Saturday, December 20, 2008
Whenever I turn up at a garage sale and encounter a raft of assorted used (and new) items strewn about a front lawn, I am inclined to quip:
"Where's the garage?"
Yeah, the joke usually falls flat!
Bright and early this morning, there was something more sinister going down on Orlando Street, though.
As I headed out for coffee and the morning daily at the crack of dawn, I spied a large moving truck - and at least two workers - unloading a myriad of household goods, antiques, and brick-a-brack on a lawn just below Waring Street.
Instead of marching the goodies straight inside out of harm's way, the gentlemen started to place the items in an eye-catching strategic fashion around the dewy ground.
So, I sauntered over to investigate on the down-low.
Quite a few of the items were of fair quality and gave off the impression of having been "hand picked" for the "yard" sale.
But, the truth really rang home when I overheard a couple of the "handlers" chatting among themselves on the sidelines.
"I gave him a couple of items on commission. He sold the stuff right away, but it took a while to get my money."
"He has some good stuff at that location," the other idly responded.
Clearly, they were talking "shop".
It suddenly hit me like a ton of bricks.
None of the items were cherished keepsakes being offered up for sale, at all.
The whole shebang was shipped in under the cover of darkness that morning - from a handful of second-hand stores and antique shops around town - with the ultimate aim of rustling up a tidy profit in sales in West Hollywood.
I expect the organizers made an agreement with the owner of the house to fork over a percentage of sales in exchange for allowing 'em to facilitate that prime neighborhood location for the weekend event.
Later, when I dashed off to do chores, I even spied hand-crafted signs alerting passers-by and motorists about the "garage sale".
The script was in a casual scrawl - and gave off the impression the sign was crafted by a desperate housewife anxious to make-ends-meet - or in the alternative a struggling student looking to unload some unwanted household effects for a fast buck at Christmas.
Gee, what a deception!
Judging from the prices I overheard quoted to the carpetbaggers who spilled out of their cars on the turn-of-a-dime, there weren't many bargains to be had, either.
When one dude scooped up about four books and queried about the price, he fell back a little in amazement when the response zinged back at him.
At yard sales, paperbacks and used books normally go for fifty cents or a buck each. Unless they are adorned with lush color plates inside or fall under the category of specialty books.
Even still, the price quoted appeared a tad steep under the circumstances.
I wonder if the neighbors on the street were clued in about the thriving enterprise underway on their tony residential street?
Surely, the IRS would perk up, if they knew that sale items were being sold - in an organized business venture - without receipts or taxes paid - don't 'ya think?
What will greedy scoundrels think of next?
Friday, December 19, 2008
One of my new friends on MYSPACE is Brad Milne, an actor - who plays a maniacal character by the name of Dr. Cushfield in the feature - Zombie Strippers - a new DVD release.
I took a gander at a bit of the footage earlier this afternoon.
What a hoot!
If you're looking for a low-brow entertaining stocking stuffer for a dude or two that are difficult to pin down in the swag department, the offbeat thriller may just be the ticket.
In spite of a potential strike on the horizon and contract negotiations feverishly underway, the Screen Actors Guild took a breather to underscore that it's business as usual at the guild.
Yesterday, with little fuss or ado, reps announced nominees for the Screen Actors Guild Awards which are given out annually to recognize excellence in the Film and Television medium.
"Doubt", a film which recently premiered at the AFI Film Fest in Hollywood amid much praise, garnered the most nods.
In addition to being nominated for best ensemble cast, the drama - adapted for the screen from an award-winning play of the same name - captured kudos for Meryl Streep (Best Actress/lead role), Phillip Seymour Hoffman (Best Actor/supporting role), Viola Davis (Best Actress/supporting role), and Amy Adams (Best Actress/supporting role).
"The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" and "Milk" were tied for runner-up, so-to-speak.
Each received three nominations - which included best actor (lead role) bows for Brad Pitt in "Button" and Sean Penn in "Milk".
Frank Langella (Frost/Nixon), Mickey Rourke (The Wrestler), and Richard Jenkins (The Visitor), rounded out the roster.
Clint Eastwood (Gran Torino) and Leonardo DiCaprio were passed over for some inexplicable reason.
Maybe the films were released a little too late in the season to receive due consideration by the voting membership?
In the best supporting actor category, Josh Brolin (Milk), Robert Downey Jr. (Tropic Thunder), Heath Ledger (The Dark Knight), and Dev Patel (Slumdog Millionaire) compete (with previously-mentioned Phillip Seymour Hoffman) for the coveted prize.
The category for best performance by an actress in a lead role looks to be one of the toughest races in the run for a prestigous SAG award.
In addition to Streep, Angelina Jolie (Changeling), Anne Hathaway (Rachel Getting Married), Melissa Leo (Frozen River), and Kate Winslet (Revolutionary Road) will be standing in the wings ready to dash on stage in the event actors' ballots tally their way.
The stars have obviously been shining on Ms. Winslet this year.
The Titanic star has also been singled out as Best Actress in a supporting role (The Reader) alongside Adams and Davis. The other two challengers are Penelope Cruz (Vicky Cristina) and Taraji P. Henson for "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button".
In the Television arena - "The Closer", "Mad Men", "The Rock", and "John Adams" - rustled up three nods apiece.
The Award's Ceremony is slated to broadcast on TBS and TNT on January 25th from the Shrine Auditorium in downtown Los Angeles.
Now, if only a talented individual or two could manage to craft a beautiful award worthy of the occasion to hand out to the winners.
The current actors' award - an ugly eyesore without any aesthetic appeal - sucks in my estimation!
Give me an Emmy any old day!
Thursday, December 18, 2008
A few weeks ago, I posted a ragged old video of Judy Garland's appearance on the popular game show - "What's my Line?" - which I wrestled up from the elusive near-forgotten musty confines of old showbiz archives.
'Ya know, every time I screen the spontaneous on-camera guest spot, a smile breaks across my face.
Ah, Judy Judy Judy!
A priceless gem who still shines brightly in our hearts and memories!
I was pleasantly surprised when an unexpected invite arrived out-of-the-blue this afternoon to join - thejudygarlandexperience - the "world’s most exciting Judy Garland group" (Yahoo!).
Apparently, the best way to discover and share information and advice with others on the legendary Wizard of Oz star, is to mix and mingle at the dedication site - where privileged members wax nostalgic about the multi-talented mega-star - with fans, friends, family members, and a precious few blessed with the opportunity to toil alongside her at the studios in the Golden hey-day of Hollywood.
All for free.
The Judy Garland Experience not only features ongoing real-time discussions about the contract-player, but also has the web's most extensive library of rare Garland photo’s - many of which - have never been eyed before.
The entertaining site also features an ever-changing plethora of rare and unreleased recordings by Judy and other artist’s.
This week, fans are being treated to two separate broadcasts of Ms. Garland appearing on the once-popular "Chesterfield Show", a recording of Judy bravely telling off HUAC, a 1954 radio salute, a 1957 appearance at L.A. Greek Theater, and much more! to titter about.
Next week Judy’s complete 1967 Christmas concert form Madison Square Garden will be posted (as well as some other rare unreleased gems from Judy) along with Ethel Merman’s entire closing night performance in Gypsy.
There's no business, like show business, after all.
Stop by the site - affectionately known as "Judyville" - and check out the exciting offerings.
Her dedicated fans tease: you may never want to leave!
Or, to quote Judy from one of her last great sell-out performances that night at Carnegie Hall:
"I know, we'll sing 'em all, and we'll stay all night."
You betcha, Judy!
The hosts of the event beamed as they circled the main room of the old Masonic Lodge spreading word about an upcoming production of Three Sisters, enthusiastic guests chatted each other up over mulled wine, and the adventurous sampled delectable finger treats delightfully decorated for the holiday season.
Earlier, torrential rains that showered down on the big bad orange, originally posed an impending dilemma, though.
I was scheduled to attend the launch for the Chalk Repertory Theatre in Hollywood proper at 7:30 p.m. last evening.
But normally, I shy away from driving at night or in the rain.
So, I was hit with a double-whammy!
Finally after much dickering, I opted to leave the car parked in its stall and headed out on foot full of vim and vigor.
The soiree was being held at the infamous Hollywood Forever Cemetery - so, of course - enthusiasm for the night's festivities had heightened.
Locals are probably familiar with the burial grounds because a number of legendary Hollywood actors lay at rest here - Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. and Tyrone Power - for instance.
A few years ago, the cemetery fell into disrepair and the business end of the ghoulish enterprise ended up in the Bankruptcy court.
Two angels sauntered into picture and saved the hallowed grounds from an uncertain fate just in the nick of time.
Just recently, the owners refurbished the Masonic Lodge to its former glory.
Before the overhaul commenced, the turn-of-the-century architectural marvel stood in as a storage facility.
Now, it's primed and ready to serve as a sacred place of contemplation for loved ones wrenching their hands and holding back tears as those near and dear are ceremoniously laid to rest at the cemetery, among other things.
The beautifully-crafted ceiling crowning the upstairs hall is strikingly similar to one that is installed in the Clark Gable/Carole Lombard penthouse suite at the Roosevelt Hotel.
So, I surmise the handiwork reflects a style and design popular pre-war.
I arrived at the function early, so I was inclined to alight onto an elegant gold-leafed chair in the front foyer, which beckoned to me for some reason.
Maybe I'll pick up on the presence of a spiritual entity, I thought to myself.
A short while later, a young man scrambled down the stairs and was taken aback when he stumbled upon in deep trance.
"That's normally where the ghost perches," he exclaimed in near shock.
Didn't surprise me, one bit.
After all, the other evening when I awoke in the middle of the night, I flicked on the radio to encounter a host and guest in deep conversation about ghosts, troubled spirits, and the like.
So, there appeared to be some synchronicity here.
Upstairs, a tony crowd of theatre-enthusiasts, gathered to support the five inspired young ladies who recently formed the Chalk Rep Co.
All graduates of the University of California (San Diego M.F.A. Theatre Program), the visionary founders include actresses Jennifer Chang, Amy Ellenberger and Hilary Ward; director Larissa Kokernot; and playwright Ruth McKee.
In a brief talk center-stage as the party was in full swing, a spokesperson for the group noted that "Chalk Rep" will be dedicated to producing classical and contemporary plays in unconventional spaces.
In fact, their first production will be a premiere of Susan Coyne's adaptation of Chekhov's celebrated play - Three Sisters - which boasts an opening night on February 1st (2009) at the Masonic.
The classic Russian tale will feature an Asian-American family - and a diverse cast - including Desperate Housewives’ Ricardo Chavira in the role of Vershinin.
Ultimately, it is the hope of the creative team at Chalk to "work with a diverse group of artists", "create work designed to reach a non-traditional audience", and - in the process - stimulate a meaningful dialogue in the community.
"We believe in investing in people whether it is our artists or our audience. By using alternative spaces we avoid traditional production costs which allows us to use our resources toward providing employment opportunities and keeping ticket prices affordable."
Hence, the venue at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery, which is an inspiring space which resonates with "spirit", quite literally!
Following up "Three Sisters" at the Masonic, there will be a reprise of what is described as a "site-specific play" - titled "Family Planning" - which is allegedly an intimate portrait of a marriage strained by infertility.
"Family Planning" will be performed in a highly-novel venue: in private living-rooms around the city of Los Angeles.
The 2009 theatrical season will conclude with a world-premiere production of the Ruth McKee international adoption drama - "Stray" - performed in a school auditorium.
Chalk Rep is supported by private donations, tickets sales, and a partnership with Hollywood Forever Cemetery.
Specifically, "Three Sisters" is a sponsored project of Fractured Atlas (a non-profit arts service organization).
Last fall, just prior to commencement of the holiday season, I penned a post warning parents about potential hazards such as lead poisoning in toys crafted and imported from China.
A week or so ago, I obliged with a follow up feature on the issues, and provided links for web sites where parents could check for recalled toys and verify that other toys for tots were safe.
On the heels of this post, Mattel announced it will pay $12 million to compensate 39 States for damages arising from tainted toys made in China and shipped to the U.S.
Last year, the Segundo-based manufacturer (along with the Fisher Price Division) recalled more than 21 million Chinese-made toys after fearing the items were tainted with lead paint and tiny magnets that children could accidentally swallow.
In order to shore up the agreement with Government Officials, Mattel agreed to lower the acceptable levels of lead in toys shipped to the U.S. to - 90 parts per million - which amounts to a hefty change from yesteryear's 600 parts per million (Federal Standard).
