Monthly Archives: May 2011

More Fun with Muppets

At this rate, if the Muppets marketing team release teaser videos every week until Thanksgiving, I will be a happy clam.

Here’s the official plot description.

“On vacation in Los Angeles, Walter, the world’s biggest Muppet fan, and his friends Gary (Jason Segel) and Mary (Amy Adams) from
Smalltown, USA, discover the nefarious plan of oilman Tex Richman (Chris Cooper) to raze the Muppet Theater and drill for the oil
recently discovered beneath the Muppets’ former stomping grounds. To stage The Greatest Muppet Telethon Ever and raise the $10 million needed to save the theater, Walter, Mary and Gary help Kermit reunite the Muppets, who have all gone their separate ways: Fozzie now performs with a Reno casino tribute band called the Moopets, Miss Piggy is a plus-size fashion editor at Vogue Paris, Animal is in a Santa Barbara clinic for anger management, and Gonzo is a high-powered plumbing magnate. With secret, signature, celebrity cameos, “The Muppets” hits the big screen Nov. 23, 2011.”

The fact that they have cast Oscar-winning actor (and frequent John Sayles collaborator) Chris Cooper in this film both astounds and delights me. Segel is clearly a longtime fan of the Muppets mythology, given some of the aspects he’s worked into the film (wanting to save the old Muppet theater, for example).

Sometimes You Have An Off Week

The day job demands and Internet problems (who knew lightning could kill your cable Internet modem and wireless router, but not your cable TV) combined to prevent the posting of an interview this week. My apologies.

Wednesday feature interviews will resume next week.

Randy Newman Explains Losing You

A few weeks I stumbled across The Guardian’s video series (in conjunction with The Observer New Review), How I wrote … . As described at the website, it is where “Musicians explain where inspiration for their best songs came from, before performing an exclusive live session”. So when I realized they had a clip of Randy Newman explaining my latest favorite song of his, Losing You, I had to link to it.

Be sure to also read this interview with Newman.

Rochelle Jewel Shapiro on Her Writing

Miriam the Medium

When writer Rochelle Jewel Shapiro and I first started discussing the possibility of doing this email interview, she was still in the midst of writing her sequel to her 2004 novel, Miriam the Medium. I am happy to note, as she acknowledges in the opening of our discussion–that she has put the new novel, Kaylee’s Ghost, in her agent’s hands. I greatly appreciated the range of questions she endured from me–and I hope you enjoy the interview as much as I did. My thanks to Rochelle, for her time and thoughts–and hopefully before we know it, her new novel will soon be on the market.

Tim O’Shea: You are currently at work on a sequel to your first autobiographical novel. Will the sequel stay in the autobio vein?

Rochelle Jewel Shapiro: As in my first novel, Miriam the Medium (Simon & Schuster), Kaylee’s Ghost, which is now in my agent’s hands, also features Miriam Kaminsky who is a phone psychic from Great Neck like I am, Funny how people know call me Miriam and I have grown so tired of correcting them that I answer to the name of my character now. People always ask me, with sympathy, “What did you really do when Cara ran away?” My own daughter never ran away (phew) and her name isn’t Cara. But, just as I now answer to Miriam, I accept when people to refer to my non-fictional daughter as Cara. In Kaylee’s Ghost, Miriam has a granddaughter just as I do. I will be honored if readers begin to refer to my own granddaughter as Violet. It will mean that the story I’ve written is real to them, and that’s my goal.

Continue reading Rochelle Jewel Shapiro on Her Writing

Fall Preview: ABC’s Once Upon a Time

As a kid growing up, I remember watching  The Wonderful World of Disney on Sunday nights. So I think it appropriate that ABC (the Disney subsidiary broadcast network) would greenlight a show for the new fall season like Once Upon A Time. Here’s a snippet of how the network describes the show:

“Anna Swan (Jennifer Morrison) knows how to take care of herself.  She’s a 28-year old bail bonds collector who’s been on her own ever since she was abandoned as a baby.  But when the son she gave up years ago finds her, everything will change.  Henry (Jared Gilmore) is 10 years old now and in desperate need of Anna’s help.  Henry believes that Anna actually comes from an alternate world… and is Prince Charming (Josh Dallas) and Snow White’s (Ginnifer Goodwin) missing daughter.”

Watching the following clip, I was enthused by a few aspects. That the premise is set mainly in the modern day–and that the show features Morrison (most recently of CBS’s How I Met Your Mother) and Goodwin (formerly of HBO’s Big Love). One more draw, the involvement of veteran actor, Robert Carlyle, who I have respected for years–ever since seeing him in Danny Boyle’s 1996 film, Trainspotting.

I look forward to see more previews of this show (if nothing else, to get a better understanding of the parallel storylines)–and am enthused to see that ABC is already marketing the new series via Facebook and Twitter.

Why It’s Fun To Watch Flipper With My Son

Over on my Facebook, I’ve been regaling friends with reactions as my son and I watch old episodes of Flipper (streaming on Netflix).

Part of the appeal is seeing the character actors that go on to larger success (Jessica Walter appeared in the first episode, Burt Reynolds appeared in another).

My son enjoys keeping track on the number of kills Flipper has had in the series. In season 1, he took out one shark and one alligator. When Flipper took out his second shark in season 2, my son (jokingly) started singing: “Another one bites the dust!”

But last night, my son caught the continuity gaffe of an offcamera trainer throwing a ball at Flipper to get him to do a trick. Really, when a pop culture dad has this moment with his child–there are no words to capture the elation.


Follow the ball, Flipper!

After we took the photo, my son eagerly asked: “Is this going on Facebook or your blog?” Blog it is, my wonderful son.