Category Archives: entertainment

LIIFE 2017 Long Island International Film Expo

From LONG ISLAND – by Ann Parry ( ann-parry.com )
July 22, 2017

Wednesday afternoon I visited the Filmmaker’s Lounge and Bellmore Movies theater, where the Long Island International Film Expo was in full swing. LIIFE was celebrating its 20th Anniversary!

Bellmore, New York, USA. 19th July 2017. Comedian LOU DIMAGGIO makes a funny face as Director BRAD KUHLMAN looks at him hamming it up, at the Long Island International Film Expo LIIFE 2017. Kuhlman directed the feature film "Where Have You Gone, Lou DiMaggio?" a documentary about DiMaggio comptemplating a comeback after being away from the stage for 20 years. (Ann Parry/Ann Parry, ann-parry.com)

Bellmore, NY, USA. 19th July 2017. Comedian LOU DIMAGGIO, hamming it up, and Director BRAD KUHLMAN, Director of “Where Have You Gone Lou DiMaggio?” participate at Long Island International Film Expo LIIFE 2017.  (© 2017 Ann Parry/Ann-Parry.com)

After capturing photos and a short video of MAGGIE WAGNER, the vivacious actor who plays Mom in the short film MOM, I spoke with TRISH APPELLO, the festival Coordinator and Secretary of the non-profit LITV/Film Foundation, which, along with the Nassau County Film Commission, presents the Festival.

When Appello told me about the feature documentary Where Have You Been, Lou DiMaggio? – which was the last filmed being screened that night and the entire festival – it sounded so interesting, I decided to return after dinner to catch it.

“MARIAM’S DAY OFF”

That night I arrived in time to first watch Mariam’s Day Off, a foreign film by Director ARSHAK AMIRBEKYAN, who filmed it in Armenia.

I found the placid-on-the-surface story about a young prostitute who ends up spending a day with an artist and his family at his art studio so emotionally compelling and poignant that it wasn’t until about half way into the short film (0:44:22 min) that I thought to myself, “Oh, it’s in black and white!”

  • Click Slideshow link at end to see more photos of LIIFE 2017
Bellmore, New York, USA. 19th July 2017. Director and writer ARSHAK AMIRBEKYAN, at microphone, speaks during a Q&A at the Long Island International Film Expo LIIFE 2017. Screened earlier that evening was "Mariam's Day Off" a short foreign film filmed in Armenia, about a young prostitue invited to an artists studio to model. Behind him at right is Director BRAD KUHLMAN. (Ann Parry/Ann Parry, ann-parry.com)

Bellmore, NY, USA. 19th July 2017. ARSHAK AMIRBEKYAN, Director of “Mariam’s Day Off” short film, speaks at LIIFE 2017.  (© 2017 Ann Parry/Ann-Parry.com)

“WHERE HAVE YOU GONE, LOU DiMAGGIO?”

The next and final screening was the documentary Where Have You Gone, Lou DiMaggio? – a feature film (75 min) directed by BRAD KUHLMAN about comedian Lou DiMaggio considering returning to comedy after being away from the stage for 20 years.

For more than one reason, I was glad Appello enthusiastically recommended seeing Where Have You Gone, Lou DiMaggio?  

For starters, it was fun to see so many of DiMaggio’s comedian friends – including Joy Behar, Richard Belzer, Rebecca Corry, Larry David, Susie Essman, Jeff Garlin, Howie Mandel, Colin Quinn, Chris Rock, Ray Romano, Jerry Seinfeld.

When Lou DiMaggio performed at Upright Citizens Brigade (a NYC school that Amy Ansalone, my daughter’s shark friend, attended) it was almost painful how spectacularly he bombed. This was in stark, memorable contrast to a later WOW performance we saw DiMaggio give after he both prepared for it and heeded advice to use his own life in his comedy.

And perhaps what made the most powerful impression on me in “Where Have You Gone, Lou DiMaggio?” was cautionary advice DiMaggio’s fellow comedian gave him about returning to stand up comedy. It reminded me of the advice my late mom gave about careers in the arts.

