Friday, July 24, 2020

Our Roundup: What Females in Entertainment are Doing in 2020


Here's our roundup of just some of what the #femalesinentertainment are doing this year.

Editor' Note: This roundup used to appear on our sidebar, and will now appear as a clickable article on the sidebar. Updated regularly. 

Current: Leslie Jones to host 2020 Emmy nominations.... New Grease Prequel in the works... Hillary Clinton getting series Rodham at Hulu..... Yara Shahadi or Grownish signs deal with ABC Studios... Elisabeth Moss gets lead in new Apple show called Shining Girls... Sweet Magnolias renewed....Frieda Pinto, Constance Wu to star in Mr. Malcolm's List movie... A Call to Spy about three female spies with Radhike Apte, Sarah Megan Thomas, Stan Katic coming soon.

Better Things by Pamela Adlon renewed for Season 5....Mariah Carey Memoir coming as a book....Javicia Leslie to be new Batwoman...Dead to Me Renewed for final season.. can't wait but hope it goes longer!...

May 2020 - Sharon Hoffman becomes top Producer at Jimmy Kimmel the home edition BTW...Wendy Williams out for awhile due to health issues...Rest in Peace Lyne Shelton and thanks for your direction and mission...Good Girls renewed at NBC...A Little Late with Lilly Singh renewed at #NBC...Sofia Coppola on team for Custom of the Country on Apple...Queen Lattifah's new show Equalizer set for #CBS...April 2020- Amy Schumer do to new cooking show for the #FoodNetwork called #AmyLearnstoCook.... New #DoogieHouser in the works with a female lead on #DisneyPlus...

Thursday, July 23, 2020

Shockfest Film Festival - Host Actress Grace Juliana aka Vampire Princess Selena Explains what this Year's Horror Fest Has In Store for Fans

If you've never heard of Shockfest, or if you're already a fan, get ready for the festivities for
this "horrific" festival this year. This year's host, Actress Grace Juliana known this year only as Princess Selena, gives us the scoop on all the fun and fright of the festival.

So tell me Princess Selena, what is Shockfest?

Princess Selena: Shockfest is pretty cool. It's the "most CONTROVERSIAL ultimate underground film festival experience, designed to break every convention in the book of the festival circuit and provide the highest value of entertainment, engagement and interactivity for both the filmmaker and the audience member." It's live and and interactive events in three major cities (NY, LA and LV) and designed to highlight and showcase the works of those submit their films and sceenplays even before receive the official selection notice for our main event at the end of the year, SHOCKFEST FILM FESTIVAL. But tune in for our next event on Zoom on July 27th, that I'll be hosting.

The creators are Guil Claveria and Matthew Rosvalley (in character as Jeffrey Macabe)

Tell me about all about your vampire background.

Princess Selena: I am Princess Selena, a character I conjured up on my own. She is a young princess, but one day her family was slaughtered by vampires aka the FEMVAMPS. I fought them off and one of them bit me, now I am a vampire myself, but I use my family's money and notoriety to travel the world and kill vampires for revenge. Fred, a human vampire hunter, captured me because of my BEAUTY and he wants to kill me or make me her personal slave. I'm hosting the NYC virtual event with the other femvamps, we each have lines and different stories to share with the audience. 

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Review of Movie Feral - Annapurna Sriram's Role as A Homeless Women is Deflty Acted As we Root for her Survival on the Streets and Tunnels of NYC

by Suzanne Ordas Curry

The film by Andrew Wonder, Feral (2019 now on Amazon Prime), is aptly named. Simply put, Feral is the story of a young homeless woman in New York City. We see Yazmine (played superbly and adeptly by Annapurna Sriram), slinking around the subterranean world of New York City that she inhabits, climbing on piles of rocks with ease, slinking through the tunnels and foraging for food... just as a cat would.

At the beginning of the movie we get a hint as to why she is homeless, but later on we get a hint that that that assumption may not be the correct one. I say this is important, because when we see homeless people, often our thoughts are "why?" This movie delves into the subjects of homelessness, despair, hope and acceptance.

