popular thinking

hopelessly devoted to deconstructing popular culture and conventional wisdom, one blog at a time

I'm inside The Daily Catch. That's Leonardo DiCaprio (center, trust me) being filmed on the brick patio by the three men on the right for a scene in The Departed. No, my camera phone has no zoom. Yes, I know I need a new camera phone. Posted by Picasa

WHAT HAPPENED TO TUESDAY? So much running around for work and play that this blogger hasn't had much time to blog. Let's get you caught up...

I finally can say that I saw filming of The Departed up close and personal, as a seemingly random story assignment brought me in close proximity to Martin Scorsese, Leonardo DiCaprio and their crew, who spent about an hour nailing down a scene outside the Moakley Courthouse. The scene lasts less than a minute, with Leo getting animated with his cell phone (and sporting a cast on his hand/wrist -- don't worry, it's acting). My cell phone camera didn't provide the best pics. Oh well.

Another story assignment, this one not-so-random, sent me down to North Attleboro (Or is it North Attleborough? Why does the Bay State like to confuse us with these multiple spellings?) for a special sneak preview screening of The Greatest Game Ever Played, which hits the national cinema scene at the end of September. Met director Bill Paxton, actors Shia LaBeouf and Josh Flitter, writer/producer Mark Frost, and two daughters of the late Francis Ouimet. Saw the movie (with my father, who captained his high-school golf team and attended the 1963 U.S. Open in Brookline with my grandfather). Liked the movie. Look forward to writing about it all quite soon. Got back around midnight, and on the way back, we passed Gillette Stadium, where there were lots of cars parked outside with plenty of people waiting to humiliate themselves on TV for another round of American Idol.

MONDAY NIGHT QUARTERSURFING: So much to post over the weekend, that now, here it is Monday night, and time to recap some of the other interesting pieces of journalism worth reading and/or talking about.

-- My friend John D'Anna proves, once again, that the only part of The Arizona Republic worth reading is the Scottsdale edition. One of his reporters made Romenesko today with this story about a guy who moved there after covering Laci Peterson.

-- The Boston Globe changes editors for its Ideas section. Just FYI.

-- Want to know why music critics aren't like other journalists? Read this postscript from David Segal, former music writer at The Washington Post, who asked for a transfer to NYC.

-- The Los Angeles Times covers the same ground I covered last week with this look at "viral" advertising, only with a lot more words (and insight into the marketing of one viral ad). Damn you, LAT! Damn you and your Tribune-owned, million-household circulation newshole!

REVIEWING THE VMAS: MTV's annual Video Music Awards have begun, and already I have the funny feeling I've seen this somewhere before. Ah, yes, that's right. If I've said it once, then I'll say it again. MTV's live productions always remind me of those two episodes of WKRP In Cincinnati, when Dr. Johnny Fever tried hosting a TV disco dance show under the name Rip Tide, and revealed everything to be so fake, fake, fake. That's what I keep thinking watching this pile of junk. During the pre-show portion, the VJs whored out for the Gap and every carmaker in town, and showed that they don't know what's going on in music -- one VJ asked Kelly Clarkson what her latest single is about (isn't a highly-paid MTV personality supposed to keep up with music?) and then another VJ showed she was clueless about Gwen Stefani's comings and goings. Even Jay-Z cannot bring himself to call Sean Combs anything other than "Puffy." And why did Lindsay Lohan and Jessica Simpson have to scrounge for scraps as clothing for the show? And why is it supposed to be a big deal that MC Hammer is performing? Reminds me of the very special surprise a few years ago when Axl Rose and his new form of GnR stunk up the joint. Now R. Kelly is doing his Meat Loaf impersonation with another rambling spoken-word chapter of his Trapped in the Closet. If I didn't need to watch this, I wouldn't. Too bad they'll be replaying all of this junk several more times this week.

MEETING STEVE MORSE: I almost forgot. Last night, after Hell's Belles, lead singer Jamie Nova and I were hanging outside the Middle East, enjoying the lovely after-midnight air on Mass. Ave. when a tall guy interrupted us. "Hi, I'm Steve Morse from the Boston Globe," the tall guy said. He put out his hand to Nova, who replied, then turned to me. I put out my hand, "Hi, I'm Sean McCarthy, from the Boston Herald." Morse paused, then turned to Nova and began praising her and the band, barely even acknowledging me the rest of the way, except to talk about some long-ago club (as if I'd know about it -- doesn't he know he's my dad's age?). Anyhow. It was amusing on a couple of levels. First, that he said goodbye to Nova but not to me, because I guess I outed myself as a member of the enemy, not that I feel that way. I read his stuff. Sure, we compete for readers. But we're all in the same business. It'd be like Nova giving the brush-off to one of the other musicians on the Middle East's bill that night. Second, Morse thought Nova would get a kick out of knowing that the Rolling Stones had just been in town earlier in the week. Did I mention Morse is my dad's age? Third, it's amusing that of all the times for me to meet him, it was in a situation in which I clearly had the upper hand. Well, there is a fourth, too -- when Mandy Reed (the Belles bass player and my friend from back in the previous century) returned outside, Nova told her about how Morse was kind of rude to me. Ha! Anyhow. Be on the lookout for a review of Hell's Belles from Steve Morse later this week in the Globe.

Jamie Nova (center) and Adrian Conner (right) of Hell's Belles rock the Middle East Upstairs in Cambridge, Mass., on Aug. 27, 2005. Image by camera phone. Posted by Picasa

SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE, HELL'S BELLES: Right after the comedy show, I booked over to The Middle East near Cambridge's Central Square to make it mere minutes before Hell's Belles took the stage upstairs. Glad I made it. Before I go on, in full disclosure: I know the bass player, Mandy Reed, from the late 1990s, when I was the entertainment reporter at The Sun newspaper in lovely downtown Bremerton, Wash., and she was in a band called Hafacat -- one of many super-talented bands from the Kitsap Peninsula that should've been huge. Her husband, Tony (T. Dallas) Reed, has played in a ton of bands, including Treepeople with Doug Martsch, and records some great up-and-coming stuff out of his studio in Port Orchard. Her brother, Brian Jennings, has had some bands that were on the verge of stardom and plays in one band, Closure, that did get some national exposure via TVT Records. But enough about them.

Every newspaper story you read about Hell's Belles reads pretty much eggsactly the same.

Premise: Hell's Belles is not a joke.

Um, no kidding. Here is a better way to describe Hell's Belles, for those of you who haven't seen or heard them. Picture you're in your dorm room or favorite party venue, put on AC/DC and turn the volume up to 11, now make all of the members hot women who completely kick ass, and take whatever image you have and forget that, because Hell's Belles is 10 times better than that. Now open your eyes, throw your fist in the air and rock out for the next hour or two.

It's still funny, though, to watch as hundreds of jaws drop throughout a crowd (and the band members from other acts on the bill) as Hell's Belles rips through its first song of the set. The band is tight and worships the boys from Down Under as much as the crowd does. Adrian Conner works her dreadlocks and manic energy to channel Angus, whipping the fans into an even deeper frenzy. And Jamie Nova, the band's new lead singer, brings ten tons of fury. In fact, the five women of Hell's Belles seem 10-feet-tall onstage, which makes for more amusement after the show when fans learn that the gals are all between 5-foot-4 and 5-foot-1. Four of the five have their own side bands that perform original tunes, but for now, Hell's Belles is where the money and the action is. This was their first trip to Boston (and first east of Minneapolis), but expect to see them back, and in a bigger venue, sometime soon.

Check them out at www.hellsbelles.info

SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE, COXEN AND JOHNSON: Hold those titters. This is a review of the two-man sketch show by Chris Coxen and Nate Johnson from Saturday night at Jimmy Tingle's Off Broadway in Somerville.

They packed the intimate basement theater space (about 200 folk, including a few dozen of the duo's closest friends and family). And they put on a funny show. Silly, goofy fun. I was impressed. They used lots of videos to help break up the show, many to great comic effect. Stand-up Dan Sally survived the always-dreaded-but-played-for-laughs "volunteer heckler." The Walsh Brothers (or is it Bros.) made the most of their short stage time. It all makes me more excited to write more about the Boston comedy scene -- which couldn't come at a better time, as the Boston Comedy Festival is less than two weeks away. To recap, then, check any of these guys out. They're all worth a look, listen and laugh.


Videos don't mean diddy to MTV anymore, no matter what the "music television'' network tries to prove tonight during its 22nd annual Video Music Awards ceremony from Miami.
Bands still make music videos.
Fans simply go elsewhere to find them - streaming videos online, downloading them to cellphones or calling them up "on demand'' on cable TV.
Google "music videos'' and the top listing is Yahoo!, not MTV.
"Since MTV has stopped playing music videos . . . for kids, this (venue) is their primary function for watching,'' said Yahoo's Y! Music spokeswoman Charlene English. "They can keep choosing video after video, or they can watch their own music show.''
Yahoo's Y! Music began as a separate company called musicvideos.com, which became Launch in 1999, then was acquired by Yahoo! in 2001. The popular portal has attracted more music video fans since then, with streaming views more than doubling from 1.3 billion screenings in 2003 to 2.9 billion last year.
So far this year, Mariah Carey's video for We Belong Together has aired more than 7.5 million times online at Yahoo!
Even more people visit America Online's music site.
Its music video traffic increased 145 percent from May 2003 to May 2005, and since doubled again from June to July, with more than 6 million videos screened via AOL daily. AOL has benefited mightily from positive feedback and word-of-mouth for its streaming feeds of the Live 8 concerts in July, which overshadowed MTV's coverage of the global event.
"Live 8 was really a big wake-up call for people who weren't paying attention to the Internet in terms of marketing,'' said Jack Isquith, who runs daily operations for AOL Music and AOL Radio.
The spread of high-speed broadband and DSL hookups, combined with faster computers and bigger monitors, has made online viewing comparable to TV.
Except online, fans have more control.
"The key driver is that people can watch what they want when they want,'' Isquith said. "It's that element of control. There's a whole generation of kids who have grown up to expect that.''
Mariah Carey in a bathtub for her new video, Shake It Off, is a hit online and on TV.
Certainly, other top artists gravitate toward the top of the charts, whether it's MTV's "TRL'' or AOL's "Top 11'' multimedia show.
The lists do differ, though. MTV's chart-toppers lean toward teen faves and MTV-hyped musicians, while AOL's list sometimes favors in-studio Sessions@AOL performances and last week featured more rock artists.
Y! Music's technology uses viewer selections and ratings to steer fans toward other music.
"Say you like Mariah Carey,'' English said. "You call her video up and it plays for you, and then a show will come up with videos that are similar and you can rate them. Each time you come back to the site, it culls your musical taste.''
While more viewers are choosing AOL, Yahoo!, MSN and Comcast, cellphone companies also are jumping on the bandwagon.
Verizon Wireless launched its V-Cast service this year with Super Bowl ads featuring Christina Aguilera and Kid Rock. For a $15 monthly fee, customers get access to clips of news, sports, weather and entertainment - including an Encore channel that provides live concert footage. Last week's offerings included three songs from Journey's Aug. 20 concert at the Bank of America Pavilion.
Music videos, such as Pretty Ricky's Grind With Me, My Chemical Romance's Helena and Faith Hill's Cry, can be downloaded onto the phone for $3.99 each.
V-Cast will have an exclusive this week of John Legend's new video for Number One.
The audio and video is quite good, but limited to the small cellphone screen.
Not that all music video fans have abandoned TV.
Music Choice, a partner with Comcast Cable and Sprint cellphones, counted more than 100 million views of its Music Choice On Demand selections since its launch last November, with Ciara's 1, 2 Step viewed more than 2 million times.
"We knew that consumers were getting a lack of music videos from the providers on basic cable,'' said Damon Williams, Music Choice's vice president of music programming. "The music fan has been lost in the muck.''
The music videos have become the most popular portion of Comcast's On Demand service.
AOL also has an "on demand'' channel service with Time Warner's cable systems.
Isquith predicted even more growth for music videos online and on demand, as parents and other adults older than 30 catch onto the service that already has captivated teens and 20-somethings.
"We're doing a listening party streaming the full albums Monday from the Rolling Stones, a new Bob Dylan double-CD coming out . . . and Herbie Hancock,'' he said. "These are all the things that maybe four or five years ago, people weren't thinking of marketing this stuff online.''
Even Apple's iTunes has gotten involved.
Though no plans are afoot officially to offer music videos on next-generation iPods, iTunes did have 596 music videos available for free viewings last week.

-- See pretty pictures, charts and graphs that go with my story by buying a copy of today's Boston Herald.
-- AOL Music
-- Y! Music
-- MTV
-- Music Choice
-- Comcast Music
-- V-Cast
-- iTunes

FROM GILLIAM TO GRIMM AND BACK AGAIN: In promoting his new film, The Brothers Grimm, director Terry Gilliam said he owed quite a bit to Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm.
"I grew up with Grimms' fairy tales,'' Gilliam wrote on www.grimmfilm.com. "I think they've informed everything I've done. I think all of my films are fairy tales in different ways.''
In fewer than six degrees of separation - before you can drop the "rim'' and replace it with "illia,'' here is how you can get from Grimm to Gilliam and back again. Suspension of belief is required. Or is that disbelief? Anyhow, just play along...

Time Bandits (1981): Six dwarfs pursued by Pure Evil run into the fairest little boy and have adventures through time and space. Add a dwarf, turn the boy into a girl - Presto change-o! - Snow White.

Brazil (1985): Satire about an oppressive totalitarian society and a regular guy trying to get by, all the while dreaming about a fantasy girl. Flip it and it becomes the story of a girl who's being oppressed and only can be saved by dreamy Prince Charming - Shazam! - Cinderella.

The Adventures of Baron Munchausen (1988): Another legendary tall-tale teller gets his day in court, but everyone only remembers this movie as the stunning coming-out party for young Uma Thurman as a Venus. OK, now try to focus on her enchanting hair for a moment, let it weave a tale for you and before you can say Uma, Uma, let down your hair - Nothing up my sleeves! - you've got Rapunzel.

The Fisher King (1991): Jeff Bridges searches for redemption, comes across a hairy homeless Robin Williams in the jungles of Manhattan. Turn Bridges into a little girl, make Williams even hairier (if that's possible), and think more about the Red Knight and less about the Holy Grail and - Abra-abra-cadabra! - Little Red Riding Hood.

Twelve Monkeys (1995): Bruce Willis is banished back in time to stop a plague, keeps trying to maintain contact with a fetching Madeleine Stowe and avoiding a crazy Brad Pitt. Make Willis and Stowe children, keep them in double trouble, but instead of a plague, center the plot around food and follow the breadcrumbs and - Don't look now! - Hansel and Gretel.

