a.k.a. "The Oscar Messenger"

SH Rainbow 1Yes! That’s right Kickstarter fans! Dear Readers, Dear Cineastes! Dear Lovers of Theatre! My new Kickstarter Project “Get Stephen Holt to the Toronto Film Festival 2015″ has just launched on Kickstarter! And I’m humbled and honored to have their support once again in the attempt I make every year come hell or highwater to get to TIFF, as it’s abbreviated, and to see as many films as I can and interview as many stars as possible! And to bring attention and coverage to YOU my loyal fans and readers films that you might not otherwise hear about.

Here’s the link that I actually just sent out as a tweet! I’ve never done that before! “Just launched a new Kickstarter project to help The Stephen Holt Show get to the Toronto Film Fest. Details at  ”

Tweeting I mean. It’s a whole new world to me but then so was Facebook, which I resisted for years, and now I look at it a million times a day, at least. And also blogging. And here I am four-five years later and still posting to YOU!

If you are able to help, please do. The video put together once again by the great Kevin Teller tells the tale.

I couldn’t do what I do without your help.

Lili GradmaLily Tomlin’s Grand “Grandma” Creates Oscar Buzz at Provincetown FIlm Festival 2015 

Lily Tomlin’s totally grand “Grandma” wowed the crowd and was the hottest ticket at the just wrapped Provincetown International Film Festival 2015. With lines around the block and dozens of frustrated festival-goers turned away, there was no doubt that “Grandma” had audience clout. And there was plenty of heated discussions about Tomlin’s Oscar chances as far as being nominated for her bravura turn that could finally land her in the Best Actress race, at age 75, garnering her first Best Actress nomination as Elle, the Septuagenarian Lesbian Poet From Hell. And the general conclusion was “Yes. She will be in it to win it.”
 
Which is exactly the sentiments Elle herself would express, if asked. Elle is Tomlin’s great late-in-life come-back role and she tears into it with fierce gusto, as well as sad-eyed pain. Her teenaged, blonde-afro-ed grand-daughter Sage(Julia Garner), turns up pregnant and needing money for an immediate abortion. Grandma is broke and has cut up all her credit-cards and turned them into a mobile. 
 
How Elle solves Sage’s age-old problem is the hilarious/heart-felt crux of the film, and Marcia Gay Harden, already an Oscar winner for “Pollack”, turns in an awards-baity performance as Elle’s disliked daughter and Sage’s equally disliked Mom. Tomlin was nominated once before for an Oscar in 1975’s “Nashville”, but she has never won. And that was 40 years ago!
 
The Provincetown weather this year was not the usual tourist-friendly warmth and sunshine by the sea. It was cold and it rained. Which meant everyone went to the movies. And the movies were better than ever!
 
Also a stand-out was former stand-up comedian-turned-director Bobcat Goldthwait’s “Call Me Lucky”, purporting to be about fellow stand-up Bostonian Barry Crimmins, it turns into a scathing indictment of the Catholic Church and its’ continuous cover-up of child abuse. In an abrupt, but deftly-handled 360 degree turn in the film, Crimmins reveals that he himself was an abused child. And the film keeps hauntingly returning to the subject “The Basement,” where the abuse happened, and then finally taking the film and Crimmins to the basement itself. Harrowing,”Call Me Lucky” is not to be missed. I saw it twice and feel it is one of the Year’s Ten Best. It goes into wide-release in 25 cities in August.
 
Another doc, (PIFF was really landing one great documentary after the other) that thrilled me and made me very, very proud was the stirring “The State of Marriage” which dealt with the hard-fought battle for Marriage Equality in the State of Vermont. 
 
In excruciating and amazingly detailed on-the-spot footage, this inspiring doc tells the untold story of how three women lawyers changed the world. Bostonian activist Mary Bonauto joined with small town Vermont lawyers Beth Robinson and Susan Murray in a two decade long, epic struggle and built the foundation of the laws and rights that has made so many gay couples happy today.
 
“The State of Marriage” is a thrilling call to arms that enlightened me and frightened me when I saw in vivid detail what these brave women had to go through for the happiness of us all. And that it was all so intimately, thoroughly and dramatically recorded by documentarian Jeff Kaufman is a miracle about a miracle. A dream that I thought would never come true in my life-time, but the brilliant ” The State of Marriage” confirms and records that it IS so, and moves us all as it does.
 
And watch out for the delightful “Mistress America” starring the irresistible and original comedian Greta Gerwig, who also co-authored this screwiest of screwball comedies with director Noah Baumbach, who may have the biggest hit he’s had since “The Squid and the Whale.”
 
“I live in Times Square!” proclaims the giddy Gerwig, and the response is “Who lives in Times Square?” Well, full disclosure, I, for one, do. And the glorious Gerwig had me at “Hello.” The beauteous Heather Lind also scores as Gerwig’s rich arch-enemy who has stolen not only her ideas and her boyfriend, but also her cats! Mayhem ensues.
 
Also, the much talked about, very original doc “The Wolfpack” was there at Provincetown, too, even though it is already out in general release. There’s a lot of Oscar talk about his incredible film, already seen on “60 Minutes”, “The Wolfpack” is so powerful and so positive about the good things film can bring even to the lives of the enclosed, some would say imprisoned Angulo brothers.
 
Living in absolute squalor on the 14th floor of a high-rise in the worst housing projects in New York City, the six brothers escape into a world of film, a world we all know. Quentin Tarantino movies, “The Dark Knight” etc. Could “The Wolfpack” make it all the way to the Oscars in the Best Doc category?
 
I think it’s pretty much known that this film has a happy ending and that first time filmmaker Crystal Moselle has had a kind of “Grey Gardens” story on her hands. So it’s all good. As were nearly all of the amazing docs and off-beat Indies at this year’s super-sharp Provincetown Film Festival. Sure it was raining. It was raining good films.

 

SH Rainbow 1Happy Pride, Everybody! Dear Readers! Dear Cineastes All! A VERY Happy Pride!

George Takei

STATEMENT FROM

GEORGE TAKEI

ON HISTORIC SUPREME COURT DECISION

 

(New York)

George Takei is traveling this morning, but upon receiving the news of today’s Supreme Court Decision released this statement on behalf of himself and the entire company of his upcoming Broadway musical Allegiance.

 

“This is a happy day, not just for LGBT Americans, but for all Americans. It is the beginning of an era where we no longer will speak about same-sex marriage, but of marriage. And one day, we need not speak of LGBT rights, for they simply will be human rights. Across this great land, families are celebrating because we truly are one family”.

 

This is a thrilling moment in time.  As with the story of Allegiance, we are truly “One Family…Indivisible.” This historic day and decision by the highest court in our land makes us all truly united and one.

###

 

Marriage Equality 2

CELEBRATE LOVE AND EQUALITY FOR ALL AT

 

“ I T   S H O U L D A   B E E N   Y O U ”

 

WITH BUY ONE GET ONE FREE SPOUSE TICKETS

IN HONOR OF THE SUPREME COURT’S HISTORIC DECISION

 

 

New York, NY (June 26, 2015) In honor of the Supreme Court’s historic decision to give marriage equality to all, It Shoulda Been You is inviting everyone to celebrate love and equality with buy-one, get-one-free tickets to share with your spouse (even if you haven’t had the chance to make it officially legal yet!).  This special offer is valid for just 72 hours and will end Monday, June 29, 2015 at 12 pm.   It Shoulda Been You’s equality offer is valid for all performances in July.  The offer may be redeemed via Ticketmaster.com using the code MEQ1, by calling 877-250-2929, or in person at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre box office (256 W 47Th Street).

 

Directed by Emmy and Tony Award-winner David Hyde Pierce, It Shoulda Been You has been celebrating marriage equality since it began performances in March.  The only show on Broadway to include a gay wedding, a lesbian wedding, and a straight wedding, the production regularly expands on its message of love and acceptance in a variety of ways.  Several couples have proposed and exchanged vows on stage, including a young gay couple who are now happily engaged.  The producers of It Shoulda Been Yourecently invited all of the Justices of the Supreme Court to see the show for a positive example of what love and marriage equality look like.

It Shoulda Been You is a culture clash for the ages when two families from wildly different backgrounds come together to celebrate a wedding.  As if the union wasn’t complicated enough, the bride’s ex-boyfriend arrives, bringing the wedding to a screeching halt and throwing both families into hysterical chaos. Plots are hatched, promises broken, secrets exposed – and the bride’s resourceful sister is left to turn an unmitigated disaster into happily ever after. It Shoulda Been You puts a refreshingly modern spin on the traditional wedding comedy, proving that when it comes to wedding day insanity, it’s all relative.

