Monday, April 30, 2012

Annual St. Ann’s Puppet Parade Gambols Down BK's Montague Street

The annual St. Ann's Puppet Parade—Brooklyn Heights' own version of a kiddie Mardis Gras—made its way down Montague Street to the Promenade at 1 p.m. Monday, filling the streets with clowns, jugglers, 10-foot-tall marionette puppets and the rat-a-tat of percussion, accompanied by hundreds of pre-school, primary, middle and high school students. *

One WTC (Again) Trumps Empire State As NYC’s Tallest Structure

New York couple Michael & Danielle take in the view from the Brooklyn Heights Promenade on the day national headlines proclaimed that One World Trade has surpassed the height of the Empire State Building—to once again become New York City's tallest building.

With its unfinished frame, the structure now stands at just over 1,250 feet high. It will be at least another year before the tower—which broke ground five long years ago in 2006—reaches its full height of 1,776 feet including a 408-foot spire.

At that point, it will be deemed the tallest building in the U.S., the tallest in the Western Hemisphere and the third tallest in the world. By comparison, the Empire State Building is 1,454 feet from the ground to the top of its antenna. Sans the antenna, Empire State is 1,250 feet—the figure that fostered Monday's kudos.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo stressed the site's symbolism of rebirth: "The new World Trade Center is more than just a skyscraper: It is a symbol of the enduring spirit of the city and state of New York, representing our commitment to rebuilding stronger than before." *

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Wowsah! Enterprise Shuttle Pics From Brooklyn Heights Promenade

The Park Slope Patch features a series of dramatic photos taken by members of the Prospect Park Track Club, who organized a run to the Promenade Friday from Grand Army Plaza to witness the retired NASA space shuttle Enterprise zip around New York City.

The group joined hundreds of Brooklynites on the Promenade to watch the skies come alive as the Enterprise—piggybacked on top of a Boeing 747 Shuttle Carrier Aircraft—entered the NYC Harbor from Washington D.C. The space shuttle put on a show for New Yorkers, flying over the Statue of Liberty, past the Intrepid Sea Air & Space Museum (its ultimate home), up to the George Washington Bridge, then making a U-turn to JFK Airport, where it will be housed until it goes on permanent display. (Photos: John Cooper) *

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Men Of 'Avengers' Covers May 4, 2012 'Entertainment Weekly'

Coming to theaters May 4... The Avengers. Ruff, bow-wow and Whoot! We've certainly spilled ink previously about the hotties in this flick, including Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Robert Downey Jr.,  and Mark Ruffalo.

The May 4, 2012 cover of Entertainment Weekly obviously understands just what the appeal is, by featuring the men of the movie on its cover. Scarlett Johannson? oh, yawn! *

Friday, April 27, 2012

Happy Birthday SHEENA EASTON!

Our lady Sheena Easton was born today, April 27, 1959. Looking fine for 53. In honor of the late Dick Clark, here are three videos from his iconic American Bandstand, with Sheena appearing. Sweet! *

1981 1983 performance of "Strut," 1984 1985

Meryl Streep's Summer Romance: 'Hope Springs'

This August, Meryl Streep stars with Tommy Lee Jones and Steve Carrell in the romantic comedy Hope Springs. Looks delightful from the trailer below. God, this woman can do no wrong. It hits theaters August 10. *

Week In Music: Maroon 5 Dials Up Huge Launch With 'Payphone'

Pop group Maroon 5 rings up a download record this week with new single “Payphone,” featuring Wiz Khalifa, which moves a walloping 493,000 downloads in week one. That is the most singles ever sold by a group or duo in one week—and also good for a No.1 launch on Digital Songs. It marks the eighth-best sales week for any single since Nielsen SoundScan began tallying downloads in 2003.

The preview track from Maroon 5’s fourth studio album, "Overexposed,” on June 26, also dials in a No. 3 debut on the Hot 100, making it the group’s fifth top 10 hit, a worthy contender to previous No. 1 “Moves Like Jagger,” with Christina Aguilera. It’s making big noise on the airwaves, too, entering Radio Songs at No. 36, with 33 million first-week audience impressions. Fueling the strong chart action for “Payphone” is a performance of the song April 16 on NBC's "The Voice" (where Maroon 5 lead Adam Levine is a coach).

Meanwhile, leading the Hot 100 for a second week is Gotye's "Somebody That I Used to Know," featuring Kimbra. It is the Hot 100's top Airplay Gainer, up 8-6 on Radio Songs, and tops both the Streaming and On-Demand charts. Fun.'s "We Are Young," featuring Janelle Monae, holds at No. 2 for a second week after its previous six weeks at No. 1 on the Hot 100. It leads Radio Songs for a second week.

Below "Payphone" at No. 3, Justin Bieber, rebounds 5-4 on the Hot 100 in its fourth week, with "Boyfriend," which is tops as the week’s Streaming Gainer, rising 10-6 on On-Demand Songs. It escalates 15-13 on Radio Songs, despite a slight 2% drop in airplay.

The Wanted's "Glad You Came" rounds out the Hot 100's top five, easing 3-5. Flo Rida's "Wild Ones," featuring Sia, is stable at No. 6; and Carly Rae Jepsen's "Call Me Maybe" rises to a new peak of No. 7 (while spending a third week at No. 1 in the U.K.); One Direction's "What Makes You Beautiful" falls 4-8; Nicki Minaj's "Starships" dips 7-9; and, Kelly Clarkson's three-week No. 1 "Stronger (What Doesn't Kill You)," slides 9-10.

On the long-play side of this week’s chart action, it appears the South has indeed risen again. For the second week, "Tuskegee" by Lionel Richie commands the summit of the Billboard 200, moving 114,000 copies, down a mere 11% from the previous week. This is the first album released in 2012 to claim a second week at the top of the album chart—something Madonna and Bruce Springsteen couldn’t manage. The duets collection, which pairs Richie with Nashville musical royalty, also spends a third frame at No. 1 on Top Country Albums.

Richie’s lead keeps pop vet Jason Mraz from an expected No. 1 debut, as his "Love Is a Four Letter Word" opens at 2 on the Billboard 200, with sales of 102,000—still his highest rank ever, following 2008’s No. 3 "We Sing. We Dance. We Steal Things." It’s also his third consecutive top 5 album, alongside 2005’s “Mr. A-Z.” Mraz is also in the top 40 with single “I Won’t Give Up,” which rebounds to No. 36, up from 49, in its 16th week, after peaking at No. 8. One caveat: Mraz is No.1 on the Rock Albums chart.

Adele dips from 2 to 3 on the Billboard 200, as “21” continues to wipe out previous chart records. Paul Grein’s Yahoo! Music “Chart Watch” column notes that the set is the first to log 61 weeks in the top 10 since Celine Dion's “Falling Into You,” from March 1996 to June 1997. As well, when “21” merits one more week in the top 10, it will be the longest-running top 10 album since Alanis Morissette's “Jagged Little Pill,” which spent 72 weeks in the top 10 from August 1995 to January 1997. Note that all three won Grammys as Album of the Year. And in the U.K., “21” tallies a 23rd week at No. 1, the same number of weeks it has topped the U.S. chart.

Moving along, Train tracks its first-ever top 5 album (and fourth top 10) with the No. 4 debut of “California 37”; One Direction's former No. 1 "Up All Night" holds at. 5; Nicki Minaj's previous No. 1 "Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded" falls 3-6 (while topping both R&B/Hip Hop and Rap Albums); Gotye's "Making Mirrors" holds at No. 7; rapper Future launches at 8 with debut studio collection "Pluto”; Bonnie Raitt's "Slipstream" eases 6-9; and Luke Bryan's "Tailgates & Tanlines" returns to the top 10 for the first time since September, up from No. 13, in its 37th chart week.

Coming up: Jack White's solo debut “Blunderbuss” is sniffing a chart-topping debut on next week’s Billboard 200. And following that, look for a chart hurricane the next week as Carrie Underwood’s fourth album “Blown Away,” released May 1, tallies first-week sales. Other big releases in the coming month: May 1: B.o.B, Marilyn Manson, Norah Jones, Rufus Wainwright, “Smash” soundtrack. May 8: Barenaked Ladies, Keane, “Liza Minnelli Live At Winter Garden.” May 15: Adam Lambert, Garbage, Tenacious D. May 22: Joey Ramone, John Mayer, Kris Allen, Slash, The Cult. May 29: Regina Spektor.

And finally a sentimental send-off to the legendary Dick Clark, who died Wednesday at the age of 82. He brought the biggest hits into America’s households for so many years as host of “American Bandstand,” allowing me to see the personalities behind so many ‘70s and ‘80s favorites. I had the pleasure of working with Dick when he hosted the 1998 Billboard Radio Awards in Phoenix. As Radio Editor at Billboard, I actually wrote a script for him and worked with him on flow and the pronunciation of names... humbling, huh? He could not have been kinder, more gracious and, of course, a total pro—and sent a signed thank you letter after the fact It hangs in my office to this day. R.I.P. *

This column originally appeared on here.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

At Last... Sheena Easton's Live Performance Of 'Still Willing To Try'

In 1987, Sheena Easton appeared on Johnny Carson's The Tonight Show, and performed "Strut" live, which has been available on YouTube for years. She also performed the only known live version of "Still Willing To Try," a consummate love ballad that appeared on her 1988 eighth studio album No Sound But A Heart.

