Saturday, June 2, 2012
Goodbye Promise...celebrities turn out for World Premiere! Christina de Rosa & Johnny "Roast Beef" Williams!
Gregor Collins stars in Hollywood-inspired flick!
The red carpet was rolled out, an anxious slew of paparazzi jockeyed for a perch curbside, and a stream of well-heeled guests paraded down the runway with high-voltage smiles.
As I noted later, it was such a pretty crowd in attendance.
A quick check of the guest list underscored why.
A smattering of popular actors from a couple of daytime soaps - such as "The Bold & The Beautiful" and "One Life to Live" - had turned out dressed-to-the-nines to attend the World Premiere of "Goodbye Promise" at the downtown Independent Theatre on Main Street.
I also spied show-biz acquaintances such as Christina de Rosa - and Tom Malloy - in the bustling crowd.
Christina's floral print cocktail dress suited her petite figure to a "t".
Video-taped exchanges on the red carpet may be viewed online at my YouTube Channel later this afternoon:
Gregor Collins & David Branin clip:
The atmosphere was electrically-charged, by the way, and for good reason.
In recent days, "Goodbye Promise" garnered good reviews from a film critic at the Los Angeles Times.
So, the filmmakers were excited at the prospect of unveiling their precious "labor of love" on excited fans who turned-out in full force.
Right off-the-bat, I spied Gregor Collins - co-writer and producer (who also stars) - dashing about attending to all the last-minute details to ensure the night's festivities went off without-a-hitch.
At one point, Collins - smartly-attired in a well-tailored suit, matching dress shirt, and designer tie - popped by to chat me up in-between meet-and-greets with the other celebrated invitees.
After all, folks were flying in from around the country to catch the opening, and show their wholehearted support for the project.
Tickets went quickly online, in fact, and the house was soon "sold out".
Director David Branin was also kind enough to grant me an impromptu interview on-the-fly.
Once inside, after excited effervescent ticket holders took their seats, Johnny "Roast Beef" Williams (Goodfellas & The Mask) warmed up the crowd - and rustled up laughs - with a round of spirited anecdotes about the "biz".
Since there were quite a few actors in the house, relaxing in comfy seats beyond the footlights, the material went over quite well.
Because "Goodbye Promise" is all about a struggling actor in Hollywood, the audience was primed and ready-to-go.
When the credits rolled, and the lights went up, there was a round of uproarious applause.
The jaded Hollywood types like it, alright.
The guests then strolled down the street to the after-party to mix-and-mingle and discuss the flick.
At this point, it became evident that the producers were operating on a tight budget.
At premieres, guests are usually wined-and-dined - with an open bar where the booze flows freely - on the house.
In this instant scenario - where the actors starring funded the project - film goers were invited to sip on Margaritas for $3.00 a glass.
And, sadly, there weren't any delectable finger foods - or scrumptious sweet treats - to nibble on.
In a way, the event mirrored the storyline of the feature film, you betcha.
The talent last night were ever-hopeful that their "baby" would garner rave reviews - and subsequently - catapult them into the limelight in Hollywood and International success.
Well, we'll see how it pans out.
My own review will follow in a day or two.
Friday, June 1, 2012
In recent days, there have been quite a few screaming headlines - and an angry outcry - over bullying.
The issue has triggered a few childhood memories (as usual).
I was an "A" student, pretty down-to-earth and easygoing in nature, and popular with the girls (with the boys, too, I was later to discover) so - of course - I was the target of a couple of bullies when I attended a grade school in Agincourt (a suburb of Toronto near the 401 Hwy).
For example, one kid (who was actually quite handsome) often took a poke at me - or gave me a slap on the back of the head - whenever he spied me on the street or in the schoolyard.
I was a bit of peace-nick, and not a fighter by any stretch of the imagination, so I often ignored the bullying.
Unfortunately, one fine day, "Norris" jabbed me in the chest a little too hard - and for some inexplicable reason - I struck him with a back-handed slap across his face.
An automatic reflex, I suppose.
Within minutes, the startled big bruiser was sporting a horrific shiner (black eye).
On that day, I became the local school hero!
In fact, after that incident, one of my teachers - Mr. Walters - began to refer to me in class as one of the "Golden Boys".
Curiously, in spite the humiliation Norris was served up that day, he continued to get rough with me occasionally when I least expected it.
It wasn't until years later that I realized that the poor kid was probably a latent homosexual and that that was his way of getting "close" to me.
What do 'ya think?
Love, attraction, and passion sure manifest in strange ways, eh?
Today, news reporters took the opportunity to wolf down a doughnut or two - it being National Doughnut Day - and all.