It Shoulda Been You features an original book & lyrics by Brian Hargrove and music by Barbara Anselmi.  Tony and Emmy Award-winner Tyne Daly and Tony Award-winner Harriet Harris, lead an all-star cast of Broadway luminaries which also includes, Sierra Boggess, David Burtka, Lisa Howard,Edward Hibbert, Tony Award-nominee Montego Glover, Josh Grisetti, Adam Heller, Michael X. Martin, Anne L. Nathan, Nick Spangler and Chip Zien.

The full creative team for It Shoulda Been You includes Josh Rhodes (Choreography) Anna Louizos(Set Design), William Ivey Long (Costume Design), Ken Billington (Lighting Design), and Nevin Steinberg (Sound Design), with additional lyrics by Jill Abramovitz, Carla Rose Fisher, Michael Cooper, Ernie Lijoi and Will Randall.

It Shoulda Been You is produced on Broadway by Daryl Roth, Scott Landis, Jane Bergère, Jayne Baron Sherman, Patty Baker, Broadway Across America, Clear Channel Spectacolor, Gloken LLC, James L. Nederlander, John O’Boyle, Judith Ann Abrams/Jacki Barlia Florin, Old Campus Productions/Ready to Play, and Sara Beth Zivitz/Passero Productions.

It Shoulda Been You plays Tuesdays at 7 pm, Wednesdays at 2 pm and 8 pm, Thursdays at 7 pm, Fridays at 8 pm, Saturdays at 2 pm and 8 pm, and Sundays at 3 pm.  Tickets are on sale to the public via Ticketmaster.com or by calling 1-800-653-8000. A limited number of $35 Rush Tickets are also available for same-day purchase at the Brooks Atkinson box office. There is a limit of 2 rush tickets per person, and they are only available in-person at the box office.

 

Marriage Equality 1In an historic ruling this morning, the Supreme Court of the United States has ruled that Gay Marriage is now legal and the law of the land!

I never thought I’d live to see the day. This is what we have all been struggling for all these years and now it’s finally happened! I’m overcome with joy and gratitude to all my GLBT brothers and sisters who have fought the long, hard fight and many of them their lives and careers to the Gay Rights movement that started with some angry drag queens at Stonewall in 1969, and has ended today in 2015 with this historic ruling.

What a moment for us all! Words cannot express…

Harper leeEveryone in the reading world right now seems to be obsessed with Harper Lee, the author of “To Kill a Mockingbird.” And the question of why did she write only one book?

A Southern novelist to the core, the same question can be applied to that other great Southern writer of one,  only one highly successful novel,Margaret Mitchell. And that novel, of course, was “Gone with the Wind.”

I never thought it was a particularly confusing question. The international acclaim, critically and monetarily would be hard to top. They said what they had to say, and that was that. Same question as why did Greta Garbo retire so early? She wanted to.

But now another NEW book by Harper Lee has purportedly been discovered and will now be published in July. The suspense is mounting. Is it any good? Will it be the caliber of “To Kill A Mockingbird”?

How can it be?

It’s an impossible mountain to climb, and the fact that it was written a long time ago, maybe a VERY long time ago makes me feel that Harper Lee, being the wise woman that she was/is, just didn’t want it to be seen or read.

This may and I emphasize MAY have been the first book she wrote BEFORE “To Kill a Mockingbird” made her a literary sensation.

The book that she shopped around to publishers when she was an unknown first novelist in New York struggling to make her name. And it was rejected by everyone. I know the feeling.

And THEN she wrote “Mockingbird” plainly and simply and it, like “Gone With the Wind” really did not need a follow-up.

“Go Set a Watchman” – What an awkward, collegiate writing class title! Is probably not a patch on “Mockingbird.”

I think this whole thing is a literary stunt of the first water. Maybe she needs the money in her twilight years. Maybe, it’s been suggested, she doesn’t really know, cognitively, what really is going on with her unheard of, silent second book. Or was it her first surpressed one?

We’ll find out very soon. One thing’s for sure. It will be an international best seller. Interest in it is very, very high. But will it be any good? Or will it be very bad? That remains to be seen.

I, for one, can’t wait. And “Hey, Boo!” is a great documentary on Lee and is coming up soon on PBS. Don’t miss it.

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