Wednesday, April 30, 2008

"Forgetting Sarah Marshall"

4th\SW Quadrant The Approval Matrix

From the guys who brought you "The 40-Year-Old Virgin" and "Knocked Up"

The ultimate romantic disaster movie

When Peter got dumped by his girlfriend, he wanted to get as far away as possible.

Apparently... so did she

A comedy about getting dumped, and taking it like a man.


CNN Reporter Arrested with Meth and Dildo

4th\SE Quadrant The Approval Matrix

CNN and CNN International reporter Richard Quest has predictably gone into rehab as part of a plea deal with prosecutors. You may remember that Quest was arrested with methamphetamine in his pocket in Central Park last Friday. Equally surprising was that Quest had a rope tied around his genitalia and some sort of sex toy in his boot at the time. Quest was in the park around 3:45 in the morning, well after it’s closed. I’m guessing it was the rope that made police really pay attention – otherwise they probably would have just yelled at him to get out of the park. -- Celebitchy

Aston Martin Driven into Lake

4th\SW Quadrant The Approval Matrix

The car being used in the latest James Bond film plunged into a lake in northern Italy while being driven to the set.

Producers say the driver of the Aston Martin was taken to a hospital with minor injuries. They say James Bond's iconic car was being delivered to the filming unit in heavy rain on Saturday morning when it went off the road and plunged into Lake Garda. -- MSNBC

Raw : Aftermath Of James Bond's Aston Martin.
Recovery crews get ready to send bonds car to the scrap yard after a stuntman decided to take it for a swim. -- Live Leak

Mark McKinney Crushes Own Head

3rd\SE Quadrant The Approval Matrix

Mr. Tyzik (a.k.a. The Headcrusher) is a character portrayed by Mark McKinney on the sketch comedy show Kids in the Hall. He is a lonely man who disapproves of seemingly everyone, especially those he considers business men and trendy people. He calls them flatheads because in his mind their heads deserve to be crushed. He is more than willing to help by pretending to crush their heads from a distance with his fingers, using forced perspective, while enthusiastically declaring "I'm crushing your head! I'm crushing your head!" in a high-pitched nasal voice with a slight eastern European accent then making a crushing noise. Because of this he is often referred to as the Headcrusher. In his own words: "Not everyone deserves to have their head crushed, just 99.99999% of them." When Mr. Tyzik is not actively crushing someone's head, he is talking to himself about why someone near him deserves to have their head crushed. -- Wikipedia

Scott Thompson set the tone early at the Kids in the Hall show at the Nokia Theatre Saturday. Delivering a monologue as the fabulous Buddy Cole, Thompson noted the hint of “incest, regret, and traffic jams” in the air. “The Pope must be in town!” His Holiness likely wouldn’t have approved of much of the show — a tight 90 minutes that revived numerous characters from the Kids’ past, from Mr. Tyzik, who crushed the heads of all the members of the troupe... -- NY Mag

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

"The Paper"

3rd\SE Quadrant The Approval Matrix

Welcome to Cypress Bay High School -- home of the award-winning newspaper The Circuit. Its fiercely competitive student staff exhibits the aptitude, pride and ambition of future leaders, and they want the world to know it.

Between struggling to keep the peace with each other, maintaining good grades and managing extracurricular activities, these students have their hands full. But they still put their hearts and souls into writing memorable stories and making the best paper they possibly can.

Every day, the paper's dynamic personalities battle it out to see who has what it takes to produce news that's fit to print. Journalism is taken very seriously at The Circuit, and its staff is a truly ambitious bunch. -- MTV

DAVID FORD - "Go To Hell"

3rd\SE Quadrant The Approval Matrix

Live - one camera, one take.

"Google?" "Microsoft and Yahoo!"

3rd\SE Quadrant The Approval Matrix

“Table and immediately adjacent area in strong white light. Rest of stage in darkness.” This ultra-minimalist bit of stage direction — from Krapp’s Last Tape, by Samuel Beckett — could easily apply to talk-show host Charlie Rose’s somewhat spooky conversational lair.

And although, sadly, we’ll never get to watch Mr. Beckett “for the hour” with Mr. Rose, filmmaker Andrew Filippone Jr. has imagined a sidesplitting and weirdly profound three-minute vision of both men’s styles colliding. In a confrontation reminiscent of another Charlie (Kaufman) facing down his twin brother in Adaptation, this Charlie takes on his most challenging guest ever: Charlie Rose. The topic — the future of technology — is apt, considering how we found this Web gem hiding in the tall grass of YouTube’s lonelygirls and soccer highlights.
-- Very Short List

by Samuel Beckett"

"Locked Up Abroad"

3rd\SE Quadrant The Approval Matrix

Overview: True stories of people who have ended up miles from home, in a foreign land in a situation beyond their worst nightmares. From travelers who fell foul of the law and found themselves behind bars, to an adventurer who strayed too far off the beaten track and found himself hostage, Locked Up Abroad tells their stories. -- National Geographic

Richard Jenkins in "The Visitor"

2nd\NE Quadrant The Approval Matrix

By The New York Times\JEREMY W. PETERS

In “The Visitor,” a new film by Thomas McCarthy that opens in New York and Los Angeles on Friday, Mr. Jenkins plays Walter Vale, a lonely, bored and widowed economics professor who finds his orderly life shaken and then transformed by two illegal immigrants he discovers in his Manhattan pied-à-terre.

Vale is in many ways a reflection and creation of Mr. Jenkins himself. Both are contemplative and earnest men, making it difficult to tell where Mr. Jenkins ends and Vale begins.

