Saturday, October 25, 2008
The AFI FEST organizers announced that DOUBT will premiere at the Festival’s Opening Night Gala presentation on Thursday, October 30th.
The screening is a much-anticipated event - especially in view of the fact AFI will unveil an unfinished cut of the film - when it is shown at the ArcLight's Cinerama Dome.
DOUBT is the tale of a nun who confronts a priest when she suspects him of abusing a black student, which he denies. It is a gripping story about the quest for truth, the forces of change, and the devastating consequences of blind justice in an age defined by moral conviction.
The AUDI sponsored presentation was directed by John Patrick Shanley which he adapted for the wide screen from his Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning play.
“The movie is still being finished, but we were so excited to show DOUBT and help our friends at AFI FEST and the American Film Institute at the same time. We couldn’t possibly pass up the opportunity,” said Miramax president Daniel Battsek.
Oscar-winner Meryl Streep stars with Philip Seymour Hoffman, Viola Davis, and Amy Adams.
Scott Rudin and Mark Roybal have producer credits on the project by Miramax Films due in theaters on December 12.
AFI FEST is an eleven-day annual event which features international films from emerging filmmakers, global showcases of the latest work from the great film masters, nightly special screenings and red-carpet gala premieres.
The 22nd edition of AFI FEST will run from October 30 - November 9, 2008, and feature 151 films from 38 countries, as well as panels, receptions and special events.
Each year, AFI FEST presents international competitions of features, documentaries and shorts, as well as regional showcases as part of its broader World Cinema section, as well.
Since 2000, AFI attendance has tripled to over 65,000, according to my sources at AFI.
In addition, the acquisition of feature films for global distribution has become routine during the high-energy action-packed event.
In 2007, over 600 press representatives secured accreditation to the Festival.
This year, AFI anticipate over 700 accredited press representatives from around the globe.
In addition to the GALA and premiere screening of DOUBT, other highlights of the Festival include a handful of Centerpiece Galas sprinkled throughout the Festival sure to be sold-out: CHE, (Stephen Soderbergh); THE WRESTLER (Darren Aronofsky); and LAST CHANCE HARVEY (Joel Hopkins).
There will also be tributes to Tilda Swinton and Danny Boyle; AFI Digital Content Lab's DIGIFEST (a showcase of digital prototypes); and glamorous premiere screenings attended by such artists as Dustin Hoffman, Emma Thompson, Benicio Del Toro, Rachel Weisz, Joaquin Phoenix, Edward Zwick, Mickey Rourke, and Marisa Tomei.
President Lyndon Johnson signed legislation in the Rose Garden at the White House in 1965 - and with that mighty stroke of the pen - created the prestigious National Endowment for the Arts.
On that auspicious occasion, he noted for the record:
"We will create an American Film Institute that will bring together leading artists of the film industry, outstanding educators, and young men and women who wish to pursue this 20th century art form as their life's work."
AFI's original 22-member Board of Trustees included Chair Gregory Peck, Vice Chair Sidney Poitier, Francis Ford Coppola, Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., Jack Valenti and other representatives from the arts and academia.
Under the leadership of AFI's founding director George Stevens, Jr., the institute established a training program for filmmakers known as the Center for Advanced Film Studies, where the first class included Terrence Malick, David Lynch and Paul Schrader.
A repertory film exhibition program at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and the AFI Catalog of Feature Films the definitive source for American film history were also created in the first five years.
Today, AFI is not only a National Institute that provides leadership in screen education, but a respected one that celebrates excellence in the art of film, television and digital media.
Under the leadership of Jean Picker Firstenberg (2nd AFI Director) the institute's eight-acre Hollywood campus was purchased and the film training program grew into the renowned AFI Conservatory and accredited graduate school.
In essence, AFI trains the next generation of filmmakers, maintains America's film heritage through the AFI Catalog of Feature Films, and explores new digital technologies in entertainment and education through the AFI Digital Content Lab and K-12 Screen Education Center.
The annual AFI AWARDS honor outstanding motion pictures and television programs annually.
In addition, the AFI's 100 Years series, brought extraordinary renewed public interest in classic American movies.
Today, AFI's Life Achievement Award is the highest honor bestowed on an artist in film.
Honorees over the past 35 years have included John Ford, James Cagney, Orson Welles, Bette Davis, Billy Wilder, Sidney Poitier, Steven Spielberg, Martin Scorsese, Robert De Niro, Meryl Streep, George Lucas and Al Pacino.
Now in its 40th year as a cultural force in America, the AFI Board named Bob Gazzale (a film historian and television producer) the institute's President and CEO in November 2007.
This past week, Roger Ebert posted a notice on his blog admitting that he did the unthinkable.
Allegedly he wrote a review of a film (Tru Loved) in spite of the fact he only took a peak at about eight minutes of the celluloid footage.
Yes, Ebert's attention span is short! (among other things)
The confession was enough to inspire a feature-length tirade by a staffer by the name of Patrick Goldstein at the Los Angeles Times, who asserted that Ebert's "blunder" would surely spell trouble for film critics.
For starters, Mr. Goldstein is a lousy critic.
On the occasion or two when I chose to struggle through one of his (um) critiques - it was obvious to my artistic sensibilities in about two seconds flat - that his pap not only underscored his lack of writing ability but his ignorance about film, too.
His chock-a-block phrases - and stilted way of expressing himself - signaled he was out to exalt himself (and his name and reputation) at the expense of whoever stood in the way.
For instance, in support of his ludicrous whining, he took a swipe at one of the reviewers in his own daily to elevate his status.
Here's what he had to say about fellow peer Kenneth Turnan.
"After reading Kenny Turnan's dismissal of "Quantum of Solace", one wonders whether Mr. Turan was dozing off during the film's breathtaking action sequences or simply walked out of the screening room after eight minutes, in emulation of Roger Ebert's rude dismissal of a movie earlier this year."
Goldstein is a back stabber, for sure!
True - it was wrong of Ebert to give the impression he caught the whole movie - simply from an ethical standpoint.
Also, patently unfair, when you consider that - bottom line - he didn't give the filmmakers two shakes in the final analysis.
Sometimes a film is a sleeper, starts slow, for instance.
On the other hand, if Mr. Ebert found it to be an impossible "yawn", he should have disclosed that in his review.
"Saw eight minutes of it. Hated it."
Occasionally, reviewers do face dilemmas.
But, a creative mind can fathom a way out of it.
For instance - this past week I caught sight of a couple of reviews on the new Madonna film - "Filth and Wisdom".
One critic hailed it as "naughty and nice".
I thought that Madonna deserved an advance write-up in view of the fact it was her first time out as a director, but since I hadn't screened the film, I could hardly plug it on that basis.
So, I put on my thinking cap!
I quoted a couple of the reviewers - pointed out how promotional blurbs were touting the sexy romp - and made mention of the fact I would attend a screening in the near future.
I remained honest and Madonna got a plug.
Earlier this year - due to a scheduling conflict - I was unable to attend the feature - "Memorial Day" - at a festival in the desert.
Since patrons walked out of the screening outraged - I thought the festival offering should be given some coverage - if only to warn audiences.
So, I interviewed an actress in the movie - in addition to - a handful of theatregoers who attended the premiere.
Hence, I was able to craft an article about the controversy.
In that instance - because of the way I broached the sticky problem - there was no dishonesty whatsoever.
But, getting back to Ebert.
For the most part, I find him to be a competent reliable critic.
On occasion, if he is passionate about a particular actor - or a project - he may be unduly influenced and go overboard.
Just maybe, the rotund little fella will end up with a stick up his butt, too.
In that instance, his opinion can not be trusted.
A few months ago I caught "Beyond the Valley of the Dolls" at one of the local film houses.
Mr. Ebert was given a writing credit on that project.
What a disaster!
I could forgive Ebert for penning such a convoluted piece of trash - which didn't make any sense on any artistic level - in view of the fact the script was written about thirty years ago when he was starting out in a fledgling career.
Go figure - when the film screened at the min-fest - Ebert took the nod as a "sign" from the movie "Gods" (I surmise) that "Beyond" was on its way to cult status.
