Sunday, December 19, 2010

Buy, bye

Mike Wallace, CBS News ‘60 Minutes’
Sad, funny, undeniably authentic, Tabloid Baby tells the tale of what befell too much of mainstream television news over the past couple of decades as the bad drove out the good.

Maury Povich
Burt was there for the birthing of tabloid, he became the heart of the genre, and now he’s written the Bible.

Paula Zahn, Fox News Channel
It was a fun read. I laughed out loud!

Jim Ryan, Good Day New York, WNYW-TV
This one is terrific! This one puts you there. It gives you the flavor of being there and it gives you the kind of off-the-wall gonzo journalism that was going on there!

J. Max Robins, The Robins Report, TV Guide
Tabloid Baby is a compelling, vodka-laced chronicle that pulls back the curtain on the helter-skelter world of tabloid TV. Celebrities’ bad behavior—illicit sex, substance abuse, betrayal and revenge— are commonplace in the weird world of Tabloid Baby… Some of the incidents in Tabloid Baby are laugh-out-loud funny… I can corroborate how accurately he captures the era… Kearns does his subjective best to show how the tabloid genre stripped away pretensions from the news. He demonstrates how a bare-knuckle style of reporting often produced exclusives, while occasionally even bringing insight to the most sensational stories of the decade.

John Strausbaugh, New York Press
He helped change forever the way the news gets told on TV. Kearns is defiantly, happily unapologetic. That’s part of what makes his memoirs such an absorbing read. Tabloid Baby is a funny, brash, packed-with-anecdotes account of his role in the trashing (my usage) of TV news. If Kearns lays on the mythologizing a bit thick–his portraits of colleagues like Steve Dunleavy come straight out of 1930s hero-worship of the two-fisted, whiskey-pounding newspaper reporter–it’s probably just because he’s looking to sell HBO the movie rights, and why not. Besides, even his heroes show their warts, and portraits of powerful media figures like Barry Diller, Diane Dimond, Anthea Disney and Jeff Greenfield are boldly unattractive. On the broad scale, Tabloid Baby is a simple and familiar tale about the Aussification of the news: that is, it’s about the enormous, and many would say enormously detrimental, impact Rupert Murdoch and his piratical Aussie crew have had on news, both in print and electronic, both here and in England, over the last decade. On a more petty level, various other famous asses get satisfying comeuppances in Tabloid Baby. He tells some great Hollywood-sleaze stories.

The Straits Times, Singapore
Pop culture history of the best sort -- dishy, gossipy, delivered with the unerring ear of a TV reporter for the good soundbite and a healthy dose of cynicism. A rough and tumble, zippily-entertaining pop history of the birth of American tabloid television. In this kiss-and-tell, after a fashion, book, he provides the lowdown on how American television reporting got from the buttoned-down, WASP mentality of anchors like Walter Cronkite to the sleaze-driven mania of the Lewinsky phenomenon in the 1990s.

Today’s Librarian magazine
Tabloid Baby is a realistic account of how the medium of television emerged from the mass of “infotainment” programming it now embraces. A master at taking the reader behind the scenes, author Burt Kearns goes one better and shows in detail who’s calling the shots and the cut-throat nature of the business. Kearns relates the down and dirty to us—all first hand. The industry philosophy of “do whatever you have to do to get ratings, no matter who you hurt” is the underlying theme throughout the book, and Kearns’ experience as the former executive producer of A Current Affair and Hard Copy makes him more than qualified to give us this accurate account. The reader is given the obvious advantage of hearing about the people, the drinking, the sex, the drugs, from someone on the inside who lived, ate, and breathed tabloid TV shows. Kearns’ book has all the makings of a best-seller. It pulses and moves, and, like the medium it speaks of, presents us with a hook, teases us, and leaves us wanting more. As a former television show producer, I know many of the people Kearns writes about. Like myself, many in the industry will be nodding their heads in agreement, and the ones who won’t are those who will know they’ve been found out and that the jig is finally up. Throw away any other book you’ve ever read about television shows, and welcome to the real world of Tabloid Baby. It’s powerful, addictive reading, and despite the 500 pages to go through, I kept wanting more. Sequel?

Neal Travis, The New York Post
The navel-gazing that's going on at the TV networks right now will be enhanced by the publication of Burt Kearns' enthralling book, Tabloid Baby in which the veteran of shows like A Current Affair and Hard Copy reveals the M.O. of the programs that changed the way the medium covers news.

