Weekly Wilson - Blog of Author Connie C. Wilson

Welcome to WeeklyWilson.com, where author/film critic Connie (Corcoran) Wilson avoids totally losing her marbles in semi-retirement by writing about film (see the Chicago Film Festival reviews and SXSW), politics and books—-her own books and those of other people. You'll also find her diverging frequently to share humorous (or not-so-humorous) anecdotes and concerns. Try it! You'll like it!

80 Iconic Dresses from Movies

80 Iconic Dresses from Movies

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80 Iconic Dresses from Movies – Lulus

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Beaux Arts Fair in Davenport, Iowa, on September 8th, 2019

Vik Muniz: Hand Remade, 9/8/19

After learning that the Beaux Arts Fair was in town this weekend, I drove over to our Figge Art Gallery to check out the treasures. Over the years, I’ve bought many pieces of jewelry, pottery, and some metal or wood work at the Beaux Arts Fair. This year was no different.

I walked up the 22 steps to the landing (right next to the Figge’s entrance) and admission was FREE (normally $6 to $10, depending on age), so I first toured the exhibit on the 3rd floor, which was “Vik Muniz: Hand Remade.” Artist Vik Muniz is known for manipulating familiar materials by hand, like chocolate sauce, diamonds or pieces of garbage, and re-composing iconic images from art history or pop culture.  The creations are temporary, while the photographs he takes of his arrangements constitute the final artwork.

Catherine DeNeuve, at the Davenport Art Gallery, by Vik Munoz.

This exhibit featured the “Pictures of Garbage” series, one of Muniz’s most recognized, as well as recent work, from the Handmade” series. He worked with materials such as paper, rope and fabric. As you entered, you were presented with a large portrait of French actress Catherine Deneuve, which was formed by laying out crystals on a black surface. It was more impressive as you approached up close and realized that he had laid out all of the small zircon-like pieces to form her image. As you enter the final room, you see this picture:

Davenport Art Gallery, Vik Muniz.

Next, you enter the room with the portraits that Brazilian Muniz made by going out to the garbage dump near his Sao Paulo home and photographing garbage. If you look closely at the image below, you will see a figure within the brown garbage. These portraits of garbage are among his most well-known. This picture was on loan from a New York City gallery.

 

From “Pictures of Garbage” series.

 

There was a “do it yourself” exhibit of small paper plates on the floor. I would have moved them around to form a Peace symbol, but I feared I would never be able to get back up off the floor, if I did, so what you see (below, left) is what you get.

Davenport Art Gallery, DIY art.

Now it was time to move outside and visit the locals. Most were from places like North Liberty, Galena, the Amanas.

Julie Spangler of Galena Glass Jewelry at work at the Beaux Arts Fair on 9/8/19.

First, I got a ring and earrings from Julie Spangler of Galena, Illinois. (GalenaGlassJewelry.com). Julie’s pieces were modestly priced (mostly $22) and the rings were adjustable. She was selling lockets that have small pieces of cloth inside, which you are instructed to drench with your favorite perfume. I didn’t buy one, at first, but, later, I went back and bought one of the last three. One of the more unusual ways to freshen jewelry by combining the olfactory with the visual.

Next, I bought a dragonfly from A.J’s Copper Garden and Metal Art Gallery (proudly made in the Amana Colonies). I think the name of the young man who assisted me was Sam. He told me he grew up near Ashton Kutcher’s original home (Williamsburg), did not attend college in Iowa City (as one would assume), and had been making a living with his art ever since graduating from high school. He travels to the northern suburbs of Chicago a lot.

From A.J’s Copper Garden & Metal Art Gallery at the Beaux Arts Fair, 9/8/19.

 

Metal art at the Beaux Arts Fair.

My final purchase was a retooled old watch that had been made into both a necklace and earrings. When I mentioned these purchases to the young man from A.J.’s Copper Garden & Metal Art Gallery of Homestead, Iowa (3146 Hwy 6 Tail, Homestead, 3.3 miles south of Amana on Hwy 151), pictured above, he pulled out a money clip that looked just like my new watch pendant and noted that he had been seeing these quite frequently in his movement around the art fair circuit.

