If you’re not familiar with how FPQ works: It’s $5 per person to play. Teams of up to six are allowed, so bring some smart friends. There are four rounds, each starting with a music clip you have to identify and then questions about everything from art history to soccer. The team with the most points at the end has a chance at winning some cash. Be sure to get there early to register your team.
Christian Slater’s a huge “Star Trek” fan. He actually owns a replica of the captain’s chair from the original “Star Trek” TV series. That chair played a big part in Slater being hired to star in the new Fox series “Breaking In,” a comedy about a security company that breaks into everything from government facilities to car lots to point out security problems.
Executive producer Doug Robinson says, “Christian said, ‘I actually have a “Star Trek” chair,’ and that’s actually Christian’s ‘Star Trek’ chair in the pilot.
Slater jokes it was good he got the role because he needed a place to store the block-shaped chair.
Because we bonded over “Star Trek,” I had to tell Slater that I have been able to sit in captain’s chairs from four of the five “Star Trek” series over the years.
You’ll notice that the Fresno list of deals isn’t complete yet. The Fresno Convention and Visitors Bureau is featuring all of its restaurant members on this page and still is collecting information. Check back through Feb. 7 for more deals. And you can read more about Restaurant Month Fresno (originally called Restaurant Week Fresno) in my column today.
Mary Murphy will return as a judge to “So You Think You Can Dance” this season after a one-year hiatus. Like her or not, there’s no question the fact Murphy wasn’t on the show to offer her screaming dance judgements drained the competition series of a lot of energy.
Not being on the series made Murphy ill. But, she soon discovered there were more important things than a TV show. There was a moment last year when Murphy was afraid no one would be able to hear her speak again – let alone blast out her trademarks yells.
“I had a tumor in my throat for three years. I know I should have taken care of it earlier but in my heart I didn’t think it was cancer. They didn’t really think it was anything until I finally started losing my voice. I went to the doctor when it started pressing on my voice box. I was really afraid that I would never be able to talk again,” Murphy says.
She had surgery Dec. 15 and must go through one treatment where a radioactive pellet will placed into her throat for 24 hours. That will leave her weak for a few weeks. The doctors will know by the end of the month if she’s OK or the cancer has spread into her lymph nodes.
She wouldn’t be Mary Murphy if she didn’t have an optimistic side. Murphy’s certain that by the time the next season of “So You Think You Can Dance” rolls around, she will be back to her loud form.
Murphy didn’t talk about her battle with cancer until she was feeling better.
“I feeling great now,” Murphy shouts. “And, I’m happy to be here.”
You would think being the daughter of Meryl Streep, one of the greatest actresses to every grace the big screen, would have made Mamie Gummer pretty certain about her future.
But, Mamie Gummer, one of the young stars of the new ABC series “Off the Map,” didn’t grow up convinced she would go into acting.
“I don’t know that I always really loved it, but I also was hyper-aware of the very particular ramifications that that decision would hold. I actually went to Northwestern and studied theater there. Then when I graduated and felt like I had a good grasp of the work, that’s when I made my decision. So it was a long, long process,” Gummer says.
Once she committed to acting, Gummer didn’t get too much coaching from her mom.
Otherwise, not much has changed with the show. Tickets already purchased are still good at the new venue. Originally, the show was scheduled for the EOC Events Center, a new gymnasium that would have been hosting its first big concert.
Gardea attributed the move to “circumstances with the original venue beyond our control.” (Let’s be real — you kinda saw this coming, right, Social D fans?)
Tickets are on sale for $36 at The Laundry Room, Valentino’s, SBI and tgptix.com.
Expect to try the first two this summer, when jaune coeurs de pigeon (heirloom yellow pear tomatoes) and Sun Crest peaches will be in season. As for the CuraÃ§ao, well, Marian Farms hopes to release it in the next month or so. (The company is waiting for its bottles.)
Now it’s your turn. When you think of your favorite foods, they have to meet some pretty high standards. Specifically, ask yourself this question from #reverb10:
“What did you eat [in 2010] that you will never forget? What went into your mouth and touched your soul?” (From author Elise Marie Collins on Dec. 26, 2010)
[Photo of the Masumoto family's Sun Crest peaches by Darrell Wong, The Fresno Bee]
Pedro Ramirez, 22, who became nationally known two months ago after announcing that he is an illegal immigrant, was driving a pickup that crashed into a tree and brick base around the tree, causing “substantial damage,” said Fresno police Capt. Andy Hall.
Ramirez, who received head injuries, was listed in fair condition Monday at Community Regional Medical Center. He apparently broke traffic laws in the single-vehicle crash but likely will not be prosecuted on criminal charges.
