Friday, April 30, 2010

Flashback Friday - Sandra Bullock- Trailer for SPEED

Ms. Bullock has been in the news a lot lately. At least this cover is something positive.

She and the man who shall not be mentioned, started the adoption process four years ago. Louis Bardo Bullock came home in January. I can see why she did not want to talk about this in the middle of Oscar season. You can tell she has a good group of friends around her as nobody leaked this to the press.

I keep reading comments from people saying, "good to see someone adopt domestically." I doubt those people have any idea how difficult and expensive it is to adopt period and domestic adoptions are more difficult as there are different parental rights issues. Most children adopted from overseas live in orphanages. Very different from the situation in America.

Children are children and need a stable loving home. What difference does it make which country they come from?

I first noticed Sandra in a movie called "Demolition Man" but "Speed" is the movie that put her on the map.

I remember people saying there was no way a bus would be able to go 50 mph in L.A. traffic. Maybe 2 mph. heh.

Have a great weekend.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Day Trip to Bologna: Part I... Drogheria Della Rosa Ristorante

On Monday I went with my friend E. to Bologna. E. has been on serious lock down the last few months finishing up a book. Haven't seen her ages.

I've been in a horrendous mood lately and missed my friend, so I bit the bullet, got out the credit card and took the fast train to Bologna. On the way back to Rome the train was over an hour late but that another story.

This was my first trip to Bologna and I must go back. The city is tiny, population only 376,000. It's also quite beautiful. There are miles of porticos. The University of Bologna is the oldest in the Western world (founded in 1088) and there are students everywhere. Bologna is constantly rated as one of the top "livable" cities and I can see why.

Many people say this region of Italy has some of the best food in the country. I was definitely looking forward to lunch.

E's husband, aka The Professor, had to go to a meeting at the University with a colleague. In the morning we (myself, E. and their baby) went off to lunch while they had their meeting.

I did some Googling before the trip and the restaurant Drogheria della Rosa kept coming up. We decided to check out the menu then make a decision where to eat.

When we arrived, the owner was outside chatting. We decided to stay. We made an excellent choice.

The food was AMAZING. We started with some paper thin mortadella. It literally melted in out mouths.

E said her tagliatelle was "tears worthy". Her baby, who's only 18 months, did the index finger in the cheek movement (i.e. รจ buona!) after eating some of it.

I had eggplant ravioli. So freaking good and light.

The service was excellent. They kept refilling our glasses with Prosecco. The owner picked up Baby X when she started to get fussy and made her laugh. He also gave her some frittata and later a piece of watermelon for dessert.

We chatted with the owner for a while. He told us that Ambassador Thorne (the U.S. Ambassador to Italy) was there last week. We also saw a little article about the place in American GQ.

I agree with the article. There are several Michelin level places in Bologna but this restaurant on a side street knows their pasta. To me excellent Italian is about the freshness of the ingredients and the flavors. One can eat fancy, haute-cuisine in any decent sized city in the world. Finding an excellent Bolognese? That's a little rarer.

After this incredible meal we asked for the check. The owner told us not to worry about it. WHAT?! We left a big tip. We told him the Professor must eat at the restaurant and the owner said he'd get the money from him. ha.

We told the Professor to make sure he pays when he goes to eat there. He joked and said he wasn't going to go.

In the past I have received a free glass of wine or a dessert compliments of the chef and/or owner but a sit down meal? No. Never.

I mean, E. is very chic and Baby X might be the cutest baby on the planet but I almost fell out of my chair when he refused to give us a bill.

I was downright giddy after lunch. The food was so good and the three glasses of Prosecco helped.

Next, chocolate, Kettle chips and piazzas.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Flashback Friday - Gloria Estefan w/Marc Anthony - "Mi Terra"

I'm the middle of a massive Spring cleaning. It's raining today so my windows will have to wait.

I'm not the biggest fan of Gloria or Marc's English language music. I don't speak Spanish (since studying Italian I've been able to understand more of it) but I LOVE this music. It reminds of my childhood. My dad listened to a lot of Latin music and one of my babysitters was from Puerto Rico.

I need to turn up my music when I clean. I heard this song (the original version) and it brought a smile to my face. Maybe not one to my neighbors though, as me singing in Spanish (remember I don't speak Spanish) is probably not a pleasant sound. Anyway, this song is so upbeat, it's a perfect Flashback for a wet, dreary day.

Years ago I was with someone driving somewhere and she asked me how could I listen to music that wasn't in English. I had no words.

Music is music.

Have a great weekend.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Cool Roma birthday photos from Naked Rome

Rome turned 2763 years old yesterday.

