Frank was visiting Chicago in 1976 and had a police entourage. Mike Royko wrote a column disparaging Sinatra, his entourage, and his supposed hairpiece. Sinatra wrote back a gem of a smackdown letter that must be read to be believed. I LOVE it!!!
This is kind of amazing to me. Microsoft made a deal with Fox to create a special “live” version of Family Guy that would air in prime time, hosted by the creators of the show, Seth MacFarlane and Alex Borstein. Consisting of typical Family Guy material, the special was to be part of Microsoft’s Windows 7 rollout, weaving highlights of Windows 7 in amongst the hilarity.
I can only imagine the shock and dismay on the Microsoft Exec’s faces when someone suggested that they actually watch a bit of Family Guy, just to make sure they were all on board with this hip thing the kids are all into. Hah!!!
According to Variety, “We initially chose to participate in the Seth and Alex variety show based on the audience composition and creative humor of ‘Family Guy,’ but after reviewing an early version of the variety show, it became clear that the content was not a fit with the Windows brand,” said a Microsoft spokeswoman. “We continue to have a good partnership with Fox, Seth MacFarlane and Alex Borstein and are working with them in other areas. We continue to believe in the value of brand integrations and partnerships between brands, media companies and talent.”
Um, I suspect what really happened was that the lower level marketing folks love the show and thought it would give Windows 7 a cool, hard edge. But then mom and dad found out what the show is really about when execs attended a screening and were, to put it mildly, dismayed by what they saw: “typical ‘Family Guy’-style jokes, including riffs on deaf people, the Holocaust, feminine hygiene and incest.”
An amazing gaffe. The show will go on, and I suspect there is a lot of scrambling right now to find another sponsor less worried about offending people and more interested in that huge ‘Family Guy’ audience.
To help raise money for the fight against cancer, Drew decided to auction off his Twitter name and donate the proceeds to the LIVESTRONG Foundation, which helped him in many ways. He expected to pick up maybe $10,000 or so.
Enter Drew Carey.
DrewC, who tweets under the name DrewFromTV, agreed to donate $25,000 for the name. But he didn’t stop there. According to CNN, Carey said, “I was in such a good mood that I raised it to $100,000.”
Even better, Drew raised his bid to a cool million, if DrewFromTV gets a million followers by December 31st.
So follow DrewFromTV and help raise $1,000,000 for the LIVESTRONG Foundation.
First, here’s the Jimmy Kimmel interview with Woz, after he was kicked off the show:
And below is an email Woz sent out. More later…
This morning, very early, I met a limo that took me to the DWTS stage for a satellite feed to Good Morning America. I don’t remember specifics of that interview, with myself and with Holly, but they did include the greatly funny Jimmy Kimmel piece. Then it was back to my apartment where I rushed to clear as much internet stuff as I could.
I actually managed to sleep maybe 2 hours before meeting another limo that took me to LAX for a flight to NYC to appear on Regis and Kelly tomorrow morning (Thursday). Karina and Dmitry and Holly were also on this fight, and Holly’s manager and my friends Joe and Zach.
It’s 1 AM here now and I have to catch a morning limo, so I’m going to hold off on doing a full post of my DWTS thoughts. Thank you all for your patience.
I do plan to stay in NYC a couple of extra days and return to L.A. on Sunday to catch the DWTS show on Monday and Tuesday. I may drive home Wednesday for the first time in quite a while, so that’s a big deal.
I am very bogged down due to a total lack of time right now.
I’m hoping to stay on DWTS, but 2 couples will be sent home tonight.
We just went through the dress rehearsal. Throughout the hour-long show, they weed it down to couples which are saved and couples which are in the last 3 that are not saved. This is NOT the bottom 3 couples. It’s the bottom 2 couples and one other that is not going home. That third couple may even be the one in first place, with combined judges’ and audience votes.
Karina and I are very sure that we’ll be in this group of 3, but we have hopes that we are not going home. It all depends on how many audience votes I actually have.
I could look up the exact count, but let’s say that the judges awarded 240 total score votes last night. Here are the top and bottom dance couples, showing their percentages:
Gilles and Cheryl 30 points 12.5%
Steve and Karina 12 points 5%
You can see by this that if Karina and I have 7.5% more fan votes than Gilles and Cheryl, then we are actually ahead of them for the total. We could be in first place in fact. 7.5% additional is not so huge a number that it’s impossible. We just don’t know.
Since we don’t know how strong this fan base is, in terms of voting, Karina and I could also be at the bottom where everyone thinks we are. In that case, we are going home. If we are sent packing, we go straight to the Jimmy Kimmel show tonight, immediately after DWTS is over (7 PM or 8 PM Pacific time).
