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 Gemini, Cinephile, Actressexual. Also loves cats. All material herein is written and copyrighted by him, unless otherwise noted. twitter | facebook | pinterest | tumblr | instagram | letterboxd | deviantart 


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Nicole Kidman on Stage

"Any chance this transfers to broadway I wonder?" - Joseph

"As a long term Kidmaniac, this is just the type of comeback I was hoping for." - allaboutmymovies


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Entries in Holidays (109)


Stage Door: Christmas With the Crawfords

 Feeling the holiday spirit yet?

Jose here. It’s Christmas Eve in the Crawford household, and Joan (Joey Arias), and her children Christina (Chris March of Project Runway) and Christopher (Adam Davidson) are getting ready to receive a very special guest: Miss Hedda Hopper (Sherry Vine) who will broadcast a holiday special live from their home. As the perfectionist actress stresses to her children how important it is that they make a good impression - no wire hangers to be seen anywhere! - it becomes obvious that the holidays here are a truly special occasion, as many famous guests show up throughout the night (most of them mistakenly ringing the Crawford bell on their way to a party at Gary Cooper’s house).

Last seen in New York, twelve years ago, Christmas With the Crawfords is a hilarious parody that will certainly appeal to actressexuals who don’t mind their favorite divas being ridiculed. As with any good parody, the work seen on this show makes it clear that its creators are not in it for the cheap jokes, or the easy targets, but their higher purpose is to highlight what is it that made these people so fantastic, that to exaggerate their unique traits feels like the highest form of tribute.

Among the featured guests and performers are Connie Champagne as Judy Garland (her rendition of “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” is equally funny and devastatingly sad) and Flotilla Debarge as Hattie McDaniel (don’t ask…), and truly to reveal all the guests that show up would be to rob the show of some of its magic. At its center this is a showcase for the astonishing Arias, who with thighs-to-die-for and shoulder pads for days, epitomizes the harsh/sweet duality that made Joan Crawford so enigmatic.

Arias moves across the stage with grace and poise, and his chemistry with March is unbelievable. One could see these two go at it forever, both being highly talented comedians who know the importance of choosing the right moments to deliver their punchlines. The production design by Andrea Purcigliotti features an anachronistic, but effective reproduction of the “big eyes” portrait Joan received from Walter Keane, and with nods to films Crawford made much later than the 1944-setting of the show, Crawford-ites will be in for a real treat. A Christmas miracle of sorts…

Christmas With the Crawfords plays at the Abrons Arts Center through December 27.


Curio: In the Kitchen with Meryl and Barbara

Alexa here. This week is cookie week in my house: the kitchen gets covered in flour and sugar in my attempt to craft cookies pretty as Martha's. I thought I'd try some new recipes this year, inspired by the world of film instead of M. Diddy. When I heard about The Dead Celebrity Cookbook Presents Christmas in Tinseltown I thought I'd check it out; I was sold when I saw it included Robert Mitchum's recipe for egg nog and Joan Crawford's recipe for angel food cake. First, though, I decided to try my hand at Barbara Stanwyck's family recipe for Christmas Kipfels during my yearly viewing of Christmas in Connecticut. With a little modification (rolling the dough instead of folding it, similar to rugelach), they were a snap.

With this recipe you won't need help from Felix

And so delicious!  So I was inspired to seek out other celebrity cookie recipes.  Another resource: Silver Screen Suppers, where you can find loads more of Joan Crawford's recipes. But when I stumbled upon Meryl Streep's family recipe for thumbprints (featured in Good Housekeeping) I knew I'd have to try it. After all, she showed some serious skills cracking those eggs in The Hours, clearly she knows her way around the kitchen. So of course, I dialed up The Hours and got to baking...

Click to read more ...


Curio: Cinema Greetings

Alexa here with your weekly arts and crafts break. Every year around this time I hunker down with a good cup of tea (possibly spiked), some DVDs and a reliable pen so that I can start addressing all those holiday greetings.  Although I curse at having to address 100+ envelopes, I do love getting all the lovely mail in return. I am still waiting for someone to come up with a good Bad Santa greeting but here are some of the cooler handmade film-themed greetings spied this year.

Mark Darcy's jumper card available here.

Click to read more ...


Abstew's Cinematic Thanks

Editor's Note: I asked Team Experience to tell us what they're thankful for this year during the holiday weekend. Here's abstew in the cinematic spirit.

abstew here. Thanksgiving may be only once a year, but it's always a great time to appreciate the greatness of film. Here are a few of the things I'm thankful for this year...

For Oscar Issac's camel coat in A Most Violent Year - practical and stylish winter wear while waging a war
For Tilda as a love-struck octogenarian socialite. Tilda as a yak-haired vampire. Tilda as a dentured dictator. Proving the existence of extraterrestrial life because, quite simply, Tilda Swinton is a shape-shifting, otherworldly being. 

For two favorite breakout stars: Jack O'Connell (dynamic in Starred Up and 71; I'm eagerly awaiting Unbroken) and Gugu Mbatha-Raw (compelling in two very different films, Belle and Beyond the Lights). I'm excited to see what new opportunities come their way for years to come.
For Miles Teller's epic finale drum solo in Whiplash
For Rose Bryne's hilariously spastic take on the line, "Keep it down!" in Neighbors
For Eddie Redmayne's freckles
For the achingly sweet, yet realistically grounded love of John Lithgow's Ben and Alfred Molina's George in Love is Strange

For Uma Thurman bursting in and stealing an entire two-part film in a single scene. "Would it be alright if I show the children the whoring bed?" 
For Emmanuel Lubezki's faux single-take cinematography in Birdman, perfectly translating the immediate, kinetic energy of the theatre into a cinematic equivalent.
For Eva Green's fully committed, go-for-broke performances, elevating everything she's in from the big screen (300: The Rise of an Empire) to the small screen (Penny Dreadful).
For Star Lord's "Awesome Mix Volume 1" cassette tape
For the return of Rene Russo
For the look of Angelina Jolie's Maleficent (if only the perfect character design wasn't wasted on the film...)

For the mouth-watering food porn in A Hundred-Foot Journey and Chef 
For Wes Anderson's candy-colored, intricately detailed world of The Grand Budapest Hotel

For TFE's series Hit Me With Your Best Shot. The single best opportunity to view and explore a film in ways you hadn't thought...and then to gain even more insight after reading what others have posted. If you haven't participated, you should when it returns!

And that I live in NYC, home of the Tribeca Film Festival, NYFF, NewFest and countless other film festivals. That there are still single screen theatres like the Zeigfeld and Paris where it feels like an event to go to the movies. And, most importantly, that I'm actually given the opportunity to see every movie (not just Hollywood blockbusters) in the theatre the weekend they are released.

And finally, for Nathaniel, Team Experience, and everyone who reads and comments. I'm beyond thankful that we have such a wonderful place to share our cinematic obsessions and affections.

 -Andy (abstew)

More Thank Yous: Nathaniel, Amir, Manuel & Jose


Manuel's Thanks

Editor's Note: I asked Team Experience to tell us what they're thankful for this year during the holiday weekend. Here's Amir in the cinematic spirit.

Manuel here. This year I'm thankful...


For cinematic girls, be they Gone or Wild
For is & Hers performances, be they in quirky suicide dramedies (The Skeleton Twins), Detroit-set vampire films (Only Lovers Left Alive), or fragmented grief studies (The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Them).  
For Queer triumphs, be they cross-cultural (Lilting), poignantly local (Love is Strange), or deliciously dangerous (Stranger by the Lake). 
For Oscar-winning actresses on stage, be they doing Genet (Cate Blanchett in The Maids) or Sondheim (Emma Thompson in Sweeney Todd).


For "Lone female" roles in Hollywood hits elevated by their performers, be they comedic (Rose Byrne in Neighbors) or action-packed (Emily Blunt in Edge of Tomorrow
For witty nonfiction books by funny ladies, be they by harried working moms (Yes Please) or cripplingly anxious oversharers (Not That Kind of Girl)
For successful second acts by known commodities, be they stage-bound (Roundabout's Cabaret) or small-screen obsessed (The Comeback).


For Angry Julia, be she furrowing her brow along to Larry Kramer's words (in The Normal Heart) or losing an Emmy shortly thereafter. 
For funny ladies on the small screen, be they vice-presidents (Veep), convicted gals (Orange is the New Black), or eponymous protagonists (Jane the Virgin). 
For Hedwig's return to Broadway, be he played by a Broadway supernova (Neil Patrick Harris) or one in the making (Andrew Rannells).  
For Meryl Streep, be she terrorizing Blunt or making unconscionable demands (The Devil Wears Prada Into the Woods)


- Manuel

Related: Nathaniel gives thanksJose gives thanks, Amir gives thanks.


Jose Gives Thanks.

Editor's Note: I asked Team Experience to tell us what they're thankful for this year during the holiday weekend. Here's Jose in the cinematic spirit.

Jose here. This year I’m thankful...

For Hardy with puppies. And Godard with Roxy.
For Keira, Kristen and Kirsten.
For snakes made out of clouds.  
For cruising in French lakes (even with killers on the loose)
For movies about toys that didn’t treat me like a kid.
For Marion x 2. For Joaquin Phoenix x 2. For Chastain x 4 (she doesn't make it seem like bragging either!) 

For Dan Stevens’ abs and killer acting chops (pun intended).
For Shia in the buff.
For Carrie Coon and Jenny Slate (can they play sisters some day?).
For Swedish films about skiing that reminded me how much I love Mike Nichols.
For Broadway actors in movies (I'm looking at you Jefferson Mays in Inherent Vice).
For Edward Norton's tan

For Anne in outer space.
For Nolan growing the balls to acknowledge he makes movies from the heart, not the mind.
For Daft Punk in Eden.
For Snowden in a robe. And Tilda in the snow.
For Emma Watson's U.N. speech and Daniel Radcliffe in Horns.

For TV that makes me forget bad movies and IMAX reminding me how I could never quit the movies (even the bad ones).
For Meryl's daughter, Grace.
For singing Emma Stone
For Colin Farrell's eyebrows, Elizabeth Moss' face, Rosamund Pike’s voice. And Ben Affleck's butt in Gone. xo 




Related: Nathaniel gives thanks


Nathaniel's Thanks, Given.

The world is a tough place and the movies are our collective great escape. For your host here at TFE there's an awful lot to be thankful for. So as I prepare to stuff my face tomorrow with my best friends I will be especially thankful...

For the orange tabby in Gone Girl
For Julianne Moore getting her groove back on yoga mats and at beach houses
For Ava DuVernay and Jennifer Kent's vivid reminders that women can and do direct movies and we need those fresh voices.
For David Fincher's consistency at turning mainstream audiences on while never pandering

For Shia Labeouf because every film decade needs its defining crazy
For the blooming of Keira Knightley, from an always memorable but uneven actress, to a completely confident movie star, relaxed, nuanced and magnetic in two fine performances
For that shot of the paratroopers in Godzilla
For Finn Wittrock's arrival, sympathetic (Masters of Sex) then terrorizing (Freakshow) outcast beauty
For every single march scene in Selma
For "the world is round, people!

This scene, people. This scene. It's everything.

For Melanie Lynskey onscreen (Instant-watch Happy Christmas now - it's delightful!) and off
For memorable physicality: Chastain's scolding fingers, Krysten Ritter's Big (Side)Eyes, Luke Pasqualino's battering-ram run, Ralph Fiennes cartoon dashes, and Billy Magnussen's horseback riding (or, rather, his mounting and dismounting)
For the single best crop of LGBT films in one calendar year that we've had in ages and ages (Love is Strange, Pride, The Way He Looks, Stranger by the LakeThe Circle, and so on)
For everything that happens in the elevator in Captain America: Winter Soldier
For "Bob's Burgers"... particularly Tina Belcher. I'm late to the party but that show makes me laugh harder than any show since 30 Rock. 

For Jonathan Glazer's return to the movie camera after 10 long years away - his gaze still deliciously alien
For that pop-up Babadook book I just ordered (my advanced thanks)
For the singing voices of almost the full cast of Into the Woods - but especially Streep & Kendrick
For a film year so good I'm already struggling (before screenings are even complete) with too many options for the Film Bitch Awards rosters. I could go on and on... but...

Finally, I'm hugely thankful to my Film Experience team (who delight me so frequently) and to all of you, the readers. Especially if you donate monthly, visit frequently, share articles, and otherwise really engage with what we do here. You help keep the fires burning as we try year in and year out -- against bigger odds than you'd think -- to approach each film year and awards season from  lightly different angles than you'll see elsewhere and with more genuine all-eras all-genres movie love.

Abundance to you all! xoxo,


P.S. What are you thankful for this holiday weekend? Onscreen and off.