Monday, September 15, 2014

Highlights from "The Simpsons" at the Hollywood Bowl

Simpsons Take the Bowl

I've attended many events at the Hollywood Bowl over the years, but none have been more consistently entertaining, or have meant more to me personally, than "The Simpsons Take the Bowl." Maria and I attended the event on Sunday -- the last of three consecutive nights of shows -- and had a blast. In honor of the show's 25th anniversary (it's actually heading into its 26th season this fall), the Bowl show was a fantastic celebration of all things "Simpsons," geared especially to the show's early, groundbreaking years. Hank Azaria (Moe, Prof. Frink, Apu) hosted the evening, which also included guest spots from Conan O'Brien, "Weird Al" Yankovic, Beverly D'Angelo, Jon Lovitz, the Gay Men's Chorus of Los Angeles, and others. Fellow voice stars Nancy Cartwright and Yeardley Smith also participated, while creator Matt Groening kicked things off. Several animated moments were also especially created for the show, which ended with a fireworks display. Some highlights:

Simpsons
SimpsonsSimpsons
Simpsons Take the Bowl
Simpsons Take the Bowl
The Simpsons try to find their seat at the Hollywood Bowl

Simpsons
By the power of Homer Simpson, the Hollywood sign is reimagined as his signature "D'oh" grunt.

Simpsons Take the Bowl
Simpsons Take the Bowl
Hollywood Bowl Orchestra principal conductor Thomas Wilkins takes to the stage, wearing a Homer helmet.

Simpsons Take the Bowl
Matt Groening -- dubbed "the world's richest underground cartoonist" by evening host Hank Azaria, opens the show. He kicks things off by reading a few network notes from long ago, when the show first started. (In one, an exec suggests that Homer shouldn't say "Help me, Jeebus," but instead, "Help me, Jesus.")

Simpsons Take the Bowl
Simpsons Take the Bowl
Simpsons Take the Bowl
Host Hank Azaria won the crowd over by voicing some of his classic characters, including Chief Wiggum. He also performed the song and dance number "Who Needs the Kwik-E-Mart" as Apu. (His favorite voice, however, is Prof. Frink.)

Simpsons Take the BowlSimpsons Take the Bowl
Simpsons Take the Bowl
Voice of Lisa, Yeardley Smith, was there, and also introduced Kipp Lennon -- the voiceover artist who mimicked Michael Jackson's singing voice in "Stark Raving Dad." Jackson voiced the character, but Lennon sang "Happy Birthday Lisa," which he did on stage on Sunday night.

Simpsons Take the Bowl
"Weird Al" Yankovic ("He who is tired of Weird Al is tired of life") performs the new parody "Homer and Marge," to "Jack and Diane," as well as "The Simpsons" theme on accordion.

Simpsons Take the Bowl
Nancy Cartwright's Bart engages Hank Azaria's Moe in a signature "Simpsons" phone bit.

Simpsons Take the Bowl
Conan O'Brien pays tribute to Phil Hartman and performs "Monorail," from the classic episode he wrote.

Simpsons Take the Bowl
Simpsons Take the Bowl
Composer Hans Zimmer leads the orchestra as the perform the score to the Oscar-winning short "The Longest Daycare." Later, he also conducted the orchestra and the LA Gay Men's Choir in the "Stonecutters Song."

Simpsons Take the Bowl
Beverly D'Angelo, as country singer Lurleen Lumpkin, sings "Bagged Me A Homer."

Simpsons Take The Bowl
Jon Lovitz performs "Chimpan A to Chimpan Z"

Simpsons Take The Bowl
A tribute of all the Fox entertainment presidents who have held the job during "The Simpsons" run, predicts that Gary Newman and Dana Walden will keep the job through 2021.

Simpsons Take The Bowl
Simpsons Take The Bowl
Simpsons Take The Bowl
Simpsons Take The Bowl
Simpsons Take The Bowl
Fireworks!

Simpsons Take The Bowl
Simpsons Take The Bowl
For the big finish, Nancy Cartwright (voice of Bart) leads us in a rendition of "Do The Bartman."

Earlier in the evening, outside the Bowl:

Simpsons
Marge!

Simpsons Take the Bowl
Fan with Lisa and Bart

Simpsons Take the Bowl
The three-eyed radioactive fish!

