Sunday, November 29, 2009

A DEATH IN THE FAMILY

Good evening, friends. 
Today my beloved father-in-law Eugene Cohen passed away after a truly brave battle with pancreatic cancer. He was 85 years old and fully engaged in life.  Two weeks ago he was working full time; ten weeks ago he was playing tennis. He faced this horrible disease with the same courage and grace that he faced all the challenges of his life. As we stood around his bed trying to help him, we realized,  that he was the one who was still helping us. He showed us how to live, and after all, how to die. 
Good night, dear Gene. You are forever beloved.


Saturday, November 28, 2009

UKRAINE'S GOT TALENT

Check this out. It's astounding. Watch this video of a GORGEOUS young artist from the Ukraine tell a deeply emotional story using only her hands, sand, and a light table to create the images.   It is mesmerizing and extraordinarily moving. 

Friday, November 27, 2009

DOUBLE FEATURE: NEW MOON/AN EDUCATION

It's that time of year when all the "serious" films are released. And so we have an onslaught of the best and the brightest, or those that wanna be. It's a mad dash to release by the end of the year for two reasons: 1) to make the Oscar deadline, (2)to be remembered by Oscar voters while the movies are still fresh (or stale) in Oscar voters minds. This year the Best Picture category will include 10 --count'em--10 films. I saw two this week and am catching up fast--will post as soon as I see them.

To begin, there's NEW MOON which doesn't have a chance in hell of being nominated for an Oscar. It's the second installment in the ongoing teen vampire saga that has grabbed a certain segment of the female population by the throat and, well, you know. While the first one conveyed a modicum of sexual hunger, the second one truly sucks. It's all sublimated teen sexual desire, frustration dramatized to a fare-thee-well, literally. This time, Bella has two guys hardly able to contain themselves. There's Edward (Rob Pattinson) the gorgeous pale hunk of a vampire who dares not get too close to his lady love, lest he release the beast within and ruin her forever. In fact, he leaves! Re-enter Jacob (Taylor Lautner) the hairy, pumped-up Native American with a mouthful of dangerously white teeth, who dares not get too worked up around Bella lest he rip her face off and scar her for life. There's a lot of anguished mumbling, and funky dream sequences, and much leaping about in the forest, and bad acting, and references to Romeo and Juliet, though Shakespeare never did utter the likes of, "So. You're a werewolf." I went with my 81 year-old mother visiting for Thanksgving who kept saying, "what's going on? Why is his skin so white?"

There's a different sort of teen movie out there, which isn't really a teen movie at all: the completely winning--and very smart AN EDUCATION starring Carey Mulligan as a precocious 16 year old London teenager during the 60's who's bursting at the seams in her stuffy little middle class rowhouse. She dreams of Paris, sex, art--and Oxford! She meets an older, urbane Jewish businessman (Peter Sarsgaard) who sees her promise and offers to show her the world. What happens is enough to make you squirm, but don't avert your eyes. Though Nick Hornby's screenplay doesn't let anyone off the hook, it subtly redeems these characters, and gently guides our heroine through the moral complexities of her youthful odyssey. And Carey Mulligan? She's been compared to Audrey Hepburn. They share a certain innocent sophistication, but Mulligan is less beautiful and has stepped into much murkier moral territory. She's subtle and compelling on screen and may just be nominated for best actress for her role here.
I'm on a cinematic roll the next two weeks!

Goodnight--
and stay tuned!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Good morning! I just baked two pies--my all time favorite dessert--any kind, any time of year. That's one of the reasons I found TWIN PEAKS so delicious! This morning it was pumpkin, and chocolate cream. 
A very dear friend of mine sent me this thought for Thanksgiving, and I offer it up to you here.

 Happy Thanksgiving to all!

