…sign at infamous bar La Bodeguita in Havana, Cuba:

La Bodeguita

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memories of the ’70s – Ring My Bell by Anita Ward

downloadA song that was intended as a song for an 11 year old became a disco hit of 1979: Ring My Bell by Anita Ward.

Written by singer Frederick Knight, the song was intended for a teenybopper singer Stacy Lattisaw, the song focusing on how her age group loved being on the phone.

But Lattisaw didn’t want to sign with Knight’s Juana Records, which he had launched when his singing career ended, and the instead, Knight turned to Anita Ward.

She was in the process of recording her debut album for Juana Records, and didn’t like the song. But Knight said it would be good to capitalize on the disco trend, and she relented by including the song on her album Songs of Love, after Knight rewrote the lyrics to reflect an adult point of view.

Released in early summer 1979, Ring My Bell raced up the charts, powered by the passion for disco on radio stations across Canada and the USA as well in the dance clubs.

Hitting number one in July 1979, the single topped the US Billboard Hot 100 charts as well as the Soul Singles charts.

Ward was nominated for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance at the 1980 Grammy Awards.

And the song became a disco classic although Ward has been relegated to one hit wonder status since that song.

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Pets & relatives

Spotted in Tofino, Canada:

neuter your pets


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Friday feeling in Toronto:


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memories of the ’80s – Ishtar

Image result for ishtar movie posterThe late 1980s brought a buddy film to the big screen which became notorious for its failure: Ishtar.

Written and directed by Elaine May and produced by Warren Beatty, the film starred Beatty and Hoffman as two songwriters who travel to Morocco and get embroiled in a secret CIA operation.

Lyle Rogers (Beatty) and Chuck Clarke (Hoffman) are desperate for some success and take the advice of their agent Marty and take a job in Marrakesh, Morocco to kickstart their careers, despite the fact that there is a political unrest in the region.

Rogers and Clarke head off to Marrakesh by way of Ishtar, a neighbouring country. Clarke meets a mysterious woman named Shirra (Isabel Adjani) who asks for his passport and after he lends it to her, finds out it will take some time to get a new one from the embassy.

As Rogers heads off to Morocco to insure they still have their gig, Clarke stays in Ishtar and meets a CIA agent, Jim Harrison (Charles Grodin), who promises to get him across the border.

Rogers and Clarke both are being used by the CIA, Shirra and leftist guerrillas, as a CIA secret operation could be exposed and they may now be involved in a plot to overthrow the Emir of Ishtar.

May had wanted to make a buddy film like had been done by Bob Hope and Bing Crosby in the past, casting the stars against type for comedic value and set in the Middle East.

Beatty and Hoffman both felt they owed May, who played a role in the success of their past films – Heaven Can Wait and Tootsie – but initially were not impressed by the script, but with some edits and additions, both agreed to the project.

With a budget of US$27.5 million, filming began, with Beatty and Hoffman  given $12.5 million before principle photography, which they refused, but Columbia Pictures said it was unnecessary as they had plenty of money for investment in the project.

As well, because of a prior investment by parent company Coca-Cola, the production company went to film in the Sahara Desert as opposed to saving money and filming in the US Southwest. There was a lot of tension in this part of the world, because of attacks between Israeli Forces and the Palestine Liberation Organization, which had an office in Tunisia.

The budget began to spiral and even before release, the film’s excesses were well-known thanks to regular leaks to the media of on the set problems and continued spending. The final budget of the film hit US$51 million, an increased of US$23.5 million.

Released by Columbia Pictures in May 1987, the film was panned by major critics and was eventually chosen as the worst film of the year by Siskel and Ebert at The Movies, as well as nominated for three Golden Raspberries.

Coca-Cola reassessed its role in entertainment, eventually selling it two years later to Sony Pictures. And Ishtar became one of the worst films of 1980s, earning only $14 million at the box office.




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Did you see it?

This blue lizard won’t be scampering away (as seen in Pucon, Chile)


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memories of the ’70s – Heaven Can Wait

Heaven can wait poster.jpgThe late 1970s brought a unique drama/comedy to the big screens with Heaven Can Wait.

Directed by Warren Beatty and Buck Henry, the story was based on the book of the same name by Harry Segall.

Elaine May and Beatty adapted the book for the screenplay; previously it had been made into the 1941 film Here Comes Mr. Jordan.

Beatty was also the lead:  Joe Pendleton, a back-up quarterback for the Los Angeles Rams, who while cycling around LA, is spotted by an over zealous guardian angel as someone who is possibly about to die, and is brought to Heaven.

Pendleton is not convinced he was supposed to die and demands an investigation by the man in charge of the afterlife, Mr. Jordan. And Pendleton is right – the angel has made a mistake, and Pendleton was not scheduled to die. But he can’t be returned to his body as it has been cremated.

Offering a way to get back to Earth and become human again, Pendleton is asked to take over the body of billionaire Leo Farnsworth. He’s been drugged and drowned by his wife Julia (Dyan Cannon) and his secretary Tony (Charles Grodin).

Joe becomes Leo, freaking out Julia and Tony who had murdered him to gain control of his money. Ignoring their confusion, Joe/Leo decides to buy the Los Angeles Rams and become their new quarterback, convincing his former trainer Max (Jack Warden) that he is Joe now in Leo’s body.

Joe/Leo meets environmentalist Betty (Julie Christie), who had been fighting with Leo about his anti-environment stance, but is attracted to her, which she finds very confusing. Meanwhile Julia and Tony continue their plot and shoot Joe/Leo. Is he really dead this time?

So what happens to Joe/Leo? Do the murderous duo succeed? Do Betty and Max help reveal the murder plot? And what happens to the LA Rams and the Superbowl?

Current and former football players of the era and sportscasters were included in the film including Bryant Gumbel, Curt Gowdy, Al DeRogatis and Dick Enberg.

With a budget of US$15 million, Beatty and company filmed all over Los Angeles, including a pre-game of the LA Rams versus San Diego Chargers for the film.

Released in June 1978 by Paramount Pictures, the sports/comedy/drama film gained mainly favourable reviews and went on to be nominated for nine Academy Awards, including Best Actor (Beatty), Best Supporting Actress (Cannon), Best Supporting Actor (Warden), Best Adapted Screenplay (May and Beatty),  Best Director (Beatty and Henry) and Best Picture.

Heaven Can Wait scored box office gold, earning US$81.6 million, the the second adaptation of Segall’s book.

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