From a young age, I’ve been an avid reader. One of the books that influenced my childhood (and has carried over into my adult life) is “The Phantom Tollbooth” by Norton Juster and illustrated by Jules Feiffer. To celebrate the book’s 50th anniversary, Norton Juster and Jules Feiffer attended the New Yorker Festival to screen the film “The Phantom Tollbooth: Beyond Expectations” and participated in a Q&A session after the movie. October 6, 2013 started off with Norton and Jules signing books at McNally Jackson Books in SoHo. At the signing I had the chance to tell them how much this book meant to me (more on that in a few), and several hours later, I went to see a movie about their lives, which is filled with stories of how this classic book came about. What an experience! By the end of the film, you will be so in love with Norton Juster and Jules Feiffer, you will wish you were related to them so you could basque in their presence on a regular basis.
The Phantom Tollbooth signed by Norton Juster and Jules Feiffer
“The Phantom Tollbooth” is an “Alice In Wonderland” type story that follows the adventures of Milo, a bored, know-it-all kid who doesn’t really see the value of learning. After he is transported (via tollbooth) into another space and time, his mission is to return the princesses (Rhyme and Reason) to the Kingdom of Wisdom. The book is filled with word plays, puns and the message that learning can be fun and that you should want to learn for the sake of acquiring the knowledge instead of feeling forced to learn. If you read this book during your formative years, you’ve loved it dearly for your whole life and if you are just discovering the book, you’ll wish your teachers would have clued you in sooner! “Beyond Expectations” goes into the fact that Norton Juster and Jules Feiffer lived in the same building, which is how their collaboration came to be, and you learn about their pre and post-Tollbooth lives (Juster was an architect and Feiffer drew political cartoons). The banter between the pair will remind you of the uncles you wish you had and your appreciation of this book will grow exponentially by the end of the film.
Norton Juster and Geoffrey Dicker
Earlier in the day, Norton Juster and Jules Feiffer signed copies of “The Phantom Tollbooth” at McNally Jackson Books in SoHo, and it was such a thrill to meet the men behind a book that shaped my life. As I was taking a picture with Norton, he told me he was in the market for a camera and liked mine, so we talked about cameras for a bit. By the end of the conversation, he sincerely thanked me for my advice in this matter and shook my hand! I told him that for the advice he gave me in the “Phantom Tollbooth,” it was my absolute pleasure to ‘pay him back’ so to speak. WOW!
Jules Feiffer and Geoffrey Dicker
Jules revealed that the Whether Man is his caricature of Norton and that the character Milo was named after the actor Milo O’ Shea (who played Durand Durand in ‘Barbarella,’ one of my favorite movies! It all makes sense now!) A brief video will be coming soon from the Q&A session where someone asked, “who gets the tollbooth next?” Stay tuned to hear the answer. Thanks a million to Norton Juster for Jules Feiffer both for being so gracious in person and as well as writing a book that has made such a lasting impact on my life!
I finally got to see Scissor Sisters perform my favorite track off their amazing album “Night Work.” The song is “Sex and Violence” and they performed during the New Yorker Festival in Manhattan on October 1, 2011. You can read about the event here and you can also see the world premiere of their new song “San Luis Obispo” here. Thanks SS. Love you!
From left to right: Portia De Rossi, David Cross, Michael Cera, Jason Bateman, Will Arnett
The hottest ticket in town on October 2, 2011 was the cast reunion of the TV show “Arrested Development” as part of the New Yorker Festival. Before I get into what the program for this afternoon was all about – here’s the information you are all dying to know:
Writer/Creator Mitchell Hurwitz confirmed that an “Arrested Development” movie is happening. The script is half way finished and they are aiming to begin shooting in the summer of 2012. Leading up to the film, there will be up to 10 installments (one per character) letting the audience know what everyone’s been up to since the show went off the air. Distribution methods are still being worked out, but one might expect webisodes or non-traditional means of delivery.
Michael Cera, Jason Bateman
Ron Howard called in and Liza was not in attendance, but the rest of the principals on “Arrested Development” were on stage talking about the ups and downs of the show, some of their heroes and influences and there was also a brief question and answer session with the audience.
Portia DeRossi, David Cross
As you can expect from the cast, they cracked jokes constantly and also spoke about their proudest moments on the show. The audience consisted of “Arrested Development” die-hards and you could hear a pin drop when the cast spoke about the show.
Jeffrey Tambor, Jessica Walter
The cast would not reveal too much about the plot on the upcoming film, but they did advise that each character will probably screw things up when the script is locked.
Tony Hale, Alia Shawkat
At the end of the hour long presentation, the cast did the chicken dance!
Scissor Sisters were in New York on October 1, 2011 at the New Yorker festival to talk about their career and play a nine song acoustic set! In addition to playing hits such as “I Don’t Feel Like Dancin,'” “Laura,” and “Fire With Fire,” the band also played “Sex and Violence” from their criminally underrated album “Night Work” and they also premiered a new song – “San Luis Obispo.” I know so many Scissor-heads that could not be in New York will want to see this video, so this is for you. If anyone in the band or SS management team wants me to take this video down, I will. My intention is to share the music, not rob from the artists, because I am a Scissor Sister – and so are you! If you like videos such as the one you are about to see, become a fan of this page and visit daily. I post world exclusive photos and/or videos all the time. 7 days a week, in fact.
October kicked off with a bang at the New Yorker Festival as the band Scissor Sisters sat down for a Q&A as well as a nine song acoustic set in which they premiered their new song “San Luis Obispo.” The band talked candidly about their career from its early beginnings to present day and even as a die hard fan, I learned a bunch of new information about the group. For example, Pink Floyd have given their seal of approval to the Sisters’ cover of “Comfortably Numb.” It was also revealed that the scrapped but fully recorded 3rd album (before their masterpiece “Night Work”) will see the light of day – “some day.” Jake Shears talked about writing songs with Elton John as well as Bryan Ferry and they also discussed what it was like touring with Lady Gaga.
Baby Daddy, Del Marquis
After the interview was over, Scissor Sisters played a 9 song acoustic set which featured the premiere of a new track “San Luis Obispo” (and a video will be coming soon – so stay tuned) as well as a very rare performance of their song “Sex And Violence,” which is one of the fan favorites from their highly underrated 3rd album “Night Work.” The hits were also thrown in including “Laura,” “Take Your Mama,” “Fire With Fire” and “I Don’t Feel Like Dancin.'” I had so much fun. It was also great to see all the Scissor Sisters east coast fans who are so dedicated that they travel long distances to have another great Scissor Sisters experience.
I spoke with the band after the performance and as usual, the entire band is so cool. I talked to Jake about their album “K-Mart Disco.” It was demos prior to their debut album that was issued in Australia. It’s sold on Amazon.com, so I wasn’t sure what the story is behind it. It was not authorized by the band and Jake doesn’t know where they got the title from either! I assured Jake that I will atone for owning this unauthorized album by continuing to support them by seeing them in concert and of course I always will. I have never had a bad time at a Scissor Sisters concert and frankly, I don’t think it’s even possible to not have the time of your life when you see them. Scissor Sisters are great!
Jake and Ana performing
Thanks again to Scissor Sisters for a great night! See the setlist after the jump and stay tuned for the premiere of “San Luis Obispo.”