Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Hope ~~ Inspiration ~~ Determination

Saturday, October 25, 2008


I had reserved tickets for this concert months ahead of time. I don't have much, if any, disposable income so forking over cash for life's non-necessities is something I don't take lightly. This was a necessity... I needed something that would take away my anxiety over the economy. I needed a musical fix from The Swell Season with a little help from their friends. "Music washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life." -- Berthold Auerbach

October 4th -- It was a grey, slightly rainy day in Los Angeles. A relief from the Santa Ana winds that brought sweltering temperatures to bake Southern California. The refreshing weather added just the right ambience for the Swell Season who made Los Angeles their final U.S. stop on their official Fall tour. Their music is a welcome respite from whatever ails me. I was thankful that I had a chance to see them at the Greek Theatre that day. I saw their movie ONCE (featuring their Academy Award winning song Falling Slowly) over a year ago. It grabbed a hold of me and hasn't let go yet.

The concert was like a family reunion with Glen & Mar getting support from their Frames bandmates: Colm Mac Con Iomaire, Joe Boyle, Rob Bochnik. Iron & Wine aka Sam Beam was the opening act and his gentle, casual and self-deprecating rapport with the audience was the perfect fit. I felt as if I was among friends and family. (Included in the friendly audience was Hank Azaria and Kevin Pollak, sitting three rows in front of us.)

Highlights for me--
~The raw emotion from Glen singing without the mic: Say It To Me Now from the edge of the stage. WHEW! We were all reliving the moment we first heard and saw him perform the song in Once! The audience bathed Glen with feverish applause that died down instantly as he sang the next line. Everyone immediately hushed so they could hear him.
~John Carney (director of Once and former The Frames' bandmate of Glen's) joined Glen & Mar on "Lies". The sight of the three amigos back together was pricelesss.
~The surprise appearance on stage of Richard Sherman, co-composer of a multitude of songs from Jungle Book to Mary Poppins and many more. It was a cool and charming collaboration between different generations of film music artists. I mean, who would've expected Richard, Glen and the guys singing "Supercalifragilisticexpealidocious"?
~The impromptu audience singalong of "My Girl."
~The stirring Fitzcarraldo and the anthemic People Get Ready finale.
Sigh---the night ended too soon but the memories linger.

Sites to check out:
-- High quality live recordings of The Swell Season and Iron & Wine at:
If you are so inclined, youtube also has some concert videos of The Swell Season. The quality leaves much to be desired so be forewarned...but Glen's anecdotal intros should not be missed.
--Colm Mac Con Iomaire's solo CD debut: The Hare's Corner
--The Swell Season or
--The Frames

Sunday, October 19, 2008


The dark humor joke about LA is that it does indeed have seasons: fire, flood, earthquake and drought. Others have even included more seasons: , mudslides and riots! pause ... Ha ha ... what a riotously funny joke (sarcasm overload here!)

We do have autumnal tree colors, thank you very much, and this weekend I attended a city-fied fall festival at the original Farmer's Market at 3rd and La Brea. My little niece joined us as a welcome reminder of how to keep young at heart.

People of all ages, ethnicities, economic status, political affiliations gathered together for a little hoedown of sorts. Pumpkin decorating, pie-eating contests, marionettes, wheat weaving demonstrations, yarn spinning and Americana music. There were families stressed out by their overstimulated kids, a husband who looked weary as he waited for his daughter to get her face painted, the animal lovers who adored the wallaby but were overcome by the assertive goats at the petting zoo. It was a cool way to forget about the craziness in the real world. When cynicism and mean-spiritedness run rampant, I was happy to be among people I didn't know--from places far and near, just enjoying the day. SeƱor Llama seemed to enjoy the day, too!

Thursday, October 16, 2008


Forgive me blogosphere, for I have not blogged....It's been over a month since my last post!

What's that John Lennon quote? Life is what happens when you're busy making other plans.
Well, I planned to blog every day. OK that's not entirely truthful. My lowered expectation was that I would blog at least 3 times a week. Then I got sucked in by the Olympics and then the Democratic and Republican conventions and then the start of the Fall TV season. I freely declare: "Hi, I'm Ly and I'm a TV-holic!"

Time and time again that glowing box sucks me in. Let me imitate Al Pacino in Godfather III:
"Just when I think I'm out... they pull me back in!"