Thanksgiving

“And it was never but once a year that they were brought together anyway, and that was on the neutral, dereligionized ground of Thanksgiving, when everybody gets to eat the same thing, nobody sneaking off to eat funny stuff—no kugel, no gefilte fish, no bitter herbs, just one colossal turkey for two hundred and fifty million people—one colossal turkey feeds all. A moratorium on funny foods and funny ways and religious exclusivity, a moratorium on the three-thousand-year-old nostalgia of the Jews, a moratorium on Christ and the cross and the crucifixion for the Christians, when everyone in New Jersey and elsewhere can be more passive about their irrationalities than they are the rest of the year.  A moratorium on all the grievances and resentments . . . for everyone in America who is suspicious of everyone else. It is the American pastoral par excellence and it lasts twenty-four hours.”

Philip Roth


Tuesday, November 24, 2009

OOPS! Make that Mairead (sp) and Alex Sharpe-(not Sparke) 
Guess I'm tired tonight. 

Good night all...!

Celtic Woman/THE BLIND SIDE/Adam Lambert

Today I met two of the Celtic Women of the Irish singing musical phenomenon CELTIC WOMAN in the flesh--the blonde frisky one with the fiddle--Mairaed Nesbitt, and she of the angelic voice and newest member of the group, Alex Sparke! They were divine. I interviewed them at WGBH  for PBS. They've got a new CD out and will be in Boston in March at the Wang!
 For more info: http://www.celticwoman.com/trellis/US-New-map 

I also screened the new Sandra Bullock movie THE BLIND SIDE about a rich southern white Christian Evangelical woman who takes in a homeless, uneducated black teenager who eventually becomes a star football player. It's based on the true story of NFL player Michael Oher and it's about as "feel-good" a movie as I've ever seen. It had me the minute Sandy invited "Big Mike" in out of the cold and into the warm family sedan. OK. It's not art, and the film glosses over the emotional complexity of the situation, as though a 250 pound 6'6" black teen moving into a lily white neighborhood was as simple as checking into a hotel. If the cast weren't so appealing--Quinton Aaron as the sweet oversized teenager, Tim McGraw as the ever- smiling husband, Kathy Bates as a perky private tutor, and Ms. Bullock as the tough as nails pistol-packin' surrogate mama-- and if it weren't TRUE--the film might have stretched credulity to the breaking point. I wish it had gone darker, deeper, truer-- but it's satisfying nonetheless and I even shed a tear. So there.

And finally... Adam Lambert's provocative performance at the American Music Awards. Everyone complained about the raunch, but no one mentioned just how bad that song was, or that he sang most of it off-key. I happen to be an Adam Lambert fan and could care less about who he's diddling onstage. What I can't overlook is how badly he performed. Why scream-- when he's one of the few who can actually sing? 

Goodnight--
and stay tuned!

Monday, November 23, 2009

What a great day--I did something I've never done before--I recorded my first PODCAST with best-selling novelist (and my pal) Alice Hoffman!!! We covered everything from the idiocy of the recent government recommendation to hold off on mammograms til 50, to the absurdity of Sarah Palin as a serious political figure, to the enduring empathy of Oprah and her recent announcement to end the daily grind and move on. I think Alice and I should be on her new network. O MY! I will post all 12 minutes of our scintillating conversation shortly!

Tonight I went to Westwood High to narrate a concert I've been rehearsing with the New England Philharmonic--in the program was this hilarious piece by Lemony Snicket called THE COMPOSER IS DEAD and we will be performing it again at B.U.'s Tsai Performance Center on Sunday December 13 at 3:00PM! No kidding--this will be a GREAT concert for families--fun and funny!! With a musical petting zoo to follow--ever want to cosy up to a clarinet? or tango with a tuba? Now's your chance. For info and tickets click on:   http://www.nephilharmonic.org/concerts.shtml

Goodnight--
and stay tuned!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Ok I just posted my blog and some weirdo typeface took over. I have NO IDEA why this happened. I think I just fixed it. 

