Pop Culture Princess

Pop Culture Princess
especially welcome to extensive readers

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Getting all booked up at this year's BEA

Tomorrow,this blog will be silent(atleast online)due to my attendance at Book Expo America aka BEA. This will be my third time going to BEA and the first time that LRG will be representing itself. Like my fancy business card? The artwork was designed by my talented younger sister,Stephanie,who has her own online comic strip called The Original Nutty Funsters,which you can check out at ComicSpace. It really pays to have an artist in the family.

"What's the big deal with BEA?" some might ask and my answer is" Well,it's just one of the biggest book parties this side of the Western Hemisphere!" Of course,I haven't been to many literary conventions but most agree that BEA is tops. This is the place where the publishing world and those who write,read and promote it gather together to talk shop,meet authors and get some great stuff to take home.

One of the most important things to take with you to BEA is a tote bag to carry all of the ARCs,posters,pens and other cool giveaway items that are eagerly handed out from numerous booths on the Exhibition floor. The first time that I went,there weren't alot of bags available for folks but a couple of years later, you couldn't walk about two feet without someone offering you a nice bag promoting a great new book.

There are author signings,for both new and established writers both at their publisher's booth or in a special section. I was hoping to meet Jennifer Weiner,who is still on the scheldule but from reading her blog,I discovered that she's sick and won't be able to attend. She says it's not serious but I do hope she gets better soon. I also hope to meet A.J. Jacobs,who will be promoting his upcoming fall title,The Year of Living Biblically. He gave me a great interview for his earlier book,The Know It All, and maybe I can get him to do another one for his new one.

Other hot titles being promoted will include Richard Russo's Bridge Of Sighs,Alice Sebold's The Oldest Monday, The Abstinence Teacher by Tom Perotta and Stephen Colbert's I Am America And So Can You(Colbert will also be speaking at a Special Events Breakfast). And no,there will not be any advance copies of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows available but there will probaly be a nice bag or poster to grab up at the Scholastic booth. A good friend of Robin Brande's will be attending BEA as well,Barry Lyga,who is not only coming out with a new YA novel, Boy Toy, but has just signed an option to turn his very successful book,The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl,into a movie. Hope I get to run into him,maybe some of his good luck will rub off on me!

There will be a number of panel sessions,talking about the state of the book industry today. I plan to attend atleast one of them,called Blogs: Is Their Growing Influence a Tastemaker's Dilemma? Considering all of the online buzz about print vs. online book reviews lately,this should be quite a gathering. I hope to meet and greet some of my fellow bloggers and other interested parties here. C-Span usually covers BEA and most of the big events there,so you can watch and see from the comfort of your couch all of the hectic fun.

If you want to know more about BEA online,just click the title link above to check out the official website,which has a couple of blogs and a podcast in the works. Since I'm only going to be at BEA on Friday(got a family event to show up at over the weekend),I might report on Saturday how my day went. If I don't have the energy(it'll be hot and humid tomorrow,according to the Weather Channel),then I will update everyone on Monday. Another fun way to get a good idea of what BEA is like is to read the "What Would Dewey Do?" special edition comic at Overdue Media,home of the library comic strip,Unshelved. You'll need Abode Acrobat Reader to see it,but it's worth it. Until next time,true believers!

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Shear Genius Finale ,plus sizzling summer TV shows to watch

Tonight,the Shear Genius finale will be on,crowning one of our three stylists the winner. While I'm still rooting for Daisy(I adored the Marie Antoinette Wedding look she did on the first episode),Anthony is wonderful,too. Ben's a real wild card but he does have that knack for pulling off a great hair style at the last minute,which we saw last week at his photo shoot.

Shear Genius has been alot of fun to watch and I hope that they get another season. It's certainly been more good natured than some of the other reality competition shows(even with the Tabatha/Tyson feud) and much more creative than you might have expected. The Final Challenge for the Final Three looks like it's going to be one hell of a hair show. As the Bravo ads always say,"Watch what happens!"

Speaking of watching,now that most of the regular TV season has wound down,what is there to look forward to,besides reruns? Well,quite a few things,actually. Instead of my usual Thursday Tv round-up,today I'll give everyone a preview of some of the summer viewing that I'll be checking and writing up for the blog. I'll be doing something big on Friday(which I'll expand more space on tommorrow),which means there's no time like the present to get this party started:


Top Chef returns for a third season,this time taking place in Miami. Host Padma will still be on,along with Judge Tom and Gail. Ted Allen,who was a great guest judge last season,will be a regular panel member as well. I'm happy to see Ted join the show(I was one of many who signed an online petition to keep him there)and hope that we don't get as nasty of a feud as the Marcel/Ilan deal that happened last time. I enjoy a good row but not to the point that it went to,with Marcel getting jumped.

Speaking of Marcel and Ilan,we'll being seeing both of those boys again,having to work together for Top Chef All Stars. TCAS will have the casts of Season 1 and Season 2 having a cook-off to see who really knows their way around the cutting board. This should be interesting,especially after Ilan's dissing of previous TC winner,Harold:

Not cool,Ilan! We will see who has the bigger knife soon enough. Top Chef:Miami begins on June 13 and Top Chef All Stars starts on June 6.

