Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Acrostic Movie Review - Revolutionary Road

Cutest couple ever to freeze to death in the
Ocean, Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio
Now reunite in Revolutionary Road, the
New film by Sam Mendes in which Sam
Envisions Suburbia to be soul-
Crushing and stifling
Though he already made that point
In the brilliant American Beauty.
Considering themselves above it all,
Unusual, and meant for something better,
The Wheelers come up with the

Inspired plan to chuck Frank's job and their
Sweet home on Revolutionary Road, and hop the

Transatlantic ship to Paris. April will work so
Her hubby can have some time to find himself.
Everyone in the audience knows how unlikely

This plan is to happen, but we suffer along with
It, and it's not really suffering since
The performances are strong. Winslet
And DiCaprio still have great chemistry, and
Nosy neighbor Kathy Bates also shines. Yet, for some reason,
It's tough to care about these

Characters, and that sinks this artful film.

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Saturday, November 29, 2008

Hail Meryl! Doubt Screening with the Stars

My bf invited me to an industry screening of Doubt recently, held at the Academy of Motion Pictures. As a recovering Catholic, I was very interested in seeing the film - and ecstatic at the prospect of seeing the stars in person as they were doing a Q&A.

There was a long line to get in and I almost whipped out my rosary to pray that we'd get seats. I saw Sally Field waiting in line too. Stars - they're just like us!

Fortunately, we got seats and were ushered into the huge theater. There were giant Oscar statues on stage, and Oscar winners waiting in the wings. The movie was really good, if not quite Best Picture material (
see review). Meryl's performance did conjure up some scary memories of Our Lady of Good Counsel grade school for me (that's a shout out to you, Sr. Mary Michael). Philip Seymour Hoffman was a very convincing priest. Amy Adams was okay, if a bit generically Pollyanna-ish. Viola Davis was a revelation. Her scene with Meryl is like a steel cage match, and she steals it. I bet she'll get nominated for Best Supporting Actress for just that one scene.

The Q&A was really entertaining. Streep, Hoffman, Adams, Davis, and the writer/director John Patrick Shanley formed the panel. It was exciting to see them in person. They seemed very relaxed and joked a lot. Adams and Davis talked about how they campaigned hard for their roles. Adams said her former co-star Emily Blunt suggested she go for the role. Davis said she practiced her scene for 3 months before auditioning, and it definitely shows.

Shanley talked about the challenges involved in adapting his play for the screen. There are no children in the play, but they were added for the film. The world was fleshed out more, however the film still feels like a play because so much of it is face-to-face confrontations. The cast talked about the intense rehearsal process.
Issues of race and sexism are prominent in the movie and were discussed in the Q&A. The film gives the viewer a lot to ruminate on.

Streep is self-effacing and charming in person and still strikingly beautiful. Hoffman looked dissheveled but, well, I'd still do him. He was the only cast member who hung around after the Q&A to mingle with the mostly-washed masses. I wanted to approach and compliment his performance. Having had an uncle who was a priest, I think I'm a good judge of the performance, and he really had the mannerisms and persona down well. But I chickened out. What can I say - I don't have Sr. Aloysius' moxy.

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Acrostic Movie Review - Doubt

Doubting isn't
Acceptable in
Religious life, but sometimes it's hard to
Keep the faith when sinister suspicions arise and

Kids are potentially in danger. John Patrick Shanley
Nicely adapts his play for the screen, coaxing
Inspired performances from Streep, Hoffman, a scene-stealing Viola Davis.
Gut-wrenching drama ensues when Streep's tough nun
Has to confront Hoffman's affable priest
To determine if he's doing evil.

Of course, the movie
Fails to differentiate filmically from a play and gets a

Tad claustrophobic with so many tight,
Heated confrontations. Also, Meryl's Bronx accent is
Excessive. Must she always be acting in tongues?

Still, the film soars
On great performances and will be represented on Oscar night,
Up there with Batman. It's
Like a...

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Sunday, November 02, 2008

Joe the Plumber - Real Horrorshow

This past Thursday, Nerdia, C. Crumpet Swank, and myself attended a Lucio Fulci horror film marathon sponsored by The Cinefamily at the Silent Movie Theater. Fulci's Italian horror movies are cult classics. We skipped the first movie Zombie, but we loved the second film Gates of Hell. It was packed with laughs due to the bad dubbing/strange dialogue and packed with stomach-churning, squirm-inducing moments of indescribable gore (such as the girl who vomited up all her internal organs). But nothing could have prepared us for the sheer election-related horrors of the night's final film - The Beyond.

The plot of The Beyond involves a woman who inherits a dilapidated motel in Louisiana. Wouldn't you know it - there's a gateway to hell in the basement of the motel. Geez, there sure seem to be a lot of those gateways. The movie has some great gory moments but is most notable for its eerie references to the election. Firstly, there's a character named John McCabe. Next, when the basement is flooded, help is called. A truck arrives labeled "Joe's Plumbing." Joe investigates the bathroom flood only to find some sort of demon who kills him. Then folks in the cast wonder aloud, "Where did Joe the Plumber go?" Watch Joe's grisly demise on YouTube.

Finally, the film opens with a flashback to townsfolk pulling a suspected warlock out of Room 36. They take him to the basement, where they beat him with chains, crucify him, then throw acid on him. There are several shots in the film of the cursed room 36. John McCain was born in 1936. Coincidence? The stuff nightmares are made of? Let's hope our national nightmare ends on Tuesday. Go Barack the vote!

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Saturday, October 25, 2008

Jimmy Buffett Sails Into Google

Being on the Authors @ Google team is my favorite part of my job. It's a great team of literary and music-lovin' folks who, in addition to their regular jobs, work on bringing in writers, musicians, scientists, politicians, and all sorts of notable folk to give talks.

The team at our headquarters in Mountain View hosted an event so big that I was compelled to fly up from LA on my own dime to be there: Jimmy Buffett! Buffett was in town for a show at Shoreline Ampitheater and accepted an invitation to come to Google, and as a long-time Parrothead I had to be there.

Charlie's Cafeteria was packed for the 10am event, and 10am is pretty early on Google time. Jimmy took the stage and I was surprised at his diminutiveness. I'd guess he was about 5'6" but he still seems larger than life. He looked very fit and tan. He was wearing an Izod polo and tan pants...and...shoes! He told us he dressed up for us by wearing long pants.

Buffett began by talking about his love of Google. He has Google stock, loves Google Maps, the Google homepage, likes Googling to help find song rhymes and references. He also said he was a fan of the Google culture, specifically bringing dogs to work and dressing casual.

He took off his shoes and brought two members of his Coral Reefer band - Mac MacAnally and Nadira Shakur - on stage to perform a few songs acoustically. They sounded great on "Come Monday," which Jimmy said he had written at a motel in nearby Milipitas as an ode to San Francisco. Next up was "Son of a Son of a Sailor", which has always been one of my favorites, and was enhanced with Shakur's vocal. Finally, he played the national anthem "Margaritaville" including the lost verse. It was a more subdued crowd than he was used to, I'm sure, but an appreciative one nonetheless. Click the pic below to see Jimmy singing the lost verse.

From Jimmy Buffett at Google

After the performance, he took questions from the crowd. When one googler asked how he balanced his work and family, Buffett called on his daughter Savannah Jane to answer. She said he had always made sure to make pancakes for the kids when he wasn't on tour, and that she appreciated the time he spent with her and her siblings. In talking about things that surprise him, Buffett mentioned a Margaritaville had opened up in Dubai. When he went over there for the opening he also played for some Navy troops who came to Dubai on R&R.

The event lasted about an hour, and then Buffett hung around and signed autographs and posed for photos. One googler had him sign his laptop, which was already adorned with parrot stickers. After being a parrothead for almost 20 years and seeing about 10 concerts (including a Today Show concert and a small benefit show at Sag Harbor), I was psyched to get my pic with him. He couldn't have been more gracious and friendly.

He got a campus tour and watched some demos and then enjoyed the special Margaritaville-themed lunch in Charlie's Cafe. I'm told he had a cheeseburger, of course. We sent him home with a new Google phone. Hey googlers, if the phone doesn't ring, it's Jimmy!

Check out all my photos and videos from the event.

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Monday, October 20, 2008

Recapping The Hills - Who to Choose?

Uh-oh, someone let Audrina in the main house again. She goes into LC's room and tells her she spent the weekend with Cory the Aussie. Audrina says Justin Bobby is paying more attention to her now that she's got another man. "I dont know. He's a weird one. I don't get him, " Audrina says, mastering the obvious. Justin Bobby is, essentially, unknowable.

Spencer summons Steph to his coffeehouse. He complains about Heidi's mom bitching him out and about Holly living with them. "I can't even imagine disliking a sister more. That should make you feel good, " Spencer says. "That's like a demented compliment, but thanks," says Steph, queen of low expectations. Steph cautions that he can't go to war with her family but Spencer has already launched some nukes.

Over at People's Revolution, Whitney and LC are hanging up clothes again. LC invites Whitney to a BBQ in Malibu because the show is like Groundhog Day. LC says she doesnt know if Audrina will bring Justin Bobby or Cory to the BBQ. LC admits she would prefer it to be Cory.

Audrina appears to be in nice restaurant with Cory, except he's wearing a Red Bull baseball cap backwards. She invites him to the Malibu BBQ.

LC is delighted to find Audrina and Cory in her kitchen after a night of wild passion. They talk about their excitement for the BBQ. They go to BBQs every week. How is this one going to be more exciting than the last?

Over at Spencer's and Heidi's, Spencer demands that Heidi not invite her sister to brunch. He then gives Heidi the ultimatum - either Holly moves out or he moves out. When Spencer says that Holly is imposing on them, Heidi reminds him that he lived with his sister for two months. Oh snap!

The BBQ is at a mansion I've been to! OK, it wasn't for a party but I was looking at it as a possible location for the Google summer picnic (but we decided the cliffside location wasn't so good for small kids). Audrina and Cory cuddle in the pool. Frankie, Doug, and Brody show up, and Frankie and LC bicker over whether Frankie should invite "his boy" Justin Bobby to this BBQ. It looks like Frankie has vitiligo, but maybe he's just peeling. Hmm, I guess a lot has changed since Justin Bobby didn't speak to any of the gang at social gatherings. Frankie wants to know if Cory or Justin Bobby are going to Cabo - or both! Whitney looks bored, like she'd rather be conversing with Andre Leon Tally. Frankie tells Audrina that Brody invited Justin Bobby to Cabo. Awkward stares all around.

Audrina and LC take their dog accessory for a hike at Runyon Canyon. "My gosh you're like juggling men," LC says, regarding the Justin Bobby and Cory triangle. LC puts in a vote for Cory.

Heidi tells Holly that she's picking Spencer over her. Holly worries she'll be out on the street with a shopping cart. "I can't figure out your life for you," Heidi says. Holly doesn't understand why it has to be an ultimatum, and neither do I.

Justin Bobby and Audrina drink wine poolside, and Justin Bobby encourages Audrina to swim. He then says he'll only get in if she takes off her top and swims to the other side so he can chase her. Audrina does as she's told. Audrina brings up Cabo and Justin Bobby says he's going to get in trouble in Cabo. "It's on," he says. Audrina admits she cares if Justin Bobby bangs other girls. She looks like she wants to cry but then cuddles with him anyway. What can you say - chicks dig bad boys.

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Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Acrostic Movie Review - The Secret Life of Bees

Here's a rare film with a mostly-female and black cast, based
On Sue Monk Kidd's hugely popular
Novel and faithful to it. Dakota Fanning,
Evolving into a teen, does a convincing job as Lily, a runaway
Yearning for closure with her late mother. Lily becomes

Indebted to four black women, surrogate motherhood by committee. Do
The real Fanning girls even have so many nannies? The movie is
Somewhat melodramatic and slides into Lifetime movie mode, but it

Succeeded in
Tugging at my heartstrings. There's
Inspired acting from Jennifer Hudson and Queen Latifah. As the
Childlike May, Sophie Okonedo really shines. Alicia
Keys is like a Black Panther in training, but
You know her bravado will be melted by the winsome Lily.

Set in the south during the civil rights era, the threat of
Wicked racial violence hangs over the film and
Endangers the characters. As chick flicks go, it's not as
Entertaining as Sex and the City or as powerful as
he Color Purple, but it gives you more to chew on.

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Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Recapping the Hills - If She Never Met Spencer

Lo is helping LC with her homework by cutting pictures out of magazines. That was my homework once too - in 3rd grade. LC invites Lo to have a drink with Holly, Heidi's sister. LC says she's worried that Holly is trying to get her and Heidi back together. "Well, drinks are harmless," says Lo. Spoken like a true Hills girl!

Audrina and Chiara have lunch at Epic, and Audrina says she's excited about a date with a new guy - Colin. "Justin...whatever...I don't have a ring on my finger," Audrina says. I'm kinda liking the new aggressive Audrina, even if her sentence structure resembles Sarah Palin's.

Holly and Heidi have lunch. Heidi starts to fake cry, lamenting her lost best friend LC. Holly suggests that Heidi write LC a letter. Sounds like a good job for Heidi's assistant.

Colin and Audrina have dinner. Colin says his first job in LA was Bull Operator at the Saddleranch. Insert your own joke here. Audrina says her drink is too strong, because she probably hasn't eaten anything all day. Audrina complains that Justin gets angry when he's drunk, but Colin says he's a happy drunk. He also thinks Audrina has beautiful eyes and asks her for a second date in the middle of the first.

Holly meets Lo and LC at S Bar. Holly says she and Heidi had grown apart during The Spencer Years. LC says, "It's water under the bridge but things have changed and it's done." I guess it's not really water under the bridge then, is it?

LC and Whitney are at work, and LC lets Whitney read the apology letter she got from Heidi so that it can be on TV. The letter seems to have no polysyllabic words. LC wonders, "why now?" and "even after all this time, she still can't blame Spencer?"

Audrina meets Colin for their 2nd date. Audrina says she was up late talking to Justin. Colin calls her out for bringing up Justin on both dates, which she should know from reading Cosmo is Dating Faux Pas #1 - don't talk about your ex. Audrina admits she still has feelings for the enigmatic, rogueish Justin Bobby.

Holly comes over to visit LC. Holly asks if LC got the letter and LC says it basically just said sorry (again). LC says she already accepted the apology a long time ago. LC says maybe they could be friends again but she can't ever be civil to Spencer. Looks like Heidi may have to make a Sophie's Choice.

Audrina and LC sit by the pool. Audrina says Colin was a momentary distraction but not dysfunctional enough to replace Justin. LC says, "Where do you think we'd all be if Heidi had never met Spencer." Audrina says, "I think it would be totally different." LC says, "Isn't that weird to think about? How one person coming into someone's life can change everything?" This is practically a Socratic dialogue by Hills standards. I reflect on how many hours of my life I'd have back if I'd never stumbled upon Laguna Beach.

Audrina goes out with Justin and tells him that she went out with Colin and that Colin is a nice guy. "Nice is good...nice gets you far...he went so far, but he's not here," Justin says, smugly.

Holly and Heidi talk and Heidi says it's up to LC to rekindle the friendship. Spencer interrupts them, and Heidi admits writing the letter. He wants to know why Heidi is keeping secrets from him. Holly tries to interject but Spencer shushes her and Heidi yells at him. In typical controlling fashion, Spencer says he doesnt want Heidi to have LC as a friend (or any friends at all!). The preview for next week shows him locking her up in a tower where she will have to escape by making a rope out of her hair extensions.

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Thursday, October 02, 2008

Meeting Jonathan Hart

I can cross another childhood crush off the list, as I got to meet Robert Wagner tonight. I grew up watching Hart to Hart. I told RJ the show made me want to move to LA. I wanted to cruise around in a convertible Mercedes with the license plate "2 Harts" just like Jonathan and Jennifer...and now I do, except it's a convertible Audi sans vanity plate. RJ was so dashing and handsome on that show, and, heck, he still looks great at age 78.

To promote his new memoir Pieces of My Heart, RJ appeared for a talk and signing at the Santa Monica Public Library. The talk was really fun because it was a conversation with his daughter Katie. His daughter Natasha was also in the crowd. Katie teased her dad about all the girls he's loved before, including the big revelation that he had a 3-year love affair with Barbara Stanwyck long before it was cool to date a cougar. They also talked about his great love - Natalie Wood - how they met when she was 18, married young, divorced, remarried, and the tragic accident. Natasha asked a question about how her dad managed to keep in touch with people over the years and be such a good friend who called his friends often. He replied that it was just due to putting in the effort. Katie reminded Natasha that their dad was one of the first people in LA to have a car phone.

RJ talked a lot about the importance of mentors in his life, including David Niven, Laurence Olivier, and Paul Newman. He was generous with his time, putting up with some crackpot questions from the audience. One guy asked why after all his years of looking impeccable and clean-shaven, RJ would allow a stubbly pic of himself to be on his book cover. The guy wouldn't let it go and said he disliked how everyone was stubbly in movies today. RJ simply said it was a picture taken on the set of The Longest Day that his daughter Courtney had suggested he use, and that it represented a time when he was in a lot of emotional turmoil due to the first break up with Natalie. I think it's a very striking photo, probably because it does seem slightly out of character (but still dashing!).

Another person in the audience brought up something that had always bothered me: how did the Harts manage to attract more friends since one of their friends died in every episode of
Hart to Hart. RJ laughed and said it was quite lonely after a while since everyone was wary of befriending them. He also pointed out that it was odd that Max didn't have a room - or at least, it was never shown on the show.

There was also a sweet question from the audience, where a gal got up and said it was refreshing to see a loving couple like Jonathan and Jennifer on TV in an era of a lot of soap opera style feuding. RJ said the network always wanted more conflict on the show but they refused to cave in and kept calling each other "darling."

RJ signed books and posed for photos, chatting with everyone and being very gracious. I have to agree with Max. He's quite a guy!

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Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Edgar Meets McCanine

Watch what happens when Edgar gets a new chew toy. Video seems to only play in Internet Explorer or Safari.

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Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Recapping The Hills - Don't Act Innocent

LC and Whitney are at the gym, and LC is not punching very hard. "Come on, LC, imagine the pads are Jason's face!" yells the trainer, in my dream. LC tells Whitney about Steph and Doug going out. The trainer, whose opinion nobody asked, thinks that Steph should have asked permission first. Can someone please start a facebook group and call it "People who think Steph should have asked LC's permission before going out with Doug"?

Steph and LC meet up at Fashion School. Painful looks are exchanged. LC brings up the date with Doug. Steph says Doug used her to get back at LC. Steph then says she's going to Doug's party. "You deleted him from your phone but you're going to his party?" LC asks, incredulous. "No, no, this was like weeks ago before I was even friends with him," Steph says. LC and I both go, "huh?" Steph made about as much sense as Sarah Palin in that Katie Couric interview.

Heidi's sister Holly flies in their mother as a birthday surprise for Heidi. Heidi probably would have preferred a pair of Jimmy Choos. Heidi's mom says she was disappointed she had to find out from Holly that Spencer had moved back in. An awkward confrontation takes place in front of Spencer.

Steph and Doug meet for a drink. Steph worries that Brody will be mean to her at Doug's party. Doug thinks Steph worries too much. It's then implied that they are going to Doug's to watch a DVD. Oh my!

Over at Peoples Revolution, LC and Whitney pose by a rack of clothes. LC tells Whitney about Steph's strange denial of Doug. LC says Whitney should come to Doug's BBQ so she can meet Doug. "You'll hate him!" she says, giggling.

Cut to an establishing shot of Doug's Hollywood Hills home, obscured by three black SUVs. Brody teases Doug for being shady. Doug says Steph is the one coming on to him with text messages like: "come over late tonight and watch a movie." Doug says he hopes Brody won't make Steph cry, but Brody won't make any promises.

Spencer and Heidi's mom go to lunch. Heidi's mom says she thinks Spencer is pressuring Heidi into cohabitating. "I think you're very controlling and manipulative," Heidi's mom says, and then adds, "condescending, rude and hostile." If she would have thrown in "physically repulsive, intellectually retarded, and you smell", it would have been a true shout-out to Cher in Witches of Eastwick. Go Heidi's Mom!

We're at Doug's BBQ and I wonder if this is really a new party or just scenes from all the other BBQs spliced together. There's the usual gratuitous shot of Audrina's breast implants. Doug dives in, splashing LC and Whitney. Brody confronts Steph. Steph denies trying to date Doug. Whitney tells LC it's inappropriate for Brody to yell at Steph. LC thinks she might walk home to get away from the overwhelming awkwardness, however I'm sure she didn't bring her hiking boots.

Heidi and her mom go to lunch. I'm finding Heidi's platinum blond hair blinding in this episode. I put on sunglasses during her scenes. Heidi's mom shares how hurt she was and says she thinks Spencer is trying to break up the family, and then she cries. Heidi's mom sniffles, "Maybe I'm being too controlling. I just want you to be happy." Heidi looks confused, probably because she wouldn't know happy if it came up and bit her on the ass at Area.

Back at Doug's BBQ, Brody uses the word "shady" to describe Steph for the twentieth time. Steph sits in a room that appears to be a Doug Shrine, where she can overhear the conversation outside as Doug says he wasn't trying to date her and that he felt sorry for her because she was like "a lost puppy." LC thinks Doug is over-apologizing if he really did nothing wrong. Doug calls LC an ex-fling, and she gets up and leaves in a huff.

Steph cries to LC. Steph says she can't hang out with the group anymore because Brody is all mean to her. Steph lies to LC again about not being into Doug, and I'm wondering if she is channeling Jon Lovitz's chronic liar character. LC stalks off, leaving Steph in tears. Drama!

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Friday, September 26, 2008

LOL Edgar - The Baby

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Monday, September 22, 2008

Recapping The Hills - Lo and Audrina: New BFFs

This week's episode begins with Audrina actually in the front house, helping LC pack for a trip to Italy. She and Lo say they will be bonding in LC's abscence. Wow, I guess that make-up conversation between LC and Audrina where nothing much was said but there were a lot of blank looks and running mascara really did change things!

Steph comes over to see Audrina and says that Doug has asked her on a date. Audrina advises Steph to ask LC's permission before going on the date, but Steph retorts, "Um, how would she find out? (blank stare). Audrina pauses with a blank stare and says "I don't know." Hello, people, everything you do is recorded for this major hit television show - Lauren could quite possibly find out!

Meanwhile at Bolthouse, Heidi tells her only friend Kimberley that she's going to bring Spencer to their X Games party where she will be pretending to work. "Like, we can stay in when we're old," Heidi says.

Lo and Audrina have lunch at Fred Segal. I have a quick fantasy about the ivy on the wall swallowing them up. After the big decision of what club to go to that evening is made (Goa wins), Audrina tells Lo about Steph and Doug. "Why would you want sloppy seconds?" Audrina says, in an unusually catty moment. Apparently, Lo is already having an influence on her.

As usual, since LA seems to only have 3 clubs, Heidi and Spencer show up at Goa where Lo and Audrina are hanging out. Audrina tells Heidi about Doug and Steph. Heidi is all outraged and says she would never do that to her friend and that there are a hundred million guys in this city. That's true, Heidi, so go find a decent one! Lo tries to bury her scowl in her appletini during this exchange, but it remains quite visible.

Steph talks about her dilemma with Spencer who gleefully tells her that LC will freak out and cut her off. At the X Games party, Audrina and Justin Bobby hang with Spencer and Heidi. Spencer tries to make conversation by stating that "The Dark Knight" should have been called "The Joker." Wait, aren't they looking for a replacement for Roger Ebert? Alert the media. Audrina wants to talk about Steph and Doug again because she can only fit one thing in her brain per episode. Audrina suggests she and Heidi should do lunch and continue reconciling. Who is being more duplicitous: (a) Steph, (b) Audrina, (c) Both - they're just using LC to be on TV.

Doug and Steph go to dinner. Doug says he didn't tell Brody they were going out, and Steph says she didn't tell LC because LC is in Italy and she wouldn't know what to do if someone answered the phone and said "Pronto." Because there are only 5 restaurants in LA, Brody's mom happens to be at this very same restaurant - uh oh, busted! I guess it's true that LA can be a small town. I mean, I have seen Ron Jeremy out at clubs twice.

At Epic, Audrina has coffee with Chiara and talks about bonding with Lo. She then tells Chiara about Doug and Steph. Who's left for Audrina to tell? Perez Hilton? "It's just crazy that all this is happening while Lauren is gone," Audrina says. Either that, or it's in the script.

LC returns to find Audrina in the front house again. LC has coordinated blue wayfarers to match her tank top. LC does her best not to react to the news of Audrina hanging out with Heidi. Audrina tells LC about Doug and Steph. A cock crows. LC looks dismayed.

LC and Brody go to dinner. Brody reports that Doug claimed to be out at a business dinner on the night he took Steph out, and that he found out the truth from his mom. Brody gloats about being right about Steph being nefarious, grinding salt in LC's wound before saying "I just don't want to see you get hurt." Brody calls Steph "shady", recalling the time LC yelled at her ex-friend Jen Bunny for kissing LC's then-boyfriend Brody, "You did something shady." OK, I'm embarassed I just made that connection.

Meanwhile, in other Hills news, TMZ informed us that the newest additions to Wolfgang Puck's gallery of star photos (all taken by "warts and all" photographer Martin Scholler) at his restaurant CUT were none other than Heidi and Spencer. So one wall has Jack Nicholson and George Clooney and another wall has these two? I guess you'll know when you haven't been given a good table.

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Nelly's Late, Late Show

Last Monday, I caught Nelly's show at the House of Blues. I'm sorta old, so I wasn't sure I could do a late concert on a Monday, but because I represent the STL, I had to be there. As I was out of Pimp Juice, I had to fuel up on Red Bull. The ticket said the show would start at 11pm, but I knew midnight was more likely. I showed up around 11:45pm to find the place only about half full. Gradually, it filled up and people began to get restless. Nelly and the St. Lunatics finally took the stage around 12:30 AM. Damn, Nelly! You made us wait 4 years for this new album and you're still making us wait!

They woke us right up with a quick rendition of "Party People". Nelly was looking super-fit and hot, wearing jeans, two tank tops, sideways baseball cap and shades. He delivered a fast-paced set, clocking in at nearly 2 hour
s, and giving the crowd just about every track from his new album Brass Knuckles and most of his old hits. A lot of the hits were delivered in abbreviated style, almost medleys, but with extra energy to make up for less length.

Besides the ubiquitous Lunatics, Nelly brought a few guests. He sang "Who Fucks Wit Me" with Avery Storm, as he does on the album. Avery has a soulful voice and seems pretty fly for a white guy. At one poi
nt, a seemingly drunk or high dude in the crowd behind me kept dancing like a maniac and bumping into me. I was annoyed but dismissed it as typical House of Blues behavior. Then I was suprised to see this same hyperactive guy up on stage with the band. Nelly introduced him as Keak da Sneak, one of his rapping idols from the Bay Area. He also let all the Lunatics take turns in the spotlight, especially Murphy Lee who reprised his "Shake Your Tailfeather" hit and spoke about his new album coming soon. Nelly also introduced City Spud. Remember when Nelly used to always wear a bandaid on his face? That was a shout to City Spud who was in jail at the time. When he got released, Nelly retired the bandaid.

Nelly reminded us at least 20 times that Brass Knuckles would be in the store the next day and was so named because it was going to hit us hard. Judging by the songs he played, I'd sa
y the album delivers. I particularly liked "Lie" which he said was about how once in a great while it's the lady's fault when a relationship goes sour. I think "Party People" (featuring Fergie) is a great jam. Then there's the anthemic "Self Esteem" (featuring Chuck D) which gives a positive message but comes off like an imitation of Nas' "I Can." The guest star lineup for the album is impressive: Ciara, Usher, Snoop Dogg, TI, LL Cool J, Ashanti. The song "La" (featuring Snoop), a tribute to all things LA, got much love from the LA crowd.

I've seen Nelly twice before. First was at the outdoor amphiteather in Irvine as part of a rap fest, then headlining at the Gibson Amphiteater when "Sweat / Suit" was released, and this was the first ti
me in an intimate venue. It was definitely the most fun show of the three, probably because it was small, but also because Nelly seems more comfortable in the spotlight and his routines with the Lunatics were really tight.

Nelly saved two big hits for the encore: "Hot in Herre" and "Dilemma". My only disappointment with the show was that he never took his tank top off. Well, he took the t
op layer off, but kept the white wife beater on, teasing us and disobeying "Hot in Herre"'s oft-repeated command: "It's getting hot in herre, so take off all your clothes." Oh well, I forgive him.

Read my hip hop guide to St. Louis

Here's some pics courtesy of my new iphone...

Nelly, don't go into the light!

Nelly and St. Lunatics imitate NKOTB

Nelly and Keak da Sneak

Nelly and City Spud

Nelly and Ali (of St. Lunatics)

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Sunday, August 03, 2008

Motley Crue Return to Home, Sweet Home

Another year, another new name for the lower circle of Glen Hell formerly known as the Glen Helen Pavilion and Hyundai Pavilion. It's now called San Manuel Amphitheater. It's still really far away, dusty, and generally unpleasant. I only go there when I'm shaking so bad that I need to mainline some metal. Yes, this is where I've seen umpteen Ozzfests and where I saw KISS.

And last night, I saw Cruefest. Well, I didn't really see the fest. My BF and I had a busy day and a lack of interest in the other 4 bands (apologies to Traptd, Sixx AM, Papa Roach, and Buckcherry), so we showed up just in time for Motley Crue. I learned a big advantage of being late - no more parking attendants. We drove right into the VIP parking area with no charge! Upon reaching security, I was told I could not bring in my
Google-branded picnic blanket. I stashed it in a bush but it was gone when we left - oh well, I have plenty of swag.

We navigated through the sweaty, drunken hordes to get a couple beers and find a spot on the lawn. Immediately, we could understand the security guard's concern over the blanket - they can be used to start fires - and there were a couple bonfires raging on the lawn.

The Motley boys came on around 9:30pm and were full of piss and vinegar (and possible other substances). The lights were dazzling and the videos were cool, although being on the lawn I would have enjoyed more video of the band and less produced video. The stage backdrop - large letters resembling the Hollywood sign but spelling out Los Angeles - was cool and earned applause from the Inland Empire fans. They kicked off the show appropriately with "Kickstart My Heart" and kept the crowd jumping with "Wild Side."

From the new album Saints of Los Angeles, they played the title track (and were joined onstage by members of the other Cruefest bands) and "Motherfucker of the Year." I'd say the title track is worth a download - good hook.
The band rounded out their set with more hits including "Girls, Girls, Girls", "Shout at the Devil", and "Looks that Kill." Tommy Lee had an entertaining interlude with the titty cam, although he didn't find too many willing participants in the crowd. Vince was in good voice, and the band performed with energy. Even decrepit Mick Mars seemed to be enjoying himself. They closed the show with "Dr. Feelgood" which is still the one that makes us feel all right. We walked back to the car during the encore - "Home Sweet Home" - so I can't say if the brandishing of cigarette lighters for this power ballad may have contributed to more lawn bonfires.

I recommend Cruefest for those who still love 80s glam rock. The boys deliver a sexy, swaggering, screeching good time.

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Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Okay, So International Ghost Hunters Sucks a Little Less This Season

Andy Andrews is really ramping up his bid to be like Grant from the original Ghost Hunters. I like Andy though because I like his protestant go-get-em work ethic and his willingness to pronounce every word so clearly and loudly. However, I do appreciate the many comments from my commentary last season. And I agree, Andy and Robbbbb are still no Jay and Grant. What is it about Jay and Grant? They’re like Siegfried and Roy or somethin. I do appreciate that Jesus is not a main character so far this season, I really do. And I’m cool with Jesus. It's just that I want the adults to hunt ghosts by their own wits is all. Another thing I appreciate: the swapping of Shannon for Dustin. Our couch theory is that Donna threw her weight around behind the scenes to get that taken care of. Dustin’s hat wearing techniques…work…my last….nerve. It’s too much. It’s just too much. Um...is that his pinup shot posted here? But overall, I like his staunch unwillingness to descend into hysteria. Speaking of which, I don’t trust anything that comes out of that Irishman’s camera.

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Saturday, July 05, 2008

Stan Lee visits Google

Last Wednesday, Stan Lee spoke at Google Santa Monica!

It was a thrill to meet this American icon, and he was a great speaker. I'm on the
Authors @ Google team, which brings in writers to speak to Googlers. Google buys books for the attendees and puts videos of the talks up on YouTube. A colleague from our headquarters in Mountain View met Stan at a convention and invited him to speak. Stan graciously agreed, provided he could come to Santa Monica since he lives nearby. And so we quickly prepared for our biggest local authors event to date!

I was impressed by how friendly and accessible Stan was, posing for pictures with Googlers (including one in a Spiderman costume) and signing autographs. I was also wowed by his energy and passion for new creative pursuits, given than he's 85 years old. He continues to create characters and develop projects through his new company, POW! Entertainment. Stan presented his new book Election Daze, a collection of wacky captions he wrote for political photos. We had about 75 people locally attend the talk and many more from 10 offices who viewed the talk via videoconference. Stan put up a photo of Obama and allowed Googlers to come up with captions. The winner took home a signed Election Daze publisher proof.

Stan took many questions from the crowd. When asked his favorite movie cameo, he said it was in Iron Man, when he had fun with his resemblance to Hugh Hefner (and got to work with some lovely blonds). He said he had been pleasantly surprised with the success of Iron Man and also approved of the latest Incredible Hulk movie and the Spiderman films. He said he hoped Fantastic Four would get on track in the next movie. He took several digs at rival DC Comics, while admitting if pressed to name a non-Marvel comic character that he liked, he would go with DC's Lobo, which he said was unusually original for them. Stan told us he was a big fan of Google and that he couldn't live without it.

Stan wanted to do a public signing, and since we can't let the masses into our office, I coordinated with the Santa Monica Public Library next door to hold the signing there. While waiting for that event to get started, we got the chance to pose for photos with Stan. My teammate Susanna told Stan, "You're being very gracious and accommodating." He replied, "I tend to be." He was affable and self-effacing. I saw Hancock the night before this event, and it occurred to me that movie probably couldn't have been made without Stan Lee, who first introduced human failings and crises into the superhero psyche.

I recommend Election Daze if you need a laugh in this tiresome election year, and I am grateful to Stan for visiting Google! Check YouTube for a video of the talk - coming soon.

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Friday, June 27, 2008

Anvil Rocks!

I rocked out at the LA Film Festival screening of Anvil last night at the John Ford Amphitheater. It's a documentary about the Canadian heavy metal band Anvil, who have been together 30 years. The theater was sold out for this event, and the crowd was an odd mix of movie geeks and metalheads and one celeb Anvil fan - Scott Ian of Anthrax.

I loved the film! It's
This is Spinal Tap meets Some Kind of Monster meets Field of Dreams. The film begins with footage from the early 80s of Anvil during their 15 minutes of fame, playing a huge rock fest in Japan with The Scorpions and Bon Jovi. Frontman Steve "Lips" Kudlow is dressed in bondage gear and playing his guitar with a dildo. His co-founder Robb Reiner (another odd parallel to This is Spinal Tap) pounds the skins. Then we cut to the present, and Lips and Robb are playing gigs to small crowds in local bars and working manual labor jobs. But they still have a dream.

The documentary ranges from hilarious to heartbreaking, often in the same scene, such as a sequence on a European tour gone awry where Lips nearly gets into a fistfight with a club owner in Prague who refuses to pay the band because they started the show late. There are many
Spinal Tap moments, including a trip to Stonehenge, a brief search for a new drummer, and several scenes of the band wandering around backstage tunnels looking for the stage. The relationship between Lips and Robb is fleshed out in great detail with moments that show their deep friendship as well as their frustration with each other and their lack of success.

Kudlow is likable, a bit manic, but ultimately endearing because he holds on to his dream, loves his friends and family, and isn't a bit Satanic. And we get sound bites from Anvil fans like Scott Ian, Slash, and Lars Ulrich that emphasize that Anvil's dream was not unrealistic. They are talented musicians with some catchy songs. It's basically a crap shoot as to why they didn't become famous while inferior bands like Great White and Winger did. My best guess would be that Kudlow is a bit too goofy as a frontman. My friend called him "the muppet of heavy metal." He doesn't have the distinctive voice of an Ozzy or the sex appeal of Bret Michaels.

The bulk of the movie covers Anvil's attempts to get money to record their thirteenth album "This is Thirteen" and their efforts to place it with a major label. We end where we began - in Japan - and we feel a bit paralyzed waiting to see if the gig will be a success.

After the film, we were treated to a live performance by Anvil and a Q&A session with the band and the film's director, Sacha Gervasi, who was a teenage roadie for the band during their heyday. Scott Ian came out and joined the band to perform their anthem "Metal on Metal." Anvil looked to be having the time of their lives, playing to the packed and cheering theater. Future plans involve the band and the film touring together. Tour dates will be up soon on the movie website.

Kudlow's and Reiner's friendship and persistence moved me more than I expected, and I left the film feeling touched, rocked, and wanting to kickstart my own dreams. Rock on, Anvil!

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Thursday, May 29, 2008

Harvey Korman, RIP

....from Ape Comments written after the first TV Land Awards...

for a long time I’ve been wanting to see
Harvey Korman get the recognition he so rightly deserves. I’ve long been miffed about the fact that Tim Conway overshadows Harvey Korman on every reunion of The Carol Burnett Show. Conway even shared the nomination with Harvey Korman in this ‘Second Banana’ category. They are not quite equals in the comedy chops department, however. Tim Conway, although hilarious in his own right, has essentially a smaller bag of tricks. Basically, a bag of baboonery. How many times can he fall up the stairs or mug with absurd idiocy? His Mr. Tudball is the exception that proves the rule: a truly different and defined character. Many of the rest of Conway’s characters are just too similar. They pack a big punch but are basically annoying dolts. Korman, on the other hand, has long been under appreciated for his comedic deftness. His range of emotions and characters span from debonair snob to rural twit to everyday Joe to impersonations of classic movie characters from Little Foxes to Gone with the Wind where he does a very funny Clark Gable. His characters range from upper-class British thespian to the low-brow Ed in the Eunice sketches. Every characterization is flawless. Classic Carol Burnett episodes, of course, include the Conway/Korman crack-up bloopers, but Korman’s stealth art of comedy can be seen in almost every Carol Burnett Show sketch. He didn’t over use the same ole same ole bag of mugs. Tim Conway makes me laugh, no doubt, but Korman was simply more versatile. And he appeared in Mel Brooks movies to boot (see High Anxiety, Blazing Saddles).

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Friday, May 23, 2008

American Idol - David vs David

So, my lack of regular blogging on Idol this season can be chalked up to a couple things: (1) busyness in other areas and (2) watching the show felt like homework this season. And it was homework I wasn't being graded on.

Last season's battle between Jordin and Blake didn't turn me on either. I did enjoy Blake's originality but it's not like I wanted to buy his CD. This season I had nobody to root for once Amanda and Danny were eliminated. I miss the days of Fantasia, when true talent triumphed over packaging (how great was it to see her strutting around that stage like a woman possessed by the spirit of funk with the bright red hair the other week). I miss the goofiness of Taylor Hicks. I miss the wit of Kelly Pickler. And yes, I miss the smoldering looks of Constantine Maroulis.

So let's talk about the finale - the battle of the Davids.

I do like David Archuleta. At times his "oh gosh" Leave it to Beaver manner gets on my nerves, but mostly his humility seems genuine. I think he's got a great voice and good stage presence, though he occasionally looks like a deer in the headlights, or a kid who'd rather just be in the school musical. His performance of Imagine was probably the best performance all season, in my opinion. He's got the perfect teen idol appeal - he's totally ready for the cover of Bop! magazine. He's harmless and cuddly. You kind of just want to poke him in the belly and hear him giggle like the Pillsbury dough boy.

Then there's David Cook. I should like him - after all, he's a "rocker" who hails from the great state of Missouri (like me, Vincent Price, and Scott Backula). But I have found him to be a fake rocker from the get-go. He favors that sludgy rock in the Nickelback, Three Doors Down, Switchfoot vein which I just am not into. Others are - clearly - since these bands do have an audience and Cook garnered 55% of the Idol vote vs 45% for Archuleta. I have found him to be smug throughout the season, as Simon pointed out several times. This could be shyness masked as arrogance, but either way it's unattractive. It does seem odd that the much sexier Michael Johns finished way down in the pack, and Cook survived. The difference, I guess, would be Cook's "original" arrangements. Since Ryan mumbled the introduction "here's David Cook singing Chris Cornell's version of Billy Jean" most viewers felt that David really changed up that song. This isn't David's fault, you might say, but I would argue it was a calculated move to pick an already established unusual version of a song and bank on the fact that most of the audience won't realize you weren't the one who made it funky. But hey, everybody uses whatever tools they have in the game - Brooke turns on the water works, Chikezie tries sass, Kristy Lee dresses like a ho.

To be fair to Mr. Cook, he did have a original version of "Hello", which was good, if you can manage to get the blind girl sculpting Lionel Richie's head in clay out of your head while you listen to it (I couldn't). And his rendition of "The Music of the Night" showed that he does have a nice range and a pleasing tone to his voice. That's fine, but as rockers go, he's not in the Daughtry or Bo Bice league. I guess the good takeaway from this result show it that there is still an audience for rock music and it can triumph over pop treacle.

The two-part finale was awash in a sea of cheese. On Tuesday, the boxing match metaphor was dragged out to death, like
a dog collar match between Greg Valentine and Rowdy Roddy Piper. Simon's scorecard had Archuleta as a clear winner in all 3 rounds, and he declared the night a knockout. Note how he backpedalled on Wednesday with the usual "when I heard it back on tape, it sounded different" so that he wouldn't look like he'd made an error when Cook was declared champ. Well, I did watch it on TV, and I thought Archuleta won. His version of "Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me" was powerful and he managed to bring something new to that old chestnut. Meanwhile, Cook just proved he wasn't Bono on the U2 tune. I'd probably give Cook the edge on the 2nd round battle of terrible Idol singles. Both songs were dreadful, but at least Cook's was a bit catchier. Then the third round - Archuleta smartly reprised Imagine, while Cook trotted out a dated Collective Soul tune "The World I Know" because he wanted to do something new. That song is many things, but it is not new and his rendition didn't freshen it up.

Wednesday's spectacular had some cool moments. I actually enjoyed Brooke White's duet with Graham Nash, even though I usually want to punch Brooke in the face. It was a nice quiet moment. Archuleta sounded glorious on "Apology" (was he telling his overbearing dad "it's too late to apologize...too late"?) and definitely outsang his duet partner in OneRepublic, the cameos by my beloved Matt Rogers and the fresh and funny Michaelah Gordon as commentators.

Low points included, but were not limited to: the shameless plugging of The Love Guru which went on way too long (although that Mariska Hargitay chant is hilarious), Donna Summer being unable to descend a staircase without two attendants (at least pick beefy guys and put them in loincloths and carry her down on a throne if you have to do that), Cook hogging the stage from ZZ Top when he's not worthy to comb their beards, the idol kids being made to dance through Donna Summer and George Michael medleys (Brooke was so awkward, and Amanda scowled all night), Randy's pimp suit, The Jonas Brothers resurrecting the specter of Hanson, and George Michael looking like Dodi Fayed and struggling through one of my favorite tunes "Praying for Time" (he blamed a cold, like so many Idol contestants before him). The inclusion of oldsters like ZZ Top, Donna Summer, George Michael, Bryan Adams only underscores the point that's been made about the dated mentors dragging the show down. Here's hoping they bring in some younger talent next year, although I probably wouldn't tune in to Miley Cyrus night.

In the end at our Idol finale party where we were watching the pre-recorded show, our Tivo cut out right as Ryan said, "and the winner is David--" It's probably just as well. I wouldn't have been too interested in his victory lap or in hearing that Idol single again. Am I done watching Idol? Probably not. I still find it interesting from a cultural studies perspective, even if it rarely produces music I want to buy.

For those of you in LA who want to see a real rocker instead of a fake rocker - Amanda Overmyer is playing the Whisky tonight.

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Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Meet the YouTube Filmmakers...and a Project Runway Legend

Last night, Google hosted a Meet the YouTube Filmmakers event at the El Rey Theater. This was the second Google party we've thrown at the El Rey (the first being our Old Vegas holiday party in 2006), and they are a great venue to work with!

The program's panelists included YouTube filmmakers Arin Crumley, Javier Prato, M dot Strange, Ben Shelton, and Francis Stokes who talked about their experiences with YouTube and the alternatives it offers for distribution and marketing for independent filmmakers. A couple Google engineers also talked about the behind-the-scenes machinations of the site.

The highlight of the night for me was meeting Vincent Libretti from Project Runway. Vincent was my favorite cast member of his season, and I wrote a tribute to him when he got kicked off. It turns out he's the neighbor of one of my colleagues, who doesn't have a TV so wasn't familiar with the show but thought Vincent was an interesting fellow.

Vincent was super-friendly, and we chatted for a bit about the reality TV experience. It sounds like it was stressful but ultimately worth it. He described many long days and tough working conditions - they were filming in NYC in the summer in un-air-conditioned workspace where the windows had to be kept shut to block the traffic noise for filming - no wonder he had some tantrums! Of course, tantrums make good reality TV. He's developing several new TV projects and still running his store.

We also talked about the everyday woman challenge he won, where the designers had to make clothes for their fellow designers mothers or sisters, many of whom did not look like models. I said the designers acted like designing for plus-sized gals was torture, and he said they were over-reacting and that he felt he was able to win that challenge because he is good at reading people and recognizing their taste and personality.