Stay tuned--
Goodnight!
So I went into NYC this week to see a staged reading of a new musical based on Jane Austen's SENSE  AND SENSIBILITY. Great book. Great performers. I was actually moved during the two hour stripped down performance. This is a solid and very promising beginning. BUT there isn't one break out hummable tune. That's a problem for a musical. 

But I did have a fabulous lunch at the The Lever House (as in Lever Brothers) 
The restaurant--one of the hippest, chicest in NYC is called "Casa Lever" and the food was great, decor Mad Man sleek, with Warhol-esque photos of everyone from Giorgio Armani to Jerry Hall on the walls. Mick Jagger (Jerry's ex) was in last week and sat beneath her huge photos!!
The owner looks like Rupert Everett--only MUCH better and nicer. His name is Gherardo Guarducci. See this link: The Moment: The Insiders | Gherardo Guarducci and Dimitri Pauli 

 Post Jane Austen me and my pal Marji Borkow--my trusted producer of 18 years--caught up with one of the biggest producers on Broadway, B.U.'s Jon Platt-- theatre junkie and self-made Broadway Titan. He just won his 4th Tony for GOD OF CARNAGE, and is currently producing the most successful musical on stage all over the world--WICKED!! He is working on a couple of very exciting projects at the moment and I will blog about it when I can. We cracked ourselves up over dinner, and grew misty-eyed about the days when TV cameras showed up for opening nights at the Wilbur, the Wang, the Colonial, the Shubert, and critics raced to get their reviews out--I used to do it within an hour of the curtain coming down; my lipstick wasn't always on-- but I was, by 11:22 every night. I loved beating the print media to the punch. Now we've got doppler radar, and sports, and weather, and fires, and weather, and car crashes, murders, rapes robberies-- and did I mention weather and sports? Do I sound bitter??
I still think there's room for GOOD NEWS and some of the REMARKABLE things that people do--namely the artists and their work, so important to our lives. Hey--and it's entertaining too. Much more fun than doppler radar. 

Friday, November 20, 2009

So I get an e-mail from the Chief of Police in Eastham on the Cape --he happens to be my cousin Ed Kulhawik. Ever the security conscious relative, he informs me there's a google alert out involving me and Jerry Remy. A WHAT?  A GOOGLE ALERT? I've just started googling (I used to have people do it for me. Don't even get me started on "Bing-ing.") And now there's an alert? Wow. The blogosphere is way cool. 

And while we're on the subject of security, my husband and I were threatened with arrest the other night while attempting to park for an event at BU-- that I was hosting! A Boston cop wouldn't let us turn into a street where there was a lot with a space reserved for me, so I could run in and emcee the Mass Dance Festival.
My husband pulled the car over so we could explain, and the officer wasn't having any of it. All he knew was he had been told the LOT WAS FULL. When I tried to insist, he put his hands on the vehicle and said if we didn't move he would place us under arrest for assault with a deadly weapon. (The car.) What other choice had he? Clearly we were dangerous. Seething, I got out of the car and walked. My husband circled the block until I was done. We then went into town and had a lovely late supper at Scampo. It's amazing what a champagne cocktail did for my mood.

Finally--I just found out I have something in common with a Pulitzer Prize-Winning Historian. It seems DORIS KEARNS GOODWIN is hot for HAMM. Jon Hamm that is, the most deliriously sexy man ever to appear on television. A meeting was arranged between the historian and the mad man on the set of the movie he's been shooting in Boston, Ben Affleck's THE TOWN. Do you think when they make TEAM OF RIVALS: THE MOVIE--they'll cast Hamm as Lincoln?? I can hardly keep from thinking about him in a stove pipe hat.

Stay tuned--
and good night!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

So two nights ago I'm hosting a benefit cabaret for lung cancer that honors Jerry Remy. And it was my pleasure to present him with the award. But first there's this raffle, and the prizes were two baseballs autographed by the president of RED SOX NATION.   In the heat of the moment,  I  I didn't realize I was holding one of the prizes, and when it came time to hand it over  to the raffle winner, I couldn't find it. Then I realized it was in my right hand. And I hear myself saying, onstage, before a packed house, "I guess I didn't want to let go of one of Jerry Remy's balls."

