Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Thirteen Conversations

So I'm flipping through the channels one night and become mesmerized by this film called "Thirteen Conversations About One Thing." 

The cinematography is what captured me right away...each frame is artfully composed; like a painting brought to life.



Here's a review on amazon that pretty much summed up my thoughts exactly:

A smartly written and wonderfully acted movie about happiness and fate. 13 Conversations About One Thing takes four characters (a lawyer who hits a housecleaner with his car, then flees the scene; the housecleaner herself; a science professor who leaves his wife; and an insurance claims adjuster who's deeply envious of a coworker who seems irrepressibly happy) and blends their stories into a delicate but potent mix. The characters cross paths at various points, but more often the events reverberate off each other in funny, surprising, or sorrowful ways. For all its cleverness, 13 Conversations never loses sight of the characters' humanity. The remarkable performances (from Matthew McConaughey, Clea DuVall, Amy Irving, John Turturro, and especially Alan Arkin) are riveting. On top of that, this movie, for all its quiet and talkative nature, is visually stunning, each shot a carefully composed portrait of a state of mind. --Bret Fetzer

ME: It's the kind of movie you want to see again and again so you can delight in the rich dialog, search for visual motifs and bask in the beauty of the images.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Odd Couple

YIKES! I auditioned for The Odd Couple last night! Our community theater, the Cheyenne Little Theatre Players, is putting on the show and I couldn't be happier. I'm a huge fan of Neil Simon.

As a member of the programming committee, I help select our season line-up. It's right up my alley because I absolutely LOVE the theatre. I even have a Theatre Blog: All drama, all the time. I'm also a playwright and actor with the Sunnyside Players and write for their website.

Anyway, back to auditions. In addition to the leads, Oscar and Felix, there are six other cast members (four men and two women). The women are the Pigeon sisters, a couple of British divorcee's that live in Oscar's building. Gwendolyn is the older and Cecily the younger. At the auditions I read for both parts. They have one major scene in the second Act and then a small bit in the third Act.

The play is hilarious with smart writing by Simon. And although it's set in 1960s New York, the humor isn't lost on the modern audience. Even at the auditions, the audience was laughing when the actors on the stage read their lines.  

I would love to get a part in a Neil Simon play, but if I don't I will be perfectly happy to be involved backstage. Auditions continue tonight and the cast list will be up on Wednesday!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Revenge of the Birds

This is a movie review I wrote for Nights & Weekends:

One of the greatest filmmakers of all time, Alfred Hitchcock wasn’t called the Master of Suspense for nothing. In many of his movies, psychopaths, assassins, and homicidal maniacs play a major role. Yet, however dark and demented they may be, the one thing his villains share is their humanity.

Not so in The Birds. Hitchcock transforms our fine feathered friends into hated enemies, intent on taking their vengeance on mankind—or at least those who reside in California. But we can’t really blame the birds. The denizens of Bodega Bay pretty much deserve what they get.

Now, before you accuse me of being crude and heartless, let’s examine the facts. Here’s the pecking order:

Mitch (Rod Taylor): He’s too perfect. A successful lawyer who lives in San Francisco, he still takes time out of his busy schedule to visit his mother and sister every weekend in Bodega Bay. He has a charming sense of humor, he’s protective of his family, and he’s respected in the community. To make matters worse, he’s extremely good-looking. Enough said.

Melanie (Tippi Hedren): Rich, beautiful, and sassy, she’s certainly no birdbrain. However, her psychological hang-ups could fund Dr. Phil’s early retirement to the Bahamas. As a child she was abandoned by her mother, thus she craves attention by planning elaborate practical jokes. Her light-green suit makes her look like a parakeet, as does her pesky habit of cocking her head to one side. It’s obvious the birds have no sense of humor and are insulted by her parody. She becomes their first victim.

Lydia (Jessica Tandy): Mitch’s mother never recovered after her husband’s death, and she’s terrified of being alone. Perfectly understandable—except that her neurotic behavior turns her into the family martyr. She’s a mother hen who takes the empty nest syndrome to a whole other level. As if that’s not enough, she wears a skirt and pumps with matching handbag to drive a rusty old pickup to the neighbor’s farm. Call the fashion police!

Annie (Suzanne Pleshette): This is one hot chick. Unfortunately, that’s all she has going for her. She and Mitch were in love, but he broke it off when Mother disapproved. She left an exciting, adventurous life in San Francisco to pine away as an old-maid schoolteacher in Bodega Bay. Mitch is no longer interested in her romantically, but she stays in town because she can’t stand to be away from him. Her life is a cautionary tale told by feminists over martinis in Manhattan.

And let’s not forget the other citizens of Bodega Bay, who have inflamed the wrath of every bird on the West Coast. At the diner, we meet Mrs. Bundy, the ornithology expert, who tells us everything we wanted to know about birds but were afraid to ask. Her scientific explanations are punctuated by the town drunk’s prophesies of doom. A woman with young children decides to leave town immediately, not even going home to pack a suitcase. But before we can say KFC, the birds display their most deadly attack yet…blowing up cars, burning down buildings, and mutilating every human within pecking distance. Rambo has nothing on them.

Any normal person would get the heck out of Dodge. Not Mitch, Melanie, and Mother. They choose to board up the windows and hunker down for the next assault. Of course, if they’d left Bodega Bay, the movie would be over—and we’d miss watching Melanie creep up the stairs to the attic, where the birds lie in wait. We’d also miss Mitch’s heroic rescue of Melanie. And, more importantly, we’d miss Mother’s satisfied smirk as she lovingly strokes Melanie’s hair, pleased that she’s reduced this confident, lively woman to a catatonic vegetable—with the help of the birds, of course.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Getting to Know You

So I'm reading the August issue of Whole Living and was inspired by the "interview" questions on the back page. Here are my answers.What about you?

Bloom where you're planted.

Wrapped in my hubby's arms.

The Bible (God transformed my life on September 9, 1984.)

Gone With the Wind (I read the book 13 times in my early teens; it was an escapist novel for me when I was going through a rough time in my family.)

Roots (Inspired by the TV series, I read the novel and was fascinated with this era of American history.)

Night (Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel's account of his experience at Auschwitz and Buchenwald; since then I've read everything he's ever written.)

Watership Down (I had seen the animated version on TV and was immediately touched by the story. I later read the novel and it became my absolute favorite book of all time. Author Richard Addams creates an amazing world of rabbits who seek a better life and in the process must deal with peril, tyranny, love, friendship, death, family and hope.)

Chronicles of Narnia (I've read the series about five times and read the stories to my children when they were small. I stand in awe of C.S. Lewis and his amazing ability to touch my spirit.)

Am afraid of monsters under my bed.

I run.

Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the same measure you use, it will be measured to you. (Jesus in Matthew 7:1)

Early in the morning at first light. I see the dawn outside my window and contemplate the beauty of God.

I organize my calendar.

When I was afraid of speaking in front of a crowd, Mom would say, "If they kill you, they won't eat you."

Worrying about my family.

Outrunning a tornado that ripped through our town.

Read what God told Joshua in the Bible (Joshua 1:9) "Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified, do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go."

An artist.

Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul
And sings the tune without the words
And never stops at all
(Emily Dickinson)

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Leonard Pitts Gets It Right Again

I have been a fan of Leonard Pitts, columnist for the Miami Herald, for years. He's the voice of reason in this crazy post 9-11 world and I always look forward to his columns. Today he took on Rev. Terry Jones, pastor of Dove World Outreach Center in Gainsville, Florida, who plans to build a bonfire and burn the Koran this Saturday, the ninth anniversary of 9-11.

Here's an excerpt:

[Jones] proposes to commemorate an act of hate with an act of hate.
He will do this, he says, even though he's been denied a permit.
He will do it, he says, in the face of protest from Christians and Muslims.
He will do it, he says, even though half his church has deserted him.
He will do it, he says, even though it will inflame radical Muslims.
He will do it, he says, even though it might place U.S. soldiers at risk.

Another excerpt:

It's hardly news anymore when a conservative pundit or public figure -- and yes, that's almost always the profile -- says something belittling, bellicose, ignorant or hateful about gay people, Hispanics, blacks, or undocumented immigrants. And Muslims? Lord, it has been open season on them for years, the increasingly strident denunciations of Islam culminating in this summer of discontent.

ME: It's hard for me to understand how a so-called Christian can instigate something like this. As a  Christian, I find the whole thing abhorrent, to say the least. Would Jesus do something like this? I think not.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

So Long, Eyelashes

This past labor day weekend I gave myself a beauty break. Four solid days of no make up and no hair products. I think it's a good idea to give it a rest once in a while. Of course, I looked like a prairie woman in the pioneer days, but c'est la vie.

Not to say I didn't venture outside the house. I went to the grocery store, the farmer's market, Target and Barnes & Noble. I was a brave soul.

So I'm sitting in the car in the parking lot at Safeway, about to go in, when I check myself out in the car mirror. My eyelashes were almost gone! They were so sparse I could count the hairs. YIKES! My mind immediately went to work trying to figure out why. It had be the mascara. I use it almost every day. Always Revlon, but recently I had switched to Maybelline. I had noticed the Maybelline smelled like nail polish remover but I used it anyway.

So later at home I go online to research about whether or not mascara makes your eyelashes fall out. And guess what? It does. Especially if you glob it on several times throughout the day and sleep in your makeup (which I don't). But the main reason the lashes fall out is how you remove the mascara. If you rub your lashes really hard with your make up remover (which I do), then the lashes can actually fall out.

I found out it's best to use water based mascara and just touch the wand on the tips of your eyelashes. Also, use a mascara that has a moisturizer in it or use Vaseline at bedtime to keep them conditioned.

The beauty experts say your lashes will grow back. Thank goodness.

Does anyone else see the irony of mascara making your lashes fall out?

Friday, September 03, 2010

Cool Shades

We bought a set of cellular, top-bottom shades for our kitchen and they are FABULOUS! We chose ivory because we wanted a pleasing neutral. The shades cover the window above our kitchen sink and with the top-bottom feature, we can adjust the light anyway we want. They are also cordless so there's no ugly cord that we have to hide.

Fortunately, my Dad is visiting from Oklahoma and easily installed them for us. Hubby and I are mechanically challenged. We're lucky to know how to change a light bulb. Dad, on the other hand, is an expert home builder, carpenter, woodworker, mechanic, and jack of all trades. He had the shades up faster than Garfield could finish off a plate of lasagna.

Thanks, Dad! 

BTW: His name is Earl. No relation to the hurricane.