Saturday, February 25, 2012

Albert Nobbs...gender-bender role for Glenn Close falls flat! Entertaining period drama!





When a film critic starts to pay attention to the sets - the furniture in particular - then the movie (in this instant case "Albert Nobbs") is obviously in trouble.

Granted, there is a lot to be entertained by when this star vehicle (crafted for Glenn Close) splashes across the silver screen in a dazzling array of rich textures and lush eye-catching environs that can't help but captivate.

If a film buff is in to mesmerizing "period" pieces, then this quirky little drama is a gem that will sit right when all is said and done.

For starters, the cast of charming likable characters (for the most part) are delightul to behold.

Ms. Close, who acted as producer on this independent feature, established that she has a keen eye when is comes to scooping up talent capable of fleshing out the subtle nuances of complex intriguing personality.

Unfortunately, the gifted actress fell short when it came to creative choices for herself, especially in respect to the gender-bending role she attempts to tackle on screen here.

Part of the problem has to do with the "make-up" and the "prosthetics".

More often-than-not - because of the aforementioned challenges - emotions couldn't help but fail to ripple (or even register) on Nobb's frail face (so heavy was the mask that hindered as it also managed to confound in scene-after-scene).

Close - who scared the "bejesus" out of filmgoers in thrillers like "Fatal Attraction" - was barely able to rustle up a solid (or genuine) emotion-or-two on her normally-expressive face.

Consequently, her performance ends up being wooden, and falls flat.

In the early eighties, Ms. Close won an OBIE (stage honor) for her portrayal of "Albert Nobbs" in a stellar Broadway production.

After catching the film version last night, it was obvious that the well-written play lost something in the translation!

A handful of scenes are a "hoot" - downright hilarious - though.

For example, when Nobbs strikes up a friendship with another woman (impersonating a man like herself for the purposes of gainful employment) "he" is persuaded to don a frock the character's "lover" designed in her studio just before her untimely death.

When the odd twosome is suddenly spied strolling down the beach in the frilly "feminine" frocks moments later, there is a loud knee-jerk reaction from the audience.

Uh-huh!

Nobbs and the other gal appear for-all-the-world to be a couple of out-of-place freaks (social outcasts, at least).

Both - um - ladies were certainly too butch to be caught modelling the dainty outfits that cried out for slim pretty beauties in their stead.

Although the Nobb's production is of decent quality, at times, it was obvious (to moi, for sure!) that the flick was made on the cheap (to its detriment).

Where's Harvey Weinstein when 'ya need him?

Although "Albert Nobbs" is not ground-breaking material - or even thought-provoking in nature - it is worth the price of admission.

By the way, keep your eye on a couple of the "hunks" hopping in-and-out of bed throughout, because I expect their acting careers will be soaring in the near future.

Heartthrobs both!





Friday, February 24, 2012

Project Red Dress...Sin Sity Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence invite you to dress-up! Giddy-up for Charity!




The Sin Sity Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence are tossing a dazzling soiree at the World Market Center and Pavilions in Las Vegas and invite locals, out-of-towners, and tourists alike to slip into a par-tay frock, kick-up their heels, and toast the town!

Expect a barrel full of laughs, sizzling-hot entertainment, silent and live auctions, a costume contest, high-spirited dancing, a cash bar, and lots of debauchery and Sister mayhem!

Tickets
Main Event
$30.00

VIP Party
Special Event
$50.00

Door
8 p.m.

Contact:
 
http://www.sinsitysister.com


Chinatown...Cathay Bank gifts "trees" to Los Angeles community! Green appreciation!



During tough economic times, and in spite of a tendency of "Occupy Wall Street" protesters to take pot-shots at local and National Banks, one financial institution elected to take the high road this week and "give back".

Thanks to Cathay Bank, the bustling streets of Chinatown in Los Angeles County, are boasting 80 shade trees!

The bank - which has been serving the community without fail over the decades - took the occasion of its 50th Anniversary to gift the neighborhood in a unique environmentally-sound way!
At a festive ceremony on February 23rd at the bank's branch at 777 N. Broadway - Cathy Leung (a spokeswoman for the bank) - noted that the Hong Kong Orchid trees were slated to be installed on Hill Street between Ord and Bernard.

