Monday, June 30, 2008

No more summertime blues.

May of 2007 I wrote this post. What a difference a year (and a new country makes).

I do realize the fact that I don’t have to work all weekend helps.

The summer vibe here is more NYC than L.A. The city has different festivals going on and there is easy affordable public transportation. I’ve been checking out museums, going the park, meeting up with friends etc.

Last Saturday I went to Tivoli. I will post about that day trip later. If you are going to visit Rome for more than a couple days, it’s definitely worth it.

This past Saturday I went to the beach with an Italian friend of a mutual friend back in Hollywood. Even though he’s a director I noticed we do talk about things other than the “industry.” We picked up his girlfriend and drove to Ostia. We went to far end of the beach. We parked near what used to be the “Brazilian” beach but now it’s more Turkish. The majority of people on said beach are Italian but there were many Brazilian and Turkish folks in the house. Every section of the beach has it’s own flavor. Some areas are more family oriented, others have more a party scene.

It was great to get out of the heat of the city for a day. I have this thing where I have to see the ocean (or a very large lake like Lake Ontario) once in a while. I don’t know why. In Los Angeles I would drive to PCH (Pacific Coast Highway) or go to Santa Monica/Venice at least once a month. I must live near a coast.

A few things this American will have to get used to:

Women walking around topless. Where my parents live in Caribbean the French and other European women do it there as well but because there are so many American tourists the topless women are in the minority. Here they are in the majority. There I was reluctant to take off my cover up because I didn’t think my body was bathing suit ready and all the other women in various shapes and sizes were doing their thing. I need to get over body hangs up from years of living in the oppressive Hollywood mind set that only a size 2 is acceptable (a 0 is preferred) and be thankful that my body is healthy and works. (Yet another friend around my age is battling breast cancer.)

Speedos. Yes some of the older men are still rocking them. However, the younger guys are wearing the “Daniel Craigs” a cross between a Speedo and a brief. Me like!

Some things reminded me of the islands. The vendors walking up to you on the beach trying to sell you various things, the randomness of the DJ’s music selection, the smell of sun block.

Despite it being very hot now, too many tourists and that this ragazza will not be traveling outside of a day trip once in a while given my bank account (damn you low dollar!!), so far this is has been the best summer I’ve had in over ten years.

p.s. Big ups to Spain for winning their first major football championship in 44 years.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Flashback Friday - Milli Vanilli - "Girl You Know It's True"

Last week we did the cabbage patch this week something a little bittersweet.

First this video is hilarious. What is up with the bad acting in the beginning? However, the song is really catchy.

I say this is bittersweet because I felt bad for Fab and Rob after I saw VH1's Behind the Music. I think their profile was the premiere show.

Fabrice "Fab" Morvan was born in Paris the son of an architect and a pharmacist. His grandparents were from Martinique and at 18 he moved to Berlin to model and sing (I know his West Indians parents must have been thrilled! ha). Rob Pilatus was born in Munich. He was adopted by a German family after his parents, an African-American solider stationed in Germany and a local German woman put him up for adoption. He met Fab at at club and they started a group.

The producer of Milli Vanilli had already cut the album but thought the original singers were not hot enough (crazy), so he hired these two young guys. The record exploded beyond anyone's expectations. The more popular the group/CD became the louder the rumblings grew regarding who actually sang on the CD.

If you saw the Behind the Music there was that infamous clip of them "singing" at a concert when the tracks starting skipping. The audience didn't even care. Given that most of the so-called singers at the top of the charts now lip sync in concerts and get a LOT of vocal help when cutting albums, (i.e. Britney etc.) I wonder if the Millii Vanilli scandal happened today would it be such a big deal?

Fab and Rob said they could sing and wanted to. When they pushed to do so on the new album they were recording, the producer went public. Once the truth came out, their Grammy was stripped away, the record label offered refunds and deleted the album and the masters from the roster. The producer tried to create a Milli Vanilli come back without Fab and Rob but it failed.

I saw Fab in my neighborhood a couple times when I lived in L.A. His hair was really short and I had no idea he was so tall. He is tall, dark and VERY handsome. Stunning. He's still singing and his last CD received good reviews. Unfortunately Rob died of an overdose at 32 in Frankfurt. He never quite got it together after the scandal.

I don't know what is going on with the feature film about them. Here is the video. It came out in 1990. Check out the shoulder pads and like the "Every Little Step" video from Bobby Brown we have some spandex going on.

Have a great weekend.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

If you plan to visit Rome, you might want to arrive before the movie Angels & Demons comes out.

After reading this article in the New York Times, I'm glad there were no scenes in the book (I haven't read the script) set near Campo de Fiori or Piazza Farnese.

Regarding the Church saying no to the filmmakers, I thought the filmmakers had balls to ask to shoot inside churches. Did they not read the book? Why would the Catholic church say yes?

Anyway I hope this movie is better than the Da Vinci Code. The Da Vinci Code made a ton of money but movie was terrible. I couldn't finish it.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

You've got mail and a police officer at your door.

First the policeman. Usually one does not want to be visited by the cops. However I was happy because it meant I was one step closer to getting my residency. Here in Italy when you apply for it (E.U. citizens must do it within 90 days of arrival) the police come to your house to make sure you are actually living where you say you are. They ask a couple of questions then send the paperwork to Comune (city hall).

They had stopped by two Saturdays in a row while I was out running errands. Third time was a charm. An officer came by on a Friday afternoon. He was very nice. Said my Italian was fantastic for only being in the country for a few months. It’s not great but I was able to communicate and understand him because he was kind enough to speak slower. I showed him my rental contract and my passport. He went down his list of questions. One was if I was married. When I said no, he put his pen down and said “No! Ma dia. Perch√®?” (No. Come on..why?). His reaction cracked me up. He told me not to worry soon it will happen. Okay thank you Mr. Policeman I’m not even dating but I’ll keep hope alive. I actually don’t need to be married. A date alone would be a miraculous event.

Second, I love getting mail (not bills of course). Imagine my surprise when I received two packages from the States in two days. Thanks Jen in NJ and Rob. I had a lot of good stuff to read. I’m trying hard not to eat all the candy in one week.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Lo Shopping: Ikea, Rome

To be honest I tried to avoid Ikea when I lived in the States. If I had to go (they are the best place for storage boxes, containers, etc.) I would get there just as the store open. When I lived in L.A. the Burbank one would be packed within an hour. No thank you.

So to get to this Ikea I had to take the bus to the metro, then another bus then walk a few blocks. It wasn’t too bad. It was a little cumbersome carrying my things on the way back but I don’t have a car. I had to get some under-bed-boxes given my closet space is ¼ the amout I had in L.A.

I don’t knw wny it make me chuckle to be a in a store that looked so familiar but everything was in Italian. I went up to an employee and asked about some kitchen item in English and then remembered where I was.

I was at the store at 9:00 a.m. when it open and was done in 45 minutes. Before going to the store I went on the Italian Ikea website and wrote down everything I needed to get. I will be honest. I did cheat a little. There were a couple things I didn't know the Italian word for so I would look on the Ikea USA site first.

One special thing I saw on the way out:

Yes! I have’t seen these in any candy srtore in Rome. There was a chocolate shop acrrose the street from my office in L.A. I used to get fish or Jelly Bellys there. Perhaps that is another reason why I’ve lost weight since I’ve moved. I’m not eating candy that often. That said I love Swedish fish and haven't had any in almost three months. I’m glad I checked out the little food area. Something told me Swedish company might = Swedish Fish.

Monday, June 23, 2008

I HATE penalty kicks!

That's all I got to say.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Flashback Friday - Cabbage Kids

Last week Rufus and Chaka Khan told us something good. This week as I was unpacking (still!!) I looked through an old photo album and saw a photo of my sister when she was around seven holding her beloved Cabbage Patch doll. She won the doll during a church raffle and she took that darn thing with her everywhere.

I remember when these dolls first burst on the scene in 1983. All hell broke loose. People were going nuts trying to track them down for the holidays. I didn't get it. I thought the dolls were so ugly but then I met my sister's doll and I understood.

Of course in the 80s there was also a dance called the Cabbage Patch. Whenever I heard old school hip-hop I want to bust out the moves.

I don't own a scanner so no photo of little sis but I did find this commercial. Ha. Have a great weekend.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Chilling in Rome with The Frugal Traveler from the New York Times

One of my friends called me up last week to ask if I wanted to attend this "industry" party in Testaccio. Her friend of a friend, Matt picked me up and we walked over. The funny thing is I had just started reading his column about his Grand Tour through Europe this summer. I really liked his post about his impromptu dinner party in Paris.

