Monday, September 28, 2009

Cycling Videos

Marian University Men's Team Pursuit

Training Videos on Rollers:

Marian University 2010 National Champions!

Megan Somerville, my daughter, attends Marian University. She has been a competitive cyclist for over 10 years, both on the track and on the road. This is her 3rd year competing for Marian University. She has earned her 3rd Team Gold medal, and her 2nd Gold Medal for Women's Team Pursuit.

Check out the article on USA Cycling!:

Megan at the center on her bike

The girls before the start

Megan at the start line

The girls at the podium getting the GOLD medal!

Megan went down in the Points race. She got back up and managed to get 7th place!
Relaxing between events

Megan on rollers
Megan on the track

A great picture of Megan!

Bronson Screening

September 18, 2009

I have been following Tom Hardy's career since I discovered him in RocknRolla. When I found out about a special screening of his film Bronson I was excited and had to go! I went with my friend Marcy who is also a huge fan of Tom's, probably more than me, and we had a fantastic time.

We arrived at the Cinefamily theater early to get good seats. Good thing we did, the theater was very small. We were told the first two rows, couches, were reserved for VIP guests. The movie started late, but I had the opportunity to catch up with Marcy. In the middle of our conversation the seats filled up in front of us. Wearing a ball cap Leonardo Di Caprio sits down in front of Marcy and beside him Tobey Maguire. There were a few more actors, we found out later, besides Leo and Tobey, but we were so excited to see Tom Hardy we hardly noticed them.

Later Marcy and I emailed back and forth with our girlfriends, discussing the movie and our wonderful night. Marcy wrote such a wonderful review that I asked if I could post it.

Marcy's Review of Bronson:

I absolutely loved the movie!! I fully expect it to end up a cult classic. It is very violent, although in this case, that violence is an integral part of what the movie is about. There is considerable nudity, including full-frontal in the movie, but in this case, the nudity is essential. The movie would not have the raw, visceral power it has without it. The movie itself, is highly stylized and very inventive. It's also very hard to describe!

Here's the IMDB plot summary:

In 1974, a hot-headed 19 year old named Michael Peterson decided he wanted to make a name for himself and so, with a homemade sawn-off shotgun and a head full of dreams he attempted to rob a post office. Swiftly apprehended and originally sentenced to 7 years in jail, Peterson has subsequently been behind bars for 34 years, 30 of which have been spent in solitary confinement. During that time, Michael Petersen, the boy, faded away and 'Charles Bronson', his superstar alter ego, took center stage. Inside the mind of Bronson - a scathing indictment of celebrity culture.

But that doesn't even begin to cover it. It is about sooooo much more than that, including some very interesting ideas about the intersection of violence and art. Although the way we view all movies is affected by the personal experiences we bring to them, I think that is particularly true of "Bronson." For me, personally, the movie raised some intriguing questions about how we, as a society, define 'mental illness,' and how we feel about those who are labeled as such. At the reception afterward, we had the most interesting discussions about it, including with Tom!!

Tom gives an absolutely bravura performance! If there were any justice, he would certainly be under consideration for an Oscar. Actors are going to be talking about this one for years. But the little independent films that sometimes sneak through are usually of the warm and fuzzy variety, and this certainly isn't that.

A couple of things happened at the screening that must have made Tom feel great. First, when the credits were rolling and his name came up, the place just went nuts, screaming and applauding. And second, when Tom was brought up front for the Q&A and introduced, several people stood applauding, and the first one up was Leo DiCaprio! It was such a nice nod to Tom from another truly talented actor. Very cool of Leo!! And richly deserved!

We didn't know it when we went, but there was a very nice reception afterward on the little patio behind the theater. The director, Nicolas Winding Refn, is Danish, and there was a free Danish-oriented bar (most of us were drinking the Carlsberg beer!) and a table with fresh baked Danish bread and all kinds of cheese. We met a friendly, interesting guy named Miles who, together with a friend, runs an Internet radio show about movies:


We spent quite a while talking to him. It was hitting 11pm by then, and poor Joy was fading fast (since she had just a little excitement last night too!!) We wanted a chance to meet and congratulate Tom before we left, so we braved the crowd and ran into him on his way out in search of dinner (he had come to the screening straight from work). Tom very graciously stopped to talk with us, introduced us to his girlfriend, Charlotte Riley (who played Cathy to Tom's Heathcliff in "Wuthering Heights"), and proceeded to get into a discussion with us that must have lasted at least 20 minutes. It was a real discussion too, not just the standard celebrity meet-and-greet. It was very cool. Tom was just so easy to talk to. I found the movie and his character (both his performance and the real person) so fascinating that there were all kinds of things to talk about (none of the usual trying to figure out what to say on my part!). At the very end, Joy asked him to sign pictures for us.

After the picture signing, I think Joy said something about us following his career after "RockNRolla" (I can't remember for sure how it came up), and he asked if we had seen "Wuthering Heights" and said it was his girlfriend's favorite (for obvious reasons, LOL!!). We said we had, but then I said something about him playing Bill Sykes (in the recent PBS version of "Oliver Twist"). He had mentioned Bill Sykes during the Q&A (although it turns out I had misunderstood what he said), and he got very excited that we had seen it and that I thought he gave a great performance as Bill Sykes. (He was really scary!!) Tom seemed genuinely pleased that that performance was appreciated. We told him we were going to let him off to go get something to eat, and there was lots of hand-shaking and "Great to meet you"s all around and they took off.

He was just very warm and friendly, and so was Charlotte. A lovely, gracious couple! All in all, a very friendly gathering, and a lovely night!!


I took a few pictures with my cell phone, but the lights were very dim and they didn't turn out too great.

Watch the trailer:

In theaters October 2009

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Law Abiding Citizen Screening

The story really began on Tuesday night when Annette and I were at the Love Happens premiere. As usual the movie was late starting because of the Stars doing the red carpet thing. So I decided to check what was going on Twitter.

F. Gary Gray had posted a contest on Twitter for screening passes on Thursday. It took both Annette and I to read it twice to understand what the message meant. I became a mad woman trying to participate in the contest while we waited for the movie to begin! After the movie we walked to Jerry's Deli where I rudely continued to participate during dinner. Annette didn't seem to mind because she knew that if I won she would be my guest.

I hardly slept because as far as I knew I was the only one who was actively participating, but I wasn't sure I was doing it correctly. I woke up early at 6:00 am and was online again. Even though I was late, I sat in the parking lot at work and Twittered at least ten more times before going in. I had a hard time concentrating and couldn't resist checking Twitter to see what was going on.

At 10:55 AM I received an email:
You have a new direct message:
F_Gary_Gray: Contact Cecilia for screening passes for tomorrow.

I called Annette and told her, rather calmly, I had won the tickets!

The calmness faded when I received an email from Cecilia:

Here’s the invite, you can RSVP say you are F. Gary Gray’s Twitter Winner. Your tickets will be at will call tomorrow night.


LAW ABIDING CITIZEN is a thriller about a brilliant sociopath (Gerard Butler) who orchestrates a series of high-profile murders that grip the City of Philadelphia—all from inside his jail cell—and the prosecutor assigned to his case (Jamie Foxx) who realizes he is the only one who can end the reign of terror.




Thursday morning I woke up early, ate breakfast, deleted email, walked Zach, cleaned in the garage, cleaned the living room, and took a shower all by 11:00 am. So I made a list of things to do to keep me busy. Get car washed, go to Best Buy - memory card for Blackberry to have more room for pictures, CVS to pick up prescription and shampoo, get hair trimmed, and eat Lunch.

After I parked in the CVS parking lot, I saw the red blinking light on my Blackberry indicating I had an email.

Joy can you call me asap regarding tonight.

I called Ceilia.
She said, "Gary asked me to contact you. Gary would like to interview you on camera and I am calling to see if that would be okay.

O-M-G! What I had planned to wear quickly changed. I called Annette and told her the news. She was immediately panicked. I went about my shopping and when I got back into the car my cell phone rang again. It's Annette.
She asked, "Where are you? Are you sitting down?" Have you checked Twitter?"
I said, "No, I'm in the car. what's up?"

