Tuesday, December 26, 2006

RIP - James Brown

The Godfather of Soul passed away on Christmas, causing me to reflect on the one time I saw him in concert - at the infamous Woodstock '99. Here's what I wrote in my review.

We found a spot on the vast lawn in front of the west stage and listened to the promoters and Wavy Gravy kick-off the festival. Then it was time for James Brown. Actually, it was time for James Brown's band to play a few songs, then for the band to introduce some broad who sang a few songs, and just when we were really getting annoyed, the Godfather of Soul stopped teasing us and appeared. The crowd was pretty indifferent, as James and his large band played their hits including "I Feel Good," "Sex Machine," and my personal favorite from the cold war classic Rocky IV, the anthem that inspired Rock to kick Ivan Drago's communist ass: "Living in America." The crowd did go nuts when James sang "Foxy Lady," the first of many nods to Hendrix and the original Woodstock legends by various bands throughout the weekend.

Sugar Ray was supposed to be up next, but had cancelled. Some chick behind me said, "I can't believe they would try to replace Sugar Ray with James Brown and think we'd be okay with it. That just sucks, man!" She would not be the last disgruntled and clueless customer.

Read the full review of Woodstock 99 here.

Learn more about James Brown's legacy.

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Monday, December 25, 2006

Merry Christmas from ApeBlog and Sufjan

If you're looking for a new Christmas soundtrack, I highly recommend Sufjan Stevens' Songs for Christmas. The set of 5 EPs comes nicely packaged in a Christmas box with a booklet that includes short stories by Sufjan and Rick Moody, a poster, and stickers. Since 2001, Sufjan has recorded a Christmas EP each year, and he was adamant that the 5 EPs should be sold as a complete set. There are quite a few original songs that are worth a listen, such as "Christmas in July", "Get Behind Me, Santa", "That Was The Worst Christmas Ever", and "Did I Make You Cry On Christmas Day? (Well, You Deserved It)". The moods swing from contemplative and sad to reverent and spiritual to giddy sugar-highs. Some of his interpretations of traditional carols aren't particularly interesting or fresh, and I think the box set could have benefited from some paring down. But, still, the whole package makes for pleasant background music that can make any extended dysfunctional family gathering or long sleigh trip to Grandma's a lot more pleasant.

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Sunday, December 24, 2006

Carrie Fisher Trashes Her Parents To Their Faces

I’m a big fan of Carrie Fisher. I admire her frankness and wit. In her books, she’s shown an uncanny ability to wring humor from the low points of her life, which range from drug rehab to being bipolar to discovering her husband was gay. So, I was excited to see her one-woman show Wishful Drinking, now playing at The Geffen Playhouse, and the show lived up to my hopes.

Upon arriving at the Geffen, I had to wait in the lobby for my friends to arrive. I immediately spied Leonard Maltin chatting with friends. Then I saw a petite woman with highly-coiffed blond hair. Her back was to me, but I thought it could quite possibly be Carrie’s mom, Debbie Reynolds. Sure enough it was Debbie, I realized, and so did Leonard, who rushed over to say hello. Debbie was glowing and looked quite well-preserved. I snapped a blurry camera-phone pic.

Knowing Debbie was there, it was hard not to cringe during some portions of Carrie’s show, as she describes bizarre moments like Debbie suggesting Carrie have a child with Debbie’s husband because the child would be attractive, and describes how two of Debbie's loser husbands stole all her money. In a smart and funny segment, Carrie talks about how her teen daughter was having a flirtation with Elizabeth Taylor’s grandson and she charts out all the relationships of her mother, her father Eddie Fisher, and Elizabeth, who stole Eddie from Debbie, on a blackboard in order to prove the teens’ relationship wouldn’t be incestuous. She talks about Eddie being married to a Chinese woman who passed away, and she said Eddie then moved to San Francisco because it has a large Chinatown and he’s got an affinity for Asian gals. She said he was even starting to look Asian himself due to all the plastic surgery.

Carrie talked about her father’s speed addiction, his abandonment of the family to be with Liz, and even recalled doing coke with him. And then I saw him in the lobby at intermission! Oy, imagine sitting in the audience and watching your daughter spill all your dirty laundry. Eddie is very petite and does in fact look Asian. I didn’t see Eddie and Debbie mingling, but they may have. If Carrie can laugh about things, maybe they can too after all these years.

Carrie never acknowledged her parents’ presence from stage. She just did her thing, giving a warts-and-all portrait of herself and them. Her anecdotes about Star Wars were really funny, and she even donned a donut-head wig. The finale will delight any Star Wars fan, and the rest of the show will please anyone with a love for sarcasm and a fascination with celebrity culture. I would have loved to be a mynock on the wall at the after-party with Carrie, Debbie, and Eddie.

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Thursday, December 07, 2006

Sister-in-law Invents Sandwich

My sister-in-law has invented a sandwich based on her company name for a contest at a nearby Akron, Ohio, deli. Read the story. Here's the recipe!

I expect too see her on Top Chef soon! Congratulations, Susan!

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Monday, November 27, 2006

Joan Jett: Still Lovin' Rock n' Roll After All These Years

Joan Jett and The Blackhearts with Eagles of Death Metal

November 7, 2006
Henry Fonda Theater
Hollywood, CA

“I Love Rock and Roll” was one of the first 45s I owned as a kid, and Joan Jett and Pat Benatar taught me that women could rock. So, it was a thrill to see Ms. Jett and her Blackhearts live and to realize that she and I both still do love rock n' roll. I had seen her once before in a little bar called Brownie’s in NYC, sans Blackhearts, playing in a side project called Evil Stig, a band that paid tribute to The Gits’ singer Mia Zapata (Evil Stig backwards is “Gits Live”) and raised awareness about her then-unsolved murder. But this was different and better, seeing Joan with her band and hearing all her classic songs. At 46, some may say she’s pushing 50, but I would say she’s pushing back. She looks fantastic – still lean, muscular, and energetic.

