Saturday, March 31, 2012
On the heels of a stand-out live! performance on "American Idol" this past week - eccentric pop star Nicki Minaj (who committed a disastrous fashion faux pas when she squeezed into a stage get-up that was a sparkly tacky mess) - was asked by Ryan Seacrest to enlighten viewers at home as to what was next on the horizon for the glitzy - at times over-the-top - show-biz wonder.
"I'd like to be a guest Judge on American Idol," she teased coyly, as the celebrated three bench-warmers below the footlights cackled with glee.
Then, without blinking a pretty eyelash, Jennifer managed to up-and-pull a funny.
A funny - ha-ha - in fact.
"I don't think there's enough room for the two of us up here," she quipped, as the studio audience roared in approval.
I just about fell out of off my own comfy perch, I was so taken by surprise.
Without meaning to, Ms. Lopez succeeded in taking a nasty swipe at herself, though I surmise she didn't mean to.
After all, according to my expert calculations, Nicki and Jennifer's hips - side-by-side - would undoubtedly measure up to the width of a four-ton Mac Truck for starters.
But, thankfully, Lopez possesses enough fashion sensibility to hide the cascading pounds of flesh beneath a pretty frock, with a little expert nipping-and-tucking here-and-there in the tailoring process backstage (of course!).
Just betcha, a lot of smoke & mirrors is involved, too.
As to - um - Ms. Minaj?
Though Lindsay Lohan curried favor with the Judge presiding over her probation hearing this past week, fashionistas around the country were inclined to pooh-pooh her fashion sensibilities on the momentous occasion, when she ran the gauntlet at the downtown courthouse as frenzied paparazzi nipped at her tired old heels anxious to capture a "money" shot once again.
The self-destructive starlet - who normally draws as much attention to her signature style as her bad girl persona - ended up in the hot seat a drab mirror-image of a once-glam Lindsay Lohan prone to partake in a lot of boozing-and-brawling at the witching hour in Hollywood on lonely solitary nights.
Even her "do" was a wash-out folks!
And, what (pray tell) inspired the otherwise pretty damsel in distress, to don that God-awful two-piece pantsuit disaster (in that positively pukey hue)?
The forlorn fabric puckered-and-pulled in all the wrong places, too, dahlinks!
An unfashionable mess, I dare say.
In a nutshell?
Ms. Lohan appeared to be auditioning for the frumpy role of a grade-school spinister guilty of committing a fashion faux pas in dress-making class.
Her celebrated day in court was not without a bit of nail-biting, either, just betcha.
After all, speculation was running rampant, that Lohan might end up back in the slammer on the heels of an alleged hit-and-run fender-bender in a nightclub parking lot in Tinseltown after hours.
Fortunately, the troubled movie star escaped the Judge's wrath, go figure.
Notwithstanding, there still is the issue of the "informal probation" in respect to the alleged stolen necklace fiasco.
Will Lohan steer clear of the long arm of the law, and end up hearing the director yell "action, when the cameras start to roll on a biopic she's supposed-to star in on legendary film beauty Elizabeth Taylor?
News at 11!
It's not always possible to keep abreast of what's going on in the heady world of show biz - let alone - the lofty hedonistic realms of a bevy of up-and-coming bustling "Boy Bands" where talented teenage lads are constantly busting out and literally bursting at the seams for their hot-to-trot fans around the face of the globe.
I am fortunate - however - that because MySpace friends (such as "The Back Street Boys" and "New Kids on the Block") continually fire off updates on their tours and sizzling-hot news alerts on their latest scintillating video releases, I am able to keep up - and in step - with a posse of 'em (from my era - at least - for sure!)
But, when I got a request from"One Direction" to be "friends" right out-of-the-blue one fine day - I fess up - I was completely in the dark.
I wasn't even a tad familiar with the engaging lads from across the great pond!
Was I astral-travelling around the galaxy when they made their grand musical entrance on the planet that week?
And, according to their handlers, the bright Brit boy band has also inked a deal with keen book publishers at HarperCollins, who are in the process of coining a coffee-table showpiece replete with titillating exclusive one-on-one interviews and a revealing in-depth back story tracking the quintet's mercurial rise to International superstardom (and beyond?).
