Archive for the ‘News’ Category
Q&A: CIA agent Nada Bakos talks about ‘Manhunt’ and terrorism and inaccuracies in ‘Zero Dark Thirty’
“Manhunt” is an official selection for the 2013 Sundance Film Festival. It’s a documentary by Greg Barker about the CIA’s search and capture of Osama bin Laden. Nada Bakos, who is featured in the film, served as an analyst for the CIA. She was on the team charged with analyzing the relationship between Iraq, Al Qaeda, and September 11. Bakos was privy to the inside track on what happens behind doors in the Central Intelligence Agency. Bakos was apprehensive at first about working with Barker but he won her over and she agreed to do her part in the documentary.
It is impossible not to make comparisons between “Manhunt” and last year’s movie, “Zero Dark Thirty.” The Oscar nominated Best Picture raised a lot of questions, especially about torture used during CIA interrogations. Searching for the truth, Examiner Dorri Olds interviewed Nada Bakos this week. It is clear that Bakos thinks before she speaks. She’s careful with her words and uses very few but she comes across as very likable and engaging.
Nada Bakos: The big thing that stood out is that this is a huge team effort and I understand that they needed a story for the plot but it doesn’t show how many other things were going on at the same time and how many people are involved. You know, that old saying that it takes a village.
Did you identify with Jessica Chastain’s character in the movie?
First of all, when I began doing this work it wasn’t my first job out of college. I already understood how bureaucracy works and how corporations work. The difference of course was we were dealing with life or death issues.
Were you in on everything happening within the agency?
I wasn’t always privy to what was going on at deeper levels of the organization.
Is it a good ol’ boy atmosphere?
Do you mean was it sexist?
It’s not unlike sexism in any microcosm of American culture. Everywhere there is sexism.
How did you feel about Maya in Kathryn Bigelow’s film?
I can’t stress enough that it is a team effort. It’s much more complicated than one hero catching the bad guys. It is multi faceted and not focused on one individual and no one in the CIA has a crystal ball.
What do you hope is the take away from ‘Manhunt’?
I hope the viewers have a better understanding of how national security works and I’d like women to become interested in this type of work and to know that it is possible for them to have these types of careers.
Are you able to have any social life in a job like that?
It depends on the topic you’re working on. If you’re working during a crisis issue like Iraq, it’s 24/7.
On Law & Order SVU, Detective Olivia Benson gives her life to the job and forfeits having a social life. Is that how you experienced work?
It will always vary depending on what account you’re working on. In a crisis you don’t have any. If you’re working with a country when things are not in a crisis mode, then you can leave at 6:00 p.m. instead of 10:00 p.m. I will say that I did not have kids while I worked there but I saw other women who did and it takes a lot of effort but can be worked out. It can be done.
Dorri Olds: What questions do you hear most often about working in the CIA?
Nada Bakos: People are so surprised by the woman angle, that women were involved in the initial hunt for Al Qaeda. I’m not sure why they’re surprised but they are.
Are you hoping for Hillary Clinton to run for president and win?
I am hoping in my lifetime there will be a woman president. There had better be.
Do you think that if more women were in government we would have fewer wars?
No, not necessarily. Throughout history we have seen many women who were just as benevolent as men. I do know that it is common sense to have both genders running the government. Women are fifty percent of the population and we have different concerns than men.
How long was the filming for “Manhunt”?
For my part it was a couple of days.
Did you enjoy the process?
I didn’t know how it all worked and I found it really interesting and the editor Joe Bini is amazing.
How was it seeing yourself on film?
The first time I saw “Manhunt” was when it premiered at Sundance in front of a crowd of 400 people. It was very emotional for me to see it and to be there with the audience.
Did you have any concerns about it?
I wanted to make sure I represented reality well. I think I did.
Do acts of torture as in “Zero Dark Thirty” really happen?
Let’s put it this way, nothing the agency does is okayed without lots of legal decisions. There’s the moral side and the legal side. All of the administration is always involved.
What if someone gets fed up and goes rogue, to handle things their way?
Then they get in trouble.
Do you have any answers for how we can battle terrorism?
Terrorism is a tactic and if the root causes of those acts remain unknown, we won’t have a full counterterrorism strategy. We cannot deal with the root causes of terrorism until we do that. Even inside the U.S. we need to understand more about why things happen before they do. What happened in Boston is a perfect example.
Did you deal directly with terrorists that were tortured?
I was not part of any interrogations directly and I thought that was completely overplayed in the movie “Zero Dark Thirty.” People have to understand that information comes from many different sources.
Do you mean information comes from people willing to rat out others for immunity?
Yes, that, and other foreign intelligence agencies that are supplying us with information. I get what they tried to do with “Zero Dark Thirty” and I think they did a good job. You can’t have a million people running around in a movie. It would be too hard to keep track of all of them. Katherine Bigelow did an amazing job and I’m surprised she didn’t get nominated for the Academy Award.
What do you see ahead of you for the next five years?
I’ve asked myself how I can best use my skills and apply them. I’m working on a book and developing an idea for a TV series based on my experiences.
Is the book a memoir?
I’m not sure yet. It will be about what it’s like inside the CIA.
Thanks so much. You’ve been great.
Gary Buslik is not your average author. Let’s just say he’s unusual. The best to begin with are his book titles:
- A Rotten Person Travels the Caribbean: A Grump in Paradise Discovers that Anyplace it’s Legal to Carry a Machete is Comedy Waiting to Happen
- Akhmed and the Atomic Matzo Balls: A Novel of International Intrigue, Pork-Crazed Termites, and Motherhood
- The Missionary’s Position: A hilarious novel set in the Caribbean
Some of his stuff made me laugh so hard I snorted. I was pleased when Buslik graciously agreed to an interview. Oh, and he is also a teacher which makes me a little nervous.
Dorri Olds: Akhmed and the Atomic Matzo Balls is a demented book. Are you that funny in person?
Gary Buslik: No.
How did you get so funny in your writing?
Sometimes I’ll wake up out of a deep sleep to see my cat an inch from my face, staring at me. And the next morning I write funny stuff. So, obviously, she’s doing something to my mind while I’m sleeping.
Um, your cat hypnotizes you?
There’s a lot modern science doesn’t understand. I’m dating a woman now who believes in Kabbalah and human sacrifice. She thinks in a former life my cat was the writer Joyce James.
Do you mean James Joyce?
There are no good guys in Akhmed. All the characters are, as you might say, “bumbling nincompoops.” Is that how you feel about most people?
Everyone except my cat.
Your books are unusual and run willy nilly but seem to all come back together at the end. How do you do that?
OK, let’s move on.
How did you come up with nuclear matzo balls?
My cousin Linda makes matzo balls the size of the first atomic bomb.
I set up a lawn chair in my backyard.
I wasn’t asking about the bugs. What about humans?
I set up a lawn chair in my English Department lunchroom.
Do you enjoy teaching?
I’m going to read real—no kidding—excerpts from my students’ essays.
“The poet is comparing what it feels like to be pregnant with many different metaphors.”
“The formal term for the sonnet’s meter is titanic exterminator.”
“Shakespeare is famous for being well-known.”
“Shakespeare’s imagery is awesome. It was like he was stoned at a very young age.”
“The name of Shakespeare’s acting company was F-Troop.”
“The quest for perfect love is a manmade goal, just like in hockey.”
“In Donne’s poem “The Flea,” the speaker is trying to save the flea’s life by describing it as a symbol of marriage. But the woman kills the flea by murdering his literary symbol.”
“I would rate Othello two thumbs up. I would definitely make my girlfriend see it instead of that Julia Roberts shit.”
So, Dorri, you tell me.
For the first three years of college I lied to my parents, telling them I was in pre-law. When I finally got outed as an English major, my mother couldn’t stop sobbing, and my father strode around the house shouting, “Big man! He knows the parts of speech!” So I wound up homeless, hanging around the airport reciting Rudyard Kipling for spare change. It was there I met a veteran travel writer, who took pity on me and showed me how, by making hotel and restaurant owners naively believe I would write good reviews about them, I could get free rooms, meals, and drinks. So I went on to forge a useless degree into a rewarding lifestyle.
What’s happening with your travel writing?
My travel-writing careered stalled because, not liking foreigners or new experiences, I despise traveling. I especially dislike countries that have children.
Is that why you write fiction now?
After a few years of travel writing, I settled down to write novels, however, I soon discovered that fiction writing presents its own challenges—for example, the strong urge to kill myself. To stave off artistic depression, I occasionally concentrate on nonwriting endeavors, such as trying to convince my father to make me his sole beneficiary.
Gary, thanks for cracking me up. You’re so funny and so are your books.