Seems that the whole nation is in a somewhat collective anomie. [Pink Floyd's "Echoes" is playing on Jango; how fitting.] We're in a daze, we're in a funk, we're the walking wounded. We're drowning our worries in the boob tube goings-on.

Well, behavior modification is needed. Inactivity, passivity, negativity begone! Will power! Can we all will ourselves to be better humans, better citizens--just better, period?

I'm taking baby steps and I'll start with having the TV off right now. I'm actually blogging! Let's see how long it'll last. Hmmmm, it's almost time for Letterman.......

Saturday, September 13, 2008

MY TV FIX -- (an ongoing tale of dependence)

To fuel my telly addiction, I attended an event (back on September 10th) at the Paley Center for Media co-sponsored by TV Guide. They held fall preview parties for Fox, the CW, NBC, CBS and ABC. I ended up going to the ABC night. Pushing Daisies, Private Practice, Eli Stone and a little preview of Life on Mars were showcased.

Each night featured a panel of series talent before the preview of shows. I had forgotten about that, so I was surprised to see Paul Adelstein, Swoozie Kurtz and Victor Garber (love him!) in front of press and photogs .

The reception before the screenings was an exercise in enduring a potential feeling of claustrophobia. The popularity of the free-to-the-public event was evident in the gathering in the lobby beforehand. The close quartered hobnobbing TV fans had me traversing the throng, dodging swinging elbows and ducking under beverage glasses hoping that the imbiber was sure-handed. Thankfully, I made it through the crowd but didn't have my camera in hand to take a few pics. (You can see and read about the festivities at this site:

I hadn't watched the original BBC series Life On Mars, but I've been a fan of Jason O'Mara for quite some time and I'm happy that the American version of the show is getting good buzz.

(update -- added October 18) -- On the other hand, some of the shows highlighted at the Paley Center: Pushing Daisies, Eli Stone, and Life are having a little trouble recovering from the strike shortened season last year. I thought that the Emmy nods for Pushing Daisies would have attracted more viewers. All three shows have great male leads with unconventional character backstories, I hope their ratings will improve. Tell a friend about these shows...

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

In the span of a couple of weeks, I’ve attended screenings of films that featured Jesus as a pivotal character. Henry Poole is Here and Hamlet 2 both cover the issues of hope and faith, but in entirely differing ways.

I’m not sure what frame of mind I was in before watching Henry Poole, but I connected with the people in the story; most were living unspectacular lives with honesty and integrity while struggling with emotional or physical obstacles. My psyche was affected by the story of people clinging to hope in the face of adversity. Luke Wilson plays the sympathetic eponymous sad sack, eliciting tears from my eyes.

Hamlet 2 is an uneven mix of slapstick, satire, and cheekiness, yet I laughed nevertheless at its absurdity. Steve Coogan plays Dan Marschz, a washed up actor teaching high school drama to a motley group of kids stuck taking his class because other arts classes have been cut. Marschz believes his musical sequel to Hamlet (!) is his masterpiece; he just needs to move heaven and earth to make sure his students can perform it. Coogan tries to channel Charlie Chaplin on skates with a hint of Martin Short, Steve Martin or a more subdued Jim Carrey.

The supporting cast features audience faves Catherine Keener (perfect as Marschz's long-suffering wife), Amy Poehler (hilarious as the feisty ACLU rep), Elisabeth Shue (a ringer of a role but Shue brings her natural charm) and David Arquette (hunky but saddled with too few lines.)

One highlight was the pivotal song in the play, Rock Me Sexy Jesus, (slightly reminiscent of Little Shop of Horrors) which had me rockin' in my seat. Some of the scenes scored big laughs but with so many underlying themes (the elimination of arts courses at public schools, ethnic stereotypes, teenage angst, father & son relationships, infertility, the life of an actor, etc.), there were a quite a few misses.

