Monday, December 29, 2008

News Bulletin: Russian Kids Not Visited By Santa

Turns out... Santa and his reindeer passed through Alaska first.

Darlton are Back...

Hey guys, sorry I missed last week's Dharma special access. I have a floor of Elmos and Little Einsteins that looks like a tornado just hit it. But in the meantime, here's Darlton answering this week's questions! Password is "emal". (Anagram... lame? male? mael, as in maelstrom? Miles Straume? Hmm...)

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas!

I wish you the happiest of holidays this season, and what better way to celebrate the holiday than with a classic. Go here to watch Steve Martin list off his five Christmas wishes.

And, of course, Charlie Brown.

Happy holidays, everyone!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Today's Tidbit from Darlton

The new special access video from Darlton was released today, where Darlton donned their Christmas hats, attempted to put a wreath on the wall, and then read out the questions that had been sent to them and their answers. There are a couple of revelations in there, but it's mostly just fun to watch them rambling. After Damon and Carlton are done, stay tuned for an intriguing scene of Ben and a newly shaved Jack (thank god) in a hotel room discussing the return to the island and Locke. It's AWESOME. Go here, and the password is kapalaran. (This will probably work today and tomorrow only, and after that it'll be at the ABC site in regular rotation.) I'm not sure what the significance of the word is (and if you run an anagram search on it, I'm sure they didn't intend for it to anagram to "Anal Parka." Or... maybe they did).

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Golden Globe Nominations Announced

And nary a Lost vote among them. Sigh. They've missed the mark on this one. But I'm glad to see Mad Men getting good play again. But my fingers are crossed, hoping that THIS year will finally be Michael C. Hall's year to win for Dexter. He is brilliant.



"The Curious Case of Benjamin Button"
"The Reader"
"Revolutionary Road"
"Slumdog Millionaire"


"Burn After Reading"
"In Bruges"
"Mamma Mia!"
"Vicky Cristina Barcelona"


"The Baader Meinhof Complex"
"Everlasting Moments"
"I've Loved You So Long"
"Waltz With Bashir"


Danny Boyle, "Slumdog Millionaire"
Stephen Daldry, "The Reader"
David Fincher, "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button"
Ron Howard, "Frost/Nixon"
Sam Mendes, "Revolutionary Road"


Leonardo DiCaprio, "Revolutionary Road"
Frank Langella, "Frost/Nixon"
Sean Penn, "Milk"
Brad Pitt, "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button"
Mickey Rourke, "The Wrestler"


Anne Hathaway, "Rachel Getting Married"
Angelina Jolie, "Changeling"
Meryl Streep, "Doubt"
Kristin Scott Thomas, "I've Loved You So Long"
Kate Winslet, "Revolutionary Road"


Javier Bardem, "Vicky Cristina Barcelona"
Colin Farrell, "In Bruges"
James Franco, "Pineapple Express"
Brendan Gleeson, "In Bruges"
Dustin Hoffman, "Last Chance Harvey"


Rebecca Hall, "Vicky Cristina Barcelona"
Sally Hawkins, "Happy-Go-Lucky"
Frances McDormand, "Burn After Reading"
Meryl Streep, "Mamma Mia!"
Emma Thompson, "Last Chance Harvey"


Tom Cruise, "Tropic Thunder"
Robert Downey Jr., "Tropic Thunder"
Ralph Fiennes, "The Duchess"
Philip Seymour Hoffman, "Doubt"
Heath Ledger, "The Dark Knight"


Amy Adams, "Doubt"
Penelope Cruz, "Vicky Cristina Barcelona"
Viola Davis, "Doubt"
Marisa Tomei, "The Wrestler"
Kate Winslet, "The Reader"


"Kung Fu Panda"


Simon Beaufoy, "Slumdog Millionaire"
David Hare, "The Reader"
Peter Morgan, "Frost/Nixon"
Eric Roth, "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button"
John Patrick Shanley, "Doubt"


Alexandre Desplat, "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button"
Clint Eastwood, "Changeling"
James Newton Howard, "Defiance"
Hans Zimmer, "Frost/Nixon"
A.R. Rahman, "Slumdog Millionaire"