In fact, on the eve of the screening, he had the audacity to whiz off a telegram to the Festival Director in charge of the proceedings (to be read to the audience that night) in which he lamented that "Beyond" never received its due originally.
Maybe now, he added with gusto, the film would start screening at midnight screenings alongside classics like the Rocky Horror Picture Show.
Well, I laughed!
It was bad enough that Ebert penned such an awful piece of trash - but worse still - to learn that he hasn't wised up to the fact "Beyond" was (and is) a stinker of high order.
What do they say?
Those who can't do, critique?
As to Mr. Goldstein, he should go write copy for brochures or flyers for garage sales.
After all, his contribution to the realm of cinema, is zip!
Friday, October 24, 2008
When I penned a post on Ernest Hemingway (after a vacation to Key West) it remained untouched for months on the blog.
(September 10 /2007)
However, many web surfers cruised to the post and sent kudos via e-mail - and quite generally - thanked me for the historical information on the literary giant's home in Florida.
In particular, readers were fascinated by the special Hemingway cats born with an extra paw, which are still bred on the property, today.
I was quite startled to check the post a few minutes ago and find that an unknown intruder - obviously with a great sense of humor - added a comment to the post without my knowledge!
Originally, the top of the fence where the cat sat, did not have any wording.
Sometime in the past few months, when my thoughts were turned elsewhere, the clever person added the phrase you see above:
"Thank you. Purr - fect Fence for our freedom to roam"
What a hoot!
It was such a pleasant surprise to stumble on, I shall let it remain!
Cheers to the clandestine artist!
Thursday, October 23, 2008
Antony Tudor revolutionized ballet through his innate ability to reveal authentic human emotions with extraordinary subtlety, according to one critic.
But, a writer at the Village Voice noted that Tudor's work is often overlooked, today.
"Tudor is neglected because he doesn't suit the dominant taste of our time, for grand-scale extravaganza, which degenerates all too easily into flash and trash. Having wrested a uniquely expressive language from ballet's traditional abstract vocabulary, he offers instead a piercing view of human psychology and a profound sympathy for the workings of the more-often-than-not defeated heart."
For many - the gifted visionary managed to skillfully toss out all the decorative excess without any dramatic value - and turn out stellar pieces that were frightfully honest for their day.
The genius of Tudor is still relevant today, some assail.
The American Ballet Theatre is celebrating the 100th Anniversary of Tudor’s birth with a season-long retrospective of his ballets in honor of what would be his 100th birthday.
At the Civic Center, through Nov. 2, the ABT performs Continuo, Jardin aux Lilas (Lilac Garden), Pillar of Fire, Judgment of Paris, The Leaves Are Fading, and the bedroom pas de deux from the rarely performed Romeo and Juliet.
"The Leaves Are Fading", was crafted for ABT in 1975, and is considered to be one of Tudor's greatest masterpieces.
In sum, it is a captivating romantic series of reflections on aspects of love.
"Judgment of Paris" - on the other hand - reveals Tudor’s delightfully wicked wit.
A vital all-Tudor program on October 31, includes the aforementioned pieces in tandem with another captivating Ballet favorite, Continuo.
McKenzie, Artistic Director for the ABT, underscored the significance of the work.
"Until Jardin aux Lilas, his breakthrough piece, ballets were all about fairies and Wilis and swans. Ballets weren’t about real people—but anyone can identify with the people in Jardin. Pillar of Fire, with its themes of redemption and unrequited love, is so poignant and relevant today. It’s what half the population carries around inside but won’t talk about. The universality of his works keeps them relevant. Anyone walking around on the earth can relate.”
Although known for his dry humor - which often flared up during rehearsals - the dancers were not led into a false sense of security, because of it.
After all, the choreographer was a relentless taskmaster.
For example, gesture and character details were not only of the utmost importance to the man, but a "character's" internal motivations, as well.
One dancer was inclined to reflect, "his priorities seemed rooted above all in physical approach and energy, in the dancers' complete physical immersion in the movement, in their attention to every nuance of his kinetic expression."
Striving for an internalization of the texts and subtexts, Tudor’s methods - likewise - encouraged dancers to gain a perspective that would apply across the entire ballet floor.
“He taught me to go deeper into a ballet,” Amanda McKerrow said.
“Even when you make progress, you still aren’t as far as you ultimately can go. I applied that to everything I did. That’s definitely a challenge, but the end result is so much more gratifying, certainly to a performer and, I hope, to the audience.”
In its very first season in 1940, the American Ballet Theatre brought Antony Tudor over from Great Britain to stage the U.S. premieres of three of his ballets: Dark Elegies, Jardin aux Lilas, and Judgment of Paris.
Later, Tudor basically ended up the Ballet Theatre’s choreographer-in-residence during its early years. As a result, his ballets - at once subtly understated and vividly theatrical - helped shape the company’s profile as a serious cultural enterprise.
Tudor went on to become a major player as a faculty member at the Metropolitan Opera Ballet School and also taught up-and-coming dancers at the Juilliard School.
Although he created acclaimed works for several distinguished troupes, his relationship with American Ballet Theatre won out - at which point - he was appointed the company’s associate director in 1974 and its choreographer emeritus in 1980.
Every program during the ABT's fall season at City Center includes at least one Tudor work.
Therefore, it appears appropriate that the Tudor Centennial Celebration, has chosen to showcase ballets created and performed throughout the choreographer’s career.
The retrospective features appearances by special guests, as well as film excerpts of Tudor at work with the dancers in the rehearsal hall and on stage.
Since a ballet is a living piece of art on stage - the essence of it's spirit passed down from person to person - the company rustled up two former dancers who worked with Tudor to assist with the Centennial Celebration.
Amanda McKerrow (aforementioned) and John Gardner, for instance, are two celebrated dancers who racked up strong credits at the ABT.
McKerrow has run the repertoire as a Principal Dancer while Gardner (her husband) danced a broad range of roles as a versatile Soloist.
McKerrow and Gardner are both highly-respected teachers and coaches in the field of Ballet, as well.
“Antony Tudor got me into American Ballet Theatre,” Gardner recalled.
“He saw me in an open class when I was a teenager, and he took me to meet Lucia Chase [ABT’s co-founder and director for many years]. I signed a contract to join the company right that day, and I worked with Mr. Tudor as soon as I joined the company in 1978. I had seen The Leaves Are Fading when I was about 15 years old, and thought it was a beautiful ballet even as a youngster. So it was a thrill to dance for him in one of his last ballets, Tiller in the Fields.”
“Over the years,” Gardner reflected, “I’ve realized that these ballets get to the guts of what’s really timeless. They are about the truth that we all share as human beings. Those are deep truths, and not always the good things about people."
All agree that Tudor’s work poses substantial challenges for dancers.
“There was a real learning process,” Gardner recalls, “because he had a much more thoughtful way of working than any of us had encountered before. He taught you to go a lot deeper into the work— and into yourself. I had never been challenged that way. But from the very first day of rehearsal with him, I became much more of a thinking person.”
Tudor was notorious for being meticulous - and subsequently - didn’t let social graces get in the way of achieving the choreographic and dramatic results he strove for, either.
“I’ll be honest,” says Amanda McKerrow, “I was really scared before my first rehearsal with him, which was during my first week with ABT. I tried to hide in the back, but he wouldn’t let you do that. He expected more than 100 percent commitment because that’s what he was bringing. There was a purpose behind his methods: that you understand yourself a little better.”
ABT Artistic Director Kevin McKenzie sang Tudor's praises as well - noting for instance - that his ballets impacted his own work greatly.
"The lesson I carried away from him as an artist, and later as a director, is very important: that the audience believes you.”
Tudor ballet dancers were defined by a unique movement language.
Throughout the next year, dance audiences will enjoy expanded opportunities to interpret this language as part of Tudor's centennial celebration festivities, in New York City.
Born William Cook, Tudor was a commoner who started studying ballet as a young adult.
In 1940, Tudor sets his sights on New York, where he promptly joined the newly created Ballet Theatre after arriving enthusiastically on these shores.
Almost immediately, his distinctive style was recognized by his peers, and his career was launched.
He continued to work at what became American Ballet Theatre until his death in 1987.
A critic at the Hollywood Reporter hailed - "Filth and Wisdom" - as a foray into "madcap raunchiness".
