Tuesday, April 29, 2008

The mother of all comedies

Admittedly, it's only the end of April, but "Baby Mama" was the funniest movie I've seen all year.

I've always like Tina Fey (she's smart, she's witty, she's pretty) and Amy Poehler has cracked me up since started on "Saturday Night Live."

Since 2000 or so, the two of them (with Jimmy Fallon thrown in there for a couple years, followed by Seth Myers) were the reason I turn off "SNL" after Weekend Update, 'cause after that segment, the show lags.

So, to see both Tina and Amy finally share the big screen for the entire movie (as opposed to "Mean Girls," in which they were never in a single scene together) was a real treat.

They play off each other so well, and Amy played the white-trash part to a tee. She plays irreverent so well, and Tina (ironically) plays the uptight prude equally as well.

Three words for ya: Go see it!

Aiken makin' more great music

For those of you who remember any (or all) of my Clay Aiken coverage this past December, this one's for you:

Clay's got a new CD, "On My Way Here," set to release a week from today. (That's May 6th, btw)

Admittedly, the fan sites like Clay's Daily Double and The Clackhouse have been been on top of this long before I stumbled across it, and they've done a great job energizing his fan base much like they were kind enough to do when I was first writing about Clay's then-pending appearance here in the Hudson Valley.

Having spoken to Clay before his Dec. 8 show in Poughkeepsie, it was refreshing to hear his excitement about singing traditional Christmas songs, not to mention his sense of humor.

After seeing his concert, I wrote right here (and I quote...) Clay has the best voice of anyone I've ever seen in concert. Well, it's true; and I just listened to the title track off his new CD.

When we last left Clay, he was headed to Broadway to star in "Spamelot." Since then, his hair is a little longer, if not blonder, but one thing hasn't changed: his powerful voice. The "On My Way Here" single is very reminiscent of his "A Thousand Different Ways" release, a CD that I really enjoyed.

A fan long before I interviewed Clay (remember, I voted for him lo those many years ago on "American Idol!"), I'm sure I'll head over to iTunes next Tuesday.

Monday, April 28, 2008

"Oh, she's just being Miley..."

Just in case you missed today's New York Post, here ya go...

It seems 15-year-old Miley Cyrus (yes, "Hannah Montana" of Disney Channel fame) has posed for some pictures with famed photog Annie Leibovitz for "Vanity Fair" that were supposed to be artsy.


Honestly, it's pretty gross to ask a 15-year-old to get topless, let alone snap her picture, even if you do drape her in a bedsheet.

And what was Miley thinking? What was dad Billy Ray Cyrus (also a star of "Hannah Montana") thinking? Her management? The blame just goes on and on.

Of all today's young starlets (Miley, Lindsay Lohan, Jamie Lynn Spears ... and her older sister), it looks like Miley has the best, most stable home life: Her mom and dad are still together, shes works with her dad, blah, blah, blah.) She's as famous as a 15-year-old can be and has made a boatload of money thanks to CDs and DVDs and her "Best of Both Worlds" tour.

It seems the only reason Miley might do something like this is the same reason Jamie Lynn Spears' older sister did almost the same thing a decade ago, gracing the cover of Rolling Stone magazine (seen here). Sure, this cover* changed her persona, but Miley, is this the role model you want to emulate?

Miley and her people were quick to offer an apology, trying to quell the media nightmare:

"My goal in my music and my acting is always to make people happy. For Vanity Fair, I was so honored and thrilled to work with Annie. I took part in a photo shoot that was supposed to be artistic and now, seeing the photographs and reading the story, I feel so embarrassed."

That said, Miley made a mistake, like we all have as 15-year-olds; the difficult part is that when a superstar like her errs, it's there for all the world to see.

The more important (if not scary) question is, where were the adults who are supposed to be looking out for her? They've obviously failed her, so let's hope they, too, learn from their mistake!

*Just for the record, posting that "Rolling Stone" coved doesn't violate my "Britney-free in '08" resolution, for those of you keeping score at home!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Way up in the trees...

...live the Monchichis! (For those of you playing along at home, that's pronounced "mon-chee-cheese.")