"Down to Earth" (performed by Peter Gabriel, written by Peter Gabriel and Thomas Newman), "Wall-E"
"Gran Torino" (performed by Clint Eastwood, Jamie Cullum, Kyle Eastwood, Michael Stevens, lyrics by: Kyle Eastwood, Michael Stevens), "Gran Torino"
"I Thought I Lost You" (performed by Miley Cyrus and John Travolta, written by Miley Cyrus and Jeffrey Steele), "Bolt"
"Once in a Lifetime" (performed by Beyoncé, written by Beyoncé Knowles, Amanda Ghost, Scott McFarnon, Ian Dench, James Dring, Jody Street), "Cadillac Records"
"The Wrestler" (performed by Bruce Springsteen, written by Bruce Springsteen), "The Wrestler"



"House M.D."
"In Treatment"
"Mad Men"
"True Blood"


Gabriel Byrne, "In Treatment"
Michael C. Hall, "Dexter"
Jon Hamm, "Mad Men"
Hugh Laurie, "House M.D."
Jonathan Rhys Meyers, "The Tudors"


Sally Field, "Brothers & Sisters"
Mariska Hargitay, "Law & Order: SVU"
January Jones, "Mad Men"
Anna Paquin, "True Blood"
Kyra Sedgwick, "The Closer"


"The Office"
"30 Rock"


Alec Baldwin, "30 Rock"
Steve Carell, "The Office"
Kevin Connolly, "Entourage"
David Duchovny, "Californication"
Tony Shalhoub, "Monk"


Christina Applegate, "Samantha Who?"
America Ferrera, "Ugly Betty"
Tina Fey, "30 Rock"
Debra Messing, "The Starter Wife"
Mary-Louise Parker, "Weeds"


"Bernard & Doris"
"John Adams"
"A Raisin in the Sun"


Judi Dench, "Cranford"
Laura Linney, "John Adams"
Catherine Keener, "An American Crime"
Shirley MacLaine, "Coco Chanel"
Susan Sarandon, "Bernard & Doris"


Ralph Fiennes, "Bernard and Doris"
Paul Giammatti, "John Adams"
Kevin Spacey, "Recount"
Kiefer Sutherland, "24: Redemption"
Tom Wilkinson, "Recount"


Eileen Atkins, "Cranford"
Laura Dern, "Recount"
Melissa George, "In Treatment"
Rachel Griffiths, "Brothers & Sisters"
Dianne Wiest, "In Treatment"


Neil Patrick Harris, "How I Met Your Mother"
Denis Leary, "Recount"
Jeremy Piven, "Entourage"
Blair Underwood, "In Treatment"
Tom Wilkinson, "John Adams"

Steven Spielberg

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Oh Darlton... Why Dost Thou Torture Me?

There's this game I used to play with other English lit nerds when I was in university. I think we called it Shame (it's been a long time. Sigh). It works in a pop culture setting very well, too. If you're a huge fan of movies, like I am, you name the one movie you've never seen... the one you should be ASHAMED of yourself for not seeing. (For me, it's Gone With the Wind. Never seen it.) Or maybe there's a TV series you've never watched that you really should have, especially if you're writing books on Lost. *cough* I'm not even going to say what that is, for fear people will run screaming away from my blog like I'm some charlatan know-nothing. Wild horses can't drag that one out of me.

But it's when it came to literature that it got fun. I remember being out for drinks with a guy who was an assistant professor and we were playing the game, and he admitted to never having read Hamlet. I think half of us either choked on our drinks or spit them out completely. "How is that possible?!" we asked in complete bafflement. "Special skills?" he replied.

For me, that book that has been missing from my own personal canon is James Joyce's Ulysses. I know I should read it. Every day on June 16 I swear I'm going to take the day off, disappear into a basement and read the entire thing (that is Bloomsday, after all). I actually went and bought my copy in Paris at Shakespeare & Co., one of the world's most famous bookstores (my friend CK just posted pics of the store here) because that's where the book was written. I got them to stamp the front inside cover with their special stamp to prove that's where I bought it. That was in December 2000. It's been sitting on a bookshelf ever since, and every once in a while I glance over at it, send "good intention vibes" its way, and then it continues to sit for another 6 months before I glance at it again.

But now, Damon and Carlton have announced that in season 5, Ben Linus will be seen reading a copy of Ulysses in the season's seventh episode (this is in the special Dharma Access video that went out to subscribers last night; it will be on the ABC site some time tomorrow). Now I have to take the behemoth off the shelf. I have to open it and turn PAST the page with the fancy stamp. I have to read it.

I'm kind of scared.

I mean, this is something I've been building up to since my undergrad. It's like one of those things I've always looked forward to, but like Desmond and his tattered copy of Our Mutual Friend, figured it might be one of the last things I do. How do I read it? Do I check the footnotes as I go? Do I just read it straight and hope I get the feel of the lilting language, much like you do with a Shakespeare play? I feel like the thing needs to come with instructions. I talked to a friend of mine several years ago who is a well known Canadian poet and he told me the best way to read Ulysses is to avoid the footnotes altogether. So I think that's what I'll do.

I might disappear for a while. I'm not sure whether to curse the houses of Cuse and Lindelof for doing this to me, or to send blessings their way for giving me the heads up before the season actually started. (Here I am in December, and quite literally, when Damon held up the book and announced it, I dropped my head to the desk with a thud and moaned, "Why... why... WHY?!" Could you IMAGINE what my reaction would have been in March if that had been the first time I saw Ben reading it?)

But, I vow to you, gentle readers, there will be a chapter on Ulysses in my season 5 book. But you have to promise me that YOU will be reading this book, too. (And to my friends who are university English majors and professors who are reading this now... prepare for the onslaught of emails from me.)

Wow. How will I play the shame game now? I've been using Ulysses as my answer for so long I wouldn't know what to say next.

Now I don't think I can ever watch Gone with the Wind.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Faraday's Missing Foot

I posted yesterday on the strange new season 5 promo shot, saying it looked overly airbrushed to me. Then someone pointed out that Faraday was missing a foot. Sure enough, he is. But others are debating the issue and arguing his foot is there, it's just hiding behind some plants. Luckily, my readers are always there to help me out, and redeem isolated the foot and lightened the background, and it is most definitely not there.

Someone else pointed out that Juliet's toe is gone, and they're right; her toes, which should be sticking out of her shoe, are missing. What is all this about? Matthew Fox looks 10 years younger, Yunjin Kim looks like she's completely detached from that coffee table, Ken Leung and Naveen Andrews have very different lighting on them. This photo was clearly photoshopped and not taken all at once.

I don't know if you ever go and check out Jorge Garcia's very entertaining blog (it's here if you haven't) but he recently had a post where he was talking about going to get their photos taken. What I found curious is in one picture, you can clearly see him standing before a green screen, and he's wearing the same outfit as in this photo. I think each person was shot individually and then shopped into this photo. The question is, why? Is this another game? Are there other clues in the photo (other than those damn crackers)?

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Lost: The Season 5 Promo Shot

And here they are: the cast of season 5. But wow, holy airbrushed... click on the photo to see a larger version of it, or here to see even larger. They look a little alien-like. But I like it anyway.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Hawksley Workman: Anger as Beauty

As many of you know, I adore Hawksley Workman. (Even if I did once bitch on this blog about a bad cellphone shill he did at one concert, my love of his music did not waver.) I've seen him in concert countless times. I've seen him on stage alone with an acoustic guitar. I've seen entire concerts accompanied by no one but Mr. Lonely, his ever-present pianist. I've seen him on every tour, and through every persona. While promoting his first album, he played the blue-collar worker, saying he'd just gotten off his shift at the pipe-fitting plant and barely made it to the gig (the next night he was a plumber). I saw him on the incredible Delicious Wolves and Lover/Fighter tours, where his persona was as a sexual god who stormed about the stage and made everyone in the room want to leap onto the stage to be with him. At the screamingly loud Phoenix show, he wore torn jeans, and took off clothing throughout the set, and when he was joined onstage by hip-hop artist Graph Nobel so she could perform "Smoke Baby," it was insanely fabulous. The version the band did of "Striptease" that night -- raw, deviant, sexual -- has never been matched in a show I've seen since.

