Saturday, January 31, 2009

Happy Birthday Miss Minnie!

Oscar-nominated actress Minnie Driver, recent star of FX's phenomenal "The Riches"—whose albums "Everything I've Got In My Pocket" and "Seastories" I reviewed for Billboard—is 39 today. Ayhan and I saw her perform at Joe's Pub in the summer of 2007 with our friend Mario and his ex-wife Sabrina.

A Day In The Park

Day two of my magical reunion tour with Jimmy, who arrived in New York Friday with his son Patrick... Last night we did Lunasa and dinner with Ayhan. Today, amid bone-chilling temps in the low 20s, I met the two at Julliard, where Patrick had his theater audition. From there, we took a long, leisurely stroll through an icy, snow-covered Central Park, down to Times Square, to the Marriott for a warm beverage and stellar view. Then they were off to dinner at Junior's and the theater to see 2008's Tony-winning play "Osage County."

Here we be on the stairs at Duffy Square. We were pretty much a collective block of ice at this point.The ultimate camouflage: This bush in Central Park is actually packed with birds, blending into the winter wood. Click for closer view, cool cats.Grin and bear it...Bethesda Fountain... January is obviously not its most photogenic month.Central Park's Bethesda Fountain. Behind us the water was a solid block of ice.A classic winter's view in Central Park.The finale photo... where we promised we won't be out of touch for another 17 years. I've been so blessed in the past year... amid the loss of Carlton, I have rediscovered Jimmy, Donna, J.T. and Joan. Life is good.

A Smashing Reunion

A grade-A reunion with my oldest friend in life—and first historic crush, as Jimmy came to New York Friday, with his 17-year-old son Patrick. I've not seen Jimmy in 17 years and I was all giddy and nervous, in a fun, schoolgirl kind of way. As I hoped (and expected), he is as handsome as ever. He kept his hair and didn't get fat! Jim is a biochem prof at Va. Tech, and he and his wife of 24 years Lisa, have four boys.My great love Ayhan and my first love Jimmy... (See "then" pics here.)Jim and his handsome son Patrick, who, at 17, bears a striking resemblance to young Jimmy, whom I met in the seventh grade(!). Good genes carry forward.

Lunacy @ Lunasa, January 30, 2009

Friday, January 30, 2009

Ugly Betty Filming In The Nabe!

I don't suppose it would be prudent to share my earlier post with the cast, re "jumping the shark."

Billboard, February 7, 2009

Love, Save the Empty
Producer: Jamie Kenney
Universal Republic
Release Date: Jan. 27

Before any of her music hit pop radio, singer/songwriter McCarley’s wares were delivered to TV staples “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Ghost Whisperer” and “One Tree Hill,” while the title track is featured in the movie “He’s Just Not That Into You.” At 29 McCarley’s no newbie, coming at her craft sounding smart, with a kind of versatility that few artists are allowed. But Universal Republic promised to leave her alone and let her sell herself. “Empty” is the initial emphasis track, though album opener “Pony (It’s OK)” is more likely to open doors at radio. This is not a single-heavy album; rather an artist to be discovered for her depth.—CT

Patience (3:22)
Producer: not listed
Writers: various

In late 2006, Brit boy band Take That scored a career-redefining comeback with “Patience,” which spent a month at the top of the singles charts at home and won record of the year at the BRIT Awards. It’s now recast as the first single from Nick Lachey’s third solo album, following his 2006 gold showing “What’s Left of Me” and the No. 6 Billboard Hot 100 title track. His reading is awfully close to the original, but Take That is pretty much an unknown in the United States (having scored just one hit, 1995’s “Back for Good”), so most stateside listeners won’t even know it’s a cover. It’s also a quintessential fit for Lachey’s rep as a master balladeer. His version turns up the guitars a few degrees and chugs with more urgency, while showcasing a vocal that demonstrates the innate control he proved a decade ago as a 98 Degrees lead. While solo white males remain the exception at top 40 radio, Lachey has the advantage of a major label in his corner. “Patience” sounds like the start of a promising new chapter for a deserving interpreter.—CT

Freaky Friday

I'm not sure how confessional I wanna get here, but I'll admit that I'm a bit of a wreck. Jimmy became my best friend in the 7th grade and it didn't take long before all of my imminent gayness was dumped on him in the form of a full-fledged crush... which went on for, oh, about a decade. Jimmy was the first person I ever came out to, and while he's good and straight (I had the honor of being best man in his wedding), he did his best to support. It was such a different time, with few role models, certainly no Internet and it was all rather dramatic and full of uncertainty and much emotion.I have not seen Jimmy in 17 years. Later today, he is arriving in NYC to audition his son at Julliard. They will be joining us at Lunasa, where I will thankfully be surrounded by my security blanket. Last night I auditioned my outfit for Ayhan. I'm all nervous, like a first date. My god, I'm in the 7th grade... again.

Once Upon A Time I Had Cheekbones

If you're lucky, you'll get old, too!

Sheena, Sheena, Sheena

Can you tell I'm combing through old photo albums tonight? My god, this menagerie of Sheena Easton 45 covers hung above my bed for years. The fact that I actually took a picture of it makes me want to give myself a big loving squeeze. This is quality shit. Click for a closer view, cool cats.

