Friday, March 31, 2006

The Dodgers proved they don't have an ounce of class left under the ownership of Frank McCourt by insisting on calling tonight's visiting team the "Anaheim Angels of Anaheim" instead of their real name the "Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim." It's a little hard to read but that's what the bottom line said whenever one of Angels was introduced on the video screen. What a pathetic, schoolyard move by the Dodgers. How sad! Posted by Picasa

Must See Thursday

Saw a very funny show tonight at the Globe Theater in West Hollywood called "Inconceivable!" It's a fable about getting pregnant told from the point of view of the sperm and the egg. Let's just say oral contraception is a real Witch! (

Director Rick Sparks is responsible for a number of very funny shows over the years including "Down South" and "Highballs Ahoy!" which starred the incomparable Les Stevens.

The Globe has a delightful collection of junk in their lobby. Too bad the handtruck seems so out of place.
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Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Meanwhile, Back at the Bijou

Warm up the Calliope! Crank up the Merry-Go-Round! I'm ready to get back on.

Tonight I'm in Sacramento and had the time to go out to a movie. So I went to the Century Theater at the Downtown Plaza (for the first time ever) to see "Inside Man" -- Spike Lee's new movie.

I thought it was pretty good with fine performances by Denzel Washington, Christopher Plummer and Clive Owen. It's about a bank heist in New York City. I enjoyed seeing the various NYC settings and New York stock characters (bored cop, restless young girl, feisty old lady, old man with a heart condition, construction worker with a heart of gold, etc.)

This is a movie that keeps you guessing so I won't give anything away. Let's just say you should take the title literally.
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Tuesday, March 28, 2006


Put in another three hours on my taxes tonight and I'm done. Now I'm ready to meet my accountant on Friday. Hopefully I'll get my annual compliment for being "highly organized." I don't know if it's true or not -- but it keeps me coming back year after year. I may be a needy sucker -- but I'm a needy sucker who has his receipts organized, categorized, recorded and totaled.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Getting Ready for the Tax Man

Spent three hours tonight getting my paperwork together. Seems like I made a lot of progress and I think I'll be able to wrap it up tomorrow night. Good thing because I'm SICK of it.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Ticket Disease

This afternoon my Dodger Season Ticket Group got together to pick our tickets for the upcoming baseball season.

328 tickets divided between 13 people. It took a couple of hour to divide up 82 games worth of tickets (plus post-season tickets).

But it all went smoothly and everyone seemed happy with the tickets they ended up with.

Can't believe Opening Day is only a week away.
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Saturday, March 25, 2006

Ruff Stuff

Went to see a cute little musical tonight called "Bark!" at the Coast Playhouse on Santa Monica Boulevard in West Hollywood -- just four blocks from where I live.

It opened on September 17, 2004 and I'm finally getting around to seeing it.

It's a compilation of songs about life from a dog's point of view. Important topics covered include whizzin', meeting bitches, getting your balls cut off and being a sock-a-holic.

The six talented performers actually do a good job of "being" dogs without being really annoying.
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It Does Take Off

Went to see the new Matthew McConaughey/Sarah Jessica Parker movie "Failure to Launch" last night.

It's certainly not the most serious movie of our times -- but I thought it was pretty fun to watch.

McConaughey is a 35-year old still living at home with his parents. Parker is hired by his parents to get him to move out -- she's a consultant who "falls in love" with her clients in order to give them the self esteem necessary to live on their own.

Needless to say, it doesn't go according to plan.

Kathy Bates is great as the Mother and Terry Bradshaw, as the Dad, has one of the funniest scenes I've seen in a long time.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Making Progress

Spent over two hours tonight organizing my receipts for my taxes. I've got them all separated into different categories -- now I just have to total them up and make sense of them.

I set an appointment with my accountant for next Friday -- so I'm seeing a light at the end of the tunnel. It's coming from a movie projector.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Don't Slap Me for Avoiding My To Do List

I stayed home tonight and had every intention of working on my taxes.

But I started watching the 1945 Warner Bros. movie "Mildred Pierce" starring Joan Crawford and couldn't turn it off. (My TiVo taped it November 3rd and I'm finally getting around to watching it!)