One TV anchor snatched up a mouth-watering chocolate doughnut with sprinkles on top, bright-and-early this morning at the crack of dawn, while his pretty female partner was inclined to go with a jam-filled one with a generous smattering of icing.
I wonder, did the male reporter want to be a cop when he was a kid?
National Doughnut Day is celebrated on the first Friday of June each year and succeeds the original Doughnut Day event created by The Salvation Army in 1938 to honor the women who served up the tasty treats to soldiers during World War I.
Many bakeries and "donut" shops around the country are handing out freebies today, so you may want to check to see if there is a tasty give-a-way in your very own neighborhood.
By the way, the news report triggered a childhood memory.
We used to sing this little ditty around the playground:
I went to Toledo
I went around the block
I stepped right in
to a bakery shop
I gave the lady a five-cent piece
She took two doughnuts
out of the grease
She looked at the money
She looked at me
"This money is no good to me...
There's a hole in the center, I can see right through..."
"There's a hole in the doughnut, too"
Betcha, 'ya can't eat just one!
Thursday, May 31, 2012
Many faces of Clint Eastwood!
Today, Clint Eastwood turned 82 years old!
Now that he's definitely a Senior, I guess the film maverick will be auditioning for more meaty roles, along the lines of the seasoned politician, crusty police chief, the old geezer reluctant to retire, and what-have-you.
You have to hand it to Clint, too; after all, he's found a surefire way of gathering up a collection of tacky - but colorful - ties (normally, such conversation pieces).
According to his wife - Dina - he pleaded with his family, friends, and business associates not to gift him this year (or any other) on his birthday.
So, that's that.
Of course, it is wholly possible, that Mrs. Eastwood conjured up the self-serving idea herself.
Tattler readers may recall that I reported on the problem Clint's hubby has with hoarding, after all.
But, Clint, don't forget one important thing.
You, of all people, can have your cake (and eat it, too).
So par-tay hearty, today, eh?
Last night in a gossip tidbit on Mark Zuckerberg and his pretty new bride, Harvey Levin's pups on TMZ alleged that the Facebook billionaire stiffed waiters at a trendy restaurant in Rome the other evening while out-on-the-town.
After a bit of investigative probing (apparently one of the researchers on the show put in a call to management overseas) the cub reporters proceeded to argue about the tipping procedures in Europe.
"They don't tip over there," one of Levin's fair-haired boys piped up from his cubbyhole on the news set.
In contrast to America, the wait staff in European watering holes aren't about to leave it up to the customer to determine if there will be a gratuity, you betcha.
In most foreign countries a tip of 15 percent is usually tacked on the bill automatically.
But, patrons are also usually informed in advance that they're welcome to cough up a bonus above-and-beyond that fee if the service was exceptional, the server was pretty (or handsome, for that matter), you're trying to impress a date, or you happen to be in a generous mood (a bit tipsy?).
If the waiters fell short of that bar in this instant case, it could be that folks on this side of the big pond tweeted 'em in advance that Zuckerberg is a lousy tipper (so why bother to break sweat for a losing proposition?).
Maybe the society network whiz needs to be reminded that tipping is not a place in China!
Wednesday, May 30, 2012
"Sunset Stories" is an off-beat tale about a nurse who faces a dilemma when a "cooler" containing life-sustaining bone marrow that she is assigned to deliver is stolen right out from under her nose and the trials and tribulations she encounters in retrieving it.
The filmmakers elected to follow the "precious cargo" and its topsy-turvy journey which results in an insightful (at times thought-provoking) glimpse into the lives of the individuals whose hands it passes through.
The idea is somewhat reminiscent of one about a $20 bill (in circulation in a bustling city) which I caught at an Art Revival House a few years ago.
In that short, the writers weaved a fascinating tapestry which went this way 'n that in a vastly entertaining fashion.
In "Sunset Stories" the focus is on people of "color" and how they co-exist within the restricting confines of a cramped overcrowded city without much privacy.
The filmmakers treated Los Angeles like it, too, was a "character" in the independent feature which recently screened at the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival (at the DGA).
Frankly, neighborhoods like Echo Park never looked so good on celluloid before, trust me!
In one segment, the directors rustled up an enchanting night scene under a canopy of stars, where a troubled female artist ponders her life and career at the edge of a picturesque lagoon.
The cast of characters, by the way, were an intriguing mix of personalities and consisted of a Drag performer, a young female cancer patient, a struggling musician, a dyke mechanic, street thief, and what-have-you.
In a handful of off-beat roles, bit characters fleshed out the underbelly of the city considerably.
