Dream Clothes – It was Oscar week in Los Angeles, a time when us residents avoid Hollywood Boulevard and cram in the last few nominated movies we haven’t yet seen. This year’s proceedings were probably the most boring since the Hugh Jackman hosted disaster in 2009. Way too many forgettable music numbers – one could have been excused for thinking this was the Grammys. But we also watch the Oscars for the clothes – for the missteps, the dreamy and the fashion disasters and everything in between. Nothing much stood out for me – my dream clothes at the moment can be found in the SS 15 collections of Dior and Valentino. And with such beautiful runways, I was very let down by the Christian Dior number Raf Simons designed for Marion Cotillard, already dubbed the “hole-puncher dress”.
Best actress – Not Julianne Moore or Patricia Arquette, as wonderful as they are, but, here at Campari and Sofa, the award goes to Frances McDormand. Here is a snippet of an interview Ms. McDormand gave to Katie Couric for Yahoo News. The way she describes her aging process and how she looks at her wrinkles have forever changed the way I look at mine. And she goes on camera without a stitch of make-up, no colored hair and she looks better than retouched Couric. She certainly looks more real.
Nutella – A moment of silence for the passing of the inventor of Nutella, Michele Ferrero, who died a couple of weeks ago. As someone on Facebook pointed out, the man who invented jogging died in his 50s, the one who came up with the dissociated diet died in his early 60s. But the man who invented Nutella passed at 89. Just saying. As if we needed one more reason.
Primates – Virunga is Congo’s largest national park and it is also the title of a fascinating and heart-breaking documentary that explores the habitat of the last 800 mountain gorillas in the world; the only four orphan mountain gorillas kept in captivity and the amazing man who looks after them and the threat an English oil company’s desire to drill in the park poses. The documentary is packed with heroes: the improbable Belgian Prince who is placed at the helm of the park; a young French journalist who goes undercover to meet with the guerillas who are in cahoots with the oil company; Andre, the gorilla handler, with his magic smile and, of course, the gorillas themselves. A must watch. Available on Netflix in countries where available and here.
Alternative travel – Despite being hard to reach and threatened by the civil war that still rages in pockets of the Congo, Virunga National Park can be visited. I must confess I gave it some serious thought. For a less dangerous alternative, the Earth Watch Institute provides volunteer opportunities all over the world that will put you at close quarters with wildlife or archaeological digs. They are not cheap trips (the money you pay funds the research) but they give you the opportunity to study sharks in South Africa, koalas in Australia, to dig in Mongolia and many, many more. I have my eyes on Thai elephants at the moment: the trip entails trailing vets and assisting them in collecting data on behavior, cleaning and feeding them, collecting urine samples and generally spending 10 days in the company of some of my favorite animals.