Thursday, December 30, 2010

Pocketful of Miracles (1961)

Notes: 12/30/10
Love the talented casts that Frank Capra always assembles.
Love Bette Davis! Love Glenn Ford!
Ann-Margret's film debut.
Bette is terrific in the letter scene. Pleading for the letter and reading the news.
Peter Falk is great with the wisecracks. Memorable sidekick character.
Bette Davis is the emotional centerpiece. When the plot strays a bit from Apple Annie, the film loses its verve. When all the characters are together, the film works quite well. When the focus is just Bette, the film is unforgettable.

Review: B
Frank Capra's final film is a glossy remake of his 1933 film Lady for a Day. Bette Davis is moving and heartbreaking as Apple Annie, a beggar who gets a make-over in order to impress her worldly daughter. When the film's focus veers away from Davis, it becomes less entertaining, despite a colorful ensemble of character actors. Peter Falk is quite amusing as the wise-cracking Joy Boy. Ann-Margret makes a charming film debut. Capra is a master at assembling his casts and this film benefits greatly from the direction he gives these performers. In all, a very well-made comedy with almost enough heart to be a classic.

Friday, December 24, 2010

King of Kings (1961)

Notes: 12/24/10
I'm kind of surprised to be liking this type of movie. I did enjoy Ben-Hur and Spartacus so I guess this is along those same lines.
Strange to watch Jeffrey Hunter play Jesus Christ. He's good though.
Harry Guardino is awesome as Barabbas.
Not flashy or overdone. Pretty straightforward and expertly handled.
Must be awesome on the big screen.
Memorable final shot. Cross shadow.

Review: B+
Majestic production values elevate this sweeping depiction of the Christ-tale. The cinematography and music stand out, along with the vivid storytelling and memorable narration by Orson Welles. Not always particularly involving, but certainly not boring. This is perhaps the most succint telling of the life of Christ, with expert performances and fine direction.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

On the Double (1961)

Notes: 12/16/10
Melville Shavelson directs. This looks promising. I get him confused with Frank Tashlin.
Was a bit skeptical about a Danny Kaye movie but this looks fun.
Doubles. Clever title.
Variation on The Prisoner of Zenda. One of my favorite stories.
Funny and entertaining.
Dana Wynter is quite pretty
Danny Kaye is very talented.

Review: B-
Funny showcase for Danny Kaye, allowing him to play a dual-role. The film is a slight variation on The Prisoner of Zenda set in World War II Scotland. Dana Wynter is beautiful and quite good. For fans of Kaye, this is a definite pleasure, while others will still find this comedy quite entertaining.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Blast of Silence (1961)

Notes: 12/15/10
Train coming out of tunnel. Great way to begin.
Narration is interesting. It actually creates tension and keeps the plot moving.
The character Ralph is awesome. Authentically seedy.
Very good performance by Larry Tucker.
Bare little film noir has quite a neat little style and exciting music
The love story is a bit of a bore. Luckily, it's not a distraction.
Life to death. Cold black silence.

Review: B-
Stylish suspense film relies heavily on narration to tell its story, while incorporating film noir elements to create tension. Spare production benefits from authentically seedy NYC settings and a memorable performance by Larry Tucker. Some of the story isn't always as involving as it could be, but the artistry is clear and that makes this worth seeing.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Ahoy, Cinema Adventurer!

One of the main reasons I don't blog more is that I often get too focused on the content of what I want to write about that I forget to just write until a theme develops.

Not sure why I created a blog called Slept Like a Blog and thought that it might allow me more creative freedom. With a name like that? Seriously?. I kept the blog and changed the name to Cinema Adventurer. I look at this blog as a more in depth take on my Adventures Through Movies. There is so much to document about this adventure of mine that I feel the need to, first of all, patent the title (both the project's and mine, of course).

