Friday, May 17, 2019

Movie Review of Poms - A Star-studded Film with Diane Keaton, Rhea Pearlman and more, but is it Something we can Cheer about?

Review of  Poms the Movie by Beth Abramson Brier

Gimme a “P”!  What is it about cheerleaders? With all due respect to my youngest sister who was co-captain of her high school squad, is there any other symbol of high school more dreaded than pom poms? And yet I had high hopes for some good laughs and sheer fun when I purchased my ticket to see the latest Diane Keaton movie, Poms.

In this “women of a certain age” movie, a rather gaunt Keaton plays Martha, a former teacher with seemingly no family who suddenly moves to a retirement* community in Georgia to wait out her final months of ovarian cancer. Not an auspicious start for a comedy.


Unable to fit in with her pastel clad cohorts, Martha’s new neighbor Sheryl (Jacki Weaver) convinces Martha to live out her unfulfilled teenage dream and form a cheerleading club right there in their gated community. And, of course, like any self- respecting cheer team, they hold tryouts. Watching Alice (Rhea Perlman) audition I could only cringe in horror thinking “OMG! Is that what I look like in Zumba class???” I nearly cracked a smile when Olive (Pam Grier) shimmied her way onto the roster. But I didn’t outright laugh until Sheryl responds to a mean girl cheerleader’s “break a hip” jab with “get pregnant”! Aren’t writers brilliant?! (Did I mention this takes place in Georgia?)

Friday, May 10, 2019

Interview: Lauren Karaman of Project Runway and the Project #MorethanMeasurements Talks about Body Positivity, Loving What you Are and Living in the Now


Lauren Karaman    Credit: Don Nixon
Interview by Suzanne Ordas Curry

My first question is what is up with this crazy world? Why is someone your size considered big? 
Lauren Karaman: Ugh! This world is crazy! It’s extremely frustrating to live in a society obsessed with categorizing and ranking bodies. It's like the fashion industry created a false 1-10 hotness scale we all must magically abide by!!

For what feels like forever the fashion industry has functioned like an exclusive club, granting entry only if you fit their very specific physical requirements. For females that's: Height: 5’9- 6' and Weight: 110 to 130 pounds, from minimum to maximum height respectively. Any woman above that weight limit, or above a size 0-4, is considered 'big' in the industry.  News flash, by those standards, the majority of the women in the world are big, so why are we hiding them? 

Despite the rise of the plus size fashion industry and visibility of curvy models, there is still a lot of stigma around the word ‘big.’ Though ‘big’ and 'plus' have been used as a bad words, they are not. Though plus size models have been an afterthought, we are not. The fashion industry has marginalized plus size women, yet we are the majority. The “plus” qualifier in front of my title is not a negative, it’s a term of pride. It’s for everyone who has worked for more visibility in this industry, and for everyone who has refused to be invisible.

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

It's A Wrap! Ridgewood Guild International Film Festival Announces 2019 Festival Award Winners + View Exclusive Photo Gallery


(Press Release) The 9th Annual Ridgewood Guild International Film Festival ended with an after party attended by hundreds at the beautiful Felina's Restaurant in downtwon Ridgewood NJ. On hand for the festivities in the restaurant and on the Red Carpet were the cast and crew from the movie Hollywould, including Academy and Golden Globe award nominee Eric Roberts, Torrei Hart and Peter Postiglione as well as dozens of young and seasoned filmmakers who had their films premiere or screen at the festival. The signature cocktails of the evening were 'the Critics Choice and "Hollywould." The crowded party went on way past midnight. It was a perfect way to wrap up this film festival which continued it's mission to showcase young, local talent and up and coming indie filmmakers from here and around the world.

This year, the Ridgewood Guild International Film Festival was proud to bestow the following filmmakers with these awards:

Special Awards:

For Your Invaluable Contribution to Film  - Actor  Eric Roberts

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Premiere: The Lucky Ones by Joseph Alvaro and Matt Zoller Seitz Screens at Ridgewood Guild International Film Festival - Explores Love Lost

Ridgewood Film Festival Semifinalist in the Web/New Media Category "The Lucky Ones" Celebrates the Lives' of the Loved and Lost


Ridgewood resident Joseph Alvaro considers himself one of “The Lucky Ones.”

