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Behind the Scenes of Dune: Part Two

Wednesday, Apr 10 2024 by

Dune: Part Two came out last month, and since then it’s broken all sorts of records, including earning over $600 million, raking in more money on opening weekend than any other film earned all year, and making way more money than even the first Dune did for its opening. Even now, it’s incredibly popular, and has fast-tracked production for the next installment of the sci-fi story.

Let’s take a look at some of the starring actors and locations from the film.

Timothée Chalamet

Making his debut more than a decade ago in Interstellar, Timothée Chalamet has become a major star, with a varied film repertoire, and credit for both artistic and blockbuster successes. At just 28, he’s already been nominated for an Oscar, and won several major accolades. And, he’s been dating celeb powerhouse Kylie Jenner for over a year now, so he’s really got it going on!

Born and bred in NYC, the dual American and French citizen bought a house in Beverly Hills in 2022. The home, formerly owned by Kate Upton and Justin Verlander, set him back about $11 million. The beautiful property has privacy-enhancing landscaping, a tennis court, pool, and great views. Inside, the four bedroom, five bathroom house has distinctive features including a fireplace that takes up an entire wall, in-home theater, wine cellar, and more. The house has been owned by several celebs in addition to Kate Upton, including Kenny G and Pete Sampras!

Timothee Chalamet's House ( Formerly Kate Upton and Justin Verlander's) (Google Maps)
Timothee Chalamet's House ( Formerly Kate Upton and Justin Verlander's)


Since getting her start on the Disney Channel in 2010, Zendaya has been known for her beautiful, piercing eyes, and amazing acting ability. Starring in Dune is just her most recent success, she’s been in the Spider-Man franchise, indie films, television shows, and more.

She has bought a few homes in the LA area, including this gorgeous place in Encino, which offers more space and privacy than some more famous zip codes in the area. The six-bedroom home is more than 80 years old, but several renovations have kept it up-to-date, perfect for the knockout celebrity.

Zendaya's House (Google Maps)
Zendaya's House

Josh Brolin

Josh Brolin’s father has had a long career in Hollywood, but Josh took a long time to determine that he, too, wanted to be an actor. But, once he did, his career has been stellar. His acting in Dune brings to life one of the most interesting and charismatic individuals in the story, and he deserves all the praise he gets for the role.

He left Hollywood a few years ago when he bought a home in Atlanta. While he put it up for rent last month, the $3.25 million home just north of the city in the upscale neighborhood of Buckhead, has five bedrooms, six bathrooms, and 6,500 square feet of living space on 1.5 acres of land. Of course it has a gourmet kitchen, gym, theater, extra sitting and entertaining rooms, and  more.

Josh Brolin's House (Google Maps)
Josh Brolin's House

Wadi Rum, Jordan

Filming the desert scenes of the sci-fi film in a realistic environment was critically important to director Denis Villeneuve and his crew. They picked the Wadi Rum location in Jordan because it had both a “scary” quality and the rocks mixed among the sand described so vividly in the books. And just like on the planet of Arrakis, the area is known for deadly windstorms, but fortunately doesn’t have any sandworms.

A wadi is an area that is desert except when it rains; then it’s flooded with rushing rainwater that helps give it an eerie and unique landscape formation ideal for an other-worldy tale such as Dune.

Wadi Run - The Valley of the Moon (StreetView)
Wadi Run - The Valley of the Moon

Liwa Oasis, Abu Dhabi

While the wadi was great for some angles, the sand dunes in the book were best filmed on site in Abu Dhabi, where the vastness of the desert spread out before the camera, giving the viewer a visual feast of Arrakis in all its dangerous beauty.

Filming wasn’t so hard; the crew and actors stayed at a resort at the oasis, an area of water and vegetation that sprouts up in the desert. In many ways, it helped them feel more in character, and unified them as a team, far away from the distractions that might normally overwhelm a movie crew.

Liwa Oasis ("Star Wars") (StreetView)
Liwa Oasis ("Star Wars")

Ålesund, Norway

About a world away from the desert of the Middle East, Ålesund on the coast of Norway, was the perfect setting for the water-rich world of Caladan. The bays and inlets, as well as the dramatic cliffs, were perfect for portraying the paradise Paul Atreides left behind to follow the directive of the emperor, and eventually fulfill hundreds of years of prophesy and his own destiny.

Ålesund is a small but beautiful coastal city that attracts visitors for its Art Nouveau architecture, great river and ocean kayaking, and amazing hiking.

View of Ålesund from Mount Aksla (StreetView)
View of Ålesund from Mount Aksla

It’s so fun to look at where the stars live and worked while making both Dune films, it only makes us want more! Because the first two installments of the books-turned-movies were so successful, it’s all but guaranteed that there will be more breathtaking films to carry on the story in the next few years. And we can’t hardly wait!


