Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Sometimes the lights do go out in New York

I often write how there are millions of lights in New York City, and then go on to mention how they never seem to go out—and that if one does, another one just ends up shining. This past week was not the case. Last Monday, I found out news that made it seem as though every light had gone off—I thought I had stepped into Gotham City, as my mom broke the news to me via phone that a close family friend and neighbor had passed away .

It was not the first death I had learned of since I came to New York City, but it was the one most close to me—and probably the second closest person to me that I have ever had pass away.

As I walked back through the doors to the Apollo theatre, where I was volunteering to help check in guests for an event put on by my work, I struggled to fight back tears. My supervisor immediately knew that something wasn’t right, and I excused myself from the event. It was only moments after walking out the door that I broke into tears. I didn’t have an umbrella, and the rain seemed to now be coming down harder than it had earlier in the day. A man next to me asked, “Are you sure you want to walk in this without an umbrella?” The rain seemed to hide my tears and I responded by saying, “I’ll be okay.” It was a phrase that I got used to saying through the rest of the night and for the next couple of days.

I had off from my internship the following two days, so I took advantage of that time to get myself out of the apartment and out doing things in the city. The lights were still dim, but I could feel New York City brightening again as I took my mind off the news from Monday night.

During my first day off, I made my way to the shooting of Law and Order SVU where I was lucky enough to grab a shot with Mariska Hargitay and Chris Meloni. Later that night, I attended a Q and A with Ben Stiller and Greta Gerwin to flush my mind from everything. It was a nice break.

As I returned to my apartment, I was immediately reminded of why I had been so sad the night before—why I had gotten no sleep the night before—and then the thoughts started drowning me, until I finally dozed.

The week seemed to linger slowly before I was able to head home Friday for the viewing and funeral services. For the first time, I had looked forward to getting out of the city. The calmness of Bethlehem is always so welcoming, and seeing my family and neighbors was a relief—everyone coming together. The worst part about finding out the news, while in New York City, was the fact that I didn’t have a lot of close friends to go to with the news. Sure, my internship has allowed me to make friends and through them even more friends, but my best friends are all in other places—Bethlehem, Philly, Pittsburgh, East Stroudsburg, LA, Rhode Island…it wasn’t like they were a dorm room away.

The services were a nice reminder of how much my friend and neighbor meant to so many people—his wife, his children, his mom, his dad, his sister, and all our neighbors and friends. His six best friends even went up and paid tribute to him by telling their favorite stories and memories with him—ones that insured laughter and tears from all those attending.

My mom turned to me and asked me if I was going to go up and tell my stories…my memories. I told her I wasn’t going to, but the memories were circulating through my mind as I thought of the annual Christmas Eve party in which our friend would show us his yearly hunting pictures and tell us stories of his father’s and his trip. I thought of how, in the years leading up to my 21st birthday, he’d constantly say “YOU REALLY AREN’T 21 YET?” before trying to sneak me a drink behind my mom and dad’s back, and last I thought of my pre-teen and teen years in which he had always supported my sports endeavors, and made sure to ask me how my teams were doing and how my stats were. He always cared about others with a giant smile on his face.

As I traveled back to New York on Sunday afternoon, I thought about my weekend at home, and how nice it was as an escape from the city—even if it wasn’t for the best of reasons, but I was ready to return to the city, and go on with my life. I knew I would be okay—and that my friends and family all would be okay after having the closure that we had…sometimes that’s all it takes.

So when the bus pulled into Port Authority, and I stepped into midtown, I wasn’t surprised to see that the lights were almost completely shining again…that what had felt like Gotham City to me just one week prior, now felt more like the home of Broadway and opportunity again. But I knew that even though the lights were bright again—when the sun dropped and night rose—1 star would be shining brighter than any of the lights in New York—and will continue to…

Rest in Peace Ryan

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Red Carpet Stunning

My red carpet experience in Rome, Italy, two falls ago, was life changing. After seeing the stars, meeting famous faces, and having the opportunity to witness a premiere, I knew that film was now the career that I wanted to pursue.

