January 19, 2021

Oprah’s “O Magazine” Print Version Calling It Quits After 20 Years

It was with sadness I learned of “O Magazine’s” decision to end its 20-year regular print run. The December 2020 issue will be its last featuring its beloved holiday tradition of choosing Oprah’s “Favorite Things.”

I have enjoyed “O’s” articles on food, fashion, health, psychology and impressive women, but the magazine was also a compendium of great books, clothing, make-up and services. In short, the publication encouraged women to “live your best life.”

Oprah has been on every single cover of the magazine, albeit sometimes sharing a photo with other humans or animals. This final issue has Oprah in a Volkswagen Beetle festooned with red wrapped presents.

Oprah assures readers they will still be able to get recommendations for all good things under the sun from OprahMag.com
Let me remind you that Harpo Studios and Discovery Inc. co-own the TV service, OWN (Oprah Winfrey’s Network) so you can commune with the Oprah brand via tv and streaming. You can also expect Oprah to print special magazine issues. Let’s hope she continues “Favorite Things” in some form for years to come. The December 2020 “O Magazine” issue is still available at newsstands.

“Judy” on Amazon Prime

I missed seeing “Judy,” the bio pic of Judy Garland starring Renee Zellwegger in a movietheater when it came out in 2019. Good thing that Amazon Prime recently added it to their movie line-up.

Zellwegger was initially unrecognizable to me, not only because of her short dark hair and sixties clothing, but her very mannerisms reminded me of Garland. Her singing voice is decidedly her own, but she manages to channel the hyper-emotional quality that Judy found in performance. Director Rupert Goold based the movie on a successful play, “End of the Rainbow” by Peter Quilter, that found critical success on London’s West End and on Broadway.

The movie depicts the final chapter of her life when she is hard up for money and has no fixed residence, despite her trying to care for her two children, Lorna and Joey. We see the acrimonious relationship with ex-husband Sid Luft and Judy’s romance and marriage to nightclub owner, Mickey Deans. Eldest child Liza makes an appearance and we see clearly that daughter has eclipsed mother.

The production also contains flashbacks of Judy’s early life, her noxious relationship with studio head, Louis B. Mayer, and her friendship with fellow film teen star Mickey Rooney. Dieting and drugs seem ever present in Judy’s formative years. The viewer gets to see how many of her adult problems had their inception when she was a child star.

Although reviews were mixed, Zellwegger won an Oscar, a Golden Globe and a Screen Actors Guild Award for her lead performance. “Judy” makes the point that, while Garland’s life may have been troubled in her final years, she never lost the ability to electrify an audience. The film ends on a relatively positive note.

Judy Garland’s voice and her performance footage continue to mesmerize listeners young and old. Revisiting a slice of her life in “Judy” is for anyone who appreciates “The Wizard of Oz,” Garland’s many other movies and her iconic recordings.

“Emily In Paris” on Netflix

A visit to Paris seems none too imminent, so I did the next best thing: I watched “Emily In Paris” on Netflix. Darren Star, creator of “Sex in the City” and “Younger,” has created another series filled with appealing characters, killer clothing and alluring urban scenes.

Emily Cooper (played by Lily Collins channeling Audrey Hepburn), an exec in Chicago, is unexpectedly transferred to Paris for a job at a French marketing firm. There has been no time for her to learn the language, so she garners the derision of her French co-workers for being a gauche American. Her first friend is nanny Ashley Park, delightfully acted by Mindy Chen. Of course, there is the cute chef (Lucas Bravo) who lives in the apartment below hers, and her French friend, Camille, who just happens to be the chef’s girlfriend.

Shades of “The Devil Wore Prada,” the meanest character is Emily’s French boss, Sylvie (Philippine Leroy-Beaulieu) who denigrates Emily at every turn. Our heroine just keeps trying to take lemons and make “limonade.”

This 10-episode series reminds me of the romantic comedies at which the French excel, but with a decidedly American twist. The music soundtrack with songs in both French and English is a fun mix of new and old material. The cinematography shows Paris in all of her glory, from the architecture, to the Seine to sidewalk cafes like Les Deux Magots and Cafe Flore.

