Monday, February 23, 2009

Super Sunday

Ever wonder what would happen if a comedian didn't host the Oscars? Me neither, but someone must have considered the possibility because it happened. And the results were...not bad! Let's recap, shall we?

Sparkle...Magic: In case you were wondering, the sparkly curtain at the front of the Kodak Theater? Swarovski crystals.

Nice to meet Hugh: Still a little on the fence about Hugh as host, don't know why. Maybe because he was so relaxed and seemed to genuinely be having a good time. I'm not accustomed to the host not having at least one moment where things go wrong and they to want to be swallowed whole by the stage or played off by Bill Conti (who, by the way, was not missed by ANYONE).

Close to Hugh:
The big show felt a little smaller, a little more intimate. The orchestra was moved and the audience got to be a little closer to the action. The good news is some winners had a shorter walk to the stage. The bad news is everyone in the front row got to see a whole lotta Beyonce.

And the winners were: I may be in the minority, but I really loved the whole "welcome to the club" presentation of the acting categories and the montages introducing those segments. I know some people thought it was too much mush, but think about it,'re nominated for an Academy Award, it's the biggest night of your life and instead of having to watch that same clip of yourself (the one you have now seen at the SAGs, the Globes, the BAFTA's and the Spirits), Shirley MacLaine or Robert DeNiro or Eva Marie Saint or Alan Arkin walks out and talks about how awesome you were in your movie. How are you NOT thrilled? How do you NOT get emotional? And if your name happens to be called when that envelope is opened? BONUS!

His and Hers: Last year, Javier Bardem became the first Spaniard to win the Academy Award. His co-star (and lady love) Penelope Cruz is now the second Spaniard to win. For those of you who do not speak the Spanish: All of the loyal people of Spain, now they share this moment with me and feel that this (Oscar) is theirs also, so I dedicate to them. To all of the actors and actresses of my country, Thanks a lot.

Que Viva Espana!

Kate, so great: Sixth time is the charm for our girl Kate, the youngest person to be nominated that many times for an Oscar. This was totally worth the wait, if only for that sweet moment when she said, "Dad, whistle or something, 'cause then I'll know where you are." (He whistles.) "Yeah!" (Waving to him.) "I love you." My sister and I agreed that our dear dad would have done the same thing...and then he would have started sobbing.

Bonus: This is what it looks like when it really hits her backstage.

Milk Men: What a beautiful speech by Dustin Lance Black. Heartfelt, genuine, lovely. Well done, sir. Well done.

About that dress, briefly: Penelope Cruz in vintage Balmain Coutoure. AWESOME. Natalie Portman in Rodarte? SO Audrey. Taraji P. Henson in Roberto Cavalli? Amazing (and that necklace! Love it.) I could have done without the feathers on Nicole Kidman's dress, but she looked good. Diane Lane? Perfect and lovely, as usual. Anne Hathaway in Armani Prive? Sparkly and gorgeous! Sarah Jessica Parker in Dior Haute Couture? Only person who could get away with it. You know who couldn't get away with it? Jessica Biel in Prada. As my mother would say, "No goo." On a brighter, hotter note...

Let's hear it for the boys: Damn, the men looked good in their tuxedoes. They combed their hair, wore ties, some of them even shaved! Even Mickey Rourke, in his white Gaultier suit looked good for Mickey Rourke. My favorite? Craig, Daniel Craig. Damn.

Two words: Slumdog Millionaire. Eight Oscars. Effing Brilliant. Haven't gone? Go NOW.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Seeing Things

I went to see Ghost on Sunday with Heather. Yes, dead Patrick Swayze, teary Demi Moore, psychic Whoopi Goldberg Ghost from 1990. It may surprise you to know that it was nominated for an Oscar for, wait for it...BEST PICTURE. I know, crazy right? It still holds up almost twenty years later. Swayze and Demi look gorgeous, Tony Goldwyn is the perfect evil best friend and the story is engaging. The special effects are dated, but overall, not a bad flick for a Sunday morning. The mimosas probably helped.

In preparation for Oscar Sunday (aka My Superbowl) I've seen Ghost, Roman Holiday, Pat & Mike, Say Anything, the Age of Innocence, Gigi, and most of Funny Face. Heaven bless Robert Osbourne, TCM and their 31 Days of Oscar. I might have a crush on Osbourne. He's such a gentleman, with his white hair and classic clothes. It also helps that he has an encyclopedic knowledge of film. The man loves his job and I love him for it.