This View Never Gets Old

Kristina and I are participating in an exciting musical charity event sponsored by our dear Friend Ellyn Harris for the New York Ronald McDonald House. We met Wednesday at the Hard Rock Cafe in Times Square. I swear, I will never tire of this view.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Din Din With Larry 1/29

Sometimes karma just works. Ayhan and I are long overdue in catching up with our longtime pal Larry Dvoskin. A call today and we made plans for the Wednesday after next... certainly typical, where it requires more than a week to ink a plan. Then my planned dinner for tonight imploded, Ayhan happened to not be working and boom, serendipity ruled. Larry took us to an astonishing Italian restaurant that is so intimate I'm not sure I'm allowed to share it publicly. Oh, all right then: Emilio's Ballato on East Houston. Utterly amazing.

Chuckle At 10

I can't remember the name of most of my co-workers, but I actually recall the day this photo was taken. I was just home from school and had a few pictures left on my 126 camera from a field trip, so my brother Chris took a couple snapshots of young Charles on the terrace in our backyard. That's our beagle named Sport. Right sweet.

NYC, 1986

I'm guessing that it was around 1986 when Laura and I ventured from Washington to New York for an adventure in what was then a pretty dark city. We stayed at the Milford Plaza on 8th Avenue just a block away from a very seedy Times Square. We were frightened in such a magically delicious way, taking refuge at Fluffy Donuts on Seventh Avenue, which miraculously still exists today—though I couldn't tell you where, had I not just looked it up.Laura was very much into black & white photography and took this pic of me in the hotel room. I snapped her on the bed in our tiny little mirrored room.And she took this extraordinary photo of the Howard Johnson's restaurant in the heart of Times Square, which sadly, is gone now, though it was still around when I moved to NYC in the mid-1990s.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

As Predicted

As I predicted in Billboard one week ago:

“My Life Would Suck Without You” promises to return America’s pop darling to the top of multiple format charts while regaining the trust of any who felt a tinge of betrayal. Blast off! The countdown to No. 1 begins.

Kelly Clarkson’s new single “My Life Would Suck Without You” catapults from #97 to #1 on the Billboard Hot 100, breaking the record held by Britney Spears’ “Womanizer,” which went from #96 to #1 in a week’s time. The single’s jump marks the largest leap to #1 in the chart's 50-year history. Kelly held the #1 spot on the Hot 100 in 2002 with “A Moment Like This,” which went from #52 to #1.

Chuckle In US Weekly

I have the pleasure of being quoted in US Weekly about the upcoming Grammy Awards. And! while! I! don't! write! with! exclamation! points! I suppose! I! do! speak! with! them! Click on post to read!!

Bloomberg's Latest Personal 'Ass-Salt'

I swear, would somebody please give New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg something useful to do... say, like keeping subway service from going to hell? In his latest assault on personal freedoms, the billionaire bully has come up with his most asinine tirade yet: He's sniffing at salt.

The useless Bloomie is appalled that potato chips, turkey meatballs and chicken noodle soup are, uh, salty. Oh, no, save me! Who knew?

He's demanding that food manufacturers and restaurants reduce salt content by 50% over the next 10 years. In the past, Nanny Bloomberg man-handled a ban on trans fat, forced restaurants to post calorie contents and banned all smoking indoors. Once again, he thinks New Yorkers are too stupid to make their own choices.

Thomas Frieden, the city's health commissioner, said he wants voluntary compliance. Naturally, if that doesn't happen, Bloomberg has threatened legislation. And we all know what happens when Hizzoner wants anything passed: City Council nods in robotic unison—or else.

Ashlee: Nose Out

I love Jessica Simpson, so I'm not interested in posting the pics of her that are splattered all over the Web. But when her bimbo sis Ashlee starts flailing her bony arms for headlines, that's a different story. Here's a no-talent whose entire face was rebuilt, defending women's "natural curves"? What about the curve of her real nose?"I am completely disgusted by the headlines concerning my sister's weight," Ashlee huffed. "A week after the inauguration and with such a feeling of hope in the air for our country, I find it belittling to all women to read about a woman's weight or figure as a headline."

Huh? The inauguration? Who told her about world events? Please, Ash, make yourself useful and go back to breast-feeding. Nobody cares.

Lucky In Oil

Next to Cinammon Toast Crunch, you can't beat Lucky Charms, cool cats. Ann Elizabeth Schlegel from Bethlehem, Pa., loves to paint food! From

Monday, January 26, 2009

Most Annoying Co-Workers: The Ultimate List

Following is a full-bodied group effort launched by my fellow Lunasa groupies, sometimes specific and yet surprisingly universal. This is about the funniest thing I’ve ever read, further confirming that my friends are funny and clever even when they’re sober. Note: I know none of these people below. Nope. Not a one. While I have never asked for blog visitors to comment, here’s an opportunity for therapeutic confession. Have at it!