My red carpet experience this week was a reminder of all of the moments I spent on the Rome red carpet. While my host actually stood on the red carpet, asking questions, I stood on the sideline, interacted with fans, and met the stars of the new movie The Bounty Hunter. Who are these stars? They are the glorious Gerard Butler and then fantastic Jennifer Aniston. In a perfect world, these encounters would be a bit longer than 20 seconds, but of course I will take what I can get...which was a picture with Miss Aniston.

My host didn't do too shabby either on the carpet as she got solid quotes from Butler, Aniston, and even Lindsey Vonn who attended the premiere.

To watch our stations That's So New York Piece click on the link below.


For Kela, and for me, it seemed like there was nothing better than a beautiful day on the red carpet.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

And the Oscar goes to....

And the Oscar goes to ME in my performance in episode 5 of the show Job Hunt.


At minute 19.

Okay--so maybe it wasn't Oscar award winning--and if an award was given for best Skyper on a TV show, I guess that would be an EMMY...BUT someone recognized me getting off the train the other day, so that was pretty nifty in itself!

But this week really was all about the Oscars--at least Sunday was. And why wouldn't it have been? It's considered the Super Bowl of Hollywood. So maybe the commercials aren't as entertaining, but the hosts are counted on for that. Unfortunately, even they weren't that entertaining this time around.

In order to prepare, I checked out the Meet the Oscars exhibit at the Time Warner Center--a special that our station covered for a That's So New York segment. I figured, if my station covered it, and it's going on--and it's free. I might as well check it out myself. And I did. While the exhibit was small, it did offer a lot of information, I may have never gotten had I not gone. For example, Judy Garland was one of only 10 to have ever received a Juvenile Oscar. What was a Juvenile Oscar Award? It was an award given to a special youngster who outdid others, like Judy Garland, Shirley Temple, and Mickey Rooney. The Oscar was smaller than a regular Oscar, but after only giving out 10 of them, the Academy decided to end the special award, as child actors were beginning to be recognized as just as--if not more--talented than those who may have been more seasoned or trained. Too bad for young girls like Dakota Fanning and Abigail Breslin

For more info on the Oscars, be sure to check out the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science at http:www.oscar.com

And to view our segment on Meet the Oscars check out:


And for EVEN more from our station on the Meet the Oscars display last week, check out:


And a few more pictures:

Friday, March 5, 2010

All of my favorite things...the Apple Store gave me.

The Apple Store has blessed with me some of my favorite things in the last five years: my first iPod, my second iPod, my Macbook, and my iTouch. But this past week, the Apple Store treated me to two nights of experiences that I couldn’t use my fingers to control: Questions and Answers with some of my favorite television stars. Finally, my run-ins with celebrities were more than just fan encounters, but events instead.

The SoHo store, and other Apple stores around the country have been inviting guest celebrities to speak at their stores for the last couple of years, but these were my first two Apple events, and they were well worth it.

Wednesday night, I found myself listening to Lisa Kudrow, Brooke Shields, and executive producer Dan Bucatinsky discuss their new show “Who do you think you are?” It was really quite the experience to sit in front of these well-known actors and producers in the film and television industry and get a real taste of who they are. Had I not gone to this event, I may never have known that Brooke Shields was one of the most sincere speakers that I have ever listened to, or that Lisa Kudrow is as funny in real life as she was on Friends, years ago.

I also wouldn’t have been as enticed to watch their new series which premieres on NBC tonight at 8:00PM. The show follows seven celebrities, as they dig deep through their roots to find out their true origins. Some of what they learn is extremely shocking, and some of what they learn makes complete sense.

For instance, on Wednesday, Brooke shared that she learned she was French by going through this show. For her entire life, she would go around saying she was 100% Italian, but here she was, totally French. So why wasn’t Brooke surprised? She told the audience that she had always been drawn to the French culture—that she had taken French all through high school and that she have a love for the background. It was really interesting to hear her story, as well as some of the stories that Lisa, Dan, and she shared about other people who will appear on the show including Emmitt Smith and Sarah Jessica Parker.
I had the opportunity to ask a question as well, so I thought very carefully before I spoke into the mic. When I finally figured out exactly what I wanted to say, I raised my hand, cleared my throat and asked, “Have you found that since the show has finished shooting, that you are now trying to dig even deeper for more information, like you have become almost obsessed with it.”

