Tuesday, January 31, 2012

"Occupella for Peace"...songbirds sing and inspire in Bart Station!







Some days life is chock full of surprises.

Like today, for instance.

Shortly after I alighted from the subway train and dashed up the escalators to the street level, the sound of angelic voices fell upon my ears and echoed throughout the Bart Station at Montgomery Street in downtown San Francisco.

At this juncture, I suddenly spied a chorus of spirited female singers - who were belting out tunes - and entertaining all the bustling commuters happening by.

A handwritten sign said it all:

"Occupella for Peace"

Just as I caught sight of another sign that urged San Franciscans to "Sing for Peace", the spirited songbirds began to strike up a rendition of "Imagine", written by slain Beatle John Lennon.

"Join in with us," they urged, as they beamed from ear-to-ear.

I cheered them on, as a pang of nostalgia unexpectedly swept up from the inner recesses of my mind.

At this juncture, I fondly recalled the memorable 60's - and activists like Joan Baez and Bob Dylan - who cautioned about the atrocities of War through the inspiring touching medium of song.

I couldn't help but wonder what had gone so terribly wrong in Oakland in recent days where violence and vandalism have now overshadowed a movement that once held so much promise for the Nation a scant few weeks ago.

The ladies got it right.

Give Peace a Chance, too, eh?



Women's Fashion Forecast...Art-Deco inspired flappers all the rage!











Europe's elite couture houses have turned their fashion sensibilities back to the eclectic - at times whimsical - musings of a fanciful bygone era to rustle up a slew of eye-popping cocktail dresses sure to pump breathy life (think Marilyn, dahlinks!) into the fast-paced nightclub circuit come spring.


For starters,daring designers have been tossing a shimmering spotlight on the notorious femme fatale, and fathomed up an exuberant take on "flappers" and scintillating art-deco flourishes that still have the potent power to dazzle and flatter (provided the sultry babes have the silhouettes to pull the sultry look off, that is).


The vamp is in vogue - and fashionistas with a keen eye for bellweather trends - are jumping all over the threads with gay abandon.


The stand-outs are expected to - not only smolder on the runways - but exalt glamour and style ad they make their merry way through the heady climbs of the International jet-set terrain.


Collections are beyond the pale, and not for the shrinking violets of the world, I'll say.


Confident feminine women - sassy ones, too -  will be tripping-the-light-fantastic in chic outfits that boast metallic eye-catching flourishes, echo subtlety etched geometric patterns from the roaring 20's, and a bevy of beauteous beads, feathers, and lace to boot.

Romance is in style once again!







Shirley MacLaine...cast in juicy role on "Downton Abbey"!






Feisty seasoned pro - Shirley MacLaine - is joining the cast of the award-winning PBS mini-series - "Downton Abbey" - according to industry sources over the weekend.


Tattler readers may recall that I raved about the upstairs-downstairs-style period potboiler which has captured the imagination of discriminating audiences both here and across the big pond for two scintillating seasons now.

Post: 01/10/2011

http://ijulian.blogspot.com/2011/01/downton-abbeyperiod-drama-gem-lords-gay.html


Ms. MacLaine - a talent extraordinaire - is slated to run interference with Maggie Smith's frosty "Dowager Countess" in the upcoming third season (which is guaranteed to cause pulses to race and tongues to twitter, just betcha!).

MacLaine will portray Lady Grantham's mother (Elizabeth McGovern).

Stay posted for updates!


David Letterman...on the rag about elusive exclusive hunk Brad Pitt!









At the top of the Late Show last night, it was pretty obvious to Paul Shaffer, that his boss was down in the proverbial dumper.

"It's that Brad Pitt," Dave grumbled, as avid fans in the stands below the footlights edged closer in their seats.

Uh-huh!

The popular comic was allegedly in a deep funk over the fact the high-profile Oscar-nominated hunk had consistently nixed his invites to trot down to the studio at the Ed Sullivan Theater to chat up insightful inquisitive (probing?) Dave at old CBS.

Ah, maybe that was it in a nutshell.

"He probably thinks I'll be cooler than he is," Letterman cackled with glee, as the audience roared their approval from the great beyond.

"It's probably his wife, Angelina Jolie, who is to blame," he conjectured, almost as an afterthought.

