The Awesomely Funny Anne Marie Schleffer Returns to the Red Sandcastle with her One-Woman Comedy – “MILF Life Crisis”

I just learned that my favourite comically hot single divorced mom is returning to the Red Sandcastle Theatre in Toronto, for only four performances on April 5-8. All shows at 8pm. Call 416-845-9411 to reserve tickets before her whole run is sold out.

Since I loved this show the first time around, I hope to encourage some of my male and female friends to join me once again to see and hear Anne Marie humorously navigate the crazy post divorce dating scene while raising her kids.

The following is a review I penned of Anne Marie’s excellent show performed last time in Toronto.

Anne Marie is a one-woman phenom. As a Second City alum, for years she has written and performed in very amusing and smart and sold out seven one-woman shows throughout Canada and the United States. Her most recent show, premiering at the best little show house in Toronto, the Red Sandcastle Theatre in Leslieville, “MILF Life Crisis”, is definitely her sharpest, funniest and most moving. Her writing and acting hit real close to home.

Literally. We learn from the play’s theatre notes, that this play is based on Ann Marie’s own life, which is in the midst of divorce, co-parenting issues and crazy/sexy single mom dating.

As a result, the jokes and dead-on observations come from some very dark, funny and sad places. The best and richest, type of humour.

I was most impressed with Anne Marie’s craft as an actress. Throughout the play, Ann Marie, through mere inflections of tone and subtle mannerisms- naturally transforms from innocent loving wife and mother- to sad and sex-starved single mom- to hot, drunk, Tinder MILF, (hot mothers we love to Facebook) and then – to wiser liberated lover and ex wife.

Ann Marie also brilliantly plays her chorus of supportive friends- Nympho Kendra- who solves her single divorced status with multiple lovers and Sappho Terry- her very wise/No BS and drop dead funny lesbian friend. Anne Marie’s portrayal of Nympho Kendra was double and triple bang on.

The one hour show flies by. I was in an audience of 40 women- 5 guys. We all laughed our asses off throughout.

The Red Sandcastle is a perfect venue for Anne Marie’s show. As we all are literally up close and personal with Anne Marie as she comically, movingly and sexily unravels and exposes her life- under a symbolic disco ball, before our very eyes.

This is a show for all single and married women and the men who want to Tinder, Facebook or d/bar them.

Below is a teaser trailer video of the show.

I strongly urge you to catch this show, when it arrives in Toronto next week.

Performances: April 5-8, at Red Sandcastle Theatre, 922 Queen Street East, (Leslieville) Toronto. Call for tickets at 416-845-9411.

 

Noel Coward’s “Blithe Spirit” Brilliantly Updated as “iBlithe” at Toronto’s Red Sandcastle Theatre

“Blithe Spirit”, written by English playwright+actor,Noel Coward over a week during the summer of ’41,is a witty,dry as a martini, comedy set in an upper class English drawing room.I was fortunate to attend its opening night at the Red Sandcastle Theatre in Toronto.This play is a “must see” during its limited one week run at the Red Sandcastle.It is wonderfully performed by a very talented group of actors.

What surprised me about the play that I saw, was this particular version resonated on so many different levels.

Here is a quick thumbnail sketch of the play.

A noted English novelist, Charles, ( David Hubard) currently married to his second wife, Ruth (Maria Syrgiannis) decides for the purpose of researching his next book about a homicidal psychic, to invite to his posh English home- a psychic, Madame Arcati, ( Margaret Lamarre) to perform a séance.

In the course of the séance, the ghost of Charles’s former wife, Elvira ( Rosemary Doyle) appears, but is only visible to Charles and can only be heard by Charles. The normally conservative and uptight Charles is both exasperated by the ghostly appearance of his former sexy first wife, and then intrigued and weirdly stimulated by this sensuous apparition . Elvira has apparently come back from the beyond, because she misses him.

For brief period of time, Charles becomes “an astral bigamist”. Cue the hilarity and some weirdness as well.

The very prim and proper Ruth, who cannot see or hear Elvira, thinks Charles has gone raving mad. She also takes great offence to the harsh language Charles hurls at Elvira, as Ruth assumes she is the object of Charles’ exasperation.

But Elvira, though drop dead gorgeous ( literally and figuratively) is not the benign, sexy, earthy/ethereal presence that she initially portrays herself. She has come back from the other side, with vengeance and malice in her non-existent heart.

Events take a comically/ugly turn, and Madame Arcadi, is called upon once again by Charles to make all things right.
Or at least minimize the damage.

The genius of Coward in “Blithe Spirit” and in the more updated “iBlithe” version, is that some of his cynical ideas of life, love, sex, passion and relationships, have a universal quality. Hence Coward’s basic themes are very adaptable and reflective of the times in which this play is performed.

Whether it is 1941 or 2016. London, England or Toronto, Ontario. To Coward; love, sex and even marriage are transitory, untrustworthy and fleeting. Jealousy knows no temporal bounds. Fidelity- an illusion and delusion.

Rosemary Doyle, the writer, who adapted and updated this version to the Red Sandcastle stage, clearly dug deep into the essence of Noel Coward and captured his ideas.

In the 40s, when this play was first performed, Edith, the maid, was used to expose the inflexible class divide in England. But from the perspective of 2016, this “Upstairs/Downstairs-Downton Abbey” theme has been done to death ( so to speak) and unduly dates this excellent play.

I like the way Doyle removed the character of Edith, the maid and replaced her with Edith, the dog. Which surprisingly works even better in “iBlyth”. And clearly makes more sense, as the story unfolds.

In doing so, Doyle effectively refocused the play back to the odd and compelling three way relationship between Charles and his two wives.

As to Rosemary Doyle, as Elvira. She is simply “Mahvellous Dahling”. Doyle’s Elvira is no flighty, ethereal presence. Doyle as a blonde Elvira, plays her brilliantly as a coquettish, sexy, earthy, ribald seductress.

Elvira has come back from the dead to playfully seduce her former husband Charles and remind him of the great sex they once experienced.

Elvira materializes in the drawing room. Only visible to Charles. She is dressed in a very tight light grey skirt. With a terrific rack that leaves lots to the imagination. In her high heels and darkly painted toenails, Elvira lounges on the couch or on a nearby piano. She is constantly crossing and uncrossing her long supple limbs. Running her fingers up and down her bare legs. Or jumping on Charles’ lap and caressing him, outrageously.

To this reviewer, Doyle’s Elvira is part playful Marilyn Monroe in “Some Like it Hot” and part sensuous Elizabeth Taylor as Maggie the cat, in the film version of “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof”, desperately trying to seduce her aloof husband Paul Newman and rekindle their passion.

David Hubard as Charles is also well cast. Typically, the role of Charles is played by a tall, handsome, slim, sophisticated and superficial bon vivant . A contemporary of his wife, Elvira.

In a more contemporary spin, Hubard’s Charles, is clearly 10-15 years Elvira’s senior. He is balding, shorter, stouter, more conservative and apparently very wealthy. Implying that Elvira’s motives for marrying Charles were more monetary than amorous.

Because of the stark difference is temperament, Elvira and Charles’s exchanges are sharper and funnier. Hubard is at his best, trying to fend off the sexual advances of Elvira, and failing miserably in the process.

Maria Syrgiannis is also excellent as the second wife, Ruth. This is probably the most difficult role in the play. Ruth as the second wife, is supposed to be the anti-Elvira. She is smart, solid, independent, tough and apparently self-confident. Her relationship with Charles is more sensible, than passionate. As Ruth observes, “Not the wildest stretch of imagination could describe it as the first fine careless rapture.” Ruth knows that the first Elvira was a gorgeous, sexy creature. And initially she feels no jealousy, until Elvira comes on the scene and disrupts her seemingly solid relationship with Charles.

Clearly, Maria’s Ruth is no shrinking violet. She is attractive and strong in her own right. She verbally jousts with Charles, mano a mano and she astutely sees through Elvira’s true motives for returning from the beyond.

I also liked the veteran thespian, Margaret Lamarre, playing the pivotal role as Madame Arcati, the psychic. Her psychic powers drive the story. And her single-minded professionalism as a psychic and her physical comedy, as she goes in and out of trances, is a marked contrast to the witty and superficial banter of the other actors.

In sum, this is a terrific ensemble performance by a very talented group of actors of a classic comedy, that has been successfully updated for a contemporary audience. Check out the Bradmans, now a gay couple in this version. Victor Bradman (Robert Keller), hysterically taking selfies on his iPhone and his partner, Dr. Bradman (Adrian Proszowski) also rock.

I strongly urge you to catch this show at the Red Sandcastle Theater, located at 922 Queen Street East, in Leslieville, Toronto. Remaining performances are all at 8pm are on March 27, 30, 31, and April 1 and 2. Call for reservations at 416-845-9411. For $20 a ticket, this is the best deal in town and a great night at the theatre.

Tina Fey’s Whisky Tango Foxtrot – A Very Under-rated, But Terrific Pro Military Film – From a Female Perspective

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Let me cut to the chase.

I thoroughly enjoyed this film. Precisely for the reasons that it has received mixed reviews from the liberal Hollywood press.

This is not an absurdist, anti-war film like “Catch 22”, based on Joseph Heller’s classic World War II novel of the same name.

Nor is this film- an anti-war satirical film as “M.A.S.H., which took place during the Korean War.

Nor is this a lame, unfunny, anti-American and anti-military, Michael Moore- produced piece of celluloid crap,

“Where to Invade Next”.

Instead Whiskey Tango Foxtrot ( Whiskey Tango) is a sympathetic comic/dramatic depiction of America’s fighting men and women and the flawed, sex/ booze/drug/ and combat-addicted male and female journalists who embedded with them in Kabul, during the Afghanistan War from 2003-2006.

This film produced by Lorne Michaels of Saturday Night Live fame and Tina Fey (SNL, 30 Rock), is loosely based upon the Afghanistan war memoirs of former Chicago Tribune reporter, now New York Times investigative reporter, Kim Barker. Barker’s book entitled, “The Taliban Shuffle: Strange Days in Afghanistan and Pakistan”.

Tina Fey, plays the Kim Barker role as Kim Baker, a lowly copy writer on a no name cable network based in New York. She seems to be in a dead end job writing about the evils of fructose. She is also locked in a passionless relationship with a depressive boyfriend, Josh Charles, who is never in town.

Fey as Kim Baker is given the chance to change her life and become a foreign war correspondent in Kabul, Afghanistan, reporting from the field for her New York cable network.

All of sudden, Liz Lemon goes to Kabul.

Like her 30 Rock character, Fey plays a nerdy, workaholic with a mediocre social life in New York.

But in crazy Kabul, as her frenemy, fellow journalist Tanya ( beautiful Margot Robbie, “Wolf of Wall Street” and playing herself as naked hot tub girl in “The Big Short”) so wittily suggests, whereas Baker may be a “6” in New York, she is a solid “9 ½” in Kabul. Due to the absence of any western women in the field.

Accordingly, “plain Jane” Baker during the film spends a good deal of time fending off the sexual advances, of Nic (Steven Peacocke), her New Zealand bodyguard, Iain (Martin Freeman), a randy Scottish photojournalist and a local Afghan public official Ali Massoud Sadiq (Alfred Molina).

Tina Fey is once again sharp, funny, feisty, tough and, independent. Her comic timing- bang on. As Baker, she is also initially clueless about the cultural complexities of an American female journalist in female-unfriendly Islamic Kabul.

Baker naively lets her hijab uncover her hair and she is called a shameless whore by a female Muslim in the Kabul street. Baker loses her American dollars to the wind. She is scammed by a young beggar. And she is nearly beaten by an angry Muslim mob, when she is caught filming a group of men, in an area where women are clearly prohibited.

Fortunately, for Fey/Baker, she is often saved and protected in Kabul by a local driver, fixer and translator Fahim, a local Muslim Afghan, played skillfully with quiet strength and intelligence by a bearded, heavyset and unrecognizable Christopher Abbott ( indecisive Charlie, Marnie’s boyfriend in the hit comic tv series, “Girls”).

Though the cultural differences are immense- by the end of the film, they bridge the cultural divide, and Baker and Fahim forge a friendship of mutual respect. Their final separation, as Baker returns to New York, for good, is very touching- literally and figuratively.

While embedded with the Marines on an exploratory mission, outside the “wire”, that is, outside America’s walled off compound, a fire fight ensues between the Americans and the Taliban forces. At great risk to herself, Baker throws herself in harm’s way to film the fire fight.

A few things happen here for Baker. She loves the adrenaline rush of combat. And Baker earns some respect from tough Marine colonel Hollanek , played wonderfully by Billy Bob Thornton. Who also warns Baker that though she may be a “4” in New York, she is a “10” here. And therefore, no distracting his men by shagging them.

As the film unfolds we watch Baker gain confidence through quick cuts of Baker, on air reporting confidently about various battles and developments in and around Kabul by day. And partying hard in the frat-house like compound for ex pat journalists, by night. Where there is nightly sex, drugs and rock and roll. Hooya!!!

What was memorable for me was how effectively the film puts the Baker character into difficult and delicate situations as a woman in a male-dominated war and a strictly male-dominated Islamic society, and how Fey/Baker adroitly navigates herself in these situations. And learns and reports on these situations.

In one scene, Baker is approached by a group of village women completely covered from head to toe, including their faces, who inform her that they, not the Taliban are blowing up the wells built by the Marines so that they can go to the river to fetch water. That being the only place they can freely talk and gossip away from the harsh restrictions imposed upon them by the mullahs of the village. Baker wins kudos from the colonel for that valuable intell.

In another funny but touching scene, Baker must in turn wear a full blue chador, which she jokingly refers to as to being encased in a full blue Ikea bag, in order to travel to the more dangerous Taliban-controlled city of Kandahar.

Where she witnesses and reports, first-hand on a fire-bombed school for young women.

Unlike in the Academy Award- winning film, “Spotlight”, I particularly liked the way the film depicts these war-hardened journalists and photo-journalists, more honestly, as flawed human beings- motivated by ego, ambition and apparently addicted to seeking greater risks and dangers, often at the expense of those around them.

Finally, kudos to Fey, Michaels, the writer Robert Carlock, directors Glen Ficarra, John Requa and of course, Kim Baker for having the guts to bring the story of the forgotten war of Afghanistan onto the screen and to America.

Fortunately the Age of Obama is coming to a close. It was a sorry time in American history, when America’s fighting forces were ignored as a nuisance. Instead of being honored for their service to their country. But the pendulum is swinging back. Above all, this film honors America’s fighting men and women in far off wars.

Who fight and put their lives at risk, so Afghan girls can get an education and American men and women are protected from vicious and evil radical Islamists as ISIS.

Hooya!!!

Oscar ratings hit new LOW: Middle America tuned out Chris Rock’s “diversity” lecture

This year’s Oscars show, put on by The Academy of Arts and Sciences (under the leadership of non-film maker/non-actor/black public relations flak Cheryl Boone Isaacs), was viewed in America by approximately 34.3 million people.

That sounds like a lot but this was the lowest viewership in eight years — and the third lowest since Nielsen began tracking viewership in the mid-1970s!

Put in context, the Chris Rock-hosted, black-oriented Oscars were 6% lower in viewership numbers and 3% lower in the 18-49 adult demographic than last year’s Neil Patrick Harris-hosted Oscars, which in itself was one of the most poorly-watched Oscar shows since the 1970s.

These horrible numbers indicate that the vast majority of American people voted “with their feet” — or, more accurately, with their remote. Those who did tune in at the beginning turned it off as the show doubled down on lame, unfunny “diversity” jokes.

The New York Times reported:

“Nielsen data reflecting quarter-hour segments of viewership indicates that Sunday’s show appeared to lose viewers as glamour (and movies) increasingly took a back seat to activism. The show started with ratings roughly on par with last year’s. But in 2015 the numbers then climbed and remained fairly stable, while Sunday’s ratings fluctuated and then fell more steadily in the show’s last hour.”

Most of the American people outside the liberal elite enclaves of LA and New York have turned their backs on politically correct liberal Hollywood and on talentless, whining, self-entitled, self-centered multi-millionaire black actors, actresses and entertainers.

In January of this year, when the Oscar nominations were announced, and no black actors or actresses were nominated, many in the black community and white liberal Hollywood thought a horrible injustice had occurred.

Specifically, mega star and multi-millionaire Will Smith (“Concussion”) and his wife Jada Pinkett Smith(“Magic Mike XXL”), went public with their disgust, primarily because Will Smith, who thought he deserved an Oscar nomination for his role as the real-life Nigerian-born doctor who discovered the link between head trauma from football, and the early onset of dementia and death.

Will and Jada Smith then announced they were boycotting the Oscar ceremonies. They were joined by black filmmaker Spike Lee and white doc filmmaker Michael Moore.

Needless to say the Hollywood liberal press and media went nuts, all writing about the boycott and #OscarsSoWhite.

As is usually the case, with the insulated liberal elite press on both coasts, who drink their own bathwater, the rest of America did not see what all the fuss was about.

Will Smith was horribly miscast in the “Concussion” flick. His accent was artificial, and his acting, one dimensional. The film is too pedantic, and it sank without a trace. Furthermore, for Will and Jada and their Hollywood liberal supporters to suggest that Hollywood is racist and he has been discriminated against, shall we say, was beyond the pale.

The Smiths are each multimillionaires, collectively worth over $200 million. They live in a Malibu home on 100 acres worth conservatively over $30 million.

The Smiths are the beneficiaries of Hollywood. Not victims of racism.

Accordingly, as the voices for pro diversity in Hollywood got louder and louder, with calls for Chris Rock to step down as Oscar host, the rest of America began turning away from this liberal, guilt-ridden, “black actors as Hollywood victims” lunacy.

You could hear it in the voices of outraged middle Americans on talk radio shows. You could read their disgust in conservative blogs and commentaries on the internet.

This is not a racist response. It is a call by Middle America for success based on merit, not based on liberal guilt.

Middle America views the word “diversity” as code for giving preferential treatment to American blacks, simply on the basis of color, not due to merit, hard work or sacrifice.

And Middle America is mad as hell and not buying any more of this b.s. The numbers do not lie.

It is no coincidence that this current black American push for diversity in Hollywood and on college campuses is occurring during the dying days of Barack Obama’s race-based presidency.

Obama would not have beaten Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primaries and gone on to be elected president if he had been a no-name junior white senator from Illinois.

Obama ran as the first black president. He won on that basis and he has governed as a black president.

The country is finally sick and tired of Obama and his black race-based presidency.

And as the country turned against a black-hosted race-based Oscar show, the country is turning against Obama’s  black, race-based administration.

With “Hail, Caesar!”, Coen brothers show they’re still rebel filmmakers

The Coen brothers’ recent film, “Hail, Caesar!” is a pure rollicking delight, their funniest and sweetest film in years.

A loving send-up of the so-called Golden Age of Hollywood in the late 40s and early 50s, it is a film that can be enjoyed by the whole family on so many different levels.

Those were the days when the studio system churned out biblical Ben Hur-type epics with a cast of thousands; song and dance musicals starring Gene Kelly and Fred Astaire; cheesy aquatic dance numbers with Esther Williams; singing cowboy flicks with Gene Autry; and snooty Joan Crawford/Loretta Young New York Upper East Side melodramas.

In “Hail, Caesar!” the Coens brilliantly recreate set pieces from all these genres, but with their signature off the wall, quirky sense of humour.

However, the film is much much more than a an exercise in nostalgia.

On a deeper level, it subtly tackles larger themes of religion, faith, duty, ethics, morality and the influence of art on life and life on art.

The Coens also slyly take a dig at liberal Hollywood icons like George Clooney (who is one of the actual stars of “Hail, Ceasar!”)

The simple plot centers on a day in the life of a film executive and fixer, Eddie Mannix (Josh Brolin) of Capitol Pictures.

This fictional Capitol Pictures is the same studio that seduced an idealistic New York playwright, played by John Turturro, in the Coen brothers’ first Hollywood-centered flick, “Barton Fink.”

Part film noir, part horror flick, “Barton Fink” was influenced by Nathaniel West’s “Day of the Locust” and Polanski’s “Repulsion”, and exposed the Hollywood dream factory as a hellish destination where artistic and creative careers and dreams are shot down in flames, both literally and figuratively.

Fast forward to 2016. Many wonderful Coen films later, the film industry, for all its weirdness, deception and shallowness, has been kind to the Coen brothers, who have clearly mellowed. In “Hail, Caesar!” their satire is still biting and at times edgy, but also joyful and lots of fun.

Eddie Mannix is a devout Catholic, a family man and true believer in God, country and Hollywood. One of the movie’s best running jokes is that Mannix is constantly seeking absolution from his exasperated father confessor, for such venal sins as sneaking cigarettes and lying to his wife. But there is something greater at play.

On a a deeper level, Mannix is conflicted. He loves his work — which is essentially keeping the Hollywood dream factory running smoothly, churning out fluff and idealized illusions, while backstage, he’s dealing with all kinds of sleazy, corrupt and potentially soul-destroying shite.

The Coens take us behind the painted-on backdrops, fake cityscapes and the constant turmoil among the imperfect stars and extras. We see more sausage factory than dream factory.

From this chaos, dreams and memorable images are created. But Mannix can’t help asking himself, is this what his life is all about?

For example, we see Mannix breaking up a soft core photo shoot involving a seemingly virtuous starlet, and bribing police to keep her name out of the gossip mags.

Then he deals with a twice married, bitchy, pregnant Esther Williams type (Scarlett Johansson), by arranging the handoff of her baby to a fake foster parent, then the re-adoption of her own child by the Esther character. (This actually happened, by the way.)

All the while, Mannix is trying to avoid Thora and Thessaly Thatcher, the competitive twin sister gossip columnists ( channeling Louella Parsons and Hedda Hopper), both played hysterically by Coen regular Tilda Swinton.

It appears Thora wants to expose how Capitol Pictures’s box office star and matinee idol, Baird Whitlock, (George Clooney) won his first role by doing the horizontal tango with his male director, precious and prissy Shakespearian-trained director Laurence Laurentz (Ralph Fiennes). (Shades of Rock Hudson.)

And Thessaly has heard that Whitlock, playing a Roman tribune in the time of Jesus Christ, is now missing in action from the massive set of the Ben Hur-like biblical epic movie-within-a-movie, also titled “Hail, Caesar!”

On top of everything else, the Coens involve Mannix in three great set pieces that in themselves are worth the price of admission.

One is Mannix leading a focus group of four different religious leaders reviewing the depiction of the deity in the studio’s biblical epic. This exchange is one of the funniest Coen scenes ever.

The other marvelously funny two scenes are a Gene Kelly-like sailor-themed tap dancing routine with a blazing homoerotic subtext, and an attempt to turn singing cowboy Hobie Doyle (Alden Ehrenreich) into a black-tie matinee idol.

Mitch Wolfe Paints The Town Red + Real Live Models at Ruby Rouge Event

Pre-empting Valentine’s Day Sunday, the Oliver Blue group staged a terrific, sexy, edgy event at The Lodge on Toronto’s Queen Street West.

The unique event space was funky, arty, eclectic and a little weird – as was the crowd.

The room was filled with a diverse group of actresses, graphic designers, hipsters, fashion designers, writers and marketing/communications PR people, gorgeous women in drop dead black cocktail dresses, 5 inch heels and cool black and Asian dudes in expensive jeans, hoodies, ponytails and moi, in my dark Canali.

The organizers, Gigi, Helena and Alex added some off the wall spice with random hot lingerie models, kick ass dancers and two artist models in artistically painted panties.

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I was fortunate to meet a very stylish fashion blogger, writer and editor Melina, seen here on the left and her equally attractive friend Bethany, on my right, who is into public relations and event planning.

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My favourite model, was Britney, a really sweet girl, seen in the photo with me. Who let me Picasso her limbs.

Hotline No Ring: The Obama/Trudeau bromance is over

During the most recent Canadian federal election, when Liberal leader Justin “Selfie” Trudeau reached out to fellow liberal US President Barack Obama for advice, it was love at first sight.

The chemistry was palpable. Both loved basking in their own glory. Both narcissistic to the max. Barack aspired to be post-racial. Justin aspired to a good facial.

They used to chat on the presidential hotline like two love-struck teenagers. Giggling and gossiping and dissing their opponents.

But stuff happened. Their love is no more. Justin sits by his selfie phone, but Barack never calls.

With a nod to my friend, Drake, here is Justin’s lament:

“Hotline- No Ring”

You used to call me on my selfie phone
All day, when you need my vote
Call me on my selfie phone
Late night, when you need support
But your hotline no ring
That can only mean one thing
When your hotline no ring
That can only mean one thing.

Ever since I left the ISIS fight
I got a rep as a useless wimp
Europe wants to leave me out
B, you let me down, you got me kicked out

Cause ever since I left the ISIS fight, you
Started caring less, ignoring me more
Meetings with Aussies on the UN Floor
Hanging with the Dutch, don’t you care anymore?

Ever since I brought in Syrians, you, you, you
You and me, we don’t see eye to eye
I know they’re not martyrs
And would hit on your daughters
You make me feel like I did you wrong
You treat me like I don’t belong.

Ever since I backed away from ISIS
You treat me like I stepped in “scheisis”
Going to Euro meetings without me
Ever since I cut and run,
You think I’m the ballless one
Sucking up to every terrorist
With a knife or gun.

Ever since I caved on ISIS
You never call me on my selfie phone.

Are We Entering into An Era of Race-Based and Ethnic-Based Affirmative Action Academy Awards?

According to Reuters, Hollywood multi-millionaire black actors Will Smith and his wife, Jada Pinkett-Smith are boycotting the February 2016 Oscar awards ceremony , “in protest over the absence of nominated actors of color, in any of the 20 acting categories,” ie Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor and Best Supporting Actress.

The Smiths and the well-known black Hollywood film maker Spike Lee, who is also boycotting the ceremony, allege that the lack of diversity of nominated actors and actresses is a result of the lack of diversity in the membership of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and in the Hollywood film industry itself.

In other words, if there were fewer white men and women of privilege in the Academy and more black, brown, yellow and red men and women of “under privilege”, more men and women of color would be nominated and hence win such coveted Academy Awards.

I am afraid the cancer of politically correct “diversity”, which is currently infecting American college campuses, has now metastasized in the Hollywood body politic.

The Smith/Lee boycott of the Academy Awards show, because Will Smith was denied a nomination for Best Actor for his leading role in the film, “Concussion”, is a perfect example of how American liberals and the black community are trying to transform American society from a meritocracy to race-based and ethnic-based society, under the guise of “diversity”.

The term “diversity” usually means a range of things. It is normally a positive concept. As in, a newspaper contains a diversity of views, as opposed to a single viewpoint. The implication is that a range or diversity of views is preferable.

For many of us on the right, “diversity” has become a politically correct and dirty word.

Because for American liberals and the American black community, “diversity” does not mean to them a range of views, or multiple and different people, it really means, “race-based entitlement and preference.” It is not a means, but an end in itself.

To these same liberals and black community, the absence of “diversity”, also means racial discrimination

To bleeding heart American liberals, the American black community is incapable of being independent, strong, powerful, personally responsible and standing on its own two feet. And achieving success by virtue of its own efforts..The mutual push by American liberals and American blacks for diversity, which is in essence, “race-based entitlement and preference” is a natural by-product of this strange master-servant relationship.

