Sunday, February 22, 2009

Just hung out with Moises Arias...

...and for someone who plays a "Rico," who can be a bit of a brat on the hit TV show "Hannah Montana," Moises was a very nice kid in real life.

I met Moises just prior to a women's basketball game at Marist College, where he was making a personal appearance organized by the good folks at the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference and Radio Disney, locally available on 1390 AM. Seriously, look how happy he looks here, shaking my hand. That's probably 'cause I didn't mind telling him (or, I suppose, anyone who reads "Sean's Space") that I enjoy kicking off my weekend by watching "Hannah Montana" Saturday mornings. We chatted for several minutes in between meet-and-greets in which he met hundreds of fans and signed autographs, like the one below.

We talked about everything from meeting fans across the country to working alongside Miley Cyrus to filming "Hannah Montana: The Movie."

Sean: How have you enjoyed making your first few appearances as part of the current MAAC/Radio Disney tour?

Moises: I love doing it, seeing all the kids, how they love the show. I do a private meet-and-greet before the show; all the kids ask questions and everything. There's a lot of kids here, and it's really fun, really cool.

Sean: What's it like to promote your show and see the impact it's had on kids?
Moises: It's great. I've been almost to every state now -- I've been to Kentucky and Atlanta and all over New York -- so it's been great. Plus, I get to meet everybody and travel all around the world. It is tiring, but you've just got to do it. It's what you know that happens when you put your mind to being famous, that's the whole thing.
Sean: How is Miley to work with? What's she like on the set?
Moises: She's great. She's really just like any friend. I've known her for three years, so it doesn't really seem like so much. Of course, to other kids, she's Miley Cyrus, but I've known her for a while, so it's just like hanging out with any other friend -- playing video games, just talking and hanging out. It's just regular stuff.

Sean: Did you ever think the "Hannah Montana" show would become such a big hit?
Moises: There's no way. I just thought, Oh, another regular show. Disney shows like "That's So Raven" had been successful and "Suite Life (of Zack & Cody)" and all that. But I mean I walk around and kids recognize me all the time, so it's great.

Sean: I know you've been in a few movies before, but how did you like bringing "Hannah Montana" to the big screen as a full-length movie?
Moises: Oh, it's cool. The movie is really about Miley (Stewart) going back to Tennessee. Everyone is not in the movie as much as in the show because she goes back, so it's hard to incorporate everybody going back to Tennessee, things like that. So, I mean I had a great time. I was there for a little while, a little less than a week. I had a great time because when we were filming the movie, we hadn't seen each other in like eight or nine months, so coming back was awesome. I loved seeing everybody.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Go experience "American Idol"

Just under a month before he comes to Poughkeepsie, pop-rocker David Cook was more than just a tourist today at Disney's Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World.
As you can see from these pictures, provided by Disney, the winner of "American Idol" Season Seven was in Lake Buena Vista as part of the opening gala for WDW's newest attraction, The "American Idol" Experience.

A big Disney World fan, I've been watching the attraction's progress from concept to construction, even watching some of the finishing touches being applied to the facade on our most recent vaca back in November.

In 67 words or less: "The 'AI' Experience" lets anyone audition for a spot on the daily performances at the park. Each performance takes place in an exact replica of the "Idol" studios, and a real studio audience votes on a winner. They have several performances throughout the day, with the winners coming back at the end of the day to compete for a spot on line for the next season's auditions. (Wow! That was 67 words on the dot!)

Apparently I'm not the only one who thinks it's cool, 'cause thousands of "Idol" fans packed the studio for today's official opening. They weren't alone...
Only Disney could bring all seven of the "American Idol" winners together for something like this. (Quick! Can you name which of these winners I've interviewed???)

Between singing the national anthem at a pair of minor-league baseball games, winning countless pitchers of beer in college at karaoke contests, and twice beating out 600 other peo0ple to get into "the hot seat" at the Studios' now-defunct Who Wants to be a Millionaire Play It! attraction, I might have to add reaching the "Idol" stage to my next WDW vaca itinerary.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

"Cable Guy" connects with new fan

It's scary to admit this, but here goes: Larry "The Cable Guy" has a new fan. Me? Good God, no! No, no, no!

Remarkably, my mom is now a fan of the "Blue Collar Comedy" veteran, having almost died laughing when Larry came to the Mid-Hudson Civic Center this past Saturday for a pair of shows. For Christmas, I'd gotten Dad, a big "Blue Collar" fan, a pair of tickets to Larry's 5 p.m. performance. Then I showed Dad this early performance by Daniel Whitney when he started out as a comedian before he took on his "Larry the Cable Guy" persona and southern accent. (It kinda killed the illusion for a moment.)

Now, I'd have stepped up to the plate if Mom didn't want to go, but, trooper that she is, she happily viewed it as a nice night out and sat 12 rows from the stage. I suggested she bring a book.

Several hours later, as my GF and I walked out of "He's Just Not That Into You," I listened to a giddy voicemail: Dad, of course, had a great time, but Mom was "dying laughing" the entire time! Yeah, I'm so proud.
Turns out, sitting through movies like "Delta Farce" here (which I also got Dad for Christmas) has transformed Mom: Instead of singing along to "Mandy" at numerous Barry Manilow concerts, she was cracking up to a guy whose catchphrase is "Git-R-Done."

Hey, whatever makes 'em happy, right? If nothing else, they — and the two packed Civic Center crowds the "Cable Guy" attracted — had a super night out ... and I get all the credit for buying the tickets!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

"Hannah" star will be "Pumpin' Up the Party" in Poughkeepsie

Fans of women's basketball and "Hannah Montana" will get "The Best of Both Worlds" on Feb. 22nd.

That's because actor Moises Arias, who portrays "Rico" on the hit TV show, which airs on the Disney Channel and ABC, will come to town and be the guest of the Marist College Red Foxes as part of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference/Radio Disney tour, which is making several stops throughout the 2008-09 season.

According to Marist officials, Moises will take part in a Q&A session at halftime of the Red Foxes' game against Siena, and he'll sign autographs after the game.

For those who don't follow the show, Rico can be a bit bratty — what with him being the son of the insanely rich owner of the surf shop that employs Jackson, the brother of Miley Stewart (aka Hannah herself); somehow, though, Jackson always seems to get the best of the situation toward the end of the game. Among Rico's various storylines, he's had a secret crush on Miley, and he seems to have a hunch as to her alter-ego.

Moises is part of the cast of "Hannah Montana: The Movie," set to hit the big screen on April 10th. Among his other credits, he has appeared in another Disney Channel hit, "The Suite Life of Zack and Cody," and has been a regular participant in the Disney Channel Games competitions.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

"American Idol" David Cook coming here

According to David Cook's official Web site, the "American Idol" Season Seven winner is headed to Poughkeepsie on March 10th to play for Marist College students.

When he comes to town, Cook will join fellow "Idol" winner Taylor Hicks and other "AI" alumni like Clay Aiken, Kellie Pickler and Blake Lewis, among others, who have played Dutchess County in the past year or so. The March 10th show in Poughkeepsie will be open only to Marist students, and will take place at the Bardavon 1869 Opera House. But, Sean, why the Bardavon? you ask? Well, in his contract, David stipulates each venue must hold no more than 1,000 people, thus ruling out Marist's McCann Center.

Cook's Poughkeepsie performance is part of a tour of mostly colleges beginning next Friday, (Feb. 13th) and will come nine days after he plays Mount Saint Mary College in Newburgh; that March 1st performance is open likewise only open to MSM students.

Ironically, Cook will be coming to town in early March, when I usually start watching "Idol."

In case you missed it, David Cook and his pop-rock sound beat out 17-year-old David Archuleta's pop crooning in last year's season finale.

And just for the record: I voted for David Cook last year.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

This "Yankee" book should be a dandy

Forget those late-night "Judge Judy" and "Family Guy" fixes. My weeknights this week will be filled.

That's 'cause I'll be reading all 477 pages of the just-released book, "The Yankee Years," penned by former NY Yankees manager Joe Torre and Sports Illustrated writer Tom Verducci. If you're a sports fan like my buddy Pete or myself, this is a definite must-read. If you've read any of the excerpts that have been released or listened to any sports talk radio in the past two weeks, or just been a fan of the Yankees or baseball in general since 1996, you know this book seems momentous. I can't remember the last time I've been this excited about a book ... even if it isn't autographed. And apparently I'm not alone.

I checked on Amazon last week, and "The Yankee Years" was already atop their book sales. My copy (seen here) was the last one they had on the shelves this morning at 9:45, less than an hour after they opened, and 15 minutes before the rest of the mall opened.

Part of my particular interest in the book is that I covered numerous Yankees games -- everything from spring training and the regular season to the AL Division Series, AL Championship Series and even the '03 World Series -- during Joe's tenure in the Bronx. I've stood in front of Joe's desk after games; I've even walked down the same hallway he's walking down on the cover. While my experiences inside the Yankees' locker room were sparse, for sure, I'm dying to read about what went on behind closed doors, not to mention what it was like managing the Yanks to four world championships.

So with that build-up, I'll now begin to read from "The Yankee Years:"

1. Underdogs
Joe Torre was the fourth choice. ...

No, I'm not going to read the whole thing here; that's for me to enjoy in the comfort of these cold February nights, counting the days until spring training start. Fear not: Pitchers and catchers report in less than two weeks.

So for now, if you want to want to out what Joe thinks on his time with the Yankees, go buy the book ... if you can find a copy!

Monday, February 2, 2009

From MVP to M-I-C-K-E-Y

After firmly planting his feet in the corner of the end zone last night, Santonio Holmes planted himself in Walt Disney World this afternoon.
In this photo released by Disney, the Super Bowl XLIII Most Valuable Player rides through the Magic Kingdom with Mickey Mouse, fulfilling the promise he and Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger made after last night's 27-23 win against the Arizona Cardinals: "We're going to Disney World!"

Making a Super Bowl MVP's salary, Holmes can probably afford a certain expensive souvenir that caught my eye on our most recent WDW vaca.