Saturday, April 30, 2011

Cowboys!! Linda Lael Miller's 'Creed Legacy'

Bestselling romance author Linda Lael Miller is releasing three new books in her long-running series about the McKettrick family. We're talking cowboys, cool cats. Meet Steven, Brody and Conner, who know how to love their women—and wear their britches to fit.

A Creed In Stone Creek is on sale now, with Creed's Honor coming in June and The Creed Legacy in July. Let's all shall we?

Broadway's Utterly Fun-Filled, Maddeningly Catchy 'Sister Act'

While Donna Mae Moose was in town, we hit the jackpot by scoring complementary tickets to see Broadway's just-opened Sister Act at the Broadway Theatre. As we were escorted to our seats, we were motioned away from the orchestra level—sigh—only to discover that we had been rewarded with box seats!

We felt like President Abraham and Mrs. Lincoln, you know, only without the assassination part. It was like the Broadway version of flying first class.

The musical, based on the 1992 lightweight movie starring Whoopi Goldberg, is instead set in 1978 at disco's joyous peak, allowing for a funtastic, upbeat, danceable score from Glenn Slater & Alan Menken (the latter stepping out of character from his usual Disney fare, a la The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast and Pocahontas). Thankfully, the new songs replace the flick's weary jukebox of Motown cliches that you never, ever need to hear again.

The cast is led by the delightfully talented Patina Miller as Deloris Van Cartier, who originated the role in London's West End; her owl-like eyes and wide toothy grin practically command the stage, alongside exceptional physical and narrative comic timing. The other stand-out is second lead Victoria Clark, who conjures the grandeur and poise of every Mother Superior since The Sound of Music.

Some of the supporting nuns border on caricature, particularly Sarah Bolt as Sister Mary Patrick, who simply stands in for movie original Kathy Najimy, down to the Midwest accent and "aw, shucks" persona. The male cast members, meanwhile, are competent, but unlikely to be calling Tony's name.

Costumes, meanwhile, are a giggle a minute. As the nuns gain an increasing church following and their "hymns" become a camp call to arms, the Sisters' robes appropriately evolve with dazzle and glitz, until they practically belong at Studio 54. By the end, a giant sacred Virgin Mary statue is practically spinning in circles with disco delight. Good fun.

In all, Sister Act is predictable, but knee-slapping fun and a wondrous escape from reality, with several songs ("Take Me To Heaven," "The Life I Never Led," "Fabulous, Baby!" and "I Could Be That Guy" that stick fast and hard to the brain. Its familiarity should be an instant draw for the New York tourist crowd, while offering enough onstage originality to maintain a dominant place along the Great White Way for the long haul. Hopefully, it will be years before this Sister bids her farewell Amen.

Forget March... April Is Out Like A Fierce Lion

Gentlemen, start your engines!Target scores a bulls-eye.Beach baby...Sheer beauty.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Awe-Inspiring NYC Time Lapse Video

Awfully cool... more than a dozen scenes of time-lapse video. Your head will be swimming, but your heart will swoon.

NYC - Mindrelic Timelapse from Mindrelic on Vimeo.

NYC Vintage Image Of The Day: The Bowery, 1930s

Stitched panorama of Bowery between Prince and Spring Streets, June 2009, Jeremy Rowe,

The Bowery in the southern portion of Manhattan, is among New York City's most infamous neighborhoods. By the Civil War era, it had slid from lush gardens and posh theaters into a center of prostitution, crime and gangs. In 1919, one local magazine characterized the nabe as "filled with employment agencies, cheap clothing and knickknack stores, cheap moving-picture shows, cheap lodging-houses, cheap eating-houses and cheap saloons."

As late as the 1970s, the Bowery was regarded as New York's Skid Row, despite a fringe artistic community that brought CBGB's, Bowery Ballroom and the Bowery Poetry Club.

In 2005—for better or worse—Whole Foods Market, the New Museum and a number of high-rise luxury condos along "Gentrification Row" have replaced the low-rise structures that had long been a destination for restaurant equipment and lighting supplies. Today, its identity crisis is fully evident, as white urban professionals continue to push out some of New York's most colorful characters—and buildings. 1935 pic of a restaurant in the Bowery, when the street was lined with flophouses. Note that most meals cost all of 10 cents, though a bowl of oxtail stew will run you 15 cents.
A Bowery flophouse, 1937.

