Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Local featured on NBC's 'Deal or No Deal'

Beating out 10,000 Bostonians, Canton native Charlene Tonioli is currently in Los Angeles filming an episode of the NBC game show, "Deal or No Deal."

After some serious prodding from her 4-year-old son Ayden, Tonioli decided to give Howie Mandel a run for his money. After a series of casting sessions, the single mother and an employee of Therapeutic Learning Center will appear with her child on the Wednesday, Sept. 26 prime-time episode.

Tonioli’s friends and colleagues in Canton plan to watch the show together and cheer on the hometown hero. Loaded Gun's advice? Take the suitcase and run.

Boston's Daily Dose_07.31.07

Edward Hopper: Well-hung at the MFA

Newton firefighter wanted for 'Murder' on Spike-TV
SOURCE: Boston Herald

Amid struggles, arts center chief got $1.2m bonus
SOURCE: Boston Globe

Bard's run on the Common shortened
SOURCE: Boston Now

Sex, booze and faith
SOURCE: Boston Metro

Monday, July 30, 2007

Boston's Daily Dose_07.30.07

Poster for J.J. Abrams' upcoming sci-fi film 'Cloverfield' unveiled
SOURCE: Boston Phoenix

Web site archives the dead of MySpace
SOURCE: Boston Herald

The Police rocked the city for the first time in 24 years
SOURCE: Boston Metro

Gambling addiction could double near Middleboro casino

Who killed me. Who cares?
SOURCE: Boston Now

Sunday, July 29, 2007

The Police send a 'S.O.S.' to Fenway Park

Thousands of fans packed Fenway Park on Saturday, but it had nothing to do with the Red Sox. It was for a certain group of rockers. Maybe you've heard of them-- the Police?

The three-piece group, consisting of singer/bassist Sting (Gordon Sumner), guitarist Andy Summers and drummer Stewart Copeland, have reunited in celebration of the 30th anniversary of their hit single "Roxanne."

Back in 1979, they made their Boston debut at the Rat in Kenmore Square (a few blocks away from Fenway Park), where Sting had throat troubles and couldn't make it through sound check.

The Police will be back at Fenway Park tonight (Sunday, July 29) for another sold-old concert.

Weren't able to snag tickets to the show? You don't have to put on the red light. The Police's management team announced that the British group will play the Fleet Center on Sunday, Nov. 11.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Boston's Daily Dose_07.27.07

'Jesus' gets a little too preachy
SOURCE: Boston Metro

Has the Right Wing hijacked raunch?
SOURCE: Boston Phoenix

DJ spinning after P'town arrest
SOURCE: Boston Herald

MFI turns its attention to bestiality

Punk by the people, for the people

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Not For Tourists writeup on Sam Adams' Beer Lover's Choice

Mmmm, beer good. If buying the full-flavored brew at the local bodega isn’t enough, trek out to Jamaica Plain (the MBTA Stony Brook T stop on the Orange Line) for the annual Sam Adams’ Beer Lover’s Choice promotion running for nine weeks starting Friday, July 27 until Monday, October 1.

The brewery currently churns out 21 flavors of frothy bliss and, with your help, they may offer a few more in 2008. Experience the entire brewing process from start to finish and sample several of their newer potent potables, including the Samuel Adams Utopias collection. For a mere $2 donation, beer connoisseurs are encouraged to sample two potential styles of beer and are asked to pick their favorite. For the novice, tour guides even offer a tutorial on the steps used when judging a beer.

More of a foo-foo Cosmo cocktail drinker? No worries. The intoxicating smells of Hallertau and Tettnang hops will quickly win you over. Bottoms up.

Click here for the NFT Radar.

'American Idol's' Elliot Yamin slotted for Boston return

Third-place finalist on the fifth season of "American Idol," Elliot Yamin, will be in Boston on Monday, Aug. 20 to promote his self-titled debut album and hit single, "Wait For You."

The Los Angeles-born vocalist auditioned for the FOX reality show in Boston singing Leon Russell’s "A Song For You."

On Thursday, Aug. 24, Yamin is scheduled to appear on the CBS soap opera "The Bold and the Beautiful" and on Wednesday, Aug. 29 he will appear on the "Rachel Ray Show."

