Pop Culture Odds and Ends – Tom Petty Edition

I was mid-call with a co-worker when I saw the news. “Hold on,” I said. “Gotta call you back – Tom Petty is dead.” It turns out that when I saw that tweet Petty had not actually died yet, but the news still broke my heart. I think it broke everyone’s heart, because I don’t know a damn person who didn’t like Tom Petty. Petty was an everyman rocker who churned out hits like nobody’s business. Put on “American Girl” in a room full of people and I guarantee you you’ll hear murmurs of what a great tune it is and that people will start singing along. I’ve liked Tom Petty for as long as I can remember and it makes me so sad that he’s no longer with us.  I’ve seen Petty and the Heartbreakers perform, but I’m kicking myself for not going to see them on their 40th anniversary tour. Monday was already a very sad day after the mass shooting in Vegas, but losing Petty on top of that just made it worse. I don’t have much of a vinyl collection, but one of the few records I do own is Full Moon Fever. I played it Monday night in tribute.

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R.I.P., Tom Petty. You will be missed.

And now….on to the pop culture roundup.

Television

Movies

Trailers

  • Father Figures:

 

  • The Babysitter:

 

  • Paddington 2:

 

  • Wonder Wheel:

 

  • The Leisure Seeker:

 

  • Creep 2:

 

  • Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, season 3:

 

  • Shameless, season 8:

 

  • The Death of Stalin:

 

  • Darkest Hour:

 

  • Star Trek Discovery:

 

  • The Killing of a Sacred Deer:

 

  • Annihilation:

 

  • Geostorm:

 

  • Red Dead Redemption II:

 

Music

Theater

Books

Stand-up

Odds and Ends

Mashups and Supercuts

  • A Broadway-themed version of “Despacito”:

 

  • Lorde covers “In the Air Tonight”:

 

  • Stranger Things reimagined as a romantic comedy:

 

  • A capella covers of Star Trek TV theme songs:

 

  • Mean Girls reimagined as a forbidden lesbian romance:

2015 Emmy Running Diary

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I’ll be honest – I wasn’t much feeling the Emmy awards this year. I don’t know if I was just tired from being out at football or I’m just in a bit of a funk; whatever the reason, I would have much preferred to go to bed early rather than stay up. My only real investment in the Emmys was to see if Jon Hamm would finally get to take home a trophy. If he got his moment, I didn’t want to miss that. But since I am a professional, I sucked it up and watched the whole telecast. One perk of the Emmys following a football game – blessed little pre-show nonsense had to be watched and it was amusing to see a bunch of football commentators try to talk about television. They should put Terry Bradshaw on the red carpet for all future events.

On to the main event…….

8:00 pm – Here we go – right on time despite the late football game.

8:02 – Cute opening from Andy Samberg. I need one of those TV bunkers. I’ve got a lot of TV to catch up on.

8:03 – Ugh – enough with the Les Miserables references.

8:05 – “Suck it books.”

8:06 – Haha – “Between Bill Cosby, Jared Fogel and Robert Durst stopping off for a sandwich, not a good year for people who love hoagies.”

8:06 – “If your speech goes too long, you need to deal with the mean nun from Game of Thrones.”

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8:08 – A Donald Trump jokes pulls Andy out of a joke slump. Trump is comedy Viagra.

8:09 – “Paula Deen is on this season of Dancing with the Stars but I gotta say, if I wanted to see an intolerant lady dance I would have gone to one of Kim Davis’ four weddings.” *zing*

8:10 – “We also said goodbye to True Detective, even though it’s still on the air.” Harsh, but true.

8:11 – I would watch Dick Whitman: Horny Hobo. Whatever keeps Jon Hamm on my TV on a regular basis.

8:13 – Two of the greatest Amys ever – Poehler and Schumer – to present best supporting actress in a comedy series. Holy hell there are a LOT of nominees.

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8:15 – Allison Janney wins for Mom – and brings her blotting papers. Plus she sings part of her speech. She seems fun.

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8:22 – Anthony Anderson and Tracee Eilis Ross here to present writing in a comedy series. A well-deserved win for Veep.

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8:25 – Ricky Jervais has been nominated for 22 Emmys? He pretends to have won before presenting the award.

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8:27 – Best Supporting Actor in a comedy series goes to Tony Hale for Veep! Can’t argue against that – well deserved – but would have loved to see Titus Burgess.

8:28 – Mid-speech, Hale says “I just had a sudden fear that my zipper’s down.”

8:29 – Anna Chlumsky cries every time Veep wins. I hope she has more tissues.

