– Page 2 – writer & journalist, essays & latest updates

Monarchs in the Garden

May 28th, 2020

Hope and renewal is visiting me in the garden. A reminder from nature that life is transformation and time is a season that continues despite human intervention.

With hope and faith, I look forward to the future through the lens of nature.

Be healthy,  be kind to one another, and fly above the discord. xo, j

COVID 19 Pandemic Lockdown

March 24th, 2020

IT’S HERE! One of the four horseman from the Revelations.

Dear Lord,

Help us.



Happy Birthday Dad!

March 5th, 2020

Robert Joseph (mustache)

March 5, 1936 ~ July 25, 2018

You loved the standards sung by Frank Sinatra. Your favorite song was “My Way”. I can still remember waking up to Peggy Lee singing, “Is That All There Is?” And Petula Clark. And Neil Diamond. I think you wanted to be Neil Diamond. Those “Hot August Nights” were replayed over and over. You will be happy to know that John is restoring your beloved stereo cabinet from Okinawa.

Escarole was one of your favorite vegetables. Chocolate was a weakness. Traveling the high seas was a passion. Highly intelligent, kind, and sentimental, you gave 33 years to Howard Hughes. I grew up listening to Vin Scully, the Dodgers, and Farmer John bacon commercials on the radio because you were such a loyal fan when they were a Brooklyn team. You adored your mother and your siblings.

Our funniest memory is when my husband asked for your blessing to propose to me as you were walking together. You asked him, “Are you sure?” His answer to you was, “Is there something I should know, Bob?” We still laugh about it. You taught Tom about Bushmills single malt whiskey and you both drank until the wee small hours. You shared your Churchill cigars with him generously as well. You taught us how to play Hand & Foot and was very strict about the rules. I have never won. You hated Scrabble and would rather watch a crappy movie.

Basil the man to your right—was one of your best friends, as was Uncle Paul the man to your left—your younger brother, and your only son, John is to your far right. Your beloved and youngest. I am not at all jealous. Really.

I remember this fun day after the races at Del Mar so clearly. This was an Italian restaurant at the time–one of its many incarnations now inhabited by a real estate company. Like the mensch you were, you picked up the check and wouldn’t take a single dollar from anyone. Those were the days. Happy times.

I really miss you. I hope you, mom, Uncle Paul, Grandma Fay, and all of your friends are having a great party up there. Well, whenever you see mom. I’m sure even in heaven, she is probably at the casinos. At least now you won’t have to pick her up.

Say hi to Pop Pop (Big Tom). And put in a good word to the Big Guy to continue watching over all of us. He knows more than ever, how much we need His special guidance. That —and/or a giant cattle prod.



Happy 2020! May your visions be crystal clear.

January 15th, 2020


2020 San Diego International Film Festival Ambassadors with Tonya Mantooth, Executive Creative Director & CEO, Stephanie Inscoe, Festival Producer & Eva Maria, Festival Manager

Here’s to another stellar year of films with social impact and powerful perspectives. Please join us at the Film Insider Series, Movies at the Bay, and the super fun Film Festival on October 13-16, 2020.

See you on the Red Carpet! Love, j.

Healing and Positive Good Vibrations to all!

November 27th, 2019


2019 San Diego International Film Festival “Movie Reveal” party at Maserati Showroom

August 19th, 2019

CEO and Executive Director, Tonya Mantooth

Not only were the cars gorgeous at the Maserati showroom, and the Miho Catering gourmet bites yummy, and the movie reveal line-up totally exciting but…

All the shoes were not made for walking….



Of course, there is the purse to match the nails, the dress, and the shoes!

NO, It’s NOT the Pope!


Land ahoy!


Bang & Olufsen coolio…



Gladiator still rocks!

Sexy roja…

Sparkly elegance works! (and my personal favorite.)

“Birds of a feather…” 




Leopard with bling bling above a nice pedicure.

Walk in beauty, j

Happy Birthday Gromit

July 24th, 2019

You were a fine example of unconditional love.

R.I.P. little buddy ~ April 20, 2019

I will always miss you, particularly on All Hallow’s Eve when I would hide you from a sometimes cruel world. <3



Be kind to each other,


2019 Film Insider Series

May 21st, 2019

I love attending this monthly series at Arclight Cinemas. Hosted by San Diego Film Foundation, exclusive screenings of not yet released films can be previewed.

This month featured a drama written by playwright, JC Lee and co-written by Julius Onah (director).

The prescreening cocktail buzz is already rife with questions like, “Where is Eritrea?” and “I thought Tim Roth was American”. Over by the delicious fare from Eureka! The Melting Pot, Craft Pizza Co., and sliders from Liberty Call Distilling Co. was still more buzz: “I loved Octavia Spencer in “The Help and of course, the response, “Me too!” The cinephiles are talking about a Sundance Film Festival (SFF) indie: “Luce” (pronounced like loose) which is about an adopted former child soldier from Eritrea by a highly educated Caucasian couple and the challenges their son encounters in high school when his star student status is threatened.

“Luce” is starring Oscar nominee and a Boston Society of Film Critics Award nominee, Naomi Watts. Watts is also a Boston Online Film Critics Association winner for “Birdman” in 2014. With two homes on both LA and NYC, two passports (British and Australian), two children–it’s not hard to imagine Watts cast as a global thinker, who lovingly adopts a former child soldier with her husband.

