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Screen grab from Richard Lester’s classic Beatles film “A Hard Day’s Night” (1964)

by Sam Juliano

A few glorious days have followed the remnants of a storm that went out to sea on the cusp of the July 4th weekend that saved the holiday for many, and allowed barbecues to operate successfully until the fireworks upstaged all.  Independence Day was a fine day for many, and it’s conclusion marks the start of the dog days of summer.

I want to thank Dee Dee from the bottom of my heart for her remarkable sidebar updating and the usual holiday markings.  This site remains in her debt for years.

The romantic countdown continues with several more superlative entries this past week.  Both the page view and comment totals remain constant in a very good way, as we get closer and closer to the mid-way point.

The tragic passing of a 57 year-old longtime friend of a 12 year illness kept everything in a state of melancholy most of the week.  John Mesisca was a trustee on the Fairview Board of Education for multiple terms. (more…)

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Le Quai de Brumes (France 1938)

By Tony d’Ambra

The fog of angst seeps from the faces of two doomed lovers in the dank gloom of Le Havre. Jean is on the run and Nelly is trapped in a psychic prison as real as the physical constraints on her existence. Happiness is something that may exist but neither knows it. (more…)

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by Sam Juliano

One down and four to go.  Our wonderful daughter Melanie -the oldest of our five children- graduated Cliffside Park High School this past week outdoors on a steamy hot and humid Wednesday evening at 6:00 P.M.  For us it is hard to believe that one of our kids has reached this point, though now it we pretty much be one after the other.  We certainly are very proud of our Melanie, who did finish in the top third of her graduating class, finishing with a fantastic senior year in academic achievement.

Best wishes for a soulful retirement to Angelo A. D’Arminio Jr. (our long time voting tabulator extraordinaire) who was the toast of a dinner on Wednesday night at Cafe Tivoli in Ridgefield.  D’Arminio and his wife Kathy plan to re-locate in South Carolina by the end of the summer.  He served as President of the Fairview Board of Education this past year after completing two separate stints on the nine-person panel.  We wish Angelo the very best in the coming years.

Despite a packed week with all kinds of events (Melanie’s graduation party was held on Sunday at the Tiger Hose Firehouse in Fairview) Lucille, Sammy, Jeremy and I managed to see three films in theaters this past weeek, though one of those was a twelve minute short shown at the BAM Film Festival that was directed by our good friend Jason Giampietro.  The two feature films we saw in theaters was another at the same BAM Festival, and the beloved STAR WARS at the Film Forum, shown as part of the Alec Guiness Film Festival.  At the STAR WARS screening on Sunday afternoon we met up with Bob Clark and had a very fine talk after the film in the lobby.  Whether one is a fervent fan of all the films or not, there is no denying this very first film made in the series as a landmark of the cinema for all sorts of reasons.  We all had quite a bit of fun I must say. (more…)

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by Sam Juliano

One of the funniest stories from my childhood, one that has been often told to me to inspire riotous laughter among friends, has a direct tie-in this past week’s release of Clint Eastwood’s Jersey Boys, based on the smash Broadway musical.  It goes something like this:  When I was eight years old, the Four Season’s released the single “Sherry.”  As a 45 buyer all the way back to that year, the song was one of my earliest infatuations.  I was so smitten with it -and in typical Juliano obsessive fashion I played it at least 20 times a day or so – that I was heard by neighbors sitting on my backyard fence singing  Sherry.  Sherry baby…Sherry.  Sherry baby.  She- er-er-er-ery baby!  Sherry baby!  Of course I was mortified at the prospects of there being an audience back then, though I never had a problem singing in my own bedroom.  The memories came flooding back to me again over the weekend while Lucille and I heard the song several times during the two hours plus running time of the film.  In fact “Sherry” was done more times than any other Four Seasons song in the film, though such standards like “Rag Doll,” “Let’s Hang On,” “Oh What A Night,” “My Eyes Adore You,” and the celebrated Frankie Valli solo “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You” and others kept you humming a long.  As expected three days later those songs are still in my head.  And well they should be.  The Four Seasons were one of America’s premier groups and their Cinderella story -OK it is an edgy one too- is given entertaining treatment in the film version that appears to have split the critics down the middle.  It is far from perfect, but Jersey Boys on film alternately explores the fame and despair in the lives of the group members, including Frankie Valli and Bob Gaudio  Sit back, relax and enjoys these great songs again.  A few too many people were looking to pick a fight with Eastwood, methinks.  Sure it longish, but so what.  The end credits for me were not long enough.  Christopher Walker was great too as a benevolent Mafioso. (more…)

