If you know me well enough, you know that when it comes time for your birthday you will receive either a) A version of Happy Birthday on your voicemail or b) a Photoshopped birthday card. It’s something that I have been doing since I was a kid. I’d used to go into my dad’s office and take over the copying machine, finding photos of friends and family and celebrities and cutting and pasting and doing more copying until a  card was created. Once I got a hold of Photoshop, however, my world changed. No longer did I need that copying machine, I could do everything from my computer and it was glorious. I have yet to scan in some of the older cards I made, but I wanted to share some recent cards considering today is Adam Drake’s birthday and he usually gets one if I can come up with a good enough idea.

happybirthdayadam Birthday 2000 - The Perfect Storm - Movie Set adam2014 adambday

9781468309539_custom-3017ecd8c12010d07be9a2d310dbf290db729ba2-s2-c85While I was a student at NYU, I was involved in one of the best student television productions of all of NYU-TV history. That’s right, On The Cusp. Started by Boaz Frankel, On The Cusp was NYU’s own late night style talk show. It was a blast being involved in the production of this show and we took it very seriously. Whether it was filming on-the-street segments or calling publicists to book big name guests, we worked together to make it happen. Soon, we had famous faces appearing on the show, from Paul Rudd and Phillip Seymour Hoffman to Grover and the cast of Avenue Q. I had an opportunity to film a segment with my favorite author who was in town promoting his book which was certainly a highlight for me. His name is Edward Carey, and he has just released a brand new book called Heap House which is the first in the Iremonger Trilogy aimed at children. I highly recommend you start by reading his novel Observatory Mansions and then Alva and Irva: The Twins Who Saved A City.  In addition to being a writer he is also a visual artist. You can find his illustrations throughout his books and when I met him, he brought with him the sculpture that he made for Alva and Irva, photographs of which are included in that book but to see it in person was amazing. I have so much respect for Edward and I encourage you to pick up his books. But… you don’t have to take my word for it.

A lot has gone on since I last posted, but my lack of posting will soon come to an end as I’m going to try to start writing here often. Many of you know that we are expecting our first child in February, so I have already begun reading the books, reading reviews of baby products, and following bloggers and the like on Twitter. It’s amazing how, within a few months, my web browsing habits went from looking at ear bud reviews to baby strollers and spit up blankets. I could definitely see myself getting into reviewing baby products. There are just so many different items out there and I have yet to find a great blog for new dads who are looking for the best monitor or for some tips on becoming a father for the first time. I’ve got some fun ideas for future posts which I’m looking forward to working on. In the meantime, I’ll leave you with our announcement which combines our love of Broadway with my Photoshopping skills.

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10424259_10103004280469659_3866994420354283130_nWithin the first five minutes of watching Joss Wheden’s film, In Your Eyes, I was completely hooked and immersed in the story. While there are certain edits I would have made to the film, it is beautifully breathtaking, one of the best things I have seen in a while and a perfect date night movie. Romantic, funny, with a hint of supernatural. Two people connected in the most unusual way. It’s not to be missed.

The film premiered at Tribeca Film Festival and then it was announced that it would also be available on Vimeo. So I immediately rented the film and watched it. I couldn’t stop thinking about it. I started to try explaining it to friends who asked me what it was about but my summary always ended with, “you just have to watch it.”

About a week after viewing the film I got an email with the subject line: THANK YOU! from In Your Eyes and the following text:

“Dear Evan,
Hello!
Thank you for watching IN YOUR EYES!
Joss and the team would like to thank you for supporting the film. We’re thrilled to be able to share it with fans and movie lovers like you. This helps independent projects find their audience in new and exciting ways.
We’d like to send you a token of our gratitude for your support. Would you please reply to this email with the best (snail mail) address to send it to?”

I was surprised that they wanted to send me a reward for watching the film. I replied and about a month passed.

Yesterday, to my surprise, I received a box in the mail. Inside was a note and an Apple TV thanking me again for watching the film. I couldn’t believe it. Did everyone get one? What was the motive behind it? I imagine that those who received the same gift turned immediately to social media (as I did) to mention the gift and the film. It’s a great idea, if you have the budget for it. And it works. I want to tell everyone about this film. I want to watch everything Joss Wheden does now. Similar to the characters in the film, I feel more connected to the cast and crew of this film, never having met any of them. Bravo!

 

a_gentlemens_guide_to_love_and_murderLast night we went to see A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder which was as fun to watch as it must be to be a part of the cast. Monty Navarro finds out he is a distant heir to the D’Ysquith family fortune and realizes there must be a way for him to quickly become Earl. The eight doomed heirs who meet their ends are all played by the brilliant Jefferson Mays. He will certainly be nominated for a Tony this year. The other cast members are equally as enjoyable and the show is paced very well and never drags. I’m curious to know if there is spitting written into the play. There is a lot of saliva being exchanged in this show, between characters and between the characters and the audience. Spit was flying every which way. Mays’ tongue was noticeably red during certain scenes which makes me believe that there were lozenges involved. Looking for a fun night out at the theater, this may not be a bad choice. They even have rush tickets for those 35 years and younger. So why not check it out?

In a few hours, LA will light up the sky with red carpet flashes as our favorite stars make their way to Academy Awards Ceremony. This year I was able to see a majority of the films nominated and I feel it’s a difficult year to predict who the winners will be. I always have fun with it so here are my predictions who will win, not necessarily those who I think should win.

Best Picture: 12 Years A Slave

Actor in a Leading Role: Matthew McConaughey

Actress in a Leading Role: Cate Blanchett

Actor in a Supporting Role: Jared Leto

Actress in a Supporting Role: Lupita Nyong’o

Animated Feature: Frozen

Cinematography: Emmanuel Lubezki (Gravity)

Costume Design: Michael Wilkinson (American Hustle)

Directing: Alfonso Curon (Gravity)

Documentary Feature: 20 Feet from Stardom

Documentary Short Subject: The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved My Life

Film Editing: Gravity

Foreign Language Film: The Great Beauty

Makeup and Hairstyling: American Hustle

Music – Original Score: Philomena

Music – Original Song: “Let It Go”

Production Design: The Great Gatsby

Short Film – Animated: Feral

Short Film – Live Action: Avant Que De Tout Perdre (Just Before Losing Everything)

Sound Editing: Gravity

Sound Mixing: Captain Phillips

Visual Effects: Gravity

Writing – Adapted Screenplay: 12 Years a Slave

Writing – Original Screenplay: American Hustle

 

 

 

ae63fbf49c3a11e382d3128752274a93_8There has been a serious lack of blogs here lately, and that’s partly because I have been working on my MA thesis. That doesn’t mean that I haven’t been having fun, exploring the city, attending movie screenings and all that other glamorous stuff. I just haven’t been writing about it.

On Saturday, we met up with friends in Brooklyn and ventured out to Red Hook, Brooklyn (easier with a car) to go to Hometown BBQ for dinner. Now, you have to understand that it is because of my family that the tofu industry is booming. Growing up, I ate a lot of it.  At one point I began eating chicken and then fish, but never red meat. Today, there are times when I crave it and Saturday night was one such occasion. I like the atmosphere of Hometown BAR-B-QUE, but since there isn’t table service, you have to 1) keep an eye out for a table to open up when you are in line for food or 2) fight someone else in line for a seat once you get your food. We chose option 2. We managed to come to an agreement and share the open table space with the family of five but the four of us were squeezed into a table space meant for two. It wasn’t comfortable but it sure was delicious. Pulled pork, brisket and ribs were displayed on the tray in front of us along with some of the sides we chose to sample. The sticky sauce was my favorite, giving the meat a sweet kick. The sides were tasty but nothing to write home about.

Would I go back? Sure, just as long as we could get a ride there and it is during the week when finding a place to enjoy the meal isn’t such a hassle. We walked by Crab House after dinner and that place looks really neat too. Also, Steve’s Key Lime Pies is there which I’d love to try. Summer can’t come fast enough.

In other news, I’m really looking forward to my trip to Portland next month!! More soon.

813oIa3FOgL._SL1500_I’ve heard numerous Broadway fans talk about how much they love Patti LuPone, but I have never seen her in a show or in person. Last night, my wife bought tickets for us to go see her perform songs from her new album, Far Away Places at Carnegie Hall.  I’ll be very honest, I wasn’t particularly excited about going but I’m always up for hearing live music and experiencing NYC in new ways. About halfway through the concert, I found myself really enjoying it. As someone who used to perform on stage, I admire how good she is at what she does. She is so comfortable on stage and  is one of the few remaining classic Broadway actresses. She embodies Broadway. My opinions of her completely were altered by this performance. I especially enjoyed the moments when she really spoke to the audience as herself and didn’t recite the scripted lines in between the songs. We were even treated to a rendition of Bobby McGee with a special appearance by Bridget Everett who LuPone said is one of the best performers out there right now. The rest of it? “Well, most of it is shit,” she explained.  I’m not sure half of the audience there last night would appreciate Everett’s show but I’ll certainly be going to see her perform live at some point.

Tonight we continue the early birthday celebrations with a trip to see Little Miss Sunshine.  Will post about it next week. Enjoy your weekend.