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This is an ever-evolving story of a girl writer and her two greatest loves, the movies and travel. As she hikes the trenches of Hollywood, you're brought along for the ride.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

The Virtues of Thank You Notes

December was always my month.  There was my birthday and a mere two weeks later, Christmas.  Additionally, my mother celebrated Three Kings Day so my brother and I would get an extra little bonus gift on January 6.  As a kid ( and even today ) December was one of my favorite months with its festivities and gifts galore.  Shortly after New Years though, my mother would sit us down at the dining room table.  In front of our groaning faces, she'd set down a box of notecards and a couple of pens and hand us a list of items we'd received and who'd sent them.  There, we'd have to sit, sometimes for hours, until we'd completed all our thank you notes.  

We hated, HATED writing those thank you notes.  Why, why write a thank you note?  It took too much time when we could be doing so many other things.  Childhood wasn't going to last forever and we wanted to be able to enjoy the gifts we'd just gotten before we outgrew them in the months ahead.  

My mother had established the thank you writing ritual early on.  My brother and I glared at each other each and every year, knowing full well that we had no way of getting out of writing those damn thank you notes.  

Today, things have changed dramatically.  I love giving gifts (often more than receiving them.) And now, as an adult, I'm become a stickler for thank you notes. Yes, it still takes time, which I now have even less of, but I eventually get around to it.  It's been so ingrained into my being at this point in my life that I can't imagine abandoning it.  

I absolutely believe that in a digital, fast-paced world, people appreciate a handwritten thank you note even more than in years past.  So, if you're way too busy to handwrite something, phone a friend a thank you, e-mail them your thoughts, let them know you appreciate what they've done.  People notice and you'll feel good about giving back-- even if your gift is merely your words of appreciation.  As I grow older, I've learned that words of appreciation are worth just as much ( if not more than ) those tangible gifts we all enjoy unwrapping on Christmas.

In the coming weeks, I'll sit myself down at my own dining room table and write my thank you notes.  The first one will be written to my mom-- who started the thank you note ritual we'd always hated and the same one we now embrace. 

Copyright 2008 KLiedle


Tuesday, December 23, 2008

From The Mouths Of Movie-goers...

As a writer, I often observe and listen.  Secretly, I've always wanted to be a spy.  If I were a true spy, however,  I wouldn't be able to tell anyone that I was a spy and what fun is there in that?[unless I get to play-act in my own rendition of Burn After Reading.] So, instead I'm an eavesdropper, sometimes a sleuth, and a writer.  

Quite often, I get to listen and observe moviegoers.  Here in L.A., there are people with clipboards that watch audience reactions to previews and movies and then they jot down little notes-- where the laughs were, what sequences fell flat, if a preview worked or flopped, and the demographics of the people sitting in the seats: age, race, gender.... In a sense, they're movie spies and [not surprisingly]  they're employed by the studios.  

I also enjoy watching several audiences and noting how they react to the same movie.  What I've learned is that it's true what they say: Every single audience is different.  A movie like Four Christmases that makes one woman howl with laughter may be only mildly amusing to the couple sitting in the next showing.

When it comes to a movie being a success or a flop, moviegoers have more clout than they get credit for-- [sorry critics.]  

Here are a few reactions and/or things I've overheard about some of the biggest films this year:

On Rachel Getting Married:

" It's too shaky... I can't take it.  How can they even call that a movie?"
(From a forty-something who needed a glass of ice water to get over her Rachel-induced motion sickness)

"Now, that's the kind of wedding I'd like to have!"
(One twenty-something girl to another upon exiting the theatre.)

On Towelhead:

Upon exiting the theatre:  Silence.

On Synedoche, New York

"What's with that burning house?"
( A question posed to Charlie Kaufman at a Q&A at Arclight Hollywood.  Kaufman skirted the question brilliantly and answered exactly: Nothing.)

"It's so depressing... I want to shoot myself."
(A thirty-something guy talking to his buddy.)

The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button
(not released yet)

"I think it'll capture peoples' attention with its sentimentality... and it'll garner award noms, no doubt.  Brad Pitt's a shoe-in.
( An unidentified Nielsen employee)

"THIS is a job..."
( The courier lugging Benjamin Button's many, many reels after the theatre's elevator went out) 

Note: Benjamin Button has a run-time of 2 hours and 55 minutes and David Fincher is probably still working on his director's cut which could very well have a run time double that!

Slumdog Millionaire

"I've seen the ending so many times, but I'm gonna go watch it again..."
(A studio publicity person at a Q&A screening with Danny Boyle.)

"Where can I get the soundtrack to Slumdog?"
(An out-of-breath woman in the theatre gift shop.)

"That is how movies are supposed to be."
(An older gentleman to his friend after exiting a late-night screening.)

Observation:  Two Indian women in the middle of the theatre crying softly as Jamal and Latika reunite.  They stay for the entire credits and walk out of the theatre slowly... in utter silence.

"Slumdog's got a chance for Best Picture.  This is a good year for it..."
(Me)

On Milk

"I wasn't interested in the subject matter at first, but when I saw it, Sean Penn pulled me in.  His performance was outstanding.  It's easily one of the best films of the year..."
(An unidentified Nielsen employee at a test screening for an upcoming film.)

Thursday, December 11, 2008

In Time, A Wrinkle... Or Two.

In that moment, I stared at my facial features in a full-length mirror.  My eyes were drawn to my lips. In close-up, newly formed 'smile lines' stood out like parentheses enveloping my mouth.  I reeled in horror... 
I was all of sixteen and it didn't take much to set me off on a dramatic tangent:

"I have wrinkles!" I shouted.

"What are you talking about?," asked my mother.
"Wrinkles!!! Look, look at my mouth! Aaagghhhh!!!!

"Oh, honey.  Relax.  Those are just smile lines."

I didn't relax-- I vowed never to smile again.  I couldn't bear to have those 'smile lines' reproduce.  

Yes, I do smile again and I've continued getting older--against my will.  However, as I progressed through adulthood, I've learned to be at peace with it.  I've learned to relax.  Another birthday just passed by the other day, but I was OK.  Honestly, those 'smile lines' really haven't changed that much since I first spotted them at sixteen.

I always thought it was so unfair that all of us have to get older (and watch the others around us get older) as each year goes by.  Wouldn't it be better for all of us if we got younger as the years progressed, instead of the other way around?  Way back when, writer F. Scott Fitzgerald thought the same thing.  The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, a film based on a short story written by Fitzgerald is set to open in theatres this month.  Benjamin (Brad Pitt) is born into the world as an old man and each year, he appears to be getting younger.

"I'm not as old as I 
look..."

To my sixteen-year-old self, this would've been a dream.  Starting off older would allow me to 'end' my life with the good years of being young and vibrant.  Unfortunately for Benjamin, the others around him continue to get older in the traditional fashion.  

I recently got to see Benjamin Button and the number one thing that the story demonstrates is that no matter what we're handed in life, there are always complications.  We may be handed what others would consider a gift or a talent (like Benjamin) but there's always a trade-off.  

"Nothing lasts..."

As director David Fincher said: "What we wanted to show is that no matter what direction you're going, life is sti
ll complicated, life is still hard, life is still not a cakewalk..."

This week, I got older [again] but it was okay.  Life may not be a cakewalk, but my birthday was.  I chose to have fun with it-- to skip my way through the day-- and treat myself well.  At sixteen, I wish I'd known how important it is to be good to yourself.  People may come and go and time will pass, but you are with yourself always... for the long haul.  Relax, smile, and as my horoscope said, "Be kind to that face you see in the mirror." 

I'm still learning how... 

Copyright 2008 KLiedle
Photos: flickr/ban-den (balloons), flickr/mylaphotography (giggly girl), flickr/Ooh La La Photography (skipping girl)

You can change or stay the same.  There are no rules to this thing.  
You can make the best or the worst of it. 

(Benjamin Button/ 2008 Paramount Pictures)



Monday, December 1, 2008

December's Holiday Entertainment




December has arrived and it's a winter wonderland, even if it's only in my mind.  
Today was HOT and sunny [again] in L.A. but I can close my eyes and recall the light, fluffy snowflakes and the beauty of the first snowfall of the season.  Don't get me wrong though... I certainly don't miss my ice scraper or having to "warm up" my car in the dead of winter.  However, as a SoCal girl, I do have to try harder to drum up my holiday spirit when the weather her thinks it's still summertime.

Holiday entertainment does wonders for that.  It's only a matter of time before the rush of Christmas specials hit-- including all my classic favorites: A Charlie Brown Christmas, Rudolph and Frosty. During Christmastime, I always feel the excitement.  It's like I'm seven again-- the only trouble being that I have a December birthday so my *new* real age never ventures too far from my mind.  Every year though, I drag out my most favorite holiday movies: Planes, Trains, and Automobiles, A Christmas Story [of course], and Elf.  I also spend many evenings hunkered down wrapping holiday gifts and curling ribbon.  For me, a good holiday movie is the best backdrop to my holiday preparations.

December is  also a time for Hollywood to host a jingle bell serenade of their Christmas, but [mostly] Oscar fare. 

Four Christmases (starring Reese Witherspoon and Vince Vaughn) is the first, strictly holiday movie to hit a screen near all of us.  It opened here in L.A. late last week.  I haven't seen it yet, but I only expect a fun, little holiday movie and not much more.  I don't expect amazing performances or an Oscar caliber script.  If it brings cheer and a few laughs and makes me feel all warm and gooey like a marshmallow inside, then it's good for me.  I feel the same way about Yes Man (Jim Carreyand Bedtime Stories (Adam Sandler), both being released later this month.  We're not talking award movies there, but fun, popcorn flicks... and like a really good, sugary Christmas cookie, we all need movies like that during this time of year.

But for the serious cinephile, it's also never too early to gauge Oscar buzz.  During this holiday season, we can sample from leading contenders in films such as: Milk, Australia, and Slumdog Millionaire (all now playing.)  

I also look forward to other top contenders such as Doubt (Meryl Streep, Phillip Seymour Hoffman), Che (Benicio Del Toro,) The Wrestler (Mickey Rourke), and Last Chance Harvey (Dustin Hoffman and Emma Thompson.)  With all the goodness of the holidays, take time out from shopping, from stress, from work, and from the world to sample all that Hollywood has to offer before 2008 comes to a close.  I know I will !

Copyright 2008
Kliedle





Friday, November 21, 2008

Turkey For A Lab


Thanksgiving is just a few days away and I'm thankful already.  I'm thankful that I won't be standing in security at LAX airport or shivering in temperatures not meant for human life as I wait for my mother to pick me up in a place best known for snow days this time of year.  I'm thankful that I won't turn into a snowcone. Instead,  I'm nice and toasty here just a few miles from the fire place (read: wildfires) where the scent of burning leaves has finally dissipated.

I'm thankful that never again will I have to wear a pastel, rainbow-striped, full-body snowsuit or witness my grandmother "oohing and aahing" over my mother's homemade stuffing sludge, the likes of which no one, and I truly mean, no one but my grandmother (i.e. her mother) liked.  Several vintage bags of stuffing still sit in my mother's basement freezer with the dates of much too long ago... as the ice crystals can attest.  If stuffing sludge ag
ed like wine, we'd be selling it off the back porch by now.  

We were always a small family, but my mother ignored that little detail.  She always prepared enough for an army-- something that's still just as true as ever.  There was the Thanksgiving when potato peelings forced the garbage disposal to EXPLODE.  Gushing water...potato peelings... big blobs of bleached imprints on the floor-- one for every waterlogged potato peeling that landed on our linoleum.  Then, there was the Thanksgiving in which our 28 pound turkey refused to defrost even after two days in the bathtub.  

However, my favorite, favorite Thanksgiving involved not the meal or the desserts or quirky family episodes.  It involved leftovers, or shall I say, the one year that we didn't have any.  

See, if you
 live in the midwestern United States and your mother overcooks Thanksgiving (like mine always does, ) there's never enough room in the fridge or freezer for the leftovers that are sure to come.  But you nearly always have subzero midwest temperatures working in your favor.  Slide open that back porch door and voila!  It's like having a G I G A N T I C, industrial-sized freezer the size of your deck... literally! 

That year, as in every year prior, we marched outside to the back patio with platters and tupperware in hand.  Sweet potatoes... mashed potatoes... dark turkey... white turkey... brown-and-serve rolls, mounds and mounds of stuffing sludge, and slices of chocolate chip pecan pie (since pecan pie is just not rich enough on its own.)  

We built an altar of abandoned food right there on our porch, atop a dusting of freshly fallen snow.  Then, we scurried into the warmth of the living room and settled into couches where we could rest from the gluttony of Thanksgiving recreation and contemplate over a cup of hot cocoa.  

It was my brot
her who first saw the midnight flash of blackness.  No one listened to him; he was just a kid after all.  Then, I saw something-- a whoosh of black fur.  We heard a rattle and a crash.  Then a turkey carcass rolled across our front yard like a tumbleweed. At that point, everyone jumped to their feet and rushed to the back patio.  My mother witnessed the black shadow helping itself to our offering.  Not a split second later, her voice bellowed into the peaceful Thanksgiving night:


BO! GET OUTTA HERE!!! SCRAM!!! 

It was too late.  Bo, our neighbor's black labrador, had helped herself.  Freezer bags were mangled.  Mashed potatoes were smooshed into the snow. Turkey bones littered the yard.  "All our leftovers gone," my mother lamented.  We stood there, our heads held low-- even though the kid in me was secretly saying a prayer of thanks: no leftovers, f
or once!!! Hurray!

In the midst of destruction, as we stood in the darkness of that Thanksgiving night, my mother took a moment, then raised her head up high.  It was then that she reclaimed a bit of her Thanksgiving pride as she exclaimed victoriously-- 

"Well, look here.  The stuffing was left untouched!!!" 

Inside, she found a place in the freezer for the stuffing sludge-- where it still remains.

I don't get to visit my family or participate in any of the Thanksgiving Day family food rituals of years past, but I'm thankful for the mishaps and mistakes just as much as the triumphs.  And although I hate to admit it in print, I'm even thankful for that damn stuffing because it always triggers memories and has become, in a sense, family folklore.

Copyright 2008 Kliedle

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Autograph Hounds of the Digital Age


Somewhere in my old bedroom there is a box scattered with TAB bottlecaps, E.T. collector cards, Viewmaster slide inserts, Little Golden Books, and my childhood autograph collection.  I treat each item like a relic, an invitation into my own past.  

Like very few kids today, I wrote letters-- letters to friends, letters to family far away, letters to pen pals across the globe, and letters to people I'd never met, people I admired.  

A segment of those letters spurred my childhood autograph collection.  I'd go to the public library and spend hours searching the gigantic celebrity address directory.  I wrote my "fan letters" in cursive, in bubble letters, in colored markers, in my very own handwriting. Sometimes I drew pictures on them and plastered them with stickers.  

I tossed each letter into the mail as if it were a wish I was sending off into the world beyond.  

I rarely asked for anything in return, but sometimes I politely asked for an autograph, if it really, really meant a lot to me.  Even if I never ever received a reply, the joy I felt in writing those letters was something I felt I could pass onto the recipient for the mere cost of a postal stamp.  I was always genuine and polite and very much a kid admirer.

I got replies -- thank yous from publicists stating that the celebrity no longer accepted fan letters (Jessica Tandy, at the time), signed glossy 8x10s (Cindy Crawford), thank yous with regrets (Shirley Temple--too many requests), and even my letter sent back to me (oddly) emblazoned in thin, purple magic marker (Bill Cosby.) 

Today, as I live in Los Angeles and work in entertainment, I see celebrities *not often* but much more often than the average person.  The magic is still there, like a sprinkling of pixie dust, but it's no longer a big deal.  They're just people, but part of me still wants to protect them.  As someone who came from the roots of being a genuine fan, I always honored the person I admired. That honor doesn't seem to exist much anymore in the age of Ebayers and paparazzi.  An autograph, a moment with a celeb, a splash of pixie
dust is nothing if it's not worth money-- lots and lots of money.  

Outsiders wanting in, people wanting a piece of the pie, folks thinking they can barge into the private life of a celebrity lunching at the table across the room just because they think they can, because they think that since celebrities have sold their souls to the public, they no longer deserve privacy.

A couple of weeks ago, Dustin Hoffman and Emma Thompson were at Arclight Hollywood promoting their new film, Last Chance Harvey.  As the studio cars waited for them, several "fans" approached Dustin and shoved laserdiscs and DVDs in his face. Security got him into his car, but these "fans" persisted.  Dustin signed from the backseat, just so he could go home.  

I knew, as did Emma and Dustin, that these weren't real fans.  They were organized Ebayers and those laserdiscs? Probably for sale online somewhere.  There's no respect or sentimentality behind those autographs.  There's no story to tell or human connection involved.  As in many things, it's all about the bottom line... how much is that celebrity worth in the marketplace? They're not people, they're A-listers or D-listers and like stocks, their worth is weighed depending on the "going rate" on Amazon.

For every childhood autograph I collected, there is a story... a meeting, a letter, a connection.  I know there are still real fans out there, but something has been lost as civilization has entered the fast-paced, money-hungry digital age.  Shove another DVD in their face, explode another flashbulb, bully your way into their kid's birthday party because there's a chance that you could get that money shot.  It saddens me that there are so many out there who look at a celebrity and see nothing but dollar signs -- Dirty, dollar signs at the expense of others. Yeah, that's sexy.  
Copyright 2008 KLiedle
Photos by Bob Willoughby "The Graduate" and secretleaves paperworks/flickr

P.S. I still write letters... sometimes in colored pencils, sometimes in marker.  I still draw on boxes and plaster glittery stickers on things.  I like scratch and sniff.  

A kid still exists in all of us...

Saturday, November 8, 2008

A Diverse Majority: Hollywood And Politics

Like many people, I got up early on election day.  I waited in line to cast my ballot for a most historic election.  By the end of the night, I was tired but elated and moved by the events that had unfolded before my eyes.  

A few days ago, I called my grandmother to get her take on the election.  She'd voted for McCain, but in the same breath, she explained that she didn't feel as confident about her McCain vote.  Still a conservative, she didn't think McCain wanted it as badly.  Still a conservative, she acknowledged that one has to be a little bit liberal to get things done.

My grandmother was born two years before women were given the right to vote.  She grew up in a world where a womans' future was in the home.  She grew up in a world where African-Americans were maids or drivers and minstrel shows were as common as vaudeville.  She spent time in Alabama where they had an African-American maid that pressed and starched my grandfather's dress shirts for a paltry 25 cents.  When my grandparents moved back to Nebraska, my grandmother asked the woman to join them up North.  She responded that she couldn't.  She'd said that they're prejudice in the South and just as prejudice in the North, but they hide it." She'd rather live in the South than in a place where [she felt] people tried to hide their feelings toward her and her race. 

This was a year of change--not only in politics but in Hollywood.  The real America has begun to emerge.  This is no longer a country of a white majority, but a patchwork quilt of the fair-skinned, the dark-skinned, Native Americans, Latinos, Chinese, Gay and Lesbians, and a list of people too diverse to mention here.  They are no longer "minorities."  
Together, we are all a diverse majority.  

With success of shows such as Ugly Betty, The George Lopez Show, Grey's Anatomy, and others, Hollywood casting sought out diversity.  More and more, it's no longer about casting the "token" African-American or Asian.  Characters are cast in diverse ways because that's what the make-up of our reality in America has become.  There are more female writers--four of whom were nominated in screenwriting categories at last year's Academy Awards (Sarah Polley, Tamara Jenkins, Diablo Cody, and Nancy Oliver)

The white men who have traditionally written the stories for Hollywood now have to rewrite their own futures.  The white men who have traditionally made the rules in government have to make room for others who have a voice, too.  The seas of change are not to be feared, but embraced, for we all become better because of it.  

Hollywood and Politics have just begun to realize what those who have been paying attention have known all along.  Diversity is not a threat or a detriment to our lifestyle as a people, but something to uphold--something that sets the United States of America apart from many other nations around the world.  We are people living in an increasingly global world.

Photo by racole/flickr
(c) Copyright 2008 KLiedle



  

Monday, October 27, 2008

Farewell, My Dear Apple...

As I look to the future, I mourn for my lost companion.  For the last 7 years, my Apple iBook has been a part of my life.  Together we've traveled through countless states and lived in three.  We've composed books, uploaded zillions of photos, surfed oceans of webpages, written three feature-length screenplays and several shorts, and typed 119 posts to this very blog.  

Two days ago, my "Little Mac" started having problems.  She was having memory issues  and difficulty recharging.  When her battery gave out, she lapsed into a self-induced coma.  Her indicator light pulsated like a heartbeat ready to give out at any last moment. 

My Apple iBook lasted all 7 years on one battery which must be some sort of record.  She endured a keyboard replacement "surgery" a number of years ago after I spilled water on her and had to rush her to the Mac Emergency room.  Five years ago, my negligence caused her to be thrown from the roof of a vehicle.  To my astonishment, she went back to work the very next day-- with only bumps and bruises.

Last night, I made the painful decision to take her off life support.  Her adaptor was the only thing keeping her alive.  

Going along with Little Mac's wishes as well as mine, we've chosen to donate her "organs" (applications.)  They will be received by the Macbook Pro I just purchased TODAY.

So, goodbye Little Mac... I'll always remember you and the time we spent together all those years.

And Mac Pro?  We're just getting acquainted with each other this afternoon, but I'm excited for our future together.  May it last at least the next 7 years...

P.S. I promise to be more careful this time around.

Copyright 2008 - KLiedle




Monday, October 20, 2008

Self-Publishing Success: "Once More With Feeling" Now Available!

After many hours of working on writing, drawing, layouts, and combating technical difficulties, I've learned many things about self-publishing.

Above all, I've learned that despite all the difficulties and the times when I wanted to scream and give up, the fruits of labor have been sweeter than cherry pie.


Now, I have something to show for my efforts.

Now, I know the next time will be oh, so much easier.

Now, I can say officially that my first published storybook,
"Once More With Feeling" is available for purchase at two online retailers: Createspace and Amazon

"There once was a sad girl who thought she'd never find love again..."


Fairytales can come true and love can strike more than once. "Once More With Feeling" is a storybook romance about second chances.


"Once More With Feeling," Written by Kendra Liedle. Illustrations by Scott Vogel and Kendra Liedle.



Friday, October 10, 2008

No Gifts Necessary For This Wedding...

Yesterday, I went to a wedding. I didn't dress up nor did I bring a gift.

It wasn't a real wedding, but it sure felt like one. "Rachel Getting Married," written by Jenny Lumet and directed by Jonathan Demme is the story of a family in the midst of a weekend-long wedding celebration. Like many weddings, it's full of conflict, dysfunction, unresolved family issues as well as love, family, music, connectiveness, renewal, and private moments of letting go. Rachel may be getting married, but this story centers on Kym, Rachel's unconventional sister, back from rehab in order to participate in the festivities.

Kym (played with precision by a remarkable Anne Hathaway) comes off as a rebel with a seemingly indestructible exoskeleton. However, she is so much more complex and fragile than even her family gives her credit for. Their family, in all its glorious dysfunction, tries to hold together for the sake of Rachel's wedding, but they are not exactly a tight-knit group. They're seen more like a cobweb trying to hold together during a rainstorm. Old family issues, yet unresolved, rise up like ghosts with Kym's arrival. She is a reminder, a bookmark of sorts, to a chapter the family would soon like to forget, but can't.

The film's beginning is a shaky one-- literally. Shot documentary-style and mostly hand-held in its first moments, we are introduced to a world that seems confusing, uneasy and off-kilter. This may be off-putting to some filmgoers, yet it is purposeful, for we are most definitely seeing the world through Kym's eyes.

A wedding is a momentous occasion, full of love and joy yet also full of heartbreak and anxiety. Amid constant music and the hustle and bustle of wedding preparation and out-of-town guests, Kym joins the crowd, but doesn't really feel like she's a part of it. Everyone feels like they know her 'personal business' and for someone in recovery mode, that's not an easy thing.

Kym's presence forces her sister and her parents to confront things they'd rather keep buried. This is a difficult thing, but necessary for the family to move forward. Without giving much away, the film showcases the conflict between honoring the past and letting it go, and most importantly for Kym, learning to forgive oneself.

"Rachel Getting Married" feels real because it it's loosely constructed and free-flowing. It feels like we're watching it in real time-- full of family drama, unspoken moments, and joy. It's also, by far, the coolest wedding I've ever seen on a movie screen-- apart from perhaps "Monsoon Wedding."
"Rachel Getting Married"
Starring: Anne Hathaway (Kym); Rosemarie DeWitt (Rachel); Bill Irwin (Paul); Debra Winger (Abby); Tunde Adebimpe (Sidney); Mather Zickel (Kieran); Anna Deavere Smith (Carol); Anisa George (Emma)

Directed by: Jonathan Demme; written by Jenny Lumet. A Sony Pictures Classics release.

Copyright © 2008 KLiedle

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Politics Of Fear


Recently I received yet another forward... This one, however, wasn't laden with lame jokes. It wasn't warning me of the next computer virus or masquerading as an e-chain letter. This forward was political. Although it came arrived to my in-box titled, "Know Your Candidate,"its words stemmed out of fear, not knowledge.

I showed it to a politically charged friend of mine. He couldn't just let it go. He took it as his personal responsibility to respond...in an intelligent, articulate manner for all of those out there who nurture fear and fear change.

Below is the full text of his response to the forward, "NoBama>>Know Your Candidate"

Note: So that the response makes complete sense, you may want to scroll down and read the original "NoBama" post (Green text below) first.

Subject: "KNOW YOUR CANDIDATE" Re: NOBAMA Post

Yeah, so? Despite all the drama you attempt to inject into your bulletin, there's nothing actually there. Fluff. Air. The answers to all of these things are easy to find and rather boring. Read a book about the guy.

The real question is what are you so afraid of? Free your little mind of it's narrow ways. Even the Limbaugh Hannity fear machines have acknowledged they're grasping at straws with this stuff. You could put a little flier together about anyone and inject it with mystery and suspense to insinuate there are things we should all be very concerned about.

Barack Obama is a Christian man & always has been. So what's that make you? It doesn't matter to me what your beliefs are, but don't tell me you're a Christian, because if that's the case, you're a hypocrite & a liar. A liar to yourself first & foremost, as Jesus himself never spread fear & lies. His universal message was love one another & treat others as you would have them treat you.

You must ask yourself why you're so afraid. Is it because honesty doesn't look quite as you expected it to? Is the skin color wrong or the ideas too bold? Free yourself. This perpetual state of fear isn't what your Creator had in mind for you, and in your heart of hearts, you know you're very lost because what's feeding on you is dark and distorted & can't quite see the light. Reality isn't open to interpretation, my friend. Your eyes might see again if you'll let them.

Reality isn't "What they don't want you to know!" or "What they're hiding!" or "Their REAL motives-- Oh my!" You think Obama's going to invite Al Qaeda to tea parties at the White House? This is an intelligent and articulate man with good intentions and if you really can't see that, then I feel sorry for you. You're in a world without light. You have become the dangerous one. You are what you most fear...

To quote Franklin D. Roosevelt;

"This great Nation will endure as it has endured, will revive and will prosper. So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself—nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance."

I want to tell you a bit about me. This may or may not surprise you. I'm a caucasian male, 40 years old, and I consider myself fairly conservative. As in, I believe in fundamental values, I work hard, I don't buy things I can't afford and I know what's right.

The choice in this election is obvious to anyone with a clear mind & no hidden agendas. You have two candidates who put themselves forward as Christians, yet rely on fear, distortion & character assassination to scare people into voting for them. On the other side you have two candidates who actually live by true Christian ideals; faith, solutions & helping those in need. Buddy, if you don't understand that Jesus was a liberal democrat in the truest sense of the term, then again, you're in a world of darkness. Look up those two words. Democrat: One who practices social equality; relating or appealing to the common people. Liberal: Generous, bountiful; Tolerant, not narrow in judgement.

So go ahead, vote for the Republican ticket. The upside to me is that, if McCain & Palin are elected, then in four more years there truly will be nothing left of the Republican Party. The downside is that the rest of us, and what's left of this country, have to go down with it.

~Dale S.

NO BAMA>> "Know Your Candidate" original post

For months now, I have been sending editorials to family and friends stating, KNOW YOUR CANDIDATE. This perfect example of know YOUR Candidate. Any Candidate, All Candidates. If we don't replace some of those idiots in Congress and Senate, there is little A President can do own his own. Your questions are certainly food for thought, to all you have addressed.

The only logical conclusion is vote NOBAMA.......................................Bill

I Would Like To Know...?

MAYBE I'VE GOTTEN THIS ALL WRONG - JUST BEING AN AVERAGE MIDDLE CLASS GUY WITHOUT MUCH FORMAL EDUCATION BEYOND A M.B.A. DEGREE...BUT NOW, CHECK THIS OUT:

THIS MAN WANTS OUR VOTE FOR U.S. PRESIDENT - HIS FATHER WAS A KENYAN, AND A BLACK- WE SAW ALL THOSE PICTURES OF HIS NICE AFRICAN FAMILY.

HIS MOTHER IS A WHITE US CITIZEN FROM KANSAS, AND DECLARED ATHEIST. SO, WHERE ARE ALL THOSE PICTURES OF HIS NICE WHITE MOTHER AND HIS NICE WHITE KANSAS GRANDPARENTS - THE ONES WHO RAISED HIM ALL THOSE EARLY YEARS?

LET’S SEE - HIS FATHER DESERTED HIS MOTHER AND HIM WHEN HE WAS VERY YOUNG AND MOVED BACK TO LIVE WITH HIS FAMILY IN
KENYA (THAT'S
THE ONES IN THE MEDIA PUBLISHED PICTURES).

HIS WHITE MOTHER THEN MARRIED AN INDONESIAN MUSLIM AND TOOK HIM TO THE CITY OF
JAKARTA WHERE HE WAS FIRST SCHOOLED IN A MUSLIM SCHOOL.

HIS MOTHER THEN MOVED TO
HAWAII AND HER SON WAS RAISED BY HIS WHITE, MIDDLE CLASS - AMERICAN GRANDPAREN
TS THERE.

UMMM…NOW HERE'S THE BEGINNING OF THE HARD PART FOR ME (HELP ME OUT HERE, IF YOU CAN):

SOMEHOW, SUDDENLY - HE WENT TO THE BEST HIGH DOLLAR, UPPER CRUST PREP SCHOOLS IN AMERICA, AND NEXT HE GOT INTO A TOP IVY LEAGUE COLLEGE, AND LATER, INTO HARVARD LAW SCHOOL - HOW? WHO SPONSORED HIM? WHO PAID FOR ALL THAT SCHOOLING?

(HAVE YOU LOOKED AT TUITION EXPENSES TO ATTEND UNDERGRADUATE YALE LATELY?)

HOW ABOUT
HARVARD LAW SCHOOL? (SOMEBODY PAID A LOT OF BUCKS FOR THIS KID'S IVY LEAGUE EDUCATION.)

WHO? HOW? FROM WHAT WE’VE READ HE APPARENTLY DID NOT HAVE SCHOLARSHIPS THAT PAID IT ALL.

HE ALSO DID NOT HAVE TO
BORROW FOR C
OLLEGE, ALSO FROM WHAT WE READ. SO???

THAT BRINGS US TO THE MORE CURRENT
YEARS, A U.S. SENATOR'S SALARY IS NOT THAT GREAT, BUT THIS YOUNG MAN AND HIS YOUNG WIFE JUST RECENTLY BOUGHT A $1.4 MILLION DOLLAR HOUSE THAT HE ACQUIRED THROUGH A 'DEAL' WITH A WEALTHY FUND RAISER FRIEND; A FUND RAISER FRIEND WHO APPARENTLY IS A CRIMINAL LAW BREAKER ,PER THE NEWS OF HIS RECENT CONVICTION IN CHICAGO FEDERAL COURT.

WHAT SORT OF 'DEAL'?

AND, RIGHT OUT OF HARVARD LAW, HE 'WORKED' AS A CIVIL RIGHTS ACTIVIST IN CHICAGO. WHAT KIND OF PAY IS THIS, WE CAN ASSUME IT IS LITTLE OR NOTHING PAY WISE! OR IS THERE OTHER KIND OF PAY INVOLVED??

HE THEN ENTERED POLITICS AT THE STATE LEVEL WHICH CERTAINLY IS A LOW PAYING JOB, AND THEN MOVED RIGHT TO THE NATIONAL LEVEL. DID HE "FUND RAISE" TO GET THE FUNDS TO GET ELECTED? WHAT KIND OF PROMISES DID HE MAKE?

NOW, HE SCRAMBLES TODAY WITH A NICE SMILE BUT VERY MINIMAL EXPERIENCE IN ANYTHING - WHILE OTHER PEOPLE WRITE HIS RAH-RAH
SPEECHES FOR HIM.


IN ALL HIS MINIMAL TIME IN THE STATE, AND NATIONAL LEGISLATURES - HE’S NEVER LAUNCHED ANY IMPORTANT LEGISLATION, NONE WHATSOEVER.

MOSTLY, OF LATE FOR SOME TWO YEAR
S, HE'S BEEN OUT RUNNING FOR PRESIDENT, USING OTHER PEOPLES MONEY.

THEN COMES THE ENDORSEMENTS FOR HIM FROM OTHER COUNTRIES, ONES THAT ARE NOT EXACTLY
USA FRIENDS, LIKE THE IRAN PRES, FRENCH PRES, AND THE IRAQ MINISTER THAT WANTS THE USA OUT. HMMM…WHAT DO THEY SEE IN HIM THAT THEY LIKE?

HE CLAIMS TO BE 'PROUD OF HIS AFRICAN HERITAGE'. VERY NICE, BUT IT SEEMS THAT HIS ONLY CONNECTION WITH AFRICA WAS THAT HIS DEADBEAT AFRICAN FATHER GOT A WHITE AMERICAN GIRL PREGNANT AND THEN DESERTED HER.

UMMM....WHERE IS THE OUTSPOKEN PRIDE IN HIS WHITE HERITAGE? AFTER ALL - IT WAS WHITE GRANDPARENTS THAT RAI
SED HIM!

FOR OVER 20 YEARS HE HAS BEEN A MEMBER OF AN 'AFROCENTRIC' CHURCH IN
CHICAGO THAT BLANTANTLY PROFESSES THAT ITS MEMBERS SHOULD HATE WHITES, HATE JEWS, AND BLAME AMERICA FOR ALL THE WORLD'S FAULTS.

HE REPEATEDLY COVERED UP FOR THE PASTOR, DESCRIBED AS HIS “SPIRITUAL COUNSELLOR”, AND THAT CHURCH - SAYIN
G THAT HE CAN SEPARATE THE RELIGION FROM THE POLITICS, WHEN HE HEARS A HATE-WHITEY SERMON.

HE CLAIMED THAT HE WAS SIMPLY UNABLE TO CONFRONT HIS RESPECTED PASTOR OF 20+ YEARS ABOUT THE PASTOR'S DEMONSTRATED UN-AMERICAN BIAS.

BUT -- HE WANTS US TO BELIEVE THAT HE C
AN CONFRONT NORTH KOREA, IRAN, RUSSIA, ETC. WHEN THE TIME ARISES TO TAKE AMERICA'S SIDE.

YEAH - WITH HIS “EXTENSIVE POLITICAL BACKGROUND” AND “GLOBAL EXPERIENCE”, HE “HOPES” THAT HE COULD BE A "UNITER OF OUR GREAT NATION" AND BRING US ALL TOGETHER. (a Sheep Sheerer posing as a Shepard and gathering another man’s flock to lead them to slaughter)

BUT - WE ARE LEFT TO THINK THAT HIS REAL 'HOPE' IS THAT HE REALLY HOPES THAT NO ONE WILL PUT ALL THESE PIECES TOGETHER, AT LEAST NOT UNTIL AFTER THE ELECTION.

LIKE IT OR NOT, THESE ARE REAL FACTS THAT POSE REAL QUESTIONS REGARDING A MAN THAT WANTS TO BE THE NEXT PRESIDENT; YOURS, MINE, OUR KIDS AND GRANDKIDS. PLEASE THINK…THEN GET OUT AND VOTE.
*************************************************************************************

No matter what your political affiliation is, I urge you to vote for Hope Over Fear


Picture credits:
linde "Freedom From Fear," stuart63 "Fear of the Dark," amoeba84 "Hope Over Fear."
Copyright © 2008 KLiedle

***This post includes text written by those other than the blog author.***





Saturday, September 27, 2008

Do something you're afraid of...


A couple of weeks ago, I went to see Alan Ball's new film, Towelhead (aka Nothing Is Private) at Arclight Hollywood. I knew it was a coming-of-age film involving cultural differences, statutory/child rape, puberty and budding sexuality. I knew that it was a potent mixture of electrically charged topics--quite a bit for one film.

I knew that it might be difficult to watch. I knew it might be disturbing. Some people I know haven't seen the film for those very reasons. Some people who did see the film said it made them cry, it made them angry. A handful wanted to leave the theatre, but they couldn't-- they'd become transfixed in Alan Ball's all-too-real story about a Lebanese girl, Jasira Maroun (Summer Bishil) trying to find her place in the world.

The MPAA gave the film an R rating for "strong, disturbing sexual content and abuse involving a young teen, and for language."

Despite all of this, I wasn't afraid. Many times, I think the best movies are the ones that elicit the most extreme reactions from audiences. What makes you squirm? Why does it bother you so much? Have you spied on a neighbor or gossiped about them because you didn't approve of their lifestyle? Have you had feelings about something or someone that you've tried to suppress because your mind tells you it's wrong? Have you had private questions about taboo subjects, but had no one to ask?

Alan Ball poses these questions while pushing all your buttons. He likes to show the dark side of suburbia. He likes to tell stories that unfold in a way that exposes both the beauty and the ugliness of humanity. People can be ugly and racist and hypocritical. We like to put everyone in a box and slap a label on it. We try to make things simple, when in reality, everything is filled with complexity.

See the film even if it isn't a popcorn flick. See it even if it makes you squirm in your seat. Although, it packs a little too much into one movie ( a bit of a detriment to the film), it's an important film because the things that are disturbing about it are disturbing because they're real. We don't want to acknowledge it, but disturbing things happen everyday.

Alicia Erian (novel)
Alan Ball (screenplay)

Towelhead Movie

Copyright © 2008 KLiedle

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Supermarket Checkout


As I read the news of all that's happening within the U.S. these days, I worry about the future and wonder if there is any hope. Are we doomed to fall? Is the average American really as stupid as it seems like they are?

When I think it through, my most honest answer is yes-- on both accounts.

Yes, it is possible that the United States of America could fall, much like great civilizations of the past. I've always believed that the rise and fall of nations is a natural occurrence. America is still powerful, but let's face it; we're losing our grip. It's much like aging, we can't reverse the process completely but we can slow it down if we recognize that it's happening. (The same can be said for not only the state of our bodies and our respective nations, but for the planet itself.)
****
LATE LAST WEEK~
Standing in the supermarket line, with coupons in hand, I hear two American women in their forties talking. They're flipping through a junk-foodesque, tabloid magazine. Though brief, what they have to say is frightening:

One woman says to the other, "So and so told me I should vote for McCain because he's a Democrat." Then, she hesitates..."No, not a Democrat, he's a...a...what's the other one? I forget."

The other woman (only half listening) shrugs, "Hmm...I don't know. I heard his 17-year-old daughter is pregnant!"

Every fiber in my being wants to shout to them: Republican. It's Republican, you nitwits!!!! Elizabeth Cady Stanton turns over in her grave as my thoughts carry on: "And it's Sarah Palin's daughter that's pregnant not McCain's! Do you know anything? Anything at all?

These are grown American woman with a right to vote in this country. The most dimwitted of the population are always the ones that reproduce the most so I know they're not the only ones: There many more dumb Americans out there and it's starting to feel like they outnumber the rest of us. It's because of people like this that many of us have a rather dim vision of the nation's immediate future.

Perhaps, it's time to fly the American flag at half-staff in mourning for itself.

Photo by BehindtheLenz/flickr
Copyright © 2008 KLiedle

Monday, September 15, 2008

The Page Setup


"I've been set-up!!!," I scream to my laptop [again.]

As I see the unsettling spinning wheel icon pop up on-screen, I leap into the air and land on my left heel...hard-- hard enough that it takes out some of my frustration, but hard enough that it hurts enough to regret.

In the last several days, I'd spent a lot of time working on what amounted to very little... My only real accomplishment seemed to be the success of the Spinach Rice Gratin dish I made for dinner the other day-- a yummy recipe from a fave recipe blogger at 101cookbooks
and a recipe I'd been meaning to make for awhile.

"And there it spins," I mutter to myself as I crack my knuckles, "the spinning wheel of Macintosh hell..."

I've been working on the page layout and set-up of my first book, Once More, With Feeling.

Unbelievably, Incredibly frustrating!

Writing it, illustrating it, etc. were nothing compared to the abysmal, harrowing experience of getting the layout "print-ready," mostly due to pagination and resolution issues.

Finally, miraculously... when I didn't care anymore and I was about to give up and forget about it entirely: It worked!

(Note: images need to be 300 dpi, manual page breaks are necessary where it really counts especially when graphics are involved...)

Like most worthy things, the end product will be worth the pain eventually. To be honest, I'm more relieved than excited. At this point, I can't forget the all-to-recent pain of the whole experience. (For one thing, my left heel still hurts.)

I'll report back when Once More, With Feeling becomes officially available and then, I'll be excited!

Illustrations credit: Scott Vogel, from my upcoming book, Once More, With Feeling.
Copyright © 2008 KLiedle

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

September-Fest


A friend of mine just found a worm in her apple -- a sure sign that autumn and apple season is well on its way! I love September -- the cooler weather ( in my hemisphere anyway), autumnal festivals galore, and the beginnings of the grape harvest up North.

It certainly isn't Oktoberfest, but September certainly has quite a bit to offer. I've gotten a list together of some happenings around L.A. and lots of September things I'd like to do. I won't get to them all-- guaranteed-- but I can share them here. Perhaps some of you reading this can experience the things I won't have time for.



September 2008 Happenings In And Around L.A.

-- Julian Grape Stomp Festa
I've always wanted to experience true grape-stomping " I Love Lucy" style. I've never been to Julian, located roughly an hour east of San Diego, but if you're in the area in the next few days, you might want to check this out.
Sept. 6, Menghini Winery, Julian CA. julianca.com

--Lemon Fest
Ahh... lemons...bitter yet sweet and a very good excuse to drive out to Ventura.
Sept. 6-7, Pacific View Mall, Ventura, lemonfest.com

--Mid-Autumn Moon Festival
The Chinese people certainly know how to put together a festival: Witness the amazing spectacle of the opening and closing ceremonies of the recent Olympic Games. Luckily, I don't have to teleport myself to China to experience the upcoming Moon Festival.
Sept. 13 Central Plaza, Chinatown (Los Angeles), chinatownla.com

--Santa Barbara Sand Castle Festival
Sandcastles are always magical to me. They represent the epitome of art that needs to be cherished in the moment since, well, sand castles don't last forever.
Sept. 13, East Beach, Santa Barbara, CA sandcastlefestival.com

--Pasadena Greek Festival
Yes, I know the L.A. Greek Festival is going on this weekend. I went to it last year and had a great time, as I do at every Greek Festival. However, this year, I want to be different so I want to see how Pasadenaean Greeks showcase their stuff.
Sept. 19-21, St. Anthony's Greek Orthodox Church, Pasadena CA hellenicfestival.org

--Valley Film Festival
It's not in Hollywood or Westwood or Beverly Hills-- Finally, a film festival in my neck of the woods.
Sept. 24-28. El Portal Theatre, North Hollywood CA valleyfilmfest.com

--Grand Avenue Festival
Sept. 28, Grand Avenue, Los Angeles CA
grandavenuefestival.org

--An Academy Salute To Akira Kurosawa
Not only can you see a Kurosawa film in its full glory on the big screen, but the Academy is also hosting a rare exhibit of Kurosawa's pre-production film drawings and paintings, which I'm particularly interested in seeing.
Akira Kurosawa: Film Artist (Academy of Motion Picture Arts And Sciences)
Kurosawa Tribute screenings throughout September including the features: Rashomon, Kagemusha, Seven Samurai, Ran, Yojimbo, and Dersu Uzala.
*Film screenings take place at either the Samuel Goldwyn Theater or the Linwood Dunn Theater. See oscars.org for more information.*

So, it looks like I shall be a busy girl in September ( or vastly disappointed with myself if I don't follow through on attending some of these gems.)

