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"Ace of Cakes" Bakes the Obama Inauguration Cake

Saturday January 19th, 2013 10:39:11 PM JESSICA GRESKO

Baltimore celebrity baker Duff Goldman says the cake he's baking for President Barack Obama's inaugural ball is going to be more elegant than crazy, full of stars and stripes and a whole lot of glitter.

Goldman says the staff at his Charm City Cakes bakery, which had its extreme cakes featured in the Food Network show "Ace of Cakes," began Friday to decorate the details to put on the cake. They'll start baking the cake itself on Sunday, the day before the inauguration and the Commander in Chief's Ball where the cake will be served.

The finished product will stand 3 to 4 feet tall, drip with patriotic fondant bunting and sparkle with clusters of stars shooting out like fireworks.

"Glitter is going to be all over the place," Goldman said in a telephone interview.

On Saturday, four bakers were in the process of replicating in fondant and royal icing the presidential seal and the seals of the four military branches honored at the Commander in Chief's Ball. Goldman said they are focused on the details, such as making sure the eagle in the presidential seal faces the correct way and that the bird holds exactly six arrows in its talons. They also want to make sure they spell the Latin motto on the seal correctly: E pluribus unum.

"This is one you really want to spellcheck, big time," said Goldman, whose television show ran for 10 seasons before going off the air in 2011.

Goldman said the whole cake will take about 100 hours to complete. When finished, it is expected to weigh 50 pounds and serve several hundred people. Inside, guests will find Swiss buttercream frosting and layers of red velvet, lemon poppy seed, pineapple coconut, and pumpkin chocolate chip cake.

This isn't the only inauguration cake the bakery is making. Goldman says he is baking five other cakes for various inauguration events, including a 4-foot replica of the White House. Still, the Commander in Chief's Ball cake is special because the event at the Washington Convention Center is one of only two official parties the president will attend.

Goldman said he played it cool when the Presidential Inaugural Committee called about two weeks ago to ask him to make a cake.

"When you get off the phone you get to scream, 'We're making the inaugural cake,'" he said.


Josh Brolin Held on Public Intoxication Charge

Sunday January 6th, 2013 06:41:04 AM JASON KANDEL and NYREE ARABIAN

Actor Josh Brolin, who plays a police sergeant in the upcoming Hollywood movie, "Gangster Squad," was arrested Wednesday after police found him heavily intoxicated and unable to care for himself on a Santa Monica sidewalk, police said on Saturday.

Brolin was contacted by police in the 1600 block of Ocean Avenue around 11:30 p.m. Tuesday, said Santa Monica Police Sgt. Richard Lewis.

Brolin was held in custody on a misdemeanor public intoxication charged and released.

"This was a booking only to hold him until he sobered up," Lewis said. "We do not normally file any charges on persons for simple intoxication."

Police said they would only book someone on a more serious charge and request that the City Attorney's Office prosecute if that person became a "chronic drain on resources" or has multiple arrests, Lewis said.

"In this case," Lewis said, "no further action is being sought."

Brolin's profile on imdb.com said his "rugged features" and "natural charm" have worked for him.

The son of actor James Brolin, his star has risen recently. He's played roles as a policeman, a hunter, and the President of the United States.

In his most recent film, "Gangster Squad," he plays Sgt. John O'Mara on a Los Angeles Police Department unit that chases notorious mobster Mickey Cohen.

Calls and emails to Brolin's agent had not been returned Saturday evening.


Snoop Lion Would Love to Show Kids How to Smoke Pot

Friday January 4th, 2013 06:58:33 PM PATRICK HICKEY JR.

Of all the conversations Snoop Lion is awaiting to have with his three kids one day, there's one that has puffed its way ahead of all the others.

Snoop said in a recent interview with GQ magazine that he wants to have a sit down with his children about marijuana.

The legendary rapper, who changed his name in July from Snoop Dogg to Snoop Lion after a "spiritual awakening" during a trip to Jamaica, said he's looking forward to having the cannabis conversation.

"It's not that I would ever push weed on our kids," the rapper said in the January issue of GQ, "but if they wanted to, I would love to show them how, the right way, so that way they won't get nothing put in their s--- or overdose or trying some s--- that ain't clean."

His three children range in age from 12 to 18.