Update: Yamin will appear at the Winnekenni Castle in Haverhill, MA starting 6:30 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 18. The "American Idol" finalist will be available for a meet and greet after the show. Click here for tickets.

Boston's Daily Dose_07.26.07

Hollywood will be makin' it in Massachusetts
SOURCE: Boston Globe

'Snooty' dating site targets top-college swells
SOURCE: Boston Herald

NYC actor returns for fourth Shakespeare on the Common
SOURCE: Boston Metro

Inmate's bid for sex-change surgery draws big costs
SOURCE: IN Newsweekly

Touched by Tammy Faye: A tribute to her life

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

INTERVIEW: Barry Crimmins' last stand

Barry Crimmins has had enough. At least, that’s what the 53-year-old political satirist insists before taking the stand-up stage one last time.

"If you stay on the road forever, you’re pressing your luck," he says before his sold-out performance at the Jimmy Tingle Off Broadway Theater in June. "I think my road is pretty darned steamrollered at this point."

After over 30 years of performing, Crimmins is calling it quits. In the future, he’ll devote his verbal assaults to the printed page (and perhaps the occasional podcast). The task began in 2004 when his first book, "Never Shake Hands with a War Criminal," was published by Seven Stories Press.

"I hit the road in the early ‘70s and for the last several years it’s been hitting me back harder and harder," remarks Crimmins. "I’ve accumulated more stories than I could ever hope to recount. But I intend to try."

Crimmins made a 15-year stop in Boston, starting in 1979 when he founded the legendary Ding Ho Comedy Club in Inman Square. His firebrand delivery ignited countless progressive gatherings, which led to gigs with Steven Wright and musicians like Jackson Browne, Billy Bragg, Michelle Shocked and Dar Williams. The satirist opened dozens of shows throughout New England for various artists, including the late Warren Zevon.

In a candid interview, Crimmins talks about anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan, the cult of personality, the Ding Ho and his last laugh as a stand-up comedian.

Q: You spent time two years ago with Cindy Sheehan in Crawford, Texas. What are your thoughts about her calling it quits this week?
CRIMMINS: If everyone did one-tenth of one percent of what Cindy did, the war would be over by now. She’s done her part. She needs some privacy. She needs some time away from the ridiculous attacks she’s suffered and she needs some time to grieve. I understand that. She’s one of the finest people I’ve ever met and I’m thankful for every minute she put in. If she decides to never speak out in public again, she earned that right and then some.

Q: On her blog entry ‘Good riddance attention whore,’ she writes that her son, Casey, died for nothing. Do you agree with her?
CRIMMINS: What’s the name of the blog?

Q: It’s called ‘Good riddance attention whore.’
CRIMMINS: I’m sorry you even told me that. Cindy Sheehan went out to get an answer to a question. If that coward in the White House had the common courtesy and decency to come out and answer her question, this would have all been taken care of in short order. There’s your attention whore for you. He’s in the White House.

Q: So, is this really your final stand-up performance?
CRIMMINS: Yes, the travel is brutal. I’ve been riding around in circles for 35 years and I’ve got some writing to do. I imagine I will be speaking in public again. Hopefully, I will be doing a book tour and things like that. But, I’m tired of the whole cult of personality in America. Show business is more embarrassing than it ever was … which is hard to do. It’s just a contest now.

Q: What do you mean?
CRIMMINS: Everything is a contest. I did a show a few weeks back at Iowa State and two different kids came up to me and asked if I’ve ever done any contests (like ‘Last Comic Standing’). I don’t believe in competing with my fellow artists. What chance would I have in a contest when there are so many people willing to pander for attention? That sort of thing lowers already abysmally low standards. I used to be proud to be called a comedian and now I avoid the word because it makes me cringe.

Q: There’s still a mythical reverence for the old Ding Ho. Do you think that sort of lightning in a bottle will ever be replicated?
CRIMMINS: Sure, there better more moments like that. There better more people putting together good ideas. All over the Internet, you’re seeing elements similar to what we had at the Ding Ho. I’m not sure what or where it’s going to be, but it’s got to happen again.

