Mary J. Blige pulls a Roger Clemens

blonde-blige.jpgAfter the Times Union of Albany broke news that singer Mary J. Blige was going to be listed in a scathing report about steroid abuse in the entertainment biz, reps for the Yonkers native blasted back to the NY Daily News, “Mary J. Blige has never taken any performance-enhancing illegal steroids.” That quote came from Blige’s spokeswoman, Karynne Tencer.

Although the Albany DA behind the report has yet to confirm the names leaked from the report (including 50 Cent, Timbaland, Tyler Perry, Blige, and more), the news account asserts that “Records shared with the Times Union and information from several cooperating witnesses on Long Island indicate Blige and other stars were shipped prescribed human growth hormone or steroids — sometimes under fictitious names — at hotels, production studios, private residences, an upscale Manhattan fitness club and through the Long Island office of Michael Diamond, a chiropractor affiliated with the celebrities.”

Diamond’s anti-aging program is run out of Clay Gym in Manhattan. So far, Blige and the other stars implicated haven’t denied an association with Diamond.

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The big question right now is whether Diamond is the source of part or all of the DA’s investigation and, if so, whether Blige (and others) will simply claim that he’s lying — we’ll call that the Full Clemens. Then again, if the lawyers up in Albany are seriously considering filing charges against the entertainers, perhaps Blige may agree to testify and cop a plea. Maybe in exchange for a little Clemens-y.

If you’re still wondering why on earth rappers would need to take steroids in the first place, MTV news has an interesting take on that. In short, “The thought is that HGH specifically brings levels of testosterone back up. Dr. Barnes said benefits can include thickening of the hair and skin and ‘a luster again in the eyes and basically helping the body look more vigorous.'”

And here I thought Mary J.’s blindingly bright locks were all thanks to hair dye. You learn something every day!

UPDATE: Diamond has indeed confirmed many of the celebrity names in the doping report, the Times Union reports today, so it would appear that he’ll be playing the McNamee role in this new doping saga. Interestingly, the names were actually first discovered when authorities raided an Orlando pharmacy last year and turned up a folder marked “VIP customers.” That folder let them to Diamond, who runs a family chiropractor practice. But it looks like Clay Gym in Manhattan, where Diamond was a physical training adviser to the celebs, is where most of them hooked up with him. According to the Times Union account, his job there has been suspended.

(Blige: AP Photo/Diane Bondareff / Other photos: AP)

Mary J. Blige joins Fiddy and Tyler Perry on list of celebrity steroid users

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Already well on her way to elbowing DMX out of the 2008 Suburbarazzi People of the Year list, Yonkers native Mary J. Blige was named in a Times Union of Albany story that says she has received or used performance enhancing drugs. Get it, performance enhancing?

The story was drawing from an investigation conducted by Albany D.A. P. David Soares, who is apparently doing for the R&B and entertainment biz what George Mitchell did for pro baseball.

Also listed in the report: 50 Cent, Timbaland, Wyclef Jean, and author/producer/actor Tyler Perry. The Soares report found that most of the steroids originated from Signature Pharmacy in Orlando, Florida. To date, 10 defendants have pled guilty, though it’s not clear who they are. Perry and the other celebs mentioned in the article have yet to comment.

“Entertainers named in DA steroid report” [LoHud]

(AP Photo/Diane Bondareff)

Unlike members of ‘Making the Band,’ Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs to be immortalized on Walk of Fame

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Mount Vernon-raised Sean “Diddy” Combs will be the newest celebrity to be represented on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in a ceremony scheduled for this Friday.

In a quote posted by Hip Hop Galaxy, Combs was thrilled about the honor during an interview conducted by Jaime Foxx on Foxx’s Sirius satellite radio show:

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I’m from Harlem, New York, so to get a star in Hollywood is just mind-blowing. You can get a lot of things but when you see those stars on the ground… that’s something I can’t even say I dreamed of and to be getting recognized for it is definitely something I’m gonna have my whole family out there for.

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I’m not taking anything away from Harlem, and he might have mentioned Mount Vernon at another point during the interview, but here’s hoping he shows more love for his Westchester roots.

Arguably, Diddy’s least relevant contribution to pop culture could be his rapping skills. (His most memorable lyrics might be a tie between “Uh” and “Yeah” on Notorious B.I.G.’s “Hypnotize.”) But as a music producer, clothing mogul and music icon, it’s hard to argue against his overall success. Even if he’s merely famous for being famous, he’s done it successfully for more than a decade.

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DMX’s Xmas list: a recording session, a whole lotta coke, and a trip to ER

Just in time for Christmas, our most notorious (and MIA) “Person of the Year,” rapper DMX, has finally turned up. The Yonkers native, who lives on the Bedford/Mount Kisco line, came out of hiding for a recording session at Sony. And boy, was it a jolly old time.

Not only does X look completely drugged up and erratic in videos from the day, but according to Tribune Media Services, the rapper was rushed to a hospital last week after passing out in the recording studio. Still, I’m glad that at least somebody got a white Christmas this year. Ba dum bum.

Here are the two clips. Anyone who can make out what the heck he’s saying in No. 2 gets a Suburbarazzi t-shirt.

UPDATE: DMX is no longer with Sony. According to Billboard, he was released from his contract earlier this year (maybe “dropped” is more accurate), and recently he signed with the music division of Canadian online gaming company Bodog Entertainment. Billboard also reports that X is planning to put out two albums, “Walk With Me Now” and “You’ll Fly With Me Later,” in 2008 via Bodog. Thus it would appear that the recording session in the clips is Bodog.

FYI, X’s last album with Sony, “Year of the Dog … Again,” sold 329,000 copies in the United States, according to Nielsen SoundScan.

UPDATE 2: The Celebrity Truth reports that the story about DMX being hospitalized (which may have originated in the Daily News’s Rush & Malloy column) is incorrect. Said an unnamed record company rep, it’s “100 percent false.” The anonymous spokesperson also supposedly said, “He’s at home with his wife for Christmas.” The only named source in the story, Scott Mason, Simmons’ entertainment lawyer, added that the video “has got people thinking that he might on something, that’s what kind of made them wanna make up a story like that.”

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People of the Year — 11. Peter Kelly

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Kelly was already a legend in Rockland thanks to Xaviars, Freelance, and Restaurant X—all perennial Zagat darlings. But when he took down celebrity chef Bobby Flay on Iron Chef America, all of a sudden he became famous to a national audience. Then the May opening of X20 in Yonkers further cemented his rock-star status. As for those people just discovering our hometown hero: What took you so long?

Prediction for 2008: It would be tough to top 2007, but we do have two ideas: First, how about an X20 in Haverstraw? Second, after making mincemeat of Flay, it’s time to do battle with Mario Batali.

Ed. Note: Kelly was one of the only celebrities to score a “People of the Year” trifecta — making our lists for InTown Westchester, Rockland Magazine, and Suburbarazzi. Well done.

(Photo: Tom Nycz / The Journal News)

Holy moly! Pope heading to Yonkers this April

pope.jpegJournal News reporter Gary Stern’s got the scoop on Pope Benedict XVI, who will be making an April 19 tour stop at St. Joseph’s Seminary in Yonkers.

His visit is part of six-day trip to Washington and New York, Stern reports. Three days after an appearance at the White House, the pope has scheduled an afternoon meeting at the seminary, which Pope John Paul II visited in 1995.

The next day, Benedict’s itinerary includes celebrating Mass at Yankee Stadium. Maybe this way, Yankee fans will get their October prayers answered for the first time in eight years. Plus, if His Holiness can man the hot corner, perhaps the Steinbrenners will offer him A-Rod money to stick around. That’d be some collection basket.

(AP Photo/Plinio Lepri)

Phil Amicone, the new mayor of Tuckahoe?

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At least, that’s what you’d think after seeing last night’s episode of “Kitchen Nightmares.” I’ll explain …

The show centered on Tuckahoe’s Olde Stone Mill — an establishment on the verge of collapse because of few patrons and abysmal promotion — and Gordon Ramsay’s attempt to save the spot by reinventing it as a steakhouse. The village featured prominently in the show’s opening setup, and throughout the episode you see Ramsay scouting out the competition, visiting a local butcher, and riding around town on his motorcycle. When he finally convinces Dean Marrazzo — the Mill’s temperamental, hotheaded owner — to reopen with a new steak-based menu, a slew of patrons show up for the grand reopening. Among those diners is Yonkers mayor Phil Amicone.

