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TFF

The 16th edition of the annual cultural festival announced the program’s big closer on Saturday, April 29—A celebration of the 45th anniversary since The Godfather’s hit theaters. There will be back-to-back screenings of the The Godfather and The Godfather Part II at Radio City Music Hall. That will be followed by an all-star panel discussion with Academy Award®-winning director Francis Ford Coppola and actors Al Pacino, James Caan, Robert Duvall, Diane Keaton, Talia Shire, and Robert De Niro.

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Dorri Olds

Here is a list of book anthologies that include my creative nonfiction. These essays and short stories are of a lighter variety than my usual dark stuff. Enjoy!

 “Easy as A, B, C

Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Power of Positive: 101 Inspirational Stories about Changing Your Life through Positive Thinking (2012). Attitude is everything. This is an inspirational and uplifting book with tales about the power of positive thinking. In bad times, and good, readers will be encouraged to keep a positive attitude.

Compassion and a Cannoli

Chicken Soup for the Tea Lover’s Soul: Stories Steeped in Comfort (2007). Is enjoying a cup of tea your favorite part of the day? Is the brewing of a ‘cuppa’ a ritual that centers and calms you? Reconnect with the silent intimacy and introspection experienced while sipping tea.

Skinny Dotty and Her Chocolates

Chicken Soup for the Chocolate Lover’s Soul: Indulging in Our Sweetest Moments (2007). If you can’t live without a daily bite of chocolate, have visions of chocolate truffles dancing in your head, you will savor the decadence of this collection of stories.

Chicken Soup for the Recovering Soul: Your Personal, Portable Support Group with Stories of Healing, Hope, Love and Resilience (2005). Find inspiration for change and personal growth in each story as people in this dynamic community share their experiences of transformation, of lives reclaimed, of relationships renewed and futures full of promise.

With Help From a Friend

Chicken Soup for the College Soul: Inspiring and Humorous Stories About College (1998)

A collection of stories meant to guide, inspire, support and encourage readers throughout their college experiences.

The Charleston Dancer

At Grandmother’s Table: Women Write about Food, Life and the Enduring Bond between Grandmothers and Granddaughters (2001)

What would you give for an afternoon in your grandmother’s kitchen? Leaning over the countertop, you watched as she added the flour, just a little at a time, to the bowl. It seemed like magic.

“Oy, Come All Ye Faithful”

The Ultimate Christmas: The Best Experts’ Advice for a Memorable Season with Stories and Photos of Holiday Magic (2008)

An entertaining, touching, and uplifting collection of true stories and awe-inspiring photographs of holiday magic, love, family — and a bit of mania.

and

I had the pleasure of working with rock icon Frank Zappa’s younger brother Bobby Zappa on this coming of age memoir. The book is full of rich stories that will stay with me always. It would be fun to go back and tell my teenage self that in 2015 I would have this wonderful opportunity to write about one of my favorite musicians.

Zappa

 

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authors


THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 23

Sweet Reads
Dorri Olds, Court Stroud, Andy Marino, Leigh Stein

On February 23 at 6:30 pm Sweet Reads” at Joyce Bakeshop (646 Vanderbilt Avenue, Brooklyn) will feature the amazing Leigh Stein, author of three books and co-founder of Out of the Binders, a 501c3 nonprofit dedicated to advancing the careers of women and gender non-conforming writers, and Court Stroud, writer extraordinaire; musician Andy Marino and myself, Dorri Olds.

DIRECTIONS

C train to Chambers, Transfer to 2 train (Flatbush Ave/Brooklyn College), Take 2 to Grand Army Plaza and walk .2 miles (hop, skip and a jump). Head northeast on Plaza St. East. Turn left onto Vanderbilt Ave. and VOILA! You’re there. Other options: Path Train, or L to Q train. Takes 35-ish minutes.

