Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Barry Manilow, what happened?

Word today that Barry Manilow will soon announce he's quitting his longtime engagement at the Las Vegas Hilton comes two days after Barry sent a memo to his fan club insisting he's not sick (just a "skinny guy" who's "filled with energy" and still has his hair) and a day after he launched a subscription website to show archival footage of his past concerts.

Barry's likeness has been plastered along the side of the hotel-casino where Elvis and Wayne Newton once ruled, and his Manilow giftshop off the Hilton lobby has been a Las Vegas favorite, featuring not only t-shirts, jewelry and memorabilia, but bottles of the legendary Manilow water.

Hilton execs announced Barry's longterm deal in December 2004.

The Manilow.tv site will run a new concert each month.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Farrah's Romance Secreto not so secreto

The tabloids know a good love story when they see one. Thanks in great part to publications like OK! magazine's international editions (in this case, Mexico), Greg Lott's secret autumn romance with college sweetheart Farrah Fawcett is getting as much play as Ryan O'Neal's real-life version of his movie from 1970.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Danny Gans autobiography at printer

The long-awaited Danny Gans autobiography, which co-author R.G. Ryan insists was completed the day before Gans' untimely death on May 1st, was sent to the printers this morning, according to publisher Carolyn Hayes Uber.

Huber, of Stephens Press, whose parent Stephens Media also publishes the Las Vegas Review-Journal, blogs on the Working Titlez site:

"The Voices in My Head, by Danny Gans and R.G. Ryan went to press this morning. Whew!

"Danny’s very personal biography will debut in a trade paper edition later this month while a special collector’s hardcover edition (with an audio CD) will be out in December. More on both to come.

"Danny poured his energy into everything he loved, from his family to his faith, from baseball to his career in entertainment. When it came time to document his life story, he poured his energy into this project as well. Sadly, Danny passed away the day after the manuscript was completed. His inspiring story remains, offering a compelling mix of touching tales and life lessons. Danny’s story, told in his own voice, from his own heart.

"We’re honored to publish The Voices in My Head."

The book's complete title is: "The Voices In My Head: A Story of Triumph Over Tragedy and Beating The Odds in Las Vegas."

Earlier this month, we contacted RG Ryan to find if any changes were made to address the tragic circumstances of Gans' death.

He replied:

"No rewrite necessary re: drug use. That's a story for someone else to write."

Yes, it is.

Stephen Baldwin turns to celebrity boxing

So where do you go after Celebrity Apprentice and I'm A Celebrity Get Me Out of Here? Celebrity Stephen Baldwin is following the lead of his Born Again buddy Michael Lohan and getting into the celebrity boxing ring. We've learned that the right wing Christian Baldwin Brother who once challenged Barack Obama to a fight will take on author, actor and filmmaker Christopher Gambino on Wednesday, February 3rd at the BankAtlantic Center in Sunrise, Florida. The bout is "a benefit for our troops," and details are now up at MyCelebrityBoxing.com, where they're running a "one-time VIP offer... only good through Thursday morning." So check it out.

February 3rd gives Stephen plenty of time to train for Gambino, who looks like he doesn't need much training. Stay tuned for the latest...

Merle Haggard's No Shit Day

Fifteen years ago, tabloid television legend Wayne Darwen came up with the idea of a reality television series shot from inside Merle Haggard's tour bus, talking to ordinary folks as he makes his way across the country. As with most prescient visions of genius, Merle's 'Merica didn't make it to air, but it did made for a lively chapter in the book Tabloid Baby (see Chapter 32). Merle's 'Merica, meanwhile, has gone exactly where Darwen predicted it taking us back in the mid-Nineties. The great songwriter and musician is featured in the latest issue of Rolling Stone (the one with Megan Fox on the cover), with one quote that's stuck with us since we read it aloud in the Tabloid Baby office:

"I don't believe there's a dime's worth of difference between Democrats and Republicans. When you get someone new in the White House, don't you suppose they'd sit him down there the first morning in the Oval Office and explain the rules? Give him orders about what to do, and if he didn't do 'em, they'd kill his kids? That's what I think. I think there's a No Shit Day, when they sit the guy down and he says, 'No shit.' And they say, 'Yeah, and it's this way, too.' 'No shit.' 'And we'll kill your fuckin' kids if you don't like it.' I think we're there."

