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Lu Galasso on the 14 Mens Fashion and Style Icons

I discovered this article on digg.com and I couldn’t resist passing it on. I have so much respect for everyone on this list. And I mean seriously, who can pass up a list that has Marlon Brando, Brad Pitt and Michael Jordan all in one place.

— Lu Galasso

14 Mens Fashion and Style Icons

By William Barnes

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Fashion has always been, and always will be dynamic. But style is timeless. The former is largely concerned with the what is cool, or what trends are at what time, etc. The latter, is not. Few men exhibit times timeless cool and display of good taste, and those that have shone in the public eye deserve mention. The following fourteen men are ones which we believe deserve mention as having some of the most iconic style, during the last century

Frank Sinatra

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Sinatra embodied an era of men’s style and grace. The hard-drinking, heavy-smoking ‘Rat Pack’ founding member seemed to never lose his cool, even in the midst of his son’s kidnap debacle. People questioned his potential ties to the mafia, but no one ever denied that he was the entertainer of the day. Old Blue Eyes always seemed well put-together, and our hat goes off to him for his matter-of-fact and effortless style.

Joe Namath

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The panache it took to wear saddle shoes, a fur coat and wayfarers while on the sidelines is second to none.  Joe Namath was a football player back in the days when athletes could still be national heroes, not petty criminals or castmembers on third-tiered reality television shoes. Namath also showed us that athletic prowess and a penchant for dressing one’s best were not mutually exclusive. Kind of a Sean Avery of yesterday – but without the pomp and circumstance. Broadway Joe was also famous for predicting his Jets would win Superbowl III and in later years, he would don a mean fu-manchu – before it was ironic, or cool to have one.

Marlon Brando

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We’re not talking bitch-tits, Dr. of Island Moreau Brando, we’re talking bad ass, A Street Car Named Desire Brando. Widely considered the first noticeable male sex symbol of the silver screen, Brando would later come out and appease his entire fan base, by admitting to being bisexual. Brando’s take on men’s style would spawn generators of emulators, and his iconic style would only be emboldened by later roles in The Godfather franchise, and breaking the jaws of paparazzi. Interestingly, his grandson, Tuki Brando, is currently the face of Versace.

James Dean

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Not a whole lot of commentary is really needed to help explain why Dean is on the list.

Brad Pitt

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Fight Club. Mr and Mrs Smith. Snatch. Oceans Eleven. Legends of The Fall. While some of these movies might not be everyone’s favorite, they all contributed Brad Pitt’s superstar status. Pitt consistently tops the ‘Most Attractive Men’ lists in the celebrity gossip rags, and his performance in Fight Club alone would merit his inclusion to this list. In the last decade, Pitt has shown the world that he can play serious roles too, and seems to never be caught off guard by the paparazzi. Whether he’s working with orphans in Addis Ababa, or he’s cruising on his Triumph in New Orleans, he seems to do so with a masculine grace that has only developed as he’s entered middle age. We look forward to the release of Inglorious Basterds.

Paul Newman

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This picture (above) is a perfect illustration of the actor that would go on to embody the titular role he filled in Cool Hand Luke. Newman was famous for his fidelity, even though he could have had any woman in the world, at the drop of a hat. And integrity is never in bad form. His decision to go into organic food production before it was the in thing to do, only adds to his status as a a trailblazer. One of the few actors to transition from 1950s cinema to that of the 1960s and 1970s, Newman remains an institution of America male style, and arguably one of the coolest guys of all time.

Johnny Depp

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After his work on the Pirates franchise, Depp seemed like he was taking his role as a Keith Richards-as-Jack Sparrow a little too serious, but this ended up not being the case.  No one has gone from 1980’s teen heartthrob to critically-acclaimed actor quite like Depp, and we appreciate his take on the Hollywood superstar that seems to not appreciate the attention. While his appearance might actually be the choreographed workings of a team of stylists, it seems very thrown together and carefree. This fits his demeanor, and is one that most everyone can appreciate in terms of aesthetics.

Steve McQueen

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Steve McQueen was rumored to smoke a pack of cigarettes and consume whiskey, marijuana and cocaine  on a daily basis, all while maintaining a 2-hr daily exercise regimen. That’s what we call dedication – both to a serious affinity for vice, as well as to maintaining a well-defined physique. The King of Cool had an effortless and oft-imitated style, that seemed to be just what the world was looking for at the time. He was a sort of anti-hero, and his style transcended the clothes he wore; the guy raced motorcycles and pretty much all of his own stunts.

Jason Statham

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This former diver-turned-actor has proved to bald men everywhere that it  if you are losing hair, there is still hope: you just have to get in really good shape, acquire a street-smart Londoner accent, and kick a lot of ass. But in all seriousness, Statham has been able to earn major roles even though he shares few characteristics with the stereotypical Hollywood leading man. He also tends to carry himself in a confident way that never looks bad. He is probably the most unassuming inclusion in this list, but deserves mention nonetheless.

Cary Grant

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Cary Grant was for many decades the prototypical leading man: debonair, handsome, and charming. Try finding a picutre of him in anything other than an impeccably tailored suit – they simply do not exist. His public image represents all that should be masculine about men’s fashion, and his timeless appearance has become the benchmark for black-tie events, awards presentations, and galas. Grant also deserves special mention for the fact that he was an ardent Republican, but never used his stardom as a soapbox, to preach his political opinions. Only later in his life, when his friend Ronald Reagan ran for President, did he come out and publicly support any candidates.

Robert Redford

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Robert Redford was Brad Pitt before there was a Brad Pitt. Packaged to audiences as the quintessential all-American male, Redford has a number of accomplishments in various capacities. If you need a reminder of what Redford was like in his prime, watch The Natural or Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. The amount of trim he was able to rack up, probably rivals that of Wilt the Stilt.

Sean Connery

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This foul-mouthed Scotsman was not what James Bond creator Ian Fleming had in mind for an on-screen adaptation of his beloved character. But, it just seemed to work. Rumor has it that after Dr. No, Fleming was so taken by Connery’s ability to morph into the suave, special agent that he worked into the character’s back-story a half-Scottish, half-Swiss ancestry. Even into the early 1980s, wherein Connery donned a number of questionable head-rugs, he still was able to give believable performances as the ultra-masculine, sexually charismatic Bond that subsequent actors have only attempted to recreate. To many, Connery is Bond.

David Beckham

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Love him or leave him, Beckham has got style. While the personal lives of professional footballers and their lady friends have recently become a thing of undeserved scandal, Beckham’s is the real deal. While some claim he is overrated as a mid-fielder, the long-serving captain of England’s National Team has done a lot for the game, including  (many argue) contributing to the increased popularity of the sport in the U.S., and he is often lauded for his many charitable works. To top it off the guy always looks well put together, with either long hair or a shaved head, and he can pull of his many tattoos even in business-casual attire. Even his high-pitched voice seems appropriate, and slightly capable of cutting him down to size – but it doesn’t.

Michael Jordan

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Michael Jordan’s style has always seemed effortless, whether he was on the court, or in a well-tailored, Italian suit. Many basketball players look a bit funny in suits – truth be told – because it’s hard to look sauve when you are nearly 7′ tall. But Jordan pulls it off in swell fashion. Jordan also merits special distinction for balding with grace and dignity. He actually met his receding hair line head-one, by just shaving the whole thing. When you are the most dominating basketball player of all time, no one is going to bring up the fact that you are losing your hair.

Bob Dylan

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Many claim Bob Dylan is really a poet, but he just happens to sing and play music  as well. Regardless of your take on that bit of whimsy, no one can deny Bob Dylan’s contribution to musical style and innovation. Fashion wise, this rolling stone is also one of the most widely-emmulated individuals the entertainment and arts industries have ever experienced. The above picture does a good job of summing up why this is the case; he’s basically on the same level as Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, but without the decade-long periods of fashion insanity and peyote.

July 31, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Lu Galasso on Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Okay, so I have always been a Harry Potter girl. The first book came out when I was somewhere around the age of 10 and I fell in love. I read the first, second and third as soon as they came out. When the fourth came out I got half way through it and because I was older then I had more homework I had to complete so Harry, Ron and Hermione got put on the back burner. Then the movies began coming out and that resparked my interest. I watched the first 3 films and still didn’t repick up the book. Then I watched the fourth movie and thought, why did I never finish that book? That’s when I finished that book and made sure I read every other one as soon as they came out.

That being said, I have been excited for the release of the 6th film since I heard about its original release date. I was heartbroken when they pushed the date until nearly a year later. Over the weekend I was finally able to go and see it. Now, I wasn’t sure what to expect going into it. I knew what was going to happen and so there were no surprises but I had read mixed reviews on the film. After seeing it I understood what was goingLu Galasso - Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince on in the reviews. Those who did not like it (mostly critics) and those who called in “slow” or “uneventful” were those we had clearly never read the books, or at least they had never read the 6th book. I’m no expert but the impression I got from reading the 6th book and then the 7th was that the 6th book was positioned to set up everything that was going to happen in the 7th and final book. It was if the 6th and 7th book were written together and then seperated in the middle. The 6th book is all about being able to figure out how Voldermort can be defeated so that the 7th can be all about trying to defeat him. The 6th book is a catalyst for Harry to become, for lack of better words, “his own wizard” and for him to come to terms with the fact that he really is “the chosen one”. It is all about Harry and his two best friends to establish to the readers and the other characters that they have grown up. They aren’t little kids anymore. It’s time to bring out the big magic!

The film was done in exactly the same pace as the story. With lots of detail, the addition of new characters and providing new pieces to the puzzle. Although the book always provides more information and better detail than can fit in a film, the film wasn’t too shabby. If you’re a Harry Potter lover, you’ll like this one too. For those who aren’t, well Ron and Harry have certainly grown up. Ron’s even got some muscles now. There’s a little big of magic, a little bit of romance, some mystery and you won’t want to miss the unexpected ending!

Lu Galasso

July 29, 2009 Posted by | movies | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Lu Galasso on Julie & Julia

In August, a film entitled Julie & Julia will be released in theatres. The film stars Meryl Streep as the infamous Julia Child and Amy Adams as Julie Powell, a blogger who for one full year would cook Julia’s recipes and write about them on her blog. What interested me about this film is that my mother has Child’s cookbook in her kitchen and growing up it always just seemed like the essential reference guide everyone should have around (that and The Joy of Cooking). The movie shows the lives of the two women, who have never met in person, and how Child’s influenced Powell’s success. The Globe and Mail did an interview with a long time friend and publisher of Child’s (Child passed away in 2004) about the upcoming film and how the cookbook came to be.

Sarah Hampson

From Monday’s Globe and Mail Sunday, Jul. 26, 2009 05:06PM EDT

Judith Jones arrives, perfectly edited.

The 85-year-old wears a tailored turquoise linen suit, her white hair in a neat bob and low-heeled Ferragamo pumps on her feet. Her slim legs are crossed elegantly at the knee and at her neck, a colourful scarf is arranged artfully over her shoulder.

Her words, too, are carefully chosen. She knows just what to describe and what to omit.