A Mattel spokesman noted that he was proud of the company for demonstrating its commitment to children's safety by pledging to meet standards more stringent than those currently required.
However, it should be noted for the record, the Federal Standard will follow the guidelines recently adopted by Mattel when new rules and regulations go into effect next year.
Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley applauded Mattel's lead which she asserted "will result in much safer standards" in the toy industry.
California negotiated a deal under the State's "Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act" (under a separate agreement) wherein nine toy companies - including Mattel - will pay the state $1.8 million over lead-painted toys.
In spite of the fact Mattel's stock dipped 7 cents a share when the announcement was initially made public, an industry analyst pooh-poohed the notion that is was a bad sign from stockholders.
Anything that would put to rest the question of toy safety is a net positive, he concluded.
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
I was just preparing to pen a post in response to a column a writer at the Los Angeles Times wrote a couple of days ago in respect to the El Coyote boycott - (which caused a lot of stress, anxiety, and financial fall-out to the owners and staff alike in the aftermath) - when a second article was published in today's daily.
In today's column, the journalist - Steve Lopez - was flabbergasted that readers of the first article responded in a hateful fashion and hurled the "bigot" label his way.
So, I am inclined to take all issues to task, for good reason.
In the initial report, Mr. Lopez noted that he took a jaunt over to the El Coyote to have a chat with Marjorie Christoffersen (who contributed $100.00 to the Proposition 8 anti-gay marriage cause) in the wake of the boycott that followed on its heels.
Christoffersen was teary-eyed over the fact business had dropped to an all-time low - and wailed to the reporter that (as a result) staff members may be laid off.
Since the business was patronized by many "gays" in the community - the disclosure of the restaurant manager's contribution to the Proposition 8 initiative - clearly incensed many who sprang into action and spoke out in protest by virtue of their pocketbooks.
I was irked by the fact - and prompted to respond to the piece because of it - that Christoffersen noted for the record that she used to walk between the tables and chat with the gay customers during the course of her twenty-or-so years of employment at the Mexican restaurant.
It staggered my sensibilities, therefore, that Ms. Christoffersen found it difficult to fathom how it was that her "innocent" actions came to be construed as a "stab" in the back by her long-time customers.
Notwithstanding, Ms. Christoffersen appeared to have little remorse over her actions.
Yes, she felt badly about the fact her contribution caused business to drop off.
In light of that admission, would the devout Mormon do it again?
Well, it was noted in the article that when she met with "gays" in the community to allegedly apologize for her offensive act - and organizers pressed her for a contribution to the anti-Proposition 8 movement - that she broke down in tears and balked at the suggestion.
But, you know what?
Many are missing the point.
In his article, Mr. Lopez noted that Ms. Christoffersen elected to give the $100.00 donation to the Proposition 8 cause because gay marriage was against the doctrines of her Mormon Church.
And, the columnist further argued, that Christoffersen should not be tar-and-feathered for the position she took pursuant to her right to free speech and religious freedom.
Likewise, the same argument was put forth by supporters of Richard Raddon, who were appalled at the way he was treated in the wake of his contribution of $1500.00 to the Mormon effort.
I agree, a person has a right to give to a cause based on their personal, political, and/or religious practices.
However, citizens around the country not only have the right to disagree with that position, but also are entitled to disassociate themselves with those who do not support their beliefs.
That's human nature.
Gays have every right to boycott El Coyote - and shun Marjorie Christoffersen - if they so please.
Notwithstanding, I am of the opinion that the gays who recently wrote in to the LOS ANGELES TIMES - and labelled Mr. Lopez a "bigot" - were way out-of-line.
Mr. Lopez was simply reporting on the issues.
In fact, his article was balanced and well-reasoned and no cause for alarm.
He's not a bigot by any stretch of the imagination.
On the heels of this latest incident of misguided hate, I have to caution the gay community.
The scenario is kind of like the boy who cried "wolf", I guess.
If individuals are attacked here and there - without provocation or due cause around the political, social, and religious landscape - society as a whole will turn a deaf ear.
I urge the gay community to use some common sense and a modicum of intelligence when sifting through the issues with the ultimate aim of coming to grips with self-evident truths.
I think an old phrase that Joan Rivers once quipped ad nauseam is worth repeating here.
Continue with your efforts to overturn Proposition 8, but do so with dignity and grace.
You can rustle up a lot more with sugar - than vinegar - 'ya know!
Lately, when I've strolled into Starbucks in West Hollywood, the experience has been a real bummer.
Maybe the night staff are just burnt out, who knows.
Customers have not only been encountering glum faces, but tend to be left waiting in line 'til self-absorbed disorganized staff get their butts in gear.
Normally, Starbucks employs pleasant out-going personnel, who provide service with a smile.
Now-a-days, their baristas are of the low-energy kind that man the counters at a handful of those other mediocre cafe outlets 'round town.
Notwithstanding, there is little holiday cheer inside the doors to write home about.
The only X-mas decorations I spied were those sprucing up products sprinkled about here and there in unimaginative displays on lacklustre shelves.
Yes, some things never change.
The Seattle-based coffee giant continues in their efforts to foist a myriad of goods on consumers (that they don't want or need) when they stride through the sterile doors.
No X-Mas tree. No twinkling lights.
And, nary a strain of a Christmas Carol overhead, aimed at lulling patrons into the warmth and joy of a pervasive holiday spirit which is evident elsewhere around the thriving metropolis.
Starbucks is being relegated to a lower status among coffee-lovers as a result.
Today, many patrons just slip in to check e-mail on the laptop, snap up a quick coffee on-the-go, then head off to cheerier climbs where the meaning of cozy hospitality is alive and well.
Starbucks is no longer a destination place to hook up with friends and while away an hour or two of good-natured fun.
If you ask me, Scrooge has hit Starbucks big time.
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
One day I was channel surfing when I stumbled across a cable show, aptly titled, Cash Cab.
When New Yorkers flag a taxi on mean city streets in a mad dash to the airport, or uptown to Tin Pan Alley to catch a Broadway show, they may unwittingly alight into a bright yellow chauffeured auto which is actually a game show on wheels!
If the riders agree to play, every question that is answered correctly, nets a pay day.
On the other hand, miss three queries in a row, and their sorry butt will be turfed back into the street as middle America scorns at 'em at home.
One day, a trio of effervescent unsuspecting pals really hit the jackpot.
Yeah, they departed the cash cab a few hundred bucks the richer.
Exotic cocktails and pricey sushi on the cash cab, all 'round!
Unfortunately, an agent for a big-time athlete, was "sol" on his third question in spite of assistance from a friend.
Oh, didn't I tell you?
If a contestant gets stumped, there are a couple of lifelines to grab onto (much like those within a player's grasp on Regis Philbin's popular TV hit "Who Wants to be a Millionaire") .
If a tough brain teaser throws a guest off-kilter, he or she may call a friend on their cell for a tip or clue.
Or, in the alternative, the cabbie will screech to a halt and offer up the chance to ask a passer-by to show off their knowledge at trivial pursuits.
Golly, one lucky stiff must have had horseshoes up his a**.
How many pedestrians do 'ya expect would know who the author of "Atlas Shrugged" was?
Moi, of course, because a student I had a crush on in grade 10 was a fan of the writer.
But, I expected a strike out, believe me.
Wouldn't 'ya know it, the woman strolling along with a pal, hollered out the correct answer without skipping a beat.
Whoa Nellie, good one!
So, the producers of the novel entertaining bill of fare, are gearing up for a stint next season on the wild 'n crazy streets of the West Coast's City of Angels (Los Angeles).
"Maybe it will get more people to flag a cab and leave the gas-guzzling environment-damaging SUV's at home," a show rep lamented.
I'm going to wander downtown and keep my eagle eye out for the cash machine careening the jam-packed streets.
Yeah, I love trivia, alright.
But, more importantly, easy extra cash to pay bills in these troubled financial times has rustled up a great incentive to walk the pavement, too.
Um, you know what I mean!
I came across a funny post today at the Zionist'sgoldreport's weblog.
Obviously, the blogger stumbled across my own post (which is actually referenced at the bottom of that weblog page) and elected to put in his thoughtful two-cents worth.
Avid readers of my blog will recall that I had a run-in with Groban fans when I criticized his vocal stylings a few weeks ago, after the Los Angeles Times also noted that the waif-like minstrel-man was a tad "overrated".
Curiously, Groban's name and image have been poking their way into my consciousness once again in recent days, for some inexplicable reason.
At "Borders" last night - for instance (as I strolled up to the CD bank to listen to a tune or two) - there was a collection by Groban - Noel - on display up front.
Since a die-hard fan urged me to listen to this recording at the height of the Groban controversy - with the hope that the song stylings would change my scathing review - I was inclined to give the lad a chance.
However, when I plugged in the headphones and slipped them on my head, it was pretty obvious from the get-go that the CD installed was not the one warbled by Groban.
Fate, I guess.
Then, I came across the link for the Groban post at the zionist'sgoldreport, bright and early this morning.
If you're in the mood for a real hoot, here's how Groban fans are categorized by the astute blogger:
Josh Groban Fans Are...
Pick whichever of the below that best describes you…feel free to choose as many as you would like…
Guilty of Making an Idol of a man
Members of Lonely Hearts Clubs
No musical ability themselves
Not welcome to read the Zionistgoldreport
Lacking in manners
Just misunderstood people that like to threaten, curse, and intimidate anyone who might be critical of Mr. Grobans crass commercialism, and lack of artistic polish.
Just not educated with respect to the theory of music.
Wannabe Queen Bathshebas or Just plain Queens
Have too much time on their man.
Are opposed to the first amendment.
A bit abnormal (hey are we not all)
Giving up Heroin this week
Waiting for Mr. Right to come along
Protective of their man
The zionist'sgoldreport ends the post as follows:
All Josh Groben comments will no longer be approved.
Opps Groban, Groban.
Hard to imagine how such a nice guy like Groban could have such ruthless and nasty fans.
I do hope he tires of you all and your fawning and pursues a serious muscial career in Opera or as a composer and lets hope he does not have the ‘disease’ and can marry a nice FEMALE opera star or pianist some day.
Features & Shopping
On Monday, the Arab online community was in an inspired mood - waxing poetically, penning commentaries with great flourishes of the pen, and even zealously signing up for a novel fan club on Facebook.
What was the impetus for all this sudden surge of ecstatic upbeat activity on the Internet?
A pair of shoes flung from the hands of an Iraqi journalist - Muntather Zaidi - targeted for President George W. Bush.
Mr. Bush was on a tour of Baghdad in a public area of the city when the 29-year-old Satellite TV correspondent chose to express his angst against the U.S. President in the surest quickest method possible.
Bush was quick on the uptake, though - and with one swift duck - managed to avoid the offending missiles.
Even though Zaidi missed the subject of his disdain, the frustrated writer is still being hailed by some as a hero overseas!
After all, hurling shoes at a world leader, is the worst possible insult in Iraq.
No doubt, additional kudos are chalked up if the individual on the intended receiving end, just happens to be a cowboy Texan about to get the boot on U.S. shores, too.
In fact, comments on Internet chat sites appear to support that point of view.
The famous shoes should be exhibited in a museum as they resembled a rocket that talks on behalf of all the people of Iraq, one blogger quipped.
Disc Jockeys at radio stations also got into the act.
Without a visual to refer to, they encouraged their audiences to "listen" to the sound of the shoe hitting the wall and missing the outgoing President of the U.S.
A joyous sound to Iraqi ears, no doubt!
One critic worried that the outburst would have a negative impact on journalists in the future.
"We may be asked to take off our shoes when we are invited to press conferences," one disgruntled media person whined.
Well, toss your writing utensils, then.
After all - you know what they say - the pen is mightier than the sword!
In a bold-faced effort to avoid the stigma of the ultimate Iraqi insult, Bush was inclined to assert to the press later that the act was carried out by a demented man merely seeking attention.
Nothing more, nothing less.
Meanwhile, Secretary of State - Condoleezza Rice - seized the moment to meet her own political agenda.
"It's a sign of the freedom people feel in Iraq."
Next, Ms. Rice will be pulling rabbits out of hats, I expect.
Features & Shopping
Monday, December 15, 2008
Out-of-the-blue, Caroline Kennedy confided to a friend recently, her intention to pursue the Senate Seat being vacated by Hillary Clinton.
Caroline Kennedy is the daughter of former charismatic U.S. President, John F. Kennedy, and celebrated socialite and Art Patron, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis.