My mom, Mary Ann Parry, was a professional opera singer until she married (and she kept her voice till the end); my younger brother was a gifted pianist and opera singer, and I’ve loved the visual and written arts since forever. She would tell us and her voice students:

The world has more outstanding singers than it can afford to support. And the difference between the best and next best in a competition or audition can be imperceptible even to an expert – so persistence and luck often decide the career each has.

Aim to make a living in the arts only if you’re absolutely driven to AND you can handle the competition and pressure.

FILMMAKERS Q&A

For the Q&A, eight filmmakers associated with the films screened that night participated. After hearing the candid, detailed answers to the audience’s thought-provoking questions, I wished I’d arrived in time to watch all the films.

Watch the following video of comedian Lou DiMaggio at Q&A to find out these answers:

  1. Why didn’t DiMaggio need a mic to answer the audience question?
  2. What did DiMaggio find was the biggest obstacle, for himself, to making the movie?
  3. What did DiMaggio’s say when he saw the movie the first time?

Video Above: Lou DiMaggio answers Q&A question at LIIFE 2017.  [The Q&A did not take place aboard a ship on stormy seas, despite appearances to contrary.]

I was unable to attend LIIFE’s Awards Ceremony the next night, July 20th, but I smiled a big smile when I learned soon after that Where Have You Gone Lou DiMaggio? won the Best Documentary Feature award!

LIIFE:   longislandfilm.com     2017 Winners

My LIIFE 2017 images:   Lou DiMaggio video     SLIDESHOW     GALLERY

U.S. Presidential Inauguration Parade 2017

From LONG ISLAND – by Ann Parry (ann-parry.com)
December 31, 2016

Yesterday, I read the exciting news that Long Island’s own Nassau County Firefighters Pipes & Drums will participate in the Inauguration Parade on January 20, 2017.

Originally known as “Fir Na Tine” (Gaelic: Men of Fire), it’s America’s first Volunteer Firefighter Pipe Band, and has performed widely, including at St. Patrick’s Day parades, at halftime shows for NY Jets, and band members were the 11 Pipers Piping in a Christmas commercial.

Fundraiser for firefighter Ray Pfeifer - battling cancer after months of recovery efforts at Ground Zero following 9/11 2001 Twin Towers attack - draws supporters from New York, Massachusetts and more, on Saturday, March 31, 2012, at East Meadow Firefighters Benevolent Hall, New York, USA. The Nassau County Firefighters Pipes and Drums band performed. [NOTE: Background tent color altered digitally to blue] (Ann Parry/Ann Parry, ann-parry.com)

East Meadow, NY, USA. March 31, 2012. Nassau County Firefighters Pipes & Drums band performs at firefighter Ray Pfeifer Benefit. [NOTE: tent digitally altered blue] (© 2012 Ann Parry/Ann-Parry.com)

Also, Nassau County Firefighters Pipes and Drums has been an inspiring, stirring part of many memorials and benefits. In spring 2012, I covered the band when it played at the Ray Pfeifer Benefit at the East Meadow Firefighters Benevolent Hall. Retired FDNY firefighter and Hicksville resident Ray Pfeifer is a true profile in courage, perseverance, and brotherhood.

FYI From Long Island: After the 9/11/2001 Twin Towers terrorist attacks, Pfeifer helped recovery efforts at Ground Zero, and by 2008 was battling cancer. Pfeifer – along with Senators Kirsten Gillibrand and Chuck Schumer, Representatives Peter King and Carolyn Maloney, and others – helped make sure the 2010 James Zadroga 9/11 Health & Compensation Act was eventually extended to 2090.

Fund raiser for firefighter Ray Pfeifer on Saturday, March 31, 2012, at East Meadow Firefighters Benevolent Hall, New York, USA. The Nassau County Firefighters Pipes and Drums band performed. (Ann Parry/Ann Parry, ann-parry.com)

East Meadow, New York, USA. March 31, 2012. The Nassau County Firefighters Pipes and Drums band performing at Ray Pfeifer Benefit. (© 2012 Ann Parry/Ann-Parry.com)

When the Nassau County Firefighters Pipes and Drums Band participates in the U.S. Presidential Inauguration Parade in Washington DC in a few weeks, it will be continuing its mission of proudly representing the Nassau County Fire Service.

