Monday, June 14, 2010
Sunday nights are rather quiet around the casa, and I like it that way, so, hearing that the Food Network was airing a sneek-peek of their Cupcake Wars, to be hosted by my friend JUSTIN KREDIBLE, I decided to stay close to home and hearth and enjoy the program.
What I saw was THE WORST television ever, needlessly brutal, senceless and horrible in every regard. Shockingly indecent.
I haven't seen much TV lately. I mean, I do watch House M.D. over on Fox, just to try and figure out what the hell is wrong with me. After several seasons, I've concluded that whatever it is that's screwing with my vision, it isn't Wagner's disease. (It's never Wagner's, even that dopy Australian doctor with the floppy hair knows that!) But hey, I'm hep. Once I finally found the remote, I starting clicking into the double-digits.
I didn't even know that food had it's own network. Imagine my surprise to learn that basic cable includes all the basics of life: Food, Oxygen and even a network for sleeping (C-Span). There are channels for blacks (BET) whites (Hallmark) and guys who'll never get laid (SyFy). There are so many movie stations that, sometimes, for laughs, it's fun to flip around, just to watch Kevin Spacy's hairline move in and out like the tide.
I was aware that HBO airs some pretty sexy late night stuff but my remote's been acting up ever since that grease fire. Sex is one thing but violence is another (right?) and yet here we are, in the middle of Cupcake Wars.
Last night's Cupcake Wars episode was called, 'Baking Bread,' and man was it fierce. It featured Bryan Cranston as a cook who hired Malcolm as his assistant. In one early scene, ingredients were being picked up and, in the process, several people were shot and killed. It was appalling.
JUSTIN KREDIBLE plays a rather sleazy lawyer. I hardly recognized him. But he was good; Justin's always very good.
I think if Cupcake Wars is going to be successful, The Food Network should consider giving JUSTIN KREDIBLE more screen time, and, try to cut back on the bloodshed. Oh, and maybe have Malcolm man- up.
Thursday, June 10, 2010
Some wonder if they dream in color but when you live in color, the dreams will take care of themselves.
Las Vegas has a past that glows brightly and has a brilliant future for sure, but here in the now, it is unimaginably colorful. The Vegas Strip is an adult playground lit up by neon that glows like electrified Crayolas. If you're ready to paint with all the colors of the desert wind, well then come on.
Las Vegas is a valley that is completely surrounded by red. From the Red Rock Mountains in the west down to the ruddy sandstone bordering Lake Mead, the edges of the cinnamon desert seem to have been splashed-and soaked- with wine. Coming in from the south, visitors are drawn to a distant emerald glow, a green so warm you can almost feel it before you see it. The far off MGM Grand calls out to a childhood memory and the shout of 'We're off," sings in your mind. The MGM has been home to some great entertainers, huge concerts and sporting events but it's Mike Tyson spitting out a fleshy piece of ear that colors my memories tonight.
The Monte Carlo promotes classy LANCE BURTON. As you pass by, your head fills with fluttering images of white doves and then, the darkly handsome CRISS ANGEL reminds us that the magicians may perform here but that magic has always been here.
Like a gentle giant, LOUIE ANDERSON appears at the colorful castle called Excalibur. That bright star to the east is GEORGE WALLACE and, to the west, PENN & TELLER perform inside the red and blue Rio.
Down on the left, well-lit liquid fireworks spray up into the desert sky. I hear 'Claire de Lune' and see George, Brad and Matt projecting their dozens of dreams onto the Bellagio's watery show.
Next door, it's the aqua glow of Caesars Palace that warms the heart. Those famous fountains bring back memories of a white hot motorcycle stunt that came to a bloody halt. Inside was the best showroom in town: Circus Maximus, where a young house pianist, VINNIE FALCONE, accompanied the greatest Las Vegas stars, notably an Italian-American singer known by the color of his eyes. Now, as the summer wind blows in, it's those midnight blue eyes that you see, that seemed to see you. You remember TONY BENNETT in white dinner jacket, doing Caesars midnight shows, DIANA ROSS holding court dressed in colorful gowns and crazy funny HOWIE MANDELL, sending quick-witted comments sparkling into the late night. ANDY WILLIAMS opened the room, in living color and STEVE & EYDIE kept it bright right up until the end. Now there's a colosseum where a Canadian singer chirps out her titanic hit and soon, NEIL DIAMOND will sing songs sung blue. MATT GOSS adds swagger to the limelight on Cleopatra's Barge but it's Sinatra's shadow we all live in.
Rat Packers DEAN MARTIN (Ol' Red Eyes) and SAMMY DAVIS, JR (Ol' Brown Eye) lit up the Bally Grand while down at the Mirage, SIEGFRIED & ROY blended every color under the rainbow during their reign, cut short by that blood-soaked white tiger.
The Riviera, opened by the dazzling LIBERACE found a new life, thanks in part to the clever and colorful producer NORBERT ALEMAN, who brought flesh back to the Las Vegas Strip. Fans are still going crazy for his CRAZY GIRLS. And after a twenty-plus year Riviera run FRANK MARINO flew the cage and is now doing sparkling shows at the Imperial Palace. Splash, the aqua force behind the Rivera's rennaissance, is now but a drop in memory's ocean, but, some of those drops still sparkle.
REDD FOXX's humor may have been blue, but his shows combined black and white in a way that left us all color blind with laughter. Comedians ruled Del Webb's Moroccan themed north end resort back in the day and today, Las Vegas royalty SANDY HACKETT still packs them in at the Sahara.
When the King was in town, the crimson neon 'H' above the Las Vegas Hilton burned brightly. Sadly, it turned out Elvis had a black belt in pharmacology. From suede blue valium to percodan as yellow as his once Flaming Star, EP's nights were all shook up for serious, high atop that Heartbreak Hotel.
Downtown Las Vegas, once dismissed as 'Glitter Gulch' will shine brightly well into the forseeable future, illuminated by millions of LED's that light up a motorcycle thunderdome, a Golden Nugget and at least Four Queens.
The green felt jungle lives by a color code all its own. Casino chips range from red ($5) green ($25) and black ($100) up to pretty purple ($500), orange ($1000) and cool $5000 hot chocolate cheques. Some of the more tony joints play with off-white $25,000 cheques and higher but, deep down, it's all about the green.
Tonight, the Las Vegas Strip's Wynn and Encore shout 'Paydirt,' thanks to STEVE WYNN's insistance on proper glass that always glows golden and, like Las Vegas itself, never loses its luster.
Monday, June 7, 2010
'When you're born, you get a ticket to the freak show. When you're born in America, you get a front row seat."
GEORGE CARLIN had the greatest line about the freak show. May I add: 'When you're in the entertainment business in Las Vegas, you get a backstage view."
I don't use the 'G' word to describe too many people. If you're not careful, words can lose their meanings and the 'G' word is overused as it is but I think we can all now agree that GEORGE CARLIN was a comic 'GENIUS.' My older brother had all of Carlin's records and I'd play the dirty parts for my friends (I can still hear my buddy Tim Wurth quoting the Seven Words) and my theft of the newscaster stuff for routines, skits and scripts continues to this day. So imagine how cool it was to be allowed in George's dressing room, here at Bally's and, at the very end of his career, at the Orleans. My great friend, entertainment executive SAM DISTEFANO knew George his entire career and thanks to the quick-thinking comic, Sam got immediate medical treatment for a condition Carlin recognized backstage during his final gig.
I'd admitted early on to stealing his stuff and George quickly replied with a Catholic joke, slowly followed by a serious point I'll always remember: we all steal.
GEORGE CARLIN considered himself an artist, and of course he was. The intricate rhythms began on paper and right up until the very end, GEORGE CARLIN was writing. It's no secret that I have a special place in my heart for creative types, especially fellow writers. Writing is lonely. It is. Quite lonely only, later-if you're lucky-there's a payoff when your words are read by others.
I've been keeping an eye on the freak parade- from the back of the house to back stage- and it's clear that comic NICK THUNE is the closest thing we have to GEORGE CARLIN. Nick is without a doubt the most creative comic working today. Here's why:
Some people, looking for a laugh, will look at things differently but Nick SEES the world in an entirely new way and his point of view allows for authentically humorous observations.
I always laugh when JAY LENO points out the funny typos in newspapers, but, in 'Headlines,' the joke comes from someone's error. In the world of NICK THUNE, the humor is found by seeing things through the eye of Thune, by recognizing the freak show we all are a part of.
There's a character that (too) many comic actors portray these days. You know the one: the nerdy guy who doesn't know he's a nerd, a not cool guy who thinks he's got a shot with the hot babe. The audience sees humor in the view down the road; they can see disaster looming. NICK THUNE is smarter than all that, and he respects his audience too much to go there. Nick has some great routines where the comedy lies in his character's inability to admit something to himself, like that he can't get the girl, or can't accept that she dumped him and in that subtle difference lies comic genius. I mean, 'G' he's a you-know-what, you know?
People love to be entertained and audiences will always appreciate those who don't talk down to them. In comedy, that's not always easy but NICK THUNE has established himself as the kinda-nerdy boy next door who also happens to be the smartest guy in the neighborhood. And that's freaking genius!
Thursday, June 3, 2010
MARTIN SCORSESE now says he wants AL PACINO to play FRANK SINATRA in the upcoming biopic of the superstar singer. Really? Pacino? Just when they want him in, I want him out- HOO HA!
Now, I was down with LEONARDO DICAPRIO. After all, he's got the blue eyes and, five seconds into any of his movies you totally suspend your disbelief. Leo is the best actor of his generation, nobody even close, but now I'm thinking that maybe the best isn't the best way to go.
In modern Hollywood, studios think films need a huge star to 'open' them, to provide a big weekend box office, and, more-and-more, that's true, because movies today are mostly trite, predictable and stupid. But, in the case of 'Sinatra,' the story is bigger than any actor and the script, by Phil Robinson ("Field of Dreams") is sure to be epic so I say choose a cool actor with plenty of swagger, real sex appeal and authentic musical ability. I'm thinking JOSH HENDERSON.
Josh is a helluva good actor, a fine singer and a cool looking kid. Drop some weight, add a hat and Ring-a-ding-ding, baby.
There's talk of casting more than one actor to portray FRANK SINATRA at different stages, and that may well be the way to go. Throughout much of his career, Sinatra was all blue eyes, thick lips and bright smile. Ol' Blue Eyes made a name in Hollywood as a song and dance man and was linked to some of the sexiest women in the world so, for Frank's sake, cast someone who can sing, dance and has some moves!
I first ran into JOSH HENDERSON here in Las Vegas where just about everyone knew him from Desperate Housewives. After seeing every hottie in the club staring at the star I knew he had 'it,' he had heat, that magical quality that makes a person so very interesting. It wasn't long before I started a new novel featuring a character I created with the cool looking actor in mind. I mean, he has that effect on you.
Josh has proven himself a hot dancer, strong singer and winning actor. He's a sensational personality so I say:
JOSH HENDERSON is FRANK SINATRA, 'All The Way.'
- ▼ June (4)
- ► 2009 (90)