And through this theoretical context, I believe we can best understand the actions of the Smiths and Lee and the Hollywood liberals who support them.

Because what Will, Jada Smith and Spike Lee, and countless liberal fellow Hollywood and media travelers,( say hello, CBC ) want in this limited Academy Awards context, are awards, not based on artistic achievement and merit, but based on race-based and ethnic-based quotas.

Or put another way, for the Smiths, Lee and the Hollywood liberals, the lack of success of American black actors, is not due to lack of merit, but due to lack of diversity or racial discrimination.

So let us test these theories by looking at the actual actors and actresses nominated for three different award ceremonies.

The following is a list of the 20 nominees in each of the three major award ceremonies: the Academy Awards, the Golden Globes and the Screen Actors’ Guild.

Thomas Pynchon’s “Inherent Vice” a Subversive Attack against the Obama Administration

Thomas Pynchon, one of America’s finest living authors, is a well-known chronicler of the tragicomic dark side of American society, culture, and politics. His very funny and provocative book, Inherent Vice, was published in 2009, during the first two years of the Obama Administration.

I argue that Inherent Vice, though set in the groovy sex, drugs, and rock and roll scene of 1970s Los Angeles, should be viewed as a subtle yet sharp critique of President Obama and his administration.

Remember Obama’s campaign promise of “Hope and Change”?

Obama promised to end polarization in America; to unite the blue and red states. To make America transcend the racial divide. And to restore people’s confidence in the American government by reining in law enforcement authorities and the national security agencies, whose powers have grown exponentially since 9/11.

Pynchon has written extensively on government control and interference in the private lives of Americans. In this post, suggest that within the first two years of the Obama Administration Pynchon realized Obama had no desire to regulate and restrict such government agencies. In response, Inherent Vice foreshadows Obama permitting American law enforcement and national security agencies to double down and spy upon the lives of millions of Americans via various modern technologies; especially members of those American groups who opposed Obama, his administration, and the Democratic Party.

Pynchon, through Inherent Vice, holds a mirror up to Obama and his administration for the apparent illegal actions of his government. The film, adapted for the screen and directed by Paul Thomas Anderson, faithfully captures Pynchon’s ingenious reworking of the classic private eye noir film. Its part Philip Marlowe, part Chinatown (1974), part Altman’s The Long Good-bye, with a pervasive whiff of weed a la The Big Lebowski.

But at its core, the film is all Pynchon. It casts a deeply realistic and paranoiac view of excessive government power, the government’s penchant for spying on its own people, and the system’s corruption.

The hero is Larry “Doc” Sportello (Joaquin Phoenix), a thirty-something laid back hippie. He’s a pot-smoking private investigator, a gumshoe (or, more appropriately, gum sandal) who lives and works in seedy south LA, near Gordita Beach. Doc is every man: he is a working stiff. He lives alone in an apartment near the beach and shares a simple office with a pill-dispensing doctor. Doc also wears a weird Afro and has huge, mutton-chop sideburns reminiscent of Neil Young in the 70s. Despite his appearance, Doc has a strong moral code. He is an individualist, street smart and resourceful. He is very loyal to friends and family, and often does his PI work pro bono. He is incorruptible. And he is very cynical and wary about the federal authorities.

To simplify a complex and many-layered plot, Doc is approached by an ex-girlfriend, Shasta. Once also a stoner chick, she has now apparently gone a bit upscale in order to search for her missing lover, a high-rolling multi-millionaire real estate mogul named Mickey Wolfmann. (No relation.) But then Shasta disappears and Doc embarks on a noble quest to find both Wolfmann and Shasta, for whom he still holds a torch. (Or, more appropriately, a doobie.) Doc suspects the pair may have been kidnapped by The Golden Fang, which may be a shady Asian drug syndicate or a front for coke-snorting, tax-evading LA dentists.

Throughout the film, viewers learn that Wolfmann, a lapsed Jew, conversely and perversely surrounds himself for protection with anti-Semitic, neo-Nazi, Aryan biker-types who may or may not also be involved with supplying arms to local black militant, Nation of Islam ex-cons. They, in turn, are being stalked by a gun-toting white American vigilante group. The vigilantes are working together with the neo-Nazis, and may or may not be outsourced, private contract killers for the federal government. (Got all that?)

To further complicate matters, Doc is also retained by a young mother, Hope, also a recovering heroin addict. Hope has a young daughter and believes her husband, Coy Harlingen (Owen Wilson), a drug addict and saxophonist allegedly dead due to overdose, may in fact still be alive and hiding in plain sight as an informant for the FBI … or some other shadowy federal  national security agency.

Notwithstanding this panoply of psychotic sociopath’s, the real villains of this film (according to Pynchon and Anderson), may be the Feds themselves. They are portrayed as the puppet masters pulling strings behind the scenes. They are the FBI and Homeland Security; strait-laced, clean-cut, God-fearing, black suited, crew-cut, Mormon types. And they appear to be behind the infiltration of civil rights, black, and other dissident groups; kidnappings of prominent businessmen; contract killings of LAPD detectives and leaders of non-conforming groups; and the apparent development, sale, and distribution of illegal street drugs.

Though Inherent Vice is, at face value, a wacky sex and drug-infused fiction, it hits dangerously close to home … especially to the White House and President Obama.

As citizens we have learned, through the revelations of former security analyst and contractor Edward Snowden, that the national security forces under Obama monitor our phone conversations, texts, and emails. And that’s not just Americans, but the phone conversations, texts, and emails of foreign leaders, too. Those we count as both friends and foes.

Under Obama, these same national security forces have infiltrated—through electronic wire-tapping and surveillance, and on-the-ground informants—many local American groups. That is, not only local Muslim groups but also Tea Party groups, Republican’s, media groups, and any other political and community groups opposed to Obama and the Democrats. Add to that the serious allegations that the independent Internal Revenue Service has been compromised by the Obama Administration into auditing, for political purposes, charitable and non-profit groups including the Tea Party, Republican’s, and other conservative and anti-Obama PAC groups. Their link? All seem opposed to Obama’s political agenda.

Note the very words of the title. “Inherent vice” is a legal concept which implies that the thing itself contains the seeds of its own destruction.

I highly recommend Pynchon’s Inherent Vice, both the book and film, because it reflects Pynchon’s prescient observation that the Obama Presidency, at its outset, contained the seeds of its own destruction.

How wonderfully ironic that Hollywood, one of Obama’s most solid bases, would in turn expose the inherent vice of his Presidency.

inhrent vice

 

“Room”: The small Canadian film with the big Oscar buzz

Normally, when it comes to films, I am a frivolous, superficial and escapist guy.

I love “rom-coms” and wacky off the wall comedies like Bridesmaids or more recently, Amy Schumer’sTrainwreck. Or action/thriller fare as the “Bourne” and “Mission Impossible” series.

But critics are acclaiming Brie Larson’s performance in the drama/thriller Room as Oscar-worthy.

So I decided to get out of my comfort zone and attend a seemingly disturbing and uncomfortable film about a woman who was kidnapped as a teenager and held locked up in a single small room by her captor for many years.

I am glad I did.

Yes, the first half of Room is at times painful to watch.

It is filmed entirely in a sound-proof garden shed. Joy (Brie Larson) a 20-something young woman, is imprisoned with her five year old son, Jack (Jacob Tremblay). Over time, we learn that Joy was picked off the street at 17 by Old Nick, a 40 something slimy dude, and has been living in this shed for seven years. Jack is the result of Joy being raped by Old Nick.

The shed consists of one skylight, a single bed, a makeshift bathroom and tub, a hotplate, microwave, sink, a television and some chairs and a closet where Jack sleeps when Old Nick comes to the shed to regularly rape Joy.

Within these confines, Joy carves out a loving life for herself and Jack. They exercise and cook together. She teaches Jack how to read and write and he expresses himself beautifully. She reads him classic children’s books such as Alice in Wonderland and Robinson Crusoe and tells him Bible stories. She lets Jack grow his hair long like his biblical hero, Samson.

Joy also tries to explain to Jack the magic of the outside world that he could only glimpse upward through a skylight and through television. The two of them bicker like any normal mother and son. But surprisingly, under horrible circumstances, they appear to have created a very warm and loving little family of two.

The screenplay was adapted to the screen by Emma Donoghue, the author of the original award-winning novel of the same name. Room won the Commonwealth Writers Prize and was short-listed for the Governor General’s Award, the Man Booker and Rogers Writers Trust awards, and was a New York Times bestseller.

This film is faithful to the book in which the action and the world is seen through Jack’s eyes. And that is both the book’s and the film’s genius.

Jack and Joy eventually escape and the second half of the film depicts how Jack and his mom relate to the outside world, once Joy is reunited with her estranged parents.

There is joy, literally and figuratively, as Jack tries to embrace, comprehend and articulate the real outside world. But there is also pain, frustration, and confusion as Joy tries to come to grips with how her life has been so altered by that one fateful day when she was kidnapped.

It’s a small movie, filmed in Toronto, with great Canadian talent and a big heart.

Room is well worth seeing.