Saturday, November 8, 2008
AFI Fest...Matthew Modine appears in Black Leather at premiere! Danny Boyle & Simon Beaufoy articulate ideas! Game on Columbine angers press!
Matthew Modine strode onto the carpet in a black leather jacket, Danny Boyle appeared for all-the-world like a mischievous wizard, and "Full Monty" screenwriter Simon Beaufoy was surprisingly down-to-earth.
Amid the dizzying red carpet glitz, security was tight, the press was antsy, and AFI Staff bent over backwards to please their honored guests.
Bright and early this morning, I am still a little overwhelmed by all the tantalizing events that unfolded before me at the Cinerama Dome last night.
In sum, AFI fulfilled its mission this year, in my estimation.
After all, the eleven-day Festival (to wind down November 9th) provided a forum for - an exchange of ideas, insightful forays into the creative mind, a perch for a smattering of showbiz luminaries to alight and share their visions, and - last but not least - thought-provoking topics to mull over.
For starters, I was particularly thrown a little by Mr. Modine when he sauntered into the room a bit cautious - but confident - none the less.
His fashion choice - a black leather jacket matched up with sexy tight-fitting jeans - jarred the sensibilities a bit.
When I took a poll around the AFI party-scene after the carpet event - many (who weren't at the premiere) - painted a portrait of Modine similar to the one oft-seen onscreen: middle-American, white-bread boy, squeaky clean.
So, when the strapping 6' 2 (plus?) actor sauntered over to have a one-on-one, I seriously had to wonder, who exactly was Matthew Modine?
A couple of my personal questions (are you content right now?) elicited an intriguing response.
"Such personal questions," he mused, a bit hesitantly.
I noted that if he preferred not to go there, that was OK.
On the heels of this comment, after the first bit of posturing between us, the magic door opened wide.
Suddenly, he relaxed.
Undoubtedly, there's a lot of soul to the man, submerged beneath a calm surface.
Still waters run deep?
Although he generally doesn't discuss the premise of a film beforehand, he gave me a scoop on "I Think I Thought".
The fictional tale is about a man - people assert - "thinks too much".
So, to appease his accusers, he seeks out "Thinkers Anonymous" to get a grip on the dilemma.
A couple of comments about the project prompted me to ask if this was a take-off on Orwell's 1984 (controlled societies) or a concept about "thought" Police.
At this juncture, the floodgates opened and his thoughts spilled out.
"Are we headed in that direction," I started to ask.
"Well - "
The look on his face spoke volumes.
"You think we're there already," I quizzed.
"Sure. This past eight years of the Bush Administration was bad. Rights were violated and the U.S. Constitution was trampled on."
Of course, he was referring to powers of the FBI that were extended in one fell swoop - and in the aftermath - the intelligence agency's alleged involvement in wrongful conduct.
What many perceived as illegal wiretaps, for instance, and a government philosophy that smacked-of and turned-on the unjust concept of "guilty" until proven innocent.
Un-American, from the get-go.
Should be an intriguing film!
On the other hand, Danny Boyle struck me as a sort-of whimsical "wizard", what with the granny-style specs, greying hair, and character-driven face.
Tell me about "Sunshine".
He appeared to be flattered that I mentioned a film that was obviously very special to him.
"The idea of space. It intrigued me."
He asserted that every director should have a project like "Sunshine".
"Once they get it out of their system, they'll move on."
"Sunshine" review: Post 11/01/07
The new film - "Slumdog Millionaire" - came by way of a script submission out-of-the-blue.
Essentially, the fictional tale is about a game-show winner who is accused of committing fraud.
"It was fascinating subject for me. With a great script by Simon Beaufoy."
Actors, take note.
Mr. Boyle is open to using "fresh" faces whenever the opportunity arises.
"A Quiet Little Marriage" also premiered last night.
Essentially the story focuses on a young married couple and a drama which unfolds when the young woman expresses her desire to start a family.
The director - shy, but very real - apparently worked closely with the actors to develop their characters.
I pointed out to Mo Perkins that there were a slew of films at the festival which threw the spotlight on a myriad of far-reaching topics.
Why, then, did Perkins choose old-familiar territory on the subject of marriage?
Did the insightful director feel she could cover new ground somehow?
"Relationships are important to me. It was a good script in that respect."
Who knows, maybe the subject matter is timely - in view of the fact the issue of "Gay Marriage" - is now gearing up to go forward in the courts in the wake of the passing of Proposition 8 in California in the past election.
The two stars (Cy Carter as Dax and Mary Elizabeth Ellis as Olive) - who played the married couple - were gorgeous!
The actor, reminded many of Christopher Atkens (Blue Lagoon) when he was younger.