Beginning next Monday is another hot cooking competition-Season 3 of Hell's Kitchen with Gordon Ramsey as the culinary curse word king,who chops up the unworthy like scallions. HK is sort of the boot camp version of TC and while Gordon may just seem to be mean,he does know what he's talking about when it comes to top notch restaurant service. Here's a compilation of clips from Season Two that should give those who have never seen the show before a real good idea of what to expect:


The 4400 will be back June 17,launching Season Four of the show and hopefully getting some answers to the questions left at the end of the last one. Now that Isabel has been rendered powerless,is she still a threat to the world? Why was Alaina taken and will she be back? The big focus this time around is Jordin Collier,who wants more and more people to try Promicin,the wonder drug created last season that could either give you extrordinary power or kill you instantly. USA has a nifty little online campaign going,with pro and con Promicin ads that are all too realistic:



Rescue Me returns on June 13 and while Tommy seems to have survived the house fire he was trapped in,it looks like he's going to have a lot of explaining to do:

It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia will be back,too and after seeing Kaitlin Olsen on The Riches this season,I'm even more hyped up than Charlie is about America to watch the new season:


While I haven't read the Gigi Levangie Grazer novel or been a big fan of Debra Messing,I want to give The Starter Wife a shot. It looks like the video version of a summer beach read and with a great cast made up of Judy Davis,Joe Mantegna and Miranda Otto,this should be fun indeed:

The two hour premiere is on tomorrow night at 9:00 and I intend to enjoy it to the fullest. With all of this potential goodness piled on my plate,looks like a night in front of the TV won't be a wash out after all.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

CBS sheds some Moonlight on vampires and why I find them so addicting

One of the new dramas debuting on CBS this fall will be Moonlight,a vampire P.I. saga starring Alex O'Loughlin as Mick St, John who was turned into a vampire on his wedding night and 60 years later,is using his powers for good instead of evil. Naturally,we have a female protagonist to whom our dark hero is attracted to,yet is not sure about revealing his true nature to her. In some ways,we've seen this all before but there's something abit more to this premise here. Maybe I'm just seeing this promo thru rose colored glasses(or blood stained,if you will):

I'm very forgiving of the vampire genre in films and TV,except for certain things like vampires having kids(Angel's offspring with Darla was an exception to that rule,even tho Connor was damn annoying at times.)or animals being turned into vamps,such as in Blade:Trinity(of course,there were plenty of worse things about that movie,such as Ryan Reynolds's rapid fire profanities that would make the drill sarge from Full Metal Jacket blush and Parker Posey's hideous hair and wardrobe choices). Regardless of whatever form the vampire chooses to take onscreen,I find myself drawn to checking it out atleast once.

It all started with Frank Langella-in 1979,he appeared in yet another version of Dracula(after a successfull run on Broadway). I wound up seeing the movie on TV but really wanted to watch it when it was in theaters(I remember cutting out a huge newspaper ad for the film that listed all of these "vampire rules" on it and saving it for months afterwards).

Like many other Drac films,it's a mix of gothic romance and horror which had me rooting for the Count to get Lucy at the end. Like so many Dracula films before,they came close but no cigar. Langella's haunting prescence in that role imprinted on me what a vampire lover was and should be;mesmorizing, verbally elegant,scary and extremely sexy(whoa,getting too hot in here,perhaps I should loose my buttons like poor Mina does in this clip):

Yes, some of my vampire interest is shallow but hey,we all have our hang-ups. Mine just happens to be fellas with fangs. It's not the only reason that vampires intrigue me;in some ways,they're more frightening than a zombie or a werewolf. While you can pretty much spot a zombie by their rotting appearance and slow moves,vampires usually hold back their bloodsucker face until they're ready to pounce.

Werewolves aren't easy to detect in human form but once they change,they're alot like blackout drunks. They wake up the next morning in strange locations,naked and confused about what they did the other night. Vampires can be anybody. The mythos has expanded to the point where it's not just a metaphor about aristocrats feeding off the peasants and naive foreigners. Tons of other topics have been added to the mix such as the obsession to keep a youthful appearance despite growing older,fear of death,AIDS,being gay,having an identity crisis and adjusting to modern life.

In the end,I still like my vampires to have romantic or atleast seductive qualities about them. From Langella's Dracula to James Marsters' Spike and currently Kyle Schmid as Henry Fitzroy in Bloodties,those undead dreamboats will always find my pulse pounding in their prescence. Let me finish this off with one of my favorite vampric dance scenes,where Jerry Dandridge lures Amy onto the disco floor in Fright Night. Watch out for the mirror bit:

Monday, May 28, 2007

Pop Culture Points to Ponder

I know that today's a holiday,so most people are taking time off from the internet but I'm afraid that I've been thinking(a dangerous pastime,I know!)about a few pop culture news items buzzing about the media and this seems like a good time to clean up my mental clutter. Not all of us can have such great Thinking Blogs like Bookseller Chick, or Robin Brande, or even Diva Knows Best and Smart Bitches Who Love Trashy Novels ,plus The Written Nerd but we all need something to aspire to.

So,here's what is rattling around in the bottom of my brain pan:


Yep,the pin-up girl for Spoiled Sleazy Rich Kids is going to have to do some time in the Big House next month and even if her sentence is only 23 days(cut down from 45 for "good behavior"-how can you get time off from good behavior if you haven't served any time yet?),it still should be a valuable life lesson for her. In fact,I think she should be realizing several important facts of life,such as it's a good idea to read your own mail,drinking and driving is not necessary when you can afford to hire a driver and being rude to the cops gets you nowhere:

Also,don't be shy about making new friends while in the stir. Sure,you'll be known as "Fish" at first but that changes after two weeks:


I don't watch The View but like the rest of America,I've been keeping track of the ongoing Rosie feuds and fusses. She was planning to leave the show in June but after her big fight with Elizabeth Hasselbeck on May 23,Rosie decided to depart much earlier. Talk about the shot heard around the world,that was nothing compared to this! The Rosie Vs. Elizabeth Fight has become one of the most talked about media events of the season:



Ignoring all the politics being bandied about,to me,the heart of the issue is that Rosie was mad at Elizabeth for supposedly not defending her comments in public and that certain members of the media make her look like the bad guy compared to Elizabeth. First off,just because you work with someone,that doesn't mean that they are your friend. You may feel that way but it's not always the case. Sometimes,they are but many times,they're just putting up with you to get the job done and vice versa.

Second,from what I've seen from a distance,Elizabeth has been bullied quite abit by both Rosie and Joy Behar,who insist on shouting her down and not letting her speak her mind. Naturally,Elizabeth got sick and tired of this and finally gave Rosie what for. Elizabeth has just as much right to voice her opinion as any other host or guest on that show and it's not a sign of maturity to squash an opposing opinion. I remember hearing at one point(on an earlier episode) that either Rosie or Joy tried to belittle Elizabeth by saying to her"You don't know any better,you're too young." or words to that effect. Ageism is not cool from anybody;I've had people say to me and I'm a grown woman. As Paul Williams once sang,some grow wiser and some just get older. That's the hell of it.

So,who was right here? I'm leaning more towards Elizabeth,simply because Rosie,in my opinion,has the probelm that many comedians and actors have when they speak about politics;they can't handle the give and take of debates. Comedians in particular,due to the format in which they work-standing up on stage,speaking in monolouge and getting laughs or groans from the audience. It's very much a one way street here and any discourse can be seen as shouts from a heckler. If you're going to take a stand on anything,you have to be prepared to defend your own viewpoint on your own and let any opposing speaker have their say before you respond back at them. What Elizabeth seemed to be saying was that"instead of me interpreting you to others,you should speak directly to those folks so that your meaning is clear." Sounds right to me.

Rosie will get another gig somewhere else and The View will find a new host,so this isn't the end of anyone's career. I do think that Rosie should've come back and perhaps try to make peace with Elizabeth before leaving for good. She looks like a playground bully doesn't want to hang around now that someone stood up to her. Well,atleast we got some entertainment value out of this. Not the best kind,but some nonetheless.


Due to the interest in the upcoming Transformers movie,plans are under way to make a new He Man and The Masters of the Universe film. No one has been cast yet but Joel Silver is the producer and the f/x are said to be done as elaborately as they were for 300. Oh,boy. I don't know,guys,while the Transformers movie might be better than expected,He Man only inspires pitiful sighs from me. A film version was made in 1987 and while it is fit fodder for MST3K,it's hard to imagine a remake being any better. Consider the source material,folks. Don't get me wrong,I liked the original cartoon(and She-Ra as well) but some animated series should not be turned into live action films. Besides,who else can follow in Frank Langella's footsteps as Skeletor?

Ok,everyone,that's all for now. Have a great Memorial Day and for your viewing pleasure,check out this trailer for Superbad,due out this August. This is the "red band" trailer for the movie that's only available online,which is abit more raw than the one that's currently playing in theaters:

Friday, May 25, 2007

Afternoons With Emily are well spent ones

Afternoons With Emily starts off with introducing us to Miranda Chase,living first in Boston during the mid 1800s,a lonely little girl ignored by her sickly mother and scholarly father. After her mother's death from consumption,Miranda's father decides to take them both to visit friends in Barbados,hoping that Miranda will not share her mother's illness. The trip is a literal breath of fresh air for them both,as Miranda's mind and body are encouraged to embrace life and her father is able to truly connect to his child.

They move back to the States,this time settling into the town of Amherst,where Professor Chase gains a teaching position at the local college and Miranda gets to know her widowed Aunt Helen and Cousin Kate. Miranda grows up,striving to fit in yet can not abandon her own individual and intellectual notions. When she expresses a preference for the gods of Greek mythology rather than Christianity to a local elder, one of the results is an invitation to the home of Emily Dickinson,local recluse and self proclaimed rebel of one of the most influential families in Amherst.

Miranda's friendship with Emily takes many different twists and turns thru out the years;at first,Emily is one of many mentors that inspire her to read and think more outside of the box that Amherst society has set for women. Soon,Miranda is contacted by Emily's sister-in-law and former best friend Susan,to be on the look out for any
strange behavior or flights of fancy that may lead to harming Emily's reputation. Emily is prone to overromanticising her relationships with others,especially in her letter writing which can easily cause misunderstandings. Miranda is alert enough to see this as well as realizing that Emily sees her as a captive audience,rather than an equal to challenge her.

Regardless,Miranda's friendship with Emily stays strong as Miranda's dreams and ambitions take her forward in life and love. Even when she becomes impatient with Emily's refusal to deal with the world around her as the Civil War is raging(and Miranda's fiance one of the many soldiers out in the battlefield),she and Emily still support and look out for one another. There are some things,however,that Miranda must and can face on her own.

One of the best things about this book is that it's Miranda's story from beginning to end. While Emily Dickinson is a strong and vibrant(not to mention at times infuriating)character,this is more of a story about a smart,unconventional young woman who happens to have Dickinson as one of her friends rather than a Mary Sue who only lives to worship at the legend's feet. Miranda's world is well depicted and filled with many folk whose attitudes and desires seem to accurately reflect those held during the mid 19th century. Afternoons With Emily is a elegantly sturdy read,not to be rushed thru by any means. This is the type of book that is meant to be savored slowly and sweetly,as you relax on a porch swing or favorite indoor chair,drinking in all of the lovely literary goodness.

My only regret here is that we won't be getting another book from Rose MacMurray. She passed away in 1997,after spending years working on this novel and researching the life of Emily Dickinson. Her family and friends were determined to get AWE published to not only honor her memory but to share her talent for words with others. Her daughter,Adelaide MacMurray Aitken,wrote a beautiful and moving tribute to her mother and her labor of love that you can read at the Hachette website(please click the title link above).