"Makes a handlebar moustache sexy," a writer at Variety chirped.
With Madonna at the helm in her directorial debut, 'twas expected.
According to the producers - "Filth" - is a hilariously sexy tale of three roommates who must delve into mischievous and naughty behavior in order to pursue bigger and brighter futures.
A Ukrainian immigrant, A.K. (Eugene Hutz) finances his dreams for megastardom by turning tricks as a role-playing cross-dresser.
His specialty is spanking naughty but nice men.
The neo-Nazi performance artist whips the privileged of London into a frenzy as he secretly pines for the object of his affection.
Holly (Holly Weston) is an aspiring ballerina looking for her big break while moonlighting as a pole-vaulting stripper.
In an odd-ball subplot - Juliette (Vicky Mclure) - scoffs drugs from her pharmaceutical job to launch her fuzzy dream to help Africa's youth.
The press packet was quite a teaser.
"The Feature "Filth and Wisdom" is every bit as erotic and playful - as it is poignant and touching - revealing the universal struggles we all face in our pursuits of happiness."
Well, until I slip into the theatre incognito to give "Filth" a gander, I'll hold back on any guffaws or cynicism.
In this instance, the road to hell, is paved with good intentions.
On Sunday morning I was flipping through the pages of the weekend edition of the Los Angeles Times, when I stumbled across a full page ad featuring a sketch of Christ with a crown of thorns on his head.
I was greatly offended to find that the image was being used as a political ploy to urge the residents of the State of California to Vote "yes" on Proposition 8.
For starters, I find the use of Christ's image for such a cause, outrageous.
In the ad - the tired old perpetrators of the sleazy propaganda tool - referred to the oft-quoted Biblical Verse (!) at Leviticus 20:13.
"If a man lies down with a male as he lies down with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination."
I have it on high authority that those are "not" God's words!
That verse - and others - were penned by Church Officials centuries ago with a secret agenda in mind.
Notwithstanding, I also find it very telling that the individual(s) who financed this dubious campaign smut attack, were inclined to keep a low profile on their own nefarious backgrounds.
At the bottom of the blurb (rude burp?) it simply noted the ad was paid for by one S.R. Grubb.
A search of the Internet revealed that the Grubbs - in spite of who they think they may be - are a curious lot of questionable and dubious origins!
The overriding verse that all Christians should pay heed to is the one in which the Lord notes that when he calls on someone, he accepts them as "they are".
Specifically, the scriptures state that when the call has come, the Lord does not require that a person marry (if they are single), or divorce (if they are married); in fact, they are not required to "change", at all.
In essence, the Lord accepts the individual "as they are".
The rest of the hateful crap - that the Evangelicals and the Religious fundamentalists are trying to shove down everyone's throat - is a bunch of misguided "Satanic" nonsense.
By the way, have a great day!
Last night I was trekking down a side alley heading home just after nightfall when a SUV unexpectedly backed in from the street oblivious to me.
I side-stepped the vehicle just in the nick of time - and waited patiently to one side - for the driver to either continue backing down the lane or surge forward into the street after another automobile passed.
The vehicle just sat there - so I was forced to step around it - and venture on to my destination as best I could in spite of the glaring obstacle in my path.
As I maneuvered my way to the front of the vehicle I spied the driver - a woman - applying lipstick in a small pocket-size mirror in the mostly dark interior.
Ah, the female sex. A rare breed, aren't they?
The incident got me to thinking about a screaming headline I caught on the Internet, just before logging off.
Another Palin scandal, of course!
Word leaked out yesterday that the Republicans tossed a staggering $150,000 into a special wardrobe kitty - so that the VP hopeful (and husband Tom and the kiddies) - could wrap their fresh-from-the frozen north bods in designer duds with the specific aim of wowing America with their stately presences.
Golly, am I missing something here?
In defense of the outrageous shopping spree - at the expense of the Republican party - McCain supporter Christy Harbor of Omaha asserted the splurge on high-end fashions was necessary.
"If she had worn crappy clothes, then everyone would have made fun of her."
Gosh, I thought stumping on the campaign trail was about values - not appearances - honey!
Notwithstanding, clothes do not "make" the woman.
Although the Republicans would have you believe they're in touch with the common "Joe", their actions reflect a different reality.
Indeed, the whole vulgar scenario amounts to a slap in the face to most Americans, in view of the financial hardships that have been foisted on them in recent days with the banks and stock markets failing.
It's a sad commentary on the likes of McCain and Palin, too.
What was it that Marie Antoinette cried out just before they cut off her head?
"Let them eat cake."
Yes, history repeats itself.
Vulgar indulgence not in Vogue, Sarah...
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
LACMA will unveil an installation of Vanity Fair Portraits (1913-2008) in what promises to be the first major exploratory exhibition to meld together the magazine's historic archive of rare vintage prints with its tantalizing collection of contemporary photographs from leading media artists of the day.
The exhibition runs October 26th through March 1st at the 2009 Hammer Building.
According to the curators, the insightful foray explores the myriad ways in which photography and celebrity have interacted and transformed each other in an almost mystical way.
The landmark exhibition at LACMA will feature portraits published during an earlier period between 1913 thru 1936 - and in conjunction with - a select few pieces from a later more contemporary time frame at Vanity Fair 1983 to the present day.
The Los Angeles presentation, which is sponsored by Burberry, will be the only U.S. stop on an international tour.
Photographers in the much-anticipated exhibition include Cecil Beaton, Harry Benson, Julian Broad, Imogen Cunningham, Annie Leibovitz, Man Ray, Steven Meisel, Helmut Newton, Herb Ritts, Edward Steichen, Mario Testino, and Bruce Weber.
Stills posted here are representative of the work of a handful of artists in the stellar show.
A collaboration between Vanity Fair and the National Portrait Gallery
What a romantic (heavenly) notion!
Sip a cocktail under a full moon on a wide-open adventurous sea surrounded by a bevy of your favorite male soap opera hunks!
I guess I was slow on the uptake.
If it weren’t for a soapie (fan) penning a comment today on a post for daytime TV's - General Hospital - I would have been in the dark about a celebrity-studded “Soap Opera Cruise” that’s fast becoming a big hit around the sudsy circuit!
Although I missed the first get-a-way last year into the exotic realms of soapdom, a 2nd cruise is planned for January.
Already, they are booked to near capacity.
Only twenty cabins remaining!
Last year’s Soap Cruise was so successful that it has become the most anticipated interactive celebrity event of the season.
Celebrity Cruises hopped on board this year to steer the hot! extravaganza! in the right direction which heads out to the sea on Thursday, January 22nd (2009).
The cruise departs from Miami on kick-off day with stops in Key West and Cozumel ( Mexico).
Cameron Mathison hosts once again.
Here is a quick boo at some of the online shenanigans scheduled to unfold on the high-seas voyage.
Guests will savor heart-pounding opportunities to mingle with soap stars from Days of Our Lives, All My Children, The Young & Restless, General Hospital, As the World Turns, Guiding Light, One Life to Live and The Bold and the Beautiful.
The interaction starts at the get-go before the ship leaves port.
Lucky cruisers going Bon Voyage this year - will be welcomed aboard by a handful of the most notable daytime celebs on television - for sure.
The scintillating festivities include:
- Meet and greet sessions (autographs)
- photo ops with soap stars
- mix and mingle Cocktail Parties
- Soap Trivia Game exploits
- Acting out segments with stars in tailor-made scripts
- Thursday, Jan. 22nd - Departs Miami 5:00 pm
- Friday, Jan. 23rd - Arrives in Key West at 7:00 am departs at 2:00 pm
- Saturday, Jan. 24th - Arrives Cozumel at 11:00 am departs at 8:00 pm
- Sunday, Jan. 25th - Day at sea
- Monday, Jan. 26th - Arrives in Miami at 7:00 am
One of the cruiseliner’s new attractions is a specialty restaurant featuring a heart of glass.
The “Murano” - situated in the center of the ship - sparkles with magnificent chandeliers in exquisite hand-crafted glass.
The eatery is named after an island off Murano near Venice (Italy, not California, silly) where glass-blowing has been a fine art and tradition since the 13th century.
