And if you didn't read the results of the mother-daughter chocolate tasting, what are you waiting for?! Go read, and then get ready to take a chance below so you can indulge in some fantastic fudge! (But you must live in the continental USA!)
If you are here you probably saw the post capturing the Chocology chocolate tasting and are hoping to enter the Fat Ass Fudge giveaway!
And if you didn't read the results of the mother-daughter chocolate tasting, what are you waiting for?! Go read, and then get ready to take a chance below so you can indulge in some fantastic fudge! (But you must live in the continental USA!)
What's a Film Festival Anyway? Come See What the Garden State Film Festival Was Like Through My Eyes
I thought that since I attended the Garden State Film Festival last year, my experiences would make me a master planner for covering as many events and films as possible this year. I thought I wouldn’t need to clone myself, at least once, (possibly more), to be everywhere at the same time, to do, see, and experience everything.
If you’ve never been to a film festival before, the Garden State Film Festival is a great one to start with. If you’re not in New Jersey, you’re actually in good company. People travel from all over the country, as well as all over the world to watch films here against the backdrop of Atlantic City. It’s quite amazing.
As with many festivals, you can pick and choose from film blocks that show several films over a few hours, and this film festival lasts a few days. It’s like going to the movies but theatres are on steroids. You get to see more films for your money, and meet many of the filmmakers and actors, and in the case of the Garden State Film Festival, you get to eat and drink a lot better than stereotypical popcorn and soda.
The tough part – is always narrowing down the choices for which movies to see. I always seem to want to watch everything. But, what makes the Garden State Film Festival special is that there are plenty of cocktail hours, events (like screenplay readings, filmmaker breakfasts, casting calls, and actor q&a panels) plus after parties that make it so much fun.
So let me take you inside my whirlwind of a world and show you a sneak peek of what went on inside one of the best and biggest film festivals on the East Coast. If you expect a typical write up along the lines of - This is film XYZ, I loved it, and onto the next paragraph – stop reading here. If you know me, you know that I write like you’re watching things through my eyes, so in that case, step right in.
Oh, and I ran around the festival like crazy this year, but I actually took time out to eat this time, which leads me to tell you that this blog is long, but as such, it will convey the endless energy required to run circles around Atlantic City, in heels, having copious amounts of fun while attempting to give you a glimpse inside “GSFF.”
First, I have to give so much thanks and credit to the second half of what makes me a part of a dynamic duo – photographer, videographer, and aspiring filmmaker, Patrick Zehr. He hits the ground running (and sometimes diving, crawling, climbing, and even riding backwards on golf carts) to get “the shot”.
He can handle my cell phone and his camera at the same time, all while making sure I don’t leave my purse laying around, and rescues me from situations like…um… when I’m running late, in traffic, and he scoops up our press passes, tells me what my “good side” is for photos (It changes daily – LOL), and reassures me, “We got this,” before events as I run in frazzled in a gown and heels. (Just sayin’… not that I’d know about anything like this – or do I? *wink wink*) (Nothing like hitting the red carpet running – literally!)
As we walked into the glowing purple ambiance at Resorts Casino in Atlantic City, NJ for the Gala Red Carpet Cocktail Party, me in my charcoal grey Marchesa dress with a white lace floral overlay, black Jimmy Choo peep toes, and big Jersey hair (because curly hair is crazy in humidity, and humid it was that evening), we surveyed the crowd and approached Miss New Jersey Teenager Francesca Le'Anna as she was illuminating the bottom of her dress near a spotlight for a photo-op. She looked ethereal.
Next up was the owner of Fantasea Resorts, Bruce Kaye (also honorary chair of the festival) and his wife Deborah, with their friend, who recognized us, said hello, and continued to make their rounds.
This was when the red carpet started to kick off.
It’s always awesome to meet someone in person that you connected with previously over social media for the first time, and they are even nicer in person.
This happened several times in a row to me starting with Director Anna Simone Scott and actress Lisa London as they walked in and met up with their co-star Ronnie Marmo from the Facebook censored film “Finding Momma”.
(Yes, seriously, Facebook would not let the production advertise the trailer to their film because it implied sex. Implied sex. When I saw that, immediately, I had to attend the screening just to prove to myself that “big brother” Facebook has no idea what it’s talking about when the plot of this short film was full of comedy with an overtone of Southern accents that left you laughing with a nice twist at the end. And, also, if anyone tries to censor something, it triggers an automatic rebellious response from me that I have to find out more about it even more so now.
Before making my way over to actor Joseph Halsey, I bumped into this year’s Rising Star Award recipient, Joseph Russo, while we were photobombed before he was stolen away to the red carpet with actor (and prior Rising Star Award recipient) Ronnie Marmo.
Back to the
Halsey, who had
several films at
“Stand Up Guy;” he was very gracious and we had our red carpet moment.
I lost Patrick for a second, but he knows me well, and read my mind - and rescued me with my favorite dirty gin martini right as I turned around to see the always jovial Ed Asner. But you see, Ed and I had already done the signature posed photo last year, so he suggested we spice it up a bit – the way only Ed could do. (I love this guy!) Cheers to silly faces and a great guy!
I took a sip of my cocktail, and who appeared behind me, but the lovely Sally Struthers with her companion Christopher Youngsman, who I will always be grateful to for allowing me to sip his vodka cocktail the following night, instead of going back up to the bar in heels, while we sat in a poolside cabana chatting. (True story. He rocks!)
Sally is so savvy. I always learn from her, including tricks for taking the perfect photo, for which Patrick and I have now coined “The Sally”. It’s all in the angle, and she has it down pat. After all, who better to know how to take a great photo than one who has been photographed thousands and thousands of times? I love this lady!
Actors Andy Peeke and Heather O’Scanlon, both who I had met over cyberspace before this cocktail party, were equally enchanting in person as co-stars in a funny film “House Broken”. They were red carpetside doing double-time covering interviews with the stars and festival organizers, but I managed to wave hello before getting caught up in the waves of fans and filmmakers that flooded the room.