"I probably said something that insulted her last time she appeared on the show," Dave mused.

Bottom line?

Dave's written Pitt off as a potential guest in the future.

"He hates me," Letterman lamented ruefully.

Apparently, Pitt put in a much-ballyhooed appearance on the quirky John Daly show (which tapes on a sound stage on the same lot just a hop-and-a-skip away).

"He could have killed two birds with one stone," Dave quipped.

"Once he finished up over there, he could have stopped by here," he griped.

"Would you want him after," Paul snapped back pointedly.

Ugh!

Sloppy seconds!

If it were moi, no way, Jose.

"Maybe he belongs on a cable show," Dave concluded with a smug look of satisfaction on his face.

"I mean, what has he done?  He's not a really big star, is he?"

I expect that an obvious dig like that will push the heartthrob away!

Heh, I'm available, Dave (hint hint).

If Pitt has a sense of humor - in addition to truckloads of sex appeal - just maybe he'll play along.

Then again, maybe not!

After all, you can lead a stud to water, but you can't make him drink.

Stay posted for tweets - er - updates, eh?




Facebook...quote of the day (reported by Julian Ayrs)!





I was channel-surfing last night when I stumbled on a cable bio on Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg (?) and caught wind of a "users" quote of the day.

Uh-huh!

When Facebook fans were quizzed about the number of friends they've "nurtured" along on the highly-trafficked web site , one happy-go-lucky member was quick on the uptake and beamed from ear-to-ear.

"I have more friends on Facebook than I do in the real world," he quipped.

Which underscores what critics have been speculating all along.

Friendships struck up on a social hub  - sight unseen - hover somewhere between the heady realms of reality, the surreal, wistful thinking, even fantasy!

Personally, when it comes to revving up a relationship with a total stranger, I prefer to rely on the spontaneous chemistry that normally draws two people together naturally in the daily course of events.

Amen!



Monday, January 30, 2012

San Francisco...celebrates Year of Dragon with parade February 11th!





In San Francisco the locals are gearing up for the big parade on the horizon to celebrate Chinese New Year and the triumphant entrance of the mighty Dragon!

Right now is an opportune occasion to take a trek down to Grant Street (the main strip in Chinatown) to marvel at all the preparations underway for what is bound to be one of the social and cultural (political, too, now that Mayor Lee is in power?) highlights of 2012.

Personally, I have always been intrigued by all the ancient traditions - the passing out of embossed red envelopes, the annual dances and rituals to ward off evil spirits, tea sampling, the exotic display of far eastern treasures in quaint storefront windows, merry-makers in delightful costumes, you name it!

Tattler readers may recall that I posted an in-depth feature on the rich historical past of San Francisco's fascinating Chinatown in recent years.

Post: 01/18/2008

http://ijulian.blogspot.com/2008/01/san-franciscos-chinatowngateway-to.html

Each year, I trot down to catch the festive parade, then saunter on over to Grant Street to peruse all the spritely-colored tents vendors have erected wherein they flog their eclectic wares.

See 'ya there on February 11th, eh?




The Iron Lady...Exquisite filmmaking! Meryl Streep's Oscar-calibre performance!





Though I've never been one to follow politics too closely (my primary focus has been on the arts over the years) - and I am quite unfamiliar with the specifics of Margaret Thatcher's stint as England's Prime Minister - there is much I can rave about without hesitation in respect to the just-released screen bio on her life.

For starters, Meryl Streep's performance in "The Iron Lady" is a knock-out bang-on portrayal - a crowning achievement - in a remarkable acting career that has spanned several decades without interruption.

In contrast to her "hammy" caricature of "Julia Child" just a scant few years ago, here, Ms. Streep has managed to breathe life - and flesh out with subtle nuance -aspects of Thatcher's complex multi-faceted persona seamlessly - and seemingly - at whim.

Hers is a performance that is a joy to behold.

Critics are often quick to label an actor's characterization as a "revelation" in a bold-faced effort to single out outstanding play-acting now-and-then on both the stage and silver screen - but, in this instant case - the plaudit rings truer somehow.

At times, it appeared as if the very spirit of Mrs. Thatcher was imbuing the silver screen with her awesome other-worldly presence.

