By Kevin Nelson
Some time ago I was having a glass of pinot and a pizza at the bar of Francis Ford Coppola Winery in Geyserville, and I asked the bartender what Coppola himself liked to drink. Coppola, the well-known filmmaker, owns the place.
The great man himself.
The bartender grabbed a menu and pointed to the top where a box with a picture answered my question. His “favorite tropical drink,” it said, is “Navy Grog” and its ingredients are “fresh lime juice, grapefruit, soda, honey, Puerto Rican rum, dark Jamaican rum, Demerara rum, Angostura bitters, crushed ice cone.” No details on the proportions.
Vertical, by Rex Pickett, is a funny, sad, sexy, depressing, curious and at times bravely comic novel tailored especially for men and women who like to drink wine. The novel, published originally some years ago but updated and released in a new edition in 2016 by Loose Gravel Press, is the sequel to Sideways, Pickett’s first novel upon which the 2004 hit movie was based.
Sideways, both the novel and film, followed the comic misadventures of Miles and Jack, who drank and screwed their way around the Santa Ynez Valley in California’s Central Coast wine region. Fans of Sideways will be pleased to learn that Miles and Jack are back at it in Vertical, drinking and screwing aplenty. Although the novel’s subtitle suggests that the twosome do all their carousing on “the Oregon Wine Trail,” this is somewhat deceiving. While they do tarry, a bit, at a pinot festival in the Willamette Valley, they also pass through such places as (naturally) Santa Ynez Valley, Fresno, Clear Lake, and on the road to Wisconsin, a state better known for its cheese than its wine. Continue reading
By Kevin Nelson
Today is the birthday of the world’s greatest movie star. She would have been 89 had she lived.
Now, one could reasonably argue that Marilyn Monroe is not the world’s greatest movie star, given the fact that she has been dead for more than five decades. Nevertheless I feel fairly confident about the truth of this assertion, based on two separate incidents that occurred on a recent trip to Banff Hot Springs, Canada.
Banff is a mountain resort town high in the Canadian Rockies, a destination for travelers around the world. In 1954 Marilyn, at the height of her stardom, came to Banff to film “River of No Return” with Robert Mitchum. Everywhere she went people asked for autographs and took pictures of her.
At a souvenir shop in town she posed for a publicity photo with a stuffed grizzly bear. With her beautifully styled blonde hair and in a form-fitting white turtleneck sweater, she tucked herself inside the arms of the bear as if she was about to be embraced or ravaged or both by its claws.
The bear stands to this day in a corner of the Indian Trading Post next to a framed photo of Marilyn with the bear. When I was there a handsome and vivacious Latin American couple in their early thirties were there too, apparently on holiday. The woman mimicked Marilyn’s pose with the bear while her husband or boyfriend snapped pictures of her.
They did not speak English and I speak only a little Spanish but I gladly took the camera and shot both of them with the bear. Marilyn was not identified in the picture but no ID was necessary. We all knew her. We all were fans.
Sixty years from now, will Jennifer Lawrence or Scarlett Johansson be instantly recognizable internationally? I don’t know, maybe. Continue reading