I guess you didn’t watch the Oscars either

They had a big event on TV last night called the Oscars.  Well, as Bill Clinton would say, it depends what the definition of “big event” is.  Is it really a big event if nobody watched it?

According to the early numbers, no one did.  Yes, that sound you heard last night was Americans flipping channels or turning off their sets.  By the way, I did hear a few neighbors cutting their grass last night.  Maybe they waited until the evening because it’s cooler.  Or maybe they were voting with their “lawn movers” and rejecting the Oscars.  I don’t know, but it was interesting.

This is from Newsalert:

Last night’s Oscars viewership was down over 50% off last year’s numbers, which were the worst ever.  

In 2020 the show did a 18.1/32. 

This year? 8.6/18. 

Yikes. Get woke, go broke. Absolute disaster for Hollywood.

Okay, I don’t follow TV ratings for a living.  Nevertheless, “disaster” may be appropriate.  How many more viewers can you lose before you don’t have any?

So what’s going on?  A family friend mentioned over lunch yesterday that she had not seen any of the movies under consideration.  Another gentleman said that he just hates Hollywood.  Wonder how many millions he represents?

It’s simple Marketing 101 for me.  You can’t reach most Americans if you spend the entire show telling viewers how rotten they are or how terrible the country is.  Sooner or later, you will insult the customer and he or she will watch something else.

P.S.  You can listen to my show (Canto Talk). 

Something bad “blowin’ in the wind” down in Nicaragua

Back in the days of “the Contras”, Daniel Ortega was given the red carpet treatment that so many Hollywood celebrities saved for their anti-US idols.

Back in July 1986, Peter, Paul, & Mary, the famous folk trio that I honestly enjoy listening to, gave Daniel Ortega a special day:

During one performance, the singers stunned internationalistas — as persons from the Soviet Union and the Eastern Bloc countries are called here — as well as Sandinista dignitaries with a stanza from the song “El Salvador.” It compares U.S. involvement in El Salvador to the Soviet Union’s involvement in Poland.

Well, something is blowing in the wind down in Nicaragua and it’s not freedom.

President Daniel Ortega has turned into a “butcher” and that’s unkind to real butchers honestly making a living. The latest victim is a 14-month old baby! A few days ago, a peaceful anti-Ortega demonstration was met with brutal force.

It is terrible down in Nicaragua and anti-Castro Cuban journalist and writer Carlos Alberto Montaner is comparing President Ortega and his First Lady to the Ceausescus of communist Romania.

Montaner is calling on the Ortegas to accept responsibility for the killings in Nicaragua or face a similar fate to the Romanian tyrants executed in December 1989.

We don’t know if President Ortega will survive but his harsh tactics are for real.

It’s only fair to call on the celebrities who stood with Ortega, Chavez, and earlier Castro, to opine on what’s going on down in those countries.

It was celebrities who made heroes out of these communists. Shouldn’t they be asked about it?

Nothing happening in Nicaragua or Venezuela has anything to do with the U.S. Instead, what we see down there are failing dictatorships surviving at all costs.

PS:  You can listen to my show (Canto Talk) and follow me on Twitter.

Selective indignation and a few other thoughts about the Trump bashing in Hollywood

Hollywood_Sign_(Zuschnitt)

Two weeks of President Trump and Hollywood is just getting started, as Andrea Peyser is reporting:

This awards season is just getting revved up.
And already, the entertainment-industrial complex, dominated by self-congratulatory leftists, hard-core exhibitionists and gazillionaires and -airesses, some in get-ups that would set back ordinary Joes or Janes a year’s worth of rent money, have issued a collective punch to the guts of folks at home.

No longer is it about inspiring the masses with exceptional talent and artistic beauty. It’s all Trump-bashing, all the time.

How much longer will the advertisers put up with this?   After all, do people really turn in to watch a bunch of actors give us their political opinions?

Also, their selective indignation is amazing.  Did you hear anyone protest about the Cubans that President Obama shut out of the US? Or what about all of those women and children killed by ISIS?

Yes, I understand that it’s a free country and they can believe whatever they want to believe.   However, they should all buy their own time and tell us where they stand.   It’s not proper to use an awards show to do the latest bashing of a Republican president.