After wrestling with the idea for a few days, sources reported that the normally camera-shy Kennedy, made up her mind to ask the Governor - David A. Paterson (New York) - to consider her for the post.
At the time of the announcement, the Governor could not be reached for comment because he is currently on a jaunt to Utica.
In spite of this, apparently Ms. Kennedy has been putting in personal phone calls to potential supporters in the political arena, to inform them of her intentions.
Her uncle, Robert F. Kennedy, once held that office.
A handful of agitated Democrats are allegedly questioning her credentials from the get-go.
The turn of events has managed to rustle up the quote of the day in my estimation.
When U.S. Representative Gary Ackerman (a Queens Democrat) was asked what - if any - were Ms. Kennedy's qualifications to hold the post, he allegedly quipped that he didn't really know except for one thing.
"She has name recognition, but so does J. Lo."
Sunday, December 14, 2008
The American Film Institute (AFI) just announced the year’s most outstanding achievements in film and television.
For those who are not familiar with the AFI Awards, each year a select jury consisting of respected professionals in the creative field, single out film and television ensembles to be honored as a whole.
In essence, the tribute acknowledges the collaborative nature of film and television, and hands out kudos to artists both in front of and behind the camera.
The AFI AWARDS were selected this year by virtue of a unique 13-person jury process which included scholars, film artists, critics and AFI trustees.
During closed-door sessions, the discriminating team discussed, debated and determined the most outstanding achievements of the year.
In addition, the committee - rightly so - provided a detailed rationale for each selection.
Two AFI juries (one for motion pictures and another for television) convened in Los Angeles for two days of deliberations at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza Hotel.
The identity of the jurors remained confidential until yesterday, the day I received the news release from the office of publicist, John Wildman.
The creative ensembles for each of the selections will be honored at a luncheon sponsored by Hewlett-Packard on Friday, January 9 (2009) at the Four Seasons Hotel in Los Angeles (CA).
Start sweet-talking whoever you know at the AFI if you'd like to attend the prestigious affair; after all, the luncheon is by invitation only.
Hewlett-Packard, an AFI sponor, created scholarships for the AFI Conservatory in conjunction with their support of the AFI AWARDS.
The AFI Conservatory is world-renowned for its advanced training of the next generation of storytellers.
"AFI AWARDS honors the community of artists who come together each year to create films and television programs of excellence. They are not competitors at an event, but colleagues, in a world that needs art and entertainment more than ever," commented Bob Gazzale, AFI’s President and CEO.
The honorees listed in alphabetical order are:
AFI MOVIES OF THE YEAR / OFFICIAL SELECTIONS
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, The Dark Knight, Frost/Nixon, Frozen River, Gran Torino, Iron Man, Milk, Wall-E, Wendy and Lucy, and The Wrestler.
AFI TV PROGRAMS OF THE YEAR / OFFICIAL SELECTIONS
Breaking Bad, In Treatment, John Adams, Life, Lost, Mad Men, The Office, Recount, The Shield, and The Wire.
In the Motion Picture category, the jurors were Leonard Maltin (Entertainment Tonight), Jeanine Basinger (Wesleyan University), Mary Corey (USC), Mark Harris (author), Jim Hosney (AFI), Rick Jewell (USC), Elvis Mitchell (The Treatment), Danie Petrie, Jr. (writer/producer/director), Tom Pollock (producer/AFI Board of Trustees), Richard Schickel (Time), Vivian Sobchack (USC/AFI Trustee Emeritus, Anne Thompson (Variety), and Robert Towne (writer/director/producer).
The AFI Jury for Television included Richard Frank (AFI Trustee Emeritus), Neal Baer (writer/producer), John Caldwell (USC), and Jean Picker Firstenberg (AFI President Emerita).
Just a few short weeks ago, I attended the annual AFI Film Fest which was set amid the old world charm of the Roosevelt Hotel.
For press reports and reviews of films check archives: http://www.julianayrs.com/
AFI came into existence primarily due to the efforts of President Lyndon Johnson.
The politician 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 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.
In November 2007, the AFI Board named Bob Gazzale (a film historian and television producer) the institute's President and CEO.
The AFI has been major cultural force in this country for the past forty years.