The legendary editor and vice-president at Knopf in New York, who still works part-time at the publishing house where she has been employed for close to 50 years, is very much in control of what gets shown, what gets said and how she lives.Lu Galasso - Julie and Julia

At this particular moment, she is discussing Julie & Julia , a delightfully engaging film to be released in early August, about the late cookbook author, Julia Child, and a young woman in New York, Julie Powell, who wrote a popular year-long blog about cooking her way through Ms. Child’s ground-breaking 1961 book, Mastering the Art of French Cooking . It was Ms. Jones who had brought Ms. Child’s book to the American public after the manuscript had been rejected by other publishers.

Based on Ms. Powell’s 2005 book, Julie & Julia: 365 Days, 524 Recipes, 1 Tiny Apartment Kitchen , the screenplay by Nora Ephron plays up the parallels between the two women’s lives, even though they never met before Ms. Child, played by Meryl Streep, died in 2004. It is also clear in the film that Ms. Child, who had been informed about the younger woman’s blog at the height of its popularity in 2002, did not approve. She refused to have contact with her.

Asked why that was, Ms. Jones, who remained friends with Ms. Child throughout her life, produces a demure smile and offers a perfectly measured diplomatic response. “We looked at [the blog], and Julia said, ‘I don’t think she is very serious about cooking and I don’t want to have anything to do with it.’ It was partly the use of four-letter words to describe food. It was just offensive. In our generation, we don’t throw them around quite as easily. But I think if she had met Julie, and seen some of her personality …,” she says, trailing off, shrugging her shoulders a little.

Long before Ms. Jones discovered Julia Child, she had earned some fame for insisting that The Diary of Anne Frank be published in the United States. After the war, she was working for Doubleday in Paris. “I was just a girl Friday, answering the mail, and my boss one day went off to lunch, and said, ‘There’s a pile of manuscripts I’ve looked at. Would you get rid of them?’ One was a book in French, but it hadn’t been published. It was a bound galley, and I was drawn to it because of the face on the cover. It had a picture of Anne Frank. I started reading and I read all afternoon, and when my boss came back, I said, ‘We have to get this book to New York. This has to be published.’ And he said, ‘What? That book by that kid?’ A lot of editors had turned it down in New York.”

Almost a decade later, in the summer of 1959, she was back in New York when another overlooked publishing opportunity landed on her desk at Knopf. It was a huge manuscript from three unknown women: Julia Child, Simone Beck and Louisette Bertholle. The two French women, Ms. Beck and Ms. Bertholle, had met Ms. Child in Paris, where she was living with her diplomat husband, Paul. Smitten by French cooking, Ms. Child, who was born in California and educated at Smith College, soon became fluent enough in French to start Cordon Bleu courses. The two French women asked her to help them adapt the classic cuisine for the American housewife. Their exhaustive two-volume manuscript was rejected as too complex for the average housewife. But when Ms. Jones looked at it, and subsequently tried out the boeuf bourguignon recipe at home, she had a hunch that its timing was perfect.

“People were travelling more. Even a secretary could put away her pennies and go to Europe on an economy flight and have her first bistro dinner,” she says. “And [when the book was published] the Kennedys had a French chef in the White House.”

In her memoir about her life in publishing, The Tenth Muse: My Life in Food , Ms. Jones said she was “ boulversée ” upon reading what became Mastering the Art of French Cooking . “There was nothing like it,” she says now. “It was a unique book, and it changed the way that we think about cookbooks, which is that it isn’t so much about the recipes, it’s the techniques.”

Lu Galasso - Julie and JuliaThe book ushered in fame for Ms. Child, a tall, mannish-looking woman whose playful personality belied her arch upper-class appearance. “As Julia would say, ‘I am quite a ham,’” Ms. Jones recalls. “She was totally spontaneous. When she would fish out a little herb bouquet, and it was all grey, and she’d toss it in the garbage, and say, ‘It looks like a dead mouse,’ that’s what she was thinking.”

That authenticity is far rarer in the foodie industry now, Ms. Jones says. “It’s gone the other way now. You have to be a celebrity. I find it offensive because I don’t think they are really teaching and enabling the home cook. So much of it is show-off cooking. I don’t think it’s a competition. To really understand cooking, well, it’s a very subtle art,” she says, folding her hands neatly on her lap.

She believes the movie’s depiction of Ms. Child’s passion and determination, mirrored by Ms. Powell’s, close to 50 years later will bring about a renewed appreciation for classic food preparation. “It may help to bring us back to our senses,” she says in her staunch New England accent. “And it shows a generation, who doesn’t really quite even know, who Julia Child was. It brings her very much to life.”

Ms. Jones parlays her love of the meticulous into many aspects of her life. She describes her regimen for staying fit and elegant in a nonsensical manner and seems bemused that anyone would find it extraordinary. She does yoga every night. When she is in Vermont, where she has a house, she swims in a pond, the length of a football field, twice a day. Her swimming prowess saved her life in 1997, the year after her husband, Evan, died. She was driving along a country road in the rain when a small stream suddenly turned into a torrent. She escaped by swimming. “I also do weights to fight osteoporosis,” she adds. And to keep her brain fit, she memorizes lines of poetry.

Widowhood is also manageable, she says, because she never lost her love for cooking, even for one. In September, her cookbook, The Pleasures of Cooking for One , will be published.

Preparation of dinner is a highlight of her day, she says. “It’s really one of the sacred things in life.”

She nods her head slightly, almost imperceptibly. It appears that the word sacred was exactly, precisely, what she meant.

The article can be found here

— Lu Galasso

July 27, 2009 Posted by | movies | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Lu Galasso on Showtime/HBO

Okay, so I will admit that this wasn’t an original idea. I was reading http://www.torontoist.com and they/he/she wrote a post about television shows. That got me thinking about the shows I like to watch and I realized that the majority of the TV shows I like are on HBO and Showtime. So I thought I would share with you some of these shows and provide a description of each of them.