Although the actors all turn in natural seamless performances, for the most part, a couple of the performers fell short with characterizations that were not terribly believable.
The individual who played the transgender woman in the Nightclub scenes was out-of-her-depth, for instance.
Others in a similar challenging role in high-profile projects of yesteryear, fared much better, in my estimation.
And, the woman who played the lead - Monique Curnen - was also unconvincing.
When a character is expected to carry a project, that means trouble, bottom line.
On the other hand, the pretty young actress - Cameron Protzman (who played a cancer patient) - was terrific.
At the after-party I was fortunate to meet the young lady.
What a charmer (and a beauty)!
Cameron's parents were also delightful people.
If Protzman continues with her acting pursuits, I expect she'll do very well in the biz.
Sung Kang (Fast & Furious) was excellent as a struggling musician trying to survive in the mean streets of the city.
Kang has a great screen presence which resonates with audiences.
I'd be remiss if I did not mention that the actors in "Sunset Stories" won the award for "Best Ensemble Cast" at this year's Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival.
The novel use of animation and illustrations throughout the film boosted the project considerably in my eyes - as did the directing - which was first-rate (Ernesto Foronda).
Though the budget was small - and the production schedule was just a few weeks in length - the flick does not come off as quickie cheapie.
At the Q & A, I questioned the director(s) - yes, there were two of 'em - about the wisdom of not tailoring their project to meet the tastes (and demands) of a mainstream audience.
For some, after all, the characters - and subject matter - may be a bit too "off-the-beaten track".
"The thought crossed our minds," was the response.
But, in the final analysis, they producers opted to go with the scripted material and introduce the characters without tinkering or explanation.
"Because Los Angeles is a diverse community with people of color, we didn't feel we had to explain who a person was or why," one of the directors was quick to note for the record.
"We raised the funding ourselves, and used the resources at our disposal, so we could make the kind of film we wanted to," the producer was quick to pipe up on the uptake.
Because of it, did not have to kow-tow to suits at a studio, or compromise their integrity.
In one scene, a well-known star actually makes a cameo appearance, within the production's budget.
"How did you pull that off," one filmgoer prodded from below the footlights.
"He's a friend of mine. When we approached him - he took a look at the script, liked it, and then agreed to take on the role," was the response back.
It's great to have friends like that, eh?
I expect "Sunset Stories" will find an audience around the country at Art Houses.
As to the mainstream?
Well, that's a different matter, altogether.
I wish 'em well, however.
2 1/2 Stars!
Sung Kang stars!
When I caught a broadcast on a celebration at the White House last night - and spied Bob Dylan accepting his "Metal of Freedom" with dark sunglasses affixed firmly to his snoz - my knee-jerk reaction was swift.
"How rude and insulting!"
Mr. Manners agreed.
When the President bestows an individual with such a great honor (I don't care who the person is or what their social or political status) they should show some respect for the Oval Office.
In my humble opinion, Dylan's behaviour not only amounted to bad manners, but underscored the musician's poor breeding and lack of good taste.
Tuesday, May 29, 2012
"Nice Girls Crew" is a delightful 5-part comedy series slated to broadcast on the web in the near future which recently screened to capacity at the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival.
The cast - comprised of Lynn Chen (White on Rice), Michelle Krusiec (Sunset Stories) and Sheetal Sheth (NCIS) - literally brought the house down with their hilarious hi-jinks in this fast-paced original "sitcom" that is sure to be a big "hit" with Internet audiences (and in movie theatres if it lands distribution).
The well-written scripts are terribly funny.
In fact, I can't remember the last time I have LOL so hard in a movie theatre.
In a nutshell, "Nice Girls Crew" is a sitcom about three childhood pals (all female) who form a Book Club that meets each week to discuss a current bestseller selected on a rotating basis by its "members".
But, it becomes painfully obvious in the 1st segment (all five episodes currently in the can were screened together about ten days ago at the CGV Theatre) that the "girls" had an ulterior motive when they committed to the scholarly endeavour.
Though rivals in grade school, each has become quite fond of each other as adults (in spite of their bad habits, shortcomings, and occasional nasty "hair pulling").
"Yes, they get bitchy. But, the Girls Crew is more about their relationships," Sheetal Sheth underscored, in a Q & A session after the screening.
Personally, I marvelled at how well the characters played-off of each other.
So, of course, I was inclined to ask a pressing question on my mind.
"Was there a lot of improv?"
According to Lynn Chen, all the leads followed the scripted material pretty closely.
"But, it helped that we had such a wonderful rapport, and that we trusted each other."
Ms. Chen bubbled with enthusiasm over her role.