SPEAKERS

Leigh Stein

Leigh Stein is the author of The Fallback Plan, which made the “highbrow brilliant” quadrant of New York magazine’s “Approval Matrix,” and her poetry collection Dispatch from the Future was selected for Publishers Weekly‘s Best Summer Books of 2012 list, and the Rumpus Poetry Book Club. Land of Enchantment, her memoir about young love, obsession, abuse, and loss, was recently released by Plume, and was selected by Junior Library Guild as an adult book with teen appeal. She has also written for the New York Times, the Washington PostAllurePoets & Writers, BuzzFeed, The Cut, Salon, and Slate. For her advocacy work, Stein has been called a “leading feminist” by the Washington Post, and honored as a “woman of influence” by New York Business Journal.

Court Stroud

Court Stroud works in the digital space after spending many years in the television industry. Stroud holds undergraduate degrees from the University of Texas at Austin and an MBA from the Harvard Business School. His writing has appeared in the New York Post, Huffington Post, Out, The Advocate, Instinct, Gay City News, and many other publications. Stroud resides in NYC’s Chelsea neighborhood with comic Eddie Sarfaty and their two cats, Dash and Julia.

Dorri Olds

Dorri Olds is an award-winning freelance writer whose work has appeared in book anthologies, and publications including The New York Times, Marie Claire, Woman’s Day, Time Out New York, The Fix, The Forward, Yahoo, and Tablet. Olds is a long-term member of the American Society of Journalists & Authors (ASJA) and frequent speaker at writing and social media events including ASJA Annual Conference, National Publicity Summit, CUNY (City University of New York), Book Expo America, and a BinderCon attendee.

Sweet ReadsAndy Marino

Andy Marino is a Brooklyn native and professional musician. He’s played sax and sung background vocals in R&B, Blues, Rock & Big Bands in such venues as SOB’s, Damrosch Park @ Lincoln Center, Brooklyn’s Prospect Park Bandshell (Welcome Back to Brooklyn Festival), The Bitter End, The Limelight, Tramps, Manny’s Car Wash, the Waldorf Astoria Hotel, two Elvis Impersonators’ bands &, yes, a few wedding bands. Touched by life events from the tragic, premature deaths of his two younger brothers, George & Nick; his two beloved children, Dom & Gina, having to move to the west coast after the divorce from his first wife; to finding the love of his life, Dianne, at age 49; Andy finds songwriting to be healing, joyful & surprising. Sometimes, he wakes up in the middle of the night hearing the music for an entire song and runs to record it on his iPhone.

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ASJA conference


American Society of Journalists and Authors (ASJA) Annual Writers Conference • Roosevelt Hotel in Manhattan
45 East 45th Street at Madison Avenue

Saturday, May 6 • Day 2

I will be on two panels this year at the American Society of Journalists and Authors (ASJA) annual writers conference. The first is on Friday, May 5 at 2:45. Its topic is “Using Smartphones To Tell Stories.” My second panel will be on Saturday, May 6. It’s titled “Tackling Tough Topics.”

ALSO SEE MY FRIDAY, MAY 5 PANEL: “USING SMART PHONES TO TELL STORIES”

In this workshop, moderated by ASJA member Candy Arrington with panelists Dorri Olds, Rudri Patel and Sharon Van Epps, writers will learn methods to craft tough topics through the power of story. We will be providing practical suggestions for coping and moving forward, and writing with a level of transparency that touches hearts and inspires hope.

Though many writers feel compelled to write about a difficult life circumstance, loss, or grief, it’s important to know how to structure content, what to include and what to omit. In writing tough topics, you have the opportunity to reach those who are hurting, feel alienated and alone, and are searching for ways to heal their pain. No matter what the situation, there are common threads that reach across gender, cultural, and ethical barriers to foster hope and healing.

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Writers

ASJA
Linda Marsa, Dan Q. Dao, Dorri Olds, Barclay Palmer, Coleen Jose

“Using Smartphones To Tell Stories”

This year I am speaking on two panels at the ASJA 46th annual writers conference.
On Friday, May 5, I will be speaking at 2:45 pm on a panel moderated by award-winning ASJA member Linda Marsa. Our talk will cover the nuts and bolts of producing video with a smartphone, including how to gather the elements and put them together:
  • Editing
  • Uploading to outlets from the field
  • What gear to get
  • Best editing apps
  • Voice over narrations
  • Downloading the video to your desktop
This session will also discuss how to find funding for multimedia projects, including grants, foundation funding and editorial outlet funding.

