TV Surf Report: Witches Are On Fire, Um, Trending …But Will Audiences Be Spellbound Or Bored to Death?

CHARMED REBOOT CAST

Santa Monica, CA — Move over Vampires, Zombies, and Donald Trump, Witches are about to make a big comeback on the small screen(s).

That Hollywood Zeitgeist strikes again as broadcast networks, streaming services, and cable all seem to be whipping up the same sort of witchy brew. Coincidence? (Or perhaps, it’s the result of very intricate piece of spellwork that would make J.K. Rowling proud!)

It wasn’t too long ago that Charmed, True Blood and Midnight, Texas were casting spells and brewing potions. Still, what’s old is new again these days in TV.

Let’s take a look at those shows coming up that are more or less, Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered:

CHILLING ADVENTURES OF SABRINA POSTER

  • American Horror Story: Apocalypse (FX) The crossover (details here) of two seasons, Murder House and Coven, bring the story back to New Orleans where Sarah Paulson is The Supreme, the witch who runs that coven house which doubles as a school for wayward girls. Here’s a Re-Cap of the First Episode, per Vulture
  • Charmed (The CW) This re-boot from the EPs of Jane the Virgin ditches the San Francisco setting of the 10-year-old original hit and transplants the Sisters back East (or is it Vancouver?!). Now, the Charmed Ones are three Latinx sisters, each of whom shares a different father. Am thinking the timeslot is great (following Supergirl) on Sundays, so The Power of Three may triumph yet again despite the lack of support from original cast members Holly Marie Combs, Alyssa Milano, or Rose McGowan. Premieres Oct. 14th. Here’s the Trailer which Explains It All
  • The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina (Netflix) was to have been a spinoff of The CW’s Riverdale, however, the tone of this re-boot is much darker and in the vein of The Omen. Kiernan Shipka (Mad Men) stars as Sabrina. No word yet on a cameo by Melissa Joan Hart, who starred in ABC’s hit sitcom adaptation by Nell Scovell. Series has a 2-season order which bodes well. Also, I think Netflix has beaten the Buffy re-boot to the proverbial punch. Here’s the Trailer via EW
  • Bewitched (ABC) The EPs of Black-ish have garnered a big pilot production commitment for this re-boot which finds Samantha Stevens involved in an inter-racial marriage. More importantly, who gets to play nosy neighbor Gladys Kravitz or mother-in-law, Endora?  I have a bad feeling about this one.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer (TBD) The Scooby Gang is coming back but with all new Scoobys and an all new Slayer. Presumably, one or more of the gang will have some Wiccan powers, or maybe, Alison Hannigan (Willow Rosenberg) will return to advise. I miss Anya.  Just me?  Monica Breen (Midnight, Texas) scripts. Joss Whedon consults. Also, have a bad feeling about this one, as well.  Money Grab. Sorry, fans.

A DISCOVERY OF WITCHES

  • A Discovery of Witches at SKY.  Matthew Goode and Teresa Palmer topline this adaptation of Deborah Harkness’ All Souls Trilogy.  Premieres this month in the UK. The US Broadcast partner is Sundance Now, AMC’s SVOD service as well as Shudder, the streaming service specializing in Horror. Oxford locations! I’m in. Here’s the very enticing Trailer.
  • The Witcher at Netflix. A group of young people hunt demons in this series based on Polish novelist Andrzej Sapkowski’s books.  Sean Daniel (The Mummy) produces.  Buffy 2.0 anyone? Henry Cavill (Mission: Impossible, Superman, Justice League) has signed on to star. Wow! Check out Henry Cavill’s Recent Post on Instagram!
  • His Dark Materials at BBC and HBO. Phillip Pullman’s books are quite supernatural as main character Lyra and her best friend travel the multiverse along with their daemons. It’s quite bewitching without really ever using the word, Witch. Two seasons are ordered for this expensive adaptation that features Dafne Keen, James McAvoy, Ruth Wilson, and Lin-Manuel Miranda. Now Shooting in Wales, Per Deadline
  • The Witching Hour (TBD) Anne Rice’s 1990 influential masterwork is the first book in a trilogy set in a mysterious house on First Street in the Garden District of New Orleans, the ancestral home of The Mayfair Witches. I LOVE THIS BOOK. Warner Bros. optioned the book in 1990 when it was first published, then NBC picked it up for a 12-hour miniseries. Expect this property to get hot again once The Vampire Chronicles goes into production at Hulu. Here’s a Summary of the Novel via Wikipedia

WITCHING HOUR BOOK

 

N E X T   U P :

 

AUTUMNAL EQUINOX

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TV Surf Report: Blame The Re-Boot Craze On The Success Of Battlestar Galactica, Hawaii Five-O, Will & Grace … And Fear

LOST IN SPACE

Santa Monica, CA — I finally got around to watching Netflix’ reboot of Lost in Space, one of my all-time childhood favorite TV series. The pilot felt (and looked) a bit drab introducing me to the The Robinsons, putting them into immediate jeopardy, but hooking the audience that stayed with them to the end with the introduction of Parker Posey as someone posing as Dr. Smith!

Danger Will Robinson!

I was immediately reminded of SyFy’s reboot of Battlestar Galactica, which also looked kinda drab in its pilot, but under Ron Moore’s brilliant guidance, BSG quickly found its footing and mythology which far surpassed the ABC original series from the ’80s.  BSG was so good, creatively-speaking, that it became an entertainment industry Influencer.

The successful re-boot of BSG influenced a generation of executives who saw for the first time that a re-boot can far surpass its original in both content and creativity and be financially successful for the studio that owns it. BSG, the movie, has been in development for several years now at Universal.

will-grace-revival

Reboots work*.

  • Hawaii Five-O (CBS) is now in its 9th season, recovering from a public berating over losing Grace Park (BSG) and Daniel Dae-Kim (Lost).
  • Fuller House (Netflix) Amazingly, this TGIF re-boot is in its 4th season.
  • Will & Grace (NBC) renewed NBC’s faith in Comedy with its 2-season pickup. This re-boot has been a tremendous success for the Peacock Network. Now, NBC needs to pick up Trial & Error for S3, a worthy companion to Will & Grace.
  • The X-Files (FOX) Mulder & Scully returned for two more seasons of government conspiracies and alien abductions. The audience returned, too, but ultimately left again by the end. Gillian Anderson says she’s done. Will The X-Files stay closed for good, though? Don’t bet on it.
  • MacGyver (CBS) is now in its 3rd season, but I still have not seen it.
  • Roseanne (ABC) is mutating into The Conners for S2 following the immediate firing of Roseanne Barr after one Tweet. Sara Gilbert, John Goodman and Laurie Metcalf return to Lanford, but the show will be missing its star when it returns.
  • Twin Peaks: The Return (Showtime) After 18 episodes, David Lynch appears to be finished with Agent Cooper & Co. No more pie for You. Some Emmy love might change that, though!
  • Dynasty (The CW) somehow eked out a S2. There’s a new Cristal, too. Not for me.
  • Lost in Space (Netflix) The Jupiter 2 has been renewed for S2. Lots of twists and turns to resolve…Deadline’s Review Says This ReBoot Never Takes Off

LOST IN SPACE NEW WILL ROBINSON

  • Charmed (The CW) Premieres this Fall on Sunday nights. Original star Holly Marie Combs has been pretty vocal with her non-support. We shall see if there is a new audience for this new take.
  • Murphy Brown (CBS) Candace Bergen and Diane English premiere their update Sept. 27th. Am not sure how well Murphy and the gang have aged and what they have to say about the current political climate. We shall see. Tyne Daly joins the cast replacing Phil the Bartender.
  • Sabrina the Teenage Witch (Netflix) Originally designed as a spinoff of The CW’s Riverdale, a darker more adult series was sold to Netflix as the Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. Am doubtful Melissa Joan Hart will be making a cameo in this latest incarnation of the Archie comic. Premieres October 26th And Stars Kiernan Shipka from Mad Men
  • Roswell (The CW) The YA soap about aliens living amongst us gets a Latinx twist in this new incarnation.
  • Magnum P.I. (CBS) No Tom Selleck.  He’s still on Blue Bloods.  Don’t expect this one to be around for long. Variety Says New Version Has Plenty of Action But Fails to Soar.

murphy-brown-reboot with tyne daly

Meanwhile, studios are raiding their libraries for Titles like crazy (looking at you Sony Pictures Television), and desperate Networks are buying these re-boots because they are terrified of original ideas and the challenge of marketing them to an audience that is now impossible to reach due to the glut of content.