The party was fun. I bumped into a casting director I met last year through G. There where quite a few very stunning folks about and not all of them were actors. The only downside is I got eaten alive by mosquitoes on the walk over/back. My arms look crazy and I have a meeting this afternoon. It's too hot to wear long sleeves.

I went to the drinks Matt hosted. The game was on so I was a little distracted at first. I'm still not used to people being able to bring dogs in restaurants (there is a photo in his column). I think it's gross. Maybe because I don't have a dog.

Saturday night we had an aperitivo, dinner and then some gelato. Matt missed his curfew at the convent. Through him I met these two British expats who are taking a break from job hunting in London (both were recently downsized) and studying Italian here. I need to get out more. These two have already been to the beach and all over Rome.

Here is a link to his article. Matt has some great suggestion on how to save money. Check out the video.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Italy is in the quarterfinals!

I am so sorry France but you didn't play well at all during this tournament. Congrats to Holland who is playing some kick ass soccer. I know some of my relatives on the Dutch side of St. Maarten are celebrating.

I met a friend last night and she promised to get me some really great ear plugs. I will truly need them if Italy beats Spain this Sunday.

Last night as I walked from the restaurant (near the Coliseum) to my apartment, cars were honking, people had huge Italian flags waving. I thought "this is just for the quarterfinals."

Unfortunately, Pirlo and Gattuso will not be playing due to yellow card issues. That is a problem.

Forza Azzurri!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Maybe Italian Spiderman can help the team tonight.

Italy plays France tonight. They must win or they are eliminated from Euro Cup 2008.

My former coworker sent me this video. He said it could help me with my Italian. This is either the funniest thing I have seen in a while or the stupidest or perhaps both. For those who know Italian you will notice words are spelled wrong and I think they are speaking more Spanish than Italian.

I don't much more about the creators of this "movie" other than they are from Australia. They are presenting a long lost movie from 1968 "shot" at a Milan studio.

First here is the trailer:

Here is episode three. When Italian Spiderman says Jesus Christo un coccodrillo, I lost it. haha

Sunday, June 15, 2008

"If it's Sunday, it's Meet the Press"

I was talking to my parents the other day. We can't believe Tim Russert is dead.

He just got back from a family trip to Italy to celebrate his son's graduation from college.

Even after I stopped working in the political world I watched MTP every Sunday. Russert was one of the best political journalists out there. At least he died doing something he loved.

The son of a garbage man from Buffalo, Russert was a hard core Bills fan and spoke often about his Irish Catholic upbringing. He was very close to his family. From what I heard he had a great sense of humor and was really looking forward to covering this election.

Here is the NYTs obit.

Rest in Peace Mr. Russert.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Flashback Friday - Tell Me Something Good - Rufus & Chaka Khan

Okay I'm still feeling the 70s even though I was "ahem" too young to remember a big part of that decade.

Last week's Flashback we did a little afternoon delight with Ron Burgundy, today Rufus & Chaka Khan are going to tell us something good.

This song has one of the sickest bass lines of all times. My Flashback of this song is laying in my bed when we still lived in NYC and hearing one of our neighbors play this song over and over again. It was summer and all the windows were open.

A friend of mine used to work at VH1 and a couple years ago she invited me to see Chaka live. The channel used to do these intimate concerts at one of the Sony studios in Manhattan. Chaka was amazing. I've always loved her voice and when I was a kid I thought her whole style/vibe was cool.

Here is a live clip. Have a great weekend.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

FYI - Fox News (and others who may not know), a married woman is not a Baby Mama

I didn't see the movie Baby Mama with Tina Fey. I heard it was funny.

What is not so funny is Fox "News" calling Michelle Obama, Barack's baby mama. Let me break it down. Baby Mama is slang for a woman who has a baby with a man and is not married to him nor emotionally involved with him. Other than in a Tina Fey comedy it has a negative connotation. As in a baby mama is a hoochie mama with a kid.

If you don't believe in marriage/broke up before getting married, etc. and had a child with your partner, the guy would refer to you as "his son's mom" not my baby mama. It would be rare to find two Ivy League educated people using that phrase unless they were being ironic. I find it interesting that Fox went with that graphic. I don't recall them using it when John Edwards asked the media to back off regarding his wife.

Maureen Dowd's recent column in the New York Times said now that Hillary is out of the line of fire, Michelle is next. It's starting already. I just hope and wish we could talk a little about the issues this fall. For example, is the price of gasoline in the U.S. going to hit $5 a gallon? How will that impact the economy?

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Slow Motion by Dani Shapiro, The Autobiography of Malcolm X by Alex Haley and One Hundred Strokes of the Brush Before Bed by Melissa P.

I have been reading up a storm since I have no TV. Most of it has been non-fiction.

Originally I was looking for one of Ms. Shapiro's novels but grabbed this instead. I have heard good things about the book and her writing. She's a beautiful writer. This is the story of how her parent's horrific car accident made her change her life. Before the accident she had dropped out of Sarah Lawrence to pursue acting. She was having an affair with a classmate's powerful step-dad who was around the same age as her father. How she went from growing up in a upper middle class Orthodox home to flying around the world with this man is quiet a story. After the accident she had to come home and take care of her parents when she could barely take care of herself. It's what saved her life. She was a heavy drinker and her "career" was going nowhere. The one thing I didn't get was why her parent didn't say anything regarding her affair and dropping out of school. It's a question Shapiro asks in the book.

I read my brother's copy of this book a while ago. It was interesting to reread it now. There's still controversy over who really killed Malcolm. So many biographies are dry, this book is not. We see Malcolm change from a hustler, to a follower of Nation of Islam, to his trip to Mecca. Post Mecca he started to question his views on NOI. I wonder what Malcolm would think about America today if he were still alive. Would he be thrilled and surprised about the changes since the 60s or would he be angry about the growing underclass and other social ills. Malcolm was complicated and he was flawed but he was a man of his times. Reading this book made me think about what my parents, especially my dad, had to deal with when they moved to America. He was a grown up when he came here that's why his spirit was never broken. He knew who he was and didn't let anyone else define him. Some might say but all this was a "long" time ago. I think there is a connection between the sins of the past and social issues we see now.

This book was translated into over thirty languages. However, it didn't do that well in the States. I guess people were not interested in reading about a 15 year old having gang-bangs. At first I thought is this even real? But she does write like a very smart, over dramatic teen. This autobiographical novel is about a young from Sicily and her erotic adventures. I don't think the book is very erotic though. I'm not a prude but most 30/40 something women would have found it hard to navigate some of the situations Melissa P found herself in. At 15/16? I wonder what kind of relationships she will have in the future. I didn't believe the ending for a minute. She is working on her second novel. The film adaptation did very well here. I don't think it was released in the States.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Loud students + 2:00 a.m. + angry neighbors = a bucket of water.

Last night a group of four American college girls were screaming at these Italian students. If someone is bothering me, I would yell "basta", and walk away. Instead they kept screaming, "non capisco Italian", "stop, go away" and "you are disgusting", but then they would chase the boys and hit them. Where I live is a side street, most of the people who live here are Italians, there are families and almost all of these brownstones are condo buildings, in other words it's not an area with a lot of students or high turnover. I get that by living in the Center I will have to put up with some noise esp. on the weekends but it was a Monday night and it was ridiculously obnoxious. They woke me up and I looked out my window to see what was happening. If the girls were really in danger I would have called the cops but like I said why would you chase someone and hit them if you want them to leave you alone.

They were in front of a building a few doors down. All of a sudden I heard a splash. It took me a minute to realize someone had thrown a bucket of water on them. The students stopped.

Regarding the game last night, Che cazzo è successo?! That's Italian for WTF happened? I met up with G at a friends. The actress who made the comment about how eating slowly = making love slowly at an earlier dinner was there and it was fun to see her again. However, when I left my apartment the score was 0-0. I got to the apartment and everyone looked like they were at a funeral. G said solemnly, "Italy is down by two goals."

After this horrific game we watched the post game show. I felt so bad for Gianluigi Buffon the goalie. This man is an incredible goalie. Someone translated for me. He basically said it was the worst game he has played in 12 years, he felt ashamed and apologized to the people of Italy.

Okay I don't think he said these things because the publicist for the team said he should. He looked so upset and ashamed. I thought his choice of words were interesting. I don't hear ashamed used a lot in American pro-sports. Upset, embarrassed, sad, yes but shame is such a strong emotion.

Now Italy has to beat Romania on Friday or they are out. Holland's defense was incredible last night. After the game both teams hugged, exchanged shirts but the Italian team was exhausted and the fans were not happy.

Just as G predicted it's very quiet this morning. I went to the market and everyone I spoke to was sad.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Euro 2008: Get your football/soccer/calcio on!

Once again Italy and France are in the"Group of Death." Every tournament has one ridiculously tough group and this is it. Why, why, why!

I'm happy I will be able to watch the games in a place where people actually care about the sport. No crazy time difference and no more horrible ESPN/ABC announcers. It was so bad during the World Cup I started to watch Telemundo. I don't speak Spanish. I get that ESPN/ABC wants the highest ratings possible. However, soccer will never be as popular with non-immigrants Americans as football, baseball or basketball. I don't think trying to change what the beautiful game is (yapping about Posh Spice when England was playing, running weird stats non-stop, trying to announce soccer games like a baseball game) is going to bring more American fans to it.

Also the networks can't make enough money, so why are they going to air games more often? Soccer has two halves. There aren't commercial breaks every few minutes. Fewer commercials = less revenue.

Maybe all the kids who play it now will be fans when they grow up. What I love about the World Cup is seeing teams and fans from all over the world (unlike our World Series..that name is kinda deep when you think about it) compete. From the big G8 teams to small islands like Trinidad/Tobago's Soca Warriors. There is so much ugliness in the world but for a few weeks all these people share one thing, love of the game. Okay before I break out into Kumbaya, I must speak about something that is troubling me.

Italy plays Holland tonight, on Friday it's Romania. Next week France. What am I do to? I can't root against France as a French citizen or Mr. Henry. He's from Martinique. I have family there, we could be related.

On the other hand I can't root against the country I live in. Poor Fabio, got injured and will not be able to play.

The game is not until next week. I worry about this later.

For those Stateside who care about the beautiful game, the New York Times has a GREAT soccer blog. It was a life saver during the World Cup. They really know their stuff and it's fun to read the comments from fans from all over the world. It can get pretty heated. There are also covering the qualifying rounds for the 2010 World Cup which will be held in South Africa. The U.S.A. played against Argentina in a friendly match in front of over 75,000 at Giants Stadium. It was a draw. They are playing Barbados next. Here is the link to the blog.

It's not easy being a soccer fan in the States. The number one thing I heard was that it was a wimpy sport, something for suburban kids. My answer to that is how many pro-athletes can be in motion/run almost non-stop for 45 minutes? Have they looked at soccer players, they are in crazy good shape. Anyway America is the only country in the world where this is not a big sport so I really don't care what the non-fans have to say. Just because we didn't invent soccer doesn't mean we we can't enjoy it.

I think this commercial sums up the global love pretty well. Loved this ad.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Flashback Friday - Afternoon Delight - ANCHORMAN VERSION

I do kind of remember the original song. I never saw this version until today. I was looking for a scene from the movie ANCHORMAN. That movie was so ridiculous but my friend and I laughed our butts off. When Will plays a character he commits.

Have a great weekend and "stay classy".

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Clooney, Swinton, Malkovich, McDormand and Pitt all in one movie.

Okay after yesterday's post/rant I needed something light.

Here is the trailer for the upcoming Coen brothers movie BURN AFTER READING. I love their comedies. FARGO and the BIG LEBOWSKI are hilarious. Quirky but funny. The first time I saw the latter I thought, "I don't get why everyone is laughing, are they high?" Then after catching it on cable a few times, it cracked me up every time.

I am loving this cast. I'm glad to see some grown women were cast.

What upcoming movies are you looking forward to?

p.s. Hillary is scheduled to suspend her campaign (not sure what that mean versus ending it) and is going to endorse Barack on Saturday. hmmm.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

History is made.

I haven't been posting on the primary because I would get too upset. I would write a post than delete it. Earlier I had said I wouldn't vote for Hillary after her husband's crazy South Carolina comment and campaign's cynical strategy. Several friends and bloggers like Jenofa2eatwrite said come on are you really going to vote for McCain if she is the nominee? Doing some research on him, I would say to myself no way. He is pandering right now too much to the very right wing of his party. He was put on blast by them because of his bipartisan work with Ted Kennedy on the immigration bill. It's too bad because the "straight talk express" seems to be taken over by the "far right limo service".

Then the Ferraro comment happened, and the Bosnia sniper thing, The RFK thing. The idea that the press is super easy on Barack. I'm sorry, didn't they talk about Rev. Wright and the "bitter" comment for weeks? If Barack had lost 10 primaries in a row like Hillary did I'm sure they would have said he's done. He need to drop out NOW.

Yesterday I was unpacking and found a picture of me, Hillary and another staffer that was taken during the '92 campaign headquarters in Little Rock. What happened? Hillary was not well served at all by her campaign esp. Mark Penn and her very undisciplined husband. I wonder, did he sabotage her on purpose or is it he doesn't realize how much campaigning has changed since he ran? The blame has to rest with her though. She hired these people and she's married to latter. She should have fired them earlier.

Yes there is sexism but that is not why Hillary lost. She entered this race with more money, higher name recognition, yes some high negatives but still she was supposed to be the nominee no problem. She ran one of the worst campaigns I have ever seen in my life. How does someone run through that much money? She waited too late to get organized in Iowa. She had no strategy past March. Big mistake. Then another big mistake was underestimating the "Clinton fatigue" issue which help Barack a lot. Barack ran a better campaign. They stuck to their message and tried not to get off track. Does he have flaws yes. Let me be clear...I am not supporting him because I am black. I didn't support Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton when they ran for President. Please.

I think this country has some major problems and I don't know if they are fixable esp. in one or two terms. I did not agree with Reagan's politics (hello ketchup is not a vegetable!) but there is no denying the man was called the Great Communicator for a reason , as was Bill Clinton and JFK. I feel after two terms of Bush we need a fresh start. I don't want to sit through any more Clintons vs. the world drama. enough!

Hillary needs to end this gracefully. However I don't that will happen when she makes comments like this from last night:

"In a speech to supporters in New York City, Mrs. Clinton paid tribute to Mr. Obama, but she did not leave the race. In a speech more defiant than conciliatory, she again presented her case that she was the stronger candidate and argued that she had won the popular vote, a notion disputed by the Obama campaign." NYT

Okay I know because I worked in politics I might be a little more sensitive about this but this is WRONG. Why is she doing this?
You don't do shit like this on the night your opponent was won the nomination. She did not win more of the popular vote (her people are not counting the caucus votes), and even if she did, we pick our president through the electoral college and delegates. She is not encouraging her supporter to rally behind the nominee, quite the opposite. The night when she was supposed to give a concession speech, Terry Maculiff introduced her as the next President of the United States. This is crazy. Is she on McCain's payroll now or something? She's dissing Obama left and right but now is putting pressure on him to pick her as VP. If he doesn't it could be a problem. I don't think she should be on the ticket. It doesn't help to have two senators and her negatives are too high at this point. Plus I don't trust her, why would she want to be VP?

I feel like she can't quite believe "some uppity Negro" has beat her. I get pissed when I heard Ferraro say Barack is lucky and is getting over because he is black. Really did they say that about John Edwards who had less legislative experience than Barack? Barack is lucky, so let's discount his degrees from Columbia and Harvard Law. As we know he only got in because of Affirmative Action not because he might be smart. If anyone is lucky it's our current president who had horrible grades but got into Yale because his dad and grandfather ( a former senator) were alums. I guess Ferraro didn't hear about the very high number of death threats Barack has rec'd. So high they had to get him Secret Service protection early, or about about the T-shirts that have a picture of a monkey on them eating a banana that say "Obama 08". There are many people who will never vote for him, not because of the issues, or how they feel about his experience but just because of the color of his skin. So don't freaking tell me racism is "poof" over. The only luck he had is that Billary imploded.

I don't know what will happen at the convention. I find it bizarre that she is having people talk her up for VP. McCain is so glad this is going on. He's in big trouble and this is keeping the focus off of him.

Years of politicians using wedge issues have jacked this country up. People will vote against their best interests because of cynical yet catchy slogans and ad campaigns. When I see a photo like this I think maybe we are finally moving away from that.

The fall will be ugly, a battle royale if you will. I'm curious to see who McCain and Obama will pick for VP. Will the Hannitys and Limbaughs who hate McCain rally the base to vote for him? Will the Hillary supporters who say they will never vote for Barack because of all the sexism Hillary has faced, really vote for McCain, a man who called his wife a f**king c**t in public and is anti-choice? What will be the Clintons role in the fall? It's going to be fascinating.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Help! I'm surrounded by boxes.

The movers have delivered my things from the states. Ta da! Nothing is broken.

It's funny so many people told me there would be drama, shipping a crate from L.A. to Rome. There were plenty of opportunities for it. The crate had to go over land from L.A. to the Port in NYC, wait to be consolidated with other shipments going to Italy. Then across the Atlantic to the Port of Naples. It's the port of Naples that I was the most worried about but my things cleared customs no problem. Then from Naples by truck to Rome. My movers were amazing. Walked me through every step. Their Italian contact totally hooked me up by explaining clearly how the process in Naples works which saved me a bunch of euros.