That is because Mr. Jenkins worked directly with Mr. McCarthy, who wrote the script with the actor in mind, to shape Vale’s character development. The actor and director collaborated on the character’s every trait, from the lines he speaks to the glasses he wears.

"Rutka's Notebook: A Voice from the Holocaust"

2nd\NE Quadrant The Approval Matrix

Book Description:

Rutka Laskier, a 14-year-old Jewish girl in the town of Bedzin in Poland, died in Auschwitz in 1943. But she left behind a notebook in which she recorded her thoughts, fears and dreams. Some are the musings of any adolescent girl; others are the despairing cries of an individual caught in history's vortex. Now, after 60 years in the keeping of a friend, that notebook has been recovered - and it opens a unique, moving window into the everyday life of Polish Jews caught in the throes of Adolf Hitler's Final Solution. Hailed as the "Polish Anne Frank," Rutka Laskier now speaks to us across the decades: a witness to evil, a voice for the silent, and a timeless symbol of resolve. The editors of TIME add annotations, photos, maps, and quotations that help bring this tragic era into compelling focus for today's readers.
-- Amazon

Jeff Koons at MET

2nd\NE Quadrant The Approval Matrix

By The Independent

On Monday evening in New York, Jeff Koons found what seems the perfect place to symbolise his primacy over the American art market: the roof of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

The Cantor Roof Garden at the Met mounts a seasonal outdoor sculpture show every spring. This year it is Koons's turn, and he is showing off three sculptures in the idiom with which he's most at home: a blown-up, buffed-up, glossily shiny version of small objects. In this case, a chocolate heart wrapped in red cellophane, a twisty-balloon dog, and a badly coloured picture of Piglet from a Winnie the Pooh colouring-book.

Jeff Koons on the Roof is at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York until 26 October

Jeff Koons at Met Museum, New York (April 2008)

Monday, April 28, 2008

Guy Maddin's "My Winnipeg" at Tribeca Film Festival

2nd\NE Quadrant The Approval Matrix

Film Description and Director Biography:

With his latest work, My Winnipeg, iconoclastic filmmaker Guy Maddin continues in the freewheeling, genre-bending tradition that has made him one of Canada’s most consistently intriguing and internationally respected artists. But even his devoted fans may be surprised by the nature of his new film: a documentary (or “docu-fantasia,” as he describes it) about his hometown. Equal parts mystical rumination and personal history, city chronicle and deranged post-Freudian proletarian fantasy, My Winnipeg – which is framed as a goodbye letter – blends local myth with childhood trauma. Somehow, it all feels seamlessly assembled, utterly if perversely logical.

Guy Maddin was born in Winnipeg. He directed his debut feature, Tales from the Gimli Hospital, in 1988. His short The Heart of the World, created for the Festival’s Preludes in 2000, won a Genie Award. -- tiff07

Show Times at the 2008 TRIBECA FILM FESTIVAL:
Wed, Apr 30, 10:30PM AMC 19th St. East 1
Sun, May 04, 1:15PM Village East Cinema 6

Jackie Robinson Museum Coming to SoHo

2nd\NE Quadrant The Approval Matrix

It's full speed ahead for the Jackie Robinson museum being planned in SoHo [75 Varick Street]. Ralph Appelbaum, the designer behind the U.S. Holocaust Museum, will helm the Nike-funded project.

Yanks honcho George Steinbrenner and Mets owner Fred Wilpon each has made a seven-figure donation to the museum, which Robinson's widow calls "one of my last great dreams."

Bill Cosby, Clive Davis, Spike Lee, Jordin Sparks and George Lucas toasted the new endeavor Monday [March 3, 2008] night at the Jackie Robinson Foundation's annual awards dinner.
-- Daily News

Airlines to Charge for Checking Two Bags

1st\NW Quadrant The Approval Matrix

(Mark Graham for The New York Times)

By The New York Times

Five of the six major airlines in the United States plan to start charging coach passengers as much as $25 next month to check a second bag, the latest move in their quest to offset high fuel prices.

But while the airlines, and even some industry specialists, say they expect the fees will primarily affect leisure travelers, business travelers beg to differ.

“For people traveling with samples or trade show materials, they’re going to find their costs are substantially higher,” an airline industry analyst, Robert Mann, said. “It’s really not limited to leisure travelers.”

The new fee of $25 for a second bag is being levied by Continental, Delta, Northwest, United and US Airways. The low-fare carrier AirTran has announced that it will charge $10 for a second checked bag.

Clinton Ad Accuses Obama

1st\NW Quadrant The Approval Matrix

The six-week Pennsylvania presidential primary drew to a contentious finish with Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton invoking images of Pearl Harbor and Osama bin Laden in a television ad that questioned Senator Barack Obama's ability to lead in a time of crisis.

As she sought to make a comeback in the Democratic nominating contest, Clinton warned voters not to "take a leap of faith or have any guesswork" as they cast ballots Tuesday [April 22, 2008]. The Obama campaign accused its rival of employing the "politics of fear."

While Obama spent nearly twice as much money as Clinton on television ads in the final days of the race here, her new commercial used historic images and threatening moments to ask voters whom they could trust in the White House. It did not mention Obama by name, but closed with a question: "Who do you think has what it takes?"

Obama, after three days of criticizing his opponent with some of his sharpest language of the campaign, did not directly engage Clinton. His campaign hastily responded with an advertisement of its own, asking voters: "Who in times of challenge will unite us - not use fear and calculation to divide us?" -- International Herald Tribune

Yoko Ono Sues

1st\NW Quadrant The Approval Matrix

Beatle John Lennon's widow Yoko Ono is suing two companies over the rights to videos of her late husband, one of which shows Lennon smoking marijuana, composing songs and wondering if he should drug Richard Nixon.