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Ansel Elgort and Shailene Woodley in “The Fault in Our Stars”

Screen capture from British satire masterpiece “Kind Hearts and coronets” shown as part of Alec Guinness Festival at Film Forum

by Sam Juliano

In quick succession Father’s Day, the longest day of the year (June 21st) and the ending date of school signal the Dog Days of Summer are ahead.  Indeed weather forecasters are predicted number in the low 90’s for the coming week in the New York City area, and other friends living elsewhere are reporting much the same.  The Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) will be staging their own annual film festival next week, and included on the itinerary is a new short film by our longtime friend Jason Giampietro, and our Film Forum pal Kyle Molzan who is making his debut with For the Plasma.  Richard Body in this past week’s The New Yorker has some very nice things to say about Kyle’s film.  Lucille and I (and probably Sammy and Danny) will be on hand for both screenings.  Our darling daughter Melanie graduates high school next week and we have a party set for the 28th. (more…)

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Lucille and Sam flank artist-illustrator Laura James at exhibition of three of her paintings in Harlem on Friday evening.

 

Sam between Florence and Wendell Minor (Jeremy to the right) at book signing of GALAPAGOS GEORGE at Connecticut bookshop on Saturday afternoon.

by Sam Juliano

We are nearly half way through June, and as expected air conditioners are working overtime. Schools are winding down, and vacation plays are moving forward.  Her at Wonders in the Dark, the romantic countdown continues in its fourth week.

Lucile and I saw only one film together in theaters this week, what with some other splendid activities planned and subsequently executed.  We watch William Friedkin’s late 70’s The Wages of Fear adaptation THE SORCERER, which was featured in a spectacular new restored print at the Film Forum.  We say it with young Sammy and two friends not seen in quite a while– Joel Bocko in from California, and Bob Clark.  We discussed the film and caught up with quite a bit of unfinished business afterwards at The Dish. (more…)

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Les-Enfants-Du-Paradis

By Tony d’Ambra

Garance, the older woman who has experience, wisdom, the patina of a mature mellow wine, and the allure of the courtesan.  Garance a red flower rhymes with France. A delicate symbol of freedom and of a simple yet ravishing elegance. Garance personifies liberty. Liberty as depicted by Delacroix, where again the colour red dominates: red for nationalistic passion and a vitality for revolutionary liberty. The metaphor is strong and simple.

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by Sam Juliano

June has arrived, and many are plotting their course for the summer.  Temperatures have reached the mid 80’s on the east coast, and more of the same seems a certainty.  Right now for some its about weekend visits to the shore, baseball games and barbecues,  and for teachers it is a matter of three more weeks before summer vacation commences.  This does not apply to yours truly, and some other colleagues, who must soldier on in the summer program, which begins June 26th and runs through August 8th.  Lucille and I are planning to drive up to Prince Edward Island Island for a five day trip in mid-August, but I know I am getting ahead of myself here.

The romantic countdown is moving along beautifully, with some fabulous essays and active comment sections to prove its success.  The venture will be running all the way until October 6th, with Monday to Friday postings.I want to take this opportunity to thank our very good friend John Grant over at NOIRISH for his regular updates on the progress of the countdown.  Some of John’s own superb essays for the countdown are literally right around the corner. (more…)

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by Duane Porter

The life of Adele. Every morning Adele comes out the door, adjusts her pants, and hurries down the street to catch the bus that takes her to school. In class they are reading from La Vie de Marianne, “Ideas take hold of me. I am a woman. I tell my story.” The passage being discussed considers the possibility of ‘love at first sight’. Adele is enchanted, she loves this book and is immersed in the life of Marianne. Wide eyed, her mouth perpetually half-open, she has an insatiable desire to experience life, particularly the life of Adele.

Between classes, the girls like to talk about boys. They are all sure that one of the senior boys, Thomas, has eyes for Adele. She pooh-poohs the idea but she is obviously intrigued. Then, one morning, Thomas sits by her on the bus. They talk about the weather. They talk about the book Adele is reading, La Vie de Marianne. And they talk about what kind of music they like. She likes all kinds, she says, except hard rock with long hair and screaming. He is a musician, he teases her saying hard rock, heavy metal, is what he plays, but then he reassures her that he doesn’t and says he’d like to play for her sometime. That way they can meet again. (more…)

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