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1998): Johnny Depp puts on his best Hunter S. Thompson face and races through the desert with his drunken lawyer, played by Benicio del Toro. Replace their drugs with Rumple Minze peppermint schnapps! Drink enough to make straw look like gold! Make the audience wish they could trade their firstborns for an escape route and - Wham, bam, alakazam! - Rumpelstiltskin.

HANGING WITH COXEN AND JOHNSON: My Friday comedy column this week, Jokers Wild, catches up with Chris Coxen and Nate Johnson, a Boston two-man sketch team.

Some sketch comedy troupes pride themselves on sharp writing, diverse characters or great chemistry.
But for Chris Coxen and Nate Johnson, their two-man shows depend upon something simpler.
Coxen: "You don't want to go up and keep doing the same scenes or the same characters . . . so there's wigs and mustaches involved.''
Johnson: "That is key. The long answer is we both want diversity . . . and it's a good yin-yang thing going on. But the short answer is: Wigs and mustaches.''
Don't tell them that low budget means low comedy standards, though.
Coxen: "It's not like one show we have a baseball hat on, and then the next show we turn our baseball hats backward and pretend to be aliens.''
Johnson: "The only time we do that is when we do the Frat Boy Alien Sketch. But we rarely do that. It's still in workshop.''
Tomorrow night at Jimmy Tingle's Off Broadway, the duo also will include skits by The Walsh Bros. and stand-up by Dan Sally.
Coxen: "We like to have videos, too, and that allows us to have costume changes.''
How many changes?
Johnson: "Off the top of my head, maybe seven or eight. We're not reaching Mick Jagger or Diana Ross proportions.''
Do they practice method acting, like gaining 10 pounds between skits to get into character?
Johnson: "Actually I tried that once, but I fell asleep.''
Coxen: "This next act is going to have a character with an ax wound, so Nate, stand still.''
Johnson: "We tried that once, but it was quickly followed by the Going To The Hospital Sketch and The Emergency Room Sketch.''
One skit, Calendar Boys, revolves around two losers who pin their hopes for success on, well, a calendar. Is it based on personal experience, perhaps?
Coxen: "Yeah, a little bit. There is a good friend of mine I used to paint houses with. When you're on a painting job, you can get bored. We'd start doing calendar poses. These stupid, absurd, sexy poses. He'd go around the house, and I'd grab a garden hose, put it in the air and get myself all wet, staring into the sun with my shirt off.''
Johnson: "I thought about making my own calendar. I wanted to make every single month December, but people weren't into that. Whatever.''

The Coxen and Johnson Sketch Comedy Show, 7:30 p.m. Saturday, with The Walsh Bros. and Dan Sally, at Jimmy Tingle's Off Broadway, 255 Elm St., Davis Square, Somerville. Tickets: $12 ($6 students). Call 617-591-1616.

BOSTON GLOBE MISPLACES OTIS: Today's Globe reports on the federal base commission closing recommendations, but the related graphic already has Otis Air Guard Base in Michigan (see below). No wonder our kids cannot identify locations on a map.

Not only are the Feds thinking about closing Otis Air Guard Base, but the Globe already has Otis moved to Michigan! Oops... Posted by Picasa

SEEKING DEEPER TRUTHS FROM CELLULOID: Example No. 1 comes from the Los Angeles Times. Wait, you mean The Princes of Malibu weren't really princes? Next thing, they'll reveal that Paris Hilton's life is not so simple.

Example No. 2 comes from the Washington Post, where Stephen Hunter asks the million-word question: What's more perverse, the dirty joke or the joketeller? In doing so, he undermines several generations of comedic insight that held that the hard "c" sound is what makes the word "cock" so darned funny.

VIRAL ADS/WATCHMECHANGE.COM: My story on the viral ad craze, as exemplified by the Gap's watchmechange.com campaign this summer, ran on page 2 of today's Boston Herald with screen captures of the animated striptease. That's the good news. Bad news, my story was supposed to run Sunday, when it had more space, but got bumped and cut. Ugh.

Many thanks, though, to Steve Hall at Adrants. Check out his site.

But first...

Dancing Baby, the Ally McBeal hallucination that became a favorite online time-waster of the 1990s, has grown up and become a striptease spokesmodel for the Gap.
Well, sort of.
The hottest new "viral ad'' to make the e-mail rounds, the Gap's watchmechange.com garnered 360,000 unique visitors in its first week online last month. Gap has not released updated stats, but the ad has generated a lot of attention for the Gap brand.
The site lets viewers pick an animated male or female model, modify the hairstyle, weight, build and even chest size, and pick out a Gap outfit. At that point the model does a striptease, enters a dressing room and comes out wearing the new look.
The tagline: "Change. It Feels Good. GAP.''
It's a "mildly amusing'' site, according to Steve Hall, Groton-based publisher of Adrants.com, a leading site for advertising criticism. "They're trying to, in a humorous way, show the clothes, have a little fun, and in that respective way, it works.''
It's even more amusing when the model sports a unibrow, soul patch, mohawk, 'fro or mullet.
Credit Crispin Porter & Bogusky, the Miami agency responsible for last year's Burger King "subservient chicken'' site, which let users manipulate a person in a chicken suit. That site generated more than 12 million Web visitors one day in April.
So-called viral advertising has spread like a virus across corporate America.
Online videos of the Dancing Baby, the Star Wars kid, the Numa Numa guy or JibJab's election farce caught on with computer users because they were amusing, and corporations have co-opted this marketing method.
"All of a sudden, the creative has become much more unexpected, and much funnier,'' said Jeff Benjamin, Crispin Porter's interactive creative director. "Let's come up with something that we'd want to tell our friends about at the watercooler.''
But Hall wondered whether viral ads produce direct results.
"That was the big question with Subservient Chicken. Did it sell any sandwiches?'' he asked.

Benjamin did answer that question -- yes, albeit indirectly. He told me that people might not have run out of the house after seeing the viral ad to buy a chicken sandwich, but that sometime down the road (so to speak), they'd pass by a BK and remember the ad fondly enough to make an impulse buy. Failing that, they'd at least think of BK in a more positive light and pass the ad along to the friends via e-mail.

The next wave to keep an eye out for is podcasting. I asked Benjamin about viral podcast ads. He said they'd certainly make them, but they haven't yet. Just waiting on that brilliant idea to launch it. So stay tuned.

In the meantime...
-- Numa Numa Dance
-- Many variations on the Star Wars Kid, here and here
-- JibJab videos
-- the original Dancing Baby

My story's site: Gap's new 'viral' ads take off – literally (Boston Herald)

(Photo by Mark Triffitt) Claire O'Leary, 20, of Westport, Conn., spotted before her fall from the Fenway Park grandstand roof. Posted by Picasa

HER NAME WAS CLAIRE O'LEARY: A day later, the rest of the Boston media follows up on the mysterious case of Claire O'Leary, the 20-year-old from Westport, Conn., who climbed along the steel girders and rafters supporting the right-field grandstand roof of Fenway Park on Sunday night. Mark Triffitt, one of several fans in attendance that night with cameras, supplied photos of O'Leary to local media.

What's more interesting to me, though, is how some media reports continue to put forward false, misleading or contradictory information about the incident, and how some eyewitness accounts also have gotten fuzzy on the facts.