I'm a little overwhelmed by all the unpacking I have to do. The photo was taken after I moved a bunch of boxes to my bedroom. Right after the movers left I could not walk around my living room. I still don't know how I ended up with six boxes of books after donating more than half of my collection to the L.A. Public Library.

I'm glad that I have my family photos. I can now make this apartment a home. There are a bunch of things I need like a pillow for the chair in the living room but I'm going to wait and see what my income will be. See, I am being positive. I assume there will be some income it's just a question of what amount

Finally, I will be able to take advantage of the great markets near my place and cook a meal up in this joint.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Yves Saint Laurent 1936-2008

Another very talented creative person has left us. Considered one of the most influential designers of the 20th century, Saint Laurent was the last of the giants from the Christian Dior, Coco Chanel era.

Here is the New York Times article.

One day I watched a documentary about him on IFC (independent film channel). It was fascinating. I love seeing how creative people work. How they are influenced, what drives them, how they navigate the art/business conflict, how they stay relevant in a culture that is becoming less about creativity and more about the bottom line. Today any random celeb can throw their name on some clothes and POOF they are a designer. Please.

He was one of the first couture designers to feature black models on the runaway and in advertising. He changed the way modern women dressed, championing the tuxedo pantsuit (or as the French call it Le Smoking). He influenced many designers before he sold his company. Tom Ford took over as head designer (they clashed) and now the label is designed by Stefano Pilati. Pilati has brought back more of Saint Laurent's French style.

Saint Laurent was very well respected and loved in France. He helped put Paris on the map as THE place for fashion. During the 1998 World Cup he was selected to do the pre-game kick.

I am going to see if I can find the name of that documentary.

Catherine Deneuve was a muse to him. Here is the trailer for BELLE DE JOUR. He designed her clothes for the film.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Sex And The City in Rome

I went on Friday to see SATC. Saw it in English with Italian subtitles. My ticket was only five euros! That is the least I have paid to see a money in years. The Arclight in L.A. was fourteen dollars and the Grove was eleven. Drop two bucks off those prices for a matinee.

It was so weird to see the New Line logo and names of execs I know while sitting thousands of miles away in Rome.

While I had some issues with the movie the amount of venom directed toward it is pissing me off.

During the Great Depression Hollywood pumped out what?? That's right comedies, wish fulfillment movies, so people could just laugh for a few minutes. However, regarding this movie, one critic said it was a Taliban recruitment video.

First male execs and critics were saying it would make no money since it ONLY appeals to women. Now that the movie made 26 million in the U.S. on Friday alone (this is a major upset. Indy 4 in it's 2nd week was supposed to out earn it. The studio was hopping SATC would do PRADA numbers around 27 million for the entire weekend) and is projected to do maybe 55-60 million for the weekend it's like it the end of the world. This movie is shallow! These women are old! Who cares about fashion!

I'm sorry did I miss some deep meaning behind TRANSFORMERS a movie based on cars that become monsters? There is so much stupid, brain dead dreck that comes out of Hollywood for boys/men. Are men really surprised that women would want to see this film? And the snarky comments about Samantha shows how ageist American society is. OH MY GOD a women who is 49, who still likes sex.

Time and time again a movie comes out like DEVIL WEARS PRADA, WAITING TO EXHALE or FIRST WIVES CLUB and the studios are like, oh there is a female audience? Don't even get me started on the lack of good movies that might have a black female protagonist. After SOMETHING NEW under performed a black exec at a Hollywood studio said to me black romantic comedies were dead. Okay after one movie. Rumor has it that the head of Warner bros (he denies it) said after the BRAVE ONE tanked, they weren't going to greenlight any more movies with female leads. Okay Speed Racer tanks are you going to stop making movies based on comic books or with 20 something white guys?

I don't get it. Hollywood used to make movies all time that had strong, complicated, interesting women. They used to call them ''women's pictures" films like MILDRED PIECE and SORRY WRONG NUMBER. Instead of Bette Davis now we have Jessica Alba.

If you want to see well round, women on screen who are actually over the age of 21, I suggest looking at foreign films and the occasional indie pic. Charlotte Rampling is 60 still working. If she was based in Hollywood she wouldn't be starring in movies.

Here is a short tribute to Bette Davis narrated by the great Meryl Streep.