* The one that hums.
* The one with the fake hyena laugh: "I'm having such a good time interviewing this no-name. I am so entertained!"
* The one with the 50-decibel ringtone that hasn't been changed in a year.
* The one that chews ice.
* The one that thinks that black sweatpants is appropriate office-wear.
* Napoleon.
* The one who tells you “the music industry will never be like it was, young man!”
* The one who tries to convince people on the phone that she's in her “office," when she’s sitting in the same damn 3x6 cubicle as the rest of us.
* The one who uses clich├ęs that make me want to stab myself in the eye, such as, “To be completely honest with you” or “The truth is” or other pathetic patter that requires zero thought.
* The one who hovers over your desk, insisting on meaningless conversation when you are trying to have a private moment with your soup.
* The one who is only Jewish when the name-brand holidays roll around. Then they dash out of the office before sundown, for fear of bursting into flames.
* The one that thinks I want to talk to them.
* The one sitting next to me.
* The one sitting on the other side of me.
* The one you hooked up with at the Christmas/Kwanza party.
* The one who saw you hook up with the one at the Christmas/Kwanza party.
* The one who puts the entire body of the e-mail in the subject line.
* The one that doesn’t realize you’re supposed to give to the salvation Army, not shop there.
* The one who laughs at anything and everything. After every sentence spoken. After every question answered. With an annoying supposed-to-be-cute-girly-girl laugh.
* The one who is supposed to be a communications major/writer/higher-up business associate and doesn’t spell out words in their e-mails, but instead uses things like “me 2” or “ur.”
* The one who won't shut up about their gym routine and their nutritional plan every single day.
* The one who, every time you walk past, comments, “You’re so skinny!” or notes what you’re eating: “It’s no wonder you’re so skinny!”
* The one who is never in the office, then complains that nothing gets done.
* The one who has worked for the company for one year and yet seems to have five weeks vacation.
* The one who asks to borrow money—repeatedly—and doesn't pay you back.
* The one that wore the same outfit two days in a row cause they were at some “celeb party” all night… oh, wait… never mind, we like that person!

"Ugly Betty" Jumps The Shark

Damn, I’m irritated. Last night I started writing a post about how “Ugly Betty” jumped the shark in season three and has become downright grating… but when Ayhan got home, I was quickly distracted by his request to begin watching “30 Rock,” season two. So long, blog-a-boo.

So this afternoon I got a Web link from fellow pop culture/music lover buddy Andy, announcing that ABC is essentially shelving the show, replacing it with eps of “Samantha Who?” and a new Megan Mullally-Cheryl Hines comedy “In the Motherhood.” “Betty” will allegedly return in June—uh, when no one is watching TV. Sounds like a death knell to me. I suppose I missed my opportunity to lead the bitch call.

Granted, a year ago, "Desperate Housewives" was on the brink of death, and this season it returned to shrewd depravity, so there is hope yet. But at this point, "Betty" is just plain annoying.

1. The economy is in the shitter. Betty has a great, glam job and yet her family continues a one-dimensional storyline of inflicting guilt for not always standing by their every need. And she never fights back. Yawn.

2. Betty has been working for a glamour mag for three years now, and still has no fashion sense? It took Anne Hathaway about 45 minutes in “The Devil Wears Prada” to transition from “the smart, fat one” to don designer duds, thanks to a full closet of clothes available to her. Betty has the same, and yet still dresses like she’s working for a quilt.

3. Braces for three years? I had the ultimate buckies and it took a year and a half to align my teefs. Enough, already.

4. This season, the show moved on location to NYC and Betty finally moved out of her family’s clutches, into a fabulous Manhattan dive apartment, which was wonderfully, colorfully decorated. And yet Betty is never there. Not to mention the reckless teasing of introducing a promising love interest, Jessie, played by pretty Val Emmich, that went nowhere. I posted a previous entry bitching about this.

Maybe ABC is doing "Ugly Betty" a favor. Amuse us... or lose us.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

There She Is...

Given my druthers, I'd have been out and about today. Given my health and the fact that I haven't had a voice for the past three days, I forced myself to stay in. What better gay way to slow a Sunday down to a crawl than watch The Miss America Pageant! Can you imagine that Atlantic City deemed the competition too tacky to host (pot, calling kettle), so it moved to Vegas.

Of course it goes without saying that the prettiest one onstage was host Mario Lopez. He is fine. I was all about Miss New York, Leigh Taylor-Smith, until she wore the ugliest evening gown I've seen since... well, since Star Jones' dress a few posts down. The bikini contest... oops, I was washing dishes during that part. The talent segment was the best, when Miss Hawaii Nicole Fox performed a frightening tribal dance (above), obviously inspired by the cannibals on "Gilligan's Island."

The winner was Miss Indiana Katie Stam, who was so hysterical when her name was announced that she kept swatting at the outgoing Miss America as she tried desperately to lasso the sash around her. That was fun.

In all seriousness, TLC did a nice job updating a concept whose relevance is long past (yeah, scholarships, public service, blah blah, they still have to parade around in bikinis and heals). The Loser's Lounge was fab (esp. when the bottom 36 whimpered on-camera). In all, I've seen worse episodes of "Ugly Betty."