Afternoons With Emily should not be seen as a family memorial,it should be,and comes across as,a call to arms for folks to not be afraid of their dreams and live life to the fullest. AWE is a true gem that deserves to be treasured in any happy reader's library.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

The last of Veronica Mars,Jordin wins Idol and Shear Genius's Final Four showdown

Shear Genius is getting close to the finish line,and the Final Four stylists were Anthony,Daisy,Ben and Dr. Boogie. They were eager and abit nervous for their Shortcut Challenge,which was to straighten African-American hair:

Dr. Boogie was the only one to use chemical relaxers and while it did help straighten the hair,the guest judge, Kiyah White, was not pleased with the hair style he gave his client,saying it made her look too old. Anthony won the challenge,which gave him first choice of look for the Elimination round and to also hand out the rest of the assignments to his fellow stylists. This week,they had to design hair for a professional photo shoot,with celebrity photographer Matthew Rolston.

The four looks that they had to create were: Sex Kitten/Wet Hair(Daisy),Rebel Rocker/Vertical Hair(Ben),Diva Star/Lighter than Air(Dr.Boogie) and Retro Glamour Girl/Horizonal Hair(Anthony). Anthony had a real hard time with his photo shoot,since it was important that the model's roots be concealed and it took extra time for him to fix it during the shoot. He managed to make it work,but it cost him sone points during the judging.

Daisy,however,rocked the place with her successfull wet and wild look. She and Ben(who had to pull off his rocker girl look pretty much at the last minute)were the Top Two and instantly in the finals. Daisy was named the overall winner,and she really deserved it. Her work has been consistant thru out the competition and she's such a sweetie! I'm rooting for her to win,but do love Anthony as well.

Alas,Dr. Boogie,we knew you well. As much as I dig his crazy antics,his ego sandbagged him here,with his constant interruptions to fiddle endless with the model's hair. She was supposed to have "lighter than air" but all of the weaves the good Doctor put in weighed the hair down. My father once told that with art,you have to know when to stop and leave it be. Dr. Boogie proved that point here.

So,we have Anthony,Daisy and Ben for the Finale,which will be next week. On the Shear Genius reunion special,most of the ousted stylists picked either Anthony or Daisy to be the winner. No love for Ben! Actually,it is really anyone's game here but I do wish that my girl Tabatha had made it to the end game.

Atleast she won the Bravo Fan Favorite contest and recieved a sweet ten grand for her troubles. She also got her own special phrase,"Tatitude"(that should look great on a T shirt)and Tyson said she was the "best number 11(on a scale of 1 to 10)bitch" he ever worked with. High praise,indeed! Everyone seemed to have a good sense of humor and fun about the whole show,which means we may get a season two. Let's keep our fingers crossed,shall we? I know I will!

Jordin Sparks was the winner on American Idol and the universe was put back in order once again. Most folks were betting on her to win after Blake did his beatboxing best to sing the finale song but it was clearly meant for someone capable of pulling off a power ballad. The finale show had the usual jokes about itself(a little of Margaret Fowler goes a long way) and some nice performances(Gwen Stefani and Bette Midler were my favorites)but couldn't go without subjecting us to one more Sanjaya number. Any way,it's all over for now and congrats to Jordin:



The last two episodes of Veronica Mars aired on Tuesday and while they were great season enders,I don't feel that they were a good way to let the series end. Obviously,Rob Thomas and company were hoping for a season four(which they and the fans of the show deserve)and the set-up looked promising. Vinnie Van Lowe possibly becoming the new sheriff,Keith going up on corruption charges,Dick having a mini meltdown over how he treated his brother(and actually apologizing to someone!)and a return appearance by Jake Kane. *Sigh* Perhaps that pilot episode of Veronica working at the FBI that they filmed and were considering go with will be put on DVD. We did at the very least,get to see Veronica go into major league payback mode once again:

Random Notes

Heroes: Despite some of the fanboy disappointment,the finale kicked some excellant butt and settled quite a few scores,like this one between Sylar and Hiro,who did look badass with that sword:

I also loved the tantilizing teaser for Season two,with Hiro arriving in feudal Japan-the fangirl in me was squealing in delight at that! Word has it that Peter,Nathan and Sylar will be back next season(I'd like to see that explained,thank you very much!)and perhaps the Season One DVD will give us a few hints about what's to come:

Bloodties: Vicki Nelson and friends end their first season well,and no,there's no hookup between Vicki and Henry just yet(they came pretty close there but no cigar). I did like seeing Norman return as a geeked up yet deadly demon(not to mention Vicki and Henry getting to act out of character)and hope he makes another appearance the next time around:

Ugly Betty: My god,how sad was that finale? Betty's dad is stuck in Mexico,Alexis and Daniel are in a major car crash(not smart to be driving your dad's car after putting a hit out on him,Alexis!),Clare breaks out of jail to stop Wilhemina from marrying Bradford,Henry goes back to Tuscon with Charlie(who's probaly carrying another guy's baby!)and poor Santos....having Justin sing the all too eerie West Side Story songs just added more sting to the punch:

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

This Memorial Day Weekend,open a Golden Door at your local theater

With the first big holiday weekend of the summer movie season about to come upon us,most of the high expectations for box office success will be for those Pirates of the Carribean lot. That's all well and good,but what if you just want a nice little movie to curl up with? Something that's sweet and thoughtful,but not too bland or tv movie-ish?

I haven't seen Golden Door,but it looks like it might fit the bill. GD is the story of Salatore Mancuso,a widowed Sicilian in the early part of the twentieth century,who decides to take what's left of his family to America for a better life. On board,he meets up with Lucy(Charlotte Gainsbourg),an English woman with a mysterious past:

Lucy needs to get married,to make her transition to the States a bit smoother and asks Salvatore for help. She honestly tells him that her reasons are not romantic but nothing else beyond that:

Even with this plan for a marriage of convience,it's still tricky to get thru all of the hoops that have to be jumped at Ellis Island,like this intelligence test that Lucy is asked to perform:

They also have to convince the authorities that they are already husband and wife and Salvatore's language limits could hold up the works even further:

With the current debate over immigration going on, Golden Door could give us an interesting perspective on just how far we've come and still have to go in that department. The film has already won the Silver Lion award in Venice and has been recently shown at the Tribeca Film Festival. GD will be out in limited release on May 25,and if you happen to find it playing at a theater near you,it may be worth your while to check it out. You can find out more about it by clicking the title link above to visit the official movie website. Golden Door looks to be one of those sweet sleeper hits that lucky folks get to find and share with each other during the hot and hazy craze of big blockbuster films clamoring for your attention. It could be a lovely little oasis to cool off with this weekend:

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

They could be Heroes for just one day

Heroes had it's season finale last night and while I will say more about the show in my usual TV Thursday post,I couldn't wait to talk about my inital reaction to the wrap-up with so much commentary buzzing about online at the moment. Frankly,I'm surprised to see such negativity being spread around,complaints like"They hyped up some big Sylar/Peter fight and we didn't get one!"-actually,we did,just not a big showy summer movie type of deal-or(spoiler alert)"Why didn't Peter just fly off by himself?"

Well,for one,it's been established that Peter doesn't have a strong grip on his multi-abilities,unlike Sylar(whose great weakness is his pumped up pride and narcissism) and that the nuclear power is quite overwhelming. Even Ted,the original Radioactive Man,had trouble reigning his explosive skills,especially when stressed. Fighting Sylar and trying not to blow up the city at the same time can be a tad stressing there,folks.

I'm not going to get into a whole bunch of other details but let me just say this: one of the oldest themes in any tale of a hero is self sacrifice. What is the one thing that drives people to self sacrifice? Love,as corny as that sounds, Love for others and the willingness to spare them from harm or death is what makes a hero. That was the purpose behind that vision that Peter saw,when he spoke with Simone's father(I knew that Peter had absorbed his ability unknowingly)who told him that"your heart has the power to love unconditionally". That unconditional love was powerful enough to inspire Claire,who in turn inspired Nathan to not be the "villian" that Hiro once accused him of,and step up to be a real leader.

I,for one,did not expect that from Nathan. Up to now,Nathan's been in my bad guy corner,right there with Sylar(wonder if we've really seen the last of him)and Mother Petrelli(total ice queen),not to mention Linderman himself. I should've known better,after all-I had pegged Mr. Bennet as a major baddie early on,but we've seen him cross over to the good guy section during the season,motivated by his love for Claire. That really should have given me a heads-up,but hey,even us savvy storyline spotters can not see the forest for the trees sometimes. It's good to be humbled there,builds character.

And character building is what Heroes is all about. "Ordinary people with extraordinary abilities" was,and is,the central slogan of the show. Not pumped up action figures playing some flashy video game,regular people being challenged with powers and situations that lead them to make crucial choices that reflected upon their true nature. When Stan Lee did his cameo bit a few episodes back,it was not just a nod to the comic book fans,it was a tip of the hat to the Marvel comics style of keeping their characters grounded by having realistic angst and life probelms to contend with. Nothing against DC but most experts agree that Marvel was the first to use that approach and it's one of their strengths still to this day.

So,while some may find last night finale to be less than satisfying,I count myself amongst those who were truly thrilled and eagerly await Volume Two of the saga. The Season One DVD of Heroes will be available August 28,and yes,my pre-order is in. This is one of the best shows I've seen since Buffy and even Smallville felt smaller to me this year with Heroes making such amazing creative strides. If this last scene between the Petrelli brothers doesn't make you just a touch weepy,I don't know what will:


Monday, May 21, 2007

Missing Gilmore Girls already? Commiserate with some Coffee at Luke's

If you still can't believe that the world of Stars Hollow and the adventures of Lorelai and Rory are over,here's a great solution(not a perfect solution,which would be atleast one more year of GG)to help you get over some of the sorrow,Coffee at Luke's. Edited by Jennifer Crusie(who also put together a nice anthology for Jane Austen fans,Flirting with Pride and Prejudice),this lively look at why many of us are or became devoted to this show about a single mom whose best friend just happened to be her own daughter,without any sleazy club hopping but with plenty of bumps and skips upon the road to maturity for the both of them.

Several of the essays deal directly with the whole parenting issue,such as Janine Huddlestone's "Mothers,Daughters and Gilmore Girls" that looks at how both Lorelai and Rory deal with their roles as daughters and even do some role reversal themselves:

"My Three Dads" by Miellyn Fitzwater measures the fathering skills of Rory's three major male influences in her life,Luke,Richard and Christopher(who does not come out ahead here) and even Emily gets a supportive boost from Charlotte Fullerton with "In Defense of Emily Gilmore". Fullerton makes a few good points and you can't help but feel for Emily at times,especially when her mother-in-law,Trix,comes a-calling:

Stars Hollow is highlighted as well and one of the most interesting and creative essays is Sara Morrison's look at the businesses that flourish there and how they would stack up in the real world economy with "Your Guide to the Real Stars Hollow Business World". Turns out that Taylor had some pretty good ideas that would do well in the open marketplace but I still think his concerns over how Luke and Lorelai's relationship going south would affect the local commerce were presumptous there:

Stephanie Rowe gives us a love letter to the joys of New England small town life in "It's not Luke's Stubble". She cleverly captures one of the show's true charms,the depiction of a community rich with history,beautifully cold weather and seemingly devoid of a seedy underbelly:

Rory's love of reading and the literary influences on the show over the years is throughly outlined and cherished by Maryelizabeth Hart in "Reading,Rory and Relationships" while the other major obsession enjoyed by both Lorelai and Rory,food,is served up by Gregory Stevenson with "Dining with the Gilmores". He points out not only how a character's approach to eating defines who they are but shows the viewer how food choice is often used as a metaphor for character development or foreshadowing of upcoming plot points.

The book rounds up with essays that examine Lorelai's contary nature towards parenting and life("Mama Don't Preach" by Carol Cooper) and a look at the screwball comedy stylings of the show("Golden Age Gilmore Girls" by Chris McCubbin),along with a glossary of "Coffee at Luke's-isms"(similar to the popular Gilmorisms enjoyed by the fans). There are many more that I haven't touched upon here,but,hey why spoil the fun of discovery for you? Any fan of Gilmore Girls will want to take this book with them as they stop at their own favorite diner for some java joe and pie. To round this review off,here's a taste of Gilmore Girl speak:

Friday, May 18, 2007

Re-educate yourself on Summer Reading with some Old School Beach Books

Like Jane Austen's own Emma Woodhouse,I get very fond of making reading lists for myself but don't always follow thru on them. I am working on Robin Brande's 50 Book Reading Challenge but that's a year long project that lets me write down my selections after they're read,not before(a distinct difference,in my opinion).

Nonetheless,I am attempting to organize my reading for the summer and have decided to add some fun by including what I call Old School Beach Books to the mix(I love creating little catagories for these lists). You remember what those are,I'm sure. The kind of glossy covered paperback that would just slip right into a straw bag,next to the suntan lotion and extra pair of shades. Sometimes,it would be a hardcover that not only was current but gave you some more blockage from the sun's harmful rays.

I have only three on that list,mainly due to one of them being over a thousand pages long(challenging,but then again,it is a reread). One of these books is new to me,the other two are repeats but one of them is a rediscovery. Enough of the "re" words,let's get on with it,shall we?


I found an old hardcover copy of Grace Metalious' scandalous novel in a thrift store recently(the jacket was a mess,but I managed to salvage it)and felt that it was the one for me. PP has been reprinted several times over,but I like trying it out for the first time in it's original form. This story of small town secrets and lies is the great grandma of Jacqueline Susann,Harper Valley PTA and today's Desparate Housewives.

You know how people always talk about how morals back in the day were better than they are now? Just read the books of the time period,particularly the popular ones,and you'll see the real deal,folks. Usually,the only difference between then and now is that some things weren't talked about in public. Plenty of action behind closed doors,yeah baby,yeah!

I just hope that Peyton Place lives up to the hype;I'm not expecting Pulitzer Prize material here,just some fun and interesting characters. I've even added the film version to my Netflix list for a compare and contrast. Speaking of film and book versions to equally enjoy.....


I not only have an old mass market edition of VOTD,I also have ancient paperback copies of The Love Machine and Once is Not Enough(haven't read the other two yet but they're too good in a bad way to get rid of or upgrade with reprints). I got them all at the same funky old secondhand shop that was like a junk store library. The woman who ran the place had a bit of a hippie vibe(very friendly and seemed to be in her own groove)and she had a ton of great knickknacks and books all shoved together in this crowded but never really cramped space. Too bad that that store is no longer,it was a real treasure trove.

VOTD still holds up as a good Hollywood Insider type of book,and now that I have the movie version on DVD,it's an even greater excuse to dive back into the pages. Also, would the likes of Neely,Anne and Jennifer be able to hold their own against the likes of Lindsay Lohan,Britney Spears and Angelina Jolie,or kick their butts? Food for thought,people!


Here's the deal with Maia; many years ago,I saw this gorgeous paperback in a rack at one of the local drugstores and was drawn to it like a bee to honey. Turns out that the book is just as seductive as the artwork. Alas,during one of my many much needed for space purges to my home library,Maia had to be sent to the Land of Donations to make way for other volumes of lore. There was,however,still a place in my heart for this weighty tome of delights and behold,the literary fates took pity upon me.

I went to a church rummage sale,during it's usual spring cleaning time,and found a hardcover edition of Maia,which I snatched up quick before some stingy old lady could nickel and dime her way into getting it(I'm all for bargaining,but at a church rummage sale? Come on,now,seriously! You have to have limits there.)

So,what is Maia all about? First off,yes,this is written by the same Richard Adams who wrote Watership Down(the book is sort of a prequel to Shardik,which I didn't read) and there are no talking bunnies in it. Maia is a simple country girl,living in a mythical Ye Olde type of country,who is sold into slavery after her mom sees her getting way too helpful with her stepfather's fishing business. She becomes a "bed girl" to a rich lord who makes Jabba the Hutt look like a Before picture in a Jenny Craig ad,along with Occula,a savvy and streetsmart gal who is more than what she seems to be.

There's some political intrigue and some hidden agendas revealed but this is pretty much the kind of book that would've made a great epic soap opera,back when Hollywood was cranking out the likes of Cleopatra and The Ten Commandments. Of course,there's alot of sex(both straight and gay)that would've irked the censors but Maia is a good natured girl at heart and a compelling heroine,which smoothes over some of those steamy spots of bother. It's a huge book and one that should be a blast to revisit.

So,if you're hard up for any good books to take with you on vacation,or just to tide you over until the new TV season starts,go back to the old school and see what guilty pleasures you can find. Feel free to share your choices here,it's all good. Reading is fundamental and should be fun as well.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Goodbye Gilmore Girls,No more Mindy Doo on Idol and Shear Genius' battle of the brides

Shear Genius tried some teamwork this week,as the remaining stylists broke off into three teams of two for the Shortcut Challenge,which was to get as many paying customers as they could in a mall. The team with the most cash profit would be the winner. Ben,for some odd reason,decided to dress up like a ninja(the guy looks weird enough without having to do that)and was teamed up with Dr. Boogie.

Tyson had first pick of partners and he chose Tabatha,which worked out well since they won the challenge. I thought that they were doomed,not only due to their tight lipped rivalry but that they were charging much higher prices than the other two teams. Turns out that was a good thing-the two of them cut less hair but made more money. I know that if someone came up to me in a mall and wanted sixty bucks to cut my hair on the spot,I'd say no. Then again,you get what you pay for.

