Tuesday, April 25, 2017
Good lord. He never would have gotten away with this on United ...
As if "Emmy and the Breakfast Club" weren't enough, The New York Times reports that a feature movie about Madonna's early years in gritty 1980s New York is officially in the works. "Blond Ambition" was written by Elyse Hollander and topped last year's Black List, the annual industry compendium of the best unproduced screenplays. Universal has reportedly bought the script, and the film's producers include Bret Ratner's RatPac Entertainment, and Michael De Luca, who produced the 2017 Oscars; "Moneyball" (2011); and the "Fifty Shades of Grey" movie franchise.
How much input, if any, Madonna will have in the film is unknown. Madonna's not impressed, although her assertion that anyone (but her) who tries to tell her story automatically means they are a "charlatan" and a "fool" who isn't "doing the work" seems a bit Olivia de Havilland of her. Does this also mean great biographies can't be written about people?
This certainly won't be the first time the topic has been examined ...
Watch Matthew Wilkas and Jenn Harris as down-on-their-luck New Yorkers who would literally kill to be able to afford the city HERE.
"New York Is Dead," the directorial debut by "Queer as Folk" alum Randy Harrison, has a splashy premiere this week at the Tribeca Film Festival.
This story about three men who rowed nearly 3,000 miles from the Canary Islands off the coast of North Africa to Antigua -- becoming the first Texans to row across the Atlantic, and the first and fastest three-man crew to row the Atlantic, nearly dying in the process -- sure got a lot more interesting when I found out the cute shirtless one, 31-year-old rowing coach David Alviar, carried an engagement ring with him and proposed to his teacher boyfriend, Stanley Lewis, when he finished the race. Read HERE.
You may have seen the exciting news over the weekend that Bananarama is gearing up for a U.K. tour along with former member Siobhan Fahey -- the original trio's first-ever proper live performances. Now a great interview in The Guardian and appearance on Chris Evans's BBC Radio 2 show answer some of the questions that quickly came to mind. For starters, the group would love to add dates in the U.S., but are waiting to see how they are received at home before doing so. (Please come to the U.S.!) Next, there is talk of recording a new single -- Siobhan lives in L.A., so they're working around that inconvenience -- but the tour should be seen as a Greatest Hits event, because they are finally at a point where they want to celebrate everything they've achieved. Regular readers know I am bananas for the girls. I only wish my brother Bill, who introduced me to them with Fun Boy Three's "It Ain't What You Do" and an import 12-single of "Shy Boy," were here to fan-boy out with me.
I heard a rumor ...
The state I'm in? Ecstasy!
The reunion is a surprise, but I noticed this 2014 holiday shot the girls posted with pal Boy George, plus this 2013 reunion at the Standard Hotel in West Hollywood. And the "Waterloo" and "Club G-A-Y" performances show the love was always there.
The New York Post: What a shocker -- the rightwing tabloid has a problem with the left-leaning mayor
The Daily News: Jewish high school students protest outside Queens home of former Nazi concentration camp guard
The New York Times: Michael Flynn May Have Broken Law, GOP Congressman Says
The Wall Street Journal: Former WaMu, IndyMac Workers Still Love Their Failed, Disgraced Banks
Monday, April 24, 2017
The Daily Mail reports that the mystery prisoner who Hernandez wrote to before his shocking suicide is a 22-year-old man jailed for a knife-point robbery at a gas station. Kyle Kennedy was the last person to see the former New England Patriot alive and is now on suicide watch inside the maximum security Souza-Baranowski Corrections Center, sources say. He is the man to whom Hernandez gave a $50,000 watch and other property shortly before he took his life. Hernandez, 27, who was found dead hanging from a bed sheet in his cell early on Wednesday morning last week, left three suicide notes. One was addressed to his fiancée, Shayanna Jenkins-Hernandez, the second to their 4-year-old daughter, Avielle, and the third to a prisoner, who high level prison sources described as his prison lover.
Hernandez had been serving a life sentence without possibility of parole for the murder of his close friend Odin Lloyd, but just five days earlier had been acquitted of a separate double murder. One theory for Lloyd’s murder is that he knew about Hernandez’s bisexuality and might tell Shenea Jenkins — Hernandez’s fiancée’s sister — who Lloyd was dating. According to Newsweek, Hernandez also had a long-term gay lover before he was imprisoned who was due to give evidence at his murder trial. But shortly before the case he transferred a large sum of money into the man’s bank account.
Eventually the suicide notes will become available under state open-records laws. Until then, the speculation continues to build.
In an online profile on the website Write A Prisoner, Kennedy described his sexual orientation as "straight."
"Hello, my name is Kyle,’ he wrote on the site in May last year. "I signed up on this website so I can correspond and possibly build friendships with people from around the world. I stand at 5’ 10” and I weigh 175 pounds, I have brown hair and brown eyes. I am also heavily tattooed. I work out, read books and write to help me pass the time while incarcerated," he added. "My hobbies on the street include racing motocross, building and customizing cars and motorcycles and doing anything that includes the outdoors. I am currently working to attain my Barbering license." He ended his profile with the words: "If you want to get to know me, I’m just a stamp away! Thank you, Kyle."
Variety's Nick Schager on why you never hear LGBT activists whining about too much "Marsha! Marsha! Marsha!":
Even in persecuted communities, there are hierarchies of marginalization, and “The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson” argues that, with regards to the LGBT movement of the past few decades, the most ostracized and demonized faction continues to be transgender people. Driven by both empathy and a passion for justice, “How to Survive a Plague” director David France’s stellar documentary charts an investigation into the still-unsolved death of trans icon Marsha P. Johnson, along the way illuminating the persistent discrimination that exists today, and the bonds of community designed to counter it. Deriving additional emotional power from its formal beauty, it should be one of the signature breakouts from this year’s Tribeca Film Festival.Keep reading HERE.
Rafael Nadal claimed a record 10th Monte Carlo Masters title as he geared up for the French Open with a 6-1 6-3 victory against fellow Spaniard Albert Ramos on Sunday. But the real news was that World No. 1 and 2 Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic still haven't found their form going into summer Slam season. Novak was edged out by David Goffin, while Murray lost in two close sets to Gilles Müller, leaving many fans wondering what's going on with them both. Although Nadal still has his fragile moments -- did you see him against Kyle Edmund? -- it's starting to look like the Spaniard has a real shot at a 10th trophy at Roland Garros.
ICYMI: Dominic Thiem fell to nemesis Goffin, but not before his ass got Justin Gimelstob all WORKED UP.
Grin and bear it, Fed Cup style
Meanwhile, the women's Fed Cup was completely overshadowed by Ilie Nastase -- seriously! -- who was inexplicably chosen to coach the Romanian team. (I suppose if Jim Pierce hadn't just died he'd have been coaching, too?) In addition to being suspended from all International Tennis Federation events for verbally abusing opposing team members (he called Johanna Konta and Anne Keothavong "f**king bitches) and the umpire (to whom he screamed, "It's not the opera, what's your f****** problem?"), he also made British captain Anne Keothavong feel "uncomfortable" by leering at her and asking her for her hotel room number. (She's pregnant and he's married, so it was PERFECT!) But there's more. He also is under investigation by the ITF for commenting about Serena Williams' baby, saying: "Let's see what color it has. Chocolate with milk?"
And speaking of Serena's pregnancy: The real winner from that news is of course Maria Sharapova, whose agent continues to mouth off in the same way once-contrite Maria has since people started to criticize the WTA for giving her wild cards back into tournaments, including this week's in Stuttgart.
"All those 'journeyman' players like Radwanska and Wozniacki who have never won a slam and the next generation passing them. They are smart to try to keep Maria out of Paris," Eisenbud told New York Times tennis writer Ben Rothenberg. "NO Serena [Williams - pregnant], NO Maria, NO Vika [Victoria Azarenka - set to return in July after having a baby], NO Petra [Kvitova], it's their last chance to win a slam."As my mother would say: "You don't sound like you're sorry."
Serena Williams responds to the Nastase controversy.
I remember this song being on the radio when I was in high school and my mom commenting something about recognizing the phrase "Kyrie, eleison" from Catholic school. It was all Greek to me.
The New York Post: 4 children among those killed in raging house fire
The Daily News: Four children among five killed in Queens Village blaze
The New York Times: Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen Advance in French Election
The Wall Street Journal: This Vermont High School Is Having a Very Vermont Problem
Sunday, April 23, 2017
Despite all the '80s nostalgia and reunion tours going on, I'm still kind of in shock -- and thrilled! -- that Siobhan Fahey has reunited with Keren Woodward and Sara Dallin for a U.K. tour planned for this fall. (Apparently even Shakespear's moodiest sister isn't above a little throwback fun!) My dirty little secret is that I didn't go see Bananarama when I had the chance on their first World Tour back in 1989 partly because I was interning on Capitol Hill at the time and was flat broke, and partly because I wasn't particularly thrilled that my favorite Rama had left the band. (Jacquie O'Sullivan stepped into her Venus catsuit.) I eventually saw Keren and Sara at the Hard Rock Cafe in Times Square, but I may just have to make a second trip across the pond this fall to see the original line-up on tour for the first time ever! Ticket info HERE.
Keren, Sara and some fourth banana ...
Yesterday was one of those wistful days, for a variety of reasons. Damian and I were looking for something to do on a rainy-lazy Saturday, so I took a look at what was showing at the Quad, whose recent renovation and reopening I had recently blogged about. Sure enough, the one thing that was starting at the perfect time for us to pay the bill at brunch and head right over was "The Return of the Secaucus 7," a film I had seen Roger Ebert gush about on "Sneak Previews" back in 1980 when I was in junior high. My 8th-grade English teacher and would-be best friend, Sharon Fagan, adored me for being a Blondie fan and PBS watcher, so always made time to discuss the latest films we'd seen on the precursor to "At the Movies" and later "Siskel & Ebert." "Return of the Secaucus 7" was one of those mythical independent films, which is to say seeing it in Phoenix wasn't likely to happen. (It would take a driver's license before I could get to the artsier film houses in Tempe and Scottsdale.) Over the years, my brother Bill and I would frequently make references to "Secaucus" -- and also "Union City," two towns I would later learn were no place to aspire to! -- but I somehow never got around to seeing it. (Director John Sayles followed it up with the wonderful "Baby, It's You" with Rosanna Arquette and Vincent Spano, which Bill and I did see, although I don't remember knowing it was the same filmmaker.)
So Damian and I headed straight over to the Quad -- NYC's first multiplex when it opened in 1972, with six whole screens! -- and got tickets.
Thought of Bill the whole time we were there -- it was just the kind thing we'd text about and I knew he'd die to see that this out-of-reach film was now playing a few blocks from my apartment, some 30 years later.
I was impressed by the beautiful job they did renovating the old cinema, although making room for bigger concession stands, bathrooms and waiting areas unfortunately led to slightly smaller movie screens. (I used to lament that going to see old movies "on the big screen" didn't count when they were showing at Film Forum, and it seems the Quad has joined that club, now that most people's televisions are larger than its screens.)
Quaffee and Quadcorn, anyone?
Nonetheless, the film -- about seven friends who reunite after their radical college days for a dramatic and revelatory weekend -- was right up my alley, and the exact type of dialogue-driven story that would be unlikely to be made today. It didn't hurt that Jeff (played by Mark Arnott), J.T. (Adam LeFevre) and Howie (played by the filmmaker himself) were all hunky. As is often the case in New York, and especially at the Quad, writer/director/Howie John Sayles and his producing partner, Maggie Renzi (who played Katie Sipriano) were there for a Q&A afterward. Was interesting hearing them talk about the evolution of independent films -- something like how there used to be less than 20 made a year, now Sundance alone gets 3,500 entrants a year -- and how they shot "Secaucus" for $40,000. Sayles mentioned how the film hadn't done great when it was first released, but that they got a new poster and ad campaign together and it did bang-up business during the second rollout, especially at the Quad where it played for "months and months," back when films actually did that. The program director and moderator said they planned to revisit other successes from the Quad's past, which I'll look forward to checking out even if this outing never settled the dispute between Damian and me about the correct pronunciation of "Secaucus" and ultimately left me feeling hollow. The Jersey boy insists it's SEE-caucus, but Bill and I always said "Se-caucus" -- and Frank Lautenberg's no longer around to issue a definitive ruling. And Bill's no longer around either to share these little moments -- I'm dying to ask if he ever got around to seeing it -- which kind of takes the fun out everything.
Saturday, April 22, 2017
Although she had spent the past few decades obviously troubled -- alleging she'd been abused on the set of the long-running ABC sitcom, robbed of royalties and then battling homelessness -- words cannot explain how heartbreaking it is to read about the passing of Richie Cunningham's kid sister. (Cause of death isn't known at this time, but cancer is suspected.) "Happy Days" was the must-see show of my early youth -- you were not to show your face in Ms. Schnabel's fourth-grade class at Hiller Elementary on Wednesday morning if you hadn't tuned in the night before -- and being the little girl that I was, wisecracking (and boy crazy!) Joanie always was one of my favorite characters on the show. While Moran joins a long list of former child stars whose lives went terribly off the rails, I sure wish Hollywood could figure out a way to help prevent this from continuing to happen. RIP, Joanie. Chachi wasn't the only one who loved you.
Donnie Most, who played Ralph Malph on "Happy Days," said in a statement, “I am so incredibly sad to hear about Erin. She was a wonderful, sweet, caring, talented woman. As I write this I can’t really comprehend this right now. A very painful loss. It gives me some comfort to know that she’s with Tom, Al, Pat and Garry. Rest In Peace, sweet Erin.” Anson Williams, who played Potsie (on whom Joanie had a crush), said, “Erin was a person who made everyone around her feel better. She truly cared about others first, a true angel. I will miss her so much, but know that she is in God’s hands. RIP sweet angel.”
Still awaiting word from brother Chuck.
Interesting that the only New York paper to give Moran's death page-one treatment was The Daily News -- and that The Los Angeles Times didn't even give her a refer.