Some friends invited me to join them at Spaceland last night to check out The Honey Brothers. I was intrigued by their website and its mention of the The Village Voice's description of the band as "glam ukele rock", so I decided to check it out. The friend in the know left us to be surprised by the fact that this band has a celebrity drummer - Adrian Grenier, (aka Fluffer Honey) the dreamy star of Entourage. Adrian mingled his way through the crowd of Silverlake hipsters (mostly chicks, drooling) during the entertaining opening set by Everybody Else. There's another actor in The Honey Brothers - Ari Gold aka Hoyt Honey (he's got the same name as Adrian's Entourage agent as played by Jeremy "Let's hug it out, bitch" Piven - coincidence?). When the band took the stage, we were underwelmed. They didn't seem very together on their opening songs. Things improved when they brought out their plugged-in ukelele and played some tunes that reminded us of a mix between the Talking Heads, Don Ho and Cake. Their rock-ish tunes succeeded more than their country-ish tunes, but all songs were hurt by less-than-tuneful singing. We left early, parting a sea of swooning groupies. All drummers should get so much attention, I thought, and I bet Peter Criss and Alex Van Halen would concur. Don't worry if the band doesn't make it big, Adrian - you've still got Aquaman!
Monday, December 12, 2005
Tuesday, December 06, 2005
There wasn't quite the hoopla that surrounds an American Idol finale, but the kids of But Can They Sing? sang their final chorus last Sunday. We expected from the beginning that it would come down to a battle between the two teen idols - Michael Copon and Carmine Gotti Agnello - and so it did. Morgan Fairchild took third place, but it was as if the producers realized Bai Ling should have been ahead of her. They let Bai come back and strut and strip her way through "I Touch Myself." It was amusing to watch the largely 'tween audience stare at Bai, unsure of how to react to her performance art spectacle. Another highlight was the opening number which reunited all the contestants (except for Joey Pants - did he get whacked?) for a "Bohemian Rhapsody" that was nearly as funny as Wayne's World. In the end, justice was done, as Michael Copon, who can sing a little, triumphed over Carmine. Fortunately, Carmine had his brothers, who had joined him onstage during his performance of "Gold Digger", to console him.
Tuesday, November 29, 2005
Watching But Can They Sing? these past few weeks, I've been transfixed by Bai Ling. I started watching the show because I'm a Growing Up Gotti fan, but I found myself tuning in mostly to see what Bai Ling would do next. This week, I was shocked to see Bai, who I thought was the show's breakout star, get voted off! My money was on Morgan Fairchild getting the boot. I figured she was too old for most viewers, plus she had shown little growth in her talk-singing method and diva-like tendencies while fighting with Bai during rehearsals for the group number. How could audiences not vote for Bai, who was consistently pushing the envelope with her costumes and song choices? Last week, wearing a mohawk and not much else, she rocked her way through "I Wanna Be Sedated" like a cross between Wendy O. Williams and Laurie Anderson. She concluded her performance by humping the stool like a chihuahua in heat. How could America be unimpressed? Well, Bai, I guess you can't sing, but you sure can entertain. Have your agent call Surreal Life - I bet there's a room in Glen Campbell's house for you.
Sunday, November 20, 2005
Coolia and Nerdia held a "Barry Manilow Appreciation Night" yesterday, and they forced me to wear this hideous sweater because, as Nerdia said, "Barry likes sweaters." I didn't mind too much, because some new people came to the house and I got to lick them. They made theme food for the occasion, such as "Weekend in New England" clam chowder, "It's a Miracle" Whip Apple Slaw, and "Looks Like We Made It" cheese ball. I can't vouch for the quality of these recipes, but I did enjoy sampling the KFC, which was on the menu because Barry wrote a jingle for it many moons ago. Everyone sat around the TV mesmerized during the evening's main event - a rare screening of Barry's 1985 TV movie, Copacabana. Despite my attempts, I could not get people to pay attention to me, as they stared at the screen with mouths agape, wondering how a movie could have no redeeming qualities. They laughed a lot when Barry's character Tony talked about fighting at Iwo Jima. Afterwards, some referred to the movie as "a dog!" I took personal offense at this comment. I was glad when the party was over, and I could take the sweater off. What do you think - does it make me look as thin as Barry?
Thursday, November 17, 2005
Click here for a Harry Potter currency coverter.
Notice there’s a new Potter movie out and he’s not yet on everyone’s lips? What gives? This was a big year in Potterworld: we got a new book, installment number 6 - Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince and a new movie on its heels, number 4 - Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. That means the movies are two tales behind - you math-addled mudbloods.
As for the newest book, at least it was liftable this time. Much ado was made about the high-profile death scene, although honestly it was too predictable with all the sudden brain-dumping occurring between the soon-not-to-be character and Harry Potter. In number 6 we see more into the past of Voldemort, but less into the soul of Snape. I had sort of gotten a bit attached to Snape, myself, during book number 5. We were asked to sympathize with him so much. Now we’re asked once again to suspect his motives. Book 6 seems to be attempting to sway us into thinking Snape’s a bad fellow once and for all. But then that is one of the major themes of the series: appearances will be deceiving. You can’t judge a half-blood prince with half the facts. Oh, and stick with your friends. You’ll need them. However, these days Harry’s friends seem to be doubting him all the time. He continues to need them anyway because he can’t rely entirely on his instincts or his smarts. He’s judgmental and no star student like Hermione.
My biggest concern with Half-Blood Prince is this: for the first time Rowling seems to be writing for an eventual movie. For instance, many of her scenes begin with a subtle hint of stage direction. That fact that she’s no doubt seen her own movies and been emboldened by their hype may have tainted a story that’s only partially done. If she could have finished the series before the movies and her great popularity, would we have a more unified, pristine yarn?
Last Friday, I was fortunate to see an advanced screening of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. Director Mike Newell took over the directing reins for this installment and his is the best one yet, in my humble opinion. The first movie, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, tried too hard to keep up with its book. Somehow that translated into dull and plodding. The second movie, …Chamber of Secrets, was good enough, mostly due to a spot-on performance of Professor Gilderoy Lockhart by Kenneth Branagh. In fairness, I didn’t see much of movie three, …Prisoner of Azkaban; that book was my least favorite. Sirius Black and the old red-herring switcheroony…yawn. Movie 4 has something I haven’t seen nearly enough of in the others: smarter humor. And the kids are getting better at pulling it off. The movie is long but evenly entertaining. My only critique: not enough Snape. Oh, and I painfully miss Richard Harris, truly a superior Dumbledore…for his eye’s very special, mischievous twinkle. RIP.
Tuesday, November 15, 2005
I caught a preview performance of Tennessee Williams' Cat on a Hot Tin Roof at the Geffen Playhouse. Running from Nov. 16 - Dec 18, this play is the debut performance for the newly remodeled Geffen. While I can't compare it to the old theater since I never visited, I can say the new theater is quite plush with comfortable seats and plenty of leg room. The stage is large, but the theater feels intimate, and I don't think there's a bad seat in the house. I had not seen this play or the movie version before. While a tad overly long and talky, it's a good show and the actors handle the material capably. Brenda Fricker doesn't have much to do as Big Mama, but John Goodman fills the suit of Big Daddy quite well. I find it hard to get the image of him as Roseanne's hubby out of my head, so I didn't think he mustered quite enough menace to really do the role justice. He got the blustering and the accent right, but his sitcom presence didn't quite translate to the stage. I don't think this is really John's fault - he's a great actor. It's just the curse of being in people's living rooms everyday for perpetuity thanks to reruns. Jeremy Davidson did a good job as the closeted Brick and Jennifer Mudge was suitably smoldering and smothering as his wife Maggie. I tend to prefer realism, and although Tennessee gets the dysfunctional family thing down perfectly, he also makes his characters speak in metaphors and that takes me out of the moment. I mean, when was the last time someone told you, "I feel all the time like a cat on a hot tin roof." It's excellent writing, just not really my cup of sweetened ice tea.
Wednesday, November 09, 2005
On her abysmal talk show on Monday, Tyra Banks donned a fat suit that made her appear to be 350 pounds so that she could experience what she called "the last acceptable form of open discrimination." She actually broke down in tears and said the day was one of the most painful of her life because people laughed at her, store clerks sneered at her, and several blind dates were rude to her. Other painful Tyra Banks days include "The Day I Broke a Nail" and "The Day The Tyra Banks Show Craft Services People Forgot to Bring Vitamin Water". When I saw Tyra wedged on a sofa between two real-life 400-lb-plus gals, I found myself wishing these big gals would stop nodding their heads sympathetically at every sanctimonious Tyra pronouncement and eat her. I guess they felt there wasn't enough meat on her bones. The show was ludicrous on many levels. First off, people were probably laughing not because she was large but because the fat suit made her look like her clothes had been stuffed with pillows and she had Busty-Heart-size breasts. The blind dates were misled as to who they would be dating, and even then only one of them was rude - and I doubt he would have been rude if Fat-Trya hadn't asked aggressive questions like "Did you ever date a big girl?" and "Would you date me even though I'm big?" And when confronted, he was honest and said no - you have to give the guy some credit for being honest! Speaking of being honest, I'll admit that I fast-forwarded through most of her monologues, but I never heard Tyra take any responsibility for her role in our society's obsession with thinness. It's not like she's just watching from the sidelines - she's a supermodel who hosts America's Next Top Model, a show in which women are lambasted for having two servings of cottage cheese. I'd find her epiphany a lot more convincing if it lasted for more than a day and she decided to influence standards of beauty from within the modeling industry. On the other hand, if she wants to do a follow-up show and put Janice Dickinson in a fat suit and have her behave boorishly at a Las Vegas buffet, I'll certainly tune in.