One report had city firefighters extending a ladder truck from outside Fenway -- what would that have done, exactly? Another report had city officials claiming they were using bullhorns to persuade O'Leary to climb down safely -- the concert was so loud, I had to yell into my cell phone about 10 times before the Herald city desk could even figure out that I was telling them a girl was dangling from the roof. If cops, Fenway security or anyone else was talking to O'Leary, she wasn't listening. She barely even looked in our direction.

She wasn't dancing on the Budweiser sign or on the girders. She wasn't sitting there for "a long time." She was too busy making her way from section to section. As I reported late Sunday night, she was sitting on a beam extending down from the farthest end of the roof for about two songs, then made an attempt to reach the upper corner of the roof directly beneath retired No. 1 when she lost her footing, held on for several seconds, then fell, at 10:11 p.m. Sunday.

There was pretty much nothing that could've been done to stop her once she got out there.

Mark Pazniokas, reporter for The Hartford Courant (disclosure: I interned there in 1992), attended the concert with his wife and provided a first-person account in today's paper, available here. He had the Stones done with "Jumpin' Jack Flash" and into "Brown Sugar" when she fell. My notes recorded the time of her fall and specifics before I wrote down the next song. Other than that, our stories match.

None of the stories, curiously enough, have mentioned drugs and/or alcohol.

Related roundup:
-- WHDH-TV (Ch. 7) (includes video)
-- CBS4 Boston (includes video, slideshow)
-- Boston Globe
-- Boston Herald
-- Hartford Courant

9:35 p.m. Monday, Aug. 21, Fenway Park, Boston. Rolling Stones on their rolling stage that moved through the field seats to second base area. On the opening night of the Stones "A Bigger Bang" Tour, they performed "Miss You," an extended workout of "Satisfaction," "Oh No, Not You Again" and "Honky Tonk Women" from this stage. Posted by Picasa

View of The Rolling Stones stage and the rafters at 8:11 p.m. Monday, Aug. 21, taken by camera phone inside Fenway Park from Section 2, Row 6, Seat 12. The Stones took the stage 10 minutes later. A 20-year-old woman fell from the corner of the rafters (look at the top center of this picture) at 10:11 p.m. Monday. Minutes earlier, she had been sitting on that beam that runs diagonally from top center to the right of frame. She landed on the seats below, a fall of approximately 30 feet, suffering fractures in her pelvis, ankles and wrist. It could have been so much worse. Posted by Picasa

ROLLING STONES UPDATE: My colleague Brian was sitting a few sections over from me, and after he filed his normal story for the Herald, followed up for the late editions this morning with this short story about the girl who fell from the rafters of the right-field grandstand roof.

Latest report has the girl suffering bilateral fractures in both legs.

Related: Fan hurt in fall from rafters (Boston Herald)

ROLLING STONES OPENING NIGHT AT FENWAY PARK: I'm speechless. Not sure how much of that is due to the fact that Mick, Keith, Ronnie, Charlie and Co. put on such a great show, and how much is because I saw a young woman fall from the rafters in front of me.

Let's start with the breaking news portion first.

The young woman appeared to be in her 20s (initial police accounts had her as either 20 or 22, from Connecticut), with chest-length dark hair, a yellow T-shirt and blue jeans. Jen and I were sitting in section 2, in the right field grandstands. We first spotted her hanging above Section 4 at 9:46 p.m., as the Stones were rocking "Honky Tonk Women," but other eyewitnesses placed her at least as far back as Section 7. Mystery girl was crawling her way across the underbelly of the right field roof, slowly but surely, until she reached the end of the rafters above Section 1. If you're looking from home plate out, that is where the right-field grandstands end. There is a ramp separating the grandstands from the bleachers. OK. So once mystery girl reached the end of the rafters, she took a seated position and watched the show, which included the somehow apt "Out of Control." The girl seemed more in control at this point (earlier she had moments that made fans nervous), was kicking her legs to the beat and even clapped along with everyone else at the end of the song. The Stones then played "Sympathy for the Devil." Toward the end of the next song, "Jumpin' Jack Flash," mystery girl, for reasons unknown, began crawling up to the edge of the rafters (underneath where retired No. 1 is visible from the rest of the park), lost her footing, dangled for several seconds, then fell about 30 feet into the seats. The time: 10:11 p.m. So she had been crawling around the roof for at least a half-hour and possibly longer than 45 minutes according to other eyewitnesses. Boston police officers had spotted her about the time I had, and had at least one flashlight on her. Cops stood in the aisles on either side of my section and cleared out fans below mystery girl. When she fell, she landed on the red seats of Right Field Box 87, apparently across rows LL and MM -- but only about a foot away from a much farther fall outside of the seats onto the concrete ramp. Cops and EMTs immediately surged to the scene. They had a backboard at the ready, but apparently not anything in place to provide a softer landing, and had mystery girl headed out on the backboard within four minutes. The cops disappeared for another 14 minutes while Fenway Park security was left to rope off the scene. The Stones, meanwhile, were oblivious to the entire incident -- which if the girl died, would provide an eerie reminder of Altamont. Initial reports had her suffering only a few broken bones, but still. Still to be determined: Why the girl climbed the rafters, where she began her ascent, whether she was with anyone else at the concert, and if so, whether they coerced her into the stunt, and whether drugs and alcohol factored into it. I'll have more when I know more.

Now for the concert.

It even began auspiciously, as the lights went down at 8:21 p.m. on 8/21. We're not even going to bother with the Black Eyed Peas, because we didn't see Fergie pee her pants this time -- and she's still ca-ray-zee, no matter what her boy Josh DuMarkHamill has to say about it. The set list with appropriate comments followed thusly...

1. Start Me Up (cliche opener, but still)
2. You Got Me Rocking
3. Shattered
4. Tumbling Dice
5. Rough Justice (new)
6. Back of My Hand (new, old-school blues)
7. Beast of Burden
8. She's So Cold (Mick claimed this was a very rare selection: "I don't think we've ever done this one live on stage, except maybe once")
9. Heartbreaker
10. Night Time is the Right Time (Ray Charles tribute)
11. The Worst (Keith Richards vocal)
12. Infamy (new, Keith Richards vocal)
13. Miss You (small stage rolls out from centerfield to second base)
14. Oh No, Not You Again (new)
15. (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction
16. Honky Tonk Women
17. Out of Control (back to mainstage)
18. Sympathy for the Devil (fire shot out from top of elaborate stage)
19. Jumpin' Jack Flash
20. Brown Sugar
Encore 21. You Can't Always Get What You Want
Encore 22. It's Only Rock N Roll (But I Like It)
Ended at 10:36 p.m. with fireworks shot out from behind stage in centerfield bleachers.

NOTE: If I missed a song somewhere in between Jumpin' Jack Flash, Brown Sugar and the encore, it's because a woman fell from the rafters right in front of me. Did I mention that yet?

THE SUNDAY SURF: Combining last week's potential shown by "The Saturday Surf" and "The Sunday Times." Is this another example of two great tastes that taste great together? Discuss. No, wait. Read these stories first. Then discuss.

