By Thomas Brennan
This year, the Elliot Norton Award show “went on” but it was a decidedly different event from years past. The annual awards ceremony, at which the best of Boston’s theater offerings is recognized, was broadcast online by the Boston Theatre Critics Association on May 11, th
The nominations ranged from Boston productions from April 1st 2019 to March 2020.
There were fears over how the show would go on with the current quarantine and need for social distancing, but the curtain still rose. The show was concise yet still heartfelt and enthused in its celebration of the efforts and accomplishments of Boston’s theater community. There were ever present ASL translators throughout the award show, ensuring those who are deaf could still also enjoy the event. The ceremony lasted just under an hour. The presenters – the members of the Boston Theater Critics Association, whose votes determined the award recipients – all streamed from their homes. Despite the distance and this year’s difference in production, the event stood as a resounding unification of the community, as well as a celebration of Boston’s artists, the productions of the past year, and the indomitable spirit of theatre in harsh times.
The ceremony displayed clips from various productions, highlighting the great work and love put into various plays. Actors from “Caroline, or Change” opened with a powerful song, followed by powerful and uproariously entertaining clips from productions such as “Moby Dick,” “Sunset Boulevard,” “Pacific Overtures,” and “Parade.” Each clip showed off some of the greatest performances of the season while complementing the masterful production work that has gone on over the last year.
The ceremony’s penultimate event was an especially whimsical and merry original song about the theatre surviving under social distancing, performed by various members of the New England acting community. Each of the performers did so from home, some in more subdued settings, others that were more dramatic. There’s nothing quite like seeing a man dressed as King George sing alongside a girl trying her best to play Xbox.
As Joyce Kulhawik, the President of the Boston Theatre Critics Association, put it best, “I actually find myself very inspired by the opportunity for reinventing everything- and I can’t wait to see what this incredibly creative community comes up with.”
The final note on the remarkable ceremony was a collection of poignant and loving testimonies from those who had worked alongside Johnny Lee Davenport. The stories and descriptions of this extraordinary actor and the work he’d given to his art were beyond heartwarming. He lived for 70 years, bringing great joy, kindness, professionalism and his indisputable talent to every production he was a part of. The entire community mourns his loss, but there’s no doubt he’ll stand as inspiration to all those pursuing the New England stage.
Below and the list of nominees and Winners for the ceremony. (Winners in each nomination category are marked with a * .)
Elliot Norton Prize for Sustained Excellence
Johnny Lee Davenport
“Shear Madness” which opened in Boston and just ended its 40-year run as one of the longest-running non-musical plays in the world
The 2020 Elliot Norton Award nominees
Outstanding Musical Production
*“Parade,” Moonbox Productions
“Moby-Dick,” American Repertory Theater
“Sunset Boulevard,” North Shore Music Theatre
“Caroline, or Change,” Moonbox Productions
“Pacific Overtures,” Lyric Stage Company of Boston
Outstanding Production, Large Theater
*“The Purists,” Huntington Theatre Company
“Sweat,” Huntington Theatre Company
“Detroit Red,” ArtsEmerson
Outstanding Production, Midsize Theater
“Pass Over,” SpeakEasy Stage Company and The Front Porch Arts Collective
“The Children,” SpeakEasy Stage Company
*“Cloud 9,” The Nora
“Cambodian Rock Band,” Merrimack Repertory Theatre
“Vanity Fair,” Underground Railway Theater
Outstanding Production, Small or Fringe Company
“The Return,” Israeli Stage
*“The Stone,” Arlekin Players Theatre
“The Ebonic Woman,” Ryan Landry and the Gold Dust Orphans
“The Seagull,” Arlekin Players Theatre
“The Strange Undoing of Prudencia Hart,” Apollinaire Theatre Company
Outstanding Solo Performance
Billy Meleady, “the smuggler,” Boston Playwrights’ Theatre
Outstanding Direction, Large Theater
*Rachel Chavkin, “Moby-Dick,” American Repertory Theater
Billy Porter,” “The Purists,” Huntington Theatre Company
Kimberly Senior, “Sweat,” Huntington Theatre Company
Lee Sunday Evans, “Detroit Red,” ArtsEmerson;
Kevin P. Hill, “Sunset Boulevard,” North Shore Music Theatre
Outstanding Direction, Midsize Theater
*Lee Mikeska Gardner, “Cloud 9,” The Nora
Benny Sato Ambush, “black odyssey boston,” Underground Railway Theater and The Front Porch Arts Collective
David R. Gammons, “Vanity Fair,” Underground Railway Theater
Marti Lyons, “Cambodian Rock Band,” Merrimack Repertory Theatre
Eric Tucker, “The Crucible,” The Nora in association with Bedlam
Outstanding Direction, Small or Fringe Theater
Jason Modica, “Parade,” Moonbox Productions
Danielle Fauteux Jacques, “The Strange Undoing of Prudencia Hart,” Apollinaire Theatre Company
*Igor Golyak, “The Stone,” Arlekin Players Theatre
Igor Golyak, “The Seagull,” Arlekin Players Theatre
Guy Ben-Aharon, “The Return,” Israeli Stage
Outstanding Musical Performance by an Actor
*Aaron Patterson, “Parade,” Moonbox Productions
Nicholas Rodriguez, “Sunset Boulevard,” North Shore Music Theatre
Rashed Alnuaimi, “Oliver!,” New Repertory Theatre
Tom Nelis, “Moby-Dick,” American Repertory Theater
Peter Mill, “The Rocky Horror Show,” Moonbox Productions
Outstanding Musical Performance by an Actress
Yewande Odetoyinbo, “Caroline, or Change,” Moonbox Productions
Alice Ripley, “Sunset Boulevard,” North Shore Music Theatre
*Katrina Z Pavao, “Little Shop of Horrors,” Lyric Stage Company of Boston
Haley K. Clay, “Parade,” Moonbox Productions
Outstanding Actor, Large Theater
Will LeBow, “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead,” Huntington Theatre Company
Morocco Omari, “The Purists,” Huntington Theatre Company
*Eric Berryman, “Detroit Red,” ArtsEmerson
Outstanding Actor, Midsize Theater
Nathan Malin, “Admissions,” SpeakEasy Stage Company
*Kadahj Bennett, “Pass Over,” SpeakEasy Stage Company and The Front Porch Arts Collective
Hubens “Bobby” Cius, “Pipeline,” The Nora and WAM Theatre
Brandon G. Green, “black odyssey boston,” Underground Railway Theater and The Front Porch Arts Collective
Albert Park, “Cambodian Rock Band,” Merrimack Repertory Theatre
Outstanding Actor, Small or Fringe Theater
*Nael Nacer, “The Return,” Israeli Stage
Brooks Reeves, “The Strange Undoing of Prudencia Hart,” Apollinaire Theatre Company
