Wednesday, January 20, 2010


I rode the bus today. I am embarrassed to admit this, but it was the first time I ever rode the bus. It made me feel great to use public transportation and stupid to have never done it before. But-and this may be the point-it doesn't matter, really, when you get on board, so long as you do. It's like the Sigg bottle. I have access to free bottled water and didn't really give much thought about stuff in plastic until two years ago. I was so impressed by a very cool musician's use of the Swiss bottle that I headed right out to Whole Foods and picked up a few. Now I'm in, I'm all in. The Sigg and I can be found most days poolside. I got there, eventually.

I like to walk. Always have. In fact, back in the 90's, when my office was merely a mile from the casa, I'd make the trek to work on foot 50% of the time. Now it's like a desert here so I'd leave early, using my car during the blazing Summer, but the Spring and Fall is for taking it to the streets.

I make a point to walk a minimum of a few miles everyday. I'll march down to Barnes & Noble, usually roam the Boulevard Mall and often wander around on the way back home. I've never sashayed and haven't traipsed in years but walking briskly is definitely -and defiantly-my thing.

I wish more people walked. I do. When you pass others on the sidewalk, there's usually a nod and sometimes even a smile. I mean, we're all in this together, no? You may be quick to flip-off someone while driving but on foot, it's rare.


Several years ago I sang at Johnny Depp's club in West Hollywood. The Viper Room. I had written a song that some thought was cool (and he thought was kitsch) and after my performance I had a nice conversation with Mr. Depp. Two drinks worth of great chit-chat. We talked about music, what was eating Gilbert Grape and then-for whatever reason-I told him that, while it's often too damn hot to walk in Las Vegas, whenever I'm in Hollywood I make it a point to hoof it. Johnny nodded, grinned and said, "Me too. I love to walk. Walking is great for your butt." So there, a major movie star told me that I have a nice ass, or at least that's how I choose to remember it.

This morning's mistake was wearing a spotcoat and tie. I mean, it's not like I dressed especially for the bus. I had a meeting; the reason I didn't drive is unimportant. I slid the two bucks into the thing and took the ride. Many of my fellow passangers were regulars, on the way to work. I think some may have been headed to doctor's or methadone clinics. Everyone but me used a pre-paid pass. It was convienient and made me wonder why more people don't use public transport. For many, it's the right thing to do.

I got there, eventually.

Thursday, January 14, 2010


There is no doubt-and I mean not one single doubt- that JAY LENO is one of the best comedians of his generation. But-and for whatever reason-there is no recent evidence of that fact. No kidding.

JAY LENO has been coming on televison earlier- and dumber-coming off like a big dope, louder than a reverberant announcer doing a local car commercial. And what's all that yelling after delivering the punchline, backhanding his palm as if to say, "This is a joke." When you strike oil, stop drilling. And if you happen to hit a dry hole, then shut up. Shut the fuck up. I mean, have you ever seen a Carson monologue? You know your voice is amplified, right? Thanks to sound engineering, we CAN hear you.

Jay scares me. He does. I've actually found myself recoiling from the set more than a few times recently. And why in God's name set up every bit, every time? The other night, coming back from break, he is seated with a panel of recognizable comics. It was obviously 'Chelsea come lately time' yet Jay still felt the need to read some weary intro "explaining" that he and the panel were about to comment on current topics in the news. No kidding! Good thing you told us upfront, otherwise we'd never know what was up. "Welcome to McDonalds. If you name some food items you'd like to consume and then pay the amount requested, I will hand you those selfsame items in a sack...with a paper napkin."

Come on. You're being mean, and that's not like House of H20.

No kidding, but if I see a fine athlete not trying, I scream. Even if I took the under or bet the other way all together, I freak out. It isn't mean. It is dismay. It is disappointment.

Do you remember in 2004 when JOHN KERRY announced that he was running for president? Many of us thought he would be elected. "Wish that it were." Great guy JOHN KERRY, a legitimate war hero. Then, the Senator would go out campaigning, talking like a wanna-be patrician, blowing it for himself. That's why I'm dismayed at Kerry, and Leno. No kidding, I'm pissed. You see, JAY LENO is a very very funny man, and not just stand on the star and read the cards funny, either. He is likeable funny, a guy who knows, in his gut, what's working, and what isn't. And what a team he was surrounded by- the best and the brightest of the comedy world. No kidding, I am laughing right now thinking about a Daylight Savings routine one of those young Turks performed on an early Leno program. It was hip, subtle and authentically funny; an instant classic.

The Jay Leno Show is cancelled? No kidding! Leno lost without ever really being in the game.

The best interviewer on television is Ellen. JIMMY KIMMEL is by far the hippest and most relevant. And it turns out that Conan is the classiest of them all. CRAIG FERGUSON- a really great writer-published an interesting biography in which he confesses that, when doing his talk show, he dreams that he's JOHNNY CARSON. DAVID LETTERMAN is Johnny but Jay? He's like that senator with the long face. And he could have been so much more- no kidding.

Saturday, January 9, 2010


You know, like the song says, "It ain't easy."

I've been looking for a song. One song. That ONE song, ya know?

These days everyone has an iPod with loads of tunes. All kinds of songs. And I happen to believe that this is the greatest thing to happen to pop music since the guitar pick. I mean it. Just ask any kid what's on his iPod and he'll answer, "Everything." And it is.

So, in an age where the choice of tunes doesn't have to be limited, everyone's playlists have become inclusive, extensive and eclectic. I love that. I mean, I believe in music.

There's a very talented singer named SERGIO VELLATTI, a young guy with a strong Sinatra/Buble sound who also has an interesting YouTube collection of great standards. Sergio lists among his favorites some very rare Frank Sinatra recordings, tracks that, up until recently, only Ol' Blue Eyes' biggest fans knew. And it's not uncommon for young musicians to list THE VELVET UNDERGROUND among their favorite bands, which is crazy, considering that back in the 60's that music was hard to find. But now, a click, and the once unfamiliar becomes an ordinary favorite. That's weird. I mean, What Goes On, ya know?

As the 00's (or whatever they were) ended, radio, television and magazines all chimed-in, logging the best songs of the past decade. The only list that mattered was Rolling Stone's as they are the only credible voice left in this gossip-filled world. But here's the thing: it's almost easy to name favorites when so much music is so easily available. RS limited theirs to the Top 50. Others listed the Best 100 albums ever. But that's too easy. Sometimes you have to go your own way, right?

My question is: Name one song.

You know the feeling- your family has gathered for the holidays and someone says, "Hey, put on some music." Great. Grandma is half-deaf and Grandpa hates rock. Mom's been missing Pop for serious so you gotta be careful not to play a song that will make her burst out in tears. You know your sister's favorite: BEN JELEN, but that may have more to do with hair and cheekbones. So, like that cool song asks, "Where do we go from here?"

There are certain songs that can go over okay with a disparate group of people, but most of those hits hit some as nostalgic and others as ironic. And there are several songs that are kitsch but that's just German for inferior, really. I'm looking for one great song. I know, one may be the loneliest number, but that's life. What one song has that very special ability to hit everyone in essentially the same way?

Any ideas?

Now I really want your suggestions. This is important. But don't just send the song that you bang your boyfriend to, um, unless of course there's a video.


There's a guy who goes around to concerts and, at just the right moment, calls out a request. Every time, at any show, he makes the same single plea. "Play 'Free Bird'!" It's funny.

On 11-11, a friend who knows I'm crazy about JACKSON BROWNE, sent me a YouTube video of Free Bird being requested at a JB show. What's funny is that, while it is common for fans to call out for songs, there's no way Jackson can possibly fit all of his own top songs into one show let alone entertain the hits of LYNYRD SKYNYRD. What was REALLY FUNNY was that he did it, he sang 'Free Bird' in such a sensational way that everybody loved it, him.

When I was in school, I hosted a weekly radio show, produced by TONY ANZALDO. I had just kicked pop music keester on NBC's NAME THAT TUNE and had written lyrics to a semi-popular song my own self. And so, I took a job as a local 'live' DJ, playing music in the disco of a themed restaurant. Um, yes, I said 'disco.'

The thing is, I really didn't know what to play. The older folks (in for the early bird specials) competed with the younger couples on the dance floor while a good share of singles packed -in around the bar. What the hell do I play? RAY CHARLES is cool. Very cool. 'Smoke On The Water,' is harmless. Tedious but harmless. But what else? I would usually ask the leggy cocktail waitress what she wanted to hear and then, while that stupid song was playing, I'd go to the very cool bartender who didn't know shit about music but did know how to make a helluva drink. Every night, I'd approach the bar and he'd ask, "You want a Coke or not a Coke?" 'Not a Coke' was my favorite, and he and I'd get a snootful and/or, as the kids say, cronk on the regular. After three 'Not a Cokes' I'd be three sheets to the wind (or whatever) and then wouldn't sweat the selection, but I'm telling you- it is important. Oh, and I'm not drunk. I'm serious.


How about these:

(in no particular order, except alphabetical)

American Pie
Billy Jean
Born To Run
Every Breath You Take
Good Vibrations
Let's Get It On
Like A Rolling Stone
Mack The Knife
Stairway To Heaven
Take It Easy
You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling

Like I said earlier: HELP!

What songs are missing? What song do you love? If you help me, I'm Yours, you know that, right?

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Tuesday, January 5, 2010


Wow- look at the time! It's Idol time. A new season of AMERICAN IDOL is upon us.

Do you know what my favorite time is?

It isn't then or there. It's here. My favorite time is magic time. Let me explain.

There's a moment when I'm filled with a sense of wonder and awe. Here in Las Vegas, there's a special feeling that rises up as the sun dims behind the mountains and the neon starts to glow on the strip. Night has come to the desert. You can feel the excitement and anticipation. It is electric for serious!

I get chills. I do. Chills, as the lights dim and the curtain rises. I feel it as I open a menu or slide in a new CD. Magic lives in the popping of a cork and in the clinking of the glass. As the 21 dealer with a King showing turns up his hole card, you really feel it .

Do you know what excites me?

The past?


The future?

No way.

The exhilerating present is where all the real action is.

I taped an interview with SAMMY DAVIS JR. a year before his death, for a yet-to-be-completed book on Las Vegas entertainment and, when I asked his favorite of all of his hit records, Sammy quickly replied, "The NEXT one." He made it clear that we are part of a great show business tradition and that I should honor that. But, he told me, "What's next is what's important. It's what's exciting." I've never forgotten that.

A couple years ago, we launched a show review website and I wrote a few hundred full-on critiques. Now it's way too easy to find something you don't like or can't quite understand. But, if you want to be fair and honest about it, you need to take it all in and do your best to absorb what's happening at that moment. I'll always remember sitting in a theatre surrounded by thousands of mostly teenage girls screaming for singer/magician DARREN ROMEO. Did the audience like him? No. They loved him and that moment was what it was all about. Magic time for serious.

Thinking of exciting magic, I recently watched video from Guatemala of a handsome young magician named JOSE MIGUEL GONZALEZ. The faces of the pretty girls in the audience said it all. And in that space between "What's he going to do?" and "How did he do that?" lives wonder and bliss. Jose is a cool guy.

When I see talent- real talent- I am filled with awe. Awe, and I mean that.

ANTHONY SOUMIATIN, an accomplished young performer and the son of multi-talented parents, runs a great website: FANTASTIC TALENT. When you want inspiration, go to:


As American Idol begins a new season, wouldn't it be cool to be able to know who is going to win? Come on, I know you're curious. I'm happy to tell you how. It's easy.

Watching the talented singers compete on American Idol fills me with hope, the selfsame hope I feel whenever I'm in the now.

Do you want to know how? Here's what you do: When you watch the performers, do so with an open heart. I mean it- be open to what is happening then and there. Don't even wonder what they may have done wrong or what they might do better, because that is rubbish from the past and folderal of the future. No sir, stick with the present. That's where the magic is. Do your best to set your judgments aside and let the performances move you. Keep track. Make notes. Talk with your family, your friends. If you're honest with yourself, you'll know the top two or three finalists by the time the show moves to Hollywood. You will, you'll see.

I asked an artist friend of mine if he knew what time it was. "It's now," he said.

Wow- I'll be damned if it isn't!

Sunday, January 3, 2010



When you live in Las Vegas, every night is New Year's Eve and it's Happy Hour round the clock. Often, the drinks are free. That's how I know I'm NOT a drunkard. I am nonetheless a roaring alcoholic beverage drinker. You however? I'm not sure that you may not have a drinking problem. Was that too many negatives? Sorry, mate.

Sit down and let's try to sort it all out. Oh, and have a drink.

Why am I drinking? Well, I'll tell you. I'm drinking because I'm not Superman. You see, tonight, a very nice lady in the elevator just had to tell me -even though she was sure that I hear it all the time, that I look just like Superman. Well, not Superman, but the actor who played Superman. And no, not the one on the WB either, because that would have been way too flattering. No, the guy who did the movies, the nice man who ended up in the wheelchair after that terrible horse riding accident.

Here's the thing: you should be careful when you tell someone-especially a complete stranger-that they resemble a well known public figure. It's just weird.

I've been mistaken for famous people a time or two. Once, after hours of hard partying, a paparazzi- type guy mistook me for CHARLIE SHEEN. The funny thing was he was close. Real close. You see, Charlie was standing three feet from me at the time. He was in shades and a cap and couldn't stop laughing. I thought it was sort of funny, too.

The day I arrived in Branson, Missouri a young magic fan ran up to the Chevy Tahoe I was driving and asked, "May I have your autograph, Kirby?" You see, the Kirby VanBurch show is heavily promoted on billboards throughout the Ozarks but, a non-retouched, living and breathing Kirby was next to me in the passanger seat. Not feeling very flattered, I went ahead and signed the teenage boy's book anyway, adding at the bottom: "Call Me," next to a smiley face and Kirby's cell number. But that's just me, I'm a giver, ya know?

The Superman thing came on the heels of a comment made on Sirius Satellite to a national audience. Cosmo Radio has a great afternoon program, "Cocktails with Patrick" and the host is the best broadcaster on the air. He takes calls, fields questions and leads a lively discussion covering all kinds of sexy topics. Patrick is the best, but, the other day, early in his broadcast, he described yours truly as "a young Bruce Jenner look-alike." Really? Ouch.

Excuse me? Another Jack & Soda. Hey, order something. It's on me. Well, it's on the house.

Okay, where was I? Drinking, right. I have a theory. A few of them, actually. I've been thinking about drinking and for one, I'm all for it. I am an alcoholic supporter. Now it may not be politically correct to be so positive about getting hammered, but I'm down with it. I am 100% against drinking and driving but the drinking part is fine by me. Without booze, half of the world wouldn't have been born and I'm pretty sure some wouldn't have ever gotten laid.

I have friends-and others-who don't drink, who treat their bodies as temples or whatever. I admire and respect my cool Mormon friends who by their clean living set such a great example. Now there's another kind of non-drinker, those who go around holier than others, never missing a chance to criticize those of us who drink. These people are just dicks and being around them makes me not only want to drink, it makes me want to get shit faced. So, I guess there's good in everyone, you just have to look for it.

I am no secular saint but rather a gentle sinner. And, I'm cool with that.

In most places, bars have to close before a certain hour and alcohol sales must stop. There's a 'Last Call' and plenty of weary bartenders trying to think of new ways to say, "Drink up." That just makes me sad, ya know?

