Wednesday, April 27, 2011
JOSEPH BOLOGNA and RENEE TAYLOR will be joining OutTakes to talk about Lovers and Other Strangers, the Broadway hit and Academy Award®-nominated film which they co-wrote and originally starred in. Joseph and Renee will appear in multiple roles at the revival of the play at the State Theater, New Brunswick, NJ on May 1st. For information about tickets, go to http://www.statetheatrenj.org/lovers_and_other_strangers.
Both actors have extensive careers in film and television. Joseph Bologna has appeared in such films as Blame it on Rio, My Favorite Year and Big Daddy. Renee Taylor is often recognized for her standout role as "Sylvia" from the hit sitcom The Nanny.
Join OUTTAKES on FRIDAY, MARCH 29TH at 12:45 PM EST. Please note that although the Blogtalkradio show announcement will say 12:30 PM, the actual interview will not start until 12:45 PM. The call-in number for the show is (347) 989-0605. Be sure to press "1" when prompted by the recording to be brought onto the switchboard with a question. Calls will be taken approximately 15 to 20 minutes into the show. If you register with a Blogtalkradio account, you can also participate in the chat room. The radio show can be found at the following link. http://www.blogtalkradio.com/outtakes/2011/04/29/joseph-bologna-and-renee-taylor
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Monday, April 25, 2011
THE SECRET LIFE OF DAMIAN SPINELLI -- written by Carolyn Hennesy
For a soap opera tie-in book, The Secret Life of Damian Spinelli may be the best one I've ever read. Often with these sorts of books, I find the characters too unrecognizable from the ones on screen; and even worse, when the author develops a whole new set of characters to incorporate into the story. My biggest gripe with Alexandra Ripley's sequel to Gone With the Wind was about all of the new characters that had nothing to do with the original story. If I am reading a sequel to Gone With the Wind, I expect it to...well, have something to do with Gone With the Wind. The good news is that this book covers a different General Hospital character per chapter; and they are all fairly recognizable through the eyes of Humphrey Bogart...oops, I mean Spinelli.
This leads to the part of the book I found sort of jarring. While there were a few teaser scenes on GH to promote the book where we saw Bradford Anderson doing his best Bogart impression, the fact of the matter is that this is not Spinelli that we are used to. Of course, we have to get used to the idea that this is a fictional retelling of Spinelli's stories through his own imagination and not the real deal. Once you can wrap your head around that concept, it is okay.
Carolyn Hennesy (who plays "Diane" on GH) has a great voice for film noir detective novels. She already has a career as an author with the "Pandora" books, a series for young girls; but if she wishes to delve into another genre, she seems to have a talent for 1940s-style pulp fiction. What I also found impressive was her ear for the crazy Spinelli speak when he is not telling his stories. The images of Diane and Spinelli were very clear in my mind during their passages; she had their rhythmic dialogue spot on.
The Port Charles residents get in all crazy scenarios -- everything from Luke Spencer being held captive by Tracy in a crazy opium den in the local Chinatown...to Elizabeth Webber being an exercise dominatrix...to Sam and Jason starring in their own insane version of Some Like It Hot. The mysteries themselves are not that terribly complex but it is fun character description, comic dialogue and good spoof.
If you're a GH fan, I'd say it is worth the time and money.
Friday, April 15, 2011
Book Review - ALL MY LIFE; written by Susan Lucci
If you are looking for a book about torrid love affairs and bitchy dish about co-stars, you have come to the wrong place. If you are looking to read about the life of an actress, growing up during the heyday of the age of soap opera to become revered as a daytime television icon, sharing her life lessons about acting and family along the way...this is what All My Life is about.
You do not have to be a longterm fan of All My Children to enjoy this book. In fact, for the most part, this book reveals the real person behind the legend. Susan Lucci describes her childhood, her ambitions as an actress while she was being stonewalled as "too ethnic looking" and her long-lasting marriage with Helmut Huber as well as raising two children while juggling an extremely busy career. Yes, she goes into her secrets about maintaining her skin and hair, about staying in shape, etc. -- but to my delight, I found that this book was far from a fluffy read.
Susan Lucci's eighteen Daytime Emmy nominations -- along with her final win in 1999 -- is infamous in television history. I well remember how every year, the same bets were being made to see if Susan would finally win for Outstanding Actress. From the very start of the book, Susan reveals the human being behind the jokes -- what it was really like to be the one in the spotlight during all those nominations. Little girls offered Susan their ballet trophy as a sympathy award when she would lose. Randy Stone, winner of Best Documentary for the short film Trevor, offered her his Oscar to borrow until she would win that Emmy. But my favorite story was the one where President Bill Clinton sent her a letter of congratulations after she finally won -- signed "Hooray!"
Throughout, Susan described situations that proves her own resilience and perseverance that could be the equal of that of her on-screen alter ego, Erica Kane. As a young girl, she had been cut up in a car crash; and medical professionals had prophesied that she would be scarred for life. Clearly, she found the help she needed -- and since then has been regarded as one of the most beautiful actresses in television. When preparing for her Broadway debut for Annie Get Your Gun, Susan had been struck down with pneumonia right when it was about to open -- but was a trooper and carried on. Dancing With the Stars viewers got a taste of her tenacity when she continued to dance with Tony Davolani week after week, despite a grueling schedule of commuting back and forth from New York to LA AND suffering two broken bones and a torn ligament in her left ankle!
In the chapter "Life Is a Cabaret", Susan discussed the process of pulling together a cabaret show with television talk show host Regis Philbin. Her debut in cabaret was scheduled in late September of 2001. However, along with most of New York City, her world was shaken by the events of 9/11/01. How surreal it must be for her to now be on a press tour for this autobiography during the breaking news that ABC has dealt a double-whammy death blow by cancelling both soap operas, All My Children and One Life to Live. Reading this book in the midst of this announcement has also been enlightening for me -- to read about the history of All My Children and Erica Kane while also seeing my Facebook and Twitter pages explode with outrage that this 41-year-old soap is now coming to a close.
So what will Susan Lucci do next? She may pursue her past dream of moving with her husband to Vermont. There are rumors swirling that she will end up the ABC prime time series, Desperate Housewives. She possibly could return back to New York City where she has been regarded as a treasure of the Big Apple for many years...maybe even doing another Broadway show. Regardless of what La Lucci chooses, I have no doubt that she will remain a survivor...just like Erica Kane...
Sunday, April 10, 2011
One of the funkiest and most fun meet-and-greets that I've ever been to! Via Twitter, Michael Muhney (Adam Newman, The Young and the Restless) said he would be in NYC for a photo shoot; and that he would be in front of the "Sphere" with the eternal flame in Battery Park at noon for those who wanted to drop by and say hi, totally free of charge. While posing for pictures and signing autographs, there was an informal Q&A with the fans. Here are some highlights of the Q&A:
- Michael really considers himself an "indie film" actor who just happened to get cast on a soap.
- About some of his Y&R castmates: Michael is very good friends with Joshua Morrow (Nick). He often exchanges texts with Sharon Case (Sharon). Billy Miller (Billy) reminds him of the kind of friends he had when he lived in Texas. Eric Braeden (Victor) is "really a pussycat". Michael says that he gets along with everyone in the cast very well.
- While Michael could not talk about spoilers, he did say that coming up for him will be what Peter Bergman (Jack) called "one of the most interesting stage entrances in television history".
- Michael never wants "Adam" to become a nice guy. He loves how he can get away with more improvised bits and such in the scenes on the soap because Adam is such an antagonistic character and can get away with it.
- Originally, Michael wanted to be a lawyer before he got into acting.
- Michael does not get starstruck with actors -- but he does get starstruck with athletes.
- As for the writing of Y&R, Michael said that complaints should not all be laid at the feet of the producer and/or headwriter. With Y&R alone, often writing decisions are made from three "cooks in the kitchen" -- CBS, Sony and the Bells. The writing of a soap is much more complex than that of a movie; and there are lots of people involved.
- Michael was here in NYC for a fall fashion shoot for CBS WATCH MAGAZINE.
To see more pictures of Michael Muhney's meet-and-greet, go look in "Photos" at the "OutTakes Interviews" Facebook page.
Friday, April 8, 2011
From about 1982 to 1993 or so, I used to collect tons of pictures from Days of Our Lives. There are about five photo albums worth of material that have been sitting unloved and unseen in the closet. So a new project is to be putting up these pictures on the OutTakes Facebook account where people can see and enjoy. Just become friends with "OutTakes Interviews" on Facebook to see the Days of Our Lives Picture Collection.