One for the environmentalists, eh?

The generous bank is a subsidiary of Cathay General Bancorp, a publicly held company, with $10 billion in assets.

Rudy Gernreich...topless swimsuit creator's dazzling exhibit "The Total Look"! @ MOCA!







If you resided in West Hollywood a couple of decades ago, and were inclined to pop into the Posh Bagel now-and-then for a bite to eat (just down from the old Mayfair Market) - chances are - you might cross paths with the legendary fashion designer Rudy Gernreich (pictured).

Mr. Gernreich was a high-profile fashionista (and clothes-horse) in these parts (his studio was on Santa Monica Boulevard just shy of La Cienega) known for his many bold (fanciful) innovations in the thread trade.

For example, the diminutive artist - usually attired in chic futuristic-looking black slacks and tight t's (which were sparked up with understated tasteful accessories such as fine jewellry)  - introduced the topless bathing suit in 1964 (and the world was never the same after that).

Tattler readers may recall that I penned a post on Mr. Gernreich in recent years, and that the gifted visionary was a casual friend who attempted to boost my own modelling career by placing a persuasive call to super agent Nina Blanchard.

Oh "she" of Merv Griffin fame!

Post: 12/11/2007

http://ijulian.blogspot.com/2007/12/rudi-gernreichtopless-swimsuit.html

Gernreich was part of a motley (dynamic) trio which included his muse - top model - Peggy Moffitt and her late husband (a photographer) William Claxton.

Today, I was quite thrilled to receive a press release which announced that the Museum of Contemporary Art will be presenting a body of Gernreich's work - appropriately titled - "The Total Look" - at the Pacific Design Center in West Hollywood.

The much-anticipated display will feature pieces from Ms. Moffitt's collection, in addition to, films and photographs by Claxton (wherein the model is captured in candid moments in front of his insightful penetrating lens).

Gernreich's work incorporated influences from the pop, minimal, and performance art scenes.

The multi-talented designer created the "unisex" look, often used leotards and tights before they were commonly splashed forward into the mainstream by other designers, and was keen on "see through" wardrobe outfits.

With obvious tongue-in-check, he whipped up the "No Bra" bra one fine day.

In Gernreich's mischievous hands, lowly street fashions suddenly became high brow!

Claxton first began to photograph Gernreich's offerings in 1957 and documented all the collections from 1962 onward.

A film - "Basic Black: William Claxton w/Peggy Moffitt" - will be featured during the run of the exhibition Sunday February 26th through May 20th.

Contact:

213.626.6222

http://www.moca.org

See 'ya there!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Oscar...documentary filmmakers point accusing finger at Michael Moore! Rules changes anger!






Will the revamped Oscar rules pertaining to eligibility requirements for documentaries level the playing field for fledgling filmmakers submitting their work for Academy Award consideration in the coming years ahead?

Is famed documentarian Michael Moore a despicable ogre out to raise the "bar" so the lofty dream to snag the coveted trophy is just beyond their reach?

And, why is the Oscar nominating process dominated by a majority of old (rich) white men (to the exclusion of women and minorities?).

Those were a handful of the issues raised at a panel discussion hosted by IDA (Independent Documentary Association) Board President Marjan Safinia on Monday night at the Cinefamily Theatre on Fairfax Avenue in Hollywood proper as the Oscar celebrations loom large on the horizon.

The illustrious guest list also included Steve Pond (a columnist for "The Wrap"), Dana Harris (an editor-in-chief @ Indiewire), James Moll (an Executive Committee member of the Documentary Branch of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences), and Dustin Smith (a VP for acquisitions at "Roadside Attractions").

Tattler readers may recall that I published a post on the upcoming rule changes which have understandably caused an uproar in the documentary film community in recent weeks.


Post: 01/11/2012

http://ijulian.blogspot.com/2012/01/oscarrules-change-for-documentaries.html

Some filmmakers in attendance at the event - who found Moore's recent interviews on news tabloid shows a little cavalier - pointed an accusing finger.

For example, one highly-vocal individual below the footlights actually pooh-poohed Moore's notion that a gentleman (who called in on a local talk-show to quiz the filmmaker personally on air) interested in crafting a short documentary on his hobby - "golfing" - would have a better chance shooting for the gold now in spite of the "hoops" he'd have to go through under the new set of criteria.

"He (Moore) was misinformed," one irate filmmaker lamented to all within earshot in disgust.

A bone of contention?

The Academy is proposing that to be eligible - a filmmaker must not only have a "legitimate" screening in a recognized theatrical venue outside of the "festival" circuit - but also secure a critical review in either the New York Times back east or in the Los Angeles Times on the West Coast.

A tall order to fill, you betcha!

"Just ask Kenneth Turan or Betsy Sharkey (both are film critics)," one upstart angrily retorted to all within earshot.

"Quite a few of the newspaper reporters have been laid off. The reviewers won't have the time to write critiques for one-hundred-and-twenty-or so potential nominees each year come Oscar time."

In addition, others expressed their fears that a published "review" by a sophisticated "worldly-wise" (potentially cynical) film critic might ring the death knell, too.

"If the review is negative, there's no way the doc will get a nod from Academy members," one huffed in frustration.

James Moll (a voting branch member at the Academy) heartily disagreed.

"The rules only stipulate that there be a review. Whether the critique is a good one or a bad one is neither here-nor-there," he assured the filmmakers who were sitting on the edge of their seats by now stewing.

Bottom line?

The Academy, in my estimation - and based on the information I have been privy to - is simply seeking to implement a set of criteria that guarantees a bona-fide theatrical release that holds up to legitimate industry standards.

In retrospect, all the speakers fessed up that - true - there has been quite a glut of documentaries submitted in recent years.

And, no argument here, the larger percentage of the projects have been crafted for television.

Moll was quick to denounce what amount to underhanded - under-the-table efforts by a scurilous few - to circumvent the professional process.

Apparently, a slew of filmmakers have screened their precious documentaries in out-of-the-way venues in the past - in Fallbrook, for instance (the fall guy, that night) - in a deceitful attempt to have it "both ways".

"They want to meet the eligibility requirements on the sly - without drawing attention to their project - so that they can premiere it on television later."

In essence, the filmmaker manages to kill two birds with stone, in that event.

For instance, if the filmmaker nabs an Oscar nomination after a somewhat "shady" theatrical release, the prestigious honor will be leveraged to-the-max after-the-fact to promote their project when it is released at a high-profile red-carpet high-event.

"The Oscar was designed to honor the best of film for the year in which the projects were theatrically-released. Exploiting the "Oscar" as a publicity tool was never the intent of the Academy," Moll argued in no uncertain terms.

To ensure the integrity of the system was not compromised, IDA jumped into the fray a few years ago, with the specific aim of providing a venue for struggling filmmakers that met all the criteria Oscar's handlers hammered out so diligently.

The standards for a theatrical release are crystal clear:

*The doc must screen for at least one week at a professional venue
*The venue must publish the date of the screenings in a local daily
*A Festival does not constitute a venue for the purposes of a Theatrical Release


By the way, the mere mention of a Los Angeles Times report that was published this past week on the make-up (and precise number) of vote-casters at various branches of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences triggered an outcry as well.

"Ninety-eight percent of the voting committee members are old white men," one pushy documentary filmmaker scoffed.

"Once the holiday is over tomorrow, people need to call the Academy and ask why that is," lamented Dana Harris.

At this juncture, I slumped down a little uncomfortably in my plush leather seat.

Gosh, I wonder why.

Could it be because I am a member of that elite club?

Ah!

No wonder the issue of "rules changes" has reared its ugly head.

If you read between-the-lines, obviously, a posse of filmmakers got caught with their hands in the cookie jar.

In my humble opinion?

The Academy is heading in the right direction.

Change is as good as a breath of fresh air!

Stay posted for updates, eh?











Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The Forgiveness of Blood...intriguing tale about blood feuds in Albania!





Although it is doubtful that – “The Forgiveness of Blood” (a film by Joshua Marston) – will ever be a commercial success in the mainstream, the compelling tale about “blood feuds” in modern-day Albania may find a comfortable niche at boutique revival movie houses around the country.


The well-produced independent feature (with subtitles) – not only garnered interest at Telluride & the Toronto International Film Festival – but also managed to snap up a coveted prize at the Berlin Film Festival for best screenplay.


Joshua Marston’s 2nd feature ("Maria Full of Grace" was his first venture into the realms of filmdom) focuses on an Albanian family caught up in a blood feud.


Nik (the male lead in the flick) finds his world turned upside-down when his father becomes embroiled in a land dispute which leaves a fellow villager murdered.


According to centuries-old Albanian law, the dead man’s family is entitled to take the life of a male member of Nik’s family as retribution.


The major strength of the film is in Marston’s keen ability to contrast - and make sense of - the out-dated antiquated traditions which adversely (unjustly?) affect the lives of the teenagers who struggle against the oppression they're faced with daily through no fault or deed of their own.


As the director sees it, the film tells a universal story about growing up, framed within the specific context of a society caught in the midst of change - a society simultaneously connected to the 21st Century through cell phones and the Internet - yet also imprisoned by the past due to tradition that carries the full weight and force of binding law.


For Marston, the experience was an enlightening thought-provoking one.


“The research is often the most fascinating element of the whole film for me. That’s when everything is new, everything is interesting. It’s like an enormous puzzle and I’m just accumulating hundreds and hundreds of pieces.”


When Marston read about the tradition of blood feuds, initially, it was not the feuds themselves that frustrated - but rather - the fact that they continued in the present day in Albania that intrigued him.


Understandably, the well-crafted script that sprang from that perspective, ended up translating well to film.


“Forgiveness of Blood” moves along at a fast entertaining pace without much excess baggage bogging it down.


Unfortunately, poor production values were a bit distracting at times for me (the cinematography was a bit muddy on occasion).


The two young leads (Tristan Halilaj and Sindi Lacej) turned in remarkably believable performances in spite of the fact they were both non-actors (plucked from the local scene) appearing for the first time on the silver screen.


Kudos!


The film was financed by Fandango Portobello and the Artists Public Domain (with generous grants from Cinereach, Goteborg Film Festival Film Fund, and the New York State Council on the Arts).


Catch "Forgiveness of Blood" if you can!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Lindsay Lohan...to portray dazzling screen siren Elizabeth Taylor in "Liz & Dick"?





Lindsay Lohan is probably counting her blessings these days and kissing the blues good-bye!

For good reason!

After all, the sexy young starlet has a new gig hosting Saturday Night Live!

Look for the troubled superstar to pop up on the old boob tube on March 3rd, provided she remains in good graces with the court.

And, get this!

The sexy young starlet may be portraying the legendary screen siren - Elizabeth Taylor - in a Lifetime MOW (made-for-TV movie) which is being orchestrated behind-the-scenes by Larry Thompson who has had his heart set on producing the project since 2011.

Tentatively titled - "Liz & Dick" - one has to seriusly wonder if Ms. Lohan has the acting chops to pull-off the plum - but challenging - assignment off.

Ms. Taylor was a great beauty - and formidable talent - after all!

Stay posted for updates!



US International Film & Video Festival...last call for entries!






The 2012 edition of the US International Film & Video Festival is seeking qualifying entries from the following rich mediums:

*Television
*Film
*Video
*Digital
*Documentaries
*Television News

Festival organizers have been recognizing creative excellence in the foregoing fields of endeavour for the past 46 years strong!

Become a part of the tradition!

The deadline for submissions is March 1st!

Enter online @:

http://www.filmfestawards.com

Break a leg, eh?



Reflection...quote by Julian Ayrs!


Moments
of
reflection
are
nurturing
to
the
Soul!

Julian Ayrs
Divine Grace
A Collection of Poems

Monday, February 20, 2012

Mens Fashion Forecast Fall 2012...Style reins! It's a jungle out there!









If men's fashion designers have any say in the matter this fall, the city terrain will be populated with a posse of cowboys, virile lumberjacks, and gung-ho military types strutting their machismo.

