Artifacts 12.25.14

Nearly hidden mushrooms tucked into a corner of a retaining wall outside CSUMB's Otter Cross Cultural Center. 

➔ Spending Christmas at the movies? In the fallout from the North Korea hacker attack on Sony Pictures, the Seth Rogen and James Franco comedy The Interview was pulled by movie theaters from its Dec. 25 release date. No worries. “Minimally talented spoiled brat” (according to one Sony exec) Angelina Jolie will have her directorial debut, Unbroken, which is still slated to open then. For the kids, Into the Woods is a reimagining of Brothers Grimm fairy tales with Johnny Depp as the Wolf, Meryl Streep as the Witch and Anna Kendrick as Cinderella. But don’t sleep on Big EyesTim Burton’s examination of the art fraud of Walter Keane’s hijacking of his wife Margaret’s “big eyes” paintings phenomenon, starring Amy Adams, Christoph Waltz and Jason Schwartzmann.

➔ “Police work is not what you see on television. In the real world, it’s tougher, it’s grittier.” That’s in reference to a meet and greet 1-3pm Saturday at Pilgrim’s Way Community Bookstore in Carmel by cop and actor Frank DiPaola, who’s written a book called From Hell to Hail Mary, about his efforts to steer at-risk kids away from gangs and prison. 624-4955.

➔ Hidden Valley Music Seminars has paired up two musical New Year’s Eve celebrations. The first runs 7:30-9pm, coinciding with New York’s countdown, with soprano Laura Anderson and pianist Rick Yramategui doing opera, cabaret and musical theater, including tunes from Gianni Schicchi and Fantastiks, both coming to Hidden Valley in 2015. The second performance is by the Bob Phillips Trio – Phillips on piano, Don Rosoff on bass, Andy Weiss on drums – begins at 9:30pm, and comprises Great American Songbook tunes until our own New Year’s Eve countdown. 659-3115,

➔ Carmel’s Lori Stewart has written a book called Grandma, Aren’t You Glad the World’ Finally in Color Today!, a then-and-now rhyming picture book that contrasts life 100 years ago to life now. It’s billed as a conversation starter between young and old, with pictures like the movie poster for Al Jolson’s The Jazz Singer (thankfully, not the one with blackface) to talk about media in the old days; or the pictures of today’s school kids riding horseback and playing lacrosse, which was not as prevalent in grandma’s day as it is now.

➔ I’m hearing there’s going to be champagne toast all over the place on New Years Eve. Sounds delicious. I’ve had champagne truffles ($3 a box at Grocery Outlet), but not champagne toast.

Walter Ryce has been an arts writer, calendar editor, culture columnist, sometime photographer, and one-time web content coordinator for the Monterey County Weekly. He began working at the paper, which is based in his hometown of Seaside, in 2007.

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