Friday, October 31, 2008

Capricorn Horoscope for week of October 30, 2008

Capricorn Horoscope for week of October 30, 2008

You have the potential to throw the best party ever, and also to elevate the radiance of other people's parties through the force of your personality. Your social instincts are superb, by which I mean they're brilliant when it comes to mixing business and pleasure and knowing how to strengthen alliances while invoking maximum fun. Your knack for getting people to work together in a noble purpose is at a peak. Halloween costume suggestion: a cross between a party animal and a community organizer. Or you and your friends could re-enact the Boston Tea Party.

Joan Baez at Town Hall

Her Voice May Be Worn, but Her Passion for the Cause Remains Strong
G. Paul Burnett/The New York Times

Joan Baez in concert at Town Hall on Tuesday night, celebrating 50 years as a performer.

Published: October 29, 2008

If anyone ought to recognize a great antiwar song when it comes along, it is Joan Baez, who appeared at Town Hall on Tuesday in a career retrospective celebrating her 50th year in show business. The concert, the first of two over two nights, followed the release of her album “Day After Tomorrow” (Bobolink/Razor and Tie), a bluegrass-flavored collection produced by Steve Earle. Its title song, written by Tom Waits and Kathleen Brennan, is a letter from a soldier to his wife in Rockford, Ill., on his 21st birthday. It is one of the album’s several earnest humanitarian reflections.

“I’m not fighting for justice/I am not fighting for freedom/I am just fighting for my life/And another day,” the soldier writes, with the desperation of a man who has lost belief in his leaders and in the cause and just wants to return home safe and sound.

Ms. Baez, who is 67, sang the song in a warm, slightly worn voice that has been chastened by time. All the familiar ingredients of her remarkable instrument were present, but muted. Anthems she used to deliver in long, flowing lines, infused with a ringing certainty, were performed with a reflective, almost halting modesty. St. Joan leading a charge of righteous pacifists into the political fray has softened into a caring, vulnerable everywoman who knows her limitations but still has the courage to stride into battle.

With many of her high notes gone, Ms. Baez’s bread and butter is now her middle range. This is the section of her voice that embodies motherhood more completely than any other folk singer does. You want to rest your head on her lap and be soothed by the sound of the cosmic lullaby emanating from within. Her comforting embrace promises shelter from the storm in a corner of the world where peace and common sense prevail.

Those homespun values were underscored on Tuesday by the old-timey sound of her musicians: Todd Phillips on bass, John Doyle on guitar and Dirk Powell on an array of instruments including banjo, mandolin and fiddle. Ms. Baez’s focus nowadays on a pre-Nashville country-folk style parallels Bob Dylan’s pursuit in his singing and songwriting of a timeless Americana.

Another antiwar song she performed from the album was Elvis Costello and T Bone Burnett’s “Scarlet Tide,” which Alison Krauss sang on the soundtrack of “Cold Mountain.” After describing “swindlers who act like kings” and “brokers who break everything,” the lyrics vow, “We’ll rise above the scarlet tide/That trickles down through the mountain/And separates the widow from the bride.”

The album’s best song, Mr. Earle’s “God Is God” — which Ms. Baez described as “a recovery song” — addresses questions of faith from an uncertain point of view: “Whether or not I believe/Doesn’t matter at all/I receive the blessings/That every day on earth’s/Another chance to get it right.”

As Ms. Baez covered the bases of her career on Tuesday, the spirit of Mr. Dylan flickered in songs like “Diamonds and Rust,” her self-effacing memoir of their love affair in the 1960s, and the Dylan ballad “Love Is Just a Four-Letter Word,” into which she inserted a very funny Dylan imitation.

Ms. Baez’s sense of humor has always been her saving grace. Just when she has begun to seem intimidatingly high and mighty, her jokes, delivered with a sweet, goofy smile, bring her back to earth, where she is needed as much as ever.
More Articles in Arts » A version of this article appeared in print on October 30, 2008, on page C3 of the New York edition.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

over 5.00

I was coming out of Whole Foods at 14th street and looked down to spot a 5.00 dollar bill. I held it up and looked around only to have a thugish looking guy who is a vendor on the street, snatch it out of my hand. It was not near his table but he said it fell out of his pocket. I told him that was my money, i found it. He said Tuff and kept on packing his table. He had headphones, i told him that God doesnt like Ugly and he said he was GOD. I told him that he stole that from me and he must need it more. I tried to find a cop and gave up and walked across the street. I spotted a cop who said he would talk to him. I should have gone over with the cop to get my money. I was pissed off all the way home because I didnt fight him hard enough for my money and I felt bullied by him.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008


I dreamed of Shawn Colvin and being in a car with her. She won the prize of going on a cruise all expenses paid. I was then in another room and trying to get somewhere.

Last night, I dreamed that I was in a side room working on a computer and running lottery tickets. two people, first Kelly my boss said she won lottery then my sister said she won 1350 in the lottery. I saw lots of tickets and was trying to get lottery tickets.

In the next scene, I was going out to lunch at 330-430 and was coming in to the store with my coat on and owner told me it was okay to go home. I was coming in from lunch and all these people needed their money taken and receipts written. Someone yelled to show me how to do it and I was taking my coat off so I could pitch in.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

a good day

Today started at the Book of Wonder bookstore where i caught the end of the reading and Q&A by Gregory Maguire. I wanted to get a copy of his new book and have it inscribed for Paige for Christmas. I got a copy of wicked and his new book signed by him. I left him a copy of Variety that had a big spread on him and Wicked. He had not seen it. He was kind and funny and generous.

I went down to Union Square and got a free copy of the Times, i walked uptown and stumbled on the 150th birthday party for Theodore Roosevelt. I toured his childhood home, a national park, on 19th street. It was open for free today for TR's bday. They had pins and I became a Junior Ranger. I left the Times with the Staff. Everyone at the TR house, loved talking about him and loved the house. It was great to see everyone liking their work.

I walked uptown and sat in the Datavision window and relieved Dave Farrow. I have been following Dave's adventure all month. I read 30 minutes of A tree Grows in Brooklyn and relieved him for a break.

Meet Dave Farrow

I sat in for Dave and did my share as a reader.....

I then made it home to clean the rugs and write a report that I needed to.

The day was way too short....

Mountain Stage

Town Hall balcony seat became a center loge seat for Mountain Stage in NYC at town hall. first up with Billy Bragg who was at Hammerstein and special guest, two songs and then the duet with Rosanne Cash on her dad's "I still miss someone". it actually made me choke up. Their voices are perfect and you could see that you were watching a special moment. There was a powerful emotion between these two singers. Leventhal played piano

Rodney Crowell with Will Kimbrough and Jennie Shienman on violin was followed by Ferron who was subbed for Todd Snider who was hospitalized yesterday. Ferron was at Joes Pub and filled in. She had bitch on fiddle with her.

Then hour two Bruce Cockburn and finally Rosanne Cash who sang "good intent" and " The World Unseen". She then sang "sea of heartbreak from the next project, 100 songs her dad left her as the essential 100 songs she needed to know to sing. Then a townes van sant song Two Girls and she ended with a duet with Rodney Crowell on a song he wrote from her first album

it was a good show

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Capricorn Horoscope for week of October 23, 2008

Capricorn Horoscope for week of October 23, 2008

The planet Saturn symbolizes the preservative and conservative tendencies of evolution. It teaches us to learn from the past and keeps us from rushing into the frontier before we're ready. Uranus, on the other hand, represents future shocks, both the disturbing and benevolent kinds. It disturbs our sleep in order to wake us up and energizes us to reinvent ourselves on the fly. What happens when these two planets slip into an intimate dynamic, as they are now? Will one of them prevail over the other in a great battle? Or will they coordinate their efforts artfully in a riveting, gorgeous dance? Amazingly enough, the outcome depends in part on you.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Jim Brown and Horton Foote

I was walking up 5th ave and didnt see Dave Farrow reading the Sony Reader in the window. Jim Brown, football player and sportscaster was reading Tony Danza's book. He stops and read to himself and I didnt realize that Mr Brown heard me say "please read on, mr. Brown." he answered me and I asked him if he liked the Reader. He said he was going to buy one. I asked if he would give it for Xmas gifts. He told me that he would get Terry Bradshaw a large print one for Christmas. He and I chatted about Red Auerbach as he was from Harvard and how he was just up with Kraft as the Patriots and CBS had the first deal for NFL. I asked him if the Patriots were out of it and he said No way. We talked about the Celtics and sports in general. I took some pix of Jim Brown to be posted later.

Tben I went to the theater at the Booth on 46th and Broadway and i was the only one in my row. 6 th row center, til the Manager placed a very old man and a young woman with a Pad. It was Horton Foote, playwright and screenwriter. Tender Mercies, Trip to Bountiful, screenplay and play. I spoke to Mr Foote about how he captures the American family, in the vein of Lillian Hellman and told him I was a fan. I asked him to sign my playbill. The man obliged me and scrawled a message. He is 92 years old. His 20 year old assistant was away from her post and I kept mr foote company.

Dividing the Estate

A CurtainUp Review
Dividing the Estate

By Elyse Sommer

Dividing the Estate Moves to Broadway
Maybe it's the ripple success of the Pulitzer-prize winning family drama with a large cast, maybe it's just because it's a fine, finely acted play. . .maybe a bit of both. At any rate, Lincoln Center Theater Company is bringing Foote's play with the original cast (or ast least most of it) to the Booth, this fall. Watch our Broadway Listings for more details-- and this page for an updated review.—es
Be careful, Sister. Don't agree to anything without legal counsel.—Lewis, who has retained a lawyer to protect his interests.
Oh, I think it is a shame ou brothers and sisters to need lawyers.—Lucille.
It may be a shame, but you'd better get one.—Lewis

dividing the Estate
(l-r:) Penny Fuller and Hallie Foote andElizabeth Ashley, the daughters and matriarch moher in Dividing the Estate. (Photo: James Leynse)

The Gordon siblings may be sufficiently divided in how to deal with the cash flow crisis in the family estate for each to need a lawyer, but this isn't Dallas or The Little Foxes. None of the people who populate Horton Foote's plays, are villains, and the Gordons of Dividing the Estate, now being given a loving and lavish production at Primary Stages, are no exception. They're self-absorbed, narrow-minded, too focused on their limited universe, but they're not vicious.

The story of how the perilous state of the Gordons' enormous fortune came about and how death brings their dickerings about the estate to a climax, once again takes us to Harrison, Texas. This fictionalized version of Wharton, Texas, Horton Foote's real home town, has served as the dramatic landscape for the some sixty plays of the 91-year-old playwright's own Chekhovian human comedy.

This chapter of Foote's Harrison oeuvre takes place in 1987 which is actually when it was written. In case you don't recall, that was the year when plummeting oil prices and land values culminated in the Savings and Loan Crisis that hit Texas particularly hard. The twenty years it has taken for the play's debut at the McCarter Theater in Princeton to be followed by its current New York premiere have not dated it. On the contrary, with people all over the country sinking into the quicksand of an escalating mortgage crisis, Dividing the Estate could be chillingly timely. But Mr. Foote is not a financial journalist and all the talk about foreclosures, estate taxes and interest rates works to leaven this dire situation with gentle humor that stems from watching these financial naifs grapple with the realization that the estate they're arguing about is no longer the cash cow it once was. Thus, the only thing old-fashioned about this production is its generously sized cast, a baker's dozen in all, and the sort of beautifully detailed sets mostly seen these days in Broadway revivals by larger nonprofit organizations like the Roundabout or Lincoln Center.

The cast features some outstanding actors, especially the three playing the immediate heirs to the Gordon estate: Penny Fuller as the oldest Gordon sister Lucille; Gerald McRaney as the alcoholic brother Lewis; and Hallie Foote, the playwright's daughter as Mary Jo, the youngest sister. Lucille is dead set against dividing the estate. Lewis, tired of having to ask his nephew (Lucille's son who has been managing the estate since he quit college, played with impeccable understatement by Devon Abner) and in order to extricate himself from a ticklish personal situation, is pro-division. Mary Jo, who's left Harrison for a more high-flying life in Houston is gung-ho for whatever will enable her and her air-headed daughters Emily (Jenny Dare Paulin) and Sissie (Nicole Lowrance) and luftmensch husband Bob (James DeMarse) to continue their extravagant lifestyle. Good as Fuller and McRaney are as stay-at-home sister and brother, Hallie Foote just about steals the whole show. Part of this can be attributed to her long experience as her father's chief interpreter, part to the fact that he has here gifted her with the liveliest and funny role. In any case, she's invested the role with an irony and true-blue twang that would make it almost impossible for anyone else to step into her shoes.

Elizabeth Ashley looks absolutely beautiful as the white-haired matriarch who has controlled her children by keeping a tight reign on the purse strings, yet spoiling them with too many loans that drain the estate she is determined to keep intact even after her death. However, though Ashley's smoky voice is hypnotically melodic, her acceent is a bit more reminiscent of Tennessee Williams and Maggie the Cat than Horton Foote.

Of the smaller parts the most endearing character is Doug the ancient family retainer played with comic zest by Arthur French. The most interesting is Pauline, the school teacher to whom Son has just gotten engaged. Unlike his first wife who found his family impossible to live with, Pauline is as intrigued by his family as by the Korean and Taiwanese students in her classroom. The example of these new Texans' life styles make her view even the possibility of everyone having to live under one roof as a challenge. Played with wide-eyed cheeriness by Maggie Lacey, this family outsider poised to become an insider,adds to the play's timeliness and helps to keep things funny despite two funerals.

Director Michael Wilson, who's previously helmed The Day Emily Married, The Carpetbagger's Children, The Trip to Bountiful, once again proves his affinity for the nuances of Mr. Foote's work. He allows the causes and events that will change these lives forever to unfold at a deliberately slow Southern tempo, through character revealing snippets of gossip and family recollections.

