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Posts Tagged ‘Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film’

Film Review: ‘The Fabulous Allan Carr’

Thursday, July 6th, 2017

Variety
Film Review: ‘The Fabulous Allan Carr
By Dennis Harvey
July 3, 2017

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Taking the same workmanlike, conventional if sprightly approach to mixing talking-head and archival materials he did in “I Am Divine” and “Tab Hunter Confidential,” Schwarz chronicles his subject’s barreling up the entertainment-industry ladder through sheer determination and fandom. The Chicago suburbanite started out investing in legit theater enterprises (invariably involving fabled veteran headliners), moved to TV with the “Playboy’s Penthouse” series, then got involved in event planning (often extravagant showbiz launch parties) and talent management. In the latter vein, his biggest coup was revitalizing the career of Ann-Margret, who in the late ’60s had run her course as an overexposed “sex kitten.” Carr got her a much improved, long-lasting second wind on the Vegas stage, in TV specials and in better movies (including Oscar-nominated turns in “Carnal Knowledge” and “Tommy”).

Beyond producing a number of the broadcast variety specials still popular then, he dabbled in an odd assortment of enterprises wearing various hats: Putting together the Joe Namath-Ann-Margret biker flick “C.C. & Company” (1970); repackaging a cheesy Mexican disaster-cum-cannibal exploitation feature into the incongruously high-grossing “Survive!” (1976); playing key roles in the marketing of 1978’s best picture winner “The Deer Hunter” as well as producer Robert Stigwood’s music-driven hits “Tommy” and “Saturday Night Fever.” That gave him the clout to become the driving force behind a pet project, filming Broadway tuner “Grease” with “Fever”’s John Travolta and pop star Olivia Newton-John. It was a box-office smash, although Carr’s penchant for self-promotion wound up irking co-producer Stigwood, with whom relations became strained.

That was of little concern to Carr, who was now king of the mountain — even if studio executives and others often snickered behind his eccentrically caftan-clad back. If he couldn’t be one of the “beautiful people” (at one point he underwent gastric-bypass surgery to stem his ballooning weight), he could at least surround himself by them, including a stable of fame-aspiring pretty boys. Some of their surviving number, as well as several celebrity pals, attest to his indulgences and generosity here, though also to some drug-fueled mood swings.

The latter — as well as personal tastes more enthusiastic than refined — may have played a role in several spectacular, costly miscalculations. The most infamous was 1980’s tardy disco extravaganza “Can’t Stop the Music,” starring the Village People, Steve Guttenberg, Valerie Perrine and Bruce Jenner (now Caitlyn, and alongside Ann-Margret a notable interview holdout here). That $20 million boondoggle was directed by veteran actress Nancy Walker, who had almost no behind-the-camera experience and was dubbed by some participants “Can’t Stop the Cocaine.” Almost equally derided, if not quite as financially catastrophic (and an even bigger subsequent camp “classic”), was 1982’s ill-advised “Grease 2.”

Carr licked his wounds from these and other failures by turning to Broadway, where he assembled the major-league talents that would make the following year’s “La Cage aux Folles” not only a huge hit but the Great White Way’s first fully “out” gay-themed musical. Alas, this comeback triumph would soon be overshadowed by what had seemed his “dream come true” plum assignment: producing the Academy Awards broadcast.

While much of that 61st ceremony in 1989 proved influential (among other things, it introduced staple Bruce Vilanch as head comedy writer), the press heaped scorn on a long, awkward, starry and spoofy opening number that had Snow White (Eileen Bowman) traipsing past various new and aged stars singing nonsensically chosen songs (most infamously Rob Lowe’s rendition of “Proud Mary”). The intended absurdist humor missed the mark, humiliating Carr further when a roster of Hollywood bigwigs including some he considered close friends wrote an open letter castigating the Academy for this “embarrassment.”


While it uses this low ebb as a narrative bookend, “The Fabulous Allan Carr” adds insult to old injury by suggesting it was all Carr’s brainstorm — curiously failing to note that the campy concept and style were lifted whole from long-running San Francisco revue “Beach Blanket Babylon,” whose creator Steve Silver was very much involved in the telecast.