P.S. You can listen to my show (Canto Talk) and follow me on Twitter.

Cuban-American Actress Dies at 55…

Elizabeth Peña

Elizabeth Peña has passed away at 55. At 5’2″ the pint-sized beauty was a powerhouse on the screen and stage for 40 years, helping open the door for more Hispanic actors/actresses to follow. Makes sense, with her parents’ background. The above photograph is a still from her scene in Andy Garcia’s “The Lost City” where her Communist ‘revolutionary’ character is insisting to Garcia’s night club-owning character how/why the saxophone is no longer allowed to be played in Castro’s Communist Cuba.

Here is a bit of her biography…

(IMDb Bio) – Her love for the arts came naturally, as her father was a well-known playwright, actor, director and novelist, so its not hard to understand that by the time she was eight, Cuban-American Elizabeth Pena already had designs to become an actress. Born in New Jersey and raised in New York, her parents, who opened off-Broadway’s “Latin American Theatre Ensemble”, were more than encouraging. Elizabeth attended NY’s “High School of the Performing Arts” and found occasional work in repertory theatre and in television commercials. Her film debut in the independent Spanish-speaking feature, El Super (1979), started her on a long line of feisty, rebellious characters that showed plenty of attitude. During the early 80s, she played everything, from a knife-threatening waitress to a disco queen, as she waited for her big break. That big break came in the form of the hugely successful comedy film, Down and Out in Beverly Hills (1986), co-starring Bette Midler, Richard Dreyfuss and Nick Nolte, in which she stole many scenes as the sultry, politically-minded maid, “Carmen”, who lusts for Nolte. This propelled her to move to Los Angeles, where she continued to spice up both the big and small screen, including the part of Ritchie Valens’ stepsister-in-law, in the well-received biopic, La Bamba (1987). Honors also came by Elizabeth’s way, when she received the “Independent Spirit” and “Bravo” awards for the film, Lone Star (1996), and the “ALMA Award” for Tortilla Soup (2001). On TV, she hasn’t found the one series role to thrust her front and center. Co-starring roles in Tough Cookies (1986), I Married Dora (1987) and Shannon’s Deal (1990) were short-lived. She is married and has two children … (on her refusal to portray Latin stereotypes) There are a lot of jobs I’ve turned down because they wanted me to play what I call “Miss Cuchifrito” types.

(The Hollywood Reporter) – Her nephew, writer Mario-Francisco Robles of the website Latino Review, shared the news in an obituary on the site. He said Pena died Tuesday at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. She died of natural causes after a brief illness.

[…]

Pena broke into sitcom territory decades earlier when she toplined I Married Dora for ABC. The series ran for one season from 1987-88 and centered on a couple with a green-card marriage.

She also stood out as postal clerk Jezzie, who lives with a hallucinatory Tim Robbins, in the Adrian Lyne horror film Jacob’s Ladder (1990).

[…]

I worked very hard to get Jacob’s Ladder,” she said in a 2001 interview. “At first they wanted Julia Roberts, Andie MacDowell or Michelle Pfeiffer. At some point they wanted Susan Sarandon, and Madonna wanted the part. They auditioned all of them. I begged to be auditioned. I begged and begged and when I auditioned, the chemistry was right and Adrian and I were just taken with each other. I auditioned for six months, twice a week. The reason I kept going back was because Adrian was literally fighting for me to get the role.”

In Paul Mazursky’s Down and Out in Beverly Hills (1986), Pena played the live-in maid who made out in her room with Richard Dreyfuss, and in Brett Ratner‘s Rush Hour (1998), she was LAPD bomb diffusion expert Tania Johnson opposite partner Chris Tucker.

Pena also recurred on the 2000-02 Showtime drama Resurrection Blvd. as family matriarch Bibi Corrales. She went on to direct an episode of the series, as well as episodes of Nickelodeon’s The Brothers Garcia, becoming the fourth Latina ever to join the Director’s Guild of America.

She also provided the voice of Mirage, the right-hand woman of bad guy Syndrome (Jason Lee), in Pixar’s The Incredibles (2004).

In La Bamba (1987), she played Rosie Morales, the sister-in-law of rock ’n’ roll icon Ritchie Valens, (Lou Diamond Phillips), and on Matador, she played the mother of Tony “Matador” Bravo (Gabriel Luna).

[…]

pena

The Hollywood Reporter article mentions that shortly after she was born in New Jersey her parents moved the family back to Cuba until she was about eight or nine years-old, and then they moved back to the U.S. to New York City. I do not know what her politics and views on Castro and Cuba were, but I did enjoy her work. Please add to the comments section if readers have any more info on her. Thanks. Variety Latino has a beautiful spread on her career with more photographs.

HT: Danny Pino @ Twitter

Staged: The World of Ricky and Lucy

Desilu stage

I saw this on Hollywood Babylon’s Facebook page and had to share it. Isn’t it so cool to see the stage lay-out of the “I Love Lucy Show”? What iconic TV pioneers and geniuses they were.

Captioned as follows…

Looking down on all the interior sets of the I LOVE LUCY show on the soundstage at DESILU Hollywood studios in the 50’s!

Bedroom (complete with separate beds), living room, kitchen and Ricky Ricardo’s CLUB BABALOO (formerly the TROPICANA CLUB)! Not sure of the room on the left end, but could it be “Little Ricky’s” bedroom?

You can even see the first few rows of the audience bleachers at the bottom of the picture!

At first I thought this photo was of the real set, but wasn’t sure. Posted it on the PHOTOS OF LOS ANGELES group and a comment was posted within minutes saying it was in fact, a scale model of the actual stage. Of course, I should have realized this. Where is all the stage lighting overhead? And the audience bleachers don’t exactly look like wood or steel benches!

DUH!

Still VERY cool, and, perhaps even a bit cooler that it is a model, with all the attention to detail! Wild how they crammed all of Lucy, Ricky, Ethel and Fred’s lives onto a single stage!

And that is Little Ricky’s bedroom. Oh, and is that supposed to be Ricky and Lucy inside the heart on the crib’s bumper pad behind the baby (1:39)?

If this is true, I ponder where Fred’s and Ethel’s living room was because they did have times when they ran scenes there.

To The Point: “I think ‘normalizing’ relations has a lot more to do with Cuba…”

I share this mostly because of an email exchange I had just last night with a friend who lives in San Fransisco. A few days ago my SF friend had sent out a group email with info on how you could help those who were dealing with the contaminated water in West Virginia. She fowarded to me one of the personal responses to her email from one of her more liberal contacts:

“… I just returned from a 12 day trip from Cuba and saw first hand the effects of what a US embargo has on the people of this nation.”

Yeah, my friend thought I would get a kick out of that one too.

Cuban-American actor Danny Pino showed up on Fox and Friends this morning to discuss tomorrow night’s Law and Order: SVU episode (NBC, 1/15 – 9:00pm ET) where the storyline will revolve around Pino’s character Det. Nick Amaro. Pino credits his brother, an actual Miami police officer, who inspires him and gives him helpful technical guidance. Near the end of the interview (@ 3:30) Brian Kilmead asked Danny Pino about his views on the U.S. and Cuba “normalizing” relations…

In August Danny Pino wrote a beautiful memoriam of his beloved Abuela Cuca, who had recently passed.

Cuban American Orestes Matacena working on a new movie project

It’s always a pleasure to tell you about Orestes Matacena, a fellow “Cubano” who has been making and acting in movies for decades.

His resume is very impressive:

“Orestes first ventured into films at the age of six when he worked as an actor in “The Life of Billy the Kid,” with a cast comprised only of children. The movie was shot at the Mercedes Sugar Mill in Matanzas, Cuba, where he lived with his parents.

Orestes has worked as an actor with high profile directors on films, television and commercials.

As a film actor Orestes has played the antagonist in many Hollywood Studio films such as “The Mask” starring Jim Carrey and “Diggstown” with James Woods and Lou Gossett Jr. just to name a couple.

