MusiCares Celebrates 10 Years of Helping Musicians Get Sober with MAP Fund Benefit Concert

Greetings everyone and welcome to another look inside some of the entertainment industry’s coolest events. This blog, is dedicated to the recent MusiCares Benefit Concert and Red Carpet, that I covered and attended. Back in 2011, I covered the The 7th Annual MusiCares MAP Fund benefit, honoring Depeche Mode frontman Dave Gahan and Vans Warped Tour founder Kevin Lyman.

The MusiCares Foundation, was established in 1989 by The National academy of Recording Arts and Sciences. The organizations goal, is to help struggling musicians in crisis with the health and welfare of their community. In 2004, the Musicians Assistance Program (MAP Fund) to help musicians with drug rehabilitation. They also help to provide sober living and safe harbor rooms backstage at concerts.

Rock stars and music fans packed Club Nokia on Monday Night May,12, for a Live Benefit Concert to Raise Funds for MusiCares’ Addiction Recovery Services. The concert honored Grammy winner and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member, Ozzy Osbourne, and Jeff Greenberg, owner/CEO of the Village studio.

Before the concert a dinner was held inside the club, while the performers and honorees of the evening walked the Red Carpet and posed for the photographers, after being interviewed by Video Journalists. Ozzy, walked the carpet with his daughter Kelly. The two shared some touching and candid moments on the carpet. Kelly was quoted in a video interview that was shown to the audience, now having the father she always dreamed of, since Ozzy, got sober. The Red Carpet, didn’t just include the evenings two honorees but also brought rare red carpet appearances by presenter Joe Walsh (Eagles and also a recovering addict) and special guest guitarist Slash (Guns ‘N Roses / Velvet Revolver) along with Osbourne’s solo touring band members and celebrity guests. Fans lined up on sidewalks behind the Red Carpet, trying to get pictures of the stars. Some lucky ones even got memorabilia signed.

After the carpet the show kicked off with MusiCares chair Bill Silva, announcing that the MAP Fund program, that has already devoted $10 million to addiction services designed to help musicians get sober. Bill, then delivered the evening first joke saying “and most of them are in this room”. After the short speech, a video tribute to was shown of the late Adam Goldstein (DJ AM) who lost his battle with addiction, on August 28, 2009. After that, it was time for the concert portion of the evening to start.

The evening’s first performer was Los Angeles singer – songwriter Beth Hart, who opened with a song from her called “Immortal”. She followed up with a bluesy soulfully version of Ozzy’s ‘Changes”. Hart reflected on stage that the first time she heard it she didn’t know it  was Ozzy. Beth’s set, was followed by Grammy Winner, Keb’ Mo’, who honored Jeff Greenberg, with his set. Greenberg during his speech stated, “We’re all here because we love music, music is the center core of our lives. And this is where we take care of the people who make the music”.

The next music set of the night might have been the most anticipated. It was a short but powerful four song rare acoustic set by fellow Rock and Roll Hall of Fame members Metallica. As the band took to the stage the once seated crowed in the balcony rose to their feet. The band hit the stage and sat on stools, as James teased the crowd with a the opening chords of “Stairway To Heaven”, before opening up with Earth’s “I Just want To Celebrate”. A song, which they also played acoustically at Neil Young’s Bridge School Benefit in 2007. The band followed up with another cover deep purples “When A Man Cries”. Metallica fans could be heard crying for them to play some Metallica, but those fans must have forgotten James Hetfield, was honored by MusiCares himself in 2006. The band then played The Beatles “In My Life”. For their final song they paid tribute to Ozzy, by covering his “Diary of a Madman”.

Joe Walsh presented Ozzy, with the Stevie Ray Vaughan Award. Then it was time for the man of the evening to hit the stage. Ozzy, kicked off his set with “I Don’t Know” with Janes Addiction guitarist Dave Navarro playing with him for his entire set. “Suicide Solution”, a song that tells of Ozzy’s battle with alcoholism was up next. Ozzy, jumped around on stage clapped his hands liker it was the 70’s. You could clearly see that his sobriety helped his vocals and live show. “Iron Man” and “Crazy Train” sounded amazing. But the true highlight of the evening, was the final song of the night, Black Sabbath’s anthem “Paranoid” where Ozzy, was joined on stage by Slash and Billy Morrison.

On a personal note. I have witnessed first hand how important the MAP Fund is. I’ve spent a lifetime surrounded by and being a fan of musicans. If we had programs like the MAP Fund and MusiCares my generation might have not lost people like Kurt Cobain, Layne Staley and Bradley Nowell. My parents generation might not have lost Jim Morrison, Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin. For more information on the MusiCares program check them out here:


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My Personal Philip Seymour Hoffman Tribute and Experience – Blog

Greetings everyone and welcome to a special tribute blog. This blog, should have been about meeting Drew Barrymore, Cameron Diaz and Steven Tyler, 2 weeks ago in LA. It also could have been about my entire first experience, attending and covering the 2014 Sundance Film Festival, with Dig In Magazine. Instead it is about one event from Sundance. Just hours after arriving to Park City, our first carpet we covered at Sundance, was “A Most Wanted Man”.

The films star, Philip Seymour Hoffman, lost his battle against addiction, last weekend in New York City. Losing Philip, we lost one of the greatest character actors of all my generation. Philip never had the looks of a Brad Pitt. He had to make it solely on his acting abilities. The first time I saw Philip, on the big screen was in 1992 in “Scent of a Woman”. It was the cult classic  “The Big Lebowski”, where he really got my attention.

My first time photographing Philip, was at the “Moneyball,” premiere, where he played Art Howe, the manager of the Oakland Athletics. Not only did I photograph “Moneyball”, but I also was an extra in a crowd scene with Hoffman. (I didn’t make the final cut). Philip walked the baseball field shaped carpet that night waving to excited fans, that lined on the streets of Oakland to watch the celebrity arrivals.

Hoffman won an Academy Award in 2005 for his portrayal of writer Truman Capote in the film “Capote”. In addition to Hoffman’s Best Actor Oscar, he was also nominated for the Best Supporting Actor award three times, for his roles in “Charlie Wilson’s War” (2008), “Doubt” (2009) and “The Master” (2013). He recently appeared in Hunger Games: Catching Fire.

Philip, not only had “A Most Wanted Man” at the festival, he also had “God’s Pocket”, (which I was lucky enough to attend one of the Sundance screenings) screen there. The movie was filmed in my hometown of  Yonkers, New York. The picture was another example of what Philip Seymour Hoffman brought to a film. He had a way of playing the ordinary average Joe, but making you care and root for him. He never played simple roles. It didn’t matter if it was on the stage or on the screen he mastered each of his roles and was responsible for creating amazing characters. He had  a way of just diving into the character and always brought something special to each performance.

When I heard about his death yesterday, all that I could think of was he was only 5 years older than me. I thought of the shoot in Utah, just two weeks ago to the day. I called the Owner/Founder and Editor-in-Chief at Dig In Magazine Cindy Maram, and found out it was a heroin overdose. For the rest of the day, I kept having emotions ranging for sad to angry. Then I had to remind myself, how close I came to not being around to write this. Thankfully, I never faced the same addiction as Philip, but had to fight my personal demons and addictions to overcome.

