Saturday, August 29, 2009

Ted Kennedy

Ted Kennedy. A man who was very human.  

He made a lot of mistakes, including substance abuse, womanizing (there's an old-fashioned word), and the whole Chappaquiddick incident. 

Even more remarkable than committing these errors, was his determination to do better, to rise above them. Perhaps it made him more forgiving of shortcomings in others. As he famously said,

"I recognize my own shortcomings -- the faults in the conduct of my private life. I realize that I alone am responsible for them, and I am the one who must confront them. I believe that each of us as individuals must not only struggle to make a better world, but to make ourselves better, too."

At yesterday's memorial service Vice President Joe Biden made some personal remarks about his friend of 36 years.  In the early 1970's Joe's wife and daughter were killed in a car accident. Ted Kennedy hardly knew Joe Biden at that time. Nevertheless Ted called Joe to express his condolences. For months, Ted would drop by Joe's office once or twice a week to see how he was doing. Ted pulled him out of his grief, mentored him in the ways of Washington DC politics, and was as good a friend as a man could be. Sadly, we rarely heard about this side of Ted Kennedy. 

But my husband Chuck saw this side. When Chuck was Director of Photography at Northeastern University in Boston, he had the opportunity to photograph Ted Kennedy. Mr. Kennedy was charismatic, warm and personable, energetic and passionate and above all, genuine. Even though Chuck was "just the photographer", Mr. Kennedy treated Chuck with dignity, respect and warmth.

Whether we personally met him or not, whether we agree with his politics or not, we are all touched by his efforts to secure equal rights for all people. Although he never became President, perhaps he had an even larger influence as a legislator respected by colleagues on both sides of the aisle. 

Farewell, Ted Kennedy.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Smell the Roses

We all rush, rush, rush through our lives. It's hard to take a minute to do the essential - eat, sleep, breathe. So it's not surprising that we hardly ever slow down to savor a sweet moment. Well, I'm doing that right now. 

We received this note from a very sweet couple whose wedding movie we produced in September, 2005. They had a beautiful baby boy three years ago  and had just brought home the newest addition to their family, a beautiful daughter. They took a moment to write a note to us. Here's an excerpt:

Hi Chuck and Jewel,
We recently showed Aidan [their 3-yr old son] our wedding video.  He loved it!  He shouted "mama and papa" and pointed at the TV.  We have such fond memories of our experience with you and the making of the video was so much fun. 
We sincerely hope that both of you are doing well! Please keep in touch.
Take good care,
Nancy and Eric

This letter reminds us of what we do and why we do it.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

My Favorite Actors

Here are my 17 favorite actors and some of the movies in which I've enjoyed seeing them.

I'll go to see any movie in which Johnny Depp, Viggo Mortenson, Guy Pearce, Sean Penn or Josh Brolin appear because each role is so unique, they inhabit each role so completely, and they play each role with great intelligence. 

Then there's a consummate actor like David Straithairn who hardly seems to act at all and in 
fact, usually blends right into the background. Denzel Washington also makes it look effortless. Who knew he would be a gifted Shakespearean actor in Much Ado About Nothing?

Who's your favorite?

Simon Baker - L.A. Confidential, Devil Wears Prada

Javier Bardem - Goya's Ghosts, No Country for Old Men, Love in the Time of Cholera

Josh Brolin - W, No Country for Old Men, Milk

Johnny Depp - Edward Scissorhands, Ed Wood, Don Juan DeMarco, Nick of Time, Sleepy Hollow, Chocolat, Finding Neverland, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Public Enemies

Philip Seymour Hoffman - Scent of a Woman, Talented Mr Ripley, State and Main, Cold Mountain, Capote, Before the Devil Knows You're Dead, Charlie Wilson's War

Damien Lewis - Band of Brothers, Forsyte Saga, Life (TV series)

Viggo Mortenson - Witness, Crimson Tide, G.I. Jane, Lord of the Rings, Eastern Promises, A History of Violence

