Did you know? (some trivia)

Denzel Washington turned down the title role in Michael Clayton, as did George Clooney at first.

Both George Clooney and Michael Clayton co-star Michael O’Keefe played love interests of Jackie (Laurie Metcalf) on Roseanne.

Jay-Z grew up in the Marcy projects in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn.  The J, M, & Z subway lines run through this area.  Jay-Z took his name from  the J & Z lines.

Mark Ruffalo is a 2nd generation Italian-American.  All of his family are hairstylists: mother, brother, & 2 sisters.

Mark was a wrestler at his Virginia Beach high school; he loved it though he was only average as a student.

A tarot card reader said that he’d go to LA to study at The Stella Adler Academy b/c he wanted to be an actor.  Mark ended up studying there for 7 yrs.

Stella Adler used to say that the great playwrights are giving you the big ideas, and it is your job to lift up those ideas.  When you see actors that are on fire, it’s because they’re lifted up into a bigger idea.


Mickey Rourke began training as an amateur boxer at age 12; he did it to escape his troubled home life (violent stepfather).  He also sold candy on the street, dug ditches for the Miami-Dade county power company, and was even involved in drug dealing for a time.

Mickey, who was inspired by Marlon Brando, is a member of The Actors Studio.  He auditioned just once and was accepted, unlike many other actors. 

Drugs and alcohol were never his problem, “it was my short fuse… and the fact that I didn’t want to be accountable.”

Director Darren Aronofsky allowed Rourke to write most of his own lines for The Wrestler.  He trained w/ The Rock’s uncle in order to do the stunts.

Latest news re: “SVU”

Chris Meloni will leave L&O: SVU after 12 seasons!


Wow, that was a BIT of a shock!  This news has some fans wondering- who could be Benson’s NEW partner?  Or at least a temp partner? 

Two actors (Naveen Andrews & Wentworth Miller) have guest-starred this past season on SVU.  Were they auditioning for FUTURE role of partner? 



What fans are thinking…




American desis & classical music

You may have heard of conductor Zubin Mehta (and his brother Zarin) or soprano Monica Yunus (daughter of  Mohammed Yunus).  But there are MORE desis involved in the world of opera/classical music, as I recently learned.  They are countering stereotypes about the South Asian community in the U.S.  We can be artists AND make a living!      
Sean Panikkar
Sean was born to Sri Lankan parents in small-town Pennsylvania.  As a kid, no one knew he could sing well!  As a teen, he took voice lessons with a Julliard-trained singer who moved to his area.   After undergrad (UMich),  Sean began pursuing opera as a full-time career instead of engineering.

Aside from being a rising opera star, Sean (not yet 30) is also a husband and father to a young son.
Zeshan Baghwade
Forget American Idol– this young singer has a MUST-HEAR voice!  Zeshan recently graduated from Northwestern, and will continue there for his master’s.  He had major roles in several operas at school, and plans to make it his career.  However, opera is NOT his only interest-  Zeshan (a tenor) also sings ghazals and works with a non-profit. 
Zeshan’s YouTube channel
Raja Burrows

Raja is a friend and classmate of Zeshan’s.  Though he has been trained in opera, he hopes to make a career in pop music. 


Priti Gandhi
Priti is a native of California (San Dieg0); her natural talent was noticed by a voice teacher when she was in college.  Priti didn’t become involved with opera until she was a sophomore in college.  Now in her late 30s, she is a nationally reknown  mezzo soprano.  
The Education of a Opera Singer: a documentary following Priti & her fellow performers when they were starting out their careers. 
Viswa Subbaraman
Can a beer and basketball fan also love opera?  You bet!  This 33 y.o. Texas native is the founder/artistic director of Opera Vista in Houston.  Currently, Viswa (who holds degrees in music/biology and an MBA) is one of 3 finalists for the musical director position in Yakima, Washington. 
Viswa is very active online.   One of his goals is to make classical music accessible to diverse/young audiences.  Growing up in a small town, Viswa didn’t learn much about classical music until college (Duke).