“The Iceman” opens this week. It’s an intense, crime thriller. It is fascinating, disturbing and darkly exciting. Inspired by actual events, the story is about Richard Kuklinski, an independent contractor, a hitman, who killed 100 men during the 70s and 80s. Academy Award nominee Michael Shannon stars as Kuklinski who, oddly led a completely compartmentalized life. While he was running around whacking people, he would come home from “work” and enjoy a quiet life as a loving husband to Deborah (Academy Award nominee Winona Ryder) and devoted father to their two daughters (McKaley Miller and Megan Sherrill).
Before going rogue, Kuklinski worked for the Gambino crime family, answering to Roy Demeo (Ray Liotta). When his relationship with Roy soured, Kuklinski partnered with “Mr. Freezy,” an ice cream man with a truck hiding frozen bodies (played by an almost unrecognizable Chris Evans.
“The Iceman” is directed by Ariel Vromen from a script he wrote with Morgan Land. The cast includes newcomer Danny A. Abeckaser as Dino Lapron, Kuklinski’s only friend. David Schwimmer plays against type as criminal Josh Rosenthal. Robert Davi plays the role of Leonard Marks, Stephen Dorff plays Richard’s brother, Joey Kuklinski and James Franco does a cameo as Marty Freeman.
On Saturday, April 27th, Michael Shannon arrived at the Waldorf Astoria for a Q&A about the movie which opens Friday of this week. Shannon, who is 6’9″and known for playing deeply disturbed menacing characters, gave the impression of a kind, gentle man. He looked tired enough to drape his huge frame forward and lean on the table for a nap but he hung in there and gave a great interview.
Examiner Dorri Olds: Did you stay in character during your down time?
Michael Shannon: I’m not that kind of guy. Between takes I sit in my chair and try to relax. I find acting very tiring. You know, I knew one guy on a film who played Boggle between takes. On ‘The Iceman’ set I didn’t have anyone to play Boggle with.
Were there fun parts during filming such a dark movie?
The family scenes were a lot of fun and a relief when something terrible wasn’t happening.
Did you bond with the kids on set?
Yeah, they’re both very sweet. McKaley and Megan are very bright and good actresses. I mean, you know, it’s not like you can go to Great Flags together but if you’re going past the service table you can say, “Wanna candy bar?” That’s about the extent of it.
What did you think about Winona Ryder not wanting to see the whole script?
It made sense. She didn’t want to see the parts where I was killing people because her character supposedly didn’t know that I killed people. As Kuklinski’s wife, it was her job to ignore things so it was a very reasonable approach.
Your portrayal seemed spot on. Did you try to mimic the HBO documentary footage of Richard Kuklinski?
An imitation is pointless because if that’s all you’re doing… I mean I’m not going to do the interview better than he did. He’s him and I’m not. I think the value of doing the film is when you’re watching the interview you are seeing somebody when they’d reached the end. His life is pretty much over and he’s going to die in prison and that’s it. For me, it was a process of imagining what he would’ve been like throughout the two decades of his life that were covered in the film. That was more artistically stimulating than simply trying to make a facsimile of who he is. I do think that the speech I do, this may sound weird but I think it’s a beautiful piece of writing. What he says in that speech is finer than anything Shakespeare ever wrote about the aspects of a person.
Did you feel empathy for your character?
I have to have empathy for him. If I can’t then I can’t be in the movie. Or I’m not the right person for the movie. I found him to be a very fragile person embalmed in a façade of machismo. He’s actually a very delicate person.
Crime thriller. Rated R. 105 minutes. Opens in New York City this week on Friday, May 3, 2013.
Social Media: Harvard Business Review Found Most Companies Use Social Media Inffectively and They Need Help
According to research from a Harvard Business Review Analytics report, 58% of companies are engaged in social media networks like Facebook, microblogs like Twitter, and sharing multimedia on platforms such as YouTube but much of the investment in social media is future-oriented.
Business are opening accounts but not sure how to put together successful social media campaigns. They want to build their brand online and increase sales but they don’t seem to be using all of the analytics tools available and all of the social media strategies that are out there.
Social media “all-stars” engage beyond the tired method of “shout marketing,” by using social media more often to promote their brand, monitor what’s going on with potential customers, esearch new product ideas and keeping up with the everchanging technology landscape.
I can tell you from years of experience, businesses that succeed don’t say things like, “I don’t have time for social media,” or “I just don’t get Twitter.” They hire someone who knows the ins and outs of social media marketing and branding online.
If you are at a stand still and unsure of how best to use social media to market your business online, you can benefit greatly by learning tips and tricks from a marketing consultant. I’m here. Let me know if I can help!
“The Company You Keep” stars Robert Redford (director) as Jim Grant, a former Weather Underground activist who is on the lam. Shia LaBeouf plays journalist Ben Shepard who uncovers Grant’s identity. It’s a political thriller with a slew of top actors including Susan Sarandon, Richard Jenkins, Chris Cooper, Nick Nolte, Sam Elliott, Stanley Tucciand Julie Christie. “The Company You Keep” is playing now in New York City at Regal Union Square Stadium 14, Lincoln Plaza Cinemas and City Cinemas 123. Rated R. 125 minutes.
“No Place on Earth” is part dramatization and part documentary about a tale that would seem far-fetched had it not been true. The matriarch of a Jewish family led her loved ones to evade capture during World War II. They hid out in Ukraine caves for a year and a half. Cave enthusiast Chris Nicola came upon buttons, a worn comb, cup and key near what seemed to be crude makeshift furniture. When he saw names scrawled on the cave walls he became obsessed with uncovering the story. Doggedly, Nicola tracked down the people who’d lived there and uncovered this extraordinary chronicle of survival. Janet Tobias masterfully wrote and directed. The film stars holocaust survivors Saul (92) and Sam (86) Stermer and Sonia (79) and Sima Dodyk (74). “No Place on Earth” is playing now at Film Society Lincoln Center, 144 West 65th Street, NYC. Rated PG-13. 83 minutes.
“Simon Killer,” starring Brady Corbet as Simon, first opened at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival. Filmmaker Antonio Campos(“Martha Marcy May Marlene”) wrote and directed. Simon, an American sociopath in Paris, thinks he’s a pretty alright guy. Haunted and weak after a recent breakup, he misreads a prostitute’s kindness and thinks she actually cares for him. Simon is a weirdo who puts one in mind of Travis Bickle (Robert De Niro) from Martin Scorcese’s “Taxi Driver.” Corbet gives a brilliant performance and this film noir thriller is creepy. Some will find it deliciously so while others might just get too creeped out. “Simon Killer” is playing now at NYC’s IFC Center, 323 6th Avenue. Not rated. 102 minutes.
“Down the Shore” is a heartrending drama of family, friendship, love, loss and deceit. The amazing cast will blow you away. The story, set on the New Jersey shore, is about three lifelong friends who grew up together. To avoid any spoilers, let’s just leave it at that. James Gandolfiniis riveting as down in the dumps Bailey who drinks. Bailey’s best friend is Wiley (Joe Pope) who is married to Mary (Famke Janssen) and they have a teenage autistic son Martin who is played pitch perfectly by John Magaro (“Liberal Arts”). Jacques is played by Edoardo Costa who is not only soap opera handsome, he is also captivating and we dare you not to fall for him. Let’s all pray Costa does many more movies … and quick! Wow, he is something. “Down the Shore” was made years ago and originally titled, “Kiddie Ride.” It’s odd that the movie was sat-on for so long. Usually that’s a bad sign. Two years ago it did a few festival screenings but gained little attention. Yeah, yeah, it could be accused of being laden down with clichés, but for those who dig sentimental it won’t disappoint. Frankly, this indie is lumps-in-your-throat moving. “Down the Shore” is playing now at the Quad Cinema, 34 West 13th Street. Rated R. 93 minutes. Also available on Blu-ray and DVD.
“In The House” (Dans la maison) is adapted from the play, “The Boy in the Last Row.” The screenplay was written by François Ozon (“Swimming Pool”) who also directs. Fabrice Luchiniplays Germain, a literature teacher who is disgusted by his sea of students who write by dashing off short un-prose-like accounts of their TV watching and cell phones. One student, Claude Garcia (Ernst Umhauer), earns Germain’s interest by writing intimate details about a family that Claude has ingratiated himself into. It’s a story about voyeurism, manipulation, ethics, morals and relationships. It’s a winner! Don’t miss this one. One disclaimer: the ending falls a little flat. The rest of the film is intriguing so the so-so ending is forgivable. Kristin Scott Thomas plays Jeanne Germain, the professor’s frustrated wife. Denis Ménochet plays Rapha Artole père, father to Garcia’s manipulated classmate, Rapha Artole fils (Bastien Ughetto). Ménochet gives an excellent performance and we shall look forward to seeing much more of him in future films.Emmanuelle Seigner plays Rapha’s crimped and bored mom, Esther Artole. The cast gives spellbinding performances and the story is deeply engrossing, and original. We highly recommend this one. “In the House” opens on Friday, April 19, 2013 at New York City’s Sunshine Cinema Landmark Theaters, 143 East Houston Street. Rated R. 105 minutes. French with subtitles.