Both films utilize time worn plot devices and never manage to overcome the contrivances. Whether Henry Poole tugs at your heart strings or whether Hamlet 2 leaves you guffawing , it all depends on whether you're willing to take a leap of faith.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

LES MIZ - C'EST MAGNIFIQUE -- I never knew that the mystique and appeal of the musical Les Miserables had such staying power. I attended the 3rd and last night of a staging of the musical at the Hollywood Bowl 2 weekends ago. I had expected that there would be a bunch of open bench seats and I could pick the best one. But, no way... the Bowl was packed to the nose bleed seats! I shouldn't have been surprised at the love the audience showed. I saw Les Miz about 20-some years ago when it played the Schubert Theatre in Century City when it was still there. I was so hooked that I had a friend make a tape of the original Broadway cast album and I played it non-stop whenever I drove around town. I would sing at the top of my lungs in my car (..."when tomorrow comes! ...Red, the blood of angry men...") much to the amusement of puzzled fellow motorists passing me.

Rosie O'Donnell was a scheduled cast member (no doubt in the Madame Thenardier role) but had to bow out in order to care for her son who had broken his wrist. Brian Stokes Mitchell was a wonderful Javert with a rich and commanding baritone. I loved J. Mark McVey as Jean Valjean. I teared up when he sang Bring Him Home. The biggest surprise for me was Melora Hardin as Fantine. I did not know that she had a singing background since I've only known her from her acting. She's so great as the tragicomical Jan in The Office.

Broadway may be a continent away, but the musical tradition was alive and well in LA.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

It was a little slice of small town Americana; a group of town folk gathered together in a nice community bonding experience. The fact that the town is LA is probably surprising. I went to a free screening of The Incredibles in the middle of a trendy shopping 'mall' in Los Angeles -- The Grove -- one of the busiest and most popular shopping attractions in town. [My sister and her sister-in-law took our little 'niece' who was mesmerized watching the dancing waters fountain at The Grove.]

Families and movie lovers filled bleachers and the makeshift outdoor theatre for the event which the Grove called Movies in the Park. As we approached the viewing area, I was taken aback at the size. For some reason I thought it was going to be in the Pan Pacific Park next to The Grove. The park was actually an intimate patch of lawn inside the 'mall' that could possibly fit 3 or 4 Hummers. Luckily we arrived well-ahead of the start time to set up our picnic area. Some of us on the lawn were within a yard of each other while we sprawled on our blankets and quilts. It was amazing to have so many people in a relatively small space, yet it was good vibes all around. Little ones crawled up to say hello, while a well-behaved mini greyhound tentatively tried to make friends with us.

I felt like I was picnicking with a bunch of family and friends. We had the pleasure of watching a movie under the stars, while thankfully being spoiled with creature comforts close by... like Surf City Squeeze, Barnes & Noble, restaurants, clean public bathrooms, etc. I could never have survived at Woodstock!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

THE PASSWORD IS... TELEPATHY! The CBS game show PASSWORD hosted by Regis Philbin was taping in LA for a few days and in a fit of mild adventure-seeking I decided to attend. I know, you're saying:, "that's not much of an adventure!" Au contraire, mon frere. You try navigating LA traffic, seeking a quick bite to eat so you don't faint in the TV studio, waiting in line during the summertime (anti-perspirant anyone?) and act like a professional game show audience member.

But, if you’re at all the curious sort and up for just about anything, then I say: what the heck, why not? You get a peek at behind-the-scenes professional precision and the occasional screw-up. Plus you get to see one of your favorite celebrities.

I can’t mention any specifics about what happened during the game, because all the audience members had to sign a confidentiality agreement. But since Regis was on the Late, Late Show talking about it, I guess I can at least mention something. The reason I went was to see Craig Ferguson. Or as Regis would say in his “Scottish” accent: Crrrrrrrrrrayg Ferrrrrrrrrrrguson.” But I don't want to have the wrath of the CBS legal department on my behind so all I'll say is -- they were fun, the show is exciting and fun!!

I thought I might have a good chance at winning a prize for audience members, like a T-shirt, tickets to the Laugh Factory or a spa getaway …but no, nothing, nada, bupkiss! Some of the trivia questions thrown at us were for die hard game show viewers. And I thought I had a pretty good knowledge of pop cultural trivia. I groused: "Why didn't they ask something like: what was the name of the pig in Green Acres?" My sister looked at me, her jaw dropped and she said, "OHMYGAWD! I was thinking the same thing!" We just had a sibling mind-meld!

Guess I had an adventure into the twilight zone ...

Wednesday, August 06, 2008


One of the joys and perks of living in Los Angeles is the magical legendary and historic Hollywood Bowl. Even if you can't afford to attend the LA Philharmonic concerts, you can still enjoy their musicianship before the show. Rehearsals are not open to just a secret society; the public is welcome and I took advantage of this free look at the professionals at work and play. The run-through starts at about 9:30 am; get there early and you'll be able to snag one of the boxes in the shade. Otherwise, don't forget to bring a hat, an umbrella or sunscreen. Bring your binoculars but not your cameras. No photography or recording is allowed.

Driving up to the entrance of the bowl, you were already clued into the fun that would await inside. The marquee set the tone as it played up the cheekiness of the star by describing him as "Eric Idle --Baritone-ish".

The people who gave us Spamalot are also part of the brain trust behind Not The Messiah (He's a Naughty Boy) at the Bowl on August 2nd and 3rd. It's an oratorio with conductor John Du Prez at the helm along with Eric Idle as his comrade in merrymaking and naughtiness. The LA Philharmonic, Pacific Chorale, LA Scots Pipe Band and 4 fantastic vocal soloists were all outstanding. The oratorio is based on the Monty Python movie Life of Brian.

There was plenty of irreverent humor (much of it pointed at the current administration) that also gently teased the tenets of religion. I can't say first hand that I know how the movie was received back in 1979 when it was released, since I did not see the movie at the time. I admit sheepishly that I wasn't hip to the genius of Eric Idle and his fellow Pythoners. All I can say is that Not The Messiah is hilarious and not offensive or controversial to me. Perhaps its a sign of the times or else the medium and the music soften the blow of the barbs. Oh and speaking of sheep...a trio of singing, sheep puppets made a fleecy appearance.

Who would think to write an oratorio with bagpipes, sombreros, bleating sheep, plus a new hybrid musical instrument made by fusing a leaf blower and an organ, and a sing-along of Always Look On the Bright Side of Life??? ... it's not a surprise. Just leave it to an Idle mind.

Friday, August 01, 2008

I had been toying with the idea of heading over to the Hollywood and Highland complex yesterday. Mariah Carey was appearing in a free concert sponsored by Samsung as part of their Summer Krush Concert Series

She was set to perform a 35 minute set at around 8:00 so I figured if I really wanted to get a good bird's eye view, I would just hang around the 2nd level of the complex and read or write while I wait. I knew there'd be a heck of a lot of people so I planned to be there around 3 pm.

Well, after sweeping the driveway and putting in some work in front of the computer, I decided to rest my eyes for a quick catnap before making the trek to see Mrs. Cannon. Uh... my body had vetoed that decision--no way was I going to have the physical or mental energy to deal with crazed fans. It was Zzzzzzzonkarooni City for me! Thank goodness I wasn't all that keen to fighting the crowd because I learned later that her concert was airing on Jimmy Kimmel show -- yippee, I didn't miss anything.
(it'll probably be online later at:

And the crowd was HUMONGOUS; numbering about 2000 or more, according to the LA Times & Todd Martens (image by Todd Martens)

Summer Krush indeed!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

This pic is taken from ShakeMovie: Caltech's Near Real Time Simulation of Southern California Seismic Events Portal.

My dog wasn't acting overly crazy pre-quake, but luckily she was asking to go outside for her bathroom break. While walking her, the shaker happened and I didn't feel it...hallelujah! I've had my share of temblors, thank you very much Mother Nature.
I didn't watch too much TV coverage. I understand wanting to cover a story from many angles, but oversaturation and overanalyzation by the news networks can drive you crazy. Just reading the US Geological Survey's synopsis is both puzzling and descriptive: "The moment tensor showed a mixture of thrust and left-lateral strike-slip faulting on a plane striking 43 deg east of north, forming a high angle to both faults."

Things to do list (after the quake of 2008):
  • get anxiety medication, instead of calming my nerves with chocolate
  • make sure I have a disaster plan
  • replenish disaster kit
  • Thank God no one was seriously injured
All I want is a peaceful, easy feeling --- pleeeeez.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Rock & Art -- Linkin Park guitarist Mike Shinoda has an exhibit of his art at LA's Japanese American National Museum entitled Glorious Excess (Born). I didn't know too much about the singer/guitarist's art background and learned that he studied illustration at Art Center College of Design . But even though you may not have a chance to see his art in a museum setting you can view some of it on his website:
I love seeing the different artistic sides of musicians, for example:
Grace Slick
Joni Mitchell
Tony Bennett
To quote Academy Award winner (for original song "Falling Slowly" ) Glen Hansard: "Make Art!"

Getting out the 'Vote' via blimp -- Thursday July 24th was the day of the Hollywood premiere of Swing Vote -- the new Kevin Costner flick about what would happen if a presidential election came down to one person's vote. A big red carpet shindig took place at the El Capitan Theatre that evening but earlier in the day, a noise in the sky got my attention. It was the Outback Steakhouse's Bloomin' Onion (that's truly the name!) blimp with a big ole ad for Swing Vote on its side. Hmmm... the use of a medium that is propelled by 'light gas' is amusing to me. Even though there are some of my favorite actors galore in this movie (Dennis Hopper, Nathan Lane, Stanley Tucci, Judge Reinhold, Kelsey Grammer, Mare Winningham, etc.) honestly, I don't know if I wanna plunk down $11 to see a fictional yet probably funny film in the theatre when I am watching history in the making--the real deal--right now for free.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

SPACED INVASION -- The British are coming, The British are coming--actually they've already landed in the form of the American DVD release of the BBC series Spaced. When I found out that Simon Pegg was the lead actor of this series, I knew it had to be funny. I caught the first episode on BBC America but that's all I've seen (I know, I know--where have I been?) ... it's hilarious...hooray for the DVD and the extras. The director and stars of Spaced are on a nationwide tour to publicize the release and they stopped into LA on July 24th for a free screening at the ArcLight Hollywood of 3 episodes and a Q&A session moderated by director Kevin Smith.

The line for the ArcLight screening stretched west down Sunset Blvd. and snaked down Ivar Ave. (across from Amoeba Records). Thank goodness it wasn't sweltering, like it was at the NY screening, while my comradess-in-arms (my sister) and I waited somewhat patiently. Some of these fans were die hard astute queuers as they came prepared with portable outdoor/sports folding chairs. Earlier, some of these same lucky fans went to Kevin Smith's shop (and haven for comic lovers), Jay and Silent Bob's Secret Stash, to get their SPACED DVDs autographed. The dude in the ArcLight line behind me saw Edgar Wright (the director of the series & Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, etc.) checking out the merchandise and chatted with him for a bit. You can see what the scene was like there and more interesting videos/photos, etc.
on the Spaced site:

The people in line were all pretty cool, if somewhat a bit rascally. Whenever someone would pass by and ask what the line was for, one guy would reply "Mamma Mia"! Even though my knee was complaining about the standing around part, I was glad to know that I'd soon be in air conditioned comfort. And just when I thought I was going to have an anxiety attack, a little murmur was heard toward the end of the line. Wha?!? It was Edgar, Jessica & Simon strolling down the line saying hi to everyone and high-fiving! Phooey--my fangirly giddiness prevented me from whipping out my camera and getting a quick snapshot!!! So much for getting a close-up of Simon. What I did notice and appreciated was that Simon dressed like he was meeting up with a group of friends by sporting casual summer clothes. You could also see evidence of solar exposure as his skin was now a lovely 'kissed by the sun' pink.

: "Hey, wasn't that Jonah Hill who walked by?" I wasn't sure if he was going to the end of the line or maybe he was just walking past us to go to Amoeba Records or Charcoal restaurant. I choose to believe it was the former.

(whisper-whisper): "Hey wasn't that the director of Michael Jackson's Thriller, Blues Brothers, etc. etc.
John Landis?" I smiled at him in the lobby after the Q&A. I wasn't sure if he was at the ArcLight for another movie or for Spaced, but after reading on Simon's website, I find a 'fan letter' from Landis.

I could go on and on about how funny Kevin, Edgar, JessicaHynes and Simon all were but then this post would be crazy long. The evening ended on a sweet note with Simon asking us to say hi to his wife because they were celebrating their wedding anniversary --- AWWWWW!!!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008


not have to pay the $550,000 fine originally levied against them by the FCC for the Janet Jackson wardrobe malfunction debacle. Four years after the "did I just see that?" moment, federal judges ruled that the FCC:
"acted arbitrarily and capriciously" in penalizing the network for a "fleeting image of nudity."
Hmmm... is the FCC's iron fist grip and command over the airwaves weakening? Something tells me that George Carlin is laughing at the FCC's woes and saying "#@$&%^!?"$.

Soon after that Super Bowl boob tube incident occurred, there was such a shakeup in the modus operandi in broadcasting. CBS was hit with a lot of public backlash, FCC fines were raised, plus radio and TV personnel alike were watching their Ps and Qs for fear of being fined. But after the FCC setback, now the questions remain:

  • Will radio stations and TV networks be emboldened and air racier, more controversial material?
  • Will the FCC reassess their policies?
  • Will radio stations and TV networks be able to find the right balance between reflecting current culture while showing common decency and listening to public decree?
  • Will I ever find out why there was a huge stone statue of a foot on Lost? (oops scratch that)
I guess we just have to stay tuned to the 'same bat channel, same bat station.'

HOLY ASSAULT CHARGE -- Speaking of the bat... Christian Bale was arrested for the alleged assault of his mother and sister! What?... say it ain't so. I'm reserving judgment on this until I hear the whole story. I've been a fan of Christian's since the Empire of the Sun and I like that he doesn't seek the limelight outside of publicizing his film work. He's pretty low-key in his private life, so this was surprising. But then again, there are many families with secrets. Hope everything turns out okay for all concerned.

TWO THUMBS OUT -- Okay, maybe I'm resistant to change but I'm sad that Ebert & Roeper aren't continuing with their AT THE MOVIES review show. Even though Roger hasn't been on the show for quite some time while recovering from surgery, I still watched Siskel's replacement Richard Roeper and whichever guest reviewer had the unenviable task of subbing for Ebert. I'm trying to stay open minded and will await the new incarnation of the show with Ben Lyons and Ben Mankiewicz. Looks like Disney/ABC is looking toward getting younger viewers, but no mention of the change was seen on the show's webpage today:
Do I think the two Bens will have what it takes to influence moviegoers? I have my doubts now, but they'll probably do fine. I hope the new show doesn't devolve into clip show, with the hosts serving as mouthpieces for the film studios. Or I hope it isn't going to feature a "smackdown" between various critics instead of a serious review of movies. We already have too many Entertainment Access Extra Insider type shows... please let this not be another one.
You Snooze You Lose -- Depriving oneself of sleep is never a good thing. You wake up groggy and drag yourself through your morning ritual like a sloth. And the results from scientific studies keep pouring in about how lack of sleep can lead to health problems. But, do I listen? Noooooo, I keep trying to pack in as much as I can throughout the day just to be on top of things. No one can do everything they want to do; they'd have to be a superhero to do that. Speaking of which... I didn't go to see The Dark Knight over the weekend. Fighting the crowds isn't my idea of a fun time. Although, going to the ArcLight where you can buy your tix online and pick the seat you want conquers that problem. You pay a bit more for the perks but I still didn't want to feel claustrophobic with the hordes of people that were clamoring for a look at the film.
Sunday -- day of rest, re-energize and recharge... and to salute golfer Greg Norman who finished tied for 3rd at the British Open. He's 53, that's 3 decades and 3 years older than Chris Wood who finished tied for 5th. Score one for the 'elder statesman.'
Aarrgh... I just realized that I missed watching Act 3 of the Dr. Horrible Sing-Along Blog (made available on July 19) and now it's not online for free! Phooooooey! I can still get it via iTunes for $3.95 but ... drat! So I snoozed and lost my chance to see it for free. It's 1:45 am right now ... I think I should go to sleep, perchance to dream.

Maybe in my REM state, I'll have finished all my work, done all my reading, watched all the movies, shows, DVDs--done all my writing.... yeah right-- IN MY DREAMS! zzzzz-

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Saluting the ‘Vast Wasteland’* It was Emmy Award nominations day today ( However, I refuse to agree wholeheartedly with Newton Minnow’s description of TV*. I found a lot to enjoy this past television year.

So many nominations and so many categories … the Academy favorites this year are:
John Adams with the most nominations—23 in the mini-series category, 30 Rock garnered 17 for the comedy series and Mad Men with 12--with the most drama noms .

My favorite category is Outstanding Comedy Series. 30 Rock’s 17 noms are the most nominations for a comedy in 1 year! The Office (with 8) never fails to make me laugh while also making me cringe at Michael’s idiocy. And I’m glad to see the innovative, funny, visually addictive, sweet (but with some bite) series Pushing Daisies get 11 nominations. The cast is stellar and the premise is a killer!

More and more each year the cable networks are making inroads with Emmy voters with attention grabbing shows like , Damages, The Tudors, In Treatment, etc. While the free TV major networks seem to play it safe, either with cookie cutter comedies, procedural dramas or reality shows.

OK, now that I’ve satisfied my hoity-toity side, let’s lighten up and let me contradict myself and show my plebian side … yay ... nods for my guilty pleasures: Neil Patrick Harris (Have you seen him on Hilarious!) , Lost, NCIS, Project Runway, Top Chef, Grey’s Anatomy, So You Think You Can Dance and Dancing with the Stars, etc. ..

Hmmm… I'm not a TV addict, I'm not a TV addict! -- 'they tried to make me go to TV rehab and I said No, No, No.'

PATIENCE DID NOT PAY OFF THIS TIME (sad smiley face goes here!) -- So much for trying to get into a free screening of KENNY. I should have known that an LA Weekly promotion would attract so many people who thought to get to the Sunset 5 Laemmle theatre about 1-1/2 hours ahead of time. The word on KENNY is that it's a smash Australian film. The first rave quote is from Michael Moore.
Just knowing that Kenny is a porta-potty rep/delivery man conjures up all sorts of wacky possibilities. Well, not getting in put me in a cr*ppy mood! (Ugh...the punster rears its ugly head! I better stop this bathroom humor quick or else this blog is going down the toilet! Ugh again!)

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

When most people think about Hollywood, the things that come to mind are movies, stars, and make-believe. But on July 9th, people who work, worship, rent, live or volunteer in the Hollywood area came together for a good ole neighborhood 'block party'. OK, maybe not the suburbian type of get together--this one was held at the Hollywood and Highland courtyard. Sponsored by the CIM Group and Cirque du Soleil as well as collaboration with the Hollywood Hills West Neighborhood Council -- it was a great night to get involved in the Hollywood community and have a voice for its future. Wine, soft drinks, hors d'oeuvres and dessert gave us energy to dance to the Latin rhythms of the Luis Cruz Beltran orchestra. Ole! And the young and young at heart enjoyed the play area put together by Cirque du Monde--who with the artists of Cirque du Soleil joined in the celebration as a kickoff to the show they'll present in their new home the Kodak Theatre. It was nice to feel more united in a world that's so often disconnected.
I tried walking the tightrope --- woo hoo I made it across ... with a lot of assistance, of course. Others tried jump rope, juggling, and balancing on a ball. All the Cirque du Monde talented 'circus members' were very patient and all ages were able to join in the fun!
The Doctor from the Cirque Du Soleil Las Vegas production of LOVE and his hypnotic gaze.

The rhythm is gonna get you...

Junior ballroom champs were unexpectedly asked to perform (thus the informal wardrobe). Nevertheless, they whipped around the dance floor, strutted their stuff just like the couples on So You Think You Can Dance. Bravo!

The sign at the Cirque Du Monde play area

The Hula Hoop never goes out of style.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Ukuleles Rule! Stopped in at a free concert presented by the Japanese American National Museum and Ali Lexa, host of Ukulele Spotlight on KPFK 90.7 FM. The courtyard of the museum was the scene as all ages and ethnicities were lovin' every minute. Comic relief and emcee duties were handled by King Kukulele and he made sure we were smilin' and laughin'. Proceeds from the concession stand (sushi, salads, snacks and even brewskis) helped to support the museum. (I wanna see their new exhibit featuring art by Mike Shinoda from Linkin Park. )

What a cool showcase for different styles of music being played on the ukulele! From multi-instrumentalist Brittni Paiva -- dang she's good--and Abe Lagrimas -- flying fingers! Even NY was represented by the group The Moonlighters who brought with them a 20s and 30s jazz/swing vibe.

The last performer, and the one I wanted to hear the most, was Paula Fuga who's starting off a short West Coast July 2008 tour and later joins Jack Johnson on his tour . Her myspace page ( shows pics of her with Jack, Ben Harper and Willie Nelson from Jack's Kokua Fest.

Her voice is so soothing to me! She sang Country Roads (the song she recorded with Johnson) and ended her set with her hit Lilikoi (sour and sweet, like love) Listening to her music was like I was being transported back home. Sigh! I guess I better take my ukulele out of its case and start playing!

Hooray for Hollywood! Sir Michael Caine has cemented his place in Hollywood lore and joined the cavalcade of stars in front of Grauman's Chinese Theatre. Today's hand and footprinting ceremony was well overdue. The color of the cement was notable in that it's yellow and was used only one other time -- for Marilyn Monroe.

With 2 Oscars (Hannah and her Sisters & Cider House Rules), over 100 credits (according to imdb), the man is a legend. At the age of 75, some people would be seeking bridge tournaments or bocce ball games. But Michael (he seems like a down-to-earth gentleman--hope he doesn't mind me calling him by his first name) has not retired and is still one of the best in the business. He's got a wicked sense of humor but doesn't seem to take himself too seriously. I mean, any actor who can go from Alfie to The Man Who Would Be King to Dirty Rotten Scoundrels to Austin Powers: Goldmember (!), etc. etc. is something truly special.

And now it'll be great to see him as Alfred and the way he again handles Bruce Wayne/Batman. Can't wait to see Christian Bale and Heath Ledger in The Dark Knight with the knighted one himself. Have a great weekend everybody!

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Movie distributors are torturing me. Who has the money, not to mention the time, to see all the summer movies? Luckily, I was invited to a pre-release screening of KABLUEY. Hmmm...what the heck is that, you may ask? A cutesy way of describing something blowing up? Well, in the vernacular of the 'kids' today: (slang: to get big or popular really quickly)--KABLUEY should definitely 'blow up'!

The cast was excellent—each and every one. I didn’t know much about the film beforehand so I was happily surprised to see some of my favorite actors Lisa Kudrow, Christine Taylor, Conchata Ferrell, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Chris Parnell, and most welcome Teri Garr! But ultimate kudos to writer, director and star: Scott Prendergast. Not only was his script hilarious and poignant, his direction was assured and did not get in the way of the telling of this all-too true story of America today. I don't want to give anything away about the plot or what/who Kabluey is -- but I love Kabluey! I want a Kabluey plushie to hug when I'm blue. KABLUEY opens in LA July 11th and will be released to more cities throughout the summer. You deserve a laugh -- go see KABLUEY when it arrives in your town!

Monday, July 07, 2008

Welcome to LyWood. I'm just gonna jump in and blog away...hopefully it'll be coherent ...

We've just celebrated our 232nd birthday here in America -- swimming, grilling, picnicking and fireworks. Hope your pets weren't traumatized. The occasional whistling fireworks turned my dog into a cowering, whimpering wreck. Watching the choreographed cascading sparks accompanied by music from Josh Groban to Luciano Pavarotti to John Phillip Sousa, I'm struck by the thought that people actually make a living with computer programmed controlled explosions. "Hi--I'm a professional pyro."

Another big weekend for Will Smith. You could've predicted Hancock would do well on the 4th of July weekend. The reviews weren't overwhelmingly great but when you put Big Willie with stunning Charlize Theron and the hilariously witty Jason Bateman --wow, a $108.33 M haul! Holy action anti-hero! A year ago Will filmed several scenes on Hollywood Blvd. The blvd. was closed for all sorts of mayhem -- crashed cars, destroyed streets and fleeing pedestrians -- and you could tell then that it was gonna be a crowd pleaser.

The LA premiere (July 2nd) was all that is fun and special about Hollywood yet at the same time a bit excessive. But a big red carpet shindig was a welcome respite from the ills of the world. I would venture to say the premiere wasn't a 'green' affair what with all the lights shining down on the stars. Will & Jada and kids, Charlize & love Stuart Townsend, Jason and wife Amanda. Plus more stars, many sitcom veterans of the 20th century. Sinbad, Damon Wayans, Chi McBride, Tia Mowery, Tisha Campbell, Tatiana Ali, Justine Bateman ,Valerie Bertinelli and her Jenny Craig co-hort Queen Latifah looking good. Throw in the expectant Minnie Driver, the Cheetah Girls, Chris Daughtry and wife Deanna, T.O. (Terrell Owens), Tyson, and Diddy (who zipped by photogs and ET/Access Hollywood) being one of the latest arrivals and everyone looked ready to have a good time.

Hopefully everybody had a good time this past weekend-- onward and upward. Chat with you next time.