Practically exiled for this “crime,” Carr became a recluse before cancer claimed his life in 1999 at age 62. He did at least live to enjoy a successful 20th-anniversary rerelease of “Grease” the prior year.

A lot of colleagues both famous and non- provide amusing recollections of an over-the-top persona and the glittering excess he liked to surround himself with. One could wish for a less pedestrian package than the one Schwarz has provided (a few brief animations providing the most adventuresome touch), but then this story supplies quite enough kitschy, name-dropping flavor on its own, with or without additional stylistic filigreeing.



Film Review: ‘The Fabulous Allan Carr’


Reviewed online, San Francisco, May 24, 2017. (In Seattle Film Festival, Frameline, Outfest.) Running time: 90 MIN.

Production


(Docu) An Automat Pictures and Lottie & Lorraine Pictures presentation. (International sales: The Film Collaborative, L.A.) Producers: John Boccardo, Jeffrey Schwarz. Co-producers: Larry Spitler, Taki Oldham. Executive producer: David Permut.

Crew


Director: Jeffrey Schwarz. Camera (color, HD): Jeff Byrd, Matt May, Keith Walker. Editors: Carl Pfirman, Schwarz. Music: Michael “The Millionaire” Cudahy.

With


Patricia Birch, Maxwell Caulfield, Steve Guttenberg, Nikki Haskell, Robert Hofler, Randy Jones, Randal Kleiser, Sherry Lansing, Lorna Luft, Michael Musto, Robert Osborne, Brett Ratner, Connie Stevens, Alana Stewart, Marlo Thomas, Bruce Vilanch.

Vilanch, Gold team up to perform at Alden inside the McLean November 7

Wednesday, October 28th, 2015

Washington Blade
October 28, 2015 at 1:57 pm EDT | by Mariah Cooper
Vilanch, Gold team up

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Stand-up comedians Bruce Vilanch and Judy Gold perform at the Alden inside the McLean Community Center (1234 Ingleside Ave., McLean, Va.) onSaturday, Nov. 7 at 9 p.m.

Vilanch, who is gay, has been a series regular on the television show “Hollywood Squares” and has written for numerous awards shows including the Academy Awards. Gold, a lesbian, has co-hosted “The View” and worked on “The Rosie O’Donnell Show.” Vilanch and Gold will give separate stand-up performances. General admission tickets are $35. Tickets for McLean Community Center tax district residents are $20.

For more details, visit aldentheatre.org.

JQ International honored several successful LGBTQ role models: Bruce Vilanch Was One

Thursday, March 12th, 2015

JQ International honored several successful LGBTQ role models from the arts community as well as a gay religious leader during its annual awards brunch March 8 at the historic Wilson Harding Golf Course Clubhouse at Griffith Park.

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From left: Rabbi Barbara Zacky, Bruce Vilanch, JQ International Executive Director Asher Gellis, Faith Soloway and Andrea Meyerson. Photo courtesy of JQ International

Those being feted were folk musician and writer Faith Soloway (JQ Inspiration Award), who also is a writer for “Transparent,” the show created by her sister Jill Soloway; comedy writer and performer Bruce Vilanch (JQ Trailblazer Award); filmmaker Andrea Meyerson (JQ Visibility Award) and Rabbi Barbara Zacky (JQ Community Leadership Award).

“After I came out, I identified strongly as a Jewish lesbian, but there weren’t many places that honored all of me,” Zacky said in a statement. “JQ has created an open and inclusive community of LGBT Jews and I’m so glad to be a part of that.”

Approximately 165 people turned out for the event.

JQ International describes itself as an inclusive community for LGBTQ Jews that raises awareness and acceptance of LGBTQ community members in the Jewish world.

“We create programs and services that foster a healthy fusion of LGBTQ and Jewish identity, which offer LGBTQ Jews, their friends, families, and loved ones the opportunity to connect with each other while fostering a strong sense of self,” the organization’s website indicates.

Kritzerland to Bring ‘THE BIRTHDAY BOYS’ to Sterling’s Upstairs at The Federal, 3/8

Monday, February 23rd, 2015

Broadway World
Kritzerland to Bring ‘THE BIRTHDAY BOYS’ to Sterling’s Upstairs at The Federal, 3/8
February 20, 2015

4-27-2013 3-29-19 AM

Kritzerland at Sterling’s Upstairs at The Federal presents “THE BIRTHDAY BOYS: THE SONGS OF STEPHEN SONDHEIM & ANDREW LLOYD WEBBER” on Sunday, March 8, 2015 at 7:00 PM.

Sue Raney was signed to Capitol Records at age 17 and, with Nelson Riddle, recorded her first album,”When Your Lover Is Gone.” Since then, she’s recorded more than 20 other albums singing Johnny Mandel, Henry Mancini, and dozens of other Great American Songbook songs. She’s been raved about by such NY critics as Rex Reed, who says he’d travel to LA just to hear her sing, by Nat “King” Cole, and by Julie Andrews, who calls her “a marvel.”http://sueraneysro.com

Bruce Vilanch (Primarily known as writer for a variety of celebrities, including Bette Midler, Lily Tomlin, Billy Crystal, and many more, he went to write for the Academy Awards, and scored acting roles in the film Mahogany, Bosom Buddies, Law & Order, his own one-man show, and starred on Broadway as Edna Turnblad in Hairspray after playing the role for two years in the show’s first national stage tour.)

Music Director: Lloyd Cooper

For our 55th Kritzerland show we’ve taken two wildly different musical theatre songwriters and paired them up, since no one in their right mind except Kritzerland would do such a thing. Stephen Sondheim and Andrew Lloyd Webber just happen to share a birthday in March – March 22nd to be exact – and we’re here to celebrate that occasion with a wild, wacky and wonderful show. As always, you’ll hear the known and the unknown, the common and the uncommon, from shows such as Follies, Phantom of the Opera, Company, Cats, Anyone Can Whistle, Sunset Blvd. and many more. We’ve assembled an amazing cast and back with us is one of our favorite guest stars, the inimitable Bruce Vilanch. We’ll have some surprises, too, so don’t wait too long to make your reservation. Speaking of reservations, be sure to read the new reservation information below. We’ve switched to a ticketing service for the cover charge – we fought against doing this as long as we could, but all the shows at Sterling’s now use it, and frankly we were simply having way too many people reserve and then not show up, without even cancelling, which means we turned people away. Anyway, it’s easy/breezy. For March only we’re the second Sunday, due to a wedding reception at The Federal on the first Sunday. Kritzerland is produced and hosted by Bruce Kimmel, and co-produced by Adryan Russ.

The only way to reserve now is via Brown Paper Tickets! It’s easy! Go to:http://sterlingsupstairskritz.brownpapertickets.com. This takes you directly to the BPT page for Kritzerland. If you prefer to reserve by phone, call (800) 832 3006. Live operators are available to assist you 24/7! $15 entertainment cover + $5 venue/security fee = $20/ticket. Email confirmations will be sent to you by BPT following your transaction. For anyone wanting to reserve tickets from your SmartPhone, go directly towww.brownpapertickets.com.

*Please note: Once you’ve reserved your seats, the BPT cancellation policy kicks in. You have a 12-hour window to make any adjustment in your reservation, or to cancel your reservation for a refund. After that window has passed, all sales are final. No exchanges or refunds.

Early reservations are highly recommended. Dinner reservations: DOORS OPEN 5:30pm. SHOW STARTS 7:00pm! Reservations have already started coming in, and are highly recommended.

Sterling’s at The Federal is located at 5303 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood, CA 91601. The Federal Bar is adjacent to the El Portal Theatre. The North Hollywood Stations for the Metrolink Red Line and Orange Line are directly across the street, north of Chandler on Lankershim. Parking is available – entrance for Federal lot is on Weddington Street (directly behind the building) at $3.50. There is also available street parking.

For information (only) about Sterling’s Upstairs at The Federal, visit www.msapr.net/Sterling-s-at-The-Federal.html or call 818 754 8700.