I expect exposure in this film may catapult his career into lofty realms as a romantic leading man.
The fan magazines will be buzzing, no doubt.
Simon Beaufoy - who wrote the English feature - Full Monty (directed by Peter Cattaneo) - was a surprisingly down-to-earth when he glided up.
My jaw dropped when he stated - matter-of-fact - that he didn't make films to rustle up "money".
I noted I was a big fan of "Monty" and that I recalled the initial reaction to the sensational strip scene.
Although I thought the titillating reveal was all about selling tickets and stirring up controversy, Beaufoy assured me that wasn't his intention.
"It was all about humiliation. It was a metaphor."
In contrast, the scene was a liberating one, to me.
In that project, he chose to go under the radar in his choice of actors.
"I'm inclined to go that way when necessary. A less-recognizable face is sometimes more appropriate in a particular circumstance."
Tonight, the effervescent screenwriter was in attendance to take in the premiere of - "Slumdog Millionaire" - a project he penned the script for.
Anil Kapoor - a Bollywood star - was also on hand to chat up his current feature-film release, "Slumdog Millionaire" (Danny Boyle).
A separate post on that interview will publish in a day or two since the whole topic of "Bollywood" warrants a separate piece on that film phenomenon.
Some of the press folks on hand were angered by the appearance of one director - Danny Ledonne - and refused to interview him about his project, Playing Columbine.
Playing Columbine is being promoted as a video game that allows players to reenact the Columbine massacre.
One newsie from a local TV Station angrily noted in an aside to me:
"I won't give him any publicity for that."
Like the 9/11 tragedy, many feel Columbine should remain on sacred ground, not to be tampered with, exploited, or made light of.
I pointed out the controversy to the young director, and he argued that maybe we - as a society - need to "go there".
"The purpose of the Columbine project was to get people to talk about subjects they normally wouldn't."
But, as I emphatically put forward to him, the word "game" tends to suggest a leisure activity, something that is "playful", and not to be taken seriously.
That's why people are upset.
This was a tragedy. Turning it into a game - to many - is not only shocking but sick.
I pointed out that I would double-check the dictionary definition of the word "game" before I wrote this piece to determine if there was any validity to his bold-faced arguments.
As expected, one dictionary referred to a game as:
"An amusement or pastime, as in children's games."
Was Columbine about killing for sport or amusement?
Or, simply the twisted actions of a demented person?
A second definition defined game as a competitive activity involving skill, chance, or endurance on the part of two persons who play according to a set of rules, usually for their own amusement or for that of the spectators.
Weren't the victims here just "picked off", and murdered in cold bold, without any set of rules that could have possibly changed the end scenario?
Was anyone at Columbine amused by the deadly game that unfolded that day on campus?
One reference noted that in a game, a number of points are required to win.
In this instant case, a body count would be required, right?
One analysis is intriguing, though.
It described games as a pursuit, attack, or an abuse.
"The new boy at school was fair game for practical jokers," was cited as an example.
Were the victims at Columbine fair game by any stretch of the imagination?
After raising these points initially - the director emphasized that his film - "Playing Columbine" - was all about role-playing; video games, he asserted, focused on stealth play, stalking, and - yes - even murder.
Was he trying to say that these activities may have caused the murders in Columbine?
If so, surely there was a more respectful way to meet the challenge of expressing those thought-provoking ideas in a more meaningful constructive way.
"We'll all be role-playing one day," the computer whiz quipped.
Personally, I don't think so.
George Eliot once opined:
"Blessed is the man who, having nothing to stay, abstains from giving us worthy evidence of the fact."
In my opinion, people should articulate their rage.
Let's pray that "Playing Columbine" doesn't even go straight to DVD.
Friday, November 7, 2008
Well, it was a toss up.
Should I attend a screening of the Wrestler (Mickey Rourke) - and determine for myself if the Oscar-buzz rumors were true - or mix and mingle with filmmakers at the opening night soiree for the Danish Film Festival kicking off last night?
Fortunately, I chose the latter.
According to a couple of my press buddies - who schlepped over to Mann's Chinese for the premiere of Rourke's new release - the red carpet scene there was a collossal bore.
So-so, they shrugged!
Meanwhile, across the street in the Oscar Room amid the old-world charm of The Roosevelt Hotel, excited Danish filmmakers chatted each other up about the state of their film industry.
The Danes know how to toss a classy festive party!
Fine wine flowed freely, as the well-heeled guests feasted on a scrumptious assortment of quality imported cheeses, tasty crackers, and mouth-watering finger food.
Fortunately, Lene Pels JoRgensen - the Director/Creator of the Danish Film Fest - was on hand to enlighten me about the Danish offerings slated to screen over the next few days under the umbrella of the AFI Fest in Hollywood.
"There are quite a few collaborations now," she noted with a touch of pride in her voice. "Germany, Sweden - and other European countries - are co-producing features to be released on the world market."
Not surprisingly, the government provides financing for films - as they do in Canada, for instance - which often helps jump-start projects.
When I asked if there was a stipulation that projects be shot on Danish soil, Jorgensen was quick to respond.
"It depends on the specific project."
Danish filmmakers are going beyond their culture now in respect to subject matter, too.
"There is a push to produce International films that have widespread appeal in foreign markets."
I was curious if there was a star system there, like the one we have in the U.S.
"We have recognizable Danish actors. One was in a James Bond thriller."
At this point, she glanced around the room to take stock of the guests.
"Yes, a couple are here tonight," she assured me.
The Danish Film Festival is three years old and gathering steam.
"We're happy with the AFI Fest association."
According to festival organizers, there are many current trends in the Danish Film market that signal where the industry is going.
There is a focus on low-budget films, for instance.
While films with production budgets of around 2.5 million euros dominated in recent years, there is a tendency to be more prudent now.
"There is no money in medium-budget films. Films in the 2.5 million euros range have become too expensive to be innovative and too cheap to be unique. Consequently, our declared strategy now is either to make very inexpensive films or very expensive films," noted Peter Aalbaek Jensen, head of Zentropa.
Zentropa was founded in 1992 and has established itself far beyond the Danish borders. The company is known for edgy independent films by Lars von Trier and directors like Susanne Bier, Per Fly and Annette K. Olesen.
There stature in the industry is pretty solid, too.
Zentropa's films have won Golden Palm awards, the Silver Bear, and have represented Denmark at four Academy Award ceremonies.
Nordisk films acquired a 50% stake in Zentropa earlier this year; subsequently, that quick infusion of cash will not only help launch a handful of International productions, but create a Northern European "powerhouse" capable of attracting the strongest creative forces, industry-insiders opined.
To foster innovation in the Danish Cinema, the Festival has started up a pilot program to subsidize films with small budgets of no more than 10 million kroner (1.34 million euros).
"With Ra/Film, we hope to contribute some innovation in Danish cinema because such low budgets force filmmakers to take risks and basically demand a good story, since you can't just crank up the effects," DFI CEO Henrik Bo Nielsen said.
Ra/Film is wide open to genre.
It also doesn't matter if the artists are fresh out-of-the-gate or talented seasoned pros.
Innovative thinking is the key factor, one insider emphasized.
After years of niceties, Danish filmgoers are apparently looking for something raw and unglossed, my sources say.
Of course, Danish filmmakers (and funders) are quick on-the-uptake and intend to meet that demand.
For a list of films, and a brief rundown on screenings, check out the website.
Thursday, November 6, 2008
A blogger greatly flattered me today - when he posted a comment on one of my features - and proceeded to speculate that I was the new Mr. Blackwell!
The post - Fashion Faux Pas - provided tips on "Dressing Right".
The piece was lifted from one of my fashion columns from the daily newspaper - The Province (Southam News) - which I penned before I moved to California.
When the celebrated High Priest of good taste passed away to spirit recently - I intended to write up a career profile, but a flurry of activities and a hectic time schedule prevented me from carrying out the task - 'til now.
Actually, I met Mr. Blackwell at a printing outlet a few years ago, and found the man to be pleasant and outgoing.
Fortunately, he didn't level his pen at me that day!
Of course, Blackwell was infamous for his caustic wit - and one or two-line quips about celebs and their fashion choices - as they schlepped about to-and-fro in the scintillating backdrop known as Tinsel Town.
The Dixie Chicks inspired him to quip with a smirk:
"They look like a trio of truck stop fashion tragedies trapped in a typhoon."
His subjects ran the gamut - from Martha Stewart to Cher - and the "Queen" herself.
To his keen eye, Stewart was "dull, dowdy and devastatingly dreary".
"A million beads and and one overexposed derriere".
But, he was undoubtedly at his wicked best when he posed a question on the Queen's lack of apparent fashion taste.
"Was she the palace Christmas tree, or just a royal clown?”
His beginnings were humble.
For starters, Blackwell was born into the world under the unassuming name, Richard Sylvan Selzer.
The playground for his fantasies were grounded in the Besonhurst section of Brooklyn - and a far cry from the hallowed halls of high fashion - he would comfortably inhabit years later.
The fashion maven was of Jewish decent and grew up in a shabby tenement house.
In spite of the fact he only had a third grade education, he managed to rise up - and likewise - eventually float with ease through socially-elite circles where the idle rich played.
When the man known for his fashion flair began to form a fashion house featuring his original designs - like many in the field before him - he chose a suitable name for the occasion.
Mr. Blackwell was born.
To some, he was an important designer; to others - mediocre at best.
Blackwell was a great promoter, though - and maneuvered a handful of fashion coups early in his career - in spite of the creative handicap.
For instance, Blackwell was the first designer in history to present a line on a television broadcast - and also at the head of the line - when it came time to promote an affordable line of sensible clothing for plumpish women.
Undoubtedly, he was one of the first major fashion whirlwinds to command staggering prices for his creations which - on occasion - sold in the $800 to $1,000 range successfully.
Blackwell counted Yvonne DeCarlo, Jayne Mansfield, Dorothy Lamour, Jane Russell - and even red-dressed first lady Nancy Reagan - as loyal clients who touted his designs on the world stage.
Although he made fashion sense for the most part, there were occasions when he literally goofed!
A barb about Women's Wear Daily Publisher, John Fairchild, was probably one of the few jibes he'd like to recall after its impact was felt.
No doubt, it was a costly mistake to attack a major player in the industry on the publishing-promotion end.
Changing trends, and forward-thinking in fashion, squelched his high-fashion lines. After all, Americans were now heading into casual wear environs with a vengeance.
In what was a sort-of fluke, an industry-insider called him up one day and asked him to write an article on the 10 Best and Worst Dressed in the Nation.
The gimmick stuck.
However, it was the "Worst dressed list" which catapulted him into fame, though.
Witty, clever - and inclined towards a naughty turn-of-the-phrase - Blackwell's one-line quips about star "style" - or the lack thereof - ended up elevated him into untouchable status in the fashion stratosphere.
Oftentimes, his sly pokes not only put the spotlight on a flailing career, but helped jump-start it.
Maybe, that's why there weren't any vicious attacks back.
A case of - "wink wink" - eh?
Beyond the pale, there were also fashion pieces written in serious relevant tones.
Blackwell was syndicated in The Globe tabloid, for instance, and often wrote features which appeared in mainstream newspapers and lifestyle magazines that enjoyed widespread far-reaching appeal.
Blackwell lived in Hancock Park with his partner of 60 years.
In addition to his fashion empire, the man with the keen wit, was also an artist known for avant-garde renderings; in fact, several editions of his work were distributed, including a ever-popular "Mother America" series.
Mr. Blackwell suffered from Bell's palsy which causes limited to severe paralysis of facial muscles which often affects the eyesight as well.
In spite of the affliction, Blackwell often remained optimistic about life, until his death in Los Angeles on October 19 (2008) from an intestinal infection.
AFI FEST...Tilda Swinton causes sensation at career tribute! Kathleen Quinlan radiates at star-studded premiere...
Tilda Swinton strode in the door and a ripple of electricity streaked through the room, Kathleen Quinlan wowed the press with her beauty and grace, and the cast of Black & Sexy were a high-energy delight.
Yes, that was the excited battle cry last night, as the frenzied paparazzi lunged forward to nab their best shot of the "WOMAN" of the hour - Tilda Swinton - who was being honored by the AFI with a career tribute.
Of all the events this past week at the 11-day Fest, this was undoubtedly the highlight.
Shortly after Ms. Swinton alighted next to me to have a few words with a couple of gushing female reporters - it was evident within a few minutes - that Ms. Swinton was my kind of gal.
For instance, when one of the newsies asked Ms. Swinton who inspired her as an actress, she was quick on the uptake.
"Do you know Margaret Rutherford?" she quizzed the newsies almost reverently.
When their faces went blank, I was inclined to pipe in and lend a hand.
"Yes! Great English character actress," I noted with a Cheshire grin on my face.
Then, she surprised me again.
"Particularly, in the Ms. Marpole series."
Oh my God!
One of my favorite series - along with Hercule Poirot - of course!
A few minutes later, Ms. Swinton was standing before me, gazing deeply into my eyes.
"This woman is intense," I made a mental note to myself.
And there, before me, the depths of her soul sang out in beautiful harmony.
When I asked Ms. Swinton if it was difficult for her in the beginning of her career - what with her distinctive look 'n all - she reacted like a tightly-wound-spring that had just been released.
"They didn't know what to do with me," she fluttered, with a slightly exasperated tone in her voice.
After noting she obviously had to believe in herself, I asked if she was ever inclined to quit the business because of the frustration of dealing with casting's limited perceptions.
"I don't know that I've begun, yet."
I laughed out loud.
Tilda's quick, and bright, with a refreshing deadpan sense of humor.
Later, I was invited to the AFI Fest Tribute - a series of clips highlighting Ms. Swinton's remarkable career to date - and was astounded by the versatility of the woman on the silver screen.
