Steve Buscemi

SOUNDS FROM EMPIRE --- If you're a fan of HBO's Boardwalk Empire, you're going to love the just-released compendium of music from the Terry Winter show that literally bursts forth with some of the best vinyl-classics from the 1920s re recorded by some of the top contemporary artists around, including Regina Spektor, Loudon Wainwright III, Martha Wainwright, Catherine Russell, Nellie McKay and Leon Redbone. The album's just out in tandem with the show's second season premier last week on HBO. Spektor's version of “My Man,” originally made popular in 1921 by Ziegfeld follies singer Fanny Brice, is priceless. Also, current day New York-jazz band Vince Giordano and The Nighthawks who appear regularly on the show as the house band at Babette's Nightclub, contribute five modern-day renditions of key songs from that era, including “Magic” and “Dark Town Strutters Ball.” We also loved Catherine Russell's “Crazy Blues,” Nellie Mckay's “Wild Romantic Blues” and Redbone's “Sheik of Araby.” As a long-time fan of the acerbic and wholly-original Redbone, we're tempted to say that this is indeed the perfect format for him. An acquired taste for sure; I'll never forget his first national TV appearance on SNL in 1975 (Season 1), where he literally stunned the audience (in the studio and beyond) he is, simply unique … in every way. Though I haven't been drawn into this show as I have Winter's last show, a little show called The Sopranos, I will admit to star-Steve Buscemi's tremendous acting prowess; I mean, from what I've seen … he carries the show on his shoulders! The show, set in Atlantic City at the dawn of Prohibition, when the sale of alcohol became illegal throughout the United States. The album’s is spot-on terrific. If you're a fan … essential!


Christina Ricci

TV HITS & MISSES --- Call me superstitious, but this current TV season far .. I am liking very much. Certainly much more than I would have thought. On Sunday we positioned over some early favorites and now, I've got a few more: Pam Am which I watched last night, I just loved. Part-Casablanca, part-soap … the premise is of the lives of the first class of Pam Am stewardesses and their unfolding personal lives. One's a part-time spy; another, just postponed her wedding. … and, they all have stories to tell. They have an interesting device, where they go back to one's past and you see it unfold onscreen. Yes, I know it seems a bit shady at first, but it all works; terrifically well in fact. You have to pay attention to what happened and then you appreciate the payoff that much more. I'm wasn't that at all familiar with the faces which was probably a good thing, as I could focus fully on the story. Christina Ricci (as Maggi) does have a starring role and we also caught Rent's Will Chase in a juicy role as a duplicitous husband carrying on an affair with one of the stews .. the French-one. Kelli Garner (Kate) is the one who exited her wedding had a running plot as a photo of her appeared on the cover of Life magazine, thereby granting her instant celebrity literally everywhere. Good plot point indeed. We loved the show from producer Jack Orman, whose done similar duty on ER, JAG and Men Of A Certain Age. It's got a good feel so far; I think it'll be a hit. Fox's much heralded two-hour premiere of the sci-fi Spielberg epic Terra Nova was pretty enjoyable as well. Spielberg's other TV opus, on TNT, called Falling Skies premiered earlier this year and was equally as good, although nowhere near as expensive looking. Noah Wyle carried the earlier show and in my opinion made it work … even when he entered the alien-spaceship at the ending of Season 1 ... what? Nova, starring the sensational Jason O'Mara (Life On Mars) and Stephen Lang (Avatar), tells the tale of a group of people who go back in time to essentially start-over; as the current-day world has about come to an end. Terrific graphics and CGI … and, all those dinosaurs are pretty cool. As always, a good narrative doesn't hurt and this one moves swiftly and competently. The performers are all excellent and Mara is sensational and oddly, doesn't seem too far removed from his earlier character-portrayal on Mars. Seems that even in the new world, there exists the nay sayers and Mara's character has joined the security end to assist Lang in sussing them out. Costing upwards of $4 million an episode, it's a big gamble for any network. They got 9 million viewers for the first show, which isn't bad (although 28 turned out for the premiere last week of Two And-A-Half Men.) So, the Nova people, spent about $2 for every person who watched the pilot … ouch! The fourth season of CBS' The Mentalist resolves last-season's cliff-hanger when Patrick Jane seemingly killed his nemesis-Red John. Needless to say, Jane is ultimately freed, but with the chilling proclamation that the man he shot, probably isn’t Red John after all! Simon Baker who essays the character is just dazzling. What he does on screen looks easy I guess, but he's simply sensational. This is a show (from Rome's -2005- Bruno Heller) where the writing is so good, that it's just a delight to watch. The rest of the cast is superb, but Baker is firing on all cylinders. Great show! Also, Poppy Montgomery's new show Unforgettable, with Dylan Walsh and Michael Gaston. The show features the title character who remembers everything. Inspired by the recent disclosure by actress Marilu Henner, who remembers everything; it's a fresh take on the all-too usual who-done-it. Great performances from both actors. This one's a keeper too.


Steve Martin

SNL IS 37 --- Can Saturday Night Live really be 37 years old? I watched last weekend's premiere with Alec Baldwin, I believe hosting for a 16th time, and found myself enjoying it mostly. Baldwin's opening with an unexpected Steve Martin (and, drug-expert Seth Rogen ) was pretty good. Baldwin certainly looks great these days with a reported sugar-free diet and a new Yoga-girlfriend. Musical guest Radiohead was terrific … but, somewhat eerie; it's easy to see why they've yet to become mainstream favorites. The writing was pretty good too - thank you Seth Meyers. I hope they get some inspired hosts this year .... how about: Micky Dolenz? Confirmed upcoming hosts will be: Ben Stiller and Anna Farris.


Andy Rooney

BYE BYE ANDY --- This Sunday's 60 Minutes with Andy Rooney will be his last. After 1097 episodes, he's calling it quits. He's been a fixture of the news magazine show since 1978. It will be preceded by a segment in which Rooney looks back on his career in an interview with Morley Safer.“There’s nobody like Andy and there never will be. He'll hate hearing this, but he’s an American original,” said Jeff Fager, from CBS News. “His contributions to 60 Minutes are immeasurable. It's harder for him to do it every week, but he will always have the ability to speak his mind when the urge hits him.” Rooney began his run on 60 Minutes in July 1978 with an essay about the reporting of automobile fatalities on the Independence Day weekend. I can say without hesitation; that although I always found him irascible as hell, he always captivated me every time he was on ...


Paul Simon

PAUL SIMON'S NIGHT --- Thank God for our pal Tom Cuddy. He gave us a copy of a recent Paul Simon concert from NY's Webster Hall ... and, it is just superb. We're only half-way through, but it is a brand-new Simon: relaxed, composed, funny ... just sensational. Simon's always been a most mercurial performer. If I recall correctly, David Browne in his recent book Fire And rain claimed Simon recorded vocals for one of his signature songs, literally over and over; igniting frustration from his studio-mates. The Webster Hall is one of his best ever ... 4 guitarists, accordion ... amazing! We'll have a report next time! Love it!

Photos By: RD/Walter McBride/Dziekan/Kirkland/Orchon/Leon/Retna


Anonymous said…
Thanks for the wonderful review of The Boardwalk Empire CD ! The 1920s/early 30s big band who plays and accompanies all the singers: Vince Giordano and the Nighthawks play in Times Square every Monday and Tuesday night at Sofia's [downstairs] 221 W.46th [between Broadway and 8th]. They play from 8pm-11pm and the phone number is 212 719 5799.