Thursday, February 25, 2010

I'm really sour on this "Brady" hour

Here's the story ... of a horrible, horrible TV show!
Let me just get this out there: I love "The Brady Bunch." Can't get enough of it! I grew watching every re-run countless times, got 'em all on DVD, even own five Barry Williams (aka "Greg Brady") autographs, including a signed copy of his book, "Growing Up Brady."

That said, I spent two hours of my life I'll never get back watching a simply terrible "Brady" product.

Filled with ill-conceived jokes, so-called "water follies," guest stars like Rip Taylor (no, seriously), cheesy song-and-dance numbers and plenty of sequins and rhinestones (like the one reflecting off Mike Brady's vest here), "The Brady Bunch Variety Hour" was a short-lived (thank God!) variety show, produced by Sid and Marty Krofft of "H.R. Pufnstuf" and "Land of the Lost" fame. I rented a DVD with two episodes of the show the other night, and I'm still trying to burn the memory from my mind.

The premise: For some reason, the Bradys have been given their own variety show — yes, Mike gave up his lucrative and successful architecture career — and they've moved into a new house. The best part? The "new" house they live in during the first episode is different than the "new" house in subsequent episodes! Oh, and Alice shows up now and then.

This variety show seemed doomed from the start, as "Jan Brady," played on the real show by Eve Plum, didn't even sign on for it. As such, the producers had to find "Fake Jan" (seen here with "Peter Brady," Christopher Knight), as she's now known. Eve, it turns out, had already inked a deal to star in a movie and couldn't commit to this show ... she was one of the lucky ones!Listening to the cast talk now, they say the show was a big mistake. As such, it lasted just nine episodes from 1976-77.

Now, I'd heard about this show for years, but to actually watch it was a whole other story. I mean, the first episode gave us both swimming and roller skating! (Another episode featured H.R. Pufnstuf, himself, signing and dancing!)

Admittedly, "The Brady Bunch" creator Sherwood Schwartz had nothing to with this abomination ... like Eve, he was also one of the lucky ones.
So, if you're strolling the aisles at your local video rental store, steer clear of this rotten tomato and stick with the original "The Brady Bunch" we all know and love.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

I've "Unleashed" a passion for reading

Trying to read more books in the new year, I've got a logjam of a few, including this one...

Now, try to follow this: I recently began reading "Star Wars: The Force Unleashed," which is the fictitious back-story of the popular video game of the same name. That's right: I'm reading a book based on a video game that's based on a popular movie franchise. Got all that?! And here's the kicker: The story in the book (and the video game) take place in the span between "Episode III: Revenge of the Sith" and "Episode IV: A New Hope." That's right, the book based on a video game based on a popular movie franchise takes place in between two of the popular movies! Only in the world of "Star Wars" could this happen.

Admittedly, I've never been into "Star Wars" fiction. Head into any Barnes & Noble or Borders and you'll find slews of books based on the movies' characters. I literally have one other "Star Wars" novel, of which I've only read one chapter. Again, I'm a "Star Wars" geek fan but even I have to draw a line in the Tattooine sand, right?

Monday, February 22, 2010

"U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-A!"

If nothing else, yesterday's USA-Canada game gave me some reason to watch any Olympic competition held on ice.

Now, I'm not getting overly excited about our country's 5-3 win — let's see that outcome in the medal round, and I'll be more than happy to cheer! — but it's nice to see our guys take Round 1 of the North American rivalry. While I've never been a big hockey fan, I can appreciate a win like the US's 1980 "Miracle on Ice" win over Russia 30 years ago today. Even before that, former Army head coach Jack Riley went on to lead the American hockey team to a gold medal in the 1960 Winter Olympics. And ... thanks to our success at the recent "Man Show" in Poughkeepsie, I added this Jack Riley bobblehead to my collection. (You can't see it, but behind that WPDH insignia, Riley is actually on skates. How cool is that?!)

For more on Riley, and this awesome bobblehead, click here.

Monday, February 15, 2010

I had "Hysteria" for "Electric Youth"

Since I'm recalling iconic '80s music, here's another stroll down Memory Lane...