I feel that if I want my adventure to be studied and replicated, I need to gain some credibility. Sharing what I like and what I follow in the world of film and other arts allows me to develop my own voice. Perhaps this blog will make some kind of impact. Perhaps a book deal!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

A New Level of Adventure

I've put a lot more emphasis on the appreciation and discussion of films in my recent movie-watching adventures. For my 1961 films, I've taken notes throughout my screening that sometimes border on the perverse. I've summarized my notes on the film and thoughts on the experience into a tiny review. A grade is assigned to the film based upon my own personal movie ranking. Somehow I have found a great way to enjoy watching movies and also get the opportunity to share it. The feeling I get from writing about movies becomes a passion all its own. So much dynamism.

Taking films seriously is one way of describing my adventure, but really I think I've found another. Experiencing the passage of time through film, but 50 years before, is astonishing. Watching films grow as I grow and considering how my parents grew, for example, or how American grew. The adventure is very much a life experience. It's so worthwhile.

And, of course, I think this adventure is FUN. The research I do, and all that I learn and discover, is, ironically, the most fun. I also get a kick out of the order I watch movies and how I go about tracking them down. So many are from Netflix or YouTube that it allows me to watch movies without the aid of my Dad's film collection, which I once depended on. There are still at least 30-40 films per year that are only available at my parents' house. I like watching titles that I don't really enjoy, only because it reminds me how good certain other films are.

1961 has given me some pretty cool movies to sit through and write about. I will continue with the mini-reviews and then, perhaps, more content relating to the year in film.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

The Curse of the Werewolf (1961)

Notes: 12/9/10
Lots and lots of backstory and characters who pretty much don't matter.
I don't think I like that I'm a third of the way through and I haven't seen Oliver Reed yet.
Oh ok so tranformation scene...could be cool...but we don't see it.
83 minutes in and we finally have a transformation scene! Nice make-up!
Leon's love interest is way too dull for him.
Pretty cool bell tower finale. I'll give it that.

Review: C-
The only Hammer horror film featuring the werewolf myth is, unfortunately, rather pointless. Most of the characters disappear or are reduced to mindless roles. All is forgiven when Oliver Reed is onscreen proving what a marvelous presence he is (Those dreamy eyes!). The make-up effects are impressive, as is the bell tower finale, but both prove to be missed opportunities thanks to a lousy screenplay.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Il Posto (1961)

Notes: 12/6/10
Opening scene gives a terrific sense of what this family is like. In less than 2 minutes.
Shot of brother walking towards the camera that's following him while the younger brother runs away from him towards the house. Cool.
Very personal. Everything Domenico goes through is something I can relate with. His experiences take me back to my own experience doing the same thing. Wonderful characters and interactions. Perceptively amusing and heartbreaking.

Review: A-
A young man comes of age as he enters the working world, meeting various people and learning tough life lessons along the way. Wonderful Italian film is perceptively amusing and heartbreaking as we follow Domenico from his family's Italian village to his new city job in Milan. His relationships with his family and coworkers are so beautifully portrayed, showcasing memorable characters and interactions that are instantly relateable to the viewer. Brilliantly subtle direction makes this an excellent film for anyone who's ever had a job. 

Saturday, December 4, 2010

General Della Rovere (1961)

Notes: 12/4/10
The prison cell scene with the writings on the wall is unsettling.
Air raid outside of prison. De Sica commands other prisoners to have courage.
Interesting character study. Bardone's experiences in the German prison cell bring out shades of growth in the character. He is finally a man among men.
The ability within us to be a respectable human being. A hero. This is a redemption story.
I should watch more of Rossellini's films

Review: B
Character study of con-artist who must perform a con for the Nazis. The talented Vittorio de Sica gives a performance that anchors the film with feeling and emotion. Roberto Rossellini looks at WWII Italy over a decade after the war had ended and sees both flawed and heroic characters in the mix. Some nicely written scenes make the film move along through various setpieces. A well-told story.  

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Innocents (1961)

The Innocents (1961)
Notes: 11/30/10
Creepy. Disturbing imagery
Gets stranger as it goes
Deborah Kerr does a pretty great job.
The sound effects are chilling.
The cinematography is really terrific. Sense of depth in the frame.
So well shot. Some really beautiful shots throughout.

