Tag Archives: Pink

Pink rocks MSG, and me, with a show that entertains in many ways. “SNL” does a hilarious “Black Jeopardy” sketch. And glory and tragedy in hockey over the weekend

I had an answer all ready when quite a few of my friends asked me why I was going to a Pink concert last Thursday night at Madison Square Garden, the third time my wife and I have seen her live:

“Because I want to be her when I grow up.”

OK, OK, so it’s unlikely that’ll happen. But if I could somehow get to walk in the awesome shoes of the superstar for five minutes, my life on Earth would be made.

The concert Thursday night was even better than the first two times we saw her; this is a woman who is fierce, powerful and gives her diverse audience exactly what they’ve come for: A damn good time. (Seriously, there were all kinds of people at the show, old, young, white, black, boys, girls. Pink’s fans are a cross-section of humanity. Watch that video above of her flying above the crowd and tell me you don’t want to do that!)

And as I was listening to Pink belt out her hits in one fabulous, kick-ass costume or another, whether it was her beautiful ballad “Who Knew” or when she delivered a stunningly good cover of Nirvana’s classic “Smells Like Teen Spirit” (and don’t even get me started with how old I felt looking around at the crowd and seeing like, maybe 20 percent of them knowing the song), I started thinking of the numerous reasons I admire and like her so much.

For one, she doesn’t fake it. No lip-syncing at these live shows, no doing everything possible to play it safe. This woman flies around a stage doing acrobatic moves and singing at the same time, which is extremely difficult.

She also comes off as a very real human being. She’s not perfect, she’s made mistakes, she used to talk all the time about trying not to curse on stage anymore because she has so many young fans, and then would let an F-bomb go five minutes later. She’s not better or worse than anyone, and seems to have little rock star ego.

She also realizes she’s a role model, most of all to her young daughter, who in a mid-concert video she’s played throughout this current tour, explains how she’s instructed her daughter to ignore ignorant comments like “You look like a boy” and be proud of your true self.

Pink might not be the greatest singer ever, or the greatest dancer ever. But she is one hell of an entertainer, who relates to her fans, speaks to them on their level, and absolutely gives everyone who pays money to watch her perform a show they won’t soon forget.

A bunch of people my wife and I know were at their first Pink show Thursday. All said it won’t be their last.

I’ve never seen the same musical artist or group three times. But with Pink, I know I’ll be seeing her many, many more times to come.

I may not ever grow up to be her. But I can still admire the hell out of what she does, and who she is.

**Next up today, this “SNL” sketch from Saturday night was so fantastic. Chadwick Boseman, star of the mega-hit movie “Black Panther” guest-hosted, and appeared in the sketch as his movie altar ego, “T’Challa.”

If you watch nothing else of it, go to the 5:08 mark and watch T’Challa finally get the hang of the game. Totally brilliant.

**Finally today, two quick hockey stories as we get ready for the Stanley Cup playoffs (weird not having my Rangers in it, first time in eight years they’ve missed it. And no Blackhawks or Blues either? But a team from Las Vegas? Gonna be a strange, wonderful ride.)

The first story is a tragedy from Canada: A bus carrying a junior hockey team called the Humboldt Broncos from Western Canada, in Saskatchewan, crashed into a semi on the highway on the way to a game. Fifteen people, including the team’s head coach, players and broadcasters, died. What a brutal, awful tragedy. These were teenaged boys, trying to live out their dream of playing the sport they loved. Spare a thought for them and their families today.

The second story is a sweet one: For 17 years twins Daniel and Henrik Sedin have been stars for the Vancouver Canucks, doing everything except winning a Stanley Cup. They announced recently that this will be their last season, and in their final home game Friday night, the twins teamed up for the game-winning goal in overtime.

Very rarely do you get storybook moments like this. Very, very cool.

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Can we still admire the work of a person accused of sexual assault? Pink gives a fantastic performance at AMA’s. And my annual tribute to “Cheers” Thanksgiving episode

When I was first starting out in journalism, and I was trying to learn to become a better interviewer, I watched Charlie Rose a lot.

He was on late at night (which fit my nocturnal sportswriter hours), and I remember admiring how well he would frame questions to his subjects, how he would draw out revealing answers, and how his interviews always felt more like conversations than interviews.

I remember ordering a VHS copy of his 1999 interview with Dustin Hoffman right after the Columbine school massacre. The show was one of the most sensational things I’ve ever seen (and thank God for  YouTube, that interview is right here)   and actually watching it and studying it for how Rose elicited such an emotional response from the actor. I followed and watched Rose for years, and greatly admired his skills as a TV personality.

All of this is to say that clearly I looked up to Rose, and now like millions of others I’m horrified to find out what a lecherous, inappropriate man he has been to many, many women over the years. And what I’m wrestling with, and what I’m sure many others are wrestling with, is a question that really has no easy answer: Can we still admire the work of individuals who in “real life” have proven to be so loathsome and disgusting?”

Call it the “Woody Allen” problem: If the person who made the art is despicable, can we still enjoy it? Can’t I still laugh at “Annie Hall” or “The Cosby Show” or a Jeffrey Tambor show like “Transparent” even if I know that a huge part of the show is a terrible person when the cameras are off?

I don’t pretend to know the answer, but for me, it’s yes. The art is different from the person who made it.

Sports fans have dealt with this problem for decades. Baltimore Ravens fans cheered Ray Lewis, who was involved in a double murder, to sack the quarterback. San Francisco Giants fans roared for Barry Bonds, steroid cheat. The list could go on and on.

And I think the same holds for entertainment. “Annie Hall” is no less a work of genius because Woody Allen is a severely flawed, possibly criminal, person. Bill Cosby will hopefully rot in hell, but “The Cosby Show” entertained millions and is still pretty damn funny.

Charlie Rose did horrible things, and damaged women. I hope he pays a huge price for his behavior (and it seems he has, as he’s been fired from both his PBS and CBS shows).

But I am still grateful that I learned to become a better journalist thanks to watching him. And I don’t think any of us who still enjoy the work of these disgraced men need to apologize for it.

***Next up today, you all know how much I worship and adore the amazing singer Pink, who is fierce and fabulous and puts on a hell of a show (we’ve seen her live twice already and are seeing her again next April on her next tour). She was at the American Music Awards on Sunday and sang a beautiful, haunting duet of R.E.M’s classic “Everybody Hurts” with Kelly Clarkson. But her even better performance was of her new song, “Beautiful Trauma,” while hanging off the side of a hotel in Vegas. Watch this, the woman is just incredible.

**Finally today, I don’t have too many traditions on this here little piece of the Internet, but one I’m happy to continue each year is to share the “Cheers” Thanksgiving episode, one of the finest pieces of comedy ever recorded. It makes me laugh every time, and often at a different part: Today I took so much joy out of Ted Danson’s face after he’s shut down Diane’s little speech.

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you out there, and I’m as always grateful you take the time to read Wide World of Stuff.

Fourteen years ago, the world changed. Ellen DeGeneres helps out an awesome educator. And Roger Federer saves an autograph-seeking boy from being crushed

It is Friday, which usually means only good news stories on this site. But it is, of course, also 9/11 today, and I would be pretty heartless to ignore that fact.

It’s been fourteen years since the World Trade Center and the Pentagon were attacked by planes, a fact that doesn’t get any less surreal or scary by the passage of time.

As always, I watched the above video last night to remember and think about 9/11; I couldn’t find the original version, by Jason Powers, to embed, but this one is pretty good as well.

Please take a few minutes today to listen to the roll call of names being read in New York, or think about someone who died that day (like Tyler Ugolyn), or think about a visit to the 9/11 Memorial site the next time you’re here in N.Y.

Fourteen years. Never forget.

**Moving on, two videos that I hope will make you as happy as they made me. Ellen DeGeneres’ show came back on the air for a new season this week, and I very much enjoyed Pink’s performance and interview on Thursday (Pink totally rules, and I will not accept any other opinion.)

Ellen always makes people feel good, and for some reason I must’ve missed this awesome clip from last spring. Sonya Romero, an incredibly dedicated teacher in New Mexico, was on Ellen’s show explaining how much she does for her students, and Ellen and Co. decided to give something back.

This is beautiful, even Ellen cries…

**And finally, I’ll be at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center today, getting a thrill of a lifetime watching the men’s semifinals at the U.S. Open at Arthur Ashe Stadium (a fantastic birthday present from my wife).

Happily, Roger Federer, maybe my all-time favorite athlete, will be playing. I love Federer for so many reasons, but certainly for stuff like this.

After his match the other night there was a crush of people trying to get his autograph, and a little boy was getting smushed.

So Fed did this…

Go Fed. Two more wins and Slam No. 18 awaits…

James Risen is still being prosecuted, and Obama ought to be ashamed. The NYT takes 2nd-graders out for a fancy meal, adorably. And the new Pink folk song is awesome

I like a lot of things Barack Obama has done as President the last 6 1/2 years, and in hindsight I’m glad I worked so hard for him as a campaign volunteer in ’08 and ’12.
But there are two major promises he’s broken that still anger me all these years later: He has never come close to closing the Guantanamo Bay prison, which is a permanent stain on America, and he absolutely contradicted himself when he promised his administration would be the most transparent in history.

What Obama and his Justice Dept. officials have done to journalists over the past six years is unconscionable: More reporters and government leakers have been subpoenaed and prosecuted for writing stories about classified government information during the Obama adminstration than all previous Presidents combined. Combined!

The Justice Dept.has routinely harassed reporters, seizing records of phone calls and even charging another journalist under the Espionage Act.

The James Risen case might be the most egregious; the “60 Minutes” piece above does an excellent job of summarizing the case, and how ridiculous it is that Risen is being prosecuted for not revealing his confidential sources on the explosive NSA warrantless wiretapping scandal.

Hell, the former NSA chief himself, Michael Hayden, doesn’t think Risen should be prosecuted, yet the Justice Dept. charges ahead, and Risen could find himself in jail come January.

It’s disgraceful how much this President’s administration has tried to squelch the freedom of the press, and along with the wonderful Affordable Care Act, ought to be a major historical part of his record as well.

**Next up, this was a brilliant story idea by the New York Times Magazine staff. They decided to invite a group of second-graders from an elementary school in Brooklyn to one of the fanciest restaurants in New York City and serve them a 7-course tasting menu that usually costs $220 per person.

The reactions, noises and faces of the kids as they try caviar, Japanese snapper and other delicacies are hilarious.

“Why am I eating soap right now?” one kid exclaims.
Fantastic video.

**Finally, I’m a pretty big Pink fan, as I’ve expressed here on the blog a few times before. Seen her in concert twice and love her attitude, her music, and her general bad-ass-ness, if that’s a word. She’s never seemed like a typical rock star, and she always seems to be willing to take chances with her music and lyrics.

So I was really excited when I heard she made a folk album with a guy named Dallas Green. First single off it is really good (above), and I’m sure the rest of the album is fantastic, too.
I know they get mercilessly ripped for it sometimes, but I for one love it when successful singers completely go into another genre and try something new.

Though it is a little jarring to see a woman who wrote “You and Your Hand Tonight” doing soft folk music.

Pink puts on an awesome concert. Duke wins ugly, Fla. Gulf Coast is beautiful, and other Madness thoughts. And a breathtaking video from the Anti-Defamation League

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Saturday night found me and the fiance at Izod Center in the Meadowlands of New Jersey, and right off the top I must tell you that the concert was my idea.

Despite being among only 25 percent of the total crowd there Saturday, Pink does have some men fans, me among them. I think she’s fierce and bad-ass but also a great songwriter and as I soon found out, a hell of a live performer.

The 2-hour extravaganza she put on may not have been the best live music show I’ve ever seen, but it’s up there. First of all, the acrobatics were insane. Pink probably soared through the air through half the songs, and the encore had to be seen to be believed; I embedded this video below (skip to the :30 mark for the good stuff) from her recent concert in Montreal to show it; basically she was hooked up to wires and flew all the way around the arena while singing “So What.” It was literally a “Holy Shit” moment for the crowd when she soared all the way to the upper deck, and everyone’s phones were out filming the cool stunt. (Fiance’s comment: “She clearly wanted to be a circus performer as a little kid and then realized she could sing.”)

Besides the acrobatics, she had a terrific cast of backup singers, dancers and musicians, and Pink herself was really sweet with the crowd. Of course, it was a little disturbing to see how many 10-year-old girls were there listening to Pink singing proudly about being a slut and using the F word liberally, but hey, the parents knew what they were in for.

It was a wonderful show done by a performer who gives you your money’s worth, and I highly recommend her tour if it’s in your area.

**I saw this on Sunday and it really struck me as very clever and altogether sad. The Anti-Defamation League, an organization that fights bigotry and hate all over the country, has put together this video showing what the world may have been like without hate crimes against now-famous people. See what may have become of Anne Frank, Martin Luther King Jr., and Matthew Shepard.

Haunting, brilliant idea, and a video I won’t soon forget.

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**Finally today, some thoughts on the weekend of Madness at the NCAA Tournament, where once again a No. 1 seed fell in the opening week and people were shocked, though I don’t know why, and a little school in Fla. showed us how much fun sports can be:

— Florida Gulf Coast. I mean, what can I say? What an incredible story. A school few had heard of on Friday afternoon is suddenly the talk of the sports world, after becoming the first No. 15 seed to ever reach the Sweet 16. They shocked Georgetown Friday night, then, when most No.15’s falter after having their one “magical” game, they came back and did it again Sunday night, beating San Diego State.
The way the Eagles play is just so much fun to watch; alley-ooping and hitting 3’s and just playing with such verve, such joy. All because a bunch of unrecruited kids went to a small school, bought into what their coach Andy Enfield was selling, and worked their butts off.

I hope they keep winning. They’re too much fun to stop now.

— And my Duke boys had me sweating late into the night Sunday with a difficult, defensively dominated win over Creighton. The final was 66-50 but it was much closer throughout. Both offenses were pretty poor, but Duke’s defense was terrific. The refs called every foul on both teams, to a ridiculous degree, but the Blue Devils survived and now get to play Michigan State in the Sweet 16. The Spartans are my second favorite college hoops team, so I hate this matchup, but it should be a great game.

— Yes, Gonzaga lost, but really, it’s not that much of a shock. The Zags had a great year but didn’t face as much tough competition as others did, so when Wichita State battled them and hit more big shots at the end Saturday night, they crumbled a bit. The Zags may not have ever been worthy of a 1 seed, but it still was a fabulous game by Wichita State.
— This is what I love about the tournament: Because of all the upsets, La Salle or Wichita State will be in a regional final. Crazy.
— Since I was going to be at the Pink concert Sat. night I chose to DVR one game to watch later, and because Butler almost always plays great tournament games, I picked Butler-Marquette. Good choice. It was the game of the day Saturday, beautifully hard-fought and close down to the wire.

Man, those teams are evenly matched. And now they’ll be rivals in the new Big East. Should be terrific.

Whew. I’m exhausted from all that hoops. Can’t wait till Thursday night when it starts all over again.

Some thoughts on the AMA’s from a confused, out-of-touch fan. The Jets look like a real football team! And a Twinkie commercial from the ’70s

I know almost nothing about current music.
I follow it very little, and most of what I learn is from my fiancee, who has introduced me to cool bands like Mumford and Sons and The Lumineers, and my friend Bill Werde on Twitter (he runs Billboard magazine), who at least teaches me one or two things a week.

Still, I’m really naive and uninformed when it comes to current tunes. Yet, I have fond childhood memories of the American Music Awards, watching Paula Abdul (my all-time No. 1 childhood celebrity crush), Boyz II Men, and Guns N’ Roses perform.

So I watched a little of Sunday night’s show, and herewith, my snap judgments:

— Was Justin Bieber trying to look like Vanilla Ice Sunday, or was that just a happy accident? I get that he’s trying to be like Usher but man, he looked kinda silly in the backwards hat. And stop grabbing your crotch so much, son. Only Michael Jackson looked cool doing that.

— I thought Pink and her whole “performance art” thing was pretty cool, and the song “Try” is definitely one of the best on her new album.
–Really, Carly Rae Jepson gets “Best New Artist?” For her one song? Somewhere, even Milli Vanilli are laughing.
–Gwen Stefani still looks amazing, and her voice was as good as ever. Always happy to see her perform.
— Whereas Nikki Minaj makes Lady Gaga look like a shy, reserved wallflower.
— Finally, the AMA’s made me miss Dick Clark, who founded them. Great to see Stevie Wonder do a little tribute to the man who was so influential in music history.

**The New York Jets looked like a real football team Sunday, and that was only about the fourth-most surprising thing that happened on a crazy-exciting day in the NFL.
Proves you never can tell what you’re going to get in this league: At 1 p.m. it looked like a pretty bad slate of games, and yet at 3:55 p.m. I had my head on a swivel at the sports bar, watching three games go into overtime.
First, a few words on my Jets. It’d been 35 long days since they’d won. And thankfully, they were playing St. Louis, who isn’t very good, either.

But there were lots of good things for the green and white Sunday: Mark Sanchez played mistake-free, efficient football, they ran the ball well, and the defense, after the opening drive, was outstanding.
I still expect Rex Ryan and Mike Tannenbaum to get canned after the season, and for the team to finish 5-11, but it was nice to see the Jets actually play a complete game for once.

Elsewhere in the NFL…

— Insane shootout between Jacksonville and Houston. Andre Johnson, you are an incredible football player. 273 receiving yards and the game-winning TD in OT? Beautiful. But that Texans defense ought to be ashamed, giving up 37 points to Chad Henne.
— Everyone in the bar was rooting like hell for Cleveland to knock off the Cowboys, and they almost did it before falling in OT. “Almost” is a word Browns fans have heard for a long time, but they really killed themselves with penalties in the fourth quarter.
— If I’m an Atlanta Falcons fan, I’d be really nervous right now.
— So glad the Steelers again wore the ugliest uniforms in the history of the world Sunday night (above).
— Finally, not NFL but a college football thought: So Kansas State and Oregon lost, and now Notre Dame and one-loss Alabama are the top 2 teams. Once again,   if someone can explain to me why one-loss ‘Bama is more deserving of a national title shot than one-loss Oregon, I’m all ears. College football is such a mess when it comes to determining a champion.

**Finally today, as you surely have heard by now, Hostess is going out of business, and the world will no longer get to enjoy the delicious goodness that are Twinkies.
It’s hilarious that people are buying up boxes of Twinkies and selling them on eBay, like they’re a real collector’s item.
Saw this commercial on the Web this weekend and made me want one more. Just one more, though, because as a grown-up I realize how gross they are.

The Kalamazoo Promise: Every kid who graduates gets free college. Pink is awesome. A love story in 22 pictures. And the “West Wing” cast reunites for a hilarious commercial.

Today’s Good News Friday starts with a plug for moi: I’ve been writing for an environmental blog for the past year at ThomasNet.com, a publishing company that goes back over 100 years. If you’re interested in solar panels, wind turbines, electric cars and the like, you can find my musings on all things environmental at this link and in my blogroll at the homepage. Thanks.

There are so many challenges facing educators today: budget shortfalls, overcrowded classrooms, disinterested students, and the list goes on and on.
And education reforms seem to be all over the place these days, with ideas being thrown out, tried for a few years, then thrown back.
But there are certain “fads” that never go out of style. Things like opportunity, and a promise of college to every student in one town in America who wants to go.

It was really heartening for me to read this story in last Sunday’s New York Times magazine about The Kalamazoo Promise, which is this: In 2005, a series of wealthy anonymous donors decided to donate money for college tuition to every single student in the Kalamazoo school system who graduated from high school.

Every single kid gets a scholarship to a state school. What an incredible incentive, what a wonderful program, and man oh man if every city had the money to do this, what a difference it could make.

Read the story, and realize what’s possible.

**Brief interlude: Pink is awesome. She’s fierce and powerful and a hell of a good singer and songwriter.
She’s going on tour this winter and I hope to see her live for the second time. She was on “The Daily Show” this week and was awesome; here’s a clip from the show of her singing one of her excellent old hits, “Who Knew,” and here’s a clip from the first single off the new album, the very catchy (and NSFW lyrics) “Blow Me (One Last Kiss”).

Pink rules.

**If a picture paints a thousand words (hat tip to Bread there), then here’s a whole lot of words in 22 pictures (one of them is at the top of the page.

My awesome friend Victoria C. alerted me to this beautiful photo essay on buzzfeed.com about love, which starts happy, dances with tragedy in the middle, but ends up happy, too.
What a beautiful story.

**Finally today, you know I like to feature “The West Wing” clips on here from time to time, because it’s my second-favorite show, ever (behind “The Wire.”)  While I still pine away hope for a real “West Wing” reunion, this will have to do. In real life, the sister of former “West Wing” cast member Mary McCormack is running to be a Supreme Court judge in Michigan, so McCormack recruited her old castmates to help her sister.

The writing and the facial tics of all the actors are so perfectly in tune with their old roles, it’s scary.

Enjoy…