Yes, getting ready for next month's long-awaited New Kids On The Block reunion, I've been harkening back to what else was big back during my youth, and I came across these.

My GF and I were in the Japan pavilion at Epcot at Walt Disney World back in February when I came across these furry little guys.

I looked at them with wonder as I began to sing the theme song to their short-lived '80s cartoon series. My beloved, meanwhile, gave me this look as if to say, WTF? as she'd never seen the cartoon nor heard the theme song which begins "Way up in the trees live the Monchichis..."

Anyway, just a blast from the past I thought I'd share. Enjoy!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

No! No!! Noooooooooo!!!

A week after America made the correct decision, sending Kristy Lee Cook home from "American Idol," viewers made the totally wrong call tonight.

Carly Smithson and all her freaky tattoos were voted off "Idol" tonight, now ruining my "AI" office pool!

I was voting for Carly all the way to the finals, where I was sure she'd lose to David Archuleta and all the little-girl votes he'll likely garner.

Besides the fact she was Irish, I loved Carly's voice ... so much that I spent $2.97 on iTunes downloading her versions of Bonnie Tyler's "Total Eclipse of the Heart," "Without You" by Mariah Carey and the Beatles' "Come Together."

Of all the "Idol" finalists -- male or female -- I thought Carly had the strongest voice in the field; David Cook, in my mind, is a close second. I still think she'll be able to have a nice post-"Idol" career, with sales of her debut CD sure to increase.

So, with my fav now out of the running, I must now switch my loyalty to my second-best fav, Brooke White. It was nice to see her bounce back from last night's flub and stay in the race. And really ... isn't that the American way?

I did, however, see that "Vote for the Worst" has now made Brooke their postergirl. Whatever! However she stays on the show, I'll be happy. Go, Brooke!

That said, I miss Carly already!

Give Brooke a break

So Brooke White forgot the words (she called it "lost the lyric") last night on "American Idol." So what?

In a move Simon Cowell actually called "brave," Brooke simply asked the band to start over, and she began her song again.

Yes, even though I ranted for weeks about how Kristy Lee Cook should get the boot, I'm rooting for Brooke. She's perky. She's spunky. She made a mistake last night, picked herself right back up and started all over again.

Again, I don't see her winning the whole show, but I can see Brooke getting all the way to the Final Four (which is a huge accomplishment for college basketball teams), so here's hoping just like the band, voters give her another chance when tonight's results are revealed.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

One month and counting...

It's just 30 days until the New Kids On The Block make their long-awaited return to the stage at Zootopia.

Needless to say, this will be the longest month of my life, anticipating the New Kids' first big-time concert since the spring of 1994. (As you've read here before, their first gig back will come on May 16th on NBC's "Today" show.)

So, let's enjoy the next month, shall we?

Thank you, America!

Finally, after all my ranting, Kristy Lee Cook was voted off "American Idol!"

I've received some thoughtful comments from "Sean' Space" readers who said Kristy will likely become successful in the country music genre.

That might be and I wish her luck; my whole case all along is that she was never "Idol" material, as Simon always quantifies it: The performer with the best mix of talent and commercial appeal. Kelly Clarkson, for example, set the bar and it's safe to say that no "Idol" winner since has met the mix.

If anything, it seems some of the cast-offs (including runners-up) have found that combination (see Clay Aiken, Chris Daughtry, Carrie Underwood). Still, I can see Kristy releasing a country CD and going out on her own tour.

Just, please ... no more Beatles songs!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Santa, are you listening?

Sure, Christmas is more than eight months away; but if you're reading this, St. Nick, here's the only thing I'm putting on my list this year...

The 90-foot high, 122,000-pound ferris wheel from the Santa Monica Pier in Calif. is up for sale on eBay.

There's just one bidder, who has met the opening bid of $50,000. C'mon, Santa ... I'm worth $50,001, aren't I?

Sure, it will cost you a little more, as the eBay auction clearly states: Buyer and/or winning bidder pays for all shipping and handling fees for Ferris wheel and/or supporting wheel base. But really, how much could it cost to ship a ferris wheel from California to New York? I'm sure FedEx makes an overnight envelope big enough.

Seriously, Santa ... you gave little Susan Walker a house in "Miracle on 34th Street." All I'm asking for is a ferris wheel.

Make it happen, big man!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

No, it's not all New Kids here

Just in case anyone out there was doubting my musical taste, fret no more.

Friday night, I snatched up a pair of tickets to see the Counting Crows and Maroon 5 later this summer.

I mean seriously ... I need to do something with my time between when we see the New Kids On The Block at Zootopia and when they go on tour this fall!

Friday, April 11, 2008

Going to see the New Kids!!!

Just got tickets for Zootopia, where we'll see the long-awaited return of the New Kids on the Block!!!
Now, I've been waiting since the New Kids first came out in 1988 to see them live, so here's my chance!

Along with Jordan and Joe (seen here) and Donnie, Danny and Jon, there will tons of other acts on the bill ... though the New Kids are the headliners.

Among the other performers set to play Zootopia, "Hannah Montana" herself, Miley Cyrus will be taking the stage at the Izod Center in N.J. (you might remember it as the Continental Airlines Arena or just the Meadowlands).

If nothing else, I want to see Miley just so I can say I saw her. People paid thousands of dollars to see her on her last tour. Our tickets cost less than $100 each, and I'm just viewing her as a warm-up act for the main event.

Miley's buddies, the Jonas Brothers, will also be playing Zootopia. Their latest song, "When You Look Me in the Eyes," is actually a catchy little ditty.

On a side note, today I took the first step in what could be a pretty cool opportunity regarding Joe, Kevin and Nick ... stay tuned to "Sean's Space" for more details. (Hint: The Jonas Brothers are playing at nearby Bethel Woods on Aug. 14th...)

Last season's "American Idol" winner, Jordin Sparks, is also set to perform. I like her sound in both "Tattoo" and "No Air" (with Chris Brown), and I can add her to the list of "AI" alum that I've seen live, which includes Clay Aiken, Taylor Hicks and Bo Bice.

Plus, her dad is a former New York Giant football player who used to play right next door at Giants Stadium. That's kinda cool!

Others like Sara Bareilles, OneRepublic, Simple Plan and Gavin Degraw are also set to play, making it a pretty good variety of groups, top to bottom.

See ya down under, Michael Johns!

Does anyone who watches "American Idol" read "Sean's Space?"

Can someone please explain to me how someone as good a singer as Aussie Michael Johns got the boot last night while someone like Kristy Lee Cook is still around?

Now, I didn't think Michael was good enough to win, but I thought he was like former "Idol" contender Josh Gracin: They both had good enough voices and, if they'd won, wouldn't have released just teen-pop like, say, David Archuleta. (Again, nothing against David A. ... I think he's going to win the whole thing.)

Yet, somehow Kristy sticks around for at least another week. How?! How does it happen???

Forget the millions of dollars that "Idol Gives Back" raised on Wednesday night. The most astounding thing "Idol" seems to have given is a second chance to Kristy! She should've been gone weeks ago, as soon as she ruined "Eight Days a Week."

Will this keep me from watching and voting? No. But it will make me wonder if my vote is worth anything, since somehow, some way, someone with Kristy's ability is still considered, at least, one of the seven best performers in America.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Is tonight Kristy Lee Cook's turn to go?

Seriously, I'm amazed at how long Kristy Lee Cook has lasted on "American Idol."

As I've written here before, I thought she should've been out of here long ago. (Anyone remember that horrible rendition of The Beatles' "Eight Days a Week?") Still, she somehow hangs on!

I was discussing that with a colleague here at the office yesterday when he made a good point: Kristy Lee Cook is this season's Sanjaya Malakar -- you just sit there every Wednesday night (this week, it's a Thursday) and bang your head on the TV set, screaming "Why? Why is he (in Kristy's case, she) not getting voted off???"

I mean, she seems like a nice enough girl, but she's not good enough to be in the top eight.

With that said, I can't get enough of Brooke White! She's just great! She's so spunky and fun, and she sings very well!

Sadly, she won't win because (as I've mentioned here before) all the little girls will vote for David Archuleta and making him this season's "Idol."

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

The wait is almost over!

Following months off due to the writers' strike, we're just a day away from the return of one of my fav TV shows, "The Office."

While I've enjoyed watching "American Idol" (when I can catch it) and discovering the Discovery Channel (ever watched "Deadliest Catch" or "Mythbusters"?), I've been waiting seemingly forever for the return of Pam (my fav) and Jim and Dwight and, of course, Michael Scott.

For me, the best part about "The Office" is that it's funny 'cause it's true. Everyone works with people Dwight or Michael. The type of people are the same; only the names change.

I watched last week's mini-marathon of four straight episodes, including the ever-present plugs by John Krasinski (you might know him as Jim Halpert) for his new movie, "Leatherheads," which my GF saw and said is very good. All those two hours last week did was make me yearn for tomorrow night's return.

Around 9 p.m. Thursday, I'll be looking forward to that soothing phrase that will make my world right: "Dunder-Miflin, this is Pam..."

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Remember the title: "Camp Rock"

And remember where you heard it first!

Yes, the Disney Channel has enlisted the Jonas Brothers and newcomer Demi Lovato for their latest musical movie, set to debut on the network on June 20th. Coming off the popularity of both "High School Musical" and the follow-up, "High School Musical 2," the Disney Channel is hoping "Camp Rock" will be just as popular as the "HSM" franchise, if not more successful! (That's gonna be tough)

Without giving away too many plot details, "Camp Rock" tells the story of Mitchie Torres, played by Demi Lovato, who takes an exclusive music camp by storm with her amazing voice.

The camp is for rich kids, but she's not a rich kid so her mom works at the camp so she can get in for free. Eventually, the "cool kids" find out she's not rich and, well ... we'll just have to watch the rest of the movie to see what happens.

Remember: It's a Disney flick, so I'm quite sure it ends with a happy ending!

For those of you not familiar with the Jonas Brothers, first of all: Shame on you!
No, seriously, they came here to The Chance in Poughkeepsie last August and I totally missed the boat on that one. I blogged about them coming to town, but didn't think much of it, nor did I go to the show or interview them.

Well, then ... BLAM! Kevin, Joe and Nick blew up and became the biggest group since the New Kids On The Block, opening up for Miley Cyrus (yes, the Hannah Montana herself) and her "Best of Both Worlds" tour.

Now, they're ready to go in "Camp Rock" and are set to have their own show on the Disney Channel. The show is supposed to be called "J.O.N.A.S." which is short for Junior Operatives Networking As Spies and they'll play spies in it. Look for that in September.

Friday, April 4, 2008

New Kids already announce TWO shows

Less than 12 hours after making their reunion on national television, the New Kids On The Block have already announced their first two shows in more than 14 years!

Following their May 16th performance in the "Today" show, the New Kids will appear the next night at Z-100's "Zootopia" concert and a similar radio concert, "Kiss Concert '08" at Boston's Tweeter Center on May 18th.

"Listen up everybody if you want to take a chance..."

Yes, the New Kids On The Block finally reunited this morning on the "Today" show after more than 14 years apart!
Indeed, as reported here earlier this week, Jordan Knight, Jonathan Knight, Joey McIntyre, Danny Wood and Donnie Wahlberg were unveiled (the literally dropped a curtain in the middle of Rockefeller Plaza, and the guys walked out) on the show, together for the first time on TV since spring of 1994.

Meredith Vieira played it up like it was a big surprise, but anyone who's been loyal to the New Kids (myself included!) would've known all week that they were going to be on the show.

The guys were in about the second hour of the show and unveiled the following:

* They've been recording their new album since August;
* They'll be back on May 16th to perform live on "Today";
* They'll release their new album in the summer;
* They'll tour with "limited dates so far" in the fall.

It looked like more than 100 rain-soaked fans braved the weather to see the guys, who shook a few hands and seemed genuinely happy to see the support. (Again, me and my NKOTB contingent plan on attending the May 16th concert, rain or shine!)

Also unveiled today is the new New Kids On The Block Web site, which has downloadable wallpaper and IM buddies, a new message board and a short clip of one of their new songs, "Click Click."

Having listened to "Click Click," I can tell you it sounds a lot like the music on their 1994 release "Face the Music," which was their last CD and which was put out under their "new" moniker, NKOTB.

This time, though, they are back as the New Kids On The Block (age be damned!) and will be back in six weeks to sing together for the first time in almost 15 years!

Thursday, April 3, 2008

New Kids On The Block UPDATE!!!

OK, so here's the latest in the saga of the New Kids On The Block reunion:

Some last-minute research turned up that apparently the New Kids (seen here in an old pic) are going to reunite tomorrow (April 4th) on "Today" but will not perform a live concert on the show until Friday, May 16th. Got all that?!

Now, with that in mind, a couple of my fellow New Kids fans here in the office and I will not be attending tomorrow's show since with the inclement weather due to his the NYC area, tomorrow's reunion could likely be pushed inside the "Today" studios, and thus we'd be relegated to watching the guys through the studio windows, which would stink!

If that were to happen, we'd look just as miffed as the guys do in this pic, having woken up early to travel all the way down to the Big Apple, only to get soaked ... in more ways than one!

Just for the record, here's the info that was e-mailed out by NKOTB.com on Monday afternoon...


So, now we'll see what happens tomorrow morning....

Lights! Camera! Action!

If you remember an earlier post from last May about taking a "Sex and the City" bus tour through New York City, here's a follow-up almost a year in the making.

This past weekend, I went on a similar bus tour put on by the same company, and this one was even better!

My favorite sight on the tour was the "Friends" building here, where Monica & Rachel and Joey & Chandler lived, with Central Perk downstairs. As you tell, their building isn't as large in real life as it appears on TV, and the exterior shots of Central Perk were not filmed here. It was soooo cool, though, to see the building I'd seen on the show for 10 seasons!

Among the other cool sights on the three-and-a-half-hour tour was the house used as the Huxtables' house for exterior shots in "The Cosby Show."

Yes, this is where Dr. Heathcliff Huxtable and the family called home for eight seasons. Interesting fact: The interior of the actual house is the exact opposite of what we saw on TV, as the stairs to the bedroom are really on the left as you walk in the door, as opposed to how they were on the right on the set in L.A.

The tour, though, wasn't limited to just TV show sights, as we saw many venues where movies were filmed in the Big Apple.

Speaking of big, this is the McDonald's in Manhattan where Adam Sandler ran in and yelled, "Can somebody get this kid a Happy Meal???" in the movie, "Big Daddy."

The corner where this McDonald's sits is a popular spot for filming, as right across the corner is the basketball court where Sandler and the little kid in "Big Daddy" (btw, the twins who played that little kid now star in the Disney Channel hit, "The Suite Life of Zack and Cody") first encounter Steve Buscemi as the homeless guy.

Also, on the opposite corner lies this little newsstand where one of the main characters in "Carlito's Way" stops just before that movie's climactic scene.

All in all, it was one of the best early afternoon's I've ever spent in New York City, seeing so many of the cool TV and movie sights (the Food Network studios, the café used in both "Mickey Blue Eyes" and "In Good Company," the "Ghostbusters" firehouse, etc.) around all sections of Manhattan.

Just like in the "SATC" tour, where we each got an awesome cupcake from the famous Magnolia Bakery, on this one, we each got a complimentary black-and-white cookie, the same sort of confection that broke Jerry's 14-year non-vommiting streak on "Seinfeld."

Thanks again to our tour guide, Kimberly (she's the one on the left in the Huxtable house pic), and everyone else at On Location Tours for a really cool day!

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Ramiele is out, seven to go

Ramiele Malubay is the latest "American Idol" finalist to get the boot, narrowing the field down to eight.

Honestly, I never connected to Ramiele, so I'm non-plussed about her departure. Eh! They come and go. You win some, you lose some.

Admittedly, I missed Tuesday night's performances (darned work!) and only learned of tonight's departure just now from "The Wife" of Daddy Diary fame. (Again, this job keeps getting in the way of my TV watching. Gotta watch "Moment of Truth" when I get home from the office. Don't tell me what happened.)

Still, even without seeing her song last night, I'm amazed that Kristy Lee Cook remains in the competition! Needless to say, I'm not a fan (ever wonder that if something is "needless to say," why do people still say it?!) and only her recent "God Bless the U.S.A." rendition saved her as she garnered the patriotic vote.

That said, I still feel David Archuleta, David Cook and Carly Smithson are the three best left in the field.

If the "American Idol" gods get it right, Kristy will be the next one booted off next week!

NEW New Kids pic unveiled today

Earlier today on their Web site, the New Kids On The Block released this picture:

It's the first new photo of all five of them together since 1994. The Associated Press said it was shot in Los Angeles, and a new album and world tour are forthcoming!

For those New Kids fans reading this, be sure to check out the New Kids on NBC's "Today" show Friday morning.

Bret Michaels brought "Nothin' But A Good Time" to Poughkeepsie

Yeah, admittedly, this is like a month-and-a-half later, but whatever! Better late than never...

Bret Michaels put on a great show in Poughkeepsie back on Feb. 22nd! (Yup, that's right: I go from writing about the New Kids on the Block to Poison's lead singer; it shows my eclectic taste in music!)

Now, if you can remember back to Feb. 22nd, you might remember we had the worst snow storm of the year; I mean, it was a blizzard. Well, once he got on stage, Bret made us forget about the misery outside while thanking us for trudging through it to make it to his show.

As soon as he hit the stage at around 10:45 p.m. to kick off the show with "Talk Dirty to Me," you could just see why this guy's been a rock star for more than 20 years. Between the crowd interaction and the enthusiasm Bret brought, you could tell he was grateful everyone showed up ... even if it meant about a half-full Civic Center due to the weather.

Here's Bret doing a little "Look What the Cat Dragged In"

Honestly, I was just happy to see him finally take the stage at close to 11 p.m., since the publicity material said the show was to start at 7, our tickets said 8, and just to be safe, I showed up at 7, only to sit through three warm-up acts.

When he finally did start his set, though, seemingly everyone in the place rushed the stage, making my eighth-row seat seem like less of a prize since folks from the waaaaay back just forced their way in front of me!

With that bad taste in my mouth, I decided to forgo my seat after a few songs, and watch the rest of the show from the cheap seats in the bleachers.

Considering how late it was (and how long I'd been at the Civic Center following a full day of work), I left about mid-way through Bret's set. I did, though, stay long enough to hear him belt out Poison's "Something To Believe In" and a cover of "Sweet Home Alabama."

All in all, Bret put on a really good show for everyone who was brave enough to show up. It was pretty cool to see this guy who I spoke to only three days before and was all calm on the phone turn into this seemingly bigger-than-life rock star on stage.

On a side note, even "Big John" (he of VH1's "Rock of Love" fame) was there, signing autographs and posing for pictures out in the lobby, shedding his charisma-free persona he plays on the reality show.

P.S.: Sorry, Mary in Tampa, I didn't get a chance to meet Bret after the show. I was tired!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

The New Kids ARE getting back together!!!

I got an e-mail last night directly from the New Kids On The Block's people, saying that Jordan, Jonathan, Joe, Danny and Donnie will be on NBC's "Today" show in Rockefeller Plaza on Friday morning!!!

This will be the first time they'll all been on the same stage since the spring of 1994, and I'm soooo psyched! As I wrote in a previous post, while the New Kids were my fav group of all-time, I never got to see any of them in person ... even when they did their solo projects.

That all changes Friday morning!!!

I'm not sure what they're going to sing, but earlier today, I watched four short videos, each showing different combination of New Kids relaxing in a recording studio, so something is in the works!

As you can see, the Kids have changed their logo (it's not that red one they used back in the day with all the cooky-looking letters, like that mis-shaped "O") but it looks like they're going back to the New Kids on the Block moniker after "growing up" to that horrible NKOTB acronym that accompanied their ill-fated final album.

The show starts at 7 a.m. and runs through 9, but I'm sure the die-hards will be there long before then. If you go to the New Kids' Web site, they're running a count-down clock until the show stars.

So be sure to look for me hanging out with the New Kids Friday morning!!!