On Learning to Drive (and Trust)

“What took you so long to learn how to drive,” said the examiner as he got into the car, saddling himself next to me. No doubt, preparing for a bumpy ride.

But, indeed, what has taken me so long?

All these years, I’ve been quick to blame my reluctance to get behind the wheel on a general condition known as laziness. An affliction known to many, overcome by few. Further examination, however, revealed that something else was at the root. Fear.
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My Year: A (Very Brief) Recap

This hasn’t been the perfect year (is it ever?), but it’s certainly been a productive one. At the top of the year, I made some concrete plans. To my own chagrin, I kept many of them. As result, I’ve had many adventures. Continue reading

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‘Face Paint’ and Lisa Eldridge

I have to admit, I’ve always thought makeup or ‘face paint’ as something rather frivolous—or practical (since it’s so handy at hiding flaws from people with otherwise perfectly good vision). But then, as I learned more about it, I began to think about it differently too. (The shift begun when I was researching a story on makeup competitions for a theatre magazine—one of the privileges of being a writer is that you come to learn a lot about the most random things).

You see, in many ways, it’s art.  The canvas just happens to be different. And like art there’s much to it beyond just an expression of creativity. It can be very political, for example.

Recently, for FLARE, I interviewed London-based celebrity makeup artist and author of NYT best-seller Face Paint: The Story of MakeupLisa Eldridge.

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Dick Van Dyke, Carl Reiner & Other Writing Pursuits

It’s been a while since we talked. You, kind readers (all five of you), don’t deserve the silent treatment.  So I thought I’d share some of my most recent stories:

Dick Van Dyke and Carl Reiner on pushing 100, charming the FBI and falling in love again

The Hollywood legends may be in their 90s, but they’re all fired up. Carl trolls Trump, Dick still dances on rooftops – and they both want a gay president. - THE GUARDIAN

What’s real and fake in ‘The Americans,’ according to real-life spies

Tom Hiddleston on the Comic Chaos of High-Rise: ‘Dystopian Nightmares Are Manifestations of Our Fears’
The world of the ’70s-set class-warfare thriller doesn’t seem too different from our own

Bryan Cranston on Learning to Think Like a Spy
- The Science of Us, NY MAG

Sutton Foster on her Gilmore Girls character

British Columbia Reduces Production Incentives but Expects Little Impact


Feel Like a Movie Star at These 8 Cinematic Hotels

A Taste of Old New York

A Brief Survey of the World’s Most Decadent Hotel Amenities

California: Sweet Carmel looks even better at 100 (pg 68-69)

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Interview: David Duchovny – Mr. Positivity

Not too long ago, in the year 2015 (now but a distant memory), I got to chat with Mr. David Duchovny as he was in the throes of soundcheck for his musical performance that night. This resulted in a cover story for Montecristo Magazine.

It goes something like this…

David Duchovny doesn’t know why he suddenly decided to take up music, only that he had always wanted to play guitar. And so he picked up the instrument, initially, to amuse himself—on a whim. “It’s a total mystery to me,” he says, quipping: “It’s either that or buy a Porsche.” Taking up either endeavour would would be costly, but music seems to be the more rewarding fit at the moment.

Continue reading it on MontecristoMagazine.com/magazine/winter-2015/david-duchovny

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INTERVIEW: Josh Hutcherson on Escobar, Acting & Benicio Del Toro

There’s more to Josh Hutcherson than The Hunger Games. Not that he minds being associated with the exceptionally popular franchise, but he’s equally passionate about bringing to life stories that are perhaps a little less special effects driven. Stories like Escobar: Paradise Lost which has had its premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival.

Things don’t always move at the speed of light in the movie biz. Hutcherson read the script for Escobar two years before it went to camera, but he was immediately attracted to it. “It was like 160 pages, it was going to be like a 3 hour movie, so they changed a lot,” he recalls, “but I read the script and just fell in love with the story and the character of Nick.”

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Robert X Modica

July 30th 1931-March 14th 2015 (83)

I don’t know what to say. I mean, what can you say when someone so spectacularly special departs?

All I can do is recall his story, told through my own (rambling) recollections…

Robert Xavier Modica (83) has been a master acting teacher for over 50 years. But he taught so much more than acting. For those of us fortunate enough to study with him in room 809 at Carnegie Hall (and later, elsewhere), we learned lessons in humanity and in living truthfully and fully. In that room, surrounded by plays, peers, and peeling, crackling, magical paint, we spent nights reading the greatest playwrights and listening to Mr. Modica’s stories.

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An Update…

I never think I’m going to be busy. So I’m wrong most of the time. I’ve been paddling as hard as I can beneath a sea of work, as well as a pet project: a a new event series in Vancouver called STAGE to SCREEN. Our first event which mixes film, live theatre, and conversation, turned out beautifully, with a truly engaged audience, and a wonderful guest, Pulitzer/Tony winner, David Auburn (ProofThe ColumnistThe Girl in the Park). Now, everyone keeps asking, who’s next?

Since I’ve been so terrible at providing new content for this blog, here are a few recent articles I’ve written:
Is the Other Woman Not Safe for Men? (Mashable) Continue reading

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What does ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’ want? More.

“My name is Jordan Belfort. The year I turned 26 I made $49 million dollars which really pissed me off because it was 3 shy of a million a week.”

More. More money. More drugs. More sex. More power. More everything. Why? Because more is never enough.

That’s the driving philosophy for Jordan Belfort, the over-the-top-thrill-seeking subject of Martin Scorsese’s “The Wolf of Wall Street.”  Based on a true story, the film captures Belfort’s exploits in the 1990s as a penny stockbroker (aka swindler) who accumulates so much wealth that he can literally throw around stacks of money without giving it a second thought. Worry not, Belfort has other hobbies too. In between selling pink sheets, he manages to find time to pursue just about any drug and sexual position possible. Yes, there are endless yacht parties, superficial luxuries, hookers, orgies, an infinite supply of booze and sliminess — but the crowning achievement for keeping company morale high: midget tossing competitions.

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How to Build a Fountain of Youth

The smell of freshly cut grass on a lazy summer day. The sensation of a melting popsicle covering your lips and cooling down your soul during a sticky heat wave.  Getting soaked under a summer storm.

The tango-dancing leaves of spring.

Your first snowflake. Your first snowman. Your first paper route. The first time you quit it.

The crashing vastness and overwhelming busyness of your first visit Downtown. Your first trip abroad. The first time you get to press on a gas pedal. That very first kiss.

Our youth consists of many firsts.
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I Can’t Sleep

I have a complicated relationship with sleep.

We don’t talk on the phone for hours. We don’t exchange clever emails. We don’t even text.

We don’t do anything at all because…I can’t sleep.

Well, it’s not so much that I can’t, but that I won’t. After all, it’s such a bloody waste of time.  I mean, you’re gonna get plenty of sleep after you die, right? So why rush things?

I’m convinced that eventually people will evolve and we will no longer require any more than an hour’s worth of sleep. Why the extra hour? Nostalgia.

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Mourning Fictional Characters…

So the strangest thing happened. Apparently Keanu Reeves was visiting a close friend of mine – a distant relative of his. Since he was a newcomer to this fair city, and friendless, she asked me to meet Keanu and show him around a little. I obliged. Continue reading

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