Sunday, January 31, 2010

Louie, Sammy, Rich, Pete & Lance: All-Stars unite for Las Vegas animal fundraiser

A Murderers' Row of Las Vegas legends gathered last night at a Funny Bones fundraiser for animal rescue organizations. From left, Louie Anderson, Elvis opener Sammy Shore, Rich Little, Pete Barbutti (whom we saw play piano with a broom when he opened for Sinatra at Carnegie Hall) and magician Lance Burton give the full house a night to remember.

Exclusive: Birthday angel at Farrah's grave

A holographic angel has been sighted on Farrah Fawcett's gravestone at the Westwood Village Meorial Park. A Tabloid Baby reader sent along the photos of the eerie paperweight, marked with the words "Happy B'day."

While legal battles raged on around her legacy since her death on June 25th, the beloved Hollywood icon and original Charlie's Angel would have celebrated her 63rd birthday on Tuesday, February 2nd.

Farrah lawsuit labelled "a load of sh*t"


"A load of shit!"
"A great big lie!"

Farrah Fawcett's documentary producing partner Craig Nevius has gotten another show of support from another member of Farrah's inner circle against the lawsuit filed by Farrah's estate and its executor, Ryan O'Neal's business manager Richard B. Francis.

This weekend, the National Enquirer's RadarOnline.com reports exclusively that Lisa Boyle has called the lawsuit accusing Nevius of botching Farrah's cancer documentary and possibly stealing her money “a load of s---” and “one big lie” (our staff figured out the translation of "s---").

“Farrah would not have wanted what is going on,” Boyle tells Radar.


Lisa Boyle is a photographer who met Farrah on the set of the 204 reality series, Chasing Farrah that was produced by Nevius. She remained a close friend and confidante of the icon until her death from cancer last June.

She is the latest Farrah insider, joining Charlie's Angel Kate Jackson and Farrah's former assistant Mike Pingel, supporting Nevius in his fight against O'Neal, Francis, and Alana Stweart. Nevius sued the trio for wresting control of his and Farrah's documentary project, A Wing and A Prayer after Farrah sold the footage to NBC, and then turning the cancer journey project into a maudlin, exploitative paean to Farrah and O'Neal's love, retitled Farrah's Story in a nod to O'Neal's film from 1970, Love Story.

The suit against Nevius, filed earlier this month, is seen to be a countersuit to his charges. Nevius has stated that he will use Farrah's written and videotaped statements in his defense, literally calling his partner to testify from beyond the grave.

Our Man Elli in Auschwitz

Our Man Elli in Israel has returned home to Jerusalem after a trip to Auschwitz, Poland, for events commemorating the 65th anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi death camps as the rest of the world celebrated International Holocaust Day. Elli, also known as Elli Wohlgelernter, the award-winning journalist, New York City tabloid veteran, Pulitzer Prize-nominee for his investigation of chronicler of The Israel Baseball League and familiar across the Middle East as correspondent Israel Broadcasting Authority, spent time at the Auschwitz I andd Auschwitz II-Birkenau camps, and sends this report:

I was in Auschwitz last week for International Holocaust Day. My first impressions: Well, one word dominated everything: freezing. I would recommend anyone visiting Auschwitz to only go in the winter. One cannot imagine the suffering, or anything for that matter, because it all looks so pretty, a winter wonderland with clean snow without any red blood. But the cold? That you can feel, even with two pair of gottkas, two pairs of socks, gloves, heavy coat, Chinese fur hat, and the coat hood over that. And then you imagine being there without that clothing. That's as close as you can get to any understanding-- and even that is limited.

As for the Auschwitz Museum: well done, actually, considering how old it is, and that we've seen all the pictures of the display. The hair gets to a lot of people, but I wasn't as moved by that as I was by the suitcases, with everyone's names on it; and the shoes, and how bad a shape most of the soles were in-- real poor Jews; and surprisingly, the hundreds of pots and pans, all in just three colors: red, blue and white, for
milchig, fleishig and parve.

Inside another building in Auschwitz 1 is a still-standing gas chamber, which was only used at the beginning of the war before Birkenau was built and, next door, the ovens. That, needless to say, leaves one speechless.

Another thing: the difference between Auschwitz and Birkenau. The entire Auschwitz complex, with many sub-camps, is some 40 square kilometers, which is huge. Auschwitz 1, where the museum and Arbeit Macht Frei sign stand, is the old camp, originally for political prisoners. It's a hotel compared with Birkenau. The barracks in Birkenau, such as they are, are stark, but it's still hard to imagine what it was like. The wood will eventually rot away, and they have to decide what to do with that; very disturbing is graffiti cut into the stone walls, with dates going back 20-30 years. How crazy and sick. If kids can do graffiti in Birkenau, I tried to imagine the most obscene thing 30 years from now, when Holocaust denial will be more prevalent. I came up with Playboy doing a pictorial, "The Girls of Auschwitz," with shots of them sprawled out on the bunks. If that sounds sick, which it is, it's part of the surreal feeling that you feel altogether.