That is hella old.

I thought these photos taken at Circo Massimo were very cool.

Naked Rome is one of my favorite photo blogs.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

"My Life in France" by Julie Child with Alex Prud'homme, "FOOD Inc." directed by Robert Kenner and "The Omnivore's Dilemma" by Michael Pollan

I've been reading and watching a great deal of non-fiction lately.

This memoir is wonderful. You do not need to be a fan of Julia Child's or French cuisine to find it a fascinating read. Julia didn't come into her own until her late 40s. Her conservative father wanted her to marry a banker and live in Pasadena like other well-raised women of that era. She was supposed to get her "MRS." at Smith not go work overseas for the agency that would become the CIA. The love story between her and Paul is very sweet. They arrived in Paris shortly after the end of World War II and I enjoyed reading about that era in history.

I read Michael Pollan's "In Defense of Food" and I'm a big fan of his common sense approach to food. I watched FOOD Inc. shortly after finishing Pollan's book. Perhaps not the best idea.

I wish every person in America could see this documentary. I was fuming. It's really an outrage what has happened in the last few years to our food supply. It's not bad enough that these big agribusinesss have ruined food in America they want to bring that mess to the EU. For the first time in 12 years, the EU is thinking of easing restrictions on Genetically Modified foods. Of course many people (especially farmers) are not pleased.

I'm not a vegetarian nor plan to become one. Since my move to Italy my meat consumption has plummeted. I only buy my meat from a butcher who could tell me exactly where my meat comes from. It costs more but I eat less meat, so it all works out. Meat is not supposed to be cheap. In fact, in America it wasn't until recently.

I was talking about this issue with some friends and family. My friends said most people truly don't care about the quality of their food and just want the cheapest product.

I was arguing that there's a disconnect between picking up chicken that is wrapped in plastic at the supermarket and the idea that it used to be a living creature.

If more people knew the chickens they buy never saw the sun and are stuck in a little cage their entire miserable lives they would make different choices. I think most people believe the chickens are running around like they used back in the day on most farms in America. Those days ended with the rise of McDonalds and other fast food companies.

Then again my friends might be right. Americans spend a lot less on food than other Westernized countries. I read Laura Ingram from Fox News went off on the idea of Meatless Mondays. She said it was elitist.

In the documentary they talk about the marketing of food. It's by design food is presented a certain way in America.

It bothers me that good quality food is considered a luxury. Thanks to subsidies, a Big Mac is cheaper than a bag of carrots. And we wonder why we're the fattest Western country on the planet? It's not right that so many school lunches (for many poor kids it's the only meal they eat that day) are so crappy.

Of course nobody is putting a gun to Americans' heads and saying eat meat three times a day or fast food every single day. That said, I still don't think we should let the big conglomerates off the hook. They pay lobbyists a lot of money to get legislation passed that benefits them and nobody else.

This documentary also shows the connection between this kind of legislation and illegal immigration. Seriously.

Okay sorry for the long post but this documentary blew my mind. I couldn't believe what I watching.

Have you seen it? What did you think?

Monday, April 19, 2010

The Restaurant Sora Margherita is Ghetto Fabulous.

A few weeks ago I finally went to lunch at Sora Margherita with two friends.

Annie has her own scooter guide/tour guide business and often sends her clients to Sora Margherita. Our friend Marianna, who used to live in Florence and Milan, was in town from New York City.

The restaurant is located in the Jewish Ghetto. The Jewish community in Rome is one of oldest in Western Europe. In 1555 the Ghetto was formed with three gates that locked the occupants in at night.

The word ghetto comes from Venetian dialect. It has a different connotation now but not all ghettos were poor. The Venetian one was very affluent.

The gates in Rome came down in 1888 but the Ghetto was reinstated during the Nazi occupation.

The history of this area is incredible. I can't imagine over 30,000 people forced to live in such a small space. Once the gates came down the wealthier occupants bought property else where. Of course now it's one of the most expensive areas in Rome.

The restaurant is a little hard to find. There's no sign. It's small and gets crowded very quickly. The crowd is eclectic. From construction workers to judges, this is a well-known local place for down home Roman and Jewish cuisine. It's not all. The prices are moderate and the food is so good. I will be back.

When you go for the first time you have to fill out a little card to become part of the "Associazione Culturale". Reservations recommended.

Sora Margherita
Piazza delle Cinque Scole, 30

If you go when artichokes are in season, you must try the deep-fried ones.

Cacio & Pepe. Still thinking about this dish. This is a half-portion.

Marianna looking fab.