Simpsons Take the Bowl
"Why are you stack parking yourself? Why are you stack parking yourself?"

Simpsons Take the Bowl
Kent Brockman with some disturbing news.

"The Simpsons" returns on Sunday, Sept. 28 at 8/7c on Fox with "Clown in the Dumps," in which a Springfield resident dies.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

MIKE ON KCRW: Talking DreamWorks on "The Business" and Tribute to Joan Rivers on "Hollywood Breakdown"



On Monday's edition of KCRW's The Business, Kim Masters and I discussed Turner Entertainment programming president Michael Wright's move to DreamWorks -- and what's next. Here's the rundown:
- A surprising pick to run DreamWorks. Michael Wright will be leaving the TV world--he was Turner’s president of programming-- to become the CEO of the production company.
- Netflix is paying big bucks for the streaming rights to a show that hasn’t even aired on television yet.
Listen below, including Kim's interview with "Star Trek's" George Takei:





Meanwhile, on "Hollywood Breakdown," Kim and I paid tribute to the late Joan Rivers:
Kim Masters and Michael Schneider remember Joan Rivers and listen to a clip of her interview on KCRW's The Business from 2010. At that time, Rivers was promoting the documentary Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work, which showed a tireless, irreverent performer, still working as a stand-up as well as writing books and hosting TV shows including E!'s Fashion Police. She died at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City.
Listen by clicking the box below:

Hollywood Breakdown

A California Travelogue, Via Whole Foods Shopping Bags

Whole foods bags
Pasadena

Whole foods bags
West Hollywood

Whole foods bags
Glendale

Whole foods bags
Oxnard

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

A Time Warp Trip to Moonlight Rollerway, Glendale's Skating Mecca

Moonlight rollerway

As I've mentioned, this summer was all about "Back to the Future." The kids became obsessed with the movie and time travel, thanks to multiple screenings of all three movies (as well as our Lego DeLorean set). It was probably only fitting that last week I finally actually took a trip back in time to the 1980s.

That's the experience the moment you walk inside Glendale's Moonlight Rollerway. This place looks and feels like it's still 1987. The video games? Ms. Pac-Man and Galaga. The tunes? The best of the 80s. (At least, during my visit.) There are no flat screens, no updated technological advances from this century. The world of roller rinks may be the last bastion of the 1980s, untouched.

Moonlight rollerway

I was there for an event promoting the new season of "The Goldbergs," the ABC sitcom that (of course) takes place in the 1980s, and has actually shot at the Moonlight Rollerway. The rink remains a popular location for TV, film and commercial shoots, precisely because it still looks like it comes from a sweeter, more innocent era.

Moonlight rollerway

KCET gave a history of the Moonlight Rollerway last year. An excerpt:

The Rollerway's origins in Glendale date back to the booming aircraft industry that used to dominate this part of L.A. in the interwar wars; its building was originally a foundry for airplane parts. The end of WWII brought a downturn in the industry and in 1950, the factory's owners sold the space to Harry Dickerman who converted it into Harry's Roller Rink, one of several he ran across Southern California.

If you were to visit the Moonlight right this moment, much of it would still resemble what Harry's looked like when it first opened and that includes the 2.5" maple flooring. At a table next to the snack bar, the Moonlight's current owner, Dominic Cangelosi, pulls out a spare piece of flooring, points to the skate area and informs me, "the floor is original. It's solid maple, no nails," and shows me how the tongue-in-groove shaping of each floor piece keeps everything locked in and tight. "People come here because of the floor," he says. "There's a big difference between skating on this floor than skating on cork floor, which is like tiles, or particle board, or plywood floors that are coated. This floor is smooth and because of the subfloor, when there's a crowd on the floor, [it] sort of gives a little bit."

Cangelosi's owned Moonlight since 1985 but his history with the rink goes back far before that. He was the in-house organist here in the 1960s, after Dickerman had sold the rink to Mildred and Clifford Neschke, who already ran a rink in Pasadena, the original Moonlight Rollerway.

It's worth a read. Meanwhile, a few more pics from my afternoon at the Moonlight with "The Goldbergs" cast:

Moonlight rollerway

Moonlight rollerway

Moonlight rollerway

Moonlight Rollerway
5110 San Fernando Rd.
Glendale CA 91204

"The Goldbergs" Season 2 returns Wednesday, Sept. 24 at 8:30/7:30c on ABC.
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