@ the Movies

  • Courtney Hunt’s Frozen River keeps racking up the critics’ love. See here.
  • Wall-E – Interesting piece by Frank Rich tying escape afforded by the movie to the presidential race. In addition to the escape the movie offers, it’s interesting to note the audience and their reactions. The kids and adults in my audience were pretty riveted and the overall message is pretty bleak. The saving grace is the connection that we all need, and apparently we share this with robots we create. Pretty interesting layering of social commentary as the Pixar team is able to do. All packaged in a fun to watch feature. Who would have guessed you could root for a trash compactor whose best friend is a cockroach? But then we cheered for a rat in the kitchen and a one-eyed monster, too. Go see this. Take anyone.
  • Son of Rambow – Another great Brit comedy. Poignant, laugh out loud funny, and in the end – well, no spoiler here. Just go see it.
  • I told you about the Directorial debut of my classmate Courtney Hunt here. Her film, Frozen River which won the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance, is screening soon in a theater near you. See screening schedule (as of May 28.)
  • el Orfanato – Produced by Guillermo del Toro (Pan’s Labyrinth) and directed by Juan Bayona this film uses texture, lighting and a Hitchcock-like manipulation of our deepest fears to thrill. A large and very diverse audience at my show hung on every syllable, gasped and sighed in unison. A sure sign the movie hits on universal themes and an indication of the director’s talent.
  • A recent hotel stay reminded me of In Bruges, last movie rented in hotel room. Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson were brilliant. It’s one of those hitman on one last hit plots that is doomed at the start. What sets In Bruges apart from say Sexy Beast (Kingsley and Ray Winstone) is that there is much laughter and some genuinely touching and sad moments. Rather than just menace and tension (which make Sexy Beast well worth seeing, though it’s exhausting), the dialogue here shows humour, self-awareness, and even kindness can be part of a hitman’s persona. Even a ruthless one.

On the Stage

August: Osage County – This production is what keeps me from going to plays. It’s fantastic. The disappointment when a play falls short, is too stark. It’s hard to shake that experience. Now I am reminded how rewarding a stellar performance can be. Curses. And gratitude.

Unlike musicals which can cover a weak performance with good music, or great singing, or big dance numbers, a stage play is o u t t h e r e. Everything hinges on each performer being at the top of his or her game, the direction being sharp, and the material rich. If one piece doesn’t work or isn’t up to snuff, the whole thing crumbles.

We had just one night to see something on a recent trip to NYC. This was recommended though I’d not read anything about it. A quick pre-theatre dinner at Junior’s (yes, of cheesecake fame) included the company of a guy from California who was in town for the inter-league baseball games. He nearly jumped off his bar stool when we told him what we were going to see. Said it was the best play he’d seen, we wouldn’t be disappointed. It was genuine but he was a stranger…could we hope?

If you see one play this year, make it August. Each actor, the direction, all are well-deserving of the accolades. Letts’ play won the Pulitzer.

My only complaint was that the most powerful moments invariably left me in tears just as the house lights came up. Small matter when you are so moved, it’s worth it. Mascara be damned.

[ed note: Estelle at 80, oh my.]


ICA has fun and thought provoking sculpture exhibit, Anish Kapoor. Go see it now!

On the Nightstand – Books I’m Reading

Just finished Waiter Rant. Other than refreshing my Post-traumatic Stress Disorder from my own restaurant experiences, it was a fun read. If you think he was making stuff up, just read this article in the NYTimes. An Insider’s Clubhouse:

That’s not all: “I don’t like people who are rude to our waiters,” he said. And he is keeping track.

The reservations system has miniprofiles on clients: the number of times they have eaten at the restaurant, (Mr. Menicheschi, the publisher, supposedly is near the top of the list with more than 200 meals) whether they complained about the food, whether they yelled at a waiter or ever wrote an unflattering word about Mr. Carter. No, not really on the last one.

Has anyone been blacklisted? Mr. Carter won’t say, but Mr. Varda admits that there is one group. “B-list stars who call the paparazzi from inside the restaurant,” he said. “They are not invited back.” (Privacy is so sacred at the Waverly that Mr. Varda says he has stopped a major film star from photographing his own family at dinner.) Also, waiters have been dismissed for being overly attentive to celebrities.

Yes, I can confirm such notes are made and Dublanica is correct, customers do get blacklisted. That’s the least of the sins however.

Now reading: oy, too many to mention. Updates soon.

2 Responses to “Diversions”

  1. 1 somd August 25, 2008 at 10:31 pm

    How is Courtney Hunt your classmate?

  2. 2 jacqueline1230 August 26, 2008 at 12:20 am

    She and I were in the same class in law school.

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A window into what I’m thinking and writing about.

Whether it's Food & Cooking, Sports, Film, Travel or the Business of Writing itself...you can find it all through this page. Use this sidebar and the links below to go directly to whatever strikes your fancy. Jacqueline Church's Facebook profile

Where I’ve been seen, published, cited, syndicated…

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Mark Your Calendars

August 22 - Courtney Hunt's acclaimed film Frozen River at the Coolidge Corner. See Diversions for more.

Caught my eye…

  • The Audubon Insectarium opens in New Orleans. See Getting Down with All that Skitters.
  • Copper River Salmon is so hot, even E!online is commenting on the stars who eat it. Taye Diggs was digging it.
  • Vertical farms? Colbert meets Ethicureans...heaven is for those with humor and ethics, yes? Interesting food for thought here....

On Women and Work

Read my contributions to The Glass Hammer a new blog for executive women.


  1. Tales of the Cocktail may be over but the fun continues. Check the blogs and podcasts for all the news that fit to drink!
  2. The Maori art of facial tatooing is called moko. It is a powerful expression of tribal identity which has only recently enjoyed a resurgence as the colonial Christian prohibitions against it have lessened. Go to the Peabody Essex Museum for this rare opportunity to catch a glimpse of this amazing cultural tradition. The documentary I saw at Sundance years ago on moko, was one of the most powerful films I have ever seen.
  3. The Audubon Insectarium is a new and top-notch attraction in New Orleans. We passed by it and wondered why we'd missed it before. Turns out it's just now opening. No time this last trip, but it's on the list for the next time. Check here for info.

What's on my del.iciou.us list?


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