I needed to interview a renowned Palestinian filmmaker and decided to stay at his home. During the three days in Nazareth, his mom tried to teach me Arabic, to no avail, I got into an all out fight about personal and journalistic integrity with the foremost director from Palestine, and witnessed the negative power of cinema when I watched 'The Dark Knight' with two young boys. While the younger one joined his friends for a game of soccer right after the film, the elder one, eleven years old, felt the violence we had just witnessed and lied down, head down, pounding his fists on the floor of his grandmother's home. I'd never been so sure of my mission to promote cinema with a conscience as I was then. 



Firenze is always about shopping, great eating and fashion for me, maybe because in the last few years I've gone there for Pitti Uomo, to celebrate menswear. The last time I was there, it coincided with the launch of a favorite brand's new concept store. And it involved a fully grown man, complete with beard and all, wearing a golden tiara! 


Mumbai (Bombay)

Right after 9/11 I ran away to London to get away from the ugliness and discovered Bollywood films which helped me to cry and recover. But my experience with Indian cinema didn't stop at lavish, dance-y productions and I began to hang out with the indie Hindi cinema crowd. One afternoon, I was invited to the advance VIP screening of a film titled 'Luck by Chance' and my date, a well known filmmaker, picked me up in an auto rickshaw, to take me to  Film City. The largest studio in Bombay is actually an immense nature reserve looking lot on the outskirts -- and in the dust The rickshaw ride made sure I got to the screening, with a who's who of Bollywood superstars attending, completely disheveled and I even managed to walk in right alongside the hottest couple of the moment. They were pristine of course, having just stepped out of the SUV with driver that had brought them to the screening.  


I stepped into a suite of a five-star hotel near TIFF headquarters to interview an actor I'd long admired. Inside the room, a big bed, with his publicists lying on it, and the man I was there to speak to. Needless to say, in today's world, that could never happen. Six men, one a celebrity, and a woman, in a hotel room, on a bed. But thankfully this didn't take place in the age of our newfound American puritanism -- rather during a time when a woman journalist and a male actor could actually sit and talk and joke around, as two human beings. 

Click on the photo for an interview with Stephen Dorff. 



I kept returning to the emirate because of the wonder of its beginnings. How a leader can envision a luxury metropolis built in the middle of an unrelenting desert is beyond me. Turns out there are more sides to Dubai than meet the eye, and these days the initiative to build an "open air art gallery" around the city has inspired lots of authorized graffiti to pop up. Just go down 2nd December Street to view street art as never before.