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Review of Spike Lee's Da 5 Bloods On Netflix: Lee's Mastery of the Medium, Multiple Genres and Storytelling Presents a Complex and Compelling Need for Change

by Ashton Samson

Editor's Note: Ashton is not just an avid film fan but is also a high school student. His review provides hope that change will come from the young people.

“We’ve been dying for this country from the very get, hoping one day, they’ll give us their rightful place. All they give us is a foot up our black asses.”
-Stormin’ Norman

Ever since he thundered onto the scene in 1986 with his controversial debut about a woman who dates three men at once, called She’s Gotta Have It, Spike Lee has been one of the most influential filmmakers of his generation. At 63, Lee has accomplished a great deal, directing over thirty projects, including documentaries, TV shows and most importantly, twenty-seven feature films; among the most noteworthy, Do the Right Thing, Blackkklansman and Malcolm X

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Review of The Award-Winning The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel on Amazon Prime - Clever, Colorful and a Fascinating Look into the Beginning of the Modern Career Woman

By Julia Colucci

As the pandemic continues into the summer and television continues to be an important part of my life, I can confidently say that The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel is one of the highest-quality shows that I have seen in the dramedy genre. Created by Amy Sherman-Palladino, the show is three seasons in, with its fourth season release date set for December 2020 (though the pandemic may affect this date).

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel takes place in 1958 in New York City. The main character is Midge (superbly acted by Rachel Brosnahan), a Jewish woman in her late twenties. She lives on the Upper West Side in a beautiful apartment with her husband Joel (Michael Zegan) and their two young children. The series starts with the couple living a content, typical life, where Joel fulfills his husbandly duties by going to work at his office job during the day, then comes home to his loving wife Midge who has just prepared a hot dinner waiting on the table.

However, Midge’s life soon takes a dramatic turn, and she finds herself pursuing a profession that she never thought she would—comedy.

Interview: Brandon Barash of Days and General Hospital Stars in New Short Film on the Reel Woman's Network; Why He Took the Role and How it's so Different from his "Day" Job

By Suzanne Ordas Curry

Fan fave Brandon Barash is a busy man. First, in typical but still much beloved Days of our Lives style he returned to Days even though he was killed off (and his heart given to someone else.) That just shows how much the fans wanted him back. In addition to this day job, this single dad is  busy with a multitude of other projects including a role as a handsome young husband in the short film The Mourning Hour, of which he is also a producer. Written by Shevaun Kastl and also starring Shevaun and Robert Knepper, you can see this film now streaming on The Reel Woman's Network. Read on to find out why he took this part, and what he's doing now in his downtime.

Brandon, how did you get this role? Did you know Shevaun?

BRANDON BARASH: Shevaun and I met through a mutual friend. From what I can remember (this was about 10 years ago), she emailed me that she had a script that she had written and wanted me to play one of the parts. At the time I was playing Johnny Zacchara on General Hospital -- the shooting schedule was grueling, so my immediate reaction was to say no.

Saturday, July 11, 2020

Review: Andy Samberg and Christin Milioti in Hulu's Palm Springs Movie: Pure Escapism makes it a Perfect Summer Comedy

By Suzanne Ordas Curry

I am a big fan of romcoms and comedies. I was excited to be able to see Palm Springs on Hulu the first night it was available, without paying a premium. (So I am waiting to see King of Staten Island until the price comes down). That gives you an idea of what I will accept in a comedy.

I also do not want to know much about a movie before I watch it. I want to be surprised. I also do not read the reviews. I may watch a few minutes of the trailer and then stop it because in these days of instant gratification, most trailers give way to much away.

So did I like it? Well, it was no Groundhog Day. Groundhog Day had purposeful meaning and could be watched by the family. This was certainly not a family movie. But, it kept me engrossed to see how it would turn out and had some very LOL moments. As far as physical comedy and laughs to make you forget about what is happening outside the room you're watching it in, it did the job as providing comedy to the pandemic-drained population.

And speaking of the pandemic, as much as I know life on Planet Earth will return to some kind of normal, a movie that centers around a wedding with a whole bunch of people drinking, dancing and standing close to each other without masks on was just bittersweet. So call this movie pure escapism.