To help the band reach its $10,000 goal to cover transportation & lodging costs for its 40+ members, their band manager created a gofundme fundraiser: “Presidential Inauguration Parade” for the Nassau County Firefighters Pipes & Drums. To donate, please click on the above link – or enter this URL in your browser: https://www.gofundme.com/js9n5w

  • Photo Video of Ray Pfeifer Fundraiser, with Nassau County Firefighters Pipes & Drums music:


(Thank you to Nassau County Firefighters Pipes & Drums, esp. Band Manager Alan Jacoby, for permission to use their music in above photo video of 2012 Firefighter Ray Pfeifer Benefit.)

  • UPDATE 1/18/2107:  $17K+ of revised $20K goal has been raised at gofundme

slideshow: Nassau County Firefighters Pipes & Drums

slideshow: Firefighter  Ray Pfeifer Benefit

band’s official site: Nassau County Firefighters Pipes & Drums

‘Kevin Can Wait’ Here on Long Island

From LONG ISLAND – by Ann Parry (ann-parry.com)
August 20, 2016

Last night my daughter Sue and I saw Episode 1 of Kevin Can Wait being filmed at Gold Coast Studios in Bethpage. This new CBS sitcom, starring actor Kevin James, is the first prime-time network series originating from a Long Island studio – hello, Hollywood East!

Bethpage, New York, USA. August 19, 2016. Actor KEVIN JAMES (middle of low railing) the star of the CBS new comedy series "Kevin Can Wait" set to premiere mid September 2016, autographs copies of the script cover of the first episode, right after filming is completed. After the pilot was shot,13 episodes were ordered in May. The Sony Pictures Television Inc show is the first series to be shot entirely on Long Island, and is filmed at Gold Coast Studioes. Kevin James, a Long Island native, portrays the title character Kevin Gable, a newly retired police officer who lives with his family in Massapequa. Other cast members, several who also autographed the cover, include: Erinn Hayes as his wife Donna, a school nurse; Taylor Spreitler as their older daughter Kendra; Ryan Cartwright as Kendra's fiance; Mary-Charles Jones as the younger daughter Sara; and JAMES DIGIACOMO as the young son Jack, and GARY VALENTINE as Kevin's brother Kyle Gable. Episode #101 was written by Heather Flanders and Directed by Andy Fickman. Executive Producers are Mr. James, Bruce Helford, Rock Reuben, and Jess Sussman. (Ann Parry/Ann Parry, ann-parry.com)

Bethpage, New York, USA. August 19, 2016. After filming’s done, actor KEVIN JAMES (low center by railing) the star of CBS sitcom “Kevin Can Wait” set to premiere Sept. 19, 2016, autographs copies of script cover of 1st episode. (© 2016 Ann Parry/Ann-Parry.com)

THE HOUSE OF 5 GABLES

First we saw the pilot, which gave background to the episode being filmed that night. It introduced us to the Gable family: father Kevin, a newly retired police officer; mother Donna, a school nurse; and their children Kendra, Sara, and Jack.

We also met Kevin’s brother Kyle (who looks like a short Kevin with facial hair), Kendra’s fiancé Chale (who looks like… no, I’ll leave that as a surprise), and Kevin’s three friends who are fellow retired police officers.

BTW from LI:   The Gable family lives in the south shore town of Massapequa, so they’d have to move just a few miles west to be the Gables of Merrick Gables, a 1920s development of Spanish stucco houses near my home.

HAPPY & PEPPY 

Long Island’s Joey Kola was the warm up comedian. Over the course of the night, Joey identified dozens of cast and crew … had us sing along to songs the DJ played … shared anecdotes that were probably at least partly true… did fast and furious impressions (mostly of Long Islanders, of course)… and introduced countless audience members who were fellow comedians, notable Long Islanders, media personalities, and relatives of cast and crew.

HOT SET

The first scene filmed was the first scene of the episode, and there were several partial and whole retakes (that I found riveting) – of this scene and scenes in general – in order to tweak dialogue and action, and film from different viewpoints. As Director Andy Fickman – who made some genuinely funny comments when cameras weren’t filming – explained to the audience, the sitcom studio filming is done in chronological order – except that night the last two scenes were reversed so Mary-Charles Jones, a minor, would finish her last scene before 11 PM.

