Tag Archives: drive

Groups using Pokemon Go to register voters

A political group in swing-state Ohio is using the game Pokemon Go for a purpose beyond catching cute Pikachu: registering voters.

NextGen Climate Ohio, a group drawing attention to climate change, says the rollout — coming days before the two political conventions get underway — is just one of the creative ways it’s trying to engage millennial voters.

“One of the things we’re trying to do is to really meet them where they are,” said state director Joanne Pickrell. “This is where they seem to be. It’s a very popular game.”

The Democrat-backed NextGen is dropping “lures,” which draw the cartoon monsters hunted by “Pokemon Go” players, at game locations called Pokestops in parks and on campuses in Cleveland, Cincinnati, Columbus and Toledo, Pickrell said. Organizers will be on site at the locations to talk to players about the importance of voting and how to get registered.

Planned Ohio locations include the University of Toledo on Friday and, on Saturday, parks in Cincinnati, Cleveland and Columbus and Mirror Lake on the main campus of Ohio State University. The group’s chapters in Iowa, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Illinois are also using a similar tactic to register voters. In New Hampshire, it’s being used to secure commitments to vote in the fall.

Pickrell said outreach to youth voters in Ohio also includes being at music festivals, street fairs and college orientations.

Catching Pokemon Thursday at Columbus’ Goodale Park, one of NextGen’s planned outreach sites, players of the game were positive about the idea.

“Any way to spread the good teachings of knowing when to vote, how to vote, knowing to vote, to register, that your vote matters — any way you can get that, whether it’s through ‘Pokemon Go’ or anything else that’s popular at the time, if it can help the younger generation know what to prepare for it, then I’m all for it,” said Jordan Grubb, 23.

Grubb’s companion at the park, 20-year-old Haley Hamilton, agreed: “Voting’s important. You need to get younger people’s attention, because a lot of younger kids don’t take it seriously.”

Chris Thomas, 29, a doctoral student in education policy, said he loves the social aspect of the game but approaches “lures” with a note of caution.

“Using that to bring people to you is a really cool idea for registering people to vote, but I did find a story about people using it to lure people for purposes of robbing them, so there are pros and cons of that,” he said.

Thomas said bumping into other “Pokemon Go” players while looking down at your phone to play the game has been a pleasant surprise of the game experience. Instead of being stereotypical detached smartphone users, players begin to talk and even work together.

“We’re alone, together,” he said. That’s not unlike voters.

Ryan Gosling says his directorial debut was inspired by his mom’s story

Ryan Gosling has always had a different take on things. He grew up in the company of women in his native town of Cornwall, Ontario, where he was raised by his single mother Donna and spent considerable time learning life lessons from his older sister Mandi. That may well account for his easy-going manner with women and the kind of sensitivity he brings to his screen romances.

In films ranging from The Notebook to Blue Valentine to Drive, Gosling’s performances reveal an abiding passion, curiosity, and appreciation for the opposite sex.

“I grew up with two incredible women, my mother and sister, and naturally my way of looking at the world was shaped by a female perspective,” Gosling says. “I’m sure it made me very protective and caring with women, and I’ve always enjoyed their company and that kind of emotional openness. That’s also the kind of fundamental quality you need to bring to your work as an actor.”

The 34-year-old Gosling is now embarking on two distinct new paths in life. First, he’s the proud father of a baby girl born last September to him and his girlfriend, actress Eva Mendes. Second, he’s promoting his first film as a director, Lost River, which enjoyed its North American premiere at the South by Southwest Film Festival in Austin, Texas. Having played to poor reviews last summer in Cannes, the film was met much more enthusiastically by the indie film crowd who packed the theatre to see Gosling as he joked with audience members after the screening.

Lost River, based on Gosling’s own screenplay, stars his Drive co-star Christina Hendricks (Mad Men) as Billy, a single mother of two who lives in a strange and surreal urban slum (a dystopian Detroit neighborhood called Lost River). There, she struggles to make ends meet while her house faces foreclosure and demolition.

Heavily influenced by David Lynch and his Drive director Nicolas Winding Refn, Gosling tries to create an almost psychedelic reality that is reflective of his risk-taking creative ambitions. Saoirse Ronan co-stars as an odd girl who seduces Billy’s son (Iain De Caestecker) while Gosling’s partner Eva Mendes plays the manager of a nightclub.

