Wall-E learns there’s a world outside of Yonkers

I’m one of about 38 people who hasn’t seen “Wall-E” yet, although I intend to take care of that this long weekend.

This Associated Press story has the scoop on how songs from the 1964 musical “Hello, Dolly” — which is set in Yonkers — figures into Pixar’s futuristic tale:

walle.jpg‘Wall-E’ opens with panoramic views of galaxies far away, using ‘Sunday Clothes’ as a sunny soundtrack. But the song’s exuberant lyrics — ‘Out there/There’s a world outside of Yonkers’ — take on new meaning when the scene shifts to the bleak atmosphere of Wall-E’s homeland: garbage-ridden planet Earth.

In an interview with the AP, (“Wall-E” writer-director Andrew) Stanton said he knew he wanted to juxtapose retro music with this futuristic setting, but discovered “a perfect fit” to his narrative when he stumbled upon the ‘Hello, Dolly!’ repertoire and the lyric ‘out there.’ (In the musical, it is the song that a Yonkers store clerk croons as he and his apprentice plan their New York City adventure.)

A box-office champ with near-universal acclaim and a LoHud connection? Count me in.

(Photo courtesy of Pixar/Disney.)

Podcast: June 11

On the big show this week: Dave Matthews vs. Mel Gibson, Ed McMahon vs. The Bank, and Howard Stern no longer vs. Rosie O’Donnell.

<a href=”http://www.lohud.com/assets/mov/061008_Suburbarazzi_lohud.mp4″ title=”Anarchy Media Player – Right click to download file” class=”noimg”><em>Podcast file</em></a>

<a href=”http://www.lohud.com/assets/mov/061008_Suburbarazzi_lohud.flv” title=”Anarchy Media Player – Right click to download file”><em>Flash video</em></a>

At the end of the video and after the break is the answer to this week’s trivia quesiton: On Sunday night, O’Donnell appeared on “Million Dollar Password” and helped Yonkers resident Dante Mercadante win $50,000. While giving clues, which of the following words did Rosie successfully get Mercadante to say?

A. Grease
B. Trump
C. View

Continue reading

Rosie O’Donnell helps Yonkers man win $50K on ‘Million Dollar Password’

Say what you will about Rosie O’Donnell — we certainly have for 150 posts and counting! — but her prowess on “Million Dollar Password” cannot be disputed.

rosie2.jpgThe South Nyack celebrity helped Yonkers resident Dante Mercadante win $50,000 on last night’s episode of the CBS game show. And yours truly witnessed the magic first-hand back in March.

Back then, I couldn’t really go into details that Rosie herself didn’t reveal the same day, because I fear lawyers and I signed so much of my life away when I attended the taping. But now I can reveal more. Hooray!

I sat in the front row right next to two women who said they were Mercadante’s relatives. They were very sweet, enthusiastic and thrilled with how well he did on the show.

One of the highlights that was tailor-made for O’Donnell was when she had to give clues to Mercadante for the word “Trump.” While frowning, she muttered “Donald” and Mercadante nailed it on the first try.

I was shocked that Mercadante didn’t opt to keep going in the money round. His chemistry with Ro was unlike any I’d ever seen in game show history. Both were exceptionally good clue-givers and receivers — a perfect 10-for-10 going into the money round. Instead of trying for $100,000, he took the guaranteed $50,000, knowing that if he didn’t successfully deliver enough clues in the $100,000 round, he’d leave with $25,000.

But Mercadante told host Regis Philbin in vague terms that he owed some people some money, which prompted an “eek” face from O’Donnell and laughs among members of the audience. I have no idea to whom Mercadante owed cash and I won’t be making any jokes about that here. But when he was mulling it over, O’Donnell pleaded, “Think about your life,” and that seemed to convince him to take the money and run.

Despite the fact that Mercadante was the closest prospect the show probably has to win the cool million, he and Rosie were a lot of fun to watch. And Ro had a good time as well, describing Mercadante as “completely” adorable in her Ask Ro blog mailbag.

Want to see the whole episode? Check it out right here (legally!), thanks to CBS:

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(AP Photo/Peter Kramer)

With former rival Howard Stern, Rosie O’Donnell talks career, love life and 9/11

Shock-jock Howard Stern, in part known for participating in celebrity feuds with personalities ranging from Elaine Boosler to Kathie Lee Gifford, continued his recent fence-mending trend this morning.

howard.jpgFollowing a volatile two-decade feud with Bedford resident Chevy Chase, the two buried the hatchet on-air last year. And this morning, Stern fans — possibly for the first time on the radio — heard the deejay who launched his pro career in Briarcliff Manor chatting it up with South Nyack resident Rosie O’Donnell.

Back in its hey-day, the throwdown got downright nasty, at times making O’Donnell’s feud with Westchester real estate maven Donald Trump look like rock-paper-scissors by comparison. On Stern’s show in 1998, the staff once estimated the size of O’Donnell’s noggin, filled what was deemed a comparable container with jellybeans and challenged visiting celebrities and listeners to guess the number. And O’Donnell always had some choice words about Stern whenever his more militant fans prank-called her self-titled talk show.

rosie.jpgIn recent years, however, Stern’s rants about Rosie subsided, particularly after he admitted on the air a year or two ago that they had a nice chat when bumping into each other at a restaurant.

Today, O’Donnell called from her home — presumably in South Nyack — to chat it up with Howard and the gang. The gripping interview, which lasted almost an hour, covered her career, her love life and her controversial theory about 9/11.

On quitting her own talk show: “I left because I could no longer enjoy it the way one should enjoy their work, and I was sort of paying someone else to raise my kids and (hated) not having time to live my life.”

On ‘The View’: O’Donnell said she respects her successor, Whoopi Goldberg, because of her ability to be real; remains friendly with Sarah Lawrence College grad Barbara Walters; but was never completely embraced by Joy Behar (for whom O’Donnell opened early in her career as a stand-up comedian). The liberal O’Donnell said she has only exchanged a few baby-related e-mails with conservative “View” cohost Elisabeth Hasselbeck since O’Donnell left the show. Then O’Donnell admitted that Hasselbeck was the most attractive woman on the show.

On her celebrity crushes: O’Donnell, a lesbian, said she really did have a crush on Tom Cruise and revealed that Matthew McConaughey also turned her on while slow-talking his way through a description on how to make beer-can chicken. She said her current celebrity crushes include Angelina Jolie, Angela Bassett, Penélope Cruz, Salma Hayek and Diane Lane. Not on that list, however, is Stern’s fiancée, Beth Ostrosky, whom O’Donnell complimented and described as a “too perfect … Barbie doll.”

On her love life: She said she was sexually abused as a child, lost her virginity when she was 21 to a man, and could count her number of sexual conquests on “two hands.” She added that rumors of a wild life as a single woman had been greatly exaggerated, adding, “I’m not even nude in the shower.”

After the break, find out O’Donnell’s take on Britney Spears and Lindsay Lohan, her current tour and her curiosity about the Twin Towers’ collapse. Continue reading

Podcast: May 14

On the podcast this week: George Clooney comes to Pelham, Mary J. Blige launches her own women’s center, and DMX gets arrested two times in one week. Yes, seriously, two times in one week.

<a href=”http://www.lohud.com/assets/mov/051308_suburbarazzi_lohud.mp4″ title=”Anarchy Media Player – Right click to download file” class=”noimg”><em>Podcast file:</em></a>

<a href=”http://www.lohud.com/assets/mov/051308_suburbarazzi_lohud.flv” title=”Anarchy Media Player – Right click to download file”><em>Flash video:</em></a>

The quiz this week:

Chappaqua’s Vanessa Williams finally got her college diploma over the weekend … 25 years after she dropped out to become Miss America. Can you guess which school she graduated from?

A. Harvard
C. Syracuse
D. Howard

Now, unlike Karen DePodwin, please don’t look this up on Google. That’s called cheating, friends.

Make an honest guess, then watch the video or click through to read the answer after the break.

Continue reading

What’s the 411 on Mary J. Blige’s new Yonkers women’s center?

Oprah, look out! You’re not the only one opening women’s centers and schools anymore. Mary J. Blige is following suit in her old hometown of Yonkers.  The singer visited Roosevelt High on Friday to announce the the new outreach facility — The Mary J. Blige Center for Women — which will be run as a partnership between her (and partner Steve Stoute’s) Foundation for the Advancement of Women Now and the Westchester Jewish Community Services.


According to The Journal News, Blige and Stoute are planning to raise $500,000 for the Foundation. “Please get your education,” she told the students at the press conference.

“Education is key. Education is power. I saw the challenges women go through as a child. If I can rise from a cesspool, these women can, too.”

The CBS account of the event also had a few more Blige quotes about the venture:

“It’s about women that desire to give themselves a second chance. They have not given up. They don’t want to die. Mentally, spiritually, physically, they want to live.

I’m not saying don’t be afraid, but know that we’re all a little afraid but you’re not by yourself, so push thru the fear,”

The Center will initially focus on reaching out to young, single mothers who need help with parenting, education, and vocational training. And, we hope, also discourage the use recreational steroids and hateration.

(Stuart Bayer / The Journal News)

We’re with the bands: Fred Norris returning to Yonkers, Kevin Bacon heading to Garrison

If you’re a celebrity without a band on the side, you might not really be a celebrity.

fred.jpgHoward Stern sidekick Fred Norris returns with his trio, King Norris, to Burke’s Bar this Saturday. On Feb. 9, the last time he was at the Yonkers venue, Norris picked me out of the crowd and likened me to the “Verizon Guy.” It seems like only yesterday; so, yes, I can hear him now. Saturday’s showtime is 10:30 p.m.

