Sundance to shine light on Stanley Tucci, other LoHud filmmakers

tucci.jpg“Blind Date,” directed by North Salem resident Stanley Tucci, will premiere at the Sundance Film Festival. He also cowrote the screenplay for the film about a married couple overcoming personal tragedy.

But Tucci won’t be the only representative of the Lower Hudson Valley showcasing work at the 11-day festival in Utah.

Props also go to the team from Ironbound Films in Garrison for their documentary, “The Linguists,” about dying language dialects. Ironbound Films — which includes Seth Kramer of Red Hook, Daniel Miller of Cold Spring and Jeremy Newberger of Yorktown — might sound familiar to Suburbarazzi readers; it filmed “Night Court” star Richard Moll in Newberger’s house for the internet mockumentary “The Fantastic Two.”

Kudos also go to Putnam Valley resident Timothy Greenfield-Sanders, who directed “The Black List,” which features interviews with 20 African-American leaders for his documentary. “Black List” is his second representation at Sundance. His first, “Lou Reed: Rock and Roll Heart,” appeared on Utah’s prestigious screens about a decade ago.

Only 64 films from 3,624 submissions will play at the festival, which runs from Jan. 17-27. So congrats to our local reps!

Check out the descriptions of each movie on the Sundance Web site. And read more about the local filmmakers in Barbara Livingston Nackman’s article, appearing next week in The Journal News and on

(AP Photo/Louis Lanzano)

Survivor’s lead singer is a Real Man of Genius who teaches tunes to Chappaqua kids

bickler.jpegAs I recounted on RNN this week, Survivor’s original and most recognizable lead singer, Dave Bickler, moved into Chappaqua a few years ago. But my Journal News colleague Swapna Venugopal Ramaswamy was the one who discovered fun revelations about Bickler — and my favorites have nothing to do with “Eye of the Tiger.”

For starters, Bickler’s the vocalist in all those fantastic “Real Men of Genius” TV and radio commercials for Bud Light. You know, those tongue-in-cheek salutes to Mr. Athletic Groin Protector Inventor and Mr. Really Bad Toupee Wearer? Arguably, Bickler himself is the Real Man of Genius, especially when his tracks involve speed-singing the phrase “Mr. Overly Competitive Touch Football Game Player” or simply yelping “Ugggh!” at the top of his range.

Even cooler, Bickler started teaching music this fall at Village Nursery School in Chappaqua. Take a moment to think about how amazing that is. The school’s director, Ruth Swetonic, surely has:


The children are so charmed and enchanted. The guitar is so good. We’ve never had a rock star sing ‘Old McDonald’ and ‘Bingo’ to our kids before.


After the break, check out an exclusive LoHud video clip of Bickler working his vocal magic and turning on a “Genius” neon sign crafted in his honor.

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Paul Shaffer, David Letterman power 50 Cent’s ‘Ayo Technology’

paul-david-502.jpgI saw this clip of 50 Cent’s infectious “Ayo Technology” rerun on “Late Show with David Letterman” shortly after the Writers’ Guild of America strike began and have been meaning to blog about it ever since. It’s simultaneously awesome and awkward, which makes it a perfect fit for Suburbarazzi.

No shortage of things to look out for here:

1. Bedford resident Paul Shaffer’s CBS Orchestra does an impressive job recreating Timbaland’s heavily produced track, right down to the intricate and hyperactive video-game beeps that Shaffer appears to be duplicating on keyboards. Reminiscent of LL Cool J’s “MTV Unplugged” episode.
2. Although the song’s featured vocalist, Justin Timberlake, is nowhere to be found, 50 still gives him a shout-out at the beginning.
3. The opening half-rhyme scheme was altered not only to please the FCC, but also a certain North Salem resident at the end: “50 Cent, Justin, Timbaland, Letterman.”
4. 50 Cent sings like Justin raps.
5. Old folks in the Ed Sullivan Theatre throwin’ their hands up!

What else did you love/hate about this clip?

(AP Photos — Shaffer by Diane Bondareff; 50 Cent by Kevork Djansezian; Letterman by Adam Rountree)

How Bill Murray “owns” the X20 bar

I’ve been meaning to post this for a long time now, but somehow I misplaced the original post. Again, I blame Media Temple for everything.

The always brilliant Esquire writer Tom Chiarella had a great column back in September all about Sneden’s Landing comedic god Bill Murray. In it, he recounts more or less the same type of run-in I had with Bill Murray a few months earlier at X20. As with my experience, Murray was instantly likeable and just as any lifelong fan would imagine him to be in real life—a ball-busing, wise-cracking riot. Here’s part of Chiarella’s account:


Murray was drinking lemon juice, with cayenne pepper in it, and maybe something else — I don’t remember — like a splash of maple syrup. He said he was coming off a fast. It made him look ragged. Every time he sipped the drink, he raised his eyebrows, pinched his lips, and glanced sideward. Only then did he look like the movie guy. I kept thinking, What makes this guy so watchable?He looked bolted to the frame of the world, like he controlled the space he stood in. He was completely aware of everything around him, even me watching him in the mirror. After a while, I nudged into the conversation and asked about the time he had playfully taunted my friend in the middle of a golf game — something about not spilling orange Gatorade on his white shirt.

Bill Murray looked at me hard. I actually felt a little scared, not because the question was inappropriate, but because the moment was so in his control that I didn’t have the least little idea what he was about to say. I hadn’t even asked a question, but I was waiting for an answer. “That wasn’t about golf,” he said. I believed him. He had something.



Nicely done. Couldn’t have summed it up better.

The rest of Chiarella’s piece—one of his new “Influence” columns for the magazine—is even better. After the Murray encounter, he seeks out Jeff Daniels to give him a lesson on having “presence.” And The Dude abides. Awesome.

I  don’t know if literary “presence” is as elusive or desirable as Muray’s live-action variety, but Chiarella certainly has it. Another case in point: His brilliant profile of Halle Berry, written entirely by Berry and heavily annotated by Chiarella. Quite simply, it’s the most fascinating, revealing celebrity profile I’ve read. Ever. And it does all this without revealing anything remotely newsworthy about Halle. Here’s the link to the online version, but trust me: You really need to see this one in print.

OK, wait, somehow this post has metastasized from a Murray thing into shameless ass-kissing of a non-LoHud writer. I’ll stop.

“How to Own the Room” [Esquire]

‘Wit’ meets Botox: Joan Rivers’ new autobiographical play

joanrivers.jpgCan’t get enough Joan Rivers? Lucky you, the former Larchmont resident is going to be starring in her very own autobiographical play titled—what else?—”The Joan Rivers Theater Project.” Set to open February 13 at the Geffen Playhouse, the play will be a four-character act set inside her dressing room immediately before an awards show. According to Variety, “Rivers takes a look at aging, life’s ups and downs, and being a woman in Hollywood.”

Wait, wait, hold on a sec. Rivers in a dressing room before an awards show? What about that is remotely autobiographical? When has Rivers done anything before awards shows other than accost celebrities or crack wise on her VH1 blog?

Still, for those who want Joan, Joan, and more Joan (and just for good measure, a fourth Joan), this play foots the bill. While I’m not a lifelong fan, after reading her hi-larious liveblogging of this year’s Emmy Awards, I’m a little intrigued. Anyone in LA out there who had a chance to see the play while it was being workshoped at San Francisco’s Magic Theater in August? Any good?

(AP Photo/ Max Nash)

Suburbarazzi Week in Review on RNN: Chevy Chase goes green, Fred Norris is King, and Survivor’s Dave Bickler is a Real Man of Genius


My apologies to the great Dave Bickler for unintentionally dropping the “r” in his last name during this segment. It’s almost like the French pronunciation thereof. Classy, but inaccurate in this case. My bad. I clearly did not have the eye of the tiger in that moment.

At the end of the video and after the break is the answer to this week’s quiz: Which Yankees broadcaster sang Broadway hits at a one-night-only concert in Irvington this weekend?