Jeff Bridges, who has been dedicated to stamping out hunger for the past 30 years, is now starring in a powerful documentary, “A Place at the Table.” The film is brought to you by Participant Media, a company with an amazing track record of building social action campaigns and producing films like “Waiting for Superman” and “Inconvenient Truth.”
Bridges walked into the Soho hotel yesterday wearing a sharp yet unpretentious dark suit, classic brown leather shoes, a surprisingly long mostly-gray goatee and hair tied back in a ponytail. He comes across as the coolest dude; someone you’d want to spend hours hanging out with.
His passion for raising awareness and finding solutions for the ever-growing problem of hunger is infectious. If anybody can inspire much-needed changes on a governmental policy level, it’s him.
Examiner Dorri Olds: This movie clarifies the magnitude of the hunger problem. Why do you think we aren’t closer to a solution?
Jeff Bridges: One of the things I was excited about in Obama’s campaign was that he said, “We’re going to end childhood hunger by 2015.” That got all of the hunger organizations all excited. There were meetings and they all got their ideas together and figured it out. Now we have organized an even better plan but I’m disappointed in our government for not following through on that and not mentioning anything about hunger in recent speeches and the State of the Union.
It’s surprising to learn how many families are going hungry. Is this a new phenomenon because of our struggling economy?
An organization that I helped found in 1984 called End Hunger Network produced a film called “Hidden in America” and my brother Beau starred in it. That was back in 1996 but hunger in the U.S. is just as relevant today as it was then. It’s an embarrassing thing for our country to acknowledge that 1 in 5 kids don’t have enough food. Not only embarrassing for our government but also for the people who are struggling with that. There’s a social stigma for a kid in school to be labeled as so poor they need free food. Most kids would rather stay hungry than admit to being that poor.
It was disturbing to learn that food stamps only cover about $3 per day and that people can be obese and starving.
People need to wake up and take action. There’s a big step between thinking, ‘Geez, I could do something,’ and ‘I’m going to do something to help in my community.’ Each community has a different challenge and there are ways to address hunger.
What are you doing specifically for your community?
I’m in the entertainment business so I try to use that to put immediate attention on the issue of hunger but everybody can look into their own lives and ask themselves ‘How can I help with this problem of hunger?’ This is about patriotism. If another country were doing this to our kids, we would be at war.
There’s a project I’m working on in Santa Barbara where I live. I’m trying to promote community gardens. We have all of these public buildings with lawns out in front of them. Why not make them gardens? We could have nutritious food to eat. I’m trying to encourage classrooms to take on the gardens. You can learn about math and different countries through what’s growing in gardens. It could be a big part of the education. It’s also about educating your palette, what you’re used to eating. When you talk about obesity, your palette gets used to eating pizza pockets and you think, ‘That’s what I like.’ But if you’re used to eating red bell peppers and carrots and a tomato right off the vine, you’d think, ‘Wow! That’s what I like.’
The film explained that by not spending enough money to feed people it is costing us close to 167 billion dollars per year in healthcare and lost productivity.
Yes, and it doesn’t have to be this way.
The press interview was yesterday. My Q&A will be posted to my New York City movie blog on Examiner by tomorrow. In the meantime, here’s a taste: my video of Jeff Bridges talking on the topic of hunger in America.
You can also hear from another passionate voice: co-director and producer, Lori Silverbush.
Prince Lorenzo Borghese, best known as the great catch on ABC’s ninth season of The Bachelor, is the founder of the Royal Pet Club, an animal loving company that sells organic pet wellness products. Lorenzo is also the founder of Animal Aid USA, a charity that celebrated its one-year anniversary this month in Manhattan. The audience was made up of a legion of well-known volunteers and animal supporters including Georgina Bloomberg, the daughter of NYC’s Mayor Bloomberg; Eric Trump, son of billionaire Donald; actors Bernadette Peters and Stephen Baldwin; Miss USA Nana Meriwether; Amanda Hearst; and animal activist Beth Ostrosky (Howard Stern’s wife).
As always with animal fundraisers, I was a tad nervous about attending for fear of seeing graphic photos of abused animals, which always make me want to sob or faint. Imagine my glee when the slideshow turned out to be a joyful celebration of now healthy animals that have been saved by this non-profit.
Georgina Bloomberg told me, “Tonight is to raise awareness about Animal Aid and our mission to relocate abandoned animals from kill shelters into loving homes. Animal Aid USA has been instrumental in going to shelters in low income communities where there is a high population of homeless dogs, and rescuing these abandoned animals from being euthanized.”
Lorenzo Borghese said, “I want you to think about all those dogs dying each day in the United States. The stats are horrific and you feel like you can’t do anything about it. When you walk into a shelter where the dogs are all about to be euthanized and they’re looking at you, dying to get out, they’re barking, wagging their tails and they’re helpless. Looking into their eyes I want to take home every one of them but know I can’t. Then all of a sudden I met Karen Talbot and everything changed.”
Karen Talbot LaSasso wrote to Lorenzo about needing help with her cause. He thought it was just another person asking for money but as he read he became intrigued by how hard this woman works to save animals from kill shelters.
While talking about Karen, Lorenzo’s eyes lit up. He said, “She’s not a wealthy person and I think her husband, Dante, is in debt with five or six credit cards by now. Yet, these guys manage to rescue about 100 dogs a month on their own bank account.”
Instead of a wedding ring, Dante purchased Karen a transportation vehicle. For vacations they don’t fly to the Bahamas, instead they spend their time in cars driving down to Georgia to rescue animals.
Lorenzo teared up when he said, “I wanted to help Karen because I’ve never met anyone so devoted to rescuing animals.” He reminded the crowd that the celebratory event was also a fundraiser to help more animals. “I guarantee you,” said Lorenzo, “the money you donate to Animal Aid does not go to paychecks or pension plans. We are all volunteers and do it because we love to. That’s why we started Animal Aid. I’m very, very proud to be with you here tonight for our first anniversary. Within the past two weeks alone Animal Aid and its volunteers have saved the lives of 270 more dogs.”
Last month, the “New Year Caravan” went on its first road trip to rescue close to 200 dogs. Animal Aid USA volunteers make the trip every 30 days traveling 1,600 miles from New Jersey to Georgia to save shelter animals in poor neighborhoods. Animal Aid has also set up Miracle Ranch, a place to care for the pooches until they find forever homes.
Lorenzo, an Ambassador to the American Humane Association, has worked with North Shore Animal League, the ASPCA and Animal Care & Control of NYC (AC&C), a kill shelter. He said, “If you’re interested in what we’re doing over at the AC&C please email us. We’re going to try to take over the board so we can fix things.”
When I interviewed Lorenzo I learned that he donates $2 to Animal Aid USA every time a new customer buys from the Royal Pet Club. In addition, he donates five percent of the company’s annual profits. One big way to help is to switch over to buying your pet products through RPC. And, if you are interested in helping Lorenzo, Karen, Georgina and their team rescue adorable doggies please email Animal Aid. It will be an invaluable deposit into your lifelong karma bank.
Despite blizzard warnings, the Hotel Pennsylvania in Manhattan was full for the Animal Haven fundraising New York Pet Fashion Show, which saw the K9s dressed to the nines. The theme was The Roaring 20’s, and it was a celebration of true love between humans and their best-dressed beasties. The sparkly evening began with a high voltage red carpet welcome and a seemingly endless stream of decked out dogs accompanied by dolled up moms and dads. Inside, across from the runway, was a vendor-packed extravaganza of products for pooches and pooch parents. Fundle, the pet sling carrier was there alongside Andy Warhol inspired paintings by Wendy DuBoff of ChloesGift.com. Jeanie Julius Designs displayed designer dog hat wear and the rooms were adorned with Floral Sculptures of dogs. Hot diggety, it was doggone fun. [To view accompanying photos go to Petside.com]
Terry St. Angelo and Aspen
Terry St. Angelo kvells over her little Aspen as they prance down the rip-roaring red carpet. The duo strutted their stuff all the way from South Beach, Florida. Terry said, “I live to make Aspen happy and have fun.” Aspen is a Chihuahua who was born in Denver eight years ago. “She was raised as a mountain girl in the Rockies,” said Terry. After that it was on to South Beach where she became a bathing beauty and successful costume contestant holding a number of titles. Her mom Terry works in cosmetic sales and she lives to come home to her little fur darling.
Anthony Rubio Shows Off Bogie and Kimba
Award-winning pet fashion courier, Anthony Rubio, shows off his pups Bogie and Kimba. He is on the boards of numerous animal charities. Anthony has been on a long list of TV shows including multiple segments on NBC, CNN and CBS. Anthony’s couture fashions were part of the record-breaking, “World’s Most Expensive Dog Wedding” ($250,000!), which saw Animal Fair Magazine owner and animal rights activist Wendy Diamond marry off her rescue pup Baby Hope to Chilly. Anthony and his pooches have been all over the papers raising awareness about animals in need.
Beefy the Skateboarding Bulldog
Beefy the Bulldog is a New York City model who has been entertaining peeps since he was a baby bull. Beefy has appeared on the Dr. Oz show, modeled in Jimmy Choo ads and is now part of the cast of the CBS hit show, “Dogs in the City.” His American made seven-ply maple wood skateboard, “Beefy Deck,” is now available at Blue Sky Longboards for $65.
Mr. America the Leonberger
Mr. America has starred in two seasons of Broadway’s “Annie.” The two-year old Leonberger is also the spokesdog for Matchpuppy.com and his star glittered in a music video for the band Real Estate. Mr. America has also appeared on the centerfold of “Grazia” magazine. In addition to charming everyone at this Tropicana-sponsored Fashion Show on Friday, he rocked at Saturday night’s Doggies and Tiaras Pageant. Mr America is a certified Therapy dog and visits nursing homes. He lives on Long Island with his Mastiff brothers and mom, Morgan Williams, who makes makes it her business to attend numerous fundraisers for rescue organizations and shelters. Oh wait, there’s more! Mr. America is also an AKC conformation dog and is getting ready for next year’s Westminster show.
La Maison Vienna Couture Canine
Canadians Colin and Mario Laliberte opened their biz, La Maison Vienna Couture Canine, one year ago. Vienna is their miniature Dachshund, two, and Mia is a Hairless Chinese Crested puppy of nine months. “Our dogs are the center of our lives,” said Mario. “I work full time in our dog design business and we get involved with charities and work toward pet awareness in Quebec.” Colin, who has been knitting and crocheting since age 10, said, “Mario has sewn for years so, for us, creating clothes on a professional level now makes great sense.”
Eli the Celebrity Chihuahua Dressed for the Occasion
Eli the Celebrity Chihuahua spent the evening strutting in his tux custom made by Roberto Negrin’s Hec-lin Couture for Dogs. Eli gained great fame by winning a contest that landed him on the box of Milk Bone biscuits. He captivated crowds when he dressed as Pope Benedict XVI for a Times Square Dog Day Masquerade event. Eli is the lucky rescue dog owned by Karen Biehl, who says Eli rescued her too.
Richard Pryor Jr., Karen Biehl and Eli, the Chihuahua Model
Animal advocate and musician Richard Pryor Jr., the son of comedian Richard Pryor, had fun beside the hamming-it-up actress Karen Biehl and her famous Chihuahua named Eli. Karen’s celebrity dog is one of the top Chihuahua models in the world. Eli regularly appears with his mom on the television show Doggie Moms.
Tasha Bella Godwin, a Model for TV and Film
Tasha Bella Godwin is a sought after New York City actress and member of the Dog Actors Guild. She also models and lands gigs in TV commercials and movies. Tasha is a Manhattanite. A prominent girl around town, she dines in the finest restaurants and attends Doga classes. Tasha Bella is happily engaged to New York’s top dog, the Havanese socialite, Cuba.
Olga Zabelinskaya, Owner of Elite Pet Spa & Boutique
Award-winning dog stylist Olga Zabelinskaya shows off her darling petite pooch, Gucci. Olga is also the proud owner of Elite Pet Spa & Boutique in Madison, New Jersey, where your dog can be pampered with a mud wrap, aqua massage and facial scrub. Olga has prepped dogs for the Westminster Kennel Club and Eukanuba dog shows, and she holds the high honor of “Dog Groomer of the Year” from SuperZoo.
Roni Goldberg, Mom to a Yorkie Named “Butterfly Kisses”