Posts filed under ‘Entertainment’
Well, that just might be the mantra David Beckham is repeating in his mind right now, especially since he finally came out of the open and declared his desire to stay with AC Milan. As you might know, and as I wrote back in October, Becks is on loan to Milan from the Los Angeles Galaxy and was supposed to return to the California team on 9th March. But after his impressive performance over the last few weeks, including scoring two goals, AC Milan’s management have been repeatedly expressing their wish that Becks stay at San Siro even if the team’s CEO, Adriano “Uncle Fester” Galliani, has stated, “David is a player with Los Anglese Galaxy. We can’t kidnap him.”
But Wednesday Becks added his two cents and finally admitted that he would rather play for the Serie A team and also gushed, “I have enjoyed my time here. I knew I would enjoy it but I didn’t expect to enjoy it as much as I have and do as well as I have.” Yes, he has done rather well, contrary to what I predicted in my previous post, but for once I’m happy to have been wrong! Beckham has proved to be a valuable player and more importantly, he’s caught the eye of England captain (and former Milan coach) Fabio Capello.
Yes, he’s been such a good boy! So much so that he doesn’t even indulge in any Milanese par-taying, preferring to hang at his luxurious hotel watching DVDs all on his lonesome than celebrating with his teammates and Italian starlets, well, that is if you believe this Daily Mail story. So that’s why I haven’t bumped into him at H&M yet. Ah, what a martyr!
And I also didn’t run into him Wednesday night at the Casa 139, a small club where I caught a fantastic young band from Naples called GNUT. I appreciated their musicianship, their lyrics, their stage presence and it didn’t hurt that they were EXTREMELY easy on the eyes. You can see for yourself in their video Esistere:
Gosh, it’s been such a busy month for me! So much to do at work, my toddler’s started doing back flips on the bed, we’re finishing renovations in the house, my car conked out on me last week and I have laundry coming out of my eyeballs (lovely mental image, non?). I’m so exhausted when I finally put the kids to bed that I just don’t have the energy or the inspiration to write anymore. And that’s getting me down because I really do enjoy blogging. But instead writing I’ve been winding down by watching the superlative Peep Show (it’s not what you think!) or The Beatles Anthology.
So what’s a desperate blogging mommy to do? Invoke the help of the gods? Nah, I’m sure they have better things to think about, like how to best destroy the weapon of mass destruction that is Aretha Franklin’s hat. No, I have a better idea, I’m going to ask you, my dear friends from cyberspace, what to do. How can a gal with two young kids, a full-time job and no Mr. Belvedere get her writing groove back? What do you do to get over the dreaded “block”? What are some new blogging tricks and doodads that might help me get inspired again?
One woman who has inspired me since I was a wee lass is Wonder Woman. Yes, she’s a hard act to live up to but maybe she’s just the person to help a working mommy blogger. Maybe, just maybe if I watch Lynda Carter it’ll turn me into Wonder Blogging Woman, able to deflect bullets, meet translation deadlines, bake lasagne, lasso her kids and write killer posts with just a simple spin. Ok, it’s a long shot but here goes…
See, it worked! I was able to lasso the demonic writer’s block and debilitate him with my magic powers!! Now if I can only manage to sort the laundry in my satin tights I’ll be set.
Today is the 68th anniversary of the birth of one of my favourite artists, John Lennon. I cannot even begin to describe how much he and his music influenced me and how much his presence is missed.
This year I was lucky enough to visit his hometown, Liverpool, as I mentioned in June. It was amazing to wander around his old stomping grounds, see his childhood home, kiss the ground of the church hall where he met Paul McCartney, etc.
So, to celebrate good ole Johnny’s birthday, I’ve been listening to his music and watching funny clips all morning. It’s put me in such a good mood that I’d like to share the love with all my friends in the blogosphere!
This first video is from a bizarre 1964 Swedish press conference. John is presenting his book “In His Own Write” along with his four friends George Parasol, Ringo Stone and Paul McCharmly. The interviewer is clueless and John and George are quite yummy, don’t you think?
The next one is one of my favourite solo songs, “Nobody Told Me“. It’s a fun video featuring John, Yoko, Sean Lennon (happy birthday to you, too!), a Canadian flag and Jack Palance (?).
So, what are your favourite John Lennon songs? What do you think he would be doing today if he were alive?
How was your weekend? Mine was fun and fat-filled because we went out for a friend’s birthday to a restaurant specializing in gnocco fritto. Gnocchi fritti are fried dough, sort of like mini beaver tails (if you don’t know what those are, check out Frutto della Passione’s description of this classic Canadian snack). The Italian version is from the Emilia-Romagna region and is eaten warm, accompanied by an assortment of coldmeats like prosciutto crudo, culatello, and salami. We went to the Gnocco Fritto 2 restaurant in Milan’s Naviglio area and they just kept serving basket after basket of the fried wonders. Not only did we have generous helpings of coldmeats, we also filled our gnocchi with some lovely soft cheeses like gorgonzola, taleggio and torta alpina. I would post pictures of our meal but my husband forgot to bring the camera!! GRRRRRR!! Anyway, you’ll just have to imagine it for yourselves. (In retaliation, one day I’m going to dig up some old pictures of my husband dressed in drag for Carnival and post those!)
After dinner we went out for drinks at a nearby bar. Since it was Saturday night, of course there was a band playing cover songs far too loudly for my aging ears, making it almost impossible for me to talk to my friends. So I was kind of forced to listen to the music. Much to my surprise, the band wasn’t half-bad. They played the usual Top Ten, some Amy Winehouse, Duffy, etc. But the guy did a spot on imitation of Vasco Rossi. For those of you who don’t know, Vasco (aka Blasco) is one of Italy’s most hard-living, hard-rocking singer/songwriters. And like the gnocco fritto, he hails from Emilia. I wanted to post a video of one of Vasco’s biggest hits, Albachiara, but I couldn’t find anything except unofficial concert footage. However, I did find something unusual that might be appreciated by those of you studying Italian. This is a video set to Albachiara but done in sign language by a man called Daniele. I don’t know much about signing but I thought he did a fantastic job at interpreting the song.
And aren’t his eyes expressive? Ah, there’s nothing like good music to start the week off right!
Today I was scanning CNN.com to get the scoop on McCain bailing on the campaign when lo and behold, I spotted a story that I just had to click on: Top Ten Italian Films
I’ve been an Italophile ever since I was a ragazzina and one of the things that stoked my passion was Italian cinema. And no, it wasn’t those erotic comedies with Lino Banfi or Edwige Fenech that many a lonely teenage boy watched Saturday nights on Italcine (those of you from Toronto will know what I’m talking about). No, I’m talking about the good stuff. I’m talking about Giulietta Masina’s heartbreaking turn as Gelsomina in La Strada or the little boy holding his disgraced father’s hand at the end of The Bicycle Thief (Ladri di Biciclette). I even took two courses on Italian Cinema in my last year at McGill. Completely self-indulgent but totally worth it! Watching those movies, which were a celebration of all that was wonderful and dreadful about il Bel Paese, made me love Italy even more and planted a little seed in my brain that ultimately led me to move here.
CNN’s Screening Room compiled a list of the top 10 Italian films with the help of Rome-based film critic Lee Marshall. He put together an interesting combination of old and new works. Here are his picks:
1. ‘La Strada’
(Federico Fellini, 1954)
“It’s about a loose couple of traveling circus performers who go around Italy juggling in the street. It’s also one of the greatest tragic love stories ever filmed.”
(Bernardo Bertolucci, 1970)
“A technically, aesthetically and visually rich film, it announced the arrival of Bertolucci as a major director.”
(Luchino Visconti, 1943)
“A drifter gets a job in a remote service station and starts to fall in love with the owner’s wife; the pair plot to kill him. It is considered one of the first films of the Neo-Realism movement”
(Michelangelo Antonioni, 1960)
“A woman disappears on a Mediterranean island and is never found, which becomes a metaphor for what Antonioni thought was missing in middle-class Italian society. ”
5. ‘A Fistful of Dollars’
(Sergio Leone, 1964)
“The film that announced the Spaghetti Western to the world. It also turned Clint Eastwood’s rugged face and narrowed eyes into an icon. ”
6. ‘The Battle of Algiers’
“One of the first films made anywhere in the world about war; there weren’t any goodies or baddies, just roving cameras following the chaotic day-to-day bomb attacks.”
7. ‘Dear Diary’
(Nanni Moretti, 1993)
“Moretti is a film maverick who first emerged in the mid-1970s, whose films are always in some way autobiographical. He’s probably, the closest thing Italy has to Woody Allen, except his films have a more political slant. ”
“The Italian ‘The Birth of a Nation’ or ‘Metropolis’ — a great silent film that defined Italian silent cinema.”
9. “The Consequences of Love’
(Paolo Sorrentino, 2004)
“One of the best Italian films of the last 10 years. It’s an interesting take on the mafia film and an alternative love story.”
10. ‘Pane, amore e fantasia’
(Luigi Comencini, 1953)
“When we think of Italy, even in a slightly cliched way — spaghetti, sun and the whole cult of love, the feisty women and the men playing lotharios — this film just embodies that vibrant life force and energy. It’s a very funny romantic comedy.”