Caramel corn (large) completed the day, and it didn’t rain. (Hooray!)

 

I

 

Last Day at Sea and Last Day of August

The Celebrity Eclipse.

It’s our last day at sea and it is foggy. It was too foggy to see much earlier in the day, but, as we near Vancouver, it is becoming less so.

I went up to the 14th floor to play trivia. (General Knowledge) I was seated near a woman from Australia who was complaining about the cost of the drink package onboard. If you are wise, you’ll invest in a drink package, but whether you plan to drink alcoholic beverages or just soft drinks makes a difference.

Vancouver, Canada.

We have a drink package that will allow most wines and pop, but last night, when I ordered a Bailey’s on the Rocks, there was a $1 upcharge. I normally am simply picking up cans of Diet Coke to take to our room for the small refrigerator, but the small refrigerator gave up the ghost and began leaking about 3 days ago, so no way to keep it cold.

I asked the woman about her gripe regarding the drink package she had selected and she said she didn’t drink enough to make it worth while. I said, “Well, you could just get the one for soft drinks.” Her answer: “I don’t drink pop.” O…..K…. So, according to this Australian native, she will not be cruising again. (This was her first). Hmmmmm. Why buy a drink package at all if you don’t plan to drink ANY soft drinks and barely drink alcoholic beverages? The dining room provides lemonade and iced tea and other such beverages with the meals. You do need to budget at least $175 for having up to 2 devices allowed to use the Internet.

There are a ton of Asian children onboard. We think they are mainly from Canada, which doesn’t start school until after Labor Day. There are special “Asian food” parts in the dining room for lunch.

Last night we were served lobster tail or Beef Wellington and a choice of appetizers (I had a Caesar salad; Craig has been having mainly shrimp cocktail). There has also been onion soup and other delectables, with a dessert menu featuring baked Alaska, tiramisu, ice creams, berry crumbles, etc.

Alaska from the air.

We were sent a bottle of wine to our cabin, but the refrigerator has not been cooperating on keeping it cold. We’re packed and we leave early tomorrow.

Ketchikan, Alaska, on Friday, August 30th, 2019

Juneau, Alaska

Ketchikan is near the southernmost tip of Alaska’s panhandle and is a small town squeezed between mountain and sea.  It gets its name from the Tlingit Indian name, Ketchikan, meaning “Thundering Wings of an Eagle.” If you climb the 3,000 foot Deer Mountain that overlooks the town, the town, a Tlingit summer fishing camp, sprawls in the shape of an eagle in flight. It’s only a small town of 8,245, but it has Hoona beat hollow (our first stop at Icy Strait, Alaska) because that town only has 760 residents AND it takes 3 and 1/2 hours to get to civilization by boat AND that boat only runs 2 days a week! So, as our guide said, “Everybody knows everybody and we have zero crime.”

Helicopter to the Mendenhall Glacier.

Ketchikan, which is near Craig, is known as the Salmon Capital of Alaska, but Salmon cities abound up here in the North to Alaska area. All we have for an “activity” in this town is a trolley pass for the day. We plan to wander in and drift around among the many jewelry stores and those that are touting fur or bamboo goods (because they are softer than cotton).

Hubbard Glacier.

We did our flying (both plane and helicopter) on the past 2 stops, and all I can say for those of you thinking of making this trip is to bring plenty of money for the opportunities to fly over the glaciers. They don’t give those trips away and you’ll be shelling out hundreds, per opportunity. Well worth it? For us, yes, because I don’t anticipate strolling over to Sarah Palin’s house to watch Russia from her porch any time in the future, and this will probably be my only chance to visit our 50th state.

Craig on the glacier. There is actually a town named “Craig” near Ketchikan, where we dock today.

Mendenhall Glacier.

Cruising the Mendenhall Glacier.

Passing ship (the SilverSea?)

Craig and Connie Wilson on Mendenhall Glacier on 8/29/2019

 

This trip ends on Sunday, as we go back to Vancouver, British Columbia to depart for a plane trip back to Chicago, flying through San Francisco, this time.