Alexander Pobutsky, “Hir,” Apollinaire Theatre Company
Seamus G. Doyle, “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time,” Apollinaire Theatre Company
Minh-Anh Day, “Wolf Play,” Company One Theatre
Outstanding Actress, Large Theater
*Analisa Velez, “The Purists,” Huntington Theatre Company
Izzie Steele, “The Purists,” Huntington Theatre Company
Nora Eschenheimer, “Cymbeline,” Commonwealth Shakespeare Company
Jennifer Regan, “Sweat,” Huntington Theatre Company
Tyla Abercrumbie, “Sweat,” Huntington Theatre Company
Outstanding Actress, Midsize Theater
Cheryl McMahon, “Admissions,” SpeakEasy Stage Company
*Paula Plum, “The Children,” SpeakEasy Stage Company
Ireon Roach, “School Girls; or, The African Mean Girls Play,” SpeakEasy Stage Company
Karen MacDonald, “The Children,” SpeakEasy Stage Company
Debra Wise, “Vanity Fair,” Underground Railway Theater
Outstanding Actress, Small or Fringe Theater
*Darya Denisova, “The Stone,” Arlekin Players Theatre
Anne Gottlieb, “The Seagull,” Arlekin Players Theatre
Lily Kaufman, “Cry It Out,” Apollinaire Theatre Company
Becca A. Lewis, “The Strange Undoing of Prudencia Hart,” Apollinaire Theatre Company
Philana Mia, “The Return,” Israeli Stage
Outstanding Ensemble, Large Theater
“Moby-Dick,” American Repertory Theater
“The Purists,” Huntington Theatre Company
*“Sweat,” Huntington Theatre Company
“Quixote Nuevo,” Huntington Theatre Company
“Sunset Boulevard,” North Shore Music Theatre
Outstanding Ensemble, Midsize Theater
“School Girls; or, The African Mean Girls Play,” SpeakEasy Stage Company
“Cloud 9,” The Nora
“Choir Boy,” SpeakEasy Stage Company
*“black odyssey boston,” Underground Railway Theater and The Front Porch Arts Collective “Pipeline,” The Nora and WAM Theatre
Outstanding Ensemble, Small or Fringe Theater
“The Ebonic Woman,” Ryan Landry and the Gold Dust Orphans
“Parade,” Moonbox Productions
“The Seagull,” Arlekin Players Theatre
*“The Strange Undoing of Prudencia Hart,” Apollinaire Theatre Company
“The Stone,” Arlekin Players Theatre
Outstanding New Script
“The Purists” by Dan McCabe, Huntington Theatre Company
“Moby-Dick” by Dave Malloy, American Repertory Theater
“Wolf Play” by Hansol Jung, Company One Theatre
“The Ebonic Woman” by Ryan Landry, Ryan Landry and the Gold Dust Orphans
*“Detroit Red” by Will Power, ArtsEmerson
Outstanding Design, Large Theater
*“Moby-Dick,” American Repertory Theater Scenic design by Mimi Lien; costume design by Brenda Abbandandolo; lighting design by Bradley King; sound design by Hidenori Nakajo; puppet design by Eric F. Avery; wig, hair and make-up design by Rachel Padula-Shufelt
“Sunset Boulevard,” North Shore Music Theatre Scenic design by Kyle Dixon; costume design by Anthony Powell and Kelly Baker; lighting design by Jose Santiago; wig and hair design by Rachel Padula-Shufelt
“Detroit Red,” ArtsEmerson Scenic and costume design by Adam Rigg; lighting design by Alan C. Edwards; sound design by Justin Ellington; projection design by Ari Herzig
“Sweat,” Huntington Theatre Company Scenic design by Cameron Anderson; costume design by Junghyun Georgia Lee; lighting design by D.M. Wood; sound design by Pornchanok Kanchanabanca
“Quixote Nuevo,” Huntington Theatre Company Scenic design by Takeshi Kata; costume design by Rachel Anne Healy; lighting design by Brian J. Lilienthal; sound design by David R. Molina
Outstanding Design, Midsize Theater
*“Vanity Fair,” Underground Railway Theater Scenic design by David R. Gammons; costume design by Leslie Held; lighting design by Jeff Adelberg; sound design by David Wilson; properties coordinated by Ciara McAloon
“black odyssey boston,” Underground Railway Theater and The Front Porch Arts Collective Scenic design by Jon Savage; costume design by Nadine Grant; lighting design by Aja M. Jackson; sound design by Dewey Dellay; property design by Elizabeth Rocha
“Cloud 9,” The Nora Scenic design by Allison Olivia Choat; costume design by Elizabeth Rocha; lighting design by Whitney Brady-Guzmán; sound design by David Bryan Jackson; property design by Stef Tivan
“Pass Over,” SpeakEasy Stage Company and The Front Porch Arts Collective Scenic design by Baron E. Pugh; costume design by Chelsea Kerl; lighting design by Kathy A. Perkins; sound design by Anna Drummond
“The Cake,” Lyric Stage Company of Boston Scenic design by Matt Whiton; costume design by Charles Schoonmaker; lighting design by Aja M. Jackson; sound design by Arshan Gailus; props artisan Lauren Corcuera
Outstanding Design, Small or Fringe Theater
“Parade,” Moonbox Productions Scenic design by Lindsay Genevieve Fuori; costume design by Chelsea Kerl; lighting design by Steve Shack; sound design by Elizabeth Cahill; hair and wig design by Peter Mill
*“The Seagull,” Arlekin Players Theatre Scenic design by Nikolay Simonov; costume design by Nastya Bugaeva; lighting design by Jeff Adelberg
“The Stone,” Arlekin Players Theatre Stage design by David R. Gammons; costume design by Nastya Bugaeva; lighting design by Jeff Adelberg; videos designed by Vladimir Gusev
“Vietgone,” Company One Theatre Scenic and projection design by Izmir Ickbal; costume design by Debra Kim Sivigny; lighting design by Jennifer Fok; sound design by Aubrey Dube; properties by Kelly Smith
“The Strange Undoing of Prudencia Hart,” Apollinaire Theatre Company Set/lighting design by Danielle Fauteux Jacques; costume design by Elizabeth Rocha; sound design by David Reiffel
Outstanding Musical Direction
*Catherine Stornetta, “Parade,” Moonbox Productions
David Freeman Coleman, “Choir Boy,” SpeakEasy Stage Company
Dan Rodriguez, “Caroline, or Change,” Moonbox Productions
Milton Granger, “Sunset Boulevard,” North Shore Music Theatre
Or Matias, “Moby-Dick,” American Repertory Theater
Yewande Odetoyinbo and Ruka White, “Choir Boy,” SpeakEasy Stage Company
Kira Troilo, “Parade,” Moonbox Productions
*Ilyse Robbins, “Swan Lake in Blue,” Greater Boston Stage Company
Outstanding Visiting Production, Non-Musical
“Indecent,” Huntington Theatre Company
Outstanding Visiting Production, Musical
“American Utopia,” Ambassador Theatre Group
Outstanding Visiting Musical Performance
Ben Levi Ross, “Dear Evan Hansen,” Broadway In Boston
Outstanding Visiting Musical Ensemble
“Six,” American Repertory Theater (Adrianna Hicks, Andrea Macasaet, Abby Mueller, Brittney Mack, Courtney Mack and Anna Uzele)
By Thomas Brennan
BOSTON — The world is in a state of upheaval and Boston is no exception. Yet, even with empty streets, businesses closing doors, and people sealing themselves inside as part of the quarantining efforts, Boston is finding a way to maintain its spirit and fun in the face of a greater challenge.