World Wide Video has filed its own lawsuit claiming ownership of the video that it has titled "3 Days in the Life," billing it as "a most intimate and no-holds-barred" look at Lennon's private life with his family and friends.

The video, shot by Cox, includes images of Lennon smoking marijuana, speculating about lacing then-US president Richard Nixon's tea with LSD, and composing songs including "Remember" and "Mind Games." -- Yahoo! News

Lauren Bush's FEED Bag

1st\NW Quadrant The Approval Matrix

By Bag Snob\Tina

The fashion world has gone green if you haven't noticed. Lauren Bush is the latest celeb to jump on the eco-conscious wagon with her "Feed Bag" made of natural burlap and cotton. Bush has been the honorary spokesperson for WFP for the last three years and has traveled around the world extensively to help with food aid. is the exclusive retailer of the Feed bag with proceeds directly benefiting United Nations' World Food Program. It retails for $59.95 and is reversible. Each bag sold will bring in $34 to WFP, enough to provide one starving child lunch every school day for an entire year.

The Feed Bag is reversible, this is the backside, the white is the reversible way of using it. 1 is for the number of child buying this bag will feed for a year (school lunch).

Ben Stein's "Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed"

1st\NW Quadrant The Approval Matrix


Ben realizes that he has been “Expelled,” and that educators and scientists are being ridiculed, denied tenure and even fired – for the “crime” of merely believing that there might be evidence of “design” in nature, and that perhaps life is not just the result of accidental, random chance.

Ben travels the world on his quest, and learns an awe-inspiring truth…that bewilders him, then angers him…and then spurs him to action!

His heroic and, at times, shocking journey confronting the world’s top scientists, educators and philosophers, regarding the persecution of the many by an elite few. -- Expelled the Movie

Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed (Super Trailer)
The Approval Matrix: Week of May 5, 2008

Friday, April 25, 2008

McCain, Obama, and Clinton on "American Idol"

4th\SW Quadrant The Approval Matrix

Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and John McCain all made prerecorded cameos to help Idol Gives Back, the fund-raising arm of talent show "American Idol," which aired Wednesday night.

"If we take steps to help our neighbors, whether next door or in another state or country, collectively we can make the world a better place and give our children a brighter future," Clinton said.
"I can tell you that each donation will make a difference," she added.

As the dad of two girls who are "big 'American Idol' fans," Obama said he "cares deeply about what tonight's show is all about.

"Whether it's across the street or around the world, Idol Gives Back is proving that when ordinary people come together, they can do extraordinary things," Obama added.

"American Idol" is a lot like a presidential primary election. Except for people who live in Michigan and Florida - their votes actually count," McCain cracked.

"Thank you in advance for all that I am sure you will do. As for me, it's back to work on my new immigration plan . . . Watch your back, Simon," he added -- Daily News

"American Idol" - McCain, Obama, and Clinton (Super HD)

"My Beautiful Mommy"

4th\SW Quadrant The Approval Matrix

A must-have for any mother with young children considering plastic surgery.

Join a young girl as her Mommy goes through her plastic surgery experience, and learn how the entire family pitches in to help Mommy achieve her beautiful results.

Undergoing a plastic surgery procedure can be an exciting and stressful time for you and your family. This book will make your plastic surgery experience more understandable to your little ones. -- My Beautiful Mommy

Dr. Michael Salzhauer, a renowned plastic surgeon, wrote My Beautiful Mommy to help patients explain their transformation to their children. The story guides children through Mommy's surgery and healing process in a friendly, nonthreatening way. -- Big Ten Books

Bobby Brown Tell-All

4th\SW Quadrant The Approval Matrix

By Black Voices

... the forthcoming memoir 'Being Bobby Brown: The Truth and Nothing But ...,' Brown let's loose on an array of controversial subjects, dishes dirt on fellow celebs and make startling self revelations. has exclusively obtained an advance copy of the tome, which was written with biographer/publisher Derrick Handspike and will be independently published via Down South Books this spring.

In the scorching page-turner, the former New Edition front-man doesn't only pontificate on his 14-year marriage to Whitney Houston (as all of the mainstream media seem to be harping on) today, he also spoke candidly about his affairs with Janet Jackson and former video vixen Karrine Steffans.

"The Bank Job"

Plot Summary: Based on the true story of the 1971 Baker Street bank robbery which was prevented from being told for over thirty years because of a Government gagging order. The real story of how one of the biggest robberies in British history took place with no arrests ever made nor money ever recovered. -- IMDb\Written by Mark Thomas


Thursday, April 24, 2008

"Bulging Brides"

4th\SW Quadrant The Approval Matrix

About the Show:

It's less than two months before the Big Day and the gown doesn't fit. Call in the "Dream Team" and watch these brides go from flab to fab just in time for the walk down the aisle!

1st Episode Synopsis: Over the last two years Sarah [above] has packed on the pounds. Now she’s upset and frustrated that her wedding dress doesn’t fit. Will six weeks of strenuous exercise and balanced nutrition undo the caloric catastrophes of the past? -- WE tv

Ranger Sean Avery

4th\SW Quadrant The Approval Matrix

By The Daily News

Devils goalie Martin Brodeur laughed off Sean Avery's unusual attempt to distract him during Sunday night's Game 3 of the Eastern Conference first-round series at the Garden, but the NHL certainly did not.

After seeing Avery plant himself in front of Brodeur and wave his hands and stick in the goalie's face as the Devils tried to defend a 5-on-3 that eventually resulted in a goal by Avery, NHL director of hockey operations Colin Campbell made it clear yesterday that such faceguarding will be penalized from now on.

