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Posts Tagged ‘Meredith Blake’

Isabella Rossellini’s Animal Instincts

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There are lunches at Michael’s and then there are lunches at Michael’s. Today I joined Isabella Rossellini at Table One and had a fascinating conversation with her about aging, celebrity, fashion and gay geese. Stay with me … these seemingly disparate topics are all connected.  Ostensibly there to talk about Mammas, her new series for Sundance Channel which looks at the ways different creatures use their maternal instincts in nature, Isabella did get around to the topic eventually. Yet, there was no feeling of the usual PR spin to the lunch which was attended by a handful of journalists who sat enthralled by her stories of her days as an actress and model and her charming tales of growing up in Rome as the daughter of iconic actress Ingrid Bergman and director Roberto Rossellini.

“The image I have of myself doesn’t correspond to the image people have of me,” she said. “I live on Long Island and I don’t go to fancy parties and premieres. I don’t like that aspect of celebrity. I never said, ‘When I grow up I want to be a celebrity.’” She didn’t have to.  Between her famous parents, ex-husbands (Martin Scorsese and model Jon Wiedemann), her celebrated career as a model and 14-year run as the face of Lancome before the brand dismissed her in 1996 for being ‘too old,’ and her unforgettable turn as tortured nightclub singer Dorothy Vallens in David Lynch’s Blue Velvet, she secured a permanent spot in our collective consciousness without employing any of the usual contrivances associated with modern celebrity.

Isabella Rossellini and Diane Clehane

When she showed up to join the small group of journos gathered to meet her (I was lucky enough to score the best seat in the house right next to the guest of honor!) the conversation first turned to fashion as Frazier Moore asked her who designed her understated ensemble of a wool tweed cocoon coat,  navy mandarin collared silk jacket, foulard blouse and simple slacks. She gamely removed her coat to reveal the impeccably tailored pieces designed for her by Christina Bomba in Italy. “It’s less expensive than Donna Karan or Dolce & Gabbana, and I like that I can pick the fabric and have it made just for me,” she said. Isabella told us she can’t relate to the fashion-celebrity complex which has turned the red carpet into big business. “When Mama got dressed for the Oscars, she wasn’t solicited by designers. She didn’t have a committee of business people telling her what to wear. She was loyal to one or two Italian designers, and, when they could no longer make dresses for her, the costume designers from her films created something unique.”

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Trio of LA Times Entertainment Contributors Get Bumped to Full-Time

The fall-winter of 2008-2009 was a particularly bad time for LA movie critics. Carina Chocano was let go from the LA Times in October; the Daily News laid off Glenn Whipp in December; and Andy Klein got his walking papers from LA CityBeat in January.

Today, the LA Times announced that Whipp is joining the paper fulll-time as anchor reporter for The Envelope, “with the special mission of making the online version as compelling as the print edition.” There’s a certain level of irony there, but given that this gig comes with full benefits and a fair amount of prestige, Whipp will take it.

Fellow LA Film Critics Association member Mark Olsen, author of the paper’s Saturday “Indie Focus” column and contributor to LAT film festival coverage, has also been promoted to full-time status. In his LAFCA questionnaire a few years ago, Olsen had this advice to would-be fellow film critics:

“Please do not enter this profession expecting to become rich in a monetary sense, but it will push you as a person in ways you likely cannot expect. Also, there will, if you’re lucky, be crazy-ass moments when you’re utterly pinching yourself knowing that your 15-year-old self just had his/her mind totally blown. (Your 15-year-old self will also sometimes frown and be scornful of the very grown-up compromises and decisions you will be forced to make. But maybe it’s better to forget that kid.)”

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