Mendenhall & Hubbard Glaciers: August 28, 29, 2019

Hoona, Icy Strait, Hubbard Glacier

We flew in a small plane (Cessna) with 8 people on Wednesday to view the Hubbard Glacier and today we went up in a helicopter with a grand total of 5 of us, to view and walk on the Mendenhall Glacier.

The Mendenhall Glacier is about 9 miles outside of Juneau, Alaska. The ice

Craig and Connie Wilson on Mendenhall Glacier on 8/29/2019

is rapidly retreating and, 5 years ago, some of the bluffs nearby were also part of the glacier. Not any more.

We were given walking stick when we landed on the glacier and instructions were very clear as to where to walk (stay away from the whirring blades at the back of the copter.) Anyone over 250 lbs. had to pay an extra $100.

Hubbard Glacier

Merrick was our pilot and the entire time on the approximately 40 degree temperature glacier, for which we were given special boots that go on over your shoes, was about 13 minutes. Not a lot to do on a glacier in August, but one of the help was wearing nothing but a sports shirt and no coat, while I look like Nanook of the North.

Hoona, Icy Strait, Alaska

Juneau, Alaska, 8/29/19. Sixty-nine degrees.

Hubbard Glacier.

Mendenhall Glacier.

Near Hubbard Glacier.

Celebrity Eclipse from the air, Icy Strait, Alaska.

 

A wonderful experience!

Juneau, Alaska, on Thursday, August 29th, 2019

Vancouver Harbor, 8/25/19.

Getting ready to disembark in Juneau, Alaska, capital of the state. Population: 32,500. The largest state capitol by area in the U.S.

Here, we will get on a helicopter and then walk on a glacier, which promises to be unusual, interesting, and, possibly, cold. Not sure how cold it is out today, but it was NOT that cold in Hoona, Icy Strait, and I ended up stowing the huge jacket bought on the boat in the luggage part of the small plane for eight.

These pictures (if they upload) were taken from the plane in Hoona…which I may be misspelling. That “town” had a population of 706. It takes them 3 and 1/2 hours to get to the mainland area, which is a trip only available 2x a week

Vancouver beckons.

The trip by plane was supposed to last and hour and  a half. We left at 3:30 and did not return until 7, so that is plenty long for me. (Some say they last 7 hours.)

Bought a Citizen watch. We leave here tonight at 7:30 p.m. having docked at 7:30 a.m.

Alaska Now and Tomorrow!

Vancouver beckons.

Vancouver Harbor, 8/25/19.

I’ve been trying to upload photos taken here in Alaska for the better part of the last hour. No luck. We’re in the ocean, heading for Icy Strait Point, which we will reach at 3:30 p.m. tomorrow. (That is 5:30 p.m. Quad City time).

So far, I’ve managed to shut my left hand index finger in the rest room door on the airplane flying here (Chicago to Denver; Denver to Vancouver) and sat for the duration with my finger plunged in a glass of ice. It’s a lovely purple color right now. I also think I have pulled something in my back pulling my computer bag with my 900-lb. purse perched atop it. Both of these are “no nos” for the experienced travelers among you, which apparently leaves me out.

We have booked 3 tours off the boat. One will be tomorrow at 4 p.m. when we do the Glacier Bay Flightseeing for 2 hours in a fixed-wing plane flying over Point Adolphus and Icy Strait. Glacier Bay National Park is the destination, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Three point three million acres with the ancestral homeland of the Huna Tingit. I’m afraid you’ll have to wait to see the pictures until I can get home to post them. The Internet here is not great, even though it costs something like $175 for 2 devices per person for the week. (The plane trip is $399 per person, so….)

After Icy Strait, it’s the Hubbard Glacier on Aug. 28 and Juneau on the 29th.  We’ll do the Mendenhall Glacier by helicopter and guided walk for 2 and one-quarter hours. ($369 per person).

Following Juneau, on Friday (Aug. 30) we hit Ketchikan and I think we’re doing the historic Ketchikan trolley, although there are so many different options that I now am confused as to what we ARE doing.