Annette read aloud:
F_Gary_Gray I have to introduce the film in 6 hours. Regina Hall, Bruce Mc Gill, & Gerard Butler will be there. This LAUNCH is going to be fun!

The rest of the afternoon is a blur until we get to the Arclight parking lot. Annette and I do last minute touch ups and make a pact. We decided that we will not hold hands, which we tend to do when we are overcome with excitement. We agree on a light nudge or elbow.

We were greeted warmly by Cecilia and the staff, who welcomed us to the party. Ceilia tells us that Gary was stuck in traffic on the 10 freeway and she would find us when he arrived. We met with Susan, the other winner of the contest, and her guest Sherrell. We mingle and are served appitizers and discover it was open bar. I ordered a Margarita hoping to calm my nerves.

Not long after F. Gary Gray arrives and Ceilia introduces him. He chats with us for a while and excuses himself so he can find a good location for the interview. He returns and we're escorted by Gary and his entourage to the Arclight courtyard were there are hundreds of people in line. Gary does his thing, directing us with what he wants us to talk about in the interview. We proceed with 3 takes, we pose for pictures, and then we're done. (Susan and I were so nervous we were holding hands behind Gary's back). Gary said the video would be edited and be posted later on Twitter.

Gary takes us back up stairs and excuses himself to talk with other guests, but came back occasionally to check on us. I ordered another Margarita and the waiters kept checking on us offering us appitizers.

About 10 minutes before the movie was to start I looked up and directly in front of me I see Gerard, he's facing the other direction, but I know it's him. I nudged Annette and say, "He's here."
Next thing we know Gerard is greeting us, but appoligizes because he has to go greet a lot of people before the movie begins.

We were ushered towards the theater. Gary finds us and we walked along with him and a group of men in suits, probably studio executives. At security we are stopped and one of the security inspectors tells Annette and Susan they can't come inside with their cameras. Gary is right behind us.

I said, "Gary, they won't let Annette and Susan inside with their cameras."
Gary said, "These ladies are with me."
The security guy says, "I'm sorry." and waves us through.

In the theater I show my ticket to an usher (the Arclight usually has assigned seats). He says, "Seats are not assigned, just find a seat anywhere." I looked up, the theater is filled.

I'm a bit confused, I realize our group should be following Gary. We are directed up the stairs, still unsure where we should be sitting. Ceilia finds us and tell the ushers that we are with Gary. So we wait in the aisle halfway up the stairs. I looked down on the other side of the rail and there's Gerard looking up at me smiling.
He said. "Hi."
I said, "Hi."

Someone had removed the taped reserved signs and we were allowed to take our seats which end up about the middle of the row of one of the two empty rows. With all this confusion going on I have to go to the bathroom badly! I decided I had to go then because the movie would be starting soon.

I just about ran down the stairs and down the hall, stopping briefly when Gerard said, "Hey Darling." I squeezed his arm. Next I saw Gary who said, "Hey?" And gave me a confused look a trying to figure out where I was running off to.

I missed Gary introducing the film and I made it back into the theater while Gerard was in the middle of talking so I missed what he said. Gary took the microphone back and talked some more, while Gerard made his way up the stairs and sat in front of us. Gary finished his introduction and the lights went dark and the movie began. The rest of the row beside me was empty, at least 10 seats. Next thing I knew Gary is sitting beside me and all his people are filling the seats.

Now, don't get me wrong, I really appreciated the VIP treatment and hanging out with Gary, but I couldn't concentrate and enjoy the film as I would have liked with Gerard in front of me and Gary beside me! I did love the movie, but I have to watch it again in a less stressful envirorment! LOL!

Gary had asked earlier to find him after the movie for an exit interview to get our reactions on the film. Gary and Gerard were surrounded being greeted by fans. Somehow we caught up to Gerard as he was being directed away by Joy his publisist.

Gerard saw Annette and I and stopped. He asked, "Did you like the movie?"
Just as he was hugging me I said, "I loved it."
Then he turned to Annette and asked the same thing.
Annette said, "I love it. It was great!" He gave her a big hug.
He said, "Goodbye." And then he was gone.

Gary found us with his camera man ready to interview me. He teased me during the interview about holding onto his arm during the movie. We got hugs, pictures and autographs, and thanked him for the wonderful night.

This is what Gary posted on Twitter the next morning!
F_Gary_Gray I had a great time hanging out with the contest winners JOY and SUSAN. Joy squeezed my arm the whole time (ouch!). Thanks GB Gals!

... So much for the pact!

Law Abiding Citizen in theaters October 16, 2009

I have to say I have been very lucky and never once taken for granted all my Hollywood experiences. When I won the contest I thought, YEAH! I won tickets to a screening! I've been to screenings before, like at Comic Con and saw Inglourious Basterds. So I thought the experience would be the same, you get into see the movie before everyone else and that would be all.

Gary really did a fantastic job making sure we were treated well and comfortable. He is a wonderful host and that speaks to what a kind and generous person he truly is.

Thank you F. Gary Gray for the most wonderful night!

Movie Review ~ Law Abiding Citizen

Firstly, I have to say, I had 2 margaritas (open bar) with hardly anything to eat, Gerard was sitting in front of us, Gary next to me, and the added stress of having to go to the restroom the second half of the movie -- to give it a fair critique.

Law Abiding Citizen, directed by F. Gary Gray, started with action, which I loved, with Clyde (Gerard Butler) and his family attacked. The pacing is fast, laying the foundation right away, then its 10 years later. Murders happen and Clyde is behind it all. He is calculating -- every move he makes has a purpose. I had one idea of how he was killing everyone from jail, but I was wrong! I never guessed the ending. Gerard and Jamie Foxx were terrific playing off each other. Gerard had you pulling for Clyde and at times you didn't like Nick (Jamie Foxx).

The music is great, composed by Brian Tyler. I would get anxious as the music built up ready for something bad to happen and it did! I loved the way the film was shot, the angles and the lighting. Its bloody and gruesome, but not Inglourious Basterds gruesome. When someone asks me what the movie is like, Silence of Lambs always comes to mind.

Kurt Wimmer's well written plot, kept me on the edge of my seat! I read the budget for the film was just $50 million, but it looked like a high budget film, costumes, sets, props, and explosions. Gary, Gerard, and Jamie as well as the entire cast were fantastic!

At one point I said to Gary, "Oh no you didn't!" Concerning a scene with Nick's daughter. Gary laughed.
During the nude scene I realized I had said aloud, "Oh my God." I leaned over to Gary and said, "Thank you."
He said, "You're welcome." And then laughed.
I remember grabbing his arm a few times too during some blow up scenes. (I blame it all on the liquid courage.)

Of course I have to see the movie again in a less stressful environment to give the movie a fair review. I wish I didn't have to wait until October 16th to see the movie again!

I told Gary that our group tries to see all of Gerard's movies 10 times each. He said he was going to hold me to it, but I have no worries, they won't need convincing to see this terrific movie over and over again. WE SHOOK ON IT! Well done F. Gary Gray!

Visit the official site:
Law Abiding Citizen Film

Law Abiding Citizen in theaters October 16, 2009

Love Happens Premiere

On Tuesday I had tickets to the Love Happens premiere in Westwood. I was excited to go and even saw Jennifer Aniston in the lobby before the movie began. I love Jennifer Aniston and Aaron Eckhart, but I'm sorry to say that Love Happens wasn't happening for me. It was just too sad and not really a romantic comedy.

Annette and I at the Love Happens Premiere.
Love Happens in theaters now

The Jay Leno Show ~ Opening Night

Monday September 14 at 8:00 am my grades were faxed and I was ready to begin three weeks of break! I've missed Jay Leno since he left the Tonight Show so Annette and I were beyond excited when she got four tickets to the first taping of the Jay Leno Show!

The studio is huge compared to the old one. My friend Brandt Daniels did an amazing job designing the new set.

