Select Fruit Trees

this week only!

20% off selected fruit trees. it’s a good time to plant just as they’re about to flower.

  
lots of other spring flowering trees and shrubs to choose from, you know, “April Showers…!”

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the deep freeze

had to run for cover last weekend as the temps dropped into the low 20’s… 

  
one survivor, this flower on Magnolia ‘Black Tulip’.

let’s hope that’s the last of the frigid cold weather!

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Spring Open House

despite the chill in the air we celebrated the arrival of Spring at our annual Palm Sunday Open House.

Snacks and pansies were enjoyed as well as seeing many of our regular customers and a few new comers welcoming the arrival of Spring!

   
 
Next week…

The Big Easter Egg Hunt!

stay tuned

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Spring Production

thanks to nature we’re having a mild Spring and production is moving along apace! 

We have lots of great bulbs this year so if you need that flash of early color in your windowboxes check it out! 

we open for the year on Wednesday the 16th

 our regular hours:

8-5 Monday-Saturday

9-3 Sunday

on Wednesday the 16th

#vineyardgardens

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Robert Armstrong and Sylvia Byus Wedding Photo

Robert Armstrong and Sylvia Byus Wedding Photo

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TCM Classic Movie Festival Premier

The Third Annual Turner Classic Movies Classic Film Festival opened Thursday  with a grand Red Carpet event outside the fabled Grauman’s Chinese Theatre on Hollywood Boulevard.

  Held over four days in the heart of historic Hollywood, the TCM Classic Film Festival is a place where movie lovers from around the world gather to experience classic movies as they were meant to be seen: on the big screen, in some of the world’s most iconic venues, with the people who made them. The Festival presents multiple, simultaneous film screenings and events starting early in the morning and going into the late evening. All official venues are within walking distance along star-studded Hollywood Boulevard.  

The opening event was a premier screening of the brand new, digital restoration print of Bob Fosse’s award winning 1972 film, CABARET.  In attendance for the event were the stars, Liza Minnelli, Joel Grey and Michael York.

The festival drew an astounding range of stars from both the past and the present. You couldn’t help but wonder at the arrival of Mickey Rooney for one. There with Ms. Minnelli, daughter of his co-star from the hey-day of classic Hollywood, Judy Garland. I mean, how many times, for so many years, had Rooney tread those same steps outside that theatre, the very ones that hold his hand and foot impressions in concrete? We’ve seen the footage of the premiers from the 30’s and 40’s with Judy and Mickey arriving tux’ed and bejeweled with the searchlights scraping the skies and flashbulbs popping. Old, but spry, what must have been going through his head as he soaked up the adulation of the crowds cheering his arrival?

And the stars just kept on coming! The Hitchcock Blondes were there, Eva Marie Saint of NORTH BY NORTHWEST, (not to mention ON THE WATERFRONT with Marlon Brando) Tippi Hedren of THE BIRDS and MARNIE and, although she was not on the Red Carpet for this premier, Kim Novak of VERTIGO will be introducing and leading discussion and other films in the festival. These girls are still working, most have films in production still, amazing!

But that wasn’t the half of it. Peggy Montgomery who if you look her up on IMDB you will find had died in 1984! Well, I guess not ’cause there she was, the child star actress from the 20’s who was most likely the character model for Bettie Davis’ role of Baby Jane Hudson in the 1962 suspense-drama with Joan Crawford, WHATEVER HAPPENED TO BABY JANE.

There was the cast of the original TV series DALLAS, Larry Hagman (also of I DREAM OF JEANNIE), Patrick Duffy and Linda Gray, interesting because the new re-do of DALLAS just premiered on TNT which is a Turner channel. Debbie Reynolds was there, Barbara Rush (of the original Payton Place TV series), Jerry Mathers (The Beaver!) and Robert Wagner (IT TAKES A THIEF and countless other roles…).

