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.

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

We're All Mad Here... Happy New Year!

"Then it doesn't matter which way you walk," said the cat."
"So long as I get somewhere," Alice added as an explanation.
"Oh, you're sure to do that," said the cat, "if you only walk long enough." [ Alice In Wonderland]

I'll keep walking... even though I don't really know where I'm headed.  Here's to living life in 2014.  For me, it's the journey and the people I've met along the way that make all the difference.

Thank you to all the phenomenal people in my life (and the readers of this blog.) May you all have a Happy New Year!!!


Saturday, December 28, 2013

Manny & Bob's Insane Weekend: Coming To A Theater Far, Far Away...

Here's the link to an 80's flavored movie-trailer spoof written and directed by It's Always Smoggy In L.A. creator, Scott Vogel. All of the actors worked hard as did our stellar camera man, Alec Meero, and we all had a blast making it. Enjoy the trailer for a movie that doesn't actually exist.

P.S. Watch for me (KLiedle) as the bad ass aunt who not only gets a clone, but gets to shoot a gangster.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Golden Globe Nods to NEBRASKA

Golden Globe Nominations were announced on Thursday.  I'm looking forward to seeing AMERICAN HUSTLE and INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS.  

However, I must say that I'm especially proud of the 5 nominations snagged by NEBRASKA.  I spent a good chunk of time last year back in the heartland filming this movie.  Congratulations to all involved.   

Below are the five nominations the film received along with the other nominees in those categories:


Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy
"American Hustle"
"Inside Llewyn Davis"
"The Wolf Of Wall Street"

Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
Christian Bale, "American Hustle"
Bruce Dern, "Nebraska"
Leonardo DiCaprio, "The Wolf of Wall Street"
Oscar Isaac, "Inside Llewyn Davis"
Joaquin Phoenix, "Her"

Best Supporting Actress
Sally Hawkins, "Blue Jasmine"
Jennifer Lawrence, "American Hustle"
Lupita Nyong'o, "12 Years A Slave"
Julia Roberts, "August: Osage County"
June Squibb, "Nebraska"

Best Director
Alfonso Cuaron, "Gravity"
Paul Greengrass, "Captain Phillips"
Steve McQueen, "12 Years A Slave"
Alexander Payne, "Nebraska"
David O. Russell, "American Hustle"

Best Screenplay
Spike Jonze, "Her"
Bob Nelson, "Nebraska"
Jeff Pope and Steve Coogan, "Philomena"
John Ridley, "12 Years A Slave"
Eric Warren Singer and David O. Russell, "American Hustle"

For the complete list of 2014 Golden Globe Nominees, click here.  

-- KLiedle  

Saturday, December 7, 2013

RIdiculous Childhood Phobias: The Turtleneck

Turtlenecks scared me as a kid. I was always worried that my head would never find the neck opening. And I'd just disappear.
 It's weird what we remember from childhood.   I'm still afraid of alot of ridiculous (and not so ridiculous things), but luckily I overcame my insane fear of turtlenecks long ago.  Today, I actually wore one and I was fine.

As an adult, I discovered that turtlenecks are an absolute wardrobe staple for wintertime.  They can be worn alone or used for layering.  Versatility and warmth are definite pluses for the classic turtleneck which has been seeing a comeback in the last couple of years.  In the last few days,  temps in the Los Angeles area have been near to freezing.  So, I've put the tank tops away and brought the turtlenecks and sweaters out.

Teen Vogue Notices Young Celebs Sporting Turtlenecks:
This Fall It's All About The Turtleneck

Back in 2011, TMZ of all places, actually posted a Turtleneck Photo Spread:
Turtlenecks: The Fashion Photos (TMZ)

[Above: Diane Keaton wearing a classic black turtleneck in an ad for Chico's.]

Written Content Copyright © 2013 by KLiedle

Friday, November 22, 2013

Listen Up Hollywood: Don't Rip Yourself Off

As talented as I think actress Chloe Grace Moretz is, I can't bring myself to see the remake of Carrie.  And I'd heard so many bad things about the infamous remake of Psycho that I avoided it at all costs.  Psycho?  Why, it's one of my favorite movies.

It's hard for me to fathom why Hollywood insists on remaking classic films.  More often than not, remakes fail and (worse than that) they cheapen the originals.

I saw this list today: The Untouchables: 20 Classic Movies Hollywood Can't Remake or Revisit.  

Compiled by Kevin Polowy, I agree with every single movie on this list.  What would I add?  Rosemary's Baby, Breakfast At Tiffany's, and Manhattan instantly come to mind.  I'd lose respect for any studio that even attempts to redo these.

Content copyright ©2013 by KLiedle

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

TV Tastes Don't Jive With Popularity: New Girl Vs The B----

It takes me awhile to warm up to a new show.  A long time ago, I remember being forced to watch Friends one night and I kept thinking, "What's the deal with this show?"  I didn't get it at all.  Two years later, I tuned in again [on my own] and Voila-- became a Friends fan.   

It's not that it takes me longer to catch on, it's just that I don't like a show solely because it's popular;  I have to discover it on my own.

Sometimes, I'm surprised by my own taste.  While I admit to enjoying an occasional Deadly Women episode [expected], I can't seem to get into Orange Is The New Black [unexpected.]  The Walking Dead has to fight for my attention along with Game Of Thrones, two wildly popular shows that fans live and die over, but I haven't devoted much attention to.

New Girl, a show that premiered on Fox in 2011, is a show I expected to like.  It had a decent premise and Zooey Deschanel as a lead.  Additionally, Zooey's character, Jess, is a little like me. She's completely unafraid to showcase her klutsy, adorkable self.  She also breaks out into impromptu dancing (which I do, too) and randomly sings. 

Jess, in case you didn't know, breaks up with her boyfriend in the pilot episode.   Then, out of necessity, she answers an ad on Craigslist and moves in with a houseful of guys.  Shockingly, I didn't really like the show.  I didn't entirely dislike it.  I mean, I passively enjoyed parts of it, but I felt there was something lacking.  The storylines were okay and, at times, rather amusing, but the jokes and ensuing laughter felt canned to me.  It always feels like New Girl is trying too hard to fit in. 

Instead, I turned my attention to the Bitch in apartment 23.  This was a chick, I was expecting to hate.  Don't Trust The Bitch In Apartment 23... and I didn't.  I didn't trust her, but I sorta liked her.  The series, which premiered on ABC in 2012  followed June (Dreama Walker), a seemingly wholesome character who moves from Indiana to New York City.  Through unforeseen circumstances, she ends up needing a place to live asap.  Enter the Bitch, Chloe (Krysten Ritter), who becomes June's new roommate.  While the scheming and conniving Chloe begins with the upper hand, June proves herself by often beating Chloe at her own game.  B---- can be cliched, but to me, it has heart.  I enjoy the good-natured conflict between the girls and their neighborhood posse.  Chloe is creepily believeable as a skanky, older sister type to June.  She always looks after #1, and that's the point. 

The Update: New Girl is going strong in its third season.  Meanwhile, the network kicked B---- to the curb after Season 2 in early 2013.  That's how much I know.  Evidently, I'm not in touch with the heartbeat of the average American viewer.  Generally, I don't even like sitcoms. 

Luckily, though, even cancelled shows can have an afterlife these days.  Occasionally, a strong enough fan base can even resurrect a show from the dead.  These days, thanks to Netflix, I can diss New Girl in favor of B----.  And I'm thankful for that.

Copyright ©2013 by KLiedle

Sunday, November 3, 2013

"Invisible Cities" Journey

An intoxicating wave of music begins to waft throughout the room.  You find yourself in a room full of strangers, yet you feel connected to them in a way you can't quite explain.  Moments later, you're on a journey guided by your own imagination, experiencing something quite magical on an ordinary evening.  The music continues as you move throughout an environment you'd recognized just minutes earlier.  Wasn't this just a train station in downtown Los Angeles?  It was the last you looked.  Oh, but now it's coming alive with dancers and opera singers.  They're cavorting within the gardens and courtyards as dazzled and bewildered onlookers watch. 

This is the experience of "Invisible Cities," an interactive opera of sorts, sponsored by the Industry and LA Dance Project.  Based on the novel by Italo Calvino, "Invisible Cities" has become a surprisingly successful take on opera.  As many art forms and dance companies struggle financially, the creative team behind "Invisible Cities" has found a way to attract traditional opera and dance patrons as well as newcomers looking for a unique night out.  (I saw the show on Halloween, which only added to the experience.)

Each guest on the "Invisible Cities" journey is given a set of wireless headphones, powered by Sennheiser.  Once the overture has concluded, guests are free to roam the grounds of Union Station while experiencing the words and music.  As guests roam during the 75 minute show, performers and dancers delight and surprise by appearing throughout Union Station. 

While the show may not be for everyone, it's certainly innovative.  And popular!  Out of the starting gate, it's SOLD OUT 18 performances straight and has recently been extended to mid November.  For more information, see their website:

Music and Libretto by Christopher Cerrone
Based on the novel by Italo Calvino
Directed by Yuval Sharon
LA Dance Project Company:
Founding Director, Benjamin Millepied

Travel Hollywood
Copyright ©2013 by KLiedle

Friday, October 4, 2013

Be Careful When You're Flinging Those "X's" Around

Back in college, I was an advertising and journalism major.  At one point, I thought I'd become an advertising copywriter or go into print advertising.  Instead, I watch Mad Men.  That said, I was forced to take a communications law class which I loathed.  As I look back, I have to admit it was probably one of the more useful classes I took in college.  I did learn a thing or two.
For one, I know the trademark infringement lawsuit Exxon Mobil Oil filed against cable network FXX Tuesday is absurd.  
It's unlikely that even the most idiotic person would confuse Exxon Mobil Oil & the recently launched cable network FXX.  They aren't even competing in the same industry (one of the hallmarks of trademark infringement.)  And I doubt that FXX was trying to "trick" Exxon consumers into becoming accidental viewers of their network. What's next, Exxon?  Going after FedEx for stealing your "Ex?"
The case is now in the hands of U.S. District court in Houston.  
A statement released by FXX stated: 
"We are confident that viewers won’t tune into FXX looking for gas or motor oil and drivers won’t pull up to an Exxon pump station expecting to get ‘It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.”
Still waiting for Exxon's comeback on that one.

Under trademark law, they use the terms 'confusingly similar' and 'likelihood of confusion' to determine if there has been a trademark infringement.  
 According to, multiple determining factors include:
(My comments in red.)
  • Whether or not the goods or services using the same mark compete with one another.
  • Um, no.
  • Whether or not the goods or services are so closely related that they are being marketed through the same stores or channels of distribution.
  • Gas pump vs. television station.  Hmm.  Not very related.
  • Whether or not the alleged infringer intended to trick consumers in order to "cash in" on the plaintiff's business good will.
  • Yeah, I'm sure FXX had tricksters on staff to gain viewers from that pesky oil company.
  • Whether the marks are similar in appearance, phonetic sound, or meaning.
  • You can't trademark a letter and even a font is somewhat hard to argue.  Exxon has two syllables while FXX has three letters.  They don't even sound alike. 
  • The legal strength of each of the marks. The greater the public recognition of a mark as a source identifier, the more likely that similar uses will be confusing.
  • Exxon's only chance, in my opinion may be:  If they can prove that oil consumers and/or investors somehow thought Exxon was in some way affiliated with the launch of FXX and this supposed confusion hurt Exxon financially and/or harmed their corporate reputation or integrity.
  • Whether there has been any actual confusion. If so, this is not conclusive evidence of likelihood of confusion, but must be weighed together with the other factors.
  • Only time will tell...  
  • Copyright ©2013 by KLiedle

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

What's Trending, What's most Popular and When's The Latest Upgrade?

There is so much information out there these days that it seems like all anyone pays attention to are:

*What's trending according to Yahoo News
*Most Popular on Youtube
*Most Popular on Facebook
*When is the newest iPhone upgrade is going to be released?

It's as though the news creators, of which there are countless, realize you have too many choices.  To combat this, they narrow things down into bullet point headlines, scrolling news timelines and screenshots to make it easier.  [Or more than likely, to steer you toward the things they want you to read about.]

I believe it may have been Walter Cronkite who first coined the term, infotainment, to describe how the reporting of hard news was morphing into something else entirely.  He spoke of the concept way back when the internet was still in its infancy and most people I knew (including myself) didn't have a cell phone yet and e-mail was a mind-boggling concept.

The informative news broadcasts of current events from our parents' day and age, is becoming more and more diluted by popular culture.  Now, there are no boundaries to what constitutes "news."  In fact, what's trending is more driven by the public than ever before.  Just look at the shows that hit the top ten on the Nielsen Ratings any given week.

Things that made headlines this week:

Nurse Jackie actress, Merritt Wever wins best supporting actress in a comedy and proceeds to give the quickest Emmy speech ever-- out of what can best be described as good old-fashioned stage fright.  I watched the video, as did many people.  In my opinion, it's far from newsworthy, more like a fluff of a news item.  I will admit that the frightened Wever is adorable as she flees the spotlight, Emmy in hand.  Her reaction is much like many of us would have-- if we were convinced we were a dark horse in an Emmy race and then we end up winning.

Sarah Silverman is still Jewish.  After an appearance on FXX's Totally Biased With W. Kamau Bell, the Jewish comedian is spotted wearing a cross necklace.  Oh, the horror!  Who the f*** cares?  Sarah must be laughing about this.  I mean, really.  I'm not Jewish, but I do have a Star of David necklace that I've worn out in public.  No one gives me shit about it.  Ever.  But then again, maybe they think I really am Jewish.  I sorta look the part, I suppose, but I'm not a public figure so no one cares anyway.  Everyone feels the need to be nitpicky about crap when you're a public figure like Sarah.  Wear whatever you want, Sarah.  Oh, and also, when you're done with those rock-star black boots you were also wearing during that interview, I'll take 'em off your hands, er feet.    

Louis C.K. hates cell phones.  The Youtube video of the comedian's appearance on Conan this week, quickly went viral.  For the record, Louis C.K. never actually said that he hated cell phones.  He was just commenting on how they've taken away a few crucial elements that make us human:  Things like face-to-face interaction, the ability to feel empathy, being unafraid to be sad, really, f***ing sad, and the ability to just be-- without anything else.  Louis C.K. was just giving his own opinion on things that the more intelligent of us have already thought.  And that, by the way, is one of the secrets behind the popularity of his FX show, Louie.  Minus the phone and the little screen, take some time to just sit there and stare at a wall and get to know yourself and your own thoughts.  You may in fact, learn something.

Post content Copyright © 2013 by KLiedle

Saturday, September 21, 2013

A year ago last September, I was adapting to life in Norfolk, Nebraska-- where our production office and the crew were based during the shooting of Nebraska

At this time last year, we were scurrying around in pre-production-- less than a month away from our rapidly approaching deadline of October 15, 2012.  It was to be our first day of filming.

Nebraska, directed by Alexander Payne, is slated for theatrical release November 2013.

Nebraska Official Movie Site

Copyright © 2013 by KLiedle 

Thursday, September 5, 2013

When I'm not writing about movies, entertainment, or other areas of interest, you can find me collaging and making greeting cards.  (I go through quite a bit of Elmer's glue.)

 I typically make cards from recycled papers, words, and images.  Each card is one-of-a-kind and recipients are usually friends of mine.  It depends on the card, but most take as little as 30 minutes to make or as long as 2-3 hours, but I'm pretty meticulous about them.  Check out my cards at the links below: 

People in the past have commented that perhaps I should look into selling my cards.  Lately, I've been thinking more about that possibility.  I'd welcome any thoughts.  ~KL 

 Copyright ©2013 by KLiedle

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Cable, Original Programming and the Rising Ranks of Independent Content Providers

With the overwhelming nature of entertainment these days, it's hard to keep track.  What's hot?  What's not?  What's worthwhile?  More than half of all TV shows on the air right now, I've never heard of.  Others I'm marginally aware of, but I've never watched.  I'm skeptical of anything that's currently popular (mostly because I don't trust the taste nor the intelligence of my fellow human beings.) 

At any rate, it's hard for any show to stand out-- even if it's got potential.  The sheer number of entertainment choices makes it impossible for even the most die hard fan to keep up with much of anything.  Cable stations have discovered that creating original programming on their own dime is the wave of the future of TV.   Cable (along with internet media giants like Netflix) are forcing networks to (gulp) take risks.  Uh-oh.  What's the world coming to?

Ratings will never reach the numbers we saw in the past; those days are long gone.  That said, the entertainment industry is finding itself not so much driven by executives creating shows as it is by the audiences who are watching them (or not.)  We're in the midst of a "choose your own adventure" entertainment revolution.  No matter what you're into, no matter how obscure, there's probably a show about it.

Web content providers are also rising up the ranks-- driven by their followers and the proliferation of social media.  One look at Youtube and it's shocking to see how many videos people are creating every minute of every hour, every day.  Where do you even begin?  In some ways, it's easy.  Most of these videos aren't worth a second look. However, the savvy do-it-yourself (D.I.Y.) internet producers are creating content they want to watch.  In other words, they're participating as both audience and creator.

One such example is that of Kurt Bonzell, whose web series Lost Angels is slowly but steadily gaining a following on Youtube.  It follows a down-on-his-luck everyman named Jimmy who takes a job as an FBI operative to earn money to help dig himself out of financial and marital difficulties.  Great plan, right?  Yet Jimmy isn't exactly the best man for the job.  He's like a fish out of water and at certain points in the pilot episode, "Prom Night", it feels like he's a hostage in his new profession.  It's intriguing to watch a character like Jimmy in this situation.

Much like Walt in the beginnings of Breaking Bad, Jimmy is clearly questioning whether of not he's cut out for this.  By the end of Episode 1, he's decided to take the risk, make the sacrifices to his family, and give it a go.  Whether or not this is a good idea, is a great motivator to keep watching. Though dramatic, Lost Angels also offers occasional humor-- which is often necessary to relieve pressure in key moments.

Like any show, it's not for everyone-- nor should it be.  However, Lost Angels has the potential to connect with audiences looking for adventure, intrigue, and a dramatic peak inside the dark underbelly of Jimmy's new world.  The show is well-shot, especially for an independently produced web series and Bonzell has also made music a central element.  (The original music in each episode appropriately fits the dramatic and gritty tone of the show.)

See all current Lost Angels episodes on Youtube / Kurt Bonzell's Media Collection Youtube channel.

And I'm going to try to check out a few of the shows I've never heard of and discover other D-I-Y filmmakers producing quality content.  Better get cracking... there's alot out there! 

©2013 by KLiedle

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

The Allure Of Old Hollywood (And The Chateau Marmont)

There’s something about Hollywood’s Golden Age that implies mysticism and allure as though the era never truly existed. They say that about Hollywood itself—-that it never truly exists but in our minds. I always felt that if I had a chance, I’d go back to ‘30s-‘40s era Hollywood. It was a time when movie stars were “stars” in the grandest sense. They dressed the part and wore the flowing robes of gods and goddesses in a way that made them untouchable, elusive, and mysterious. Movies and stars, and even Hollywood itself, had magic. Maybe it’s true what they say-- perhaps it was an illusion all along.

 That doesn’t mean we don’t try to recreate it. The Artist, released in 2011, caused a stir in Hollywood. Black-and-white film was suddenly new again and every fashion magazine sought to feature the latest vintage designs inspired by the ‘20s, ‘30s, and ‘40s. The Great Gatsby kept it going. Hats and hair-clips, jeweled accessories, feathers and fringe—all of this made it fun to play dress-up again. We know something is missing in the modern era when we begin looking to the past for inspiration.

Up-and-coming fashion designers, Sophie Buhai and Lisa Mayock of Vena Cava envisioned a vintage Hollywood look for a recent collection. Charlotte Dellal, based in London, opened up Charlotte Olympia, a boutique in Beverly Hills that speaks to anyone who loves classic film: Think glittery Mae West stilettos and pumps featuring the likes of Bette Davis and Louise Brooks.

As I write this, I’m sitting at the outdoor patio of the fabled Chateau Marmont. It all seems quite appropriate. Sofia Coppola often called this place home. She came back to shoot Somewhere. (To date, I believe it’s the only film shoot the Chateau has ever allowed.)

Writers find inspiration here. Troubled starlets find solace here. Even designers find that the Chateau brings out the best in them. The Art-décor inspired patio furniture is simple yet elegant, not unlike the old Hollywood it evokes. My wicker chair is speckled black-and-white with a single stripe of red down the middle. I think there’s a journalist interviewing a playwright across from me. She sort of looks like Andie Macdowell yet more sophisticated, more refined.

There’s a pleasant atmosphere here, not the stuffiness that one might surmise—given its legacy. A cool breeze wafts through the foliage surrounding me. It’s quiet, yet not at all silent. The traffic of nearby Sunset Blvd can barely be heard over the clattering of dishes and the conversations of nearby diners. It’s easy to understand why celebrities feel at home. There’s an implication of safety and seclusion here. The Chateau itself looks like a castle—an architectural anomaly that doesn’t quite fit in with the buildings surrounding it. That makes it all the more magical and alluring. It seems like a place that holds secrets that no one’s talking about. I find myself feeling oddly protective of keeping those secrets even if I only get a sense of them.

As I get up to leave, I spin around and eye a gentleman who resembles Robert Downey, Jr. We lock eyes in a moment of faux recognition. I decide it’s not him, but he’s handsome just the same.
For a moment, I feel awkward—as though I’m a fraud in this Hollywoodland of which I don’t belong. However, this, too, is just an illusion. I belong wherever I am. Like all illusions, it’s based on perception.

Copyright ©2013 by KLiedle

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Tearjerkers: Sharing Emotions With Fictional Characters

There are times when I don’t feel up to facing the world.  Times when I’m emotional and teary-eyed and the sadness of anything I’ve ever experienced casts a dark, heavy shadow in my brain. 

When I’m in that state, I certainly don’t feel like being around people yet I don’t necessarily feel like being alone either. That’s where movies come in.   To get myself out of a depressed funk, I’d like to say that I watch comedies or feel-good chick flicks. But I’m not a comedy, chick-flick sort of girl in these instances. Misery loves company, they say. And when I’m depressed, I watch depressing movies. I hate to say it, but they make me feel better about my sad, little life. Much better than a forced laugh. Trying to fake myself into a better mood by watching a comedy never seems to work.

Sometimes, emotions have to bleed out of your pores before the sunshine can flow in again. I can identify with the characters and emotional currents of a sad film to a deeper degree when those sad emotions are already churning through my veins. Although our situations may be far different, I can share my emotions and my tears with the characters on the screen. With them, I feel that I’m in good company—even if I’m crying alone. On my sofa. On a Friday night. 

Movies That Make Me Cry (in no particular order):

It may be the nostalgia, but Deschanel's cinematography alone is magical enough to make me cry.

Like Crazy (2011)
Two people in love whose lives just can't get into synch.  It's tears me up inside because I know what that's like.

Elegy (2008) 

Cinema Paradiso (1988)
Beaches (1988)
Beaches is arguably a “chick flick” in many peoples’ books. I take offense to the term chick flick.  I believe it demotes some beautiful films purely because they tell emotional, female-centered stories. It shouldn’t be that way, but then again, Hollywood’s still an Old Boys’ Club. 

The Impossible (2012) 
Fairly certain that almost no one saw this.  Starring Naomi Watts and Ewan McGregor, it's a beautiful film about a natural disaster. 

The Wrestler (2008)
The Artist (2011)
When all seems lost, these two characters find a way to meet in the middle.  And they end up together in the end.  A sad film that brightens in the end-- like seeing a rainbow after the storm, only it's all in black-and-white.

Ghost (1990)
If there's any film that makes me want to believe in the supernatural, an after-life, and the hope for everlasting love, it's this one.

Copyright ©2013 by KLiedle

Sunday, July 21, 2013

The Power Of Visual Storytelling

Katie's Journey opens on a seemingly ordinary day, but instantly sucks the audience into a little girl's psychological nightmare.  The short which premiered in 2008 was written and directed by Samuel Jørgensen, a native of Sydney, Australia.  It's a showcase of  Jørgensen  talent for visual storytelling.

 Jørgensen, who spent time in Austin, TX before going out to L.A., specializes in visual effects. His expertise shows in his own work as well as the extensive work he's done on other films-- of which there are many.

If you like kinetic energy, sci-fi, extraterrestrial beings and adrenaline-pumping movies, Singularity, an upcoming short film by Samuel Jørgensen will definitely pique your interest.  His hope is to raise enough financing to expand the short into a feature. Written content Copyright ©2013 by KLiedle

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Tig Notaro: From Working Comedian To "Semi-Famous"

I first read about Tig Notaro in LA Weekly.  A few months later, she appeared in a profile article in ELLE MagazineIt was the ELLE article where I first read of Notaro's laughably heart-wrenching year that strangely led to a goldmine of comedic material.  It all came to a forefront when Notaro made an appearance at Largo (here in Hollywood) shortly after she'd been diagnosed with breast cancer.  

A working comedian, but by no means a household name, Notaro's performance that night made waves throughout social media.  Aided by Louis C.K.'s reverence for her work [he'd been at Largo that night], Tig Notaro is now seemingly everywhere.  After a year like she had, she deserves nothing but good fortune.  

Once I became aware of her, I sought out Tig Notaro's comedy.  I really appreciate her uniqueness.  She brings a darkly comedic style to her material all the way down to her mannerisms.  The above clip from Conan is a good example of her wry signature style.  

Side note: Two out of the three places featured in the clip are close to where I live.  I've made copies of scripts at NoHo Copy and Paty's is instantly recognizable to anyone who lives in the area.  My headshot is not on the walls.

Footage from Conan via YouTube
Written content - Copyright ©2013 by KLiedle

Sunday, July 7, 2013

League Of Extraordinarly Aging Gentlemen In Hollywood

After reading The Great Gatsby, my 9th grade English teacher had us watch the film adaptation.  To be clear, I’m referring to the Mia Farrow and Robert Redford version, because… I wasn’t born yesterday.  The film adaptation left me both disappointed and confused.  See, I’d overheard my mom and her friend talking about how much of a heartthrob Robert Redford was.  How handsome, how sexy… and I really didn’t get it at all-- even when I saw the younger version of the man.

“Eww, Robert Redford?  He’s got all those pot-marks on his face and like skin cancer, doesn’t he?”  I said with the sly smile only a teenager can pull off.  My mom replied “Honey, you’ll understand when you’re older.” 

And I do.  Not the Robert Redford part of it; I still don’t really get that, but good for him for starting the Sundance Institute.  I do, however, understand the movie star heartthrob part.  Recently, The Los Angeles Times did an article on male movie stars who are aging gracefully onscreen.  I took note primarily because “Oh, shit!,” these are the heartthrobs of the generation a few steps ahead of me.  [I’d say my generation, but I’ve always been attracted to older guys so that’s not entirely true… not technically.]

The Times mentioned Brad Pitt and Johnny Depp and George Clooney mostly.  Brad Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio were the youngest of the older bunch in question.  It was odd in a way because a couple of months ago I was sitting on the back porch of a house where we were filming and Johnny [Depp] sat down for a smoke across from me.  At the time, I remember glancing up at him and thinking, “Crazy, he’s almost 50 and he’s still a looker.”

There are few things about men I understood as a kid.  Like women twice my age, I did understand there was something about Warren Beatty. At thirteen, I went to see Dick Tracy and I came out of the theater with a little girl crush on a much older man.  

 It wasn’t the first time either.  Two years earlier, I’d fallen head over heels over Harrison Ford.  I wanted to become an archeologist, travel the world, and hang out with Harrison.  Sadly, the reality was that I was in fifth grade and the only real thing I’d accomplished that year was getting my mom to let me wear a training bra.  Nor was I good at math or science.  None of this would impress Mr. Ford; I was doomed.  (Maybe Sean Connery would still hang out with me.)

Upon watching Gone With The Wind for the first time as a kid, I just knew Scarlett O’Hara was a moron for not going for Rhett Butler, hook-line-and-sinker.  Clark Gable was ruggedly handsome.  Leslie Howard, not so much.  Obviously.  Come on, Scarlett-- get with the program, but I’ve seen the film multiple times in my life and it ends the same way each and every time.  Scarlett single once again.  Because she’s a moron and a tad too selfish and conniving.

Like any woman worth her weight in estrogen, I was attracted to Patrick Swayze and I've seen Dirty Dancing more than my share of times.  I even recall watching it at slumber parties and girls rewinding the VHS tape so we could watch and re-watch a quick flash of Swayze's bare rear-end.  It's just a glimpse.  I won't tell you which scene.  Most women probably already know.

More strangely, I had my Albert Finney phase.  I thought he was cute and, more importantly, had a super sexy voice.  Albert Finney, folks.  And yet I fail to understand my mom and her Robert Redford.   

It did make me feel better when I learned that Audrey Hepburn and Albert Finney had a 
 little flame all their own.  See, I’m not crazy.  Audrey thought he was hot.  Watch Two For The Road and you’ll understand.  Even watch Annie and you’ll sort of get it.  Who doesn’t want a Daddy Warbucks with a voice like Finney?

I also had, shall I say, a fondness for Laurence Olivier.  I read his autobiography and flipped through old photos of him.  Very handsome gentleman, I thought.  And he married Scarlett O’Hara [Vivien Leigh.] She didn’t end up alone after all!  I thought they had the perfect romance until I learned of a rumor that he wasn’t really much a gentleman after all. 

For any woman there comes a time in your life when you’re faced with the reality that, like you, little girl crushes grow old.   

My brother got me Harrison Ford’s autograph a few years ago and I’ll admit, as an adult, it didn’t elicit the same excitement.  Ten years ago, when I first moved to Hollywood, Warren Beatty came into the coffee shop where I worked.   
 The 13-year-old girl lurking somewhere inside my soul was alarmed to see a man who looked like he had just rolled out of bed.  He was somewhat aloof, but very polite.  Glimmers of his handsomeness still stood out amid the pillow creases and lines etched onto his face.  I remember him being disappointed that we didn’t have wheat rolls.  But I was I thinking of how damned good he looked in that yellow fedora so many years ago.  Then, I sheepishly apologized and told him I’d ask my manager that day to order wheat rolls—at his request.   
We got wheat rolls.  I never saw Warren again.  Damn you, wheat rolls. 

At twenty-four, I understood firsthand the charisma of Jack Nicholson.  I was standing and talking with a group of male co-workers on the sound stage where we were filming.  Nicholson came waltzing in wearing a white, terrycloth bathrobe [for the scene.]  He looked at me, flashed a broad smile, and said “Good morning.” My co-workers watched him pass by and muttered later that Mr. Nicholson didn’t even look over at them at all.  Um, you're not female, boys.  And that’s Jack for you.  He may not be classically handsome, but charisma goes a long way.  And the guy’s got charisma.

Not so long ago, I made a male co-worker recoil in horror when I mentioned that Russell Brand was hot in a roguish, dirty sorta way.  Then, my Albert Finney revelation made him nearly fall out of his chair.  As a result, he became utterly confused by the way my brain works. Sometimes I can’t even pinpoint what attracts me to certain men whether it’s a grown woman 'movie star crush' or a man in my personal life.  My former movie star crushes are surprisingly odd, even for someone like me who is well, odd.  Or more pleasantly put… quirky in a Diane Keaton sort of way.  Sometimes they make sense, like Robert Downey, Jr and Johnny Depp. Who's to argue those movie star crushes?  In the end, it doesn't matter because your little girl movie star crushes are yours and yours alone-- even if you shared them with millions of other adolescent girls.  To anyone who's ever had a little girl crush on a big movie star, may all your crushes age as well as George Clooney. 

Copyright ©2013 by KLiedle

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

405 Frwy Sufferers: This One's For You

Unfortunately, the dreaded 405 Frwy has become part of my daily commute while I'm working on a feature film down in West L.A.  For Southern Californians out there AND anyone stuck on a freeway somewhere, this is for you. 

It certainly gave me a chuckle.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

No Time Like The Present

The last month has been a blur and I'm hoping the next month will be a blur, too.  Because, by then, I just might get to have time for myself again. 

I've been working.  Quite a lot.  That's the reason I've been missing-in-action in the blogosphere.  I just finished work on a feature and the very next day began work on another film.  For me, it's been the film equivalent of a double-header, but this game's gonna last a whole lot longer than 9 innings.  A whole lot longer...

When you're working on a film crew, the reality is that you really don't have a life beyond the film.  That's just the way it is.  You can have your life back once the film is over.  That is, if you want it back.  A lot of people don't.  They do films; they join the circus so they can immerse themselves in fictional worlds and avoid the realities of their own lives.  Some people make a habit of this.  They have the bills, the broken relationships, and the therapy sessions to prove it.  I know I've used work as an excuse to avoid dealing with certain things in my life.   But you can't avoid life forever.  I wouldn't want to; I enjoy my life-- most of the time.  In fact, I enjoy work, too.  Even the worst days bring the best stories.  I get to witness the egos and the star treatment and eat the catering.  But it all gets old.  Yet, more often than not, it's more exciting then the ennui of my own life. 

This Memorial Day Weekend, I'm not doing much of anything and it feels fantastic!  I'm taking deep breathes and doing yoga.  I'm making brownies from scratch and eating ice cream.  I'm listening to kids playing in the pool outside my window.  I'm watching hummingbirds flutter around our lemon tree.  And I'm loving it all.  The simplicity of my own life.  In no time at all, I'll be back in the fictional world toiling away...  But my own life?  Well, that's something I get to look forward to.

Copyright ©2013 by KLiedle

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Forever A Golden Girl: A Mutual Love For the Movies

My grandmother passed away this week.  Not only was she an amazing woman, but she's also the person I credit with giving me a love of movies.  My earliest memory is watching old movies at my grandparent's house.  We'd eat frozen green grapes out of a big silver bowl and there was always an open box of Russell Stover Candies on the coffee table.

My grandmother had a fascination with all things Hollywood and she shared it with me.  She showed me old movie books full of black-and-white, glossy photos of the classic movie stars of the golden age-- the age when she was growing up.  I learned about all the films and actors that existed well before my time.  I immersed myself in Hollywood history.

When I moved to Los Angeles to pursue a career in Hollywood, I thought about my grandmother most.   Was I doing the right thing?  I was going to miss her.  Hollywood was 1200 miles away and we wouldn't get to see each other whenever we wanted.  We wouldn't get to watch movies together all that often.  And I felt guilty about all of that.  What I didn't think about then, was that Grandma had been training me for a career in Hollywood all my life.

I've gotten to have the love affair with Hollywood that she'd always dreamed of.  Although, it hasn't always been glamorous,  I got to tell her my stories from the trenches.  Tell her the Hollywood stars I'd met.  Our mutual love of Hollywood brought us together, but it was also Hollywood that took us away from each other.  But she was proud of me for going to Los Angeles even though I missed her so.

She wanted to be the golden Girl, the Rockette, the entertainer, the ingenue.  To us, she was and always will be.  She never lost her childish wonder or her love of the movies.  She took notice of the smallest things and her facial expressions always made be laugh-- especially when she was happy or pouting or trying to get away with something.


Grandma, I have so many things to thank you for, but above all, thank you for sharing your passion for movies and entertainment.  It's now my passion, too, and we can share it together no matter where you are.  I hope you're watching It Happened One Night somewhere there in heaven... or eating frozen green grapes and laughing at Laurel And Hardy with Grandpa.

Copyright ©2013 by KLiedle

Friday, April 19, 2013

Are You Going To Eat That?

To the buxom blonde at Ralph's, no need to sneer at me just because I saw you put that bag of Cheetos in your cart.  I'm not judging you.  People in L.A. are always so concerned with what other people think of them.

