Based on True Events, The Bling Ring Opens in Theaters

There is an overwhelming amount of news about Hollywood celebrities that at times can be nauseating. Some is true, some is exaggerated and some things many people do not have time to really care about, considering what some people face on a day to day basis. I totally missed the news a few years back about the affluent California teens that broke into celebrities’ homes and stole their apparel and accessories, cash, drugs and home goods, among other items. It was probably something I may have heard of briefly, but dismissed, thinking it was another marketing gimmick to keep celebrities in the news. Lindsey Lohan, who has been accused of theft herself, was a target among other celebrities.

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These true life events are now dramatized on the big screen as The Bling Ring by director Sofia Coppola, and her screenplay is based on the Vanity Fair article, The Suspects Wore Louboutins, by Nancy Jo Sales. This is not a documentary, but after viewing this film that runs 87 minutes, I can’t help but think there is something missing from the story. The screenplay does give a little background on the young people in the theft ring, but I would have preferred to have had more details on them, so it appears as if these filmmakers may have edited out too much.

For other viewers in my situation who may not have known the facts about these true life events, there is no indication as to the dates these events occurred. As the film is wrapping, these affluent people are shown as receiving extremely light sentences for the crimes committed, considering the goods stolen were in the millions. It would have been more interesting to know if they are still in jail or out living it up with their affluent parents who could afford the good lawyers. There is a variety of people involved in the theft and one in particular seems to have become a celebrity for it, spinning her web of deceit and is apparently glad for her time in the limelight.

The film is rated R for teen drug and alcohol use, and for language, including some brief sexual references. I am surprised that in the film, the teens are shown using drugs and alcohol quite a bit, yet none of the characters in this film appear as if drug use and hard partying has any effect on them, their behavior or appearance. The squeaky clean look is not realistic for having been excess alcohol and cocaine users, so then I do not feel this story reflects the complete story. They party and stay out all night with this heavy drug use and the parents (in this film) never seem to notice the change in behavior, how late they stay out, where they have acquired the new clothes and money, etc., except for one scene when a mother asks and believes the daughter’s lie.

Unbelievable, I still say. But hey, this is what our world has come to; the affluent that have enough still want more and somehow seem to find a way to justify robbing others to acquire the goods some people are dismissing as a “youthful mistake.” Unfortunately, the reality is if less affluent teens are tempted to do the same, or similar, stealing goods that amount to a lot less than millions, the justice system may not be as kind to them in California or other states.

The Bling Ring stars Emma Watson, Israel Broussard, Katie Chang, Claire Julien, Taissa Farmiga, Leslie Mann, Gavin Rossdale, and Paris Hilton, who was a victim of this ring’s criminal adventures. The overall performances are good, but my favorite two are Watson and Broussard as they interpret their real life character’s story.

There is some original music by Brian Reitzell and Daniel Lopatin that can be a draw for some viewers, as well as songs by some major recording stars, so I definitely give the filmmakers props for their selection of music. The Bling Fling opens in theaters nationwide June 21st. It will be fine for a matinee, but otherwise, I do not think it is worth the full price of admission.

Liz Lopez

Rating B-/C+

Source: A24

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Documentary, Scatter My Ashes At Bergdorf’s, in Austin Theaters May 24th

At first I was not quite sure what to expect in a fashion documentary about a historic store in New York, but then again, it is not just any store, it is a destination for shopping for people from near and far and I do mean far, as it is known internationally. After viewing it, I learned it so much more than about fashion in New York and where it all happens.

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I am writing about the fashion documentary written and directed by Matthew Miele, Scatter My Ashes At Bergdorf’s. The cinematography and film editing by Justin Bare is very impressive in both how he sets up the shots for the interview subjects, captures scenes of the shoes as if they are gold and my favorite, the art that goes into the production of the sets for the windows. I would not have thought this would capture my attention so, but the storytelling and cinematography capture the passion behind the artists.

It is totally a fabulous creative process and it takes an entire crew of creatives to produce some awe inspiring work.

The film captures fabulous interviews with internationally known designers and key people in the fashion industry, including Karl Lagerfeld, Oscar De La Renta, Vera Wang, Giorgio Armani, Manolo Blahnik, Christian Louboutin, Michael Kors, Marc Jacobs, Dolce & Gabbana, Joan Rivers, Susan Lucci, Candice Bergen, Barbara Cochran, Linda Fargo, David Hoey and Betty Halbreich.

Also providing their insight and ideas are Naeem Khan, Lauren Bush Lauren,  Catherine Malandrino, Gilles Mendel, Isaac Mizrahi, Ashley Olsen and Mary-Kate Olsen, Thakoon Panichgul, Narciso Rodriguez and Jason Wu, among others.

There is a scene of of a very young Barbara Streisand dancing through the story and I am sure many will recall the white suit and hat in the scene, even if we may not remember the song and the year it was done. It is just stunning and one you do not easily forget and that is the basis of this whole film about the fashion, the art and where so many are determined to become a part of the history this legendary place.

I am not one to pay $6,000 for a pair of shoes, but it is interesting to know that this store that was started by an immigrant over 100 years ago evolved into a multi-generational empire with celebrity status around the world. Be ready to stay alert while viewing this film, as I did seem to start looking at the clock at one point, then the story picked up again once I heard a very intersting story about a well known artist who does some last minute shopping. Incredible!

The 111-year history of Bergdorf Goodman echoes American history as the store comes of age.  Miele traces the tale from the store’s immigrant start to its merger with the celebrity culture of the 50s and 60s to its now vital role cultivating the design prodigies fueling a global fashion obsession.

The film is an Entertainment One release, and is rated PG-13 for a brief sexual reference. Scatter My Ashes At Bergdorf’s opens in Austin May 24th at the Regal Arbor.

Liz Lopez

Rating B-

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Beach Weddings Anyone?

On a recent visit to South Padre Island across from Port Isabel, Texas, I had lodging in a condo with an ocean front view at the resort. This is the second time I have stayed there and both times, a wedding was held along the beach and the reception was held in a special area of the resort.

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Overlooking South Padre Island – Photo Credit: Liz Lopez, Liz’s Lenzwork

As I viewed the wedding party walk from the resort, passing by the swimming and dining areas, eac of the brides wore a traditional wedding gown and the groom did not wear a suit. All the wedding party is barefoot, with the bridesmaids in matching cocktail dresses and the groomsmen in casual attire.

Just out of curiousity, I did a brief search and found there is an online site that appears to have many resources listed for anyone considering getting married by the Gulf of Mexico. I do not have any affiliation with them, but if anyone is interested, view http://southpadreweddings.com/

If you are thinking of going to the Island to plan your wedding or just to get away, fans of fireworks will be able to view a fireworks display on the Bay every Friday at 9:15 pm, from May 24th – August 31st.

Don’t forget the sunscreen for your trip!

Liz Lopez

Source: southpadrelive.com and southpadreweddings.com

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Priscilla Queen of the Desert – The Musical Opens Today at Bass Concert Hall in Austin

The first national tour of Priscilla Queen of the Desert The Musical is coming to Bass Concert Hall in Austin, from May 8 – 12, 2013, with performances on           Wednesday–Friday at 8 p.m.; Saturday at 2 p.m. & 8 p.m. and Sunday at 1 p.m. & 7 p.m. at Bass Concert Hall, 2350 Robert Dedman Drive, Austin, TX.

Tickets start at $30 and are on sale and are available at the Bass Concert Hall box office, all Texas Box Office Outlets, by phone at (512) 477-6060 or online at BroadwayinAustin.com. For groups of 10 or more, call toll free at (877) 275-3804 or e-mail Austin.groups@broadwayacrossamerica.com. Recommended for ages 13+ due to explicit language and mature situations.

 Priscilla Queen of the Desert

Company of Priscilla in the number Go West Photo credit: ©Joan Marcus

Priscilla Queen of the Desert The Musical will star Wade McCollum (“Tick/Mitzi”), Scott Willis (“Bernadette”) and Bryan West (“Adam/Felicia”) as the trio of friends, on a road trip of a lifetime, who hop aboard a battered old bus searching for love and friendship in the middle of the Australian outback and end up finding more than they could ever have dreamed.  Joe Hart stars as “Bob.”

With over 500 dazzling 2011 Tony® Award-winning costumes, Priscilla Queen of the Desert The Musical features a hit parade of over 20 dance-floor favorites including It’s Raining Men, Finally and I Will Survive.

The new musical opened on Broadway to critical acclaim on March 20, 2011 at the Palace Theatre. The Hollywood Reporter called Priscilla “funny and fabulous! Joyous entertainment with eye-popping visuals and unexpected heart!”  NY-1 News raved “Beneath all that glitz beats a great big sequined heart!” WOR Radio sang “All the songs you’ve loved for years will blow you out of your seat!”

Priscilla Queen of the Desert The Musical won a 2011 Tony Award® for Best Costume Design for Academy Award® winners Tim Chappel and Lizzy Gardiner’s designs. The new hit musical received three Best Musical award nominations from the Drama Desk, Drama League and Outer Critics Circle Award organizations. Tim Chappel and Lizzy Gardiner were also honored with 2011 Outer Critics Circle and Drama Desk Awards for Outstanding Costume Design.

Priscilla Queen of the Desert The Musical, the most successful Australian musical of all time, had its world premiere in Sydney in 2006.  Adapted from the 1994 Academy Award® winning film The Adventures of Priscilla Queen of the Desert, Priscilla Queen of the Desert The Musical is written by Stephan Elliott and Allan Scott, direction by Simon Phillips, choreography by Ross Coleman, musical supervision and arrangements by Stephen ‘Spud’ Murphy, set design by Brian Thomson, costume design by Tim Chappel & Lizzy Gardiner, lighting design by Nick Schlieper, sound design by Jonathan Deans & Peter Fitzgerald and make up design by Cassie Hanlon.

Source: Broadway Across America
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Liz Lopez

SCATTER MY ASHES AT BERGDORF’S Opens in Austin May 24th at Regal Arbor

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Written and directed by Matthew Miele, the fashion documentary stars iconic designers and key tastemakers of the Fashion and Business Industry including Karl Lagerfeld, Oscar De La Renta, Vera Wang, Giorgio Armani, Manolo Blahnik, Christian Louboutin, Michael Kors, Marc Jacobs, Dolce & Gabbana, Barbara Streisand, Joan Rivers, Susan Lucci, Candice Bergen, Barbara Cochran, Linda Fargo, David Hoey, Betty Halbreich.

Social Media: facebook.com/ScatterMyAshesatBergdorfs #GetScattered @eOneFilmsUS

Trailer: http://www.refinery29.com/2013/04/45197/scatter-my-ashes-at-bergdorfs-trailer

Rating: PG-13 for a brief sexual reference

Source: Entertainment One

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Bollywood Meets Borscht Belt – A Family Event in Austin

Bollywood meets Borscht [fin]Indian_Sulekha

Join the Hindu and Jewish communities for a night of multi-cultural entertainment, food and fun on Sunday, May 19th, 2013, 5pm to 8pm at the Dell Jewish Community Campus, 7300 Hart Lane, Austin, TX 78731.

Enjoy a veggie/dairy Indian food dinner sponsored by area Indian restaurants, followed by Jewish dessert, along with traditional Hindu music and Jewish folk dancing. Indian attendees are encouraged to wear colorful festive attire! Indian Jewelry by Praveen Kale will also be featured, as well as clothing, Hena and face painting artists.

Tickets can be purchased online at: www.shalomaustin.org/namaste or www.Sulekha.com

List of Performers: Mayur Dance Co. (Monsoon Dance), Preya Patel, Yesh Rikud – Austin Israeli Folk Dancing, Naga Valli, Anuradha Naimpally, Mazel Tov Kocktail Hour and Rabbi Neil Blumofe, Srishti, Bollywood Shake

Food Sponsors: Bombay Bistro, Chole Indian Restaurant, Curry In Hurry, Inchins Bamboo Garden, Madras Pavilion (Kosher), Persis Indian Grill, Sarovar Indian Cuisine, Shirdi Sai BabaTemple, Star of India, Teji’s Food, Whip In Convenience Store, and others.

Proceeds will benefit the education of homeless children in Austin and Manor Schools. One adult ticket helps provide school supplies for one child for one year. A single sponsorship provides support for 6 children, and commitment by May 1 includes name or business listing and 2 event tickets.
The Hindu and Jewish communities will join together in August to pack the backpacks full of school supplies.

For more information, call 512.994-4638 or via email at HinduCharities4America@gmail.com

Source: Hindu Charities 4 America

Liz Lopez

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Ready to Hit SXSW and Enjoy What Austin Has to Offer

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Photo Credit: Liz Lopez, Liz’s Lenzwork

By Liz Lopez

The weather has been great in Austin with the exception of one day of rain and thunder, but that has not dashed any desires to hit the ground running in the marathon of movies, interactive and film activities since it all started last week.

Take a cue from Gunner Daniel Milller above and get your shades and hat ready when you head out with the family to enjoy what there is to participate in the Austin area.

SXSW is host to events that are free and open to the public. The most familiar one that many people know of is the concert series at Auditorium Shores, but new this year is The Market at Auditorium Shores, and returning is the SXSW Music Gear Expo and the Flatstock 38 Poster Show. There are more free events and the details can be found on http://www.sxsw.com/free

Visit The Market at Auditorium Shores that is an art and fashion marketplace  offering a range of  vendors from vintage clothing to handmade jewelry to local Austin photography, and will open to attendees several hours prior to showtime.
The carefully curated Market will include: BDJ Craftworks, Beyond Her, Buffalo Exchange, Cavortress, Chooze, Cross Cultural Creations, EyeFly, FO2LA, Krochet Kids, Manzanita Sound. Robo Roku, Shamak Sandals, Shira Melody Jewelry, South Austin Gallery, The Burlap Bag, Unusual Cards, Vinca, and Wrapped to Wear.
The Market hours will be Thursday and Friday, March 14 -15 from 3:30 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. and Saturday, March 16 from 12:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m. For more information on The Market, please go to  http://sxsw.com/market-vendors
SXSW Music Gear Expo, now in its fourth year, will take place Thursday, March 14 – Saturday, March 16, 2013 in the Austin Convention Center, Exhibit Hall 5. This growing event will include manufacturers from top companies showcasing their guitars, drums, amps, pedals, keyboards, software, and countless other accessories needed by amateurs and professionals alike. New this year is the App Annex which is a special section of the Expo for hands-on access to music creation apps and virtual instruments.
The Music Gear Expo Store, presented by Austin music retailer Strait Music, will be selling instruments manufactured by Expo exhibitors as well as useful accessories like drum heads, cables, and strings on site.
Guest appearances will include signings by Crystal Method, DJ Enferno, and 50 Cent. More information can be found at http://www.sxsw.com/music/expos/gear. The Music Gear Expo will be right next door to the Flatstock Poster Show.
Flatstock 38, co-presented by the American Poster Institute (API) and SXSW, will display and sell the works of the world’s top gig poster artists. The show runs March 14 -16 in Exhibit Hall 4 of the Austin Convention Center and will feature posters of varying styles, colors and techniques for sale by the very artists who created them.
The best concert posters have always captured both the essence of the music they promoted and the spirit of the time in which they were produced. New this year is the Flatstock Stage featuring official SXSW performing artists such as Chris Cohen, William Tyler, Hiss Golden Messenger, Idiot Glee, The Darcys, Gold & Youth, Snowblink, Hey Ocean! and Current Swell. More information on Flatstock 38 can be found at http://www.sxsw.com/music/expos/flatstock
Source:  SXSW
In case you get tired of walking, you can catch a trolley car with free gear and drinks from Tito’s Vodka. It is free, but your generous donations will go to HAAM, the Health Alliance for Austin Musicians. http://www.myhaam.org/
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