Jamie’s American Road Trip: New York – Channel 4: Jamie Oliver – Big Love In The Big Apple

At last, the real Jamie Oliver is back! After hanging in ‘da hood in week one, and playing cowboy in week two, the Naked Chef returns to what he does best – cook. He’s not trying to play out a childhood fantasy or live the life he’s seen on TV; he meets, he greets, he investigates new tastes and, most importantly, whips up some inspiring dishes.

And here in New York there’s finally a real sense of cultures coming together, adding twists to dishes brought from the old country, and coming up with proper American cooking. Real food that real Americans eat, just not from some ubiquitous chain restaurant.

Nothing Posh Except The Nosh

The Big Apple also provides genuinely new dining experiences, as opposed to Manhattan’s latest “in” restaurant, where who you’re seen with is more important than the food. After a quick taste of Egyptian fare, complete with a visit to a “live” butcher, Jamie heads to an underground restaurant, literally run from somebody’s house and surrounded by barbed wire.

This is nobody’s idea of a Michelin-starred eaterie, but the friendly atmosphere and home cooking leave a big impression on Jamie. “The last restaurant I fitted out cost a million quid – you know, nice bogs, nice floorboards, nice window, nice etching … this looks like Louisiana after a hurricane. The place is not smart, but all the value is on the plate.”

All Hail The Chicken And Rice Man

And where there are immigrants, unfortunately, there is also poverty. Another bit of New York most definitely not on the tourist trail is Jackson Heights, home to dozens of illegal Columbian immigrants, many of whom are homeless. Luckily help is at hand in the form of George, himself a former “illegal”, who makes the half hour drive each …

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Movies About the Civil War

Everyone loves a great war movie, but for an American history buff, nothing beats an epic Civil War film. Ball gowns, plantations, and plenty of cannon fire have made for American cinematic magic. Here’s a rundown of some of the best North v. South showdown flicks out there.

Gone With the Wind

No Civil War movie list would be complete without paying homage to the movie who pitted Scarlet’s fiddle-dee-dee against Rhett’s not giving a damn, my dear. While the movie itself doesn’t actually have any battle scenes, it does portray the burning of Atlanta, and deeply delves in the effects of the war on Southern life. Oh, not to mention, it’s one of the greatest romantic movies of all time. Don’t forget to pick up Margaret Mitchell’s classic book on which the novel is based as well.


This movie feature Denzel Washington as a free slave serving in the Union army. I was about 10 when I saw this movie for the first time, and I wept, well, like a little girl. The movie also features cutie pie Matthew Broderick, who volunteers to lead a company of black soldiers, and deals with racists of both the blue and grey persuasions. It’s a good show, but don’t blame me if it makes you cry.

Red Badge of Courage

This 1951 classic stars Audie Murphy as the cowardly young man struggling to find his — .courage on the Civil War battlefield. It’s main redeeming quality is that it has spared countless students from actually having to read the Stephen Crane novel.


This film is a must see for Jimmy Stewart fans. Jimmy plays a Virginia pacifist farmer who refuses to engage in the war, until his son is killed. It’s like The Patriot, only no Mel Gibson, about 100 …

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Henry VIII: Mind of a Tyrant (Channel 4): David Starkey’s Investigation into the Making of a Bloodstained King

Is there anybody who doesn’t know about Henry VIII? In the history of Britain he is the one of, if not the, most famous (and infamous) monarchs for his problems with the church, the unsubtle approach he took to marital crisis and his obese appearance. The story of him and his six wives is known by most school children and there are countless films, books and television programmes chronicling his legacy.

Surely there’s nothing else to learn about the man but not according to David Starkey, TV’s top Tudor expert, in this “search for the real Henry”. Starkey has written numerous books and presented other shows about the Tudor king but here he attempts to dive into the mind of the man behind the legend to mark the 500th anniversary since his accession to the throne.

The Young Prince Henry VIII

Most of this first episode of Henry VIII: Mind of a Tyrant, which focused on the young Prince Henry before he became the autocratic ruler, featured a lot about his family and the political structure at that time more than the boy himself perhaps as a way of setting the scene for what is to come in this series.

But there were some interesting conclusions made in this opener. After his thorough investigation of early letters and documents held in library archives Starkey’s theory is that the transformation from a joyful youth to the bloodstained tyrant came from conflicts in his own family, saying that in the 16th century “politics and family are the same thing”.

Starkey sees the turning point as the moment his mother – who was also his teacher – died at childbirth when he was only 13. It could be viewed as a dull hypothesis to simply blame the parents and his loneliness when …

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How to Watch a Movie!

The Matrix: A Different View

OK, you know how to watch a movie, it is simple, right? You sit down with your snacks and beverages and you watch it. Let me tell you there is more to the movie than you may realize. Movies are very influential on us as a society and it is mostly unnoticed. People feel pressure to act like movie stars or dress like them. Women are often left feeling unattractive in comparison to movie actresses. Men constantly mimic and repeat things they have seen done by that certain actor. This is all fact and it has been covered before I am sure. This is not what I am talking about. I am also not talking about the huge following of certain features such as Star Wars and Star Trek.