Photo credit: Bald Monk/flickr
Copyright © 2008 KLiedle






Thursday, August 28, 2008

The Skies Are Limited

Once upon a time, I enjoyed flying. Once upon a time, I flirted with the idea of becoming a pilot or even a flight attendant-- anything that could bring me the allure of those open skies above the Earth.

Flying was a unique experience. There were times when I was more enthused about getting on the airplane than I was about my final destination. I enjoyed pulling down my overhead tray when I saw the flight attendants beginning their descent down the aisle. I enjoyed observing how quickly and fanatically my fellow passengers and I would unwrap our silverware so we could pick at unidentifiable airline food. We ate it-- yet never failed to complain about how detestable the food was, still again.

I endured a series of flights on recent travels to visit my family. I dutifully removed my shoes and reminded myself how much I hate terrorists not only for all the obvious reasons, but also for how they ruined my love of flying. My sense of "flying adventure" has been compromised ever since. First, it was the shoes. Then it was the gels and liquid fiasco which infuriated me most two years ago when a TSA employee searched all my baggage and confiscated a jar of apple butter. I've written about that before. I'm also happiest when I'm fully hydrated, but carrying a bottle of water through security has become something of the past as well.

Every flight is full. The honey-roasted peanuts are a distant memory. After take-off flight attendants are nowhere to be found. Checked baggage costs more. Overhead bins are bulging which irritates those of us, like me, who always travel light and never check a bag. Throughout my flights yesterday, I was forced to check my carry-on at the jetway; they were out of room. I cannot remember the last time I'd ever had to visit baggage claim. It was something I took pride in avoiding. I wasn't exactly looking forward to revisiting that experience-- especially against my will.

During those flights yesterday, not once, did my overhead tray leave its upright position. It irritated me every time they announced that "beverages were available for purchase." I was okay with no food, but no beverage? Come on. A gentleman behind me asked for a "courtesy cup" of water. I turned around with interest to see if his wish was granted.

I wondered, "Is there courtesy left in the formerly friendly skies?"

He was denied. Although, we discovered, ice is still free [for the time being.] I laughed when that same gentleman and his companion toasted their free cups of ice and held them up to their reading lights in hopes of creating water for themselves...eventually.

Without a complimentary beverage to look forward to, I was forced to watch an in-flight movie about all the other things available for purchase in the cabin and in the Sky Mall catalog. I was forced to learn how I could get an airline-endorsed credit card in which I could earn points for all these worthless purchases. That video, by the way, lasted significantly longer than the safety video and was much harder to tune out-- not that I ever tune out the safety video.

These days, I pay attention more than ever. I don't trust the airlines anymore. I secretly wish that the seat that doubles as a flotation device also contained a parachute-- not for emergencies per se, but in case I choose to escape from the suffocating experience of flying that I used to enjoy, once upon a time.

Has the complimentary ice melted yet?

*The author has had a bad experience on nearly every major U.S. airline carrier. She wishes that Air New Zealand flew domestically and hopes that seat cushion parachutes are in the future.*

Photo credit: Darren Hester/flickr
Copyright © 2008 KLiedle

Monday, August 11, 2008

A Tale Of Two Bernies...


On Saturday, I heard that Bernie Brillstein passed away. He was 77. Brillstein was an influential talent manager and producer who had led a career in show business for over fifty years. He started off, like many , in the William Morris Agency mail room. In the late 60s, he founded his first management company—Brillstein Co. In later years, he partnered with Brad Grey to form Brillstein-Grey, a personal management and production company which remains well-known in the industry.

We can thank Bernie Brillstein for his help in launching “Saturday Night Live” and “The Mumpet Show” (which I’d watched countless times throughout my childhood.)
Without him, “Happy Gilmore” and “The Cable Guy” might still be in development hell. Without him, my childhood could’ve been robbed of such goofy, yet fun-loving entertainment such as “Alf” and “Ghostbusters,” both of which Brillstein executive produced as well.

Later the same day, someone told me that Bernie Mac died. “Bernie Mac?” I vaguely knew he had been hospitalized with pneumonia, but the last snippet I’d read said that he was apparently responding to treatment. It was possible, yet unlikely. Rumors….gossip, the beginnings of an urban legend, perhaps. Losing two Bernies, both entertainment giants, in one day? With a roll of dice, the probability seemed against it until

I turned on the news that evening to hear newscasters reporting the sudden and shocking death of actor and comedian Bernie Mac at age 50. How could a man, so full of life and spirit and talent, be extinguished so quickly? Bernie Mac came from nothing yet accomplished so much in his 50 years. People that worked with him said that he occupied a room, but was huge presence was never intimidating. On the contrary, he was approachable, fiercely funny, and loved by many.

I know this to be true. I used to work down the street from CBS Radford Studios where “The Bernie Mac Show” taped. I know Scott Vogel who occasionally did storyboards for the show. It was always a good gig for him. The cast and crew were always friendly and inviting, he told me. I believed him wholeheartedly because my experience backed that up.

This was also back in the age (not so long ago) when I was still cultivating my espresso talents at one of the local coffee joints. Several crew members from “Bernie Mac” were regulars there. I knew them by name, I knew their drinks by heart, and I also knew that they considered themselves extremely lucky to be working on “The Bernie Mac Show.” I know this to be true because I remember some of the same crew members coming in the day after they learned the show was cancelled. I could see the sadness in their eyes, the look of being lost, unsure of where they or their careers would be headed next. A fantastic chapter in their lives was ending. Those cast and crew members dispersed. Some moved away, some went on to other shows. Yet, this week, they are again united as they mourn the loss of their “Big Mac” leader—the guy that brought himself and that working experience into their lives.

Two Bernies in one day. What are the chances? A roll of the dice and even the best of us, the most spirited, the most talented, the most passionate can be extinguished at any time.

Somewhere in heaven, two Bernies are shaking hands and laughing. And in Brillstein, Bernie Mac just might have met his new agent.

Copyright © 2008 KLiedle
"The Bernie Mac Show" storyboards by Scott Vogel.