In the media and in public, we tend to see celebrities in a certain light. We don’t realize that just because your famous doesn’t make you suffer from the same fears and weakness that is seen in every day life. I wanted to write about how he lived not how he died. I saw different postings about how he died and peoples reactions to it on social media. If you haven’t faced addiction and depression, it’s impossible for a fan, writer or critic to understand. For me my love of music, movies, and writing helped me escape safely into my own world and found a way to survive. Some people just can’t do it on their own and need help. If you can’t talk with a loved one or friend  see someone or checkout these sites: or

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My Best of 2013 – Best Horror Film and First Time Director: Jessica Cameron – “Truth or Dare” – Blog

Greetings and Happy Holiday’s everyone. Welcome to another step inside some of entertainments coolest events. I’d like to extend a special welcome to readers, who are new to my blog. This is not your typical blog. It doesn’t focus on who wore what, or give you a detailed account of every scene in a film review. I write my blog, as lifelong fan of the entertainment industry and mass media. I also was a child actor, an assistant in the Entertainment Industry and even was a music manager, and continue to be an aspiring writer and producer. I currently work as a celebrity  photographer and journalist. My blog is about not only covering red carpet events, it’s about experiencing them and the impact the artist and their work has had in my life professionally and privately.

Meet Jessica Cameron 

This blog is dedicated to the true spirt of the Independent filmmaker. When I say Independent, I’m not talking about millionaires opening up a so called indie film company after the breakaway from the big studios. Or, an A list star, opening up a new production company. I’m talking about the ones who invest everything they own financially, personally, and spiritually, ones who have to fight for every dollar they can get to make their vision become a reality. Followed by endless promotion starting from festivals and ending in DVD releases. just just right before the film comes out. This blog is the first of my Best of 2013 series. It is dedicated to my favorite Horror Film of 2013, Jessica Cameron’s “Truth or Dare”. Not only did Jessica, star in the film, she directed and  co – wrote it and even helped to produce it.

I first met and photographed Jessica in Arizona, at the premiere of Leigh Scott’s “Dorothy and the Witches of Oz” in 2012. It wasn’t till “Miss Misery’s Days of Terror” Horror Convention later that year that I saw a film of hers, Brandon Slagle’s, Award winning “The Black Dahlia Haunting”. The film was one of my nicest surprises of 2012. The film stared her “Truth or Dare” cast mate and fellow Scream Queen Devanny Pinn, and Ghost Hunters Britt Griffith. In the film Jessica, played Marilyn Monroe. She completely pulled off a very difficult role to play.

Though the “The Black Dahlia Haunting”, was my introduction into the Hollywood Independent Horror Film world, it wasn’t my first time watching horror films. I’m a child of the 80’s who grew up with such horror classic franchises as Friday The 13th, Halloween and “Nightmare On Elm Street”. There were also indy classics like “Silent Night Deadly Night” and “The Prowler”. But after getting addicted to Quentin Tarantino, and his style of writing dialogue.

When I first heard about the “Truth or Dare” film right before Jessica signed on to direct it. The screenplay was written by Jessica and producer Jonathan Higgins. The “Truth or Dare” team and their Truth or Daredevils, raised $11,725.00 with Indiegogo, including a donation from me after seeing her dedication from videos she was posting on social media sites. When it comes to promoting Jessica is a promotion machine. Besides being a Scream Queen she is also the # Queen, promoting projects she is involved with. When she’s not on the set Jessica, makes herself available to fans, by attending festivals, conventions and other fan interaction events. Any director or producer would befit from working with Jessica. Not only do you get a hard working actress who is not afraid to take chances, but she also understands the business and how to promote. It’s like having a free PR person. I almost think she could have been a Publicist or Agent in another life.

2013 RIP Horror Film Festival – “Truth or Dare” Screening

“Truth or Dare” successfully premiered, at the Underground Film Festival on Friday the 13th in Tucson, AZ. last September. I didn’t get to experience the film my self till it’s Southern California premiere, at the 2013 RIP Horror Film Festival at Cal State Long Beach. The evening started with a Red carpet hosted by L.j. Rivera. One of the cool things about this event was many of the filmmakers were friends and supported each others projects. There seemed to be lots of love and respect between the filmmakers and that made for some fun candid moments on the carpet. I got to meet several new people and even got a chance to photograph and meet the Twisted Twins Sylvia Soska and Jen Soska, who recently directed WWE Studios “See No Evil 2.”

I took pictures of all the guest and then got the cast of “Truth or Dare” together for some cast pictures. Everyone looked amazing. But my fashion winners of the evening were Jessica and Devanny Pinn. The girls were also wearing jewelry from Jessica’s Screamqueen Couture. Everyone was in high spirits as we entered the theater for the screening of the film.

“Truth or Dare” – Film Review

The filmmakers stated through publicity for the film that “Truth of Dare” was going to be “The Most Fucked Up Film You Have Ever Seen”! Director, co – writer and producer Jessica Cameron, even handed out paper vomit bags, just incase some audience members couldn’t take the gore of the film. The film wastes no time in jumping right to the story line. Six friends (two couples) achieve internet fame when they make fake “Truth or Dare” videos. When a crazed fanatic (their number one fan) is crushed that the video was not real the fan (played by Ryan Kiser) takes the cast members hostage. He then informs them that they will be playing Truth or Dare, for real, but using his rules which keep on changing. To be honest, my first thought was done before, but boy was I wrong. The films stars all gave great performances.

For me personally, to my surprise the thing that really lured me in was how smart and funny the script was. Yes, it is extremely gory at times and there is scene with wine bottle and Devanny Pinn, where you will change the way you ever look at a wine bottle again. Jessica, Devanny, Jesse Wilson, Brandon Van Vliet, Shelby Stehlin  and Heather Dorff all turn in great performances. Ryan Kiser performance in the film as their crazed psychotic number one fan was magnificent and believable. I was almost afraid to approach him after the film ended. The plot line has several twists and surprises for the viewer. Some of the truth’s that were exposed I never saw coming and will shock audiences. The filmmakers took so many risks shooting this film but it all pays out in the end. The film also makes an interesting statement, showing how an over obsessed fan might get caught up in the social media obsessed generation. The film is violent and not for people with a week stomach, but was shot tastefully. I’m glad I got to see the directors cut. I’ sure some of the shots may be toned down for a potential distribution company. “Truth or Dare” is the must see film of 2014 for the true horror fan. The film had a great response from the sold out crowd and won The Viewers Choice Award at the RIP Horror Festival to go along with a number of other awards the film has recently received on the film festival circuit. I knew that I wanted to see the film  again so I could experience it in another way. That chance would come at the films next screening.

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Another Hole in the Head Film Festival “Truth or Dare” Screening

I was overjoyed when I heard that “Truth or Dare’ was screening at the “Another Hole In The Head Film Festival in San Francisco, with an appearance from Jessica Cameron, on December 15. The theater was in the Japan Town section of the city, at the New People Cinema. When I got there I was a little confused. The theater turned out to be in the basement of the New People store. Upstairs were several stores and a bunch of parents and kids around at a Tea Time dessert Restaurant, that looked like it was “Alice In Wonderland”. I saw Jessica and we took some fun candids in the lobby before the screening. We even went browsing in a few stores also with the very cool photographer and Talk radio show host Oscar Benjamin. After some fun playtime I then headed into the theater and saw the film for the second time. I was even more impressed this time. I kept thinking that what a brave decision it was for Jessica, to choose this film as her directorial debut. Most women wouldn’t have the guts to make a film like hers. “Truth or Dare” combines great acting performances with amazing storytelling and interesting characters, something that can sometimes rare in the indy horror world. After the screening and Q & A, Jessica, stayed and signed autographs for fans.

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Truth or Dare’s next screening is at the Shockfest Film Festival in Hollywood, CA on Friday, January 10th at 11:55 pm. The event will be held at Raleigh Studios, across from Paramount located at 5300 Melrose Ave. Hollywood, CA 9003. and for all things Jessica Cameron, checkout her web site: also to find out how you order the film and can help the “Truth or Dare” team checkout their site here:

Thank you for joining me on another once again. You’ll be seeing a lot more blogs from me in 2014. My next one will be on a trip to LA. I’m also proud to announce I’ll working covering the 2014 Sundance Film Festival for Dig in Magazine and my blog. Till then don’t forget to support independent filmmakers and musicians in your town or city. For more celebrity photos, events and stories from the red carpet follow me on Twitter at or Facebook at

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Disney’s Delivers A Family Film Goers Early Xmas Gift with “Saving Mr. Banks”

Greetings everyone. I’m official back from hiatus, after focusing on photography and jornalisim for the last few months. I’d like to send a special welcome and thank you to all of you who are reading my blog for the first time. My blog, is different from most. I write not only as a lifelong fan of the entertainment industry, but as someone who was a child actor, an assistant in the industry and even as a manager. I currently work as a celebrity  photographer and journalist.

Movie studios and film lovers, are eagerly anticipating the pre-Christmas and Christmas Day release, of many new films this week. Disney’s latest film “Saving Mr. Banks,” which has been winning fans over on the film festival circuit opens  everywhere on today.

In November, I had the privilege of  covering the red carpet for opening night of AFI Fest 2013. “Saving Mr. Banks,” which was the opening night film of the festival. Even before I heard the film was going to be opening the festival, I had been eagerly anticipating the film since hearing about it. Growing up as a child, I never was a huge cartoon fan. My Saturday’s were spent watching the World Wrestling Federation (WWE) with my younger sister. I never saw “Fantasia” or many other Disney films, but  I was a fan of the theater and musicals. My first introduction  to “Mary Poppins” was the music. When I first saw the film I was amazed by the storyline. I also had never seen a film that used animation and live action together so well. My family never had a live-in caretaker like Mary, but we did have full time babysitters after my mom went back to work a few years after my sisters birth. My dad worked for publishing company Random House and would travel a lot. I was able to relate to and be touched by several elements of the film. I just recently watched the film again for the first time in about 20 years. The movie was ahead of it’s time. Mrs. Banks, was involved in the battle for women to vote, but was not independent enough herself to stand up to her husband. In the end Mary helps the Banks by not just taking care of the children but using their imagination. The film, still is one of my all time favorite children and family films.

“Saving Mr. Banks tells the behind the scenes story, of the making of Disney’s “Mary Poppins” film. Walt Disney had made a promise to his daughters that he would make a film based on their favorite book character. The film was based on the book “Mary Poppins” by P.L. Travers, and took over twenty years before the author would sign over rights for the film. “Saving Mr. Banks” chronicles the turbulent process of negotiations between Walt Disney (Tom Hanks) and the author (Emma Thompson).

AFI Fest 2013 – Opening Night Gala Screening of “Saving Mr. Banks” 

I arrived at the newly renovated Chinese Theatre, and saw a much smaller group of photographers waiting to check in compared to what would normally be at a Disney premiere. AFI which was handling the premiere did a great job with lighting and the set up. Besides having a smaller crop of photographers, there was also a smaller amount of guests walking the carpet. All of the stars from the film were there and walked the carpet. The first film stars who hit the red carpet were. B.J. Novak and Jason Schwartzman who played the Sherman Brothers who wrote the lyrics and music to “Mary Poppins.” Tom Hanks (Walt Disney) arrived and was in high spirits joking with some members of the press. Emma Thompson (P.L. Travers), looked stunning wearing a Roberto Cavalli Mona Lisa, red printed midi sheath dress. Emma was very press friendly as she was laughing and joking as she made her way down the press line. She seemed like a real down to earth person with an amazing personality.

After missing the film at AFI Fest and The Napa Film Festival, I was stoked when Cindy Maram, “Dig In Magazine” Founder/Editor-in-Chief, invited me to the see a screening of the film at Skywalker Ranch. The film wasted no time in getting right to the story. We learned that it has taken over 20 years of negotiations, before P.L. Travers agreed to let Walt Disney bring Mary to the big screen. Travers, arrives in Hollywood and immediately, buts heads with not only Disney, but everyone associated from the film. Travers, who is played magnificently by Emma Thompson, is adamant about there being no animation and is horrified when hearing there was going to be music in the film. Tom Hanks, who masterfully plays Walt Disney, brings heart to his character and shows a side of Walt we haven’t seen or heard before. We see Mr. Disney, as a father who never gave up on honoring a promise to his daughters to put their favorite book character on the big screen.

The film also highlights the struggle between the author and the films composers Richard (Jason Schwartzman) and Robert Sherman (B.J. Novak). There are some wonderful performances turned in also by Bradley Whitford and Rachel Griffiths. The one performance I was most pleasantly surprised by was turned in by Collin Farrell, who played the character inspired by Travers real life father, whom she lost as a child. We discover the reason Travers, didn’t want to have Mary changed or tarnished was because she was family. One of the most upsetting experiences she had while making the film was her frustration when Walt Disney thought Mary Poppins was supposed to save the children. When the reality was that Mary was there to save the father. Her father. The only downside was that I would have liked to have seen what her relationship with Julie Andrews, played by Victoria Summer (uncredited) was like.

The film “Saving Mr. Banks” is directed by “The Blindside” director John Lee Hancock. Just as he did in the “Blindside,” John does an amazing job of not just telling us about the characters, but making us care about them. He truly has become an amazing filmmaker. He brings heart to all the stories and characters. After the Q&A, I had the pleasure of briefly meeting Mr. Hancock. He is a truly nice and down to earth person. You could tell how much and how close to his heart this film was to him.

“Saving Mr. Banks”, is the perfect holiday film for the entire family to see and experience together. The film opens everywhere this Friday, December 20th. Get tickets now!

