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Fox & Friends presenters opinion on gun control
Movies and TV, Posts, Soapbox

Open letter to Fox News and Fox & Friends: sack Tucker Carlson & Anna Kooiman

Open letter.

To: Fox News.  Fox & Friends.

Calling for the sacking of your presenters, Tucker Carlson and Anna Kooiman, for their completely un-educated and ill-informed views on one of your shows, Fox & Friends.

Namely for this segment that appeared on Fox and Family on the subject of guns:

 

It is one thing to have a Presidential candidate spin rhetoric for on-air time but it’s another to have your presenters feigning as journalists rant about an issue so sensitive to a nation.

Sack Tucker Carlson & Anna Kooiman

Tucker Carlson and Anna Kooiman should be sacked because:

  • They are a disgrace to their profession
  • They suggest your station is fronted by an apparent lack of professionals
  • It makes America look like nothing more than a backwater populated by hicks.

Their comments are not just uneducated and ill-informed but they are insensitive and should be reserved for the lunchroom. There is no place for such an amateur discussion on television.

Gun control is a topic that needs to managed with care, sensitivity and knowledge. There is no place for rhetoric or personal ranting. You have a duty to society, the American people and, most importantly, the victims of gun violence to take emotion out of the equation.  Emotion should be saved for the victims not for the people who believe in their own opinions above all others.

Regardless of our personal views on gun control it needs to be debated without the obvious bias and fanaticism that fuels this topic.

Shame on you.

xx It Started in LA xx

Tucker Carlson on twitter

Anna Kooiman on twitter

 

My take on the 2015 Emmys Telecast
Celebrity, Movies and TV, My LA story, Posts

My round up of the Emmys 2015 telecast

This entry is part 2 of 3 in the series Emmys 2015

I love the Emmys and I love TV. So it’s only fitting that I share my round up of the Emmys 2015 telecast. Last year I was lucky enough to go to the Creative Arts Emmys. As is the premise of my Blog, never in my wildest dreams as a very happy normal chick living the Sydney life expect to be strutting the Red Carpet amongst the cast of Orange is the New Black, Jon Voight and incredible talent that makes the TV industry go around. It’s crazy.

This year’s Emmys ceremony was great, I thoroughly enjoyed them and I love that it’s broken down over two separate ceremonies. It makes the main event go much quicker.

While I enjoyed most of Andy Sandberg as this year’s host can I am still mourning the loss of Tina Fey and Amy Poehler. It will take a few more years til we get to their standard—if we do at all. They’re some pretty talented and funny women.

Andy opened strongly but it was a bit stop/start. His opening monologue was fine but not great.

It took a while to hit cruising speed but he definitely got more comfortable and relaxed as time went on, which is good.

To me, cruising speed was hit when he did his little “Girls” love scene impersonation—which is pretty funny even if you didn’t know the scene in question.

ICYMI here it is.

Important role of TV

 

The Oscars last year got slammed for “snubbing people of colour” but the Emmys did the opposite. I’m not sure it’s that the Emmys addressed or acknowledged people of colour but had the opportunity to award talent where it was due.

No one put it better than Viola Davis herself:

“The only thing that separates women of colour from anyone else is opportunity. You cannot win an Emmy (or an Oscar) for roles that are simply not there.”

There have been many people commenting on social media saying, You won, you’re good, you deserve it but enough about the colour factor. Sorry, you can’t say that! Clearly to say what she said, to speak as openly and emotionally as she did, Viola Davis has been on a ride. Otherwise it wouldn’t be so from-the-heart as it was.

I also understand why they say “it shouldn’t be about colour”. BUT. America is very into defining people—men, women, black, Asian, native American, gay, straight, transgender and talking about Diversity. By labelling people America is its own worst enemy. It struck me almost as soon as I got here and I penned (so to speak) this post.

(And I’m not saying Australia is not guilty, we’ve had our own racist issues, which also embarrass me, but it comes from a different angle).

Maybe it’s easy for me to say but at the end of the day—when you look really closely—I’m not white middle America, I just act like I am. “White” that is. Clearly I’m not American (although I do see myself as evolving into an Ausmerican).

I act like I am white because I don’t see myself any differently. And I think that’s largely because I grew up in Australia, not America. I’m probably not really making a lot of sense but here’s the bottom line:

Shonda Rhimes, is a creative genius. Beyond genius. She’s like the Steven Bochco of the 2000s (am I showing my age?). When I first saw Grey’s Anatomy in Australia, I knew it was created by Shonda Rhimes but I had no idea she was black. It didn’t matter, why should it? When I first saw the shorts (trailer) for How To Get Away with Murder I saw a powerful performance by Viola Davis but I didn’t take special notice of the fact that she was black, she was just bloody amazing.

That should be the point. And (I think) that was Viola Davis’s point.

TV should be at the cutting edge of setting change. TV Shows have a shorter incubation period, cost less to make, and there is a large talent pool to choose from. And that’s why we love it so much and that’s why it’s so much edgier than movie-making at the moment.

And, the fact that every single drama nominated could clearly be the winner exemplifies that point.  And that every single comedy nominated could clearly be the winner. No one drama or comedy would have won that category and you would have said, “I don’t think they deserved it”.

I was like, “oh yeah, Game of Thrones deserves it.” Then I remember House of Cards and what an amazing season it was.  Downton Abbey, Homeland, OISTNB … Yep, they’re all over-the-top phenomenally good.

Donald Trump

On a lighter note it was good to see the Trump jokes out in force last night. Julia Louis-Dreyfus in her acceptance speech:

“What a great honour it must be for you to honour me tonight.

“Oh God, no! Donald Trump said that.”

On that note, shall we take a moment to say the women, to me, are rocking it as the stars of the show. The cast of Orange is the New Black, Amy Schumer, Amy Poehler, JLD, Allison Janney, all the American Horror Story stars and guest stars. Good for them I say—now to get them all being paid the same as the blokes in the room ;-).

And, I wonder if we can now get Kanye to throw himself at Amy Schumer when he sees her on the Red Carpet.

 

All hail Amy Schumer.

For a full list of nominees and winners click here.

 

xx It Started in LA xx

 

Movies and TV, My LA story, Posts

June Gloom really is a thing

It’s the summer holidays and it finally starts to feel like it. Apart from feeling more relaxed, sleeping in a little and eating later it hasn’t really felt like the holidays.

I managed to pin it down to two things:

  1. I didn’t have—or attend—an end-of-year break-up drinks session. For as long as I remember either I or one of my friends would have break-up drinks where all the kids and mums get together for drinks not unlike our Friday afternoon drinks. This year my son hosted a sleepover after exams and my daughter went to a friends for break-up pool party but I was left to my own devices and didn’t invite any parents for accompanying drinks. I don’t like it when there’s no celebratory get together so I’m pretty sure this was part of that anti-climax.
  2. We didn’t head straight for the beach. Once school is out–and we’ve got together for break-up drinks–we head straight for the beach to spend some six weeks in summer holiday mode: prepping for Christmas, heading to the beach each day, boating, water sports and lots and lots of eating and drinking. We love our summer holidays in Australia: it’s all about the beach, great food and amazing company.

Summer holidays in Australia

Let me tangent for just a minute: Australian beaches are largely uninhabited. Sure you’ve got Bondi and Manly beach in Sydney and St Kilda and Brighton in Melbourne but the beaches aren’t built up on the beach like Santa Monica, Malibu and Long Beach. Where we go—Jervis Bay on the South Coast of New South Wales (NSW)—there’s nothing.

At Our Beach, Our Magic Beach, Jervis Bay, NSW | It Started in LA | itstartedinla.com

At Our Beach, Our Magic Beach, Jervis Bay, NSW | It Started in LA | itstartedinla.com

 

And that’s exactly the way we like it. It has all we need: a seafood co-op (where local fisherman sell their seafood to the public), a butcher and a deli with most of the hard-to-find ingredients we need for the incredible food we’ll prepare—recipes we’ve been researching and preparing for months in advance.

All we have is the beach, the white sand, crystal clear water and fellow boaters. Oh, and lots of great food and drink.

In Australia hundreds of families pack up their car on Boxing Day (the day after Christmas) to congregate on the highway headed for the beach. They rent houses, enjoy their own or camp or caravan (RV) on the foreshore for their annual fortnight (two weeks) holiday (vacation). It’s the quintessential ‘Straylian thing to do.

Summer holidays in the US

American summer holidays go on and on and on. And on and on. Essentially three months of the year are spent on holidays. If you ask me (I know you didn’t) it’s ridiculous. It’s just too long. There are some school districts that have caught on and implemented the “year-round” schedule. It works similar to Australia where you get two weeks four times a year and six weeks over summer.

(In Australia the school year goes something like this: 10 weeks of school, two weeks holidays, 10 weeks of school, two/three weeks holidays, 10 weeks of school, two/weeks holidays, 10 weeks of school, two/three weeks, 10 weeks of school, six/eight weeks summer holidays).

We all know through movies like American Pie that American kids spend weeks at a time on camp; well it’s no bloody wonder. You need to be a patient martyr to manage the kids for three months.

June Gloom

Last year I blogged about Brenda and Brandon heading down to the Beverly Hills Beach Club over summer where Brandon would go to work (good old Brandon working to earn his keep as opposed to Dylan living comfortably off his trust fund–don’t misunderstand me I loved Dylan!). I was so excited to be hitting the beach at the members-only club the likes of which the fictitious beach club in 90210 was based.

As a family we made a pact that we wouldn’t let 90210 and the Hollywood lifestyle change us. There have to be exceptions to every rule and heading down to the beach club has to be one of them.

Here are three (OK four) reasons why the private beach club should be an exception to our rule:

  1. Beach chairs: It’s so nice not having to lug your chairs all the way down to the beach, it’s all set up for you. How decadent.
  2. Valet parking: No more driving around trying to find a park: pull up, get out of the car and it’s parked for you.
  3. Bar and restaurant (no words needed)
  4. Toilets and hot showers (no words needed).

The only problem with world-famous Santa Monica beach in June (and SoCal in general for that matter) is June Gloom. June Gloom is exactly as it sounds: a marine layer hovers over the beach suburbs making it grey and gloomy (rather than bright and sunny) and doesn’t lift (if you’re lucky) until early afternoon.

I remember when we first arrived in LA we were running around Hollywood in the stifling August heat. We were due to meet friends in Santa Monica at 3:00. When we got there we were freezing: the marine layer was hovering over Santa Monica, visibility was poor, no sun and it was at least 20 degrees colder. Ill prepared we needed jumpers and long pants it was that cold.  And that was in August.

On our way down to the beach club I was telling my friend about my experience because we’d forgotten to pack jumpers for our trip to the beach. Sure enough—as if I’d jinxed us—the same was true that day.

We were supposed to head to the beach the day before but Obama was in town and the roads were closed from the beach to Beverly Hills making it impossible to go anywhere on the Westside without being stuck in standstill traffic.

When parking our car we asked if the June Gloom had lifted at all this week to which the valet replied not really but they did catch the sun the day Obama shut down the roads. Great, we hoped we weren’t doomed.

But, alas around 3:00 in the afternoon, like magic the gloom lifts giving way to sunshine.

June Gloom lifts and Santa Monica looks like the travel brochures: iconically perfect | It Started in LA | itstartedinla.com

June Gloom lifts and Santa Monica looks like the travel brochures: iconically perfect | It Started in LA | itstartedinla.com

 

The scene was set for an afternoon in paradise: an afternoon where we could sip cocktails on the balcony watching the sun set over Santa Monica and the kids had run of the club and the nearby pier.

Sunsetting behind the Santa Monica mountains | It Started in LA | itstartedinla.com

Sun setting behind the Santa Monica mountains | It Started in LA | itstartedinla.com

 

Yep, summer is here, holidays are here. There truly is nothing like being at the beach to make you feel like the summer holidays have arrived. And if that trip to the beach happens to come with all the bells and whistles of a 90210 lifestyle then I’m all in.

Happy summer everyone!

xx It Started in LA xx

oscars speech
Celebrity, Movies and TV, My LA story, Posts

Speech, speech … as awards season makes way for pilot season

What a great start to the year here in Hollywood. I wonder what clever person decided to make the beginning of the year Awards Season. In Australia January is the peak of the school (summer) holidays and February marks the big thud: back to reality. The reality and realisation that all that eating and drinking every day over summer has paid the price—on your butt, thighs, stomach or worse all three. That’s why FebFast was invented—a great cause to stop drinking for and help shed the excesses as an added bonus.

If you’re following me fervently (which I hope you are) then you’ll know I was in Sydney for January. One of my friends was talking about doing FebFast and another was trying to get me to start a 30-day cleanse in February. Not a chance! Not with awards season here there’s no time to give up drinking, it’s basically 4-6 weeks of parties.

I was lucky enough to go to two awards nights (depending on how you look at it): The ACE (American Cinema Editors) Eddie Awards and the ASC (American Society of Cinematographers) Awards. Like getting to know and understand the role of sound and colour in films I never really stopped to think about editors and cinematographers. One stat we were told at the ACE awards (if you remember) was one six-second car chase was edited from some 30 hours of raw footage. I always knew Cinematographers were clever but didn’t realise the importance of colouring to complement this process. I do now.

But with the number of different awards shows the big three are the Golden Globes, BAFTAs and the Oscars. This year Mr H’s company had two best picture nods: Whiplash (for which they did the sound–congratulations Ben Wilkins & Craig Mann) and Birdman (for which they did, among other things, the colouring–congratulations Steve Scott). And we were rewarded appropriately: with the big ‘O’! No, not Oprah… Oscar.  (Oh, and by the way, thanks Ben for sharing your Oscar & BAFTA with me even if it was just for a few precious minutes).

Let me tell you that Oscar is heavy; it’s pretty solid. Here’s a pic of me and Oscar:

 

Here’s one of me and the highly impressive (& heavy) BAFTA:

 

And here’s one with me, barely able to hold both of them for fear of breaking them:

 

I’m not weighing into the debate but obviously a lot was said about the shunning of the “African Americans” and in particular Selma (speaking of Oprah). Can’t any minority group say that? Big budget v small budget; black v white; haves v have-nots. This year the Academy definitely had its hat turned to those with not as much money as others yet made well-produced and engaging movies. It’s so nice that small budget films are being recognised.

Anyway, I posted my “brush with Osc and BAFT” pics on the regular channels and a few people called for my acceptance speech. What a great idea for a blog post. Absolutely I can do that.

My acceptance speech

Talk about pressure. Well I didn’t know where to start. For someone who’s somewhat opinionated I am lost for words. I’ve got the stage, my 50/60 seconds with the whole world watching (hopefully) but no idea where to start. How can this be? What are my options?

Well there’s the obvious one: thank God, mum & dad for all they did for me, my husband and kids and thanks to blah and blah for believing in me and helping me along this journey to get where I am today.

But I want more than that so what’s option two?

The statement speech or the watercooler speech. Perhaps that should be upgraded to the what-gets-social-media-talking speech. Well I’m not that politically minded, I’m not particularly passionate about anything in particular and I don’t really have any great pearls of wisdom to share (like JK Simmons this year–congrats–or Matthew McConaughey or Jared Leto last year) so I guess I won’t be one of those “talked about” speeches either.

So I thought I’d go for option three, tell a story.

Once upon a time there was a man and a woman. One grew up in a working class town in South Wales, the other in a small farming town in the Philippines—you couldn’t get more different people from such different walks of lives. Through fate they met and a year or so later they had a daughter. Then in another twist of fate they moved to Australia following an idea he had that they didn’t want to bring their kids up in Wales or the Philippines.

Fast forward a number of years (and moves) later and in a (not-at-all-sleazy) nightclub in Melbourne, this boy walks up to me who says he’s seen me around (haven’t they all?). After a tumultuous six years we married, moved to Sydney and had two amazing babies. We have pretty much always been happy: we’ve got great friends, generally have lots of fun, have had some great opportunities thrown our way and our parents set us up with some good values. We like to think we are aware of others and do the right thing by people but we’re not perfect (thank God!).

So imagine in the middle of your fun-filled life in one of the world’s most beautiful spots (Jervis Bay Australia), you get a call asking if you want to move to Hollywood. Seriously? What are you doing to me? I’m home and happy, the kids are happy and settled in fantastic schools with great friends and you want to uproot me?

It seems fate had a different plan to mine and if I’m up for the ride it’s mine for the taking.

{music starts playing}

Wait. Thankyou fate. Thank you for throwing me curve balls in my sometimes-over-planned life. Thanks for challenging me to put myself in different situations to see what I’ll do with them. And fate, without you, I wouldn’t be standing here today.

I believe in fate and all it has to serve up. Bring on more amazing Hollywood moments. And I welcome any offers now that pilot season has kicked off.

Thank you.

xx it Started in LA xx

 

%sos
Celebrity, Movies and TV, Posts, Sydney

Five seconds of summer

I’m back from a week in Sydney. I was working—which I miss more than I thought—and had arranged a fabuluxe couple of days of Sydney indulgence for my clients. To top it off their day on the Harbour coincided with Australia Day so it would be an amazing experience to remember.

As I prepared the incredible itinerary, had all my ducks lined up tightly I was packing for the trip and questioning my fee as there really wasn’t much for me to do but sit by the pool and make sure my guests had a good tie then knew where they had to be when next. Life couldn’t really get much better than that could it?

Well yes except for the fact that Sydney had not done her glorious self any justice and instead of turning on the sunshine she turned on the cold. And rain. And rain. And rain. Australia Day in Sydney 2015 was the coldest in 50 years.  The bottom line was I ended up working my tail off but all’s well that ends well.

It was interesting to be in Sydney for a (wet) Australia Day.  It didn’t dampen the spirits of many people who still went out to watch and join in the festivities on the Harbour but it did keep many people away. And prompted me to cancel my Water Taxi trips for the rest of the two days. It reminded me of the Fourth of July we spent in San Diego just six months ago but I have to say I think Sydney turns it on somewhat bigger and better (am I allowed to say that?).

What a Harbour Sydney is. It’s not until you move away that you really truly appreciate the City you call your hometown. For the five seconds I was there when the sun was shining it was gleaming—positively showing off. And even when the sun wasn’t shining the Harbour still looked majestic.

I’ve got a bit of a bee in my bonnet about Americans (I haven’t bitched about my host country for a while). When I get asked where I’m from and I reply Sydney, Australia everyone—I mean everyone—says “Oh I love Australia, I really want to go but it’s so far.”

Even this morning on the radio as they were interviewing an Australian singer they said the same thing.  But it’s 10 hours to Europe and no one even stops to think about it. It’s only an extra couple of hours. Stop yearning a Sydney visit and jetsetting back to Europe each year, have a Nike moment: Just Do It.

In honour of Sydney I thought I’d share my two-day itinerary. I’ve added a third option in there if you’re not inclined to head to the Blue Mountains.

If you’ve only got a couple of days in Sydney here’s what I recommend:

  • A day on the Harbour. There are lots of things to do from catching a ferry to Manly or the Zoo or even Watson’s Bay and having lunch. But whatever you do, get amongst it on the Harbour. If the weather is kind to you it truly is magnificent. If you’re on a budget the ferries are an economical way to get on; there are many cruises but if you can hire a charter to take you wherever you like without having to share a boat with hundreds of other tourists.If you head to Manly think about ‘wasting’ the afternoon basking in the sunshine at Hugo’s.  Unlike LA you can sit and drink and snack all day and they won’t try and move you on and give you the ‘check’.
  • A trip to the Blue Mountains. Hiring a car in Australia isn’t as cheap as the US but it’s worth it rather than being forced to follow someone else’s itinerary. I recommend one of the numerous hikes around and also a trip to Scenic World—the Sky Railway, Skyway & Cableway—are great ways to get different aspects of the Three Sisters and natural wonders (provided of course there is visibility).High Tea is also popular thing to do in this region. The Hydro Majestic is one of the most glorious places for High Tea in the area so I highly recommend an afternoon there.
  • Hang out at Bondi. Or Bronte. And walk between the two. One of the most popular things to do—and be seen—in Sydney. It’s a coastal walk that links two of Sydney’s most popular Eastern suburbs beaches. Fortunately for foodies like me there are some fabulous restaurants at either side to reward the walk.

For dinners I sent them to Aqua Dining and Aria, both are popular spots with exceptional views. My favourite was by far Guillaume at Bennelong in the Opera House (and a must-do for foodies and view-chasers alike) but sadly it’s now closed down at the Opera House and moved to Paddington so if you’re not looking for a view it’s still an option.

Leaving my clients to dine alone I went with friends to the long-awaited new Billy Kwong (yum, yum, triple yum) in Potts Point and Felix (so good) at The Ivy. Neither disappointed and I can’t wait for my next Sydney gastronomic experience.

I have to also say that I don’t often get starstruck but I was so impressed to see Kylie Kwong at the helm at Billy Kwong.  She was too busy to ask for a selfie but I did applaud her on her work (yes, I’m sure she’s feeling much better now that I’ve told her that).

KK

Kylie Kwong in Action

Back in LA

It’s good to be back at home. I came back to the household in better order (apparently) then when I’m here and life with Dad is so much better than with mum at the helm. This begs the question why is it always so damn hard to get away? I’m storing that for next time I’m looking for some me-time.

On Friday night we attended the ACE Eddies. The ACE is the American Cinema Editors (http://americancinemaeditors.org/) who are those clever people that edit the movies to make sense and are riveting to watch. One of the stats about one of the ACE Honorees was that he put together a six-minute action sequence from 30 hours of raw footage. Wow. I’m flat out editing 1,200 word blogs. I have to say though, they might be good at editing other people’s work but there were some incredibly long speeches–no one cutting down their speeches. These awards aren’t televised so there’s no music timing them out. Note to organisers, you might like to time them just the same.

I got to come face-to-face with (or be at the same event as) Matt Damon and Chris Pratt and sit through my second Awards night. There were two stand-out presenters: MC for the night Mary Lynn Rajskub (best known for playing the annoyingly annoying Chloe O’Brian on 24) and The Goldbergs patriarch Jeff Garlin.

Never underestimate the importance of a good presenter—and one who can ad-lib ad infinitum providing a much-needed break from the night (not that you don’t want to honour those being awarded). The classic was when Jeff Garlin (who came out to present in a Beverly Hilton robe saying they’d dragged him down from his room to present) changed his story at the end saying he was driving past in his car and they dragged him in. “But I thought we dragged you down from your room?” asked his co-presenter. “Yes, you dragged me from my room sitting in a car,” he said, exaggerating the gaff. It just made it all funnier.

As for Mary Lynn Rajskub—who joked about people editing the spelling and pronunciation of her name—she was very funny. There were drug references, there was sexual innuendo and very good comedy. Who would know the insipid and extremely painful Chloe O’Brian comes from such good stock. How does spunky, funny and entertaining produce whiny, annoying and do-gooder? Character acting at its best no doubt.

Amongst the winners Lego Movie got its own back from its snub from the Oscars, Boyhood got the nod for dramatic feature film over the movies we were ‘rooting’ for American Sniper & Whiplash; and The Grand Budapest Hotel beat Birdman and Guardians of the Galaxy (we were ‘rooting’ for both movies) for best edited feature film (comedy or musical). Our other favourite show to take out an Eddie was Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown: Iran.

The winners in this four-hour marathon were:

65th annual ACE EDDIE Awards Winners:

BEST EDITED FEATURE FILM (DRAMATIC): Boyhood – Sandra Adair, ACE
BEST EDITED FEATURE FILM (COMEDY OR MUSICAL): The Grand Budapest Hotel – Barney Pilling
BEST EDITED ANIMATED FEATURE FILM: Lego Movie – David Burrows & Chris McKay
BEST EDITED DOCUMENTARY (FEATURE): Citizenfour – Mathilde Bonnefoy
BEST EDITED DOCUMENTARY (TELEVISION): The Roosevelts: An Intimate History: Episode 3 / The Fire of Life – Erik Ewers
BEST EDITED HALF-HOUR SERIES FOR TELEVISION: Veep: “Special Relationship” – Anthony Boys
BEST EDITED ONE-HOUR SERIES FOR COMMERCIAL TELEVISION: Sherlock: “His Last Vow”  – Yan Miles
BEST EDITED ONE-HOUR SERIES FOR NON-COMMERCIAL TELEVISION: True Detective: “Who Goes There” – Affonso Gonçalves
BEST EDITED MINISERIES OR MOTION PICTURE FOR TELEVISION: The Normal Heart – Adam Penn
BEST EDITED NON-SCRIPTED SERIES: Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown: Iran – Hunter Gross
BEST STUDENT EDITING: Johnny Sepulveda (Video Symphony)

Super Bowl

I’m not going to say much more about the Super Bowl except we went to a Super Bowl party and I still don’t really understand the game. Part of the tradition is to play Football Squares. When you don’t understand the game it’s a fun thing to play along with as the score changes.

Essentially, you have a grid with 10 rows across and 10 down (100 squares). You ask everyone to put their name in a square. Each square is a bet of your choosing (I think ours was $5).

Once the names are assigned the organiser randomly puts numbers on the top and to the side of the grid and also assigns each of the two teams to either the top or the side. Usually there’s a winner after each quarter and they win a percentage of the pot.

The winner is worked out by looking at the last number in each team’s score and then matching those numbers on the grid and seeing which square intersects those two numbers. Follow? Neither did I. But say the score was Seahawks 24 and Patriots 28. The final payout was determined by finding out which square intersected at 4 and 8 on the grid. I’ll give you the tip, it wasn’t me. We did, however, win the second & third quarters so we did OK.

(Source: for more info).

(BTW in case you missed it, the (Seattle) Seahawks got pipped at the post so to speak and lost to the (Boston) Patriots and the score in the eg above was the final score).

 

What about the entertainment?

I don’t know about you but I was disappointed in Katy Perry—until Firework anyway when I think she nailed it. I think the critics actually applauded her but the people I “interviewed” thought it was a bit ho-hum. It was to be the Super Bowl performance to knock out all other performances but I disagree. That’s the problem when you over-hype yourself. And what’s with bringing in the Special guests? See all that says to me is that you’re not backing yourself to pull off the performance on your own. And poor Katy until Firework you could hardly hear her. She’s got a good voice but no point if you can’t hear it. At least she finished on a good note.

Bruno Mars last year … now there was a performance. So maybe I just missed the hype last year but when the Red Hot Chilli Peppers came they didn’t take from Bruno Mars, they just made it somehow more brilliant. Bravo Bruno you’ve set the benchmark for me. Katy, or whoever is up next year, take a leaf out of his book. Yes, it was at the Super Bowl 2014 that I really and truly fell in love with Bruno Mars.  And realised what an amazing performer he actually is. (Wonder if he lives in LA?)

I missed the ads again this year. Except the Snickers Brady Bunch ad. Hysterical. If you didn’t see it make the round on social media last week here it is:

It’s worth watching I’ll give you the tip. Here are (according to two different people) the Top 10 Super Bowl Commercials 2015—they’re so different but they’ve both got some good ads in there.

 

I don’t know about you but I want to play Pacman—how fun.

That’s my second SuperBowl under my belt, hopefully next year I’ll actually know how to read the squares when I win ;-).

Five Seconds of Summer

You’re probably wondering why this week’s post is named after my five seconds of Sydney summer or the latest, hottest boy-band sensation to come out of Sydney? It is absolutely the latter. After delaying my flight by a day I got the joy of flying home with said band who are headed to LA to record their next album. I’ve invited them over for Sunday Roast—wonder if they’ll take me up on my offer? I doubt it but my daughter can dream.

5sos

Selfie with two of the boys from Five Seconds of Summer #5sos

 

Good luck boys, you were truly gracious participants in the Gwen selfie, success is yet to hit them so thumbs up. This is probably my best to date.  (BTW in case you don’t know pictured are Calum & Luke).

Problem with flying home with them was I couldn’t stop singing, “She looked so perfect standing there in her American Apparel underwear …” lucky I didn’t break into song for them.

Have a good week everyone,

xx It Started in LA xx

 

PS: What did you think of Katy Perry? Do you have mad 5sos fans at your place? Let me know what you think.

Celebrity, Movies and TV, My LA story, Posts

Who wore what: Golden Globes 2015

This entry is part 2 of 2 in the series Golden Globes 2015

Usually the fashion comes before the ceremony but in my case there’s only one of me and it’s important to have a good look at the pics before you make your final decision.

So, with my Golden Globes hangover here’s my verdict on this year’s Golden Globes fashion.

The thing that annoys me with most Red Carpet critics is the Best Dressed list comprises solely of the “it” actors and actresses. Rarely do partners get on the list or the older women—with the exception of Helen Mirren she always seems to get an honourable mention. No, not mine I choose from everyone I see—that’s what makes me different.

This year I’m loving the winter white and those who dared our un-typically LA tempting possible muddy conditions it paid off. Leading the winter white pack was Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Kate Hudson Felicity Huffman deserves a nod too.

I suppose you can count Sienna Millar in the winter white category but either way she looked good—better if she didn’t plunge that neckline all the way down to her waist but that’s really being picky. Unfortunately Tina Fey didn’t quite pull off her white and black look but who cares? she did such an amazing job presenting she can wear whatever she wants. And, to be fair, she killed it in her tux during the presentation.

Speaking of tuxes Jared Leto did it for me as best dressed for the blokes in his white tux with black highlights. Nice job Jared.

Silver was another common colour and it was great to see. Dakota Johnson sparkled in her silver number and Reese Witherspoon and Diane Kruger looked glamorous as ever. Kate Beckinsale looked radiant and OITNB star Uzo “crazy eyes” Aduba also looked stunning in shimmering silver. Emma Stone rocked it in the pants and silver bodice and Kayte Walsh (who came with Kelsey Grammar looked positively radiantly stunning).

The side cutout was another look this year and no one really managed to pull it off. Ryan Hawke (Ethan’s other half) Katie Cassidy and Rosamund Pike showed us how not to pull off the look. Stand out dress in the side cutout department was Kate Hudson (how on earth did she keep those puppies in her dress all night?

Red was a popular colour with Allison Williams, Taylor Schilling, Helen Mirren (love the Je Suis Charlie accessory), Jane Fonda (ooh la la) and Julianna Margulies (who always looks so stunning but the dress didn’t really sit right for me) going with the colour. But the best dressed in red would have to be Viola Davis—just loved the minimal jewellery, the cut and the silver sparkles—not too much not too little it was just right. And after a disaster look last year it was good to see Lena Dunham looking great in her Zac Posen red number.

In yellow Jenna Dewan-Tatum wins it for me along with Leslie Mann. Everyone picked Naomi Watts and I thought she looked good but the other two looked better.

And there was a lot of rouging! From Amy Adams to Jessica Chastain, Lana Del Ray and Katie Holmes, they all wore it. I like a bit of rouging but I think only Katie Holmes managed to pull it off—yes, even my Red Carpet favourite Amy Adams gets a hmmm vote.

Heidi Klum actually pulled off the rougeing and she rocked it in red.

I have to go there … notable fails. Keira Knightly, what on earth were you thinking? Sack your stylist sweetie that look is not a look at all. I’m so sorry to say but there’s nothing about that dress I can say works. If I’d met you last night I’d have to be careful not to look down. I love you but not last night.

And Melissa McCarthy please please please stop playing the fat card. We love you, you’re funny, you’ve done well against the odds, it’s hard to dress when you’re overweight but plenty of big people can look nice. Embrace your size and set an example about how you can be big and still look smoking. Take a leaf out of OITNB’s Danielle Brooks book and work it! Stylists, please take her on.  It’s easy to make a Beyonce or a Kerry Washington hot show us you really have talent by making Melissa McCarthy look good.

And Amelia Warner (with Jamie Dornan) can you please give me a call?  That fur fringing really? Actually the whole dress was pretty blah. I hope someone paid you to wear that otherwise it would be totally humiliating.  I’m sorry sweetie.

Before I finish I can’t do my critique without mentioning boobies. It seems everyone was keen to show us all as much boob flesh as she could—JLo, Kate Hudson, Katie Cassidy, Sienna Miller had the waistline neckline.  There were boobs and plunging necklines all over the shop.

While we’re talking about plunging necklines my mate JLo. Everyone raved about how gorgeous she looked but really? I disagree. I don’t think she rocked it at all—way too much fabric, she didn’t look like she wanted to be there and her face was all scowly.  I think I need to send my mate Napoleon Perdis to soften her up and make her look good again.

And finally, cutest couple goes hands down to Ann Faris and Chris Pratt.  I love love love Joshua Jackson and Diane Kruger too but I have a soft spot for them.

Hits—in order

GG Best Dressed

Golden Globes Hits as digested by It Started in LA

 

  1. Emma Stone (Photo: Jason Merritt/Getty Images via nydailynews.com)
  2. Viola Davis (Photo: Jason Merritt/Getty Images via nydailynews.com)
  3. Leslie Mann (Photo: DANNY MOLOSHOK via nydailynews.com)
  4. Uzo Aduba (Photo: Steve Granitz/WireImage via nydailynews.com)
  5. Julia Louis-Dreyfus (Photo: Jason Merritt/Getty Images via nydailynews.com)
  6. Selma Hayek (Photo: Jordan Strauss/AP via nydailynews.com)
  7. Reece Witherspoon (Photo: Jason Merritt/Getty Images via nydailynews.com)
  8. Kate Beckinsale (Photo: John Shearer/AP via nydailynews.com)
  9. Danielle Brooks (Photo: Jason Merritt/Getty Images via nydailynews.com)

Who was on my list but then didn’t make the cut (there were simply too many to choose from)?

These aren’t in order–that would be too hard.

  • Camille Alves (aka Mrs McConaughey)
  • Kate Hudson
  • Dakota Johnson
  • Allison Janey
  • Emmanuelle Chriqui
  • Kerry Washington
  • Kayte Walsh

Honourable mentions

  • Katie Holmes
  • Jenna Dewan-Tatum
  • Sienna Miller
  • Gina Rodriguez
  • Allison Williams
  • Quvenzhane Wallis (the girl from Annie)
  • Miss Golden Globe 2015 Greer Grammer

The Blokes

Why are the blokes always last?  I love that the blokes are branching out from traditional tuxes. Well done boys.

GG Best Dressed Blokes

Golden Globes Best Dressed Blokes as digested by It Started in LA

 

  1. Jared Leto (Photo: Kevin Winter Getty Images via today.com)
  2. Matt Bomer (Photo: Getty Images via celebuzz.com)
  3. Adrien Brody (Image from thefashionisto.com)

Honourable mention to Entourage star Adrian Grenier who looked pretty sexy in a purple tux with black trimmings—those pants fit beautifully.

Misses

You think it was hard to choose the hits.  Let me tell you there were quite a few misses too.  Sadly.

GG Misses

Golden Globes Misses as digested by It Started in LA

 

  1. Zosia Mamet (Photo: Jordan Strauss/AP via nydailynews.com)
  2. Keira Knightley (Photo: Jason Merritt/Getty Images via nydailynews.com)
  3. Rosamund Pike (Photo: Steve Granitz/WireImage via nydailynews.com)
  4. Melissa McCarthy (Photo: Steve Granitz/WireImage via nydailynews.com)
  5. Claire Danes (Photo: Jason Merritt/Getty Images via nydailynews.com)
  6. Jemima Kirke (Photo: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images via nydailynews.com)
  7. Amelia Warner  (Getty Images via celebuzz.com)
  8. Amanda Peet (Photo: Steve Granitz/WireImage via nydailynews.com)
  9. JLo (Photo: Jason Merritt/Getty Images vianydailynews.com)

If you want to check out some image galleries here you go.  These are the sites where I got some of my photos from.

Celebuzz

NY Daily News

GQ Best Dressed Blokes

What do you think?  Do you agree?  Disagree?  Anyone I missed out? Did you think JLo looked good?  Why?  Share here on the comments page or on my Facebook page.

Until next year but thankfully we’ve got a number of awards shows to go.  I’ll be at the ACE Awards at the end of the month.  Need to shed those kgs and find me a dress to wear.

xx It Started in LA xx

Celebrity, Movies and TV, My LA story, Posts

Golden Globes: my favourite awards kick off awards season

This entry is part 1 of 2 in the series Golden Globes 2015

Getting around the country I love that each place in the US has a different vibe and plays to a different tune. There is absolutely no questioning that LA’s tune is celebrity and Hollywood.

We define the year not by the seasons but by what’s going on in Hollywood—awards season, pilot season, hiatus (which is fast becoming obsolete with TV shooting longer and subscription shows like House of Cards and Orange is the New Black breaking traditions). And so it goes on.

Then there are the sub themes like the weather and rain (or lack thereof) and who’s spotted who (as in celebrity spotting) around town and who lives where.  (Ironically it rained again for the Golden Globes but unlike for the Oscars when that’s all we talked about for days it wasn’t mentioned at all—too much else to talk about).

The Golden Globes are by far my favourite awards. Firstly it covers both TV and movies, secondly there’s drinking going on at the tables and last but not least it was the first awards show I got to attend. OK technically I “only” went to the after-party (thank you Warner Bros and In Style can’t wait for my next invite).

Yep, this time last year I was standing in a queue to get into said after-party.  It all looks glamorous and fun but there’s a lot of standing around and waiting.  The celebs get into the parties first (naturally).  Each event you go into there’s a red carpet so at the Warner Bros after party you not only have to queue to get in but you have to queue to get your pic taken.

You’re feeling on top of the world: you’re holding a much-coveted ticket to the party, you’re in the door, your ticket is real (I don’t know why but it’s a little nerve-racking waiting for them to OK your ticket) and in front of you there are paps EVERYWHERE. They’re each yelling out at the celebs to look their way to get that winning photo. And then our group walks past.  In unison the paps put down their cameras and start talking amongst themselves.  Nothing says you’re a “nobody” more than that.  Deflate ego.

Me & Mr H at last year's Golden Globes

Me & Mr H at last year’s Golden Globes

I reckon we had to wait nearly an hour to get into the party. There was a lot of whining and whining and a lot of “do they know who I am?” whispering. Knowing I wasn’t anyone (and just so happy to be in that queue—hey at least it was inside) I realised I had the best “seat” in the house.

You see anyone who was anyone was walking past us. I was trying so hard to write down everyone I saw but there wasn’t enough time so I had to rely on my memory. Some of my highlight spots were Chris O’Donnell, Julianna Margulies, Sofia Vergara, Orlando Bloom and Jared Leto among so many, many more.  At one stage we couldn’t keep up with everyone it was out of control.  Cue utter excitement and a lot of pinching of self and husband.

My biggest highlights were 1) being at a party with the biggest A-listers in the business 2) meeting and chatting to a couple of stars of Downton Abbey and having a great chat to newly married couple Liam McIntyre and Erin Hasan 3) going to the toilets and getting my L’Oreal goody bag and Rollasoles then 4) finding the VIP lounge (which I was allowed into!) by accidentally following (not stalking there’s a subtle difference) Rhianna trying to sneak a pic of her (which I didn’t manage to get) and 5) having a two-second conversation with Taylor Swift and taking a pic with her and my mate (then wondering why tf I didn’t get in on that pic).

I’ve been here 17 months now and going to the Golden Globes is still up there in my top three experiences here in LA. God Bless LA and self-indulgent awards shows.

Hail Tina Fey and Amy Poehler

How good are they? They are so good. Between them and Ellen doing the Oscars women in comedy are absolutely rocking it. It’s not often you want more of the hosts at an awards show and I (and the rest of the Twittermunity) just wanted more. And trying to work out how we get them to come back next year. Let’s start with Bill Cosby. Yep, they went there.

“In Into the Woods, Cinderella runs from her prince, Rapunzel is thrown from a tower for her prince and Sleeping Beauty… just thought she was getting coffee with Bill Cosby.”

(Did you see Julianne Moore’s reaction when they went there?).

North Korea didn’t get off either. “Tonight we celebrate all the great television shows we know and love, as well as all the movies that North Korea was OK with.”

And then canning The Interview: “North Korea referred to The Interview as ‘absolutely intolerable’ and ‘a wanton act of terror.’ Even more amazing, not the worst review the movie got”.

This was also pretty funny: “Jennifer Aniston is here tonight, nominated for the film Cake. And we should explain to all the people in the room, the Hollywood people, cake is like a fluffy dessert that people eat on their birthdays.” Tina: “And birthdays are a thing people celebrate when they admit they have aged.”

And this was bloody funny when talking about Selma: “American Civil Rights movement. That totally worked and everything’s fine.”

But by far the best moment was this:

“George Clooney married Amal Alamuddin this year. Amal is a human rights lawyer who worked on the Enron case, was an advisor to Kofi Annan regarding Syria and was selected for a three-person UN commission investigating rules of war violations in the Gaza strip. So tonight, her husband is getting a lifetime achievement award.”

Cue clapping. Bravo girls.

Highs and lows

There were more fine moments like when the girls dragged back “Kim Jong Un” who demanded they change the category for Orange is the New Black saying, “it should be in drama not comedy” Is funny but not funny haha funny. (For some reason known to absolutely nobody it was entered into the comedy category and not the drama comedy for the Emmys.)

Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin looked amazing and were funny (they’d be perfect if they actually had a couple of signs of their age on their face).

And I’m wondering if there was an excuse (and if there was it better be good) but somehow the camera cut to Frances McDormand while Maggie Gyllenhaal was giving her thank you speech—which was so good—and she was fanning herself seemingly with her thank-you speech looking extremely unimpressed. Shame on you.

And hello?  George Clooney.  Could he get any more gorgeous/lovable/hot?  His speech when he received the Cecil B DeMille was too much.  He gushed.  To quote Top Gun, “He is 100% prime time in love with you.”

Themes

I love that celebs are using the event to take a political stance.  Among those wearing a “Je suis Charlie” badge or sign were George & Amal Clooney, Helen Mirren, the gorgeous Diane Kruger and many more.

It’s so mean to say but the usually boring speech from the head of whoever is the pres of the association.  But tonight Hollywood Foreign Press President Theo Kingma was a highlight with his words, “Together we will stand united against anyone that will repress free speech. Anywhere, from North Korea to Paris.”

Cue tears from yours truly and a standing ovation.

And George Clooney.  Oh George once again you did it for me:

“And one last thing: to reiterate what we’ve all been talking about, today was an extraordinary day. There were millions of people who marched not just in Paris, but around the world. And they were Christians and Jews and Muslims. They were leaders of countries all over the world.  And they didn’t march in protest; they marched in support of the idea that we will not walk in fear.  We won’t do it.  So, Je Suis Charlie. Thank you.”

Je t’aime.

By the end of the telecast I had forgotten all about the TV awards. Then I remembered why: this year was one of those momentous years with new TV shows The Affair and Jane the Virgin getting nods.

And finally thanks to the movie Transparent transgender was another theme being embraced tonight. Looks like I’m off to see the movie.

For a full list of the winners click here.

Those dresses

I lost track of time this afternoon and was behind the eight ball in judging my Best Dressed. There were a huge number of standouts for me tonight and a few fails (or disappointments).  So stay tuned tomorrow for my hits and misses.

xx It Started in LA xx

Xmas
Movies and TV, My LA story, Posts

Christmas in the US of A

Is it that I’m always coming back to the movies that we often think there’s nothing like Christmas in the US?  Of course Europe is where Christmas started and has the Christmas markets down but when it comes to packaging it in a nice white box (think Apple Marketing) then the US has it all wrapped up—with a perfect red bow on top.

Christmas in the US of A

Last weekend we got our Christmas on and went down to the local Christmas tree “farm” to pick out a tree.  The local Christmas tree farm, by the way, was formerly known as the Pumpkin farm (ie last month).  This year we were a lot more organised so got to pick from a vast number of superly (I know it’s not really a word) perfect trees.

Xmas trees

Love these Xmas tree “farms” where you come and pick your own tree | It Started in LA

 

On our way home my daughter said, “Remember last year we were on the freeway and someone’s tree fell off their car?”

“No,” I said, which didn’t surprise me because unless I’ve got a photo of it (& posted to Instagram) then I struggle to remember.

“Oh wait,” she laughs, “that was on Modern Family.”

(Is it just us or does that happen to you?  Here it helps that everything looks so familiar and “like it does on TV or the movies” but it’s funny when a show you watch feels so familiar it’s as if it’s happened to you first hand.)

Not unlike every other “holiday” here the Christmas theme gets a workout.  There are the usual Gingerbread men and Gingerbread houses, advent calendars (although I haven’t really seen as many as we have back home in Australia), holiday-scented wood (not joking) and lollies—lots and lots of special-edition lollies.

Candy

Like other holidays the Xmas-themed lollies come out to play | It Started in LA

Elf on the Shelf

But to me by far the most American thing I’ve seen is the Elf on the Shelf.  Seriously cute this company puts American Girl to shame.  Not only is everyone Instagramming and Facebooking the creative things they’ve done with their elves, there are websites and Pinterest boards guaranteed a lot of hits this month.  Not only that they have apps, adoption certificates, outfits, books, games and even a birthday edition.  Yep, I’m with you: why didn’t I think of that?

A quick look through its website and I couldn’t really see how the phenomenon started and grew into the hugeness (another made-up word) it is today but it is huge.  I’m so jealous of the creativity that goes into the elf’s daily (nightly) adventures but for us it’s all a little late so we’re just going for the least creative options in our house and just happy there’s an elf in our house.  Who knows though as we become more Ausmerican we might just surprise you!  Oh, and I have seen the elves popping up in Australia proving that the most successful marketing concepts can’t help but catch on in the rest of the world.

Elf on the Shelf

One of my friend’s creative elf exploits in the phenomenon that is the Elf on the Shelf

 

There are lots of well-decorated houses around but I want to say not as many as I thought.  But when they do it, there’s no in-between.  The easiest thing about going all out with your Christmas lights here is the thriving labour market (if I was to be un-PC then I’d just say there are lots of Mexicans happy to do the job and create work opportunities but just as well I’m not).  Like everything here it’s so much cheaper and more convenient to get someone in to do it rather than worrying about it yourself.  God Bless ‘Merica.

I nearly forgot to mention the Holiday cards.  I love receiving cards from my American friends with pics of their family on the front–especially as you see the kids growing up (and maybe even graying hair!).  This year I thought I’d do an abridged version with a pic of us (preferably a selfie) during the year.  That was quickly poo-pooed by mini me because we hadn’t had the photo shoot specifically for the card.  (Lucky I didn’t mention the selfie).  Here’s the photo I would have picked (still might truth be told!):

Xmas card

Christmas Card too much? I agree you can never have too much | It Started in LA

Quintessentially Cliché NYC Christmas #QCNYCC

It’s too long to hashtag so we’ll have to abbreviate it.  We’re so excited here in 90210 because the kids are getting to live the dream and head to New York in the hopes of celebrating a white Christmas.

In fact it’s so exciting that it’s hard to write about without going back into Safari and checking out tickets to this, booking restaurants so we secure a coveted table and work out who’s open and who’s closed for Christmas.

Our #QCNYCC bucket list/ must-do list includes:

  1. Ice-skating at the Rockefeller &/or Central Park on Christmas Day
  2. Seeing the Rockettes Christmas Show
  3. See a Broadway Show
  4. Strolling the Upper East Side and staring in amazement over the wonder that is the Christmas windows.
  5. Looking for Eloise at The Plaza
  6. A bit of Seinfeld & Sex & the City spotting
  7. Visit Dean & Deluca perhaps even trying to spot Felicity
  8. Obligatory tourist stuff: see the Chrysler Building, climb the Empire State Building & visit the 9/11 Memorial
  9. Eat at a couple of iconic restaurants
  10. Play in the snow on Christmas Day!

There’s so much to fit in I’ll obviously let you know how it all goes in real life.  My cousin lives there and she’s giving us the ultimate “NYC-by-night-as-seen-by-a-local” tour which I’m most looking forward to.

What I’m least looking forward to is trying to look glamorous and very NYC while staying toasty warm.  This is in fact the ultimate challenge and I’m not sure I’ve put enough thought into this yet.  Lucky for me Princess Kate (well actually Duchess Kate isn’t it but everyone here is calling her Princess Kate) is in NYC as we speak so I can get a few style tips from her.

My Pinterest board, however, is looking quite healthy with lots of ideas on what to do and every blog and his dog’s top 10 things to do in New York so be sure to visit if it’s ideas you’re after.

Tax Time

You know you’re living in America when you have to declare to your worldwide income.  Last week we were finally all able to lodge our tax returns at the IRS.  We all had to go because, being our first time, we had to get tax file numbers.  And I guess to prove who we are had to bring our passports with us.  For MR H to lodge it on his own he would have had to bring our passports with him and leave them with the IRS for around 6-8 weeks so that meant one in all in.

Last time Mr H went on his own he got turned away.  It turns out that they already had enough customers waiting and they couldn’t accept any more for the day as there would be nobody to process their requests.  Wow.  That there is the public service for the most advanced country in the free world.

So, to avoid a repeat of that situation Mr H decided we need to queue outside an hour before.  We seriously thought he was exaggerating until we saw there were already four people waiting in front of us and many more queued up behind.  I heard one guy behind us if you don’t queue up here at this time you could be here all day.  What choice do you have?

Going into the building was interesting.  We had to go inside one by one while we went through security.  I have to admit I did think at one stage this looked like one of those scenes where some psycho comes in and open fires at everyone so the security checks didn’t phase me one little bit.

Fortunately the plan worked and we weren’t there long after all.  Now we have to wait eight weeks for processing to get a tax file number and have the privilege of lodging our Californian tax.