"An unsportsmanlike conduct minor penalty will be interpreted and applied, effective immediately, to a situation when an offensive player positions himself facing the opposition goaltender and engages in actions such as waving his arms or stick in front of the goaltender's face, for the purpose of improperly interfering with and/or distracting the goaltender as opposed to positioning himself to try to make a play," Campbell said in statement.

Avery, who has a long history of run-ins with Brodeur, camped out in front of the crease and put on a show reminiscient of a grade schooler playing an "I'm not touching you" game. Rangers forward Chris Drury told Avery to keep his stick down, trying to prevent a disallowed goal because of the high stick, but Avery wound up scoring on a regular shot and no penalty was ever called.

The screen, the battle, the goal. Keep your eyes on Brodeur and Avery on the right.

The screen, the battle, the goal. Keep your eyes on Brodeur and Avery on the right. Ads

4th\SW Quadrant The Approval Matrix

"We no longer want to hit that"

"30 Rock" is back! In last night's episode [April 10, 2008], Tina's character, Liz, is asked to pen a new show for the star of the faux reality show "MILF Island." In the clip above, Liz defends her "integrity" while her boss Jack Donaghy (Alec Baldwin) tries to convince her that "'MILF Island' reflects the drama of the human experience, and isn't that the essence of art?" It even has relay races!
-- Jezebel

When the contestants of "MILF Island" were voted off, they were told "We no longer want to hit that."

"Cop in the Hood"

3rd\SE Quadrant The Approval Matrix

Publishers Weekly : Moskos frankly records his experiences with poverty, violence, drugs and despair in the gritty ghetto. Moskos's overview of policing problems covers everything from arrest quotas, corrupt cops and excess paperwork to the reliance on patrolling in cars, responding to a barrage of 911 calls, rather than patrolling on foot to prevent crimes. Moskos blends narrative and analysis, adding an authoritative tone to this adrenaline-accelerating night ride that reveals the stark realities of law enforcement while illuminating little-known aspects of police procedures.

The first chapter can be read here.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Robbie Williams' "Goodbye To The Normals"

3rd\SE Quadrant The Approval Matrix

Audrey Tautou in "Priceless"

3rd\SE Quadrant The Approval Matrix

She only dated men with money... until she met a man with heart.

Jean (Gad Elmaleh), a shy waiter working in a grand hotel, is mistaken for a young millionaire by beautiful, scheming adventuress Irene (Audrey Tautou). When she discovers his lowly status, Irene beats a quick retreat. But love-struck Jean has no intention of letting her escape, and pursues her to the Cote d'Azur. Quickly running out of money, he adopts his beloved's lifestyle, setting himself up as a gigolo and moving in to a magnificent luxury hotel. Irene at last accepts this new Jean. She starts to give him advice, she grows closer and closer to him, not realising that love is working its subtle magic on her too.

Pierre Salvadori (After you - Après vous) directs this sexy and thoroughly charming romantic comedy - which is a fresh re-imagining of the cinema classic, Breakfast at Tiffany's.
-- The CIA


Comme des Garçons Designs for H&M

3rd\SE Quadrant The Approval Matrix

Comme des Garçons’ founder and head designer Rei Kawakubo will create this autumn’s guest designer collection at H&M. Rei Kawakubo, famous and admired for her creativity and artistry, will design a women’s and a men’s collection, with some pieces for children too. Accessories and an exclusive unisex fragrance will also be included in the collection.

"I have always been interested in the balance between creation and business. It is a dilemma, although for me creation has always been the first priority. It is a fascinating challenge to work with H&M since it is a chance to take the dilemma to its extreme, and try to solve it", says Rei Kawakubo, Comme des Garçons. -- H&M

3rd\SE Quadrant The Approval Matrix

Daniel Reichard in "Candide"

2nd\NE Quadrant The Approval Matrix

After three years of playing Bob Gaudio, a.k.a. that guy who sings "Oh What a Night," in the blockbuster Four Seasons musical Jersey Boys, Daniel Reichard decided to take a break from finger-snapping and side-stepping to play the ebullient title character in Leonard Bernstein's opera-musical Candide at New York City Opera ... NYMag

This item is a little irrelevant since "Candide" only ran through April 20.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Black Cab Sessions

2nd\NE Quadrant The Approval Matrix




Black Cab Sessions. Chapter Twenty-Eight: Benjamin Zephaniah

The Black Cab Sessions. Chapter Thirty-Three: Killa Kela

Bobby McFerrin’s “The Wizard of Oz” Performance

2nd\NE Quadrant The Approval Matrix

By The New York Times\ALLAN KOZINN

How often have you seen an adult Carnegie Hall audience sing “The Itsy Bitsy Spider,” complete with the hand gestures?

Bobby McFerrin’s Perspectives series at Carnegie Hall mainly confirms what we already know about him: that his musicality runs deep and that he recognizes no stylistic boundaries. Some of his programs return him to his roots as an idiosyncratic jazz singer with a sharp ear for improvisation and a phenomenal circular-breathing technique that lets him spin out long, athletic lines with built-in accompaniments, sometimes augmented by chest thumping to suggest percussion. He also has an uncanny ability to bring out your inner child. (To get the audience to do the movements for “Itsy Bitsy Spider” on Thursday evening he said, “It’s only half a song without the choreography.”)

But the highlight was the finale, an irresistible compressed version of “The Wizard of Oz,” in which Mr. McFerrin mimicked the film’s voices (witches, munchkins and all) and touched on most of its songs.

Bobby McFerrin performs on April 23 at Carnegie Hall; (212) 247-7800,

This is a short underground video of McFerrin performing "The Wizard of Oz" in Nappa Valley.