HBO:

Big Love

The story of Bill Henrickson (Bill Paxton), a polygamist who lives in suburban Salt Lake City with his three wives (Jeanne Tripplehorn, Chloë Sevigny and Ginnifer Goodwin) and now-eight children. As the new season opens, Bill, who last season bought a gaming-machine business to supplement his Home Plus superstores, is looking to diversify even further in the face of a flat do-it-yourself market and a crackdown on polygamists around the country (a trend echoed in real life with several headline-making polygamist busts this year).

As we have learned, balancing his professional and personal lives can be tough on Bill, and this season it only gets more frazzling. Over the course of Season Three, Bill will try to convince a native-American tribe to partner on a Mormon-friendly casino; woo a fourth-wife prospect (could it be Ana?) through unorthodox group-dating rituals; face unexpected repercussions from the imprisonment of “prophet” Roman Grant and the ascension of his scheming son Alby; deal with escalating hostilities involving mother Lois, father Frank, brother Joey and sister-in-law Wanda; and navigate crises involving his children Sarah, Ben and Tancy. And that’s just the tip of the Henrickson iceberg in what shapes up to be the most scandalous, entertaining season of Big Love ever.

Eastbound and Down

HBO premieres a new half-hour series about an arrogant, burned-out, former major-league pitcher named Kenny Powers (Danny McBride), who is forced to return home to North Carolina to teach Phys Ed at the middle school he once attended. While wreaking havoc at school with his boorish behavior, Kenny crashes at the home of his brother Dustin (John Hawkes); plots a triumphant return to the big leagues; and makes a pre-emptive romantic strike on former high-school squeeze April Buchanon (Katy Mixon), now a teacher engaged to principal Terrence Cutler (Andrew Daly). The series is executive produced by Will Ferrell (guest staring in two episodes), Adam McKay, Chris Henchy, Jody Hill, Danny McBride and Ben Best.

Entourage

Entourage takes a none-too-serious look at the day-to-day life of Vince Chase (Adrian Grenier), an incandescent young Hollywood actor, and the three buddies he’s brought from their hometown in Queens, NY: manager Eric (Kevin Connolly), half-brother/actor Drama (Kevin Dillon), and party pal Turtle (Jerry Ferrara). Also starring Golden Globe and three-time Emmy-winner Jeremy Piven as Ari, Vince’s frenetic agent, Entourage draws on the experiences of industry insiders to illustrate the excesses of today’s celebrity lifestyle, as well as the difficulty of maintaining relationships and artistic fulfillment in the show-biz fast track.

This season, after weathering a series of professional storms, Vince has bounced back after the opening of Gatsby, his new film directed by Martin Scorsese. Meanwhile, the guys each take steps to develop their own careers, and Ari looks to build up his agency with the help of a new partner, Andrew Klein (Gary Cole).

Entourage airs Sunday nights at 10:30pm

Flight of the Conchords

HBO presents the Season Two premiere of the “delightfully quirky” (Boston Herald) musical-comedy series co-conceived (with James Bobin) and performed by Jemaine Clement and Bret McKenzie, the folk-comedy duo from New Zealand whose live stage shows and CDs as Flight of the Conchords have won them a worldwide cult following, a 2005 One Night Stand on HBO, and a 2007 Grammy for Best Comedy Album.

Over the course of ten new episodes this season, Bret and Jemaine (playing fictionalized versions of themselves) find their sophomore year living in the East Village at least as challenging as the first, and resort to a variety of desperate tactics to jump-start their lives and career. These include: turning to prostitution as a way to pay bills; starting up a gang; impersonating Simon & Garfunkel in a look-alike contest; falling for the same girl (what else is new?); even dating an Australian (a taboo in New Zealand). As usual, the duo’s misguided efforts to find romance or land a gig rarely yield dividends, but they do spawn all-new Conchord tunes about life, love, and the pursuit of an elusive music video.

Hung

Years ago in high school, Ray Drecker (Thomas Jane) was athletic, popular, and destined for success. Now, as a high-school teacher and basketball coach, he’s underpaid, uninsured, and embittered that his wife of 20 years (Anne Heche) has left him for her dermatologist. After a fire damages the rundown Detroit home he inherited from his parents, Ray’s fortunes reach an all-time low when his twin children, who had been living with him, move in with their mom and her clean-freak hubby. Lonely, run-down and at wit’s end, Ray attends a local self-help class whose mantra is to identify a personal “winning tool” to market for financial success. After a not-so-fulfilling encounter with a fellow attendee – an ex-flame and would-be poet named Tanya (Jane Adams) – Ray has a “eureka” moment. With the help of Tanya, Ray resolves to take advantage of his greatest asset, in hopes of changing his fortunes in a big way.

Hung airs Sunday nights at 10pm

In Treatment

HBO presents Season Two of In Treatment, the critically acclaimed half-hour drama series starring Gabriel Byrne (who won a Golden Globe in January for his role), and adapted from the popular Israeli series created by Hagai Levi (one of HBO’s executive producers, along with Stephen Levinson, Mark Wahlberg, Warren Leight, Paris Barclay and Rodrigo Garcia). Set within the highly charged confines of individual psychotherapy sessions, the series once again centers around Dr. Paul Weston (Byrne), who recently divorced his wife Kate, and has moved from Maryland to a brownstone in Brooklyn, New York (where this season is shot). Rebuilding his practice while wrestling with some of the demons he left behind — including a lawsuit filed by the father of Alex, a patient who died last year — Paul takes on several new patients, including the four seen in individual episodes each week. He also commutes to Maryland every Friday to continue his own sessions with Dr. Gina Toll (Emmy®/Oscar® winner Dianne Wiest).

Summer Heights High

HBO premieres a scripted comedy series written and starring Australian comedian/actor Chris Lilley, who masterfully portrays all three lead characters, each on their own journey at one “average” public high school. Over eight half-hour episodes, the series documents the public-school experience through the eyes of two students and one teacher. There’s “Jonah,” a charmingly unruly middle schooler; “Mr. G,” a delusional drama teacher; and “Ja’mie,” a conniving private-school exchange student obsessed with maintaining her “queen bee” status. Outrageous, politically incorrect and laugh-out-loud funny, Summer Heights High chronicles a world that we’ve all been a part of, one that’s full of characters that will make us cringe with recognition.

True Blood

Thanks to a Japanese scientist’s invention of synthetic blood, vampires have progressed from legendary monsters to fellow citizens overnight. And while humans have been safely removed from the menu, many remain apprehensive about these creatures “coming out of the coffin.” Religious leaders and government officials around the world have chosen their sides, but in the small Louisiana town of Bon Temps, the jury is still out.

Local waitress Sookie Stackhouse (Anna Paquin), however, knows how it feels to be an outcast. “Cursed” with the ability to listen in on people’s thoughts, she’s also open-minded about the integration of vampires — particularly when it comes to Bill Compton (Stephen Moyer), a handsome 173-year-old living up the road. But at the service of Bill’s less virtuous vampire associates, Sookie is drawn into a series of catastrophes that will put their love to the test.

The latest hit series from ‘Six Feet Under’ creator Alan Ball, ‘True Blood’ delves into the meticulously-crafted world of novelist Charlaine Harris. Described by the Emmy®-winning Ball as “popcorn for smart people,” the first season of ‘True Blood’ caused an overnight sensation – and the new installments only build on his colorful cast of supernatural misfits.

True Blood airs Sunday nights at 9pm.

Showtime:

Californication

Californication is a Showtime TV series production created by Tom Kapinos, starring David Duchovny as Hank Moody, a troubled novelist whose move to California and his writer’s block complicate the relationships with his ex-girlfriend Karen (Natascha McElhone) and daughter Becca (Madeleine Martin).

Dexter

He’s smart, good looking, and he’s got a great sense of humor. Michael C. Hall stars as Dexter, everyone’s favorite serial killer. Miami forensics expert by day and murderer by night, this serial-killer killer is making the world a better place – one homicide at a time.

The Tudors

Jonathan Rhys Meyers is King Henry VIII as never seen before. With a lust for power and an appetite for love, the stunning young monarch ruled his kingdom as he lived his life – with ruthless abandon. This epic series reveals the untold story of the beloved tyrant whose reign was marked by treachery, betrayal and intrigue.

United States of Tara

One woman. Multiple personalities. From executive producer Steven Spielberg comes the new Showtime Original Series UNITED STATES OF TARA, starring Toni Collette. Between juggling family, career and her ever- altering personalities, Tara Gregson never knows what – or who – to expect next.

Weeds

Emmy® and Golden Globe® winner Mary-Louise Parker stars as the single mom who resorts to dealing pot after her husband dies suddenly . But when an off-beat way to make ends meet grows into a mini-empire, the mother of all dealers finds she may be in over her

head – an

d on the verge of taking everyone else with her.

Well that’s all I’ve got for you today. Let me know any other shows that you think are worth while and I’ll have to check them out!

– Lu Galasso

July 20, 2009 Posted by | movies | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Lu Galasso and Facebook

Facebook, something we all know and likely have a love/hate relationship with. It’s a place where you can add friends, acquaintances and try and “creep” information on people you may not even know. It’s a phenomenon that people all over the world are indulging in. Facebook was created and founded by Mark Zuckerberg and his roommates at Harvard in order to connect its students. It was then expanded to include colleges and universities in the Boston area, and today as long as you’re over the age of 13 you can become a “member”.

Recently, Facebook has been receiving a lot of media attention, and it’s not positive press. The Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada has recently been investigating Facebook’s privacy laws in terms of its relationship with third parties like their advertisers and the individuals who create “Facebook Apps”. They are concerned that there is no “opt out” of sharing personal information with these individuals and they are concerned with what this information is being used for it and how long it is being kept on file.

As anyone could tell you Facebook is just a wealth of data. It has millions of users from all over the world and not only does Facebook collect your name and your email address but on top of that, people enter everything from their age, their relationship status, their sex, their siblings, where they live, what school they go to, what their interests are, etc. It should be no surprise that in the world we live in, people will do anything for a buck and so Facebook is able to sell their site to advertisers on the guarantee that they can directly pinpoint their target market. Have you ever noticed (if you’re female) you constantly have ads for wedding rings and weight loss? Now change your “sex” to male and instead you are going to receive ads promoting ways to improve your muscles etc.Lu Galasso - Facebook

Facebook has been called out in the past for their privacy policy and so they are constantly updating it. What Facebook doesn’t tell you when you sign up is how to change your privacy settings and how to say no to the sharing of your information. They make it so difficult for you to find and figure out that most people just forget about it and don’t bother. Although the thought of my information being shared is a scary thought, I’ve just edited my profile to the things I don’t mind being shared. I mean the thought that even if I delete a picture off of facebook that the link still exists and that facebook still has it on file (everything you put on facebook becomes facebooks property), even if i can’t see it, scares the crap out of me, it comforts me to know that at least i’m aware of that when i upload the pictures.

My advice then, instead of just clicking that you agree with the terms and conditions on any social networking website, or just any website for that matter, make sure you READ what it is you are agreeing too. Be careful what you do and say on the internet and stay informed. The internet can be a scary place, and I don’t just mean old men acting like young girls or pedophiles lurking, I mean the web bugs that can be placed into emails so when  you open it someone can know the time and place you opened it, how many people you sent it too, etc. I don’t by any means say stop using Facebook, I know I’m not going too, but stay on top of the news, read their privacy policy, do whatever you can to ensure your own privacy and safety.

To opt out of sharing your information follow these simple steps (keep in mind it may not block all of your info) scroll to the bottom of facebook on any page > click on privacy > READ what it says > select the button that says “Click here to go to your privacy settings” > click on applications > READ what is it that facebook is sharing and what the applications are doing > click on settings (beside where it says overview) > edit away. > hit save changes and you are done.

Here is an article I found on marketingmag.ca on the subject. If you use Facebook it affects YOU. So read up on it. http://www.marketingmag.ca/english/news/media/article.jsp?content=20090716_145113_1552

— Lu Galasso

July 17, 2009 Posted by | social networking | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Lu Galasso on My Sister’s Keeper

Lu Galasso - My Sister's Keeper

Okay, so I went and I saw My Sister’s Keeper the other night, a film which I had very high expectations for because not only have I read the book (and cried through the whole thing), but I also enjoy Cameron Diaz as an actor. After seeing the film, I looked at my friend in shock. And not in a good way. I was TOTALLY disappointed. I would even go as far as to say that they ruined the book. I say that because the writers of the film changed the ending. I don’t mean they altered it but I mean they changed WHO DIES. Meaning that the story doesn’t even make sense! Let me start with Abigal’s character, Anna. The story goes that when Kate was little she found out she had Leukemia. It was safer and more effective to have an exact bone marrow and palette donor and so Kate’s parents genetically altered the baby that they were going to have so that she would be an exact match for Kate. Therefore, Anna spends her whole life being a donor to Kate for whatever she needs.

Then one day, Kate’s kidney’s begin to fall and so Anna is not asked, but required by her parents to donate her kidney to her sister. Anna learns that without one of her kidneys she would have ot be careful for the rest of her life, and it was going to be hard for her to have a child. There were many other things that scared Anna from having the surgery, or so she claims. Anna then goes and hires a lawyer, Campbell Alexander, in order to sure her parents for “the rights to her own body”. I won’t go into detail about how that turns out because that would just give away the entire movie. For the most part the film follows that part of the book very closely except that it leaves out a very important character from the novel named Julia. Who becomes Anna’s guardian for the time when the trial is taking place because Anna’s mother becomes the defendant lawyer. I would like to point out that although I’m making the story revolve around Anna, which the book does do, the film makes the story about Kate. That being said, we hear from Kate multiple times in the film, whereas in the book we only hear from her near the end of the novel.

Then there is the brother, Jesse. In the book, Jesse is a trouble maker, starting fires, living in a room above the garage, basically wants nothing to do with his family. Has his own car. And he’s 17. The Jesse in the film looks like he’s about 14, he takes the bus, they don’t show him doing anything wrong except being out late at night drinking SODA (not even alcohol like in the book) and hes at family dinners. The only bad thing they show him doing in the film is coming home past curfew and then proceed to say at the end of the film that he got himself together. Together from what? Really?

They had Alec Baldwin play Campbell Alexander. In the book Campbell Alexander is supposed to be sexy. A knockout, and he and Julia are supposed to have  a romance. There is also supposed to be suspicion about why he has this service dog with him all of the time and when you find out it happens in the courtroom while he is asking Anna questions on the stand, which in the book takes her convincing. In the film there are two questions asked about the dog and the revelation happens outside the courtroom.

It’s like the film is trying to draw all the same morals and conclusions as the book but without actually explaining why. If you hadn’t read the book you would have been so confused as to the point and as to what is actually going on. If you’re going to adapt a novel into a film. Either change it completely or not at all. This film just sorta sat in the middle. Like it wasn’t really sure what was going on. I would give the film 2 stars out of 5.

— Lu Galasso

July 15, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Lu Galasso – The Week We’ve Been Waiting For

Lu Galasso here,

Well keeping with the theme of pop culture, I obviously have to talk about one of the biggest and most anticipated pop culture phenomenons – Harry Potter. The moment we’ve all been waiting for has arrived and Harry Potter and The Half-Blooded Prince is being released this week. It was originally set to be released sometime last year but complications arose and it got pushed. For those of you who are like myself and are avid Harry Potter fans, this book is where the story starts to turn. What once started out as a light hearted book about a boy becoming a wizard, having adventures and making new friends, has turned into a dark, twisty and mysterious plot. Harry Potter is no longer a boy, he is becoming a man. This film deals with relationships, death and more. It is no longer a story aimed at children, or at least in my opinion anyways. I started reading Harry Potter as a kid, when it was first released and kept up right until the end. Although the films are unable to fully capture everything that J.K Rowling writes in her books, I would have to say they do a pretty damn good job for what they have to work with.

In this book, as well as in the final novel, there were parts that even as a twenty year old, terrified me. In this final books I laughed, I cringed, I was nervous and I even cried. Why did Rowling make them so dark? Perhaps it was because she was aware that as she was writing these novels, the majority of her fan base was growing up with them. The first film came out in 2001 – making me about 13. The books came out even before that. I’m 21 now and the final book was released two summers ago. Meaning that Harry Potter and friends have grown up with me.

Rowling, as well as the film producers were smart, in that I believe they foresaw the popularity of twilight. Although, like Harry Potter, Twilight is popular across all age groups, its essentially the new Harry Potter, and its younger fan base will be more familiar with Twilight than our friend HP. Therefore, if Rowling had made her most recent books fairly childish, than she would likely loose some of her most loyal fans, the now older generation, leaving the new youngsters, who have likely not read her first novels, to have their own series.

Anyways, enough talk from me. I found a great article on the thestar.com that talks about the upcoming HP release. I have copy and pasted it below.

Hormones race, but the magic mainly idles in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, a stage-setting film in which boyish fascinations give way to manly concerns.

The sixth Harry Potter movie and the last to exactly track J.K. Rowling’s book series (the seventh and final novel will be split into two films) is at once more realistic and less wondrous.

Gone are many of the whimsical fantasy elements that have made the series such a delight. The boys and girls have grown into young men and women, leading to serious romantic entanglements and attendant jealousies.

There is still magic, but it all has dramatic purpose – and much of it points to the final two films, in which youthful wizard Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) and his nemesis Voldemort, the Dark Lord, will engage in decisive battle.

Emboldened by his impending return, Voldemort’s airborne henchthingies, the Death Eaters, have stepped up their attacks, including muggles (humans) amongst their prey. An early scene resembling a terrorist attack sees pedestrians on London’s Millennium Bridge sprinting for safety as the Death Eaters ravage the structure.

Not even such heavenly preserves as Diagon Alley and Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry are safe from Voldemort’s minions, who now include a fully engaged Draco Malfoy (Tom Felton), who considers himself the Dark Lord’s opposite to Harry’s status as the “Chosen One” among wizards.

The annual train journey to Hogwarts, in which Harry and pals Ron Weasley (Rupert Grint) and Hermione Granger (Emma Watson) head for the start of their sixth year, takes a violent turn as well-meaning subterfuge leads to a brutal beating. The students arrive at Hogwarts to discover they must now pass through a metal detector, since repeated Death Eater attacks against the school have forced the need for greater security.

Storm clouds real and metaphorical hover over the proceedings, which returning director David Yates and screenwriter Steve Kloves have fashioned as more of a mystery than previous instalments, and with many more plot threads. Film Review Harry Potter

The picture begins as an adult detective story, as Hogwarts patriarch Dumbledore (Michael Gambon) whisks Harry from a sexy muggle encounter (what a trip that would have been!) back into the fantasy realm to investigate what appears to be a savage Death Eater attack.

“Wands out, Harry!” Dumbledore warns. But it’s a set-up to meet an important new character in the franchise: Horace Slughorn (Jim Broadbent, perfectly cast), a former professor of potions at Hogwarts who taught Tom Riddle (played by Hero Fiennes-Tiffen and Frank Dillane at different ages), the troubled student who became Lord Voldemort.

Dumbledore convinces Slughorn to return to Hogwarts, hoping that Harry – whom Slughorn is star-struck by – can cajole or con him into giving up important information about Riddle that could lead to Voldermort’s undoing.

Harry is now Dumbledore’s adult sidekick rather than his boyish protégé, an important development in the saga. But it’s frustrating to see Radcliffe still playing more boy than man when the time comes for Harry to whip out his wand. You’d think that five years of training would have made him less of a fumbler.

There are many more developments in the tale, including further elucidation into the puzzling motives of Severus Snape (Alan Rickman), now promoted to teacher of defence against the dark arts. He’s obviously being primed for greater revelations to come, as is Voldemort’s female consort Bellatrix Lestrange (Helena Bonham Carter), whose violent urges take a fiery turn this time.

Also firming up are relations between Ron and his secret admirer, Hermione, amusingly complicated by male and female interlopers, and between Harry and his own covert devotee, Ginny Weasley (Bonnie Wright). Could one of Slughorn’s concoctions be Love Potion No. 9?

Yates and Kloves have done a commendable job of distilling the essence of Rowling’s mammoth text and maintaining control over plot complications (including the identity of the titular Half-Blood Prince) that could befuddle anyone not fully versed in Potter lore.

Quality remains high in every regard and the cast is almost entirely intact, rare feats for a franchise this far into its run.

Rowling and her dutiful film deputies have kept pace with their core audience, most of whom are now into their late teens and 20s, and who are facing some of the same life issues as Harry and his career, albeit more of the earthbound variety. The same Potterphiles who went with their parents to see the film series’ debut in 2001 are now old enough to attend tonight’s midnight screenings on their own or with their pals.

Yet despite the many pluses of The Half-Blood Prince, it’s unlikely to become a series favourite for many people, at least in the celluloid format. Harry’s development as a wizard and as a hero remains gallingly slow – he often gapes rather than reacts – and the story’s one major development is bizarrely treated almost as an after-thought.

Think of the film as a stepping-stone to greater drama to come, much like The Two Towers in The Lord of the Rings trilogy, and heed Slughorn’s words of caution: “These are mad times we live in, mad!”

— Lu Galasso

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July 14, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Lu Galasso Says Goodbye to MJ

Myself, Lu Galasso, was a fan and will always be a fan. Whether you loved him or hated him you, over the past week there has been no way to avoid the recently deceased Michael Jackson. There has been so much controversy surrounding his death that has included everything from if he really is dead or if it’s just a publicity stunt to the short speech his daughter gave at his memorial yesterday. What I find most interesting is the impact Michael Jackson has had on the world in his 50 years of life.  The news of his death put google into threat mode (http://blog.searchenginewatch.com/090627-032514) and caused major problems in message overloads on websites like twitter and facebook. Although Farrah Fawcett had passed away on the same day, her death (unfortunately) did not cause a panic even mildly as large as Michael Jackson’s. People may argue over whether or not Michael Jackson really was the “King of Pop” but there is no denying he made his impact on the world. Michael Jackson wasn’t just a North American legand but he was internationally known. I think that was the difference between Michael and Farrah’s deaths. Farrah was mainly mourned in North America, while the world mourned for Jackson. The fact that his death was first announced over twitter caused people to “google” articles and information. It also grabbed people’s attention because his death was not officially confirmed until hours after other sources had claimed he was. Then there was the issue of his children and who was going to take custody  and where he was going to be buried and whether his funeral was going to be public or not. Then there was a backlash yesterday because many people believed that his memorial service was far too overdone when there were soldiers, firemen and other heroes dying everyday. It’s true, our society puts a lot of focus on pop culture and sometimes far too much, but watching Michael Jackson’s career from his rough childhood, to the moon walk, to hanging his child off the balcony, no more could deny that Michael Jackson defined the term “go big or go home”  and so it was pretty safe to assume that he wasn’t just going to fade away but rather he was going to go out with a bang. There was also rumors of drug overdoses and all the rest.

I’m going to go ahead and give my opinion now and you can agree or disagree with me but I really do truly believe that MJ was a harmless guy. Fine, he allegedly molested a child. I truely do not believe that was what he was doing with that little boy. Jackson was still a child at heart. He never got a real childhood and so he was still living out his childhood fantasies as an adult. Due to wealth he was able to build a place like Neverland Ranch where he could be a child all the time. Being forced to grow up when you’re five years old is going to put a lot of pressure on you and its obviously going to have repercussions. Let’s look at other examples of childhood stars, Drew Barrymore turned to drugs for awhile, Britney Spears…do I even need to explain, shaved off her hair and went a crazy for awhile, etc. When you’re a kid you are supposed to be a kid, playing with your friends on the swings, going to legoland, playing dress up, not having kids dress up as you or being followed by the paparazzi. Think how differently you’re life would have been if you hadn’t gone to high school or had your freedom to grow up and make some mistakes. I’m not saying this gets him off the hook for hanging his kid over the ledge or for completely destroying his own face but I mean, I’d probably end up doing something a little crazy too.

The guy made great music and some memorable music videos. He was the Elvis of my generation and the generation before mine. He was always the kind of guy who seemed immortal. He was Michael Jackson. You knew his name, but not much else about him. He was this guy who you speculated about and came to your own conclusions about. But to see his daughter on stage saying her own goodbye and saying she loved her father it made you realize that, like many other celebrities that we hear about, that he was a person, who was loved by his children, who took care of his children, who tried to keep them out of the spotlight by covering them up in public. He wasn’t just Michael Jackson to them, he was dad, he was a brother, he was a son. As much as the world is going to miss his music and hearing about his seemingly crazy antics, those who knew him are loosing a brother, a son, a father. Someone who wasn’t just Michael Jackson, but someone who was deeply and truly loved.

That being said, I really do hope that in their time of mourning the paparazzi and the news stations and everyone else back off and give them their privacy. If the world is grieving this much, just imagine what those closest to him feel. They need this time to rest, recover and be able to remember Michael Jackson as the person who they knew and loved and it is very disrespectful if the paps continue to invade.

I have included the link to a piece I read about Jackson this morning, where you are able to watch the video of his daughter and a few pictures of him over the years. The good and the bad.

— Lu Galasso

http://www.thestar.com/news/world/article/662541

Lu Galasso - MJLu Galasso - jackson epaulettes

Lu Galasso - michael-jackson-dangling-baby-son

Lu Galasso - michael-jackson

July 8, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | Leave a comment

Lu Galasso

– Lu Galasso

June 26, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Lu Galasso – This Week in Pop Culture

farrahfawcettposterWell, I’m sure this comes at no surprise today but for those of you who don’t know, the lovely Farrah Fawcett lost her cancer battle yesterday. Then, only a few hours later the news came that Michael Jackson had been discovered without a pulse and the paramedics were unable to revive him, pronoucing him dead at 2:26 pm on Thursday, June 25th 2009. As sad and devestating as it was to lose one of the original Charlie’s Angels, the world was expecting Farrah to breathe her last breath sometime yesterday after she was given her last rights. When she died she was surrounded by her boyfriend and one of her closest friends and as well as her longtime friend and hair stylist. Unfortunately, her son was unable to be present at her deathbed as he has been in jail throughout her cancerous battle. Luckily for him he was granted permission to attend her funeral and he is even allowed to wear something other than his inmate clothing.

Then we have the King of Pop. Although he had a rough few years after the incident with him hanging his son over a balcony, and his career was in shambles after he was accused of having sexual relations with a young teenage boy, it is undeniable that he will forever go down in history as one of the greatest pop artists of all time. I may not have grown up with the Jackson 5 and seen him rise to fame, but his songs certaintly were a  part of my childhood. I mean come on, who didn’t try to moonwalk? In grade 8 gym class we even had to make a dance to thriller. Oh and you CANNOT forget about the free willy theme song. I used to watch the movie just for that song. Ask anyone and they likely know at least one song my Michael Jackson.

It’s strange thinking that he’s gone. It’s a very surreal feeling. He was just someone who was always around, since I was born. Someone who you never reaRIP MJlize could be gone, just like that. This was probably how people felt when John Lennon got shot or when Princess Diana got into that fatal car crash. Just, baffeled. It’s a strange kind of sorry. You don’t cry, but you mourn in some other way. You play his music constantly, you read about his life, you crack insulting jokes to make light of the situation. The rumour is that Jackson had a heart attack, but the autopsy is still confirming.

Rest In Peace you two. Jackson, you better put on a great concert in heaven…or wherever you are. Maybe you could get together with the King of rock n roll and do a duet.

For more info check out:

http://dealbook.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/06/26/the-pop-star-and-the-private-equity-firms/?src=twt&twt=nytimes

http://www.thestar.com/News/Obituary/article/657035

http://www.thestar.com/article/656934

http://www.thestar.com/article/656936

— Lu Galasso

June 26, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment