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Everything posted by sidwich

  1. I had this exact experience w/ Tom Cruise in 1990. I saw him up close and the experience was . . . a disappointment. In real life, he was shorter and plainer than I had expected -- he was lacking in "magic". But get him on the big screen and the camera picks up that "magic". Hollywood magic works both ways, though. A number of working actors go to my local gym (not fancy, but close to many studios), and it's funny to compare how people come across onscreen vs. in sweaty real life. As noted, many actors are smaller than they look onscreen, but as tall as James Cromwell comes across onscreen, he is positively a giant in person. Paul Adelstein appears rather portly on television, but is very fit and handsome in real life. (I won't comment on who looks like they could be living on the streets...) As a total aside, Ryan Gosling is as magnetic and charming as you would expect. And a positive gentleman at the barre in ballet class!
  2. Well, I don't think it's entirely an optical illusion. Mary Pickford was very short, but she was also very shrewd with regards to her image. I would guess that this picture was very carefully composed to preserve that image which allowed her to play children into her thirities. It doesn't look like Pickford is quite standing straight up, and the schoolgirl pinafore likely makes her look even shorter. If you look carefully at the picture, it also looks like it's shot slightly downward from the right side which would also work towards making Pickford look small in comparison to Pavlova. If you watch the show White Collar on the USA network, there's a significant height disparity between the actors playing the leads. Even thought Matt Bomer is just about six feet tall, Tim DeKay towers over him at 6'5. But you would never know from casually watching the show because there is virtually never a shot of the two of them in a straight on shot. If both are standing in a scene, it's always upward angled shots.which minimizes the 5 inch difference. It's very similar here.
  3. Both of my favorites feature Barbara Stanwyck, Christmas in Connecticut and Remember the Night.
  4. I think Williams is a very fine actress, but I haven't seen this film yet. I would suspect that if there are other factors in the accolades she's received this year, though, it may also be due to a make-up factor for losing last year's Academy Award to Natalie Portman. Portman campaigned very hard for that statuette, but there may still be some sentiment left over from Blue Valentine. And the older Academy members may feel more comfortable voting for a film like My Week With Marilyn rather than something like Blue Valentine. And as for interpretations of Marilyn Monroe, the strongest I've seen so far is Popppy Montgomery's portrayal in Blonde.
  5. I'm not sure if you're joking. As other have pointed out Lindsay Lohan is uninsurable at this point. And If you think that Michelle Williams is physically wrong to play Marilyn Monroe, Charlize Theron is built as you would expect for the former ballet dancer and model that she is, very tall and very, very thin with minimal bosom and hips. She is a beautiful woman but about as far as you can get from the "jello on springs" that was the wonder of Marilyn Monroe. (Notwithstanding the Academy Award, I find Theron to be generally mediocre as an actress, but that's neither here nor there.)
  6. I think Tristan and Derek are both in the 5'10 or 5'11 range (mind you, both were still in the UK when I was dancing a lot, so they're two pros that I haven't seen in person), which is still probably shorter than ideal for Hope, but probably still doable height-wise, although Tristan might have a slighter frame than ideal also. Unfortunately,from a height and build perspective, Maks probably really is the best physical match for Hope. Tony might have worked as well. I'm not a fan of Tony's teaching or choreography, but I think Hope might have at least had a fun experience with him.
  7. From what I remember of the protocols, Kostner gave up more than 5 points on the spins to Czisny, who usually earns Level 4s and positive GOEs on her spins which are arguably the best around. That being said, Kostner looked great for this early in the season. She has amazing speed, and in past season, it's seemed like she could barely control it. If she can pull it together consistently, she can be incredible.
  8. Yes and no. There's some leeway based on technique, particularly on the Latin side (and of course, as Pelletier says, lifts and aerials are all about the technique and physics involved). Sometimes you will see very successful Latin couples with a very tall man and a very short woman like the Cutlers of England who were World Amateur champions several years ago. You lose something on the visual lines, but on the other side, if the technique is good, you can get some very interesting effects that you can't without the size difference. But it's much harder to overcome a significant height difference on the Ballroom side of things because of leg swing and alignment issues. At some point no matter how good the technique is, you can't compensate for lack of length in the legs, and the difference in the leg swings will become apparent. (Ballroom is like crew... at some point, tall always wins.) Even if you can compensate for the leg swings, it's very hard to get good alignment if you have a significant difference in height. For good positioning, the pelvises need to be aligned with the lady straddling the man's thigh and maintaining contact all through the sternum (roughly). Obviously, this is very difficult if you have a major difference in height. Not impossible, but very difficult, especially for a beginner like Hope. I'm 5'2 (almost exactly the same height at Cheryl who claims 5'4, but that's another story...) which translates into 5'5 or so when I'm wearing my shoes, and generally, a comfortable partner for me is someone in the 5'7 to 5'10 range (Louis, Mark). Men who are 5'10 to 6'1 (Tristan, Derek) can still work, but it will take some compensation on both sides. Anything taller is challenging to get quality ballroom partnering to work. And Hope is very tall. I actually ran into her getting coffee a few days ago, and felt like a positive midget next to her. I think she's actually taller than Louis (who I used to see on the practice floor regularly when I still lived in NY), and would probably tower over him in shoes. (Hope is absolutely stunning in person, by the way. A gorgeous young lady). Which is a shame because I think Louis would actually be good for her. He's very used to coaching top athletes, and I think his mind-and-body Yoda approach would be very positive for her. More realistic height-wise although neither are on the show this year, Jonathan Roberts and Nick Kosovich probably would have done well with Hope. Both are very experienced coaches who I think would have given her a good combination of drill-sergeant/supportive therapist that I think she needs.
  9. Unfortunately, a 30 piece orchestra is a big deal these days, at least in musical theatre houses. Most Broadway productions have been rather ruthless in cutting down orchestra sizes because of costs, even in revivals where the original arrangements were written for 25-30 piece orchestras. The "Encores!" concerts of Bernstein/Comden & Green "Wonderful Town" and Bock/Harnick's "Fiorello" were also noteworthy for fielding orchestras of 30+. Part of why "Chicago" has been able to continue running for so long is because it only requires an "orchestra" of 11. And the new style of revivals where the actors also play the instruments have also owed some part of their success to saving on musician costs (even if they do butcher the scores at the same time).
  10. I think JR is going to win. The combination of personality, sob story/real American hero-ness, and good-enough dance abilities should do it, I think. Karina is actually a good teacher for students with some ability. She's not great with hopeless cases like Kym or Cheryl, but if there's a nugget of talent there, she can usually do something very good with it, and it's showing with JR. The one thing I can see derailing this train is if JR's body can't deal with the physical demands of the show over the next couple of months, but he's seemed okay so far. I can't blame Derek on this one. None of these celebs can handle continuous foxtrot. Foxtrot is the hardest dance out of the 10 standard ballroom and latin dances. Most of the foxtrots on DWTS have two or three 8s of foxtrot interspersed in a minute and half of mindless filler. There actually was some content in this foxtrot, despite the terrible music choice. Total aside, but Cheryl looks really out-of-shape and her technique is starting to look really ragged again. She really needs to take the off-season to get back into training herself. Her Latin looks almost as bad as Kym's, and Kym was never a Latin specialist. I feel for Tristan just because Nancy seems like she has no sense of movement, no athletic ability, and seems like she would be no fun to teach (as opposed to Carson who at least seems like he would be fun to work with and would give it a sincere effort). But somehow Tristan seems to pull out at least basic beginner routines, and that seems like a real accomplishment. I'm not a huge fan of Buddy's teaching style. One of my former coaches used to call Buddy's students "Schwimmerites" because it was so obvious from performance style who had studied with him. (Seriously, they all had the same performance tricks and tics to go with the impeccable technique). But I can see how Buddy's emphasis on performance really helped Chaz by giving him something to fall back on during the show. I think lack of practice time is part of it, but this just seems to be a bad teacher-student pairing. I think that Hope really needs someone who can build her a technical foundation first, and then build the performance on top of it. Maks is not helping her by telling her to be "sexy." "Sexy" as a concept clearly confuses her, and saying it over and over again is just frustrating her. She needs someone to teach her the technique of "sexy" first, e.g. holding back the hip, straightening the legs, dragging the shoe, etc., and then let the sexy come from the confidence that builds. She needs someone like a Jonathan Roberts, or (if he weren't too short for her), Louis van Amstel. What's interesting with Hope is she actually does much better with some of the solid technical requirements than with the frou-frou filler choreography that Maks gives her. Hope blew me away with some of the foxtrot walks she did last week. Blew me away! They were as good as I've seen from a celeb on several seasons of the show. The ability is there, but Maks is not the right person to pull it out from her. Anna usually frustrates me with her inability to teach celebs, and yet she and Carson have been so much fun this year. I will miss this daffy pairing. Kym's Latin technique made my eyes bleed on the results show. It was only somewhat saved by Louis and Karina's appearance which looked pretty thrown-together. But slapdash Louis and Karina is still always worth watching.