Famous Irish-Americans

Sunday, Mar 17 2024 by

Today is St. Patrick’s Day, when everyone is Irish! While the holiday is celebrated around the world, people in the US take the holiday, and perhaps the excuse to drink a little extra beer, to the next level.

In honor of the day, let’s take a look at some famous Irish-Americans.

John F. Kennedy

John F. Kennedy might be one of the most famous Irish-Americans. In fact, at the time of his campaign for president in 1960, some people hesitated to vote for him due to ethnic and religious discrimination against Irish-Americans.

However, Kennedy never shied away from his heritage. In fact, when he was president, he took a historic trip to Ireland and visited several places, including his ancestral home in Dunganstown, in Wexford. His great-great-great grandfather was born here, and the Kennedy family still owns the property.

The Kennedy Homestead, ancestral home of the Kennedy clan (StreetView)
The Kennedy Homestead, ancestral home of the Kennedy clan

Taking his Irish heritage seriously, Kennedy and his wife Jackie named their beautiful Virginia estate Wexford, after his ancestral home. Sadly, the home on the 166-acre farm outside Washington, DC was completed only a few weeks before he was assassinated in November 1963.

The home, with five bedrooms and five bathrooms, had been designed by Jackie herself as a retreat for the family, and was a perfect getaway for the talented equestrian. Ronald and Nancy Reagan rented the home during their presidential transition in late 1980. It sold a few years ago for just under $3 million, well below the $4+million asking price.

John F. Kennedy and Jacqueline Kennedy's House (Former) (Bing Maps)
John F. Kennedy and Jacqueline Kennedy's House (Former)

Barack Obama

You might not realize it, but Barack Obama has Irish heritage! A true American in the sense that his heritage includes many waves of immigrants, his great-great-great-grandfather came the US in 1850, one of millions who fled economic hardship and chased the hope of a better life across the ocean.

Obama and his wife Michelle own several homes across the US, but after they left the White House in 2017, they took up residence just a few miles away, in the tony Kalorama neighborhood of DC. They first rented, then bought, this gorgeous brick mansion, for about $8 million. Jeff Bezos lives in the neighborhood, along with several diplomats, the Kushners, and more. The house has more than 8,000 square feet; plenty of room to enjoy their privacy after eight years in the limelight of the presidency.

Barack & Michelle Obama's Post-White House House (Birds Eye)
Barack & Michelle Obama's Post-White House House

Alec Baldwin

A man who has reigned in Hollywood for decades, and even portrayed a president on television, Alec Baldwin is one of the most famous Irish-Americans. He’s spoken several times about how his Irish Catholic upbringing influences him now, and even named his daughter Ireland!

Alec and his wife Hilaria live with their seven kids in Vermont, having moved here in 2022, leaving behind the Hamptons in New York, and taking up a more rural, family-centered life up north. The 55-acre estate has a main house listed as having three bedrooms, but there’s got to be plenty of space for seven kids among the 3,600 square feet of living space. And if it’s not enough, there’s an 1,800 square foot guest house!

Alec Baldwin's House (Google Maps)
Alec Baldwin's House

Zooey Deschanel

Zooey (just like her big sister Emily) is another famous Irish-American actor. She grew up in Los Angeles, with a director dad an actress mother; her career choice is basically a family business.

In 2019, she started dating another famous sibling, Jonathan Scott, who works with his identical twin brother Drew in the property business. The two, along with Zooey’s kids from a previous marriage, bought a gorgeous home in the Brentwood area of Los Angeles in 2020. They dropped a stunning $9.5 million for the 6,500 square-foot home on a one-acre lot. It’s in a great location, has an amazing yard that includes a pool and tennis court, and gorgeous, spunky interior that perfectly fits the couple’s personalities.

Zooey Deschanel & Jonathan Scott's House (Google Maps)
Zooey Deschanel & Jonathan Scott's House

Michael Flatley

While everyone knows Michael Flatley, the famous Irish dancer, what may be a surprise is that he was actually born in the US, not the Emerald Isle! His parents both emigrated to the US, where they met at an Irish dance hall (of course) and got married. They passed their love of Irish dance to their son, and the rest is history.

He got his break on the 1994 Eurovision Song Contest, and created a dance troupe that toured the world for decades. He set a Guinness World Record (fitting for an Irishman) for the fastest feet, tapping 32 times per second!

With a remarkable estimated net worth of more than $350 million, he retired to an impressive Irish mansion called Castlehyde house. It’s reported to be more than 50,000 square feet, and has a long and storied history. While he’s tried to sell it from time to time, and can’t live there right now due to poor repairs after a fire, he’s committed to keeping it and getting it fixed.

Michael Flatley’s House (Google Maps)
Michael Flatley’s House

The Irish have a strong heritage in the US, and they have done so much to make the country a wonderful melting pot of culture, tradition, and experiences. On St. Patrick’s Day, have a drink to celebrate the Irish in all of us, and may the Irish blessing prove true for you:

May your blessings outnumber the shamrocks that grow, and may trouble avoid you wherever you go.


