Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Laughter, Present and Absent

Unfortunately, I must lead with the laughter absent from Manchester, England,stolen by 22-year-old bomber Salman Abedi on May 22, 2017. This heartless...I don't honestly know if I can dignify him by calling him a man or even a person...detonated bombs as thousands poured out of an Ariana Grande concert at Manchester Evening News Arena killing 22 and leaving thousands of tweens and teens wearing Ariana's trademark kitten ears, sobbing and hugging their parents. Regardless of what I think of Donald Trump at the moment, I wish him, and the other leaders of the world, all the best of luck in combating the hydra-headed monster known as terrorism, and my thoughts and prayers go out to the surviving victims, the families of those lost to us forever, and Ariana herself, a beautiful, talented and funny performer, who deserves much better than a tragedy of this magnitude. My thoughts also go out to James Dolan, the CEO of The Madison Square Garden Company, Mayor Bill deBlasio, and New York;s Finest and Bravest ,and I pray God will give them the strength and wisdom to keep MSG, Radio City Music Hall, and his many properties from coast-to-coast, safe from another attack on America and everything we hold dear. God Bless America, God Save The Queen, and God help us all.

Ooooooooooooooooooooooooookay, let's proceed to the PRESENT LAUGHTER, shall we? Noel Coward's 1939 comedy of manners has been brilliantly revived for a new generation with its VEDDY British 'tude intact and is now playing on Broadway at the St. James Theater at 246 West 44th Street. My CWPF Kevin Kline (THE BIG CHILL, THE ROBBER BRIDEGROOM, YOUNG GUY CHRISTIAN, THE PINK PANTHER and more credits than you can shake a Playbill at) plays Garry Essendine, a self-important comic actor preparing to tour Africa, but not without being besieged by his long-suffering secretary, his estranged wife, a star-struck fangirl, and an obsessed young playwright. Kevin is the undisputed star, (I meant "CONSTELLATION!") of this show which retains its resonance today, although Kate Burton (his wife Liz)  and Cobie Smulders (his secretary) capture the silver and bronze with true aplomb and professionalism. (If, according to some accounts, Cobie was the Canadian Debbie Gibson back in the day,this play is QUITE the quantum leap for her, and it couldn't happen to a more talented girl!) If Kevin and the aforementioned supporting cast members don't take home a few Tonys, there is no justice left in the world. I had the pleasure to watch this play in celebration of my birthday, and this was THE icing on the cake! (The salad at the Garden Bar at Ruby Tuesday on Times Square just a walk away wasn't too shabby either!)

I won't give too much else away, except by telling you it's in two acts with two one-minute pauses (And wait till you see how they fill the time!) and you'll hear some great jazz and see some great sets and costumes,and urging you to RUN, DON'T WALK to http://www.ticketmaster.com ! The title was inspired by Shakespeare (another dude who has provided Kevin with a lot of great material), but the play is all Noel Coward in his sophisticated British glory. The Laughter is VERY Present, and boy, do we need it now!

Bye,Buckaroos!
Steve

Thursday, May 11, 2017

IOU - Jimmy Dean - ORIGINAL & best version, lyrics, tribute to Mother, M...

An Unhappy Mother's Day...

...without Kathy Berman, the 67-year-old wife of legendary ESPN anchor Chris Berman and mother of  Meredith and Douglas. She lost her life this past Tuesday in a two-car crash in Woodbury, CT. Kathy and "The Boomer" were happily married for 33 years, just four years after he joined ESPN. Although he resigned his post as anchor of SUNDAY NFL COUNTDOWN earlier this year, he remains with the Total Sports Network he helped start in a downsized capacity after signing a new contract.

Despite my feelings about ESPN's recent layoffs, I would like to extend my condolences to ESPN President John Skipper, Chris, Meredith, Douglas, and everyone who knew and loved Kathy and wish her a very happy first Mother's Day in Heaven.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

I Give You Guys A Complement And What Happens?!?

HAPPENING NOW....(April 27) Two days after this reporter praises ESPN's MIKE AND THE MAD DOG documentary, they up and lay off more than 100 on-air personalities! I thought ESPN was more profitable than all the other Disney properties INCLUDING Marvel, Lucasfilm, Animation and the parks. Wha happen?
No matter what you subscribe to, say a prayer before you go to bed tonight for all the ESPNers who have been relieved of their duties. Bill O'Reilly may deserve what was coming to him, but all the people who were known to sports fans from coast to coast certainly don't! I hope they come...all...the...way BACKBACKBACK! ESPN deserves a penalty for unnecessary roughness!


Steve

Monday, April 24, 2017

Steve's Movie Blog: Every (Mad) Dog Has His Day

If you've listened to Mike Francesa's afternoon drive program on Sports Radio 101.9 FM and Sports Radio 66 WFAN in New York for the past 20 or so years, you know he's not the biggest ESPN fan in the universe, so you know something's gotta give when he agrees to participate in an episode of their acclaimed 30 FOR 30 documentary series (originally designed as a series of thirty documentaries to celebrate the Worldwide Leader's 30th Anniversary when it premiered in 2009) detailing his on- and off-air relationship with fellow sports talk personality Christopher "Mad Dog" Russo. This reporter had the pleasure to see MIKE AND THE MAD DOG (also the title of their long-running talk show which was simulcast on YES until just recently when Yankee radio sportscaster Michael Kay took over the simulcast time slot) at the Tribeca Film Festival in Lower Manhattan, (Since Robert deNiro founded the TFF as a means to stimulate the economy of the area after the events of 9/11, let me tell you that there's a scene in this movie about Mike and the Dog's reaction to the attack, and, without giving anything away, their Jewish fans and friends were not too happy.), and if your DVR allows it, set it for ESPN on July 17, because that's when this home run of a movie airs.


Not just a tribute to the titular hosts and the trend that started that has made sports talk an important format not just in the USA, but also in North America, the UK and elsewhere, but also a tribute to New York sports and the fans who love them, MMD relies on interviews with colleagues, competitors, and athletes and obviously copious amounts of research to tell the story of (A) the greatest creative collaboration since Lennon and McCartney and (B) the most explosive sports partnership since George Steinbrenner and Billy Martin. These two men turned a sports station with only one authentic New York voice (its first talk host Suzyn Waldman) into a bonafide voice for sports fans from the Bronx to Newark and everywhere in between. Find out what happened when the man who put them on the air was fired and they had to pinch-hit for him, when the inmates ran the asylum, and the surprise reunion last year at Francesa-con, Mike's annual fan gathering at punk palace Irving Plaza. (I wonder what will happen when Mike's contract with the FAN expires. We shall see what we shall see.)


You don't have to be a sports fan to SEE IT, but hey, it doesn't hurt! Sir Noel Coward once said, "Mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun." Change that to "Mad Dog and Francesa", because that's where they shone for two decades, especially in the toughest media market (and sports city) in the world.


As Chris used to say at the end of every show,


Adios!
Steve

Friday, April 21, 2017

Open Letter To The Lower East Side Tenement Museum

Lower East Side Tenement Museum
103 Orchard Street
New York, New York 10002

Ladies and Gentlemen:

I believe a lot of my readers from coast to coast and border to border may have heard of your excellent museum (To call it a "museum" seems like an injustice! I believe "interactive immersive learning experience" would be more accurate.) as a result of a SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE bit starring guest host Louis C.K. ("Louie" on FX and his own Netflix comedy specials) and Kate McKinnon (unless I miss my guess), but when I visited the gift shop recently, I was surprised to hear that even with the exposure to a new audience, your attendance has stayed pretty much the same! (Anybody who hasn't seen that bit can visit http://www.nbc.com/snl, download the SNL app on Siri, or view "SNL 04-08-17" on demand from their cable or satellite provider or Hulu.)

In recent years, Colonial Williamsburg has benefited from performances from actors such as Mamie Gummer, ("Manhattan" on WGN America, "Ricki and The Flash" opposite her mother, Meryl Streep, and "Emily Owens,M.D." on The CW) and Isiah Washington ("Grey's Anatomy"), to give but two examples, and not only have these actors felt pleased to make history come alive for guests but these guests have also learned the history of their country from "people who were there" and been pleasantly surprised when they have found out who has been representing these fascinating and very real characters.

I would like to suggest that the Tenement Museum enlist the services of some of the latest crop of "Not Ready For Prime Time Players" to bring the people who made New York the gorgeous mosaic it is today to life for a new generation during the summer months. (I sure hope NYC & Company's campaign to win back European tourists works!) Not only would it provide an excellent opportunity for these talented actors and actresses to hone their craft and maintain their edge but it would also show SNL fans a different side of them as well as make history more accessible, interesting, and, well....COOL! These past few months have shown us that SNL is not just a funny late night show, but also a vital and vibrant commentary on today's world, and employing the services of SNL's cast members would make an already exciting museum even moreso.

Yours very truly,
Steven L. Eisenpreis

copies to:@nbcsnl