Oktoberfest

Drink More Beer
Today is the beginning of the world’s biggest beer festival in Munich, Germany. For 16 days millions of people from all over the world will cram into a 42 hectare site to eat, drink, and be very merry.

Beeronomics
US President Obama might want to take a lesson from the Bavarians on job creation. From the Montreal Gazette:

Across the country, the economic impact of beer is enormous, with breweries responsible for 30,000-plus jobs. When you add in supply industry jobs, retail positions and hospitality employment attributed to the industry, beer becomes responsible for more than half a million jobs in Germany, generating a value-added impact of $18.7 billion, according to a 2009 Ernst & Young report.

Anyway, this is the time of year my brother starts reminiscing about the time he and a couple of his friends went to the great beer festival in Munich. For some reason all I can picture is Chevy Chase doing the ‘schuhplattler’ in the 1985 movie, European Vacation:

Watch video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dO93OT3P30g

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The Hollywood Canteen

Remembering WW II
Last week I took my dad to visit the aircraft carrier “Midway” that is now part of the Maritime Museum, here is San Diego. The 3 hour, self-guided tour gave my dad and I a chance to talk about WWII and dad’s experiences in England  and Germany.

During WW II, like many other young men at the time, my dad was eager to ‘sign up’ and fight for his country. He gave up a scholarship to the Art Institute in Chicago to enlist in the Army Air Corp. He lied about his age – as many kids did, and he became a 17 year old soldier. For him it was also an opportunity to have 3 square meals a day – something he rarely had growing up.

Stationed in Long Beach for flight training, it wasn’t dad’s first visit to California. As a young teen he had joined the CCC – California Conservation Corp. during summer vacation.

“I remember the first time I saw the San Fernando Valley.” My dad said with a smile on his face. “We were at the Hollywood Canteen and they asked if anyone wanted to drive out to the San Fernando Valley. It sounded interesting so I got on the bus with 15 or 20 other soldiers and off we went.”

I guess it was love at first site, because after the war it took him seven years to convince my mom to move from Chicago to L.A.

During WW II, The Hollywood Canteen was set up to help keep up the morale of young soldiers. Located on Cahuenga Blvd., just south of Sunset, It was operated and staffed completely by volunteers from the local entertainment industry.

In 1942, over 3000 stars, players, directors, producers, grips, dancers, musicians, singers, writers, technicians, wardrobe attendants, hair stylists, agents, stand-ins, publicists, secretaries, and allied craftsmen of radio and screen had registered as volunteers.

On any given day or night, famous actors and actresses could be found pouring coffee. My dad remembered Carey Grant sitting down with the guys just to talk, asking about their home towns, etc.

I ran across a news clip from 1944 about the Hollywood Canteen. Hope you enjoy it:

Fashion Trends & Movies

Military Chic
Fashion is usually not on the top of my list of priorities these days. It seems like each year the styles become less flattering – it couldn’t possibly be the fact that everything that used to be ‘up here’ is now ‘down there’ – could it?

Anyway, while searching for something chic, yet comfortable, (okay, forget chic) I found women’s jumpsuits are back in style. The short, military style jackets are also still popular and some of the pricier handbags have a military look.

Thinking about military and fashion reminded me of Goldie Hawn in the movie Private Benjamin. It’s one of those movies I watch every year. My favorite scene is when Judy Benjamin (Goldie Hawn)  first meets Captain Lewis (Eileen Brennan).
Hope you enjoy the clip:

“I think they sent me to the wrong…place.  See, I did join the army, but I joined a ‘different’ army. I joined the one with the condos and the private rooms.”

Old Rockers

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Viva Las Vegas
The chemistry between Elvis and Ann-Margret was apparently real during the filming of the Viva Las Vegas. They allegedly began an affair which received considerable attention from gossip columnists. In her 1985 book, Elvis and Me, Priscilla Presley described the difficulties she experienced when the press announced that Ann-Margret and Elvis were engaged to be married.

However, there may have been other reasons for the great publicity campaign about the romance between Elvis and Ann-Margret during the filming and the weeks following the wrap party.

Ann-Margret’s press agent, Joshua Gamson, said that his client could initially “have been “sold … as anything”; She was a new product. We felt there was a need in The Industry for a female Elvis Presley.”

They are both “one of a kind.”

Enjoy Elvis and Ann-Margret – C’mon Everybody:

Movies

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Summer’s Over – Time to Bring Out the Old Movies
I don’t know about you, but I remember most movies by their soundtracks. I love soundtracks. They’re kind of like the CD’s you find at Pottery Barn or Starbucks – only better. One of my favorites is from the 2001 movie A Knight’s Tale – a fun movie that didn’t get the attention it should have.

Heath Ledger stars as a peasant who masquerades as a knight so he can compete in jousting tournaments to make money. Since it’s illegal for peasants to joust, Ledger and his entourage have to keep his identity a secret. Is he found out?  You’ll have to see the movie to find out. Although it wasn’t a box office hit, it’s become a cult classic.
Watch Heath Ledger dance to David Bowie’s Golden Years:

Summer Movies

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The Dog Days of Summer
Everyone knows that the “dog days of summer” occur during the hottest and muggiest part of the season. Webster defines “dog days” as…
1 : the period between early July and early September when the hot sultry weather of summer usually occurs in the northern hemisphere
2 : a period of stagnation or inactivity

Watching movies is great passtime during periods of stagnation. A steamy Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward film is perfect – so steamy, in fact, that Paul and Joanne got married after filming – The Long Hot Summer:

Frank Sinatra

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The Movie
By now, everyone know Martin Scorsese is making a film about Frank Sinatra. If we go by Scorsese’s previous work, the film will twist toward the dark side. Just what we need right now – more dark, depressing entertainment. As far as Leonardo DiCaprio as Frank, I’m sure he can pull it off.

Too bad a different film maker didn’t take on the project. Frank Sinatra is the true story of the “come back kid.” Sure, we know he was a womanizer, drinker, etc., but he paid a price for all that when his career and personal life tanked. The real story is how he rose to become the icon we all remember him as. It’s a very inspiring story – something we could use right now.

Harry Connick Jr. would be a natural to play Frank. He’s a singer who can act – just like Frank.

Watch Harry Connick Jr. sing For Once in My Life: