Thursday, August 28, 2008

The Next President and Vice President


(Photo: Brian Kersey/UPI/NEWSCOM/FILE. Copyright © 2008 The Christian Science Monitor. All rights reserved.)

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Beijing Olympics Comes to an End

What a spectacular end to the Beijing Summer Olympics. The great Zhang Yimou outdid himself in the Opening and Closing Ceremonies.

Congratulations to all of the athletes worldwide who brought moments of peace through the games and their extraordinary achievements!

Oh, and the Closing Ceremonies actually included performances by Major Chinese-language Pop Stars--the ones who were sorely missing from the magnificent Opening Ceremonies!!!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Michael Phelps RULES!!!

The astonishing Michael Phelps just won another Gold and achieved another World Record at the Beijing Olympics. Way to go, man!

Friday, August 8, 2008

Beijing Olympics - Happy 888!

Today marks the start of the 2008 Summer Olympic Games in Beijing China. I wish all the athletes, worldwide, the very best.

These 5 adorable characters represent the Fuwa who, according to the official Beijing Olympics website, "serve as the Official Mascots of Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, carrying a message of friendship and peace -- and good wishes from China -- to children all over the world."

Images from the Opening Ceremonies (from YouTube):

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Marie Dressler - Superstar

Today, with our Angelina and Lindsay and J-Lo and Paris and Beyoncé, hot female stars fill the media sky. In the 1930s it was no different: with Jean Harlow, Carole Lombard, Myrna Loy, Loretta Young and more.

However, in the 1930s one unlikely superstar phenomenon moved ahead of the pack. This phenomenon was the great Canadian-American screen and stage actress, Marie Dressler. No different than the 21st Century, popularity in that period in entertainment history was largely determined by youth and looks. However, after an undistinguished earlier stint in film and an important stage career, Marie Dressler, never a beauty (her autobiography was entitled "The Life Story of an Ugly Duckling.") and, in the end of the 1920s into the early 1930s, already in her 60s, appeared in the Greta Garbo classic, "Anna Christie", and became an overnight sensation. By the mid-30s, this incredible woman who could be equally powerful and effective in the most serious of dramatic roles or in the frothiest comedies, was among the highest-paid Hollywood stars and had top billing over stars like Jean Harlow in George Cukor's cinematic masterpiece, "Dinner at Eight". Unfortunately, Dressler's star would not -- at least in this incarnation -- burn long. She died of cancer in 1934 at only age 65.

It was a treat to see Robert Osborne's tribute this week to Marie Dressler, whom I've long admired as an actress and personality, on Turner Classic Movies. Among the Dressler films shown on TCM was "Min and Bill" for which she won the Best Actress Oscar® in 1931. This, along with her more well-known films to later audiences such as "Anna Christie" and "Dinner at Eight", as well as her hilarious comedies with her longtime co-star, Polly Moran, demonstrated her legendary versatility and complete command of the screen.

Will there still be an audience for great classics starring people like Marie Dressler in the future? There are still people who lived in the 1920s and 30s, albeit fewer each day, who actually remember that era and the dawn of cinema, the dawn of talkies, etc. When we detach from that, will our new generations which are obsessed with easy-to-digest celebrity, even care about the origins of motion pictures? I wonder...

Let Marie Dressler charm you in this wonderful clip from the "Hollywood Revue of 1929" (from YouTube). She IS the Queen!