-- Hollywood is still too much in love with itself, as witnessed by the latest TV project, Hopeless Pictures. (Slate)

-- 10 reasons why network news anchors are here to stay. (Newsday)

-- If you think the Weekly Dig and the Boston Phoenix are engaged in trench warfare, then you really don't know what alt-weeklies can do. Just take a look at Seattle, where The Stranger (which the Weekly Dig worships) has been taking potshots at Seattle Weekly for years. The latest brew-ha-ha gets coverage in the dailies. (Seattle P-I)

-- Hollywood is about to cut its print movie ad budgets, as if that's the reason no one wants to see the crappy crap craptactular movies the studios have put out this year. This is not the news we wanted to hear. (LA Weekly) And if that's not enough, the studios also are thinking about cutting back on TV ads, too. Here's an idea: How's abouts putting some dough into the actual movie? (WSJ)

-- The Globe sends a correspondent to my hometown in Connecticut, finds it nothing like I remember it. The Chart House is now Pettibone's Tavern? What gives? (Globe)

-- More people are watching more channels late at night. Is that any different than the morning, afternoon or prime time? Um, no. But thank you, LAT, for keeping track of this developing story. And yet, the paper also reports on how even cable fails to be as revolutionary as it should be in late night. Comedy Central did get the Pamela Anderson roast right, at least, although you had to watch the uncensored version overnight Saturday to get the full flavor, so to speak. (LAT)

-- I'm not the only one watching Rock Star: INXS. It just seems that way sometimes. Thanks, Choire Sicha, our favorite Gawker-turned-Observer. (LAT)

-- And I'm far from the only person going to tonight's opening of the latest Rolling Stones world tour. Sure, they're older than my dad. Certainly, you would've thought Keith Richards would've dropped by now. But two words: Fenway Park. I'm excited. In the meantime, read this rock critic's thoughts about aging rockers outliving their predicted usefulness. Specifically, how the Stones still start it up. (LAT)

-- I'm always a sucker for stories about F. Scott Fitzgerald. This one explores how Hollywood can't adapt him -- oh, the irony! (NYT)

A NEW PUFFY IN TOWN: Since Sean Combs has changed his name - again - from Puffy to Puff Daddy to P. Diddy to Diddy, perhaps there is room for a new Puffy to take America by storm.
Enter Puffy AmiYumi.
The Japanese rock duo of Ami Onuki and Yumi Yoshimura have been big in Japan for a decade.
Only in the past year, with the introduction of animated versions of themselves on the Cartoon Network as Hi Hi Puffy AmiYumi, has the winsome twosome started to become household names among the youth of America. Their five-city U.S. tour stops Wednesday in Somerville.
"It feels as if it's still the same,'' Yoshimura said on the phone from Tokyo, with help from a translator. "It's not really something new. But it is a new challenge for us.''
Especially since they're finding a different fan base here than in their native Japan.
In Japan, they're bona fide rock stars. Their first single, 1996's Asia No Junshin, sold 1 million copies. Their music is peppy and sometimes subversive, with hints of punk, surf, indie rock and power pop.
Their cartoon, Hi Hi Puffy AmiYumi, brought younger fans to their few West Coast concerts this spring.
"It was actually the first time we toured after the cartoon started,'' Onuki said. "We were not sure what to expect. It was a lot of little kids. It was fun to see that.''
After a decade of performing in Japan, Puffy AmiYumi began breaking into American music with a soundtrack contribution to Scooby-Doo 2 and the theme for Cartoon Network's Teen Titans.
Their own cartoon amps up their energy even more, with a crazy manager and madcap antics every episode on their animated tour bus. Each weekly episode also includes brief live-action skits that reveal that Oniku and Yoshimura still have great chemistry after a decade together.
"We're really good friends,'' they said.
They're also well aware that the track record for Japanese idoru (their term for pop idols) in America is - well, there isn't a track record.
"We're not really expecting anything,'' Yoshimura said. "Our main goal is to have everyone listen to our music.''
They sound happy about their success so far.
And who's to say they couldn't be around for years to come?
After all, Godzilla, Japan's biggest import, showed up on our shores for 50 years before allegedly calling it quits this year.
Not that anyone believes that, even Puffy AmiYumi.
"No, it's not going to be final,'' they said of Godzilla. "They're probably going to go back to when Godzilla was born. Back in time.''

Puffy AmiYumi performs Wednesday at the Somerville Theater with Adam Richman opening. Doors open at 6 p.m., music at 7 p.m. Tickets: $20, at the box office or go to www.teapartyconcerts.com

TRYING OUT FOR BEAUTY AND THE GEEK: Sometimes, you stumble upon a TV show and can picture yourself on it.
Such was the case earlier this year, watching WB's Beauty and the Geek, which paired bimbos with brainiacs, all in the name of fun, big cash prizes and "Ashton Kutcher's ultimate social experiment.''
Not all of the geeks looked particularly geeky. And that led me to think that with my Ivy League pedigree, lack of inhibition and peculiar habit of saying and doing things that make others cringe, that I might stand a chance.
If you didn't already know it, here is a spoiler alert: Reality TV is not real. There is a reason "reality'' TV requires quotation marks.
Everything about your life gets amplified, modified and packaged to make it prime time-ready.
Beauties need to be bodacious. Geeks need to be full-on Revenge of the Nerds, couldn't-tell-you-what-a-girl's-lips-feel-like-if-their-lives-depended-upon-it geeks.
At the open casting call Thursday night at The Rack, WB casting agents had the nerve to first question if I were too old (nope, I fit the profile, but thanks for that ego deflation) and then if I were truly a geek (should I thank them for that?).
The dictionary gives these definitions: "1) An odd or ridiculous person. 2) A carnival performer whose show consists of bizzare acts, such as biting the head off a live chicken.''
The first definition fits; the second fits Ozzy Osbourne. Ozzy as geek? Who knew?
Clearly, though, WB was on the hunt for more Richard Rubins. Rubin, the 21-year-old Brandeis University graduate from New Jersey, acted outlandishly for the cameras this spring and had an online bio listing his main trait as "has never kissed a girl.''
The WB rewarded him by bringing him and one of the beauties along to televise this casting process.
Outside The Rack, Rubin interrogated would-be geeks before turning his attention to the beauties - upon meeting a girl named Tiffany, he said, "I'd like to have breakfast at Tiffany's, and lunch and dinner,'' flailing his arms.
Will, a grad student in nuclear physics, sported a blue T-shirt with "DORK'' in big letters, underlined by a dorky joke about the "complex conjugate forms'' of the word.
A young Asian kid named Tony saw my bow tie and raised me a briefcase, glasses, soft voice and shy, friendly spirit.
They got much of the camera's attention Thursday night.
Another guy tried to geek it up by bringing his Dungeons & Dragons dice and paperwork. One guy looked way to old to be there, but he was less than 5 feet tall and the WB wanted to keep him around.
But not many more than a dozen beauties and geeks showed up, prompting the WB to put its own production assistants in line with the auditioners to "make it look bigger.''
Alas, methinks I fell into that strange netherworld, in which I was too geeky to get the girls, but not geeky enough to get paired up with the girls on network TV. Or, to paraphrase Britney Spears, I'm not a geek, not yet a stud.
What kind of fresh hell is this?
Maybe that's my TV show.

RELATED: Beauty and the Geek (official site)

HANGING WITH KELLY MACFARLAND: Each Friday, I spend a little time in print catching up with a stand-up comedian, talking about the news of the day, the news in their life, or whatever else may come up in conversation.

This week, Kelly MacFarland, who appeared on NBC's The Biggest Loser. MacFarland is getting ready for a taping next week of Comedy Central's Premium Blend. She, Val Kappa (also prepping for Premium Blend) and others performed Friday night at The Comedy Studio in Harvard Square. A fun show. MacFarland and Kappa both put in good sets, as did DJ Hazard, The Walsh Bros., Elijah Joseph and Greg Thibideau.