Review: B+
The film's trailer describes it as 'a new and adult motion picture experience.' I'd say the word that sums it up best is 'creepy.' The pacing of the film is rather slow, though Michael Redgrave has one memorable scene that sets this ghost story in motion. The film commands the viewer to surrender to the very mature beauty of Deborah Kerr. The film cannot succeed without her performance and she carries it gracefully. There are a few scenes that may meander a bit (I'm not really a fan of freaky children), but the ghost story elements are so well-directed that it's easy to forget the parts that don't work. The distubing imagery and chilling sound effects really take over in the last half and create a pretty frightening film experience. A major asset is the terrific cinematography by Freddie Francis. There are some beautiful shots in this film and the sense of depth within each frame really adds to enjoyment.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

The Pit and the Pendulum (1961)

Notes: 11/27/10
Trippy opening titles.
Spotty acting. I can't tell if John Kerr is trying too hard or not hard enough.
Vincent Price is just the right level of looney.
The sets and chilling atmosphere offer the most highlights.
Love that shot of the castle on the stormy cliffside.
The exhuming scene is pretty effective.
Barbara Steele is very exotic looking.
The pendulum set piece is fun.
No one will ever enter this room again.” - frightening ending!

Review: B-
Roger Corman creates an effectively creepy atmosphere for his Edgar Allen Poe adaptation. At the center of it all is looney Vincent Price stealing the movie away from everyone. Some chilling sets and fun scares help the viewer along, despite John Kerr's sleepwalking performance and some uninteresting flashbacks. Above all, it's the ending that really makes this movie worth seeing. That final shot will haunt me forever.

Victim (1961)

Notes: 11/27/10
Opening credits are very tense. Basil Dearden did a good job there. Exciting music by Philip Green.
Very frank subject matter. Homosexuality. Blackmail. 
Like with last year's Oscar Wilde, the Brits seem to be one of the more advanced filmmakers in terms of human sexuality.
Not all that involving, but certainly a milestone in queer cinema.

Review: B-
Exciting music, tense direction, and fine work by Dirk Bogarde still fail to make this British crime drama very involving. Despite this, it is the frank depiction of negativity towards homosexuals in 1960s England that makes this film a milestone in queer cinema. Use of the word 'homosexuality' and 'queer' was not very common in films at the time. Bogarde is a handsome leading man done up to look older and aristocratic. His commitment to the role, as well as the film's place in history, make it worth a look.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Ballad of a Soldier (1961)

Notes: 11/7/10
From the beginning, I suspect this will be a tearjerker.
Impressive cinematography.
Interesting Russian point of view of WWII.
Simple story with some very emotional moments.
I can't imagine what it was like to be separated so completely from people.
Devastating in parts.
Thoughtful vignettes about separation, isolation, and reunion.

Review: B+
Thoughtful vignettes about separation, isolation, and reunion set in Russia during WWII. Simple story of a young Russian soldier taking leave from battle is full of some very emotional moments. It's difficult not to relate to the young man as he meets fellow soldiers, a potential love interest, and his mother, with often devastating results. The cinematography is nicely done.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

All in a Night's Work (1961)

Notes: 11/6/10
Great supporting cast and fun opening credits with music by Andre Previn.
Introductory shots of Shirley's character is lightly daring with the camera lingering on her ladyparts.
Cliff Robertson! One of my favorites. So cute.
Shirley MacLaine was a very likable leading lady.
Norma Crane is fun as Shirley's friend.
Story is kind of silly and uninteresting.
The cast pretty much makes this movie worth watching. Shirley and Dean in their prime.
Review: C+
Shirley MacLaine and Dean Martin were pretty much at the top of their game when this forgettable little romantic comedy came about. No one ever talks about it anymore, and that not really a surprise. Despite the likable leads, the supporting cast offers the most interesting elements. Good to see Cliff Roberston, even if it's in a lousy 'nice guy' role. Worth skipping in favor of the stars' other 1960-61 efforts.  

