Tag Archives: Phyllis Grant

Berkeley actor Matt Ross can do more than scowl

Matt Ross has written and directed 'Captain Fantastic' which opens Friday in Berkeley. Photo: Frances Dinkelspiel
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Matt Ross had a smile on his face. Maybe it was no surprise, as he was at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in San Francisco for a long string of press interviews about his movie, Captain Fantastic.

The smile, and accompanying open demeanor, are not how most of the world usually sees Ross, who lives in Berkeley. He is best known for his roles as Gavin Belson, the competitive and ruthless tech tycoon on the hit HBO TV show, “Silicon Valley,” and Albie Grant, the controlling Mormon polygamist who represses his homosexuality in HBO’s “Big Love.” Both of those parts require Ross to purse his lips and scowl — a lot.

But the world is now about to see another side of Ross, one that brings out his smile. Although he is a classically trained actor who went to Juilliard, Ross has been writing movie scripts and making short films since he was 12. His first feature movie, 28 Hotel Rooms, was decently received. Captain Fantastic has been enthusiastically embraced. John Seal, Berkeleyside’s film reviewer, called it “frequently excellent (if periodically absurd).” This reporter loved the film for its intelligent and unpredictable script. Ross won Best Director in the Un Certain Regard category at the Cannes Film Festival in July.

Ross will be doing a Q&A in Berkeley this Friday, July 22, after the 7:05 p.m. screening of Captain Fantastic at the California Theatres on Kittredge Street.
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Matt Ross may play a greedy tech titan in ‘Silicon Valley,’ but in Berkeley he’s just a regular guy

Matt Ross
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If you were one of the millions of people who tuned in Sunday to watch the season 2 opener of HBO’s “Silicon Valley,” you might have had a chuckle when tech titan Gavin Belson, the CEO of Hooli, delivered a speech about his competitor’s product:  “I don’t want to live in a world where someone else makes the world a better place better than we do.”

The words were delivered with a perfect arrogance. And a straight face. And if the actor who said those lines looks familiar, it may be because you have watched the show “Big Love,” or seen the movie “Good Night and Good Luck.” Or it may be because you saw the actor, Matt Ross, browsing for books at Mrs. Dalloway’s, or at the Claremont branch of the Berkeley Public Library.

Yes, Ross is a Berkeley resident. He lives here with his wife, Phyllis Grant, the writer behind the popular food website Dash and Bella, named after the couple’s two children. Ross is a classically trained actor (he went to Juilliard) who once thought his future lay in theater. But he has become critically acclaimed for numerous roles and the feature films he writes and directs. … Continue reading »

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Phyllis Grant: Not your average mommy food blogger

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So-called mommy bloggers, who pontificate on all manner of parenting matters, have proliferated like randy rabbits on the internet. Ditto food bloggers who fetishize everything edible. And mommy food bloggers: they permeate the worldwide web by the thousands.

So to stand out from the pack, a food blog with a parenting focus has to look gorgeous, offer recipes that seduce a home cook, and showcase a unique voice.

Dash and Bella fits that brief. And Berkeley’s Phyllis Grant, a former New York City pastry chef “who tired quickly of sugar and burning her forearms and never sleeping,” is behind the blog, recently named one of the top 100 food mom blogs by Babble.

Grant slow cooks with her kids and blog namesakes Dash, 4, and Bella, 9, and isn’t afraid to throw in an f-bomb or two in posts on everything from whole beast cooking to making popcorn ice cream. Her witty and insightful musings about cooking while mothering — no chicken nuggets or plain pasta in sight  — have caught the attention of The New York Times, food52, and Real Simple. … Continue reading »

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