Here are the latest Titles to be plucked from Studio Libraries in hopes of garnering a Sale at a broadcast network or streaming service:

buffy-the-vampire-slayer

  • The Twilight Zone (CBS All Access) Oscar-winner Jordan Peele (Get Out) EPs and hosts the newest incarnation of this anthology classic. If memory serves, a writer by the name of George R. R. Martin once wrote for CBS’ reboot many years ago. Whatever happened to him? Here are the 13 Best Episodes of Twilight Zone, via Syfy Wire.
  • Party of Five (Freeform) Creators Chris Keyser and Amy Lippman reimagine their series about orphans, herein, the parents of the kids are deported to Mexico. Topical. Pilot order. Rodrigo Garcia directs. Sony Pictures TV scores another reboot!
  • Bewitched (ABC) Black-ish EP Kenya Barris and writer Yamara Taylor will bring an interracial spin to Samantha and Darrin Stevens. But who will play Gladys Kravitz??? I vote for Margo Martindale. Big pilot production commitment given to ABC Studios and to Sony TV (which owns the rights). Deadline Hollywood Has The Details …
  • Veronica Mars (Hulu) This low-rated but beloved detective series starring Kristen Bell has never lost its fan base or appeal, apparently. Eight eps. ordered.
  • Designing Women (ABC) Sony TV has been after creator Linda Bloodworth-Thomason for years to re-boot Sugarbakers. Series star Dixie Carter (and the voice of Bloodworth-Thomason) passed away several years ago, I am sorry to report. This revival seems tailored for CBS, so we shall see.  Here is Bloodworth-Thomason’s Now Famous OpEd About Les Moonves at CBS.
  • Deadwood (HBO) Ian MacShane to topline a movie or limited series return to the foul-mouthed Western!
  • Baywatch (TBD) Yes, it’s hard to keep those Los Angeles County Lifeguards off TV for long.
  • The Facts of Life (TBD) Jessica Biel of all people is EPing the reboot. I suppose she must harbor a love for the original as she is the right age to have been influenced by its 9-year run.  Original Mrs. Garrett, Charlotte Rae, just passed away.
  • Alf (TBD) From the files of No Thank You, We’re Good.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer (TBD) Fox 21 Studios takes over from 20th Century Fox Television to produce the re-boot. The studio has struck a deal with Joss Whedon to EP, but not to write.  He’s got his HBO series to write. Instead, Whedon will oversee Monica Breen (Midnight, Texas) who wants to kickstart a new generation of Slayers with a new ethnically diverse one. So far, this sounds like a continuation of the Buffy mythology, so I hope they use a different title then. Meanwhile, the studio is looking for the highest bidder. I would not be surprised if it goes to sister company, FX.
  • Frasier (TBD, but CBS is most likely) Star Kelsey Grammar is shopping the revival so expect a deal somewhere. Paramount owns the show, so sister company CBS is the likely winner. Also, it fits their white, older demo.
  • Mad About You (TBD) Star and EP Paul Reiser says the revival is unlikely at this point. That’s good news. Was not wild about this one.
  • The Hills (MTV). Um, who cares? Not I.  Lauren Conrad is not returning. Not that I care.
  • The L Word (Showtime) Have not heard much since it was announced. Slow track?
  • Tales of the City  (Netflix) Laura Linney and Olympia Dukakis are set to reprise their roles. Not sure I want to return, though.
  • Xena: Warrior Princess (NBC) Seems frozen after the network passed on Javier Grillo-Marxuach’s script. Meanwhile, Wonder Woman is a cultural phenomenon. Wake up, NBC!

(*) Many Re-Boots fail, though: The Bionic Woman, Dark Shadows, The Bradys, Uncle Buck, Ironside, to name a few of recent memory.

Finally, this article is actually a Re-boot, of sorts. I wrote about this depressing Trend almost one year ago. How’s that for cyclical continuity in Television?

If you want to see which Re-boots didn’t go forward from last year, CLICK ON THIS COOL LINK TO SURFING HOLLYWOOD FROM AUGUST 2017

(Hint:  That James Gunn-produced re-boot of Starsky & Hutch never happened. Darn it!)

N E X T   U P:

AUTUMNAL EQUINOX

 

 

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Surf Report: Man Seeks Coffee Shop

COFFEE SHOP BLUE BOTTLE           PINTO STANDING SURFER BEACH

Santa Monica, CA

Local Man Seeks Area Coffee Shop. Must Open Early (Surfers Hours!)  Coffee Should Be Strong! Discounted Prices For Regulars A+ Please Respond In Comments Section Below If Your Shop Is Available Now! NSA!

My former coffee house, PEETS, closed its doors on Main Street in late December 2017, and I have been Latte-less for nearly eight long months. Eight. Long. Months!

My writing has suffered. (See Blog.) My daily friendships have fallen by the wayside. (Apologies!) To make matters worse, I now brew my own coffee at home. (It’s terrible.)

In Los Angeles, the neighborhood coffee shop is the European equivalent of the corner café or a British Pub: Neighbors, Tennis Partners, Surfers, Artists, Friends. One sees them all. And vice versa. Café Society, indeed.

Main Street Bids Farewell to Locals’ Favorite Peets Coffee

I Just Can’t Quit You.

I follow my former beloved barista, Marvin, on Snapchat. We keep in touch. For a while, I sent him photos of my lame attempts at steamed milk topped coffee. He was unimpressed. He sends me Snaps of his travel adventures. (Marvin could drink me under the table.)

Meanwhile, I will occasionally see other Peets regulars out and about in the world of Ocean Park, and I always stop them to say Do you miss Peets? They all do. We all miss Marvin who knew everyone’s name (and drink). Marvin would patiently endure new manager after new manager and break them in on how Coffee is done on Main Street.

Marvin lasted well over 15 years while each of those new managers maybe lasted a year.

PINTO SECRET LIFE OF

There are an abundance of Coffee houses in my neighborhood, Ocean Park: Dogtown Coffee, Urrth Café, Starbucks, Groundworks, Bulletproof. The Peets Coffee at Edgemar was the Goldilocks of Coffee shops: It was just right.

Supposedly, Blue Bottle Coffee is to take over the Peets location. All the walls have been knocked down, the entire space has been gutted. Currently, there is a trench dug in the concrete floor.

No coffee will be poured anytime soon, I fear. Eight long months (and counting)!

 

N E X T   U P:

ReBoots. Ugh. This Trend Is All My Fault.

BATTLESTAR GALACTICA

 

 

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Film Surf Report: Five Movies Starring Female Leads That Hollywood Needs To Make Now (And The Sooner, The Better)

BATGIRL

Santa Monica, CA — I recently read all six novels of Ursula K. Le Guin’s Earthsea series*, a fantasy series that starts out with a boy becoming a wizard but ends with that boy’s future wife and adopted daughter leading the story while the boy (now a grown man in his dotage) stays home and minds the garden. Fantastic!

While the execs at Warner Bros. and at DC Comics try to figure out how to rescue Superman and Batman from the Zack Snyder Universe with a possible Batgirl standalone film and/or a Harley Quinn standalone film (Birds of Prey), the folks in Burbank are sitting on a quartet of well-known yet underserved heroines who have what Metropolis and Gotham lack: Characters who can win or lose, hurt or be hurt (sorry, Wonder Woman), and an audience that has grown up with them.

Here are five female-centric films just waiting to be made (and Warner Bros. has 4/5 of ’em):

EMMA WATSON AS HERMIONE

  • The Further Adventures of Hermione Granger

Okay, Warner Bros. is all in on Fantastic Beasts with four films on the way following the rather dull first entry in the new J.K. Rowling series.  While I do believe those films will finally get there emotionally with the thrilling climax of Dumbledore defeating Grindewald, the Harry Potter character I most want to catch up with is Hermione Granger.

That’s right: Warner Bros. needs to continue making films with Hermione, Ron and Harry, three Super Heroes, who alright, just happen to be Wizards, but who are in the prime of their lives with lots to prove before settling down with kids and such. Get on with it, J.K. Rowling!

Let’s also be clear that the time has come for Hermione to step up and to take Center Stage with Harry and Ron clambering to keep up with her.  Both the character and actor Emma Watson’s portrayal of her are quite capable of carrying a Story:

  • Did she finish at Hogwarts?
  • Will she meet Viktor Krum again?
  • How are her parents doing after having their memories erased and sent Down Under?
  • Do she and Ginny get a flat together in London and go Bridget Jones on us?

There is a lot of Story to fill in before arriving at Platform 9 3/4 in 19 years.

CARRIE ANNE AS TRINITY

  • The Matrix: Trinity

Meanwhile, another Warner Bros. property has a prequel just waiting to be made, and that’s The Matrix. Where is the Trinity standalone film, and why haven’t The Wachowskis made it?

I want to know how Morpheus recruited her (and from where) and why she became a legend by the time that Neo follows the white rabbit which leads to her. Give me Trinity The Movie (and give it to me now, starring Catriona Balfe from Outlander). I don’t want to see Morhpeus’ origin story (but that’s what’s in development at WB). Yawn.

BLACK WIDOW MOVIE

  • Black Widow: My Life in Moscow (and Beyond)

After years of waiting, there is finally a Black Widow standalone film in development over at Marvel.  Aussie filmmaker Cate Shortland (Lore) is set to direct from a script by Jac Shaeffer (The Hustle).

Storyline for Black Widow is Set pre-Avengers

Thank you, Marvel, and to the fans whose interest in the character got this movie in development while Scarlett Johannson can still kick butt.

I have high hopes for Brie Larson’s take on Captain Marvel, but I am already invested in Black Widow. Geez, there have been three Thor films, three Captain America films, three Iron Man films, a coupla Hulk attempts. About damn time!

Given the timeline, we’re obviously going back to Russia to see how Natasha Romanoff trained and what her first missions were.  Perhaps, she runs afoul of Agent Peggy Carter, founder of S.H.I.E.L.D pre-retirement? Get ready to visit the Red Room.

CATE AS GALADRIEL LOTR

 

  • The Lord of the Rings: Galadriel (and those darned Rings of Power)

Amazon is spending upwards of $500 million on a TV version of The Lord of the Rings, but the one character I want to spend time with learning how she came to be is Galadriel, bearer of one of the Three Rings of Power gifted to the Elves.

(Note: I have, indeed, read The Silmarillion by J.R.R. Tolkien)

We all want to know more about this fascinating, really powerful character who has seen and done it all by the time that Frodo and The Fellowship wander into Lothlorien.

Amazon is reported to be focusing on the backstory of Aragorn, so hopefully he spends a lot of time with the Elves prior to becoming a Ranger in the North. Otherwise, yawn.

 

BATGIRL FULL COLOR YVONNE CRAIG

  • Batgirl: Barbara Gordon (Librarian by Day …)

This film is in development at DC Comics. Joss Whedon quit after being unable to come up with a script that worked which troubles me greatly as I think a Buffy-esque approach would work for this character (who is not original to the Batman comics but was created specifically for the ’60s TV series).

Alicia Silverstone gave it the ol’ college try in the dreadful Batman & Robin, so let’s forgive her (and also re-cast her in another role in the Batgirl Universe). Director Joel Schumacher, you are still in Movie Jail, though.

Per Variety, Christina Hodson Replaces Joss Whedon on Batgirl

Hodson (Bumblebee) wrote the screenplay for Birds of Prey and is well acquainted with the inner-workings of DC Comics.

 

 

And lastly, let me get one last plug in for Ursula K. LeGuin:

EARTHSEA    EARTHSEA BOOKS

(*) Le Guin’s Earthsea Series includes:

  • A Wizard of Earthsea
  • The Tombs of Atuan
  • The Farthest Shore
  • Tales from Earthsea
  • The Other Wind

 

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To Re-Boot Or To Not Re-Boot: That Is The Question!

buffy-the-vampire-slayer

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Film Surf Report: Super Hero Franchises Save Us From The Dog Days Of Summer

AQUAMAN POSTER

Santa Monica, CA — With the Dog Days of Summer comes a bit of a lull in big super hero franchise films, so let’s enjoy the respite and look forward to the months (and years) ahead, shall we?

Interestingly, DC Comics and Warner Bros. seem to be taking a Villainous approach to their franchises having recently greenlit a Birds of Prey film starring Margot Robbie and not one, but two Joker solo films starring Joaquin Phoenix and Jared Leto, respectfully.

Of course, the super hero is only as good as the super villain opposing him/her, but I gotta say I don’t really care about a Joker origin story.  Yawn. He’s nuts. Less is more. I have serious doubts about this approach, however, were I a betting man, I would place my pesos on Universal’s upcoming Glass, the 3rd film in the Unbreakable franchise, which explores super heroes and super villains. DC should take note!

Meanwhile, here’s what/who’s about to hit the big screen. You may want to prepare yourself for multiple doses of Jude Law, Samuel L. Jackson, and James McAvoy:

JUDE LAW AS YOUNG DUMBLEDORE IN FB

  • Venom Oct. 5th — Hopes were not high until Tom Hardy signed on to play Venom, the anti-hero of the Spider-Man Universe. Interested. Underpaid actor Michelle Williams co-stars. Ruben Fleischer (Zombieland) directs. Here is the most recent Trailer which shows Michelle Williams running a lot. Got a bad feeling about this one, gang.
  • X-Men: Dark Phoenix  Nov. 2nd — Too soon. I still remember the Famke Janssen version of X3, and young Jean Grey was just okay in Apocalypse. Fox is going to the X-Well once too often, I fear. Simon Kinberg directs. Jessica Chastain plays the Villain, who is taken from the original Comic.  Jennifer Lawrence, Michael Fassbender, and James McAvoy return as does Evan Peters as Quicksilver.  Feels Ho Hum to me. Been here, done that.  Meanwhile, someone dies! Any guesses? Here’s the Trailer. Yawn.
  • Fantastic Beasts & Where To Find Them: The Crimes of Grindewald  Nov. 16th — David Yates directs the 2nd of the planned five films in the franchise that will likely culminate in the big duel between Grindewald (Johnny Depp) and a young Dumbledore!  (Jude Law) Best of all, we finally get a glimpse of noted Alchemist Nicolas Flamel who created that infamous Sorcerer’s Stone! The Latest Trailer Looks Great! Young Dumbledore Suits Jude Law via EW
  • Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse  Dec. 14th — This animated movie explores a post-Peter Parker world and features Miles Morales and Gwen Stacy.
  • Aquaman  Dec. 21st — Man, I hope DC Comics/WB gets it right here.  Jason Momoa looks great holding a trident, confronting Bruce Wayne, etc. in Justice LeagueAmber Heard, Patrick Wilson, Nicole Kidman also star. James Wan (Fast & Furious 7, The Conjuring) directs. Here’s The Trailer Which Looks Uneven To Me. Supposedly it’s not an Origin Story but expect a lot of humor a la Thor: RagnorakEW’s 1st Look Make It Sound Like An Origin Story, Tho!

GLASS

Here’s a Peek at  2 0 1 9:

  • Glass — Jan. 18th — M. Night Shyamalan’s follow up to 2016’s Split and Unbreakable features characters from both films (James McAvoy, Bruce Willis, Samuel L. Jackson) who think they are super heroes and/or villains. Looks great.  Here’s the Trailer which premiered at Comic-Con
  • Fox/Marvel Film  Feb. 14th — That Fantastic Four option appears to be lapsing.  Doctor Doom perhaps? Or possibly, Multiple Man starring James Franco! Simon Kinsberg produces from a script by Allan Heinberg (Wonder Woman).
  • X-Men: New Mutants Feb. 22nd — Josh Boone directs a new group of mutants that will likely include Wolfsbane, Rachel Summers, and MagmaJames McAvoy returns as Professor X.

BRIE AS CAPTAIN MARVEL

  • Captain Marvel  March 8th — Okay, Brie Larson. Ya got your work cut out for ya. Story is set pre-Avengers in the ’90s with Nick Fury not wearing an eye patch! Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck direct. Geneva Robertson-Dworet (Tomb Raider) scripts. Jude Law co-stars (in everything!). Film sets up Captain Marvel as the Avenger to beat in the ensuing Avengers 4 where Thanos gets his due. The first Trailer is H E R E (courtesy of Marvel)
  • Shazam! April 5th  David F. Sandberg (Annabelle) directs. Zachary Levi stars in a story reminiscent of Tom Hank’s Big, and Dwayne Johnson is set to produce and to star as Black Adam, the villain of Shazam!, in a spinoff film, but Johnson is reportedly not appearing in Shazam! (or is he?). The Trailer Goes For Laughs (And Misses) Meanwhile, there was hope for a Superman cameo, however, Henry Cavill Has Reportedly Hung Up His Cape, per THR.

AVENGERS INFINITY WAR POSTER

  • Avengers 4  May 3rd — What was to have been a 2-parter from The Russo Bros. has now become Avengers 4 which supposedly wraps up the current group, including expensive paycheck players Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark/Iron Man and Chris Evans as Captain America who completes his contract with Marvel with this film. Fingers crossed that Thor survives. Black Widow must because she’s getting her own solo film! Look for a big assist from Brie Larson’s Captain Marvel, as well.  The End of the MCU (As We Knew It) Via GQ
  • Gambit  June 7th — Channing Tatum, anyone? The loss of director Gore Verbinski has resulted in yet another delay. New Director is TBA. Lizzy Caplan (Masters of Sex) co-stars.
  • Men in Black: The Spinoff — June 14th —  Chris Hemsworth, Tessa Thompson, Rebecca Ferguson, Kumail Nanjani, Liam Neeson and Emma Thompson topline this Sony re-boot. F. Gary Gray directs from a script by Iron Man scribes Matt Holloway and Art Marcum.  Hopes high, I think.

MIB REBOOT

  • Spider-Man: Far From Home   July 5th — Tom Holland and Marisa Tomei scored in Civil War and are rewarded with a 3-parter.  Expect director Jon Watts to return for the sequel. Jake Gyllenhall in talks to star as the villain, Mysterio. Gotta say, Tom Holland is really winning in this role (and I am a fan of the Tobey trilogy). Samuel L. Jackson and Cobie Smulders also appear. Interesting! (They were turned to dust in Infinity War!)
  • Birds of Prey (aka, Untitled Girl Gang Project) TBD. Margot Robbie co-produces and stars as Harley Quinn.  Cathy Yan (Dead Pigs) directs from a script by Christina Hodson. The villain will be Black Mask. The other birds are going to be multi-ethnic. Film doesn’t start shooting until 2019, so expect a 2020 release date.
  • X-Force A team franchise led by Deadpool, Fox will make it work for better or worse (Fantastic Four anyone?). Drew Goddard writes and directs this non-virtuous team of X-Men which also includes Josh Brolin’s Cable. Ryan Reynolds gets an EP credit. Perhaps, the Fox sale to Disney will stall this franchise once Marvel gains complete control.
  • Joker: My Life & Times (working title) – Oct. 4th  — Todd Phillips’ (The Hangover) solo story stars Joaquin Phoenix (See the first look via Rotten Tomatoes!) as Batman’s arch-nemesis following in the notable footsteps of Caesar Romero, Jack Nicholson, Heath Ledger, Mark Hamill, and most recently, Jared Leto. Here’s the details via Deadline Hollywood
  • Wonder Woman 1984 — Nov. 1st — Director Patty Jenkins has set the sequel story during the Cold War with Russia. Who’s the next villain for Diana: Kristen Wiig (Bridesmaids) will play Diana’s nemesis, Cheetah. Chris Pine and Robin Wright return, as well.
  • Fantastic Beasts 3 (Nov. 15th) More Dumbledore! Less Johnny Depp. I anticipate FB2 will be a smash it as the story escalates between Dumbledore and Grindewald with a big assist by Newt. Am realizing we will eventually get to meet such wizarding luminaries as Bathilda Bagshot and a younger version of Aberforth.
  • Untitled Fox/Marvel Film — Nov. 22nd — More X-Men! Or possibly, Dr. Doom from Fantastic Four with Noah Hawley (Legion) helming.
  • Star Wars, Ep. IX   — Dec. 20th —  LucasFilm is using previously shot footage so it will be interesting to see how they deal with the untimely death of Carrie Fisher and her alter ego, Princess/General Leia? JJ Abrams returns to the franchise in the director’s chair after a troubling start. I predict the storyline for The Skywalkers gets wrapped up. No more Death Stars, please! Fisher had the last line in The Last JediWe have everything we need. Let’s hope so. Keri Russell has been cast in an as yet unknown role.

CARRIE AS GENERAL LEIA

N E X T   U P:

Female Characters Who Deserve Their Own Movie!

TRINITY

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Surf Report: What’s To Eat In Your Earthquake Kit? (Now is a Good Time to Stock Up on Beefaroni)

405 FWY ON FIRE Santa Monica, CA — The current LA Heatwave and the years of being reminded that Los Angeles is in the Hot Zone that is way overdue for a major quake has started me thinking about Earthquake Preparedness.

I have a hastily thrown together Earthquake Kit but where in the hell did I put that thing???

This story is about preparing for The Big One (or whichever likely Natural Disaster is heading your way!) and having food stored in one’s Earthquake Preparedness Kit that is not just dried and tasteless.

Good Food, indeed.

Now, where did I hide and/or conveniently misplace that box of important Earthquake Survival Food Stuffs?  Ah yes, there it is stashed against the back wall of the closet crammed full of Christmas decorations, wrapping paper, luggage, and assorted boxes for appliances that I just can’t seem able to toss. In the aftermath of a disaster, it will be so easy to locate (sarcasm!).

EARTHQUAKE PREPAREDNESS KIT 0LD BOX      OLD EARTHQUAKE KIT CONTENTS

Unearthing this box (pardon the pun) and discovering its contents is a snapshot of the ’90s which is most likely when I packed it:  Rice Cakes (yuk!), Unfrosted Strawberry Pop-tarts (they don’t even make those anymore! Hope they are still good!), Generic Chocolate Chip Cookies, Mini-Cans of Pork ‘N Beans, canned Tuna (toss!), Saltine Crackers (to go with the Tuna, natch) and one package of D Batteries (but no flashlight). Love those Carbs!

Thank God I have opened this box and can now throw everything away (with the exception of the batteries and those Pop-tarts!)

Time. To. Start. Over.

Water, however, you most likely have not purchased Enough Water.

You have that emergency jar of Peanut Butter. So you are good for the first two hours of what could be a 2-week ordeal following The Big One.

Time to put some thought into What Are You Going To Eat Following An Earthquake?

There’s food in your freezer, to be sure. Hopefully, you will be able to access that food. In a best-case scenario, you will have 24-48 hours in which to grill whatever protein is frozen, so that’s two days covered. Your neighbors will be doing the same or relying on you to share, and vice versa. Keep that in mind.

Also, local restaurants with gas grills that work will most likely be serving up anything they can following a Big Quake.

Get extra water. Keep a flat of water in the trunk of your car. Do it. It’s easy.

EARTHQUAKE CUPBOARD      EARTHQUAKE WATER

Now comes the hard part: Stock up on food that will not only last but is also nutritional and not just junk. The Good News is most of these items are probably on sale right now at your local supermarket:

  • Bagged Nuts in the Shell (like salted peanuts)
  • Canned Fruit (pineapple slices, etc.)
  • Dried Fruit
  • Protein Bars (breakfast bars, etc.)
  • Canned Beans (chili, black, navy, pork and) This means you will also need a Can Opener. Perhaps, put that Swiss Army Knife in your Earthquake Kit. (That’s more of a Note to Self.)
  • Beefaroni (You loved it as a Kid. You will be surprised at how good it will taste when there is nothing else to eat. Also, it’s always on sale at Ralph’s for $1/can.)

So, that’s week one right there, however, a big Snag exists: Caffeine.

IMG_1640

If you are like me, you NEED that cup (or two) of Hot Coffee every morning. In the event of an Earthquake, think about how you are going to get that caffeine.  I get a headache if I don’t have my morning coffee.

Provided the gas has not been shut off, you can always switch to Hot Tea. However, that’s best case scenario. Most likely, the gas will be shut off along with the electricity. So, can you imagine boiling water on a grill just to make Hot Tea or instant coffee (yuck!)?

Get a Thermos.

Other Stuff to Have Handy and/or Reserved Specifically in Case of Earthquake:

  • Toilet Paper (along with a bucket with a top that seals)
  • First Aid Kit(s) that includes bandages, peroxide and antiseptic cream.
  • Batteries (for flashlights, head lamps, radios)
  • Portable Radio (I put my old Walkman in my Earthquake kit – batteries included)
  • Head Lamp (the kind that attaches to the brim of a hat)
  • Fire Extinguisher (You must know how to use it.)
  • A Good Book (what novel will comfort you in a time of emergency and stress? Might I suggest The Hobbit or The Lord of the Rings as you will need to really get away!)
  • Tent and Sleeping Bag (I keep mine in the trunk of my car. Your home might become unsafe.)

TOILET PAPER ROLLS      FIRST AID KIT     TATTERED TOLKIEN

Well, fingers are crossed that we are all as prepared as we can be when and if The Big One actually hits.  Remember where you stash your Earthquake Kit. Buy extra Water.

Time to check on those old Pop-tarts!

 

N E X T   U P:

Female Characters Who Are Long Overdue for Their Own Movie!

BLACK WIDOW MOVIE

 

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TV Surf Report: Adaptations Of Podcasts, Games, Graphic Novels & Music Have Hollywood Aflutter (Books Are Still Cool, Though)

WATCHMEN FEATURE CAST

Santa Monica, CA — The Adaptation Trend has been in full-swing for several years now as Hollywood seeks to break through all the clutter with Intellectual Property Titles that audiences are already predisposed to like (and will thereby, tune in).

Maybe, your great idea should live as Something Other Than A Screenplay … first.

It’s not just popular movies and best-selling books that are being adapted as series, either:

  • Video Games (World-building is a new buzzword!)
  • Podcasts (Did you go to the App Store and Vote for your Favorite?)
  • Magazine & Newspaper Articles (An Evergreen resource!)
  • Songs (Dolly Parton, You Are Talented!)
  • Foreign Series (adapted for the US market)
  • Graphic Novels (about Super Heroes, natch)

HALO

Here’s the latest crop of Adaptations in active development and headed to your streaming device in the very near future:

  • His Dark Materials at BBC One and HBO. HBO Acquires Broadcast Rights Outside The UK, per Deadline.  Tom Hooper (The King’s Speech) directs this massive TV adapation of Philip Pullman’s fantasy novels with a cast that includes James McAvoy, Ruth Wilson, Lin-Manuel Miranda, and Dafne Keen (Logan). Production is underway in Wales on S1. Meanwhile, the BBC Orders 2nd Season of 8 Episodes.
  • Foundation at Apple TV.  David S. Goyer (DaVinci’s Demons, Krypton) and Josh Friedman (Snowpiercer, Sarah Conner Chronicles) get 10 episodes to adapt Isaac Asimov’s SF trilogy about the 1000-year saga of people defying the Galactic Empire. Hmm. I wonder if George Lucas read these books prior to Star Wars. Just a thought!
  • Run Away at Netflix. Adaptation of Harlan Coben’s novel and part of an overdeal that encompasses 14 of Coben’s books.  He has two other series on Netflix:  Safe starring Michael C. Hall (Dexter) and No Second Chance.
  • Shogun at FX. A new adaptation of James Clavell’s novel gets a 10-episode order.
  • Hey There Delilah at TBD.  The Plain White Ts’ hit tune is headed to TV. I love this song and am not discounting this effort. Oh, what you do to me!  Songs That Should Be Adapted For TV, via EW
  • Slaughterhouse-Five at Epix. Gale Anne Hurd EPs this adaptation of Kurt Vonnegut’s famous novel with Universal Cable Productions. Patrick Macmanus (Happy) scripts.
  • The Time Traveler’s Wife at HBO.  Series order for Steven Moffat (Doctor Who) to adapt the Audrey Niffenegger novel about a married man who travels through Time. A feature adaptation was released in 2009 starring Rachael McAdams and Eric Bana, which I did not see because I loved the book too much.  Looking forward to this version, though!
  • Less Than Zero at Hulu. The Bret Easton Ellis novel was made into a film in 1987 which starred Andrew McCarthy. Here, a pilot has been greenlight starring Austin Abrams (The Walking Dead) in an ensemble of privileged college kids up to no good in Palm Springs. Craig Wright (Greenleaf, Lost) scripts.
  • The Vampire Chronicles at Hulu. Anne Rice, Christopher Rice and Anonymous Content exec produce this series based on 11 of Rice’s Vampire Chronicles books which center on Lestat who becomes a vampire in medieval Paris and continues a long journey of immortality with stops along the way as a rock star, an otherworldly adventure with The Devil, and a body snatching. Looking forward!
  • Batwoman at The CW.  Greg Berlanti (who else!) EPs this comic adaptation with a crossover event on the horizon within The Arrowverse.  TV gets its first gay super hero.
  • Y at FX.  Diane Lane, Amber Tamblyn, and Timothy Hutton star in the adaptation of DC Comics’ Y: The Last Man, a post-apocalyptic world where only one male mammal has survived. Pilot order.  Michael Green (American Gods) scripts and EPs.
  • 68 Whiskey at Paramount Network . Ron Howard’s Imagine Entertainment produces this half-hour dark comedy adaptation of  Charlie Golf One, an Israeli series about a diverse group of medics stationed in Afghanistan.  Sounds a lot like M*A*S*H to me! Howard is set to direct. Roberto Benabib scripts.
  • Quantum and Woody at TBS.  The Russo Bros. (Avengers: Infinity War) and the screenwriters from Ant-Man & Wasp adapt this super hero Valiant Entertainment Comic inspired by the characters Woody Harrelson and Wesley Snipes played in White Men Can’t Jump. Only they have super powers. Pilot order for a TV series based on a Comic that is inspired by a Film. Triple-threat!
  • Halo at Showtime. 10-episode series order for this popular video game from Microsoft with Amblin producing this futuristic conflict. Kyle Killen scripts and EPs with Rupert Wyatt (Rise of the Planet of the Apes) set to direct.
  • Fortnite at TBD. ‘Tis only a matter of time as this is the game of the moment. The Most Important Video Game on the Planet
  • Watchmen at HBO. Damon Lindelof (The Leftovers, Lost) delves back into the Alan Moore graphic novel source material and assembles a stellar cast of Super Heroes that includes Jeremy Irons, Regina King, Tim Blake Nelson, Don Johnson, and Louis Gossett, Jr. Nicole Kassell (The Leftovers) directed the pilot. Series order. Interestingly, Lindelof says his take is more “remix” than adaptation of the graphic novel with some new characters to explore.  More world-building! Damon Lindelof Loves A Sad Ending – New York Public Library Interview
  • Midnight’s Children at Netflix. The 1981 Salman Rushdie novel about India’s independence from British colonialism centers on one character who is telepathically connected to 1,000 other people born at the same hour in 1947. Series order.
  • Invincible at Amazon. Robert Kirkman’s popular comic gets an 8-episode hour-long animated series order for this adult superhero multi-generational story about fathers and sons.
  • Dolly Parton Songbook at Netflix. Parton follows up her successful NBC adaptations of Coat of Many Colors and Jolene.
  • Nightbreed at SyFy. Based on best-selling horror author Clive Barker’s short story collection and graphic novel, Cabal, series explores race relations in America, only the races are humans and monsters. Hmm. Morgan Creek and UCP produce.
  • Resident Alien at SyFy. Based on the Dark Horse Comics title about an alien posing as a Colorado doctor who surmises Humanity might not be worth saving. Pilot order.