It wasn’t just the old-timers though, Rose McGowan (GRINDHOUSE and an occasional host on TCM), Illeana Douglas (CAPE FEAR), Reid Ewing (MODERN FAMILY), Jennifer Grey (DIRTY DANCING) who, it turns out, is the daughter of Joel Grey, Colin Cunningham (THE 6TH DAY, BEST IN SHOW) and too many more to count.

Last but not least, the host to most of the films shown on TCM, the film historian Robert Osborne. This guy has taught us all so much about the history of “the Industry” from his introductions to the movies from the TCM archive. If you haven’t seen it, TCM produced a series called Moguls & Movie Stars: A History Of Hollywood, under his direction which is a must see!

The festival continues, tonight we’re going to a screening of CHINATOWN introduced by its producer, Robert Evans and writer, Robert TowLiza surrounded by adoring fansne really!

 

kkurman

 

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WRATH OF THE BULLY’S The Weinstein Co. vs. MPAA

WRATH OF THE TITANS, in IMAX 3-D, sequel to CLASH OF THE TITANS, opens this weekend.

Also opening this weekend is BULLY, the new documentary by Lee Hirsch about the increase in, and increasingly vehement, incidents of bullying among young people.

The release of BULLY has been embroiled in a very public controversy between the ratings agency MPAA (Motion Picture Association of America), and The Weinstein Co., Harvey Weinstein in particular, who is distributing the picture.

The MPAA has given the brutally honest documentary an ‘R’ rating which means that kids under 17 can’t go see it without their parents. It Is the kiss of box-office death to any film to loose that audience, but in this case the concern of the filmmaker is that it restricts the target audience from benefiting from its educational value.

The story of WRATH OF THE TITANS (Warner Bros.) directed by Jonathan Liebesman, is drawn directly from Bullfinch’s Mythology (paraphrased from the production notes);

Perseus (Sam Worthington) the son of Zeus (Liam Neeson), is living quietly as a village fisherman and the sole parent to his 10-year-old son, Helius. There is a struggle for supremacy raging between the gods. Weakened by humanity’s lack of devotion, the gods are losing hold of their immortality, as well as control over the imprisoned Titans and their ferocious leader, Kronos, father of the long-ruling brothers Zeus, Hades (Ralph Fiennes) and Poseidon (Danny Huston). The three brothers had overthrown their powerful father long ago, leaving him to rot in the gloomy abyss of the Underworld. Perseus cannot ignore his true calling as Hades, along with Zeus’ godly son, Ares (Edgar Ramirez), switches loyalties and makes a deal with Kronos to capture Zeus. The Titan’s strength grows as Zeus’ remaining godly powers are siphoned… and hell is unleashed on earth. Enlisting the help of Queen Andromeda (Rosamund Pike), Poseidon’s demigod son Agenor (Toby Kebbell), and fallen god Hephaestus (Bill Nighy), Perseus bravely embarks on a treacherous quest into the Underworld to rescue Zeus, overthrow the Titans and save mankind.

WRATH is a perfect story archetype, well suited to a rollercoaster ride through a 3-D/CGI amusement park. Look not here for great acting or sparkling dialogue, no, this is entertainment on a stadium seating, IMAX scale. While it may lack subtlety, it does carry a strong message, albeit wrapped in soft and fluffy spectacle.

BULLY, on the other hand is a documentary about bullying in schools at the center of a controversy over its rating for release to theaters.

From the Hollywood Reporter: “Despite vociferous protests from the film’s distributor, Harvey Weinstein, as well as powerful advocacy groups, the MPAA has refused to budge from its ‘R’ rating on Bully, which is likely to go down among the organization’s more asinine decisions. Lee Hirsch’s affecting documentary offers personal evidence against a scourge that afflicts vulnerable children and youths across the globe. That makes this a potent social-outreach tool that deserves to be seen as widely as possible.”

Lee Hirsch, the director of Bully, released a statement Monday regarding the MPAA decision. “The small amount of language in the film that’s responsible for the ‘R’ rating is there because it’s real. It’s what the children who are victims of bullying face on most days. All of our supporters see that, and were grateful for the support we’ve received across the board. I know the kids will come, so it’s up to the theaters to let them in.”

