Sunday, November 16, 2014

Foxcatcher


Director: Bennett Miller
Cast: Steve Carell , Channing Tatum, Mark Ruffalo,  Sienna Miller, Vanessa Redgrave, Anthony Michael Hall, Guy Boyd

                            Review by James Colt Harrison

Foxcatcher is sure to be an Oscar® contender, with Channing Tatum and director Bennett Miller being singled out. Miller has already won the Best Director Award at the Cannes Film Festival this year and Channing Tatum won the International Cinephile Society Award as Best Actor.

Although wrestler Mark Schultz (Channing Tatum) had won a Gold Medal at the Olympics in 1984, a few years later he was down on his luck and living in poverty. A huge opportunity came his way with an offer from billionaire industrialist John DuPont (Steve Carell) of the famed DuPont chemical family. DuPont was a wrestling enthusiast and wanted to start up a new state-of-the-art training facility for some of the greatest wrestlers in America. It was built at his Foxcatcher Farm in the beautiful rolling hills of Pennsylvania. Schultz would move onto the farm and train there for the 1988 Olympics in Seoul,Korea.

DuPont was obsessed with winning and having credit go to him for allegedly “coaching” all the wrestlers. He was particularly interested in having Mark Schultz continue his gold medal-winning streak. Du Pont was obsessed with that idea and he was also obsessed with Shultz. It is not directly shown and only subtly implied, but DuPont may have had either emotional or sexual feelings for the much younger and handsome Shultz.

Much has been said about Carell’s performance. His appearance is completely changed, and he wears what looks like a version of the Groucho Marx Halloween nose without the glasses. Personally, his performance to this writer seemed zombie-like and listless. He stares into space and speaks his lines quietly with no verve or vitality. It’s a step away from comedy for Carell to bravely try drama. He does a decent job but nothing will knock you out. Only in a few scenes do his intentions seem menacing. One does get the feeling director Miller went easy on John in deference to the DuPont family.

On the other hand, Tatum is the best he has ever been. He completely captures the naivete, confusion, and angst of his Schultz character. He has even develped a bull dog-like stance and bow-legged walk as you would imagine a muscle-bound wrestler to have. His has transformed his jaw to jut out and look massive and dangerous as a pitbull. Tatum has the opportunity to run the gamut of emotions. He’s moody, he’s combative, he’s giddy. He manages to cry when necessary and is angry over his rivalry with his wrestler older brother David, played beautifully by Mark Ruffalo.

David is invited to come to Foxcatcher Farm to train the other men. At first he is a best buddy of DuPont, but gradually the two men have disagreements. Young Mark wanted to get out from the shadow of his older brother’s achievements. DuPont desperately wanted Mark to win at all costs. Perhaps he saw David as an obstruction, and that may have led DuPont to go off the rails and solve things with a gun.

John DuPont was born into the ultra wealthy and influential DuPont family November 22, 1938. He was only two years old when his parents divorced in 1941. He studied at the University of Miami and received a Bachelor of Science degree in zoology in 1965. He continued his studies for a doctorate in natural science at Villanova University in 1973. He was greatly interested in birds of the South Pacific and became a reknown ornithologist with several books to his credit.DuPont’s interests included stamp collecting, sports, coaching, conchology, ornithology and philanthropy.

After his mother died, he turned the former horse farm into a sports training facility. He sold off his mother’s Guernsey cows and her prize-winning horses. British actress Vanessa Redgrave comes in for a long cameo as his mother and, as usual, dominates her scenes. DuPont became a sponsor in swimming, track, pentathalon, and wrestling. He, himself, became a competitive wrestler at age 55 and competed in three world events.

Friends began to notice that DuPont began acting strangely about this time and did uncharacteristic things. He wasn’t exactly looney as a Jaybird, but he was felt to be a little “off” about some of his behavior. When he went on trial for the cold-blooded murder of David Schultz, DuPont was described by psychiatrists as a paranoid schizophrenic. He was led off to jail where he died at age 72 in 2010.


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Tuesday, November 11, 2014

ROSEWATER

Middle East Spy Thriller
Director/ Writer: Jon Stewart
Cast: Gael Garcia Bernal, Shohreh Aghdashloo, Claire Foy, Kim Bodnia, Dimitri Leonidas, Haluk Bilginer

By James Colt Harrison

Rosewater is based on a true story and the book (“Then They Came for Me”) written by journalist Maziar Bahari. The London-based scribe is a native-born Iranian (or Persian, as they prefer) who experienced a nightmare of torture and incarceration by the brutal regime in power in Teheran.

Young Mexican star Gael Garcia Bernal plays Bahari. Bernal is best known in this country from the films Amores Perros (2000), Y tu mama tambien (2001), The Motorcycle Diaries (2004), and Babel (2006). With a little magic Hollywood makeup and hairstyling, he can look like an Iranian.

Temperatures were rising among the native Iranians when the 2009 presidential elections were due and the populace felt corruption dominated politics in Teheran. Bahari, who has a Canadian passport, was working for Newsweek , the major international news magazine, and wanted to cover the election process. He traveled to Teheran with a camera in hopes of getting some good interviews and information about the state of affairs in his native country. The populace was stirred greatly by the hotly contested battle between hardline incumbent Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and moderate Mir-Hossein Mousavi, in whom the electorate had great hopes.

Immediately interrogated at his mother’s home (Shoreh Aghdashloo), he is accused of looking at pornographic videos and is arrested. He begins his 118 day incarceration at the notorious Evin prison where he is assigned the interrogator “Rosewater” (because of his scent), as played by Kim Bodnia. He is intermittently kind, vicious, understanding, violent, and intense. But still, he is not exactly shown as a brutal madman as we expect. Bahari shows respect and calmness toward his captors. He ends up never really telling them anything.

There’s a lot of excitement during the part of the film when the elections are fudged by the wily and corrupt, vertically challenged Ahmadinejad by closing down the polls early and declaring victory by stealing the election. This ignites students to riot in the streets during what was called the Green Movement. Millions of people took to the streets in a rare show of disobedience. It didn’t do them any good because they are back under the thumb of the religious leaders and corrupt politicians.

Although Rosewater is in the same vein as Ben Affleck’s Oscar®-winning film Argo, we realize that both films expose the tyranny now rampant in Iran. Efforts by the international community to end this oppression in a timely and peaceful manner is an on-going problem.


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Monday, November 10, 2014

Lets Meet: Anthony Gordon, Makeup Artist



photographer David Leslie Anthony for British Cosmo
By Paola Hornbuckle

So often we see the glorious images in the magazines and admire the models and the clothing designers but do we ever stop to think about who created the picture-perfect makeup that completes the vision? Anthony Gordon is one such makeup artist, and he has succeeded at the highest levels. Based out of Los Angeles, he has worked in commercials, movies, upscale magazines and with celebrities and members of royal families.
Grandson of the actor/stuntman Jack Gordon and son of Emmy winner Stan Gordon, he grew up in the movie lots of Hollywood. His career began in the Los Angeles punk rock scenes of the late 70’s and 80’s, where he cut hair and did make-up in the patios of local nightclubs. While working at one of Los Angeles’ first punk rock salons, he was invited to join avant-garde designers Nicola Pelly and Harry Parness to create some of the looks for their fashion shows at the trailblazing Parachute in Beverly Hills. It was his first taste of runway fashion and he fell in love with the creativity and energy of working in a team environment.
Since then Anthony has continued to work in fashion and advertising while bringing his unique take on pop culture and old, Hollywood glamour to film and television. He was worked with such greats as David Chapelle, Peter Arnell, and John Landis. His work can be seen on billboards from Times Square to Hollywood, and in the pages of Cosmo, UK, Rolling Stone, Moda FG, Angelino, to name a few. Anthony was kind enough to answer some questions about his remarkable career and the sizzling punk scene that opened the world to him and inspired his first flash of creative inspiration and self-identity.

ANF: You came of age in the Punk Scene, what was this scene really about? What did that look stand for?

Anthony Gordon 
AG: The Punk Rock scene for me was my coming of age - yes! I feel so lucky to have been there and been a part of that scene in Los Angeles and alive at that time! It was a crazy, exciting and dangerous time! The scene for me, and I can only speak for myself because we all had a different experience,  was about rejecting the ideals of our fathers. We came out of the 50's and 60's, the sexual revolution, the 70s and disco and wanted something else, something new, exciting, honest, bared down to raw, a way to live that wasn't the same old ideology of our parents. There was also the threat of nuclear war, nuclear energy, so many overwhelming new issues. I needed a release; I needed Art, Music, and Fashion to free me.  I always was intrigued by bands and artists like The Velvet underground, David Bowie, Alice Cooper, and T-Rex.  I loved Glam Rock of the early 70s and even used to stay up late at night to secretly to watch Twiggies juke box. I remember the news trashing these people. Shock rock they called it and transvestites (laughs).  I thought they were amazing and free and I wanted that for myself!  I was making a statement for myself and to the world! It was so incredible being a club kid then: it was all new and fresh and it was our scene, it came out in our music, fashion and art. I had never felt so free and empowered. I finally had a voice and I didn't care what anyone though because this is my voice, my look, my art. It was new, although I think a huge chunk of the general population had no idea what was going on. We also had a lot of humor in our music, teaching us not to take ourselves so seriously.  I started out in the hardcore scene in Los Angeles , and then slowly the scene separated and  it evolved into the Hollywood art rock scene , New wave, Mod, New Romantic, Goth, Rockabilly, etc.  These scenes all became considered something different but prior to 1980 it was all considered punk. Our look was an expression of what we were saying and feeling
photographer David Leslie Anthony for Jimon Magazine

ANF: How can a new make-up artist stand out in today’s job market?

AG: If you want to stand out you have to develop a style unto yourself and that takes time, study the works of others and take what you like and add your own special take on a look, learn to edit yourself, develop a great working personality because people want to work with people with whom they enjoy spending 8 to 16 hours a day. Get viral but also remember the web is forever so be smart about how you represent yourself online as well as in person.  Also learn about lighting and color temperature, this is indispensable as you are testing and building a book.
 
ANF: What projects are you currently working on?

photographer Klara G for M Magazine
AG: I just got done working with members of a royal family and am looking forward to all my commercials for the Super Bowl and the Oscars, as I wait for the next film. I also think a book will be in the works which I'm excited about! I love to share my experience and work so it’s about that time to write a book.

ANF: How have things changed for make-up artists since you first started?

AG: It was much easier when I started, there weren't any makeup schools and you had to shadow other artists to learn or and test and practice. The industry wasn't flooded like it is today. Rates were higher and with all the new makeup artists being pumped out of schools, literally thousands a month, it is driving rates down. New make-up artists don't know what they should be charging so they are giving it away after paying a small fortune for schools and their kits. I mean does a plumber, electrician, or any other skilled professional charge less because they are new?  No!  My rates have always been in relation to what the job "should" pay regardless if it’s my first job or not. Always charge accordingly because if not, you're ultimately shooting yourself in the foot.
 

ANF: Does the punk scene still inspire your work? And if not, what does?
Andrea R

AG: Punk will always be a part of me and yes I do pull references from my past , but it’s not the soul of my inspiration, that comes from emotion, and what I'm trying to say with each piece of work. Depending on the job, I pull from my experience and I try to add my part to create the vision my client/team desires to the best of my abilities. Being a makeup artist is just one piece of the vision; wardrobe, hair, photography, and lighting creates the full picture, so learn to work in harmony with your team.  I am constantly studying the works of others, be it fine art, makeup, fashion or music. I find inspiration in all that surrounds me. It’s a beautiful world we live in!






Click Here to see more of Anthony Gordon's work.

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Sunday, November 9, 2014

InnerMission Productions presents Longview, TX by Anna Rebek

playwright, director, set designer and costume designer
Anna Rebek
We are unbelievably honored and thrilled to have shared the last few months with Anna Rebek.  Anna is a friend and a colleague and she has written an incredible play.  This has been an unreal opportunity for everyone involved.  We had a few questions for Anna our playwright and fearless director, set designer and costume designer.  Here is a little bit about how this incredible artist found herself in Longview, TX:

IM: The play examines our media-driven society, is there a specific message you’re trying to send?
AR: In the middle of a heavy announcement about Prisa Hernandez having gone missing, Blanche is distracted by something in her teeth. There are no bad guys in the play, as real people aren’t all good or bad. But if you had to pick a villain, it would be Blanche.

The Blanche Duvet show represents the great American opinion before fact show. I wanted to expose the goings on off-camera, and how the topics are chosen to be excitatory, to provoke and entertain viewers. It’s intentional, it’s manipulated, and when acknowledged, it’s not dangerous. The problem is that it in this country it isn’t always acknowledged.

During the Ferguson riots I saw a police chief make a public announcement on television with an African American officer standing behind him. The officer never spoke, he was never addressed. This impacted me, this idea that this man had been used as a prop. That kind of media manipulation is obvious on shows that lampoon it, like The Colbert Report, but when it’s not a joke and you realize that they thought that showing an African American officer would convince the public that racism couldn’t possibly live among police in one of the most segregated cities of America…

IM: What was your inspiration for writing LONGVIEW, TX?
AR: Three reasons really.
#1. I love Texas.
My mom is Mexican and grew up in Austin Tx. During holidays and summers we would go visit her family there and stay with aunts and uncles and grandparents. She told us that when she was growing up there were kids in her class she wasn’t allowed to play with because their families were white and had that rule. That wasn’t my experience, all I remember is that I never had to brush my teeth, I got to watch R-rated movies and eat bbq and I slept where I fell. It was awesome. Plus these people talked different, had a different pace of doing things, this way of speaking just a few words but having rich meaning behind them. Words seemed just brushed on top like a cheap coat of paint, with Spanish thrown in here and there. They’d also tell these long stories or jokes and I’d hear the music in it.
I wanted that challenge as a writer, to have depth in subtext without cluttering up the dialogue, and still creating a real specific space and time and authenticity in how they spoke.
I wanted to go back and hear them again like I did as a kid. And I did. Writing this play was a way for my heart to visit Texas around 1992.

 #2. Taking care of my mom when she had cancer.
That time, caring for her while dealing with the fear and illness turned my life into a horror movie. I knew going through it that I would never be the same as I had been before. That experience also brought out the best and worst in people around me and I crossed many names off my list because of it. This play poured out of me and those memories sank like a stone to the bottom. There’s nothing like writing to tell you where wounds are still healing.

#3. Ferguson Missouri.
I listened to the absurdity of the media spin on that event spiral out of control. People were able to select from the buffet of facts the media spread to confirm their own narrative. So much tension, so much hate right underneath spurting up. It is our right and in our human nature to form opinions, but it was clear that when I heard discussion about that event, the speaker always started with an opinion and chosen the data to support their version of the truth. That’s not factual, and its not educated.

 IM: Rumor has it that you wrote this piece for this ensemble…How did the actors inspire these characters?
 AR: That rumor is true. I wrote this piece specifically for all but one of the actors that are in it.

Jaime Tuttle has incredible helpfulness and sweetness, and is definitely super smart. She also has a very determined core, and I’m not worried about her getting what she wants out of life. I wanted for her to explore that edge with Casey, the end of nice in favor of getting ahead, what it feels like to step on someone else’s head to climb yourself up. And also for Missy for her to try on charm with slower processing.

Tiffany Tang has extreme truthfulness and softness. It’s like she’s holding all these lovely gifts in a basket in front of her and offering them up to the world. It can be a dangerous way to go, but I empathize with it. For her character Liz, who is based on my own life, I wanted her to feel the moment when life comes along and slaps that pretty basket into the street. Having to watch her  be harsh and gruff and totally about to lose it is beautiful.

Sam Ginn and I go back. I’ve seen her play many roles, and there are many roles I’ve seen played on stage that I wished were played by her instead. Often. She has such a strong presence and genius comedic timing, but she never fully takes in and uses her sex appeal. I wanted all of it! I wrote Darlene for her because I wanted her loose and bold and funny and been there/done that with the sexy confidence of a bulldozer. Which she should have anyway.

Bryant Hernandez is the only actor I didn’t originally have in mind for his role, but I now know why Carla and Kym suggested him for the part. Bryant has a musicality in his delivery that brings a joy and flair and fabulousness. He also has a connection with Carla that layers the relationship between Doug and Blanche onstage. He gets to lead dancing in this piece and his grace and rhythm make it look easy.

Kym Pappas has gorgeous vulnerability and is also flooding with nurturing sensibility. She may not have kids but she’s a mom. She also has a serrated edge that few have ever seen fully, myself included, but I know it’s there. I wanted her to have the challenge of nowhere to put all her love for most of the play. She has such a rich depth too, that I wrote Farrah who’s easier to read on the surface. Farrah has an open face, faith and an open heart.

Carla Nell can convey huge expression facially and does so hilariously. No one does caustic like Carla. She also moves well even if she doesn’t think so. I wanted to give her an opportunity to let her bitch side take over, I wrote Blanche so she could relish chewing people up and spitting them out. I also wanted to see her connect to her body, to use her whole instrument from her head to her cute pinky toes.

Martin Gutfeldt has a beautiful tenderness and sincerity both vocally and physically. In a sense it’s like he’s been spared some of the harshness of the world. He can also play the saxophone like a deer wears antlers. I wanted to see Martin in a role that provided him a backstory where he had endured lots of hardship, teasing, bullying, abuse…I wrote Holden to have suffered for being different; a young man who’s never felt totally safe, whole or normal.

John Antonov is such a sweet man. I don’t think he knows how disarming he is. He also has a tendency to shy away and make his presence smaller. I wanted to give him a role, Sergeant Tate, where he can own his space, have authority and be in command vocally and physically. I also wanted him to turn his shyness into good ol’ boy charm.

Brian Lee Burke is one of those beautiful straight men that have a genuine love for real women, and a low tolerance for bullshitters. He must have met a bunch of them because there’s sometimes an air of defeat that follows him. He has the most unique and luxurious voice- his Texas drawl is a song. I wanted to see his spark light up when I wrote Jim; to use his voice and sex appeal in a ol’ school cop way, and have him dust off his optimism and see if it still fits.

IM: Which character in Longview, TX would you most like to play?
AR: Well Liz is based on my experiences, so I’d like to play that part for the catharsis of it. I love to play strong, sexy, women who own their mistakes and keep making them. Because that’s how life is! But for fun reasons it would be Blanche or Darlene. Blanche because she gets to play dirty. And Darlene because she gets to sing and yell, and not care about what people think. She’s free.
6ish Words To Describe The Play:
A spicy tangy bittersweet Texas stew.
You’ll recognize yourself in someone up there, I recognize myself in everyone up there.
Longview, TX opens November 7 and runs two weekends only at the OB Playhouse.
For more information and tickets go to: www.welcometolongview.com.

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Friday, November 7, 2014

DRESS FOR SUCCESS: 7TH ANNUAL“10 BEST DRESSED” GALA

DRESS FOR SUCCESS SAN DIEGO, LOCAL TV PERSONALITY LEONARD SIMPSON ANNOUNCE CONTRIBUTING FASHION DESIGNERS FOR 7TH ANNUAL“10 BEST DRESSED” GALA
Event to raise thousands for non-profit focused on empowering disadvantaged women to achieve social and economic self-sufficiency

Top row (left to right): John Winfield, Raymond Dale, Jonathon Collopy, Roberto De Gregorio, Dave Carothers, George Gould, Brent Wilsey, Patrick Kruer, Matthew Shillingburg.Bottom Row (left to right): Bibbi Herrmann Conner, Carmela Koenig, Laurie Black, Sally B. Thornton, Hélène Gould, Mina Kooklani, Lola Green, Jo Ann Kilty Not shown in the picture: Paul Chasan, Darcy Delano Smith, Kathleen Connor, Shelley Zimmerman, Teri Valentina Rios
Local television personality and producer of Fashion Forward® Leonard Simpson has announced the fashion designers who will be contributing to the theatrical show at the 2014 “10 Best Dress Awards”. Proceeds from the 7th annual gala and show will support Dress for Success San Diego, a non-profit focused on empowering disadvantaged women to achieve social and economic self-sufficiency.

Fashion designers from as far as Vietnam will be providing male and female apparel for the fashion show produced by Fashion Forward®, a fashion production company known internationally for its’ over the top theatrical runway performances. The designers include: Vo Viet Chung, Inoe Vargas, Gladis Pleitez, Accommatteo, Fushion Glass Co., Puey Quinones, Karla Lamas, Furs by Graf, J. Hilburn Men’s Clothier, Oseas Villatoro, Rocky Gathercole Atelier, PK Bijoux Couture and A Better Deal Tuxedo.

The highly anticipated award ceremony will be held on Thursday, November 13th at the Hilton La Jolla Torrey Pines. Celebrity actress Vanessa Williams, who has starred in television series like Soul Food and movies like New Jack City, will be in attendance to receive Leonard Simpson’s 2014 Best Actress and Style award.

The show will include a hosted cocktail reception, theatrical show, awards ceremony, formal dinner, as well as a silent and live auction. The theme of this year’s gala is “A Moment in Time.” Doors open at 5:30 p.m. with dinner to be served at 7:00 p.m. Tickets start at $150 per person and are available at www.10bestdressedgala2014.eventbrite.com.

The beneficiary of the Leonard Simpson’s 2014 “10 Best Dressed Awards” gala is Dress for Success San Diego, a local non-profit focused exclusively on empowering disadvantaged to women acquire jobs, build careers and improve the quality of life for their families. Dress for Success San Diego’s mission is to promote the economic independence of disadvantaged women by providing professional attire, a network of support and the career development tools to help women thrive in work and in life. The non-profit has served nearly 9,000 local women since 1998. For more information about Dress for Success San Diego visit: www.dressforsuccess.org/sandiego.

DESIGNER WEBSITES:
Vo Viet Chung - www.vovietchung.com
Inoe Vargas - www.inoevargas.com
Accommatteo - www.acommatteo.com
Fushion Glass Co. - www.fusionglassco.com
Furs by Graf - www.fursbygraf.com
J. Hilburn Men’s Clothier - www.jhilburn.com
Rocky Gathercole Atelier - rockygathercoleatelier.com

A Better Deal Tuxedo - www.abetterdealtuxedo.com


Leonard Simpson is creator of Fashion Forward®, an internationally known fashion production company with more than two decades of experience producing high-style fashion shows, television segments and Broadway-style shows nationwide. Leonard’s television credits include ten years as the producer and on‐air host of his own style weekly segments on San Diego’s KUSI 9 Good Morning San Diego, five years as an ABC commentator live from the red carpet at the Academy Awards, co-host and segment producer for the Southern regional Emmys. He has appeared on VH1, E Tonight, E!, CBS, NBC, FOX, UT TV, TWC and covered many fashion events in New York for Fashion Week, Fashion TV, Canada. Leonard played the lead actor in the full feature film, Fashionably L.A. From designing an award-winning jewelry line carried at Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue, to becoming the youngest person ever to win the Lifetime Achievement Award in Fashion, Leonard is a man in the know when it comes to what’s in and what’s out in the fashion world. For more information about Leonard Simpson, visit: www.leonardsimpson.com.


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