Category Archives: Celebrity Chatter

“American Masters” celebrates its 30th anniversary with the launch of “In Their Own Words: The American Masters Digital Archive”

Everything old is new again. And in the case of THIRTEEN’s American Masters, the old is very new and very special. The series made in debut in 1986 on PBS with Private Conversations: On the Set of “Death of a Salesman, a cinéma vérité documentary about the making of Arthur Miller’s masterpiece for network television, and its stars Dustin Hoffman and John Malkovich.

Today, American Masters celebrates its 30th anniversary with the launch of In Their Own Words: The American Masters Digital Archive and the American Masters Podcast, featuring previously unreleased interviews filmed for the documentary series: 2,156 tapes, approximately 1,388 digitized hours, 800-plus interviews and counting.

A selection of short-form videos showcasing interviews with David Bowie, Gloria Steinem, Herbie Hancock, Bernadette Peters, Mike Nichols and other luminaries discussing America’s most enduring artistic and cultural giants are available now on the American Masters website (pbs.org/americanmasters). New videos will be released on an ongoing basis as the archive is digitized.

The American Masters Podcast, hosted by series executive producer Michael Kantor, will feature long-form interviews from In Their Own Words. The first season, “Women on Women,” presents interviews with influential women discussing women cultural icons. Episode one features Gloria Steinem in conversation with the late, multiple Emmy-winning filmmaker Gail Levin taking a critical look at the life and career of Marilyn Monroe from 2006’s American Masters Marilyn: Still Life. New episodes will be released biweekly on the American Masters website, iTunes, Soundcloud and Stitcher.

All full-length, digitized interviews will be archived by the American Archive of Public Broadcasting (AAPB), a collaboration between WGBH and the Library of Congress to preserve and make accessible significant historical content created by public media.
“I’m thrilled that the National Endowment for the Arts has provided major funding to get this project off the ground so we can finally share gems from the cutting room floor with the public,” says Michael Kantor, executive producer of American Masters. “Series creator Susan Lacy built a rich library of more than 200 documentary films, which is a treasure trove of American arts, culture and intellect, and the amazing interviews that informed these films are largely unseen. While we are still seeking funds to create a comprehensive, interactive digital archive website, we are confident that In Their Own Words and the American Masters Podcast will inspire and entertain a broad audience both today and in the future.”
Here, A gem of Betty White chatting about her (and my) pal Carol Burnett.

Bah Humbug! Kenny Rogers calls touring quits after this holiday season

Everything comes to an end. Kenny Rogers, who has done an annual Christmas tour since 1981, is taking a gamble. No, we don’t mean more plastic surgery.  We’re still trying to figure out who’s had more: Dolly or Kenny?

After more than five decades of touring the world, Rogers’ farewell tour, “The Gambler’s Last Deal,” is underway and expected to run into 2017.
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“Christmas has always been a special time of year to me,” Rogers coos. “The feeling I get performing on the Christmas tour is one of the things I’ll really miss about not being on the road. We will be sure to take extra time to cherish some moments on this last go around, and I hope as many people as possible will be able to join us in creating a new set of holiday memories.”

For his upcoming Christmas & Hits tour dates, Rogers will perform holiday favorites, selections from his 2015 Christmas album Once Again It’s Christmas and (of course) his hits at concerts across the U.S. The tour currently includes 16 dates. Making this final Christmas tour experience even more special, a limited number of VIP ticket packages will be offered, allowing fans the opportunity to meet Rogers and receive one-of-a-kind memorabilia. Two types of VIP packages will be available for each show of the tour. We find such marketing pretty rude. Just as Dolly.

“The Gambler’s Last Deal” concerts feature an all-new show, including a reflective look back through Rogers’ storied 50-plus-year career. Enhanced with personal stories, vintage photos and video clips—including never-before-seen footage—the music-filled retrospective will touch on every part of Rogers’ career. Along with his long list of hits, Rogers is singing songs in concert that he hasn’t performed in years.

For the most up-to-date information on all of Roger’s final world tour dates (including on-sale dates and links to purchase tickets and VIP packages), please visit www.kennyrogers.com.

Kenny Rogers – “The Gambler’s Last Deal” Christmas & Hits Tour
Nov. 25 – Independence, Mo. – Silverstein Eye Centers Arena
Nov. 26 – Branson, Mo. – The Mansion Theatre
Nov. 27 – Cincinnati, Ohio – Taft Theatre
Dec. 2 – La Crosse, Wisc. – La Crosse Center
Dec. 3 – Green Bay, Wisc. – Resch Center
Dec. 7 – Norfolk, Va. – Ted Constant Convocation Center
Dec. 8 – Detroit, Mich. – Fox Theatre
Dec. 9 – French Lick, Ind. – French Lick Resort Casino
Dec. 10 – Mount Pleasant, Mich. – Soaring Eagle Casino & Resort
Dec. 14 – Greensburg, Pa. – The Palace Theatre
Dec. 15 – Englewood, N.J. – Bergen Performing Arts Center
Dec. 16 – Uncasville, Conn. – Mohegan Sun Arena
Dec. 18 – Reading, Pa. – Reading Eagle Theatre at the Santander Arena
Dec. 20 – Verona, N.Y. – Turning Stone Resort Casino
Dec. 21 – Red Bank, N.J. – Count Basie Theatre
Dec. 23 – Westbury, N.Y. – NYCB Theatre at Westbury

Dolly Parton asking her poor fans to fork over hundred$ for “collectible” crap

She doesn’t work 9 to 5 . . . according to her flaks, “without a doubt, Dolly Parton continues to be one of the most aggressive artists in music when it comes to marketing themselves.” This time, Dolly is spreading herself as thinly as she can as she prepares for the August 19 release of her new CD Pure & Simple–with four different pre-order bundles to help promote the album.

“I may not be pure, but I’m as simple as they come!”she coos. “This new Pure & Simple project is really special to me because I’m taking my fans back to my roots. I feel like these songs have a pure, tender side and we didn’t go overboard with arrangements. I’m so glad we’ve teamed up with our friends at Sony to get this album out to the fans.” Spoken just like a well-seasoned, well-paid press flak.

Dolly should be ashamed that in this economic market, she knows her fans cannot fork over hundreds of $ for such crap.

Pure & Simple Standard Bundle

Standard Bundle ($40) Pure & Simple album cover art on black 100% preshrunk cotton T-shirt, Pure & Simple CD, as well as an album digital download that will be delivered via email on August 19.

Pure & Simple Deluxe Bundle

Deluxe Bundle ($60) Pure & Simple CD, as well as digital download of the album (to be delivered via email on August 19), a set of three notebooks with different Dolly logo designs (each notebook measures a measly 3.5″ x 5.5″) and a rhinestone and lace Dolly tote bag.

Pure & Simple Collectible Bundle

Collectible Bundle ($100) Pure & Simple CD, as well as a digital download of the album (delivered via email on August 19), a Dolly guitar string bracelet and gift box, the set of three notebooks and the Rhinestone and lace Dolly tote bag.

Pure & Simple Commemorative Bundle

Commemorative Bundle ($400) Pure & Simple CD, as well as a digital download of the album (will be delivered via email on August 19), as well as the Dolly guitar string bracelet and gift box, the three notebooks, the rhinestone and lace Dolly photo tote bag and a “Collectible Limited Edition” plaque commemorating the release of Dolly’s new album Pure & Simple.

Sean Combs combs through Bad Boy’s inventory to release a cursed box set

Someone’s got to take the rap, so we figure Sean “Diddy” Combs, known to too many people as Puff Daddy. Combs will be puffing his pride as he celebrates his 20+ year legacy as the ruling authority on hip hop and R&B with the release of the Bad Boy 20th Anniversary Box Set Edition, escaping on August 12.  Bad Boy Entertainment, whose founder and chairman  is Combs, is also puffing the fact that they relish explicit lyrics. How can they accept a song (let’s take the ditty “Blessings”; how can we mix God with the lyric Man, the clique is the tightest, the pussy’s the tightest pussy?

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Disturbed music fans will find the CD constipated with tunes such as “I Need a Girl,” “Juicy,” “I Don’t Wanna Know,” “Hypnotize,” “Money, Power, Respect,” “Peaches & Cream,” “Can’t You See,” “Flava In Ya Ear (Remix),” “Love Like This,” “Feel So Good,” “Pop That,” “Damaged” and “I’ll Be Missing You,” from a lineup of “artists” including Puff Daddy, The Notorious B.I.G., Craig Mack, Faith Evans, Total, Carl Thomas, Mase, 112, The Lox, Cassie, Janelle Monáe, Danity Kane, Machine Gun Kelly and French Montana.  The Bad Boy 20th Anniversary Box Set Edition is available for preorder now digitally and physically at iTunes and Amazon.