Joan dedicated the show to her former Runaways’ bandmate Sandy West who had passed away from lung cancer only a few weeks previously. She brought out Runaway cohort Cherie Curry to sing “Cherry Bomb”, and that was one of the definite highlights of the show. If only Lita Ford could have joined in – where the heck are ya, Lita? Still hiding out and lighting candles to pray for the return of hair metal? Don't get too close to those candles, Lita - Aqua Net is highly flammable.

Joan’s setlist was full of crowd pleasers like “Light of Day, “Bad Reputation,” “Hate Myself for Loving You” and the aforementioned and obligatory “I Love Rock and Roll.” She also played some of her noteworthy covers like “Crimson and Clover”, “Everyday People”, and a rocking version of The Mary Tyler Moore Show theme song.

The selections from her new album Sinner made me want to buy it, songs like the political “Change the World”, humorous “A.C.D.C”, and the quirky Crash Test Dummies’ cover “Androgynous.”

Eagles of Death Metal opened the show with their swaggering, sexy/stupid rock. I had seen them once before, and they guarantee a good time. Everyone sang along to their big hit “Cherry Cola”, and their more rabid fans sang along to everything else, too. Their front man Jesse Hughes really knows how to work the room, and I noted that many fans were rockin’ moustaches in tribute to him (or maybe the 80s are just truly back).

I didn’t spy Carmen Electra in the crowd, but reports say she hooked up with Joan backstage. Now that’s a true dynamic duo.

Listen to Joan’s Butterball Thanksgiving Turkey Hotline

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Friday, November 24, 2006

Ape-Authored Fiction Now Available!

For the past 10 or so years, I have labored on and off (ok...mostly off) on an as-yet-unpublished novel called Earth City. The novel follows a year in the life of heroine Astrid Lutz, who graduates from college, moves back in with her parents in St. Louis, does temp work, sings karaoke, and dates the lead singer of a Journey cover band. You can now read two chapters from this opus in print in the new issue of the Air in the Paragraph Line zine. Jon Konrath, the editor, describes the zine thusly: _______________________________________________________________

Air in the Paragraph Line is an anthology of fiction, stories, rants, and tales by up-and-coming writers who are entertaining, obscure, and cutting-edge. It's designed to be readable, enjoyable, and cheap.

Issue 11 is the "work" issue, containing 22 stories about work (or lack thereof) by Tony Byrer, Joshua Citrak, Mike Daily, Kurt Eisenlohr, Nile577, Josh Hamilton, M. David Hornbuckle, Robert W. Howington, Stephen Huffman, mj klein, Jon Konrath, Dege Legg, Sarah Katherine Lewis, Vijay Prozak, Lisbeth Riesh, j Pedersen, John Sheppard, Motel Todd, Julie Wiskirchen, and Sergeant Zeno.

Issue 11 is 238 pages with 21 stories by 19 writers and no useless filler, for only $10.99 plus shipping. To order, or for a preview, click here.


I am sure it will provide you all with very entertaining receptionist desk temp job reading, and I thank you for your support.

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Wednesday, November 22, 2006

The KFC Bucket is Half-Empty

As cruel as it looks, my care-giver Coolia once again made me a pawn in her desire for fame and riches. She put me in yet another ridiculous high-concept, pop-referential Halloween costume this year in an effort to win the BowWowWeen contest. Nerdia was complacent in the mess. She was my dresser for the event and was highly annoying, always trying to readjust my glasses.

Hear me now. I am not responsible for this. I tried every means to disrobe during our dress rehearsal at the Culver City Petco, a contest which I won, by the way. Coolia learned from the costume malfunctions here and re-tweaked my disguise at home.

If you haven't guessed who I am by now, I don't blame you. People kept calling me a bucket of chicken. But as you can see, the head of Colonel Sanders is cut out of the KFC box. I am wearing black specs, a white coat and a bow tie. Get it now?

I didn't recognize any of the celebs at the BowWowWeen this year, except the Barbie Twins who were there when Nerdia dragged me to another competition this spring: Nutts for Mutts. I don't know what my final vote tally was for BowWowWeen but I'm sure it wasn't helped by the fact that I followed the biggest competition of the day: the eventual event winner - a little scrap of a dog dressed up like a sushi chef. His costume came complete with sushi hut, sushi tray and sushi menu. He even had a little sushi bandana on. The crowd went wild. Then the MC said, "and here comes a bucket of chicken!"

Next year, I'm going to dress up Coolia and Nerdia like Dave Thomas and Ronald McDonald and we'll see how they like it

More pictures of this year's fiasco:

Last year's melodrama:

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More Celebrity Fear

Due to a move, I’m behind on reviewing Celebrity Paranormal Project. No matter. Every episode is the same. The big-talking gal always performs the biggest histrionics in dark, shows over-involve re-enactments of crimes scenes, overactive ghost-meters and spirit writing, and the final séance is repetitive and freaks everyone and they high-tail it out of there much the same way.

Episode two cast:
Rachel Hunter: from the reality show that is Rod Stewart’s Parade of Blonde Wives.
Godfrey: from Zoolander; for a comedian showed no sense of humor.
Traci Bingham: from Baywatch; misbehaved on Surreal Life; wears too much makeup for this show.
Tony Little: “America’s Personal Trainer;” most annoying character.
Ethan Zohn: from Survivor: Africa. Seemed like a normal guy.

Location: Warson Asylum for the criminally insane.
Ghost: Pearl, had a lobotomy, is pissed off.

Here are the stats:

Screamers/Losers: Godfrey left Rachel in the dark rubber room. He gets the biggest Wuss award.
Bawling Girls: Traci Bingham whined: “I can’t do it” a lot.
Kick-ass Girl: Even when scared, Rachel kept her cool and never cried or crapped out on a challenge. She also worked hard to calm Traci. I guess if the ghost of Rod Stewart’s dead career doesn’t scare you, nothing else will.
Bad Behavior: Rachel says F**k ad naseum.

Realistic Scare: On Rachel’s recording device, you can allegedly hear the mumblings of Pearl.

Episode three cast:
Joe Piscopo: 80s comedian from Saturday Night Live.
Mariel Hemingway: Granddaughter of Ernest, bad 80s movie actress.
Picaboo Street: Olympian.
Tonya Coley: from Real World
Michael Bergin: from Baywatch. Baywatch is the most over-represented show on CPP.

Location: A Prison

This was the most boring episode of them all. I took barely any notes.

Here are the stats:

Kick-ass Girl: Mariel
Bad Behavior: All of them were annoying in the home-base banter. Realistic Scare: Mariel having to walk the upper floor of Cell Block C: truly scary.

Episode four cast:
Traci Lords: show calls her actor. Absolutely no mention of her porn past. Traci had opinionated thoughts about Kimberly going to be the scardy-cat. The reverse was the case.
Gilbert Gottfried: comedian, voice of the AFLAC duck; really funny in the first 15 minutes of the show.
Jerimiah Trotter: NFL linebacker; true gentleman; kept his cool.
Kimberley Caldwell: TV host – don’t have a clue who she is.
Evan Farmer: TV personality – don’t have a clue who he is.

Location: Warson insane asylum in New England.
Ghost: Ghost of Ray, a violent schizophrenic who committed suicide here.

This was the best cast. They all showed affectionate camaraderie from the beginning when they made horror film references walking in. Maybe a love connection was make between Evan and Kimberly. I loved how they all gave love to Ray, the tortured ghost, as they left, too.

Here are the stats:

Screamers/Losers: Kimberly screamed the loudest but it was Gilbert Gottfried who silently chickened out at the end.
Bawling Girls: Traci Lords freaked out a lot but to her credit, she kept trying and admitted at the end (the first celebrity to do so on the show) that it was probably all in her own head.
Kick-ass Girl: Kimberly got seriously freaked at the end but she never ran and she always laughed about the situations. Kimberly also told Traci “you can do it” when Traci was too scared to sit in the old wheel chair.
Realistic Scare: None

Episode five cast:
David Carradine
: from Kung Fu and Kill Bill; he didn’t meld with the group and seemed anti-social. He brought his flute to the initial meeting and said “reality is an unsubstantiated rumor,” something people smoking pot say.
Mia St. John: Pro boxer. Had opinionated thoughts that Bridget would be the biggest wimp. The inverse turned out to be the case.
Andrew Firestone: one of the Bachelors.
Coolio: Rapper; very down to earth and smart. When he arrived at the mill he said “thank God for hip-hop” or he’d of had to work in a mill like this.
Bridget Marquardt: Playboy model; admitted thrill-seaker.

Location: Mill
Ghost: John Tanner, tyrant boss hired by owner. This location actually had the best backstory. The boss terrorized the employees and had a torrid affair with the owner's wife. John mysteriously died when his arm got ripped out by a machine and he bled to death. This was days after the owner found out about the affair. Later the owner was found dead mysteriously and violently. His body was found mangled in a picker machine. His arm no where to be found. There was no power in the Mill at that time.

Here are the stats:

Screamers/Losers: Mia. Likes to point fingers but she is the biggest wuss.
Kick-ass Girl: Bridget does the scariest tasks. The other’s call her tough. Says she didn’t feel anything.
Realistic Scare: None

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Requiem for Robert Altman

"Retirement? You're talking about death, right?" -
Robert Altman

I was saddened to hear that Robert Altman passed away at 81. He was one of my favorite directors. It's amazing that he was still working and even gave us a great film this year - A Prairie Home Companion. I hope Lindsay Lohan realizes how lucky she was to get to work with him, but somehow I doubt it. Here's a few thoughts on some of his best works - add them to your netflix queue if you havent seen them.

  • The Player - this was the first Altman movie I saw, and it's still probably my favorite. I loved the commentary on Hollywood, all the celebrity cameos, plus there's a good, suspenseful story.

  • Nashville - I've seen this one a few times, most memorably at Woodstock 99. When the crowd cheered when the country-singing sweetheart was assasinated while performing, I knew we were in for a bumpy festival.

  • Short Cuts - this was a dream combination for me - one of my favorite writers, Raymond Carver, and one of my favorite directors. I loved the way the stories were interwoven, how the characters lives intersected. That is my favorite quality of Altman's films - his focus on randomness, coincidence, and connections.

  • A Prairie Home Companion - I wasn't really familiar with Garrison Keillor's work, but I enjoyed the movie, mostly for the performances of Meryl Streep, Lily Tomlin, Woody Harrellson, and John C. Reilly. It seems fitting that it's his last film, with its meditations on the afterlife through the ghostly character played by Virginia Madsen.

  • 3 Women - I caught this at a revival house this year and was blown away. Shelley Duvall should have been nominated for an oscar. Her character is annoying yet endearing. Sissy Spacek is also excellent.

  • M*A*S*H - The film that spawned one of the longest running sitcoms in TV history. Not much happens, but it's still entertaining.

  • Pret a Porter - OK, this one was a bomb, but I still enjoyed it for its all-star cast, the chance it offered for Sophia Loren and Marcello Mastroianni to work together again, and it's fun soundtrack. Here comes the hotstepper!

    It's a shame that Altman never won the Oscar for Best Director, but at least the Academy came through with a lifetime achievement award for him this year. Altman left us a legacy of films that will continue to inspire, and there are many I have yet to see. I know I have A Wedding and McCabe and Mrs. Miller on my Tivo right now, and I'm looking forward to watching them. The consolation in losing a great artist is that the work remains.

    Read my longer review of 3 Women

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Monday, November 20, 2006

Take the Howard Stern Fan Survey

Hey Howard Stern fans, please take a moment and help out Ape Culture's friend Jeanine. She's doing a paper on Howard Stern fans for a media studies class at Queens College and needs fans to fill out this survey. If you haven't listened since he moved to Sirius, you can still participate. The survey is short and painless.

Sample "Rate the Segment" question:

5. Howard's parents are scheduled to visit the studio to tape a segment of "Meet the Sterns." The taping is cancelled and will be rescheduled, but someone forgets to tell the Sterns, and Howard's mother waits for hours for the car to pick them up on Long Island. Prolonged discussion and shifting of blame ensues.
- - - - - - - - - -
A = Can't leave the house/car till it's over / would love to catch this segment
B = Somewhat interested / somewhat entertained / take it or leave it
C = No interest / can't wait till it's over / good time to take a break

You also get to name your favorite whack packer - mine is Crazy Alice.

With questions like these, The Howard Stern Fan Survey is almost as entertaining as the Stern show itself!

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Jury Duty with the Stars

My lack of blogging this month can be directly attributed to the fact that I was on jury duty from October 31 through November 15. The trial was dramatic at times – a civil suit involving a brother suing his sister for his share of their parents' estate which he believed she had duped him out of. My fellow jurors were an interesting and largely congenial lot, but throughout the trial I kept wondering what the process would have been like if a certain member of my jury selection pool hadn't been dismissed. I was nearly on a jury with Michael Ovitz.

Although familiar with his resume, I wouldn't have recognized Ovitz in our crowd of 30 candidates if his name hadn't been called.

He was dressed very casually, and the only giveaway was his slightly battered Lakers briefcase. One of my fellow jurors mentioned later that she thought he looked almost homeless. He sat right in front of me, looking peeved, but dutifully performing his civic duty. He conscientiously turned his cell phone off.

Before interviewing anyone, the judge and attorneys read off the names of all potential witnesses in the case.
We were supposed to speak up if we knew anyone. Several art gallery representatives were mentioned, and Ovitz piped up to say he knew virtually everyone at every gallery in LA and New York. When the judge questioned him further, he admitted his curator dealt directly with the galleries, but it was possible he might have met the potential unnamed representatives. He also mentioned that he was on the Board of Trustees of MOMA. The judge wasn't impressed, and Ovitz remained on the roster.

The attorneys and judge questioned the first 12 panelists, which didn't include Ovitz or myself.
They let a couple folks go. It was then time for a lunch break, and Ovitz approached the clerk and asked if he could speak with the judge. The clerk said no. "Please," he pleaded, "If I can just have a minute with the judge…" No dice. He would have to come back after lunch with the rest of us peons.

After lunch, we milled around in the hallway waiting to be called back into the courtroom.
Ovitz was called in by himself. Now I was sure he'd get off the hook, but, surprisingly, he was sitting there looking dejected when we went back in the courtroom. More potential jurors were interviewed, including myself. They didn't question us very intensely, and I couldn't really detect a pattern to why they let some people go and kept others. An actress named Susan Egan got off the hook because she told the judge she had a concert in New York coming up, and if the trial ran a bit long, she'd miss the show. But when I mentioned I had travel plans that same weekend to visit my father who was undergoing cancer treatment, the judge only asked me if it would really matter if I went there a couple days later. I googled Susan and discovered she was the original Belle in Broadway's Beauty and the Beast. I guess it's good she didnt end up on the jury. If she'd eaten in the courthouse cafeteria with the rest of us, all the cups and forks might have started dancing and caused a disturbance.

In the end, only 2 people remained in the room who were not interviewed – one woman and Ovitz.
I became Juror #12. Ovitz and the remaining few cast-offs were sent home, and the rest of us were sworn in and began serving on a trial that was supposed to last 7 or 8 days but ended up lasting 10. Among the jurors were several self-employed people and one minimum-wage worker whose job would not pay him while he was on the jury. Off the jury was one unemployed power broker whose $38 million cash and $100 million stock Disney severance package would have made it hard for him to plead financial hardship.

A few days later, I took some friends who were visiting from New York to their first Laker game, and I bought lower level seats so they could be assured some star sightings.
It was a fairly sparse night, but we did spy Dian Cannon, Tobey Maguire, Ashton Kutcher with Demi's kids, Andy Garcia, and Matthew Perry. And we also saw Michael Ovitz, arriving late and settling into his courtside seat, which was probably a lot more comfortable than the jury box.

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Monday, October 23, 2006

"Fear" with Celebrities

I gleefully volunteered to cover weekly episodes of Celebrity Paranormal Project as I was happily addicted to its mother show, Fear, which aired on MTV in the late 90s. A handful of impressionable youths, (25 years old and under – me and my co-worker Justin checked it out), were left alone to investigate haunted places with ineffectual flashlights and ghost-hunting gadgets hanging off their backs. You never got the impression the ghosts were anything more than pranks played by sadistic producers, but the show was still scary. The kids screamed like they were having the bejesus scared out of them. I rooted for the girls, hoping a few would show some backbone in front of the boys (who got freaked, too, but maintained their composure). Most girls went to jelly right away, never making it overnight to collect the measly 3k offered as a reward. The show disappeared like an apparition itself until recently. VH1 played homage on season 3 of Surreal Life. I fondly remember Charo screaming down the halls of some derelict building. Now celebs have been matched to Fear fulltime. It’s a brilliant media morph and makes you wonder how far VH1 can push desperate celebs in hard times.

Sent to the famously haunted tuberculosis sanitarium, Waverly Hills, in Kentucky (The Ghost Hunters have already been here), Gary Busey, Toccara (a model from America’s Next Top Model), Donna d’Errico (an original babe from Babywatch), Jenna Morasca (winner of Survivor Amazon), and Hal Sparks (comedian from Talk Soup) started the show with a decidedly C-level cast. In fact, I don’t know any of the celebs except Gary Busey, but I feel he’s scary enough to carry the show. We heard crazy talk about his spirit abilities he claimed to have received after his motorcycle accident. He hugged everyone in the cast which he said was a “blessing of his energy.” He tried to calm scared celebs by telling them Jesus was their savior. But we got a glimpse of his un-Chirstian-like temper in a “shut the F. up” altercation with Toccara. To her credit, she wasn't intimidated at all. Later in the show Gary makes a questionable comment about the color quality of the shadow people who walk the haunted halls. He says “black ones are the bad ones,” a comment which doesn’t go unnoticed by Toccara.

Toccara is there for a scary experience – and she leaves empty handed. She is the true skeptic on the show. And I like her for it….until she says “What's tuberculosis?” Frankly, that scares me. The boys explain it to her – none of the girls pipe up. Hold the ghosts; I’m darn tooten terrified by now.

Hal, the comedian, calls himself a professional jerk; but he must not be a good one because he did nothing particularly jerky on the show, except make a lot of bad jokes.

And Jenna Morasca can survive the Amazon amongst a bunch of back-stabbing contestants but she’s the first to crumble when she hears a noise in the dark. What’s scarier: starvation or a little red ball finding its way into the hall?

Much of the same hoopla of Fear has returned, including hyperbolic props (a spirit scroll looked more like something made by Parker Bros.), abandoned, paint-peeled locales, an ominous computer program that spits out directions to the cast, and funny camera angles to capture their blood curdling screams. However, nothing happens that isn’t explainable as a behind-the-scenes prank. The computer claims a door has been left shut. The celebrities find it open. Do they think maybe the crew has been screwing around? Never. Either they've been coached to freak out or they truly are Gullible Gilligans.

Here are the stats:
Screamers: Donna screams the loudest.
Bawling Girls: Donna and Jenna both start to cry.
Bad Behavior: Busey pushes a team member out of the way to comfort Jenna. He also bullies the team into choosing the 5th floor as the haunted heart of the sanitarium.

Realistic Scare: After spirit writing, Hal and Jenna both feel cold and nauseous and want to throw up. Busey says, “Spiritual writing, buddy -- it's never wrong.”

At the end, the cast uses the spirit scroll to ask the spirits to “go and leave us in peace,” an insulting request really. Who went calling on the ghosts in the first place?

I could have sworn I saw preview footage of Gary Busey throwing furniture around a room? What happened to that? Gary claims this show is imperative to watch. Hal claims Gary is the scariest part of the show. Gary talks about the ghosts, “When you get afraid, they’ll tease you.”

Stay tuned next week for more C-listers and Rachel Hunter!

This show gets under your skin. When The Edgar Winter Dog growled in his sleep last night, I sat right up.

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Sunday, October 08, 2006

Return to Reason

For the love of God, if I could somehow learn how to paw the damn remote. For six hours Nerdia and her bf, my bff&e, and I watched a vapid 1983 Australian mini-series called Return to Eden. I tried to distract them with toys and head-butts to no avail. Our heroine-without- a-personality, Stephanie Harper (who becomes Tara Wells after a temporary memory loss and near death experience), was a heiress with children who marries a pompous tennis star for her money and her best friend. The plot takes an interesting turn when the tennis star throws Steffy into a river full of crocodiles. Inexplicably, the heiress survives and is nursed to health by an outback loner we never see again and by a plastic surgeon who falls in love with her, scars and all. He isn't even bothered by her lack of personality. He remakes her into a beauty and confesses undying love for her. She leaves him and moves back to town deciding to become a super-model in a strange plot for revenge against her husband and husband-stealing friend. At this point, I'm licking my balls because she doesn't even make an effort to find her kids and tell them she's okay. She doesn't even go to the police! It's all part of her nefarious plan. She becomes a huge success. Meanwhile, the tennis star finds out he will not get access to the family fortune for seven years and his relationship deteriorates with the friend because she turns into a sloppy drunk out of guilt or boredom, I'm just a dog and can't connect the dots here. I found myself lying listless on the sofa, yearning for someone there to get a clue and turn the channel. Part of Stephanie's looney plan was to make her tennis star husband re-fall in love with her as Tara Wells so she can string him along. Hours later, the tennis star confesses to Tara that he never loved Stephanie. And Stephanie/Tara appears suddenly hurt. As if being thrown to crocodiles wasn't a big enough clue. Meanwhile, the plastic surgeon from the island keeps coming back and pledging undying love for her. She rebuffs him for some reason unknown to dogs and man and he starts stalking her. I'm creeped out by the whole cast at this point. The payoff, when Stephanie unveils her true identity, is truly anticlimactic. The tennis star decides to rekill her. The sloppy drunk runs around the ranch like a headless chicken and no one behaves with any kind of conviction. I could have done a better job on this convoluted, senseless script. Nerdia and her bf, my bff&f, thought parts were hilariously over-dramatic and they kept humming the ridiculous Falcon-Crest like theme song all night. In the end, my bff&e said all the characters seemed to be in their own mini-series with a myriad of non-connecting character arcs. He only kept watching to figure out Stephanie's hidden scheme. I did enjoy the special feature interview with Aussie pop frontman of The Australian Crawl, Janes Ryene, who played the tennis snob. He seemed to have a sense of humor about the whole thing. In retrospect, he did a great job in his first acting job. But was it worth six hours of my short furry life? Hardly. Once Nerdia and her bf, my bff&e, had the gall to fall asleep with the TV on. I had a dream I was a model with poofy hair and puffy dog-shirt sleeves.

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I Found Some Blog

I found some bloooawg....to take away the heartache, to take away the loneliness I beean feelin' since you been gone....since you've been gone....gone blogging.

You're not getting enough Cher coverage are you? You need it on a weekly basis, no doubt. This is why I (
Cher Scholar in another incarnation) have decided, for some reason unknown even to myself, to start a Cher blog in order to wax philosophical about Cher and life. The blog was launched just in time for all the Cher auction brouhaha last week when Cher sold 700 knick knacks in order to redecorate her Malibu mansion. Okay...some of the cash will be given to charity, too. Coolia and I chat during the auction about one hot item Coolia coveted, an armadillo lamp given to Cher by Gene Simmons. Did Coolia lose her bids? Or did she overspend and wind up one of recipients of one of Cher's charities? Rest assured: snarkiness will abound! Check it out: http://cherscholar.typepad.com/

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Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Hey, Vincent, Here's One Blogger Who Likes You!

Wow, what a great
Project Runway reunion special tonight! Of course, it would have been better if they actually waited 'til the show was over and we had a winner, so we could hear everyone's opinion on the winner, but I guess it's more important for Bravo to draw out the suspense and run 13 more days of marathons before wrapping it up with a bow and a rosette.

Since the beginning of this season,
Vincent Libretti has been my favorite, and the show's been a bit dull for me since he was auf'd (twice). I really can't explain why he turns me on. Is it perhaps his repetition of phrases like "it turns me on" and "it gets me off" that have seeped into my subconscious? Was it inappropriate of me in the supermarket checkout line today when asked by an elderly shopper why I was buying so much Vitamin Water when it wasn't even on sale to say "it turns me on"? It just seems like the perfect answer to most any question, or at least an answer that can end any unwanted conversation.

There was a great "it turns me on" medley of Vincent on the show tonight and also some quite damning footage of him calling all the other designers amateurs and then ripping into a poor production assistant because his laundry was done against his wishes and a $125 shirt was ruined. I am willing to forgive these drama king moments and just reflect on the wonder of Vincent. Let's not forget his recycled dress with the bits of paper stuck all over it or his basket hat. And let's remember that he actually did win a challenge - the Everyday Woman challenge - even if he did benefit from having one of the thinner everyday women as a model. There's something to be said for a guy who can get kicked off the show twice and still speak about himself with the utmost confidence and admiration. The dude redefines self-love - he gets himself off! And then there's my favorite Vincent moment, which came at the end of the recycling challenge. Laura, whose ponytail must be pulled so tight that it makes her tense, took exception to his continued existence on the show: "She couldn't f*cking walk in that dress, Vincent!" And a dead-pan Vincent retorted, "Why don't you go shove some
Harry Winstons up your nose."

So, Vincent, after watching
your video clip on Bravotv.com in which you lambaste bloggers for calling you crazy and potentially a serial killer or child molester, I wanted you to read a positive blog entry about yourself. I think there's one in here somewhere.

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Friday, September 29, 2006

Good Charlotte - Live at Google

Good Charlotte, 9/27/06

I work for Google, and I happened to visit the Googleplex, corporate headquarters in Silicon Valley, on Wednesday, which happened to be Google's 8th birthday, which happened to be celebrated with a free acoustic set by Good Charlotte. Whee! I have to say this kind of thing never happened when I worked at McKinsey. The closest thing we got to entertainment was new partners dancing in tutus at the holiday party as a hazing rite.

I'd heard of the band but didn't know much about them. Their hit "Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous" has been in heavy rotation on my "workout" playlist on my ipod for quite a while. I hoped they'd sing it, and I wasn't disappointed.

The whole band didn't show up - just the twin Madden brothers - singer Joel and guitarist Benji. Their 20-minute set included a lot of chatter, well-received comments like "Yahoo sucks", and 3 songs: "Girls and Boys", "Just Wanna Live", and the aforementioned "Lifestyles". They made jokes about googling themselves. The crowd of roughly 1500 googlers seemed to enjoy themselves, although no mosh pit formed.

Good Charlotte was better than I'd expect a band whose singer dates Hilary Duff to be. Their lyrics were smart and funny, and they had decent harmonies that you can't really detect when they're plugged in. I promise I'll never confuse them with the band with the singer who's married to Avril Lavigne again.

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Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Rock Star: Supernova - Week 10

Dilana - Behind Blue Eyes / Original

Once again, the home video footage painted Dilana in an unflattering light. Her aversion to listening to the original version of "Behind Blue Eyes" was odd and added to her cocky image. I thought she did a nice job freshening up the tune although the version was similar to what she's done in the past - stark opening followed by crescendo. Her original didn't do anything for me. 40 minutes after watching it, I can't remember what it was about much less a lyric or tune

Magni - Back in the USSR / Original

I think Magni is the least original of the remaining 5. While he always gives a capable performance, he never rocks it out of the park. I'd agree with Gilby that his original had more fire than any of his past performances, but that's still not enough.

Storm Large - Suffragette City / What the What is Ladylike

Wow, Storm raised the game tonight. I thought she really eclipsed Dilana. Not only is she hotter than Dilana, she has a great pure voice, and she can write. I really liked her original. It definitely sounded like something that at least Tommy would like as it has a slight hip hop hook to the chorus, while still rockin. She also did a good job with the Bowie song and showed she was comfortable with Navarro on stage - he didn't outshine her.

Lukas Rossi - Living on a Prayer / Head Spin

I actually hated Lukas' version of the Bon Jovi song. I thought he was trying to force his interpretation on it, without really feeling the song. And his slowed down version wasn't all that fresh, as Bon Jovi frequently does the song acoustically. But I really liked his original. He has such energy and rawness - I can't take my eyes off him when he performs.

Toby Rand - Mr. Brightside / Original

After impressing Gilby in the songwriting challenge, Toby showed his performance wasn't a fluke by coming up with one of the best originals. It was definitely catchy and entertaining and he worked the room (literally). I thought he gave a nice energetic performance of the Killers track too, even if it wasn't anything new.


Bottom 3: Dilana, Magni, Storm
Going home (if only one): Magni
Going home (if two): Magni, Dilana
Encore: Toby
Singing with the band: Storm

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Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Rock Star: Supernova - Week 8

Patrice Pike - Original tune: "Beautiful Thing"

I liked this song. It was catchy, if not really special vocally. It's far too poppy for this band, however, and I think its inappropriateness along with Patrice having to sing first will finally buy her that plane ticket home.

Magni - Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit"

Magni looked hot in his stocking cap, even if it's still Summer. His vocal was too shouty for my taste, but he did have good energy.

Ryan Star - Original tune: "Back of Your Car"

I just don't know what to make of Ryan. Some weeks he leaves me cold, and then he'll pull off a performance like this one which was just riveting, sexy, and fun. This song was much better suited to Supernova than Patrice's or Zayra's from last week. He rocked hard and had terrific stage presence and energy. I'd say the only misstep was smashing the guitar. Because Supernova had just suggested that move to Magni, it seemed forced and stagey for Ryan to do it.

Storm Large - Aerosmith's "Cryin'"

I had picked Storm to make the Top Two, but I'm doubting it now. Yes, she did a capable job with a tough Aerosmith tune, but she didn't add anything very original to it. Like Gilby pointed out, it wasn't memorable. I still think she's got the chops to front this band, and it's her performance of the Dramarama song that sticks with me. But she's gonna have to really bring it to stay alive.

Dilana - The Police's "Every Breath You Take"

Those crazy eyelashes were distracting to me, and there's an unsettling arrogance creeping into Dilana's performances, as exemplified by her chanting of her own name. Of course, cockiness is well-suited to cock rock, and maybe she thinks such an attitude will compensate for her lack of a cock. It's just not my cuppa tea, although I still love watching her perform. It was smart of her to mention her strained relationship with her mother as it humanizes her. I have to give her credit for doing the naked run around the pool to get the song, too. She's still the front runner.

Toby Rand - Cream's "Layla"

I really don't like Clapton or this song, so I give props to Toby for his new arrangement, which made it come alive for me. Of course, when he took off his shirt, I was fully awake. He's definitely the front runner if they want a hot guy leading the band, and he can sing and work the crowd, too, as this performance demonstrated.

Lukas Rossi - The Killers' "All These Things That I've Done"

This was the perfect song for Lukas, as I've said he seems better suited for a band like The Killers than Supernova. He did make the song a bit more metal, or at least punk, as he really reminded me of Sid Vicious with his vocal stylings and gyrations. He's always fun to watch, even if he seems to be brooding a bit too much on the sidelines when others perfom - so angst-ridden, it hurts.


Bottom 3: Patrice, Magni, Storm
Going home: Patrice
Encore: Ryan

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Edgar - Dlisted.com's Hot Slut of the Day

Hello dear fans,

I am pleased to share some exciting news with you. Today I was named "Hot Slut of the Day" by dlisted.com. This is quite an honor, so I have prepared a brief speech.

Firstly, I would like to thank God, even though some would say he did not give me a soul. Secondly, I'd like to thank dlisted.com, my favorite celeb gossip site that has taught me to stay away from skanks like "Parasite Hilton" (no, I would not hit it). Thirdly, I have to thank Coolia and Nerdia for winning me on Who Gets the Dog and giving me a web platform. Of course, none of this would have been possible if the Who Gets the Dog producers hadn't plucked me from the friendly care of Perfect Pet Rescue, and if Perfect Pet Rescue hadn't nabbed me from the streets of Compton (West Siyeede!). And finally, I have to thank all of you, my wonderful fans, who I hope will continue to vote for me once per day until Sept 4 so that I can be the new spokesdog for Lassie Natural Way dog food. I'm currently in 2nd place and climbing fast!


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Monday, August 21, 2006

Gene Simmons - Comedy Killer

I'm not sure what this indicates about me, but I have two rock obsessions - Ozzy and Gene Simmons - and now both of them have had reality shows about their families. I don't think Gene Simmons' Family Jewels is going to have the same success as The Osbournes, but that's OK, because Gene has about 150 other projects to fall back on (when is that KISSino opening in Vegas anyway?).

I'll present a brief recap of the episodes thus far.

Episode 1 - Happily Unmarried

Gene asks the kids to plan a surprise birthday party for Shannon, but Shannon and the kids turn the tables on him by throwing him a surprise wedding instead, complete with a rabbi! Oh, the hilarity. This is supposed to be funny because Gene swears he will never marry Shannon, the mother of his two teen kids, Nick and Sophie. It isn't funny because (a) Gene has many gifts but comedic timing isn't one of them, and (b) it's so contrived. The best thing about The Osbournes was that not much happened on the episodes. Ozzy taking out the trash became a hilarious ballet. This episode seemed more scripted than most sitcoms.

Episode 2 - Next Generation Rock Star

Cute and charming son Nick is leading a new rock band, but Gene wants to take over as manager. He books Nick a gig before Nick and the boys have even written a song! This episode was marginally better, largely because Nick is a natural in front of the camera and has the most winning personality of them all. It also succeeded because it relied on poking fun at Gene's pomposity, not on Gene being funny.

Episode 3 - The Demon Lives

This was the best episode yet. First, Gene has to recover from the indignity of not being recognized by a studio security guard. Then, the whole family makes cracks about Gene's hair, and we actually get to see a stylist come over and "create" the hair. Unfortunately, this sequence went too quickly and I couldn't tell if it was a transplant, a weave, or what. I have been wondering what's going on with his hair for years. I always thought it looked like he had a dead animal on his head, but Nick described it as "a military helmet." More of this, please. If you have theories on his hair, please leave a comment.

Episode 4 - Driving Me Crazy

As Nick prepares to take his driving test, Gene bets him that he can score higher. Gene is known for being a terrible driver, since he grew up in NYC and only started to drive in his 30s. The loser has to face public humiliation by standing on a street corner in Beverly Hills with a sign saying "I am the world's worst driver". Again, this episode fell flat for me, as it was such a contrived premise. These types of contests don't happen in everyday homes or celeb homes - only in The Brady Bunch house (who can forget Greg's and Marsha's battle of the sexes driving competition and Greg losing when he knocked the egg off the pylon?).

Episode 5 - Food or Sex?

Shannon tricks Gene into going to a fat camp weekend, where he moans about having to exercise, tries to get her into bed, and bribes a resort worker to bring him fast food and a TV. Meanwhile, Aunt Tracy babysits the kids and lets them run wild, even venturing into the sacred KISS museum. Sounds like a synopsis from Full House doesn't it? I'd much rather watch Gene talk on the phone all day hatching brilliant ideas like the KISS coffin and Shannon evaluating scripts for soft-core skinimax flicks.

Basically, this show is trying too hard, and it's too rigidly scripted. Gene comes off stiff, and Shannon comes off like a harpie. There are no family fights at all, and that was always the most entertaining part of The Osbournes or any reality show. The kids seem amazingly down to earth, and so far they are saving the show even if they aren't creating drama. Things might get better - a visit to Gene's mom in NYC is coming up, and that's sure to be amusing. I hope in a future episode, "Uncle Ace" comes to visit, raids the liquor cabinet and won't leave.

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Thursday, August 17, 2006

Our Grass Roots Campaigns

Inspired by a great documentary about the little candidate who could, Can Mr. Smith Get to Washington?, we're mounting our own grass roots campaign here at the ApeBlog. We're trying to get our mascot, The Edgar Winter Dog, elected spokesmodel for Lassie Natural Way dog food. So far we've moved him from a cast of hundreds of dogs to #8! We need your help to push him over the top. Simply visit this link and cast a vote. You can vote for him once a day until the contest ends on Aug 21. Make a little albino dog's dream come true!