Reviews have been mixed, but I for one loved the atmosphere created by the clothing, the scenery and the screwball-esque dialogue despite the outlandish plot and sometimes over-the-top acting.

Put yourself on “joie de vivre” mode, make yourself a cafe au lait and visit “Emily In Paris” for a few hours.

More Reality Shows of Note on Netflix

How is Netflix getting me to consider programs I would not normally watch? When I open the app, a show trailer starts playing above the list of selections. The clips are engaging, upbeat and often pique my curiosity. How else to explain my current viewing selections: “Love On the Spectrum,” “Restaurants on the Edge” and “Sugar High.”

I have been a fan of “Sugar Rush,” a cooking competition using sweet ingredients. When I exhausted those episodes, Netflix automatically cued up a related show from the same producers, “Sugar High.” Stone-cold professionals compete to make sugar creations that delight the tastebuds and the eyes. Much like sculptors and glassblowers, the chefs skillfully fashion shapes using ingredients like sugar, isomalt and paper wafers. I would not have the heart to destroy these artistic creations by eating them, however.

“Restaurants on the Edge” is a bit sleepy in its pacing, but features scenic restaurants in different countries that need help with their menus, decor and promotion.

Three restaurant gurus arrive in the area and find local beverages, food stuffs and decorating ideas to refresh the dining establishment in question. The show tries to defy the adage that the better the view, the worse the food.

“Love on the Spectrum,” an Australian documentary series, introduced me to young people who are autistic and in search of what we all want: love and romance. Cian O’Clery, the series’ creator and director, films men and women as they openly discuss being “on the spectrum.” We watch them go on first dates and interact with their families. The show accomplishes something rare as we feel genuine empathy for young couples who have found love and for those still searching for romance. “Love On the Spectrum” finds the balance between documentary and reality show which impels you to keep watching. At just five episodes, the series leaves you wanting progress reports on all of these endearing people.

During these stressful times, Netflix has carried many serious scripted shows, but I am keeping my streaming subscription because they are offering fun, reasonably intelligent programs that emphasize food, fashion, art, travel and love.

Netflix Lured Me Back with Light Entertainment

After months of being a non-Netflix subscriber, I was lured back with the promise of new episodes of favorite shows.

Queer Eye has to be one of the most uplifting shows in TV Land right now. The rebooted series has breezed through four Seasons of 8 episodes each in U.S. states like Georgia, Kansas, Missouri and Illinois, with a one-episode season in Australia and a four episode run in Japan. For Season Five, the Queer Eye make-over team is in the Philadelphia, including one candidate from the Jersey Shore.

David Collins, producer of the original series which ran for five seasons from 2003 to 2007) has brilliantly adapted the concept for a new generation of viewers. As much as I liked the previous incarnation, the Netflix reboot has even more heart as the Fab Five tackle redos for men and women from all sorts of cultural backgrounds.

I love all five of these guys: Bobby Berk on design, Tan France on fashion, Jonathan Van Ness for grooming, but I especially love the emotional insight that Karamo Brown brings and the food love that Antoni Porowski evokes. This is my kind of show when I need the world to seem like a happier and safer place.

If you want something even more goofy and light, you might consider The Big Flower Fight. Netflix has taken the reality competition into the floral arena. Teams of two use flowers, grasses and evergreens, as well as man-made and organic elements, to create animals, dresses, thrones, mobiles and fairy tale scenes.

The Big Flower Fight has much in common with The Great British Baking Show which is amply represented on Netflix. Food, fashion and flower competitions are entertaining stress relievers and Netflix is providing lots of fun options.

Cara Cotton Gloves

I have been seeing discarded plastic medical gloves on sidewalks and in gutters. Wanting to come up with a hand-covering that is reusable and more organic, I purchased white cotton gloves in a package of 24. I use them once and then throw them in with the other white laundry items. Hot water, bleach and soap is purported to clean and sterilize them.

The gloves come in all different sizes and you don’t necessarily have to buy them in bulk, but if you have multiples, you are less tempted to reuse them after out-of-home use.

People may see your white-gloved hands and think you are a mime, but we just may start a current day fashion trend.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00CIBQD7I?tag=duckduckgo-osx-20&linkCode=osi&th=1&psc=1