Puppetry in "Satyagraha"

2nd\NE Quadrant The Approval Matrix

Richard Croft, in white, as Mohandas K. Gandhi in the Philip Glass opera "Satyagraha," which depicts Gandhi's path to spirituality and political activism in South Africa.

(All photos courtesy of Sara Krulwich/The New York Times)

This New York Times' video gives some interesting information about the play, and the puppets.

"Wiener Werkstätte Jewelry Show"

2nd\NE Quadrant The Approval Matrix

By The New York Times

Romantic artists of the 19th century viewed the Industrial Revolution with wary skepticism, if not fear and loathing. That machines might replace skilled artisans and fill the world with affordable but ugly, poorly made junk was a disheartening prospect. So in late-19th-century England the Arts and Crafts movement developed, and in Vienna the Wiener Werkstätte was born. Both promoted the viability of good design and fine craftsmanship in the modern world.

Neither effort was economically successful in the long run, but the artists and craftsmen did deliver on their promise to produce soulful, enduringly beautiful and useful objects — from pottery, book bindings and glassware to furniture and whole houses.

Just how beautiful the products could be is demonstrated in an exhibition at the Neue Galerie focusing on jewelry from the Wiener Werkstätte (literally, Vienna Workshops). This visually stunning show of about 40 pieces was organized by Janis Staggs, assistant curator at the museum.

The exhibition runs through June 30 at the Neue Galerie, 1048 Fifth Avenue, at 86th Street, (212)<133>628-6200,

Harvey Fierstein in "A Catered Affair"

1st\NW Quadrant The Approval Matrix

Synopsis: In the Bronx in 1953, young lovers Janey Hurley and Ralph Halloran decide to get married. Timing is inauspicious, since the bride's brother has just been killed in the Korean War. The couple does not want a large, expensive wedding, and the bride's family needs the money to save their family business. Her hard-working taxi-driver father, Tom Hurley, has been saving for years to buy his own cab. But a dinner with the groom's wealthier family leads Aggie, the bride's mother, to decide to give the couple a huge formal affair, committing her and Tom's life's savings and bereavement check to a lavish wedding with an extensive guest list.

Aggie feels guilty about having neglected Janey and sees an opportunity to plan the white wedding that she herself never had. The bride's gay Uncle Winston, initially furious at having been left off the original guest list, becomes a support for Aggie. Relationships are strained to the breaking point under the pressure of costly bridesmaids' bouquets, cake layers and each detail. -- Wikipedia

Fierstein, the quadruple Tony Award winner and perpetual force of nature, both gives and takes away in his adaptation and his performance. He shifts the balance of the piece toward Winston, the unmarried uncle and boarder, the type who used to be euphemistically called a "confirmed bachelor."

It's a pleasure to see Fierstein, a hulking yet comforting figure in a big brown suit and a suitcase, haunting the family crisis like Willy Loman in an Alfred Hitchcock profile. Of course, there is that voice, the echoing sound of a bumpy boulder barreling through a dark tunnel.

But the character feels too flip for the era, an anachronism as jarring as the threat to "shop 'til I drop." Winston, who wants the big wedding, observes, "Resigning oneself to small is sad. Requesting it is tragic." He could be talking about the show. -- Newsday

A CATERED AFFAIR. Book by Harvey Fierstein, score by John Bucchino, directed by John Doyle. At the Walter Kerr Theatre, 219 W. 48th St., Manhattan. Tickets $29.50- $119.50; 212-239- 6200.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Recipegate "McCain Family Recipes"

1st NW\Quadrant The Approval Matrix

(Photo courtesy of TMZ)

At least three "McCain Family Recipes" posted on John McCain's campaign Web site and credited to his wife Cindy appeared to be direct copies of dishes created by the Food Network.
-- Propeller

CNN (and TMZ) are now reporting that Recipegate was the work of an intern, and that according to McCain's campaign, the whole thing is a "low-level unpaid staff debacle." We're told that the intern in question has been "swiftly dealt with" and that the site's already been taken down.
-- Huffington Post

Fran Drescher to Star in "Camelot"

1st\NW Quadrant The Approval Matrix

Emmy-nominated actress Fran Drescher [born in Queens], best known for her role as the nasally-voiced nanny in the TV show The Nanny, will make her New York Philharmonic debut as sorceress Morgan le Fey in the Philharmonic's presentation of Lerner and Loewe's Camelot. The performances will take place May 7 through May 10 at Avery Fisher Hall.
-- Broadway

"Green" MetroCards

1st\NW Quadrant The Approval Matrix

The MTA will observe Earth Day (April 22nd) by stocking MetroCard vending machines with five million limited-edition green MetroCards. The cards aren’t “green” in the eco-friendly sense – they’re still not made from recycled material – they’re just, you know, green colored. So they’ve got that going for them. Oh, and some environmental factoids will be printed on the back. -- Gothamist

Gov. Paterson Gives $150 in Charity

1st\NW Quadrant The Approval Matrix

By The Poughkeepsie Journal

Gov. David Paterson's contributions to charity last year - only $150 - falls far short of what most people give away...

But Paterson gave away more than that in another way: He donated more than $10,000 from his campaign account as lieutenant governor to nonprofit groups, such as a church in New York City and a group that helps disabled children in Israel.

Some good-government groups derided the move as another indication of the problems with the state's loose campaign-finance laws, which has allowed elected officials to dip into their campaign accounts rather than pay for things themselves.

"It's not appropriate use of campaign dollars," said Barbara Bartoletti, legislative director for the state League of Women Voters. "They should be used to better inform voters about your message. And that is certainly not what he is doing."

Paterson and his wife, Michelle Paige Paterson, earned $269,815 in 2007, yet claimed giving only $150 to charity, a donation of used clothing to the Salvation Army, according to his tax returns
released ...

WSJ Staffer Buys Up Parody

1st\NW Quadrant The Approval Matrix

My Wall Street Journal, a parody of the Wall Street Journal on newsstands this week to mark the April 15 tax deadline, has rankled News Corp executives so much that they're trying to make sure no one sees it. The New York Times' Richard Perez-Pena reports that a WSJ representative attempted to snatch up all the copies in the Los Angeles area, where they made public a bit ahead of schedule:

Last Thursday, Alexander Laurence was working at one such stand in Los Angeles, chatting with a customer, David Metz, when, both of them say, a man in a shirt with a Journal logo asked if anyone had seen a paper that looked sort of like The Journal.

"This guy comes by all the time to bring promotional stuff for The Wall Street Journal -- bags, coin trays, stickers," Mr. Laurence said.

Sure enough, they found what he was looking for. "He grabbed them all, said, 'I need to buy all of these,' " Mr. Laurence said. "He had been going around to different stands, buying them."

The man paid with a corporate American Express card. "At first he's saying they have to make a correction or it's not supposed to be out yet," Mr. Metz said. "But then he said these are not published by The Wall Street Journal."
-- Huffington Post

The Approval Matrix: Week of April 28, 2008

Friday, April 18, 2008

"21" Exaggerations?

4th\SW Quadrant The Approval Matrix

By The Boston Globe

The movie "21," which opened last weekend as the No. 1 box office draw in the nation, is a glossy action-adventure movie that adds sex, violence, and some theatrical high living to the plot of the book on which it is based. But readers of the book, the 2002 nonfiction bestseller "Bringing Down the House," might wonder why any embellishment was necessary.

The original book - "the inside story of six MIT students who took Vegas for millions" by counting cards at the blackjack tables - was juicy enough to spend more than a year on the hardcover and paperback nonfiction best-seller lists. And its runaway success transformed its Boston-based author, Ben Mezrich, into a local celebrity and a one-man publishing brand, a specialist in true tales of egghead kids pulling off acts of lucrative derring-do.

Yet "Bringing Down the House" is not a work of "nonfiction" in any meaningful sense of the word. Instead of describing events as they happened, Mezrich appears to have worked more as a collage artist, drawing some facts from interviews, inventing certain others, and then recombining these into novel scenes that didn't happen and characters who never lived. The result is a crowd-pleasing story, eagerly marketed by his publishers as true - but which several of the students who participated say is embellished beyond recognition."

I don't even know if you want to call the things in there exaggerations, because they're so exaggerated they're basically untrue," said John Chang, an MIT graduate and one of the inspirations for the character Micky Rosa, who in the book is the team's founder and leader.

John Krasinski in "Leatherheads"

4th\SW Quadrant The Approval Matrix

Plot Summary: A romantic comedy set against the backdrop of America's nascent pro-football league in 1925. Dodge Connolly [George Clooney], a charming, brash football hero, is determined to guide his team from bar brawls to packed stadiums. But after the players lose their sponsor and the entire league faces certain collapse, Dodge convinces a college football star to join his ragtag ranks. The captain hopes his latest move will help the struggling sport finally capture the country's attention.

Welcome to the team Carter Rutherford [John Krasinski], America's favorite son. A golden-boy war hero who single-handedly forced multiple German soldiers to surrender in WWI, Carter has dashing good looks and unparalleled speed on the field.

This new champ is almost too good to be true, and Lexie Littleton [Renée Zellweger] aims to prove that's the case. A cub journalist playing in the big leagues, Lexie is a spitfire newswoman who suspects there are holes in Carter's war story. But while she digs, the two teammates start to become serious off-field rivals for her fickle affections.

As the new game of pro-football becomes less like the freewheeling sport he knew and loved, Dodge must both fight to keep his guys together and to get the girl of his dreams. Finding that love and football have a surprisingly similar playbook, however, he has one maneuver he will save just for the fourth quarter...
-- IMDb\Orange


Kathie Lee Gifford Co-Hosts "Today" Show

4th\SW Quadrant The Approval Matrix

Kathie Lee Gifford, who shared the TV spotlight and coffee with Regis Philbin for 15 years, is returning to the morning airwaves next month as part of NBC's "Today" show, the network said on Monday.

Gifford, 54, widely expected for several weeks to join "Today," will co-host the newly launched fourth hour of the top-rated U.S. morning show with NBC News correspondent Hoda Kotb, starting on April 7, according to the network.

"It couldn't be worse timing in some ways," Gifford joked as her hiring was announced during Monday's "Today" broadcast. "I'm eight years older, 10 pounds heavier and a half-inch shorter, and just in time for HD television. -- Reuters

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Brazilian Waxes for 8-year-olds

4th\SW Quadrant The Approval Matrix

Last year Nair, makers of hair-removal products, released their Pretty range, aimed at 10 to 15-year-olds, or, as they call them, "first-time hair removers". Yes, you heard right. Ten-year-olds. Girls — children — in grades 5 and 6, encouraged to wax and chemically remove hair from their barely pubescent bodies. As online site Gawker put it, what's next: Baby Brazilians?

Well, it seems that someone heard that throwaway phrase and spied a business opportunity, because Australian website is now promoting a feature about Brazilian waxes, otherwise known as a torture device in which all the hair in a woman's nether regions is ripped off with a combination of hot wax and a high pain threshold. The website, which appears to be mostly read by girls in the nine to 14 age bracket, says of the Brazilian: "Nobody really likes hair in their private regions and it has a childlike appeal."

