I just got back to OBSERVER headquarters after walking two blocks down Central Avenue to join the rest of Dunkirk in watching a substantial chunk of the city go up in flames. Throngs of gawkers struggled to get closer, cell phones and digital cameras in hand to capture it all on film; some hung back, casually smoking cigarettes and cracking jokes about the lack of concessions.
Meanwhile, in entertainment news ...
Watch as Anna Wintour makes her minions cry and looks fabulous doing so in “The September Issue,” just released on DVD.
I have been waiting for more than a year to see "The September Issue," the documentary about infamous Vogue editor Anna Wintour the basis for "The Devil Wears Prada." If you took the fictitious version starring Meryl Streep and Anne Hathaway and got rid of all that romantic drivel about following your dreams and discovering there's more to life than fashion, you'd have "The September Issue."
The film's release in early 2009 was extremely limited it never came anywhere near the Buffalo area; I even scoured Toronto theater listings to see if I could find it, to no avail. Finally, on Tuesday, it trickled down to the humble shelves of our local Blockbuster. Isn't that the perfect metaphor for fashion and Western New York?
Wintour is depicted as every bit the ice queen she seems. She controls the fashion industry with the raise of an eyebrow and the impatient tap of her manicured fingernail. She doesn't ever raise her voice she simply doesn't have to. Watch top designers scramble to cater to her every whim. Watch as she, and she alone, makes decisions that will determine what the world will be wearing from behind her giant designer sunglasses. It's just as good as it sounds.
The best part is Vogue's unsung hero, Grace Coddington, the creative director who's been there just as long as Wintour has. Formerly a Vogue model, Coddington made the transition from in front of the camera to behind it after a disfiguring car accident. While everyone else cowers in Wintour's presence, Coddington is never afraid to assert her point of view. One gets the impression that Wintour may even be threatened by Coddington's impeccable skill. Although she sings her praises in an interview that we see toward the end of the documentary, we see battle after battle of Coddington v. Wintour (plenty of passive-aggression and stare-downs).
Director R.J. Cutler must have worked tirelessly to capture Wintour's essence on film and he does so with aplomb. There's a pitch-perfect moment in the final seconds, where she finishes a sentence, expectantly gazes into the lens as if she's bored within an inch of her life, and quietly demands, "What else?"
Further reading: The release of "The September Issue" coincides with the recent conclusion of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week (held Feb. 11 through 18) and London Fashion Week (Feb. 19 through 24). For those who are interested in reading New York Fashion Week coverage, I highly recommend visiting New York Magazine's Web site, NYMag.com, and the deliciously snarky blog 'Go Fug Yourself,' gofugyourself.celebuzz.com.
Clear your calendar for the evening of March 2. Check out this primetime lineup on Turner Classic Movies, as part of the network's 31 Days of Oscar Natalie Wood! James Dean! Natalie Wood and James Dean, together! It starts with "West Side Story" (1961) at 8 p.m., followed by "Rebel Without a Cause" (1955) at 11 p.m. and finally, the epic "Giant" (1956) at 1 a.m., with Liz Taylor, Rock Hudson and Dean in his final role.
The Olympics has provided us viewers with countless inspiring, exciting, once-in-a-lifetime moments as we sit in our sedentary winter state, muscles atrophied, remote and snacks in hand. What a dichotomy! There's only a few days left before we go back to our regularly scheduled programming, with many shows that have been on hiatus for weeks due to return within the next few weeks. The Olympics Closing Ceremony will be on Feb. 28 on NBC, following the men's ice hockey gold-medal game.
Jay Leno returns to "The Tonight Show" on Monday. I don't care what you do, readers, but I'm too annoyed about the Conan O'Brien situation to watch. With Jay's return comes NBC's attempt to hastily fill five 10 p.m. time slots with quality programming. The element of quality is questionable. A sneak preview of one of the new offerings, "The Marriage Ref," will be shown directly following the Olympic Closing Ceremony. Jerry Seinfeld is the executive producer and that is supposed to be its key selling point. To sum up its premise, celebrity guests will offer dubious marriage advice to real married couples and thank goodness, because if there is anything celebrities excel at, it's staying married. The show's regular air time will be Thursdays at 10 p.m. starting March 4.
Another one of the 10 p.m. time slot-fillers is "Parenthood," to premiere Tuesday, March 2 at 10 p.m. I've seen (way too many) commercials for it during the Olympics and it looks silly, but it does have some selling points. Two executive producers are "Arrested Development" alumni: Ron Howard and David Nevins. Stars include Peter Krause from "Six Feet Under," Lauren Graham from "Gilmore Girls" and Erika Christensen from the movie "Traffic" and some teen movies from 10 years ago. That's all I have.
The two-hour season finale of "The Bachelor" will be on Monday, March 1 on ABC which will lead to lasting wedded bliss, to be sure.
Side Effects will provide live tunes at 41 West on Friday from 9 p.m. to midnight, with karaoke on Tuesdays and Thursdays starting at 9 p.m.
Philadelphia-based band Phantasm returns home to perform at Ellicottville Brewing Company in Fredonia at 10:30 p.m. on Thursday, featuring members Steve Rosplock, Jay Yachetta and Aaron White. This will be part of their new CD release of "Graph the Pulse."
Under New Management, featuring Megan Erbacher and Mary Palmer, will play Wishberry in downtown Fredonia on Friday, from 9 to 11:30 p.m.
An excellent Alfred Hitchcock movie starring Joseph Cotten, "Shadow of a Doubt," will be shown at 7 p.m. Wednesday, March 3 at the Labyrinth Press Co., Jamestown.
On Wednesday at Rosch Recital Hall, Ethos presents Mezzo-Soprano Clara O'Brien and Composer Lance Hulme in a concert featuring the works of Hulme and "Book of Hanging Gardens" by Schoenberg at 8 p.m. It sounds delightful.
The Active Artists Alliance's first exhibition of 2010, "Brand New Work For A Brand New Decade" closes with a final public reception at the Wright Gallery, 116 E. Third St. in Jamestown, Saturday at 6 p.m.
April Diodato is the OBSERVER Lifestyles editor. Give her the dish on what's happening at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 366-3000, Ext. 482.