A Festival organizer made a surprise announcement at this juncture.
"Tilda's new film - Julia - will be unveiled for you tonight as a special treat. It's a world premiere."
A review will follow on the new release and Ms. Swinton's remarkable performance in this dark, offbeat, transformative character piece.
Undoubtedly, this was her most challenging role to date.
And, she snagged it.
Kathleen Quinlan, who first broke onto the feature-film scene years ago in the thought-provoking - "I Never Promised You a Rose Garden" - was dazzling.
Ms. Quinlan wore a chocolate brown pant suit, punched up with a neckline trimmed in understated sprays of soft glitter, which caught the light now and then.
The understated choice was a classy outfit which suited her to a "T".
Hillary Clinton, take note!
What struck me most about the fifty-something woman (surely she's not older?) was her flawless skin. So much so, that I was inclined to ask her to share her beauty secrets with my readers.
"Leave your face alone. Don't touch it. Do Yoga."
For additional pointers - check out my blog post on "Faces at 50" - for tips on how to make your skin radiate like Ms. Quinlan's.
When I asked the enduring star which film was a highlight in her long-distinguished career, she was at a loss for words, though.
A true diplomat, she focused on her new film - POUNDCAKE - as the one she was quite proud of it.
It's about a couple going through a divorce - urged by family - to try to make the long-term union work.
"We live in a disposable society. If something doesn't work, get rid of it," she astutely noted to one reporter.
"That's our society. Why not try to salvage something for a change?"
The most rambunctious energy-charged entourage on carpet last night was the cast of "A Good Day to be Black & Sexy".
At one moment, I thought I'd suffer from a chronic case of sensory overload!
A few of the ladies wore elegant cocktail dresses - bolstered just-so with tasteful designer accessories such as - oversize hoop earrings, one-of-a-kind broaches, and flourishes here and there that individualized their looks. Heels tended to be on the dizzying high side, ladies.
The guys made me stand up and take notice, too!
"We want to have our own individual style. That says who we are."
T-shirts were spruced up with touches of glitter, etched with motifs, and often form-fitting.
"I work out. I want clothes that show-off my build."
When the director walked up and he was asked how he felt, he didn't hesitate to utter up a quip.
"After last night (the Obama win) it was a great day. We walked down the street and people moved aside. 'Cause we're in style now," Dennis Dortch responded.
The film was shot over an extended period for a couple of reasons - noted Producer Layla Sewell - who captivated me with her beaming outgoing personality.
There were location problems to deal with, cash-flow demands which needed to be met, that sort of thing.
A show-stopper was definitely Bai Ling who first broke into the spotlight in "Red Corner" playing opposite Richard Gere.
An exquisite dress - with a smattering of Art Deco leanings - exalted her lithe sensuous body and was crowned with a dramatic flat-pressed "do" sparked up with a tasteful headband and elegant bow.
The young "Dim Sum Funeral" star has an instinct for style and a flair for the dramatic.
"We shouldn't be slave to designers. They are here to serve us."
The cast of "DIM SUM" raved about their low-key Director - Anna Chi (Joy Luck Club) - who was on hand to take questions and share some of her noble thoughts.
To me, it appeared the talented auteur took a spiritual approach to her work, in view of the comments that the performers were offering up at the Cinerama Dome.
"It's all about respect," she asserted.
Ms. Chi loves to futz about in the kitchen, by the way. And, the charismatic woman, was quick to draw an analogy between the art of cooking and filmmaking.
"You gather up your ingredients. A bit of this, a bit of that. And, go from there."
The director of the animated feature - "A Day at the Beach" - noted that she was hopeful that "Sundance" might call.
To draw attention to her fictional work - which focuses on all aspects of "love" - her and the producer strode along the carpet with a sprightly-colored promo to tout the foreign production which boasts a score of tantalizing Brazilian music.
Another short film - "Two Owls in Love" - looks to be a clever creation which I intend to take in, if possible.
Check it, and all the other offerings out, at the AFI Fest site.
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
A few weeks ago, I penned a post on the heels of an e-mail a friend forwarded to me, in which the originator claimed to be Bill Cosby and a write-in candidate for the Presidential election.
In that cheeky post, Bill (?) recited his campaign promises.
After the post was published, it continued to receive quite a few hits as the campaign antics of - McCain, Obama, Biden, and Palin - played out around the country.
In fact, there was an ongoing controversy.
Was Bill Cosby going to be a sign-in candidate, for real?
Or, was it a hoax?
Well, I laughed-out-loud today, when a woman by the name of "Shannon" hastily noted on my blogsite that she did the dastardly deed.
I DID VOTE FOR BILL COSBY AND PROUD OF IT!!!
