Top 10 Performances of the 2000s Tuesday, Dec 22 2009 

With all the magazines and web sites doing recaps of the top 10 of everything of the past decade — what will we call it in the future?  The 2000s?  The oughts? — I decided to put together a few lists of my own.

To start: here are my top 10 movie performances of the 2000s:

10. Heath Ledger, Brokeback Mountain

He’ll be remembered for his psychotic, over-the-top performance in The Dark Knight, but his portrayal of Ennis del Mar in Brokeback Mountain was beautiful in its restraint.  He barely spoke in the film, and as he struggled to hold back his emotion, it couldn’t help but be written all over his face.

9. Penelope Cruz, Volver

Until now, she had been a mediocre, albeit beautiful, actress who happened to be dating Tom Cruise.  But in this movie, speaking in her native Spanish, she exploded into a passionate performance that hit every note.  And she was absolutely, completely, drop-dead, unforgivably gorgeous.  After seeing this movie, I immediately tried styling my makeup and hair like her.  God, if only I had a fraction of that beauty.

8. Jim Carrey, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

This should have been his Oscar movie.  I wish the Academy would look beyond his comedies and reward Jim Carrey for his incredible (and incredibly underrated) acting.  How does a shy, soft-spoken man show rage?  You’ll find out in this movie.

7. Russell Crowe, A Beautiful Mind

Russell Crowe had won the Oscar the year before for Gladiator, but he deserved it more for his performance as brilliant schizophrenic mathematician John Nash.  Whether falling into delusions, then heartbreak, his performance was captivating.

6. Meryl Streep, Julia & Julia

The great debate is whether she was better as Julia Child or Miranda Priestly in The Devil Wears Prada.  Meryl took a historical figure who had been imitated and mocked several times before and turned in a performance that was as well-rounded as it was pitch-perfect.

5. Rinko Kikuchi, Babel

There were plenty of top-notch performances in Babel, including Gael Garcia Bernal, Adriana Barazza, Cate Blanchett and Brad Pitt, but newcomer Rinko Kikuchi was the one who broke my heart as a deaf-mute teen trying to cope with her disability by acting out more and more inappropriately.

4. Diane Keaton, Something’s Gotta Give

Diane Keaton is fabulous in every film she does, but in this movie, she positively glowed.  Even when she shrugged and tipped her head back, it was the most perfect shrug and head tip anyone could ever do.  There wasn’t a weak moment.  And though she was playing a tongue-in-cheek version of herself (as was Jack Nicholson), if only we could all play ourselves so well.

3. Bill Murray, Lost in Translation

Bill Murray losing to Sean Penn was one of the worst Oscar mishaps of the past decade.  Sofia Coppola wrote this role for Bill Murray — a disillusioned movie star adrift in Tokyo, spilling his life to a complete stranger.  But the beauty in this performance is Bill Murray’s humor — he’s on the cusp of being the funniest guy in the room, the life of the party.  And he knows it.  But he doesn’t go all the way.  He’s tired.  He doesn’t see the point.

I don’t think anyone else could have hit the role as well as he did.

2. Jamie Foxx, Ray

The greatest portrayal of a historical figure of all time.  The role Jamie Foxx was born to play.  Nobody even came close that year — it was Jamie, Jamie, Jamie.  And he deserved every bit of it.

1. Johnny Depp, Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl

The most creative and original performance of the 2000s, Captain Jack Sparrow was a new kind of pirate — a flamboyant Keith Richards with a wicked sense of humor.  Johnny not only made the movie and the franchise — he made his career.  And to think that the industry called him box office poison!  He’s now one of the most bankable stars in Hollywood (as well as one of the nicest stars in Hollywood).

Honorable Mentions: Mickey Rourke, The Wrestler; Helen Mirren, The Queen; Robert Downey Jr., Tropic Thunder; Marion Cotillard, La Vie En Rose; Amy Adams, Junebug; Julia Roberts, Erin Brockovich

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Entertainer of the Decade Saturday, Nov 21 2009 

Each year, Entertainment Weekly chooses an Entertainer of the Year.  This year, they’re crowning an Entertainer of the Decade and giving people a chance to offer their ideas.

First of all — end of a decade?!  How weird is that?  What do we even call this decade?  The 2000s?  The oughts?

Anyway, I started thinking about who best exemplifies the entertainer of the decade — someone who was incredible and revolutionary throughout the entire decade, not part of it.

