Category Archives: Daily Crack
So I have to admit it I should be in a sticky note 12 Step program. I am confessing to you that I am a sticky note addict! Yes computers are great, contact management programs are helpful and necessary, calendars are good too, but I could not live without my yellow sticky notes. My sticky note of preference is the 3M yellow 2 7/8”X2 7/8” square “Post-It’s.” My world revolves around them. They are almost as important to me as food and water and have been for a number of years.
I organize my life with these beautiful yellow creatures and I have friends, relatives, coworkers past and present who will testify to that effect. I always have to have a pad close by. I’d be lost without them! Anything important that I need to remember, appointments, to do’s, sometimes as simple as “wash hair,” “clean litter box,” or “do laundry”, it all gets written down. At work it used to be “call so and so,” “contract musicians for session,” “call back the drummer and see if he’s solid,” “get string player referrals.” Yes most of this was in my computer on ACT, but if it was really important it was also on a sticky attached to the side of my computer.
At home they are organized by the day in my kitchen. I write something down so I won’t forget it, then put it in the pile under the day it needs to get done. Every morning I look under that days sticky notes and I feel that much better. I have back up. My sticky notes act like my own personal assistant reminding me of what “really” needs to be accomplished that particular day. I have managed multi million dollar projects this way without dropping the ball. It’s quite humorous to my friends and co-workers, but it works for me. Did you ever see Lily Tomlin’s “in Search of Intelligent Life?” There’s a scene with sticky notes and the woman is so obsessed with them that she has them posted all up and down her arms, well that’s me only I have them posted in my kitchen, on my computer, and on rare occasion on my desk chair so I remember to do something or call someone the second I return.
Today I have confessed. I have come clean with you about one of my little somethings that grows between the cracks. I endorse the use and utility of 3M yellow 2 7/8” X 2 7/8” Post-It’s. My life would be a mess without them and I don’t plan on giving them up anytime soon. This product can be found in most drug stores, stationary stores, grocery stores, and office supply stores. And I swear to you 3M did not pay me to write this, although I would be an amazing spokeswomen for them if somehow by some chance, they read this post.
A couple of weeks ago I found myself flipping through the channels on my television and saw that “I’m Your Man,” the Leonard Cohen concert documentary was on PBS again and I decided I needed to see it one more time as it is such a great film. Not only is it inspiring musically, but you hear Leonard Cohen in his own words talk about his life, his struggles, his weaknesses, his thoughts, and what drove him to write at different times during his long prestigious career.
Directed by Lian Lunson with music produced once again by famed music producer Hal Wilner, the concert portion of the film takes place in Sydney, Australia in 2005 at the Sydney Opera House and stars an impressive roster of guest artists performing Leonard Cohen songs. This included the likes of Rufus Wainwright, Martha Wainwright, Kate & Anna McGarrigle, Linda Thompson, Teddy Thompson, Nick Cave, Jarvis Cocker, The Handsome Family, Beth Orton, Antony, with backup singers Peria Batalla and Julie Christensen and a special performance by Leonard Cohen with U2’s Bono and The Edge filmed specifically for the movie.
The story is told by Cohen and is taken from interviews that were filmed in LA. It is interspersed with old photo’s and home movies from Cohen’s life, spanning from his childhood in Montreal, to his life as a monk, the past and the present. Cohen speaks candidly about his personal journey; his influences, the twists and turns his life has taken; his spiritual quest including becoming a monk; and it also delves a bit into the rumors of his romantic life and female escapades of which he has also became famous.
“I’m Your Man” is worth seeing on so many levels. Released in 2006 this award- winning story is incredibly interesting and the music is fantastic! If at any time over the past 40 years you have found yourself taken by this wonderful musician poet, or if this is the first time you are being introduced to Leonard Cohen, he is someone you will want to know, and this is a movie you will want to see. Available on DVD, it also plays occasionally on PBS. If you haven’t already experienced its pleasure, consider taking the time to do so.
Below is a link to the movies trailer. Get a preview by either clicking on the link below or cutting and pasting it into your browser.
Years ago my girlfriend in Paris who lives in the 5th, told me she wanted to take me to a café on her favorite little street in all of Paris, Rue Mouffetard, one of the oldest streets in Paris. At that time I had only been to Paris 2 or 3 times. It was winter and we were with friends, happy because it was the holidays and also happy because we were in Paris. We proceeded to walk from her apartment bundled up in our warm coats, scarves and gloves, and soon found ourselves on this little quaint cobblestone street all lit up for the Christmas season. Walking up the street looking in the windows everything looked absolutely perfect!
We had a wonderful meal and later I told a friend, that I was in love with this street and we had to come back the next day so I could see it in daylight. The following day we returned and the cobblestone street was bustling with commerce. The freshest flowers filled the stalls, stands were piled high and full of color with farmers vegetables. Looking left and right I saw every kind of cheese imaginable and the patisseries all were perfect. You could hear them beckoning you to walk in and try more than one. Cafes and small restaurants to sample line the street. They kept us occupied more than once, and the neighborhood with its wonderful side streets gives both the native and the traveler a lot to explore, and we did.
From that night on whenever I am in Paris, I never miss an opportunity to walk up or down the gentle cobblestone slope called Rue Mouffetard, also referred to as “Le Mouffe”. It’s got to be my favorite place in Paris, if one can choose. Located in the 5th arrondissement near the church Saint Medard, by what I always consider to be the base of the street, is a circle with a fountain surrounded by little cafes and patisseries. From there, your nose and the colors will lead you to where you want to go. Some people say the street represents the history of Paris. So if you’ve never walked on Rue Mouffetard, and you’re going to be in Paris this summer or any season, try to find time to savor this vibrant colorful neighborhood. You’ll be happy you did.