ALSO SEE MY SATURDAY, MAY 6 PANEL: “TACKLING TOUGH TOPICS”

The publishing industry occupies very different terrain than it did even a decade ago. With the industry shift from print to digital, new media for authors, the influx of content marketing, and revolving editors, freelancers—experienced and new—need to build their platforms while developing creative business strategies.
Never before has it been so essential for successful writers to Pivot in order to Publish and Prosper.
With more than 1,200 members, ASJA stands as the country’s leading and most prestigious association of successful journalists, authors and nonfiction and literary nonfiction writers.
The writers conference is a 2-day event held at the Roosevelt Hotel in Manhattan located at 45 East 45th Street at Madison Avenue.

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Science

image: scene from Timecrimes

Movies for Science Students and Sci-Fi Lovers

If you’re a science student, chances are you don’t see the world through the same eyes as everybody else. You’re probably the one always looking for scientific inaccuracies in films and your friends probably love you or hate you for it. But there are some great films that will keep even the most skeptical of science students entertained. Here are three great movies every science student should watch.

Timecrimes

Timecrimes is the story of Hector, played by Karra Elejalde, an ordinary guy who decides to go on a trip to the countryside with his life partner, Clara, played by actress Candela Fernandez. But as soon as they get there, Hector sees something unusual while scoping the area with his binoculars: a beautiful woman taking her clothes off in the open. Hector decides to take a stroll to pay her a visit. Once he gets there, he sees the women dead lying on the floor and is attacked by a mysterious man. Hector then flees to what seems to be an abandoned building, which is really a private research facility operated by a mysterious scientist. The scientist decides to give refuge to Hector in a strange closet which happens to be a time machine.

This movie is a fast paced science fiction movie that every person seeking an online bachelor of science degree in medical laboratory science will love because of its many intricate scientific references.

2001 Space Odyssey

2001 Space Odyssey is a science fiction masterpiece by critically acclaimed director Stanley Kubrick. 2001 Space Odyssey takes us to the dawn of man, where a group of hominids encounter a strange looking black alien monolith on their path. As one of the hominids brandishes his weapon to attack the structure, the scene cuts to a 21st century spacecraft that is travelling over the Earth.

A US scientist by the name of Heywood Floyd, played by actor William Sylvester, goes to the moon to discover another black monolith on its surface. However, once the sunlight hits the monolith, a sharp sound is emitted, which stops the scientist and his crew in their path. The whole movie is based around the search of a source for the mysterious monolith and its role. The film was critically acclaimed for its realistic depictions of space travel and is a must-see for any student seeking a medical laboratory scientist program online from the University of Cincinnati.

Solaris

Solaris is a movie rendition of a popular science fiction novel by author Stanislaw Lem. George Clooney plays the role of Chris Kelvin, a psychologist and astronaut still coming to terms with the death of his wife Rheya, who is played by Natasha McElhone. He is then approached by one of his colleagues, Gibarian, who implores him to conduct an investigation on some strange happenings on the Prometheus space station. Once there, he finds out that Giberian has committed suicide and the rest of the crew are in a state of shock. They then tell him that they have been experiencing hallucinations and visits from spirits, which they believe came from the Solaris interstellar energy source. What ensues is series of twists and turns that will leave the most stoic science student on the hedge of their seat. This is a great movie for any science fiction lover.

If you’re a science buff, or if you’re simply a lover of science fiction, I suggest you give these movies a try.

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Ken Eurell NYPD

This is an excerpt from the article I wrote for The Fix. Disgraced ex-cop Ken Eurell, who was memorialized in the 2015 documentary, The Seven Five, just published a memoir about his nefarious years as a police officer in one of the most corrupt police departments in the United States. The book, Betrayal in Blue: The Shocking Memoir of the Scandal that Rocked the NYPD, was co-written by Edgar Award winning author Burl Barer and journalist Frank C. Girardot Jr.

The Story

“It was like the heyday of crack,” said DEA special agent Mike Troster in the documentary. East New York in Brooklyn was a war zone, and according to Troster, “It was a hotbed for crime in New York City.”

In the late 1980s, the 75th precinct of the NYPD was the deadliest in the country. It handled the most homicides, including the most police shootings. “It was the highest murder rate in the country,” said Kenny Eurell, who worked there from 1982 to 1990. It was a time of 3,500 homicides per year in the city.NYPD

Eurell’s crimes escalated from drinking on the job to robberies, extortion, and selling cocaine after he’d retired on a cop’s pension. His book tells the story of being sucked into a world of crime and free money through his dirty cop partner, Michael Dowd.

While the doc focused mostly on Dowd, Eurell’s book reveals everything that was left out when much of the movie “ended up on the cutting room floor.”

The Fix landed an exclusive interview with the infamous criminal.

The Interview

Eurell told us he wanted to set the record straight on his years of working with coked-out Dowd. Yes, they robbed unsuspecting citizens, moved on to selling cocaine and finally went into free-fall after ripping off drug dealers. “It was greed,” said Eurell, “pure and simple. The money was so easy to make. It was impossible to turn away.”

“I became a cop at age 20 and was on the job for seven years before being partnered with Mike [Dowd]. It never occurred to me to go on a burglary call and grab the stuff that the burglar missed. It was not in my mindset until I was partnered with Mike. I don’t want to say I was brainwashed, but let’s just say, I was introduced to a different way to do police work.”

I asked him why he’d used the word “brainwashed.” He said, “I say ‘brainwashed’ because when we got in the [squad] car together, Mike talked about making money about 98% of the time. The other 2% of the time he talked about women. Once I was shown what to do—making all this easy money with no repercussion from it, greed took over.”

Regrets

Does Eurell have regrets about what he did? “I absolutely have regrets,” he said. “I wish I’d never took that first bit of money that Mike threw at me. I wish I had the courage to say to myself, ‘This is wrong. Don’t take the money.’ Even though that would’ve cut my own throat and ruined my career.”

He explained, “You can’t turn somebody in while you’re on the job because the word ‘rat’ will follow you around and destroy your career. There were guys when I was working—cops just suspected them of being a rat or a snitch—and every day, all the tires on their personal car would be cut. They go into work and their lockers would be in the shower, turned upside down, the locks broken open, all their stuff dumped out. Dead rats from the neighborhood were thrown onto the hood of their car. It makes a working situation absolutely impossible.”

“It sounds like the Mafia,” I said.

“Yeah,” said Eurell. “It’s that mentality.”

He added, “I wish I never went that corrupt cop route. There’s so many guys I was on the job with that retired as captains and hero detectives. Here I am, I’m an outcast as one of the most corrupt cops in the NYPD. It’s not something to hang my hat on.”

History of Alcohol, Cocaine and Corruption

Eurell launched into his history with alcohol, cocaine and corruption.

“When I was a cop, I was definitely an alcoholic, a functional one. I drank every day but was able to do my job. My last drink was in 1992, the year I got arrested. But after I quit cold turkey and stayed dry for 15 years, I was at my son’s engagement party and thought, ‘Oh yeah, my son’s getting engaged,’ so I had one beer, which was fine. Now, I have maybe two beers a month. If I go out I’ll have a beer, but we rarely go anywhere. We’re homebodies, my wife Dori and I. The biggest thing we do now is go out on a weekend on the motorcycle and I don’t drink when I’m on the bike.”

NYPD
Ken Eurell, ex-NYPD cop

In his book, Eurell commented that alcohol opened up new doors for him but “It also opened up a new world of tension and problems.”

He said that the first time he drank on the job was because a boss told him to. And, despite the time he spent dealing cocaine, he never liked the drug. “I tried cocaine once,” he said. “I had a buddy who was going into the Marines. We were at a going away party and we gave him some cocaine. I did a bump with him but it really had no effect on me. And that was it. I never did it again.”

