Life in the Slow Lane

June 30, 2008

‘Office’ games coming to Pennsylvania

Filed under: Television — pauljlane @ 4:34 pm

This just in from NBC, which announced that a series of games based on “The Office” will take place in July in the town the show is set in, Scranton, Pa.

An event such as this seems extreme for a sitcom, but “Office” fans have proven themselves die-hards to the bitter end over the past few years. Scranton also played host to an “Office” convention last year that did well, so the series’ viewers have showed that they’ll spend in support of their show.

•••

Mindy Kaling, writer, co-executive producer and the actress known as the chatty Kelly Kapoor on NBC’s “The Office,” will join fans in Scranton, PA, on Saturday, July 19 as Dunder Mifflin’s hometown becomes the first city to offer the new “The Office” DVD Board Game and “The Office” Trivia Game by Pressman Toy and licensed by NBC Universal Television Consumer Products Group.
Ms. Kaling will officiate “The Office Games” – a full day of Dunder Mifflin style fun – starting with a 2K Fun Run and ending with a Beet Eating Contest that would make Dwight proud. The day’s events will take place in and around The Mall at Steamtown in Scranton.
In addition to marking the official debut of the two games, “The Office” games launch will raise funds for United Neighborhood Centers of Northeastern Pennsylvania (UNC), a Scranton-based charity that provides services and creates opportunities which empower individuals and builds strong interdependent communities throughout Northeastern Pennsylvania.
“There’s no better place than Scranton to serve as the springboard for our new games based on ‘The Office,'” said Pressman Toy President Jim Pressman. “We’re excited to bring Ms. Kaling and ‘The Office’ games to the home of Dunder Mifflin.”
“Scranton is honored to have been selected as the first city in America whose retailers will stock ‘The Office’ Trivia Game and DVD Board Game,” said Scranton Mayor Christopher Doherty. “We’ll be rolling out the beet red carpet for Ms. Kaling.”
“I have been to Scranton before and am really excited to return for this fun event!” – Mindy
“The Office Games” July 19th line-up includes:
9:00 a.m. – 2K Fun Run
Wear your favorite office attire! Prizes for best dressed, best character look-a-likes and fastest.
10:30 a.m. – “The Office” Trivia Challenge
Are you an “Assistant to the Regional Manager” or the “Regional Manager” when it comes to “The Office” trivia? The Challenge will feature questions from “The Office” Trivia Game.
12:00 p.m. – Beet Eating Contest
Straight from Dwight’s farm…well, after being canned.
1:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. – Autograph Session
The first 125 customers who purchase “The Office” DVD Board Game or “The Office” Trivia Game at Boscov’s at The Mall at Steamtown in Scranton, PA, on July 19 will be able meet Mindy Kaling and have her autograph their game.
To register for “The Office Games,” please visit: http://www.active.com/event_detail.cfm?event_id=1603902.

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Never underestimate Pixar

Filed under: Movies — pauljlane @ 10:28 am

This from The Associated Press, which reported that “Wall-E” narrowly edged out the WALL-EAngelina Jolie thriller “Wanted” for top box office receipts over the weekend.

I have been catching up of late in my Pixar movies, and I gotta tell ya, they never disappoint. “Ratatouille” was fantastic, “Cars” was good, “Toy Story” was amusing and “Monsters Inc.” might be the best of them all (I appreciate it more with each viewing, especially now that I am a father). These movies are funny, sweet and contain appropriate content for both parents and adults.

Pixar films are great, but they especially hold up well because of the subtle humor that’s found throughout. you can watch many of these movies four or five times and find something new with each viewing.

They may be animated movies, but Pixar films are about as far away form sophomoric fare as you can get (this was the primary fear that kept me away from these movies for so long). I will now be more than willing to go see any Pixar film at any time. They have never failed to entertain – period.

Your thoughts?

•••

A lonely little robot made millions of friends during the weekend — and even outgunned Angelina Jolie.
“WALL-E,” the Pixar Animation tale of a robot toiling away on a long-abandoned Earth, debuted as the No. 1 movie with $62.5 million in ticket sales, with Jolie’s assassin thriller “Wanted” opening in second place with $51.1 million, according to studio estimates Sunday.
The two movies combined to keep Hollywood on a roll. The top 12 movies took in $179.2 million, up 22 percent from the same weekend last year, when Pixar’s “Ratouille” opened with $47 million.
It was the fifth straight weekend that revenues climbed. Revenues for the summer season that began May 2 are up 6 percent over last year’s record pace, according to box-office tracker Media By Numbers.
The sour economy and high gas prices may be helping to fuel Hollywood’s boom, said Paul Dergarabedian, president of Media By Numbers. Movies tend to thrive when times are tough because they are relatively cheap compared to sports events, concerts and other outings.
“Audiences are obviously gravitating toward the movies as their first choice for entertainment,” Dergarabedian said. “It doesn’t take that much gas to get to the local multiplex. That might have a little something to do with this, as well.”
The previous weekend’s No. 1 movie, the Warner Bros. comedy “Get Smart,” slipped to third place with $20 million, raising its total to $77.3 million.
“WALL-E” maintains the perfect track record of Pixar, the Walt Disney unit that has made nine films, all of them critical and commercial successes, including “Cars,” “Monsters, Inc.” and the “Toy Story” flicks. “Finding Nemo” and “The Incredibles” put up the biggest opening-weekend numbers among Pixar movies, both pulling in just over $70 million.
Set centuries in the future, “WALL-E” is the story of a rickety, walking trash compactor that humans left running after abandoning the over-polluted planet.
The movie overcame a dialogue challenge — the two main robot characters barely speak, beyond each other’s names — using wildly inventive visuals and sound effects to propel much of the story.
Like other Pixar films, “WALL-E” packed in family crowds, as well as adults without children.
“The real secret is they’re not children’s movies. They’re movies for everybody. Children absolutely adore them, but parents enjoy them on a different level,” said Mark Zoradi, president of Disney’s motion-picture group. “You can’t be nine-for-nine like Pixar is without that.”
The G-rated “WALL-E” was complemented by Jolie’s R-rated “Wanted,” which distributor Universal originally planned to release back in March. The studio decided the movie was too good to release at a slower moviegoing time and moved it to summer on a weekend when competition for a violent action tale would be light.
“We knew ‘WALL-E’ would be huge, but it’s not the same audience as ‘Wanted,”’ said Nikki Rocco, head of distribution for Universal.
“Wanted” stars Jolie as a member of a secret society of assassins whose new recruit (James McAvoy) is trained to use his superhuman abilities to take out a rogue killer.
Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to Media By Numbers LLC. Final figures will be released Monday.
1. “WALL-E,” $62.5 million.
2. “Wanted,” $51.1 million.
3. “Get Smart,” $20 million.
4. “Kung Fu Panda,” $11.7 million.
5. “The Incredible Hulk,” $9.2 million.
6. “The Love Guru,” $5.4 million.
7. “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull,” $5 million.
8. “The Happening,” $3.9 million.
9. “Sex and the City,” $3.8 million.
10. “You Don’t Mess With the Zohan,” $3.2 million.

June 27, 2008

The revolving ‘Law & Order’ door keeps spinning

Filed under: Television — pauljlane @ 11:36 am

This is from The Associated Press, which is reporting that Chris Noth is once again leaving the “Law & Order” family.

Noth is a veteran of the original series who returned a few years ago to be a part of “Criminal Intent,” the latest season of which airs Sunday nights on USA Network. Replacing him on the next season to be shot will be veteran actor Jeff Goldblum.

“Special Victims Unit” will also see several changes next season, as Adam Beach is out after only one season as a detective and Diane Neal is out after more than four years as an assistant district attorney; Michaela McManus has been tabbed as the new ADA, with the junior detective slot remaining vacant at this time.

The original “Law & Order” saw its own changes midseason in 2007-08, as Anthony Anderson replaced former Buffalo resident Jesse L. Martin to become the new junior detective; Jeremy Sisto, in his first full season on the show this past season, took over the senior detective spot.

I think these shows have maintained their quality despite the lack of continuity the cast changes provide, but what do you think? Leave a comment and discuss.

Incidentally, is anyone else as happy as I am that USA has been airing “Law & Order” reruns almost non-stop lately? At least there’s always something decent on.

•••

Mr. Big is out, and Mr. Goldblum is in.
Jeff Goldblum will be joining “Law & Order: Criminal Intent” while Chris Noth — Mr. Big in the “Sex and the City” TV show and movie — is leaving after three seasons, a series spokeswoman said Thursday.
“Criminal Intent,” part of the “Law & Order” franchise that includes the original series and “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit,” recently was picked up for a 16-episode eighth season by USA Network.
“Jeff’s presence will add a new dimension to an already successful show,” series creator Dick Wolf said.
Noth’s character, New York police Detective Mike Logan, was a member of the “Law & Order” family since the start, Wolf noted, adding, “We all wish him the best.”
Noth played Logan on the original NBC series from 1990 to ’95, in a “Law & Order” TV movie and then on “Criminal Intent” starting in 2005. The show’s seventh season airs Sundays on USA.
“When others couldn’t get television shows produced in New York, Dick Wolf found a way to do it, and as a New Yorker I truly appreciate all that he has done for the city,” Noth said in a statement Thursday.
“The last few years have been fantastic, and both sides are happy with the result. All’s well that ends well,” Noth said.
Goldblum recently starred in the short-lived NBC series “Raines” but is mostly known as a film actor with credits that include “Jurassic Park,” “The Lost World,” “Independence Day” and “The Fly.”
He shared an Academy Award nomination in 2005 for the live-action short film “Little Surprises.”
“Criminal Intent” originally aired on NBC. But when the network decided that last season’s schedule had room for only two of the shows a deal was struck to air “Criminal Intent” first on USA, then on NBC.
NBC and USA are corporate cousins within NBC Universal, and “Criminal Intent” reruns on USA already had proved among its most popular programming.
“Criminal Intent,” which looks at cases from both the perspective of police and lawbreakers, stars Vincent D’Onofrio, Kathryn Erbe and Eric Bogosian.

June 26, 2008

More black and white movies

Filed under: Movies — pauljlane @ 4:32 pm

The Wizard of OzMy column in Night & Day this week highlighted some of my favorite black and white movies (the column appears below). Here are a couple more that did not make the list.

• “American History X” This film is not a classic like the others on the list are, but this 1998 tale of racist brothers uses black and white as a story-telling technique as the film flips between present day and flashbacks. The action is brutal in its realism, the drama is gripping and Edward Norton and Edward Furlong gave great performances as the brothers.

• “The Wizard of Oz” Another film that uses black and white for effect, anyone who doesn’t know this story and why it belongs on this list needs to go to Blockbuster. Go on, now …

• Disney classics: Do yourself a favor and find the old Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck and other cartoons Walt Disney made in his early days. They’re nothing spectacular in terms of animation, but yo just can’t help but enjoy their innocence and historical significance.

• “Young Frankenstein” This 1974 Mel Brooks comedy is shot in black and white and is a parody of early monster movies. Gene Wilder is brilliant, Marty Feldman is brilliant and Brooks’ writing is brilliant in conveying subtle humor and jokes you almost miss.

• “Night of the Living Dead” The original 1968 George Romero zombie film didn’t hit you over the head with horror. Rather, it used mood, music and the occasional glimpse of the undead’s carnage to frighten you. This film may not hold the attention of soe younger watchers, but it’s how horror should be done.

Note: I have never seen “It’s a Wonderful Life,” “Psycho,” “Schindler’s List” or “Raging Bull” otherwise they’d probably be here, too.