Yes, I'm slim.  I've got a dancer's body which some people may find enviable, but I work for it.  I exercise everyday, lift weights and eat well.  I also drink a ton of water-- enough water that in an emergency, I could be your flotation device.  Enough water, that my tummy made splashing, gurgling noises.  While I was on a date. 

I do, however, like to eat.  Since I often work on film sets, I have to make a conscious effort to steer clear of the craft service table.   
I have a particular weakness for trail mix, dark chocolate, and Stacy's pita chips.  I probably drink way too much coffee.  I probably eat way too much dried fruit.  Everyone has their weaknesses.  In Bon Appetit magazine last month (yes, I'm a subscriber), Julia Louis Dreyfuss said that for her it's M&Ms and tootsie rolls.  It's the long hours and sheer boredom that drive us to cave into our comfort foods. 

Recently, I working a fashion shoot and I was dying for them to break for lunch.  Usually, this happens 6 hours after call time, but that particular day, there was no indication that lunch was imminent.  Sure, the food was ready, but no one, I mean NO ONE was eating.  The craft service table was stocked with French macaroons, toffee, a cheese platter full of Brie and other yummy soft cheeses, organic granola, and a fruit and veggie tray.  But no one was snacking either except for ME and a couple of grips.  

Between handfuls of chocolate-covered pretzels, I watched the photographer snap photos of a model as she flipped her hair over and over again.  Suddenly, they stopped.  Lunch? I thought, hopefully.  No.  Two guys rigged up a wind machine and the hair flipping continued.  For me, all that hair flipping would've caused whiplash-- especially on an empty stomach.  Lunch eventually happened.  I ate like one of the guys (which usually isn't the case), but this was a fashion shoot. 
Apparently, no one eats at these. 

Not surprisingly, the model looked unhappy.  Throughout the day, all I'd seen her consume were 5 cigarettes, a Diet Coke, and a small handful of raw vegetables.  And she didn't get to even eat the cigarettes, just smoke them.  I'd like to think she had more than that-- even a water, but somehow I doubt it.

I've overheard women in Trader Joes talk about how they're not eating.  Excuse me, but aren't you inside what is essentially a grocery store?  What are you doing here?  I want to say this because I'm here to buy food.  To eat.

P.S.  I took the rest of the chocolate-covered pretzels home with me.  They were going to throw them out anyway.

Copyright © 2013 by KLiedle

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Baseball Nostalgia and Jackie Robinson's Legacy

When I was younger, my dad would tell me stories of the legendary baseball players of his day.  Willie Mays, Joe Dimaggio, Bob Feller, Ted Williams, Honus Wagner,  and Jackie Robinson became familiar names in my head, even though none of them ever played baseball in my lifetime.  Baseball knowledge is not something that most little girls seek out for themselves.  I can credit my dad for that and for giving me a love of baseball: the game, the sport, the strategy, and the history of it all.

We'd go to minor league baseball games at Rosenblatt Stadium-- the noted stadium that was the home of the College World Series until just recently.  We traveled to Iowa once, not to see the Field Of Dreams, but to meet old-time ballplayer, Bob Feller.  Upon meeting Feller, my dad acted like a giddy schoolgirl.  My brother and I found it embarrassing at the time.  We didn't realize that's what happens when you meet one of your boyhood idols when you're well into your 60s.

When we were kids, my brother found a box of my dad's old baseball cards.  He went ballistic when he skimmed through the stacks and found a Jackie Robinson baseball card.  He held it up to the sky and looked astonished:  "It's autographed!"

My brother and I looked at each other, shell-shocked.  Several other cards were signed, too.  Many of them were those legendary names we'd only heard about from our dad's baseball talk.  We excitedly brought the stack of cards to dear old Dad and handed him Jackie's card.

"Oh," Dad said, looking fondly at the Robinson card, "I signed that."

Unfortunately, Dad had just been a kid collecting baseball cards way back when.  He didn't know the value those names would have someday.  As a kid, he'd signed them all.  Pretending he'd actually gotten the autographs of these big-time baseball greats.  That day, my brother had held an authentic Jackie Robinson baseball card autographed by Dad.  Awesome.  That was a memory that stuck.  

With that memory in mind, I'm looking forward to seeing 42, the big screen story of Jackie Robinson.  Robinson's widow, Rachel, now in her nineties, had been famously resistant to the idea of a movie being made about her husband.  As the years went on, however, she warmed up to the idea-- mostly because kids today don't understand the gravity of what it meant to break the color barrier in baseball-- What a triumph that was and consequently, what a hardship it was for a young married couple like the Robinsons.

In an L.A. Times article, Producer Thomas Tull mentioned that Ken Griffey, Jr had told him that teens he tutored didn't even know who Jackie Robinson was.  In the same article, Rachel Robinson noted:  "I was getting older, and I really wanted kids to know who Jack was and to think about what they can do with their own lives..."

For these reasons and more, Legendary Pictures producer, Tull, wanted to make the film. Thought racism still exists today,  it's almost unimaginable to comprehend that less than fifty years ago,  racism and segregation was a given in our society.

Apart from the baseball history and nostalgia, 42, will certainly provide for ardent baseball fans, it's also a film to be seen for the personal story behind Robinson's legacy.  May it serve as a reminder of the strides we've made in making segregation and racism a thing of the past.

Copyright ©2013 by KLiedle