After Ramirez “came out” as an illegal immigrant, he became a national figure in the debate over immigration. His accident is another chapter in his already controversial tenure as Fresno State’s student president. From reading the comments on the fresnobee.com story, the incident also has opened a new front in the immigration battle: the issue of who pays for medical care for non-citizens.
Some people are disappointed with the fact that Ramirez, who doesn’t have a driver’s license, put himself in such a position by climbing behind the wheel of a car while knowing that he’s the subject of such intense public scrutiny. Others are saying what happened to him was bad luck that could happen to anyone, and to single him out for possible legal complications is yet another way that society discriminates against people in his situation. Most everyone, at least, is hoping he recovers quickly from his injuries.
One thing is clear: Ramirez is in the headlines once again. What’s your reaction?
Stephen Lang is one of the most commanding actors working in films these days. He showed that skill in “Avatar” and brings it to the new Fox TV series “Terra Nova” that will debut May 24.
He plays the commander of a compound populated by thousands of time travelers who escape a dying Earth by going 85 million years into the past.
Lang plays tough guys but his knowledge of time travel comes from a softer place.
“I got first interested in time travel when I used to watch ‘Rocky and Bullwinkle’ because Mr. Peabody would go back in the Wayback Machine with Sherman,” Lang says. “And my understanding of time travel – really that’s pretty much the extent of its sophistication.”
Lang’s picked up a little more science based info through the Internet and friends he describes as being smarter than he is.
“They turned me on to that stuff about all the alternative theories, you know, to what actually is possible or impossible or theoretically possible anyway,” Lang says.
I think it’s better that he sticks with what he learned from the cartoon series.
Kathy Bonilla, public information officer at Fresno City College, passes along word that longtime theater professor Tom Wright died Sunday. Mr. Wright was a Theatre Arts instructor at FCC from 1965-1990, and he was instrumental in the creation of the senior revue “New Wrinkles.” Last year, the college honored him as one of the “100 Stars for 100 Years” as part of the Centennial celebration.
Arrangements are pending, and I’ll update when details become available. I’d welcome people in the theater community who worked with Mr. Wright over the years to share memories of him in a comment on this post.
Below: a photo of the first cast of “New Wrinkles” in 1989.
It’s Fox Network’s day at the TCA and their presentation covers everything from the ratings champion “American Idol” to the untested big-budget series “Terra Nova.”
Here are a few highlights.
The subject of moving “Fringe” to Friday night concerns many critics. Fridays have become a place Fox has sent shows to die. Kevin Reilly, President, Entertainment, Fox Broadcasting Co., stresses obituaries for “Fringe” should not be written yet. It’s a show the network is passionate about and the move is an effort to find a the solution for the network’s problems on Fridays.
A second season of “Raising Hope” has been ordered.
“Terra Nova,” a series about a family who travels to prehistoric Earth in an effort to save the human race, will debut with a two-night preview May 23-24.
Wild woman Mary Murphy will return to “So You Think You Can Dance” to join Nigel Lythgoe as resident judges. The search for the next group of contestants starts Feb. 2 in Salt Lake City. The closest audition will be Feb. 25 at the Orpheum Theatre in Los Angeles.
As for other networks trying to create clones of “Glee,” the Fox execs believe those efforts will just make “Glee” look better.
Reilly expects “Bones” and “House” next year but there are some negotiations to get through.
Patrick Contreras, the always-busy local violinist, and one of his favorite current musical cohorts, Omar Nare, are having a release party tonight for their new EP “Musique.”
The event is part live performance, part listening party. It’s starts at 7 p.m. and is free to attend. It’s at Cafe Corazon in the Tower District, so be sure to get some yummo coffee while you’re there.
Check out the first song from the EP, “First Kiss” — or just grab yourself a free MP3 download below, courtesy of Mr. Contreras.
UPDATE: Congrats to Floydy who scored the autographed record.
ORIGINAL POST: L.A. buzz band Foster the People was able to exceed my expectations in its Saturday night show at The Cellar Door. That was pretty tough, since I had pretty high hopes for this band after getting hooked on their debut song “Pumped Up Kicks” over the summer.
What Foster the People showed us Saturday night is that it has enough hooks and catchiness to keep fans of “Pumped Up Kicks” happy for a while. I immediately wanted more after the band’s short, tight 30-minute set. We’ll have to wait until spring for the band’s debut album, but it’s atop of my most-awaited list now. Honestly, I’ll be surprised if in a year’s time Foster the People isn’t too big to be playing venues like The Cellar Door.
We’ve got some videos from the show, starting with “Pumped Up Kicks.” Head all the way down to the bottom, ’cause we’ve got an autographed record from the band that you can enter to win.