Commonwealth Avenue’s colors are often limited to the grey of the cement walkway, the green of the grass, and the brown of the trees, (with an occasional flash of white from a certain legendary squirrel), but in the wake of quarantine there’s been a dash of brighter colors. Kindness rocks have been scattered along several points along Commonwealth avenue. Carrying refreshing bits of lively painted colors with either a painted picture, or an encouraging message.
The initial kindness rocks project was started years ago by Megan Murphy, but since then it has taken on a life of its own as a national movement that has made its way to Boston when needed most.
Quite a few of the painted stones relate to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, providing encouraging messages for frontline workers who are being heroic and providing much needed service in these critical times. What they’re doing is not just heroic, but stands as the epitome of the conviction of humanity and the indomitable nature of the American spirit.
There are quite a few stones commemorating some of Boston’s other moments of fortitude in the face of hardship. A stone bearing Big Papi’s now legendary quote “THIS IS OUR F***ING CITY!” calls back to when Boston came together after two bombs exploded near the Boston Marathon finish line on Monday, April 15, seven years ago, killing three and injuring hundreds. Seeing this message is an empowering reminder of what the city has survived before and is capable of surviving again.
In these times masks are critical, and part of the necessary steps in preventing spread of the virus. Masks are more than an option, they’re outright essential. This new practice (for most of us, that is) of wearing masks can carry some level of insecurities and anxiety but only until you realize how much such measures are needed. Other stones are providing compliments to those taking the safety measures of wearing masks, proving cautious and considerate has become the new fashionable.
Many of the messages on these Kindness Rocks are tied into empowering boosts such as “BE BRAVE” and “ONE STEP AT A TIME.” Though there are more specific references and compliments amongst the bunch. A pair of kindness rocks with a paw print and a heart were put alongside the memorial treat bucket in honor of the late Commonwealth Mall dog, Woodrow. Seeing the memory of a resident dog treated so kindly and paid such kind tribute is more than heartwarming for any passersby, whether they are walking their own dog or not.
Boston has always been a sports centric city as well. Sports events have been the lifeblood of people coming together and enjoying an ongoing event. Even with sports seasons shut down it’s no surprise symbols of Patriots and the Celtics mascots are scattered amongst the kindness rocks, one even calling for the return of a certain high-profile athlete.
Most people have been practicing social distancing for only a few weeks, but these iconic ladies of Boston history, Abigail Adams, Lucy Stone, and Phillis Wheatley have been seemingly practicing social-distancing since they first returned to Commonwealth avenue 18 years ago. The three women have always been symbols of the great power and potential of the people of Boston. Set several feet apart the statues have been one of the prolific landmarks for the women’s history of Boston.
The Wheatley statue carries that message in another kindness rock with writing “BE THE CHANGE YOU WISH TO SEE” placed alongside Phyllis’s quill, representing her groundbreaking work as a poet during the Revolution.
Even as statues these women are still making history as the first statues to don face masks, reminding passersby the necessity of minimizing the spread of germ transmission. They apparently started a trend amongst other statues in Boston: Antonio Mendez’s statue, Teammates, depicting Ted Williams, Bobby Doerr, Johnny Pesky, and Don DiMaggio is also ready for action with the famed baseball stars sporting bandanas as well as baseball caps.
Boston’s spirit is still going strong even in these tumultuous times. These kindness stones and additions to local statutes might be small features, but they’re powerful symbols and reminders for the people of Boston. These efforts display that ultimately the way forward is founded in optimism, practicality, caution and strong will of a united community.
For more information on the Kindness Rock Project, click here.
By Thomas Brennan
In the difficult times we all face going forward with “social distancing,” it can get to the point where certain activities run tiresome and the streaming service runs low on fun accessible content. It never hurts to take a step outside one’s comfort zone. It might even be possible to find something to keep going even after this phase the world is going through moves on.
READING: There’s nothing more basic and enjoyable than a good book. Whether it’s something wholly new or revisiting an old favorite, every book is a world of its own. Reading essential pastime that can be occasionally overlooked in modern times. A bit of a plot twist considering its possible to read anything now with e-books and access to various online libraries. There’s plenty of great new releases of any genre, from literary classics like Moby Dick to the newest Stephen King novel, almost anything is readily available to enjoy at your own leisure.
BOARD GAMES: A childish pastime to some, but that just means it’s a further opportunity for fun if you have a couple of restless kids in the house. Puzzles as well as traditional fare – Jenga, Candy Land, Clue – are all fun and lightly competitive games that can help whittle away time easily. Having a little competition is an easy way to fill the hours with rich fun, You can even for more intellectual strategic games in chess, checkers, scrabble and backgammon. Try taking a crack at Monopoly and the whole weekend is likely to disappear down Park Place. Say a person doesn’t have any material games available, you can access many games online through social media. It’s possible to play a game of Scrabble with a friend on the other side of the planet.
BRAIN PUZZLES: This one is a little tied into the previous point, but is still relevant enough to have its own spot. Unlike boardgames plenty of puzzles run at the pace of the single person playing it. Games like Sudoku or crosswords puzzles can be a great challenge for the mind. The brain is always seeking things to preoccupy time and there’s plenty of Sudoku and crosswords in the newspaper and online. There’s even the option to turn the brain puzzles competitive; competing with family or roommates to see who can complete certain puzzle sets before the other. It’s possible to spend months on these activities, striving to improve thinking and problem-solving skills.
EXERCISE ROUTINE: A must in the times with a health crisis. Exercise is something everyone should be trying to find a way to practice. This can be rather simple or complicated depending on access to resources and equipment. If you have access to weights or a treadmill it’s a perfect way to work out in simple ways even with gyms closed. Even without equipment there’s workouts like sit-ups, push-ups, air kicks, or even just stretching. If you want to be especially ingenuitive there’s also the option of lifting like large containers of water in arm lifts. Any day spent moving is time well spent.
YOGA OR MEDITATION: A practice that requires patience, but is capable of yielding total serenity. For those dealing with heightened anxiety over the current state of the world outside their home, meditating can be a great option to center themselves. It doesn’t require anything besides a little space, enough quiet to focus and the willingness to look inward. For a lot of people slowing down can be a difficulty, but that just makes it a greater challenge and all that more of an accomplishment when overcoming it. It can be a great feeling to just seek a deeper sense of calm and inner peace.
MUSIC PRACTICE: This one more so requires access to a physical instrument. Working on honing the skills of guitar, piano, violin, drums or even chimes can take years of rigorous practice to master. Though with all the free time many have on their hands, now is as good a time to start. It’s doubtful anyone will stumble into being the next Freddie Mercury, though you might discover a talent, or even more rare than that, a passion. Sometimes there is merely fun to be found in merely trying to practice and creating a sound for the sake of the music itself.