He laughed when I told him my friends and I still like to quote his catchphrases: "That turns me on!" and "That gets me off!"

I have to say - these Google parties turn me on!

Photos by Brady Walters

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American Idol - Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Night


David Cook - "Hungry Like the Wolf" / "Baba O'Riley"

I applaud David's good taste in choosing the first tune. I just saw Duran Duran two nights ago at the Nokia Theater and they were awesome! David's arrangement was similar to an acoustic version that D2 put out on a CD single around the period of The Wedding Album. He tried to be sexy but it wasn't really working for me. Still, a good vocal.

Cool 2nd song choice. "Teenage wasteland" is a good metaphor for this show, and it would be something David C can quote when David A beats him in the finale. David is winning me over a bit with this performance. I thought it was a strong vocal and actually a bit sexy when he wasn't really trying to be, unlike the first song where he was trying too hard.

Syesha Mercado - "Proud Mary" / "A Change is Gonna Come"

She looks great in the gold dress, but I'm not seeing this performance as better than any typical Vegas revue. She does exude confidence but still not a lot of personality.

Second song - Another great dress. This was a little dirge-ish until she belted out the final run in true diva fashion. The song choice gave her a bit of gravitas, but it was a bit dull. Paula was right though (for once) - Syesha has grown a lot during this competition.

Jason Castro - "I Shot the Sheriff" / "Mr. Tambourine Man"

Jason does nothing to break from his pothead image by choosing a Bob Marley song. He had a bit more energy than usual. But it made him look very white and a little ridiculous. Wow, the judges were hard on him...sometimes that has the opposite effect and brings sympathy votes.

Second song - more of the usual, Jason and his guitar and no big vocal demands. Apparently he forgot some words but I didn't notice. Well, he's still cute.

David Archuleta - "Stand By Me" / "Love Me Tender"

This was a good song choice for David and his voice sounded very pure and true. He added some runs to make a simple song more challenging. Sometimes I think he looks like he could be a hobbit, but I enjoyed the performance.

Second song - David sang this in a very heartfelt fashion, making eyes at the camera like a presexual Constantine and selling his devotion to every girl in the home audience. He took an old chestnut of a song that typically bores me (and I'm an Elvis fan) and found something new in it. I can't see anybody derailing his train to Idoldom.


Seems pretty clear that the judges want Jason gone, and he did little to save himself, although the teens and tweens may still vote in droves for his dreamy eyes. But I think Jason leaves this week, with Syesha in the Bottom 2.

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Saturday, May 03, 2008

Trippin Out at Pam Anderson's Estate Sale

Let's dispel those nasty rumors - just because she's having an estate sale doesn't mean Pamela Anderson is dead! She's very much alive and you can go see her this weekend in Malibu and root through her stuff!

When I got the Urban Daddy email yesterday about Pam Anderson's Estate Sale, I knew I had to check it out. Lucky for me, my friend Annie was into the idea as well, so we got up early today and drove up to Malibu High School, the parking area for the sale. Upon arrival, we were met by PAs from the new reality show "Pamela" and a security guard. We were told to leave our cameras in the car and made to sign a waiver agreeing to appear as background people in the TV show. We then boarded a black shuttle van and waited to depart. And we waited 15 minutes or so, until a PA came over and told us there was drama at the house! Apparently the neighbors were complaining about the traffic and about people being made to believe this was Pam's real house. It was just a rental house for the sale. The neighbors feared Pam stalkers would keep coming back and destroy their idyllic existence. So the PAs were being made to put up signs everywhere that said "This is not Pam's real house!" Eventually, the PA got the cue that it was okay to proceed, so our van proceeded on the short drive to the rented house.

Upon arrival, we saw a lemonade stand ostensibly staffed by Pam's and Tommy's offspring, Brandon and Dylan. In reality, a chef was manning the stand while Brandon and Dylan played football with a friend. They are cute kids, rambunctious but well-behaved. Dylan hit me with a spit ball, but apologized, saying he had been aiming for his friend.

We started browsing through the stuff - outside there was a tented area with white shabby chic couches, a ton of shabby chic patio furniture, and a bunch of toys and games. There was also a hot pink Butt Blaster exercise machine. As we were looking at Pam's tools, Pam emerged from the house, wearing short shorts and a t-shirt. She was actually at her own garage sale! She said hello to everyone and the camera crew followed her around as she second-guessed selling certain things. She reclaimed a pair of purple rain boots and put them on. She conferred with her mom, who was also there hanging out.

Inside a large garage, we found a ton of shabby chic furniture. How many armoires can one woman have? There were at least 10 huge ones for sale. An autographed orange life buoy from Baywatch was on a silent auction with a starting bid of $1800 (no bids yet). There were a lot of linens and kitchen stuff. One guy bought Pam's toaster and asked her to autograph it. He said he would be putting it by the autographed microwave he bought at Tori Spelling's sale.

I proceeded into the clothes room where I marveled at the many varieties of hooker shoes, all in size 5 1/2. I wear a size 9, so I could not take home any clear-bottomed platform heels. I then stumbled upon five faux fur coats in different colors and styles. I was pleasantly surprised to see that I could actually fit in one. Maybe it belonged to Kid Rock rather than Pam? Either way, I was getting it, even if it was $150. Hey, all proceeds were going to PETA after all, and I'd been planning to buy one for Burning Man anyway. I also snapped up a fabulous pink and purple boa for $35. The clerk told me it was well-crafted and probably cost Pam $100. I doubt it, but I dig it anyway. Annie bought a little league T-shirt for the Malibu Braves. Brandon's and Dylan's names were on the back and she had them autograph it for her, and Pam signed it too - very cool souvenir!

Outside there was a giant pile of remote controls. I wondered if she had ditched them in favor of a universal remote. There was also a collection of about 25 metal buckets and wash tubs - not sure what that's about. Pam pointed out some kids furniture that she said was purchased for her kids by golfer John Daly. There were some books and CDs - Lots of normal stuff you'd find at any garage sale. In fact, we were struck by how normal Pam and the kids were. She chatted with customers, gladly signed items including underwear, and then dashed off in her Range Rover to take her kids to their baseball game. OK, not everything was normal. There were two gals dressed as chicken showgirls carrying "Boycott KFC" signs. Yes, the day was an odd mix of the surreal and the mundane, and it was all great fun.

Although we couldn't take our cameras to the sale, we did manage to get a photo on the run of Pam driving , as they happened to be heading south on PCH right when we were. Stars - they are just like us! They drive their kids to ballgames! They put items up for sale at yard sales and then have second thoughts and reclaim them! They hire chefs to run their children's lemonade stands!

Anyway, if you want a piece of Pam, be it a chainmail bra or an ice cream scoop, you have one more day to get there!

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