When it comes to filmgoers - with a discerning discriminating eye (keen on delicious detail) - "The Iron Lady" is also a triumph for Weinstein & Company as well.

The cinematography - well - it's stunning.

And, the editing, distinctive and superb!

It's doubtful that the director (Phyllida Lloyd) could ever be capable of turning in a pedestrian approach to set-ups - even with regard to key establishing scenes - so natural and instinctive is her unique spellbinding cinematic style.

Mesmerizing!

"The Iron Lady" is an inspiring peak into the political accomplishments of Britain's first female Prime Minister.

But, beyond the realm of politics, it also hits the mark in respect to a timely medical issue as well.

As moviegoers trot out the theater doors entertained, they are - no doubt - troubled by the prospect of being afflicted with Alzheimer's in their advancing years.

Which begs the question.

Is enough being done in the medical community to find treatments for the debilitating insiduous disease?



Sunday, January 29, 2012

Asian panhandlers...sign of the times?







When you spot
an
Asian
begging in the streets
'ya know
that economic times 
must be
tough!


Julian Ayrs
The Daily Planet
A Collection of Poems
(& Truisms)








Friday, January 27, 2012

Whitney Houston...to star in "Sparkle" remake! Star vehicle?







Word out of Whitney Houston's camp is that the Pop Diva has signed on to star in a remake of "Sparkle" in a sly effort to salvage a floundering image in the music biz in recent years.

The plot revolves around a singing trio - and a whirlwind of trials and tribulations they face - on their meteoric rise to pop stardom in the heady days of the 60's in Motown.

The well-mined territory sounds a little familiar, doesn't it?

Stay posted for drug overdoses - er - career updates as the details unfold in coming weeks!

Break a leg, Whitney.


Ryan Seacrest...perky jock to transform HDNet into Music Hub! AXS TV!





Rumors persist about perky Ryan Seacrest - in the mouths of many? - once again.

Up until late last week, gossip mongers were speculating that the effervescent disc jockey - and stylish man-about-town - would be slipping to the hosting seat currently being kept warm by Matt Lauer (getting the boot).

Now, the buzz has reared its ugly head, once again.

Handlers are whispering that Seacrest intends to breathe new life into HDNet - the floundering cable entity - and resurrect the rich media outlet into - voila! - a newly-formed entertainment outlet to be known as AXS TV.

The hyper high-profile kid is expected to focus on live! concerts and pop culture bill-of-fare, according to my sources.

Stay posted for updates, eh?





Dr. Robert M. Walley...D.D.S. rip-off dentist! Consumers beware of fraud & Deceptive Business Practices!








Well, it's obvious that dentists did not acquire their bad reputations - and mercenary images - for no good reason.

In fact - when it comes to Dr. Robert M. Walley D.D.S. - the word out of the San Francisco Bay area is that poential patients should not only take heed of the old-familiar saying - consumer beware - but run the other way!

After all, Dr. Walley - and his staff in particular - are basically disreputable low-lifes with a license to rip folks off!

You'd think that in these troubling economic times, professionals like Walley - who have the gumption to call themselves "care givers" -  would have some compassion on the needy instead of trying to take advantage of their misfortune with the ultimate aim of fleecing 'em in the underhanded process.

According to my sources, Dr. Walley doesn't give a damn about providing professional quality service, one bit.

He and his staff are simply out to line their pockets with their ill-gotten gains at the expense of their unwitting clients.

Notwithstanding, Walley and his gang of merry thieves also routinely engage in fraud and deceptive business practices - and that, too - is shocking in-of-itself.

For example, although patients appear on time for their appointments in good faith, Dr. Wally's staff proceed to treat them dishonestly and unprofessional with an eye on the bottom line only.

In fact, patients have complained that once they set up an appointment for emergency dental work - and settle in to the dentist's chair - Dr. Walley and his disreputable staff move in for the kill.

When a patient notes reveals that a tooth has been broken "up front", for instance, the individual is smooth-talked into proceeding with treatment right away to prevent further complications, infection, and so-forth-and-so-on.

But, when they balk at the prices (one Wally technician pressured a patient to cough up $540 for a partial cleaning in one side of the mouth), Walley proceeds to use a little psychology - and insults the patient - in a deceitful effort to pressure them into springing for the outrageous overpriced dental work.

"You can't go walking around looking like a derelict," he flippantly laments in a nasty tone of voice.

Under the false pretense that the dental staff are actually concerned about the well-being and overall health of the individual, they try to pressure the potential "victim" into writing a check for the full sum in spite of the fact the individual may have insurance.

Uh-huh!

The greedy bastards can't wait to get paid by the Insurance carrier. They want their money upfront right away, no matter what the hardship, for the client.

It was all just a clever ploy to get the injured - who are understandably emotionally-charged and upset under the circumstances - in the door right away so they can start bilking them out of their hard-earned cash without any guilt.

Patients are ushered into an examination room with the understanding that the surgery will commence right away once the X-rays are taken.

Wrong!

Walley and his staff proceed to demand $203.00 (and upwards) for an examination fee and practically boot the sorry soul out of their office on their sorry if they refuse to pay up.

Their actions constitute fraud, after all, since failure to disclose is illegal conduct in the U.S.

And, the list of grievances goes on and on, you betcha!

I say, you can probably get a set of pearly whites elsewhere for half the price.

Amen!



Thursday, January 26, 2012

"Gilda"...Rita Hayworth a knock-out in flawed Film Noir classic!








Film buffs tossed the chilling winter doldrums aside the other night and hot-footed it down to the Castro Theater to catch a Noir City screening of "Gilda" starring effervescent Rita Hayworth.

The atmosphere in the Art Deco movie house was electrically-charged as fans of the B-list genre poured over delightful memorabilia from the 40's era from whence the Noir films were originally coined, sipped on potent cocktails (demon Bourbon, for starters), and strutted their stand-out period threads (sparked up with wide boldly-patterned festive cravats, eye-catching suspenders, and rakish Fedoras).

The two classic films -"Gilda" and "The Money Trap" (both starring gorgeous actress Rita Hayworth and handsome Glenn Ford) - were a big draw.

Obviously, it was the charms of the charismatic twosome, that lured in die-hard fans (who proceeded to pack the exquisitely-decorated revival house no problem).

For the legendary "Rita Hayworth", "Gilda" was a break-out role that cemented her fame in film archives around the globe as one of the great "Love Goddesses" of that (or any other) glittering Hollywood era.

In one mesmerizing show-stopping scene (in which the breathtaking bombshell warbles about the 1906 San Francisco "quake") when "Gilda" breaks out into song - and a spectacular sizzling-hot dance routine - the sultry siren literally brought the house down.

In fact, it was no doubt the dazzling allure of Ms. Hayworth's ravishing beauty - and remarkable acting gifts - that turned her precious-little screen time into a handful of the most memorable moments on celluloid in film history.

Glenn Ford was outstanding, too, but - at times - the awkward-looking lead actor was unable to truly hold his own against Ms. Hayworth's luminous screen persona.

In spite of the fact the movie is often considered a work of perfection by critics and fans alike, "Gilda" is flawed in many respects, though.

Indeed, the direction by Charles Vidor - who was usually a master at the helm - was often downright sloppy.

For example, in one scene Gilda dashes up a grand staircase, then, half-turns to hurl a couple of quips back at her co-star.

Unfortunately, Vidor neglected to advise Ms. Hayworth to take a baby step-or-two up, where the light would have bathed her beautiful face in a more flattering light.

Instead, Gilda was in the shadows, struggling to be acknowledged in a pivotal scene.

In another annoying moment, Ms. Hayworth rolls over on a king-size bed - but, once again - was not given appropriate direction.

Had Ms. Hayworth fallen back a couple of feet - instead of forward - the lighting would have framed her stunning features face - and, subsequently resonated - to capture a lasting screen impression.

At one point, the snafus were so glaring, I had to seriously wonder if the director was "pissed off" with Ms. Hayworth that day - and thus - elected to punish her by rustling up some unflattering shots to steal a moment or two of her glorious day in the sun.

But, upon reflection, I opted to chalk up the slip-shod set-ups, to a lack of skill (and shortcomings) on the part of Mr. Vidor (arising from an amateurish approach at the offset).

After all, it was difficult to block out other celluloid moments where it appeared that Vidor was toying with the effects of light and shadow, with disastrous results in other segments of the flick.

For moi, those stilted scenes literally jarred my artistic sensibilities.

