed (without permission) as he murdered Muslims, Fire, also on the March 15, 2019.

As I noted here, Brenton Tarrant's name literally means "flame" + "thunder," and thus rather close to "Hellfire."

On Saturday, March 16, 2019, Arthur Brown was due to give a live appearance of at Waterloo Records in Austin, Texas. But he cancelled and posted this:

Message From the Heart

As co-writer and performer of the song Fire, and creator of The God of Hellfire persona, I would like to express my horror and sadness in the use of Fire, in an act of terror in New Zealand. My heart goes out to all the victims and families of victims of this atrocity – and to all the communities affected.
I should like to say that I support no group or individual that uses terrorist tactics and killing as a means of dealing with other beliefs than their own.
I believe that all religions reach for the same root in the human being. I believe all people of all colours and all races deserve equal respect. I also believe that all people have a duty of care towards each other and all creatures on this earth.
OUT OF RESPECT for the victims of this horrifying act in New Zealand and following the advice of respected local authorities, I have decided to CANCEL the 'instore' performance at WATERLOO RECORDS in AUSTIN tomorrow. Source.

See also: