R.I.P John Updike…."You freed me for a summer….."

Memories…..as a kid I worked at the local New England style A & P type of store just like in his famed short story “A & P”. I remember feeling that same way about those ‘old lifer-folks’ in that story I just read. Soon after those revelations, I quit that lousy job at that crappy little store.

A truly amazing writer indeed. I wish peace to you John and thank you. Thanks for helping me quit my first terrible job, and for helping let me enjoy one of my first teenage summers of my life hassle-free.


Article here:


Literary lion John Updike has died. The 76-year-old’s death has taken many by surprise; as recently as November, he was touring in support of his latest novel, “The Widows of Eastwick.”

In Los Angeles, he appeared at UCLA, where he was interviewed by books editor David L. Ulin, who says:

I thought he was charming and self-deprecating, and before the interview we sat backstage and talked about baseball. I found him to be very down to earth, both as a person and in terms of the way he looked at his career. Most writers of his stature have a sense of themselves as somehow existing above the rest of us, but Updike saw himself as a working writer even to the extent of decribing himself as a freelancer; and I found it deeply heartening that someone at his level of achievement still worried about keeping his name in print.

The author staked his claim on the literary landscape with 1960’s “Rabbit, Run.” The disaffected, philandering Harry “Rabbit” Angstrom captured both readers’ and Updike’s imaingations; he went on to write four other “Rabbit” books. But he didn’t stop there; Updike wrote 27 novels, 13 short story collections, books of poetry, nonfiction and essays, at least one play and was recently still reviewing books for the New Yorker.

My memory of Updike is reading his story “A&P” in high school, in New England; I lived in a seaside town where we shopped at the A&P, so it had a sense of heightened reality. Last year, when I was teaching in Pittsburgh, I used the story in a lesson with my students about opening lines. I was thrilled to find that it resonated with them as much as it had with me, despite the gap of years, despite the story’s unfamiliar brand names, despite the fact that the kids didn’t even know that A&P was a grocery chain. That’s a durability that authors can only hope for. And that’s how I’ll remember John Updike.

“In walks these three girls in nothing but bathing suits.”

How will you remember him?

—Carolyn Kellogg

The End of Fish? More Sundance discoveries……

I met these folks from Greenpeace on Main street…they had a special fish campaign fellow with them.




According to their studies we will all be out of fish by 2048.

Please check it out! Support our fish…and our planet….it’s the only planet we got!

Party Blog for Sundance =Opening weekend-


DJ AM- killed the sets at the AXE parties every night!  I think everyone appreciated my old school “Iron Maiden” t-shirt.

Tao- was great old school hip hop-rap!

The Kenneth Cole- HBO party was crazy tight- tons of A-listers all over.  We froze outside for a bit with one of the folks from Showtime’s “The Tudors”.  A nice fellow.

The Hollywood Life Magazine parties were great fun- good djs all the time, Saturday night they had the Hard Rock Vegas -after-hours DJ who was super awesome.

There were about 5 other clubs we hit-and I am not including daytime gifting suites-

Paris Hilton was at most all the clubs I was at.

Michael Cera was at some HLM parties.

Kevin Sorbo was everywhere in the clubs or on the streets.

The wifey’s old friend Shar Jackson was around too, who was as always a real sweetheart… (I might also add that she has one of the most well behaved teenagers I have ever met).

Too many other parties, scenes and others to write about….

Peace out all-


The skinny on SPIKE LEE’s-”Passing Strange” -and Happenstance in my own life…at Sundance…

“Spike Lee’s new documentary-”Passing Strange” is amazing. It’s also amazing how sometimes Karma steps into our lives unexpectedly.

I was randomly walking around Park City for the day on Friday, the first official day of the festival, people were still setting up booths and getting their networking hats on.

I wandered into the Park City library because I am crazy enough to go into a library on a vacation…and I wanted to see what was happening.  Mind you, I am not Joe Hollywood.  It turned out that it was the premiere of Spike Lee’s new film, “Passing Strange”.  Spike had always been a hero of mine etc.. so I jumped at the chance to see it.

Low and behold, it was the documentation of a NYC Broadway show titled, “Passing Strange”, which is the most powerful musical I have ever seen.  It is the story of a young black boy who lives in suburban-urban LA and he just doesn’t fit in, all based in the 1970s. The boy’s story is incidentally based on the original writer-performer of the play named “Stew”.

A link to Stew : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stew_(musician)
A link to the musical: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Passing_Strange

I watched further and noticed a man who looked familiar, one of the lead musicians by the name of Christian Gibbs.  Low and behold it was my Christian Gibbs, a long lost friend/pal I had known for the past 10years!
Mr. Gibbs was one of the first kind people to me during my humble-troubling beginnings in Los Angeles. This was during what I will say was a ‘dark period’ for myself . At a time when I had no car, and barely a roof over my head which happened to be in the roughest part of east Hollywood, Christian gave me rides and helped me like a true friend.  That was my life then, and it’s much later now and my life is much improved.

This musical will change your life if you allow it to.  Let it inside your heart and soul, and to quote Mr. Spike Lee: “it’s 25years in the making.”

This story is proof that we make our best and worst decisions in life when we are just lost teenagers trying to become something great/important in life.

The Wrester-Not just another cheeseball sports film

I won’t give away any of the story for the new comeback kid aka Mickey Rourke’s new film, “The Wrestler”. It’s one of those jems I don’t want say anything about.
They usually come around once every couple of years.

It did remind me of a few old Hollywod films….one in particular:

This classic film starred Anthony Quinn as an aging boxer with limited options in life after his fight career ended.

But go see the Wrestler for yourself:

The 80’s metal soundtrack fits the film to tee. Although cheeseball metal usually makes me laugh, this time around, it made me cry. A good cry is a good thing at the right moment in time, it’s even better than a slice of cherry pie on Labor day.

Marisa Tomei is also a knockout on many levels.

The writer by the name of Robert D. Siegel (who’s the former editor-in-chief of The Onion magazine) is a great storyteller, and I can’t wait for his next film “Big Fan” starring the one and only Patton Oswalt.

Rourke might just take that Oscar home this year.

Sundance and beyond into the wild blue that is 2009……….

I will be attending the Sundance film festival this year. I expect that I might see some movies and hit the slopes for a bit. I will write a few Sundance blogs and hopefully give you all the skinny on what’s going on.
I hopefully will see Bret Easton Ellis’s new film “The Informers” with any luck at all. I dig Mr. Ellis, he’s a talented fellow.

I was very happy with the Globe winners, all nominated were very deserving of the coveted Globes. Heath Ledger deserved a Globe for his role in Brokeback Mountain but at least he got some final recognition for the talent he showed while he was with us for his final film-The Dark Knight.  Mickey Rourke for sure deserves a second time around the old Hollywood express.  My last favorite film he acted in before “The Wrestler” was his 1997 film “Bullet” which co-starred the late great 2-Pac.  Seth Rogan was a tool for saying what he said about Mickey but at least he didn’t lie.  We all need some insults every now and then, insults, they keep us human.  Although, Mickey Rourke is more human and humble these days than most of these other Hollywood folks.  I really liked how Mickey thanked his dogs.

I was happily surprised that a few other of my favorites, “Slumdog Millionare” and Colin Ferrell’s performance in “In Bruges”, won him a Globe.  Bruges is a brilliant film to say the least. “Revolutionary Road” was another film that earned tons of my respect on many levels, and I feel that all who were involved in this film deserved many awards. I did feel however that a great mentally unstable actor by the name of Micheal Shannon did steal a few scenes from the talented Leo & Kate. I have a feeling there are some great things ahead for Micheal Shannon.

Finally, I not-so-secretly wanted Anne Hathaway to win something for “Rachel Getting Married” but maybe she might just steal an Oscar away from Kate Winslet. Who knows?

We will all see very soon………………

I am sick of travelling though….I have to say. I look foward to being home and getting some new work done in the next few months…..



The Realness of the Fakeness- Its all the same

Sometimes when I run, jog or whatever you want to call it at night, I notice things. The city always seems so full yet so empty at night.

The main things I notice are called people.

I might run by an old rich man with a young actress both thriving off each others lives.

I run by a Beverly Hills housewife that’s had too much plastic surgery, uncomfortable with the process of aging,

Or the Audi/BMW dealership that never seems to have any customers, and the desperate yet hopeful salesmen lining its asphalt pockets.

Finally, there’s the perfect ten model that looks me down like I’m just some sweaty mess in the 7/11 buying Gatorade.

Are any of these people better than me? Are they more or less ‘fake’ as they call it in the old LA “stereotypes”?

I’m not better or more ‘real’. We are all as real as we want to be, and we all have a bit of fakeness that hides in all of us. I am often reminded in these moments that we all-each one of us-are only acting out the things that keep us human.

Perhaps when we stop acknowledging each other is when we will all fade into nothing. Like it or not, this is all we have-all of us right here.

It’s still called life, and it’s still a precious thing.

On another note Santa Fe was very cold in December. I liked it.

Happy New Year

Photo by Carmelo Valone 2008@ all rights reserved.

May you all have a wonderful new year. I have a feeling this a big year for change for of us, not just politically speaking. Each of us must give ourselves the hope for something better; this isn’t just the government’s job, but a job for all of us.

May 2009 be your year for many levels of growth. To me there is much much more ahead to fight for including: Darfur, Prop 8, the Congo, and the list goes on.

“You must be the change you wish to see in the world.”

– by Mahatma Gandhi