Accompanied by a 64-page historiography and foreword by hip hop journalist Michael A. Gonzales, the collection will take readers on a journey through the history of Bad Boy Entertainment, reminding fans of the label’s reputation as hip hop’s most notorious vanguards.  With contributions from music industry veterans, readers and listeners alike will gain a 360 view of the rise of the label and their revolutionary sound.

Following a painstakingly thorough selection process, which was curated by Bad Boy President Harve Pierre, the collection arrives at the perfect time, the announcement of Puff Daddy & the Family’s highly-anticipated Bad Boy Family Reunion Tour, set to kick off August 25.  Tickets for the Bad Boy Family Reunion Tour are available at Livenation.com. For additional information about the Bad Boy Family Reunion Tour, click here.

Coos Combs: “Bad Boy helped make hip hop what it is today and this collection highlights all the music, history and vision that made Bad Boy number one. We want to thank our fans, celebrate the music, the people and the Bad Boy lifestyle that have defined the past two decades.  We’ve always made music that makes the people dance; this collection does all that and more, and it is a celebration of all things Bad Boy.”

Earplugs not included.

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Setting such a good example

 

MVD Entertainment Group unleashes two classic, sick Arrow Video flicks on Blu-ray/DVD

examiner.com never allowed us to say what we really wanted to say . . . so now we say it: MVD Entertainment Group is one fucking great company and they distribute Arrow Video macabre masterpieces that are so sick and (often) so bloody they are fucking mandatory movies to see and own.

We start off with Microwave Massacre, escaping onto Blu-ray + DVD on  August 16. The flick stars legendary stand-up comedian Jackie Vernon as Donald, a disgruntled construction worker whose wife’s predilection for haute cuisine drives him to cannibalism.
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Donald unwittingly stumbles upon a solution to his two major problems in his life: his nagging wife and his lack of decent meals; one night, he bludgeons his better half to death with a pepper grinder in a drunken rage. Thinking on his feet, Donald dismembers the body and sets about microwaving the remains, which turn out to be rather delicious. Trouble is, now he has a taste for human flesh that needs satisfying . . .

Eschewing all notions of good taste, Wayne Berwick’s Microwave Massacre is a deliciously depraved exercise in political incorrectness that has gone on to gain a cult following thanks to a characteristically deadpan performance from Vernon, who delivers such choice lines as “I’m so hungry I could eat a whore.” Vegetarians need not apply!

DIRECTOR-APPROVED SPECIAL EDITION CONTENTS
– Brand new 2K restoration from the original camera negative
– High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) and Standard Definition DVD presentations
– Original mono audio (uncompressed PCM on the Blu-ray)
– Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
– Brand new audio commentary with writer-producer Craig Muckler, moderated by Mike Tristano
– Brand new making-of featurette including interviews with Muckler, director Wayne Berwick and actor Loren Schein
– Original treatment and 8-page synopsis (BD/DVD-ROM content)
– Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Wes Benscoter

Hungry for more? The Bloodstained Butterfly flies onto Blu-ray + DVD on August 23. Directed by Duccio Tessari, The Bloodstained Butterfly melds the lurid giallo traditions popularized by Dario Argento and Mario Bava with courtroom drama, resulting in a film that is as concerned with forensic detail and legal process as it is with grisly murders and audacious set-pieces.
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When a young female student is savagely killed in a park during a thunderstorm, the culprit seems obvious: her lover, TV sports personality Alessandro Marchi (played by Giancarlo Sbragia), seen fleeing the scene of the crime by numerous eyewitnesses. The evidence against him is damning . . .  but is it all too convenient? And when the killer strikes again while Marchi is in custody, it quickly becomes apparent that there’s more to the case than meets the eye.
Starring openly bisexual heartthrob Helmut Berger alongside genre mainstays Evelyn Stewart and Carole André and featuring a score by Gianni Ferrio, The Bloodstained Butterfly is presented uncut and in a sumptuous new 4K restoration that allows this unique and haunting thriller to shine like never before!
BONUS MATERIALS
– Brand new 4K restoration of the film from the original camera negative
– High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) and Standard Definition DVD presentations
– Original Italian and English soundtracks in DTS-HD MA mono 1.0
– Newly translated English subtitles for the Italian soundtrack
– Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing for the English soundtrack
– New audio commentary with critics Alan Jones and Kim Newman
Murder in B-Flat Minor, a new visual essay on the film, its cast and crew by author Troy Howarth.
Mad Dog Helmut, a new interview with actor Helmut Berger
– Exclusive introduction by Helmut Berger
– New interview with actress Evelyn Stewart/Ida Galli
– Interview with Lorella De Luca, actress and wife of director Duccio Tessari
– Original Italian and English theatrical trailers
– Gallery of original promotional images
– Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Matthew Griffin
– Limited edition 36-page booklet (first pressing only) illustrated by Tonci Zonjic, containing writing by James Blackford, Howard Hughes and Leonard Jacobs