So, I'm watching Funny Face last night and I am struggling to believe that Audrey Hepburn would fall in love with Fred Astaire. Richard Avedon, sure (Astaire's character, Dick Avery, is loosely based on Avedon), but Astaire? Not buying it. I can buy her falling for Bogart and Holden in Sabrina, Peck in Roman Holiday, Gary Cooper in Love in the Afternoon and especially Cary Grant in Charade (who DIDN'T fall for Cary Grant in Charade?). I'm just not feeling Fred. It's not that he's too old, most of Audrey's leading men were considerably older. Maybe he's too smooth, aloof. I know, I'm biased. I'm a Gene Kelly person. Always have been, always will be. I can't help it. Astaire, is absolutely an icon in his white tie and tails, but give me Gene in a polo shirt, khakis and some loafers any day. Oh, what do I know? Judge for yourself and watch Fred and Gene rock it out in The Babbit and the Bromide.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

No Ordinary Love

"Life isn't a love in, it's the dishes and the orthodontist and the shoe repairman and... ground round instead of roast beef. And I'll tell you something else: it isn't going to a bed with a man that proves you're in love with him; it's getting up in the morning and facing the drab, miserable, wonderful everyday world with him that counts." - Henry Fonda as Frank Beardsley in Yours, Mine & Ours (1968)

My parents were married for forty-five years. They survived a revolution, moved to a country where they did not speak the language, started a business, made a home,
raised three children, fought a lot, laughed a lot, traveled (alone and together) and opened their home to countless refugees (and helped find them jobs and homes). They took care of each other (and us) no matter the cost. Sickness, health, richer, poorer, better or worse, they were in it for the long haul. God knows it wasn't easy, but they stuck it out. As my mother once said to one of a friend who told her she should go home and get some rest after spending days at my father's side in the hospital, "After forty plus years, I'm not leaving now."

I will think of my parents
on Valentine's Day and remind myself that, not only is lifelong love absolutely possible, I've seen it in action. How lucky am I?

Monday, February 09, 2009

First and Last

I've probably mentioned this before, but I wrote a book about ten years ago (OK, more like going on twelve years). It's twenty-six poems, that I wrote in no particular order. Somehow when I put them all together, they made sense. They tell the story of who I was and who I loved at that time in my life. Now that I'm writing again, and I'm more serious about the writing, I'm wondering if it's time to do something with these. Take a look and let me know what you think. Thanks.
Here's the opener:
Brunette seeks
Foreigner to
Insight and
Joy. Must have
Killer smile,
Legs of steel and good
Sexual appetite
To be asked later.
Until our
Very anticipated
Walk through an
X-rated garden,
Your face
Zooms in my memory.

And the closer:

Arrives at the
Back of my throat,
Closing it
Every bit of
Is it possible?
Jellyfish for hands. Where
Knees once
Own the
Remarkable this
Spell. And
To have kept me
Under, you must be
Versed in the
X-otic language of

Saturday, February 07, 2009

A to Z: another exercise

Give it a try, but you have to do it right. Copy this whole thing, go to your profile/notes/new note, click and paste.

Then comes the hard part. Replace my answers with your own. Then tag as many of your friends as you'd like…

- Available: More than I should be
- Age: A rocking 36
-Annoyance: You know when you reach in the kitchen cabinet to grab a pan and everything clangs together? Yeah, that's an annoyance.
- Animal: PS #2 Dolphin, Memorial Tiger, Hartford Hawk...I've been them all.

- Beer: Lately, it's Harp or Stella
- Birthday: June 19
- Best Friend: Ia, Cat, Aaron
- Body Part on opposite sex: Eyes and thighs
- Best feeling in the world: spooning after the fact and falling asleep that way
- Best weather: right before a summer storm, when the wind picks up but it's still!
- Been in Love: Thought so repeatedly, but really only twice.
- Been on stage?: I have played Susan B. Anthony, one of Santa's elves, one of the babies from Free to Be, You and Me, and Deniece Williams lip-synching to Let's Hear it for the Boy from the movie Footloose. Yeah, this girl's got RANGE!
- Believe in Magic: Absolutely, all kinds
- Believe in Santa: My mother ruined Santa for me. She would have me pick out the present, wrap it and then stick it under the element of surprise whatsoever.