Only, the Yonkers part is conveniently left out. Amicone is referred to repeatedly as “the mayor.” When he sits down, Ramsay talks to the camera about how important it is for “the mayor” to have a great dining experience. The GM fumbles his presentation of meats to “the mayor.” Thanks to the dozens of references to Tuckahoe throughout the first half hour, Amicone thus comes off as the mayor of Tuckahoe.

What’s more, the editors repeatedly cut back to “the mayor” — the designated VIP of the night — to ratchet up the tension. Ramsay ducks outside to speak the camera: “The mayor still hasn’t been served. This is not good.” Marrazzo yells at the chef that the mayor has been waiting 45 minutes. Ramsay points out at the one-hour mark that the mayor still hasn’t been served. Finally, at long last, the mayor gets his steak. “It’s good,” he says. The mayor is happy.

The only slight hiccup in the narrative comes in the wrap-up at the end, when we see a shot of Amicone presenting Marrazzo with what he calls “the key to the city of Yonkers.” Oops.

Still, all in all, great show. And whether he’s the mayor of Yonkers, Tuckahoe, or Uktamuka, Amicone gets props for supporting the local restaurant scene.

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(Olde Stone Mill: Stephen Schmitt/The Journal New; Amicone: Angela Gaul / The Journal News; Ramsay and Amicone with plaque: Eric Leibowitz/FOX)

From Lauer to Leno to Letterman, LoHud celebs dominate Forbes list of TV’s Top Earners

letterman.jpgNorth Salem resident David Letterman earned $40 million from June 2006 to June 2007 through television, ranking him fourth on Forbes magazine’s new list of TV’s Top Earners and tops among celebrities who have lived or attended college in the Lower Hudson Valley.

His newest BFF, Oprah Winfrey, tops the list. And it isn’t even close. She made $260 million in that one-year span, about $200 million more than the runner-up, Jerry Seinfeld ($60 million) and even more over “American Idol” staple Simon Cowell ($45 million).

Suddenly Alex Rodriguez’s contract doesn’t seem so out of the ordinary.

Other LoHudders on the list: Westchester real estate maven and golf course owner Donald Trump (No. 5, $32 million); New Rochelle native Jay Leno (No. 6, $32 million); former Putnam County resident (Judge) Judy Sheindlin (No. 7, $30 million); former Chappaqua, Ardsley and Hartsdale resident Matt Lauer (No. 17, $13 million); Sarah Lawrence College graduate Barbara Walters (No. 18, $12 million); and Irvington resident Meredith Vieira (No. 20, $10 million).

(AP Photo/John Paul Filo, CBS)

Action! Westchester shoots attract A-listers, including George Clooney, Meryl Streep and Glenn Close

The public relations reps for Westchester County became unofficial Suburbarazzi late last week, informing the public about county-based TV and film projects featuring high-profile stars, including Academy Award winners Meryl Streep and George Clooney (pre-motorcycle crash).

george.jpgClooney was quietly wrapping up a New Rochelle shoot at a “private home and inside CostCo” for the Coen brothers movie “Burn After Reading,” according to a Sept. 21 county press release. The film, which also stars Brad Pitt, is about a former CIA agent who writes memoirs after being fired. Perhaps Clooney forgot this weekend that he wasn’t playing Evil Knievel.

meryl.jpgAlso according to the release, Westchester “soon” will host Oscar winners Streep and Philip Seymour Hoffman for the big-screen adaptation of “Doubt,” the Tony Award-winning play. Streep plays a Catholic school principal who accuses Hoffman’s character, a priest, of pedophilia in 1964. “Numerous locations will be used,” but the county does not specify which.

glenn-close.jpgBedford resident Glenn Close, a five-time Academy Award nominee, didn’t have to travel far to film parts of her new TV series, “Damages,” in a featured Harrison house and, earlier this month, in the Rye Town Hilton.

quinn-margulies.jpgSuburbarazzi already gave you the scoop about Spring Valley native Julianna Margulies and Sneden’s Landing resident Aidan Quinn teaming up for “Canterbury’s Law,” but what you might not know is that the courtroom drama was shooting scenes at Larkin Plaza in Yonkers last week.

After the break, check out news about more Westchester shoots involving Tim Allen at Westchester County Airport, Julie Taymor in Somers and New Rochelle, and “Law & Order: SVU” in Yonkers.