Here are some of my ideas:

Johnny Depp. Every performance was incredible — and he also broke out with Captain Jack Sparrow, arguably the most inventive performance of the decade.  He also broke out as an A-list star, finally getting the recognition he long deserved, and got several Oscar nominations as well.  Think of all the performances: Pirates of the Caribbean, Finding Neverland, Sweeney Todd, Corpse Bride, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory…

Pixar. Taking Disney movies to a new level, this studio churned out massive hits that were perfect for kids and funny enough for adults.  Films during this decade include Monsters, Inc., Finding Nemo, The Incredibles, and the inventive Wall-E.

Kanye West. Love him or hate him, when Kanye West burst onto the scene early in the decade, people couldn’t believe him.  Besides churning out hit songs and producing tons more, being outspoken about just about any issue, and delivering George Bush a beatdown on live TV, he brought fashion to this genre like nobody else (sorry, Diddy).

American Idol. The most popular show of the decade, a permanent fixture in our lexicon, and they managed to turn quite a few nobodies into enormous pop stars, with Carrie Underwood and Kelly Clarkson leading the pack.

iPod/iTunes. They changed the way we listen to music, the way we purchase music, and the way artists release music.  The world will never be the same.

YouTube. It changed TV, music videos, and how view video — and how we entertain ourselves.  Anyone can become a star, but you can never predict what will go viral.

Tina Fey. SNL’s first female head writer, a star on Weekend Update, created and starred in 30 Rock, one of TV’s best comedies, skewered Sarah Palin in a legendary impression, and proved that geeky girls — though beautiful — have a spot in comedy.

The Daily Show. Believe it or not, a comedy show has been the strongest media watchdog out of all of them. This show is as smart as it is hilarious.  It is must-see TV during the presidential elections because it’s the one most likely to point out the absurdities of the candidates and how other networks were reporting.

Britney Spears. We watched her spectacular rise and fall and were captivated every minute of it.  Nobody else better represents the growing popularity of celebrity observation.  In this decade, celebrity blogs grew massively, while celebrity tabloids continued strong, unlike other print media.

But my #1 pick:

J.K. Rowling. She created an incredible, imaginitive world of wizardry with so many layers and details, and who among us hasn’t dreamed of attending Hogwarts?  Both the books and the movies were commercial  and critical hits.  Today, the hottest trend is college Quidditch teams.  Though I think the series would have been better if the final book had ended a few chapters earlier, you can’t deny her influence.  She truly defined this decade.

Any other ideas?

An Open Letter to the State of California Monday, Sep 28 2009 

khloe-lamar

Dear California,

Khloe Kardashian got married last night.  She married Lamar Odom, a player for the Los Angeles Lakers, one month to the day after they met.

Why the rush?  Perhaps because her famous sister Kourtney created a media frenzy when she announced her unplanned pregnancy, then created a new mini-frenzy with dozens of pregnancy statements thereafter.  Khloe realized she could get the same spotlight, minus the stretch marks.

Why are they famous? Well, their sister Kim created a sex tape with Ray-J, pre-“Sexy Can I,” back when he was only known as singer Brandy’s brother.

kim-ray-j

Seriously.  The sex tape spun off into a reality show: Keeping Up with the Kardashians.

Anyway, due to her pseudo-celebrity stature, Khloe’s wedding was paid for by E!, the network on which her reality show airs.  250 guests attended, including E! celebrities Ryan Seacrest and Chelsea Handler.  The cost is estimated to be in the neighborhood of $1 million.

After a tabloid bidding war, the newlyweds will be paid $1 million by OK! for the rights to the photos.

No legal ceremony has taken place.  It may not even get that far.

GAY-MARRIAGE

And yet in the very same state, thousands of same-sex couples do not have the right to marry the people they love.  Though same-sex marriage was legal in California for a few months, it was voted down by a narrow margin by California voters last November.

I know that most people who vote against same-sex marriage, in California or elsewhere, are bigots.  Some of them just aren’t aware.  Many of them cite upholding the “sanctity of marriage” as a factor in their decision.

So, California, I’d like to write you a letter to thank you.

Thanks for taking away the right to marry to thousands of law-abiding citizens, California.  Thanks for denying it to people who want nothing more than to live their lives in peace.  Thanks for keeping it for only people who deserve to be married, like Khloe Kardashian.  She’ll be a great example.

Remembering Michael Friday, Jun 26 2009 

“OH MY GOD. ARE YOU OKAY?”

That was the message that was texted to me over and over and over yesterday.

I LOVE Michael Jackson.  I probably love him an unhealthy amount.

I’m watching a TV that I own because of Michael Jackson.  I went to Budapest because of Michael Jackson.  I even mentioned my habit of solo Michael Jackson dance parties in my Boston Globe blind date.

My friends all know that, and they knew how upset I would be to hear that he passed away yesterday at the age of 50.

Beyond upset.  Devastated.

I don’t have to go into detail about what made Michael amazing — his incredible ability as a performer; his vocal talent and otherworldly dance moves; his influence on fashion and style; his ability to break down barriers; his generous spirit that set a precedent for celebrity philanthropy.

Michael was amazing.

And he made some SICK music.

I’d like to share a few of my favorite Michael stories.

Rocking Halloween

When I was a sophomore in college, I decided to be Michael for Halloween.  This was in 2003, not too long after he dangled the baby over the balcony in Berlin.

As many of you know, I take Halloween VERY seriously.  It’s my favorite holiday.  I always make my own costumes and add every functional detail I can think of.  (I once covered my body with Sharpie for my Amy Winehouse costume and it didn’t wash off for a week.)

Here is my costume:

And while I whitened my face, hemmed my pants, got a fedora and glove and spent a few weeks learning all of the dance moves to Thriller and Smooth Criminal and Billie Jean when I should have been studying philosophy…that’s not what made the costume.  What made this costume was the baby.  I threw it around in the air and flipped it all night.

That won me first prize at Fairfield University.  Oh, and it was one competitive night in terms of costumes!

That won me the TV that sits in my room to this day.

That’s one of my favorite memories of college.

Discovering Budapest

While studying abroad in Florence, my friends and I were deciding where to spend our fall break when I discovered a candy museum in a little town named Szentendre just outside Budapest.

Their star attraction?  The white chocolate statue of Michael Jackson.

mj

I HAD TO SEE IT.  I HAD TO SEE THIS STATUE.

That is what motivated me to convince my friends to make Budapest the first leg of our trip.  (Booking two flights for a total of ONE CENT on WizzAir — NO JOKE — didn’t hurt, either!)

And, you know what?  I loved Budapest.  LOVED it.  To this day, it’s one of my favorite cities.

And it was Michael who brought me there.

Let me finish with a guilty pleasure of my childhood.

Captain EO

Yes, the 80s 3D film from Disney is now on YouTube.

To finish…I’m heartbroken. We’ve lost so much, but his music will live on forever.

Love you, Michael.  May you find the peace you were never able to find here on Earth.

God, I still can’t believe it.

Twitter and Diddy’s Turkey Sandwich Saturday, Mar 14 2009 

I am obsessed with Twitter, and pretty much everyone knows that.  I’ve tweeted everything from meeting celebrities to blow-by-blow accounts of nights out at clubs to even pictures of prospective apartments, asking my followers to weigh in.

Lately, I’ve become a fan of celebrities on Twitter (and yes, it’s really them).  The two funniest celebrities on Twitter (for very different reasons) are Rainn Wilson and Shaq.  Rainn Wilson is insanely witty and smart; Shaq just says the most random things.

Other celebrities I follow include Ashton Kutcher, Demi Moore, Solange Knowles, Lily Allen, Snoop Dogg, MC Hammer, Ellen DeGeneres and the infamous Diddy.

My favorite celebrity tweet was one of Shaq’s — he took a picture of his hand, and it was kind of obvious that he took it while sitting on the toilet but had no idea.  (It was taken in a bathroom…while seated…without a toilet in sight!!)

(Actually, I have another favorite, though it was a fake celebrity.  Fake John McCain, election night, right after Obama won Ohio: “Anyone know if they’re hiring at the Gap?”)

But as of last night, I have a new favorite:

diddyI LOVE IT.

Diddy has over 150,000 followers, so the responses have been numerous.

diddy2It’s not about connecting, sharing interests, promoting my grammar stuff or staying in touch with friends from afar — moments like these are why I live for Twitter.

U2 in Somerville Thursday, Mar 12 2009 

What do you do when you can’t get tickets to the hottest event in Boston?

If you live for adventures, you don’t let that fact get in your way.

U2 just finished a three-concert tour across the United States.  There were stops in Los Angeles, Chicago and Boston.  All the concerts were super-exclusive, invitation-only and in small venues.

And they came to the SOMERVILLE THEATER.

The Somerville Theater in DAVIS SQUARE.  The  theater where I almost had beer spilled onto me during Pineapple Express.  The theater that’s home to the Museum of Bad Art.  The theater where I saw The Slutcracker.

U2!!!

Well, this was the most buzzed-about event to come to Boston in a few months, and the biggest thing to happen to Davis Square — my old neighborhood before I moved to the Back Bay — in YEARS.

Ten thousand people were expected in Davis, so I called Beth (who is a HUGE U2 fan) and we headed up to Davis to hang out outside in the hopes of getting a glimpse of the band.

It was crazy down there!

Ticket holders had to meet up in Assembly Square before they were bussed in.  Talk about exclusivity!

A local office gets into the spirit!

Lisa eventually arrived close to the end of the concert.

We were standing behind the theater because you can always hear concerts from back there.  We couldn’t really hear the music that well, but I downloaded the AOL Radio application so we could listen through Mix 98.5.

They played five songs — “Get On Your Boots,” “Magnificent,” “Breathe,” “I’ll Go Crazy if I Don’t Go Crazy Tonight” and “Vertigo” — and then had a Q&A with the audience.

So we waited.  And waited.

It got to be really cold, but it was worth it —

because U2 came out to see the fans after the concert!!!!!  AND I GOT TO TOUCH 3/4 OF THEM.

First, the Edge!

I GOT A WHOLE HANDFUL OF HIS HAND.

Then, Adam Clayton:

Again, I got his hand!

And then…

BONO!!!!!!!

I touched his arm through his jacket…no skin-on-skin, hand-in-hand contact this time, but still!  It’s BONO!!!  Beth got Bono’s hand and she was nearly hyperventilating in happiness.

What a night!

I also have to say that I was so glad I was there with Lisa and Beth.  We always have a blast, no matter what we’re doing, and this was no exception.  Lisa is always great at toeing the line between idolizing and heckling, which she did with Channel 5 and security in particular.  🙂

Also, a few of our friends and family members saw us on television that night!

During times like these, I love my city SO much.

Best Dressed at the Academy Awards Tuesday, Feb 24 2009 

Here are my picks for the 10 best dressed women at the 2009 Oscars:

Taraji Henson.  This dress is insanely flattering.

Marisa Tomei.  I can only imagine what the pleats looked like after sitting on them all night!

Kate Winslet.  She’s always been one of my favorite actresses — I’m so glad she won.

Anne Hathaway.  Love the pailettes.

Alicia Keys.  If you know me, you know that I adore this color.  Now, is it more lavender or violet?

Viola Davis.  She cleans up NICELY.  She’s unrecognizable from her role in Doubt.

James Franco’s date, Ahna O’Reilly.  I really like this gown.

Halle Berry ALWAYS gets it right.

Christina Applegate.  She looks like a goddess.

And my favorite gown of the night — Freida Pinto.  Such a great color, and so contextually appropriate.

And now for the worst:

Amanda Seyfried.  Love her, but this dress does nothing for her — that neckline, that bow, those shoes…

Vanessa Hudgens.  It’s way too old for her, and from a distance, it looks like it came off the clearance rack at Windsor Fashions.

Amy Adams.  The dress fits beautifully, but it blends into the carpet and clashes with her hair.  I do love that avant-garde necklace, though.  And if the dress were another color, it would have been perfect.

Mary Hart.  A world of no.

And now, the worst gown of the night!  Jessica, what were you thinking?  It fits horribly, it’s a bad cut for your body, and the bow is abominable.  Her hair is awful, too, and that lipstick!  Ugh!

Now, how did she end up wearing the giant napkin when she could have worn this?!  Jessica Biel wore this to the Vanity Fair after-party, and it’s what she should have worn to the ceremony.  Her hair still looks bad, though.

(I would also like to add that I will NOT put Tilda Swinton’s outfit on here because TILDA IS A GODDESS AND SHE CAN DO NO WRONG.)

Now, for the two gowns about which I was on the fence:

Evan Rachel Wood.  I couldn’t decide how I felt about this — I wondered whether it made her look too washed out.  But, you know what?  This gown is GORGEOUS.  Absolutely GORGEOUS.  And she looks great in it, even if it borderline melts into her skin.

Beyonce.  When I first saw it, I LOVED IT.  But the more that I think about it, I don’t think it was a good Academy Awards gown — this would have been PERFECT for the Grammys.  It’s a bit too much for the Oscars.  But I still love it, and it shows off her curves beautifully.

What do you think?

Best Dressed at the Golden Globes Monday, Jan 12 2009 

This was one of my favorite Golden Globes shows.  Kate Winslet FINALLY winning — and twice! — Mickey Rourke and Tracey Jordan Morgan’s speech made it a great night.

As for the fashion, though, I thought this year was a bit lacking.  Not a ton of interesting gowns.  Lots of white.  Lots of gathering.  Form-fitting silhouettes.  I always love the shows when there are tons of people in bright colors.

(Speaking of that, where was Marcia Cross this year?  She’s living proof that redheads can look gorgeous in every color of the rainbow, including coral, fuchsia and white.)

Here are my picks for best-dressed at the awards:

Elizabeth Banks

My favorite dress of the night.  I love the shape of this — it’s very retro and romantic.

Sandra Bullock

She always looks like herself on the red carpet, even when wearing a gown as stunning as this.

Mary-Louise Parker

Awesome color, love the train, love the criss-cross pattern.  Definitely a standout.

Kate Beckinsale

I can’t stand her, but she looks fantastic here.  I absolutely love the neckline.

