November 30, 2009

Tweeting From Jail?

Roger Avary, the Oscar winning screenwriter of PULP FICTION, was sentenced to a year in jail back in September for a vehicular manslaughter charge stemming from a January 2008 accident which left a young woman dead. Not exactly the most remorseful inmate, Avary had been making use of his time with some very writerly "tweets" about life in the big house that read like a screenplay-in-proress. From November 20th: "Nightly, every few hours like clockwork, a guard's flashlight beam strikes #34's face, perhaps to ensure lack of proper rest and exhaustion".
However, prisoners in California do not have internet access. Apparently, Avary was on a work release program where he had to report to jail every night and on weekends. Well, that all came to an end over Thanksgiving weekend when a judge ordered him into a higher security, more traditional prison stay. And that ended his Tweeting too.

November 27, 2009

Black Friday At Home

Today is Black Friday, which was made truly black last year when a man on Long Island died in the rush of pre-dawn bargain-crazed shoppers. This year, Wal Mart along with other big box retailers have taken on-site precautions to make sure that doesn't happen again. They've also extended Black Friday deals through Grey Saturday and Sunday. Or you can just stay and home and get the same deals...maybe even better.

This year, Amazon is going toe-to-toe with Wal-Mart and other big retailers, as has been widely reported this week. That's right--it's Black Friday online except you can shop while wearing your pajamas and not feel like a fool. So, in doing my part as not only a blogger but an American, I'm encouraging you to save the economy by checking it out below with this convenient link. Happy Holidays and click til you drop!

November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

Hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving with family and friends. At my folks, we have a huge ping-pong table that we have all the big family meals around. Just like the Charlie Brown gang!

November 25, 2009

Remembering The Train To The Plane

Before the sleek, hit-tech AirTrain service to JFK started a few years ago, there was a experimental service called "Train To The Plane" which was basically a super-express A train that ran from midtown to JFK. It ended in 1990 so I never got to take it, though I remember the signs for it on the A platform at W. 4th Street. In honor of today's pre-Thanksgiving national day of travel, my favorite subway blog Second Avenue Sagas has a piece remembering the "Train To The Plane" along with this video of it's catchy commercial. The new AirTrain is certainly much better but damn, that old one had a catchy jingle!

November 24, 2009

The Sound of Music Turns 50

There's a nice bit of history on the Times Artsbeat blog this week about The Sound Of Music turning 50.It has some cool details about the original Broadway production that opened half-a-century ago, namely that the top ticket price top was $5. Wow. No wonder there were so many more shows and people seeing them back then. Anyway, the nostalgia is alive!

November 23, 2009

But Tell Us Martha...What Do You Really Think

Martha Stewart pulls no punches when asked recently on the red carpet what she thinks about Sarah Palin. This makes all those David Letterman jokes seem pretty tame because, you know, Martha is NOT joking. She is not even smiling.

November 20, 2009

PROM MESS is Popular for 2009

This is something I meant to post back in July but it got lost in the rush of summer...and my near-miss book banning. Anyway, my first novel, A REALLY NICE PROM MESS was named by the ALA (American Library Assocation) as one of its Popular Paperbacks of 2009!

Each year, YA librarians from around the country nominate their favorite books and the vote on the best of the year. They created four categories for YA books and I'm in "Journey>Destination" which is described as books where the journey and the lessons learned on it are greater than the destination.

It's a great honor to be recognized by librarians especially because you know they read a helluva lot of books. :) Also, I loved the one sentence synopsis they gave of the book too: "Cameron and his boyfriend’s night to remember: puke in the fish tank is only the beginning." Who knew that puke scene would be so memorable?

November 19, 2009

What Sarah Wore

With Sarah Palin bursting back into the national consciousness... again!...there's been a lot of talk about the former VP candidate. Amidst all this gossip and she-said/he-said, the only interesting bit of real news this week was an article in today's TIMES which explores in fascinating detail her infamous wardrobe.

In an article titled,
"Only Palin's Stylist Knows For Sure" reporter Lauren Lipton interviews the mysterious corporate stylist who created Palin's look. Until now, her identity has been hidden...even in Sarah's new book, the woman's name was left out. Now she is revealed to be Lisa Kline, a 47 year old Manhattan woman who styles female executives and news anchors for a living.

Kline got the call to style Sarah on the Friday afternoon before Labor Day setting in motion a frenzied three-day shopping spree to dress up the Republican's second-lady in waiting. Then, arriving in Minneapolis for the convention, the GOP realized that the whole Palin family needed a makeover, which lead to a 7am tear through Neiman's to outfit the 8 Alaskans for their convention appearance. From a production standpoint, this woman did a remarkable job as, no matter what you think of Sarah and her clan, they looked good! And the price tag of $150K was due mainly to the huge last minute rush involved as it was a holiday weekend and Kline, who often works directly with designers, had to go retail.

Anyway, this is an interesting story-behind-the-story narrative of an event that some people think now cost the John McCain the White House. I think that may be pushing it a little. Afterall, there were a few things Ms. Palin said that spoke a little louder than her designer duds.

November 18, 2009

Mika is Golden

Mika is this super skinny infectious rocker from London who is just awesome! I've been a fan of his song "Grace Kelly" for almost a year now with countless repeats on my iTunes as it's so damn catchy. Well now he has a new song out this fall "We Are Golden" with a most amazing video of him prancing about a colorful teenagers bedroom (his perhaps?) wearing a pair of tennis shorts and glittery running shoes. Yes--he's that fabulous. The pictures above were screengrabs compiled by those shirtless connoisseurs at Square Hippies. I can't embed the video for some reason but it's on the YouTube and fun fun fun. Watch-repeat-and then run around your own room working it! :)

November 17, 2009

That Geek From Big Bang Theory Is Kinda Cute

If you've ever watched BIG BANG THEORY, CBS's nerdy version of FRIENDS, the geekiest of all the grad school geeks is an adorkable skinny dude named Sheldon. Played by actor Jim Parsons in true Niles-style, he's actually supposed to be straight but reads very gay and, of course, is kinda cute too. Like the erstwhile nerd poster boys from the early-aughts DJ Qualls, Parsons continues the American tradition of skinny nerds with balloonish heads. He's almost a real life Charlie Brown. The sweet loser you just want to make a winner, you know?

Anyway, he was recently on The Tonight Show, looking quite slick in a suit while discussing Barbies too. Awwww. I always thought he was kinda cute on BIG BANG but, all Hollywooded-out for Conan, he was borderline hot. Hair/makeup can do wonders...even for a geeky guy.

November 14, 2009

Breakfast All The Time

I love cereal almost as much as donuts. And even though I've switched to whole grain goodness and don't eat the crazy sugary kid stuff anymore, I'm still secretly fond of it.

Over the weekend, I posted this old photo on my Facebook and got some interesting responses and queries. Some friends wanted to know where this delicious looking cereal treat is available. Unfortunately, it's not...it was only on the market for about a year, from 1964-1965. In fact, some boxes of this stuff have sold on eBay for as high as $2000!

I found all this info at a wonderful website called mrbreakfast.com, which has a whole section devoted to cereal. The Cereal Project, as it's called, has an incredibly comprehensive listing of cereal over the last 40 plus years. You can also vote on the Top 100 Cereals of all time and there are even some coupons available for free cereal.

You can even watch old TV commercials for extinct cereals like
Vanilly Crunch, a 70's incarnation of Cap'N Crunch that I loved. Basically, the idea was to create a cereal that tasted like vanilla cupcake batter. Ah...the cereals of my youth.


November 13, 2009

The End Of The '00s

We're barely half-way through November and already the inevitable wrap-ups of the first decade of the 21st century are starting to appear. Yes, it's the end of the '00s and the list making has begun: the best, worst, first, last, memorable, forgettable fill-in-the-blanks of the last ten years.

Newsweek.com has an extensive 20/10 project on their website if you're ready to take a trip down recent-memory lane. Most of it was pretty boilerplate (i.e., 9/11 most memorable date) but there were a couple sections I found interesting.

The first was
Worst Predictions, like Greydon Carter declaring the end of irony after 9/11...remember that? Or the media's assertion that Barack Obama didn't have a chance against the Clinton machine? There's also a list of Accidental Celebrities, including Playgirl cover boy Levi Johnston. This is good stuff! Definitely worth checking out as the onslaught of '00s nostalgia begins. Brace yourself.

November 12, 2009

The BEST Showrooms From The 1970's

The TARGET chain of department stores is always getting credit for being stylish and sharp in terms of design for it's vivid ads and corporate styling. However, the exterior of most TARGETS have a tendencey to look the same...big red-brick boxes.

Way back in the wacky 70's, there was a chain of catalog stores called BEST that prospered in the mid-Atlantic region and was known for its unusual storefronts. The founder of the company, Sydney Lewis, had an avid interest in art and architecture and hired the revolutionary SITE firm for one of BEST's first showrooms, pictured here.. Called the "Indeterminate Facade", the company's Houston location made a crumbling, post-apocalyptic statement that TARGET would never dare.

This is BEST's most famous facade but there were others, which you can check out here on the SITE website. They company had a decade-long collaboration with the firm which turned out some really stunning work. Unfortunately, BEST went bankrupt in the mid-80's and their visually shocking showrooms are only a memory today. The one in Houston was intact for more than 10 years after BEST folded. But recently a new tenant sliced off the "indeterminate" top of the facade and now it's just another big white box on a Houston highway.

November 11, 2009

"It's The Best Thing That Ever Happened To You"

That's a direct quote from Barbara Walters, telling it like it is to former Miss California Carrie Prejean on THE VIEW when talking about the reason behind her fame. This is the beauty pageant chick who stated her opinion that marriage is only between a man and woman. Yet in her spare time, she likes to pose for pornographic photos and now sex tapes. She currently has a book out, of course, and was mixing it up with the ladies of THE VIEW as part of the promo tour. While Prejean whines that everyone is out to get her because she said gay marriage is wrong, Barbara is kind but blunt when suggesting that the reason the pageant people may not be crazy about her is that she lied about her past and broke the pageant's "morals clause" a few times over. Go Babs!

November 10, 2009

The Blinking Building

Christmas has come early to Nolita. Last week, this half finished fancy condo building started blinking like a mod X-mas tree, lighting up it's corner of Houston & Mulberry. This bit of impromptou art is part of a mini-trend here in NYC as empty buildings and storefronts give way to public art and even art gallerys. In the last week, I've noticed the ground floors of new construction on 8th Ave in Chelsea and Flatbush Ave in Brooklyn that were previously unrentable have suddenly filled with canvasses and scultpures.
This building, 290 Mulberry, is one of these ultra lux condos that have been popping up all over downtown. According to the Bowery Boogie, only 4 of the nine floor-through units have sold and the building remains without a formal occupancy date. Usually, I despise these buildings but this one, with it's undulating brick facade and now it's colorful light show, is turning into an interesting neighbor.
video

November 9, 2009

A Tale of Two Trailers

Over on IndieWire today, there's an intriguing story about the newly released trailer for Tom Ford's debut feature, "A Single Man". There's been a lot of Oscar-buzzing about the film in recent weeks and now there's a new trailer from the Weinstein Company in which the film has been somewhat de-gayed.

Basically, the Weinstein's took out the shot of Colin Firth making out with another guy and shortened some loaded male looks in a few other shots. Oh--and they removed that dead guy from Colin's bed too. (You can watch both 2-minute trailers on Indiewire and compare and contrast.) The article speculates this was due to fear about the deep homophobia in the Academy that still can deny a movie like "Brokeback Mountain" the Best Picture nod. Given that the average age of Academy members is something like 72, it's not surprising they don't like to see two guys kissing.

The film's poster came out this week which is also pretty het, centered around the image above. Regardless of the Weinstein's fear of a gay marketplace, the film looks pretty interesting....like a Chanel ad meets a really hot episode of "Mad Men". It should be one to beat if the advance word holds up....we'll find out December 11.

November 6, 2009

How Does Your Chia Obama Grow

Here's the answer....after about a month, my Chia Obama's "hair" is not exactly looking like the smooth, full afro that the package promised. Chia Obama's growth is a little stringy and tends to do this weird reach around to the left, leaning in the direction of the sunlight that bathes it from the window. He also has an odd bald spot on the top of his head, around the area where there's a hole for filling him up with water.

The instructions suggested putting a little plastic bag over Chia Obama's head in the early stage of growing but I thought that might be somewhat undignified for the President of the United States. Then again, it looks like my results are somewhat undignified anyway.

Props go out to my brother Tim who gifted me with the Chia for my birthday. Despite the fact that I
'm not the world's biggest green thumb kinda guy, this is the first living plant in my home in quite a while. And though it's still living, it still needs a little help.

November 5, 2009

Levi Johnson Meets William Shatner

This is a bit from the Tonight Show which I found pretty amusing; William Shatner reading Levi Johnson's tweets, with appropriate bongo/bass accompainament. Apparently, Shatner had some success earlier this year doing the same schitck with Sara Palin's tweets. Warning--this clip has been known to induce pop culture whiplash. Watch only while seated. Thank you and enjoy the weird.

November 4, 2009

The USS New York Returns Home

The USS New York pulled into the city's harbor earlier this week. It's a special homecoming not just because of the ship's name but because of it's construction. Roughly 7.5 tons of steel from the World Trade Center was reforged into the new ship's bow stem. There have been many naval ships bearing the "New York" name, dating all the way back to the Revolutionary War. But this USS New York clearly has a special and unique bond with the city.

The USS New York is here for its commissioning ceremony, which is happening on Saturday. While docked along the west side highway in midtown, the ship will also be open to the public for tours as well. The hours for tours vary and are listed on the ship's commissioning website. The ship is an amphibious San Antonio Class transport ship, meant to bring US troops and equipment to distant parts of the globe. It's unique shape incorporates two "twin towers" that are hexagonal in shape but are not just symbolic....they serve to effectively reduce the ships radar profile.

November 3, 2009

Remembering Dynamite Magazine

While cleaning off my desk yesterday, I found and posted an old cover of Dynamite magazine on FB and it got some serious comment action! It seems people still have some pretty fond memories of the monthly entertainment and activity rag for kids that was popular in the 70's and 80's. I really loved Dynamite as a kid and thoroughly enjoyed all the activities that came along with it: recipes, paper airplances, 3d posters, and "Bummer" contests.

Doing a little search, I found a site where another Dynamite fan had scanned a number of covers of the magazine. My weird favorite is this Mork & Mindy one--with the free "Disco Party Record". I loved those crappy plastic records you would get in Dynamite and the occasional cereal box. There are plenty of other covers you can check out here if you want a quick nostalgia trip.

I had a subscription to Dynamite for a good 4-5 years, until I was about 12 or 13 and I then decided I was getting too old for it. There was another magazine specifically for teens that Scholastic published called Bananas. But I remember thinking it looked pretty stupid. I mean, c'mon...Bananas?! At 13, I was a very discriminating reader. :) Anyway, here's to Dynamite....and all it's fun dorkiness.

November 2, 2009

GLEE Sings At The World Series

Not being the world's biggest baseball fan (surprise!), I have been somewhat peeved lately that GLEE is on a 2-3 week hiatus due to the World Series. Well, in a saavy bit of cross promotion, FOX flew the cast out to Philadelphia on Saturday to sing the National Anthem at the start of Game 3. They did a wonderful job singing and maybe won over some baseball fans. I can dream right?

But at least I got to see the GLEE gang again, if only for one "number" and minus the show's usually energetic choreography. Though GLEE has some plot problems lately (how many times can people quit and rejoin the club?), it's still got amazing singing and dancing. And they are pulling out all the stops for November sweeps....coming soon, "Defying Gravity" from WICKED. Go GLEE!