Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Happy 396th Thanksgiving America! November 23, 2017

This has been posted annually with minor revisions since the first 2012 Thanksgiving post! Enjoy 



"My cooking is so bad my kids thought Thanksgiving was to commemorate Pearl Harbor." 
~~ Phyllis Diller, American stand-up comedienne, actress, voice artist, and comedienne, best known for her eccentric stage persona and her wild hair and clothes.(b. July 17, 1917 – d. August 20, 2012)


Happy 396th Thanksgiving Day America!

Thanksgiving, referred to by many Americans as "First Thanksgiving" was originally celebrated by the Pilgrims and Colonists after their first harvest in the New World in the year 1621 when they invited the Wamponaog Indians to their autumn harvest feast. 
Photo above right of a food decoration for Erntedankfest, a Christian Thanksgiving harvest festival celebrated in Germany courtesy of Wikimedia.org.

AllThingsDigitalMarketing blog would not stand to it's allthingsdigitalmarketing motif without a collage of "Thanksgiving Google Doodles" past and analysis of Google's basic design structure over the years. Besides the Google logo differentiating itself from the other search engines (e.g., Yahoo, Lycos, HotBot, etc.) it symbolizes uniqueness and mold-breaking vision. Below are Google's Thanksgiving doodles from the very first doodle in 1998 through present. (This collage will be updated with the most current Google doodle asap, so bookmark and visit frequently). Interesting to see what Google will do this year.




































The very first Thanksgiving doodle was posted in 1998 (see collage above, lower right). Note how the clean, conservative signature Google logo design breaks all the conventional rules of branding and logo design. Ruth Kedar, graphic designer of Google's doodle, created one of the most recognizable logos (within a few years, Google's logo became as popular as NBC proud peacock and the CBS eye, also known as the "Tiffany Network"). Below are examples of standard branding rules Kedar obviously ignored:
        •   Don't incorporate more than 2 bold colors (Google uses 4 bold colors, playing with colors created a very child-like, playful yet bold design);
        •   Never over-kern letters (Google has excessive, uneven spacing in-between letters. Even though they have made a few changes (the latest in May 2014) the spacing is way off and obvious to the naked eye);
        •   Stay away from simple, elementary fonts (The original choice was the world's most popular typeface -- "Times Roman;" However Google's simple, chisel-style "Catull" typeface was selected for the subtle, sophisticated sans-serif design which incorporated old world writing style (e.g.,chisel and quill) with new age digital.

Google signature brand elements remained unchanged for the first Thanksgiving doodle (1998) with the exception of an exclamation mark and cartoon-like turkey, respectively at the very end of the word Google.

From a market branding perspective, Google doodles illustrate how breaking rules can be very effective -- violating traditional guidelines of logo brand management yet not minimizing Google brand equity. Interestingly, Google's Thanksgiving doodles gradually integrate design motifs within the Google letters (e.g., doodles from 1999 through 2002).

Beginning with 2003 to the present, Google doodle design integration spread to multiple letters with some doodles entirely replacing actual letters -- particularly with the 2008 cornucopia and in 2010 Google doodle's entire letters were replaced with food servings from the design by Food Network's Barefoot Contessa, Ina Garten.



Can you think of other brands who have broken the rules with their logos and still maintained their brand?

Do you think breaking the rules for logos would work for other brands.

The 2015 Thanksgiving Google doodle is not animated. Here's the 2014 animated Thanksgiving doodle. Isn't is adorable? Enjoy!

To view the 2013 animated Thanksgiving doodle, click here!