Steven Tyler and Jennifer Lopez, the new judges for “American Idol,” have just arrived at Television Critics Association meetings. There’s a lot riding on the pair – who should be know as Ty-Lo – as they have to replace the wicked energy of Simon Cowell that was a major force in making “Idol” a hit.
Returning judge Randy Jackson says the addition of the music superstars will make the show a success for a long time.
“We are going to be good,” Jackson says.
As for his role, Jackson won’t turn into the new Simon Cowell but his comments will have more bite.
Lopez says the strength she and Tyler bring to the series is perspective. They have been through what the contestants are facing and they will be able to offer real insights. She sees her role as either being there to help contestants get to the next level or to tell them they are not going on.
So far, it’s working for Lopez.
“It’s more fun than I thought it would be,” Lopez says.
Tyler’s not 100% sure exactly why he agreed to be a judge. The only thing he can think of is that he has years of experience that he can share that background that ranges from the joy of music to the agony of life on the road. He’s convinced having been in the music industry for so long that he can spot when when a person has the special qualities to deal with a life in music.
“I think I know what that certain something is,” Tyler says.
How well he an Lopez can help spot the person with the right skills to be the next “Idol” champion starts at 8 p.m. Jan. 19.
Most medical dramas are little more than a slight variation on the same themes. There are patients, medical workers and a lot of scenes in well-lighted rooms.
The new series “Off the Map” is a major variation on the doctor show. There are still patients and medical workers but it’s all taking place in the wilds of a South American rainforest. Because there are no corner drugstores, these doctors rely heavily on the medical treatments provided by Mother Nature.
The series, starring Jonathan Castellanos, Zach Gilford, Mamie Gummer, Caroline Dhavernas, Jason George, Rachelle Lafevre and Valerie Cruz, starts at 10 p.m. Wednesday on ABC.
Cast and crew didn’t have to go to South America to film the series. They took a page from another ABC series, “Lost,” and are filming in Hawaii.
I think it’s reached the point that enough people have seen “Black Swan” — and disagree about it — that debate about the film has morphed into a pop-culture conversation. (Plus, Jim Carrey skewered it on “Saturday Night Live” this past weekend, above, very funny.) Most critics love the film (it has an 88% positive rating on RottenTomatoes), but I’ve read lots of “Swan” haters, especially on Facebook. (One called it “The Red Shoes” meets “Friday the 13th.”) One friend whose opinion I value highly wrote:
Don’t go if you’re lactose-intolerant because this film is loaded with cheeeeeeeeese!
But another wrote:
So “Black Swan” definitely rocked my world tonight. Unless you have trouble following mildly complex plots, or are afraid of birds, you should DEFINITELY see this movie.
I saw it on Saturday, and I was riveted. Sure, the film almost supernovaes out of sheer melodrama a couple of times, but Natalie Portman pulls off such a commanding performance — and director Darren Aronofsky carves out such a claustrophobic and seething atmosphere of over–the-top psychosis — that the whole thing enveloped me. I especially love the visual depiction of ballet throughout the film, with the jittery and spinning camera twirling me through the point of a view of a frenzied dancer.
Yet … I can also see that if you don’t “fall into” the world of the film immediately, and don’t get hooked on the story or setting, that it could all seem rather silly.
So, I’m curious: Now that so many us have seen it after all these weeks, what’s your verdict, Beehivers? Worth it or a waste?
UPDATE 1/13: Our winner is Craig Miller. Congratulations.
ORIGINAL ENTRY 1/10: The New Yorker called Edgar Meyer “the most remarkable virtuoso in the relatively unchronicled history of his instrument [the double bass].” And he’s coming this weekend to perform two concerts with the Fresno Philharmonic.
I have two orchestra seats for the 8 p.m. Saturday performance to give away to a Beehive reader. To enter the contest, leave a comment on this post. Deadline is 3 p.m. Tuesday. We’ll pick the winner at random and notify him or her via e-mail. So leave a real e-mail address, and check it. If you’re the winner, you’ll need to come down to The Bee office on Friday between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. to pick up your tickets. No repeat comments please. You’re ineligible if you’ve won something from us in the past 30 days. Full rules after the jump.
Happy Monday, folks. There are a few entertainment options tonight, kinda rare for a Monday. At the top of the list is a show from local Elvis impersonator Jeremy Pearce, who is having his annual concert honoring The King’s birthday (it was Saturday). It’s happening at Roger Rocka’s, and that $55 price includes dinner, FYI.
Fresno’s Buffalo Wild Wings is coming along pretty quickly. It’s supposed to open on Jan. 24 — and I wonder if people will be lined up when it does. According to a sign out front, the first 100 customers will get free wings for a year. Sounds like when Chick-Fil-A opened and people camped out for free chicken. Any dedicated wing-eaters already planning to line up?
The project will be on display at the Saroyan Theatre for both the 8 p.m. Saturday and 2:30 p.m. Jan. 16 concerts. Audience members will be asked to mix paint to create one color that illustrates how the music, soloist Edgar Meyer or the musicians made them feel and then add their color (in any way they want) to the community canvas.
The completed work will be donated to All Things Fresno, the downtown store using revitalized storefront space in the Warnors Theater showcasing music, art and literature from regional artists.
Speaking of the Edgar Meyer concerts, I have two tickets to give away to the 8 p.m. Saturday performance. I’ll post the contest later this afternoon.
Tavis Smiley and I have something in common. The host of his self-titled PBS talk show “Tavis Smiley” says one of toughest interviews he’s ever done was Harrison Ford.
He’s so right. Ford answers every question but because he hates doing interviews, he does little more than offer up the minimal number of words as a response.
Smiley knew Ford was going to be a tough interview and was prepared for him.
“Harrison Ford shuffled on the stage and then sat down. He kind of mumbled a ‘Glad to be here’,” says Smiley.
Smiley’s response to Ford was that he didn’t mean that. Ford took notice of the comment and asked Smiley why he would react that way to his greeting. Smiley explained that he knew how much Ford hated being interviewed. Then he asked he actor why he hated it.
Ford launched into how all of the questions are the same and he had really tired off all the Calista Flockhart questions. After the interview, Ford told Smiley their chat had been one of his best TV interviews.
That’s a reflection of Smiley’s skills and a heads up to any of you who ever have the tough task of talking to Ford.
Malcolm McDowell’s one of the hardest working actors in Hollywood. The man who created one of the most iconic characters in film history with “A Clockwork Orange” had eight projects released in 2010. That’s a career for many actors. It seems a little surprising that someone in such demand would be willing to commit to being a regular on a TV series.
He’s one of the stars of the new TNT series “Franklin & Bash,” a legal drama/comedy also starring Mark-Paul Gosselaar and Breckin Meyer. Many of McDowell’s roles have been serious but he’s definitely got the sense of humor to handle comedy.
Asked why he was willing to be on a TV series, McDowell says, “I thought it was time I got serious about my work.”
He shows how wickedly funny he can be when talking about where “Franklin & Bash” film.
“I don’t know whether you’ve been to Santa Clarita. It’s a beautiful place. Right by Magic Mountain. Can always pop over for lunch, have a little zip around The Big Dipper. It’s lovely,” McDowell says.
His serious answer is that he’s not the main star which means he’s not needed every day. That means he has free time to make so many TV shows and movies.
Paul Lee, President, ABC Entertainment Group, has just announced at the TV critics meetings that the comedies “Cougar Town,” “The Middle” and “Modern Family” have been renewed and will be back next year. The dramas “Castle,” “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Private Practice” also will be back.
He says these shows fall under the ABC brand that “combines smart with heart.”
He’s right about five of the shows. But, “Cougar Town” has not been a ratings hit.
Lee says the reason the Wednesday night comedy will be back is that ” ‘Cougar Town’ has found a distinct voice. We are pleased with it.’”
No decision has been made on other shows including “Detroit 187.” Lee’s a fan of the series but wishes it had generated more viewing numbers. It will be two or three months before all of the decisions are made. Look for more comedies as Lee would like to eventually expand to two or three nights for the shows.
In case you’ve forgotten, TV critics from across the United States and Canada come together twice a year to look at new and returning TV shows. You’ll see those stories over the next few weeks. This winter’s meetings are being held in Pasadena. The location changes each time – probably so no one could take out so many valuable members of society.
It never really sinks in that another Television Critics Association tour has started until there are some unusual celebrity encounters. This is the only place where a person at one moment can be standing next to Mike Tyson and then moments later be beside Oprah Winfrey.
Tyson showed up to talk to his new series about pigeons for Animal Planet. And, when I say pigeons, I mean the birds.
What hit me the most about Tyson – and thank goodness it wasn’t his fist – is how short he is. I’ve seen all those tales of the tape, but must not have paid attention. While he’s shorter than I thought, Tyson still looks like someone you don’t want to upset.
Then there’s Oprah. What I am about to write may make many of you hate me, but I’ve never been a huge fan of the daytime talk show host. The only reasons I can offer is that her role as a journalist has given away to the publicity stunts of giving cars to audience members and her own photo on EVERY cover her magazine (at least the ones I’ve seen).
My feeling about Oprah have changed a little. Having watched her make her way through a room full of journalists and executive, it’s obvious she has a natural charm, a way of making a person feel comfortable. I now understand a little better what has made Oprah one of the best known women in the world.
This is the kind of odd world that exists at the TV critics tour. More to come.