I saw him a few months ago about 30 minutes outside Huntsville in the town of Burk's Falls (pop. 1000) playing a small movie theatre that held about 220 people. I chatted with the town reeve and the deputy clerk of the town, who were running the door and made it probably the most charming show I'd ever been to. They tried to talk me into going to see the Screaming Heads, but we didn't have time. I'll definitely go the next time I'm up there, especially when I checked online to see what they were. I saw him at Massey Hall a couple of years ago and it was like a religious experience -- he had the entire place in the palm of his hand, and he knew it.

As the years have gone by, Hawksley has put together a band of extraordinary talent, and despite the fact he could probably play each one of them into the ground (he plays all the instruments on his albums) you can see the respect and adoration he has for each one of them. On earlier tours, as I said, he'd strike fanciful poses with the mike, standing atop monitors and stomping around the stage. Now he sings, walks over to the bass player to look at him, then walks over to the violinist to watch him, and heads back to the mike. He plays guitar himself, though he defers to the other band members to take the solos. The few times he does handle the solos, he kills them, making me wish he'd tackle more of them. But I think that new persona -- which isn't so much a persona as more of the real man, who admires other musicians and wants to give them the spotlight occasionally -- is taking over. I really wish Hawksley would occasionally put the guitar down like he used to and just sing, though. Even just a couple of songs.

Hawksley played Massey Hall this past Friday, and I was there filled with glee. I knew what to expect -- he's toned down the over-the-topness (which is a little sad, because I loved it), he'll tell stories, he'll perform amazing songs. There was no undressing as the show went on. In fact, he didn't even unbutton his jacket, which must have been rather stifling. I kept thinking that if he'd just remove the dull brown jacket, I could see a crimson shirt underneath with a pinstriped vest and a yellow tie, and he would have struck a pretty cool-looking figure. Similarly, the violinist, Jesse Zubot, who gave one of the most electrifying live performances I'd ever seen, looked like a local at a pub, complete with trucker hat, jeans, and an old shirt. Pop a suit on the guy and you'd have had one fine-looking band. (Hey, I'm not trying to be materialistic here, but when it comes to live shows, there's something to be said for the look.) I forgive him, though... this guy performed a solo where he completely shredded it -- literally. By the end of the solo his bow was almost ripped to shreds, with strings hanging off both ends. Zubot spent the remainder of the song pulling the threads off it. It was jaw-droppingly good. Even Hawksley stared at him at one point like he couldn't believe what the guy was doing. It had to be seen to be believed.

But onto the show. Hawksley has one of the great voices in rock music, and it was a little scratchy at points, which became clearer when he pulled a box of lozenges out and began popping them in his mouth (how crappy to get a Massey Hall show and then get hit with a cold days before it). The show was good, but like I said, it just sort of lacked something for the first bit. The audience didn't seem to be into the songs, which were mostly from his latest CD, Los Manlicious.

A little background: Hawksley recorded two albums: Los Manlicious and Between the Beautifuls. Manlicious is the rockier record, and Beautifuls the singer/songwriter one. Universal, in their infinite non-wisdom, decided North American audiences hate rock music or something, so they released that one in Europe, and Between the Beautifuls here. BtB did OK, and Hawksley pushed them to put out Manlicious. Finally, they acquiesced, and put absolutely no promotional push behind it. The critics raved about it, called it his best album since Delicious Wolves, but no one bought it because, well, they didn't know it existed. (If you are a Hawksley fan, I urge you to get this one... hell, if you don't know who he is, I urge you to get this one. It ROCKS.)

So I think the audience non-reaction had more to do with not knowing the album than anything the band was or wasn't doing.