Crawford plays the title character, a restaurant owner who does everything she can to please her spoiled daughter, Veda. The best line is when Veda is leaving home for good and says to her Mother, "I want to get away from you and your chicken and your pies and everything that smells of grease." Hilarious!

Eve Arden gives a great performance as the salty sidekick in the restaurant business.

Did you know that whenever a director asked Crawford to get tears in her eyes for a movie shot Crawford would reply, "Which eye?" And she could control whether she got a tear in her right eye or her left eye.

Of course since TiVo makes it so easy to back-up six seconds at a time I had to watch the slapping scenes over and over. In her trademark move, Crawford double-slaps her daughter. Whack whack.

Well, don't cry for me -- I'll work on my taxes tomorrow.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006


Sorry, but I worked late tonight and I have to get my paperwork together to see my accountant to get my taxes done. The April 17th filing deadline looms large.

So I have to step off the Nightly Entertainment Merry-Go-Round for a few evenings.

But I'll be back soon enough for the Spring Season.

Carry on without me. (Feel free to check my blog archives in my absence.)

Sunday, March 19, 2006


Went to a musical this afternoon and a restaurant for dinner -- both of which I've been asked to review for a Los Angeles theater website.

Instead of posting my reactions here I'm going to save them for my "column."

I'll let you know when it's posted.

Fill In the Blanks

Remember the 1970s phenomenon "MadLibs?" There were pre-printed stories with keywords left blank. It would prompt you to fill in the blank words without knowing the story. The resulting nonsense seemed hilarious -- if you were 12. (Somehow I don't think today's 12 year olds would be impressed.)

Anywho, the "updated" version of Shakespeare's "As You Like It" now playing at the Pasadena Playhouse -- which I saw last night -- brings MadLibs to mind.

They've taken Shakespeare's script and added in modern references. But switching back and forth between Olde English and modern phrases doesn't work.

There are some funny lines like "the only hope for Bird Flu is to fly" and "all the world is a show. And the people are but guest stars."

Ironically, I saw a production of this play faithful to the original version, directed by Sir Peter Hall, at the Ahmanson Theater last year. I found that show VERY boring. At least the Pasadena Playhouse production isn't boring (although about a fifth of the audience left during intermission).

Saturday, March 18, 2006


Caught the Italian film "Don't Tell," nominated for an Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film of the Year. This means I've completed the list and have seen every film nominated for a Oscar for 2005.

"Don't Tell" is a melodrama about an adult sister and brother overcoming a traumatic childhood. Being Italian, it's very dramatic -- with lots of emotions on display -- crying, yelling, passing out, etc. A couple of times women started screaming so suddenly I was startled and screamed right back at them.

It's a difficult story to sit through -- but it's a very, very good film.
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Thursday, March 16, 2006

Thematic Throwback

Had dinner tonight at a communist-themed Chinese restaurant called "Mao's Chinese" on Pacific Avenue in Venice.

I guess we've reached the point where it's cute to be nostalgic about Red China.

The "peasant-style" food is actually very good. The 1970's non-descript Chinese decor is pretty funny (most of the seating is at long picnic tables) and the peasant uniforms worn by the waitstaff go right along with the theme.

The good news is even under communist domination the pot stickers are excellent!

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

The Friendly Skies?

The sun was out today in San Francisco and I got to walk along Market Street to and from my meeting.

I never did make it a point to check and see what time my flight home to LAX was scheduled for. Instead I just spent time chattin' away on the telephone. And when I went to check-in at the electronic kiosk I learned I was about 5 minutes too late.

The United computer said I could get on the next flight and either pay $25 for a confirmed reservation or fly standby for no charge. I figured I had already paid enough for my ticket (including a change fee for when my trip was extended) and declined their offer to spend another $25.

The next flight was only about an hour later so I figured I could still make it to the meeting in Los Angeles I was trying to attend.

When I arrived at the gate the attendants already had a serious, negative attitude. They made an announcement that if you were flying standby you'd have to check your carry-on luggage. How ridiculous.

