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Robert Loggia, 'Scarface' and 'Big' actor, dies at 85

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<span class="focusParagraph articleLocation”>Robert Loggia, the gravelly voiced character actor who danced with Tom Hanks on a giant floor keyboard in “Big,” fought aliens in “Independence Day” and trafficked in drugs in “Scarface,” died on Friday at age 85, his widow said.

Loggia, who was nominated for an Academy Award for his role in the 1985 thriller “Jagged Edge,” died at his home in Los Angeles after battling Alzheimer’s disease for five years, Audrey O’Brien Loggia told Reuters.

“He loved being an actor – he was a wonderful actor – and loved his profession and his life,” she said, adding that he died with her and their two daughters at his side. “We’ve been together 41 years. He is going be terribly missed.”

Loggia had been a journeyman actor on stage, TV and films until he made an impression playing Richard Gere’s abusive and alcoholic father in the 1982 blockbuster “An Officer and a Gentleman.” That performance led to meaty roles in other box-office hits.

In director Brian De Palma’s hit 1983 crime drama “Scarface,” Loggia played drug lord Frank Lopez alongside Al Pacino in the violent tale of Miami mobsters.

Two years later, Loggia was a seedy private detective in “Jagged Edge,” starring Jeff Bridges and Glenn Close. He lost the best supporting actor Oscar to Don Ameche of “Cocoon.”

Also in 1985, he starred alongside Jack Nicholson in director John Huston’s black comedy “Prizzi’s Honor,” which was nominated for a best picture Oscar.

His most famous role was in director Penny Marshall’s bittersweet comedy “Big” (1988) starring Hanks as a boy whose wish to become an adult magically comes true. Hanks’ character -a boy in an adult body – ends up working for a toy company headed by Loggia.

Together they danced to the songs “Heart and Soul” and “Chopsticks” on the jumbo floor keyboard at New York’s fabled FAO Schwarz toy store in what was one of the famous cinematic scenes of the 1980s.

Loggia said Marshall allowed him and Hanks a lot of freedom in deciding how the scene would unfold, giving them a cardboard mock-up of the keyboard a few weeks before the scene was shot.

“She very cleverly said, ‘I don’t want you to look like trained dancers, but you do the melody and you … and Tom, you work it out for yourself. There will be no rehearsal and we’ll be at FAO Schwarz about a month down the line and we’re going to do it, and let’s see what happens,'” Loggia told the Miami Herald in 2006.

“And that’s why it’s a movie-magic scene,” Loggia said.

“Big” became one of the year’s top-grossing films, earned Hanks his first Oscar nomination, and was the first movie directed by a woman to top $100 million at the box office.

Loggia also had a key supporting role in “Independence Day,” the top-grossing film of 1996. He played a general who advises the president of the United States, played by Bill Pullman, as tentacled aliens in huge spaceships devastate cities worldwide.

The Italian-American actor was born as Salvatore Loggia on Jan. 3, 1930, in New York City. He set aside his plans for a journalism career to go into acting.

(Reporting by Will Dunham in Washington; Additional reporting by Eric M. Johnson in Seattle; Editing by Bill Trott and Lisa Shumaker)

Source: R-Entertainment

Wisconsin store owner buys out local Star Wars showing

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Lifestyle | Sat Dec 5, 2015 1:00am IST


MILWAUKEE The force will surely be with a Wisconsin toy store owner after he bought all of the tickets for an opening night screening of the latest “Star Wars” movie at a local theater, planning to give most of them to local children charities and loyal customers.

Life-long “Star Wars” fan Matthew Rieley, owner of The Freaktoyz in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, bought all 75 tickets for one of the opening night screenings on Dec. 17 of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” at a local Marcus movie theater.

The 47-year-old plans to give more than 30 of the tickets away to Project Angel Hugs, a organization that helps children with cancer, Horizons4Girls, an initiative for at-risk girls, and the local Big Brothers Big Sisters chapter.