Lisa and Brooke both responded by saying that they totally went and dug a bit deeper following the end of their episode’s shoots. Brooke's answer was a bit longer, and more detailed than Lisa’s as she answered the question by looking directly at me—it almost made it seem as though I was having a one-on-one conversation with her. Of course Dan answered the question as well by joking that he has been trying to figure out a way that he and Brooke could somehow be related. The audience got a good laugh out of that, and I found great satisfaction in getting to ask a question and hear a completely sincere answer.

So what could live up to a night like Wednesday night? One answer. Thursday night, in which I spent over an hour listening to Jimmy Fallon and Questlove talk about the Late Night show that they put on each night. They discussed for the audience how the Roots became the houseband, how Jimmy Fallon’s writing team, production team, and directing team came together, and how each got to be where they are tonight. Questlove discussed his love for music by describing how he would turn household furniture into a makeshift drumset as a youngin’. I wonder how many couches and wooden chairs his family went through before they actually bought him a drumset!

Jimmy discussed how his family had wanted him to go into computer science and told him never to major in comedy. But that it was his mom who would soon cave and sign him up for an impression contest which sparked the entire career that he has had. Who knew that looking in the mirror and practicing Bill Cosby would get you a Late Night show one day?

Of course, I had to ask the guys a question, when it was time for the audience Q and A. Both men had performed at my school, on two separate occasions. Questlove made a trip with the Roots to URI last spring, while Jimmy did a stand-up show at our Parent’s Weekend this past Halloween. Both were outstanding shows. So I decided to ask how they prepare different for a live concert or stand-up show vs the Late Night Show. Questlove gave a full winded answer about preparing in different venues and testing out new stuff with unfamiliar crowds. Jimmy tagged on with a joke that cracked a laugh from the audience.

Following the event, Jimmy and Questlove took photos with a few of the audience members, and I was lucky enough to get a picture. I also gave Jimmy a shoutout from my parents saying that they enjoyed his show, and told Questlove that their show has been considered one of the best at URI. It was the perfect event to follow Wednesday night’s event.

Oh, and in case you're wondering, Jimmy Fallon is Team CoCo all the way.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Drive by shooting

"You just can't replace New York City when it comes to movies."

As we inch closer to the Oscar celebration, our station continues to produce previews of events taking place all around the city related to the movie world. The preview pieces, all 2:30 in length are being shot in order to engage NYC TV viewers to get as excited as we are for the March 7th Oscar night, which takes place at the Kodak Center in Los Angeles, California.

It was this past week, that most of our previews were shot. These pieces include one called "Meet the Oscars," which showcases an event, here in NYC, where Oscar fans can go to the Time Warner Center and hold an Oscar. Fans can also see other Oscars that will be given out in LA next week. Another event our station covered was a bus tour--but not just any NYC bus tour. This tour takes movie fans around the city and points out locations all around the city where many movies have been shot. I was lucky enough to be invited to tag along. It was a fantastic opportunity to go on a drive by shooting...

The bus tour, which began at a diner in midtown, took us through Times Square, past Columbus Circle, along 59th street, down 5th Ave, through Washington Square, and in and out of roads on the Lower East side, before our crew hopped off to get the footage into the edit room. Overall, the tour is three hours long, but we saw only the first 40 minutes of it, which was movie overload info enough! We visited sites where Men in Black was shot and where Peter Parker lives in Spiderman. We also made stops by Benny's Pizza where many scenes in Sex and the City (the TV show) take place, the Plaza hotel, Tiffany's, the Hearst Building, and Astor Place.

The amount of movies shot in New York City is incredible. As I have mentioned in previous posts, everyday I can stop by a film or tv set to look on! The tour, itself, was beyond a fantastic experience for myself because it introduced me to a number of spots in NYC that I hadn't yet seen--for instance the arch in Washington Square Park. It's almost like your stuck in a movie all the time with much filming goes on in NYC--the filming, the premieres, and the excitement over all the visiting stars.

Of course, seeing the town wasn't my responsibility, more like a perk, as I helped our on air host and producer take notes, get interviews, and stay organized.

With the Oscars just under two weeks away when we went out on the tour, it is safe to say that the drive by shooting was enough to re-amplify my excitement for the Oscars.

To check out the 2:30 minute piece on the bus tour, check out this link: