Harvey Korman RIP

Harvey Korman died Thursday at the age of 81.

There is no way that the family history could be written without mentioning Harvey Korman (and, of course, Tim Conway). My parents were avid watchers of "The Carol Burnett Show," and, by default, so were me and my sister. I was never a superfan of the show, but I would pay a little closer attention when Harvey Korman and Tim Conway were in a sketch. And, as the years went on, I became a bigger and bigger fan of the show until I finally had to admit that my parents were on to something (the same eventually happened with "Fawlty Towers"). And that's why a few years ago I was actually kind of excited to see Korman and Conway live at the State Theater in New Brunswick. It ended up being a little less than great, but it was worth it to see the pair do the famous dentist sketch live.

I guess it's easy to take issue with the fact that Korman cracked up too much, but, unlike Jimmy Fallon, whose crackups were frequently at things that weren't all that funny and therefore frequently seemed disingenuous, Korman's outbursts always seemed to come right from the gut. And they always made my mom and dad laugh right along.

Of course, Korman also made a name for himself in Mel Brooks's movies, most memorably in our household as Count de Monet in "HIstory of the World Part I." It was in this movie that he utttered the Korman line most quoted around the house: "You look like the piss boy" (6:43 in in the clip below):

So, rest in peace, Harvey Korman. Thanks (from the whole family) for the laughs.


The Tinsel and Rot Sirius Stiletto Top 20: May 2008

20. (--) Squaws Along the Yukon--Hank Thompson*
19. (--) I Almost Killed You--Billy Bragg#
18. (14) Keep Me from Blowin' Away--Willie Nelson#
17. (15) See the Elephant--James McMurtry#
16. (--) Gone, Gone, Gone--Robert Plant and Alison Krauss*
15. (--) Indivisible--The Dirtbombs#
14. (--) Oil Man's War--Kathleen Edwards#
13. (17) We Didn't See A Thing--George Jones and Ray Charles*
12. (--) Can You Feel It?--The Dynamites Featuring Charles Walker#
11. (--) Holes--Jon Dee Graham#
10. (9) Wreck My Flow--The Dirtbombs#
9. (3) Apache--Sugar Hill Gang*
8. (4) I Love A Rainy Night--Eddie Rabbitt*
7. (2) Papa Was a Rolling Stone--Was (Not Was)#
6. (--) Look Sharp!--Joe Jackson#
5. (--) Frosty--Albert Collins#
4. (1) Rigor Mortis--Wussy#
3. (7) The Little Lady Preacher--Tom T. Hall#
2. (--) Swept Away--Jon Dee Graham#
1. (--) Taking My Time To Get Back Home--Magpies#

#-imported into Stiletto
*-recorded from Sirius
Number in parentheses indicates song's position in last month's chart; (--) means song is debuting on chart this month


Shel Silverstein: Tinsel and Rot Hall of Famer

I usually like to throw some good YouTube clips up when inducting a new Tinsel and Rot Hall of Famer, but I've run into some hard times trying to find good footage of this month's inductee, the multitalented, undeniably awesome author/illustrator/playwright/songwriter/singer/avid walker (always an admired attribute here at T&R) Shel Silverstein. And, while that's slightly frustrating, I think the fact that he has successfully avoided being spotlighted on YouTube may be a true indication of his genius, along with the fact that even while among the living, he didn't seek out the limelight or grant too many interviews. He preferred to let the work speak for itself. And it still does.

Silverstein is best known for his children's books, particularly The Giving Tree and A Light in the Attic, but never really set out to write books for kids. He started out drawing for Stars and Stripes while in the military before becoming an illustrator for Playboy, where he started to get noticed by the masses, or as noticed as a cartoonist in Playboy can get. Silverstein made the natural transition from Playboy cartoonist to children's book author/illustrator only after a friend convinced him that was the way to go. And that probably speaks to why Silverstein's books are so beloved; he didn't pander or dumb down his work for kids. He just wrote what came naturally and figured kids might like it. Seems like that worked out.

Lest you think we are inducting Silverstein solely for his reputation amongst children, thus leading up to the inevitable induction of the Berenstain Bears (still not out of the realm of possibility), Tinsel and Rot truly reveres Silverstein for his songwriting career, which featured "A Boy Named Sue" and "25 Minutes To Go" for Johnny Cash, "One's on the Way" and "Hey Loretta" for Loretta Lynn, an album's worth of gems at the end of his life for the Old Dogs (Bobby Bare, Mel Tillis, Jerry Reed, and Waylon Jennings), and too many great songs to mention for both Bare (for starters, just get the "Bobby Bare Sings Lullabys, Legends, and Lies" album) and Dr. Hook and the Medicine Show. I started listening to Dr. Hook because Kinky Friedman said "The Cover of the Rolling Stone" and "Sylvia's Mother" were his two favorite songs. After listening to those songs for a few months (including "Sylvia's Mutter," a cover in German by Jonny Hill), I finally realized that the guy who wrote those kids' books also wrote those songs. And then I realized that he wrote almost all of the early Dr. Hook songs, none of which are clunkers. I'm very embarrassed that I submitted a list of the top 50 rock songs of all time and didn't include one Shel Silverstein song, but I'm particularly bummed that I didn't include "Carry Me, Carrie." Here are the exceedingly handsome men (who came together not all that far from where I write this) of Dr. Hook and the Medicine Show performing the song:

Plenty of other Dr. Hook/Silverstein songs on YouTube, but I don't want you to think I'm inducting Dr. Hook and the Medicine Show. At least not yet. They're gonna get in before the Berenstain Bears, though.

Anyway, back to the inductee. Aside from the books and the songs, Silverstein also dabbled in playwriting and, by most accounts, was quite the ladies man, which, when you look at him, has to be considered impressive as well. But good for him. Based strictly on his published output, he deserved as many ladies as he wanted. And more respect for his songwriting, for sure. Luckily the Bobby Bares (Junior and Senior) are reportedly at work on a tribute record, so maybe that will be rectified before too long.

But Tinsel and Rot doesn't want to wait until then to induct him into the Tinsel and Rot Hall of Fame. So, welcome, Shel. You've earned it.

Here's the best YouTube clip of Shel in action: a quick, shaky clip of Shel and Johnny Cash on the latter's TV show:


No Depression, In Heaven

I can remember the conversation pretty well.

My friend and I were on our way back from a wildlife and game expo in central New York. She was there to take photos; I was there merely for the life experience and to take stock of the exhibitors and devotees that attend a wildlife and game expo. After an hour or so of looking at the best taxidermy the central New York region could offer and doing our best not to laugh during the hunting dog seminar when the moderator said, "And then I had to put my black bitch down," we headed back to campus.

It was toward the end of my senior year, so the conversation inevitably went to "So, what are you gonna do with your life?" (She probably put it more tactfully.) I had some thoughts, some vague ideas about writing for a newspaper or, preferably, some kind of music magazine. But, really, when it came right down to it, I had only one magazine in mind.

"I just want to write for No Depression," I said. "That's pretty much it."


I bought my first issue of No Depression (Issue #6, Jason Ringenberg on the cover) at Rhino Records in New Paltz, New York. If my mom took the long way home from our upstate condo because she wanted to avoid thruway traffic, I would try to get her to stop at Rhino, for no other reason than I thought the store was somehow affiliated with Rhino Records, which seemed like a cool label, and they had tapes that I couldn't find on Staten Island. So, one day, I was browsing through their small selection of magazines and I came across No Depression. There were stories about people I thought no one else knew. There was the cover story on Jason and the Scorchers, whose music I probably didn't know that well at the time but liked their name enough to want to know more; a story on Steve Forbert, whom I had heard a little while back at a live taping of "Late Night with Conan O'Brien;" and a review of a Pete Droge and the Sinners show, a band I had tried convincing one of my freshman-year roommates was way better than the band they opened for at Cornell (Live...and that's still true, by the way). That was enough to sell me.

A few trips later, I picked up Issues #9 (illustrated Brian Henneman and Rhett Miller--in the good old glasses days--on the cover) and #10 (Whiskeytown). I eventually found someplace closer to home that carried the magazine and, to the best of my recollection, haven't missed an issue since (looking at the covers on the website, one looks a little unfamiliar, but I just can't believe I might've missed an issue).

My personal favorite issue remains Issue #18 (Golden Smog illustration on the cover). And that's because that's where my byline appeared in No Depression for the first time. As it turned out, it wasn't all that hard to write for No Depression. I basically e-mailed the editors with a list of shows and CDs I could review and asked if they'd be interested. One of the editors, Peter Blackstock, e-mailed me back and said if I wanted to review the Los Super Seven show, I could. And I did. Voila. I was a No Depression writer. It was awesome, even if it only meant something to me and maybe two of my friends. And when I got that first check--the first check I ever got for writing something (unless you count the small amounts of money occasionally given to me as a college newspaper editor, which was more like pity money than anything else)--there was that sense that everything was perfect and absolutely nothing was impossible. Turns out neither of those things was entirely true, but it was nice to have that feeling. And I still have (a photocopy of) that paycheck that I will always treasure.

My No Depression writing career was not as storied as it could have been, mainly because my ambition has never been quite as strong as it could be and I eventually just sort of lost the music writing bug. But they let me review a bunch of shows and CDs, pen a profile of Will Kimbrough (which I still wish I could redo), and write a tribute to Rick Danko that might be my favorite thing I've ever written. And not only did I get paid for writing, but I also got a free subscription (that probably ran longer than it should have, for which I now feel vaguely guilty). It was a good ride.

And now, long after my ride as a No Depression writer ended, the magazine itself has reached the end of the line. Money got tight with the decline in the music industry and, subsequently, the money spent on advertising, so the editors decided to stop printing after Issue #75 (Buddy Miller on the cover, on newsstands now). They will continue online and will publish a bookazine a couple times a year to publish more in-depth pieces. So, they'll still be around. But the No Depression I was determined to write for is now history.

All things come to an end, I guess, but I wish ND could've gone on forever. At least I have that old paycheck, some clips to look back on, dozens of CDs I never would've even known about if not for the magazine, and what I like to think of as the world's largest collection of signed No Depression covers (20, I think, including the four above). So, that's something. Not enough, but something.

Farewell, No Depression. Thanks for the memories. Thanks for showing me that there were people who truly cared about the music I loved. And thanks for letting me be a teeny tiny part of the legacy you leave behind.


Rollin', rollin', rollin'

Sorry for the lack of posts; I've been proofreading a book about teenage vampires. You know how it is.

Anyway, one of my friends from college was on SportsCenter yesterday, winning lots of money for the prescient staffers at the college newspaper who picked her in the office "who will be the first of us to be featured in a segment on SportsCenter?" pool. The story's on the resurgence of roller derby across America, and my friend (Lauren) is both a chronicler and a participant (her blog's listed over on the right). I'm still upset that the new breed doesn't go for the fake--whoops, "sports entertainment"-- banked-track, Los Angeles Thunderbirds-style that reached its end with the fantastic "Wall of Death" on the RollerGames show (which spawned a Nintendo game that I played endlessly), but Tinsel and Rot digs the empowering nature of the modern-day roller derby and is a firm proponent of such empowerment.

Anyway, here's the segment:


Hey, Douchebag (Vol. 1)

T&R headquarters recently realized that we don't share nearly enough random, unsolicited opinions on this here blog. So, before we are shut down by the Blog Police due to lack of unnecessary vitriol, we decided to start this "Hey, Douchebag" series. Enjoy. Or don't.

Last Thursday's New York Post featured what, by my calculations, was the bajillionth article about the emergence of Jersey City (or at least the Jersey City waterfront) as a prime real estate market. Almost every article mentions the same condo developments and invariably features a quote from someone whom I immediately want to find and welcome to the city with a hard kick to the nuts. The gentleman who fits that bill in the Post article delivers the following:

"I invariably say I live in New York City. That's when they pry, and they say, 'Where in Manhattan?'...'Well, it's not exactly Manhattan,' I say. 'It's the other side of Manhattan.'"