Read my interview with MacFarland here.

DANE COOK'S CELEBRITY PLAYLIST ON ITUNES: Boston-bred stand-up comic Dane Cook is the latest celebrity to add his personal playlist to iTunes. Cook's 14-song mix includes tracks by Aerosmith, Boston, Green Day, Elvis Presley and Guns N' Roses.

His commentary for Youth Gone Wild, by Skid Row: "I'd love to find this kid, Mike, who in high school threw a cup of paint at me during art class. I didn't do anything at the time but to this day I wish I kicked his ass. It's probably my only regret in life to this day. Nothing to do with this song but I thought it was an opportunity to get something's (sic) off my chest. And you know what? I feel better. Thanks iTunes Music Store. You're like a friend that knows a lot of cool songs.''

THE PROBLEM WITH MORNING TV "NEWS," NATIONAL EDITION: So I've been waking up earlier this summer, which means I've caught snippets of Today, and each snippet makes me more confused than ever about the direction of the morning newscasts. Ken Auletta wrote an interesting piece in The New Yorker earlier this month on "Dawn Patrol," and answers some follow-up questions here (the full story didn't run online, so no linky link). But the philosophy of Today seems to be all over the map, literally and figuratively.

On Tuesday, Katie stopped the proceedings for "breaking news" -- Sean Combs then stepped into the frame to announce on live TV that he was dropping the P from his P. Diddy nickname, as if we cared, and then answered multiple questions from Katie about the moniker maneuver (what's even more maddening is that the media followed this non-story with actual stories on the wire!!!). That's why if I write a story about Combs, I always go with the flow and call him Sean "Puffy Puff Daddy P. Diddy Diddy" Combs. It's the only way to make any sense out of his nonsense. Anyhow.

Then, on Wednesday, Today operated live from Iraq with special interviews from an Army base (the choice news segment showed how everyone in Iraq is living without power, water and other essentials, then cut back to the base's mess hall, where there was electricity, water, food and A/C aplenty -- and they wonder why Iraqis and other Middle East residents might not like us?!).

This morning, Katie interviewed the parents of a teen who recently died from something called "the choking game," which should make any teen stop right there, and although she seemed quite sincere, you could tell at the end that she still had to pull the ol' TV newscast trick of figuring out a segue to Al Roker and the weather. Such is the morning snooze. Ugh. Not that I have any bright ideas at the moment on how to fix the mess that is TV news. But I'm willing to think about it and get back to you.

THE PROBLEM WITH MORNING TV "NEWS," LOCAL EDITION: Full disclosure -- sometimes I appear on live TV newscasts to talk about pop culture. But that won't stop me from ranting about the fact that when programs allow their talkers to talk, they don't always make much sense.

This morning on FOX 25, they decided to bounce around opinions on this insightful AP story about how many musicians are resorting to "greatest hits" CDs before their time. Their biggest talker, VB, rambled on about his recent purchase of "the very best of Eric Burdon" and how he was angered to learn that the version of "House of the Rising Sun" was not the version he was looking for. Then the chopper pilot weighed in with his acquisition of Pat Benetar's greatest hits -- which, for reasons still unexplained, prompted VB to shout: "The '80s are over." Wait. Did he just go from praising Eric Burdon to panning the 1980s in the span of a minute? Yes. Why yes, he did. The bigger question: Why didn't anyone question that? Eggsactly.

MOVIES YOU WON'T SEE ON AIRPLANES: The answer: Four years.
The question: How long after 9/11 will it take for Hollywood to start churning out flight-from-hell movies?
Director Wes Craven brings the fast-paced thriller Red Eye to the cineplex tomorrow, in which Rachel McAdams plays a passenger in peril and Cillian Murphy reveals that the "C'' stands for creepy. It's all in good, not-so-clean fun.
Next month, Jodie Foster stars in Flightplan, a movie with an even creepier premise - Foster plays a mother who loses her daughter midflight, only to be told she didn't have a daughter!
Both movies will join this list of films you're not likely to see chosen as the in-flight selection on your next trip out of Logan . . . (in alphabetical order)

Alive (1993): There is no "I'' in team, but there is plenty of "meat." The true-life story of a 1972 plane crash in the Andes has the Uruguayan rugby team turning to cannibalism to survive.

Cast Away (2000): After his FedEx plane crashes, Tom Hanks' charactersurvives on a deserted island by making friends with a volleyball. He'll get nothing and like it, Spaulding.

Die Hard 2: Die Harder (1990): Terrorists take over an airport, just in time for the holidays. Bruce Willis saves the day, but in light of 9/11, it's just not the same anymore.

Executive Decision (1996): Terrorists with a nerve bomb hijack a plane and plan to wipe out the East Coast - only Kurt Russell, Steven Seagal and Oliver Platt (?) can stop them, with a little help from Halle Berry.

Fearless (1993): Jeff Bridges and Rosie Perez as plane crash survivors coping with the aftermath.

Hero (1992): Almost forgot about this one with Geena Davis as a TV reporter wondering who saved her and other passengers from a burning plane crash. Psst: It was Tootsie.

Passenger 57 (1992): Terrorists of the 1990s should've known better than to try to hijack a plane with Wesley Snipes on it.

Twilight Zone: The Movie (1983): This is a film haunted by both a real fatal helicopter crash and the still-terrifying vignette in which John Lithgow (reprising the TV role portrayed by William Shatner) is the lone passenger who sees a monster on the wing.

Also not showing on an airplane near you: Air Force One, the Airport series of the 1970s (although they instantly make us think of the Airplane spoofs), Con Air, The English Patient, Final Destination and Flight of the Phoenix.

POSITIVE THINKING ABOUT NEGATIVE WORDS: Why do we only see some words in a negative light? A couple of examples today reminded me of the quirkiness of our so-called English language. In sports, many reported on the return to training camp of disgruntled wide receiver Terrell Owens. A separate press release (or was it an e-mail? no matter) sent my way referred to an upcoming theatrical production of a classic unrequited love story. Do you see where I'm heading? When have you ever heard of a gruntled worker? Or requited love?

"How is the new job working out, Bob? You seem quite gruntled recently."
"He is such a gruntled employee. He brings doughnuts for everyone in the office every Monday."

See what I mean?
But why have some words lost their positive origins altogether? Can you think of other examples? What do you suppose happened?

This endeth the tangent.

TEEN CHOICE AWARDS: Do the teens actually choose these awards, or do the awards choose the teens? This ain't no semantics lesson. Rather, we gots issues with the so-called "Teen Choice Awards" dating back a ways. Remember last year, when alleged rapist Kobe Bryant got some face time in front of the kids? Ah yes, it seems so long ago, doesn't it? But no. Not that long ago. And this year...well, Rob Schneider? Let me repeat that in case you missed it. Co-host Rob Schneider? He is currently "starring" (if that's the correct term for mucking up a major motion picture and taking up space at your local cineplex) in another regrettable Deuce Bigalow movie, but that's a Sony pic, so if you were thinking he snuck onto the show through a Fox convergence conspiracy, then, well, that excuse didn't pan out. He is old enough to be Hilduff's daddy. He looks like creepy pervy guy next to her. And this is how they decide to host the Teen Choice Awards. Then we get Paris "I wasn't famous enough for spending my family's money so it took a tape of me giving oral sex to a guy to boost ratings for my Fox show to get super-famous" Hilton winning a Teen Choice Award. I cannot go on. Must I?