RESOURCES: Links to Thanksgiving doodles past
  • https://www.google.com/doodles/thanksgiving-2016  
  • https://www.google.com/doodles/thanksgiving-2015
  • https://www.google.com/doodles/thanksgiving-2014
  • https://www.google.com/doodles/thanksgiving-2013
  • https://www.google.com/doodles/thanksgiving-2012
  • https://www.google.com/doodles/thanksgiving-2011
  • https://www.google.com/doodles/thanksgiving-2010
  • https://www.google.com/doodles/thanksgiving-2009
  • https://www.google.com/doodles/thanksgiving-2008
  • https://www.google.com/doodles/thanksgiving-2007
  • https://www.google.com/doodles/thanksgiving-2006
  • https://www.google.com/doodles/thanksgiving-2005
  • https://www.google.com/doodles/thanksgiving-2004
  • https://www.google.com/doodles/thanksgiving-2003
  • https://www.google.com/doodles/thanksgiving-2002
  • https://www.google.com/doodles/thanksgiving-2001
  • https://www.google.com/doodles/thanksgiving-2000
  • https://www.google.com/doodles/thanksgiving-1999
  • https://www.google.com/doodles/thanksgiving-1998

Thanksgiving is celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November in the United States and on the second Monday of October in Canada. Although Thanksgiving is celebrated by many in religion and cultural traditions, it is also a world-wide (non-religious) celebration. Photo right miniature pumpkins by Gloria Buono-Daly (taken at Stew Leonards, Yonkers, NY, October 2013). 

Our 16th President of the U.S.A., Abraham Lincoln, declared Thanksgiving Day a national holiday to be held annually in November during the Civil War (1863). Although New York became the first of several states to officially adopt an annual Thanksgiving holiday in 1817.

Not surprising, many Native Americans as well as other individuals disagree with the way Thanksgiving is mentioned historically particularly in text books, school classrooms and other periodicals. They believe millions of deaths resulted from the long and bloody war between Native Americans and European settlers and call Thanksgiving a "day of mourning." A History.com posting, reports that since 1970, protesters have gathered on Thanksgiving Day at the top of Cole’s Hill, which overlooks Plymouth Rock, to commemorate a “National Day of Mourning.” Similar events are held in other parts of the country. 

Photo below left of Black Friday sale courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.

This Thanksgiving for sure many will eat, drink, and sleep while others will shop till they drop for many things especially electronics, smart phones and iPhones.
Samsung usually advertises their new products and for sure many will consider the latest Samsung Notebook 4 (released in mid October).

So be on the lookout for discounts if you are interested. Not surprising, iPhones will not have discounts.

Phone companies offer no-finance monthly plans with a slight discount if you lock yourself into a 2 year plan. Since many are not opting for cell phone lock-ins, you may find great deals for comparative, non-Apple products.
What will you be doing this Thanksgiving Day?

If you plan on being in New York City, there's always the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, this is the 90

th year.

This year, there are many performers including Mariah Carey, Pat Benatar and Neil Giraldo, and Trey Songz. Click here to view the complete line-up for this year.

There are plenty of things to do on Thanksgiving -- see links below in the "Resources" section.

Thanksgiving Day (Jour de l'Action de grâce in Canadian French) is a national holiday celebrated primarily in the United States and Canada as a day of giving thanks for the blessing of the harvest and of the preceding year.

Several other places around the world observe similar celebrations.

Resources: 

Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade 2014 R, TimeOut
 NEEDTOBREATHE to Play at 88th Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade , Urban Christian News
Ruth Kedar On Designing the Google Logo Google BlogoScoped
10 Reasons Not To Spend Thanksgiving with your Family, Babble by Disney
5 Tips for Viewing the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade , LuxeAdventureTraveler
How to do Thanksgiving without Family, Elephant 


Please remember to check out the links in the resource section above and share this on your LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and other social media networks you enjoy! Thanks! 

Photos courtesy of Wikimedia.org unless otherwise indicated.




This Thanksgiving post is a reposting of previous AllThingsDigitalMarketing annual Thanksgiving blog posts.

Visiting this blog frequently and sharing this with your social media and professional network is much appreciated. Thanks.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Happy Veterans Day America! Let's give thanks to all our veterans and families November 11


Happy Veterans Day America!

Veterans Day honors those who have served in the U.S. Armed Forces and is a federal holiday that is observed on November 11th. Last year the theme was
 “Courage – Honoring All Who Served”  is the Veterans Day theme this year


Veterans Day coincides with other holidays such as Armistice Day and Remembrance Day, which are celebrated in other parts of the world and also mark the anniversary of the end of World War I. Thank you to all of our Veterans and families.

The United States originally observed Armistice Day and it was renamed to Veterans Day holiday in 1954.

U.S. President Woodrow Wilson first proclaimed Armistice Day as November 11, 1919.

Seven years later, the United States Congress passed a concurrent resolution (June 4, 1926), and requested that President Calvin Coolidge issue another proclamation to observe November 11th.
Photo right of soldier with folded American flag courtesy of wikimedia.



I was fortunate to receive this interesting article from one of my dearest cousins about my late father and his 3 brothers(total 7 brothers, 1 sister) who served during World War II.

Coincidentally, major hostilities of World War I formally ended at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918 when the Armistice with Germany went into effect.


Do you plan on doing anything this Veterans Day?


Many celebrate with family and friends, and there are so many special ways to celebrate.

For example, sharing photos of loved ones who have served in the armed forces (I've just done that via the photo above), posting to your social media sites such as Facebook, Instagram, blogs, etc. Also the traditional VD Parades, especially in New York City.
Photo below right of bald eagle courtesy of wikimedia.

Parades are wonderful especially for children. Being creative with children is also an excellent way to help them learn about history and Veterans Day. Have them read various periodicals (e.g., books, newspapers, magazines, internet, photos of soldiers, etc.) and ask them to draw pictures of various images that remind them of Veterans Day such as our American flag, relatives in uniform, Veterans Day Memorials, and our national emblem, the bald eagle. And you can also enjoy the parade at home with family by watching it on TV live or online  ~ Watch the Parade!

If you happen to be in New York City, there's always the Veterans Day Parade, this year, the theme is “Honor and Remember, Home of the Brave” commemorating the 70th Anniversary of the end of World War II and the 25th Anniversary of Desert Shield. Organized in New York since 1929 by the United War Veterans Council (UWVC) this parade is the largest Veterans Day event in the nation with over 25,000 parade participants, and this year marks the 87th year! 



The wreath laying ceremony will begin at 10 a.m. at the Eternal Flame in Madison Square Park (located in the Flat Iron district of New York City) and the parade begins at 11:25 a.m. and ends 3:30 p.m.


Photo below left of Aviation High School at Madison Square Park during the NYC Veterans Day Parade courtesy of wikimedia.


The parade goes up Fifth Avenue, from 26th to 52nd Street. The route is 1.3 miles (approx. a 35 minute walk).

The Army, Marines, Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard are also represented.

If you can't be there, you can still see the parade live at PIX11 ~ America's Parade to Air on PIX11



Resources:
▼   Visit this link and share the 2015 Veterans Day Teaser Poster http://americasparade.org/share-the-2015-teaser-poster/
▼   America's Parade to Air on PIX11 http://americasparade.org/pix11-to-air-americas-parade/
▼   Veterans Day 2014: Deals on meals for military personnel, New York Daily News,
▼   Veterans Day Parade in New York City,About Travel,
▼   America's Parade in New York City,About Travel
▼   Veterans Day Parade information on Wikipedia
▼   Office of Public Affairs http://www.va.gov/opa/vetsday/

This is a reporting of a previous VD post with updates. Please bookmark this blog and share this with your social media and other networks. Thanks.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Know Your Value Conference with Mika Brzezinski


Mika Brzezinski, best known for co-hosting MSNBC’s Morning Joe (with her now fiancé, Joe Scarborough), is a bestselling author of books for professional women.  One of her titles, Knowing Your Value (Hachette Books), is a guide “to empower women to claim their worth at every stage of their personal and professional lives.”  (Hachette is releasing a revised version in September 2018)

Brzezinski has recently expanded the Know Your Value brand by hosting live events and a new website. One such event was held on October 30th at the Grand Hyatt in New York City, featuring such luminaries as Martha Stewart, Jane Pauley and Sarah Jessica Parker, not to mention Joe Scarborough, who acted as co-host.  Oh, and NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio stopped by to declare it “Know Your Value” day (and presumably to court women voters)!


The day was packed with interviews, panels, and workshops covering personal branding, salary negotiating, health/wellness, re-launching a career after taking time off to care for family, body language, millennials in the workforce and more.  There was also a contest featuring three everyday women who, after some professional coaching and styling, pitched their value.  The winner, Tiffany Hamilton, received $5,000 after an impassioned one-minute speech which made WNBC’s New York Live host and judge Sara Gore get teary eyed (NBC’s Willie Geist and InStyle’s Laura Brown were the other judges).

Brzezinski also spoke throughout the day, advising women how to Know Their Value:

1) Stop Apologizing - Women say “I’m sorry” too often and in the process, diminish their value in comparison to men.
2) Get Your Data – Have metrics handy of the value you bring to your company’s business. Think how much revenue did you generate or how much did you save the company by implementing a project?  What awards have you won?
3) Respect First, Friendship Follows – You are not at work to make friends but be respected for your value.   Relationships are important at work, but they need to respect you first.
4) Dress for Your Message – Wear clothing that makes you confident and expresses your brand.
5) Use Silence for Your Advantage – When asking for something – make your case and ask, then be quiet.
6) Press Reset – You can always try again if you don’t succeed the first time.

Here are some highlights and tips from some of the Know Your Value presenters:


Martha Stewart, now well into her 70s, keeps her creative juices flowing by always being curious, reading and getting out to meet new people.  (She also memorably described her TV co-host Snoop Dogg as intelligent, funny and always reeking of pot!)


Sarah Jessica Parker has parlayed her “Sex and the City” fame into a successful shoe line.  Although a shoe line was always a natural extension of her brand and many wanted to work with her, she refused to compromise on quality and decided to work with Manolo Blahnik CEO George Malkemus to bring her shoes to market.  She also says to learn the business she “is quiet and learns” and surrounds herself with people who know more than she does, so she can learn. She also spoke of having a strong work ethic, being reliable and watching how you treat others.

News anchor and journalist Jane Pauley, who was diagnosed as bi-polar when she was 49, talked about self-care being important for all women, not just for someone who is managing a physical or mental illness.  She gets plenty of sleep and takes her medication daily, describing her 50s and 60s as the best years of her life.


InStyle’s Editor in Chief Laura Brown is known for her “kooky” Instagram  account which she describes as a magazine of her life.  She advises women to be authentic and use their inner 8-year-old as a guide to what makes them happy.  She is also using InStyle to highlight “badass women” such as Cate Blanchett and write about social change through interviews with political figures such as former Vice President Joe Biden.


The BBC’s Katty Kay, who co-authored The Confidence Code, advises women to assess why they deserve a raise, list achievements and prepare and strategize before asking her boss.  She also says that persistence is key and making it a win/win for the employer.  She also says not to cry and learn to respond to objections in real time.


Body language expert Janine Driver gave a riotous presentation where she gave some great do’s and don’ts.  She said to focus on voice and posture and to shake hands while facing someone with your body, and to grab your chin to show confidence and stature.  She also explained why Hillary Clinton shimmied during her debates with Donald Trump – it was done to control anger – it’s impossible to stay angry when you are shimmying!  Some don’ts included not to shrug (shows uncertainty and not caring) or to shake hands with your body turned to the side.

Fitness guru Tracy Anderson spoke about the importance of daily exercise (30-60 minutes) for all women and they should choose something they enjoy.  She also talked about how important Instagram has been to her success with her #tamily hashtag that brings her fans together and connect.

In all, this was a great event and I applaud Mika Brzezinski and her team for pulling it together.  If I had a criticism, I felt she tried to jam almost too many topics into the day, so there wasn’t enough time to really dive into each.  (I was also expecting a complimentary copy of Knowing Your Value, having been to similar events where the book is always included in the price of admission.  In this case, they were selling books in the lobby to be signed by Brzezinski).

#KnowYourValue #MikaBrzezinski #JoeScarborough #MarthaStewart #SarahJessicaParker #JanePauley #tracyanderson #laurabrown

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Happy 122nd Halloween - October 31, 1895


"Double, double toil and trouble;
fire burn and cauldron bubble."  
 
 
   
~~ William Shakespeare, “Macbeth, 1611 

English poet and playwright, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's pre-eminent dramatist. He is often called England's national poet and the "Bard of Avon". (1564-1616)























Google Doodle celebrates Halloween with the Memo the Cat and her Magic Academy interactive contest doodle.

Follow feline freshman Momo on her quest to rescue her  magic academy. Score points and help ward off mischievious ghosts by swiping in the shape of the symbols above the ghosts’ heads. And you’d better pounce fast—the ghost that stole the master spellbook is getting away! 



HAPPY HALLOWEEN DOODLE and BoooOooH ha ha ha to all ghastly ghosts & evil spirits!

 


Save Momo's Music Academy and earn game points by swiping the shape on top of the ghosts' heads and wipe out all the ghosts.  

I scored 1660! 


How many ghosts can you wipe out?












Much more than a just a Google doodle, today many internet surfers enjoyed spooky, interactive, search results instead of Google’s customary and “I’m Feeling Lucky” search options.

Eighteen Halloween's ago, Google posted it's very first Halloween Google Doodle.

Photo right, screen capture of Google's first Halloween Doodle, October 31, 1999.

Internationally, Halloween's first celebration traces back to 1895 in Scotland and for North America the first Halloween was celebrated in 1911.


Enjoy this collage of Halloween Google Doodles above or to experience Google Doodles of Halloween's past, visit the following links:

Halloween Momo on Her Mission 2016
Halloween Global Candy Cup 2015
Favorite Monsters Google Doodle 2014
Google Halloween 2013 doodle.
Google Halloween 2012 doodle
Google's 2011 carving pumpkin doodle celebrating 100 Halloween years
Google Halloween 2010 doodle
Google Halloween 2009 doodle
Google Halloween 2008 doodle
Google Halloween 2007 doodle
Google Halloween 2006 doodle
Google Halloween 2005 doodle
Google Halloween 2004 doodle
Google Halloween 2003 doodle
Google Halloween 2002 doodle
Google Halloween 2001 doodle
Google Halloween 2000 doodle
Google Halloween 1999 doodle

Happy Halloween to you and yours!



What do you think of Google’s Halloween doodle today?

ABOUT HALLOWEEN AND HISTORY

Halloween or Hallowe'en (a contraction of "All Hallows' Evening"), also known as All Hallows' Eve, is a yearly celebration observed in a number of countries on October 31, the eve of the Western Christian feast of All Hallows (or All Saints) and the day initiating the triduum of Hallowmas.

Trick-or-treating is a customary celebration for children on Halloween. Children go in costume from house to house, asking for treats such as candy or sometimes money, with the question, "Trick or treat?" The word "trick" refers to "threat" to perform mischief on the homeowners or their property if no treat is given.

According to Frank Leslie's popular monthly, (Volume 40, November 1895, p. 540-543) in Scotland and Ireland, guising – children disguised in costume going from door to door for food or coins – is a traditional Halloween custom, and was recorded in Scotland at Halloween as far back as 1895 where masqueraders in disguise carrying lanterns made out of scooped out turnips, visited homes to be rewarded with cakes, fruit and money.

The practice of Guising at Halloween in North America was first recorded in 1911, where a newspaper in Kingston, Ontario reported children going "guising" around the neighborhood was first noted by Rogers, Nicholas, "Coming Over: Halloween in North America". Halloween: From Pagan Ritual to Party Night. p.76. Oxford University Press, 2002, ISBN 0-19-514691-3.

American historian and author Ruth Edna Kelley of Massachusetts wrote the first book length history of Halloween in the US; The Book of Hallowe'en (1919), and references souling in the chapter "Hallowe'en in America":

"The taste in Hallowe'en festivities now is to study old traditions, and hold a Scotch party, using Burn's poem Hallowe'en as a guide; or to go a-souling as the English used. In short, no custom that was once honored at Hallowe'en is out of fashion now."

OTHER RESOURCES 

▲ Google's Halloween doodle turns you into a witch, CNET, http://news.cnet.com/8301-1023_3-57610125-93/googles-halloween-doodle-turns-you-into-a-witch/
▲ The wizards behind Google's doodles, CNET, http://news.cnet.com/8301-1023_3-57573307-93/the-wizards-behind-googles-doodles/
▲ Halloween witch: The real history behind Google's doodle, The Christian Monitor, http://www.csmonitor.com/Innovation/2013/1031/Halloween-witch-The-real-history-behind-Google-s-doodle 


Please share this on your LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and other social media networks you enjoy! Thanks! This is a reposting from previous Happy Halloween blog postings from AllThingsDigitalMarketing.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Happy 166th to Herman Melville's classic Moby Dick - October 18, 1851



“There she blows!-there she blows! A hump like a snow-hill! It is Moby Dick!” 
~~ Herman Melville, American author, quote taken from his book, Moby Dick, chapter 133: The Chase -- First Day (b. August 1, 1819 – d. September 28, 1891)


Hard to believe, Herman Melville’s classic, "Moby Dick," was not well received in 1851 by British reviewers and bombed big time. Who would think that it was a native New Yorker author, Herman Melville, who would coin "There she blows ~ There she blows ..."  Image above screenshot taken from Google doodle, celebrating Moby Dick's 161st as posted on October 18, 2012 at Google.com.

Classified as American Romanticism, in Britain it was first published by Richard Bentley in London on October 18, 1851 and on November 14, 1851 in the U.S.

"Moby Dick" sold only 500 copies in the United Kingdom, compared to 6,700 for Melville's first book, "Typee."

According to The Christian Science Monitor“shortly after Melville's death in 1891, his publisher reprinted several of his novels, including "Moby Dick."

These new editions excited New York's literary scene. Like long-smoldering embers, this underground movement kept Melville's name alive.

Eventually, the flame spread. So much discussion surrounded "Moby Dick" that many people gave the book a second chance.”






Other Resources 
 The Christian Science Monitor, Herman Melville books: At first, 'Moby Dick' was a total flop
Moby Dick on Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moby-Dick

Please share this on your LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and other social media networks you enjoy! Thanks! This article is a reposting from earlier Moby Dick blog postings from AllThingsDigitalMarketing.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

New York Film Festival Reviews (NYFF)



After seeing over a dozen movies at TIFF last month, I attended four more at the New York Film Festival (NYFF) in its 55th year run by the Film Society at Lincoln Center.  Although it is a few days longer than TIFF, NYFF is much less hectic because all films are held on the Lincoln Center campus and seats are reserved at the main venue, Alice Tully Hall.

I also tend to see films that I missed at TIFF here, since there is always some overlap. This year is no exception as I saw two films I was not able to schedule at TIFF.  Those were the documentary Boom for Real: The Late Teenage Years of Jean-Michel Basquiat and Greta Gerwig’s acclaimed directorial debut, Lady Bird.  The two others were Todd Hayne’s Wonderstruck and Woody Allen’s Wonder Wheel. (Counting Professor Marston and the Wonder Women, which I saw at TIFF, that makes three festival movies with “wonder” in the title!)

Here are my thoughts as well as award season possibilities.



Wonderstruck (Release Date October 20):  Having already played at Cannes, Venice and Telluride, Wonderstruck came to NYFF with some mixed reviews.  Director Todd Haynes (Carol, Far from Heaven, Velvet Goldmine) adapts Brian Selznick’s 2011 novel about two 12-year-old deaf kids (Rose was born deaf and Ben loses his hearing when he’s struck by lightning), born 50 years apart and their adventures in Manhattan, winding up at the Museum of Natural History, which plays a pivotal role in both stories.