Jeremy Northam - Emma, Happy TX, An Ideal Husband, The Winslow Boy, Golden Bowl, Gosford Park, Martin and Lewis

Clive Owen - Closer, Elizabeth: The Golden Age, Duplicity, Geenfingers

Guy Pearce - Priscilla Queen of the Desert, Dating the Enemy, L.A. Confidential, Memento, The Proposition, First Snow, Factory Girl, The Hurt Locker

Sean Penn - The Game, Mystic River, 21 Grams, The Interpreter, Milk

Joaquin Phoenix - Gladiator, To Die For, Walk the Line

Tim Roth - Braveheart, Vatel, Rob Roy, Pulp Fiction

Jonathan Rhys Meyers - The Tudors (TV series), Match Point, August Rush, Elvis, Alexander, The Governess, Bend It Like Beckham, Michael Collins

Kevin Spacey - Beyond the Sea, L.A. Confidential, Usual Suspects, Seven

David Strathairn - Eight Men Out, A League of Their Own, The Firm, River Wild, L.A. Confidential, Good Night and Good Luck, Notorious Bette Page, Bourne Ultimatum

Denzel Washington - Mo' Better Blues, Malcolm X, Much Ado About Nothing, Pelican Brief, Crimson Tide, Devil in a Blue Dress, Fallen, Bone Collector, Inside Man, Deja Vu, Great Debaters

Friday, August 14, 2009

Catherine Hall, Photographer Extraordinaire

Catherine Hall takes extraordinary photographs. We recently went to see the Robert Franks exhibit of 'The Americans' at San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Catherine Hall's images of Appalachia are even more powerful. Yes, she's that good. Here's where you can see more of her editorial work and here is some of her wedding work.

Catherine and I have had an ongoing dialogue about the unique characteristics of the still and moving image.

A still image, which reflects a single moment, allows you to fill in the blanks and project your past experiences and future hopes onto the picture - when it is done well. As it always is when Catherine Hall is behind the lens. 

The moving image which can include voice, ambient sound and music, is excellent for telling a complete story, and for showing motion and emotion. The movie is the narrator that explains what went on, who these people really are and what the times they lived in were like. For example, when your grandchildren see your wedding movie, they will come to know you exactly as you are today - vibrant, young, happy, in love. 

They will see the full range of emotions as your husband jokes with the groomsmen and then nervously glances at his watch moments before the doors open and you appear. How he strains to catch the first glimpse of you. How he audibly catches his breath and utters "Wow!", then wipes a tear away as you and your father approach. How he accepts your hand and folds it into his own. How he whispers at the altar, "You are so beautiful".

Each medium provides a unique interpretation of an event or a person. They go hand-in-hand and together can provide the whole picture.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Wedding Seating Chart Tool

Have you ever wished you had an EASY tool to draw a floor plan of your reception? Well, Wedding Mapper makes your wish come true. This is as easy as it gets. You can specify the size of the room, and click and drag round and oblong tables, a dance floor and other objects onto the floor plan to see how crowded or how luxurious the room feels.

As though that isn't enough, they also have a seating chart tool that allows you to seat guests at tables, move them around, or remove them if they misbehave.

Oh, and did I mention? It's F-R-E-E-!

Friday, August 07, 2009

Incredible Lighting for a Wedding

OK so let's say you have rented a castle in England for your wedding and you're looking for a little something extra. Actually, something spectacular which your guests will not soon forget. May I present...a very special light show.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

$100,000 Wedding Giveaway

What are you doing on May 14, 2010? How would you like to get married at the very chic Hotel Vitale in San Francisco? Oh, and how would you like all of your $100,000 expenses to be totally covered?  If so, then here's one contest you will want to ENTER:

I know what you are thinking. Too good to be true. But believe me! I know Liz Guthrie of San Jose Wedding Consultants, the organizer of this extravaganza, and she is the real deal. Honest, thorough, fun, creative, down to earth, dedicated. 

So what have you got to lose? Enter now. And, lots of good luck!