Friday, July 28, 2023

Happy Birthday, Elizabeth Berkley Lauren

Give up a birthday shout for Elizabeth Berkley!

She's done two rounds with Saved By the Bell, both the one you watched in the early 90's and then the one that was on Peacock that was under-watched and over-delivered (it was genuinely funny).

Berkley is currently kicking around Hollywood and recently released items on her website that reclaim her starring role in Showgirls as well as Jessi Spano, and make them her own.  She is one well-adjusted person.

She's also been in a ton of movies, and continues to appear in a variety of projects.

Anyway, for her birthday, I'm gonna point out that, like Bowie, Berkley has two different colored eyes. 

I know!  You never noticed, but there it is.

Happy birthday, Ms. Berkley Lauren!  

when Jessi Spano went full Nomi Malone

Happy Birthday, Hannah Waddingham


Today marks the birthday of actor, singer, performer and, I suppose, presenter, Hannah Waddingham.

Eagle-eyed readers, followers of my socials and fans of the podcast will note I became a fan of Waddingham while watching Ted Lasso, and I continue to enjoy her work and joie de vivre. 

This year, Waddingham completed Season 3 of Ted Lasso where she played the complex and often very funny owner of Richmond AFC, Rebecca Welton.  She also co-starred in a BBC/ PBS version of Tom Jones, where she played the manipulative but vivacious Lady Bellaston (and more or less stole the show).  She's been Emmy nominated for both parts.

Last Fall she had a key but small part in Hocus Pocus 2, and a cameo role that was maybe the best part of the Disney+ Willow series. 

Waddingham also hosted the Oliviers (the British Tonys) and Eurovision 2023.  This Christmas, she has a holiday special coming to Apple+ that was recorded a while back, and, according to those who were there, is pretty great.  So keep your eyes open for that.  She's also leant her voice to the upcoming cartoon, Krapopolis, from Dan Harmon.  She mentioned a possible album this year as well.  We'll see.  Oh, and she'll be in the next Mission Impossible movie and The Fall Guy next year.

She's selling Pepperidge Farm cookies (they're pretty good, y'all), and has been part of a collab between Johnnie Walker, the Women's Sports Foundation and to encourage people to watch women's sports.  And drink Johnnie Walker, presumably.  Done and done.  And, she's out there on the SAG-AFTRA picket lines.

Anyway, busy year for Waddingham, but all good stuff.  Not bad for someone you didn't hear of before 2020 unless you were hitting a lot of West End shows (I was not).

I have no idea what she'll be up to next, if Ted Lasso is truly over, etc...  But we'll keep tuning in.

Thursday, July 27, 2023

90's Watch: South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut (1999)

Watched:  07/23/2023
Format:  Max, I think
Viewing:   Unknown
Director:  Trey Parker

If you'd told me in 1998 or so that South Park, the goofy animated construction-paper show on a young Comedy Central would now be a permanent part of the cultural landscape in 2023, you could have knocked me over with a feather. 

Like any 20-something with cable, I was a watcher of the show and in 1999, shocked to see they were going to the big screen.  

July 4, 1999, Austin received some rain and fireworks were unlikely.  The folks who'd assembled at our apartment decided to load up and go see the movie to extend our day.  Mostly what I remember was that the theater was only partially full, and almost immediately, people were trickling out.  

Tuesday, July 25, 2023

Material Watch: Madonna: Truth or Dare (1991)

Watched:  07/22/2023
Format:  BluRay
Viewing:  Second
Director:  Alek Kesheshian

It's probably a cultural bellwether that the biggest name in music right now is Taylor Swift, who is a fine singer/ songwriter and who is about as challenging as a pair of fuzzy socks.  Like, I get that she speaks to the suburban experience like no one's business, but she's not exactly out there getting angry notes from the Pope.

But not so Madonna circa 1990 when this documentary was shot and subsequently released.  The Material Girl was not poking anyone in the eye, but she was giddily pushing the envelope enough that she was constantly getting free publicity from outraged pearl clutchers.

I was something of a secret Madonna fan around the time this movie came out.  Attempting a persona as a fan of music which sat outside of pop and the Top 40, I didn't advertise that I knew all the words to La Isla Bonita.  That said, it was expected you'd seen Madonna's videos and knew her songs as both were inescapable through the mid 80's to the mid-90's.  And I wasn't avoiding Madonna.  She, uh, was not funny looking, and her songs were catchy, and on the radio, fairly non-threatening.  And, right out of the gate, she started with Like a Virgin, which always felt like it should be dirty, but you had to make it so, and so it landed on regular MTV rotation.  

Sunday, July 23, 2023

Women's World Cup 2023 Starts

Sport is funny.  If you are paying attention to a sport, it can appear everywhere.  But the minute you tune out, it's just a thing that exists that occasionally enters your line of sight.  

I don't watch NFL or NBA anymore.  NBA made itself too hard to watch via their TV strategy, and if I'm going to spend one day a weekend watching football, it's going to be college ball. But y'all know I also spend a ridiculous amount of time watching the Cubs and now Austin FC.  

Way back in '99, I somehow got wrapped up in watching Women's World Cup.  And, honestly, it's hard to top the excitement of that WWC win.  But I don't really even remember how I tuned in, I just remember being very onboard watching the team playing a sport I fundamentally didn't understand except for "ball goes in net gets you points".  

It's not that I didn't play soccer as a kid.  We all did.  But the rules for kids were different, and I played defense, so the "strategy", such as it was, was to stop whomever was driving the goal from doing so.  It wasn't brain surgery.  But once you start watching soccer a lot, you realize how *hard* this game is, how much strategy is in play as an absolute constant.   But I also know and understand how to folks watching, it can just look like 20-odd people in matching shirts running around a field of grass.