Thursday, July 2, 2020

Females in Entertainment: From HR to Hollywood: Rutgers Alum Beverly Aisenbrey is Now Producing Movies and Helping to Produce Bright Minds with a Scholarship for Rutgers Fashion Program

Jamie Lee Curtis with Beverly Aisenbrey on-set of An Acceptable Loss
By Suzanne Ordas Curry

I don't think that when starting a career in business many years ago Beverly Aisenbrey thought she woud be hanging with Jamie Lee Curtis on a movie set. But, you never know where life will take you when you just keep persisting and work hard.

As most people know, making contacts and keeping those contacts can open doors. Little did Beverly know that through a female investment banker friend she would one day be hob-nobbing with celebrities and attending film festivals as a producer on independent films with major stars in them. But Beverly is a woman of many talents and is very hard-working. She spent most of her career helping to build a company and now she is giving back to her alma mater, Rutgers University in New Jersey. After years of serving on a Rutgers Board, she has now started a Fellowship (scholarship) for students in the new Rutgers Master of Science in the Business of Fashion. Read on to see how this unfolded and how to apply for the Fellowship.  

Suzee: You are a Rutgers alum as am I. How did your RU education help you in your career?  

Beverly Aisenbrey: The education I received from Rutgers Business School, where I completed my MBA, helped me transition from a career as a researcher in the field of biology to management consulting at a private, boutique company specializing in executive compensation consulting. I was offered an ownership position in the firm after several years and stayed with them for my entire 34-year career.  I feel that I used all the education I received in finance, marketing and human resources in my career.

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Daytime Emmy-Nominated Actor Trent Dawson Launches Katonah Classic Stage Summer Film Festival: Looking for Films Inspired by Classics Made by All Ages, Amatuer and Professional - Submission via Film Freeway

Attention all filmmakers and aspiring creators, regardless of age!! 

Katonah Classic Stage is is taking submissions for the first annual Katonah Classic STage Film Festival, scheduled for August 28th, 2020. Katonah Classic Stage (KCS) is a new, non-profit theatre company in Katonah, NY, whose mission is to offer exceptional, diverse, and professional productions of classical and contemporary plays. Since the Covid-19 pandemic has halted all live performance, KCS is reaching out to the community in a new way to foster art, creativity and a love of classic theatre. And their first project - a film festival.

Monday, June 29, 2020

New Streaming Platform Herflix Offers Free Movies: This Changes Everything, Nora Ephron, The Girls in the Band and More

Looking for something new and different? The new online movie theater for women, Herflix, is announcing a  line-up of movies just in time for the summer which can be streamed for free. Herflix is all about content for and about women. The movies that are available to stream for free are This Changes Everything, The Girls in the Band, Chavela, Sand Dollars, Nora Ephron (documentary) and Gemma Bovary.

These movies are sponsored by Martha Stewart Perfectly Roasted Coffee by Barrie House. They can be viewed for free at anytime at using the links listed below. No membership is required. Just sign in for free to access the site.

Thursday, June 25, 2020

A New NO! An OLD Way to Watch Movies is Back, and There's Nothing Like a Drive-In.

A Case of  Blue Film premiered at a  Drive-in Film Festival
Photo courtesy Dana Glazer
By Ashton Samson

Against the backdrop of the current state of the world, how can we retain our connection with one another, all while keeping our safety? That’s the question that everyone is pondering and I have the answer: Drive-ins. You might have heard this phrase from one of your grandparents as they reminisced about a Friday night hangout from the days of yesteryear. Come on this journey to learn about the time of its apex at a much more simplistic moment in history, its decline at the commencement of a much more technologically complex era and intertwined with it all through the ages, the power of cinema. It will help you to understand why we could really have the potential to return to the good old days of our parents and grandparent’s youth, so I entreat you to dream with me of the past, present and future.

Movie Review of The Help: It will Make You Laugh and Make you Cry, But Above All it is Movie To Help you Understand

By Julia Colucci

Since the recent protests around the world, Netflix and other streaming services have been showcasing more films on systematic racism to help people better understand the issues. The movie The Help is a 2011 film directed by Tate Taylor and based on the novel by Kathryn Stockett. It’s rated #7 in Netflix movies today, because not only is the cast phenomenal, but the story is an honest representation of the tragic racial injustices that were so prevalent in the past and still linger today.

The movie is about an aspiring writer named Skeeter, played by Emma Stone, living in Jackson, Mississippi in the 1960s. It was a time when being a black woman meant that your only future was being a maid to white families and raising their babies. Growing up, Skeeter was very close with her maid, Constantine, who was a much more loving and present figure to her than her own mother. This is one of the reasons she is so dismayed by the way the black community is treated by her friends, neighbors and white people across the country.

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Females in Entertainment: Interview with Writer/Actor/Coach Shevaun Cavanaugh Kastl - All about Her Film The Mourning Hour Now on The Reel Women's Network, Her Past Films and Her Quarantine Projects

by Suzanne Ordas Curry

Shevaun Cavanaugh Kastl has always been keeping herself busy in the film world as an actor, director, filmmaker, writer, dancer and teacher. And during the pandemic, she's used the time to create even more.

I got a chance to talk to her about her short film, The Mourning Hour, which she stars in alongside Brandon Barash (General Hospital, Days of our Lives), that is now streaming on the new The Reel Woman's Network.

 The Mourning Hour is about a 1950's suburban housewife whose husband was killed in a train accident. The film is unique is that it tells the story in an unusual way, seeing the women "travel" through two periods of time, her present life as well as when she was an aspiring cellist at 19.

Shevaun is also busy with her acting school, which she says has been quite a challege during the pandemic (she is in hard-hit NJ) and looking towards the future of coaching as well as making more films. Read on to find out what inspires this young woman to keep working in a very hard business.

What inspired you to make The Mourning Hour?

Shevaun C. Kastl: Wow! BIG question. So many things! I had just finished my first short as a Writer/Producer/Actor and was on this crazy high after the Premiere. I couldn’t wait to write something else. I was like a cinematic junkie. And I love a good challenge, so I wanted to write a period piece. And right away I thought of adapting a short story I had read in High School called “The Story of an Hour” by Kate Chopin. I always loved the author (who also wrote The Awakening) and this particular story of love and loss and reawakening really resonated with me, even at an early age.

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Brad Forenza's "Squeaky" to Stream Live July 5th at 2020 Hollywood Fringe Festival: A New Take on Manson Cult Leader Lynette "Squeaky" Fromme Delivered in a New Kind of Theater Environment

(Staff) The Fourth of July is a celebration of our Independence and the radical proclivities of our founding fathers. However, in Brad Forenza’s Squeaky, the day after Independence Day may paint a less liberated picture.

This Fifth of July, Forenza’s Squeaky (an examination of Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme) will receive her own show, as presented by the Hollywood Fringe Festival. Squeaky will be accessible to all through the rapidly expanding “streamed theater” experience. It stars Sara Eklund, Rosie Gunther, Brooke Hoover, and Roberta Lipp, as different dimensions of the titular character, as she opines about the current state of affairs and the unavailable men in her life (Tom Pryor and Forenza also appear).

We recently asked these East Coast actors why they agreed to bring Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme, Charles Manson’s chief acolyte and the attempted assassin of President Gerald Ford, to life. Some, like Brooke Hoover (who inhabits Squeaky’s political dimension), were motivated by the sheer prospect of collaboration. “As an actor, you have certain people who you will always say ‘yes’ to, because you believe in them as creators, as artists, and they believe in you. Brad Forenza is one of those people, to me,” she offered.

Saturday, June 20, 2020

Review of Netflix Series Hollywood: Hooray for this Series About Glitz, Glamour and Getting a Seat at the Table

By  Beth Abramson Brier

Hooray for Hollywood! I’m talking, of course, about the seven episode series Hollywood  by Ryan Murphy released by Netflix in May.

Set in post WWII Tinsel town, it is coincidentally (no, strike that) - it is eerily part of our current national conversation. And it is a “must see” for so many reasons. Trust me when I tell you this because in the last three months I’ve had the attention span of a carrot. Just when I thought I just didn’t have it in me to watch anything along comes Hollywood. Finally- a reason to bunker* down and binge watch through the night.

Hollywood had me at “hello” - in this case the dramatic introduction which I never once opted to skip when given the choice. Ambitious hopefuls ascend the landmark Hollywood sign: would-be stars and starlets, aspiring writers, budding directors - all willing to climb a little bit higher, leap without a net, take a chance.

It’s the golden age of studios and film. Big production numbers featuring staircases, swimming pools, and a hundred extras. Glamorous leading ladies (I’m talking opera gloves, evening gowns, feather boas). Swoon-worthy male stars in hats and suits instead of hoodies and shorts. It’s Hollywood at its best. Only better. It’s Hollywood reimagined.

View: My Must-See Summer Movie List has just Two Movies on it - Something's Gotta Give and Weekend at Bernie's...And Maybe Just One More

by Suzanne Ordas Curry

My summer viewing list is short. Yes, I'll watch several movies a week on the streaming platforms, but just as I have my Must-See list for the holidays, even though I've seen most of the holiday movies 20 times or more, I've also got my summer playlist. And I'll watch them every year.

For me, there's just two movies on that list. Something's Gotta Give and Weekend at Bernie's.

Total opposites, right? But, both make me smile. Isn't this exactly what we need now, and pretty much all the time?

I love Something's Gotta Give, because I want to step into that beachouse and be living that life. Written and directed by Nancy Meyers, Diane Keaton plays Erica Barry, a NYC playwright juggling work, her daughter, an ex-husband and two "suitors".

I don't think I am alone that most women watching that movie want to be Diane Keaton. She lives in the most stunning beach house in the Hamptons, she treks into New York City for fancy-schmancy events, she spends her days writing, and she has two guys swooning after her. Okay, so one of them is Harry Sanborn, (played by Jack Nicholson) who is a self-absorbed, womanizing, aging music producer that has a heart attack. But the other one is the handsome doctor Julian Mercer played by Keannu Reeves.  He pursues her, calls her, brings her flowers and whisks her away to Paris. Aaaahhh......

Thursday, June 11, 2020

What We're Viewing: Review of Mindy Kaling's Never Have I Ever - A New Twist on a Common Teen Plight But Shhhh.. Moms Like it Too

By Julia Colucci

The Netflix Original show Never Have I Ever is a hilarious comedy that highlights the life of a teenage girl struggling to survive high school and the many obstacles that come her way.

Honestly, I was a bit hesitant going into this show. From the Netflix description, it seemed a little cliché. When I read that it was about a high school girl trying to “spruce up her social status,” it sounded like dozens of other teenage dramas with mediocre writing. Just based off the name, Never Have I Ever, I figured it was for a younger age range, since it’s a game my friends and I played in junior high.

This is why I was shocked when my parents said we should make it our new “family show.” We’ve had this tradition in my house during quarantine where we all watch an episode of a television show together after dinner. Before the pandemic, most of the shows we watched as a family have been on the darker side—Breaking Bad, Dexter, The Walking Dead, How to Get Away with Murder, etc. 

NJ's Lighthouse Int'l Film Fest Goes Drive-In & Virtual: NJ Producer Scott Rosenfelt to be Honored for Home Alone, Teen Wolf, and his New film A Case of Blue, 80 Films Screened

Tucked away on a 18 miles stretch of white sandy beaches and shore houses along the Jersey shore is a film festival getting bigger each year.  The Lighthouse International Film Film is now in it's 12th year. Yes, the islanders and vacationers surely know about it but it's getting better and more reknown each year attracting people from all over the NY/NJ/Philadelphis area and more.

Courageously the show will go on this year despite the pandemic in a drive-in and virtual format from June 16th-20th. Luckily the island presents beautiful spaces where cars can socially distance themselves and movie buffs will get to see some great films on a big screen under the stars (which you can actually see on this pristine island).

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

What We're Viewing: The Killing of A Sacred Deer with Nicole Kidman and Colin Farrell - An Unsettling, Fascinating Horror/Thriller Not for the Faint of Heart

By Alicia Wilcox

The Killing of a Sacred Deer is a horror/thriller based on the ancient Greek tragedy “Iphigenia at Aulis” written by Euripides. Filled with symbols and metaphors worth analyzing, this movie is uniquely disturbing. Due to strange character details and dramatic orchestrated music throughout, The Killing of a Sacred Deer is sure to keep you in a state of suspense. The title itself comes from an ancient Greek myth where someone in a group was responsible for accidentally killing a sacred deer, and a sacrifice was required to reconcile the situation. The plot is based off of this required sacrifice. 

This movie follows Dr. Stephen Murphy, a cardiac heart surgeon (played by Colin Farrrell) who secretly befriends Martin. Martin is a teenage boy whose father was killed by Stephen during heart surgery, a surgery that he performed while drunk. When Stephen introduces the boy to his family, they all begin to fall ill under mysterious circumstances. This is because Martin forcibly makes Stephen choose one of his family members to kill to equalize the fact that he killed Martin’s father. If he fails to choose one family member, they will all die under the control of Martin’s plan. Quickly, they all begin to show symptoms of unidentifiable illness, such as bleeding out of the eyes and paralyzation. 

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Entertainment Weekly Presents an All My Children Reunion May 26-29th for Feeding America: Susan Lucci, Cady McClain, Eva La Rue, Kelly Ripa and More to Appear

If you're a soap fan or fan of the Hallmark Channel, here's a bunch of stars you will know getting together for a good cause. Entertainment Weekly Reunions #UnitedatHome will stream an event from May 26th-May 29th featuring dozens of the actors who once were on the Emmy-winning daytime Drama on ABC, All My Children.  It is a five part series with a new live episode each morning at 10am EST.

You can stream them for free on and

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Females in Entertainment: NYC's Director Isabella Olaguera Talks about the Pandemic's Affect on Production and how She's Helping her Friends with Feed The Freelancers

I met Isabella Olaguera on the set of the independent film A Case of Blue, shooting outside of NYC in the burbs of Jersey. I was impressed first of all, to see a female as 1st AD and even more impressed to see the other females in the crew she surrounds herself with. 

Being part of a crew, doing production in NYC is a tricky thing; it's gig work and takes a lot of adjusting to the needs of each set. During this pandemic, "adjust" is the key word. Sitting in her apartment, with all production shut down and none even scheduled, Isabella knew she had to do something. And so, she started Feed the Freelancers, recognizing that though she could put food on her table that so many of the people in production that she had worked with through the years were going hungry now. Read on about how she got help from her friends, FEEL, and major companies. As Mr. Rogers said, "the helpers come out."

Suzee: So, tell me about what you do and some of your recent work.

I’m a non-union 1st Assistant Director for commercial and narrative work. Some of my projects include Oscar-nominated short film My Nephew Emmett, international feature film No Land’s Man (directed by Mostofa Sarwar Farooki, starring Nawazuddin Siddiqui and Tahsan Khan), and All These Small Moments (starring Molly Ringwald and Brian D’Arcy James). I’ve also AD’d commercial spots for clients like Equinox, Facebook & Walmart. 

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

The Wrong Missy is just the RIGHT Movie to Watch Now: Happy Madison Productions Gives us More of what They're Famous For

By Suzanne Ordas Curry

What can I say about the new Netflix flick The Wrong Missy?

I stumbled upon it one night when it showed up as the number one most viewed movie on Netflix, which was a few days after it's 5-13 release. Seeing it was a Happy Madison Production, and as I am a big Adam Sandler fan (which some people may not admit to) I watched it.

Let me say that about one quarter of the way through I almost turned it off because the crudeness was over the top (I kept saying, this was written by a man for sure). But  I kept on watching like someone would a car wreck just to see what was going on.

Well, I am glad I continued to watch. As I said, I am a fan of almost anything Adam Sandler has a hand in. That means I am used to cringing due to the vulgarities, language and body part humor as well as the  nonsensical but clever dialogue often found in them. (There is one song about body parts, I must add, that was over the top even for an HM movie as well as one other scene that is not without controversy.)

And of course, I can find all the usual suspects in his movies from Rob Schneider to Nick Swardson to Nick Farley (Chris' brother) and even to Mrs. Jackie Sandler, who I may add, was rocking her bikinis. Adam always takes care of his friends. (I saw him recently in AC, and Rob was his surprise special guest). Phone, wallet, keys, laptop forever but I digress.

Friday, May 15, 2020

Females in Entertainment Interview: NYC Actress/Director Shara Ashley Zeiger Talks about Getting Started in the Big Apple, Keeping it Going and her #MeToo Moments

Shara Ashley Zeiger
Back in the day, pre-COVID, I would spend an afternoon every so often meeting with young women in the business that I've never met in person. Shara was on of the go-getters that I sat with at a busy midtown coffee shop to talk "shop." Shara is well-entrenched in the NYC acting community. Her seven shorts have circulated on the film festival circuit, she has another in post, she's acted in several hit TV shows and she's got a script looking for production. Shara survives and thrives with a circle of creative people to constantly keep her on her toes. Right now, she's part of "The Homemade Sketch Show" which can be seen on Youtube, but she's also got so much more going on.

Suzee: You are like on creative overload! Let's talk about your latest project first. Tell me about the virtual reading you had. How greatly have you been affected by this crisis?

Shara Ashley Zeiger: The crisis has been interesting. I have asthma and it's newish and I never thought it really put me in danger, but it puts me in the immune-compromised category, and navigating that and living in Queens has been quite a doozy. It's taken a lot of planning but I find delving into my creative projects to be a wonderful distraction.  I'm currently working on a few projects. 

Thursday, May 14, 2020

Behind Lee Grant's Retrospective: A Modern Way to give New Life to Classics in Theaters: Interview with Curator Taylor Purdee on how this Model Could Help The Independent Theater

By Suzanne Ordas Curry

If you're not familiar with the work of Academy Award-winning Actress/Director/Producer Lee Grant, you can now get familiar with her work in the comfort of your own home (while still supporting local theater) by viewing the Virtual Cinema series 20th Century Woman:The Documentary Films of Lee Grant . This retrospective was curated by Actor/Director Taylor A. Purdee out of New York City. Though curation is not a novel concept, new times call for new processes and this series, which started as a series of screenings at New York City's Film Forum before Covid, has now become a series of films and clips available to view anywhere through the websites of local theaters. Virtual cinema is a relatively new concept that gaining a lot of traction since the pandemic. Independent theaters can still make money without bodies in their seats. And, in the case of 20th Century Women: The Documentary Films of Lee Grant, the viewers get to view a package not seen elsewhere.

We talk with Taylor A. Purdee who put this retrospective together, Taylor is filmmaker with, as they say, folks in showbiz. His dad is popular daytime star Nathan Purdee (known for One Life to Live and Y&R), and his mother Roberta is a producer who has worked for years with Lee. In this interview we talk about how he found himself putting this series together, how he's introducing them to a new generation, and how something like this might just be around for quite some time.

Taylor, I asked Lee if she every thought she would be the subject of virtual cinema. Her answer was "never". Tell me how this started.

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Night of Solidarity on Youtube Supports Victims of Domestic Violence May 13th: See Gloria Steinem, Alysia Reiner, Gabrielle Union, Melissa Benoist and More as they Raise Awareness During this Pandemic

One of the many challenging and tragic outcomes of the Covid-19 pandemic is the rise in domestic violence around the world—the UN predicts an increase of at least 15 million cases this year due to the lockdowns and isolation. And even before the pandemic, partner abuse was devastatingly widespread...and often under-covered and under-resourced. And domestic abuse had far-reaching effects, including the break-up of families and an increase of children sent to the foster care system.

In order to raise awareness and raise funds and show unified support to those that are suffering through it now, a diverse mix of artists, survivors and activites are presenting Night of Solidarity, A Youtube event produced by The Meteor and also hosted on Refinery29's Youtube Channel. It will be live May 13th at 8pm EST but available to watch anytime after.

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Interview: Actress Amanda Baker - A Country Girl Whose Heart is in Hollywood, Read about her Journey from ABC's General Hospital to the CW's Black Lightning

The beautiful actress Amanda Baker may be from the South, but her ambitions brought her to different parts of the country. Like a lot of aspiring actors she went to LA to find a job, but the difference is that she actually did. Her first big role was on the GH spinofff Nightshift, but she also found roles on many other shows including another daytime classic All My Children, Rules of Engagement, One Tree Hill and Parenthood. Film work includes Hello Sister, Goodbye Life (with Lacey Chabert) and Pandemic  (which my guess is enjoying a lot of streaming success these days.) Now she's using her time to raise her family, but still working. You can see her as the reporter Rebecca Larson on the CW's Black Lightning.  Find out more about Amanda's life and also, what's she's watching now.

When did you get the acting bug?
Amanda Baker: I was in a play in middle school called, “How To Eat Like a Child” and I remember the rush I got on stage performing. That was when I knew I had a love of acting! 

Monday, May 11, 2020

Interview: The Iconic Lee Grant talks about Making Documentaries, Being Blacklisted, What She Wants Every Female Filmmaker to See and Her Virtual Cinema Retrospective

by Suzanne Ordas Curry

Lee Grant. Groundbreaker. Actress. Documentarian. Filmmaker. Role Model. Academy Award Winner.

If you would have told me ten years ago starting a new career in showbiz that I'd be working with some of  Lee Grant's "people" on some projects, I would have not believed it. But you never know what life brings to you.

And speaking of whatever life brings to you, whether good or bad you can take those ingredients and make lemonade out of it or you can just toss them aside and let them sour.  Lee Grant is all about the lemonade. The best lemonade you can make. 

I've had the opportunity to meet with her on several occasions. First, for a signing of her book, I Said Yes to Everything and then at the premiere party for her retrospective at Film Forum in NYC. (And by the way, her possie, including her husband Joey and pal Brenda Vaccaro are always there supporting her). 

Upon first meeting her, I could not believe what a petite yet big dynamo she was. She's poised, articulate, born with the gift of gab, clever, updated and full of spunk. She's got a zest for life, an interest in people and an optimism hard to find these days. She's not done "doing" yet, and she's in her 90's. We talked about things going on in the world now, and she talked about projects she was yet going to do. And if anyone can get something done as a nonagenarian, Lee Grant can.

To be honest I was not aware of all that she had done and been through. I am sure my mother would have known, but with a little bit of research I came to realize that this women broke ground for every woman in the workplace, and was one of the first ladies in Hollywood to "f" the establishment and forge a path for herself in an almost 100% industry dominated by men. Being blacklisted and being Hollywood "old" as a female didn't stop her from doing anything. 

Lee's IMDB profile is so long I stopped counting after 100. Movies and shows include Shampoo, Peyton Place, In the Heat of the Night, Fay, Ben Casey, Plaza Suite and so many more. She is an Oscar and Emmy Award winning actress and a DGA Award winning director. But what is most compelling about Lee is her presence behind the camera with her documentaries, Down and Out in America was before it's time in shedding light on some of the darkest topics in America.

Lee is still working, and you can hear her in the upcoming movie Killian and the Comeback Kids.

Thursday, May 7, 2020

CareCardsforCoronaCaregivers: $1500 Raised and Matched by Local Dairy Queen for Gift Cards for Workers at Holy Name Medical Center in New Jersey

CareCardsforCoronaCaregivers would like to thank everyone that donated to the program as over $1500 has been raised for  workers at Holy Name Hospital in Teaneck NJ so that they can be thanked for their service with Dairy Queen gift cards. We are also very happy to announce that the Dairy Queen of Emerson, NJ has matched the raise by donating $1500 worth of cards. In addition, each worker will also receive an additional token of appreciation with a Ben's Bell's #BeKind coin.