Monday, November 07, 2005
In case I didn't make myself clear last week, the answer is still, "No!" This episode was merciful because 3 contestants were sent home before they could sing - Myrka Dellanos (she didn't sing well and she's even more obscure than the other "stars"), Kim Alexis (she sang the worst, in my opinion, and her looks aren't holding up that well), and Joe Pantoliano (not the worst by a long shot - most likely a victim of age discrimination and a too-small crossover audience of Sopranos viewers). An interesting phenonmenon happened on this show - the boys decided to exploit themselves as sex objects to get votes. I believe this means the women's rights movement has finally come into its own, and Hillary can get elected president!! First, Michael Copon, dressed in a tight leather ensemble that recalled Elvis' Comeback Special, bared his chest toward the end of his number. Next, mumble-voiced Antonio Sabato, Jr. immediately removed his hoodie and sang his entire song shirtless. I guess this was so we could see how he was using his diaphragm. The final member of the beefcake triumvirate was Carmine Gotti Agnello who first told the host that his gameplan was to take off shirt until he decided not to do it because Michael and Antonio had done it first. But then, instead of taking the high road, Carmine ripped his shirt off and threw it into the crowd (not that I'm complaining, or anything). Morgan Fairchild talked her way through "I Will Survive" - next week, she may have to strip down to her Old Navy underwear in order to survive. The likeable Larry Holmes struggled with "Let's Get It On", looking like a poor suitor waiting for Cyrano to feed him the lyrics. Somehow Bai Ling survived the axe and came out with a freaky version of "Call Me" - she's the Asian Bjork. I hope she sticks around until the end because her wackiness and the boys' washboard abs are enough to keep me tuning in, as long as the "mute" button on my remote is working.
Thursday, November 03, 2005
In a word, "No." I was really looking forward to But Can They Sing?, VH1's Dancing with the Stars rip-off. Not only would I get to see Joey Pants and Antonio Sabato, Jr. sing - but also one of my favorite reality stars, Carmine Gotti Agnello! Knowing that Carmine can't enunciate and has to have his dialogue subtitled even though he's allegedly speaking English, I couldn't imagine how he'd be able to sing (of course, some would argue that unintelligible lyrics are the cornerstone of rock music). Carmine was given the challenge of rapping along to "Ride Wit' Me" by Nelly. Anyone who saw this performance will have gained new-found respect for Nelly. However, Carmine got points for having the attitude of a pop star, and the screaming girls in the crowd ate up the performance. Larry Holmes was a bright spot, showing some flair for performance even if he couldnt' sing too well. Kim Alexis and Bai Ling were probably the worst, although Bai Ling's writhing on the floor to "Like a Virgin" might garner a few votes from Maxim readers. Joey Pants did a mediocre Frank Sinatra impression and Morgan Fairchild did a passable Nancy Sinatra. The whole spectacle made me think of a famous Nancy and Frank Sinatra collaboration: "Something Stupid".
Tuesday, November 01, 2005
Having little or no concern for my dignity, Coolia and Nerdia decided to turn me into Falkor the Luckdragon from The Neverending Story for Halloween. At first I was not enthused about wearing clouds and a Bratz Boy on my back, but I received a number of compliments that helped me to feel better about my plight. Several trips to Michael's craft store were required as Coolia and Nerdia demonstrated they were not Edith Head when it came to costume design. I shed clouds all over Barrington Dog Park at Sunday's Bow Wow Ween and all over Santa Monica Blvd. at the West Hollywood Halloween Parade. At the Bow Wow Ween, they registered me in the "Best Dog/Owner Duo" and "Funniest" categories for the celebrity-judged costume contest. I strutted down the runway and received mostly 8s and 9s and one perfect 10 from Charlie "The Bachelor" O'Connell. In the "Funniest" round, judge Tori Spelling started a backlash against me, saying I had already appeared in the other round. This was true, but multiple entries were allowed, as a Bow Wow Ween official explained to her. This clarification came too late, as most of the judges didn't bother evaluating me. However, Charlie came through and gave me a 10 again. He's dreamy! Nerdia was upset with Tori, but Coolia reminded her that Tori was going through a divorce and had moved back home and that moving home is always difficult, even if one's parental home has 100 rooms including a room that is just for wrapping gifts. I had a blast at the West Hollywood parade and attracted loads of admirers. Many of them thought I was an angel. "I'm a dragon, dammit", I asserted, "I'm a luckdragon!" Eventually, I learned to stop protesting, behave like an angel and accept the coos and petting. So what do you think I should be for next Halloween?
Tuesday, October 25, 2005
This week's episode gives us John Gotti Agnello at a crossroads. If only Lil' Kim had covered "Do You Know Where You're Going To?" for this week's soundtrack! John needs to make his college decision. He wants to go to Northeastern, but his mother and the rest of his family want him to go somewhere local. Uncle Pete tells John he wants to start a record label and wants John to be his partner - but only if John stays in NYC. I had such hopes for John and was saddened to see him cave to the family pressure and decide to stay at home. And then Victoria has the nerve to muse in her voiceover that she doesn't know what made John change his mind, after we've seen her yelling at him and Pete bullying him! She has the same kind of amnesia her father and brother had when testifying in court. Meanwhile, Gotti Hotti groupies besiege the house, loitering in hopes of seeing the boys and leaving lewd notes with their phone numbers in the mailbox. They get a surprise when Victoria calls them and lectures them about what constitutes ladylike behavior. In another subplot, Luigi works very slowly on building a home theater for the family. Victoria expresses her rage and has Robert refuse to pay him. I have to wonder if he's the only contractor on Long Island. You'd think he'd be a little more industrious after enjoying the free trip to Italy, but it's clear that Luigi answers to only two people - himself and any Gotti Hotti Groupie who asks for his autograph.
Thursday, October 20, 2005
85-year-old actress Shelley Winters suffered a heart attack last Friday, but is recovering. "Over the past few days, she has become much stronger, and Shelley is nearly back to her normal self. We are so thankful to Shelley's fans for their support and words of encouragement," the family said. If Shelley is back to her normal self, does that mean she is whipping both her Oscars out of the back of her hospital gown in order to show she has the clout to merit extra helpings of Jell-O? Shelley is one tough broad, as exemplified by her valiant but ill-fated swim to the surface in The Poseidon Adventure, and ApeBlog wishes her a speedy recovery.
Wednesday, October 19, 2005
Coolia thinks I should understand life's harsh realities. She's always saying things like "milk bones don't grow on trees" and "your poop doesn't pick itself up." So, she forced me to confront my own mortality and watch this week's Growing Up Gotti in which Victoria's beloved pooch, Sebastian Gotti, crossed over the rainbow bridge. I felt sad for Sebastian, but really he wasn't a proper dog. They said he was a "teacup maltese". That is sure a long way from the wolf. Maybe dogs weren't meant to be that tiny? Or maybe too many carbs did him in? I bet he ate a lot of pasta that dropped to the floor. Victoria wanted to give Sebastian a grand burial, so she spent $285 on a casket and vault and then made Luigi dig a hole in the front yard. The ground was hard but I think I could have done a better job with my paws than Luigi did with the shovel. Victoria then brought in some of Frankie's friends who claimed to be professional gravediggers (Coolia told me that knowing people like that is considered networking in the Gotti world). They dug a hole that only appeared to be slightly deeper than Luigi's hole, however they did complete some lovely landscaping and installed a pond by the grave. Meanwhile, Carmine, John, and Robert went to get tattoos supposedly to honor Sebastian. Robert ended up getting one for his parents and I never saw what John got, but Carmine did get the initials SG on his chest and a "Jesus head" on his arm. Carmine had to repeat "Jesus head" about 3 times to get Victoria to understand what he was saying when she asked what tattoo he got. Coolia can understand my barking better than Victoria can understand her own son. He got subtitled in every scene due to his unintelligible speech. It appeared the boys got their tattoos for free because the tattoo artists shooed them away with the comment: "Your father never took any money from the neighborhood." I wish I could get that kind of deal. I'd get a "Lassie head" on my rear.
Monday, October 03, 2005
Saw Capote over the weekend and was wowed. It's a tour de force performance by Philip Seymour Hoffman, and he really pulls it off. It would have been easy to do a SNL-type effeminate cariacture, but he keeps it very real. He's great at showing the man's extremes - from the highs where he's the life of the party to the lows when he struggles with the book and his conscience. I've never read In Cold Blood but it's now on my list. Catherine Keener is also good as Harper Lee, Capote's childhood friend who keeps him grounded and gives him courage. I've been a fan of Hoffman since he was the Dirk-Diggler-obsessed grip in Boogie Nights, and I'm glad he's found a role that will finally give him the acclaim and hopefully the Oscar he deserves. Hoffman's nuanced performance shows all the negatives of the self-absorbed Capote, yet somehow keeps him sympathetic. And this movie really shows how grueling writing can be, without boring the audience with long sequences of the writer typing or staring at the blank page. All work and no play never makes Truman a dull boy.
Wednesday, September 28, 2005
As I was in Europe the past two weeks, trying to expand my horizons just like the Gottis, I missed last week's episode. Fortunately, I was able to catch on to the plot this week without a problem. It seems the boys must have partied like Caligula on last week's episode, because Victoria was not pleased with them and one of their keepers/friends had been sent home. So the boys sulked even more than usual this week. Carmine's few snarled comments were barely audible, and John sassed his mother repeatedly. Personally, I think the boys were just embarassed that their mother was parading around Italy in a half-shirt. The family attends the Palio, a large parade/festival, and mostly enjoys it, even though they do not have VIP seats for the jousting. Robert pulls a drama queen act and feigns clausterphobia to get a day off. While surrounded by sweaty hordes, John cracks, "This crowd smells like Luigi." Frankie wants to defend his mother's honor when an Italian peasant hits on her. I get somewhat bored and think how much better the show would be if ANY of the other characters narrated it besides Victoria - her narration is so flat and she's so obviously reading it for the first time that it makes the copy seem even more trite than it is. However, the end of the episode is completely redeeming as we get to see everyone in their swimsuits at the beach! The image of Luigi in a speedo will forever be burned on my retinas, along with Robert's pasty belly contrasted against his orange swim trunks. Can a Gotti Hotti and Not-So-Hotti swimsuit calendar be far behind?
Tuesday, September 27, 2005
It shocked me to hear two pieces of celebrity info this morning: One that Don Adams is dead at the age of 82; the other that Wilford Brimley (grandpa in Country, big, bad intimidator in The Firm, the Oatmeal proselyter) is still living at 71! Isn’t that odd…a man who has always seemed such an golden oldie in TV-terms is younger than the man we never pictured to be older than Maxwell Smart. That’s just Hollyweird.
Thursday, September 22, 2005
While Coolia is away in Germany this week, I have been missing copious amounts of reality. Reality TV that is. Coolia, as you may or may not know, is a reality TV junkie. Yes, we’ve staged interventions, mercilessly mocked Trishelle Cannatella – it does no good. After living a temper-tantrum-on-TV-free week, I can honestly say that I don’t miss hearing Adrianne Curry sob over Christopher Knight on My Fair Brady. Granted, he is the cute Brady, he’s no David Cassidy…and David isn’t even worth sobbing over. Surreal Life spin-offs are dangerously boring and they make you want to bang your head against your TIVO box and cry, “Why, TV-gods, are you doing this to me?” Sure, the show is better than the Flavor Flav and Brigitte Nielson debacle, but do we only think so because Curry and Knight are both white-bread white and better-looking? And who was on which Surreal Life season, anyway? They’re all blurring together now. I think I’m going blind. Another reality show I cannot watch is that Danny Bonaduce tragedy. Ever since I watched Bonaduce’s crazy life unfold on E! True Hollywood Story, I’ve been rootin for that crazy redhead who married a stranger and stuck with it and then put his life into some seeming semblance of responsible order. Do I want to hear that he’s fallen off every wagon in the wagon train? Do I want to hear I’ve been duped by his mischievous grin? Do I want to regret my victory dance when he beat Greg Brady in Celebrity Boxing? No. I do not. So I refuse to watch Breaking Bonaduce. I’m not bored of the wagon wreck (as I am with Bobby and Whitney and Farrah and Anna Nicole). In this case, I’m simply feeling too sorry for it. So, I do not miss these shows or that silly Gene Simmons rock school show where he bows his ego like a weeping willow over the heads of British grade schoolers. There IS, however, one reality construct I am looking forward to: Chastity Bono on Celebrity Fit Club 3. No, I’m not looking forward to seeing her from 360 degrees in her underwear? No I’m not looking forward to seeing her trudge down the street in a hamster tube. I’m looking forward to hearing what she has to say - because she can be pretty dern articulate about reality when she puts her mind to it and she should probably blame pops Sonny for bequeathing to her all those fattening Italian family recipes. Although, I do fear this appearance may ruin her chances of running for President. I’m also really excited about the premier of Curb Your Enthusiasm this Sunday. Because that’s some crazy reality-infused inane behavior I find pleasant to watch. For more on fattening Bono recipes visit his other daughter's restaurant.