Tattoo parlor pics, 1937. Notice that behind the tattoo parlor above is a hotel "for men only." Hmm, methinks that is a might curious.
Guns for sale! Today, it is illegal to pack a pistol in New York state.

People En Espanol's 2011 50 Most Beautiful: William Levy!

Once again, William Levy makes People En Espanol's list of the 50 Most Beautiful Latinos, including a cover appearance! Issue out today. Muy bien!
More behind the scenes photos after the jump!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Happy Birthday Sheena Easton!

To the many faces of Sheena Easton, all of whom celebrated their 53rd birthday Wednesday!

High School Portraits: Your Best Friends From Back Yonder

Wouldn't you love to know how these nine turned out?Courtesy: Acidcow

NYC Vintage Image Of The Day: Greetings From New York!

As long as there have been stamps, we've sent greetings from our merry travels. Here's an intensive look at New York postcards through the decades! Above is from 1907...

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Webbie Of The Day:

Keep this between us, okay? In March 2003, I recorded Celine Dion's opening night concert at Caesar's Palace... and knowing hundreds of fans were interested in hearing the wonder of that event, I offered a beautifully crafted home-made version for sale on, complete with lush CD artwork. I sold a half dozen copies—until amazon alerted me I was pawning "illegal" goods... and banished me from selling FOREVER.

Ebay is no different... so where then might you find items that aren't endorsed by corporate superpowers... goods never released by major retailersbecause they figured it might cost more to manufacture than the return? An example: Sheena Easton... my fave artist, whose music videos were never issued because she switched record labels mid-stream.

The answer: iOffer, a brilliant webbie that allows sellers to hawk creatively compiled goods. Google, amazon and Apple, you're missing out on an entire thriving marketplace. Free enterprise. Ain't that what made this nation great?

William Levy With JLo 'I'm Into You' Video Teaser!!!!

The full-length video for Jennifer Lopez's new single "I'm Into You" debuts on "The Today Show" May 2. Meanwhile, here's a quickie sexy preview of the pair. All I can say is... ooooh laaa laaa.

Celine Dion: Unreleased Video For 'Let Your Heart Decide'

Celine Dion's stellar "Let Your Heart Decide" was never released on an album, but that didn't stop me from embracing it as my No. 6 song of 2006.

What I did not know is that there's an accompanying video for the track, released on the soundtrack to obscure flick Asterix & The Vikings. It's also an adaptation of Celine's well-known French song Tous les secrets, included in the French version of the movie. See the YouTube version here.

(Thanks, Mark!)

License Plates Clever Enough To Make You Swerve Off The Road

Considering how stringent the Department of Motor Vehicles is about granting personalized license plates, you just gotta love how these ridiculously, satisying, albeit juvenile plates got one past the bureaucracy. The University of Virginia student in the lower left corner earns the first-place prize.

NYC Vintage Image Of The Day: 156 Henry Street, Brooklyn Heights

The sweet red brick building at 156 Henry Street at the intersection of Love Lane in Brooklyn Heights holds a modicum of mystery. Despite hours of research, I could find no info on when it was built or why it stands alone as a quaint two-story structure among so many multi-story apartment buildings on all sides.

What I do know is that throughout its life, the street level has housed three businesses: two supermarkets and now, a CVS. First was Bohack, which opened its first family grocery on nearby Fulton Street in Brooklyn in 1887. After going public, the chain expanded into Manhattan and the Bronx until its demise during the recession of the mid-1970s. The last store shuttered in summer 1977.Next in the location was well-known New York supermarket chain D'Agostino, first opened in 1932 during the Great Depression on the Upper East Side. By 1981, the grocer operated 15 Manhattan locations and one in Brooklyn—at 156 Henry Street.The store was obviously in place long enough to update its logo signage, as seen below.
Within the past decade, D'Agostino departed Brooklyn, making way for CVS to mark its territory in the Heights, competing with drugstore neighbors Duane Reade and Rite Aid. Today, the chain trumps the typical weekly sale prices of its competitors, and often the Key Food supermarket a couple blocks away. I'm certainly there at least a couple times a week. Yes, it may be a national chain, but it saves me big bucks... and looks awfully pretty in that historic building.