He will keep a couple of the tickets for his family and himself and raffle the rest off to customers at his store, about 60 miles (97 km) north of Milwaukee.

“It’s a classic movie and to share it like this is a fun way to experience it with … our ‘Star Wars’ family,” he said.

Rieley’s love for the franchise extends to his store, where he has on sale thousands of “Star Wars” figurines and collectibles. Rieley said one of more unique items that he has on sale are small bars of soap molded in the shape of popular “Star Wars” characters.

Rieley has been fanatic follower of the franchise since seeing the first movie in the theater about four decades ago.

“It was incredible,” said Rieley, who still regularly watches the movies at home. “The movie changes people.”

(Reporting by Brendan O’Brien; Editing by Nick Zieminski)

Source: R-Entertainment

Trip Tips – Japan's Eiheiji temple: a night's stay in the 13th century

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EIHEIJI, Japan If you want to glimpse life that has not changed much in eight centuries, Eiheiji temple in the mountains just outside Fukui city in central Japan is the place to find it.

Just mind the monk with the stick, who may tap you with it if you fail to meditate.

    Isolated from other parts of quiet Eiheiji town on Japan’s western coast, the complex of more than 70 buildings stands on a hill among a thick forest of tall cedar trees.  

    The temple, established by the Buddhist monk Dogen in 1244, is an active monastery where about 150 monks are in training. They follow the Soto Zen School’s traditional, simple ways of living and are happy to welcome you to join them.

Visitors can tour the temple for a day or stay there overnight as Eiheiji provides lodging, including two meals and the chance for zazen meditation and the reading of Buddhist scripture.

The charge is 8,000 yen ($65) per person for an overnight stay with two meals. Reservations are required, particularly for non-Japanese speakers who must reserve well in advance so the temple can secure an English-speaking monk to attend them. 

The black-garbed monks welcome you at the entrance of the complex and give a brief lecture on the temple and their life.

When they move from building to building, the monks form two lines and walk side by side.

    At mealtimes, you can smell food as the monks carry their meals from the kitchen building, called “daikuin”, to their training quarters called “sodo”. A monk lets his colleagues know the food is ready by ringing a bell that is actually a large piece of wood curved in the shape of a fish.

    Monks keep their own lacquered dishes and cutlery. Their founding monk Dogen did not allow his followers to waste water, so after each meal, they rinse the bowls with hot water, drink the water and clean the bowls with a cloth-topped stick.

    Meals are all vegetarian dishes known as “shojin ryori”, derived from the dietary restrictions of Buddhist monks. The meal is served in a set of five lacquer bowls in different sizes that can be stacked together when not in use.

The day’s dinner may consist of a bowl of rice and miso soup, along with stewed vegetable and fried tofu, daikon and carrots marinated in vinegar as well as a dish with eggplants marinated with sesame.

Eiheiji’s special sesame (goma) tofu, something like pudding made from sesame paste, water and kuzu power, is also served.

Visitors who stay overnight eat the same meal as the monks but during the meal, they are not allowed to talk or make sounds. When you finish, tea is poured into your cup and you dip chopsticks in it to wash them. You will use the same chopsticks for breakfast.

Visitors stay in a modern building, called “kichijokaku” and are given a room with tatami mats with a futon and a table, but there are no amenities like television sets or mini-bars.

    After a dinner that ends before 6 p.m., visitors may take part in zazen. For this you sit with crossed legs on a “zafu”, or cushion, while you look down at the floor at a 45-degree angle, take a deep and slow breath and meditate.

You face the wall when you take part in Soto School’s zazen. If you cannot concentrate, a monk walking around could hit your shoulder with a wooden stick called a “kyosaku”.

In the morning visitors may join the reading of scripture that starts a little before 4 a.m. The sun emerges in the quietness of the temple and trees gradually gleam with light. The whole experience ends after breakfast.

($1 = 122.5500 yen)

(Reporting by Junko Fujita; Editing by Michael Roddy and Tom Heneghan)

Source: R-Entertainment

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