In spite of the aforementioned, Ms. Hayworth managed to upstage everyone in the tight, talented, ensemble cast of stellar actors.

Rita in a nutshell?

Ravishing! Vivacious! Sensational!

When she passed over to spirit, God broke the mold.

Bless that great dame, eh?




Tony Bennett...I Left my Heart in San Francisco! Fundraiser Valentine's Day!






 




Tony Bennett is jetting into San Francisco next month to croon at a fundraising gig at the Venetian Room at the Fairmont Hotel on tony Nob Hill to benefit heart research for UCSF.


Though the high-profile event - which includes cocktails, a gourmet dinner, and live stage show - sold out within hours on the heels of the exciting news - fans are hopeful that the engaging performer will sing earlier in the day in the Rotunda at City Hall when Mayor Lee will declare February 14th "Tony Bennett Day".


The remarkable acoustics - which recently elevated a San Francisco Boys Choir concert (at the Mayor's inaugural ceremony) to haunting Angelic heights - may prove to be too tempting a lure (musically and theatrically) for the seasoned pro to pass by.


Of course, the charismatic Bennett is expected to perform his signature tune - drum roll, please - "I left my heart in San Francisco" (which earned him a Grammy award in 1962.


Tony Bennett Duet II is up for consideration this year at the prestigious awards show, too.


Die-hard fans will have the opportunity to catch music collaborations with Lady Gaga, John Mayer, Aretha Franklin, and (the late great) Amy Winehouse on a PBS special to broadcast on Friday.


Viewers at home will probably marvel at the 85-year-old's versatility, musical vision, and depth of range by the time the curtain falls on - what is expected to be - a vastly entertainment live concert!


Stay posted!





Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Golden Globe Awards...Jodie Foster's "Beaver" gets thumbs up! Naughty Ricky at it again!












The red carpet was rolled out, celebrities alighted from sleek limos purring at the curb, and Sir Elton John and the material-girl Madonna traded nasty barbs.


Uh-huh!


There was much to celebrate at the 69th Annual Golden Globe Awards last weekend in tony Beverly Hills.


In spite of the fact the naughty stand-up comic Ricky Gervais was slapped on the wrist last year for uttering up a smattering of vulgar blue material which triggered an uproar around the face of the globe, the smug "King of Smut" was welcomed back into the fold with open arms to play host for the Foreign Press association again.

The stuffy overdressed Emcee did not disappoint, no Sir!

"The Golden Globes are like the Oscars, but without the esteem," he chortled wickedly, as the elite A-list crowd below the footlights roared (some groaned) their approval.

Talk about biting the hand that feeds 'ya, eh?

One quip must have had Lenny Bruce cackling in his grave.

"I was told not to mention Jody Foster's "Beaver" either," he quipped, after fessing up that he was barred from mentioning Mel Gibson on this year's broadcast after last year's debacle got him into hot water.

Not surprisingly, few of the tabloid news shows were inclined to mention that joke in follow-up news coverage on the heady Golden Globe celebrations, that raged around the country the next day non-stop.

Just maybe, the brass at the Networks were afraid of being hauled up on obscenity charges, or alienating TV viewers?

But, Gervais wasn't alone, when it came to foul language.

When Morgan Freeman trotted up to the podium to accept the Cecil B. DeMille Award, I nearly pooped my pants when he uttered up a salty phrase ("pissed off") when his moment in the sun arrived.

In retrospect, I always thought Mr. Freeman was an educated classy man. 

Golly, I guess I got him mixed up with a handful of the characters he has played over the years.

God, for example?

In another "earthy" moment, Kelsie Grammar praised a key player involved with his TV sitcom for "having the balls" to order up several episodes of the series without requiring a prerequisite pilot to test the waters first.

Obviously, the lines between cable, reality TV, and the majors have become blurred!

Personally, I was appalled by all the filthy language throughout.

The Golden Globes should endeavour to entertain in a classy sophisticated way, especially in view of the fact the much-anticipated soiree is broadcast  to over 160 countries around the planet.

Instead, it has become the scourge of award show offerings - a dirty joke - in fact.

In the final analysis, the Foreign Press Association came off as a posse of industry hacks, out to sully the image of the industry in the rich broadcast media.

If anything, they represent the seamy underbelly of Hollywood, that undermines the integrity of the business.

Meanwhile, a handful of performers, treated the dazzling event with a lot of deserving dignity and respect.

Angelina Jolie, for instance.

The celebrated beauty turned out in a shimmering designer gown (with a flourish of red framing her graceful neck)  - in true red carpet style - worth emulating.

A movie star to the max!

Laura Linney was a breath of fresh air, too - oh, so chic and elegant in a flawless designer gown and swept-up "do" - in spite of the fact she left her "girl next door" persona at home.

The male animal was well represented, too.

Ashton Kutcher (he left his comfie jammies in the laundry basket for a change) and Leonardo DiCaprio both stood out - amidst a scruffy crowd of cheap suits - in fancy threads (top-of-the-line tuxes with elegant accessories to spark up the look) that smacked of Matinee Idol images of yesteryear.

Admittedly, Kutcher's box tie could have benefited from a bit of artful tweaking, though.

In contrast, Johnny Depp came off as an unmade bed in a tux jacket he swam in, which was paired with a sparkly (!) green vest, and open dress shirt with too-wide and too-high floppy collar that flapped in the breeze.

No wonder his marriage is rumored to be on the rocks, eh?

And, isn't it time that Martin Scorcese trimmed those bushy eyebrows which appeared to be roaming around the room full tilt?

You don't suppose he's a long-lost relative of Grouch Marx, do 'ya?

Some impromptu - spontaneous moments off-stage - were quite a giggle for viewers at home, too.

One on-the-ball cameraman caught Dustin Hoffman looking bored whenever an actor was uttering up an acceptance speech on stage.

Was he a spoil sport?

From my perch the ego-maniac appeared to be saying to himself:

"Heh, that should be me up there, dudes!"

Well, you'd think so, with that expression on his face looming large for all to see.

Reese Witherspoon looked positively naked in her ambitious frock sans jewelry.

Was she unable to borrow a pricey eye-catching necklace because the owners at local retailers mistook her for Lindsay Lohan?

And, it was easy to fathom why George Clooney has become "Mr. Popularity" in elite social circles around Tinseltown.

During breaks, he was spied table-hopping, and pressing the flesh of fellow thespians.

He even offered up compliments about Brad Pitt's smooching!

"Pitt's a great kisser," he grinned from ear-to-ear.

In a bold-faced effort to prevent any rumors from taking roost, Brad was quick on the uptake.

"How would George know?"

Meow!

But, the bitch award of the night, went to Sir (Queen?) Elton John.

When the pop crooner was asked about his rival's chances to nab top prize for Best Song (he was competing for) his knee-jerk reaction said it all.

"Madonna doesn't have a f**king chance!"

Ouch!

And, how was your night?

See 'ya next year at the Beverly Hilton, eh?








Eyes the window of the soul...quote by Julian Ayrs!






If the eyes
are
the windows of the soul
then,
an individual must be wary
about
who gazes into
them!


Julian Ayrs
Divine Grace
A Collection of Poems




Year of the Dragon...auspicious lunar year ahead! San Franciscans celebrate joyously!









Colorful dynamic firework displays have been erupting over the city and in the bustling streets the past couple of days - particularly in Chinatown and the financial district in the tony climbs of San Francisco - now that the "Dragon" has roared in to influence the lunar cycle in 2012.


The "Year of the Dragon" is associated with the earthly branch symbol and considered to be the luckiest.


The 15-day Chinese New Year celebration that follows is chock-full of tradition.


For instance, red envelopes with even-numbered amounts of money -  the Chinese avoid the number four because it sounds like the word for “death’’ - are gifted to the young and to the elderly alike.


Each day, there is some superstition that requires a ritual, to ward off potentially "evil" spirits.


So far, the ongoing festivities in the picturesque city by the bay have been practical, fanciful, and downright mystical in scope.


For example, the U.S. Postal Service unveiled a "Dragon" stamp on Monday - with a lot of pomp and circumstance (in spite of glaring financial woes which have forced planned shut-downs of a handful of branch outlets around the country) -  to commemorate the occasion.


Mayor Ed Lee also attended an awakening of the "Dragon" just yesterday.


Who wants to tempt fate?


On the heels of those high-spirited events, the Management at the Hilton Hotel on Kearny Street was quick to adorn their sumptuous lodgings - a favorite of visitors from the far east - with symbols of the Dragon to attract good fortune their way.


Locals may recall that Mayor Ed Lee also noted in his inaugural speech last week that he intended to draw on the power of the mighty "Dragon" to meet many of the challenges San Franciscans may face this year as the city and its residents pull together and attempt to rise up out of a recession that was hard-hit on the West Coast (and elsewhere).


Unlike the zodiac - where an individual's horoscope sign is determined by the month of their birth - the Chinese fathom up their sign according to the year they were born.


I happen to be a Dragon, so I am looking forward to a successful year ahead, for sure.


Dragons symbolize dominance and ambition and are often strong individuals who are driven to achieve, unafraid of challenges, and willing to take risks.


They’re passionate in the pursuit all their endeavours - and inclined to carry out their plans to the max - in grand style if possible.

Other signs are attracted to Dragons and their colorful (often unique) personalities.


Deep down? 

They are loners for obvious reasons.


Individuals are often more successful when they are focused and working fervently alone, than when they are burning the midnight oil at wild soiress at the witching hour, after all.


Understandably, those born under the Dragon may appear to be arrogant or conceited, at least on a surface level.


Be careful not to anger a Dragon, though, because they have tempers that may flare up out-of-the-blue nowhere fast-and-furious without warning.

Dragons are basically robust (and boast good health overall) but - often get stressed out - and may suffer from periodic tension-related headaches as a result.


Risk-takers beware!


Dragons would be wise to pursue Yoga, power-walking, and other exercises that stimulate their minds and their physical bodies.

Dragons are born leaders, too.


Careers that allow them to express their creativity - without limitation - are best.


Dragons may be successful in the role of inventor, manager, computer analyst, lawyer, engineer, architect, broker, or even a sales person.

Dragons are quite independent, so - in love relationships - they fair well in love nests where their mate allows them the space to be themselves.


Dragons are often attracted to lovers who are intriguing and romantically inclined, by the way.

Chocolates and flowers will go a long way to win over their selective hearts!


Once they have found their soul mate, they remain hitched for life, for the most part.


Dragons born in the Years 1940 and 2000


The "Metal" element strengthens their constitution.


Dragons born under this influence are determined and fight for what they believe in. They enjoy the company of those who feel confident enough to challenge their beliefs. The firey ones are true leaders and usually find plenty of others willing to follow.


Water Dragons born in the Years 1952 and 2012


Water has a calming effect.


The Dragon’s fire is balanced by the element of water, after all.


Water Dragons are able to see things from myriad points of view.

Although they are set in their beliefs, they don't feel threatened when challenged by the insightful ideas of others, not so situated.

Happy New Year, fellow Dragons!








Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Oscar Nominations...snubs & surprises! Billy Crystal to host gala event!








Once again the Oscar nominations have been rolled out by the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences bright and early at the crack of dawn.

As usual, some of the selections have raised a few eyebrows in show-biz circles.


But, for the most part, the candidates for the coveted prize were pretty much predictable.


George Clooney and Brad Pitt were both a shoe-in for best actor ("Descendants" and "Moneyball" respectively).


Meanwhile, some thought it a crying shame that Kristen Dunst was "shut-out" in view of a captivating performance in "Melancholia".


Critics were a little taken aback that Rooney Mara was given the nod - on the other hand - for best actress in "Girl With the Dragon Tattoo".


I raved about her performance in my own movie review posted a couple of weeks ago.


It was no surprise to moi!

Will Meryl Streep (or Viola Davis) win in the race for best actress?


Although Michael Fassbender gave it his "all" in "Shame", he was snubbed, too.

I guess "big swinging dicks" in Hollywood are a dime-a-dozen these days, eh?

By the way, I am rooting for fellow Canuck - Christopher Plummer - who turned in a marvelous performance in "Beginners" (pictured below).

Some are betting that Michelle Williams will snatch up the Oscar for her portrayal of Marilyn Monroe.

Tune in for yourself and see who nabs top prize in the female category!

The Oscar celebration kicks-off on Feb. 26th (with Billy Crystal hosting) at the Kodak Theatre.

