Made It To The 2018 Cannes Film Festival

 

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The Cannes Film Festival is one of the most prestigious events within the entertainment industry. Careers are made, others are reignited and all are vying for the adulation of the press and fans, as well as validation from their peers. It’s like the qualifying rounds for the Olympics, except in this case, it’s next year’s Oscars.

One day soon, I’ll be on the other side of the camera because my projects will be contending for a nod from power-players as well as distribution. But at least after years of covering celebs and working in this industry, I know the pressure they’re under and how to handle the press.

But out of all of the premieres, award shows, various industry events, including the Oscars, Golden Globes and other film festivals, the Cannes Film Festival is still my absolute favorite. There’s something about the history and how everything about it, harkens back to that quintessential old Hollywood glam. I can almost see Elizabeth Taylor, Ava Gardner, Dorothy Dandridge, Lana Turner, Cary Grant, Audrey Hepburn, Paul Newman, William Holden, Marilyn Monroe, and the rest of the true old school  Hollywood glitterati, dressed in their finest gowns, dripping in diamonds and wrapped in furs, with the men in their dapper tuxedos, behaving in a manner that us mere mortals would imagine movie stars should…regal, otherworldly and what fantasies and dreams of a film career are made of.

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Image result for Cannes Film Festival in the 1950s

Image result for Cannes Film Festival in the 1950s

Famous Stars of the Cannes Film Festival

James Bond at Cannes

Vintage Cannes Film Festival Photos

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Image result for Dorothy Dandridge Cannes Film Festival in the 1950s

Image result for Brigitte Bardot at the Cannes Film Festival in the 1950s

Even walking through the corridors of iconic hotels like The Martinez and the Intercontinental Carlton Cannes (formerly just the Carlton Hotel), are filled with history. Alfred Hitchcock’s To Catch A Thief starring Grace Kelly and Cary Grant has the Carlton  featured prominently. It really is true when people say…if walls could talk.

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1950s

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Present day

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The Martinez

 

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Women’s March LA – 2018

I arrived at the Women’s March VERY early with my staff because it was important to show support for what women, minorities and immigrants are facing in this country. While I was chatting with all of the wonderful men and women who came to march and protest, my god-daughter sent me a text that she and her friends were somewhere in the madness at 20 strong. I was more than proud of her because millennials are the group that will be negatively impacted the most with this administration’s policies. I was also proud of all the women, men, teens and younger kids gathering to make this year’s march a success, as well as to make their voices heard, not just in this country, but around the world.

If my mom were still alive, that first sign above referencing the 1960s, is the one she’d be holding. She believed in equality, was a staunch feminist and would have been at this march, or some march across this country. But she also would have been thoroughly pissed-off that we’re back at square one. But believe this, we’ll make it right mom, one day soon! We cannot and must not continue to allow history to keep repeating itself.

Today women and our allies, came together across this nation and around the world for the Women’s March. Let’s get something done. Rallies and protests are great, but we need to come together as a cohesive unit every single day and not just one day out of the year. I don’t want my nieces, god-daughter or any young girl in and outside of this country, to still be fighting the same fights we’re fighting today, and the fights our ancestors thought would be in my generation’s rearview mirror, against an extremist, patriarchal government who wants to have total control over women, our reproductive rights and how high up the ladder of success we can go. Our gender should NEVER be a deciding factor on any achievement in our lives, and our bodies and what’s inside of them, are our own to govern. The Handmaid’s Tale is a work of fiction and we should never EVER allow something like that to become a life imitating art moment.

As for immigration, everyone should be welcome in this country no matter what race, creed, ethnicity or religious affiliation. The Statue of Liberty says: Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

There’s no caveat in that statement which says you’re only welcome if you’re White. This is only one of a multitude of reasons why we’re marching, protesting, resisting and signing people up to vote. The very heart and soul of this country is dependent upon reclaiming our right to call ourselves decent and moral people. We cannot and will not allow a small group of racist oligarchs and kleptocrats to reverse the progress we’ve made in the US regarding race, religious freedom, immigration and women’s rights just because they long for a bygone era of White Male Supremacy. The buck stops with each and everyone one of us and by now, we should have all had ENOUGH!

Commemorating Martin Luther King Jr. and His Enduring Legacy

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“Racism is still that hound of Hell which dogs the tracks of our civilization” – Martin Luther King Jr. in 1967 from his speech Where Do We Go From Here.

Today we commemorate Martin Luther King Jr. who was prophetic and could clearly see the future of this country. Here we are in 2018, revisiting what King and others during this era, hoped would be in our rear-view mirror. We can still ask – “What happens to a dream deferred”? We have been plunged into a battle between good and evil, twisted and antiquated ideologies on race and gender, versus progressive, forward thinking regarding diversity and equality for all. We’re at the crossroads of our morality as a nation; if we ever want to stand on moral high-ground again, we must be better, do better and cast aside those who are dragging us into the abyss of hatred and injustice.

Martin Luther King Jr. has been gone for almost 50 years, and I feel that he would weep with sadness, and be consumed by the horror at how this country has regressed after the light of hope was cast across this nation with the election of Barack Obama, our first Black President. We have allowed racists and bigots to once again, overtake the good and decent denizens of the United States of America, and we must slay this insidious dragon once and for all if we are ever to fulfill the vision Dr. King had for our country and the world.

Let us not forget his partner in life as well as in the cause, the great lady, Coretta Scott King.

“Freedom and justice cannot be parceled out in pieces to suit political convenience. I don’t believe you can stand for freedom for one group of people and deny it to others”. –Coretta Scott King.

She continued King’s legacy and because of her, he will never be forgotten and neither will she. Coretta Scott King is also the one who wrote the letter warning about Jeff Sessions racist leanings, yet Trump appointed him Attorney General, so Trump’s denials and platitudes ring hollow as always.

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As we navigate the hate-filled terrain in our country, we need to remember that “WE THE PEOPLE” have choices. You see this photo, it is from the March on Washington where Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his powerful “I Have a Dream” speech. We can make this happen again. Millions of us have had enough of the vile racism, bigotry and divisiveness coming from Trump and his agents of evil. The only way to put this administration on the ropes and to make a permanent change in this country, is to not only talk the talk, but walk the walk. The time for action is NOW! Don’t allow all of those who fought and died for freedom, justice and equality, to have their sacrifices be in vain.

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“We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly,” – Martin Luther King Jr.

The Hypocrisy of #WhyWeWearBlack at the Golden Globes

 

 

Today journalists and Hollywood celebs will be at the Golden Globes and the celebs have this “movement” of #WhyWeWearBlack. Everyone is supposed to show up in Black to show support for women (and some men) who have been victims of sexual harassment, assault, rape and gender inequality . But here’s why I call bullsh*t…they all knew this behavior has been going on for decades and sat idly by, and said nothing and did NOTHING while collecting their millions. They watched other women suffer some of the most heinous indignities a woman could suffer. The few brave women who DID speak up, and risked their livelihoods, had their reputations sullied and their careers ruined.

Rose McGowan has been screaming about Harvey Weinstein for well over a decade, but not one of these women in the industry came to her defense. Meryl Streep, who has been in the industry for 40 years, feigned ignorance and guess what, many of us didn’t buy a damned thing she was selling with that Pollyanna routine. But here we are, on the backs of regular brave women and a few non-A listers, celebs such as Eva Longoria, Jessica Chastain, Reese Witherspoon, Kerry Washington, Tracey Ellis Ross, Ashley Judd, Brie Larsen and others, have come up with this idea of wearing all black to the Golden Globes and want other women across the globe to post videos of themselves wearing black to show solidarity. I call even more bullsh*t.

This is just another feel-good cause célèbre. Ordinary women such as Tarana Burke, who started the #MeToo movement, have been fighting the good fight against sexual harassment for decades. But on cue, here comes these celebrities piggy-backing off her hard-work, and had it not been for those on Twitter calling out Melissa Milano for her appropriation, Tarana Burke wouldn’t have gotten her due. As it is, Time didn’t even have the decency to put her on the cover for a movement being honored that she started. Throughout history, it’s never been celebrities who made significant changes to laws and mindsets in this country, it was regular people like us.

It really pisses me off that celebrities attach themselves to important issues like this, and use them as another avenue for publicity…for themselves of course. Yes they have a platform, but they should have been using that platform a long time ago. This has now became nothing more than the latest “Birkin bag” to them. If they truly wanted to send a message to Hollywood and to all of the victims in and outside of the US, then how about not showing up to the award shows this season? Not continuing to contribute to the pomp and ceremony, would have spoken louder than any black gown worth thousands. But realistically speaking, we all know that would never happen because they’re far too addicted to walking red carpets. Some have said they wouldn’t protest or boycott the show entirely because many of their friends and colleagues were nominated. So in essence, they don’t mind throwing some support in the direction of victims, as long as it doesn’t preclude their night of patting each other on the back.

Shonda Rhimes and 300 other prominent women in the entertainment industry are behind the Time’s Up initiative aimed at eradicating abuse, harassment, marginalization and under-representation in the work place, which on the surface appears to be a good thing. But let’s take a wait and see on what it is they really accomplish. Afterall, celebrities start initiatives and foundations all the darn time and some are successful and others are suspect. But in the end, us hardworking regular women are the ones who will ultimately create the environment we want to live and work in, while celebrities are comfortable in their bubbles, only peeping out from behind the gates to see if they can get something out of our hard-work, dedication and determination to end this rape and harassment culture that’s infected our society for way too long.

 

Happy International Women’s Day!

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Today is a day to celebrate women. Women who have fought the good fight for fairness and equality for women and young girls globally. Though we have made great strides in education as well as our professional and personal lives, there’s still a long way for us to go. In the US alone, women earn about 77% of men’s salaries in 2011 compared to 77.4 % in 2010. We’ve actually lost ground in some sectors.

Over two-thirds of women in the world—up to 76 percent in some countries—have been targeted for sexual and/or physical abuse at some point in their lives, according to United Nations statistics on women. Yet we had members of Congress fighting tooth and nail to not reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act,  legislation that would make it easier to prosecute crimes against women, including domestic violence, sexual assault and trafficking. The bill also extends protections to gays and lesbians and women of Native American tribal lands who are attacked or abused by non-tribal residents.

We also have another all out assault on women’s reproductive rights where some Senators, Congressmen and Governors feel that they have a “moral imperative” to legislate a woman’s body as if we’re not intelligent enough to make informed decisions. Trying to stop contraceptives from being covered under our work insurance but Viagra and other erectile dysfunction medications for men, are completely acceptable. However, they should stop saying they’re pro-life when in actuality they’re pro-fetus. This legislation has nothing to do with anything other than men trying to dictate our actions.  And laws of this nature will disproportionately affect rural and impoverishment women because they won’t be able to seek abortions out of the states with these Draconian laws as those who are wealthier. Thus causing more children to be abandoned, abused, thrown into a system that is painfully outdated and flawed and so goes the cycle of poverty for the children and their mothers.

Rape and honor killings are at a fever pitch in countries like India and throughout the Middle East and those women are in danger just running errands or going to the movies. Africa is one of the biggest shames of them all, because some African women in particularly dangerous regions, are serially raped on a daily basis. They are impregnated, infected with STD’s including HIV/AIDS, maimed and genitally mutilated.

Yes, this is a day to embrace our triumphs and acknowledge our struggles, but under no circumstances should we ever be lulled into a false sense of security that we’ve finally arrived. We must still keep up the offensive not only for ourselves but women all over the world. We should not rest until every woman and little girl has the same opportunities as men and boys. Gender should NEVER be an obstacle to success and happiness.

Peace, love and blessings to all of you…until next year, Besos!

Another Level of Stupid…Pregnancy and Babies are Not Novelties

Yes I’m on my soapbox this morning. Is there no end to the stupidity of some people? In the article below, a father starts a business of throwing sonogram parties. Allow me to remind people that sonograms are medical procedures and should be done only in a medical facility by licensed medical professionals and a doctor should be the one ordering them.

Babies are real live human beings and should not be there just for their parent’s amusement. Why on earth would a parent subject themselves, their baby and their family and friends to an unnecessary medical procedure just because it’s the newest fad and they think it’s cool ? What if that sonogram shows a problem with the baby that they didn’t know about? Then what?

I guess that little detail wasn’t necessarily thought out was it!?!? Pregnancy and babies can be a beautiful things but far too many people only like the good side of it; presents, attention, oooohing and awwwwwing, the decorating of the baby’s room, the pretty clothes, etc., but what they sometimes forget is that said baby, is not a toy or a novelty. You don’t just get to play with the kid (before birth) by rubbing your belly a million times a day and after – patting them on the head and parading them around like the newest pair of shoes or handbag.

I thought that “babymoons and push presents” were some of the most nonsensical fads surrounding expectant parenthood, but this one takes the top prize. I cannot stress enough, that this IS a medical procedure and the medical community does not recommend it. Most doctors will only order one, maybe two during the pregnancy. I’m beginning to think for some people, that having a baby is just another way to feed their malignantly narcissistic personalities.

Fla. Father’s Miracle Baby Inspires Sonogram Parties

By SUSAN DONALDSON JAMES | Good Morning America – Thu, Jan 3, 2013 6:39 PM EST

  • Fla. Father's Miracle Baby Inspires Sonogram Parties (ABC News)

    Good Morning America – Fla. Father’s Miracle Baby Inspires Sonogram Parties (ABC News)

Chad Berry and his wife Camie of Fort Meyers, Fla., know from personal experience that having a baby is a miracle — their own daughter is living proof. Madisyn, now 14, was born after they lost five, two to ectopic pregnancies and three in miscarriages.

So today they offer a “glimpse of your little miracle” in a low-cost ultrasound to couples who want to celebrate the joy of pregnancy in their own homes or at celebratory venues.

Camie Berry, 38, is a certified sonographer and her husband, who used to work as a lab technician, runs the business side of Miracles Imaging. The couple is tapping into one of the latest trends in pregnancy, one that has been growing in popularity over the last several years — sonogram parties.

“We’ll get a call that someone is having a baby shower and ask if we can come,” said Chad Berry, 37. “In two weeks, Alex and Kara are having a package with us. They are renting a real nice room at a country club. We set up and bring the massage table and the screen set up for them so everyone at the baby shower can see.”

Women who opt to get a 3-D image of their child at 23 weeks, moving and showing facial expressions, say they are a fun way to share the excitement of pregnancy.

As finger food and drinks are passed around the room, the mother-to-be stretches out on an examining table while the technician moves a wand across her belly. Imaging equipment is hooked up to a TV screen or computer monitor for all the room to see.

Berry said that the services he and his wife offer should never replace routine medical care, but it can be a more affordable way to see a 3-D image not taken during a routine prenatal exam.

A hospital-based ultrasound might cost up to $800 or more locally, according to Berry. “We can do it 70 percent off because we run a small clinic.”

“The most touching one we ever did was for a couple in their 40s trying to have a baby,” he said. “She finally got pregnant and they planned a dinner at home but didn’t tell the parents. One of the grandparents was crying hysterically the whole time.”

The man had been diagnosed with cancer and told he likely would not live long enough to see the baby. “He could watch it in his own home,” said Berry. “This was the most rewarding experience to provide that to someone.”