A) Michael Kay
B) Paul O’Neill
C) John Sterling
D) Suzyn Waldman

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Albert Finney hearts The Journal News


I finally had a chance to catch the excellent Sidney Lumet thriller, “Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead,” last night. Seeing as how it’s set in Westchester, I was partly curious to see if there were any local businesses or locations features. No such luck. The strip mall where the film’s central event takes place — a robbery of a mom-and-pop jewelry store — was in no strip mall I’ve ever seen. However, about halfway into the flick, something very familiar did indeed pop up: the good ol’ Journal News.

The Albert Finney character picks up a copy of the paper on his suburban home’s doorstep, and the name is only vaguely visible through the yellow plastic. But then, after his wife is gunned down at the botched heist, that’s when the paper really gets a starring role. Finney finds out who the murderer is in frontpage story in the paper the next day — right above a red LoHud bar on the bottom of A1. What’s more, he begins carrying the paper with him for the rest of the movie.

Not a scene goes by that Finney isn’t fiddling with the paper, his new security blanket. He visits the police station, wielding The Journal News like a billy club; he stares at it blankly at the kitchen table; he even has it sticking out his suit pocket at his wife’s funeral (see the above movie still). And that beautiful LoHud logo is plainly visible every single second. No doubt, it’s the best free product placement our website has ever gotten.

Thanks, Albert — and Sidney! Suburbarazzi hearts you, too.

By the way, the movie was phenomenal. The story of two brothers contriving what they see as a victimless crime, only to discover that everyone is a victim, is brilliant. Philip Seymour Hoffman has the single best room-trashing scenes in cinematic history (I won’t spoil it by explaining why). And his red-faced breakdown, after Finney attempts to atone for being a bad father, is surely worthy of an Academy Award nod. Let’s just hope he brings a copy of the Journal News with him when he’s called up to accept his Oscar.

Duel of the Week: Oprah vs. Streisand

oprah-streisand.jpegIt’s been a while since we threw down our dueling gauntlet here on Suburbarazzi, but this post over on our sister blog, Politics on the Hudson, has all the makings of a mega-celebrity death match. Yes, Oprah vs. Streisand.

After Barack Obama’s campaign announced that Winfrey would join him on the campaign trail in the coming weeks, Clinton fired back today with news that Babs Streisand would be coming out to support her. As the Streisand endorsement said, “Hillary Clinton has already proven to a generation of women that there are no limits for success. She is driven by her passion for public service and her belief in the enormous potential of our country. Smart, capable and strong in her convictions, Hillary has transcended the dictates of what is thought to be possible for our time. â€?

That’s so sweet! Now, if only anyone other than Rosie O’Donnell cared a bit who or what Streisand endorses, maybe it would make a bit of difference.

“Top that Obama! Clinton gets Streisand” [Politics on the Hudson]

(AP file photos)

Matt Dillon finally getting over his ‘Herbie Fully Loaded’ phase


One of the things that’s always perplexed me about Matt Dillon is how, after getting nominated for an Oscar in “Crash,” he managed to blow the best hand in his career by going on to star in “You, Me, and Dupree” and “Factotum.” Now, at last, it appears that the Mamaroneck native is finally cashing in in his cache with a few quality parts.

The first is “Cadillac Records,” where he’ll play Leonard Chess, the legendary founder of the South Side Chicago blues label Chess Records. Filming will begin on the film in January in Jersey. If you’re wondering why it isn’t called, say, “Chess Records,” one of the things that made Chess famous was how he would sell records for his up-and-coming artists (among the folks he discovered: Muddy Waters, Etta James, Chuck Berry) out of the back of his Cadillac. [Hollywood Reporter]

After that, he’s signed on to do two crime dramas, “Armored” and “Bone Deep.” In the first, he’ll play one of two armored car guards plotting to steal $10 mil out of his own truck. And in the second, he’ll play an L.A. Detective who intercepts a a group of bank robbers in the middle of a $20 million heist. [Hollywood Reporter]

Most exciting of all is “Nothing But the Truth,” the movie that Dillon is currently filming with Kate Beckinsale right now in Memphis. The plot on IMDB says it’s about “a female reporter [who] faces a possible jail sentence for outing a CIA agent and refusing to reveal her source,” which of course sounds a whole lot like the Judith Miller-Valerie Plame affair. In the credits, though, it isn’t stated which role Dillon plays. Call me crazy, but I’d love to see him take on the Karl Rove part. Nobody can play sleazy quite like Dillon. [MSNBC]

(Dillon receiving the Donosti Award in recognition of his cinematic career at the San Sebastian film festival in September: AP Photo/Alvaro Barrientos)

Milo Ventimiglia denies dating Hayden Panettiere

Ever since they were caught grinding at a post-Emmys party, “Heroes” stars Milo Ventimiglia and Hayden Panettiere have been rumored to be off-screen sweethearts. Our official tally of the evidence showed that the likelihood of the rumor being true was greater than zero (+2 to be exact). But, as Ventimiglia told People mag, “She and I are close friends. It’s only natural that people are going to couple us together.” In fact, he isn’t the only denying the rumor. James Kyson Lee, aka Ando on “Heroes,” also told the magazine, “The rumor is not true. Let’s just end it there.”

Me thinks doth protest too much, but fine, we’ll drop the issue. For now.

(Photo: NBC Universal)

And now a word about our dreadful blog host, Media Temple

We’re back … for now. As you may have noticed, Suburbarazzi — and all of our LoHud Blogs siblings (with the exception of Yankees) — have been the victim of repeated outages for the last two months. After spending weeks and weeks troubleshooting the problem, I can assure you we’ve left no stone unturned.

At various points we thought our problems might be related to our tag clouds, Varsity Insider blog, and even those wonderful little embedded databases you used to find on blogs like Hall Monitor and Small Bites. Alas, even after taking down these features (or blogs), the problem just didn’t go away. Even purging all our Rosie O’Donnell coverage didn’t do the trick (though it was clensing). That error screen of death (“LoHud Blogs are Down”) kept rearing its ugly head. While many of us began to suspect that the problem may not be on our end after all, that truth was only crystallized during the latest outage. Indeed, all of our problem appear to be directly the result of our blog host, Media Temple.

gs-bloggers-logo.jpgFor the past two years, we’ve been hosted on what is known as Grid Server — Media Temple’s low-cost hosting option which boasts an “on-demand scalability [that] means you’ll always be ready for intense bursts of traffic and the growing audience resulting from your online success.” Course, it didn’t quite work like that for us. And, as any quick Google search will tell you, we’re not alone. What was touted as “on-demand” hosting ended up being a lot more like a bunch of old Apple IIC’s strung together with twine and earwax.

The good news: We’re finally switching over to a dedicated hosting plan from Media Temple — what they call their Nitro servers. Hopefully that means no more outages. And for all you bloggers out there in cyberspace considering getting MT’s grid plan, be careful. Very careful.

Ang Lee’s ‘Lust, Caution’ prompts Web, medical warnings

lustcautionposter.jpgWhen it comes to Ang Lee’s newest feature film, “Lust, Caution,” what’s in a name? If you were to ask some Chinese doctors and Web experts, they’d say plenty — or whatever the Chinese word is for “plenty,” anyway.

According to Reuters, anti-virus companies have warned those intrigued by the Larchmont resident’s film not to visit Web sites promising free downloads of the movie. It turns out that many of them virus-embedded. This should come as no surprise to many people with common sense, as dabbling in illegal practices offline can result in some pretty nasty viruses as well.

In the meantime, Chinese doctors have been warning viewers of the film’s uncut version not to try the more unorthodox, ahem, “maneuvers.” Reuters cites a report that quotes one medical expert accordingly:


Most of the sexual maneuvers in ‘Lust, Caution’ are in abnormal body positions. Only women with comparatively flexible bodies that have gymnastics or yoga experience are able to perform them. For average people to blindly copy them could lead to unnecessary physical harm.


Hmm. I might just have to see the movie now. Let me check out this other Web site to see if I can download a free version. Ooh! Here’s one! Looking at all the flashing ads! Hmm… no viruses seem to be infecting my computerukjesrbtalkjgblkerajbgrelakbrtabgtrskegbjskebtskjbts.

Uh oh.