January 21st, 2008
03:56 PM ET

Cooking tips from Alan Alda

From CNN Entertainment Producer Jennifer Wolfe:

Alan Alda hates Earl Grey tea. He believes the world is divided into two types of people, those who love Earl Grey and those who don't.

That was the launching pad for a lively discussion about food here at our Treasure Mountain Inn Suite at the Sundance Film Festival. Alda was here to do an interview about his new film "Diminished Capacity" - but beforehand, we talked food.

Alan offered up a pasta recipe that he’s fond of and swears it's great - although a little unconventional:

Take one box of pasta (any type will do). Soak it in a half-cup of olive oil. Then spread the pasta in a Pyrex dish and add a can of diced tomatoes. A dash of salt and pepper (no garlic, he insists). Bake for a while and eat.

He added the pasta's consistency is more "al gummy" than al dente.

Alan's other foodie offering was a dessert:

Take pizza dough. Spread it very thin. Take a bunch of seedless grapes (off the vine, I'm guessing). Dip the grapes in sugar. Place them on top of the pizza dough. Add another layer of pizza dough on top. Crimp the edges. Then top it with some more sugared grapes and bake in an oven.

Unfortunately, I never got a temperature or a time from him. (Alan, if you’re reading this, send that along, OK?)

Our resident Italian, Jenny D'Attoma from "Showbiz Tonight," says she's going to ask her father about that one. He's from Italy and she's a first-generation American.

Alan may believe the world is divided into Earl Grey lovers and Earl Grey haters, but I'm convinced the world is actually divided into people who bake and people who cook. I think Alan firmly resides in the cook's camp.

Filed under: Sundance Film Festival
January 21st, 2008
03:00 PM ET

The entourages of Sundance

From CNN Entertainment Producer Jennifer Wolfe in Park City, Utah:

It’s well documented: where there’s a star there’s usually an entourage. At Sundance, it’s no different.

Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson, promoting their film "In Bruges," came to our live location with a room full of people. I didn’t count, but I think there were at least four handlers per star, personal publicists, film publicists and any number of other sorts.

Nick Cannon also had a room full of folks. They hung out and strategized about how he should showcase his role as a young Marine getting ready to ship out to Iraq in "American Son." Everyone sat and joked about things we can’t repeat and stared at their Blackberries, waiting for the next vital communication.

And then there was Stanley Tucci. He came with one person, did a spot with CNN.com Live and quickly popped over to my computer to catch the end of his segment.

Tucci then asked about Gaza - while waiting for his interview he’d heard an item on the strife there - and he wanted to know more, so we started scrolling through other stories. While clicking through the site, we saw Allan Melvin, "Sam the Butcher" from "The Brady Bunch," had died. Tucci said he’d grown up watching the show. He was low-key and friendly and left our suite the way he came in, with little fanfare.

Then there’s the ultimate "Entourage" guy –- the star of the HBO show of that name, Adrian Grenier. He was in town to promote his film on air-drumming titled "Adventures in Power" and he was scheduled to appear on CNN Sunday. After much back-and-forth with his people, the interview time was set, the tapes were pulled and edited and everything was ready.

Then, a few hours before the segment, we got a one-line e-mail: Grenier was sick.

Scramble time. We filled the hole with a piece on a documentary titled "Bigger Stronger Faster."

Later, one of our photographers spotted Grenier at the Slamdance Festival, which is located just downstairs from our production space in the Treasure Mountain Inn.

Last night, a CNN producer spotted him "in the window of Hollywood Lounge at midnight with a drink in his hand talking to some girl."

She must've been nursing him back to health.

Filed under: Sundance Film Festival
January 16th, 2008
03:16 PM ET

Media stalkers?

Columnist Leonard Pitts on the Britney frenzy.

Filed under: Uncategorized
January 15th, 2008
10:12 PM ET

The gadgets our readers want

All this week, CNN has been asking readers to send us their ideas for the perfect new gadget, and we've gotten a ton of responses.

Some of the ideas were practical, like adding voice-activated features and GPS to the iPhone, a portable language translator for travelers, or a six-disk changer for the Xbox 360, so gamers won't have to get up to switch from "Soul Calibur IV" to "Halo 3."

Dick Tracy-style cell phone watches, paper-thin computers that can be folded up and put in a purse and retractable car overhangs to keep you dry while loading groceries or bucking kids into cars seats are a little more fantastic, but not too hard to imagine.

Other suggestions, like an ATM card that never runs out of money, were just absurd (though I'm totally signing up for one if they ever come out).

Several people suggested medical devices that would be a huge help to people with diabetes, multiple sclerosis and other conditions.

CNN.com's Nicole Saidi compiled our I-Reporters' ideas, which you can check out here.

Who knows, some of these ideas might turn into the hottest new gadgets at next year's CES.

Filed under: Uncategorized
January 11th, 2008
10:22 PM ET

Best Globes ever?

The Golden Globes went by so fast last night, I thought I'd left my remote on fast-forward.

And yet, could this be the wave of the future?

Consider: No acceptance speeches. Short clips (some of them couldn't have been any more than a second or two). Just a list of nominees, the name of the winner, occasional chat and on to the next one.

What if the Oscars tried this?

As an aside in talking about the importance of the writers' strike, Don Cheadle observed that the Oscar ratings have been declining for years. Commentators have pointed out any number of reasons for that - a lack of rooting interest in nominees, a culture inundated with celebrities - but a biggie is bloat. The awards simply go on forever.

It's not the speeches, either. It's all the musical numbers, and routines, and presenter patter, and the "why film is important" segments. What if the Oscars consisted of a red-carpet fashion show, a recitation of winners, a bunch of after-parties and called it a night?

As NBC (yes, I was watching NBC ... old habits die hard) moved on to "American Gladiators" after the Globes, a friend looked at me and asked, "Could this have been the best Globes ever?"


Filed under: Golden Globes
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