Here is the original column.

•••

My generation has a problem with perception that needs to be corrected.
Ask your nearest twentysomething about “It’s a Wonderful Life” or “Casablanca,” and you will see their nose curl up and lips sneer in disgust.
“Isn’t that movie black and white?” they’ll likely snarl. “I hate old movies.”
How, in this day and age, can we still discriminate against a film based solely on the color of its celluloid skin?
People who dismiss a classic film just because it lacks hue does themselves a disservice. There are plenty of gems that were made — gasp! — before they figured out how to add the colors of the rainbow.
Some of these films will be on display this summer at North Tonawanda’s Riviera Theatre, which will host a series of classic movies (turn to page XX for the story).
Just like, now, there were some stinkers made back in the day (the mind-numbing ”Gone with the Wind,” for example, might just be the most overrated movie ever). But a lot of good came from those times, as well.
Following are five of my favorite classic black-and-white films and why I’d recommend people check them out (there might be a few spoilers mixed in, so be aware of that).
• “MR. SMITH GOES TO WASHINGTON” This 1939 film may have been idealistic, but that innocence is what made it so enjoyable.
James Stewart starred as Jefferson Smith, a local youth leader who’s appointed to fill out the term of a deceased senator. Smith is taken under the wing of a corrupt colleague who uses his naivety to betray him, setting Smith up to take the fall for a crooked land purchase in his state. Smith launches into an extended filibuster to delay the Senate’s vote to expel him, and in the process his colleague has a change of heart.
Democracy might not operate this way in real life, but the film presents how it should be in theory. Stewart gave the first of many great performances in this film, as his country bumpkin matures before the viewer’s eyes and becomes a public servant in the most pure sense of the word.
• “TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD” This 1962 adaptation of the Harper Lee novel was so compelling that Gregory Peck’s Atticus Finch was named the greatest hero of American film by the American Film Institute.
Peck stars as a lawyer in the segregated South who’s called upon to defend a black man accused of assaulting a white girl. Overcoming attacks on himself and his children, Finch does the right thing in giving his client the best possible defense, despite facing a jury — and town — that already made up its mind.
Finch is what every father should be — strong, supportive and willing to do what’s morally right because he knows his children are watching. Peck did a spectacular job portraying the lawyer, and seeing his daughter Scout (Mary Badham) run around in a giant ham costume is good for a few laughs.
• “THE GRAPES OF WRATH” Another literary translation, this 1940 film tells of an Oklahoma family that moves to California in a desperate attempt to find work.
Henry Fonda stars as Tom Joad, an ex-con who discovers that the family farm has become a victim of drought. He reunites with his family and heads to California, where the hope is to find migrant work — only there are thousands of people already there in the same situation. After encountering discrimination from locals and various other abuses, Joad vows to fight for social justice and becomes an activist.
The movie deviates from the equally great novel, but both do a good job of evoking emotion from a family’s struggle to survive. There was not a bad performance throughout the film, and although the setting is outdated the central theme is still relevant now.
• “CITIZEN KANE” Orson Welles made his directorial debut in this 1941 film, named the best American film of all-time twice by the AFI.
Welles portrays media magnate Charles Foster Kane, who passes away at the start of the film with the dying word “Rosebud.” A reporter (William Alland) is charged with documenting Kane’s life and finding the meaning of that word, and the magnate’s story is told mainly through flashbacks (a new story-telling method at that time). He chronicles Kane’s past, his start as a newspaper man and rise to power, including an attempt at the governor’s seat in New York state.
What he can’t find out is what Rosebud means — but viewers do at the end.
The story’s main theme — that money and power don’t mean happiness — always has been and always will be true. More so, though, it’s the method in which that message is conveyed that’s so moving.
• “12 ANGRY MEN” The concept is surprisingly simple: 12 nameless men are in a jury room for pretty much the duration of the film, and all they do is talk.
To borrow from Occam’s razor, however, it’s most often the simplest things that are correct.
Fonda is among the ensemble cast of this 1957 film, which is based on the play of the same name and tells of one juror who tries to convince his peers of the suspect’s innocence despite seemingly overwhelming evidence to the contrary. The entire film revolves around their debate, with each juror bringing their own viewpoint (and prejudice) to the discussion.
In a film this simplistic, the drama has to — and does — carry the production. No explosions, no fancy props, just engaging dialogue. This is a perfect example of how filmmaking should be done.
An honorable mention goes to any of the “Three Stooges” short films. Are they stupid? Absolutely. Are they still funny today? Undoubtedly, you knucklehead.
Contact editor Paul Laneat 693-1000, ext. 116,or lanep@gnnewspaper.com.