I am talking about the messages we are given from the movie that may not be so clear. I may look into movies more than the next person. Movies shape public opinion on certain subjects ranging from science, politics, fashion and relationships. I have always enjoyed watching movies but at a point in time I began to get bored in just watching them for mere entertainment. I started analyzing them and determining what if any message the creator was trying to send to me.

Let me give you an example: The Matrix was a very successful movie, entertaining, full of special effects and action. It was the story of a group of humans trying to free the rest of us from the matrix a computerized world that only existed in our minds. We were all connected to this matrix as a battery or power source for the matrix. If you remember the movie we were kept in these huge rooms in a pod with all these …

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Notable Music Featured in Fox’s Hit Show, House

Music is an important aspect of television and movies as it clues in the viewer to certain feelings and helps to character build. One of my favorite television shows, Fox’s House MD, features a variety of musical numbers. Multi-talented thespian, Hugh Laurie, plays the arrogant and antisocial but brilliant diagnostician Gregory House. Music can help tell a story and the producers of House MD wisely choose numbers that evoke emotion.

The most notable piece of music associated with the series is the opening credits theme. It is a lovely piece and melds well with the opening montage. Titled “Teardrop,” it is performed by Massive Attack. Interesting, considering that House’s disability was caused by an infarction in his leg muscle. To state it more plainly, a “massive attack.”

In the very first episode of the series, simply known as “Pilot”, Dean of Medicine and hospital administrator, Lisa Cuddy, struggles to persuade Dr. House to comply with the terms of his contract with the hospital. Feeling flustered, she says, “I want you to do your job!” The quick-witted House refers to ‘philosopher Jagger’ and quotes him as saying, “you can’t always get what you want.” Later, Cuddy, who often matches wits with House, thinks of a number of ways to motivate House to take responsibility. She explains to him that she has researched the great ‘philosopher Jagger’ and found that although it is true that “you can’t always get what you want, if you try sometimes, you get what you need.” Therefore, I find it fitting that the closing scenes of the pilot episode were accompanied by the song “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” by The Rolling Stones. This particular music is used often in the series, usually being played during the ending credits.

The episode entitled “Damned if You Do” …

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Man Shops Globe on Sundance Channel: Anthropologie’s Buyer Takes Viewers around the World

Recently, Sarah Barnett, EVP and General Manager of Sundance Channel and Man Shops Globe host Keith Johnson spoke to the Television Critics Association about the new reality show. Johnson has been with the Anthropologie stores since the beginning and has brought countless treasures home from around the world for their customers.

“Keith Johnson’s unique eye for the fresh and the new takes us around the globe as we join in his adventure to tap creativity,” said Barnett. The show is “part travelogue, part treasure hunt,


part artistic quest.” She added, “As we follow Johnson’s journey to bring home amazing objects to the novel space of the Anthropologie retail chain, we (the viewers) become fascinated by Johnson’s way of looking [for items], and it opens our own eyes to a novel way of looking at the visual world around us.”

This is a unique show in that it follows an actual buyer for a popular retail store that is famous for interesting and unique items.

Traveling Around the World to Find Interesting Products

“I think my job is fairly unique in that I’m buying for a creative team back in the States who are going to reinterpret lots of things that I buy, and designs, [and I am] also buying antiques just to have in our stores as props and as things for sale. So the particular mix of what I do is, I think, pretty unique. And it affords me an opportunity to go to places around the world for different things that, if I were just an antique dealer, it would be hard to justify. But I can do so many different things because my brief is so large,” explained Johnson, who obviously enjoys his job.

“A lot of who we are as a fashion company is driven …

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Movies in the Mountains

Flagstaff Downtown Business Alliance’s Movies on the Square

There’s something magical about sitting under the stars watching a movie on a large screen with a cool summer breeze swirling about. My children and I have been joining other families on Friday nights at Movies on the Square. Every year from the end of May to the beginning of September, the Downtown Business Alliance’s Movies on the Square takes place at the Heritage Square. The Heritage Square is located in the heart of downtown Flagstaff, just off the famous Route 66.

The movie begins just after dusk, following an entertainment act by a local group of some sort. The performances are typically musical acts but we have more recently watched gymnasts and dancers display their talents. This is the second year we are partaking in this free event, and the movies shown are always family-friendly and rated G or PG. Each week’s film is sponsored by a local business or agency and concession stands offer drinks, popcorn and other snacks. There are also a few excellent local eateries nearby waiting to cater to movie-goers. It is also always an option to take dinner from home or pick up something on the way there.

Parking spaces are sometimes difficult to come by, therefore, it is advised to arrive early to not only park close, but to also stake out a great spot to settle in for the evening and enjoy the show. It is a wonderful drug and alcohol-free family event which draws many people of all ages. We enjoy this Friday night outing among the crowd of people sitting on camping chairs, beach chairs, or just rolled up on the ground in their sleeping bags.

