CelebriTuesdays: Dreamgirls Edition – Sheryl Lee Ralph & Anika Noni Rose!

It wasn’t a Dream when I saw these Girls! In December, I saw the star of the Broadway version of Dreamgirls – Sheryl Lee Ralph – and today I saw the Dreamgirls star from the movie version – Anika Noni Rose. As lucky as that is, even better was the fact that both pictures came out great!

Anika3

 

Normally, I’d be making a weird face in these pictures because I’m a fool that thinks these wonderful performers are just waiting for me to waltz on up and serenade them. The story would have been a whole lot more interesting had I strutted over purring “It’s more than you. It is more than me. No matter what we are, we are a family…” but my wife has finally got it through my thick skull after all these years that no one (and she really stressed the words as she said it) NO ONE wants to hear me sing. Lesson learned, because when I tried to explain that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, she informed me that my singing is actually mutilation, not imitation. The last time I tried to sing for my wife was New Year’s Eve 2001 when I drunkenly convinced the band that I was actually a lounge singer and would love to serenade the love of my life for the crowd. They somehow believed that nonsense and thought it was really romantic until they saw the sea of about 200 blank stares looking up at me as I mangled the first verse of “If You Say My Eyes are Beautiful.” That’s when they abruptly ripped the microphone out of my hand and said “why don’t you guys dance instead of singing” which elicited thunderous applause from the crowd for some reason. True artists are often misunderstood, but in retrospect – maybe a Whitney Houston love Duet wasn’t the right choice for my vocal range. Either way, my wife has instructed me to never, ever, ever sing in public again so the Dreamgirls were spared my Effie imitations…

 

whitney meme.jpg

 

When I saw Sheryl Lee Ralph, she was taking pictures of the huge Christmas Tree in the lobby and I felt bad bothering her. She was really trying to get the perfect shot and must have taken ten pictures. Similar to me, the Christmas Tree was overgrown and much too wide to fit in most standard camera frames – so I don’t blame her for trying to get the right angle. . . Since she was so fantastic as Claudette on Ray Donovan, I was dying to ask what Jon Voight is really like and then I wanted to ask her about the anniversary revival of Thoroughly Modern Millie they’re doing, but she was really fixated on getting that shot of the tree. Practice makes perfect because her shots came out great – these are taken from her Instagram:

 

 

She was very cool, kind, and patient with me and also with the Christmas Tree, so I stopped myself from asking to try that fur coat on (I know I don’t need to remind you how good I look in fur)!

 

coat in lobby 003

 

When I saw the other Dreamgirl, Anika Noni Rose, she was hobbling around in a walking cast yet still took time to stop and take pictures with everyone. She was such a sweetheart and as a person that’s broken the same ankle two years in a row on the same exact day (both alcohol related), I can tell you how hard it is to get around. For her to stop, chat, and take pictures while she was obviously uncomfortable was seriously awesome and much appreciated!

 

broken leg.jpg

 

Anika is a Broadway veteran who snared the Tony Award for Caroline or Change, but was also in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, A Raisin in the Sun, and the movie version of Dreamgirls with an up-and-comer named Beyonce and Jennifer Hudson. She also made history as Tiana, Disney’s first Black princess, in The Princess and the Frog to the delight of kids everywhere.

 

dreamgirls movie 2

 

 

I’m on a Dreamgirls roll here and don’t worry, I’ve started walking around with one shoelace untied for when I see Jennifer Hudson and need to get it off quick; J-HUD throwing a shoe!  Hey J-HUD – Forget The Voice and let’s get a date on the calendar to meet up: I’ll bring and share my imodium and you bring and share your Oscar and extra shoes!

 

2006_02_supporting_hudson

CelebriTuesdays: 2017 review – I saw more stars this year than McGregor did after Mayweather finished him off…

2017 review

 

It’s that time to look back and reflect on what I’ve done and accomplished over the past year and plan how to better move forward in the year ahead. I’m normally not the type to reflect back and learn any lessons from my behavior, but if this year is any indication – I have a lot of work to do in 2018.

 

2017 - 2018

 

Forget about personal development or being a better person, I’m talking about the important things like quicker camera reflexes and stealth dodging in between publicists or personal assistants. In 2018, my camera skills are gonna be on point!

 

selfie practice

My new go to pose! My 2018 selfies are gonna be off the chain!

 

Not to brag too much, but I did get lucky a lot this year. I got to meet a bunch of cool celebrities and whether you attribute that to the luck of the Irish, the power of the Imodium or just the sheer tenacity of a stalker; it was a banner year in a lot of ways. If for nothing else, any year in which I got to see my Larry David in person (even if I did miss snapping a pic because I broke the cardinal rule of no texting while stalking) is a success.

