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June 29, 2009


Event Review by Don Rose

It was the perfect coda to the just-ended LA Film Festival. Officially, the Hammer Museum event was billed as a screening of LOOKIN' TO GET OUT, the 1982 film directed by Hal Ashby. By the time it took place, the night had blossomed into an all-star tribute to the late director -- another triumph for UCLA's "Archive Treasures", which "showcases works from the UCLA Film & Television Archive's extensive collection, ... rarely screened gems presented in original and restored prints." The packed audience on June 29 enjoyed the first public screening of a director's cut of Lookin' to Get Out with never-before-seen footage put back in. Recently discovered at the Archive by Nick Dawson - author of "Being Hal Ashby: Life of a Hollywood Rebel" - this version represents Ashby's original, intended cut before Lorimar Productions took control of the film and released its own version in theaters 27 years ago. This version reveals Ashby, an Oscar-winning editor (In The Heat of the Night) and director (Coming Home), working at the top of his game, and will make its Warner Home Video DVD debut on Tuesday, June 30.


Starring Jon Voight, who co-wrote the script with Alan Schwartz, Lookin' to Get Out follows "beautiful losers" Alex (Voight) and Jerry (Burt Young), who flee New York for Las Vegas with two vicious loan sharks on their tail. After Alex scams their way into a penthouse at the MGM Grand and a stack of chips on credit -- with the unwitting help of Alex's ex-girlfriend (Ann-Margret) -- the two buddies set their sights on the big score but fate comes calling. On his fourth outing with cinematographer Haskell Wexler, Ashby revels in exposing the glittering facades of Vegas, but where his most celebrated films engage the larger zeitgeist through irony and humor, here Ashby narrows focus to burrow deep into the nature of personal loyalty and friendship. As the obsessive-compulsive gambler Alex, Voight delivers a fun, lively, energetic performance that pairs well with Young's understated Jerry. Voight says this of the discovery of the new extended version: "For various reasons, the film we released didn't really represent Hal's best work. I knew every version of the script and every cut, so I was understandably excited when I heard about this, yet I also didn't want to be disappointed. But when I saw it, I knew instantly it had Hal's touch. The way he took all the elements and made it his own, it was almost like we were working together again. When Hal Ashby cut his films himself, it was magic.

The trajectory of Ashby's career turns sharply from the phenomenal promise and success of the 1970s -- The Landlord, Harold and Maude, The Last Detail, Coming Home, Being There -- to the self-destruction and decline of the 1980s. The special screening on June 29 presented a version of Lookin' to Get Out that adds a wrinkle to this critical divide between Ashby's early and later works. The film also has the distinction of featuring a very young Angelina Jolie, Voight's daughter, in her acting debut - as the daughter of Voight's character.

The Ashby evening at the Hammer was wonderful all around. It began with a reception and book signing by Ashby biographer Dawson in the courtyard. Then everyone moved to the Billy Wilder Theatre, where Voight shared a few heartfelt comments before the film. After the screening, one of the best panels ever gathered at the Hammer took the stage, an all-star reunion of the film's primary creative forces: actor/screenwriter Voight; co-screenwriter Schwartz; actress Ann-Margret; actor Young; and cinematographer Wexler. Dawson also joined the panel, which was moderated by screenwriter-director Curtis Hanson. Other actors and creatives involved with this film and other Ashby works were in attendance, and Voight asked them to stand up and receive recognition; to my surprise, it seemed like half the audience stood up. Legendary casting director Lynn Stalmaster was there, who said a few words, as did Ashby's daughter; three other main actors from Lookin' to Get Out (the loan sharks and the casino owner) were also in the audience, as was Voight's son.

LOOKIN' TO GET OUT (1982). Directed by Hal Ashby. Lorimar Productions. Producer: Robert Schaffel, Edward Teets. Screenplay: Al Schwartz, Jon Voight. Cinematographer: Haskell Wexler. Cast: Jon Voight, Ann-Margret , Burt Young, Bert Remsen, Jude Farese. HDcam, 105 min. Extended version released by Warner Home Video on DVD Tuesday, June 30, 2009.


by Don Rose

"ELECTION" still gets my vote. Loved this movie. The acting is stellar, especially Reese
(as type-A overachieving high school student Tracy Flick, who desperately wants to win the election for student body president) and Matthew Broderick (as civics teacher Jim McAllister, who wants to stop her because of her willingness to step on anyone and do anything, even if unethical, to win). The other two main characters are Paul (the popular jock who Jim convinces to run against Tracy) and his sister Tammy (who also runs for student body president to spite Paul and his new girlfriend Lisa, who spurned Tammy's deep affections).

Alexander Payne's direction is top notch. He unwinds the plot like a chess game, with each
of the four main characters like a piece that is developed slowly but surely, and Payne helps the viewer by giving an inside view of each one's thoughts via voiceovers delivered at key moments in the film. These VOs are often hilarious, but they also help reveal each character's goals, style and motivation. Whereas most films have one narrator at most, we get four, and it works.

By the time the film nears its conclusion, each of the main characters has moved on from the
high school where everything began and is in a better place, even Jim. It's as if Jim has finally graduated, even though he was a teacher not a student. He has graduated from a not-fully-alive phase in his life. His life had been stalled up to the school election; he was not really happy at home, and as Flick points out (in one of her narrative voiceover commentaries), Jim seemed to be stuck in a boring repeating pattern at school, teaching the same thing over and over, year after year. He was no longer vibrant and vital, living a small, impotent life -- which is underscored terrifically by what we see onscreen (e.g., the terrible tiny car Jim drives, and the fact that he is having trouble getting his wife pregnant during the film). Perhaps the real reason Jim despises Flick so much is that, although she lies and schemes to achieve her goals, at least she is trying to get ahead, to get to a better place, whereas Jim seems to have given up striving and is now merely surviving.

During the film, however, Jim changes. His actions become increasingly unethical, but he has, in a sense, gotten in touch again with his primal primitive self, both sexually (he allows himself to have a brief fling, with his best friend's ex no less) and emotionally (allowing his anger at Flick's lying and conniving to override his ethical beliefs as he throws out 2 key ballots to prevent Flick from winning the school election, albeit temporarily).

Jim's primal shift is underscored beautifully by visual cues. After Jim has finally allowed
himself access to his dark side (the affair), he suffers a bee sting on the eye when he
returns to the woman's home, and the eye swells to the point where he looks like half human,
half monster. In a way, that is what he is now -- he cheated on his wife, and he cheated in
the election ballot count. The eye swelling shut also emphasizes how Jim cannot see the
right thing to do anymore, blind to his logical ethical side as he gave in to his long-dormant
emotional side. Then, later on, Payne provides more visual cues as to Jim's state when we see
several diorama scenes depicting primitive man at the museum where Jim winds up working
after he loses his job and his wife and moves to the big city. Like primitive man was forced to move and evolve in order to survive in the face of new conditions, so has Jim.

Overall, it was a great film, not only enjoyable to watch but also a great education for budding
filmmakers who could learn a lot by studying the script as well as the direction, with its creative use of visual storytelling techniques. It may not have made a fortune at the box office when it came out a decade ago, but it continues to enjoy a strong following on DVD. The setting was excellent, too. The W Hotel's poolside area was packed to overflowing for this final screening of the LA Film Festival, and all in attendance seemed to have a great time. A wonderful way to end a wonderful week.

Even though this was the last of the films at this year's LAFF, Angelenos are in luck, because the W's poolside film series continues every Sunday, all summer long (with August 2's "Curious Case of Benjamin Button" sure to draw another packed crowd). Just remember: Summer, Sundays, Sundown. Super!

June 25, 2009


Film Review by Don Rose

Yes, the new Doors doc rocked.
The pains and strains of "When You're Strange"
ranged from the Doors' early days to druggie haze to final daze.
If you are into music and/or the 60s, go see it. If you love the Doors, run to see it.
It will Light Your Fire, you will Love It Madly, and you'll Break On Through to new appreciation of this seminal rock-n-roll-with-a-touch-of-jazz band and its legendary lead singer/poet/icon.

The 2pm LAFF screening June 24 at the Regent Theatre was packed; I had to hustle to get a third row side seat. It was worth the effort. The Doors, that eloquent energetic ever-eclectic electric Elektra ensemble, has been captured by director Tom DiCillo as never before. This is an energetic biopic that doesn't quite feel like one, which is a good thing. No newly shot interviews with friends and bandmembers sprinkled with minimal archival footage, no oversaturation with sycophantic praise. This film feels so alive because it is young, composed entirely of footage and recordings from the Doors glory days, clips from when the Doors were new, alive, pumping out sounds never experienced by everyday ears -- a kind of rock-jazz blend, as John Densmore explained in the film.

Even I, an avowed devoted Doors fan, learned some new things in this doc. A partial list:

* The first song Robby Krieger ever wrote was "Light My Fire" (and it went to number one in the summer of 1967)

* Light My Fire was almost used in a car commercial, but while the other 3 Doors approved the deal, Morrison nixed it (and, as narrator Johnny Depp informs us at film's end, no Doors songs ever went on to be used in any car commercials)

* Morrison apparently had no publicist, picked out his own clothes, and arrived at shows without entourage or bodyguards in many cases

* Ray Manzarek dropped acid (dropped as in gave it up) in favor of meditation

* At the height of Jim's fame and status as counter-culture anti-establishment icon, his dad was as establishment as you can get: an Admiral leading the fight in Vietnam. (Can you have a greater irony? A greater generational gulf within one family? Perhaps that is why a data-sheet filled out by Jim used one word to describe his family: Dead.)

Bottom line, at the risk of being overly abundantly blunt, is that I loved this film. As I left the theatre, I felt alive; the colors all around on the busy bustling Broxton boulevard were vivid and vibrant and packed with potential. A good film has the power to do that, to liberate you and open your senses. The doors of perception, for me, were opened a bit wider, and what more can you ask from a film?

Yet there was more, much more. Reel upon reel of rare footage (much of it never-before-seen by the public) and plenty of great Doors music. I felt I was experiencing the band's entire evolution from an insider's POV, from beginning to end, and some clever editing even raised the always-arisin question of whether Mr Mojo Risin was still alive. In the end, beautiful friend, that question seemed the wrong one to ask. The right one: are we still alive? Thanks to this motion picture, I know the answer is a glorious Yes.

