Category: CONTRIBUTORS

ITALIAN DENOMINATIONS OF ORIGIN

From May 18 to May 25 the Italian Trade Agency presented Italy on Madison, a celebration of Italian culture and cuisine involving restaurants, fashion showrooms and businesses, and featuring panel discussions and special events. On May 23 there were three of the latter, with two taking place at the Italian Trade Commission on East 67th Street. I attended the morning event, entitled ‘Women in Wine: The Italian Perspective’, wherein a panel of five professionals recounted their experiences as trailblazing women in the world of wine, and offered advice for those in attendance aspiring to follow in their path; afterwards guests were treated to a sumptuous lunch prepared by Il Gattopardo restaurant. The evening event was a comprehensive presentation of Italian food items – focusing on the Denominations of Origin which confirm the authenticity and quality of products and ingredients – in the format of a relaxed 10-course dinner.

‘ENJOY THE FRESH SIDE OF LIFE’ – WINES OF BRAZIL

Walking down Mercer Street on May 12th to attend an ICFF related event, I passed by something I didn’t know about in advance which was also timed to coincide with the furniture fair – a pop-up exhibition space called Casa Brasil. During the last iteration of the Interior Design confab – which atypically unfolded in November 2021, due to the Covid lockdown canceling the event from its normal Spring occurrence in both 2020 and 2021 – the Brazilians showcased their prodigious variety of interior design and furniture products at a temporary showroom in SoHo. With the ICFF restored to its habitual place on the calendar of May in 2022, the Brazilians upped the ante, with the trade organization ApexBrasil renting out a vast exhibition space spanning the block between Mercer Street and Broadway (with entrances on both), and featuring not only design and furniture from Brazil there but also hosting talks and programming focusing on other aspects of the nation encompassing manufacturing, travel, cuisine and wines.

TOP 10 FILMS 2021

2021 was Year Two of COVID-19 and the theatrical side of the film business was dormant of box office success except for mainly popcorn movies, the ones of the MCU kind.  Lots of potentially interesting films hit my radar but alas most were dumped to streaming platforms to never be seen by non-subscribers.  Thankfully movie theaters reopened in March* and I was able to catch up on some of what I’ve missed (alas, many of the top titles of 2020 that went to streaming didn’t have a week’s run for large screen movie fans).

TRIBECA FILM FESTIVAL 2021 – DOCUMENTARY HIGHLIGHTS

The 2021 Tribeca Film Festival (9 June – 20 June) was a hybrid event due to COVID-19 restrictions. Not being a huge fan of screening links (films on the big screen for me…) I limited myself to the feature documentaries category and struggled through a number of streaming glitches. Over all my selections were mainly good choices. Alas, the Brian Wilson documentary “Long Promised Road” was not available for viewing via the Tribeca streaming platform.

TOP 10 FILMS 2020

2020 was the year of COVID-19 and the corresponding implosion of the film business where many films that I eagerly awaited to see on a big screen, the way films should be, were dumped to various streaming platforms.  If the year proceeded the way it should have, I would have watched more films on big screens, discovered new talent and my Top 10 choices may have been completely different.  That being said, the films I’ve chosen are all worth checking out as I was watching films up until the day all the movie theaters were shuttered.  It’s rather fitting that the last film I saw was the Filipino zombie film BLOCK Z.

REQUIEM FOR MY FATHER

Outward Bound has a motto, “To Serve, To Strive and not To Yield.”  That describes my father.  He served his community in many ways.  By being the first child in his family to attend college he shined the light on the possibilities a higher education can offer to his siblings, his children and my cousins.  He did once warn me that I was too smart for my own good.  I responded “if you didn’t want us to think for ourselves, why did you encourage us to attend college?”  But that’s what he did from the day I was born, he instilled in me the unquenching thirst for knowledge.  Curiosity about the world around me, both ancient history and current events, is what has driven me to this day.  My love of storytelling, or as the Irish say, the gift of the gab, comes from my mother’s family who were involved in the arts but also my father who introduced me to the world of books.  I blame my 10,000 volume library on him.

WHY WE’RE ALL GOING TO DIE

Incompetent governments are typical, but Holy Shit!, what’s wrong with the White House (True News – Der Trumpkof lies out of both sides of his mouth, and his ass). The states are just as bad, the local
municipalities even more so.

WOMEN MAKE FILM: A NEW ROAD MOVIE THROUGH CINEMA

Doctoral thesis filmmaking.

An exciting premise for a documentary, the discovery of long forgotten women filmmakers starting with Alice Guy-Blache up through Nell Shipman onward to Wendy Toye and dozens of other international directors unknown inside and outside of their own countries today. The downside is the filmmaker approaches the subject matter as if he has to pad out a doctoral thesis by hammering multiple square pegs into round holes to make a point. The inclusion of a number of over-rated current women filmmakers lessens the strength of this film.

TOP 10 FILMS OF 2019

2019 was the year of diarrhea of the hard drive.  Like Fredrick Wiseman who seems to have forgotten everything he learned about editing as he has aged, the franchises (Marvel, Star Wars) and elder statesmen of Hollywood (Martin Scorsese and Terrence Malick) are following suit with their lofty “epics.”  All of them need he who shall not be named to rev us his chainsaw and start snipping away.  If they were including Bollywood song & dance numbers I may give them a little slack.  Speaking of Indian cinema, when is Hollywood going to start teaming up the likes of Salman Khan with the Dwayne Johnsons?  (I have a great script idea for that pairing.)  Speaking of international talent not yet on Tinsel Town’s radar, I offer up Aislinn Derbez (who they gave a thankless role in the middling MISS BALA remake) who I’ve been paying attention to since discovering her in A LA MALA.  That film should get an American remake as I doubt most people who didn’t speak Spanish saw it.

THE LONDON PRODUCE SHOW & CONFERENCE 2019

The global nature of the produce business was fully evidenced throughout the London Produce Show and Conference (LPS19), put on by the Fresh Produce Consortium and Produce Business magazine over June 5-7 at Grosvenor House, a JW Marriott hotel on London’s Park Lane. As the UK’s leading global produce get-together, it enables suppliers and buyers to connect within an immersive networking event in one of the world’s iconic cities for the fresh fruit, vegetable and flower industries. Drawing upon London’s traditional role as an international hub of trade and commerce, with the LPS19 the fresh produce industry has thus built upon a regional retail scene that is evolving rapidly and matched that with a reach that is unparalleled.