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Babes in Toyland (1961)

Notes: 11/2/10
Colorful Disney version
Shades of original Laurel & Hardy version, including L&H stand-ins.
Songs are OK. Colorful costumes.
Over-the-top, stagey, and not necessarily involving
Fun to see Ray Bolger (The Scarecrow!)
Annette Funicello was kind of pretty.
Ed Wynn and Tommy Kirk add much-needed spark. Fun effects!
Can't tell what I think of Tommy Sands. I think it's the hair that's the problem.
Fine. Nothing really wrong with it, but not a must-see.

Review: C+
Colorful Disney version of the '30s Laurel & Hardy favorite. Much of the movie is a candy-colored bore, except when Ray Bolger is present. It's cool to see him in a role outside The Scarecrow. Ed Wynn and Tommy Kirk also add some much-needed spark, along with some very fun special effects. In all, nothing to complain about, but little to recommend.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Doctor Blood's Coffin (1961)

Notes: 10/31/10
British mystery thriller. Strange disappearances in town.
The nurse looks so old.
Peter? (Kieron Moore) Love the accent.
Very atmospheric. Creepy.
Love story on top of it with old nurse lady.
Peter is kind of attractive. Porn star attractive.
Sexual tension in the car. Uncomfortable and hot.
The music is pretty suspenseful. Maybe overwrought?
Umm whoa! Beating heart. Gross.
Very Hammer-inspired.

Review: C+
I had fun watching this one for Halloween. I think I had more fun taking notes than I did watching the movie. I wasn't sure what to expect, but it turned out to be a pretty decent blend of Hammer influence and Psycho's psychology. Atmospheric and creepy with an intriguingly creepy central character. Not all that memorable, but worth a look if you like your British crazy and frightened.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Creature from the Haunted Sea (1961)

Notes: 10/23/10
Ridiculous. Not really a horror film. More of a silly comedy with political subplots.
The narration is a kind of amusing.
Not very interesting to watch.
The monster is as silly as one would expect from a Roger Corman movie. Too bad it takes forever to show up.
Best part is definitely the finale.

Review: D+
Schlock-master Roger Corman is playing with genres here to make something other than a low-grade monster movie. In this case, the low-grade monster element turns out to be the most interesting part of the movie. Unfortunately, the monster scenes are relegated to the last five minutes of the movie, making this kind of a waste of time. Not really fun to watch, despite some amusing narration and another pretty ridiculous monster in Corman's menagerie.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

The Absent-Minded Professor (1961)

Notes: 10/23/10
Fred MacMurray is very likable to watch, even when playing immoral characters in Double Indemnity and The Apartment.
Enjoyable Disney. Good direction. Well shot.
Keenan Wynn makes a fun nemesis..
The flying car scene and the basketball game are pretty cool. Not bad special effects.
One enjoyable scene after another.
Fun without being hokey or overly-sentimental.

Review: B
Enjoyable live-action Disney with a delightful Fred MacMurray as the titular professor who invents a flying rubber known as flubber. Keenan Wynn is also fun as the businessman looking to cash in on the professor's creation. Lots of fun sequences, including a rousing basketball game and a late night ride in a flying Model T. Great for kids, without being too hokey or overly-sentimental for adults.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Homicidal (1961)

Notes: 10/22/10
Strange, unusual William Castle chiller. Creepy, kooky characters.
Shocking and bloody first death scene. Effectively shifts tone from kooky to frightening.
Elements of Psycho: title, driving scene after first murder, woman running away from crime, woman has a lot of cash with her, bathroom to wash blood off knife, hotel, staircase, invalid 'mother' figure
Richard Rust – cute in a John Ireland sort of way
Glenn Corbett – adorable
Fright break is rather amusing. 45 seconds of time provided prior to the film's finale for audience members to decide if they will be able to handle it..
Intriguing twist, in some ways. Homosexual/transsexual undertones.
Possibly the first Psycho rip-off/clone. Even the tacked on ending is lifted!

Review: B-
William Castle's psychological chiller is so obviously influenced by last year's Psycho that it's a bit difficult to fairly assess. To its credit, it does have an effectively frightening moment or two, and it has some rather unusual subtext that isn't as evident until the finale plays out. The dialogue and acting are probably the least interesting part of the movie, but the characters themselves have some interesting enough backstories and the staging is amply creepy to make it worth recommending. Not a classic, but certainly worth seeing for it's campy shock value.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

The Year Was 1960

I think the most fascinating era for film was the dawn of the 1960s to the fade out of the 1970s. I've only begun this era, but I'm already seeing how its effects have advanced film to where it is today. Last year, I finished up the 1950s and headed straight into 1960 without a thought. One year later, I'm about to finish up 1960 with an exciting new outlook.

I haven't really found many stand-out American films that year, but those I did find didn't really seem to gain recognition until years later. Most of my favorites are from foreign lands. The most prominent of these is Breathless, the film that made the world notice the French New Wave. Breathless is so brazen that it requires repeat viewings. It's like nothing ever made before. I watched it on DVD and then, months later, on the big screen in New York City (where many saw it for the very first time 50 years earlier).  Other foreign films that stood out to me were Hiroshima, Mon Amour, L'Avventura, Le Trou, Kapo, Never on Sunday, and The Virgin Spring. 

Above all, however, the one 1960 film that ranks as my favorite does happen to be American; Alfred Hitchcock's classic Psycho. The film has been hailed and praised by many for years now, but as I watched it alongside other titles from that year, I couldn't help but notice how it stands so tall above the rest. Beautifully shot in creepy black and white, Psycho has so many memorable scenes that mesmerize and terrorize.  Hitchcock is my favorite film director and he really knew how to push the envelope in a way that thoroughly entertained an audience.

I'm going to be starting 1961 sometime next week. I'm pretty excited to see where the decade is heading in terms of movie styles and techniques. I feel that movies are about to mature and that international flavor will continue to dominate.  

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Writing, Blogging, and Critiquing Films.

For as long as there has been art, there have been critics. Everyone seems to have an opinion and so many feel the need to share their opinions with others. Christopher Nolan's latest film Inception has been the subject of countless critiques and debates by both estimable film critics and average moviegoers. The film has sparked so much discussion that it has instantly become THE must-see movie of the summer.  Much of this buzz is owed to the writing of critics and bloggers, whatever their opinions may be.

Personally, I am not much of a film writer, or even a critic. I would call myself an appreciator of films. Some movies might be better or more enjoyable than others, but I respect movies even if I don't love them. Admittedly, there are more and more movies being released that just look unbearable, prompting me to avoid them at all costs. Out of sight, out of mind. Some movies, however, are worth the endless discussion that film critics and bloggers take part in. Writing about a film is probably the most effective way to share the experience of watching one.

Despite my disinterest in being a film critic, I would like to archive my thoughts into a more substantial form. Too often do I allow my thoughts on films to settle in my mind. I realize now that writing about film does not necessarily mean critiquing it. It can mean appreciating it and sharing it and revisiting it.  Beginning with 1961, I'd like to write brief notes on all the movies I watch. Collecting my thoughts, compiling them into a brief essay form, and sharing it all with other film lovers is, perhaps, the most important thing I can do as a film lover.

I imagine it's easy to get lost in the sea of critics and bloggers. Standing out and being heard are not my objectives. Instead, I'd merely like to find others like me who share the same appreciation for film and film culture. Through writing and blogging, I hope to find my voice and my audience, as well as gain the opportunity to share and discuss the absolute joy that film gives me. I can't wait to be a part of it all.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Top 100 Films (1900-1959)

In 2002, I began a project that took me through a chronological journey (or, as I've dubbed it, 'adventure') beginning in 1900 and working its way forward. Now that I'm 'adventure'ing through 1960, I thought I'd take a moment to create a 'master' list of the movies that have really made an impression.

Arranged chronologically, I had to sort through 1300 movies that I'd watched over an eight-year period to find my top 100. I'd very much like to revisit the majority of them, which makes them all the more impressive to me. A curious lack of silents indicates my urgent need to see more of them. That will be another project.