The entrance.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Flashback Friday - Mad Men crew sings - Bye Bye Birdie


Brings back memories of singing with our movie crews during brutal night shoots.

How cute is Jon Hamm and the actor who plays creepy Henry Francis looks completely different.

Have a great weekend.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Variety annoucement about my script. We now have a director but...

there was drama. Variety (one of the two Hollywood trades) ran an article yesterday. The print version was not correct but Variety made the changes to the online version which is posted below. You can only read the link if you're registered/a subscriber.

Given this was my first sale, my team is a little salty with how the print version went down. It had the wrong information about the screenwriters. I'm beyond livid. Getting emails from colleagues in Hollywood asking me what happened makes it worse.

I used to work in PR and nobody really reads corrections. I know I'll get over it and there will be future announcements as the cast is hired (fingers crossed that things continue to move forward) but the last 24 hours were not fun. I woke up angry. God, I feel like I'm back in L.A. ha

Salim Akil to direct 'Jumping the Broom'
TV helmer making leap to bigscreen with laffer
TV helmer Salim Akil is making the leap to the bigscreen and will direct Sony's wedding-themed comedy "Jumping the Broom."

Story depicts the collision of worlds when two African-American families from divergent socioeconomic backgrounds get together one weekend in Martha's Vineyard for a wedding. Arlene Gibbs and Elizabeth Hunter penned the screenplay.

Envisioned as a low-budget project, "Jumping the Broom" is currently in development at the studio and is moving toward a tentative June start date in Nova Scotia.

If project comes together, it would likely go out through the Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions Group label.

Bishop T.D. Jakes, Tracey Edmonds, Glendon Palmer and Curtis Wallace are producing.

"Jumping the Broom" marks Akil's feature directorial debut. His TV helming credits include "Girlfriends" and "The Game," which BET is aiming to resurrect with Akil as the showrunner.

Read the full article at:

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

SAID...A place in Rome for lovers of chocolate

A few weeks ago, my friend Matt was in Italy for research and we met up in San Lorenzo. His New York Times cover story on Italy's Home Food program ran last weekend. HERE is the article. not read it if you are hungry.

A good friend of mine now lives in San Lorenzo so I have been spending more time there. It's a very funky neighborhood, near the university, with a lot of interesting street art.

San Lorenzo was the area in Rome most damaged by Allied bombing during WWII, which is ironic given the area was very anti-fascist. You can still see some of the damage.

A couple months ago my friend Marco pointed out a chocolate store located in side alley. We passed it after dinner. The store was closed and I made a mental to return.

When Matt suggested we check it out during a cold, wet day I couldn't be happier. I was not prepared for what awaited my eyes and nose.

I'm not even a big chocolate person (I'm more into Jelly Bellys and Swedish Fish when it comes to candy) but this place is INSANE.

The SAID Antica Fabbrica Del Cioccolato has been around since 1923. I kind of wish I didn't know about it. I actually schlepped across the city just to buy some chocolate. I savored every single piece. My favorite bars so far are ones with cinnamon and the ones with little pieces of biscotti.

There is a restaurant in the back. I was too distracted to look at the menu.

Via Tiburtina, 135
+(39) 06 446 9204

We were there before Easter. They had great baskets, eggs and bunnies.

Jars of chocolate covered goodness.

Matt trying to decide what to buy. He said the hot chocolate was amazing.

I need some chocolate.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Oh snap! Roma takes the lead over Inter in Serie A.

I'm not even going to call my friend G. He's a hard core Inter fan.

Yesterday people were honking horns, cheering and all the bars were packed.

To tell you the truth, I'm in shock.

Roma started out terribly this year. So much so, their coach was fired.

That they are actually in the lead for Serie A is unbelievable. Inter (one of the Milan teams. AC Milan is the other and they are in third place) has had Serie A on lockdown the last couple of years.

I have already been warned that if Roma wins the Scudetto (Serie A Championship), it's going to be bananas. Roma is still the underdog and their lead is only one point.

We'll see what happens with the last few games of the season. It's so exciting...well maybe not for Inter fans. Poor G.

Friday, April 09, 2010

Flashback Friday - Winona Ryder - Girl Interrupted Trailer

Winona has joined the cast of a Vince Vaughn/Kevin James comedy. The town (Hollywood) is saying it's her comeback.

Shoplifting issues aside, I wondered what happened to her career. One casting director said now that Winona is starting to actually look a little older, it will be easier to cast her. Winona is in her late 30s but for the longest time looked like she was still in college. You couldn't cast her in the same dramatic roles as her peers and she wasn't really known for comedy.