I especially liked how Kevin Gable – the eponymous character played by star Kevin James, a gifted everyman physical comedian – didn’t always have to be the one getting the Big Laugh, so his character had the chance to convey emotion, doubt, conflicted feelings – you know, things real people feel while living life without a laugh track, let alone a live studio audience.

And I hope to see more of Chale, who stood out as a unique, engaging character.

BTW from LI:  “Chale” has a range of meanings throughout the world: Perhaps the village Chale in the Isle of Wight, England, is relevant. Also, “Chale” means “strong” and “manly” in Spanish, which might be something to think about.

Bethpage, New York, USA. August 19, 2016. Ann holds printed sheet with PRIORITY TICKETS to be in audience during taping of CBS new comedy series "Kevin Can Wait" starring actor KEVIN JAMES, and set to premiere mid September 2016 The Sony Pictures Television Inc show is the first series to be shot entirely on Long Island, and is filmed at Gold Coast Studioes. Kevin James, a Long Island native, portrays the title character Kevin Gable, a newly retired police officer who lives with his family in Massapequa. Other cast member include: Erinn Hayes as his wife Donna, a school nurse; Taylor Spreitler as their older daughter Kendra; Ran Cartwright as Kendra's fiance; Mary-Charles Jones as the younger daughter Sara; and James DiGiacomo as the young son Jack. Episode #101 was written by Heather Flanders and Directed by Andy Fickman. Executive Producers are Mr. James, Bruce Helford, Rock Reuben, and Jess Sussman. (Ann Parry/Ann Parry, ann-parry.com)

Bethpage, New York, USA. August 19, 2016. Ann holds tickets to filming of CBS sitcom ‘Kevin Can Wait’ at Gold Coast Studios. (© 2016 Sue M)

When Executive Producer Rock Reuben took questions from the audience, he stated that KCW will be free of references to a certain infamous Massapequa resident from the early 1990s.

BTW from LI:  Wouldn’t it be fun if Kevin Can Wait has Kevin bumping into, or even hanging with, Long Island natives Alec Baldwin, Ray Romano,  Jerry Seinfeld – say, at All American Hamburger?

UPDATE Ray Romano guest-starred on KCW Oct. 23, 2016

NO CAMERAS

Cameras weren’t allowed, but cell phones were, though they couldn’t be on/out during filming.

Media, including People magazine and Newsday, were there to cover the night, and though I wished now and then I were covering it with my Nikon D4, it was a nice change to be sitting there with my daughter and fellow audience members, simply enjoying the show – you know, things people do while living life without a pro DSLR and Press badge.

FREE TICKETS

The long evening of filming was so much fun it sped by. If you’re in the Long Island area and interested in free tickets to a future filming of Kevin Can Wait at Gold Coast Studios in Bethpage, visit 1iota.com (August & most September 2016 dates are already Sold Out). And don’t forget to eat dinner before you go to the studio.

TICKETS at 1iota.com: Kevin Can Wait

So, okay, maybe it’s partly because I’m from Long Island, plus there’s a retired police officer in our family, but I enjoyed watching the pilot and filming of the first episode of Kevin Can Wait, and can’t wait to see its premiere on Monday, September 19, 8:30 PM (EST) on CBS.

CAST

Cast includes:

  • Kevin James as Kevin Gable
  • Erinn Hayes as wife Donna
  • Taylor Spreitler as daughter Kendra
  • Ryan Cartwright as Kendra’s fiancé Chale
  • Mary-Charles Jones as younger daughter Sara
  • James DiGiacomo as son Jack
  • Gary Valentine as Kevin’s brother Kyle
  • Christopher Brian Roach as Mott
  • Leonard Earl Howze as Goody
  • Lenny Venito as Duffy

Episode 1 “Kevin and Donna’s Book Club”

  • Writer: Heather Flanders
  • Director: Andy Fickman

Executive Producers: Kevin James, Bruce Helford, Rock Reuben,  Jess Sussman

UPDATE  9/2016: During Z100’s Elvis Duran Morning Show, Sue spoke with Kevin James about how much she enjoyed being in audience for taping of “Kevin Can Wait” at Gold Coast Studios in Bethpage, NY


“Kevin Can Wait”:   slideshow  | gallery

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