Having not read the novel, I still saw the connection between Rose and Ben coming from a mile away but the pleasure gotten from the film are the parallel narratives, one told as a 1920s silent film and the other a gritty tale of the 1970s. Julianne Moore is arguably the star here, and she shines in two supporting roles in both narratives but the kids take front and center.  Deaf actress Millicent Simmons plays young Rose with an adorable haircut, expressive face and her emotions always authentic.  Oakes Fegley as Ben (who speaks throughout since he just lost his hearing) is also sympathetic in his quest to find where he belongs.  He has a nice chemistry with Jaden Michael, who plays his new hearing friend, Jamie. (Michelle Williams is also briefly in the film in flashbacks as Ben’s late mother)

Overall, I enjoyed Wonderstruck and Haynes brings the story to the screen with a lot sensitivity and creative vision.  It’s a very sweet and sentimental story of two children who don’t let their deafness stop them from seeking adventure or a place to belong.  Haynes seems to want the film to be seen by a deaf audience, with close captions used throughout.  He even used a sign language interpreter during the on-stage introduction to the film! (4/5)



Wonder Wheel (Release date December 1st):  Written and directed by Woody Allen, Wonder Wheel features a tour-de-force performance by Kate Winslet, who plays a neurotic 40ish waitress in 1950s Coney Island.  (Viewers might recall Cate Blanchett in Blue Jasmine, with her character wistful for the past as she descends into a state of semi-madness – harkening back to Blanche Dubois).

Justin Timberlake channels a younger, handsomer Woody as a 30ish playwrighting student who works as a lifeguard and serves as our slightly unreliable narrator.  He has an affair with the unhappily married Ginny while desiring her twenty-something stepdaughter, Carolina (a luminous Juno Temple) who is on the run from her abusive mobster ex-husband and the mob. Rounding out the cast are a very good Jim Belushi as Ginny’s blustery husband and Jack Gore as her pyromaniac-in- training son from a previous marriage.

Although there are some humorous moments in the script, it is not a typical Woody Allen comedy and plays out as a tragedy.  Timberlake’s character loves Eugene O’Neill and characters with tragic flaws and the film is written and directed almost like an O’Neill play.

As for Oscar chances, I think Winslet may snag a nod for Best Actress as she captures Ginny’s neuroses, passion and roughness into a vividly memorable role.  Allen may get direction and screenplay as well. (4/5)


Lady Bird (Release Date November 3rd): Greta Gerwig’s hilarious and touching directorial debut is not about the former First Lady, but a coming of age story of a Sacramento teen at a Catholic high school. Saiorse Ronan plays Christine aka “Lady Bird” who is navigating her senior year of high school in the early aughts.  Ronan perfectly channels a younger Gerwig in the role and Laurie Metcalf is excellent as her prickly mother.

The supporting cast is excellent with Tracy Letts as her loving, recently laid off dad, Lois Smith as one of the school’s nuns, Beanie Feldstein as her BFF, and Timothee Chalamet and Lucas Hedges as her love interests.  The central tension is Lady Bird’s wish to go to college in NYC and the financial strain this desire puts on her parents.

I thoroughly enjoyed Lady Bird and I hope it gets showered with nominations.  It would be nice to see Gerwig get a directing and screenplay nod along with Ronan and Metcalf for their acting. (4.5/5)




Boom For Real, the Late Teenage Years of Jean-Michel Basquiat (Release date TBD):  Brooklyn born artist Jean-Michel Basquiat has been the subject of multiple films and documentaries since his death from a heroin overdose in 1988 at the young age of 27.  Sara Driver’s Boom For Real covers his formative years of 1979-1981 as a teenage artist making his mark on the Lower East Side of Manhattan.  Many of his peers and friends were interviewed such as Fab Five Freddy, Jim Jarmusch, Alexis Adler, Patricia Field and many more.

Basquiat hovers over the film in a ghost like manner, which was intentional, according to Driver in the post screening Q&A.  We barely hear him speak (mostly b/c he rarely did any video interviews) but instead see films of him creating graffiti or photographs of him creating art or poetry.  Driver also spends time setting the stage of what life was like for young artists in the late 70s/early 80s NYC, which was going through an economic transformation.  NYC is just as much as a star in this documentary as Basquiat, both relentlessly creating art and eventually commerce. (4/5) 

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Saturday Night Live turns 42 today - Happy birthday to SNL


"Talk about a live show! It's nice to see you, welcome, and thanks for joining us -- live. I’m kinda glad that we’re on at night so that we’re not competing with all the football and baseball games. So many man … Football represents something we are. We are Europe Junior....What was the Europe Game?.... Let's take their land away from them...Football is a ground acquisition game... " ~~ George Carlin, (5/12/37 – 6/22/08) Comedy Icon, activist, actor, and author. Quote from opening line of George Carlin where he hosted the first “Saturday Night Live,” broadcast 10/11/1975. Photo SNL information courtesy of Wikipedia.org; Video below embedded from hulu; SNL 1st Season, 1st Episode; Video George Carlin opening skit, http://www.nbc.com/saturday-night-live/video/george-carlin-monologue-1/n8596; SNL monologue script at http://snltranscripts.jt.org/75/75a.phtml
First SNL broadcast, 10/11/75, featuring first host, George Carlin video

Happy 42nd  SNL! Saturday Night Live may be over the hill  but this skit-driven variety show is still going strong 42 years later making live audiences and TV viewers laugh hard as ever. American late-night live TV sketch comedy/variety, SNL, premiered 42 years ago (10/11/75) on NBC.

Originally called "Saturday Night, the opening sketch roughly 5 minutes begins with a special celebrity guest host performing and ends with the signature catchphrase, "Live from New York, it's Saturday Night!

Wolverines segment with John Belushi, aired 10/11/1975 
 

Created by Lorne Michaels and developed by Dick Eberson, SNL is one of the longest-running network television programs in the United States. The show is broadcast from Studio 8H at NBC's headquarters in the Comcast Building.


In 1977 the show changed its name to Saturday Night Live (apparently there was a name conflict "Saturday Night Live with Howard Cosell" which debuted on ABC 9/20/75, was cancelled two months later).

Performed live in front of a studio audience, SNL immediately established a reputation for being cutting-edge and unpredictable. It became a vehicle for launching the careers of some of the most successful comedians in the United States.

Throughout four decades on air, Saturday Night Live has received a number of awards, including 36 Primetime Emmy Awards, two Peabody Awards, and three Writers Guild of America Awards. In 2000, it was inducted into the National Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame.

It was ranked tenth in TV Guide‍‍ '​‍s "50 Greatest TV Shows of All Time" list, and in 2007 it was listed as one of Time magazine's "100 Best TV Shows of All-TIME". As of 2012, it has received 156 Emmy nominations, the most received by any TV show. The live aspect of the show has resulted in several controversies and acts of censorship, with mistakes and intentional acts of sabotage by performers as well as guests.


RESOURCES 
▲   First season of SNL, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saturday_Night_Live_(season_1)
▲   Tickets to see SNL, http://www.nbc.com/tickets-and-nbc-studio-tour
▲   SNL Season 1, Episode 1, http://www.tv.com/shows/saturday-night-live/george-carlin-janis-ian-and-billy-preston-98658/
▲   SNL on Wikipedia,http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saturday_Night_Live
▲   SCHILLER'S REEL, "Don't Look Back In Anger" skit with John Belushi, https://screen.yahoo.com/dont-look-back-anger-000000945.html
▲   28 'SNL' catchphrases that have kept us laughing for 40 years, Mashable, http://mashable.com/2015/02/13/snl-catchphrases/#1y.mCQ_Id5qC
▲   The 35 best SNL Skits of All Time, HuffPost, http://www.aoltv.com/2010/10/14/best-saturday-night-live-skits/
▲   The Killer Bees: Home Invasion, NBC, http://www.nbc.com/saturday-night-live/video/the-killer-bees/n8622
▲   SNL 1st Season, 1st Episode, George Carlin Monologue on NBC video link at http://www.nbc.com/saturday-night-live/video/george-carlin-monologue-1/n8596;



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