Enough said.
goodnight!

OK OK I KNOW. I've been bad. It's hard to fit in blogging everyday. It's not that I've run out of things to say; ask anyone who knows me if I've ever been at a loss for words.  Rarely. Maybe once last year.  I wish I had a portable blogging apparatus--I guess they call them laptops. (Is that what strippers call them?) Then I could address all my bloggees (those who have been blogged?)as things occur to me, at all hours of the day, but mostly night, since I am a night owl.

Today I had a mammogram. Everyone was complaining about the recent government task force recommendation -- that women don't need mammograms until they are 50, and shouldn't bother with self exams. How IRRESPONSIBLE AND WRONGHEADED.

Here's what I know and it's based on hard-won experience as a THREE TIME CANCER SURVIVOR. I had malignant melanoma once, and ovarian cancer twice.  EVERY TIME, I was misdiagnosed by at least one doctor; I fell outside statistical norms; and the main reason I am alive is because I KNEW MY BODY better than any x-ray, doctor, or government recommendation. I pushed for further tests, biopsies, and treatment. I was right.

So ladies: TUNE INTO YOUR BODY AND TRUST WHAT IT TELLS YOU. Then find a doctor who will listen. AND get your mammograms, early. YOU may be that someone who defies statistics. I was, and am here to alert you. 
And by the way, what harm could a breast self-exam do? It doesn't cost a thing and can tell you something about yourself that only you could know that early.

Stay tuned,
and goodnight!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

It's late and I promise to tell you about my Broadway trip. But first I thought I'd back up and tell you about one of the reasons I started this blog; it actually pushed me over the edge. 

The  other morning I happened to tune into WFNX while I was driving, and heard some radio "personality" dissing Woody Allen's latest film just released on DVD. This guy started saying not to bother getting the DVD, because it didn't look very good--it had Larry David in it and it just didn't look very good.  I believe this person said he hadn't actually SEEN the movie--he just decided it didn't look good based on--I don't know what-- either the trailer, or the cast, or some moronic notion he pulled out of his hat.  I nearly drove off the road. How arrogant. How idiotic. And what a disservice to a brilliant filmmaker, with a 50 year career, to have someone decide his film didn't LOOK good, so he's going to use his little 15 minutes to spew. And what an insult to serious critics everywhere who respect movies enough to actually sit through them before they make their decisions and offer their opinions.  Maybe the film was bad. Maybe it was good. But this individual wouldn't know--because HE HADNT SEEN IT. As I write this I'm thinking--is it possible? Did I really hear that? Could anyone actually be that ignorant? If I'm wrong, I stand corrected. Did anyone else hear this?
 
There is just so much garbage out there passing for information--that I felt compelled to weigh in. And until I have a larger forum, this blog is it. 

Stay tuned--
and goodnight.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Today I am exhausted--from too many good things.

First I saw all my BZ pals at a baby shower where I had the pleasure of meeting Jessi's new girl Charlotte!! She is a dream come true for the happy mommy who looked radiant!!

Later I emceed Wayland's Got Talent and Fashion fundraiser for METCO and it was a hoot--onstage at the Middle School -- musically inclined teachers, students, parents, and talented Waylandians performing live, and strutting their stuff in a fashion show courtesy of TJX. It was all masterminded by the hugely energetic Metco director Mabel Reid-Wallace, with 100% of the proceeds going to the Wayland METCO program, which has been severely affected by budget cuts.

Finally I rehearsed with the New England Philharmonic (resident orchestra at my Alma Mater Simmons College). I am narrating two pieces--one is the hilarious THE COMPOSER IS DEAD by Nathaniel Stookey and Lemony Snicket--yes THAT Lemony Snicket. You will be snickering I promise at this snarky bit of musical mayhem that brilliantly illustrates the instruments of the orchestra not to mention the precarious connection between life and death, composing and decomposing, and why crime sometimes pays.
 Come see for yourself Sunday, December 13 at 3PM at the Tsai Performance Center at B.U.
For more info check out the NEP online!

As much fun as today was, I can't wait for tomorrow--going to NYC for a staged reading of a musical-in-the-making based on Jane Austen's SENSE AND SENSIBILITY!!! Lots of producers, backers, and Broadway types will be there.  Will it be the next WICKED??? Will it have at least one hummable tune?
 
Stay tuned... and goodnight!


Saturday, November 14, 2009

For more info (I will get the hang of this) check out: blo.org.

More later.
Hi all! Day two of my blog. This is surreal--I have never before face-booked, my-spaced, twittered(though I've just heard twittering is already down 7%--so last year), blogged, or otherwise surfed the webosphere. Where have I been all my life? You're about to find out. Where are my quills? I must write a note. Only now I will post it for all of you in the ether...Does anyone else feel like this? I just heard about a great invention where you can actually speak to people, live, in person, in the moment, on something called a telephone.

Today, I received a great invitation from my divine diva friend and the power behind the Diva Toolbox website--Janet Powers-- who has extended an invitation to the Boa Ball for Sister to Sister which fights heart disease! For more info go to: Divatoolbox.com. Thank you Janet!

L ast night I saw the Boston Lyric Opera's production of Bizet's CARMEN. Sexy. Dramatic. Unusually moody staging and classic sets, up-ended in a postmodern way. I thought Dana Beth Miller as the temptress Carmen was beautiful in that luscious, voluptuous way, and her voice (she used to be a soprano) has deepened into the rich timbres of a full-bodied mezzo. Check it out at the gorgeous Shubert Theatre with the Boston Pops Keith Lockhart conducting us through Bizet's labyrinthine spiral of sex and death, and the fear of all things unruly like vagabond  gypsies. Through November 17. For more info

Friday, November 13, 2009

I have a very busy weekend coming up! On Saturday night November 14 I will be hosting a gala for the Melanoma Foundation of New England in Hingham.
info at http://melanomafoundationne.org

On Sunday afternoon I am emceeing the "Wayland's Got Talent" Fundraiser--3:30-6:00 at the Wayland Middle School auditorium!

Tonight I am off to see the Boston Lyric Opera Company's production of CARMEN at the Shubert Theatre!

Also--There are two magazine articles on me this month--check out the Fall 2009 issue of NORTHWEST LIFE--I'm on the cover!

And please read Dana Farber's PATHS OF PROGRESS--I'm featured on the back page. Many people know I am a three-time cancer survivor--melanoma and ovarian. Given that medical history, I am grateful to be here-- and blogging!!! No kidding. Entering the Blogosphere is beyond huge for me. I have been holding back all this time, but now feel like I have much to say.

If you have no idea who I am, please check out my bio:



JOYCE KULHAWIK

Arts & Entertainment Critic

Joyce Kulhawik, arts and entertainment critic, has been an integral part of the region’s cultural landscape since 1978. Kulhawik has been instrumental in focusing attention on local artists and events, as well as covering all aspects of Broadway and Hollywood.  Paul Newman, Robert DeNiro, Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, and Barbara Streisand are among the many entertainment luminaries she has interviewed for WBZ-TV. Kulhawik is a member of the Boston Society of Film Critics, and serves on the selection committee for The Elliot Norton Awards, Boston’s local theater awards, Kulhawik also serves on the board for the Massachusetts sports and entertainment commission.



 

Kulhawik was co-host of the weekly nationally syndicated movie review program “Hot Ticket” with veteran movie critic Leonard Maltin, and during the 1999-2000 television season, she was a continuing co-host on “Roger Ebert & The Movies,” the popular nationally syndicated film review program.




 

 A three-time cancer survivor, Kulhawik was called upon to testify before Congress on the occasion of the twentieth anniversary of The National Cancer Act.  Since 1983 she has served as the Honorary Chairperson for the American Cancer Society’s “Daffodil Days,” helping to raise millions of dollars in the Society’s largest statewide spring fundraising event.  The American Cancer Society has honored Kulhawik with its National Bronze Medal Award for her work. Kulhawik accepted the 1994 Gilda Radner Award from the Wellness Community in Greater Boston “for engendering inspiration in cancer patients via her own valiant fight with the disease.”




In 2009 Kulhawik was awarded the StageSource Theatre hero Award for her service and inspiration as a champion of Boston area theatre and the arts. Kulhawik also received the 2009 Boston Globe Arts Champion Award by the Boston Center for the Arts.




 

In 2008 Kulhawik received The Emerson College Award of Distinction. She was also recognized by the Boston City Council with a special resolution in honor of her 30-year career reporting on arts and entertainment in the Boston area, and her commitment to raising cancer awareness.  Kulhawik was also named a member of the Boston/New England Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences' Silver Circle. This honor is given to distinguished individuals who have made significant contributions to television over the course of at least 25 years.   In the spring of 2007, she was also inducted into the MCC Broadcasters Hall of Fame. Kulhawik received the Community Spirit Award at the 2006 New England Women’s Leadership Awards, the longest running event in Boston honoring the achievements of women.



  

 

In May 2002, Kulhawik received an Honorary Doctorate in Communications from her alma mater, Simmons College in Boston.  Kulhawik also received a 2001 Boston/New England Emmy Award for WBZ-TV 's Outstanding Team Coverage of Ground Zero.  Kulhawik also starred in the WBZ-TV Emmy award-winning promotion “The Look” for Boston's Museum of Fine Arts.




 

In 1994 the Berklee College of Music honored Kulhawik for her many contributions to the Boston arts community by establishing a $25,000 newly endowed scholarship in her name, in perpetuity.  In 1995 the Lyric Stage Company honored Kulhawik with their Arts Support Award.  In 1990 she was the recipient of The Boston Theatre District Award, which is presented annually to a Bostonian who has made a significant contribution to the stage, screen, and/or television.  Previous recipients include Lee Remick, Bette Davis, Ray Bolger, Jane Curtin, and Jane Alexander.  Additionally, Kulhawik was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award by her high school, The Academy of Our Lady of Mercy, Lauralton Hall, in 1982.




Kulhawik joined WBZ-TV in 1978 as an associate producer and tipster for “Evening Magazine.”  In 1981 she became the station’s arts and entertainment reporter covering all aspects of art, entertainment and pop culture and played a key role in the public service campaign, “You Gotta Have Arts!”  As part of the campaign, Kulhawik hosted the station’s Emmy Award-winning “You Gotta Have Arts!” magazine program during its one year run, as well as three specials, the first of which received an Emmy Award in 1982.  She also presented “Arts Breaks,” sixty-second spots featuring local artists, museums, and cultural events.  From 1982 through 1985 Kulhawik served as co-anchor of the station’s “Live on 4” newscast. 




         

Kulhawik received her Bachelor of Arts degree in English & Secondary Education from Simmons College in 1974.  One of the top two graduating seniors at Simmons, Kulhawik received the prestigious Crown Zellerbach Award and a full fellowship from the University of Vermont, where she received her MAT in English/Education in 1977.  She taught English at Brookline High School from 1976 through 1978 and at the Boston Architectural Center from 1977 through 1979.




A talented musician, Kulhawik plays the piano and has sung professionally.  She was the soloist and organist for seven years at her parish church in her home state of Connecticut.  She resides

with her husband and daughter in the greater Boston area.


                                                                                                    

 

 


That's it for today. I promise not to be so longwinded in the future.
Thank you so much-- and stay tuned!




Welcome To My Blog

It's Friday the 13th and I can't think of a better day to begin my blog. I'm feeling lucky (and so are you!) It's all I can think of at the moment but I'll be back with more soon.