While the relatively small playing area of the 59E59 Theater necessitated a scaled down living room, dining room and hallway of the Gordon house, set designer Jeff Cowie has nevertheless created an aura of spaciousness and fine living. The mind boggling array of prints on wall paper, rugs, upholstery, curtains and accessories is taken to yet another level by David C. Woolard's costumes (particularly the dresses in which Joanne's daughters make their entry). Rui Rita's lighting of a painting of what the house must have looked like before the surrounding homes gave way to commercial enterprises, makes for an elegant visual pause between scenes.

There's something to be said for the gritty, dysfunctional family dramas by some of our emerging young dramatists. But there's still a great deal of pleasure to be had from a beautifully staged and acted kitchen sink comedy like this excerpt from the American experience as witnessed by our oldest and most prolific writer for stage, screen and television.

You can learn more about Horton Foote's life, career and links to plays reviewed at Curtainup by reading Curtainup's Horton Foote backgrounder.

Playwright: Horton Foote
Directed by Michael Wilson Cast: Elizabeth Ashley (Stella (Gordon), Arthur French (Doug), Hallie Foote (Mary Jo),Penny Fuller (Lucille), Gerald McRaney (Lewis), Devon Abner (Son), J Lynda Gravatt (Mildred), Virginia Kull (Irene), Maggie Lacey (Pauline), Nicole Lowrance (Sissie), and Kejana Richard (Cathleen), Jenny Dare Paulin, Emily, James Demarse (Bob).
Primary Stages at 59E59
Running Time: 2 hr. 15 min. (includes 1 intermission)
From 9/18/07 to 10/27/07; opening 9/27/07.
Sets: Jeff Cowle
Costumes: David C. Woolard
Lights: Rui Rita
Sound: John Gromada
Tue at 7pm; Wed - Sat at 8pm; Sat at 2pm
Review by Elyse Sommer based on 9/26 press preview

Thursday, October 23, 2008

cornelia fulke

i stumbled on a book reading by this author of magical young adult or teen novels. Seem that my nieces have read her two prior books, so I bought the latest and had it inscribed to all three of them. My parents will give them these for Hanukah. I have to attend another book signing there on Sunday to see Gregory McGuire sign his latest book for my neice Paige. She loves that Wicked Series and this the third book in the trilogy. I will go on Sunday


Friday night, I came home to do errand and to crash. Saturday, I had school early, It is midterms week. I collected midterms and went to the dentist to get my cap in finally. I had been going through root canal and finally have a new expensive tooth.
I came back to Brooklyn and packed up my stuff to go to the Roundabout theater for a showing or Revival of Streamers. I ran into Joe my ex student. Roundabout did a good job with this dated piece.

Sunday, I had a ticket for the play at the Newhouse at Lincoln Center. I ran into Donna, an adoption worker at St Joseph who was waiting for a cancellation ticket to South Pacific. The play was called Saturn Returns and was played over the life of the same man- depicted by three men, at 30, 50 and 80- around the time that Saturn spins and returns. The same woman, plays the man's wife, daughter and later age caretaker nurse. Its a 80 minute piece. Lincoln Center was beautiful in the fall.

THis week has been an emotional hell week at work.

Glad to get through it. I ran into a friend from ST Joseph, Ronni on Tuesday at the Childrens Center. SHe was having a conference and its not unusual for her to be in the building

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Capricorn Horoscope for week of October 16, 2008

Capricorn Horoscope for week of October 16, 2008

Describing a Jupiter transit, Capricorn astrologer Steven Forrest wrote, "Life is a train wreck, except the trains are made of cake and ice cream." Amen to that, bro. I'd add that a Jupiter transit might also be imagined as being on the verge of too many orgasms, or getting forced to make a painful choice between fantastic wealth and amazing power, or having well-meaning allies overwhelm you with help. Now, as you enter the last 12 weeks of Jupiter's year-long journey through your astrological house of beginnings, I'm expecting you to harvest some of the most delightful and enriching "messes" ever.
I saw my student Joe at the Roundabout showing of a revival of Streamers. I was coming from the Bathroom and I heard someone call my Name..... Sharon and it was Joseph. He is working his way through Graduate School two classes at a time. He was in my Human behavior course two summers ago.

I think I parked Next to Chris Chin at Shoprite this morning but I tried to find him in the store and couldnt locate him.

Chris was that you next to me?

Streamers was outstanding too.... review to follow

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

my sadness

I woke up yesterday with swollen eyes. I must have cried through the night even though I took two extra strength tylenol to get to sleep at 8pm. I woke occasionally and after midnight slept through to 530. There was no kitty to wake me up to feed her, no feeding in the morning. No looking for her after i shower. I was always acutely aware of where she was in the house, especially the last few months. There was no need to search her down before I left. I never even thought of it. It was a tough day at work. I told a few people. When i got there I saw Renee. Renee and I trained together and she and I shared cat stories. I promised her my cat toys when Whoopi passed. I will bring them to her today.

I chose people who needed to know. Kelly, Rodney, my team leader and pet lover. Someone said I looked refreshed and lit up. I looked at her in surprise. Maybe the release of worrying or caring for an elderly sick cat is showing.

It was hard to come home last night. No kitty sounds to meet me by the door. No kitty on my lap as i read the paper. no kitty to move, no kitty butt on the paper. THe same will be this weekend, no kitty on midterms as i read them. There is a hole in my chest. The sorrow is painful and deep. sometimes I cry, sometimes i just supress it.

I know i made the best decision for her. Sometimes i just want to hang out a little more. mostly I just miss her.

Train Dreams

I keep dreaming of trains, South Station in Boston. Trying to get on the train, waiting for a train, taking the next train. Its been two nights or more of trains. I think they relate to this speeding train of a training I am doing. Its a new curriculum and most people who train it get way way way too stressed out. It drains you and I have been going to bed early to compensate.

scott thompson

I was walking down broadway at 22nd and saw a man on a mike riding down the street. I yelled "Scott". I thought he didnt hear me. He turned around and waved. Scott Thompson was the director the Human Workshop Training program located at the church on 5th ave and 12th street. They have a reputable program. I was on an advisory board with him. He was downsized as they hired an Admin Assist to replace him. When he was being laid off, we spoke about the potential for him working for ACS. I am not sure where he works but I know he is still biking, hiking and riding down broadway

Monday, October 13, 2008

double header

A wonderful Night in Rodanthe

Joel D Amos
Deep, dramatic movie love stories usually miss their mark. Nights in Rodanthe is hardly one of those films.

Nicholas Sparks’ last effort to land on the screen was The Notebook. Audiences still shiver at the romantic sparks Rachel McAdams and Ryan Gosling generated that reverberated through James Garner and Gena Rowlands.

So who to turn to when seeking to inhabit the two leads from Nights in Rodanthe?

Richard Gere and Diane Lane first set the screen afire in Francis Ford Coppola’s The Cotton Club. Decades later audiences would fall in love with them in the same manner that millions embraced the great cinematic pairings of the past in Unfaithful.

Add Gere and Lane to the storyline created by a romantic expert, Sparks, and the product should be heart-inspiring gold. Fortunately for Sparks’ faithful, Gere and Lane fans and anyone who appreciates a solid film, the stars and author form a trio of triumph.

The most effective scenes and nuances of Nights in Rodanthe that truly spark are evident of a director who as experience working actors to their dramatic core in intimate settings where the face must also deliver the emotion with the words. George C. Wolfe’s even hand is a perfect match for Sparks’ story and the Gere-Lane immaculate chemistry.

Wolfe, among a diverse resume, truly captured his Nights in Rodanthe stars’ fancy with his work on Lackawanna Blues. Where HBO and Broadway saw brilliance, movie audiences will benefit from a story told by a storyteller who comprehends life’s emotional nuances that at times can be so nuanced even those who feel them are clueless. Throughout Nights in Rodanthe, Wolfe weaves a web of romantic drama that will leave couples exiting the theater in the mood to celebrate love.

Sparks treasured ability lies in his ability to bring the spectrum of human emotions to a story without drifting into melodrama. Evidence of that ability sits in the supporting character plotlines that showcase two stellar actors at each end of the career spectrum. Scott Glenn gives the subtlest performance of his career as a pillar of a husband gutted by the loss of his life at the hands of Gere’s plastic surgeon.

Gere’s doctor arrives in North Carolina during a fateful weekend that not only brings his desire to seek emotional closure, not monetarily, for his actions in the operating room, but a storm of biblical proportions also has plans.

Lane’s character is running a stunning seaside house that also serves as a Bed and Breakfast. The only guest on this weekend is Gere and an approaching hurricane.

Lane herself has a wounded heart. After a separation from her husband, her teenage daughter and young son are launched into the midst of an attempted reconciliation by her unfaithful husband. Needing time to think, she heads to North Carolina to aide a friend in dire need of a vacation.

Gere and Lane have something. It is impossible to define because it is indeed so uncommon. Katherine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy had it. Bogart and Bacall scorched. Now, film audiences have Lane and Gere. Regardless of the genre, the script, director or plot, these two actors are always welcomed to reunite. But what sets this Gere-Lane pairing apart is the impeccably crafted love story at its heart in Nights in Rodanthe.

Sparks has found his ideal casting for the author’s film follow up to The Notebook. Where in that film he had two sets of actors to spark chemistry, throughout Nights in Rodanthe, Sparks has found a well of romantic synergy I hope we get to return to often.

About the author: Joel D Amos is a San Diego-based writer, and the Entertainment Editor here at SheKnows. He has interviewed numerous celebrities, including Meg Ryan, Annette Bening, Reese Witherspoon, Christina Ricci, Ashlee Simpson, Sheryl Crow, Eva Mendes, Timbaland, and "Twilight" author Stephenie Meyer.


Rachel Getting Married A-

The first thing to be said about "Rachel Getting Married" is that Jonathan Demme is back in top form, with the kind of film he's good at, after a decade of artistic and/or commercial failures, beginning with "Beloved" and continuing with "The Truth About Charlie," and most recently The Manchurian Candidate."

The second observation to be made is that both Robert Altman and John Cassavates would be proud of Demme's achievement, an emotionally intense yet loosely structured family tale, centering on a big wedding and all the joys, sorrows, and anxieties that accompany this climactic event.

Acting-wise the film is flawless, with a revelatory, Oscar-worthy turn from Anne Hathaway as the troubled, neurotic sister, in an out of rehab, who here gives her richest, most devastating performance to date. Also impressive is Rosemarie DeWitt in the titular role, one that should be remembered by the Academy voters at Oscar time.

Thematically, the film belongs to the wedding genre, a type of film that many directors, American and foreign, have been intrigued by and contributed to, from Visconti's "The Leopard" through Michael Cimino's "The Deer Hunter," Altman's "A Wedding," Nancy Savoca indie hit "True Love," Mira Nair's "Monsoon Wedding," and most recently, Noah Baumbach's "Margot at the Wedding," which also involved a dissection of the complex relationship between two vastly different sisters.

But with all the excitement, it's hard to be too overly optimistic about the commercial prospects of Demme's film in the current, cruel theatrical marketplace. After world-premiering at Venice Film Fest (in competition) and playing in Toronto and New York Film Fests, "Rachel Getting Married" will be released by Sony Classics October 3.

Based on a screenplay by Jenny Lumet (director Sidney Lumet's daughter), "Rachel Getting Married" spans one long and tense weekend, centering on the preparations for the big event, an interracial marriage between Rachel (Rosemary DeWitt) and Sidney who's African American. Every aspect of the production is marked by disregard for the rules of classic Hollywood cinema, an admirable lack of concern for screen characters that are sympathetic in the conventional sense of these terms.

Replete with many truthful observations, humor, and pain, all deriving directly from the saga's situations, the film is bold and open-ended, allowing its free-floating persona to exert their impact on the viewers' emotions in a non-manipulative way.

It's a testament to Demme's approach that, with the exception of the lead, splendidly played by Anne Hathaway in a non-characteristic performance, he has cast the other roles either with young and fresh talent, such as DeWitt, or with established actors, such as Bill Irwin, who's better known for his comedic skills. Did I mention that Debra Winger makes a comeback in the film.

When Kym (Hathaway) returns to the Buchman family home for the wedding of her sister Rachel (DeWitt), she brings a long history of personal crisis, family conflict and tragedy along with her. The marrying couple's friends and relations have gathered for a joyful weekend of feasting, music and love. Clearly an outsider, Kym, with her biting one-liners, self-absorption, and flair for melodrama, is a catalyst for long-simmering tensions in the family dynamics.

Filled with the rich, eclectic characters that are the hallmark of Demme's films, "Rachel Getting Married" paints a heartfelt, quite perceptive family portrait. Demme, first-time writer Lumet, and the large acting ensemble leaven the drama of difficult but compelling people with wry affection and generosity of spirit.

After years of collaborating with lenser Tak Fujimoto, Demme works with Declan Quinn (who also shot his documentary, "Jimmy Carter, Man from Plains," but is better known for his work for Nair, including "Monsoon Wedding"). Together they are responsible for what could be described as "the most beautiful home movie ever made." The characters are caught in the act, and most scenes are vividly conveyed, as if they were rendered by ordinary people holding a camera. In tone, the film is a serio comedy, punctuated by AA rehab meetings that Kym has attended (and will continue to attend). From the very first moments, it's clear that no member of the family has really absorbed the tragic death of the youngest brother, an event that continues to haunt the clan, particularly Kym who accepts full responsibility.

The documentary-like approach yields sharply observed moments. The lack of duplicated takes and established set-ups helps maintain the spontaneity factor alive from first frame to last. Demme's approach is most vividly demonstrated in the use of music. A group of musicians has created an evocative original music in the moment, liberating the movie from using the more traditional dramatic score composed during post-production.

As noted, the film departs from reliable and time-honored ideas about how to fashion a story and in an effort to move the audience. Yet unlike Baumbach's wedding picture, "Margot at the Wedding," which included many good scenes but didn't add to much because the situations were mostly trivial, Demme's film has a cumulative emotional impact--it does add up to a coherent and substantial work.

The narrative is punctuated by strong dramatic moments. It takes about 10 minutes for the first such moment to occur, when Kym wanders down an upstairs hall and steps into a sunlit child's room. Violin music drifts up the stairs from the musicians practicing below. Kym looks around the room for a few seconds, and moves on. Nothing happens, but we register her observation and the moment is powerful.

This spontaneity--capturing unrehearsed the moody chemistry of Zafer Tawil's music composition, Declan Quinn's restless camera, and Hathaway's bereft gaze--serves as a guiding principle for the rest of the tale.

The characters are by turns, smart, edgy, irritating, and adorable. The viewers become immersed in the family melodramas and subplots, caring about each one of them. A terrible trauma still defines this family, and yet all hopes are hooked on the wish to have the most joyous and beautiful wedding.

Throughout, the movie explores both sides of the equation, the dark struggle and the celebration of love, family and friends. Long, loosely staged scenes play out accompanied by live music; documentary-style camerawork and editing tell the story; and actors mingle onscreen with musicians, and artists.

Demme lets reality happen in front of the cameras without trying to manipulate it too much. As lengthy scenes are played out from start to finish, Quinn and his crew prowls the family home with handheld cameras, capturing on the fly the characters' exchanges, speeches, big gestures, and small sidelong looks.

Paul (Bill Irwin) and Abby, his ex-wife (Winger), hardly exchange any dialogue, but they express their emotions without words, through gestures. Paul and Abby briefly embrace and then pull apart at the end of their daughter's wedding, offering another piercing moment.

Early on, there is an argument over who will serve as the bride's maid of honor: Emma (Anisa George), who was assigned the role, or Kym who demands it as her rightful duty. The wedding progresses through brief snapshots and leaps in time. Sidney sings a song about his vows, and Rachel responds with her own vows (which were not in the script), improvised by DeWitt.

Over the weekend, there are two different kinds of gatherings: people gathering to have fun at the wedding, and other people engaged in the struggle against addiction, trying to gain strength from that community on a parallel track. The action moves forward with few takes and as little obtrusive preparation as possible. The multi-nuanced scenario is well-modulated. There are intimate scenes, in which the main characters engage in gut-wrenching conversations and confessions. We get a concrete sense of the love-hate relationship between the two sisters, the divorced parents who are now newly married but still care for each other, the mutual accusations, the inability to understand why a young boy would be left with his drug-addict sister, the long recovery process of Kym, who later on causes her own car accident.

Hathaway, in what's easily the most challenging role of her career to date, gives a revelatory performance, conveying Kym's irritatingly compulsive need for honesty, her direct confrontations, mal-a-propos timing, constant struggle to stay clean and sober, above all, her fight to be considered a legit member of a family that had almost banished her.

Every element is more orchestrated than pre-arranged. The movie's big set pieces, such as the rehearsal dinner, the wedding, and the reception dance party, are populated with Demme's friends, family, colleagues. The unrehearsed, improvisational shooting style suits the story's emotional high voltage. During the long wedding party scenes, Gonzales Joseph, who plays Sidney's cousin in uniform, is always seen with a small prosumer camera. Indie filmmaker Jimmy Joe Roche is the official wedding videographer, and two of the digicam-wielding guests are Demme's mentor Roger Corman and vet cinematographer Charlie Libin.

Like the free-form shooting style, the music is an integral element played out with freedom. Since Sidney is a record producer, it makes sense that many of his friends will be musicians, and that there will be nonstop music at this gathering. Thus, music is playing live throughout the weekend, but always in the next room, out on the porch or in the garden.

Among the musicians, dancers, and performers whom Demme enlisted are jazz artists Donald Harrison, Jr. and Palestinian virtuoso Zafer Tawil, who contributed original themes and are credited as composers. (They also brought along accompanists: Harrison's Grammy-nominated nephew Christian Scott shows up to jam at the reception, and Tawil is joined by an ensemble of players from the score of "Jimmy Carter, Man From Plains."


Kym - Anne Hathaway
Rachel - Rosemarie DeWitt
Paul - Bill Irwin
Abby - Debra Winger
Sidney - Tunde Adebimpe
Kiernan - Mather Zickel
Emma - Anisa George

Sometimes it is clique about anorexia and substance abuse

Today is the day that I have been dreading for a few months

Today is the day that I have been dreading for a few months. Today is the day that I had to say goodbye to my cat. My cat is old, eighteen years old and suffers from kidney disease and hypothyroid. She was diagnosed over a year ago. Since summer, she has lost more weight, she normally was a small thin girl. But she lost muscle tone. Since Labor day, she started to have accidents, not being able to get to the litter box or not knowing where the bathroom really is. Over the summer, I would find full size wastes in the livingroom. She had an accident on our trip to New England, where she could not control her bladder nor her hold her defecation. I drove for 2 hours with her a mess and smelling to high heaven.

Since then, her deterioration has been rapid. As of late, I have been worried that she will enter a coma or die at home. She has been able to make it to newspaper and most times to the litter box. She had been cracking teeth and eating started to be difficult, until it came to fish or some food that she loved. This weekend, eating was more sparse. She would drink her food but eating was becoming harder. Her gait had become more difficult and this weekend, she could only walk a few steps. She would walk or try to walk. As of late, I had to place boxes so she could boost herself to the computer chair and to get into bed. She spent most of her day sleeping on the chair, on the couch or on my bed. I would have to take her bed when i went or she would spent all night on the couch.

I spent all night with her and tried to spend rosh hashanah and Yom Kippur with her. I would spend nights with her. She would get on the couch and put her head on my lap. This is behavior that she had taken to doing in the last months. She never was a lap cat and now she wouldnt leave my lap. I had to pick her up so i could go in the bathroom.

I knew that I would not let her legs fail her or carry her around and I would not let hr suffer. Last night or this morning, I wrestled with what to do and if the time was right. I called the vet at 10am and by 1015 i was on my way. There was no treatment for her. I knew that but I wanted to plan with my vet. My vet congratulated for me for being proactive and saving her pain. I asked him If i waited too long. He said that I was a responsible cat owner who knew when to bring her in. I have no guilt just grief.

I wasnt quite prepared for this but I knew this morning that I may not take her home. I have cancelled my automatic delivery of food last months and after I came home, I returned the case and 1/2 that I had left. I returned some litter that I recently bought and maybe I can find the receive for the rest of the little. I was using a ton of litter, changing her little often.

MY cat had food allergies so I had specialized food which cost 80.00 a month. I will be saving that money. My cat loved Tuna and it make her sick so for years, i never ate tuna fish at home, only out or at work. I can now eat tuna, or yogurt or shrimp or haddock and not have my cat's head in my plate. My father can eat butter and she will not bother him.

Whoopi loved going to Massachusetts and was there with me in September, she got into bed my parents, didnt have any accidents but could not get to all the windows. Since then she was getting worse. She was thin but now was very emaciated. She no longer got me up to feed her in the morning and most mornings didnt know I left her new food. She would get there eventually. This week, I took her to her food and she ate little of that. I would add lots of water and she would drink it. She would drink some water from a bowl in the bathroom. No longer could she get into the tub to drink her water. She no longer knocked her bowl over. Some days she could contort herself to clean herself but most days I had to wash her butt, tail and back legs to clean the defecation. I just considered it smelly butt and cleaned her up.

My friend Marianne told me to take pictures and I have been trying to for the last few weeks. Whoopi has never been very cooperative with photos. I even took some more this morning before I took her in

I know that I will search for her for months to come. I will miss her purring, feel her in bed, feel her behind me on the computer chair and continue to hear her. I can stop worrying about her. I can stop worrying if she will die while I am at work. I can stop worrying about her having accidents or where I will find her shit on the carpets. I can stop worrying about travelling or staying home, being home with her.
There are lots of things about her I will miss but I wont miss her messes.

I never had a pet before and when this cat came into my life, she acted like all the abused and neglected children I worked with, My late nights and time away, made her anxious or she acquired food allergies. Her Doctor and I started her on specialized food but she loved Thanksgiving turkey and Dairy Queen cake. She always got that cake. Over the years, she would hide at thanksgiving and as during the last two years, she was bold and sat under the table. This year, she will not be there at thanksgiving.

She played a game with my dad where she would not look at him while he patted her but move her tail back and forth so he would catch her tail. Like hide and seek. She continued to play that with me up through the middle of the night. During the last month, she would not get up at night and mostly just slept in one spot. I would get up and have to move her. I would carry her football style and she never purred or growled, she relented. She slept til I put her in the carrier and she didnt cry or fuss as she usually does. She was almost oblivious to the fact she was outside.

It was time for her to go and I let her go today. I am sad and mostly due to lack of sleep and lack of coffee, I have a headache. I packed up her stuff and tried to have a day to myself. I couldnt think of where to go and what to do. I came back home and picked up the clothes where whoopi slept and washed them. None of them have cat smell just cat hair....lots of cat hair.

I will be able to pick up her ashes in a few weeks . i asked for no rainbow bridge or no fanfare. I paid for a private cremation. My regular vet, Dr B Sr was there and he would take her down before he left for a conference. He was not his usual harsh self but reassuring and we talked of guilt. I wanted more time with her but that was selfish. I wished her no pain and knew that she would continue to deteriorate. I held her and left her in a cage in the back. I kept checking on her and she was standing looking at me as i went to sign the forms. I continued to check on her and she looked at with her sullen eyes, sometimes they were vacant. i packed her carrier and left.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Capricorn Horoscope for week of October 9, 2008

Capricorn Horoscope for week of October 9, 2008

For the next week, Capricorn, be an expanded and intensified version of yourself. In other words, do what's most unique about you, but do it even more and better and clearer than you normally do. If, for example, your specialty is being an emotionally intelligent organizer who artfully creates order, do that with even more flair than usual. If you have an exceptional knack for building structures that bring out the best in people, go crazy with that skill. It's a perfect moment for you to be bigger than life. Why? Because you have more power than usual to change the world around you.

Why I'd Be a Better VP than Sarah Palin (Or, The Bridge to New Zealand) By Rosanne Cash

Why I'd Be a Better VP than Sarah Palin
(Or, The Bridge to New Zealand)
By Rosanne Cash

Rosanne Cash

I'd like to formally submit myself to replace Sarah Palin on the GOP ticket. I feel confident that John McCain will see that the very attributes he desired in his VP choice can be met, and even exceeded in some areas, by me. For your consideration, my big, fat résumé:

Issues »

1. Focus on the Family

I am the mother of five children, just like Governor Palin. I have known the demands of managing a full-time career and motherhood at the same time. I have juggled a breast pump and a BlackBerry, and I know when to put the BlackBerry down. (To be perfectly honest, I did once send a text to the baby and tried to nurse my bass player. You learn from your mistakes.)

2. Reproductive Issues

I also believe that a teenager's pregnancy is a "private family matter." In fact, I believe that every woman's pregnancy is a "private, family matter." (I bet the GOP never thought of making that leap!)

3. Church and State

Like the Governor, I now also believe that my will is perfectly aligned with God's will. When Governor Palin said that it was God's will for the Alaska pipeline to be built and asked for people to pray for that to happen, I was really inspired by her confidence in the absolute, seamless integration of her will and God's will. I have begun practicing this kind of supreme confidence on a smaller scale, but I am sure that I can quickly move to national issues. Starting with the sartorial, I know that it is God's will that I have the entire Chanel collection for the fall season, including those adorable high-heeled booties that were all over the runway shows.

(A couple things I'm still having trouble with regarding the will of God: I knew it was God's will that I win the Grammy in 2007 for my last record, but Bob Dylan won. This is clearly the work of Satan, but shouldn't my will/God's will have been strong enough to override that? And this Alaska pipeline--if it is God's will to have the pipeline built, then why isn't it built already? On a related topic, I don't own a single piece of Chanel.)

4. Environment

Along with Governor Palin, I don't believe that humans cause climate change.

(Okay, that is a bold-faced lie, but I've been paying really close attention to the campaign stump speeches, and I feel certain I am allowed a generous allotment of bold-faced lies.)

5. Foreign policy

Here's where I really shine. Governor Palin got her first passport in 2007. I got my first passport in 1970, when the Governor was only 6 years old! Not only do I have a passport, I have actually been outside of the United States, dozens of times. I have had relationships and conversations with real foreigners, in their own countries, in restaurants, shops, flea markets, museums, nightclubs, spas, hotels, all modes of public transportation, and even in their own homes. My foreign policies are fair, inclusive and sensitive to cultural differences. I don't ask for English Breakfast tea when I'm in France. I never call foreign currency "funny money" (even though it does look funny.) I don't shout at people to help them better understand English and, finally, I act on God's will when in Paris by going to Chanel, and to all the great boutiques, which is just an extension of God's will, as you can surely extrapolate by the above explanation of my will/God's will.

I know Governor Palin has one distinct advantage in living so close to Russia, in that she can keep a close eye on nefarious activity across the Bering Strait, but I, too, live very close to a foreign country. Canada is less than 400 miles from my home in New York City, and you never know when it might become necessary to invade a sovereign nation that has not attacked us, as we learned the hard way. Not only that, I have a girlfriend in Austin, Texas, whom I'm going to ask to keep an eye on Mexico.

6. Legal Experience

My understanding of the law is extensive, but here are a couple of cogent points: a photographer who thought I had used his photograph of me without his permission sued me. (I absolutely didn't use the photo without permission. When McCain does his meticulous vetting and background checks on me, I will explain the whole story. It was all a big misunderstanding.)

More importantly, I renegotiated my contract with the Sony Corporation in 1987. That was huge. You should have seen my legal bills. I negotiated an all-new contract with Capitol Records in 1995 and that, too, was an exhausting, contentious, but ultimately lucrative enterprise. Entertainment law is a blood sport, people. (Speaking of blood sports, I have to give it up to the Governor on the hunting issue. I have never shot a wolf from a helicopter, but I have thrown my cat off the bed. Hundreds of times.)

7. Higher Education

Governor Palin went to five different colleges to get her BS in journalism, but none of the colleges had entry requirements, whereas I went to a university that required a trigonometry credit before they would admit me. I had to take it the summer before school started. I don't remember a frigging thing, but I got a B. The other disparities in education are too numerous to mention, but suffice to say that I bet she never met Lee Strasberg.

It is true that I have no background in constitutional law, but I have read the Constitution, except for the amendments that don't have anything to do with me, and I watched the entire John Adams mini-series on HBO. Twice.

8. Ethics

I really think this whole investigation into the firing of the top state law enforcement official in Alaska, who wouldn't fire the state trooper who was mean to the Governor's sister, is just overblown. I once fired my assistant for making a pass at my husband, so I can totally understand this! And I would have fired an assistant who made a pass at my sister's husband, too. I love my sisters. Governor Palin loves her sister. People need to get over it.

But speaking of family, I've also had my fill of no-good boyfriends to my daughters, and boy, do I sympathize with the Governor over this Levi fellow and his MySpace page, with the guns and the cursing. My husband once took a broken chair out into the street to chase away a no-good boyfriend of my oldest daughter, and we didn't see the likes of him anymore. I have a zero-tolerance policy for miscreant youth, and I know I could help the Governor sort out her obviously conflicted feelings about setting limits for teenagers, just for her own peace of mind.

9. Iraq

The Governor says she hasn't "focused" on the war in Iraq, but I think she's just joshing us. No person in an executive position in the government of the United States could be so lazy that they would not familiarize themselves with every angle of what is potentially the greatest American debacle since the nation was founded, including all the terminology, like "Bush Doctrine."

If she's not kidding, then I respectfully submit the hate mail I received in 2003, at the beginning of the war, which came after my press conference with Musicians United To Win Without War, as proof of my "focus."

10. Executive Ability

Governor Palin was the mayor of a real town of 5,000 people. I have never been mayor of anything, but I have performed for crowds bigger than the population of Wasilla, Alaska, and I can tell you it's no picnic getting the monitors just right, working with cranky and egotistical musicians, changing clothes in dirty dressing rooms and eating bad backstage food, handling the hecklers and technical problems during a show, and then getting on the bus to go somewhere else and do it all over again the next night. Also, my last record sold about the population of Wasilla times forty, and they all seemed to like it. But dealing with the public is really difficult and they all have opinions about you, which are usually all wrong, so I've developed a thick skin, another requirement for life as the VP. Lastly, and the importance of this cannot be over-emphasized, the guy's head on the tail of the Alaska Airlines planes looks like my dad.

11. Maverick personality

Finally, there is one subject in which I find I am even more conservative than the Governor, and that is in the area of neo-natal responsibility. The Governor was eight months pregnant and in Texas to give a speech, when her water broke. She reportedly made her speech and then traveled eleven hours, dripping amniotic fluid, bypassing Seattle and Anchorage (major cities with world-class hospitals) to travel to a small hospital in Wasilla that had no neo-natal intensive care unit, and gave birth there. Call me a wimp, call me insecure, but you had better also call me a maverick, because I would have said "Damn the schedule! Damn the speech and the airline ticket!" If this had been me, as soon as my water broke, I'd be at the closest hospital and that baby would have been born in Texas! Just like my mom!

In summation, I present myself to the GOP as a woman, and I repeat, woman, who has held a passport for thirty-eight years, a lip gloss-wearing soccer-volleyball-softball-gymnastics mom of five, who can carry a six-pack home to her husband like nobody's business, whose will is firmly aligned with God's will, a neo-natal conservative and legally savvy public figure, a border-watching, trigonometry-credited, breastfeeding, BlackBerry-tapping, cat-throwing maverick whose daughters are out of their teens, therefore immune to teenage pregnancy (although this is a private, family matter), and whose dad's head (or an eerie facsimile) adorns a state airline.

I could offer more to recommend me to the job of vice president, but one last special quality that I share with Governor Palin is the fact that I also have a husband who wants his state to secede from the Union. Ever since the 2000 election, my husband has been all for the secession of not only New York, but the island of Manhattan! And I have to tell you, if Sarah Palin becomes vice president of the United States, he says we have to personally secede from the whole country. So please, people, write me in on the ballot in November, or write me in New Zealand, where I'll be making my new home.

Rosanne Cash is a singer-songwriter, and even though she has met Presidents Bush and Clinton (who appeared to note her décolletage with great appreciation), the ambassador to the Czech Republic and George Stevens, who produces the Kennedy Center Honors awards show, she does not think her knowledge of world leaders should be held against her, because her experience in Washington is limited to three days during the Million Mom March.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

F train

I saw Tim the same guy that I saw a few weeks ago on the F train. He works in a shop that i am in all the time. We rode the train home. He is originally from Texas. He is going on vacation and spending time with his family. He still sends Halloween packages to his adult neices and shares rock cds with his adult nephew. He went to school in Texas and we talked about the Early Beatles, Revolver and Rubber Soul as some of the greatest albums ever made. We talked about Elvis being overrated.

celebrity sighting

I was walking up 5th avenue at around 6pm on Tuesday night. Debate night and walking into a deli near 38th street, I spotted James Carville. I approached him and said " I am a fan". He stopped turned around and then came over to me. I repeated myself and he shook my hand. I said I didnt want to take his time but I wanted to tell him I appreciate what he had done and does.

I walked on up 5th ave and wondered if he was working for CNN on Debate night

Friday, October 03, 2008

say it aint so Joe Sixpack- no hockey mom makes 1.2 million

Estimates Show Sarah Palin's Assets Top $1M
By AP / SHARON THEIMER and BRETT J. BLACKLEDGE Wednesday, Oct. 01, 2008

(WASILLA, Alaska) — Sarah Palin and her husband have pieced together a uniquely Alaskan income that reached comfortably into six figures even before she became governor, capitalizing on valuable fishing rights, a series of land deals and a patchwork of other ventures to build an above-average lifestyle.

Add up the couple's 2007 income and the estimated value of their property and investments and they appear to be worth at least $1.2 million. That would make the Palins, like Democratic vice presidential rival Joe Biden and his wife Jill, well-off but not nearly as wealthy as multimillionaire couples John and Cindy McCain and, to a lesser extent, Barack and Michelle Obama.

One measure of financial health: While there is a home loan, Palin reported no personal credit card debt on her most recent financial report as Alaska governor. That compares to average household credit card debt among Americans of $9,840 last year.

A more complete picture will come when Sarah Palin outlines her personal finances in federal paperwork in coming days. It will include details of any mortgage debt and at least rough dollar totals for bank accounts and investments.

Palin this week characterized herself as "an everyday, working-class American" who knows how it feels when the stock market takes a hit.

The Palins' total income last year was split almost evenly between Sarah Palin's white-collar job and her husband's blue-collar work. Sarah Palin's salary as governor was $125,000; Todd Palin took in $46,790 as a part-time oil production operator for BP Alaska in Prudhoe Bay, plus $46,265 in commercial fishing income and $10,500 in Iron Dog snowmachine race winnings. These figures do not include nearly $17,000 in per diem payments Palin received for 312 nights spent in her own home since she was elected governor; she also has received $43,490 to cover travel costs for her husband and children.

In addition, each member of the Palin family received $1,654 in state oil royalties paid to all Alaskans.

The Palins' assets seem enviable: a half-million-dollar home on a lake with a float-plane at the dock, two vacation retreats, commercial-fishing rights worth an estimated $50,000 or more and an income last year of at least $230,000. That compares to a median income of $64,333 for Alaskans and $50,740 for Americans in 2007, according to the Census Bureau.

But in Alaska, scarce roads make private planes commonplace, it's typical to spend a month or two fishing commercially, and wilderness acreage is so plentiful the state has sold loads' worth stake-your-claim style. So, it's often the finer points that matter: How old is the airplane? Where exactly is the fishing spot? Is the house on a paved road?

Land itself doesn't necessarily translate to wealth, said Tom Hawkins of Anchorage, who paid about $2,000 for a five-acre parcel miles from the nearest road, best reached by snowmachine.

"I've got a stunning parcel overlooking a river," Hawkins said. "I took my wife to it. And she stood up and looked out at the stunning view and said, 'Dear, what are we going to do with it?'"

The Palins' main residence, a large two-story house on Lake Lucille in Wasilla, draws much of its value from its prime position along a paved road and float-plane accessible lake, said Darcie Salmon, a local real estate agent. He said lakefront land is plentiful in Alaska, but lakefront land along paved roads isn't.

The Palins' home, tucked behind a wooded field, is off Wasilla's main road, Parks Highway, a mostly four-lane road cluttered with restaurants, bars, retail stores, offices, grocery stores and big-box outlets such as Target. A store-bought "no trespassing" sign is posted near the entry to an unmarked, private gravel drive that winds about 100 yards to the lakefront home. A neighbor's property has an old metal gate at its entrance with a sign warning, "Enter at your own risk."

The Palins' four-bedroom, four-bath house, nearly 3,500 square feet, sits on just over two acres behind a tall wood-plank privacy fence that runs along one side of the property. It's one of the newest homes in the Snider subdivision lining Lake Lucille and is assessed at $552,000 — more than twice the value of a neighboring two-acre lot with a much smaller, older wood-frame home.

Todd Palin built the house with friends who were contractors, he said in a recent television interview.

The house is worth substantially more than the Palins' starter home, a three-bedroom, two-bath house house built in 1984 on the far western boundary of Wasilla. The quiet, wooded neighborhood was developed about three miles from the city center, with half-acre lots and space for young families.

In addition to the Lake Lucille home, the Palins own recreational property in two remote areas accessible by plane, all-terrain vehicle or snowmachine.

The Palins invested in five lots along Safari Lake, an undeveloped area near Denali State Park. They bought the property, once owned by the state's Department of Natural Resources and valued at $30,000 in assessment records, with friends Scott and Deborah Richter in 2004 and 2005. The Richters have since divorced.

With other friends, the Palins own a cabin on five acres southwest of Wasilla and the Iditarod National Historic Trail. The land and cabin are assessed at $55,000; property records do not show what the Palins paid for their share.

The Palins own snowmachines and an airplane. Todd Palin has a 1958 Piper float plane that he said has been in his family for about 20 years.

Though old, such planes remain in wide use. Palin's plane would be worth from about $38,000 to $78,000 depending on its condition, said Boyd Newman, owner of West One Aircraft Sales in Caldwell, Idaho.

Other family assets include Todd Palin's shoreside lease and commercial fishing permit to harvest salmon from Bristol Bay each season. Last year, the Palins took in $46,265 commercial fishing for sockeye salmon over about a month.

Todd Palin said he purchased his permit from his grandfather in the 1970s. A limited number of permits and shoreline leases have been issued, and the rights to them are often passed down through families or sold. Holders pay a fee each year to renew them.

Palin's is worth about $30,000, a shoreside lease on Coffee Point, where Palin's set-net site is located, is worth about $20,000, and Palin's skiff and gear are likely worth another $20,000, according to estimates by Paul Piercey, a broker with Dock Street Brokers in Seattle, which handles sales of fishing permits, boats and shoreside leases.

Palin's fishing spot is considered good but not great, Piercey said. And the work is backbreaking. Palin has said he expects to earn 68 cents per pound for this summer's catch.

"When you get up in the morning, your fingers are so swollen that you have to stick them in a bucket of icewater just to get movement back again" and ease the pain, said Hawkins, who fished on Bristol Bay one year.

Hawkins is former chief operating officer of the Bristol Bay Native Corp. and former chief executive of Choggiung Ltd., two native corporations in which Todd Palin, who is part Yup'ik Eskimo, is a shareholder, along with the Palin children. The Palins are among about 8,000 shareholders in BBNC and among about 1,200 shareholders in Choggiung Limited, Hawkins said.

Sarah Palin reported Todd Palin collecting $266 and each child $21 in dividends last year from BBNC, and a total of $16.50 from Choggiung Limited.

Todd Palin is still a BP employee. Company spokesman Steve Rinehart declined to describe Palin's status beyond confirming his employment. Palin's schedule is one week on, one week off, Palin said in a recent television interview.

Palin previously left BP in the 1990s to run Valley Polaris, a snowmachine, four-wheeler and watercraft dealership he pursued with a friend and business partner. They sold the business in 1997; public records do not show whether it was at a profit or a loss. At the time, Sarah Palin was earning about $61,000 a year as Wasilla mayor.

The Polaris dealership was among three business ventures the Palins explored; the others never took off. Palin's financial disclosure reports do not say how much if any money the Palins invested in the business ventures or real estate, or what if any profit they made on sales.

Sarah Palin formed a consulting business called "Rouge Cou" — French for redneck — but didn't pursue it.

The Palins teamed with another couple, Ray and Carolin Wells of Anchorage, to start a car wash in Anchorage, but it was never built. Carolin Wells described the Palins as silent partners she believes initially paid half the money to buy the land. Around the time Sarah Palin began considering a run for governor, the Palins reduced their stake to 40 percent.

Barely a year into the land ownership, the man lined up to operate the car wash backed out, and since neither couple wanted to run it, they decided to sell the land and move on, Carolin Wells said. She couldn't recall the purchase or sales prices of the land, but believes she and her husband made a modest profit and the Palins broke even.

The couples let their state paperwork lapse on the venture, Anchorage Car Wash LLC, resulting in a letter threatening to dissolve the corporation. The letterhead carried Gov. Palin's name on it.

The deal was among several involving undeveloped land the Palins have engaged in over the years.

The Palins purchased a parcel on Beaverhouse Lake in Big Lake in 2003 and sold it in 2004 for an undisclosed amount. The land has been assessed at $14,000 the past three years.

The Palins sold nearly five acres of undeveloped waterfront property on the northeast shore of Wasilla Lake in 2005 to a local developer. The sales price wasn't disclosed. The land now is subdivided into five parcels, with two waterfront lots, two others behind those, and a commercial lot. Duane Mathes, a local real estate agent showing the property for the owner who bought it from the Palins, said the leveled lots are listed for $149,500 each.

Salmon, who was mayor of the Matanuska-Susitna Borough that includes Wasilla while Palin was Wasilla mayor, recalled that as mayor, Sarah Palin shared many of his pro-development views, and said the Palins' land acquisitions weren't unusual.

"A lot of Alaskans own a lot of land," Salmon said, "and if you're bright, you buy land in the path of progress."


Sharon Theimer reported from Washington. Associated Press writer Rita Beamish in San Mateo, Calif., contributed to this report

Wednesday, October 01, 2008




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