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The Lone Ranger Premiere, Film Review and Experience

Greetings everyone and welcome to another inside look of some of Hollywood’s coolest events. This blog is dedicated to the brand new film from Disney Studios “The Lone Ranger”. The film directed by Gore Verbinski and produced by Jerry Bruckheimer. The film stars Armie Hammer, as the masked law man and Johnny Depp, as Tonto the Native American companion of the Lone Ranger. When I first heard that they were going to make the first film version of the Ranger in over 30 years I was excited to relive part of my childhood. My grandfather Sam, had always loved The Lone Ranger since it’s debut as a radio series and then followed by a television series. In 1981, one of the final films we saw together was Hollywood’s attempt at telling one version of the ranger’s story in “The Legend of The Lone Ranger”. I enjoyed the film but as a 9 year old felt it a little slow moving. After hearing about the films premiere date, I knew I had to try and cover it. This was more than just another red carpet to me.

“The Lone Ranger” World Premiere – Disney California Adventure Park

When I got my confirmation to cover film I was super stoked. I didn’t apply with my wire service on this one because they already had too many photographers from my outlet. knowing that I applied as an independent photographer, I knew my name would be at the bottom of the list. The premiere was being held not in Hollywood but in Anaheim at Disney’s California Adventure Park. My biggest fear was not being able to get a spot and shooting from the third row. As always the photographers were bickering with each other. It was way too hot that day to deal with the drama that goes on, so I decided to listen to some music and keep to myself. When my number was finally called we were escorted in by security. Buena Vista Street was set up for the red carpet with “Lone Ranger” backdrops, platforms, bleachers spotlights and of course the already arrived and set up media which included two are’s of photographers and videographers from all over the world. This ended up being an really well organized premiere. I was able to find a spot in the second row. it was easy to see our biggest obstacle would be with the very warm California sun. The Disney staff made sure coolers were stacked with drinks for credentialed media. The staff also passed out Lone Ranger black masks and Silver badges to the crowds of Disney Park patrons. The crowed and press clearly had one actor on their minds as the crowd got larger as the premiere started.

This was going to be my first time photographing Mr. Depp. I have to admit that for the first time in a long while I was excited. I have been a fan of Johnny’s work ever since he replaced an actor on one of my favorite TV shows back in 1990. But the first time I saw one of Johnny’s films it wasn’t till seeing it on cable again that I realized Depp was in one of my all time favorite slasher films 1984’s “A Nightmare on Elm Street”. I never expected Officer Tom Hanson, to become one of my favorite film actors. Johnny seem to play characters that only he could do. In “The Lone Ranger” he proves it again.

The premiere stated with a “Austin Powers” actor Verne Troyer, and a large number of younger television stars from cable network shows. My first surprise guest of the evening was baseball legend Cal and his wife Kelley Ripken. The fist actor to get a roars from the crowd (mostly teenage girls and some women) was MTV’s “Teen Wolf” Tyler Posey. Krysten Ritter dazzled the press in a really cute dress. I almost didn’t recognize ABC’s “Castle” lead actress Stana Katic, who looked stunning black dress. My favorite surprise guest at the premiere was Emma Roberts. Here is a fashion link from Tom and Lorenzo:

Finally, the moment came that everyone was waiting for, the arrival of Johnny Depp. Slowly making his way down the carpet dressed in a Ralph Lauren suit and sporting a short hair look and wearing black sunglasses. Johnny posed for picture and made his way down the carpet. As he got to one photographer (think her name was Lisa) Johnny stopped and gave her a hug. He clearly looked touched to see her. I assume it must have been someone he knew from back in the day. Johnny continued to walk the carpet waving to his fans that lined up and waited for hours to get a glimpse of the actor.

As Johnny headed towards the theater the still was one important charters we hadn’t seen yet, the Lone Ranger Armie Hammer (The Social Network / J. Edgar). Before he did, I had one more pleasant surprise guest.  Walking down the carpet was a pretty blond who turned out to be Julianne Hough, with her younger sisters. I have photographed her a few times but she always looks different and always ends up being one of my favorites to photograph. After her film co star Barry Pepper sporting long blond hair and a goatee walked the carpet quickly. Finally Armie, arrived at my photo station, wearing a purple suit. After him producer Jerry Bruckheimer and producer and director Gore Verbinski made appearances.Disney did an amazing job with the premiere. The press set up was one of the best ones I saw. Everyone from the list showed up and we even got some nice surpasses. For a fashion take on the premiere, checkout Denise Berry of “Living Dee Life” coverage here:

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The Lone Ranger Film Review

I finally had the chance to catch the film and are my thoughts on it. The film started with a young boy in a Lone Ranger costume in the 1930’s at a museum in San Francisco. There at a native Indian exhibit the boy who was alone in the museum comes face to face with old Tonto. This set up kind of remedied me of “Young Guns 2”. It did create a nice way to tell the story of the masked law man. The film is a fast and fun ride through the old west. I believe that despite some criticism, that Depp was the right person for the role of Tonto. I’m not sure how many actors could have played the role. It was not just about looks or if someone was 100 percent Native Indian. The Lone Ranger could be considered a different kind of hero. He was not as personal and like able as a Super Hero like Clark Kent or Bruce Wayne. Tonto was the comic relief and Depp was able to deliver.   Armie Hammer did a solid job as the Lone Ranger. William Fichtner, who I grew to love as a character actor on “Prison Break”,  does a great job portraying the man who killed the rangers brother, Outlaw Butch Cavendish. The film is violent but nothing too harsh. I found the film to be entertaining and recommend that you see it on the big screen.

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The Limousines “Hush” album Release Party and Concert Review Blog

Greetings everyone and welcome to another look inside some of Hollywood and musics coolest events. “The Outsiders Guide to the Inside of Hollywood”, is not your normal entertainment blog. My blog, focusses on my experience with the entertainment industry, ranging from being a life long fan, working as an actor, Talent Agency assistant, music manager and photographer. Some of my blogs are about A list celebrity events. While others are about, actors and musicians I feel could or should be the next big thing.

This blog is dedicated to one of my favorite Indie bands called “The Limousines”. If you are not familiar with the band, check out two of my past blogs on them here: &

The Limousines are an Indie electronic duo from the Bay Area made up of multi-instrumentalist and producer Giovanni Giusti and songwriter and vocalist and author Eric Victorino. This blog is dedicated to their new album “Hush” which was released last week. The band held to sperate events to debut their new pice of musical art “Hush”. The first one was a listening party for Kickstarter backers and the second, a live show at Rickshaw Stop, where each fan in attendance received a CD copy of “Hush”. The concert featured the band playing the entire album from start to finish.

The Limousines “Hush” listening Party at Hipstamatic in San Francisco 5/31

“Hush” is the second album released by the Bay Area band. “Hush” is the follow up to one of my Top 25 Albums of the 21st Century  “Get Sharp”.  The album was self-released, in the Summer of 2010.  The band signed to Dangerbird records, which re-released “Get Sharp” in February 2011. The relationship was short lived due too creative differences before the start of their sophomore album. The guys wanted to do their music their way and not have to answer to a corporation. The Limousines turned to their fans and the creative project funder  to help raise funds, so they could independently produce and release “Hush” on their terms. The guys were hoping to raise $30,000 when the campaign ended they had a total number of 1,767 (including me) backers and raised over $75,500. Eric and Gio decided to have a thank you party for some of the backers in San Francisco at the offices of a trendy company that is a photo application Hipstamatic.

