Monthly Archives: December 2008

Daily Crack – For the Benefit of Mr. Buffett

Last Sunday I attended a benefit concert a composer friend of mine and his record producer friend put on in Williamsburg Brooklyn.  It was called, “For the Benefit of Mr. Buffett.”  The theme of the benefit was two-fold besides raising money.  One was to go through the entire Beatle’s catalogue all 189 original songs, and the other was to play all of the songs on ukulele.  There were other band instruments as well, but each song included a uke, as the ukulele is Mr. Buffett’s instrument of choice.

You might wonder why someone would sponsor a benefit for the richest man in the world?  My friends decided to give Warren Buffett all the money they raised because they figured he would know what to do with it where as they would just spend the money on cat food and Viagra.

A big treat was that Warren’s son Peter, a musician/composer, came to the benefit with Warren’s uke in tow.  Actually it was the same ukulele Peter said that Warren played, to put him to sleep when he was a child.  Mr. Buffett used to play and sing to him “Somewhere Over The Rainbow.”

As Warren is known for giving his money away, (I think he gave 31 billion dollars to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation) for this benefit Peter chose to sing the Beatle’s song, “You Never Give Me Your Money.”  It was very funny!

All in all the whole event was quite entertaining with a variety of world-class male and female musicians and singers participating in a very loose, but full of love, good intentioned, big hearted Beatle’s Buffett Benefit extravaganza.

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Daily Photo – Cracks In Sidewalks – Leaf Like Feather

Leaves Like Feathers

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Sam Mendes Redefines Revolutionary Road

It’s been several busy days and this just covers one of the highlights.  Friday night was a screening for Sam Mendes’, (American Beauty), new directorial debut of his film “Revolutionary Road,” starring his wife Kate Winslet, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Kathy Bates, along with a line of well-seasoned stage actors Mendes deservedly added to the mix.  My favorite supporting character being the role of Kathy Bate’s son in the movie, John Givings, played by actor Michael Shannon.

The movie, a screenplay adaptation by Justin Haythe of the much loved classic book from the 50’s by Richard Yate’s, comes to life through the wonderful portrayal of its characters and the great set design.  The theme of the movie explores life, relationships, courage, dreams, and what one gives up of themselves and why they give these things up in the pursuit or lack of pursuit of their dreams and passions.  Who is truly brave is a question the movie addresses.

Set in the 50’s a Manhattan couple moves to the suburbs of Connecticut after marrying to raise their family.  All the while being there, they believe that they are different from the other couple’s and families who live and work nearby.  They not only think they are different, but their neighbor’s, friends, and co-workers think the same.  They believe they have freedom and choices in the decisions they make, and that they are a cut above the others who share their life.  This is a story about truth, and whose truth.  It’s about change, unraveling, disillusionment, and every day life.  It’s the story of one families experience living in the Connecticut suburbs on Revolutionary Road in the 1950’s and what befalls them, and how the choices they make affect not only each other but their friends, neighbors and co-workers.  It’s a look into living life differently, how it threatens those around you and yourself, and the cost both good and bad.   It’s a movie that requires reflection and is well worth seeing.

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Daily Photo – Cracks In Sidewalks – Lovely Weed

Lovely Weeds

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The Reader, Kate Winslet, Ralph Fiennes, Stephen Daltry

Kate Winslet and Lena Olin came walking down the steps dressed in their 4 and 5 inch heels making fun of themselves and how they were a little overdressed for the Landmark Sunshine Theater in the lower East Side of Manhattan.  They did have an excuse though.  They had come directly from the New York premiere at The Ziegfeld of their new movie, soon to be released, “The Reader.”

The room they entered along with actor Ralph Fiennes, director Stephen Daldry, and producer Donna Gigliotti, who stepped up after former producers Sydney Pollack and Anthony Minghella passed away before production was complete, was a small theater filled with several hundred fellow actors, writers, film company sponsors, and their guests; all of whom had been waiting for the arrival of the movie makers scheduled to attend a Q&A of the film they had just had the privilege to view.

I have to say I knew nothing about “The Reader” before Wednesday night.  I hadn’t read the book and somehow I don’t believe I had viewed any trailers before seeing it.  Ultimately then for me there were twists and turns and several surprises.  The story moved in directions I never dreamed it would go.  That being said for those of you who didn’t read the book or don’t know the story, I don’t want to give it away.  Personally I went to the film on the strength of its participants, the actors, writers, and director.   I also knew I had the unusual opportunity to be in a small group after the screening with the ability to ask them a question if I had the nerve.  Most of all these were artists I had long admired, and I could not pass up the opportunity to be in close proximity, and I am glad I did not.

For those of you who read and loved the book, I don’t know if you will feel as strongly about the movie, as I did not have that perspective when viewing it.  What I will say is that the acting and portrayal of the characters seemed honest, raw, real, and brave.  Kate Winslet’s role as Hannah, was to me very vulnerable and strong.  She did what she felt she had to do or was supposed to do while hiding behind her own personal shame and somewhat self-inflicted inadequacy.  Her personal “disabilities” as she seemed to view them led her life and directed much of its course and the outcome of those who were willingly and unwillingly touched by her actions as a result.

Ralph Fiennes played a much smaller part of the older “Michael” reflecting back on his past.  The “young Michael” played by German actor David Kross, I thought was astounding and easily an Oscar nominating role!  He had a very difficult complex emotional part to play in the unwinding story.  Actually there wasn’t a character in the movie, who I believe did not have a complex role, but I have to say I was very impressed with Kross’ performance and all the nuances he added to his character.  Wednesday night during the Q&A Winslet and Daltry also brought up the story of being in Germany and having to hold off on their filming for three days until Kross turned 18 and could legally participate in some of the love scenes with Winslet.  She also mentioned Kross’ emotional maturity and how he was not a little boy.  His performance definitely proved that to be evident.

Lena Olin played two small parts in the film, each of them carrying a strong delivery.  I always love Olin on the screen.

It was obvious during the Q&A the huge respect that all the actors had for one another and the affinity that seemed to run deep between the actors and director Stephen Daldry.  The actors all seemed to adore him and loved working with him.  They in turn all paid their respects to award winning screenplay writer David Hare.

“The Reader” was not a perfect movie, but who needs perfect?  If you look for it you can always find fault or things that one might do differently.  Me I probably would have had the film run a little shorter, but then again I could never have been so masterful in either performance or direction.  I believe this movie was excellent and is sure to bring about some top nominations come Oscar time, which is just around the corner.  I definitely recommend it!

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Daily Photo – Cracks In Sidewalks – Lots of Pretty Cracks

Lots of Pretty Cracks

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Daily Crack – Saturday, December 6, All Day Fragrance Happening

I was sent an email about this “All Day Fragrance Happening” in NYC and I thought it was an unusual fun event that many of my readers might enjoy.  Below is the schedule of events and some of the highlights of the day that I deciphered from the information given to me.  I promise my next post will be for both sexes and both coasts, but this could be a fun day for girlfriends to share a pre-holiday day together and I just couldn’t resist it.

11am-2pm    Michael Edwards workshop & lunch at The Pressbox Restaurant, 49th & 2nd.

2pm -3:30pm Celebration continues at Turtle Bay Spafumerie, 48th St & 2nd Ave.

4:00-5:30pm Celebration continues at New London Luxe, 23rd St & 8th Ave.

If you choose not to go to the luncheon, there is no charge to join the festivities at Spafumerie and New London Luxe.

Here is more detailed information on the activities of the day and how you can participate.

About Michael Edwards, it’s been said that he knows more about modern perfume than any man alive.  Recognized by two FiFi Awards for his contributions to the fragrance industry, Michael is the author of both Fragrances of the World and Perfume Legends: French Feminine Fragrances.  He has become the perfume experts’ expert. And perhaps his most outstanding achievement has been to simplify the process of shopping for fragrance. He recognized that the only truly effective way to help guide customers to the right fragrance choices was to classify perfumes by the way they smell. The result is his annually updated Fragrances of the World, heralded as the most comprehensive reference guide for perfume industry professionals, journalists, and fragrance lovers alike. The 2009 edition adds more than 800 new fragrances, putting more than 6,500 fragrances at our fingertips.

His multimedia presentation and interactive workshop will start at 11:00am at The Press Box Restaurant, located at 49th St. and Second Avenue.  You will come away with a greater understanding of how fragrances are composed and relate to each other, and a deeper awareness of why you love the scents you do.

The next destination will be Spafumerie, the new spa and emporium for niche fragrances in NYC, located at 48th St. and Second Avenue.  Here, the celebration of Michael Edwards’ body of work continues with a glass of champagne in his honor and other wonderful treats.  You will also have a chance to chat with Michael, if you haven’t already done so.  And Andrea Marcovicci, world renowned cabaret chanteuse and actress, will have the international launch of Song at the event and speak about the creation of Song, answer questions, and sign copies of her latest CD.  Also Linda Gerlach, who is debuting Love – The Key to Life, as well as other fragrance industry designers and representatives will be there too.  (I can personally attest to the new fragrance “Love – The Key to Life” as I was recently given it as a present and use it most every day.  I also love its packaging.)

Spafumerie will be offering complimentary makeovers, a 10% discount on all purchases, and 25% off on spa services like Terme di Saturnia or Decleor facials, and deep tissue or hot stone massage. And with any manicure and pedicure they will include a free bottle of Essie nail polish.

The final stop of the day will be New London Luxe, the newly-opened second floor of New London Pharmacy at 23rd St and Eighth Ave, in my neighborhood.  Famed perfumer Hilde Soliani is flying in from Parma, Italy to be with Sniffapalooza and there will be sampling and representatives from many of NLL’s diverse brands, like Ligne St. Barth’s, Becca, Aesop, The Different Company, Jane Iredale, i Profumi di Firenze, Tom of Finland, Cumming, Organic Pharmacy, Acqua di Parma, Agraria, Penneluna, Patricia di Nicolai, Aroma M, i Coloniali, Santa Maria Novella and others.   New London Luxe is also extending a 20% discount to Sniffapalooza guests.

Sniffapalooza’s holiday fete is an all-day affair and lasts from 11am to about 5:30pm. The registration fee, which includes Michael Edwards’ workshop, lunch, desserts, cocktails and various treats and perks is $40 per person. If you’d like to be a part of these holiday festivities you need register as soon a possible at
Seating is limited.

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Daily Photo – Cracks In Sidewalks – Big Crack Little Grass

Big Crack Little Grass

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Thanksgiving Sunday, Baz Luhrmann, and Australia

It’s Thanksgiving Sunday and we made it through the first part of the holidays, even happily and gratefully.

I went to my niece and her husband’s for Thanksgiving this year.  They got married this past summer and wanted Thanksgiving in their home this holiday.  It was pretty funny because sometime during the day while dealing with all the preparation my niece looked at me and said how she needed to thank my sister because she finally understood what it took to put together a holiday spread like that even with others participating in the dinner.  I had also done it in past years and when she stood up and said they’d like to do it, I had no problems passing along the baton, actually it was quite nice in many respects to do so.

The holiday dinner they prepared was fabulous and included a natural turkey with stuffing, homemade cranberry sauce, homemade butternut squash soup with pumpkin seeds and sour crème, buttermilk mashed potatoes, my sweet potato casserole with pure maple syrup, butter, and pecans, pumpkin and key lime pies, and so forth.  Needless to say no one went away hungry, plus of course there were plenty of leftovers.

The rest of the weekend was spent relaxing, being lazy, continuing to eat well and enjoy, and maintaining the tradition of going to the movies and watching movies.  I also believe that avoiding “Black Friday” shopping helps to keep me in the good spirit of the holiday avoiding the stress that goes along with it no matter how well you do.  Instead we did our best to support the economy and ourselves by going out to eat several times, going to the theater, and spending $5 plus on popcorn.

For me Thanksgiving is about seeing epic drama’s or James Bond movies, etc.  I save the more serious and even what I think might be better movies for other times.  We ended up deciding to go see the new Baz Lurhmann (Strictly Ballroom, Romeo and Juliet, Moulin Rouge) film “Australia” with Nicole Kidman (Lady Sarah) and Hugh Jackman (Drover).  It somehow fit in to the holiday movie theme.  An expansive drama, and a love story that begins right before World War Two and uses Australia is its other leading lady.  It’s about personal relationships, parenthood, bigotry, love of country, friendship, honor and greed.  It was a perfect movie for this past weekend.  And spending two plus hours observing Hugh Jackman (People’s newest sexiest man), and Nicole Kidman is not a bad way to spend an afternoon.  (I’ve been on film sets with both of them and they are actually better looking in person, and I have to say Nicole was quite kind to me when I worked with her.)

The movie “Australia” I thought was good, but I didn’t think it was great although it had great moments.  I felt it was a little long and in my opinion the story could have ended about a half hour sooner.  I didn’t need every loose end to be tied up.  That said I enjoyed seeing the film and felt that both Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman were compelling in their respective roles as was the little boy who played “Nullah,” a challenging role that demanded a strong balance of character, emotion, magic, and sweetness.  I also found myself embarrassingly welling up with tears streaming down my face at various times during the movie.  Some of those tears I felt were warranted and others I felt were there because of manipulation, but I must admit they manipulated me good because I didn’t want anyone to see my face when the movie ended.

When choosing a movie this upcoming holiday I would say if you are looking for an afternoon or evening escape, if you love either of the two leading actors, if you want to see amazing landscapes of an Australia you don’t see in Sydney, I recommend this movie to you.  Also the art direction and costume design is quite good and could get Oscar nods.  If you are looking for a “Best Picture” contender I don’t think this will be it, but I could be wrong.

Over the next several weeks I will attend several Screen Actor Guild Screenings with Q&A’s with the actors, writers, and directors.  Those movies include, “The Reader,” “Revolutionary Road,” “Doubt,” and “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,” to name a few.  I’ll keep you posted with updates.

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My Cats Tail – Suki Yawn

All that food makes me tired too!

All that food makes me tired too!

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