Next ‘American Idol’ auditions set

Filed under: Television — pauljlane @ 1:16 pm

This came in today from Fox, which announced that Season Eight auditions for “American Idol” begin July 17.

The closest place for Western New Yorkers to try out is East Rutherford, N.J., not far from the New York City location that John Stevens tried out in before making his run several years ago.

Are you going to try out, or know someone who is? Write to me at lanep@gnnewspaper.com and share the story.

•••

Auditions for the eighth season of AMERICAN IDOL begin Thursday, July 17, at the Cow Palace in San Francisco, CA, and will continue in seven other cities. Once again, auditioners will have an extraordinary opportunity to perform before millions of TV viewers and become household names, with one winning the coveted American Idol title and a major recording contract.

Auditions will be held as follows:

San Francisco, CA Thursday, July 17 Cow Palace

Louisville, KY Monday, July 21 Freedom Hall

Phoenix, AZ Friday, July 25 Jobing.com Arena

Salt Lake City, UT Tuesday, July 29 EnergySolutions Arena

San Juan, Puerto Rico Saturday, Aug. 2 Coliseo de Puerto Rico

Kansas City, MO Friday, Aug. 8 Sprint Center

Jacksonville, FL Wednesday, Aug. 13 Veterans Memorial Arena

East Rutherford, NJ  Tuesday, Aug. 19  IZOD Center at the Meadowlands Sports Complex

Specific information for the San Francisco auditions is below. More details for the additional audition cities will be announced shortly.

San Francisco AMERICAN IDOL Auditions

WHO:            Men and women 16-28 years old as of July 15, 2008, who are

eligible to work in the U.S. Some restrictions apply – please visit americanidol.com for specific information.

WHERE:            The Cow Palace

2600 Geneva Ave.
Daly City, CA 94014

WHEN: Thursday, July 17

HOW:            Wristbands will be distributed from 7:00 AM on Tuesday, July 15 until 8:00 AM on Thursday, July 17. Auditioners will not be permitted to camp out; therefore, once they obtain their wristbands, they will be asked to return to the Cow Palace on Thursday, July 17.

Audition information, including forms and requirements, is available online at americanidol.com.

CBS preps next mixed martial arts match

Filed under: Television — pauljlane @ 10:14 am

This is from CBS, which announced the date and tentative card for its next mixed martial arts bout taking place in July. The first one was well-received by Saturday night standards, and the next one might do better because there will be no other sports airing on competing networks (NBC’s coverage of the Stanley Cup finals actually beat CBS’s MMA event during its debut in late May).

•••

CBS and EliteXC announced  that the next CBS ELITEXC SATURDAY NIGHT FIGHTS will be broadcast live from the Stockton Arena in Stockton, Calif. on Saturday, July 26 (9:00-11:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network.  The four-fight broadcast will be highlighted by the highly anticipated rematch between “Ruthless” Robbie Lawler and Scott “Hands of Steel” Smith for the EliteXC Middleweight Title.

The night of mixed martial action will begin with three live fights on SHOWTIME (8:00-9:00 PT, ET/PT) including an EliteXC Heavyweight Championship match featuring Antonio “Big Foot” Silva.