The film’s single mother theme was inspired by Gosling’s recollections of how his mother raised him and his sister on her own after her divorce from Ryan’s father.

“My mom is very beautiful and was a single mom,” Gosling said after the screening in front of a packed theatre. “When you’re a kid and you have a single mom, all men feel like wolves. Guys would whistle at her — it was very predatory and threatening. As a kid I felt helpless, so you start to imagine all these (scenarios) where you can do something. You see the world through the filter of your imagination.”

Raised by Mormon parents, Gosling’s mother ultimately left the church and Gosling rebelled against his religious upbringing. After his sister read an ad for an audition for Disney’s Mickey Mouse Club, Gosling auditioned and soon he and his family moved to California, where he admitted to “corrupting”   his fellow Mouseketeers, a group that included Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, and Justin Timberlake.

Following his breakout performance in The Notebook, he earned an Oscar nomination for Half Nelson, followed by acclaimed work in The Ides of March and Drive.

Gosling’s next acting appearance comes in The Nice Guys, a crime thriller co- starring Russell Crowe scheduled for release in 2016. He has also shot a film with Terence Malick, as yet untitled, co-starring Cate Blanchett and Christian Bale. As is typical with a Malick film, no release date has been announced.

Ryan, what led you to want to make your first film as a director when your acting career is still taking off?

I love directing and being able to be able to spend so much time with one project as opposed to working as an actor, where you’re only involved for a few months. I also enjoy the collaborative side of the process, where you can work very intensely with the actors and with your cinematographer. My responsibility was to shape the story but after that I wanted the actors to bring their own contribution and inspiration to the film. In the end, your film has gone far beyond the extent of your imagination and expectation of what it would be.

Did you direct out of any frustration with your acting career?

No, I wasn’t frustrated but sometimes you would like to have more control over your own work. I remember listening to Richard Gere when he’s doing commentary on the Days of Heaven DVD. He said something to the effect that he was disappointed in that he felt that some of his best work had been left on the cutting room floor, and he was frustrated that no one would ever get to see it. But he also said that Days of Heaven was the best film he’d ever made and was proud to be in it. I also wanted to be able to use all the observational skills that I’ve developed as an actor and try to see if I could put them to use in telling my own story and learning from that experience.

Your film had a rough ride at Cannes. Was that disappointing to you?

I thought the criticism was harsh and didn’t take into account the incredible performances of the actors. I’m proud of the work we did, and I hope people will find something interesting in it. Cannes was a strange experience. I had never shown the film to anyone outside of a few people in my basement, and suddenly I’m wearing a tuxedo and watching it in a massive theatre with a thousand people. I can’t control how people react to the film, but I believe in it and I’m hoping it’s going to find an audience.

It’s very different from the adulation you often receive as an actor?

I’m fine with that. As a director, you have to take responsibility for your work, and I’m happy to do that. As an actor you can always avoid taking the blame for a bad film by saying you didn’t direct it, you didn’t write the script. I can’t do that here and I stand by the work. Your film speaks for you, whether you like it or not.

What was it like working with Mendes?

She helped me a lot. I picked the actors because I had worked with them before and I knew them and trusted them. They all brought a lot to the film and they directed me in a way, because they added things that I never would have thought of and that in turn influenced how I approached telling the story. It was an interesting dynamic and while we were shooting I felt like I was always having to catch up to my own film. I had that feeling from the very first moment I started thinking about it and writing it. The story took on a momentum of its own and that process continued while we were shooting.

What made you choose to shoot the film in Detroit?

I grew up in Canada, and for us Detroit was a symbol of America. It’s the home of Motown (Records), the Model T, Ford, Techno, Eminem, the middle class. There is so much about the city that represents the legacy of the country. I first became interested in shooting there when I worked on Ides of March (with George Clooney ). It’s a city that’s been decaying and in decline for many years and people call it a ghost town because so many sections are abandoned or derelict. I saw an eerie beauty in those buildings and I wanted to use that to express the sense of everything that has been lost and the ghosts of the past. But Detroit has this whole other side to it. It’s sort of reinventing itself, there’s like a real energy, and the people there are so talented and genuine. There are so many amazing characters there, and I would like to work there again.

What was it like working with Christina Hendricks on the film?