Steve Dunleavy, The New York Post
Con men, criminals, celebrities, politicians - all seemed to remain part of A Current Affair’s extended family, even when we beat them up. Burt Kearns, in his new book "Tabloid Baby," takes us on a delightful and raucous romp through that world. It was a world that will never be seen again. The wildest bunch of pirates imaginable. I know because I was there. In eloquent if sometimes brutal prose, Kearns, a senior producer on the show, unmasks all the usual suspects, which would guarantee that Tom Brokaw wouldn't let himself be buried in the same cemetery as any of us. "We'd taken television to a delirious and dangerous edge," Kearns writes. In varying doses of scandal, celebrity, crime, politics and morality, the tabloid television tales riveted a nation for a decade and Kearns grabs it all in print. The title of the book, "Tabloid Baby," tells you how it all went full circle until Kearns goes respectable, marries beautiful British TV anchor Allison Holloway and has a lovely son called Sam. All wrapped up in Los Angeles suburbia. Those wedding bells are breaking up that old gang of mine. Of course, I normally would have sued the son-of-a-gun for what he wrote about me, but I can't - it's all doggone true.

Frank DiGiacomo, The New York Observer
In the opening pages of Tabloid Baby, television producer Burt Kearns’ memoir about the rise and fall of tabloid television, he writes that New York Post reporter Steve Dunleavy, "the ageless legend with his silver pompadour, eagle beak profile and rakish charisma, was the paragon of everything that made journalism romantic and dangerous. He was friend to cops and criminals, bums and kings. He knew the words to any show tune you could toss at him." And then Mr. Kearns gets to the point: "Dunleavy, it was said, would fuck anyone, do anything–fuck anything–for a story." In journalistic parlance, that is the nut graph to Mr. Kearns’ first-person account of his immersion in the sweaty, up-all-night 120-proof world of tabloid television that media mogul Rupert Murdoch brought to America when he imported a band of Australian "wild pirates," as Mr. Kearns referred to them in a phone interview, to run the American TV and media properties that he had purchased… Indeed, if the book justifies anything, it’s that Mr. Dunleavy deserves his title as the Keith Richards of tabloid journalism.

The Sunday Age, Melbourne, Australia
Young enough to be Steve Dunleavy’s son, Kearns arrived in New York City from a sleepy suburban newspaper the night John Lennon died, and elbowed his way up in television newsrooms before getting his big break—working with Dunleavy and several other Australians to set up the hugely successful tabloid show A Current Affair. It was a rollercoaster ride, and prompted Kearns to write a book about the era—a rollicking number called Tabloid Baby. It’s during the launch that he coins the Keith Richards line about his old mate, whom treats as a loveable but eccentric uncle. There’s plenty more where that came from, in the book.

The Australian, Sydney, Australia
“What’s wrong with you?” my wife asked, as I lay in bed on Saturday morning, recharging the batteries, laughing, chortling and giggling. I was just reliving a part of my past, utterly engrossed in Burt Kearns’ book, Tabloid Baby. It tells the rip-roaring, devil-may-care, booze-fueled story of the explosive rise of tabloid TV in the U.S. Kearns tells it all in a vivid, brutally honest account that is riveting, funny, yet ultimately sad. Not only do the central characters fall, one by one, victims of booze, fatigue and Hollywood politics, but so does the genre itself… In a sense, Tabloid Baby is a tabloid history of tabloid itself; a potted, bovrilized, cut-to-the chase story about a ten-year TV subset of the wider newspaper genre that grew, blossomed, and wilted within the 20th century… The tabloid era maybe well behind us now, but that’s why Tabloid Baby is such a good read—it’s pure nostalgia; a portrait of the way we were, for those who may prefer to forget…

Ed Breslin, Seek Books Update, Seekbooks.com
Tabloid Baby provides as much high-octane entertainment as any Hollywood expose, and, in the bargain, it concerns a very serious subject, and sheds a sharp light on it: the nature of journalism at the dawn of the millennium. Every big news story of the 80s and early 90s is showcased in here. What’s more, Burt Kearns proves the old journalism adage that the story behind the story is often the best story. All of these guys would have attacked the Great Wall of China with a safely pin if a great story had been on the other side. Reading about them in Tabloid Baby, you feel that Burt Kearns has done for them as marauding journalists what Robert Louis Stevenson did for pirates in Treasure Island.

Connie Martinson Talks Books (PBS & Beverly Hills Courier)
Burt writes like a young Harold Robbins, fast paced, character descriptive and true situations that do not always speak well of the teller. It is, as Burt says, an uncensored account of the revolution that gave birth to 21st century television news broadcasting. Burt’s story of office politics from A Current Affair to Hard Copy is riotous.

LA Weekly
The best parts of the book are his candid confessions of the sleazy tactics — ranging from stealing a Joey Buttofuoco tape off a New York satellite feed to copying the infamous Rob Lowe sex tape off an Atlanta television screen— that got him into trouble. Kearns also pops off some good caps at pompous media figures, including Jeff Greenfield, who greeted a tabloid cameraman who baited him during the O.J. trial by saying, “This is the kind of lack of civility that I really think is unfortunate.” And the boozy, Vegas-stomping, strip-club-hopping, Sammy Davis Jr.–fawning life he describes, in vomit-in-the-office-trash-can detail, is emulated by mainstream media personalities today.

Tim Blair, The Australian
Kearns's book is a brutal chronicle of how exposure to the Australian tabloid ethos drove him to the brink of alcoholism.

News of the World, London
TV boss confesses… Sensationally!

The Jerusalem Post
A lively, compulsively readable account of his experiences as a producer at the American tabloid television shows A Current Affair and Hard Copy!

The Hartford Courant
Kearns relates dozens of raucous adventures in his new memoir, Tabloid Baby. It's a rollicking remembrance that romanticizes tabloid TV, as if the shows A Current Affair and Hard Copy were Hearst and Pulitzer battling over the Spanish-American War in the early days of yellow journalism. Kearns, however, suggests that the respectable press has always overstated the differences between itself and the tabs. To him, a tabloid story is simply one with a lot of emotion, real characters and a moral at the end -- a story with all the elements and drama of real life. He's started a new Web site -- tabloidbaby.com -- that promises links to the best tabloid stories of the day, and he revels in how they come from places people might not expect, like The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times and the Dallas Morning News.

The Malibu Surfside News
Tabloid Baby is as entertaining a read as the television shows it describes. The book chronicles the last great communication revolution of the 20th century, providing a behind-the-scenes look at the birth of a new approach to network news.

The Palisadian-Post, Pacific Palisades, CA
We cannot print the title of Chapter 4, but Kearns’ new book Tabloid Baby features detailed accounts of scandals involving Rob Lowe, the Kennedys and everything else he covered during his decade in tabloid television. Producing for A Current Affair and later Hard Copy, Kearns did anything, sometimes resorting to illegal measures, to get the story. Kearns never claimed that such stories were vital information to American viewers… To him, the torrid tales served a much different purpose: humor.

Victor Neufeld, executive producer, ABC News 20/20
I enjoyed the book a lot. I am a closet "Current Affair" aficionado here at ABC News… although some of what I learned happened at the program from reading the book I trust would never happen here!

The Web Page, TV Guide
A hilariously scandalous account of the birth of tabloid TV!

Tabloid television isn't dead. Shows such as A Current Affair and Hard Copy that thrived on news, gossip and scandal and brought the world dramatic reenactments and hidden-camera scoops were simply made redundant. Burt Kearns was a producer on both of those shows. To hear him tell it, tabloid TV simply morphed into network news magazines, syndicated talk shows, ceaseless cable "news" coverage and those morning programs where the men all wear sweaters and the coffee is decaffeinated.

The Chattanooga Times & Free Press
Do you remember when the national news shows were serious, dull and only watched by your parents who felt some obligation to turn it on before dinner? Do you remember when all that changed? During the '90s, the lines that once divided real news, real life and real entertainment were completely erased and replaced by a TV gumbo that includes cop shows, paramedic shows, judge shows and more news magazines shows featuring real people than there are real people. Burt Kearns was there at the beginning, and he has written a book about tabloid TV and its rise to prominence and eventual merger with "real news." Tabloid Baby is the story of how shows like A Current Affair and Hard Copy, with their behind-the-story stories of real people, went from industry joke to industry leader to the industry norm…

The Trumbull (CT) Times
At times his life sounds as if he escaped from one of those old-time movies such as The Front Page, about newsmen who planned stunts, lied, stole stories and would do anything to get The Big Story first!

The Daily Grind, Radiodigest.com
One of the most popular radio show guests the last week or two has been Burt Kearns, author of the tabloid TV memoir. Has he got stories!

Barry Farber, nationally-syndicated radio host
Burt Kearns is one of the early revolutionaries who changed television forever and put it between the covers of Tabloid Baby. He didn’t only write about it, he lived it. He made that particular piece of TV history happen!

Art Bell, nationally-syndicated radio host
A great book!

Bill Diehl, ABC Radio Network
You ruffled some feathers with this book. You named names—you didn’t pull any punches!

Joey Reynolds, WOR’s nationally-syndicated radio host
An excellent book. I want everybody who listens to my show to buy this book. You’ll love it!

Nick DiGilio, WGN Radio, Chicago
Bridges have been burned like you would not believe with this book! It’s incredibly entertaining. You’ll rip right through this book. Very entertaining—and honest. Boldly honest.

John Carney, KMOX Radio, St. Louis
Opens up the world of tabloid television as you have never seen it!

Paul Harris, KTRS Radio, St. Louis
Burt has great stories in his tell-all book!

Bill Handel, KFI Radio, Los Angeles
I was riveted. The stories don’t stop. They are incredible! This fun book gives you a glimpse of how influential TV is and who the players were at a really fascinating time in media history. The behind-the-scenes accounts are absolutely hilarious. The folks involved are often funny, smarmy, and sometimes even pretty likeable.

Karen Grant, KSRK Radio, Monterey
Tabloid Baby really is a hoot!

Ross Stevenson, 3AW Radio, Melbourne, Australia
What a ripper book! I bought a separate copy for the programme director. He too declared it a beauty. A great read. Well done!

Chaunce Hayden, Eyada.com
It’s a great book! I swear to God, Tabloid Baby is the real deal. No one has the balls to write what he wrote, knowing the consequences. And he knew what would happen! I think Burt is the best tabloid journalist in America!

George Pennacchio, Hollywood Wrap Weekend, ABC-TV News
Explicit! Author and former TV tabloid producer Burt Kearns writes all about the rise of tabloid TV in a book guaranteed to cause a scandal!

Caslon Analytics, Australia
A tabloid-flavoured expose of the birth of the Fox television network. It replaces Alex Block's Outfoxed: Marvin Davis, Rupert Murdoch, Joan Rivers & the Inside Story of America's 4th Television Network!

Willamette Week, Portland, Ore.
Hilarious exposé of the news we love to hate!

Steve Powers, Ph.D., co-author, "How To Watch TV News"
An insightful, incisive, and revealing history of the last television revolution of the twentieth century. With his combination of detailed reporting, novelistic approach and raw honesty, Kearns spins a compelling, rousing adventure that takes the reader behind the scenes of the decade’s most important as well as most sensational news events. This is the first and best insider account of a movement that changed the face of television news.

Jonathan Vankin, MediaNews Extra!
Good reading for journalists. A three-fisted insider's account of the early days of tabloid TV!

John Austin, Hollywood Inside Syndicate
Tabloid Baby could even be considered ”The Front Page” of the millennium, the “Boogie Nights” of journalism. We found it to be an utterly fascinating look at tabloid (TV) journalism that we didn't even know existed. Kearns has revealed more "dirt" than we expected. Celebrities, we are sure, will not like being exposed by such an "inside source"- nor will other members of the media. From our inside knowledge of tabloid journalism after thirty five years in the newspaper & TV business, we can assure you that Kearns has given us a really realistic account of what goes on. Believe us, this book is undeniably true and authentic. You can be rest assured that you, the reader have been given the obvious advantage of reading about the people, the drinking, the sex, the drugs, from someone on the inside who lived, ate, and breathed tabloid TV.

Anita Talbert, E! Entertainment TV & syndicated gossip columnist
A fantastic compendium of the history of Tabloid TV-- from a man who lived it. Stars better be braced! Kearns is sparing no expense on anyone and no one is safe. It is 500 pages of scathing tell-all right from the horse’s mouth… all the behind-the-scenes scandals that have never seen the light of day. Right now there are lots of celebrities squirming in discomfort. Between this book and Heidi Fleiss’s memoirs, no one in this town is safe!

Dr. Franklin Ruehl, Ph.D., cable TV show host
Tabloid Baby earns my highest commendation. It reveals the innermost secrets of the world of tabloid television like no other book!

Carol Vitale, The Carole Vitale Show
We are in love with this book, Tabloid Baby. Never a dull moment!

John Cluckie, Under the Covers with John Cluckie
This book is fabulous! It’s full of celebrity sleaze and scandal and gossip. A must read!

Linn Taylor, Screentime Access, Sydney, Australia
A rip-snorting, page-turning, knee-slapping trip down television's memory lane--the good and the bad--written by a talented wordsmith who lived through the era--helped shape it--and came out alive! If you've ever wondered how television is made--look no further for a reference book!

Brett Hudson, star of CBS’s Hudson Brothers Show
This is one of the best books I have ever read! Burt Kearns is the author of the millennium. Having been in show business my whole life, I can honestly tell you that Mr. Kearns has written the "behind the scenes" truth of the television industry. Tabloid Baby is a winner. I can't wait to see the movie!

Luke Ford, lukeford.net
An absorbing book!

Jan Thomas, Good Evening Norway TV
Entertaining and funny! Very funny! Read this and find out what’s going on behind the scenes!

Eames Yates, Emmy Award-winning documentary filmmaker
Tabloid Baby tells a truth that I have demanded from myself and others. It is a brave and daring look at those who have given their lives, their families, their fortune and their health to bring to the American people the stories that tell them who they are, what they are, and why they are.

Joe Hamill, Court TV
This book is nothing less than an underappreciated masterpiece. Cast as a memoir, it is also, perhaps, the most densely-packed and exhaustive inside history of the phenomena of Tabloid TV during its reign.

Michael Raffaele, author, "The Editor: Steps to Saving A Dying Newspaper"
Tabloid Baby was TREMENDOUS. It is a breath of fresh air and should be taught in J-Schools (and bars) across the country.

Rafael Abramovitz, legendary Tabloid TV correspondent
Burt Kearns is a very lucky man. Because best friends don’t sue!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Chris Montez concert tonight!

Pop music icon Chris Montez-- whom the LA Weekly calls "the great, underrated pop-rock legend," is in concert tonight at El Camino College in Torrance, just outside L.A.

Appearing with the singer known for Let's Dance and Call Me are the great lost Sixties pop group Help Light and a special preview of the 2011 Montez bio feature, El Viaje Musical de Ezekiel Montanez: The Chris Montez Story.

Showtime is 8 pm at Marsee Auditorium on the El Camino campus.

General admission is $25, plus $2 for parking. Students: $20.For tickets call: 310 329-5345 (toll free at 800 832-ARTS), or visit the Marsee Auditorium box office.

The show's a benefit for the El Camino College Foundation and the Friends of the El Camino College Library’s Living Archives Project.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Collect all three Chris Montez posters!

Chris Montez, the man the LA Weekly calls "the great, underrated pop-rock legend" performs Friday night at El Camino College in Torrance California, along with a preview of the upcoming musical feature, El Viaje Musical de Ezekiel Montanez: The Chris Montez Story (and a special performance by the great lost Seventies pop band, Help Light).

This is the third in our series of collectible posters.

Collect all three (find the others here and here)!

And come to the show!

The concert is a fundraiser for the El Camino College Foundation and the Friends of the El Camino College Library’s Living Archives Project.

Showtime is Friday, November 19 at 8:00 pm in Marsee Auditorium on the El Camino campus. General admission is $25, plus $2 for parking. For tickets call: 310 329-5345 (toll free at 800 832-ARTS), or visit the Marsee Auditorium box office, Monday – Friday, 10 am to 6 pm.

Danny Gans' manager settles lawsuit aganst Donny & Marie; apologizes for "hurtful" comments that "may have been made"

Danny Gans' former manager Chip Lightman has gotten the "amicable" resolution to the lawsuit he fired against Donny & Marie Osmond for firing him as producer of their show at the Flamingo in Las Vegas, after all.

Lightman released a statement yesterday:

“I am pleased we were able to resolve this matter and am sorry that, in the heat of battle, comments may have been made that were hurtful to the Osmonds. Both Donny and Marie are talented, hardworking artists and I wish them continuing success in their careers.”

Donny responded:

“My sister and I want to thank Chip Lightman for great contributions he made in launching our show at the Flamingo. We look forward to the opportunity to work with him again in the future.”

"Comments (that) may have been harmful"?

"...work with him again in the near future?

Maybe Lightman really did have material for a tell-all in his pocket, as he'd threatened on Twitter before deleting the tweet.

In his suit against the toothsome twosome, the unloved Lightman accused Donny of being "underhanded, devious, fraudulent and greedy," being out to "line his own pockets with ill-gotten gains to fund his lavish lifestyle of exotic cars, luxury hotel suites and private jets," and acting in a manner that's "contrary to the wholesome, all-American, good-natured image that he presents to the public."

As for Marie? Lightman says the tragic mother was "liable for the fraud perpetrated by Donny through her acquiescence, awareness, and utter failure to disclose" his action.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Randy Travis divorces his old lady

Country music superstar Randy Travis has divorced his wife Lib Hatcher after 19 years of marriage.

Randy Travis is 51. Lib Hatcher is somewhere around 70.

Though there have been rumours Lib might have been Randy's "beard" (they did have a house in Hawaii), there were reports back in July that Randy was cheating with the wife of his dentist. Lib reportedly caught him by sticking a spycam on his tour bus!

Randy and Lib have been together in one way or another for 34 years, ever since he, as the teenage Randy Traywick won a talent contest at the nightclub in Charlotte, North Carolina that Liz owned with her first husband. Randy was 17. Liz was 37. She left her husband for young Randy.

Randy and Liz' relationship raised eyebrows in Nashville and beyond in the 1980s. As far as anyone knew, the older woman Liz was the only girlfriend Randy ever had. They married in 1991.

The couple has a home in Sante Fe, New Mexico. Randy Travis filed the divorce petition in nearby Albuquerque on Thursday. The petition calls for an equal split of assets, and doesn't give a reason for the split besides saying a "state of incompatibility exists between the parties."

Lib will stay on as his manager.

Randy Travis was considered "too country" when he broke in Nashville in the Eighties, but Lib Hatcher got him a record deal. His first album, Storms of Life, was released in 1985 and is one of the greatest country music albums of all time.

George Hickenlooper's last Facebook post

"Thanks to all my new friends
in Austin for making last night's
screening such a great success!
I love Austin! One of the if not
the best audience in the world.
Hope to come back soon...
On to Denver!"

The film director, whose fine work included Mayor of the Sunset Strip, died last night in Denver at 47. He made the post yesterday, before heading to Denver for a film festival with his new movie. Casino Jack starring Kevin Spacey opens in December. His cousin John Hickenlooper is mayor of Denver, a former brewpub owner who's running for governor of Colorado.

George Hickenlooper's last Facebook profile photo:

Danny Gans death house sold

The mansion in which Danny Gans died has been sold, cutting another tie between the family of the late Las Vegas superstar and the city with which he'd been identified for more than a decade.

Coldwell Bankers announced that the lavish estate owned by Gans and his wife Julie was sold quietly this week to a couple from California. Reports say they paid about $9 million for the 9,400-square-foot French-chateau styled main residence on 2.57 acres in Roma Hills in neighboring Henderson, Nevada.

Gans designed the estate, which includes a guest house house, built atop of basement garage in which Gans kept his collection of 20 cars.

Coldwell coordinated the estate sale in conjunction with the auction of a dozen of Gans’ cars and bikes by the Barrett-Jackson auctioneers (the lot fetched about half a million dollars).

Gans' wife and three kids pulled up stakes and moved to the Los Angeles area shortly after Julie Gans called 911 to report she'd found the superstar musical impressionist was found dead in his bedroom in the early hours of May 1, 2009. The charitable, athletic Born Again Christian and family man overdosed on hydromorphone, a powerful opiate sold as Dilaudid and known on the streets as "drug store heroin."

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Katie Couric thinks you need a bath

Once was a time when network news nabobs considered everything between the New York-DC corridor and Los Angeles as "flyover country"-- the vast middle of America that looked eastward for guidance and leadership, and west for news of dead celebrities and earthquakes.,not worthy or economical for coverage beyond the occasional natural disaster or shooting spree. That time passed abut twenty-five years ago, as cheap satellite technology made it possible to set up camp in any part of the world, and the advent of tabloid television era broke the elitist network news grip on coverage and influence and changed the news coverage palette for good.

So it's quaint at the least to see that "Katie" Couric, who's taken over as "anchor" of the anachronistic CBS Evening News, still refers to everything West of the Hudson as "this great unwashed middle of the country."

"Unwashed" or "Great unwashed" is a derogatory term for the multitude of "ordinary" people.

CBS News handout photo
Now you know why you haven't noticed those network news shows, and why it's probably a good idea, as Howard Kurtz's article in the Daily Beast indicates, that she stay on the job for a few more years at a reduced salary.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Art Vargas brings touch of Prima to the Palms

Art Vargas himself summed it up in hipster code for his Facebook friends early this morning: "Mondo Lounge was a gass!... Swingin time with the swank set... very cool crowd, swank settin' hipsters... diggin the scene, layin it down old school style... like no other dig it the most daddy!"

The red hot Vargas brought down the house at the Palms' Key West ballroom in Las Vegas last night, working the Mondo Lounge convention crowd and giving bookers, agents and tastemakers another solid reason why the man who's played the big rooms reviving the ghost of Bobby Darin while working lounges and bistros with his own retro-themed classic Vegas act, deserves a showroom of his own, his name on a giant marquee and billboards in and on the way from the airport as big and ubiquitous as Danny Gans'.

And while Vargas has the potential to take Danny Gans' role as the living embodiment of Las Vegas entertainment, the mantle he's really in line to assume is that of Louis Prima, the all-round entertainer who turned the Vegas lounge into the center of Vegas cool, and deservedly ascended to headliner status. Nothing made that more clear by the guest shot in last night's show by none other than Prima's daughter, Lena. Lena, youngest daughter of Louis Prima and Gia Maione, has carried on with her Louis-centric career and is regarded as Vegas loyalty.

Posted Vargas: "What A GASSS it is performing with you Lena!! Lets build a barn and do a show! just like Mickey & Judy! you are great, you must have your dad's heart and soul, what a legacy, the passion and performance is so real, what a thrill, and the audience so loved it! It is magical ..."

The Vegas media will catch up soon enough. Stay tuned.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Michael Douglas, the defiant one

Michael Douglas, shown this morning in New York City, is said to responding well to chemotherapy and radiation treatment for his Stage 4 throat cancer. The Oscar® winning actor has roles in two movies released this year that will surely vie for Best Actor Academy Award® nominations. We expect to see him at the ceremony after he beats this.

Art Vargas plays the Palms Saturday night

Art Vargas, the charismatic, energetic veteran showman we've picked as a prime candidate for a showroom of his own on the Las Vegas Strip, gets a few blocks closer when he brings his show to the Palms Casino Resort Saturday night at.

That's tomorrow. At 8.

Hot off last weekend's success at the Rampart, Vargas and his group The Swank Set will be the highlight of the "Mondo Lounge Ultimate Retro Party and Conference," which "brings together fans of retro fashion, tiki, pin-ups, exotica music, Atomic Age cocktails, bachelor pad living, ballroom dance and the vintage Vegas Rat Pack vibe," which Vargas brings in spades with his signature brand of very timely retro cool rock and jazz. Bookers, tastemakers, music critics, gossips and big time talent agents are well advised to make their way to the Palms. Vargas is Vegas future.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Chris Montez returns to El Camino College!

Pop music legend performs
Friday, November 19th!

With sneak preview of the Chris Montez biopic!

It'll be a rock 'n' roll homecoming for pop icon Chris Montez when he plays at El Camino College on November 19th, along with another sneak preview of his film bio-in-the-making.

Montez grew up in nearby Hawthorne, California, and enrolled at the Torrance college back in the Sixties, after he washed out of the rock 'n' roll factory after hits like Let's Dance and Some Kinda Fun-- and before his rediscovery by Herb Alpert, which led to a revived career and classic cool hits like Call Me and The More I See You.

Film fans will recall that his hit Let's Dance served as the soundtrack to the frat house comedy classic, Animal House.

Sharing the bill with Chris Montez is Help Light, a band that fashioned a fresh new sound by incorporating the best musical elements from the Sixties, Seventies, Eighties and Nineties. Help Light’s musicianship and songwriting has earned high praise and admiration from a long list of fans and industry insiders, including Beatles producer and arranger George Martin.

The show is the latest stop in a Chris Montez revival that included a rousing appearance at the NY Metro Fest for Beatles Fans in March, and a intimate performance with jazz guitar virtuoso Sid Jacobs at the Pacific Palisades Film Festival in May, and a rocking show that included a set by Gary Busey at the Paso Robles Digital Film Festival last November. At each stop, the music was accompanied by a preview screening of El Viaje Musical de Ezekiel Montanez: The Chris Montez Story.

The nonfiction film is still in production by our pals at Frozen Pictures, and features famous names like Herb Alpert, Tommy Roe and Andrew Loog Oldham. The preview focuses on Montez's 1963 concert tour of England, which featured the Beatles as the opening act-- just as Beatlemania was breaking out-- and Montez's distinct but little-known influence on the group's style and sound.

The concert is a fundraiser for the El Camino College Foundation and the Friends of the El Camino College Library’s Living Archives Project.

Showtime is Friday, November 19 at 8:00 pm in Marsee Auditorium on the El Camino campus.

General admission is $25.00, plus $2.00 for a parking permit. For tickets call: 310 329-5345 (toll free at 800 832-ARTS), or visit the Marsee Auditorium box office, Monday – Friday, 10 am to 6 pm.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Tragic Kingdom: Disneyland's haunted parking structure of terror

The suicide last night at Disneyland's Mickey & Friends parking structure adds an unintended real-life macabre twist to the park's Halloween Time celebration. Attractions including Space Mountain, Pirates of the Caribbean and the Haunted Mansion have been tricked out in special Halloween themes. How many parents, while walking their kids to the escalators on their way from their cars to the trams that lead into the Magic Kingdom, will spin tales of the ghosts that haunt the parking structure?

Fun facts: The garage holds 10,500 car and was the world’s largest parking structure when it was constructed in 1998. It may still be. the last Disneyland suicide we reported was in 2008.

Another suicide at Disneyland

A man committed suicide yesterday by leaping from an upper floor at the Mickey & Friends parking structure at Disneyland. Anaheim Police say the unidentified man, believed to be in his forties or early fifties, jumped from the southwest corner of the structure and was found around 8:45 p.m. Police spokesman Rick Martinez said the man didn't carry any identification on him but did leave a suicide note.

Mickey & Friends is Disneyland's main parking structure. The rooftop level is called "Minnie."

Why can't we find cans of Planters Honey Roasted Peanuts in Los Angeles?

Cans of Planters' popular honey roasted peanuts disappeared from supermarket shelves months ago, around the time its "healthy" "NUT-rition" cans began taking up space.

Mr. Peanut, what happened?

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Steve Friess pulls boners in LA Weekly transgender sportswriter story

Las Vegas blogger, New York Times stringer, Gay Vegas author, concert promoter and comp queen Steve Friess apparently made some embarrassing errors when he brought his opinionated work to Los Angeles in the form of a reheated LA Weekly cover story on the tragedy of LA Times sportswriter Mike Penner, who committed suicide after coming out publicly as a transgender, then changing his mind.

A correction in the LA Weekly print editions and website today reads:

"A story published August 20 about the life and death of former L.A. Times sportswriter Mike Penner incorrectly spelled Amy LaCoe's last name as LeCoe. In addition, the story should have said that Penner's father died 12 years ago, not when Penner was 12 years old; that Penner met his future wife, Lisa Dillman, when she worked at the Detroit News, not at the Minneapolis Star-Tribune; and that the couple wed in 1986, not 1987."

We'd criticized the article after it was published in August as a riff on past coverage, including details from a comprehensive Los Angeles Times article, and spanked Freiss for his lazy and kneejerk degrading descriptions of Los Angeles architecture.

Friess came to our attention in May 2009 when he attacked us publicly for asking questions about the mysterious death of Las Vegas superstar Danny Gans. He later helped in an active campaign to mislead reporters on the case-- and made a move to have this site closed down.

The Yankles? New team takes new swing at bringing professional baseball to Israel!

Remember the Israel Baseball League? How could you forget? Tabloid Baby's comprehensive coverage of the disastrous 2007 season and the tragicomic failed attempts to carry on led to our editor and Our Man Elli in Israel being submitted for a Pulitzer Prize-- being cut off at the pass by gatekeeper Sig Gissler-- and given a place in the Baseball Hall of Fame at Cooperstown. Now, a new group of sportsminded US businessmen with stars-- and shekels-- in their eyes-- are ready to give it another go. Our Man Elli leads us to the article in YNetNews, noting that it "mistakes Martin Indyk for Dan Kurtzer":

NY Yankees make aliyah

Co-Owner of legendary American baseball team
promotes initiative to establish
professional baseball league in Israel
Itamar Eichner

American businessmen, including one of the owners of legendary baseball team The New York Yankees – which is worth approximately $1.5 billion – are promoting an initiative to establish a professional baseball league in Israel.

The businessmen visited Israel and held meetings with Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Regional Development Silvan Shalom and Jerusalem's Mayor Nir Barkat, in which they asked for their assistance.

As part of the initiative, the businessmen proposed to build a baseball stadium near Jerusalem's Teddy Stadium, which will serve as Israel's central baseball hub.

Following the meeting, Barkat promised to promote the project and help find a proper location for the construction of the stadium.

Minister Shalom offered the businessmen governmental aid, if they were to build stadiums in the country's northern and southern regions.

"The entrepreneurs are aware
that baseball is not
very popular in Israel,

but believe it can
gain a following.

Officials were also examining the possibility of building a stadium in Netanya, which brands itself as Israel's sports hub.

One of the men involved in the project is billionaire Jeffrey Rosen, who owns Israeli basketball team Maccabi Haifa.

The businessmen have also approached Israeli diplomats, and asked them to help coordinate meetings with Israeli officials that can help promote the project.

The entrepreneurs are aware of the fact that baseball is not very popular in Israel, but believe that with time it can gain a following. At first, they plan on catering to American expatriates living in Israel, who continue to follow the popular American sport.

Past attempts to import the sport have proved unsuccessful. In 2007, the first professional Israeli baseball league was established, and one of its managers was former US ambassador to Israel Martin Indyk.

Six teams participated in the league's first season, but the second season was cancelled after the league suffered financial loses. Despite the failure of previous initiatives, the American entrepreneurs, who enjoy the support of The NY Yankees, want to have another go at it, and believe this time they will hit a home run.

Cick here to read Tabloid Baby's entire coverage of the Israeli baseball fiasco.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Welcome to LA, Richard Johnson

Tabloid Baby pal Richard Johnson is leaving his job as editor of the New York Post's Page Six and moving to Los Angeles. Johnson has been at the helm of the most influential gossip column of our time for close to twenty five years, and a made a little gossip himself along the way while steering the column from the days of Sukhreet Gabel and Mark Gastineau. We'd have thought Johnson would have headed West fifteen years ago to become a television star, but he was to be respected as one of the last of the print guys. His skipping of the medium and move to a News Corp, "digital venture" signals the death of print gossip as far as we're concerned. Long live Jim Brady and Neal Travis.

Click here to read Richard Johnson's goodbye to New York. Last line:

In the words of J.J. Hunsecker, "I love this dirty town."