Following the great day at Disneyland to celebrate my friend Robert Shadbolt’s birthday, our group decided on dinner at Anaheim’s Bubba Gump Shrimp Company restaurant. The chain of Bubba Gump restaurants takes it’s name and inspiration from the 1994 Forrest Gump film originally directed by Robert Zemeckis and starring Tom Hanks in the title role. As a themed restaurant, Bubba Gump offers a seafood dining menu in addition to a themed gift shop and effectively offering a unique way to keep the spirit of Forrest Gump alive and well in the mind of consumers long after the original theatrical run of the film.
According to the press kit, Paramount Pictures originally approached Rusty Pelican Restaurants, Inc. about extending the brand of Forrest Gump into the realm of casual family dining. And by 1996, the very first Bubba Gump Shrimp Company themed restaurant opened it’s doors in Montery, California. The company specifically targets tourist destinations for their restaurants, such as the Anaheim location which is a couple of blocks away from Disneyland, and other locations including Universal’s City Walk in both Hollywood and Orlando, Times Square in New York, Pier 39 in San Francisco, and the Mall of America in Minnesota. Bubba Gump is Paramount’s most successful foray into themed restaurant licensing, but wasn’t the first.
Continue reading Paramount Builds Theme Restaurants Of Entertainment Properties
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Last night I got together with some friends for what we call “Economy DVD Night” where we get together at the host’s home in order to view a DVD of a preselected movie. It essentially serves as an excuse to get together more often by not always choosing to meet out at restaurants and having to spend a bunch of money just for the sake of getting together.
The rules of Economy DVD night are simple:
1. Everyone eats on their own beforehand… don’t bring anything.
2. Come as you are, even if you’re in work clothes or sweats.
3. The host will provide the basics: movie, drinks and a snack.
4. After the movie, everyone cleans-up after themselves (then gets out of the hosts’ hair!)
Last night’s host, my friend Jason Murillo, decided to feature the movie “Election” featuring Reese Witherspoon and Matthew Broderick. I had never seen the movie before. To be honest, when it was originally released, I thought the trailer looked the kind of movie I wouldn’t enjoy. Reese wasn’t yet the major star she is today, and it just looked like retreading high school memories which I certainly didn’t want to do at the time. And I don’t consider myself enough of a Matthew Broderick fan for his presence in a movie to get me to see it. But since Jason stated the movie is one of his all time favorite movies and it is a black comedy, I thought why not come check it out.
Continue reading Seeing Election For The First Time
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Tonight I met up for dinner with my good friend Vito Grandolfo, before we attended a screening of the classic campy film, “Mommie Dearest” starring Faye Dunaway as Joan Crawford. The screening was part of the local FilmOut monthly movie series at the Birch North Park Theatre in North Park. Vito and I met up with some friends who were also planning to see the show. It seemed like a good and fun idea to go see a wickedly bad movie that definitely inspired some audience participation as fans of the movie shouted out some of the biggest lines from the movie back at the screen.
I had never been to the Birch North Park Theatre before. It was a nice venue for one as old as it is. It wasn’t too large and wasn’t too small either. It looks like the venue is able to be used for stage productions as well, tonight there just happened to be a huge screen parked on the stage. Before the movie began they did a raffle for a few prizes and even awarded one for someone who had come dressed as Joan Crawford. Additionally the screening had Billy Masters as an opening act. He came, shared some stories about the movie, how Faye Dunaway thinks the movie killed her career, and gave away some prizes. I’m not entirely sure who he is, but he was moderately entertaining. He said to watch out for his favorite part in the movie which occurs during the infamous wire hanger scene and the cleaning powder where Faye goes cross-eyed for a moment.
Continue reading Mommie Dearest Screening In San Diego
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One of the cast albums I’ve most been looking forward to has finally been released – sort of. Last week, the cast album for “9 To 5” got released digitally, next week it gets released on CD. It seems a little unprecedented to stagger the releases for a Broadway show, but it seems to allow the label to double dip where the gotta-have-it-now crowd can get their instant gratification and those that prefer to have the physical product can wait a couple weeks longer or get both.
In the case of “9 To 5” I fall into the crowd that will double dip. I saw the stage production last September when it premiered in Los Angeles for it’s Pre-Broadway trial run. The show written by Patricia Resnick, the original screenwriter of the classic film, along with songs written by one of the original film’s stars, Dolly Parton, have come together to bring the classic to life in a new form. One of the disadvantages of seeing the show early is that the cast album wasn’t readily available to purchase following seeing the show, so I’ve had to wait from September until now. So the early digital release version, was a no brainer for me, and because I will want the physical edition, I’ll be getting that too.
Continue reading 9 To 5 Cast Album Now Available
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On March 11th, I caught “The Broadway Tour” of Jonathan Larson’s Epic masterpiece, RENT, hit San Diego’s Civic Theatre. I went with my friend Louie Taylor. Part of the main reason I wanted to go see RENT was because the main draw of the tour is that it has been billed as featuring original cast members, Anthony Rapp and Adam Pascal who would be reprising their roles as Mark and Roger respectively. An unadvertised bonus is that another original cast member, Gwen Stewart, is also reprising her role in the tour as one of the ensemble players as a variety of characters and featured solo vocalist during “Seasons Of Love.”
As the first tour since RENT closed on Broadway in September 2008, it seems all the more poignant to see such a high profile tour with Original cast members Rapp and Pascal on board. They’re no strangers to coming back to the roles that made them Broadway stars as they both were part of the original workshop shows, transferred the show to Broadway and then later to London, then recreated their roles in the film version of RENT in 2005, and then for a limited engagement in Summer 2007 returned to Broadway according to BroadwayWorld.com. These roles have been a part of their lives off and on for the last 15 years. In the interview in the Playbill handed out at the performance Adam Pascal suspects “when we’re done with this tour, I have a strong suspicion that this will be it for me and RENT. At some point I am going to be too old to do the part.”
Continue reading RENT Gets Paid In San Diego With Anthony Rapp And Adam Pascal
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