Christina is one of the most pleasant and enjoyable people you could ever imagine working with. We got to know each other on Drive, and I wanted her to be part of my first film as a director and here we are. She almost scares you with how she can switch from laughing and being very easy-going on the set and then turning around and playing some very heavy and serious scenes. As an actor, I admire other actors who have that kind of command of their craft. It’s just an added bonus that she’s also such a really wonderful woman.

How do you feel about becoming a father for the first time?

It’s an exciting time. It’s really nice. I’ve thought a long time about starting a family. I’m a romantic and I’m lucky to have the right woman at my side.

You and Eva previously worked on The Place Beyond the Pines, where you were spending time in a situation where you were helping provide for her and her son in the film. Did that experience resonate with you?

I had a great time. And then that child had really incredible positive energy, was able to put me in a good mood right away. … I enjoy being with children and being a father is something I’m thrilled about.

What’s the worst part of being an actor with the kind of media frenzy that surrounds you?

The worst thing is that when you’re famous you turn into a kind of politician in the sense that you have to be very careful what you say. If you say one odd little thing that comment can be taken out of context and suddenly there’s all these headlines over something you might have said in an offhand way or you were being sarcastic.

Are you still in some way surprised by how you became a movie star?

Oh, yeah. Before I did The Notebook, it was hard for me to even get an audition. I would show up and there would be all these incredibly good-looking guys reading for the same part and most of the time you knew that you had no chance. I had pretty much resigned myself to the fact that I would always be a character actor and going from one supporting role to another, if I was lucky. But when Nick Cassavetes hired me (for The Notebook), that changed everything and suddenly I was able to do the kind of movies you always dream of having the chance of working on. I’ve been very lucky to be in the position I’m in and I’m still having a lot of fun in this business.

Google: We’re building car with no steering wheel

Google will build a car without a steering wheel.

It doesn’t need one because it drives itself.

The two-seater won’t be sold publicly, but Google said Tuesday it hopes by this time next year, 100 prototypes will be on public roads. Though not driving very quickly — the top speed would be 25 mph.

The cars are a natural next step for Google, which already has driven hundreds of thousands of miles in California with Lexus SUVs and Toyota Priuses outfitted with a combination of sensors and computers.

Those cars have Google-employed “safety drivers” behind the wheel in case of emergency. The new cars would eliminate the driver from the task of driving.

No steering wheel, no brake and gas pedals. Instead, buttons for go and stop.

“It reminded me of catching a chairlift by yourself, a bit of solitude I found really enjoyable,” Sergey Brin, co-founder of Google, told a Southern California tech conference Tuesday evening of his first ride, according to a transcript.

The electric-powered car is compact and bubble-shaped _ something that might move people around a corporate campus or congested downtown.

Google is unlikely to go deeply into auto manufacturing. In unveiling the prototype, the company emphasized partnering with other firms.

The biggest obstacle could be the law.

Test versions will have a wheel and pedals, because they must under California regulations.

Google hopes to build the 100 prototypes late this year or early next and use them in a to-be-determined “pilot program,” spokeswoman Courtney Hohne said. Meanwhile, by the end of this year, California’s Department of Motor Vehicles must write regulations for the “operational” use of truly driverless cars.

The DMV had thought that reality was several years away, so it would have time to perfect the rules.

That clock just sped up, said the head of the DMV’s driverless car program, Bernard Soriano.

“Because of what is potentially out there soon, we need to make sure that the regulations are in place that would keep the public safe but would not impede progress,” Soriano said.

Cat Doctor launches pet food drive, pictures with Santa opportunity

The Cat Doctor, 236 N. Water St. in Milwaukee’s Third Ward, has launched a pet food drive to help people in need feed their pets through the end of November.

The program, which accepts both dog and cat food, is being managed in cooperation with the Milwaukee Homeless Veterans Initiative. Donors can drop off food at the Cat Doctor for distribution on Monday and Wednesday from 7:30 a.m. until 7 p.m.; on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 7:30 a.m. until 6 p.m.; and on Saturday from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.

In addition, Santa is visiting the Cat Doctor from 12:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Dec. 8 to pose for pictures with your favorite feline. Gift baskets and snacks will be on sale for the kitty lovers on your holiday gift list.

For more information, call the Cat Doctor at 414-272-2287.