Here is a run-down of the nominees for the year 2011:

Best Picture:

"The Artist"
"The Descendants"
"Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close"
"The Help"
"Hugo"
"Midnight in Paris"
"Moneyball"
"The Tree of Life"
"War Horse"

Best Actor:

Demian Bichir
"A Better Life"
George Clooney
"The Descendants"
Jean Dujarin
"The Artist"
Gary Oldman
"Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy"
Brad Pitt
"Moneyball"

Best Actress:

Glenn Close
"Albert Nobbs"
Viola Davis
"The Help"
Rooney Mara
"The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo"
Meryl Streep
"The Iron Lady"
Michelle Williams
"My Week with Marilyn"

Best Supporting Actor:

Kenneth Branagh
"My Week with Marilyn"
Jonah Hill,
"Moneyball"
Nick Nolte
"Warrior"
Christopher Plummer
"Beginners"
Max von Sydow
"Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close"

Best Supporting Actress:

Berenice Bejo
"The Artist"
Jessica Chastain
"The Help"
Melissa McCarthy
"Bridesmaids"
Janet McTeer
"Albert Nobbs"
Octavia Spencer
"The Help"

Best Directing:

Michel Hazanavicius
"The Artist"
Alexander Payne
"The Descendants"
Martin Scorsese
"Hugo"
Woody Allen
"Midnight in Paris"
Terrence Malick
"The Tree of Life"

Best Foreign Language Film:

"Bullhead" (Belgium)
"Footnote" (Israel)
"In Darkness" (Poland)
"Monsieur Lazhar" (Canada)
"A Separation" (Iran)

Best Adapted Screenplay:

Alexander Payne, Nat Faxon and Jim Rash
 "The Descendants"
John Logan
"Hugo"
George Clooney, Grant Heslov and Beau Willimon
"The Ides of March"
Steven Zaillian, Aaron Sorkin and Stan Chervin
"Moneyball"
Bridget O'Connor and Peter Straughan
"Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy"

Best Original Screenplay:

Michel Hazanavicius
"The Artist"
Annie Mumolo and Kristen Wiig
"Bridesmaids"
J.C. Chandor
"Margin Call"
Woody Allen
"Midnight in Paris"
Asghar Farhadi
"A Separation"

Best Animated Feature Film:

"A Cat in Paris"
"Chico & Rita"
"Kung Fu Panda 2"
"Puss in Boots"
"Rango"

Best Art Direction:

"The Artist"
"Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2"
"Hugo"
"Midnight in Paris"
"War Horse"

Best Cinematography:

"The Artist"
"The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo"
"Hugo"
"The Tree of Life"
"War Horse"

Best Sound Mixing:

"The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo"
"Hugo"
"Moneyball"
"Transformers: Dark of the Moon"
"War Horse"

Best Sound Editing:

"Drive"
"The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo"
"Hugo"
"Transformers: Dark of the Moon"
"War Horse"

Best Original Score:

"The Adventures of Tintin"
John Williams
"The Artist"
Ludovic Bource
"Hugo"
Howard Shore
"Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy"
Alberto Iglesias
"War Horse"
John Williams

Best Original Song:

"Man or Muppet" from "The Muppets"
 Bret McKenzie

"Real in Rio" from "Rio"
Sergio Mendes, Carlinhos Brown and Siedah Garrett.

Best Costume:

"Anonymous"
"The Artist"
"Hugo"
"Jane Eyre"
"W.E"

Best Documentary Feature:

"Hell and Back Again"
"If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front"
"Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory"
"Pina"
"Undefeated"

Best Documentary (short subject):

"The Barber of Birmingham: Foot Soldier of the Civil Rights Movement"
"God is the Bigger Elvis"
"Incident in New Baghdad"
"Saving Face"
"The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom"

Best Film Editing:

"The Artist"
"The Descendants"
"The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo"
"Hugo"
"Moneyball"

Best Makeup:

"Albert Nobbs"
"Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2"
"The Iron Lady"

Best Animated Short Film:

"Dimanche/Sunday"
"The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore"
"La Luna"
"A Morning Stroll"
"Wild Life"

Best Live Action Short Film:

"Pentecost"
"Raju"
"The Shore"
"Time Freak"
"Tuba Atlantic"

Best Visual Effects:

"Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2"
"Hugo"
"Real Steel"
"Rise of the Planet of the Apes"
"Transformers: Dark of the Moon"