In the advertising world, Orestes has worked in 37 commercials so far, nine of them directed by Marcus Nispel. The New York Museum of Modern Art has made Mr. Nispel’s body of work part of its Permanent Collection. Thanks to Mr. Nispel’s artistic endeavor, Orestes is part of that wonderful collection.

Orestes is well known for NOT taking “no” for an answer. He raised the capital to produce and direct a feature movie from a screenplay he wrote called “Tainted.” However, he decided that, rather than consuming his time finding investors to bankroll his movies, he would finance them himself and use that time to sharpen his creative vision.

Orestes is, as the French would say, a real film auteur. His body of work to date as a filmmaker includes “In Plain View,” “Sex Guns Money @ 20,” “Cuba Libre,” “Fatal Encounter,” “Tainted,” “James Gilbert Albright and the Haunted Studio,” “The Two Faces of Ruben Rabasa,” “Aguabella” and “Theater in the Parks.” He has written, directed, produced and edited almost all of his work.

In 1968, Orestes wrote his first play, “The Gym.” Since then, he expanded his versatility as a playwright and screenwriter with three plays and more than twenty five screenplays and various television concepts to his credit to date. His writing encompasses a variety of styles: thrillers, dramas, comedies, horror and action-adventures.

“Bitter Sugar,” a movie Orestes wrote for Hollywood director Leon Ichaso about a young couple living under the Cuban Communist Tyranny, opened to excellent reviews and was shown to the Human Rights Commission in Geneva, Switzerland and to the United States Congress. For Orestes this was a spiritual and rewarding experience.

Orestes was born in Cuba to Italian immigrants and grew up on a sugar mill plantation where the country and all kinds of animals, especially horses, were a large part of his life. He describes himself as a “third world country boy.”  But his business partner, Orna Rachovitsky, says he is a “hillbilly in an Armani suit.”

His new project is “Swastika”, a movie about Jewish resistance in World War II:

“We celebrate the “soldiers” of the Resistance for their courage, perseverance and consideration for future generations like ours. They fought for their own freedom, but they fought for our freedom too. And this is why we are making the movie “Swastika” in order to remember and offer the same consideration to future generations.”

You can hear my interview with Orestes here:   http://www.blogtalkradio.com/cantotalk/2013/10/29/todays-message

You can learn more about the movie here:      http://www.swastikathemovie.com/index.htm

 

Una Noche: “I regard it as a bit of a miracle …”

NRO’s Jay Nordlinger writes a rave review about “Una Noche”, a rare realistic movie about the real Cuba under the Castros, and nails to the wall the prior Castro-sycophant filmmakers and celebrities that have whitewashed the truth for decades…

Last week, I went to see a movie called Una Noche — a movie about Cuba. I never would have seen it, but Charles Lane wrote about it, in an article titled “Cuba’s hard truths exposed.” Then Ron Radosh told me about it. (He would write about it here.) So I went.

I regard it as a bit of a miracle — a movie that portrays Communist Cuba realistically. All of my life, I have seen movies whitewash Cuba. Indeed, whitewashing Cuba is one of Hollywood’s minor specialties. I blinked in amazement at seeing Una Noche.

(We had a similar experience in 2000, with Before Night Falls.)

Ever since Castro seized power in 1959, really, the weight of American culture has been in favor of the dictatorship. Journalistically, academically, cinematically — the weight has been on the dictatorship’s side.

I think of Herbert Matthews, the New York Timesman who did for Castro something like what his forebear, Walter Duranty, did for Stalin. In more recent times, I think of CNN’s Anita Snow and the AP’s Lucia Newman. Those names are bitter in the mouths of Cuban democrats.

Academia? Well, let me quickly tell a story I have told before. When I was in grad school, they invited Armando Valladares to speak (which was a bit of a miracle). He was known as the Cuban Solzhenitsyn, for he was a writer who had spent 22 years in the gulag and lived to tell about it (in Against All Hope).

But the university would not let him appear alone — would not let him speak to the kids alone. They had to pair him with a professor, to give the pro-Castro side (i.e., to whitewash).

And who, would you say, is the most frequently quoted professor in articles about Cuba? I’d say Wayne Smith, by miles. It has been that way for, what? Twenty years? Supporters of the democratic opposition get much less ink.

The parade of Hollywood figures who have trooped to Havana to sit at Fidel’s feet — and then promoted him and defended him around the world — is too long to detail. I’ll toss out a few names: Steven Spielberg, Robert Redford, Jack Nicholson, Leonardo DiCaprio, Naomi Campbell, Kate Moss — all the beautiful people.

 

You remember what Carole King did, right? She sang to Castro “You’ve Got a Friend.” He sure does, countless of them, in free countries, especially in the United States.

Obviously, the hard Left has given the dictatorship its full-blown support. But the soft Left has done its part too. I mean people like the editors of the New York Times and Barbara Walters. They count more than some political-science prof at Bennington or wherever.

One of the reasons Una Noche amazed me is that I saw it shortly after the death of Saul Landau — the American leftist who made films glorifying and lying about Castro. If you want to know more about Landau, see what Ron Radosh wrote about him, here. (The two knew each other.)

Obits about Landau, of course, whitewashed his beliefs and his career. The headline in the Times was “Saul Landau, Maker of Films with Leftist Edge, Dies at 77.” Leftist edge! Priceless! “Leni Riefenstahl, Maker of Films with . . .”

Landau, Oliver Stone, Michael Moore — these are the kind of people who make movies about Cuba. They have covered up the reality of Castro’s island for years.

Read more

The Castros’ Extra Large Buddy is Getting Un-Hitched

moore castro

Michael Moore, the sworn champion of “the 99%” and insists the rich 1% must give up most of their wealth to the state, is about to attempt to keep his soon-to-be “ex” from taking him and his 1% multi-millions to the cleaners…

FLINT, MI — Flint’s best-known power couple is apparently splitting with Michael Moore and Kathleen Glynn going their separate ways.

Moore filed for divorce from Glynn, his wife of 21 years on June 17, according to a complaint filed in a circuit court near their home on Torch Lake.

The Antrim County Circuit Court complaint says Moore and Glynn no longer live together and that their relationship has broken down with “no reasonable likelihood that the marriage can be preserved.”

The divorce complaint says the couple was married in Flint on Oct. 19, 1991, and own a home in the Traverse City area.

The couple have no children, according to the filing.

MLive-The Flint Journal could not immediately reach Moore, Glynn, or the attorneys representing Moore for comment.

Glynn, who like Moore is a Flint native, has yet to answer the divorce complaint and has no attorney of record, according to Antrim County records.

Moore’s attorneys are Joseph Aviv and Jason R. Abel of the Bloomfield Hills law firm of Honigman, Miller, Schwartz and Cohn.

The law firm’s Web site describes Aviv as Michigan’s leading attorney for high-end divorce work.

The divorce is likely to involve millions of dollars, including the couple’s Torch Lake home, which has a taxable value of $1.2 million, according to Antrim County property records.

Although Moore has at times denied having a net worth among the top 1 percent of the population in the United States, he has an estimated worth of $50 million, according to the Web site www.celebritynetworth.com.

[…]

Elitist, Happy Cuba Traveler “Shocked” at All The Backlash

beyonce

Feh…

Jessica Chasmar @ The Washington Times

Pop icon Beyonce called the amount of criticism she and husband Jay-Z faced for their vacation in Cuba “shocking” in an interview that aired Monday.

“You know, it was such a beautiful trip. I met some incredible children. I visited some incredible entrepreneurs. I learned so much about so many people and the country and [all of the criticism] was actually quite shocking,” the singer said on ABC’s “Good Morning America.”

The music power couple celebrated their fifth anniversary in Havana last month, drawing the ire of several politicians. Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and Reps. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Mario Diaz-Balart and Debbie Wasserman Schultz have all questioned why — and how — the couple was able to visit the communist country.

I guess Mr. and Mrs. Z only managed to visit the paradise part of Cuba. Truth be told, this pampered princess of the Obama White House could have made a big impact on publicizing the plight of the real Cuban people who suffer everyday under apartheid, and most especially the brave mission of the government abused Ladies in White. But she and her husband instead chose the easy propaganda path so many other American celebrities stroll on while in Cuba.

As Mr. T was known to say, “I pity the fool”.