Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Dreaming of Chocolate, Movies, Plays...and Books



By Paul

Last night I dreamed I went to Manderlay again.

Wait! Wrong dream. Wrong opening line, too.

I dreamed of chocolate. And no wonder. Two nights ago, Renee ("She Who Must Be Wined & Dined") and I attended a chocolate tasting. That's right. Chocolate. Not wine. Not cheese. Not little pigs in the blanket at Trader Joe's.

On Sunday, the incomparable K Chocolatier opened the doors of its new Brentwood store to a lucky group of fressers and All-Pro Chocoholics. Family owned and operated by Diane Kron, her husband Tom and son David, K Chocolatier has been featured on The Food Network and Good Morning America, and with good reason. Renee loves the little teddy bears (above right) and the "K Hi-Balls," dark chocolate filled with vodka, Scotch, or in one combo, vodka with a hint of vermouth. Yes, a desert martini. My favorites are the chocolate-covered slices of ginger and the truffles (above left), three textures of intense dark chocolate with whipped centers.

As usual, I ate too much. On the other hand, have you read the recent news stories about the health benefits of flavanoids in dark chocolate? Okay, so that's a rationalization. But it works for me. Yes, you can order from the K Chocolatier website. And no, I don't get a commission.

AND, IN LOCAL ENTERTAINMENT...

Renee ("She Who Must Be Entertained") and I attended a screening of "All the King's Men," the new adaptation of Robert Penn Warren's Pulitzer Prize winning novel. As every English Lit student knows, the novel was based on the rise and fall of Louisiana's Huey Long. Interestingly, Steve Zaillian, the film's director, has been quoted as saying he's never watched the 1949 movie starring Broderick Crawford. (He also hadn't read the novel before being hired to adapt it). No matter. It's terrific. A study of power and corruption and the blurry line between good and evil, the movie packs a wallop. Easy bet. Sean Penn will be nominated for an Academy Award as best actor. If he's not, I'll start writing this blog in iambic pentameter.

We also caught the musical comedy/murder mystery "Curtains" at the Ahmanson Theatre. What a hoot. It's one of the last collaborations of John Kander and the late Fred Ebb ("Chicago," "Cabaret"). The multi-talented David Hyde Pierce stars as a stage-struck homicide detective who just can't help improving an out-of-town musical bomb, even as he investigates a backstage murder. Hilarious. And yes, headed for Broadway.

YOU WANT BOOKS? WE GOT BOOKS...

But, this is an author's website. We're supposed to talk about books, right?

Okay, if you're in the Los Angeles area, please stop by the West Hollywood Book Fair this Sunday. If you do, you'll find a couple hundred authors, actors, comics, poets, cooks, and assorted WEHO meshugenahs.

I'll be moderating a panel, "Writers Who Thrill" with a terrific group of wordmeisters, including Andrew Klavan ("Damnation Street"), Gayle Lynds ("The Last Spymaster"), Thomas Perry ("Nightlife"), and Theresa Schwegel ("Probable Cause").

Another panel I wouldn't miss: "Funny Ladies" featuring our own Patty Smiley along with Jerrilyn Farmer, Harley Jane Kozak, and Sue Ann Jaffarian.

On Saturday afternoon, when all good Americans will be watching Michigan vs. Notre Dame, I'll be speechifying and signing "Kill All the Lawyers" at "Mysteries To Die For," in Thousand Oaks. Love the store, love the owners, love the readers. And...right across the street is Chocolatine French Pastries Tea Room. Terrific homemade hot chocolate and some unique creations, such as corn flakes dipped in melted chocolate.

Do you detect a pattern here?

I have to go now. There are some little round "K Hi-Balls" filled with Scotch that are calling me.

By Paul



11 comments:

  1. I saw and liked Curtains, too. It was entertaining but it couldn't beat The Drowsy Chaperone, a hilarious musical about a lonely guy who loves old musicals.

    FYI, you'll have to include the chocolate museum in Brule, Belgium on your next European adventure.

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  2. Ooooh. Chocolate, good books, and coffee with Kahlua. Dang, can I take the afternoon off? Or the whole day, week, year?
    Sounds like you had a lot of fun, Paul. Remember - all things in moderation: which translates as 'save some for us, we'll be right over!" :-D
    Haven't seen 'Curtains', but I was most impressed with a professional stage production of "Wait Until Dark' ten years ago. One of my favourite Aussie actresses played the lead, and what a spellbinding job she did. :-D Haven't had the chance to see live theatre much since then, except Mamma Mia three times in two countries.
    Enjoy the chocolate! Have fun at the book events - I wish we lived on the West coast.
    Cheers
    marianne

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  3. A chocolate museum in Belgium...I'm there! (Patty is the most sophisticated rough water sailor I know.)

    I missed "The Drowsy Chaperone," which also moved from L.A. to Broadway. Hoping after all its Tony Awards they'll bring it back. "Jersey Boys," which won best musical, comes to the Ahmanson in Summer 2007.

    Marianne, I saw a little summer theater production of "Wait Until Dark," many years ago and remember a couple of jolts that nearly knocked me out of my seat.

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  4. "K Hi-Balls," dark chocolate filled with vodka, Scotch, or in one combo, vodka with a hint of vermouth"

    Finally, proof there is a God.

    Best,
    Mark Terry
    www.markterrybooks.com

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  5. Mark,
    I have to admit I was skeptical about those pricey little martini balls. I've never gone for apple martinis or any of those kids' drinks. I've even had a character rail that a martini should taste "like liquid steel, not fruit punch."

    But...where the K Hi-Balls are concerned...give me a handful.

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  6. What are you saying about your reading audience? If ALL good Americans will be watching Michigan vs. Notre Dame on Saturday afternoon, then WHO exactly will be listening to you "speechifying?"
    I guess only bad Americans, or, good or bad non-Americans will be listening to your oratory this Saturday.

    The N.D. game should be a competitive one, unlike the one last Saturday......

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  7. Jon,
    I view this season as merely prelude for Penn State. I look forward to September 8, 2007 when for the rematch in Happy Valley with a Quinn-less Notre Dame. The Nits will be senior-laden, as the Irish are this year, and the result, I trust, will be different. So help me, Joe!

    And yes, what could be more American than settling down this Saturday to watch Michigan vs. Notre Dame and then Nebraska vs. U.S.C.?

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  8. Paul,
    Yeah, yeah, after a terrible loss, one can take comfort in "there's always next year." For MOST of PSU's games of the new millennium, that was all they could say--last year's major turnaround being the exception.Perhaps they'll give you a game worth TiVoing this weekend....
    The query I made went unanswered.......so is listening to your speeches an AMERICAN pasttime or no? I'm going to be a true patriot and watch ND and USC ganes.....but not PSU.
    PS: Go Ohio State

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  9. Jon,
    Listening to me is a soporific experience, much as recreation science class is for the Ohio State football players. I do not, however, question their superiority on the field. I think the Buckeyes are the best team in the land and will wreak their revenge on the Nits for last season in less than a fortnight. For the record, I cheered mightily for Ohio State against Texas, as I am a Big Ten patriot, even if league officials cannot count to eleven.

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  10. Jon,
    Listening to me is a soporific experience, much as recreation science class is for the Ohio State football players. I do not, however, question their superiority on the field. I think the Buckeyes are the best team in the land and will wreak their revenge on the Nits for last season in less than a fortnight. For the record, I cheered mightily for Ohio State against Texas, as I am a Big Ten patriot, even if league officials cannot count to eleven.

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  11. True.......I doubt that any OSU football players,nor players at other "institutes of higher learning," would even know what a "soporific experience" meant!
    Given you self described proclivity, you could have a new career (you've had several already,right?) making big bucks selling CDs of your key note speeches at Insomniacs Conventions....
    However, your somnolent abilities may apply not only to your speeches.....
    It's a little too early to say which team is the best in the land, but I am inclined to agree with you about OSU.....though USC and ND may have something to say about that

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