Monthly Archives: September 2010

Funny Quote of the Day: Oscar Wilde

“My wallpaper and I are fighting a duel to the death. One or the other of us has to go.”   ~ Oscar Wilde

Oscar Wilde said these last words, referring to the walls of a French hotel where he eventually passed away. What better final quote for a man who debated about the meaning of beauty and art for the better part of his life? However, whereas the first round was won by the wallpaper, in the end, Oscar Wilde fans tore the place apart and refurnished it in the style of a British flat. We like to imagine that somewhere in heaven Oscar Wilde was laughing manically as a mob armed with torches burned the offending French wall decoration.

(re-printed from AOL news: Alex Moisi)

The Model Critic Theatre Review: Mrs. Warren’s Profession


 Roundabout Theater, New York, New York

Reviewed by Carlos Stafford, The Model Critic
    Looking back to George Bernard Shaw’s comedy, Mrs. Warren’s Profession, you’d think the present times would differ vastly from those of Victorian England, when the play was set and finally presented in 1902.  What’s so amazing to realize, in this Roundabout Theater production, is that culture, along with accepted social morality, moves through time, and transforms as slowly as a huge ship coming about.
    Shaw, of course, is famous for poking fun at established shibboleths, false moral rectitude, and generally, for always pointing an accusing finger at hypocrisy.  He accomplished this with his genius for keen, penetrating views on humanity, combined with a laser wit.
    Cherry Jones, always wonderful, and a true gift to the stage, plays the eponymous Mrs Warren, or Kitty, a prostitute so successful, she has actually gone global with brothels all over Europe. ( Or, in a modern equivalent, she outsourced her enterprise, like McDonald’s, Google, or Starbucks.) The words prostitute and brothel are never mentioned, but the audience gets the picture quickly.  

Sally Hawkins and Cherry Jones

    Her daughter, Vivie has been away studying at Cambridge, and before that, at boarding schools.  Supported fully along the way, she is unaware of her mother’s profession.  The play opens with a rare meeting between mother and daughter; in a bucolic setting, at a cottage in the country.
    As Vivie awaits her mother’s arrival, we meet Praed, a dear old friend of Kitty’s.  He is kind, gentlemanly and as we see, an eternal optimist.  As they meet, he quickly sees Vivie is unaware of her mother’s life, and doesn’t know how to break the news to the poor girl.  Vivie, having just graduated, prim and proper, scholarly, with a fierce, cold independence, represents what was called the “New Woman” of her day; a young woman breaking away from the bondage of Victorian convention.
Sally Hawkins and Cherry Jones

 When Kitty arrives, flamboyantly dressed in red, with her sleazy friend, Sir George Crofts, Crofts is immediately smitten with Vivie. Rich, heartless, and a man of the world, he quickly turns his attentions to the young woman.  As he surveys the situation, he is struck with the idea that Vivie may actually be his daughter since Kitty never revealed to anyone who the father was. The local country pastor arrives looking for his good-for-nothing son, Frank Gardner, and to his chagrin, has an awkward moment when he recognizes Kitty from a dubious, long-ago encounter.  As he sees Vivie,  we now know that he too could be Vivie’s father as well.  Frank Gardner, the pastor’s son, having dropped by earlier, has also fallen for Vivie’s charm.  Little does he know, and is later revealed, that indeed Vivie is his half-sister, and his father, is also Vivie’s father.

    That evening, while alone in the cottage, Kitty and Vivie are able to talk quietly.  Kitty tries to explain to her daughter her life, and what led up to her choices; it’s a poignant tale of an abusive childhood, squalor, and economic privation, an individual corned by her status and gender.  She moves Vivie to sympathy and understanding as we see her struggle to drop her judgements, and temporarily at least, accept her mother.
    Shaw’s style of writing–unsentimental, unromantic, clear-eyed views of society was emblematic of the Naturalist Movement in literature.  Whores became whores because of political and economic realities, not because they were fallen angels.  This literary movement developed from the Realist Movement of mid-nineteenth century France with the likes of Emile Zola, who wrote about a Parisian prostitute in his famous work, “Nana.” Unadorned, he presented life as it was. The Naturalists did the same, but added the scrutiny of science to glean meanings from the economic, social, hereditary aspects of the human condition.  It was the time of Charles Darwin, and “survival of the fittest,” and Karl Marx.  Another fitting example in drama would be “A Doll’s House,” by Ibsen–a woman trapped in a marriage by social conventions, trying to escape.  Or “Miss Julie,” by August Strindberg, where social class is destiny.   In America, we had the novelist Jack London, Frank Norris, and Theodore Dreiser  Emotion was kept at a minimum, and bold, hard realities were presented. 

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    Back to the story:  Vivie is proposed to by the older  Crofts.  Repulsed, he wades in further to present his case.  He tells her that she would benefit by marrying him because he is extremely wealthy, and in any case, he will soon die, leaving her everything. He then informs Vivie, that Kitty has brothels all over Europe and that she too is very wealthy, and wants her to have all the riches of life. The young suitor, Frank Gardner enters, and they spar with words.  Crofts then reveals at the telling moment that they are both brother and sister, and that they could never marry.
    Crushed, but determined and confident, Vivie flees for the city to pursue her own life, and on her own terms.  Kitty desperately wanting her daughter’s respect, arrives at her office where they confront each other with shocking disapproval and opposing viewpoints.  As with another famous Shaw work, “Sister Barbara,” the characters pull no punches, as they philosophically fight from opposing corners, to determine what is Right. The audience is left stunned and challenged, and it’s not a cozy ending.
    This production was outstanding. The sets were charming and transporting.  Cherry Jones was superb as Mrs. Warren. Stephanie Jones, standing in for Sally Hawkins, was excellent as Vivie, as she stood her ground, and Mark Harilick, was perfectly sinister, unrepentant, and real. 
    Finally, Shaw combines many brilliant notes in his writing– he distills universal social principles, the comedy of human actions, and sympathy for the nature of man.  He is never vague and always robust in his well-crafted meaning, and bravely looks to the heart of the matter.  He surely came before “spin,” and even though at times one could take him as being dogmatic and preachy, he is certainly our cultural and artistic treasure.


Food: It’s Time For A Change

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

That pretty much describes my eating habits in the last year.  And guess what, no surprise, nothing different happend.  No weight loss.  Continued lethargy.  Food based mood swings.  The whole gamut.

Recently however, I discovered that I have been having a negative, digestive ‘reaction’ to eating pasta, bread or any sort of wheat product.  Walking around all day with a sick and often bloated stomach or worse trying to sleep with what felt like a stone in my intestines all night long after having eaten merely a few noodles was really becoming painful.  So when I finally did a test of pure elimination, it was a no brainer.  No more pasta.  I realized I had been powering the pastina because it was fast to cook and most of all cheap.  Cheaper and easier to cook than the foods I really enjoyed like high quality proteins, leafy greens and juicy fresh fruits.  And on top of it all, the quantities being consumed kept increasing as I was always hungry and not very satisfied.  In truth, even growing up Sicilian, I never ate macaroni more than twice a week.  I was always amazed at my friends who ate it nearly every day for lunch or night for dinner.   Put off by pasta recipes, bread filled sandwiches and carb gorging.  Maybe the influence finally rubbed off for lack of time or energy to really nourish.

Now don’t get me wrong, every time I simply walk, see or happen to think about a plate of fettucini, I salivate.  It’s hard loving food and giving up the things that really give your palate pleasure.  But the new after-effects are suddenly so much more desirable.  And wow, what a difference a grain makes.

I started by switching from wheat to quinoa and it just made sense to my body.  Everything tasted better and lighter.  Replacing simple carbs with vegetables entirely hasn’t been so bad either. My taste buds are coming alive again. Food is beginning to taste like food again.  And making choices about what I am not putting into my body is a huge money saver.  I don’t even look at most of the things on the shelf anymore. 

And even better, eliminating the gluten has not only made me less hungry, but has forced my body into overcoming that body fat plateau that it just wouldn’t budge from. 

So am I advocating for no wheat?  No not at all.  This is a personal discovery.  Am I encouraging change.  Most definitely.  Change does a body good.

Project M

Quote of the Day: The Matrix

“I’m trying to free your mind, Neo. But I can only show you the door. You’re the one who must walk through it.”
— credit to Morpheus – The Matrix (Film)

Funny Quote of the Day: Voltaire

“This is no time to make new enemies.”    ~ Voltaire

These are supposedly the last words of the philosopher Voltaire, uttered when a priest asked him to renounce Satan. Voltaire had been a critic of the church for years and, according to some accounts, his last words, directed at a priest, were actually an angry cry: “For God’s sake, let me die in peace!”

Apparently back in the day, the church wouldn’t even let you die on your own terms. And it sure as heck wouldn’t bury you in its cemetery after such a deathbed quote. Which is exactly why Voltaire’s friends, in a final ironic twist, snuck in and buried his corpse in the Abbey of Scellières. Take that, church!

(re-printed from AOL news: Alex Moisi)

An Invitation to Join Us For the Live My Life LA Film Premiere October 2010

Join us on Saturday, October 16th, 2010 @ 2:00 pm for the Los Angeles Film Premiere of the music video, LIVE MY LIFE, an official selection at : The Sixth Annual LA Femme International Film Festival.  

See You There!   

Live My Life 

Official Selection at the LA Femme Film Festival

Winner Honorable Mention – Los Angeles International Film Festival 2010

Finalist – SoCal Film Market – June 2010

See the video that rocked Wall Street!

  Location:  Rennberg Theatre
1125 N. McCadden Place
Hollywood CA 90038

The Live My Life Video team:

Director- Michael Cornell
Exec Producer – Tracey Paleo
Dir of Photography – Michael Norquest
Editor – John Brookbank
AFX – Rhys Ernst
Musical Score and Lyrics – Kameron White
Wardrobe – Jaclyn Robinson
Make-up – Heather Dickey
Set Photographer – Brian Putnam

The Band:

Kameron White
Joong-Han Chung

and the ever super-gorgeous and talented
ballerina turned scientist,

Lara Garcia

“In today’s world where, more than ever, the ongoing concentration of money and power in the hands of a self-selected few, relies on political and public apathy, Live My Life provides a much needed shot of timely, thought-provoking, musically forward, irreverence to the status quo.”
~ Nomi Prins, Wall Street Insider, former Goldman Sachs director and author of, It Takes a Pillage: Behind the Bailouts, Bonuses and Backroom Deals from Washington to Wall Street.

Quote of the Day: Queen Elizabeth II

“When people in 53 years from now look back on us, they will doubtless view many of our practices as old-fashioned,” Queen Elizabeth said. “But it is my hope that, when judged by future generations, our willingness to take a lead will stand the test of time.”
         July 2010
The Queen laying flowers at Ground Zero

                                                                                                                                                        She survived the heat wave: In her first visit to New York in 35 years, Queen Elizabeth laid a wreath at Ground Zero Tuesday and spoke with families who’d lost loved ones in the terrorist attack. The queen then adressed the United Nations,  General Assembly for the first time since she spoke there 53 years ago. She urged the U.N. to continue addressing terrorism and climate change.