With the snow covering everything, you get no sense of what's what, even one who knows more than the average visitor. But at one point I went walking away from the crowd, and came upon what was a long, narrow, underground room/corridor. Now open, there was snow covering it, except the side walls of brick, and I knew right away that this was the undressing room before the gas chambers at the end of the corridor. That blew me away.

What was also interesting to me was that I, a full-blown crybaby, didn't cry once, mostly because all I thought about was the cold.

I went as a representative of the IBA. I did a phone interview live, and brought back a couple of interviews, and thankfully there was real work to do. Also Davaned in the Rama Shul, and saw his cemetery, which was very interesting, in the old Jewish neighborhood of Kazimeirz.

Just being in Poland for the first time was heavy. Overall, unforgettable, of course. but i need to see more of Jewish Poland (such as it is)-- Warsaw, Lublin, Lodz and the other camp sites.

And that's my recap for now.

Jan Hooks, what happened?

We truly regret mentioning it, but for all the political humour dished out on Saturday Night Live this morning, the biggest talking point has to be the ad for 30 Rock featuring the return, after many years, of former SNL hottie (1986-1991) Jan Hooks.

We haven't seen a transformation this startling since, well, Alec Baldwin, with whom she shares her scenes (but at least we got to watch him go to seed gradually).


Saturday, January 30, 2010

Rip Torn is a bank-robbing badass

Rip Torn is the baddest-ass actor in the world. Seventy-eight years old and he follows up two drunk driving arrests by getting himself arrested last night for breaking into a bank in Litchfield, Connecticut. Drunk. Carrying a revolver. It was loaded, also.

Bad. Ass.

These are mugshots from his last arrest. We're waiting for the latest. We salute you, Artie. Go out swinging.

Click here to read the local newspaper account.

Etta James has Alzheimer's

Sad news that Etta James has Alzheimer's disease, as well as a bacterial infection (the superbug MRSA that's resistant to many antibiotics) that's had her battling sepsis and fighting for life this week in Riverside Community Hospital in LA. Her son says the Alzheimer's was diagnosed last year when she was in drug rehab. The blues legend is 72, last seen bashing Beyonce's portrayal of her in Cadillac Records and, according to her son, will be discharged form the hospital into a nursing home.

The gay Super Bowl ad rejected by CBS

The funny ad for a gay dating site has a good punchline and plays like one of the commercial parodies from Saturday Night Live, but CBS standards & practices department says it's not fit to run during the Super Bowl. That's got gay groups riled because CBS is running an anti-abortion ad during the event. We think the juxtaposition is a stretch, but we're more impressed that a gay dating site can afford to run an ad during the Super Bowl.

What do you think?

Friday, January 29, 2010

Video: Remembering Derek Loux

Video and photos from the memorial service for Christian singing star and international adoption advocate Derek Loux are now available online. Loux died at 37 on a Nebraska highway, the day before Christmas Eve, while heading home to his wife and ten children in Kansas City from a ministry conference in Colorado.

There was little, if any, coverage of Loux's memorial earlier this month. Now, video and photo links can be found at the International House of Prayer site... photographer Shelley Paulson's site... and the Loux Family blog.

Derek Loux's work and projects will continue in his memory. We expect his biography will be written.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

MLK movie dream: A message from Iraq

"It appears that Hollywood is stuck
on using
the same old faces
time and time again
and then wonder
why a particular movie flopped;

when in reality a new name,
a new face could
and probably would
have produced a better result.

Well, Hollywood,
here is an opportunity to do just that!"

The Facebook group dedicated to giving actor Antonio D. Charity a chance to audition for the lead role in DreamWorks' upcoming biopic of Martin Luther King has tripled in membership in recent days, and as we've shown you, many people are looking to producers Steven Spielberg, Suzanne de Passe and Madison Jones to do the right thing and give Antonio D. Charity a chance to realize a dream he's had since he first portrayed Dr. King on the high school stage.