Last year, Lion, whose real name is Calvin Broadus, was arrested when a drug-sniffing K-9 found several joints and a prescription bottle with a half-ounce of marijuana in a trash can on his tour bus at a border inspection point in Texas.

Lion was arrested, issued a citation for misdemeanor drug possession and eventually released. 


'Office' Star John Krasinski Heads for the 'Promised Land' With Matt Damon

Friday December 28th, 2012 06:41:36 PM SCOTT HUVER

When John Krasinski moonlights from “The Office” he doesn’t mess around.

For the film “Promised Land,” Krasinski took on more than one side gig: not only does he act in it, he also concocted the story and screenplay with author Dave Eggers and co-star Matt Damon, and served as a producer.

Centered on the environmental effects of fracking, a controversial means of extracting natural gas, “Promised Land” represents Krasinski’s latest bid to expand his Hollywood horizons as the “The Office” ends its final season. Krasinski sat down recently to talk about his new film and what the future holds.

On the how the story’s setting inspired the issue at the core:

I had the idea for the script about two years ago, and my dad grew up in a small town outside of Pittsburgh in Natrona Heights, which was a steel mill town, and his dad worked three jobs, and they didn't have very much. And I remember when he was telling us, when I was a little kid – I was an ignorant eight-year-old – and I said, ‘So was your childhood awful?’ And he was like, ‘No, it was amazing. We had friends and family, and there was a sense of community and the faith that tomorrow would be a better day.’ And that really stuck with me my whole life, and I think the older I got, the more I realized that the country was moving away from that sort of pure ideal of community. So that's what the idea came from, and that's where I really started. So natural gas came in as an issue later on in the project once we had started coming up with these characters and this town and these groups of people that were going to interact, and it turned out to be the best backdrop for the story because it was basically just like high-stakes poker. There was so much potentially to gain and so much potentially to lose

On the reaction of the real people of Pennsylvania grappling with fracking’s pros and cons:

The really moving part was when we actually went to shoot in the town, they were so generous and so open to have us. But at the same time, people weren't against coming up and telling you how they really felt. And there were people who came up and said, ‘You shouldn't be making this movie. This is really good for us.’ And five minutes later, someone would come up and say, ‘Thank you for making this movie.’ We never expected it to be the movie that deals with this issue. Our whole thing was at the end to start a conversation, and whether it's fracking or something else, it's like these issues are something that have communities getting together and making decisions for themselves… is really the most important thing, especially this day and age.

On attempting to depict the residents of small town America without condescending or pandering:

I think sometimes the movies just show small town America as the people who just get bowled over by anyone who has an idea and in comes innovation and creators, and they just push these people aside. That's not the truth at all. These people are very dedicated to their opinions and very proud of where they're from. And that was the thing about getting there and first of all seeing how gorgeous it was. I mean it was beautiful…The truth is that you see what these people are fighting for. And when I say what they're fighting for, I don't mean either side of the issue. What I'm saying is that they are fighting for what everybody else is fighting for: their family, their friends, what they are from and where they're going. And it's a self-protective survival mode, and that's what's so admirable about these people really digging in on these issues. And it's happening all over the country.

On writing the screenplay with Matt Damon:

I met Matt when he was doing a movie with my wife [Emily Blunt], ‘The Adjustment Bureau,’ and we became friendly right away – which was really nice because being from Boston, the guy from ‘Good Will Hunting’ is pretty much the mayor of some fictitious town. One day we were on a double date, and he said, ‘I'm actually thinking of directing. Is there anything you that have in the works that you'd be willing to share with me?’ I said ‘Yeah’ and I brought him this idea, and he jumped onto it right away. We were writing within a week or two, and it worked really, really well. He actually was shooting ‘We Bought a Zoo’ in California at the time, and I was shooting my show ‘The Office,’ so we were kind of moonlighting. We worked really well together. We worked really fast. We have similar sensibilities and similar sense of humors, but at the end of the day, I think we're eternal optimists, so we wanted the same thing. We wanted this to be an uplifting kind of Frank Capra, Kazan movie. Where we were headed was always the same, so getting there was a lot quicker.