The venue was a cool spot. I was even able to find parking close by. The downstairs had a DJ spinning records and people danced and hung out at the downstairs bar. There was another bar up on the roof of the company. Not long after I got there Eric and Gio showed up.  The guys spent time greetings fans and close friends. you can always tell  how much The Limousines care about their fans. Weather it was posing for pictures or signing everything from CD’s, posters and even a Baseball. Eric and Gio thanked their fans and backers and said that this was their party. “Hush” was played and everyone seemed to be digging the new album. I found it a little hard to hear with the tons of people that were at the party. I took some pictures of the party guests and actually went outside so I could hear “Hush” with out the noise of the party guests. One thing was certain I couldn’t wait to hear them perform the album live the following Thursday.

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The Limousines “Hush” Album Release Party and Concert at Rickshaw Stop in San Francisco on June 6, 2013

I arrived to the venue about 15 minutes before doors were going to open. I saw a long line wrapped around the corner. After getting a hard time from a door guy I finally got into the club to find the front stage area completely packed. I knew at this point this was probably going to be a point and shoot photo shoot. Instead of opeers the clubs resident DJ’s aaron and Miles The DJ, Assistant Music Director and On-Air Personality at Live 105 , spun the latest indie hits along with mixes of older tunes.

The show started a little after 11:30, as the crowd in the club gave the band a nice welcome. From the very start you could see this was a special night for the band. Eric and Gio, had experienced different sides of the business since they first started on the music scene. You could tell how much this night and this release met to the band. Like the band promised ahead of time, the set list was the album from start to finish.

From the opening note and lyric from “Love is a Dog from Hell” you get the feeling musically and creatively “Hush”, has a completely different feel and sound than their debut album. “Get Sharp” was the it’s Saturday Night lets go out and have fun album. There were multiple songs like were like musical anthems. “Hush” shows the growth lyrically, musically and possible personally, that Eric and Gio have gone through in the process of creating “Hush”.  A number of the tracks talk about love and the struggle to maintain it and keep it growing. The sound and feel for the album “Fools Gold” and it’s groovy sound is another great live song. The crowd seemed to be split between people who downloaded  “Hush” already and others who were experiencing it for the first time. They crowd continued to dance not just on the crowded dance floor but dancing on tables. At one point to get some better shots I stood up on a small table on the side of the stage half way back. “Haunted” which happens to be one of my favorite tunes talks of being haunted by the past. The music fits the mood of the song perfectly.

The great thing about “Hush” is the musical diversity of every song. The music sounds fresh and unlike anything that is out there. “Wrecking Ball” was another song well received by the crowd. All of the songs had the crowd dancing along with every note. “Gimme Control” was another highlight and could be another musical anthem. It did remind me of a Nine Inch Nails type performance. The band also had some of the lyrics flash on the screen behind them which was also trent like. Eric announced like on the album, that the last song on the album would be the last song. Though some did leave a little disappointed about not hearing one of the bands radio songs from “Get Sharp, I get the feeling after listening “Hush” they’ll realize how special the night was for the band and it’s fans. “Hush” is avaiable for down load on I Tunes here:

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Thank you for going me on this musical adventure. My next blog will be from Los Angeles. Events will include the final night of Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers residency at the 19020’S The Fonda Theatre in Hollywood and The Los Angeles Film Festival. For more celebrity photos and stories follow me on Twitter at or Facebook at

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My Gwyneth Paltrow Experience, “Iron Man 3” Premiere and Meeting Gwyneth at her Book Signing Blog

Greetings everyone and welcome to my latest personal entertainment events journal that I call, “The Outsiders Guide to the Inside of Hollywood”. This blog is dedicated to Marvel’s “Iron Man 3″ and it’s co- star and one of my all time favorite blondes Gwyneth Paltrow. Last year, I covered the “Avengers” premiere, in Hollywood only regret was that Gwyneth Paltrow, was not in attendance that night. I knew when hearing of the “Iron Man 3” premiere in LA this could be my chance to photograph her on a carpet.

Gwyneth Paltrow Honored with a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on 12/13/2010

I did have a brief moment with Gwyneth, in December 2010 at her very emotional Hollywood Walk Of Fame Ceremony a few years ago. At some points she was in tears seeing some of her father’s old friends. I did manage to get her to wave at me in a candid shot. Then just before the “Iron Man 3” premiere, I found out that Gwyneth, would be signing her new vegetarian cook book “It’s All Good” in Los Angeles at the Barnes & Nobel I knew I had to cover it. I asked my agency too late about “Iron Man 3”, so I was overjoyed to find out that they were able to book it for me.

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Gwyneth Paltrow “It’s All Good: Delicious, Easy Recipes That Will Make You Look Good and Feel Great” Book Signing at Barnes & Noble in Los Angeles on April 3, 2013

I got to the grove early knowing it was going to be a madhouse. I got there to find A list photographers who never shoot book signings there. Like always people started bickering. After we were permitted in the store photographers who just arrived started to cut the line. I was sure the set up was going to be the same, as it was when I did the Red Hot Chili Peppers book signing at the same store, where a small group were taken in at a time. As it got more crowded there was more bickering. I then saw a person I knew from Facebook. Her name is Lynne and she is probably one of the biggest Coldplay fans ever. Not only has she traveled the us but the globe seeing her favorite band play live. Gwyneth is married to the lead singer from Coldplay Chris Martin. After talking with Lynne, we were finally escorted in to the signing area. Once again everyone was fighting for line space. Finally a person from the store came out and said they were going to be going to a room for a quick photo opportunity with Gwyneth holding the book.

After waiting about 20 minutes my group was escorted into a room where Gwyneth came out and kindly thanked everyone for waiting. She looked amazing wearing an Isabel Marant dress. After a few minutes the shoot ended. I then saw Lynne again but she looked like she was in shock. I then found out that she had wandered off to the Children’s book section, and ran into her Idol Chris Martian and his and Gwyneth’s kids. This was her first time meeting her favorite artist. I was glad to have played a small role in her achieving her goal.

I then decided to buy a book, and have Gwyneth sign my book. After about a 30 minute wait I steeped up to the table. I must admit for the first time in a while I was starstruck. I told her how much I loved her work. She looked at me and smiled and thanked me. She even signed my book with love. It might not have been my longest celebrity encounter but it was one of my favorites. here a link where you can buy the book:

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Iron Man 3″ Premiere at the El Capitan Theatre Hollywood, CA

A few days after the book signing to my surprise I got confirmed to cover the “Iron Man 3” premiere as and independent photographer. I was going to still be submitting to PR Photos, but also two other sites I worked with. “Iron Man 3”, was going to be the unofficial kick off to the Summer Movie season. This is not the time of year for indie film fans. This is when the studios put out their for what they hope to be summer blockbusters. Just like the other Disney premieres I covered the studio shutdown Hollywood Boulevard. I arrived earlier than usual due to the extra security measures due to the Boston Marathon Bombing. The first thing I saw was a long red carpet stretched out down Hollywood Boulevard. It was great seeing a red carpet makes pictures look so  much better.

“Avengers” director Joss Whedon was one of the first stars to walk the carpet. Disney actress, Bella Thorne, who has literally grown up before my eyes on many carpets looked amazing. Sir Ben Kingsley, was the first from the films cast to arrive with his wife. A few minutes later from the opposite end of the carpet I saw Gwyneth.

Gwyneth was dressed in a black and white Antonio Berardi dress. The dress caused an almost Janet Jackson moment. According to the Oscar winner, the risqué gown, which featured sheer panels on the side, was a last-minute decision. “I kind of had a disaster. I was doing a show and I changed there and I went I couldn’t wear underwear. I don’t think I can tell this story on TV,” the 40-year-old said on The Ellen DeGeneres Show April. 26. “Well, let’s just say everyone went scrambling for a razor.” Forget the controversy she looked spectacular!

Next up was Mr. Iron Man himself Robert Downey Jr.,  in a dapper suit with his wife Susan walked the carpet and posed for pictures together. Everyone looked great and was in high spirits for the world premiere. The premiere ended with a “Thor” reunion where actors Chris Hemsworth and Tom Hiddleston caught up and took photos together. For a fashion take on the premiere, check out the amazing Denise Berry, of  Living Dee Life’s coverage here:

The film was quite enjoyable. Defiantly better than “Iron Man 2”. The film shows the emotional toll that a super hero can go through. The story made the character of Tony Stark seem more human. The film was able to surprise me with some interesting character changes. The film is a lot of fun and should be experienced on the big screen.

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Thank you for checking out my latest celebrity experience blog. For more celebrity photos and stories follow me on Twitter at or Facebook at

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“42” Premiere Blog and Viewing and Explaining the Film to a 7 – Year Old

Greetings everyone and welcome to a special edition of “The Outsiders Guide To The Inside Of Hollywood’. This blog is dedicated to a courageous hero who forever changed the game of baseball. Unfortunately everyone my age or younger never got to see him play or even speak. The individual I’m talking about is Jackie Robinson. Luckily for us Jackie’s story has been told to us in the new film from Warner Brothers films “42”. On June 9th, I had the honor of covering the premiere of “42”. The film tells the story of how Jackie, became the first African American to play in Major League Baseball in the modern era. Robinson broke the baseball color line when the Brooklyn Dodgers started him at first base on April 15, 1947.

Before the carpet started I had some flashbacks to my youth. Growing up in Yonkers New York (15 minutes from Yankee Stadium) in the mid to late 70’s my dad took me to a number of Yankee games. One of my fondest memories attending a game was the 1981 American League Championship series against Oakland. My hero at the time was Reggie Jackson. Right around that time was the first I had heard of Jackie. I couldn’t imagine Reggie, Dave Winfield, or any player not being able to play because the color of their skin.

When I first got tip sheet for the “42” premiere, Harrison Ford was the only person I knew. For some reason the studio decided on a black carpet instead of a Dodger Blue or a green one shaped like a baseball field like Sonny had at the “Moneyball” premiere, in Oakland. The biggest problem with the carpet was it was also an early one. The actors were looking right into the sun and many took shots in-between the billboards in the shade. One publicist used herself as a shield to block the sun from her client walking the carpet.

One of the first arrivals was a pleasant surprise but not a shocker. Baseball fanatic Alyssa Milano. She was dressed in white and looked amazing. A few minutes later I was sent back in time and supper stocked to see former Yankees Dave Winfield and Rich Goose Gossage. I had to tell my fellow photographers who they were. Another familiar face former player and sportscaster Joe Morgan walked by and I called out his name as he stopped for a photo.He then was followed by another baseball legend Hank Aaron. By the time Harrison Ford Showed up the crowd across the street was getting larger. Ford arrived with his wife Calista Flockhart. Harrison then went across the street to sign autographs for the fans while his wife walked the carpet. After that he then walked with his wife and the films star Chadwick Boseman.

I saw the film on Jackie Robinson Day and it was incredible. The film opens with a little voice over history, it jumps right to Branch Rickey (Harrison Ford) decision to bring Jackie to the Dodgers minor league system and then to the Brooklyn Dodgers. The film shows the racism and bigotry that Robinson faced. I attended the film with two of my friends and their kid Ben, who had just turned 7 the previous day. Ben might have been too young to see the film because of the language, but wanted to see the movie because he plays on a team in the valley. Ben who normally is vey silent when watching a film or Netflix, was very talkative during the beginning. He first couldn’t understand why there were two baseball leagues with one strictly for white players and another for African Americans only. The other scene that was hard to understand was when waiters refused to have Jackie eat at there restaurant or the whites only bathrooms that were in some of the movies scenes. His parents and I answered a few of his questions but you could tell that he was still a little confused. What I love so much about baseball is how it has been handed down from one generation to the next. it hard to think of what the world would have been like if Jackie didn’t break the color barrier. Luckily we will never know.

Thank you for joining me on a different kind of blog than I normally do. I’ve had a long LA trip filled with events that I’m behind. My next blog that will be posted on tomorrow will be on WonderCon, Days of the Dead conventions and covering then meeting Gwyneth Paltrow, at her LA Cook Book signing. You can follow me on twitter at or on Facebook here:

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Oz The Great And Powerful World Premiere and Kristi Yamaguchi and Disney On Ice Dare Kids To Dream and Read – Blog

Greetings everyone and welcome to a very Disney edition of “The Outsiders Guide to the Inside of Hollywood”. This blog is about my experiences covering three very different kind of Disney events. The first one was Walt Disney Films trip to the land of Oz. The two other events were sponsored by Disney On Ice and Field Entertainment. One of them was a special book reading for students of Fred T. Korematsu Discovery Academy in Oakland, with Olympic Medallist and children’s author, Kristi Yamaguchi.  The children also received free tickets to, Disney On Ice: Dare To Dream  ice show at the Oracle Arena in Oakland. I also attended the show which was my first ice show in 30 years.

“Oz The Great And Powerful” Los Angeles Premiere – El Capitan Theatre 2-13/13

Ever since hearing James Franco, was going to be playing The Wizard in Disney’s take on “The Wizard of Oz franchise “Oz The Great and Powerful”, I had wanted to cover this premiere. The films director Sam Raimi, who worked with James on the original “Spiderman” films take us on a different journey to the land of Oz. The film is inspired by L. Frank Baum’s 1900 novel The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, and is the prequel to the 1939 film The Wizard of Oz. in James Franco in the film are Mila Kunis as Theodora, Michelle Williams as Glinda, and Rachel Weisz as Evanora.

I had photographed Mila for the first time unofficially (fan area) at the “Extract” Premiere and professionally(on the carpet) in New York City at the “Friends with Benefits” premiere. I had wanted to photograph Michelle Williams for several years. I admit, I had a big crush on her back in the Dawson Creek Days (only reason I watched the show) and loved seeing her career evolve. As for Mr. Franco we had crossed paths before unofficially. Back in 2010 I met James and photographed him in the rain where he met loyal fans waiting for him to arrive at a film festival reception event and later just before a screening of his film “127 Hours”. James who took time to pose with fans (including s surprised particular blogger) before heading into a private event. James really seems to be a down to earth guy. If you couldn’t tell how much he loves his fans then, you sure could a few months later at the Santa Barbra Film Festival, where James signed autograph, books and took pictures with fans that waited hours outside the theater for his arrival.

I arrived early expecting it to be a madhouse. The first thing I saw as usual Disney had Hollywood Boulevard shut down. As I made my across the street to the media check in  area I saw a huge hot air balloon from the movie being blown up. We were given strict instructions by the studio not to take any pictures until the start of the carpet and of the balloon until it was in the air. Disney had created a yellow brick road carpet stretched out down the boulevard. As we started to be checked in I was expecting my usual number at the end of the list. I could tell by looking at the amount of photographers, and the space we had, I knew it would be tight. I was just hoping not to be stuck in the third row. Then to my surprise my number was in the top 25, which got me a front row spot at the end of the photographer area. One of the photographers who is always in an A list spot showed up late and as usual got into a argument with another photographer. This wasn’t the first time I witnessed a temper tantrum by this same photographer. She set up in back of me and kept reaching and getting her hands in my shots. Deciding it wasn’t worth causing an argument when the carpet had open I just worked around her.

The films co-star Zach Braff (Scrubs) walked the carpet with his girlfriend Taylor Bagley. James Franco showed up next wearing a purple suit. He quickly made his way down the carpet and caused a flash frenzy when he stopped briefly in my area. I knew from attending Q & A’s with James that this part of the business was not his favorite. Michelle Williams who plays Glinda (the good witch) looked beautiful. I must admit I like her better with long hair but she still looked amazing and graceful. Mila Kunis (who arrived with out Ashton Kutcher who was on the press list) arrived right after Michelle looking absolutely stunning. She was very accommodating to the photographers even coming back after already walking once already. The last of the main stars to arrive was Rachel Weisz who just had a Hollywood old school classic look that night. After walking the carpet she shared some personal time with Mila. The films director Sam Rami was the final arrival as he quickly made it down the press line. This ended up being a really good premiere, my only regret was I had to wait a few weeks to see the film.

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Oz The Great And Powerful – Film

When I saw this film this past weekend I must admit I was expecting it to be good. I was glad they chose the actors they did for the film, but I was wonder how the story would be. I myself have ties to “The Wizard of Oz”. I  was in the play “The Wiz” at Sara Lawrence College when I was a child. So that magical story always was close to my heart. The film opened in black and white and introduced us to Mr. Franco,as a traveling circus con man magician who slept around. The character James plays does not have to many redeeming qualities. I found James really believable. The film does an amazing job of showing us how the story of Oz was a set up to the “Wizard Of Oz”. All the women’s performances were a amazing. I found Mila’s character was the most challenging. Playing two very different women in the same film. Michelle shinned and I loved Rachel’s performance. Sam Rami did a phenomenal job of directing. This film really must be experienced on the big screen. I believe this was the best prequel I’ve seen. For tickets and showtimes go here:

Kristi Yamaguchi “Dream Big Little Pig” Book Reading or students of Fred T. Korematsu Discovery Academy in Oakland

The next two events are types of jobs I usually wouldn’t do. Especially at 9:30 in the morning. However this shoot was for a good cause to promote children reading at a young age. In an age where book stores are going out of business while video game sales and stores are rising, it’s important now more than ever that kids expand their minds by reading. The Bay Area’s own Skating Olympic Medallist and Children’s Author, Kristi Yamaguchi, sponsored an event with Disney On Ice. 70 students from Oakland’s Fred T. Korematsu Discovery Academy got to hear Kristi read her book “Dream Big Little Pig” and get a free book and tickets to Disney On Ice: Dare To Dream show in Oakland.

The event stated at a community center where the children were at tables doing arts & crafts making masks, while Kristi watched and helped out. The schools staff were excited to get photos with the staking star. After the arts and crafts the kids got into a line and marched into a gym while waving to the press who were there to cover the event.  One of my favorite things about this event, was being able to cover it with two individuals who I have been contributing photography to their magazine and website. Some of you know Denise Berry, from from my past blogs. She did an amazing interview with Kristi Yamaguchi that you can see here:

Back in the fall at the Mill Valley Film Festival I met Cindy Maram, who runs her own online/print magazine, Dig In Magazine: Shortly after that I began to work as a contributing photographer for some of the celebrity events I covered. Check out here footage here:

The book reading was sponsored by Kristi Yamaguchi’s charity “Always Dream Foundation”, which promotes children reading at an early age. After hearing Kristi read her book “Dream Big Little Pig”, the students received another surprise visit. Princess Tiana, arrived to the excitement of the children. The Disney On Ice star took pictures with the children and were told they also would be receiving free tickets to Disney On Ice: Dare To Dream show in Oakland.

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Disney On Ice: Dare To Dream – Oracle Arena

I ended up by attending the ice show too. My only other experience attending an ice show was about 30 years ago in Madison Square Garden with my younger sister. As I get out of my car and walked to the arena I saw kids dressed up in Disney character costumes. The majority of the kids were girls dressed as princess. I found the media check and had an escort to take me to the photo area. Only problem there was no photo area. I saw I had a great seat but when I suggested I shoot there the escort though it was too low. I only was aloud to photograph the show for the first 15 minutes. I finally ended up in an allele on the side about 35 rows up. People kept on getting in my way and I knew at this point the pictures would not be good enough to submit to my agency. I decided to stay and watch the show so I could blog on it.

The show was to my surprise really enjoyable and would be a great event for families to share together. The Ice show was broken into two acts. The skaters were dressed up as Disney characters. The show opened and ended with Mickey, Donald and friends. The shows main focus and storyline empathizes on Disney Princess. Tiana (from “The Princess and the Frog”), Cinderella, and Rapunzel (from “Tangled”) The staking was spectacular. The most impressive Cirque de Soleil like stunts included aerial acrobatics in the “Tangled” portion were breathtaking and stole the show.

Obviously the show was targeting girls but I did see many brothers faces light up too. I highly recommend this as a great family event for families to experience together. The show is currently at in Detroit The Palace of Auburn Hills till the 17th. To find out if the show is coming to your town or to buy tickets go to:

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Hollywood Stars Head North for The Santa Barbara International Film Festival – Blog and How Quentin Tarantino Inspired Me to Become a Writer

Greetings everyone and Welcome to the first part of my Awards Season blog. Earlier this month for the second time (first 2010 James Franco Outstanding Actor Award) I attended the Santa Barbara International Film Festival. Originally I had bought tickets to conversations and tributes to Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Lawrence. I had applied for credentials with a magazine but were turned down due to the large amount of request they were getting. Just a few days before the start of the festival I revived an email that due to a conflict in his schedule (or not being nominated for an Oscar) Leo was canceling. The festival replaced him with “Django Unchained” director Quentin Tarantino. As a photographer, this would be a huge let down due to the popularity  marketability of Leo for potential sales. For me this was a tribute and felt like coming full circle. I have Mr. Tarintino to thank for inspiring me to move to LA in back in 1997.

Boston Film Festival October 1992 Copley Square

As some of you know I started off in New York as a child actor doing mainly theater and an IBM Computer commercial standing next to Alan Alda. At some point during doing interviews at WDMC Channel 19, at Roosevelt High School in Yonkers New York, I felt uncomfortable watching myself on my home TV. I decided to take a different journey and path. That road led me to Emerson College in Boston.

After a year and a half majoring in Audio and Radio I still felt like something was missing. That all changed one fall evening and a trip the Boston Film Festival. I remember my friend who was a Film major dragging me out in the cold to see a film by first-time writer-director. Unfortunately the director was not there funny enough due to a scheduling conflict. I remembering asking my friend what was the film about all I would get him was the title “Reservoir Dogs”. When the film started I had no idea what to expect. The opening scene we meet eight men having breakfast at a Los Angeles diner before their planned diamond heist. The movie opens with a casual conversation that turns out to be a piece of screenwriting history. Somehow a cheap robber named Mr. Pink (Steve Buscemi)refusing to leave a tip gets crossed with the true meaning of Madonna’s “Like A Virgin”. From that minute on I was hooked. What really spoke to me was the writing. It reminded me of a conversation three of my friends and I had a few day’s earlier. No it was not a song but lets just say that two of the people at the bar left early to go watch “Melrose Place”. I didn’t know it then but that scene would be the first scene of the first screenplay I ever wrote. So if it were not for that night I might still be living in New York. I was more excited about being able to hear the writer, director, actor and producer speak.

28th Annual Santa Barbara International Film Festival – American Riviera Award Presentation to Quentin Tarantino

Since the award recepient and the date changed I thought there might be a possibility I could cover this night. I sent an email to the festival publicist who sent one back to me saying there would be no carpet but we could take pictures during the conversation and award presentation. I got to the theatre and found a seat four rows back on the right of the podium. The set up was a little unusual. there was a podium set up on the right on the press side. The opisite side of the stage had two chairs facing each other for the conversation. About 10 minutes before the start of the event I was texting Denise Berry, when out of nowhere Quentin walked directly in front of me to his seat, which was about two feet from me. All I could think to say was hi and thanked him. He smiled and said hi back.

My favorite part of the evening was not just reliving scenes from all of Quentin’s films but hearing the stories on how he wrote. I found out that he writers the same why I do. One step at a time with no real map of where your going until you arrive at that place. Most of the conversation was Quentin talking about the writing aspect. I couldn’t have been more pleased. At the end of the evening the American Riviera Award was  presented passionately by SBIFF Festival Director Roger Durling. You could tell he was one of his heroes. Quinton tanked everyone and seemed to really enjoy the veining as he exited the stage with his award.

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2013 Santa Barbara International Film Festival – Amy Adams Cinema Vanguard Award  Presentation

I originally was not going to be at the festival on Thursday but when the Tarantino event was moved to Wednesday I decided to spend an extra night in Santa Barbara to attend the Amy Adams Tribute. After getting permission the previous night, I tried again to get credentials. This night it was actually after press check in. I was given a spot in the second row on a large ramp. I actually liked this spot a lot. I was high up but I had a view of everything and was able to get full length shots. I had photographed Amy at “The Muppet’s” and “On the Road” (2 very different movies) premieres in Hollywood. Both events were a madhouse filled with photographers and videographers.  I was looking forward to a more intimate carpet. Amy arrived wearing a cute white dress with black polka dots from Jenny Packham

Amy looked amazing as she walked the carpet and gave interviews to media outlets and Santa Barbara students. Most of the students were cool but they had way too many people on the carpet and did not stay in there place, which is a big no no for carpet events.

After the carpet I headed into the beautiful historic Arlington theatre for the award and conversation part of the evening. I found a seat about 5 rows back first seat on the right hand side. Amy like Tarantino entered the theatre before the start and ended sitting about two feet away from me. She gracefully walked to the stage after her introduction. She seemed like she does in interviews a real down to earth clean cut person. She spoke about all of the many different roles she had and acted in, and was shown clips of her film career during a 90-minute interview with moderator Pete Hammon. One interesting fact I found out was Amy’s father was in the Army and she was born on a military base. Amy talked about her stage fright and seemed honored that her “The Master” her writer-director Paul Thomas Anderson and co-star/fellow Oscar nominee Joaquin Phoenix were in the crowd to support her. The evening ended with Paul Thomas Anderson presenting her the Cinema Vanguard Award which is given to risk takers. He joked about her clean cut image and poked fun at her by mentioning drugs (F.Y.I.which he hasn’t done) a few times. Amy has taken many risky roles in her career (award was created for risk takers), so I found this award recipent was well deserved.

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Santa Barbara International Film Festival – Jennifer Lawrence Outstanding Performer of the Year Award & Conversation

My last event of the festival was the one I was most looking forward to. Since seeing “Winters Bone (Jennifer’s first Oscar Nomination) I had wanted to photograph her. I can’t remember another actress that rose so fast in complicated roles. Jennifer arrived wearing   a Stella McCartney blue jumpsuit. She immediately headed for her fans who were waiting for a couple hours for the chance to get an autograph and picture of the Oscar nominated actress. She walked quickly down the carpet after spending more time with videographers. She looked absolutely stunning and it was worth the trip just to see her.

After the carpet we headed into the Arlington theatre once again. Like the other nights Jennifer, sat just a few feet away from me. She was sitting with some girl friends and in front of the award presenter her director in “Silver Linings Playbook” David O. Russell. The festival’s executive director Roger Durling, introduced her described her work as “filled with electric energy and vitality,”. He then called her a star is doing her a disservice. She’s a supernova!”. Unfortunately for Roger he was also the moderator. In one of the most embracing and painful things I’ve seen Roger spoke about Jennifer getting her start in theatre. A shocked actress, told him she never did theatre. At this point the interview felt like a uncomfortable blind date. Roger looked embraced and there was a weird feeling for the rest of the interview. Jennifer did talk about how she never imagined this kind of life. She had pictured herself as a Soccer Mom. The actress admitted that she never prepares herself before filming. She doesn’t read her lines in advance or familiarize herself with shooting schedules. She also shared her  stage fight and feeling uncomfortable on the Red carpet and in interviews.

After the interview was over David O. Russell her director in “Silver Linings Playbook” gave a speech and presented her with the award. This also didn’t go smoothly. I’m guessing that no one told her that she was supose to give an aceptance speech. After getting the award she seemed confused where to go or what to do. She “Thank you Santa Barbara!” and rushed off the stage. I have a feeling that she will be more prepared if she wins the Oscar on February 24th.

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