Thursday, November 29, 2007

Clay Aiken answered YOUR questions!

First off, let me again thank all the “Sean’s Space” readers who submitted questions for me to ask Clay Aiken.

Less than 12 hours after I posted here, asking for Clay’s fans to submit questions for him, I received more than 100 questions e-mailed to me! My inbox runneth over.

They ranged from funny and easy-going to serious … some way too serious. (He’s a singer, remember, not a miracle worker.) They came from here in the Hudson Valley to Singapore to California to Florida to India to Mississippi ... you wouldn't believe it!

With such diversity to choose from, I tried to pick a cross-section. I had 10 readers’ submissions selected to ask Clay, but when he gave such heart-felt and thoughtful answers (you’ll see with the first one), we just ran out of time and could only to get three of your questions.

Clay was very nice, though, telling me, “I’ll talk as fast as I can to answer them, Sean!” to make sure he got to answer the last two readers’ questions before he was whisked away for another interview.

So, without any further ado, I now present three “Sean’s Space” readers’ questions and Clay Aiken’s answers to each:

Rosemary from Poughkeepsie, NY asked: Does traveling around all the time afford you much of a home life with friends and family?
Clay Aiken: I do. I’d say all told, I probably spend about five months a year at home. I spend time a lot going between Los Angeles and New York. I’d rather be working and doing something. It may be more like a month at home — after a while, I get so bored. Maybe I’m only home for two months and it just feels like five months. This Christmas, we’re going on a field visit for Unicef. It’ll be my first time being away for Christmas; Unicef doesn’t take a break. I won’t be back at my home for five months straight. That’s a bit weird. The last night I was at my home before the tour, I was in my bed and I was like, “This is the last night I’m going to sleep in this bed! I’m not going to see my house for five months!”

Anny from Toronto, Canada asked: Do you ever think about going back into teaching?
Clay Aiken: I think about it, but I don’t know if I ever will.

Khrystah from Toronto, Canada asked: What brand of shampoo & conditioner do you use to get your gorgeous hair so downright “I-wanna-run-my-fingers-thru-it” gorgeous?
Clay Aiken: I have absolutely no idea. I have someone do my hair every night on the road. I couldn’t tell you if I had a gun to my head.

And with that, Clay was off to his next interview. From previous experience, artists on tour usually spend one hour a day to do press interviews on the phone, cramming as many as they can into that hour.

No, I didn't get to ask about the new CD and its producer. Nope, couldn't get to "Spamalot" or living in NYC or if he has been taking piano lessons.

Still, Clay was very giving with his time. I was similarly very appreciative of his generosity, thoughtfully answering both my questions for the upcoming Poughkeepsie Journal story and your questions.

To compare how Taylor Hicks answered some fans' questions I posed to him during an interview back in August, click here.

So here's one final thank-you to all of Clay's fans who submitted questions and, of course, Clay himself for taking the time to answer them! C'mon back here to "Sean's Space" throughout the week for more on Clay's upcoming show here in Poughkeepsie on Dec. 8.

I'm hoping to make it to his Dec. 9 Mohegan Sun show in Connecticut, and if I make it there, look for a review the next day!

POUGHKEEPSIE JOURNAL EXCLUSIVE: Akon to face charges from KFEST incident

My colleague here at the Poughkeepsie Journal, John Barry, has just broken the news that rapper Akon (seen below in an AP file photo) will appear in Town of Fishkill court this Monday morning to face several charges stemming from an incident that occurred last June at Dutchess Stadium during a concert put on by local radio station WSPK.

Here's the crux of John's breaking report:

EXCLUSIVE: Fishkill Police file charges against Akon for KFEST stage toss

Charges have been filed against the controversial singer Akon in connection with the 15-year-old fan he tossed off the stage at KFEST in June, according to a press released issued this afternoon by Town of Fishkill Police Chief Donald F. Williams.

Charges of Endangering the Welfare of a Minor, a misdemeanor and second-degree harrasment, a violation, have been filed against Akon, Williams said. Akon is scheduled to appear at 9 a.m. Monday in Town of Fishkill Court for arraignment on the two charges, Williams said.

During the annual KFEST concert staged by Fishkill-based WSPK (104.7 FM), known as K104, a 15-year-old boy from Harriman, Orange County, was plucked from the crowd by a security guard, hoisted in the air by Akon and hurled back into the crowd.

Several messages have been left Thursday afternoon for WSPK General Manager Jason Finkelberg and Program Director Scotty Mac.

Clintondale resident Heather Idema attended KFEST with her husband and 10-year-old daughter, and supplied the Journal with video footage she took of the incident. Idema said someone in the crowd threw something at Akon, who then asked the crowd to identify that person. The KFEST concertgoer was plucked from the crowd by a security guard and directed toward Akon, who hoisted the fan onto his shoulders and tossed him into the audience.

For John Barry's complete breaking story, head over to the Journal's Web site at and check out Friday's newpaper for complete coverage.

Just got off the phone with Clay Aiken!

Like clockwork, Mary Brennan, the contact person working with Clay Aiken, called at the appointed time and I got my interview with the singer!

The cell-phone connection was crystal clear. Clay was tired from last night's show (he apologized for yawning a few times; touring will to that to ya!) but very enthusiastic and friendly. Time, though, was short, so I had to make the most of my 10 or so minutes or with Clay.

But ... of the more than 100 questions I got e-mailed to me since last night from all over the world (places from Poughkeepsie to Singapore), Clay was cordial enough to answer the THREE questions submitted by "Sean's Space" readers that I was able to squeeze in!

Honestly, I still have to digest everything and review my notes — let alone write the actual story that will appear in the Dec. 7 edition of the Poughkeepsie Journal's "ENJOY!" section, and actually do my usual work tonight — but fear not: I'll post Clay's answers to the three readers' questions here on "Sean's Space" by Friday morning.

Check back tomorrow to see if your question was one of the lucky ones chosen. You never know, Clay might have answered your question.

Now wouldn't that be a reason to say, "TGIF!" tomorrow?!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Ask Clay Aiken a question on Thursday!

In anticipation of his Dec. 8 show at the Mid-Hudson Civic Center in Poughkeepsie and his Mohegan Sun gig the next day, "American Idol" Season Two runner-up Clay Aiken is calling me Thursday morning at 11 a.m. EST.

I'll be writing a story for the Poughkeepsie Journal's "ENJOY!" section previewing the shows, and I'll also be posting some of the interview right here on "Sean's Space."

Here's where you come in ...

Just as when I interviewed Taylor Hicks, I'm going to let Clay's fans submit questions for me to ask him during our chat. I'll pick the best one and post Clay's answer right here on "Sean's Space!" How cool is that?!

(If you remember with Taylor, I was able to ask him seven or eight of his fans' questions so cross your your fingers!)

So, Clay fans, here ya go: E-mail me at and submit your question along with your first name, hometown and state. All questions must be in to me by 10:45 a.m. EST on Thursday (that's tomorrow, Nov. 29) so be creative and get writing!

Admittedly, it's kinda last-minute, but I just got confirmation about an hour ago. C'mon ... real Clay fans don't need much time to think of what to ask their "Idol!"

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

And the winner is...

...Hélio Castroneves has won the fifth season of "Dancing with the Stars" tonight.

Helio, seen here (on the right) in an Associated Press pic dancing with his partner, Julianne Hough, at an Indiana Pacers game, is probably more familiar as a race car driver than a dancer.

Admittedly, I don't watch the show, but it's nice to see someone without dancing experience take the title.

Like Melanie Brown spent all those years as a Spice Girl, dancing on stage before millions of fans. I thought the same thing when Joey Fatone was competing on the show ... he was in frickin' *NSync, for God's sake!

Anyway, it's nice to see Helio bring home the trophy for the guys. Maybe he'll take a victory lap!

Color Me Sadd

As in "sad" ... as in pathetic ... as in I'm a loser ... because I did something I'm not too proud of:

I bought two Color Me Badd songs on iTunes the other night. Not one ... two CMB songs! I'm so ashamed.

It would probably be sharing way too much to tell you I've actually seen CMB in concert ... twice! I paid to see them at the Mid-Hudson Civic Center in high school, then got free tix to see them "headline" the first-ever K-Fest; no one was thrown from the stage at that inaugural event, btw.

But back to iTunes ...

Sure, I could tell you it was late at night and each CMB song only 99 cents each and that they were impulse buys (you know, right there, near the register). Really, though, there's no good excuse for this shameful iTunes transaction. In my defense, though, I also bought good songs by good artists, including "Clumsy" by Fergie and "Stronger" by Kanye West.

But that's when it hit me ... this is the beauty of iTunes: You can buy all the crappy music you want for only $.99/song, and no one will ever know!!! It's not like walking into Best Buy and plunking down "An Evening With John Denver" and "The Best of Engelbert Humperdink, Vol. 2" (can you believe there are two volumes of his "hits?!") on the check-out counter for all the world to see.

A buddy of mine is asocial; the guy can't stand interacting with people. He thinks all this online shopping is the best thing in the world. Me? I love the crowds and the excitement of the mall, particularly now in the holiday rush. (Yes, that was me at JCPenney at 3:30 this past Friday morning). Now, though, I'm totally digging getting all my entertainment needs online.

Want to watch "Herbie: Fully Loaded"* and "Tron"* this weekend? Of course you do.

Do you want to wander aimlessly through the aisles at your Blockbuster video store looking for these gems and then enthusiastically place them on the counter, pay for them in full view of all the other customers and have them watch you walk out of the store with them in your possession? Of course you don't.

Enter, that magical Web site that allows you to rent every film Corey Haim and Corey Feldman (including the totally awesome "License to Drive"*) ever made and have those award-winners mailed right to your own mailbox without anyone ever knowing you have such crappy taste in movies. It's a beautiful thing!

So enjoy listening to those "Hannah Montana" and "High School Musical" soundtracks. Stay up all night and watch "V for Vendetta" and "The Apple Dumpling Gang" 'til the break of down ... just get your fix of bad songs and music online, so no one will ever know!

* = These are actual DVDs I've rented from in the past five months; we just watched "License to Drive" this past weekend

And just while I'm posting here for the first time in a few days, WTF happened to my pics of the Samuel L. Jackson wax statue and the Moody Blues??? And why did YouTube take down the videos that I SHOT at the opening night of the "So You Think You Can Dance" tour???

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Sam I am ... well, not really

So before getting ill last month (you've heard about that, no?!), I had to work at Madison Square Garden back on Oct. 23, covering the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference's media Day ...

... and look who I bumped into in Times Square!

Yeah, Samuel L. Jackson didn't look too pleased to see his adoring fans, huh?

Kinda looks like he's about to say that famous line from one of my new favorite movies: "I'm sick and tired of these mutha-f***in' snakes on this mutha-f***in' plane!"

(I swear, that "Snakes on a Plane" is a classic! Forget "It's a Wonderful Life" or "Miracle on 34th Street" or "A Christmas Story." Make "Snakes on a Plane" your new holiday tradition. Seriously, after the turkey and Stove Top stuffing on Thursday, gather the family around the TV, pop in the "Snakes on a Plane" DVD and begin your Christmas season right!)

Honestly, this isn't the real SLJ ... it's a life-size wax sculpture on display outside of the Madame Tussauds wax museum. Honestly, I don't think I'd ever walk in there (let alone pay money to see the stuff inside), but being such a "Snakes on a Plane" enthusiast, I had to snap the pic!

Monday, November 19, 2007

So ... how was Sara Evans???

Still recuperating (and having been out of the local entertainment loop for 3+ weeks now), I did not go see country music's Sara Evans at the Mid-Hudson Civic Center on Sunday.

Living right near the MHCC, though, I did see that her caravan took up most of the block surrounding the arena.

She had tour buses, a merchandise trailer and several more tractor trailers with equipment, all parked around the block.

I swear Sara wins the award for the most gear: Even when the WWE comes to town, complete with their ring set-up and lighting rigging, Uncle Vince and the gang don't bring as much stuff to Poughkeepsie as Sara!

So, was it worth it?

Who went to the show? How was Sara?

Really, in recent months, I've seen just about all the country music I want to, having met The Wreckers in Rhinebeck and then Gretchen Wilson at the Civic Center. Honestly, the only thing I know about Sara is that she was on "Dancing with the Stars" and that whole messy divorce thing.

So if ya went to the show yesterday, drop us a comment and let us know how it went, k?

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

I'm baaaaack!

After an extended (and unexpected, not planned) hiatus due to some medical "distress," I've finally returned to "Sean's Space" to update everyone.

Seriously, who missed me???

Without getting into the messy details, let's just say I've spent the past 2 1/2 weeks recovering from a medical condition I've had since college. I feel like I've consulted with every doctor except Dr. Heathcliff Huxtable.

So much to catch up on:

* Because of my illness, we were forced to miss out on the Moody Blues from the third row at the Civic Center. What did we miss? Good show? Were there two empty seats three rows from the stage?

* Our vaca to Disney World had to be postponed because I was sick, relegating me from going to the Happiest Place on Earth to the most agonizing place you can imagine: my parents' futon watching DirecTV 22 hours a day 'cause I couldn't get any sleep.

* Yes, "American Idol" runner-up Clay Aiken is coming here to town on Dec. 8th and, considering I voted for him over Ruben in the Season Two finals and I actually own several of his CDs, I'd actually like to go see him live when he comes to Poughkeepsie. (Mark my words: That kid is the Barry Manilow for the younger generation!)

Fear not, though, my readers. I'll be back in earnest to bring you the best of pop culture — both here in Poughkeepsie and beyond. Thanks for your patience and keep coming back to see what's new!