Monday, January 26, 2009

Costumes and Cocktails

Movies are a big part of my life, and this weekend was no exception, except I didn’t see any movies but did have the opportunity to go to the Opening Night Reception of The 17th Annual Art of Motion Picture Costume Design Exhibition at the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising (FIDM) in Los Angeles.

This is an amazing collection of movie costumes from 2008.

I neglected to bring my camera thinking photos would not be allowed, but they were. Note to self: Remember the camera next time!

There were costume displays from the following films:

The Spirit
Superhero Movie
The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian
The Dark Knight
The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor
Speed Race
Stop Loss
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day
The Other Boleyn Girl
The Duchess
Elizabeth: The Golden Age
Mamma Mia!
The House Bunny
The Curious Case of Benjamin Buttons
The Fall
The Love Guru
The Spiderwick Chronicles
Tropic Thunder

I’ve always taken movie costumes for granted, never realizing the tremendous amount of talent, work, and dedication that goes into creating each character’s look. I have a new respect for the brilliance of costume designers.

After oohing and aahing throughout the exhibit my friends and I wandered into the reception and enjoyed conversation, cocktails, and a delicious buffet.

The exhibit officially opens Wednesday, January 28th and continues through Sunday, March 29th. It’s free to the public and definitely worth the trip downtown.

Friday, January 23, 2009

I Gave Harvey A Chance

My last attempt to see “Last Chance Harvey” ended when I purchased tickets online and went to the wrong theatre. Luckily for me the theatre attendant took pity on my stupidity and let me see “The Wrestler” instead.

Well I finally saw “Last Chance Harvey” and unfortunately I have to give it a mixed review. I didn’t love it and I didn’t hate it.

It’s the story of Harvey Shine (Dustin Hoffman) who travels to London for his daughter’s wedding. Once there he learns he’s being fired from his jingle writing job, and at the rehearsal dinner his daughter tells him that her stepfather will be giving her away. (What a bitch, huh?) He decides to forego the wedding and head home, but as luck would have it he misses his flight and ends up at an airport restaurant where he meets lonely heart Kate (Emma Thompson).

From there it’s pretty much predictable, though I have to say the chemistry between Hoffman and Thompson works wonderfully. There’s a beautiful scene where Hoffman plays piano and she sits beside him; two lonely hearts that have come together. These two pros say more with a look than some actors say with a whole script.

The film moves along nicely, though never achieving more than a slight sizzle, and therefore doesn’t elevate itself beyond a good cable TV movie.

It’s interesting to note that the song Hoffman plays on the piano he actually wrote. It’s called “Shoot The Breeze.” It had lyrics written by Bette Midler, and they performed it together on Midler’s television special “‘Ole Red Hair Is Back” in 1977. Their performance can be see on YouTube.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Persistent Questions

I love to read. I read a lot. Whether it’s The New Yorker magazine, a novel, a cookbook, a biography, or the labels on canned goods I’m always reading something.

This week I finished A PERSISTENT PEACE by John Dear SJ. It was highly recommended to me; actually thrust upon me by an enthusiastic follower of non-violence and one of Dear’s biggest supporters. My interest was piqued and luckily the library had an available copy.

For anyone who doesn’t know John Dear is a Jesuit Priest who believes in and wholeheartedly embraces non-violence. He lives an impressive life. He’s been arrested nearly a hundred times in his pursuit of peace. He’s authored over twenty-five books. He’s travelled the world. He was nominated for the Noble Peace Prize.

Unfortunately the book asks more questions than it answers. I kept asking myself who is this man and why has he stayed within the confines of a church that doesn’t approve of him.

Dear strives with every breath to live the life of Jesus, which he mentions way too much throughout the book. I guess you could call him the ultimate Jesus fan and Jesus wannabe.

I wanted badly to embrace his story and be inspired. I wasn’t.

Each chapter flies through chunks of his life without going very deep, and that’s the problem. I began to feel like he would go to every demonstration for potential celebrity rather than the cause. I started to doubt his sincerity.

I Googled Dear and watched a few videos of him speaking. During his speeches his passion is evident, and my doubt began to fade. Maybe the book should have come with an accompanying DVD.

I respect Dear’s vision, but wish he let someone else write his biography. Maybe then we would have gotten a glimpse to the real man.

Sunday, January 18, 2009


In less than 48 hours the village idiot and his crew of gnats leave 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW.

Miracles do happen.

Let the healing begin.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Shower of Germs

Recently I wrote about what I heard concerning sneezing and orgasms: one sneeze equals one-eighth of an orgasm. It was quite the “aaah” moment for me.

Little did I know the issue of sneezing would once again taunt my senses like pepper under the nose. This morning I was shocked to read the following tidbit:

The velocity of a human sneeze can exceed 100 miles per hour and propel its germs as far as twelve feet.

Wow. I never knew the shower of germs that spray from a sneezer’s mouth could give me whiplash and the flu.

I don’t know about you, but the next time I’m in public and someone experiences one-eight of an orgasm within twelve feet of me I’m gonna run and take cover, and then head over to the nearest drugstore for protection.

Egad... we’re not safe anywhere, are we?

Saturday, January 03, 2009

The Wrestler

Over the past week I’ve been seeing a lot of movies, one being “The Wrestler,” starring Mickey Rourke and Marisa Tomei.

I didn’t set out to see “The Wrestler.” I had ordered tickets online for “Last Chance Harvey” but when I got to the Hollywood theatre I realized I had bought the tickets for the Sherman Oaks location. With only ten minutes to show time I would never had made it over the hill to the valley. What a dumb ass, huh?

The theatre attendant took pity on my stupidity and let me exchange them for one of the films showing in Hollywood. Hence “The Wrestler” and not “Last Chance Harvey.”

I took my seat and waited patiently, enjoying the previews, not knowing if the movie would be any good. Yeah I’d read good reviews, but wrestling as a sport doesn’t interest me and a two hour movie about it wasn’t on my “must see” list.

“The Wrestler” is the story of washed up over-the-hill wrestler Randy “The Ram” Robinson (Rourke) who refuses to retire even though he suffers a near fatal heart attack. His relationship with his estranged daughter he’s incapable of repairing, and his relationship with exotic dancer Cassidy (Tomei) comes too late. He’s damaged and only feels alive when he’s in the ring.

What I liked about the film is that the characters are real, and the film never expects us to pity them. They are who they are whether we like them or not. I do wish that the father/daughter relationship was more than the typical “you were never there for me” cliche. It deserved more.

“The Wrestler” is often brutal both in and out of the ring, but engaging nonetheless. Both Rourke and Tomei give powerful award worthy performances; a comeback for him and a reemergence for her.

I wouldn’t be surprised if Mickey Rourke earns an Oscar nomination, and wins.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

A Lazy First Day

With today being the first day of 2009 I decided to take it easy, to relax, and to enjoy the beautiful Los Angeles weather.

I took a hike up Griffith Park.

The scorched earth and burned trees from last year’s devastating fire are still quite visible, but it was refreshing to see new vegetation, new life.

With my new digital camera I took some pictures.

I love Griffith Park. I love Los Angeles.

Happy New Year.