Okay, so for those not in the know… I’m out here in L.A. for the TV Critics Press Tour. It’s a two-week event in Jan. (three in July) when we talk to the writers, producers and actors of new shows and returning series. Each day is a different network, except during cable when several networks present their stuff during those four days.
So today was the first day of PBS. I know some of you are already yawning. Shame. It was an incredibly cool day and they have some fun stuff on the way. Of course, I’m only going to hit the highlights, but there are a lot of them. I will tell you that Ian McKellen is way cool for an old guy. ;-) I say that, because he really is someone you would just want to hang out with and chat all day. He’s erudite and funny. And that voice. He’s doing King Lear, not one of my favorites of the bard, but McKellen is totally mesmerizing in the role. And it’s one of the best presentations of the play I’ve ever seen. Very rich in detail. For you Lord of the Rings fans he did talk a bit about the Hobbit, which comes out in 2012. He said he was looking forward to revisiting that character but from a different perspective.
We had lunch with the We Shall Remain: American Experience gang who are looking at Native American history from a totally different perspective. I haven’t seen it yet, but it looks good.
Richard Belzer and Lewis Black were here with Kelly Carlin, George Carlin’s daughter, to talk about The Mark Twain Prize. You put Belzer and Black together and there’s gonna be laughs, and Kelly held her own. She definitely has the funny gene.
Next up was Looking for Lincoln, which was, I’m embarrassed to say, eye-opening for me. In that I always think of Lincoln in a certain way and this film makes him much more human and three-dimensional. It was also eye opening because Henry Louis Gates, the host, couldn’t make it because of weather. They had David Blight, who teaches at Yale along with one of the producers on the panel. My first instinct was this is going to be a snorefest because historians, at least on PBS panels, tend to meander and lose focus. Not this guy. If they had history professors like him in college, I might have done better. He really made it come alive.
Amy Sedaris came by for Make ‘Em Laugh: The Funny Business of America. She’s funny of course but also very bright. I can see why my friend April wants to be Amy’s friend. She’s a cool chick. They talked about the show but also the up and coming comedians from the web, an interesting phenomena.
There were panels on Tales of Charles Dickens, and also the lovely Kenneth Branagh with his Wallander. I had to leave about 20 minutes in to solve a kid crisis at home. But I heard enough of the accent to get me through tonight. :-) He’s another one those guys that you could hang out for hours with at dinner. Just adore him. (As to the kid crisis. There were two. One involving a special letter for school where we did a college visit. The other on what to do about some colleges who are fighting for him. VERY cool problem to have.)
Tonight’s dinner event was just this side of perfect. Sir Tim Rice, a lyricist who has done a few musicals you might of heard of like Jesus Christ Superstar, Evita, The Lion King, as well as others. Engaging fellow with many a great story. He worked a lot with Andy (Andrew Lloyd Webber) and is yet another guy you could hangout with and have a really solid time. Then the lovely Idina Menzel (Wicked, Rent) came on stage to do a private concert. It was a mix of Broadway and songs from her new album. She’s beautiful and that voice. Love HER! My only complaint is the girl needs to eat. Really. She’s way to skinny. With pipes like that you should have at least one roll of bbq around the middle. …I’m just sayin.’
Pretty great way to start the tour. It’s also been fun as my friends are trickling in and it begins to feel more like old times. I only see these folks twice a year but they are very dear to me. :-)
Tell me what you did today.
Oh, an to answer one of the questions from yesterday about the mystery writer who solves crimes. I think that’s Castle on ABC and it’s coming up this spring. I should have more details at the end of next week.
p.s. I’m exhausted and I don’t feel like proofing so there may be more typos than usual on the blog. :-) (I know, you’re saying More, really?) Be nice. :-)