8:34 – John Stamos and Gina Rodriguez to say who received awards already for guest actor and actress in a comedy series – Bradley Whitford and Joan Cusack. Jon Hamm remains Emmy-less.

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8:37 – Whitford and Cusack here to present best directing in a comedy series. Whitford is inexplicably wearing a hat.

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8:37 – Whoa – I had no idea what Mike Judge looked like!

8:38 – Jill Soloway wins for Transparent, which I still need to watch.

8:40 – Jimmy Kimmel here to present Lead Actor in a comedy series and he is drunk with power. He is threatening to just give the award to anyone he wants. He just ate the card with the winner’s name.

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8:43 – Jeffrey Tambor wins (maybe?) for Transparent. Big night for Arrested Development alums.

8:44 – Tambor’s speech is very powerful – “I’ve been given the opportunity to act because people’s lives depend on it.” He dedicates his award to the trans community – “thank you for letting us be part of the change.”

8:45 – Meanwhile, Matt Le Blanc lets Kimmel know what he thinks of his stunt.

8:50 – Seth Myers joins Andy on stage for lead actress in a comedy series, but first they present Lorne Michaels with a “World’s Best Boss” mug.

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8:53 – Amy Poehler is an American treasure:

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8:53 – The #VeepSweep continues – Julia Louis-Dreyfus wins it. Would have really liked to have seen Amy Schumer win. And it’s a freaking crime that Poehler never won for Parks and Recreation.

 

8:56 – Key & Peele here to give the award for best reality competition. Zzzzzzzz.

8:57 – The Voice wins and there is really absolutely no reason for all these people to come on stage.

8:58 – They are playing the Ghostbusters theme into commercial break. Seems like an odd choice.

9:03 – James Cordon here to present the accountants from Ernst & Young.

9:04 – Haha – LL Cool J started a standing ovation for them.

9:05 – Dear lord – Terrance Howard at a microphone. Anything can happen. Hopefully Taraji P. Henson can reel him in. He literally seems like the worst. They’re here for best writing in a limited series or movie.

9:07 – Olive Kitteridge wins, which seems like it was on a very long time ago.

9:08 – Now the best actress in a limited series or movie. The winner is Regina King (American Crime), who I have always liked (and is the first person of color to win tonight).

 

9:13 – Andy Samberg gives out his HBO Go log-in and password (and as of last night, it worked!)

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9:14 – John Oliver here to present best direction in a limited series or movie. He’s got some jokes about Jeopardy! and Alex Trekek.

9:16 – Another award for Olive Kitteridge.

9:24 – Maggie Gylenhaal and Liev Schreiber  present best actor in limited series or movie. I like her dress.

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9:24 – Bill Murray isn’t there because Bill Murray does not give a f*ck, but that just sped this award show up a bit.

9:25 – Samberg does a parody of the Mad Men finale.

9:26 – Rob Lowe and Kerry Washington present lead actress in a limited series or movie. That’s too much beauty for one stage.

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9:27 – Frances McDormand wins for Olive Kitteridge. Maybe they’ll even get her look remotely happy to be there

9:28 – Nope.

9:29 – Short speech too: “We’re all here because of the power of a story well said. Sometimes that’s enough. Thank you.”

9:33 – That red carpet cam bit was odd.

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9:34 – Lady Gaga – she’s a TV person now! She’s here to present lead actor in a limited series or movie. If David Oyelowo doesn’t win I’ll be PISSED.

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9:35 – Well, I’m pissed. No disrespect to Richard Jenkins, who is great, but if you haven’t seen Nightingale, he’s freaking spectacular.

9:37 – Here’s Fred Savage to pay tribute to shows that ended this year. Fun fact – I used to have pictures of him on my bedroom wall when I was 12.

9:39 – This tribute is making me sad – so many shows that I loved are gone 😦 And some people are going to be annoyed that they gave away the ending to a lot of shows.

9:40 – Marcia Gay Harding and Lena Headley here to present best limited series.

9:41 – Again with Olive Kitteridge, which is winning pretty much everything.

9:48 – “Welcome to the Spoiler Awards.” I guess that Samberg was checking social media during the commercial break.

9:49 – Mindy Kaling and Zachary Levi here to give an award for best writing for a variety series. This is a stacked category.

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9:50 – I love these little clips that they are doing for the writers.

9:51 – And The Daily Show wins it. I think it is nice that Jon Stewart let someone else give the speech and stood in the back.

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9:53 – Jane Lynch and Eric Stonestreet here to present best variety sketch series.

9:54 – WOO-HOO!!! Inside Amy Schumer for the win!! Suck it, SNL.

10:00 – Colin Hanks and Will Forte – two likable enough guys – here to present best direction in a variety series.

10:02 – Another win for The Daily Show. Not super surprising.

10:03 – LL Cool J here to present best variety talk series. I’m guessing either Letterman or Daily Show.

10:05 – See – I’m smart. All The Daily Show does is win.

10:08 – Ben McKenzie and Jamie Alexander to announce more awards that were already given out (guest actor and actress in a drama series).

10:09 – Winner Reg E. Cathey (and The Wire alumni) is here to present best writing in a drama series.

10:10 – Game of Thrones wins. The writers forget this isn’t HBO and drop some cuss words.

10:16 – Ah….Ray Parker Jr. is in the band. That explains “Ghostbusters.”

10:18 –Jamie Lee Curtis and Emma Roberts here to present best supporting actress in a drama series. I sincerely hope something interesting happens soon. This is so boring.

10:19 – Yay! Uza “Crazy Eyes” Aduba wins. And she’s so emotional, which is nice to see.

 

10:21 – Curtis and Roberts doing double duty and are back to present best directing in a drama series. No surprise – goes to Game of Thrones. Though that’s not the episode that should have won.

10:27 – If you are curious about what’s up with all the green ribbons people are wearing, here is the explanation.

10:28 – Viola Davis here to present best supporting actor in a drama series.

10:29 – Peter Dinklage wins!

10:30 – Now the In Memoriam segment. There’s a weird mix of musicians in here. Did B.B. King do television?

10:34 – Leonard Nimoy in the final position.

10:35 – I’ve seen this Apple music commercial multiple times now and my main takeaway is that I want to spend an afternoon hanging out with Kerry Washington, Taraji P. Henson and Mary J. Blige.

10:39 – Tina Fey showing up is always a good thing. She’s here to present best actor in a drama series. If Jon Hamm doesn’t win I WILL RIOT.

10:40 – YAAAAAAAAAAAASSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Jon Hamm finally wins a mother f*cking Emmy!

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10:41 – In thanking everyone that supported him, he thanks his now ex-partner Jennifer, which is very nice.

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10:42 – Honestly, the rest of this show seems anticlimactic now.

10:43 – Adrian Brody here to present best actress in a drama series. Somehow he stumbles over the easiest name in the bunch: Elisabeth Moss.

10:44 – Kind of surprised that Viola Davis won; thought Taraji had this one in the bag. But Taraji is really happy for her, which is nice. And Viola gave a pretty great speech about opportunities for women of color.

10:51 – Mel Brooks here to present outstanding comedy. No surprise here – the #VeepSweep is complete. And Modern Family didn’t win, which is always a positive.

10:54 – Tracy Morgan is here to give out the outstanding drama award. So nice to see him back on stage. The look on Tina Fey’s face says it all.

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10:56 – And he dropped a “people are going to get pregnant” joke. He is, indeed, back.

10:57 – Would have loved to see Man Men win this, but I can’t argue with Game of Thrones.

10:58 – The benefit of a show where nothing much happens? You end early!

Man – as far as awards shows go, this year’s Emmys were a real snoozer. Nothing very interesting happened at all and the winners were all fairly non-controversial. I don’t know if they need to start serving more alcohol at these things or what, but people need to up their game to create more memorable moments. It’s less than 12 hours after the ceremony and I’ve already forgotten a lot of it. But I got to see Jon Hamm get recognized for the great work that he did on Mad Men, so I guess that alone was worth my three hours. Andy Samberg was fine – he did seem a little nervous – but they really need to do something to liven up this broadcast.

House of Wax

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Even though I don’t live in NYC, I pride myself on not acting like a tourist when I’m there. I generally avoid Time Square like the plague and have gotten pretty adept at navigating my way through the subway system. Even though I’m 5’2” and have short little legs, I can walk just as fast (if not faster) than native New Yorkers. I’m always when befuddled visitors approach me asking for directions and I take a secret pleasure in the fact that the guys that are handing out flyers trying to convince you to take a bus tour or other such tourist traps generally ignore me. I may not live in the city, but I like to give the illusion that I know what I’m doing and where I’m headed (though my frequent stops at Magnolia Bakery for banana pudding probably blow my cover).

My most recent trip, however, I decided to embrace my role as a tourist a bit more. I went to the top of the Empire State Building for the first time, which offers gorgeous views but was windy as hell and not worth the hefty price of admission.

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Still, it’s something that I think everyone has to cross off their bucket list when given the opportunity and while I don’t know that I’d be persuaded to do it again, it was worth it just to say I did it.

It was a bitterly cold day when I was in NYC, so I had to plan activities that would minimize my time outside and that didn’t require long walks from a subway stop. Generally I just wander around and don’t mind excursions that take me off the beaten track, but this visit was all about staying warm until it was time to see Hedwig and the Angry Inch on Broadway. I had planned to check out the Matisse exhibit at MOMA before it closed, but I waited too long and tickets were sold out. Me and my damn commitment issues. But this got me thinking about other museums in New York and while there weren’t any other exhibitions at the major museums that necessarily appealed to me, there was one museum that I’d secretly wanted to check out – Madame Tussauds Wax Museum.

Now, I am fully aware that wax museums are cheesy and pretty much the epitome of a tourist attraction, but I’d always harbored a private desire to go to one. They’ve intrigued me since I was a kid; back then, I was slightly afraid of them, but as an adult it was more curiosity at how realistic the wax figures were in creation and a general affinity for all things celebrity. I’d never really admitted this to anyone, since I figured that like most things I wanted to do, no one would be interested or worse, they’d think this was a lame way to spend an afternoon. But since I needed a place inside to spend some time and I didn’t have anyone with me to convince that this was a good idea, I decided to take the plunge and purchase a ticket to Madame Tussauds – even if that meant going into the belly of the beast (Times Square). The info that clinched the deal – they had a Jon Hamm wax figure. No way that I was missing that. I grit my teeth when I got off at the Times Square stop and prepared myself for regretting this decision.

Honestly – I had the best time. Like, a way better time than I would have anticipated. Being a tourist ain’t half bad.

The fun at Madame Tussauds is twofold – being amazed at how accurately they captured some celebrities and laughing hysterically at the wax figures that are just far enough off that they are kind of creepy. The figures fall primarily in the first category, but there were enough in the latter to keep things amusing. I was curious how restrictive the museum would be, but they full encourage you to pose and take pictures with any of the figures. Periodically throughout the museum there are staff photographers that will take photos for you with particular figures. My favorite was getting to hop on a bicycle with ET in the basket, but you can also have your picture taken with President and Michelle Obama, Taylor Swift and King Kong. The staff will even tell you certain poses to strike for the best results. You of course have to pay for these photos, which I was not going to do, but there were plenty of other free photo ops throughout the museum. I had assumed that I’d only be in the museum for 45 minutes or so, but given how expansive it was and how much fun I was having, I was in there much closer to 2 hours.

I took photos of pretty much every wax figure in there, but unlike some of your older relatives I won’t bore you with all the photos. Instead here are some of the highlights – the good, the bad and the ugly:

I am possibly the only person who was excited to see George Steinbrenner

I am possibly the only person who was excited to see George Steinbrenner

The reason for the trip - Jon Hamm (aka Don Draper).

The reason for the trip – Jon Hamm (aka Don Draper).

If you smell what the Rock is cooking (not great, but not terrible either)

If you smell what the Rock is cooking (not great, but not terrible either)

This one just made me sad.

This one just made me sad. R.I.P.

This looks nothing like Derek Jeter

This looks nothing like Derek Jeter. I would know.

Since the eyes seem to be the most problematic, perhaps all wax figures should wear sunglases

Since the eyes seem to be the most problematic, perhaps all wax figures should wear sunglasses

This doesn't really look like Julia Roberts

This doesn’t really look like Julia Roberts. Something is off

RuPaul in all her magnificence

RuPaul in all her magnificence

N'SYNC - one of two Justin Timberlake figures

N’SYNC – one of two Justin Timberlake figures

Hahaha...Eli Manning's hair is terrible.

Hahaha…Eli Manning’s hair is terrible.

Perhaps the most egregious offense is what they did to George Clooney

Perhaps the most egregious offense is what they did to George Clooney

they did, however, manage to capture Nicolas Cage

They did, however, manage to capture Nicolas Cage

They also did a nice job with Nicole Kidman

They also did a nice job with Nicole Kidman

Queen B

Queen B

The only downside of the visit was that by going to this alone I had less chances to have my photo taken with the figures. I met a lovely Australian couple that offered to take some photos for me, which I look them up on, but I didn’t want to keep pestering them. Everyone seemed to be having a grand old time in the museum and I think it would be a fun trip to make with a group of friends. Honestly, under the right circumstances, I’d go back. It was a silly way to kill a few hours and it made me laugh, which was was exactly what I was looking for on a blustery NYC afternoon.

Madame Tussauds Wax Museum is located at 234 W 42nd St, in the heart of Times Square.