Zac Posen Masquerade Ball

November 20, 2008 at 6:27 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , )

I was reading a Daily Candy email a couple months ago and it mentioned an upcoming charity ball put on by the Young Patrons of Lincoln Center. They were honoring the amazing designer Zac Posen. Zac designs for ALL the celebrities these days – dresses, bags, shoes – you name it! His show at fashion week was THE one to get into. He’s also super young – only 28 years old!

Anyway, I decided to cover the story for Better TV. I asked Liz to come along as my assistant because 1) I knew it’d be more fun with her there and 2) Sometimes when you’re stuck on a red carpet, you need people to do things for you. She agreed.

I found out a few weeks before the event that Uma Thurman would be giving out the award to Zac at the event. Bonus! Always good when you cover an event to have an A list celebrity in attendance.

The event was held in the Time Warner Center’s Allen Room. If you ever have the opportunity to attend an event there, do it, no matter what the event. You won’t be sorry. The glass walled room looked out over Columbus Circle and the park. Dazzling at night. My photos are a little blurry due to the low light, but you can get an idea.

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Zac Posen Masquerade Ball 008

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There were three levels and each level had its own bar and food station.

And at the top level you had your silent auction items. From trips to luxury Vegas hotel The Wynn to designer bags made by Zac Posen, there was a mouthwatering array of goods up for grabs. Sadly we are too poor to do any grabbing!

I really liked this dress, though.

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After wandering around a bit, it was time to go back out to the red carpet and wait for the celebs to arrive. The thing you need to know about celebs and the red carpet is the lesser celeb you are, the earlier you arrive. Not sure how the powers that be work it, but it’s true everytime. That meant Uma would come last. But she couldn’t come too late, we assured ourselves. After all, she was giving the presentation. And the presentation was set for 9:30.

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This woman is an actress on Law and Order. I don’t watch the show and I’m too lazy to look up her name now. Anyone?

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I was more excited about the Gossip Girls, to tell you the truth! Nicole Fiscella, who plays Isabel Coates, and Amanda Setton, who plays Penelope. We LOVED both their outfits and they were really friendly and fun to interview. Now I’ve met four of the actors on the show. Just gotta get Blake Lively someday!!

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And Amanda’s shoes were beyond awesome.

We also interviewed two Olympians – who won silver medals for fencing. I think Liz had a crush on the dark haired one.

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Next came Zac Posen himself. Sans Uma. He was adorable though. And super friendly. Wearing a coat of ermine and a mask he made himself. He talked about dressing Uma – a goddess of our time.

Now we just had to wait for Uma. So we waited. And waited. They brought dessert out. Liz snagged us some candy apples.

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We began to get bored. Standing on the red carpet for three hours will do that to you. So we took some masked photos while we waited.

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Then we were told that Uma was too nervous to come out on the red carpet before her speech (huh?!) and that she’d come out for photos AFTER her presentation. Meaning we had to wait LONGER. Grr. Doesn’t she know I want to go home and to bed? Halloween is tomorrow and I want to be well rested!

So she gives her speech and presents Zac with his award.

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And then, after another wait, she finally comes out on the red carpet. I think Liz took some video with her camera – so hopefully she’ll post that soon. But to recap it was about five seconds of prancing around with Zac – no talking to the media – and then running off the carpet yelling peace and love. Three hour wait for THAT!

Bleh. The world of celebrity is just so ridiculous. It’s like a power play. She was sitting around at 9pm, but knew the photographers would wait all night if they had to, so she decided not to make an appearance. Just so disrespectful to them and their time. And then to not even talk to us after making us wait so long…well, I can’t say I am going to look at her in the movies the same way again.

I do want to point out that none of this is the fault of the Young Patrons of Lincoln Center. They put on a great party and everyone seemed to have a good time. Their publicist, Kate, was really helpful and good at keeping us up to date. I felt a little bad for her with the Uma thing. After all, she was just the messenger.

Anyway, that’s about it. Overall a fun night.

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And here’s the video of the final product, as aired on Better TV.

Marianne

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As the World Turns

November 12, 2008 at 8:17 pm (better tv) (, , , , , )

A few weeks ago, bright and early my photographer and I hopped into a car service (since no taxi driver in his right mind would take us) and headed deep into the bowels of Brooklyn to film a segment on the CBS soap opera AS THE WORLD TURNS.

We met up with Terri Colombino who plays Katie Peretti on the show and had her give us a backstage tour. They have two stages they film on – each filled sets of different rooms, restaurants, and shops. Each had three walls that looked just like a living room or kitchen or coffee shop – with a fourth open wall to film through. It was kind of like walking through a furniture store. I don’t know why–I’m usually pretty jaded!–but it struck me as immensely cool. Like a little world existing on a soundstage. They had a huge wardrobe room, filled with outfits – including wedding dresses, of course! (Terri’s character has been married six times during her ten years on the show – though only to five guys, she pointed out, since one lucky man got to walk down the aisle with her twice.) I especially loved the prop room – where each character had a basket filled with personal items. Terri rummaged through hers and found her alter-ego’s fertility pills from when she’d been trying to get pregnant.

As the World Turns

As the World Turns

As the World Turns

As the World Turns

It was especially cool to tour As the World Turns in particular because my step-grandmother has worked on the show for the last thirty something years. She plays Kim Hughes, a member of one of the original families on the show. Unfortunately she wasn’t filming the day we were there – it would have been so thrilling to see her at work! But I’m glad at least I had a chance to check out where she spends her days.

All in all, I found it a fascinating experience – to see how a soap opera works behind the scenes. I’d love to someday write for one. I think that would be the best job ever.

Here’s the segment, as it aired on Better TV.

Marianne

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Crazy Blind Date

November 3, 2008 at 8:05 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , )

Better TV had a week of dating stories and I was originally assigned a “Cupid Cabbie” story – about a cab driver in Brooklyn who hooks his passengers up. Pretty cute, though not really that useful for the general public. So I found something better – CrazyBlindDate.com. Just as its name implies, you get set up on a blind date…by a computer! I swear it’s not as “crazy” as you might think. Take a look!

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Books for Boys

November 3, 2008 at 7:58 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , )

With all of life’s high tech distractions, it’s sometimes hard to get a boy to just pick up a book. So we headed over to Scholastic to find out their recommendations on books boys will actually enjoy reading. Here’s what they suggested!

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Homemade Tomato Sauce

October 29, 2008 at 4:47 pm (better tv) (, , , , , )

Here’s an oldie but a goodie. Making homemade tomato sauce with Italian restauranter Donatella Arpaia. She owns some fab NYC based restaurants including Mia Dona, Anthos, and David Burke and Donatella. She learned to make tomato sauce from her own Italian family and is now passing along the secrets to Better TV.

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Celebrity Jewelry Maker Rosena Sammi

October 29, 2008 at 2:29 pm (better tv) (, , , )

Another segment I did for Better TV. This one is a profile of jewelry maker Rosena Sammi, a former lawyer, who takes the ornate styles of ancient India and creates modern, wearable pieces for present day. Her jewelry is favored by stars like Naomi Watts, Lindsay Lohan, Kristin Bell and Jesicca Alba.

It’s really beautiful – even more beautiful in real life than what you can see on this clip below. I’d love to own a piece myself. But, of course, all my jewelry, for now at least, is strictly the costume kind! 🙂

Take a look!


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Tea Party

October 17, 2008 at 7:35 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , )

tea party
PICTURED: Anisha Lakhani (Author of Schooled), Tracy Stern (founder of Salon Tea), Me, Mina Jacqueline Au (Luxury Lifestyle expert and founder of Bon-Luxe), and Melissa Foss (celebrity stylist/former editor of Harper’s Bazaar.)

A couple of weeks ago my photographer and I went to the beautiful Upper East Side home of Tracy Stern, Manhattan socialite and tea entreprenur, and shot a segment on hosting tea parties in your home.

Tracy had laid out the most gorgeous table I’ve ever seen, choosing a colorful garden theme. There were little watering pails for the milk and even the mini sandwiches had a flower theme, with edible geraniums and salmon rosettes. Move over Martha Stewart!

She talked about the odds and ends she picked up here and there to make the display. Stuff anyone could find – even on a budget. But it takes someone with a good eye – like Tracy – to pull it all together. Seriously, the woman is majorly creative!

Her teas were delicious too — try them once and I guarantee you’ll give up Lipton forever! 🙂 Her company is called SalonTea and they import teas from the finest estates from around the world. She’s even written a book on hosting tea parties – the subject of our segment.

It was a really fun segment to shoot and her apartment was to die for. She was really sweet, too. And so passionate about her teas – it’s not just a business for her. It’s a lifestyle.

Check out the SalonTea website and get yourself some tea! But not before you check out the final segment below.

Marianne

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Shopping with Jamie Lynn Sigler

October 16, 2008 at 7:34 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , )

Jamie Lynn Sigler at Saks

Yesterday I headed to Saks to interview Jamie Lynn Sigler. You might remember her as Meadow from the Sopranos. After six seasons on the show, she’s all grown up and moved on to new ventures. She’s appearing as herself on at least three episodes of Entourage. (And rumored to be dating the guy who plays Turtle in real life, though she didn’t confirm that on camera.) She just finished filming a movie this summer and will soon be introducing a new jewelry line called “C.J. Free” after her friend Holly Freeman’s son. The jewelry will be available this winter and can be customized with different charms. I couldn’t find a photo online, but she was wearing one of the bracelets during the interview and it was quite cute. When I post my Better TV report in a week or so, you’ll get to see it.

Jamie has recently partnered with Mastercard to promote their shopping savings program – good timing with the failing economy, everyone wants to save money! The program offers discounts at over 25,000 retailers nationwide for cardholders. You can find out more about the program here.

One of the participating retailers was Saks, where we conducted the interview. After we talked to Jamie, we took her upstairs to their shoe department (so big it has its own zipcode) to film her shopping. Not that she needed shoes – she was wearing an amazing pair of peep toe Louboutin booties. (Awesome, if not a bit tough to walk in…) I’m sure they cost as much as my monthly salary, but I hey – I can dream!

I zoomed in on the photo I had so you can get a better look.

Close up on the Jamie Lynn Sigler's Louboutins

She seemed nice, but pretty quiet. No small talk really while we waited for the elevator. She might have been tired though – this was her last interview of a whole day of interviews! And she was good on camera, which is all that really matters in the end. While it’s more fun to hang with someone who’s chatty (like Bill Murray for example!) in the end, I’d rather have someone who’s bright and interesting when it counts!

Funny – my photographer was excited (for the first time EVER, I think) to go on this interview. He’s not really into the Hollywood scene and doesn’t know or care about most celebrities. When I got the pitch for Jamie he was like “OMG we HAVE to do this!” So now he owes me big time. 🙂 He was cool as a cucumber in front of her though. Didn’t even shake when he hooked up her mic. Restrained his inner fan boy like a pro.

Jamie Lynn Sigler at Saks

Here’s the finished Better TV segment, based on the interview.

Who would you guys like to interview more than anyone? I think for me, #1 would be David Bowie. Though I’m not sure if I got the chance I’d even be able to stand, never mind speak.

Marianne

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Let’s Get Physical, Physical!

October 9, 2008 at 1:53 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , )

It’s been quite a month for celebrity interviews. Not sure why they’re all coming out of the woodwork in October, but I won’t complain. Yesterday I interviewed Olivia Newton John about her quest to educate women on breast cancer and the importance of self examination.

Olivia Newton John and Marianne Mancusi

Olivia herself found a lump when examining her own breast and pursued her case, even after her mammogram came back negative. So she’s advocating for women to take charge of their health with a new product called Liv-Aid. (Pronounced Live – as in her nickname and also, of course, the obvious.) Any woman who goes into Curves fitness centers can get a free Liv-Aid: a heart shaped medical device used to help with self breast exams.

Liv_Aid-Package

Olivia was telling me about her recent hike along the Great Wall of China – a 142 mile journey – done to raise awareness and money for the cause. She’s quite a woman! Calls herself a breast cancer “thriver” not survivor – and she’s been cancer free for years.

Anyway, you’ll be proud to know I stayed on topic and didn’t break down and beg her to break out in “Hopelessly Devoted to You”. 🙂

Here’s the final segment, based on the interview.

 

Marianne

PS She looked great, by the way! And was very warm and easy to talk to, even though she was exhausted from back-to-back interviews. Very passionate about her cause, too!

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City of Ember and Interviewing Bill Murray and Tim Robbins

October 6, 2008 at 4:20 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , )

On Thursday I went to see the press screening of the upcoming CITY OF EMBER film at the Fox headquarters. I thought it was a really fun movie and one many of you will likely enjoy. Definitely family friendly – with appeal for both adults and kids.

The premise is great – especially for post-apocalyptic fans like myself. The world is dying. A group of men have built a single city underground, a sort of Noah’s Ark for the human race. The citizens of Ember will live for 200 years underground and then emerge to the surface once again, once it’s again habitable. Unfortunately, over the years, the instructions for surfacing have been lost. Now the City of Ember is dying – the generators which provide life are failing, and the corrupt government is covering it all up. It’s now up to two determine children to save the day.

The set is practically a character in and of itself – really elaborate and totally steampunk. All the technology is based on mechnical things like wheels and gears. There’s even a brief scene with goggles – which, of course, are a steampunk mainstay.

On Friday I headed to the Waldorf Astoria to attend the press junket of City of Ember and interview its stars. First up, Tim Robbins and Saoirse Ronan. Tim Robbins has been a hero of mine for quite some time. Ever since I saw him in Robert Altman’s “The Player”, I think. I also admire him and wife Susan Sarandon’s convictions and outspokeness about issues they care about. Saoirse Ronan is only fourteen, but has already been nominated for an Academy Award for her role in Atonement. The two of them were a fun interview – joking back and forth and teasing one another. Tim has a great voice in real life. And he’s looking really good, too! His sister called just before they started rolling and he had to pause to answer his phone. Stars’ siblings – they’re just like us!

I asked him about the parallels between the film – where politicians are ignoring the crash and burn of their city – to our real life situation in America. You’ll have to wait until my segment airs on Better TV to see his answer.

Saoirse Ronan, Marianne Mancusi, Tim Robbins

Next up, Bill Murray, who plays the mayor of Ember. I had no idea what to expect with him – some people had warned he might be a jerk. But that couldn’t be further from the truth! He was charasmatic and funny and attentive and really engaging. I told him how Liz and I had gone to the New York Bar in Tokyo where Lost in Translation was filmed. He asked if we stayed up all night and I told him we couldn’t because the trains stop running and we’d have gotten stuck. He said he loved Tokyo. He also said he liked my sweater! 🙂 I know, I know, it’s the little things.

And of course I had to ask him – even as they were cutting me off and telling me the next journalist was waiting – about Ghostbusters 3! But again, you’ll have to wait for my report to hear his answer! 🙂

Bill Murray and Marianne Mancusi

All in all, an incredible day of interviewing legends I’ve loved most of my life. It was truly awesome to meet them and know that they not only live up to their reputations, but are also just cool, normal everyday people.
Here’s the finished segment as aired on Better TV.

Marianne

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