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Joaquin Blanco sells one-of-a-kind bicycle

The last time we heard from Tabloid Baby pal Joaquin Blanco, the Portuguese performance artist was claiming he'd been kidnaped-- or was he chasing down sightings of a real-life flying pig? Or maybe it was his curatorship of the Blow LA festival. In any case, the man behind the Christmas Garbage Cane is back, and selling off his latest work of art.

He writes us this evening:

"Tabloid Bebe:

"It has been too long, hasn't it? I am back. You remember my obsession with the Topanga Flying Pig? A picture to remind you -->

"For many generations my family in Portugal built bicycles under the Maiale Volante name. You may remember that an MV team member once placed 253rd in the Tour de Lisbon.

"While our family's bicycles may not have been swift on the ground, they flew in our stories every night at the local pub. I, too, apprenticed in the family shop. Before I left on my quest to find the Topanga Flying Pig, I created my own Maiale Volante.

"You as an artist of words can appreciate the tough times we creative folk are facing. So now, my beloved Maiale Volante has been listed on the international auction site, eBay, in time for the Halloween rush. I first approached Christie's, but while their curators deemed my work of mechanical art delightful, they had no room on their calendar. It seems that French bicycles of the 40s are more interesting to them than my flight of fancy..."

The one-of-a-kind fixed gear bicycle is up for auction now on eBay.

Click here to bid.

It's a classic-- and worth it!

Girl describes rape by Roman Polanski

Yes, sometimes justice does seem to move in strange ways. Two days after the death of the woman who forty years ago slaughtered his wife and her unborn child, Roman Polanski is arrested in Switzerland on a 31-year-old arrest warrant for raping a thirteen-year-old girl at Jack Nicholson's house. Sure, Polanski's a great artist and he survived the Holocaust and a recent documentary showered him with great sympathy and the victim has given him her forgiveness, but before you start feeling too sorry for the perverted sonofabitch, take a stroll over to the Smoking Gun website and read the grand jury testimony from the victim.

He's lived pretty nicely since he fled to Paris all those years ago.

Jenny Slate full-frontal nude photo! The girl who said the f-word on Saturday Night Live!

Jenny Slate made her debut on Saturday Night Live in the early hours of Sunday morning with her own sketch about a biker chick talk show in which she and her guests used the word "frickin'" (instead of "f*ckin'") over and over again. Amid the hilarity, she somehow wound up tossing in the real f-word and then made a funny face (puffing out her cheeks) to call attention to it. The "slip-up" was edited out for the West Coast feed, so we didn't get to hear it, though we did notice the edit because it was made mid-puff.

Former SNL cast member Charles Rocket is best known for saying the f-word on camera back in the Eighties. He later committed suicide. Jenny, who especially in biker drag was a fine visual alternative to chubby Casey Wilson, should fare a lot better. In fact, we wouldn't be surprised if she'd been hired for that very reason. Facing competition from premium channels and the Internet and looser restrictions on cable, why not use the new kid to test out the reaction well after midnight on the 35th season debut?

Saturday, September 26, 2009

"Stupak's Erection"

What can we say? That's what folks in Vegas were calling it when they were erecting it...

Friday, September 25, 2009

It's a boy for Teresa Strasser

Chatter on her Facebook page indicates and a Twitter posting confirms that Teresa Strasser has given birth to a boy.

Teresa is the writer, television and radio personality former Tabloid Baby adversary (she took up the cudgel against our criticism of The Adam Carolla Radio Show, where she once toiled) who turned Tabloid Baby pal about six months ago, after she sent us the nicest note and began a correspondence that made us realize she's actually a very sincere, very genuine person.

And now she's a mom.

Teresa has been chronicling her pregnancy and expectations in a very engaging fashion on her website. Check it out. And mazel tov and congratulations to all.

SEPT. 27th UPDATE: Teresa writes on her Facebook page: "Nathaniel James was born Sept. 24th at 2:57 p.m. He has long feet, a full head of light brown hair and dimples. Thanks so much for all the love. I'm overwhelmed." To Tabloid Baby, she adds: "Thanks for this... Yep. I'm a mom. Writing to you from the hospital where baby and I are doing great."

Mobsters + cannibals + zombies = hit

Hollywood isn't the only place churning out movie news and movie hits. Tabloid Baby's pal in Atlanta, movie producer Keith Walker, tells us that the long-awaited mobster-cannibal-zombie flick, Lynch Mob has finally made it to theatres around the country and is getting a lot of attention-- and screams-- for being one of the few mobster-cannibal-zombie-horror selections out there. We told you about the movie two years ago when it was still in production. A lot of people worked on it, including Our Pal Keith in Atlanta, who tells us the talent behind the hometown First Cinema production company really deserves kudos for a bloody good job.

Indie vet Scott Stamper (above) wrote (with Rachel Stamper) and produced...

Byron Conrad Erwin (above) directed and stayed true to the script... and actor-executive producer John J. Cornetta took his first star turn in what could be the next cult classic.

The movie's showing in Carmike Cinemas across the country. We'll keep you posted. Check your local listings and check out the trailer:

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Wayne Newton's last stand?

Wayne Newton is returning to the Las Vegas Strip in what could be his last stand-- but probably won't. The Midnight Idol will be opening at the Tropicana's Tiffany Theatre in an autobiographical show he's calling Once Before I Go (the title of his autobiography, a surprisingly angry, intense and entertaining book), mixing monologue, multimedia and of course music, backed by a full orchestra. Wayne is a longtime Tabloid Baby pal, recorded one of Tabloid Baby's top live albums of all time and has always been a tremendous showman. As Vegas has gone through various changes over the past decade and a half, Wayne has bounced among various casino showrooms and despite some recent health problems promises to be as exciting as ever. Anyone with a love for Las Vegas and a sense of history should see him while they can. The show opens October 14th and is set to run through next April. Performances are scheduled for five nights per week, dark Sundays and Mondays. Tickets: $149.99 for front-row “Golden Circle” seats, $99.99 and $79.99.

(Wayne is 67. He's been performing in Vegas for fifty years-- since May 1959, when he and his older brother Jerry performed as the Newton Brothers at the Carnival Lounge at the Fremont Hotel.)

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Did his involvement in Vegas Jacko tribute get Steve Friess' producing partner fired from Jersey Boys?

Las Vegas Sun
Erich Bergen, who was the frontman and star of the Las Vegas Michael Jackson birthday tribute he produced along with Las Vegas blogger, New York Times stringer, Gay Vegas author and comp queen Steve Friess, has been fired from the Las Vegas production of Jersey Boys-- and in the words of one Vegas columnnist, caused a media "kerfuffle" in the process.

Bergen, who portrayed Four Season Bob Gaudio in the show at the Palazzo Hotel & Casino on the Strip, has turned himself into a Vegas personality, performing at the Liberace Museum (his version of Britney Spears' "I'm Not A Girl, Not Yet A Woman" is a YouTube staple), and then going national with his flogging of the “Michael Jackson’s Untimely Death Was The Best Thing That Could Ever Have Happened to Michael Jackson’s Music Show” while his partner Friess stayed in the shadows.

His surprise axeing was reported in the Las Vegas Sun and in an angry Twitter from Friess' BFF, beauty queen-turned-TV entertainment reporter Alicia Jacobs:

When respected Las Vegas writer Richard Abovitz Los Angeles Times blog item expressed wonderment over such a fuss over a common cast change in an ensemble Vegas show, a supporting player at that, Freiss responded with a tantrum on his own Vegas blog.