Do you remember that Looking Glass song, 'Brandy?' You know: "There's a port, on a western bay/And it serves, a hundred ships a day." Now THAT'S a great drinking song. Brandy, fetch another round of whiskey and wine. Man I LOVE that chick Brandy. So, try to imagine loads of Brandy's and tons of bars like the one in the song, spread all across town. Sandy, Candy, Mandy, Randy and more, all serving-up your favorite liquor. And when you've lived here as long as I have, they kinda get to know you, your drink. So I walk into wherever, whenever, and a "Jack Daniel's with as little soda and possible" just appears. (When I don't feel like drinking, I'll switch to cranberry and Absolut).

I think that you may be a drunkard but I know that I am not.

Part of the excitement of drinking is the danger of it. Like the ladies who lunch who, when the dessert cart is brought around, all say that they really shouldn't but then, after a little giggling, dive neck-deep into something frosted and fattening.

You'll never know if you'd stop drinking before you blacked out because, where you live, bars close at night and, in the morning, you'd look (and feel) weird going in for a stiffy at inappropriate hours. Not here. Not ever. People in Las Vegas work all shifts. I'll bet that your sloshed neighbors say, as they mix their martini's, "It's 5 o'Clock somewhere," right? Well, here in Las Vegas, it's whatever o'clock everywhere.

The fact that I need a reason to get blown-out is a reminder that I'm not a dipsomaniac. (Note: that's the better word. Alcoholic is best used as an adjective).


I have a great looking friend named Jonathan. Blue eyes and big bright smile. Very fit. He ran track in school. I have no problem comparing him to someone famous because Jonathan looks just like James Marsden, and if you don't think James Marsden is cool, well, you'd better leave the table and maybe go talk to the bartender. Jonathan and I had an attorney/client relationship to start and then, a year or so later, became good friends. He was the most popular bartender at a very fashionable gay bar here in Las Vegas. Now Jonathan happens to be as straight as they come but that didn't stop loads of gay guys from hitting on him. He hated that. He took his job seriously and didn't need the distraction. The great tips helped him support his child.

One night, I came into the bar to say "hi" to Jonathan and to catch a singer I'd been hearing about. There was a group of guys around the bar and as I approached, they all gave me a weird look and then scattered. I felt hated, which is weird because I love those guys and besides, I had the freshly fluffed hair and was wearing the skinny jeans and that new cologne with the naked guy on the box.

"Jonathan, what the fuck?"

"William, here's the thing. Too many guys were hitting on me. One pinched my ass the other night. The tips are great but when some of these guys get drunk, they get stupid."

"Did you tell them you have a girlfriend?"

"That made it worse, so I told them I had a boyfriend: you."

"Me? Why me?"

"I figured you'd never come here but when I saw you walk in, I pointed you out."

Jonathan handed me a Jack Daniel with absolutely NO soda. I drank it all. Fast. He made me another.

The thing is, I'm really not into being stared at- and hated on- by a dozen jealous guys. I mean, where is the love, you know?

"I'm gonna go outside, check my messages, sniff around in my car for a few minutes, kill some time, but I do want to see this singer's set."

"Will, don't worry. I'll make it right."

I come back ten minutes later and- I swear this is true- the guys mobbed me as I made my way to the booth by the stage. There was some hugging and compliments and two guys each had a drink for me. They all slid into the booth. Now I knew I was pretty much wasted but something was up. I saw Jonathan frantically waving me over to the bar. "Excuse me boys, I'll be right back- watch my seat."

Jonathan poured two Jagermeisters and explained. "So here's the thing. I told them to be nice to you because..., well, because you and I just got engaged."

We did the shots. And then some. Man! It got so drunk out that night! Turns out that those guys were just being protective of Jonathan and that's sweet, really.

The story went around and got plenty of laughs, first from our girlfriends and then later, from the guys at the bar. Me? I don't remember much of anything except waking up during the taxi ride home.

I say don't drink and drive. But drink. Please drink.

In fact, let's have another.

About Me

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My profile is considered: "HIGH" 40-ish, 6 foot-ish, slim-ish, trim-ish straight-ish, late-ish, creative-ish... I am an unashamed HETRO* *Heterochromatic(one green eye, one hazel-ish).