 

larry selfie

Love this! I’d do the same thing…

 

 

Despite my best efforts, there were a few mishaps along the way (besides me looking like I was mid-seizure while singing Say You to Lionel Richie-which he didn’t seem to appreciate as much as I thought he should have) For instance, I got cocky with Seal. There he was just a few feet from me taking pictures with a bunch of fans, when he abruptly stopped the pictures and said he had to go. I don’t know if he could tell that I was seconds away from bursting out “You’re never gonna survive, uuuuunless, we get a little craaaazyyyy!!!” or if he just took one look at me and knew no good could come of encouraging a lunatic like this, but I was denied and he passed me by. He wasn’t being dickish and probably was in a rush or maybe he was hungry (even Seals need to eat too) or maybe he had to take a shit or any of the myriad reasons one doesn’t want to be bothered in public by strangers, but I wasn’t prepared for his abrupt halt to the proceedings. My phone was on selfie mode with the camera facing me so by the time I turned it to front facing, this was all I could get because I was looking at him and didn’t want to walk into the window:

 

 

Seal

Look at that jaw and jacket – who else could it be?

 

If you look at that jaw and the jacket and pants – who else could it be but Seal? He got into his car and poof – he was gone. Seals on the beach are kinda slow moving, but when Seal’s in the Sirius lobby he’s pretty damn fast.

 

 

 

I was at The Today Show one morning feeling great about the good shot I got with Pablo Pascal when I turned and Luke Wilson was right next to me about to enter the building. I could only say “Luke” and try to get my phone out for a picture, but he just smiled and walked away. Normally, the celebrities pull up and unload on the curb, but he just walked up unencumbered and casual. He was promoting the film Brad’s Status, but guess who wasn’t promoting Tony’s status that day? Luke Wilson.

 

luke wilson

 

There were a few times when my impatience or the poor timing of Metro North’s morning trains (or as I refer to it – Satan’s sleigh) get the better of me and I missed J.B. Smoove, Naomi Judd, Drew Barrymore, and Carol Burnett. I don’t get myself down about the ones I let get away, I focus on the ones I’ll see tomorrow. Like Annie sang “The stars will come out, tomorrow. Bet your bottom dollar I’ll be stalking, all day long…”

 

missed it

 

When I saw Scott Ian from Anthrax, he wasn’t taking picture because he was with his son and wife, Pearl Aday (Meat Loaf’s daughter – Little Baby Loaf. No really, she is the actual daughter of the Loaf). They didn’t want to take pictures with their kid which I fully respect and believe it or not, even I have limits and never tread on that. Children are sacred and I never bother anyone with kids because it’s really not cool. When they were bringing Kelly Clarkson’s daughter into The Today Show, some people were snapping away, but seriously – who does that? A) it’s a baby leave her alone and B) that could be my baby – you can’t identify any baby from a quick snap while they’re walking past so fast…

 

Scott Ian and Pearl Aday

Scott Ian of Anthrax and Ms Loaf herself, Pearl Aday

 

Some people draw a bigger crowd than others and I’m not normally one to compare size, but there is a certain appeal when you’re rocking a huge crowd. But as my wife constantly reassures me, it’s not the size of your crowd – it’s what you do with it that matters. There was no one around when I saw Liev Schreiber and Cat Stevens and they were both awesome. Small crowds, but big personalities and I wasn’t disappointed. The opposite was true of Charlize Theron. Hot as can be and she was packing a big crowd, but no one was getting near her and she wasn’t stopping for anyone.

 

charlize selfie

 

I’m not sure if this is actually a selfie with her and I, but we are both technically in the picture together so I’m gonna say it counts.

 

charlize

 

My biggest faux pas, was my most recent. I saw one of the regular security guards from the building rush up and ask for a photo with this guy and his entourage. He happily obliged and they even got all festive-like and took it by the Lobby Christmas Tree. Seeing this occur, me and some of the other regulars went over and waited our turn to meet him, exchange pleasantries, and snap away. It wasn’t until all of us (SEVEN PEOPLE MIND YOU) had taken pictures with him and compared notes outside that we realized there wasn’t one of us that knew who he was. Seriously, we had all just bum rushed someone to take a picture with us by the Christmas Tree with no idea who it was. This isn’t a strange occurrence, as sometimes one person will recognize someone and then we will tell the others afterwards if they don’t know them (like what happened with the people from Love & Hip Hop). It has never happened where none knew who it was. When I met him, I didn’t know who it was but obviously l didn’t want to walk over and say “Hi, can I take a picture with you and then can you tell me who you are?” so I said “I’m Tony, it’s great to meet you.” I thought I was being smooth and that he’d naturally say his name as well, but he only said “Tony, it’s great to meet you – have a great Holiday!”

 

Closer

 

The security guard didn’t even know and he was the first one to get a picture so I really blame him for this – he told us that he just assumed since he was wearing shades indoors and walking with a bunch of guys that looked like his entourage, that he was probably someone famous. They got into a nice SUV like the celebrities regularly do so he actually might be someone, but my fear is that we bum rushed Jimmy from Accounting on the 23rd floor while he was on the way to his Uber. Let me know if this guy looks familiar to anyone and drop me a line if he does.

 

Very Close

 

So here I am at the end of the year looking over my pictures and working on my posts for next year as I have a bunch of celebrities waiting to have their brushes with Immodium-Abusing infamy told on these hallowed pages. Much more to come my friends – much more to come! Happy New Year and my wish for you is that your hearts be as full this Holiday Season as my stock of Imodium AD is!!!

 

happy new year

 

 

 

Forget the Mountain, she Brokeback Christmas?

z-happy-birthday

This time of year always makes me think about the close family and friends that may not be with me in person any longer, but are never far from my heart. That being said, I thought I’d honor the memory of my Aunt Margie in the only way I know how!

She was very special to me and I loved her dearly…If she were still with us, she’d be celebrating a birthday and the holiday this December yet she’d say the story that I really should be sharing is when my Aunt Beanie Vote ruined her Christmas.

Z-rows

The Holiday Season was upon us and it took Aunt Margie weeks and weeks and weeks of looking through many many many stores in order to find the perfect artificial tree and yet mere minutes for Aunt Beanie Vote to crush the woman’s Christmas Cheer. The tree was all assembled and we took a step back to admire it – but it was slightly slanted. We cocked our head from side to side to make sure, but it was definitely crooked. I thought it might be the stand or the fact that it was on a carpeted floor, but Aunt Beanie being The Christmas Tree Whisperer saw the problem immediately: The mini tree that fits into the pole and rests on top of the tree to form the peak was ever so slightly slanted off to the side. She grabbed a hold of that tree and started to Bend it like Beckham. A little to the left didn’t do it, a little to the right didn’t seem to straighten it a bit and then one bend too many snapped that mother right in half. I’m not saying she was a little to rough with the branches as I’m not a Christmas Tree Whisperer like she is, but maybe she shouldn’t have gone all Rambo on the tree topper

Aunt Beanie Vote takes down another one "I wish I knew how to quit you!"

Aunt Beanie Vote takes down another one
“I wish I knew how to quit you!”

As these situations usually do tend to bring out the best in me, I fell onto the couch laughing like the immature child that I still am all these years later. She stood there holding those branches aloft not daring to turn around and make eye contact with Aunt Margie, who was definitely not laughing…Despite her Meryl Streep in The River Wild physique, Aunt Beanie Vote really doesn’t have super-human strength or anything. She just bent the top part of the tree a little bit too far and it just so happened to snap. It was so random that she probably couldn’t do it again if she tried, which makes me all the more glad for witnessing it.  

My helpful grandmother (who was always one to generously stir the pot) took in the attack on their tree like a champ and in her beneficial way yelled at me “Come on, don’t laugh or she’ll hear you!” I guess she didn’t realize that since Aunt Margie was actually standing right next to me she could already hear me laughing. She was about two feet from me and had already seen me collapse into a hysterical mess onto their couch before she stormed into the kitchen for her black coffee and cigarettes without a sound…

To be fair, Aunt Beanie Vote was the one who drove her to all those many many many stores and spent weeks and weeks and weeks taking her to look at countless trees and never got frustrated or mad. She was much more patient than I would have been. I’m not even sure what the difference was in any of those trees since they were all green and pretty much looked the same, but Aunt Margie would know “The One” when she saw it. She knew she would find the perfect tree; there was a voice calling to her like the one Kevin Costner heard in Field of Dreams except she wasn’t building the tree and Beanie Vote was no James Earl Jones. Her voice was apparently trying to warn “If she bends it it will break” but you know how unreliable the voices can be…I say this not to make fun of her, but to stress the point that Aunt Beanie Vote was the absolute last person in the world who thought it was funny that the tree broke because now she’d have to pack up the pieces and go back looking for a new tree with my aunt all over again so she wasn’t laughing either.

Aunt Margie did get over it eventually and this happened a hundred years ago when I was seventeen, but I can still hear Aunt Beanie Vote gasping and see her standing there after that tree snapped all these years later and it still makes me laugh hysterically…

That’s the shortened version, because you know how I don’t like to embarrass anyone or blow up their spot…Love ya Beanie!!!

 

This one’s for you Aunt Margie!

CLICK HERE FOR TRIBUTE!