"I don't normally get to do comedy. So, I was thrilled with the opportunity."
All three actresses sang the praises of the director - Tanjui Chopra - who allegedly gave the gals free rein to explore - and subsequently flesh out their characters.
It helped that the material was so - well - tantalizing.
When the girls crew did their "take" on a beat cafe reading of Allen Ginsberg's "Howl" in one segment, I did that literally in my seat.
For good reason.
When I was a mere lad of fifteen, I recall strolling in to a bookstore and casually plucking up "Howl" off the shelf - at which point - I thumbed through the crisp new pages.
I was stunned by what I read!
"Your cock is holy. Your ass is holy. Your balls are holy."
Uh-huh - that wild bit brought back memories - I'll tell 'ya.
In another segment, the girls argue inanely about the practicality of including the third book of "Harry Potter" at one night's session in view of the fact books one and two had been passed over.
"It's doesn't make any sense," one of the gals fumes.
But, heh, I don't want to spoil it for 'ya.
When "Nice Girls Crew" broadcasts - grab a seat - front-row-center.
You'll bust a gut, just betcha!
Director Tanuj Chopra
Posted by Julian Ayrs at 12:34 PM
At the far end of the TV dial – in no man’s land on E Entertainment – I stumbled on “Mrs. Eastwood” last night.
For those of you who have been hiding under a rock, “Mrs. Eastwood” is the latest offering from the producers of reality television.
Eastman, of course, is a former news reporter who hooked up with squinty-eyed “Clint” (the actor best-known for a slew of spaghetti westerns) after crossing-paths with the popular star on a work assignment (she interviewed the star up-close-and-personal!) a few moons ago.
Now, Mrs. Eastwood is attempting a star-turn of her own (by association?) – but, in the final analysis – her (ho hum) boring show is nothing short of a worthless self-indulgent piece of crap.
Worse than that, Mrs. Eastwood sets a bad example for adult viewers (and their children) in homes across America.
For example, in a heart-to-heart with her daughter on last night’s segment, Mrs. Eastwood confides that because of her impoverished childhood she has become a hapless hoarder afraid to toss anything out.
“When I was a kid, my friends wore expensive Nike running shoes, but my mother couldn’t afford them.”
In response, her daughter tried her hand at a bit of amateur psychoanalysis to get to the crux of the problem.
“You can’t let go because of those memories,” she theorizes, in so many words.
“But, you’re not a poor little girl anymore.”
Clint has feathered a swell nest for her and the kids in a swanky upscale neighborhood.
At this juncture, she urges her mother to purge herself of all the possessions that are bogging her down, and tying her to a troubled past.
Then, in a burst of enthusiasm, she plucks up a old memento, and instructs Mrs. Eastwood to just toss it off the balcony!
Within minutes, the two are throwing perfectly good usable household items, expensive clothing, and fanciful collectibles over the railing and into the yard where they proceed to smash the items into smithereens and bury ‘em in the garden!
What’s wrong with this picture?
For starters, it’s obvious that the silly women are totally clueless about the environmental issues involved.
Pieces of metal and plastic should not be buried in the earth in a residential neighborhood, for starters.
Then, there is the issue of recycling.
If Mrs. Eastwood was inclined to toss out the items, the least she could do was either donate the possessions to Goodwill or a shop like Out-of-the-Closet (or some other worthy entity) or - in the alternative - hold a garage sale and pass on the funds to a Charitable organization of her choosing.
You know what they say:
One man's garbage is another man's treasure!
Their reprehensible actions underscored just how ignorant and wasteful the two of them are.
Gosh, I wonder what Mr. Eastwood thinks about all of this?
News at 11!
I wonder if there was any moisturizer in those throw-a-ways?
Clint could sure use some, eh?
Sunday, May 27, 2012
In recent days the “Love that (once) dare not speak its name” is the one that dare not “shut up” according to some born again Christians, homophobes, and outright prudes.
I recall an era when “gays” were afraid to “come out” and the term “gay” (a softer gentler term) wasn’t bandied about in a carefree manner like it is today in mainstream America.
Today, older “homos” recall that those who chose to pursue a “gay lifestyle” did so in a clandestine fashion during a time I refer to as the “dark ages “ (lest they be harassed, be abandoned by family, lose their job, and-so-forth-and-so-on).
Many share intriguing tales about an era when lonely “outcasts” were forced to sneak down dirty unlit alleyways at the witching hour to pick up a “trick” (I always hated this word, by the way) at a private bottle club with a boarded-up front.
Oftentimes, horny dudes were forced to devise ways to signal interest without being obvious when they attempted to connect in a public place with someone who may have caught their eye (or triggered a boner).
In the beginning, there was the “stare”.
If a guy was interested in hopping in-the-sack, he usually made subtle eye contact from across the room.
For the uninitiated (and inexperienced) it might be difficult signal to decipher, though.
Was he staring at you because he wanted to get "down ‘n dirty", or was he giving 'ya the once-over because he was annoyed that some “fag” was checking him out (a disgusting thought?).
Then, there was the eyebrow, which was a really tricky one to figure out.
If you gazed in a male’s direction and he raised his eyebrows up-and-down ever-so-slightly, maybe it meant he was interesting in doing the nasty.
But, then again, maybe he was just a clueless goofy being friendly!
If you didn’t appear to look “gay”, the prospective date might never entertain the notion, eh?
An intriguing (but potentially dangerous) way to signal your romantic (sexual?) interest was to use the antiquated "gay handshake".
If you reached out to shake a guy's hand - and one of his fingers was bent backwards toward his wrist on the "inside" of the palm - it meant the dude want hot-to-trot.
The first time someone gave me the "secret" handshake, I was a bit startled; in fact, it was a bit of a surreal moment for naive little old me.
"Did he just give me the gay handshake," I wondered to myself in disbelief.
Or, was I imagining it?
I searched his face for additional clues, but he remained "stone-faced".
Sometimes being gay was such an ordeal, wouldn't you agree?
By the way, the reason I bring this up is because of an unfortunate incident the other day, which left me a little embarrassed.
I accidentally gave the "gay handshake" to someone I wasn't even interested in!
Just as I was about to slip a key into my pocket, a gentleman strolled over and reached out his arm to offer me up a handshake.
To prevent the key from slipping out of my sweaty palm, without thinking, I curled up one finger to hold the key in place.
Just as our hands joined, it hit me like a bolt of lightning.
The dude must have thought I gave him the "gay handshake".
Boy, was I embarrassed.
I managed a grin, tried to act like nothing happened, and excused myself to say hi to an "imaginary" friend allegedly waiting on the other side of the banquet room.
Just betcha the gossip is swirling now, eh?
Don't believe a word of it!
I'm married with kids, after all.
An exciting exhibition featuring a large collection of Cleopatra artifacts has just opened at the California Science Center and should not be missed!
The comprehensive display (13,000 square feet in size) is the largest of its kind ever displayed in the U.S.
Cleopatra has captivated the world for centuries – and now – fans of the legendary historical figure have the opportunity to take a peek into her fascinating “Royal” world.
The once-powerful leader was officially born Cleopatra VII and became Queen of Egypt in 51 B.C. at the tender age of 17.
Her escapades in bed were probably more widely-known than her accomplishments during the course of her tumultuous reign.
The beautiful seductress seduced two powerful leaders - Julius Caesar - and Mark Antony (both romantic flings bore children, by the way).
Elizabeth Taylor scandalized the world (and was condemned by the Pope) when she fell in love with Richard Burton on the highly-publicized film production in Rome.
The exhibition not only explores the trappings of her remarkable success, but also, seeks to answer a couple of questions that have remained a mystery until now about her personal life (according to the curators at the Science Center).
The show includes 150 priceless Egyptian artifacts that have been uncovered in recent years by two of the world’s leading archaeologists (Franck Goddio and Zahi Hawass).
On display are a number of colossal statues, exquisite pieces of jewelry, and coins from Cleopatra’s lost Palace in Alexandria.
A complimentary audio tour is available for history (and Cleopatra) buffs out to drink up every delicious tidbit of information on the once-powerful Queen.
Elizabeth Taylor as Cleopatra
McNulty casting just informed me today that they are currently seeking contestants for "Bus Trip".
According to the producers, the reality-show is a challenging and exciting competition that puts the spotlight on dynamic and energetic duos.
"If an individual has a passion for travel and a license for adventure, this is the show on wheels that they've been waiting for," the casting office enthused in an e-mail communication bright-and-early this morning.
Couples from around the United States will take on groundbreaking tasks while traveling together on a thrilling "roller-coaster" ride from coast to coast.
Greyhound, eat your heart out!
However, I've been advised that contestants shouldn't be fooled by the comfy close quarters.
Each duo is going to be out to eliminate the others, after all, and must adapt (and connive) in order to ultimately conquer the competition and take home the coveted grand prize.
"This difficult but fascinating test of survival will be taking the nation by storm this summer," the promoters gush.
If you think you have the guts to participate wholeheartedly no-holds-barred, then don't miss the BUS!
Blow out a tire, eh?