Her screen husband is British subject and character chameleon, Tim Roth. They shared cinematic parental roles once before in the terrifying “Funny Games”. At the heart of “Luce”, former child soldier is played by New Orleans born, Kelvin Harrison. Harrison is no stranger to indie films as his last pic “Monster” won Grand Jury Prize in 2018.

On the FIS red carpet is wunderkind playwright, JC Lee. At 27, a Juilliard graduate with already a string of successful runs in equity theatres on both coasts, it’s easy to believe when he quotes Shakespeare as his muse, “He’s the ultimate bad-ass.”

San Diego’s own well respected, Old Globe, commissioned Lee’s world premiere, “What You Are” scheduled to begin on May 30, 2019. Jersey Shore-raised Lee and his Shakespearean devotion lends an exotic flavor to many meaningful subjects, which tonight will be fleshed out by an international cast and crew on the silver screen.

“Luce” is Lee’s first screenplay, which he co-wrote with Nigerian born, director, Julius Onah. Onah never saw “Luce” as a play but was encouraged to read Lee’s screenplay in 2014 by Imagine Entertainment and Brian Grazer. The rest as they say—is history. Both literally and figuratively.

Onah’s background is simpatico to Lee’s—Onah received his Bachelor’s in Theatre from Wesleyan University in Connecticut and his Masters in Fine Arts from Tisch, NYC where Onah continues to reside. Onah’s input for developing Harrison’s character was to suggest reading Frantz Fanon, a postcolonial thinker and psychiatrist. As a former high school debater, Onah put Harrison on the podium to help with Harrison’s dialect and posture. Harrison wrote the paper himself which he holds in the movie—Oscar winner, Octavia Spencer who plays his high school teacher, also read and graded it in actuality. Gives real meaning to method acting doesn’t it?

Afterward, SDIFF CEO and Executive Artistic Director, the gracious Madame Tonya Mantooth facilitated the Q&A with Lee who exuded a youthful candor about his inspiration for “Luce”.

“I relate to Luce in the sense I grew up as a mixed-race kid in New York,” Lee said. “I was in a weird gifted program and so I always felt that I was performing various roles for different people. I believe those characters knew what that pressure felt like.” In describing how his play became a film, Lee explains, “Julius harassed me for two years and basically I told him that films are never as good as the plays but in this case, I actually feel the film is better as a story.”

 By the way, for those wondering: Eritrea is in North East Africa which borders Sudan, Ethiopia, The Red Sea and the tip of Djibouti. All of these areas are politically hostile climates where only a handful of brave war correspondents dare to wander. No need for spoiler alerts—make sure this film makes it on the “family movie night” watch list for a lively debate. Take note: mature high school freshman and up only.

As always, the evening ended with a lively post champagne reception, more red carpet photo opps, Cookies by Cravory, and a fond good-night to all. See you next month!

Tim Roth, Kelvin Harrison Jr and Naomi Watts appear Luce by Julius Onah, an official selection of the U.S. Dramatic Competition at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival. Courtesy of Sundance Institute | photo by Larkin Seiple
All photos are copyrighted and may be used by press only for the purpose of news or editorial coverage of Sundance Institute programs. Photos must be accompanied by a credit to the photographer and/or ‘Courtesy of Sundance Institute.’ Unauthorized use, alteration, reproduction or sale of logos and/or photos is strictly prohibited.


Nature inspired and nature inspires—

April 9th, 2019

Who hasn’t been visited this year by a Monarch? Or the migration of a Painted Lady? Or seen the glorious abundance of posies everywhere in the aftermath of the winter rains?

My second favorite flower is the California state flower: golden poppies.

Golden Poppy (Eschscholtzia californica) is also sometimes known as the Flame Flower, la amapola, and Copa de Oro (cup of gold). The Golden Poppy, belonging to the Papaveraceae family, grows wild throughout California, and became the state flower in 1903.

A short season but oh so colorful and inspiring. Traffic on I-15 has been like flowergeddon—everyone wants photos and a “looksee” of the fields of gold. I remember growing up and having to take a car ride to Lancaster where fields and fields of golden poppies undulated gently on mounds. The Cowardly Lion never had a chance in the Wizard of Oz I always thought.

I have also noticed everyone is inspired by color: a friend painted her patio furniture Caribbean colors, another started a new way of painting on repurposed wood, my daughter dresses in an explosion of colors and I? I am inspired to line my eyes with a smoky deep purple.

How about you?

Happy Spring again,

😉 j

Hello 2019!

February 19th, 2019

Once again, the year is whooshing by…record polar freezes worldwide (is hell freezing over?!), the wall continues to be built, the Oscars are sans a host/ess, tax season is upon us with less breaks, gas prices are holding steady at $3.25, pretty boy governor Newsom is–well, we will see what we will see.

Personally, I haven’t erased my folks yet from my I-Phone “favorites”. It’s hard to move on and make it official and permanent. I keep hoping it’s a bad dream. I look at old photos remembering each moment so clearly. Sigh. Death is hard. Living is harder.

“Is that all there is my friend? Then let’s keep dancing, let’s break out the booze and have a ball.” Jerry Lieber/Mike Stoller









Just another crappy sunset in Paradise.

Be kind, use your blinkers please. The people following you are not psychic!!!