Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Growing Up Gotti - 9/26/05

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?

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Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Would You Believe...I'm Dead

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.

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Thursday, September 22, 2005

Brady vs. Partridge All Over Again

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.

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Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Edgar Endorses Left-wing TV Show

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.

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Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Growing up Gotti - 9/12/05

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.

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Sunday, September 11, 2005

The ever-changing consistency of Mary J. Blige

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.

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Sniffing Mindy Cohn

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!

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Friday, September 09, 2005

Ted Leo and the Pharmacists - El Rey Theater - 8/8/05

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.

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Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Bob Denver - RIP

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.

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Monday, September 05, 2005

Pinata: Survival Island

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.

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Friday, September 02, 2005

Hurricane Katrina Relief

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.

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Thursday, September 01, 2005

Ozzfest, Donna Summer, and Willie Aames

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.

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She Still Works Hard for the Money

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.

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