DORIS, DIANE, HUGO, & ABU

I want to Talk about Doris Day (the real one), the unexpected Diane (le fancy one), and some interesting movies (unexpected ones), in this plump picture show season.

The ever-enchanting Doris Day.

DORIS DAY: A happy surprise came in the mail from Doris’ friend Nancy. There is a wonderful cover article — full of delicious photos — on Doris Day in the Carmel Magazine. The interview is by Dina Eastwood, the charming journalist who happens to be married to Clint. It’s a rare visit with America’s Sweetheart (and the best selling recording artist of all time). For those who love her, Google Carmel Magazine’s winter edition and catch up with Doris at 87. For those who love her music, her first album release in 20 years, My Heart, debuted in the top ten on the charts in the United Kingdom. We’ll be keeping our eyes open for the USA release, but there are some peeks on the Internet! I miss her, but reading this piece fills my heart, knowing that she is happy and healthy and fulfilling her mission to help animals. Thank you, friend Nancy, for sharing this neat update on one of Toluca Lake’s great residents.

LE DIANE

When planning our Paris trip (that I’ll never stop talking about), our kids, Sheri and Adam, kept insisting that we go to Fouquet, “their favorite restaurant in the universe.” Well, when our attempts to reserve were futile, it was suggested we go to their new restaurant, Le Diane. Once again, a Paris surprise.

Right around the corner from the Champs Elysees at avenue George V, Le Diane is the gourmet restaurant of Hotel Fouquet’s Barrière. There we discovered the stunning French cuisine of Executive Chef, Jean-Yves Leuranguer.

It was a rare warm fall evening, and we dined on the glittery terrace that drifts alongside the elegant restaurant with all the glow of Paris’ Golden Triangle. We could hear the music from their amazing bar and were mesmerized by the waterfall walls and sculpted flying white birds while we fell victims to the gastronomy. We learned why Le Diane is one of those Paris restaurants whose name is uttered with reverence. Let me utter a few irreverent clues to our memorable meal: duck balls (don’t ask); Brittany Langoustine (like butter); butter — four flavors (sweet, salt, herb, seaweed!); Charolais Beef cooked in a fig leaf (such sauce); Bresse Chicken (David’s passion); Seared Amberjack (special); then an array of desserts by top Pastry Chef Claude Ducrozet. If Paris is in your future, take note and take a virtual tour.

Just five years new, Hotel Fouquet’s Barrière, a Lucien Barrière Hotel, has a longstanding, historical relationship with the César Ceremonies and French cinema, hosting many great film stars. Since the inception of the César Awards, the “French Academy Awards,” Fouquet’s has hosted the César Nominees Luncheon and the After-Awards Ceremony César Dinner.

It may come as a surprise to those of us close to Hollywood that the French Lumiere Brothers are the true “Fathers of Modern Cinema.” In 1895 they first showed their films in Paris, which leads me to Talk about HUGO.

This majestic movie is full of Paris and good lessons about early cinema. Fanciful, and factual, this is not just a film for children: Hugo embodies a heart warming/heart stopping tale of a 12-year-old orphan who lives in the walls of a Paris train station in 1930 and a mystery involving the boy, his late father, and a robot. Bravo for Martin Scorsese, for making the most magical 3D movie!

ABU, SON OF ADAM: This humble motion picture is from India and brings a slice of life rarely offered. The unique story is of Abu and Aisumma, an aging Muslim couple. Their aspiration is to go to Hajj and they make many sacrifices to achieve this aim. The purity of the characters and the performances give us a look into a peaceful Muslim community, poor but helping each other.

So, just a few more examples of good people and good times.

We’ll Talk….