Of course, I was too stupid to do what the other standby passengers did and NOT put the giant orange tag on my carry-on luggage. I watched as they all waltzed on carrying their bag. As I headed to the plane I got a terse, "Oh, you'll have to check that." My request to speak to a supervisor was rejected because she was too "busy." They suggested that instead of standing by on this flight I should get out of the jetway and take the flight I was originally scheduled on. My explanation that my originally scheduled flight left an hour ago and lacking a way-back machine I couldn't "take it" seemed beyond their comprehension.

I can't say that I'm proud of my meltdown in front of a hundred people lined up to get on the plane (all taking their carry-ons with them). But I stand by my recommendation that an airline barely emerging from bankruptcy should treat it's loyal customers better than I was being treated.

And when the "service" representative asked me how I would like it if she came to my place of business and "got all up in your face" about the job I was doing, I meant it when I said I would genuinely try to remedy the problem rather than offer false apologies because "that's the policy."

Naturally my Rage Against the Machine was pointless and I was left to sulk all the way to Row 21 and hope that my now-checked bag didn't "accidentally' not make it on the flight.

I had to wait an extra 20 minutes at LAX to claim my bag which, thankfully did show up.

And doesn't it just figure the meeting I was so concerned about getting home for was cancelled?

(Probably just as well I didn't know because I might have taken their offer to get off the flight and not check my bag just to prove some point.)

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Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Straight to Hail

Woke up in my San Francisco hotel room this morning to learn that I hadn't packed any clean underwear. How did that happen? (More evidence of early Alzheimers?)

This afternoon I walked over to the lovely Nordstrom's on Market Street to buy what I had forgotten to pack. And as I was crossing Market Street what had been a rainstorm turned into a hailstorm. Little bb sized hailstones were bouncing as they hit the street pavement. Crunch crunch crunch I carefully walked across the street.

A pair of boxers later and the storm was over.

Tonight I went to the Roxie Theater in the Mission District of San Francisco to see a showing of the Oscar-nominated Documentary feature "Street Fight." It's about the rough politics surrounding the 2002 race for Mayor in Newark, New Jersey.

One term Councilmember Corey Booker went up against four term incumbent Mayor Sharpe James. This is one of the most compelling political films I've seen in a long time. The filmmaker really captured the intensity of both campaigns. He had extraordinary access to Booker and lots of hands on his camera when he tried to film Mayor James. The best part was Mayor James' press secretary talking about how tough it was to be the press secretary for Mayor James. You would think he would know, as a professional -- the camera is always on!

After the movie I asked the box office manager to recommend a local Mexican restaurant -- and she made an excellent suggestion, sending me to Puerto Alegre on Valencia Street. The pitcher of margaritas above wasn't for me, but I got a kick out of watching the bartender mix them right in front of where I was sitting at the counter.

I sampled a more appropriately sized one. OK, two.
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Road Warrior

I had to come up to San Francisco tonight for a meeting tomorrow. My plan was to work a full day in the office but still fly up early enough to get to San Francisco at a decent hour.

I knew I was in trouble when the United computer called me at 1 p.m. and told me my flight was already 90 minutes late. My 5:45 flight ended up not taking off until 8 p.m. That put me in my hotel, very cranky, at 10:30 p.m.

The problem was it was raining hard in San Francisco and air traffic at SFO was backed up.

The landing was pretty rough -- bouncing and tilting back and forth. It's a little creepy when the plane begins to roll on it's side just enough that you think for a split-second, "if this plane flips upside down I don't think they can fly it that way."

But now I'm safely esconsed in my room at the San Francisco Hilton. I'm not happy with the room they gave me (lots of noise off the street and elevators) -- but that's a whole different story for another (earlier) time.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Empty Soles

Had a chance to catch the new movie "Ask the Dust" this afternoon. It's written and directed by Robert Towne (who wrote "Chinatown") and stars Colin Farrell and Salma Hayek.

Set in downtown Los Angeles, Laguna Beach and Pearblossom during the Depression, it's about a writer who moves to Los Angeles to gain fame and fortune only to find himself with writer's block and a Mexican waitress he meets in a Bunker Hill cafe.

I like the film's version of Los Angeles in the 30s. Too bad the story doesn't really come together.
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The Love That Dare Not Beak Its Name

In 1997 my friends from Washington, DC, Jim Brown and Bret Limage, were visiting Los Angeles. I happened to have tickets to a "re-done Swan Lake" at the Ahmanson Theater and Jim and Bret reluctantly agreed to go with me.

When the show was over, with tears in our eyes, we agreed Matthew Bourne's masculine, radical re-thinking of "Swan Lake" was one of the most moving and visually stunning show we'd ever seen.

Flash forward a decade and tonight I saw the 10th anniversary production of this "Swan Lake." Knowing the show's shattering ending made it even more emotional to watch it tonight.

This is not the traditional ballet-version of Swan Lake that so many audiences have come to know. Instead this is a dance drama told to Tchaikovsky's rich and melodic music. It's at times funny, sexy, beautiful and heart-breaking.

In chatting-up the House Manager during intermission I learned that Simon Wakefield, who danced the role of The Prince tonight, performed in the same show on the Ahmanson stage 10 years ago as one of the swans.

Los Angeles has seen more productions of Bourne's shows than any city outside of London thanks to the good relationship between the Center Theatre Group and Bourne's New Adventures.

I've seen several of Bourne's shows including Cinderella, The Car Man, Play Without Words, Nutcracker!, My Fair Lady (Bourne was the choreographer), Mary Poppins (co-directed and choreographed by Bourne) and most recently Edward Scissorhands in London in January.

Tonight while watching one of his earliest shows it was fun to recognize elements that show up in his latter shows.

Of "Swan Lake" the London Observer was right when it wrote, "See it. Or live to regret it.
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Friday, March 10, 2006

The Dog Ate My Homework

Stopped by my local video store to check on the results of their Oscar contest. I correctly predicted 17 of last Sunday's Oscar awards.

Turns out the winner correctly predicted 21, second place was 19 and third place was 18. So I was only one prediction away from a prestigious third place tie.

Earlier tonight I went to the Egyptian Theater on Hollywood Boulevard to see a screening on the four Oscar nominated Documentary Short Subjects. (I wrongly predicted this category by taking a guess based on the titles of the documentaries.) Too bad I missed the screening prior to the Oscars, because I definitely would have predicted correctly in this category that "A Note of Triumph: The Golden Age of Norman Corwin" would win.

It's a great look at an early star of CBS radio, Norman Corwin, who wrote thirty minute poetic, dramatic plays that ran once a week on the radio. His broadcast on VE Day, May 8, 1945, "On a Note of Triumph" is considered by many experts to be the pinnacle of the glory days of radio. He couldn't manage the transition to television and was quickly forgotten.

The other three nominees were all very good:

"The Death of Kevin Carer: Casualty of the Bang Bang Club" about a white photojournalist in South Africa who killed himself only a few weeks after winning the Pulitzer Prize for his famous photo of a starving toddler in Sudan being carefully watched by a vulture.

"God Sleeps in Rwanda" (my prediction) about the Hutu genocide in Rwanda of the Tusis. This massive slaughter left so few men alive that women have basically been left to rebuild the nation -- and are succeeding in ways the men never could.

And "The Mushroom Club" -- a very moving documentary about the real-life victims of the atomic bomb attack on Hiroshima.
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Thursday, March 09, 2006

Nose to the Grindstone

Spent this evening in my office working late. So I'm afraid I don't have any interesting cultural doings to report on.

Let's hope Friday night pans out better.

At least I didn't have to make any big drives today -- too much time in the car lately:

Sunday -- Los Angeles to Las Vegas
Monday -- Las Vegas to Los Angeles
Tuesday -- Los Angeles to San Diego
Wednesday -- San Diego to Los Angeles

I really appreciated my 16 mile roundtrip commute to the office today.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

I'm So Bored!

Went to the Egyptian Theater on Hollywood Boulevard tonight for a screening of a 2004 movie out of Mexico called "Duck Season."

It's about two 14 year old boys home alone on a Sunday. They are content to play video games all day until -- zap -- the power goes out. And they find there's nothing interesting to do without electricity. Even a visit from a flirtatious neighbor girl and a depressed pizza delivery guy leave them bored.

Unfortunately, Director Fernando Eimbcke's effort to portray the boy's boredom makes for a pretty boring film itself. Yawn.

On the way to the Egyptian I passed by the Kodak Theater. I see they've already added Sunday night's winner to their display of Best Picture Oscar winners. That was fast! I guess they're not waiting for a recount.
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Tuesday, March 07, 2006

I'm a Square

More time in the car tonight as I made my way down to San Diego for an early morning meeting tomorrow. I left my West Los Angeles office around 4:30 and figured I was in for a nightmare of a drive -- but it turned out not to be too bad, taking me only two and a half hours.

I'm staying at the Hilton San Diego Resort which is located on Mission Bay. The hotel gave me a nice upgrade to a large room. It certainly is big, but it's oddly shaped like a wedge of cheese. I find it unnerving. Is it too much to ask for four 90 degree square corners?

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Monday, March 06, 2006

Activate the Network

When you first met Audrey Merkin you knew you were meeting someone you would remember for the rest of your life.

I met Audrey in 1981 when I first got involved in the California Young Republicans. Over the next 15 years we developed an enduring friendship through Young Republican politics.

Sometimes we were allies and sometimes we were not. But Audrey was always someone fun to be around.

I can't think of a single time I was with her at a dinner table where she wasn't the complete focus of the evening. She had a laugh that was infectious.

Being taken into Audrey's confidence over the phone always made me feel like the most important person in the world. Audrey knew how to work the phone. She was legendary for it. Audrey always knew the latest gossip and was ready to dish -- in exchange for receiving a few juicy morsels to begin the conversation.

After years of active participation, Audrey rose to be the Co-Chairman of the Young Republican National Federation -- elected in Seattle in 1987.

Living in Vegas, she loved to have friends visit her for a weekend. I can remember a few weekends in the 80s that always ended with Brunch at Caesars Palace -- the object of brunch was always to stack as many plastic champagne glasses as high as you could. (Our group seemed pretty good at it.) Not the best activity before hitting I-15 for the drive back to Los Angeles but, oh well.

Pulling pranks on Audrey was always so much fun because once she figured out what was happening she laughed harder than anyone else.

Once Audrey, Danny Dellicompagni and I had to drive to Northern California for some convention. Turns out Brian Perry was going to the same convention but was starting out somewhere in the Central Valley. I made a secret plan with Brian to pick him up at a certain freeway on-ramp at a particular time.

About 20 minutes before reaching the on-ramp I began telling Audrey and Danny they were boring me and since we had a long way to go I was going to pick-up a hitchhiker. They thought I was kidding.

A few minutes later I told them I was serious about helping out a hitchhiker and if there was one standing on the next on-ramp I was going to pick him up.

Off in the distance we could see a hitchhiker. I told Danny, sitting in the back seat, to move over. That's when it hit the fan. As I started to slow down Danny was kicking the back of my seat saying "don't you dare." Audrey was yelling that it wasn't safe to pick-up hitchhikers and I was out of my mind. "You don't even pick-up hitchhikers in Israel," she said.

As the car slowed to a stop Audrey screamed, "Oh my God, it's Brian Perry!" She thought it was so funny and we laughed about it for the next 20 miles.

Another time GeezBob and I thought it would be really funny to sneak into Audrey's hotel room and rub Kool-Aid on her bath towels. We had this funny mental picture of Audrey stepping out of the shower and as she dried off exclaiming, "Help me, I'm purple." Unfortunately, this prank didn't go over so well.

We got caught coming out of her room "purple-handed." So Audrey never did use the towels. In fact she said the Kool-Aid dust in her room had ruined one of her expensive dresses. She said I had to pay her for the destroyed dress. I said I would but only if she gave me the dress after I paid for it so I could be her for Halloween. All was forgiven on the Kool-Aid caper.

Last Friday when I learned Audrey had died (I appreciate Jim Arnone, Brian Perry and Pam Taylor making sure I knew) I immediately began planning to attend the funeral.

Audrey's funeral took place today at Temple Beth Sholom in Las Vegas. A huge crowd was on hand, in fact the Temple had to open up their overflow seating area.

It was a touching, yet simple, service.

Because Audrey had died so suddenly and in such a difficult manner the Rabbi explained that instead of having the family tell the story over and over they were going to have a doctor explain exactly what had happened. According to the doctor who addressed the funeral, Audrey died from Stevens-Johnson Syndrome

This is an extremely rare (7 in 1 million population) acute allergic reaction. Little is known about the syndrome and it is unknown what triggered it in Audrey's situation.

Next John Velasco, now a non-denominational, ecumenical Christian minister, said a few words describing Audrey as "a treasure."

The Temple's vice president, a personal friend of Audrey's, began her comments by holding up her cellphone and saying, "it still has a message on it. 'Hi, it's Audrey. Call me.'" The whole crowd laughed warmly because we've all received numerous message exactly like that from Audrey.

And the Temple's President spoke, focusing on Audrey's tireless work on behalf of the Temple.

Following the service, Audrey was buried at the King David Memorial Cemetery. As is the Jewish custom, those gathered were invited to shovel some dirt into the open grave.

What sight is more wrenching than watching a mother shovel some dirt into her own child's grave? My heart broke when Eunice Merkin did that for Audrey.

After the graveside service there was a reception back at Temple Beth Sholom. (Audrey would be happy to know the food was excellent and beautifully presented and her YR friends remained well-behaved.)

Formerly Young Republicans in attendance today included:
Claudia Dochtermann
Doreen Dominguez
Jim Clarke
Dr. Michael Clarke
Dave and Andrea De Sormeau
Amador County Supervisor Richard and Laurie Forrester
Former Utah Congresswoman Enid Greene
Brian Kraft
Jill Richards
Bob Rubin of Boca Raton
Doug Sklar, now living in Eastern Washington State
Tom Van Voorst
Mike Vahl -- who made the motion in 1989 for the California Young Republicans to censure me, not that I'm bitter.

Cheers to you, Audrey.

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Sunday, March 05, 2006

Oscar Tally

I was right on 17 of my 24 Oscar predictions -- a 71% accuracy rate. I doubt that will be high enough to win the Oscar contest at my local video store.

But did anyone foresee Three Six Mafia winning for Best Original Song?

I watched the broadcast from a hotel room at the Las Vegas Hilton. I drove here today to attend the funeral of my friend, Audrey Merkin, tomorrow afternoon.

More on that Monday.

Rushing Home to Read Ted's Oscar Predictions?

Went to the Geffen Playhouse in Westwood tonight to see David Mamet's new play, "Boston Marriage" starring Mary Steenburgen, Alicia Silverstone and Mamet's wife Rebecca Pidgeon.

It was horrible, terrible, painful, awful. It's the second Mamet clunker in a row I've seen, the last being "Romance" at the Mark Taper Forum.

Mamet is best known for writing testosterone-filled dialogue of men (and their egos) at battle.

In "Boston Marriage" he tries his hand at a play with only three women in the cast. It's a parlor drama that falls flat of its own weight.

In the first act one character asks, "Do you believe in God?" and another character answers, "I would if you would shut up." Here! Here!

In this play all the characters just talk, talk, talk. At one point GeezBob turned to me and asked, "What are they talking about?" Unfortunately I had no answer for him.

It's a bad sign when the most interesting point in a play is a set change during the second act.

And what's with the Bride of Frankenstein size wigs all three women were wearing?

And the costumes were completely out of control. Over done to the point of being cartoon-like. They looked like something out of the recent musical "Wicked."

Throughout the play Steenburgen did this strange voice, something along the lines of Katherine Hepburn before the tremors.

Alicia Silverstone was completely annoying as the Scottish maid. She was supposed to be the comic relief. It doesn't work when you're not funny.

And the lighting was so terrible any time one of the characters walked along the side of the set it cast giant shadows along the wall -- like an old-fashioned Boris Karloff horror movie.