The Sheik (1921)
Nosferatu (1922)
The Thief of Bagdad (1924)
The Gold Rush (1925)
Metropolis (1927)
Un Chien Andalou (1929)
All Quiet on the Western Front (1930)
City Lights (1931)
Dracula (1931)
Frankenstein (1931)
Freaks (1932)
Grand Hotel (1932)
Duck Soup (1933)
King Kong (1933)
It Happened One Night (1934)
March of the Wooden Soldiers (1934)
The Thin Man (1934)
The Bride of Frankenstein (1935)
Modern Times (1936)
My Man Godfrey (1936)
The Awful Truth (1937)
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1938)
A Christmas Carol (1938)
Grand Illusion (1938)
Gone With the Wind (1939)
Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939)
Only Angels Have Wings (1939)
Stagecoach (1939)
The Wizard of Oz (1939)
The Ghost Breakers (1940)
The Grapes of Wrath (1940)
The Philadelphia Story (1940)
Pinocchio (1940)
Pride and Prejudice (1940)
Rebecca (1940)
Citizen Kane (1941)
Dumbo (1941)
Hold That Ghost (1941)
How Green Was My Valley (1941)
The Maltese Falcon (1941)
The Wolf Man (1941)
Saboteur (1941)
Yankee Doodle Dandy (1941)
Casablanca (1943)
Double Indemnity (1944)
Going My Way (1944)
Laura (1944)
Meet Me in St. Louis (1944)
Leave Her to Heaven (1945)
The Lost Weekend (1945)
The Best Years of Our Lives (1946)
The Big Sleep (1946)
Children of Paradise (1946)
It's a Wonderful Life (1946)
Ivan the Terrible: Part I (1947)
Ivan the Terrible: Part II (1947)
Miracle on 34th Street (1948)
Rope (1948)
Stray Dog (1949)
All About Eve (1950)
Sunset Boulevard (1950)
The Third Man (1950)
Alice in Wonderland (1951)
A Place in the Sun (1951)
A Streetcar Named Desire (1951)
The White Sheik (1951)
High Noon (1952)
Singin' in the Rain (1952)
From Here to Eternity (1953)
I Vitelloni (1953)
Julius Caesar (1953)
On the Waterfront (1954)
Rear Window (1954)
Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (1954)
Diabolique (1955)
East of Eden (1955)
Pather Panchali (1955)
Picnic (1955)
Rebel Without a Cause (1955)
Giant (1956)
The Killing (1956)
The Searchers (1956)
Aparajito (1957)
The Bridge on the River Kwai (1956)
The Seventh Seal (1957)
Throne of Blood (1957)
12 Angry Men (1957)
Witness for the Prosecution (1957)
Ashes and Diamonds (1958)
The Hidden Fortress (1958)
Mon Oncle (1958)
Touch of Evil (1958)
Vertigo (1958)
The 400 Blows (1959)
The Lovers (1959)
North by Northwest (1959)
Rio Bravo (1959)
Sleeping Beauty (1959)
Some Like it Hot (1959)
Wild Strawberries (1959)

How many have you seen?  I'm curious to hear what you think of these films. If you'd like to know what films were left out, visit my massive archive. 1960 is taking longer than usual, but it also offers the most titles than ever before.

Consider this a personal suggestion of movies to see, as well as a foundation for my blog. I'd like to write more about these movies and their place in culture. Of course, I'd like to focus on the present as well, and am ready to put more energy toward writing about it and discussing it.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Why I Am a Dave Matthews Band Fan

I saw Dave Matthews Band in concert for the first time on June 25, 2005. Five years later, I've seen them eleven times in four different states. I've seen them through the death of their saxophone player, Leroi Moore, and through the release of two studio albums. My experiences are nothing compared to most hardcore DMB fans I've met, but I've experienced enough of the band's unbeatable fusion of rock, jazz, and blues to declare myself a fan for all seasons.

Why do I enjoy them? The main theme throughout all of their songs is love. Love in all forms. Love of life, love of self, love for a lover, love for a child, love of country, etc. Each song explores this theme with a pleading passion that I think is soul-stirring.  The bottom line, though, is that they really know how to get my ass shakin'.

My latest show was this past Friday in Hershey, PA. It ranks high among my other shows mainly because of my proximity to the stage. Somehow, general admission seats escaped my until this year. Excellent investment!  Of all the shows, I'd say that the 2006 show at Boston's Fenway Park is my favorite.  A great setlist, memorable venue, and the fact that it was released as a live album each make it all the more novel.