SEWING AND CROCHET: An activity that requires supplies, but can still offer you something for your time that will last beyond the joy of the time spent on the activity itself. Sewing and crochet can be a great skill to hone. It’s a difficult ability to pick up as it relies on repetitive patterns, keen focus, consuming large amounts of time, but these exact factors can be great in yielding something to utilize one’s energy. It’s possible to make something small like a doily to as big as a couch cover. There can be a great sense of pride in seeing the products of labor, revisiting that sense of accomplishment in time spent finding focus through patience.
ORIGAMI: Folding paper might seem a ‘lil’ boring, but it’s actually quite a difficult skill to nail. It’s possible to fashion next to anything as simple as a paper airplane to as complicated as a unique structure. Colored paper is often a more fun choice, but it’s not a requirement by any margin. There are numerous shapes to work, creatures to make. Instructions for different designs are quite easy to access through online instructional videos. The only real risk in this activity is a papercut.
DRAWING: Illustrating can often be a skill where there is seemingly never any time to practice; thankfully there’s time to spare. The only question is if you have supplies available, and there are many instructional videos to start with for ways to develop the skill and a personal sense of artistic style. Even if pencil and paper aren’t in immediate supply there are online drawing and artistic programs to experiment with. It could range from something simple to mere edits of pre-existing pictures, to something wholly original.
WRITING: A pastime with endless possibilities. If you have an old notebook laying around or access to something to type, writing can be the best escape possible. Whether it’s just journaling and musing about things you miss or want to do in the future, either can be quite easing on the nerves. Having the time to spend alone to explore your own voice might be a little scary, but it’s a truly great way of looking inward and exploring yourself through journaling. There’s also the option to create an original story all your own; whether it’s just an everyday fiction or a whole fantasy universe, the only limits are what the individual person’s imagination sets.
ONLINE VIRTUAL ACTIVITIES: One thing that’s certain is that even in these difficult times there are people willing to step up and provide things to do and explore online. Various musicians are doing online concerts daily via Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube live. If music isn’t quite one’s forte, there’s various live tours being offered through various museums, art exhibits, animal farms and national parks. It’s possible through these means to see the full beauty of a national park or the entire closed off collection of a European historical museum. A lot of full explorations of sites most people wouldn’t be able to reach are being offered readily to everyone. It’s a great show of the capability of technology to be able to bring the world to people even when stuck at home.
By Thomas Brennan
In light of the recent events keeping us all inside and deprived of more public forms of entertainment. Here’s a list of 10 shows that are best to binge while stuck at home:
Parks & Recreation, Netflix
A Comedy that defines Classic. While this show may have wrapped five years ago and never got the praise it was worthy of in its time on air; it went on to launch the careers of some of the most popular and respected names in entertainment today Amy Poehler, Audrey Plaza, Nick Offerman, and Chris Pratt. The show is a testament to the workplace comedies. On a deeper level, the show always manages to find the idea there is fun to be had in friends and doing good for your community.
It’s rare to see a show able to balance a comedy in a setting based around politics, let alone do it well enough to deliver one of the best crack-up series of the 2010s. If Julia Louis Dreyfus had not solidified her position as the queen of comedy in any of her previous works, she does it here. The show highlights the back handed immature handling of politics. Every barb that the show throws out is a crackup. The wider ensemble is brimming with talent and always find a way to distinguish themselves with their own brand of witty cruelty. The series evolves, or rather devolves, from highlighting how the incompetence of government inner workings, to showing how greed and power are a path that leads nowhere; when you pursue power for the sake of no one but your own sake, you’re truly left with nothing.
I am Not Okay With This, Netflix
This new Netflix show is tough to place genre wise. On the surface it seems like a more copy and paste of the uncontrollably powered psychic girl trope seen in countless other pieces of media. Despite the trappings of the show’s concept, I am Not Okay With This still manages to often subvert its own premise; bringing out something almost boundary pushing with just the smallest steps. It doesn’t build a sense of fear of a greater external horror like similar shows. but a more relatable internal fear of losing control of one’s self that is neatly tied into the messy plight of being a teenager.
The Witcher, Netflix
Toss a coin to your Netflix account, cause The Withcher is another must see. Henry Cavil leads the brutal fantasy series as the monster hunter Geralt, the titular Witcher. The series is endearing and entertaining on a number of levels. Each of the three storylines that goes on carries a weight of real danger, fun, and adventure. It sometimes seems to stumble on bigger themes, but always lands on its feet with solid character writing and strong performances. The choreography of certain scenes and battles are absolutely cinematic. The Witcher likely would have landed higher on this list were it not for it’s very out of sorts timeline that can be vexing to almost anyone and has been a major point of criticism for the show.
Grace & Frankie, Netflix
A comedy that’s simple on the surface, but elicits both laughs and tears for people all ages. shows no matter how old you are it’s possible to make someone laugh. The whole ensemble of the titular women’s families is delightful, but Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin’s chemistry carries this show. The back-and-forth between these two characters is as likely to make viewers bust out giggling as they are to shed tears. Every episode brings a new rush of joy in what will be Grace and Frankie’s next endeavor. The core of this show, and likely why it relates to audiences young and old, is the fact it says nobody is too old to make a friend or a change.
The Dragon Prince, Netflix
From the minds that created the masterpiece of Avatar: The Last Airbender, comes The Dragon Prince. Don’t let the fact it’s animated let you dismiss this phenomenal world and story. It’s a fantasy series of children of opposing sides uniting to try and to end the war their parents and forefathers started. The story manages to capture the creativity and gravitas of Game of Thrones, but still be a joy to watch for both kids and adults. It pushes the envelope, catches the imagination, and pulls in the viewer with mature character work. It handles topics like grief from loss, the cost of war and hate, alongside the way friendship and love knows no borders. If you choose to pick up The Dragon Prince, be sure to also watch the end credits for Easter eggs, profound and relevant of things to come in this groundbreaking adventure.
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Amazon Prime
The best adjective to describe this show is right there in the title. The show’s wit and humor are so sharp it makes a bed broadswords seem as soft as a pillow. The central story builds off the career launch of the title character’s comic act after being dealt the surface level idea of the worst blow a woman of her time could endure in divorce; but Mrs. Maisel is as indomitable as she is marvelous. The rest of the cast packs humor and fun in tight paced and perfect delivery. Every beat of dialogue is a laugh. The set work determination to nail the ear of the 50’s is a sensation in itself and will arise nostalgia for older audience members. The best joke is on the viewer is it perfectly presents the concept that failure can just be the greatest opportunity that can knock on your door.
The Boys, Amazon Prime
Worn out from the constant peddling of recycled material from the superhero genre. The Boys have you covered. Don’t let the show’s simple title fool you, The Boys packs a punch as powerful as an evil star-spangled Superman. This show itself likely wouldn’t have the same resonance if our current world if we didn’t have the Marvel cinematic universe. The Boys highlights in the most horrifying way what a world with superheroes would look like. The depravity of a world of people with god like power is on full display in this show from the first episode. This isn’t a story of hope and heroics, rather the show works to peel off the human evil underneath. The show tackles relevant issues to our own world as well and handles its political themes with deep thought and nuance. It at times has a little too much fun with its more mature tone and freedom, but it’s still a perfect watch for anyone looking to see heroes taken down a peg.
Harley Quinn, DC Universe
The most surprising breakout show of the year. Harley Quinn, produced by Kaley Cuoco, who also voices the titular character, has found its way to be one of the most hilarious and emotionally resonant series in years. The show brings a graphic level to animation, blood and violence abound, but the series never gets bogged down in its more brutal elements. The show always finds clever ways to be humorous and action packed. Interestingly, past all the profuse amounts of blood and liberal use of cursing, the show’s heart is in its characters and deeper themes. Harley Quinn tackles issues like coping with abusive relationships, sexism in the work field, and learning to trust after trauma in ways that grip the soul itself. It’s a must see show that shakes the very idea of what animation and television can be.
The Good Place, Netflix
Just another classic crafted by the genius of Michael Schur. The show has just concluded its four-season run, ending the story of four dumpster fires of human beings evolving into better people even after they’ve died. The Good Place has cemented itself one of the greatest and most intelligent comedies of all time. It’s a show that is not just content to be hysterical with top notch performances from its talented cast. It raises deep philosophical questions about the nature of humanity and what being good truly means. The Good Place is never afraid to shine a light on their characters and their flaws, showing how hard it is to be good, but still standing by the theme doing good is worth it in itself. The saddest thing to say about this show is that it was so short compared to most serialized television, though this is also one of its greatest strengths. The series delivers its message of optimism in the nature of humanity in perfect fashion before saying one final and truly bittersweet goodbye.
By Thomas Brennan
Based on a real-life, 1960s, bank heist pulled off by four criminals, the chase by a corrupt law enforcement officer, and the siege where the criminal protagonists make their final stand, Plata Quemada is a play that carries itself on both strong performances and bold direction with its integration of graphic novel elements.
It at first seems like a production where there are no heroes, only a story where each character who enters is competing to be even harsher than the last. This production isn’t content to do that though. It takes its time in humanizing the criminal protagonists while never fully justifying the atrocious actions or depriving them of consequence. The story builds a sense of intimacy and rawness in the criminals’ dynamics. It’s obvious how awful and dark these characters are and that they’re still relying on one another like a castaway to wreckage. Each of the actors play multiple roles in the story, and though it can be hard to track at certain moments, each performance is always either a gut-punch or a heart-wrench in some form.
Plata Quemada is the latest play of the season, adapted from Ricardo Piglia’s novel, and at the Emerson Paramount theatre from March 11 to 15. Directed by Juan Carlos Zagal and is produced by Teatrocinema, which Zagal co-founded.
All of the technical aspects of the production are as much a delight as the performances themselves. The graphic novel elements and animation on a stage seems like a risky concept, but this technical choreography works. The use of lighting and the backscree are done to a masterful degree. From the starting scene it’s obvious the power this play will have with its use of props, angles and lighting. It brings a dynamic and energetic movement to what could have been otherwise straightforward and less interesting scenes.
The only thing that distracted was the use of subtitles. The choice to assure all the spoken lines were kept in Spanish was definitely the right move as it kept the feel of the production authentic in a historical context and made it feel more immersive. In certain moments the subtitles kept from giving full focus on the performances. It was surprising the play never went the route of word bubbles as traditional graphic novels do; potentially adding even more to the play from the medium they’re pulling inspiration from and sidestepping more inherent issues with subtitles altogether.
The film is provocative and mature in its portrayal of violence, but it balances itself that while it pushes the envelope, that it never feels like a line is crossed unnecessarily. The climax is heartfelt while still feeling like an inevitable path for the story. The end message and its motif of the burning money was also incredibly poignant. It creates the question of how material wealth is able to incite more anger in the populace than the actual gruesome loss of human life along the criminals violent trail.
Plata Quemada is definitely a unique piece with a strong message that amounts to an absolute must see for anyone looking for a great show.
SAN DIEGO – Six days brought the film world to San Diego as the 18th installment of the San Diego International Film Festival stole the focus from Los Angeles last week and saw the Southern California premiere of several films that are already generating award season buzz.
That hum intensified into a roar with the red-carpet arrivals of actors Jared Harris, fresh off the Emmy Award-success of the mini-series Chernobyl, and prolific performer Laurence Fishburne.
Things kicked off on Tuesday, Oct. 15, at downtown’s Balboa Theater with a screening of the controversial and much-lauded satiric sendup Jojo Rabbit and the festival closed on Sunday, Oct. 20, with Marriage Story, an emotional domestic drama. In a bit of a plot twist, both films star Scarlett Johansson, but the similarities end there.
These Southern California premieres bracketed a lineup that included a wide range of 107 full-length films, with five in the narrative spotlight competition, 20 in the narrative contest, nine in the documentary competition, and almost 70 short films, combining major regional premieres with a focus on social and environmental issues, Variety reported. The festival is produced by the nonprofit San Diego Film Foundation.
As always, the festival offered an array of social gatherings, including its “Night of the Stars Tribute”, which this year honored actor Fishburne, Harris, and others. The festival returned to the Pendry San Diego hotel and ArcLight La Jolla theater, and the 2019 box office was at the Gaslamp Quarter in the stunning multi-level Theatre Box, in downtown San Diego, which opened in June.
At the “Night of the Stars Tribute,” Fishburne received the Gregory Peck Award for Cinematic Excellence, Pitbull received the Music Icon Award, Lindsay Wagner received the Humanitarian Award, Harris received the Cinema Vanguard Award, Jillian Bell received the Fairbanks Award, and Camila Morrone receiving the Rising Star Award.
Harris, whose fans have launched a campaign to have him be the next James Bond, was a dynamic presence on Friday night charming both on the red carpet and in the VIP party. Another notable attendee was Bell, star of the wonderful film Brittany Runs a Marathon, who clearly is making a name for herself.
Yes, Laurence and Jared were in the same room and we even sneaked a photograph of them with styleboston/LeftCoast.LA creator Terri Stanley. “It was such a pleasure to meet both Laurence and Jared, but I have to admit I am smitten with the latter,” Stanley said. “Loved him in Mad Men, The Crown and most recently, Chernobyl. I told him the story of my connection to Chernobyl–the explosion happened on the day of my wedding, April 26, 1986. Our honeymoon was in Italy and Greece and the skies over Italy were very grey! When Laurence made his way over to Jared to say hello it was very sweet the way he spoke to him, genuinely thrilled to see him.”
“I’m still overwhelmed that I would be given something called the ‘Gregory Peck’ award. He was singular,” Fishburne told local FOX station. The San Diego Union-Tribune reported that Fishburne received the award from Peck’s daughter, Cecelia, who was sitting with San Diegan Geri Warnke, a close friend and former board president of the La Jolla Playhouse, which Peck co-founded.
Among the VIP crowd were representatives from the major sponsors including the Pendry, a new Montage brand, financial powerhouse Morgan Stanley, and luxe automaker Maserati.
The 2019 edition of the festival had a global reach and a social-justice conscience. The festival received more than 3,000 submissions from 68 countries, including feature films, shorts and documentaries. Panel topics ranged from technology and streaming services and what lies ahead for digital platforms while others included “Unstoppable Women” and “Social Impact.” SDIFF screened films from Brazil, Congo, France, Indonesia, Japan, Romania, and South Korea.