What do you think of the films in this list? Have you seen any new Italian films that you’ve loved/hated? What are your Top 10 Italian films?
Picture it: Toronto, August 2008.
I’m late for a very important date and to top it all off, I’m lost. I get off the bus and start walking east. All of a sudden I see a gateway leading to…. England? Looking at the cobblestone streets, the distinctive red bricks of the Victorian-era buildings and the noticable absence of cars, it seems as though I entered a time warp and stepped into Dickensian London. Instead, I’m in one of Toronto’s most unique neighbourhoods: the Distillery District.
The District’s old-world charm comes from the fact that it was once home to the Gooderham and Worts Distillery, founded in 1832 and the largest distillery in the British Empire by the 1860s. In the late 20th century, the Distillery’s operations came to a close and the area soon became a no-man’s land, surrounded by demolished buildings and vacant lots. But the Distillery’s buildings remained intact and “constitute the largest and best-preserved collection of Victorian Industrial Architecture in North America.” This made the area a big favourite with “Hollywood North” so it has often been used as a location for a number of major films, such as Chicago, X-Men, Cinderella Man and of course Brady Bunch in the White House.
A few years ago, the site was redeveloped and is now one of Toronto’s most fascinating tourist destinations. Its 40 plus buildings house art galleries, theatres, speciality shops, restaurants and cafés and what’s more, the spaces are never leased to franchises or chains. So if you’re in the area and are hankering for a Big Mac or Starbuck’s iced cappuccino, you’re outta luck!
I must say I was pleasantly surprised by my visit because even if I grew up in Toronto, I had no idea this District even existed. It truly was a hidden gem. And I just loved the relaxed vibe and slightly European feel of this pedestrian neighbourhood. There were a number of restaurants to choose from, such as the Boiler House and Perigee but we opted for the Mill St. Brew Pub, a microbrewery specializing in fresh organic beers, stouts and ales. They also served pub fare with a twist. I had a fancy shmancy meat loaf stuffed with asiago cheese and spinach and one of my friends ordered sweet potato fries. So delicious and gorgeous that I just had to take a picture!
I wish I had had enough time to discover more of the District, visit some artists’ studios and try the chocolates at Soma, but that will have to wait till my next visit to Toronto. And of course, you’re all invited!
Are there any hidden gems in your towns? What area would make a great movie location?
“I don’t know what to say. Every time I come up to Liverpool, all the memories come flooding back.” Sir Paul McCartney, Anfield Stadium, Liverpool, 1 June 2008
Well, Paul wasn’t the only one overwhelmed by the experience at Anfield. I’ve seen a few concerts over the years, The Stones, Bowie, Foo Fighters, Santana, the Who, to name a few. But last week’s Liverpool Sound concert in celebration of the city as European Capital of Culture was mindblowingly special. I mean, the fact I was seeing Paul McCartney perform in his hometown was incredible for me. As I mentioned in previous posts, I’m a huge Beatles fan so I just had to see him in Liverpool. But to see a musical genius at work was thrilling. He truly is going through his second renaissance. His voice was great, he played the bass, mandolin, piano and ukelele and he had a warm and easy rapport with the audience, telling stories as if he were sitting by the fireplace with old friends. You could also see how moved he was by playing in front of his fellow Scousers. It must have been incredible for the boy from Speke to see 36,000 of his people all there for him, singing his songs at the top of their voices.
It was also an historic moment for me personally as I was able to meet up with two of my best friends, one who lives in NY state and the other in Toronto. The stars must have aligned right on time because for all three of us to meet in Liverpool just for the weekend was a cosmic event. I never would have imagined when I proposed going to the concert as a lark in January that it would have actually happened. And I’m so happy it did!!
It’s hard for me to pick my favourite moments but one highlight has got to be Paul’s tribute to his old schoolmate George Harrison. It nearly moved me to tears:
I can’t tell you how touching it was to hear him sing George’s song. It was as if Paul was sending his old pal a message from home. And we all joined in, singing our hearts out. Major goosebump time.
Another great moment was when Dave Grohl (one of my faves!) joined Sir Paul onstage for an electrifying rendition of Band on the Run:
Ah, grungy Wings! Gotta love it. And gotta laugh at my friend’s description of Grohl as a modern-day Jacques Brel. His face not his singing, bien sûr.
Anyway, fantastic concert, wonderful man. Paul, I’m not single but if you’re ever in Milan and want to go out for a kickass vegetarian risotto, call me.
So much more to say about my visit to Liverpool. I loved the city and the people! Will tell more in the coming days.