At Home With Celebs

Reviews by Abbey Wolf

Virtual Table Read of Fast Times At Ridgemont High to benefit CORE September 17th, 2020

The Community Organized Relief Effort (CORE) with founders Sean Penn and Ann Lee began their efforts in January 2010 to help communities in Haiti to cope with overwhelming despair and catastrophic living conditions resulting from devastating weather emergencies. Currently, the organization has expanded its efforts to other communities, to help stop the spread and death toll, of COVID-19. The organization’s outreach extends to Puerto Rico, across the Caribbean and recently, into parts of the USA, where they have been providing free testing and other services and aid to those in need.

Penn and Lee have valiantly lead their organization into the war against COVID-19, by offering services such as education and awareness raising, and free drive by testing, all to provide much needed attention to struggling and lower economic communities in the US. CORE’s efforts have motivated thousands to help contribute and join the fight against the disease. These efforts have had great impact and are effecting significant change. In fact, CORE has had so much impact, the organization has succeeded in administering 1,575,333  COVID-19 tests since they started 6 months ago.

Last June, Penn talked about his audition back in the 80’s for Fast Times At Ridgemont High in an interview with Jimmy Fallon. He also let us in on his plans to organize a virtual table read. At the time of this interview, the full cast was yet to be announced.

After three months of anticipation we have the final product and what a sensation it is! Penn’s idea was a creative and fantastic way to reach out to the masses, by streaming a table reading of the script for the 80’s film, Fast Times At Ridgemont High. There is a short introduction from Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, who describes how significant the movie was for him when he was a preteen back in 80’s. He goes on to emphasize the critical needs and mission of the CORE organization and what can be done to help the organization in their efforts.The read, presented by Dane Cook, featured super stars, Morgan Freeman, Jennifer Aniston, Jimmy Kimmel, Shia LaBeouf, John Legend, Henry Golding, Ray Liotta, Mathew McConaughey, Brad Pitt, Julia Roberts and of course, Sean Penn. A star studded cast to say the least.

Penn and his crew of celebrity friends have voiced out and entertained us thought the pandemic, and in effect their efforts have helped to raise awareness and much needed funds and is a fantastic way to add positive and fresh content to the web. Just a heads up, this review has some spoilers so if you want to discover in its pure uninterpreted form, click this YouTube link  Or watch the clip below this article.

Before they started the read, Dane Cook made a clear disclaimer that times have changed since the release of this film, and the people reading it do not “share the same sentiment.” It is certainly entertaining to see how a film from the 80’s is edgy enough to make some of these stars blush.

Freeman read the script direction and was brilliant and perfect of course. That iconic and perfectly toned voice is so soothing to listen to. Freeman, being from a more polite generation, felt awkward a couple of instances when he had to read a scene where Jennifer Aniston’s character is teaching Julia Roberts’ character how to give a blow job using carrots. His short interjections such as “holy cow” and “lord of mercy” were pretty amusing. Considering the 80’s were a corny yet crude time in our history, his response was perfectly timed. 

The look on some of the actors faces after Roberts says “blow job” is priceless!

Just so you know, they had not rehearsed the read at all and I don’t doubt that some of the dialogue threw them for a loop big time! But they all held true and shined in their read like the stars they are.

One of the biggest kickers during this read was Shia LaBeouf’s performance of the stoner character, Jeff Spicoli, he was off the top! He not only got into character, we have to question if what he was smoking during the reading was indeed real weed *cough. Well, in any case it is legal and I am sure no one will give him a hard time or even a “fast time” about it. Sorry for the pun!

All the celebrities were genuinely having fun, reading without any hiccups or throwing each other off beat. They even brought some cute props to the table, adding even more magic to the brew. Like Aniston and her bikini top over her t-shirt and Pitt with his pirate hat.

Stay tuned right after the reading as writer Cameron Crowe and director Amy Heckerling tell their side of the story as they reminisce about Sean Penn’s audition.

I particularly liked when Crowe defined Penn’s over confidence and smug attitude as  “Sheaness.” Penn has always been a cool rebel and these characteristics have proven to be the qualities that have made his leadership legendary!

Help CORE to continue on their mission to bring testing as well as other measures to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, by donating anything you can:

www.coreresponse.org

Instagram–https://www.instagram.com/coreresponse/

Facebook– https://www.facebook.com/CoreResponse/

Twitter–https://twitter.com/coreresponseorg

Global Goal: Unite for Our Future | The Concert June 27th, 2020

Global Citizen  and our beloved artists are once again bringing the world together in the fight against COVID19 and inequality. Government organizations and countless individuals came together to raise awareness and most importantly, funds and support to the vulnerable and marginalized populations all over the world. These efforts and more are critical to ensure that vaccines and treatments are equally acquirable to everyone. The pandemic is disproportionally affecting people and this is truly the curve that should be flattened, and fast. Each and every person can make a difference, in our actions and our attitudes, through education and awareness. Coming together has a new meaning now because the pandemic isn’t our greatest enemy, the worst enemy is the ugly face and force driving the pandemic. It is inequality and injustice.

Dr. Zolelwa Sifumba said it so eloquently, “we can’t do this as isolated countries or isolated systems, it’s going to take the whole world and all the systems and all the people in the world to come together and fight this.” 

That is why justice and equality for all is our greatest weapon against this pandemic and it will be human civilizations’ greatest achievement if we can prevent the catastrophic outbreaks in countries where resources are too few and too little. “It is estimated that 50 million people will be pushed back into poverty.” Globally, the numbers were going down, but now, they are expected to rise again. To recover from this pandemic we must ensure that once it is available the vaccine needs to be equally available to everyone. Healthcare and treatments must be accessible to everyone. The effect and damage the pandemic has is deep. There will be a slew of systems to repair in order to have equality and fairness for marginalized populations all over the globe.

The performances were poetry in motion. Each so creative and strengthening the message that we all need to unite. Usher’s “I cry” has to be one of most moving and heartfelt performances I have ever seen in my life. I cried with him and I hope you do as well.

I am a fan of Chris from Christine and the Queens. She has devoted so much of herself and her time in helping to raise awareness and funds for the pandemic from the get go. She is a great role model for anyone and everyone. So she is a a celeb you will see mentioned in the blog and often at that! 

If you haven’t had a chance to see this event, it is imperative that you do. There is surely information within it which you need to know. It will help you to understand the issues at hand more clearly and concisely. The performances from the artists are moving and passionate and resonate important messages of our times and for our future. This event and more like it, are some of the foundations in building a better world for us all.  

The Ellen Show April 21st, 2020

I’m a HUGE fan of Ellen. Anyone reading this is likely a fan of her as well. So when Ellen decided to air her show at her home, the millions who watch her were in no doubt ecstatic! I picked this clip because it was off the cuff genius and simply silly fun! Like, Andy’s comment about it being 4:20, then asking Ellen if she smokes the grass of her lawn. Andy also asked Twitch if he likes weed, and Twitch’s reply was priceless, you’ll have to see the clip I won’t give it away 😉 

It is always so astonishing how charitable Ellen is. She and her wife Portia donated over a million dollars to aid in the fight against COVID-19. She continues to give money and support to frontline heroes and many others who she deems worthy of recognition. A day without Ellen is indeed a day without sunshine. Ellen and her crew’s generosity are life-changing for so many people. Not only the people who she singles out to help but for all of us who’s hearts are warmed and humbled when we witness her generosity. Her show has always been a delight, an escape from our woes or routines. A guaranteed good time because we know she is going to make us laugh. Even during a pandemic and mourning the death of my father, Ellen made me laugh. 

In response to the #Blacklivesmatter movement, Ellen stated that although her aim of streaming the show from her home was to uplift her fans, she feels compelled to change the tone. The show will still be entertaining, however, she will use her platform in an urgent need to continue the dialogue about systemic racism. I’m all for it! I support it! As Ellen said, “only good can come out of this.”

One World: Together At Home - Global Citizen April 18th, 2020

On April 18th, 2020 Global Citizen and the WHO launched a world wide streaming broadcast, One World Together at Home, to raise funds and awareness for frontline healthcare workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The streaming concerts raised close to $128 million dollars for health workers and the WHO. 

There were 79 musical artists from all over the globe, performing from their own homes. Getting this up-close with so many  amazing celebs was an emotional and empowering experience. 

I picked three performances which resonated with me. Starting with Legend Stevie Wonder, with his cover of Bill Withers’s  Lean on Me. What an appropriate song for the moment. No need to say more, He is a wonder and it’s way beyond wonderful to see him. 

Stevie Wonder performs "Lean On Me" & "Love's In Need of Love Today

Jennifer Hudson performs "Hallelujah"

Jenifer Hudson sang Leonard Cohen’s graceful composition “Hallelujah” accompanied by  pianist, Fred Nelson and three choir singers. This song , this moment, deeply touched me and literarily hit home (being a Montrealer like Leonard was). Bitter sweet as it was beautiful, I truly appreciated it. 

Christine and the Queens perform "People I've Been Sad"

Christine and the Queens AKA Chris, has a voice that can rip through the bandwidth like a majestic force of nature and take your breath away. Chris’ voice is so powerful, that the she had to take a step back from the mic when she belted out the chorus of the song. The multi talented artist originates from France and is making waves on North American shores more than ever since her latest release and several live home performances.  

If you never heard of this artist before, then you will thank me for turning you on to her. She is remarkable!  

Post Malone: Nirvana Tribute Livestream April 24, 2020

Post Malone (AKA Austin Post) streamed live from his home in Salt Lake City to raise funds for the World Health Organization (WHO). He and Bassist Brian Lee were wearing what looked like granny overcoats and they rocked that look! Nick Mack on guitar and Blink-182’s Travis Barker were also quarantined with Malone while they finish up work on an upcoming new album. 

Their Nirvana tribute was outstanding and I’m pretty sure Kurt would have approved. They played 15 tunes, such as, Drain You and Stay Away, in which the titles alone were appropriate. Post was more than laid back, I’d say its as though we were sitting in his living room having a beer with the band! He often asked if his band mates needed to “re-beer”, and then he toasted them saying “cheers fuckers!” Some people know how to gracefully swear ad Post is one if them. 😉  He was passionate when expressing his gratitude for healthcare workers and gracious when thanked the people watching and especially those who donated. He stressed the importance of staying home, as was the mission… They played for a bit over an hour, which was more than generous of them. Post, who has been battling depression has since taken a well needed break so that he can prevent any set backs with his mental health. 

Get well soon Post! We love you <3 

Jane Siberry's Energy Training Session, March 26th, 2020

Jane has been streaming live with her “energy training some time before the pandemic. This kind of interaction between her and the public is truly medicinal! Jane is very spiritual and pure. She has a beautiful voice and the perfect energy to facilitate a “reset” (as she calls it). I am a big fan of Jane and as I follow her on her Facebook page, I’m thrilled and exited to see how she encourages her fans to participate with her in various kinds of processes. She is busy hosting online workshops and group discussions and she even gifted ALL her music for free during the quarantine period. Such a selfless and generous gesture. Her latest release, “Venus”, the first of her “Song-At-A-Time” collection, is poetic (as all Jane’s work is) and the music was brilliantly mastered and produced by Richard Dunn. A really nice addition to the song was a cello, played by Sarah Moody.  The song can be sampled or purchased directly from Jane’s site, Magic-The-Dog

Some Good News with John Krasinski Ep. 1

John Krasinski, know for his role as Jim Halpert in ” the office“, created this online at home series called SGN ( Some Good News) where he sheds some light on the silver linings of the pandemic, and in his own style, manages to lighten the mood with humour and his humanity.