PEOPLE LOVE MAGIC: Especially street magic. See how this clip bounds along the Internet via Double Viking, which got the clip from here. The whole thing and more can be found from Criss Angel's site, which has multiple videos of the "Mind Freak." Where is David Blaine, anyhow? Oh, here he is.

Related: Official Criss Angel videos.

THE SUNDAY TIMES: Have time, will read. From NYC to LA.

-- How many episodes could FOX's new drama, Prison Break, possibly last? Especially with Brett Ratner involved? Well, you saw what happened with 24, didn't you? The story: Thirteen Episodes to Life (NYT)

-- More from the enlighteningly maddening world of Terry Gilliam. The story: Terry Gilliam's Feel-Good Endings (NYT)

-- Not every movie has to cut to the chase. A look at narrative in modern cinema. The story: A slow hand (LAT)

-- A "warm-up" guy for the live studio audiences at Hollywood sitcoms and talk-shows can earn an easy $300,000 a year. Who knew? The story: He gets the crowd in a laughing mood (LAT)

THE SATURDAY SURF: Some interesting reads from other pubs...

-- Good luck trying to call iTunes for customer service. I thought it was just my imagination, running away from me. Nope. No number. My problem with iTunes isn't even really a big one -- I'd like to buy me some more Iron & Wine, but iTunes keeps telling me that selection is temporarily unavailable, please try again later. OK. So I have. For a month now. Two e-mails to customer support have yielded no answers or even hints. And there is no number. Timothy Noah at Slate has tried for us, to no avail. The story: Calling iTunes, Part 2, Wherein it is revealed that our quarry is a phantom. (Slate)

-- Bermuda is no longer quite so keen on Bermuda shorts. Who knew? Former island prime minister John Swan talks at length about the changing attitudes toward the British colony's "traditional" attire. I prepped with his son, Nick, and recall a quite memorable spring break on the island with my folks my senior year that included a side trip to the big house, where we watched one of the Nightmare on Elm Street movies on video. Don't get me wrong. That was not the highlight. Many good times, a few odd times, and the chance to watch Princeton get robbed by Georgetown on a small TV from our resort room. The story: Long Story Short (LAT)

-- Kim Dillon pulls a Winona Ryder. No, she's not dating a soon-to-be faded rocker. Rather, the Phoenix TV weatherlady and host got cited for shoplifting clothes at the mall. Not as remarkable as the time Liz Habib, a former Phoenix anchor from the same station, got arrested outside a nightclub and barked at the cops, "Don't you know who I am?" But still amusing. The story: Local TV host cited by police (Arizona Republic)

-- Porn superstar Jenna Jameson buys a strip club in her town (Scottsdale, Ariz.). Did I mention I've had lunch with Jenna, her husband and her ass't? Did I mention that you probably care more about that last item than I do? The story: Porn star buys Babes Cabaret (Arizona Republic)

-- Interesting look behind the scenes of the making and remaking of The 40-Year-Old Virgin, due in a cinema near you next weekend. Would you believe the studio has been screening various versions of this comedy for more than a year? Believe it. The story: Keeping 'Virgin' funny, but with its pants on (LAT)

THE CLICK FIVE COME HOME: We managed to update the print version of my latest story on The Click Five to show that the band's first single, "Just The Girl," jumped to No. 21 on the Billboard charts. But the online version still reflects last week's chart position. Oh well. Fun to talk to keyboardist Ben Romans again. The last time I saw him, he had just finished a manic performance with the boys at Axis nightclub on Lansdowne Street. They're playing to much bigger crowds now. At any rate, let's get to the story. Although it was highly amusing this past weekend to see the Globe's big story on the band completely misidentify Ben (not as amusing for Ben and bassist Ethan Mentzer, of course). Such is life in a competitive media environment.

The Click Five find it's good to be `Girl'-y men (Boston Herald)

Two months ago, Watertown-based power popsters the Click Five were promising unknowns. They didn't even have a single out, yet industry buzz predicted major success for Eric, Joe, Ethan, Ben and Joey.
Look at 'em now.
The band's first single, "Just The Girl,'' is such a catchy confection that it's the second most popular song on iTunes, No. 7 on MTV's "TRL,'' No. 28 on pop radio and No. 21 on the Billboard chart.
And Click Five is touring with the Backstreet Boys, a stint that ends with Sunday's show at the Tweeter Center in Mansfield. Then it's off to New York City to tape an appearance on Late Night with Conan O'Brien, then back home for two Hub events Tuesday to celebrate the release of the band's debut disc, "Greetings From Imrie House,'' which references the Click Five's days in Allston as Berklee College of Music students.
"I'm going to freak out,'' said keyboardist/songwriter Ben Romans, anticipating the band's network TV coming-out party.
Their fans, many of them young and female, already freak out at a mere glimpse of the boys.
When the Click Five performed two months ago at Axis, girls screamed throughout the hourlong set. Afterward, fans, some wearing handmade Click Five shirts, quickly formed a long line to meet their favorite band members.
"It's weird, because it doesn't seem like two months,'' Romans said. "Once you get on a tour, a big one like this one, you snap into a zone and forget about time and everything else.''
Such is the Click Five's success that three weeks ago the band got its first tour bus, complete with drummer Joey Zehr's GameCube, two TVs, beds and plenty of room to jam and write songs.
"We graduated from the minivan and I'm sleeping,'' Romans said. "It's fantastic!''
The guys recognize that their fast track to stardom is atypical. Less than two years ago, they were playing in different bands and lead singer Eric Dill was living in Indianapolis. Not that long ago, they had a residency gig at the Paradise Lounge and weren't even the most popular act in the building.
Now Dill, Zehr, Romans, guitarist Joe Guese and bassist Ethan Mentzer play for thousands offans each night, many of whom already know the words to their unreleased songs.
"It's not a normal lifestyle,'' Romans said. "In some ways, we're normal guys. We realize we're put in this crazy situation, so you really have to roll with it at times.''
The band's stage show looks like something from the early Beatles, with the Five's matching suits, manic presence and early 1960s haircuts.
Its full-length debut on Lava Records has drawn comparisons to Fountains of Wayne and The Cars - both apt, because Fountains of Wayne's Adam Schlesinger wrote "Just The Girl'' and The Cars' Elliot Easton added a guitar solo to "Angel to You (Devil to Me)," which Romans co-wrote with Paul Stanley of KISS.
The band's manager, Wayne Sharp, introduced the band to Stanley over Thanksgiving dinner.
Last summer, Stanley showed up at a Click Five club gig.
"Everybody's jaw just dropped,'' Romans recalled. "He gave us a lot of pointers about our stage show. There's not a better person in terms of stage presence.''
The Click Five open for the Backstreet Boys on Sunday at the Tweeter Center. Tuesday at 2 p.m., the band appears at an in-store signing atat Newbury Comics, 332 Newbury St., Boston, followed by an 8 p.m. show at the Middle East, Cambridge. Tickets are $15. Call 617-864-EAST or go to www.ticketmaster.com

Official band site: The Click Five

BOSTON HARBOR CRUISES: A photographer and I went on a so-called "booze cruise" last Friday night. You can go for a cruise yourself any weekend through the next month. Just follow our lead...

Harbor nights - Put cool evening fun on cruise control (Boston Herald)

PETER FOLLOWS THE STORY: My former colleague Peter Corbett checked back in today on the curious life story of Gerry Thomas, the Swanson employee who credited himself with the invention of the TV dinner and died in Arizona last month. Look for more on this, as my sources tell me that additional reporting didn't make it into print just yet.