Maggie Gyllenhaal

If I had gone to an awards show, this is the kind of gown I would have worn.  Offbeat, retro and just toeing the line — you know half the people will hate it the next day.  But better that than to be boring and expected.

Eva Longoria

Ugh, I really can’t stand Eva Longoria, but this is a beautiful gown.  I didn’t think someone as short as her would be able to pull off the mermaid train, but it works well for her.

Miley Cyrus

Now someone I can’t stand at ALL!!  I can guarantee you that everyone at my former job detests her with a passion.  But honestly, this is one of the best gowns of the night.  And get your hand off her ass, Billy Ray.

Kate Winslet

Someone I adore.  I will see Kate Winslet (along with Meryl Streep, Emma Thompson, Jim Carrey and Johnny Depp) in ANYTHING.

This isn’t one of her more daring or unusual gowns…but I love it.  It’s the perfect shape for her body.  It’s mercifully free of cleavage.  And she looks fantastic.

And I have to single out the best-dressed male:

Mickey Rourke

He looks like he’s channeling Johnny Depp here, but it looks like he really means it.  I loved the sequined scarf!

I met Alec Baldwin today. Thursday, Sep 25 2008 

When I heard that Alec Baldwin would be making an book-signing appearance at the Borders right by my office, I knew I had to go.  I am such a big fan of his.

I know what you’re thinking.  He called his daughter a “rude little pig” in a voicemail that made the rounds across the internet a year ago.  Why would I like this guy?

I’ll paraphrase my friend RyanHe is so damn good on 30 Rock, he makes me forget what a bad father he is. Watch the show — the best comedy on TV by FAR — and you’ll understand why he deserves the Emmy that he won on Sunday.

Besides 30 Rock, I love him as an actor.  I’ll watch him in anything.

Alec recently wrote the book A Promise To Ourselves, a memoir of his divorce and an attack on what he calls the “family law industry.”  I don’t really want to read the book, but I did want to get to meet him!

Alec arrived at Borders and, instead of reading, talked about his experiences.  I couldn’t see him from where I was in line, waiting for my book to be signed, but I could hear him.  And he actually made all the divorce stuff sound entertaining — he made a lot of great points.

And then I rounded the corner.

Dear God, he is SO much better-looking in real life than he is on TV. I’m totally serious.  The camera must add something like 30 pounds.

They were ushering people through pretty quickly, so I knew I’d have to be fast.  That didn’t stop the woman in front of me from having an entire conversation with him.

But the best part was that towards the end of the conversation, he was talking to her but looking at me the whole time.  And his eyes are SO blue.

And then it was my turn.

I handed him the book.

Alec: “Hi.  Who should I make it out to?”

Me: “I’m Kate. I LOVE 30 ROCK. And I really wanted to say to you, ‘It’s after six.  What am I, a farmer?'”

Alec laughed.  That’s one of his lines from the show.

Me: “And I love your pieces on the Huffington Post.  Thank you for all that you’re doing.”

Alec: “Thank you very much for coming.  Good luck to you.”

And that was that.

My book says “To Kate — [squiggle].”

Today was a good day.  🙂

Best Dressed at the Emmys Monday, Sep 22 2008 

The Emmys, as usual, weren’t very exciting.  But I’m very happy that 30 Rock swept the comedy awards.  Well deserved.  I LOVE that show.

No matter the outcome of the show, however, I always get excited about the gowns.

Here are my favorites:

Tina Fey

Love her.  Love the gown.

Kate Walsh

Don’t care for her.  Love the gown.

Julia Louis-Dreyfus

Love her.  LOVE this gown!  It’s hard to believe that she used to wear black every year when she was on Seinfeld.  She’s been choosing some great colors lately.

Catherine Keener

Like her.  Not a big fan of tuxes on women in general.  But the first thing that this made me think of was that she was honoring Yves Saint Laurent, who passed away this year and who pretty much created the women’s pantsuit.  A few fashion insiders have said that tuxes would be big with women this year, but I haven’t seen much of them yet.

I just looked it up, and yep, that’s Yves Saint Laurent she’s wearing.  RIP.

Holly Hunter

Like her a lot.  LOVE LOVE LOVE this dress.

Debra Messing

Love her.  Love the dress.

Christina Applegate

Love her.  Love the dress.  She looks fantastic, especially since she just had a double mastectomy.

Heidi Klum

Love her!!  Like the gown a lot.  Seriously, she can do no wrong, fashion-wise.

Best of the night?  I think I’d say Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Holly Hunter and Debra Messing.

What do you think?

