18 3 / 2013
I got curious when I came across this Twitter exchange between Andy Ihnatko and a follower of his:
I can’t believe that there are people who don’t know or don’t care that if they dine & dash their waiter must cover their bill.
@ihnatko Even though that is blatantly illegal for employers to demand that
.@dfrenchy The law allows a restaurant to do that, so long as the waiter’s pay for that day amounts to greater than minimum wage.
Now, obviously people who dine and dash are complete scumbags, but Andy Inhatko is wrong. And this is not to single out Inhatko — I thought this was true, too. But it’s not. It turns out, in most cases, it is a violation of federal labor law to require tipped employees to cover “walk-outs, breakage, or cash register shortages.”
Inhatko is technically correct that the legal barrier for businesses is that servers’ wages cannot drop below minimum wage. So what’s the catch? The Department of Labor does not count tips as wages. Therefore, it is impossible for most tipped employees to make more than minimum wage, no matter how much they make in tips:
Where deductions for walk-outs, breakage, or cash register shortages reduce the employee’s wages below the minimum wage, such deductions are illegal. Where a tipped employee is paid $2.13 per hour in direct (or cash) wages and the employer claims the maximum tip credit of $5.12 per hour, no such deductions can be made without reducing the employee below the minimum wage (even where the employee receives more than $5.12 per hour in tips).
The great writer, reporter and columnist Connie Schultz (wife of Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown) wrote a column about this in 2009 in which she reported on how commonly this law is being broken, and encouraged servers to do something about it: “If you’re a server whose employer is saddling you with bills that customers refuse to pay,” she wrote, “the U.S. Department of Labor wants to hear from you. Call its help line at 1-866-487-9243.”
11 3 / 2013
After seeing Audition on DVD for the first time in 2002, I read Bryant Frazer’s review in which he suggested the best way to see it “might be to have it handed to you on an unmarked videotape by a friend.” So I thought whatthehell, dubbed the movie to a videotape, and dropped it in the mail to my friend Alex.
Hi! Doing research for a tweet. (That’s a real sentence.) Remember when I sent you that tape of AUDITION? Had you heard of it at that point? When you turned it on, did you know what to expect?
Hello. Happy to help. :)
I had not heard of it at the time. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, although I suspected something it might have been more positive and/or surreal (if I remember correctly, you suggested watching it with my closest friends).
I really fucking enjoyed the experience (although the slow build-up was more appreciated in retrospect). It seemed like the cinematic experience of a practical joke.
The friends I was with did not like it at all, because of a) the extremely slow-paced first act, b) the bait-and-switch itself, and c) the disturbing nature of the final act.
I tried to replicate the experience for others, but I never found someone who appreciated it. Womp-wooomp.
So, yes. I believe the film is infinitely more interesting when going in completely blind.
11 2 / 2012
"Every time I’m sick I watch SNEAKERS (92). It’s a heist movie in which the people in the heist actually have to be skilled at something. What really drives me nuts in most heist movies is that they set up some absolutely impossible job, and then they go and find some seedy guy who sells them the complete blueprints to the building. Even I could pull off a heist if I had the complete blueprints. What kind of skill is that? SNEAKERS is a movie that we’ve decided not to own for some reason. So whenever I’m sick my wife has to go to the video store and there’s always this anxiety about it not being there, or that the tape will have broken and the video store hasn’t replaced it."
04 2 / 2012
Because so much of the conversation about the digital conversion has been focused on inane arguments like losing the “soul” of 35mm, and because so many of my friends love movies but likely aren’t aware of this sort of thing, I’m reposting an excerpt from a comment I made on a Creative Loafing post about the shrinking availability of repertory titles on 35mm:
For me, this is about quality. Although Blu-ray looks fantastic — it can even look good projected on a screen as big as the Plaza’s — neither it nor DVD (especially not DVD) come close to matching the resolution of 35mm film. (Even if we *were* to settle with those formats, not every film is available on either of them.) There are not decent 4K or even 2K digital masters made of many films, as we can see from the sub-par HD releases studios have offered up to consumers. It would be one thing if every film were scanned at 6K resolution à la A STAR IS BORN, or 4K resolution like BLADE RUNNER, CITIZEN KANE and THE WIZARD OF OZ, and then delicately restored before all its prints were taken out of circulation. To show films in this format would still require theaters like the Plaza to complete a costly upgrade, but at least we could potentially be offered an improved experience — the chance to see a movie as good as its best available film elements for centuries to come. But that’s not happening. If distributors are just going to expect repertory programming to make due with home entertainment formats [edit: or even shitty, heavily DNR’d 2K scans from the 90s for theaters that can support them], with 35mm relegated to hard-to-access private archives — well, that SUCKS.
24 10 / 2011
In what free time I could wrangle, I spent the last six weeks or so carefully curating the 50 trailers we would show at the Little Art Theatre’s fifth and final horror marathon. You don’t need to license the rights to show trailers the way you do with movies themselves, so I do this each year by scouring the internet, choosing trailers from our own collection, and Netflixing dozens of DVDs with trailers. Saturday I woke up in Dayton to the horrifying realization that the flash drive with those 50 trailers was sitting on my desk at home. I live in Atlanta.
In the five years I’ve organized this event, I’ve been tormented by sleepless nights contemplating any number of nightmare scenarios: Film prints not showing up. Blu-rays not working. No prizes for our costume contest or raffle. Or, perhaps the most common one, oversleeping — not having time to prepare, or perhaps missing the whole marathon altogether — an theater full of angry and confused patrons waiting for me. Now, in our final year, one of those horrid visions had come true.