Saturday, October 31, 2009

Supernatural Saturdays: Happy Halloween!...

In honor of today's holiday, let's take a look at some of the best demons, monsters, and ghouls that Winchesters and Co have had to fight:


HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!!

Friday, October 30, 2009

My New Obsession: The Office!...

A little late to the party, I know...

I have a tendency to get into trends a bit later in the game than most. Part of this is because I hate jumping on things that are overnight sensations just because everyone else in my immediate circle appears to. It's the reason I didn't really start using Facebook until way after I had graduated from college, and it's also the reason I didn't really start watching Gilmore Girls or 30 Rock until seasons (four and two, respectively) into their "phenomena." It is also the reason I just now have decided I find The Office not only funny but also something to which I have to tune in every week.
A co-worker of mine at The Corporation used to find endless "That's what she said" jokes in everything from our daily department meetings to our epic weekly Friday lunches. More times than not, I was the one setting them up for him, as apparently I don't pay attention to the things that come out of my mouth (and if he's reading this, then I'm sure he just stifled one back right there). I always knew where it came from-- and he even sent me a YouTube mash-up of the best ones to confirm-- but I never found it particularly amusing. More often than not, I'd just roll my eyes and try to steer the conversation somewhere else.

In the last two weeks since leaving The Corporation, though, I have not only watched the entire British Office series (and isn't it interesting how that one is the original, and yet we never address it as such? We always treat it just as the "other" one, as if it is somehow less funny and clever because its actors speak with accents and it only lasted for six episodes, even though without it, we probably would not have six years of awkward humor, adorable office flirting, and basically a career for Steve Carrell...), but I have also watched the entire American Office series to date! I started with the Pam/Jim wedding two-parter simply to see what all the hype was about, and I was so touched and intrigued that I went back through the magic of Netflix and Hulu to start from season one (also only six episodes) to work my way back to the present.

And I am not ashamed to admit that I fell hard and fast. It is so. Much. More! than just "That's what she said" jokes! I'm sure you all already know that, so I'm not going to get into a diatribue about the crazy characters and shenanigans that go on that have had me literally laughing out loud to the point where I awoke my dog from a nap. I'm not going to jump into super fangirl mode and say it's the funniest show on television (I think I'm giving that honor to Modern Family right now), but it's pretty damn funny. It's also pretty unique-- both of which are things that are hard to say about office jobs, let alone a show that films people pretending to work in an office job!



Let's just say that if the Corporation had had a Jim Halpert, I would have stuck around a little bit longer!

...okay, that's not necessarily true, but I definitely would have had more fun while I was there!

...and I may or may not have scoured the internet trying to find a Lackawanna County Volunteer Deputy Sheriff tee shirt...or bought myself the Hallmark Keepsake talking Michael Scott Ornament for 2009...


Each One Is Better Than The Last...

Bravo really does have the best "characters" for Halloween this year! First Bonnie Hunt showed us how we could dress up our little daughters or sisters like Kim an NeNe, and now this:



Someone get Kelly Ripa a sketch show, stat!!!

You Can Take The Girl Out Of New Jersey...

After last night's emotional Real Housewives of Atlanta reunion show-- and the tease for the second part that airs next week and promises even more drama and even a "live" performance by Kim-- I was completely over any of the other seasons...until I made sure to be parked on my couch at nine a.m. for Live with Regis & Kelly's annual Halloween show. Their skit as The Real Housewives of New Jersey took me back to a simpler time...and it was spooky just how much they actually resembled those they were portraying!



I guess the old adage (see title) is true here!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Jim Beaver Lays All His Cards On The Table...

In tonight's "very special episode" of Supernatural, "The Curious Case of Dean Winchester," fan favorite Bobby Singer makes a bet with a demon in order to regain some of his youth and health back. As we all know (and Bobby should have!), though, anytime you think something good can come from demons, you are sorely mistaken. I had the opportunity to chat with the lovely and uber-friendly Jim Beaver yesterday about what is in store for Bobby, his time on the show, and how he hopes to see it all wrap up.

Your character, Bobby, has definitely been put through the ringer before in seasons past on Supernatural. Can you talk to me a little bit about some of your favorite lore that the show has touched on in the past and which were your favorite demons to fight?
- That's interesting...I liked the stuff with the trickster because I love the idea of-- certainly in the episode that I worked in (editor's note: referencing "Tall Tales," Season 2, Episode 15) -- to see sort of bizarre, fantastical things coming to life and challenging us. We had the kung fu lingerie models and chainsaw massacres, and all kinds of stuff in one episode-- all kinds of stuff in one scene, actually-- and that was just kind of fun. Off the top of my head, I guess that's one of my favorites in terms of the fantastic lore of the show. What was the second part of the question again?

Oh which demons did you especially enjoying fighting?
- Oh, hmm, well, the pretty ones. [Laughs] I'm kind of incorrigible in that regard. But no, you know, it's always been fun to see what comes up new. The guys who put the show together don't seem to ever run out of ideas that are innovative in the sense of creating a new trend that is unlike ones we've seen before. I guess it's kind of hard to pick one. Maybe the Trickster again because there's just something both scary and lighthearted about that one. I don't usually have to pick favorites!

Recently the show kind of turned to scripture for the angels versus demons arc, so as someone who grew up in a religious family, was this something that excited you-- as a new direction for the show-- or were you a little bit more skeptical because of your own upbringing?
- Well, I wouldn't say either. Growing up a preacher's kid, you know, this whole apocalyptic, Book of Revelations stuff was fairly familiar to me, and it's interesting to see the kind of quote unquote real life variations that Eric [Kripke] and the staff are ringing on it. I guess, you know, I guess I'm sort of like the fans in that I'm very intrigued to see where it's going to go, and you know, I don't know where it's going to go.

That was going to be one of my next questions!
- Yeah, I'm presuming Eric does [know where it's going]. I presume he has a plan for a resolution, but I don't know what it is, so very much like the fans I'm just excited to see what he does with it. I think it's very interesting and exciting and maybe a little bit scary ground he's trodding on right now. I'm going to be very interested to see how well he both keeps the fans excited and without running off somebody else. I know I'm glad I don't have to figure out how the apocalypse works itself out! I don't know that I've ever been involved with a show that had such a-- well, you know, a lot of things talk about an armageddon, but Eric's actually putting it on stage, and that's pretty amazing to me. I think a lot of shows just say "We can't go there," but Eric seems pretty fearless, and it makes for exciting television.

Oh definitely. But if you could offer him your opinion, or if you were guest writing an episode, where would you like to see it go? For Bobby but also the Winchester boys?
- You know, I don't have an opinion as to where I'd like it to go. Since I'm not engaged in writing it and don't have any particular desire to, to me it's much more interesting to grab each new script as it comes and page through it to find out what happens. I'm much more interested in finding out what will happen than in hoping it will turn out a certain way. And so-- you know, as long as they keep Bobby around! And keep him doing interesting things, then I don't really care how it turns out.

Fair enough.
- I mean, I don't have any doubts whatsoever that it will be-- as it always has been-- fun and exciting and scary and funny, and as long as it's those things, it can go anywhere Eric wants to take it, and I'll be fine with it.

Great. It's always nice to hear that you have confidence in your leader. Now Bobby's character, in "The Curious Case of Dean Winchester," makes a bet with a demon that is unlike the past deals we've seen so far. But even in saying that, Bobby still knows about the consequences that come with dealing with such devils, so to speak, so can you talk a little bit about what motivated Bobby to make such a risky bet?
- Well, as the viewers are going to find out, Bobby's not doing well with his new situation-- with being partially paralyzed. He's not handling it well, and he's both, I think, angry and despairing. Which are-- we've seen Bobby angry before, but we haven't really seen him despairing, and so out of that despair comes a sense of desperation. When this magical fellow with his magical poker game shows up and offers Bobby a chance to get his youth and his health back, I think out of that desperation, Bobby jumps at it. Of course, any time on Supernatural when a bad guy offers you something good, it's probably got a catch.



Of course.
- It certainly does in this case, and Bobby ends up having to be rescued by Sam and Dean rather than the other way around. It's both a funny and delightful episode and a rather dark and disturbing one at times.

Those are the episodes the fans seem to gravitate towards the most. We love to see the boys being silly but it's their serious side, and the lengths they go to for each other, that really drives home.
- I think the fans are going to feel very much for Bobby in this one, and I think emotionally it's going to be a pretty powerful episode in that regard. But it's also, I think, a hoot, because there's a lot of funny stuff with the fact that both Bobby and Dean get aged quite a bit in this episode. It's going to be a kick in the pants; it's one of my favorite episodes that I've done so far.

Oh, wow, well that's great to hear. Were you and Jensen both put through the prosthetics in order to get the proper aging effects then?
- They put me through the prosthetics. They hired someone to play the older Dean. Chad Everett plays Dean, and I think he's just perfect casting. I didn't know Chad before this one, but he's not only an incredibly good-looking man, especially for seventy-two!, he's got the same sense of fun and sort of sassiness that Dean has. I think he ends up playing him very very well. It's a lot of fun to see him, you know, in Dean's clothes and doing Dean's mannerisms. But I on the other hand didn't have to age as much. Bobby doesn't age as much as Dean ages, so I had the unfortunate luck of the draw of having to go through the prosthetics, which is a pain in the neck.

Adds quite a few hours to your day, huh?
- It was cool to look at. I wasn't crazy about taking it off, but it was definitely cool to look at. And oh yeah, a couple hours to put it on and then another couple of hours to take it off so...I mean, I can't really complain. My late wife Cecily (Adams) played a ferengi on Star Trek, and I never had to go through anything like what she had to go through on a much more frequent basis. At least I didn't have a big rubber head!

True. That might have been a bit more involved, though I'm sure the fans would line up to buy Bobby masks for Halloween or general convention-wearing.
- [Laughs]

So for awhile now Eric has been saying that the show-- at least the Winchester arc-- is set to end with this fifth season, so can you talk a little bit about what you'd like to do next if that does end up being the case, and Bobby is no more, come summer 2010?
- Well, if season five were to end up being the last season, you know, I'd be, in a lot of ways, unhappy because it's a great role with really splendid people to work with. As an actor, you know, I've spent over thirty years trying to move from one job to the next and just hope they keep coming-- and just hope they keep being interesting! So far I've been lucky in that regard. I suppose if anything I'd love to get a haircut! I haven't had a real haircut in about seven years! You know, I think it's hard for some people to believe but up until 2002, I made my living playing cops, and I haven't looked like a cop in a long, long time. [Laughs] So I'd love to get a high and tight again just to remember what my skull looks like.

But you know, as far as life after Supernatural, I'm pretty easy: as long as I get to keep working, I'm happy. One of the things about working on this show-- and having to do it out of town-- has cost me is I don't get to do as much theater as I'd like. I had to cut down a few plays this year because Supernatural got in the way. You know, happy to do it; happy to have the job, but if I stopped having to go to Vancouver every few weeks, I'd probably find myself on stage a little more just because I love that as well.

And of course there's always the further adventures of Bobby Singer! It's not the worst idea for a show...

No, or even a web series. I know The CW is tapping into more of those these days.
- [Laughs] Well you know, whatever comes, if it gets even a fraction of the wonderful response from the fans that Supernatural has gotten, and that I have gotten from playing Bobby, it will be a real blessing. In a lot of ways, this has been a turning point in my life-- playing this part. It was the first thing that got wide recognition, and everybody has been so lovely and splendid to me these past five seasons-- both on the show and in viewership and the fans.

Well speaking of the fans, I have to ask from a purely selfish standpoint: I just purchased my tickets to Creation Entertainment's next Salute To Supernatural convention. It's something I covered a few years ago and seemed to get a good response from my readers. Are you planning to hit that event?
- I'll be at the Creation event in Chicago next month, and I believe I am also in the one in L.A. next March. They tell me they'll be selling my book there as well, so I'll be happy to sign pictures and books and have a good time meeting fans. I really enjoy the face to face with the people who watch this show.

And we definitely love the time spent with our favorite actors from the show! Thank you so much for taking the time to talk with me today. I will definitely be watching and rooting Bobby on during his perhaps inevitably doomed poker game--
- Oh yeah, I'll be watching, too. I haven't seen the episode yet, but I'm really excited to see how it all turned out. I hope you enjoy it!


With a title like "The Curious Case of Dean Winchester," I'm sure I will!!!


Jim Beaver is also currently working on an independent film called Johnson & Johnson, in which he plays the role of "Fisherman." His memoir, "Life's That Way," is available in stores across the country, as well various online merchants. Be sure to tune into Supernatural tonight-- as well as every Thursday night-- to see if Bobby and the Winchester boys can save the world after all.

Who Wants To Know What To Get Me For Christmas?...

I want one! And I want to bring it to the Creation Entertainment convention to get Misha to sign it the way I plan to have Jensen do with the Wendigo bust.

Also, remember: Supernatural is all new once again tonight at 9pm on The CW!

Hottie of the Week: Matthew Bomer...

Have you started watching White Collar on USA yet? If not, take one look at Matthew Bomer, and I guarantee you'll set up a season pass immediately! I have (well, I would have if I actually had a DVR...)!



Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Woof Wednesday #24...

The only way to get Madison dry after a bath is to wrap him up in a towel like a sausage...or a doggie wrap.

"What're you looking at??"

Monday, October 26, 2009

MMFATA: Ty Burrell...

I always saw Ty Burrell as just another Anthony Clark. That's why I could never watch Out of Practice or Back to You. ...Okay, that's not the only reason; both of those shows just were not funny. I could tolerate Clark in Yes, Dear because the show had heart and humor, despite his awkward antics and oftentimes squeaky-pitched voice. Burrell's voice has the proper octave, though, and his sense of comedy doesn't include wide-eyed head bobs or wild arm-flailing. And perhaps the reason I was unsure about Burrell in the past was because I never saw him a role that fit so perfectly before, but Modern Family gives us the perfect look at this character actor.


Why My Friends Are Talking About Him: Burrell stands out among the quirky cast of Modern Family, which is a hard thing to do considering the mass of talent there. Yet he manages to through a hilarious regression into a hapless man-boy husband and father of two with a slightly inappropriate crush on his father-in-law's new wife. Burrell plays Phil with just the right amount of leftover awkwardness from his own teenage years to seep into his hip-dad act. Whether he's misusing internet slang like "WTF," accidentally shooting his daughter's boyfriend with a BB gun in a lesson gone awry, or stealing a random kid's bike to hide a supposed slip-up from his wife, Burrell is clearly having fun, and though Phil may not take anything too seriously, the actor behind him certainly is.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Writing The Next Great American Novel In 30 Days Or Less...

A week from today I begin work on a new novel. It is a project I must finish within thirty days, but it is just the type of challenge I think I need right now-- to keep myself productive and to fight off the writer's block that crept up a bit too easily when I was at The Corporation.

Two years ago, in November 2007, I self-published my first novel, based on my original television pilot of the same name. "
Stars in their Eyes" is a tale of semi-love and sort of fame for a young soap opera star in Los Angeles and is available online at www.amazon.com.

"Stars in their Eyes"
was written during a bought of unemployment during the WGA strike. It was written in about six weeks and could have used a heavy-handed editor (though I would still love your support so please buy one today!). Since then I have been focused on freelancing for various entertainment websites and working on a pop culture memoir. Since quitting The Corporation a few weeks ago, though, I can't imagine a better challenge than writing another fun, if somewhat fluffy, novel in a short amount of time. It's the perfect thing to do with my time off! And what better to write about then unemployment itself? Timely, no??

Work on "the unemployed girls' club of beverly hills" (working title) will begin on November 1 2009, per the guidelines of NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). Apparently this is a contest that has been going on for about ten years now, and had I known about it two years ago, I definitely would have entered "Stars in their Eyes!"

But I know about it now, so I am getting to work by digging out an old character that I, perhaps coincidentally, started working on while still basking in the glow of seeing my name in print on a published work. Per the rules of NaNoWriMo, all works entered in November 2009 must be completely original (therefore my finished but still unpublished manuscript for "pseudonym," nor my really rough draft of "Shades of Gray" apply) and completely fictional (which also rules out my memoir based on this blog, I guess).


"
the unemployed girls' club of beverly hills" will be a tale about four separate and unique individuals living in Beverly Hills who come together as friends by bonding over their recent bout of unemployment. That was about as far as I got when I first got the idea two years back, but a bunch of recent experiences have given me more than enough material to finally put the story together. I'm excited!

I will update chapters periodically on my NaNoWriMo page and feedback would be MUCH appreciated!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

WIN Tickets To "Believe Again: A Celebration of the X-Files!"...

Remember last December when I covered an X-Files fan event featuring a Q&A with Writer/Producer Frank Spotnitz? Well, the girls at IBG are doing it again, only this time it's ten times bigger and better for your buck!

On November 14th, at the Beverly-Wilshire Hotel in Beverly Hills CA, fan favorite Frank Spotnitz will be back for another Q&A. Hot off his tease at X-Con about the potential for a third (!) X-Files film, fans undoubtedly have burning questions for the man behind the show. However, this time around Spotnitz won't have to field questions all alone. Director Rob Bowman, who is now also producing and directing ABC's newest full-season order Castle, will join in on the fun, as will actors Mitch Pileggi (Walter Skinner) and Gillian Anderson (Dana Scully).


View all Beverly Wilshire Hotel events at Eventful


IBG is selling tickets on their website at VIP and General Admission levels, and they are also auctioning off rare and few Meet & Greet opportunities with the talent involved. As always with their policies, 100% of all money raised through ticket sales and auctions will be going to the selected charities.

However, through my own personal involvement with IBG, "My Life, Made Possible By Pop Culture" has obtained two (2) General Admission tickets to this event to GIVE AWAY to a lucky fan. One (1) fan will win the pair of tickets for his or herself and a friend. All you need to do to enter is re-post this article (on your own blog, in a Facebook note, as a Tweet, etc) and then send an email to danielletbd@yahoo.com with a screenshot or a direct link to your advertising along with your full name and email address. You can enter as many times as you want between now and November 2 2009, and you can have friends enter on your behalf.

The lucky winner will be drawn and notified on November 3 2009, more than ten days before the event to leave ample time for planning your outfit ;) Good luck!!!


Supernatural Saturdays: Misha, Misha, Misha!...

I read somewhere that Misha is a Slash enabler. That, coupled with his recent "Drinking with the Stars" interview for Zap2It (and of course, all of these photos), just makes me want to hang out with him even more! Oh March 2010 can't get here fast enough; I may have to road trip up to Vancouver in the meantime!


Best Saturday morning wake-up call ever, isn't it???

Friday, October 23, 2009

This May Be It For Michael Jackson But Is It Necessary?...

Michael Jackson has been called the “greatest performer of his generation” by many and even the “greatest performer of all time” by some, albeit perhaps overzealous, music fans. Naturally, everyone ate up his words when he announced his final concert during a press conference only a few months before his untimely death. Now the footage is being released in theaters and being billed as not only just a feature film but instead a full-on fan experience. The most jaded observers of the entertainment industry have not been surprised by the mad rush to capitalize on Jackon’s extraordinary performance style, but it is hard to think anyone imagined just what a spectacle this has all become.

The most diehard Jackson fans lined up and camped out overnight for days to have the chance to be among the select few who not only got the opportunity to see This Is It, the documentary about the making of Michael Jackson’s final concert, in the first screenings but also received commemorative gold tickets that could be pressed into scrapbooks and shown to their children and grandchildren. Some fans brought their young children with them while camping out, determined to show them just what a legend Jackson was and how many people shared a love for him.


This Is It will only be screening for two weeks, so the fan outpouring to get their hands on the tickets is understandable. Considering this is the last time (at least until “lost footage” from the eighties gets “leaked” when his estate dwindles even more) anyone will see MJ on stage, the fan frenzy is even expected. However, in the day and age of the internet, camping out for the first tickets to watch something on a screen—not even have the person on stage in front of you—just seems excessive.


The fans, though, don’t seem to think they are doing anything out of the ordinary, even those who have worn black everyday since learning of his death, or have scoured memorabilia sites looking for rare tour tee-shirts from Jackson’s old concerts. MJ himself stated that the reason for his concert was “all for love. L.O.V.E.” To the man who quickly blew up into a flamboyant character, the fan reaction surrounding this documentary is probably nothing more than fitting. There is no doubt that their actions are out of love.


"The fans meant everything to Michael," Director and Choreographer Kenny Ortega explained in an interview about why the raw rehearsal footage was being cut together and released as a product that did not have the final polish of an actual Jackson show. "They were his food, his fuel, his life source, his energy, and he was energized by them and he appreciated their loyalty more than I can ever say. This film is for the fans."


Jackson's family-- sister Latoya and mother Katherine-- have already both said they refuse to see the film. Are they crying exploitation? Not quite, but for those who loved and knew him, this is just too much, too soon.


There is also no doubt that even those who have already secured tickets by waiting in line those few weeks ago will still wait in line again during the day and night before the film’s eventual release. This Is It is proving to be a bonding experience for fans who may have never met before but will be able to talk for hours about their common interest.


What do you guys think: are you planning to see This Is It in theaters? Can it possibly live up to the hype that fans, and other media, are making it out to be? Would you camp out for MJ or for any celebrity, for that matter? Leave your thoughts in the comments!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

A Rerun Already?...

The Winchesters take a short hiatus from demon-hunting this week, but remember, a brand new Supernatural episode returns next Thursday, the 29th!



Hottie of the Week: Adam Rodriguez...

I caught a commercial earlier this week that showed Adam Rodriguez' character leaving CSI: Miami. It got me to thinking because although I never watched the show, I always looked forward to the commercials to see his pretty, smiling face. And now I was faced with not having him pop up on my TV for fifteen to thirty seconds a half a dozen times a day. And I was sad. So in tribute to the character who's name I never bothered to learn, Rodriguez can grace the pages of my blog for as long as it takes me to find another hot cop after which to lust.



Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Woof Wednesday #23...

Madison likes unemployment, too, because it means he gets to go to the beach on random weekdays!

"This pillow-towel is mine, right, Mama?"

What Is rUnK?...

I know what you're thinking: two music reviews in the same day? Have I stumbled across the wrong website?? Don't fear; "My Life, Made Possible By Pop Culture" is not undergoing a rapid, permanent transformation of any sort. Every now and then, though, I find some diamonds in the rough of new music. Today is one of those days. Today Mams Taylor has released a "lost album," aptly titled "King Amongst Men," and what's more: he released it FOR FREE.

Taylor, who made a name for himself with "L.A. Girls," a music video that received over four hundred thousand hits on YouTube when it was released just last year, has previously released an album of freestyles and mash-ups, entitled "the R-eVoLuTiOn oF rUnK," online. He offers this to fans for free on his website, as well, though he promises a full studio album is coming soon. In Taylor's own words, "King Amongst Men" is is a collection of some of his best hip-hop/pop tracks recorded to date. "This album has some awesome features on it and will include "Girl Gotta Girlfriend" featuring Snoop. There are plenty of never heard before tracks and I'm excited to share them with you."


On his MySpace blog, Taylor wrote: "I have so many concepts and ideas and songs which are TRULY genre bending and like nothing heard before! This album will feature rUnK. It will be a sincere reflection of me in depth. My light and my darkness. My journey in raw truth. Experiences of being stuck in pain, learning and growing out of my old skin, being In TRUE LOVE, sex, drugs and rUnK n RoLL. I won't hold back."

So what is rUnK? Taylor describes it as a combination of the best parts of hip-hop, rock, and punk music. But more importantly, it is an attitude and a way of thinking that reaches out to, and speaks out, against putting musicians inside boxes. It allows the singer and/or the band to be what and who they are without labeling or pigeonholing. The music fits their personalities in that it is ever-changing and ever-evolving, and therefore eclectic, if not also eccentric. It can be hard and fast one minute and softer, more methodical the next.

rUnK is one part rebellion and one part spiritual, and it even found some roots in the political. In June, Taylor brought together some of Iran's most elite entertainers to plead for freedom in "United For Neda," a song he wrote and produced after he saw video footage of the demonstrator being shot and killed by the Basji during the Iranian crackdown.

Though Taylor says there is no set formula for rUnK, he may just be setting one himself without even trying.

Taylor, with a little help from his friends like Joel Madden, Christina Milian, T-Pain, and Lil Jon, is fast creating a movement. Get in on the action by downloading "King Amongst Men" today!


If you're in the LA area on November 4th, Taylor will be playing at the Dragonfly. Hope to see you all there!!

"Supernatural"s Chuck’s Prophecy Is Now Told Through Song…

Usually when actors have bands as their side gigs, it's more of an indulgence of an interest than an exhibition of a "secret" talent. These are oftentimes middle aged) guys who are living out their teenage fantasies to mildly packed audiences. Already coming with a fan following, these mediocre bands bank on the name and face of their lead star but very rarely have anything of substance to say. See Billy Bob Thornton, Russell Crowe, Dennis Quaid. All of that being said, I admit I went onto the Louden Swain website (lead singer is Rob Benedict of Head Case and Supernatural fame) with less than high expectations. But this is one of rare those times-- and they are one of those rare talents-- that far surpassed my expectations.

Drummer Stephen sent me a MySpace message (of all things!) asking me to check out their page and admittedly only because I recognized Rob's name, I was willing to do just that. I clicked on the streaming version of "Pop-Tart Heart," in which Rob compares a woman's heart to a toasted strawberry breakfast treat, and was instantly hooked. With killer riffs and a thumping drum beat throughout their whole album, "A Brand New Hurt," Louden Swain ROCKS. Please excuse my ignorance of other, more diverse, music vernacular but simply put, it's still true.

And they sound even better live.

Last night Louden Swain held the release party for their sophomore album at The Mint in Los Angeles, playing to a crowd of fans and friends alike. Fellow actors Josh Meyers, J.P. Manoux, and Nicole Sullivan were even spotted cheering Benedict and the boys on from the center table.
Advertised mostly through a Twitter campaign, the band opened the evening at eight p.m., performing some of their soon-to-be-hits like "All I Need," "Medicated," and of course, "Pop-Tart Heart." In between songs, Benedict entertained the crowd with background on their inspiration, as well as reminding everyone to pick up a CD and/or tee-shirt before they left for the evening.

Their set was short and sweet-- fittingly and not unlike a strawberry Pop-Tart-- but their lyrics were catchy enough to hang around long after they had packed up their gear. The guys hung around the venue to mingle and chat with those who had come out to support them, earning extra brownie points for being so cool and accessible, and they even mentioned interest in playing at upcoming charity gigs. Good guys and great music; not bad for a Tuesday night!!!


"A Brand New Hurt" is available now on the band's website, as well as iTunes. Go forth and download!!!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

I'll Suffer For My Art...

I think I want A.J. Jacobs' career. He spent years working at my favorite magazine, Entertainment Weekly and then he contributed unique essays and freelance pieces to various other entertainment glossies. He turned quite a few of those experiences into full-on books, as well, with "The Guinea Pig Diaries" just being the latest. A collection of individual stories that each could stand alone, "The Guinea Pig Diaries" depicts some of the more unique experiments in which Jacobs has partaken, all in the name of writing and art. One time he outsourced all the mundanity of his life (buying birthday presents, paying bills, even arguing with his wife) to a firm in India; one time he took on the Radical Honesty principals and went without the filter of what he should say/should sugarcoat; and one time he allowed Mary Louise Parker to talk him into posing nude for Esquire magazine.

As someone who always worried about my own writing being repetitive or less than interesting due to the "boring" life I lead, Jacobs has showed me that all I have to do to get crazy stories is throw myself into crazy situations. Though the reaction to the experiment may not always be positive, it's all material nonetheless!

Now that I have been blessed once again with endless time on my hands (at least from the professional perspective), it may just be the perfect opportunity to throw myself headfirst into some unusual (at least for me) situations in order to see if I get any great stories out of them. I already spent last Friday living the lifestyle of my dog: I napped on the couch in the middle of the day, watched the neighbors come home from work on my patio, and existed mainly on water and cookies. The verdict? I didn't really learn anything I didn't already know: if given the chance (i.e. unlimited resources), I would have no problem hanging out at home all day, every day.

I am already working with a charity organization (IBG Inc) in an attempt to tie my two loves: entertainment and giving back. Surely the situations-- both at the events and leading up to them-- are unique and interesting on their own.

However, after finishing Jacobs' sort-of memoir, I found myself looking around and considering so many other possibilities. I could sign up for a yoga workshop, as a friend keeps desperately trying to get me to do; I could volunteer at an animal shelter, even if I risk getting evicted for-- and alienating my own dog by-- bringing home a dozen other dogs; or I could get my real estate license reinstated in this horrible, horrible market.

I could try shopping only at Target for a month and then try shopping only at local "Mom and Pop" type stores for a month to see where I save more money and where I have a better customer experience. I could try allowing The Guy to make all of my decisions for me for a month or a week or however long I could stand before threatening violence (HA!). I could try only communicating in Twitter-length sentences or only through one form of technology.

My possibilities really are endless!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Sue Sylvester Has Beaten Chuck Norris...

Remember when Chuck Norris had a semi-hit TV show? Even if you didn't watch any of the eight-year run of the CBS show, you undoubtedly heard about it. Hell, even Friends referenced Walker, Texas Ranger-- albeit in the "making fun of Monica because she was loser enough to stay home on the weekends and watch it" sort of way. But more likely, you knew about it because you knew its star. Norris was a fit fighting machine, and word quickly started to circulate that he was invincible and perhaps even omnipotent. Such "facts" began piling up on websites and bumper stickers like he had a memoir of one-liners, each one more ridiculous than the last. "Chuck Norris doesn't read books; he stares them down until he gets the information he wants" was always a favorite of mine (and I hear, of the man-- or the myth, the legend-- himself). But Bruce Lee took the guy down once, and now it seems Sue Sylvester has driven the final blow that might actually remove Norris from our pop culture consciousness for awhile (or at least until he comes out with some instructional non-contact karate DVDs or something).

Who is Sue Sylvester? If you have to ask, you've been living under a rock. Or don't have a TV. Either way, my eyes are wide and my mouth agape with shock. Sue Sylvester is everyone's favorite stern, stubborn, and somewhat stoic cheerleading coach on Fox' new musical comedy Glee. Played by the deadpan perfect Jane Lynch, Sylvester is dry and witty and tells it like it is whether in front of her "Cheer-i-os" or on Sue's Corner on the local news. She takes no crap but instead takes you down with the catty revenge attitude that is usually (so actually quite fittingly) only seen in high school.


This weekend, Twitter has been all a-buzz with Sue-isms, some new, and some just inserting her name into old Norris favorites. Is it a viral marketing campaign by Fox to keep the kids talking about their most promising new show and call upon the nostalgia of a past favorite? Or did the fans start this one, as they did the last, latching onto a unique and soon-to-be classic character? I didn't have time this morning to do the research necessary to find out; I was too busy reading the hundreds of Sue-isms that have been streaming in! And I have to tell you, the joke is somehow much funnier and much fresher when picturing the outlandish statements coming directly out of this woman's mouth. "Sue Sylvester's computer doesn't have a CNTRL button because Sue is ALWAYS in Control!" That is the kind of thing you can hear her say...because she has said similarly crazy things on Glee already.

Some are classic, and some are timely, but all will have you chuckling (no pun intended). Try these new gems on for size:

Courtesy of @RyanOConnor: "Sue Sylvester is never "Tardy for the Party;" Sue Sylvester IS the party!"

@DaliaNosseir had this to share: "Sue Sylvester puts the 'laughter' in manslaughter."

@Wilkster11 said: "Sue Sylvester can read Lady Gaga's poker face."

@Vixynne said: "Sue Sylvester would never
need anti-rejection drugs for an organ transplant. Nobody and nothing rejects Sue Sylvester!"

@afish560 acknowledged the origination, which is quickly turning into a rivalry, with: "Sue Sylvester & Chuck Norris had a bet.The loser had to wear a cowboy hat on TV."

And from ubreyjewell: "Sue Sylvester doesn’t wear a watch; SHE decides what time it is."

Even Lynch's castmembers got in on the action. From Cory Monteith (@Frankenteen: "Sue Sylvester does not go 'hunting', because that kind of terminology implies the possibility of failure. Sue Sylvester goes killing."

And from fan favorite Chris Colfer (@ChrisColfer): "Sue Sylvester would have never let Taylor Swift finish."

Let's keep these going and keep #Sue Sylvester a trending topic for weeks to come!!!

(You can also follow "Sue" herself on Twitter by clicking here.)

Saturday, October 17, 2009

I Have A One Track Mind These Days...

Congratulations to Jensen Ackles for making the 100 Sexiest Movie Stars list from Empire Magazine Online!

Coming in at #47 for the men, this is what Empire had to say:

The 100 Sexiest Movie Stars | Women | 47 | Jensen Ackles
Jensen Ackles

One half of Supernatural's fraternal ghost-busting duo, Ackles is best known for sexing up the small screen but has appeared in such cinematic outings as Devour, My Bloody Valentine and Ten Inch Hero - it's not what it sounds like.


Most alluring as... Dean Winchester, apparently busting makes you look good too.


Interests include... Football, lacrosse, basketball, horseback riding and photograpy. Oh and looking after his cockapoo, Icarus.


Supernatural Saturdays: No Theme Other Than Awesomeness!...

A combination of my favorite recent photos I have found of all three new Supernatural leading men.



Thursday, October 15, 2009

"30 Rock" Returns TONIGHT!...

Okay, for those of you on the east coast, you can see the full episode in a mere fifteen minutes, but today got away from me. So for the next fifteen minutes, just watch this two minute clip a couple of times and then, as Tina Fey puts it in her new installment of "Ask Tina," "Just turn on NBC, and then you can leave the room. Just be sure to leave your TV on NBC."

But with gems like this back on NBC, there's no reason to leave the room!

Hottie of the Week: Jessie Pavelka...

I always said if I could afford it, I would hire a personal trainer. Having someone work with me one-on-one and track my progress would be just the motivation I needed to actually succeed at exercising. Moreover, if I was spending the money for it (and Lord knows, it doesn't come cheap these days!), I would have to do it, right?

But after seeing what trainers look like these days, a part of me knows I have to get myself into slightly better shape before even hiring a trainer. I don't want him to see me dripping sweat after thirty minutes on a bike or completely unable to do one hundred crunches in a row without my abs starting to shake, after all! But seeing Jessie Pavelka on Lifetime's weight-loss reality series Diet Tribe, is all the motivation I need to get the ball rolling on exercising on my own so that eventually I can hire him to come work me out so I can use him as my "carrot on the stick" to which I run on the treadmill. 'Cause have you seen him? He's pretty!



Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Woof Wednesday #22...

Madison doesn't like it when I'm focused on things other than him-- even when I'm driving.

"Mama, pay attention to ME now!"

Saturday, October 10, 2009

I May Have Some Competition As #1 Jensen Ackles Fan…

By now you all more than know that I have been a fan of Jensen Ackles for over a decade, ever since he first appeared in the fictional town of Salem, Anywhere USA on Days of our Lives. It is often said that soap fans are the most loyal of any genre and any medium: once they welcome an actor into their home day after day, they stick with them-- no matter how many unfinished weddings, natural disasters, babies switched at birth, or crappy mainstream projects onto which they might go. I have proven this theory in the past by looking at the following of some ex-Days stars, including Ackles. Though I, of course, consider myself the most loyal of all of the Ackles' fans, I admit Beth, the author of The Official Jensen Ackles Newsletter gives me a run for my money.

Here I chat with Beth about her motives for the newsletter and her reasoning behind devoting so much time and effort to one man for all of these years.

The Official Jensen Ackles Newsletter was founded in February 1998 and has been emailed out to a select listserve of fans ever since. Issues come up periodically throughout the year, whenever Ackles makes it into national publications with stories worth reprinting/sharing. Beth has even enlisted the help of the Ackles
family to talk up their baby within her own.


What inspired you to start the Jensen Ackles newsletter, and how did you manage to get the "Official" tag thrown in there?
- Great question! If only to rehash a wonderful memory. The newsletter was started in February 1998, shortly after a friend and I had the pleasure of being in this special person's presence for a mere 4 or so hours. Hmm, let me back up a bit....I always knew I wanted to do something in the entertainment industry (I had just started college at this time) and coincidently I come across this particular (and unknown at the time) actor on a popular daytime drama. Mind you, I never had a huge interest in soap operas. So, when this actor appeared on my TV screen, from the back and in a red parka, I knew this had to be something special. Meeting him only confirmed that and more. The energy and real passion he has for his work and his fans, is utterly inspiring. How could we not give extra credit, especially in a business where a lot of egotistical people exist. So, being the Jensen enthusiasts that we were, we started gabbing and gathering even more fans and supporters from various Days of our Lives chatrooms and forums. To this day, we are actually surprised we really were the first to start this movement: "Jensen Pioneers," if you will.

Our little newsletter became widely popular over a few short weeks, eventually turning into months and years. We had attended the Daytime Emmy Awards that year (in support of) and seeing him afterwards was the icing on the cake. It wasn't in our minds to tell him what we were doing. Maybe because him remembering us from that delightful day three months back completely threw us for a loop. Wow! We kept going over it in our heads of HOW he would've remembered us. Maybe our politeness? Whatever it was, it just fueled our interest in him even more and made us realize that he really is so appreciative of people who appreciate him and his work. To make a long story short (ha!), a few more months went by, and after having obtained contact with his parents and manager, our little Newsletter was granted the Official title ever since. His mom was actually one of the ones in those chatrooms. Quite the Jensen enthusiast herself.


To this day, Jensen is still the only person I would've wanted to be my "guinea pig" (as I like to refer him.) It's rare when a person in the public relations realm to have an experience like this, and college credit-free. I will forever be grateful to him because it made realize what a terrific business this is, when surrounded with the right people.

Have you had the chance to tell Jensen about the newsletter? What was his reaction?
- When it [has] come up, his response is always, "so, still doing the newsletter?" with a chuckle. The fact that he is always willing to do interviews, answer questions, provide autographs/DVDs for contests says it all. All for a nonprofit little newsletter that two girls started way back when.

How has the newsletter changed/evolved over the past decade and where do you hope to see it go in the future?
- A lot! Looking back at that very first issue, it's a little embarrassing. And still surprising that so many people believed in us, as well as Jensen. The support is always astonishing, which is what has kept us going...strong. There's no telling where the newsletter will go. The fact that it lasted more than 5 months is an accomplishment in itself. But, you learn to appreciate these experiences and the people you have met because of these experiences. I will say, though, that it feels great to have made a name for myself for all things Jensen. It amazes me still of how many fans Jensen has, world-wide. It amazes me even more that fans from around the world come to ME with their inquries. It really does make realize that everything happens for a reason. And, never ever take anything for granted. I think that's why the newsletter has lasted as long as it has. It's one of my most proudest accomplishments. And to do it for someone like Jensen (and his family) makes me realize that I really did strike gold.

How, if at all, has Jensen's success on Supernatural changed the newsletter (structure, content, fan reaction)?
- Jensen starring in his own show really took a life on its own! It's what makes us (all of us "Pioneers") be proud of him even more. He has grown so much as an actor. The next Paul Newman, perhaps? which coincidently happened to be one of his favorite actors.

There has, however, been a significant change that happened to the newsletter. In 2007, the person that helped me start it could no longer be affiliated with it. I'm just glad that we fueled his career (with fans) from the get-go. This is only the beginning for him...as well as our careers. Thank you, Jensen!


And thank you, Beth, for working so tirelessly to bring all the best Jensen news directly to our inboxes!


To sign up for
The Official Jensen Ackles Newsletter, send an email to JENSENBABE@verizon.net.


Supernatural Saturdays: Just Jensen Edition...

Now with double the man for double my fun!

Being so hot can take a lot out of you!


Friday, October 9, 2009

Real Life Celebrity Proves Distracting In REEL Life Couples...

The new Universal Studios romantic comedy Couples Retreat-- about a group of friends, all with various issues and problems in their marriages, who go on a therapeutic (in many senses of the word) tropical island vacation together-- opens today. Written by Jon Favreau and Vince Vaughn, and starring those two plus Jason Bateman, Faizon Love, Malin Akerman, Kristen Bell, and Kristin Davis, the movie is full of the usual relationship pitfalls and tensions, offset by the manic one-liners for which Vaughn has become known. The movie is convoluted enough, focusing on four couples (eight people), but throw in all of these recognizable faces, and the audience is just taken out of the story that much more. Whether you're wondering where Davis' trademark Charlotte York pearls are or waiting for Jennifer Aniston to show up and break down in front of Akerman for stealing her man, having all of these celebrities well-known for other couplings play on-screen opposite each other here is just plain distracting!


A prime example of this has to be He's Just Not That Into You, which crashed and burned at the box office due to its attempt at Love Actually interwoven plotlines that just fell to the wayside due to the focus placed on the names attached. And oh were there names attached! Ben Affleck, Jennifer Aniston, Drew Barrymore, Scarlet Johansson, Jennifer Connelly, etc etc etc. The credits read more like a People Magazine index than a call sheet, with each one gunning for the "central role" in the film. In the end, though, it was just a spectacle with no substance.


Similarly, in Ghosts of Girlfriends Past, Matthew McConaughey played the same player/cad/pretty boy that he always does-- and that until he had his son last year, he seemed to be in real life. However, this time around, his "never settled down" Peter Pan-esque character was matched up with the sweet and "settled" Jennifer Garner. If there were ever two people who's public images seemed to be miles apart, it would have to be these two, and trying to see McConaughey's laid-back stoner/surfer persona mesh with the conservative and serious Garner was just plain uncomfortable. In this case, real life celebrity bled into the actors' roles, and their coupledom was not believable even in a fictional world.


In the fish-out-of-water romantic comedy, New In Town, Renee Zellwegger, as a stuffy businesswoman, has to adapt not only to a small rural town but also to a scruffy blue-collar guy (Harry Connick Jr). Zellwegger has had success in romantic comedies, but seeing someone usually so buttoned-up forced to get down in the farmland dirt, so to speak, just didn't work. The charming Connick Jr did his best to win over audiences for the both of them, but Zellwegger's tightly pursed lips, scrunched up face, and squinty eyes never softened enough to convince that her icy heart had melted with the Minnesota snow.


Perhaps surprisingly, one of the films in which big name celebrities coupling on the big screen actually worked, though, was Mr & Mrs Smith. It is perhaps ironic, considering the two involved there were two of the biggest celebrities in the world and were two known for high-profile (and highly publicized) previous relationships. However, at the time Mr & Mrs Smith was released (in 2005), Angelina Jolie was making headlines for her work with the UN instead of her failed marriages, and Brad Pitt was managing to lay kind of low in the wake of his then-wife's hit show finally being off the air (it wasn't until the movie was released and the on-screen chemistry so obvious that any tabloid fodder really began).

Perhaps the difference here, though, is that Jolie and Pitt play different characters in all of their movies, so it was easy to see them slip into someone else, whereas the majority of the aforementioned simply play the same character again and again, so it's hard to see them as anything else.