Hey, douchebag: If you can't bring yourself to tell your pals, "I live in Jersey City," and you're so ashamed to say you live in New Jersey, get out! Immediately. I don't want you in Jersey City. I don't even want you in the state of New Jersey. I will begrudgingly let you live in one of the other 49 states, only out of a sense of fairness I have developed living in this state. So, go infest some other up-and-coming area with your yuppie douchebaggery, buy a condo, contribute absolutely nothing to the surrounding community, then sell your condo for a profit (the only thing your dark, soulless existence thrives on), and start the cycle somewhere else. Surely there is someplace else where you can spend $700,000 on a two-bedroom condo.

Your whole life is based on creepy, real estate-speak like "appreciation in value" and "long-term investment." Later on in the article, you mention how excited you are that your development is eventually going to be "a completely planned neighborhood." Real estate developers can't make a neighborhood, douchebag. Sure, they can build a Starbucks and a Duane Reade and a bank branch, but they can't make a neighborhood. People do that. Ordinary, everyday people who bond over civic pride and a shared sense of the importance of community. Maybe you've heard of them.

So, enjoy your view from "the other side of Manhattan." And say hello to the rest of the douchebags in your development. I hope your investment appreciates real soon so you can go live in the actual Manhattan and stop poisoning Jersey City.


Think before you post

First things first: If I were a parent of a child of blogging age, I would likely do everything I could to discourage my child from blogging. There are far too many creepy people out there (though not you fair T&R reader) for young children to be throwing personal information out there into cyberspace. The Internet is often a disturbing place.

That said, this PSA makes me laugh more than anything:

It makes me laugh because I generally think of blogging as something done by 30-year-olds (who should also think before they post) desperate for the world to hear their opinions and not something that teenagers do. It also makes me laugh because the movie ticket taker steals the show, somehow managing to top the tattoo-loving football coach. Nice work, pal. Hope that one makes it to your audition reel.


Glory Days

When I first read the article in the Star-Ledger about the upcoming New Jersey Hall of Fame ceremony and realized I had the afternoon/evening free, I figured it would be something interesting enough to write a blog entry about. Despite organizers' claims that most, if not all, the living inductees would attend, I assumed that was a longshot. There was probably a good chance that Buzz Aldrin and Norman Schwarzkopf would show, but Bruce Springsteen and Meryl Streep seemed far less likely to accept their awards in person (well, I was right about one). Still it seemed like a good way to spend an evening, and at $23 for a ticket in the fourth tier of the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark, it was a fairly cheap night out, too. Plus I might learn something about the inductees and I'm a big fan of learning.

So, after an early afternoon stop at the Hoboken Arts and Music Festival, I headed over to NJPAC for the red carpet arrivals. I got there about 45 minutes before the arrivals were supposed to start, but that worked out fine because as I got there, so did Buzz Aldrin and Toni Morrison, so I got a good spot and started snapping away.

It wasn't a very star-studded red carpet, but that suits New Jersey just fine. And speaking of "suits" (killer segway), I realized when I got there that I was severely underdressed. Luckily, I wasn't wearing my standard band t-shirt, but I was the only person wearing jeans that I could see. Eventually, I would spot a few others, and when I did, I felt they we shared a bond--a Jersey bond, a working-class kind of thing. Even if I felt like dressing up, it just wouldn't have seemed right to get all gussied up for the New Jersey Hall of Fame. Plus I was sitting in the first seat of the last row in NJPAC, so once I got in, there was precious little chance that anyone would see what I was wearing anyway.

But enough about my wardrobe, let's get to some red carpet photos.

Buzz Aldrin (or, as one snazzily dressed patron of the arts called him, "Buzz Aldrich")

Yogi Berra and the never-ending Yogi entourage

Nancy Sinatra

H. Norman Schwarzkopf

Former New York Football Giant Harry Carson, who, along with Rutgers football coach Greg Schiano, inducted Vince Lombardi into the Hall

That was about as exciting as it got, though I also have pictures of Mary Higgins Clark, Emme, and Newark Mayor Cory Booker if you're interested. Everybody was looking to see Bruce, but most realized that if he did show up, it was pretty unlikely that he'd walk the red carpet.

And that set the stage for the introduction of the inductees inside NJPAC, after a short montage of Jersey sights that were sporadically and somewhat inexplicably applauded (I get cheering for photos or clips of the inductees, but it seemed a little odd to be cheering for inanimate objects like the facade of Caesars Palace and Lucy the Elephant). The inductees (and those representing the deceased) walked onto the stage in darkness and were announced individually and given a spotlight. At that point, I wasn't even really thinking about Bruce showing up, until they got about halfway through and I noticed a guy all the way at the end who kinda looked like Bruce. Then they announced him, and the people dressed in jeans erupted (I couldn't see what the ground floor was doing, but I suppose they were pleased, too). The "Broooce" chants (always just a little annoying, particularly at events such as this that aren't solely focused on him) inevitably followed. For balance, some people shouted "Yogi!" and some screamed out Sinatra's name. I thought of screaming "Wizard of Menlo Park!" but thought better of it. For the record, though, Edison was my favorite inductee.

It occurs to me that I haven't mentioned the entire inaugural class, so now's as good a time as any: Albert Einstein, Thomas Edison, Clara Barton, Harriet Tubman, Robert Wood Johnson, Vince Lombardi, Malcolm Forbes, Frank Sinatra, Yogi Berra, Buzz Aldrin, Toni Morrison, and Bruce Springsteen (Meryl Streep and Bill Bradley were also inducted, but both wanted to appear in person to receive the honor, so they postponed their induction to another time...but it should be noted that Meryl Streep attended a Broadway play opening on the night of the NJHOF ceremony, so I'm pretty sure she could've been at NJPAC). Not a bad class, but I would've thrown Walt Whitman in there. For reasons I don't quite get, he was placed in the "History" category (with Barton, Edison, Einstein, and fellow loser Woodrow Wilson) rather than "Arts and Entertainment" (where he could've gotten in over that ungrateful witch Streep) or even the "General" category, where he surely could've knocked out Harriet Tubman. Nothing against her (it's hard to argue against Harriet Tubman's contribution to humanity), but she barely lived in New Jersey, using Cape May as a base for the Underground Railroad for a short while. The Hall of Fame even waived the already flimsy requirement that you only need to have lived in New Jersey for five years to qualify for induction for Tubman. On the bright side, however, in about seven months I will be eligible for the New Jersey Hall of Fame, which means I better start getting my speech ready.

Most of the speeches—both the inductions and the acceptance speeches—were pretty brief throughout the ceremony, so everything moved along quickly. Teaneck's own Phoebe Snow sang a few songs in between the speeches, which was a pleasant surprise (if you are not moved by the sound of her voice, I would rather not know you), and house band La Bamba and the Hubcaps did a good job backing her up and providing some musical segues for the speeches (Edison's induction, for instance, was followed by a few bars of "You Light Up My Life").

And then something happened. From stage left came a man universally associated with New Jersey. He said a few words to the crowd, picked up his guitar, and launched into song.

Yessir, Joe Piscopo was singing.

Man, that was a whole bucketful of not good. Be glad I didn't shoot video. It brought a pleasant evening to a sudden halt. But it was over soon enough. Afterward, I concocted a scenario in my head. Since the organizers didn't think Bruce was going to show, they needed to find someone else to induct Frank Sinatra. "How about Piscopo?" someone suggested. Phone calls were made, Piscopo was miraculously available, and plans were established. Then it's Sunday and Bruce shows up with some words he's prepared for Sinatra's induction. It is then an intern's job to break the news to Piscopo. "Mr. Piscopo, there's been a change of plans—Bruce showed up," the intern said. "You can go home if you want." Outraged, Piscopo finds one of the event organizers and unleashes a torrent of verbal abuse. The beleaguered organizer cries uncle and asks Piscopo, "What if we let you sing a song?" Piscopo, angry but assuaged, agrees. All is well.

I can't imagine it not going that way.

Anyway, Bruce inducted Sinatra with a so-so speech, and then Danny DeVito came out to induct Bruce. After making a big show of adjusting the mic to his level, DeVito launched into a long, somewhat rambling speech about the importance of Bruce. Then Bruce came out to accept the honor and gave a pretty kickass speech that ended with a benediction for New Jersey, which I feel like carrying in my wallet. I'm not a born Jersey boy, but as a native Staten Islander, I feel like I might as well be (particularly since I was geographically closer to Jersey than I was to Manhattan). And Bruce's benediction captured pretty well what it's like to be the perennial black sheep/underdog, which could apply in equal parts to Jersey and Staten Island. (Yes, the quality of the video isn't great, but considering I was shooting from the last row, I think it's quite good.)

And then Bruce joined the band on guitar for a cover of Sam and Dave's "I Thank You" before stepping up to the mic for "Glory Days," the second half of which (captured below) featured DeVito on backing vocals and air guitar, which is something I reckon I will never see again.

It was, like most nights, a good night to be in New Jersey.


The Return of Chiller

Susan Olsen cancelled her Chiller appearance a few days before, dashing my hopes of meeting my sixth member of the "Brady Bunch" checkerboard (Keeping score at home? Why? OK, I'll tell you--Barry "Greg" Williams, Chris "Peter" Knight, Florence "Carol" Henderson, Ann B. "Alice" Davis, Maureen "Marcia" McCormick. And, lest we forget, I've also met Robbie "Cousin Oliver" Rist. Express your jealousy in the Comments section.) I debated not going. But like the great intrepid explorers that preceded me, I decided to persevere and sally forth to the Chiller Theatre Spring 2008 Toy, Model, and Film Expo with a largely empty messenger bag, $100 to spend, and a poster tube packed tight with a "Short Circuit 2" poster. (Attach your further jealousy to your previous comment about my storied career meeting "Brady Bunch" cast members.)

That "Short Circuit 2" poster (with its awesome tagline: "Some say he's nuts. Some say he's bolts. But can Number Five make it in the big, bad city? Keep your wires crossed.") was originally obtained, I can only assume, during a particularly boring time in my life where I had too much money and spent too much time on eBay. I would've guessed that the first signature I'd get on it would be Fisher Stevens's, since he lives in NYC and does stage work every now and then. But, no, dear reader. The first signature on that poster is from Cynthia Gibb, who of course played Ben's love interest Sandy in the unforgettable sequel that will no doubt be remade soon after the forthcoming remake of the original wraps.

When I approached her table, Gibb wanted to know which poster I had. When I told her "Short Circuit 2" (in a voice low enough so no one else might overhear), she acted as if I had in my possession something so wonderfully amazing that the human mind could not possibly fully grasp the magnitude of what was happening at that moment. I imagine she had been preparing such a display of emotion all weekend. She shared that even she didn't have that poster, which I guess was meant to make me feel like I was a truly special human being. And, in a way, I am special--just not in the conventional way that you consider one special.

Anyway, she was very excited to sign the poster and then she took a picture with me.

Gibb was in between Staci Keanan (see previous post) and William Davis, a man with a long list of TV appearances but who is best known as Cigarette Smoking Man from "The X-Files." For some reason, he was charging more ($25) than the average rate (which was $20), but I didn't see him getting much business. Keanan was slightly busier and was also apparently cleaning out her closets.

The most interesting part of the sale was that the advertised $75 "My Two Dads" jacket was sold by the time I got there. So I assume someone paid $75 for said jacket. And that makes me a little sad for that person.

Taking pictures of the celebrities at Chiller is risky business, as you don't want to seem interested enough that the celebrity or his/her assistant will think you might be willing to pay for either an autograph or a photo with the celebrity. The guy working with Jason Mewes tried to rope me into a $20 photo with Mewes, which, it turns out, is slightly over $19 than I was interested in spending. Brian O'Halloran (Dante), to his credit, was not charging for photos with him, making him slightly more admirable. Also not charging for photos with was Judah Friedlander, who asked me if I wanted to take a picture with him after he spotted me taking a picture of him. He actually seemed more excited about meeting the other celebrities at the show (particularly the hot actresses of the 1980s...I saw him handing "Dream A Little Dream"'s Meredith Salenger a business card later) than actually signing autographs himself. I give him the full Tinsel and Rot Seal of Approval.

A side note: I'm pretty sure that I saw the actual Toby (whom Friedlander played in "American Splendor") walking around in the main autograph pit. I was slightly taken aback--both at the fact that he was there and that I know what he looks like.

The main autograph pit, which I waited about an hour to get into, featured most of the big names--"big" being relative of course. For instance, here are two of the big names in the pit, the stars of their respective Hollywood families, Daniel Baldwin and Frank Stallone, who has to admit that it's no longer all that far from over.

Ernest Borgnine was the main attraction (despite inexplicably getting fifth billing on the guest list, behind Mewes, O'Halloran, Marilyn Ghigliotti [also from "Clerks"], and Micky Dolenz), and in fact had a separate line from the one for the pit. So, not wanting to wait on another line and content that he was getting his due, I skipped Borgnine, freeing up more money for me to spend. Hmmm....who to spend it on? Joe Pantoliano? Amy Dolenz (you've seen "Miracle Beach," right?)? Katey Sagal? Wait a second--what am I thinking? What kind of VH1 Celebreality fan would I be if I didn't get a picture with...

Brigitte and I make a nice couple, no? After shoving her boob into my chest for the photo, she kissed me on the cheek (very European), which she seemed to do with every guy. That's working hard for the money. I don't think I'd be willing to kiss the average Chiller attendee. Scratch that, I know I wouldn't. I saw a guy with a cast on his leg and his gnarly-looking toes exposed in the pit, and that wasn't even the most disturbing Chiller-goer. I think that would've been the guy carrying a woman around by a leash. I tried to get a picture. I failed. I did get a picture of this guy just before he grazed a french fry.

After taking pictures of celebs sitting at their tables over the course of a few hours, I started to hit that point I hit at every Chiller where I just start feeling bad for the celebrities and have to get out ASAP. So I have nothing else to really recap. But here are two pictures of former child stars Mason Reese (who was selling his own bootleg DVD of his TV appearances) and Kathy Coleman (Holly from "Land of the Lost").

See, you feel bad now, too, don't you?

My work here is done.


Hold on, I'm comin'

Much to report on a fine New Jersey weekend--the Chiller Theatre convention in Parsippany on Saturday and the New Jersey Hall of Fame inaugural induction ceremony in Newark on Sunday. But I need some time to get everything together. I hope to start the recaps Tuesday night. In the meantime, here are some photos to tide you over.

Staci Keanan ("My Two Dads," "Step by Step") tries to drum up some business

Ernest Borgnine: a man too cool to be at a Chiller Theatre convention but there nonetheless

Toni Morrison on the NJ Hall of Fame red carpet

Bruce singing "Glory Days," as seen from the last row of NJPAC


What I Liked About April

*The birth of Cathryn Abigail Cagnazzi
*Kathleen Edwards/Dan Wilson, Irving Plaza, NYC
*Brisket sandwich, Georgia's Eastside BBQ, NYC
*"Celebrity Fit Club: Boot Camp"

*The Dirtbombs, Other Music, NYC
*Kristin Andreassen/Laura Cortese and Aoife O'Donovan, Arlene's Grocery, NYC
*Getting a Donnie's Green Lantern matchbook on eBay
*"Shine A Light"

*Chip Robinson and the Roscoe Trio, Lakeside Lounge, NYC
*Getting Chevy Chase's autograph
*Coconut custard ring danish, Cake Chef, Staten Island, NY
*The willingness of people with cars to drive me places