Paris Hilton Attempts to buy Cheetah

4th\SW Quadrant The Approval Matrix

By The Daily News

Paris Hilton kept the locals amused during her recent visit to South Africa, where she accompanied her Good Charlotte boyfriend, Benji Madden.

The couple stayed at the ultra-luxe Mount Nelson Hotel in Cape Town ...

A hotel spy tells us: "Every time Paris saw something she liked, like a woman's dress, she would ask how much it was. That included a cheetah she saw at an animal park. She asked how much it was and said, 'If I bought a cheetah, would it run away from me or could I keep it?'"

"Snow Angel"

3rd\SE Quadrant The Approval Matrix

Michael Angarano (Sky High) plays the trombone and contemplates the intricate world of relationships as Arthur and Olivia Thirlby (Juno) stars as his irresistible classmate Lila in Snow Angels, based on the novel by Stewart O'Nan. Adapted and directed by David Gordon Green, Snow Angels focuses on three couples at different stages in their relationships. Working mother Annie (Kate Beckinsale) is raising her young daughter while dealing with a disturbed ex (Sam Rockwell). Arthur’s budding relationship with Lila is explored as is his parents’ deteriorating marriage. The story takes a darker turn as one shocking event changes all three relationships forever.
-- About\Rebecca Murray


"Dude" Commercials

3rd\SE Quadrant The Approval Matrix

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

The Shot

3rd\SE Quadrant The Approval Matrix

The Kansas Jayhawks defeated the Memphis Tigers 75-68 in overtime on April 7, 2008 to win the NCAA Men's Basketball National Championship.

The Jayhawks were down by 3 to the Tigers, when
Mario Chalmers hit a three-pointer (The Shot) to send the game into overtime.

HBO's John Adams

2nd\NE Quadrant The Approval Matrix

JOHN ADAMS is a seven-part epic miniseries event that explores American history through the eyes of one of its greatest founding fathers, John Adams. Starring Paul Giamatti and Laura Linney.

Knopf's Poem-a-Day E-Newsletter

2nd\NE Quadrant The Approval Matrix

This April, receive a new poem every day plus extras like audio clips, broadsides, signed books, and information about all of your favorite Knopf poets.

One can sign-up for the newsletters here.

"Sizwe Bansi Is Dead"

2nd\NE Quadrant The Approval Matrix

"Sizwe Bansi Is Dead" was written in collaboration with two African actors, John Kani and Winston Ntshona, both of whom appeared in the original production. It made its debut on October 8, 1972, in Cape Town, South Africa. The play made its British debut a year or so later and won The London Theatre Critics award for the best play of 1974.

The genesis of Sizwe Bansi Is Dead can be traced to Fugard’s experiences as a law clerk at the Native Commissioner’s Court in Johannesburg. At that time it was required that every black and colored citizen over the age of sixteen carried an identity book that restricted employment and travel within in the country. In court, Fugard saw the repercussions of this law: blacks were sent to jail at an alarming rate. Although these restrictions are specifically South African, critics have noted that the play’s greater theme of identity is universal. Critics and scholars have also observed that Sizwe Bansi Is Dead contains elements of absurdism, especially its sparse setting and surreal subject matter. -- Enotes

Mr. Kani and Mr. Ntshona won Tony Awards for their performances in “Sizwe Banzi” ... This valedictory production of “Sizwe,” directed by Aubrey Sekhabi, will be the last time they perform the play. It’s a moving coda to a remarkable, even historic collaboration.

At the Harvey Theater, 651 Fulton Street, Fort Greene, Brooklyn; (718) 636-4100. Through April 19. -- New York Times

"All the Sad Young Literary Men"

2nd\NE The Approval Matrix

By Minnesota Daily\Kara Nesvig

"All the Sad Young Literary Men" is the story of Sam, Mark and Keith, three regular guys whose stories kind of intertwine and kind of don't. Sam is obsessed with Israel and writing the next big "Zionist epic" as his Google search results dwindle with every passing day, while Mark veers toward the heavy realm of Russian literature and Internet porn. Keith (not much of a stretch to imagine him as an alter-ego for the Russian-born author) has a sharp passion for politics and a failed engagement.

It's so steeped in our current culture that the stories could be taking place right now on any college-town street corner; only the faces and ambitions are shifted. These are men who spend hours in Starbucks, obsessively check their Google search engine results, and discover the ins and outs of Internet dating. Gessen could very well have been sitting in a curbside café observing the words and actions of real-life literary men. They're just like your griping grad student friends.

Monday, April 14, 2008

"I'm Gonna Wash That Man Right Outta My Hair"

2nd\NE Quadrant The Approval Matrix

Peter Scanavino in “Rainbow Kiss”

2nd\NE Quadrant The Approval Matrix


Disbelief needs to be suspended early and often in Simon Farquhar’s “Rainbow Kiss,” a frantic yet tedious play about male sexual obsession in Aberdeen, Scotland, being presented by the Play Company at 59E59 Theaters.

At the outset Keith [Peter Scanavino] and Shazza, who have just met at a pub, are locked in such a passionate kiss it’s doubtful they will make it inside Keith’s apartment before they tear each other’s clothes off. Once inside, however, each seems overtaken by a burning desire to chat. They eat a bite and have a drink and a smoke while Shazza warms her feet at a space heater. They exchange life stories. Perhaps young people in the Scottish Highlands keep a tighter rein on their libidos than those in sunnier climes, although the rest of the play would argue against that.

Keith and Shazza eventually have sex, a frenzied coupling that proves to be Keith’s undoing. The rest of the play is mostly a chronicle of his rapid descent into a pathological obsession over Shazza, a good-time girl who is living with another man, possibly a drug dealer, whom she has no intention of leaving. But at two-plus hours, one man’s obsession becomes boring, even embarrassing, to the disinterested observer.

Peter Scanavino’s performance as Keith ranges from a mild-mannered parson’s son to a nearly hysterical maniac.

Note: “Rainbow Kiss” ended on April 13.

French Intellectuals Save Semicolon?

2nd\NE Quadrant The Approval Matrix

A humble punctuation mark is the latest cause in the fight to preserve the elegance of French in the face of lazy habits from the English-speaking world.

Writers and linguistic patriots have thrown their weight behind a push to save le point-virgule -- the semi-colon. It is threatened with extinction because the media, authors and the people at large no longer understand its use. They prefer chopping their prose into short sentences with full stops (periods).

The point-virgule, which allows a breathing space in a train of thought, is said to be falling victim to the brevity preferred by English speakers. "To make long sentences, you need a nice fountain pen and a good piece of paper," Claude Duneton, a writer and French teacher, told us today. "Short sentences come from the more direct, 'Anglo-Saxon' style. That reflects the modern age and the need for speed."

The campaign has amplified a long-standing complaint from purists who are devoted to the clarity that a semi-colon brings to multi-clause sentences. -- Times Online

Philip Glass' Satyagraha Ads

1st\NW Quadrant The Approval Matrix

Three Christopher Guest Regulars for DirecTV

1st\NW Quadrant The Approval Matrix

Mark Penn

1st\NW Quadrant The Approval Matrix

Mark Penn, Sen. Hillary Clinton's chief strategist and longtime confidant stepped down from the presidential campaign late Sunday night.

His resignation came after a politically embarrassing week during which it was reported that he met with Colombia's ambassador to the U.S. to discuss passage of a bilateral free-trade agreement -- a pact Clinton opposes.

Howard Wolfson, a spokesman for the campaign who will now coordinate Clinton's "strategic message" told the Huffington Post that Penn offered up his resignation to the Senator on Sunday and that she accepted. Penn's firm, however, will continue to be involved in the campaign's polling. -- Huffington Post

Mark J. Penn (born September 10, 1954), is the worldwide CEO of the public relations firm Burson-Marsteller and president of the polling firm Penn, Schoen and Berland Associates. In September 2007, he released a book titled Microtrends: The Small Forces Behind Tomorrow's Big Changes, which examines small trends sweeping the world. -- Wikipedia

Parisian Rollerblade Brigade

NW Quadrant\The Approval Matrix

In Paris, Policemen chase you on rollerblades!

No, it's not David Hasselhoff and no, this is not Baywatch! It's a street of Paris (rue Croix des Petits Champs, in the 2nd arrondissement) and it's one of our few policemen that browse the Capital on rollerblades. Don't go thinking they are cooler because they use this unusual "vehicule"... They give as many tickets (see the picture!) as the ones who walk, drive or ride!
-- Paris Daily Photo

"Flight of the Red Balloon"

1st\NW Quadrant The Approval Matrix

Plot Summary: Suzanne is charming but she is a mother snowed under by obligations. With her puppet shows, the classes she teaches and the two children, Simon and Louise, that she has been raising alone since their father left, she hasn't got a minute to herself. To help her, she takes in a young Taiwanese babysitter, Song Fang, who is a student at Paris University. On his way home from school, Simon, who is 7 years old, leads her through the streets and cafés of his neighborhood. Soon, Song Fang and Simon share an imaginary world: a strange red balloon follows them, even in the exhibition space of the Musée d'Orsay. While Suzanne is caught up in a court case involving her tenant downstairs, who refuses to leave, every day, Son Fang becomes more important in her life. In the end, it is Song Fang's Asian perspective that helps Suzanne get to grips with her life. -- IMdb\ Jason Grimshaw

The film is a New York Times Critic's Pick, and the full review can be read here.

Trailer in French

The "New" Approval Matrix

This is the "new" Approval Matrix. Apparently, it was posted to NYMag's website on Friday (Who knew?), but it's usually posted on Sunday night or Monday morning, and it usually has a "Week of..." attached to the name. Weird, but updates will follow soon.

Monday, April 7, 2008

No Approval Matrix! : (

This week's New York Magazine doesn't contain an Approval Matrix!

So, feel free to do the following, but make sure you return next Monday:

  1. Peruse the blog's archives - listed on the left
  2. Visit our new "blog" Stuff White People Like T-Shirts, and/or
  3. Visit our "old" blog I Got UGGs!

No Approval Matrix?

I've checked New York Magazine's website several times since last night, and the new Approval Matrix hasn't been posted. Last week's magazine wasn't a double-issue, so I don't know what the issue (intentional pun) is. I'll keep you posted (another intentional pun)!

Friday, April 4, 2008

"Jericho" Cancelled Again

4th\SW Quadrant The Approval Matrix: Week of April 7, 2008

Well, at least they had a dream, and it came true for a season: CBS (NYSE: CBS) has canceled the post-apocalyptic drama "Jericho", the second time this has happened in two years. The first time it got canceled due to low TV ratings, the passionate fans led a protest online and forced CBS to bring it back. It has been a popular show on and iTunes.

But on TV, the second season's Nielsen ratings were even lower than the first...the March 25th will be the last show. According to CBS: "Without question, there are passionate viewers watching this program; we simply wish there were more...We have no regrets bringing the show back for a second try."

According to THR, this does not mean the show couldn't come back on cable, but the high cost of the production, however, will likely prevent a continuation of the show.
-- Washington Post