Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Nashville Rising Benefit Concert - Nashville, TN - Recap & Thoughts - June 23, 2010

It has been nearly two months since the terrible flooding hit Nashville, Tennessee. Not long after the flooding happened, Tim McGraw and Faith Hill announced a benefit concert called Nashville Rising to raise money for the flood. A huge lineup of names were signed up for the show with more names being added as the date grew closer. That date for the concert was last night at the Bridgestone Arena in downtown Nashville. Tickets sold out fast back when they went on sale. Additional seats were released over the last week or so with them going quickly as well. I was thankful to get tickets for the show and got to see it last night. What can I really say other than it was incredible? Where are you going to get to go to a concert to raise money for a great cause with that star studded lineup in one place? That ticket price was a bargain considering what I saw last night. What a show!! We had our lineup of advertised stars including surprises. A packed arena saw a four hour concert that was a lot of fun. Most singers did two songs.

Carrie Underwood opened the show and got it going fast. She performed "Undo It" and then went into her combo of "Jesus Take The Wheel" and "How Great Thou Art" which brought the house down. Huge standing ovation and she is just incredible with how she finishes off that performance. I've now seen that performance of that combo three times in the last couple of weeks including the Opry and Fan Club party and I get chills every time I hear it. Amazing. I'm not going to go in order of performances so I'm just going to jump around on thoughts and opinions. Miranda Lambert is another favorite of mine and the crowd just loved her. "White Liar" and "The House That Built Me" were her two songs. I thought "House" was a great song to go with the event. Martina McBride is just incredible. First time to see her live and she has such star power up there. Taylor Swift performed "Love Story" and "You Belong With Me" which got a big reaction from the crowd. Such a fun performance by her.

The first surprise of the night was during Blake Shelton's performance. He sang "Hillbilly Bone" and then out walks Trace Adkins to take part in it. The crowd ate it up and it was a really fun surprise. Big reaction when Trace walked on to the stage. All I can say is wow to ZZ Top. They sounded awesome and had the crowd in the palm of their hands. They showed why they are Hall of Famers. Julie Roberts performed and was a survival story of the flood telling of her experience which included her home being destroyed. Lyrnard Skynyrd had the crowd fired up as well including their hit "Sweet Home Alabama". Toby Keith was an addition to the show in recent weeks and he didn't disappoint singing "I Love This Bar" and "Not As Good As I Once Was". LeAnn Rimes had a fun performance doing two of her recent songs. Jason Aldean was a crowd favorite with one of his performances being his rocking hit, "She's Country".

Amy Grant and Michael W. Smith were awesome bringing in some inspirational music for the concert. Faith is something that I truly hope that everyone leaned on during the flooding and I pray that God continues to heal all those effected by the tragedy. Billy Ray Cyrus and Miley Cyrus shared their song duties with Billy getting one song and Miley getting one song. The kids love Miley Cyrus as they went crazy when she was introduced. Good song choice for her singing "The Climb". Montgomery Gentry were crowd favorites as well and Luke Bryan also brought two performances to the show. The show closed with the ones who got the show together. Faith Hill went first and was great. She sang "Stronger" and "Piece Of My Heart". Tim McGraw closed the show. Great as well. Fitting ending song with Tim singing "Live Like You Were Dying". I thought that was such a great inspirational song to close the concert.

Miscellaneous notes. Nashville Rising put out a number today saying that $2.4 million was raised last night. There were several video pieces shown from various stars that couldn't be in attendance including Reese Witherspoon, Matthew McConaughey, Craig Ferguson, and Dolly Parton. Sandra Bullock made a surprise appearance and it was a really fun moment. The crowd went crazy for her. She started playing the guitar including her doing a really funny warm up including asking for quiet. LOL. Then, she stopped playing and said "who am I kidding" and introduced Faith Hill. It was a fun moment and intro for Faith. Faith walked out and talked of how she couldn't follow Sandra's performance and how she needs to be signed up now. Quite a bit of merchandise being sold including shirts offered in white or black, poster, program, and a commemorative pass. Merchandise was another great way to raise money obviously for the flooding. You know it is Music City when you have this great show going on while the Opry is also running just across the street at the Ryman Auditorium with Kellie Pickler on the show. Brooks and Dunn were set to perform on the show but had to pull out due to an illness.