Check out Brandt's interview: Brant's Interview

We were seated by the band and had a great time as the audience warmer worked the crowd and we noticed Mavis Leno sitting a few rows in front of us. The audience warmer didn't have to work hard to get us motivated, everyone was hyped to be there.

Jay did his usual thing, he came out dressed in jeans and a denim shirt to welcome us to the show. When he mentioned his guests, Jerry Seinfeld, Jay-Z, Rihanna, and Kanye West, the audience booed at the mention of Kanye's name, but Jay stopped the crowd and said something like, "Now don't do that. Kanye feels really badly about what he did last night, but he was man enough to keep his commitment to come tonight. We are going to sit down and talk. Listen to what he has to say and if you aren't happy then you can do what you want."

It was great to see Jay up on the stage doing his thing, nights haven't been the same since he has been off air. I'm not sure if I like the new format of the show because I'm so use to the old one, with Headlines at the beginning and musical guest at the end, but I'm can't complain Jay came out with a bang!

How timely to be the first to interview Kanye after his rude and disrespectful behavior at the MTV Video Music Awards . The entire audience was on the edge of our seats. I was proud of Jay, he didn't shy from asking what everyone was thinking, “What do you think she would have said about this?” You could hear a pin drop in the studio! I don't know if I was entirely satisfied that Kanye was remorseful, but it brought tears to my eyes.

The excitement of being at the first taping of the Jay Leno show didn't disappoint, Jay was funny as ever, Oprah was on the show, and headlines are back!

Annette, Ray and Barbara waiting outside the NBC studio.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Jimmy Kimmel Live

We were the first to arrive at Jimmy Kimmel around 4:30. We were so excited and got busy taking pictures.

Annette, Barbara, Lois, and me

Not long after people began arriving. It was hot and the line coordinators had us squeezed into a small area. A little while later the Gamer Girls handed out tee shirts and Gamer energy drinks.

About 6:00 we were finally inside the staging area where we stood some more, but it was at least air conditioned. We were seated in about the 4th or 5th row with a straight view of where Jimmy and the guests sit. I was right next to the camera. It's stadium seating so we were also at eye level. No, we weren't in the front rows because they are saved for the VIP guests. If you taped the show you can see us in the audience, especially Barbara with her beautiful fuchsia blouse.

The audience warmer, Don, began working the crowd and a few minutes into it my shoe fell off my foot! It landed behind the seat of the guy in front of Annette who was next to me. Soon all of us were distracted with trying to figure out how to get my shoe back. One of the people in front of us noticed what was going on and they told the young man in front of Annette to get my shoe. Soon the row in front of us were all trying to get my shoe back for me. Once I got my shoe back the entire audience and Don, the audience warmer, were staring at us.

Don asked something like, "What's going on? Is there a private party going on?"
I said, "I lost my shoe."
Don said, "Are you trying to pick up men by throwing your shoe at them?"
The young man in front of me said something like, "It's working," and he began rubbing my leg!
Don the audience warmer continued with his act, but every once in a while would pick on me about throwing my shoe at men. Later he gave me a souvenir for teasing me, a key chain with Jimmy Kimmel Live printed on it.

The show started, all I heard was blah blah blah until the Gerard came out. Gorgeous! There he was sitting in front of us and he was his usual fun self.

At the commercial break we were probably at the edge of our seats hoping he would look up at the audience. All the support staff came on to the stage to touch up makeup, set up the Wacky Wire, and talk to Jimmy. All I thought was, GET OUT OF THE DAMN WAY!!

Then everyone was gone, leaving Gerard standing on the stage. He looked up and smiled while he looked at each and every one of us. He looked back at me and pointed with his finger with a big grin and shook his head looking at all of us again.

He looked around at the rest of the audience and waved at the other fans who were sitting further up in the stands.

When show resumed, Jimmy and Gerard were a crack up with the Wacky Wire and the donut story! OMG the donut story!

After Nate's interview we were directed out of the studio to the outside concert stage to see the taping of the musical guest, The Used, which will be shown next Friday. We didn't stay long and had to walk around to the front of the building to retrieve our cameras.

Another fun night in Hollywood!

Gamer in Theaters now!