VEGAS! Day Four/Night Four: Recovery, Exploration, CHIPPENDALES!! Sunday, Jul 27 2008 

When I last left off, Lisa and I had just finished one of the party-heaviest nights of our lives.  Combine that with a mere four hours of sleep for me (and less for Lisa, who actually went back for more blackjack!) and you have the recipe for a very low-key day.

We decided to just walk around the Strip and see some of the things that we hadn’t seen yet.

This is the escalator at the Forum Shops at Caesars Palace.  It’s not fun with a hangover.

The fountains at the shops.

The shops were cool — very high-end with lots at which to ogle — but we kept taking breaks because we felt so tired from the night before.

Lisa is the Brutus to my Caesar.

Posing in front of the world-famous IP!!!!  We finally made it inside!

And posing outside the M&M Factory.

MEN IN KILTS at Mandalay Bay!  We had to get a pic.

Afterward, Lisa and I met up with Alexa for dinner at the Burger Bar at Mandalay Bay.  I had a veggie burger with pepper jack, avocado and asparagus.  Despite being too sick to eat anything all day, I ate a ton of it — it was so good.  (Would not recommend the zucchini fries, though, unless you like huge battered slabs of zucchini.  The sweet potato fries Lisa got were good.)

CHIPPENDALES!

The show was SO much fun, and quite unexpected, as well.  I was surprised how dirty they got.  Let it be known that if you get called up to be on stage (and believe me, I tried like it was my JOB), you will have guys feeling you up like crazy, as well as making you feel them up.

They faked one girl out into thinking that she had to put a condom on a guy (and it got CLOSE!) then at the last moment, had her do it on a banana instead.

I swear on all that is sacred and holy that the blond one in the top left of the picture kept checking me out all night.  Seriously.

And because everyone keeps asking me, they show their bums quite a few times, but no full-frontal nudity unless you’re one of the girls they call up on stage.

But I HIGHLY recommend Chippendales.  Highly, highly, highly recommend it.  So much fun!

But here was the best part ever, and one of my favorite Vegas stories:

Lisa went up to the bartender to ask if she could get ten ones in exchange for her ten.  Well, the guy actually gets OFFENDED and indignantly tells her, “It’s not that kind of show.”  Lisa, embarrassed out of her mind, returns to her seat, feeling like she’s too inappropriate for Vegas.

I just laughed for a good five minutes.

SHERRI SHEPHERD (from The View) WAS THERE!  She was very nice to take a picture with us.  And you can’t tell from that picture, but she recently lost a ton of weight and her body looks AMAZING.  You should see her legs!

It’s so funny because they called her up on stage and Lisa and I remarked that this woman looked just like Sherri, and it turned out to really be her!  They were filming The View in Vegas all week.

I said what what?  In the…

After the show, Lisa and I headed up to VooDoo Lounge, on top of the Rio, for the best view in Vegas.  The Rio is set pretty far back from the Strip, so the view at night is amazing.

Believe it or not, after that, Lisa wanted to go to a club!  We almost went to Jet, but after the night before, I felt like if I went to yet another club, I would very likely die.  We walked around T.I. for awhile, then headed back to our room.

Seriously, I would not have been in good condition if I had gone to yet another club.

So it was a low-key final night in Vegas, albeit with many hott men (and if only you could see hte professional pictures we got taken of us with three other Chippendales guys!!  I’m too lazy to scan them).  What a trip!

No — thank YOU for being a friend, Estelle Getty. Tuesday, Jul 22 2008 

I knew she had been sick with dementia for a long time, but I was still really sad to find out that Estelle Getty passed away early today.

I’ve been a huge Golden Girls fan since high school, and Sophia was always one of my favorite characters (but how can anyone not love them all?).  She had the best lines on the show. In fact, she MADE that show. I doubt it would have been a success without her one-liners.

After seeing the outpouring of sympathy and shared memories on CNN, YouTube and People, it reinforced how many people loved her.  My favorite comment from a fan: “Her little wicker bag should be in the Smithsonian.”

Here are some of my all-time favorite Sophia quotes:

Dorothy: “Why can’t you sleep on the couch and give Clayton and Doug your room?”
Blanche: “Are you crazy? What will the neighbors think if they see two men in my bedroom?”
Sophia: “They’ll think it’s Tuesday.”

Blanche: “I tried giving up sex.”
Dorothy: “I guess you fell off the wagon.”
Sophia: “And onto a naval base!”

Blanche: “Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to relax in a hot, steamy bath with just enough water to cover my perky bosoms.”
Sophia: “You’re gonna lay in an inch of water?”

Dorothy: “Ma, I waited up until two in the morning for you, and you still weren’t home.”
Sophia: “Oh, yeah.  Me and Gertie went over to Wolfie’s to pick up guys.”
Dorothy: “I called Wolfie’s. You weren’t there.”
Sophia: “Guess who got lucky.”
Dorothy: “Oh, God!”

Dorothy: “Ma, where have you been?”
Sophia: “I always believe that when you’re in a hospital, you should go around and cheer the other patients up.”
Dorothy: “Oh, Ma, that’s so nice.”
Sophia: “Yeah, so I went upstairs to Geriatrics and sang ‘Anything You Can Do, I Can Do Better.'”

Sophia (after losing her glasses): Dorothy, I’m going to my bedroom.
Dorothy: “Okay.” (She walks from the living room to the kitchen. Sophia heads in the wrong direction and goes outside instead. A horn beeps and tires screech.)
Dorothy (running in again): “Ma?…Ma?!…MA!!”
Sophia (coming through the front door): “Who the hell parked their Buick in my bedroom?!”
Dorothy: “Get in here!”

Dorothy: “Blanche, what exactly makes you think he’s your man?”
Sophia: “Who?”
Blanche: “Maybe the fact that I found him first.”
Sophia: “Who?
Rose: “What about the fact that he dumped you for me?”
Sophia: “Who?”
Dorothy: “Laszlo, Ma.”
Sophia: “Who’s Laszlo?”
Rose: “A Hungarian artist we’ve all been posing nude for.”
Sophia: “In the future, a simple ‘none of your business, Sophia’ will suffice.”

Blanche: “Ooh…I’ve got goosebumps. Mel’ll be here any minute.”
Dorothy: “Honey, why are you so jumpy? You’ve been out with Mel a thousand times.”
Blanche: “I know but now there’s more at stake — everything’s changed. It’s all new and exciting. In many ways I…I feel just the way I felt when I was a virgin.”
Sophia: “You mean the feeling isn’t gonna last long?”
Blanche: “Are you implying I lost my virginity at an early age?”
Sophia: “I’m just saying you’re lucky Jack & Jill Magazine didn’t have a gossip column.”
Dorothy: “Ma!”
Sophia: “Hold it, Pussycat. I’m on a roll.”
Blanche: “I’m sorry, Sophia. But I’m not gonna let your skepticism ruin my entire evening. Mel and I were meant to be together.”
Sophia: “I wish I could say the same for your thighs. God, I’m hot tonight!”
Blanche: “I’m not gonna stand for this.”
Sophia: “Take it, Dorothy.”
Dorothy: “But I’ll bet you’ll lie down for it.”
Sophia: “Well, that was just plain rude.”
Blanche: “Some people just don’t know when to quit.”

Sophia: “You know why I call you Pussycat, Pussycat?”
Dorothy: “Why, Ma?  Because you only gave me yarn for Christmas?  Because you fed me once and I hung around?  Because you used to put me out at night?”
Sophia: “Because I love pussycats, and I love you.”  (She kisses Dorothy on the head.  Dorothy is surprised and smiles.  The audience awwwws.)  “And you were the only one who could catch mice.”

Here’s a video of arguably the funniest episode of all time, the episode when Dorothy’s friend Jean, who is gay, visits the girls.  Watch the whole four-minute clip if you have time — it’s hilarious! — but if not, watch Sophia’s reaction to the statement Dorothy makes at 1:14.

This episode eventually leads to my favorite Sophia quote of all time.  The next day, they can’t figure out where Jean slept, since she didn’t sleep in her bedroom.

Dorothy: “Ma, did Jean sleep with you?”
Sophia: “Dorothy, there’s a lot of things I want to do before I die.  That’s not one of them.”

RIP, Estelle.  Thanks for the laughs.

VEGAS! Night Two: Tao Tuesday, Jul 8 2008 

Back to the Vegas recaps!

For our second night out, the three of us went to Tao at the Venetian, both the restaurant and the nightclub.

This was our major dress-up night.  I wore the Cavalli dress I bought on eBay.  Don’t we look fabulous?  🙂

Absolutely EVERYTHING we had at Tao was amazing.  I had the black miso Chilean seabass, while Alexa had lo mein and Lisa had pad thai — all phenomenal — and the tempura we shared (avocado, string beans and onions) was light and delicious.  Our vegetarian spring rolls were hearty and chock full of vegetables.  We finished with an apple spring roll.

And then our waiter (one of the most cheerful waiters I have ever had) brought us free sake that went perfectly with the dessert.  “This is compliments of your personal assistant, Katelyn,” he said.

Meaning ME!  I made the reservation with the account from my old job.  They thought I was one of my clients, despite the fact that the name on the reservation was the same as the name on the account!

The bathrooms are only marked with “Yin” and “Yang.”  We figured out that “Yin” is for women and “Yang” is for men (just think about what rhymes with “Yang” and you’ll get it), though there are male and female statues designating which one is which.

We then decided to switch the statues to freak everyone out.

Hilarious as that would have been, the statues were WAY too heavy for us to move!

The dance floor at Tao.  The girl in the pink and black shirt on the bottom left is wearing the outfit that I wore on Monday!

Alexa took this picture of me in the club bathroom.  It looks really cool.

Alexa also took this picture of Tao Beach, the outdoor part of the club.

Apparently guys find these models (along with the ones in the bathtub, naked and covered with rose petals) sexy.  We found them weird and a little bit hilarious.

Eh, what the hell?  Here they are, too.

Sparklers heralded the birthday of none other than…

RANDY JACKSON!  (Karina Smirnoff and Rosario Dawson were also there, but we didn’t realize that until we read People magazine a week later!)

What was that old guy doing there?!  How about his trophy girlfriend?

Alexa left after a bit, but the Boston Bar Stars — Lisa and I — were there late.  Meaning an hour after the time when clubs in Boston are closed.

Lisa and I then went into the casino and people-watched for awhile, running into one of the guys from TBS’s My Boys, but not knowing who he was at the time (only knowing that he was famous)!

Tao was a LOT of fun, and it was definitely more visually stunning than PURE.  Our VIP host was great.  The only thing is that it took a while to get going.  It wasn’t until about 1:30 or 2:00 or so before the music got good — party hip-hop! — and Lisa and I got into our club groove.  Since we weren’t drinking much, it took us longer to get into that zone.

The crowd was a little bit strange, and again, there were so many more guys than girls.  At one point, we were surrounded by entirely guys in two concentric circles, like a Greek or Jewish dance!

The worst thing, though, was the wait at the bar.  We waited about HALF AN HOUR for drinks, and then decided that those drinks would be our last.  I can’t stand it when the bartenders only pay attention to the girls around you, and they ask them what they want, and the girls say, “Um…wait, what do you want again?” to all ten of their friends.  Sheesh.

I would definitely go to Tao again.  It’s definitely a sceney place on Saturdays — but also abominably crowded.

Keep in mind that if you go there for dinner, you can get into a separate, faster line at the club.  Not that we knew anything about that — we had our VIP treatment all the way!

And the adventures continue…

VEGAS! Day Two: Sightseeing on the Strip Saturday, Jul 5 2008 

Despite the late night, Lisa and I were jetlagged and awake by 9:00 AM.  Alexa got in around 11:00 AM, and in the meantime, we watched a bit of What About Bob?, coincidentally one of her all-time favorite movies.

First, check out our room:

T.I. is a FANTASTIC space to stay.  The price you pay is on par with aging casinos like the Flamingo, but the gorgeous rooms, the amazingly comfortable beds, the incredible location by the Wynn, the Venetian, the Palazzo and the Mirage and the AWESOME buffet at T.I. make it an INCREDIBLE bargain.  I highly, highly recommend it.  If you’re considering the IP or the Stratosphere or something else low-priced, come here instead.  It is so worth it.

After Alexa arrived and got settled in her room with her boyfriend, Grant, who was at T.I. playing poker for the past week (he plays full-time), we headed down to the Paris for brunch at Le Village Buffet.

Le Village was fun, especially since stations were based on regions in France (Alsace, Normandy, Brittany, Provence, etc.).  They also had the BEST scrambled eggs I have ever had.

I also had a tiny cheat on my vegetarian diet, which I’ve been following for five months — a baby quiche lorraine, one of my favorite foods, which has bacon in it.  I should start making it at home with soy bacon.

Alexa got these plates of desserts for the three of us to share.  Yummy cannolis.

Scandal!

Lisa gets hott for the card.

The Paris was really nice, but a bit too theme park-y for me.

We then walked down to the mall at Planet Hollywood.

The original Incredible Hulk was there signing autographs.

I pose with the dress Michelle Obama wore on The View earlier that week!

This made me happy — I never see the real spelling of my name anywhere!

We considered buying this for Beth, then decided against it.

If you know Lisa, you know that this picture was an inevitability.

After that, we walked to the MGM Grand, the Monte Carlo, and then one of my favorites, the Bellagio.

This is in front of the lake at the Bellagio.

The Murano glass ceiling at the Bellagio was amazing…

…as was the Conservatory…

…as was the world’s largest chocolate fountain!  (Just for future reference, they generally don’t approve of dipping your hand in and licking it.)  I loved the Bellagio!

The canals at the Venetian.  Much cleaner, calmer and better-smelling than the real Venice!

That night, we headed to Tao.  The adventures will be chronicled in later entries…

David Cook: Guitar Hero Thursday, May 22 2008 

If watching this over and over (and over) again is wrong, I don’t want to be right.

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