I had to think for a while, what was the last memorable movie for her. I remember going to screening of "Girl Interrupted". The minute Angelina Jolie's character showed up, Winona was done. Angelina blew her off screen. As it was an industry screening everyone was talking how Winona was the star of the movie but you completely forgot about her. Not a good sign.

Then the shoplifting thing happened, along with some poor films choices and Winona was off the radar.

I'm curious to see what she will do with this new role and where her career goes from here.

I thought the trailer below was too lighthearted for a pretty intense movie.

Have a great weekend.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Frascati - a quick day trip from Rome

My friend T and I decided to check out Frascati. It's only a half hour train ride from Termini.

Trains leave from Track 15 (double check) which is a funky track hidden between tracks 14 and 16. Do not forget to validate your ticket. Tickets are 1.80 euros each way.

The area is known for its white wine and its porchetta. T said hers (from Leda, the Queen of Porchetta) was so good she would take the train just to buy some more from the vendor and then return to Rome.

During the summer Frascati is a popular destination for Romans escaping the heat and traffic of Rome.

Once you arrive, you walk up a long flight of stairs to reach the main piazza. The views are incredible.

The porchetta vendors are located in Piazza del Mercato. There's also a fruit stand, a bakery (with very yummy pastries), a chocolate shop and other places to eat. Things do close down for the pastry shop.

Interesting church.

Overlooking Rome.

My friend taking a photo.

Villa Aldobrandini.

Friday, April 02, 2010

Flashback Friday - Easter Edition - Morning Has Broken - Cat Stevens

Along with "Every Morning Is Easter Morning" we used to sing this song at Verona United Methodist Church.

When my family lived in New York City we used to go a local church up the street most of the time but maybe once a month we went to a big church in Harlem. Beulah Wesleyan Methodist church on W 136 Street seemed massive to me. Many of my relatives went there. There was a large Caribbean congregation and the church was in the historic Hamilton Heights area.

As a child I actually liked going to church. I got to spend time with my friends, wear pretty dresses, cute shoes and listen to great music followed by a nice lunch. It was was fun.

My teen years? Not so much.

Anyway, once we moved to the 'burbs the music was different. While my parents are not fans of "clap hands churches", hello, they're Methodist not Baptist, I do remember the choirs in New York singing gospel along with classical music. Our choir in Verona did not do gospel. ha

Easter was a big deal in my house. Relatives would come over a dinner. There were sunrise services and an Easter Egg hunt for the kids. I would get a basket with candy and when I was younger, an Easter outfit. It seemed like Easter really kicked off the Spring season.

As you can imagine, Easter week is a big deal in Italy. There are so many tourists in town.

I love the Italy holiday of "Pasquetta" aka Little Easter. This is celebrated the day after Easter. Everyone takes off for the country, hills, park or beach to enjoy a fantastic lunch outdoors with family and friends. It's a way to celebrate the end of the solemn season of Lent and nature. Some people plan their Pasquetta weeks in advance. They are not playing when it comes to food. Last year I went to a lunch that lasted a good four hours.

I have to work this weekend but I might treat myself to a little chocolate.

This SONG from a live taping on ABC, is just beautiful and moving.

It reminds me of Sundays with my, church, New York Giants.

Buona Pasqua tutti!

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Two years ago today I arrived in Rome.

I don't believe it.

A lot has changed since my first day in Rome.

My big goal for this year is to continue to improve my Italian. It's getting better. Being back in class and meeting a friend for language exchange has helped a great deal.

My other goal (and quite difficult) is to not stress out so much about my career.

I'm going through some crazy work stuff back in L.A. It's like nothing is going right. It's very frustrating.

So much is out of my control. Once I send my script off, that's it. I have to wait, wait and wait.

Hopefully, I will hear some good news from Hollywood during the next few months. I must think positive or else I wouldn't be able to get anything done.

These last two years have been amazing. I think about how I was when I first arrived. I was in quite a state.

I was bitter, burnt out, broke, single, pessimistic, tired, heavier and full of negativity.

I'm still single and broke but everything else has changed...drastically. I don't know what the hell happened to me those ten years in L.A. I lost my foundation somehow.

Since the move overseas, I've reconnected with the things that are most important to me.

Five years ago I came to Italy for the first time. I wasn't an Italophile. I wasn't going crazy over coming to Rome. I was just happy to take a little vacation during one of the most stressful moments of my life. The months prior to my trip had sent me into a pretty bad downward spiral. I wasn't sure if I would snap back.

I know it sounds very Eat, Pray, Love but that little trip saved me and completely changed my life.