Post: http://www.julian1st.wordpress.com/ (11/05/08)
Do you suppose that when that vote was cast, John McCain began to have his first doubts?
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
Barack Obama...44th President of the U.S. Political rival John McCain concedes race in surprise end scenario!
Barack Obama is to become the 44th President of the U.S.
After suffering significant deadly blows shortly after the polls closed back East - which myself and others reported on throughout the evening - John McCain threw in the towel a few minutes ago and conceded the spirited race to his worthy opponent, Barack Obama.
Now, Barack stands before the Nation, ready to lead the U.S. to change.
Barack barrels ahead with a predicted Ohio win by major news outlets! Can McCain stop the run-away-train?
At approximately 7 o'clock (PST) Barack Obama allegedly took hold of the reins of the Presidential race with a landmark win in Ohio.
In sum, the Senator from Illinois appears to be trouncing his opponent, John McCain
Without doubt - the Ohio victory has blown open a trouble spot for McCain - and widened the gap in his bid for the Oval Office.
In an effort to support their theories that McCain may be on the edge of a major slide into oblivion - pundits have reached into the past and pointed to a reality that amounts to the writing on the wall.
No Republican has ever managed to seize the day without capturing the flag in Ohio.
Apparently, crowds are starting to take to the streets in some parts of the country to outwardly express their joy.
Just a few minutes ago, it was reported from reliable sources that Obama has won Wisconsin, New York, Michigan, Minnesota and Rhode Island.
McCain is loping behind with two new prizes: Wyoming, and Alabama.
Those in-the-know are predicting that it will be a swift kill for McCain in North Dakota - as he continues to keep his sights on Florida - a must-win state for the former military man.
News flashes continue!
With the polls closed back East, news agencies are now forging ahead with confident reports that Obama has now won nine states and the District of Columbia - signaling to American voters - that the candidate for "change" is surely building momentum.
On the heels of the upbeat news for the upstart candidate from Illinois, it is now being reported that McCain, however, has managed to anchor the Republican party in South Carolina, Oklahoma and Tennessee.
News flashes continue!
Although the night is young, as they say, two major networks are projecting that Obama will grab the brass ring in Pennsylvania with all electoral votes.
Without hestitation, though, Obama has been declared a surefire winner in New Hampshire.
On the other hand, the three majors - ABC, CBS, and FOX - are in accord with a victory for McCain in Arkansas.
News flashes continue!
Obama wins Vermont...while McCain is victorious in Kentucky! Women voting Barack's way & a sign of what's to come?
News reports are filtering in now.
Barack Obama has taken Vermont as the voting continues around the Nation.
Meanwhile, John McCain is all smiles with a victory in Kentucky.
Thus far, it appears that six out of ten women have been casting ballots Obama's way, according to reliable sources.
Will the trend continue where Obama has a strong foothold in key states?
Contrary to what voters were saying on record months ago, it appears that about half the caucasians counted so far, have been stumping in McCain's corner with a loud rallying cry.
An early tally on a Nationwide popular vote proved to be this-close with one percent of the ballots counted.
51% for Obama and 48% for McCain at last count.
Stay tuned for news flashes!
Two Thumbs up...it's a hit for someone!
Today, I started to notice that three of my posts - penned over the last couple of months - appear to be racking up hits.
Gee, I wonder why?
Two posts on Barack Obama - appear to be of particular interest to "some" net surfers - according to blog statistics.
My article on "Barack's whitewater-style scandal" is leading the pack.
The report takes an in-depth look at the unusual financing on Barack's Mansion in Chicago, Illinois. (Post Date: 07/09/08)
Another classic Obama post deals with the issue of gay marriage in California.
Will Barack encourage all his supporters to vote "No" on Proposition 8? (Post date: 10/10/08)
Surprisingly, the third post that intrigues a number of people on the Internet this afternoon - is one penned on the heels of an e-mail I received a few weeks ago - in which it was alleged that Bill Cosby intended to be a "sign-in" candidate in the Nov. 4th election.
(Post Date: 09/08/08)
So, are voters mulling over these posts - to fathom which way to vote, influence friends and family members in the polling booth today - or what?
Have a great day at the polls.
Sure, I'll vote for 'ya Bill...
AFI FEST...Joanna Cassidy at premiere of "SKIN". 2 Aussie Starlets steal show! Variety "finger food" scrumptious!...
Joanna Cassidy was poised as she ushered in "Skin" Director pal, Anthony Fabian; Mark Ruffolo delighted the paparazzi with his mugging and down-to-earth demeanour; and, a couple of young Aussie actresses literally stole the limelight with their sparkling personalities and individual fashion style on the red carpet.
Another night at AFI FEST.