Q: What’s it like returning to Boston?
CRIMMINS: I immediately drive like an asshole. (Laughs) It’s heartwarming for me to return and it humbles me that people still want to hear what I have to say after all of these years. There’s nothing like Boston, especially for me. I arrived there literally homeless, carrying everything I owned in the world, and left an established professional in a tough field. How can I not love Boston? There will always be a little Charles River water running through my veins.

Sam Baltrusis has worked for MTV, VH1, Seventeen, Newsweek and as a regional stringer for The New York Times. He's currently an online journalist with WHDH-TV, Channel 7 News in Boston.

Are Boston writers undervalued, underpaid?

As a Boston-based freelance writer consistently getting work, I'm sick and tired of rogue publications raping me for content -- and ultimately making a profit from the hours of research, editing and writing I put in to make a piece work for their publication.

Armed with years of writing and editing experience in NYC and Florida, it's disgusting how undervalued and underpaid the freelance scene is here. The ideas we come up with as journalists and writers help shape and mold the cultural landscape. Content is king. Without our expertise, local publications, books and Web sites would be as superficial as the celebutante pop tarts littering contemporary pop culture.

I recently spent months on a book project highlighting the hidden not-for-tourists gems scattered throughout the city. The pocket-sized guidebook is actually a smart, well-designed publication so I was fooled into thinking they would value their writing team. Wrong.

In many cases, the deadlines were strict and insane. I spent many hours writing, met all of my deadlines and when it came time for payment ... guess what? Yep, I was put off and ignored. It's hilarious what these guys wanted to pay me for the time I put in and when it came down to it, I had to basically beg for the miniscule check.

If we're expected to meet our deadlines outlined by our contractual agreement, then the publisher should be held just as accountable. Period.

Unfortunately, my experience with the publication I mentioned above is commonplace. In Florida, for example, I worked three years with a wannabe alternative newsweekly (which acted more as a vanity project to bloat the publisher’s already huge ego so he could push his ill-conceived civic and political agenda under the guise of journalism).

When it came time for the publisher to pay his staff, he would conveniently hide or try to change the topic to avoid the conversation. Many times, he would write us a check and it would bounce because of insufficient funds. The bank tellers would often laugh in my face when I tried to cash the publisher's bogus checks.

Long story short, the trend to undervalue and underpay writers seems to be getting worse thanks to publications like BostonNOW. The Boston Chapter of the National Writers Union recently published the piece, “All Fun and No Pay?” which blasts BostonNOW for trying to pimp free content without compensation.

Bottom line: As Boston-based freelance journalists, essayists and book writers, we need to mobilize as a unified group and demand fair payment for our work.

No pay? No way.

Click here to join the National Writers Union.

Ben Affleck and Matt Damon lose it over green campaign

Boston's Daily Dose_07.25.07

Rival seeks to shut down Facebook site, claiming founder stole idea

Chris Cornell 'Outshined' by his prior bands, Juliette Lewis

Slaying defendant seeks relaxed curfew so he can work

Fox deburing pair of shows about TV news

The coke me up gang

ICA launches Summer Stage Dance showcase

Choreographer and public artist Stephan Koplowitz leads 24 dancers from many different Boston dance companies in rehearsals for his site-specific dance piece being staged in its world premiere at the ICA this weekend.

The Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) partners with Summer Stages Dance at Concord Academy, to present the Boston premiere of a new work created especially for the ICA's Harborwalk, by choreographer/director Stephan Koplowitz.

Two dozen dancers from 10 of Boston's dance companies will participate. Thirty minute performances take place Saturday July 28 and Sunday July 29 at 1, 2 and 3 p.m. Admission is free, and space is limited. Performances will take place outdoors, rain or shine.

For more information call 617-478-3100 or click here.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

‘Bad Girls Road Trip’ in Boston

Few people know this, but I worked as a production associate on the season finale of “Bad Girls Road Trip” when it filmed in Boston last April.

After watching the first season’s episodes unfold--you know when poor little rich girl Ripsi Terzian drinks a helluva lot of Tequila and goes psycho on her roommates--I was somewhat apprehensive to join the crew when I got a call from the producers.

Ripsi was kicked off the show, right? Not exactly. In the Boston finale, Ripsi returns and she has to deal with some unfinished business.