Most of the film showings were followed by Q&As with their casts and crews, something that sets the festival apart with attendees having access to many filmmakers.
On Oct. 19, the festival presented “Filmmaker Awards Show & Party” at the Pendry. The competitive categories included narrative (fictional) and documentary. After receiving nearly 70 short films, the competition was divided into categories: “Twisted Humor,” “San Diego Scene,” and “Global Consciousness.”
The winners of the SDIFF competitions were: 100 Days to Live, best world premiere; Angelique’s Isle, Kumeyaay award; Babysplitters, best comedy; Breaking Their Silence, best documentary; The Steed, best feature film; Inside Game, best ensemble cast; Safe Spaces, artistic director’s award; Love In Kilnerry, best original screenplay; Philophobia, best global cinema; Portraitist, best international short film; Riptide, best animation, Safe Inside, best thriller feature; Long Time Listener, First Time Caller, best short film; Sonora, best student film, and, Flourish, best local film.
In addition to the screenings at the Pendry and Theatre Box, ArcLight La Jolla hosted the SDIFF’s popular “Culinary Cinema” on Oct. 20, which paired the screenings with delicacies provided by top local chefs.
LOS ANGELES, CA — An Emerson College student turned instructor has been recognized by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (the “Oscar” people).
Georden West is one of 16 students as winners of the 46th Student Academy Awards competition for the film Patron Saint. For 2019, the Student Academy Awards competition received a total of 1,615 entries from 255 domestic and 105 international colleges and universities, which were voted upon by a record number of Academy members, according to an Academy press release. The 2019 winners join the ranks of such past Student Academy Award winners as Patricia Cardoso, Pete Docter, Cary Fukunaga, Spike Lee, Trey Parker, Patricia Riggen, and Robert Zemeckis.
West was recognized in the category: Alternative/Experimental (Domestic and International Film Schools).
West (Emerson MFA ’18) used a number Emerson students in making Patron Saint, which reimagines religion and history as queer deities wearing Jamall Osterholm’s fashions interact with a mystical landscape, according to an Emerson College news story. The film was West’s graduate thesis project.
Hao Zheng (Emerson ’15), who attended a graduate program at the American Film Institute, was among those recognized in the Narrative (Domestic Schools) category for The Chef.
“I am so immensely honored to be recognized by the Academy and extremely proud of my crew – all of whom I met while at Emerson and remain my closest and dearest collaborators,” West, also an affiliated faculty member in the Visual and Media Arts Department, said for the Emerson website.
“Taking the risks that are necessary to convey and heighten concepts of underrepresented creatives within the fashion industry is something that makes [Georden] so special,” said Osterholm, a Rhode Island School of Design graduate and former Project Runway contestant. “Through [Georden’s] collaboration with myself and many other queer, LGBTQ+ creatives, [their] rise into the highest spaces of excellence is paving way for our community to be recognized and respected.”
Zheng’s The Chef is set in a world where human workers are being replaced by humanoid robots. Pu, a Chinese chef, is ordered to pass along his cooking skills to his humanoid replacement, according to Emerson’s website.
Medal placements — gold, silver and bronze — in the seven award categories will be revealed October 17 in a ceremony at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills.
This year’s winning films are also eligible to compete for this year’s Oscar competition in the Animated Short Film, Live Action Short Film or Documentary Short Subject categories. Past winners have garnered 62 Oscar nominations and won or shared 12 awards, according to Deadline.
CAMBRIDGE – After 10 years and tons (probably, literally) of glitter, The Donkey Show will end its run this week at the American Repertory Theater’s Club Oberon on the fringes of Harvard Square.
The immersive theatrical experience was part of Artistic Director Diane Paulus’ first season in the “Shakespeare Exploded” festival that also included The Best of Both Worlds and Sleep No More, which took over a school in Brookline.
Paulus created The Donkey Show with her husband, theater producer Randy Weiner, and they staged it Off-Broadway in 1999 to rave reviews.
During its run at the ART, the show was extended because of popular demand and later moved to weekends only, where it continued as a destination stop for brides-to-be and superfans. The Boston Globe’s Meredith Goldstein documented the show’s long run. The show succeeded in at least one area, Goldstein writes, it attracted audiences considerably younger than had been seen at the ART.
The show’s closing also opens a coveted timeslot for local or smaller productions and marks a new chapter for Oberon.
Styleboston’s host and creator Terri Stanley interviewed Paulus prior to The Donkey Show’s opening as one of the TV show’s “Power Player” segments. (See clip above.) This segment originally aired 10 years ago this month.
By Jeanne Ferris
LA JOLLA — The Film Insider Series saw the golden sun lower its languorous, warm rays on Arclight Terrace — allowing the stars to come out and play for a special screening of Official Secrets.
Fit, in a taupe dress shirt with grey denim pants and sporting rock star hair — Gavin Hood was in the house. The South African born, Oscar-winning director of Tsotsi flew in to attend the exclusive Official Secrets. And it was much appreciated.
Hood and Tonya Mantooth, CEO and executive artistic director of San Diego International Film Festival (SDIFF), were in the spotlight and joined by local luminary Naila Chowdhury, director of social impact and innovation at UC San Diego and a new SDIFF board member.
Everywhere you looked, the lights reflected back from the crowds of dark stylish shades – the literati and glitterati.
Madame and messieurs: sweet summer has finally arrived in the Jewel that others call La Jolla.
SDIFF cofounder Kevin Leap was seen sharing celebratory smiles with Film Insider Series devotees comprised of stellar volunteers, anonymous benefactors, fabulous patrons of the arts, international press corps, Hollywood studio producers, and they-who-support-the-machine: cinephiles, as those with a passionate interest in cinema are sometimes called.
Anticipation was high for the screening of the political thriller that stars Keira Knightly and the buzz rose with each guest arriving. Food was plentiful with pints of Stella Artois, gourmet wine, Urban Leaf elixirs, and Liberty Call Distilling Co., and appetizers from Eureka, Craft pizza, Frill, and the Melting Pot. The evening’s presenting sponsors were Morgan Stanley, Procopio, and Maserati. The dress was decidedly San Diego glam: sleek business casual and envious haute couture — all waiting for magic hour.
Official Secrets saw its world premiere at Sundance Film Festival where it won the Audience Award. Massachusetts’s own Provincetown International Film Festival awarded it Best Narrative Feature.
Based on real interviews with British Intelligence whistleblower Katherine Gun, played by Knightly, the story revolved around a leaked memo to the press. It contained a directive of an illegal NSA spy operation designed to push the United Nations Security Council into sanctioning the 2003 invasion of Iraq.
An Oscar and BAFTA nominee, Knightley also was nominated as best actress for Pride and Prejudice by Boston Society of Film Critics. And of course, by association with an international director: sometimes cast and crew read like a passenger manifest from the QEII.
British thespian Ralph (Rafe, like safe) Fiennes shares the screen with Knightley, playing a steely barrister. Boston showed its approval when the film critics awarded Fiennes Best Supporting Actor for Schindler’s List.
Also from across the pond: London educated, handsome (unrecognizable with a buzz cut) Matthew Goode dubbed a rising star by Brits — is a Primetime Emmy nominee and an Aussie awards fave. Serious Welshman, Rhys Ifans (Ee-vans), a BAFTA winner, adds his shape shifter persona as an f-bombing guerrilla journalist. Adam Bakri, a young Palestinian auteur, plays Knightley’s husband. Estonia (yes, the country) bequeathed Bakri with Tallinn Black Nights Festival Jury Prize Best Actor.
Afterward, Tonya moderated an uproarious Q & A with Hood, a candid raconteur: “[My] Eye in the Sky producer contacted me and asked if I had heard of Katherine Gun. I said no and he replied, ‘Google her and call me back.’ ”
“I called back and asked if I could meet her. We met in London and spent five days talking. As a former lawyer, I can assure you this is deeply and accurately researched and part of the challenge in writing this story is that all the people in the movie are still alive. We shot the film in 36 days. What attracted me to this story is loyalty. Her loyalty — to her conscience, her husband, and to the British people. She insisted that it was for the British people she worked for and not the government. When I asked if Keira would consider it… She said, ‘I want a role with substance and not heavily made up with a corset.’” The audience of course, laughed on cue.
At the post screening champagne and Cookies by Cravory reception: Cookie monsters, red carpet selfies and corner table conversations regarding the upcoming SDIFF are bandied about. Plans are made to attend exclusive screenings, biz card flurries, and cinephiles audibly declare their passion for film with promises to reunite on October 15 to 20, 2019.
Until then—ladies and gentlemen, it’s a wrap! www.sdfilmfest.com
Rated R for language, release date: August 30, 2019
If there was a Tony Award for best dress worn by a presenter, then actor-director Billy Porter would have taken the prize. His flowing custom-made ballgown (created from the curtain of Broadway’s Kinky Boots) – the show that won him his Tony Award – was just one more bold choice by the star of TV’s Pose. Porter will be in Boston late this summer directing the world premiere of Dan McCabe’s The Purists at the Huntington Theatre Company.
At the award ceremony, the most-talked about outfit was worn by singer-songwriter/playwright Taylor Mac, who was on stage in a full-fledged costume created by Matthew Flower, who is known as Machine Dazzle. Mac, who wrote the Tony-nominated Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus. He became a hit in Boston for his five-hour show that played at the American Repertory Theater’s Oberon in Cambridge in 2012.
It was a good night for Bryan Cranston, who won for his role as Howard Beale in the stage adaptation of the film Network. Cranston won a Tony two years ago for his portrayal of President Lyndon Johnson in All the Way, which got its start at the American Repertory Theater (ART) in Cambridge before heading to Broadway. In his acceptance speech, Cranston used the moment to reflect on the state of things, which was very “Howard Beale” moment: “The media is not the enemy of the people. Demagoguery is the enemy of the people.”
And while, the Northern Ireland drama The Ferryman won the best play Tony, it was Hadestown, conceived and written by singer-songwriter Anaïs Mitchell, who won a Tony for her score that stole the night with eight total awards. Also winning for Hadestown was director Rachel Chavkin, who was at the ART a couple of years ago with Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812 and returns to the ART this summer to open the 2019-2020 season with Six, a musical about the merry wives of Henry VIII.
Berklee College of Music and its sister school Boston Conservatory at Berklee College alumni and faculty were involved in various capacities with other Tony Award-winning shows this season, including Oklahoma! Hadestown, The Cher Show, To Kill a Mockingbird, Ain’t Too Proud, Ink, and Tootsie.
Sergio Trujillo received the 2019 Tony Award for Best Choreography in a Musical, for the show Ain’t Too Proud: The Life and Times of the Temptations. He, too, had success in Boston as the director and choreographer for the stunning Arrabal, at the ART for which he won Elliot Norton Awards.
Also – finally – winning a Tony for his turn on Hadestown was Broadway veteran André De Shields, the narrator of the show. De Shields stole the show in the Huntington Theatre Company’s production of The Jungle Book in which he played King Louie. The Huntington had a lot to celebrate on Sunday night with 23 of its alumni receiving Tony Awards nominations this year.
LOS ANGELES, CA – The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences today announced its newly elected 2019–20 Board of Governors, including Massachusetts native Ruth E. Carter, of the costume designers branch. They will assume their posts July 1.
Born in Springfield, MA, Carter won an Oscar in 2019 for her work on “Black Panther.” She was the first black costume designer to win an Academy Award.
In her acceptance speech, she stated that “Marvel may have created the first black superhero, but through costume design, we turned him into an African king.”
“This is for my 97-year-old mother watching in Massachusetts,” she said. “Mom, thank you for teaching me about people and their stories. You are the original superhero.”
Newly elected to the Board:
Ellen Kuras, Cinematographers Branch
Ruth Elaine Carter, Costume Designers Branch
Donna Gigliotti, Executives Branch
Howard Berger, Makeup Artists and Hairstylists Branch
Jennifer Yuh Nelson, Short Films and Feature Animation Branch
Eric Roth, Writers Branch
Reelected to the Board:
Laura Dern, Actors Branch
David Rubin, Casting Directors Branch
Steven Spielberg, Directors Branch
Roger Ross Williams, Documentary Branch
Nancy Utley, Marketing and Public Relations Branch
Laura Karpman, Music Branch
Mark Johnson, Producers Branch
Jan Pascale, Production Design Branch
Kevin Collier, Sound Branch
Craig Barron, Visual Effects Branch
As a result of this election, the number of female Academy governors increases from 22 to 24, and people of color increases from 10 to 11, including the three new Governors-at-Large, DeVon Franklin, Rodrigo Garcia and Janet Yang, recently announced.
Balloting in the Academy’s Film Editors Branch produced a tie between candidates Dody Dorn and Mark Goldblatt, necessitating a runoff election. Voting will begin Monday, June 17, and end Tuesday, June 18. The Academy last held runoff elections in 2018 for the Producers Branch and in 2016 for the Film Editors Branch.
The Academy’s 17 branches are each represented by three governors, who may serve up to three consecutive three-year terms. The Board of Governors sets the Academy’s strategic vision, preserves the organization’s financial health, and assures the fulfillment of its mission.
They both attended Wellesley College and they both faced the usual uncertainty of attending college, surrounded by women of note and, in many cases, privileged. Those campus experiences started both on their paths to serving as the United States’ highest diplomatic position, Secretary of State.
Madeleine Albright, Wellesley Class of ’59, and Hillary Clinton, who graduated from the all-women’s college ten years later, were both on the leafy campus west of Boston for their class reunions. Both women were on stage on Saturday with Wellesley’s president Dr. Paula A. Johnson.
A theme of their discussion was the need to protect democracy from a threat of fascism, something Albright called out in her 2018 book, Fascism: A Warning. “The idea that, ‘Oh it can’t happen here,’ is just old fashioned, my friends,” Clinton was quoted as saying. “There seems to be no staying power for these really serious threats and that’s part of the strategy. …You say something that’s totally beyond the pale of what should be expected from any public official. And so what happened yesterday is quickly lost in what’s happening today.”
You can read more about the Wellesley talk here.
As part of styleboston’s look back at our launch as a television show in 2009, we offer this Power Player segment with Albright and show creator Terri Stanley.
SEAPORT — Red Sox legend David Ortiz hosted more than 200 select guests at the recent opening of Indochino’s newest location in Boston’s Seaport District in South Boston.
The stylish movers and shakers flocked to the newest Indochino location at 79 Seaport Boulevard, which was opened after the company’s Newbury Street location saw 400 percent business growth.
INDOCHINO CEO Drew Green enlisted Ortiz to open the new store and rounded out the party with treats from Chef Jason Cheek of Southern Proper and Chef Michael Serpa of Select Oyster Bar, wines from Provence Wine Imports, beer from Down the Road Brewery, and cocktails by Beam-Suntory — plus sweets by Magnolia Bakery who provided customized Red Sox Red Velvet Cupcakes and New City Microcreamery’s Black + White Ice Cream created exclusively for the event.
BOSTON – 500 guests turned out for the Breast Cancer Research Foundation‘s 14th annual Boston Hot Pink Party, which raised more than $2 million for breast cancer research. The BCRF has awarded more than $8 million in grants this year.
The swanky gala recognized New England Patriots Coach Bill Belichick and his girlfriend, Linda Holliday, with the organization’s Carolyn Lynch Humanitarian Award for their commitment to breast cancer research that stretches back to several years. This year’s Hot Pink Party was held on Tuesday, April 23, 2019 at the InterContinental Boston hotel.
The BCRF was founded by Evelyn H. Lauder in 1993 and she served as the organization’s chairman until her death in November 2011. In 1989, Mrs. Lauder initiated the fundraising drive that established a state-of the-art breast and diagnostic center at New York’s Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. That facility is known as the Evelyn H. Lauder Breast Center.
She and her husband, Leonard A. Lauder, who attended this year’s Hot Pink Party in Boston, were committed to providing the most innovative clinical and translational research for breast cancer in the world. Styleboston’s Terri Stanley spoke with Mrs. Lauder at the Hot Pink Party in Spring 2010 about the BCRF and her many roles with The Estée Lauder Companies, Inc., including serving as senior corporate vice president and head of fragrance development worldwide until her passing.
At this year’s Hot Pink Party at the InterContinental Boston, the stars turned out to honor Coach Belichick and our styleboston colleague Linda Holliday.
Gov. Charlie Baker told TV station WHDH that the recognition is well-deserved. “I certainly think if you’re looking for a symbol of excellence over time, which is in many respects what this foundation has been all about, they’re not going to find a better one than what Coach Belichick has accomplished.”
Recently retired (it kills us to write this) Patriots player Rob Gronkowski was on-hand to celebrate his former coach, including taking a turn at the DJ table. Gronk brought along his lady friend, the model Camille Kostek. Breast cancer survivor Paqui Kelly and her husband, Notre Dame football head coach Brian Kelly, presented the award to Linda and Bill.
Among those in attendance were Holliday’s daughters, fashionistas and bloggers Kat and Ashley Hess; now retired (we’re still upset about Massachusetts’ first lady Lauren Baker; football great Doug Flutie and his wife, Laurie; former Patriots defensive coordinator (and current Detroit Lions head coach) Matt Patricia and his wife, Raina; mega-builder John Fish; WZLX 100.7’s Sue Brady; WBZ-TV’s Paula Ebben and her husband, Bill; philanthropist Simone Winston; tech and business guru Bob Davis and his wife, Rita; and Pyramid Group’s Rick Kelleher and his wife, Nancy, who hosted earlier Pink Party events at the Boston Harbor Hotel.
For a gallery of photographer Bill Brett’s party pictures, click here.
By Jeanne Ferris
SAN DIEGO – Hundreds turned out for the San Diego Film Foundation’s Film Insider Series special pre-release screening of Long Shot, which stars Charlize Theron and Seth Rogen, an unlikely duo at the center of an unlikely, but charming, comedy.
At the Series screening, held every month through July at ArcLight Cinemas, the local cinephiles – some on date night and some on friend’s night out – sporting sparkly stilettos, stylish chapeaus and sleek business suits walked the red carpet with big smiles for the camera, making for a fun departure from the beloved San Diego standard: activewear and flip-flops.
Those gathering for the swanky pre-screening soiree enjoyed tasty sliders (from Liberty Call Distillery), flatbreads (Melting Pot), glazed Brussels sprouts (Eureka) with Stella Artois beverages and lemonade from Urban Leaf.
Long Shot’s star Charlize Theron has won a slew of awards (Oscar, Golden Globe, and Screen Actor’s Guild) and been nominated for just about everything else (Emmy, British Academy). She has played a one-armed big rig driver (Mad Max: Fury Road), a serial killer (Monster), and a coal miner (North Country) among other roles. So, why not a presidential nominee?
Her partner in this rom-com is Seth Rogen, who adroitly handles the slapstick and ribald humor, which, in one particular scene, rightly earns the film its R-rating.
Rogen, who plays a brutally honest journalist, has honed his fast-talking neurotic signature character that allows the audience to believe he is a worthy relationship interest for intelligent, stunning women.
Several East Coasters also add to the evening’s cocktail buzz. Connecticut native Liz Hannah of The Post penned Long Shot with Dan Sterling, whose previous credits include Girls. Sterling is a West Philadelphia native and a graduate of NYU’s Tisch School of Arts. He and Rogen co-authored the now infamous, The Interview, which Rogen also directed. Sterling and Rogen are back at it, except this time Hannah brings it home with boisterous female comedic repartee and political gags galore.
Costars June Diane Raphael and Ravi Patel elevate the comedy to additional face hurting laughs. Theron is a master of the impeccable comedic deadpan. Who doesn’t micro-nap with her eyes open?
Did we mention Theron’s fabulous comportment? She rocked Chanel and Dolce & Gabbana like newborn skin while striding in Christian Louboutins with 4-inch heels. Her wardrobe stands in sharp contrast to Rogen’s ’80s color-blocked windbreaker, with a baseball-capped slouch replete with “Daddy” YMCA camp pants. The costumes were the unmistakable handiwork of Mary E. Vogt, who nearly stole the show with her work in Crazy Rich Asians. Vogt added to the hilarity with Rogen’s traditional Swedish folk dräkt in a colorful scene.
Produced by Rogen’s Point Grey Pictures, Long Shot (a South by Southwest Festival audience winner) is scheduled for release on May 3 by Lionsgate.
As with all FIS screenings, the evening did not end with the credits but with a post champagne reception, Cookies by Cravory and red carpet interviews.
FIS runs February through July, leading up to the San Diego International Film Festival, which will run from Oct. 15-20, 2019 when VIP hubs of premieres, screenings and parties will connect Arclight Cinemas and the highly anticipated Theatre Box (new this year). TCL Grauman’s Chinese Theatre owns Theatre Box and has brought its Old Hollywood legacy with New World technology to the Gaslamp District. Join us next month for another exclusive screening. For more information, click here.
EDITOR AT LARGE
CHIEF FASHION CORRESPONDENT
Anna Paula Goncalves
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