Monthly Archives: December 2015

An Object of Beauty – review of the Novel by Steve Martin

An Object of Beauty is a remarkable novel by Steve Martin. Yes- The roller-skating King Tut Steve Martin. In addition to being a comedian, dramatic actor and movie screenwriter, Steve Martin is also an accomplished novelist.

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An Object of Beauty is a combination mystery/love story which takes place in the New York art world in the years just before and after 911. The title is a double entendre, which refers both to artwork, and a beautiful young art dealer who is the main character.

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The real star of the book, however, is the New York art community itself. Steve Martin takes us inside this rarefied world of Artists, Dealers, Celebrities, Billionaires, Pretenders and Thieves. The time frame of the novel is at a period when prices for art were reaching stratospheric heights never before seen.

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This is a fascinating and well written book. Not only is it an exciting story but it ends up teaching you more about art than any dull art-history textbook. An Object of Beauty even has pictures of the artwork begin discussed.

I highly recommend this novel, which will undoubtedly make you look at both artwork, and Steve Martin a little bit differently.

Hachi a Dog’s Tale

Hachi is a love story with a beautiful dog as the main character  The dog is a Japanese Akita, and he loves his owner with the type of pure and unconditional love that only dogs possess.

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The plot is that Professor  Case Wilson (played by Richard Gere) finds a lost  Akita puppy  at a train station. The only identification is a tag with the Japanese symbol for lucky number 8 on the dog’s collar.  Despite many attempts, no one can located the dog’s owner and the Professor and his family adopt the dog, and fall in love with him.

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This is a family movie rated “G” and it  is beautifully done. It has an all star cast of well known actors including Joan Allen as the professor’s wife and Jason Alexander as the Stationmaster.


Carey-Hiroyuki Tagawa plays a Japanese-American friend of the Professor, who explains the history of the Akita breed and the fact that the Japanese word for 8 is Hachiko.

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The real stars of the movie, however, are the 3 dogs that played Hachi at different stages of his life.  The movie is based on the true story of an Akita dog who lived in Japan in the 1930’s. At the end of the film there is even a tribute to the original Hachiko.

It is wonderful to see a truly well crafted and moving  family film with world class actors giving top-notch performances

They Live – a Socialist horror movie

If Bernie Sanders had become a movie director instead of a Senator, then They Live would have been his film. They Live is an incredibly bad 1988 horror movie with a strong  Socialist message.  However, like a lot bad horror films it is really fun to watch. In fact, over the years it has developed its own cult following.

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The movie stars professional wrestler rowdy Roddy Piper as an unemployed construction worker just trying  to get by.  Times are hard, unemployment is massive and tent cities of homeless people are growing.

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Then one day Roddy finds a pair of sunglasses and when he puts them on he sees the world as it really is. It turns out that aliens from another planet are living among us disguised as humans.  The aliens are controlling everything. They have chosen a small group of cooperating humans to make rich and powerful, while the rest of the humans suffer.

There is a resistance movement which is manufacturing the sunglasses so that people can see the truth. Roddy, being the hero of the film, ends up joining the resistance.

The movie has everything that makes bad horror films so great. There is a ridiculous plot, bizarre looking aliens, gory fight scenes , and  corny one-liners. Of course, being 1988 there is also  gratuitous nudity, with  Cibby Danyla having no purpose in the movie other that to show off her naked breasts.

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Roddy’s love interest in the film is Meg Foster, who is known for her astoundingly beautiful  blue eyes. She has become quite a famous actress since They Live, but her start was as a sunglasses-wearing Alien killer.

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The surprising part of the film is that Roddy Piper actually does a good job as an actor. However this is the only movie he ever did. Unfortunately Roddy died in July 2015 at the age of 61. He was know among all the wrestlers as a great guy who was always a lot of fun to work with.

So during this political season, you may want to have some fun watching a horror film that tries to beat the audience over the head with a political message.  According to They Live, we are not being paranoid. There really is a small group of rich people that control the whole world. There also really is an alien menace threatening our way of live. However, these aliens did not come from across the border, but from across the universe.

Julia Goldani Telles – a rising dramatic star

Julia Goldani Telles,   plays Whitney Solloway in Showtime’s The Affair; and we predict she will become a major star. This beautiful 19 year old, perfectly portrays a troubled, angry and fascinating character who is the focus of many key turning points of the plot.

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Julia Goldani Telles is as intelligent and talented as she is beautiful. She is a graduate of Columbia University, and a trained ballet dancer. In fact, she was planning on making ballet her career, until an injury prevented that future.

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As the character of Whitney unfolds on The AffairJuia Goldani Telles  gives a very realistic portrayal of a teenager struggling with the betrayal she feels when her father turns out to be a cheating husband.

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In Season 1 of The Affair, Whitney ends up falling in love with  and becoming impregnated by Scotty Lockhart. She is too naive to see that Scotty is nothing but a drug-addicted user of people. She is furious when her parents try to giver her advice. After all, why should she take advice from people whose own personal lives are a disaster? In Season 2 of The Affair, Whitney ends up witnessing first-hand her father’s debauchery at a wild party in Long Island. In fact, as the show progresses, Whitney begins to look much more mature than the older characters.

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Julia Goldani Telles is so natural as Whitney, that we as the audience do not realize how much hard work this actress must have put in to perfect the role.  Whitney Solloway is also one of the more difficult roles. Like many people in their teens and twenties, she is furious that the so called “adults” around her do not accept that her passions and feelings are real. She is not a child any more and has to fight to get her parents to understand that.

We are looking forward to seeing more of Julia Goldani Telles in The Affair. When the series reaches its dramatic conclusion, there is no doubt that producers and directors will be lined up to offer Julia Goldani Telles new projects. We know that whatever she chooses she will be excellent.

The Crucible is comming to Broadway – witches, communists and Donald Trump

Saoirse Ronan, Ben Whishaw and Sophie Okoneda will be starring in Arthur Miller’s The Crucible on Broadway. Previews begin February 29, 2016, and the Opening Night is April 7, 2016. Our reviewers from East Coast Stories have already gotten their second row seats and we can’t wait to see the performance.

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These are three of the most talented young actors on the planet, and it is wonderful to see that they are taking on such a challenging and important work.

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The Crucible is about the Salem witch trials of 1692.  However  when Arthur Miller wrote it, he was really referring to the anti-communist panic and the McCarthy hearings of the 1950s. In 1692, the word “witch” was so frighting, that there was basically no way to defend yourself if you were accused of being one. Two hundred and sixty years later, Arthur Miller realized that if Senator Joseph McCarthy accused someone of being a communist, the impact was very much like being called a witch in Salem in 1692.

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Today, the witch and communism trials are long since gone, but the message of The Crucible is as important as ever. Just replace the word “witch” with the word “terrorist”. A peaceful person of Islamic faith accused of being a terrorist could find himself in a similar predicament of a “witch” in 1692 or a “communist” in 1953. After all we currently have one Presidential candidate (Jeb Bush) stating openly that only Christians from Syria  should be allowed into the United States. Donald Trump has gone one step further and wants to ban all Muslims from anywhere, since they are all are suspected.  terrorists   With talk like that, it is important to remember a time in 1692 when suspicion turned into fear and then into hysteria. After 323 years we do not seem to have made much progress.