I don't know why this came to me over the weekend, but I was reminiscing about how the first two CDs that I ever bought were Def Leppard's "Hysteria" (seen here) and Debbie Gibson's "Electric Youth." How's that for eclectic taste in music?! Sure, I'd owned records and cassette tapes (remember them?!), but these were the first compact discs I ever bought. And it get better: I bought them on the same day when I bought my first CD player back in '88, and I bought both CDs at the music mecca ... wait for it ... wait for it ... Sears! Oh, and this was back when Sears was over at the ol' South Hills Mall. Again, I have no idea why this memory came to me over the weekend.

Now, this was just a few months before "Please Don't Go Girl" was released by New Kids On The Block, catapulting them to stardom and soon making them my favorite group of all-time.

Def Leppard's "Pour Some Sugar on Me" was the main reason for buying their break-out CD, while the image of Debbie here bopping around in her videos for songs like "Only in My Dreams" and "Shake Your Love" made her sophomore release (seen here) a must-have when I was 13 years old. Admittedly, looking back now, it's like What was I thinking? but honestly, I still listen to some of the songs from both CDs whenever I stumble across them either on my iPod or the radio. And, really, I'm sure we've all bought music that years later makes us think, Seriously?!

So now that I've shared, what was the first CD that you ever bought? Still listen to it? Still even have it?

Saturday, February 13, 2010

"The movie star and the rest..."

Ginger made it off "Gilligan's Island," and she landed in Poughkeepsie earlier tonight.

Yes, "the movie star" herself, Tina Louise, was one of the celebrity guests at a fund-raiser along the east bank of the Hudson River the Grandview. The best-dressed of all the castaways was in town to help raise money for a camp in Putnam County that helps out inner-city kids, among other programs. Tina has been volunteering to teach reading to NYC kids for more than a decade. You can read more about the event in Sunday's Poughkeepsie Journal. I grew up on "Gilligan's Island" reruns as a kid and, of course, Ginger and Mary Ann were my favorites. (And by the way ... where did the Howells get all those clothes? Did they not know it was a three-hour cruise?! But I digress...) And as I grew older, Ginger and Mary Ann remain my favorites, for obvious reasons, if ya know what I'm sayin'. The Ginger/Mary Ann debate has going on for almost a half-century, since the show debuted in 1964.

So, who ya got: Ginger or Mary Ann???

Has it really been 25 years?!

Not to sound like an old fogey, but ... where has the time gone? Seriously!
The 2010 remake of "We Are The World," dubbed "We Are The World 25 for Haiti" (above) debuted during the Olympics last night, and it made me think, Has it really been a quarter-century since the original song and video came out?

I remember watching the original video (below) in my TV room when I was in middle school, when our class collected money to send to Africa to help the starving Ethiopians. A decade into the new millennium, some of today's biggest voices came together to help the Haitians affected by last month's earthquake.
Having watched them both now, I've gotta say I'm a fan of the 1985 version better. Every now and again throughout the years, I'd play a little game where I'd watch the video and try to name all the people singing in it. (Remember Kim Carnes or the guys from Toto?!)

Regardless of which version you like best, it's just nice to see celebs banding together — no pun intended — to "make a brighter day."

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

New Kids offer a memorable "Tonight"

Sometimes even when you lose, you win ... if you keep "Hangin' Tough" and you've got "The Right Stuff!"
You might remember me lobbying last month for the New Kids On The Block (my fav group of all-time) to hold their screening of their new DVD, "Coming Home," to Poughkeepsie. Well, our fair city didn't win, but my persistence paid off.

I was able to attend an exclusive, fans-only screening of "Coming Home" recently, one of only three in America the guys held. And the best part: The New Kids — that's Jordan Knight, Jonathan Knight, Joey McIntyre, Danny Wood and Donnie Wahlberg — watched the DVD in the theater with us and they held a Q&A afterwards.

Seriously, the New Kids actually sat in the audience with us, as they watched themselves on the big screen, recounting their amazing comeback and ensuing tours ... and they sat right here in these seats! Think of it as seeing a movie with the stars of the film sitting two rows behind you. Who gets that chance?! Surely you know I'd already met the New Kids back in 2008, but this was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. This was just as cool at that first meeting, but totally different since this was such a rare event.

Again, there were so many cool things about the screening event, I don't even know where to start...

After driving almost two hours and arriving to the theater five hours before the scheduled start — and yes, there were already a a dozen NKOTB fans already there! — I got to meet all the guys again, including Jordan Knight here. High-fives and handshakes abounded, as the guys were genuinely as excited to meet their fans as we were to greet them.

Even though I already had their autographs, I came prepared and hoped to grab a few more signatures.

Grabbing a seat in the front row, with a handy Sharpie marker ready to go, I was able to snag the signatures of three of the New Kids, turning this picture...
...into this picture, thanks to Joe, Danny and Jon...
But those weren't the only only autographs I walked away with that night, since the experience got even better!

Remember me talking about having "The Right Stuff" earlier? Here's why...

The gods were smiling on me as just prior to the screening, the guys' management gave away three copies of the "Coming Home" DVD that were signed by the New Kids and guess who won one? (Wait for it ... wait for it ...) I won one! Yes, even before I got to watch the DVD — and a week before it was even released for sale — I had a copy in my hand, and it was autographed by the guys! And, as this was the third and final such screening and they gave away three of these autographed DVDs at each event, I was one of only nine people in the whole world to have one of 'em! I couldn't wait to put it up for sale on eBay. (Kidding!)

During the actual screening, everyone was singing along with the songs — there was even a lil' dancing — and the New Kids interacted with fans, even tossing popcorn about the theater.

After the final credits, the New Kids made their way down to the front of the room and sat down for a half-hour to answer questions from me. It was really cool to see the guys just "Hangin'" out with us fans — no host like a talk show, no script or anything like that — and just being themselves. From thoughtful to funny, the guys gave honest answers about their 20+ years together and, in particular, the past two years that led up to everything in the DVD.

Throughout their reunion, the New Kids have made everything fan-friendly — from using Twitter and YouTube to communicate with us, etc. — and this was the epitome of that, and explains why even two decades (and lots of razzing by friends) later, I'm still a fan.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

"This Was Going To Be It"

For the second time since its release, I was blown away by the posthumous documentary, "This Is It."

I'd seen the Michael Jackson documentary when it first came out last summer then just rented last week, and I was left with the same reaction: Wow! Put aside the allegations, the lawsuits, all the tawdry headlines and his general weird-ness for 2 hours, and watch this film, and you can't help but walk away from it amazed with both Jackson's talent (both singing and dancing) and his attention to detail for his performances. The movie is as close as we'll ever get seeing inside MJ's persona, and it's a rare glimpse into what goes into planning and then pulling off a concert tour, particularly one on the scale that his 50 sold-out UK shows were going to be. From "Thriller" in 3-D to Jackson's unbelievable exit from the stage at the end of the show (check out the DVD's special features for that), it was going to be a great concert.

As I've mentioned earlier, I've never seen Jackson in concert and I really stopped viewing him as relevant years ago, but after watching "This Is It," it made me wish we could've seen how "This" really would have turned out.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

"Voices" warming up their voices

They might have just recently signed a record deal, but the Voices of Glory sure look comfortable in a recording studio.
Yesterday, the Coles' manager sent me this pic of Michael (left), Nadia (center) and Avery (right) in the studio, no doubt getting ready to record their album, which is scheduled for a summer release.

In case you missed the story about the Voices of Glory and their busy 2010 schedule in today's Poughkeepsie Journal, feel free to click here to read it.

To keep up with the Coles, you can check out their official Web site or their very own Twitter page.

Yankees Doodle Dandy

As a sports reporter, I've gotten to do a lot of cool things.

I get to spend time in the Yankees' locker room and dugout — even on the field — at Yankee Stadium before games, but this morning was a whole new (amazing!) experience: I got to stand next to the Yanks' 2009 World Series trophy! That's right: I "met" a piece of hardware today, the same trophy that Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez proudly hoisted back in November, the same trophy that just traveled halfway across the globe to Japan.

Having had my picture snapped with celebs like Darius Rucker and the guys from Air Supply, among others, is cool, standing alongside this World Series trophy was a once-in-a-life time opportunity.A baseball fan since birth who's been to several Fall Classics, both as a fan and as a member of the media, being able to snap my pic with this piece of history was simply awesome!

Think about it how long Red Sox fans waited for a chance like this. Heck, what about Cubs fans?!

The Yanks brought the crown jewel of the Fall Classic to the Westchester County Center, where a dozen or so people lined up before me this morning; they even let us in a few minutes early! We all got to snap pictures of and with the World Series trophy and spend a lil' time with "No. 27," as I call it. It was a really cool experience, and one every fan should get a chance to do. You can meet players, you can get their autographs, but how many fans to stand this close (no touching allowed, which was understandable) to the one prize their diamond heroes all strive for? Not many, I think, so I was glad for the chance to add my name to the short list.

Yeah, being a sports reporter may mean a lot of late night, but this opportunity was well worth a rare early morning!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Hemme? She hardly knew me!

Big shout-out to the folks at WPDH (101.5 FM), as well as Paul Lloyd and everyone the Mid-Hudson Civic Center for a great party!

Those two entities hooked up on Sunday to present their annual "Man Show" at the City of Poughkeepsie arena. Never been to a "Man Show" here in town? Think of it as a reverse bridal expo: There's everything for guys — food, beer, sports, music — and they even let us bring our GFs and wives to share the fun! For my GF and me, the best part is the Bud Carnival, where you play games (everything from fooseball and poker to basketball and even rock, paper, scissors) to win Bud Bucks. You collect as many Bud Bucks as you can, and then trade them in for valuable prizes.

When we went to the inaugural "Man Show" at the Civic Center, we won enough Bud Bucks to trade them for two tickets to a "Sex and the City" bus tour in New York City. Sunday's trip to the "Man Show" was just as fruitful.

Among the prizes we left with was a bobblehead of legendary Army hockey coach Jack Riley, who went on to coach the U.S. Olympic team to a gold medal in 1960. (In case you didn't already know, I love bobbleheads, like this one of Dave Price, co-host of the CBS "Early Show," who graduated from Poughkeepsie High School.)

This year, the "Man Show" even brought in a celebrity guest as part of the festivities.

Former World Wrestling Entertainment Diva and current Total Nonstop Action interviewer Christy Hemme (pronounced "Hem-mee") stopped by to sign autographs and take pictures with fans. Whilie I don't have many wrestlers' signatures in my collection — though I do have those of such titans as Hulk Hogan and "The Rock" — I couldn't help but add Christy's to my collection. Admittedly, I gave up watching pro wrestling back in the early '90s — if ya want more on sports entertainment, check out this blog — but it's hard to pass up the chance to get a celebrity's autograph.

For your own chance to meet Christy or some other pro grapplers, check out Northeast Wrestling when they come to the area over the next few months.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Look! It's the Voices of Glory story

Be sure to check out Sunday's Poughkeepsie Journal for my story on the Voices of Glory.

I interviewed Michael, Avery and Nadia Cole last month, and they were extremely excited about the future that lies ahead of them. The Highland siblings' successful stint on NBC's "America's Got Talent" last summer — they placed fifth overall, btw — established the ground work for several opportunities that will take the Coles' singing skills to thousands of fans ... if not more! The singers have already played several venues throughout the East Coast in recent weeks, and they have even more (and bigger) plans in the works, and you can read all about them in Sunday's Journal.

In case you missed any earlier "Sean's Space" posts about the Voices of Glory, you can click here.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Voices of Glory hitting the road

Check out Sunday's edition of the Poughkeepsie Journal for my story about the Highland singing group, Voices of Glory.
After meeting both Michael and Avery Cole last September, I was able to talk with all three of the Voices recently, including 10-year-old Nadia, about their future plans.

“We have to just enjoy it while the time is here,” said 17-year-old Michael, seen on the left. “We want to do this while the iron is hot.”

In case you missed my recent post, the Voices of Glory have a jam-packed 2010 scheduled, coming off their successful summer on NBC's talent competition, "America's Got Talent." Following a fifth-place showing on "Talent" in which they became America's feel-good story of the summer, the Coles will get to perform live for thousands of their new fans over the coming months. Pick up Sunday's Journal for the latest details.

One of the Coles' fans, my mom, took in a recent local concert of theirs. She said she had a great time, and even got to meet the Voices after the show!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Got my head in a (word) cloud

Want to know what the most popular terms on "Sean's Space" were last month? Here ya go...

created at

They're listed in alphabetical order, and the larger the word, the more prominent it was here on the "Space" in January.