Sunday, January 31, 2010

GRAMMYS CONTINUED

WOW TAYLOR DOES IT AGAIN. It's a wonder her head doesn't explode--she's won every award this year-- I really thought it would be GAGA--but we are happy for Taylor--Annelise and I but Marji thought it should have been Black-eyed Peas...

Kanye is but a distant memory... and another Grammy Awards bites the dust.

This was a blogging experiment--we will re-visit how it went and decide if Twitter or FACEBOOK might be better??? I'd love to interact more---BIG THANK YOU to everyone who commented!!
I Had A Blast!!!

Good night--
and Stay tuned!!

GRAMMYS CONTINUED

Has Quentin had a race transplant?

I LOVE LIL' WAYNE!!! UHOH--HE MUSTA JUST SAID A BAD WORD --the sound is dropping out! and so is his ass.
EMINEM is killer and he and Lil'Wayne have pretty much wiped the floor with Drake...

I guess Jeff Bridges is campaigning pretty heavily for the Oscar--his people have placed him EVERYWHERE!! It's OK with me--I LOVED his performance in Crazy Heart!

GRAMMYS CONTINUED

So I'm sitting here thinking Maxwell is pretty elegant, sounds great, seems like an adult..and I hear Annelise mutter .."boring"

I wish Roberta Flack didn't look like Harpo Marx. Even so, her skin looks great. Her manager tried to pick up my producer--that would be MARJI--when she was in college.
OK--I just saw the best cutaway of the evening--Lady Gaga staring out from under a maze of sparkling triangles staring at Jeff Bridges --introducing Jeff Beck in a tribute to Les Paul.

And is that a cinnabon on the head of lead singer--Imelda May

GrammyS CONTINUED

I loved Wyclef--so sweet--I was actually surprised not to hear more about Haiti earlier in the broadcast, though we all noticed the little red crosses everyone is wearing.

How wonderful is Beyonce??? That she can still get nervous up there accepting an award is amazing considering the fierceness of her performances.
I wish the GLEE girl--Lea Michele--would sing!!! I love that show.
And I still remember Ricky Martin the first time he appeared on the Grammies--I was backstage with MADONNA who nearly flipped when he performed--and it was clear that we had witnessed the birth of a star and a whole new interest in Latin music! It was one of the most electrifying things I have ever seen--him singing LA VIDA LOCA--live at the Grammys!!!!

GrammyS CONTINUED

That's the most moving number I've seen so far on the Grammys--Loved that group of singers together--covers the whole spectrum--and that song!!! SOOOO BEautiful. I Loved THIS IS IT and will do a fuller blog next week-since the movie is now out on DVD. Thank you Michael.

Jon Bon Jovi looks amazing and I wondered how old he is--48 in March! Looks hot!!! sounds exactly the same! But seems a little dull on this show... Not my favorite Bon Jovi tune--but here comes LIVIN ON A PRAYER--still boring.

GrammyS CONTINUED

I just saw the best new artist perform, and I still can't remember who he is.

OK--Taylor Swift is painfully off key here--I still like her!

Quick--put your 3D GLASSES ON!!!! HERE COMES MICHAEL JACKSON!!

GRAMMYS CONTINUED

Rihanna looks glum tonight--I hope she performs! I just read she's going out with someone who also had a restraining order out on him.

I think George Clinton is Lady Gaga's sartorial godfather. Dig the Orange spikey dreads.

Annelise and her friend Brian think Kesha is high.

Katy Perry is rockin a bindi--and a bitchy attitude--did anyone see her on Idol last week?
There goes GREEN DAY to win BEst ROCK ALbum!! Funny how everyone who performs manages to win a Grammy...

GRAMMYS CONTINUED

I've been thinking about why all the women (except Nicole) look so flawless--they are wearing that spray-on make-up!

Nick is the cutest Jonas Brother. What happened to JOE? Is he channeling Justin Timberlake and Clark Kent???

AND did part of the set just fall on Lady Antebellum? That may be the most exciting part of this number. Annelise likes it however.

That Kathy Griffin--such a sentimental fool--"Suckin' it for the holidays"...Yeah it almost makes you cry.

GRAMMYS CONTINUED

OK So the Black-eyed peas are singing Imma Be. That would be the collapsed infinitive form of the copulative verb "to be." Fergie never looked be-tter and will.i.am--well there he be.

