Nashville singer/songwriter Matt Urmy (pictured above) was in town singing some songs from his new album “Out of the Ashes” to be released March 31, 2017. I saw him and his friend (also named Matt) perform a set at the Hotel Café Second Stage last night in Hollywood. He opened with reading one of his poems, then a drinking song. Right up my alley!
He said he can’t sing but actually Matt has a fine, expressive, raspy voice reminiscent of Bob Dylan or Tom Waits. More pleasant to listen to though. His lyrics are outstanding -- very poetic and well crafted.
Matt is a charming and magnetic performer, and we wish him much luck with the new album. I met him briefly after his set and he could not have been kinder or more friendly. For more information about Matt Urmy, visit matturmy.com.
For more information about Hotel Café Second Stage or their other Main Stage, visit hotelcafe.com. This is a small, intimate café in Hollywood that features high quality singer/songwriters before they become more widely known. I have always seen great musicians there. They maintain an impressive, very high level of talent; yet have a relaxed, informal vibe. It’s a very comfortable, fun place to spend an evening.
This slow, meditative, engrossing film studies the dynamics of a painfully unhappy family. The mother, a pretty 40 something that is so neurotic and unhappy her husband finally asks for a divorce, is sorting through their old farmhouse in the South of France. A beautiful place, inhabited by very sad people. Her son, a sensitive 15 year old, is caught between wanting to comfort his mother and trying to figure out his own issues. Along comes a fetching, charismatic French young man who they are both drawn to, with issues of his own.
The film, starring the excellent Juliette Stevenson as the mother, and Alex Lawther as her son, studies the dynamics of family and how sexuality and unsaid secrets can damage and hurt everyone involved. Capably written and directed by acclaimed British filmmaker Andrew Steggall, Departure depicts the ending of things, but also the faint beginnings of new lives. Quietly moving, and beautifully photographed.
Departure is available starting today 3/7/17 on DVD/Video on Demand via Wolfe Video, and available through iTunes and major retailers, and at wolfeondemand.com.
The next Story Time Celebration is almost here! This special Milk + Bookies event brings together children of all ages to support reading and giving in a most fun, delightful way. The next Story Time Celebration is this Sunday, February 26, 2017 from 11 to 2 pm in Culver City, California. For more information, and to get tickets, visit milkandbookies.org. Have fun supporting this most worthy cause. My friend and neighbor Meredith and her family do a great job with this organization, and of course I'll be there, too!
I was very saddened and shocked to hear that Scott Pruitt was confirmed today as head of the Environmental Protection Agency. This man has no business running an agency he has threatened to dismantle. I was very upset, but emotions are not going to solve this problem. Even though I actually started crying, I soon realized there are three things we need to do now to overcome this problem and protect our environment.
One: Don't despair, and don't give up. It's just politics, and as you can see from the immigration issue, often the Justice Department or some other force interferes in even the most difficult problem to help resolve things.
Two: Donate, fight, call, write your representatives, keep up the fight. This is not over yet.
Three: Take care of yourself. Getting depressed will not help. Eat right and keep your spirits up. This will be a long haul to fight everything that is going wrong in the political realm right now, and it is going to take all our strength, prayers, guts, head and heart to prevail, but prevail we will. We must.
Jonathan is another high-quality film being released today, 2/7/17 by Wolfe Video. It’s an award-winning German drama about a complicated family set in the beautiful rural farm area of Germany.
Jonathan (wonderfully acted by Jannis Niewohner -- a handsome, gifted young actor) at 23 years old, is dutifully taking care of his ailing father on the family farm. He is nearly overwhelmed when a kind and lovely young aide named Anka arrives to help. Soon they start to fall in love, even as the father continues to decline. Then a mysterious stranger appears.
With Bergman-like overtones, and artfully photographed, this film is an honest and unflinching look at the complexities of modern family life and how relationships, past and present, impact a family.
The dialogue is spare but well written, the music is subtle and evocative; overall an engaging, well-crafted film well worth your time. Written and directed by Piotr J. Lewandowski, this film has won numerous awards at various film festivals. Releasing today 2/7/17 on DVD/Video on Demand via Wolfe Video, and available through iTunes and major retailers, and at wolfeondemand.com.