The "Century’s" dramatic two-level “Grand Restaurant” has been entirely refurbished and retains the glamour and sophistication that made it popular prior to the revitalization.
The high-quality service has won extensive praise each year under the deft direction of the Celebrity Cruiseline's culinary team.
Among the many other dining options onboard Century is a 76-seat Sushi Bar set in a casual Asian atmosphere among a collection of thematic artifacts and fine artwork.
Century’s Ocean Grill, on the other hand, offers an alternative dining area with an upscale ambience where guests can select cuisine ranging from steaks, chops, salads, antipastos and desserts from a fixed menu.
Guests will find fresh made-to-order omelettes and crepes each morning opposite the Ocean Grill and an endless array of pizzas and made-to-order pastas every afternoon and evening in the same location.
For the sweet tooth in everyone, just around the corner, there is a station offering a tantalizing array of homemade ice creams and sorbets.
Pairing refreshing sea air with panoramic views, "Century’s" outdoor Sunset Bar features a full-service bar where guests can enjoy an assortment of fresh tapas and appetizers with cocktails and other beverages.
A Celebrity favorite across the fleet (Cova Café ) is the seagoing version of the stylish coffeehouse in the fashion district of Milan.
The Cafe offers up fresh pastries and cookies to complement its coffees, teas, and other beverages every day. At night, the space transforms into a romantic lamp-lit wine bar with live music.
Exercise in the award-winning AquaSpa onboard "Century" which now features a reception area with the spotlight on a 42-inch LCD TV highlighting spa services; 10 new sea-view treatment rooms; new locker rooms with lounge seating; a beauty salon with enhanced manicure and pedicure bars; a dedicated teeth-whitening station; a Persian Garden with Turkish steam room; three tropical showers; both infrared and Finnish saunas; Celebrity’s first barber shop, and a 54-set Spa Café serving light and healthy cuisine for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Adjacent to the AquaSpa, Celebrity’s Acupuncture at Sea (the only such program in the cruise industry) offers guests acupuncture treatments, therapies and enrichment lectures by licensed doctors of Oriental Medicine.
The fitness center within the AquaSpa area features top-of-the-line equipment throughout, including treadmills and cardio machines with personal LCD TVs, and a variety of strength-training equipment.
"Celebrity" also offers computer training courses ranging from basic program use to web site creation to digital photography within a dedicated space.
An art gallery joins a new array of trendy boutiques in “The Boulevard”.
Here, art connoisseurs have opportunity to purchase one-of-a-kind works, while avid shoppers will find designer beauty products, fashions, leather goods, premium gifts, rare gems, designer accessories, watches and sunglasses within easy buying reach.
“Cool” Clubs and Lounges
Century boasts the first “ice bar” concept at sea within its Martini Bar, which boasts a liquid wall that freezes to form a sparkling crystalline appearance and a bar counter that freezes into ice-cold stone.
A block of ice creatively displays liquor behind the bar but has a practical purpose.
It’s an ultra “cool” way to serve Celebrity’s menu of 30 versions of martinis.
Other newly refurbished cocktail bars include the Crystal Lounge, Michael’s Club jazz/piano bar, Rendezvous Lounge, and the Hemispheres observation lounge and disco.
“X-Treme” is a Teen Travelers lounge installed with a video arcade to help wile the hours away.
The dedicated space includes a dance floor, juice bar, jukebox, and karaoke stage, along with computers offering Internet access.
Stylish Staterooms and Suites features new premium mattresses, 100 percent Egyptian cotton linens, duvets, Euro pillows, colorful bed throws and pillow shams.
Every ocean-view and inside stateroom onboard Century is equipped with new flat-screen TVs, wireless Internet access, new carpet, textiles, windows, lighting fixtures, and art.
The bathrooms have new vanities and enhanced lighting, stylish surface-mounted sink basins and fixtures, curved-rod shower curtains, and renewed architectural surfaces.
Century’s suites were upgraded with new carpeting, wall coverings, windows, textiles, and designer light fixtures. Each is equipped with new phones, 26-inch LCD TVs, DVD players, wireless Internet access, new accessories, and new veranda furniture.
There will be a multitude of shore excursions to savor on this Celebrity Cruise.