Meanwhile, a slew of discerning male animals may be throw caution to the wind and surge ahead of the pack with wardrobe ensembles that tout the pampered peacock "look".

Three-piece suits are going to make a grand entrance, and they'll be sparked up with understated elegant accessories (rakish hats, butter-soft gloves, designer scarves that flap in the breeze) that scream "to the Manor born".

Patterns - fashioned in cashmere, velvet, and traditional flannels (updated to pop) - will run the gamut from plaid and wide chalk stripes to reinvented hounds-tooth stand-outs.

Self-respecting dudes - who savor comfort and style - will be springing for high-end footwear that also underscores and draws attentio to their signature style (high-tops, low-tops, snazzy designer runners, you name it).

When it comes to outerwear, confident men-about-town will be trying their hand at mixing-and-matching, especially when it comes to sweaters, vests, and versatile windbreakers and luxurious pricey topcoats.

In fact, sweaters (pull-overs, zip-ups, cardigans with eye-catching ribbing and other fashion flourishes) will surge forward into the limelight in all their glory.

It's all in the details, after all, when it comes to putting one's best fashion-foot forward.

In the final analysis?

It's style - not the clothes - that make the man.

This year, as the modern man boldly goes where he has never gone before, he will take his rightful place as King.

No wonder!

It's a jungle out there, after all.










Sunday, February 19, 2012

Mardi Gras...West Hollywood's 2nd Annual Street Soiree! Fat Tuesday!








WeHo residents will be dashing around the neighborhood this weekend - snapping up eye-catching party threads (such as gem-like shiny beads, exotic masks, and a feathered plume or two dipped in a wild riot of colors, you-name-it) - to don at the 2nd Annual West Hollywood Mardi Gras celebration on Fat Tuesday on February 24th!

Between Palm Avenue and San Vicente - in the back alley behind Trunks, 11, Revolver - the locals will be kicking up their heels to the beat of Hot Brazilian music from 7 p.m. 'til 2 a.m. in the morning.

Expect a lot of frivolity, tasty food, and a truckload of giveaway prizes at this New Orleans-styled block party where folks will be hot-to-trot into the wee hours of dawn.

See 'ya there!



Saturday, February 18, 2012

TMZ...festive tour bus cruises gay gulch in West Hollywood! Jim Morrison digs?




I was quite thrilled to spy the TMZ tour bus cruising through the heart of West Hollywood (affectionately known to the locals as Gay Gulch) yesterday afternoon.

After all, I've been out-of-town for months, and missed the initial launch of Harvey Levin's new glitzy venture in Tinseltown.

The TMZ entry into the sight-seeing game is a festive one!

The ubiquitous big bus is bright red - with the show's name emblazoned an eye-catching scrawl on the side - and features wide-open windows which afford tourists the opportunity to hang out beyond the tight inner confines of the fun chariot to snap up-close-and-personal photos of the landmarks they routinely encounter 'round town in slow traffic mode.

I expect the driver drove by the little Motel on La Cienega Boulevard (just north of Santa Monica Boulevard) and pointed out the humble digs where rock star Jim Morrison (of "Doors" fame) once hit the sack each night before his musical career eventually catapulted the sexy stud muffin into the pop stratosphere (and infamy).

Just a hop-and-a-skip around the corner, at a popular eatery nearby, tourists may also be wowed by a plague on the front of the establishment which notes that "LA WOMAN" was pressed onto Vinyl at that very site where a recording studio once stood many moons ago.

Just down the strip a few blocks, folks also usually alight from their tour buses at the curb at Doheny, where a finely-crafted sign marks the border of Beverly Hills.

On many occasion, I have spotted tourists snapping candid shots of themselves, so they can boast about the fact they actually took a trek through the tony enclave (populated by movie stars and the ultra-rich) which stretches for miles to the West just shy of the ocean.

Across the street is the Troubadour where Elton John first-performed in Los Angeles!

The club is still a popular place for local bands to gig.

Of course, there is one timely tourist attraction that is probably pretty popular just now, too.

At the corner of Wilshire and Santa Monica Boulevards, a heartfelt shrine flows into the street at the edge of the Beverly Hilton Hotel propery, in honor of Whitney Houston.

If you take a stroll by, take some tissues, eh?

You'll need 'em!





Friday, February 17, 2012

Ali MacGraw...candid chat at "Love Story" screening @ Castro Theatre! Happy Valentine's Day, Ali!






Die-hard film buffs braved a wintry blast on Castro Street the other night to catch a screening of the classic feature - "Love Story" (arguably one of the greatest tear-jerkers of all time) - and to attend a gala tribute to seasoned actress Ali MacGraw.

Ticket-holders huddled in the street shivering, in fact, and excitedly swapped fond memories of the flick - as event staffers tongue-in-cheek - handed out tissues and heart-shaped candies with humorous sweet nothings etched on their face in honor of Valentine's Day.

Although, the opening acts - which consisted of two talentless San Francisco Queens parading around on stage screeching out tasteless (un-funny) off-color material - Ms. MacGraw did not disappoint.

The screen beauty - attired in blood-red skin-tight slacks (which flattered the 72-year-old's slender gams!) and chic black sweater (with hair swept back off her noble-looking aristocratic face) - was upbeat, at ease, and down-to-earth.

In fact, it didn't take much cajoling from the cagey interviewer - who presided over the festivities - to rekindle and dredge up some of Ms. MacGraw's cherished Hollywood memories (to the delight of the rapt audience in the packed Art Deco Theatre).

In spite of the fact MacGraw's humble beginnings on the fringes of the entertainment industry were not always that rosy, she threw caution to the wind and chatted freely about her lettuce days without hesitation or regret.

At the top of the interview, Ali fessed up that early on in her career (before she became known as an actress) - for instance - that she struggled to make ends meet.

During that time frame, the unfocused young talent toiled away daily as Diana Vreeland's assistant, for a paltry forty-or-fifty dollars a week.

The fledgling model's budget was so tight, in fact, that she was often forced to humble herself - on occasion - and in scandalous ways.

For example, when MacGraw first crossed paths with Salvador Daly (the notorious surrealist painter) - and he made a play for her - she toyed with the man.

"I thought - 'Gee, maybe he'll paint a portrait of me, and I'll be able to sell it at an art auction for a fortune' - I fantasized," Ms. Macgraw jokingly recalled.

But, her plans did not pan out.

In a nutshell?

Dali was allegedly a bizarre fruitcake who delighted in humiliating (and toying with) his "subjects".

When asked about her leading man in "Love Story" - Ryan O'Neil - Ali's was quick on-the-uptake.

 "Oh, Ryan was so sexy," she immediately blurted out, just before hesitating for a second-or-two.

"And, very moody!"

The host proceeded to compliment Ali on her onscreen kissing skills at this juncture.

"I loved my job," she cackled spontaneously, as the fans in attendance hooted and hollered and roared their approval.

Ms. MacGraw's first big break came when she was cast in "Goodbye Columbus".

"Originally, four actors went out to Hollywood to test for the lead roles. Unfortunately, I wasn't one of them," she sadly recalled.

But, when the director returned from the coast - empty-handed - he set his sights on Ali for the role after that.

"I just had the strangest feeling that I would get the part," she recalled.

Of course, she thanks "Love Story" - and Robert Evans (her ex-husband) - for catapulting her career into the stratosphere in those early heady days.

Mr. Evans and MacGraw are still great friends today, in fact, according to Ms. MacGraw.

"He's a wonderful man."

Although a brief stint on the popular night-time drama "Dynasty" threw the spotlight on MacGraw in a more mature phase of her acting career - the experience was apparently not a memorable one - if you believe the actresses moanings.

"One day when I was sitting on a bench in a Church when we were shooting a scene for the Moldavian massacre, I suddenly realized that all the actors in my row were not returning the following season. I knew then that I was being written out," she sniffed, with a tinge of disgust in her voice.

At one point, when MacGraw was sprawled out on the floor (after having been shot down by the terrorists in cold blood) she was inclined to ask a producer for some direction.

