Monthly Archives: October 2016

Soon By You

In the old days, finding a spouse was a simple process. These days, it’s not so simple, especially when we marry for love as opposed to status or income.

In the YouTube series Soon By You, David (Danny Hoffman) is a Rabbi in New York City going out on a blind date with Sarah. He hits it nearly immediately with Sarah Feldman (Sara Scur). But she is not the Sarah he is going out with. His date is with Sarah Jacobs (Leah Gottfried), who is sitting right behind them. Sarah Feldman is on a blind date with Ben (Nathan Shapiro).

I find this series to be charming. It has the qualities of a typical romantic comedy: the hopefully meant to be couple who meet via the memorable meet cute, the daters or current partners who are plot points and are clearly not meant to last and the wacky or out there best friend in the forms of hippie-ish Z (Noam Harary) and the civic-minded Noa (Jessica Schechter).

Set it New York City and populated with modern Orthodox Jewish characters, this series has the qualities of a standard rom-com. But it is funny, adorable and entertaining. The series is only three episodes in and I am already a fan.

I recommend it.

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Filed under Life, New York City, Television

Late Flashback Friday-Superman (1978)

Superman was introduced to the world in 1938. Since then, every generation has their own Superman.

My generation has the most iconic of Superman, Christopher Reeve. In 1978, he starred in Superman, a film that unlike other superhero/comic book films, reminds audiences why this characters and the world he lives is just as iconic and beloved today as it was in 1938.

Kal-El (Christopher Reeve) is the lone survivor from a planet that no longer exists. His father, Jor-El (Marlon Brando) foresaw the end of his planet and his species. To save his young son and only child, the boy is put in a spaceship and sent to earth. Found and raised by Jonathan and Martha Kent (Glenn Ford and Phyllis Thaxter), he lives his life under the identity as Clark Kent, an ordinary farm boy who finds work as a reporter the Daily Planet in Metropolis.

But Clark is no ordinary man. Hiding under the guise of a slightly clumsy and nerdy human being, he is also known to public as Superman. While dealing with his dual identity and his responsibility to keep ordinary citizens safe, Superman/Clark Kent must do battle with villain Lex Luthor (Gene Hackman) and try to get his colleague Lois Lane (Margot Kidder) to see him in a different light.

If there was a definite list of superhero/comic book movies done right, this movie would rightly be in the top 5. This is how movies in this genre should be done every time. Focusing, as it should on the narrative and the characters as a pose to special effects and fighting scenes, this film deserves its classic status.

I recommend it.

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Irena’s Children: The Extraordinary Story of the Woman Who Saved 2,500 Children from the Warsaw Ghetto Book Review

Irena Sendler is one of the unheralded heroes of the Holocaust. She did what many could not or would not do. Teaming up with her friends and colleagues, she was able to save the lives of 2500 Jewish children.

Tilar Mazzeo’s new book, Irena’s Children: The Extraordinary Story of the Woman Who Saved 2,500 Children from the Warsaw Ghetto, tells the story of how Irena Sendler and her network was able to save the lives of the 2500 Jewish children. Born to a Polish Catholic family in 1910, Irena’s family was far more tolerant and accepting of her Jewish neighbors and friends than others in Poland. Her early experiences led her to the moral conviction that she had to save as many young lives as she could.

Using her background in social work and her vast connections with both Jews and Christians, Irena worked feverishly to save the children. It was a dangerous task, if she or her colleagues were caught, the consequences for both the children and the adults were death. It was a task she willingly took on, knowing that one wrong move would mean the loss of countless lives.



I have mixed feelings about this book. There were some chapters where I could feel the tension and the danger in real-time, as if I was there. Other chapters I felt like they were filler, without real substance.

But overall, it is a good book and it is a reminder that despite the hate and the prejudice that exists in this world, there is still light and love and those willing to fight against hate.

I recommend it.

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Filed under Book Review, Books, History

Throwback Thursday-Glory (1989)

Sometimes it takes one person to change history.

Colonel Robert Gould Shaw is remembered as being a hero for the North in The Civil War. He is also remembered for leading the first all black regiment.