In the alternative, the discerning guest may choose instead to remain on-board and pamper themselves in the soothing day spa, invigorating fitness center, or cool refreshing pool.
Whether a guest meets and greets a soap star - or simply partakes in an interactive entertainment game in one of the specialty event rooms - the experience is sure to be an entertaining one.
Sign up now, pack your bags, and head off on what is sure to be a dazzling memorable cruise!
Halloween Youth Carnival...Kids costume prizes, Moon bounces, and game booths. West Hollywood Park! Oct. 25th
If you're looking for a light-hearted spooky Halloween party for the tots, then the Carnival this weekend at West Hollywood park (October 25th) may be the fabulous high-spirited event you've been seeking.
The sponsors are providing a tamer version of the infamous Halloween Carnival on the 31st that attracts thousands of curious onlookers to the wild festive costume party amid a great media blitz.
Highlights include a costume contest, carnival rides, game booths, entertainment, moon bounces, candy, and prizes.
In these tough economic times, it appeals to the pocketbook, too.
West Hollywood Park
647 N. San Vicente Blvd
West Hollywood (CA)
(6pm - 9:30pm)
HUNCHBACK...Halloween Production at The New York Theatre for Kids & Families! Puppetry, masks & treats...
There's a great Halloween show being presented at the New York Theatre for Kids & Families October 24th through November 9th.
The award-winning Redmoon Theatre's visually-stunning HUNCHBACK is both a gripping and at times comic stage adaptation of the classic Victor Hugo Novel, according to critics.
With Hugo himself as your guide, wander through the crooked cobblestone streets of medieval Paris and follow the story of a beautiful Gypsy dancer, a grand cathedral and a courageous heart.
With striking puppetry, exquisite masks, dramatic music and fearless physicality, Redmoon's intricate production spins Quasimodo, La Esmeralda and Claude Frollo off the page and into thrilling, three-dimensional life.
Producers note the stage production is best suited for all children eight years and up.
(Price Range $10 - $28)
Save 20% with Code: NYTH800
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
Hillary is sending out missives again across the Internet via e-mail.
Under the auspices of HILLPAC - Hillary is the Honorary Chair - the aggressive former Vice Presidential Candidate is urging that voters focus on "sixty" as a magic number in the next two weeks.
In her own words, this is what Hillary had to say:
If we reach 60 Democrats in the Senate, then the days of Republican obstruction are over. With Barack Obama and Joe Biden in the White House and a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate, there's nothing we can't accomplish.
But we can't reach 60 if these three Democrats don't win their extraordinarily close races: Mark Begich up in Alaska, Jeff Merkley in Oregon, and Mark Udall in Colorado.
I need these three Democrats working side-by-side with me on the Senate floor to accomplish the goals you and I set out - rebuilding a strong middle class, health care for every American, and ending the war in Iraq.
Barack Obama needs their help to reach a filibuster-proof majority that will end GOP obstruction once and for all.
Feeling the pressure with only two weeks before Election Day, Republicans have stepped up their attacks against Democrats. They're putting everything they have into these races, and our candidates need to match their efforts dollar-for-dollar.
They're tight races where the polls have them tied or within striking distance, and your decision to support them right now could make the difference on Election Day.
Join me today and help Mark, Jeff, and Mark win.
Mark Udall has been a leader on clean energy issues in Congress and is running a great race for an open seat in Colorado -- now held by a Republican.
Jeff Merkley in Oregon is the son of a sawmill worker who was the first member of his family to attend college. He's running against the entrenched incumbent Gordon Smith, and now his race is right on the knife's edge.
Mark Begich is a lifelong Alaskan - he's the first mayor of Anchorage actually born in the city. He's is working hard to unseat Ted Stevens, who is facing corruption charges back in his home state.
These three great Democrats are all within striking distance of victory.
With just two weeks to go, now is the critical moment in their races. If you contribute to their campaigns today, you could be making the difference that gets us to that magic number of 60 votes in the Senate.
As we're celebrating a new direction for our country on November 5, with a Democratic President and a filibuster-proof Democratic Senate, you'll be so proud to know that you helped to make the difference.
Thank you so much for your hard work - we are almost there!