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Stealing the Show

chef-posterartMy husband and I rarely agree on movies. I like dramas, historical films, documentaries, and the occasional rom-com. He on the other hand, favors sci-fi, thrillers, and action-adventure movies. You see the problem, I’m sure. Maybe you even sympathize. But it was a dog-day-of-summer afternoon and although both of us had things we SHOULD have been doing, neither of us wanted to do them, so my husband said, “Think there’s a movie we could go to?” Quickly, I spun up Fandango and started perusing the possibilities. “A Most Wanted Man”? ” Nope.” “The Hundred Foot Journey? Oh, no, wait. I’m saving that for Girls Night Out with Sylvia and Angie.” (There was a “whew” from the male in the room. I heard it.) “Ummmm…..Would you go see Chef? It’s got Dustin Hoffman and and Robert Downey, Jr. and Sofia Vergara and it’s about…” “Yeah, I’ll go see that.”


It didn’t matter that he didn’t know what it was about. I knew I had him at Sofia Vergara and it started in exactly 20 minutes, which was just enough time, so off we went.


In case you’re not up to the minute on this summer’s hot movies, “Chef” is a light comedy road movie about the recently fired chef-de-cuisine of an A-list LA restaurant and his efforts to simultaneously re-build his professional life and his family life in the back end of a food truck. (For the trailer,  click  here: http://www.fandango.com/chef_165720/movieoverview ) We enjoyed it – and why not? The cast is stellar, the story is heart-warming, the soundtrack is awesome, and all of that is well and good.


However, there was a scene-stealer and truthfully, I think it made the movie. I don’t know if

rec22 everyone would notice, but I did. And pretty much the rest of the theater audience became appreciatively aware of it when I jumped up in the middle of a dialogue between Jon Favreau and Sofia Vergara and pointed it out in not-very hushed tones. There on the patio wall, right over Sofia Vargara’s left shoulder, was REC22. “OMG. ‘Birds in Flight’ That’s OURS!!!”


You want to talk about product placement! Promenantly hung on the mocha-colored stucco wall, delecately framed by bougainvilla. It was lovely. It was perfect. It was OURS!


So when do you want YOURS to ship? It’s not every day that you have the chance to order a genuine piece of Hollywood memorabilia. This is your moment! Don’t wait! (“As seen in ‘Chef’ ” plaque sold separately.)


Contributed by Linda for It’s Cactus

The Enduring Mystique of La Sirene

"Mermaid Mysteries" one of a kind sculpture by Michee Remy

“Mermaid Mysteries” one of a kind sculpture by Michee Remy

Mermaids are the among most ubiquitous of sea creatures, at least from a cultural point of view. They appear in ancient legends of the deep from Egypt and Greece, the Eskimos have them in their lore, as do the Western Europeans, Australian Aborigines and the tribes of Africa. Across boundaries of time and space, this half woman, half fish is at once powerful, beautiful, protective, hypnotic, and dangerous.

It was from the combined influences of West African spirit worship and Western European folklore that mermaids made their entrance into the New World. Mami Wata, as the sea spirit was known to West African tribes, was an integral part of the belief system that traveled with enslaved Africans to the Americas. Reestablished and revisualized across the Atlantic, Mami Wata emerged in new communities and under different guises, among them Yemanja, Santa Marta la Dominadora, and most commonly, La Sirene. African–based faiths honoring these manifestations of Mami Wata continue to flourish today throughout the Americas, including Brazil, the Dominican Republic, and Haiti.

From Europe, and beginning with Christopher Colombus, mermaid veneration and ideology was reinforced. During his explorations of Hispaniola Colombus wrote of seeing, “…three mermaids, though these were not as pretty as mermaids that had been previously described to me. In fact, somehow in the face, they appeared more as men.” Too bad for Colombus. Years later in 1614, Captain John Smith had a more pleasant experience, taking note of a lovely mermaid that had, “a fish-tail, round eyes, a finely-shaped nose, well-formed ears, and long green hair.” Though he could not have failed to notice her naked breasts, his impression of that was delicately omitted from the Captain’s log…(!)


One of a kind "Mermaids" sculpture by Julio Balan is clearly inspired  by voodoo culture.

One of a kind “Mermaids” sculpture by Julio Balan is clearly inspired by voodoo culture.

In the practice of Voodoo today, La Sirene is recognized as a strong female deity. She is capable of bestowing great fortune and even magical powers upon those who do her honor, and bringing catastrophy to those with whom she is displeased. Her beauty strenghens her powers of enchantment but also causes her to be vain. She is associated with lunar movements and also with dreams which she uses as tools of inspiration and creativity for endeavors such as writing, painting, and music. In reference to these characteristics, La Sirene is often depicted with a mirror, a comb, and a horn or other musical instrument. Of these items, the mirror is most significant. The glass itself is representative of the sea, while the back of the mirror is the dividing point between La Sirene’s underwater world and ours.


Contributed by Linda for It’s Cactus






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