Of course, it wouldn’t be a season finale of a reality show without some manufactured drama. My first task on the set at their hotel in Needham was to purchase booze for the girls for what everyone was calling “the party bus”--i.e. one of those broke down trolley cars with music and a disco ball.

The booze budget was around $500 for five girls. Hmmmm, interesting.

Everyone was talking about a smackdown that occurred the previous night at a club in Boston. Here’s how Zara colorfully describes the drama in her letter on Oxygen.com:

“Out of nowhere two bitches started to dance with us and they were ugly bitches too. We walked away and they got offended and all of a sudden…. The rhino attacked us. I closed my eyes and said, ‘Oh Fuck.’ I closed my eyes and started swinging. Ripsi had one of the bitches hair and the other bitch had my hair. All of a sudden we were dancing and that became a rumble on the dance floor with 7 bitches started to fight the two of us. While fat ass Leslie sat on her ass watching and rat faced Aimee sat on a bench watching too, Ripsi and I got attacked.”

I was somewhat apprehensive to be near this Ripsi chick. Of course, guess who we had to pick up and escort to the casting session at The Liquor Store? Yep, demon beast Tipsi Ripsi.

At first, we couldn’t find her home in Watertown. Of course, her response when we phoned her was, “it’s the biggest house on the street.” Ripsi was right. We found it.

She was dressed in what looked like a black Chanel cocktail dress—and was actually stunning in person. She talked about how she initially caught the eye of the show’s casting director after a girl-on-girl catfight outside of a restaurant in Harvard Square.

Meanwhile, the bad girls were boozing on the party bus as it slowly trekked from Needham to Boston. The vehicle kept breaking down … which, of course, means more time for the ladies to get drunk off their asses.

We drop Ripsi off on the corner and she meets up with the girls under the disco ball. The scene at The Liquor Store gradually devolved as the evening progressed. One of the girls—Zara I think—decided to take a permanent marker and tag the mirrors in the ladies bathroom.

The bus headed to a swank restaurant in the Back Bay area. Truth is, Ripsi didn’t do a repeat of the violent, drunken outburst we witnessed on the second episode of “The Bad Girls Club.”

After all is said and done, Ripsi won me over ... well, in that “Flavor of Love” meets “Jerry Springer” sort of way.

Anyway, catch the Boston season finale tonight (10 p.m. Tuesday, July 24) on Oxygen.

Denzel Washington stops traffic in Cambridge

Academy Award winners Denzel Washington and Forest Whitaker were in Cambridge on Monday to shoot scenes for the film, "The Great Debaters."

The full-length feature is the story of Melvin B. Tolson, a professor at Wiley College in Texas who inspired students to form the college's first debate team. In 1935, the team challenged and defeated Harvard in the national championship.

A portion of Memorial Drive was closed for about two hours on Monday night.

Boston's Daily Dose_07.24.07

Gavel comes down on ex-Superior Court Judge Maria Lopez

Gay marriage foes back down
SOURCE: Boston Metro

D'oh! Simpsons contest prompts fraud allegations
SOURCE: Seven Days

Small plane lands on a Massachusetts highway

Pimp gets put away for eight to 10 years
SOURCE: Boston Now

Monday, July 23, 2007

Boston's Daily Dose_07.23.07

'Simpsons Movie' premiere might be the biggest event ever in little Springfield, Vt.
SOURCE: Boston Globe

A road sign in Dedham, Mass. was hijacked to display a crass invitation to lunch

Local pundits star in 'Banned in Boston'
SOURCE: Boston Herald

Romney says Clinton's economic plan akin to Socialist Karl Marx
SOURCE: Boston Metro

Street vendors getting squeezed out at Downtown Crossing
SOURCE: Boston Now

Sunday, July 22, 2007

More Gitmo controversy

There was some minor backstage controversy swirling around "Jesus: The Guantanamo Years," a piercing comedic satire which was postponed a week at the Jimmy Tingle Off-Broadway Theater.

Abie Philbin Bowman, who was slotted to premiere his politically charged act on Thursday, July 12 in Somerville, was detained in Ireland because of his outspoken views against the U.S.

