Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The Cat Purrs No More

Not a good way to end out the year. Another legend dies.....Eartha Kitt, who rose from South Carolina cotton fields to become an international symbol of elegance and sensuality, has died at the age of 81 of colon cancer on Christmas day.

a self-proclaimed "sex kitten" famous for her catlike purr, was one of America's most versatile performers, winning two Emmys and nabbing a third nomination. She also was nominated for several Tonys and two Grammys.

Her career spanned six decades, from her start as a dancer with the famed Katherine Dunham troupe to cabarets and acting and singing on stage, in movies and on television.

When her book "Rejuvenate," a guide to staying physically fit, was published in 2001, Kitt was featured on the cover in a long, curve-hugging black dress with a figure that some 20-year-old women would envy. Kitt also wrote three autobiographies.

Once dubbed the "most exciting woman in the world" by Orson Welles, she spent much of her life single, though brief romances with the rich and famous peppered her younger years.

Her first album, "RCA Victor Presents Eartha Kitt," came out in 1954, featuring such songs as "I Want to Be Evil," "C'est Si Bon" and the saucy gold digger's theme song "Santa Baby," which is revived on radio each Christmas.

In 1996, she was nominated for a Grammy in the category of traditional pop vocal performance for her album "Back in Business." She also had been nominated in the children's recording category for the 1969 record "Folk Tales of the Tribes of Africa."

Kitt also acted in movies, playing the lead female role opposite Nat King Cole in "St. Louis Blues" in 1958 and more recently appearing in "Boomerang" and "Harriet the Spy" in the 1990s.

To me, she was Catwoman on "Batman", the '60's series starring Adam West, replacing Julie Newmar who originated the role.

She was once quoted as saying "Generally the whole entertainment business now is bland," in a 1996 Associated Press interview. "It depends so much on gadgetry and flash now. You don't have to have talent to be in the business today."

Kitt was plainspoken about causes she believed in. "You send the best of this country off to be shot and maimed," she told the group of about 50 women. "They rebel in the street. They don't want to go to school because they're going to be snatched off from their mothers to be shot in Vietnam."

In 2000, Kitt earned another Tony nod for "The Wild Party." She played the fairy godmother in Rodgers and Hammerstein's "Cinderella" in 2002.

As recently as October 2003, she was on Broadway after replacing Chita Rivera in a revival of "Nine."

She also gained new fans as the voice of Yzma in the 2000 Disney animated feature "The Emperor's New Groove.'"

Kitt was born in North, S.C., and her road to fame was the stuff of storybooks. In her autobiography, she wrote that her mother was black and Cherokee while her father was white, and she was left to live with relatives after her mother's new husband objected to taking in a mixed-race girl.

An aunt eventually brought her to live in New York, where she attended the High School of Performing Arts, later dropping out to take various odd jobs.

By chance, she dropped by an audition for the dance group run by Dunham, a pioneering African-American dancer. In 1946, Kitt was one of the Sans-Souci Singers in Dunham's Broadway production "Bal Negre."

Kitt's travels with the Dunham troupe landed her a gig in a Paris nightclub in the early 1950s. Kitt was spotted by Welles, who cast her in his Paris stage production of "Faust."

That led to a role in "New Faces of 1952," which featured such other stars-to-be as Carol Lawrence, Paul Lynde and, as a writer, Mel Brooks.

While traveling the world as a dancer and singer in the 1950s, Kitt learned to perform in nearly a dozen languages and, over time, added songs in French, Spanish and even Turkish to her repertoire.

"Usku Dara," a song Kitt said was taught to her by the wife of a Turkish admiral, was one of her first hits, though Kitt says her record company feared it too remote for American audiences to appreciate.

Song titles such as "I Want to be Evil" and "Just an Old Fashioned Girl" seem to reflect the paradoxes in Kitt's private life.

Over the years, Kitt had liaisons with wealthy men, including Revlon founder Charles Revson, who showered her with lavish gifts.

In 1960, she married Bill McDonald but divorced him after the birth of their daughter, Kitt.