But tucked away among the Facebook comments and notes of encouragement and support is testimony from a man who might know better than anyone just how good Antonio D. Charity will be in the role:

"Tonio's acting abilities, stage performances, and work ethics speaks for themselves. I want to speak from another point of view about Hollywood itself. There are a lot of fine young talented actors and actresses that are waiting to be heard and seen and they should be given the opportunity to do so. But it appears that Hollywood is stuck on using the same old faces time and time again and then wonder why a particular movie flopped; when in reality a new name, a new face could and probably would have produced a better result.

"Well, Hollywood, here is an opportunity to do just that. Give the role of Dr. Martin Luther King to Antonio D. Charity and you'll never regret it.

"I know, he's my baby brother.


"LTC Herbert N. Charity
Beladiyat, IRAQ"

The play, Black Angels Over Tuskegee, starring Antonio D. Charity in an ensemble of great actors, begins previews at the St. Luke's Theatre on West 46th Street tomorrow night, Friday January 29th. Opening night is February 15th, and the show is set to run through March 28th.

JD Salinger's Tabloid Baby connection

Was the Tabloid Baby the reincarnation of Holden Caulfield?

A reader reminds us that it is worth pointing out the connection between two great literary works that inspired two separate generations: the late JD Salinger's most lasting book, A Catcher In The Rye, and Tabloid Baby, the 1999 memoir that inspired this site.

The connection can be found in the jacket copy to the 1999 first edition of Tabloid Baby, in which the copywriter links Catcher's anti-hero protagonist, Holden Caulfield, and Tabloid's Baby's anti-hero protagonist and author as it describes the book:

"Hunter S. Thompson meets Holden Caulfield in the rip-roaring memoir of an American television kid who finally gets a chance to unleash his untapped creativity- becoming the most wicked and crazed tabloid TV man in the business..."

As we'd mentioned earlier, A Catcher In The Rye somehow entered the mind of an assassin who would put down the book, take out a gun, murder John Lennon and then go back to reading until police arrived. Tabloid Baby's author would produce the definitive documentary on the crime, Death of a Beatle. Tabloid Baby recounts how the author's life was shaped by Lennon's influence, and set on a new course by his murder.

His book triggered the killing of John Lennon

JD Salinger, dead at 91, will be known for The Catcher in the Rye, his years of reclusiveness, his domineering sexual affair with Joyce Maynard, his lawsuits and for a passage from his book being the trigger for John Lennon's assassin.

Attention, Steven Spielberg, Suzanne de Passe, Madison Jones and DreamWorks!

The grassroots campaign to get actor Antonio D. Charity a chance to audition for the lead role in DreamWorks' upcoming biopic of Martin Luther King is gaining momentum. On the eve of Charity's first preview performance in the Off Broadway play, Black Angels Over Tuskegee, fans and friends alike have been coming forward to attest to the actor's abilities, and his track record of portraying the civil rights legend in productions dating back to his high school days in Virginia.

The have appeared, among other places, on this site as well as the Facebook group that's pushing for producers Steven Spielberg, Suzanne de Passe and Madison Jones to give Antonio D. Charity a chance:

Antonio is one of the few actors that gives me goosebumps while performing. He is an amazing talent, friend and person, and will be outstanding in this portrayal!

I have to agree that Antonio D. Charity is the right actor to play the role of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. He's has been portraying Dr. King since high school. There is no doubt that Antonio would be the most believable actor in that role.

I had the privilege of watching Antonio play Dr. King on stage when we were in high school together! Although I was just a girl, I still think of the moment where I saw Dr. King come alive before me every time I hear the "I Have a Dream Speech"! He is the only man for that role!

Antonio Charity is an amazing talent and the producers would be amiss if he was not seriously considered for this role.

As the director for ORANGE ALERT and the pilot for DISCOVER ME!, for which I was blessed to to have Antonio perform, I say Antonio would be a brilliant choice to play MLK.

I saw this great actor live on stage. When he transformed himself into Dr. King, I really thought he was Dr. King. Yes! Everyone Join this group!

Wassup Antonio D. Charity....I am 100% supportive of you at least getting the opportunity to audition for the MLK film. You seem very accomplished and driven so you should be given the opportunity to go for the film. I will keep my fingers and toes crossed for you.

I believe that Antonio would be an excellent choice to portray Dr. King, Antonio is a strong young man with a voice that can penetrate the mountain top. Dr. King had that same type of voice that when he spoke, all of your attention was focused on him, Antonio can generate that same type of atmosphere.

Sometimes there comes an actor, taking us all by surprise, and is the only true choice to play a MAJOR/ Leading role. antonio d.charity embodies such an actor.

You were born to play that role!

I saw you play MLK and you were terrific.

Antonio is definitely a contender and strong competition for this role. He is an intense, committed actor with extraordinary depth who can make this piece a beautifully memorable one.

Antonio D. Charity should have his dream come true. He's a wonderful actor and friend and I've seen him brilliantly portray Dr. King, as well as seeing him in many other plays.

I have seen Antonio D. Charity play Dr. King in "The Meeting" and he is amazing... but more than that, Antonio is an amazing man, who spends his time helping others and dedicates his life to issues that would make Dr. King proud... I've seen Antonio, in numerous plays both in New York & LA and he always impresses with his talent, and keen intelligence. Someone at Dreamworks please contact him.

Black Angels Over Tuskegee begins previews at the St. Luke's Theatre on West 46th Street on Friday January 29th. Opening night is February 15th, and the show is set to run through March 28th.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Rick Ludwig is the Des Moines Danny Gans

Will Las Vegas ever see another Danny Gans? That's like asking of Las Vegas will ever see another Elvis, Louis Prima or Cook E. Jarr. The likes of the musical impressionist, with his special mainstream gifts, unique background and mysterious life, will never be seen again-- not that there aren't many who would assume his mantle if given the chance.

There are the obvious Gansabees, like Frank Caliendo toiling at the Monte Carlo, or Larry G. Jones, working just off the Strip with Gans' old drummer and pal Raphael Erardy, but one man who just may be working his way toward Gansstyle greatest is plugging away in Des Moines, Iowa, chasing his dream through Singing Telegrams, Phonegrams and karaoke in the voices and personnae of Elvis, Frank Sinatra, Willie Nelson, Elton John, Billy Joel, John Denver, Johnny Cash and-- well, you name it.

Rick Ludwig is his name. Remember that name. We were led to the YouTube video again through a "Danny Gans" Google alert. The video description says:

"Similar to show like late, great Danny Gans in Las Vegas. Visit www.imanshow.com. Demo lasts about 6 min. with costume changes for 11 different artists in this order... Elvis Presley, Buddy Holly, Roy Orbison, Frankie Valli, Frank Sinatra, Elton John, Billy Joel, Johnny Cash, John Denver, Willie Nelson and Toby Keith. For hire 515-208-1782 or visit imanshow.com."

Who cares that it's an "i-man" show? Look past the production values and see a true artist with quite a set of pipes. America's Got Talent, look no further...

Will the iPad save newspapers?

Apple's now got its new iPad tablet on its store site. The iPad looks like an iTouch on steroids and falls somewhere between an iPhone and laptop and, with its use of the New York Times as promotion tool, could be seen as a last-ditch chance to save the newspaper industry.

It also introduces iBooks, an electronic book store that turns the iPad into a direct competitor to Amazon’s Kindle.

The iPad is a half-inch thick, 1.5 pounds, with a 9.7-inch multi-touch screen, powered by a customized "A4" Apple microchip. It's got the same operating system as the iPhone and access to its 140,000 applications.

The price starts at $499 for the most basic model, with a Wi-Fi wireless connection. More expensive models will be offered with more memory and with 3G wireless access from ATT, which will charge up to $30 for an unlimited monthly data plan. Wi-Fi-only versions of the device will be available in March. The more expensive 3G models, including the $829 model with 64-gigabytes of memory and 3G connectivity, arrive 30 days later.

Contrary to rumour, the iPad lacks a camera and the ability to make phone calls and does not work with Flash software. Accessories like a stand and keyboard will be sold separately.

No stand? Steve Jobs flopped on a couch during his introduction to show how Apple sees folks using it, sitting back and holding it out in front of you, like a newspaper or book.

Poltergeist movie curse strikes again

The curse of the film Poltergeist, said to exist because of the premature deaths of people connected with it, has struck again.

Zelda Rubinstein
, who played the tiny psychic in the 1982 film directed by Tobe Hooper and produced by Steven Spielberg, is dead.

Curse? Actually, it is the entire Poltergeist series that's said to be damned. Four cast members died in the six years between the release of the first film and the release of the third, with one dying during production of the second film. Two of them died at young ages, 12 and 22.

Among the victims:

Dominique Dunne, who played the oldest sibling Dana in the first movie, died in 1982 at age 22 after being strangled by her jealous boyfriend (Monique's father, Dominick Dunne, died in the summer of 2009).

Julian Beck, 60-year-old actor who played Kane in Poltergeist II: The Other Side, died in 1985 of stomach cancer.

Will Sampson, 53 years old, who played Taylor the Medicine Man in Poltergeist II, died as a result of post-operative kidney failure and pre-operative malnutrition problems in 1987.

Heather O'Rourke, who played Carol Anne in all three Poltergeist movies, died in 1988 at the age of 12 after what doctors initially described as an acute form of influenza but later changed to septic shock after bacterial toxins invaded her bloodstream.

