Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Blue Valentine Opens At Cinemark in Moosic This Friday, January 28th

According to their website, the Oscar-nominated film Blue Valentine (filmed partly in Scranton, Honesdale, and Carbondale) will be playing at Cinemark in Moosic starting this Friday, January 28th. For showtimes, click here.

NEPA Represented With Oscar Nods for Blue Valentine AND Gasland

Northeastern Pennsylvania was represented in the nominations for the 83rd Annual Academy Awards, announced this morning.

Michelle Williams received a well-deserved Oscar nomination for Best Actress for her role as Cindy in Blue Valentine, which was filmed in Scranton, Honesdale, and Carbondale.

In addition, Wayne County native Josh Fox was honored with an Academy Award nomination for Best Documentary Feature for his film Gasland (now available to borrow on DVD from Albright Memorial Library).

For a complete list of this year's Academy Award nominees, click here.

The 83rd Annual Academy Awards air live on Sunday night, February 27th on ABC.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Full Program of John Updike's Pennsylvania, Filmed At Albright Memorial Library in Scranton, Available On YouTube

For those who were unable to catch PCN's airings of John Updike's Pennsylvania (filmed in the Reference Department at Albright Memorial Library) when it originally aired on Humanities On The Road, the complete episode is available (in 4 parts) on YouTube, which is embedded below. Part 1 features a really nice overview of the Albright Memorial Library building; furthermore, the Periodicals Room was also the filming location for a key scene in the critically acclaimed film Blue Valentine.

You can also purchase a DVD of John Updike's Pennsylvania by clicking here.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Long-Delayed Film Version of Ayn Rand's Novel Atlas Shrugged (Featuring A Reference To Scranton) To Be Released April 15th--Minus Angelina Jolie

One Tree Hill actor/director Paul Johansson has just wrapped filming of the long-delayed film version of Ayn Rand's 1957 novel Atlas Shrugged, which features a blink-and-you'll-miss it Scranton reference in the text; Johansson both stars in and directs the novel's first-ever big-screen adaptation.

Although it was originally confirmed in 2008 that Angelina Jolie would be portraying female protagonist Dagny Taggart, The Internet Movie Database confirms that the lead role is actually being played by Taylor Schilling (formerly of the NBC drama Mercy).

Atlas Shrugged will be released in multiple parts. The first installment, Atlas Shrugged, Part 1, is rated PG-13 and will be released April 15th, 2011.

Being that the film will be released in multiple parts, it's now quite possible that the Scranton reference will be included (it appears on page 836 out of 1168 pages), but you never know.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Awesome Article on The Filming of Blue Valentine in Scranton In This Week's Weekender (Vol. 18, Issue 10, January 19-25, 2011)

This week's issue of The Weekender (Vol. 18, Issue 10, January 19-25, 2011) features a cover story on the filming of the acclaimed film Blue Valentine, which was filmed in Scranton and other areas of NEPA (including the Reference Department at Albright Memorial Library). The article, written by Amy Longsdorf, features exclusive interviews with director Derek Cianfrance and stars Michelle Williams and Ryan Gosling about filming in Scranton, Carbondale, and other areas in Northeastern Pennsylvania.

My favorite quote is at the end of the article, where Michelle Williams talks about her experience sharing a house with Ryan Gosling near Carbondale, PA for a month to prepare for the film's scenes charting the crumbling of their relationship:

"I feel like it’s a place that I’ve lived. I would include that in my stops through life, like, ‘Oh, yeah, I lived outside of Scranton for a couple of months.’”

Click here to read the full article or pick up an issue today.

Kiefer Sutherland on TCS: "I Would've Done This Play in Poughkeepsie or Scranton"

The cast of the upcoming revival of That Championship Season recently met the press at Sardi's in New York City to promote the play.

In a video posted by Broadway.com (which could not be embedded in the blog), at the 1:30 mark, Kiefer Sutherland states:

"As excited as I am to be doing something finally in New York on Broadway, I would've done this play in Poughkeepsie or Scranton, where it was originally done. The play is what's important, and it is a true American classic."

To view the video, click on the image above or click here.


Also, on a side note, Alicia (aka kittybelle on Twitter) reminded me that "The greatest thing about that line is that we know Kiefer's actually been to Scranton and hung out for a little while."

And this also reminded me that Keifer Sutherland's band (it may have been
Billy Boy On Poison) actually played in-store at Gallery of Sound in Edwardsville, PA (across the river from Wilkes-Barre, PA) several years ago.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Gasland, Award-Winning Documentary by Wayne County Native Josh Fox, Available To Borrow on DVD From Library

Two copies of the documentary Gasland, written and directed by Wayne County native Josh Fox, is now available to borrow on DVD from the Lackawanna County Library System.

In Gasland, Josh Fox received an offer to drill for natural gas under his property in Pennsylvania; in response, he did what few landowners think to do--he conducted his own research into the drilling process. The film won the 2010 Special Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival.

To place a hold on the DVD of Gasland, click here.