Of course, I was not the only one moved by this movie. Spontaneous applause erupted as the film ended. And then came a nice surprise, as I was informed that half the Doors (Ray and Robbie) had been in attendance today. In recent years I've seen both Ray and Robbie (at different times) walking about Westwood, so perhaps this little Village, just south of UCLA where Ray and Jim went to film school, has once again become the spiritual hub of Doorsian energy. Or maybe they just live nearby and like the Farmers Market (which now takes place on Wednesday afternoons, by the way).

Okay, I admit, this aside of mine was a little strange; for more relevant thoughts, facts and insights about "When You're Strange" see the Tom DiCillo blog as well as the Tom DiCillo interview on Doors.com.


We at The LA Report like to feature fun, well-written, captivating blogs now and then. Now, then, is one of those times, as we recommend you check out the blog of director Tom DiCillo, whose latest film is a wonderful new documentary about The Doors ("When You're Strange"). Here is a brief blog excerpt, a glimpse into one day at Sundance with Tom and the Doors:

1. 17.09.
10 am.
Park City, Utah.
I do the morning press with Ray Manzarek and Robby Krieger; I’ll be with John Densmore in the afternoon. The first interview goes well. Ray is hyper but eloquent. Robby is quiet, slipping in brief comments that send out ripples of meaning. Both are highly complimentary about the film. It suddenly penetrates my jetlag that I’m actually sitting with 2 members of The Doors talking about a film I made about their lives.

At the next interview I notice a small keyboard set up across the room. I nudge Ray with a wink. “Why don’t you play something?” “Yeah,” he laughs, ”you know how many times I’ve heard that in my life?”

I leave the room for a moment. Someone starts playing the piano intro to “Riders On the Storm.” I turn and see it’s Ray. Robby is standing beside him strapping on an electric guitar. He checks his volume, then slips into the music. Around the room people’s jaws are dropping. As the song builds Ray’s eyes close, his head goes back. Robby studies his fretboard, a faint smile touching his lips. At that moment they both look 20 years old.

4 pm.

In the middle of an interview with Densmore. He’s sharp and gracious. He’s also the only thing keeping me awake. About 25 other interviews are taking place in the room around us. The jabber is deafening. John gives Oliver Stone some professional respect but then, when asked about Jim his voice takes on a deep, quiet reverence and I see Morrison suddenly come alive in his eyes.

June 23, 2009


Here are the LAFF highlights (LA Film Festival) for Tuesday, June 23, 2009:

1230--130pm: Lunch Talk with "Dear Lemon Lima" director Suzi Yoonessi at the ZonePerfect live.create.lounge, on Westwood Blvd. just north of Kinross.
For LAFF Passholders. Bring your lunch! Dessert provided.

International Showcase Film CARMEN MEETS BORAT- 2:00pm at The Regent
Q & A with director Mercedes Stalenhoef

Narrative Competition Screening DEAR LEMON LIMA, – 4:30pm at The Landmark
Q & A with director Suzi Yoonessi

Documentary Competition Film BRANSON– 4:30pm at The Regent
Q & A with director Brent Meeske and performance by Jackson Cash (I saw Jackson perform after the "Branson" premiere and, believe me, this man looks like Johnny Cash, talks like him, sings like him, swaggers like him! Amazing. Highly recommended.)

FILM SUMMARY: Personal demons and backstage battles cannot deter the performers captured in this heartfelt documentary from living out their dreams of stardom on the strip-mall stages of Branson, Missouri.
FEATURING: Jackson Cash, Amber Campbell, Geoffrey Hastings Haberer, Peggy Lee Brennan-Haberer, Terry Wayne, Nita Tate, Eric Eichenberger.

International Showcase Film CITY OF BORDERS – 5:00pm at The Landmark
Q & A with director Yun Suh

SHORTS PROGRAM 4 – 7:00pm at The Landmark
Q & A following

Summer Showcase Film 35 SHOTS OF RUM – 7:00pm at The Regent
Q & A following

Festival Conversations POOLSIDE CHAT: REELART L.A. – 7:00pm at the W Los Angeles - Westwood Hotel.
Featuring a conversation with artist Llyn Foulkes, fashion designer Kevan Hall, production designer Alex McDowell and moderated by director Catherine Hardwicke.

Festival Conversations GRAPHIC EXPLOSION – 7:00pm at The Italian Cultural Institute, 1023 Hilgard.
Featuring a conversation with Barry Levine, Josh Olson and Zak Penn.

International Spotlight REHJE – 7:30pm at The Landmark
Q & A with co-director Anais Huerta

Centerpiece Premiere PUBLIC ENEMIES, starring Johnny Depp. 7:30pm at the Mann Village Theater & the Majestic Crest Theater.

Matt Mackelcan Musical Performance - 8:00 pm at ZonePerfect live.create. lounge

Documentary Competition BANANAS!* – 9:15pm at The Landmark
Panel Discussion following the screening

International Showcase SACRED PLACES – 9:45pm at The Landmark
Q & A with writer & director Jean-Marie Teno

International Showcase – LOS BASTARDOS – 9:45pm at The Regent
Q & A with writer & director Amat Escalante

June 18, 2009


by Don Rose

The highly anticipated red carpet premiere of the worldwide DVD release of “Beyond the Secret" is coming to Hollywood on June 18th. The stars of the film, who will be attending the premiere along with several of the celebs they advise, include Bob Proctor (“The Secret”), Emmy award-winning motivational speaker Les Brown, CREATOR OF “BEYOND THE SECRET” HOLLI WALKER, Marcia Wieder (featured on "OPRAH" -- twice!), Paul Martinelli, Steve Siebold, Christian Simpson, Mary Morrissey, Mark Moffitt and Rickie Byars Beckwith.

Bob Proctor Les Brown

Beyond the Secret holds the tools to take the ideas taught in "The Secret" and put it into practice in everyday life. Fortunately, fans of "The Secret" will not have to wait long; the DVD for “Beyond the Secret” will be released June 23rd worldwide for all to enjoy, learn from and prosper from.

One of the main messages in both "The Secret" and its sequel is that the destination is never as important as the journey. This is sage advice that has stood the test of time, and has been a hallmark of many spiritual disciples. Another way of looking at it is that, while it is important to have goals to strive for, it is even more important to "Be Here Now" (as Ram Dass says), recognize the "Power of Now" (as Eckhart Tolle says), and enjoy the ride -- while learning along the way. Of course, there are many other secrets to be unlocked in the new DVD, which we can hopefully review here in a future piece.

One of the reasons we at The LA Report love "The Secret" is that it is about tapping into what is already inside of you and all around you in order to create a better and more fulfilling life. Hence, it can benefit every single person on the planet. And God knows our planet needs to get better aligned with peace and productive behavior right now, with all the myriad problems we face, so the worldwide release of "Beyond The Secret" cannot come a moment too soon.

The premiere event on June 18th will begin the process of getting the "Beyond The Secret" message out to the world, and it should be quite a stellar affair. The cast is a phenomenal group of inspirational speakers and teachers, and attendees will enjoy a Q&A with the cast, producers and director after the film screening. Since some of the cast members are personal advisors to (and/or friends of) well known celebrities, who are guided by what they have to say, several celebs are expected to attend the premiere.

Thank you to Lisa Jammal of LJam Public Relations for her assistance on this story. If you are with the media and have questions about "Beyond the Secret", you can contact Lisa at lisa@ljampr.com.

June 17, 2009


by Don Rose

Capitol/EMI released "Let It Roll: Songs By George Harrison" on CD and digitally on June 16, 2009. The new album is Harrison’s first ever career-spanning solo hits collection and also includes live tracks from his 1971 all-star Concert For Bangladesh benefit at Madison Square Garden.

As music legend, George was recently celebrated with a new star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and in tandem with this special event (which brought out Paul McCartney and Tom Hanks, among many others) Capitol/EMI has now given fans of the "Quiet Beatle" a fantastic new collection of Harrisongs.

"Let It Roll" features digitally remastered tracks in deluxe packaging, including an extensive booklet with previously unseen and rare photos. The collection is also available for download from all major digital service providers, including Amazon.com and iTunes. In fact, fans who buy the new album on iTunes will get a rare bonus track -- a demo of "Isn't It A Pity" (one of Harrison's songs from his landmark "All Things Must Pass" album).

"Let It Roll" spans 3 decades of stellar music, putting many highlights from Harrison's entire solo recording career on one album for the first time. The Harrisongs here include the #1 Billboard Pop singles “My Sweet Lord,” “Isn’t It A Pity,” “Give Me Love (Give Me Peace On Earth),” and “Got My Mind Set On You." The new title will also feature live recordings of three Harrison-penned Beatles songs, “Something,” “While My Guitar Gently Weeps,” and “Here Comes The Sun” from his 1971 all-star Concert For Bangladesh benefit at Madison Square Garden.

Boffo Offer: iTunes Bonus Harrisong

iTunes is exclusively offering a previously unreleased bonus track, "Isn't It A Pity" (Earliest Demo Version), with a digital album purchase of "Let It Roll: Songs By George Harrison."

Amazon Link to "Let It Roll"


Send a Harrison-Themed Father's Day E-Card!

The "Let It Roll" e-card is at http://georgeharrison2009.com/ecard.

About George Harrison

George Harrison is a twice-inducted member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, as a solo artist and as a member of The Beatles, and an 11-time Grammy Award winner for his recordings with The Beatles, Traveling Wilburys and as a solo artist. Known by millions for his music, Harrison also dedicated his life to humanitarian causes; his rock-benefit Concert For Bangladesh served as an inspiration for future fundraising events like Live Aid, Farm Aid, Live 8 and many more.

Complete Track List for "Let It Roll"

Let It Roll: Songs by George Harrison (CD, digital)
1. Got My Mind Set On You
2. Give Me Love (Give Me Peace On Earth)
3. The Ballad Of Sir Frankie Crisp (Let It Roll)
4. My Sweet Lord
5. While My Guitar Gently Weeps [Live] - Concert For Bangladesh
6. All Things Must Pass
7. Any Road
8. This Is Love
9. All Those Years Ago
10. Marwa Blues
11. What Is Life
12. Rising Sun
13. When We Was Fab
14. Something [Live] - Concert For Bangladesh
15. Blow Away
16. Cheer Down
17. Here Comes The Sun [Live] - Concert For Bangladesh
18. I Don’t Want To Do It
19. Isn’t It A Pity
iTunes Bonus Track: Isn’t It A Pity (Earliest Demo Version)

June 12, 2009


Commentary by Don Rose

What more do you want, fans of kvetching humor? Finally, you got your big screen Dream Team. (And by your I also mean mine.) Which means that, on paper, the new Woody Allen film "Whatever Works" seems to have all the elements of a satisfying comedic-cinematic concoction.

The biggest sign of imminent hilarity is the casting of Larry David, who is arguably the funniest guy on TV right now and could be called this generation's Woody. We all know that he created the iconic ironic George character on Seinfeld, who everyone knows was heavily influenced by Woody and his various Woodyisms (at least in the early episodes of Seinfeld), so it seemed like destiny for Larry and Woody, the jocular Jewish jesters, to eventually work together.

But wait, there's more -- as in more signs of classic comedy to come: the casting of Michael McKean and Ed Begley, Jr., who of late have been regulars in the Christopher Guest film family. David, McKean and Begley (sounds like a law firm, doesn't it?) are all schooled in the skill of improvisational comedic acting, which I am hoping will add some mirth-filled sparks. When working from a work of Woody, I kinda doubt there is much improv going on, but you never know. This only adds to my anticipation for "Whatever Works," which opens in New York and Los Angeles on June 19th.

The title "Whatever Works" not only seems to be part of the underlying message of this movie, but could also apply to how comedians write and perform their humor. One cannot always explain why people laugh at something, and comics are often happily surprised by what works onstage. You take what you can, and try to remember it, and do it again. You do whatever works. Similarly, comedy directors are often surprised by what works, and are happy to grab the magic when it occurs, eager to use whatever works to get the laugh. (Remember: dying is easy; comedy is hard.)

Woody, of course, is the least likely to need comedic chance to evoke large laughs, but the vast comedic experience in much of his cast's past means Woody gave himself the greatest odds of mining gold from his latest script, so he could unearth whatever works to create a knockout comedy. And the best jester for a kvetchfest besides Woody is Larry. David seems just the comedic Ali to deliver Allen punchlines. He could be credited as reinventing the sitcom, and now he's TV comedy's most brilliant (and unlikely) star. Most fans of funny agree that David's HBO show "Curb Your Enthusiasm" has been one giant leap for mirthkind. (Yes, that was a non sequitur nod to Apollo 11, but before you banish me to the desert for 40 days and 40 nights, look at the connections: the first moon landing celebrates its 40th anniversary this July, and this is also the 40th anniversary of Woody's first film as director/star ("Take the Money and Run"), and "Whatever Works" is Allen's 40th film. What more do you want? Okay -- I predict his latest opus will gross $40 million.) Now here's a 40 word summary of "Whatever Works":

Eccentric New Yorker Boris Yellnikoff (Larry David) abandons his upper class life to lead a more bohemian existence. He meets a young Southern girl and her family, and no two people seem to get along in the entanglements that follow.

The film's trailer is available on the Whatever Works website, and reveals laughs aplenty -- a very good sign. Boris is another in the great tradition of Woody Allen surrogate characters (played over the years by stars ranging from Kenneth Branagh to Will Ferrell to, now, Larry David). Boris comes right out and tells you, breaking the Fourth Wall, that this "isn't the feel-good movie of the year" and he isn't a likeable guy. Good. We like David unlikeable. We are used to him playing the ornery complainer who still somehow grows on us, like an amiable barnacle -- and this film thankfully lets David be David, with the added bonus of stellar Allen lines.

However, I have a feeling the ending may reveal more feeling than Boris seems to have on the surface. While this may not be the feel-good movie of the year, it still may be a feel-good movie; we get a taste of a Boris speech at trailer's end hinting at a somewhat optimistic message. Perhaps Woody has finally found a glimmer of meaning in a mostly meaningless universe. And perhaps a feel-goodish ending to a non-feel-good movie is the perfect plot ploy here, since telegraphing one message then veering off to another is a classic comedy formula (most jokes do this -- leading you down road A only to turn onto unexpected road B in the punchline).

In summary, what we seem to have here is a film with fun, funniness, and a fine feel-good final finale. I, for one, can't wait till next week to witness Woody's "Whatever Works" -- and solve the message mystery for myself.

# # #

Find for film freebie fans: a poster for "Whatever Works" - actually autographed by Larry David! - is being given away by those other mavens of mirth, The Onion. Click here for details.

Big Apple big story: To read more about this new movie and its stars, see the recent article in New York magazine featuring Larry and Woody on the cover as the "Last of the Schlemiels". Great article, great cover.

****HEAR LARRY DAVID ON NPR'S "WEEKEND EDITION" - ON MOST NPR STATIONS SATURDAY MORNING JUNE 13**** or online anytime at National Public Radio's website, http://www.npr.org/. Among other things, David discusses his reaction when he got Woody's script and, expecting a small role, saw that his character appears on page 1... and page 50... and at the end! (Looks like it's a Larrypalooza...)


21st Annual Share Our Strength’s Taste of the Nation® Los Angeles, Presented by American Express ®, takes place this Sunday in Media Park, Culver City

Featured Event Listing, posted by Don Rose

WHO: Los Angeles’ hottest chefs and restaurants including: Jose Andres of the four-star The Bazaar at SLS, Mary Sue Milliken of Border Grill and Ciudad; XIV’s Michael Mina; Fred Eric of Tiara Café; Ben Ford of Ford’s Filling Station, Erin Eastland of Cube Café and Marketplace, Animal’s Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo (recently named two of the best new chefs in the country by Food & Wine), Grace and BLD’s Neal Fraser (of Iron Chef fame) along with over 40 more including Locanda Del Lago, Fig, Akasha, Angeli Café, Gjelina, Church & State.

WHAT: Share Our Strength’s Taste of the Nation Los Angeles is an annual food and wine event that raises the critical funds needed to support the national organization’s efforts to end childhood hunger in Los Angeles and across America. Guests will enjoy the city’s best cuisine paired with a myriad of wines and other beverages.

HIGHLIGHTS: On-stage cooking demonstrations by Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger and Michael Mina of XIV; a “Mole Cookoff” hosted by food critic Jonathan Gold; special appearances by Food Network TV personalities; a VIP area and exciting live and silent auctions. Chef Nancy Silverton of Mozza will be honoured at the event for her outstanding contributions to nutritional education and philanthropy.

WHY: Taste of the Nation brings together L.A.’s brightest culinary stars to ensure no kid goes hungry. According to the L.A. County Children’s Planning Council, 25%, or 1 out of every 4, children in L.A. County 17 years and under are living in poverty (640,000). Furthermore, over 4,000 children 5 years old and under are homeless on any given night. If they are living in poverty or homeless, they are going hungry.

WHERE: Culver City’s Media Park

WHEN: Sunday, June 14th, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

TICKETS: General Admission in advance, $125, General Admission day of $125; $175 for VIP in advance $175, VIP day of $185; purchase by calling 1-877-26-Taste or visiting www.tasteofthenationla.org.


1:00-4:00 P.M. Book signings by Evan Kleiman, Mariel Hemingway, Nancy Silverton, Michael Mina and JoAnn Cianciulli

2:00-3:00 P.M. Chef demos featuring Chef Michael Mina of XIV; Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger (Border Grill, Cuidad)

3:15-3:30 P.M. Pulitzer prize winning food critic and Los Angeles Weekly’s Jonathan Gold announces Mole Off competition which will name the best Mole in Los Angeles

3:30 P.M. Waiter Races!


Commentary by Don Rose

The great irony of the iPhone is that the Phone part is now but one small sliver of what this device does. People seem to spend much more time doing the NONphone activities afforded by the iPhone than the phone part. The sprouting of thousands of applications for this device makes it, as Leo LaPorte says, more of a mini superportable computer than a phone, something worthy of a new category of device.

Perhaps, then, the iPhone needs a new name.
At least that is what iThink. Here are my iNitial iDeas:

iRony - see first sentence above.

iVerything - since it does, just about, everything.

iKnow - with the iPhone, you truly can know it all, you know-it-all -- thanks to the net connection and all the apps.

iApps - again, the apps is the haps; they truly make the iPhone the versatile wonder that it is.

iAll - you can do it all, in the palm of your hand (sorry, Palm, if you think I'm Pre-mature).

iT - since this really is the current "it" device. Plus, iT can also stand for "internet technologies" or "integrated tech".

iThink -- therefore, I app. See, I even wrote a new ad slogan for you, Apple.

iThere - the i(nternet) is, like, there! And it takes me there. There, another new name and slogan. You taking notes, Apple?

iDo - since users truly are married to this device, and it lets you do almost anything.

iLoveit - users do.

iDeal - since the device really is ideal for most people, and it is a great deal for what you get.

iFun - my favorite new moniker of them all. Listen: iFun even sounds like iPhone!

There you have it. New names for the iPhone that better fit its awesome, broad capabilities.

And as for Apple itself, well, maybe they need a new name too. A subtle change. Like... APPle.

June 4, 2009


The President, Clearly Striving to Improve America's Image in the Eyes of Muslims, Brings Message of Positive Change Overseas; Emphasizes Need for All Religions and Nations To Live and Work Together in Peace, By Finding Common Ground Rather Than Focusing On Differences and Discord

Commentary by Don Rose

President Obama seemed to be, for 54 minutes at least, the World President. While his inspiring speech at the University of Cairo made a special appeal to Muslims in several sections, Obama's message transcended nations, with words undeniable in their logic, delivered with a controlled passion that seemed to be saying, Wake up, world! It's me, Barack, and I believe we're ready for a new way of thinking. Our world can do better. He implored his audience to let go of status quo, and listen to what we know. That we can and should listen and learn from each other. That we all have basic human rights, and no one is more right than others. He gave examples from history showing how numerous nations and peoples have suffered injustices and pain, but we can and must move forward to write a new chapter in history.

Obama often sounded like a kind of world parent, implying that it is time to set aside childish things and grow up on a global scale. For example, he discussed how both Israelis and Palestinians have suffered terribly, but each side must change if there is to be lasting peace. Palestinians must abandon violence, Obama said (pointing out that it was peaceful resistance, not violence, which brought about change for blacks in America) -- but Israel must stop settlements and accept Palestine's right to exist (just as Palestine must recognize Israel). Our President, the man of mixed race, the American with the Muslim middle name, is the one American leader in recent memory who could make such statements with such conviction, imploring Muslims, Christians and Jews to go beyond painful history to a new, peaceful destiny.

Obama ended his exceptional speech with a reference to the Golden Rule, and this seemed to indeed summarize his overarching message. "Do unto others as you'd have them do unto you" are words that transcend borders. The words are ancient, yet transcend time. They still apply here in the 21st century, and are more needed than ever. But perhaps the main accomplishment of Obama's speech was to show how an American President can set out a bold vision to the entire world and challenge all nations to live up to it, without sounding condescending, preachy or demanding. He knows that we are better than we have been.

Sure, some might call Obama's message pollyanna, or criticize him for stating too broad a vision. But that's what I find most endearing about this man who continues to break barriers -- his ongoing, passionate, unwavering Audacity of Hope. He is not afraid to lay out a vision that shoots for the stars. Now we need to build the (international-relations) ship to reach that stellar destination. I just hope the citizens of the world can become as audacious as Obama, because in this time of giant global challenges, audacious thinking may be the best (and only) way to envision the solutions we need to survive as a species.

June 2, 2009


Pete Hammond Hosts Weekly Series of First-Run Feature Films Prior to Theatrical Release with Q & A Sessions Immediately Following Screenings at the Aero Theatre in Santa Monica

KCET, public television for Southern and Central California, presents a new line-up of films for its KCET Cinema Series, a perennial weekly screening series of Hollywood movies, independent films and foreign pictures shown prior to their theatrical releases, beginning on Tuesday, June 2 at 7:00 p.m. at the Aero Theatre in Santa Monica. Hosted by film expert and journalist Pete Hammond, each film is immediately followed by a Q&A giving attendees the unique the opportunity to meet and discuss the film with filmmakers. The series is generously presented by the James and Paula Coburn Foundation, the estate of the late actor James Coburn and his wife, the late actress Paula Coburn.

The KCET Cinema Series takes place Tuesdays beginning June 2 and concludes on July 28. Tickets are $175 per person. For reservations or to charge by phone, please contact KCET Special Events at (323) 953-5800. All proceeds from the series benefit KCET. KCET members receive a 10 % discount.

The schedule of films is included below; however, there are some dates that have not yet been finalized. All films and guests are subject to change without notice. For more information please visit www.kcet.org/specialevents or call 323.953.5800.

JUNE 2 - The Proposal (Touchstone Pictures)

Sandra Bullock plays a highly successful, tough-as-nails boss who forces her young assistant into an engagement so she can get a green card and avoid deportation. Ryan Reynolds and Betty White co-star in this absolutely hilarious and winning romanticcomedy that promises to be one of the surprise hits of summer. Q&A with director Anne Fletcher

JUNE 9 - The Stoning of Soraya M. (Roadside Attractions)

Direct from the Cannes Film Festival where it was sold internationally, this powerful, controversial and gripping true story set in 1986 tells the story of a reporter whose car breaks down in a small Iranian village where a woman proceeds to tell him thestory of her niece Soraya whose arranged marriage to a tyrant ends tragically. Sure to be one of the most talked about films of the year. Q&A with stars Shohreh Aghdashloo (Oscar® nominee for The House of Sand And Fog), Mozhan Marno and director/co-writer Cyrus Nowrasteh.

JUNE 16 - My Sister’s Keeper (New Line Cinema)

Based on the best selling book, this heart-wrenching story focuses on teenage Anna, a young veteran of many surgeries who seeks medical emancipation from her parents who conceived her as a bone-marrow donor to help keep her older sister, a Leukemiavictim since childhood, alive. From Nick Cassavetes, director of The Notebook. Stars Cameron Diaz, Abigail Breslin, Jason Patric, and Sofia Vassilieva. Q&A with talent from the film and Oscar® Award- winning producer Mark Johnson (Rainman).

JUNE 23 - The Answer Man (Magnolia Pictures)

A huge hit at the Sundance Film Festival, this romantic comedy about Arlen Faber, reclusive author of the 20 year old self-help phenomenon, Me And God, a cult best-seller that positioned him for two decades as the man who had all the answers. His newfound relationship becomes complicated with a single mom searching for answers, but the truth is he doesn’t have a clue. Stars Tony Award nominated actor, Jeff Daniels, Lauren Graham, Lou Taylor Pucci, and Kat Dinnings. Q&A with writer/director John Hindman.

JUNE 30 - Adam (Fox Searchlight Pictures)

Soon after moving in to her new apartment, Beth a brainy, beautiful writer emotionally damaged by a past relationship encounters Adam, the handsome but odd neighbor downstairs whose awkwardness is perplexing. The film is a moving and unusual romanticdrama. It garnered the Alfred P. Sloan dramatic film prize at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival. Stars Hugh Dancy, Rose Byrne, Peter Gallagher, and Amy Irving. Q&A with writer/director Max Mayer

JULY 7 - 500 Days of Summer (Fox Searchlight Pictures)

The film is an offbeat romantic comedy about a woman who doesn’t believe that love exists and the idealistic young man who falls for her head-over-heels. “It’s funny, it’s sweet, it’s romantic and it’s utterly heartbreaking. Without question one of thebest films to grace the Sundance Film Festival and one of the best films anyone will see all year.” – Cinema Blend. Q&A with stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Zooey Deschanel, and director Marc Webb.


About KCET

KCET, the West Coast flagship station of PBS, is public television for Southern and Central California. KCET is watched by four million viewers a month in 11 counties, the largest broadcast reach of any public television station in the United States. National PBS series produced from the station’s Hollywood studios include three-time NAACP Award winner Tavis Smiley and the Peabody Award-winning series A Place Of Our Own and Los Niños En Su Casa, produced as part of KCEd™, the station’s educationalprogramming initiative. Other KCET productions for PBS include Sid The Science Kid, co-produced for PBS by KCET and the Henson Company. Currently in production are The Time to Care, the third KCEd production, and WWII: Behind Closed Doors: Stalin, theNazis and the West, a six-hour documentary series premiering on PBS in May 2009. Throughout its more than 40-year history, KCET has won hundreds of major awards for its local and regional news and public affairs programming, its national drama and documentary productions, its quality educational family and children’s programs, itsoutreach and community services, and its Web site, kcet.org. KCET is donor-supported community television. More than half of the funds raised to support KCET’s operating budget come from individual support. For additional information about KCETproductions, Web-exclusive content, programming schedules and community events, please visit www.kcet.org.

About the James and Paula Coburn Foundation

The James and Paula Coburn Foundation (JPCF) is a tax exempt private foundation that supports charitable organizations devoted to the arts and sciences. The foundation is committed to upholding the Coburns’ dedication to local and internationaladvancement through music, art, education, as well as physical and spiritual health.

About Pete Hammond

In his eighth year as host of the KCET Cinema Series, five-time Emmy® nominee Pete Hammond is a writer, producer and film expert whose commentary on the film industry has appeared in The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, USA Today, EntertainmentWeekly, New York Magazine, Ocean Drive, Fox New Channel’s The O’Reilly Factor, NBC Nightly News With Tom Brokaw, Evening News With Brian Williams on MSNBC, the CBC, BBC, Bravo Network, Extra, E! Entertainment and many others. Hammond is currently film critic for Maxim magazine and Maxim Online. He has been a contributor to Variety and V Life, including numerous articles on the Cannes Film Festival, AFI Fest and awards season, as well as a longtime contributor and filmreviewer for Leonard Maltin’s Movie And Video Guide. He has also served as coordinating producer for Access Hollywood, where he ran their movie coverage. He had similar posts at Extra and Entertainment Tonight, where he coordinated that show’s filmcoverage for its first decade on the air. In 1996 he was honored with the Publicists Guild Of America’s Press Award, annually given to “an outstanding member of the press who lends credit to the entertainment industry.”

MISSING MARILYN MONROE: LIFE Reveals Exclusive Never Before Published Photos of MM Before She Was Famous

Posted by Don Rose

June 1, 2009 would have been the 83rd birthday of Marilyn Monroe. To celebrate, Life.com released newly discovered photos of the iconic actress . The year was 1950 and she was just 24, spending a day at L.A.’s Griffith Park. The negatives for these photos were recently discovered during the ongoing effort to digitize LIFE's immense and storied photo archive, including outtakes and entire shoots that never saw the light of day.

The photos feature Marilyn early in her career as she'd just begun to grab attention. Three months before the shoot she appeared as a crooked lawyer's girlfriend in "The Asphalt Jungle," and two months after she had a small role as an aspiring starlet in "All About Eve."

"She was unknown then, so I was able to spend a lot of time shooting her," said Life photographer Ed Clark. "I sent several rolls to Life in New York, but they wired back, 'Who the hell is Marilyn Monroe?'"

See and read about the stunning photos at: http://www.life.com/image/88047985/in-gallery/27412.

August 1950: A 24-year-old Marilyn, wearing a simple button-down shirt monogrammed with her initials, leans against a tree in Los Angeles' Griffith Park for LIFE photographer Ed Clark. (Photo: Ed Clark/Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images)

June 1, 2009


Hey gamers! If you are over 21, there is an open E3 Expo party tonight June 1, 2009 from 7pm to midnight; below is the info from www.gonintendo.com (the address for Caffe Brass Monkey is 659 S. Mariposa Ave., near Wilshire and Normandie, in the Koreatown area of Los Angeles 90005 - (213) 381-7047):

Do you live near Los Angeles? Do you like to party? Are you 21 or older? Come hang with us at the KarE3oke bash!

It's no secret that we're friends with the good guys over at Destructoid. When we heard that they had plans of an E3 bash, we wanted to help out! Now we're co-sponsoring the event alongside Hammersuit, GamersGate and IndustryGamers, and we want you there!
Where - Caffe Brass Monkey
When - 7:00 PM PST on Monday, June 1st
Who - Staff from GoNintendo, Destructoid, Hammersuit, GamersGate, IndustryGamers, gaming personalities and industry members, and you!
Please, PLEASE make sure you show up as early as possible, as space is limited. No need for an RSVP. By the way, those that enjoy drinking will be happy to know that there's an open bar. If you don't drink, you can come toss back some Shirley Temples with me! Yes, both Cort and I will be hanging out and saying hey to any and all that want to talk. Trust me, we aren't that exciting! You can get more details here, as well as bar information here. We'd love to see you!