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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.

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!

 

ImageAs a wee lad I had begged my grandmother to buy me this Burger King doll. She did, and for some reason I thought about it the other day and decided to see if I could find it on eBay. And I did. You can find anything on eBay. The reason I loved this doll was because it came with a magic trick. A scarf in the King’s hand that changed color. It was a simple trick but as a kid who was interested in magic, this was awesome. I don’t really remember what happened to the doll but it is no longer in my possession. However, it could be once again for the low low price of $3.99. Tempting. But we don’t have any room in our apartment for roomates.

Thinking more about the fact that I wanted this doll and was for a short while a walking advertisement for Burger King (still waiting for payment) makes it clear that I must have seen commercials for Burger King that advertised this. I’m glad the fad didn’t last and I didn’t grow up wanting everything Burger King. However, come to think of it I was mildly intrigued by their meat scented “flame” cologne that was released awhile back. Whenever I see a guy walking down the street with a dog walker being dragged behind, you always know it’s that Burger King cologne.

Now I can’t stop thinking about other childhood toys that I want to rediscover on eBay. The fun never ends. Also, it’s good to be blogging again!

ImageWhile on vacation in Rehoboth, Lauren and I went out for sushi at The Cultured Pearl and ordered edamame that came coated in smoked sea salt. It was the most delicious edamame I have ever tasted. When I got back to the city I scoured the internet looking at all of the smoked sea salt options, and there were a ton. Bourbon, hickory, oak, apple wood, the list of smokey salts were endless. I decided to try an apple wood smoked salt from The Spice Lab. Last night I received the one pound bag of salt. I ripped it open and took a whiff. It was like putting your nose in a fireplace. The smokiest scent you could imagine. And so I decided to use it on some sauteed sugar peas. Delicious. I can’t wait to see what else I can try it with. I even sprinkled some on watermelon last night and recreated the flavor of grilled watermelon. I’ve been inspired to look for other flavored salts and start using them in my cooking. Here’s a fun recipe using edamame and smoked sea salt courtesy of Food 52.

Charred Edamame with Smoked Salt and Pop Rocks

Serves 2

  • 2-3 fresh green Thai chiles or serranos
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 10 ounces fresh or defrosted edamame, in pods, dried with a kitchen towel
  • 1 tablespoon smoked sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon unflavored pop rocks
  1. Smash your green chiles with the butt of your chef’s knife until they split apart in a few places. Give one a cautious taste and, depending on how spicy you like things, add two or three to a cast iron skillet along with the canola oil. Infuse the oil over low heat for 5 minutes or so, then remove the chiles.
  2. You’ve got two options for cooking the chiles: 1) If you’ve got a lit grill and a grilling basket, that’s your best option. Toss the edamame pods with the chile oil and put them in the grilling basket. Cook, shaking your basket, over high heat until the pods are black and charred in spots. 2) If you don’t feel like grilling, do as I did and keep the chile oil in the cast iron skillet, crank the heat to high, and add the edamame, using tongs to toss them a bit so they all get a coating of the chile oil. Keep cooking until the edamame is well-dappled with brown and crispy spots.
  3. Mix the smoked sea salt and unflavored pop rocks in a small bowl and serve on a platter with the charred edamame pods. To eat, dip each (pleasantly) charred, (pleasantly) oily pod into the salt mixture, use your teeth to pop out the beans, and enjoy!

ImageHaving spent some time working in Publicity for a major studio and then co-producing Clips and Quips with the talented Boaz Frankel, I’ve spent some time at movie premieres dealing with talent and press. Last night was the first time I was able to attend a red carpet premiere as a guest and the first time Lauren had attended a premiere. While we didn’t walk the red carpet, we did get seats that weren’t in the way way back. Ironic since the premiere was for the movie, The Way Way Back. I had been wanting to see this film since I heard about it at Sundance and will say that it is certainly one of the better films I have seen in quite some time. The cast is phenomenal and they were all in attendance last night. Sam Rockwell’s performance really stands out in this film as does Liam James who plays Duncan. Many viewers will relate to Duncan’s struggles which at times felt so real. It’s a coming of age story that really has heart and that is thanks to Nat Faxon and Jim Rash who wrote and directed. They also gave themselves roles in the film and it’s clear that talent runs through their veins. I’m sure we will be seeing a lot more of these two in the coming years and I hope that this movie does well because it’s wonderful. Hoping to have an opportunity to go to more premieres. So if you have an extra ticket, let me know!

What Movies Are You Seeing This Weekend?

There are a slew of movies I want to see this weekend but this one looks most intriguing.