Saturday, March 16, 2019

My Irish Grandmother

Josephine Bridget Donahue was a force of nature. She stowed away on a ship sailing from Ireland to America when she was only fourteen years old. She ended up in Pueblo after marrying a young man from Scotland who was hired as the first crane operator for the CF&I. When her husband was killed in a work-related accident, Grandma Donahue was left with four young children to raise on her own. She used the benefits from the steel mill to establish successful businesses on Bay State Avenue and became known as “The Duchess of Bay State.” 

Grandma's courage and tenacity have been an inspiration to me, so I wrote an article hoping it would inspire others who face obstacles that seem impossible to overcome. I am so happy that my article was published by the Colorado SENIOR BEACON in this month's issue. Many thanks to Ron Phillips and Christine Casillas for the beautiful presentation -- on the front page! 

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Tuesday, March 12, 2019

César González, R.I.P.

I feel great sadness about the recent passing of a dear friend in San Diego who spent most of his life helping students and the community. 

For César González
Betty Jo Tucker

Your poetry and elegance
and love of words always made sense.

A scholar and a gentleman.
So easy to become your fan.

Helper, teacher and leader too.
One of God’s most chosen few.

Missing you hurts deep inside.
A sorrow we can never hide.

But rest in peace, dear César G.
 Your reward now – Eternity.

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Friday, March 01, 2019

Exquisite Poetry

Many thanks to author/poet Ronald Hull for his encouraging comment about my film poems. After reading my poem about Velvet Buzzsaw on AuthorsDen, Ron wrote, “I haven't told you lately that your poems are exquisite and capture the essence of the films you review beautifully.”

Below is my Velvet Buzzsaw poem.


Velvet Buzzsaw will chill your skin
when you find out the shape art’s in.
Jake Gyllenhaal in a strange role,
playing it to the hilt his goal.

This art critic thinks he’s the best.
His critiques beat all the rest.
But when he falls for dead man’s art
normal things start falling apart.

Zawe Ashton gets greedy here.
So we’re afraid to give a cheer.
Yet might we do the very thing
that she does for the golden ring?

John Malkovich, Rene Russo
add strong support. So here we go
along for such a scary ride
about what in ART we can’t abide. 

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Saturday, February 09, 2019

Beautiful Painting by Joe Adamich

My husband Larry and I love this beautiful painting by Pueblo artist Joe Adamich. It was given to us by our family last Christmas. 

We both have fond memories of the Cosmopolitan Club. As a child, I lived there with my Grandma Donahue, who ran the place. I remember tap dancing on the huge dance floor and loving it when customers threw pennies to me after I finished performing. 

And Larry was a part-time bartender there after we married. No wonder this painting brings back so many memories. We just had to give it an honored place in our living room! 

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Saturday, February 02, 2019

A Lovely Review

I’m so happy that filmmaker Alexander Hanno has given us permission to use his comments below in any PR for CAKE: A Love Story!    

I watched Cake: A Love Story and found it so bitter-sweet (figuratively bitter and a literally sweet). I can't believe that Elizabeth and Harry Lawrence came back together after so long apart and such independent journeys in the interim. It's a really beautiful story, peppered with some moments of true heart break and I'll tell you, it makes for great filmmaking. I was particularly smitten with the production design behind the two ‘documentary’ shots of the lead couple. I loved how the design in those shots helped paint a picture of each character before we ever got to know the pair throughout the story. Visual storytelling is so crucial and such a genuine breath of fresh air.” ---  Alexander Hanno, writer/director of Elephants

Congratulations again to Misha Zubarev, Vera Zubarev, and their terrific cast and crew for a wonderful transfer of IT HAD TO BE US -- the romantic memoir my husband and I co-wrote under the pen names of Harry and Elizabeth Lawrence -- to the screen! 

And thanks to Alexander Hanno for his encouraging review. 

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Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Going for the Gold

Congratulations to all the Oscar nominees announced this morning! Although, as usual, some worthy candidates failed to make the list, the Best Picture race looks very interesting. In fact, it motivated me to write the poem below.  

Roma and The Favourite clash
for Oscar gold and future cash.
Which one will win the statuette?
We are not sure, at least not yet.

Other movies could win the prize.
Like Black Panther or even Vice.
Bohemian Rhapsody might
put up a most terrific fight.

But A Star Is Born and Green Book
should not be films to overlook.
And BlackKkKlansman might be the one
to win Best Film when all is done. 

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Friday, January 18, 2019

Comic Comeback

Some people are born with an extra-powerful funny bone. They don’t need an act or a writer or a paying audience. They see humor around them every day and revel in sharing their amusing observations with everyone. In The Last Laugh, Buddy Green (Richard Dreyfuss) appears to fit this description. He started out being a great stand-up comic whose agent (Chevy Chase) booked him for a spot on The Ed Sullivan Show back in the 1960s, which was considered the crown jewel of comedy gigs then. But Buddy just up and quit. His agent, Al Hart, hasn’t seen or heard from him for half a century.

Imagine Al’s surprise when Buddy turns out to be his tour guide in the elderly assistance home he’s moving into. Even more surprising, Buddy is still getting laughs and being the life of the party. But soon both men, who are in their 80s, get bored and decide to try show biz again.  Al finds his old rolodex and starts calling his contacts.  

And so begins a tough but revealing road trip from Los Angeles to New York, with Buddy performing in stops along the way.            

A comeback after fifty years?
If successful, that would rate cheers.
An agent thinks it’s worth pure gold
but comic believes he’s just too old.

Yet funny man still cracks his jokes
and gets laughter among most folks.
Agent and client hit the road.
Both elderly, so it’s a load.

Watching these two is lots of fun
with a tear or two when it’s done.
Chevy Chase and Richard Dreyfuss
know the way to entertain us!

Chevy the straight man in this show,
while Richard’s humor seems to glow.
Together they make quite a pair.
Not praising them would not be fair.

Chase and Dreyfuss play off each other like the pros they are. Yes, Chase must hold back his own humorous side to make way for Dreyfuss’ comic tour de force. But this casting works. While watching The Last Laugh, my husband and I found ourselves laughing more than at any movie since Paddington 2.       
 Fortunately, all cast members deliver the goods here. Standouts include: Andie MacDowell as an adventurous hippy follower; Lewis Black as a fellow comic with an important decision to make; Chris Parnell as Buddy’s worried son; and Kate Micucci as Al’s concerned granddaughter.

Although not a perfect movie (fantasy segment, I’m talking about you), The Last Laugh reminds us how important it is to follow your dream at any age.       
(Released by Netflix and rated TV-MA.)

NOTE: This review is dedicated to the late great George Bettinger, who will always be Mr. Showbiz to me.

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