Wednesday, September 21, 2005
Since my people were too busy to entertain me to the extent I require, I was forced to watch some late night television last week. As it is hard for me to surf the TV (I paw the remote and chaos ensues), I loitered for most of Friday nite on the Sundance Channel. And happy hamburger-flavored-Alpo I did because I came across a new show I absolutely lapped up: The Al Franken Show! Akin to Coolia’s favorite radio program, The Howard Stern Show, this is a televised version of Franken’s Air America radio broadcast. I LOVED the democratic doggerel, the snappy commentary, the feisty repartee. Last Friday nite, I stretched out on my back and watched the entire episode upside down. Franken called the number for 1-800-KATRINA in order to investigate why The White House didn’t or couldn’t secure the number for Bush’s late-week dig-America-out-of-the-bone-hole-he-put-us-in PR campaign. I mean, come on…if the leader of the free world can’t secure the 1-800-KATRINA number, what’s a mutt to think?? Anywho, turns out the number belonged to a call-in sex-talk service. Franken even spoke with a woman there named Katrina, I kid you not. And here’s the rub, Katrina, the phone-sex-hooker, (she was from Alabama even), had absolutely no sympathy for those poor hurricane evacuees from Louisiana and Mississippi. In fact, Katrina refused to help victims at all and said so with a kind of disdain in her voice I usually associate with dogs who’ve been forced to inhale finger nail polish remover. This was one bitter bitch. She claimed hurricane victims were getting nothing but an unprecedented amount of free stuff on the FEMA gravy train. She paid her taxes and she wasn’t getting no stinkin’ free milkbones! And here are the lessons I, The Edgar Winter Dog, have learned from watching this episode. The first is one eloquently pointed out by Al himself which is so much for the phone-sex-hooker with the heart of gold. The other is a lesson I figured out myself: there are some poor half-wits out there with such a low self-esteem that even completely wiped-out, devastated victims of a natural disaster can make them bitterly envious. Existence can’t get much lower than that. Get comfortable on your sinking Karma ship, Katrina; you’re gonna be drowning on it for a looong time.
Tuesday, September 13, 2005
Victoria takes the boys to a figure drawing class, forgetting that they are more like budding Michael Corleones than Michaelangelos. Instead of drawing the naked girl, Carmine writes his name graffiti-style. The boys walk out when the naked male model appears. Victoria searches for long lost relatives, while her brother Pete drags the boys, who have not left their hotel rooms although it's 2pm, out sightseeing. They couldn't be more bored, even at the Coliseum. When John complains he's not interested in sightseeing, Pete replies, "There aren't 5 things in the world you are interested in." I think Pete is wrong because I can think of 6 things John is interested in: brunettes, mini-bikes, boxing, blondes, redheads, and hair gel. Later, at a restaurant, Frankie has a hard time finding something on the menu that fits his diet. He wants a chicken caesar salad, and Luigi interprets the waiter's reply: "This is Italy, not McDonald's." I wish that Luigi would get to do more than translate, but I have to give him credit for being able to translate Carmine because I can't understand a word Carmine says. Eventually, the concierge tracks down some Gottis, and Victoria and Robert comandeer the hotel shuttle bus to visit them. Victoria says if they are rich, they must be her relatives. It turns out they are just middle class and they've never heard of the American Gottis. The jovial Mr. Gotti also crushes Victoria by revealing that Gotti is not Italian for "King" as she had been told - but actually means "cat." Come to think of it, the Teflon Don did seem to have nine lives.
Sunday, September 11, 2005
I don't think I would recognize Mary J. Blige on the street. She's always changing up her look, always gettin a new do. And although Blige is a very renowned hip hop singer, and although I really dig the song "No More Drama" - I'm not so sure I'd be able to pick out her voice in a line-up. It's not particularly strange and she doesn't distinguish herself with affected vocal acrobatics. Last Friday, September 9, for the third time Mary J. Blige blew me away with another chilling live TV performance. The first time was back in 2001 during Divas Live - the tribute to Aretha Franklin. Here's what I said then: "Mary J. Blige did two of the best R&B performances on the whole show. Her voice was in great shape. She became Aretha-sized and I loved it. Her performance of "Daydreaming" was flawless, far and away the best guest performance of all the guest stars. The beginning of her "Do Right Woman" duet with Aretha gave me chills. A true Divas Live moment was happening. " Months later, Blige sang "No More Drama" on the Grammy Awards telecast in February of 2002. It was a performance I'll never forget: at the climax of the song where she sings "it's up to us to choose whether we will or lose" and her head drops back and she sings "and I choose to win" like a carnal, passionate, primal wail to the core of the earth itself. Then she went into a ferocious calisthenics of singing "no...More...Drama" for what seemed like ten minutes. It was one of the best TV musical performances I'd ever seen, ranked right up there with Barbara Streisand and Judy Garland singing their meld of "Get Happy" and "Happy Days are Here Again" on The Judy Garland Show. Blige did it again Friday night for the celebrity Hurricane Katrina benefit concert. Broadcast live from an empty arena, she took the lead in singing "One" with U2. The performance started subdued but tender with Bono, who then practically passed it off to Blige: once again, clear, resonant, flawless, completely original, heart-rending, and spirit electric. Please tell me this is what a live Blige concert performance is like.
Coolia and Nerdia left me at home alone quite a bit this weekend, and Coolia also took me to the vet where I endured two shots. So, when Coolia decided to finally treat me right today and take me to the dog park, I got my revenge. At first I feared I'd be thwarted as the park was quite grassy and dry, but my lengthy reconnaissance turned up one mud puddle which I happily rolled in until Coolia looked up from her cell phone Scrabble game and noticed. Then instead of reprimanding me, she got all excited and called me over and pointed to a woman in overalls and whispered, "Edgar, look, it's Mindy Cohn - you know, Natalie from The Facts of Life." I wasn't sure why this was so exciting - I mean, Blair was the hot one. But Coolia went on to tell me that she had identified with Mindy because back when the show was on the air and Coolia was a kid, she imagined Mindy had to shop in the "Pretty Plus" department at Sears just like Coolia did. I don't think she took the Mindy-identification far enough to date someone named Snake, thankfully. Mindy had three charming mutts with her at the park today. I was at first offended that she did not recognize me as a fellow TV star or at least call me cute, but Coolia reminded me she probably didn't want anything to do with me due to my butt being covered in mud. Oh, and if you're wondering what Mindy has been up to since the last The Facts of Life reunion movie - I glanced at IMDB and discovered she's been the voice of Velma in several recent incarnations of Scooby Doo. Zoinks!
Friday, September 09, 2005
Although far from a household name, Ted Leo is probably the biggest non-football-playing celeb to come out of Notre Dame during my early-90s era. I never met Ted while we shared the campus, but I saw his band Chisel a few times and they rocked. They were the rare college band that made original music and actually practiced before gigs - even us drunk domer kids could tell. Ted always seemed older, cooler, and wiser than the rest of us. After college, I saw him in little clubs in New York a couple of times - once with Chisel before they broke up, and once on his own. I was pleased when his last two albums got press in Spin and Rolling Stone and he started to play bigger venues. Last night I got a chance to see him again at the El Rey Theater. Despite some technical difficulties, voice problems, and the failure to pack extra 9-volt batteries, Ted and his Pharmacists put on a great, tight show full of passion and punch. I admire Ted for keeping it real all these years, staying indie, and never compromising. I've played it safe and kept a day job and done my creative stuff on the side, but Ted has lived on the edge and always put his music first. A full house at the El Rey last night would attest that the commitment and sacrifices have paid off.
Wednesday, September 07, 2005
I was saddened by the news of Gilligan's passing. I get such a kick out of that show. I like to watch it on TV Land while I'm home alone. Nerdia says if I was on the island, I'd be Mrs. Howell, because I'm delicate and don't care much for camping. But I like Gilligan. He reminds me to be eternally hopeful. Just as he thinks he's getting off the island every week with some new ingenious plan, I think every morning that maybe Coolia won't go to work and will instead take me to the dog park. That almost never happens, except Monday, which was a holiday, and we went to the dog park, and I played with a beagle and got tackled by a samoyed and some lady said I looked like a cross between a westie and a basset hound. But I digress. The important thing is to remember Bob Denver's comedic legacy, and that unlike so many typecast TV stars, he accepted his lot in life, which wasn't so bad with all the Gilligan revival specials and TV movies, and didn't seem to mind being once, always, and forever - Gilligan.
Monday, September 05, 2005
Somewhere along the line, AMC has forgotten they had "Classics" in their name. The mission statement must have been adjusted to allow them to program as they did on Friday when they followed a true horror classic Carrie with Pinata: Survival Island. I can't really review this movie as I only watched the first 30 minutes, but I think I got the gist. The film stars Jaime Pressley and Nicholas Brendon (Xander from Buffy the Vampire Slayer) as the lead college co-eds on a fraternity/sorority trip. The kids are sent on a scavenger hunt, handcuffed in couples. One couple finds a large terra cotta pinata and proceeds to break it, hoping to find booze inside. "Dont do it!" the home viewer shouts, having seen the needlessly long "flashback" set-up involving Mexican mystics sucking all the evil out of their community and storing it in the pinata. Once cracked in the head, the killer pinata goes on a murderous rampage but isn't scary at all because, you know, it's a pinata. Instead of watching this drivel, I'd suggest you watch some of Jaime's better drivel - Ringmaster, the hilarious Jerry Springer movie, in which she does a great job playing a trailer trash girl, or Not Another Teen Movie, where, when told to "bring it", she announces, "Oh, it's already been broughten." Jaime has great comic timing and deserves better than to be forced to flee in a bikini from a killer pinata. Oh, and if killer voodoo dolls are your thing, rent Trilogy of Terror for the truly terrifying Zuni Fetish Warrior Doll that possesses Karen Black.
Friday, September 02, 2005
On behalf of my humans, Nerdia and Coolia, and myself, I want to extend our deepest sympathy for the victims of hurricane Katrina. We are meditating and praying for all the victims who are still stranded, especially those who are sick in hospitals without power and others who are still waiting to be rescued today after days of no food or clean water. We wish we could be there to help. My heart also goes out to all the people who have lost their pets and all the pet shelter people who have lost their facilities and all the furry friends they have been working so hard to help. As a shelter dog myself I mourn their passing as well as the untimely passing of their peoples. Despite the looting and sniping, I, The Edgar Winter Dog, believe that most people are basically good and will come together to help the victims put their lives back together. If you've already given to the Red Cross or other human aid resources and want to do something more, consider giving to the ASPCA or the HSUS. Check out the website on Animal Planet (scroll down) for information on who is helping animals in the disaster relief effort. Hugs Out.
Thursday, September 01, 2005
It's been an exhausting few weeks of pop culture, speaking for myself; and I feel like I have a painful pop culture sunburn from the overexposure. From the hot, packed, trash and fire-strewn plains of Glen Hell where metal bands cranked out one set that sounded just like the next, (with the exceptions of Rob Zombie, Sharon-infuriating Iron Maiden, and Mr. Sharon Osbourne himself), to the surprising delight of Donna Summer, to trudging around town looking for a hotel for the convention of obsessed Cher peoples, to finishing Harry Potter, (is it me or is the latest installment full of stage directions all of the sudden?), to six subsequent hours of reality TV, including bits of Growing Up Gotti and Gene Simmons' Rock School (Coolia just noticed a grammar mistake in Gene's website ad for the show: "and he calls himself a teacher."), but mostly hours upon hours of Celebrity Fit Club; I feel simultaneously overstimulated and underwhelmed, which brings us to Willie Aames - what has happened to thee, darling? Gone is the happy, skinny hearthrob who competes with Scott Baio for the pre-teens and what remains is a temperamental suburbanite with unfortunate tattoo coverage. It feels appropriate to blah-blah-blog it all out. And next spring will mark AC's eighth anniversary. From the beginning Coolia has scoped out the latest free funware for us: from ads to forums to chats to comments...and now blogs. We so trendy.
Nerdia and I went to see Donna Summer on 8/26 at the Gibson Non-Amphitheater. She was a revelation! I wasn't expecting much, but I was wowed. She sounded better than she did on my well-worn copy of her greatest hits. Not only did she sing my favorite song "Macarthur Park", she even explained its meaning. She said it was a metaphor about the end of a love affair. And all these years I thought it was about a literal cake! I had conjured up this scenario about a wedding in the park where the groom stood the bride up and the bride fled the scene leaving the cake to melt in the rare LA rain. How's that for a Bee-Gees-esque "Tragedy"? Donna endured 4 costume changes. And she brought audience members on stage to help sing back-up on "On the Radio", a song that was showcased in the underrated movie Foxes, a "girls gone wild" saga in which Jodie Foster shone as a tough teen, Sally Kellerman lounged as her laissez faire mom, and Scott Baio cruised in and out of the frame on a skateboard. Foxes and Donna - two disco relics that still have it goin' on.
Tuesday, August 30, 2005
The Gotti Boys seem to be sporting caesar cuts now and not spiking their hair up. I guess they felt they could not compete with my hot 'do. And to think, I don't even use product - my secret is to soak a chew toy with slobber and then roll around on it to get my hair slightly moist and upright. Bitches can't resist.
The Gottis hit Italy, and Italy may never be the same! On the way from the airport, Victoria spies a tiny fountain and asks her driver if it's the Trevi Fountain. I find it hard to believe they have never been to Italy, given how they continually remind us about their famly pride and pride in their Italian heritage. The Gotti boys go off to "gladiator school" while Victoria and Robert go shopping. Robert, her assistant, continually gets on my nerves. He seems to be kept around only to soothe Victoria's ego and tell her how good looking her boys are. I have yet to see him do actual personal assistant work and he never gets yelled at the way her former harried assistant Jen did. Victoria goes on a desperate, fruitless search for hot rollers, because she forgot to pack hers, and then declares that the absence of hair rollers must be why everyone in Italy has horrible hair. Horrible hair - that phrase conjures up an image for me and it's not Italy - it's Victoria Gotti! John and Carmine win their gladiator battles against their chubby, less attractive cousins who they have brought along on this trip for the same reason pretty girls bring their chubby girlfriends to clubs. Luigi is sadly underused in this episode, although John does tell him he smells and should take a shower at one point. I hope next week they all get an audience with the Pope.