So, when I clicked on the "link" they sent along, I was taken by surprise alright.
In less than a nano-second - there I was - face-to-face with their engaging publicity still for starters.
And, tucked inside, was a dynamite soundtrack of their latest pop release.
It was a bullet, alright.
In fact, their 1st album - "Up All Night" - went platinum in a few scant weeks.
A musical phenomenon!
Yeah, their out of this world, alright!
In addition, a far-reaching U.S. tour will also be launched, precisely two days after the pricey book hits the shelves on or about May 24th around the country.
What, a British Music Invasion, again?
Save your allowance, kiddies, if 'ya want to go along for the wild ride.
Justin Beiber eat your heart out.
After all, at 18, you're getting - um - old!
Friday, March 30, 2012
After a brief check up, and a clean bill of health, I was inclined to joke with my doctor about the Lottery this morning.
"Now, let me outta here! I have to go and buy a Lottery ticket for tonight's Mega Millions draw!"
Surprisingly - instead of egging me on - my physician was inclined to shake his head in disapproval before trying to rain on my parade.
"Do you know what the odds are of winning that jackpot?" he quizzed me further, to hammer home the point.
"I know! 176,000,000 to one," I cackled.
"It's easier to get hit by lightning," he shot back, with a smug look of satisfaction on his face.
"Twice," I underscored loudly, as I prepared to scurry out the door undaunted by his negativity.
"The people who play the Lotto have problems. You don't need that," he noted quickly on the uptake.
"Maybe, they didn't manage their winnings properly. But, I sure would like a shot at it," I beamed back, reluctant to be deterred by his pessimism.At that juncture, I was suddenly reminded of an old joke I heard many moons ago.
A man - who was out-of-work and suffering dire straits - prayed to God one day that he be blessed with a big win in the Lottery.
A sympathetic God heard his cry for help and responded in kind.
"Okay. But, will you do me a favor, first?"
"Sure. Anything," the excited believer replied, anxious to obey the almighty father in heaven.
"Can you at least buy a ticket?"
While a handful of skeptics may laugh at all the hoopla and hysteria over the frenzied Mega Millions Mania in recent days - the truth of the matter is - that someone is going to win the stash of cash (and win big).
The reality of it all?
You can't take a shot at it, if 'ya don't purchase a ticket!
Good luck to each and every one of you, eh?
For fans of Tom Epperson, the cozy little shop on Sunset just shy of Larrabee Street (where intriguing maze-like aisles lined with rickety shelves stacked full of books beckon from bottom-to-top) was the hottest ticket in town on Tuesday night.
Book-lovers and avid readers alike - drifted in to "Book Soup" - to mix-and-mingle, be entertained by a handful of excerpts from Epperson's latest publication (Sailor), and participate in a lively Q & A.
At least one celebrity guest was spied flipping open the attractive hard-cover offering in the packed house that rainy night, as I took stock of the upbeat festivities from a perch on high near the front door (which afforded me a crystal clear view of things unaffected from afar).
For example, I spotted quirky actor Billy Bob Thornton (sexily attired in black jeans, designer "t" and ubiquitous baseball cap pulled down over his crusty old familiar face) standing on the sidelines engaging in a low-key conversation-or-two with the locals (content to be out of the spotlight for a change).
Thornton was on hand to support his good friend, Epperson, a fellow writer he often collaborates with on the literary end of things.
Epperson, for those of you in the dark, is a native of Malvern (Arkansas).
The writer received a B.A. in English from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and an M.A. in English from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville, then headed for the west coast to seek fame and fortune with boyhood friend Billy Bob Thornton.
Since those inauspicious beginnings just a scant few years ago, Epperson has manged to surface to the top, after co-writing scripts for flicks such as "One False Move", "A Family Thing", "The Gift", and "A Gun, a Car, a Blonde".
Epperson's book "The Kind One" was nominated for a 2009 Edgar Award for Best First Novel.
The author (currently residing in the Los Angeles area) is a down-to-earth articulate dude - who didn't disappoint earlier in the week - as far as guest speakers or best-selling authors go.
On the heels of his talk, fans quickly queued up with books in hand (some were inclined to snap up three or four in one fell swoop) to have their precious copies personally signed by the talented writer.
There was a definite buzz in the air, too, as the well-heeled crowd sipped on bubbly, snacked on scrumptious finger foods, and perused the store's other offerings during the course of the passing parade.
"Book Soup" is one of the "best kept" secrets in town where authors often appear with little fuss-or-muss to unveil their work and mingle casually without reservation in spite of the madding crowds that tend to hound one.
In fact, I am just now reminded, that it's time I put my name on their mailing list so I don't miss any of their exciting upcoming book events slated for the calendar in the near-or-distant future.
See 'ya there, eh?
By the way, good luck with "Sailor", Tom.
For gays in the neighborhood, It's probably already conjured up a truckload of homoerotic fantasies, just betcha!
I was chatting up a Nurse earlier today when the subject of Mega Millions "mania" - which has been sweeping the country - came up in the conversation.
At this point, the good-humored gal uttered up the lottery quote of the day.
"Around the hospital when anyone is under the weather, they call in to work sick. If I win the Mega Millions jackpot, I plan to call in rich!"
Tuesday, March 27, 2012
Was that really her?
Is sure looked like the glamorous songbird!
I was waiting patiently in line at Rite-Aid in Beverly Hills to pay for my ice cream, when the "mysterious-looking" customer next to me forewarned the perky cashier that the hair products she'd selected were on sale "two-for-one".
"Oh, I'll have to sign you up for our discount card, then," the outgoing clerk informed the stylishly-dressed woman, as she slid a spanking-new "wellness" card through the computer terminal.
"First name," she quizzed, without skipping a beat.
"Natalie," the gal softly whispered, almost under her breath.
"Cole," she uttered up quietly.
THE Natalie Cole, do 'ya suppose?
At this point, I tried to surreptitiously maneuver a sideways glance to firm up my suspicions.
Just last year, I attended Ms. Cole's book signing at a chi chi retail outlet in Beverly Hills, and was "this-close" to the daughter of the legendary crooner Nat King Cole.
Like the gal at the press party, the elgant woman was quite tall. Yes, the same height as Natlie Cole.
Slender, too, just like the celebrated star!
The ubiquitous sunglasses - hiding a lot of face - also sent a signal my way.
"I expect Ms. Cole would prefer to be left alone while she's shopping incognito in the neighborhood," I thought to myself, as I casually looked away to give her some space.
Once her transaction was complete, and I stepped forward to pay up, I noticed that Ms. Cole (or was it my imagination?) appeared to be checking me out.
I suppose it's conceivable that she recognized me, too, after recalling that I attended her high-profile glitzy book event a few moons ago (and rustled up a lot of publicity for her memoir on the Internet as well).
Meanwhile, the two customers next on my left appeared to be bubbling over with excitement.
Imagine that, standing in line next to - not one, but two - celebrities.
Well, today is the day for the big lotto, so jackpots are probably expected (I guess).
By the way, last week Larry King was causing quite a buzz, when he showed up at an oh-so-trendy street cafe about two blocks up-the-way on Canon Drive.
Frankly, I was surprised when I caught sight of the man in person, at long last.
He is so uncharismatic that he literally fades into the crowd.
Except for his wild outrageous ties which generally scream out loudly, of course.
Stay posted for updates.
Some of the LAPD's finest (bull-headed bozos) are under the impression that just because they wear a shield, they are entitled to ignore the letter of the Law, at whim.
For example, bright-and-early this morning, I observed a cop at the wheel of a squad car pull to a stop in the middle of busy 7th Avenue in downtown Los Angeles - effect a sloppy u-turn - then purr up to the curb and park in a clearly-marked red zone.
And, what official business was the officer and his partner on, that required such a flagrant disregard for the rules of the road?
A trip to the local 711!
The clueless officers slapped each other on the back inside the convenience store a few minutes later, as they ordered up snacks, completely oblivious to the fact they were causing a major traffic jam outside!
The City designated that segment of the curb a "red zone" for good reason, a**holes!
The beginning five numbers of their license plate read 12919, so I trust that if their supervisor happens to peruse this post, that he will take it upon himself to properly discipline the officers in question.
Law Enforcement Officers are not above the law, after all!
Monday, March 26, 2012
Socialite - Kathy Hilton - introduced her 2012 Spring/Summer line between-the-sheets of the latest edition of the Beverly Hills Courier this past week on the West Coast.
For starters, Mrs. Hilton has always struck me as a very classy woman - and that defining quality - is reflected wholeheartedly in the spread on display.
In a nutshell, the show-stoppers are ultra-feminine!
With her eye on mainstream buyers across the country, the elegant celebrity fashionista has managed to fathom up a smattering of outfits that she appropriately refers to as:
"Cocktail & evening attire at affordable prices"
But, there is nothing cheap-looking about the ensembles, whatsoever!
The International jet-setter has managed to successfully toss a soft glamorous spotlight on a handful of delicious fabrics - silk charmeuse, chiffon, lace, tulle and taffeta -and in the process turn out a rack of offerings with obvious timeless appeal.
In fact, the Hilton "House" has risen to the occasion well.
Unfortunately, the publicity still that ran with the fashion pictorial left a lot to be desired.
The photographer was inclined to prop "Kathy" (a stunning-looking woman with flawless skin and impeccable signature style) on a couch like a stiff wind-up doll.
If a guest at her house was to breath on her that day, undoubtedly, she would have fallen over and broke into a million porcelain pieces on the floor below.
Paris could have taken a better - more flattering picture - with her personal cell phone.
Lighten up, Mrs. Hilton.
Your carefree down-to-earth manner (not the one to the Manor born) has more widespread appeal across the county and abroad.
If you've ever attended an audition for a TV program, feature film role, or commercial spot - chances are - you've strolled onto a studio lot located at Santa Monica Boulevard and Formosa in West Hollywood in search of the production team hunkered down in a studio rental for the duration of the project.
For many - like moi - a trek through the sound stages triggers golden memories.
Now, upstanding members of the TV and Film community are irate and up-in-arms, after hearing that the historic studio (once owned by legendary screen idols Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks, Jr.) is about to face the wrecking ball to make way for a smattering of modern glass and steel structures to be erected in the near future.
"We don't need no stinking ramshackle bungalows," is probably the lament of the "suits" in the ivory tower, who are obviously wringing-their-hands with glee at the prospect of the increased rental space (and potential profit).
According to legend, a secret tunnel - that once stretched underground from "The Lot" to the Formosa Cafe across the street - was dug out so that famed actors (such as Errol Flynn) could slyly toss down a few potent cocktails during the course of a shoot with their "studio bosses" being none-the-wiser.
Frank Sinatra apparently held court in a secluded bungalow in the back when he was on set filming one of his popular musicals while under contract with a major studio.
Although, the City of West Hollywood has acknowledged that property - formerly known as Warner Brothers Studios - is a historic landmark, WeHo City Council Members have fallen short of designating the property as such "officially".
On the heels of the unsettling news, preservationists at the Los Angeles Conservancy are scrambling to block the development, you betcha!
Stay posted for updates, eh?
'Ya know an individual is famous when they pop into the local doughnut shop to satisfy a sweet tooth at some Mom & Pop outfit and the worker behind the counter reacts immediately once she has set her eyes on his or her precious bod.
"I know you!" she exclaims, as the poor sod - just there to dunk a doughnut in his coffee like every other common Joe in the joint - shuffles his feet a tad nervously in response before ordering.
"One chocolate doughnut with nuts on top, please."
At this juncture, the counter-person-cum-server-cum-cashier, stands transfixed on the spot as a flurry of bizarre thoughts race through her dizzy head (judging by the look on her face anyway).
Now that she has the celebrity at arm's length - what, pray tell - should she do?
Ask for an autograph?
Reach out and touch the famed individual and never wash her hand again?
Or, maybe, just pinch herself.
Somehow, the experience is just a little too surreal to wrestle with.
So much so, that the celebrity is forced to toss a wad of cash on the table, and dash out the door in a bold-faced attempt to escape unscathed by all the intense scrutiny.
At this point, the celebrated guest wonders aloud.
Does Winchell's make home deliveries?
News at 11!
In the aftermath of the outrageous "murder" of a black youth - Trayvon Martin (by a trigger-happy racist security guard for no justifiable reason) - there was cause to reflect on the tragedy lately.
On many occasion during the biting-cold winter months - in San Francisco and here in Los Angeles, too - I have often removed a "hoodie" from my head when I spotted a squad car slowly cruise by or spied a security guard at a perch on the street eyeing me up-and-down.
In recent years, it's been painfully obvious to many (including myself as aforementioned) that Officers in Law Enforcement are often under the misguided impression that a "hoodie" is a sinister garment only tossed on by criminals with the specific intent of hiding or obscuring their faces while out on a night prowl for victims to mug, rape, or even murder.
In spite of the fact that I am white, I am still not inclined to tempt "fate" - least of all incite a racist rogue cop to take wrongful action - while under the color of so-called authority when he thinks no one is observing.
This past week, the President was so outraged by the death, that he stepped up to the podium to express his heartfelt thoughts on the issue.
"He could have been my son," Obama uttered up - at which point - the timely message struck home.
At that juncture, a thought crossed my own mind, too.
Why doesn't the President take a stroll in the mean streets of Washington (D.C.) one night after the dinner hour icognito with a "hoodie" on (with secret service tailing out-of-sight behind) to gauge the reactions he drums up from lone passers-by, police officers, and others who hide behind a shield daily.
Mr. President, just betcha, the truth will set us all free.
Stay posted for updates!
around in puddles
having to carry
fighting for the
The Daily Planet
A Collection of Poems
Sunday, March 25, 2012
Die-hard fashionistas - and hard-nosed magazine editors back east - have continually pooh-poohed the notion that the Los Angeles's fashion scene is worth bothering about (let alone mentioning on their society pages).
But, from where I sit atop my perch, the influence of the West Coast "power-players" is difficult to ignore.
For example, it has not escaped my attention in recent days, that the Hollywood film and Music industries - and the high-profile performers who toil under their celebrated banners in town - directly influence (and impact) bell-weather trends each season in California (and likewise, around the face of the globe, if only because of the red carpet premiers that spotlight the designers featured).
With that in mind, at least one gutsy fashion editor - by the name of Csaba Fikker - has risen to the occasion to meet the demand.
The visionary upstart and her funders have launched a spanking-new publication that focuses on the rag trade in LA LA LAND and the sunny West Coast.
The LA Fashion Magazine - which was first-introduced at the Los Angeles Fashion Weekend a scant week-or-so ago in Hollywood - was well-received, too.
According to Ms. Fikker, the welcome offering has been a long time coming.
"I have been sitting on the idea of launching a fashion publication for close to a decade. It never made much sense to me that Los Angeles is on the sidelines when it comes to the fashion world. Literally, we have everything right here, from the very high end Haute Couture to the trendy subcultures. It's movie stars and rock stars who sell most brands nowadays, and most live here in Los Angeles."
The "Premier" edition focused on a smattering of Spring/Summer 2012 runway-show collections that were unveiled in October at the Los Angeles Fashion Weekend (featuring Betsey Johnson, Antony Franco, Sue Wong, and Karen Capili).
In upcoming issues, I expect the articles will be far-reaching.
By the way, the magazine vows to go "green" all-the-way.
The editor has noted that the magazine will accomplish this goal by printing a limited number of high quality print issues with the main focus being on digital delivery.
The May issue, for example, will be available on Apple NewsStand - and thus - reach of millions of readers around the world with a flick of a finger-or-two on a keyboard.
Maybe, then, snooty fashionistas on the International scene will sit up and take notice of once down-on-their-heels scrappy Los Angelinos, eh?
Stay posted for updates.
Fashion Star "Betsey Johnson" featured at LA runway shows!
Designs by Anthony Franco
Saturday, March 24, 2012
A Collection of Poems
When I dashed into 711 to scan my Mega Millions lottery ticket, I was crestfallen when the machine spat out the lotto results.
"Ticket not a winner", it read!
Tell that to Charlie Sheen, eh?
Just as a deep funk fell over me (and I started to feel like a real loser) I perked up when another ticket holder informed me there wasn't any big winner that evening.
Now, the Mega Millions jackpot has rolled over to a whopping $356 million approximately.
Needless to say, I'm going to dip into my weekly allowance and try my luck.
For actors, it's a little perk in life.
Every time a TV Show or commercial is re-broadcast on a network - or a film is screened for viewers in the comfort of their cozy homes - the producers cough up a residual check for the performers who acted on the project.
The fee is determined by the actor's pay scale and the venue on which it aired.
A major network repeat will generate a higher residual than a lowly cable outlet in the U.S. market.
Actors usually rely on the "surprise" revenue to get through lean times when out-of-work or - God forbid - they have unexpectedly come down with an ailment that prevents them from attending auditions or contracting for assignments.
Whenever I spy an envelope in the mailbox with the Union's logo on its face, I get excited.
Unfortunately, the residuals have been few-and-far between lately, and tend to for paltry sums when they do arrive out-of-the-blue by U.S. Post.
After all, every time a program airs, the residual decreases in size (and number).
Last week, I received a check for approximately $1.00 from the producers of "How I Got into College" (Fox Films) for playing a "Harvard Recruiter" years ago.
I got a whoppiing 47 cents for a repeat of a brief performance on "In Living Color" (I was lucky to land a bit part in a "Brothers / Brothers sketch which starred talented actor Jim Carrey).
Oh well, it's better than a kick in the butt, eh?
Jack-in-the-Box...rude cashier begrudges gent Senior Coffee discount! Changing Latino attitudes in U.S.!
There was a time when Latinos were grateful to land a menial-task job in the United States.
Now-a-days, though, quite a few immigrant workers not only have a bad attitude - but - are often inclined to push white folks around at fast-food take-outs and the local pharmacy when they step up for service at the counter.
For example, when an elderly gent ordered up a breakfast Jack and senior coffee one morning at the Jack-in-the-Box fast-food outlet at Cahuenga and Sunset, he noticed he was overcharged.
"Heh, I ordered a Senior coffee," he excitedly pointed out to the cashier, who reacted by wrinkling up her nose at him, before retorting back with an exasperated look on her face.
"Everyone wants a Senior coffee," she scoffed, as other guests gazed on from the sidelines startled by her rude insulting behaviour.
"I'm a Senior. I am entitled to the discount," he shot back, a bit miffed by her mean-spirited attitude.
Reluctantly, the sloppily-dressed cashier corrected the bill, and strode off to whisper her annoyance (in Spanish, mind you) to a fellow worker a few steps away.
Coincidentally, the customer received an invitation on his receipt to participate in a survey about the service at that location.
Just betcha, he gave them his piece of mind, eh?
By the way, on the heels of a recent poll, it was reported that there are fewer Latino workers pursuing gainful employment in outlying areas of the United States just now.
As expected, though, the numbers have risen a notch or two in big cities like Los Angeles and New York.
It has been theorized that Mexican workers are moving back to large metropolitan cities to secure-work - or staying put at home in Mexico - until the troubled economy surges forward once again.
The recent rise in Asian immigrants to this country may have also impacted the situation.
News at 11!
Sofia Coppola just started up production on her latest project - "The Bling Ring" - which is expected to toss a searing lens on a tawdry Hollywood-inspired tale inspired by real-life events ripped from the headlines.
Scripted by Ms. Coppola, the intriguing drama focuses on a gang of Los Angeles teens who reached infamy after they were caught burglarizing the ritzy homes of celebrities such as Lindsay Lohan and Paris Hilton.
By tracking the whereabouts of their victims on the Internet, the clever thieves were able to pull off the robberies without a hitch.
The light-fingered criminals made off with about $3 million dollars worth of booty before they were eventually apprehended by the local police.
Ms. Coppolla' brother - Roman - is co-producing alongside his sister and Youree Henley.
Sofia (the daughter of famed director Francis Ford Coppola) last-produced "Somewhere" starring sexy hunk Stephen Dorff which was fairly well-received by critics here and abroad (2010 release).