For years, Kitt was unsure of her birthplace or birth date. In 1997, a group of students at historically black Benedict College in Columbia, S.C., located her birth certificate, which verified her birth date as Jan. 17, 1927. Kitt had previously celebrated on Jan. 26.

The research into her background also showed Kitt was the daughter of a white man, a poor cotton farmer.

"I'm an orphan. But the public has adopted me and that has been my only family," she told the Post online. "The biggest family in the world is my fans."

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Another Death

Majel Barrett Roddenberry, wife of Star Trek creator Gene Rodenberry, passed away early morning on December 18th after a short battle with Leukemia in her Bel-Air home, surrounded by family and friends. Roddenberry was 76 years old. She began her acting career in the 1950's with roles in such popular shows as "Leave it to Beaver," "Bonanza" and "The Lucy Show; but it was her numerous roles in the legendary Star Trek franchise that fans came to know and love her. Roddenberry had featured roles in almost every Star Trek television and film entity and became an iconic figure within the fan community.

Her roles included Nurse Chapel in Star Trek: The Original Series, Lt. M'ress in Star Trek: The Animated Series, Lwaxana Troi in Star Trek: The Next Generation and Deep Space Nine, and the voice of the USS Enterprise computer in almost every incarnation of the series. However, it was the love affair between her and the late Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry that earned her the title "The First Lady of Star Trek." Over the course of their more then quarter-century love affair, she became not only Gene's partner, but also his creative muse. Majel helped Gene expand the Star Trek universe and was an integral part of its continued legacy after his death, working on Earth: Final Conflict and Andromeda.

I also found out that she is going to be the voice of the computer one last time in the new Star Trek movie out next year.

It is reported that she passed away peacefully, surrounded by her son Rod Roddenberry and family friends.

While I never had the pleasure of meeting her, I did meet their son (did an interview with him at the SDCC) and my condolences go out to him as the only surviving member of the Rodenberry family.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

You shall be Punished!

Only if you don't go and see the new Punisher movie. I liked it. I really liked it. That says alot seeing as how I was going into the movie expecting not to like it. Thomas Jane (who was born to play The Punisher was quoted as saying that he was "waiting for a good script" to make the sequel) which tells me that this movie didn't have a good script. So this movie had to work twice as hard to win me over. It did.

Now yes the story was pretty basic. Punisher kills some guys, he makes a mistake and then kills more guys to make up for that mistake. They throw in Julie Benz just so they can have a woman (IE: Heart) in the movie.

Even tho I loved it, most people passed on it. One of the 50 worst openings of all time (well, since they kept track of this sort of thing).

The two main problems I had for this movie is 1) the Actor was just not suited for the role. Even tho he only did one out of the three movies, Thomas Jane will always be Frank Castle to me (much like Linda Carter and Christopher Reeve.) and 2) it had a '90's feel. So much so that The Punisher could just walk up and down New York City in full Punisher Gear and no one would bat an eye. It's something that would fit right in a movie made 10+ years ago, but not here.

So overall, if you like humor, violence and a 90's feel, you'll like this movie. I give it an 8.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

The Spirit

No, not this Spirit. I'm talking about the Christmas Spirit.

As most of you know, I am a HUGE Power Rangers fan. But before Amy Jo Johnson donned her pink tights, there was a guy called Pee Wee.

Speaking of Power Rangers....

Happy Holidays!!!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

what is on my mind

"Don't rest on your Laurels", most entertainers say. "Keep it fresh", I have also heard. So how can I do those things when I need sponsors to bring back the radio show? I am still looking into the podcast and (as long as the website is fully updated by then) I plan to try to get some funds at the NYCC.

I never have been a salesman (which isnt that good of a thing when selling myself is important to get some sponsor $$) but I have to really up my game if I want to continue on my little adventure. I set out to get my book published, and it is out. I set out to go to the SDCC, and I went. So now I have to be as equally set to get some bocu bucks in order to bring the show back and keep the momentum going. Any thoughts/suggestions?