Hollywood on the Potomac
“I have good news and I have bad news for me,” Emmy award winning filmmaker/TV producer Gayle Kirschenbaum told Hollywood on the Potomac regarding her earliest remembrances of her childhood. “I have very vivid, very young memories. It was clear to me very, very young that something was wrong.” That something turned out to be her mother, which is the subject of her award winning film Look at Us Now, Mother. We sat down with Gayle prior to the grand success of the movie. Here is her story.
While walking through the baby section of a department store one day, she had very vivid flashback memories of a Bird Mobile. She recalled very distinctly reaching for it as an infant in her crib, only to have it yanked away when she was within touching distance. – she would then fall and the adults would laugh. Her mother would perpetually deny she ever had a Bird Mobile, but while researching her latest film, Look at Us Now, Mother, she went back through old 8 millimeter film footage of her childhood and there was mom, big as life, “pushing the bassinet with the bird mobile that she said I never had.”
If you’re headed to Spain from Portugal and have some leisure time, you may want to opt for the scenic coastal route to watch the whales and preying seagulls doing the food chain thing. We took the highway, a snooze fest of asphalt and mini gas/food stations. It was like what you would expect to see on an Interstate 95 roadie in Maine, minus the deer in the headlights. Four hours later, along comes Baiona – a charming seaside municipality in Galicia.
Baiona is a popular resort town with its own little place in history. On March 1st of 1493 Columbus’ small fleet (the Pinta) stopped in for supplies while bearing news that the explorer had made it to the (West) Indies. You can’t miss a replica of the Pinta in Baiona’s harbour whether from the shore or the cafe terrace of the majestic Parador situated on rocky cliffs with breathtaking views of the bay.
Welcome to Hotel Britania. Humphrey Bogart slept here. …..so did we. Located on a quiet street just off Lisbon’s Avenida da Liberdade in the historic center of Lisbon, the small Boutique hotel boasts a pure Art Deco design, dates back to the 1940’s and was designed by the famous Portuguese modernist architect Cassiano Branco. Hotel Britania is the only hotel of that period to have survived intact and is classified as a historic building. Around the corner is luxury shopping, flea markets, coffee shops with lots of cafe lattes and a decidedly Parisian feel.
Portugal remained neutral during World War II and Lisbon had a pivotal role in that history. “It was the only European city in which both the Allies and the Axis power operated openly and was the temporary home to much of Europe’s exiled royalty, refugees seeking passage to the U.S., and a host of spies, secret police, captains of industry, bankers, prominent Jews, writers and artists, escaped POWs, and black marketeers. An operations officer writing in 1944 described the daily scene at Lisbon’s airport as being like the movie Casablanca, times twenty.” Neill Lochery, author of Lisbon: War in the Shadows of the City of Lights.