Those of you in LA will have a chance to see this political documentary at the Nuart Theater, 11272 Santa Monica Blvd in West LA.


Friday, 8/18 - 2pm
Saturday and Sunday, 8/19 and 20 - 11am
Monday - Thursday, 8/21 - 8/24 - 2pm

Tix are not available online - only at the box office. This is a preview screening for Oscar qualification and hopefully if Angelenos support it, the movie will get a wider run soon.

Click here for the ApeBlog review of the film, and don't forget to vote for Edgar!

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Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Rock Star: Supernova - Week 7


Coolia: That vegas suite was amazing - a bowling alley?? I wish they had showed us more of the debauchery. I guess nobody hooked up.


Zayra Alvarez - Original song - "Lluvia de Mar"

Coolia: I thought this was a pretty song. Her delivery was passionate, and she had a cool skirt and seemed less insane than usual. However, the song wasn't appropriate for the band at all. Like the guys, I was shocked that the singers weren't fighting over the chance to sing an original.
Terry: I applaud her for fighting for the "original". And, this was the FIRST and ONLY time that her performance did not remind me of Bjork. She sounded beautiful. However, I thought she looked terrible (which I didn't realize was possible) and, as always, she...just....does...NOT....fit....this....band!!

Magni - David Bowie's "Starman"

Coolia: I missed most of this because I was heating up my dinner. I liked his suit and thought it was a good vocal, what I heard anyway.
Boring and too show tooney for my tastes. Good vocals but not enough originality.

Patrice Pike - The Police's "Message in a Bottle"

Coolia: Her vocal was okay but flat at times. She di
dn't bring anything new to the song. Plain, unoriginal, far too safe. I think she bought her plane ticket home.
Is is just me or does she look like a crazed Skeletor at times? I don't know but something about her would scare me if I was left alone in a with her. Her performance gave us nothing new and she did way too much smiling for such a somber song. This did not work for me at all. Lacked originalty, intensity and just stunk up the place.room

Lukas Rossi - Chad Kroeger's "Hero"

Coolia: I do love this song, and I love what Lukas did with it. He has such a distinctive vocal style and so much confidence. Awesome.
I liked his arrangement. I could definitley see/hear him with this band. An encore contender. However, I agree with Tommy. I did not like the sitting down thing for him and this song.

Storm Large - Gloria Gaynor's "I Will Survive."

Coolia: At first, I was afraid. Then, I was laughing. This was really, really bad. I'm disappointed in Storm, but I blame the song choice more than her. She seemed like she was doing Cake's version of the song, bu
t she didnt add anything to it. She didn't rock it out at all and she didn't have any real feeling or desperation behind her vocal. I'll give her credit for a nice save for saying "I like spankings" after the guys criticized her.
Terry: What happened, babe? Can't handle partying with the big boys!? This was by far her worst performance. Vocals, arrangement and stage presence all just not good. Not good at all. First time I have even considered her a possible bottom 3 contender.

Toby Rand - Peter Gabriel's "Solsbury Hill" with Gilby Clarke

Coolia: I love this song, but I wasn't blown away by Toby's version. Of course, I love that he ran around naked to get the song - that definitely shows he wants to win, plus there's no other contestant I'd want to see naked. Tommy is right - "Nice Ass!" I liked that he played the bongos, but he could have interacted with Gilby a bit and showed a bit more confidence. A good vocal, but not great.
I disagree with the band completely. I thought his voice was WAY too high and his arrangement was just a lame kareoke cover and lacked any angst. Paled, paled, PALED by comparison to the original. I liked the bongos, but that was the only thing I liked about this.

Ryan Star - Phil Collins' "In the Air Tonight"

Coolia: This was definitely a strong vocal but it seemed very stagey and fake intense to me, kinda Broadway. He was forcing the intensity the way Dana used to. This is not in the same league as Nonpoint's remake of this song (on the Miami Vice movie soundtrack). Plus the way they shot him with the white light over his head and he's in the black outfit gave me flashbacks to Idol and Pickler doing Bohemian Rhapsody and that just took me out of the moment.
I prefer the original but I dug his take. At least he imbued the darkness that embodies the song. Good verging on very good. A possible encore contender.

Dilana - Harry Chapin's "Cat's in the Cradle"

Coolia: I still love Dilana but this was just aiight for me. I have to say I was put off by the fact that she didn't bother to switch genders in the lyrics and kept referring to herself as "dad". She's always compelling, but I wasn't blown away.
Again, I still prefer the original but she did great and did the song justice. Her voice fit the pain in the song. Very, very, very good!! This chick rocks. Should be the front runner for this banc by far at this stage of the game. She is the ONLY one who has stepped it up each and every single week.


Coolia: Bottom 3: Storm, Patrice, Zayra
/ Going home: Patrice (the mediocrity has to end) / Encore: Ryan
Terry: Bottom 3: Patrice, Zayra, Toby / Going home: Patrice
(Zayra SO does not fit this band but at least she consistantly sings well and is interesting; whereas, Patrice consistantly stinks up the
place....long past due for Patrice to go home
/ Encore: Dilana (although, I would not be surprised if either Lukas or Ryan gets it...but Dilana deserves it most of all!)

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Vote for Me! Make Me a Cover Boy!

Hello fans, I know it has been a while since I last posted, but I have been busy trying to get an agent and continue my 15 minutes of fame that began in Fall 2004 with my appearance on Animal Planet's Who Gets the Dog. Since then I've had a few brushes with fame in Nuts for Mutts dog shows, but no real break. Now's my chance...and you can help! I am competing to be the new spokesmodel for Lassie Natural Way dog food. I would get to be on a TV commercial (please dont make me run from a chuck wagon...it's so undignified) and be on the dog food bag! All you need to do is follow this link and vote for me. You can vote once a day until the contest ends on Aug 21. Please make my dream a reality!

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