Warren Miller 1924-2018

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One of my fondest memories growing up were going on ski bus trips with my youth group and watching Warren Miller movies on the ride up. The movies were funny and inspiring and always got me pumped up for a day of shredding on the slopes. I started attending Warren Miller movie premieres not too long after that. Being around other skiers and snowboarders always gets my adrenaline going. In fact, I won a set of Warren Miller beanies in a drawing at the most recent premiere I went to. Warren Miller Entertainment ski films have changed my life. I love his story on how he got started in the entertainment business when he made his first movie Deep and Light in 1950 with a 8mm movie camera he purchased. Since then there has been an annual Warren Miller movie shown every year just before ski season. Warren Miller has been involved with all of them until 2004 when he retired. Even though the newer movies are no longer produced by him, they continue to have his name on them. I was saddened to hear about his recent passing but will forever be inspired by his career. I just bought his book Freedom Found: My Life Story not too long ago and can’t wait to dive into it. Warren Miller lived a full life and changed the culture of skiing and snowboarding forever. Thank you for your films and the memories and may your legacy live on.

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One of the many ski trips where we watched Warren Miller films on the bus ride up

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Warren Miller vehicle at the recent film premiere of Line of Descent in Scottsdale

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Loving Vincent

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“Well, the truth is, we cannot speak other than by our paintings.”

 – Vincent van Gogh, July 1890

I’ve been excited to see this moving ever since I saw the trailer. Loving Vincent is a biopic about Vincent van Gogh, and in particular, the circumstances of his death. It is the first fully painted animated feature film. It is made up of 65,000 frames hand-painted by a team of 125 artists. Ever since I took an Art Humanities class ten years ago, I have been fascinated by van Gogh’s paintings. In fact, the first van Gogh I ever saw was The Starry Night when I was in New York City at MOMA. I just recently saw Bedroom at Pasadena’s Norton Simon MuseumFilmbar in Phoenix has added many shows of Loving Vincent because they keep selling out. The film has already been nominated for many awards and I look forward to seeing it.

In 2009, I saw van Gogh’s The Starry Night at MOMA and Bedroom at Norton Simon

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The Starry Night

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Devour Film Screening

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Devour week is the biggest week of the year for foodies living in Arizona. Throughout the week are events leading up to the big culinary classic. This event is in its second year of existence and was one that intrigued me. FilmBar hosted a movie screening by local filmmaker Andrew Gooi and presented by Food Talkies, Devour PhoenixBite and Local First Arizona. The movie is called Elements and it showcases six local chefs here in the Valley using elements from nature in their crafts. Chefs Brian Konefal of Coppa Cafe (Earth), Akos Szabo of Match Cuisine / FoundRE (Fire), Derrick Shields of The Farm at Agritopia (Air), Julie Meeker of Mother Bunch Brewing (Water), Jeff Kraus of Crepe Bar (Smoke), and Ross Simon of Bitter & Twisted Cocktail Parlour (Ice) were the featured chefs. Each installment was filmed individually and collected together for this movie. We got to listen to each chef talk about their craft and heard comments from director Andrew Gooi. We were also given a Bite Box to help enhance our senses for the film.

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Director Andrew Gooi

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Local Chefs featured in Elements

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Food Talkies also has a series of films on coffee cultures in different cities called Coffee Run. This is the one that showcases the growing coffee scene here in the Valley.

All Things Must Pass: The Rise and Fall of Tower Records

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While walking down the Sunset Strip, I spotted something from my past – a Tower Records sign on the former retail store’s old location. The original Tower Records’ sign was just recently restored by the current tenant Gibson and the filmmakers for an upcoming documentary about Tower Records. The documentary from actor/director Colin Hanks is called All Things Must Pass: The Rise and Fall of Tower Records. This space is hosting an invite-only party on October 15 and is showcasing the documentary. From 1960 until 2006, Tower Records was a huge music retailer that sold primarily CDs and cassette tapes. In addition to music, the stores sold DVDs, electronic gadgets (mp3 players), books video games, toys, and accessories. Russell Solomon opened the first Tower Records store in Sacramento in 1960 and it quickly grew into a huge national empire of over two hundred stores. In 1995, it became one of the first retailers to move online. Then after decades of success, it filed for bankruptcy and closed its last store in 2006.

I was a huge music fan in the 90’s and spent many nights digging through stacks of CD’s for rare but great music at Tower Records. I miss those old nights with my buddies hanging at the local record store. I remember waiting in long lines for new albums coming out from my favorite artists. I used to pick up their magazine Pulse! for the latest music news and reviews. Sadly all that exist is this old sign on the Sunset Strip. I am looking forward to catching that documentary and reliving my old music days.

  • –  From All Things Must Pass website

Established in 1960, Tower Records was once a retail powerhouse with two hundred stores, in thirty countries, on five continents. From humble beginnings in a small-town drugstore, Tower Records eventually became the heart and soul of the music world, and a powerful force in the music industry. In 1999, Tower Records made $1 billion. In 2006, the company filed for bankruptcy. What went wrong? Everyone thinks they know what killed Tower Records: The Internet. But that’s not the story. ‘All Things Must Pass’ is a feature documentary film examining this iconic company’s explosive trajectory, tragic demise, and legacy forged by its rebellious founder Russ Solomon.

The Force Awakens

D23 Expo’s “Worlds, Galaxies, and Universes: Live Action at The Walt Disney Studios” ended with Star Wars. On December 18, The Force Awakens comes out in theaters. This was the part I waited in line for so long for. My family grew up with Star Wars and now it has been fun seeing my kids and nephews embrace it as well. Director J.J. Abrams introduced the cast (Oscar Isaac, John Boyega, Lupita Nyong’o and Daisy Ridley) of the new movie. But the coolest part was seeing one of my favorite actors ever (Harrison Ford – Indy himself) on stage. It was a lot of fun and I enjoyed experiencing this with my family.

  • photos below from various sources

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Bob Iger made a huge announcement about the future of Disney parks. He announced that they would be building Star Wars land at both Disney parks in Orlando and Anaheim. I’m excited for this and can’t wait to check it out.

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Afterwards we got an exclusive D23 Star Wars: The Force Awakens poster. This was such a cool experience and I even bumped into Darth Vader and a stormtrooper outside the convention center.

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Daisy Ridler shows off her poster on her Instagram account. My nephew Devyn got to meet her while walking around the Expo.

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CHEF Movie

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It’s been awhile since I’ve been this excited about a movie. But after seeing the trailer to Jon Favreau’s new movie CHEF, I was hooked on seeing it. One reason – food porn. I seriously was salivating as I saw the previews. Plus I was a cook for ten years in the restaurant business and I understand life in the kitchen. Cooking for me has always been both therapeutic and a passion. This is the story of Carl Casper, a cook in L.A. who is trying to rediscover his passion for cooking. He ends up going on road trip in a food truck with his son to get his passion to make amazing food back. The film ended up being a great movie and easily one of my favorite ones of the year. In addition to having a great cast, CHEF also has a great soundtrack. I ended up going with my favorite foodie friends that I love to eat out with. My friend Kim is a personal chef and my other friend Pete is (in my opinion) the top restaurant reviewer in Arizona. He and his wife Monica eat out at different restaurants all over the valley. We had a blast and I look forward to seeing it again!

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