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John Schneider’s cool dad character abandons Superman, but returns for ‘Sydney White’

js.jpgWhen a Good-Ol’-Boy grows up, it must make him a Cool-Ol’-Dad.

Take Mount Kisco native John Schneider, who got his big break playing the playfully rebellious Bo Duke on “The Dukes of Hazzard.” Almost two decades later, Schneider would win over a completely new generation, portraying überprotagonist Jonathan Kent — Clark Kent/Superman’s adoptive father — on “Smallville,” only for his character to die of a heart attack in the series’ 100th episode.

But Schneider’s days of playing paternal with panache continue on the big screen. He serves as father figure to another legendary character in the upcoming Amanda Bynes movie, “Sydney White.” In the movie trailer for this retelling of “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs,” Schneider tells Bynes’ title character, “Your mom would be so excited…” making it approximately the 2,194th time he’s expressed emotional pride to on-screen offspring in the last seven years.

The most devout Suburbarazzi might recognize the trailer’s biggest scene-stealer. Jeremy Howard, at 6’3½,” is the tallest of the reinvented “Dwarfs.” He provides the trailer’s final punch line — or, more accurately, the trailer’s repeated-door-frame-face-slam line.

What’s Howard’s extended connection to the Lower Hudson Valley? Find out after the break.

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Jon Stewart references obscure Drew Barrymore movie filmed in Tuckahoe

picture-2.jpgI only know of a few people outside of the Lower Hudson Valley who have heard of the 2001 Drew Barrymore movie “Riding in Cars with Boys,” which was filmed on Main Street in Tuckahoe and other regional spots.

So when Jon Stewart referenced the flick and had the main characters’ (alleged) action figures make out with each other on Thursday’s episode of “The Daily Show,” I had to bring this to the attention of Suburbarazzi Nation.

Stewart had been reporting on the health crisis involving toys manufactured in China when he mentioned that the movie’s Barrymore and Steve Zahn action figures were unaffected. He proceeded to grab dolls with a marginal likeness to the two actors and acted out fake dialog from the movie.

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[Playing Barrymore’s part:] ‘Ohhh, Ray! Oh, Ray! I think I’m pregnant!’

[Playing Zahn’s part:] ‘But you’re only 16 and I’m addicted to heroin!’

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Stewart then shoved the faces of the dolls into each other, made bizarre make-out noises for a few seconds, looked into the camera awkwardly and put the dolls down.

A clip of the full segment is here, with the first “Riding” reference occurring about halfway through and continuing for the rest of the bit.

I reported on the Tuckahoe shoot in 2000 and can vouch for the fact that Barrymore and costar Brittany Murphy were pleasant with fans and signed many autographs. Murphy was exceptionally kind to autograph seekers, taking the time to talk at length with several children who approached her outside her trailer.

According to Internet Movie Database, the Penny Marshall-directed movie also filmed in Congers, Harrison, Mount Vernon, West Nyack and Yonkers.

(Screenshot: Comedy Central)

From ‘Sydney White’ to ‘Black Widow,’ son of ‘Mathnet’ cop continues Hollywood roll

jhoward.jpgIn January, I interviewed Yonkers native Joe Howard, known by me and other hard-core “Square One TV” fans as crime-solving mathematician George Frankly on the “Dragnet” spoof called “Mathnet.” During the phone interview, we briefly discussed his son, Jeremy Howard (right), an emerging actor in his own right. Turns out Jeremy’s been popping up everywhere since then.

In addition to hitting on Rebecca De Mornay’s character — then arguing with her — as a store clerk in the debut episode of HBO’s “John from Cincinnati,” the younger Howard has another supporting role in the upcoming Amanda Bynes feature film “Sydney White,” a modern-day retelling of “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.”

Check out Jeremy (in the green shirt) among a group of guys who appear to be the seven “dwarfs,” which only serves as irony as he is listed as 6′ 3½” on Internet Movie Database.

Jeremy also secured roles in two TV movies this year, including “Jane Doe: Eye of the Beholder,” starring Lea Thompson and “Black Widow,” starring Jessie Spano herself, Elizabeth Berkley.

No word as to whether or not he greeted Berkley with “I’m so excited! I’m so excited! I’m so … scared!”