The Song That Jane Likes, One Sweet World, Granny, and The Stone are, among the many greats, my all-time favorite DMB songs. I've only seen One Sweet World and Granny live.  I'll chase the other two for years if I have to.  I find it kind of exciting that there are still songs to look forward to seeing live.  I've seen the band eleven times and I suspect I'll continue to do so until they decide to stop touring.

With the announcement that DMB is taking a break from touring in 2011, I have two years or so to prepare for my next show. Show #12 in 2012?  Looks like something to plan for.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Celebrity Sightings

You never know who you're going to run into, especially here in New York City. Lots of celebrity traffic on the street that can sometimes go unnoticed.  While taking a break from the AIDS Walk this afternoon, I ended up running into comedian/actor Hal Sparks in Starbucks, of all places.  He was also participating in the walk and I couldn't help but get all giddy and ask for a picture.  I've been a fan of his for years (from Queer as Folk to VH1's "I Love the..." series) and it was a great thrill to get to meet him and briefly chat. 

Now that we have the ability to follow many celebrities on Twitter, it often feels like these people are old friends and not the strangers they really are. Still, nothing beats the nervous excitement of actually meeting one in person or spotting a familiar face on the street.  Here is my collection of celebrity sightings. I love how random it is. 

Jack Palance - The Oscar winner was signing copies of his book of poetry. My first celebrity meeting! I was with my dad and brother and Palance talked to us briefly about directors from the 1950s.
Ralph Fiennes - I spotted him on the street while he was in the city appearing on Broadway in Faith Healer.
James Earl Jones - He spoke at Penn State and did readings from a few Shakespeare plays. What a voice!
EDIT: 10-16-10 - Alan Alda, with a beard, at Lee's Art Supply Store
EDIT: March 2012 - Spike Lee, introducing To Kill a Mockingbird at the Ziegfeld Theater
EDIT: May 2012 - Cameron Diaz, outside of Lincoln Square 13 promoting her new movie.

Edward Hibbert (Gil from Frasier) - He was sauntering through NYC's Joe Allen restaurant one night.
Nicolas Putvinski (Project Runway Season 6) - Met him in a bar once and spotted him in the same place months later. We talked about Heidi Klum.
Robert Osborne - The suave host of Turner Classic Movies co-hosted a screening of All About Eve with actress/singer Elaine Stritch at the Ziegfeld Theater .
Hal Sparks - While participating in the AIDS walk, Hal stopped into Starbucks at the same time I did. He was tweeting on his iPad.

Stephen Lynch: The comedian/singer signed my program after I saw him make his Broadway debut in The Wedding Singer.
Lea Michele and Jonathan Groff: I saw them appear together in the incredible Spring Awakening before they became famous on Glee.
Elaine Stritch: The stage legend co-hosted a screening of All About Eve with TCM's Robert Osborne at the Ziegfeld Theater.

Dave Matthews Band: I have seen then perform 10 times and counting. My favorite band ever.
John Mayer: I have seen him perform 3 times.
Maroon 5: Opened for John Mayer in 2004.
Guster: Opened for John Mayer in 2004
Sheryl Crow: Opened for DMB at Fenway Park in 2006
Pete Yorn: Opened for DMB in 2007.
Hawksley Workman: Took a road trip to Toronto to see this Canadian singer and his band.
Jason Mraz: Opened for DMB in 2009
Bon Jovi: I spotted them from 100 feet away while they signed autographs at Best Buy.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Before We Begin

Before we begin, I'd like to share a few words.  This blog exists because I needed to share my varied thoughts on movies, television, books, music, and theater with someone who is at least moderately interested.

If you can imagine a darkened theater where Movies are the ageless star of the show (a chainsmoking diva), Television is the understudy (an ingenue with a secret past), Books and Theater are the supporting players (watching bitterly from stage left) and Music is outside trying to get tickets (doe-eyed and penniless) then you can fully appreciate where this blog is coming from and where it intends to go.  I hope we will find something in common.

Fasten your seatbelts...