Thursday, September 27, 2007

Spending the day with Rachael Ray

That cute little smile.

The happy personality.

And the food ... oh, the food!

We'll be taking it all in live on Wed., October 10th when my GF and I head to a taping of the "Rachael Ray Show."

Now, I've had a lil' thing for Rachael since I first discovered her on The Food Network a few years ago. I thought she was so cute when I'd watch "30 Minute Meals," though I could only watch that show until she started using ingredients I'd never eat ... which is pretty much every vegetable out there! (I'm a pretty picky eater.)

My GF, being a huge Food Network fan, likes Rachael even more, so when her daily talk show began last year, I attempted in earnest to get tickets to a taping.

Having been burned by the people who set up Barry Manilow's PBS taping in NYC earlier this month (you remember that, right?), I was kind of skeptical that I'd ever hear from Rachael's people ... until I got the confirmation earlier this week.

As you can see from this pic with past guest Diddy, she's used to having guys named Sean attend tapings of her show. (Note to Pete C.: Diddy is a famous rapper, and his real name is Sean Combs. Hence the little joke!)

So I'm already practicing my "Yum-o!" and "De-lish!" and reading up on "E.V.O.O." (that's Rachael's acronym for extra-virgin olive oil) and stuff like that.

More than anything, though, I'm hoping we get to sample some of her "de-lish" food when we see the show.


Wednesday, September 26, 2007

First Gretchen, now Sara headed here

Country music star Sara Evans is set to take the stage here at the Mid-Hudson Civic Center on Sunday, November 18th at 7:30 p.m.

Her concert will come two months after Grammy-winner — and self-professed "Redneck Woman" — Gretchen Wilson likewise performed at the Civic Center. (Surely, you remember that Sept. 13th show, right?)

Admittedly, I'm not too familiar with Sara (seen at left), other than the way she left "Dancing With The Stars" last season because of her pending divorce. Other than that, I don't think I'd ever heard of her before.

Doing a little quick research, I just noticed that she released her first CD a decade ago.

Yeah, that's about all I know of her. So you probably won't see me at this show. But if you're a big Sara Evans fan or you plan on heading to her Poughkeepsie show, feel free to leave a comment and let all of us in "Sean's Space" know!

Pre-sale tickets will be made available on Thursday, from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. For information on tickets, click here.

Monday, September 24, 2007

A little bonus "SYTYCD" for ya

Having seen that that first YouTube video has been viewed by more than 1,000 of you "So You Think You Can Dance" fans in just two days, I thought I'd give you some bonus footage!

Here's some more of Neil Haskell and Sara Von Gillern doing their disco number at the opening night of the tour in Albany last Friday.

And really, can you ever get enough of that Lacey Schwimmer over there? (You saw that nice pic of Lacey and me, right?)

Thanks for stopping by, reading about the "SYTYCD" gang, and enjoying "Sean's Space."

Be sure to stop back and oh ... tell a friend!

And while you're here, click on the Odd Couple and give Sarah and Chrissie a little love.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

And I thought I could dance! (I can, btw)

Now, I don't want to brag, but I used to bust a move at many an Our Lady of Lourdes High School dance in the early '90s.

But I was nothing compared to what we saw last night, when the "So You Think You Can Dance" tour opened up at the Times Union Center in Albany!

You might know it as STYTCD for short or, if you're like I was about three months ago, you might not know it at all, but here's the jist:

Think of "American Idol" ... but instead of singing, they're dancing! (It's even produced by the same folks who bring us "AI.") Every week, someone gets kicked off the show until the winner is crowned and wins $250,000, and the top 10 finalists all go on tour.

This year's champ was Sabra Johnson, a tiny little thing who can dance like nobody you've ever seen before. "Wow! From nothing to all of this," she said right before she posed for a picture with me (at left) after the show.

Again, I never watched the first two seasons of the TV show, but it's one my my GF's favorite shows, and we spent several summer Wednesday and Thursday nights watching Sabra and her pals strut their stuff.

Hearing the tour was coming to the Capital District, I had to get us tickets and make it a happy b-day for her. Me? I was thinking of it the same way rich people take in a night of ballet at Lincoln Center ... except Avril Lavigne music was blaring and there was a pretty cool light show, complete with three disco balls.

This is third-runner up Lacey Schwimmer & me. Nice, huh?

In short, the SYTYCD kids did everything from the quick-step to samba, from contemporary to even popping and locking. Each of the 10 finalists (that's Sabra, Danny Tidwell, Neil Haskell, Lacey, Pasha Kovalev, Lauren Gottlieb, Dominic Sandoval, Sara Von Gillern, Kameron Bink and Jaimie Goowin) did a solo throughout the night, each teamed up for couples routines, and there were even several dances that included all 10 together.

Click above to watch Sara and Neil dance a lil' disco

After the show, my GF and I met all 10 of the finalists (except Danny) and she got each of the autographs on her program. She event met choreographer Jean-Marc Généreux and got him to sign it; I had no idea who this guy was, but she spotted him out of the 10,000 or so people in the arena!

The gang continues its tour throughout the northeast in places like Hartford, Long Island and Atlantic City. Not knowing what to expect going into it, I can say it was a pretty cool night out.

So ... you think you can dance???

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

She's gonna make it after all!

I got word from a reliable source that Mary Tyler Moore was in the area Tuesday, filming a made-for-TV movie.

While the details are still sketchy, apparently she was in the Village of Wappingers Falls shooting scenes for an upcoming film to be aired on the Lifetime Network.

Not knowing the specifics, if it's airing on Lifetime, I can pretty much guess the plot: man bad, woman good ... that's how they all seem to go on the network.

If any "Sean's Space" readers out there have any more info on Tuesday's filming, feel free to share with the rest of us.

No word if Mary threw her red beret up in the air on East Main Street.

Monday, September 17, 2007

A room with "The View," but not Barry

Just got an e-mail from Barry Manilow's mailing list, in which Barry explains why he won't appear on ABC's "The View" Tuesday morning, the same day his new CD drops.

Here's the message from Barry to us, his fans:

"I wanted to let you know that I will no longer be on The View tomorrow as scheduled. I had made a request that I be interviewed by Joy, Barbara or Whoopi, but not Elisabeth Hasselback. Unfortunately, the show was not willing to accommodate this simple request so I bowed out.

"It’s really too bad because I've always been a big supporter of the show, but I cannot compromise my beliefs. The good news is that I will be on a whole slew of other shows promoting the new album so I hope you can catch me on those."

Maybe Barry's not a fan of Elisabeth's first claim to fame: her appearance on the second season of "Survivor" (all that bug-eating and all) ... or it could be her right-wing political beliefs and love of Fox News. (I report, you decide!) He didn't even spell her last night correctly. Ouch!

Either way, Barry will be all over the place this week promoting "The Greatest Songs of the Seventies," including countless TV and radio interviews.

Check your local listings!

I'll be heading out to the mall early Tuesday morning to pick up the deluxe version of Barry's new CD. If anyone else buys it, feel free to share your thoughts with the rest of the "Sean's Space" faithful.

Friday, September 14, 2007

I got my miracle last night

Deadheads used to have a saying: I need a miracle. That just meant that if they were without a ticket for that night's Grateful Dead concert, they needed someone to give them a free one.

My miracle wore a cowboy hat and boots Thursday evening.

See, I wanted to see Gretchen Wilson's show at the Mid-Hudson Civic Center, but two things swayed me against it: work and the $44 price tag for a ticket.

Well, as it turned out, things were slow at the office and I was scheduled for a half-day. Getting all my work done early, I left and headed directly to Mahoney's, where WRWD was having a pre-show party and giving away four pairs of tickets.

I signed up. I waited. I had a quick drink with my friend Corinne. And I watched ... four other people win the tickets.

Polishing off my Budweiser, I sullenly walked out of Mahoney's when I heard my "miracle" asking her parents, "What am I going to do with the extra ticket?"

It seems this girl in her early 20s (I feel bad; I never even got her name) and her parents already had tickets for the show. She was trying to call a friend to go with them when I walked by.

I figured I'd take a shot. So, using my most sheepish voice and ask, "Do you have an extra ticket?"

Looking as pathetic as I could, I explained how my GF isn't a county music fan (I'm not, either, but Gretchen passes my "hot country music chick" rule) but she told me if I could get a ticket, I should go and enjoy myself.

Hearing my predicament, my sad story of woe, this person I'd never met gave me a ticket and told me to enjoy the show. I shook her hand, thanked her and went to go see Gretchen.

For more than 90 minutes, from "Here for the Party" to "Redneck Woman," she played non-stop, complete with a trailer (uh ... mobile home) and plastic pink flamingos on stage. Gretchen even pulled up two young fans — Elizabeth and Taylor — to sing one of her songs with her.

Looking throughout the crowd, I found the family that gave me my ticket and asked if I could at least buy them something to eat or drink, but they were content to know they did their good deed.

So I got to go to the show and even got a high-five from Gretchen during one of her songs. I also got to snap some pics with my camera-phone (sure, the one concert where they let you bring in cameras, and I left mine in the car, thinking they wouldn't allow them!). I wasn't sure I'd be able to take pictures until my friend Caitlin came back from the stage and said of the security guard, "It's OK. He's real chill."

More than the pictures, though, I have a great story to share. And a big THANKS again to my "miracle."

Thursday, September 13, 2007

To go to "Today" or not to go to "Today"?

Part of Barry Manilow's media blitz to promote "The Greatest Songs of the Seventies," set to drop on Tuesday, will be a performance Monday morning on the "Today" show.

So here's my quandary: Should I go?

Now, I've done the "Today" concert thing before, seeing Tony Bennett sing three or four songs back in September 2000.

As it was, I was one of seemingly 1,000 fans there, and I was waaaay in the back and could barely Tony.

First of all, I'm still a little "ticked" that I never got a confirmation e-mail back from the folks at and hence, didn't get to go to either of Barry's PBS tapings earlier this week.

Second, I traveled down to Bryant Park a few years ago to see Barry perform on "Good Morning America," and I had to take the waaaaaay-early train from Poughkeepsie, which costs like $25 round-trip.

Is it worth seeing Barry among the masses for that much, trudge back on the train and then go to work Monday afternoon?

What do you think? Leave me a comment, take the poll at right and let me know!

Photo at top right courtesy of RCA Music Group, used with permission.

Monday, September 10, 2007

What's the deal with Britney?

Now, admittedly, I've been pretty mum about my Britney Spears crush here on "Sean's Space."

Honestly, my affection for her seems to wane with every passing day or, more precisely, every passing screw-up — from the head-shaving thing to the baby-in-the-driver's-seat thing to the rehab thing.

And don't even get me started on that 2-year nightmare called Kevin Federline!

It seems the best thing she's done in the past two years is name her firstborn Sean (spelling it the correct way, I might add!), but I digress...

Did you see her last night???

Seemingly fighting to make her way through the opening "performance" at the MTV Video Music Awards — I can't say she sang her new single, "Gimme More" because she didn't sing a note — she looked horrible on stage, dancing listlessly and barely going through the motions.

And did you see what she was wearing??? Ugh! Brit, you've had two kids, it's time to cover up a little, m'dear. (Hence, I couldn't even use any pics from last night's show on this blog 'cause none of them were PG.) And was that a wig on her head?

Whatever happened to this cute little scamp we all fell in love with back in 1999? Watching her downward spiral has just been plain sad.

Having bought all her previous CDs, I'm almost embarrassed for her, watching the way things have turned out over the past few years ... almost as embarrassed as I feel telling people I've bought all her previous CDs. But again, I digress...

My buddy, Jeff, used to tell me that as a fan, I should hope Britney's career tanks. "This way, pretty soon," he'd tell me, "she'll be so desperate you'll be able to see her in Playboy!"

Now, even that thrill is gone. Now people can just log on to the Internet, which is littered with pics of Britney getting out of countless SUVs around L.A. au natural.

Is there any hope for Britney? (And what about the kids?) Will her new CD, coming out in November, revive her career?

Grasping to the last strands of my fan-dom for her, I'm just not sure.

Friday, September 7, 2007

He writes the songs...

...and he'll be singing them twice next week in his hometown of Brooklyn!

Yes, Barry Manilow, the greatest showman of this or any other generation, will tape his second TV special for PBS next Tuesday & Wednesday at Steiner Studios.

The two shows (Tuesday at 5 p.m. and Wednesday at 6:30 p.m.) will be combined into one PBS special, which will air in December. They come a week before Barry releases his newest CD, "The Greatest Songs of the Seventies."

Next week's shows are invitation-only, and moments after I got the e-mail from his fan club a week ago today, I replied. Ever since, I've been checking my e-mail feverishly, waiting for the confirmation message they said would come by Sept. 10th.

(I actually didn't want to write about this until I got definite confirmation, figuring if I blogged about it before then, I'd jinx myself. Ah, whatever!)

And so I wait...

Barry did a similar dual-taping last year, when he filmed his first PBS special, "Manilow: Music and Passion." Barry's "The Greatest Songs of the Sixties" came out at the same time, and some of the then-new songs were on that show.

That taping, though, took place at the Las Vegas Hilton, where Barry's been doing his "Music and Passion" show for a few years. Hence, the Poughkeepsie-to-Vegas trip was kinda hard to swing at the last minute.

Still, Barry won an Emmy for that PBS special last year — when we saw him play Atlantic City back in October, he actually brought the Emmy on stage with him to open the show — so I'm looking forward to two great shows!

Over the past 12 years, I've seen Barry Manilow nine times (next week should make Concert No. 10 and No. 11), from Poughkeepsie to Tampa, from Cargenie Hall to Foxwoods, and he's never failed to put on an amazing performance.

I'm sure next week won't be different. Hopefully, I'll let you know!

Photo at top right courtesy of RCA Music Group, used with permission.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Can't get enough Taylor Hicks?

Well ... the "American Idol" Season Five victor is coming back to the area.

As the special guest of Earth Wind & Fire, Taylor will be performing at the Bethel Woods Center for the Arts this Saturday night.

For those Taylor fans who couldn't get enough when he came to town on August 16th, head over to the Ticketmaster Web site, as some tickets are still available.

If you're lucky, he might sing the Beatles hit he sang here in Poughkeepsie a few weeks ago:

If you missed any of the "Sean's Space" coverage of Taylor's Poughkeepsie show, first of all shame on you (just kidding), But here's the recap anyway, with additional photos and video on each post:

Looking for a review of the August 16th show? Click here.

If you want to read Taylor's set list from that night, click here.

Click here if you want to see Taylor after the Poughkeepsie show, braving the rain to make his fans (including two new Soul Patrol-ers!) happy.

Coverage of Taylor's arrival in Poughkeepsie can be found by clicking here.

I asked Taylor your questions and he answered them in the story found here.

My pre-show, Web-exclusive story leading up to Taylor (including my interview with him) can be seen by clicking here.

Phew! I think that's about it! If you're headed to Bethel Woods (sadly, work commitments won't allow me to attend), feel free to come back to "Sean's Space" and tell us how the show was!

And if you run into Taylor, tell him Sean says hi!

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Mary Poppins she ain't

After a summer of music — from Bo Bice to The Police to Kenny Loggins to Taylor Hicks — we wrapped up the season with a cute movie last night: Scarlett Johansson in "The Nanny Diaries."

Here's the Cliff Notes version: Scarlett become an nanny for an uptight NYC family and falls in love with the cute little kid — Who wouldn't? That lil' guy was adorable! — and she tries to break him of his uptight upbringing.

Again, it was a cute movie and I liked it the first time I saw it ... when it was called "Uptown Girls." Only this one didn't star that cutiepie Dakota Fanning.

Still, I liked the movie and I didn't even mind the theme taken directly from the hit 1964 "Mary Poppins" film: A new nanny appears out of nowhere (in this case, suburban New Jersey) and brings common sense to an uppedy family.

What I couldn't stand, though, was making Scarlett's character the modern-day Mary Poppins. She floats over the Upper East Side on an umbrella. The Oscar Award-winning "Chim Chim Cher-ee" can be heard as an instrumental track in spots.

Yeah, they've touched a nerve here. Don't mess with Mary!

"Mary Poppins" has always been my fav movie. Ever since I first saw it as a kid and even had the Viewmaster cards from that flick, I've been a
huge fan.

So much so that we went to the Broadway version of Mary's story (seen here) back in March. And here's the real purpose of this entry: To tell the world how cool the play was.

In explaining how cool this show is, I'll use the same five words I've been using for the past six months to explain it to anyone who will listen...

She flies through the audience!!!

Seriously, what more do you need to know?!

Hence, after seeing both Mary Poppins on the stage (and in the air!) and then seeing Scarlett's veiled attempt to re-create her in modern times on the screen last night, I'll pick Mary every time.