The one-man show tackles the idea if Jesus Christ returned to earth today. The act arrives from the West End in London, following sold-out performances in Dublin, Belfast, Galway and Edinburgh.

Folks at the JTOB, supposed advocates of the freedom of the press, wanted to keep the true reasons hush-hush as to why the Irish columnist and comedian had to postpone his show until Friday, July 20.

Their response to the press and public, "there was an unforseen change in Abie Philbin Bowman's travel plans."

Editor's Note: Philbin Bowman addresses his immigration issues in the Wednesday, July 25 edition of The Boston Globe.

"I would love to tell you that it was this huge conspiracy in the State Department, and Bush and Cheney got involved, and then the Supreme Court intervened and overruled them," Philbin Bowman says over lunch in Cambridge. "But no, it was just bureaucracy -- not ticking all the right boxes on all the right forms, and we didn't plan enough time to get it all done."

Friday, July 20, 2007

Mediabisto Lecture: How to craft a killer query

As a former alternative newsweekly editor turned full-time freelance writer, I have years of experience receiving article pitches--both compelling and not so compelling--and I've been able to see first hand what works ... and definitely what doesn't work.

Be the first kid on the block to sign up for my Pitch Letter Essentials class 7-10 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 16 at Harvard-Epworth Church, 1555 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA (212-929-2588).

Here's the lowdown:

For a freelance writer, pitches are everything. They're your personal introduction, writing sample, and article outline all in one. They're how you break into a magazine and how you keep the assignments coming in once you do. Write a compelling query and you're on your way to an assignment, or at least an ongoing relationship with the editor; write a lousy one and you'll disappear into the slush pile.

Whether you're pitching a celebrity profile or a travel feature, there are some key techniques and strategies you need to know to come up with a killer query. This seminar will walk you through the most important ones, from researching your target publication to structuring the pitch to selling yourself as the perfect writer for the job.

In this seminar, you will learn:

*How to surprise editors with fresh ideas
*Techniques to come up with salable story ideas
*How to tailor your query letter to the publication you're pitching
*What editors look for in a query and what turns them off
*What makes an effective -- and not-so effective -- query letter
*Online query letters vs. print query
*How to package yourself as the ideal writer for your idea
*How to turn a query into an ongoing editor-writer relationship

Click here to sign up for the class.

Hollywood hits the Hub with Denzel Washington's new film

Academy Award winners Denzel Washington and Forest Whitaker will be in Cambridge on Friday to shoot scenes for the film, "The Great Debaters."

The flick is the story of Melvin B. Tolson, a professor at Wiley College in Texas who inspired students to form the college's first debate team. In 1935, the team challenged and defeated Harvard in the national championship.

A portion of Memorial Drive will be closed for about two hours on Sunday night. The road will be closed to cars and pedestrians between Western Ave. and JFK Street from 7 p.m. until 9 p.m.

Click here to get the lowdown on the movie.

Boston's Daily Dose_07.20.07

Neo-Nazi Movement active in Mass.
SOURCE: Boston Now

Romney aide's bogus badges

Oldies DJ charges brutality in P-Town
SOURCE: Boston Globe

Vineyard's shark hunt attacked
SOURCE: Boston Metro

2 Live Crew still nasty

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Boston's Daily Dose_07.19.07

Columnist wishes Harry Potter would disappear
SOURCE: Boston Herald

Voters allowed 'none of the above' option?
SOURCE: Boston Metro

WBUR has done a 180 under Paul La Camera
SOURCE: Boston Phoenix

School custodian gets trip of his life

Rail riders will be able to track trains
SOURCE: Boston Now

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Boston's Daily Dose_07.18.07

A gang of vandals struck a Northboro cemetery

Motormouth mechanics from Cambridge to star in animated sitcom

Jon Lovitz smacksdown Andy Dick during an encounter at the Laugh Factory

Turnpike chairman closes public meeting on Big Dig leaks
SOURCE: Boston Metro

Home Depot under scrutiny for hiring practices
SOURCE: Boston Now

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

INTERVIEW: Same-Sex and the City

Johnny Diaz is experiencing what he calls "first-book jitters."

It's exactly one month before the national release of his debut novel, Boston Boys Club, and he stumbles a bit when asked what he thinks about the portrayal of Hispanics--particularly openly gay Latinos--in pop culture.

"Are there any openly gay Hispanic portrayals in pop culture?" he questions, curled over a cup of coffee in a crowded café in the heart of Harvard Square in Cambridge, Mass.

How about the younger nephew in ABC's Ugly Betty or even Ricky Martin?

"Honestly, I can't think of one portrayal of an openly gay Latino in contemporary popular culture," Diaz explains. "It's like a Latino code of silence. We know you're gay, but it's in our machismo nature not to talk about it."

Click here for the complete article.

Pop. Culture. Controversy. Boston.

Boston's Daily Dose_07.17.07

Fake Elvis claims suspicious mind made him kill

Strip club transforms into pet hotel

The politics of sex
SOURCE: Boston Globe

Cost of clearing crime lab backlog could run into millions
SOURCE: Boston Metro

President Bush caught wearing the much maligned Crocs

Monday, July 16, 2007

Jacko reps eye multimillion-dollar properties on Martha’s Vineyard

Could singer Michael Jackson be leaving seclusion in Bahrain and returning to the states?

Reps for the infamous singer have reportedly been scouting and photographing summer homes on Martha’s Vineyard.

His management team also checked out multimillion-dollar vacation homes on Maryland’s Eastern Shore.

A spokesperson told The Washington Post that the 48-year-old performer is interested in East Coast property because, “they have a lot of land.”

Click here for the complete story.

Boston's Daily Dose_07.16.07

Boston ranks No. 6 in top cities for young professionals

Boston mourns the death of homeless icon, Mr. Butch
SOURCE: Boston Phoenix

Would they recognize Condi?
SOURCE: Boston Metro

Grammar vandal goes after public stop sign travesties
SOURCE: Boston Globe

Rolling out a new kind of toilet paper dispenser
SOURCE: Boston Herald

Not For Tourists writeup on Urban Interactive

With Urban Interactive augmented reality tourism adventures, it’s fun to be a dick. Seriously.

In 2006, entrepreneur Nick Tommarello set out to spice up Boston’s humdrum tourism scene with a series of interactive games that combine The Amazing Race with The Da Vinci Code.

Players, who sign up at the company’s website, sleuth around the city competing with other teams to solve a mystery. My adventure centered around a missing John Singleton Copley painting that led my group on what seemed like an epic journey starting at the Oak Bar in the Fairmont Hotel to the hidden corridors of the Boston Public Library.

Other locales include the North End, Boston Common, and Harvard Square. While some of the required stunts are embarrassing (I had to hop on one leg with my hand over my head in front of a fountain. Don’t ask.), the result skillfully blends mobile technology with challenging puzzles.

In comparison to some of the city’s more banal sightseeing atrocities (ahem, Boston Duck Tours), Tommarello’s vision is a technophile’s wet dream.

Click here for the NFT Radar.

INTERVIEW: Jimmy Tingle gives confession

Jimmy Tingle is all fired up. And no, it has nothing to do with the war in Iraq, the race for the White House or even Paris Hilton’s short stint in prison. For this 52-year-old political satirist and film actor, it’s the smaller things that get his Irish-Catholic blood boiling.

Tonight, it’s all about reserved parking.

"I’ve wanted to do this for three years," he says with a manic enthusiasm he usually reserves for the stage. His face lights up when he unveils a sandwich board offering parking directions to and from his Davis Square theater. "I get so excited about the silliest of things. But it drives me crazy when something needs to be improved and it’s not, for whatever reason."

Tingle, who’s hashing out a performance for the prestigious Edinburgh Fringe Festival called "Jimmy Tingle for President," has a way of weaving comedy, politics and commentary into everything he does.

In other words, don’t be surprised if he works in his three-year quest for reserved parking into the act.

In a candid interview with Loaded Gun, the master of social and political humor weighs in the obstacles he faces as an independent theater owner, his stint with "60 Minutes II" and more important national and international issues … like his career.

Q: What’s the biggest hurdle you’ve had to overcome to keep the theater running?
My heroin and crack habit. (Laughs) I’m kidding. The biggest thing is learning how to be organized as a business. I can perform in my sleep. The most difficult and challenging thing is to get the business element together and tighten it up.