Roald Dahl, a true bastard to former wife Pat Neal, may very well be a “BFG”

Our dear friend Patricia Neal once told us how mean her husband Roald Dahl could be . . . regaling us with tales of terror. That was then, and we know Dahl was so beloved for his children’s classic books. Public Media Distribution, LLC has re-released Roald Dahl’s The BFG” on DVD.  This film is also available for digital download. Neal would say the title stands for “Big Fucking Goon.”

It actually stands for The Big Friendly Giant; Dahl’s beloved children’s book comes to life in this classic animated feature, which debuted in 1989, about the amazing power of friendship between a little girl and a big-hearted giant.
One moonlit night, little orphan Sophie is snatched from her bed by an awesome giant who whisks her away on a magical, thrilling, and funny adventure. Unlike scary giants such as the Bloodbottler, the Fleshlumpeater, and the Bonecruncher, the BFG is a good giant who blows sweet dreams into the bedroom windows of children as they slumber.

When Sophie learns that a monstrous crew of meanies is off to England to gobble up innocent boys and girls, she sets out to stop them once and for all, with the help of her new, rather large, friend.

This DVD includes the digitally restored version of the animated film along with two special features, a never-before-seen bfg

Dahl documentary and before/after Restoration Video. The documentary features an interview with Dahl in which he talks about several of the well-known books he has written including The BFG, The Witches and Matilda. In this video viewers gain insight into how some of these classics came to life.

 

 

 

Rob Paulsen continues to give voice to a most animated career

Robert Fredrick Paulsen III has always given voice to his career. He first started out as a singer, did stage work and made a handful of films and TV shows. “I just wanted to perform,” he says, “and I didn’t care what that meant.” And perform he did and does, once he stumbled into the profession that truly had him give voice to his work. (He began his voice-over career in 1983 with “G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero”, where he played “Snow Job” and “Tripwire”.)

Today, the 60-year-old actor is one of the most prolific voice actors in the industry. Paulsen has recorded thousands of different character voices for nearly 500 different films and TV series, not counting his endless work in commercial voice-overs and video games. Perhaps he’s most known for the original commercial of “Got Milk?” campaign. The famous commercial (remember “who shot Alexander Hamilton in that famous duel?”) aired in 1993, and launched the Got Milk? (in)famous campaign.

His career runs as a long as that yellow brick road: Career highlights include “Animaniacs”, “The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius”, “Pinky and the Brain”, “The Tick”, “Tiny Toon Adventures”, “Goof Troop”, “Dexter’s Laboratory”, “Histeria” and “The Mask”. In “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” Paulsen voiced both Raphael in the original 1987 animated cast; he gives life to Donatello in the more recent take on the series. And let us not forget a role he holds close to his heart: Oz’s Tin Man (and his alter ego Hickory), a role he has voiced first in “Tom and Jerry & The Wizard of Oz” and in the newly released “Tom and Jerry Back to Oz.” Both are available on DVD, thanks to Warner Bros. Home Entertainment.

Chatting with the actor is an animated adventure. He has so many stories to tell about places he has gone and people he has met. We gabbed with him on a Saturday afternoon, in time away from his wife, Parrish, and their Yorkshire terriers, Pooshie and Tala. We even got to hear him sing a snatch of “If I Only Had a Heart”!

Alan W. Petrucelli: First things first: You wanted to be a hockey player. What happened?
Rob Paulsen: The one big fly in the ointment was that I hadn’t the talent or temperament. I was a decent high school player and maybe so in college, but professional hockey players are bigger and more mannish.

AWP: One of your heroes was Gordie Howe. Did you ever met him?
RP: Gordie was my idol. He passed away just a week ago. He was my hero. His planet on ice made him an idol of mine. When I met him and his wife, Colleen, it turned out that their grandkids were great Ninja Turtle fans. I was lucky to have Gordie in my life: At a fundraiser in Vancouver, I was sitting next to him during an autograph signing. Gordie was in early ’60s and had been signing for a couple hours. A guy my age came up to Gordie after waiting an hour for him to sign a puck, and said, ‘Mr. Howe, thank you for signing my puck.’ Your hand must be getting tired.’ Gordie looked at him, and sober as judge, he held his hand out to the man and said, ‘I worked too hard for this privilege. It’s my honor.’ What he said was like a laser beam right to my head. Gordie was a God.

AWP: You worked closely with another God, Steven Spielberg. Any stories?
RP: He has not only created the world’s greatest impression of cartoons and movies, but up close and personal, Spielberg is the most delightful and kind and generous person I have met. He makes any conversation or experienced with him about you. That is important since I have met people whose goal is to be self-centered. I have zero tolerance to run into those types of people. They think they will impress me, but they never do. Spielberg is the kind of famous person who impresses people . . . without an ego.

AWP: You are another famous person who impresses people.
RP: No. I am not a celebrity. A lot of the characters I voice are celebrities. but I am not a celebrity. I don’t draw or write them. I have developed a certain reputation: Casting people know to call Rob if they give me a live action job because I have developed a reputation that I can sing it, I can act it. [Pauses, then laughs] Yet I am limited by how I look, so doing voices is freeing because I can swing from the fences since I’m a 5-foot, 10½-inch white guy, as average-looking as a million other guys.

AWP: You must admit you got a great job. It must get tough changing your voice so many times.
RP: No. A job is what blue-collar men do. Pouring hot tar in July is a tough job. Laying sod on a farm is a tough job. Working on a conveyor belt in a factory is hard work. My job is like freedom . . . I get to do what I want with my voice; my interpretation is only limited by my voice. I would be lying if I said I don’t like when people make a fuss over me. Sometimes when I sign a credit card receipt, a person says, “Hmm, Rob Paulsen. Are you . . .?’ Sometimes a person will listen to me and say, ‘Hmm, I know that voice.’ That’s incredibly flattering. When I was growing up, cartoons were on only three networks. And now . . . [Pauses] I am in incredible receipt of so much fan anticipation. All things considered, I love what I do so much I would do it for free.

AWP: When you made the two Oz films with Tom and Jerry, where you asked to sound like Jack Haley?
RP: The people who made the movie wanted me to be really close to what he sounded like. That’s what they were definitely looking for. Haley was very light and sweet and ingenious, yet he still had a pretty thick Boston accent. When I got to sing, it’s such a thrill they wanted the Haley influence. [Begins singing in a Haley soundalike voice] “When a man’s an empty kettle he should be on his mettle . . .”

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Paulsen supplies the Tinman’s voice in two Warner Bros. DVDs

AWP: Is your voice insured?
RP: No. I heard and presume that Luciano Pavarotti and Richard Tucker and Kathleen Battle had their voices insured. I did think about it now that I am getting older and had an issue with laryngitis,

AWP: You’ve done commercials for Honda, Frosted Mini-Wheats, McDonalds and Taco Bell. Do you have lifetime free cars, cereal, Big Macs and Cheesy Double Beef Burritos?
RP: [Laughs] No. They offered me a crazy deal on a Honda but I ended up buying one in 1974. The Honda Civic cost $4,496. When McDonald’s was doing a promotion with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, a local guy was a big man and asked me to sign some Turtleblila. He gave me some free stuff . . . I think it was two burgers.

Broadway stars unite in song to benefit the victims and their families of Orlando tragedy

My friend Liz Callaway sent me this email. I wept when I read it, wept more when I watched the video. Trust me (as you always do) on this . . .

Dear Alan:
After the horrific violence in Orlando earlier this month, the Broadway community got together and recorded a single of the beautiful Bacharach/David song “What the World We Needs Now is Love” to benefit the victims and their families. I am very proud to be a part of this recording along with Hamilton‘s Lin-Manuel Miranda, Idina Menzel, Audra McDonald, Bernadette Peters, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Sarah Bareilles, Carole King, Billy Porter, my sister Ann Hampton Callaway and so many more.

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Here is the video Playbill.com made of our song:
http://www.playbill.com/video/broadway-for-orlando-the-exclusive-music-video

If you’d like to contribute, you can purchase the song on iTunes, gift it to your friends, or order hard copies and/or MP3s at www.broadwayrecords.com.  100% all of the proceeds will benefit the LGBT Community Center of Central Florida.

My heartfelt thanks for spreading the word!

xoxo Liz