Mamet himself directed this production. I guess that why the actresses spent nearly the entire show delivering their lines directly to the audience. I guess he didn't want us to miss a single one of his precious words.

Can you tell I didn't like it? I wasn't alone. A large number of audience members left at intermission. (photo above)

This afternoon I caught a screening of the five live action short films nominated for an Oscar tomorrow. They were all pretty good, but "Six Shooter" written and directed by Martin McDonagh stood out as the best. He's a tremendous story teller.

Last year I saw his play "The Pillowman" on Broadway and am still haunted by it. Just this week his play "The Lieutenant of Inishmore" opened on Broadway. I saw it a few years ago in London and still remember it well. It was one of the bloodiest plays I've ever seen. There were literally gallons of fake blood used. They had to corral it with giant squeegees during intermission. I barely stopped myself from throwing up at one point. Quite a night at the theater.

His short film contains many of the same themes as these two plays: death, child/parent relations, killing of household pets. I'm not saying his stuff is easy to watch -- but you won't forget it either.

Well, it's time for my annual Oscar predictions. I've seen all the nominees in 21 of the 24 categories. Of the remaining three categories I saw 4 out of 5 of the nominees in 2 of them. I haven't seen any of the Best Documentary Short Subjects -- I'm just making a guess here based on the names of the documentary shorts.

Here are my predictions of what is going to win. If I feel strongly that a different film DESERVES to win I've noted it.

Philip Seymour Hoffman -- Capote

George Clooney -- Syriana

Reese Witherspoon -- Walk the Line
Deserves it: Felicity Huffman -- Transamerica

Rachel Weisz -- The Constant Gardener

Wallace & Gromit in the Curse of the Were-Rabbit

Memoirs of a Geisha

Brokeback Mountain

Memoirs of a Geisha

Ang Lee -- Brokeback Mountain

BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE (Didn't see "Street Fight")
March of the Penguins

God Sleeps in Rwanda


Joyeux Noel

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe

Brokeback Mountain

Travelin' Thru -- Transamerica

Brokeback Mountain


Six Shooter

King Kong

Walk the Line

King Kong

Brokeback Mountain

Deserves it: The Squid and the Whale

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Not Doris Day parking. Posted by Picasa

Certainly not Doris Day parking either! Posted by Picasa

Friday, March 03, 2006

Can You Hear Me Now?

Went tonight to see the French nominee for an Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film, "Joyeux Noel."

It's a very touching war movie based on real events. During World War I, on Christmas Eve 1914 troops at various points along the front lines spontaneously agreed to a temporary cease-fire to commemorate Christmas.

In this film, soldiers in three sets of trenches just a few yards from each other -- French, British (actually Scottish) and German -- are so close they can hear singing and music from "the enemy's" camps.

The message in this movie is universally a soldier's desire is to just get home -- but often they find themselves pawns of powerful people far from the front lines (and out of any real danger).

Even though the events depicted took place nearly 100 years ago they remain timely in this unsettled time of ours.
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Thursday, March 02, 2006

Donde Esta la Fiesta?

Tonight finds me spending the night at the San Jose Hilton in order to be in position for a meeting first thing in the morning.

This Hilton is a big hotel attached to the San Jose Convention Center. Turns out it's filled with attendees of the California Association for Bilingual Education convention.

I'm sure they are dealing with serious issues during the day -- but based on what I saw in the lobby while checking in -- at night they're looking to par-tay! And it sounds like they're partying like it's 1999 in the room across the hall from me.

Ay carramba. Yo necessito a dormir.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Dinner at Eight

Tonight I was the guest at a lovely dinner party thrown by GeezBob at his beautiful South Los Angeles home.

The menu was Mardi Gras influenced with jumbalaya and key lime pie amongst the many items served.

As much as I enjoy going to cultural and sporting events, there's still nothing as fun as sitting around a table having an old-fashioned conversation.

Tonight's conversation ranged from 9/11 and the Bush Administration to the Oscars to when exactly Elton John crossed over into the mainstream.
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