But medical experts caution against the experience. The American College of Radiology (ACR) and the Food and Drug Administration, strongly discourage having ultrasounds purely for entertainment and not for a medical reason.

An ultrasound provides reassurance and some useful information for doctors on fetal development — to confirm dates, detect a heartbeat and to check for certain genetic defects.

According to Austin, Texas, pediatrician Dr. Ari Brown, there is no “requirement” to have an ultrasound during a normal pregnancy and is up to a practitioner to determine if the woman is at high risk — usually carrying multiples or a history of pre-term labor or diabetes.

“Some doctors don’t do any,” she said.

“Yes, it is pretty cool to see your baby that way, but not necessary,” said Brown, the author of“Expecting 411.”

“In our book, we discourage couples from going to the mall and getting glamour-shots style ultrasounds,” she said. “There is no certainty of the technician’s training or if the machine is properly maintained. And, some of these photo shoots last three to four hours. It is not worth the risk of exposing your unborn baby to several hours of sound waves and excess heat.”

Technician Lisa Dixon, who is just starting up Peek a View ultrasound services in Santa Monica, Calif., confirms that the trend is growing. “‘Viewing parties’ is what they are called,” she told ABCNews.com.

She charges $375 and up for her parties, depending on location. Like Berry, she provides 3-D images and a DVD with the deal.

Miracle Images provides a “gender reveal” package for $179 anywhere between 15 or 32 weeks. For $198, a client can buy, “Watch Your Baby Grow” with a classic sonogram session during each trimester.

With the deluxe “Shower Package” for $249, Miracles Images will go to a reception hall or a home and provide a 4-D film of the fetus moving in the womb that can be Skyped to absent family or friends.

LeAnn Flippen of Lehigh, Fla., surprised her 33-week pregnant sister-in-law with a sonogram at ababy shower because the family couldn’t afford a 3-D image through their own doctor. (Insurance only pays for 2-D images, unless there are medical complications.)

“My brother was trying to be frugal because with a baby on the way, he didn’t want to spend the money,” said Flippen. “She is a dental hygienist and doesn’t get maternity leave.”

“With 3-D you see the entire face and the pudgy cheeks and nose and eyes,” said Flippen, 30.

“We ate as soon as we got there and played a game while they were setting up,” she said. “We had her chair at the front door so everyone was in front of her and she was the center of attention…. She was so excited.”

Flippen, who has two boys, is now 23 weeks pregnant with a girl. At 15 weeks, she went to Miracle Images to find out the gender in 3-D. Back in 2007, she went to another ultrasound company and had a 3-D image of her son and paid three times as much.

Viviana Aguilera, a 25-year-old teacher from Cape Coral, Fla., held her own sonogram party in her home. Friends attended in person and family from Miami watched the 4-D image of the 29-week fetus moving in her womb via Facetime on her iPad.

“It was awesome,” said Aguilera, who got a discount because her husband is in law enforcement. “The house was packed.”

Sonogram Parties Are the Rage

At first the baby wasn’t “cooperating,” she said of her daughter, who is now 2 months old. “So they made me do certain exercises and I was eating brownies and drinking Coke, trying to wake her up.”

Afterward, she received a DVD and photos. “I would definitely do it again.”

But medical experts say that even though sonograms are considered “safe,” they do not recommend them for “entertainment.”

“Ultrasound should only be performed for medical purposes with a prescription from a licensed professional so people won’t do it just for the fun of it,” said Dr. Deborah Levine of Harvard University Medical School, who is chair of the American College of Radiology Commission on Ultrasound.

Certified technicians are also not supposed to practice independently, without a “physician behind them,” she said. “If a sonographer goes out to the house, you don’t know how it is calibrated, who is operating it and you don’t have the normal quality assurances as in a medical practice. You don’t have the normal checks and balances.”