The Elimination Challenge was a tripleplay,as the three teams had to create hairstyles for a bride,maid of honor and the mother of the bride. Anthony and Daisy really pulled it off,surprisingly. Anthony wasn't crazy about having Daisy for a partner(she talks too much for his liking)but wound up respecting her skills. They not only made the bride's hair look incredibly artistic but did a great makeover do for her mom. They were the winners and are going up on that accursed Allure wall of fame next week.

Tabatha paid the price for Tyson's Allure wall curse,as the two of them were sent packing after making the bridal party feel the misery of the partnership. The hairstyles suffered as well,especially the bridesmaid that recieved a halfhearted french twist. Tabatha was not happy about that but cheered herself up by enjoying the fact that Tyson wouldn't be able to win either. Some people just do not work well with others. Wonder if it will be Anthony or Daisy's turn next week? I hope not,they're both really good stylists.

Gilmore Girls had its series finale this week and it was a proper goodbye all around; Christine Amanpour met Rory,Rory finally got a job(Barack Obama campaign coverage,very nice!),Stars Hollow got to give their favorite gal a big party send-off and Luke kissed Lorelai(yes! I knew they would get back together,knew it!). Can I just say how glad I am that Rory turned down Logan's marriage proposal? Don't get me wrong,the guy had some good points but way too much baggage. Guys named Logan are trouble,in my book.

I found this YouTube clip,which doesn't have any scenes from the finale but I think sums up the show perfectly:

For some insane reason,Melinda Doolittle has been voted off of American Idol. Blake and Jordin will now fight it out next week and if Blake wins,I may never watch this show again. A Jordin and Melinda showdown would've been great,in my opinion-those two are worthy adversaries in the singing arena,not the Beatbox Boy! Grrr...ARGH!!!!





Random Notes:

Heroes: It's really getting down to the wire here,as characters are being killed off,right and left. I really hope Mr. Bennet doesn't shoot that poor little girl;it's not her fault that she can track superpowered folks! Speaking of superpowered people who need to be found in a hurry,our boy Sylar is extra dangerous,now that he has popped Ted's top and may decide to turn NYC into toast:

Pretty scary,isn't it folks? I just know that I won't be the only one on pins and needles during the finale next week.

America's Next Top Model: Jaslene was declared the winner,after facing off Natasha on the Evolution of Woman runaway challenge. I was really rooting for Natasha,she seemed to be more mature than the other girls and showed vast improvements from week to week. Atleast Renee got knocked out of the running,which makes up for it alittle. She was such a bitch,especially with her convincing the other girls to gang up on Natasha last week,which failed miserably!

Smallville: Clark and company wrap another season tonight and it looks like Lex will have to add another divorce to his belt as Lana gets tired of game playing. There's also a strong chance of the Martian Manhunter stopping by,to pump up the Clark Vs. Lex storyline even further:

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Veronica Mars fans can dive into Neptune Noir

Benbella Books has a series called Smart Pop,where pop culture junkies like myself come to chat about our favorite shows,films and cartoons in essay collections. One of the latest is Neptune Noir: Unauthorized investigations into Veronica Mars. Rob Thomas,the creator of VM himself,is the editor who not only writes an interesting introduction into how and why the show got started,but adds thoughtful intros to each essay as well as helpful notes when needed.

A good number of the articles cover topics you would expect about a teen girl detective,like father-daughter relationships and class struggles in both high school and society. Some go into the techiques of the noir genre used and reinvented for the show,such as Evelyn Vaughn's "Veronica Mars. Girl. Detective." which discusses how voiceovers morphed from a male to a female strong point of view:

Others get into the moral aspects of the show,as in John Ramos'(aka Couch Baron at Television Without Pity)"I Cannot Tell a Lie and if you believe that..." that talks about constant lying by Veronica and others is sometimes justified and a handy tool of the detective trade. Jesse Hassenger writes about "Reality on Mars and Neptune",going into some of the creative liberties and surprising truths that make Neptune both believable and TV land only plausible.

A couple of the essays look into the similarities between Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Veronica Mars(Samantha Bornemann adds in My So-Called Life into the mix with "Innocence Lost"). I really related to "On the Down Low",Lynne Edwards' take on how a former Buffy addict slowly warmed up to appreciating Veronica and partaking in the Pirate love:

There were some unusual topics that cropped up,such as in "The Duck and the Detective",where Chris McCubbin notices the conservative comic strip,Mallard Fillmore,praising VM and looks into what a conservative crowd might find favor with on a show with seemingly liberal values. "The United States of Veronica" by Deanna Carlyle focues on the state of current events that influence the show and also why VM is a product of its time. And yes,folks,we have a car essay by Lawrence Watt-Evans on how each mode of transportation reflects upon the characters.

All in all,I can safely say that this is a pretty clever book for the discerning Veronica Mars fan that would look well next to your VM DVD sets and shrine to LoVe. While there are not alot of insights into season three(the book was being put together as the latest season of VM was underway),there is plenty of food for thought that should sate the most eager of palates as they await the next set of DVDs and hopefully,another season of the show. Also,one of the essays happens to have one of the best dialogue bits from this season as it's title:

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

More Movie Poster Madness

With Spiderman 3 knocking the socks off of the folks in Accounting,techically the Summer Movie season is now underway. However,there are still plenty of other movies out there battling for the big bucks and even the sure bets are hedging theirs. So,let's take another look at more movie posters that are begging for your attention as you hang out in the theater lobby:


We have two takes on this movie shown here,one that clearly mimics the early ads for the 40 Year Old Virgin(the same fellas who put that together worked on this one) and the other seems to be aimed at the date movie crowd. Personally,I'm not that interested in Knocked Up,it really looks like it's trying way too hard to be as cool as it's Virgin big brother.

If I had to pick one over the other,I'd go with the close-up of Seth Rogan's face. It may be a knock-off but that waiting room picture is so generic that it would fit right in a doctor's office. Also, Katherine Heigl airbrushed expression suggests that she's really waiting to audition for a Grey Anatomy's spin-off rather than to find out how her baby's doing.


This is another summer comedy that I have no major desire to see onscreen and apparently Adam Sandler could care less,by the bored look splattered across his puss! What is it with the dull faces,people? If I want to see tired and weary expressions,I can go wait on line at the DMV. Kevin James' screaming mimi isn't any better-he looks like it just dawned on him that if this movie flops,there's no more King of Queens to fall back on.


This poster has become abit controversal,due to some of the prints that enhanced Hermoine's bosom in a Wonder Bra like fashion. *Sigh* Why do they have to do that for? Bad enough that there are all sorts of slash fiction putting the poor girl thru all of sorts of sexual manuevers that would make Jenna Jamison blush,now some joker thinks Hermoine needs to get all tarted up this time around?! Good thing I don't have access to magical powers,otherwise there would be many more rats running around Hollywood that there are now!


Yep, the cartoon canine has been given the greenlight and CGI treatment for his feature film debut. Another quiant childhood memory gets stomped on,folks. They must've known this was a bad idea since it's coming out in August(Bad Movie Month). The poster doesn't give me much hope...no need to fear? Oh,there's plenty to shudder at. This might make those recent Scooby-Doo flicks look like Fellini films.


I've had a bad feeling about this movie ever since I saw the trailer,and this poster further boosts my ill tidings. W.C. Fields' line about working with kids and animals is alive and well here-talk about being upstaged! Can you even recognize Steve Carell in this picture? For all you know,that could be a Charlton Heston impersonator perched up on that elephant there! I'm definately going to pass on seeing this one in theaters.


Now this is nice...cute,colorful and a clever way to put all of the major players togther without looking overcrowded. The design is a tad Brady Bunch but in a good way. I liked the original Hairspray with Divine and am not sure about John Travolta filling out those shoes with a fat suit. In the plus column,John Waters himself approves of this and if Justin from Ugly Betty can sing all of the songs by heart,who am I to rain on this parade?


Kevin Costner's new movie has him playing a serial killer trying to cut back on his slaughter spree,only to have Dane Cook blackmail him into being his mentor in Murder That You Can Get Away With. I don't know if this will slide Costner further down in his career slump or give him a much needed revival,but the poster is not bad. Not bad at all. It does look a bit stiff,in a marionette sort of way but the cut-out piece being removed from his eye has that "breaking out of the box" motiff which is not insulting in it's obviousness. Might be worth a shot.

Okay,folks,that is all for now. Keep an eye for these films and let's see what they will do when it's their time to shine,or in some cases,stink up the place.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Bonding with Blood Ties

I am ,pun intended,a sucker for most vampire shows and can fully recognize the signs of being addicted to any TV program bigtime. Symptoms include constant thoughts about the characters,wondering what plot points will turn up next and wanting to know more. Blood Ties is high on that list at the moment,neck in neck with Heroes at this point(and that's no easy climb,I assure you). Never thought that I would get hooked on any show on the Lifetime channel but they say never say never for a reason,folks.

So,what is Blood Ties all about? It's about Vicki Nelson(Christina Cox),a former homicide detective turned P.I.,who left the force due to a degenerative eye condition that is slowly blinding her. Vicki is a tough,take charge kind of gal who winds up in over her head in supernatural cases,like demons trying to release their more powerful masters,thanks to the greed of a nerd,people raising up zombies for revenge or pay-per-view fights and seductive gorgons turning men to stone.

Fortunately,Vicki has plenty of help on hand,including not only former client turned assistant Coreen and former partner on the force Mike Celucci(Dylan Neal) but Henry Fitzroy,debonair vampire and graphic novelist. Henry is the bastard son of Henry the VIII,who at first reluctantly and then later eagerly joins in to give Vicki some supernatural back-up. Naturally,he and Mike get along in a mature and mutually respectful fashion...not!:

While Vicki is not in an out and out romantic relationship(yet)with either of them,the tension is there. It's one of the strong points of the show that the love triangle is not totally dominating every single storyline. We get to focus on other things,like Vicki's coping with the fact that she's not a active policewoman,Henry's past lives and Coreen's growing knowledge of otherworldy lore. Plus,there's some nifty dialogue riffs and interesting takes on mythological monsters. Blood Ties is not quite Buffy material but certainly not kitschy Charmed antics by any means.

Blood Ties is based on Tanya Huff's series of Blood Books and the author herself is very involved with the TV version. She even has a blog on the Lifetime website(which you can check out by clicking the title link above),where she talks about each episode and gives her thoughts about the direction of the show.

I've just started reading Blood Price(which was made into a two hour pilot for the Lifetime series)and it's a really great book so far. You know how you watch a movie or a TV show and then measure it against the original book it's based on,checking for this off detail and that? It doesn't matter in this case. One form of the story makes you truly appreciate the other. I am glad that Blood Ties made me discover Tanya's books. As much as I enjoy Kim Harrison,Charlaine Harris and MaryJanice Davidson,it's always good to seek out new horizons in the paranormal fiction realm.

The season finale of Blood Ties will be airing next Sunday and hopefully,this is not the last we'll see of Vicki and her men. It's nice to have a strong female lead who has two capable and challenging fellas fight for the right to be her main man in her life and it is a right that has to be granted by the lady herself. If it was my choice,I'ld go with Henry but that's just me and my fancy for bloodsucking sweeties. Who ever and what ever Vicki choses to do,I would be happy to follow her along. Let us all keep our fingers crossed that Lifetime gives us that chance next year.