Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Take Out Stories: The Blizzard of 95

We travel back to December of 1995, when a holiday trip to Ohio turned into an adventure as we found ourselves right smack in the middle of The Blizzard of 95.

Enjoy and stay warm.

Donna & Tony

PS: Yes Defiance, Ohio is a real place.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Eartha Kitt

She was perhaps best known her 1953 Christmas song "Santa Baby" and for her role as Catwoman in the 1960s Batman TV series, and for .

Eartha Kitt started her career as a member of the Katherine Dunham Company and made her film debut with them in Casbah (1948). A talented singer with a distinctive voice, her hits include "Let's Do It", "C'est si bon", "Just an Old Fashioned Girl", "Monotonous", "Je cherche un homme", "Love for Sale", "I'd Rather Be Burned as a Witch", "Uska Dara", "Mink, Schmink", "Under the Bridges of Paris", and her most recognizable hit, "Santa Baby". Kitt's unique style was enhanced as she became fluent in the French language during her years performing in Europe. She had some skill in other languages too, which she demonstrates with finesse in many of the live recordings of her cabaret performances.

In 1950, Orson Welles gave her her first starring role, as Helen of Troy in his staging of Dr. Faustus. A few years later, she was cast in the revue New Faces of 1952 introducing "Monotonous" and "Bal, Petit Bal," two songs with which she continues to be identified. In 1954, 20th Century Fox filmed a version of the revue simply titled New Faces. Welles and Kitt allegedly had a torrid affair during her run in Shinbone Alley, which earned her the nickname by Welles as "the most exciting woman in the world." In 1958, Kitt made her feature film debut opposite Sidney Poitier in The Mark of the Hawk. Throughout the rest of the 1950s and early 1960s, Kitt would work on and off in film, television and on nightclub stages. In 1964, Kitt helped open the Circle Star Theater in San Carlos, California. Also in the 1960s, the television series Batman, featured her as Catwoman after Julie Newmar left the role.

In 1968, however, Kitt encountered a substantial professional setback after she made anti-war statements during a White House luncheon. It was reported that she made First Lady Lady Bird Johnson cry. The public reaction to Kitt's statements was much more extreme, both for and against her statements. Professionally exiled from the U.S., she devoted her energies to overseas performances.

In 1984, she returned to hit music with a disco song, "Where Is My Man", the first certified Gold record of her career. "Where Is My Man" reached the Top 40 on the UK Singles Chart, where it peaked at #36 the song also made the Top 10 on the US Billboard dance chart, where it reached #7. Kitt found new audiences in nightclubs across the UK and the US, including a whole new generation of gay male fans, and she responded by frequently giving benefit performances in support of HIV/AIDS organizations. Her 1989 follow-up hit "Cha-Cha Heels" (featuring Bronski Beat), and originally intended to be recorded by Divine, received a positive response from UK dance clubs and reached #32 in the UK charts.

To quote Eartha Kitt, "The river is constantly turning and bending and you never know where it's going to go and where you'll wind up. Following the bend in the river and staying on your own path means that you are on the right track. Don't let anyone deter you from that".

Goodnight Catwoman

Stay Tuned

Tony Figueroa

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

A little Christmas music

Jose Feliciano's christmas song live in Denmark in 1973

David Bowie & Bing Crosby recorded in 1977.

Stay Tuned & Merry Christmas

Tony & Donna Figueroa

Monday, December 22, 2008

Majel Barrett-Roddenberry "The First Lady of 'Trek'"

Actress Majel Barrett-Roddenberry, wife of Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry died in her home in Bel-Air at the age of 76.

Majel Barrett-Roddenberry was associated with Star Trek from the beginning. In the first TV pilot, she played the role of the first officer, but after executives changes were made, she did not reprise that role in the second TV pilot. She instead played the role of Nurse Christine Chapel and the voice of the USS Enterprise's computer (She also was the voice of the Starship Enterprise's computer for six of the 10 Star Trek movies as well as the 11th movie which is due out next year). Barrett-Roddenberry also played the recurring role of Lwaxana Troi on Star Trek: The Next Generation and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Barrett-Roddenberry's acting career also included guest appearances on The Untouchables and The Lucy Show.

Several years after her husband's death, Barrett-Roddenberry discovered a pilot script and notes he had written for a series in the '70s the project became Gene Roddenberry's Earth: Final Conflict and began airing in syndication in 1997 with Majel Barrett-Roddenberry playing a recurring role and acting as an executive producer. She later was an executive producer of the syndicated Gene Roddenberry's Andromeda.

Barrett-Roddenberry attended her first Star Trek convention in 1972 and said "You know, when the conventions started out, I'd attend four or five a month but after a while, it got where there was no time for anything else. You'd just travel from city to city, making the same speech, answering the same questions."

Good Night Mrs. Roddenberry
Now you and Gene can explore "The Undiscovered Country"

Stay Tuned

Tony Figueroa

Monday, December 15, 2008

Robert Prosky

Robert Prosky, the actor best known as Sgt. Stan Jablonski on on the TV crime drama Hill Street Blues, has died of complications from a heart procedure at the age of 77. He stepped on the role the desk sergeant in Hill Street Blues after the death of Michael Conrad in 1984.

Mr. Prosky appeared in more than 200 plays on Broadway and with Arena Stage, a regional theater company in Washington. On Broadway, Prosky's credits included Glengarry Glen Ross and A View from the Bridge. He also completed a long run in Michael Frayn's play Democracy.
More recently, Prosky appeared with two of his sons in Arthur Miller's play, The Price, in Philadelphia. He appeared in 38 films including Mrs. Doubtfire, Dead Man Walking and The Natural. A native of Philadelphia, Mr. Prosky studied economics at Temple University and served in the U.S. Air Force.
His son Stefan Prosky said Tuesday. "Everybody knows him as a fairly famous actor. My brothers and I know him as a marvelous father."

To quote Sgt. Stan Jablonski "Let's do it to them before they do it to us".
Good Night Mr Prosky
Stay Tuned
Tony Figueroa

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Paul Benedict

I will always remember Paul Benedict as the Mad Painter on Sesame Street. Look for Stockard Channing.

But Paul Benedict will best be known as the actor who played the wacky English neighbor Harry Bentley on the sitcom The Jeffersons, Mr. Benedict died at at the age of 70. Benedict's oversized jaw and angular features were partly attributed to acromegaly, a pituitary disorder, he underwent medical treatment to prevent the disease from spreading and used his facial features for comic effect. Benedict stared in films like The Goodbye Girl (1977), The Man with Two Brains (1983) This Is Spinal Tap (1984), The Addams Family (1991) and the Christopher Guest comedies Waiting for Guffman (1997) and A Mighty Wind (2003).

After growing up in Boston (not England), Benedict attended the city's Suffolk University and began his acting career in the 1960s in the Theatre Company of Boston, performing alongside such future stars as Robert De Niro, Dustin Hoffman and Al Pacino.On Broadway, he appeared opposite Pacino in Eugene O'Neill's two-character play Hughie in 1996 and played the mayor in a 2000 revival of The Music Man. His breakthrough show as a director was Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune in 1987, closely followed by The Kathy & Mo Show: Parallel Lives in 1989, both two-person sleepers that became off-Broadway hits.

To quote Paul Benedict, "I try to make each of the characters different. I think the trick is to cement in the reality, to make it logical and real to yourself. Once there's a reality, I think you can make it as crazy as you want it to be".

Good Night Mr. Benedict

Stay Tuned

Tony Figueroa

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Take Out Stories: Dinner, Dykes & Damnation

This Podcast offering comes from an actual event that took place several years ago. We were reminded of this story in light of recent events.

Enjoy, but don't forget to say Grace.

Donna & Tony