But Berry of Miracles Images said no research has determined that ultrasounds are unsafe.

“We have quite a few ob/gyn doctors here that we refer women to,” he said. “Insurance covers on one or two, and especially for those on Medicaid, there is little chance for them to have them done.”

He offers discounts to active military, firefighters, first responders and police officers.

Miracle Images requires that their clients have their own doctor to provide prescribed medical sonograms and to oversee their prenatal care.

Berry insists his is no “fly-by-night” operation and has a medical director on call if ultrasound reveals medical problems. “When we find a baby with no heartbeat, we know the physician to call.”

Even LeAnn Flippen, who is now 23 weeks pregnant with her own child, doesn’t seem to worry that an ultrasound could reveal a deformity before a horrified group at a sonogram shower.

“It’s always a concern,” she said. “I guess I leave it up to God. There’s nothing I can do.”

What Happens When a Friendship Turns to Sh*t?

“Lots of people want to ride with you in the limo, but what you want is someone who will take the bus with you when the limo breaks down”.  Oprah Winfrey

I know in every long-term friendship,  like with any other relationship, you’ll hit a bad patch. But what happens when you absolutely do not recognize the person who has been your best friend forever? This is a question that I thought I would never be compelled to ask. My best friend…my brother, has turned into someone I can’t comprehend nor understand. He’s sullen, sulking, combative, moody, irritable, defensive…whew, it’s exhausting. It’s as if he’s turned into some Jekyll and Hyde, walking advertisement for schizophrenic psychotropic drugs. I’ve tried to talk with him but I’ve hit a brick wall every damn time.

More than anything, this is the behavior that’s the most puzzling; we have always been able to talk about any subject or issue that was bothering us, now we can barely talk about anything. He’s had several life-changing events in his little slice of the world over the last year and a half and I understand that, but I’ve been there for him every step of the way. However, the blame-game is what’s troubling. It seems that everything that’s going wrong in his life or bothering him, is someone or something else’s fault or responsibility.

The environment around him is most times…toxic and I called him on it. But as usual, he started with a childish response instead of an adult solution. This type of erratic behavior has only made our relationship even more strained and splintered. Today for example, he went with me to a meeting and all the way there you could feel the tension in the car. Normally we’re laughing, joking and having fun, but oh no, not this time, it was awful. On the way back, it was more of the same and when we are out and about, we normally stop by his home to see my niece/god-daughter (a long story about that title) and I had made arrangements with his wife to do so because I hadn’t seen my little muffin for about a week.

He made an excuse about being too busy and I could “catch up tomorrow”. Excuse me, but tomorrow is Monday and I haven’t won the lottery, so I need to handle my business. This is uncharacteristic behavior and I’m at a loss on what to do. Before anyone starts with maybe his wife has something to do with us having issues (which has been brought up by others), she’s a genuinely nice person and it’s not in her personality to cause trouble. Believe me, I know what friends and relatives look like when they’re knifing you in the back. I also want people to know that my brother is not an inherently bad person either, he has a good heart but at this moment, that’s just hard to remember.

I have almost arrived at the conclusion that maybe we need a good long break from one another…maybe we’ve hit an insurmountable brick wall and it’s just best to change routes…I don’t know at this point. I want him in my life, but I’m not quite sure that he still wants me in his. He has never verbally indicated anything of the sort, but if it’s not that, then what? The one thing that I feel he resents is my friendship with his wife…he even said to her, “why were we communicating”, that I was HIS friend…HIS sister. But how can I have a relationship with my niece/god-daughter and him if I don’t have some sort of amicable relationship with his wife? You see, none of this makes sense.

I’m at a loss on how to fix this and for me, that’s a first. I don’t want to keep going around in circles with him nor do I want to walk on eggshells around him. It has almost become untenable and that has to stop. Do friendships have expiration dates or do we need to freeze them every once in a while to make them last longer? What to do……