But his partner, Dowd, was a coke addict and “that was a major problem. We were working the patrol car. His personality is already high strung, you know, very hyperactive. On cocaine it was times a hundred. He was a talker.”

Back then, Eurell said, “everybody did cocaine. It was a very sociable drug. It wasn’t no heavy-addiction drug. All my customers were adults that had jobs and went to work every day and, you know, they would buy some cocaine for the weekend. We weren’t out on the street dealing to little kids at a school or nothing.”

Read more on The Fix.

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Cat Marnell


Written for The Fix. Cat Marnell gives the addiction memoir a makeover. The book is action-packed, shocking, darkly humorous and gut-wrenching. Embedded in every funny line is the heartbreaking tale of Adderall addiction and a world that enabled it for a “lucky” white girl of privilege. It’s a brave and courageous account of drug hell on earth.

Marnell is an American writer based in New York City. She’s a beauty who built her brand on writing about beauty for Lucky, xoJane, Vice, SELF, Nylon, and Glamour. She’s been labeled a “socialite” and “enfant terrible” based on her years of struggle with addiction. Her memoir held me rapt but made me so mad at addiction. How it robs us of dignity, common sense, self-esteem. I’m rooting for the author. She wrote an honest and deeply disturbing book about what can happen when one is lost in a world of drugs and enabled at every turn.

Her Twitter bio reads, “WRITER / EDITOR / PREDATOR / DOWNTOWN DISASTER.” And, yes, it’s in solid caps. I had been eager to hear about Marnell’s debut memoir with the inspired title, How to Murder Your Life. Marnell and I met up in Greenwich Village. When she walked in, I was surprised. She didn’t look as I’d expected. Every photo I had Googled showed her, now 34, as a Barbie-beautiful blonde in heavy make-up. The woman I met was brunette, childlike and vulnerable.

An Original Voice

“I had more issues than Vogue,” Marnell wrote in her book and described herself as “a weepy, wobbly, hallucination-prone insomniac” and a “tweaky self-mutilator.” Her brains, she wrote, were “so scrambled you could’ve ordered them for brunch at Sarabeth’s.”

Rooting for Her

Cat Marnell
Cat Marnell Memoir (Simon & Schuster)

When asked about her number one tip about turning weaknesses into strengths, she said, “I’ve got this slogan. It was on a reality show [Push Girls]. It was these girls in wheelchairs and the slogan was, ‘If you can’t stand up, stand out.’ And for me, I felt like that really, you know, this whole media career I have orchestrated from my bed. My career popped off in the press a couple years ago. I did it. While I can’t stand up, stand out… I lost my job and because of the Internet or whatever, I got the most attention so I was on disability getting contacted for, you know, by The New York Times Magazine. It was just crazy. So yeah. When you can’t stand up, stand out. Unique is always good.”

Marnell’s voice is original. She’s startlingly honest and writes things nobody should. Her career is based on a can-you-top-this approach, but as she describes horribly embarrassing details, she’s hilarious. She described the décor in one of her apartments as “midcentury meth lab.”

“It’s Like Cooking”

Her thoughts on how the book will be received were, “I’m not saying everyone gets it. I feel like with a book—I mean it’s like cooking. I don’t feel immodest saying it’s, I mean, if you taste food that you’ve cooked and you know it’s good then it’s good to you. It’s not like everyone’s taste, know what I mean? I feel like it’s good to me and I worked so hard on it.”

Selling film rights is already in the works. And you should check out the Marnell-inspired fictionalized character—fashion blogger Jade Winslow—on TV Land’s Sex and the City-ish series Younger.

Cat Marnell
Courtesy of Cat Marnell Instagram account.

Available Now

How to Murder Your Life is what every addict memoir should be: adventure-packed, shocking, darkly humorous, and gut-wrenching—the only thing missing is sobriety. The book will be published January 31. You’re likely to read it in one fast sitting.

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