The show was all about raising money and awareness of the flooding. Many checks were presented during the concert and a full house guaranteed that a lot of money was raised. The attitude of everyone speaking was great with everyone talking about how Nashville had pulled together to work their way back. Several mentioned the lack of media attention on Nashville at the time which is very true. The attitude was what I've heard from the beginning and that is that they've got it under control and will take care of their own. Way to go Nashville!! Keep up that comeback. Thank you Tim and Faith for putting together this great show and to all the performers who took time out to be on this great show. Thank you to everyone that had any part in this show and to all who have donated money to help get Nashville back on its feet. The way that Nashville has stood up in the wake of this tragedy has been an inspiration and I always send prayers up for everyone effected by it.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Superman Celebration 2010 - Metropolis, IL - Q&A Session Recap Of Laura Vandervoort and Sam Witwer - June 13, 2010

Laura Vandervoort and Sam Witwer were in attendance at the 2010 Superman Celebration in Metropolis, IL. On Smallville, Laura plays the role of Kara Kent (Supergirl) and Sam plays the role of Doomsday. On Saturday, we were treated to a fun Q&A session with them. I thought I'd recap some of it. First, the session started with them being asked if they could let us know any information on whether they would be included in any of season ten of Smallville. They took time to talk among themselves talking it over with their response. LOL. Then, they came back and said "no comment" at the same time which got a big laugh from the audience.
Question for Laura:

What was it like to play the cousin and get to see Tom at work everyday?
"I didn't mind going into work. (laughs). When I first met Tom, we had this scene together in the kitchen that we had to do and he just meets me for the first time. I think there was a line where he says "oh, that makes you my cousin" and in rehearsal he was joking around cause we were standing very close and then when he said "that makes you my cousin" he took a step back backwards like I can't be this close to you. We were just having fun with the fact that it was a little awkward. It's too bad that he was my cousin."
Question For Sam and Laura:
How do you feel your characters have contributed to the Smallville series?
Laura: "They definitely wanted to have Supergirl on the show. I think she brought a sense of humor in Tom and to Superman. She was his quirky little cousin who was causing trouble and he was willing to take care of her. I don't know how I contributed but I know the fans really enjoyed Kara and I really enjoyed her (applause from the crowd). I just hope that you guys were happy with what I did."
Sam: "Michael Rosenbaum wasn't there. They needed someone to provide a threat. Hopefully, it was interesting. My whole take on the character was that this was a really good guy. He was a very good person who was in a really, really bad situation and therefore was threatening to Superboy."
Laura: "With Kara, they needed someone from his family and from his home planet to kind of teach him about his past and his family. No one had done that yet. It also allowed Helen Slater to come on the show as his mother. (applause from the crowd on Helen's mention). I think both of our characters allowed for a lot more doors to be opened in storylines."
Questions for Sam:

What was it like to play Tom's enemy?
Sam: "Well, Tom's about 7'2". (laughs). I'm used to going on to sets and being one of the taller guys and I'm 6'1". So, I'm not a giant but I'm pretty tall I guess. (Turns to Laura) Have you noticed that everyone is a giant on that set? Justin Hartley is like 6"3". Tom Welling is like 6"5'. The girls are tall. (Laura says "Tom wears heels." (Laughs) I'm kidding". Sam: "There was one point where I'm trying to grab Tom and choke him or something and they made some comment when they were shooting on one side. 'It just looked a little bit like you're trying to reach up like this'. I'm like 'he ate his wheaties man, there is nothing that I can do'. For that shot, I stood on my toes (reaches up yelling arrghh). When I met him, I walked on the set and said are you the super guy? Yeah, I kill you. He (Tom) says, 'oh, well, someone has to'. (laughs).

Were you in the Doomsday suit?
Sam: "Ha ha. No, I wasn't. The cool thing about the Doomsday suit is that I can be sitting around playing video games and my presence is still felt around the set. There was a big Doomsday episode and I showed up for all of four hours of that episode in terms of work. The first time that you see the creature and I transform. And I play the "I'm turning" and the rest of the episode, he's in it. I get so many people coming up to me and saying that was great, that was such a great episode and I'm like thank you. (laughs). I appreciate that. The answer to that is that Doomsday in the comic book is 8 foot wide and 10 foot tall and I'm only 6"1' and short."

Can you tell us anything about the Star Wars game?
Sam: "Go to or, it's kind of all over the web. There was a new trailer that we put out yesterday. It's really cool. The story and the characters are a little more ragged this time and the combat is a little more over the top. The story is fantastic. You learn a little bit more about Vader and all of that cool stuff. I haven't consulted with Lucas Arts on what I'm allowed to say and not, so I'll just leave it at that. It's awesome."

Is being a part of the Star Wars experience everything that you hoped it would be?
Sam: "Big time. Yeah. The trailer that we just put out is generally what we would do a lot of video reference and they would put a videocamera on me and I would do so some stuff and that's how we'd figure out how the character moves. For the facial stuff, we do motion capture but for the recent trailer that we put out, I motion captured the whole thing. I got to do light saber stuff. It was really fun. The coolest thing is that you're working at Lucas Film and so we're shooting this. I was waving a microphone around to be my light saber cause they're going to put it all in later. At one point, the director goes, awww, no, go downtown stairs and get you a light saber and I'm, like, what? Ok, sure. It's Lucas Film. I guess they have these around. (laughs)."

Questions For Laura and Sam:
How did you both prepare for your Smallville roles?
Laura: "I just did some harness training at the very beginning of the show. I couldn't really prepare to be Supergirl. I read the comic books. When I first got the role, they had to do green screen and just learning how to be in a harness and fly. I did most of my own flying in the show cause I loved doing it. The stunt girl hated me for it but not much to prepare, just kind of thrown into it when I was cast. It was about a week turnaround to when I was on camera with Tom, googley eyed. I just learned as I went. Kara slowly became my own. Originally, the producers had a very specific feel for Kara. The short shorts. A very specific look. Then, eventually she developed more into of who I think I was with a mixture of Supergirl. She was strong and independent. She started wearing more clothes. (laughs). I really enjoyed playing her and I appreciate you guys watching. With the training, it was just the physical training and the acting just kind of came from the show as we went along."
Sam: "For me, I read the comic books. As soon as the scripts showed up, I realized that there wasn't much use cause we were doing something completely different which was scary cause it was like what if you guys don't like it? In fact, the reaction to the 'they're doing a human side of Doomsday' was very negative until we started airing. When it started airing and people saw what we were doing, they liked it right away but before that, we were getting some pretty nasty messages. As an actor, they pitched Davis to me as a good guy who was in a terrible situation so I play him as nice of a person under those awful circumstances."

Do you think Clark will fly in season ten?
Laura: "If I have anything to do with it, he will. (gets a big cheer and laughs from the crowd). There was a scene in season seven in the loft where I was teaching him to fly. When we were rehearsing it, it was basically a scene where I was standing behind him telling him how to do it. During the rehearsal, Tom and I were joking and I kind of pushed him and the director loved that. So, there was a shot of me pushing his elbows and it's always fun cause we get to add our own little humor to it. I know how much everyone wants him to fly. I'm telling you that I'm trying. If I'm ever back on the show, I will try."

Any interest in working behind the scenes?
Sam: "Eventually, yeah. Need a bit more experience in tailing directors."
Laura: "I would love to be a writer or producer. I love being behind the camera almost more than in front sometimes. It's a little easier. I've always enjoyed writing. I have a few films that I would like to write and one that I've written and that people are looking at. So, fingers crossed for that."

Thoughts on other roles that you've played outside of Smallville?
Sam: "Battlestar was a lot of fun. A lot of fun. I learned some really bad habits on Battlestar cause there was a lot of ad libbing on that show. The executive producer said to me 'ok, here's the rule, one is written and then say whatever you want'. So, about everytime that you see Crashdown, he's saying whatever he wants. But it was really great and those actors are incredible. I keep up with them. I just saw Eddie a few months ago and got dinner with him a few times. Really great people and really fun people. The work was just outstanding. Because we had such creative control of our characters given to us, I always try to bring a little bit of that to each role that I do to the dismay of the producers or director. Even on Smallville, they had to get used to the idea that I was going to change things every now and then but I just can't help it. Battlestar really taught me to take responsibility for those things. Until such time when someone fires me for that, I'll keep doing it. You can't do it as much as you did in Battlestar and it is fun to say that this is my role and I have something to contribute here. So, I'm going to give it a shot. Provided that they don't tell me to completely not do it, I'm going to do it and I have Battlestar to thank for that."
Laura: (With V). "I love being on the show and we just finished our first season. It's completely aired. I play Lisa who is the daughter of the queen V, Anna. It's based on the 1983 or 1984 minseries. It's such a great miniseries that they knew they wanted to bring it back. It's a reincarnation or reimagining of the show. Completely different characters but very similar to the originals at the same time. My character Lisa was, actually very similar to Smallville, I don't know if you know this but I was only a guest star and was only supposed to do three episodes and it turned into the season and the same thing happened with V. Lisa ended up being a great character. She might rebel against her own people. I really enjoy playing it and being on ABC is great. Smallville was a great learning pad for me. Hopefully, I'll get to return but V is great too. We start the second season in August. Be sure to check that out and Lisa is going to be in it a lot more."

A Smallville scene that challenged you?
Sam: "There was one scene where it was me, Justin Hartley, and Aaron Ashmore. I have them captive and basically I know that if Chloe doesn't get to me soon that I'm going to have to kill one of them or take out a city block. The choice is to take out one of those guys or I wolf out as Doomsday and destroy five city blocks and hundreds of people are going to die. So, I don't want to and I don't want to hurt these guys but I've got them captive and if she doesn't get to me soon, I'm going to have to do something. It was a cool group of scenes. It was tough because you're like, wow, he's doing all this stuff and he punches Jimmy, and does all these awful things but how do you play it where you feel bad for the guy whose about to do awful things?"
Laura: "My very first scene on Smallville was like seven pages with Tom which was nerve wrecking enough. I was so nervous cause there was so much dialogue and it was expositional and it was me talking about suspended animation and it went on and on. This was my first day and I wanted to do a good job. I didn't know if I could handle it. You have marks when you are doing scenes and they put tape on the floor to tell you which mark is next. The floor was covered in marks and I walked around this whole room talking to the ceiling, the door, and he's behind me listening. That was the scene that really challenged me. I got through it and I felt fairly good about it but never completely satisfied. It made me realize that I could handle things that I didn't think that I could."

Where can we find you online?
Sam: " I'm working on a new (personal) website right now"
Laura: "I don't have Facebook, My Space, or Twitter. There are impersonators so if I've been talking to you and I'm rude, I'm sorry. What is scary is a friend of mine texts me and says that I heard you don't have Facebook, I've been talking to you for a year. My friends! They obviously don't know me well or you just have to be careful. I do have a website: Other than that, just be careful cause there are a lot of impersonators. Great fan spaces."

Anyway, that is some of the highlights of the Q&A from the 2010 Superman Celebration. A big thanks to Laura Vandervoort and Sam Witwer for being at the Celebration as they were great guests. I got to meet both of them and they were really nice. The fans were definitely having fun meeting them. That is it for the Superman Celebration recap. Take care and God bless!!

Friday, June 11, 2010

2010 Superman Celebration - Lois Lane/Noel Neill Statue Unveiled In Metropolis - June 11, 2010

The 2010 Superman Celebration is underway in Metropolis, IL. Today was the ceremony unveiling the new Lois Lane/Noel Neill statue. Thankfully, the storms that hit this morning were done just in time for the ceremony. So, we had a rain free ceremony. A big crowd turned out to see the debut of the statue. Noel Neill was in attendance riding up in a classic car. She was accompanied by the official Superman of the 2010 Superman Celebration. The ceremony was really well done with several speaking about Noel along with the work that went into getting this project done. Noel did speak and was her normal sweet self. She is always so appreciative of everything and thanked everyone for coming out for the event.
Also in attendance was the artist of the statue, Gary Ernest Smith along with Kevin Magg who heads the company that built the statue. The statue is very impressive looking and it was a great ceremony. Amazing work on it!!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Carrie Underwood Fans Take Over The Opry During CMA Week - June 9, 2010

It was a busy day in Nashville for Carrie Underwood fans on Tuesday. Fans rolled in from all over the world to see Carrie. The Grand Ole Opry was set to be the host for the event but the party and Opry show for the night was moved over to the Municipal Auditorium due to the recent flooding. I attended the Fan Club party and it was a lot of fun!! Carrie opened the show with "Twisted" and went through a lot of her newer stuff while mixing in some of her classics. She performed for around an hour. Then, it was into a Fan Q&A with Nan Kelley of GAC helping out with it. I really enjoyed this and Carrie had a lot of great stories to tell. Next up was a "finish the lyrics" contest with fans competing for prizes. Carrie would sing a lyric and then fans would have to hit the bell first to get a shot at finishing her lyric. Lots of laughs especially with fans anticipating when she would stop. Fans would ring the bell and she would keep going saying "I'm still singing". It was hilarious. Congrats to everyone that got up there and sang in it. I then attended my first Opry show which included Carrie Underwood as well. Only the second Opry show to ever take place in the Municipal Auditorium. The first was in 1975 during the flood at that time. I was excited to take in the Opry experience and it didn't disappoint. The mood is so laid back in there with the Opry people wanting your experience to be as great as possible. You're allowed to walk down to the stage and take a pic of your favorite singers. The radio broadcast was going of course and I have listened to it on occasion online. The show had performances by long time Opry members, Bill Anderson and Jimmy Dickens. I really enjoyed both of them and the crowd just loved Jimmy. He told a lot of funny stories and had a great line of announcing that he'd next be performing a song off of his "latest album that was released in 1965". I loved that line. The Band Perry played on this night as well and they were new to me. I really like their sound and they had a lot of fans getting behind them. Mandy Barnett was another performer on this show and has a strong voice. Josh Turner had the place rocking on his performance. The ladies love that guy. LOL. Really fun performance from him and he sent us strong into intermission. A big crowd favorite was Trisha Yearwood who sang a few songs in front of a very loving crowd. Carrie Underwood closed out the show and walked out voice blazing with Cowboy Casanova. The sound was cranked up and it sounded incredible in there. Two shows in a row for me of Carrie's on this day and I had chills running all through me during both of them. Just an incredible voice!! I really think that girl could sing the phone book and I would listen to it and love it. LOL. Carrie sang some of the same songs from the party but also included some different ones including "All American Girl" and closing with "Before He Cheats". Carrie got a standing ovation from the Opry crowd after putting a combo together of "Jesus Take The Wheel" and "How Great Thou Art". Talk about a chilling performance. Her voice just blasted through "How Great Thou Art" and it is the best version of it that I've heard by far. Wow was all that I could say both times that I heard this during the day of concerts. With those songs and also "Temporary Home", there was a lot of hand raising praise the Lord moments! Lots of the artists mentioned the flooding in Nashville and how appreciative that they were of the fans still coming into town for CMA Fest week. I want to say thank you to Nashville as well. You guys got hit with a bad tragedy and the strength that you've shown during it has been very inspiring. I was happy to come into Nashville and see that it was business as usual. Everyone is picking up and moving on as best as they possibly can. Keep fighting Nashville. My prayers are with all of you!! One thing is for sure and that is that I'll be making a return to the Opry sometime in the future. I loved my experience there. If you're a music fan, you really need to go and attend the Opry. If you're a Carrie fan like myself, Tuesday was the day to be there for sure with a full day of events.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Various TV Notes - Idol/Bret, Chuck, & More - June 1, 2010

America's Got Talent returns tonight on NBC. The season premiere airs at 7pm central time on NBC.

All the Idol/Simon talk has turned to whether Bret Michaels might replace Simon Cowell. Michaels said at a concert last week that he was in talks to possibly be the replacement judge. I would be fine with that move if it does indeed end up happening. Bret's health is obviously the most important thing so I'd want him to make sure he was up to it. I think he would do a great job as a judge. I still say though that American Idol is going to be hurting next year without Simon. It will not be the same show and that show really needs to make sure to get some amazing talent in there to draw viewers. I see a lot of people tuning out just because of Simon being gone.

I spent some of the weekend catching up on Chuck. I've gotten a few episodes behind and am working my way to finishing up the season. Really strong episodes. Chuck and Sarah are probably my favorite TV couple with Leonard and Penny from The Big Bang Theory right behind them. The twist with Shaw finding out that Sarah killed his wife was a good storyline and how it played out. The stuff with Morgan joining up with Chuck, Sarah, and Casey has been golden. Great TV!! I laughed all through the stuff with Casey training Morgan at the Buy More. Speaking of Morgan and the Buy More, Anna coming back and not even being able to get Morgan's attention was great. I loved the turn of the character where she sees just how good he is doing without her. Chuck and Sarah against the tiger was great stuff too. Lots of laughs at that. I loved the guest appearance of Christopher Lloyd in one episode. I'm thrilled that Chuck and Sarah are together again and we now have the big pay off. Now, I obviously don't know if that is going to be ripped away from me by the time the season is over but I'll find out soon. I already see that Ellie being played to get to her dad is not going to lead to good things. I'm excited to see how the rest of the season plays out but these last four or five episodes that I've watched have been a lot of fun.

TV on DVD releases for today. Aqua Teen Hunger Force (Volume Seven), Burn Notice (Season Three), Charlie Brown and Peanuts Specials (70's - Volume Two), Mister Ed (Season Three), Rescue Me (Season Five).

Big Brother Over The Top - Week One Thoughts

I hope many of you have floated over to Big Brother Over The Top like I have.  Tonight, we will be one week into this game and this new plat...