Farewell, Paul…

I hadn’t heard the news when Nikki first texted me yesterday, and I wasn’t in a position to get online and find out.  So when she told me what had happened, I was in shock.

It was through Nikki and Chadd that I was introduced to The Renaissance Guild, and to its founder, Paul Riddle, Jr.  They had known him for several years – PrimaDonna‘s earliest work was with TRG, and Nikki (as actor and producer) and Chadd (as director) were both active supporters of the theatre company.  So when I joined PDP, I joined their partnership as well. Continue reading

The Danville Train Makes Its Last Stop

There are certain films that are not merely great to me.  They’re not merely my favorite films of all time.  They’re so ingrained in the cultural, intellectual, and emotional DNA of “Lee Hurtado” that when you see them, you might actually understand me a little better.

And one of those films is The Last Waltz. Continue reading

Today We Are All Old…

The thing about the combination of memory and celebrities is that it really messes with our perceptions of aging.  We get so used to seeing our favorite stars as young and in their prime that we’re not prepared for the truth that what time does to us, it does to them as well.  No, we try to tell ourselves, that can’t be the same guy.

It gets even more complicated when you’re talking about Dick Clark. Continue reading

Cinema’s Last Great Moralist

While the goal of all movies is to entertain, the kind of film in which I believe goes one step further. It compels the spectator to examine one facet or another of his own conscience. It stimulates thought and sets the mental juices flowing.

– Sidney Lumet (as quoted in his New York Times obituary)

At PDP, we have a reading list of essential books about the art, craft, and business of entertainment.  A couple of years ago, during our Scene From Both Sides class, Nikki and I updated it for the students, and have kept up with it ever since.

I take that list pretty seriously.  And when we were preparing it for that class, I knew that there was one book that had to be on it, the one book that for me is not merely essential, but necessary for everyone who’s serious about film: Making Movies, by Sidney Lumet. Continue reading