Back in the 30’s the equivalent of the current ratings system was called the Hays Code with the MPAA as the enforcement arm. They imposed stiff restrictions on what could be on the screen, basically, censorship. Writers and directors quickly found ways around the imposed restrictions and in most cases made better movies as a result, through innuendo, like the kiss between Cary Grant and Ingrid Bergman in NOTORIOUS for example.

Over the years, the restrictions have become eroded and the ratings are being used more like a weapon wielded by the gods in WRATH. Weinstein along with the AMC Theatre franchise have managed to finesse their way around the code by screening it as ‘un-rated’.

Now, I can remember when this rating system was instituted back in the 60’s when going to an ‘R’ rated movie was like achieving the holy grail. Eventually it was more like, if it wasn’t rated ‘R’ it wasn’t worth going to. This probably just followed my ageing process, but it’s also to the point, we’ve grown, as a society, and the rules have not.

The last time this issue flared was a couple of years ago with the beautiful film, THE KINGS SPEECH, also released through Weinstein Co. MPAA gave it an ‘R’ for the scenes when Lionel Logue (Geoffery Rush) the diction coach, has King George VI (Colin Firth) say ‘fuck’ out loud repeatedly to help him get over his inhibitions. It was another case where the rating board would not consider the context and intent before committing their sentence, and a sentence it was. The roll out was frustratingly slow for the financiers of the film, but then Weinstein didn’t have such a good relationship the agency and perhaps they were teaching him a lesson.

Revenge, they say, is best served cold and the reaction was swift. By releasing BULLY without a rating, the PTC (Parents Television Council) board says that it compromises the whole rating system.

“This move, regardless of intentions, sets a precedent that threatens to derail the entire ratings system,” said PTC head Tim Winter, “If a distribution company can simply decide to operate outside of the ratings system in a case like Bully, nothing would prevent future filmmakers from doing precisely the same thing, with potentially much more problematic material.”

Maybe that is what is needed.

What has slipped through the cracks in this system, and the argument, is that even on TV, gratuitous violence, violence and misogamy against women, ignorance, greed, hateful stereotypes and just generally bad behavior is glorified and are often the weapons that inform and drive bullying in schoolyards.

Now, bullying is part of human nature, we have examples throughout history. So too is language wielded like a bludgeon, or a sword. How it is dealt with is much of its purposefulness within the tribe. I think of Dargelos in Jean Cocteau’s mythologizing of his own youth in LES ENFANTS TERRIBLES and of my own family’s stories about young Abraham Lincoln coming to blows with Uncle Jack Armstrong only to end up shaking hands and becoming lifelong friends.

Ideas of strength and vulnerability, of what is good and what is evil, have remained fundamentally unchanged over millennia, however the methods of expression and thresholds of tolerance have changed. For one thing, we don’t live in such tightly knit communities as we did even fifty years ago. Ironically, the same ‘protect our children’ attitudes that have resulted in restricting teachers from intervening in schoolyard scuffles have led to issues with bullying becoming more widespread.

Hirsch is right to say that the language in question is nothing that these kids don’t hear every day. “The MPAA said they wouldn’t drop the ‘R’ rating unless this language was removed, but nothing can remove it from the halls and playgrounds of schools, where bullied students hear it each day, except education and exposure.”

So what I kept hoping would happen in WRATH, that Perseus would not just take the beating but do something clever or unexpected to slay the monster, Weinstein and AMC Theatres are doing. Rather than just let the old gods control through unreasonable inflexibility, they’re pulling a side-move that may just undermine the gods’ very existence.

Where the willow bends with the wind, the ridged mighty oak snaps and breaks.

The gods of WRATH OF THE TITANS have faded into dust, largely due to their neglect of the needs of their people, so too aged institutions must either reflect the change they helped shape or fade into obsolescence.

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