Archive for film

Strange Fruit

Posted in Culture with tags , , , on July 10, 2013 by substanceandstyledc

fruitvale-station-posterWhen the film premiered at the Sundance Film Festival it captured both the Grand Jury Prize for dramatic feature and the Audience Award for US dramatic film. More than that, it captured the hearts of everyone who saw it. And as the saying goes, ‘what’s on the heart is always on the tongue.’ In this case, the movers in shakers in cinema can’t stop talking about the brave and honest artistry of director Ryan Coogler’s tracing of the last few hours of the life of Oscar Grant in his film Fruitvale Station.

Fruitvale Station, opening in Washington area theaters July 19, follows the true story of a 22-year-old Bay Area resident who wakes up on the morning of December 31, 2008 and feels something in the air. Not sure what it is, he takes it as a sign to get a head start on his resolutions: being better son to his mother, partner to his girlfriend Sophina, and being a better father to Tatiana, their beautiful four year-old daughter. Crossing paths with friends, family and strangers, Oscar starts out well, as the day goes on, he realizes that changes are not going to come easily. His resolve takes a tragic turn, however, when BART officers shoot him in cold blood at the Fruitvale subway stop on New Year’s Day. Oscar’s life and tragic death would shake the Bay Area – and the entire nation – to its very core.


Simply Beautiful Film

Posted in Culture with tags , , on June 26, 2013 by substanceandstyledc

tnance_filmWest End Cinema brings the much talked about debut film An Oversimplification of Her Beauty to Washington audiences June 28 – July 4. Following the June 28 7:20pm and June 30 5:00pm screenings, the director Terence Nance will pop in the theater via Skype for a Q&A session.

The film documents the relationship between Terence and a lovely young woman as it teeters on the divide between platonic and romantic. An Oversimplification of Her Beauty blurs the line between narrative, documentary, and experimental film as it explores the fantasies, emotions, and memories. See the trailer below.

2 Days in New York

Posted in Culture with tags on August 13, 2012 by substanceandstyledc

Chris Rock brings his charm to the big screen again in Julie Delpy’s 2 Days in New York the follow up to her successful 2 Days in Paris. Hitting the screen at Bethesda Row on Friday, August 17 2 Days in New York is a story about a New York talk radio host, played by Rock, and his French photographer girlfriend, living happily together with their blended family until the announcement that extended family is coming to visit. Two unforgettable days of family fun and mayhem are soon to come.

2 Days in New York Trailer

Keepers of the Craft

Posted in Culture with tags , , on June 11, 2012 by substanceandstyledc

Many can dance, but not everyone can dance like Bill T. Jones. Many can sing, but not everyone can sing like Audra McDonald. Many can rap, but not everyone can craft complex raps over beats and rhythms like the 54 rap artists that Ice-T has assembled for his highly anticipated documentary Something from Nothing: The Art of Rap. Ice-T interviews icons KRS-One, Rakim, Chuck D, Ice Cube, Eminem, Big Daddy Kane and a plethora of younger artists. Rappers share from a more intimate place about themselves and their art. The limited Washington, DC engagement of Something from Nothing: The Art of Rap begins at E Street Cinema on June 15.

Obama in Ghana

Posted in Culture, Politics with tags , , on March 17, 2012 by substanceandstyledc

Thursday, March 22 travel through the lens of award-winning filmmaker Tony Regusters as he shares his Obama in Ghana: The Untold Story – a documentary that captures in detail the full pilgrimage of the first African American United States President to Ghana and the incredible reception he and the First Family received six months after his inauguration.  The President and First Family made their state visit to Africa in July of 2009, selecting the Republic of Ghana as the Administration’s first visit to Sub-Saharan Africa. According to press notes,  the film “explores the preparations, the pageantry and politics of a unique and transformational moment in African world history.” The film will be screened at 6:00pm in the Langston Room of the flagship Busboys and Poets at 14th and V Street, NW.

Sweet Caroline’s

Posted in DC: Dining & Cocktails with tags , , , , , , on March 5, 2012 by substanceandstyledc

There was a lot of talk about the actresses of the film The Help. Viola Davis won several awards for her portrayal of Aibileen Clark and her cast mate Octavia Spencer walked away with an Oscar for her role as Minny Jackson. These stars truly shined on screen. But they weren’t the only ones who made a lasting impression.

The visuals of the delicious cakes and pies in the film could make anyone not just hungry, but salivate. In particular there is a seven layer caramel cake in the movie that everyone raves about. A nine inch round cake, with multiple layers held together by frosting that looks so good and sweet that it may be a sin.

Well, the makers of the on screen beauties, the seven layer caramel cakes used in the film, are just up the road in Annapolis, Maryland. For more than a decade Caroline’s Cakes, known mostly for their seven layer caramel cakes has been serving up a variety of cakes and cupcakes to happy customers. Several years ago the bakery opened up a small café two doors down that offers a delicious breakfast and lunch menu.

Over the weekend, Substance & Style took a road trip to Annapolis to experience Caroline’s firsthand. The first stop was to the bakery where we were greeted by a friendly staff person who was very knowledgeable and helpful in guiding us to which cake may best suit our palette. After deliberation and temptation we decided to stick with what originally brought us there on this sojourn – caramel. Next we went to Caroline’s Gourmet to see what was on the menu.

The café is intimate and warm and just when you thought you’d met the friendliest staffer in the world at the bakery – you realize in fact that she has competition from the two young men at café. They made you feel like you were in your family members kitchen and whatever you wanted they were going to make with care and serve it with a smile.

While everything on the menu sounds delicious our party indulged in the curried chicken salad on lettuce, a chicken foccacia sandwich and slices of the seven layer lemon and caramel cakes respectively.  The taste of the food was absolutely worth the gas mileage from the District to Annapolis. We washed down our lunch with ice cold bottles of Cheerwine soda. Bottled since 1917, it has been called the “Nectar of North Carolina.” You’ll have to buy a bottle. We bought several to take home with us.

The cake is what we went for, the lunch is what made us linger and the overall experience is what will bring us back for more.

Front entrance of Caroline's Cakes.


Inside Caroline's Cakes.

Inside Caroline's Cakes.

Caroline's Gourmet

MLK Streets – Roads from Dreams to Realities

Posted in Culture with tags , , on January 2, 2012 by substanceandstyledc

When the name Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is heard many words come to mind, words like – dreams, freedom, hope, equality and justice. Yet, years after his death, after a national holiday has been proclaimed in his honor, post the unveiling of a monument bearing his likeness on the National Mall and his life and leadership explored in all forms of visual art, music, literature and performance there are some things with his name on it that don’t always bring to mind the words that are associated with him or his legacy.

In cities throughout the United States, streets, boulevards and avenues bearing the name Martin Luther King Jr. often bring to mind words like poverty, segregation, injustice and despair. It is a very stark contrast to the dream that Dr. King was known for promoting. Comedians have joked for years that when you want to find where the poor African American population is located in any major American city you simply have to find your way to MLK and what you find, you may not like.

In the documentary film, The MLK Streets Project this connection, or disconnection between the dream of Martin Luther King Jr. and the reality of MLK streets is explored. Through funding support of One Common Unity and A Nu View filmmaking program, eight Washington, DC high school students, were able to travel across the country and collect video and interviews for the film and produce this documentary. The footage and interviews tell the stories of progress and pause through the eyes of the residents in each city and the lens of these young filmmakers.

The Black Philanthropic Alliance in partnership with Woolly Mammoth Theater and the emerging creative powers of Straight, No Chaser Films will present a screening of The MLK Streets Project along with a community discussion Monday, January 9, 2012 at the Woolly Mammoth Theater, 641 D Street NW from 5:30pm – 8:00pm. The panelists for the community discussion include Rain Pryor, Terrie Freeman, President and CEO of the Community Foundation of the National Capital Region, Ray Bell Jr. of the HOPE Project and Joseph Speight of Friendship Southeast Elementary Academy.

Learn more here.

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