“One venue, two networks and seven exciting world class fights adds up to an entertaining and memorable mixed martial arts event in prime time,” said Doug DeLuca, Executive Chairman, ProElite, Inc.

In a rematch of their exciting, controversial first fight on May 31 on CBS, Lawler, the EliteXC middleweight champion from St. Louis by way of Davenport, Iowa, will put his title on the line once again against hard-hitting challenger Smith of Elk Grove, Calif.  Their last meeting, a fight that many called the fight of the night, ended in controversy when doctors called the fight after Smith caught an unintentional finger in the eye late in the third round. Smith claimed he was ready to continue, but the fight was stopped and declared a no contest.

In a second world title fight on CBS, two of the sports’ most talented welterweights will collide when San Francisco’s Jake Shields, who has won nine in a row, gets his long awaited shot at a world title when he squares off against Nick Thompson of Minneapolis, Minn., who has won 12 straight and 20 of his last 21 fights, for the vacant EliteXC 170-pound belt.

The world title fights are scheduled for five, five-minute rounds.

Also on CBS, hometown favorite Nick Diaz of Stockton, Calif. will face Thomas “Wildman” Denny of Hesperia, Calif.  The talented Diaz, who will be seeking his third victory in three months, needs a win to stay in the hunt for a potential rematch with ElliteXC lightweight champion KJ Noons. Denny, a winner in four of his last five fights, is coming off a first-round disqualification victory over the highly regarded Malaipet on March 21, 2008.

The remaining primetime match-ups for the CBS ELITEXC SATURDAY NIGHT FIGHTS on July 26 will be announced at a later date.   The SHOWTIME match-ups also will be announced in the near future.

CBS Sports play-by-play announcer Gus Johnson, cageside analysts Frank Shamrock and Mauro Ranallo, and reporter Karyn Bryant will return as the “CBS ELITEXC SATURDAY NIGHT FIGHTS” broadcast team and also have the call for the SHOWTIME telecast.

CBS’s inaugural mixed martial arts broadcast on May 31, 2008 dominated its time period in all key young men and young adult demographics. The total viewership increased throughout the night, peaking at 6.51m viewers for the Kimbo Slice vs. James Thompson fight.  The entire broadcast (9:00-11:51 PM) averaged 4.85m viewers.

June 25, 2008

‘Password’ gets extension from CBS

Filed under: Television — pauljlane @ 12:41 pm

This just came in from CBS, which is ordering six more episodes of the Regis Philbin-led “MillRegis Philbinion Dollar Password.”

The show got good reviews from the Slow Lane for its fast pace and addictive nature, and apparently America agrees. Garbage such as “Breakout” that’s on the air now should take notes from “Password” on how to do a proper game show.Regis is sticking with CBS for at least six more episodes of \"Million Dollar Password\"

•••

CBS has ordered six additional episodes the Regis Philbin-hosted game show MILLION DOLLAR PASSWORD.

MILLION DOLLAR PASSWORD (Sunday, 8:00-9:00 PM) has placed first in its time period in viewers in each of its four broadcasts, including a special Thursday edition (8:00-9:00 PM, ET/PT) on June 12.  It has also placed first in adults 18-49 and adults 25-54 in three of its four broadcasts.

MILLION DOLLAR PASSWORD is averaging 9.46 million viewers, 2.6/08 in adults 25-54 and 2.01/06 in adults 18-49.

‘Breakout’ is awful, ‘Hell’s Kitchen’ finale on tap

Filed under: Television — pauljlane @ 9:51 am

With “The Moment of Truth” not airing Tuesday night on Fox, we decided to give ABC’s new game show “Breakout” a try.

What a disaster.

The show isn’t aired as a straight competition. Rather, music video-style snippets of the action are spliced together pretty much however the editor felt like doing it, with the announcers making lame jokes throughout.

The show basically is an hour-long Stupid Human Trick, with contestants competing in various challenges such as running an obstacle course after spinning for 30 seconds, and having to jump over a rotating horizontal column while on a thin platform. Of course, everyone conveniently fit some mold so they could have a catchy nickname, but I still couldn’t recite one of the the following morning.