And then... it happened. During "Striptease," which these days comes off more like Radiohead's performance of "Creep" ("sigh... we hate this song, but we bloody well have to do it because it's the freakin' hit"), the band launched into a bit of a lacklustre performance. And halfway through, during the big orchestral bit in the middle, the speakers completely blew. Like... GONE. Problem was, the monitors and speakers on stage were working perfectly, so the band had no idea that the rest of us had just lost the sound. They kept right on playing, and sounded like a band rehearsing in a garage. And here's the thing: it was GREAT. The loudness was stripped away, and instead you heard a stellar band pulling off a stellar song. They kept going, unaware of what was going on on our end. At one point Hawksley glanced out and you could tell by the look on his face he knew something was up. People weren't staring at the band, they were talking to each other, looking around. The soundboard guys were running frantically down the aisles toward the speakers to try to figure out if something had slipped. The band went up a key and kept going. I loved it. Hawksley stepped up to the mike to sing the final verse, got nothing through his earpiece, and stopped the song for a second, and said, "John, I don't have anything in my ear." Everyone in the audience began shouting at once. He pulled both of the earpieces out and leaned out, cocking his hand behind his ear while everyone continued screaming at him. Finally he said, "Look, I can't hear what you're saying, stop for a second..." everyone stopped. "Can you hear me?" "NO!" He pursed his lips, nodded, turned around and you could just hear the "FUUUUUUUUCCCCKKKK" in his head at that point. If this were many other singers I've seen over the years, he would have tossed the guitar and stormed off until the problem had been fixed.

But that's not Hawksley. Instead he called out to the lead singer of the opening band, Hey Rosetta (who were wonderful; their album is produced by Hawksley and the lead singer of the band has so much charisma I thought he was going to blow the roof of the place off), asking him for his acoustic guitar. The guy ran backstage, grabbed it and handed it off. The sound guys continued running up and down the aisles and checking everything. Hawksley came to the front of the stage, and Zubot joined him. Mr. Lonely stayed behind his piano, the drummer sat back, and the bassist stood by Hawksley's other shoulder, not playing. Hawksley began strumming the minor chords that we all knew so well, and then, bravely (considering he was starting to lose his voice and to shout this song out to Massey Hall was NOT going to be easy) he sang:

Gather at the church
Say a quiet prayer
Hold each other's hands
Praying that we might be there.

And with that, we suddenly were at church. You could have heard a pin drop. Zubot began playing quietly on his violin beside Hawksley, Mr. Lonely played some quiet arpeggios behind him, and the bassist (it's killing me that I can't remember this guy's name, because he's always incredible when we see him) sang harmonies behind him. Hawksley performed "Anger As Beauty" slowly, quietly... and it was amazing. As the chaos continued below him, he glanced upwards and carried us all out of it, like nothing was wrong, like he had planned the PA explosion all along, as if this was the way this song was meant to be played. Halfway through the song Lonely's piano suddenly rang through the speakers, and everything was back to normal. Hawksley smirked, they resumed their places, and he continued to sing it quietly until the song hit a natural break point, he switched to an electric guitar, and then the band slammed into the end of the song, playing it fast, loud, and amazingly. It was one of the best moments of any Hawksley show I'd ever seen.

From that point on he had the audience right where he wanted us. We hung on every word, we were carried along by the solos, we cheered and sang along. It was a beautiful thing.

And for that, this show officially ranks right up there with the Hawksley shows. I can't stress it enough: if you have not seen this man live, you are missing out. He is a consummate performer. He carried Massey Hall with no speakers or mikes (yeah, I know, hundreds of performers have done the whole, 'let's walk to the edge of the stage at Massey Hall and do an acoustic thing' including Hawksley himself at his last show, but their voices were being picked up by the mikes. He did it as if he were in our living room, and he had to make that voice carry to the upper upper balconies... and he did). He is extraordinary.

"Watch Your Cartoons, Goober..."

Hey all. Sorry I haven't posted in a while, but my entire family was hit with the stomach flu on the weekend. At the same time. It's one thing to lie in bed wanting to die for two days, it's quite another to be looking after a 4-year-old, a 1-year-old, and a husband while also wanting to die for 2 days. Ugh. Yesterday I watched the new season 5 sneak peek (involving Kate and Aaron), and it's pretty exciting. I will warn you, however, this is a scene from the new season, and therefore is a bit of a spoiler. I hope they don't release too many of these, but as a standalone, it's exciting and has me anticipating the new season with even more glee. (I believe this is going to be from the premiere episode, "Because You Left.")

And honestly, the more I see the kid who plays Aaron, the more I think they found someone who really looks like Claire. (A little odd, though, that Kate puts a suitcase together with some clothes for herself, but nothing for Aaron.)

You can watch the sneak peek here. Check it out quickly, because ABC will soon replace it with something else.

Also, for an interview with Darlton, check out Television without Pity. Mildly spoilery. Thanks to fb for the link!