Oddly, Friess, who claimed loudly that the mysterious overdose death of Vegas headliner Danny Gans was not a story worthy of investigating or reporting, claims that the departure of a supporting castmember of an ensemble show is actually big news:

"... it's odd to me that Abowitz overlooks the fact that Erich's name has been in the papers for most of the time he's been in Vegas, an unusual feat for even the stars of shows with more singular performers. He's been pivotal in turning the Liberace Museum's showroom into a hip place for young Strip talent to jam, he raised $103,000+ less than a month ago for Las Vegas schoolkids in a show that drew massive amounts of international news coverage and he was the mouthpiece for 'Jersey Boys' only a fortnight ago on one of the most-watched TV shows of the summer.

"When someone makes a name for themselves, we call them celebrities. And when celebrities are summarily dismissed from the jobs that made them celebrities, the public is understandably curious. Fame + Controversy = Newsworthiness. Is it really that baffling?"

The pompous use of the word "fortnight" notwithstanding, Friess neglects to address the elephant in the room: whether Bergen got the axe because of his association with Friess and his involvement in the controversial exploitation of Michael Jackson's death.

We've emailed Friess. He has yet to respond.

(Fame + Controversy = Newsworthiness? Unless it's Danny Gans, we suppose...)

Beatles remasters: "Oh, f*cking hell!"

We've been working our way through the Beatles remasters, and although we'd have preferred that the cleaned-up, brightened, state-of-the-art recordings had been released ten years ago when people were still buying CDs and we were still listening to music on big Spicas with tweeters and woofers and pre-amps and tubes instead of earbuds, car stereos and computer speakers, the tracks sound great and there are more than a few revelations:

* Paul McCartney does say "Oh, fucking hell!" at around 2:58 of Hey Jude (sound engineers Ken Scott and Geoff Emerick have said that Paul blurted it after hitting a clunker and that it was Lennon's idea to leave the mistake in the final mix-- buried low enough so no one will hear it-- turn up the treble and crank it and you can hear it now).

* Ticket To Ride is actually "Ticket to Rye," after all. Legend has it that someone mislabeled the tape box.

* Listen to the countdown on I Saw Her Standing There and tell us what you hear...

* And the winner is... Ringo! The remasters place his drumming loud and clear, front and center and reveal his work to be as masterful, innovative and wondrous as anyone's in the band.

We've still got to track down Magical Mystery Tour to hear what Lennon really shouts in Baby You're A Rich Man.


And when we first met him, he was only twenty-five...

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Video: If James Dean had lived...

This ad for a South African investment company uses make-up, prosthetics, body doubles and CG face replacement to show that he would have grown up to be Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie. Dig the final scene.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Sex & Baseball Grand Slam! Our Man Elli's kudos for Conan

Our Man Elli in Israel, the man behind our Pulitzer Prize-nominated coverage of the Israel Baseball League (thanks for nothing, Sig Gissler!), checks in after a long absence (hard at work as a correspondent for the Israel Broadcasting Authority) to offer declare a “Grand Slam for Conan O’Brien” for a late night sex and baseball joke:

“Parents’ groups are complaining that TV broadcasts of baseball games are filled with ads for erectile dysfunction drugs. In other words, things are so turned around these days that now we delay baseball by thinking about sex.”

And who’d forget that Our Man Elli is subject of the Sex & Baseball documentary project…

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Patrick Swayze's memoir is a tough read

When Patrick Swayze died, Simon & Schuster happened to be planning to publish the memoirs he wrote with his wife Lisa Niemi on September 29th. With the publication date still a "go"-- and with the timing, why wouldn't it be?-- the British tabloids are running excerpts this morning and with lines like "Chemotherapy was hell on wheels," it's brutal, honest and tough going:

FIGHTING cancer has been the most challenging and eye-opening experience I have ever had. It has sent me on an emotional journey deeper than anything I've felt before. Facing your own mortality is the quickest way possible to find out what you're made of. It strips away all the bullshit and exposes every part of you-- your strengths and weaknesses, your sense of self. Your soul.

Alot of things go through your head when you're handed a death sentence, starting with: 'Why me? What did I do to deserve this?' I'd been told in January 2008 that I had pancreatic cancer and had only months to live.

In the weeks after diagnosis, I struggled, with my wife Lisa's help, to make sense of what was happening. To counteract the anger and despair, I thought to myself: 'I've had more lifetimes than ten people put together and it's been an amazing ride.'

Then a funny thing happened. I couldn't accept what was going on. I was damned if this disease was going to take me before I was good and ready. I told my doctor: 'Show me where the enemy is and I will fight him.' Since then, that's what I've done, with every ounce of energy I have...


The next morning, the surgeon woke us to give me the diagnosis. When he told me I had pancreatic cancer, my first thought was: 'I'm a dead man.'

The only thing I'd ever heard about pancreatic cancer was that it's incurable and it kills you quickly. I stared at him in shock. I had gone in for a simple gastrointestinal procedure, then all of a sudden - surprise! You could be dead before springtime!

Fear sliced through me. What had happened? I had been so excited about the upswing my life was on. Now it seemed like a cruel joke. I couldn't be dying, I had too much to live for. I couldn't face the idea there was a disease inside me that would grow, mutate and kill me. I didn't know where to find the strength to deal with it.

Neither did Lisa. She has always been so strong, so determined and capable. We had been together through so much. But after the surgeon left, she broke down and cried.

She crawled into the hospital bed with me, buried her head in my neck, and said: 'I can't do this, Buddy. I can't do it. You can ask me for anything else, but please don't ask me to do this.' I held her and we wept.

She pulled herself together and has helped me through every aspect of this disease with good humour and boundless love. But at that moment, as she lay sobbing in my arms, I felt alone. I knew I'd have to find a way to fight this thing, but the thought of it exhausted me.


Chemotherapy was hell on wheels and it got worse the longer it went on, but I knew if it was a matter of pushing through the pain and discomfort - I could do it.

The cancer also caused trouble with my digestive system, giving me debilitating cramps. I spent many nights curled up in the foetal position on the bathroom floor. I felt nauseated and bloated most of the time. There was one side effect of chemo I'd dreaded, but it didn't happen. I did not lose my hair.


It's a fact that Swayze men have never lived to ripe old ages. My father died at 57. My paternal grandfather also died young, and most of my uncles never saw the other side of 40.

In some ways, I've always felt I was living on borrowed time. I've cheated death more times than I can count. There's something in the Swayze makeup that loves risk and God knows I've embraced my share over the years. After I passed the age of 30 with my body and mind still intact, I always felt I'd got away with something.

There are days when I feel determined to live until a cure is found. And there are days when I'm so tired, I don't know how I can keep going. But I have to keep moving forward as if there's a long future for me. As if this is beatable.

I'll be damned if this son of a bitch is going to beat me. It's trying to kill me, but I'm going to return the favour. I have never given up in a fight, starting from that day in junior high when five boys attacked me. And I'm not going to give up now. I have so much to live for. So much I want to accomplish.

It goes on like that, with his wife telling the story of their long relationship as well. Honesty, bravery and dignity from a guy no one had a bad word about.

Click here and here to read more.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Danny Gans' ghostwriter: "Norm Clarke got it wrong! I did so complete Danny's autobiography the day before he died!"

The ghostwriter for the upcoming autobiography of the late Las Vegas superstar Danny Gans insists the book was completed the day before Danny Gans died, and that Las Vegas Review-Journal columnist Norm Clarke was "wrong" in reporting on September 6th that he had only completed a "rough draft."

R.G. Ryan, the musician, poet and, according to Norm, former minister, who collaborated with Gans on his memoirs before the musical impressionist died suddenly at age 52 after taking the powerful opiate hydromorphone, emailed the Tabloid Baby offices to insist that this Danny Gans legend is true:

"Just read your report regarding my interview with Norm Clarke. Contrary to what he said, and what you subsequently reported, the final draft was, in fact, completed at eleven AM on Thursday, April 30, 2009. It is a well-documented fact that Norm, unfortunately got wrong. I'd appreciate a correction in your report and wished you would've asked me about it. I've been pretty open with you, don't you think?"

Ryan has indeed responded to our questions on more than one occasion, and gave his blessing for us to post the prologue to the Gans book, The Voices In My Head (we used screen grabs of the chapter from Ryan's site, which he has since removed. He also told Tabloid Baby that he finished the book at 11 am the day before Gans died.

Although he's failed to answer several queries we've emailed him in the time since, we're happy to publish anything he's got to say.

The story that Danny Gans had completed his autobiography hours before his shocking death was one of several image-burnishing stories that were circulated by his friends in the days after the tragedy. The book is set for October release. Norm is on vacation in Spain. No word whether he's issued a retraction, as he's done for past Danny Gans myths that he had floated.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Redmond O'Neal goes from jail to rehab

Redmond O'Neal is leaving jail and heading into rehab after he pleaded no contest this morning to felony drug charges. The son of Farrah Fawcett and Ryan O'Neal was sentenced to a minimum of one year in a residential drug treatment program, a six-year suspended state prison term and three years of formal probation. Redmond, the heir to Farrah's fortune, has been in jail since April (with a brief respite to attend his mother's funeral) since he was caught with heroin during a routine security check in April in the parking lot of Pitchess Detention South Facility. The plea and sentence should put on hold any plans the 24-year-old and his dad had for a reality show about his life outside. But who knows?

The preacher and the soft-core porn star: Murder is classic tabloid television formula...

Sad but true, this story from From The Examiner has all the buzzwords (in bold) that would lead to a classic tabloid television murder story (and the "soft core" element makes it even better):

"A woman found murdered last week in Monrovia, California has been identified as Felicia Lee, 31-- perhaps better known as soft-porn star Felicia Tang. Her boyfriend, Brian Lee Randone, 45, has been arrested and charged with torture and murder. He is believed to be a former preacher.

"Randone, originally from Nebraska, was also a mime who performed a “special brand of ministry” in 1996 at Baylor University. Baylor is a “nationally ranked Christian university” in Texas. It appears Randone then moved on to California seeking a career in show business, and was 'Mr. Nebraska' on Fox’s Sexiest Bachelor in America, a 'pageant' of eligible bachelors from around the country.

"Lee is listed on various sites as a soft-core porn actress, staring in such films as 'Asian Fever' and "'Hotel Decadence.' Her more mainstream credits are listed as: 'Cradle 2 The Grave' (Movie/Production: Warner Brothers); 'Rush Hour 2' (Movie/Production: New Line Cinema); and she was featured in 'The Fast And The Furious' (Movie/Production: Universal)."

Our condolences to the victim's family and friends...

Did chemo kill Patrick Swayze?

Cancer survivor Suzanne Somers is quoted this morning saying that cancer-riddled Patrick Swayze was killed by chemotherapy treatments. She told columnist Shinan Givani: "They took a beautiful man" and "put poison in his body. Why couldn't they have built him up nutritionally and got ten rid of the toxins?" Somers has a kook reputation that dates back to her wacky decision to quit Three's Company at the height of its success, but she has been at the vanguard of alternative cancer treatments.Tabloid Baby pal Brett Hudson has written vividly about the cruel effects of chemotherapy on his blog on The Klinik documentary project website, and also about the importance of combining traditional treatments with nutritional, complememntary and alternative therapies. When it came to going beyond the American medical establishment, Swayze, alas, came late to the game.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

How to guarantee your ratings will drop 42% on your second night in prime time

...Promote Michael Moore as your main guest, keep him on for two segments and and then let him sing an a capella version of The Times They Are A Changin'. Note to Conan O'Brien: Lose Andy Richter. The ironic announcer thing and little boy gags held you back in the early Nineties and now it just seems strange.

* Update: Make that 62%...