I enjoy this weekly event with my four children, all aged 7 and younger because they …

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The Influence of Music Blogs

For the last six years of my life I have been living the life of a student and avid fan of music. I am a senior in Drexel’s Music Industry program and have been apart of the Philadelphia music scene ever since my freshman year. Of all of the classes and all of the experiences I have partaken in and learned from, there is an obvious phenomenon that has emerged into the industry over the last decade: Music Blogs. Blogs in general are everywhere these days. You can find blogs about anything, as well. What I find interesting is the effect of such blogs, and specifically, music blogs and their effect on the general public.

In 2004 The Arcade Fire, an indie-rock band from Montreal released their debut album Funeral on the independent label Merge Records. This band had only played regionally and had really only formed one year prior to the release. Some would guess that this band would not do well without a major label, but lucky for them, the biggest music blog in the world reviewed their album. Funeral got a 9.7 rating out of 10 on Pitchfork Media. With just this review, Merge Records sold out of inventory of Funeral and it also became the label’s first album to make the Billboard 200 chart. Needless to say, The Arcade Fire was the first Internet phenomenon and put Canadian music on the map.

But what exactly is Pitchfork Media and how did just one positive review jumpstart a whole country-worth of music? Pitchfork Media is a daily Internet publication based out of Chicago, IL, which focuses on music reviews, criticism, news, interviews and commentary. Established in 1995, Pitchfork grew into the biggest name for music on the Internet within nine years. Positive quotes from Pitchfork reviews are …

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Miami in the Movies and on TV

10 Movie and TV Sets that I Wouldn’t Mind Living In

With its warm climate and unique architecture, Miami has been the setting of a number of TV shows and movies over the years. The houses of the characters reflects this. Here are 10 such homes that I wouldn’t mind living in, depending on the situation.

Ace Ventura: Pet Detective 
Ace’s apartment

Jim Carrey broke out into the mainstream with this 1994 release, in which he plays a Ace Venturay, a strange man who investigates crimes against pets. Ace’s small, cluttered Miami apartment might not look like much, but every time he walks in, his dogs run to greet him and birds perch on his arms. What animal lover wouldn’t want that?

Any Given Sunday 
Tony D’Amato’s mansion

Oliver Stone’s 1999 sports offering depicts professional football as being money-driven, so it’s not surprising that you see some of the characters living large. Head coach Tony D’Amato (Al Pacino) lives in a beautiful mansion (a real-life building in nearby Fort Lauderdale) with a large dining area and sliding glass doors, not to mention the massive TV showing the chariot scene in Ben-Hur. If you can’t get into this place, try Hall of Fame quarterback Dan Marino’s house, which was used in the movie, as well.

Bad Boys II 
Mike Lowry’s waterfront house

In the Bad Boys movies, Miami cop Mike Lowry (Will Smith) is a rich man who decides to become a police officer. His difficult job doesn’t keep him from living in a nice Miami Beach house on the waterfront. Since they blew up the Delray Beach mansion that the villain lived in, Lowry’s place is a good backup.

Big Trouble 
Arthur Herk’s house

While he’s a jerk, Arthur Herk (Stanley Tucci) enjoys life in a …

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Music Events and News of 1961

1961 was a standout is for the amazing, sheer array of talent and great music that came out.
Notable debuts were:
Ben E. King, The Shirelles, Gene Pitney, Gene McDanielsBob Dylan, The Crystals, Judy Collins, Adam Wade, Faron Young, Timi Yuro, The Marvelettes, Gladys Knight and The Pips (known as “The Pips” at this time), Ray Stevens, Del Shannon, The Angels, Maxine Brown, James Darren, Joey Dee and The Starliters, Dick and Dee Dee, Sue Thompson, James Ray, Linda Scott, The Dovells, Barbara George, The Impressions, Chuck Jackson, The Jive Five, Chris Kenner, The Lettermen, Bobby Lewis, The Jarmels, Little Caesar and the Romans, John D. Loudermilk, Johnny Maestro (former Crests lead singer), Barry Mann, The Marcels, The Mar-Keys, The Belmonts (without Dion), Lee Dorsey, The Miracles, Hayley Mills (singingdebut) ,Tony Orlando, The Paris Sisters, Shep and the Limelites, The Spinners, Carla Thomas, The Tokens, The Vibrations, Solomon Burke, Clarence “Frogman” Henry, The Highwaymen, and The Smothers Brothers.

The Marcels, one of the all-time great vocal groups, were named for a popular hair style of the time. They were also one of the first integrated groups, but became an all-black one after “Heartaches.” Led by Cornelius Harp, with Fred Johnson as that distinctive bass voice, the group had a no. 1 smash, “Blue Moon,” followed by their second Top 10 (no. 7) hit “Heartaches”. I also like their version of “Melancholy Baby”.

Shep and the Limelites had the no. 2 smash “Daddy’s Home”, which was an answer record to “A Thousand Miles Away” (A Top 10 R + B hit in Dec. 1956-early 1957) by The Heartbeats, which was the same group, in a sense. James “Shep” Sheppard remained lead singer and changed personnel as needed.

Mary Wells had her first Top …

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