Oscar Contenders

Saturday, Mar 9 2024 by

The 96th Academy Awards are upon us, and on Sunday we will watch as awards are given out for best films, best actors and actresses, best music, costumes, cinema and more.

Let’s check out some of the people who might be taking home one of the coveted gold statues as a reward for all their hard work.

Dolby Theater, Los Angeles, California

Once known as the Kodak Theater, the Dolby has hosted the event since it opened in 2002 (except when it was hosted at a smaller venue during COVID). The Art Deco design of the building is a perfect backdrop for the night’s lead up to the main event: the red carpet walk where celebrities walk, pose, and answer questions about who designed their dress and who they think will win.

The megawatt entrance routine is as important to many fans as what happens inside the venue. Entire magazines will be dedicated to who wore what, who looked the best, and whose outfit flopped on the biggest fashion night of the year.

Dolby Theatre (StreetView)
Dolby Theatre

Jimmy Kimmel’s House, Los Angeles, California

Jimmy Kimmel, famed late-night talk show host, has hosted the Oscars three times, and will come back this year to make it four times. His hosting style is funny and relatable, and he makes everyone feel welcome.

Kimmel has been a mainstay in Hollywood for decades, hosting his late-night comedy show since 2003. He’s incredibly successful, and has the usual real estate collection to go with his fame. One of the most amazing homes in his portfolio is the Hollywood Hills home he bought in 2008 for around $6 million.

This house is about 5,500 square feet, with a modern design throughout the four bedroom, 4.5 bathroom house. The house is a great neighborhood, where celebs like John Krasinski have been neighbors at some time or other. Right now, his sister-in-law lives there, but he still owns the house.

Jimmy Kimmel's House (Google Maps)
Jimmy Kimmel's House

Bradley Cooper, New Hope, Pennsylvania

Bradley Cooper is no stranger to Academy nominations, having received 12 so far, for acting and other roles in the movies! This year, he is nominated for the best actor award, though he’s not the favorite to win in a strong year.

Cooper has been involved in several of the highest-grossing films, and has a net worth of more than $120 million. With that money, he recently bought a farmhouse in Pennsylvania. He’s from the state, and is a huge Eagles football fan, but it seems the reason for his purchase is his new girlfriend Gigi Hadid, who spends much of her time at her mother’s farm nearby.

The farmhouse and property set him back around $6.5 million, and comes with a house built in 1704 and 33 acres of land. The massive house doesn’t look 300+ years old inside. It’s been renovated and upgraded to have a very modern kitchen, fitness room, and gorgeous open space. With six bedrooms, there’s plenty of space for everyone to enjoy each other and their own space at the same time.

Bradley Cooper's House (Google Maps)
Bradley Cooper's House

Carey Mulligan, Devon, United Kingdom

British actress Carey Mulligan has married a fellow Brit, Marcus Mumford, who she actually knew growing up. Now, she’s a successful actress, nominated for the third time in the best actress category.

She and her husband bought a 16th century farmhouse about a decade ago, for around $2.7 million. The estate is a real English farm, with a main house, lots of outbuildings, and plenty of space for their three kids. The house maintains some old looks, with a thick white brick exterior, dark wood window frames, and wood floors. But it’s got lots of modern upgrades, including a full-on recording studio, perfect for the founding member of Mumford and Sons.

Carey Mulligan's House (Birds Eye)
Carey Mulligan's House

Emma Stone, Los Angeles, California

Emma Stone has already won an Oscar for best actress, and she’s up again this year for her role in Poor Things. She’s the favorite to win, but if she gets another gold statue, she’s going to be taking it to a new house.

She had lived in this cute 3,200 square foot home in Comstock Hills since 2019, but put it on the market in January. It was sold, most likely for well over the $3.9 million asking price, as it sold in about ten days.

It’s not clear where the successful actress, her husband and child will be calling home next, but with her commercial and critical success these days, they can go anywhere! And with her reported net worth of more than $40 million, she can certainly afford it!

Emma Stone's House (Google Maps)
Emma Stone's House

Billie Eilish, Los Angeles, California

Already an Oscar veteran at just 22, Billie Eilish is certainly a musical prodigy. She won an Academy Award for her song in No Time to Die a few years ago and is back in the category for her original song for the movie Barbie. Billie is an incredibly talented musician, and comes from a talented show biz family.

Her parents were in the business long before she and her brother were in the picture, and lived in this small but happy home. Her brother Finneas is her collaborator and producer, and shares in her amazing success. The duo even recorded her first album in the house!

While she has bought her own home, she still spends many nights at the family home, including one night a year ago when a burglar was arrested at her address.

Billie Eilish's House (Google Maps)
Billie Eilish's House

As always, the Academy Awards will be a night full of music, comedy, entertainment, and surprise as Hollywood’s elite celebrate another amazing year in film.




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Monday, April 15, 2024

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Seaford Museum
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Friday, April 12, 2024

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