May 28, 2014

Robert Morse Sings And Dances Again On MAD MEN

This week's episode of MAD MEN was one of my favorites. As the end of season 7.1 (the second half of the final season airs in 2015), there was great stuff all around; from Peggy's moment with her neighbors' kid, to the McCann maneuvering, to gallows humor about the moon landing and Peggy's triumphant pitch. But what truly floored me was the episode's final scene when Robert Morse, who plays firm head Bertram Cooper, got to sing and dance his way off the show.

There's a great interview with Morse in todays' TIMES as he discusses his role on the show and his musical exit. He made his name in the 60's as the star of the Broadway show and later film version of HOW TO SUCCEED IN BUSINESS WITHOUT REALLY TRYING. So his work on MAD MEN has always been a wry treat, as the eager scheming office boy J. Pierpont Finch truly took over the company. On a visit to the MAD MEN set in 2008, I was lucky enough to meet Morse and told him how I was in the pit band of my high school production of HOW TO. He was charming and chatty and it was one of my best celebrity encounters ever--save Olivia Newton-John at the XANADU opening!

Anyway, Morse's character passed away in this week's episode and as a final send-off Don had a vision of him singing and dancing in the office. It was such a wonderful moment and really beautiful to see Morse still had that boyish charm that made him a star years ago. Many characters have died on MAD MEN, but none has ever done it with such grace and fleet-footed moves.

May 23, 2014

A 1986 Video Tour Of RuPaul's Meatpacking "Penthouse"

I came across this video on YouTube of RuPaul giving a tour of his NYC "penthouse" back in June of 1986. He lived for a while in a round rooftop room above the formerly seedy Jane Hotel, soon after he moved to New York for the second time apparently. Not only does "baby Ru" look amazing, the footage itself is incredible for it's slice of Meatpacking life (which I've posted about before) from waaaaay back in the day. Nelson Sullivan is the videographer, who lived around the corner at 5 Ninth Avenue, a town house which is still there surrounded by the commercial insanity that "MeaPa" has become.

The most remarkable thing watching this now is how utterly empty that area of the city was during the day. I had my own first hand experience with this back when I was in film school at NYU and we shot one of my classmates' films entirely in the area. We had no permits and no one bothered us, as no one was around, except maybe a couple hookers who stayed away (knowing we were students w/no cash!). We even shot a car chase sequence through the bumpy streets there with no police intervention at all. 

Anyway, this video is a great trip to the lost world of the old West Village with some great views of the the city and gay life at that time.

May 15, 2014

Reel Estates App Finds Famous Film/TV Locations

I was reading my NYU Alumni magazine this week and came across an article about an app for finding famous movie and TV locations. Put together by an NYU grad Gadi Harel from the class of '93, Reel Estates started from his own curiosity about visiting the real locations of pop culture touchtones, like the Brady home in Studio City, LA.

The app is location based and will show you what notable filming sites are nearby... perfect when tooling around NYC or Hollywood. But also, the app covers the rest of the country too with places like the BREAKING BAD house in New Mexico.  Harel has more than 600 famous sites listed in the app. I need to add this one to my iPhone and, finally, go in search of the Archie Bunker residence in my now-native Queens.

May 7, 2014

Kicking Off Prom Season, A Podcast About My Prom Novel

It's May and that means prom season is in full swing. So for your listening pleasure, Simon & Schuster has a podcast on YouTube that I did a few years ago about my debut novel A REALLY NICE PROM MESS. This is my first novel for young adults which tells the story about a gay couple who goes on a secret double date to the prom which doesn't stay secret for long and then complications/chaos ensue (see police, drug dealers, strippers, et al). The book was nearly banned in 2009 by a library in Wisconsin just because there were gay characters in it. Anyway, the podcast is about 4 minutes long and, in it, I talk about about the book and my prom experiences, as I went to a few! You can purchase the paperback on Amazon and I guarantee it makes for fun summer/beach reading.