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Australia, the perfect post Turkey Day movie

November 30, 2008 at 1:00 pm

I don’t know about you but I’ve always indulged in the tradition of taking in a movie the day after Thanksgiving. Evidently, no matter where I spend the holiday, most of that locale celebrates the same tradition. If it isn’t here in South Florida, it’s bone-chilling Pittsburgh with the sisters. This year I did my celebrating with friends in lovely Orlando. Winter Park to be exact. The common denominator: unruly cineplex parking lots.

The movie I saw was Australia, with Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman (double swoon). A girl could faint or sweat profusely whenever he exposes his chest. Don’t take my word for it ladies, see for yourself. Bring Kleenex for both the drama and the drooling.

As magnificent as it is,  Jackman’s chest was not the only lure. Australia is an epic film that is remeniscent of the mother of all sweeping epics, Gone With the Wind. My movie companion compared it to Out of Africa, another big-boned beauty.  It was large, cinematically breathtaking, romantically heart wrenching, and just plain mesmerizing. My favorite element of the film is one that you’ve heard me appreciate in prior posts – magic.

The magic in Australia, as you know, is of the native, Aboriginal style. No representation of this country/continent could omit the importance of its indigenous people? (We steamrolled over our Native Americans, they their Aborigines – God bless civilized man, ahem. Notice I didn’t say civilized woman)

Whereas the movie’s look and story is akin to the classic American western with property at stake, gun fighting, barroom brawls, a love affair and a villain, the subtext is where the true nectar lies. That nectar turns out to be toxic, the story of the country’s Stolen Children. (Have you seen Rabbit-Proof Fence?)

You see, the perpetrators of the country come in, exploit the native women, and when they bear their “half caste” children, the government steps in an yanks them from their mothers. The long term goal is to “breed the black out of them.” Nice, huh? Knock ’em up and then tear out their hearts.

There’s much you can read about this abysmal part of Australian history yet what I found to be the most curious aspect of it was that the country made its formal apology in 2008. Funny, do you think it had anything to do with the making of this movie?

Synchronicity? Not in this case.

The real star of Australia is the little “half caste” boy, Nullah, who spends much of the movie running from the authorities. His eyes, his songs, and his amazing capacity for the magic he inherited from his medicine man grandfather, “King George” are dazzling. I couldn’t take my eyes off this child. The notion of “singing something to you” is enchanting to me. If only…

Let it be said here, Nicole Kidman’s strength is NOT her singing.

King George, by the way is played by an authentic medicine man. Apparently, a medicine man with a perfect execution of the “tree pose’  yoga asana.

So, English woman arrives in Australia to sell property and 2,000 head of cattle, finds husband has been murdered, takes over his cattle ranch and falls for the “drover” of the herd. Young Nullah becomes their adopted son and the three adventure through the film with intermittent lovefests and encounters with death. All inside of one of the most gorgeous cinematic landscapes I’ve yet seen.

That’s all I’m going to say.


Ignore all reviews (except this one) and,

Go see it.

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The best perk of the book biz – friendship

November 26, 2008 at 7:00 am

I know some people in the “biz”, as it were, who believe that if you just hate all your authors from the git-go, you’ll never be disappointed when they transform into book totin’ monsters. I believe that this theory is sound but being the mush that I am, I prefer operating from a different, more vulnerable place. Not that all authors become monsters either, but it has been known to be an occupational hazard. You know who you are. (Now, stop it!)

As a matter of fact, the non-monster variety of author has often become dear to me in friendship. Our time together in the publicity lane can get personal and even at my most professional, I know that our human connection is important. 

During my recent weekend in Los Angeles, I spent time with two authors who I now call my friends. Both adorable, both brilliant, and both with fabulous books that well mirror the wonderful people that they are.


Author/astrologer extraordinaire, Phyllis Firak-Mitz

Author/astrologer extraordinaire, Phyllis Firak-Mitz

Phyllis Firak-Mitz, mistress of astrology and author of You’re Every Sign and Astrology’s Secrets to Hot Romance (and Tuesday columnist in the Huffington Post) introduced me to her tony neighborhood of Brentwood and rather than touring me around OJ’s former crime scene, took me for a gander at Ariana Huffington’s manse. Like a low rung, desperate member of the papparazzi, I took an iphoto of her gate.  Yes, I did.


The gate of super blog queen, Ariana Huffington

The gate of super blog queen, Ariana Huffington

Phyllis treated me to one of those lunches in L.A. where things like tofu, brown rice and green tea are staples on the menu. Our delightful time together was only frustrated by the absence of star sightings. I decided that a cute guy sitting near the window was famous. That was good enough for me, true or not.

Author/friend number two, Laurie Perry aka Crazy Aunt Purl  had the bright idea to “get our spiritual on” (her words) on Sunday morning at the legendary Agape Church. Yes, she knows and adores Phyllis, too.  I met them both with my fellow Jewish friend, Sharon in tow. (safety in numbers). I assured my Christian born author friends that the name Jesus would be bandied about that day just  for mine and Sharon’s benefit. I turned out to be right. Everybody laughed. No one was offended.


Crazy Aunt Purl herself, aka super-blogger-author, Laurie Perry

Crazy Aunt Purl herself, aka super-blogger-author, Laurie Perry

I loved the service, but rather than go into a diatribe about how soulful, uplifting and politically conscious it was, I’ll give you the comical perspective We agreed that it was like seeing a spiritual performance by Chris Rock and Whoopie Goldberg at the church alter. That suited us  just fine. We like spirituality but we love our comedy. (With all due respect, we love you Michael Beckwith and Rickie Byars-Beckwith)

Laurie’s brilliant idea brought us together for a really special sharing. It being “gratitude week” and all, I couldn’t have picked a better time to hang out with them.




Both of these women are bright, talented and generous in what they present to the world. One comes in a cosmic package and the other in a humorously human one. They were and are a pleasure to work with and more importantly, they are a delight with whom to share the other avenues of real life.

Here I go being thankful again, but I really am. All my career I’ve been taught to keep business and friendship apart. As it turns out, in this area, I am untrainable.  There are lots of cases, probably most, where a healthy gulf remains between myself and an author, but not in the case of Laurie and Phyllis.

They would rather toss me a life-line and pull me in. 

And, I would happily do the same for them.

You go girls.

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