Sale time

We’ve all heard of Black Friday and Cyber Monday but one thing that caught me by surprise was the Family & Friends sales post Black Friday and Cyber Monday offering 25% off.  I bought a new doona and sheet set for us during the Black Friday sales and was very chuffed with myself only to find the 25% Friends and Family sale trumped the Black Friday deals by another 15%.  I ummed and ahhed for a while and decided it was worth the grief at taking it all back and rebuying it again.  But, I was still a bit embarrassed that I was doing it so I sat on the thought for a couple of days.

With our tax lodged I decided to bite the bullet and do it.  It was over a $100 in savings (which could buy me a case of wine so nothing to be sneezed at).

“No problems mam I’ll simply do a price adjustment.”  Oh my god there’s a thing for it.  Of course it’s America, while I’ve been mulling it over for a few days for fear of embarrassment people do this here all the time.  There’s even a process for it; a button on the register.

I shopped the kids coats, jeans and thermals for New York in the various 25% off sales and got me a new pots and pans set so I’ve not only done my bit for the American economy but I’ve saved myself a bucket load of money to boot.

God Bless ‘Merica.

xx It Started in LA xx

PS:  How does Christmas look where you are?  Let me know, I’d love to hear about it (especially now that commenting works again on my site).

Post Production Sound
Movies and TV, Posts

Business as Usual

We came into last week with a big gigantic thud, hitting the ground rather unexpectedly because summer just came to an end for us.  Sure of course we knew the dates but time just flew by so quickly we were completely unprepared.  But we rallied and here we are.  Already this morning I got the, “I don’t want to go to school” from my 14-year-old son to which I immediately replied, “It’s a bit early for that mate!”  It’s true though it’s hard to get momentum.

You know what I mean? What to make for lunch? What to cook for dinner? (again) Which activity do you need to be at?  How does one person get two people in two different spots at one time?

But the biggest killer for me is When will I start that diet?  (The answer is yesterday but I’m still looking for an easier option: read my head isn’t into it).

So yes, we’re back in full swing.

I wrote last week about my daughter’s party: Aussie style with a twist of 90210 and a Hollywood chaser.  It was a huge success.  Everything went down like a treat and the girls were extremely gracious and appreciative of the party.  That pleased me to no end.  Many of these girls have just come back from summer in Europe, camp and stays at incredible hotels yet they were genuinely happy and impressed with the party we threw.

The power of sound

Of course they were, the facility my husband has is amazing (not his personally you’ll understand).  I don’t know anything technical about post production except the tiny glimpses I’ve been privy to but when I sat in that sound stage watching a movie I was blown away by the sound and the impact it had on our viewing pleasure.  Apart from the amazingly comfy lounge chairs and side tables for lollies and drinks and the movie itself the girls also noticed the sound.  And it wasn’t one of those movies in which sound plays a crucial role.  It was just that sound is so powerful, and the facility is soooo incredible that you notice it.  Kapow!

Last night I was lucky enough to be invited back to watch Get On Up, the story about James Brown.  Now that movie does rely on sound.  What an experience.  Watching a well-made movie in one of the best sound stages in Hollywood (so the world) is an absolute privilege.  So much so that Princess Gwendolyn here is hooked.

I highly recommend you see the movie–preferably in a theatre or a good quality home cinema.  I’m sure it’s available on M-Go. (I for one am pleased I saw it in a theatre).

At the start it took a little concentration as the movie jumped from many different stages in his life.  But once it settled down then the story  was off.  There was so much I didn’t know or understand about James Brown’s life.  I knew he spent time in prison, for example, but I didn’t know he had a rough childhood or that he shared his father’s problem of beating his wife.  I found it terribly confronting but also incredibly real.  (James Brown also reminds me of one of my good mates and my Uni days so listening to the music–which is all his original music–brought back many memories).

Post-production

I’ve spent a bit more time at my husband’s company in the last couple of weeks and have had the opportunity to see a little about what goes on behind the scenes.  We all know it takes a few months to shoot a movie and we all know that there’s quite a bit of editing that needs to be done to pull the story together and the sound track needs to be added but there’s so much more to the process.

Take colour for example.  My husband’s company has one of the best (arguably the best) colourist in the business.  He does all the Marvel movies.  It’s easy to see how colour plays a key role in a movie when you watch Guardians of the Galaxy, still evident when you watch The Giver but perhaps not at all noticeable when you watch a movie like Get On Up.

Yet every movie that comes into post-production needs to be coloured.  It has sort of a washed-out look and the filmmakers have a hue in mind when they colour the final version that sets the look, feel and tone of the film.  TV too (which they refer to as Broadcast).

Incredible when you think about it.  That same colourist will most often then go on to colour the DVD and Netflix/M-Go version too.  That’s a lot of painstaking detail.

Going to the movies

This all got me thinking: why don’t people go to the movies to see movies?  Or at least why aren’t as many people going to the movies to watch movies?  Guilty.  If I’m on a date night I actually want to talk to my husband so the movies are out for me.  And if we’re having a family night in because we can’t be bothered going anywhere then there’s no better service than M-Go or Netflix for watching the latest flicks or catching up on one you missed.

My family is also old enough now that going to the movies can be all together again-it’s not about getting away from the kids it’s about enjoying it with them.  We went to see Guardians of the Galaxy together and it was a fun thing thing to do.  I love comparing notes and thoughts at the end.

It’s so much better at the movies that I wonder how I can share my new-found joy with everyone else and encourage them to return to the movies.  I wonder if I put my marketing hat back on how I could encourage people back to the movies.

I remember when DVDs first came out… (ahem excuse me Video recorders if you don’t mind) they said the cinemas were dead.  And for a time people opted to rent a video and stay home.  But DVD shops (or the old Video Ezy) are not around anymore yet movie theatres are.

Is this just another dip or a trend?  I can’t see how people will stop going to the movies altogether when you have huge screens, amazing sound and create an experience.  Movie theatres need to get smarter and I think studios need to do their bit too.

At home Hoyts and Village are doing their bit by offering the Gold Class experience.  But sometimes these experiences are a bit like flying business class: perfect if you’re upgraded or someone else is paying but you’d rather keep the difference for the (exhorbitantly priced) choc tops and popcorn.

Dolby has a new sound system known as Atmos where speakers are located in the ceiling as well as around you so if a plane is taking off it feels like it’s taking off over your head.  These experiences can help lure would-be theatre-goers back to the theatres because there’s a profound difference in quality between what’s offered at home and what’s offered in the cinemas.

I’m going to try out some luxury cinemas in LA and report back.  I’m also going to do my best to see more movies.

My little slice of Hollywood

As I sat in the Sound stage last Saturday afternoon, the girls with their throw rugs covering them watching the movie intently, us in the rear couches designed for movie makers to conference and share their opinions I’ve finally decided what I’d like to do if I changed jobs.

Comfy couches

This is where we sat on Saturday to watch the movie (the girls were up the front)

 

Yep, if I got the good fortune to change careers I’d like to do something in entertainment.  My memory is hopeless so I could never learn the lines even if I wanted to be an actress but I’d like to sit on those couches and make movies.  I guess the closest thing to that is my sitcom: It Started in LA.  Best I keep working.

Yep, it’s back to business here in Hollywood.  As you were.

xx It Started in LA xx

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