"Should my eyes be open or closed," MacGraw innocently wondered aloud.

"You're dead. Shut up," was the response back.

Ali noted that most of the crew and cast members on the set were frightened of Joan Collins because of the formidable character she portrayed.

"You'd think Collins was the kind of actress who wouldn't stand on the sidelines and feed lines back to another performer and that sort-of-thing. But, she did. Jackie was one of the most professional actors I have ever worked with, in fact," she gushed in so many words.

Looking back, in retrospect, Ms. MacGraw was inclined to admit that at times she had been a bit of a spoiled brat in her life.

I nearly choked when she made that revelation on the stage.

That was always my impression of her, after all.

My opinion remains forever changed after that entertaining night at the Castro Theatre, however.

Today, Ms. MacGraw resides in Sante Fe where she enjoys a bit of a charmed life, by the way.

"I devote my time to causes I believe in. That's what I like about Santa Fe. It is a community filled with people who care. I never got that feeling from my neighbors when I resided in Los Angeles."

Perhaps Ms. MacGraw has just mellowed a tad over the years?

Me thinks so!

Lovely lady, in the final analysis.




Thursday, February 16, 2012

Whitney Houston...fans loving shrine at Beverly Hilton Hotel!



I was trekking through Beverly Hills earlier this afternoon (just down the road from Rodeo Drive) when I suddenly spied a beautiful shrine for Whitney Houston sprawling out lovingly at the front end of the Beverly Hilton property that borders on Santa Monica and Wilshire Boulevards.

Devoted fans have laid bouquests of fresh flowers, a multitude of cute teddy bears, and dozens of heartfelt notes on the lawn several feet deep.

One of the verses most-often used to express their love for their precious songbird?

"I will always love you"

Without doubt!

Whitney, may you rest in peace (perfect peace).

Amen!



Kindness of a Stranger...quote by Julian Ayrs!



 
The kindness of a stranger
is a
joyous blessing
to be
cherished
above
all others!


 
Julian Ayrs
Divine Grace
A Collection of Poems

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Tony Bennett...receives key to City of San Francisco in gala celebration! 50th Anniversary of "I Left my Heart in San Francisco"!






The rotunda was all awash in festive red - from the plush carpet on the stairwell - to the pretty stand-up upholstered-seats tastefully arranged in the foyer to accommodate the gracious guests that streamed in from all corners of the picturesque city by the Bay.


Ah, perfect for the occasion.


Valentine's Day!


And, today - in particular - because the City of Francisco was celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the recording of Tony Bennett's signature song - "I Left My Heart in San Francisco" - which the legendary singer first performed at the Venetian Room on the top of Nob Hill five decades ago.


While the local paparazzi excitedly jockeyed for position, and pretty hosts handed out complimentary chocolate treats, fans excitedly chatted each other up.


In moments, the man-of-the-hour would be in their presence, and they were ecstatic at the thought of being able to rub shoulders with the great one.


In fact, once he was spotted approaching the podium with his entourage in tow (which included the Mayor and his lovely wife) there was a loud outcry from fans who applauded wildly as they called out his name to get his attention.


"Sing for us, Mr. Bennett," one woman wailed, as members of the audience nodded in approval.


Unfortunately, their would be no crooning today by the Grammy award-winner (who just racked up two more of the coveted trophies over the weekend for his "Duets 2" album), but, the folks in attendance didn't seem to mind.


The house was treated to a catchy opening set by a  talented Jazz band, which was followed up later in the proceedings by a beautiful rendition of - "I Left My Heart in San Francisco" - by the San Francisco Boys' and Girls' Choirs.


Heavenly!

In spite of the fact Mr. Bennett had a hectic schedule ahead (he is performing tonight at a chi chi fundraiser for the Heart Foundation) he unselfishly took a trek down to city Hall at noon to meet-and-greet well-wishers - which included the tony elite, a handful of beaming City Officials pressing palms, and regular down-to-earth folks - all fans!


When Mr. Bennett took to the stage, after receiving the prestigious key to the city from Mayor Lee, he noted that it was one of his colleagues who recommended that he perform the song on his first visit to San Francisco so many moons ago.


"I thought it might become popular locally. But, I had no idea it would become such a recognized tune around the world," he humbly fessed up to the rapt audience.


And, the city of San Francisco has never forgotten that romantic contribution to the city, no Sir!


For good reason, today - "Valentine's Day" - has been named "Tony Bennett Day" in San Francisco for evermore.


Congrats, Mr. Bennett!



Whitney Houston...body flown to Newark! Services planned at end of week!







Yesterday, Whitney Houston's corpse was flown by private jet from Los Angeles to an airport in her hometown in Newark (N.J.), where a gold hertz waited to transport her lifeless body to a local Church where the Pop Diva once sang in the choir as a young girl.

Home, at last!

Services for the pop singer (found dead Saturday in the bathtub of her room at the Beverly Hilton Hotel) are tentatively scheduled for Friday at the Prudential Center in Newark according to inside-sources.

As the music world (and thousands of fans) mourn her loss, police officials in Los Angeles remained tight-lipped, however, about the events leading up-to her unexpected demise and the possible causes of her death.

No foul play is suspected, however.

Meanwhile, the tabloid press is awash with wild speculation, especially in view of Ms. Houston's highly-publicized struggle to overcome an addiction to drugs over the course of her heady career.

Frankly, I would not be surprised if Ms. Houston had drowned in the tub, in view of the circumstances.

Over the past year or so, when I have battled a couple of of my own illnesses, on occasion I nearly fell asleep in the bathtub while on medication.

In my estimation, such a scenario is not out of the question in respect to Ms. Houston.

Undoubtedly, as the investigation unfolds, the truth will finally come to light.

Until then, stay posted for updates!

Whitney, may you rest in peace (perfect peace).

Amen!





A life misspent...quote by Julian Ayrs!






A life misspent
is one
worth
examining


Julian Ayrs
Divine Grace
Collection of Poems



Monday, February 13, 2012

Tom Hanks..."Oscar" quote of the day! Reported by Julian Ayrs!











At a meet-and-greet last week at the tony Beverly Hilton Hotel in downtown Beverly Hills, Oscar nominees (and industry-insiders too) seized on the golden opportunity to openly schmooze with their contemporaries, aggressively plug a project or two, and - as sexy actor George Clooney aptly described it - sip on the "free booze".


It will come out of your dues, George!


A handful of the studio brass - and a celebrated luminary or two (Meryl Streep, Brad Pitt, and Steven Spielberg, to name a few) - also took in a "workshop" that was presented for all in attendance in the form of a witty video.


The Academy produced the tutorial in a bold-faced (tongue & cheek?) effort to coach the nominees on how to stride up to the podium and tastefully utter up thanks to friends, family, and business associates (and the little people, too) without choking - or making a fool of themselves - in front of the multitudes.


With a nod from the Academy, Tom Hanks uttered up some thoughts, that were bang on in my estimation.


For example, the Oscar-winner urged the nominees to - not only use a bit of levity once they made their trek up to the stage - but be sure that their speeches were short and sweet.

Tweet size, perhaps?

At this juncture, Hanks gets kudos for the Oscar quote of the day.

"Remember, the longer winners talk, the less-interesting they become."


Amen!


In closing?


I trust that Meryl Streep will have learned her lessons well that day and refrain from using foul language (like sh**) in the event she nabs the coveted trophy!


Not good for my virgin ears, after all.


Stay tuned for updates on the Oscar Celebrations, folks!






David Letterman...unveils Sports Illustrated Cover Model tonight!









All the horny dudes - anxious to catch the latest scintillating "Sports Illustrated Swimsit Cover" - will obviously be tuning in to the Late Show tonight.

Letterman is slated to reveal the cover of the "Sports Illustrated" Swimsuit Edition via a giant billboard over Broadway.

In addition, 10 of the SI Swimsuit models -  including the cover girl - will be live onstage to present a special Top Ten List.

On Valentine's Day the cover girl is also scheduled to sit down for an exclusive interview with with that old horndog Dave.

Hot stuff!

Can't wait, can you?