Today I'm helping out with a story on Candace Parker, the protegy women's basketball player, famous for her dunking abilities, who is expected to bring more attenion to the WNBA and women's sports in general. I've interviews eleven different WNBA players today, I haven't moved from my desk in 12 hours and I've never had my cell phone so close to me for this long.
While I am certainly all for women's sports (I myself played varsity soccer, track and cross-country in high school), I am certainly no WNBA expert. This is why this assignment was perfect for me! The reason? I found out that my roommate from sophomore year of college made the WNBA! She signed with the Phoenix Mercury. Whooo hooo for Chloe! Chloe is gianormous. She has to be like 6'8 (for the record I just checked and she is 6'3).
Chloe and I didn't get along at all when we lived together. And I would like to take this time to apologize and take full responsibility for our disagreements. I wasn't very nice. She snored and I was 19 years-old, occasionally outspoken and I couldn't stand the snoring! There were three of us in one TINY room, because USC housing people think that putting three teenage girls in an 8X8 room is a fantastic idea. Things didn't go over so well. It ended with me sleeping in the living room and her eventually moving out.
Now Chloe has moved on to bigger and better things and I have moved on to blogging about these things. The point of this is that Chloe is a very nice girl and my friends loved her.
USC had us fill out personality surveys before setting us up with our roommates and I will still never understand the method to their madness. We were an odd combination; a 5'4 jewish white girl and a 6'3 basketball player. But we were roomies. And I will never forget my days with Chloe.
Wednesday, April 30, 2008
My friend Josh makes these mockumentaries and they're purely awesome, Office-style comedy. In his first mini web series he traveled across the US on a scooter. His second series he walked on foot from LA to SD with some pals. Now, he's on a mission to interview Fred Savage. Why? Because he's that incredible. Josh is completely awkward and nervous and it's fantastic.
This is worth a few minutes of your day. (Editors Note: Um, I stole that picture of him off his Myspace just now. I had to mention that so I don't seem like a creeper.)
Check out Finding Fred Savage.
Tuesday, April 29, 2008
As the sun set in the middle of an open field on a crisp, hot day in Indio, California, surrounded by thousands of scenesters dancing to music in the distance, stood this - a majestic sculpture of some sort. No explanation available. No explanation needed. I snapped this pic for your amazement.
Monday, April 28, 2008
Congrats to the Lakers for sweeping the Nuggets!!! Okay, let's be honest here. Obviously a sweep is not the most exciting series, but I didn't exactly want the Nuggets to come back to LA after my last article where I called one of the guys out for partying the night before Game 2. I'm sure they'll have forgotten all about it by next season, right? In the meantime, congrats Kobe and the Lakers on your 107-101 win! See you back in LA.
Sunday, April 27, 2008
A school-record seven USC football players were selected in the first two rounds of the 2008 NFL draft on Saturday. Just when I think I can't possibly love my school any more (I went there during the National Championship Leinart dynasty, Will Ferrell is an alum, I had the best education I could have asked for from the most incredible teachers and esteemed individuals in the industry, blah, blah and blah), something else happens that reminds me why the Trojans are so incredible.
Four of the Trojans were selected in the first round, including offensive tackle Sam Baker, who was the 21st pick of the opening round by the Atlanta Falcons. Sam and I have known each other since middle school. He is perhaps one of the nicest guys I've ever met and I can't think of anyone more deserving of such success.
I called him today to congratulate him and would you like to know where he was? Back in our hometown of Tustin (T-town as I like to call it), staying at his mom's house, having a low-key and relaxing week. We chatted about going back to visit our high school and how sad it is that all of our favorite teachers are gone.
Back in high school when I was class president (don't hate, I just wanted to plan prom), I was on ASB with his older brother, Ben Baker and I would go with Sam and Ben to Arena football games, because their dad is the AFL commissioner. This is before anyone knew what Arena football was, but we would get totally dressed up and cheer like crazy at the games with the Bakers. All of this nostalgia has inspired me to dig up this photo from sophomore year of high school at an Arena football game. This pic made the Avengers website for some time. Let's not get started on my decision to wear a yellow scrunchy. Congrats Sam and the other Trojans. You deserve it! For real news on the draft click here.
Saturday, April 26, 2008
One thing I've always known about myself is that I am interested in a lot of different things. Too many sometimes it's hard to keep up. Recently, I was assigned an article on horse breeding where I interviewed billionaire William Casner, co-owner of WinStar Farms. Besides being a horse racing and horse breeding tycoon, he founded Excel with his biz partner Kenny Troutt. Bill and I are like this (crossing my fingers as I type) now. He's a gentlemen to the max, took time out of his incredibly busy life to call up my cell multiple times for the interview and pose for a photo shoot for ESPN mag. Not sure if you're into horse breeding, but I've always said I want to learn about anything and everything and horse breeding was certainly something I learned a heck of a lot about (I mean, honestly, who wants to sound like an idiot when interviewing someone on the Forbes richest people list?!)
Click here for your horse breeding lesson from Mr. Casner.
It's also in ESPN Magazine on news stands now!!!
Friday, April 25, 2008
While in the middle of playing Let It Be Sung with Matt Costa in the last performance of opening night at the Coachella Music Festival, Jack Johnson forgets his song. Hmm, perhaps he got a bit too into the Woodstock vibe of the festival, if you know what I mean.
"Wait a second ... I forgot the changes. It happens from time to time. You've been in the hot sun. It's Matt Costa's fault."
"We're going to Vegas after this. You know, the gondolas and the pyramids. Here's The Bitter Sweet Symphony. This one's for Hunter S. Thompson."
-Richard Ashcroft of The Verve at the Coachella Music Festival.
Thursday, April 24, 2008
We're not one to judge how players prepare before a game. But when the Nuggets' Steven Hunter was spotted at the Kanye West concert after-party at 1am the night before game two of the Lakers-Nuggets series, there's reason to question how focused the team is.
"You gotta keep that on the D-L!" Hunter said when asked if he had fun celebrating alongside Jay-Z, Jamie Foxx and Kanye.
Last night the Arizona D'backs were in town playing the Dodgers and I get a text at 11pm from Justin Upton, who just happened to be on the cover of ESPN a few issues ago. Oh, and the D'backs currently have the best record in baseball. The guys were all going to Hollywood club Area after the game and wanted me to hang. I was just leaving the Lakers playoff game, so I swing by to meet up with Orlando Hudson, Chris Young, Upton and few of their pals. We catch up, chat about the game and laugh at the Hollywood scenesters break dancing. I still don't know why they let me crash another guys night, but hey, I guess some people just enjoy my company. What can I say?
Highlight of the night? When the DJ played Usher's "Love In This Club." You see, that's J-Up and my song. The DJ refused to play it for us at a club when we requested it for Orlando in AZ because it was "too slow." Now I hear the song everywhere.
I snagged some Kanye-looking glasses for the guys and Young promises he'll wear them to the game tomorrow ... we'll see about that. Seriously, this has been the week of Kanye madness. In the last two days I've been to a Kanye West concert after-party, a Lakers playoff game and hung out with a bunch of MLB players ... what the heck?!?! Will someone please tell me when I should wake up?
Better yet, tell me when I can sleep. But whatever, I'm young. So rock on. And please keep it coming world, destiny, karma, energy or whatever is making all this amazingness happen.
For those who wonder why I've been MIA, here's why:
- Work @ E! 10-6pm (phone interviews, writing stories, edit meetings, re-launch site)
- Interview with Ugly Betty's Becki Newton 7pm-8:30pm
- Dinner with Arash, watch Suns, Spurs game 8:30- 9:30pm
- Report on Girls Gone Wild Party for E! 10pm-12:45pm
- Report on Kanye West concert after-party 1am- 2am
- Write stories and transcribe 2:30am- 4am
- Sleep 4:30am- 9am
- Work @ E! 12pm- 3pm (write stories from last night, prepare for Lakers game, update archive on site)
- Go to Melrose for celebrity sightings 3pm-5pm
- Lakers v Nuggets playoff game 5:30pm- 11:00pm
- Meet up with the Arizona Diamondbacks players at club Area 12am- 2am
- Go home and write story on playoff game for ESPN 3am- 5:00am
- Sleep 6am-8:30am
- Work @ E! 11am- 6pm (check to see which exclusives got picked up, write story on Emile Hirsch, type up celeb sightings, prepare for Coachella)
- Lunch with mom and sis 1-2pm
- Take nap at Cristina's 6pm- 6:45pm
- Dinner with Cristina 7pm-8:15pm
- Watch taping of the Soup at E! 8:30pm-10:30pm
- Pack for Coachella 11:30pm- 12:30pm
- Leave for Coachella Music Festival @ 7am ... get no sleep the entire weekend, celebrate Cristina's b-day, write stories, interview bands, get a nice tan, hang with friends, rock out.
Sunday, April 20, 2008
I can't help it. I love Miley Cyrus. I'm 22 years-old but today I had the urge to buy two, yes TWO Hannah Montana perfumes at the store. I bought one a while ago and I get compliments on it all the time so when I saw a couple sitting there on the store shelf, I had to snatch em' up.
I've hung out with Miley once. Okay, when I say 'hung out' I mean we were standing two feet from one another at a Grammy's concert dancing.
Have you seen the music video she made with her friend to Madonna and JT's 4 Minutes? Fantastic. My friends and I used to make music video songs all the time at her house. Our version of Natalia Imbruglia's Torn was magical. The only difference? Her video has nearly 2 million hits on You-Tube ... and it's actually good.
If you haven't seen Miley's video, check it out.
Saturday, April 19, 2008
I'm back in Orange County this weekend to celebrate Passover with the fam. The NBA playoffs started today, which means in between watching the San Antonio Spurs beat the Phoenix Sun 117-115 in double overtime, I'm also helping my mom make matzah ball soup and charoses. Needless to say it's quite a bit different than watching a game in a sports arena surrounded by the stat-smart press corps and die-hard fans. My mom, god-bless her heart, occasionally likes to interject in a not-so-Michelle-Tafoya-knowledgeable way. Here's some gems of the day:
"Can you imagine how stinky it must be down there? I don't know how they can stand being next to one another in the game."
"On his salary he can afford to get his teeth fixed."
(during a close up of Gregg Popovich; gotta love HD)
"Why do they touch each other after a free throw?"
My dad: "Hunny, they're rubbing some of their luck."
Friday, April 18, 2008
Dog shows, pimped rides, and…stained glass windows?
The NBA playoffs start tomorrow and for 16 teams, it means long film sessions, grueling workouts and complete mental focus. But what about the 14 teams already on vacation? What will fill their time? Before we could lose countless nights of sleep brainstorming some suggestions, we ran into a few Kings players who told us their plans. Inspiring stuff.
Check out the rest of my ESPN.com article from today!
Today I sat in on Mike Sager's creative writing class at UCI. In case you don't know who Mike Sager is, he is a writer-at-large for Esquire magazine and one of the most amazing writers I've ever read. He's written some of the best articles on athletes, celebrities and your everyday folk. The article that got me hooked on him was this article on Kobe Bryant.
It's all about his attention to detail, innovation, creativity and truly writing something new. Mike was gracious enough to not only let me sit in on his intimate class of 15 or so students, but also chat with me for an hour or more before class about his experience and interviewing techniques. None of this is probably very interesting to you all, butttt I don't care. It's my blog. So I want to share some of his words of wisdom for any writers out there:
- Interviewing is like a relationship.
- Each piece of meat must be a unique piece of meat.
- We’re trying to find the interesting shit in life. We’re trying to be the person at the bar with the best stories.
- Just say what you mean.
- An article is like music. The real beauty in the music is in the rests. It’s knowing when not to play and when to play.
Thursday, April 17, 2008
Last summer after graduation I needed some extra cash, so my friend Amanda and I worked at Angels stadium at the AT&T booth. We didn't sell anything. No, no, we would be very bad at that. Basically our job was to get people over to the booth so the sales guys could sell them stuff. It was incredibly boring because we couldn't watch the game and we sucked at our jobs. So we would bring baseball gloves and play catch (occasionally hitting a fan or two in the head, so we eventually switched to plastic baseballs) and try to talk to people so we looked somewhat productive. While trying to fill time one game, I came up with this great idea to write an AT&T rap. So we made this 30 second video on a cell phone and emailed it to the head of marketing at AT&T. Um, let's just say, he didn't think it was commercial quality.
I rap; Amanda beat boxes. Lyrics are below for extra enjoyment.
Everybody come to AT&T,
It's got a lot of technology,
All the cool stuff for you and me,
It's got everything that you need,
Don't ya know it's the place to be?
Yo, yo, AT&T, AT&T, AT&T,
LL in the house, AC in the houuuuse
(Yes, we are trying to make an AT&T hand sign at the end)
"It’s like when you are having phone sex with a girl and you say, I really want to be inside you and she says, fuck me and you say, when you get off I’m gonna fuck you. This is the greatest humor of all times. I’ll tell you why, because the best thing about being famous is that the music is famous, the songs are famous. As soon as you lace into a song, that is more recognized than the words; in some ways than the faces. So you can say anything you want and follow it up with Daughters ... Having a good time at dinner? Why don’t you say we skip desert and let’s get home and get me blown.”
-John Mayer talking to the audience in between songs on stage at the Scleroderma Research Foundation's blacktie dinner event at the Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills last night. This was right before playing the song Daughters. Um, Awkward.
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
Check out my article on ESPN.com!
Tuesday, April 15, 2008
When asked who the best athlete of all time was this convo ensued:
Anthony Johnson: “Muhammod Ali.”
John Salmon: “Over Jordan???”
Johnson: "He got railroaded, man by the government. I mean you could go Bill Russell with M.J. The man won 11 tips! No, not 11 tips? 11 tips don’t mean much?”
Salmon: “I could build my team and win a championship without Bill Russell.”
Monday, April 14, 2008
1. Eva Longoria just walked by in a skin-tight mini dress with a crew of gal pals. She's here supporting her Spurs hubby Tony Parker … She also just passed by a giant courtside advertisement for Desperate Housewives. Coincidence? I think not.
2. Luke Walton just scored a sweet shot and the crowd is screaming, “Luuuuuuuuuuuke!” If you weren’t a regular, you might mistake the chant for “Boooooooooo!” Not all is positive for Luke, though. “Tuck in your shirt Luke!” screams a fan behind me. Seriously, that boy’s jersey is always hanging out. What’s the deal?
3. There’s some teenagers with “I Love Sasha” shirts on. I can’t help but smile because Sasha Vujacic is one of my favs. He’s sportin’ his signature thin black head band today holding back his dark wavy locks. He switched up an earlier-season thick head band for this skinnier one a few weeks ago. I like to notice the important details, folks.
4. There’s a 40 + year-old fan on the jumbo-tron in a Lakers jersey dancing … he also has a giant Lakers clock hanging from a chain around his neck. Full-on Flava Flav style.
5. Pau Gasol dunks and Sasha practically crowd surfs on top of his teammates. Kobe has the hugest smile on his face and motions with his hands to keep it going. Where’s the ‘POW!’ graphic on the jumbo-tron? … Ah, there it is.
6. The annual “Lakers Report Card” graphic isn’t for Kobe Bryant? What?!?! I didn’t even know they could change the graphic! Congrats, Lamar Odom. Kobe’s resting his hurt pinky finger on the bench so the A+ this game goes to Odom.
7. Jack Nicholson is slouched comfortably in his regular courtside seat. Suit? Check. Glasses? Check. Arms crossed? Check. Screams at ref? And check.
8. Sasha is leaving the game and comes to say goodbye to Spike Lee before he goes. “Keep hitting those shots man,” Lee instructs. “Only against New York,” Vujacic responds smiling. “Only against the Knicks!” (You’ll only get this joke if you realize how big of a NY Knicks fan Spike Lee is. He’s wore a NY hat to a Lakers game).
Spike Lee was on set at Staples Center where he was filming a day-in-the-life-of doc on Kobe Bryant at the Lakers v Spurs game. I tagged along with Lee and his crew and got a one-on-one with the film-making legend for ESPN.com. So check it out!
Check out my article on ESPN.com!
Sunday, April 13, 2008
Celebrity music king, DJ Cassidy, has spun tables at the hippest and most prestigious parties across the globe. Naomi Campbell’s summoned Cassidy, 26, for her b-day parties from Saint-Tropez to Dubai, he’s done P. Diddy’s infamous White Party since he was 18 years-old, Grammy parties for Kanye West and celebs like Jennifer Lopez have him on speed dial for Marc Anthony's b-day or any last-minute soirée.
Just a week after he DJ’d perhaps the most exclusive wedding of the year, the union of Jay-Z and Beyonce, I caught up with Cassidy while he was in LA for the celebrity basketball league, NBAE’s, end-of-the-year wrap party. Celebs like Brody Jenner, Dean Cain, Stacy Keibler, Nick Swardson and others danced the night away courtesy of DJ Cassidy. In the midst of spinning tunes, Cassidy chatted about what it takes to be a celebrity DJ, his new venture into producing and getting personally selected by the queen of all media, Oprah.
How do you decide what music you’ll play?
To be honest, I never decide. I see what kind of people it is and I see what they’re feeling and I take it from there.
You do a lot of celebrity events, what’s been your favorite so far?
I don’t have one favorite but I guess a very memorable one is Oprah Winfey’s party in South Africa for the opening of her school. It was New Years Eve 2007.
How did you get hooked up with that?
She heard me at a party once and the next day called for the New Years party and that was just an amazing feeling to be in a room with people like Sidney Poitier and Quincy Jones. It was amazing.
You just did Beyonce and Jay-Z’s wedding, what was that like?
(he shuts his lips and makes a motion like he’s throwing away the key)
There’s a lot of celebrities that like to get in the DJ booth and help DJ, do you hate that? Are you like, ‘get out of my booth!’
No, I love it! I love it. I love DJing for Puffy because he becomes one with the crowd. He doesn’t act like a celebrity in his own section. He gets on the mic and he hosts the parties from the beginning to the end and he really rocks the party like he’s at a concert. But the difference between a concert and a party is at a party he becomes one with the crowd. It’s really amazing to work with him for that reason.
What inspires you?
My biggest inspiration really is watching people on a dance floor and when you have a dance floor like packed to the rim that’s what really makes what I do great.
How did you first get started in the scene?
My parents bought me turn-tables when I was 10 years-old and I DJ’d every party that I could possibly DJ throughout high school and then when I went to college at NYU I got more in the club scene in New York.
(Stronger, by Kanye West comes on)
And it was a snowball effect. You know I DJ’d at one club which led to another club which led to another club, which led to a party where I’d meet a celebrity who’d want me to do a party for them and then you’d meet the next person who would want me to do an event for them.
Obviously these celebs have your phone number programmed in their phone. How much notice do they give you in advance?
It could be six months or it could be 24 hours.
(He mixes on the tables; Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger, by Daft Punk comes on)
Sorry I have to keep going back.
No worries! You've started producing, right?
Yes, my debut artist, O’Neil Mcknight has a hit song right now Check Your Coat. You can buy Check Your Coat on i-tunes you can see the video on all the networks, BET, MTV, VH1, online and you’ve got to check it out. O’Neil Mcknight.
And this is your first producing project, right?
Yes, and I produced the single and the entire album, which comes out this month.
Are we going to see a lot of producing from you?
Yes, absolutely. This is my first project so I want to get a #1 record.
What other artists do you want to collaborate with?
You know I really want to produce something for Michael Jackson.
(One More Time, by Daft Punk comes on)
So I think his next album I’ll be doing that, knock on wood (he laughs).
Have you met him before?
No, he’s the one person on earth that I haven’t met that I want to.
See everyone wants what they can’t have and that’s probably the reason you want to do his album because you haven’t met him.
When I meet him, I’m just going to want to produce him more. He’s the inspiration for all the music I do. For everything I wear. For everything I do.
Elton John is my favorite.
I did a party for him a few years ago. He’s a nice guy.
(Move Your Feet, by Junior Senior)
Are you ever even at your apartment in New York or are you always traveling?
Yeah you know I try not travel more than once or twice a week so I’m home at least three days a week. It depends on the week.
What does it take for you to decide to play some unknown artist that hands you their CD?
I have to really, really, really like it. And that’s very rare.
(Sexy Back, Justin Timberlake come on and the crowd goes crazy)
What do you do when you’re not DJing?
I produce music.
What do you do when you’re not doing music?
And when you’re not doing music or fashion what are you doing?
Trying to sleep.
Saturday, April 12, 2008
Los Angeles Clippers player Dan Dickau makes money on the side selling poker chips. Not exactly the most common side project for an NBA player. While other players are hawking colognes, clothing lines and shoes, Dickau knows that marketability can only last so long. Not to mention it’s a bit hard to market yourself when you’ve worn various jersey numbers and been on multiple teams.
Dickau, who was drafted 28th overall in the first round of the 2002 draft to the Sacramento Kings, has been on nine different team’s rosters in his six-year NBA career. Not the most consistent situation. With a wife (former Trail Blazers dancer Heather Dickau) and two kids, a little extra cash couldn’t hurt, so he partnered up with some pals and created Thechiplab.com, a custom poker chip design company.
Not a bad investment considering that poker is one of the fastest growing industries. Dickau’s been a fan of poker for a while now, although lately it’s been a little harder to play as much as he used to. “Before kids we used to always have people over at the house and we’d play all the time,” Dickau says. “But with two kids it kind of takes away the evening time.”
Thechiplab.com lets people design their own poker chips from scratch or by using one of over a 100 custom designed templates.
Dickau’s hosted two Dan Dickau Celebrity Poker Tournaments of his own, so with the World Series just around the corner, I had to ask the poker playing b-baller if he plans to give the tourney a shot.
“You know I have some friends who’ve been talking about doing that for the last couple years but I just haven’t done it,” Dickau says. “I would do it this year but we’re expecting out third child this summer so I can’t really head down to Vegas for a week of playing poker.”
When he does get around to playing poker, don’t expect to see Dickau sportin’ any disguises or red-tinted glasses.
“I’m just pretty low-key,” he says. “Maybe (I’ll wear) a hat. I don’t do the i-pod deal or anything like that.”
Thursday, April 10, 2008
It's been awhile since the name Jake Brown has been mentioned. But unless you were out of the country and had no access to a computer, television or phone last August, you might vaguely remember who he is. He's the guy who seemed to be brought back from the dead after surviving a 45-foot free-fall in the skateboard air big final in last summer's X-Games.
The clip of the fall - and Brown's walk away from the accident - was practically replayed every 15 minutes on TV and was blasted across the internet, making the unknown skateboarder nearly a household name within days.
I was standing on the side of the skateboard ramp during the fall, just a few feet away from Brown. I heard the body fall, I saw him lay there lifeless and I saw his shoes fly off. So when I saw him for the first time since the X-Games at the Los Angeles premiere for Bra Boys, it was like seeing a miracle patient alive and doing well after a heart transplant (okay, perhaps not the best analogy but you get it).
The X-Games are just more than a few months away, so I asked Brown - or the "Terminator," as his friend called him last year - if he's nervous at all for this year's games. Like a true badass boarder, Brown is fearless.
"I’m not scared at all," Brown says shaking his head. "I can’t wait!"
While he says the fall didn't change his outlook on life, he has certainly been living the high life. He just got back from Vegas where he was hanging with the Maloof's, owners of the Palms Casino, where they chatted about the skateboarding event the Maloof's will be having in July called the Maloof Money Cup.
"Just normal stuff," Brown says shrugging his shoulders. "I'm filming for a Blind video. Just been trying to get ready for normal skateboarding."
Normal for people like Brown, perhaps. Tonight he's mingling among celebs Nikki Hilton, Samaire Armstrong, Brandon Davis, Milo Ventimiglia, Adrian Grenier and Andrew Keegan at the movie premiere for Bra Boys, an Australian documentary about the hardships of a group of surfers growing up in Maroubra Beach. Brown met the Bra Boys at the X-Games last year before his fall when they were all hanging in Brown's hotel room.
The movie, produced by ESPN X-Games correspondent Sal Masakela and Jason Bergh's Berkela Films, won Best Documentary at the 2008 X-Dance Film Festival and is the most successful Australian, non-IMAX documentary.
The Bra Boys will soon be immortalized once again on the big screen. Hollywood producer Brian Grazer will be producing a major motion picture based on the documentary and Russell Crowe, who narrates the doc, will be making his directorial debut.
Kobby Abberton, the youngest Bra Boy and star of the film, is now a celebrity in his own right. He's got a hot Australian actress and model girlfriend, Tahyna Tozzi, and tonight he's mingling with Brown and his celebrity friends.
"Oh, I hang out with Russell all the time!" says Abberton when I ask if he's met Crowe.
While some of the movie-goers had tears by the end of the film, Abberton was nowhere to be found.
"I was actually at the bar," he admits. "I’ve seen it too many times and it’s great but I’ve seen it too many times."
Abberton's requested that Mark Wahlberg play him in the movie, which he says might actually happen. Despite traveling the world, hanging out with Oscar winners and having a major motion picture made about his life, Abberton doesn't seem fazed.
"I wouldn’t say it’s weird," Abberton says. "I’d just say it’s my life, you know what I mean? It’s up and down. I’m more worried about what’s going to happen in the future, not now."
Wednesday, April 9, 2008
The Honorary Title's lead singer Jarrod Gorbel is drenching in sweat as he greets fans after his Wednesday night concert at the El Rey Theatre in Los Angeles, when a dark-haired girl runs up to him with a desperate look on her face.
"I tried to call you but your number changed!" she cries. "It was some gir -"
"Tiffany Wachowski!" says Gorbel with a knowing smile.
"You know who it is?" the girl asks confused.
"Yeah, it's Tiffany Wachowski," Gorbel says, emphasizing Wachowski like it's fun to say. "I changed my number and they gave it to someone in like three weeks! Everyone kept telling me about it so I called because I didn't believe it. The first time I got a voice mail and the second time I got a girl."
The name is a bit fun to say.
"Tiffany Wachowski," Gorbel repeats. "Yeah, she's been getting a lot of calls from my friends."
Well, considering the Honorary Title is signed by Warner Brothers and is currently on a nation-wide tour, I doubt Tiffany Wachowski minds getting phone calls from Gorbel's friends and even guitar-playing singer Gorbel himself.
Tiffany Wachowski. It's definitely fun to say.
The Nuggets have just crushed the Clippers 117-99 and Carmelo Anthony is walking around the locker room singing Pretty Woman as he puts on a facial mask before his shower.
After washing up - while he continues to sing Pretty Woman - he gets dressed and cleans up nice in a fire engine red button-up shirt, some slacks, a baseball hat, his signature diamond stud earrings and a diamond (or rhienstone) encrusted Moses head hanging from a chain, which he got in New York.
"That's black Jesus!" Anthony corrects me when I compliment on him on the Moses bling around his neck.
I'm a bit confused considering Moses is white, after all. But then again, I'm not about to argue with Carmelo Anthony.
"Um, my bad."
Tuesday, April 8, 2008
There’s just under 55 minutes till game time, but the Nuggets locker room isn’t talking basketball. “Who’s going to win the Masters?” one of the players screams to Chucky Atkins from across the locker room.
“Tiger,” he answers (pronouncing it like the Disney character, not the animal). “Tiger Woods."
“You gotta think of another name,” someone else shouts.
“Other than him? Probably VJ,” Atkins replies. “VJ would be up there … You don’t think so? That’s alright. That means he’s due!”
Atkins and I start talking about how fast LeBron James is when Allen Iverson – A.I. as he’s called – cuts in the convo.
“Man he ain’t running no 4.2!” Iverson says when Atkins tells me how fast LeBron is running the 40.
“What you running?” Atkins asks.
“That boy better not be running no 4.2,” Iverson adds.
“What are you running?” Atkins asks again.
“It ain’t no 4.2,” Iverson says.
“Well he’s running fast as a mother fucker,” replies Atkins.
“Damn, that be blazing!”
For the record, I can't find anywhere that says James runs the 40-yard dash in 4.2 seconds. So Iverson, don't feel bad.
I’m in the Denver Nugget’s locker room at Staples Center in Los Angeles. The visiting locker room is small and there’s just a handful of guys in here right now. Some have their headphones on listening to music, others are intensely watching an old Clippers v. Nuggets game on a projector, some are getting dressed and a few are in a small trainers room in the back left hand corner getting their knees wrapped or backs massaged.
Carmelo Anthony is standing in front of his locker, which is just a few feet away from me. He won't talk before games – well, at least he won't answer questions. I’m trying to interview Steven Hunter, and granted he’s averaging under two points a game (yes, that’s possible), I’ve always believed a good quote can come from anyone. And honestly, it’s better than no interview at all.
“Let me do my interview, man!” says Hunter before we even start as a few of the players come over and start snickering.
Just a few more questions later, we’re interrupted again.
“Where you from?” asks Anthony walking into the trainers room.
“What magazine?” I ask.
“Oh, you’re from ESPN.”
Hunter’s annoyed. “Let me do my interview, man!” he says. “Damn! Let me do my interview, man! Get the hell out of here!”
But Anthony’s having too much fun. “Ain’t nobody gonna know who the heck she’s talking to,” he jokes. “Who you interviewing? Steven Hunter what? You fired!”
“You’re an asshole,” Hunter snaps back. “Ain’t nobody want to interview your ignorant ass.”
A few of the guys in the locker room are laughing. “That’s terrible!” one utters.
“That was certified!” says another.
But Anthony’s not done. “What the fuck? Steven Hunter who? Give me that notepad! You gonna bring me some goddamn interviews, you got goddamn Steven Hunter! Take the pen you wrote it with and the pad you wrote it on with and leave everything!”
At this point I’m trying not to smile since I feel kinda bad for Hunter. All the guys in the locker room are laughing. While it’s all in good fun, Hunter’s starting to get a bit defensive.
“You stupid man,” Hunter says like a wounded dog. “You all are fired. You fired for that, man.”
“I love you to death, man,” Anthony insists.
“No you don’t. No you don’t.”
“Yo Steven, I love you to death.”
“No you don’t, man. You got that mother fucking 'Trust' tattoo on your hand. Ain’t nobody trust you.”
Anthony just smiles. Throughout all of this, I’m still trying to ask Hunter questions, which isn’t going very well since they laugh at every answer.
“… she says, ‘Why?’ And he says, 'Because they can run and jump!' Ha!” teases Anthony after one of Hunter’s answers.
“What did I say?” asks Hunter defensively.
“You don’t pay any attention to me, I’m just messing with you!” jokes Anthony.
“Let me do my interview, man!” Hunter says frustrated. “And I said, cause – anyways, next question.”
The next question isn’t any easier and the guys start giggling before he can even answer.
“Let me do my interview, man!” shouts Hunter. “You’re stupid man. This team’s stupid man … Go on man!”
They’re still laughing.
“Why don’t you ask me who looks most like a girl in the NBA?” Hunter says looking straight at Anthony. “Carmelo Anthony.”
I haven’t heard that comeback since the 5th grade, but then again I feel like I’m in elementary school, so it’s fitting.
The guys are still snickering but we make it through the interview. The moment of truth really comes towards the end when I ask him what's the weirdest question he’s been asked.
His answer: “Do you play basketball?”
Monday, April 7, 2008
Josh Kelly is very indecisive. His wife, actress Katherine Heigl, famously asked him to marry her (basically), she tells him what to wear, when they’ll have kids (she’s ready, he’s not), and now he can’t decide what song his next single will be - so he’s asking you!
Kelly put up a posting on his website and his Myspace asking fans to help him decide what song his next single should be by leaving him comments and messages.
“I can’t pretend that I know how to pick a single and neither can anybody,” says Kelly when I catch up with him at a recent gig in Los Angeles. “I have full control over my career and that’s one thing that I’ve been striving for for a long time is to have full control. I think we’ve come to a conclusion today. I gave them three days to help me and hopefully it’s the right one.”
Apparently he still hasn’t made a decision. I chatted with the Amazing singer on Thursday. Today is Monday. The posting is still up on both sites so perhaps he wants a little bit more fan input before making such an important decision.
Maybe indecisiveness isn’t so bad. What better way to communicate with fans and find out what they like than by asking them? I can’t tell you how many times I’ve bought a CD, hoping a musician will pick a certain song for their next single and they don’t.
Most people know Kelly as “Katherine Heigl’s husband,” but I am happy to say I bought his first CD when it came out in 2004, thank you very much. Granted, I had just turned 18 at the time, but I'll still throw it in my car and rock out once in awhile. Since then, a lot has changed (for both of us). His style has certainly gotten a bit better and perhaps Heigl is partially to thank – but not completely.
“I usually pick (my clothes) out but I run them by her for sure,” says Kelly when I ask him about his rocker chic attire. “Cause you see, you know I feel that I’m pretty confident with it but if it’s just me on the bus then I can pick it out and be confident with it but if she’s around, I have to show her just incase I’m doing something ridiculous.”
While we may not know what Kelly’s next single is just yet, I can promise that you won’t being seeing any hot girls in the music video. Kelly met Heigl when she was in his music video, so I couldn’t help but ask if Heigl had laid down the law against other music video hotties.
“No, no, no, no, it wouldn’t be like that,” Kelly insists. “But I don’t think I’ll ever film another music video with a hot girl in it. There’s no way that any other girl is going to compare to how hot my girl is.”
Perfect answer. He’s perfect. I don’t care what single he decides on. I’ll buy it.
Sunday, April 6, 2008
Well, perhaps Kevin Federline isn’t entirely to thank for rock band The Honorary Title’s success after performing on a February episode of One Tree Hill, alongside Federline. However, the tabloid coverage of K-Fed appearing on the teen drama certainly didn’t hurt.
“It was such a great experience and the week that our show aired, our sales totally shot up,” says lead singer Jarrod Gorbel, who’s album sales on Amazon increased over 15,000%.
Could it be that viewers tuned in to see K-Fed get punched? “He gets his ass kicked to our song Thin Layer, which I though was pretty surreal and ridiculous,” Gorbel cracks. “I saw him run his line, which was something like, ‘Get off the stage, ho!’ So that was his one big line.”
Since then, clips of Britney’s ex getting thrown down on the episode have reached more than 100,000 views collectively from different uploads on You-Tube. As for the recent success from their cameo alongside K-Fed, the Honorary Title gives credit to show’s writers rather than their costar. “We actually got written into the script, which is amazing,” Gorbel says. “It was really a great plug for us.”
Many bands have been helped out from appearances on hit TV shows. The OC made it a point to promote up-and-coming bands thanks to creator and indie music follower Josh Schwartz. Popular bands Death Cab for Cutie, Rooney, the Walkmen, the Killers and Modest Mouse all appeared on the one-time hit TV show.
Another perk with performing on a show is the fans the TV show hires. “They were really good actors,” says Gorbel about the paid extras on set. “Their support and volume was better than the average crowd. They’re like, ‘cheer now’ and everybody like screamed so loud. It was kind of ridiculous but at the same time, I wish we had the money to like take the little crowd on tour with us.”
It doesn’t look like the band will need to pay fans to see them anytime soon. The Honorary Title is currently on tour promoting their album, Scream and Light Up the Sky, which was released in August last year. The band will be in SoCal this week with shows in Los Angeles, Pomona and San Diego. Then they’ll hit a few cities in Texas and Florida and make stops in New Orleans, Atlanta and Greensboro.
Saturday, April 5, 2008
It’s been awhile since there’s been a movie I have really looked forward to seeing in the theatres but when I saw the previews for 21 I was literally counting down the days. I would consider blackjack to be poker’s younger, much simpler cousin. And being a poker fan, a movie about card counters in Vegas with an A-list cast was right up my alley. Needless to say, it was the best movie I’ve seen all year.
I recently caught up with actor Aaron Yoo, who plays Choi, one of the five M.I.T. card-counting geniuses who heads to Vegas and makes millions playing blackjack. Yoo’s character is like some giddy, genius, stoner (though not actually stoned), who has a thing for hotel freebies. The movie also stars Kate Bosworth, Jim Sturgess (who is hotttt) and Kevin Spacey.
Yoo’s also worked with Shia Lebeouf (Disturbia), Ben Kingsley (Wackness) and he’s got two other movies in the works - one with Superbad’s Michael Cera (Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist) and Gerard Butler (Game). Right now he’s got a #1 box office hit with 21, so I’d say life is pretty good for Yoo.
The 28-year-old chatted with me about his famous co-stars, pissing off movie-goers and bribing some NYU fans.
So I just saw the movie. The best movie I’ve seen in a long, long time. Has it been crazy since the movie came out?
Thank you! Thank you so much. Yeah, it’s been a little nuts. On opening night a bunch of the cast decided we were going to the Grove.
That’s where I saw the movie!
We’re you at the 8:15 screening on Friday night?
No, it was a Sunday night 10pm screening actually. But anyways –
So we walk out of the Grove at about 10pm and one of Josh Gad’s (Jim Sturgess’ M.I.T. best friend, Miles Connoly in 21) friend says, “Hey you guys just need to pay attention for a second. Do you see this line?” And the line is literally like around the Grove all the way to the parking structure. And he’s like, “That line, that’s your 11 o’clock screening.” We were like – (makes a shocked face with a huge smile). Out of fucking control! I’m sorry, out of um -
It’s okay, I know what you mean. That’s crazy. Was everyone in the cast there?
It was me, Josh Gad, Liza Lapira, Sam Golzari, and then we met up with Jim Sturgess and then Kate Bosworth met up with us later. We wound up having this like crazy cast night. Vegas was so crazy that we didn’t get enough QT together as a cast so that was like our main focus knowing that we were going to be in L.A. for opening weekend. Jim was like (in his best British accent), “Whatever happened to Boston and these mafia-owned clubs that wanted to kick us out because we wanted a beer?”
Was it weird being in the theatre watching the movie?
We were being pretty obnoxious before the movie started and people don’t necessarily immediately recognize us. Like the group of girls that were sitting next to me were actually getting annoyed by me because we were heckling everything. There’s a ‘learn to read’ advertisement that comes on before the movie and it has the scariest little six-year-old girl. So my friends and I were just heckling this and laughing our asses off and the girls next to me were finally just like, “Yo, shut up!” And I was like, “Oh, my bad. Sorry.”
They didn’t know it was you? That’s awesome. That is awesome.
Then the movie starts playing and my character shows up on screen and then I slowly – because you can see it out of the corner of your eye – I slowly see this whole group of girls start looking over at me and slowly just being like (he points and makes a face) and I’m just like, oh god.
It was one of those things. I mean I was working with Michael Cera in the fall. We were right next to an NYU dorm and there’s a target audience for like Super Bad/ Disturbia/ whatever it was and it got to the point where like an hour into shooting they came over and they were just like, “Listen, we hate to ask this of you guys but will you guys sign some of these things?” We were like, “Yeah, sure whatever.” “Here’s the thing, we need to bribe all these kids into not taking flash photography while we’re trying to shoot and we were like, “What kids?” And they were like, “Look up.” And there was a 10-story NYU dorm and there were kids in every window. They were writing messages in like wax pencil on the windows. Where were they getting these crayons from?
Well now you’re big time! What do you have coming up next?
The next thing I have coming out is called the Wackness. It’s our Sundance Audience Award Winner we just had. This move is so amazing. It’s so brilliant. I have a small little part in it, which I am very proud of but it’s like Sir Ben Kingsley and Josh Peck. Sir Ben plays Josh Becks’ psychiatrist. Josh is a high school pot dealer who is dealing pot to Sir Ben, the psychiatrist, in exchange for psychiatric advice. He’s in love with Sir Ben’s step-daughter, who’s like my friend. MaryKate Olsen’s in it, Method Man is Josh’s drug dealer, Famke Janssen’s it.
What was it like working with MaryKate?
I mean, here’s the thing, I never worked with MaryKate. Olivia Thirlby (Juno) is one of my best, best friends. And it was just like, “Oh my god, we get to do a movie together!” So me, Josh and Olivia did all of the stuff together. I didn’t meet Method at all until Sundance. I met MK at a fucking, at the Bowery Hotel in New York over the fall when I was doing my next movie. Someone introduced us and I was like, “I don’t really know how else to put this. We’re in a movie together and congratulations on Sundance.” And she was like, “Oh, right! Congratulations on Sundance. I guess I’ll see you in Park City.” So we got to become friends in Park City and I got to meet up with Sir Ben and Meth and everything.
What was it like hanging out with them?
Oh, the sweetest, chillest, coolest fucking cats. Very like laid-back, chill, actually like quiet individuals. But like, we would stand back with them sometimes walking down Main Street and watch people leap over snow banks to get closer to take a photo.
That’s freaky, right?
Craziest thing you’ve ever seen.
The whole Heath Ledger thing happened at Sundance too.
I heard about Heath Ledger while I was snowboarding at the top of a mountain. And I thought to myself later on, it’s a tragedy and everything but I thought, what does that mean that you’ve accomplished in your life that skiers and snowboarders are telling each other on the top of a mountain in Utah? Literally, I’m like fixing my bindings and there were random skiers coming by and they’re like, “Yo, Heath Ledger just died.” And we were like, “What! That’s bullshit.” Meanwhile, Josh Peck and company are leaving me voicemails being like, “Yo, son, Heath Ledger just died.”
That’s a good way to think about it. I mean you’ve really accomplished something when so many people are affected.
You’ve accomplished something with what you’ve done in your life.
What did your parents think when they saw you in the movie?
My parents came out to Vegas. They got to meet Kevin (Spacey). I mean it’s a really weird crazy thing, you know?
They must be so proud of you.
My parents are traditional old-school from like South Korea. To them, when I started acting they were like, “What are you doing?” My parents basically grew up with two black sheep. My older sister and myself and there was one point a few years ago where my sister was answering phones at the front desk of a small fashion company and I was a starving actor in New York and I know my parents were just like, “What did we do wrong?” And now my sister is a buyer for Armani.
Yeah, my sister is a big-time fashion exec and my acting career is doing okay.
Yeah, just okay. You were just in a movie with Kevin Spacey and what, it was number one in the box office?
Yeah, number one in the box office. So now it’s like, things have turned out okay.
Thursday, April 3, 2008
My co-worker, Cristina, recently emailed me an article with the subject line "Why it's good to be single in L.A. instead of NYC." The article had a map which showed how there are ridiculously more single men on the West Coast than on the East Coast.
I was always taught in school to consider the counter-argument, even when the data in front of you can appear all too convincing at times.
The article basically argued that single women have a much better chance to find love in California than in New York. At first, this seems like a fairly reasonable assumption. After all, it appears there are many more 'fish in the sea' here in L.A. and clearly many more men to choose from. On the East Coast, particularly New York, the map shows that there are very few single men and a heck of a lot of single women, meaning more competition for the non-committed females.
However, being the analytical person that I am, I decided to ponder this data in search for a counter-argument. Under the assumption that the male to female ratio on both Coasts is fairly the same, I would argue that the explanation for this data is very simple.
(First of all this is a generalization and is in no way meant to offend sexes on either Coast).
Anything in life of value is most likely to be a rarity. Things that are great don't have surplus. I would argue that men on the East Coast are better than men on the West Coast, which is why they are less easy to find. They get quickly snatched up! My reasoning for 'better' is the following:
1. They have better manners (open doors, pull out chairs, take women on nice dates)
2. They dress better (unlike the gangstah, Von Dutch-wearing men in L.A.)
3. They are career-oriented (unlike how 9 out of 10 guys in L.A. are wannabe actors/ models)
4. They're cultured (while men out here love Hollywood club Goa, I doubt any know that's actually a place in India)
5. They value women (men in L.A. consider a quality woman Carmen Electra)
Equally, I think there are less single women on the West Coast because there are better quality women than on the East Coast. They put more effort into appearance, they're healthy, less-demanding, spontaneous, fun and educated (if you look around USC, UCLA, LMU, UCSD and Pepperdine - and not the Playboy Mansion).
And so, taking into account 22 years of experience, hundreds of hours of phone calls with heart-broken friends and having met dozens of men on both Coasts, I had reached a fairly conclusive counter-argument.
So I replied to Cristina's email with the following in the subject line: Quality over Quantity.