Q: Isn’t it difficult for someone who’s creative to run his own theater?
TINGLE: I don’t know anybody creative. (Laughs) Are you referring to me?

Q: It must be hard to do both, right?
I’m told it is. I would say with me, it’s definitely been a learning curve. You can have good business instincts and vision, but it’s the tediousness of the nuts and bolts that’s the hardest part for me. And yes, to answer your question, most creative people aren’t in business for themselves. But from time to time, you’ll see people who are and I happen to be one of those people.

Q: Do you try to keep your show topical—or do you refuse to chime in on events like whether or not Paris Hilton is feigning a medical condition to get out of prison?
I try to keep it as topical as I can but I’m more focused on politics than pop culture. Paris Hilton has enough problems. She doesn’t need me. She never sent an entire nation to war. Honestly, I probably wouldn’t recognize Paris Hilton if she walked into the theater.

Q: Do you intentionally keep away from pop culture?
TINGLE: Yeah, I kinda do. But with Paris Hilton, it’s not about the length of her prison stay but the amount of inordinate attention to things that really don’t matter at the end of the day that’s driving the media and the cultural conversation. There are so many things happening in the world that are way more significant and don’t get that kind of attention.

Q: What’s being swept under the rug?
TINGLE: On a national and international level?

Q: Yes.
TINGLE: My career. (Laughs) Forget Paris. What about Tingle Hilton? What about the Tingle Hotel right here in Davis Square. Let’s get to some serious issues.

Q: What was it like working with producer Larry Arrick?
TINGLE: It was great. It’s a lot of fun having someone who cares about the show and about you as an individual. He’s very blunt. He’s a hardcore, no nonsense kind of guy and you need that.

Q: So, what really happened at ‘60 Minutes II’—was it an amicable breakup?
TINGLE: They really loved what I did half the time. The other half, it was a struggle for my material to fit into that format and into the parameters of national television. It was a difficult transition from performing live, unedited and raw to a national audience that isn’t live. It’s hard to go from a theatrical and comedic medium to a journalistic realm. There was always that fight for me to convey the national political sentiment and not put my own personal sentiment or spin on things.

Q: Could you ever imagine that your small, non-speaking part in ‘The Boondock Saints’ would get so much attention?
TINGLE: Nobody knew it would have a cult following. People stop me on the streets and ask me about the movie all the time.

Q: Did you ever think you would play a Catholic priest on film?
TINGLE: No, but now that I’ve played a priest in the movie, I’m qualified to hear confessions. I’m also qualified to marry people.

Q: The Ding Ho in Inman Square is an important part of your career arch. Do you find that a lot of things in your life and career relate to that era?
TINGLE: Yeah, the Ding Ho was a formative period in my life. Starting the theater here, it brings me back to my roots and the excitement of starting a new room. It reminds me that these are great days we’re living in right now, with this theater. This is the beginning of something great. These are the good ol’ days we’ll look back on in the future. We’re developing something new, unique and original here and anything that falls into that category takes a lot of work. Sometimes I get discouraged and I want things to be easier. Most of the time it comes down to hard work, having the vision and finding the right people to make it a reality.

Q: If you had a motto, what would it be?
TINGLE: Like a Boy Scout, always be prepared.

Sam Baltrusis has worked for MTV, VH1, Seventeen, Newsweek and as a regional stringer for The New York Times. He's currently an online journalist with WHDH-TV, Channel 7 News in Boston.

Loaded Gun moves to Boston

Sunday, July 15, 2007

INTERVIEW: Brian Longwell fingers evildoers

Oh, the wicked things comedian Brian Longwell does with crude stick drawings and an old-school overhead projector.

In his one-man show “Is Dick Cheney Evil?" the 30-year-old (in New York City years) delivers a presentation that pokes fun of the GOP while deconstructing the American political system using pizza as a metaphor.

Don’t ask.

Exactly one month before making the rounds at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Scotland, Longwell comments on his greatest fear, his disdain for “trust fund pricks” and how he would like to kick the bucket … in a state of post-coital bliss.

What is your idea of perfect happiness?
Increasing happiness.

What is your greatest fear?
Decreasing happiness.

What is the trait you most deplore?
Entitlement, you get to see a lot of that in New York.

Which living person do you most admire?
Well, I'm going to pretend this guy is still alive: Richard Feynman. The guy won a noble prize for physics, had an insatiable curiosity about everything, was a complete free spirit and was a notorious prankster.

What is your greatest extravagance?
Living in Manhattan.

What is your favorite journey?
Riding my bicycle to the beach.

What do you consider the most overrated virtue?

Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
'I don't know,’ ‘I'm not sure,’ ‘I think I've heard of that,’ "Maybe’ and ‘I'm sorry, you're breaking up.’

When and where are you most comfortable?
After a show that goes well and everyone is heaping praise on me.

Which talent would you most like to have?

What is your current state of mind?
I'm lucid.

If you could change one thing about your family, what would it be?
Fewer people. There were 8 of us and I was the sixth. It was like ‘Lord of the Flies.’

What do you consider your greatest achievement?
My daughter.

What do you consider your greatest failure?
That I have no TV credits.

What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?

What is your dream job?
I sort of have it, but just need to be doing it more. Besides doing my current political show, I do corporate functions as a ‘non-motivational, non-inspirational’ speaker or as a fake speaker. I love it.

What is your most striking characteristic?
Probably that people can have a hard time reading me offstage.Other than that, I’m a bit of a free spirit and have done some interesting things in my life so far.

What is the quality you most like in other people?
Non-manipulative charisma.

What do you most value in friends?
Intellectual curiosity and dependability.

Who are your heroes?
People that are self-made and haven't become pricks.

What is it that you most dislike?
Trust fund pricks.

How would you like to die?
When I'm in my 90s, shortly after a great show and right after having sex.

Sam Baltrusis has worked for MTV, VH1, Seventeen, Newsweek and as a regional stringer for The New York Times. He's currently an online journalist with WHDH-TV, Channel 7 News in Boston.

INTERVIEW: Amy Tee toots her horn

Amy Tee, one half of the Dyke Minimum comedic duo featuring Sandra Valls, wants to be a rapper. Seriously. Move over Eminem and Lady Sovereign, MC Feminem is in da house.

Taking a break before hitting the road with her show, the 31-year-old Tee weighs in on her greatest fear, her affinity for shoes and her secret desire to be the lesbian version of Hugh Hefner.

What is your greatest fear?
Sleeping through my alarm on the first day of my sitcom.

What is the trait you most deplore?
Girls who don’t know how to use their indoor voice in bed on a Sunday morning.

Which living person do you most admire?
Oprah …beautiful inside and out ... and her bank account isn't too shabby.

What is your greatest extravagance?
Shoes…32 pairs of sneakers, 25 pairs of flip-flops.

What is your favorite journey?
Life. The journey IS the destination.

What do you consider the most overrated virtue?
Monogamy ... no wait … humility… if you don’t toot your own horn, who will?

What is your idea of perfect happiness?
Realizing my dream of being the lesbian version of Hugh Hefner.

Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
‘Fabulous’ with ‘Here’s the Deal’ running a close second.

When and where are you most comfortable?
On stage when my game is on.

Which talent would you most like to have?
I’d like to be a rap star.

What is your current state of mind?
Floored! You should see my cell phone bill!

If you could change one thing about your family, what would it be?
Daddy would have been Daddy starting a long time ago.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Losing 130 pounds …that’s an entire person you know.

What do you consider your greatest failure?
What do you mean? There’s no failure.

What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?
Self pity.

What is your dream job?
Not having to work would be a dream.

What is your most striking characteristic?
Have you seen my picture?

What is the quality you most like in other people?
That they laugh at my jokes.

What do you most value in friends?
That they toot my own horn.

Who are your heroes?
My mom hands down.

What is it that you most dislike?
Those CROC shoes and meat on the bone.

How would you like to die?
Proud of how I lived every day of my life.

What is your motto?
Laughter is the shortest distance between two people.

Sam Baltrusis has worked for MTV, VH1, Seventeen, Newsweek and as a regional stringer for The New York Times. He's currently an online journalist with WHDH-TV, Channel 7 News in Boston.
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