And yes, there were startling surprises as usual.
When Ms. Cassidy was within shouting distance, I managed to coral her for a bit of chit-chat.
Many years ago - I worked with Ms. Cassidy on "Hollywood Wives" - the big splashy mini-series produced by Aaron Spelling (Jackie Collins sizzler).
At this juncture, the classy lady let down her guard a bit, and pointed out that Nolan Miller (who designed all the fabulous gowns she wore in the potboiler) used to reside in the corner house on her neighborhood street.
With a bit of a downcast look on her face, she expressed her sorrow about what happened to Mr. Miller.
Not one to toot her own horn, I pestered her a bit about upcoming projects.
There is one with the "Polish Boys", she said enthusiastically.
But - a project directed by Jada Pinket-Smith - was the one that got her revved up; at this point, she became quite animated as she went into detail about some of the intriguing plot twists.
Although complex and difficult subject matter, Joanna applauded Jada for taking the helm with such confidence and gusto, from the get-go.
Ms. Cassidy is such modest woman, too.
When a female reporter next to me gushed - "You're such an Icon" - she was inclined to declare it wasn't so!
Also, one of the highlights of on the carpet last night, occurred when two pretty ladies from the feature - Sleeper - strolled up to discuss their on-camera roles.
These Aussie actresses (Kym Jackson & Lauren Orrell) were put-together well!
One of the beauties wisely chose a vintage dress which was complimented by a distinctive "do" that suited her sweet porcelain face. The other high-energy actress looked smashing in a bright red gown with an eye-catching flourish of sequins at the bodice.
Their sparkling personalities were a breath of fresh air!
After speaking to director Jan Louter - next in line - I am now inclined to take in his new documentary feature film, "The Last Days of the Shishmaref".
The altruistic doc focuses on three families in an Eskimo village whose culture and overall security are threatened by the ongoing global warming crisis in Alaska.
Jan, an engaging articulate man, expressed his fear that if action wasn't taken to assist the villagers, the effect on their community would be devastating.
Anthony Fabian - who directed "SKIN" - informed me that the script for his project was quite problematic.
"It was four years in the making."
The fimmaker's lens focuses on Sandra - a child born with black skin - in spite of the fact her two dotting parents are white.
As the producers put it:
"Sandra is born with a legacy of unknown black ancestry. Our film focuses on both the genetic phenomenon and a social-political one in the racially-divided South Africa."
Hélène Muddiman - who wrote the score - was on hand to field questions about the music crafted for SKIN.
"I had a bit of a vision about the music beforehand. But, for the most part, I worked with Tony and the images when they were available."
Haunting music, I asked?
"Emotional. Very emotional."
One journalist - who screened SKIN last night - was still blown away thirty minutes later on a myriad of levels.
Mark Ruffolo was a hit with all the journalists who jockeyed for position on the carpet to get up-close and personal.
He laughed, and was in high spirits, as he mossied down the line with his pretty young wife - Sunshine - close by his side.
Unfortunately, there was a bit of a downer at this juncture.
Because a couple of journalists were "hogging" the talented actor a bit at one end of the roped-off area - near the middle of the line - a press person was inclined to "move" him along.
Unfortunately, the young Asian lady did not have very good people skills.
For instance, in mid-sentence during an important on-camera interview, she often hissed, "We gotta go."
On occasion, if that didn't garner the results she was seeking, the impatient gal would tug on his arm. Judging by Ruffolo's reaction - and the awkward expression on his face - the thespian wasn't too thrilled with the inappropriate behaviour of the inexperienced pushy woman.
As Mr. Ruffolo approached me, a press person proceeded to drag the actor away for a quick photo op across the carpet.
He winked at me (!) and promised to return for a question.
Since his wife was left in a lurch at my side, I thought I would engage her in a little conversation, so she would not feel neglected.
The snippy young PR snot turned back my way and barked in a rude voice:
"Wait 'til Mark comes back."
As I have always said, give some people a little authority, and they become drunk with power.
This high-strung emotional woman would be better-suited scrubbing toilets at the Roosevelt Hotel (AFI base of operations) than leading important guests down the red carpet, in my estimation!
Then, I noticed something funny.
One bald-headed reporter - in a dark black suit with a diamond stud in his ear - interviewed Mr. Ruffolo in great earnest.
After Mark departed, the puffed up newsie turned to an associate, to confirm the actor's identity.
"What was his name?"
I tend to get Mr. Ruffolo and Eric Bana mixed up.
If mishaps like this occur on the red carpet, it's understandable.
Happens all the time!
If you take a gander at the couple of the publicity stills I've posted here of Eric and Mark it's easy to fathom why.