Louis "Lou" Perryman, who played Pugsley in the first movie, was murdered at the age of 67 in his home in Austin, Texas last April.

Screenplay novelization author James Kahn told People magazine says that that seconds after he wrote the line "Lightning ripped open the sky," the building was struck by lightning and all the arcade games in the lounge began playing themselves.

Any more doubts? The Poltergeist curse has even been the subject of an E! True Hollywood Story.

Zelda Rubinstein had been hospitalized at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles after her lungs and kidney failed. She was reportedly taken off life support at the end of December. She was 76.

Meet the iPad

Steve Jobs introduces the Apple tablet in San Francisco.

Apple tablet "the best gadget ever made"

Apple introduces its newest device today and in advance of the big announcement, web personality and blogger Jason Calacanis is offering a rave preview. Calacanis, who founded the weblog network, Weblogs Inc, which he sold to AOL, and is now CEO of Mahalo.com, says Apple gave him an Apple Tablet "to play with" over the past ten days under a nondisclosure agreement, which he Tweets has expired:

Apple has scheduled a press conference at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts Theater in San Francisco. The conference is set to get underway at 10 am Pacific time.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The Seventh Python a hit in UK premiere!

The Seventh Python, the acclaimed, award-winning film about the acclaimed Bonzo Dog Band, Monty Python, Rutles and solo legend Neil Innes from our pals at Frozen Pictures, had its United Kingdom premiere over the weekend at the 2010 Slapstick Festival in Bristol.

"I really enjoyed it," reports one festivalgoer on the Neil Innes fansite. "A great representation of all things Innes! Fantastic, and great work with the animation! I hope this gets a DVD release, so I can get the chance to watch it again. Loads of laugh out loud moments lapped up by a very receptive crowd... Great closing credits as well, although the waffle recipe went a little to quickly for me to write it all down!"

The Saturday night screening at the Arnolfini Arts Centre in Bristol Harbor also featured a Neil Innes Q&A and performance. The Frozen filmmakers, director Burt Kearns and producer Brett Hudson, are on location shooting their latest project on iconic pop star Chris Montez and were unable to attend the historic event at the festival that made worldwide headlines with its award the previous evening to Monty Python star Michael Palin-- who also stars in The Seventh Python.

Our pals at Frozen Pictures tell us they've signed a distribution deal that could put The Seventh Python in theatres and home distribution in 2010.

And if you hear that The Seventh Python is showing at a film festival near you, let us know-- we'll pass on the word!

Onstage: See the man who would be King

We told you about Antonio D. Charity, the up-and-coming actor who wants to play the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King in the DreamWorks motion picture that's now in development. That's a tall order for a relatively unknown actor, but Charity definitely has the chops, as he's demonstrated on prestige television shows like The Wire, and the play, The Meeting, in which he portrayed Martin Luther King.

Now there's a chance for scouts from the DreamWorks project to see Antonio D. Charity at work, onstage.

Antonio is headed to New York City, where he's starring in the Off Broadway play, Black Angels Over Tuskegee, about six black pilots during World War II.

The play runs at the St. Luke's Theatre in the heart of the Theatre District at 308 West 46th Street.

Antonio has the lowdown:

"I'm in a play called 'Black Angels Over Tuskegee', written and directed by Layon Gray. It is produced by The Black Gents Of Hollywood, a theatre company based in Los Angeles. 'Black Angels Over Tuskegee' is the story of the Tuskegee Airmen. It is this generation's 'A Soldier's Play.' It chronicles experience of 6 black pilots during WWII. We won an NAACP Theatre Award for "Best Ensemble". We performed at the National Black Theatre Festival in North Carolina, onboard the Tom Joyner Fantastic Voyage celebrity cruise, at the Tuskegee Airmen National Convention in Las Vegas, at the California African American Museum and at several other venues.

"Now we are headed to New York for an Off Broadway run at St. Luke's Theatre on 46th Street. This is my return to the New York stage after a 5-year adventure in Los Angeles. I last performed Off Broadway in Playwrights Horizons' 2004 production of Lynne Nottage's 'Fabulation'. 'Black Angels Over Tuskegee' begins previews on Friday January 29th. Opening night is February 15th, and the show closes March 28th. Please spread the word and plan to be there. This is an amazing play! It is a must see. I hope you can make it. Thanks for your consideration."

As for Antonio's ambitions to play Martin Luther King?

He tells supporters on the growing Facebook site:

"Thank you all. I just wanna shot, a chance to walk in the room and show 'em what I'm workin' with."