A short walk from the Pantheon, the nearest Metro stops are Place Monge and Censier-Daubenton.
Saturday night I had a pleasant surprise. I was taken to an elementary school in Greenwich Village, led up some stairs to the school’s gymnasium, seated at a table looking up at a stage that had “Moonwork” painted in bold letters, and told I was now in on a well kept comedy club secret. By the end of the evening I had to agree, and their next show is January 10th so now you’re in on this secret too.
The cost is $20 a person and it is my understanding that you have to be on an email list to find out about these performances. Held at the Children’s Aid Society also known as The Phil Coltoff Center on Sullivan Street near Bleaker and W.3rd, this past Saturday’s line up included Andres Dubouchet, Tom Shillue, Hannibal Buress, Rachel Feinstein, Ethan Lipton & his Orchestra, and John Oliver (from The Daily Show.) If you’re more up on comics and clubs you might be familiar with some of these acts. Being a late night TV freak, I was only familiar with John Oliver whom I adore.
Set in the gymnasium with round tables for 4, candles, and this time of year, as it was close to Christmas, Hershey Kisses and candy canes on the tables as well; they also had beer and soft drinks available for sale in the back. I would say in all there were maybe 100 people in the audience.
This portion of Moonwork’s mission is called “Evenings of Original Works,” of which they hold 15 per year and encourage performers to showcase their original work. Besides the likes of John Oliver and Tom Shillue, they have in the past featured performers such as Janeane Garofalo, and Drama Desk and Obie Award winners. It’s a good mix of high caliber talent. They also have within the Moonwork organization an annual Shakespeare production, and a Kids Outreach Program that is tied to Shakespeare. It’s here that they hope to instill and unlock a child’s love of learning and bring theater to kids.
Our Saturday evening at Moonwork was more than entertaining and well worth the $20 admission fee. All of the acts were quite good in their own right with John Oliver being an added holiday treat. The entire experience was positive. If you live in NYC or have friends who do, I encourage you to check this organization out and if you can, attend their next “Evening of Original Work” in January. I’ve included their website below to help you find out more about them. Simply cut and paste the link into your browser.
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.
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.
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!
Just a few things you might not know about our famous potato.
- Sweet Potatoes are a tuberous root.
- They were the main source of nourishment for American homesteaders and soldiers of the Civil and Revolutionary Wars.
- The American Indians were growing Sweet Potatoes long before the arrival of Columbus.
- Columbus brought the sweet potato back to Spain who then started exporting them to England.
- They are very healthy and full of vitamin A & C as well as potassium, calcium, and iron.
- Sweet Potatoes were first grown in Central and South America about 5,000 years ago.
- George Washington grew sweet potatoes on his farm in Mt. Vernon.
- With their skin left on a sweet potato has more fiber than a bowl of oatmeal.
- The sweet potato helped Scarlett O’Hara to keep her 19” waist. Her nanny fed her sweet potatoes before going out so she wouldn’t get fat on party foods.
- They don’t like refrigerators.
- Sweet Potatoes are a part of the Morning Glory family.
- Sweet potatoes are good baked, mashed, or fried, and are also made into cookies, pies, soups, and chips.
- James Taylor wrote a song called “Sweet Potato Pie.” Below is a link to an old video of James Taylor performing his song.
This time of year becomes my own little film festival, well actually for me and every other member of one of the theatrical guilds. They used to start a little later as did most of the award shows and I preferred that. It was a good way to pass the winter in NYC. It also used to be easier to see any movie you wanted to see as all the theaters would just accept your membership card, but then the guilds got too big and it became an economical decision to tighten the ropes. But the film companies still needed us to see their movies as they needed our votes for the awards so they started to go out of their way to set up more private screenings then in previous years, and with those screenings came Q&A’s with the actors, writers, and directors and for me this has become the best part of it all. The only downside is when friends later in the year want to go see a movie or rent one, my response to most their selections is that I’ve seen it.
Last night I went to my first screening of the season. I was very excited. I can also bring one guest so that adds to the fun. The screenings have been going on for several weeks but none until yesterday fit into my schedule. I went and saw “Last Chance Harvey” with Dustin Hoffman and Emma Thompson, who both participated along with writer director Joel Hopkins and a young actress I had not seen before, Liane Balaban, who plays Dustin Hoffman’s daughter in the movie, in a Q&A after the screening.
The Q&A portion of the evening began with Emma Thompson who was hoarse, imitating DeNiro “gangster” lines that Hoffman jokingly fed to her. She was very funny! What’s great about these Q&A’s is that they are very loose. There is a moderator who leads the session and gets it started and then it is open to the room and their fellow actors and writers, etc. Besides the moderator no press attends and no one is allowed to tape. The nature of the screenings bring about an honesty that you won’t find elsewhere and you get to know the actors and their process a little better and in each Q&A I’ve attended over the years there are always special unexpected moments that appear like magic. Two new things I learned last night about the actors were that Emma Thompson started by doing stand up and Dustin Hoffman wanted to be a jazz pianist and used to write music.
Later this week I am also attending a screening of the film “Milk” and Gus Van Saint, Emile Hirsch, and Josh Brolin will attend the Q&A that will follow. Then soon thereafter is “Vicky Christina Barcelona” with Penelope Cruz, and a few days later “Revolutionary Road” with Kate Winslet, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Sam Mendes, and it goes on like this for the next month or two. It is a definite perk and for me a very special experience. During this time I appreciate even more the roads in my life that I have chosen because they also led to this place and these adventurers.