Of course, when Norris performed at Mickey Spillane’s in Eastchester in December, Suburbarazzi had a field day with that, too.

kevin-bacon.jpgLater in May, Kevin Bacon and his brother, Michael, will head to Garrison to perform an afternoon gig for Riverkeeper’s 19th Annual Shad Fest.

Admission to the festival’s not cheap — $75 per adult, $25 children for visitors ages 9 to 20 — but the celebration will donate all event proceeds to programs that protect the Hudson River and regional watershed areas. The festival runs rain or shine from noon to 5 p.m., May 18, at Boscobel Restoration (1601 Route 9D). The Bacon Brothers are scheduled to gig there that day at 3:30 p.m.


(AP Photo of Norris by Stuart Ramson; AP Photo of Bacon by Chris Pizzello)

Mary J. Blige confirms Zeyonce wedding (sort of)

Evidence that Jay-Z and Beyonce tied the knot on Friday continues to trickle in. During a concert that Yonkers native Mary J. Blige headlined with Jay-Z over the weekend in North Carolina, she reportedly shouted on stage, “Congratulations to my man Jay-Z and my girl B!”


That said, the happy couple still haven’t made any official announcements. And Jay-Z wasn’t wearing a wedding ring onstage. And, according to OK Magazine, he was hanging out with his boys 40/40 Club in Manhattan to watch the NCAA championship game Monday night. So much for the honeymoon.

As for Blige’s comment … um, maybe that was just the roids talking.

(Photo of Blige and Jay-Z perform performing on March 22 in Miami during their Heart of the City tour: AP Photo/Luis M. Alvarez)

Kelly Clarkson rediscovers her Catholic roots in Yonkers

Yes, Yonkers. According to Journal News religion reporter Gary Stern, the “American Idol” songstress is going to be performing for Pope Benedict XVI when he comes to Yonkers on April 19. clarkson.jpgAlas, Benny won’t get to hear “Since U Been Gone,” “Breakaway,” “Never Again,” or any of her other ditties — the only tune she’ll be belting out, apparently, is “Ave Maria.”

Gary adds that Clarkson is Catholic, and will be also doing a pre-Pope concert at Dunwoodie.  And being the all-seeing-eye of our local Pope coverage, he also says that on the following day, at Yankee Stadium, Harry Connick and Jose Feliciano will give an encore performance.

“Kelly Clarkson live in Yonkers” [Blogging Religiously]

(AP Photo/Jim Cooper)

EXCLUSIVE: Fred Norris plays Yonkers, compares me to ‘Verizon Guy’

fred.jpgAfter working last night’s 2-10 shift for The Journal News, I headed down to Burke’s Bar in Yonkers to catch the first set of King Norris, the band fronted by and named after Howard Stern’s sound effects guru, Fred Norris.

Near the end of their set of classic and standard rock, Norris picked a bespectacled me out of the crowd and said something to the effect of “Hey, that looks like the Verizon Guy.”

I shouted back, “I can hear you now.”

He replied with something like “Well, if any of you need help with your phone service, go see him.” He threw in another joke that I found funny but will choose not to post on a family-friendly blog.

During King Norris’ intermission, I was reintroduced to Norris through his drummer, Frank Fallon, who helped me secure my December interview with him in Eastchester. Norris offered a firm handshake and was as kind as he was at our last meeting. After a brief and casual conversation, I was on my way.

For what it’s worth: Despite the fact I sometimes wear thick-rimmed black frames, I don’t see much of a resemblance to Verizon Guy beyond that. But Norris has a Don Rickles-like quality about him; most of the time, it’s an honor to be tweaked by the guy.

(AP Photo/Stuart Ramson)

Fred Norris to return to Westchester this Saturday

fred.jpgAfter a well-received and well-documented performance at Mickey Spillane’s restaurant in Eastchester on Dec. 8, the rock trio fronted by and named after Howard Stern sidekick Fred Norris will return to Westchester County with a Yonkers gig this Saturday night.

King Norris will be performing at Burke’s Bar at 645 Bronx River Road. Showtime is scheduled for 10:30 p.m.

If it’s anything like his Eastchester show, Norris will be kind to fans who approach him, crack a few jokes and — oh yeah — play some solid covers of classic, punk and alternative rock songs.

(AP Photo/Stuart Ramson)

Harvey Fierstein, bargain hunter extraordinarie

I’m not sure exactly what kinds of treasures one can expect to find at a Masonic Temple fire sale (George Washington’s freemason apron? Ben Franklin’s X-Ray glasses? The unexpurgated script for “National Treasure”?), but if you’re curious, there’s one going on right now in Yonkers. The building is right across the street from St. Joseph’s Medical Center at 130 S. Broadway. And, as an added bonus, you might just run into Broadway vet Harvey Fierstein, who was spotted rummaging there earlier today by Journal News photographer Seth Harrison. Though he declined to be photographed, he did mention that he lives up in Southeast.

Ding, ding, ding! We finally have a Putnam celebrity to write about. Happy day.


(AP Photo/RK&A, Paul Kolnik)