When his wife Frances passed away in 2009, the producer and author was devastated, but he never stopped being thankful for the life they shared and turned his attention to raising three teenage children. It wasn’t until 2014 when he and friend, Matt Zoller Seitz, editor-at-large at RogerEbert.com and the television critic for New York magazine and Vulture.com, realized that they shared a common bond – their appreciation for the wives that they loved, and had lost. They both felt that they were one of “The Lucky Ones.” They also recognized that there wasn’t a platform for people to celebrate and memorialize their loved ones who had passed.


Monday, April 22, 2019

Stories to Inspire: TEEEM Students to Premiere Film about their Non-Profit Work for Third World Countries at Ridgewood Guild International Film Festival


The Red Carpet of the Ridgewood Guild International Film Festival in downtown Ridgewood, NJ will be filled with excited and proud students on Opening night, April 24th.  That's because their new films will be premiering and they will be proud about that. But, in addition to their filmmaking prowess, what they should be most proud about it that they are not just the documentarians but also active participants of the subject they are filming.

Four films will be shown about a project called TEEEM -  The Empathetic Entrepreneur Equality Mission. In a nutshell, this organization puts high school students to work to support programs to help families and women in third world coutries. Our high school partners and their corresponding sites include Ridgewood/Cambodia, Pascack Valley/Burkina Faso, Northern Highlands/Senegal, Waldwick/Kenya, Westwood/Ethiopia and Bergenfield/Peru.

Four schools/programs which have created and produced films which will be shown at the festival. These student filmmakers are:

Sunday, April 21, 2019

Interview: Entertainer Vincent Pastore Talks About his Present, his Past and Most Importantly the Legacy of the The Sopranos Family and His Own

by Suzanne Ordas Curry


Vincent Pastore, best known as Big Pussy on the iconic HBO series The Sopranos, did not plan on becoming an actor. Raised in a suburb of New York City, growing up in a humble home, he wasn’t one of those guys that dreamed of being in front of the screen growing up. In his twenties he worked at a nightclub and was just happy where he was. Ironically, as a night club manager his job and life could have easily been reflected as a character on an episode of The Sopranos.

But flash forward 20 years. He made a name for himself on one of the biggest shows ever to hit TV, and HBO. Flash forward today, 20 years after The Sopranos and he still gets recognized on the streets for his role.

Thursday, April 18, 2019

First Song Released from New Movie Killan and The Comeback Kids: "Where We Should Be Today" is Folksy, Melodic and Meaningful

Taylor A. Purdee, writer/director of the soon-to-be-released film Killian and the Comeback Kids, has released a song from his upcoming movie. Killian & The Comeback Kids is a feature film that centers around  Killian (Taylor Purdee), who returns to his hometown from college, intent on touring the U.S. with his bandmate Ben (Liam Higgins). When their plan is derailed, Killian gathers former childhood friends to audition for a music festival coming to their once prosperous steel town.  The movie is filled with original folk music written by Taylor A. Purdee and Liam Higgins. You can listen to it here: https://thecumberlandkids.bandcamp.com/track/where-we-should-be-today

New Star Wars Trailer Dropped for the Rise of Skywalker


Attention Star Wars fans. If you're not already hyped up about the new Stars Wars attraction coming to Disney, here's something else to keep you going. View trailer from The Rise of Skywalker here:


Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Play Review: NJ Paper Mill Playhouse's Benny and Joon is a Mix of Hope, Heartbreak, Hilarity and Powerful Music

by Beth Abramson Brier

A look. A laugh. More looks. More laughs. And so it goes, without any dialogue, as the curtain goes up on Benny and Joon, making its East Coast premiere at Paper Mill Playhouse in Millburn, New Jersey. When the actors finally do speak their first lines it just gets funnier. Yup. This is a play about mental illness, about loss, about pain, about struggling to understand. And I am laughing along with everyone else in the theater. You see, this is also play about love, friendship, grilled cheese and a goldfish named Steven.

Bryce Pinkham in the role of Sam sets the tone right away for this quirky and surprising musical adaptation of the film of the same name. With Tony, Drama Desk and Grammy nominations to his credit, Pinkham delivers a brilliant performance as the childlike yet resourceful Sam. If you are not immediately drawn in by his mime-like facial expressions and mesmerizing illusions, I promise you will be wowed by his routine with dinner rolls and pas de deux with toast. That’s in addition to his skill with origami. (The story is set in 1992 when had to amuse ourselves with paper and other primitive household objects.)

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

"Hollywould Comes to Ridgewood": Tickets on Sale Now for Meet & Greet/Movie Premiere with Academy Award - Nominated Actor Eric Roberts at Ridgewood Guild International Film Festival April 25th

Tickets are on sale now for the special Eric Roberts Meet and Greet at the Ridgewood Guild International Film Festival in Ridgewood, NJ on April 25th. This Academy Award and Golden Globe - nominated actor will be on the Red Carpet for the premiere of his new movie, the Joshua Coates film entitled Hollywould. 

The evening starts at 6pm with the Red Carpet. Eric and his fellow cast will be there as well as filmmakers, cast and crew from the other films at the festival playing that evening. The Red Carpet is a free event and will be held outside the Bow Tie Theater on Ridgewood Avenue.

Thursday, April 4, 2019

VIEW: The New York City Skyline is Forever Changed with Hudson Yards - A First Day Impression of this City of Glass within a City

The Vessel at Hudson Yards, NYC

by Suzanne Ordas Curry

For anyone obsessed with architecture, New York City or the future it’s worth the trip to visit Hudson Yards.

Coming into NYC through the Lincoln Tunnel, I had seen the progress of these mirrored silhouettes over the last few years, though it was only in the last year really that these imposing skyscrapers were noticeable to the casual observer.

I had been reading articles about them, New York magazine had a great article on how they came to be. In a nutshell, the plan came to fruition during the Bloomberg administration. It is a 20 billion dollar complex with varying uses, retail, commercial residential and entertainment. Though the recreational aspects are for anyone, many of the shops and residences are intended for the high-end user.

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Event: Women in the Arts & Media Coalition Presents 6th Annual Biennial Awards in NYC - Alysia Reiner Hosts

By Suzanne Ordas Curry

When women collaborate, good - no - great things happen! The Women in the Arts and Media Coalition, which is a coalition of dozens of entertainment and female-related organizations, held its bi-ennial Collaboration Awards Gala the SVA Theater in NYC on March 30, 2019 to recognize collaborative works of excellence by females.

Hosting the event with a smile was Alysia Reiner, from the films Equity and Egg and the TV shows Orange is the New Black, The Deuce and Better Things. Alysia was ubiquitous during the event, which she ackowledged early on with humor. Her team from Egg won the Acclaimed Collaboration Award and she also read an act from the winning play Preservation at the end of the event. The event started with a Red Carpet and cockail reception in the lobby. Leaders and members from many of the member organizations mingled and talked new projects.

Monday, April 1, 2019

NJ Event: Inspiration and Instruction on How To Live the Life of Your Dreams with Concrete Steps: Dr. Elsie Koh presents "Small Steps Toward Big Changes"

Are you living the life of your dreams? Do you have unrealized goals?

Elsie Koh, MD is hosting a dynamic, intimate, and complementary evening of wine, hors d'oeuvres, and inspirational conversation, entitled Small Steps Towards Big Changes, on Wednesday, April 10, 7:00-8:30 pm, at the office building of Dr. Edmund S. Liu, 207 Pompton Avenue, 2nd floor, in Verona. This is a free event for the public.

Dr. Koh, who is Medical Director at Azura Vascular Care in Woodland Park and a Proctor Gallagher Institute Consultant on thinking into results, addresses the questions that most of us think about on milestone birthdays –Am I living the life of my dreams? If not, how can I? Whether the goal is a new job (or entirely new career), better health, weight loss, an improved or new relationship, or enhanced motivation in general, participants will leave with five actionable steps they can take immediately.

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

View: (Not) The Last Word on the College Admissions Scandal - We're Ready for the Movie

View by Beth Abramson Brier  
"My Thoughts Exactly!"

Scandal! Scam! Shame! And even though you know we haven’t heard the last word about the college admissions shenanigans, I’m channeling my grandmother and adding another:  “Shanda”!  As in: “It’s a shanda! A shanda I tell you!”  If you still can’t tell from the context, the literal translation from the Yiddish is “Aunt Becky, how could you?”. 

Oh sure.  I’m outraged.  You’re outraged.  But that’s nothing compared to the real victims here- the students who were denied a seat at these prestigious institutions as well as those who are now questioning the value of their degrees. The students who really attended classes, and labs, and problem sessions.  Who stayed up for thirty six hours to edit their final papers wearing no makeup and messy buns. Who toted their shampoo down the hall to a shared bathroom.  (Note to incoming freshmen: Dorm life is not all twinkle lights and matching comforters.) Those students should not have to defend their hard earned honors.

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Ridgewood Guild International Film Festival: "Hollywould" the Film Premieres with Academy Award and Golden Globe Nominiee Actor Eric Roberts Appearing April 25th

The Ridgewood Guild International Film Festival is coming to Ridgewood and with it a bevy of local and international filmmakers and some Hollywood celebrities. Premiering at the festival is the Joshua Coats film Hollywould starring Eric Roberts and Ridgewood's own RJ Konner. Eric Roberts will grace the  Red Carpet on Thursday, April 25th at 6pm.

The 9 day festival officially begins on April 10th with a showing of the Oscar-winning movie Roma. Main nights at the Bow Tie Cinema are April 24th and 25th. The Red Carpet outside the theater is free, to get entry into all films for an entire night is $12 per day.

VH1 Reality Star and Billboard Artist Jackie Madden Back with a New Song called "I Don't Need You."

Singer/Songwriter and Billboard Hit artist Jackie Madden is back with another song. Called " I Don't Need You, this song about moving on was made in collaboration with Grammy-nominated Steve "Mr. Mig" Migliori and Dark Intensity.

Jackie got her start in entertainment on the VH1 reality show, You're Cut Off.  She was in the premiere season of this show, though before that she was a dancer on her award-winning college dance team. Her song "Falling" reached the top 5 on two Billboard charts in the last decade. After a hiatus from entertainment to start a successful career in real estate and to get married (you can also see her in a 2018 episode of Say Yes To The Dress!) she's back with a poppy, dancy song that makes you just want to get up and move. 

Read what Jackie has to say about her journey from reality star to singer.

Tell us about the song. What is it about? What spoke to you about it to make you want to record it?

Writer/Director Caytha Jentis Presents Women at the Crossroads Event in NYC as part of Women History Art Month

Start off spring with stories. Writer/Director/Producer Caytha Jentis has put together a talented lineup of accomplished women in NYC to tell their stories for an evening of humor, truth, inspiration and imagination. "Women at the Crossroads" will be held on Wednesday, March 27th at 7:30pm at the Advent Lutheran Church, 2505 Broadway in New York City. Tickets are still available at $15 and $20. Each woman will do a ten-minute monologue of life stories and lessons. The event is part of Women History Artist Month presented by the Goddard Riverside Community Arts  in NYC. 

Friday, March 22, 2019

New FiImmaker Series: Nick and Ophelia to Premiere at Northeast Pennsylvania Film Festival, Interview with Director Luz Cabrales on this "Supernatural Romance"

The feature film Nick and Ophelia is set to premiere at the Northeast Pennsylvania Film Festival. This festival takes place over three days in three beautiful venues in Waverly and Scranton. Nick and Ophelia will premiere at 2pm on Sunday, March 24th at the University of Scranton. The film festival boasts that it will feature local as well as international talent.

Nick and Ophelia is billed as a "supernatural romance". It is produced by Scranton Films, which uses local talent from the Scanton area. It's a unique company put together to help interested filmmakers and other gets started in the film busines right in their own backyard. 

I had the honor of speaking to Luz Cabrales, who produced, directed and edited the film. Her business partner, Julian Santos, was the writer. Luz stated, "We are super, super excited to be part of the Northeast Pennsylvania Film Festival. Come and check out our two films, Nick & Ophelia and our Mystery Box Film Challenge The Devil's Ball on Sunday, March 24th starting at 4pm at The University of Scranton."

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Brad Forenza's The Rehearsal - About the Drama of a Wedding - Comes to New York City's TADA Youth Theater for One Night: Starring Alicia Giangrisostome, Rosie Gunther, Maureen Van Zandt and more



Coming to the TADA Youth Theater in NYC, as presented by Emerging Artist Theater is the new play, The Rehearsal, written by filmmaker Brad Forenza. Tickets are still available for the one - act play on March 7, 2019.

This play stars Alicia Giangrisostomi, Rosie Gunther, Nando Prudhomme, Christian Spinella, Maureen Van Zandt and Richard Vetere. Brad wrote and produced the play with Brian Dashew directing.


The Rehearsal takes place during the wedding weekend of Eric (Christian Spinella) and Kim (Alicia Giangrisostomi). As Spinella notes, “Weddings can be chock-full of drama. And drama is exactly what Eric is faced with.” Two families who don't know each other real well come together in one home, so imagine what happens.


“What I like about Kim is that she’s a go-getter,” adds Giangrisostomi (the bride-to-be). “She wants to be more and do more, and I can relate to that.”


Specifically, Eric and Kim want to start their new life far, far away from the groom’s mundane family (Rosie Gunther and Nando Prudhomme). As Gunther observes, “You’re never too sure how the M.O.G. feels about her son’s wedding. Then again, this M.O.G. is probably skeptical of most weddings.”


Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Event: Premiere Party for Trailer of New Film A Case of Blue starring Stephen Schnetzer and Annapurna Sriram

by Suzanne Ordas Curry

A Case of Blue, a new film by writer/director Dana Glazer and by the Executive Producer of Home Alone, Scott Rosenfelt, announces the premiere of its trailer. The trailer can be viewed at a special party on March 12, 2019 at Pearl Restaurant, 17 South Broad Street in Ridgewood, NJ at 8pm. The cost is $75 and includes a sit-down dinner including dessert. Semi-formal attire is requested.

The public is invited. Come meet the people behind the scenes of the movie as well as some of the actors. Starring in the lead role is well-known actor Stephen Schnetzer, who spent decades on daytime TV as Cass Winthrop as well as roles on Law and Order and The Wire. Stephen will be making an appearance that night.

Stephen Schnetzer and Annapurna Sriram in A Case of Blue, due out late 2019

Event: Hello Jerry! Jerry Seinfeld Residency at the Beacon Theater in NYC means Lots of Laughs

Seinfeld fan? Or should I ask, who isn't? Seinfeld is still funny. I have seen him do his stand-up and it's very LOL. Lots of new material as he has more life to talk about, but still in the same Seinfeld fashion. Maybe he'll even revive the socks in the dryer routine, you never know. Hello Jerry!
Main Image
Great Seats Just Released for
All Upcoming Events!

Jerry Seinfeld
Beacon Theatre
UPDATE: MORE SHOWS ADDED IN 2019 for October and November

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Event: Bergen CASA for Children Holds Casino Night: WNBC Co-Anchor Pat Battle to Emcee

WNBC Co-Anchor of Weekend Today
in New York Pat Battle
will Emcee Bergen CASA's Annual Gala
Have some fun and benefit children in foster care at the same timeCASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) for Children of Bergen County is holding its 15th Annual Event: Casino Night: All In for the Children on  March 13, 2019 from 6:30pm - 10:30pm at Seasons, 644 Pascack Road in Washington Township, NJ.  Tickets are $135. Included in the ticket price is a wide array of hors d’oeuvres, food stations and desserts, open bar and $100 in casino play money. There will also be basket raffle, silent auction with mobile bidding and other games in addition to exciting casino-style play throughout the evening. To purchase a ticket, please visit the website, www.BergenCASA.org or call 201-336-7520 for tickets and information. Donations for the evening's auctions and raffles are always welcome.  If interested in donating an item or service, please contact Ellen Davis, Executive Director, at EllenDavis@BergenCASA.org or call the office.

Saturday, February 16, 2019

Review of My Very Own British Invasion at the Paper Mill Playhouse in NJ: You're Into Something Good! - Peter Noone's Musical will have you Rockin' and Rollin'

Review by Beth Abramson Brier

Brexit be damned!  The U.K. is rockin’ Paper Mill Playhouse in Millburn, New Jersey with the world premiere of  My Very Own British Invasion now through March 3.  Created by the real life Peter Noone, “Herman” of “Herman’s Hermits”, it is the stylized story of the British rockers who took the U.S.A. by storm.  Sixteen year old Peter manages to talk his way into The Bag O’ Nails, a pub and popular hangout where The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Animals and other emerging superstars of early rock and roll got their start.  It’s 1964-- Ed Sullivan, LP Albums, go-go boots and flippy hairdos are everywhere.  Here at home AM radios are tuned to Cousin Brucie and we can’t get enough of Twiggy in her mod Mary Quant fashions.  

Enter Peter (Jonny Amies, making his professional theatrical debut), right out of central casting looking every bit the adorable shaggy English boy.  Think H.R. Pufnstuf crossed with Davy Jones* and you get the picture.   Good Boy Peter falls hard for Pamela (Erika Olson off of the First National Tour of Beautiful), girlfriend of Bad Boy Trip (Conor Ryan) channeling Mick Jagger. This age old story of boy-meets-girl-loses-girl-gets-recording-gig provides the perfect backdrop for some of the decade’s greatest hits.  Kyle Taylor Parker (original cast Kinky Boots and Charlie and The Chocolate Factory) plays Geno, who serves the dual purpose of pub MC and stage narrator.  

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

HBO Documentary: The Many Lives of Nick Buoniconti Profiles this Football and Legal Legend - Exclusive Interview with Gail Gordon on this Hall of Famer

By Suzanne Ordas Curry

HBO has a new documentary airing, "The Many Lives of Nick Buoniconti." Nick was a football player at Notre Dame and in the AFL, Hall of Fame Miami Dolphin, sports agent, corporate executive, fundraiser and more. His family and his family's world revolved around football, as his son also played the game, but whether or not football was good for their family is something for the viewer to determine. Nick's son was paralyzed 33 years ago from playing in a football game for the Citadel, and Nick, who described himeself in the past as a "Renaissance" man always relearning, seeking new adventures and successfully battling challenges now suffers from dementia. He has said that he had over 10 concussions.

The story is told through the eyes of the family. Reviews coming in say that it is a brilliant piece of work by female producer Bentley Wiener, from HBO's "Inside the NFL". She lets the family and others who know him form and drive the story. It is narrated by Liev Schrieber.

I had the pleasure of speaking to Gail Gordon, NJ Attorney and wife of former State Senator Bob Gordon, who was the Chief of Staff for Nick from 1984-1991 while he was President of US Tobacco and who is featured in this #HBO documentary. Gail was honored to be a part of it. 

Saturday, February 9, 2019

NJ Event: Ridgewood Guild International Film Festival Kicks off its Annual Festival with "An Evening With Oscar" Party: Music, Triva Contest, Costumes and More

Ready for a fun evening? The Ridgewood Guild International Film Festival is kicking off its ninth season with "An Evening With Oscar" on February 22nd, a partyfeaturing music, food, drinks, a "Red Carpet", dancing, a movie trivia contest and costume contest with prizes. The public is invited.

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Interview with Actor/Producer David Alan Basche: On Hatching an Egg, Being Married to A Warden, Raising Kids and Being A Really Neat Guy

Actor/Producer David Alan Bashe plays a tough business man in his new movie EGG, which he also produced, a far cry from his most well-known gig on TV, playing an affable and very likeable dentist on TVLand's The Exes. In this interview the multi-talented David shares how his true personality is much closer to that of his character on The Exes. Read on to find out more about David's new projects, working with his wife (actress Alysia Reiner, OITNB) and what principles guide his life.    
                
You've been all over TV and film..comedy, drama and more. What is your favorite genre to act in?

David Alan Basche: Theatre is my absolute favorite medium, but on TV my first love is still comedy. I just love making people laugh, and that’s usually at my own expense so that keeps me humble, too.