Tickets Now Available For The Mother Load by Scranton Native Amy Wilson Saturday, February 19th; Includes Post-Show Meet-And-Greet

Author/playwright/actor and Scranton native Amy Wilson will be bringing her acclaimed hit show Mother Load to Scranton Cultural Center on Saturday, February 19th 2011 at 8 PM. To purchase tickets, which includes a post-show meet-and-greet, click here.

Wilson is also the author of the bestselling book When Did I Get Like This?, which features tons of references to Scranton. To place a hold, click here.

For more information on her Amy Wilson's upcoming return to Scranton, click here.

Click here for a previous blog entry on Amy Wilson.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

That Championship Season by Jason Miller (1972)

With all of the excitement about the upcoming all-star revival of Jason Miller's That Championship Season on Broadway, I decided to go back and read the actual play itself. I had only previously seen snippets of the film, so I wanted to go back and read the original Tony- and Pulitzer Prize winning play by Jason Miller, who was born in Queens, NY on April 22, 1939 and died in his adopted hometown of Scranton, PA (where he was raised and lived for most of his life) on May 13th, 2001.

That Championship Season tells the story of a tense reunion between a group of 4 former high school basketball champs and their coach at his home in the Lackawanna Valley in the early 1970s. Early in the text of the play, Miller includes brief references to both Scranton and Old Forge.

The Scranton reference appears on page 11 of the 1972 Atheneum edition of the play. The characters of Tom (a former member of the team who is now an alcoholic) and George (another member of the team who is now the town mayor--of presumably Scranton--and up for reelection) are having a discussion about former teammate and wealthy businessman Phil:

I cancel at least five speeding tickets for him a month. He's going out with this seventeen-year-old, believe that, up in Scranton.

On page 13 is a reference to James (another teammate, a school principal and Tom's brother) purchasing beer in Old Forge, PA:

Where'd you guys go for the beer, New Jersey?

Phil wanted Schlitz. We had to go to Old Forge.

On a side note, I noticed that the text of the play does include seven instances of the dreaded N-word. With the recent controversy over sanitizing Mark Twain's The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by replacing each use of the N-word with the word "slave," I can't help but wonder if the upcoming and highly anticipated Broadway revival (which officially opens March 6th and will run through May 29th, with previews beginning on February 9th) will keep Miller's original text intact or modify the use of certain controversial words. My colleague (and frequent contributor to this blog) Evelyn G.--who actually knew Jason Miller when she and her husband lived in New York in the 1970s--has tickets to an upcoming performance, so I will make sure to ask her if the producers made any changes to the text to suit modern audiences.

The book of Jason Miller's play That Championship Season is available to borrow from the Lackawanna County Library System. To place a hold, click here.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Blue Valentine (2010)

On January 5th, I took a day trip to New York City to see Blue Valentine; at the time, the film was playing in a total of 4 theaters nationwide (NYC and Los Angeles) but has slowly been expanding. Since I am more familiar with midtown/uptown Manhattan (it was also playing at the Angelika Film Center downtown on Houston Street), I opted to see the film at Lincoln Plaza Cinemas on Broadway and 62nd Street. The 3:30 matinee was packed, and the actual screen size was on the smaller side and some of the image went above the white screen (more on that later).

Blue Valentine is a love story that intercuts between the beginning and (possibly?) end of the relationship between house painter Dean (Ryan Gosling) and nurse Cindy (Michelle Williams). And I thought the film was absolutely superb. Not only did the performances blow me away, but the story just ripped my heart out.

The scene filmed in the Reference Department at Albright Memorial Library on May 13, 2009 appears about an hour, 10 minutes into the film during one of Cindy's "past" sequences. Dean had previously given Cindy his business card with a personal message written by him on the back. While seated at the table with classmates in the Periodicals Room (you can recognize the chairs, tables and even magazine holders--or Princeton Files--in the background), Cindy's on-off boyfriend Bobby (Mike Vogel) snatches the card out of her hand. I mentioned the framing issue previously because I did not see any of the stained glass windows of the Albright Memorial Library building--but maybe I just missed them out of sheer excitement.

The exterior of the Albright Memorial Library building itself also appears in the background of a scene about 30 minutes into Blue Valentine. As Michelle Williams is riding the bus alone to meet Bobby, you distinctly see Albright Memorial Library as it passes through the bus windows. At first I wasn't 100% positive that it indeed was the library, so I asked Dan Flosdorf, who was responsible for the sound design, sound editing, and the re-recording mixing of Blue Valentine, via Dan's Twitter and he told me via a tweet, "I believe it is."

As of Friday, January 14th, Blue Valentine was only playing in limited release in 230 movie theaters nationwide, but it is expected to expand wider (most likely including Cinemark in Moosic, which plays a lot of art films in its CineArts series) as the critically acclaimed film gains well-deserved momentum during awards seasons.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Sets Arriving For Broadway Revival of That Championship Season

When I went to see Blue Valentine in NYC today (more on that next week when I return from StayCation), I managed to snap a couple of cell phone shots (poor quality) of the sets arriving for the upcoming Broadway revival of Jason Miller's That Championship Season at the Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre.