Monday, May 31, 2010

Thundercats Writer, R.I.P.

The media is all over the recent passings of Gary Coleman and Dennis Hopper. The "rule of three" has had people talking for the last few days... "who is next?" The sad fact is that thousands of people were "next" but that doesn't mean they get featured on the national news. Take, for example, Stephen Perry.

I just read, via Digg and LAWeekly, that "56-year-old Stephen Perry, who wrote for the 1980s cartoon series Thundercats, was murdered. The man had gone missing for nearly two weeks, and police reportedly found his arm inside of his abandoned van on the grounds of a Tampa Bay hotel May 16."

So horrific.  Here is this man who for years had kids hooked to their TVs for each new (heck, even syndicated) episode of Thundercats.  The show only ran two seasons but that included 130 episodes not to mention hundreds of action figures and playsets.  I loved these toys (still have most of them... except for the Thundertank and Cats' Lair).

Following the success of Thundercats, the producers created Silverhawks and Tigersharks - pretty good follow-ups but not nearly as beloved as the Cats.

It's a shame that Mr. Perry didn't benefit further from his work on the show.  According to the news article he was near penniless after being diagnosed with bladder cancer. Thankfully Stan Lee's Hero Initiative , a not-for-profit organization established to provide monetary assistance to former comic book creators requiring supplemental health, medical, and quality-of-life assistance, stepped in and helped get Mr. Perry back on his feet.

It's so tragic when anyone passes. Hopefully, as the article states, a Thundercats live-action film will be produced.  I hope that at least some portion of the proceeds will go to the Hero Initiative in honor of Mr. Perry.

Until that time, grab your favorite comic book, cartoon episode or action figure and have a ball.  And remember that someone out there helped to build whatever wonderful fictional universe you chose to enjoy.

To all those who have passed, may you all rest in peace.  You've brought great joy to millions through your craft and talents.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Push Up vs push ups - The Universe in Balance

Yesterday I popped upstairs to the cafe at Ripley-Grier Studios for a post-lunch snack attack and saw in their freezer the most amazing childhood treat I ever enjoyed... the Push Up. I remember, when we would go home and visit family in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, walking up to Butler's General Store near the Old Mill and getting one out of their cooler.

We knew Butler's well. It was the store for everyone in town and was just across the street from our old shop that my mom and Mamaw ran when I was a baby. Across from our shop and next to the Old Mill was an old fashioned ice cream parlor that my Mamaw would walk me to from her house (she never had a driver's license... and never wanted it) and we would go in and have ice cream whenever we could. But there was something amazing about the artificial orange flavor of a Push Up (I'm pretty sure it was artificial) and the ease of pressing that thin plastic stick up through the tube that made the Push Up so amazing. (Although that little stick would pop out sometimes and then you'd end up shoving your thumb underneath and pushing to try and get the last of your Push Up.)

As an adult, I rarely see Push Ups. But knowing that they are upstairs in Ripley-Grier has given me a whole new outlook on the summer. Of course, after a summer of these tart and tasty treats, I'll have to double up the push ups at the gym... or start them.

Apparently, in a universe where balance is key and where there is good for every bad, the world gave us the Push Up to make up for the push up. Thank goodness we're in balance.


NOTE: Unfortunately the Push Up now has a frozen rival in the Sushi Popper (thanks Gizmodo). Well, maybe not so much a "rival" as a "Oh My God! Who thought this was a good idea" disaster! GROSS!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Puttin' on the Hits

I had a flash of nostalgia today and suddenly remembered this kooky little variety show (well, not so much variety) where people would lip sync to popular songs (and some not so popular).  It took about 43 seconds with Google to recall that this amazing and hilarious show was called Puttin' on the Hits.

This show was one of the 80s answers to the age old question, "How can we fully mock people while still making them feel special?"

Wax on, Wax off... with Ozzy

I never really listed to Ozzy Osbourne, the musician. Just wasn't my thing. My thing was more Jerry Herman than hard core. But Ozzy Osbourne the personality has always appealed to me. His ability to be completely incoherent while simultaneously being hilarious wins me over every time.

Thanks to and Ozzy's YouTube channel, we get to enjoy Ozzy's antics when he visited Madame Tussauds Wax Museum here in NYC. You know, there's nothing funnier than a hidden camera, a celebrity in wax and unsuspecting tourists.

Be sure to also visit The Critical Condition for this story and more fun info on today's TV, music and movie news!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Childhood Confusions (or The Odd Story of Franjamin Binklin)

When I was really, really little... not a baby, maybe a toddler, but definitely able to talk and walk and make some sort of sense... I loved TV commercials.  I lived for them.  I watched the shows just to get to the commercials.  I really loved the Rosemary Clooney Coronet paper towels commercial.  ("Extra value is what you get,when you buy Coronet!")

But I would sometimes get confused and mix them up.. singing a mash-up of jingles which both amused and horrified my mother.  The one that stayed with me was the accidental mash-up of Long John Silver's and Reese's.  You can watch each below after the jump and then learn about Franjamin Binklin.

Somehow I ended up combining the two into a sickening new food item "Long John Silver's Peanut Butter Cups"... gross.  Imagine a chocolaty exterior with a flaky, fishy center.  BLECH!  

More after the jump.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Backstage at "Everyday Rapture" - Part 1 of Playbill Backstage

Just a quick post to reiterate how much I love Sherie Rene Scott in any form. Enjoy this Playbill Backstage video (Part 1 or 3... more to come). From "We wanted a singular peek at the Roundabout Theatre Company's new production, and we got it. Foley and company play around with Playbill, taking Everyday Rapture's idea of showbiz ego to the extreme."

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Bedknobs and Broomsticks vs. Mary Poppins: A Cage Match

Singing "Supercalifragilistic" at the office today it got me to thinking about the secondary status that many people give to Disney's 1971 classic Bedknobs and Broomsticks.  While I imagine that Mary Poppins (1964) is more widely cherished (it does have its own Broadway musical after all) I find that as an adult I am much more drawn to Angela Lansbury's witch Eglentine Price.

Bedknobs and Broomsticks always felt much more fulfilling than Mary Poppins.  Don't get me wrong... I love Mary Poppins... but Disney's other witch-makes-childrens'-lives-better movie had a stronger pull for me then and now.  I think it must be the grittier subject matter and the darker air that Bedknobs offered.  Besides that... looking below, we can compare the stories of Ms. Poppins and Ms. Price and deduce who would win in a cage match of magical British caregivers.

Click to enlarge.

I'm just sayin'... maybe Eglentine deserves some extra credit for what she and her friends could do. While you think on that, enjoy this magical moment from the film.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Sanity via Pancakes

In a perfect world I wouldn't have to go the gym fives days a week to maintain a thin-like shape (forget tone... that takes hours EVERY day).  But this world isn't perfect and thank God... otherwise we'd be bored to tears.

And because it's not perfect I can indulge... and on a bad day I might make breakfast for dinner... because you KNOW nothing is as comforting as pancakes.

Aunt Jemima was a brilliant woman (or rather, a brilliant, if not offensive - at least in early forms to a later audience - marketing campaign).  When the men who developed the brand put "her" on the market the boxes of ready mix moved like hotcakes!  (Savor that pun.... feel it's warm syrupy goodness.)

Anyhow, thanks to this turn-of-the-century invention I am able to come home and bask in the light and fluffy cake-iness of pancakes.  They're pretty magical.  It's like therapy-in-a-box. Problems?  Sorry, I don't remember.  I'm enjoying pancakes at the moment.  Ask me tomorrow.  Hey, don't knock it... it's much healthier than other alleged habits.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Tony Award Noms - and a few guesses

June 13 is just over a month away, and that means that the race is really on for the Tony Award nominees. You can check out the Red Carpet webcast beginning at 6:00PM (ET) and then at 7:00PM (ET) you can catch the webcast of the non-televised awards. At 8:00PM (ET) on CBS the fabulosity will begin.

The nominees are listed below along with my pick (in some cases "guess") in orange for who will take home the prizes. You can fill out a ballot of your own on The New York Times site by clicking here.

So, what are your thoughts? Who will win, who SHOULD win... and who got shafted?

Nominations for the 2010 American Theatre Wing's Tony Awards®

Presented by The Broadway League and the American Theatre Wing

Click below to read more!

Friday, May 07, 2010

Nashville Floods - How You Can Help

You may know that I'm a Tennessee boy by birth and that my family is still there, making their lives in East Tennessee.  And as you must know Middle Tennessee has been hit by a devastating storm and flood which had killed nearly 30 people with 6 more bodies found in Mississippi and 3 in Kentucky.

Words cannot express the calamity and many friends have been severely affected by the flood.  Please take a look through these pictures to truly understand the decimation.

Thank God for people like Taylor Swift who has donated $500,000 to help.  Granted, we are not all country stars but we can offer prayers, support and maybe a little money.  After all, a little goes a long, long way.

Thank you Ashley for the help in getting the word out.  If you can help like Taylor or Ashley, please text the word REDCROSS to 90999 and you will donate $10 through your mobile phone service.  (See your provider for full details).  Or you can make a gift of any amount by visiting the Red Cross website here.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Living Inside a Song: Part 1

Tonight, for the second time (first on Broadway) I experienced the miracle of luck and the perseverance of faith (at moments, literally) that is Sheri Rene Scott and she brings, as promised, your opportunity to achieve Everyday Rapture right there with her.

In her "true-ish story of a young woman's journey from Mennonite to Manhattanite"... well, I won't bore you with my "book review" of her work, but I can promise you it's a delightfully neurotic walk (hand-in-hand at times... it feels that intimate) down a very strange path that leads from cloistered and confined to creative and crazy... crazy, the good kind, like your favorite cousin or your cooky coworker.  Not the crazy-kind-of-crazy that puts you in a jacket (excuse me, it's a bit tight) and then says goodbye to your family from a thin, slightly frosted window as they wave goodbye riding from the back of a dirty green and beige station wagon. Jesus, enough reminiscing... this was supposed to be a beautiful night full of fun, songs, a step out of Broadway and up the ladder of the roof!

Point being before I either give away too much OR before you decide I'm too much of a kook to really think this through... you really have to see Sheri and her team go full out.  It's told almost in fairy tale fashion: evil queens (Becky), great wizards (Mr. Rogers), unreachable Gods (Judy Garland) and a fabulous hero, a shining Knight name Jerome who is lost too soon in the battle for good.

If you ever feel torn between two forces.... a speck of dust... or the receiver being handed the world created just for you... just remember, that in your pockets are both and someday you pull out the dust and others, you get to enjoy the crown and throne.

I'm rambling, I know.  It happens when I get excited about something that speaks to much to me.  Something that says, "Hey you..." (are you talking to me Sheri?)  "...yes... you with the glazed over look that says you are drooling in the glow of my Broadwayness... or you just came in from the Dunkin' Donuts across 42nd Street, save me one please and then please stop rambling and just enjoy."

You are so right.  And so I write, the end.  Go see this show and wait for the moment when the magic coming from the stage floats out over the audience and it hovers, waiting to pop over the person who needs it most.  And when it falls onto your fingertip, you'll know it is for you... and pop!  You're been blessed with a moment of Sheri Rene Scott.

Now, go order a ticket (from this link or your favorite discount service.... just do it and feel the miracle soon.

And P.S. Everyday Rapture has been nominated for two 2010 Tony® Awards! Sherie Rene Scott received a nomination for Best Actress in a Musical, and, along with Dick Scanlan, she also received a nomination for Best Book of a Musical.

(Part 2 to come)