UPDATE: Turns out his larger story, that was supposed to run on Page 1, got bumped in print but did make it online. Here is the link for that story, in which Peter talked to several people indirectly related to the strange tale and obit of Gerry Thomas: TV dinner controversy lingers after death of PV man (Arizona Republic)

The Famiglietti family of Peabody, Mass. Posted by Picasa

FUNNY BUT TRUE: Tonight on the Fox 25 News at 10, they profiled the Famiglietti family of Peabody, who I wrote about this morning in the Herald. What makes it so funny is that the family made news by appearing on not one, but two "reality" TV shows on Fox. You would've thought that the network would be savvy enough to be on top of that and promote the heck out of it before Monday night's show. But no. So...here was my story:

The Famigliettis of Peabody have stretched their proverbial 15 minutes of fame into three hours.
Richard and Diane Famiglietti and their four children appeared last year on Fox's Trading Spouses, then again Monday on Fox's Renovate My Family.
Their double dip into prime-time "reality'' TV earned them $50,000 the first time, then a new 3,600-square-foot home with all-season outdoor hockey rink and hot tub on the second go-round.
"We're still kind of flying high,'' Diane Famiglietti said yesterday. "It's been an incredible year. We don't know why, but we're not going to question it.''
Some viewers did just that overnight on the show's online message boards, wondering why one family would get two televised makeover opportunities. "What about all the other people out there that need help?'' wrote AngieRusso.
Others defended the Peabody family.
"Do you watch Trading Spouses?'' wrote bugmaster. "I saw the episode (Diane) was on and she was the reason I kept watching.''
Rocket Science Laboratories, which produces both shows, had no reservations casting the family again. "As we went deeper into their story, we just really felt they were deserving for Renovate, '' said production executive Matt Laviano.

Read the rest of my story: Family hour: Reality is, Fox-TV just loves this Peabody clan (Boston Herald)
Official FOX sites: Renovate My Family, Trading Spouses

WORKING HARD, HARDLY WORKING: Just got back home from a "long" weekend up near Cape Ann with the fam. Good times. Need to work on my golf game, but don't need to work on my tan. Not for a few days, anyhow. But plenty of my stories have appeared in print these past few days, and if you're not already reading the Boston Herald every day (and really, why aren't you?), then you need to catch up. So here is the recap...

Boston hosts more than a few so-called goodbye tours and finales, but in many cases, entertainers often have a hard time saying goodbye.
When Greta Garbo and J.D. Salinger said goodbye to public life, they meant it.
But so, so many other celebrities fail in their attempts to bid farewell to fame. Some because they crave it. Others because we won't let them go.
The rest of the story: Is that your final answer?

Some prefer blondes.
Some prefer brunettes.
Still others prefer whips, spanking benches or women made up like horses - saddles included.
To each his or her own yesterday at the 25th installment of the Fetish Fair Fleamarket, a production of the New England Leather Alliance at the Boston Center for the Arts/Cyclorama.
Leather abounded, of course, but plenty of other kinks were on display: latex, saddles, corsets, paddles, whips, adult diapers, S&M videos and several women and men dressed as women being led around the market in chains.
The rest of the story: Hurts so good: Annual fetish fair kicks up Hub heels

Of all the people selling cars on Boston TV stations this summer, two stand out.
One is retired Chrysler chairman Lee Iaccoca, brought back into the automaker's ad campaign in recent weeks, who spoofs his famous pitch line from a generation ago (``If you can find a better car, buy it'') while paired up with the likes of Snoop Dogg and Jason Alexander.
The other is Ernie Boch Jr., the ubiquitous pitchman for his various Boch Enterprise dealerships on the Automile in Norwood.
Both men exemplify a classic advertising gimmick - the CEO spokesman.
"Ninety-nine percent of the time, it's the chief's decision to do the ad,'' Boch said. "If you have a company, you really want to do the ads. It's the best way to communicate your ideas.''
The rest of the story: It takes a tough man to tender a TV pitch

DANE COOK IS A HIT: The Boston native has made good, considering his latest double-CD, single-DVD effort, Retaliation, debuted at No. 4 on the Billboard charts. I have more on this in Friday's paper. Here is the initial interview with Dane Cook that appeared in Wednesday's paper.

Last week's interview: Comedian Dane Cook weaves Web of success (Boston Herald)
Official site: Dane Cook
Unofficial MySpace site: Dane Cook

PUT UP YOUR DUKES: Did you miss me? Yes, I missed a day during the week. It can happen when a blogger has an actual job that's in the world of journalism. No apologies when reporting holds up posting. Not now, anyhow. Maybe once I get a hold of my time-management issues, I'll be able to do several more things at once. But enough about that.

The big news this week revolves around the movie version of The Dukes of Hazzard.

Ben Jones, who played Cooter in the classic TV show The Dukes of Hazzard, urged Dukes fans last month to avoid the movie version, which debuts tomorrow.
"From all I have heard, the 'Dukes' movie is a sleazy insult to all of us who have cared about the 'Dukes of Hazzard' for so long,'' Jones wrote on his site, Cooter's Place.
The show airs weeknights on CMT.
Chris Nelson, hired by CMT this spring as vice president of the cable network's "Dukes of Hazzard Institute,'' said Tuesday that he advises Hazzard fans to put the big-screen version in perspective.
"I think it's going to be a fun popcorn movie,'' Nelson said. "It's an action movie. It's not going to be like the series. Nothing can be like the series. Adaptations are always different.''
Nelson said if he were making the movie, he'd include a road race, a love interest for the Duke boys and some backstory to explain how the cousins and the General Lee got together. Cooter, according to his Web site, pines for the show's "positive values, great action, wonderful slapstick comedy, mighty fine country music, and a very gifted cast who had great chemistry.''
Alas, neither took part in the adapation.

Read my comparison here: Duke it out: Let's debate differences between 'Hazzards' (Boston Herald)

NOTE: See me on NECN at 4 p.m. Friday talking about the Dukes.

A CRITIC LEAVES US: David Shaw, the Pulitzer-winning media critic for the Los Angeles Times, has died. He was 62.

Related: Shaw's LAT obit.

BLUE MAN GROUP AUDITIONS: Turns out I'm not tall enough to ride that ride. Have to be between 5-10 and 6-1 to even try out at the open casting call tomorrow in Boston.

Read my story: Try for spot in Blue Man Group and make pals green with envy (Boston Herald)

TALL TALES OF FROZEN FOOD: Wow. I feel bad for my former colleagues in Scottsdale who got swindled by the family of Gerry Thomas, who led a lot of people to believe that Thomas invented the TV dinner. As Roy Rivenburg pointed out in Sunday's Los Angeles Times, "One of the dirty little secrets of journalism is that reporters rarely have time to investigate every claim people make about their pasts. If you want to embellish, just fool one reporter for one article, then you can use it to show other reporters that your story checked out."

Read his full story here: False tales of turkey on a tray (LAT)

ALIEN ROCK: If VH1 publishes a book called Alien Rock but doesn't bother to broadcast a show to promote it, then how much would you want to read this book? Don't worry. I read it for you. Wait, did I say don't worry. I meant to say don't bother.

Related story: We will rock you, earthlings: Author claims there's a reason pop stars are spaced-out (Boston Herald)
Book's promotional site: Alien Rock

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