In 1989, his story was brought to big screen in the movie Glory. Pvt Trip, one of the soldiers under his command, was played by Denzel Washington. The men in the 54th Regiment Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry not fought on the battlefield for freedom, they also fought against the racism and prejudice from their fellow citizens.

What makes this movie stand out from the plethora of Civil War era movies is how timely it still feels. Prejudice and racism still exist in this country. Colonel Shaw and his men fought and died for the same freedoms that we are still fighting and dying for today. This movie and the true story that inspired it remind the audience that there are people like Colonel Shaw in the world, willing to step up and do what is right, even if that means going against convention.

I recommend it.

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JASNA AGM 2016-Emma: No One But Herself

My regular readers might have noticed that I was unusually silent this past weekend.

This was because I attended the JASNA AGM, held in Washington DC this year.

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The AGM is a Janeite’s wet dream. Surrounded by fellow Janeites from around North America and around the world, the weekend is a break from reality and a complete immersion in everything that is Jane Austen. It’s my kind of heaven.

I encourage my fellow Janeites who have not attended an AGM or to join JASNA to consider one or both. Next year is in California. We will remember and mourn the 200th anniversary of the too soon passing of our beloved Jane and in two years, the Kansas City region is hosting. The topic is Persuasion. Crossing fingers, I will be at both AGM’s.

The AGM lies somewhere in between comic-con and an academic conference. My experience has taught me that the mark of a good AGM is one with excellent breakout sessions (with plenty to choose from), engaging plenary speakers and an opportunity to meet fellow Janeites with whom I would never meet outside of my local JASNA region.

My favorite breakout session related to the fact that Emma is a black comedy. Unlike other women in her world and her era, Emma Woodhouse is not only unafraid to speak to her mind, but she speaks of topics that make some people (especially men) uncomfortable. There is an indirect line from Emma Woodhouse to women who today dominate comedy and are not afraid to speak to their mind.

While the highlight of the AGM is the banquet and ball (yes I did dress up and dance. English country dancing is quite the workout), my absolute favorite parts of the AGM was visiting the DAR Museum and the Folger Shakespeare Library.

The DAR Museum (Daughters Of The American Revolution Museum) is located minutes from the White House. The present exhibit, An Agreeable Tyrant: Fashion After The Revolution, told the story of how America built her economy during her early years by encouraging citizens to buy American made goods. The clothes are authentic and lovely. The exhibit will be at the museum until April 29,2017.
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I am going to save the best for last. The Will and Jane exhibit. And The SHIRT. This shirt is reason I went to DC this weekend.

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The Will and Jane exhibit will be at the Folger Shakespeare Library until November 6th, 2016. This exhibit is a must see for any Janeite.

This past weekend was one of the best weekends I’ve had in a long time. I look forward to seeing my Janeites, both new and old in California next year.

Have a good rest of the week.

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Filed under Books, Feminism, Jane Eyre, Persuasion, Pride and Prejudice

Throwback Thursday-Sugar And Spice (2001)

Young love is grand. But young love is not easy and might force the lovers to do something that might deemed immoral if not illegal.

In the satirical high school comedy Sugar and Spice (2001) Jack (James Marsden) and Diane (Marley Shelton) are the typical movie high school couple. He is the dark-haired popular, star of the football team quarterback. She is the blonde, slightly ditzy head cheerleader. It is a match made in high school heaven.

Finding themselves pregnant and kicked out of their parent’s houses, Jack and Diane move into a small apartment. The problem is that Jack’s part-time retail job is not enough to support them. Diane, with the help of her fellow cheerleaders, robs a local bank. But a rival cheerleader, Lisa (Marla Sokoloff) is onto the scheme and is more than willing to go to the police.

As a comedic satire of high school, it’s cute. While the premise is there, the narrative was not as fleshed out as it could have been.

Do I recommend it? Maybe, but that is on a good day.

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I Love Lucy-65 Years And Still Going Strong

This past Saturday, October 15th, marked the 65th anniversary of the premiere of I Love Lucy.

I Love Lucy is and will forever be a classic. There is no one on planet Earth who has not seen or at least heard of I Love Lucy.

The premise of the show is simple: Lucy Ricardo (Lucille Ball) is a homemaker whose career ambitions go well beyond her apartment door. But her bandleader husband Ricky (Lucille Ball’s then IRL husband, Desi Arnaz) seems to be preventing her from achieving her goals. The results of Lucy trying to start a career at her husband’s behest against her working produced hilarious results. Add in the comedy back up of their landlords Fred and Ethel Mertz (Vivian Vance and William Frawley) and there is nothing but comedy gold.

This show is more than iconic and a classic. This show is a trendsetter that still influences television decades after it went off the air. Lucy and Desi created the television industry as we know it to be today. Lucille Ball, in addition to being an icon for many redheads (myself included), was not just the star. She started the studio that produced her show and many other classic television shows. She was clearly the HBIC and respected for her work, in front and behind the camera. Without Lucille Ball, there would be no women in comedy. Carol Burnett, Roseanne, Sarah Silverman, Amy Schumer, Tina Fey, etc, would have never had careers in comedy without Lucy paving the way.

While Lucy meekly agreed at the end of every episode to return to her homemaker status, millions of women and young girls did not meekly agree to just become wives and mothers. That generation of women paved the way for future generations of women to stand up for their rights and their accomplishments.

I Love Lucy also represented the future of the country. It was the first television show to depict an interracial marriage. Quite a feat when the only people of color on television in the 1950’s were household servants.

There is something about turning on the television and putting on a classic that no matter how many times you’ve seen it, it still make you laugh.

Happy Birthday, I Love Lucy. Here is to another 65 years.

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Filed under Feminism, History, Television

Lucy Preston, A New Heroine For Our Era

The glass ceiling is cracking. Every crack, regardless of its size is important.

Three weeks ago, NBC introduced audiences to a new television show and a new heroine. The new series Timeless, is a science fiction/history mashup about a group of unlikely heroes who must go back in time to prevent history from being altered.

Lucy Preston, played by Abigail Spencer is the female lead. Lucy is the academic and the historian of the group. Her job is to make sure that the history, as we know it today remains as such.

Lucy is a new kind of heroine. She is smart, capable and is not treated differently by her male colleagues because she is a woman. She represents how far women have come, not just in television, but in our overall culture.

While there are still more fully developed male characters than fully developed female characters on both the big and small screen, it’s nice to see that characters like Lucy are being created and presented to audiences. We need more characters like her.

Timeless is my new favorite show of the fall season and I absolutely recommend it.

Timeless airs Monday nights at 10PM on NBC.

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Filed under Feminism, History, Television

Flashback Friday-City Slickers (1991)

At a certain point in our lives, many of us start to question our life choices. That usually happens when middle age starts to creep upon us.

In the 1991 movie, City Slickers, Mitch (Billy Crystal) is a New Yorker facing a mid-life crisis. His 40th birthday is approaching fast and his career feels empty. To combat the onset of a mid-life crisis, Mitch and his friends, Ed (Bruno Kirby) and Phil (Daniel Stern) decide the antidote is a two-week long cattle drive across the American southwest. One of the cowboys, Curly (Jack Palance) shares not only his experience as a cowboy, but in life.

There is a universal element to this film. Many of us reach a point in our lives and start to question if we have made the right choices and if there is still time to make the changes we keep thinking about making.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

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Filed under Flashback Friday, Life, Movie Review, Movies, New York City

Throwback Thursday: The Forbidden Dance (1990)

It’s no secret that the success of many movies is often linked to a successful marketing campaign. But what happens when a movie is released to drive the success of a dance?

In the 1990 movie, The Forbidden Dance, Nisa (Laura Harring) is the daughter of an Amazonian chieftain. To prevent the Amazon forest from being destroyed by white men whose only eye is on the bottom line, Nisa travels to Los Angeles. There she meets Jason (Jeff James), the son of an upper class family who convinces Nisa that the only way to save her people’s ancestral land and the Amazon forest is to win a televised dance contest.


This movie tries in vain to be another version of Dirty Dancing. It’s not, in fact it’s far from it. Yes, the topics of multiculturalism and respecting the environment are thrown in for good measure, but this movie is just plain awful. The narrative is predictable at best and the clothes are so early 1990’s that they are hideous. It’s clear that the sole aim of this film was to convince audience members that the Lambada was the dance they should all be doing.

Do I recommend it? No.

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Filed under Movie Review, Movies, Throwback Thursday