Saturday, June 19, 2010

Happy Birthday Kathleen Turner

She is really funny. It surprises me that she had to fight to get roles in comedies. As I look at her list of movies, it's the comedies (and the dark comedies) that are her best work.

I'm going to skip The Doctors and Body Heat and go straight to The Man With Two Brains. Funny shit.

Have you seen Prizzi's Honor?

1988's Switching Channels is a low budget (Cannon Films) remake of the classic The Front Page (it's had several incarnations), but Turner and Burt Reynolds go all in with the slapstick and it works. Can't find a scene with her, but here's the Siskel & Ebert review--it's a great illustration of how Ebert is a good predictor of whether I might like a movie.

And you already know I love The War of the Roses.

Her Oscar nomination is for Peggy Sue Got Married (another comedy, but not one I really care for), and she has 2 Tony nominations. She deserved an Emmy (nomination at least) as Chandler's father on Friends. She and Morgan Fairchild should have had a an episode all to themselves.

But I am saving two movies for the end. They are notable in their, um, individuality. The first is 1987's Julia & Julia, where Turner plays Julia (and also Julia). It's weird, and somehow it keeps coming up even though I have no recollection of what happens, except that, quite possibly Jodie Foster is in one scene... or was that a different movie?

The other is the bad ass Ken Russell movie Crimes of Passion. Turner, playing a fashion designer by day/hooker by night (I know!) faces off against Anthony Perkins as an obsessive street preacher. It is awesome!

And so concludes the things of Kathleen Turner's I love.

Happy birthday dude! Rock on!

Happy Birthday Ann Wilson

Ann is the lead singer of Heart, and I'm a little pissy right now because when I went to look at Heart's ranking on the VH1 Top 100 Women of Rock, they are #40. Surely they are more relevant than that?

Regardless, I'll proclaim Heart among the first balls-out rock artists who happen to be female. They are preceded by Tina Turner, Janis Joplin, Grace Slick, Marianne Faithful, and Bonnie Raitt (and if I'm missing a true rocker, please comment); and they are contemporaries of Patti Smith. [I will give "special consideration" to Aretha Franklin, Carole King, Joni Mitchell, Nico, and several others as quasi-rock, but this is a more simple definition of rock.] Basically I'm saying the Heart don't get the credit they're due (I think Pat Benetar suffers from that too).

The Coasters and Jimmy Cliff are both in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Heart is not.

Flock of Seagulls have a Grammy, Heart do not.

Granted, Flock of Seagulls did not subject the world to "All I Want to Do is Make Love to You" but I hope this isn't falling on deaf ears.

And I'm not saying they innovated the use of electric guitars, or deserve some retroactive awards. I'm saying... wait, what am I saying? I guess I'm saying Heart is a great band and they ought to have more respect. At least as much as Aerosmith or Cheap Trick.

Heart will release a new studio album in August. And if they tour, Eric is definitely going. Probably.

Happy birthday dude! Rock on!

Song of the Day: "I Felt Stupid"

When I first posted a track by The Drums I called them a surf band. They're really more like early Cure, so that was way off. Here's a 3rd visit to them.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Happy Birthday Alison Moyet

The voice is amazing, and woefully under-appreciated. Here's a bunch of awesome awesome singing:

With Paul Young at Live Aid (I am old)

It took a good 2 minutes for me to convince Clark that 1) this isn't Erasure, and 2) that this isn't a man singing.

There have been a few Grammy nominations, there was a run as Mama Morton in Chicago in the West End, but mostly there's the disappointment that comes with her canceling a show in Portland from last December. Khan!!!!!!!

I leave you with the song whose rare import single I was once offered $75 for, and declined. Not realizing that a mere 10-12 years later this track, plus 15 others, could be purchase for like $9.99 on a greatest hits CD. D'oh.

Happy birthday dude! Rock on!

Happy Birthday Roger Ebert

I have long identified Ebert as a film critic whose opinions are very similar to mine, and I could definitely count on any movie that got positive reviews from both him and Eleanor Ringel (she's added two different hyphenated names to Ringel over the last 25 years, and I honestly don't care to figure out which one, if either, is current) from the Atlanta Constitution to be a movie I really liked. It included quirky movies like Into the Night or Lair of the White Worm, movies that not every critic embraced (it's less interesting if they only agreed on movies that every said was 4-star).

Ebert, with TV partner Gene Siskel, helped make film criticism mainstream. And some version of At the Movies endured until Ben Lyons single-handedly ruined it! (Lyons is a great example of "a little nepotism goes a long way" and if you want to learn more about why it's actually okay to hate him, go here: (Technically the show continued past Lyons, but I think we can all agree Ben Lyons is awful and deserves the blame.)

Ebert lost his voice as a result of his battle with thyroid cancer. But he's still at work, and the internet gives him a platform to opine on more than just movies. I think the best way to enjoy Roger Ebert is via twitter--he understands the milieu, and is smart enough to make the most of 140 characters. Follow him here

Happy birthday dude! Rock on!

For Your Emmy Consideration: Jane Krakowski

Best Supporting Actress, 30 Rock
30 Rock has been well rewarded during its first 3 years (including a record number of nominations for a Comedy last year), and is well positioned to continue. But Krakowski has only been nominated once (so far). Despite the fact that she gets some of the best lines (Baldwin's business references and Krakowski's chaotic life story are both hysterical).
Jenna: Drug him? Liz, no. Having been on both sides of that, I could tell you it's not a good idea.

Her angst over losing her stalker, and then dating a Jenna-impersonator, were both great episodes for her. She's facing Jane Lynch also, but this is about getting her a nomination, then I'll start telling people who to vote for from the nominees. You're welcome.

Since we are talking about Network

And we are, thanks to Casey Spooner (below).

I'm telling you non-believers that Paddy Chayefsky's screenplay is eerily prescient, including an emotionally unsettled anchor who becomes the voice of disaffected America (Glenn Beck--although no promise of suicide from him ((yet))).

Here's a good quote from Faye Dunaway's character, the driven network executive at United Broadcasting System.

Look, I sent you all a concept analysis report yesterday. Did any of you read it?

[Aides stare blankly at her] Well, in a nutshell, it said: "The American people are turning sullen. They've been clobbered on all sides by Vietnam, Watergate, the inflation, the depression; they've turned off, shot up, and they've fucked themselves limp, and nothing helps." So, this concept analysis report concludes, "The American people want somebody to articulate their rage for them." I've been telling you people since I took this job six months ago that I want angry shows. I don't want conventional programming on this network. I want counterculture, I want anti-establishment. I don't want to play butch boss with you people, but when I took over this department, it had the worst programming record in television history. This network hasn't one show in the top twenty. This network is an industry joke, and we'd better start putting together one winner for next September. I want a show developed based on the activities of a terrorist group, "Joseph Stalin and His Merry Band of Bolsheviks," I want ideas from you people. This is what you're paid for. And by the way, the next time I send an audience research report around, you'd all better read it, or I'll sack the fucking lot of you. Is that clear?

Song of the Day: "Faye Dunaway"

I heard a clip of this song s few months ago, and I made a note to keep checking for it to feature here, and today is that day. I don't know Fischerspooner at all, aside from the name; it doesn't seem like they've broken up based on Wikipedia, so maybe Casey Spooner just wanted a solo project this year or what, but this track is just him.

BTW, I love that this is a, um, celebration of Dunaway. At some point we should have a discussion of her career trajectory. Talented (Network is a freaksihly prescient movie, and Dunaway's negotiations with a fringe radical 70s group to give them what is basically their own reality show ((seriously, it foretells that)) is hysterical.

But back to the song--its beats are captivating, so much so that I stop paying attention to the lyrics, which may or may not be good. Check it out.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

For Your Emmy Consideration: Vanessa Williams

Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy, Ugly Betty
Ugly Betty has a lot of great actors, which is truly a credit to its casting (it won the Emmy for casting in its first year, and deserves a nomination this year as well, although Modern Family ought to win that category.

This may be Williams's best opportunity to win--the Emmys seem to re-award a lot and unless Jean Smart returns for the few episodes of Samantha Who? that aired during eligibility, there are no recent winners to compete with. But it may also be her worst: Jane Lynch seems a slam dunk here for her work in Glee. We shall see.

Happy Birthday Barry Mannilow

He has 1 Grammy and 2 Emmys. He has a Tony Award Special Award. He has written a shit load of music, but he did not write "I Write the Songs." I love that twist.

I was a special guest star (uncredited) in his A&E Christmas Special (which is to say I am in the audience and visible for maybe 3 seconds near the end when someone moves). I got to talk to Cyndi Lauper afterward. LOVE her.

Manilow may not be your cup of tea, but he's unquestionably talented, and his fans are intense. In. Tense.

Long Island women who love Barry Mannilow can be intense.

They love him and they want to marry him.

Think about that for a minute. Here's "Weekend in New England."

Happy birthday dude! Rock on!

Gay: icky? Not icky?

Sam Seder attempts to grapple with said topic.

"John McCain was young... less old in 1983."

By the way, other countries have different restrictions for how MSM (men who have sex with men--not all of them think of themselves as "gay") can donate blood. So, you know, there are data available to look at to see rates of false negatives, accidental transmissions, etc.

Song of the Day: "Bang Bang Bang"

Mark Ronson is back, and on this first track his friends include QTIP and MNDR (I know QTIP, I don't know the other letters).

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

For Your Emmy Consideration: The Colbert Report

Outstanding Variety, Music or Comedy Series
Outstanding Writing for a Variety, Music or Comedy Series
Outstanding Actor in a Comedy Series, Stephen Colbert (it's worth a shot--the SNL cast competes in this category now that ATAS has done away with the Individual Performance category)

The show is brilliant. Its star is brilliant. Colbert plays the role of Colbert the idiot with a flawless execution. He is an ace interviewer and pushes more than most professional journalists. And then he turns around and does this.
Alicia Keys - Empire State of Mind (Part II) Broken Down
The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical HumorFox News

Michael Bowers is a disgusting, hypocritical piece of shit

Bowers v. Hardwick came up in the Federal trial to overturn California's Proposition 8. And I just feel like taking any and every opportunity to call Michael Bowers, Georgia's former Attorney General, a piece of shit.

Georgia had one of the most stringent sodomy laws in place back in the 80s. Atlanta police arrested 2 men engaged in consensual gay sex in a private residence.

Bowers didn't press charges (gee thanks) but Hardwick (wisely) took the opportunity to use standing to take the case to the Supreme Court (that ruling, by the way, retarded--and Justice Lewis Powell, the swing vote in that case, who didn't believe that he'd ever met a gay person ((oops, like his closeted clerk, d'oh)) openly regretted that ruling).

But Bowers defended Georgia's archaic sodomy laws, ALL WHILE PERSONALLY GUILTY OF THOSE VERY SAME SODOMY LAWS.

I'm not saying Bowers is gay. The Georgia sodomy laws applied to any non-married couples.

So while Michael fucking piece of shit Bowers was fucking around on his wife (you know, like the conservatives are so prone to do), that was sodomy in Georgia. Plain and simple.

At least that shit came out before Bowers could parlay his bigotry into the Governor's mansion.

Now back to our regularly scheduled programming.

The lesson here? Never jaywalk

(h\t Jared for sending this)

Holy shit.

A Seattle cop shows two teenagers who's the boss by punching one of them in her face.

Of course in Portland the police simply open fire, so perhaps she got off lucky.

Also, hooray for people with cameras.

Respect My Authoritah

Jon Stewart speaks my mind for me. Howard Dean, any interest in a 2012 run against Sarah Palin? It ought to be easy.
The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Respect My Authoritah
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical HumorTea Party

For Your Consideration: Archer

Best Animation Program, Archer was an instant love for me, and it had a great first season. There was a little inconsistency, but watch "Skytanic" and "The Honeypot" and tell me you didn't laugh, and I will call you a liar, and/or deaf. And do you really want that? I don't think so.

They have a great ensemble of actors providing voice-over work, but I'll show some restraint and submit only 2 for individual Emmy consideration (sorry Judy, sorry Chris, sorry Jessica).

Outstanding Voice-Over Performance, H. Jon Benjamin (Sterling Archer)--truth be told, I've been a fan of Benjamin's v.o. work for a while (like 15 years now), when he got his start (start?) on Dr. Katz. He's fantastic in Archer, but then he's fantastic, so that makes sense.

Outstanding Voice-Over Performance, Aisha Tyler (Lana Kane)--Hollywood doesn't seem to get how much fun Tyler can be, but this role lets her be funny and sexy and cool. I mean, you don't get to SEE that she's also super hot in real life, but whatev, she's still great.

For Your Consideration: Ryan Kwanten

Best Supporting Actor in a Drama, True Blood
Apparently I'm not watching dramas this Emmy season. The closest thing is True Blood, and, let's be frank, my FYC offering isn't really driven by Kwanten's acting. But he's got a certain appeal, and the folks behind the show seem to understand it. Someone gets paid to apply make-up to his naked body you know.

This clip is technically from the first season, but you know what, no one cares.

Song of the Day: "Rules Don't Stop Me"

New from We Are Scientists (I mean, they are, I'm not). I lump them in together with the not-really-similar Arctic Monkeys and Bloc Party, just 'cause I'm prone to doing that.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

For Your Consideration: The Venture Brothers

Outstanding Animation Program, The Venture Brothers took a little time to grow on me, but I freaking adore this show now! And I'm pleasantly amazed at how many fans of the show I run into.

Pushing for 3 of these guys to get Emmy nominations is insanely optimistic, but what the hell.

Outstanding Voice-Over Performance, Christopher McCulloch (The Monarch, Hank Venture)

Outstanding Voice-Over Performance, Steven Rattazzi (Doctor Byron Orpheus)

Outstanding Voice-Over Performance, Patrick Warburton (Brock Sampson)

How could I omit Starship Troopers

(h\t to Becky for kicking my ass about this one)

Double "oh fuck"--it's Neil Patrick Harris's birthday and I failed, FAILED, to mention a movie of such amazing brilliance that I deserve to be shamed for a good 20 to 25 minutes.  

Starship Troopers is that movie.

And Rue McClanahan is in it too. How could I forget that?! Augh!

Starship Troopers is basically a 1950s sci-fi monster movie given a super-polished high budget treatment. Its hyper-militarism is an homage to the Cold War (I'm guessing).

And Neil gets to play, well, a nazi. A "nazi." A quasi-nazi. He looks all nazi-ish.

And, AND, Denise Richards gets naked. And Casper Van Dien gets naked. There's lot of very hot nakedness cause, you know, co-ed locker rooms (it's the future, ta da).

The visual effects were nominated for an Oscar but lost to Titanic.

And, AND, I saw this along with As Good As It Gets in one of those special previews they used to do on Saturday nights. Pay for the hyper-violent sci fi kill-fest, stay for the dysfunctional romantic comedy.

It's directed by the amazing Paul Verhoeven. If you think Paul Verhoeven's oeuvre is one of bad movies (Robocop, Showgirls, Total Recall, Basic Instinct), THEY'RE SUPPOSED TO BE LIKE THAT.

It's like how Tarantino uses violence like slapstick, or how Woody Allen pairs himself with hot actresses, or how Sarah Palin is delusional about her own abilities. That's what they do.

Verhoeven makes ultra-polished B-movies. Everything goes to 11. Especially the viscera. But ESPECIALLY the viscera (my first Verhoeven movie, The Fourth Man, has a scene with a man impaled by a piece of rebar, and you can see an eyeball hanging off the metal... and it's GREAT).

Damn, I bet I haven't seen this movie in 10 years. I need to check it out soon!!!

And again, happy birthday NPH!

Meet Alvin Greene

And Rude Pundit suggested a similarity with this.

Courtney Love's mom is right

Apologies for the quality of this video, but this lovely flower was too precious not to share with the world. She's commenting on a would-be ATM robber who was caught trapped inside the kiosk.

Happy Birthday Neil Patrick Harris

I knew today is NPH's birthday since I follow him on Twitter (@actuallynph) and he's been updating his birthday wish list (I didn't see "Rich, please make me birthday of the day" but I'm pretty sure that was on there). But I was really relieved to see that Harris, whom I consider to be much younger than me, is turning 37. Since I am 36 (until certain websites require me to provide proof of age), that makes us about the same age.

I must have been really young to have seen Clara's Heart in the theater, but even then I knew... that Whoopi Goldberg couldn't maintain an accent for 90 minutes.

I didn't watch Doogie Howser, M.D. so my next exposure to him was in the past decade as the Emcee in Cabaret in the revival that originally starred Natasha Redgrave and Alan Cumming. I knew he played Mark in the LA version of Rent for a while, and got great reviews. He was fantastic and I need to stop saying "I saw Doogie and Debbie Gibson" when I explain which version I saw. (I've also seen a bad-ass production here in Portland starring the impossibly great Storm Large, and the yet-impossibly-greater Wade McCollum).

If you haven't seen his few scenes in Harold & Kumar Go To White Castle, click here, it's short (but I can't embed).

He's managed to parlay a whole lot of talent into some really great opportunities. But it would be great to see him get a really great role that lets him just act without all the over-the-top stuff (which I totally love, I'm just saying he might want something different).

He deserves an Emmy for How I Met Your Mother, but Emmy voters are notorious for re-awarding the same performers over and over, so if Jon Cryer's or Jeremy Piven's name is announced again, no surprise here. By the way, for people who don't understand why they need to know math, here's a great illustration.

The Emmy peeps got rid of the Individual Performance category, which he would totally have a lock on based on last year's Tonys hosting gig. Here he is, closing out the night with a song updated by the brilliant Marc Shaiman.

Happy birthday dude! Rock on! And on and on and on!

[UPDATE: Oh, fuck, I totally forgot the brilliance of Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog, but you know what, if you aren't cool enough to have seen it by now, maybe you don't need to be informed.]

Song of the Day: "The Moon and the Sun"

This is that track that greets you when you listen to Sade's Soldier of Love sequentially. It's an elegant song with some beautiful layers of music. I'm going to mention Stuart Matthewman, Paul Denman, and Andrew Hale by name since they are also members of the band that shares the singer's name. And their contributions are too easily (and wrongly) ignored.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Flashback Song: "The Crying Game"

Maybe VH1 can do some kind of superstar Celebrity Rehab by tricking some superstars former recording artists into thinking they're working on a big comeback project. I'm thinking Whitney Houston, Courtney Love (she's always eligible, even if she's temporarily clean), and Boy George are solid anchors.

Today is Boy George's birthday; he recently served 4 months of a 15-month prison sentence for assaulting and chaining a male escort to his (George's) radiator. I suppose some might see George as a cautionary tale, while others will point out George's mistake in letting him live. (Wow that sounds evil.) I featured him as a song of the day back in January, but the video I was embedding got pulled. So I'm switching to his last hit (he's released other singles but they've had much lower chart positions, if they charted at all), a collaboration with Pet Shop Boys (they produced) used in the 1992 Neil Jordan film of the same name. It reached the US Top 20, and went to #1 in Canada (I know).

It was written by Geoff Stephens (who also wrote "Winchester Cathedral" and "There's a Kind of Hush"). The original version, recorded by Dave Berry in 1962, features a session musician named Jimmy Page on guitar. FUN FACT: Page became a successful guitar player.

I can't find a version of the 1965 hit version by Brenda Lee, but I did run across a little Kylie.

So there you go. Happy birthday George. And all you rent boys, do NOT do an out call with him. You've been warned.

Quote of the day

UPDATE: Jack and Becky both corrected me on the office for which Rand is running
(h\t Joe Conason at Salon)
"Uh, you know, never..."--Rand Paul, Tea Party-backed Republican candidate for Senate from Governor of Kentucky

Dr. Rand Paul, in addition to representing the future of quasi-Libertarian, Tea Party politics in America, is also a practicing board-certified ophthalmologist. Except that he's not.

I mean, he's all those things, if you think it's okay to make your own board of ophthalmology specifically for the purpose of of certifying your own practice. Hey, it's what Ayn Rand would do.

You see, Dr. Paul created the National Board of Ophthalmology (based out of a PO Box) which is not to be confused with the American Board of Ophthalmology (with 16,000 members). Today's quote is Dr. Paul's response to a reporter's question about when he would address questions about his claims the he is certified by the American Board of Ophthalmology (he is not), and why he founded the National Board of Ophthalmology.

OMG, he makes Sarah Palin look smart!

Here's how I appeared to offend the guru of data visualization

Today I took a class to help me make better pie charts. In my day job work, I interpret data, and try to effectively convey that data with both words and graphics.

Because I can see data in tables with no problem, it's sometimes a challenge for me to remember that isn't true for everyone. Today's class was an attempt to hone my skills and hearing from the man himself was a chance I couldn't pass up (which is to say the company couldn't pass up for its grumpiest old analyst).

I made a joke on Friday that I would somehow offend him. So I guess people could say this was premeditated.

But I think many of you detail-oriented types will understand.

We were looking at information-rich illustrations of data. This was included as a great example (click to embiggen, but the gist is that this is a representation of every county in the United States):

It was cited because it's thorough, and allows the reader to focus on the geographies that are important to them. What stands out to you about this map?

Here's what stands out to me about this map of the United States: it's missing 2 states. Alaska and Hawaii (aka the freak states) are completely missing and in no way acknowledged. So I had questions. Like "wtf"? (I've started to avoid using "fuck" when I can use "wtf" thanks to a helpful suggestion from my boss.)

I waited in line to ask the question, and I was genuinely interested in what he would consider a best practice around an omission like this.

And right as I asked the question, he spilled his drink on his shirt, which set off a chain reaction in which he stood up quickly, knocked over his chair, and appeared to storm off away from me (he was going to grab a paper towel). Or he was so offended by this question that he actually spilled his drink and the other actions followed.

Either way, he came back to answer my question, and apparently this incomplete visualization is just fine. I was given two reasons. For Alaska, the availability of solid data something something small denominators. I mean, I get the small denominators part, and something tells me they would be accompanied by REALLY small numerators; my understanding was the data were sparse or questionable, ergo screw representing Alaska.

And Hawaii is just so small that, pfff, why bother? Seriously, Hawaii is small, that's what I got.

FUN FACT: Hawaii is larger than Rhode Island, Delaware and Connecticut.

So if you are looking for information on how Federal stimulus funds have been allocated in Alaska or Hawaii, and it's not there, well, now you know why.

Happy Birthday Marla Gibbs

I think Marla is a success story. Some might write her off since she's known primarily as Florence, the maid on The Jeffersons, but credit where credit's due, the show ran 10 years (earning her 5 Emmy nominations), and while she played a maid, the subtle joke was that she was working for a black couple because Mr. Jefferson didn't trust white people. All things considered, the show was great for giving black actors starring roles in a show that endured, but really it was pretty "Stepin Fetchit" (Norman Lear shows seem a lot like that, each in its own way, to me--but again, at least he was making shows that put families that weren't 1950s cliches in front of America).

But here's why I love Gibbs. When the spin-off of The Jeffersons, starring her as the head of housekeeping at the St. Frederick Hotel, didn't last, she returned to The Jeffersons saying "the hotel burned down." (Far better than the circumstances around Flo's return to Alice, when, all of a sudden, there were like 4 waitresses for a diner with 8 tables).

And after The Jeffersons, Gibbs went on to star in 227, which ran 4 seasons. And she co-wrote and performed the theme song. If I've heard this before, I don't remember it, but I know that the songwriters of a prime time show's theme song tend to be well compensated thanks to how music publishing works, so this may be her most lucrative work.

It seems that, despite owning a jazz club for 2 decades, she waited until 2006 to release her first album. Here's a little taste, "It's Never Too Late."

So there you have it, a little love for Marla Gibbs.

Happy birthday dude! Rock on!

Happy Birthday Burl Ives

I don't know anything about the movie for which he won his Oscar (The Big Country). Nor did I realize (before this morning), the he recorded at least one country/western album, which won him a Grammy back in 1962.

But here's what I do know about Ives. As the voice of Sam the Snowman in Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, I grew up with him singing "Have a Holly Jolly Christmas." And if you are under 60, and spent many of your formative years in the US (and owned a television set), you did too. Or, if you are 60 or older but have children who have a television, they did, and you did by osmosis.

So while Christmas is more than 6 months away (which means only 2 months before you see Christmas stuff at Target), here's Burl's signature song.

Here are some things I just learned about Ives: the role of "Big Daddy" in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof was written specifically for Ives by Tennessee Williams. And a diner in Washington DC has a burger called the "Burl Ives" which involves 2 "connected" hamburgers, a hot dog, and barbecue sauce (click menu to embiggen).

Happy birthday dude! Rest in peace!

Song of the Day: "Coloured Woman"

Memphis had a good night at last night's Tony Awards, winning 4: Best Musical, Book of a Musical, Original Score, and Orchestration. But one of its nominees, Lead Actress in a Musical Montego Glover as Felicia, given solid odds in what became a 2-woman race with Catherine Zeta Jones, didn't fare as well.

Except she did. Because anyone who caught any of her time on stage now knows who she is.

Here she is performing a track from the Tony-winning Memphis, during an early workshop in Seattle. It's stripped down to just piano accompaniment. I think you'll find that's enough.

John and Dave are seeing this next week, so you might get notes then. I wonder how quickly I can get this added to the Cabaret with a Q song book (because watching 50+ year old white men trying to tackle this would be awesome!).

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Notes on The Tony Awards

First, some notes for CBS: It's annoying to wait for a tape delay for an awards show. If they did this for a sports thing, people would be outraged (I'm guessing). Seriously, just do it live--your west coast local affiliates will be happy to have the prime time hours available for informercials.

And stop trying to give it broad appeal by inviting any TV or pop music performer with a Broadway credit. Why not totally geek out and make it the ultimate celebration of Broadway, for Broadway's sake? Performers from Glee were good, but I don't think anyone tuned in just to see them. Or Green Day. And after Poison appeared last year, well, let's try to turn that ship around.

What works? Multiple songs from the musicals. And the descriptions of the play in lieu of a scene (the scenes aren't effective out of context).

And you'll want to get better producers for next year (the Scarlett Johansson never-ending speech set things off on a bad start).

Sean Hayes did well, and Kristen Chenoweth was a delight and stole her scenes.

Since I haven't seen any of the nominated plays, I can't judge them on their merits. That being said, there was a general consensus among the particular pool of gays with whom I watched that both Fela! and American Idiot appeared to be messes. And that if Levi Kreis looks like this, and plays the piano and sings, he deserved to win.

And for EGOT standing updates (I'm only including folks who have a different category award covered, so Scarlett and Viola Davis won't be mentioned): Denzel Washington and Catherine Zeta Jones add Tonys to their Oscar wins. Denzel has Emmy and Grammy nominations as well. It ought to be easy for both of them to fill in those slots.

And David Bryan adds 2 Tonys to the Grammy he won as a member of Bon Jovi.

Also Bon Jovi has a Grammy.

Also a member of Bon Jovi has written a musical (although it's a musical about R&B music, so not really show tunes).

And future Broadway performer Paula Abdul was the presenter for Best Choreography, and I was reminded that in addition to her Grammy, she also has 2 Emmys. So suck on that one, Bob Newhart and your 0 Emmy wins for years of great television. Next time choreograph an awards show.

Happy Birthday Rivers Cuomo

I love Weezer (but I'm sure I'm a total poser to all you hardcore Weezies, or whatever you're called), but I can't name any other person in the band. So clearly my enthusiasm is that of a middle aged man, and not the me of 20 years ago.

And I don't even know much about Cuomo. I know he went to Harvard. I think of him as the main songwriter (I will begrudgingly call him the Sting of Weezer). I know his glasses are officially part of his look, and he would totally deny that he has a look. I know he is the poster child for the word "adorkable."

And I know he (and the rest of the band) have 1 Grammy, for the video of "Buddy Holly" (the Grammys have a Long-Form and Short-Form Video category). Several more nominations, but they have the bad luck of releasing albums when Green Day or Radiohead or Beck do, and they end up with a gift bag, and that's it.

But all I really need to know about Weezer is they produce perfect pop songs. And it's easy to trivialize that, but really hard to do. So here are some favorites:
"(If You're Wondering If I Want You To) I Want You To"

"Island in the Sun"

"Keep Fishin'"

And finally, from their initially under-appreciated Pinkerton, a song I need to wake up to every morning: "The Good Life"
"…And I don't wanna be an old man anymore
It's been a year or two since I was out on the floor
Shakin' booty, makin' sweet love all the night
It's time I got back to the Good Life"

Happy birthday dude! Rock on!

N8's baby shower

Melanie and Brad are expecting, and the shower was yesterday. So I drove nearly 4 hours to spend an hour with people I don't know (also Melanie and Brad). That being said, it was a lovely shower with great food and even greater cupcakes, and how many showers include conversations clarifying the difference between plushies (WARNING: don't click that link) and furries?

This is the best picture I took of the 2 of them. I need to bring my actual camera with me to events like this, since the iPhone isn't very forgiving.

Nathaniel is due 8/08, so I'm calling him N8.

They aren't stepping up to "Danger" or "Trouble" as a middle name. Why is no one doing this?

Song of the Day: "Anyone's Ghost"

Another track from The National's High Violet.