If we are not in the final 3 dance couples, expect to hear Karina scream again!
And do enjoy what you like to do, no matter how hard it comes to you.
I had major problems in 3 runs with the full orchestra this morning. I had worked on 4 homework assignments that Karina gave me but I didn’t do my normal thing I do at home, which is to repeatedly, with the music playing or not, step through my entire dance from start to finish. I do this either in my head (like when in bed) or on my feet in the small apartment, making allowances for distances.
Going through the entire dance gets the linking between the small parts so well in my head that I don’t have a worry. But this morning, while rehearsing to the orchestra, my mind and muscles were stalling to grasp for the link, for the next thing to do. I had been overconfident at having the whole routine down pretty well that way the day before.
Karina was worried. I knew what I needed to do to get back into it but Karina isn’t me and she was worried. I felt so sorry for letting her down but feeling sorry is not a constructive step or solution. The constructive step was to go to my trailer and practice danceing all the way through from start to finish. I did it maybe 10 times during the break.
When I encountered Karina just now, before the dress rehearsal, I told her that I had it down, very confidently to reassure her. But the proof is in the pudding and our dance went the best ever. When we finished and I came back to the trailer, Julie told me that I looked much better in the confident character of the Argentine Tango than before.
I pulled my smile on the judges and the few who saw it liked it and laughed. I wish I could wink but I can’t. So I try one of those smiles that they have in movies where the guy turns toward the camera, away from his ‘partner’ and gives a type of smile that is equal to a wink.
All our lift moves went well. I am going to keep practicing in my trailer though, so as not to pull any surprises on Karina for the real show tonight.
Shawn Johnson does some great gymnastic moves. I have to swear that the Lindy Hop is my favorite dance yet. I love fast foot motion, at the edge of physical ability, and all the funn 50’s diner type feel of it. I love all the lifts and some are pretty spectacular. I’m not talking just about Shawn and Mark, her partner, but also about Ty and Chelsea, and Julianne and Chuck, David Allen Greer and Kym, and Melissa and Tony. I can’t say that any one of them is more impressive than the other. In the red room, I was standing to each Lindy Hop dance on our screen and moving with it. I just love the music and dances so much.
The performance that actually brought me to tears was that of Holly and Dmitry. Holly was in doubt after last week’s dance-off, so seeing such an incredible dance, from both of them, made me more than just happy. Others in the red room felt similarly. I hope that gets more acceptance for Holly, who is often left alone from conversations going on.
It’s all good. It’s all good. (that’s a quote from my friend Joe Patane).
I’m in my trailer. I had an orchestra rehearsal at 11:35 but it’s running late.
Julie went over to visit Karina in her trailer and Karina was having makeup problems. Sometimes there are advantages to being a geek who never got into things like how you look in public and fashion and all that makeup stuff.
I just got notified by Lisl, one of the staff here, that my orchestra rehearsal got pushed to the end so I have time for this post. Lisl is the first DWTS staff person I met other than the producers who invited me to be on the show, and Karina and the film crew who first met me in Orlando. We came back to L.A. to tape some title shots for opening scenes and the first person to greet me was Lisl. Her name is unusual enough to remember and she’s tall and blond and has the biggest nicest smile here. I’m so thankful that she is one of the ones assigned to take care of me here.
It’s a big day. I’m looking at it as an adventure to experience. Whatever the outcome, I will do my best. I will be having a great time even though I’m not a smiling character in this Argentine Tango.
I can say that if you enjoy what I do the most about dancing, you will really have a great time watching the Lindy Hop dances tonight. I can’t watch them and keep still in my seat. And there are some great ones, worthy of Olympic medals for gymnastics!
Oh, on the mirror in front of me, in my seat in the trailer, someone wrote, in brown lipstick, “I (heart) u Woz!” It could be from any of the staff here. Security is VERY tight and very good here now. I’m going to borrow another color of lipstick and scrawl under the writing “Thanks, Bruno” so that whoever did it will get a laugh.
The more laughs and smiles we create in this life, the better. That’s my motto.
It’s been a couple of good long days, with daytime and nighttime practices.
We start some dance routines just knowing which type of dance it is. For example, if it’s a cha-cha then Karina can begin by teaching me basic steps, and the timing, for some standard cha-cha moves. Then when our actual music arrives (from the DWTS production team) Karina listens to it and starts noting, on paper, the sections of the song and how many beats or groups of beats the song has. Next, she starts creating dance steps for herself across the empty studio. She gets a rough cut of what the dance might be in a short time.
Next, Karina starts teaching me what the parts of the dance are. In an early 6-hour session I might only be able to get a good idea of about a third of the whole dance. By then I can kind of walk through it and get a few steps correct. By the second day I might have a clearer idea of the entire routine. Some parts I get down quickly. Others take quite a bit of time and work.
I’ll go through part of a short routine and Karina will complement me if I’m going in the right direction. We both know that her compliments are for my effort and learning, but not for getting very good for national TV yet. She will strongly correct me for other mistakes. When Karina rests and attends to viewing You Tube for dance ideas or texting DWTS people, etc. I will fore myself through a short sequence of maybe 8 to 10 steps, over and over until my body knows how to land each step with my balance ready for the next one. This sort of trying and trying does the best job of bringing a decent step to my muscle memory and brain memory.
I usually go home and play our short minute and 20-second piece all night long while I sleep. I am alone most of the week here in L.A. My wife, Janet, works for Apple back home and only makes it down for the shows on Monday and Tuesday. I might awaken at midnight and 2 AM and 4 AM. I usually spend about 20 minutes going through the steps in my head to the music. That woks better once I’ve had enough practice to relate steps to counts of the music. Sometimes I’ll find that my thinking has gotten to the speed of the music. We have had very fast music for our dances so far. When I get to that point I’ll start dancing in the dark and maybe I can’t get the steps to the speed of the music yet. But by morning I can usually do it at full speed, at least for the sections I had been working on overnight.
So far, I have gone into every dance without nerves and happy and smiling and thinking of the audience. My joy is obvious and overflowing. I usually get a thought in the few seconds before we start about how lucky I am to be here doing this with Karina Smirnoff. In rehearsals I sometimes come up with a huge grin by remembering a funny incident or joke. The most recent joke that brings a grin is the one about the guy who checks into a hotel and asks for his porn channel to be disabled. The clerk tells him that their porn channel is normal and calls him a sick bastard.
This Monday I will dance an Argentine Tango. In this dance, it’s more about the character than the dancing. I’m up on the dance but not so great at the character, for various reasons. Maks has been helping me a bit tonight on this, with some great ideas. Karina and I have some dramatic moves of strength. In one place I hold her above me and swirl her around. In another she jumps in the air and I catch her an a leg and then swing her back down. She does a complete backflip over my arm in onether spot.
Maks gave me a great idea. At one point I move my foot up her leg, bending at the knee, as we are together. It’s like I’m lifting her dress with my foot. It only takes 4 beats but I’m standing right by the three judges so I look over at them with a big smile. It’s way out of charcter for this dance, but I can’t help it. I’m sort of treating the judges like voyeurs at a peep show, ha ha ha. You’ll have to see it. I hope the camera angle does a good job. In my first dance, a cha-cha, there was a place where I even stick my tongue out at the judges but it wasn’t caught well on TV.
Tonight we had time on the real DWTS stage and we worked out a few parts of our Argentine Tango that we couldn’t do in practice. One part relies on the stairs down from the podium to the main stage. By the end of this evening session, we felt good and confident. Tonight I will sleep all night thinking about my body position and movements and especially my hands as being in character for this dance. I’m really trying to do a much better job in judging terms. But I’m still not expecting too high a score from the judges. I don’t know why. After all, I still can’t really explain why my other scores were as low as they were. I watch a lot of You Tube videos of DWTS dances from other years and see horrible dances getting much better scores.
I am so thankful for my many friends on the show. So many production people tell me that they are all for me. I can’t explain this huge phenomenon.
Oh, this week we shot a couple of videos. One was for the DWTS package that plays before my dance on Monday. It has me leading a group of Segway riders to thank some fans and pass out leaflets to get votes. They make you say corny lines but I’m told that the package came out pretty good. The other video was for the Jimmy Kimmel show this Monday or Tuesday. He speaks of the actor backing out of the remake of Footloose and how they found tape of another unknown auditioning for the part. I do a bunch of funny corny dancing around to the music, sort of a spoof of the movie. It should be hilariously funny when it airs, and does include me doing a worm.
I’m on stage at 11:00 AM tomorrow for camera blocking. They get ready for all their TV shots, which cameras from which angles. Then I have a long practice time with Karina in a local dance studio, to get ready for our dance on Monday.
I’m ever thankful for the huge support of all you fans. I beg of you not to get complacent. Don’t assume that everything will go fine without you. Only your continual effort throughout this show can take me right to the finish line. Please find the way to organize parties and tell people to see me on the show. If you can get 10 people to vote for me on their phones, that’s incredible. And it might be less work than even the effort I’m sure you are making to dial 10 times for me yourself.
Last week Karina and I received the lowest judges’ total in 6 seasons of DWTS. We love dancing together and really laughed off the score. We did have a very short time to learn our dance after my hamstring injury and all of our steps were right on the beat. Then we were in shock when we were saved from even the horrid dance-off.
Both of us got the message from the judges to work harder at what they want. We also became aware of the importance of our many friends and fans. Whenever I meet someone who attended my US Festivals in 1982 and 1983 I give them a special handshake. For the rest of my life, that feeling of thanks will be extended to everyone who says they rooted for us or voted for us.
This is a new age, where ideas can be spread instantly around the internet. Even humor can spread like wildfire. Huge masses can organize this way and have more combined power than ever before. It makes me amazed at how things like the formation of this country (our revolution) occurred in times when it could take weeks to get written mail from one city to another.
I was so scared at learning to dance even a single number that I neglected to take time to use the internet to organize a movement. But friends filled in the gap, with Twitter, Facebook accounts, and email. National press and TV shows picked up on and played out the humor in our dances as well.
So Karina and I are serious about 2 things right now, our fans and the show judges. The fans seem to be more important than the judges so we won’t compromise on our dance routines, seeking the most we can do in terms of entertainment. Just being myself is a big part of that. We both have the most positive thinking about the good of what we are bringing to the fans and, more importantly, we actually believe in ourselves.
But we are working harder than anything to improve our dances, in some technical sense. Being saved last week has given us such positive energy that I just want to dance all the time. Even doing fun interviews and other necessary things that come up on this show takes time from the dancing that I love so much. If we work for 6 hours of practice, I want to come back for another couple of hours in the evening. When I awaken, I want to dance my steps to the bathroom.
This Monday we will perform an Argentinian Tango. Ignore that I called it a Waltz in a prior blog to you. Anyone who knows me knows how I get names wrong all the time. Ha ha ha. Our dance music is taken from Astor Piazzolla’s “Cite Tango” and this music has taken over my world. It is as unusual as the Stanford Laptop Orchestra that I heard a couple of times a year ago. This music has an orchestra sounding much different than I have ever heard before.
The Argentine Tango is based around a love-hate concept. The strong (cowboy) man is a bit secretive. He is pursuing a woman but he has some angst about her. She is trying to be sexy and attractive to get his attention. Karina said that I was to be ’stalking’ her as we circled a chair at the start of our dance. I put on a stalking face, as though I’m chasing her and want to catch her, out of desire.
Yesterday, Karina told me that my face needed to be more hateful and full of spite toward her. I sat in the mirror and tried about 20 different facial expressions but couldn’t get this hateful look. Karina told me to move my brows closer, move my head down, squint my eyes, everything. But I couldn’t get the look she wanted. I told her I’d work at home in a mirror and try to find the right look, with a mysterious dislike.
In our evening practice I was having difficulty with one part, matching my movements to hers. I stopped as I do at least once a day, upset with the whole process and trying to figure out how to get past my block and find the solution. Karina asked if I wanted to go home, as this feeling sometimes makes me ready to quit. I said “no” as I enjoyed the progress we were making in the dance and I wanted to go through it many more times. But I stood there trying to think about what I was doing wrong. When like this, I am being very critical of myself on the inside.
Karina exclaimed “that’s the look!” Sure enough, I could tell that my entire face had a look that I could not find in a mirror. I could remember my state of mind and bring this look back. We then danced a short sequence where I am staring straight at Karina’s eyes to help keep our bodies and their positions as mirror images. Every time we tried this short 8-beat sequence Karina could not concentrate or would even laugh. She actually had trouble dancing with my looking at her this new way.
This look seemed so real and not merely acted or attempted. It was so good it reminded me of a time recently when I was auditioning, in my living room, for a movie part. My starting line for one part was “Can I use your phone.” I got so deeply into the character that, after they told us that we could start (camera rolling), I asked the director as naturally as you could imagine if I could use his phone. The director was my opposite part for this reading. He got up from his chair and hurried across the room to get his real cell phone for me. He had actually believed my request so much that he didn’t even realize that it was the line I was supposed to say in the audition.
So this is an example of finding the right motivation to get your look and posture and body communication right, for a dance or when acting. Acting is a great part of our dances on DWTS, actually.
It will be Saturday morning soon. I am hoping that this is a very good day and that our next dance becomes second nature from start to finish. Everything gets more relaxed when you get to the point that you can recover from any slips or lapses or misses in the routine. We haven’t had significant examples of these sorts of slips yet but it’s good to know that you can get past them and keep on dancing your number.
Please don’t forget how important you and the votes are. There are a lot of good reasons to vote for us over the others. But I hope that you enjoy the entire show too, and treat this as more than a game. You are important to me forever but I won’t pressure you to do things you don’t want to. If you aren’t smiling, find something to do that makes you smile.