I bought a jacket on the ship today, since it is getting quite chilly and my London Fog coat with the metal buttons is not cutting it. The buttons used to amuse Ava and Elise (the granddaughters) for hours, but they set off all the alarms at the metal detectors at the airport and won’t stay closed.

I got an e-mail from Amazon today giving me 5 days to “dispute” some copyright claim for my newest (6th) cat book and it makes no sense at all. I published both the cat books and whatever other book they are talking about, but I am in no position to make phone calls to Amazon and be on hold for hours at a time, so there’s that.

The food, as always, is good, and the ship reminds of the Celebrity Solstice that we took around Australia (this is the Celebrity Eclipse). So far, so good.

“Snoopy, Come Home!” Re-Released in Theaters on Sept. 29th

Snoopy, Come Home (1972) is re-releasing in theaters on Sept. 29th, Oct. 3 and Oct. 5th.

The1972 film “Snoopy, Come Home” is the rare exception to the other films involving Charlie Brown and the “Peanuts” gang in that (1) Charlie Brown’s name does not appear in the title, and, (2) When originally released, it earned back only $245, 073 of its one million-dollar budget.

The failure to do well at the box office can be attributed to the fact that Cinema Center Films was being shut down. They did not do the necessary marketing. “Snoopy, Come Home” would be Cinema Center’s last release and would also introduce Woodstock and Franklin to fans.

Snoopy visits Lila in the hospital.

The plot—also featured in the comic strip—involves Snoopy’s visit to his first owner, a little girl named Lila, who is hospitalized for three weeks and is very lonely. In a scene that would make no sense to today’s youth (“Why didn’t she just send an e-mail?”) Lila writes a letter and mails it to Snoopy, asking him to come visit her. Charlie Brown also uses an old-fashioned manual can opener to open Snoopy’s food—definitely an antique.

Clara decides she’d like to keep both Snoopy and Woodstock as pets.

Snoopy takes Woodstock, the bird, along as his companion in a trip through the woods, and the two have adventures, including being captured by a little girl along the route who ties Snoopy up and puts Woodstock in a bird cage. Clara (not named, but identified in the credits) wants to keep the two as pets, and she is quite persistent in chasing the pair as they try to escape.

Meanwhile, back at Charlie Brown’s house, Lucy says to Charlie, “You’ve got a used dog, Charlie Brown,” as they figure out  the mystery of Lila of the letter. Charlie articulates his life philosophy to Lucy, saying, “I have a philosophy that no matter how bad things get, they will always turn out good in the end.”

Lucy gives Charlie her usual blunt appraisal, saying, “That’s not a philosophy, Charlie Brown. That’s stupidity.”

The songs this time around are by Richard and Robert Sherman, and the singing is considerably better than on  “A Boy Named Charlie Brown.” The vocal credits are also different, going to Chad Webber as Charlie, Robin Kohn as Lucy, Stephen Shea as Linus, David Carey as Schroeder, and Johanna Baer as Lila. Bill Melendez directs again, and the explanation for the musical upgrade is that he wanted the film to be more Disney-like.

Is the film on the right wave-length for today’s youth? In the days of WWF and violence, it would seem so.

6% of the film has boxing or struggling over Linus’ blanket between Snoopy and Linus.

There is an extended sequence involving a battle for Linus’ blanket between Linus and Snoopy. Following hat, Snoopy and Lucy box (Snoopy wears the boxing glove on his nose). These scenes of active jousting take up at least 5 minutes of an 83 minute film ( 6%.) Maybe one explanation for these scenes would be it’s what kids do, or we can take Peppermint Patty’s words from the film and use them to explain, when she tells Charlie, “I’m an action type of person. When nothing is moving, I feel low. That’s why I always keep moving.”

Kids might notice that, when Snoopy and Woodstock leave home to go visit Lila, Snoopy carries a small valise that resembles a briefcase. Yet, from this briefcase Snoopy is able to take: a helmet; a football; a cooking pot; a frying pan; a complete dinner service; a large, rolled-up sleeping bag; an old-fashioned alarm clock; and a strange musical instrument that I couldn’t identify (mouth harp?), which somewhat resembled a harmonica, except that it looked like a key. That and the antique can opener were both artifacts that Seth Meyer might hold up on his show and ask a young person to try to identify. I’m an old person, and I couldn’t tell you what the “instrument” was that Snoopy plays when he and Woodstock are camping in the woods.

