NEW YORK – FOX News entertainment reporter Lisa Bernhard has the scoop on Wall Street Journal reporter Gwendolyn Bounds' new book, the star-studded "Dreamgirls" cast and "The Thing About My Folks."
Gwendolyn Bounds (search) was forced out of her Manhattan apartment after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
She then fled to Garrison, N.Y., a town 60 miles north of New York City on the banks of the Hudson River. There she found solace and comfort at Guinan's, a cozy pub and general store.
In a new book, "Little Chapel on the River: A Pub, a Town and the Search for What Matters Most," Bounds paints a moving portrait of the mutual embrace she shares with this Hudson Valley town — a place she now calls home.
While Guinan’s sells beer, doughnuts and coffee, worshippers come mainly to nourish their souls. Operated since 1959 by Irish immigrant Jim Guinan, the “chapel” — as it’s been christened by one parishioner — retains its nearly half-century-old look, with beers stored in a red Coke cooler and tabs run by stacking coasters.
It’s the kind of place where everybody knows your name — and not just if you’re New York Gov. George Pataki, a long-time regular.
Affluent or working class, conservative or liberal, those within its walls coexist peacefully and respectfully.
Even half-breed Lou-Lou, a four-legged Garrison local, has found wiggle room of her own there.
“I think the key is that everyone is bound by a singular love for this place,” Bounds said. “Everyone knows a small place like this somewhere in their own town, where they can be on a first-name basis with the owners and their kids can get free pretzels or ice cream.
"And everyone respects each other because of their love for this place. I think that’s a lesson to carry forward — because places like this pub and this store hold the history of our nation’s towns. And when we lose a spot like this, like we’ve just lost so many down in New Orleans and Mississippi in the hurricane, we lose that history.”
Star-Studded 'Dreamgirls' Cast
More buzz on the in-the-works movie version of the hit Broadway musical “Dreamgirls” — and all of it focused on "American Idol" queen Fantasia Barrino (search). Those who’ve seen Fantasia’s audition tapes for the role of Effie — once played to staggering, star-making capacity by Jennifer Holliday — say Fantasia is a revelation.
Directed by Bill Condon, whose “Chicago” screenplay razzle-dazzled, "Dreamgirls" is, of course, loosely based on the Supremes, and stars Beyonce (in the “Diana Ross” role) and Anika Noni Rose, who scooped up the 2004 Tony Award for “Caroline, or Change.”
Oh, and there are guys in it, too: the none-too-shabby Jamie Foxx and Eddie Murphy.
Fantasia’s audition tapes are not only awe-inspiring for her singing (who’d have thought she, or anyone, could hold a candle to Holliday’s mind-blowing “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going”?), but for her acting as well.
The role of Effie is multilayered — from rejection to rejuvenation and everything in between. Though only 21, this single mom has clearly lived enough of a life to tap into something achingly real.
Having interviewed Fantasia on more than one occasion, seen her sing live at the "Idol" finale and even danced with her on-air (in an attempt to soak up even one-eighth of her rhythm), I’m rooting for Dreamworks exec David Geffen to give her the green light.
She’s gutsy, gracious and deserving of his, uh, "supreme" confidence.
'The Thing About My Folks'
Next Friday, look for the sweet and poignant film “The Thing About My Folks,” (search) written by and starring Paul Reiser.
It’s a father/son road-trip tale, with Peter Falk playing Reiser’s dad.
I had both actors come into the studio recently — look for their full interview on-air and on the Web next week (with extra tidbits for FOXNews.com readers). Until then, a morsel from our chat….
Falk, who turns 79 on Sept. 16, the movie’s opening day, said he’s gearing up for yet another turn in the trenchcoat as Columbo.
Falk: We got two "Columbo" scripts. Small problem: I like one better than the other one. And the other one, the network likes better than the one I like.
Reiser: (Smiling) I have money on which one I think is gonna get made. [To Falk] So this guy never retires, Columbo? There's always something, huh? He’s 142, "Ehhh ... one more thing ..."
Peter: (Laughing) That's right. They’ll be two guys pushing him up the stairs.
Folks came out of the woodwork here at FOX News to meet Falk and ask him about Columbo. Said Reiser, “It’s like being with the Pope, although Peter curses more — at least I hope he does.”