INVINCIBLE

  • Tender is the Night at TBD. Colin Callender (Wolf Hall, Little Women) has optioned F. Scott Fitzgerald’s final novel for television with an international co-production likely as the story is set in the South of France and recalls Fitzgerald’s romance with his wife, Zelda.
  • Welcome to Night Vale at FX. A fictitious radio show covering the supernatural news in the Southwest USA. The popular podcast gets adapted by Sony TV.
  • Wolverine: The Podcast via Stitcher. Now, this is interesting. Marvel Studios has launched a 10-episode podcast murder mystery with Logan as the primary suspect based on The Long Night storyline. Richard Armitage (Berlin Station) voices everyone’s favorite grumpy mutant. Check Out The Trailer To The Podcast Here.
  • Les Miserables at BBC. Victor Hugo’s novel about Jean Valjean, a man sent to prison for stealing a loaf of bread, gets adapted (again).
  • Catch-22 at Paramount Network (formerly Spike). George Clooney EPs and directs a 6-episode adaptation of Joseph Heller’s book.
  • Crimetown at FX. Another Podcast gets adapted. This one is from the creators of The Jinx. Organized crime and city corruption in Rhode Island take center stage.
  • Inside The Church of Chili’s at NBC. Inspired by an article in GQ Magazine, this ensemble comedy centers on Super Trainers who travel across the country opening new franchises of a successful restaurant chain. Conde Nast partners with Sony TV.
  • The Lord of the Rings at Amazon. Warner Bros. TV is producing a prequel series adaptation of the J.R.R. Tolkien classic novels set in Middle Earth. No Showrunner set yet. Not Ready Until 2021!
  • I Know This Much Is True at HBO.  Mark Ruffalo stars in and EPs this 8-hour miniseries adaptation of the Wally Lamb best-selling novel, playing dual roles (Loved It!).  Derek Cianfrance (Blue Valentine) writes and directs. High hopes for this one.
  • Nancy Drew at NBC.  The teenage sleuth and her best friend get an update (again) after CBS passed on a previous incarnation.  Ah, The Secret Is In The Clock!
  • The Name of the Rose at TBD.  John Turturro and Rupert Everett topline this 8-hour miniseries adaptation of the Umberto Eco best-selling novel.
  • The Blinds at TBD. Neil Sternberg’s novel was just published a year ago (August 1st) and was scooped up by Sony TV three weeks later. Story centers on a Texas town, wherein, all the residents or either former criminals or victims of crimes. The Twist is everyone has had their memories erased and has a new chance to begin again. A Thriller.
  • The Haunting of Hill House at Netflix.  Timothy Hutton is to star for Paramount TV and Amblin in this adaptation of Shirley Jackson’s classic novel.  Ten episodes have been ordered straight to series. Mike Flanagan directs.
  • Black Samurai at STARZ. An update of Marc Olden’s novels and a 1977 film courtesy of Jerry Bruckheimer, this is an action-drama about an American soldier who trains with a Samurai master. Common stars and also EPs.

A DISCOVERY OF WITCHES

  • A Discovery of Witches at SKY.  Matthew Goode and Teresa Palmer topline this adaptation of Deborah Harkness’ All Souls Trilogy.  Premieres in September in the UK. The US Broadcast partner is Sundance Now, AMC’s SVOD service as well as Shudder, the streaming service specializing in Horror. It was only a matter of time before Witches got hot again! Oxford locations! I’m in. Here’s the very enticing Trailer.

GOOD OMENS POSTER

  • Good Omens at Amazon. Limited series produced by BBC Studios based on the book by Neil Gaiman & Sir Terry Pratchett about the Earth’s final days. Hour-long comedy stars David Tennant, Michael Sheen, Jon Hamm and Frances McDormand. Here’s a First Look!
  • The Changling at Annapurna.  No buyer yet for a TV version of Victor LaValle’s novel about a newborn and his parents.
  • Ascendant at Starz.  Veronica Roth’s last entry in the popular YA Divergent series gets a TV adaptation following a lukewarm last feature film. Smart move.
  • The Rook at Starz. Stephenie Meyer (Twilight) sold this project to the BBC last year, and now Lionsgate is on board to produce for Starz, however, Meyer has since left the series which is an adaptation of Daniel O’Malley’s novel about an amnesiac in London with a shady past as a British Secret Service agent.  Emma Greenwell, Joely Richardson, and Olivia Munn star.
  • Homecoming at Amazon. Julia Roberts stars in this political thriller based on a podcast about government conspiracy. Two seasons ordered! Anonymous Content and Universal Cable produce. Sam Esmail (Mr. Robot) scripts. Sissy Spaceck and Bobby Cannavale also star. Premieres Nov. 2nd, and here’s The Trailer
  • Today Will Be Different at HBO. More Julia Roberts! JR is attached to star in this miniseries version of Maria Semple’s novel.
  • The Nix at HBO. Nathan Hill’s fun novel gets Meryl Streep as its matriarchal lead.
  • The Passage at Fox. Justin Cronin’s very dark alternate future where a vampiric plague has drastically changed the United States still haunts me. Series order for Midseason with a January 2019 premiere. This book greatly disturbed me (but in a good way). Will take a wait and see approach as the casting does not thrill me. Mark-Paul Gosselar stars.
  • Tales of the City at Netflix.  Unclear if this latest adaptation is based on Armisted Maupin’s columns and books or the successful Showtime re-boot of the PBS Masterpiece original adaptation. Laura Linney and Olympia Dukakis are set to return to Barbary Lane in San Francisco.
  • The Witcher at Netflix. A group of young people hunt demons in this series based on Polish novelist Andrzej Sapkowski’s books.  Sean Daniel (The Mummy) produces.  Buffy 2.0 anyone? Henry Cavill (Mission: Impossible, Superman, Justice League) has signed on to star. Wow! Check out Henry Cavill’s Recent Post on Instagram!
  • Agatha Christie Mysteries at BBC One and Amazon.  Ordeal By Innocence is the latest of these evergreen properties that are getting re-made following recent updates to And Then There Were None (which Lifetime broadcast) and Witness for the Prosecution (Acorn). John Malkovich stars in the upcoming ABC Murders.