Unfortunately, that project spelled the end of her contract with EMI, which released launch single "Eternity," written by Prince, and then... the LP was shelved in the U.S. until many years later. So not only did it take years for me to own the song that enchanted me on Johnny Carson, but it was never released as a single, becoming a deserved hit among Sheena's catalog.

Meanwhile, I've searched long and hard for a video clip of that live performance of "Still Willing To Try" on The Tonight Show and at last... thanks to my buddy "Mike Easton," it appeared on his Sheena blog Wednesday. The quality is horrendous (and you have to let it buffer before playing)... but it's wondrous to see—and to utilize technology to convert it into an MP3. Sweet love! *

Beyonce Named 'People's' Most Beautiful Woman Alive... Which Of Course Fosters Predictable Response: 'Now That I'm A Mommy...'

Ugh, I could hear it coming before she even said it. Beyonce, who was voted the Most Beautiful Woman in the Solar System by People magazine, responded to the alleged honor with this statement: "I feel more beautiful than I've ever felt because I've given birth. I have never felt so connected, never felt like I had such a purpose on this earth. The best thing about having a daughter is having a true legacy."


God, is that the most predictable reaction on earth? Because god knows, before Beyonce & Jay-Z dropped precious angel Blue Ivy Carter in January, she was one homely gal. Sadly, while Beyonce, 30, is now very (very) beautiful since she's a mommy, her kid still has one of the dumbest names this side of Jupiter.

Modern Family's Colombian-born Sofia Vergara, 39, takes second place in the top ten list (agreed!). True beauty Charlize Theron is third. Mirror Mirror star and hideous newcomer Lily Collins' publicist paid People enough to land at No. 4.

Madeleine Stowe is 5, thanks to her deliciously wicked role in ABC's Revenge, followed by boobs-heaving Christina Hendricks... and then, inexplicably, the plainest woman alive, Michelle Williams. The remaining three are so boring I can't even bear taking the time to type their names... Read more here. *

In Honor Of The 1803 Discovery Of Fiery Meteors Today

On this day in 1803, thousands of meteor fragments fell from the skies of L'Aigle, France. The event convinced European science that meteors exist... and that guys are hot as meteors. Let's celebrate! *

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Aw, Nuts: This Dude CHOSE This For An On-Air Radio Name?

While reporting radio news this morning for, I was writing up an item about the resignation of a 32-year on-air host at WDUV in Tampa. When I Googled the DJ's name for more information, I was flabbergasted at what came up on the homepage.

I suppose that's what happens when your name is Dick Ring. Mercy sakes. And to add insult to injury, the poor guy works for, um, Cox Radio. Cool cats, you just can't make this shit up.*

HGTV Porn: 'Kitchen Cousins' The Hottest Guys On The Network

HGTV has certainly served up its share of hot hosts and rugged construction crew titans that are damn good with their tools. But we've never quite seen the likes of the soft porn delivered weekly in the burgeoning series Kitchen Cousins (airing Wednesdays at 8:30 p.m.). The familial dripping hot twosome launches their second season on HGTV, Wednesday, May 2.

In the past, we've swooned over the likes of Income Property's Scott McGillivray, Color Splash's David Bromstad, Curb Appeal's John Gidding and dethroned Carter Can's Carter Oosterhouse (all that shit about "green design" was a big snooze). Sorry Property Brothers... not so much.

But with Kitchen Cousins' Anthony Carrino and John Colaneri, forget about that dream reno: Just sit back and dream naughty thoughts about these Italian dudes in their tight-fitting denim while they move around refrigerators and kitchen cabinets... as their biceps swell and glisten.

Anthony is the more compact of the two, almost pretty with a huge smile and gorgeous teeth. He is the more playful of the pair, from what we see in the series. And good lord he is a tribute to Levi Strauss with the way he packs those britches. John, meanwhile, has smiling eyes that resemble George Clooney, and is the big, brawny hunk next door with just enough beard stubble to let you know he probably has to shave three of four times a day to keep up with all of that testosterone. He is also a godsend to the joys of well-fitting jeans... All I know is, I want to attend their next family reunion. Wowsah! See the guys on Facebook here. *