- Candy: Cadbury Dairy Milk, preferable from England
- Color: Red
- Chocolate or Vanilla: Vanilla with a swirl of fudge
- Chinese or Mexican Food: Mexican
- Cake or pie: Cake a la mode (that means of the fashion)
- Continent to visit: Europe
- Cheese: Pleasant Cow from the Wooster Square Farmers' Market

Day or Night: You know the night-time is the right time
Dancing in the rain: Yes, and in my head it is ALWAYS with Gene Kelly

- Eyes: Two of them, dark brown
- Everyone's got: a hungry heart.
- Ever failed a class?: Almost. Chemistry. What was I thinking?

- First thoughts waking up: What am I going to wear?
- Food: Used to be my enemy...we're on better terms now.

- Greatest Fear: Already realized.
- Goals: To be published, to help send Flash to college.
- Gum: Sweetmint
- Get along with your parents? After a decade of living in the Bell Jar, I can say that I do.
- Hair Color: Pepper with a dash of salt. (as opposed to A Salt with a Deadly Pepa)
- Height: 5 foot 2
- Happy: Lately, yes! Thanks for asking.
-Holiday: Christmas Eve
- How do you want to die: Happy

- Ice Cream: Chocolate Chocolate Chip or Rocky Road
- Instrument: My body

- Jewelry: Tiffany's (I know how that sounds, but two of my favorite pieces are from there and they were given to me by two of my favorite)
- Job: Downtown Deputy

- Kids: The best kind, nieces and nephews!
- Kickboxing or karate: Couldn't we just have a dance off?
- Keep a journal? Ummmm, have you not been reading my notes on here?

- Love: “I was born with an enormous need for affection, and a terrible need to give it.” -AH
- Letter: Write them when I can, love to receive them

Milk flavor: Chocolate
Movies: Old and in Black and White, usually featuring a beautiful young woman who falls for someone WAY too old for her.
Motion sickness? No
McD’s or BK: McDonald's fries are legalized crack.

- Number: 19

- One wish: One more day

- Pepsi or Coke: Coke
- Perfect Pizza: Mashed potato, bacon and garlic from BAR
- Piercing: 1 in the right ear, 3 in the left ear, 1 in the belly button

- Quail: Sucky VP. Oh wait, that's not how you spell it, is it? HA.
- Quiet?: I wish

- Reason to cry: Release
- Reality T.V.: Too much, sadly.
- Radio Station: 105.9 for the 80s at 8, then it's all itunes.
- Roll your tongue in a circle: Indeed.
- Ring size: 6.25. What? You think most women don't know their ring size?

- Song: Lately it's As Cool As I Am by Dar Williams and Nostradamus Said by Al Raebuck.
- Shoe size: 9 aka GIANT
- Salad Dressing: Oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper
- Sushi: Miya's or Miso
- Skinny dipped?: No...I should get right on that, in July.
- In the shower?: Soap, face wash, washcloth, razor, shampoo, body scrub. I have too much stuff in there.
- Strawberries or blueberries? Yes, please.

- Tattoos?: Nope.
- Thunderstorms: Best when shared with someone while lying in bed.

- Unpredictable: I can be.

- Vacation spot(s): Let's call this places I don't get to enough: Block Island, Dublin, London
- Weakness: Bad boys (such a cliche. I blame Johnny Depp)
- Which one of your friends acts the most like you? I have friends who have very similar senses of humor, but I wouldn't say any of us act alike.
- Worst feeling: The dizziness when I get out of a too hot shower and I have to sit on the bathroom floor. I always think, "great, this is how someone is going to find me?"
- Wanted to be a model?: We had a modeling team at my high school. I never tried out. Too bad because I think I have a great walk.
- Worst Weather?: Anything with a wind chill in single digits. My people are island people, we don't fancy the cold.

- X-Rays: Not recently. Just a sonogram. On my leg.

-Year it is now: 2009
-Yellow: Living room

- Zoo animal?: I haven't been to the zoo since the 1980s.
- Zydeco?: Buckwheat?

Friday, February 06, 2009

ACT. Now.

Why arts, culture and tourism are important to me:

I live here. I’m lucky enough to live in a city (and a state) that allows me the luxury of seeing amazing art (from the masters to modern architecture), dining in some of the finest restaurants around and enjoying exciting festivals and arts events all year round, all within walking distance of my apartment.

I work here. As Deputy Director of the Town Green Special Services District, I know first hand the importance of the arts, culture and tourism to the community. Every day, our staff works with countless merchants, restaurateurs, hotels, attractions and arts agencies to get the word out about our fabulous city. These organizations employ thousands of residents, entertain thousands of visitors and keep our local economy strong. Arts, culture and tourism makes a city a more appealing place to live, work and play and enhances the quality of life in ways that are sometimes intangible.

My closest friends in the world are artists. They are painters, print makers, photographers, sound designers, ceramicists, musicians and writers. Some of them are fortunate enough to make their living making art and some of them have day jobs that allow them the time to make art. They are all talented, passionate and unstoppable in their pursuit of creation. They inspire me every day.

I’m an artist. The arts are my outlet, my sanity, my safe place. I’ve been writing poems, essays and (now) blogging since I was fourteen years old.

Join the cause, save the arts, feed your soul, do some good. ACT.

Visit the ACT for Economy facebook page or sign the petition at Tourism Works for Connecticut

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Wintry Mix

In the spirit of list making, I give you a mix of songs that can perk me up, make me smile and heal me. It's also a bit of a personal history. I am including my favorite lyric from each one, because as much as it's about the melody, the writer in me loves a good lyric.

Growing up:

Guantanamera/Celia Cruz "Y antes de morir, you quiero cantar mis versos del alma."
This one always reminds me of my dad and all the people I grew up around. They sang it at parties. The first time I heard it after my dad passed away, I cried and cried. Now I can listen to it and think of happier times.

ABC/Jackson Five "Naw! Get up Girl! Show me what you can do!"
A call to action that always gets me moving. The first thing I saw on the giant color TV my dad got for us was the Jackson 5 cartoon. AWESOME.

Boys of Summer/Don Henley "Out on the road today, I saw a Deadhead sticker on a Cadilllac, a little voice inside my head said don't look back, you can never look back."
It always takes me back to
walking to school with Arlene after our Algebra 1 class at the high school. I don't think either of us knew what a Deadhead sticker was at the time.

Never Tear Us Apart/INXS "I told you...that we could fly. Cuz we all have wings, but some of us don't know why."
Junior Prom, 1989. My first little black dress. Jessica McLintock, off the shoulder with a rose where I should have had some cleavage. It was classic...for 1989.

Falling in and out of love:

Barely Breathing/Duncan Sheik "I don't know who I'm kidding, imagining you care"
Beautiful and bittersweet .

Jersey Girl/Tom Waits (or Springsteen) "Cuz down the shore, everything's alright. You and your baby on a Saturday night. Nothing matters in this whole wide world, when you're in a Jersey girl." Right on.

Love Will Never Do Without You/Janet Jackson "If you believe in love, SING!"
Great sentiment, great song, great video. Herb Ritts, you are missed.

Cinnamon Girl/Neil Young
"You see your baby loves to dance."
He's right, I do.

Losing him:

Walk On/U2 "And I know it aches, how your heart it breaks, you can only take so much." I listened to this song over and over the summer my dad got sick. It helped. A lot.

Seal/Love's Divine
Love can help me know my name." I was listening to this song one afternoon while cleaning the kitchen and...I just lost it. All the hurt inside me just poured out in chest heaving sobs. I looked like hell afterwards, but I felt so much better.

Anthems that get me through these days:

As Cool as I Am by Dar Williams "I will not be afraid of women" Every word of this song strikes a chord, but that's the best line.

I'm Free/Soup Dragons "Don't be afraid of your freedom!" We must have listened to this one a million times in college. Reminds me of hanging out with my best friends, laughing and dancing. An excellent reminder on the days I feel low.

Freedom '90/George Michael "All we have to see is that I don't belong to you and you don't belong to me." In the last year, I have found it to be even more relevant.

Mama Said Knock You Out/LL Cool J "I'm gonna take this itty bitty world by storm, and I'm just getting warm!" A power track, makes me feel ready to take on the world.

Right Here, Right Now/Jesus Jones "There is no other place I'd wanna be. Right here, right now, watching the world wake up from history." Hell yes.

I could go on and on, but I'm sleepy now. Feel free to chime in with your faves. Consider this an endless mix tape and play on.