GRAMMYS CONTINUED

I'm still dumbfounded by Pink's Cirque de Soleil turn on the high wire. I love the girl's daring do vocally and physically!

Best New Artist--WHO????? Zac Brown Band???? AM I out of it? And all he did was thank his marketers?

GRAMMYS CONTINUED

So far, My daughter Annelise who is 16 and sings, says yes to GAGA, no to Green Day, yes to J-lo's gown-though Marji hated it.

TAYLOR SWIFT is too adorable--that gown, that skin, those songs, that fresh joy--LOVE HER!!
BEYONCE is singing my favorite song of hers this year--IF I WERE A BOY and melds it with Alanis Morrisette's YOU OUGHTA KNOW. It's so Fierce (Sasha fierce) that her dress kind of erupted. Killer performance.

GRAMMIES CONTINUED

OK--Beyonce's songwriting team won song of the year for my least favorite nominee in this category--ALL THE SINGLE LADIES.
But Jennifer' Lopez still looks hot and cool in her white/silver skin tight strapless gown and sparkly eyelids.
In the audience, Nicole Kidman no longer looks embalmed; she looks like she's passed right into the world of the undead. Maybe she's prepping for a role in the third installment of the TWILIGHT series--ECLIPSE.

GRAMMIES CONTINUED

Lady Gaga--The real gaga erupts in a costume that a Leprechaun on speed might have imagined--with four leaf clover shoulders and she plunges into PPPPoker face... She's absolutely the best most inventive performer out there working today a real talent, waves her freak flag with confidence. I am googoo for gaga. Who new Elton was her musical doppelganger--they look like ash wednesday ran amok.

BLOGGING THROUGH THE GRAMMIES

OH my goodness--I just caught my first glimpse of the red carpet--Jennifer Hudson--amazingly sleek in an Azzedine Alaia like black belted number--the woman looks extraordinary--and soooo thin!
Gaga showed up looking like the center of the universe--literally--she brought her own solar system with planet gaga exerting her own gravitational force! Could Armani have really designed this? Maybe he was on something otherworldly...

Rihanna--looking high tech and retro glamorous in white with hip epaulets, ruffles, feathers sparkles in Elie Saab (did Halle's Oscar gown when she won)


COME BLOG WITH ME!/ HAITI RELIEF!!

Come blog with me! Let's blog, let's blog away!!!--Tonight! I'm blogging through the Grammy Awards on CBS (WBZ-TV4) 8Pm! Join me and my long-time producer, friend, soul sister, keeper--Marji Borkow! (She's the one who saves me from myself-- and I quote: "Are you sure you want to send that e-mail? " or in more dire circumstances, "Don't push that button!!!!"). We'll see who has the upper hand tonight as we kick back with a glass of wine and say whatever's on our minds as we watch Beyonce, Gaga, Taylor, and everyone else duke it out for the best musical performances of the year!

BUT MORE IMPORTANTLY--I'm just back from Jordan Hall where I emceed a global concert called SYMPHONIC RELIEF FOR HAITI which was simulcast on the world wide web around the planet!

How was it global??? Musicians from The Longwood Symphony, The New England Conservatory, The Boston Conservatory, The Longy School of Music, B.U., Harvard, MIT, representing 11 countries including Haiti, China, England, Germany Japan, and Switzerland performed onstage in Jordan Hall--while Symphonic Relief "sister concerts" were performed in the UK, Germany, Japan and 10 concerts across the US!

If you missed the concert and the webcast, you can still see it and donate to this global effort which was launched right here in Boston!

The WEBCAST should be up at www.empowerpeace.org by tomorrow at noon.

To DONATE to Partners in Health go to http://act.pih.org/page/outreach/view/haitiearthquake/symphonicrelief





In the meantime, pull up a chair and log into my blog just before 8PM tonight and let's rock the Grammies!

Stay tuned!

Friday, January 29, 2010

THE NAKED TRUTH

I very seldom play the "female" card. But every now and then I become aware that the playing field has yet to be leveled. My latest epiphany? Senator-elect Scott Brown on Leno last night. Brown was square but amusing; and one of the biggest responses he got-- scattered gasps, laughs, applause, and catcalls-- occurred when Jay resurrected Brown's nude photo spread from 28 years ago in Cosmopolitan. There it was on prime time TV-- the whole layout, full screen, just Scott Brown and nothing but his hand covering the critical mass. OK. The guy is gorgeous. And I have NO problem with his making such a display during his law school days, especially since it was intended as a good-natured spoof on the traditional exploitation of women as sex objects. And it's cool that everyone is laughing about this now, in view of his newly acquired stature as a U.S. Senator, and potential presidential candidate down the road. No big deal.

Now just imagine if that were Sarah Palin. Or Olympia Snowe. Or Martha Coakley. Or Nancy Pelosi. Would we all be joking convivially on the Leno show as her smiling naked self was flashed across the screen? Probably not.

More Later...
stay tuned!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

ANNE OF A THOUSAND TALENTS


How adorable is ANNE HATHAWAY? Completely--and the whole package was on display this afternoon when she became Harvard's 60th annual Hasty Pudding Woman Of The Year! This little "roast and toast" has been going on since 1951 when the nation's oldest dramatic organization HASTY PUDDING THEATRICALS(a club since 1795)initiated the award with Gertrude Lawrence. Since then they have passed out little gold pudding pots to such stars as Katherine Hepburn, Elizabeth Taylor, Julia Roberts, Meryl Streep, Halle Berry, and now Anne Hathaway--who handled it better than just about anyone I've ever seen!

Oh she of the perfect, creamy complexion and dark chocolate eyes. This afternoon I was there as they paraded her around Harvard Square in the snow, in an open car, flanked by Harvard men in drag (a centuries-old Pudding tradition). Anne then gamely took the Hasty Pudding stage, a be-sequined figure atop the tallest platform stilettos I have ever seen, to face her "roasters." She sank them where they stood. These undergrads had more than met their match. With cheery aplomb, the "princess of diaries" deflected their lame jokes and crude quips about her "royal" roles and topless dramatic turns with grace, good humor, and an arsenal of her own: a killer soprano, perfect comic timing and a raft of credits. We know she can hold her own on the big screen; witness her parrying with la Streep in THE DEVIL WEARS PRADA, her Oscar nomination for RACHEL GETTING MARRIED, her improvisatory genius on Saturday Night Live, and last summer's critically lauded run in Central Park as Viola in Shakespeare's TWELFTH NIGHT.

By the end, the boys gladly surrendered the pudding pot as Anne thrilled--then buried them with a perfectly executed Shakespearean rhyme.

I can't wait to see her play the White Queen opposite Johnny Depp in Tim Burton's ALICE IN WONDERLAND due in theaters this March. But before that, watch for Anne to announce the OSCAR NOMINATIONS next Tuesday morning, February 2, at the crack of dawn--live from L.A.!

Next week JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE becomes Harvard's whipping boy as the 2010 Hasty Pudding Man of the Year. He's got his work cut out for him. I can hardly wait!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

MUSIC TO MY EARS

This Sunday I have been asked to emcee an important and entertaining event, which will be televised and I'd love you to join me there: A Global Concert to raise $250,000 for earthquake ravaged Haiti!

THE LONGWOOD SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA and THE NEW ENGLAND CONSERVATORY PERFORM SYMPHONIC RELIEF FOR HAITI: A GLOBAL CONCERT TO BENEFIT PARTNERS IN HEALTH!
NEC's JORDAN HALL Sunday January 31, 2010 12:30-2pm

The concert will be broadcast on WSBK TV38 Sunday February 7, 10-11pm

The concert brings together the Longwood Symphony Orchestra(mainly comprised of healthcare professionals many of whom are headed to Haiti to aid in medical relief there) plus NEC's Richard Stoltzman and Paula Robison, The Boston Children's Chorus, plus musicians from the Boston Conservatory, Boston University, The Longy School of Music, and two Haitian performers, one whose family survived but is living outside their home in Haiti in fear of aftershocks.

The Concert has already received a $10,000 sponsorship from Partners in Health, and $10,000 from the Tufts Health Plan. Proceeds will benefit the STAND WITH HAITI initiative of Partners In Health, the non-profit Boston-based health care organization which has been on the ground in Haiti for 20 years, and was the focus of Pulitzer Prizewinner Tracy Kidder's bestseller MOUNTAINS BEYOND MOUNTAINS: THE QUEST OF DR. PAUL FARMER, A MAN WHO WOULD CURE THE WORLD.

Tickets are $25 at the Jordan Hall Box office, 290 Huntington Ave. Boston
or online at http://necmusic.edu/symphonic-relief-haiti
or by phone 617-585-1260.

Please come--and let's see what we can do together!!

Monday, January 25, 2010

A FLOOD OF TEARS

The day is raging against the tragedy which has befallen a member of our online community and reported in today's news. 19 year-old Allison Myrick--daughter of Steve, a former WBZ colleague who frequently comments on my blog--was murdered on Saturday night. Allison was involved in an abusive relationship. I felt the news like a sharp pain, which immediately gave way to an urgent sense of wanting to do something. In that spirit, and in keeping with Steve's wishes that we talk to our daughter's about abusive relationships, I share with you part of a statement released by Allison's family:

"Last night, January 23, Susan and I learned of the senseless murder of our daughter Allison. She was 19 years old and had just begun her second semester at Fitchburg State College. She was a smart, talented, funny, courageous, compassionate, and sweet young woman.

Her death stemmed from an abusive relationship with a young man she met a few short months ago. Despite all our efforts, we were unable to convince Alli of the danger she was in.

This horrible act of violence illustrates how volatile an abusive relationship can be, and how strong is the abuser's control over his victim. We tried so hard to get through to Allison, but we couldn't save her. If it could happen to her, it could happen to anyone."

Dear Steve, our hearts and souls are with you and your family. We will spread the word.

Friday, January 22, 2010

THEATRE REVIEW: ALL MY SONS

The latest production by the Huntington Theatre Company is none other than Arthur Miller's classic ALL MY SONS--a powerful and remarkably timeless work that seems more relevant than ever. It's a play that pits the American dream against a larger ideal, and explodes the idea of family beyond the nuclear. Believe me--it packs a wallop.

It's the tale of one Joe Keller who built a business out of manufacturing airplane parts and selling them to the government during WWII. But Joe's success has been clouded by scandal: some of those airplane parts were faulty. Compounding the drama, Joe's Son has been missing in action for three years, and his ghost hangs over the family.

The play is fueled by two stand-out performances--Will Lyman as the troubled patriarch Joe Keller, torn between personal responsibility and moral compromise; but then there's the extraordinary Karen MacDonald as Joe's haunted wife. Her sorrow, pain, and towering will is like something out of greek tragedy. It's a performance that will shake you to your core.

I remember talking to Arthur Miller himself about this play when he was in town with a production many years ago. I relayed an anecdote that conveyed how close to the bone this play cuts. It seems that the actor Ralph Waite (papa Walton!!)was starring in ALL MY SONS on the road in New Haven, when it was suggested that he might be an entertaining speaker to invite to address the foreman's club at nearby Sikorsky Aircraft (famous makers of helicopters). Apparently, when they found out what the play was about, the idea was immediately killed. I found that surprising-- and revealing. So did Mr. Miller.

Whether you make airplane parts or not, be prepared for this production to strike a nerve. See it at the Huntington Theatre through February 7!

Stay tuned!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

BOSTON FILM CRITICS AWARDS !!!

The bomb breaker and the cake baker are coming-- or rather, those that played them or are related! THE HURT LOCKER star Jeremy Renner and Julia Child's niece filling in for Meryl Streep for JULIE & JULIA will accept their best-acting awards at the historic Brattle Theatre in February! Please come!I will emcee and would love to see you there! Check out the press release for details:


STAR OF ACCLAIMED DRAMA THE HURT LOCKER, JEREMY RENNER, TO BE FETED AT BOSTON SOCIETY OF FILM CRITICS AWARDS CEREMONY



JULIA CHILD’S NIECE TO ACCEPT AWARD FOR MERYL STREEP



BOSTON — Jeremy Renner, star of the acclaimed Iraq War drama The Hurt Locker, will accept his best actor honor from the Boston Society of Film Critics (BSFC) at the BSFC’s third annual awards ceremony Saturday, February 6 at 7 p.m. at the Brattle Theatre, Harvard Square, Cambridge, MA.



Renner, who plays a volatile soldier defusing bombs, has made a career out of playing edgy characters. His past credits include the title role in Dahmer, as well as roles in The North Country and 28 Weeks Later.



Also attending will be Philadelphia Cousins, niece of celebrated chef and author Julia Child, who will accept the BSFC award for Meryl Streep, the BSFC awardee for best actress for her performance as Child in Julie and Julia.



Other special guests are expected as well and veteran arts and entertainment critic and BSFC member Joyce Kulhawik will emcee the evening.



Tickets to the event are available to the public through the Brattle Theater. There will be a pre-event cocktail reception at 5:30 p.m. at Casablanca restaurant in Harvard Square and a screening of The Hurt Locker following the awards presentation. Tickets go on sale on Wednesday, January 20th.



The ceremony will also honor several members of the Boston film community cited by BSFC for their contributions in 2009. Local awardees include Gerald Peary and Amy Geller, director and producer of For the Love of Movies; Haden Guest, David Pendleton and the staff of the Harvard Film Archive; and David Bramante of the Stuart Street Playhouse.



In addition to commending Renner’s performance, the BSFC cited The Hurt Locker with a record four other awards including best film. The BSFC honored Kathryn Bigelow as best director, Barry Ackroyd for cinematography and Chris Innis and Bob Murawski for film editing.



The BSFC’s annual awards ceremony has become a much-anticipated event for the Boston film community. The BSFC’s first awards ceremony in 2008 featured Frank Langella, named best actor for Starting Out in the Evening. In 2009, producer Maureen A. Ryan presented the acclaimed documentary Man on Wire, which went on to win the Academy Award.



Formed in 1981, the BSFC is made up of 20 professional film critics working in the print and broadcast media in and around Boston. Visit the BSFC website at www.thebsfc.org for more information on the organization and for a complete list of winners.



For more information or to purchase tickets to the awards event, visit the Brattle Theatre website at www.brattlefilm.org

Members of the BSFC will also be on hand to introduce films that are part of the Brattle’s Best of 2009 series which runs from February 5th through February 11th.



Event sponsors are The Boston Phoenix, The Boston Globe and Big Picture Framing.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

SHOCK AND AWE

It's the morning after the seismic shock that shook the political world. Here's my brush with the senator-elect: SCOTT BROWN and I actually served together as judges on COMMUNITY AUDITIONS a few weeks back. Daughter Ayla(the"available"one)was also on the panel in the weeks before. He didn't seem to know a melisma from a yodel, but he is damn good-looking, charming, down to earth, and remembered to send me a copy of Ayla's latest CD.

My previous encounter with the Brown family happened earlier in the year at a crazy event. It was a "Dancing With The Stars" fundraiser, at which I was auctioned off to cut a rug--and found myself on the dance floor with The Mayor, an Elvis impersonator, Miss Massachusetts, a high-kicking 80-year-old nun who happened to be a former Radio City Music Hall Rockette, and Ayla Brown! Ayla's father Scott and mother--the lovely Channel 5 reporter Gail Huff--were there for family support as Ayla sang. They seemed a warm, tight-knit high-spirited family.

I hope Scott Brown is as Independent as he says. If I had to look down the road, I'd say he's perfectly positioned to be Mitt's VP when Mitt runs for president in three years, then eventually launch his own campaign for the big office. Ayla will sing at the Inauguration and Adam Lambert will not.

Or,the young senator will be dismantled, limb by limb, by the DC behemoth.

More later- am off to the theatre.
Stay tuned!!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

FAREWELL ROBERT PARKER

It was a quiet, gray day that brought a slow, silent snow and sad news...an icon in the world of American crime fiction has suddenly passed away. Robert Parker died while sitting at his desk in Cambridge yesterday, no doubt keeping up a writing schedule that had him turning out up to three novels a year; two will follow him posthumously into 2010.

The world knows Robert Parker best for his Boston-based detective series "Spenser," which became the 80's TV series "SPENSER FOR HIRE" starring the late Robert Urich.
I will never forget the first time I saw him, sitting at the bar at The Harvest restaurant in Harvard Square, usually alone, grabbing a bite or a drink, chatting up the bartender or whoever was around. I would eat there three or four times a week, racing in, in between newscasts. I recognized him and was always too shy to say hello. His hardboiled fictional world was so beyond me; but he'd smile, and I'd smile back and after years, we'd even say hello. Then he had a serious heart attack and though I barely knew him, I dropped him a note. His apparent warmth made me feel like I could take the liberty. Many years later he was kind enough to remember, and even sweeter to mention it over cocktails in his library. By then I'd gotten to know him a bit better. Bob was a wit and a flirt. He was intellectual and prolific. He had done his PhD on detective fiction and wrote 65 books; he managed to drop my name into one of them which flattered me no end.

The last time I saw Robert Parker, I was interviewing him onstage in front of a live audience at the Boston Film Festival where he was being honored for a critically acclaimed western based on his novel APPALOOSA. He and his vivacious wife Joan were generous supporters of the arts and many local charities, and hosted wonderful dinners in their unusual home--his and hers: she lived up, he lived down, but they were inseparable. Joan was in the audience that night, and they cheered as he proudly called her to stand, acknowledging her as his inspiration, his muse in a world where people can barely spell. I will miss him, as will we all who were warmed by his good humor, intelligence, and heart all these years.

Good night...
and stay tuned.

Friday, January 15, 2010

THEATER REVIEW :IN THE HEIGHTS (AND MORE!!!)

So much to blog/so little time. I'm back!! I've been running around like a maniac this week!

HEADLINES

I spoke at an event on Beacon Hill Monday night and ended up teaching a delightful elderly gentleman there how to moonwalk. I wouldn't make this up. He got it.

I taped a radio show and made my predictions for this Sunday night's GOLDEN GLOBE AWARDS with my pal Janet Powers! Just go to her website and listen in on our half hour conversation www.divatoolbox.com

My daughter turned 16-- and got her learner's permit that very day!!! Look out. She's coming. And she knows what she's doing.

Wish I could say the same for what's onstage at The Opera House: IN THE HEIGHTS, a new musical. I don't care what Ty Burr said in the Globe. This show, while well-meaning, is dramatically flat, musically generic, corny, and featured a substantially underwhelming performer in the male lead. The plot was cliche-ridden and lacked a potent, convincing story that would have done the latino neighborhood represented proud.

Therefore, I'm sorry I wasn't home to watch part two of the 9th season AMERICAN IDOL premiere--the first half of which was held in Boston at 60 State (the former Bay Tower Room), and featured some hilarious and unforgettable auditions, one of which featured a performer who should have been onstage in IN THE HEIGHTS: the gorgeous and talented Ashley Rodriguez whom retiring judge (yes retiring) Simon Cowell said had "it." I predict she will go far!!

Finally, tonight I am emceeing an A Capppella extravaganza: A Cappella in DA' House at Theatre III in ActonJanuary 15-16-17 featuring Ball in the House, Custom Blend, and Working for Scale! For tickets go to www.theatre3.org.

Oh, and did I tell you my cat Sprinkles and I play cheerio shuffleboard? Every morning.

Am off to a wedding in DC this weekend--wouldn't you know it, just as Obama is headed this way to pump up a flagging Martha Coakley campaign. I'll just have to catch him next time. Do you think he knows how to moonwalk?

Have a great weekend--
and stay tuned!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Bloody Fun/MOVIE REVIEW: CRAZY HEART

The late night wars are getting bloodier--and Letterman (thrilled not to be in the middle of it for once) has jumped into the act just as Conan has threatened to jump ship. I'd like to see NBC go down in flames. HOW could they promise Conan five years ago that he could take over the TONIGHT SHOW--which as Letterman points out isn't the "THE TONIGHT SHOW" if it starts after midnight. Then they'd have to call it "The Morning After Show," and we all know how unpleasant that can be. It's as though the geniuses at NBC presumed they could see into the future, control the future, or didn't care about the future. hmmmm... the last one sounds plausible. They're all just manipulative, slow-witted, money-grubbing, corporate windbags, and now Conan has turned the tables. I must say, it's fun to see these overgrown greedy networks squirm....!
That said, I'm still rooting for Jimmy Fallon.

Now onto more important matters. I believe I just saw the Best Actor Oscar-winning performance of the year: Jeff Bridges in CRAZY HEART, just released Friday. He plays an alcoholic, nicotine-addicted, over-the-hill country singer(Bad Blake)who falls for a fetching young journalist, Magggie Gyllenhaal in an incredibly appealing performance. She shows up in his motel room to write a story about him, and ends up helping Bad Blake go good-- but not before some real heartbreak. Maggie and Jeff make a surprising and touching pair. Bridges does his own singing, T-Bone Burnett and the late Stephen Bruton wrote original tunes for the film, and it all feels remarkably "lived in." Bridges is so convincingly broken-down in the part, we can almost hear him creak as the songs blow through him like a dry wind. The supporting cast sneaks up on you: listen to Robert Duvall sing in a funny falsetto, and watch Colin Farrell as Bad's protege made good, guiltily warble his mentor's tunes.
If Bridges isn't even nominated, I may never watch the Oscars again. At least they won't be on NBC.

Goodnight,
--and stay tuned!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

BETTER BLOG/LATE NIGHT WARS

MY BLOG HAD A MINOR FACE LIFT! I had its colors done--I think these are more pleasing to the eye: periwinkle blue and cocoa! I am slowly ramping up to a--dare I say it?--WEBSITE!!! And you're all in on the ground floor!!! Seriously, I won't forget my original 300 or so! You have been GREAT FANS on Facebook, and I spent part of this weekend learning how to respond. Let's face it. I'm a person with 19th century skills (writing, speechifying, critiquing, dropping notes to people on stationery, etc.)slowly making my way into the 21st century.(But I won't give up my crinolines, hats, and long gloves). That I am bobbing and weaving through the blogosphere proves conclusively that ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE.

That said, what the heck were they thinking over at NBC when they took a perfectly happy Jay Leno, and stuck him on at 10? I used to interview him on the set at'BZ when he was a standup comic around Boston and he's a great guy. But he was clearly miserable in the new arrangement from day one, overweight, unhappy,and floating around an inflated set with no desk. It looked and felt like he and his guests were lost, their conversation echoing in a big empty alienating space. All of this communicated itself to the audience who ALWAYS know when a performer is not into it. Jay tried to be a trooper, but viewers don't want to feel like they're some kind of bitter pill to swallow. I think the bloom is forever off the rose for Jay at this point. And once again a cost-saving bottom line decision blows up in the collective corporate face.

As for Conan? He's brushed up his interviewing skills considerably since he started. I interviewed him on the set before his very first show.(And I used to have his brother in homeroom when I was an English teacher at Brookline High!) He remains sharp and inventive, but he's always been a little too goofy-twitchy for me.

I am actually LOVING Jimmy Fallon (Did anyone see the bit the other night which had him writing holiday thank you notes?!!) and now he's going to be on even later! I'm ready. Put up the coffee.

Goodnight!
--and stay tuned.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Podcast

At last, check out my FIRST Podcast with best-selling Novelist Alice Hoffman. The link should be available at:

http://www.last.fm/music/Joyce+Kulhawik/Untitled+Album/podcast%2B%2B%25231

Thursday, January 7, 2010

MOVIE REVIEW/SHERLOCK HOLMES

After seeing the trailer, I thought the latest take on SHERLOCK HOLMES looked like a blown up bunch of baloney, and after seeing it, I know it's a blown up bunch up baloney, but this is how I like my baloney; bursting at the seams and busting its case-ing wide open! Guy Ritchie (Madonna's ex) has directed a SHERLOCK HOLMES that is approximately 162 degrees from your mother's Basil Rathbone rendition. Whereas Rathbone played a cerebral pipe-smoking upper class twit, Robert Downey Jr. plays a cerebral pipe-smoking pugilist of the first order, cracking heads and cases with equal zeal. (Apparently the original stories reference Holmes's boxing prowess, and Ritchie has exploited this skill to the max). The result is a movie that explodes on screen: observe the combustible "odd couple" chemistry between Downey Jr.'s Holmes and Jude Law's fiery Watson, the daring double-crossing damsel in distress (Rachel McAdams), dialogue loaded with double-barreled entendres and shot through a dizzying plot that is proto-CSI: Holmes makes mountains out of forensic mole hills and always arrives at exactly the right conclusion--it's CSI VICTORIAN LONDON!!

And just to make sure you don't miss a thing at this eruptive pace, the film does something really cool. Right in the middle of any one of the scores of action set pieces, the camera slows down (thanks again, CSI) so we can see what Holmes has mentally mapped out before he acts: "Let's see, I kick the chair, which hits the villain in the nose, which flies off his face and is picked up by that passing gull who drops it in the Thames, where it immediately explodes-- thus proving my theory about hidden nasicular explosives and foiling the plot to blow up the queen! It's elementary,"(a phrase that's never used here) my dear movie-goer. Actually it's a very clever technique which allows us to catch our collective breath, and really see what's going on. What's going on, of course, is preposterissimus!! But everyone is in on it, especially Mr. Downey Jr. who seems as "up" for this much fun as I am.

Which brings me to a favorite joke.

Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson go on a camping trip, set up their tent, and fall asleep. Some hours later, Holmes wakes his faithful friend. "Watson, look up at the sky and tell me what you see."

Watson replies, "I see millions of stars."

"What does that tell you?"

Watson ponders the question for a minute. "Astronomically speaking, it tells me that there are millions of galaxies and potentially billions of planets. Astrologically, it tells me that Saturn is in Leo. Timewise, it appears to be approximately a quarter past three. Theologically, it is evident the Lord is all-powerful and we are small and insignificant. Meteorologically, it seems we will have a beautiful day tomorrow. What does it tell you?"

Holmes is silent for a moment, then speaks.

"Watson, you idiot, someone has stolen our tent!"

***
Good night.
--and stay tuned!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

"KRUMPING" POST SCRIPT

As I said earlier today, a few crazy steps and you just might end up dancing into a better (or at least more interesting) future. This just in. Crack producer Marji Borkow forwarded me the following.

Could you imagine coming home from work
to find this tiny creature napping on your couch with your dog?
















It followed this beagle home, right through
the doggy door. This happened in Maryland
recently.. The owner came home to find the
visitor had made himself right at home..
This hit the 6 o'clock news big time.


Stay tuned!!

KRUMPING into the future

I am still recuperating from emceeing MAYOR TOM MENINO's historic fifth term inaugural party which culminated in a festival of performances held on various stages in BOSTON'S newly refurbished PARAMOUNT THEATRE! The place was mobbed as I rushed from floor to floor, in this triple building jigsaw puzzle of a performance center, school, studio, dormitory (my brilliant architect husband loved it) introducing act after act. It was my honor to introduce "hizzoner"( in high spirits and raring to go despite nursing a repaired knee), and AMERICA'S FAVORITE DANCER: 20 year-old Roxbury native and Boston Arts Academy graduate RUSSELL FERGUSON! (I remember meeting him as a young student of Duggan Hill's "City Lights" program down on Washington Street.) Russell was just declared the Fox Network's sixth season winner of SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE," before a national TV audience of millions and his proud parents in the audience in L.A! Despite an ankle injury, Ferguson harnessed his raw talent and fiery spirit to "krump" his way to the $250,000 grand prize!!!! Last night the homegrown hoofer krumped the screaming crowd and a beaming mayor to a frenzy!

Sometimes, late at night, I wonder about the differences between krumping and krunking, popping and locking, hipping and hopping... but somehow it all seemed clear when Russell took the stage, and Tom took the oath. 2010-- krumping or limping-- won't be a cakewalk, just one crazy step at a time into the future. Let's dance.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

HAPPY NEW YEAR

Happy New Year Everyone!!! The "00 horribles" are over (I didn't realize what a difficult decade it was until I took a good look back) and the new decade is like fresh snow before us. I am optimistic--eternally. I celebrated the New Year in the Wasatch range of the Rockies at Snowbird watching a torch light parade through the mountains, and fireworks overhead! On New Year's Day-- instead of blogging --I joined my lovely sister-in-law of the long blonde hair in baking a delicious square triple layer coconut ginger cream cake covered in toasted coconut and mounted on a white pedestal. I wish I could pass out slices to all. I love to eat. I love to bake. I have been indulging my every whim all week, and have many films to tell you about, many that I missed during the year, and watched on DVD this week, among them, the previously blogged about CORALINE--and VALENTINO!

VALENTINO is about as delectable as the aforementioned cake. It's a fever dream of a movie about the iconic Italian designer who has spun an extraordinary life out of his boyhood fascination with beautiful women on the silver screen. As an adult, Valentino found a way to live out his fantasies as well as those of fashion-minded women the globe over in the world of haute couture. We see the ravishing clothes take shape, from simple pencil sketches, to the draping of voluminous fabric over the bodies of naked real-life mannequins in his workshop; then his cadre of seamstresses takes over with pins and thread, stitching everything by hand, every sequin, every pleat, making his dreams reality. There are 45 years of glorious garments, and the camera never looks away, even when Valentino and his lifelong partner Giancarlo Giammetti bicker backstage, even when he yells at them to stop. There are impossibly beautiful models, movie stars like Gwyneth, designers like the perpetually pony-tailed Karl Lagerfeld, and fashion mavens like Anna Wintour (her documentary THE SEPTEMBER ISSUE is as pinched as she seems)who waft through the film.
But none overshadow Valentino; the vision and force of this fashion titan who is both vain, and endlessly talented, remains eternally himself on a landscape eventually co-opted by corporate bottom liners. Rent VALENTINO--and have a slice of cake as you watch. This is having your cake and eating it too.

More to come.
--stay tuned!