Margaret Fontana is the new Executive Director of the Garden State Film Festival, and I was so happy she had a second for a snapshot with me. Chairman of the Board, Nick Falcone, was also there, and I did manage to take a photo to prove it as the night went on!
It was so refreshing to see Founder of the Garden State Film Festival, Diane Raver, enjoying herself this year with a cocktail in hand, fully embracing the festival as she continues to share her invaluable experience with the tireless organizers and volunteers who make these movie memories all possible.
I met actress Victoria Guthrie who had her film “Heavy Objects” screening at the festival as we slid onto a slice of red carpet for a photo op. This thriller is one movie that I was not able to see, but I truly hope to. Check out the trailer to see why:
Then I turned around to see one of my favorite Atlantic City fixtures, event maestro, Joel Ballesteros sitting at the bar, and I walked a few steps and bumped into actor / director CJ Cullen whom I’ve worked with in the past, and before I knew it, it was time to hit the buffet before all of the food was gone!
We were all then ushered into the Superstar theatre for the screening of the feature film “Dough”.
Upon exiting the theatre, Patrick caught this stellar shot with actors Al Sapienza and Joseph Russo, which I think is the best of the fest.
I twirled around for a quick pic with the MVP award winner, Al Sapienza, and then darted off towards the after party where I met actor Garry Pastore whose production company, Willowcreek Entertainment, had a stake in the short version of the film “Almost Paris” called "An American Imbecile in Paris" debuting there that weekend as well. (The feature film version of “Almost Paris” recently screened at the Tribeca Film Festival, too!)
Patrick headed home for sleep, but anyone who knows me knows that sleep is generally not in my vocabulary when I’m working in my element. I got scooped up with familiar faces and we made our way across the boardwalk (picture me tottering in high heels trying not to get them stuck between the boards) to the Landshark Bar & Grill.
Another martini (Thanks Garry Pastore!) and many hours later, I headed home for something resembling a nap, and a quick wardrobe change for day two.
Running on coffee and a few hours’ sleep, I left the house dressed as my moniker – a true “lady in red” – red dress, red shoes, and red lipstick to match. Starting off my day was the script reading of the screenplay “Welcome to Camelot” by Rachel Goldberg. There were definitely some funny moments as well as graphic ones as the seasoned actors brought the words to life. I particularly enjoyed Kerrianne Spellman’s body language as she got into character even while seated, and Lynn Spencer’s purposeful off-key singing when the scene called for it. The regal Al Sapienza didn’t just read the words, but invoked a theatrical presence into his part. While Joseph Russo read his lines, you could see why he was deserving of his rising star award. The entire ensemble pulled off a captivating performance without a stage or screen. I think that’s a test of true raw talent.
Between bites of calamari
and sips of an espresso,
I looked up to see Atlantic
City Mayor Don Guardian
headed towards a screening
block. We exchanged quick
hellos, and Patrick and I
were reminded that we
should attempt our
traditional daily selfie.
We waltzed around Resorts and popped in and out of places to catch some films, including, Director Anna Simone Scott’s “Finding Momma” (whose trailer did not deserve a Facebook ad ban; but it turned out to be an unintended genius move to attract attention for viewers.) We also saw “The Untold Story” directed by Shane Stanley (which I had to see because the amazing Nia Peeples, who I interviewed a few months ago played the lead Catarina in it, with her perfect portrayal of a beautiful, young Latina grandmother substituting in a single mother role to support her grandson), and if I could be in two or three places at once, I would have wanted to see the very funny potty training tale “House Broken” by SOS Productions and “Junkie Heaven” where actor Joseph Halsey plays a very different role for him as an Iraqi war vet suffering from PTSD whose addictions lead him into a spiritual encounter that changes everything.
What inevitably happens, though, is that screening blocks sometimes run late, and then you wind up missing movies, or come in when they’ve already started. So, rather than run around, we tried to be selective and strategize moving our cars and timing the events right.
Yeah, that, and remembering to eat.
The after party that night was at the Claridge Hotel, a few blocks away, so we had to move our cars (No, I don’t walk city blocks in stilettos!) and figured if we were lucky we’d be able to catch a screening block at the Celebrity Theater before the stars literally came out that night, poolside.
Upon walking into the lobby Patrick immediately recognized actor Bill Sorvino and his wife, Michele (Executive Director of the Golden Door Film Festival in Jersey City), as they checked in for the screening of Bill’s film “Mommy’s Box” the next day. It seemed like everyone we worked with or knew was conveniently convening in the city by the sea.
We ducked into the Celebrity Theater and caught “An Alarming Night”, “What’s Eating Dad”, (I love horror comedies.) “The Last Taxi Driver”, and “A Place in Hell” before bouncing off to the pool party after party near the top of the tower.
As we walked in to the pool area smelling the slightly chlorinated air, the colors shifted from laser-like green, to purple, to aqua as the DJ started blaring the beats. Quickly I scoped out a cabana because there weren’t too many spots to sit, and at this point my red high heels were looking for a place to rest for a few minutes. One by one recognizable faces appeared and congregated near the bar and made their way over to the cabana hideaway. We circled around finding fun and photo ops until the wee hours of the next official morning.
Sleep? Oh don’t be silly.
Ok, well, maybe actor Bill Sorvino slept standing up for 5 seconds, but that’s all the sleep that happened. (Just kidding! These guys are always up for fun photo-ops!)
I remember driving on auto-pilot home reveling in yet another great experience where Hollywood shifted sides of the country for a minute, wishing that I could clone myself yet again to experience the final day of the festivities - while also working the next day on a movie myself.
For more great photos of the film fest, feel free to find them on Facebook here. If your photo or film trailer was not posted here it doesn’t mean I don’t love you! I just could only post so many on the blog, and Patrick and I really did try our best to get around the fest. I’m equally impressed with how many films featured at GSFF have gone on to gain the laurels of other festivals around the world and win awards as well!
Many thanks to Margaret Fontana, Nick Falcone, Diane Raver, and the Board of Directors of the Garden State Film Festival as well as the tireless volunteers who made this movie event magnificent. And to all of the talented actors and filmmakers, I wish I could have seen all of your films! One thing I do know is that if your work was at this festival, it’s definitely worthy of watching.
Come with me – to Florida – so we can be flies on the wall and watch Speed Dating.
Sometimes, I want to just do something or watch something for fun. Sometimes, something funny comes my way. I love interpretations of real-life situations, on screen, or stage, that make me relate and laugh. When someone really experiences something, and then writes about it, and translates it to stage or film, the genuine emotion comes through. In this case, the emotions are humor and sarcasm. And this is why I invested eleven minutes of my time and watched Speed Dating, written and produced by Stefanie Davis, and directed by Cindy Krapfel.
Just like the concept of a dating many men in moments, Speed Dating is a short film, which relates, from a woman’s point of view, what meeting several men in a few minutes is like – or could be like. The characters are representative of people we’ve all met – men and women – in some way, shape or form.
Speed Dating is like watching a Walmart crowd while sitting on a nearby park bench in a prospective want to hook-up scenario, except with wine – gallons of wine. It’s the kind of original comedic movie you don’t have to think about and doesn’t require total mind engagement to be able grab onto the over-exaggerated good which gives you a preview into a web series being modeled after it.
You see, after a desperate plea from her mother to change her single ways, Brooke Bellantoni (Lexi Balestrieri) enlists herself in speed dating. She drags her best friend, Traci Norton (Chelsea Wolf), along for the ride. As they go through the bachelors of the Tampa, Florida area, the girls realize the dating life isn't what it used to be. (After watching this – I must admit – I’m really wondering about the bachelors representative of the Tampa Bay area…)
I, myself, have never done speed dating; but I think the concept has merit, which is probably a good indication of my naïveté. First impressions say a lot; and I think, if you always go with your gut feeling, that usually leads to the best possible outcome. (One can hope!)
I would coin this film as a peek into an adult version of spin the bottle, except on the dating level where a touch of non-musical chairs is integrated, and the bottles in question - are filled with wine. Lots of wine.
The leading ladies Brooke and Traci (disguised with name tags bearing the names of warrior women, Leia and Xena, just in case a prospective stalker is encountered), portray the desperate to get-this-over-with BFF’s on a forced mission to find men. They give it an honest try, but after their first encounters with the gentlemen on table rotation, you can see why Brooke’s plea of “Wine. Please… Now!” is completely called for.
Oh, and just so you gents don’t feel like the deck is stacked against you, the female dating prospects featured will definitely make anyone do a double-take, as well.
I must give kudos to supporting actor Nathan Taubert cast as the flamboyant patchouli-esque Tree. Tree is just fabulous as his peace and love portrayal of someone who really believes that his job as the event coordinator for the evening will provide singles with the opportunity to meet their life mates. And David E. McMahon is an authentic version of the eccentric Will, who, let’s just say is a true “Tree lover”, and I feel portrays the funniest feminine character in this film right down to his pink portable sippy cup.
Speed Dating is full of quick quips in dialogue like “Have you seen these bachelors in this circus?” (as a man dressed in a clown suit (Ken Anthony II) walks by, and I appreciated the literal “wink” to the independent film industry, with a clever nod during a dating scene.
While you may think that speed dating is for the college and post-graduate crowd, that myth is debunked within the first few frames of the film.
And, within the first minute of watching, I learned a lot – apparently many are very skeptical about speed dating, and scared enough, like the characters Brooke and Traci, to comply with the unwritten rules 1) never go it alone, and 2) never give your real name.
The first impression fashion choices of those about to meet up with prospective mates definitely will get your attention.
I wondered how the writer knew so much about speed dating in order to write a plausible screenplay with humor injected so brilliantly, so I asked.
“My inspirations for writing this film were the failed attempts at unconventional dating methods. I've done speed dating, blind dates, online dating, and meeting potential suitors at the bars - so many failed attempts. But, it gives for great writing material!"
"My production partners, Chelsea Wolf and Lexi Balestrieri, encouraged me to bring the best characters to life. We decided to use Speed Dating as a preview to our web series, "Relation Shipwreck." [I love the play on words – Relationship / Shipwreck] Many of the stories are based on our own experiences or observations from others' stories,” shares Davis.
In my experience, the films (books, performances, etc.) that are the most memorable, are those which are based upon real-life experiences. Speed Dating affirms that belief.
Krapfel, an emerging female director in the Tampa, Florida area, spearheads Bouncy Boxer Media’s strife for offering more opportunities to women directors in their productions. Lexi Balstrieri (cast as Brooke in this film) is slated to direct their next project, and Davis, herself, will direct a super short film, as well.
Speed Dating was just accepted into the Gasparilla International Film Festival. It screens Friday, April 1st as part of the Short Films LOL block from 5-6:30pm EST. It’s second in the line-up. If you’re in town you can see it at Muvico Centro Ybor 10, 1600 East 8th Ave., Tampa, FL 33605, and be sure to get your tickets here. While you can watch this on your iPhone, computer, or device of choosing, there’s definitely something to be said for watching it on the big screen, so go!
The comedy has also screened at ManaSota Films on October 21, 2015 in Sarasota as part of their monthly local screenings. It also screened at the Tampa Bay Underground Film Festival on December 6, 2015 during the final Comedy Block. It has not won awards yet, but the cast and crew are hopeful this year it will get more festival laurels and some awards.
“The performances we got were top notch and absolutely hilarious,” notes the writer, Davis.
Released by Bouncy Boxer Media, the name of the company is just as interesting as the characters in the film.