On where writing fits into his future after “The Office” ends:

I'm definitely going to cultivate it further. This was an incredible learning experience for me on every level, but I think, if I'm honest, the truth is it's a really big moment for me. This is a transition from the show that I think is meaning more to me than I think anybody knows. I think to have this show end is going to be such an incredibly emotional moment for me. Not only because of the show and the cast and the crew and that family aspect, but it's an era of my life that's going to be gone – and it is my twenties, basically. It's one of the most important decades of my life was spent with this show. And I owe it absolutely everything. No one would know my name if it wasn't for that show, and I wouldn't have any opportunity if it wasn't for this show, to sort of grow up and have that show support me. If someone asks me ‘What would you do if we gave you the keys?’ ‘This is the movie that I'd do if you gave me the keys.’ This is the kind of thing I've always been interested in. These are the characters that I've always been interested in watching or interested in playing, so I really want to do it more. And to have this team surrounding me – to write with Matt and to have Gus on board – it was so surreal and so inspiring, but also probably spoiled me because now I'm just like, ‘All I have to do is write some sort of document, then all of a sudden, Matt Damon and Gus Van Sant will sign on. How hard is this, folks?’ I don't know how the next ones are going to turn out, but also at home my wife was hugely supportive. And I'd always heard that story that the blank, white page is a scary thing. I'm like, ‘Come on – there are bigger things to be scared of.’ Then you sit down, and you realize, like, ‘Wow, that IS pretty scary.’ So she was the one who just kept saying ‘You can do it,’ and ‘Get up there and give it a couple more hours.’ And sure enough, it clicked, and I really, really loved it. So I'm going to give it a shot, and hopefully keep going as long as there's stories that I can tell well. And until then, I'll at least give it a shot.



Photo Credit: Focus Features

Matt Damon on Making 'Promised Land' With a Little Help From His Friends

Thursday December 27th, 2012 07:48:13 PM SCOTT HUVER

Matt Damon is one of the busiest actors in Hollywood, so it’s not surprising that he had issues carving out the time to write and direct his passion project “Promised Land.” Fortunately, some close friends had his back.



When it came to crafting his screenplay about a conflicted gas company rep who heads to America’s Heartland to buy up land for the controversial drilling process known as fracking, Damon, already an Academy Award-winning screenwriter, teamed with actor John Krasinski, who in turn brought in his friend, acclaimed novelist David Eggers.

Damon befriended Krasinski’s while working opposite the "Office" star's wife, Emily Blunt, in “The Adjustment Bureau.” In addition to co-writing, Krasinski took on the role of Damon’s eco-minded nemesis in the film.

And when Damon realized he needed a director, he turned to another friend, “Good Will Hunting” helmer Gus Van.



The "Promised Land" star and producer sat down recently to talk about the huge lift he got from his friends, how he recruited Frances McDormand and Hal Holbrook, and whether he’s ready to re-team with another old pal, Ben Affleck, for a future film.



Has being a parent made you more environmentally conscious?



Probably, yeah. I thought a lot, before I had kids, what kind of world we're leaving them. I think it gave me pause. The world is fraught with so many challenges and perils. Kids don't ask to be here. We bring them here, and then it's like, ‘Hey – this is the fix you're in. Sorry.’ I did think about that, but ultimately, problems get fixed when people get engaged with them, so I figured why not raise some kids who are smart and conscientious and good citizens and want to pitch in and maybe they'll clean up some of these problems.



You’ve compared this process to when you write with Ben Affleck.



Yeah. I think because we're all actors, the way we write: we get up, we're walking around, we're improvising. We're playing all the different characters, and then pretty soon the characters start to talk back at you because you start to realize how they'd answer certain things, and that's when it gets really exhilarating. And that was the same with writing with both guys. We realized that for some reason I write with guys who are taller than me, funnier than me. I don't know what that is, but I guess I subconsciously seek out certain qualities in a writing partner.




What made Gus the go-to director when it turned out you wouldn’t be able to direct as originally planned?



He's such a humanist –the performances in Gus's movies, from his little movies to his bigger movies, always have that feeling of being captured. He just has a way of getting real human behavior out of the actors. There're the Hal Holbrooks, where you don't have to do much to get human behavior out of an actor of that stature and experience, but also the local folks and the people who we use in the movie who fill out the whole cast, Gus just has a way of putting everybody at ease, just filming the real world. And that's what we really wanted with this, was for it to feel like a moment in time in the country, where we are now, where we are today. John and I joke that my best contribution as a producer was firing myself(as director).



How did you land Frances McDormand?



Early on, we decided to write that part for Fran. I met Fran and worked with her in 1994, 18 years ago – she played my mom in a TNT movie that Tommy Lee Jones directed – so I kept in touch with her over the years and seen her sporadically, and I just love her. I love her work. At the same time, I was going to direct the movie, and we had an early draft of the script and I've shown it to Ben Affleck, to Cameron Crowe. John had shown it to Aaron Sorkin, and we’d gotten really positive feedback from those guys. So we said, ‘Okay. We're not crazy. She lives near me in New York, and I printed out a copy, and I walked over and left it at her apartment building. She wrote back like the next day and she said, ‘I'm in – I love it.’ That was a huge kind of milestone for us in the whole process, because not only did we get validation from a great actress and know that our script was in pretty good shape, but we also knew that we really were writing for her.

Equally huge would be bringing in Hal Holbrook.



That character's got to speak to the older America and where we've come from, and very simply and with great authority. So we just looked at a list of all the actors who were over 70 who we felt could do that, and there are a handful... Hal's 88 now and he's just the guy…The first town hall scene, we originally overwrote, because we didn't know how much of the pro- and anti-fracking arguments we were going to use, so we just literally wrote all of them and it was a 15-page scene. But we decided ‘Why don't we just shoot all of it, and then in the edit we'll cull it down.’ And so that's what we did – but Hal showed up in the first take and he just goes all the way through the dialog. I mean, he was just such a pro The guy is just a horse of a man. 



How hard is it to play a character who lies so convincingly and isn’t telegraphing it to the audience. Is that a tricky thing to wrap your head around?



He believes he's giving them the medicine they need, and that first scene sets up that idea of a guy who's seen industry leave. He's got this rage, and it’s also that kind of streak of self-loathing that you get in those great [Elia] Kazan protagonists. But he's not wrong either. So that's what we wanted. We wanted it to feel really complex, and there aren't any one-dimensional characters or easy answers. 



Do you and Ben have a project that you'd like to get around to together at some point?



We're developing a few. There's one Whitey Bulger project that we were looking at… But the big question of it is, what's your way in?  It's tough. They're the biggest batch of irredeemable...

 

"Promised Land" opens in limited release Dec. 28


Jenni Rivera Memorial Date Set

Tuesday December 18th, 2012 09:45:08 PM COLIN BERTRAM

The family of Jenni Rivera announced that a private memorial service will be held for the recently deceased singer on Wednesday at the Gibson Amphitheatre in Los Angeles.

The memorial - called a "Celestial Graduation" by her family - will be held from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. and be led by Minister Pedro Rivera Jr.

"We will celebrate the graduation into heaven, with honors, of our beloved mother, daughter and sister Jenni Rivera," the statement read. "We appreciate the privacy and discretion given to the family on the day she is laid to rest. The burial services will be privately held."

Rivera died when the private plane she was traveling on crashed in a mountainous region of Mexico on Dec. 9.

Born in Long Beach, Calif., to Mexican immigrant parents, Rivera sold more than 15 million albums worldwide throughout her career and was a household name in Mexico and to Spanish speaking communities throughout the United States.

The 43-year-old mother of five was one of the biggest stars of banda, a brass-based, percussive form of Spanish-language pop music invented in northern Mexico but played heavily throughout the American Southwest. Banda traditionally was the domain of men, and Rivera's emergence and eventual dominance in the genre was groundbreaking.

Rivera's fame was expanding prior to the crash, thanks to a stint on television as the star of her own reality series "I Love Jenni" on Telemundo's mun2 cable channel, and the recent announcement that she had signed to take the lead role in a sitcom for ABC.

The company that owns the luxury jet on which she was traveling is under investigation by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, and the agency seized two of its planes earlier this year as part of the ongoing probe.

The Rivera family requested that in lieu of flowers at the memorial, donations be made to the Jenni Rivera Love Foundation - the charity founded by the singer which offers support services to single mothers and victims of both domestic and sexual abuse.



Photo Credit: AP


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