Archive for the ‘Television’ Category

What a Jezebel!

Photo from

I went to a filming of a television show for the first time. Called The Return of Jezebel James, the show stars Parker Posey and Lauren Ambrose (Claire from Six Feet Under) and will premier in a few weeks. I got to see the filming through my sister, who works in entertainment publishing. It seemed fitting to see it with her, since the show focuses on sisters and their relationship.

The filming took place in Kaufman Astoria Studios (in Astoria), home of many television shows. When we entered the building, we walked through the set to get to our front row seats (pretty awesome). A “warm up guy” spent the time waiting for the shooting to start by embarrassing audience members and calling their families on speaker, amusing to an extent. They played the pilot for us on tv screens, hanging in front of the audience.

After serving us a slice of pizza each, the filming began. Each scene required many, many takes. It was interesting watching the stars forget their lines and break character, right in front of us. Lauren Ambrose did beautifully (making me sorely regret that I missed her as Juliet in Shakespeare in the Park). After the show, the cast did a curtain call of sorts and we gave them a standing ovation. I’m looking forward to seeing the episode all together when it airs.

The bunnies take Manhattan.

Amazing? Terrifying? A little bit of both?

You be the judge:

Oh, those butter pecan thighs.

Just in case there’s anyone out there that hasn’t seen this yet… Andy Samberg’s latest SNL short is pretty effin brilliant. May not be another Dick in a Box, but it’s pretty damn sweet.


I have been hooked on the AMC original series “Madmen” which is about the Madison Avenue advertising business in the early 60s.

One thing that jumps out immediately, is of course that the execs are almost all men, and the only person of color is the elevator operator. But then the cigarette smoke pops out. I was forced to remember my first job in the late-70s as a reservationist for Aeromexico at 500 Fifth Avenue, more than a decade after the setting of “Madmen”. Everybody smoked. The man who sat next to me reeked. He must not have drycleaned his suits too often because he just reeked. I had a woman in front of me who lit a cigarette while the last one was still smoldering in her ashtray. And there were ashtray fights; the smokers accused each other of ashtray theft, or yelled when someone didn’t clean out their ashtray often enough. An accidentally-overturned ashtray could dump mounds of ashes, which then blew in all our faces.

In those days, I ran outside to the front of the building for fresh air. Now, it’s the opposite– the front of the office buildings are polluted with smoke, from far less smokers than there would have been in the 60s or 70s. Sometimes I long for the “good old days” but then I watch “Madmen” and remember running from a smoky office to a grafitti-covered subway car. And I am glad for the present condition of NYC.

Look Out! Oprah’s Coming!

OK, I admit it. Ever since I started teaching 10 years ago and found myself home some days at 4pm, I have been watching Oprah. When I could no longer stand Judge Judy shouting “Shut up!” or “You’re not too bright!”, I turned to Oprah for after-work wind-down. We teachers go to the local watering-hole after school on Fridays, so on the other days I took my test-papers and lesson-plans home with Oprah as my background noise. And now that I am home on disability, I tend to put her show on every afternoon. When she’s not tooting her own horn about her philanthropic activities, or touting her “favorite things” that most of us can’t afford, her show can be enjoyable and educational.

Oprah tapes in Chicago, but for her first few season-openers in the Big Apple. Don’t try to get tickets, though. They’re all gone. 6,000 tickets were gone in 6 hours and her website crashed from all the Oprah-maniacs requesting tickets online. Because, after all, she may never tape in New York again, even if her best friend and Oh! Magazine editor Gayle King is based here.

So, The Great Oprah will conquer New York City for a few days. And thousands of viewers will walk away with those coveted goodie-bags. And although I wish were one of them, alas, I didn’t have enough persistence (and no connections) to get a ticket.

Joel Siegel R.I.P.

I will really miss Joel Siegel. I was so saddened to hear of his passing this afternoon, at age 63, after a long battle with colon cancer. He leaves his wife and Dylan, his young son. He learned he had cancer on the same day his second wife found out she was pregnant with Dylan.

You cant be from New York and not have grown up with Joel Siegel, film critic extraordinaire. At the beginning, when he had dark bushy hair and a thick black mustache to match, I often confused him with another critic, Gene Shalit. But later on I not only knew them apart, but I preferred Joel over Gene.

Here are some things I learned about Joel Siegel that were surprising, and endeared me even more:
In the 80s, he lost his wife, then 31, to brain cancer. As a result of that loss, Joel and his friend, actor Gene Wilder, founded Gilda’s Club, named after comedienne Gilda Radner, who was Wilders wife, and who had died about the same time, of ovarian cancer. Gilda’s Club is still alive in NYC, and continues to give comfort to cancer patients and ther families.

As much as Joel was quintessentially New York, he was birn in Los Angeles. But he soon became an adorer of his adopted city. I personally always felt that Siegel was as much a part of NYC as Donald Trump or Ed Koch.

Now, here’s the last interesting fact. In the 60s, Joel Siegel was a civil rights organizer. He knew Martin Luther King, and drove African-Americans to the polls.

So, here’s to Joel. Rest in peace. I based my choice of movies on Joel Siegel’s reviews. I have to find a new way to choose my films now. I will really miss Joel Siegel

People Watching in the East Village

I sat inside of a cafe on 13th street and Avenue A and decided to see what happens when people don’t know they’re being watched and start acting like themselves! I call it window watching. It’s not all that intense. They do some interesting stuff. Not really. It’s pretty much like sitting inside of the coffee shop and watching everyone pass you by. It’s pretty fun to do like once.

I remember when I first wound up on Metroblogs, I wanted to see other cities, mainly photos and life as was lived in Paris, London, Japan, everywhere. So I figured, if you’re coming to Metroblogs to what initially drew me here, you’re really going to enjoy this little YouTube compilation.

“Rescue Me” Stars filming in Williamsburg, believing Conspiracy Theories


On my way to pick up some lunch this afternoon I notice that they have all of Leonard Street in Williamsburg closed off, and tons of huge film vans and trucks are lining the surrounding blocks. According to the signs they are filming FX’s “Rescue Me” the Denis Leary firefighter drama right around the corner. There seem to be principle photography in front of the funeral home on Skillman between Leonard and Manhattan Ave, as I can see a huge mess of cast and crew out there. This is the back of John Scurti who plays one of my favorite characters, Kenny “Lou” Shea on the show and is much shorter than you would think in real life. He’s standing across from a trailer labeled “Franco”, so it’s obviously meant for actor Daniel Sunjata.

I don’t think much of this and go about my business of getting lunch at the nearby Lorimer Market (they had a delicious broccoli rabe casserole) and I’m carrying my food back the same way, rounding the corner and I spy Sunjata standing in the door of his trailer. He sees me coming up the sidewalk and scurries inside, so I figure he thinks I’m so rabid fan who wants to talk to him, but then he reappears and comes up to me with a flyer in his hand for ‘11 Remarkable Facts about 9/11‘. He hands it to me and walks back to the trailer but not before I ask “what’s this for” and he says, ever so dispassionately, “it’s about 9/11, read it and go to the website”

Man, you’re going to have to do better than that if you want to sell your conspiracy schlock to me. Still, love the show.

This American Life – Live

I’ve always enjoyed listening to public radio. When I lived in L.A. full-time and had a daily commute, I would listen to the L.A. public radio station, KCRW, while I was driving. I don’t drive as much anymore now that my primary location is NYC, but I do put on WNYC often when I’m just puttering around in my home office. But what I’ve really found useful, on top of the programming and information they provide on the air, is the information that they send to members via e-mail – just last week, I got a notification that one of my favorite NPR programs, This American Life, was going to be recorded live on stage for the first time at Lincoln Center, for what will become the Showtime series of the same name.

The live show will feature Sarah Vowell, Dan Savage (yay!), Jonathan Goldstein, and live music by Mates of State. The show is Monday, February 26 at 8 pm at the Avery Fisher Hall in Lincoln Center. I just checked, and it looks like tickets are still available. I can’t wait!

Late Night with Conan O’Brien


I played tourist again yesterday afternoon, but in an awesome way. I went to see a taping of Late Night with Conan O’Brien. I have been trying to get tickets to see him for years now, every time I would visit New York. Finally I managed to get tickets a month in advance for this show.

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