“I have a five year old boxer, and she’s so excited for every new experience,” shares Stefanie Davis. “Each film we make is so every person watching has the same feeling [as her] – she bounces with excitement. This is why we make comedy films.”
Lessons learned: If you try speed dating, be sure to drink the value of your admission fee at the very least to make sure you get your money’s worth in case your potential suitors don’t measure up. And a safer option, participate in THIS kind of Speed Dating, right from the comfort of your own home, for a virtual glimpse into a parody right here:
Find out more about Bouncy Boxer Media and its productions all of these ways! Pick one or pick them all!
Like Bouncy Boxer Media on Facebook
Subscribe to Bouncy Boxer Media on YouTube
Follow Bouncy Boxer Media on Twitter @Bouncy_Boxer
Bouncy Boxer Media is also starting to add their short films to an international VOD platform called IndieHomeTV – right here
All behind-the-scenes photography featured here is by Jay Knickerbocker Photography and Conaway Photography
And if you want to find out more about the Director of Photography, Rob Coggin, you can find him here on Facebook. Rob currently has a feature called Provenance being filmed and Lexi Balestrieri is directing.
I used to hate it. I mean, I really used to hate it. I would have been the poster girl in my teens and 20’s for saying “Valentine’s Day is just like any other day of the year.”
While there is truth to the idea, that you should not wait for a certain holiday or calendar date to tell someone you love, that you love them, the “Hallmark Holiday” can really carry a sting if you’re single.
Because, you’re supposed to be part of a couple! You’re supposed to be getting gifts. What!? You didn’t get a Valentine’s Day card? Wait! You did. From your dad. That doesn’t count. Or does it?
It ranks right up there with the theory you’re supposed to have a date for New Year’s Eve when you don’t.
See, Valentine’s Day – if you’re single – no one will give you roses or candy. You can’t go out to dinner with a boyfriend or girlfriend if you don’t have one. There’s so much pressure from society to “couple-up” on February 14th annually. And whether you walk into a Dunkin’ Donuts or a dollar store, beginning right after Christmas, it looks like Valentine’s Day threw up with red and pink hearts and decorations – All. Over. The. Place.
There’s no escaping it.
Don’t get me wrong. I am not anti-Valentine’s Day at all. At least, not in the sense that my daughter enlightened me to.
My daughter is 11 years old. I asked her what her favorite holiday was besides Christmas (and her birthday – she thinks her birthday is a national holiday on some levels : ) ). She said, “Valentine’s Day”. I was surprised. At age 11 she has not had any relationships or boyfriends. She really doesn’t understand romantic involvement yet.
I asked her why Valentine’s Day was her favorite holiday.
Manda answered, “Because it’s a day when people love each other. I love “love”. I love hearts and what they represent. I love you. I love Brisk (our dog). I love people telling each other, ‘I love you,’ always.”
Wow. Just wow.
She’s right. Isn’t that what Valentine’s Day should be about?
Through the eyes of babes…we can learn a lot.
It’s not about having a boyfriend or girlfriend. It’s not about being married or being single. It’s about loving others. It doesn’t matter if you love your dog or pet goldfish. And, you can (and should) love yourself. And even if none of those things thrill you, isn’t the concept of LOVE wonderful? That we, as humans, are capable of it!
She actually changed my thinking about the holiday.
When I was in my teens and 20’s, I dated. But, fate laughed at me, and I always wound up single on Valentine’s Day, no matter how hot and heavy things got in the months or weeks before with boyfriends at the time. So while some of my girlfriends were getting roses and bragging about them, I honestly wanted to hit them over the head with their bouquets. (Come on, some of you have to admit, deep down you felt the same way.) (It was kinda inconsiderate of them to flaunt their floral arrangements in front of me, after all.)
Even when I was in a relationship on Valentine’s Day, later on in life, it always felt like my significant other gave me flowers, candy, or a gift out of obligation – because it was February 14th… And honestly, I have to take an educated guess, that out of everyone who is attached to someone on Valentine’s Day, there are about 50% of couples where one person says something to themselves like:
“OMG. It’s Valentine’s Day tomorrow. If I don’t get her some roses and candy, she will never let me hear the end of it; and I won’t be able to sit and watch the game on TV without being yelled at. I better get her something just to keep peace, or I’ll never live it down.”
Or a version of that, which, can go vice versa, guy or gal, if their significant other comes up one flower short.
Is THAT what the holiday is all about?
Sadly, that is the truth in many, many relationships – and I know it is because many people have confided in me that exact kind of story. Societal pressure causes people to buy the mandatory card and go out to dinner on one of the most crowded nights of the year for restaurants, just because it’s – “Valentine’s Day”.
And, equally so, there ARE the couples that are truly enamored with each other and keep the magic alive, and can’t wait for another reason to celebrate their love. That’s awesome! But, you can do that any day of the year, and you should.
Video courtesy of HBO Films / New Line Cinema
I wish Sex and the City (the movie) (the first one), was around when I was a teen. Watching the famous Valentine’s Day scene between Carrie and Miranda changed the way that I view Valentine’s Day. To recap for those of you who have never watched it, both Carrie and Miranda just broke up with their significant others and were single (again) on Valentine’s Day. They decided to go out to dinner and the restaurant was decorated like V-Day on steroids with pink and red balloons dangling curly ribbon that danced in front of your face while you sat at your table. All meals were made special “for two” that evening. Before they placed their orders, the waitress referred to them as girlfriends in the couple sense. There was no escape.
I admired the characters portrayed. They were brave and attempted to go beyond the boundaries of Cupid’s definition of what one should be doing on Valentine’s Day. That scene encouraged me from that moment on to not be so concerned if I were single or dating on the date in question. Whereas, in my 20’s I felt crushed if I didn’t have a date or delivery of flowers.
Honestly, it’s no big deal. The quantity of flowers and candy received does not equate to the measurement of feelings that someone has for you.
(And ok, some of you at this point may be pointing fingers at me and saying in front of your smartphones, “Girl, you’re just bitter is all. Only a single woman who is a hater of Valentine’s Day would say this stuff.” My response: “I truly am a very, very happy woman, and will never need a man to measure that for me. Been there; done that. I’ve been married and am happily divorced. I love the single life. Give me my guy on any day of the year, and you’ll see me smile from ear to ear. And even when I choose not to post my relationship bliss to oblivion in public forums, I’ll still never make the mistake of judging someone’s love for me by materialistic mis-appreciation. Oh, and P.S. It's kinda hot keeping my private life private. It keeps people guessing! ;) )
(P.P.S. Don't get me wrong, I appreciate gifts on any given day - I'm just sayin' there's too much ado about Valentine's Day.)
If I’m in a relationship and the 14th rolls around – great. Awesome. That works for me. If I’m single, then I embrace the day for exactly what it is – and celebrate those who love me, and who I love back – whether it be my daughter, dog, best friend, or a kindhearted soul who comes across my way.
Marching to the beat of my own drum was just reinforced by that S.A.T.C. scene – once I saw it, I no longer worried about what others thought of me when I went to see a movie alone, or when I sat in a coffee shop at a table for two, with an empty chair across from me. I never was one to blend into societal “norms”. I have always been much more independent at heart. And when I follow my heart, not the heart-shaped boxes of candy on Valentine’s Day, I am much, much happier for it.
And with that, I end this with an “xoxo” to you all – and big, huge hugs.
NEW JERSEY, February 9, 2016 – Iconic adult film star, actress, celebrity, and model, Amber Lynn, famous for her starring roles in over 400 adult films since the 1980s, has joined the cast of 624 Productions, LLC’s feature film “Who’s Jenna…?” Amber has a cameo role, portraying a realistic fictional version of herself, as an adult film star.
“Who’s Jenna…?” is a comedy, also starring Tracey Birdsall, Bill Sorvino, Joseph D’Onofrio, and Garry Pastore. Amber Lynn joins other well-known cast members including actors Vincent Pastore (The Sopranos), Vic Dibitetto (Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2), and Lenny Venito (Men in Black II).
The film focuses on Jonathan Burke (Bill Sorvino), a successful financial advisor, as he starts dating Jenna Casey (Tracey Birdsall), an accomplished lawyer. Jonathan's best friend, Andy Roma (Joseph D’Onofrio) is convinced she looks exactly like a famous adult film star.
Not only does Jonathan have to deal with his friend’s nonsense, but he also has to juggle his relationship with his boss (Garry Pastore), who is possibly black-mailing him, and is Jenna's brother in-law.
A case of mistaken identity creates a whirling storm of comical chaos in Jonathan’s world.
Amber Lynn’s career is long and distinguished. She was a bikini and figure model involved in the raucous Sunset Strip club scene when she met Althea Flynt, the wife of iconic pornographer and Hustler founder Larry Flynt, and famed Hustler photographer Clive Mclean. Starting out in photo spreads for Hustler, Chic and Penthouse, Playboy, High Society and Club, she has been published in over 200 gentlemen’s magazines.
After a few years in the movies, Amber then succeeded as the highest paid live feature performer of her time. Now, Amber has now joined forces with 624 Productions.
“I'm honored to be included in this all-star cast of “Who's Jenna…?” and I look forward to working with the cast and crew on the film, and collaborating with Director Tom Baldinger on our first project together,” she said.
Amber is a member of the AVN Hall of Fame, and the recipient of The FSC Lifetime Achievement Award, as well as Hot D'or Lifetime Achievement Award, and countless others.
She currently hosts her own radio show, “Rock ‘N’ SeXXXy Uncensored” on LA Talk Radio and has multiple mainstream projects in the works.
“Who’s Jenna…?” started production in 2015 and is anticipated to premiere late spring of 2016 in both New York and Los Angeles.
Claudia Wells, the original “Jennifer Parker” of Back to the Future, is 24 and holding. Actually, her store, Armani Wells, just turned 24 and she’s celebrating!
When I first interviewed Claudia Wells in September, Back to the Future Day was the catalyst that had brought us together to reveal a personal side of the original Jennifer Parker, as never published before. With the whirlwind of a world tour, Claudia has travelled the globe, from Australia, through France, to Tokyo, and even to South America over the past three months, and she was drawn away from her daily life in Los Angeles, to fulfill her destiny as an icon from one of the most memorable movies of the 20th century.
Claudia spent the past three decades living life as a single mom, focusing on family first, and running her own upscale men's clothing store in Studio City, California. But there's something magical that transpires here, and there's no better time to showcase this than now, as Armani Wells turned 24 on December 19th.
Let me take you inside her store.
Claudia Wells has almost a quarter century of experience in winning over the trust of men, ranging from Roger Moore, to Mike Tyson, to the local businessman or aspiring actor wanting to dress to impress. She is the reason why Armani Wells’ success on Ventura Boulevard continues as her clientele come back repeatedly and spread the word of her store.
"Men are hunters and gatherers. Sometimes, the first time they come in to my store, is to check it out to see if it's where they want to take seriously and make purchase from. They always decide ‘yes’, which makes me happy," observes the experienced Claudia.
She takes pride in making sure that every man who enters her store is treated royally and is given the time he deserves when selecting exquisitely tailored jackets, designer suits, shoes of the finest leathers, and a look that will place him in the perfect spotlight.
I spent some time in her store last week and observed this for myself as I sat in the centerpiece chair where Mike Tyson had previously rested, as I couldn't begin to imagine who would walk through her door next. It can be anyone from a Hollywood A-lister, to a friendly pastor, to a hopeful girlfriend trying to revamp the look of her man.
Even if you don’t know where to begin, Claudia will literally size you up and steer you towards that debonair designer suit, so you’ll walk out of her store looking like a million bucks. As I sat there sipping my Arnold Palmer made with freshly squeezed lemonade and just-brewed iced tea (How California of me!) watching her work, it was fascinating to watch her disarm men as they placed themselves under her guidance to make sure that their sleeves weren’t too long, or perfected their polished look with a brown suede belt, or some incredible shoes that draw your eye downward as they could become the focal point of their personal presentation.
With the personalized attention you get from Claudia and her staff, it makes me want to be a guy for an afternoon just so I can shop there and be doted on!
What I love about her store is that it’s so eclectic. She had one Brioni men’s suit jacket that was the showpiece of the moment, situated at the front of her store. Meanwhile, men walked in and when they found something in their size, they jumped on it and grabbed it to go, as they knew that it would be scooped up if they didn’t buy it on sight.
The entire store is a shop of hidden treasures tucked in between classic and always authentic top-of-the-line menswear, sprinkled with movie memorabilia. You’ll find pictures of Claudia Wells with Michael J. Fox, and DeLoreans, and photos of her at events; as you look around it’s like going back in time with her over the course of her career.
And to watch Claudia in action, you can tell she absolutely loves what she does every day. Every customer and friend who walks through her store door makes her face light up with enthusiasm, and every single person who walks out leaves with a smile on their face (and usually several bags of clothing!)
(I’ll admit, I love seeing when a man goes on a shopping spree! Usually you think of a woman going into a store and buying mounds of clothing, but I’ve witnessed it first-hand that this happens, regularly, at Claudia Wells’ store!)
“My wish for my store in the future is that it always remains the fun, easy-going, loving place for me and my clients and customers to enjoy that it always has been. You walk in and are treated like a king and family, at the same time; and you leave so happy with your amazing new look or addition to your already full closet, and I can't wait for them to come back and tell me about all the compliments they got in their new clothes!” shares Claudia.
Next year will mark the big 25 for her on Ventura Boulevard! That will be a landmark celebration for sure! (There were 2 DeLorean's outside of her door this year on the 24th anniversary; I can't imagine what will happen in 2016!)
As far as Claudia and I were concerned, when it was closing time we found some of the best sushi on the west coast and enjoyed the evening like time had stood still since we last saw each other in New York. Except, it was colder, yes, colder than New York, walking through the streets of L.A. with jackets and scarves on, as the wind whipped around. Yes, I’m the girl who could pick the time to travel to Hollywood as record-breaking icy temperatures prevented my escape to someplace warm in winter. (Why me!?)
For those of you who aren’t able to visit Claudia’s store in person and meet her, don’t worry! She’s planning a lot of appearances in various venues, and I think I heard something about her getting back on the big screen real soon! :)
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You’ve seen comedian and actor Mike Marino, New Jersey’s Bad Boy of Comedy, before, but not like this. Not now.
When I feature someone more than once, it’s because there’s got to be something new and different and great going on that attracts my attention.
New Jersey is the birthplace of so much talent! Whitney Houston, Jon Bon Jovi, Bruce Springsteen, Gloria Gaynor, Frank Sinatra, and an endless list more. It doesn’t really surprise me when a Jersey girl’s or boy’s career takes off. There’s something in the water, I think.
So you know Mike Marino is funny. But not just locally funny. One of his videos went viral on Facebook, and that pretty much took him over the top with almost 6 million views to date.
So how do you top yourself once you’ve achieved this kind of presidential success, if you will? Once you’ve headlined steady gigs at the Laugh Factory in Los Angeles; have shows running up and down both coasts and via Vegas, and take your comedy act on tour on cruise ships, you must wonder what’s next.
Well, for Mike, let’s just say Hillary Clinton had something to do with him making headlines as of late. And when one of my talented friends in the entertainment business causes a rumble, well, I can’t help but pay attention.
Back in November Mike Marino made headlines after a performance at The Laugh Factory. After reading different versions of the story, I couldn’t help but feel that he was being subjected to a twenty-first century version of censorship a la Lenny Bruce. So what do I do? I ask him about it, point-blank.
“They had a Hillary Clinton look-a-like in the room, and we all made jokes towards her or about her and so on. It was funny as hell, but mine were mostly if I were in the White House,” explains Marino.
Ahhh… so the secret service is not actually after him. (At least not that we know of!)
Good thing, because I think if you go to a comedy show, the point is that you want to laugh, and you are taking a risk that some of the jokes may be at your own expense, especially if you are a public figure or friend of the comedian. It’s not ok with me when entertainers are subject to censorship. Freedom of expression is something that allows artists to grow and captivate audiences; it should never be subdued; especially if the purpose is to cause laughter.
So I’m glad we are able to set the record straight now.
Mike Marino is a little more generous than I am when it comes to people in the public eye being part of a comic’s routine and not finding it humorous.
“It all depends on who is doing it. Sometimes it’s funny and sometimes it’s just stupid,” he says.
It got me wondering, when someone criticizes his comedy, does he or would he alter his jokes as a result?
“I try to please the masses. It’s almost impossible. Someone will always hate what you do, even if they are the only one. I stick to what makes me laugh; and so far so good,” he shares with a smile.
Besides performing his belly-busting routine on stage, Mike Marino is spending time getting back to his roots. His career in entertainment actually started with acting, and also acting in commercials. In recent years, he has ventured back into what started it all for him – lights, camera, action!
Mike Marino has a role in the upcoming movie More Like Brothers as Dominic Olivieri, a pretty notorious mobster. It’s a 1930’s gangster movie set in the Camden, NJ, Philadelphia, and New York City areas. The screenplay is written by Ray Lombard, and is based upon a true story. Slated to direct the film is Brian Vernick. Casting is coming together, and so far we have actors Ronnie Marmo (General Hospital, West of Brooklyn), Vini Lopez (drummer for Bruce Springsteen’s band), and Joey Eye (Creed) joining Marino on screen.
Mike Marino jokes in his comic routine about how he’s always played the part of an Irish cop who gets whacked in the first 30 seconds of a movie, and more recently he’s even played a priest (Pizza With Bullets) - because he doesn't look like a stereotypical Italian. Since he is not a dark-haired, dark-eyed Italian, he’s been longing to play the role of a mob boss for quite some time!
“I finally get to kill someone!” he laughs. “I get to research a real person and do my best to walk, talk and be just like he was. My background is in theatre, so I will go deep inside myself to play this up right!”
When you are an actor, you are presented with many scripts and possible roles to play. I was curious as to why Marino selected this particular film to sign on to.
“I love mob films, and I love real-life stories. I look forward to being part of a cast and being on a set every day,” says Marino.
As we wrap up 2015, it’s hard to imagine what he aspires to have on his agenda next year.
Marino enthusiastically shares “I look forward to doing it all – non-stop performing and [acting in] as many films as I can!”
So get set to see more of him on stage and the big screen in the future!
On left, writer Ray Lombard of "More Like Brothers", then comedian / actor Mike Marino who is cast in the film as a mob boss, followed by Director Brian Vernick who will be at the helm of this movie, then me, the publicist for the film, and a friend of ours, actor Peter Gaudio, posing for a quick pic at the after party for one of Mike's shows in New Jersey.
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I LOVE the beach! And pools, and tropical places…but if you know me, you know I can’t pack light, and that includes heading towards the water itself. I mean, I need my phone for photos, my sunglasses, my sunscreen, and if I’m not staying at a hotel, I need some cash and probably some sort of identification that I’m going to stash in my wallet. Yes, I can put it in a stylish beach bag, but it’s a pain in the butt having to only swim or venture within eye shot distance of where I’m sitting to make sure that no one grabs my goods and runs off.
And, it’s much more fun to grab a drink with a girlfriend than have one of us stay back to babysit our stuff at the blanket.
When the inventors of AquaVault contacted me, they must have known I was looking for a solution for my tropical escapes. The AquaVault was featured on Shark Tank and The Today Show and is basically a portable water resistant safe that hooks around your beach chair (or bicycle, or if you’re a parent of wee folks – a stroller) so you can lock up your valuables while having fun.
Now, yes, someone can attempt to run down the beach with my entire beach chair, but it’s going to be a lot harder for them to do that than to just run off with my wallet in hand. This, is a pretty ingenius invention. You can find these at some resorts and water parks to rent, but why not have your own for your personal adventures?
These three guys even contemplated that you need more room than you think – so there’s no worry about upsizing your smartphone, or trying to figure out how you’re going to cram in a lipstick or car keys with all of your other “crap” :) They’ve got you covered. Look at what I stashed in here with room to spare!
Each AquaVault comes with instructions for personalizing your combination lock and it easily secures around the bar of a chair, bike, or stroller, and probably other things, too. Even I figured out how to reset the combo. And if you don’t want to worry about possibly breaking a fingernail, they include a circular lever key so you can slide it over, choose your 3 digit code, and place it back into operational mode in just a few seconds.
All of this travel talk is making me want to get up and go! Speaking of which…
Coming soon, they will have a soft-sided AquaVault available which can fit into smaller spaces and may be more preferential for packing in suitcases in certain circumstances.
Want one? Go here, buy, and never worry about leaving your valuables poolside again! Even Forbes thinks this is one of the greatest holiday gifts this year! And BuzzFeed thinks this should be on your list for Santa, too!
AquaVault is giving away one of their hard sided, sleek, space age white vaults to one lucky TheLadyinRedBlog reader! You know, after they’re done hanging with Shark Tank’s Daymond John at parties ;)
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I always think if you’re going to take the time to make yourself smell like something, why not make yourself smell absolutely delicious; like someone wants to take a bite out of you like a cookie? That usually means going with a soap or a scent that’s natural and organic. There’s nothing worse than smelling like something completely artificial that makes you wrinkle up your nose. Never mind what all of those toxic chemicals can do to you inside and out! (Scary stuff!)
It was a match made in cyberspace when The Choosy Chick and I connected. I have a love of the best in beauty, and she makes it her business to bring the most natural, beautifully scented, magnificently packaged, and hard-working cosmetics, creams, soaps, and more to your fingertips (and the rest of you too!)
My test to see if something is organic is believe it or not – to go near my dog. If he sniffs me uncontrollably and wants to lick me, that’s a pretty good indication he thinks I smell good enough to eat.
My test to see if something is organic is believe it or not – to go near my dog. If he sniffs me uncontrollably and wants to lick me, that’s a pretty good indication he thinks I smell good enough to eat.
The Choosy Chick makes it her business to scan over multitudes of the best of the best organic bath, body, makeup, hair, and face products for both guys and gals that 1) really do what they promise to do, and 2) are decadently delicious, while bringing you the benefits of what pure organic products have to offer.
While some of you may wonder why it’s worth paying the price for organic products, let me assure you that they last longer than most of your commercial brands made with cheaper ingredients infused with harsh chemicals. Soaps will last you much longer in the shower, and you’ll need a lot less of the hand creams to go a long, long way, for example.
So let me take you inside this temptation of soaps and hand creams that I have personally experienced so you can get a true idea of how decadent these gifts brought to you by Graham Gardens and Solavedi Organics truly are.
Oh, and when you get your box of from The Choosy Chick it comes perfectly wrapped once you open the box! It's like peeling back paper curtains, waiting to unveil your products! And each bottle, tube, and bar is cushioned with crinkled brown paper shavings in such a pretty rustic package.
Pumpkin spice latte– it’s the flavor of everything! So I just HAD to try Pumpkin Spice Latte Soap in their Winter Holiday Soap Collection. It was only a matter of time before this flavor craze made its way into a soap. Yes, you can now bathe in pumpkin spice latte fans of the flavor! It even looks like a pumpkin spice latte in solid form!
And, it smells just as delicious! If it weren’t sudsing up into a luxurious lather in the shower, I might have licked it off of myself.
Peppermint Cream Cocoa Butter Soap – This is so refreshing. The scent of it wakes you up in the morning but it does not tingle on your skin. It leaves you squeaky clean with a hint of mint. Even though these soaps are not deodorant soaps, have no fear because they will leave you smelling great and completely clean. I found that the cocoa butter based soap creates more suds in the shower – just in case you were the bubble-type.
Shimmering Wassail Soap is very original. You can actually see the spices in it: cinnamon, cardamom and nutmeg. I soap up using a washcloth, and you can see the spices mix in with the lather. This one is avocado oil based just like the Pumpkin Spice Latte Soap.
Sleigh Ride almost has the exact same ingredients as Peppermint Cream soap, but I would say it’s a slightly milder version of peppermint. This is a little less bubbly than the Peppermint Cream Cocoa Butter Soap and slightly more moisturizing.
You can’t decide which sounds the most scrumptious? Don’t worry, you can try to win a set of all four flavors of this soap below!
Now on to these luxuriously thick hand creams by Solavedi Organics that moisturize your skin with heavenly scents, like you just dipped your hands in cookie batter, or rose oil, or perhaps in liquid lavender, BUT! Without any greasy residue. You won’t have a slippery grip after you rub a dollop of any of these hand creams by Solavedi Organics into your skin.
If you’re looking for something to soothe your winter skin, try some of this on your hands, knees, elbows, and even your feet! It’s a pure indulgence, and pure in every sense of the word when it comes to the ingredients.
When I put on some of the Almond Apricot hand cream, my dog couldn’t sniff me enough! Truly, it smells like you dipped your hands in cookie batter – it’s that good!
I am a sucker for anything rose scented, and if I could slather this Rose Mandarin hand cream all over every inch of my skin, I would. (Actually, I just might do that! Why not!?) It’s not overpowering – it’s got just the right hint of rose which I think is naturally toned down by the mandarin oranges in here.
Let’s talk about the Lavender Grapefruit scented hand cream. Lavender anything – whether it’s this or the Lavender Citrus hand cream by Solavedi Organics, is going to instantly give you that mental escape of relaxation. Something about the lavender scent just triggers that emotion instantly. Love it!
Last but not least is the delicate scent of Daffodil Fern Leaf hand cream. This is one of the fresh green scented full size hand creams that The Choosy Chick is giving away. It’s not to frilly feminine and definitely green and clean scented enough for a guy. It reminds me of a beautiful spring day outside when you work it through your fingers feeling the softness sink in. (Yes, guys, girls like to grab soft hands!)
Pamper yourself or a friend this season with some tempting treats that they will enjoy from The Choosy Chick. There’s something for everyone on her site!
And, you never know, you may be the lucky one who gets a box full of Graham Garden’s Winter Holiday Soaps and Solavedi Organics Daffodil Fern hand cream if you enter the giveaway below!
From now through December 31, enjoy 10% off your order at thechoosychick.com when you enter code THELADYINRED. Happy Giftmas!
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I love delicate jewelry. It’s timeless and classic. Trends of chunky, clunky jewelry may go in and out, but a dainty linked chain accenting your neck or decorating your wrist is so elegant.
Speaking of trends, one trend I have found in recent years is that it’s really hard to find solid gold jewelry. Most stores and designers only carry gold plated charms and trinkets at best, and some only “gold tone” jewelry, because they feel it’s necessary to keep costs down and create pieces that look like they are worth their weight, when they are actually cheap replicas of what we really want of value.
I would rather invest in something that’s of quality and not a faux showpiece. That way, I can accessorize with pieces that last a lifetime.
I had the opportunity to select pieces from the Delicate Raymond Jewelry collection that I felt represented me. It was so easy to do as jewelry designer Michelle Zimmerman has anchored fan bases in New York, L.A., and around the world with her versatile, beautiful, and fashionable pieces in a moderate price range. She uses the authentic sustainable metals silver and gold, melded with semi-precious stones. Celebrity clientele include Miley Cyrus, Mischa Barton, Carrie Underwood, Tori Spelling, and the list goes on.
Personally, I love the look of exquisite gold jewelry and how it works well with my skin tone. Even if you’re more of a silver person, you will be pleased with the selection of unique, wearable artistic baubles offered at Delicate Raymond’s online boutique. You can customize chain length and crystal preference on most pieces.
Layering bracelets is something that always gets my attention, and it’s very on trend, so I selected two pieces, one plain with delicate gold beads (Beaded Chain Bracelet), and the other (Petal Bracelet) showcases some onyx crystals. I really love the look together. It’s very feminine and, as the name conveys, delicate.
Then, my favorite piece, has to be the tiny gold star pendant on a beautifully crafted thin chain. This is Delicate Raymond's Mini Star Necklace. The “star” of this necklace is the shimmering gold star itself. I love how it reflects light. The Delicate Raymond trademark of two tiny lotus pearls (which are a signature on every piece of jewelry) before the clasp, completes the unique look.
The star reminds me that I am reaching for the stars every day – we all are.
Look how beautifully this tiny gold star necklace reflects light!
These were my personal choices, but Delicate Raymond offers so many different looks that you can easily find one or more pieces that represent yourself or someone you love.
And their packaging is so cute! Look at the little bundle of brilliance that arrived! I love the circular containers that showcase the sparkly treasures inside! Included is also a personalized handwritten note. The little things matter.
All of you sparkle and shine, so Delicate Raymond is giving away this beautiful gold filled, beaded, 7” Daisy bracelet with onyx Swarovski crystals, so you can glimmer and shimmer, or gift it to someone who needs a little glitter in their life.
AND, get 30% off your Delicate Raymond Jewelry order when you enter coupon code 30LIR upon checkout! What a great holiday gift idea, and at a discount, too! Happy Giftmas! DON'T FORGET TO ENTER THE GIVEAWAY BELOW!
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