  11. Viennese Waltz is difficult for anyone, male or female. (Actually, it's far too difficult for a beginner with only a few weeks of training, but that's neither here nor there). The man has to be able to lead, but the woman needs to be able to stay in the man's arm and cut the turns with precision, both of which are difficult because of the velocity and the sharpness of the turning involved. To tell the truth, the ability to lead isn't much of an issue on DWTS. Most of the female pros choreograph around the need for a real lead. Some of Cheryl and Kym's partners have learned to lead, but it's still taken 2-3 months for them really to substantively do much leading at all. To really learn to lead (or follow) you need to try dancing with a number of different partners and the DWTS format doesn't really allow it. It's like learning a foreign language. You can't really learn to speak a foreign language by speaking to one person.
  12. Well, yes, Stevens does make sure that both Taylor and Clift are at their absolute most gorgeous movie godness in A Place in the Sun, but dirac is right in that Clift is somewhat problematic in The Heiress. James makes clear that Morris' weakness and greed is supposed to be apparent and physically manifesting by the time he returns to Catherine, but it doesn't quite work on Clift. It does raise interesting questions such as the one that dirac brings up about whether Catherine really would be happier if she let Morris in (both literally and metaphorically), but it's unclear whether that's really the intention of Clift and Wyler or not.
  13. No, I'm well aware that medical bills could easily blow through the $300,000 allowance, and I absolutely do not believe that the sons have any entitlement to the money at all. I do believe that when you have an older relative whose mind is fading, trusts can be extremely useful tools to protect them from being financially taken advantage of. From the article, it sounds like Ms. Holm and her new husband were living substantially beyond the $300,000, and that was one of the first issues with the trust. Now what those expenses were, we have no idea whether those were medical bills or frivolous expenses, but one of the ideas of these trusts is to monitor the assets so the older person can live comfortably over time. However, the danger is when the new spouse drains the older person financially, and then leaves the family holding the financial bag. One of my friends had to deal with a case recently that was not dissimilar (older widow, younger man) but without a trust, and this is what happened: While the older woman may have been happy in the meantime, I'm not so sure she would have been happy being foreclosed on and potentially having to live on the street if she had not died. I suppose that would work if Olivia de Havilland was comfortable with having a relationship with Montgomery Clift. Personally, I always thought that she would have been better off with a string of younger and handsomer lovers, without the the baggage of Montgomery Clift at that point. By discarding lovers at regular intervals, she would be able to prevent any one from entrenching themselves into the financial side.
  14. Ms. Holm had to have signed off on the at the time, although it's not totally clear how that happened. My speculation based on what is in the article is that she signed off on the limited partnerships with her son as the general partner or manager, and then he moved them into the trust but that is onlyl speculation. I will say that trusts are not uncommon at all in families where there are significant assets at stake, especially when someone's mental and/or physical faculties are starting to fail, and in fairness to the sons and the attorneys, the $300,000 a year annual allowance hardly sounds like destitution to Ms. Holm. I think the issue is that Ms. Holm is clearly not mentally fit at this point, and probably was not totally fit when the legal battles began if you follow the timeline described in the article. From personal experience, I can tell you that trying to move any significant assets for a family member can be extremely challenging once they are considered mentally incompetent, and I can only imagine how difficult it would be if the family is not in agreement. For Ms. Holm and her husband to try to break the trust when she is clearly a state of dementia, well... of course, it was going to be costly in more ways than one.
  15. In fairness to Mr. Martins, it is almost always a much wiser course to refuse the on-site breath test. Actually, the origins of much of the anti-smoking legislation was because of non-smokers who could not move (such as restaurant and bar workers) and the related public interest. These were groups that were spending extended periods of time in close quarters with smokers, and were experiencing unusually high rates of smoking-related diseases. Because these are groups that tended to be uninsured, the high healthcare costs were being footed by the tax-paying public, and so municipalities started getting involved.
  16. What do you think the increased risk that Master P brought was? (The producers actually did have a Plan B. Keith Carradine was on standby to be a contestant on the show, probably because the producers thought that Jerry Springer would be the celeb most likely to drop out that season. Carradine was obviously not going to bring the hoped-for demographic that Romeo/Master P would, though.) I'm pretty sure that Master P was doing his level best to get kicked off the show as soon as possible. I'm quite sure that the only reason he did the show was to avoid possible embarassment for his son. My theory's always been that he was surprised that he didn't get kicked off the first week, and escalated his attempts from then on.
  17. Just to note that credits listed on imdb.com do not necessarily match film credits. Virtually all information on imdb is submitted by users. Sarah Lane's official credits on Black Swan are “Stunt Double,” “Hand Model,” and “Lady in the Lane.” I don't think she's officially credited as Natalie Portman's dance double anywhere.
  18. [ Actually, it was Ashley DelGrosso's second season on the show which, since it was Season 2, made her as experienced as anyone on the show and more experienced than say, Cheryl Burke who won with Drew Lachey that season. I don't remember any particularly sulky attitude from Ashley, but I do remember Master P's total lack of commitment to the show cracking her Mormon uber-perky, cheery veneer a couple of times. It was pretty obvious that the producers were really gunning for a share of the African-American audience and pulled on something to get Master P to appear on the show (Romeo dropped out extremely late). I actually enjoyed Master P on the show; he made for good TV, and was not nearly as bad of a dancer as the show made him out to be. He actually got further in two hours than some celebs have with a full schedule of practice.
  19. Yes, Alley did very well. Out of the women, I think she had the most solid frame, really using her core, pectorals and lats, and let Maks move her around the floor. Because of this, they were able to do some fairly complex choreography for first week out, much more complex than anything Maks even attempted with Laila Ali in all the weeks she was in the competition, for example. Alley lost it a bit at the end of the quickstep, but that's not unusual. Alley could really use her knees a lot more on the Standard side, especially since she's such a tall woman, but that will come with time as body awareness builds. For comparison, Kym's specialty is Standard, and Hines Ward was barely moving in his quickstep, as charming as it was. I always look forward to seeing Louis dance, but I'm rather afraid for his stint this season. Kendra Wilkinson is about as physically strong and coordinated as overcooked spaghetti, and is rather painful to watch. He will have an uphill battle to make much significant progress with her. If anyone can do it though, he can. The quickstep was already a big improvemet over the first week. Well, Master P did freely say that he was only practicing about 2 hours a week, so there probably were limits as to how far Ashley was going to progress with him. Ashley was on the inexperienced side, but I'd probably put her solidly in the middle of the regular cast of pros in terms of teaching beginner dancers. Some of the more seasoned pros are actually quite poor in teaching beginner fundamentals, actually.
  20. Well, no. Say you are a dance company deciding which consumers to target your marketing campaign towards. If the question comes down to whether you want to go after an omnivore who may spend on average $5,000 on arts performances in a given year, but that $5,000 is spread among 25 different events, of which an average of 5 are dance events. This year those 5 dance events are Troupes A, B, C, D, E, and F. Next year, our consumer attends dance events, B, G, H, I, J, and K. The following year, the consumer attends dance events, J, L, M, N, and O. From a marketing perspective, the consumer has very little loyalty; he or she is a "grazer" who samples many different products but rarely repeats their business, so once those marketing dollars are spent, the return on them is limited. A practiced marketer would probably recommend going after someone who may have a more limited arts budget, but is much more likely to return such as a "highbrow." My guess is that highbrows are seen as folks who may spend less overall on arts, but are seen as potential return customers either in the same season or year after year. Even though the marketing dollars to get them to come initially may be greater than an omnivore, if they come three times a season or can be counted on to buy ticket(s) year after year, the marketing investmen to get them to come is "evergreen." And of course for non-profits, a loyal patron is much more likely to make a gift or bequest than one who only comes once every several years. You can think of it as single ticket customers vs. a subscriber base. Single tickets are nice, but almost any arts organization is eager to build a subscriber base to work from year after year.
  21. Probably not, at least from a traditional marketing perspective. Omnivores would probably be considered mile-wide and inch deep. They may go to a large volume of arts events in aggregate, but it's unlikely that they will go to any one kind of event a lot which means you get limited bang for your marketing bucks. The advantage of going after "highbrows" is that they are more likely to go to a limited number of kinds of arts events, but go to them repeatedly year after year which means there is more potential for return on marketing investment.
  22. Hugh Martin really was a wonderful musician. Besides being a fine composer, he really had a marvelous ear for arrangements, and did one of my all-time favorite charts, the original arrangement to "Sing for Your Supper" in The Boys From Syracuse. RIP, Mr. Martin.
  23. Jacques d'Amboise is also speaking at the Los Angeles Downtown library on April 20th. Tickets are free with a reservation: http://www.lfla.org/event-detail/569/Jacques-DAmboise
  24. My favorite is "Naughty Marietta," but "Rose Marie" and the "Indian Love Call" are my operetta guilty pleasures.
  25. Anne Hathaway really can sing, and she sings well live. It's not a huge voice, and she definitely needs to be miked, but she's a very competent vocalist. She made a very affecting Lili in CityCenter's production of Carnival several years ago. Melissa Leo's been kicking around the industry forever. Quite a few people thought that she should have won the Leading Actress award last year, so perhaps there's something to be said for taking matters into her own hands this year. It's good to see someone's career finally bloom at this stage of life since women over 50 are considered positively geriatric by Hollywood.
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