Not all adaptations work, so take heart, Scribes, as there will always be room for a terrific original idea. In the meantime, get to work on that Podcast or Graphic Novel.

N E X T   U P:

Female Characters Who Deserve Their Own Story.

TRINITY

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Surf Report: An American (Surfer) in Paris – Epilogue

BW SELFIE AT LOUVRE

Paris was always worth it and you received return for whatever you brought to it. —  Ernest Hemingway, A Moveable Feast

Paris — The month-long stay has come to a close.  That last bottle of Red Wine has been drunk and placed in my building’s recycling bin. Sheets and towels have been laundered in a washing machine (that is also a dryer) with directions in French, so fingers crossed there.

Literary Paris, meaning those wonderful books set in Paris, has nothing to do with contemporary Paris. The magic of Paris that you discovered in great books still exists, but you will not find it where you hope to find it. Nor will the hundreds of other people with your same idea and/or itinerary.

As in Life, it’s all about the Journey and not about the Destination.

I journeyed to Paris, planned my Life so that I could spend a month there and really see/feel/live some life there. Thumbs up. Am so glad I did it and am so grateful for the friends with whom I shared the experience: Walking everywhere. Stopping for Drinks anywhere. Finding that fantastic bowl of fish ball soup on a rainy day. Praying in Notre Dame. Praying in Saint-Roch. Praying in Saint Sulpice.

I did a lot of praying.  In Notre Dame, I gave thanks for my family. In Saint Roch, I gave thanks for friends who are no longer on the planet. In Saint Sulpice, I gave thanks for Creativity, for good books and stories that spark my own imagination.

SEINE NOTRE DAME SELFIE      STAIRS AT RUE AU MAIRE DIRECTOR SHOT

Realizations.

At the Musee Louvre, I had a big Realization. I mean, really big.  Here it is:

I am not really that into Religious-themed Art.

You’ve seen one gorgeous masterpiece Madonna & Child, you’ve seen them all.

Is that sacrilegious? Possibly.  At the Louvre, there are hundreds.  I was unmoved. Just not for me. I prefer Sculpture, Greek and Roman mythology. And, there were just too many people crowding around every piece of Art, angling for that Selfie (and getting in the way of my own, darn them!).

I may not be a Louvre Person.

Or, I think I would prefer to tour the Louvre at night after closing, preferably when there is a murder investigation ongoing a la The Da Vinci Code. When you exit The Louvre, you pass La Pyramide Inversee, which plays an important role in Brown’s thriller, which is very much religious-themed. Tourists crowd around this imposing sculpture and snap selfies (as one does).

So perhaps, I prefer Books to Portraits! Sorry, Michelangelo & Co.

MONA LISA SIGNAGE BW SELFIE LOUVRE

Here are a few things I would do differently:

  • Go in the dead of Winter and stay two months or longer.  May was great, but there were just too many Tourists and too many lines for every effing landmark. Also, the last few days were getting kinda toasty!  Paris has a lot of cars, and the pollution was getting to me, as well. I can see myself in Paris, wearing my Winter Coat, sitting at a café drinking something warm and surrounded by friends.
  • You cannot see everything you want to see in a finite amount of time, so don’t try to see everything, and save a few things for next time. (Looking at you, Les Catacombs.)
  • Get a Credit Card That Does Not Charge Foreign Transaction Fees,  each time you make a purchase. This requires Advance Thought & Action.
  • Find a neighborhood that prides itself on being quiet! The Oldest China Town in the Marais is not where you want to stay if you like to read in bed or on the couch or indoors. Early morning food deliveries and late night restaurant patrons are noisy.
  • Get out of Paris more often. I have friends who live in the South. If I stayed longer, I would hop a train and visit.
  • Bring an adapter that works in France (not England).
  • Leave my cool cuticle kit corkscrew at home. It got confiscated by TSA in Dallas on my return flight (having passed inspection in LA and in Paris!). I miss it even though I never used it.
  • Bring or rent a bike helmet and use the city ride share bikes to get around and to explore. (Did I mention that I have blisters on my feet from walking everywhere?!)

LE CELTIC BREAKFAST         LA PYRAMIDE INVERSEE           RUE AU MAIRE STREET SHOT            AVEC CLAUDETTE ON PONT DES ARTISTES

Exit: Stage Right.

On my last morning, I sat at Le Celtic, my favorite sidewalk café, enjoying one final Petit Dejeuner, watching the locals head to work when I noticed a very tall man standing in front of the café clearly trying to decide whether or not he should eat there.

You should eat here. It’s good.

Warily, he takes my advice. Turns out he is an American. His name is Bernard, and he is seated next to me thanks to Florian, the server, who knows to group the Americans together and away from everyone else. It’s our voices. We speak too loudly for the French. No, we do. We really do. Americans need to learn to keep it down a bit more.

Bernard has just arrived in Paris that morning. Jet-lagged and discombobulated, he is just beginning his adventure as I, relaxed and satiated, am ending mine.

It’s like a closing farewell scene from The Hobbit or The Fellowship of The Ring but without all that talk about saving The Shire, tankards of ale, or nasty hobbits. I am the wizened Gandalf.

I give Bernard all my best Paris tips (which were given to me by my friend, Claudette). His next stop that very day is Roland-Garros, so we have a robust discussion about Tennis, who will win, which court to watch, etc. The time flies by and before you know it, I stand to bid him farewell. I pay Florian and thank him (in French)  for his many kindnesses.

Pay it forward, Bernard! I tell him as I take my leave, meaning do the same for someone else on his last day of his Parisian adventure.

A month earlier, I could barely converse with a corrupt Portuguese taxi driver or correctly enter a door code to get in my own building, and now, here I am telling this blissfully ignorant American how best to enjoy Paris starting with what to eat for breakfast and the fastest way to Roland-Garros via Le Metro.

C’est la vie! That’s Life for ya.

N E X T   U P:

Is It Time To Pull Up Stakes and Move to France?

FOR RENT SIGN AT 2507 3RD     SEINE RIVER ACROSS FROM NOTRE DAME

 

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Surf Report: An American (Surfer) In Paris – Part 3

LE CELTIC BREAKFAST     EMPTY CHAIRS AT JARDIN DU TUILERIES

Week Three: In The Groove

Paris — I have got it together now. Am getting up early. Am going for walks along The Seine. Paris sleeps in. Those red wine comas have that effect on ya. This river city is really lovely when most of its inhabitants are still abed.

Have found a sidewalk café I like a lot: Le Celtic. Have been stopping there regularly for a Petit Dejeuner (juice, croissant, chocolat chaud). The morning sunshine is just perfectly golden as you sit outside at the little tables, savoring that first hit of caffeine.  Aah, formidable!

Shower. Go see a landmark. The Louvre? Sure. Or, take Le Metro to Roland Garros. Easy.

Thank you, Google Maps.  In Paris, scores of tourists walk the city staring at their smart phones, but what you don’t know is that they are following walking directions via this great App.  No need to ever get lost again. Vive Technologie!

A Moment of Zen in the City of Light.

In a vacation filled with many wonderful moments, I had A Moment at the place I least likely expected one: Notre Dame.

One morning, I got up early intending to walk along the river so as to walk off last night’s heavy cheese and bread course when I found myself at the city’s most famous cathedral. Normally, there are a gazillion tourists milling outside but on this particular early morning, no one was yet about so I had it all to myself.  There was even a door open admitting parishioners to the 8 AM service.

Bells were tolling and they tolled for me.

What a pleasure to have Notre Dame all to oneself to stroll leisurely, to read about its fascinating history (which includes its earliest incarnation as the Cathedral of St. Stephen) and to listen to the singing from the service.  A moment of Zen in the City of Light. Sitting there, surrounded by history, I could not help but think of my father, my family, and gave thanks for all who encouraged me to make this trip which was 54 years in the making.

NOTRE DAME SELFIE        FENETRE DU GLASS INT NOTRE DAME

The Road to Roland-Garros Includes A Stop for Hot Chocolate.

As a lifelong tennis player, visiting Roland-Garros (aka, The French Open) is a Thrill. I have seen this clay court Grand Slam tournament played for decades, and it’s always been one of my favorites.

I follow tennis with the enthusiasm that most Kentuckians follow basketball: I love it and can talk Tennis all damn day! Yes, I am that guy. My favorite player is Roger Federer, the Swiss Maestro.

Surfing Hollywood And Roger Federer Dress For Success

I take the subway to R-G during morning rush hour for Parisian commuters, so the train cars are packed like sardines in a can.  I let a few go by thinking one will come along that is less crammed full of humanity, but none do.  Finally, I squeeze in just like everyone else.

Amazingly, commuters can stand in a crowded subway car and read a book.  Now, that’s relaxed. I stand uncomfortably and wonder what books everyone are reading!

After my transfer, I arrive at the stop for R-G which includes a little walk to the stadium.  I pop in to a café and enjoy a Chocolat Chaud at the bar like the pro Parisian that I now am. The guy next to me wears a suit and has an R-G badge.  He is working security for the stadium. He drinks two espressos.

ROLAND GARROS       LENGLEN STADIUM BW SELFIE

The first match I watch goes three sets and lasts 2.5 hours. I unwisely choose a seat on the sunny side of the court, but hey, it’s morning sun, so I should be okay.  By the time, the match is over, I feel as though I have been burned, baked and buried by the now very intense French sunshine. It’s the hottest day of the year so far in Paris.

I am fried. A French frite.

It’s a long day, but a good day as I watch a few more matches, chat with some really fun people, stop and listen to some roving minstrels before making my way through the security gauntlet and head back to the subway for the return trip to my apartment where there is a cold shower waiting for me.

On the subway, I am Sunburned Dead Man Walking. Totally zombie-like. You know the guy. Vacant stare. Possibly mumbling.

Sometimes, I learn, Paris can kick your butt … even when you are in the groove.

N E X T   U P:

Lessons Learned. What I’d Do Differently. Unexpected Thrills.

An American (Surfer) in Paris – Continues

BW SELFIE AT LOUVRE

 

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An American (Surfer) In Paris – Continued

LOUVRE SELFIE              EIFFEL TOWER AVEC SANDY

Day 10: My Feet Are Killing Me.

Paris — I live at the beach in Santa Monica, CA, so when I think about going on holiday, I don’t want to go to the beaches in Mexico or Hawaii (usually). I crave a big city, urban nightlife and energy that is not Los Angeles (car-driven), so New York, Montreal, London, Prague and Paris are high on my list of places to visit.

Boy, my feet sure are sore from walking around so much! All that concrete and all those cobblestones take a toll on a surfer’s tender footsies. I fear I can no longer Hang Ten. Serious blisters on both feet, people!

Literary Paris.

Over the years, some of my favorite novels have been set in Paris, so it’s no coincidence that I should want to visit the city Hemingway called home during A Moveable Feast, or the museum where symbologist Robert Langdon fled a crime scene in The Da Vinci Code, or where a young man from the Auvergne was made a vampire in The Vampire Lestat.

Such is the power and influence of a good book. You can cover a lot of ground retracing these literary steps. I did exactly that, and it was pretty exciting.

Be forewarned, though: Shakespeare And Company has moved since Hemingway’s time here, and the Priory Keystone is nowhere to be found within the church of Saint Sulpice, and most notably, the infamous Theatre Des Vampires is not listed on Trip Advisor!

(Am assuming this is due to the extremely high mortality rate of audience members, but how cool would it be if it were?! Perhaps, the upcoming Vampire Chronicles television series will change that. Looking at you Christopher Rice and Paramount TV.)

One can take many a literary-inspired tour, though. Why not? ‘Tis a great way to see Paris:

Hemingway’s Paris – A Walking Tour

Da Vinci Code Walking Tour of Paris

HEMINGWAY IN THE TUILERIES      SHAKESPEARE AND COMPANY

Walk Like A Parisian.

For my first week in Paris, I was lucky to spend a lot of time with a friend who lives here. I got the inside scoop on how Parisians live, how they deal with the constant roving packs of tourists (and high season has not yet begun), where they like to eat and to relax.

The surfer in me is drawn to the river, The Seine. I stroll its banks every day, enjoying that famed French sunlight, just taking it all in. River Cruises motor up and down all day packed with tourists seeing Paris by boat, people imagining what it must be like to live in one of the fantastic old buildings where most of the balconies have welcoming flower boxes recently planted for Spring.

One of the coolest things to do is to picnic along the bank, which many many people do because it’s affordable (and fun). Cheese, wine and bread. Easy.

In local news, the Festival of Bread just concluded, and an immigrant’s son won the coveted prize of Best Baguette!

One of the most helpful articles I’ve read is from Conde-Nast Traveler on How To Avoid Looking Like A Tourist In Paris Unfortunately, I read it after I arrived wearing my gaudy white sneakers and supremely unchic American backpack. Ironically, the article is entitled The Essential Things to Know Before You Visit Paris.

There are a gazillion places selling esharpes (scarves) and man-bags. Especially, bags. There are stores everywhere selling handsome bags.  It’s a bit overwhelming to choose and also a bit annoying because I have these exact items at home in Santa Monica.  I just did not bring them with me. Woulda coulda shoulda!

monet-claude-seerosen-41828-g

Dream vs Reality

When you imagine seeing the Mona Lisa for the first time, it’s just you standing quietly and gazing at Da Vinci’s portrait and wondering what all the fuss is about.  It’s a lot smaller in person.

What you don’t see in your imagination is the crowd of people behind you jostling for position trying to snap their Selfie and arguing with their companions on where to go for lunch.

Crowds. I don’t like ’em.  Paris is full of them. I can’t get away fast enough. So, it’s to the riverbank I go, to walk at my own pace on the uneven cobblestones (did I mention how much my poor feet hurt???), to find an empty bench, to enjoy that famous Parisian light that has been so much discussed in books and in film.

I lucked out when a friend and I went to see Claude Monet’s Water Lilies at Musee de l’Orangerie . It was raining, and there were only the brave few walking with umbrellas through the Tuileries.  My friend, who lives in Paris, was shocked. She had never walked right up to the museum before without waiting in a long line. These paintings are magnificent works of art that are impressively displayed for your enjoyment. Hope you can see it on quiet day.

Thank you, rainy weather.

N E X T   U P:

It took years of Practice and Hard Work,

But I Finally Made It To Roland-Garros!

An American (Surfer/Tennis Player) in Paris – Continues!

NADAL AT ROLAND GARROS

 

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