Certainly, the slip-up is nothing to get your t*t caught in a wringer over.
The Asian Gestapo person was not amused, however.
In contrast, the rest of the staff on the carpet were very professional.
In fact, when the event wrapped, I witnessed the smartly-dressed staffers get down on their knees and pluck up "name tags" taped to the floor at designated interview perches.
So, I chirped:
"Great job, ladies. Thanks for your assistance, tonight."
Frankly, I was taken aback when the PR Staff actually responded with compliments in my direction, too.
Apparently, not everyone is as polite and thoughtful as I am on the red carpet, when they conduct interviews.
At this juncture, I headed over to the "AFI" Lounge at the Oscar Room to wind down.
Funny that, there was a spirited conversation underway among a handful of journalists, about the way the media was being treated.
Some complained that in spite of the fact journalists and paparazzi brought thousands of dollars of free publicity to the Festival's table, the press were often treated like sh**.
For sure, the upper-tier staff at the PR office at AFI - on occasion - get a bit huffy and full of themselves.
One oddball guy in the PR Department actually refers to himself as - Mr. Hollywood - or something juvenile like that.
Give us a break!
Which reminds me, I thought one reporter was a bit rude last night, too.
He actually interviewed the talent while ubiquitous shades hid his eyes.
Maybe it's due to my background as a journalist, but I think it's best to reveal yourself when conducting a one-on-one interview.
I got the distinct impression - that this inexperienced reporter thought he was the star - not his subjects.
Merv Griffin once noted for the record that he always made sure he did not upstage his guests on his highly-rated popular day-time talk show.
"I want them in the spotlight. Not me," he assured the audience.
I find a warm down-to-earth approach works better on the carpet, too.
I still go with the old-style approach with notebook and pen in hand.
Oftentimes, when a celeb gets a camera tossed in their face, they're inclined to freeze up.
Nuff shop talk!
I slipped into the Variety party on my last round through the Fest circuit which was underway at the Penthouse Suite at the Roosevelt Hotel.
I tell 'ya, Daily Variety tosses a great soiree.
Their scrumptious finger food was the best yet I've encountered at a Festival - where a number of guests have been harping about the lack of hospitality - in some suites.
I guess the financial crunch has hit the movie business, too.
Monday, November 3, 2008
Christina DeRosa...struts the red carpet in sexy style! AFI Fest overflowing with charismatic characters...
I felt like I was witnessing an old-style aspect of Hollywood being resurrected last night on the red carpet at the ArcLight Cinerama Dome.
A press agent for Christina DeRosa gave advance warning to the media that she'd be strutting down the red carpet - in spite of the fact - the statuesque beauty was not performing in any the new releases slated for screening last night.
"I'm just here to say hello," she beamed in an outfit that definitely accented her - um - assets.
I've been seeing a lot of that lately.
Now-a-days, there is a definite push by talent and their reps to maneuver their fresh faces into the glare of the spotlight.
Ms. DeRosa is pleasant, sexy, and outgoing.
And, she has a heap-load to crow about.
DeRosa is a series regular on Cinemax's popular "Sex Chronicles".
"Chronicles" was written by New York Times best-selling author Zane. And, producer by Zane's partner, Suzanne de Passe.
The earthy cable show is being billed as a new urban late-night series.
Rapt audiences are currently following heroines Patience James and her pretty girlfriends - Eboni (Christina DeRosa) Maricruz, Lyric, and Ana Marie - as they seize their destiny in the big city, look for love - and ultimately - empower themselves.
"Both in and out of the bedroom," DeRosa notes on her wallet-sized calling card with charismatic photo on its face.
Christina DeRosa's coiffeur was by Galina Shvartsman.
Finishing touches included jewelry designed by Natalie K, a collectible handbag by Debbie Brooks, and shoes beautifully crafted (with teetering high heels, ladies) by Shoes for the Stars - who else?
For those of you who are inclined to get out of the easy chair at home now and then, Ms. DeRosa will be appearing in four upcoming feature film releases which you may wish to catch at the local movie house - Extreme Movie, The Grind, the Group, and - my favorite - "Run! Bitch Run!"
Although she's content with her role on the "Chronicles", the talented young lass is optimistic that meatier roles will come her way.
"No, I don't want to direct," she quips.
Ah, that's a first.
Smart lady. The popular young siren knows where the "power" is.
When I asked her about her fan base, she was ecstatic to report on it.
"I get lots of mail. People contact the show. It's great."
Throughout the hectic carpet activity, Ms. DeRosa was quite poised, too.
In fact, she held her own. The perky star didn't need any assistant to prop her up - or drag her by the pretty hand - like some.
Good luck, Christina.
Sure you'll succeed beyond your wildest dreams.