We tried – TRIED – to watch the whole 60 minutes, but we caved with about 10 minutes left. If this show survives another week, I’d be shocked.

As for “Hell’s Kitchen,” Corey was eliminated after another overall good service, leaving Petrozza and Christina to battle for the six-figure executive chef job next week.

The contestants got try-outs next to Ramsay at the hot spot during the service. Petrozza was forceful but missed a dish that was intentionally made wrong; Christina identified the dish but couldn’t take control; Corey was overall not that great but did the best job preparing food.

I predicted Niagara Falls’ own Bobby Anderson and Corey to make the finals last month. I was wrong, but it seems that as the series has progressed the best two people do, in fact, remain. Petrozza has been rock-steady for at least three weeks, while Christina has won three straight individual challenges and seems to be the more focused of the two. Both seem capable, but based on experience (Petrozza is twice Christina’s age, and she is still a culinary student) Ramsay would be wise to pick him unless he completely falls apart next week.

June 24, 2008

Why do musicians avoid Buffalo?

Filed under: Music — pauljlane @ 9:19 am

David Cook and the rest of the American Idols will not visit Buffalo.The big Stone Temple Pilots reunion tour has dates this summer in the music hotbeds of Akron, Ohio, Canandaigua and Wantagh – but not Buffalo.

The forthcoming American Idol Live tour will visit Rochester and Albany – but not Buffalo.

Jimmy Buffett will visit East Troy, Wisc., Bridgeview, Ill., and Wantagh – but not Buffalo (Ok, maybe that’s a good thing).

Bon Jovi overlooked here on his most recent tour. So did Jerry Seinfeld (who also went to Albany).

Does HSBC Arena charge too much for rent? Are they afraid of being near the border in case a war with Canada suddenly breaks out? Do they refuse to come here on principle because Fuccillo’s “HUUGGGEEE” commercials dominate the airwaves?

In any case, Western New Yorkers have long been deprived of the biggest shows. Probably because of our proximity to Toronto, the biggest shows figure we can just go up there. Sure, it’s not too far, but there’s still enough of an audience here to sell out most shows.

It’s OK, Big-Time Acts. There’s no snow for at least a few more months. Feel free to stop on by any time. Really, we’ll come.

June 23, 2008

Reflections on George Carlin

Filed under: Entertainment — pauljlane @ 9:46 am

I was more than a bit shocked to discover when I came into the office thGeorge Carlin was a comedic genius.is morning that George Carlin had died. The comedian, 71, died from heart failure, his publicist said.

There are not proper words to express the impact he had on the world of comedy – but genius is the first that comes to mind. Carlin continually pushed the envelope, whether it was those nasty words you can’t say on television or why Joe Pesci is just as good a diety to worship as God.

Before I was old enough to watch his R-rated routine, I got my first glimpse of Carlin as Rufus in “Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure.” Sorry, Keanu Reeve fans, but he was the reason I watched the movie nearly until my VHS tape wore out. His acting was always underrated, as he was about the only bearable part of “Jersey Girl” as Ben Affleck’s father.

I saw the comedian perform live once, a trip he made to Shea’s several years ago that was a make-up date for a previous show that – surprise, surprise – got snowed out. He was preparing material for what was at the time his latest HBO comedy special. He read his new jokes off of index cards he had on his stool, making an acknowledging smile and taking notes any time a joke didn’t work; he didn’t do much writing that night.

The news came as a particular shock because we’d just run in Night & Day a photo with a caption stating he was to receive the 11th annual Mark Twain Prize for American Humor in November. One second he’s makig them laugh – he had performed as recently as last weekend – and the next he’s gone.

Anyone who has any respect for the stand-up profession should listen to one of his albums or watch one of his specials as soon as possible. Sure, he will make you blush, but you won’t notice because of how hard you’ll be laughing.

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