A review of tonight's "Boardwalk Empire" coming up just as soon as I mix myself a rum swizzle...
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A review of tonight's "Boardwalk Empire" coming up just as soon as I mix myself a rum swizzle...
The most scared I’ve ever been before an interview was when I talked to Lou Reed in 1996. I was talent editor at Billboard and Reed, who died today, was about to release “Set The Twilight Reeling,” an album composed entirely on the computer. It’s not that noteworthy a feat now, but it was then.
Reed’s acerbic, thorny reputation was well known, as was his love of esoteric theater, literature and music. I was raised on pop music and while I had grown to love the Velvet Underground and some of his solo material as my musical education expanded, to say I had any kind of vast knowledge about his past would be an overstatement. Add in that I was in awe of his use of language in his lyrics and in other interviews I'd read. I felt like I was being thrown into the deep end of the pool after only one swimming lesson.
I did a Music of Lou Reed crash course and it helped that I had truly loved his previous 1992 album, “Magic & Loss,” a meditation on death that touched me deeply, and understood how, in many ways, “Set the Twilight Reeling” was a pendulum-swinging reaction to that set.
Mainly, I just didn’t want to say something stupid—so the plan was to say very little—and I didn’t want him to be mean to me, as I knew he could be since so many of my colleagues proudly had their battle scars from tussles in the ring with the icon.
I went to his office/studio in Soho. It was a cold, crisp, beautifully clear January morning in New York, but I remember sweating in the taxi ride down from Billboard’s Times Square office because I was so nervous. So now I was worried about making a fool of myself and about sweating on a cranky legend.
Reed’s assistant buzzed me up to his office and there he was. It was a beautiful loft with lots of sunlight and not much furniture. Maybe I had been expecting some dark, wood-lined cave. Reed shook my hand, we sat on the couch, and, guess what? He was a pussy cat. I don’t just mean he didn’t eat me alive and I got out of there without crying (not that I would EVER do that in an interview). I mean he was downright sweet and—here's a word you don't hear said about him much—warm. I remember at one point we were laughing over something he said and I almost had an out-of-body experience. Maybe he appreciated that I wanted to talk about the new album (and had listened to it and prepared exhaustively) instead of pick his brain about the past. Maybe I just caught him on a good day.
My favorite part of the interview was when he revealed that he was an excellent typist as we discussed his computer skills. "When I was in high school, my parents made me take typing so I would have a job to fall back on," Reed said. "So Lou Reed of the Velvet Underground knows how to type."
He also expressed joy that he was still around to make music. "I'm happy I'm even walking on two legs,” he says. “Making rock records is kind of too good."
That was my only interview with Reed. In 2011, Reed screened a sweet movie about his 100-year old cousin, “Red Shirley,” at Sundance Film Festival and then performed before a very intimate audience at the Kimball Art Center. I remember sitting one row behind Reed at the screening and wanted to grab a few minutes with Reed and his manager, who had told me earlier that he would try to make that happen, waved me off. At his concert later on during the festival, his legendary crankiness returned during the 9-song set, while he just seemed rather uninterested in being there.
I’m glad I got him on a good day.
1. Michael Jackson: He tops Forbes’ annual Top-Earning Dead Celebrities list with $160 million. That’s $40 million more than Madonna, the top-earning celebrity who is still above ground.
2. Pearl Jam: The group’s 10th studio album, “Lightning Bolt,” bows atop the Billboard 200 with sales of 166,000, the highest tally for a rock band this year.
3. TLC: The trio’s VH1 original movie, “CrazySexyCool: The TLC Story,” was VH1’s highest rated telecast in five years, drawing more than 4.5 million total viewers. Nothing unpretty about that....
4. Kanye West: Have you heard? The press-shy rapper got engaged to Kim Kardashian. No, I’ve never heard of her either. She must like to stay out of the limelight.
5. The Who: Pete Townshend declares the Who’s final tour will be in 2015. Haven’t we heard that before? We won’t get fooled again.
6. YouTube: Because corrupting our eyeballs isn’t enough, YouTube now plans to launch a paid subscription music service because Spotify, Rdio, Rhapsody, parent company Google’s Play Music All Access, and the forthcoming Beats Music aren’t enough.
7. Sean Combs: He’s a music mogul, a fashion mogul, a liquor mogul, and now, a television mogul as he launches the new music cable channel, Revolt.
8. Elton John: Sir Elton’s biopic, “Rocketman” soars forward with the casting of Tom Hardy as the legendary singer. Wouldn’t it be funny if he played Elton as “The Dark Knight Rise’s” Bane?
9. The Fox: Not only is “What Does The Fox Say” turning into the “Gangnam Style” of the fall, it turns out that the video for Ylvis’s hit is THE hot costume for Halloween this year.
10. Las Vegas: Because there just isn’t enough entertainment in Sin City already, the town decides to add another festival to this planet: the Life Is Beautiful festival takes place this weekend with Beck and Vampire Weekend
I'll say it right up front. Nat Geo's new movie, "American Blackout" (Sun. Oct. 27 at 9:00 p.m.) is the scariest movie I've seen all year. All. Damn. Year.
Netflix: We want "House of Cards" to go beyond Season 2
Despite a former producer saying Season 2 would be the last, Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos says: "Our intent is that the show keep going for sure. It was a 26-episode commitment. It was not our intent that it just run for two seasons."
Seth MacFarlane enters his 40s
The "Family Guy" honcho, famous for his man-child persona, celebrates his 40th birthday today.
Julianne Hough apologizes for her "Orange is the New Black" blackface
"It certainly was never my intention to be disrespectful or demeaning to anyone in any way," she says of her Crazy Eyes Halloween costume. "I realize my costume hurt and offended people and I truly apologize."
"Dracula" does well for NBC
The limited series had the No. 2 launch in the key demo for a 10 pm drama this season. Meanwhile, "The Carrie Diaries" struggled in its 2nd-season debut.
Marcia Wallace, star of "The Simpsons and "The Bob Newhart Show," dies at 70
Wallace voiced the character of Edna Krabappel on "The Simpsons" and played Bob Newhart's receptionist. She was also a frequent presence on game shows, including "Hollywood Squares."
Nick Offerman will guest co-host "The View"
The "Parks and Rec" star will sit on Tuesday's show.
Julianne Hough goes blackface to dress as an "Orange is the New Black" character
Check her out as Crazy Eyes for Halloween.
When "Smokey and the Bandit" is your debut film as a director, you get a place in the pantheon, no matter what else you end up doing.
Hal Needham was born in Memphis, Tennessee in 1931. He had an amazing run as a stuntman before he ever got behind the camera, and when you look at the full list of how many films and TV shows he worked on during his career over on IMDb, it is a stunning amount of work he did. It's hard to calculate where he had his greatest impact on the industry. I would argue safety is the thing that he should be known for first, because he was absolutely one of the guys who helped modernize the stunt craft in film. He was a big believer in mechanical devices, like a crazed Rube Goldberg with a taste for obvious jokes and giant car crashes, and he helped create and mainstream a number of inventions over the years.
Last year, Kristopher Tapley wrote a pretty great look at the evening where Needham was rewarded by the Academy at the Governors Awards. Quentin Tarantino was one of several people who helped present the award. It's a pretty big deal in terms of Academy politics because of how few times they've even acknowledged that stunts exist, one of the strangest blind spots that the Academy has. I'd never heard the story about Needham firing a missile by accident and burning down the soundstage where "Pennies From Heaven" was filming, but that's awesome.
Report: CNN may create a comedy show to challenge Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert
CNN is eyeing ex-"Nightline" anchor Bill Weir, who recently left ABC for CNN, as the anchor of a comedic take on the news, according to Page Six, which also notes that CNN was interested in hiring Jon Oliver away from "The Daily Show."
Kurt Sutter: "Sons of Anarchy" could go beyond Season 7, but it's unlikely
Ending after Season 7 isn't set in stone, Sutter said at a TV Academy event honoring his show. "I think after seven seasons I don't know if we can maintain the rhythm and the pace that we've done," he said, "and I wouldn’t want to extend it and have it become something that it's not. So my plan is still to finish it out in seven."
"True Blood" promotes Adina Porter
She'll become a series regular after portraying Lettie Mae Thornton since Season 1.
MTV's "The Jon Stewart Show" turns 20
Jon Stewart's first talk show launched in half-hour format on Oct. 25, 1993. The next year, his show was syndicated, replacing Arsenio Hall and expanding to one hour. But in 1995, Stewart was canceled, with David Letterman as his final guest.
Watch Conan O'Brien call a horse race at Santa Anita Park
Conan says of preparing for the race: "I memorized all the colors on the sides of the horses..."
Katie Couric blames her low ratings on working women not watching
"I think women would enjoy watching some of these shows, but because of their schedules, it's very hard to do," she says.
Will Alex O'Loughlin leave "Hawaii Five-0"?
He's signed up for two more seasons, but O'Loughlin says he wants to do other projects "sooner rather than later."
"Treme" star claims racial profiling at Macy's
Rob Brown was arrested, he says, for simply trying to buy his mom a watch.
"2 Broke Girls" brings on Mary Lynn Rajskub and Gilles Marini
Marini will recur as the "master baker," while Rajskub will potentially recur as a pastry chef.
"Grey's Anatomy" bloodies up Meredith Grey for Halloween
Check out "A Night-Mer on Elm Street."