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Friday, December 31, 2010

Black Swan

The coffee is good this morning. With a new measuring implement and a fresh bag of Paul Newman's Organic Green Mountain my lover has changed his ways. A delicious light roast creates happy warm fuzzies for me to wake fully, allowing the creation of some brain function to consider last night's viewing of "Black Swan"

A special note of thanks to SDR for seeing it with me, so nice to have someone to look at and query, 

"Omg, IS THAT Barbara Hershey?"
And yes, yes, it was Barbara Hershey- and she was super creepy. Beautiful, intense, and shocking the "Black Swan" caused several surprise squawks & a few yelps from the audience- in addition, there were long long episodes of uncomfortable silence and disbelieve.

All performances played delightfully across the screen. Irresistible and passionate, each character appears in its own universe, where they meet is still a mystery. 

Vincent Cassel (As you may know, the reason I went to see this film) teetering between predator and distant father, was reserved and yet, captivating. 

Mila Kunas, I think, was playing herself- cute, charming, delighting in her participation. 

I am left with more questions than answers or opinions....As my friend Stevie would say, I give this film 4 1/2 out of 5 Purple Hoodies.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Tall, Dark, and Freaking Gorgeous

Having a mild, light roast cup of Breakfast Blend, a slice of homemade bread and reading one of my favorite blogs (

 It seems that in a recent interview, Rupert Everett had much to say about American (Hollywood) policies regarding film making - I agree with him. It confuses me that Katherine Heigel and Jennifer Aniston (both fine actresses) are constantly featured in silly romps- are they really that popular? Or does Hollywood have its needle stuck in a grove and just keeps spitting out the same ol same ol out of a bad habit? 

So for the lovely Rupert Everett I give you fabulous films you might not know about: 

"Unconditional Love" (2002) - One of my top 20 films to watch again again- Kathy Bates and Rupert Everett make a great team and the wonderful Meredith Eaton (Boston Legal, CSI) steals the movie! A fun thoughtless romp that plays off several  off beat films- a joy to watch. 

"B. Monkey (1998)" -  I think this was the first time I noticed Jonathan Rhys Meyers - gorgeous. Do not watch this with the kids around, it has many adult themes- and the love scene between Jared Harris and Asia Argento is for grown ups only! A gritty, tough film - a little choppy but so good. Everett has a strong presence through out the film. 

The third pick is a little difficult - there are small roles that make a mediocre film worth watching - like "My Best Friend's Wedding", when Rupert sings to Julia, it makes the entire film bearable, so I'll do a couple quick ones ...........

"Stage Beauty" (2004) - Not a great film, but so cute - a take off of "Shakespeare in Love" - Rupert isn't featured - but his appearances are terrific. 

Pret a Porter (Ready to Wear) (1994) - You know any Robert Altman film is already worth watching and Rupert does get lost a bit in the fantastic cast - but he is perfect for this role. 

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

New Years Eve is a great night for...

staying home and watching movies!! Probably more people will venture out since we are expecting a rather warm night here in Michigan. I still recommend that staying in with movies is so much better than drunken parties or bars. I'm going to try to get the bf to watch something he hasn't seen- I'm thinking "Northfork" by the Polish Brothers? Maybe. For you however, I have a few recommendations- I'm just bossy that way. 

For Girl Power

"Buffy The Vampire Slayer" (1992) - Joss Whedon is a master story teller- and this silly campy film shows his true feminist side. Buffy can tell she is gaining power by getting cramps, Luke Perry plays a stereo typical female character with grace and maintains his manly sexiness - but its Donald Sutherland who really pulls it together with his exasperated teaching of the young and dumb. Cute, funny, a little stilted but oh so worth watching.  

"Bagdad Cafe" (1987) - Lustful & Sweaty- perfect warm up for this cold snow winter - CCH Pounder and Marianne Sagebrecht show us how to survive even if you live on the edge of nowhere and don't really know what to do next. Jack Palance is charming and memorable. 

"Ever After" (1998) - I admit I like this movie for the same reason I liked "Quest for Camelot" - the ending. Drew Barrymore is adorable as a Cinderella-type character taking all sorts of crap - but her survival doesn't depend on a Knight to save her. Likable and so charming, Drew creates a playful, independent Cinderella-type woman

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

3 Films for Movie night at a Coffee shop

There are two or three interesting coffee shops that have (or did have) movie night, sometimes it works well - other times its just too tempting to talk while drinking coffee and that does not do for movie night- but here are 3 films a coffee shop should play, just because I thought it was funny: 

"Coffee and Cigarettes" (1986, 1989,1993, or 2003) By Jim Jarmusch - mmm, this isn't the way I had planned to introduce Jarmusch...but, oh well..... any of the Coffee and Cigarette movies will do- but you might want to start with the first one. Try naming all the people in it, but first go round, really listen to the dialogue. One thing Jarmusch knows, its how people talk. 

"Waitress" (2007) - Who knew that Keri Russell could really act? I wasn't home much during the "Felicity" rage, so I had no idea.....but this small film is filled with good people, balances nicely between cute indie film and deep character study- never too heavy, nor too light. The ideas are seriously  played out but never preachy. 

"The Station Agent" (2003)- Okay, this is stretching the reference a little, but it does involve selling food, serving coffee, and its an amazing film. Plus, its one of those movies I like so much, I'll use any excuse to talk about it. Touching, romantic, sweet and funny- All 3 main characters are developed through the eyes of the actors. A rare film that makes you forget you are watching a movie. 

A Coffee House should be ...

a place that's homey but you don't have to clean up after yourself. 

AJ's Cafe 
240 W. Nine Mile Rd.
Ferndale, Michigan 

is just that sort of place ....a warm, friendly atmosphere, the occasional exciting event, with coffee and food. 

The best day to hang out is Saturday- you could run into a children's piano recital or find yourself swept up in a rally for sanity and once a year you could become part of an assembly line which means you won't go home for three days and three nights. 

The best evening, you need to find for yourself- I prefer Wednesday's - since open mic is Tues, Wed and Thurs- its hard to say what evening you might enjoy. Its never really quiet at AJ's- much like a home- but you'll have pockets of peaceful reflective time or get distracted by an spot of poetry, jarred by a spontaneous group of bluegrass twangers (I say that with affection, its quite amazing!) or stunned by a 14 year old country shooting star that belts out popular tunes with delight. 

ah- but you probably want to know about the's always been good, hot and well priced- but lately a touch is added to peak your buds- "AJ's Assembly Line Blend - Industrial Strength Coffee" Find out more by visiting,

The food offerings are eclectic and freshly made, the coffee varieties are well-developed and the company is anywhere from plain ol' locals jammin tunes to young, hip and gorgeous. 

I challenge you to find your favorite day or evening, hang out, drink, eat and absorb. 

Monday, December 27, 2010

Paul Newman Coffee and how hot he is.......

The delicious items in the Paul Newman food category are plentiful, starting with the salad dressing and finishing me off with the popcorn- such tasty treats! Now, with the addition of coffee the Paul Newman Foundation continues to make me think of things hot and sweet......on that note, here are 3 movies that connect the beautiful blue eyes with food........

"Cool Hand Luke" (1967)- what always stands out for me in this film is the hard boiled egg scene...I know that very silly, considering how amazing Paul looks, the level of intensity and the incredible performances. But its a scene meant to pull you in and it does that very well. This film would definitely be on the top 50 films that must be watched even if you don't know who Paul Newman is .....

"Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid" (1969) - Katherine Ross cooks for Paul Newman and Robert Redford...okay...enough said? 

It's really his laughter and gusto for life that make this movie what it is. 

"Cat on a Hot Tin Roof" (1958) -A film that must be included because this is a family dinner party you really really want to be at, as long as you are NOT related to anyone. Thank you Tennessee Williams for richly toxic characters used to show off Elizabeth Taylor and Paul Newman beauty and talent. 

Sunday, December 26, 2010


My lover makes the absolute worst coffee, ever. Not nearly as good as the watery dark substance brewed by my favorite greasy diner, or even as good as the thick bitter offering of many chain places that need various syrupy concoctions that make people feel sophisticated but is really covering up the low quality beans. 

His coffee is just plain awful. But oh so worth it.Which segue-way's us nicely into this mornings chat. Today- after much frenzied activity of the Christmas holiday- I give you 3 bad films you must watch: 

"Plan 9 from Outer Space" (1958) - While yes, the Ed Wood movie starring Johnny Depp makes everyone feel like they have watched an Ed Wood film, don't let that influence you. Watch the entire movie of Plan 9 and revel in its really bad but oh so wonderfulness. Cheap, tacky and poorly acted it is a must must see for any film maven novice or pro. There is no point in my describing the plot or the reasoning, no real anything to critique. It is my favorite bad film, almost as good as "Attack of the Mushroom People" but not as well directed. Just watch it and enjoy. 

"Pink Flamingos" (1972) - With John Waters you can start with any of his films and just keep watching. He is one of those rare directors/writers/personalities where it makes no difference when you get to know him, you just must. This is one of his better films and probably the most shocking. Its bad, its great, its terrible. This is a film that everyone, and I mean your kid, your grandma and your righteous next door neighbor needs to watch. Then you can bounce around, watching whatever John Waters film strikes your fancy. 

"Buffalo 66" (1998) - I was torn here, for the third offering, because I do so love what Craig Brewer has done lately for bad films, but- I adore Vincent Gallo in a not so professional way and feel his films should be promoted at any given chance. As my 3rd bad film that must, must be viewed, I give you Christina Ricci, Angelica Houston, Ben Gazarra, Mickey Rourke, and Rosanna Arquette in a film that clips, jars and annoys but you will love. Forget and don't bother with "The Brown Bunny" unless you lust for VG the way I do then it becomes a really horrible, train wreck you can't not see and I highly recommend it. If you don't care for Vincent, but crave film of every caliber then "Buffalo 66" is time well spent.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Breakfast Blending

Oh sweet and flavorful Breakfast blend- How I adore you. The French Press is becoming my new favorite way to make coffee- so easy and convenient! 

A quick cup, a piece of toast and a chat with you then I must be on my way. The Christmas frenzy begins! 

It is the blending of the traditions and families that has me (Delightfully) confused and off center this year. Mixing established traditions with new family members, kids growing up and the realization that family who have moved away- well, they won't be here! My brother has three little ones and they live so far away- its just starting to sink in. 

Its all good- but odd - and takes getting used to. 

My heart does so miss that wonderous little one that wanted to know why Santa used the same wrapping paper as mommy. But I also enjoy the funny, charming, thoughtful man he has turned into. It will be strange, our first Christmas with him arriving with guests rather than waking me up at 6 am! 

Yet the addition of new people to our lives, the adjustment of keeping the old ways and adding the new ones- its amazing and wonderful! 

Happy Holidays! 

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Too Strong but not bitter....

Whew, made the mix a little strong this morning......the last of the French Roast beans with a new batch of Breakfast blend in the French Press....Strong, smooth, so good. I have to head out into the cold soon- adding a real breakfast this morning, tiny bit of bacon for flavor, leftover redskin potatoes and scrambled eggs. Just right to fortify the body for the frozen world. 

I saw a little blurb about Nicole Kidman last night, while I like her fine- I don't see movies because she is in them. Its actually her co-stars that have prompted me to search out the films, then discovering she is really good. 

"Fur" (2006- Italy)  -obscure, but available on DVD- A fantasy biopic based on Diane Arbus. Diane was a photographer and a bit of a social rebel. Co-starring the fabulous Robert Downey Jr. - a delightful performance by both. You don't have to know about Diane's work to appreciate the film - but perhaps afterwards, you will visit some of her work. (p.s. her real life husband played Dr. Sidney Freedman on MASH all those many years ago.) I just have to add that the costuming for this pic is exceptional- Nicole's outfits reach out and give you all the things the character wants to say. 

"Birthday Girl" (2001-USA)- Available on DVD - it was Vincent Cassel (Elizabeth, Crimson River, Brotherhood of The Wolf) that drew me to this film - again, only to discover how wonderful Nicole Kidman and Ben Chaplin are as actors. This script is dark, predictable, but fun and scary to watch. Ben plays the innocence so well and Nicole switches personalities like changing shoes, slip on - slip off. Wonderful to watch. 

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Away We Go (Now available on DVD)

The films I love are beautiful, lovely creatures that make me 

feel things- esp those lost little details of things I thought I had 

forgotten or worse yet, that no one else understands; 

"Away We Go" (2009 -director Sam Mendes; 

Staring Maya Rudolph and John Krasinski) ... small and still. Its a road trip picture whose movement is

a crescendo to allow the characters to find something and

not a character of its own.

The dialogue reminds me of things

unsaid or perhaps of conversations I experienced when not

paying close enough attention. Guest appearances will make

 you laugh and maybe cry, seem to have no point and then

offer tiny gems. As with many wonderful films its important to

 acknowledge the things seen and yet not noticed -

costumers, set designers and sound people who bring a

 tone, shadow and comfort to each character that builds

 upon the dialogue - you know its done well when its


Special notice should be paid to Melanie Lynskey, who plays

the depth of loss and heartache through silent moves in a

a dance that wrecks you.

A great film that won't become your favorite, but you'll always


Hazelnut French Roast Mix

A good strong cup of coffee from fresh ground beans. Nothing can match it. Today's mix, a Hazelnut & French Roast combo born of leftover beans is WOW strong and smooth. I am wishing a little bit that I had some whipping cream to top it off....oh is still delightful. 

I thought today I would start out with a little rant about my favorite filmmakers. Being the first blog about film - I figured that to be a good place to start. 

The Polish Brothers - Mark and Michael - write, produce, direct and star in their first film "Twin Falls Idaho (1999)". Dark, mysterious, and a little off center the film introduces Siamese twins as they struggle to survive as adults. There is something sweet and adorable while at the same time very seedy and odd about the twins and the film itself. Its not really character driven,not a road story, and certainly not a love story- but, they are interesting characters, travel a great distance and love does happen.   

When discovering the Polish Brothers, I think its best to start with this film. Their others are good, and probably equally as interesting- but there is something, something about this film that introduces them as filmmakers, actors and shows the birth of a thought process that film mavens such as myself glean from first films. 

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

A Coffee Blog written August 15, 2010

The steamy dense air of an August Saturday night is not the most conducive for driving what felt like endless miles for a cup of coffee. IF they had a pool, well, that might have been different. Yet, I knew it would be worth the drive and the heat for the company, an iced drink and the possiblity that I might fall in love with another coffee house.

and it was.

The Karma Coffee Shop  at 3015 S. Wayne Rd- Wayne, Michigan-  just north of Michigan ave. (Look for the little ice cream place on the corner and park in back) is a dream. 

Exactly the right size, cozy but roomy, the seating overs a varity of couches for larger groups, tables for playing games and has a generous space for a performer. Jennifer pleasantly serves up an abudant variety of coffee, plain or syrupy flavors, iced or hot, small or large- just try NOT TO BE SHOCKED by the reasonable prices!

The entertainment last night was my friend Dan Kennedy, (dankennedy on myspace) who plays the perfect from the heart music with a touch of political / socieital angst for an intimate crowd of friends and those about to be friends.One of my favorite coffee house 'things' is meeting the people. Like the lovely young lady who is too young to be married, but becomes philosophical about her choice and generously shares her thoughts on music that feeds her soul. Or the curly haired mid-twenty something young woman who works in a bookstore and can carry off that cute tiny sweater look that I have always coveted!

From the aged like myself, to the very young, the Karma Coffee Shop is a place to get to know. So go ahead, visit..........

Library Love

I read an article recently about Keith Richards, he aspired to be a odd...and yet....fitting. Many of us found solace and adoration among the silent whispers of words on pages. It reminds me to tell you about the building that once held one of my favorite childhood libraries. For several years now, since DPS (Detroit Public Schools) has closed many many many many buildings, this Historical building has been sitting unused. Afraid it might end up like the high school that sits next to it or the precinct across the street...I have often pondered its fate, walked by it to say hello or driven people past it to add to its admirers. 

So many wonderful hours spent in the window seats following my obsessions, Jayne Mansfield, Marilyn Monroe, Tallulah Bankhead and for a while everything I could read on becoming a Mormon. I wanted to be prepared in case Donny Osmond asked for my hand in marriage. Then as I discovered more dangerous and exciting men like Trelawny, Robin Hood and Rhett Butler, I wanted to be a lady of fiction. A heroine lost on the moors searching for Moonstones, shifting time on the strand and gleaning secrets about Mandalay. The large fieldstone building of my local library and the Tara like elegance of the downtown branch only lent themselves as scenery to fuel my fevered brain. 

At a recent neighborhood meeting I discovered the fate of my beloved library - A church will claim it, help make it an historic site and use it !! I am delighted that it will be saved! 

---Side note: 
Its construction began as a public building for law enforcement, before actual police stations. It wasn't completed when Detroit annexed a portion of Redford Township in 1926 and the building was finished by the city. 

Used as a library for a number of years (including my childhood of the 1970's). Then empty for a few years. It became a cultural center for the school system after being purchased along with the block it sat on - all the houses around it were torn down to put in a tennis court. The building has sat empty now for a few years as the public school system has battled over buildings and budgets. I am grateful it will be saved, hopefully restored and best of all, occupied and loved.   

Top Chef Revolution Foodies

Trapped in a snow storm and forced by a teenager into watching endless eppy's of TOP CHEF I was captivated by a trend that left me feeling hopeful!

A challenge charged the chefs to utilize a child assistant in creating a meal for 4 using only Ten Dollars.

As a single mom this was especially notable to me in several ways. To stay organized and on task with a child in the kitchen is fun yet has its challenges- extra credit given to the chef's on the show that created a good atmosphere for the kids to learn & participate. 

However, what really struck me was the opportunity to have these professional chefs trained to THINK about food and its relation to the next generation. We accept things like school lunches and fast food as efficient, nutritious and CHEAP- but are they? I say NO.They cost so much more than the few dollars to fill a stomach in that moment. But I won't rant about the economic and political ramifications, for that - watch "FOOD, Inc." or the ever amazing documentary "Grown in Detroit"- (no, seriously, watch them!)

Creating dishes that are healthy and accessible to children for little money - that is a challenge I can totally get behind! Using emerging chef's and preteens to create those dishes was a genius move. Now we have a situation that can potentially change the way the audience looks at meals.

A little side thank you to Jamie Oliver - who, if you missed the first Revolution in Virginia, is doing a new more intense challenge in the Los Angles area - hopefully airing this winter!
-- But I must acknowledge Chef Art Smith (yes, Oprah's personal chef) for creating a charity that works with children "Common Threads" can be found on his web page

Think local, eat fresh, be seasonal!!