Snoopy, Lucy, Charlie Brown and Linus return on August 18th.

The good advice that was abundant in the previous Charlie Brown film is here, also.  Example:  “No one likes a moody person. If you go around in a mood feeling sorry for yourself, you do it alone—and I mean alone!” Or there is this profound bit of shared wisdom from Linus when he says, “Happiness lies in our destiny, like a cloudless sky before the storms of tomorrow destroy the dreams of yesterday and last week.” That pronouncement causes the retort: “I think that blanket is doing something to you.”

There’s a recurring theme of prejudice against canines. When Snoopy tries to go to the beach, he is kicked out because of a No Dogs Allowed sign. This discrimination continues throughout the entire film, up to and including Snoopy being banned from a library, a hospital, and an apartment building.

The songs are better in this Peanuts film, including “Fundamental Friend Dependability” and the song with the lyric, “I still remember a summer gone by. Why was it over so fast? Why can’t our summertimes last?” The explanation is that Melendez wanted the film’s musical score to be more like a Disney film.

Charlie Brown, as usual, is the lovable loser. He says, at one point, “I had 14 pen-pals once, but I did all the writing.” (Isn’t that always the way?) After Snoopy disappears without any explanation, Charlie moans, “I never know what’s going on.”

That feeling that we are the ones who “never know what’s going on” will keep Charlie Brown and the gang relatable for decades, even though so many visual constants of 1972 now appear dated. The beautifully colored woods that Snoopy and Woodstock hike through will be gorgeous on the large screen when the film begins showing at theaters on September 29th, October 3rd and October 5th as a re-issue.

The emotional messages conveyed by “Snoopy, Come Home” will remain true forever.

Bryan Adams Plays the Taxslayer Center in Moline, Illinois, on August 15, 2019

I admit that,  going into tonight’s concert, I really only knew well Bryan Adam’s song “Summer of ’69,”  although, as I promised my husband, “We’ll know a lot of other songs. Actually, the 59-year-old singer has had 3 Oscar nominations and 5 Golden Globe nominations for songs of his that have been used in films, and the musical “Pretty Woman,” featuring his songs, is playing on Broadway now.

Here are his 14 studio albums:

Studio albums

Bryan Adams and “the boys” at the Taxslayer Center in Moline, IL, on Aug. 15, 2019.

Projected behind the stage during the Bryan Adams 8/15/19 concert.

Shot from behind the stage, looking out at the audience on 8/15/2019, at Bryan Adams concert.

Bryan Adams, alone, playing harmonica and guitar, near the end of his set on 8/15/2019 in Moline, Illinois.

Bryan Adams urging audience members to dance up a storm during the band’s set on 8/15/2019 at the Taxslayer Center in Moline, Illinois.

The concert was an incredible bargain. Tickets that had been priced at $65 apiece came down in price to “two for $65” and our seats were excellent lower bowl seats. The upper area was shut down, and it’s a shame that the man who played to 70,000 people at Wembley Stadium on July 27, 1996 had a somewhat sparse crowd at this truly great concert.

It opened with several up-tempo numbers. I admit that I didn’t know all of them, but, as the evening went on, I recognized many more, including “Cuts Like A Knife,” “Straight from the Heart,” “Run to You,” “Everything I Do, I Do It for You,” and many, many more.

In some nice moments with the audience, he revealed that he quit school at 15 to become a songwriter and that the $1,000 his Canadian parents had saved to send him to college was, instead, used to purchase a piano. He claimed to not have mastered the piano, but he is an accomplished singer, songwriter, record producer, guitarist, photographer, philanthropist and activist.

Adams was in Moline this night because he is on a world tour associated with his 14th album, “Shine A Light.” The album was released on March 1, 2019 and he will tour this year.

Adams and his partner have two daughters, aged  6 and 8, and he has homes in both Paris and London.

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